Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Chapman's cynicism on gun violence not helpful

Trib pundit Steve Chapman can be sensible and logical on governmental overreach. Foolish governmental drug policies on marijuana come to mind. I'm disappointed, however, in his throwing cold water on the firestorm of outrage following the Parkland machine gun massacre demanding that Congress do more to protect us instead of cashing those NRA checks and snoozing. In fact, his 'A cure for mass shootings doesn't exist' (Tribune, February 18) likely gets the NRA seal of approval. To say we can never prevent another school machine gun massacre is not the point.

We're never going to go from 34,000 gun deaths yearly, including a dozen or so shootings
in schools, to zero. But we can reduce them significantly if we do what's never been done; have the people through Congress legislate guns instead of the NRA. Current NRA policy, which Chapman ignores, is that the more guns, including machine guns, the better. Our NRA-run Congress has helped create a public health crisis of unprecedented horror. Without strong regulation we will never begin to reduce the carnage and see a reduction rather than an increase in public place massacres, as well as garden variety single shootings.

Would Chapman say automobile and highway safety regulations are a failure because 40,000 die yearly in highway accidents. No, because he knows that without those regulations we might see 80,000 deaths yearly. Those regulations, some quite onerous,
give us all a better chance at a full life. The same goes for gun regulation. If prompt, drastic laws passed while the grief is still palpable can reduce annual gun deaths a modest 10%, 3,400 folks will dodge the Grim Reaper in the next year. That's a start. Chapman needs to get on board the gun control train before it leaves the station.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Has the NRA's 20 grand silenced Roskam on gun massacres?

The NRA has given my congressman Peter Roskam (IL-6) over $20,000 during his political career, including $2,000 in the 2016 election. Of course, as with any political contribution, there is no Quid Pro Quo for the dough. But it is more than a bit peculiar that as with every gun massacre in America, including Wednesday's 31 shot in Florida, Roskam remains utterly silent on endless gun tragedies debasing life in America. How silent? Search Roskam's website for 'American gun massacres/violence' and not a single link appears. That's zero, zilch, nada, 'faggedaboudit'. We should all get this tri-color mailing from him in this year's election:
'Peter Roskam...faithfully serving the NRA for 12 years.'

End cruel, pointless 58 year Cuban embargo

I didn't like the US embargo of Cuba as a 15 year old in 1960. After an 8 day visit there I dislike it more at 73. America business interests, both legal (US Fruit among others) and illegal (Mafia) made billions between our 1898 land grab from Spain till Castro took over and began instituting reforms in 1959. The revolution was necessary and inevitable. The 6 million Cubans had suffered enough under 61 years of US imperialism and plunder. We could have helped Cuba transition away from exploitation to fair play. But Ike heeded the false call of US righteousness to trash any chance of a rapprochement, beginning 58 years of punishing the Cuban people. Not satisfied with an embargo, Ike and successor JFK greenlighted a US run invasion to restore rapacious capitalism. When that failed at Bay of Pigs, we simply tried to kill Castro before bringing mankind to the brink of nuclear annihilation in 1962. Brother Raul leaves office in two months, ending 59 years of Castro rule there. Let's work to keep 'el bloqueo' from reaching the same milestone.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

From gun free to gun drenched

Just returned from 8 days traveling 4 cities and several provinces of Cuba. Virtually no gun violence there because guns are illegal and unavailable. Saw two, yes, just two police on the streets entire time, traversing many blocks at night without fear. Landed in Florida Wednesday to news of latest machine gun slaughter of 17 dead, 14 wounded in a Florida high school. In my Chicago hometown a police commander gun downed at the Thompson Center in broad daylight. Shinning City on the Hill? Nope, just a blood drenched gutter with thousands of bodies piling up yearly courtesy of the gun lobby and their hired protectors in Congress.

Thursday, February 01, 2018

What to do about Woody?

I've been a huge Woody Allen fan since about '64 when I saw his hilarious stand up routine on Carson. He's right there with Robin, Rodney and Buddy Hackett as the only stand ups who could make me fall down laughing. He's a terrific jazz clarinetist...just check out the documentary 'Wild Man Blues' to see why. And the movies, 64 with 'A Rainy Day in New York' in process, represent among the greatest of directorial life works ever. Some are duds, but others, like 'Match Point', 'Zelig' and 'Bullets Over Broadway' are among my all time favorites. At 82, Allen is likely near the end of an amazing career. Now, some actors and movie folks are bailing on Woody, who, 25 years after the alleged events, is facing 'Me Too' backlash for adopted daughter Dylan's 1992 charge he sexually molested her during his messy breakup with Mia Farrow. Whether true or not (a Connecticut hospital's month long investigation determined Dylan wasn't abused), the episode is the one such blip on Allen's nine decade life, and he was never criminally charged. At this late stage we'll never know the truth unless Woody or Dylan recants their story. Some men forced off the public stage deserve their fate. Some don't and are victims themselves, a sad fate not only for them, but for those entertained or enlightened by their artistry. I, for one, plan to see 'A Rainy Day In New York', hoping it's a keeper...and not one of Woody's duds.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Easier to advocate against Bannon than support his speaking at UChicago

I'm sure the 1,000 plus UChicago alums signing a letter to President Bob Zimmer to cancel Steve Bannon's upcoming participation in a business school debate are sincere. And I doubt I could easily get 999 other UChicago alums to sign a letter advocating, as I have, for letting him speak. It may simply be the passion to deny a forum to an unlikable public social critic and tweak the establishment, in this case the vaunted bastion of free expression University of Chicago, exceeds that of those interested in hearing all sides of an issue. After reading the anti Bannon letter I'm more firmly convinced Bannon must be heard.
In arguing for banning Bannon the letter fails. It states "Stephen Bannon seeks to silence dissenting voices of large portions of society" without a word of substantiation. “Denying him a platform to speak at our university does not restrict our environment of fearless freedom of debate and deliberation; rather, it protects that environment.” How can the authors not comprehend that statement precisely restricts the UChicago environment of 'fearless freedom of debate and deliberation'? Would the thousand UChicago alums feel the same way if an Evangelical college banned Pentagon Papers purloiner Daniel Ellsberg or famed social critic Noam Chomsky from speaking because he might hurt the feelings and environment of sheltered Christian believers? Steve Bannon is not some unknown extremist troll hiding in anonymity and dug up to cause uproar. He may have been the most important single person responsible for electing the president, and served as his chief adviser and strategist. We ignore his views and appeal to tens of millions at our peril.
The story says the thousand letter signers go back decades. I suspect a substantial majority are fairly recent grads who, in spite of their UChicago education, still have much to learn about the high wire act of American freedom.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Ives to Trib: 'I can bust unions better than Rauner

State Rep Jeanne Ives revealed her mendacity toward working people in stark terms Monday in her Tribune Editorial Board faceoff with Governor Rauner. Dismissive of Rauner's attempts to degrade state union wages and working conditions, a signature Rauner initiative Ives supported, she scoffed at his first term failure. Asked how she could do better, Ives responded she'd fire them if they don't agree to her changes. Ives also took a swipe at Rauner's masculinity, charging he lied about not having a social agenda for Illinoisans in need, claiming he's simply taking orders from wife Diana to help folks Ives doesn't see, hear or care about. Ives dodged a proverbial bullet when the Trib failed to ask her if gays are still disordered, trying to weasel their way into acceptability; something she has argued must be resisted to save our children. Let's not make the same mistake with Ives some made about Trump...hoping he'd get the nomination because he'd be the easiest to defeat. Ives is vicious...and dangerous for Illinois.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Turkey doing Congress' work...kicking US out of Syria

Congress may look away while the US war party pours thousands of troops and tons of weaponry into the Kurdish area of Syria. The US, still smarting from 7 years of failure in changing the Syrian regime of Bashar Assad, simply ignores the Constitution, international law, Syrian sovereignty and common sense in its drive to keep Assad in its gun sights. But Turkey is doing with military threat what Congress should be doing with their Constitutional mandate; demanding the US pull out from our criminal, murderous and self destructive incursion in Syria. Turkey, still furious the US supports Kurdish forces trying to overthrow Assad, is telling Uncle Sam he'd better get the hell out of the Kurdish sector of Syria or US troops may be targeted in Turkey's efforts to degrade Kurdish forces they see as a threat to Turkish sovereignty and interests. Uncle may not be afraid of Congress, which has snoozed since 911 as the US military, headed by Bush, Obama and now Trump, rampages all over the Middle East and Africa without scrutiny. Body bags of US canon fodder coming home, courtesy of NATO ally Turkey, may have him rethink that policy...at least as far as our continued defiling of Syria.

Friday, January 26, 2018

A lesson in free speech at UChicago 55 years ago

The current brouhaha at University of Chicago over presumed white nationalist and ousted presidential adviser Steve Bannon's appearance at a business school debate brings to mind my experience on the subject as a freshman there in 1963. We incoming newbies were invited to a speech by Nation of Islam leader Elijah Muhammad who spent much of has talk castigating white people as oppressors of America's still segregated black population. Things got a little tense as Muhammad exclaimed that all white people are devils. At that moment a freshman jumped up and shouted, "I am not a devil", dissipating the tension in the auditorium. I don't expect a current UChicago freshman to jump up and exclaim "I am not a white nationalist" if Bannon's xenophobia begins to show during the debate. Let Bannon speak and make a fool of himself discrediting his views headed for the scrapheap of history, the current leader of that movement occupying the Oval Office, notwithstanding.   

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Concept of apples and oranges mystifies Joe Walsh

Joe Walsh may be the most ignorant, hate filled Illinois congressman in my lifetime. Tea Party fanatic Walsh opposed every decent Obama policy, belittled constituents at Town Halls and made outrageous charges without substantiation. A child support scofflaw, Walsh's election  was a fluke of the 2010 Tea Party movement built on fear, loathing and racism. Turned out after one term, Walsh found a megaphone on right wing radio, continuing to pollute the public debate. In his recent immigration debate with Cook County Commissioner Chuy Garcia, Walsh claimed illegals constitute 3.5% of the population but commit 30% of the murders. When it was pointed out that Joe's stats added 48 years worth of illegal murders to the total murder count, he refused to acknowledge the error, saying he'd move to Garcia's district and vote for him if he was wrong. Realtors lining up at Walsh's North Barrington home to facilitate his move to Chicago have a long wait to gain entrance.  

Alas, some folks prefer an ignorant, hate filled xenophobe on talk radio...just as they prefer an ignorant, hate filled xenophobe in the White House. 

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Pence heads up US 'sabotage team' at Korean olympics

The burgeoning detente between the two Koreas, epitomized by their sharing the Olympic spotlight, is applauded by leaders round the globe....with the exception of Trump Tower, Mar-a-Lago and the little used White House. Trump is so furious he's sending Vice President Pence to attend the games to ensure North Korea's attendance doesn't lead to improved relations. It's hard to foment regime change in the North while they're playing kissiface with the South. In the battle of wits between Kim Jong Un and Trump, the latter has apparently entered the fray unarmed. What he expects an equally deficient bomb thrower, masquerading as a skilled negotiator, to accomplish is a mystery wrapped in an enigma. That's the bizarro world of Trump's foreign policy, where up is down, day is night and policy changes by the hour. Fasten your seatbelts, sit back and enjoy the show as America goes for Gold in the stupidity event.

Pence dispenses 'miracle' tag on Israeli Apartheid over Palestinians

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Roskam 'snaps back' to warmongering against Iran

My congressman Peter Roskam (IL-6) never tires of warmongering against Iran. He's add it again, introducing legislation backed by the most vociferous war hawks in Congress, to blow up the 5+1 Iran nuclear deal, the 2015 agreement which likely prevented war with Iran. The rest of the world community, with exception of Israel and Saudi Arabia, breathed a collective sigh of relief when the agreement not only prevented war, but began the critical process of normalizing relations with Iran, a stalwart opponent of al Qaida and other strains of Sunni extremism which inflicted the 911 attacks against the country Roskam is supposed to be representing. But Roskam takes his orders from the Israel and Saudi Arabia lobby which demand that the US lead the effort to weaken, if not destroy the democratically elected Iranian government simply to preserve Israeli and Saudi hegemony in the Middle East.
Roskam's January 18 constituent email consists entirely of an article from internet news site Axios, positively gushing that Roskam's legislation, co-authored with arch neo-conservative and Iraq war supporter Liz Cheney (yes, Dick's daughter), is much harsher than the bi-partisan effort offered by Republican Bob Corker and Democrat Ben Cardin. Axios reporter Jonathon repeatedly proclaims how the Roskam/Cheney bill will 'snap back' at any effort by Iran to preserve its sovereignty in the face of utterly threatening and irresponsible demands. The other co-signers of the Iran agreement, China, UK, France and China, appalled at Trump's longstanding demand to blow up this war saving deal, now have to contend with a radical faction of Congress, lead by Roskam, threatening its utterly counter-productive demise.
This November, voters in the Illinois Sixth should remind Roskam his paychecks are signed by Uncle Sam, not Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu and Saudi strongman Salman bin Abdulaziz Saud. 

Friday, January 19, 2018

'The Post' highlights how far media has fallen

'The Post', Spielberg's take on the NY Times and Washington Post publishing the Daniel Ellsberg pilfered Pentagon Papers, shows long standing media coziness with government officials. Publisher Kay Graham, tight with Defense Secretary Bob McNamara, was loathe to out his deception which sent thousands of US boys and millions of Vietnamese to a senseless death. She reminded editor Ben Bradley, trying to persuade her to publish the purloined papers, of his friendship with JFK which prevented him from reporting candidly on Jackie after the assassination.
But she pushed back against the Post's lawyers who argued she'd lose the Post and her freedom if she published, which she did. To her and Bradley, freedom of the press and unveiling deadly government secrecy trumped access or even survival.
Forty-seven years on the Pentagon Papers would never see the light of day. The NY Times, Post, Wall Street Journal and even Chicago's own Tribune are in the tank for the war party. They willingly pass on every mendacious government lie regarding our perpetual wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Niger and others in 149 countries defiled by our 70,000 special ops and killer drones. They join the witch hunt against Chelsea Manning, Julian Assange and Ed Snowden, imprisoned, holed up in an friendly embassy or on the run from a government bent on revenge for revealing the truth.
The editorial board members of the aforementioned medial giants should be locked in a theater, forced to watch 'The Post' endlessly till they figure out how to protect the public from perpetual war.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Is Roskam 'high-fiving' 3.2 million 2017 loss in health care coverage?

My congressman Peter Roskam's (IL-6) signature issue since the 2008 election of Obama has been to keep America's health case system the worst in the industrialized world. He worked feverishly with the Republican caucus to prevent passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010. Once passed, Roskam embarked on a seven year Odyssey to degrade, defund, repeal the ACA. Meanwhile 20 million people in need got first time health care; improving health, preventing medically induced bankruptcy and savings tens of thousands from an untimely grave.

That meant nothing to Roskam, who looked at the 2016 presidential candidates and opted for a candidate who bragged about sexually assaulting women instead of a women candidate seeking to dignify and empower women. Why? Roskam voted for the candidate who pledged to destroy health care coverage for the needy over the one seeking its expansion to all.

Last year Roskam got his wish. The sexual braggart won and began dismantling the ACA; cutting outreach and advertising, encouraging young people to op out, supporting every GOP initiative to reduce its effectiveness, especially a cruel campaign to shrink Medicaid coverage to the poor. 2017 saw the first drop in health insurance coverage since its passage, a whopping 3.2 million losing coverage, raising the percentage of uninsured from to 12.% from 10.9%. A grotesque effort to repeal the ACA failed by a whisker. That was Roskam's only setback in an otherwise banner year for cruelty and heartlessness. The only question remaining is: How does Roskam sleep at night?

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Ives extremist, ignorant, insensitive and dangerous for Illinois.

State Rep Jeanne Ives (R-42) keeps lowering the bar for outlandish solutions to improve Illinois. Last week at an anti abortion event she railed on against a legal, common, critically needed medical procedure asserting her goal is to eliminate every abortion on religious grounds. She's oblivious apparently, to other extremist religious views that would deny her needed medical treatment for any ailment based on its being against 'God's will'.
Yesterday, at a gubernatorial candidate forum, she laid Chicago's gun violence squarely on lack of impact fathers on at risk youth. Yet, Ives solution is simply to cut taxes, denying more relief in social services, education, neighborhood rebuilding and job opportunities that would employ missing dads, incentizing them to anchor the family unit. The righteousness of Ives' zealotry offers nothing to the millions of Illinoisans suffering mightily after three years of Governor Rauner's budget cutting heaping more despair in our poorest neighborhoods. Ives' callous remarks offended Democratic candidate Chris Kennedy who reminded Ives he grew up in a fatherless home due to gun violence, calling her remarks "stupid and ignorant" before walking off the dais to protest "someone who knows so little about so much, when other people have given these issues thought and have an emotional capacity to be empathetic at the same time." When reminded Kennedy's running mate Ra Joy's son was slain by a gun, Ives' speculated it was probably a fatherless kid. How helpful.
That's Jeanne Ives: extremest, ignorant, insensitive...and dangerous for Illinois.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

'The Post' shows how far media has fallen

'The Post', Spielberg's take on the NY Times and Washington Post publishing the Daniel Ellsberg pilfered Pentagon Papers, shows long standing media coziness with government officials. Publisher Kay Graham, tight with Defense Secretary Bob McNamara, was loathe to out his deception which sent thousands of US boys and millions of Vietnamese to a senseless death. She reminded editor Ben Bradley, trying to persuade her to publish the purloined papers, of his friendship with JFK which prevented him from reporting candidly on Jackie after the assassination.

But she pushed back against the Post's lawyers who argued she'd lose the Post and her freedom if she published, which she did. To her and Bradley, freedom of the press and unveiling deadly government secrecy trumped access or even survival.

Forty-seven years on the Pentagon Papers would never see the light of day. The NY Times, Post, Wall Street Journal and even Chicago's own Tribune are in the tank for the war party. They willingly pass on every mendacious government lie regarding our perpetual wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Niger and others in 149 countries defiled by our 70,000 special ops and killer drones. They join the which hunt against Chelsea Manning, Julian Assange and Ed Snowden, imprisoned, holed up in an friendly embassy or on the run from a government bent on revenge for revealing the truth.

The editorial board members of the aforementioned medial giants should be locked in a theater, forced to watch 'The Post' endlessly till they figure out how to protect the public from perpetual war.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

It's Roskam's, not Trump's words that disappoint,

As vicious, racist and Xenophobic as Trumps words on black countries were, they are not as disappointing as those my congressman Peter Roskam (IL-6th). Trump is being condemned around Congress, America and the world for what he has always been...an ignorant, hate filled racist. But Roskam begins his peculiarly tepid response by offering the doubt "If true" before simply saying Trumps words were "disappointing". He then goes on to "urge Trump to continue to reiterate his commitment to continuing America's legacy of being a welcoming country to those seeking a better life." Bunk. Roskam knows Trump has never had that commitment; indeed built his entire campaign around the racist and Xenophobic theme of demeaning blacks, Hispanics, immigrants; anyone not part of his disgruntled white male base. When Trump was caught on tape bragging about sexually assaulting women, Roskam, after saying that's not how he raised his children to treat the opposite sex, reiterated his support by saying his policy values and Trumps were aligned. When it comes to racism, Xenophobia and sexism, Trump never disappoints. When it comes to enabling such atrocious and un-presidential behavior in a Chief Executive, neither does Roskam.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Roskam turns back on state with anti Illinois tax bill

My congressman Peter Roskam (R-6) seems to have forgotten what state he represents. As a leader in crafting the tax bill, Roskam bought into the GOP dagger aimed at progressive blue states limiting deductions for property and state taxes. Cynical and spiteful politics aside, most economists agree that measure will reduce resources for education and infrastructure, possibly affecting resource starved Illinois most of all. Roskam's many exaggerations and falsehoods offered to justify his 'reverse Robin Hood' tax cut for the wealthy can easily be rebutted. Less obvious is what he'll never offer in his victory lap for endless expansion of income inequality: a stick in the eye of progressive voting Illinois. This November voters in the Illinois Sixth may remind Roskam he resides in the Land of Lincoln...not the land of the GOP donor class.   

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Not gentle on my mind

The Doomsday Machine has been on my mind lately. Couple weeks back I caught 'Dr. Strangelove' for the first time in decades, watching as American crazies helped set off the Russian Doomsday Machine, which would have prevented nuclear annihilation if the world knew about it, which it didn't. Then I stumbled across one of my all time heroes, Daniel Ellsberg, pitching his latest plea for nuclear disarmament, 'The Doomsday Machine' on Book TV. Ellsberg, speaking at the Chicago Writers Museum last month, reviewed his role in planning for nuclear deterrence in the 50's and 60's before he turned his focus to the Vietnam War lies in the Pentagon Papers. Ellsberg discussed how America always got the Soviet nuclear threat wrong. The 'experts' estimate of Soviet ICBM's aimed at the US ranged from 300 to 1,000 when the real number at the time (late 50's) was 4. But the US used the fantasy numbers to set off an arms race that was totally unnecessary then...and totally unnecessary now, even though the last two administrations are proposing an un-cool trillion to upgrade our nuclear arsenal. And the Doomsday Machine? It would only take a couple hundred or so nuclear firestorms to set off a worldwide dust cloud that would starve most of humanity. But Ellsberg ends on an upbeat, arguing we simply have to abandon nuclear escalation in favor of disarmament to keep the Doomsday Machine under wraps. One would surmise the 2018 tax theft of $1.5 trillion in treasure given to the rich might derail such an insane plan. Nah, Congress will simply cut that money from the social safety net. Their mantra?  "Let the nuclear buildup begin."

Walt Zlotow
Glen Ellyn

Thursday, January 04, 2018

We ignore them at our peril

"North Korean leader Kim Jong Un just stated the nuclear button is on his desk at all times. Will someone from his depleted, food starved regime please inform him that I too have a nuclear button, but mine is much bigger and more powerful that his, and my button works."
- President Trump
Threatening nuclear war and bragging about our capability to annihilate an imaged enemy is the single most important reason to legally remove a mentally, temperamentally and morally unfit president. Unless he's stopped Trump will likely stumble the world into nuclear war. His words and deeds are warning us. We ignore them at our peril.

Monday, January 01, 2018

2017...the year of living dangerouly

As bad as it was, 2017 could have been much worse

  • We didn't abolish the Affordable Health Care Act, taking health care away from millions and causing thousands of unnecessary deaths
  • We didn't abolish the Iran nuclear deal, possibly the most critical war avoiding initiative since the Cuban Missile Crisis. 
  • We didn't attack North Korea for sensibly creating a nuclear shield against American efforts to topple their regime for the last 67 years.
  • We didn't send to the Senate an avowed homophobe and Christian fanatic twice tossed from the Alabama Supreme Court for violating the Constitution. 
  • We didn't shred sensible immigration guidelines which honor the American ethos. 
  • We didn't ban transgenders from honorably serving in the military.
  • We didn't build The Wall. 
  • We didn't sweep the breathtaking collusion of the Republican Party with Russia to influence the election under the rug.

Let's take this first of 365 in 2018 to celebrate and rejoice about the harm prevented. Tomorrow we must re-energize the Resistance as the dark forces of regression foiled in 2017 seek to make them a reality in 2018. 

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Promoting weapons proliferation in Ukraine despicable

Three paragraphs into the Trib editorial 'Trump defies Putin with Arms to Ukraine' you charge 'Putin is the scheming villain responsible for splintering Ukraine as part of his ambition to reassert Russian power.' You could have made the same charge against President Bush when he splintered Iraq in 2003, getting hundreds of thousands killed, including 4,500 Americans. You could have made the same charge against President Obama when he splintered Libya in 2011, getting thousands killed. You could be saying that today about President Trump getting innocents killed in distant lands around the world, not to make America safe; indeed those ventures make us less safe, but, as you say about Putin, 'to reassert American power'.
But you don't because you fully buy into this utterly false notion of unlimited use of unbridled American power. You always have...and apparently always will. Now, you demonize Putin without a word about the prelude to his Ukraine intervention, the anti Russian, neo-fascist forces, encouraged by the US foreign policy establishment, that instigated a coup in 2013 against the Russian leaning elected president. Putin's pushback against endless NATO expansion up to the Russian border, jeopardizing their vital Crimean naval base at Sevastopol, is not 'scheming villainy'. It's a critical element of Russian national security.
Back in 2013, the world was approaching an end to the catastrophic Syrian civil war. The US and its allies sabotaged the likely Syrian government victory, lusting to depose Assad, setting up another US client state in the Middle East. We flooded Syrian with weaponry, much of which ended up with anti US jihadists with their own agenda for Syria. Much of the 400,000 dead and millions of refuges can be attributed to this unconscionable decision. We can't afford to repeat the Syrian mistake by flooding Ukraine with American WCD (Weapons of Civilian Destruction).

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Yemen in the time of cholera, Part 4

The Red Cross calls it "a hideous milestone in the 21st century" and rightly so, the one millionth case of cholera in Yemen. Not a natural disaster, the epidemic is man made, courtesy of Saudi Arabia, its Gulf State allies and its principle weapons supplier, Uncle Sam. In addition to all that WCD (Weapons of Civilian Destruction), we're giving logistic support in the form of intelligence and mid air refueling of Saudi bombers aiding their destruction of Yemen infrastructure which no longer supplies potable water. The US supports the inhuman Saudi blockade of food and medicine causing millions of Yemenis to face starvation as well as their version of the Big C. The US war party, whether presided over by Obama or Trump, justifies this grotesque use of American might to counter imagined enemy Iran, who the Saudis whine are trying to become chief hegemon in the Middle East, in part through interference in the Yemen civil war. No US support and the Saudi scorched earth war of Yemen annihilation would collapse. State sponsor of terrorism? Look in the mirror Uncle Sam.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Roskam raises sophism to are form

My congressman Peter Roskam (IL-6) has brought sophism - the use of false arguments to deceive people - to new heights in his website deception on the tax cut bill.
Roskam's deceitful website message implies that every dollar of tax relief comes from simplifying and making fairer the tax code. The truth is every dollar of tax reduction comes from exploding the deficit, something Roskam has demonized throughout his eleven years in Congress to argue against investing in education, infrastructure, health care for the needy, green energy development; indeed every aspect of a decent society.
Roskam's second deception is that the tax bill 'prioritizes middle income families'. That is laughable when roughly two thirds of the tax cuts go to the already wealthy, while many in the middle class will receive little or no reduction; indeed some will pay more.
Roskam's third and possibly worst deception is failure to mention the poison pill he and his cruel Republican colleagues inserted which will eviscerate the the Affordable Care Act, making it unaffordable to over 10 million desperate folks previously aided by it. This cruelty may have silenced Roskam but certainly not the soulless president who bragged about the ACA's impending demise in his victory lap yesterday.
Relentless sophism has served Roskam well through six elections in his quest for a lifetime sinecure in Congress. In 289 days the residents of the Illinois Sixth can decide whether truth, decency and straight talk to truly uplift society will prevail over sophist self interest.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Top ten reasons North Korea developing nuclear deterrent against US

1. Panama
2. Somalia
3. Haiti
4. Serbia
5. Iraq
6. Afghanistan
7. Iraq (again)
8. Iran
9. Libya
10. Syria

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Psychologist can't see forest for grasss on marijuana legalization

Clinical psychologist Aaron Weiner might as well have been arguing against ending Prohibition in 1933 in his December 18 op ed 'Don't go backward on marijuana policy.' Marijuana is both a valued medicine and sensible stress reliever for most of the 30 plus million American adults who use it. Eight states plus Washington DC have legalized it for recreation, taking a good chunk of the billions involved in the marijuana trade out of the shadows of crime and placing it in the sunshine of safe, responsible regulation. Excess revenue over expenses is certainly a plus, but sane social policy is the most urgent reason for its recreational legalization. Like any substance, some will abuse and become dependent on legal marijuana. Far better it be marijuana than truly life degrading hard drugs, alcohol or the latest scourge, prescription opioids. 

Rather than destroying physical health like those legal and illegal substances, all Weiner can charge is that marijuana "undermines my patients' ability to complete school, achieve their maximum earning potential, hold their jobs, function in a healthy marriage, and find overall life satisfaction." That's pretty tame and vague compared to dying from a physically ravaged body. We still spend countless billions enforcing historically racist marijuana laws and incarcerating thousands of mostly minorities for imbibing a plant substance nowhere near as dangerous as those bought at the local liquor or drug store. Weiner uses the worn out canard that "marijuana policies deserve a robust and informed debate." Eight states have had that debate, resolved it sensibly, and aren't going backward. They're looking at Illinois in their rear view mirror and wondering if, in the next 5 to 10 years, we'll come in dead last among the 50 states to enact socially and fiscally responsible cannabis laws. Backward? Illinois pot policies can't get anymore backward. 

Monday, December 18, 2017

Frivolous ballot challenge demeans democracy in DuPage

As one of many dozens who collected signatures to put DuPage Forest Preserve Ranger Dan Hebreard on the March 20 Democratic Primary ballot to run for DuPage Forest Preserve President, I'm outraged he has to defend a frivolous ballot challenge. Apparently, Oak Brook  resident Joe Amodeo woke up one morning and realized, 'Oh my goodness gracious, Dan Hebread's numerous petition sheets containing several times more the required signatures, said he was running for Forest Preserve President instead of President of the Forest Preserve of DuPage County'. Amodeo skedaddled right down to the Election Commission to protest this imagined breech of petitioning protocol to protect the 950,000 of DuPage residents from an electioneering travesty. The fact Amodeo lives in the same community as incumbent DuPage Forest Preserve President Joe Cantore is purely coincidental. 

Let's trust the Election Commission will see through the sham of Amodeo's challenge and dismisses this offense against the democratic process in DuPage forthwith.  

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Tillerson, Trump...sane cop, crazy cop

It is disgusting and unprecedented to see a US Secretary of State be publicly contradicted, humiliated and scorned the way Trump has Rex Tillerson. Tillerson states we have lines of communication with North Korea over their nukes; Trump calls such communication naive and pointless. Tillerson says we'll begin negotiations with North Korea on all issues; Trump says North Korea must give us everything we want before we'll negotiate anything they want. Tillerson caves to Trump every time. He might as well tell Trump to keep up his beatings till Tillerson figures out what the boss wants. 

Normally, I wouldn't be concerned about Trump's abusive treatment of employees, colleagues, competitors, something he's done for decades. But When Lindsay Graham, the Senate's most virulent warmonger, asserts there's a 30% chance of war with North Korea, I fear for mankind. It is a wonder Tillerson hasn't quit. Maybe he only stays to represent the sane wing of the US government on foreign policy, and to prevent Trump's next book from being 'The Art of the Failed Nuclear Deal'.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Nobel Peace Prize shames United States

Do even 1% of Americans know an organization, not a person, won the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize for actions vigorously opposed by the United States and all other nuclear powers? The winner was the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), a coalition of non-government organizations in one hundred countries advocating for a strong and effective nuclear weapon ban treaty. ICAN won for leading the campaign that resulted, last summer, in the United Nations treaty prohibiting the use, development and stockpiling of nuclear weapons. It passed 122-1, but the debate was boycotted by the nine nuclear-armed nations (Britain, China, France, India, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia and the United States), along with Australia, Japan, South Korea and every member of NATO except the Netherlands, which cast the single no vote. While having no tangible means of forcing nuclear disarmament, it does have symbolic and moral force to inspire all of us facing nuclear annihilation to lobby our government to honor it. Meanwhile, Uncle Sam, always on the wrong side of nuclear debate, prepares to spend a trillion dollars over the next decade to upgrade our nuclear arsenal that already possesses nearly half of the 15,000 nukes at the ready to destroy the planet.  

Thursday, December 14, 2017

DuPage should put 'reeferendum' on March 20 Primary Ballot

The DuPage County Board should follow the wise and prescient lead of their Cook counterparts and vote to include an advisory referendum allowing DuPage voters to express support for legalized recreational marijuana in Illinois. The legislative effort to do that is already underway. A strong vote of support by the 48% of Illinois residents in Cook and DuPage, the two largest counties, may help push pot over the long overdue legislative finish line. States across America are getting wise to the inevitable. The many thousands of adult DuPage vipers are giving all their dope dough to the bad guys. Not only isn't a nickel going to Uncle Bruce to rebuild Illinois, he's wasting millions enforcing silly, historically racist pot laws that lump grass with heroin and cocaine, clogging our courts already burdened with serious evildoers. Putting pot on the ballot will likely goose the turnout as well. In fact...it might get the highest ever.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Is Jeanne Ives the Roy Moore of Illinois?

Judge Roy Moore on homosexuality:
"Homosexual conduct should be illegal, yes."

IL State Rep. Jeanne Ives on homosexuality:
"Same sex marriages are completely disordered. Gays,are trying to weasel their way into acceptability so that they can then start to push their agenda down into the schools, because this gives them some sort of legitimacy... And we can't allow that to happen."

Rep. Ives is unfit to represent Illinois' 42nd District, much less run for governor. She never, to my knowledge, adequately repudiated or apologized for those remarks, spoken on a Christian radio station, likely assuming they would never reach the general public. They did.

Ives should follow Moore into political oblivion.