Thursday, January 29, 2015

Backhanded complement of the year

Only 22 days into the new year and the Backhanded Complement of the Year award for 2015 goes to Robert L. Breuder, President of College of DuPage. Breuder received this backhanded complement from the College of DuPage Board of Trustees in their contract addendum specifying the terms of Dr. Breuder's early separation of his employment contract which runs through June, 2019:

"The Board will install a sign on the Homeland Security Education Center naming the building in Dr. Breuder's honor SUBJECT TO THE PRESIDENT MAINTAINING CONDUCT THAT IS NOT MATERIALLY DETRIMENTAL TO THE REPUTATION OF THE BOARD AND/OR THE COLLEGE."
Besides being about as backhanded a complement as could be delivered, the Board's action for protecting the College's and their reputation is a little like closing the barn door after the horses have escaped.

Breuder failed to leave on a high note

College of DuPage President Robert Breuder must have missed Seinfeld episode No. 172, 'The Burning' aired March 18, 1998. The story revolved around one of life's great lessons: leaving a situation on a 'high note'. Jerry counsels George, depressed after he told a bad joke following a good suggestion at a business meeting, that a nightclub comic always saves his best joke for last; then leaves the stage with the audience laughing.

Dr. Breuder stayed one year too long at College of DuPage following 33 years at three community colleges in Pennsylvania and Illinois. In his last year several major scandals erupted on Breuder's watch involving exorbitant spending by Breuder and his Board on extravagant facilities, Board members and on Breuder himself. At last night's Board meeting to approve his severance package worth over $750,000, 400 local residents showed up to protest Breuder's package and condemn his betrayal of students, faculty and taxpayers during his six year tenure. Sixty citizens, including two state representatives, spoke during the public comment section, and every one blasted Breuder and the Board; not a word was uttered on Breuder's behalf. Commenters demanded he not stay another day at COD, not have the Homeland Security Education Center bear his name, and not participate in the search for a successor, least he pick someone with his character.

Given a microphone Dr. Breuder can speak endlessly about his accomplishments at COD. But last night he spoke not a word, the audience wasn't laughing, and when he left the stage he had to look up to look down.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Kirk website a big commercial for the war party

My Illinois Senator Mark Kirk is a danger to Illinois and the nation. Just check out his Senate website www.kirk.senate.gov. There are 14 story links on the home page. Five of them tout his leading effort along with Senator Bob Menendez (D. NJ) to scuttle the delicate IS-Iran negotiations over Iran's nuclear program. Most sensible leaders and pundits are aghast at Kirk & Company's dangerous machinations which are the surest road to war with Iran, something to which Kirk appears oblivious. He has supported every US intervention in the Middle East that have cost trillions in dollars and hundreds of thousands in human beings. Instead of expressing regret for this horrific loss of blood and treasure, Kirk is obsessed in sabotaging our best chance for peace with Iran.

Illinois and America need senators who will put peaceful American interests ahead of the war party. We don't have that in Senator Mark Kirk. He should retire next year instead of running for re-election. If he doesn't we should fire him on Nov 1, 2016. He can always get a job shilling for the war party. But it at least there he can no longer vote for more war, more squandered treasure, and more bloodshed.

Breuder could use an Elvis announcement


In his Trib letter today, lamenting likely reduction in state funding to colleges while touting College of DuPage's massive building campaign and huge surplus, COD President Robert Breuder made this astounding statement:

"With state funding dwindling and caps on our ability to raise taxes, community colleges, like our four-year counterparts, have consistently raised tuition. But College of DuPage reduced tuition this spring for the first time in our history".

That is utter sophism, the use of false arguments to deceive people. Dr. Breuder has been, for his entire six year tenure at COD, a champion tuition increaser. Just last Spring he proposed a huge $6 per hour increase, which was mercifully reduced by the COD Board to $4, still outrageous with COD's massive surplus. Then when Breuder's disgraceful email surfaced showing his cynical ploy to extract $20 million from the state with no approved project booked, he road into the next Board meeting on a white horse, trumpeting a $2 tuition decrease. But he spent a full 10 minutes droning on how his magnanimous action could put the College at risk if the economy sours. The Board wisely doubled his belated initiative to aid students into a $4 reduction, thus wiping out Breuder's entire $6 tuition proposal from just 6 months earlier.

Dr. Breuder is leaving COD early, but not early enough. Today would be a great day for the Board to announce that Dr. Robert L. Breuder has "left the building...for the last time."

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Obama bombs ISIS beheaders; mourns with Saudi beheaders

The other day Saudi gendarmes chased down a lady wanted for murder and chopped her head off in front of mob of cheering locals. She was the tenth head separated from its body and tossed in the Saudi Arabian trash this month, in likely the beheading capital of the planet. Yet while President Obama's war machine is busy bombing suspected ISIS beheaders, he's getting ready to mourn with the Saudi nation over the death of their leader King Abdullah. There is no truth to the rumor that the Saudi's will invite Obama to witness the next Saudi beheading, number 11 in January if your counting heads.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Saudi Arabia no like free thinking blogger


As a blogger who sometimes defends atheists, of which I'm one, and ridicules religious figures when they deserve it, I'm sure glad I don't live in Saudi Arabia. Just ask Raef Badawi, who was recently sentenced to 1,000 lashes for doing just that in the land of the House of Saud. Least you think this sentence extreme, consider that the lashers will humanely dole out the 1,000 over 20 weeks at only 50 per. All things considered, America still a pretty good place to blog in.

New name for venerable news show


On Face The Nation yesterday, Sen. John McCain (R. AZ) was trotted out for hundredth or more time to trash the relatively sane foreign policy of President Obama and call for more war against Iran and Russia. 'Get more boots on the ground to stop Iran', bellowed McCain, 'and start giving arms to our warmongering buddies in Ukraine to stop Russia.' War party stooge, host Bob Schieffer, who feigned incredulity at the president's cautious foreign ...policy explained by White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, brought out McCain with verbal guns blazing. If Schieffer was honest he would have asked McCain why he hooked up with fellow warmongers Carl Gershman, head of the National Endowment for Democracy, and Victoria Nuland, Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs in the fall of 2013, to foment an illegal and immoral coup in Ukraine which started all the bloodshed that has now killed thousands and has whetted McCain's appetite for much, much more.

Face The Nation, which just celebrated it's 60th anniversary, needs a new name. Next time, McCain appears, here is how they should introduce him:

"Today, Sen. John McCain, calling for more needless deaths of innocents around the world, will Face The Warmongering Nation."

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Banks gone...but Minnie still promoting baseball, Sox

                
The death of Cub great Ernie Banks, first black to play for the Cubs, reminds me that Saturnino Orestes Armas Miñoso Arrieta, known simply as Minnie Minoso, the first White Sox black to play, is not only still alive at 89 (or maybe 91) but still working for the Sox. Minoso had this to say about Banks' death: "The city belonged to him. "Everywhere you move, they don't just talk about him like a ballplayer. They talk about him like a person." That's Minnie, still connected to the Sox nearly 64 years after his debut on the South Side, hitting a center field homer on the first pitch of his first at bat, May 1, 1951. That, and an early season 14 game winning streak is what made me a Sox fan at age 6. Banks was more fortunate than Minnie, breaking the Cubs' color barrier two and a half years later at just 22. That gave him a full 19 years to pile up stats that got him a first ballot entry into the Hall of Fame. Minnie was 26 (or possibly 28) in his first full Sox season but he still was one of the best left fielders, hitters and base runners of his era for 15 years, 12 with the Sox.
Minnie is still swinging for the Hall fences, and striking out due to forces beyond his control.

If you attend Sox opening day you may see two Minnies; the statute erected in 2004 and the flesh and blood Minnie, the best goodwill ambassador a club could have. Come on Hall voters, put Minnie up their where he belongs  with his north side soul brother "Lets play two" Ernie.
 

Friday, January 23, 2015

GOP effort to recruit women legislators backfires

Oh, the slings and arrows of being the majority. Yesterday, all the fine ladies the GOP recruited to demonstrate the GOP is not at war with women went to war against House Speaker John Boehner and his fellow House misogynists. House GOP gals Jackie Walorski (IN) and Kristi Noem (SD) said 'NYET' to Boehner passing the GOP's signature anti-abortion legislation prohibiting abortions after 20 weeks. The bill did provide a bit of wiggle room for women impregnated by their rapist, but only if they promptly reported their rape to police. Waloski and Noem, unlike the anti-female Boehner Boys, understand that roughly two-thirds of such rapes are not reported, meaning roughly two-thirds of such unwanted pregnancies would be required to come to term, inflicting endless trauma on already traumatized rape victims. This utter waste of lawmakers time was moot from the start. Any passage of legislation limiting women's reproductive health has virtually no chance of Senate passage or surviving a wise presidential veto.

Speaker Boehner must rue the day he signed on to bringing those pesky ladies into the legislative process. 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Boehner invite to Netanyahu reckless; traitorous

In an extraordinary snub of presidential protocol, GOP House Speaker John Boehner played Chief Executive, inviting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address Congress February 11. The invite is designed to undermine President Obama's efforts to secure a nuclear agreement with Iran in which US will trade ending sanctions for a verified end to Iran's real or imagined atomic weapons aspirations. Boehner, doing the GOP neocon and warmongers' dirty work, seeks to both embarrass the President and generate a veto proof congressional majority should Obama veto their Iran deal sabotage of new sanctions even as delicate negotiations are nearing fruition. Boehner, his neocon buddies, including the munitions makers making billions peddling their wares to Israel and any nation paying the price, want no US-Iran deal. Nether does Netanyahu and his Likud Party. They want Iran crushed so Israel stands alone as the only Middle East hegemon. That is their agenda, not ours. We shouldn't enable it. The US war party, not having their bloodlust quenched after two failed Middle East wars, thinks nothing of the risk they put us sane and scared citizens through. At his State of the Union speech, Obama briefly touched on this momentous, indeed, cataclysmic issue, saying a negotiated deal would secure “America and our allies — including Israel, while avoiding yet another Middle East conflict.” Boehner should eyeball his paystub: it's signed by Uncle Sam; not 'Crush Iran Ben'.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Comprehension continues to elude Congressman Roskam


"Unfortunately, the speech we heard tonight reflects a president whose focus is squarely on a political legacy and not on the common-sense policies that will strengthen families, grow our economy, and build on the common ground we all have as Americans. Our country deserves so much better." - IL 6th District Congressman Peter Roskam, commenting on yesterday's State of the Union speech

The residents of the 6th District have the following questions for Congressman Roskam:
What part of 58 straight months of private sector job growth don't you comprehend?

What part of a two thirds cut in federal deficit don't you comprehend?
What part of a stock market doubling in value don't you comprehend?
What part of 10% unemployment falling under 6% don't you comprehend?
What part of a near halving of gasoline prices don't you comprehend?
What part of ten million folks getting their first health insurance don't you comprehend?
What part of the first major reduction in escalating health care costs don't you comprehend?
What part of 70% of America's gay families living under marriage equality don't you comprehend?

After two criminal wars and the most calamitous economic collapse since 1929, America finally got what it deserved. Sadly, the Illinois 6th is still waiting.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Roskam actually protecting Obamacare haters

My congressman Peter Roskam's constituent email titled 'Protecting our firefighters' would be better titled 'Protecting our Obamacare haters'. It is a typical Roskam non-story furthering his six year crusade to defeat, overturn, defund and now, finally, demonize the Affordable Care Act (ACA). This successful, indeed, transformational law is assisting tens of millions avoid bankruptcy, diminished health, even death. But in Roskam's warped world of governance, he feels compelled to give his anti-government Illinois 6th District base more anti-government red meat hate; and he never disappoints.

Some background. The ACA mandates organizations employing 50 or more full time people provide employer health insurance or face penalties. They must include anyone working 30 or more hours weekly as full time employees. These provisions are designed to keep employers from 'gaming the system' by dropping 40 hour per week employees to 30 hours in order to avoid ACA compliance. That is good. But since many fire department volunteer firefighters are already otherwise covered for healthcare, the IRS has wisely issued a rule exempting them from the 30 hour rule. But the GOP House Republicans, citing their endless fear of government, proposed a law in the last Congress and now this one, to codify that rule into law. It's strictly window dressing. There is no debate or issue involved. The current version, H.R. 33, passed 410 to 0. This is the basis for Roskam's inflammatory email. But since it's just window dressing, the Senate last year said "Fine, we'll pass it if you extend unemployment insurance extension to the two million long term unemployed." The House GOP said "No way", resulting in an unneeded bill having no chance of becoming law. But a typical Roskam 'low information' supporter simply reads Roskam's email as a principled attack on the ACA which he endlessly trumpets as horrible, big government overreach.

Those millions of folks being helped, even saved by the ACA, would be sacrificed in a heartbeat if Peter Roskam had the power to do so. That is not good governance. That is reprehensible.
 

Monday, January 19, 2015

Good Pope, Bad Pope Francis really bad in Philippines


Pope Francis has become a cult hero worldwide with his calls to alleviate poverty, shrink income disparity between the 'have much' and 'have little', and shame the greedy rich to grow up. That is why it is so painful to hear the Pope pandering to the world's dead end homophobes during his visit to the Philippines. His harmful comments bear repeating:

"The family is also threatened by growing efforts on the part of some ...to redefine the very institution of marriage." He warned that Philippine society was "tempted by confusing presentations of sexuality, marriage and the family. As you know, these realities are increasingly under attack from powerful forces which threaten to disfigure God's plan for creation and betray the very values which have inspired and shaped all that is best in your culture." He called gay marriage "ideological colonization that threatens the family." A week before his visit he lamented to Vatican diplomats about "legislation which benefits various forms of cohabitation rather than adequately supporting the family for the welfare of society as a whole." He claims gay marriage has " contributed to a widespread sense of the family as disposable."

Pope Francis is the coolest dude around when it comes to greed and poverty. But when he tries to play Ann Landers or Dear Abby with the human family, he'd be better served disposing of his prejudices by getting some serious counseling about human relationships and personal freedom.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Can't chop off Joe's head; already gone

When Tea Party Republican and emotionally unbalanced congressman (IL 8th) Joe Walsh lost his re-election bid to Tammy Duckworth in 2012, I thought we were done with him. Sadly, he landed a gig on local right wing radio where he's been spewing his hateful venom for several years now. This week he again made national headlines over his rhetorical lunacy when he called for the beheading by terrorists of CNN and MSNBC correspondents who refused to display scatological cartoons of Charlie Hebdo on their shows. Walsh is one person who never has to worry about being beheaded. He lost his years ago.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Sanguinetti auditioning for title role in 'The Invisible Woman'?


Back in July, I posted on the disappearing act of candidate Bruce Rauner's pick for Lt. Governor, Wheaton's very own, Evelyn Sanguinetti:
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Novice candidate for high office, Evelyn Sanguinetti, Republican Bruce Rauner's running mate for Lt. Governor, has a lot to learn about politics. In an interview for Hola America TV, Sanguinet...ti said she'd be Rauner's partner "and whenever he's not, I will be able to make decisions in his stead." The only problem with that statement is the Lt. Governor has no gubernatorial decision making powers. Then, Sanguinetti's Facebook profile page suddenly disappeared. One reason may be that Sanguinetti "liked" the movie '2016: Obama's America," a scorched earth irrational attack on President Obama. She also "liked" the page 'I will NOT vote for Obama in 2012' containing childish, gratuitously insulting posts about the president. Sanguinetti may already have worn out her welcome with the Rauner campaign which likely encouraged her to get off Facebook and gave her a crash course on the duties of the Lt. Governor. No such controversy surrounds Paul Vallas, Governor Quinn's running mate who has a long, distinguished and scandal free record of public service. We know Paul Vallas, and it's apparent that Evelyn Sanguinetti is no Paul Vallas.
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Turns out Sanguinetti never surfaced in the following 6 months. Here's what Daily Herald op ed writer Jim Slusher had to say this morning about Sanguinetti's disappearing act:

"At an inauguration event at the Old State Capitol Monday, Sanguinetti said she is not yet answering reporters' questions but will 'very soon'."
Slusher laments that Sanguinetti's reticence in discussing her being a heartbeat, or felony conviction away from the governorship, both troublesome and worrisome. He's also frets about the apparent fierce control that Rauner has shown throughout the campaign and now into his governorship.
He shouldn't worry. The fuss over Sanguinetti's disappearing act is simply Rauner's attempt at a core campaign theme: transparency. Apparently, in the case of Sanguinetti, it's invisibility.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

McCain writes himself wrong epitaph

One of the more distressing, even catastrophic results of the GOP Senate takeover is the elevation of Sen. John McCain to chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee. As overseer of the American military and the nation’s defense policy, McCain will have the ultimate Senate role in promoting a more bellicose foreign policy. And McCain loves bellicose and murderous military incursions, whether bombing innocents to smithereens from 35,000 feet, as he did in Vietnam in the 1960's, to cheerleading our failed and criminal Iraq war in 2003, that slaughtered hundreds of thousands including 4,489 GI's that he claims to revere. Friends don't let friends die in senselessÿ war.

Tragically, McCain never learned from his murderous mistakes. He loved the smell of death in Vietnam and never broke with the dead enders who consider it a noble war. He not only championed the Iraq war throughout, he calls it a victory, in part because he promoted the phony 'surge' which was nothing but a publicity stunt to prevent an American rout instead of the failed stalemate it became. That surge sentenced thousands more to needless death.  After Iraq, McCain has careened from one idiotic and murderous military incursion to another. He supported the bombing of Gadhafi's Libya, which killed thousands and turned that forlorn land into a failed state. He absolutely lusted to bomb Syria's Assad; then went ballistic when President Obama sensibly demurred. In a truly disgusting, even traitorous move, he sallied forth to Ukraine to foment illegal, immoral civil war against the elected government. He plans to use his new criminal war bully pulpit to demand sending arms the coup leaders' new government. He's demanding more troops on the ground in Iraq and Syria to counter the Islamic State gains there he is, in part, personally responsible for creating.

McCain is considered by millions of know-nothings as a patriotic hero. He glories in their adoration. At 78, and keenly aware of his approaching mortality, he's even written his own epitaph: "He served his country". In typical McCain fashion he's wrong again. More appropriate would be: "Don't mourn boys; bomb".

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Roskam to scientists: Don't advise Science Advisory Board


When visiting Illinois 6th District schools, my congressman Peter Roskam loves to inspire impressionable students to serve government and society with their youth and idealism. You can do anything you want with the right spirit and motivation, he opines. What Roskam doesn't tell them is that if they want to combat global warming, which he adheres to the GOP playbook that it's a hoax, they better not study science. That's because Roskam voted with 224 other Republican House members to pass HR 1422, The EPA Science Advisory Reform Act of 2014. The SAB advises the EPA on environmental issues from a scientific standpoint. Least you think the 'reform' portion of the bill will strengthen the SAB and improve efforts to save the planet, think again.

HR 1422 should be retitled The EPA Science Advisory Board Emasculation Act of 2014. It REDUCES the influence of scientists while INCREASING the influence of fossil fuel company employees in advising the EPA. Yet the Board's only reason for existing is dissemination of science, not fossil fuel industry lobbying for less regulation of the industry destroying our planet for short term wealth. This disgraceful bit of anti environmentalism is underwritten and championed by the guys with the money to buy congressman to do their dirty work.

House Democrats got it mostly right: 190 of 194 voted for science and trying to keep Mother Earth alive a bit longer. The House GOP assault on science has no chance of becoming law with a president committed to environmental sanity. But all Illinois Sixth District school administrators should take note. Congressman Peter Roskam has no place defiling your sacred places of learning drumming up future votes based on false claims he's truly interested on making the world better for their generation

Monday, January 12, 2015

Rauner begins trek up Brownback Mountain to Illinois fiscal cliff

When billionaire Bruce Rauner decided to buy the Illinois governorship last February, he looked westward for inspiration. Sadly, for Illinois, he didn't look far enough.

Rauner's gaze beheld Brownback Mountain, a.k.a. Kansas, governed by Sam Brownback, the most fiscally irresponsible governor in America. In 2012, to ensure his re-election two years hence, Brownback cut taxes on small businesses and partnerships, to zero. That's right, not one red state cent. "Tax revenue will actually rise", cried Brownback. That reminds me of the parable where Jesus used a couple of fishes and loaves of bread to feed the multitude. Two years on Kansas is broke and in violation of its balanced budget law. Brownback's solution? Borrow money from public employee pension funds. If that don't work, take more from health and environment, at a time when a Kansas court chided Brownback for already underfunding K through 12 education.

Rauner's Illinois version of Brownback Mountain consisted of eyeing the $6 billion Illinois budget shortfall and promising cutting personal and corporate taxes by a total of $6 billion. That has a nice ring to it, doesn't it. And further channeling his new mentor on Brownback Mountain, or maybe it was Jesus, Rauner promised to increase funding for education and other critical services.

Today, when Bruce Rauner ascends to the Illinois governorship, he should rue the day he stopped his westward gaze at Brownback Mountain. He should have extended his vision to California where another Governor Brown, as in Jerry, closed a $25 billion budget deficit in 2010, with sensible spending cuts and tax increases.

Fasten your seat belts, Illinoisans. We may be seeing a replay of Brownback Mountain turning into Brokeback Mountain.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Hell patrolled by Fearsome Phyllis

One version of Hell, possibly worse than eternal fire, would consist of endless bombardment of commentary from self loathing woman Phyllis Schlafly. The nonagenarian ultra conservative gadfly, famously associated with opposing the Equal Rights Amendment, preferring instead keeping her sex barefoot and pregnant, weighed in on the issue of campus sexual assault. Her fix: reduce the number of women in college. Too much temptation for the dwindling minority of oversexed males attending class with more opportunities than their youthful libidos can comprehend. Schlafly, highly educated in the era of male domination, laments that male percentage of college students has dropped from 70% in her day to under 50% today. Schlafly wants quotas on women enrollees or end of loans for tuition. She claims if we force women to work throughout college to pay the fare, they won't have time to attend those lascivious fraternity parties. 
 
While I don't know which elevator ride I'm taking on Judgment Day, If I get on the wrong one I'll start praying it won't be presided over by Fearsome Phyllis.

Friday, January 09, 2015

'Getting people killed' irony lost on warmonger Graham

   

Sen. Lindsay Graham (Rep. SC) leaped to the pinnacle of neocon fear and warmongering in the Senate with his linking of President Obama to any anti West attacks such as the Charlie Hebdo massacre in France. Charging Obama is "getting people killed" by not declaring we are in a "religious war" with Islam, pulling out of Iraq and Afghanistan, and working to close the US gulag in Guantanamo, Graham is oblivious of this ghoulish irony. It's Graham, with his fevered support of every senseless and lost US Middle East war that is getting people killed, in a multiple of many thousands of the 12 killed in Paris. In Graham's twisted world view, Obama is taking these actions simply to fulfill a campaign promises rather than to protect America by reducing America's self destructive and murderous incursions in the Muslim world. Graham shamelessly travels to Israel to promote Israel's foreign policy, including periodic 'mowing the lawn' atrocities in Gaza, over the interests of the United States. Graham's delusional plan to prevent future Charlie Hebdo massacres is more billions for our already obscene military spending and embarking on a killing spree of suspected bad guys, including more outright war.
 
If Sen. Graham wants to better protect America and further the cause of peace, he should resign from the Senate...today.

Thursday, January 08, 2015

White privilege and the Al Sharpton straw man

Kathleen Parker's op-ed "Al Sharpton and the narrative of bias" (Washington Post, January 6), uses false equivalencies and intellectual laziness to completely mis-characterize the current racial divide regarding racial profiling and excessive policing in minority communities. She starts off by comparing the police using excessive force to kill unarmed blacks with Al Sharpton's entire persona as a political activist working on beha...lf of the black community to stop such conduct. Everything she says is either false or so exaggerated it completely discredits her entire theme. Calling him a "mere street agitator" who became a "disruptive celebrity" is gratuitous and unhelpful name calling. She goes on to say "he has arguably contributed to more harm than good. He creates a problem, then zooms in to save the day," without a word of substantiation. Incredibly, she implies he's partly responsible for the murder of two NY cops: " You do not get to stir the pot until it boils over and then say, 'Hey, whoa, I didn't say to turn up the heat that much. Simmer down'."

The problem with every one of these statements and characterizations is that they are not true. I've been listening to Sharpton's MSNBC show 'PoliticsNation' for years now and have been inspired how he's effectively channeled the anguish of the black community over the Trevon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner and Tamir Rice killings into a positive mass movement for legitimate and substantive change in minority policing. He's doesn't race-bait or mis-characterize police, being careful and specific of the need to improve policing with body cameras, better training and weeding out both intellectually and mentally unfit officers, just of small number of which cause the most egregious damage in minority communities. He's also called on white America to re-examine and eliminate institutional racism which, for example, caused the NY police to make 5 million stop and frisk incidents since 2002, most of which occur in minority communities involving over 90% completely innocent people. Parker assumes the entire policing problem experienced by minorities is over because NY Mayor di Blasio ended 'Stop and Frisk.' That shows Parker is still imprisoned in 'white privilege' which assumes there would be no minority police problems if those folks would just behave.

For her transgressions, Parker should be sentenced to one month of home confinement, but just weekdays between 6:00 and 7:00 PM EST. And she must turn on the telly to MSNBC to hear the real Rev. Al, not the disgraceful caricature she foisted on the public from her white privilege perch at the Washington Post.

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

If it's tip of iceberg, Illinois is the Titanic

Every Illinoisan should know about and be concerned that two weeks prior to his inauguration, Bruce Rauner has established a $20 million war chest to 'influence' the legislature to pass Rauner's agenda. His predecessor Pat Quinn would probably have been lucky to scrape together $20 to influence legislation during his 6 year tenure. Rauner parted with $10 million of his own 'walkin around' money to start the fund. Another $8 million came from hedge-fund fellow billionaire Ken Griffin, with the final $2 million from GOP rainmaker Dick Uihlein.
The aforementioned Rauner insider remarked how Rauner's $20 million iceberg tip is going to morph into a glacier. "It's the first in a series, part of a multipronged effort in which other funding vehicles will be formed."

If anyone thought that Rauner's $21 million personal fortune spending spree to get elected ends his money trail to power, they are sadly mistaken. Those of us used to a middle class 'Grabowski' like Pat Quinn doing the hard work serving the entire public, will have to get used to an oligarch 'Rockefeller' like Bruce Rauner buying his way to governance for the rich and famous of Illinois.
I'm a little skittish about the upcoming Rauner inauguration five days hence. Sorta reminds me of the inaugural voyage of a really big ship 103 years ago. Let's all keep a sharp watch for those financial icebergs.

Monday, January 05, 2015

Long run OK for Rauner; not for Illinois

Regarding the Illinois financial crisis facing Governor Elect Bruce Rauner, former governor and Rauner transition advisor Jim Edger made this truly disingenuous statement:

"I'm amazed he was able to say as little and promise as little and get elected."

Nobody should be amazed that Rauner won by running a fraudulent campaign based on tax cuts for every individual and corporation, including the wealthy ones, while critical departments like Corrections and Human Services are already running out of money. When pressed, Rauner offered no specifics, just the need to trust a billionaire who made his fortune, in part, by gaming the tax laws to his advantage at the expense of the public. Now Rauner is the public but he's not changed his spots on iota. He's suddenly shocked, shocked that the state's financial condition is worse than he realized during the campaign.

But Edgar did get one thing right when he said, "Doomsday's coming, we do not have a printing press."

Outgoing Governor Quinn ran a principled campaign based on spending cuts, tax increases, paying down the pension deficit, paying state vendors more quickly and maintaining essential services.

We know how Bruce Rauner made his billion. We have no idea how he's going to salvage Illinois based on tax cuts for everyone which will double our debt while critical agencies run out of money. His final take is simply: "I ain't perfect. I fail sometimes. But you know what? In the long run I don't fail." That may work for Bruce Rauner's long run but not for Illinois. The state doesn't have one. 

Sunday, January 04, 2015

Congressman Roskam, take down this website


If Illinois Sixth District residents want to know the important issues facing the district, state, nation and the world, they won't find it at www.roskam.house.gov. Peruse the title page and just shake your head that a five term congressman has the audacity to foist such nonsense and self-serving fluff on his constituents.

The page is composed of two sections. The first is a rotating group of three pop ups that one would surmise de...al with really important issues like racial profiling, global warming, immigration reform, end to our Afghan disaster or how to continue our 57 straight months of private sector job growth. No, two to the three concern Roskam's six year long vendetta to prevent, overturn or defund the Affordable Care Act, a transformational law which is giving hope, even life itself to forty million Americans absent from Roskam's congressional radar. The third concerns the earthshaking issue of encouraging drug manufacturers to fight Superbugs, assuming drug companies won't leave any money pit undug in their efforts to rake in more countless billions in exorbitant profits.

The second section consists of four topics, three of which are bizarre: Roskam welcoming a new fellow GOP co-chair to the House Republican Israel Caucus; Roskam welcoming new co-chairs to the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans; and Roskam's efforts to prevent funding to control the spread of Asian Carp from Lake Michigan. Woopie-doo! The fourth grapples with a serious, momentous issue: President Obama's normalization of diplomatic relations with Cuba. Roskam's un-thoughtful take? "It's a dangerous mistake."

Last month the Congressman visited a fifth grade class at Indian Knoll School in West Chicago, to discuss the importance of political involvement. Maybe a good political exercise for the ten year olds would have been to design a congressional website that would enlighten, rather than insult the electorate. If one of the students would have submitted Roskam's home page, the red pen would be whipped out in an instant to write a big F... for fraudulent.

Win Seat in House; score free trip to Israel


Ever wonder why the US Congress does nothing to assist the Palestinians from getting out from under Israeli suppression and obtain a homeland? One answer lies in the "Free trip to Israel" program for freshmen Congressmen, often accompanied by veteran lawmakers desiring lavish chaperone duties. Every August the American Israel Political Action Committee (AIPAC) and its front organization, the American Israel Education Foundation (A...IEF) pops for a $10,000 freebee trip for impressionable congressmen, making Israel the No. 1 destination for Congressional 'newbies' and their congressional guides:

•112th Congress 126
•113th Congress 128

That is nearly 30% of the entire House delegation. I don't know which land ranks second but it's certainly not the world's largest open air prison in Gaza. The total going to that forsaken, bomb devastated piece of real estate the Congressmen are influenced to maintain is probably zero. Another benefit to Israel is it helps grease the annual $3 billion giveaway Congress gifts Israel, one of the worlds more prosperous economies, so they can keep buying American firepower. What they use it for is immaterial as long as they keep the munitions makers making more money.

How 'bout in the interest of fairness, Congress passes a rule that any Congressman taking such a perk be required to embark on a weekend fact finding trip to Gaza. We should even have Congress pay for it. Why put a financial burden on folks getting by with just a quarter million dollar annual pay and benefit package?

Yogi has final say on US summary of Afghan disaster


"Thanks to the extraordinary sacrifices of our men and women in uniform, our combat mission in Afghanistan is ending, and the longest war in American history is coming to a responsible conclusion… We are safer, and our nation is more secure, because of their service. [We] have helped the Afghan people reclaim their communities, take the lead for their own security, hold historic elections and complete the first democratic transfer of power in their country’s history.”
- President Obama from his Hawaiian vacation hideaway this week

"The American hand-over event in Kabul was a 'defeat ceremony'...we will fight until there is not one foreign soldier on Afghan soil and we have established an Islamic state.”
- Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid

With 10,000 US troops still in harm's way trying to prevent the inevitable, the 'official' war end total of 2,356 dead GI's is certain to rise, and additional billions will be squandered. The president and the war party should heed the words of one Lawrence 'Yogi' Berra: "It ain't over till it's over."

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Scalise a product of Nixon's 'Southern Strategy'


I love history. It helps you connect the dots interwoven in today's headlines. Take the dot of LA Representative Steve Scalise. Few outside of Louisiana ever heard of him till GOP House leaders elevated him to GOP House Whip, beating out my own Congressman Peter Roskam. They determined that the Southern red states needed some GOP clout in a Congress dominated by leaders from everywhere else, even though the South is redder than the Communist Party. So they plucked Scalise out of obscurity and voila, Scalise is handed the GOP House whip.
Now the GOP, comically trying to reach out to minority communities, must spin away Scalise's state legislature days when he spoke before a white supremacist group headed by former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke and voted against the Martin Luther King holiday in Louisiana. There's more. Scalise bonded with Duke's ultra conservative views, stating in 1999 he shared many of them, before lamenting Duke is not electable as a public official. “The novelty of David Duke has worn off. The voters in this district are smart enough to realize that they need to get behind someone who not only believes in the issues they care about, but also can get elected. Duke has proven that he can’t get elected, and that’s the first and most important thing.” Not a hint about Duke's virulent racism in that lament. Just yesterday, Duke told the press to lay off his buddy Scalise saying "Why is Scalise being singled out? I don’t know. If Scalise is going to be crucified, if Republicans want to throw Steve Scalise to the woods, then a lot of them better be looking over their shoulders.” Duke implied that he would reveal his ties to any politicians who attack Scalise.

But the thread to understanding Scalise's flirtation with KKK Man Duke goes all the way back to 1964 when Southern bred President Lyndon Johnson sheparded the Civil Rights Act though a Congress dominated by solid Democratic Southern racists. Amid the jubilation Johnson lamented that his efforts on behalf of racial desegregation would cost the Democratic Party the South for 50 years. Richard Nixon, adrift in the political wilderness, concocted a plan to capture the presidency by converting those disgruntled Southern whites to the GOP. His infamous 'Southern Strategy' worked and here we are in year 51 of the Solid Republican South with no end in sight.

And one of those converts was Louisiana's Steve Scalise, who spent his formative years in Louisiana playing up to the likes of David Duke. I share the prevailing view that Scalise doesn't have a racist bone in his body. But he surely has a skeleton full of cynical political bones which told him years before he ever could conceive of a national stage, that it was in his interests to govern only to the white majority in his district. Now on that national stage, Scalise is desperately trying to erase the dots that connect him to Nixon's Southern Strategy, one of the sorrier chapters in our long and twisted racial history.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Giuliani stirs racial divide on 'Face The Nation'


On 'Face The Nation' Sunday, NYC Police Commissioner Bill Brattan gave a finely nuanced examination of the racial divide over minority protests of police profiling, balancing the need to end excessive force and improve community policing, while wholeheartedly supporting the police. Sadly, host Major Garrett then turned the mike over to former mayor Rudy Giuliani, who stoked the racial divide with a grin and a gleam in his eye... with this nugget of hate:
"We've had four months of propaganda starting with the president that everybody should hate the police."

Rampaging Rudy then launched a five minute tirade against President Obama and NYC mayor Bill di Blasio, claiming America's racial problem stems from their involvement with support for police reform and peaceful protest. Giuliani's worldview never even hints of a problem the minority community might have with excessive police force and senseless deaths of unarmed men, some due to incompetence and/or malice. Giuliani then raised the stakes by demanding over and over that Mayor di Blasio apologize to NYC police for "appearing" to support the protesters over the police. I listened to di Blasio's compassionate speech after the Grand Jury decision not to indict police in the choking death of Eric Garner, in which he movingly reached out to the minority community, invoking the fear he bears over the safety of his bi-racial son, without a scintilla of disrespect for police. His remarks were couched around the concept of reform that can legitimately be advanced by peaceful involvement in the public debate. It's quite possible de Blasio's words and deeds did much to prevent New York from experiencing the violent protests that marred the Ferguson, MO. Grand Jury decision, made in the dead of night by a tone deaf prosecuting attorney. When host Garrett thanked him for appearing, Giuliani, in his version of tone deafness, laughed.

Every time Giuliani made one of his inflammatory, unhelpful remarks, host Garrett could only utter "Interesting." It would have been more appropriate for him to respond, "Disgusting." Better yet, 'Face The Nation' and every other responsible media outlet should let Giuliani spew his hate only in private.

Monday, December 29, 2014

A dubious replacement


GOP House leadership may regret replacing my Congressman Peter Roskam with Louisiana Congressman Steve Scalise as GOP House Whip after news surfaced Scalise spoke at an international conference of the European-American Unity and Rights Organization headed by Nazi and former Klan leader David Duke. Scalise's office hedged on confirming the report but finally fessed up. Boy did they spin this confirmation like a ...top claiming Scalise was merely promoting his efforts to slash taxes on middle class families. As further evidence Scalise is unfit to be a House GOP leader, two years after speaking before the white supremacist group, Scalise was one of only a handful of Louisiana lawmakers to vote against the creation of a Martin Luther King Day.

Congressman Pete may not have done much, if anything, to promote racial understanding during his first 8 years in Congress as there aren't enough minorities in his district to spur his interest. But I'm pretty sure he's passed on speaking before white hate groups and never opposed the creation of Martin Luther King Day. The Republican clown car heading toward racial inclusion just blew an engine. We all knew Rep. Scalise was way out on the far right. Looks like he just fell over the edge.


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George W. learned senseless war at feet of Poppy Bush

Last week we celebrated, mourned would be a better term, the 25th anniversary of Operation Just Cause, President George H.W. Bush's war against Panama to capture President Manuel Noriega. Bush the Elder claimed a glorious victory with only 20 dead GI's and about 500 combatants. While the US admitted several hundred civilians died as well, Human Rights Watch puts the civilian death toll in the thousands noting the US erased mention of massive bombing in the poor Panama City barrio El Chorrillo that wiped out 4,000 homes along with many of their residents.

It took just 14 days to capture Noriega, a secret CIA asset in the Cold War against Communist influence in Latin America. Manual made the mistake of running a little drug ring on the side so he had to go. What a better way to celebrate the collapse of the Soviet Union earlier in that momentous year of 1989 then by re-asserting American bully-boy might against a helpless target. With future Iraq war architect Dick Cheney serving as Bush Sr's Defense Secretary and Iraq war enabler Colin Powell his Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Operation Just Cause was an early training ground for Shock And Awe 14 years later.

And watching from the sidelines was a failed 43 year old oil executive using Poppy's money and influence to buy into the Texas Rangers to make the Big Leagues, figuratively as well as literally. The glow is easy conquest with thousands of deaths and no consequences was not lost on George the Son. He didn't just wake up on January 20, 2001, and decide to become a warmonger. He was just following a family tradition.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Unarmed civilian, police deaths still zero sum game to some‏



It's both surprising and dismaying to me how so many folks in my social circle view the current racial divide regarding policing minority communities as a zero sum game. In their mindset, there is only one issue: unarmed folks wouldn't die if only they obeyed the cops. They will never admit there is a problem of racial profiling and overuse of excessive force, whether a filicide of bullets into an unarmed man or applying a deadly chokehold on a unlicensed street vendor. They will never admit a cop should be prosecuted for such deaths, even when the death arises from incompetence or malice. They attribute police deaths at the hands of a mentally disturbed person to the protesters or the president or the mayor or the attorney general, some even shamelessly claiming these leaders are fomenting a new race war.
 
It's the old 'zero sum game whereby anything admitted to regarding the problems of the ghetto, from massive unemployment in an otherwise growing economy to overzealous police stopping and sometimes killing unarmed citizens, is seen as further diminishing the diminishing white majority. That is tragic because it only delays the solving of institutional problems that lead to senseless deaths, now including police as well as unarmed citizens.
 
Having contributed in a small but invigorating way to achieve full civil rights for blacks and other minorities for over half a century, I've found such work no zero sum game. Every advancement in full citizenship for others, whether due to skin color, religious / non religious affiliation, or sexual orientation improves the citizenship of everyone. Those too blind to see this reality sadly continue to figuratively bang their heads against the wall hoping reality will go away.

Friday, December 26, 2014

The real hacking story of 2014

For Bush era torturers within both the administration and the CIA , the Sony hacking story couldn't have come at a better time. Just when we were having a long overdue discussion of the need to prosecute the torturers and their bosses and enablers, mainstream media got bored; turning instead to a hacked movie company and their cowardly cancellation of a movie to divert the public from real news. Now every American knows not only Sony was hacked, they know the US pinned the blame on North Korea and likely hacked them back without revealing the proof. But they likely don't know that many, if not most computer hacking experts doubt the government version since their reasoning doesn't fit the black white, case closed narrative preferred by the media. They also likely don't know the biggest hacking story of the year is the CIA hacking into Senate investigators' computers in an effort to derail the Senate's expose of CIA and Bush administration torture activities. The government loves the help the media gives them to cover up truly heinous conduct by providing the public with bread and circuses instead of substance.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Rumors of Dow's death greatly exaggerated


In 2009, the Wall Street Journal opined that Obama radicalism was killing the Dow
Today, December 23, 2014, the Dow expired at 18,024.17.

R.I.P. Wall Street Journal delusion.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Germany's turn to spin wheels of war crime justice


Back in 1946, the US spearheaded the charging of German WWII leaders for war crimes. Many were imprisoned and some executed. The International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg called the waging of aggressive war "essentially an evil thing...to initiate a war of aggression...is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime, differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.

Sixty-eight years later it's Germany spearheading to effort to have US leaders charged with war crimes. The Berlin based European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights, has begun the process of indicting members of the Bush Administration by filing criminal complaints against the architects of the Administration's torture program. Wolfgang Kaleck, the general secretary of the group argues: “By investigating members of the Bush administration, Germany can help to ensure that those responsible for abduction, abuse and illegal detention do not go unpunished.”

Germany is taking the lead because one of its citizens, Khalid El-Masri was pulled off of a bus in Macedonia by US government agents, sodomized with a drug, and taken to the secret base that was identified only as Cobalt in the CIA torture report. Not only was El-Masri illegally tortured, he was a victim of mistaken identity. After four months the US learned of the mistaken identity but continued to hold him while deciding how to explain their boo-boo. Afterwards, they released him, dropping him off somewhere to resume his life. El-Masri's captures' last words were likely, "EXCUUUUUSE US!."
Bush and his war criminal buddies will not only likely not be prosecuted, they'll live out their resplendent lives in mega million dollar luxury, making more millions writing self serving memoirs, and in the case of Dick Cheney, bleating on TV that the torture report was a "bunch of crap.'

But should Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld or Rice slip up and travel to a country like Germany that learned its lesson and now follows international law, they might find themselves wearing pinstripes while opening up their wallets to hire a good war crimes lawyer.

Monday, December 22, 2014

UPS, Fed Ex, still playing catch up with United States Postal Service over Christmas rush.



The seven figure salaried mucky-mucks at UPS and Fed Ex have opened up their wallets a little wider this year trying to avoid the melt down they experienced last year in the frost and snow. In two words they 'blew it' last year, playing the Billionaires that bashed Christmas while the USPS quietly went about their 24/7/365 job providing Chevrolet service at Chevrolet prices. At UPS and... Fed Ex it was Cadillac prices for Yugo service last Yuletide. This year they've added over 50,000 seasonal workers and poured billions in infrastructure to avoid delivering presents days after Santa hit the Caribbean for a well earned rest. Over at the Postal Service it business as usual. Their only worry is survival from the Congressional lackeys trying to destroy the USPS on behalf of the Wolves of Wall street.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Lame Duck?

President Obama is shattering the lame duck albatross normally associated with a two-term president's last two years. China climate control pact, end of auto bailout with a $15 billion profit, engaging Cuba, ending draconian demonization of undocumented; US now No. 1 producer of oil and natural gas, 57 straight months of private sector job growth (11 million jobs), ending criminal Afghan combat, 10 million hopeless with new hope and health care, confronting police profiling and racial injustice head on; and on and on. All that quacking you hear is from the Republicans in Congress fighting amongst themselves over this stunning record of accomplishment.