Thursday, December 08, 2016

Mad Dog has bigger problem than legislative restriction on assuming Defense post

Trump's Defense Secretary pick of James 'Mad Dog' Mattis, former commander of US Marines in Iraq, has a confirmation problem. Federal law prohibits retired military from becoming Defense Secretary for 7 years. Congress will have to pass a waiver, something they only did once, fifty years ago, for Mattis to even be eligible.  

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

How far we've fallen since 1932

In 1932, FDR's trusted advisers were collectively know as his 'Brain Trust'. In 2016, the new presidential advisers, as promised, are Trump's 'Swamp Creatures'.   

Saturday, December 03, 2016

What will be Trump's Reichstag's fire?

The Electoral College, not the American people, elected a moral monster President Elect. Trump was trounced by Clinton by near two million votes and two percentage points; numbers sufficient to elect her in any other democracy on Earth.
Trump doesn't answer to the moniker 'fascist' so we can't call him that. Yet, he ignited his campaign of fear and loathing with the racist meme Obama was the 'other' from the black country of Kenya. He campaigned using many fascist tactics; stoking xenophobic fears of Mexican rapists, deporting the undocumented whose slave wages pump up affluent wealth, demanding a ban on Muslims; indeed even creating a Muslim registry. His vulgarity is breathtaking; egging on his supporters to beat protesters with promises to pay their legal bills; unconscionably referring to a hated reporter's menstrual cycle. He claimed the election was 'rigged' against him, refusing to abide by the most sacred American tenant of honoring the result should he lose; indeed promising to jail his opponent if victorious. On foreign affairs he's promised to bomb the shit out of imagined bad guys. At his first rally as President Elect, Trump tore into his bete noir, the media, as the "extremely dishonest press", lambasting an unnamed female anchor he claimed teared up over his victory.
Trump will fail; but he won't fail with a whimper. We should have no illusions he won't resort to an incident, be it massive civil disobedience or a terrorist attack, to abrogate the dwindling civil and political liberties left after the Bush Administration began America's descent from freedom with the Patriot Act after 911. Tyrants and wannabe tyrants have been doing that throughout history, the most famous example being Hitler's use of the Reichstag fire of February 27, 1933, to spiral Germany into tyranny just 28 days after being appointed Chancellor.
Trump supporters poo-poo these warnings, claiming Trump just used hyperbole and clever marketing to prevail in the Electoral College. But they along with us who comprehend his mendacity, ignore at our peril the ravings of a clearly disturbed, undemocratic, conscienceless charlatan who exploited our human and electoral weakness to gain the Presidency. It may not be engulfed in a conflagration yet, but Trump's America is smoldering; and the heat is becoming insufferable.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Roskam's anti UN BDS bill ignores Palestinian humanitarian catastrophe

My congressman Peter Roskam (IL-6) is co-sponsor of the Protecting Israel From Economic Discrimination Act. It opposes the United Nations Human Rights Council resolution calling for companies both within and outside Israel not to do business with illegal Israeli settlements within occupied Palestinian territory. Such settlements are illegal and immoral; being prohibited by UN Resolution 242 of 1968, in the aftermath of the 1967 Israeli Arab war. It called for return of occupied territories gained by war. It has been US policy since then to honor UN 242, return Palestinian land so occupied, end Israeli settlement building and create a Palestinian state with permanent Palestinian Israeli borders. But Israeli settlements continue apace with over 600,000 Israelis enjoying Israeli citizenship in the occupied territories while 4,500,000 Palestinians remain stateless under horrid, often inhuman conditions as Israel builds its one state solution nullifying, Palestinian statehood.
The current UN Human Rights Council resolution is a legal and constructive way to counter Illegal Israeli activity which has created one of the world's worst human rights violations. But Roskam positions his bill without ever mentioning the plight of the Palestinians; indeed without ever uttering their name. He only refers to the resolution as the UN "working to engage in politically charged economic warfare against Israel", designed "to strangle Israel’s economy and coerce Israel into unilateral concessions."
Would a Congressman Roskam of 1936 condemn similar efforts to engage in an economic boycott of Germany to lift horrid restrictions on their marginalized Jewish citizens? Would a Congressman Roskam of 1956 condemn similar efforts to mount an economic boycott of US southern states over their racist Jim Crow laws dehumanizing their marginalized black citizens? Yet, when it comes to weakening Israel's Middle East rival Iran, Roskam is all in for the most severe economic sanctions possible, even opposing the the 5 + 1 Iran nuclear deal which likely prevented war with Iran.
Congressman Roskam can surely see but refuses to acknowledge the brutal, inhumane treatment Israel imposes on arguably the most marginalized people on Earth. Instead of supporting a radical Israeli regime which may be self-destructing in its zeal to push the Palestinians into the sea, Roskam should support decades long US policy to return appropriated Palestinian land, end illegal, immoral settlements and work toward a viable two state solution. Enabling continuation of atrocious human rights violations is not noble governance. If Roskam really wants to help Israel thrive and proper, he should push the US to become the 138th country to recognize the state of Palestine. Supporting full worldwide recognition of Palestine may be Israel's best hope for true peace and security, and its support would make Roskam a true Friend of Israel.

Monday, November 28, 2016

A new first and new low in presidential conduct

"Trump Falsely Claims Millions Voted Illegally"

Monday, Nov. 28, 2016 NY Times No. 1 headline calls out Trump for the liar he is. Likely never happened before in history of anyone elected to highest office. For sure won't be last time a major media outlet identifies a Trump lie in their headline. A sorrowful day in American presidential history.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

A few Fidel fun facts on his demise at 90

In 1959, I watched one of the most peculiar sports shows ever, 'Baseball from Cuba' on Channel 7, which broadcast Cuban baseball games, containing several future MLB stars such as Julian Javier. The announcer always pointed out Fidel, whose love of baseball was second to being a revolutionary, who reserved a primo box seat for himself.
Disintegrating actor Errol Flynn, working as a newspaper correspondent covering the revolution while making his bizarre last pic 'Cuban Rebel Girls' with co-star and 16 year old gal pal Beverly Aadland, scooped every professional journalist by getting the only US interview during Fidel's final push and rode into Havana during the January 8, 1959 victory parade.
My brother married a Cuban exile in 1974, who shared her first name Mirta with Fidel's wife.
On more serious note, America's obsession with destroying Fidel because he ended the Mafia's and United Fruit's half century long exploitation of Cuba, remains one of most shameful episodes in my memory of endless US interventions around the world. JFK brought us to the brink of nuclear war invoking the principle that only the US is allowed to put nukes on another country's doorstep. JFK spent his entire presidency trying to murder Fidel. and that obsession may have been a prime motivator in Oswald's murder of JFK. And here we are near sixty years on getting thousands killed changing regimes we don't like...BECAUSE WE CAN.

Why Mother Earth mourns

During the three media staged presidential debates not a single question was asked about global warming.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Bull Conner would be jealous

News that law enforcement dowsed Dakota Access Pipeline protesters with freezing water in 27 degree temps provoked a bit of jealousy in a long gone practitioner of the fine art of the firehose. Down in Authoritarian Hell, Bull Conner, is seething; his water hoses, if failing to knock over the civil rights demonstrators of 1963 Birmingham, merely cooled them off on a hot summer day.  

39 down, 5 to go to end Rauner's ruinous turnaround budget stalemate

Illinois' finances continue to collapse since Gov. Bruce Rauner instituted his 44 point turnaround agenda 2 years ago as the price of implementing a balanced budget. That is extortion and was justly resisted by the Democratically controlled legislature. And what has Rauner's turnaround agenda extortion scheme achieved?

Unpaid state bills which declined under Gov. Quinn have skyrocketed past $10 billion and likely will hit $13.5 billion by next June's fiscal year end. Late payment penalties have zoomed to $118 million from a program intended to speed up payments but now strangling state finances. Fees on unpaid bills grows almost $2.5 million per week. Junk status looms for $26 billion in Illinois bonds. Unfunded pension liability, also slowed by Quinn's fiscal sanity, rises north of $130 billion.

Rauner, desperately trying to extricate himself from a self painted corner, touts his dropping 39 of 44 turnaround agenda items, even saying he may drop one or two more if Democrats will only compromise.

Ain't gonna happen, Governor. You bought Illinois with $26 million of your billionaire wealth and figured you could blast it apart to fit the business model of the companies you bought, then sliced and diced on the road to Xanadu style riches. But Illinois, unlike those companies making things that can be easily disposed of, consists of 13 million flesh and blood folks, many of whom now desperately trying to get by in a state run by a morally confused and heartless oligarch. If you have trouble sleeping at night over the abdication of the most basic governmental functions, try counting the students, business owners, working poor and needy suffering under your governance. There's about a million of them to count before you'll get a good night's sleep in the Governor's Mansion.

Monday, November 21, 2016

False, racist immigration issue fueled Trump rise

Like any deviously brilliant demagogue, Trump exploited the twin tools of fear and ignorance to fuel his initial rise into electoral contention. His first and most frequent such tactic was stoking the lie that hordes of Mexican rapists and other criminals were pouring across our porous border to degrade American society. Proposing a giant wall was a simpleton's delight, solving the imaginary problem for millions of fearful, uninformed Trump supporters. The concrete wall became a mental wall insulating them from any disconcerting truth. Trump then put flesh and blood on his demagoguery, claiming only he could prevent the shooting death of Kate Steinle from a stay bullet fired by an undocumented Mexican already deported five times.
Yet Trump would never tell voters that the Obama Administration reversed the net annual half million increase of undocumented under Bush, bringing it to zero with increased border security and laser like focus on deporting only the criminal, leaving hardworking undocumented families intact to seek eventual citizenship. Trump shamefully exploited the real grief of the Steinle family to stoke xenophobia and offer delusional solutions. But hypocrite that every demagogue is, Trump never revealed he used the undocumented to build his Trump Tower; then threatened them with deportation after complaints about his lack of wage payments.
Now heading to the White House on the last gasp of aging white fear and resentment, Trump has already reneged on his signature promise; reducing the deportation of 11 million undocumented to the 3 million he falsely claims are criminals, and green lighting a 'fence' in some areas. And in the Great Carnival in the Sky, P. T. Barnum is smiling and likely offering: ' know more about suckers than I ever did.'

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

2015 was a pretty good year for Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner. He was inaugurated Illinois Governor and earned taxable income of $176 million. He may well exceed that healthy total in 2016. But Rauner couldn't achieve what he covets most: a pro Rauner concept of government in Illinois that favors the rich over everyone else. He calls it his 'turnaround' agenda and it requires the legislature to approve reduction of union and middle class earning power, end to prevailing wage, right to work for local communities, and reducing the social safety net for the needy.  

After a year long stalemate with the Democratic legislature which refused to approve this draconian agenda, Rauner sought to flip the legislature the rich man's way: buy it. Since the $28 million Rauner spent to buy the 2014 gubernatorial election succeeded, why not spend a little more and flip the Illinois legislature his way. Rauner upped his personal contributions by nearly 70% to $46 million. 

It didn't work. The Republicans picked up only 2 Senate seats and 4 in the House, leaving Democrats with sizable majorities that will never pass his turnaround agenda. And Bruce Rauner can add this corollary to the truism Money can't buy you love: Money can't buy a legislature, either. 

Walt Zlotow
Glen Ellyn

$46 million can't buy love or 'turnaround' agenda

2015 was a pretty good year for Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner. He was inaugurated Illinois Governor and earned taxable income of $176 million. He may well exceed that healthy total in 2016. But Rauner couldn't achieve what he covets most: a pro Rauner concept of government in Illinois that favors the rich over everyone else. He calls it his 'turnaround' agenda and it requires the legislature to approve reduction of union and middle class earning power, end to prevailing wage, right to work for local communities, and reducing the social safety net for the needy.  

After a year long stalemate with the Democratic legislature which refused to approve this draconian agenda, Rauner sought to flip the legislature the rich man's way: buy it. Since the $28 million Rauner spent to buy the 2014 gubernatorial election succeeded, why not spend a little more and flip the Illinois legislature his way. Rauner upped his personal contributions by nearly 70% to $46 million. 

It didn't work. The Republicans picked up only 2 Senate seats and 4 in the House, leaving Democrats with sizable majorities that will never pass his turnaround agenda. And Bruce Rauner can add this corollary to the truism Money can't buy you love: Money can't buy you a legislature, either. 

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Trump's 16 month campaign a 'high crime' against US political culture

It may not be an impeachable offense, though only because he's not yet president, but Donald Trump's entire campaign has been a high crime on America. It began with the racist meme that President Obama may have been the 'other', born in Kenya and not a legitimate president. That was just the start of a vicious, scorched earth campaign of ignorant, personal attacks that blindsided the 16 normal folks running for the GOP nomination; then focused like a laser on Hillary Clinton and the many sub sets of her base, including blacks, Latinos, the disabled, the economically deprived and others. Cheering on violence and thuggery at rallies became normalized in the Trump campaign. Using profanity, offering to pay legal bills of supporters arrested for assault on protesters, disparaging female physical attributes; even threatening to jail his opponent if elected, were far beyond the pail of presidential character and posturing.
Trump's election after his morally debased campaign has brought a spike in hate crimes not seen since anti Muslim attacks following 911. According to Richard Cohen, President of the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracts hate crimes and hate crime groups, "Since the election, we've seen a big uptick in incidents of vandalism, threats, intimidation spurred by the rhetoric surrounding Mr. Trump's election. The white supremacists out there are celebrating his victory and many are feeling their oats." Over 200 incidents have been reported, the most serious of which was the shooting of an anti Trump protester in Portland, OR. Other incidents include racist messages posted at the University of Pennsylvania, an Ohio thug banging on the car driven by a Muslim family, yelling at them to leave America, and school children of the undocumented treated to chants of "Build the wall." The Loyal White Knights of Pelham, NC tout their planned December 3rd Trump victory rally on their website, turning Trump's name into the hideous racist acronym TRUMP: Trump's Race United My People.
Donald Trump's road to victory was paved with racism, xenophobia, misogyny, profanity and bullying. That is unprecedented in American history. That is unacceptable. That is unforgivable. The racists and their allies in the Republican Party lusted but failed to delegitimize President Obama throughout his eight classy years as president. Donald Trump has delegitimized himself before even taking the Oath of Office next January 20.

Walt Zlotow
Glen Ellyn

Friday, November 11, 2016

Cubs co-owner spends $400,000 to kill 10 Nebraskans

Everybody knows the four kids of billionaire Ameritrade founder Joe Ricketts have spent hundreds of millions to bring Chicago a World Series. But most don't know one of those Cub co-owners has spent $400,000 to kill 10 Nebraskans sitting on Death Row. That's not hyperbole. Last year the Nebraska legislature voted to end capital punishment in Nebraska. Republican Governor Pete Ricketts, one of the aforementioned Cub owners, vetoed that measure but suffered the indignity of having his veto overridden. Incensed, 'Whack Em' Pete shelled out $300 grand to get a death penalty reinstatement referendum on the November 8th ballot; then ponied up another hundred grand to promote it.
Just like with the Cubs, Whack Em brought home a winner Tuesday, 62% to 38%. Death penalty opponents in the legislature vow another repeal measure after the first of the year. Meanwhile, Whack Em is conferring with his Attorney's General on ways to get banned lethal injection drugs to finish off the ten blokes sitting on Death Row, at a cost of $14 mil a year, as the repeal law hadn't gone into effect before it was rescinded.
Next time you spend a dollar on the Cubs, consider that a quarter of it goes to a loathsome specimen of humanity who will use it to commit legalized murder of his fellow man.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

States cool with cannabis; Uncle Sam still nodding off

The four corners of the US are going to pot...cannabis that is. From California and Nevada in the west to Maine and Massachusetts in the east, millions of Americans have been added to the recreational variety Tuesday. Millions more in Florida, North Dakota, Arkansas and Montana will be getting medical relief from the medicinal version. Only recalcitrant Arizona turned down the opportunity to 'Don't happy.'

Meanwhile Uncle Sam is still nodding off...failing to gain insight into the quiet revolution battering down the 80 year federal war on cannabis created to demonize minorities and outsiders in lily white America. Its continuation as a Class 1 drug as harmful as cocaine or heroin is insane. Its stigma as not having any medical value is refuted by tens of millions getting relief without the cost of highly toxic and debilitating synthetic drugs is deplorable.

Even the Trump electoral wave can't dampen the enthusiasm generated by the greatest one day gain in the inevitable march to full legalization of cannabis in all 50 states. You may be 240 years old dear Uncle, but you can never be too old to step up to higher ground.

Ayotte second of 47 traitorous senators defeated Tuesday

New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte conceded defeat to New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan, trailing by roughly a thousand votes out of 738,000 cast. That makes Ayotte the second of 47 Republican senators who signed the letter to Iran last year imploring Iran not to conclude the nuclear agreement negotiated with the US, Russia, China France, England and Germany, to lose their re-election bid. Their's may be the most visibly traitorous conduct ever undertaken by US senators; undermining presidential action which defused the most volatile flashpoint for another Middle East war. Kelly follows Illinois Senator Mark Kirk into retirement, defeated handily by Tammy Duckworth. Neither Hassan nor Duckworth are likely to repeat the traitorous conduct that thoroughly discredited Ayotte and Kirk.

That's the good news. The bad news? Forty-five of those 47 senators are still on the job promoting criminal war to keep war party coffers full, and undermining any efforts, such as the Iran Agreement, to achieve peace.

Hooray for Illinois 'Lock Box' Amendment

This retired 42-year veteran of the logistics industry was gratified the 'Lock Box' amendment to the Illinois Constitution was overwhelmingly approved 79% to 21% Tuesday. It prevents the governor and legislature from raiding user fees paid by motorists to shore up our crumbling infrastructure, to pay for non-infrastructure items starved for cash by an inadequate. regressive tax structure. The amendment gives hope Illinois can start creating a 21st century infrastructure vital for an economic revival and protect us 13 million Illinoisans from harm's way traveling a disgraceful transportation network. 
Opponents fretted Lock Box would cause crippling cuts to education, health and public welfare. Any such cuts will be the responsibility of a state government which clings to one of the lowest state income taxes in the country, and a flat rate regressive one, at that. Many states have a higher state income tax and a progressive one at that, Most state leaders and politicians support a progressive income tax in theory, but refuse to implement in governance. Why? It's politically expedient to ignore adopting a sensible tax structure when you have a tempting transportation piggybank to raid. With that crutch gone, Illinois legislators might finally be motivated to do the right thing and amend the Illinois Constitution to create the drastically needed progressive tax. It's a hard slog to amend: 60% of both legislative branches must approve six months or more the next general election in November, 2018. Then 60% of voters must approve on election day. Both tests were widely exceeded for Lock Box because economic growth, public safety and simple fairness prevailed. With similar resolve, a progressive income tax will become available in two years. In the meantime, Governor Rauner and legislative leaders must implement sensible spending cuts with a modest income tax hike to replace their reprehensible midnight forays on the infrastructure stash.        
Improved infrastructure and a sensible, progressive tax. That's what we with a tad of common sense and wisdom call a 'twofer'. 

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

A few election takeaways

Going low works
Initial belief Bernie would have been a stronger candidate likely true
Retired one Senate warmonger...Mark Kirk in Illinois
California and Massachusetts legalized recreational cannabis; North Dakota, Florida and Arkansas legalized medical cannabis. Wait, wait, that's not a takeaway...that's a tokeaway.

Sunday, November 06, 2016

Let's restart peace movement January, 3, 2017

A month ago America marked the 15th anniversary of perpetual criminal war against the world. Regime change in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Ukraine, and attempted regime change in Syria, and even now Russia, have all failed and will fail. They have squandered trillions and cost hundreds of thousands, maybe even a million, their lives. They have have degraded the lives of millions more...including every American whose nation crumbles so weapons of mass killing can be manufactured for these criminal wars.
No candidate preaches real peace; even Bernie had to bow down to the phony, self destructive wars against ISIS and Syria. Mass media is massively in the tank for the war party. Tell the truth about the madness of rampant American militarism and suffer loss of access to government propaganda; a fatal step for any news outlet.
Let's all vow to re-start an American peace movement on January 3, 2017, the start of the 115th Congress. Demand an end to war from our new President and new Congress. Pray for the defeat of five virulent war monger Senators: Mark Kirk in Illinois, Ron Johnson in Wisconsin, Kelly Ayotte in New Hampshire, Marco Rubio in Florida and the most virulent of all, John McCain in Arizona. Join a peace movement organization. Demand war crimes investigation of the Iraq war cabinet of Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Rice. Cease supporting government and media war propaganda.
Unlike citizens of Germany and Japan during WWII, or even Americans in WWI, we can take all the above steps for peace without fear of being imprisoned, or worse.
American perpetual war is structured to insulate us from its consequences. Volunteer canon fodder slain or maimed are glorified as sacrificing themselves for our freedom...and we eat up that obscenity by the bowlful. Taxes are lowered instead of raised to finance war so the circus of daily life can continue unabated.
The 14,400 nukes roughly divided between the US and Russia remain the greatest threat to human existence, and America's restarting the Cold War against the Russian Bear the most dangerous development since launch of the murderous and criminal Iraq war.
If you're not working for're enabling perpetual war.

Saturday, November 05, 2016

Delay, detour not enough to fix Dakota Access Pipeline woes

The Obama Administration decision to delay further construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, with the possibility it may be relocated from Indian lands and water supply is welcome news. But it is not enough. The government was negligent in not fully vetting the environmental impact of the proposed oil conduit on the Standing Rock Sioux and all of humanity. The builders were arrogant and heartless in assuming they could steamroll the most marginal of American sub groups when they demanded the Standing Rock Sioux to stand down from their blocking the defilement of Mother Earth.
The Dakota Access Pipeline should not just be delayed. It should not just be detoured. It must be dismantled.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Roskam's Trump support epic moral failing

My congressman Peter Roskam (IL-6) brought his wife, two daughters and two sons into the controversy regarding moral reprobate Donald Trump's presidential bid. He called Trump's bragging about how he loves to sexually grope women, including married ones, "disgusting, corrosive" and that "it flies in the face of every lesson wife Elizabeth and I taught our daughters and sons about how men and women interact."
Those family values aside, Roskam plans to vote for moral reprobate Trump because this election is a "binary choice" in which he is "choosing to vote for a wild card over an unworthy candidate."
Roskam's use of 'binary',''unworthy' and 'wild card' are telling. They are meaningless words designed to soften his slinking away from confronting possibly the most important moral issue ever in a presidential campaign. Roskam knows Trump is morally and temperamentally unfit to be president. But he also knows that the majority of his Republican base in the Sixth District still support Trump and may send Roskam into retirement should Roskam disavow Trump over his rape culture character, not to mention his racism, xenophobia, and mocking of the disabled who cause him discomfort.
The lesson for the Sixth District is clear. Roskam will jettison the most basic precepts of decent behavior he's taught his children to stay in office. In addition, he'll use his family as a prop to confuse the electorate on his cynical road to a lifetime political career.

Roskam cripples IRS; then demonizes it

My congressman Peter Roskam (IL-6) has spent a cool quarter million or more this campaign cycle touting his signature achievement in his congressional decade: crippling, then demonizing the IRS. Seven glossy full color brochures clogged my mailbox, everyone touting this dubious achievement. Then the ubiquitous TV ads appeared, every one the same with Roskam telling me not to listen to the election 'noise' (read Roskam pick Trump's moral depravity) but focus on his successful war against the hated tax collector. Roskam claims to not only to have stopped the IRS from confiscating assets of a small business without a 'whiff' of evidence, he got them to apologize. Big smile...fadeout. 

That may take first prize for campaign sophistry, using false arguments to deceive people. Since gaining control of Congress in 2011, Roskam and his Republican obstructionists have decimated the IRS' ability to collect the tax money that keeps government working for us. Down 5,000 agents since  
then, the agency can barely live answer half the calls from folks needing tax information, struggle to keep IRS offices not closed with proper business supplies, much less efficiently stop tax cheating, becoming rampant thanks to Roskam led drowning in the proverbial Republican bathtub. Roskam may be proud of supporting the $346 million cut last year in IRS funding, apparently oblivious of the truth that every dollar cut, cuts $6 of valid tax from filling Treasure coffers. 

Roskam is fond of visiting 6th District schools to mentor impressionable students on the importance of government service and the daily life of a Congressman. In the next Q & A I'd like to see a precocious lad or lassie pose this query: "Mr. Congressman, having made millions in salary and benefits in your long political career, why must you be compelled to bite the hand that feeds you?" 

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Rauner's Stella bests Stanley Kowalski's

“Stella is doing her part to raise breast cancer awareness and we are, too.”
-Gov. Bruce Rauner explaining pic of family dog Stella wearing a breast cancer awareness bow.

How's Rauner raising breast cancer awareness? Cutting $13 million from state sponsored
cancer screening for the poor. All things considered, I'll take Stella's contribution over that of the governor.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

End term limit movement, not legislative terms in Illinois

Illinois has big problems but lack of legislative term limits is not one of them. Bruce Rauner promoted enacting term limits during his 2014 gubernatorial bid to demonize the Democratically controlled legislature. Why? They serve as a firewall between 13 million Illinoisans and Rauner's drive to privatize Lincoln's Land for his billionaire buddies. Billionaire Bruce has ponied up $46 million this year to degrade Democratic legislative strength. Billionaire buddies Richard Uihlein and Ken Griffin have chipped in millions more from the $33.3 million they've given conservative candidates nationwide. With oligarchs like Rauner, Uihlein and Griffin pulling the purse strings, we may as well change our state name to Illinoisistan.
But aren't term limits good for democracy and governance? A glance at the 15 states with term limits tells a cautionary tale. Four of those states are among the 18 who have heartlessly denied expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. Six restrict voting rights to suppress minority voting. And a whopping 13 restrict a women's right to choose. So much for good governance with term limits.
Gov. Rauner may be touting term limits for legislators but certainly not for lobbyists. A pernicious side effect of term limits is it further empowers long term lobbyists to mentor the legislative 'newbies' unfamiliar with the ways of power and influence.
We've had a good system of term limits for 240 years now. It's called 'elections' and in 2018 it will set Governor Rauner's term limit at ONE.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Pass the transportation lock box amendment

As a retired 42-year veteran of the logistics industry, I strongly oppose calls from some public interest groups to vote down the Illinois Constitutional Amendment preventing pols from raiding the state transportation fund to pay for state services other than repairing/replacing roads, bridges and other critically needed infrastructure. Infrastructure is the state's circulatory system. Neglect it, as state leaders have done for years, and your put the state body politic at great risk, just as if you spent money for personal heart health on fatty foods, drugs and booze, destroying your own precious circulatory system.

Opponents want lawmakers stop raiding the fund to balance the budget. Yet they don't advocate for a fair and adequate progressive state income tax which could support critical state services, including the social safety net, without having to steal from protecting the most important structural component of personal safety while traveling the state. Motorists pay user fees they rightly expect be used to keep infrastructure safe, preventing damage to their vehicles and their bodies. 
Some opponents trivialize infrastructure as mere opportunity to give lawmakers "the opportunity to scissor pretty red ribbons back home." Those pretty red ribbons provide good middle class jobs which pay desperately needed state taxes. Those pretty red ribbons keep folks off welfare. Those pretty red ribbons could save your life.

Breen's bi-partisan pose pure poppycock

My state rep Peter Breen sure put one over on the local media endorsers in the Illinois 48th. They've all fallen for Breen's self-styled posturing as a bi-partisan freshman in the Illinois House. One argued: "He has succeeded in getting a handful of Democrats on board with his bills to advance his legislation." They all tout bills he got passed in his freshman year with Democratic support. Yet all these bills have no impact the devastating budget cuts affecting a million Illinoisans, one out of every thirteen. They have no impact on the escalating delay in paying state vendors, driving many to desperation; some to bankruptcy. They have no impact on poor woman who must stop working because critically needed state childcare was withdrawn. They have no effect on entrepreneurs avoiding investing in Illinois because it refuses the most basic fiscal responsibility: passing a sound budget.
The budget impasse resulted from the most radical departure from gubernatorial-legislative bi partisanship in Illinois history when Republican Governor Bruce Rauner refused to approve a budget until Democratic lawmakers acquiesced to non-budgetary measures reducing middle class state wages, busting unions and cutting the social safety net. That's not bi-partisanship; that's blackmail, and it has never occurred before in our Illinois lifetimes. And when Peter Breen walked into the Illinois House in January, 2015, he said 'This approach is for me.' Breen joined the governor in lockstep to lock out the needy, workers, state vendors, students and entrepreneurs. Firing off dozens of constituent emails in his first term, Breen reiterated endlessly he'll, in effect, run Illinois over the fiscal and moral cliff to turn on the governor's 'turnaround' agenda.
A truly bi-partisan and compassionate Illinois Republican once said "You can't fool all of the people all of the time". The Breen corollary is "You only need to fool a majority of the people every two years". Maybe this year he won't.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Uncle Sams needs curable cannabis to cure dopiness

194 million Americans, 60% of our populous, live in the 25 states plus DC allowing medical cannabis for pain and other health issues. 17 million, 5%, live in the 4 states plus DC allowing cannabis for fun. Yet all those folks violate federal law against possession and use of cannabis. Just this year the fed rejected taking cannabis off the Class One drug list intended for hard drugs causing horrific health problems with no medical benefits. That's just nuts.

In two weeks, five more states, California, Nevada, Arizona, Massachusetts and Maine will likely add fun to the medicinal benefits of muggles, bumping the 17 million to 67 million. Three more states, North Dakota, Florida and Arkansas will opt for pot to improve wellness.
How sad it is Uncle Sam is lagging behind the states, even now the recalcitrant red ones, when it comes to drug legalization of what is not only not dangerous, but highly medically beneficial. One enormous benefit from fully legalizing and controlling cannabis distribution is reduced likelihood of getting tainted or spiked stuff, always a danger on the black market.

Uncle Sam should prescribe himself some curable cannabis to rid himself of the horribly racist and fear mongering past of cannabis criminalization. Throughout our history, the federal government has led the way over states in matters of public health, justice and social welfare. But when it comes to cannabis sanity, it's Uncle Sam who's still nodding off while the states are acting with insight, clarity, compassion and good cheer.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Shoe finally on other foot

Digesting third debate it occurred to me...this is the first time in his 70 plus years The Donald has been assaulted by a woman. As newly minted Nobel Lit Prize winner Bob Dylan might say, "How does it feeeeeel?"

Stunning US hypocrisy over Aleppo and Mosul

US Secretary of State John Kerry accuses Russia of war crimes for bombing Syrian rebels in Aleppo, charging they're killing innocent women and children. Coordinated Russian and Syrian government bombing there is intended to take back Aleppo from rebels who've made life intolerable for its citizens. A rebel victory in all of Syria portends massive slaughter of Christians, Alewites, Shi'ites and government loyalists.
Using that logic our Uncle Sam is just as big a war criminal for its coordinated bombing of Mosul in Iraq with the Iraqi government to take back that rebel stronghold from Islamic State. We're in the process of getting many innocents killed over the next few months it will take to retake Mosul...if in fact we can. If we do the prize of victory well be a devastated former city with thousands of dead and wounded innocents, just like what Russia and the Syrian government will acquire in a successful retaking of Aleppo.
US media is in the tank for our criminal Uncle, slanting every Aleppo story as one of Russian criminality getting innocents slaughtered. But every story on Mosul is how the brave folks suffering under Islamic State can't wait for America's rescue..even if it levels their city and gets them killed.
At least Russia is truly fighting Islamic State. We're arming and encouraging Islamic State's civil war in Syria because our priority is regime change in Syria to weaken Iran on behalf of our true friends in the region: Israel, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States.
Don't believe one word from our renegade Uncle and his puppets in mainstream media on our criminal Middle East wars. They lie endlessly and we absorb their lies like the compliant sponges we've become. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

62 dead Syrian soldiers just a boo-boo to US war party

On September 17 US air strikes killed 62 Syrian soldiers and wounded over 100. The Pentagon trotted out their best Steve Martin mask, complete with arrow going thru the head and bellowed "Excuuuuse Me." This essentially derailed cooperation between the US and Russia to end the violence in Syria that has devastated that sorrowful land. Russia is aiding its neighbor and ally Syria defeat the terrorist rebels seeking overthrow of President Assad. Besides assisting the duly elected Syrian government, Russia has a vested interest in stopping Islamic terrorists on its doorstep. The US is also playing a double game here: stopping the advance of Islamic State while inflicting regime change in Syria with what it fantasizes are 'moderate' rebels. Memo to Uncle Sam: moderates in Syria don't exist. Much or our support goes to the very folks we are trying to eradicate. In Syria we're more truly interested in Syrian regime change and poking the Russian Bear than stopping Islamic State.  

The US has no business inflicting regime change on Syria and aiding terrorists in the process.  We have no business ratcheting up tensions with the only nation that could destroy us with nuclear weapons. Regime change in Afghanistan failed. Regime change in Iraq failed. Regime change in Libya failed. Regime change in Ukraine failed. But regime change in Syria will not only could lead to nuclear war. 

Forget the pig circus of a presidential campaign. Demand an end to America's failed interventions in the Middle East. Demand an end to demonizing Russia. Demand an end to control of every presidential administration, military and media by the war party.   

Monday, October 17, 2016

The Republican Party after Donald Trump

The Trib editorial, 'The Republican Party after Donald Trump' is stunning in its denial of the moral rot destroying the GOP. Claiming "It was neither the immigration-bashing party nor the party of intolerance, misogyny, exclusion. Those are Trump traits. Republican values embrace equal opportunity for all — including, yes, the women, ethnic minorities and many others whom Trump has slandered and would ostracize." But those are precisely the traits of the 13,300,000 Republican Trump voters, 47% of the 28,600,000 who voted for the four top serious contenders. Racism, xenophobia, sexism, bullying, threats of violence are standard fare for these Trump voting Republicans who finally got a Republican they could back with missionary zeal. They have turned on the moderate Republicans like House Speaker Ryan and Illinois Senator Mark Kirk who want nothing to do with Trump. The Trib Editorial Board is delusional if it thinks Trump's looming thrashing will purge the party of these plurality traits given that they have no where to go, except wait for the next Republican demagogue to emerge. To say "Trump might have won this election if it had been held two months ago" is ludicrous. All his traits of racism, xenophobia, misogyny, bullying, intemperance and intellectual laziness were on full display to all from the start of his scorched earth Primary campaign he began in June, 2015.
To equate the Clinton-Sanders Democratic divide with the Trump-sane Republicans divide is equally preposterous. With Sanders' strong backing Clinton continues to peel off disgruntled Sanders voters who realize the stakes in stopping a neo-fascist and moral degenerate are too high to stay home.
While the Trib gushes about the roll the Republicans are on in capturing 23 state governments, those Republican Banana Republics roll over the middle class, the needy, women's reproductive health, minority voters and the hapless sick denied Medicaid. That, Ivory Trib Tower pundits, is not something to gloat about; its something to hang your collective heads in shame over.
The Trib looks forward to Trump's defeat so Republicans can start digging out of the "rubble" and begin heading home. Pathetically, they'll be led by the energized 13,300,000 who want another racist, xenophobe, misogynist, bully, and verbal bomb-thrower to lead the way.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

The Herald's peculiar fascination with Congressman Roskam

Every two years the Herald dusts of its tepid endorsement of Congressman Peter Roskam (IL-6) and updates it for his latest challenger it can barely mention by name. They always start with the disclaimer he's too far right on social issues, without mentioning he's a climate change denier; without mentioning he throw 20,000,000 off Obamacare if he could; without mentioning he'd withdraw abortion services for all Sixth District women if he could; without mentioning his A rating from the NRA; without mentioning his championing tax cuts for the wealthy at the expense of the middle class and needy.
What does the Herald like about Roskam? They claim he's "ready to work across the aisle, regardless who becomes president" even though he tacitly supported the despicable Republican attempt to delegitimize President Obama for the past eight years, and supported the outrageous 2013 government shutdown that inflicted a political crisis while draining $24 billion from the economy. If that's working across the aisle, I'd like to know real partisanship is like. In ten years all the Herald can point to is his work on Medicare fraud, which for Roskam, is simply part of his meme to stigmatize the government safety net. In sum, the Herald touts that after ten years in the House, they appreciate "his strong knowledge of the issues and his work ethic on Capitol Hill."
The Herald says nothing about foreign policy where Roskam has spent the last decade demonizing Iran, including working to sabotage the Iran Nuclear Agreement which likely averted war with Iran. Roskam is a war party hawk, relentlessly backing our trillion dollar wars in the Middle East and moaning about American weakness over the President's measured pulled back from his predecessor's criminal wars.
Most sadly of all is the Herald's omission of Roskam's support for moral degenerate Donald Trump, calling Trumps racism, sexism, xenophobia, and bullying "slap and dash" and touting he's still going to vote for the 'wild card."
Inexplicitly, the Herald Editorial Board can't differentiate stalwart conservatism from reckless radicalism.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Please don't call it 'medical marijuana'

Time to free the 137,000 Americans (as reported by ACLU and Human Rights Watch) who languish is jail for mere drug possession. All they were doing before the trip to the pokey was self medicating. ACLU and HRW also report that in the last 2 decades arrests for violent crime are down 36% but arrests for drug possession are up 13%. Hey....gotta fill those privatized jails someway.
Time to let all 137,000 out and expunge drug possession from their records so the majority can re-enter society, including the work force.
While at it, let's deep six the name 'marijuana'. Up till American justice went berserk in the 1930's demonizing marijuana in a racist ploy to stigmatize its use by minorities and the poor, it was known as cannabis. First drug Czar Henry J. Anslinger (1882-1975) promoted the name 'marijuana' to give it an exotic, foreign sounding moniker to scare the Bejeezus out of white middle class America. Remember 1937's "Reefer Madness"?
It's cannabis, dammit. Medical marijuana may sound alliterative, but we can easily retain that with 'curative cannabis'. Or just simply CGM (Cheap Good Medicine).

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Congressman Roskam's soulless monologue on The Donald

My Congressman Peter Roskam (IL-6) speaks volumes about his political cowardice while commenting on the important moral issue of confronting the racism, xenophobia, sexism, bullying, lying and debasing of the American political process emanating from GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump.
July 19
"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."
October 9
"Trump's comments on women 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."
October 12
"Hillary Clinton has already disqualified herself by her actions and deeds. Donald Trump has 28 days left to convince me that he's the right person to fix our broken tax code, bring accountability to the federal government, and restore American leadership to the world stage."
October 13
"Donald Trump's a wild card, that's for sure. He's got some work to do, in terms of communicating and so forth. But I think we'd be better off with him than with her."
You know who else has some work to do? Peter J. Roskam.

Rauner's radical departure from Republican moderation in Illinois

Gov. Rauner is eighteen months into an unprecedented assault on the core purposes of state government: providing for the commons, delivering those services as efficiently as possible, and investing in education, infrastructure and tourism to make Illinois a nationwide model of thriving economic growth.

Sadly, state media has ignored that Rauner's vision for Illinois is a radical departure of promoting those core requirements that has never before been abandoned by traditional Republican leaders such as Jim Thompson, Jim Edgar and George Ryan. Rauner treats every investment in the future as something to be cut. He's endangered and worsened the lifestyle of a million Illinoisans dependent on the social safety net that Rauner cuts instead of repairing. He's telling the investment community to dis-invest in Illinois with his refusal to pass a budget, holding it up for his anti union, anti prevailing wage planks that have nothing to do with the budgetary process. He's dis-investing in education, forcing many future leaders and entrepreneurs to educate elsewhere which results in 70% staying in the state that actually values education.

It is imperative we sensible Illinoisans turn Rauner back to the private sector in 2018 so he can resume breaking up companies to increase his obscene wealth. Bruce Rauner must be stopped from completing his breakup of Illinois.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Roskam's Trump support epic moral failing

My congressman Peter Roskam (IL-6) brought his wife, two daughters and two sons into the controversy regarding moral reprobate Donald Trump's presidential bid. He called Trump's bragging about how he loves to sexually grope women, including married ones, "disgusting, corrosive" and that "it flies in the face of every lesson wife Elizabeth and I taught our daughters and sons about how men and women interact."
Those family values aside, Roskam plans to vote for moral reprobate Trump because this election is a "binary choice" in which he is "choosing to vote for a wild card over an unworthy candidate." Roskam's use of 'binary',''unworthy' and 'wild card' are telling. They are meaningless words designed to soften his slinking away from confronting possibly the most important moral issue ever in a presidential campaign. Roskam knows Trump is morally and temperamentally unfit to be president. But he also knows that the majority of his Republican base in the Sixth District still support Trump and may send Roskam into retirement should Roskam disavow Trump over his rape culture character, not to mention his racism, xenophobia, and mocking of the disabled who cause him discomfort.
The lesson for the Sixth District is clear. Roskam will jettison the most basic precepts of decent behavior he's taught his children to stay in office. In addition, if necessary, he'll use his family as a prop to confuse the electorate on his cynical road to a lifetime political career.

Sunday, October 09, 2016

The President's worst broken promise

“So today, I state clearly and with conviction America’s commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons… To put an end to Cold War thinking, we will reduce the role of nuclear weapons in our national security strategy, and urge others to do the same.” 
- President Obama in Prague, April 4, 2009

Roskam's 'government overreach' just another 'states rights' dog whistle

My congressman Peter Roskam is campaigning for his fifth re-election on the slogan he's protecting the Sixth District from government overreach. That harmless sounding phrase is actually a 21st century version of protecting citizens 'states rights' used by segregationists and other reactionaries last century to derail civil rights and other federal programs to help the needy, the poor and the marginalized. Roskam has spent the last decade in a failed attempt to prevent expansion of health care to 20,000,000 uninsured, saving 50,000 lives. He's spent the last decade opposing every attempt to make marriage more inclusive. He's spent the last decade opposing every domestic jobs program. He's spent the last decade demonizing the IRS to pander to the 'no taxation to help the less fortunate crowd'. His support to weaken the IRS has allowed his privileged base to game the system, further weakening resources to re-build America. His efforts to stop any progressive legislation aided the 2013 government shutdown, inflicting a $24 billion hit to the economy. Yet, Roskam audaciously touts his bi-partisan bonifides.

One area of true government overreach Roskam supports is prevention of access to reproductive health for the district's 350,000 women. On that issue Roskam's governance cannot reach far enough to inflict needless harm to one of their most cherished rights.

Sixth district residents may reach for a better choice this November. Ten years of regressive dog whistles to oppose progress for the district, the state, the nation are enough.

Trib's Gary Johnson endorsement 'save saving' at its worst

The Trib Editorial Board knows Hillary Clinton will succeed President Obama next January 20. Already on record that Donald Trump is intellectually, temperamentally, and morally unfit to be president, endorsement of Clinton should be even more forthcoming than their endorsement of Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012.
Unfortunately, the Trib has chosen to follow the thoroughly discredited Republican meme that government investment in education, infrastructure, family leave and health care for all is bad governance and must be opposed, even at the sake of jettisoning their editorial integrity. Since the Trib knows opposing Clinton for her belief in the strong, principled government that lifted America out of the Great Recession of 2007, brought over five straight years of private sector job growth, drastic drop in unemployment and debt growth, sustained stock market growth, marriage equality to all, health insurance to 20 million, saving 50,000 lives and many more, would sound ludicrous, the Board simply ignores those accomplishments. Instead they pretend she'll spend America into horrendous debt and kill private sector job growth, which in their twisted vision, can only occur when you strangle government investment in our infrastructure and our people.
The Trib buttresses this fallacious economic and political argument with the vicious Republican campaign to de-legitimize her in the same fashion the GOP de-legitimized President Obama for the past eight years. Calling her untrustworthy and overly ambitious is all the Republican Party has in their hopeless attempt to drag her down to Trump's level. To even suggest Clinton is as unacceptable a choice as Trump is destructive to understanding the horrific political crisis the Trump takeover of the Republican Party provides.
To save face with the Trib's doctrinaire anti government base, the Editorial Board endorses a doctrinaire anti government libertarian who offers little besides more tax relief for the well off by tearing down the social safety net. This may be the Trib's principles, but it's not that of the 50% plus who will propel Hillary Clinton to continue the inexorable march of human progress begun by her Trib backed predecessor.
The Trib Editorial Board disgraced itself in the March Primary by refusing to endorse either of two great progressive Democrats. With its editorial integrity shattered, the Trib is left saving what's left of it's regressive face.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Clara Peller finds none in Chapman's effort to put beef on Trib's meatless Snowden pardon denial

After trotting out a meatless editorial bemoaning all the damage Edward Snowden did to American national security, The Trib Editorial Board trotted out member Steve Chapman to add beef to the Trib's beef about a pardon for Snowden for outing Uncle Sam's illegal surveillance of every American.
Everything Chapman offered to oppose a pardon in his 'No pardon for Snowden' op ed, was conjecture, buttressed by conjecture from liberal legal big wigs like UChicago's Geoffrey Stone and former ACLU national security counsel Tim Edgar. One gets more conjecture from reading the three page summary of the classified report, (…/hpsci_snowden_review_-_uncl…) which, after 25 months of study, amounts to a mere 36 pages. Much of that three page summary focuses on character assassination of Snowden as a liar, serial exaggerator, fabricator and disruptive employee. And oh, my goodness gracious, his exposure has cost hundreds of millions of dollars, about a week's worth of illegal bombing of seven Muslim countries. That, and not anything Snowden did is what imperils our national security.
If Clara Peller, Wendy's octogenarian beef inspector of competitive burgers were to read Chapman's op ed, she'd surely bellow 'WHERE'S THE BEEF?"