Friday, June 05, 2015

Who's really gambling on national security?

To: Chicago Tribune Editorial Board

One statement in your June 1 editorial 'The Senate gambles on national security' stands out:
"You might blame Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky for this national security lapse. He held up Senate action to save provisions of the Patriot Act that expired Sunday night. Paul, running for president, filibustered, protested and campaigned as the deadline approached. His bid to raise campaign cash linked to this maneuvering is crass."

What is truly crass is how easily the Trib Editorial Board uses an irrelevant, unprovable and salacious charge to denigrate the important, largely lone effort Paul has made to end the originally secret, illegal spying on all Americans in contravention of 4th Amendment privacy rights. The Trib has never exercised its duty as an influential member of the Fourth Estate to protect our privacy rights under assault from a renegade government bent on launching criminal war after the 911 attacks.

Come to think of it, the Trib never did its Fourth Estate duties to challenge the rush to criminal war based on lies, manufactured false evidence, fear tactics and endless propaganda. Only one member of mainstream media, MSNBC's Phil Donohue, challenged the Bush administration's Iraq war juggernaut, and he was summarily fired to keep the entire Fourth Estate in line.

What really jeopardizes national security is rogue terrorist events such as the Boston Marathon bombing launched by one-off attackers influenced by America's endless bombing of innocent Muslims in the Middle East as we try to salvage our empire and influence there. Sadly, the Trib is fully supportive of that empire and influence retention in spite of its inevitable bad ending for a world power declining from military overreach.

Your editorial said nothing in support of the reforms implemented by Edward Snowden's revelations and Rand Paul's legislative efforts to end senseless, unwarranted and un-Constitutional spying. That absence speaks volumes about the Trib's media and governing values.

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Thank you Ed, and thank you Rand

Thanks largely to Edward J. Snowden we learned about the massive NSA spying on every American, abrogating our 4th Amendment privacy rights. Until his revelations, America's spymasters continually lied that they weren't spying on all of us. And thanks largely to Sen. Rand Paul we have the USA Freedom Act, signed yesterday, which curtails some of the worst aspects of the Patriot Act regarding our loss of privacy.

What are the changes? The stor...age of bulk phone records shifts from the NSA to the phone companies, and the government must petition a special federal court for permission to search them. . A new kind of court order will permit the government to swiftly analyze them to ensure national security. In addition, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court will finally be required to declassify some of its most significant decisions, and interested parties will be allowed to argue for privacy rights before the court in certain cases.

Both Snowden and Paul paid a price for their efforts on our behalf. Paul is now a pariah among the 18 other GOP presidential aspirants, who unlike Paul, relish relentless governmental snooping and military adventurism overseas. Snowden fared much worse. He's a refugee from an America that should treat him as a hero. If his government detractors could get their hands on him, he'd grow old in prison.

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

It's war monger Graham, not libertarian Paul who makes us less safe

SC Senator Lindsay Graham announced for president yesterday before a sparse crowd in Central, SC. He says he's running for president because "The world is falling apart." He should have added he did much to cause it to fall apart. He supported every criminal and senseless American venture in the Middle East that has left hundreds of thousands dead and millions homeless and on the move. He promises more of this madness with his central theme of opposing 'radical Islam' with war, war and more war. He's one of the virulent Republican neocons blasting his fellow Republican presidential aspirant Rand Paul, who single-handedly prevented extension of the most pernicious provisions of the Patriot Act. Every American should watch Paul's eloquent defense of his actions which have the neocons' heads exploding. Graham, meanwhile, disgraced himself in saying that if someone is thinking of joining ISIS, he wouldn't seek out a judge, he'd launch a drone to kill him. Paul correctly told Hardball's Chris Matthews that his fellow Republican warmongers are largely responsible for the creation of ISIS. He even pondered whether some of his critics would welcome a terrorist attack to ratchet up their fear mongering with an "I told you so." That resonates with everyone aware that the neocons were lusting for a 'Pearl Harbor' style event back in the late 1990's to launch their regime change plan for the Middle East. And we know how that turned out. 
Ron Paul has split the Republican monopoly on bellicose military adventurism wide open. He has created a healthy debate over Uncle Sam's overreach into our 4th Amendment privacy protections. Among the 19 or so little people running for the GOP nomination, Paul stands tall.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Leave Illinois as soon as possible

I have a message for all the folks, virtually all living high off the hog as successful small business owners or highly paid jobholders, who bemoan how horrible Illinois is on them financially. Please do what you so often threaten to do; leave Illinois as fast as you can. You can go to one of 8 states that have no income tax at all (2 of which just on dividends and interest), or the 3 that have a lower income tax. The other 38 have a higher state income tax than Illinois, so your options are limited.

We don't need you carrying around a huge loaf of bread under each arm; then crying about the few crumbs scraped off by the state to serve the commons and uplift the needy. You have a hole in your soul regarding your fellow Illinoisans that will never be filled, even if you could keep every buck that comes your affluent way.

Once you're gone, those of us who have been blessed with either material comfort or largess, can create a business environment that will uplift the Illinoisans at the bottom while growing Illinois business. We will implement a minimum wage is which not at the current 'near starvation' level. That increase will all be spent on neglected necessities, fueling business success. It will not hoarded like the extra money you folks receive with low tax rates and loopholes galore. Then we will adopt a truly fair progressive income tax that is the only sensible remedy to fund the commons, infrastructure, mental health, early childhood development, crime prevention and superior education.  

We won't miss you because your ranks will be filled quickly by entrepreneurs and innovators, who have a heart and a soul, as well as the Midas Touch.

Oh yes, as the saying goes: Don't let the door... on the way out.