Thursday, August 23, 2012

Ask not!

On January 20, 1961, JFK's inaugural address contained this famous phrase: "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country". That clarion call to be a better citizen resonated with this impressionable 15 year old, and helped launch a lifetime of trying to be just that.

On August 23, 2012, Presidential candidate Mitt Romney grotesquely altered that phrase to sometime like: "Ask not the questions that are vital to this election, ask what I allow you to". While Romney didn't actually say, that his campaign essentially did when they instructed Denver CBS reporter Shaun Boyd, in her one on one interview with Romney, not to ask any questions about abortion or Rep. Todd Akin and his controversial remarks concerning "legitimate" rape and a womens' magical powers to prevent pregnancy from rape.

To paraphrase Senator Lloyd Bentson in his October 5, 1988, campaign debate put down of Vice Presidential candidate Dan Quayle, "I've been inspired by President John Kennedy, Mr. Romney, and you're no John Kennedy".

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

GOP operates to separate conjoined twins Ryan and Aiken

Conjoined twins, those twins whose bodies are joined in utero, are quite rare, occurring about once every 100,000 births. Even rarer are conjoined twins whose souls are joined in utero, but we have actually have a pair in Congress in the form of Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and Todd Aiken of Missouri.

Maybe this bizarre entwining of their souls in utero explains with their obsession with the female uterus. While the country decays from lack of domestic investment and skyrocketing tax cuts for the 1%, these soul mates have spent inordinate Congressional resources denigrating, and disrespecting and restricting womens' reproductive health and medical choices over their own uterus. They introduced "personhood" legislation in Congress which if passed, would have defined a fertilized egg as a legal person, thus outlawing all abortions and certain forms of contraception. They also voted to block a routine extension of the "Violence Against Women" Act.

The bland Aiken conjoined twin was little known outside of Missouri where he's favored to defeat Democrat Senator Claire McCaskill this November. Meanwhile, the movie star handsome and muscled hunk Ryan, parlayed his charisma as the leading GOP Ideologue for privatizing Medicare and Social Security to nab the Vice Presidential pick from the suspect conservative Mitt Romney.

Little known, that is, till Aiken grabbed the spotlight from Ryan with his explosive remarks describing violent rape as "legitimate" and postulating that such acts can't cause pregnancy because a women so "legitimized" has magical powers to prevent a hate child.

The GOP hierarchy has gone berserk trying to find a doctor brilliant enough to untangle their entwined souls so Ryan can get back to the campaign stump, stumping to make stumps of the Trees of Life: Medicare, Social Security, Education, Food Stamps and other branches of the community forest.

Though they may be thousands of miles apart physically, Ryan and Aiken will be forever joined, not at the hip but at the soul. Funny, even with their two souls joined together...they are still soulless.

Should be no debate about debates

In his first run for Congress in 2006, Republican Congressional candidate Peter Roskam agreed to three debates with his Democratic challenger Tammy Duckworth. The debates demonstrated that the political novice Duckworth could hold her own with seasoned career politician Roskam. It nearly cost him the election he eventually won by a slim 2% margin in a district retiring GOP powerhouse Henry Hyde routinely won with nearly 30% margins.

Roskam debated challenger Jill Merganthaller just twice in 2008 and passed on debating Ben Lowe in 2010, with his margins increasing to 16% and 28% respectively

Last Tuesday, Leslie Coolidge, Roskam's challenger this year, invited Congressman Roskam to meet with her in a series of town hall style debates citing, "voters deserve to hear our distinctly different views on improving jobs, tax reform, preserving social security and Medicare, energy policy, health care, foreign policy and the environment."

With no response to date, it looks like Congressman Roskam will let his millions of dollars in campaign cash do all his debating for him against another challenger with limited financial resources.

The 700,000 residents of the 6th IL District deserve a free and open airing of these vital issues in this critical election. Since this is important regardless of political party or position on issues, every registered voter in the 6th; Republican, Democrat or independent, should contact Congressman Roskam at his Washington DC or Bloomingdale, IL office and request he debate Leslie Coolidge.

Past elections may be telling Congressman Roskam to avoid any debate which will give the voters the opportunity to compare the candidates straight up, face to face. But democracy and good governance demand that there be no debate about the vital need to debate.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

I stand with Julian Assange

Every American should view Julian Assange's speech from his second floor perch at the Ecuadorean embassy in London today imploring the President Obama to renounce the US witch hunt of Wikileaks, restore respect and freedom to journalists worldwide, and end the persecution of Private Bradley Manning for his heroic role in revealing the truth about America's shameful Middle East wars.

Every Englishman should view Julian Assange's speech from his second floor perch at the Ecuadorean embassy in London today castigating the British government for their despicable attempt to storm the Ecuadorean embassy in violation of the Vienna Convention and all decent diplomatic process to grab Julian Assange for his eventual deliverance to a US kangaroo court.

Every Swede should view Julian Assange's speech from his second floor perch at the Ecuadorean embassy in London today and ask their government why they won't interview Assange in his London Ecuadorean sanctuary about the sexual assault charges that mysteriously popped up after the Wikileaks revelations exploded, or why they won't guarantee his safety from Uncle Sam's tentacles should he answer the charges in Sweden.

Every Ecuadoran should view Julian Assange's speech from his second floor perch at the Ecuadorean embassy in London today and be thankful they live in a country that takes freedom of the press, human rights and the rule of law seriously in the face of overwhelming pressure from the bullies in Washington and London who care not a whit about them.

I viewed the speech and I stand with Julian Assange.

Also published in the Daily Herald, August 25, 2012

Country of the year

Athough Time magazine only honors a Person of the Year, they could well name Ecuador, Country of the Year, if they had such an honor. This relatively small representative democracy of 15,000,000, tucked between Peru, Columbia and the Pacific Ocean in South America, has stood up for the rule of law and human rights against big, bad bully England, and quite likely the good ol' USA as well.

Two months ago Wikileaks founder Julian Assange sought refuge in the Equadorean Embassy in London to avoid extradition to Sweden by England. Assange is wanted for questioning in an alleged sexual assault case which mysteriously surfaced after Assange's Wikileaks began informing the world, through heretofore secret diplomatic communications, about the immoral and quite possibly criminal war conduct of America and other bad actors on the world stage. Assange is willing to speak to Swedish authorities in the embassy or even travel to Sweden, as long as they guarantee he won't be whisked to America so a likely kangaroo court can impose a life sentence or even the death penalty for his daring to expose the shenanigans of the war mongers in Washington. Given this stacked deck against Assange getting a fair shake from the world's most powerful countries, Ecuador has granted Assange assylum should he somehow get out of England without being arrested.

This infuriated the Brits who turned international and the English rule of law upside down, threatening to storm the Ecuadorean embassy to gobble up Assange for the Swedes, and possibly Uncle Sam. This constitutes violating one of the most sacred tenants of world diplomacy: protecting the integrity of foreign embassies as required by the Vienna Convention. It is astounding England would consider such conduct as they recently denounced Iran for not protecting the British embassy when student protesters invaded it. The very prospect of a major power thumbing its nose at human rights and international law is the reason we need Julian Assange and his alleged helpers such as US Private Bradley Manning, to shine the light on their misdeeds. Leave it to little and courageous Ecuador to help hold the flashlight.