Saturday, August 27, 2016

Crocodile tears flow at Governor's Mansion

The Illinois Governor's Mansion was awash with crocodile tears shed by Governor Rauner after a Cook County judge denied placement of a constitutional amendment on the November ballot that would move legislative redistricting from the legislature to an independent body. Rauner promoted the move as a non-budgetary plank in his 'turnaround' agenda that has held up a state budget for nineteen months now. During this time critical social services have been cut, tossing many of Illinois' most needy from the social safety net into to a poorer life. Low income students have lost tuition grants forcing many into a shaky job market without a proper education. State vendors must wait longer for payment, driving some to drink if not bankruptcy. Yet, Governor Rauner continues the delusional charade that independent redistricting and other turnaround items will solve all the problems affecting Illinois' needy and forgotten.
Better crocodile tears flow from the governor than the blood that keeps dripping from the body politic due to the most heartless cuts in state services I've seen in my 60 years following Illinois governance. The Democratic super majority in the legislature is the bulwark keeping us from full implementation of Rauner's 'reverse Robin Hood' policies designed to enhance his rich base at everyone else's expense. Just a week ago the governor had a chance to enhance democracy here but his veto of automatic motor voter registration didn't fit into his 2018 re-election plans. That veto, and his unconscionable holding hostage of the budget process for a heartless agenda, makes his tears no more real than Crying Barbie's.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

US war crimes in Yemen produce big yawn

With US help, including American made planes and bombs, aerial refueling and other logistical support, Saudi Arabia is committing grotesque carnage in the pitiful neighboring state of Yemen, since intervening in the Yemen civil war in March, 2015. US arms sales to Saudi Arabia in those 17 months amounts to $20 billion. Just this week the US announced another $1.15 billion, giving Congress just a single day to veto the sale when they return to work after their summer snooze. The timing of our latest sale of WCD (weapons of civilian destruction) is a tad embarrassing for Uncle Sam. Saudi Arabia just ratcheted up their air campaign, killing 35 civilians in schools, hospitals and residences in Northern Yemen in the past few days. Over 6,000 dead, including 3,000 civilians and tens of thousands injured or homeless since Saudi intervention began.
The UN has called the Saudi campaign impacting 21 million Yemenese a humanitarian catastrophe and war crimes. Yet, the US is just a guilty, as Saudi aggression is only possible with U.S. weapons and logistical support. A few Congressmen resist this descent into madness speaking out and working to end US arms sales to the Saudis. Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) argues "If you talk to Yemeni Americans, they will tell you in Yemen this isn’t a Saudi bombing campaign, it’s a US bombing campaign...every single civilian death inside Yemen is attributable to the United States." According to Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), "Saudi Arabia is an unreliable ally with a poor human rights record. We should not rush to sell them advanced arms and promote an arms race in the Middle East." Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA 33) added “When its repeated air strikes that have now killed children, doctors, newlyweds, patients, at some point you just have to say: Either Saudi Arabia is not listening to the United States or they just don’t care,”
Alas, these three are overwhelmed by the vast majority of the 535 Congressmen who are bought and sold by the war party, and who have no soul and no conscience. Joining them is the compliant media who follow orders, uttering not a peep of US war crimes in Yemen. It wouldn't be prudent if they want access to administration sources.
And how President Obama can sleep at night allowing thousands of innocents to be blown to bits is a mystery wrapped in an enigma. Maybe the Nobel Peace Prize on the dresser helps blot out the bloody Yemenese bodies destroyed by American made ordinance.
Next time someone tells you how great America is, yawn...and ask about Yemen.

Walt Zlotow
Glen Ellyn