Saturday, February 06, 2016

Book Pick: Dead Wake, by Erik Larson

Let's hope author Erik Larson lives to a hundred and keeps writing nonfiction books like his most recent 'Dead Wake' right up till the end. Subtitled 'The Last Crossing of the Lusitania', it chronicles the sinking of the Lusitania by German sub U-20, May 7, 1915, which created inexorable tension between Germany and the US, culminating in US's declaration of war twenty-three months later, sealing Germany's WWI doom.
Larson hooked me on his meticulous research and mesmerizing narrative style couple years back with 'The Devil in the White City', which interwove the 1893 Colombian Exposition with HH Holmes 'murder castle' at 63rd on Wallace in Chicago's Englewood community. He continued that spell with 'In the Garden of Beasts', telling the tale of University of Chicago history prof William Dodd, coerced by FDR to be first US Ambassador to Nazi Germany. Now comes 'Dead Wake' which again weaves related narratives to the main event, the Lusitania sinking; including President Wilson's difficulty dealing with the catastrophe due to being besotted with his love interest Edith Boling, resisting his entreaties to become the second Mrs. Wilson. Up pops Winston Churchill, then First Lord of the Admiralty, who quite likely allowed the Lusitania's torpedoing to prod Wilson to save England's bacon by joining the European slaughter. Churchill and his warmongering buddies were so callous and cynical, they covered up their evil deed by blaming the entire sinking on hapless captain William Turner who was provided neither the proper intelligence Churchill's Admiralty had, nor the destroyer convoy which would have certainly spooked U-20's attack.
Even though 'Dead Wake' doesn't quite measure up to the first two Larson histories, it's a terrific tale, great history, and lesson on the all pervading evil of war on all sides. Don't know what Larson's researching now, but whatever it is, I'm in.

What's good for goose Rezaian not good for gander Assange

Remember when US officials and presidential candidates were screaming for the release of Washington Post journalist James Rezaian, being arbitrarily held by Iran since July, 2014, on trumped up espionage charges? He was released last month as part of the thaw between the US and Iran, helped in part, by demands from the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, which called for Rezaian's release. Western officials lauded the UN's efforts on behalf of Rezaian, something one would surmise should apply to all persons suffering unlawful, inhumane and arbitrary detention. 

Alas, UK Foreign Secretary Phillip Hammond decried the UN's latest demand for release of a UK political prisoner, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, as "a ridicules thing". Unlike Rezaian who only endured arbitrary detention for 18 months, Assange is in his 44th month of forced detention in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. The Brits, conspiring with the US and Sweden, want Assange whisked to the US for likely imprisonment for being, like Rezaian, a good journalist. What's the difference you might inquire? Whereas Rezaian was merely an employee of the anti Iran and neocon Washington Post, Assange was releasing documents shedding light on our criminal war in Afghanistan, something that surely needs to see the light of day. That upsets Uncle Sam no end, even to the point where he and his British poodle will denigrate a UN institution, which must be upheld even when inconvenient if we want to maintain its worldwide credibility. Besides the Brits squandering 13 million pounds watching for Assange to risk arrest for sneaking a badly needed whiff of fresh air, all three nations; the US, UK and Sweden besmirch their claims to represent freedom, democracy and decency. They still can't comprehend: what's good for James Rezaian, is good for Julian Assange. 

Thursday, February 04, 2016

US, not Iran, largest sponsor of state terrorism

It was both weird and scary to hear otherwise intelligent Democratic candidates pander to the war party in last night's debate. ISIS, a murderous bunch of power seekers, is a threat only to murderous power holders in Middle East. We spend trillions on criminal wars and criminal interventions to make sure our murderous thugs retain power. Both Hillary and Bernie paid obeisance to the recipients of those trillions by saying we must continue our wars and interventions that have killed hundreds of thousands and forced millions to flee our weaponry.
Both unnecessarily and falsely demonize Russia for shoring up their borders when the US instigated a coup against the duly elected Ukraine leader to draw Ukraine away from Russia and toward the West. Both want to expand NATO to Russia's doorstep even though the need for NATO is long past, and when member Turkey is supporting our imagined enemy ISIS in total contravention to our expressed No. 1 national security interest.
Sanders is a bit better than Clinton on this issue. He did vote against launching our criminal Iraq war, unlike warmonger Clinton, who not only voted for that war, but orchestrated, as Secretary of State, our criminal and murderous overthrow of Qaddafi in Libya. She relishes getting over-involved in unbridled militarism. But Sanders couldn't say the magic words 'get all our troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan' because he still cowers before the war party.
Till we have candidates and finally a president who removes the boots on the ground, grounds the murderous drones and planes, and stops demonizing Iran, China, Russia, and murderous groups not an existential threat to America, Uncle Sam still holds the brass ring for state sponsored terrorism.
When the debate dealt with domestic issues like immigration reform, climate change, poisoning Michigan governors, mass incarceration of minorities, income inequality, campaign reform, and was quite inspiring.

What is College of DuPage Boycott 3 hiding?

We saw progress at the College of DuPage Board meeting Wednesday. The Boycott 3, Erin Birt, Joe Wozniak and spokesperson Dianne McGuire, showed up for the regularly scheduled 7:00 PM meeting to pass COD operating directives they have been holding up for an unconscionable 51 days. But they did nothing to end their infantile spat in which they refuse to accept that duly authorized Acting Chair Deanne Mazzochi is in fact Acting Chair. They did nothing to address the two year probation imposed on COD by the Higher Learning Commission for actions they enabled during the Breuder administration. They did nothing to fulfill their elected duty to appoint a seventh Board member from the 26 local residents who have applied. And most egregiously, they continue to stonewall and obfuscate addressing the DuPage States Attorney's request for records of the 2014 closed Board sessions. in which all three participated, that preceded their notification to President Robert Breuder his contract was extended.

That raises the question many in the COD community keep asking, including directly to the Boycott 3 by public speakers at last night's meeting: "What are you hiding?"

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Bernie only 4th in 17 Prez campaigns

It dawned on me that this is the 17th presidential campaign I've followed since I 'liked Ike' back in '52 at age 7. It was easy to follow since I was blessed with concerned, informed parents who valued political interest and discussion. Once hooked I realized how vital public involvement was to our future well being and watched in both hope and dismay how we'd make the right choice and just as often turn the electoral gun on ourselves, choosing the lesser candidate.
In all those campaigns, there have only been four candidates who truly inspired me. It wasn't till 1968, when senator and poet Gene McCarthy, played Pied Piper to us millions of youngsters being called to fight and die in a criminal war that I realized a candidate could be truly transformational. Though he fell short to the Kennedy Clan and the Establishment, he presaged the 1972 candidacy of another senator, George McGovern, whose uncompromising commitment to peace in Vietnam and justice for minorities and the dispossessed in America was crushed by Nixon's cynical warmongering abroad and racist pandering at home. Then a long political winter till the improbability of a black progressive in 2008, not only being nominated but winning the presidency, brought hope that there was hope for America.
And that brings up my fourth political hero, Bernie Sanders. I'm both puzzled and thrilled that his groundswell of support comes not from my pre-baby boom generation and its immediate successors, but by the newest generation of young adults largely absent from the governing struggle. As I get more progressive and less patient with political idiocy in my eight decade, I'd guess most of my generation would follow suit. But on reflection it's better the impatience comes from the young since they must live with the consequences of their governing decisions much longer than I.
Though didn't know him, Sanders and I attended the same college back in '63-64; he a senior, I a freshman. Back then political interest and involvement was a given, considering the Vietman War and struggle for black civil rights. Sanders was in the thick of both fights, and spent his entire life following the path to a better America and world. For years now I've lamented that my generation might the last to be truly politically involved. Thanks to Bernie Sanders, I think we might be OK after all.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Rauner to pain sufferers: "Buy billionaire concocted drugs"

For the second time in five months the Bruce Rauner administration has slammed shut the door to natural, inexpensive relief for chronic pain sufferers. Presiding over the most restrictive state among the 23 (plus DC) that allow medical marijuana, Rauner says were still evaluating medical pot and it wouldn't be prudent to expand it now. Methinks Billionaire Bruce is merely helping his fellow mega rich in the drug industry keep the profits from wildly expensive and harmful prescription drugs rolling into their bloated money belts. Even the Punky QB, Jim McMahon, suffering debilitating chronic pain from 15 years of football sacks, had to move to Arizona to get the natural stuff that has replaced his 100 per month synthetic pill habit to bring pain relief. Besides pain relief, Punky QB has a clearer mind. Illinois sufferers of autism, osteoarthritis and irritable bowel also have to flee the Land of Lincoln to get cheap, natural relief. Rauner poo poo's the 70% of Illinoisans supporting medical marijuana expansion, and the Illinois Medical Marijuana Advisory Board which has green lighted expansion for the aforementioned conditions. Come to think of it, here's another condition the Board might consider to give Illinoisans needed relief: Rauner Austerity Syndrome.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Time to give a hoot about the Houthis

Ask a hundred citizens who the Houthis are and you may get a hundred blank stares. That's in spite of the fact the US is committing war crimes against these folks in their country of Yemen. We're not killing them directly; we've outsourced that messy business to Saudi Arabia, who is concerned about the Shi'ite Houthi rebels taking power in neighboring Yemen, previously ruled by more Saudi friendly Sunnis. Saudi Arabia fears Houthi influence in Yemen empowers their arch Shi'ite rival Iran in the great Shi'ite - Sunni civil war throughout the Middle East. That's their prerogative, but it shouldn't be Uncle Sam's, whose not a whit endangered by who rules Yemen. Yet, we're selling Saudi much of their weaponry, refueling their murderous bombers and providing logistical support for their killing thousands of civilians and bombing of dozens of hospitals and schools. Aiding and abetting the Saudis makes us partners in their war crimes. Even though they supplied most of the 911 hijackers, fund Islamic extremists including ISIS, and chop off heads of dissidents like we fine red light violators, Saudi Arabia continues as one of our best Middle East allies. Maybe that $100 billion in US weapons of mass murder they've purchased in the last five years has more to do with our shared war crime conspiracy against the little known Houthis than our true national interests. 

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

We are all residents of Flint

When an anti-government governor poisons the citizens of Flint to save a few bucks, we are all being poisoned politically.
When an anti-government governor refuses to expand Medicaid to score political points, we are all being denied proper health care.
When an anti-government governor refuses to adopt a budget with sufficient revenue to provide for the needy, we are all being denied responsible government.
Think about that the next time a rich businessman attempts to buy your vote on false promises of prosperity for all.

Roskam's Iran hostage crisis: Day 12

My Congressman Peter Roskam (IL-6) is in his 12th day of holding the Sixth District hostage to news the world is implementing detente with Iran. The welcome news 12 days ago greatly reduces possible war with Iran. It means we can begin normalizing relations with a major Middle East power; a step toward reducing political tensions in the Middle East. It means we can begin trading with Iran; a likely boost to our economy.

But you won't find a whisper of this transformational diplomatic development at Instead, you will find fearmongering press releases, going back too 2012, warning of any detente, nuclear deal or diplomatic breakthrough with Iran. Apparently, Roskam has invested so much political capital on behalf of the war party and the Israel Lobby to defeat detente with Iran, he cannot bring himself to even acknowledge it on his website. Instead his uses what should be an educational tool to hide from an inconvenient truth. That is a shame. While entitled to his opinions on Iran detente, he is not entitled to ignore reality. That is a core duty of his job as Congressman.

The 700,000 resents of the Illinois Sixth deserve better. Maybe, this November, they will get it.

Monday, January 25, 2016

It's Republicans and Trib, not Dems, going off the cliff

Monday's Trib editorial, 'Will Republicans and Democrats go off the cliff' poses a false equivalency between the Republican Trump and Democratic Sanders presidential campaigns. It strongly implies each party is being hijacked by an extremist out of touch with the "sensible center."  But the differences are huge, on a Grand Canyon scale, which do great injustice to Sanders, and his followers.

Consider the false equivalency. According to the Trib, Trump's divergence from the "sensible center" is that "Trump has done his best to alienate Latinos, blacks, Muslims, women and anyone with an aversion to Sarah Palin." Missing is the necessary background of Trump's relentless pathological lying; xenophobic and racist charges; and denigrating commentary that has made him a grotesque caricature of a responsible candidate. Also missing is that Trump's freak show campaign resonates with the current majority of Republicans in every poll, whether state or nationwide. Rather than being a fringe GOP contender, Trump represents the 'insensible GOP middle' the Trib erases from their vision of a 'country club' Republican Party.

Your only evidence of Sander's extremism is your claim he's a "self described democratic socialist." That is a meaningless charge, McCarthyite in fact, as it's today's version calling him a 'communist'. It doesn't reflect one whit on his exemplary record of 8 years as Burlington, VT mayor, 16 years in the House and now 9 years as Senator, representing Vermont. During that incredible 33 years of public service, Sanders has displayed, wisdom, class, and decency, championing fiscal responsibility, opposition to war and unbridled militarism, rebuilding America's infrastructure, truly caring for our vets and ameliorating the concentration of wealth in a tiny ruling oligarchy. Far from being outside the "sensible center", Sanders represents it, in the same way FDR did during the Depression. Millions of otherwise disaffected young idealists now rally to his campaign, and millions more will join in should he garner the nomination.

The Trib Editorial Board is terrified of both a Trump and Sanders finale. Trump because he's already wrecked the Republican brand beyond repair. And Sanders? You folks can't stomach a leader focused on undoing the vestiges of economic royalty you enjoy at the expense of the great majority.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Drat! No peace candidate in 2016 election

The saddest aspect to the 2016 presidential election is the absence of a peace candidate, or even a healthy debate about bellicose US war mongering. The Republican field is horrific, with the nine candidates left veering as right as possible bragging about how tough they will be with our imagined enemies. They promote no fly zones in Syria, rescinding the Iran nuclear deal, even refusing to talk to Russian President Putin or any other world leader they deem hostile. US weapons makers, beneficiary of their tough talk would be ecstatic if any Republican would ascend to the presidency.

Alas, they don't have much to fear from the Democratic contenders as well. The frontrunner Hillary is a proven ally. Senator Clinton voted to invade Iraq before declaring it a mistake. As Sec. of State she was the driving force behind regime change in Libya which got thousands killed, turning Libya into a failed state. She borders on matching Republican rhetoric promoting regime change in Syria, an utterly senseless policy that has only led to more death there and threatens wider regional war. Even My Boy Bernie is skittish about opposing our endless criminal bombing against mostly innocents throughout seven countries in the region, calling for expanded detente with Iran and refusing to condemn the atrocities perpetuated by the Saudis and Israelis against their imagined enemies. Hell, he's willing to keep funding their efforts to avoid irritating the US war party which prospers on those murderous policies.

Enabling all candidates from avoiding the peace issue is the compliant media in the tank for the war party. Debate moderators frame every foreign policy question from the war party scrip asking how we'll deal with hyped threats from Russian, Syria, Iran, even ISIS. Raising the specter of withdrawal from Middle East militarism will never pass their lips if they want to stayed employed in America's Fawning Corporate Media. The last sensible media peace pundit, Phil Donahue, was summarily fired by MSNBC for opposing the Iraq war in 2003, despite high ratings.

Dammit! We deserve better. The welcome peace initiatives of the Obama administration; ending most ground operations in Iraq and Afghanistan; baby steps towards detente with Iran; re-engaging with Cuba; are not enough. It was painful to hear the President waste seven minutes of the State of the Union bragging about how America squanders it treasure outspending the rest of the world combined on murderous munitions. He gloated how Russia's become bogged down by its two client states Iran and Syria, omitting how we've become bogged down trying to rule the world.

Oh, I forgot. In 21st century America, war is still the health of the state.

Walt Zlotow
Glen Ellyn

Friday, January 22, 2016

COD Trustee Wars Episode Five: McGuire's Empire strikes again!

For the fifth time in five weeks College of DuPage Trustee Dianne McGuire led her three person Board faction to boycott a Board meeting, continuing shutdown of College of DuPage governance. Bills are not being paid. Academic programs are on hold. New new hires are going forward; tenure decisions remain in limbo. Worst of all, the Board is paralyzed in its most critical mission: complying with the Higher Learning Commission's (HLC) requirements to get COD off academic probation which endangers their academic accreditation.
The crowd of about a hundred community residents once again called for McGuire, as well as Erin Birt and Joe Wozniak, to resign or be charged with official misconduct. Acting Board Chair Deanne Mazzochi reiterated her plea at last week's two boycotted meetings that COD's urgent business cannot go forward without the Boycott Three's involvement; welcoming them to return at the next meeting without rancor or recrimination.
Besides boycotting all COD Board meetings, McGuire's Boycott Three are boycotting their sworn duty to pick a replacement for former Board member Kathy Hamilton. Though 28 local residents have applied for the seventh trustee spot, McGuire has written to the Illinois Community College Board (ICCB) stating her faction will not work with the three working Board members to pick Hamilton's replacement, leaving the decision to an outsider, Acting ICCB Chair Laz Lopez.
Sometimes silence is not golden. McGuire and company's silence tonight spoke load and clear about their disdain and disrespect for public service, the College, students, faculty and taxpayers.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Not lead, but Rauner's drip, drip, drip of austerity still toxic

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder is getting national attention since the scandal over changing Flint's water supply from Lake Huron Pure to Flint River Lead. That represented a feather in Gov. Snyder's austerity cap, saving Michigan a cool $15 million. Alas, Flint River Lead, besides looking like molasses, began poisoning Flint residents two years ago as it leached lead from water pipes into fragile bodies of unsuspecting Flintites.

While not well publicized outside the Land of Lincoln, there's a form of toxic leaching going on here that deserves national attention. It's the leaching of the budget austerity that Gov. Bruce Rauner has imposed on us 13 million Illinoisans, poisoning the lives of the needy being denied basic services they depend on to lead a semblance of a decent life. Whether its cutbacks to help for sufferers of autism or day care for low wage workers unable to afford this basic need, Gov. Rauner is holding them all hostage to his refusal to provide a budget with sufficient revenue till the legislature passes his non-budgetary priorities to diminish workers rights, wages and dignity.
Gov. Snyder has launched an apology tour to extricate himself from having to resign or even possibly hire a defense attorney to defend against criminal misconduct against the hapless residents of Flint. Don't expect an apology tour from Gov. Rauner. He's just a year in to his four year hitch leaching heartless insensitivity into the lives of Illinois's needy.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

When the Cubs struck the World Series

2016 marks 108 years since the Cubs won the 1908 World Series, their last. While many excuses have been offered - bad players, inept management, even the curse of Sam Siannis' goat, expelled from a 1945 World Series game at Wrigley though his teeth clenched a valid ticket, one factor haunting Cubs futility has been overlooked: the strike they joined in with the Red Sox during the 1918 Series.
1918 was possibly the most tumultuous in baseball history. With World War I raging, it looked like upwards of 80% of major leaguers would be drafted. Congress passed a law stating all fit men must fight or work in the war industry. Baseball big-wigs weren't able to convince authorities that entertaining war-weary citizens qualified as war work. Many players, including White Sox star Shoeless Joe Jackson, headed for the shipyards which used them mainly to play on company teams. Uncle Sam finally relented, letting the Bigs keep playing till September 1; then allowing another exemption for the World Series, featuring our Cubbies versus the Red Sox. All hell broke loose when the league, suffering reduced attendance from a shortened season, told the two champs they'd get a greatly reduced Series share, dropping from $2,000 and $1,400, to $1,400 and $800 respectively, for the winners and losers. One the train to Boston for game 5, Cubs and Sox players huddled up and planned to lobby the National Commission, which ruled the game, for their full expected share. Brusquely turned down, both teams refused to take the field before a full Fenway crowd, including many wounded vets, at game time. A drunk American League president Ban Johnson cajoled the players to end their strike after one hour on the promise to re-instate their expected pay and not punish them. The game went on with the Cubs losing (of course) to the BoSox in six. Afterwards, the players got even less than the original paltry payoff promised and were denied the World Series medals (1918's version of WS rings) they deserved.
Maybe it's simply coincidence or truly bad Karma, but neither team won another World Series for 86 years. The Red Sox have now won two. And our Cubbies? With Cub fever 108 and rising, don't expect a big parade down Addison Street this October.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

US should apologize for Operation TP-AJAX

With the nuclear deal and emerging diplomatic baby steps between the US and Iran, it might be useful for the US to officially apologize to Iran for Operation TP-AJAX. That was the joint US-British led coup that deposed Iran's legitimate ruler Dr. Mohammed Mosaddeq in August, 1953. The Brits conceived the coup in 1952 and presented it to 'Give 'Em Hell' Harry Truman, who told the Brits to go to Hell. A year later newbie Prez Ike greenlighted TP-AJAX to allow Britain to grab back its Iranian oil monopoly nationalized by elected Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddeq. For Ike, it was a chance to make his bones as a bonafide anti communist, due to Mosaddeq's unwillingness to crush Iranian communist influence. Leading this first official CIA coup against a foreign leader who wouldn't do our bidding was TR's grandson Kermit Roosevelt, following a family tradition of senseless and bellicose militarism. Our hand picked successor was Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, son of the first Pahlavi monarch Reza Shah Pahlavi. His reluctance and indecision almost wrecked Uncle Sam's best laid plans, but our CIA Iranian operatives, masquerading as commies, shed enough blood to turn the tide against Mosaddeq. The Shah ruled Iran for another 26 years, with his CIA trained secret police killing many thousands who dared speak out against his tyrannical rule.
The CIA, emboldened by their success, toppled the Guatemalan government a year later and were on a roll till their insane 1961 Bay of Pigs fiasco led us down a torturous path of anti Cuba machinations which nearly got us all vaporized a year later.
The next time someone chirps Iran is our enemy because of the 1979 hostage crisis, tell them about 1953. And while at it, request they support a US apology to Iran for it as well.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Is Roskam least informed 6th District resident on Iran nuke deal?

Already becoming old news, the groundbreaking 5+1 nuclear deal with Iran has somehow escaped, in this internet age of instantaneous communication, my congressman Peter Roskam (IL-6). Search 'Iran' at his and find only stale posts, up to two years old, pondering how to sabotage this now done deal that removes Iran's nuclear ambitions along with war as the only alternative to no deal. Two of the first eight posts are Roskam op eds in the Times of Israel, Roskam's first choice for publishing anti Obama, anti Iran detente hit pieces in furtherance of Israel's foreign policy of war with Iran...led by the good 'ol USA. The Iran agreement further cements President Obama's legacy as a transformational leader achieving peace and stability in a troubled world in spite of Roskam's endless fearmonger which, if followed, would only lead to more war. If they weren't so pathetic, the titles of Roskam's anti Iran detente posts would provoke laughter:

Roskam Op-Ed in Times of Israel: 60 Days to Sink the Iran Deal
Broken Promises: Clinton ’94 on North Korea v. Obama ’15 on Iran
Roskam: Time to End Nonsensical Nuclear Talks with Iran
Roskam: All Talk, No Progress on Iran Nuclear Deal
Roskam Blasts Final Nuclear Agreement with Iran
I called Congressman Roskam's office to request he take down these irresponsible posts and acknowledge the Iran agreement which makes this dangerous world a little bit safer for ourselves, our children and their future generations. So can you at 630 232 0006.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

McGuire to COD Board: "We won't approve 7th Board member"

After boycotting four straight College of DuPage Board meetings, grinding COD governance to a standstill, Trustee Diane McGuire has escalated her official misconduct. She, along with former Chair Erin Birt, sent a letter to Lazaro Lopez, Chair of the Illinois Community College Board, stating he will likely have to pick the replacement for former Board member and Chair Kathy Hamilton. Yet McGuire, Birt and their third boycotting Board member Joe Wozniak have 24 days to sit down with the other three Board members to vet and interview the 28 local candidates to replace Hamilton. That is their job pure and simple, but McGuire and company are on strike, telling the COD community to let an uninformed outsider pick the seventh member. That is a disgrace to public service, the democratic process, the community and the 28 locals who wish to restart COD governance. 

Many are calling for McGuire and her faction to resign forthwith. Many are calling for them to be indicted for official misconduct. Once out of office the public their record is complete. McGuire and Birt are down to their last 15 months; Wozniak has an additional two years. Adding the refusal to pick the seventh Board member to their disgraceful Board meeting strike, further diminishes their legacy. But if they swallow their pride, go back to work and cooperate in cleaning up the corruption and mismanagement which landed COD on academic probation and subject of several criminal investigations, they still have a glimmer of hope of going out on a high note. 

Thursday, January 14, 2016

It's official: McGuire's 3rd, 4th COD Board boycotts are official misconduct

For the fourth time in less than a month, Diane McGuire, engineered a boycott of a College of DuPage Board meeting. Tonight was a twofer; her holdover faction boycotted Deanne Mazzochi's special meeting to address the DuPage States Attorney's request for oral and written record of 2014 closed Board sessions, and they boycotted their own special meeting immediately following. The crowd of a hundred or more were once again dismayed and disgusted by the McGuire faction absence. Important COD business and governance has been shut down for a month. Bills are not being timely paid, a violation of the Illinois Prompt Payment Act, making COD potentially liable for payment penalties. Importantly needed new employees are not being hired. New curriculum is not being approved. Supplies for students and faculty are not being ordered. The 28 applicants for the vacant seventh Board Trustee position are not being vetted. Most important of all: the Board is hobbled in its dire need to address the two year probation imposed on it by the Higher Learning Commission, which, if not addressed, will cost COD its accreditation.

But wait. McGuire is not finished with her boycotts. She informed Acting Chair Deanne Mazzochi her holdover faction will boycott the January 21 regular meeting because all three of her faction, including Erin Birt and Joe Wozniak, are unable to attend.

All of the dozen public commentators called for McGuire, Birt and Wozniak to end their boycott, resign or be removed from office. Acting Chair Mazzochi was infinitely gracious in her plea for McGuire and her allies to end it in person at the January 21st meeting. Mazzochi was correct in saying there are not two Board factions, one of which was absent, but simply one Board prevented from doing COD and the community's business by the three boycotters. In closing Mazzochi called for a fresh start January 21, with no hard feelings and no recriminations, if the McGuire group will simply show up. That statement brought heartfelt applause from those of us present. Unfortunately, her words were not heard by Dianne McGuire, Erin Birt and Joe Wozniak. They were too busy practicing official misconduct.

Will McGuire COD Board faction boycott third meeting tonight?

After boycotting the last two College of DuPage Board meetings, COD Board Trustee Dianne McGuire has threatened boycotting tonight's special Board meeting her faction called for and accepted by Acting Chair Deanne Mazzochi. McGuire takes umbrage Mazzochi has scheduled an earlier special meeting to address one issue: DuPage States Attorney Bob Berlin's request the Board provide records of the March 6, 2014 Board meeting that preceded by one day, then Chair Erin Birt advising then COD president Robert Breuder his contract was extended through 2019. That request is relevant since no public record exits of an agenda item or a vote on Breuder's extension as required by the Open Meetings Act.  One would think McGuire would welcome such a move in the interest of responsible governance, compliance with law enforcement officials and transparency. But instead, simply dealing with this highly charged request provokes another McGuire boycott  threat, her third since resignation of the Board Chair deadlocked the Board between Acting Chair Mazzochi's new reform group and McGuire's holdover faction. Since McGuire has already advised her faction won't be available for the next regular Board meeting scheduled for January 21, that makes two boycotts and two threatened boycotts all while COD 's two year suspension from the Higher Learning Center is ignored. McGuire's rational for delaying consideration of the States Attorney's request is stunning: the state's attorney's request for closed-session material from March 6, 2014 "is not pertains to actions occurring nearly two years ago and involving an employee who no longer works for the college." In case you're wondering, that employee is not the janitor. Just like every documented charge of misfeasance and malfeasance by former President Breuder and his enabling Board, including McGuire, that landed COD on probation, McGuire's pat answer is 'no problem here, let's move on.' 

Dianne McGuire has a small group of supporters who publicly call the new Board members  'liars, thugs, thieves and Teapartiers' as if those words promote resolving COD's disastrous two year suspension which jeopardizes COD accreditation. You won't hear those epitaphs from COD faculty and the great majority of the COD community supporting reform at COD. We simply call on Dianne McGuire, Erin Birt and Joe Wozniak to do the job we elected them to do.   

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Do as I say...not as I do

IL governor Bruce Rauner made hundreds of millions buying, chopping up and then selling companies. If the CEO of a company he bought said he wouldn't implement a budget till he obtained non budgetary priorities, Rauner would fire him before he finished talking. Alas, those who bought Bruce Rauner to lead Illinois and those of us who worked desperately not to buy him, will have to wait three more years to fire him for the same offence.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Obama's 14 million private sector job growth still a job killer to Roskam

My lllinois Sixth District Congressman Peter Roskam won't utter a peep of praise about tonight's final President Obama State of the Union address during which Obama will tout the 14 million private sector jobs created once he smote the catastrophic Bush recession. That's because like Chicken Little, all Roskam's peeps (his version of tweets) will continue warning of  job killing Obama policies, which represent the acorns that drove Chicken Little to fearmonger the imaginary falling sky. Roskam's two word mantra 'job killer' started immediately upon Obama's inauguration. He called the Affordable Care Act a 'job killer'. He lamented Obama's sensible re-regulation of the Wall Street banksters as 'job killing' government interference. Medicaid expansion? Another 'job killer.' Raising taxes on the super duper rich was simply a 'job killing' attack on the job creators, who mainly create jobs in the overseas banking industry. In Roskam's bizarro version of the American economy we've been privileged to experience in place of the half million per month job losses in Bush's last year, the monthly average of 190,000 new private sector jobs is proof Obama is a 'job killer'. 

Tune in tonight and when the camera pans our congressman, see if you can decipher the words he seems to be mouthing over and over. Here's a hint: "Job killer, job killer, job killer." 

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Does Dianne McGuire want the Supreme Court to rule on COD Board Acting Chair?

College of DuPage Board Trustee Diane McGuire sure has a strange way of addressing the two year probation imposed on the College of DuPage by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Rather than participate in the numerous reforms implemented since the new COD Board took charge in April, she has voted against every one. Rather than accept some responsibility for the myriad of educational, financial, ethical and administrative problems that prompted the HLC to place COD on academic probation, McGuire continues her 18 month campaign to deny any systemic problems at COD under her watch, laying its problems on the reform Board majority swept into office last April by a fed up community.
Simply voting 'NO' whenever her three member holdover Board faction was asked to participate in a reform vote for seven months afterward was not good governance. It contributed to the HLC citation about board dysfunction in their probation report. But at least her avalanche of NO votes could not stop the reforms she endlessly ignored from being implemented, putting COD on the road to recovery. With the resignation of the Board Chair, McGuire's intransigence has reached a new level of malfeasance. As apparent leader of the holdover faction, including former Chair Erin Birt and 'go-along' Trustee Joe Wozniak, McGuire orchestrated a boycott of the December 14 Board meeting, effectively shutting down COD governance. This action was prompted by resignation of the reform majority Chair, deadlocking the board at three votes apiece between the reform and McGuire holdover faction. McGuire, oblivious to the urgent need to address probationary status reforms, is laser focused on the strange theory that Acting Chair Deanne Mazzochi is not the acting chair, in spite of opinion from COD counsel and the Illinois Community College Board that she surely is till the state mandated annual reorganization next April. This led to the counter productive special Board meeting McGuire's faction scheduled for January 7, a meeting McGuire's group then boycotted because Mazzochi exercised her duly authorized powers to lead the Board agenda. McGuire has vowed to boycott the next regularly scheduled January 21 meeting, calling instead for a second special meeting January 14, demanding Acting Chair Mazzochi dare not tamper with McGuire's agenda .
Dianne McGuire has set herself and her two holdover Board members up as a bizarro, alternate COD Board that has nothing to do with dealing with the catastrophic probationary status for which McGuire and her holdover colleagues bear much responsibility. What's next? Will McGuire take Mazzochi's certified status as Acting Chair all the way to the Supreme Court to get it rescinded? Rather than squander her last 15 months as Trustee tilting at unproductive windmills, McGuire might consider the following opening statement at the next Board meeting, whenever it occurs:
"I'm from the community, I'm a lifelong educator, and I'm here to help get COD off probation. Let's get started."
If she says that, she will surely get a well deserved standing ovation.s 

Friday, January 08, 2016

COD's 'Boycott Three' becomes 'Bizarro Three' boycotting own meeting

The glimmer of hope that the three boycotting College of DuPage Board members, Erin Birt, Dianne McGuire and Joe Wozniak (the Boycott Three), would show up for work to help the College of DuPage grapple with its unprecedented two year probation, and simply function operationally, were dashed Thursday when we concerned DuPage residents were greeted by their three empty chairs. What is astonishing about their collectively orchestrated work strike was their boycotting their own special meeting they called for after boycotting the December 17 meeting, the first called since the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) put College of DuPage on academic probation. By denying the Board a quorum, no college bills were approved, including one to hire a consulting firm to provide ethics training to correct ethics violations cited in COD's probationary status. Three new academic programs languished in limbo and no action was taken to select a new member to fill the seventh Board member vacancy.
What we did see at the meeting was a thorough and thoughtful discussion of the issues and urgency surrounding efforts to address COD's probationary status. A February, 2017, deadline was set to address every facet of the HLC list of problems that must be addressed, so HLC will have sufficient time to assess them prior to the November, 2017, deadline for COD to keep its accreditation.Trustee McGuire, spokesman for the newly named 'Bizarro Three' called the continuing boycott as necessary due to their meeting being "hijacked" by Vice Chair and duly authorized (by COD counsel and now the Illinois Community College Board) Acting Chair Deanne Mazzochi. This is their true priority, pretending that Mazzochi has no standing to lead a divided Board.
When they were part of a six member majority, the Bizarro Three enabled or ignored every anti faculty, anti student and innumerable financial and ethical deficiencies that placed COD on probation. They even castigated and censored the sole member who called out the mis-governance and led the reform movement which has swept away every visage of poor COD governance. Correct that: all but one vestige, the three remaining holdovers, Birt, McGuire an Wozniak, who not only opposed every reform measure when they attended as a minority, but now boycott like infants when given the power to deny the college and the community a quorum.
The patience of the COD community is wearing thin as evidenced by all but one public comment speakers yesterday. The Bizarro Three's supporters are few and dwindling. Many community folks are calling for their resignation, or even the more drastic removal from pubic office. There is a better way forward for them: show up for work and do your job leading COD out of the probationary pit for which you bear much responsibility. They would be wise to consider Woody Allen's adage on success that "85% of life is showing up." When your show up rate is 0%, chances of success are about the same.

Thursday, January 07, 2016

More than art endures

An unidentified US soldier was killed and two wounded yesterday in Afghanistan. It was the first US death this year and the 26th since combat operations were officially ended on December 31, 2014. With recent US statements that our 'trainers and advisers' may get involved in firefights as the Afghan military continues to stumble against a rejuvenated Taliban, expect more US military deaths in 2016. To paraphrase the great adage about art, 'All things pass, only war endures.'

Wheaton College will win battle, lose spiritual war

"I will not send my kids to Wheaton College because I do not want my kids insulated in a Christian bubble that discourages open discourse and squashes controversial ideas out of fear. I do not want my kids shielded from voices that represent the diversity of the Christian community."
Those words are from the mother of a teen considering attending Wheaton College after a campus tour by Professor Larycia Hawkins, who now faces termination from her tenured political science position for expressing solidarity with the Muslim community. College officials claim statements such as these violate the Statement of Faith all Wheaton College faculty must not only sign, but must adhere to under intense scrutiny of ideological purists governing Wheaton College.
In proceeding with their termination inquiry, eerily reminiscent of the Marxist ideologues questioning the faith of communist party members adherence to communist dogma, Wheaton College flunks the true Christian mission: promoting love and understanding among all peoples. Hawkins' expression of Christian love is the very balm needed from authority figures to address the widening gulf between peoples and religions fueling escalating hate and violence worldwide. Wheaton College ignores interfaith understanding to remain true to its sole mission: keeping its pretend God immune from any ideological cracks from within the college community.
The college will surely surely win its show trial of Professor Hawkins. In so doing, they ensure defeat in the spiritual war for human progress.

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Tools on the shop floor inspired Ford's $5 a day minimum

A hundred two years ago today Henry Ford raised his employees minimum wage to $5 a day for 8 hours work. The day before those employees got $2.34 for nine hours. Local manufacturers went berserk, crying Ford would drive them all to bankruptcy including Ford. The opposite happened and the rest should have been history...except today's vulture capitalists are resisting efforts to treat minimum wage workers with the dignity Ford treated his in 1914.
Ford explained his move in simple words that bear repeating:
“We increased the buying power of our own people, and they increased the buying power of other people, and so on and on. It is this thought of enlarging buying power by paying high wages and selling at low prices that is behind the prosperity of this country. If the floor sweeper’s heart is in his job he can save us five dollars a day by picking up small tools instead of sweeping them out.”

Monday, January 04, 2016

Ally's 47 executions provokes big yawn from Uncle Sam

The Shi'ite half of the civil war in the Middle East is rightly stirred up by the mass 47 person execution in Sunni ruled Saudi Arabia, including top Shi’ite cleric Nimr al-Nimr. What cost al-Nimr his noggin in the world's head-chopping captial? Nimr was detained in 2012 for organizing a protest demanding an end to discrimination against the Shi’ite minority in Saudi Arabia. He was tried for “disobeying the ruler” and “inciting sectarian strife,” based on sermons he gave. His killing provoked the Shi'ite majority in Iran to trash the Saudi embassy, leading to severed relations between the two regional giants. Shi'ite dominated Iraq may soon close the newly opened Saudi embassy in Baghdad as well. And Uncle Sam's response? Not willing to upset their best foreign customer for weapons of human destruction - over $80 billion since 2001 - someone at State opened the door at 3:00 AM to whisper that the US has "deep concerns" about so many heads flopping around on Saudi soil. We shouldn't be surprised by the American response. We're just following the time honored capitalist adage: "The customer is always right."

Sunday, January 03, 2016

Gitmo's gourmet grub served...up your nose

Surely one of the worst jobs in the US military is serving dinner to Tariq Ba Odah at our Guantanamo prison for suspected terrorists. Instead of white tablecloth dining, it's white feeding tube cuisine, excruciatingly inserted into Ba Odah's schnozzola twice a day, in contravention of the United Nations Human Rights Commission's banning it as torture. Ba Odah gets it Uncle Sam's Way because he's been on a hunger strike for the last nine years of his inhumane 14 year incarceration; and a starvation death doesn't serve Uncle's interests. But at 75 lbs, Ba Odah may not make it out of America's Devil Island no matter how many liquid calories are pumped in. Ba Odah is one of 107 unfortunates still languishing in America's Gulag at Guantanamo, most of whom having been swept up for being in an American criminal war zone, practicing the wrong religion and sold to Uncle Sam by their captors. Like 47 of the other 106 detainees, Ba Odah has been cleared for release, six years ago in his case, but a combination of congressional and Pentagon Islamophobes refuse to go along with President Obama's seven year quest to end this nightmare cursing the American Experiment. Ba Odah is not one of 17 detainees scheduled to be released this month and Obama shouldn't bet the Nobel Peace Prize on even that happening. Guantanamo deadlines are often ignored by folks still seeking revenge for conduct the 107 detainees had nothing to do with. If Ba Odah does get out, however, he won't have to turn his nose up at another meal ever again.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Officer Loehmann displaces John Moshitta as fastest talker

Remember the 1980's Fed Ex commercials featuring John Moshitta, the acknowledged king of fast talkers, using Fed Ex because their service was, well, so fast? Turns out Moschitta has nothing on Cleveland policeman Timothy Loehmann, the fast talking cop who pumped several slugs into 12 year old Tamir Rice, waving a toy gun in a Cleveland park, killing him. Loehmann grabbed Moshitta's fast talking crown by rattling off 'repeated' calls for Rice to drop the toy pistol he was playing with in under 2 seconds before rattling off several shots into Rice's child's body. It was this claim by Loehmann that may have prompted Cuyahoga County DA Tim McGinty to advocate for Loehmann's innocence before the Grand Jury instead of arguing to indict him for homicide. If Loehmann is not the new world's fastest talker, maybe he began warning Rice to drop the gun while he was still pulling up to Rice instead of after getting out of the car. Or it could simply be that Loehmann, who quit the Independence, OH force 2 years earlier to avoid being fired for 'emotional instability', was inexplicably hired by the Cleveland force, putting him in position to senselessly kill a child. That most likely scenario may only be comforting to John Moshitta, who can continue to wear the crown as the fastest talker.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Hillary's no-fly zone for Syria is warmongering insanity

"Imposing a no-fly zone would require as many as 70,000 US Servicemen to dismantle Syria's sophisticated anti aircraft system and then provide a 24 hour watch over the entire country." - Gen. Martin Dempsey, Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, NY Times, 2013.
Hillary Clinton's call to impose a no fly zone over Syria, in order to effect regime change against the elected President Assad, amounts to a declaration of war against the Syrian government. By extension, it puts the US on a collision course for war with Russia, Syria's ally, and major user of aircraft to defend Syria from rebels forces, including ISIS.
One can only trust Clinton has no intention of implementing such a suicidal policy should she ascend to the presidency. She is surely just trolling for votes from that vast number of ignorant, uninformed voters who value bellicosity against the imagined foes of the shining city on the hill. But given her vote to launch our murderous, criminal Iraq war, and her zealous support of our murderous bombing campaign that ousted Libyan strongman Qaddafi, spiraling both countries into chaos, we cannot be certain.
You will never hear Bernie Sanders pander for votes by trumpeting new and senseless war. That's why I'm feeling the bern till the last vote is counted. And when it is, I think the more peaceful candidate will win.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Still waiting to close $400 million American gulag in Guantanamo

President Obama has been, on balance, wildly successful during his seven years as Uncle Sam's CEO. He's delivered on health care and immigration reform, universal gay marriage, ending large scale combat operations in the Middle East (alas, replaced by endless criminal bombing), rapprochement with both Cuba and Iran, and many other lesser successes . But he's failed on a signature goal of closing the American gulag in Guantanamo. That's a shame because it represents one of America's most egregious examples of rampant Islamophobia; defiling American values of equal protection under law and serving as a costly recruiting tool for Islamic 'blowback' against this symbol of American aggression. How costly? This year's cost is $400 million, roughly $2.7 million for each of the roughly 150 unfortunates snared in a ferocious roundup of suspected bad guys, some of whom were simply sold into our gulag by their enemies for blood money. They languish because we don't have the goods or the will to try them in an fair court of law. They languish because cowardly American congressmen pander to their constituency by insisting they can't be brought into American supermax prisons because they might escape and cause mayhem. The most recent vote against funding such a move was 91-3 in the Senate; 370-58 in the House. One reason the president is not giving one of his famous versions of the FDR 'fireside chat' to inspire and ennoble the public on the urgency of closing Guantanamo is that far too few Americans demand removing this despicable stain from the American legacy. That must change.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Cutler should cut losses and retire

With a game to go in his tenth season, Bears QB Jay Cutler won't reach even .500 in a ten year career. A win puts him at 84 wins to 87 losses; a harbinger for no SB Ring and no invite to the Canton, OH Hall. But it's not losses on the filed that should prompt Cutler to retire; it's the losses to his delicate brain cells that should give pause to playing even another season getting jammed into the turf by 300 lb. tacklers. Having just watched the two part Frontline investigative report on CTE, the degenerative brain disease caused by repeated football concussions, or even repeated non-concussive football knocks, it's clear football as a fools' game, even if you can achieve earnings north of $100 million, like Cutler. He should consider the urgent need to enjoy his three young kids for another half century, or even longer, with a clear head, something less likely with every sack. Maybe he should pay a visit to Bear's Funky QB Jim McMahon, 56, to learn the woes of football caused early onset dementia. I think one visit would be enough for Cutler to decide getting even to .500 next season ain't worth following McMahon's sorrowful trajectory.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

At Wheaton College dancing angels the problem

Dr. Erwin W. Lutzer, Senior Pastor at The Moody Church, Chicago, sure knows how to hurl back handed compliments to his fellow man who happens to follow Islam. Lutzer wrote an op-ed 'In defense of Wheaton College', justifying their suspension and likely firing of tenured poly sci prof Larycia Hawkins for violating the 'one true God' loyalty oath she signed to get her job teaching truth in the pursuit of knowledge.
While Muslims around America are being subjected to hostility, threats, burned Mosques, and physical violence stemming from systematic Islamophobia emanating even from presidential candidates, Wheaton College and its enablers like Lutzer, are not helping.
At issue is Hawkins imminent exit for wearing Muslim head gear to express solidarity with her Muslim brothers and sisters being subjected to unprecedented domestic hostility. That act was the trigger for her suspension after three other imagined heresies to the oath involving the racial divide and human sexuality, matters also critically affecting our ability to live in harmony with the universe.
But Lutzer, ignoring the fantasy that makes up every religion's story, charges the Muslim god is fake while the Christian god is real. The Christian god is a 'redeemer'; not so the Muslim god. Lutzer is aghast that Muslims aren't simply saved like evangelicals, but "are always unsure how to keep score" that their good deeds outweigh their bad sufficiently to reach Heaven. Lutzer is apparently unaware that in most sports today, high speed computers do the scoring. He's adamant Islam's imagined one god simply can't compete with the Christian real version which is a 'threefer' combing a father, his son and a holy ghost.
Theology aside, it's Lutzer's secular treatment of Muslims that truly offends. He starts off by essentially saying all Muslims aren't terrorists. In fact Christians don't view every Muslim they encounter with suspicion. Isn't that special? Lutzer even posits Christians can befriend Muslims so that "in god's good timing" they can share with them that their Muhammad is a fake prophet while the Christian Jesus is the real deal.
Wheaton College and their spiritual advisor Dr. Irwin W. Lutzer, may not be Islamophobes, but they sure aren't helping interfaith and human understanding critically needed today. They may as well stick to debating how may angels can dance on the head of a pin.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Strange bedfellows in Wheaton College tenure flap

There is irony in Wheaton College's campaign to rid itself of a tenured professor for straying from Christian and Wheaton College orthodoxy that should not go unnoticed. It stems from the local, nationwide and now worldwide interest in Wheaton's suspending tenured political science professor Larycia Hawkins for wearing a hijab to express solidarity with her Muslim neighbors. Hawkins is following in a long line of theologians promoting ecumenicalism among religions to bring humanity in harmony with the universe. Wheaton College, apparently, wants none of that, suspending the nine year tenured Hawkins and conducting an inquiry, inquisition is more appropriate, to withdraw her tenure and then fire her. While conceding her wearing the hajib, in itself, does not violate the statement of faith all faculty members must sign and practice, Hawkins inquisitors see it as a fourth a final example of her heresy. They no like her writing about what Christians can learn from Black Liberation Theocracy, which connects the Bible to troubling Christian support for slavery and oppression of blacks. Next up in her transgressions was a Facebook posting of Hawkins at a Halsted Street home the SAME DAY as the Gay Pride Parade, an obvious example of guilt by gay association which exits only in the warped minds of the college purists. Strike three was Hawkins' suggestion the College use 'diplomatic vocabulary' for conversations about sexuality in school curriculum. The hijab and her call linking it to solidarity with Muslims facing unprecedented attacks from the crazed haters in our society, pushed Wheaton College leaders to their self destructive action.

The irony? School Provost Stanton Jones claims Hawkins' article on Black Liberation Theology seemed to "endorse a kind of Marxism." But Provost Jones and the College elders are the ones following the Marxist line of obsessing about orthodoxy to the point of losing sight of their true purpose of serving mankind. We might say that in the Larycia Hawkins, Wheaton College dustup, Marx and Jesus make strange bedfellows.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Sunshine spells trouble for Pakistani kids

When sun shines in some parts of Pakistan, the kids stay inside and long for clouds and gloom.  That's the area where America's cowardly, murderous drones seek out imagined bad guys to rain death down death from remotely fired bombs. But when its too overcast the drones are grounded. Then the kids are allowed outside to play, knowing they won't become innocent victims of our demented war against Islam that has taken over a million lives since 2001. 'Let the sunshine in' is a clever tag line for Americans. It's a possible death sentence for Pakistani kids.