Saturday, December 06, 2014

Hagel departure victory for war party

The war party is celebrating the abrupt departure of Chuck Hagel as Defense Secretary. They never forgave him for disavowing his vote in favor on the Iraq war, and for rightly stating he was a senator from America, not Israel. His replacement, Ash Carter, former No. 2 at Defense, suits them just fine. Carter is a hawk, arguably to the right of President Obama. The president needs to burnish his war mongering credentials with the likes of ...America's premier warmonger, Sen. John McCain, who takes over as Chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee in the Republican controlled Senate next month.

The president as already tried to pre-empt McCain and his bloodthirsty Senate pals Lindsay Graham and Mark Kirk, by adding more canon fodder to Iraq and secretly authorizing our canon fodder in Afghanistan to conduct night raids next year, contrary to his longstanding pledge to end all American fighting December 31st.

Trillions wasted, millions of lives disrupted, hundreds of thousands dead or broken in body and mind, and total failure in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, Libya, Egypt, Yemen, Somalia, Palestine and Ukraine is not enough to discourage the war party from their life's mission feeding their bloodlust. Obama is smart enough to know the truth about our failed war policies, and clearly would prefer peace. But he's either too scared or too weak to resist the real power in Washington. He'll never share that truth with the American public. He doesn't need to. We are completely removed from any influence to avert these blood curdling disasters. As long as the spiking economy keeps the middle class distracted with toys and material bliss, the war party can function in a moral vacuum.

The 2016 election does not bode well for the world and the cause of peace. Every GOP wannabe is a dedicated warmonger. Even Rand Paul, who made peace noises early on, has got the message: promote war or take a hike. He's introduced a resolution to declare war on ISIS, a group largely inspired and armed through our failed, criminal Iraq war. The leading Democrat, Hillary Clinton, is adding neocons to her advisory board faster that you can say "Bomb, bomb, bomb, Iran." She's clearly failing up from her disastrous gig as Secretary of State. But in America, that is called success.
With all the neocons and war lovers ruling Washington, poor Chuck Hagel, a voice of sanity, never had a chance.

Friday, December 05, 2014

Policing disparity a 'zero sum game' for racial dinosaurs

"It would seem that the grand jury made every effort to determine the facts of the case. And facts, as John Adams once said, 'are stubborn things'."

With those mere 27 words an acquaintance dismissed all the pain and angst of the black community and their millions of non black supporters demanding justice for senseless police killings of unarmed citizens. Besides refusing to acknowledge a single aspect of this now ear...thshaking domestic issue, there is a snideness in the Adams quote that the whole controversy is made up.

Another person I dialogue with saw the entire Michael Brown killingk as a matter of a ghetto thug who got what he deserved; and an attack on a good cop and established order by a racially cynical president he calls 'ebola', an Attorney General he calls 'placeholder' and a tireless advocate for justice he's tabbed 'race baiter Rev. Al'.

Then there are public figures like former NYC mayor Rudy Giuliani, who dismissed the Michael Brown case as a diversion from 'black on black' crime, charging that so many white cops wouldn't be needed in the black community if they'd only stop committing crime.

I won't call any of these folks racists but I do view them as racial dinosaurs. They are elderly, white and apparently have no ability to either see or relate to the enormous legacy still suppressing a black community mired in poverty and hopelessness from the lingering effects of institutional racism. These folks are old enough to remember lynchings and poll taxes; even 'white only' signs. But they've never internalized the harm inflicted or the lingering destruction to our entire society.
They act as if racial politics is a 'zero sum game' whereby any effort to alleviate the disparity between black and white policing and governance will be deducted from their comfortable middle class white lifestyle. It will also unnecessarily cause dissonance with and angst that their belief in the infinite equality of the races is not reality.

But it is the millions of young, committed rainbow coalition of black, white and every shade in between, that is the hope of America. Justice and uplift is not a zero sum game for them. We saw the beginnings of this great wave last night, sweeping across American cities from New York to Chicago to San Francisco, peaceably but forcibly demanding justice, but also saying their will be no peace till substantive change is made. The sweep of history to redress the horrific situation regarding racial governance and policing is on the march, both literally and figuratively. But unlike the real dinosaurs who were powerless to stop their demise, the racial dinosaurs I see need only remove the blinders that prevent them living out a full life of peace and justice.

Who knows? Maybe one night we'll see Rudy Giuliani in step with the marchers, shouting and gesturing, "Hands up, don't shoot."

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Texas Gov. Perry denied 280th legaized murder...temporarily

Yesterday, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals granted certified schizophrenic and in-law killer Scott Panetti a reprieve less than eight hours before he was scheduled to receive a lethal injection. The court said it needed more time to "allow us to fully consider the late-arriving and complex legal questions at issue in this matter."

Don't bet the lethal drug supply against Panetti's eventual execution by the m...ost rabid death penalty state and death penalty governor in the US. Since being reinstated in 1976, Texas leads the legalized murder sweepstakes with 518 killings, 417 more than runner up Oklahoma. And Governor Perry, is stuck on 279 senseless killings, as his 14 year reign of terror runs out next month. One for sure, Cameron Todd Willingham, if not several more of those executed, were innocent…/innocent-but-executed_b_272….

Sadly, Gov. Perry will not go peacefully into that goodnight when he leaves office. He's still got his bloodlust eye eying the Presidency. Hey, if his predecessor as Texas governor, George W. Bush, could get away with hundreds of thousands of killings in the Middle East and ride off to paint body parts and hawk books at a Naperville bookstore to an adoring crowd, just think of the possibilities for the soulless Perry.

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

'Da Coach' fumbles snap to heal racial divide

As one of the most famous and revered Chicagoans, football, star, Super Bowl winning coach, restaurateur and mega pitchman Mike Ditka has a huge public stage. But when asked about the five St. Louis Rams who protested the Ferguson Grand Jury verdict by entering the field with a "Hands up, don't shoot" gesture, Ditka fumbled. His entire statement deserves reading to understand how insensitive and tone deaf he is concerning America's racial divide.

“It’s a shame this thing has come to this,” The shame of it is, I’m not sure they care about Michael Brown or anything else. This was a reason to protest and to go out and loot. Is this the way to celebrate the memory of Michael Brown? Is this an excuse to be lawless? Somebody has to tell me that. I don’t understand it. I understand what the Rams’ take on this was. I’m embarrassed for the players more than anything. They want to take a political stand on this? Well, there are a lot of other things that have happened in our society that people have not stood up and disagreed about. I wasn’t in Ferguson. I don’t know exactly what happened. But I know one thing: If we dismantle and limit the power of our policemen any more than we have already, then we’re going to have a lot of problems in this country. What do you do if someone pulls a gun on you or is robbing a store and you stop them? I don’t want to hear about this hands-up crap. That’s not what happened. I don’t know exactly what did happen, but I know that’s not what happened. This policeman’s life is ruined. Why? Because we have to break somebody down. Because we have to even out the game. I don’t know. I don’t get it. Maybe I’m just old fashioned.”

In Ditka's bizarre world of race and justice, the Rams players didn't care about Michael Brown or anything else. He claims there are many more things to protest than an unarmed teen gunned down by a cop. Ditka says he wasn't present and doesn't know what happened; then inexplicitly says he knows that Brown wasn't giving up and the cop's shooting was justified. He likens the whole incident as an attack on established authority and the destruction of a good cop.

I'll give Ditka the benefit of the doubt that he isn't an avowed racist. He does offer that he's perplexed and may be simply "old fashioned" in his views. I know a number of folks like Ditka; usually aging whites who never, ever could relate to the horrible dynamic of institutional racism which has turned large sections of our inner cities and suburbs into human wastelands, utterly removed from our economic recovery and governed by insensitive and even hurtful city administrations. They use largely white police with little understanding who view teens like Michael Brown as Hulk Hogans and crazed demons that can run through a hail of bullets to kill the cop, forcing them to empty their guns at a safe distance.

After coughing up the ball of healing and racial understanding, 'Da Coach' needs to stay after practice to learn some precious human relations fundamentals.

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

President Breuder's extravagant lifestyle at COD honed at Harper College a decade ago.

Harper College President's Vision May Be Too Ambitious, Expensive
Despite Shoring Up Finances, He Faces Confidence Vote...
April 10, 2001, By Noreen S. Ahmed-Ullah, Tribune staff reporter.

Nobody was surprised when Harper College President Robert Breuder decided to teach a class. But when he chose to teach wine appreciation, it raised eyebrows.
When he suggested building a wine cellar at the school, critics howled. And now, as students and faculty learn that he wrote off a $2,258 trip to a Monterey, Calif., food and wine festival as a research expense, the campus of the Palatine school is buzzing.
"It appears he's charging the school for his personal lifestyle," says John Ratliff, who unsuccessfully ran for college trustee in a race that played out more like a referendum on the president. "People don't care what you do on your own time, but he's pursuing a personal passion at public expense."
Though Breuder wasn't on the ballot, critics made his more than $206,000 annual compensation package, plus the tens of thousands of dollars the school has paid in travel and entertainment expenses for him, an issue in last week's campaign for two seats on the school's board of trustees. The two trustees elected have offered conditional support for his leadership, but he faces the first no-confidence vote by the Harper faculty, scheduled for next week. Underlying it all is the question of how ambitious a community college--traditionally an affordable home for basic and vocational instruction--should be. But for now, the increasingly bitter controversy centers on the man with patrician tastes and grand plans, as the debate ranges from cabernetsto pay scales to management style.
As charges of highhandedness continue to fly, Breuder hardly flinches. The 56-year-old with a slight New York accent cuts an impressive figure with his cuff links, gold rings and silk handkerchief. His love for wine and bow-hunting--his office is decorated with heads of deer and antelope--are well known on Harper's sprawling campus.
Breuder said his latest headache began with a naïve comment about building a wine cellar--a closet with a $350 cooling gadget that he says his opponents misrepresented as a $9 million subterranean extravagance. The cellar was never built.
This is not the first time Breuder has been involved in a controversy.
At his last post as president of a small community college in rural Pennsylvania, he stocked a wine collection for that school's teaching restaurant and boasted it was the best in the state.
Breuder may not have got his wine cellar at Harper, but 'if at first you don't succeed, try COD'.

It's Texas 518, Oklahoma 111 in legalized murder Superbowl

A previous post "Crazy Texas about to murder crazy man", addressed the plight of Scott Panetti, the 56 year old schizophrenic Texan scheduled to be executed in a week for a double murder in 1992. Yesterday, the Texas Board of Pardons voted 7-0 not to commute Panetti's death sentence. This legally prevents Governor Rick Perry from commuting Panetti's sentence, but he can order a month long reprieve for Panetti's lawyer...s to offer additional evidence of Panetti's insanity, making him ineligible for execution. Given Perry's grisly death penalty record of governance, Panetti will likely ingest the lethal drugs in about 22 hours.

Most folks think the biggest rivalry between Texas and Oklahoma is the football rivalry between their respective state universities. While I don't know their football record over the past 38 years, when it comes to state sponsored murder, Texas wins, body down, 518 to 111. But as far behind as Oklahoma is concerned, the Sooners can at least bellow to the folks ravaged by blood lust: "We're No. 2."

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Benjamin Crump: Someone you should listen to

There aren't too many public figures that get my attention and inspire me: Obama when he isn't promoting his criminal wars; Sen. Liz Warren when talking about income inequality; Sen. Bernie Sanders when he's talking about anything.

But I've been captivated by civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump for several years now beginning with his involvement with the George Zimmerman case. As attorney for the Michael Brown family he continues to impress and inspire. Today on Face The Nation, thankfully hosted by really fair and intelligent moderator Norah O'Donnell instead of establishment hack Bob Schieffer, Crump was concise, cogent and passionate on both the micro issue of the unfair Ferguson Grand Jury, and the cosmic issue of institutional racism against the black community. Check Crump out below. If he offered an unnecessary or false word, I didn't hear it. He's someone you should listen to.

Anderson's should cancel Bush's appearance

Anderson's Bookshop in Naperville should cancel their scheduled appearance of former president George W. Bush next Monday.  It's bad enough that there was no investigation and prosecution of President Bush for the immoral, illegal and criminal war that he launched against Iraq in 2003. But to honor him by letting him hawk his new book about Poppy Bush "41" adds an unwarranted air of legitimacy to a man who should be sitting in a prison cell for war crimes instead of adding to his fabulous wealth peddling book sales in Naperville. Anyone foolish enough to fork over 40 bucks to Bush for a chance to meet him should say this: "Gee, I've never met a war criminal before."