Thursday, December 09, 2010


John Kass' column criticizing Julian Assange and Wikileaks for publishing classified US documents on our foreign policy and wars of choice would better have been titled: Tribune and Kass pretend there are no consequences.

As a concerned citizen bogged down by work and family obligations in 2002, I still found time to study the US rhetoric and buildup to the Iraq war and concluded early on that the fix was in for a senseless, and therefore criminal war, and began opposing it even before it started. I didn't get that accurate analysis from Kass or the Tribune, who were busy currying favor with the Administration or at the very least not willing to risk their opprobrium by revealing the truth they certainly knew. Had the Tribune and Kass done their journalistic duty back in 2002-2003, we wouldn't need the Julian Assanges of the world to provide the most vital function of a free press: keeping all governments from committing war crimes.

Assange is simply filling the void left by a totally bankrupt mainstream media just like Dan Ellsberg did in 1971 when he revealed the truth behind our utterly unwinnable and self destructive Vietnam War. The same tired arguments about possible casualties and harm to America's interests used against Ellsberg have been trotted out of storage to be used against Assange. Alas, the Tribune failed us then and they have failed us now. The consequences then were over two million Vietnamese killed as well as 58,000 Americans. The consequences now are over a million dead in the Middle East and over 5,500 Americans, including those killed in our never ending war to conquer Afghanistan. Our Middle East ventures are much worse than Vietnam because they are recruiting new terrorists every minute as they lead us to bankruptcy. The ghost of long dead Osama bin Laden is surely prancing with glee over our folly.

Maybe some of Kass' angst directed against Assange stems from his need to discredit the most visible symbol of his profession's enormous failure as a bulwark against government misfeasance and malfeasance as its tramples around on the world stage. Give Assange a Pulitzer and give Kass and the Trib a big bowl of raspberries.

Monday, December 06, 2010


My family has done fairly well in the 21st century, thank you, in part to unnecessary tax cuts from the Bush Administration. Though not in the upper 2% of wage-earners, Uncle Sam borrowed enough money so we could enjoy a few extra toys and a second yearly vacation.

In the debate whether to end Bush windfall tax cuts which expire December 31 unless extended, there are three options: end all of them to more quickly bring down the deficit; extend them for just the bottom 98 %, to provide continued relief for the folks who spend every cent they retain, thus spurring our crumbling economy; and extend them for everyone, including the upper 2%, who don't really use that borrowed largess to hire folks or otherwise spur the economy.

On balance I support option 2 as the most humane and helpful to economic recovery. However, I urge the Administration and the Congress to reject option three, extending tax cuts for all, even if it means losing them for the bottom 98%. We need to stand up for fiscal sanity and extending them to the rich to pay off a campaign debt is fiscally immoral and irresponsible.

If they are ended for everyone then the voting public will have to decide who to blame for the suffering they will cause to the needy and our economy. If they blame the Republicans, then just maybe, we can end the siphoning of middle class wealth to the super duper rich, and begin to focus on saving our formerly unequaled economy. If the Dems get the blame, then grab your popcorn and beer, sit back, and watch as America morphs into a banana republic.

Also published in the Chicago Sun Times, December 7, 2010, and the Daily Herald, December 14, 2010