Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Diplomacy by raving maniacs

Everyone agrees that North Korea's Kim Jong-Un is hopelessly unstable and irresponsible in his leadership of North Korea (DPRK). But check out actual quotes from both the Jong-Un and Trump administrations and decide who is more unstable and irresponsible in leadership of their respective countries:

US: “North Korea is looking for trouble. If China does not help, we will solve the problem without them." 

DPRK:  "In the event of a U.S. military attack, our country would not scruple at launching a nuclear strike at US forces." 

US:  “We are sending an armada, very powerful. We have submarines, very powerful, far more powerful than the aircraft carrier. We have the best military people on earth.” 

DPRK:  “Thermonuclear war may break out at any moment. Any missile or nuclear strike by the United States would be responded to in kind that would reduce US military forces in South Korea and on the US mainland to ashes. The United States and its allies, should not mess with us.” 

US: “The era of strategic patience is over. All options are on the table.” 

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Roskam staring in own 'Groundhog's Day'

My congressman Peter Roskam (IL-6) makes the right call in refusing to host a Town Hall with 6th District constituents. While his rookie congressional neighbor next door in District 8, Raja Krishnamoorthi, held a highly productive, polite Town Hall right out of the congressional gate, Roskam claims these critical participatory venues are nasty, unproductive exercises he refuses to waste his time on. He's right of course, but not for the right reason. Newbie Raja functions as a real congressman, willing to address the critical concerns of every 8th District resident. He faced tough questions at his event but did so honestly and sensibly, earning the respect of all attendees.
After ten years in Congress the majority of 6 District residents finally figured out Roskam isn't a real congressman, simply a taxpayer paid lobbyist for the special interests having nothing to do with real resident concerns. Take health care. Roskam's spent a decade on behalf of the health insurance industry working to first prevent, then repeal life saving healthcare from the 20 million who got it from the Affordable Heath Care Act. Roskam uses blatant lies that it hasn't accomplished one benefit to offset the millions of jobs its destroyed, heartlessly oblivious to the 50,000 lives and counting its saved so far. Take the environment. Roskam remains in the delusional climate change denial wing of the Republican Party, no doubt paying dues to the fossil fuel industry he claims is the only way to energy self sufficiency. Take gun control. That A grade and campaign cash from the NRA weren't garnered from backing sensible gun control to reduce the annual bloodbath on our streets, schools and places of worship. Take women's reproductive health. Roskam makes exception for his mantra opposing big government every time it involves a woman and her gynecologist.
The ordinary folks hurt by these cruel policies want answers that Roskam is incapable of and unwilling to give.They're not waiting till November, 2018. They're going to vote with their presence, their persistence and their questions every time Roskam makes a public appearance in the 6th. Though he'll never set one up or accept an invite, Roskam will find that the entire district has been turned into a continuous Town Hall till he starts doing the job he's run from for the past decade. Roskam is finding out every day he awakes in the'll be 6:00 AM on Groundhog's Day.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Murdoch clan should fire themselves

Bill O'Reilly wasn't canned by Fox News because of any concern over maintaining a decent work environment for their employees or promoting public morality as a responsible media outlet. They fired him because the sponsors finally fled, the female staffers revolted and the public pressure became intolerable. Fox News has always be a disgusting enabler of atrocious behavior against women by powerful but ignorant, mean spirited men enabled by the owners, Lachlan, James and daddy Rupert. The Murdoch's are even trying to head off a British decision involving another one of their many enterprises, that rests on whether the family is 'fit and proper' to gain approval. First Fox had to fire long time president Roger Ailes for years of endless sexual harassment but tried mightily to cover up O'Reilly's years of the same dirty deeds because he brought in hundreds of millions in ad revenue. While paying off 5 complainers with $13 million to keep quiet, they were tossing a cool $20 million a year at O'Reilly to keep the cash dinosaur flowing. Once the plug was pulled on that spigot, the plug was pulled on the creep fronting the O'Reilly Factor. But they still come up three short to really clean up Fox News: Lachlan, James and Papa Rupert.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Trump has steep hill to out bomb Obama

Trump hates being the biggest loser. But when it comes to bombing innocents, his predecessor set the benchmark last year - 26,200 bombs - that will be tough to match, even for one as competitive as The Donald. But if his first 90 of 1,461 presidential days are any indication (assuming no impeachment), Trump will surely prevail. He's upped the drone strike ratio of one every 5.4 days under Obama, to one every day and a half. That's in addition all those senseless plane strikes in Iraq, Syria and other countries that are killing women and babies with military precision. Within a week of getting his License To Kill, Trump ordered a senseless special ops action in Yemen that killed 30 innocents as well a hapless member of the canon fodder brigade, charging into senseless, criminal battle at the command of a sociopath. Not satisfied with small time slaughter, Trump unleashed MOAB (Mother of All Bombs) on some 36 Afghan souls in the path of our 22,000 lb people killer, that no doubt gave Trump extreme pleasure, as well as higher ratings from a bloodthirsty public. But wait, the Killer In Chief was not done yet. He's threatening to bomb North Korea, a peanut power posing no threat to Uncle Sam and who could easily be contained by South Korea if we'd simply remove our 30,000 occupiers and tell the South to use some of their fabulous wealth to defend themselves instead of being our puppet. 

We'd best not think we're immune to the carnage Trump is unleashing far from our shores. He's no doubt inspiring home grown lone wolf attacks in what is accurately described as 'blowback'. And Trumps virulent war mongering surely puts all of at risk to wider war, even nuclear confrontation with Russia over our belligerence in Ukraine and Syria. In the end Trump may surely be the biggest winner in killing innocents; but the whole world will be the biggest loser.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

For governor, I'm backing the guy whose personal check I can match

Let's see, channeling Secretariat, Governor Rauner is runaway leader, having ponied up $50 million of his billionaire wealth for his upcoming campaign. Democrat Jay Pritzker places with a cool seven mil. Chris Kennedy barely shows up to grab show with a paltry $250,000 in Kennedy Kash. Still out of sight in last place, State Senator Dan Biss just contributed twenty-five bucks to his sensible peoples' campaign, resting on the wise fiscal solution to Illinois' woes of a progressive income tax. Ironically, that matches what I contributed to him on Day One after he saddled up his financially austere gubernatorial thoroughbred. .
Forget the deluge of money...I'm betting on the people to pick the winner in this high stakes race to save Illinois.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

America's worthless promise to Russia

When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1989, the US and NATO promised to move NATO 'not one inch' closer to Russia in return for Russia allowing Germany into NATO. Since then NATO has engulfed Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia, Albania and Croatia. Trump has agreed to absorb the tiny state of Montenegro as the unlucky (for Russia) thirteenth former member of the Soviet block into NATO. US troops and threatening NATO military exercises are routinely conducted in these lands to further provoke Russian security fears in ratcheting up Uncle Sam's new Cold War. Three years ago the US sponsored and supported a coup in Ukraine toppling the Russia leaning but duly elected Ukraine president. This unleashed anti Russian action in Russian populated Eastern Ukraine. Was it any wonder Russia moved to protect its naval base there in Crimea as well as the ethnic Russians under siege from neo Nazi Ukraine thugs? Any one of these new NATO members could serve as a trip wire for conflict between the two remaining nuclear powers.
Back in 2008, premier new Cold War impresario Sen. John McCain, injected himself into Georgia's border dispute with Russia over South Ossetia by proclaiming "I speak for every American when I say to him (Georgian president Saakashvili), 'Today we are all Georgians.'" Had Georgia been swallowed up by the insatiable NATO behemoth, that dispute could have easily drawn the US into war with Russia.
Just like being able to chew gum and tie our shoes at the same time, we should be able to investigate Trump's possible election treason with Russia without ramping up a new Cold War. We can start by keeping the promise we made in 1989 and giving the NATO boot to the old Soviet Bloc states it gobbled up.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Rauner's cruelty to needy hits new low

If Governor Bruce Rauner entered a limbo contest, he'd slither under a limbo pole an ant would have trouble traversing. The governor displayed his penchant for going low against people in need beyond any sense of compassion or decency in his statement threatening veto of Rep. Sara Feigenholtz's bill HB40, designed to allow women to use Medicaid or state employee health insurance to pay for abortions. Rauner's history on reproductive rights is in direct conflict with this heartless threat, in that he and his foundation have given hundreds of thousands of dollars supporting both Planned Parenthood and the ACLU's Roger Baldwin Foundation, which aims to protect abortion rights laws. Why the switch? No doubt Rauner looked at the votes he needs from the pro life crowd to get re-elected; then decided supporting humane reproductive rights for women in need wouldn't be prudent. That is political pandering at its worst. Even Rauner's two Republican predecessors, Jim Edgar and George Ryan called withholding such relief to those without Rauner's deep pockets 'unconscionable'. Getting back to that limbo contest, no matter what new record low Rauner achieves, each new day brings opportunity to go even lower.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Direct outrage at perpetual war and other critical issues

I'm disappointed but not surprised at the avalanche of outrage over the poor bloke dragged of the United airliner. If he were a lout causing a disturbance or threatening the captive passengers and crew, his ouster would have been cheered and his injuries celebrated. Obviously, procedures went terribly wrong in this case. But anyone observing the tension, pressure and chaos gate agents are under to please dozens, hundreds, even thousands of passengers affected by their split second decisions should have some empathy that the actors in this drama are not evil; and that overall, these folks do an extraordinarily high quality job under extremely challenging circumstances. I'm disappointed because the outrage could be much better spent protesting against perpetual war, the destruction of our environment and the lust to take away health insurance from the needy by the new administration. Where's that outrage, indeed.   

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Time for Cutler to cut and run

Former Denver and Bears quarterback Jay Cutler amassed some pretty impressive stats in 11 seasons –hoisting 208 touchdowns among the 2,782 completions in 4,491 tries (62 percent), garnering 32,467 yards. But one stat not listed is the times an even bigger hulk tossed the 6-foot-3, 225-pound Cutler to the hard turf like a rag doll. I winced watching every sack, not because of the damage it did to the Bears victory chances, but to the fragile brain banging around in Cutler's cranium.
Cutler turns 34 in a month, has a lovely wife and three little kiddies at home to go along with a fortune north of $50 million earned throwing a pigskin and getting smashed into the sod. Cutler should consider the closing chapter in the long and now sad life of Kansas Comet and Bears great Gale Sayers and quietly hang it up. Maybe Jay should grab a Starbucks to discuss the matter (no pun intended) with fellow Bears QB Jim McMahon. Then again, not a good idea. The punky QB will likely stare blankly at Jay and wonder why he's even there. 

My congressman Peter Roskam (IL-6) should issue a profound apology to his 750,000 constituents for his nine years of lies about the Affordable Health Care Act (ACA). From Day One in the 2009 debate over the ACA passed March 27, 2010, Roskam was all in on the GOP's Big Lie that the ACA was a 'job killer'. Roskam fully supported GOP response legislation with the lying title 'Repealing the Job Killing Health Care Act.' In the ensuing nine years Roskam hurled the job killing whopper loudly and often.
Though still a fierce opponent of the ACA which has given 20,000,000 of America's needy first time health insurance and arguably saved 50,000 lives, Roskam has gone silent on his ACA job killing lie. It certainly isn't guilt over a lie that caused his nose to stretch from one end of his gerrymandered district to the other. No, it's likely the report of the non-profit health care think tank Altarum, that the ACA was a huge JOB CREATOR, adding 240,000 health care jobs during the first three years of the ACA's full implementation. And the jobs were good ones including doctors, nurses, and other skilled health care professionals. No burger flippers among that quarter million increase. It's not hard for us Average Joe's to figure out the ACA as a job creation engine. Add 20,000,000 customers to any industry and you'll stimulate an avalanche of new jobs. That truth wasn't lost on Roskam who chose to spew lies instead to curry favor with his anti Obama, anti government base. Exploiting the tens of millions of vulnerable Americans seeking health care with lies to play politics is not leadership. It is unconscionable.
Roskam's ACA lies are not unforgivable. A genuine apology and promise to make amends seeking to insure the balance of 40,000,000 uninsured will be celebrated. The road to redemption begins with the truth.

The promise Trump should have kept

Many supporters are lauding Trump for following through on campaign promises to dump regulations, cut taxes, end health insurance for the needy, appoint corporatist judges, lay off criticizing urban police forces, promote voter restriction laws, defund Planned Parenthood for starters. But the promise that peeked us peaceniks, scaling back the US footprint overseas, has been sorrowfully discarded for going full monty on rampant militarism. Let us count the ways far beyond the murderous, criminal bombing of Syria April 6:

  • Trump had quietly expanded war zones for US operations  in Somalia and Yemen
  • Making it easier to launch counter terrorism strikes anywhere in the world
  • Accelerating drone strikes from one every 5.5 days under Obama to 1.8 days
  • Loosening Obama administration guidelines designed to limit civilian casualties from illegal bombings
  • Considering military requests for more canon fodder for America's never ending Afghan war
  • Sending ships near North Korea to rattle sabers as well as considering putting nukes in South Korea; even assassinating North Korea's Kim Jong-un. 
  • Ended the Obama administration policy of announcing new troop deployments in the Middle East and Africa. 
  • Scuttled Defense Secretary 'Mad Dog' Mattis plan to board Iranian ships in international waters only when the story was leaked prematurely. 
  • Promised the military a 10% budget raise of a cool $54 billion to ensure their allegiance for this madness. 

This is just the new warmongering we're aware of. Be very afraid for your children and grandchildren's future. With Trump it's every bad promise kept; the one decent promise dumped. 

Walt Zlotow
Glen Ellyn

Monday, April 10, 2017

How we can obey the law against war

April 9, 2017

Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL)
Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL)

How Can We Obey The Law Against War

With the bombing of Syria last week Americans were again confronted with our leaders taking the United States to war in violation all international laws and norms forbidding unjust war. These laws and norms go back further than the War Powers Act of 1973, which forbids the president from engaging in military action without a declaration of war by Congress, unless that action results solely from an actual or imminent threat of attack against the United States. It goes back further than prohibitions against illegal wars incorporated in the United Nations Charter of 1945. We must go all the way back to the General Treaty for Renunciation of War as an Instrument of National Policy, better known as the Kellogg-Briand Pact of 1928. The treaty, authored by US Secretary of State Frank Kellogg and French Foreign Minister Aristide Briand, was ratified 85 – 1 by your 1928 predecessors, going into effect July 24, 1929. Kellogg-Briand is still in effect with a total of 62 signatories.

Yet, the United States, with support nearly every member of Congress including yourselves, continues illegal perpetual warfare in seven countries, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and the aforementioned Syria, in complete violation of Kellogg-Briand. Since the September 11, 2001 attack against the United States, three presidents have used that isolated event to engage in perpetual warfare against any persons in any countries deemed to even possibly harbor ill will toward America. This blank check to violate Kellogg-Briand with impunity, causing untold thousands of deaths, injuries and refugees, makes a mockery of our commitment to peace and stability throughout the world.

As my senators, I implore you to live up to your membership in the US Senate, known as ‘the world’s most deliberative body’, and return America to its once held adherence to Kellogg-Briand. The following steps might be helpful in fulfilling that long discarded commitment:

1.     Request that Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) convene a bi-partisan Senate Conference to review Kellogg-Briand.

2.     Include historians versed in its origins and history to educate the 100 senators, the oldest of which was born four years after Kellogg-Briand was ratified, likely not even aware of both its existence and prohibitions on their conduct.

3.     Include constitutional and international law experts capable of identifying how current US policy of perpetual warfare against millions of defenseless citizens violates all norms of law, morality and decency, including those covered by Kellogg-Briand.   

4.     Invite representatives of the administration involved in foreign policy, including the President, Secretary of State and the National Security Advisor, to explain precisely why they ignore the War Powers Act of 1973, the UN Charter of 1945, as well as Kellogg-Briand.

5.     Request the Joint Chiefs of Staff, consisting of all four services chiefs, to explain how their actions in conducting perpetual military operations against civilian populations furthers America’s obligation to avoid unjust war, as well as serving its national self-interests.

6.     Televise this conference in cable and network outlets to educate our citizens and inspire them on the need to promote peace in the honored tradition of Kellogg-Briand.

But please, do not wait for such a conference occurring to comply with Kellogg-Briand. Speak up in the Senate, on your Senate website, at news conferences and Town Halls, on the need to end the perpetual wars we’ve been mired in for the past sixteen years. In so doing you will be honoring your role as citizen and senator. You will be returning America to its cherished place as the world’s beacon of peace and democracy. But most of all you will be finally engaged in preventing untold thousands of needless deaths and ruined lives. Those are the people Kellogg-Briand was designed to protect.

Please consider and respond to this plea. But do not delay. Time is critical. Every day brings new misery, suffering, even death to the innocents trapped beneath our bombs.

Walt Zlotow
Glen Ellyn, IL

Saturday, April 08, 2017

Presidency a sociopath's delight for soulless Trump

The bloated, scowling hulk Trump's only antidote for a failed presidency is the relief he appears to get from escalating the civilian body count in the Middle East. Within hours of getting his license to kill from the war party, Trump authorized a drone strike in Yemen that killed ten civilians. Within a week he authorized a botched special ops raid that killed 30 civilians; but Trump ignored that carnage to only glorify the US soldier he sacrificed in the senseless raid. Trump dramatically increased drone and bomber strikes from his predecessor, no shrinking violet in the Middle East murder game, causing over a thousand civilian deaths in March. Some examples? Trump demolished a mosque in Aleppo, Syria, killing 47; homes, school and hospital in Tabqah, Syria, killing 20; temporary refugee housing in Raqqa, Syria, killing 33; and Trump's mother of all war crimes, an entire neighborhood in Mosul, Iraq, killing nearly 300.
Now the sociopath's poll numbers rise and severe Trump critics like Senators McCain and Graham grow quiet as Trump rained 60 Tomahawk missiles on the Syrian government, killing more innocents and ratcheting up tensions that will surely inflame an already volatile region. Trump claims he tomahawked the Syrian airbase to stop future Syrian government gas attacks from killing civilians. Trump couldn't wait for an impartial investigation into the incident which might prove the gas was unleashed either purposely or accidentally by the rebels. This is precisely what happened after the 2013 Syrian gas attack when CIA informed a cautious Obama that Assad likely didn't do it; averting a needless descent into war. But sociopaths like Trump don't hesitate; they kill for the sake of killing and the residual personal benefits.
And by keeping silent, we are all the sociopath Trump's enablers.

Friday, April 07, 2017

LGBT community, all of us, served by rejection of anti transgender agreement clique in Palatine

Congrats to Anna Kimkowitz, Bob Lefevre Jr. and Ed Jung who defeated Kath David, Ralph Bonatz and Jean Forest in Palatine High School District 211 race Tuesday. The winners are committed to continued progress in opening Palatine's school potties to transgenders, as achieved in the 2015 consent agreement with Uncle Sam against furious opposition from the fearful, ignorant and yes, hateful people seeking to keep them in the shadows. This four year long battle for decency and dignity may go on for years as fanatical religious groups and their minority cadre of parents are suing to overturn any accommodation to transgenders in Palatine schools, regardless of the harm it does to transgenders in preventing crimes that simply don't exist. But it least they will continue to confront a board united to preserve the inevitable march of progress, not only for transgenders...but for all of us.

Thursday, April 06, 2017

Is Trump readying a 'Remember the Maine' incident to attack Syria?

I'm not buying the rush to judgement of the US war party that Syria launched a chemical attack in Idlib Provence that killed and injured hundreds. Assad has essentially won the civil war against Al Queda backed rebels and gave up his chemical weapons years ago. That negates both motive and means. It defies credulity President Assad, a smart, cunning leader with amazing staying power, would seal his doom on such a needless and reckless act. And guess who hasn't given up their chemical weapons in Syria. The rebels, of course.
In contrast to Assad, the US is headed by an ignorant, bomb happy rookie leader who might jump at the opportunity to launch a military venture to push his possible treason with Russia off the front pages, smothering the investigating committees. He's an easy mark for neocon propagandists in government, the military and the media who couldn't get an easier target for their war plans than was possible to imagine. Trump has set the stage for taking their bait with his withering criticism of Obama for not following through on his 'crossing the red line' promise over the August 21, 2013 Syrian gas attack, also immediately blamed on Assad. What US media hawks like the NY Times, Washington Post and Chicago Tribune never told its readers was that Obama flinched because the CIA quietly told him it was the rebels, not Assad, that likely gassed Syrian civilians. Now the Times, Post and Trib have all convicted Assad in Neocon Court, again disgracing the Fourth Estate. Nothing spikes dwindling paper sales like a hot war.

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Uncle Sam still champ at killing innocents

The world is rightly shocked at the 78 killed in Syrian gas attack likely initiated by the Syrian government, but still under investigation. It's Story One in every US media, fueling calls for action, including military, to punish and prevent recurrence. But when US warplanes bombed Mosul, Iraq killing 300 civilians in our totally futile and needless involvement in the Iraq civil war, the atrocity was Story Zero for US media. Only those concerned about our rampaging militarism in the Middle East got the news. Average Joe still doesn't know it occurred. Is there really a difference between being gassed to death in Syria and being blown to smithereens or crushed under tons of collapsed buildings in Iraq? The difference that matters is the US atrocity killed 222 more innocents than the Syrian atrocity. Let's fully investigate the gas attack and work with the UN and regional players to end the Syrian civil war. But first we should investigate the US atrocity and bring those responsible to justice to prevent Uncle Sam's next slaughter of innocents to keep US munitions makers building replacement WCD - Weapons of Civilian destruction.

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Palatine transgender war grinds on

Parents in Palatine High School District looked south to North Carolina, saw the state toss $3.6 billion of business out the window with an bizarre law barring transgender students from using the bathroom of their assumed sex, and decided 'That crazyness is for us.' Just as North Carolina moved to repeal its law that protected no victims against no crimes and let the cash registers start ringing again, fifty fearful Palatine district families have signed onto a lawsuit filed by the Alliance Defending Freedom, an Evangelical advocacy group, to bar any new transgenders from using the bathroom that doesn't correspond to their hidden genitals. And three more, 2 trans boys and a trans girl, are stepping up to the potty of their pleasure there. This comes as the district's agreement with the lone transgender student, allowed under a 2015 agreement with Uncle Sam to use the girls bathroom, expires upon her graduation. The argument, a reprise actually over how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, has cost the district thousands of dollars and hours since erupting in 2013 that could have been better used for real education. Instead, this teachable moment of equality and inclusiveness is becoming a 'teachable decade'. The local Evangelical New Hope Community Church as been dogging the school board on behalf of the suing families with this bit of simplistic religious wisdom: "God created two distinct and complete sexes in the biology of the human race. A biological male is never a female and vice versa." In their worldview God don't make no mistakes. It's beyond their powers of comprehension that sometimes He makes a whopper.

Monday, April 03, 2017

Rauner should dump phony 'Bruce Sixpack' duct tape shtick

By day Governor Rauner relentlessly degrades Illinois' education, social welfare, infrastructure, and state supplier networks with refusal to do Job One as governor: provide a budget. By night he barrages us with insulting commercials that appear aimed at clueless ten year olds. Foregoing his thousand dollar suits, Rauner dons earthy flannel shirts of a 'gee whiz' good ol' boy. Then he uses the infantile prop of duct tape on the camera as a metaphor for his specious claim he's in charge to remove the temporary solutions of the 'politicians' who have ruined Illinois. But Bruce Sixpack conveniently omits that by every measure he's ripped apart the sensible start his predecessor made to improve education, improve social welfare, improve infrastructure, improve state vendor networks and begin paying pension obligations again.
Rauner wore out his phony down home outsider shtick before his 2014 election but not before conning a gullible electorate to give him a narrow victory. Now entrenched in an unprecedented campaign to diminish Illinois as an educational and investment state to extract his anti worker, pro rich man's agenda, he's stuck with the flannel shirts and duct tape to mask the utter failure of his administration. Rauner still hasn't recognized even a billion dollars worth of flannel shirts and duct tape can't save his exit from office next year.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

March Madness not entertaining for beleaguered Mosul residents

March Madness may be fervently followed by tens of millions in the US, but the Mosul, Iraq, version is a real killer the residents wish would go away. Unlike the 64 teams in the US edition, March Madness in Mosul involves an average of 500 bombs raining down on civilians there weekly, killing 300 in one just one bomb run. Bombing is way up in the last two months since new US military commander Trump has gruesomely fulfilled his pledge to unleash the full firepower of the world's most prolific military in criminal wars. Even the Iraqi government, approving US mass murder of the civilians it's trying to win back from ISIS, has scaled back their offensive over the bloodbath both are perpetuating there. We know who the Final Four teams are in the US March Madness. But we many never know who are the Final Four civilians still standing after Trump is done leveling the place in defense of the indefensible.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Only a war crime when others slaughter civilians

At his Senate confirmation hearings for Secretary of State recently, Rex Tillerson was asked by Sen. Marco Rubio “Is Vladimir Putin a war criminal?”. Rubio was referring to Russia's bombing of Allepo in support of the Syrian government in their civil war against ISIS, which killed many civilians trapped in that beleaguered city. Of course, Rubio didn't give a damn about those dead, merely seeking to embarrass Tillerson and his boss Trump over their tilt toward Russia which doesn't play well with the US political establishment bent on re-igniting the Cold War against Putin and his Russian Bear. How so? Neither Rubio, nor any pretend humanitarian in government will ask whether the US is guilty of war crimes over their recent bombing of Iraq's Mosul that killed 300 civilians, many buried under the rubble our bombs caused. The similarities don't end with the dead. Like Russia, we've injected ourselves in a civil war on behalf of duly elected government, against rebels with no legitimacy, just a desire to take over to implement their own version of authoritarianism. 

The Mosul bombing is not an outlier. We've been killing untold thousands of civilians all over the Middle East and Africa for the past 16 years since the 911 attacks. We haven't reeked enough vengeance against the Muslim world and likely never will. Maybe to remind everyone burying their heads in the Kardashians or Dancing With The Stars of our true calling, we should alter one line in the Star Spangled Banner thusly: "And the bombs bursting in air, gave proof through  the night, that we're still the most violent country on the face of the earth."    

Monday, March 27, 2017

We need translator for Roskam's gobbledygook on failed GOP health bill

Questioned on conservative talk radio about the failed GOP American Health Care Act, which he's lusted 9 years to vote for, my congressman Peter Roskam said this:
“I don’t think the health care discussion is over by a long shot. One of the reasons we're in this complicated, difficult place is if you reflect back the GOP has never put together what it’s for in a healthcare bill. It’s never passed out of the aspirational. We’ve never wrestled with what the actual bill would look like. The repeals have been easy to vote for. I think we have to pass an aspirational bill -- one that puts the marker out there for what we want and all that we stand for on health care.”
Vintage Roskamspeak, sounding thoughtful but utterly devoid of substance or good governance. Let me translate for those not versed in Roskamspeak:
"Our sixty NO votes on the Affordable Care Act were meaningless gestures to placate our heartless base. We have no clue how to deliver health care to all since that starts with a non-starter: Medicare for All. Our bill wasn't aspirational enough. It didn't toss more off the insurance rolls than the 14 million in the first year. It didn't funnel enough wealth from the truly needy to the truly greedy.It may be a long, hard slog...but we're gonna keep tryin'.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

We did read it Congressman Roskam...and aren't buying

This quote pops up at first search of 'American Health Care Act' on my congressman Peter Roskam's congressional website
“Following through on our commitment to responsibly repeal and replace Obamacare, my colleagues and I are pleased to introduce the American Health Care Act. We’re presenting a plan to increase access to affordable, patient-focused health care for all. We’re committed to an open and transparent process as we debate this legislation. Unlike Obamacare, we don’t need to pass it to find out what’s in it. I encourage everyone to read the bill for themselves at”
Maybe the congressman missed Friday's news on Trump and Ryan pulling the bill for lack of support. The 14 million who can now keep their Affordable Health Care Act insurance, preventing degraded health, bankruptcy coping, and even death, sure didn't.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

W's portraits of warriors can't expunge the blood from his deeds

Former president George W. Bush is getting high marks from some in the art and political worlds over his new book 'Portraits in Courage: A Commander In Chief's Tribute to America's Warriors.' They gush over not only Bush's artistic talent, but also the bit of redemption it may be providing W over the criminal Iraq war he orchestrated which led to hundreds of thousands of dead and millions of displaced Iraqis. Oh yes, it killed 4,500 US soldiers and damaged hundreds of thousands of others, providing Bush with an endless procession of subjects.
I support Bush's artistic endeavors or any other harmless activity that provides him a bit of relief from the gargantuan guilt I trust he's experiencing. I just wish he'd do all his painting in prison, serving a lifetime sentence for war crimes.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Book Pick: 'Let The People Rule' by Geoffrey Cowan

Anyone with an iota of interest in the Clinton, Sanders primary dustup last year will devour this history of Teddy Roosevelt's quixotic 1912 effort to regain the presidency after handing it over to his best buddy Bill Taft in 1908. The drama of that broken bromance makes the Berniecrats disenchantment the the DNC establishment backing Hillary seem like a lovefest. Historian Geoffrey Cowan wrote this book in part to understand the origins of the presidential primary process he helped expand during the tumultuous 1968 Democratic convention which still seated racist delegations from the South. Cowan's efforts busted the closed racist delegate process and made the primary King for selection of presidential nominees forevermore, including Hillary, who whopped my boy Bernie 34 to 23 in primaries, including 16,900 000 votes to 13,200,000.
Before 1912 there were no primaries, allowing the party bosses, both nationally and statewide, to select the nominees, for better or worse...and often the latter. TR loved that system. For all his rhetoric about a square deal for the common man, he distrusted real democracy, believing all but the well bred, meaning white, and educated were unfit to govern. But seeking to oust Taft, whom he believed betrayed TR's progressive agenda, and more importantly, TR himself, was doomed by Taft's lock on levers of power. The solution? Create a nationwide primary system which would 'Let the people rule' which became TR's campaign theme. Ravenous ambition make a true small D democrat of the man who feared just that till it served his purpose.
He just missed pulling it off. TR won 9 of the 13 primaries he and fellow progressives hastily arranged. Super lefty 'Fighting' Bob La Follette won 2, as did Taft. But Taft called in just enough favors from the bosses to not let the people rule. Roosevelt and crew bolted the convention to form the Bull Moose Party, splitting the GOP vote, ushering in 8 years of Democratic control under Woodrow Wilson.

TR was so incensed by the victory of the regressive Republicans at the convention, he muttered a quote you won't find in a list of his most famous: "The Republican dog has returned to his vomit." Alas, 115 years later the Republican dog is still lapping it up.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Scott's odd solution to end senseless killing

“I am outraged and sickened by this loss of life and many families’ lives have been forever changed because of these senseless murders." 
- FL Gov. Rick Scott
Scott sure has a bizarre fix for the endless and senseless murders that plague our blood soaked American culture. He wants to commit his own senseless state sponsored murder on Markeith Lloyd, himself a murderer of two human beings, one of which a female police officer.
Scott presides over the second biggest practitioner of state sponsored murder, just behind Texas, with 338 hapless souls awaiting the hangman. Now he wants Lloyd to join the procession, so much so he just yanked Aramis Ayala, the prosecutor in charge of the Lloyd prosecution, off the case. Her transgression? Lloyd broke the mold of bloodthirsty prosecutors nationwide by stating she will no longer seek state sponsored murder in any cases going forward.
Ayala's reasoning is unassailable. She points out that the decade or more wait, with the possibility of judicial nullification of carrying out the execution, makes a shame of death as a deterrent; actually exacerbating victim family members grief.
Ayala should be recognized for the sane, humane approach to justice not practiced by a single prosecutor I'm aware of. She should be honored; indeed placed on a pedestal as a beacon for prosecutors nationwide. It should be Scott who should be yanked from the case; just another pandering, bloodthirsty governor who somehow can sleep soundly after sending a fellow human being to eternity.

Friday, March 17, 2017

A sad addition

To the wise aphorism 'All things pass...only art endures' we must now add, 'except in the Trump administration.'

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Roskam continues Big Lie on Affordable Health Care Act

My congressman Peter Roskam (IL-6) never ignores a little lie when the truth demolishes his Big Lie that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) must be repealed and replaced to improve health care for the 40,000,000 shut out till the ACA passed in 2009. His Big Lie ignores the 14 million to be tossed from insurance rolls in year one, and 10 million more is successive years. It ignores the massive tax cuts for Roskam's wealthy base those formerly insured will be funding. It ignores the untold thousands that will suffer degraded health, go bankrupt coping with that reality, and yes, die.

His little lie, not so small actually, is the one being spread by the entire GOP that the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO), which revealed its devastating indictment of the Roskamcare fix, cannot be trusted. Neither Roskam nor his GOP cohorts will definitively call the CBO report false. No, that lie would be too obvious. But alluding to its falseness is still a lie that must be called out for the infinite harm it inflicts upon America's most vulnerable citizens. We must also call for Roskam to resign from Congress. Promoting a lifetime sinecure in Congress with endless lies at the expense of the powerless is disgraceful, revealing of bad character, and makes Roskam unfit to se

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Roskam's blink on TrumpCare no solace for 14 million in jeopardy

My Congressman Peter Roskam (IL-6) continues to speak in code when it comes to the repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Never once showing compassion for the 40,000,000 without health care and the tens of thousands who died annually before the ACA, Roskam went full monty in support of the TrumpCare replacement that would strip 14 million from health insurance the first year, and an additional 10 million over time. Not a word of concern for those that will go bankrupt, suffer degraded health and yes, die from TrumpCare.

But intense pressure from district constituents has caused Roskam to blink, according to Crain's Chicago Business. But if Roskam's obtuse statement "I want to learn more about the Medicaid piece, particularly in Illinois" is a blink, everyone but Crain's missed it. They even had to ask twice if he's open to changes in the atrocious Medicaid cuts TrumpCare promises, Roskam finally uttered the 'YES' word, fretting how much that will alienate his extreme right wing base.

Crain's might consider that a blink, but to the 14 million who'll lose health coverage under TrumpCare, it was a heartless slap in the face.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Now's their chance to let them die

I posed the following charge to my Congressman Peter Roskam as one of three constituents meeting with him yesterday. "In the last 8 years 20 million have gained health care; 50,000 are still alive because of that. Never once in 8 years have you acknowledged those benefits; voting instead 60 times to prevent, defund, derail those benefits. That is unconscionable." In response, Roskam offered that many in the district have complained their rates and deductibles have increased under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Roskam is bully on the TrumpCare replacement which we now know from the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office will toss 14 million from being insured the first year and 24 million over time. It will also drastically increase premiums on lower income elderly. Thousands of those losing health care under Roskam's cure will surely suffer impaired health, go bankrupt trying to cope, and yes, die.

When he voted sixty times to prevent, defund, derail the ACA Roskam couldn't prevent the increase of 20 million newly insured with 50,000 plus lives saved. Now that Roskam and his Republican majority actually are empowered to destroy the primary benefits of the ACA, my question to Peter Roskam and company is: "Are you really going to let them die?"

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Bloodthirsty promise kept

On November 15, 2015, presidential candidate Trump uttered possibly the most disgusting campaign promise is history when he said "I will bomb the shit out of them", referring to ISIS, without offering a shred of justification for committing mass murder on people neither at war with the US nor posing a credible existential threat.

Among many others, including a Muslim ban, eroding environmental controls, deregulating business practices keeping Americans safe, defunding Planned Parenthood, privatizing public schools, kicking out the productive undocumented and destroying the benefits of the Affordable Health Care Act, Trump kept this one, resulting in dozens, if not hundreds of innocents killed. In his first 45 days Trump approved 36 drone strikes, an average of one every 1.25 per days, a four and a half fold increase over the Obama administration. Besides the extra killing, Trump's bragging about senseless killing like an immature teenager is troubling for future peace with 1,415 days left for more murder and mayhem.

It's a sad day in the American Story when we can measure our safety, our freedom, our health, indeed the peace of the world, by the campaign promises the Pretender In Chief breaks.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Roskam's decade long free ride disrespecting forgotten constituents is OVAH

When my Congressman Peter Roskam (IL-6) shows up to speak at the Glen Ellyn Civic Center, 535 Duane Street, Monday, March 13 at 8:00 AM, he'll again face a gauntlet of district protesters. They're ten years of being ignored by their congressman are over, as long as he chooses to govern strictly to the affluent, ultra right bubble of voters who show up Election Day every two years to return him to Congress. He ignores the majority of registered voters who till now had forsaken seeking relief from real, daunting problems he is charged with addressing, but doesn't.

The biggest current crisis he ignores is health care. Roskam spent the last eight years working feverishly to deny health care insurance to the 20 million now covered by the Affordable Health Care Act. He spent his energy trumpeting the Big Lie that the ACA was a job killer, without offering a shred of proof. The endless upward parade of new jobs after ACA passage royally refuted Roskam's specious charge. He not only erased the 20 million newly insured by the ACA as a success story, he ignored recognizing the 50,000 lives saved by the ACA. When discussing real problems with insurance exchanges and cooperatives, Roskam never acknowledges his role in Republican efforts to kill ACA insurance subsidies which would have avoided much of that problem. Roskam is always all in for drowning government help for the desperate in the bathtub of Republican heartlessness.

But go the Roskam's website, and you'll find him singing the praises of the the $600 billion tax cut for the rich over a decade, he voted for in the despicable TrumpCare replacement. Missing however will be any mention of the 15 million human beings the Congressional Budget Office will advise next week will be tossed from the health insurance rolls. A lie of omission like that should make Roskam's nose expand the entire length of the Sixth District.

Like Humpty Dumpty, Roskam's free ride making a cool quarter million a year in salaries and benefits to disrespect his constituents is in for a fall. And all the Trump's horses and all the Trump's men, ain't gonna put Roskam's free ride together again.

Thursday, March 09, 2017

A tale of two Republican schnozes

Earthy Republican Texas congressman Louis Gohmert likened the outrageous GOP Obamacare replacement, which will give the greedy rich $600 billion in tax breaks over the next decade, to horse excrement. To my congressman Peter Roskam (IL-6) it smelled like Teen Spirit.

Walt Zlotow
Glen Ellyn