Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Is Jeanne Ives the Roy Moore of Illinois?

Judge Roy Moore on homosexuality:
"Homosexual conduct should be illegal, yes."

IL State Rep. Jeanne Ives on homosexuality:
"Same sex marriages are completely disordered. Gays,are trying to weasel their way into acceptability so that they can then start to push their agenda down into the schools, because this gives them some sort of legitimacy... And we can't allow that to happen."

Rep. Ives is unfit to represent Illinois' 42nd District, much less run for governor. She never, to my knowledge, adequately repudiated or apologized for those remarks, spoken on a Christian radio station, likely assuming they would never reach the general public. They did.

Ives should follow Moore into political oblivion.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

North Korea's nukes: A US self fulfilling prophesy

Stopping North Korea's nuclear program is not the top US priority for the North. No.1 on the list is regime change leading to re-unification of Korea under the South. That has been our aim ever since Russia declared war on Japan, August 8, 1945, and rushed down the Korean Peninsula to free the unified nation of Korea from 35 years of Japanese oppression. The neocons of 1945 coerced Truman to stop the inevitable reunification under the Soviets by setting up a puppet government in the South under fanatical anti communist and brutal dictator Syngman Rhee. Future JFK Secretary of State Dean Rusk was dispatched to create South Korea and he arbitrarily picked the 38th parallel which gave Rhee 16 of the 25 million Koreans. Rhee slaughtered many thousands in consolidating his anti communist regime and the Korean civil war was born. Rhee tried to goad the US into supporting his reunification invasion of the North, but Truman balked, preferring to let the North light the fireworks, which they did June 25, 1950. Truman upended 163 years of requiring a Congressional declaration of war, initiating perpetual war at the whim of the president and his masters in the war party.

Three years and a couple of million dead people later, including 36,500 Americans, the US was humiliated into a truce that has festered for 64 years. This, and not North Korea's sensible rush to put up a nuclear shield between themselves and the US, is what prevents America from refusing to pledge not to invade North Korea or even recognize their legitimacy as a separate nation pending the two Koreas themselves exploring re-unification. In 1994, North Korea put all issues on the table in return for ending nuclear development. Clinton made the first on only effort to date to negotiate fairly for detente. Years dragged on till Bush The Younger caved to the neocons and ended any hopes of a stable peace by lumping North Korea into his Axis of Evil mantra along with Iraq and Iran in 2002. By 2003, detente with North Korea was dead. Obama had enough brains and character to keep the war sabers still. Now, an utterly unfit and unstable pretender in the White House is making his North Korean counterpart appear a genius. America's first and only option to deter North Korea is a war of regime change. The option of negotiation involves an end to threatening military exercises with South Korea, a pledge not to invade and substantive economic aid; all in return or a verifiable pullback in nuclear and missile development.

Listen to US Masters of War and realize only the first option is on the table. And until sensible, peace loving adults are in charge, directed by a tide of peace seeking voters, it always will be.

Walt Zlotow
Glen Ellyn

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Minor omission on Roskam's Weekly Roundup on healthcare

In his Weekly Roundup email my congressman Peter Roskam (IL-6) touted these health care highlights he's championing:

1. Met with American Society for Nutrition (ASN) to discuss funding for nutrition research.
2.Met with the Cardiovascular Coalition to discuss peripheral artery disease (PAD) and strategies to eliminate non-traumatic amputation.
3. Met with 3M Health to discuss the Healthcare Outcomes Act.

Let' see, that's 'met, met, met, to discuss, discuss, discuss.'
Somehow Roskam missed touting this fourth highlight.:
4. Succeeded in passing tax cut bill which will toss over 4 million of of 40 million covered under Obamacare off the health care rolls.
I'm sure the congressman will appreciate my completing his constituent communication.

Friday, December 08, 2017

Roskam needs more appropriate family for tax cut ad

Surf the net and Congressman Peter Roskam's (IL-6) ad touting his advertised middle class tax cut might pop up. How he determined the person to thank the congressman for giving her back exactly $1,223 in tax relief is a mystery since many such middle class tax payers will get little or no relief; indeed, many will pay more. The falsity of the ad pitch is clear. But what would be accurate is if Roskam had one of the 5,500 taxpayers each year who pay an estate tax on their excess estate wealth over $11 million who will reap an average tax savings of $3.6 million. Those are the folks, along with the wealthyist corporate and individual income earners, who are Roskam's base and the real beneficiaries of the Roskam led tax giveaway. And the folks getting little or nothing? Their pain from this reverse Robin Hood tax bill will only increase when Roskam and his merry men in Congress come after their Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid to offset the gigantic hole this 1.5 trillion dollar wealth transfer opens up in the deficit. The short tile for this impending financial disaster should be 'No Entitlement Left Behind.' 

Thursday, December 07, 2017

Sad Anniversary

December 7th is a sad day for many reasons, one of which gets virtually no mention from the media wing of the war party. It's the last event that triggered a congressional declaration of war as required by the Constitution. As WWII was ending, FDR struck a deal with Uncle Joe Stalin to promote peace in spite of their ideological differences. Stalin would control the nations bordering Russia to thwart a third invasion in the century. FDR would develop Western Europe as a bulwark against communism. Both kept their word till FDR died 3 weeks before VE Day. The grand bargain died with him as the neoconservatives of the time told successor Truman that without a permanent war economy we'd incur another Depression. The new enemy, Russia, had to be resisted everywhere and the Cold War was born. This spawned the Military-Industrial Complex that has ruled American foreign policy 72 years on now. Today our trillion dollar war machine is bombing innocents all over the Middle East, Africa and Asia without a whimper of protest from the cowards in Congress.
December 7th...a sad day indeed.

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Mr. Subliminal deconstructs Chicago Tribune Editorial 'This tax deal will make America more prosperous.'

Trib Editorial Board (TEB):
"You know Republicans want to get the deal done, and you know Trump will sign what Congress delivers."
Mr. Subliminal: 
"The Republican billionaire donor class can't wait to get their mitts on that $1.5 trillion in free stuff courtesy of the middle class."

"Some tax deals go heavy on benefiting individuals. This legislation does some of that."
Mr. Subliminal:
"This tax bill does all of that...and most of it goes to the upper 5% of wealthyist Americans."

"We believe this tax reform bill will strengthen the American economy and create wealth, so we support passage.
Mr. Subliminal: 
"We know this tax reform bill will give massive permanent tax cuts to the wealthy while leaving meager middle class tax cuts to some which will expire over the first we support its passage."

"These massive tax reform packages don't come around often. They re too difficult."
.Mr. Subliminal:
"We've got the White House. We've got the Congress. We're coming for your money. We simply don't have enough."

"The country is weighing an epochal change to the economy, making this “an incredibly significant time in our public life,” U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam, one of the Republican tax reform leaders, tells us.
Mr. Subliminal:
"I'm Peter Roskam, and I'm proud to have led the rush to drown the critical needs of the country in the bathtub of endless greed."

"Any vote against this bill is a vote to maintain America as it looks today."
Mr. Subliminal:
"The wealth disparity between the obscenely rich and the desperate wage slaves is simply not big enough."

"Passing this tax reform should get the economy to steady 3 percent growth. At that rate, the country generates trillions of dollars of new economic activity, creates jobs and increases household income – money to be spent or saved."
Mr. Subliminal:
"Believe that Whopper and we've got a bridge to sell you in Brooklyn."

"The country can't live on one side of the ledger. Eventually revenues and expenditures need to come into alignment."
Mr. Subliminal:
"Medicare, Medicaid and Obamacare we come!"

Sunday, December 03, 2017

Beware departure of Tillerson at State

As the evidence piles up implicating Trump officials and likely Trump himself with election collusion with Russia and its subsequent coverup, a more ominous development deserves scrutiny. That is the rumored departure of Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State to be replaced by CIA Director Mike Pompeo, and Pompeo to be replaced at CIA by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR). Both are extreme neoconservatives advocating rescinding the 5 + 1 nuclear deal with Iran which would put the US on a slippery slope of war with Iran. Pompeo has been a strong advocate of torture and, as a Christian zealot, believes in the rapture, which might insulate him from fretting about catastrophic war. Cotton was so opposed to the Iran nuclear deal, the single greatest foreign policy accomplishment of Obama's eight years, he traitorously wrote the letter sent by him and 46 other Republican senators to Iran urging them to reject that war saving deal in 2015. These moves would elevate into the Iran fray Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner, a fervent supporter of both Israel and Saudi Arabia's goading the US to demolish their rival Iran. Tillerson is the only moderate on Trump's foreign policy team. Pompeo, Cotton and Kushner want him out so they can play their war games at the world's expense. That, and not Trump's treachery with Russia, is what should make us fear for the cause of peace.

Friday, December 01, 2017

Real 'Little Rocket Man' in North Korea dustup sits in US Senate

North Korea tests a missile and Sen. Lindsay Graham says this:

"The US will go to war with North Korea if things don't change. A lot of people would get hurt and killed. If we have to go to war to stop this, we will. If there's a war with North Korea, it will be because North Korea brought it on itself, and we're headed to a war if things don't change."
Sen. Graham should look in the mirror to find someone bringing on war. He's supported every criminal US war of regime change, all against non-nuclear states, that have got hundreds of thousands killed for nothing. He threatens North Korea with regime change; then threatens war when they do the sensible thing to thwart US led regime change...obtain a nuclear arsenal. Graham is always first in the well of the Senate threatening war, whether it's Iraq, Libya, Syria, Iran or now North Korea. It does no good for North Korea to seek peace with the US by abandoning nukes. Iraq tried that and got their regime changed. Libya tried that and got their regime changed. 
Sen. Graham can't wait for the 'rocket's red glare' over Pyongyang. He, not Kim Jung Un, is the original 'Little Rocket Man'.   

Thursday, November 30, 2017

How about a little 'Me Too' to stop senseless war?

I was shocked that MSNBC followed the NBC Today show yesterday with lengthy coverage of an obscenely overpaid talking head being fired for sexual harassment, possibly even assault, in the workplace. What shocked me was not the story being revealed in endless detail. It was that the more important story, impending war with North Korea was alluded to, then dropped to cover improper sex in the workplace. The teaser was virulent Senate warmonger Lindsay Graham (R-SC) saying this after North Korea's latest missile test: "If we have to go to war to stop this, we will, We’re headed toward a war if things don’t change.” Then an overpaid talking head still working said: "but first we cover the bombshell story of Matt Lauer's firing for improper sexual conduct at NBC." The twisted juxtaposition of those two stories highlights what's wrong with mainstream media which always uses sensationalized entertainment to avoid dealing with the most critical events affecting war and peace, a sustainable environment, and the billionaires' fleecing of the middle class. The truth is the talking heads near tears over their colleague's downfall offered little of value. They all took management's insincere line they knew knowing about what we've come to learn was fairly common knowledge around NBC. The entire story required only a fraction of the interminable time spent dealing mostly with conjecture and unanswered questions. But  obscenely overpaid media executives have learned that war and environmental survival and billionaire greed doesn't fill their coffers. Sexual accountability in the workplace and on the campaign trail is too important an issue to wallow in endlessly to spike ratings and profits. And war, environmental survival and economic justice are too important to ignore. Time to boycott mainstream media till they get it right. 

Monday, November 27, 2017

Prosecutors shouldn't waste court's time seeking natural life for Michael Jones

DuPage prosecutors are worried. They're in court Monday seeking an extended sentence for Michael Jones if he's convicted of the 1985 rape and murder of teen Kathy Wesselman of Glen Ellyn. Under sentencing laws of 1985, Jones could be sentenced for up to 80 years for murder and assault, also making him eligible for parole after serving half his sentence. That would allow Jones, if he behaves in the pokey, to seek release when he's 104 years old. To combat this imagined threat to the public and miscarriage of justice, Jones' prosecutors will ask the court to invoke another sentencing provision that allows extension to natural life for a crime "accompanied by exceptional brutal and heinous behavior indicative of wanton cruelty."
Sentences of natural life, like the death penalty, do nothing to protect the public and serve justice. They amount to prosecutorial grandstanding to display their tough on crime bonafides to the public. Seeking natural life for a man eligible for parole at 104 is almost certainly moot. For anyone no longer a threat to society it wastes precious prison resources. It removes an incentive for prisoners to behave, further squandering precious prison costs. Time off for model behavior should be available to every prisoner, regardless the heinousness of the crime. Parole can always be denied in the case of truly evil, antisocial folks like Charlie Manson.
DuPage prosecutors should not waste one minute of Judge George Bakalis' time on this sentencing issue. They should spend every minute making sure Jones, if guilty, is convicted and required to sit till at least age a century plus four.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

The school talk Roskam should give

My congressman Peter Roskam (IL-6) likes to tout his regular trips to local schools to explain to impressionable youngsters the role of a congressman. Hear's the talk he should give on his plans to enhance education:
"The 'Tax Bill and Jobs Act' I'm helping to slam thru Congress will funnel $1.7 trillion of desperately needed tax dollars back mostly to the wealthiest Americans over the next decade, but also a few dollars to your middle class parents as well. This will create such a gigantic expansion in debt that we must cut out much of the free stuff to the 'little people.' In education we're being prudent in eliminating the tax deduction for interest on student loans. You future college students must simply learn how to become rich so you don't get trapped in the capitalist college loan interest scam. We're also teaching fiscal responsibility by eliminating the tax free tuition received by thousands of university employees for their children. Your teachers must learn fiscal responsibility as well by our eliminating the $250 deduction for purchasing school supplies in cash strapped districts. Obviously your teachers don't value wealth by choosing to enter such a low paying profession. 
My lesson for today? Get wealthy like me...and live happily ever after."
Roskam will never say that...but he's sure thinking it. 

Friday, November 24, 2017

It's US, Tribune, not getting message on starving Yemenis

The Tribune's editorial 'Are the Saudis getting the message: Stop starving civilians' exemplifies everything wrong with American foreign policy ...and American journalism. The Editorial Board, lamenting the tens of thousands dead, a million suffering cholera and millions more on the brink of starvation in Yemen, blames it all on Saudi Arabia. Not a pixel posted how the US enables these crimes against humanity with our intelligence, mid air refueling of Saudi death planes and, of course, the tens of billions in sales of America's most destructive WCD (Weapons of Civilian Destruction). The Board knows full well US complicity in Saudi war crimes but erases it from the Yemen humanitarian catastrophe narrative . To so delicately urge Trump to do more to get its best munitions customer to ease up on the Yemenis is profoundly immoral and ludicrous. The US could stop the slaughter in a heartbeat by ending all criminal military support and arms sales to Saudi Arabia. The Tribune editorial board is not alone. Every major news outlet in America depending on access to the government for news, the currency of its existence, is equally complicit in this senseless and totally unnecessary human tragedy. That is why Ike didn't get it quite right when he warned us, on January 17, 1961, about the pernicious Military-Industrial Complex. He should have said, "Beware the Military-Industrial-Media Complex."

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Uncle Sam...for state sponsor of terror...look in mirror

Trump's hoisting North Korea back up on the US list of state sponsors of terrorism, nine years after Bush Jr. took them down, would be laughable if not so pathetic. North Korea is not the biggest enabler of Saudi Arabia's genocide in neighboring Yemen, which has killed tens of thousands, inflicted a million with cholera, and put millions more on the path to starvation. North Korea isn't raining tens of thousands of bombs yearly on Iraq killing thousands of innocents....then lying about it. The US war party claims civilians are only killed in 1 in 157 bombings. The NY Times reports the true figure is 1 in 5. The US kills more folks with its terrorist bombings throughout the Middle East and Africa than all nations combined. It doesn't matter who occupies the Oval Office. Bush Jr., Obama and now Trump all take orders from the US war party, the champ at state sponsored terrorism. Time for Uncle Sam to look in the mirror...then put that guy on the list to be sanctioned for needless slaughter around the world.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Manson death should re-ignite needed criminal justice reform

Cult killer Charlie Manson's death yesterday at 83 would have purpose if it could re-focus efforts to reform justice for murderers, even the most heinous.

Manson and his three young female followers were all sentenced to death but given life sentences due to a technicality invoked by the Supreme Court. None of the four should have been sentenced to death, and the two remaining alive, Leslie Van Houten and Susan Krenwinkel, should be released without further delay if arrangements can be secured for a safe and stable home life.

The death penalty, still legal in 31 states and the federal government, serves no societal purpose whatsoever; indeed it causes harm to the political culture by glorifying the very thing it is intended to punish and prevent: senseless death.

Life imprisonment for all but incorrigibles like Manson, is also an unnecessary, wasteful use of criminal justice resources. There is virtual agreement among criminal justice experts that the young Manson girls were incapable of criminal intent or action but for the Svengali like and drug induced control Manson exerted over them. They're old women simply soaking up precious space and money that would be better spent on truly dangerous felons.

If his death could move these overdue criminal justice reforms over the finish line, it would represent an important plus gleaned from the grotesque life of Charlie Manson.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Is gas guzzler tax credit next Roskam giveaway?

My congressman Peter Roskam (IL-6) is popping up all over the media (but not the 6th District) touting his cruelly named 'middle class tax cut' bill even tho 78% of the goodies go to the upper 5% of earners. Roskam's prints are all over the bill as House Ways & Means Tax Policy Committee Chairman. A truly senseless, shortsighted provision in the bill eliminates the $7,500 tax credit to purchase a BEV (Battery Electric Vehicle). This credit applies on the first 200,000 BEV's sold by a car maker. It benefits environmentally conscious but cash strapped middle class purchasers reluctant to fork over an extra ten grand to go green, however important that is. It also aids America's commitment reduce greenhouse gases from 265 million stinkpots choking Mother Earth's atmosphere in Amerca. The upper 5% boys won't be affected. Roskam's bonanza to them will allow the purchase of a hundred grand Tesla for every driver in the family without a thought of losing the $7,500 tax credit. Roskam and his GOP servants to the wealthy elite don't do conservation. That is simply one more Obama administration initiative that must be overturned to please their base. What's next from Roskam....a tax credit for gas guzzlers?

Monday, November 13, 2017

Unfortunate photo - To Chicago Tribune Editorial Board

The photo atop today's Tribune editorial 'From the rubble of Sept. 11' is most unfortunate and disinformative, indeed. It shows a Tomahawk cruise missile rising from the USS Porter to kill and destroy at a Syrian air base last April "in retaliation for a chemical attack that killed scores of civilians.' No doubt meant to highlight presidential use of lethal power under the antiquated 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), the picture actually highlights what's wrong with American foreign policy..and American journalism. Both Trump and the Trib rushed to judgement after the April gas attack and immediately blamed Syria. Trump launched the 69 Tomahawks against Syria without offering a scintilla of evidence, and the Trib backed his utterly unsubstantiated fairy tale that continues now into its eighth month. This is simply a repeat of the both the Obama and Tribune version of the August, 2013, Syrian gas attack that was also blamed on the Syrian government without a shred of evidence. One big difference. When the intelligence professionals informed Obama no evidence existed to support an attack against Syrian president Assad, Obama acted presidential and cancelled the retaliatory raid. That cost him unremitting hatred by the war party who never let evidence get in the way of military action. Nor, apparently, does it get in the way of the Tribune from promoting disinformation to back endless perpetual war. The Trib closes its editorial with Sen. Bob Corker's comment he feared that Trump's reckless threats against other nations could set the U.S. "on the path to World War III." The Trib Editorial Board might add that it's really Trump's reckless actions, fully supported by the Sages in the Tribune Tower, that put us at risk for WW III.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Use Veterans Day to promote peace, not war

Started 98 years ago today, Armistice Day was established in the UK to commemorate the armistice that ended WWI a year earlier. In 1926 Congress added it to the US to "perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding between nations...a day dedicated to the cause of world peace." The war party, working through Congress, changed it to Veterans Day in 1954, the same year they put 'under god' in the Pledge. Since then it has largely become a commercial for American perpetual war around the world which today sees over 250,000 soldiers deployed in 140 countries. Every day we bomb innocents in at least 8 countries we know of. While every decent function of government loses funding, the annual increase in our $700 billion plus military budget alone dwarfs what most countries spend on their entire military. All vets but the near centenarians of WWII fought in undeclared wars which slaughtered millions while doing nothing to promote peace...and they know it. After 63 years it's time for another name change. How about Peace Day, to honor the peacemakers like Dr. Martin Luther King, Ghandi and a true American hero, Pvt. Chelsea Manning, who spent seven years in prison for outing American war crimes in Iraq. As John Lennon famously sang, 'Give peace a chance.'

Use Veterans Day to promote peace, not war

Started 98 years ago today, Armistice Day was established in the UK to commemorate the armistice which ended WWI a year earlier. In 1926 Congress added it to the US to "perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding between nations...a day dedicated to the cause of world peace." The war party, working through Congress, changed it to Veterans Day in 1954, the same year they put 'under god' in the Pledge. Since then it has largely become a commercial for American perpetual war around the world which today sees over 250,000 soldiers deployed in 140 countries. Every day we bomb innocents in at least 8 countries we know of. While every decent function of government loses funding, the annual increase in our $700 billion plus military budget alone dwarfs what most countries spend on their entire military. All vets but the near centenarians of WWII fought in undeclared wars which slaughtered millions while doing nothing to promote peace...and they know it. After 63 years it's time for another name change. How about Peace Day, to honor the peacemakers like Dr. Martin Luther King, Gandi and a true American hero, Pvt. Chelsea Manning, who spent seven years in prison for outing American war crimes in Iraq? As John Lennon famously sang, 'Give peace a chance.'

Friday, November 10, 2017

Roskam cool with $1.7 trillion tax bill budget deficit

During the eight Obama years, my congressman Peter Roskam (IL-6), railed against every attempt to provide life saving health insurance to the needy, rebuild America's crumbling infrastructure, invest in renewable energy, expand educational and job opportunities; indeed, anything designed to help the little people and the commons. His argument was always any increase in budget deficits to help the less fortunate was unacceptable and not an extra tax dollar could be levied against the rich as offset. Then, for Roskam, a miracle happened...his GOP gained the governmental driver's seat. Suddenly, budget deficits not only became acceptable; they became a way of funneling trillion dollar wealth in tax cuts to his wealthy base. While 78% of the proposed Roskam tax bill cuts go to the golden 5% Americans, fully a quarter of middle class workers will see a tax increase. Roskam is cool with that $1.7 trillion in additional budget deficits because as the pressure to offset them mounts, Roskam can go after Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, all life saving programs for working stiffs; a burden on the greedy rich who don't need or want them. That's how it works in Roskam's worldview...the public interest always loses to self interest rightly understood.

Thursday, November 09, 2017

Yemen in the time of cholera, Part III

In Part II, I urged support support for the upcoming November 2 vote in the US House on Concurrent Resolution 81 which, if passed, would have forced an end to America's illegal, criminal support of Saudi Arabia's war against neighboring Yemen. The war has killed tens of thousands, inflicted cholera on possibly a million Yemenis, and brought millions more to near starvation, in the world's worst humanitarian catastrophe. H.Con.Res.81 is authorized by the War Powers Act of 1973, which guarantees a floor vote on ending presidential imposed military action by any congressman seeking to end such action. But the night before, House leadership under Speaker Ryan, ruled that 1,778 tanker refueling missions pumping 54 million pounds of fuel into 7,564 Saudi bombing missions does not constitute 'introduction of United States Armed Forces includes the assignment of member of such armed forces to command, coordinate, participate in the movement of, or accompany the regular or irregular military forces of any foreign country or government when such military forces are engaged…’ (War Power Act of 1973). Since Ryan ruled we weren't at war, the War Powers Act doesn't apply, the resolution isn't privileged and the vote was cancelled. He did compromise, allowing debate and vote on a non-binding resolution next week.
That is the way it works in an America controlled by the war party who use perpetual war to gain power and wealth on the bodies of the innocents we destroy and the American treasure we squander. But we in the peace party will cheer on the 4 sponsors of now cancelled H.Con.Res.81 and their 39 co-sponsors who will take the House floor next week to shine a light on our dastardly, cowardly destruction of the pitiful country of Yemen.

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Machine guns and madmen

Every country has madmen capable of committing heinous crimes. But only America allows the manufacture and sale of machine guns to people either already mad or capable of becoming so. The kindest, most gentle person alive can snap and go on a shooting rampage killing dozens with a legally bought machine gun. Or the same person can gradually deteriorate over time with the same result. Remember gun spokesman screen star Charleston Heston who boasted,  "I'll give you my gun when you pry it from my colddead hands"? Actually, it was simply squirreled away from Chuck after he became senile. But how many other aging, inevitably unstable elders pose the risk of a massacre with a machine gun. And yes, let's call it what it really is...a machine gun. It takes a machine to mow down 58 concert goers in Vegas or 26 worshipers in a tine rural Texas church. 'Assault rifle' is an insulting euphemism masking the grotesque carnage these monstrous weapons wage on our society. The president and the Congress, bought off by the gun lobby and political cynicism, are not doing the critical function of protecting society from its most defective citizens. Limit guns to the six shooter or the single shot rifle, all that's needed for hunting or self protection, and the nearly weekly gun massacre becomes extinct. A private citizen has no more right to a machine gun that he does a rocket propelled grenade or a nuclear weapon. Don't mourn for the victims of the massacre of the week. Mourn for untold thousands, including possibly you and I, who may be the next pop up figures in the American shooting gallery enabled and allowed by a society seemingly bent on self destruction. 

Monday, November 06, 2017

Forget tax bill...GOP already funneling middle class wealth up to ravenous weathy

The GOP don't need no stinkin' tax cut bill to keep the sweep of middle class wealth moving inexorably upward to the greedy rich. Since 2010, they have cut the IRS' budget by 18% and reduced enforcement staff by a quarter. The mega rich with their mega mouthpieces have taken notice, fearing less and less the formerly long reach of the tax police. Not satisfied with simply gaming the system through enforcement cutbacks, Republicans endlessly repeat the Big Lie that US businesses are the most taxed in the industrialized world. But the official 35% business tax rate they cite to justify this latest legislative giveaway averages just 21% with many profitable companies paying zilch. And that decimated IRS enforcement staff? The 1 Percenter in Chief is proposing to another round of waterboarding in the bathtub of Republican greed.

Saturday, November 04, 2017

Roskam dishes up Whopper on tax cut bill

The latest internet political ad from my congressman Peter Roskam (IL -6), which jarringly interrupted my research, reminds me of Burger sure is a Whopper. Up popped a nice, middle class women extolling the congressman's tax bill as the number $1,223 in middle class tax savings crawled across her face. And the Whopper? According to the Institute On Taxation and Economic Policy, the average middle class savings is closer to $400. Worse, one in seven of those middle income taxpayers will see a tax increase due to reductions in deductible expenses. Roskam will never tell the truth to his constituents that 78% of the tax savings go to the upper 5% of earners, giving each one percenter an average reduction of $90,600, likely more than the nice middle class lady in the ad makes all year. Nor will Roskam offer one word of truth regarding the $1.5 trillion over the next decade added to the deficit that represents a financial time bomb on our economy that can only be partially ameliorated by slashing the social safety net. I don't know if my congressman consumes them at Burger King, but to his constituents he's only serving up Whoppers.

Thursday, November 02, 2017

Ives brings 'disordered' to whole new level

State Rep Jeanne Ives (R -Wheaton) is a self proclaimed expert on folks being disordered. Couple of years back she told a christian radio station that gays are 'disordered' for seeking the sanctity of marriage; going further to say they're 'trying to weasel their way into acceptability so that they can then start to push their agenda down into the schools, because this gives them some sort of legitimacy... and we can't allow that to happen.' This year she doubled down on 'disordered', posting an incendiary commentary from the ultra conservative Illinois Family Institute, likening school officials supporting transgender rights to 'dirty old men in trench coats lying in wait to expose children to sordid things.' Ives has yet to recognize the hideousness of those statements or apologize for them.
But yesterday she brought disordered to a new level, lambasting colleague Laura Fine (D-Glenview) for proposing a resolution calling on Congress to “move our tax dollars in exactly the opposite direction proposed by the President, from militarism to human and environmental needs.” Fine argued that many social safety nets could be funded with just a fraction of what the nation spends on its armed forces. Trump proposed a 10% increase on defense spending, ballooning our gargantuan expenditures funding failed wars in seven Middle East and African countries, getting untold thousands of innocents killed for nothing, to over $700 billion. Ives is just fine with that yelling at Fine across the House floor “Maybe someone who sits and legislates in the worst-run state in the Union should not opine on federal military spending...especially, when people they care about are not at risk.” The audacity to denigrate a decent legislator seeking to help millions of Illinoisans in need simply because they're not fighting in senseless wars is incalculable.
Now Ives is running to legislate not for just the 110,000 citizens in her District 42. She's seeking to govern all 13,000,000 of us because Governor Rauner is spending too much money on the peoples' needs including, Ives' God forbid, full reproductive and LGBT rights. Disordered? Thy name is Jeanne Ives.

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

'Blowback' key word missing from NY attack coverage

If you spent a hundred hours following 24/7 coverage of the New York City massacre that killed 8 and injured 11, you wouldn't hear the word 'blowback'. That is a shame as blowback is the likely cause that inspired young Uzbekistan native Sayfullo Saipov to rent a truck and mow down pedestrians just 5 block from the World Trade Center. Since he survived the shooting that ended his crime, we may learn more about his motivations. But hollering 'Allahu akbar' (God is great) surely points to revenge for American bombings all over the Middle East and now Africa killing untold thousands of innocents by our deranged war party. And one consequence of our needles slaughter of folks as innocent as the 8 snuffed out in New York, is that some individuals connected with peoples we're defiling will risk death to get a measure of vengeance, which is precisely what blowback entails. Since the 911 attacks, the most deadly form of blowback for our Middle East meddling, we've expanded our intelligence operations to 17 agencies costing $75 billion a year. Maybe they're preventing large scale attacks; maybe not. But they surely can't stop one man with a truck who is not acting out of our the media's operative word 'cowardice', but acting from resolute determination to die trying to inflict blowback on the US.

We would all become safer from such attacks if we'd end our senseless, futile wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Pakistan, Libya, Syria, Yemen and Niger for starters. We should stop selling countries hundreds of billions in weaponry which often end up in the hands of folks trying to kill us. We should focus on negotiating and peacemaking among countries and the dozens, even hundreds of disparate groups and sects willing to die for their imagined God or cause. We should stop promoting utterly self defeating 'preventative' war with North Korea, Iran or any other country we fear and hate. We must wrest control of our country from the Masters of War who are soulless in their zeal to control the world through war and violence. If you think that is beyond your meager powers as a solitary citizen consider this: you may end up lying under the next truck rampaging down a pedestrian safeway.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

DuPage Forest Preserve sure isn't preserving DuPage finances

When I ran for Glen Ellyn Park District commissioner in 2015, it sure wasn't for the money. Salary $0; Health Insurance $0; Pension $0. It's the same with school boards. It's called public service and the folks who run are motivated by that single goal. Why then do the six  DuPage Forest Preserve members get an annual salary of $50,000, over a thousand dollars for each of the roughly 45 meetings that last an average of one hour. There's more: health insurance and a pension (for those whose service started before this year...which is all of them). Oh yes, the Forest Preserve president receives $75,000 plus the health insurance and pension. That's $538,000 for little part time work when other counties pay a fraction of that for the same dedicated service.  No neighboring county forest preserve commissioner comes close to the windfall goodies the DuPage Forest Preserve Board doles out to its president and commissioners. Most pay little or nothing. Lake County comes closest at a paltry $3,000 per commissioner. Their president is paid just a third of the DuPage Forest Preserve president. 

Daniel Hebreard is running for the Democratic nomination for Forest Preserve president. His reform platform calls for an 82% reduction in salaries and benefits for himself and the six commissioners. That is $441,000 each year for better facilities like new modern washrooms at the busiest preserves, bridges to connect trails and communities, and improved technology. You won't hear about cutting salaries and benefits from the president and three commissioners up for re-election next year. They and the other three Forest Preserve members, all Republicans, have a limit on promoting fiscal responsibility for the public. It begins after they take care of themselves. 

Monday, October 30, 2017

Roskam's Weekly Roundup for October 21-27 an insult

My congressman Peter Roskam's constituent email 'Roskam's Weekly Roundup for October 21-27' sure is designed for the low information voter. It touts his vote for the GOP tax plan pitched as tax reform to help small business owners and states like Illinois. But Roskam leaves out that 80% of proposed tax cuts go to the richest 1%; just 12% to the folks in the 20 to 80% of earners. Worse, some of those meager earners will get a tax increase due to elimination of deductions they depend on such as for state income taxes. Worse yet, the trillions cut over 10 years must be revenue neutral, so IRA contributions may be cut from $24,000 per year ($18,000 for workers under 50) to just $2,400. Even worser, Medicaid and Medicare will be slashed to give Roskam's GOP a twofer: paying for tax cuts for the rich on the backs of the folks Roskam and his colleagues don't see, don't hear...don't care about.
On to healthcare where Roskam's trumpeted constituent information is truly bizarre as in these 18 words:
Healthcare, Insurance and Childcare:
Kindercare Learning Centers
American Heart Association
Aflac Insurance
Travelers Insurance
Antimicrobial Working Group meeting
We're paying Roskam a quarter million a year in salary and benefits to insult us with these meaningless words on a matter of life and death. We'd be better served with the truth; he's proudly spent the last 9 years trying to keep 20 million off the health insurance roles, allowing 200,000 unnecessary deaths over a decade.
It cost virtually nothing to send us these pixels. But come election season, Roskam will spend much of his $2,000,000 war chest to bury 6th District voters with full color glossies with these and much, much more of his blizzard of meaningless pap.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Rauner and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

Governor Bruce Rauner's inaugural re-election bid ad sure is a Duesey. No, it's not the usual reference to a Deusenberg Motor Car but to the Harley Davidson Motorcycle bearing our bizarre governor. For Rauner it's all image, no substance. When you don't a record to run on you hop on your Harley and pretend to be Gary Cooper's Will Kane riding alone against villain Mike Madigan's Frank Miller. From Rauner's wind screen its simply an endless battle against corrupt, career politicians destroying Illinois to be smited by our leather clad gladiator on two wheels. Missing from the ad is any semblance of truth, which if told, would have Rauner riding into the sunset to one of his fabulous ranches in Wyoming or Montana. If there were substance Rauner would have to compare the 146,000 jobs added in the last two years of the Quinn administration to just 120,000 in Rauner's two and a half years. Worse: just 42,000 of those jobs were added in the last year and a half, when the effects of his unprecedented and unconscionable budget stalemate kicked in. Rauner claims to be saving Illinois education but fails to mention his budget shenanigans caused 1,500 higher education layoffs, sending many of Illinois' best students out of state. And not a word on the uncountable thousands of the poor deprived of critical social services because Rauner caused their life saving agencies to cut back...or simply cut out.
If you happen to encounter Biker Bruce riding thru your town offering bonhomie and seeking votes, just pipe up over that peace shattering rumble engineered to annoy anyone not riding, "Nothing of interest here Governor, ride on."

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Run Jeanne, Run

Current IL state Rep Jeanne Ives (R-42) of Wheaton is considering challenging Governor Bruce Rauner in the March 20 Primary. Ives is leading the ultraconservative charge against Rauner who Ives claims is betraying her constituency. How? He signed the 'Motor Voter Bill' which makes it easier for ordinary folks to get registered and vote, precisely those Ives wants to stay home so the affluent and conservative can run the state. Representing Illinois' Xenophobic wing, Ives takes umbrage with Rauner's efforts to prevent undocumented immigrants from being detained based solely on their legal status. As a virulent denier of transgenders being first class citizens, Ives recoils at Rauner making it easier for transgenders to change the sex on their birth certificate. And don't dare mention transgender kids actually using the bathroom of their choice in school. But the Rauner move that ignited Ives' possible challenge was his signing SB 40 which provides reproductive health and freedom for poor women; something the affluent Ives and her base enjoy without a care in the world. Ives' mantra: 'Want reproductive health? Become wealthy.'
One downside for Ives of a possible Rauner run: she'd have to drop her re-election bid in House District 42. But for open minded, progressive folks in the 42nd, that's a opportunity to elect a representative willing to serve all the people. Run Jeanne, run.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Yemen In the Time of Cholera, Part II

Three months ago in 'Yemen in the Time of Cholera' I reflected on America's enabling of Saudi Arabia's criminal war against neighboring Yemen with these closing words: "Since we all pay the fare to destroy a nation Saudi Arabia demands us to, take a moment to reflect on the damage our collective silence on America's criminal military ventures inflicts on mankind." I pointed out that the Saudis' bombing of Yemen infrastructure and blockading of its ports has both created a cholera epidemic and prevented aid from reaching the sufferers whose numbers reached a half million. We now know the cholera epidemic has reached 850,000 and according to the Red Cross will pass a million by year end, but cautions that's a conservative estimate. That represents 1 of every 29 Yemenese.

But unlike 3 months ago there is a glimmer of hope. Tho it will never appear, or be buried below Hell in the media, there's a congressional effort to end US involvement in the ongoing Saudi, Yemen war. Last month Ro Khanna, Democrat from California, introduced House Consent Resolution 81 which "Directs the President to remove U.S. Armed Forces from hostilities in the Republic of Yemen, except those engaged in operations directed at Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, within 30 days after adoption of this concurrent resolution, unless the President requests and Congress authorizes a later date, and unless and until a declaration of war or specific authorization for the use of U.S. Armed Forces has been enacted." In plain English, Khanna's initiative requires the US to get out of Yemen unless Congress declares war or passes a specific AUMF (Authrorization for Use of Military Force) to help the Saudis destroy Yemen. Since neither will ever happen, Khanna's resolution, if passed, will end US involvement within 30 days. The vote is a week from Thursday, November 2. Three months on do more than reflect. Call your congressperson demanding a vote to end Uncle Sam's inhumanity to his fellow man.  

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Is Roskam thrilled 3.5 million have lost health care under Trump?

My congressman Peter Roskam (R IL 6) has spent the last 9 years working furiously to deny people in need health insurance. Preventing, defunding, overturning the Affordable Health Care Act of 2013 has been his signature issue as 6th District congressman. He blared his opposition from the House floor, Fox News, constituent emails, his website; indeed at every chance and venue possible. Till this January all he could do is rail against it without actually getting desperate folks tossed off the insurance rolls.

Alas, his promotion of his self described 'wild card' Trump to the presidency is finally bearing fruit...I'm mean casualties. The nine months of governing mendacity Roskam supports has resulted in 3.5 million folks losing health care this year, a drop of 1.4% of the health insured population. Does Roskam, in the deepest recesses of his soul, possibly ponder how many of them will go bankrupt paying for critical medical care; how many will suffer degraded health; or even how many will simply die? Or does the congressman read the statistics, smile, and say softly, 'Now, that's progress.'