Thursday, September 04, 2014

Russia starting Ukraine fighting like US starting WWII

It in no more truthful to claim, as the American war party does, that Russian President Putin initiated the crisis and fighting in Ukraine, than it is to claim the US initiated attacks on Japan to start WWII. Yet, this is precisely what the entire US war party does without a hint of shame for their duplicity, or conception of the damage they do to America's true national interests and true cause of world peace and prosperity. Last year the US instigated an immoral, indeed a criminal revolt against the elected Ukraine leaders, using in part, neo-Nazi Ukraine thugs, that not only toppled the legitimate Ukraine government, but ignited a civil war against this illegitimate coup by persecuted Russian speaking citizens in Eastern Ukraine. Ukraine, like Humpty Dumpy, is now broken and possibly beyond repair. Thousands lay dead. America and its European poodles initiate economic sanction after sanction which mainly hurt European interests, and US warmongers recklessly threaten and goad a heavily armed nuclear power that till our senseless Ukraine adventure, had proved to be a sensible ally in defusing military flashpoints in Iran and Syria. The war party may be evil but it is not stupid. A strong working relationship with Russia and their sensible, realistic president, puts the war party out of business. That's one outfit that should bypass Chapter 11 and go straight to Chapter 7: liquidation.

No tears for Transvaginal Bob

Today's guilty verdict in the public corruption trial of former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell insures he will never again be in a position of power to demean and degrade unfortunate Virginia women simply seeking to exercise their reproductive rights. In March, 2012, Gov. McDonnell signed a bill he supported requiring women to undergo a transabdominal ultrasound procedure at least 24 hours before having an abortion. The original version of the bill, which McDonnell also supported, would have mandated the more invasive, painful and utterly unnecessary transvaginal ultrasound instead. The bill and the procedure were simply McDonnell's way of currying favor with his anti choice, anti women conservative base. Ironically, McDonnell became the subject of a probe that will inflict infinitely longer grief than that to which he subjected Virginia abortion seekers. A year long probe of McDonnell conspiring with his wife to acquire $170,000 in goodies from a shady businessman seeking gubernatorial help with his snake oil health care supplement business, will send McDonald to prison and end his political career. Sobs were heard when the verdict was read, but we don't know if they were from McDonnell or his wife. There certainly won't be any from the needy women of Virginia.

Monday, September 01, 2014

American war mongering hypocracy at its finist

News Item:
"The rebels who killed him (American Douglas McAuthur McCain fighting for ISIS in Syria) were fighting for the Free Syrian Army, a rival group backed by the United States, and they went on to behead six ISIS fighters – but not Mr. McCain – and then posted the photographs on Facebook." - NY Times, Aug. 26, 2014

Apparently, when one of our newest bogeymen in ISIS beheads a good guy, we trumpet that barbarity to bomb, bomb, bomb in another senseless, and ultimately failed Middle East intervention. But when our proxy army starts beheading these bogeymen, we say "Fine, fine" and give them more money and weapons, including no doubt, razor sharp swords.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Let Blago celebrate Silver Anniversay at home

Possibly the most entertaining public official, albeit dreadful governor, in my lifetime popped up in the news after a 2 year absence. In a 24th anniversary love letter from Rod 'Blago' Blagojevich to his long suffering but apparently loyal wife Patty, Blago sought sympathy for himself and hope for his appeal process still grinding inexorably in the ...courts, for early release from his twelve year stay in a Colorado federal prison on corruption charges. Ask a hundred folks what Blago did to deserve 12 years in the joint, costing taxpayers a cool fifty grand yearly, and possibly all hundred will roll their eyeballs and say "beats me." That's because Blago, who made nary a dime on whatever cockamamie schemes he rambled about endlessly on secretly recorded conversations, essentially got twelve big ones for taunting and baiting the entire political and judicial system. Our perfectly coiffed, Elvis channeling, perpetual motor mouth political fool, is apparently an infantile narcissist who heedlessly stumbled to his doom.

Like most defective and disgraced politicians of his ilk, a public citizen Blago represents no further threat to society. Having lost his income, his reputation, his freedom, his future, and his cherished hairdo, Blago needs to vacate his cell for a truly deserving bad guy. If it's so important he continue to pay and pay for imagined horrors, why not grant him home confinement for the rest of his sentence, with a pass to work eight hours a day in a homeless shelter or equivalent public aid agency. Wife Patty's loyalty is admirable. Time for Blago's revenge seekers to examine their own foibles, show some compassion, common sense and fiscal responsibility to let Blago celebrate his Silver Anniversary with his wife and daughters. Besides, maybe, he can break out his famous 'football' and a little hair dye to once again channel Elvis.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Book Pick: Hotel Florida, by Amanda Vaill

Subtitled, "Truth, love, and death in the Spanish Civil War," Hotel Florida is not a straight history of that horrendous conflict which killed hundreds of thousands, many in atrocities committed by both sides. Rather, it conveys a sense of the war as experienced by three sets of lovers who fought in or reported on the war for the Loyalist side. The most f...amous was the power journalistic team of Ernest Hemmingway and his latest fling, Martha Gellhorn, for whom he abandoned his second wife in Key West to report on the war for the American press as a propagandist for the Loyalists. The second pair was photographer Robert Capa who, along with his colleague and mistress Gerda Taro, invented modern photo journalism. Last were Spanish Foreign Press officer Arturo Barea and his Austrian assistant and mistress Ilsa Kulcsar. All three interacted at Madrid's Hotel Florida, the iconic residence and watering hole for the powerful and famous among government leaders, foreign fighters and war chroniclers. It's difficult to read about the depravation experienced by the Loyalist side, whose cause for democratic reform was crushed by massive German and Italian fascist support for the anti Loyalist rebels led by General Francisco Franco. Spain was truly split between Loyalist and Nationalist forces when Franco combined military, church and landowner interests to overthrow the Spanish Republic. When told that a revolution meant he'd have to kill half of Spain, he replied, "Let the killing begin". Hotel Florida conveys the horror of that pledge, and its implications for the coming worldwide apocalypse that started just two months after Franco's victory. The democracy's refusal to confront Hitler and Mussolini in Spain may have done more than Munich to set up WWII. Painful to read, impossible to put down.

Syria: From Hitlerite enemy to Churchillian ally in one year

News item:
The U.S. “is sharing intelligence about jihadist deployments with Damascus through Iraqi and Russian channels,” the Agence France-Presse reports, citing one source as saying: ”The cooperation has already begun.”

Odd, just a year ago Secretary of State John Kerry was comparing Syrian president Assad to Hitler: “This is our Munich moment. Striking Assad is a matter of national security. It’s a matter of the credibility of the United States of America. It’s a matter of upholding the interests of our allies and friends in the region.” The US was within days, if not hours of blasting our newest bête noir to smithereens till first the Brits, and then the American people said "NO". Frustrated beyond measure, the American war party has turned Syria into an unspoken ally so we can start bombing our newest boogeyman, Islamic State jihadists, who we previously armed to overthrow Assad. If pressed on this bizarre turnaround, Secretary Kerry should channel comedian Steve Martin and offer: "Excuuuuuuuse me!"

Never in history has a funny mustache been airbrushed so quickly from the face of a former enemy so we can get his permission to bomb more imagined bad guys to Kingdom Come.

Book Pick: Hotel Florida, by Amanda Vaill

Subtitled, "Truth, love, and death in the Spanish Civil War," Hotel Florida is not a straight history of that horrendous conflict which killed hundreds of thousands, many in atrocities committed by both sides. Rather, it conveys a sense of the war as experienced by three sets of lovers who fought in or reported on the war for the Loyalist side. The most famous was the power journalistic team of Ernest Hemmingway and his latest fling, Martha Gellhorn, for whom he abandoned his second wife in Key West to report on the war for the American press as a propagandist for the Loyalists. The second pair was photographer Robert Capa who, along with his colleague and mistress Gerda Taro, invented modern photo journalism. Last were Spanish Foreign Press officer Arturo Barea and his Austrian assistant and mistress Ilsa Kulcsar. All three interacted at Madrid's Hotel Florida, the iconic residence and watering hole for the powerful and famous among government leaders, foreign fighters and war chroniclers.  It's difficult to read about the depravation experienced by the Loyalist side, whose cause for democratic reform was crushed by massive German and Italian fascist support for the anti Loyalist rebels led by General Francisco Franco. Spain was truly split between Loyalist and Nationalist forces when Franco combined military, church and landowner interests to overthrow the Spanish Republic. When told that a revolution meant he'd have to kill half of Spain, he replied, "Let the killing begin". Hotel Florida conveys the horror of that pledge, and its implications for the coming worldwide apocalypse that started just two months after Franco's victory. The democracy's refusal to confront Hitler and Mussolini in Spain may have done more than Munich to set up WWII. Painful to read, impossible to put down.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

IS chops 'em off; US blasts 'em off

If you listen to the American war party, as soon as Sunni fighters finish creating their newly emerging Islamist State, covering a large swathe of Syrian and Iraq, they'll hop on airplanes to attack America. The hyperbole and imagery is embarrassingly outrageous but the party's talking heads pop up daily on mainstream news, using the severed head of journalist James Foley to promote new bombing and new canon fodder on the ground in never ending expansion of American violence begun eleven and a half years ago. America fathered this new, unsettling development by obliterating their 1960's sock puppet Saddam Hussein, who was designated by the West to continue the artificial country of Iraq as an American ally. But as predicted by anyone who chose to see and tell the truth, attacking Iraq was only going to create chaos leading to its disintegration into the three natural areas of occupation: Shi'ite, Sunni and Kurdish. We gave the Shi'ites everything but the semi autonomous Kurdish area in northern Iraq. We gave the Sunnis nothing, except arms and money and training to fight off al Qaeda which was never in Iraq till we essentially invited them into the bloody caldron of death and destruction our bombs created. Now the Sunnis are using our goodies to create their own state which includes a sizable chunk of Syria, also destabilized, in part, by the war party's support of Sunni insurgents. Meanwhile our valued ally Saudi Arabia, is pouring money into the Sunni cause to promote their Holy War against the Shi'ites. If none of this makes sense, welcome to American foreign policy, where everyone is our friend and everyone is our enemy depending on the war party's whim. And the next time one of the American war mongers demands more bloodshed to avenge the barbarity of our newest boogeyman, the Islamic State, remember that IS chops heads off one at a time; America blasts them off wholesale. 

Monday, August 25, 2014

American foreign policy in 3 quotes

If Assad goes today, a political vacuum emerges – who will fill it? Maybe those terrorist organizations. Nobody wants this – but how can it be avoided? After all, they are armed and aggressive.” - Russian President Vladimir Putin warning the West about the folly of regime change in Syria

"I made you, I can destroy you." Bill Cosby comedy bit warning his children about the consequences of not obeying him

"Stupid is as stupid does." Forrest Gump on how smart people who do stupid things are still stupid

This is all you need to know as we watch the unfolding nightmare of endless bombing and possibly ground troops to take out our former Sunni buddies armed with our weapons, our training and our money. The war party wins...everyone else loses.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Music Pick: Woody Allen

Woody Allen (b.1935) a music pick? Though much more well known as writer, director, producer, actor in 73 movies in the last 50 years, Allen also plays a mean, dirty (that's a compliment) clarinet with is New Orlean...s Jazz Band, playing weekly in the Big Apple and on world tours as well. Though he'll never challenge Goodman or Shaw for artistry, Allen is very entertaining and listenable.

Friday, August 22, 2014

'Slaughterhouse Iraq' began on March 19, 2003

The Chicago Tribune Editorial Board is only 11 years and five months late waking up to a gruesome video of Iraq depravity as trumpeted in Thursday's editorial, "Slaughterhouse Iraq." I and millions of my fellow Americans and world citizens woke up on March 20, 2003, to see video of America's depraved terrorism in the form of 'shock and awe' high explosive bombs killing hundreds, maybe thousands of Iraqis in the Bush administration's criminal Iraq war egged on by the Trib and most of the war party controlled media. You say that "Islamic State fighters have slaughtered thousands of innocent people." Where was your outrage when our nine year war of conquest and empire was killing hundreds of thousands of innocent people and sending millions more fleeing for their lives? Did it ever occur to you that without our Iraq war and our arming rebels to overthrow the elected president of Syria, both follies the Trib supported, there would be no Islamic State? You, like the war mongers in Congress and much of your fellow media neocons, go right to bombing every time, never factoring in the blowback that defeats us every time, whether in Libya, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Syria and of course, the ultimate punching bag for American firepower, Iraq. When you cite "the terrorists easily defeated Iraqi army units, commandeered their military hardware and seized troughs of cash," you fail to mention that the booty scarfed up is American firepower we squandered on a worthless Iraqi military we've been training for 11 years. Our leaders, with your approval, have always claimed that "when they stand up, we'll stand down." We know for certain that when ten or twenty thousand Islamists can say "boo" and frighten off our trillion dollar proxy army, we'll be stuck bombing Iraq forever.

If longtime Trib isolationist publisher Bob McCormick could come down from that great pressroom in the sky for one day to clean house, he'd fire the lot of you.


Slaugterhouse Iraq - Tribune editorial August 21, 2014

Americans awoke Wednesday to a gruesome video, showing an Islamic State executioner beheading James Foley, an American. A grim President Barack Obama interrupted his vacation to condemn this act of savagery, aptly calling the Islamic State "a cancer" that must be eradicated.Foley, 40, a journalist and graduate of Marquette and Northwestern, disappeared in late 2012 while covering Syria's civil war. He was killed for one reason: He was an American.

Foley was targeted by Islamic State terrorists seeking to carve a caliphate from Iraq and Syria. These terrorists have declared as enemies of their budding state not just Americans but all those of any religion or nationality who don't toe the Islamic State's nihilistic line. Except that in truth the Islamic State "speaks for no religion," Obama said. "No just God would stand for what they did yesterday, and for what they do every single day. ... They have murdered Muslims ... they target Christians."

Foley's death was brutish but, sadly, not an exception. During their rampage of terror across Syria and now Iraq, Islamic State fighters have slaughtered thousands of innocent people. The militants have posted videos of crucifixions and public executions.
In Syria, Islamic State fighters impaled the severed heads of Syrian soldiers onto poles. Neither the Syrian government nor the rebels seeking to topple President Bashar Assad focused on battling the Islamic State threat — which then spread to Iraq.

There the militants executed hundreds of Yazidi religious sect men in Iraq and took their wives captive. The women confront a bleak choice: Convert to Islam and "marry" a jihadist ... or face imprisonment, if not death. Iraq's leaders, embroiled in political brinkmanship, were slow to comprehend the Islamic State's rapid advance. The terrorists easily defeated Iraqi army units, commandeered their military hardware and seized troughs of cash.
All of that has allowed Islamic State fighters freedom to roam ... and kill. This group isn't a plot-and-patiently-wait-for-an-opening al-Qaida wannabe, shuffling furtively in the deserts, planning terrorist attacks against soft targets. This is a battle-ready army commanded by the little-known Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who seeks to create an Islamic throwback state based on terror and blood.

The shameful murder of Foley adds to the growing understanding of the Islamic State as a threat to the U.S. and other Western countries, but also to the West's friends and foes in the Mideast ... and beyond. The Islamic State enemies list includes the Turks, Kurds, Saudis and Iranians. The Islamic State threat also has helped propel Iraq's famously feuding pols to bounce Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and tentatively unite behind Prime Minister-designate Haider al-Abadi.

The U.S. has shown that Islamic State fighters are vulnerable. American airstrikes helped free thousands of besieged Yazidis on Mount Sinjar. American air power spurred newly energized Iraqi troops and Kurdish peshmerga fighters to reclaim the strategic Mosul Dam from Islamic State fighters.

What's next? There is plenty of additional military and political firepower in the region — from Arab states, Iran and Syria — to pummel the Islamic State.

But that hasn't humbled the militants. In the Foley video, a black-clad, masked executioner also threatens to kill Steven Sotloff, another American journalist who disappeared while covering Syria's civil war. "The life of this American citizen, Obama, depends on your next decision," the executioner says with what sounds like a British accent.

Obama's next decision ought to be obvious: More American airstrikes to demolish the Islamic State's weaponry and its ability to fight. Send more and better weapons to the Kurds. Rely on them and Iraqi forces to get the job done on the ground.

We'll soon see if momentum has shifted against the Islamic State temporarily or for good. We hope that the video of Foley's coldblooded killing — and the world's reaction to it — is a turning point, the beginning of the Islamic State's end.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Iraqi Yazidis, Christians save Uncle Sam's oil bacon

After providing much of the weaponry for Israel to obliterate a good chunk of their open air prison for 1.8 million Gazans, Uncle Sam apparently rediscovered his conscience. He instantly recognized and raced to rescue an obscure Iraqi religious sect of Yazidis, 40,000 strong, supposedly in imminent danger of genocide on their historic home of Mount Sinjar, from the American trained and supplied Sunni Islamists we created with the 'Surge' to save our failed war in Iraq from becoming a rout. Then there are Iraq's Christians, whose numbers already halved by Uncle's criminal 2003 invasion of Iraq, we supposedly had to save by bombing our former Islamist buddies. Our new found humanitarian bent, of course, has everything to do with the collapse of the former country of Iraq which we dismembered so we could install a Shi'ite pro US sock puppet to make it safe for American oil exploitation. Now that Sunnis are getting their fair share along with the Kurds and Shi'ites, Uncle Sam has decided the artificially created Iraq is only fit for two pro West groups. To prevent this he unleashed his F-16's to kill and then radicalize even more Muslims against our endless and senseless interventions. It's one thing to have a crazy uncle. But when he is, as our Uncle Sam, murderous as well, we shouldn't be egging him on. We should be unlocking his fingers from his weapons of war.  

Quinn, Rauner should smoke Peace Colorado

Governor Quinn and his billionaire challenger Bruce Rauner don't see eye to eye on a single issue affecting Illinois except one: legalized marijuana. Unfortunately, their eyes are un dilated, causing them to miss the "golden", as in tax revenue, opportunity, not to mention the happiness they would be bringing adult Illinoisans struggling with a weak economy in a chaotic world. There is an inexorable move to end the legal and moral stigma of possessing and ingesting a naturally growing plant with medicinal and psychological benefits galore, besides being safer and healthier than Demon Rum. If we could get both candidates on board, the folks with their moral compasses stuck in the 1930's, when ignorance and prejudice triumphed over wisdom, would have no place to vote their fears. Alas, getting Quinn and Rauner together for a kumbaiya session in bluenose Illinois may be daunting. Maybe we can book the twosome for a weekend in Colorado where they could join the multitudes of tourists, including many Illinoisans, who are spending their discretionary dollars reaching a higher level of serenity under the stamp of enlightened state approval. We could even provide the Peace Pipe. What they smoke in it is up to them. If they're really smart, they'll do some first hand research.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Deconstructing GTCR

 The tax savings shenanigans of gubernatorial candidate billionaire Bruce Rauner are getting curiouser and curiouser. The Sun-Times has revealed that not only has Bruce's personal investments in the Cayman Islands saved him mucho tax dollars at the public's expense, he's also used the Caymans for his private equity firm GTCR. Their sleuthing reveals GTCR set up a dozen investme...nt funds there between June, 2009, and July, 2011, when Rauner chaired the firm. GTCR wouldn't answer The Sun-Times inquiries about how much is invested collectively in those funds, why they are based in the Cayman Islands, whom those funds are open to, and if there are minimum-deposit requirements.

Illinois voters would normally not give a hoot about some billionaire who uses clout and power and wealth to game the tax codes to become richer and richer. They should care mightily when one of those one hundredth of one percent of the wealthiest wants to become governor to funnel more and more of badly needed state resources back to the wealthiest Illinoisans.

Maybe GTCR is a cipher that stands for Got To Conceal Rauner holdings.

Gregory still needed on Meet The Press

We still need Gregory hosting Meet The Press, not just dumped David Gregory who was simply a shill for the war party and the 1% wealthiest Americans, but political satirist Dick Gregory, who is still more insightful (and inciteful) at 81 about what is true in politics and foreign policy than David or any of his fawning corporate media clones could ever be. Besides being truly informative, Dick Gregory hosting Meet the Press would be more entertaining than Howard Beale, the mythical anchor of Union Broadcasting System's Evening News from the movie Network

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Breen anti-choice much more than reproductive health, marriage equalty

Tea Partier Peter Breen, candidate for Illinois state representative in District 48, sure has a strange view about the precious concept of citizen and voter choice. As Vice President and Senior Counsel for the Thomas More Society, Breen's primary mission is to deny choice to folks: reproductive health to women, especially of little or no means; and the sacred right to marry for persons who don't share Breen's sexual orientation. Diametrically opposed to moderate Republican Sandy Pihos, who has represented him for the past twelve years, Breen decided she's just too inclusive and accepting of citizen choice that deeply offends him. So he decided, in his own words, to go "RINO hunting", to dislodge Pihos who he charges is "Republican In Name Only." Well funded and fueled by the fundamental zealotry of his Tea Party followers, Breen pulled a stunning upset to defeat Pihos in the GOP Primary.

Breen isn't content to limit his anti choice mindset on just reproductive and marriage equality issues. When the moderate and inclusive district citizen Marian Tomlinson obtained nearly 1,000 signatures to challenge Breen in the November election, Breen's anti-choice antenna started crackling. He participated in a coordinated effort to remove Tomlinson, as well as other local candidates, from getting on the ballot after the Primary, as allowed by law, to give voters the most precious gift of our democracy: voter choice. Their first effort, claiming over 500 of Tomlinson's signatures were invalid, which would have kept her under the 500 signature requirement, failed. Folks who believe in choice reviewed the challenges and found a majority was specious, certifying Tomlinson's signature requirement with hundreds to spare. Sadly, the Breen anti-choice forces were determined and they successfully knocked her off the ballot on a technicality flimsy enough to horrify a decent proponent of voter choice.

But District 48 voters will have a choice this November. Ms. Tomlinson has launched a Write-In Campaign for state representative in District 48. She is reaching out to all 73,000 registered voters in the district to let them know that the district in not ready to be taken over by the Tea Party and its candidate who disdains reproductive choice, marriage equality choice, and the most important choice of all: that of the voter. When District 48 voters enter the privacy of the polling booth November 4...the choice is theirs.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014


It's official. Marian Tomlinson has been certified by the DuPage County Election Commission to be a Write-In Candidate for state rep in IL District 48. Tea Partier Pete Breen went RINO (Republican In Name Only) hunting and knocked off moderate Republican Sandy Pihos in the GOP Primary. Then Tea Party Pete knocked Marian off the Democratic ballot ...on a technicality, frustrating choice in District 48 so he could coast into the IL Legislature without breaking a sweat. Start sweating, Tea Party Pete.

Marian has decided to give the 73,000 registered voters in District 48 a choice by running as a Write-In candidate. She will wage a vigorous grass roots campaign which involves a dedicated team of precinct workers contacting every District 48 voter in the 102 precincts in Milton, York, Lisle and Downers Grove Townships. We will have campaign material ready for the first precinct canvass to begin after Labor Day, 60 days from Election Day. It will inform voters of Marian's splendid record of community service, and her willingness to listen to and represent fairly, the district electorate, in stark contrast to her opponent. It will also educate voters how to write Marian Tomlinson in on the November ballot to send a sensible, inclusive voice to Springfield.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Et tu, Hillary?

Hillary Clinton has joined the bandwagon of neocons, war lovers and American exceptionalists piling on President Obama for the 'restraint' he's shown in foreign affairs. Clinton senses that it's good politics for her upcoming presidential bid to project bellicose toughness whether expanding NATO to Russia's doorstep in Ukraine, arming and enabling Israeli genocide in Gaza, supporting Syrian rebels, and now resuming the bombing and destruction in Iraq.  Her recent cheap shot at Obama: “Great nations need organizing principles, and ‘Don’t do stupid stuff’ is not an organizing principle.” should make us all tremble at her getting control of our out of control war machinery.  Clinton voted for our criminal, failed Iraq war and never repudiated her vote or apologized for helping create millions of dead, injured or displaced Iraqis, as well as hundreds of thousands of dead and damaged American canon fodder. While the neocons, war lovers and American exceptionalists would still prefer a more bloodthirsty war monger like every GOP presidential hopeful except Rand Paul, they take heart that a likely Hillary presidency will keep the money pouring into war party coffers and the blood pouring out of the people they hate. Clinton doesn't have the courage or the humanity to repulse the war party on her quest to be the first woman president. It's ironic that her quest involves channeling the worst impulses in the male species.    

Saturday, August 09, 2014

Iraq: The crimianl war that keeps on killing

The war party may be morally degenerate, but they sure are smart. They smashed Iraq to smithereens and then installed a Shi'ite dictatorship to look after America's imperialist interests. But in the process they had to arm and train the Sunnis to push back Al Qaida which found an opening in the chaos we created. When our Shi'ite puppet Maliki disenfranchised and excluded the Sunnis from governance and the economy, the Sunnis used our training and weapons to combine with Sunnis in Syria, also using our training and weapons, to create a Sunni state in a large swath of both utterly divided and artificial countries. Now the war party has an excuse to start bombing and killing Iraqis again based on trumped up 'humanitarian' concerns. The bodies blasted to bits by our bombs will keep piling up along with the profits the war party reaps from this endless and senseless warfare. America is long finished as a moral force for good around the world. We lost in Vietnam, we lost in Iraq, we lost in Afghanistan, we lost in Libya, we lost in Syria, we lost in Gaza, we lost in Ukraine, we lost in in the Court of World Public Opinion. Yet the war party grinds on, firm in their mission of using every failure as a reason to keep on bombing and killing. And the American public just shrugs and tries to keep up with the Kardashians.

Music Pick: Buddy Holly

Rare clip of Buddy Holly performing one of his best songs, 'Rave On'. Holly (1936-1959) was one of 3 top rockers killed 'The Day The Music Died', February 3, 1959, in Iowa plane crash on Midwest concert tour. Though he had a short 20 month career as a top performer, Holly was likely the most influential American music artist in the fifties, inspiring the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Grateful Dead, Bruce Springsteen, among others. Compared to the gaudy showmanship of later rock acts, Holly projects a straight ahead simplicity perfectly suited to letting his enormous talent pour out to his adoring audience. Just 13 and already a fan when Holly's plane went down, I still remember the shock of 'hearing the news' to this day.

Friday, August 08, 2014

Oberweis locks up the 1% vote

Leave it to GOP senatorial candidate Jim Oberweis, one of the most tone deaf politicians ever, to cop top prize in the 'stupidest political statements of the campaign' award with 87 days to go. After his rival, Senator Dick Durbin, was instrumental in shaming Walgreens to rescind their threat to practice tax inversion, incorporating off shore to avoid paying their fair share of taxes, Oberweis accused rbin of "bullying" Walgreens. While millions of Illinoisans are rejoicing over Durbin's and the Peoples' effort to stop this despicable action by Walgreens, Oberweis thinks he's making political hay shilling for the corporate slackers lusting to add even more billions, at taxpayer expense, to their vast financial wealth. Maybe Oberweis thinks everyone is like him, a fabulously wealthy business owner who spends his days and nights agonizing that a pittance of his wealth goes to help those to whom he is incapable of showing compassion. Maybe Oberweis idolizes Texas Congressman Joe Barton, who castigated President Obama for forcing Gulf destroying polluter BP Oil to earmark $25 billion for compensation, and remain a hero among Texas Neanderthals. Oberweis sure makes good ice cream. Alas, his political wisdom is indigestible.
Book Pick: 'Turning The Black Sox White', by Tim Hornbaker

Sports historian Tim Hornbaker has given us White Sox fans a long overdue re-evaluation of the infamous 1919 Black Sox scandal and the role therein of demonized owner Charles A. Comiskey. The clever title refers to the near century long 'whitewashing' of the eight 'Black Sox' who threw 1919 World Series for a quick five figure payday from gamblers seeking to snag six figures via an underdog Cincinnati Reds triumph. Rumors of the fix surfaced after Sox ace Eddie Cicotte plunked the Reds leadoff man in game one signaling to the fixers, 'game on.' The fix succeeded but the Black Sox were double crossed, getting far less than they expected. When the conspiracy unraveled a year later, the culprits were disgraced, and took full blame. But when brought to trial for fraud in 1921, the narrative changed to hard working baseball stiffs being swindled out of fair salaries and bonuses by rich, tightwad Comiskey. The trick worked and all eight were acquitted. Though banned for life by new Baseball Czar Kennesaw Mountain Landis, the Black Sox were still treated as heroes by the fans. Comiskey's portrayal as the real villain in the fix was cemented first, by Eliot Asinov's 1963 best seller 'Eight Men Out' and especially the 1988 movie version. Hornbaker demolishes legend and myth by showing Comiskey consistently paid the highest salaries in the majors and frequently awarded unsolicited bonuses for good play, such as winning the 1917 World Series and defeating the crosstown Cubs year after year in the post season 'Chicago World Series.' Generous Comiskey even coughed up $1,500 per man to the clean Sox after the 1919 series to make up the difference between the winning and losing share. While many clubs fought holdout battles with their stars prior to the 1919 season, nary a White Sox held out for more dough, signing the first contract mailed out pre-season.  Truth is duller than fiction which simply involved three ringleaders with money and marital problems, and five dolts, including Shoeless Joe Jackson, who were too stupid and gullible to say 'No.' Ninety-five years on, Charles A. Comiskey, the 'Old Roman,' is finally getting his due. 

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Vote of shame

NEWS ITEM On July 23, the UN Human Rights Council voted in favor of launching an international, independent inquiry into the possibility that Israel violated international humanitarian law and international human rights during its assault on Gaza. Of the 47 members of the Council, 29 nations voted in support of the inquiry, passing the resolution. Seventeen countries abstained, mostly European nations. The United States was the only country to vote against the resolution.

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

The odd, bizarre candidacy of Bruce Rauner

Bruce Rauner could be the strangest Illinois gubernatorial candidate I've observed in this, the 15th Illinois gubernatorial election I've followed. Near billionaire Rauner affects an $18 watch while forking over a cool hundred grand for a fourth parking spot at his luxury downtown penthouse.  Fabulous public school New Trier wasn't good enough for his daughter who didn't qualify for a more prestigious magnet school, so Rauner places a call to an educational big shot and voila, daughter of Bruce bumps Miss Nomoney for a coveted spot. A year later six figures of Rauner wealth is attracted to the magnet school door.

But becoming a member of the exclusive one hundredth of one percent wealth club wasn't good enough for Rauner. Hundreds of millions may not buy happiness, but they might be able to buy the governorship. He spent millions to barely edge his main GOP rival in the Primary. Now he's parlaying his fabulous insider wealth for a chance to practice 'his way or the highway' on the 13,000,000 of us who will become guinea pigs for his heartless version of fiscal austerity. How heartless? Rauner was against the recent Illinois Medicaid expansion under Obamacare even though it offers health and life saving benefits to hundreds of thousands. Rauner favored lowering the Illinois minimum wage back to the unconscionable federal level. Rauner disparages teacher union bosses (his term) which is nothing but class warfare against those who give more back to society than Rauner could ever imagine. How about massive layoffs and even possibly shutting down the state government? That is not hyperbole. Here is Rauner at a recent GOP county gathering:
 "We may have to go through rough times. We may have to do what Ronald Reagan did with the air traffic controllers. Sort of have to do a do-over and shut things down for a little while. That's what we're gonna do."

If peoples' needs don't involve the ever glorious dollar, Rauner is clueless and heartless. To placate the homophobes who virtually all reside in his party, he refused to support or even acknowledge the need for Illinois' half million gays for first class citizenship. He thinks giving folks full citizenship should be put to a referendum. He'd have made a great Southern governor during the civil rights era.

Calling gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner strange is kind. He's dangerous.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Quotes from Israeli genocide in Gaza

 "Hamas has stated forthrightly that it idealizes death as much as Israel celebrates life. What other way then is there to deal with an enemy of this nature other than obliterate them completely? … Anyone who lives with rocket launchers installed or terror tunnels burrowed in or around the vicinity of their home cannot be considered an innocent civilians. If po...litical leaders and military experts determine that the only way to achieve its goal of sustaining quiet is through genocide is it then permissible to achieve those responsible goals?"

Yochanon Gordon, Times of Israel columnist

"This is our country – our country exclusively, including Gaza." Israel must complete "conquest of the entire Gaza Strip, and annihilation of all fighting forces and their supporters. "

Moshe Feiglin, duputy speaker of the Knesset

"Don't ever second guess me, again."

Israeli President Netanyahu criticizing the Obama administration for trying to broker a Gaza cease fire

"Hating Palestinians isn't racism, it's values."

Sign held up by Israeli girls on a Facebook page calling for a war of revenge against Gaza

The US cannot stop Israel's ongoing military destruction of Gaza. We cannot make Israel end its blockade which inexorably degrades Palestinian life in Gaza. We cannot force Israel to negotiate fairly and substantively for a Palestinian state. But we can withdraw our annual $3.1 billion aid which facilitates these crimes against humanity. We can stop vetoing UN measures designed to achieve justice for the Palestinians. And we should refrain from high-fiving conduct that should repulse us.

Monday, August 04, 2014

Music Pick: Louis Armstrong

August 4, 1901, and not July 4, 1900, is the real birth date of Louis "Pops" Armstrong. He spent his entire career wrapping himself into an iconic 'Yankee Doodle Dandy' and it stuck till a diligent researcher unearthed his Aug. 4, 1901, birth certificate long after Pops' July 5, 1971 death. To celebrate the birth of this musical modernist, West End Blues, from June 28..., 1928, is the feature. . After finishing their gig at Chicago's Lincoln Gardens, Louis and his Hot Five consisting of Earl Hines, piano, Fred Robinson, trombone, Jimmy Strong, clarinet, Mancy Carr, banjo and Zutty Singleton, drums, headed for the Okey Studios and laid down this track for a measly fifty bucks and no royalties, standard fare for exploited, scuffling jazz musicians during the twenties. There is something magisterial about their conception of this King Oliver tune that transcends even great recordings. Many have tried to duplicate Pops' opening intro in the last 86 years but they've all come up short.

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Cowardice on display

If you want to see political cowardice at work 24/7/365, just observe the president and the Congress grovel before the Israel Lobby to support their crimes against humanity in Gaza. They accept every lie and false narrative offered by Israel to justify their continued devastation of the world's largest open air prison, whose inhabitants they keep just above the subsistence level in 'peaceful' times. While this unholy alliance of war crime enablers can never fully redeem themselves for their actions, they can begin the process by cutting off all aid to Israel, much of it used to wreck the devastation, till Israel ends their military incursion, ends the blockade of Gaza and negotiates in good faith with Palestinians for a Palestinian state.  Alas, it's true that there are none so blind as those who refuse to see.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Every day is 4th of July in Gaza

The only difference to an American 4th of July is that the Israeli fireworks are going off among Gazans. Open the link and ask yourself, why is woman at bottom smiling? And why is US financing these crimes against humanity? Here is the full story:

"The world has reacted with outrage after journalist Allan Sorensen posted a photograph of the so-called “Sderot cinema”, which showed Israelis flocking for a good view of the bombing, with one woman winking at the camera and giving the thumbs-up as deadly rockets light up the night sky.

Sorensen’s newspaper, Denmark’s Kristeligt Dagblad, reported that the event attracted more than 50 people who had turned the hill into something that resembled “the front row of a reality war theatre”.

It said people were celebrating the deadly light show by cheerfully sharing popcorn, smoking hookahs and applauding the bomb blasts."

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Existential threat to Israel? Israeli crimes against humanity

Israel always trots out the imagined Palestinian existential threat to Israel's existence for "mowing the grass," their periodic destruction of Gaza's pitiful infrastructure and pitiful people, mainly civilians, to keep the Palestinians In Gaza and the West Bank terrorized. Both the US government and mainstream media promote the false narrative that Gazans woke up one day and decided to precipitate self destruction by lobbing a few rockets into Israel. Bunk. An honest review of the facts reveals that Israel used the June 12 killing of three Israeli teens, never linked to Hamas, to launch attacks and inflict terror against Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank. These consisted of 110 bombing raids, a military incursion, 17 killings, mass arrests -- all before Hamas fired its first rocket on July 7. Part of Israel's terror campaign involved whipping up Israeli citizens to rampage against Palestinians, including burning alive one Palestinian.

But this latest grass mowing in Gaza is causing world wide revulsion in the civilized world, increased impetus to boycott Israel, and even greater instability in the Middle East and hatred against the US for being Israel's chief enabler of its inhumane subjugation of the Palestinian people. Now Israel is facing an occupied population which is increasingly ready to die quickly with human dignity by fighting back when no nation will take up their cause, rather than die from the slow genocide practiced against them. Ultimately, Israel's refusal to end their policy of extending their one state solution of a Greater Israel with no room, no food, no resources, no jobs and no humanity for the Palestinians will be their undoing. That, and not ineffective rockets fired by the doomed in the world's largest open air prison, is the existential threat to Israel.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Book Pick: The Arsenal of Democracy, by A.J. Baime

Subtitled 'FDR, Detroit, and An Epic Quest to Arm an America at War', this book reveals the astonishing story of the Ford Motor Company's 1,500 acre Willow Run plant which churned out 8,685 massive four engine B-24 Liberator bombers between 1941 and 1945. Willow Run was the largest and most complex symbol of how American manufacturing, led by the automotive industry, turned Detroit into the 'Arsenal of Democracy', producing 30% of all US military equipment during WWII. But 'Arsenal' is also a saga of the Ford family and the battle for the soul of Ford Motor Company which nearly collapsed under aging and debilitated founder Henry Ford, a virulent anti-Semite, idolater of Adolf Hitler who presented him with the Grand Cross of the German Eagle Medal, and ardent foe of FDR. It was Henry's brilliant son Edsel and chief of production Charlie Sorensen, who, early in 1941, devised on a sheet paper the concept of a nearly mile long plant to build the giant B-24's on an automobile style assembly line at the scoffed at target of one per hour. The B-24's were being ground out virtually hand made like Rolls Royce cars by their developer Consolidate Aircraft. FDR called for an "Arsenal of Democracy" to crank out 60,000 planes to win the war. Willow Run was Edsel and Sorensen's answer. The obstacles to building Willow Run, 27 miles from downtown Detroit, the adjoining airfield, and Bomber City, the 400 acre facility to house many of the 80,000 workers who toiled on the B-24 assembly line, were herculean. While all this was going on, Edsel literally worked himself to death in 1943 fending off both the opposition of his now delusional father and the machinations of Henry's security chief Harry Bennet who commanded a thousand strong security force which terrorized auto workers and executive alike, including Edsel and Sorensen. As a War bird fanatic who has flown on one of the two remaining flying of the 18,462 B-24's produced (47% by Ford), I have an even deeper appreciation of this magnificent airplane and the visionary folks who made its mass production possible.

Did Ford hit the promised one B-24 per hour? Who backed down when Bennett and John Bogus (the Ford family's opposition security chief) drew guns on each other the day Bogus came to fire Bennett? Read for yourself. 'Arsenal of Democracy' is more exciting than any fiction that can be imagined. 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

A valid parallel

Not sure what is worse...Israel's crimes against humanity in Gaza, or US funding and supporting it out of cowardice to the power of the Likud wing of the Israel Lobby. Watching the slow extermination of the Gazans reminds me of the doomed in the Warsaw Ghetto.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Pro lifers forcing distressed women to 'Do It Yourself'

Poor women seeking an abortion in conservative states are caught in a TRAP - Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers. Texas, Louisiana, and Alabama, among others, have enacted laws that either close abortion clinics or make the procedure so expensive and time consuming that women without means are reverting to the Bad Ol' Days of do it yourself. They are increasingly going back to the back alley for an unlicensed, unregulated provider or seeking misoprostol, an abortion inducing drug up to 88% effective if taken in the right dosage. Unfortunately, the TRAP police have dried up the supply of this drug, highly popular in Latin American countries where abortion is illegal in all circumstances. They've even forbidden the few abortion and reproductive clinics surviving in a hostile political and religious climate from giving instructions on identifying counterfeit misoprostol pills and proper usage of the good ones. While their strategy has partially achieved their goal of preventing all abortions, they've mainly induced untold needless misery for the poor, including death and mangled physical and mental health. Do it yourself should be reserved for building that new backyard deck, not matters of life and death.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Allies don't let allies commit crimes agaisnt humanity

As we watch in horror Israel's latest "mow the grass" bombing and invasion of the world's largest open air prison in Gaza, we should note that much of Israel's weaponry is courtesy of Uncle Sam's $3.1 billion in annual aid, most of it for military resources. America pretends to be a neutral broker working for Palestinian and Israeli peace, and creation of a Palestinian state. But a true neutral doesn't fund the weapons of terror that Israel rains down on the hapless Gazans and stand aside as Israel keeps gobbling up Palestinian land and resources with new settlements, keeps the 1.8 million Palestinians near starvation from a cruel and debilitating blockade, and keeps the peace process sabotaged so Israel can continue their endless march to the sea. It should be as offensive to us peace lovers to prevent our tax dollars from funding such inhumane conduct as it is to fund America's criminal Middle East wars. Sadly, the US Congress and the presidency are themselves imprisoned by the Likud wing of the Israel Lobby which alternately provides campaign funding for them or their opponents, depending on who will be more loyal to Israel's endless expansion on the backs and well being of their Palestinian hostages. Cutting off aid to Israel till they end the carnage and truly work for peace and a Palestinian state should be simple. Allies don't let allies commit crimes against humanity.

Monday, July 21, 2014

COD's Breuder, Birt shoot the messengers...figuratively

College of DuPage President Robert Breuder and COD Board Chair Erin Burt fired back at 14 critics at the COD Board meeting July 17 over charges of improper lobbying for a $20 million dollar grant from the state, and general financial mismanagement, including a gourmet public restaurant that lost $546,000 in 2012. Unfortunately, neither nor Birt used facts, logic or in Breuder's case, good English, in their puzzling defense. After the 14 critics spoke out against Breuder and the Board, Chairwoman Erin Burt launched an attack on Board member Kathy Hamilton, the sole June 26 vote against the proposed $50 million building, which blamed the entire Grantgate and financial mismanagement matter on Hamilton's publically speaking about it. That's simply stifling a whistleblower who invoked her First Amendment rights to bring these shenanigans to the light of day. Burt, was shocked, shocked that Hamilton voted against the new $50 million classroom building after she agreed to the agenda containing the building request and allegedly didn't voice opposition till the vote. Horrors! Someone should explain to Chair Birt that finalizing approval or disapproval of a project is the purpose of the vote. Otherwise why take one?

But Dr. Breuder topped Birt in the ludicrousness of his defense. He claimed the 14 speakers were a "coordinated and orchestrated" attempt to discredit him but offered no evidence to support that charge. He implied that COD is "the finest community college of its kind in the country" simply because some unnamed folks say it is. The only one I know who says that is Dr. Robert Breuder. Then the corker. Breuder claimed that "It's a tragedy to sit here and be bludgeoned, literally bludgeoned, ... by people to find fault with every dimension of this institution and every dimension of this leadership." Gee, if Dr. Breuder was literally bludgeoned, he'd be walking around in bandages and the 14 speakers would be trying to make bail. 

 Maybe it's time for both Birt and Breuder to walk the plank....figuratively, of course.

Friday, July 18, 2014

College of DuPage Board meeting fireworks better than July 4th's

Just returned from the best show in town: the first COD Board meeting since "Grantgate" (President Breuder's May 9 email detailing his slimy machinations to scarf up $20 million from the state which resulted in the Governor cancelling it and all future
grants pending due diligence). After 45 minutes of the COD administration VP's and President Breuder touting their accomplishments, the public got their chance to speak and they didn't disappoint. One after another after another the "little" people stood up and called for Breuder's resignation or firing; for the Board to investigate "Grantgate"; for the Board to rescind their June 26 vote to build a $50 million classroom not needed as enrollment has dropped from 34,000 to 28,000 the past few years; for the Board to address the monstrous $469,000 compensation package to President Breuder and the $2.5 million pay package for his top 9 Administrators (called 'Millionaires Row'), and on and on for an hour. Everyone who spoke acquitted themselves well especially the student speakers. Again and again the Board was asked, begged, challenged and demanded to address the spiraling financial shenanigans plaguing the College of DuPage, hurting the COD taxpayers, faculty and students. Let's hope the Board gets the message. It's clear that President Breuder never will.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

COD VP doesn't address Board member's building criticism

College of DuPage Executive VP Joseph Collins, in his rebuttal letter, didn't address the substance of COD Board Member Kathy Hamilton's letter explaining her June 26 vote, the only one, opposing the new $50 million classroom building at COD. Three weeks after the vote, Wilson argues the building is necessary because COD enrollment is up. He then goes on to say that "for all intents and purposes" COD is out of space for scheduling classes in the prime morning and evening times. That phase, of course, means nothing. It is a rhetorical trick to justify doing what is not substantiated by a thorough study of all existing classroom space in an already overbuilt campus when many students are switching to online classes from their "home" classroom. The absence of a thorough study, and not the undisputed fact that enrollment is up, was the substance of Hamilton's argument and vote. She argues that the taxpayers and the community are not served when such justification is not provided. President Breuder is proud of stating he runs COD like a business. As one who just retired from 42 years in business, I can assure President Breuder and Vice President Collins that a sound business never spends $50 million on a building that has not been thoroughly researched and vetted.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

A tennis gem in Glen Ellyn

Tucked away in the western edge of Glen Ellyn's scenic Lake Ellyn Park is possibly the oldest recreational facility in all of Glen Ellyn: nearly century old clay tennis courts. Upon entering the gated facility with a membership key, one is transported back to a bygone era when tennis was played on clay or grass instead of the hard surfaces developed in the modern age. The packed green clay forms a subsurface topped with a gritty material which gives the courts their soft, natural feel. The ball bounces higher on the clay slowing down the game and extending rallies well past those possible on hard surfaces. Surrounded by abundant trees and shrubs one forgets about the fast paced modern world lurking just yards from the old time tennis action. The feet and knees take less of a pounding and if you fall you're more likely to wind up with dirt stains rather than cuts and abrasions. No matter how exhausted one is after a couple of hours of competitive tennis, both players must take up the rollers and brush implements to smooth out the now gouged court surface and clean off the white court lines. That is part of the special ambiance experienced with the opportunity to play the game as it was in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.