Saturday, April 18, 2015

Kirk to Illinois voters: "No more race talk from me"

My Senator Mark Kirk sure is embarrassed by his recent remarks that Illinois should try to cultivate black billionaires to combat white-black economic inequality that forces scared white folks to speed through the black community in their cars. That promoted this Kirk clarification:

“I would say that whenever a targeted member talks about race or ethnicity, it is impossible for him to get it right. So I’ll leave it at that.”
Mark Kirk is a sitting US Senator and claims he's "a targeted member" making it "impossible for him to get it right." Therefore, he's done talking about "race or ethnicity." I must remind Senator Kirk that his predecessor, Barack Obama, has said many thousands of words about race and ethnicity since becoming president six years ago and has never once gotten it wrong.
Senator Kirk, is no more targeted than any other public official at any level, from president down to dog catcher, when he mis speaks about important issues affecting the public welfare. It is outrageous that Kirk, a United States Senator, would declare he's done talking about one of the most important issues affecting the public welfare. Maybe Kirk could better serve the public by declaring he's done talking about re-election next year and retire after his one and only term expires, January 2, 2017.

Friday, April 17, 2015

My senator Mark Kirk (Rep. IL) sure says the darndest things.

In February, Senator Kirk threatened to pile up coffins outside Democratic Party offices if the Department of Homeland Security shut down, conveniently forgetting Republicans set the stage for the possible shutdown.

In March he said it was time to "end the attaching of bullshit to essential items of government." and later equated Senate Democrats as "making the same mistake that Democrats made in the 1850s when th...ey defended slavery,” simply because they objected to language in the human trafficking bill that furthered Republicans' anti-abortion agenda.

Two weeks ago, he lambasted the proposed 5 power nuclear agreement with Iran stating: "Neville Chamberlin got a better deal from Adolf Hitler."

Just last week Kirk offered this bizarre solution for inner city income inequality and urban driving challenges:

“I want to make sure we have elected people constantly looking at helping the African-American community. With this state and all of its resources, we could sponsor a whole new class of potential innovators like George Washington Carver and eventually have a class of African-American billionaires. That would really adjust income differentials and make the diversity and outcome of the state much better so that the black community is not the one we drive faster through.”

Try to follow Kirk's logic: The state of Illinois should magically create a class of African-American billionaires which will produce two results. It will reduce the income disparity between the white haves and the black have-nots. This will allow frightened white people like Senator Kirk to not have to drive so fast through the black community.

Maybe it's time for Senator Kirk to hire a good PR man who will vet every one of Kirk's public statements before releasing them to our delicate ears. Maybe it's simply time for Senator Mark Kirk to resign.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

A gal for the $20 bill? That's easy: Jeannette Rankin

 Yesterday, NH Senator Jeanne Shaheen introduced a bill to have a woman replace Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill by 2020, to coincide with the centenary of women's suffrage. Notables like Eleanor Roosevelt and Rosa Parks are leading the pack to be the first women on our paper currency since Martha Washington in 1896. My pick is former Montana Congresswoman Jeannette Rankin, who served two terms in the US House, 1917-1919, and... 1941-1943. Before Congress, Rankin eschewed marriage and family to earn a college degree and work full time as a lobbyist for the National American Women's Suffrage Association. Their victory in Montana is what allowed her into Congress before Universal Suffrage, making her the only woman to vote for it in Congress. In April, 1917, Rankin was one of 50 members of Congress voting against President Wilson's Declaration of War against Germany in WWI. The majority vote for senseless war was one of the worst decisions in American history. Her nay vote sealed her defeat in 1918. She spent the next 22 years working tirelessly for peace and the rights of women and children. In 1940, the cause of peace made her run for Congress again. She won and got the chance to vote against our last declared war against Japan. Facing hisses and calls demanding she change her vote to make it unanimous, she said "I can't go to war (as a woman) so I can't send anyone else." Then she ran from a mob out for blood; hiding in a phone both and calling the cops for protection. Bounced from Congress again in 1942, Rankin soldiered on for her causes of peace and justice for another 31 years.

Rankin's story is largely written out of the American Story that glorifies war and papers over our denial of full civil rights to all throughout our history whether based on race, gender or sexual orientation. Putting Rankin on the paper twenty will be a fitting way to right that story. It will make me and every peace loving and inclusive American proud every time we spot her awesome, courageous visage for the rest of our lives.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Roskam channels 'Chicken Little' over Affordable Care Act

My congressman Peter Roskam (IL-6) has spent the past six years fear mongering over health care reform, now covering 16 million previously uninsured. For the full year during its gestation and five years of its existence, Roskam has been one of the most feverish advocates promoting the GOP's signature campaign to destroy President Obama's presidency by preventing health care reform. Roskam refused to even read the ACA ...saying the thousand page bill was just too much for him. Never mind that 40 million folks shut out from the best medical care in the world suffer bankruptcy, diminished health, even death because to the heartless system Roskam still cherishes.

But now that the ACA's five year success has been certified by those 16 million newly insured, expected costs of the ACA 20% less than expected (according the Congressional Budget Office), number of part time workers seeking full time work reduced drastically, private sector job growth soaring since its full implementation in 2014, Roskam's connection to reality remains non-existent. Go to his congressional website and the first pop up is:

"Inspector General for the Affordable Care Act - because the public deserves answers - Roskam.House.Gov"

This is followed by:
"Roskam, community leaders tout legislation blocking job killing Obamacare regulations"
This concerns Roskam's vote for the hilariously named "Repealing the JOB KILLING Health Care law". Gee, I can just hear Roskam adding: "Pay no attention to those 62 straight months of private sector job growth that have created over 12 million jobs."
But it gets worse. Click the issues link on heath care and you get this delusional nonsense:
" The health care law has resulted in higher premiums, decreased care, and government bureaucrats standing between you and your doctor. This is unacceptable. In my oversight role on the Ways and Means Committee, I am working to ensure the American health care system is the best in the world, and that families are not forced to pay more for diminished care."

No, Congressman, you are simply a sad caricature of a decent, humane congressman charged with improving the lives of your constituents. You take advantage of the pathetic fact that only 5% of Americans know the ACA has cost much less than expected while giving a health care lifeline to 16 million Americans. If it were up to you, they'd still be without. Thanks for nothing.

NOTE: Congressman Roskam can be contacted at 202-225-4561

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Graham's criticism of Paul only reason to consider him

The GOP, amazingly, has about 20 folks who have either announced, will announce, or are considering a 2016 presidential bid. One of them, Senator Lindsay Graham (R-SC), is the most vehement war monger of the pack. He signed his colleague Tom Cotton's (R-AR) letter to the Iranian mullahs warning them not to ink an nuclear deal with President Obama because any Republican winning the 2016 presidency will likely abrogate it. ...He's pushing hard to derail this deal and he's always promoting war in the Middle East, going back to our criminal invasions of Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003. He's downright obsessive about bombing Iran. But in his unrelenting criticism of President Obama's negotiating skills, he charged that any Republican candidate except Rand Paul (R-KY) could do better. That's peculiar since Paul was one of the 47 treasonous Republican senators who signed the Cotton letter. Furthermore, Rand jettisoned his formerly peacenik credentials and ties to his anti-war father Ron, to cozy up to the GOP crazies beating the war drums. He knows 'anti-war' and 'Republican candidate' is an oxy-moron, and he desperately wants to be president.
But Graham doesn't trust Paul. He fears a Paul presidency will continue Obama's drift away from war, from lockstep support for Israel's demand we bomb their bête noir Iran, and from insane, endless military spending. And he may be right.

In many ways Paul is a dreadful choice. He's shedding his more sane libertarian beliefs to have viability with the extreme right Republican primary voters, faster than you can say 'hypocrite'. He's showing a decidedly short fuse over uncomfortable questions; even shushing female interviewers like a good sexist. But when it comes to the most important issue of the election, war and peace, he's the one glimmer of hope that an unreconstructed war monger doesn't inhabit the White House should a Republican win next year.

Kirk post stroke health should be re-election issue

Although not mentioned yet in the media, my Illinois Senator Mark Kirk's health should be an issue in the 2016 election. His recovery from a near fatal 2012 stroke has been remarkable, but Kirk appears greatly diminished in his ability to articulate issues of war and peace, health care for all, and others, with wisdom and sensitivity. Listen to him discuss these issues now and he clearly struggles. Take health care. His reco...very cost must have exceeded $1 million. But when challenged to consider extending health care relief to tens of millions without health care insurance, Kirk, a vehement opponent of the Affordable Care Act, said simply, "We can't afford it." You could get a more nuanced answer from a Tea Party kook. But turn to defense spending and war and Kirk opens up the taxpayers' pocketbook with relish. He's never criticized our criminal involvement in multi trillion dollar wars that have killed hundreds of thousands and damaged or displaced millions. Instead, he's supported every war and voted every dollar of squandered treasure to prosecute.

But his recent statements and actions trying to scuttle the 5 Power nuclear deal with Iran really call his impaired mental acuity into question. He went off the rational rails calling the 5 Power agreement as a worse deal than British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlin got from Hitler at Munich. Then he doubled and tripled down on idiotic hyperbole asserting the deal "commits Israel on a path to war with Iran", green lights Iran to "go at breakneck speed to a nuclear weapon...forcing Israel to clean up this mess", predicting "it would end with mushroom cloud somewhere near Tehran." Gosh, I thought when Condoleezza Rich left office we were done with 'mushroom cloud' allusions. We could probably get more insight into the 5 Power negotiations with Iran from an overserved patron in a bar.
Kirk took a year off recovering from his stroke and came back to office more extreme and inarticulate than ever on issues of war and peace, health care life and death. He should never have come back to work. He should not be running for re-election. He can best serve Illinois, the nation, the world by retiring forthwith.