Thursday, August 17, 2017

Rauner shocked, shocked Trump enables white nationalists

Many Illinois Republicans were no doubt relieved Gov. Rauner issued the following statement on Trump's outrageous comments playing footsie with the violent white supremacists at Charlottesville:
"I vehemently disagree with the president's comments about the tragedy in Charlottesville. I vehemently disagree with the president's comments. We must stand together against hatred and racism and bigotry and violence, and we must condemn those actions in Charlottesville in the strongest terms,"
Reminded by a reporter he failed to mention Trump's name, something he's never done in public, Rauner strung together the five letters that 'dare not speak its name'. "TRUMP". There, I said it, Rauner no doubt pondered, on this the second anniversary of Trump's presidential announcement; a campaign built on a foundation of racism, Xenophobia, misogyny, vulgarity and bullying. And Rauner, like virtually every self preserving Republican officeholder and candidate, did the wrong thing; enabled the white nationalist enabler.
There is no context in which to applaud Rauner's remarks. We have Trump degrading America and its most vulnerable citizens and wannabe citizens, making America feared and reviled around the world, wondering if he will plunge the world into war to save his presidency, because of otherwise decent leaders like Bruce Rauner.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Who's threatening whom?

The US routinely threatens North Korea, sending planes and ships near their coast and above their skies. Every year 75,000 US and South Korean troops conduct two weeks of war games known as Ulchi-Freedom Guardian exercises which usually provoke a North Korean response. Last year the response was their fifth nuclear test. Those 10 nukes are the best war insurance policy North Korea could possess. The US is not interested in a peace treaty between the two Koreas. Nor is it interested in normalizing relations with North Korea. Its first three priorities with North Korea are regime change, regime change, regime change. Iraq gave up its nuclear weapons program and got its regime changed. Libya gave up its nuclear weapons program and got its regime changed. Both were accomplished not from within, but courtesy of Uncle Sam. Kim Jong Un may be crazy....but he's not stupid.


Friday, August 11, 2017

Bomber Obama already trumped by Trump


In his last year in office Obama drop 3 bombs per hour per day on at least 7 predominately Muslim countries. Those 26,000 plus bombs killed untold thousands, yet a pittance his predecessor, Bush The Deranged, inflicted on Iraq. Not satisfied in leaving office without also destroying a Muslim country, Obama turned Libya into a failed state, ripe for Jihadists from around the world, and unleashing a flood of refugees our Xenophobes demonize. Yet, he's already trumped by Trump who has ratcheted up the bombing in all 7 countries, including the 11 ton blockbuster on Afghanistan and a slew of Tomahawks cruisers on Syria. Is there something in the White House water pipes that turns its occupants into crazed killers, or is it simply they become captive to the war party which has the real power and simply follows their orders to wage perpetual war on innocents paid for by our tax dollars? As the Dooomsday Clock ticks to Midnight, inquiring minds would like to know.

Roskam continues to cowardly flee from health care debate

During the eight years of the Obama presidency my congressman Peter Roskam gave health care the attention it deserved. He featured it in blaring headlines on his website. He created photo ops on health care. He proposed health care solutions. Alas, every action was designed to prevent, defund, degrade and repeal the first successful effort to insure 20 million Americans without and prevent hundreds of thousands of unnecessary deaths. He did this by denying truths and promoting falsehoods. And he rode that disgraceful campaign to four more terms as congressman in the Illinois Sixth. Nobody lost heath care or died due to Roskam's mendacity because his disgraceful conduct was purely symbolic to appeal to his heartless, anti government base.
Then a curious development derailed Roskam's interest in health care: Republican congressional majority. On March 7 Roskam trumpeted this about the GOP placement bill: "Following through on our commitment to responsibly repeal and replace Obamacare, my colleagues and I are pleased to introduce the American Health Care Act. We’re presenting a plan to increase access to affordable, patient-focused health care for all." Tens of thousands of Sixth District residents recoiled in horror that Roskam was promoting the opposite: 22 million tossed off health care rolls and 200,000 unnecessary dead over a decade. And that wasn't symbolic; it was a grotesque possibility. The pushback as swift and relentless; Roskam could no longer appear in the Sixth without protest. Health care became the critical domestic issue that dare not speak its name in Roskamland. The website went dark; the photo ops ceased; the Trumpcare trumpet was muted.
The Illinois Sixth has gone from one of the safest Republican seats to 'in play.' Roskam's cowardice on healthcare reminds us that you can fool some of the people all of the time; all of the people some of the time; but you can't keep a majority when it's a matter of life or death.

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Roskam is wild card in IL Sixth District


The most outrageous endorsement of a presidential candidate by a congressman in the 17 elections I've followed was Peter J. Roskam's astonishing rationale for endorsing Donald J. Trump.

"I do think time is Donald Trump's friend. I think people are saying... alright, I'm ready to hear this guy out, see what he has got to say with the flash and dash aside. Trump's comments (on grabbing women's genitals) are disgusting and corrosive....they fly in the face of every lesson wife Elizabeth and I taught our daughters and sons about how men and women interact. However, this election is a binary choice in which I am choosing to vote for a wild card over an unworthy candidate."

Once in office, Trump fulfilled Roskam's 'wide card' moniker in spades, degrading the office of president with virtually every statement and action. Talking peace in the Middle East one day; then ratcheting up the bombing in seven Muslim countries the next, we haven't a clue of a coherent Trump foreign policy. Using every public speech before non-political groups to reveal his gargantuan insecurities and petty grievances is unprecedented in American politics. Never has a president lied so effortlessly and transparently. Never has a president made his signature domestic issue to take heath care from 22 million, resulting in over 200,000 unnecessary deaths over a decade to lavish tax cuts on the already wealthy. Trump campaigned as best buddy of the LGBT community; then pivoted to placate the homophobe wing of his base with his disparagement of courageous, patriotic transgender soldiers. Does 'wild card' include colluding with Russia to win the election?

Roskam's wild card endorsement was pure politics designed to retain his ultraconservative base. Roskam knew, like every other informed American, of Trump's moral and intellectual unfitness for office. Roskam was not alone in endorsing the most unfit presidential candidate in history. Not a single Republican congressman disowned him. But no one offered the insulting sophistry that posited, 'genital grabbing and flash and dash aside....he still represents mainstream Republican values.'

Trump may be our wild card president for the next 3 years, but for the past ten in the Illinois Sixth, the real wild card has been Peter J. Roskam.

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

When McCarthy coerced a baseball name change

An avid baseball fan since 1951, my eight year old brain was puzzled when the '53 Cincinnati Reds changed their team name to the Redlegs. The Reds had been the Reds since their return to the National League in 1890, after having been kicked out in 1880 by NL owners furious at their selling beer on Sundays running them afoul of the blue noses who ruled the NL roost. During their subsequent ten years in the American Association they were known as the Red Stockings, akin to my beloved White Sox. To celebrate their return they shortened their name to Reds which adorned their glory years of several pennants and world series championships over the next 62 years. Enter the Death Vader of US politics Joe McCarthy, who spent his Senator's perch ferreting out communists under every bed using the shorthand 'Reds' to capture headlines. In '53 Reds owners pondered their own ominous headlines such as 

                     REDS POUND PITTSBURGH or REDS TOP YANKS FOR WORLD TITLE  

and decided to add some legs to run away from McCarthyism.  Introducing the Cincinnati Redlegs.

The sad cave in to McCarthyism lasted thru the '58 season. Next spring, with McCarthy dead for a couple of years and sanity returning to the Homeland, Redlegs owners chopped the legs off the Reds sayiing: "Let the Commies change their name...we were the Reds long before they were." 

Maybe the football Redskins can steal a page from their Cincinnati baseball brethren and peel the 'skins' off their name. Hey, there's no law against teams in different sports with the same name. And, what would be cooler than to poke ol' Tail Gunner Joe up in Xenophobia Heaven, forcing him to root for the Washington Reds?  

Monday, July 31, 2017

Yemen in the time of cholera

Yemen in the time of cholera

Friday, July 28, 2017

Allowing 200,000 to die over decade a long, hard slog for GOP

The handful of Republican senators  blocking both the outright and selective 'skinny' repeals of the Affordability Health Care Act (ACA) are the exception that prove the rule: the GOP congressional majority is functioning as a psychotic legislative body. Using the working definition of psychpathy:  a personality disorder characterized by persistent antisocial behavior, impaired empathy and remorse, and bold, dis-inhibited, egotistical traits, the GOP Congress qualifies. They spent the first 14 months of the Obama administration demonizing him over his signature effort, bringing health care to the 40 million without, preventing an estimated 45,000 annual deaths. The ACA, passed March 23, 2010, covered roughly half that total, arguably leading to approximately 150,000 saved lives over the past 7 years. Once passed, GOP psychopathy was further revealed spending the last 7 years of Obama's presidency pushing repeal of the ACA and using it as a cudgel to galvanize their racist, sexist, Xenophobic and homophobic base to win the House, Senate  and presidency, all on the promise to let the next generation of lives that could be saved suffer and die. Having achieved control of Congress and presidency, they are feverishly working to do just that. Why? At the most elemental level, it's to maintain power on the fiction their abominable eight years of lies about the ACA represents responsible governance. No it doesn't. It's simply anti-social psychopathy.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Short take on Trumpcare

All Democrats and 2 sensible GOP senators killed it...before it could start killing 200,000 unfortunates over next decade.
 

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Roskam website a public interest disgrace

In the digital age Congressmen can provide vital, current information and views on subjects of utmost importance to constituents thru their website. But you will get nothing of value from my congressman Peter Roskam's (R IL 6th) website www.roskam.house.gov. The home page is foreboding to one seeking insight: 3 headlines under the title 'Latest News' that trumpet Roskam's vendetta against the IRS, lauding Trump's meeting with Ukraine president, and touting Roskam's bill to sanction Russia for subverting European democracies. Baffled by the irrelevance Roskam treats as 'Latest News' I tried the search engine figuring the entire site couldn't be that worthless. First up: global warming. The pop up was a May, 2014 Roskam tirade against the Obama administration for withholding info on the Benghazi investigation. The connection? The words 'global warming' appear as a concern of House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi who Roskam blames for Benghazi obstruction. Next up: Infrastructure. Alas, it's a February, 2012 call by Roskam to build the Keystone Pipeline to create infrastructure jobs. Ouch! Last attempt was tax reform. Maybe Roskam might call on his affluent base to pay a few more bucks to provide middle class relief. Tho more current, the April, 2012 plea simply echoed eventual 2012 GOP candidate Mitt Romney's call for more tax cuts for, you guessed it, Roskam's affluent base. We should all call Roskam's office and channel his political hero Ronald Reagan by declaring: "Congressman Roskam...take down this website."

Monday, July 17, 2017

Indian removal second driver of 2nd Amendment

When gun fanatics tell me they have a Constitutional right to bear arms, with virtually no restrictions whatsoever, I ask them if they're planning to go searching for runaway slaves. For that is one of the primary drivers for the 2nd Amendment, enacted in 1791, just after the Ist Amendment protecting free speech. To be fair there was a second driver of the 2nd Amendment: Indian removal. The colonists looked west at the lush land inhabited for centuries by indigenous peoples and said, "We want that." King George demanded the colonists stay put in the 13 colonies and levied taxes to be paid in English pounds to pay for soldiers sent to enforce that edit the colonists feverishly ignored. Voila! The Declaration of Independence and revolution.

Once free of hated George III, the colonists formed militias and embarked on westward expansion initiating a century long plunder of Native Americans' wealth. And gun ownership was key to the marauding militias, hence the second driver of the famous: " A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." What did you expect them to enshrine?: "A well regulated militia being necessary to capture runaway slaves and clear Indians from the west, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."  

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Rep. Breen misrepresents good governance and law in confusing voters on budget crisis



In his latest constituent email, my state rep Peter Breen (R-48), not only misrepresents his role in the Illinois budget impasse, but also a legal concept unbecoming a high profile lawyer.
Let’s start with budget crisis misrepresentation. Breen entered the House when Gov. Rauner entered the Governor’s mansion, and immediately signed on to Rauner’s turnaround agenda. It was an unprecedented and cruel tactic to strangle Illinois payments to state vendors, state universities and the needy by not passing a budget till the legislature capitulated to non budgetary items like term limits, union givebacks and property tax freezes unrelated to a statutorily required balanced budget. Rauner, with Breen’s support, presented 44 such items, and refused to approve a budget for over two years, turning a bad but improving financial situation into a disaster. Rauner’s predecessor had reduced the vendor payment backlog, paid pension obligations and kept the educational and social safety net functioning for students and persons in need. Rauner actually boasted about exploiting the worsening financial crisis he created to get his non budgetary wish list. After two years the legislature finally passed a budget, with Republican votes, reversing the financial catastrophe imposed upon the less fortunate. Breen’s enabling and cheerleading Rauner’s unprecedented, heartless refusal to provide a budget is bad governance which must be called out.
Then there is Breen’s misrepresenting the law. To explain away the 16 Republicans who had to decency and sense to pull Illinois back from the financial precipice, Breen uses the bizarre concept they were blackmailed, calling the GOP supported deal ‘budget blackmail’. Even most non lawyers know that blackmail is the criminal offence of demanding money from a person in return for not revealing compromising or injurious information about that person. Possibly the only voter in the 48th who believes the 16 principled GOP legislators were blackmailed is Peter Breen. On second thought Breen knows full well they weren’t blackmailed. Unlike Peter Breen they were, in the words of one of them ' I'm not working for Governor Rauner… I’m working for the people.’ That, Rep. Breen, is not blackmail. It’s simply good governance.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Friends don't let friends commit crimes against humanity

America's best pals in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia and Israel, are both perpetuating crimes against humanity which we aid and abet. The Saudi's have intervened in neighboring Yemen's civil war, bombing and blockading the hapless Yemenis, ratcheting up deaths to over 16,000, 10,000 of which are civilians. Their blockade is causing starvation and cholera, making Yemen one of the most sorrowful places on earth to inhabit. The world is aghast except for Saudi Arabia's local Sunni neighbors, UAE, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, Jordan and far away supplier of Weapons of Civilian Destruction (WCD) America, who support Saudi atrocities because they view it as a proxy war against Iran.
Not far away two million Palestinians cooped up in Israel's decade long blockade of land, sea and water routes has caused the UN to warn Gaza may be uninhabitable by 2020. Three quarters of Gazans are food insecure; 40% unemployed and 80% rely on humanitarian aid to survive. Israel has recently cut electricity from roughly 5 hours a day to a paltry 3. Yet, every year Congress tosses $4 billion at Israel to buy our largest export...WCD.
The Palestinians plight, like that of the Yemenis is a non story in US media and totally ignored by Congress and president after president. The Yemenis and Palestinians have no clout and no money to buy American military hardware so their pleas for relief are ignored. But any time we want to dispose a foreign ruler we don't like, we make up a fairy tale they're abusing their own people which demands immediate intervention.
American may be the home of the brave and land of the free. But it's also the land of 330 million who are helping destroy those a lot more brave...and a lot less free.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Rasmussan's Job No.1: Finding new corner for boss to paint

IL Gov Bruce Rauner was furious, having discovered there was no more corner to paint around himself. Thirty months into his bizarre, scorched earth assault on Illinois' neediest, 16 of his GOP minions abandoned his quixotic quest to hold Illinois hostage, refusing to do Job 1, fund government, till his oligarch's fantasy was passed. Rauner responded with typical billionaire bravado, firing his chief of staff Richard Goldberg instead of himself. If you guessed he'd learn from 900 days of failure and govern sensibly, guess again. He appointed Kristina Rasmussen, head of the extreme right think tank Illinois Policy Institute to find a new corner for Rauner to paint himself into. Rasmussen is up to the job, having argued that all 44 of Rauner's unconscionable demands before passing a budget must be enacted. She showed up on Day 1 with a new paint brush....and a big bucket of fresh paint.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Peace Essay finalist


Notified today my essay on obeying the Treaty to Outlaw War (Kellogg-Briand Pact of 1928) was one of 6 essays selected to be published by the West Suburban Faith-Based Peace Coalition in their publication distributed at their annual luncheon honoring the 89th anniversary of the Kellogg-Brand Pact at the Abbington in Lombard, IL August 26. Sadly, neither Senator Durbin nor Senator Duckworth responded to the plea contained in my submission.
2017 Peace Essay
April 9, 2017
Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL)
Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL)
How We Can Obey The Law Against War
With the bombing of Syria last week Americans were again confronted with our leaders taking the United States to war in violation all international laws and norms forbidding unjust war. These laws and norms go back further than the War Powers Act of 1973, which forbids the president from engaging in military action without a declaration of war by Congress, unless that action results solely from an actual or imminent threat of attack against the United States. They go back further than prohibitions against illegal wars incorporated in the United Nations Charter of 1945. We must go all the way back to the General Treaty for Renunciation of War as an Instrument of National Policy, better known as the Kellogg-Briand Pact of 1928. The treaty, authored by US Secretary of State Frank Kellogg and French Foreign Minister Aristide Briand, was ratified 85 – 1 by your 1928 predecessors, going into effect July 24, 1929. Kellogg-Briand is still in effect with a total of 62 signatories.
Yet, the United States, with support nearly every member of Congress including yourselves, continues illegal perpetual warfare in seven countries, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and the aforementioned Syria, in complete violation of Kellogg-Briand. Since the September 11, 2001 attack against the United States, three presidents have used that isolated event to engage in perpetual warfare against any persons in any countries deemed to even possibly harbor ill will toward America. This blank check to violate Kellogg-Briand with impunity, causing untold thousands of deaths, injuries and refugees, makes a mockery of our commitment to peace and stability throughout the world.
As my senators, I implore you to live up to your membership in the US Senate, known as ‘the world’s most deliberative body’, and return America to its adherence to Kellogg-Briand. The following steps might be helpful in fulfilling that long discarded commitment:
1. Request that Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) convene a bi-partisan Senate Conference to review Kellogg-Briand.
2. Include historians versed in its origins and history to educate the 100 senators, the oldest of which was born four years after Kellogg-Briand was ratified, likely not even aware of both its existence and prohibitions on their conduct.
3. Include constitutional and international law experts capable of identifying how current US policy of perpetual warfare against millions of defenseless citizens violates all norms of law, morality and decency, including those covered by Kellogg-Briand.
4. Invite representatives of the administration involved in foreign policy, including the President, Secretary of State and the National Security Advisor, to explain precisely why they ignore the War Powers Act of 1973, the UN Charter of 1945, as well as Kellogg-Briand.
5. Request the Joint Chiefs of Staff, consisting of all four services chiefs, to explain how their actions in conducting perpetual military operations against civilian populations furthers America’s obligation to avoid unjust war, as well as serving its national self-interests.
6. Televise this conference on cable and network outlets to educate our citizens and inspire them of the need to promote peace in the honored tradition of Kellogg-Briand.
But please, do not wait for such a conference occurring to comply with Kellogg-Briand. Speak up in the Senate, on your Senate website, at news conferences and Town Halls, on the need to end the perpetual wars we’ve been mired in for the past sixteen years. In so doing you will be honoring your role as citizen and senator. You will be returning America to its cherished place as the world’s beacon of peace and democracy. But most of all you will be finally engaged in preventing untold thousands of needless deaths and ruined lives. Those are the people Kellogg-Briand was designed to protect.
Please consider and respond to this plea. But do not delay. Time is critical. Every day brings new misery, suffering, even death to the innocents trapped beneath our bombs.
Respectfully,
Walt Zlotow
Glen Ellyn

Monday, July 10, 2017

UN nuke ban degraded by absentees, Uncle included

UN member states voted 122-1 last week to ban nuclear weapons. Least you think that's a hopeful sign, 70 nations, including all 9 nuclear powers, led by biggies US and Russia with a cool 7,000 per, boycotted the proceedings. So did most US allies like Japan and South Korea who were persuaded by the US to stay far away from what could have been real progress in saving all our skins. Kudos to Saudi Arabia, Iran, Egypt and Brazil who ignored our crazy Uncle and voted YES to no nukes. Special approbrium to Netherlands which cast the sole NO vote. Seems they've hosted US nukes in the past and don't want to lose out on the loot that goes along with grabbing a piece of of America's military coattails. This story should be the lead in every paper and electronic news show. Afraid of losing access to the US war party, mainstream media left this story to the information fringe.

Friday, July 07, 2017

Rauner's dilemma: No space left to paint

When Bruce Rauner assumed the governorship 30 months ago, he unleashed an unprecedented assault on students, pensioners, working and non-working poor, state vendors, private and public union workers; ultimately all 13 million of us. He told the legislature he wouldn't pass a budget till he got a laundry list of non-budgetary items like term limits, and union givebacks passed to please his wealthy, elitist base and the rapacious businessman in his head which brought him fabulous personal wealth without creating anything of value. He had neither a mandate, nor more importantly, a heartless legislature to grant him those demands. Rainer's response was to paint himself into a corner with no chance whatsoever of achieving those extortionate demands. A seventh grade civics student could have advised Rauner he'd eventually run out of floorspace to coat with his unlimited supply of self destructive paint. Today, after 870 days, all Rauner is left with is a paint splattered reputation from his own hand as a bi-partisan coalition of decent, responsible legislators gave Illinois a budget to begin turning back on the state services Rauner shut down. 

America has learned in the past six months how a cruel, egomaniacal businessman can wreck havoc on the national body politic with a supportive Congress. Illinois, still reeling from two and a half years of non-governance, has finally taken away Rauner's paint brush of self destruction and begun the long road back.

Thursday, July 06, 2017

US suffering consequences of criminal regime change


We should not be the least surprised North Korea is adding ICBM's to their nuclear arsenal. They look at Iraq and Libya closing down their nuke programs only to incur regime change courtesy of Uncle Sam, with top leaders Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi suffering horrible deaths. Syria gave up their chemical weapons, resulting in our goofy Uncle bombing them for a chemical attack almost certainly NOT launched by Syria. North Korea will continue to build their defenses against regime change the man in a funny hat (in the guise of a demented former TV entertainer) lusts for. We need to negotiate with both North and South Korea, not for North Korea giving up their 'prevent regime change' card, but for an end to the 67 year old Korean War and a gradual withdrawal of the US from the Korean peninsula. The alternative only leads to catastrophic war.

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

AUMF: The war party's ticket to perpetual war

Likely the least known but most insidious acronym is America is AUMF which stands for Authorization to Use Military Force. The most insidious ever is Public Law 107-40 passed on September 14, 2001, three days after the 911 attacks. Designed in response to those attacks, it authorizes the use of United States Armed Forces against those responsible for the attacks on September 11, 2001 and any "associated forces".
Tragically, three consecutive presidents, Bush, Obama and Trump have used it to war senseless, murderous war in 7 countries we know of, killing hundreds of thousands and squandering over 4 trillion in treasure while America crumbles. Our cowardly Congress hides behind that AUMF, refusing to debate a new one for current wars so they can blame any military failures on the president. That's fine with those three war crazed presidents who opposed any interference from pesky congressfolk to their criminal military ventures.
One congresswoman deserves our praise. Barbara Lee (D-CA) was the sole vote against the 2001 AUMF saying with amazing foresight it “was a blank check to the president to attack anyone involved in the Sept. 11 events — anywhere, in any country, without regard to our nation’s long-term foreign policy, economic and national security interests, and without time limit. A rush to launch precipitous military counterattacks runs too great a risk that more innocent men, women, children will be killed.” Sixteen years and a couple hundred thousand dead innocents later Lee got a glimmer of justification for her tireless efforts on behalf of peace when the House approved her amendment to a DOD re-authorization which sunsets this odious war blank check 240 days after passage.
“At long last, I am pleased that my Democratic and Republican colleagues supported my effort to put an end to the overly broad blank check for war that is the 2001 AUMF. If passed into law as part of the DOD bill, it would repeal the 2001 AUMF eight months after enactment of this legislation. That would allow plenty of time for Congress to finally live up to its constitutional obligation to debate and vote on any new AUMF.”
Chances of Lee's amendment surviving the sausage makers masquerading as congressmen are slim. Call yours to demand it make the final cut. Failure to push back against perpetual war makes you a perpetual war enabler. That is not what we're here for. 

Sunday, July 02, 2017

Will 200,000 preventable deaths melt Roskam's cold, cold, heart

Looking across the table at my Congressman Peter Roskam at a hastily gathered meeting of three constituents to quell a protest at his April appearance with Glen Ellyn village leaders, I offered this comment: "Sir, you've spent the last 8 years striving to defeat, defund, derail the Affordable Care Act which has prevented over 50,000 deaths since passage. That sir is unconscionable." Roskam's response was about as heartless as can be imagined: "Well, some of my constituents are complaining their premiums have gone up under the Affordable Care Act (ACA)." That is demonstrable sophistry; a false argument to deceive voters. And it will not stand if those voters will comprehend the enormous cruelty Roskam is enabling with his support of Trump's American Health Care Act. Trumpcare is simply a massive tax giveaway to the wealthiest Americans, with 40 % of those cuts going to members of the annual million dollar income club. But it's human cruelty that must truly grab our attention: 22 million losing health insurance over 10 years. So what, you ask? That 22 million losing their health lifeline will suffer 200,000 plus preventable deaths over that decade of despair Roskam will tout as an accomplishment in his re-election bid next year if it passes. Least you think that is hyperbole, it comes from Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman citing Congressional Budget Office and medical researchers' analysis regarding Romney's Massachusetts model for the ACA. Based on before and after study it showed that for every 830 folks added to health insurance rolls, one preventable death is avoided. Do the math and those 22 million losing health insurance under Roskamcare will generate well over 200,000 preventable deaths. 

I'm certain Congressman Roskam doesn't want them to die. But when making their ballot for Congress next year, Sixth District residents should ponder whether that irrelevant truth justifies returning such a heartless human being to vote on life saving national policy.  

Friday, June 30, 2017

America's criminal Syrian bombing based on lies, fantasy

For some time now I've been posting on the myth perpetuated by the US government and its fawning enablers in mainstream media that Syria absolutely used chemical weapons in its civil war, first in 2013; then again this year. Obama was crucified by the war party for pulling back from a retaliatory strike even tho he abstained when the intel pros told him there was no concrete evidence it occurred. But this year Trump set off the Tomahawk fireworks within days with even less likelihood of Syrian guilt. One reader asked for a link verifying my position and here it is...from the most honored and esteemed investigative journalist of the last half century, Seymour Hersh, who exposed the Viet Nam Mai Lai Massacre in 1969 and the Abu Ghraib torture scandal in 2004. Sadly, Hersh is boycotted by US mainstream media, being forced to publish in Europe and on the net. A long but valuable read. Kudos to Hersh...shame on US media wing of the war party.

http://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/277-75/44374-trumps-red-line

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Number 289 hits close to home

In 2007 I hired Chris Johnson as a parts order picker at my last company as logistics manager before retiring in June, 2013. Chris was a 22 year old African American from Englewood, one of Chicago's high crime areas, where the opportunity to 'make it' is not high. He didn't have much of a resume other than having graduated high school with honors and some technical education afterwards which he apparently could not afford to continue. He also had a gentle poise and sincerity that helped persuade me to hire him for an entry level job in logistics. My intuition about Chris was rewarded as he quickly became a valuable employee who was liked by everyone. Chris approached me about taking logistics classes at Daley College to further his career. Even though our company did not have a tuition reimbursement policy, our company president took an interest in Chris and approved a special tuition reimbursement on his behalf. Chris worked for me for nearly six years, up to my retirement in June, 2013. I confess to worrying about Chris's safety from crime throughout that tenure as he continued to live in Englewood. I knew Englewood first hand having worked there from 1968 to 1972 as first a social caseworker, then a teacher at Bass Elementary School at 65th and May, just a few blocks from where Chris lived some years later.
I stayed in touch with Chris for a few months after I retired, and had plans to go to lunch with him but never did. Earlier this year I was told he was no longer employed at the company. No information provided as to why or what his future plans were. Today, a former work colleague at company informed me that Chris Johnson, 32, was shot to death on June 13, Chicago 2017 murder victim number 289. The news report said he was shot multiple times by person or persons unknown while sitting in a car at 81st and Kedzie, just a few miles from his home. Why he was there and what provoked the shooting was not provided. Also not provided was that Chris Johnson was so much more than a 32 year old male gunned down in the shooting gallery our society enables with easy access to guns and unrelenting poverty and despair in America's inner cities. I had the privilege of meeting and working with a lot of fine people during my 46 years in teaching and logistics; Chris Johnson among them.

11th Commandment: Thou shall not violate the separation of church and state

Tho usually attributed to Mark Twain, the statement "I've never wished a man dead, but I have read some obituaries with great pleasure", was actually uttered by Attorney for the Damned, Clarence Darrow. I'm reminded of Darrow's take on human nature when reading about a mental patient who drove his Dodge Dart into the 3 ton Ten Commandments monument installed on the Arkansas Capitol grounds, demolishing it within 24 hours of its installation. Sometimes God works to ensure the separation of Church and State in mysterious ways.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Sunk costs in criminal wars sinking America


3 trillion for failed war in Iraq; a trillion for failed war in Afghanistan and another trillion for the failed wars in Pakistan, Libya, Somalia, Yemen and of course, the most dangerous of all, Syria. Uncle Sam is directing our rudderless Ship of State unto the rocks of disaster and collapse. And what do the fools in the war party say to those of us urging 'Get out, get out, get out'? 'We can't because we've already sunk 5 trillion and hundreds of thousands of lives, including 8,000 Americans, which will not be squandered or lost in vain'.
Any first year economist or political scientist knows that treasure and lives sunk in failed, criminal military ventures can never be recovered. They're buried forever by the folly of man who uses war to create the wealth of the state instead of creating the wealth of the people through peace. Unless we turn away from war and toward peace....we are all sunk.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Trump threatening more bombing over phantom Syrian gas attacks


Sunday, June 25, 2017

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

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

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

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

Friday, June 23, 2017

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

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

Thursday, June 22, 2017

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


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

Monday, June 19, 2017

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

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

Friday, June 16, 2017

No jail time for suicide abbetor

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

Time for US to officially 'lose' Afghan war

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

Thursday, June 15, 2017

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

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

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

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Trump infrastructure plan: think Chicago parking meters

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