Tuesday, May 23, 2017

It's not remembering the radical...it's remembering the patriot

There was one benefit to reading Penelope Blake's letter 'Remembering the radical' which complained about Michael Workman's piece on Chicago Home Theater Festival featuring Bill Ayers contribution to this wonderful Chicago cultural gem. It informed me of another fascinating facet of Ayers life which has been inspirational to me going on half a century. 

As one who opposed the Vietnam War in the 1960s, I understand the frustration of those who worked to end an immoral war that needlessly killed over a million Vietnamese and 58,000 Americans for no reason at all. Ayers  make no apologies for efforts which included condoning if not participating in violent conduct, albeit directed at buildings, not people. He long ago fulfilled his legal responsibility for radical activities that jeopardized his freedom, if not his life.  He could have thrown away the rest of his life while still a young man as many in the antiwar movement did. Instead, he redeemed himself by becoming productive citizen, working to make this a better country and world. A half century later, Ayers remains a leader in the resistance movement against a power elite systematically degrading every decent American value we cherish. A revered educator, social activist and now, based on Workman's informative post, a devotee and patron of the arts, Ayers is not spending his golden years coasting while our society is endangered beyond our poor powers of comprehension. If he'll never quit, neither will I, and I would hope he'll inspire more people like Penelope Blake, whose snapshot view of fifty years ago, misses the enormity of Ayers contribution to the American Story.  

Sunday, May 21, 2017

How Trump can make Israel visit truly productive

Trump should insist on visiting the hundreds of Palestinian prisoners conducting a hunger strike against their Israeli jailers during his upcoming visit to Israel. Though harmful to themselves and their families, they're using the hunger strike as peaceful protest against what both the UN and humanitarian agencies have called torture, inhumane, degrading treatment and medical neglect. The strike, which began April 17, is in its fifth week and involves nearly a quarter of the roughly 6,000 Palestinians held under conditions prompting it. Israel's response has been to ratchet up their already horrific treatment by moving strikers to prolonged solitary confinement, force feeding them, and cutting off all family visits, a move condemned by the International Red Cross.
Of course, the chances of Trump seeking to visit the hunger strikers is zero, as is the willingness of Israeli authorities to permit it. But they can't stop him from making the first side trip ever of an American president to the West Bank or Gaza, to see first hand what our national policy of supporting Israel's Apartheid of the Palestinians, along with our $3.8 billion yearly in free money, helps enable.

Walt Zlotow
Glen Ellyn

How Trump can make Israel visit truly productive

Trump should insist on visiting the hundreds of Palestinian prisoners conducting a hunger strike against their Israeli jailers during his upcoming visit to Israel. Though harmful to themselves and their families, they're using the hunger strike as peaceful protest against what both the UN and humanitarian agencies have called torture, inhumane, degrading treatment and medical neglect. The strike, which began April 17, is in its fifth week and involves nearly a quarter of the roughly 6,000 Palestinians held under conditions prompting it. Israel's response has been to ratchet up their already horrific treatment by moving strikers to prolonged solitary confinement, force feeding them, and cutting off all family visits, a move condemned by the International Red Cross.
Of course, the chances of Trump seeking to visit the hunger strikers is zero, as is the willingness of Israeli authorities to permit it. But they can't stop him from making the first side trip ever of an American president to the West Bank or Gaza, to see first hand what our national policy of supporting Israel's Apartheid of the Palestinians, along with our $3.8 billion yearly in free money, helps enable.

Friday, May 19, 2017

NY Times, WOPO passed on Manning's revelations

After 7 years as a political prisoner for embarrassing the US war party, Chelsea Manning is a free woman. She originally sought out the NY Times and Washington Post to reveal US war crimes in Iraq but the two house shills for the war party passed. This prompted Manning to contact Wikileaks which did reveal them and changed the landscape of whistleblowing illegal and immoral government secrets forever. Manning's courageous actions made possible both Ed Snowden's revelations of government spying on innocent American's and John Doe's (he remained anonymous) Panama Papers which chronicled how the greedy rich hide their obscene wealth. Both Snowden and Doe learned from mistakes Manning made which got her a year of solitary confinement under conditions the UN termed torture, in addition to the six at Leavenworth. Neither Snowden nor Doe suffered Manning's fate, tho Snowden is cooped up in Russia, possibly forever, due to Uncle Sam no like of patriots who report government criminality. Forty-six years ago both the Times and Post had enough integrity and independence to publish Daniel's Ellsberg's explosive Pentagon Papers which outed US coverup of the catastrophic Vietnam War.
Alas, those days of a truly free press are gone, not forever, but till we Average Joe's rise up and resist the calamitous state of ignorance and oppression we allow our government to impose on us.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Is US military the worst in the world?

If our $600 billion dollar a year military is so great why can't it defeat one the poorest and most corrupt countries on Earth? Sixteen years, 2,350 soldiers dead and tens of thousands damaged in body and mind and its one unrelenting defeat after another in Afghanistan...the graveyard of empires. The Taliban controls more of that godforsaken land than anytime since 2001, even though we spend a billion a week to flail away like fools at a pretend enemy fighting with sticks and stones that will never be defeated. The generals who play the idiot Trump are demanding an additional 5,000 in canon fodder to stave off the inevitable defeat that can't come soon enough. When you're bleeding to death as the American empire is, Job One is to stop the bleeding. The war party is too invested in the power, glory and riches of perpetual war to apply the tourniquet. And the idiot Trump is still bursting with pride over dropping the 22 ton 'Mother of All Bombs' that obliterated a few dozen Afghans to get the message that criminal war doesn't pay.

In answer to the question posed in the title, no, the US military isn't the worst in the world. America's political leadership is.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

2 Koreas, like 2 Vietnams, just another pair of Made In USA constructs

In 1945, just a day after America fried about 50,000 souls in Nagasaki, a couple of US diplomats, including JFK's future Secretary of State Dean Rusk, looked at the emerging make up of newly liberated Korea and said, 'Let's carve it up'. Their aim was to prevent Korea from Soviet influence led by 30,000 Korean guerrillas, who had been fighting for Korean independence from colonizer Japan since 1932. Possibly using a dart, and totally unconcerned with Korean interests, they chose the 38th parallel. Three days later 25,000 US troops poured into the newly created US protectorate in the South, beginning the 72 year artificial division of Korea that remains likely the greatest threat to a uclear confrontation today.
US history texts will never teach this story to a grossly uninformed electorate. Nor will they mention we bolstered our creation of South Korea with thousands of Koreans formerly loyal to Korea's Japanese masters and that several hundred thousand Koreans were whacked by the South, with US complicity, to keep South free from a unified Korea. How about the million North Koreans, over half of which were civilians, we killed preventing unification during the 1950-53 Korean War?
The US political class and media love to portray North Korea's leaders as delusional and crazy. But just like our decades long effort to prevent unification of Vietnam that killed millions, America's obsession with maintaining and controlling the two Koreas is the gold standard for delusional and crazy.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

It's not about growth governor...it's about survival

For an upcoming feature on the Illinois budget crisis, WDCB radio featured this Rauner quote in its promo:
"Some people think this discussion is about passing a state budget. What this is really about is whether Illinois will become a growth state".
Really governor? Maybe for a billionaire who's spent his career re-arranging the deck chairs on company boards to grow his fabulous wealth, that statement makes sense. But for the students seeing their classes and educational resources cut, for state vendors waiting months for payment, for working stiffs being stiffed from receiving livable wages, this discussion is purely about surviving in a state without a responsible state budget...Item One in your job description. Your governing motto sounds like 'After moi, the deluge'.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Roskam goes Full Monty to degrade women' heath care

Ask my congressman Peter Roskam (IL-6) how his vote on TrumpCareLess hurts women's health care, and if honest, he'd answer, 'Let me count the ways'.
'First it defunds Planned Parenthood, even though 2.5 million women, 20% of childbearing age women, use it, many as their only means of decent reproductive health; In 105 counties its the only full reproductive health care service for the needy'.
'Second, it ends essential services mandated for insurance companies by the Affordable Care Act such as mammograms, birth control, prenatal/maternity care and mental health services'.
'Oh yes, my vote will help slash Medicaid by $880 billion over ten years which now cover 50% of all births and 75% of publicly funded family planning services'.
'Then there's those pesky pre-existing conditions I voted to allow states to op out of, many of which like Lupus, MS and depression affect women more than men. Sorry about that'.
'Don't forget the Big A: abortion. My vote will bar subsidies for desperate women seeking to buy insurance that covers abortion...and further prohibits small employers from using tax credits to pay for insurance plans that cover abortions. No problem if you're rich like me and my base'.
Roskam's 58% vote total last November, about a quarter all registered voters, no doubt included thousands of women. This Mother's Day, every one of them should consider what carnage their vote helps heap upon their sisterhood. Every Sixth District woman, and every man who supports and cherishes the women in his life, must connect to end the damage this pretend public servant is inflicting on women's health care. For them, for everyone of good will, Congressman Peter Roskam is a public health hazard.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Who will be Trump's Goldwater?

Back in 1973-74, most Republicans were staunchly defending President Nixon from impeachment or simply resignation for his Watergate crimes. Future president George H.W. Bush, then Chair of the Republican National Committee, earned enduring loyalty among Republicans from traversing the country defending Nixon to the GOP establishment. Then, in early August, 1974, Sen. Barry Goldwater, arguably the most respected Republican in Congress, publicly said this about Nixon:
"Nixon was the most dishonest individual I have ever met in my life. He lied to his wife, his family, his friends, his colleagues in the Congress, lifetime members of his own political party, the American people and the world. There are only so many lies you can take, and now there has been one too many. Nixon should get his ass out of the White House -- today!"
Goldwater, along with two Senate colleagues, held a private meeting with Nixing on August 6. The next day Nixon resigned.
When, oh when, will Republicans of Goldwater's stature step to mercifully do what only a GOP Congressional majority is capable of doing to end the plague of lying, bullying, colluding with Russia and debasing America's political culture in the 113 days of the Trump administration?

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Governor's congrats to Israel omits those whose name and existence are suppressed

Governor Rauner's recent congratulations to Israel on its 69th anniversary tellingly missed the 4.4 million Palestinians subjugated in virtually every aspect of a free peoples' life in the occupied territories. Rauner omitted this oppression which is supported in all aspects of America's words and deeds. His statement that “Israel remains a beacon of democratic values in an uncertain world" surely rings hollow to those condemned to live in wretched conditions no true democracy would impose on a minority population. Rauner exacerbated his omission of Palestinian oppression by touting his administration's opposition to the Boycott Divestment Sanctions movement, a time honored non-violent means of ending horrific government oppression, such as white South African Apartheid that subjugated South African blacks. Would a Governor Rauner of the 1980's have congratulated US ally Apartheid South Africa on their anniversary? Based on this weeks congratulations, maybe he would.
Most of the world, 136 of 193 countries (71%), recognizes the State of Palestine. The US disgraces itself as a beacon of freedom with its refusal to not only recognize Palestine, but ensure Palestinians will never have a homeland to placate the ruling Likud Government wing of the Israel Lobby. Gov. Rauner simply joins every other US political leader in pandering to oppression rather than leading to achieve freedom and national identity for the marginalized.
I, too, congratulate the Israelis on their 69th anniversary...but I call on them to end their version of Apartheid and allow Palestinians an opportunity to begin the journey to their first anniversary as a free peoples

Monday, May 08, 2017

CBS lobs single softball at war criminal Rice

Every time one of the US war criminals who lied us into the Iraq war writes a new book extolling America's (and their) greatness, mainstream media invites them for a softball interview to goose book sales. One occurred yesterday on CBS Sunday Morning to promote former National Security Adviser and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's new book 'Democracy: Struggles from the Long Road to Freedom.

Host Jane Pauley allowed just 44 seconds of the eight minute interview to give Rice a chance to whitewash her criminal involvement in a war of aggression and imperialism that got millions killed, wounded or dispossessed, including hundreds of thousands of GI's. Ignoring the waste in blood and treasure, Pauley simply pondered whether the war was worth it with no WMD found and Al Qaeda newly planted in Iraq.. Rice hit Pauley's best softball out of the park with this exculpatory nonsense: "What we know today can affect what we do tomorrow...but not what we did yesterday...and so we did not know at the time of the invasion that there were no WMD." If that was used as her defense in a Nuremberg war criminal court, Rice would be exchanging her Stanford University designer suits for prison pinstripes.

That's how we get perpetual war in America: war criminals like Rice who lie as easy as breathing...and a compliant, intimidated media who let them get away with it.

Saturday, May 06, 2017

Perpetual war claim US canon fodder in Somalia

A US Navy Seal was killed and two wounded 'advising and assisting' Somalia troops near the capital of Mogadishu. The Pentagon retracted its initial fib the casualties resulting during 'training' when it was revealed they were involved with Somali troops attacking an al-Shabaab complex. Doesn't it make you feel safer we're spilling precious US blood and treasure to ensure Somalia's al-Shabaab bad guys stay pinned down in Somalia so they don't come across in row boats to murder us in our beds? Somalia is simply more US perpetual war, ensuring the war party remains in power, glory and blood money.

Friday, May 05, 2017

Roskam apologizes for delay in eviscerating Affordable Care Act

My congressman Peter Roskam (IL-6) issued this press release yesterday following his vote for the American Health Care Act:
"I sincerely apologize to my wealthy and heartless base for the delay in bringing an end to the taxes you suffered from to help insure the 20,000,000 deadbeats covered by the Affordable Health Care Act. Our seven year battle to give back to you the treasure your talents earned simply to prevent 50,000 deaths caused by no health insurance, as well as the millions avoiding bankruptcy and diminished health have been rewarded. You were wise to succeed on your own and not have pre-existing conditions, the only true way to afford health insurance which once again will become a privilege of success rather than a right of citizenship. Yesterday's vote puts the first nail in the coffin of the Nannystate. And I'm thrilled we added a one year ban of Planned Parenthood funding to stop nonsensical government support for contraception and cancer screenings; as well as ending subsidies for insurance plans that cover abortions. Once again America shows its greatness among industrialized countries on the benefits of limited government. Now we can shift more government treasure back to the people whose industriousness and hard work built this great land, rather than the takers whose grasp for our hard earned wealth never ceases. I pledge to continue working with Trump to make the Illinois Sixth great again.

Thursday, May 04, 2017

Trump: the projectile vomit of a sick society

Trump did not become president sui generis. He was nurtured for decades by a sick society. No later than the 80's the emerging billionaire class began its inexorable lust to fleece all wealth from middle class and further degrade the poor and powerless. Politicians were bought up like baseball trading cards. Congress became their flunkies to lower taxes, cut regulations, create slave labor from unsupportable wages, regardless of irreparable damage to a thriving society. The war party decreed perpetual war to bring endless profits getting millions killed, damaged or dispossessed far from our gaze. Glorification of the hired canon fodder fulfilling this mission became part of every public event. The media became corrupted and co-opted, either part of this mendacity or simply intimidated to never tell the truth. Education was reviled as it was underfunded. History in school simply became history. Is it any wonder Trump doesn't know Frederick Douglas is dead or that Andrew Jackson couldn't have prevented the civil war? Religion was used as a club to browbeat secularists seeking social progress and reinforce the utterly false greatness of American civilization. The greedy 1% continue their endless pursuit of endless wealth oblivious to the harm that will engulf them from a poisoned planet, crumbling infrastructure, drug and crime ravaged pockets of poverty that expand daily. A society that funnels much of its dwindling treasure on a bloated military that loses every criminal venture it launches is doomed to fall like every war obsessed empire in history.
Trump embodies every venal and self destructive impulse in our sick society. He gauged that spewing racism, Xenophobia, sexism and hate of government would promote his narcissist brand. Surprised that a fluke of the electoral process allowed a minority vote to propel him into the White House, Trump feverishly set out to unravel every sensible, decent and humane element remaining of our rapidly disappearing greatness. To keep the ignorant, fearful and hate filled base satiated he holds vile rallies reminiscent of small scale Nurembergs, coating the faithful with the regurgitation of the plague affecting us all.
We of good will must arise every day, wipe off the slime Trump heaped upon us yesterday and resist, resist, resist.

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Breen's voice only heard by Governor

The Lombardian publishes a weekly column by District 48 State Rep Peter Breen titled 'Your voice in Springfiled.' After two years of reading his columns I pose the question, Whose voice does he represent? On Day One of his legislative career in January, 2015, Breen signed on to Governor Rauner's turnaround agenda which told the legislature there would be no state budget till it passed his wish list of pro business items designed to please his affluent base. That was an unprecedented and unconscionable departure from every governor, Democrat or Republican, in Illinois history. The budget process is and must be about determining state needs: education, infrastructure, criminal justice resources, assistance for the poor, working moms, the disabled, the mentally challenged; then determining how to fund those critical needs. Rauner, with Breen and GOP caucus support, essentially put entire state governance on hold trying to get an agenda through gubernatorial extortion; something the legislature rightly resisted. As a result, every measure of state governance as suffered in comparison to Rauner and Breen's predecessor. 

Breen's record certainly isn't the voice of Illinois' college students, losing out in schools cutting programs and services due no state budget. It doesn't include state vendors waiting months for payments from a state that stiffs them.  People in need certainly don't consider Breen their voice since fully a half of state welfare agencies are cutting services and laying off valued workers, to their great distress. It is not the voice of potential entrepreneurs unwilling to invest in a state not funding essential services. 

Breen ends his latest piece with the meaningless bromide that Illinois can be fixed if only we work together. After 27 months it hasn't dawned on him that holding the legislature hostage for a non budgetary wish list as the price of a budget is the furthest thing from working together one can imagine. Breen's voice speaks loudly and often, but the only one it represents is the Governor.

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Shaller's Pump runs dry..but Woodlawn Tap's still flowing

I love old neighborhood bars. That's why I was saddened by closing of Shaller's Pump, 3714 S. Halsted after after 136 years yesterday, tho I never drained a stein there. But I have downed quite a few at another historic Chicago dive bar, The Woodlawn Tap, a.k.a. Jimmy's (Est. 1948), at 1174 E. 55th Street over the past 51 years beginning with my first legal drink on March 10, 1966. Truth be told I was a fervent underage scofflaw in the days when Chicago bars were oblivious to my cherubic appearance. Don't frequent Jimmy's, or any bar very much these days, in a futile attempt to hold back the aging process. But I'll make an exception this June 3 at High Noon when I re-unite with about a dozen UChicago fraternity pals at Jimmy's to celebrate our 50th UChicago Reunion. The joint is unchanged a half century on...but our joints sure have.

Monday, May 01, 2017

Arkansas' Midazolam Madness

Between April 20 and 27, Arkansas committed state sanctioned murder on four men who had been languishing on death row for decades. But state officials were furious the Supremes blocked four more such senseless killings in the final three April days. Why? That's when the Razorback State's supply of Midazolam, one of three drugs used in the killings will run out; and lethal drug makers are loathe to supply any more to states for such barbaric and senseless killings. One manufacturer even sued Arkansas claiming they were duped into selling Arkansas one of the other drugs used. That suit didn't help Marcel Williams, Kedell Lee, Ken Williams and Jack Jones who rolled down Arkansas' killing assembly line with splendid efficiency. Newbie Supreme Neil Gorsuch cast his first Supremes vote after accepting his appointment of the seat stolen from Merrick Garland by the death penalty loving GOP, to deny Ledell Lee's final stay. A few minutes later Lee went poof!

The South loves killing sorrowful souls no longer a threat to society due to their lifetime incarceration. Since 1973 they've whacked 1,184 compared to just four in the north. Yet, in 2015, the murder rate in the South was 70% higher than the North and that doesn't include all those state sponsored murders. State executioners are oblivious to the 158 lucky condemned who were exonerated in the last forty years before the drip was dropped into their veins. One dude languished 39 years before a key prosecution witness sputtered, "Opps, I lied".

Capital punishment in America...a capital offence against humanity.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Trump's tax cut editorial pure delusion

In 'Trump's tax reform challenge' it's disappointing but not surprising the Trib accepts the premise that Trump's tax reform proposal is designed to increase overall American prosperity. The Trib knows full well Trump knows nothing about governing, much less improving US prosperity. Trump's proposal is simply to put Reagan style GOP tax cutting on steroids so wealthy corporations and individuals can grab as much middle class wealth as possible before the next collapse. We've been fed this tax cut kool aid by the Republicans for 36 years now since Reagan became president on the mantra 'Government is not the solution, it's the problem'. Then he cut taxes, stopped investing in jobs, infrastructure and people in need to begin the great funneling of wealth to his rich base. Oh yes, one sector of big government did get more...the military, squandering trillions to wage perpetual war while the rest of American crumbles and the non-rich get poorer. Except for the 16 years of Clinton and Obama, this has been the American story since 1981 and with Trump and the Trib promoting more tax cuts, it won't end well.   

Give already wealthy individuals and corporations more tax cuts and other economic incentives and they act against the public interest every time. Spend America's treasure on perpetual war that slaughter's hundreds of thousands of innocents instead of rebuilding America and uplifting the unfortunate and you've created a self destructing society. The Trib calls Trump's boast for the most massive tax cuts ever "exciting and dangerous." No, it's just dangerous. On second thought, make that 'suicidal'. 

Thursday, April 27, 2017

The Cardinal and the cult

Francis Cardinal George was Archbishop of Archdiocese of Chicago from 1997 till resigning in 2014 due to failing health. In 2002, weighing in on the exploding child sexual abuse crisis infecting the priesthood worldwide, George decreed that priests must be removed from ministry after a single act of sexual abuse. Yet, we learned yesterday, in the Church's $4.5 million settlement with 3 boys abused by Father Daniel McCormick, that George failed to have McCormick removed after his August, 2005, arrest, letting him remain at at St. Agatha Catholic Church, till a second arrest five months later. George was revered in the press throughout his tenure in Chicago, given valuable space in news shows that always seemed to this non-theist as out of place in this secular society. Yet, George's role in enabling priestly sexual abuse of children got neither the attention nor the condemnation it deserved. More million dollar settlements are pending from the McCormick chapter of the sordid Catholic legacy of denial, obfuscation and coverup by an insular religion that always put the Church's reputation for infallible holiness above the welfare of children. How many of those victims were enabled by George's involvement in this historical tragedy will never be known though it may be substantial.

We should understand that every religion is essentially a cult, creating a closed community of imagined belief to entice believers looking for relief from the mystery and ennui of life. It demands unwavering belief, based strictly on faith, with truth jettisoned for mysticism. There is nothing inherently wrong with any cult as long as it strictly serves individual and public good. Alas, as the centuries long saga of child sexual abuse, enabled by a bizarre prohibition on married priests and an hierarchy determined to protect the cult against criticism and scorn demonstrates, the interests of the public and the cult are often not in line. Cardinal George was simply following a dictates of the cult instead of conscience.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Diplomacy by raving maniacs

Everyone agrees that North Korea's Kim Jong-Un is hopelessly unstable and irresponsible in his leadership of North Korea (DPRK). But check out actual quotes from both the Jong-Un and Trump administrations and decide who is more unstable and irresponsible in leadership of their respective countries:

US: “North Korea is looking for trouble. If China does not help, we will solve the problem without them." 

DPRK:  "In the event of a U.S. military attack, our country would not scruple at launching a nuclear strike at US forces." 

US:  “We are sending an armada, very powerful. We have submarines, very powerful, far more powerful than the aircraft carrier. We have the best military people on earth.” 

DPRK:  “Thermonuclear war may break out at any moment. Any missile or nuclear strike by the United States would be responded to in kind that would reduce US military forces in South Korea and on the US mainland to ashes. The United States and its allies, should not mess with us.” 

US: “The era of strategic patience is over. All options are on the table.” 

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Roskam staring in own 'Groundhog's Day'

My congressman Peter Roskam (IL-6) makes the right call in refusing to host a Town Hall with 6th District constituents. While his rookie congressional neighbor next door in District 8, Raja Krishnamoorthi, held a highly productive, polite Town Hall right out of the congressional gate, Roskam claims these critical participatory venues are nasty, unproductive exercises he refuses to waste his time on. He's right of course, but not for the right reason. Newbie Raja functions as a real congressman, willing to address the critical concerns of every 8th District resident. He faced tough questions at his event but did so honestly and sensibly, earning the respect of all attendees.
After ten years in Congress the majority of 6 District residents finally figured out Roskam isn't a real congressman, simply a taxpayer paid lobbyist for the special interests having nothing to do with real resident concerns. Take health care. Roskam's spent a decade on behalf of the health insurance industry working to first prevent, then repeal life saving healthcare from the 20 million who got it from the Affordable Heath Care Act. Roskam uses blatant lies that it hasn't accomplished one benefit to offset the millions of jobs its destroyed, heartlessly oblivious to the 50,000 lives and counting its saved so far. Take the environment. Roskam remains in the delusional climate change denial wing of the Republican Party, no doubt paying dues to the fossil fuel industry he claims is the only way to energy self sufficiency. Take gun control. That A grade and campaign cash from the NRA weren't garnered from backing sensible gun control to reduce the annual bloodbath on our streets, schools and places of worship. Take women's reproductive health. Roskam makes exception for his mantra opposing big government every time it involves a woman and her gynecologist.
The ordinary folks hurt by these cruel policies want answers that Roskam is incapable of and unwilling to give.They're not waiting till November, 2018. They're going to vote with their presence, their persistence and their questions every time Roskam makes a public appearance in the 6th. Though he'll never set one up or accept an invite, Roskam will find that the entire district has been turned into a continuous Town Hall till he starts doing the job he's run from for the past decade. Roskam is finding out every day he awakes in the 6th...it'll be 6:00 AM on Groundhog's Day.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Murdoch clan should fire themselves

Bill O'Reilly wasn't canned by Fox News because of any concern over maintaining a decent work environment for their employees or promoting public morality as a responsible media outlet. They fired him because the sponsors finally fled, the female staffers revolted and the public pressure became intolerable. Fox News has always be a disgusting enabler of atrocious behavior against women by powerful but ignorant, mean spirited men enabled by the owners, Lachlan, James and daddy Rupert. The Murdoch's are even trying to head off a British decision involving another one of their many enterprises, that rests on whether the family is 'fit and proper' to gain approval. First Fox had to fire long time president Roger Ailes for years of endless sexual harassment but tried mightily to cover up O'Reilly's years of the same dirty deeds because he brought in hundreds of millions in ad revenue. While paying off 5 complainers with $13 million to keep quiet, they were tossing a cool $20 million a year at O'Reilly to keep the cash dinosaur flowing. Once the plug was pulled on that spigot, the plug was pulled on the creep fronting the O'Reilly Factor. But they still come up three short to really clean up Fox News: Lachlan, James and Papa Rupert.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Trump has steep hill to out bomb Obama

Trump hates being the biggest loser. But when it comes to bombing innocents, his predecessor set the benchmark last year - 26,200 bombs - that will be tough to match, even for one as competitive as The Donald. But if his first 90 of 1,461 presidential days are any indication (assuming no impeachment), Trump will surely prevail. He's upped the drone strike ratio of one every 5.4 days under Obama, to one every day and a half. That's in addition all those senseless plane strikes in Iraq, Syria and other countries that are killing women and babies with military precision. Within a week of getting his License To Kill, Trump ordered a senseless special ops action in Yemen that killed 30 innocents as well a hapless member of the canon fodder brigade, charging into senseless, criminal battle at the command of a sociopath. Not satisfied with small time slaughter, Trump unleashed MOAB (Mother of All Bombs) on some 36 Afghan souls in the path of our 22,000 lb people killer, that no doubt gave Trump extreme pleasure, as well as higher ratings from a bloodthirsty public. But wait, the Killer In Chief was not done yet. He's threatening to bomb North Korea, a peanut power posing no threat to Uncle Sam and who could easily be contained by South Korea if we'd simply remove our 30,000 occupiers and tell the South to use some of their fabulous wealth to defend themselves instead of being our puppet. 

We'd best not think we're immune to the carnage Trump is unleashing far from our shores. He's no doubt inspiring home grown lone wolf attacks in what is accurately described as 'blowback'. And Trumps virulent war mongering surely puts all of at risk to wider war, even nuclear confrontation with Russia over our belligerence in Ukraine and Syria. In the end Trump may surely be the biggest winner in killing innocents; but the whole world will be the biggest loser.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

For governor, I'm backing the guy whose personal check I can match

Let's see, channeling Secretariat, Governor Rauner is runaway leader, having ponied up $50 million of his billionaire wealth for his upcoming campaign. Democrat Jay Pritzker places with a cool seven mil. Chris Kennedy barely shows up to grab show with a paltry $250,000 in Kennedy Kash. Still out of sight in last place, State Senator Dan Biss just contributed twenty-five bucks to his sensible peoples' campaign, resting on the wise fiscal solution to Illinois' woes of a progressive income tax. Ironically, that matches what I contributed to him on Day One after he saddled up his financially austere gubernatorial thoroughbred. .
Forget the deluge of money...I'm betting on the people to pick the winner in this high stakes race to save Illinois.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

America's worthless promise to Russia

When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1989, the US and NATO promised to move NATO 'not one inch' closer to Russia in return for Russia allowing Germany into NATO. Since then NATO has engulfed Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia, Albania and Croatia. Trump has agreed to absorb the tiny state of Montenegro as the unlucky (for Russia) thirteenth former member of the Soviet block into NATO. US troops and threatening NATO military exercises are routinely conducted in these lands to further provoke Russian security fears in ratcheting up Uncle Sam's new Cold War. Three years ago the US sponsored and supported a coup in Ukraine toppling the Russia leaning but duly elected Ukraine president. This unleashed anti Russian action in Russian populated Eastern Ukraine. Was it any wonder Russia moved to protect its naval base there in Crimea as well as the ethnic Russians under siege from neo Nazi Ukraine thugs? Any one of these new NATO members could serve as a trip wire for conflict between the two remaining nuclear powers.
Back in 2008, premier new Cold War impresario Sen. John McCain, injected himself into Georgia's border dispute with Russia over South Ossetia by proclaiming "I speak for every American when I say to him (Georgian president Saakashvili), 'Today we are all Georgians.'" Had Georgia been swallowed up by the insatiable NATO behemoth, that dispute could have easily drawn the US into war with Russia.
Just like being able to chew gum and tie our shoes at the same time, we should be able to investigate Trump's possible election treason with Russia without ramping up a new Cold War. We can start by keeping the promise we made in 1989 and giving the NATO boot to the old Soviet Bloc states it gobbled up.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Rauner's cruelty to needy hits new low

If Governor Bruce Rauner entered a limbo contest, he'd slither under a limbo pole an ant would have trouble traversing. The governor displayed his penchant for going low against people in need beyond any sense of compassion or decency in his statement threatening veto of Rep. Sara Feigenholtz's bill HB40, designed to allow women to use Medicaid or state employee health insurance to pay for abortions. Rauner's history on reproductive rights is in direct conflict with this heartless threat, in that he and his foundation have given hundreds of thousands of dollars supporting both Planned Parenthood and the ACLU's Roger Baldwin Foundation, which aims to protect abortion rights laws. Why the switch? No doubt Rauner looked at the votes he needs from the pro life crowd to get re-elected; then decided supporting humane reproductive rights for women in need wouldn't be prudent. That is political pandering at its worst. Even Rauner's two Republican predecessors, Jim Edgar and George Ryan called withholding such relief to those without Rauner's deep pockets 'unconscionable'. Getting back to that limbo contest, no matter what new record low Rauner achieves, each new day brings opportunity to go even lower.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Direct outrage at perpetual war and other critical issues

I'm disappointed but not surprised at the avalanche of outrage over the poor bloke dragged of the United airliner. If he were a lout causing a disturbance or threatening the captive passengers and crew, his ouster would have been cheered and his injuries celebrated. Obviously, procedures went terribly wrong in this case. But anyone observing the tension, pressure and chaos gate agents are under to please dozens, hundreds, even thousands of passengers affected by their split second decisions should have some empathy that the actors in this drama are not evil; and that overall, these folks do an extraordinarily high quality job under extremely challenging circumstances. I'm disappointed because the outrage could be much better spent protesting against perpetual war, the destruction of our environment and the lust to take away health insurance from the needy by the new administration. Where's that outrage, indeed.   

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Time for Cutler to cut and run

Former Denver and Bears quarterback Jay Cutler amassed some pretty impressive stats in 11 seasons –hoisting 208 touchdowns among the 2,782 completions in 4,491 tries (62 percent), garnering 32,467 yards. But one stat not listed is the times an even bigger hulk tossed the 6-foot-3, 225-pound Cutler to the hard turf like a rag doll. I winced watching every sack, not because of the damage it did to the Bears victory chances, but to the fragile brain banging around in Cutler's cranium.
Cutler turns 34 in a month, has a lovely wife and three little kiddies at home to go along with a fortune north of $50 million earned throwing a pigskin and getting smashed into the sod. Cutler should consider the closing chapter in the long and now sad life of Kansas Comet and Bears great Gale Sayers and quietly hang it up. Maybe Jay should grab a Starbucks to discuss the matter (no pun intended) with fellow Bears QB Jim McMahon. Then again, not a good idea. The punky QB will likely stare blankly at Jay and wonder why he's even there. 

My congressman Peter Roskam (IL-6) should issue a profound apology to his 750,000 constituents for his nine years of lies about the Affordable Health Care Act (ACA). From Day One in the 2009 debate over the ACA passed March 27, 2010, Roskam was all in on the GOP's Big Lie that the ACA was a 'job killer'. Roskam fully supported GOP response legislation with the lying title 'Repealing the Job Killing Health Care Act.' In the ensuing nine years Roskam hurled the job killing whopper loudly and often.
Though still a fierce opponent of the ACA which has given 20,000,000 of America's needy first time health insurance and arguably saved 50,000 lives, Roskam has gone silent on his ACA job killing lie. It certainly isn't guilt over a lie that caused his nose to stretch from one end of his gerrymandered district to the other. No, it's likely the report of the non-profit health care think tank Altarum, that the ACA was a huge JOB CREATOR, adding 240,000 health care jobs during the first three years of the ACA's full implementation. And the jobs were good ones including doctors, nurses, and other skilled health care professionals. No burger flippers among that quarter million increase. It's not hard for us Average Joe's to figure out the ACA as a job creation engine. Add 20,000,000 customers to any industry and you'll stimulate an avalanche of new jobs. That truth wasn't lost on Roskam who chose to spew lies instead to curry favor with his anti Obama, anti government base. Exploiting the tens of millions of vulnerable Americans seeking health care with lies to play politics is not leadership. It is unconscionable.
Roskam's ACA lies are not unforgivable. A genuine apology and promise to make amends seeking to insure the balance of 40,000,000 uninsured will be celebrated. The road to redemption begins with the truth.

The promise Trump should have kept

Many supporters are lauding Trump for following through on campaign promises to dump regulations, cut taxes, end health insurance for the needy, appoint corporatist judges, lay off criticizing urban police forces, promote voter restriction laws, defund Planned Parenthood for starters. But the promise that peeked us peaceniks, scaling back the US footprint overseas, has been sorrowfully discarded for going full monty on rampant militarism. Let us count the ways far beyond the murderous, criminal bombing of Syria April 6:

  • Trump had quietly expanded war zones for US operations  in Somalia and Yemen
  • Making it easier to launch counter terrorism strikes anywhere in the world
  • Accelerating drone strikes from one every 5.5 days under Obama to 1.8 days
  • Loosening Obama administration guidelines designed to limit civilian casualties from illegal bombings
  • Considering military requests for more canon fodder for America's never ending Afghan war
  • Sending ships near North Korea to rattle sabers as well as considering putting nukes in South Korea; even assassinating North Korea's Kim Jong-un. 
  • Ended the Obama administration policy of announcing new troop deployments in the Middle East and Africa. 
  • Scuttled Defense Secretary 'Mad Dog' Mattis plan to board Iranian ships in international waters only when the story was leaked prematurely. 
  • Promised the military a 10% budget raise of a cool $54 billion to ensure their allegiance for this madness. 

This is just the new warmongering we're aware of. Be very afraid for your children and grandchildren's future. With Trump it's every bad promise kept; the one decent promise dumped. 

Walt Zlotow
Glen Ellyn

Monday, April 10, 2017

How we can obey the law against war

April 9, 2017

Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL)
Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL)

How Can We 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. It goes 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 once held 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 in cable and network outlets to educate our citizens and inspire them on 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.

Walt Zlotow
Glen Ellyn, IL

Saturday, April 08, 2017

Presidency a sociopath's delight for soulless Trump

The bloated, scowling hulk Trump's only antidote for a failed presidency is the relief he appears to get from escalating the civilian body count in the Middle East. Within hours of getting his license to kill from the war party, Trump authorized a drone strike in Yemen that killed ten civilians. Within a week he authorized a botched special ops raid that killed 30 civilians; but Trump ignored that carnage to only glorify the US soldier he sacrificed in the senseless raid. Trump dramatically increased drone and bomber strikes from his predecessor, no shrinking violet in the Middle East murder game, causing over a thousand civilian deaths in March. Some examples? Trump demolished a mosque in Aleppo, Syria, killing 47; homes, school and hospital in Tabqah, Syria, killing 20; temporary refugee housing in Raqqa, Syria, killing 33; and Trump's mother of all war crimes, an entire neighborhood in Mosul, Iraq, killing nearly 300.
Now the sociopath's poll numbers rise and severe Trump critics like Senators McCain and Graham grow quiet as Trump rained 60 Tomahawk missiles on the Syrian government, killing more innocents and ratcheting up tensions that will surely inflame an already volatile region. Trump claims he tomahawked the Syrian airbase to stop future Syrian government gas attacks from killing civilians. Trump couldn't wait for an impartial investigation into the incident which might prove the gas was unleashed either purposely or accidentally by the rebels. This is precisely what happened after the 2013 Syrian gas attack when CIA informed a cautious Obama that Assad likely didn't do it; averting a needless descent into war. But sociopaths like Trump don't hesitate; they kill for the sake of killing and the residual personal benefits.
And by keeping silent, we are all the sociopath Trump's enablers.

Friday, April 07, 2017

LGBT community, all of us, served by rejection of anti transgender agreement clique in Palatine

Congrats to Anna Kimkowitz, Bob Lefevre Jr. and Ed Jung who defeated Kath David, Ralph Bonatz and Jean Forest in Palatine High School District 211 race Tuesday. The winners are committed to continued progress in opening Palatine's school potties to transgenders, as achieved in the 2015 consent agreement with Uncle Sam against furious opposition from the fearful, ignorant and yes, hateful people seeking to keep them in the shadows. This four year long battle for decency and dignity may go on for years as fanatical religious groups and their minority cadre of parents are suing to overturn any accommodation to transgenders in Palatine schools, regardless of the harm it does to transgenders in preventing crimes that simply don't exist. But it least they will continue to confront a board united to preserve the inevitable march of progress, not only for transgenders...but for all of us.