Thursday, June 23, 2016

Roskam channels Jack Benny on Trump: "I'm thinking it over!"

Thief to Jack Benny: "your money or your life"
Thief to Jack Benny - louder: "Your money or your life"
Jack Benny: "I'm thinking it over!"

That famous Jack Benny comedy bit showcasing his cheapness and love of money comes to mind as I question my congressman Peter Roskam's refusal to 'come out' for or against Donald Trump for president. Twice now I've called his political office, 630 221 0006, and twice the befuddled young man who answered says he has no idea if and when Roskam will make a statement either supporting or disavowing The Donald. Roskam's silence on the presumptive GOP nominee is unprecedented in Roskam's 23 year lifetime political career. Could it be Trump's widespread support from the racist white nationalist Republican fringe including former KKK champion David Duke? Could it be Trump's xenophobia in branding Mexican immigrants rapists and calling for a religious test to exclude all Muslims from entering the US? Could it be the way he mocked a disabled reporter? Could it be his long time litany of disgusting sexist comments to degrade and demean women?

I guess if Roskam himself instead of the befuddled young man answered the phone at campaign headquarters, the conversation would go something like this?

Me: "Congressman Roskam, are you supporting the racist, xenophobic, misogynist, name caller Donald Trump"?
Me: "Mr. Roskam, your political future or your integrity?"
Congressman Roskam: "I'm thinking it over!"

Walt Zlotow
Glen Ellyn

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Be Like Mike

The Rev. Michael Pfleger's blistering condemnation of Gov. Rauner's treatment of the inner city resulting from his budget impasse imposing draconian harm there, was both appropriate and necessary. Pfleger's comments helped prompt Rauner to cancel his plan to speak at a Juneteenth event at the DuSable Museum of African American History on the South Side. Juneteenth, commemorates the June 19, 1865, announcement that the Civil War and slavery were ended. Civility and respect are due public officials. Claiming our first black president is a foreign born Muslim with an agenda to help terrorists is an example to incivility and disrespect. But publicly calling out our governor for the abominable and unconscionable collective punishment meted out to the must vulnerable to extract his pro-business turnaround agenda, is in the best traditions of ground up democracy. Pfleger simply told the truth about the callous hypocrisy of Rauner's showing up at such an historic event to speak hollow words of brotherhood with the black community while systematically adding to its current pain and suffering.
Illinoisans of every demographic must turn out at every public event Rauner attends and silently protest his silence about the damage he inflicts, almost with a sense of pride. A good form of protest would be to simply turn our collective backs on a governor who has turned his back on the most vulnerable among us. Rauner cancelled over concern for public safety implied in the criticism his tone deaf scheduled appearance inspired. Nonsense. Rauner cancelled to avoid the humiliation and embarrassment of public exposure of his being the servant of the 1% instead of his entire constituency.
When it comes to serving the interests of all Illinoisans, we should ignore the inhumane preachings of the Man of the Rich and channel the 1982 Gatorade commercial to: "Be Like Mike".

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Diplomats join the warmongers

The George W. Bush administration is infamous for its neocons from Vice President Cheney, to National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, to Defense Secretary Rumsfeld over ruling the State Department to ignite criminal war. We usually look to the career diplomats, whose experience and wisdom argues against unnecessary war, to keep the presidential warmongers at bay. That's why is troubling that 51 career diplomats used the State Department 'Dissent Channel', a mechanism whereby diplomats can voice their dissent without fear of career reprisal, to argue for more bombing of the elected Syrian regime of President Assad. They're upset by their claim Assad is violating the tenuous civil war ceasefire, arguing we can bomb him to eternity without fear of Russian intervention on behalf of their ally. 

General Carl Philipp Gottfried von Clausewicz (1780-1831) was a political theorist who wrote in his famous tome 'On War', "War is the continuation of politics by other means."  Alas, that wise aphorism is lost on the diplomatic corp we should be relying on to avoid more murderous and criminal war. Too many of them are joining the neocons outside of State to twist von Clausewicz's wisdom into 'War is America's first diplomatic choice to control the world'. 

Monday, June 20, 2016

Trumpty Dumpty

Trumpty Dumpty is having a ball

Trumpty Dumpty will take a great fall

All GOP oligarchs and angry white men

Can't salvage the GOP from Trumpty Dumpty again