Saturday, November 30, 2013

Response to Roskam Op-Ed on tax code reform published in Glen Ellyn Suburban Life

Reading Congressman Peter Roskam's November 7 Glen Ellyn News commentary “It’s time to take a hard look at the tax code” is like examining an iceberg - most of the substance is not visible. He begins by stating our “tax dollars are to be respected and spent wisely”. Yet since 2007, Roskam has voted for much of the $4 Trillion squandered on our criminal and failed Iraq and Afghanistan wars because Roskam is beholding to the Military-Industrial Complex which gets rich and powerful from wasteful war spending. He’s threatening Iran for the same reason.

Then he begins his history of America’s economic malaise with President Obama' January 20, 2009, inauguration, erasing from history how President Bush brought America to the brink of economic collapse, hemorrhaging 700,000 jobs monthly before President Obama righted the sinking American Titanic. Nor does Roskam admit he has opposed, in furtherance of the Tea Party House agenda, every single administration jobs creation effort. Roskam’s only plan to grow jobs, more tax cuts for the greedy rich, was debunked under the President who invented it, Ronald Reagan.

His feigned concern over simplifying our complex tax code is hilarious. Roskam and his fellow members of the 2% of America’s wealthy, are the primary beneficiaries of those 15,000 amendments to the tax codes since 1988. It helps them enjoy the largest redistribution of wealth from the other 98% in our nation’s history. They allow near billionaires like Roskam’s 2012 choice for president, Mitt Romney, to pay a lower tax rate than his secretary. That undermines America’s middle class. The greedy rich love Roskam’s tip of the iceberg style. And those less well-off, hoodwinked by his faux populist rhetoric, don’t know how duped they are. Roskam's op-ed is not a "Community Voice". It's a "Tea Party Voice"

Friday, November 29, 2013

$103 billion can't fill hole in Walton family soul

Maybe Walmart is not so hard on their 875,000 lower wage employees after all. They make a little over 8 an hour while CEO Mike Duke only gets a little over 11 per hour. Oh, wait. The hourly employee's wage is measured in dollars per hour while Duke's is measured in thousands of dollars per hour. Picky, picky. The real story behind Walmart's economic mis-treatment of their hourly workers is that they leach off Uncle Sam, and by extension all of us, to add to the Walmart family's $103 billion net worth (greater than the bottom 40% of the US population). Consumer advocate Ralph Nader reports just one Walmart superstore of 300 employees can cost our Uncle $1.75 million in government benefits yearly to supplement Walmart's unsustainable wages. Consider that Walmart has 4,135 stores contributing to this coerced government largess to the Walmart billionaires and you get the picture. The Walmart Associate Benefits Book even guides these desperate employees how to garner some of that badly needed government relief. Today, Black Friday, is a good day to begin boycotting Walmart till they pay their woefully mis-named "associates" a livable wage. The only thing those employees are "associated" with is assisting the Walton family achieve their goal of a second hundred billion in net worth. Till they change their disgraceful conduct, I'll drive out of my way to shop at Costco.

Walt Zlotow
Glen Ellyn

Thursday, November 28, 2013

$53 million man Rauner breaks from GOP pack

Anyone who says money doesn't talk should check out Bruce Rauner's gubernatorial campaign. The near billionaire private equity money mogul, with no political experience, has vaulted into the lead against three well known GOP office holders. How could that happen you ask? Simple. Money talks...and GOP office holders walk...straight to the l...oser's tent. Rauner just revealed he earned $53 million last year. Rauner, who only admits to wealth of "hundreds of millions", has buried his three high profile rivals with $750,000 in self paid TV ads that give his only qualification for office as being a "businessman". He'd be more accurate to say his only qualification is being a billionaire. Rauner's "digs" would put Mitt Romney to shame: 7,000 square foot Winnetka estate; 2 condos, including a Penthouse, overlooking Millennium Park; waterfront Florida Keys villa with a 72 foot pool; ranches in Montana and Utah; Utah sky resort condo; and the piece d résistance...a $10 million Big Apple Central Park coop.

The incumbent Governor Pat Quinn may not even be a millionaire. He has gladly forsaken wealth, that, incidentally, you can't take with you, doing the following good works to improve life for the folks Rauner can't even fathom while ensconced in his Millennium Park Penthouse:

•Restored integrity to the Illinois Governorship
•Passed ILLINOIS JOBS NOW - creating 400,000 jobs over 6 years
•Doubled the Illinois earned income credit
•Signed the Dream Act
•Led $1 billion Illinois clean water initiative
•Passed strong new ethics code
•Abolished much abused political scholarship program
•Abolished the death penalty
•Proposed ban on assault weapons
•Tirelessly championed, then signed, marriage equality in Illinois
•Tirelessly championed, and now close to, a pension reform package

Billionaire Bruce may have enough green stuff to buy just about any house standing except one: The Governor's Mansion.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Music Pick: Bessie Smith

Bessie Smith (1894-1937), the Empress of the Blues, was the among the earliest and greatest blues/jazz artists at the dawn of jazz. Active in vaudeville and tent shows throughout the country from 1913 till her unt...imely death in an auto accident in 1937, Smith had a towering, expressive voice and a larger than life personality that made her the highest paid black performer of her time. She eventually led shows featuring 46 performers who travelled around the dangerous South in their own railroad car. She make 160 recordings between 1923 and 1933, but only 4 (1933) after the Depression wrecked the recording industry in 1929. The feature "St Louis Blues" is from the 1929 two reel short of the same name. As the only film of Smith's titanic talent, it is priceless, as is its depiction of a black Depression era speakeasy.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Sen. Kirk flummoxed by US - Iran deal

Poor Sen. Kirk. He hastily issued a conciliatory, face-saving statement on his website acknowledging that the just announced US and 5 power agreement with Iran on their nuclear program has validity. Up till the deal announcement Kirk was outrageously using his website to portray the proposed deal as totally one sided in Iran's favor and quoting Israeli Prime Minister that is was "a very bad deal". We shouldn't feel bad for Kirk about the monkey wrench tossed into his and is Senate cohorts' efforts to achieve Israel's goal of removing their rival for hegemony in the Middle East. We should instead, re-double our support for a judicious administration promoting a peaceful, diplomatic settlement to this decade long issue in furtherance of America's national interests instead of Israel's. Senator Kirk has never met a criminal war of choice he didn't love and support with every wasted dollar of our treasure. He remains poised to pounce for more hard line sanctions and possible war should any weakness emerge in the forthcoming deal. We must continue to call him out for his disgraceful support for Israel's national interests above those of Uncle Sam. The recent 50th anniversary JFK assassination review of his over ruling the military war mongers who demanded JFK strike first in Cuba in August, 1962, has not yet registered with the "war first" Junior Senator from Illinois.