Friday, August 22, 2014

'Slaughterhouse Iraq' began on March 19, 2003

The Chicago Tribune Editorial Board is only 11 years and five months late waking up to a gruesome video of Iraq depravity as trumpeted in Thursday's editorial, "Slaughterhouse Iraq." I and millions of my fellow Americans and world citizens woke up on March 20, 2003, to see video of America's depraved terrorism in the form of 'shock and awe' high explosive bombs killing hundreds, maybe thousands of Iraqis in the Bush administration's criminal Iraq war egged on by the Trib and most of the war party controlled media. You say that "Islamic State fighters have slaughtered thousands of innocent people." Where was your outrage when our nine year war of conquest and empire was killing hundreds of thousands of innocent people and sending millions more fleeing for their lives? Did it ever occur to you that without our Iraq war and our arming rebels to overthrow the elected president of Syria, both follies the Trib supported, there would be no Islamic State? You, like the war mongers in Congress and much of your fellow media neocons, go right to bombing every time, never factoring in the blowback that defeats us every time, whether in Libya, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Syria and of course, the ultimate punching bag for American firepower, Iraq. When you cite "the terrorists easily defeated Iraqi army units, commandeered their military hardware and seized troughs of cash," you fail to mention that the booty scarfed up is American firepower we squandered on a worthless Iraqi military we've been training for 11 years. Our leaders, with your approval, have always claimed that "when they stand up, we'll stand down." We know for certain that when ten or twenty thousand Islamists can say "boo" and frighten off our trillion dollar proxy army, we'll be stuck bombing Iraq forever.

If longtime Trib isolationist publisher Bob McCormick could come down from that great pressroom in the sky for one day to clean house, he'd fire the lot of you.


Slaugterhouse Iraq - Tribune editorial August 21, 2014

Americans awoke Wednesday to a gruesome video, showing an Islamic State executioner beheading James Foley, an American. A grim President Barack Obama interrupted his vacation to condemn this act of savagery, aptly calling the Islamic State "a cancer" that must be eradicated.Foley, 40, a journalist and graduate of Marquette and Northwestern, disappeared in late 2012 while covering Syria's civil war. He was killed for one reason: He was an American.

Foley was targeted by Islamic State terrorists seeking to carve a caliphate from Iraq and Syria. These terrorists have declared as enemies of their budding state not just Americans but all those of any religion or nationality who don't toe the Islamic State's nihilistic line. Except that in truth the Islamic State "speaks for no religion," Obama said. "No just God would stand for what they did yesterday, and for what they do every single day. ... They have murdered Muslims ... they target Christians."

Foley's death was brutish but, sadly, not an exception. During their rampage of terror across Syria and now Iraq, Islamic State fighters have slaughtered thousands of innocent people. The militants have posted videos of crucifixions and public executions.
In Syria, Islamic State fighters impaled the severed heads of Syrian soldiers onto poles. Neither the Syrian government nor the rebels seeking to topple President Bashar Assad focused on battling the Islamic State threat — which then spread to Iraq.

There the militants executed hundreds of Yazidi religious sect men in Iraq and took their wives captive. The women confront a bleak choice: Convert to Islam and "marry" a jihadist ... or face imprisonment, if not death. Iraq's leaders, embroiled in political brinkmanship, were slow to comprehend the Islamic State's rapid advance. The terrorists easily defeated Iraqi army units, commandeered their military hardware and seized troughs of cash.
All of that has allowed Islamic State fighters freedom to roam ... and kill. This group isn't a plot-and-patiently-wait-for-an-opening al-Qaida wannabe, shuffling furtively in the deserts, planning terrorist attacks against soft targets. This is a battle-ready army commanded by the little-known Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who seeks to create an Islamic throwback state based on terror and blood.

The shameful murder of Foley adds to the growing understanding of the Islamic State as a threat to the U.S. and other Western countries, but also to the West's friends and foes in the Mideast ... and beyond. The Islamic State enemies list includes the Turks, Kurds, Saudis and Iranians. The Islamic State threat also has helped propel Iraq's famously feuding pols to bounce Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and tentatively unite behind Prime Minister-designate Haider al-Abadi.

The U.S. has shown that Islamic State fighters are vulnerable. American airstrikes helped free thousands of besieged Yazidis on Mount Sinjar. American air power spurred newly energized Iraqi troops and Kurdish peshmerga fighters to reclaim the strategic Mosul Dam from Islamic State fighters.

What's next? There is plenty of additional military and political firepower in the region — from Arab states, Iran and Syria — to pummel the Islamic State.

But that hasn't humbled the militants. In the Foley video, a black-clad, masked executioner also threatens to kill Steven Sotloff, another American journalist who disappeared while covering Syria's civil war. "The life of this American citizen, Obama, depends on your next decision," the executioner says with what sounds like a British accent.

Obama's next decision ought to be obvious: More American airstrikes to demolish the Islamic State's weaponry and its ability to fight. Send more and better weapons to the Kurds. Rely on them and Iraqi forces to get the job done on the ground.

We'll soon see if momentum has shifted against the Islamic State temporarily or for good. We hope that the video of Foley's coldblooded killing — and the world's reaction to it — is a turning point, the beginning of the Islamic State's end.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Iraqi Yazidis, Christians save Uncle Sam's oil bacon

After providing much of the weaponry for Israel to obliterate a good chunk of their open air prison for 1.8 million Gazans, Uncle Sam apparently rediscovered his conscience. He instantly recognized and raced to rescue an obscure Iraqi religious sect of Yazidis, 40,000 strong, supposedly in imminent danger of genocide on their historic home of Mount Sinjar, from the American trained and supplied Sunni Islamists we created with the 'Surge' to save our failed war in Iraq from becoming a rout. Then there are Iraq's Christians, whose numbers already halved by Uncle's criminal 2003 invasion of Iraq, we supposedly had to save by bombing our former Islamist buddies. Our new found humanitarian bent, of course, has everything to do with the collapse of the former country of Iraq which we dismembered so we could install a Shi'ite pro US sock puppet to make it safe for American oil exploitation. Now that Sunnis are getting their fair share along with the Kurds and Shi'ites, Uncle Sam has decided the artificially created Iraq is only fit for two pro West groups. To prevent this he unleashed his F-16's to kill and then radicalize even more Muslims against our endless and senseless interventions. It's one thing to have a crazy uncle. But when he is, as our Uncle Sam, murderous as well, we shouldn't be egging him on. We should be unlocking his fingers from his weapons of war.  

Quinn, Rauner should smoke Peace Colorado

Governor Quinn and his billionaire challenger Bruce Rauner don't see eye to eye on a single issue affecting Illinois except one: legalized marijuana. Unfortunately, their eyes are un dilated, causing them to miss the "golden", as in tax revenue, opportunity, not to mention the happiness they would be bringing adult Illinoisans struggling with a weak economy in a chaotic world. There is an inexorable move to end the legal and moral stigma of possessing and ingesting a naturally growing plant with medicinal and psychological benefits galore, besides being safer and healthier than Demon Rum. If we could get both candidates on board, the folks with their moral compasses stuck in the 1930's, when ignorance and prejudice triumphed over wisdom, would have no place to vote their fears. Alas, getting Quinn and Rauner together for a kumbaiya session in bluenose Illinois may be daunting. Maybe we can book the twosome for a weekend in Colorado where they could join the multitudes of tourists, including many Illinoisans, who are spending their discretionary dollars reaching a higher level of serenity under the stamp of enlightened state approval. We could even provide the Peace Pipe. What they smoke in it is up to them. If they're really smart, they'll do some first hand research.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Deconstructing GTCR

 The tax savings shenanigans of gubernatorial candidate billionaire Bruce Rauner are getting curiouser and curiouser. The Sun-Times has revealed that not only has Bruce's personal investments in the Cayman Islands saved him mucho tax dollars at the public's expense, he's also used the Caymans for his private equity firm GTCR. Their sleuthing reveals GTCR set up a dozen investme...nt funds there between June, 2009, and July, 2011, when Rauner chaired the firm. GTCR wouldn't answer The Sun-Times inquiries about how much is invested collectively in those funds, why they are based in the Cayman Islands, whom those funds are open to, and if there are minimum-deposit requirements.

Illinois voters would normally not give a hoot about some billionaire who uses clout and power and wealth to game the tax codes to become richer and richer. They should care mightily when one of those one hundredth of one percent of the wealthiest wants to become governor to funnel more and more of badly needed state resources back to the wealthiest Illinoisans.

Maybe GTCR is a cipher that stands for Got To Conceal Rauner holdings.

Gregory still needed on Meet The Press

We still need Gregory hosting Meet The Press, not just dumped David Gregory who was simply a shill for the war party and the 1% wealthiest Americans, but political satirist Dick Gregory, who is still more insightful (and inciteful) at 81 about what is true in politics and foreign policy than David or any of his fawning corporate media clones could ever be. Besides being truly informative, Dick Gregory hosting Meet the Press would be more entertaining than Howard Beale, the mythical anchor of Union Broadcasting System's Evening News from the movie Network

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Breen anti-choice much more than reproductive health, marriage equalty

Tea Partier Peter Breen, candidate for Illinois state representative in District 48, sure has a strange view about the precious concept of citizen and voter choice. As Vice President and Senior Counsel for the Thomas More Society, Breen's primary mission is to deny choice to folks: reproductive health to women, especially of little or no means; and the sacred right to marry for persons who don't share Breen's sexual orientation. Diametrically opposed to moderate Republican Sandy Pihos, who has represented him for the past twelve years, Breen decided she's just too inclusive and accepting of citizen choice that deeply offends him. So he decided, in his own words, to go "RINO hunting", to dislodge Pihos who he charges is "Republican In Name Only." Well funded and fueled by the fundamental zealotry of his Tea Party followers, Breen pulled a stunning upset to defeat Pihos in the GOP Primary.

Breen isn't content to limit his anti choice mindset on just reproductive and marriage equality issues. When the moderate and inclusive district citizen Marian Tomlinson obtained nearly 1,000 signatures to challenge Breen in the November election, Breen's anti-choice antenna started crackling. He participated in a coordinated effort to remove Tomlinson, as well as other local candidates, from getting on the ballot after the Primary, as allowed by law, to give voters the most precious gift of our democracy: voter choice. Their first effort, claiming over 500 of Tomlinson's signatures were invalid, which would have kept her under the 500 signature requirement, failed. Folks who believe in choice reviewed the challenges and found a majority was specious, certifying Tomlinson's signature requirement with hundreds to spare. Sadly, the Breen anti-choice forces were determined and they successfully knocked her off the ballot on a technicality flimsy enough to horrify a decent proponent of voter choice.

But District 48 voters will have a choice this November. Ms. Tomlinson has launched a Write-In Campaign for state representative in District 48. She is reaching out to all 73,000 registered voters in the district to let them know that the district in not ready to be taken over by the Tea Party and its candidate who disdains reproductive choice, marriage equality choice, and the most important choice of all: that of the voter. When District 48 voters enter the privacy of the polling booth November 4...the choice is theirs.