Saturday, November 22, 2014

COD President, Board of Trustees joined at hip in spending scandal

Memo to College of DuPage President Robert Breuder and his supporters on the Board of Trustees:

The spending and state funding aide scandal will not go away because you are tired of hearing about it. You can't will it away. You can't shout it away. You can't sanction away a critical Board member from exposing it. You cannot claim it's a vast, right wing conspiracy of made up lies. You can't justify thousands of dollars in lunches and parties at a fake college restaurant by saying it's a good "bonding" experience and that the thousands of dollars are a pittance of the $186 million operating budget. You can't make the criticism go away by charging your critics are destroying a "treasure." The treasure is the dedicated faculty and the striving students.

The time has come for the Board to address serious allegations of hidden payments to no bid vendors. The time has come for the Board to address obscene remuneration and "extras" you've lavished on President Breuder and also address the "extras" he has lavished on you. The COD's Faculty Association's "No Confidence" vote needs to be addressed forthrightly instead of the Board pretending it wasn't issued months ago.

If President Breuder is unwilling to do the right thing and fade into retirement, and the Board is unwilling to do their duty to fully and fairly investigate the charges swirling around COD and publicized throughout the nation, then step aside and allow this long overdue due diligence be completed by an impartial authority.

21st Century McCarthyites charge 'socialist' instead of 'communist'

The election of Barack Obama did wonders to resurrect soft McCarthyism in our political discourse. While the majority of Obama's critics weren't even around sixty-five years ago when Senator Joe McCarthy started charging that just about anyone who disagreed with his political views was a communist, they have somehow internalized the Master's Voice when it comes to criticizing anyone who supports Obama's economic and social policies as being a 'socialist'. Even before his election, the right began calling Obama, his supporters and his vision for a fairer, more inclusive society, socialistic. They do so with no shame that they are mis-using this word to poison the political discourse. Call the president a socialist, call his policies socialistic and denigrate any of his supporters as fellow traveler socialists and you don't have to construct sensible, reasoned arguments to support your position. Those folks have no position other than fear and loathing. If they are the affluent, they use the socialist charge to further their goal continuing the greatest redistribution of wealth to the affluent from everyone else. If they are affluent wannabes, they latch onto the socialist charge to prevent passage and implementation of any policies, whether the Affordable Care Act, raising the minimum wage or immigration reform, which don't further their endless quest to join that exalted status.

The folks who bandy about the socialist charge to further their political agenda are reprehensible. They may not be causing any of their targets to lose their job or commit suicide as the victims of Senator McCarthy's 'communist' charge experienced. But the corrosive effect they have on the public debate is destructive of a democracy which requires truth and decency and compassion to solve the momentous problems that confront us.

Friday, November 21, 2014

It's not over, President Breuder

College of DuPage President Robert Breuder had this to say about months long charges about his lavish spending, and cynical politicking which prompted the state to cancel a $20 million building grant recently:

 "I think the time of the rhetoric is over. If you got something that you want to accuse the college of, accuse us and be done with it and then be prepared for the response to it. But you can't go on forever and ever just simply inferring, implying, suggesting, making comments that are full of misrepresentation of the facts, incomplete understanding of the facts. I mean, the time of just simply going up here and engaging in a plethora of rhetoric is over."

Those remarks are breathtaking in their arrogance of the serious charges being leveled at Breuder's conduct by the COD Faculty Association, several governmental watchdog groups, and now, because of those principled revelations, the COD community. Essentially, what Breuder is saying, is "There is nothing here so shut up and move on." Breuder can say that because his employer, the COD Board of Trustees, is failing to exercise their oversight responsibility to investigate the COD Faculty Association's "No Confidence Vote" and the substantial and serious charges of financial mismanagement.  Since Board members are the recipient of some of the alleged financial mismanagement, they have lost their credibility to properly exercise their oversight responsibility.

It is time for an impartial, outside source to investigate the avalanche of charges regarding President Breuder's COD governance. It is time for the COD Faculty's No Confidence Vote to be properly aired and resolved. And President Breuder should understand the wisdom of one Laurence "Yogi" Berra, not highly educated in college, but a genius in street smarts when he offered: "It ain't over till it's over."

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Obama to Boehner: "You are irrelevant"

On June 27, 2013, the Senate approved the bi-partisan Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013. The bill will save many millions by offering a path to citizenship which will stop the wasteful deportation of most law abiding undocumented who contribute substantially to our economy. The bill was put together by the Obama Administration, Senators, business groups, labor unions, agricultural interests... and immigration advocates. Besides offering a path to citizenship, the bill will implement innovative temporary workers' programs, increase critically needed vises to skilled workers and create a nationwide employer eligibility verification program.

In the 505 days since, GOP House Speaker John Boehner has refused to even consider debating and taking a vote on the Senate bill for one simple reason: He knows this sensible, bi-partisan Senate bill will pass the House and become law. Boehner, and his Republican cabal of obstructionists, will never give President Obama an accomplishment regardless of how many billions it will save, how many families it will stop being shattered by senseless deportation, and how much refusal to address the immigration problem distracts America from solving other serious problems.

But tonight the president will bypass the House obstructionists and announce executive action which will implement some of the proposed law's benefits, especially the end of deportation of millions of law abiding undocumented residents. In so doing, President Obama will be invoking his executive powers to do public good, and to right a wrong being done to the millions of folks who are improving the American Dream for the rest of us while they seek it for themselves. One has to go back sixty-four years ago to President Truman's 1948 Executive Order 9981, which desegregated the military, to find presidential action as monumental.

And in taking the action the president will announce tonight, he will subliminally be saying to Speaker Boehner and his minions motivated solely by fear and loathing, "Mr. Speaker, you are irrelevant."

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Keystone XL veto pushed back to next year

It was a symbolic but still significant victory for Mother Earth when the Senate failed to pass the Keystone XL Pipeline Bill yesterday. Two Senate Independents joined 39 Democrats to deny the GOP from sending a bill to President Obama which he would likely veto. Keystone failed by ONE VOTE. The pipeline, a 34 inch wide, 1,700 assault on America's fragile substructure, designed to carry 800,000 gallons a day of Canada's dirtiest crude oil underneath the Heartland, is an environmental abomination that must be stopped. Sadly, it has been become a Republican and fossil fuel industry symbol in their effort to discredit and undermine the Obama Administration's effort to transition from toxic fossil fuel to renewable energy. To them, short term political and financial interest trumps sane long term survival of the planet every time.

This gives us a two month window to shore up Democratic and public opinion to support the looming veto when the 2015 Republican Senate majority finally passes the bill. Especially important is pealing off some of the 14 misguided Democratic senators who sided with every Republican to authorize the pipeline. If we can just keep all but five of our likely 46 member coalition of Democrats and Independents to vote for environmental sanity next January, Obama's veto will not be needed. If not, then his vetoing Keystone XL will be one of the more significant actions of his presidency.  

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Outside investigation needed in College of DuPage spending scandal

It's clear from recent revelations detaining spending sprees and lavish entertainment College of DuPage President Robert Breuder has bestowed upon his administrators and Board Trustees, that an outside investigation is required. These spending shenanigans only came to light due to diligent investigation by community watchdog Adam Andrzejewski, head of The story real gained traction after the recent bombshell that Governor Quinn cancelled a $20 million state grant to COD after learning of President Bueuder's cynical manipulation to free up the money using dubious politicking. The COD Board has lost its credibility among many concerned residents of the COD community to exercise proper oversight. Andrzejewski's recent revelations of lavish spending by Breuder to wine and dine the trustees at COD's money losing gourmet restaurant, and efforts by Breuder and the Board to sanction Kathy Hamilton, the one Board member willing to go public with her concerns about fiscal mismanagement by Breuder and the Board, makes an impartial, outside investigation imperative. When the subordinate, President Breuder, has access to unduly influence his bosses, the Board Trustees, then the students, the parents, the taxpayers, the community all pay the fare.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Waterleaf renamed: Now it's 'Breuder's Banquet'

OK, the College of DuPage's money losing gourmet restaurant Waterleaf (a half million big ones in 2012) hasn't been renamed Breuder's Banquet yet, but it should be.

COD President Robert Breuder deserves kudos (or maybe it's a pink slip) for trying mightily to keep Waterleaf afloat (pun intended) by lavishing Waterleaf's fine food and fine liquor on his administrators, his bosses (the COD trustees), and himself. In a five day pe...riod last December alone, Breuder spent $9,255 on Christmas lunches, dinners and parties for his management team and Board of Trustees. He also spent $10,466 on nine other Board of Trustees dinners and he personally benefited by reimbursement $10,864 for "meals and alcohol," and racked up $1,429 for 14 nights at the upscale campus hotel he got the Board to approve constructing.

When Breuder takes the Board and his team out for eats at Waterleaf, it's truly a banquet: crab cakes, Carpaccio, duck, salmon, Bavarian cake, filet mignon, toffee pudding sorbets, bread pudding, potato puree, chicken mousse, halibut, steak salad and much more. I've gained weight just listing all those yummies.

We don't know if 2013 will see Breuder's Banquet; oops, Waterleaf, show another half million dollar loss as it did in 2012. But if it does, at least President Breuder can say, "I tried."

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Take this, Mother Earth

It only took 10 days after his re-election for Congressman Peter Roskam (IL-6) to poke a stick in Mother Earth's eye. Actually, the stick was a 1,700 mile, 34 inch wide pipeline, and the eye was Mother's fragile substructure containing one of America's most valuable aquifers. The deed was done November 14 when Roskam joined every one of the other 220 voting House Republicans to approve HR 5682, authorizing... the Keystone XL pipeline. If passed it will carry the dirtiest fossil fuel extant across America from Canada to the Gulf Coast. Most Democrats, 161 of 192 (84%) voted responsibly to decline sanctifying further destruction of our one and only home. 
You'll never hear Roskam deny global warming; he's too slick for that. But he'll vote with the Drill, Baby Drill crowd every time because fossil fuel development, with its ultimate earthly destruction, is a core Republican principle.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Beebe grants a freebee

"Hi Pops. I am asking for a second chance at life. I am asking for a second chance to be the man that I know that I can be,"

With those words, Kyle Beebe, son of Arkansas Governor, Mike, asked for a pardon from dear ol' dad for a marijuana conviction eleven years ago. The governor conveniently has pardon power in his gubernatorial tool kit. And Pops Beebe granted the pardon saying, "All of the families that go through that. It's tough on the families, but hopefully the kids learn."

Isn't that special? Actually, we should pardon every single one of millions of folks who have a marijuana conviction and their record and are not otherwise lawbreakers or seriously anti social. Unfortunately, the disastrous War On Drugs has snared and ruined the lives of millions of otherwise decent folks and cost untold billions trying to stamp out recreational (and medicinal) consumption of a relatively harmless plant. Alas, a disproportionate number of them are minorities, poor, or the marginalized, and not related to politicians in high places.

How 'bout a "Kyle Beebe Law" to implement that policy faster than you can say, "Son, you're pardoned. Have a good life"

Friday, November 14, 2014

My favorite election story

As a glass half full (or maybe just a quarter) guy, I'm focused on positives from Tuesday's election rather than the negatives. Minimum wage increases were supported in a number of states. Several governmental bodies voted down fracking. We saw a doubling from two to four in the number of states allowing recreational use of marijuana. We also realized, in the starkest terms possible, the price of staying home on election day, regardless of the reason. So my favorite election day story concerns that issue; voter participation.

My mostly retired tennis buddies and I retire after every fierce two hour doubles match to the local coffee shop for caffeine and conversation. Much of our gabfest concerns politics. One of our group is just 46 and not yet retired. He also has neither voted nor even registered to vote. I would gently chide him about his voter status and offer to register him in my capacity as a voter registrar, but nothing came of it. Just before the election he emailed me asking about my candidate recommendations. I didn't take his request seriously as I assumed he wasn't voting, just curious about my choices. I was wrong. He not only voted, he told me that all my preaching about the importance of doing so is what motivated him to first register... and then vote.

Wouldn't this be a much better functioning democracy if every one of us who cared about public policy encouraged just one non-voter to decide to pull the lever next election?

Have crisis will warmonger, wire Kirk, Illinois

The massive stroke Senator Mark Kirk suffered three years ago sure hasn't slowed down his warmongering ways. Whether it's agitating for bellicose war-threatening action in Iran, Syria, Iraq or Ukraine, Kirk never missies a chance to undercut the sensible, deliberate statesmanship President Obama uses to defuse overseas crises largely US made.

Kirk is horrified by ISIS atrocities in Iraq but ignores the hundreds of thousands killed in our criminal war there Kirk supported with trillions in blood money and endless cheerleading. He lamented when the president failed to bomb Syria, accusing the prez of wimping out in the eleventh hour. When Kirk talks about Red Lines, he's actually referring to the oceans of blood he has no trouble generating. Then there is Ukraine. Kirk ignores his Senator buddy John McCain, and other neocons inside and out of government who fomented the immoral and illegal coup which triggered the crisis. But in Kirk's delusional mind the whole crisis was the fault of Obama's 'weakness.'

But the corker in Kirk's lust for conflict concerns Iran. Kirk co-authored the extreme sanctions law against Iran putting America on a collision course for war there. He's joined up with his fellow hardline senators John McCain, Lindsey Graham and Bob Menendez who will use their Senate leadership status next year to torpedo any rapprochement the administration is delicately negotiating. The war party and the Israel Lobby, who issue Kirk's marching orders (and campaign funds), demand nothing less.
Kirk almost lost his bid for Senator back in 2010 upon revelations of his embellishment of his military record. Once safely on Capitol Hill, Kirk has traded fake military resume padding for beating real war drums.
He reminds me of Paladin, the gun for hire in 1950's TV land. Instead of "Have gun will travel, wire Paladin, San Francisco," it's "Have crisis will warmonger, wire Kirk, Illinois."

Thursday, November 13, 2014

New national voting hoiday not needed

We don't need to make a third national holiday in November for our bi-annual national elections. Simply tie in these elections with the November 11 Veterans Day every two years. When Veterans Day falls on a Saturday or Sunday, hold the election on the following Monday, again to coincide with the federal holiday. This will allow millions of workin' folk, who skip voting because of work, to not have to choose between the vote and meal money. 
Can't think of a better way to honor our Vets.  

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Roskam record on immigration reform a broken record

My Sixth District congressman Peter Roskam sure hasn't much to say on immigration reform. Here is a summary of his erudite musings on this critically important subject during his first 8 years in Congress:

2007 "Build a bigger border fence."

2008 "Build a bigger border fence."

2009 "Build a bigger border fence."

2010 "Build a bigger border fence."

2011 "Build a bigger border fence."

2012 "Build a bigger border fence."

Then in 2013, a remarkable thing happened. On June 27, the Senate approved the bi-partisan Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013. Rather than do the responsible thing and inform the Sixth District of its substantial improvements to our broken immigration system, the Congressman mused:

2013 "Oh, my goodness gracious, this will never do. We cannot possibly allow the House to consider such a huge, unwieldy bill. We must legislate immigration reform in little, itty bitty chunks. And little, itty bitty Chunk One is: Build a bigger border fence."

Sadly, Roskam abdicated his congressional responsibility to advise his constituents that the bill will save many millions by offering a path to citizenship which will stop the wasteful deportation of most law abiding undocumented who contribute substantially to our economy. He wouldn't inform the 6th District that this sensible bill was put together by Senators, business groups, labor unions, agricultural interests and immigration advocates. Roskam passed on stressing that besides offering a path to citizenship, the bill will implement innovative temporary workers' programs, increase critically needed vises to skilled workers and create a nationwide employer eligibility verification program.

As a result, GOP House Chief Deputy Whip Roskam helped keep immigration reform from being passed. Then, celebrating the GOP Senate win last week, Roskam returned to his old refrain:

2014 "Build a bigger border fence." 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Plea to incoming Senate Majority Leader

Mother Earth to incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell:
"Don't frack me, bro!"

Sunday, November 09, 2014

3,000 new boots in Iraq bad omen for Veterans Day

It's a bad omen for celebrating Veterans Day that the war party has convinced the president to send 3,000 new boots (1,500 GI's) to continue our defilement of Iraq. This will double the 3,000 current boots being forced to pound the depleted uranium pavement of Iraq after our 8 year war of conquest was mercifully ended in 2011. While the war party uses Veterans Day as a shameless commercial for endless criminal war, we've just found out the number of US canon fodder damaged by the 1980's WMD we supplied Saddam Hussein for his war against Iran is 600, not the 17 first reported. Once again, the best way to honor our Vets is to demand an end to war madness, which has become the Great American Pastime. Sadly, one of the worst aspects of the GOP Senate takeover next year, is that America's most virulent warmonger, John McCain, becomes Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee. McCain never met a pair of military boots he didn't want to put in harm's way.

Saturday, November 08, 2014

Roskam's deception on health law deplorable

After eight years as my congressman, Peter Roskam has honed political sophism, the art of using false arguments to deceive voters, to perfection. Consider his take on the Affordable Care Act which has been a signature Roskam deception concerning good governance. During the campaign, Roskam argued that the Affordable Care Act began with worthy goals but is failing to deliver. For the past six years Roskam never once told voters what those worthy goals were: giving 40 million needy Americans a chance for good health, financial security and avoiding needless, early death. While tens of thousands were dying yearly and tens of millions were incurring bankruptcy and bad hearth from our heartless political system, Roskam was doing everything in his misguided power to keep those folks in that same deplorable condition. He even helped lead a 16 day government shutdown, inflicting severe economic damage, because he and his Tea Party colleagues couldn't destroy the ACA with conventional governance.

But even worse than ignoring the substance of those "worthy goals" is his astounding falsehoods about its outcomes. When he says it "is failing to deliver", he avoids the truth that it has brought many millions their first health care relief ever, lowered premiums well below expectations, and is steadily bringing down the heretofore endless health care spending spiral. This translates into less folks going bankrupt, suffering declining health and dying. It is a remarkable societal improvement.

Maybe the congressman should visit the homes of some families who lost a loved one from lack of heath insurance. Then he should meet with families now being helped by its critically mandated benefits. Roskam loves to meet with folks who will bolster his extreme anti government agenda. That only serves his obsessive reliance on political sophism, not good governance nor the people.

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Calling cardiologist Rauner

GOP State Comptroller Judy Barr Topinka is always a candid voice on the state of the state. During her successful re-election bid Topinka said if the 5% state income tax expires as scheduled January 1, 2015, the state will suffer a financial "heart attack." Gov. Elect Bruce Rauner, spent $27 million of his own wealth promising to let it expire and freeze property taxes. Enough voters bought that prescription for personal financial health to let Illinois' arteries clog beyond repair. Maybe the voters should have checked Rauner's med school credentials before entering the voting booth.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

McKee life sentence a judicial travesty

If 20 year old Bethany McKee lives to her expected 80 year life span, strapped Illinois taxpayers will have shelled out about a cool million to warehouse her into senility at an Illinois penitentiary. McKee, a secondary participant in the double murder of two male acquaintances for beer and cigarette money, as masterminded by two other male acquaintances, got natural life under a misguided Illinois sentencing law mandating natural life ...for anyone convicted of a double murder. Just 18 at the time of the crime, McKee was physically and sexually abused in her early teens, had multiple stays in mental health facilities, including one lasting 90 days, and was disturbed enough to have cut herself 200 times. She wasn't present at the actual killings after luring the victims with a promise to "party". Given her age and mental history, there is some merit to her claim she was controlled by the violent male deed doers. This happens to broken and abused women under the control of evil male partners with some frequency. In a sad irony for McKee, another female participant, Alisa Massaro, copped a plea to 'concealing a homicide' in exchange for testimony against the other three, and received a ten year sentence that could see her released in just four years.

A pittance of that million would be better spent on intensive psychiatric care to prepare McKee for a semblance of a normal and possibly productive life after a short sentence to a reduced charge. Even the sentencing judge, Gerald Kinney, recognized the stupidity of McKee's draconian sentence saying: "This case is an example of why the legislature's imposition of mandatory sentencing is just inappropriate."

Hopefully, the appellate court hearing McKee's appeal will have more sense than the legislators who passed such injudicious and wasteful sentencing requirements.

Country going to pot...figuratively and literally

Yesterday's election has fueled progressives' fears US is, figuratively, going to pot. While that may be arguable, it is true that US is going to pot literally, as Oregon and Washington DC legalized recreational use of marijuana, and still undecided Alaska appears headed for higher ground when all votes are counted.

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

New Army motto

'Be all you can be' is passé. With Uncle Sam's reliance on drones and F-16's to do all the senseless killing of innocents in the Middle East and Africa, the Army needs a new motto.

How 'bout: 'Today's Army - these boots were made for sitting'.

An alternate could be: 'Today's Army - these boots will never touch the ground'.

Sunday, November 02, 2014

To Daily Herald, District 48 disappears into Tea Party Twilight Zone

Is the Daily Herald in the tank for GOP and Tea Party candidate Peter Breen, running for District 48 state rep?
For the last 30 days the Herald has gone silent on the most fascinating of all 118 legislative races in the Land of Lincoln. And it's right in the heart of DailyHeraldland! Glen Ellyn, Wheaton, Lombard, Lisle and Downers Grove have sprouted hundreds of Write-In Marian For 48 yard signs in the lawns of folks who still believe democracy means having choice at election time.

Tomlinson's write-in campaign was prompted by the Tea Party's efforts to get her booted from the Democratic ballot on a technicality, which she got on by obtaining nearly 1,000 petition signatures after the Primary. Not to be denied the opportunity to give the district a choice to the Tea Party, Tomlinson mounted a credible write-in campaign in all 102 District 48 precincts, reaching out with hope and vision to all 72,000 registered voters.

The Herald was quick to cover the race when Breen's challenge to Tomlinson was upheld in June. Then not a word about the race for over three months till they finally published her candidate profile on October 2. It is a remarkable statement in this age of cynical, anti-government politicians who pander to the fears and ignorance of the electorate, and it can be found here.
Then, mysteriously, the Herald incurred a moral power outage that produced a blackout in their duty to cover real political news and inform the electorate. We've sent them a number of District 48 press releases and dozens of phone calls requesting coverage. For the last two weeks staff writer Jessica Cilella has promised to write a story about the campaign but none has appeared, with ONE news day to go before a blizzard of write-in votes for Marian occurs on Tuesday.
Herald founder H.C. Paddock created this great motto 142 years ago:  "To fear God, tell the truth and make money." Money and truth aside, the Herald apparently also fears the Tea Party. 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Why Quinn will defeat Rauner

While I rarely publically predict election winners, I'm confident Governor Pat Quinn will defeat challenger Bruce Rauner next Tuesday.

Just as his huge early lead in the GOP Primary melted away in proportion to personal millions spent, I sense the more money Rauner spends in the general election, the less likely he is to win. The reason: all that personal Rauner wealth spent goes to the overriding issue in this campaign: character.
First a word about Governor Quinn's character; two words actually: ROCK SOLID. Anyone who has, like me, followed his sterling public career for the last 40 years, knows his accomplishments are many; his shortcomings are few. Consider these accomplishments: passing the Illinois Initiative making public referenda easier; creating the Citizens Utility Board; cutting back the State House from 177 members to 118, and stopping state representatives from collecting their entire two year pay on Day One. Any reputable public servant would be proud to achieve one of them. Quinn achieved them all. He is not among the most revered governors in the country from spending millions promoting that status. He's earned it by saving the public millions, and staying modestly middle class in the process.

Now a few words about Mr. Rauner. Before he announced for the governorship in March, no one aside from his business circle knew much about him. Now, after spending $23 million of his fabulous wealth on the race, we know more than necessary to determine he's not fit to run Illinois. Rauner hasn't created jobs, he's eliminated them. In his race to the top of the business shell game, Rauner and his partners end up with millions every time; the rest end up with little or nothing. When Rauner tells us he doesn't have a 'social agenda', we know that is code to the greedy rich and the despisers of the less fortunate that he's their guy. When Rauner says marriage equality should be put to a referendum; then runs from the reporter asking his personal view of gay marriage, we know he is incapable of showing compassion to the marginalized. When he brags to his wealthy base of the need to lower the Illinois' minimum wage; then lies about his view when challenged, we know he's a phony who's out of touch with the millions of Illinoisans struggling to get by, if not survive. When he says he wouldn't have expanded Medicaid in Illinois, which has given hope and even life to hundreds of thousands shut out from the fabulous health care system Rauner enjoys without thinking, we know he's got a big wallet but a tiny heart. When we hear Rauner trash the entire legislature as a bunch of stupid, dishonest and unsuccessful losers, we know he's tone-deaf because pandering to the electorate on the backs of lawmakers will have its consequences.

But if, by some fluke, Rauner emerges as our 42nd governor next Tuesday, I can imagine him looking sheepishly at his close advisors and repeating the words of Robert Redford, the empty suit in the movie 'The Candidate' who won a California senate race on big money and big marketing: "What do we do now?"

Christie's decision process needs to be quarantined

Nurse Kaci Hickox knows first hand how egregious a Chris Christie presidency would be. Retuning to New Jersey from treating Ebola patients in West Africa, Hickox, healthy as a new born babe, had her nice threads replaced with uncomfortable hospital scrubs, escorted into an unheated tent outside a New Jersey hospital, and told to cool her heels for 21 days so Christie could burnish his 'tough guy' bonifides with an ignorant electorate. Christie, who only possesses a doctorate in 'bullying', said next day Hickox was "obviously ill." A firestorm of criticism from the White House, the medical community and Hickox's attorney caused Christie to reverse course and release her after three days. Besides playing despicable politics, Christie's actions virtually guarantee the growth of Ebola in West Africa and possibly the world because the front line health care professionals treating it at its source will refrain subjecting themselves to such inhumane treatment by thuggish politicians.

There is a quarantine that is called for here. Any time Christie contemplates a decision affecting public safety such as closing the George Washington Bridge or quarantining healthy health care workers, he should be required to undergo a 21 day quarantine so he can assess the likely damage. The only difficulty in quarantining Christie might be finding a big enough tent.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Diana no Princess to Illinois lawmakers

I've long tired of hearing faux Democrat Diana Rauner extol husband Bruce's extreme Republican remedies for improving Illinois. Union busting, denigrating teachers, bemoaning a fair minimum wage, opposing Medicaid expansion, being AWOL on marriage equality, promoting more tax cuts for the greedy rich while planning regressive new sales taxes to hurt the poor and middle class are anathema to a true Democrat. They are also a recipe to derail the steady, compassionate and inclusive governance of Democratic incumbent Governor Pat Quinn who righted the ship called Land of Lincoln from the disastrous recession caused by those same Republican policies at a national level. But Diana's latest ad caught my ear when she said:

"I support my husband Bruce Rauner...because he's smart, honest, successful...everything that Springfield isn't."

Can you imagine her first introductory remarks to lawmakers assembled to celebrate a Rauner administration?

"I want to welcome you stupid, dishonest and unsuccessful losers to the Governor's tenth mansion today."

Friday, October 24, 2014

Only WMD found in Iraq was 'Made In USA'

It took eleven years but apologists for George W. Bush's criminal Iraq war have finally found WMD. Alas, they jumped the gun in announcing its discovery. Turns out the WMD consisted of about 5,000 shells of mustard and nerve gas supplied to our then Best Bud, Saddam Hussein, by the Reagan administration in the 1980's to further his criminal war against Iran. Well, it really wasn't Hussein's criminal war so much as Reagan's, since Uncle Sam sort of inspired Hussein to invade Iran so we could rid America of the pesky Ayatollah and his revolutionary minions potentially threatening our Middle East oil empire. Although he started out well, Hussein was put on his heels by Iranian human wave attacks, prompting the Gipper to counter with a handy dose of WMD. A half million dead later, the war ended in stalemate. Fast forward twenty years and Bush's canon fodder stumbled across the decaying WMD resulting in serious injury to at least 17 GI's. Bush and his war cabinet, realizing how damaging this discovery could be, suppressed the story with the help of their Fawning Corporate Media. Not only didn't we hear about the old WMD, the 17 injured didn't hear about it either, resulting in their not being given proper medical treatment.   
Hey, what's a few damaged soldiers compared to preventing damage to the war party and their endless quest for more war and more plunder at the expense of investing in all the right things to reverse America's seemingly inexorable decline.  

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Is Rauner re-incarnation of Ross Perot?

Listening to Bruce Rauner plug his gubernatorial campaign for the past 8 months, I kept getting a sense of Deja vu.  Sure enough, it struck me today that Billionaire Bruce reminds me of Billionaire Ross, as in Ross Perot. Back in 1992, Perot became the darling of the anti government set with his fake populist, outsider, genius businessman persona that for a time, made him frontrunner in the three way race with insiders George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton.  Perot, like Rauner, was an immensely wealthy businessman who worked the system to get everything that money can buy...except political power. Like Rauner, Perot largely financed his own campaign. Like Rauner, Perot garnered votes and attention by sliming the political class as corrupt dolts, not understanding that on Day One of a Ross presidency, he'd have to sheepishly approach them with a huge serving of Humble Pie if he had a prayer of accomplishing anything. Like Rauner, he offered nothing but "trust this fabulously successful businessman to fix all problems". Like Rauner, Perot promised to balance the budget without a word or a prayer as to what services to the needy he'd cut to maintain the largely tax free candy store for this wealthy base. Like Rauner, Perot promised to fix every major problem on faith alone.

Perot's egomaniacal stridency and austerity mumbo, jumbo soon wore on the electorate and he finished with just 19%. Rauner, much more slick, remains in a dead heat with the immensely accomplished, dedicated and compassionate Governor Quinn. Today, Perot is a forgotten figure, who retreated into his limitless money having accomplished nothing of value to American and human progress. Should Rauner likewise fail in his attempt to buy high office, he likely will follow Perot's path to oblivion.

Monday, October 20, 2014

All numbers point to Palestinian state except 2

Last week the British Parliament voted 274 to 12 to advise the British government to recognize the state of Palestine. Britain remains one of only 59 of 193 countries that don't recognize Palestinian statehood which they declared at the Palestinian Council in Algiers 26 years ago next month. Two years ago the UN did vote 138 to 9 to grant Palestine Non-Member Observer Status, which gives them access to 60 UN organizations including those seeking relief from torture and genocide, two issues greatly impacting Palestine. Sweden has just announced it will become the 135th country to recognize Palestine and the first one in the European Union. While all these numbers point to the inexorable establishment of Palestine as the UN's 194 state, it's the number two that is preventing it: the US and Israel.

Friday, October 17, 2014

War party squanders $30 million to whitewash criminal Vietnam War

This aging but still feisty 1960's anti Vietnam war protester is appalled by the war party's $30 million waste of my tax dollars to re-write history for the majority of Americans too young to remember. The result, a fancy interactive website,, supposedly commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War. The 1964 start date simply refers to LBJ and his war hawks' fantasy tale about the... Tonkin Gulf incident used as the trigger to escalate US involvement into millions of dead, including 58,000 GI's. The real heroes of Vietnam, the millions of protesters who did much to ultimately end the war are virtually ignored. The slaughter of 500 unarmed civilians at Mai Lai is dismissed as an "incident." The site mentions Agent Orange in passing, not bothering to describe its disastrous effects and three generations of Vietnamese, with hundreds of thousands affected, including tens of thousands Americans, and destruction of much of Vietnam's natural environment. Many "hot spots" around former US bases remain active today. Nixon's 1968 election treason, in which he back channeled South Vietnam to reject LBJ's peace proposal, resulting in a million more dead people, is AWOL. The story of how the US propped up the French colonial empire from 1945 till the French were booted out by revolutionaries in 1954, and then took over the task of preventing Vietnam reunification for 21 years is a disgrace to legitimate historicity.

The millions of Vietnamese, Laotians and Cambodians killed or damaged by our needless war deserve better.

The 8,000,000 US military personnel who served in Vietnam, including hundreds of thousands who deserted for good reason, deserve better.

And the generations of Americans who have no memory of the horror that needless war brought to Southeast Asia and America, deserve a real history that strips bear the folly of the war party who have just committed America to a new 30 year war that no one really understands and nobody not empowered or enriched by the war party gives a damn about.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Two Nobel Peace Prize speeches

 "To say that force is sometimes necessary isn’t a call to cynicism, it’s a recognition of history, the imperfections of man, and the limits of reason."  - President Barack Obama, 2009

"Violence never brings permanent peace. It solves no social problem: it merely creates new and more complicated ones."
  - Rev. Martin Luther King, 1964

Since winning his Nobel Peace Prize, President Obama has bombed seven Islamic countries. And Rev. King? He spent the last four years of his life preaching, living and spreading the message of peace.

Which one do you believe lived up to that glorious honor?

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Who said that?

"In great empires the people who live in the capital, and in the provinces remote from the scene of action, feel, many of them, scarce any inconveniency from the war; but enjoy, at their ease, the amusement of reading in the newspapers the exploits of their own fleets and armies. To them this amusement compensates the small difference between the taxes which they pay on account of the war, and those which they had been accustomed to pay in time of peace. They... are commonly dissatisfied with the return of peace, which puts an end to their amusement, and to a thousand visionary hopes of conquest and national glory from a longer continuance of the war. "

Surprise, Adam Smith in 'The Wealth of Nations', published in 1776, the year America declared its independence. 'Wealth' is the revolutionary treatise on the sources of nations' wealth which is still the foundation of classical economics. The quote could well describe today's American war party and ruling class except for two revisions:

1. Simply replace "fleets and armies" with "drones and F-16's".
2. Complete "To them this amusement" with "is accomplished with no increase in taxes whatsoever under the concept of war paid with borrowed money."

That's the American war party, which understands completely that 'war is the health of the state.'

Monday, October 13, 2014

Trib's endorsement of Congressman Roskam an editorial disgrace

The Trib's endorsement of my Congressman Peter Roskam is truly divorced from reality. You say Roskam "remains a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, where he can be counted on to look out for taxpayers." Did you conveniently forget or did you simply not care that Roskam, as House GOP Chief Deputy Whip, helped lead the unconscionable 16 day government shutdown last year that dealt a $24 billion dollar blow to our economy and inconvenienced many millions. Then you tout Roskam's challenger Mic Mason for running because  "he is disgusted with the gridlock in Congress, so he decided to  run after he retired from the U.S. Postal Service." That is true in large part because Roskam helped fuel Congressional gridlock every day of the President's six years in office. Your endorsement is a disgrace to honest, thoughtful and informative opinion. Why not just say "We endorse Peter Roskam because he is a dependable right wing ideologue".  

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Was Daily Herald's Roskam endorsement written "under the influence?"

The Daily Herald’s endorsement of four term Illinois Sixth District Congressman Peter Roskam was so bizarre and divorced from the reality of Roskam’s eight year tenure as my Congressman I can only conclude it was written “under the influence”.

Where to begin? How about your claim Roskam is the best candidate to grow the economy? Were you folks at the South Pole from October 1 – 16, 2013, when House Chief Deputy Whip Roskam helped shut down the government, causing a $24 billion dent to aforesaid economy and needlessly inconveniencing most Americans? Did you forget that Roskam spent the last six years trying valiantly to prevent, overturn or defund the Affordable Care Act which has granted relief to 40 million folks shut out of our health care system and is finally reversing the previously ever upward rise in medical insurance and health care costs? Working endlessly to prevent a living minimum wage, heartlessly denying long term unemployed extended jobless insurance and voting against every infrastructure rebuilding jobs creation measure, all serve Roskam’s goal to hurt, rather than help the splendid Obama economic recovery.  You laud Roskam for wanting to re-write the tax code not mentioning that his goal in not tax fairness but less paperwork for the greedy rich to wade through in avoiding their fair share of taxes.

On foreign policy, Roskam is enthralled with the war party and has helped spend trillions on our failed, criminal wars to be fought by the children of he poor, not by Roskam’s wealthy base. Astoundingly, you compliment his new bi-partisanship by supporting the President’s latest failed war against ISIS. But war lover Roskam goes further, criticizing the President for reaching out to the Muslim world and blasting him for pulling out of Iraq, even though Obama was merely following Iraq’s admonition to get the Hell out. He’s cheered on Israel’s genocide in Gaza as a loyal member of the Israel Lobby, and always puts their Likud government’s interests above America’s.

On immigration reform Roskam’s agenda is build a gigantic fence and then rest.
Marriage equality never entered Roskam’s ‘to do’ list.

Strengthen the Violence Against Women act? Faggeddibout it. Roskam voted against last year’s overdue extension.

But the Daily Herald is ecstatic that Roskam co-sponsored a Medicare anti fraud bill when Roskam simply made this a signature plank in his unrelenting effort to discredit any government intervention to help folks under the Affordable Care Act.

Yes, the Daily Herald was surely ‘under the influence’ when they penned this hilarious endorsement. It was the pernicious influence of the war party, the Tea Party, the wealthy elite, the Xenophobes who are anti-women, anti-immigrant, anti-gay, anti anyone not of the Chosen. That may not be the influence of hallucinatory substances….but it might as well be.
Walt Zlotow
Glen Ellyn

Friday, October 10, 2014

Rauner's money vault full; political vault empty

Bruce Rauner's business skills may have put a billion dollars in his bank account, but he's yet to add two cents of political capital to his governance account. That was abundantly clear in his debate performance last night against Governor Quinn. Rauner repeatedly failed to convince his interviewers that his budget numbers added up. They can't of course since his position is to grant huge tax breaks to his rich base, including himself, while piling on regressive sales tax increases on millions of Illinoisans struggling to get by. Near the end an exasperated questioner prefaced his budget question by challenging Rauner to try one more time to convince him that his budget numbers weren't determined on Fantasy Island. Rauner fumbled that question before he could even punt it away. Meanwhile, Governor Quinn displayed a mastery of state governance and his principled role in righting the ship of state after the Great Recession caused by Republican policies Rauner embraces. Rauner caught my attention early on in his quest for the GOP nomination when he blasted the entire legislature as a bunch of corrupt bums who needed to be term limited. Then he said he'd magically fix Illinois by inviting legislature leaders to the Executive Mansion for a Kumbaiya session where they would learn to do his bidding. If that ever occurs I'd sure like to be a fly on the wall as Rauner gets schooled in Governance 101. As Quinn displayed his enormous heart in his efforts to lift up all Illinoisans, I was reminded of Bill Bixby about to morph into the Incredible Hulk to right wrongs. And Rauner? He looks more and more like the Incredible Shrinking Billionaire. 

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Diana Rauner, you are no Democrat

As a lifelong Democrat I was deeply offended by the slick, multi colored, campaign flyer put out displaying Diana Rauner, wife of Billionaire Bruce, touting her lifelong Democratic bonifides in her endorsement of husband Bruce for Illinois governor.

What kind of lifelong Democrat would champion a gubernatorial candidate for not having a "social agenda" when every aspect of state political governance is social, in that it determines the quality of life in our Illinois SOCIETY. What kind of lifelong Democrat would support a gubernatorial candidate who refused to back marriage equality, practically broke out in hives when reporters asked his position on gay marriage, and literally ran away from reporters when they wouldn't let him avoid the issue? What kind of lifelong Democrat would support a gubernatorial candidate who bragged to his greedy rich base he would cut the Illinois minimum wage back from the very poor $8.25 and hour to the poverty level $7.25 and hour and then lied about his minimum wage position when tape of his disgusting insensitivity to the poor surfaced? What kind of lifelong Democrat would support a gubernatorial candidate who opposed expanding Medicaid expansion to hundreds of thousands of Illinoisans previously shut out from our fabulous health care system. What kind of lifelong Democrat would champion massive billion dollar tax breaks for the rich while saddling the middle and lower classes with onerous sales tax increases?

The kind of lifelong Democrat who would support such a candidate is the fake Democrat Diana Rauner, willing to throw the little people of Illinois under Billionaire Bruce's electoral juggernaut funded by his personal fortune built on the backs of failed companies and laid off workers. If there were truth in political advertising Diana's expensive mailer would simply state: "I'm Diana Rauner, and though I'm a lifelong Democrat, I'm supporting Bruce for Governor because he's got all the material goodies a billion can buy except one thing: the Governorship."