Friday, July 07, 2017

Rauner's dilemma: No space left to paint

When Bruce Rauner assumed the governorship 30 months ago, he unleashed an unprecedented assault on students, pensioners, working and non-working poor, state vendors, private and public union workers; ultimately all 13 million of us. He told the legislature he wouldn't pass a budget till he got a laundry list of non-budgetary items like term limits, and union givebacks passed to please his wealthy, elitist base and the rapacious businessman in his head which brought him fabulous personal wealth without creating anything of value. He had neither a mandate, nor more importantly, a heartless legislature to grant him those demands. Rainer's response was to paint himself into a corner with no chance whatsoever of achieving those extortionate demands. A seventh grade civics student could have advised Rauner he'd eventually run out of floorspace to coat with his unlimited supply of self destructive paint. Today, after 870 days, all Rauner is left with is a paint splattered reputation from his own hand as a bi-partisan coalition of decent, responsible legislators gave Illinois a budget to begin turning back on the state services Rauner shut down. 

America has learned in the past six months how a cruel, egomaniacal businessman can wreck havoc on the national body politic with a supportive Congress. Illinois, still reeling from two and a half years of non-governance, has finally taken away Rauner's paint brush of self destruction and begun the long road back.

Thursday, July 06, 2017

US suffering consequences of criminal regime change

We should not be the least surprised North Korea is adding ICBM's to their nuclear arsenal. They look at Iraq and Libya closing down their nuke programs only to incur regime change courtesy of Uncle Sam, with top leaders Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi suffering horrible deaths. Syria gave up their chemical weapons, resulting in our goofy Uncle bombing them for a chemical attack almost certainly NOT launched by Syria. North Korea will continue to build their defenses against regime change the man in a funny hat (in the guise of a demented former TV entertainer) lusts for. We need to negotiate with both North and South Korea, not for North Korea giving up their 'prevent regime change' card, but for an end to the 67 year old Korean War and a gradual withdrawal of the US from the Korean peninsula. The alternative only leads to catastrophic war.

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

AUMF: The war party's ticket to perpetual war

Likely the least known but most insidious acronym is America is AUMF which stands for Authorization to Use Military Force. The most insidious ever is Public Law 107-40 passed on September 14, 2001, three days after the 911 attacks. Designed in response to those attacks, it authorizes the use of United States Armed Forces against those responsible for the attacks on September 11, 2001 and any "associated forces".
Tragically, three consecutive presidents, Bush, Obama and Trump have used it to war senseless, murderous war in 7 countries we know of, killing hundreds of thousands and squandering over 4 trillion in treasure while America crumbles. Our cowardly Congress hides behind that AUMF, refusing to debate a new one for current wars so they can blame any military failures on the president. That's fine with those three war crazed presidents who opposed any interference from pesky congressfolk to their criminal military ventures.
One congresswoman deserves our praise. Barbara Lee (D-CA) was the sole vote against the 2001 AUMF saying with amazing foresight it “was a blank check to the president to attack anyone involved in the Sept. 11 events — anywhere, in any country, without regard to our nation’s long-term foreign policy, economic and national security interests, and without time limit. A rush to launch precipitous military counterattacks runs too great a risk that more innocent men, women, children will be killed.” Sixteen years and a couple hundred thousand dead innocents later Lee got a glimmer of justification for her tireless efforts on behalf of peace when the House approved her amendment to a DOD re-authorization which sunsets this odious war blank check 240 days after passage.
“At long last, I am pleased that my Democratic and Republican colleagues supported my effort to put an end to the overly broad blank check for war that is the 2001 AUMF. If passed into law as part of the DOD bill, it would repeal the 2001 AUMF eight months after enactment of this legislation. That would allow plenty of time for Congress to finally live up to its constitutional obligation to debate and vote on any new AUMF.”
Chances of Lee's amendment surviving the sausage makers masquerading as congressmen are slim. Call yours to demand it make the final cut. Failure to push back against perpetual war makes you a perpetual war enabler. That is not what we're here for. 

Sunday, July 02, 2017

Will 200,000 preventable deaths melt Roskam's cold, cold, heart

Looking across the table at my Congressman Peter Roskam at a hastily gathered meeting of three constituents to quell a protest at his April appearance with Glen Ellyn village leaders, I offered this comment: "Sir, you've spent the last 8 years striving to defeat, defund, derail the Affordable Care Act which has prevented over 50,000 deaths since passage. That sir is unconscionable." Roskam's response was about as heartless as can be imagined: "Well, some of my constituents are complaining their premiums have gone up under the Affordable Care Act (ACA)." That is demonstrable sophistry; a false argument to deceive voters. And it will not stand if those voters will comprehend the enormous cruelty Roskam is enabling with his support of Trump's American Health Care Act. Trumpcare is simply a massive tax giveaway to the wealthiest Americans, with 40 % of those cuts going to members of the annual million dollar income club. But it's human cruelty that must truly grab our attention: 22 million losing health insurance over 10 years. So what, you ask? That 22 million losing their health lifeline will suffer 200,000 plus preventable deaths over that decade of despair Roskam will tout as an accomplishment in his re-election bid next year if it passes. Least you think that is hyperbole, it comes from Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman citing Congressional Budget Office and medical researchers' analysis regarding Romney's Massachusetts model for the ACA. Based on before and after study it showed that for every 830 folks added to health insurance rolls, one preventable death is avoided. Do the math and those 22 million losing health insurance under Roskamcare will generate well over 200,000 preventable deaths. 

I'm certain Congressman Roskam doesn't want them to die. But when making their ballot for Congress next year, Sixth District residents should ponder whether that irrelevant truth justifies returning such a heartless human being to vote on life saving national policy.