Sunday, June 25, 2017

May 23 to June 23: US killing field of Syrian innocents

Big Bad Uncle Sam whacked 472 innocent Syrian civilians, 137 of them kiddies, between May 23 and June 23 in our criminal, murderous involvement in the Syrian civil war serving as a proxy war against Iran. It's the largest 30 day toll since Uncle unleashed his bombers on the hapless Syrians three years ago. Hey, we need to keep the bomb factories humming and what better way than by using up all that WCD (Weapons of Civilian Destruction) as quickly as they're made.

Remember all the calls to sanction Russia for their killing of innocents trapped in Allepo? Where's the outrage when our utterly senseless involvement there makes the Russians appear as amateurs in the killing of innocents game.

Try to imagine the grief of the relatives sorting through the blood and body parts and realize...it's your tax dollars at work.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Roskam's response to opioid epidemic? Less treatment for addicts

One of the cruelest aspects of my Congressman Peter Roskam's quest to toss 23 million off the health care rolls is the devastating effect it will have on skyrocketing drug deaths. 59,000 died from drug overdoses last year with the increase over the previous year the largest ever recorded, spiked largely by new and powerful opioids. Drug deaths are now top killer of persons under 50. But the number would be even higher had not the Affordable Care Act (ACA) began covering nearly three million addicts under the ACA's Medicaid expansion. Roskam looked at those numbers, listened to his president and Republican leadership which demanded we gut the ACA to refund much of its cost to the wealthiest Americans, and voted YES to repeal, stating to me and his other 730,000 constituents: “In stark contrast to Obamacare, the American Health Care Act empowers individuals and families by equipping them with the resources to make the best health care decisions for themselves. We’re getting rid of Obamacare’s draconian taxes and mandates"
That makes me wonder...what kind of resources does Roskam's American Health Care Act provide opioid abusers tossed off Medicaid by possibly the cruelest piece of legislation introduced in my 73 years? Maybe it has a provision for such hapless souls to write the government to send them a recorded message of Nancy Reagan imploring them to "JUST SAY NO".

Thursday, June 22, 2017

I'm a member of Congress and I enabled Rep. Scalise's shooting' - Rep. Chris Collins


No, Rep. Collins didn't quite say that but it's true nonetheless. What he actually titled his disgraceful op ed about the Congressional Republican baseball practice shooting was 'I'm a member of Congress and I'm going to carry a gun.' Collins' boast, in response to his colleague Steve Scalia getting a hole blown in his hip by a deranged man with a high powered rifle, is ludicrous and laughable. Can you imagine Collins perched on second base with a six shooter on his hip. Had he been the target of hidden, heavily armed James Hodgkinson, the rifle bullet might have discharged Collins weapon, further injuring him or an innocent bystander.
Collins was simply parroting the NRA mantra that every mass shooting must be met solely with more 'good guys' like Collins ​wearing firearms. He's worked feverishly since his election in 2012 in New York's 27th District to oppose every sensible gun control policy proposed by President Obama claiming, “Western New Yorkers’ Second Amendment Rights have been under constant assault by President Obama and Governor Cuomo. I have fought everyday to stand up to their unconstitutional assault on our freedoms, and I am humbled to receive the endorsement of the NRA​,” That bit of sophistry garnered Collins an A+ rating from the NRA, while the gun carnage from millions of high powered weaponry Collins allows to flow into unstable hands reaches his fellow A+ rated congressman Steve Scalise.
Simply put, Rep. Chris Collins is not representing the people of New York's 27th, or any of the sensible people throughout this gun induced blood-soaked nation. He's earning his pay and endorsement from the NRA and the gun and ammo lobby. And by carrying a gun around, he's doing more harm to himself and innocent bystanders than he can imagine.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Afghan soldiers telling Uncle Sam: "Get the hell out of our country"

For the second time in a week, an Afghan soldier of the army we're supposedly helping turn back Taliban advances opened fire on their helpers, wounding seven of America's finest. This second such 'green on blue attack', as in Afghan regular against US regular, raised US causalities to three dead and eight wounded. Meanwhile the clueless amateur masquerading as President abdicated his Constitutional responsibility to run the Afghan war, turning over policy and troop levels to the Pentagon. What the clueless amateur and his power-crazed generals will never admit is our 17-year-long war In Afghanistan is utterly without merit in protecting our national interests and can never be won. All it does is add to the ghastly death toll of 3,509 coalition soldiers and uncountable thousands of Afghans. Yet this week, Defense Secretary James 'Mad Dog' Mattis will skip over the message disaffected Afghan soldiers are telling us, to get the hell out of their country....and send more canon fodder to be killed for nothing, maybe even by the soldiers they're assisting.

Friday, June 16, 2017

No jail time for suicide abbetor

Massachusetts Judge Lawrence Moniz tipped the scales of justice upside down in finding Michelle Carter guilty of involuntary manslaughter for encouraging her severely depressed teenage friend Conrad Roy III to commit suicide three years ago. He and Carter exchanged thousands of text messages over time; with Carter first trying to get Roy to embrace life, then acquiescing to his demand to die. "I'm trying my best to dig you out" to which Roy replied "I WANT TO DIE". Carter eventually embraced Roy's plan saying "If this is the only way you think you'll be happy, Heaven will welcome you with open arms." That sure doesn't sound like involuntary manslaughter to me...actually sounds more compassionate than criminal. Both Carter and Roy were extremely troubled teens; Carter just 17 at the time. She needs psychological help, not a cage for up to 20 years the legally confused and heartless judge can impose. Let's hope the appeals court has more sense than Judge Moniz He's the one who should be sentenced...to remedial judicial thinking.

Time for US to officially 'lose' Afghan war

News that Delegator-In-Chief Trump has abdicated his Constitutional control over military troop deployments should concern every American. Trump looked at our failed 16 year Afghan war and basically turned over responsibility for the failure to Defense Secretary James 'Mad Dog' Mattis. As early as next week Mattis will increase US canon fodder there by nearly 50% to 12,500, to counter Taliban territory gains. My reaction to Taliban success? So What? It's impacts US national security interests not a whit. The only reason for the new canon fodder there is to pretend we haven't lost...something we did on October 7, 2001, when we started bombing the designated scapegoat for Bush administration failures that led up to 911, likely funded and encouraged by our best Middle East buddy Saudi Arabia. In the 16 years since, 2,703 coalition troops died for nothing except the fiction the war was necessary and winnable, neither of which is remotely true. And speaking of scapegoats, Mad Dog will morph into one when his latest troop surge fails faster than you can say 'You're fired.' Trump pulled the scapegoat trick on his generals when his insane Yemen raid, a week into his collapsing presidency, got a lot of innocent Yemeni civilians and a Navy Seal killed. Officially 'losing' a war would be bad for the war party...good for everyone else.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Ryan's A+ NRA rating portends more violence, call for unity notwithstanding

I'm not one of those lauding House Speaker Paul Ryan's impassioned call for unity and calm after the congressional mass shooting yesterday. Ryan didn't get an A+ rating from the NRA by working to keep high-powered weapons, any guns for that matter, out of the hands of unstable folks like James Hodgkinson, who had a history of contact with police in Illinois over improper use of our ubiquitous WMS (weapons of mass shootings). 

Cheap talk by patrons of the gun and ammo lobby like Ryan will never make a dent on the daily carnage debasing our society while our lust for perpetual war overseas is killing too many thousands of innocents to count. Ryan, like many members of Congress, simply pockets the gun lobby's money in return for keeping the blood money pouring into their coffers; offering bromides to calm the masses after a mass shooting hits his workplace. Unlike Obama, who used every mass shooting to plead for effective gun control, Ryan uttered not a word of substance for such sensible action. That, not feigned outrage, should be the takeaway from Ryan's plea. 

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Trump infrastructure plan: think Chicago parking meters

As a 42-year vet of the logistics industry, I fret over Trump's infrastructure plan. It's a crony capitalist's dream... privatizing infrastructure rebuilding since Trump's budget won't fund it. If you want a glimpse of what privatizing the highways and waterways will look like, check out Chicago's parking meter meltdown. That's meltdown for Chicago, Gold Rush for the parking meter folks, led by Morgan Stanley. To avoid a needed property tax increase, Daley the Younger sold off the revenues for the next 75 years so he could pay down the budget deficit without upsetting Chicago voters. The selling price evaporated faster than you could say 'capitalism works.' Our roads, bridges and everything else that goes into world class infrastructure may be heading toward third-world status. But to Trump and his oligarch buddies, 'There's gold in them dar' highways.'

Monday, June 12, 2017

Roskam's 'wild card' becoming albatross around seventh run at lifetime seat


My congressman Peter Roskam uttered a most insensitive and cynical endorsement of Trump last year with this bit of sophistry:
"I do think time is Donald Trump's friend. I think people are saying... alright, I'm ready to hear this guy out, see what he has got to say with the flash and dash aside. Trump's comments (on grabbing women's genitals) are disgusting and corrosive....they fly in the face of every lesson wife Elizabeth and I taught our daughters and sons about how men and women interact. However, this election is a binary choice in which I am choosing to vote for a wild card over an unworthy candidate."
After 5 months of endless lying, disgraceful insults of world leaders (Russia excepted), congressional investigations and a special prosecutor closing in on possibly treasonous election collusion with Russia, endless pandering to a racist, xenophobic base, and an agenda tossing aside every decent accomplishment of Obama, we're witnessing with horror the result of Roskam's wild card.
Sixth District voters are coming out in droves to push back against Roskam's choice...and Roskam himself as he gears up for a seventh run at what he surely considers a lifetime sinecure promoting ultraconservative causes. He can no longer appear publicly in the Sixth without drawing outraged protesters. Terrified of hosting a Town Hall here, Roskam has abdicated that role to a decent Chicago area congresswoman who treated the large gathering with the respect they've been craving for over a decade.
Roskam loves to tout his conservative credentials. But helping his wild card toss 23 million needy of the medical insurance roles is not conservative; it's radicalism destructive of a decent, caring society. Roskam's wild card has turned into an albatross that may yet turn his seventh congressional run into a swansong.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Don't ignore America's filthy Yemen war

Do even 2 of 100 Americans know we're helping the Saudis destroy Yemen to rid their tiny, impoverished neighbor of Shi'ite rebels that took over the capital Sana? For twenty-seven months now Uncle Sam has been providing intelligence, logistical support and, oh yes, tens of billions in US weaponry to perpetrate the starvation of millions of Yemenis not blown up by Uncle's bombs. 
And the justification for these crimes against humanity, aside from the totalitarian Saudi government being our best Middle East buddy and WMD customer, is that the Saudis pitch this madness as a proxy war against their real target Iran, whom the US sees as its biggest Middle East threat as well. Mainstream media dare not expose US war crimes in Yemen for fear of losing access to information, the only currency of any news outlet. 
Compounding Saudis' crimes is that Yemen is now a failed state, inspiring both Al Qaeda and Islamic State to plant their flag and grow a new franchise. But that doesn't bother the US war party. They use new extremist moves caused by crazed US foreign policy to demand more and more and more for the grotesquely bloated US military. That vicious cycle of war and more war is good for the war party...bad for humanity.

Friday, June 09, 2017

Don't ignore America's filthy Yemen war

Do even 2 of 100 Americans know we're helping the Saudis destroy Yemen to rid their tiny, impoverished neighbor of Shi'ite rebels that took over the capital Sana? For twenty-seven months now Uncle Sam has been providing intelligence, logistical support and, oh yes, tens of billions in US weaponry to perpetrate the starvation of millions of Yemenis not blown up by Uncle's bombs. And the justification for these crimes against humanity, aside from the totalitarian Saudi government being our best Middle East buddy and WMD customer, is that the Saudis pitch this madness as a proxy war against their real target Iran, whom the US sees as its biggest Middle East threat as well. Mainstream media dare not expose US war crimes in Yemen for fear of losing access to information, the only currency of any news outlet. Compounding Saudis' crimes is that Yemen is now a failed state, inspiring both Al Qaeda and Islamic State to plant their flag and grow a new franchise. But that don't bother the US war party. They use new extremist moves caused by crazed US foreign policy to demand more and more and more for the grotesquely bloated US military. That vicious cycle of war and more war is good for the war party...bad for humanity.

Monday, June 05, 2017

US, European leaders avoid best way to thwart terror attacks


Britain's May and America's Trump sure know how to ignore the elephant in the room when it comes to terror attacks. After the third one in England in 75 days, British Prime Minister May promoted stricter regulation of the internet which she claims is a 'safe space' for terrorists, without offering a shred of evidence such a draconian restriction of freedom would prevent a deranged person from driving over pedestrians. Equally delusional, Trump used the latest attack to trumpet his travel ban of Muslims from 6 predominantly Muslim nations that hasn't a prayer of passing the Constitutional smell test and is oblivious to the reality most such attacks are conducted by long term residents, even naturalized citizens.
The elephant, a Tyrannosaurus Rex actually, is that America, with British and French support and cheerleading, has been relentlessly bombing 7 Muslim nations, arming Islamic radicals to help their effort to overthrow the secular regime of Bashar Assad, and, get this, sells hundreds of billions in weaponry to Saudi Arabia which works relentlessly to spread Wahabism, the austere version of Islam which provides theological foundation for the very terrorism we claim needs eradicating.
It doesn't take much insight to understand the West has little sincere interest in ending violent attacks such as recent ones in London and Manchester. They serve the war party which uses them to further restrict our freedoms, solidify their grip on power, maintain perpetual war and pour billions into their coffers from arms sales to the very folks enabling violent attacks.

Thursday, June 01, 2017

No cheers for conservative ideologues dissing Trump

Progressives are cheering conservative media icons for their unrelenting bashing of the morally, mentally and intellectually challenged Trump. George Will of the Washington Post and the NY Times' Tom Friedman and Ross Douthat have been more withering in their dislike, indeed hatred of Trump, than any progressive that has come under their literary scalpel.
I don't but it. All three are focused laser like against the man, not the party or its agenda. Their real concern is saving the Republican and conservative brand from an unhinged phony who might undo their grand plan to remake America into the playground for a heartless billionaire class. They lust for a Rubio or a Kasich, or gulp....a Pence to maintain their fiction that Republicans have any plan whatsoever to make America great for the tens of millions of needy, rebuild its crumbling infrastructure, provide universal health care, care for the environment, reign in perpetual war, end racism, sexism and Xenophobia infesting our body politic. For Will, Friedman and Douthat, America is still the Shining City On The Hill that can only prosper under conservative cruelty dressed up as 'freedom' from obtrusive government interference. Their Trump bashing ignores all the hard won, decent progressive improvement being systematically dismantled by the Congressional Republican majority.
Let's not allow Trump's mendacity, cynicism, dishonesty and likely cognitive decline distract us from resisting the incredible damage being wrought under the glare of the pig circus Trump brought to town.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Where's the value?

The Daily Herald didn't score any points in good journalism publishing 'No shame; just money' by 93 year old Dorothy Caffrey Wednesday. The letter simply parrots ideologues on Fox News and Breitbart Media who demonize progressive political thought as being controlled by a relatively obscure progressive billionaire who donates millions to worthwhile causes. There was not a single fact or coherent, reasoned thought worthy of publication. Those two concepts should at least be hinted at in any letter deemed publishable.  The only reason for publication that makes sense is the letter serves the Herald's desire to placate its legion of readers who share Caffrey's imaginary concept of American political life. 

Walt Zlotow
Glen Ellyn
630 442 3045



No shame; just money

What has happened to our country? Is George Soros and his money running our country with his liberal friends? President Trump is doing the best job considering the mess he inherited from the previous administration. We should give Mr. Trump our full support, instead of this horrible, sickening, vulgar criticism.
Liberals, you are a disgrace to our country. I am a proud American — 93 years old; my husband fought for this country. You, Mr. Soros, should be ashamed; but then, I guess you don’t have any shame — just money — how sick.
Dorothea Caffrey
Palatine

Sox should don Peace Symbol next Memorial Day



I was befuddled by the weird coloring on my beloved White Sox uniforms Monday till realized the khaki hats and lettering were to honor US war dead and all service folks on Memorial Day. After 17 years of perpetual war since 911, which has needlessly killed hundreds of thousands, including 6,900 US servicemen and women, I see Memorial Day as mostly a commercial for the US war party, pursuing perpetual war for power, glory and wealth.

How bout if every Major League team puts the Peace Symbol on their uniforms next Memorial Day instead? Over on the South Side we might even prevail on the mucky mucks who run the Sox to change that dreadfully named stadium for one day to Guaranteed Peace Park. Don't know if it would draw any more fans, but it would truly better honor the intended spirit of Memorial Day.

Monday, May 29, 2017

A day to reflect on all the civilians we kill overseas

On this Memorial Day, let us take a minute to reflect on the many thousands of innocent civilians we've needlessly killed these past 16 years since the 911 attacks unleashed the fury of the US war party's revenge. Just about every week we hear of a new atrocity; 20 killed in Iraq, 100 killed in Afghanistan, 35 killed in Syria, 50 killed in Yemen, all covered up by Uncle Sam till the truth emerges. There are no consequences for these war crimes. Military leaders responsible rise in rank as women and babies sink into their graves, assuming they weren't blown to bits by our WCD (weapons of civilian destruction). And our government does this with our tax dollars that could be spent rebuilding our country's crumbling infrastructure, caring for the needy and promoting peace instead of war. We demonize nations we don't like such as Russia and Iran while selling hundreds of billions of weaponry to Saudi Arabia which supports jihad throughout the Middle East and which has its fingerprints all over the 911 attacks. America never learned from the several millions of innocents we killed in needless and failed wars in Korea and Vietnam. Now we're bombing and conducting secret, special ops in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Pakistan, Yemen, Libya and Somalia plus others unknown. This Memorial Day, let's remember the innocents we slaughter as well as the fallen US soldiers. And let's all join the peace movement to work to end perpetual war which spells the eventual doom of the American experiment.

Friday, May 26, 2017

On Blowback

Blowback is a term originating from within the American Intelligence community, denoting the unintended consequences, unwanted side-effects, or suffered repercussions of an overt or covert operation that fall back on those responsible for the aforementioned operations.
Couple of times a year or less, there's a terrorist attack against the West, usually in Europe but occasionally spanning the globe, including lone wolf attacks in America. These are invariably carried out by solo terrorists or small cells of like individuals. They mostly have a common thread: hatred of the West for waging war on Muslim countries in the Middle East and Africa. And wage war we do sending tens of thousands of murderous bombs on imagined bad guys each year, killing thousands of innocents as well as intended targets, in violation of the Nuremberg prohibitions against criminal war and without any semblance of sanity. Just yesterday, the US admitted that 'opps', one of its bombs offed one hundred civilians in Mosul, But you'll never hear any US agonizing lamenting the horror we visited upon dozens of families there. These atrocities occur much more frequently than the blowback from the folks we inspire to inflict revenge.
Our responsibility for 'blowback' attacks goes beyond inspiring them. We create the training ground for these perpetrators to plan there attacks. Salman Abedi, the 22-year-old son of Libyan immigrants, who killed 22 concert-goers in Manchester, UK, was the product of the US and UK overthrow of Gaddafi in Libya. He was living in a radicalized Muslim neighborhood in Manchester, having returned to Libya several times after the overthrow of Muamar Gaddafi, where he came under influence of previously outlawed and fiercely suppressed radical jihadist groups, which our criminal intervention in Libya gave free rein to operate. Libyan strongman Gaddafi warned Europe in January 2011 that if they overthrew his government the result would be radical Islamist attacks on Europe. European governments and their US puppet masters paid no heed; but now have to mop up blood and body parts in Manchester, a result of inevitable blowback.
That's blowback. Besides ending the West's slaughter of innocents over there, ending our perpetual wars could end the slaughter of innocents via blowback over here.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

It's not remembering the radical...it's remembering the patriot

There was one benefit to reading Penelope Blake's letter 'Remembering the radical' which complained about Michael Workman's piece on Chicago Home Theater Festival featuring Bill Ayers contribution to this wonderful Chicago cultural gem. It informed me of another fascinating facet of Ayers life which has been inspirational to me going on half a century. 

As one who opposed the Vietnam War in the 1960s, I understand the frustration of those who worked to end an immoral war that needlessly killed over a million Vietnamese and 58,000 Americans for no reason at all. Ayers  make no apologies for efforts which included condoning if not participating in violent conduct, albeit directed at buildings, not people. He long ago fulfilled his legal responsibility for radical activities that jeopardized his freedom, if not his life.  He could have thrown away the rest of his life while still a young man as many in the antiwar movement did. Instead, he redeemed himself by becoming productive citizen, working to make this a better country and world. A half century later, Ayers remains a leader in the resistance movement against a power elite systematically degrading every decent American value we cherish. A revered educator, social activist and now, based on Workman's informative post, a devotee and patron of the arts, Ayers is not spending his golden years coasting while our society is endangered beyond our poor powers of comprehension. If he'll never quit, neither will I, and I would hope he'll inspire more people like Penelope Blake, whose snapshot view of fifty years ago, misses the enormity of Ayers contribution to the American Story.  


Sunday, May 21, 2017

How Trump can make Israel visit truly productive

Trump should insist on visiting the hundreds of Palestinian prisoners conducting a hunger strike against their Israeli jailers during his upcoming visit to Israel. Though harmful to themselves and their families, they're using the hunger strike as peaceful protest against what both the UN and humanitarian agencies have called torture, inhumane, degrading treatment and medical neglect. The strike, which began April 17, is in its fifth week and involves nearly a quarter of the roughly 6,000 Palestinians held under conditions prompting it. Israel's response has been to ratchet up their already horrific treatment by moving strikers to prolonged solitary confinement, force feeding them, and cutting off all family visits, a move condemned by the International Red Cross.
Of course, the chances of Trump seeking to visit the hunger strikers is zero, as is the willingness of Israeli authorities to permit it. But they can't stop him from making the first side trip ever of an American president to the West Bank or Gaza, to see first hand what our national policy of supporting Israel's Apartheid of the Palestinians, along with our $3.8 billion yearly in free money, helps enable.

Walt Zlotow
Glen Ellyn

How Trump can make Israel visit truly productive

Trump should insist on visiting the hundreds of Palestinian prisoners conducting a hunger strike against their Israeli jailers during his upcoming visit to Israel. Though harmful to themselves and their families, they're using the hunger strike as peaceful protest against what both the UN and humanitarian agencies have called torture, inhumane, degrading treatment and medical neglect. The strike, which began April 17, is in its fifth week and involves nearly a quarter of the roughly 6,000 Palestinians held under conditions prompting it. Israel's response has been to ratchet up their already horrific treatment by moving strikers to prolonged solitary confinement, force feeding them, and cutting off all family visits, a move condemned by the International Red Cross.
Of course, the chances of Trump seeking to visit the hunger strikers is zero, as is the willingness of Israeli authorities to permit it. But they can't stop him from making the first side trip ever of an American president to the West Bank or Gaza, to see first hand what our national policy of supporting Israel's Apartheid of the Palestinians, along with our $3.8 billion yearly in free money, helps enable.

Friday, May 19, 2017

NY Times, WOPO passed on Manning's revelations

After 7 years as a political prisoner for embarrassing the US war party, Chelsea Manning is a free woman. She originally sought out the NY Times and Washington Post to reveal US war crimes in Iraq but the two house shills for the war party passed. This prompted Manning to contact Wikileaks which did reveal them and changed the landscape of whistleblowing illegal and immoral government secrets forever. Manning's courageous actions made possible both Ed Snowden's revelations of government spying on innocent American's and John Doe's (he remained anonymous) Panama Papers which chronicled how the greedy rich hide their obscene wealth. Both Snowden and Doe learned from mistakes Manning made which got her a year of solitary confinement under conditions the UN termed torture, in addition to the six at Leavenworth. Neither Snowden nor Doe suffered Manning's fate, tho Snowden is cooped up in Russia, possibly forever, due to Uncle Sam no like of patriots who report government criminality. Forty-six years ago both the Times and Post had enough integrity and independence to publish Daniel's Ellsberg's explosive Pentagon Papers which outed US coverup of the catastrophic Vietnam War.
Alas, those days of a truly free press are gone, not forever, but till we Average Joe's rise up and resist the calamitous state of ignorance and oppression we allow our government to impose on us.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Is US military the worst in the world?


If our $600 billion dollar a year military is so great why can't it defeat one the poorest and most corrupt countries on Earth? Sixteen years, 2,350 soldiers dead and tens of thousands damaged in body and mind and its one unrelenting defeat after another in Afghanistan...the graveyard of empires. The Taliban controls more of that godforsaken land than anytime since 2001, even though we spend a billion a week to flail away like fools at a pretend enemy fighting with sticks and stones that will never be defeated. The generals who play the idiot Trump are demanding an additional 5,000 in canon fodder to stave off the inevitable defeat that can't come soon enough. When you're bleeding to death as the American empire is, Job One is to stop the bleeding. The war party is too invested in the power, glory and riches of perpetual war to apply the tourniquet. And the idiot Trump is still bursting with pride over dropping the 22 ton 'Mother of All Bombs' that obliterated a few dozen Afghans to get the message that criminal war doesn't pay.

In answer to the question posed in the title, no, the US military isn't the worst in the world. America's political leadership is.


Wednesday, May 17, 2017

2 Koreas, like 2 Vietnams, just another pair of Made In USA constructs

In 1945, just a day after America fried about 50,000 souls in Nagasaki, a couple of US diplomats, including JFK's future Secretary of State Dean Rusk, looked at the emerging make up of newly liberated Korea and said, 'Let's carve it up'. Their aim was to prevent Korea from Soviet influence led by 30,000 Korean guerrillas, who had been fighting for Korean independence from colonizer Japan since 1932. Possibly using a dart, and totally unconcerned with Korean interests, they chose the 38th parallel. Three days later 25,000 US troops poured into the newly created US protectorate in the South, beginning the 72 year artificial division of Korea that remains likely the greatest threat to a uclear confrontation today.
US history texts will never teach this story to a grossly uninformed electorate. Nor will they mention we bolstered our creation of South Korea with thousands of Koreans formerly loyal to Korea's Japanese masters and that several hundred thousand Koreans were whacked by the South, with US complicity, to keep South free from a unified Korea. How about the million North Koreans, over half of which were civilians, we killed preventing unification during the 1950-53 Korean War?
The US political class and media love to portray North Korea's leaders as delusional and crazy. But just like our decades long effort to prevent unification of Vietnam that killed millions, America's obsession with maintaining and controlling the two Koreas is the gold standard for delusional and crazy.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

It's not about growth governor...it's about survival


For an upcoming feature on the Illinois budget crisis, WDCB radio featured this Rauner quote in its promo:
"Some people think this discussion is about passing a state budget. What this is really about is whether Illinois will become a growth state".
Really governor? Maybe for a billionaire who's spent his career re-arranging the deck chairs on company boards to grow his fabulous wealth, that statement makes sense. But for the students seeing their classes and educational resources cut, for state vendors waiting months for payment, for working stiffs being stiffed from receiving livable wages, this discussion is purely about surviving in a state without a responsible state budget...Item One in your job description. Your governing motto sounds like 'After moi, the deluge'.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Roskam goes Full Monty to degrade women' heath care


Ask my congressman Peter Roskam (IL-6) how his vote on TrumpCareLess hurts women's health care, and if honest, he'd answer, 'Let me count the ways'.
'First it defunds Planned Parenthood, even though 2.5 million women, 20% of childbearing age women, use it, many as their only means of decent reproductive health; In 105 counties its the only full reproductive health care service for the needy'.
'Second, it ends essential services mandated for insurance companies by the Affordable Care Act such as mammograms, birth control, prenatal/maternity care and mental health services'.
'Oh yes, my vote will help slash Medicaid by $880 billion over ten years which now cover 50% of all births and 75% of publicly funded family planning services'.
'Then there's those pesky pre-existing conditions I voted to allow states to op out of, many of which like Lupus, MS and depression affect women more than men. Sorry about that'.
'Don't forget the Big A: abortion. My vote will bar subsidies for desperate women seeking to buy insurance that covers abortion...and further prohibits small employers from using tax credits to pay for insurance plans that cover abortions. No problem if you're rich like me and my base'.
Roskam's 58% vote total last November, about a quarter all registered voters, no doubt included thousands of women. This Mother's Day, every one of them should consider what carnage their vote helps heap upon their sisterhood. Every Sixth District woman, and every man who supports and cherishes the women in his life, must connect to end the damage this pretend public servant is inflicting on women's health care. For them, for everyone of good will, Congressman Peter Roskam is a public health hazard.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Who will be Trump's Goldwater?

Back in 1973-74, most Republicans were staunchly defending President Nixon from impeachment or simply resignation for his Watergate crimes. Future president George H.W. Bush, then Chair of the Republican National Committee, earned enduring loyalty among Republicans from traversing the country defending Nixon to the GOP establishment. Then, in early August, 1974, Sen. Barry Goldwater, arguably the most respected Republican in Congress, publicly said this about Nixon:
"Nixon was the most dishonest individual I have ever met in my life. He lied to his wife, his family, his friends, his colleagues in the Congress, lifetime members of his own political party, the American people and the world. There are only so many lies you can take, and now there has been one too many. Nixon should get his ass out of the White House -- today!"
Goldwater, along with two Senate colleagues, held a private meeting with Nixing on August 6. The next day Nixon resigned.
When, oh when, will Republicans of Goldwater's stature step to mercifully do what only a GOP Congressional majority is capable of doing to end the plague of lying, bullying, colluding with Russia and debasing America's political culture in the 113 days of the Trump administration?

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Governor's congrats to Israel omits those whose name and existence are suppressed


Governor Rauner's recent congratulations to Israel on its 69th anniversary tellingly missed the 4.4 million Palestinians subjugated in virtually every aspect of a free peoples' life in the occupied territories. Rauner omitted this oppression which is supported in all aspects of America's words and deeds. His statement that “Israel remains a beacon of democratic values in an uncertain world" surely rings hollow to those condemned to live in wretched conditions no true democracy would impose on a minority population. Rauner exacerbated his omission of Palestinian oppression by touting his administration's opposition to the Boycott Divestment Sanctions movement, a time honored non-violent means of ending horrific government oppression, such as white South African Apartheid that subjugated South African blacks. Would a Governor Rauner of the 1980's have congratulated US ally Apartheid South Africa on their anniversary? Based on this weeks congratulations, maybe he would.
Most of the world, 136 of 193 countries (71%), recognizes the State of Palestine. The US disgraces itself as a beacon of freedom with its refusal to not only recognize Palestine, but ensure Palestinians will never have a homeland to placate the ruling Likud Government wing of the Israel Lobby. Gov. Rauner simply joins every other US political leader in pandering to oppression rather than leading to achieve freedom and national identity for the marginalized.
I, too, congratulate the Israelis on their 69th anniversary...but I call on them to end their version of Apartheid and allow Palestinians an opportunity to begin the journey to their first anniversary as a free peoples

Monday, May 08, 2017

CBS lobs single softball at war criminal Rice

Every time one of the US war criminals who lied us into the Iraq war writes a new book extolling America's (and their) greatness, mainstream media invites them for a softball interview to goose book sales. One occurred yesterday on CBS Sunday Morning to promote former National Security Adviser and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's new book 'Democracy: Struggles from the Long Road to Freedom.

Host Jane Pauley allowed just 44 seconds of the eight minute interview to give Rice a chance to whitewash her criminal involvement in a war of aggression and imperialism that got millions killed, wounded or dispossessed, including hundreds of thousands of GI's. Ignoring the waste in blood and treasure, Pauley simply pondered whether the war was worth it with no WMD found and Al Qaeda newly planted in Iraq.. Rice hit Pauley's best softball out of the park with this exculpatory nonsense: "What we know today can affect what we do tomorrow...but not what we did yesterday...and so we did not know at the time of the invasion that there were no WMD." If that was used as her defense in a Nuremberg war criminal court, Rice would be exchanging her Stanford University designer suits for prison pinstripes.

That's how we get perpetual war in America: war criminals like Rice who lie as easy as breathing...and a compliant, intimidated media who let them get away with it.

Saturday, May 06, 2017

Perpetual war claim US canon fodder in Somalia


A US Navy Seal was killed and two wounded 'advising and assisting' Somalia troops near the capital of Mogadishu. The Pentagon retracted its initial fib the casualties resulting during 'training' when it was revealed they were involved with Somali troops attacking an al-Shabaab complex. Doesn't it make you feel safer we're spilling precious US blood and treasure to ensure Somalia's al-Shabaab bad guys stay pinned down in Somalia so they don't come across in row boats to murder us in our beds? Somalia is simply more US perpetual war, ensuring the war party remains in power, glory and blood money.

Friday, May 05, 2017

Roskam apologizes for delay in eviscerating Affordable Care Act

My congressman Peter Roskam (IL-6) issued this press release yesterday following his vote for the American Health Care Act:
"I sincerely apologize to my wealthy and heartless base for the delay in bringing an end to the taxes you suffered from to help insure the 20,000,000 deadbeats covered by the Affordable Health Care Act. Our seven year battle to give back to you the treasure your talents earned simply to prevent 50,000 deaths caused by no health insurance, as well as the millions avoiding bankruptcy and diminished health have been rewarded. You were wise to succeed on your own and not have pre-existing conditions, the only true way to afford health insurance which once again will become a privilege of success rather than a right of citizenship. Yesterday's vote puts the first nail in the coffin of the Nannystate. And I'm thrilled we added a one year ban of Planned Parenthood funding to stop nonsensical government support for contraception and cancer screenings; as well as ending subsidies for insurance plans that cover abortions. Once again America shows its greatness among industrialized countries on the benefits of limited government. Now we can shift more government treasure back to the people whose industriousness and hard work built this great land, rather than the takers whose grasp for our hard earned wealth never ceases. I pledge to continue working with Trump to make the Illinois Sixth great again.

Thursday, May 04, 2017

Trump: the projectile vomit of a sick society

Trump did not become president sui generis. He was nurtured for decades by a sick society. No later than the 80's the emerging billionaire class began its inexorable lust to fleece all wealth from middle class and further degrade the poor and powerless. Politicians were bought up like baseball trading cards. Congress became their flunkies to lower taxes, cut regulations, create slave labor from unsupportable wages, regardless of irreparable damage to a thriving society. The war party decreed perpetual war to bring endless profits getting millions killed, damaged or dispossessed far from our gaze. Glorification of the hired canon fodder fulfilling this mission became part of every public event. The media became corrupted and co-opted, either part of this mendacity or simply intimidated to never tell the truth. Education was reviled as it was underfunded. History in school simply became history. Is it any wonder Trump doesn't know Frederick Douglas is dead or that Andrew Jackson couldn't have prevented the civil war? Religion was used as a club to browbeat secularists seeking social progress and reinforce the utterly false greatness of American civilization. The greedy 1% continue their endless pursuit of endless wealth oblivious to the harm that will engulf them from a poisoned planet, crumbling infrastructure, drug and crime ravaged pockets of poverty that expand daily. A society that funnels much of its dwindling treasure on a bloated military that loses every criminal venture it launches is doomed to fall like every war obsessed empire in history.
Trump embodies every venal and self destructive impulse in our sick society. He gauged that spewing racism, Xenophobia, sexism and hate of government would promote his narcissist brand. Surprised that a fluke of the electoral process allowed a minority vote to propel him into the White House, Trump feverishly set out to unravel every sensible, decent and humane element remaining of our rapidly disappearing greatness. To keep the ignorant, fearful and hate filled base satiated he holds vile rallies reminiscent of small scale Nurembergs, coating the faithful with the regurgitation of the plague affecting us all.
We of good will must arise every day, wipe off the slime Trump heaped upon us yesterday and resist, resist, resist.



Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Breen's voice only heard by Governor

The Lombardian publishes a weekly column by District 48 State Rep Peter Breen titled 'Your voice in Springfiled.' After two years of reading his columns I pose the question, Whose voice does he represent? On Day One of his legislative career in January, 2015, Breen signed on to Governor Rauner's turnaround agenda which told the legislature there would be no state budget till it passed his wish list of pro business items designed to please his affluent base. That was an unprecedented and unconscionable departure from every governor, Democrat or Republican, in Illinois history. The budget process is and must be about determining state needs: education, infrastructure, criminal justice resources, assistance for the poor, working moms, the disabled, the mentally challenged; then determining how to fund those critical needs. Rauner, with Breen and GOP caucus support, essentially put entire state governance on hold trying to get an agenda through gubernatorial extortion; something the legislature rightly resisted. As a result, every measure of state governance as suffered in comparison to Rauner and Breen's predecessor. 

Breen's record certainly isn't the voice of Illinois' college students, losing out in schools cutting programs and services due no state budget. It doesn't include state vendors waiting months for payments from a state that stiffs them.  People in need certainly don't consider Breen their voice since fully a half of state welfare agencies are cutting services and laying off valued workers, to their great distress. It is not the voice of potential entrepreneurs unwilling to invest in a state not funding essential services. 

Breen ends his latest piece with the meaningless bromide that Illinois can be fixed if only we work together. After 27 months it hasn't dawned on him that holding the legislature hostage for a non budgetary wish list as the price of a budget is the furthest thing from working together one can imagine. Breen's voice speaks loudly and often, but the only one it represents is the Governor.

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Shaller's Pump runs dry..but Woodlawn Tap's still flowing

I love old neighborhood bars. That's why I was saddened by closing of Shaller's Pump, 3714 S. Halsted after after 136 years yesterday, tho I never drained a stein there. But I have downed quite a few at another historic Chicago dive bar, The Woodlawn Tap, a.k.a. Jimmy's (Est. 1948), at 1174 E. 55th Street over the past 51 years beginning with my first legal drink on March 10, 1966. Truth be told I was a fervent underage scofflaw in the days when Chicago bars were oblivious to my cherubic appearance. Don't frequent Jimmy's, or any bar very much these days, in a futile attempt to hold back the aging process. But I'll make an exception this June 3 at High Noon when I re-unite with about a dozen UChicago fraternity pals at Jimmy's to celebrate our 50th UChicago Reunion. The joint is unchanged a half century on...but our joints sure have.