Thursday, September 13, 2018

2 cents of advice for the Pope

Though the Catholic Church is worth billions, I'm offering two cents of advise to the Pope ahead of his pow wow with church leaders, five long months from now, on how to deal with the century's long clerical sexual abuse scandal. For what it's worth your Excellency, here goes:

  1. End celibacy for the clergy forthwith
  2. Identify and fire every priest, Bishop or Cardinal who covered up or otherwise enabled clerical sexual abuse of children
  3. Resign the Papacy

The solution, one might say, is as simple as One, Two, Three. Come to think of it, my two cents worth might save another $billion in settlements. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Roskam's lasting legacy? Fiscal irresponsibility

It's a tough call but fiscal irresponsibility will be Congressman Peter Roskam's lasting legacy to the Illinois Sixth District. Whether he's retired this November or goes on to another 12 years or more, the financial ruin he helped author last year in his Tax Cuts and Jobs Act may well outlive his tenure, however long. In championing that bill Roskam abandoned any pretense of fiscal responsibility he raised every time the Obamaadministration sought to spend wisely on infrastructure, health care, education and environmental sanity. Roskam's imprint is all over the tax bill that has already added $1 trillion to the deficit over the next decade, with a 21% deficit increase already in fiscal 2018 versus fiscal 2017. But instead of investing in America, Roskam's foolish deficits are investing in the wealthyist Americans who form his base, with a few dollars reserved for the middle class voters he needs for re-election. Since he has nothing else to run on, Roskam has decided to double down on the 2017 bill by supporting the next version of irresponsible tax cuts known affectionately as 'Tax Reform 2.0' that will make permanent all of last year's tax cuts as well as the $10,000 cap on property taxes that was inserted merely to punish voters in primarily blue states such as Illinois. Roskam's reforms depend on a pyramid scheme of endless prosperity to prevent a financial collapse. Even a mild recession will cause a dramatic crisis which Roskam and company will use to cut the social safety net of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Peter Roskam has no record to run on regarding the environment, gun safety, education, health care, sane business regulation; indeed every issue of concern in the Sixth. He's become a One Trick Pony handing out a pittance in tax cuts to workers, while enriching the already rich to obscene levels. That is not a conservative agenda for America's wealth and resources. It is a radical roadmap to economic ruin.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Moonves legacy: Trump

There won't be any GofundMe event to help out Les Moonves, ousted as head of CBS after 12 women came forward with horrific tales of his forced oral sex, gropings and career retaliation for their resisting. At $700 million and working to salvage a $120 million severance package pending the CBS investigation into the women's charges, Moonves can easily afford the $20 million he's promised the Just Say No movement if he gets it.
The scandalous news brings to mind the other scandal on the Moonves resume, this one political. Moonves will forever to saddled with the tag of chief enabler of the 2015-6 Trump phenomenon of free publicity CBS and the rest of mainstream media showered on Trump as his demagogic ravings of racism, xenophobia, insult mocking and lies propelled him to the White House. CBS and the rest of the entertainment titans masquerading as worthwhile news organizations, broke into their talking heads' programs to follow every word of fear and loathing Trump bleated at his hate rallies, knowing the ratings cash register was cha-chinging. While all followed suit, CBS gets the prize for Trump enabling with this Moonves quote from February, 2016, that will forever dishonor their coverage of 2016 election:
"It may not be good for America, but it's damn good for CBS. Man, who would have expected the ride we're all having right now? The money's rolling in and this is fun. This is going to be a very good year for us. Sorry. It's a terrible thing to say. But, bring it on, Donald. Your place in this election is a good thing.

Monday, September 10, 2018

The Catholic Church has torn families apart - in more ways than one

Eighty years ago my pretty young aunt fell in love with her Prince Charming; a tall, handsome, charismatic fellow on Chicago's North Side. Alas, they couldn't follow a conventional route to happily ever after because of one roadblock; Prince Charming was a priest at her local parish. So they did as other star crossed lovers in those days; eloped. They tied the knot in DuBuque, IA, fled west to Denver, where he apparently partnered with another fellow in a gas station. Then it was off to La La Land where the 1940 census lists him as a hat salesman, while my aunt aunt was unemployed, expecting her child, my cousin, in December. Apparently, the child and his 34 years kept him out of WWII which found him working in a dairy. Around 1944, consumed by guilt at leaving the priesthood, he petitioned the Chicago Archdiocese to be re-instated. Sympathetic to his plight the Church advised no such consideration could be given while married so a divorce was obtained in 1946. Consultation with the Vatican followed and my former uncle was granted provisional status as a priest, having to serve a year's probation before re-instatement. Alas, during that year he became ill with cancer. Two weeks after being fully restored to the priesthood, he died. 

When I hear endless stories of priestly sexual abuse of children, which I firmly believe are rooted in the bizarre, destructive, unconscionable centuries long practice of celibacy, I ponder my own family's experience of three ruined lives and an extended family deprived of knowing and caring for them because of it.  

Peter Roskam: The Phantom of the District

With 8 weeks to go till election day, my congressman Peter Roskam (IL-6) is still MID (Missing In District). He could just as well be living in Alaska as far as his visibility in the district is concerned. For much of his 12 years in Congress he has largely avoided local public appearances. The reason is simple; he cannot handle the groundswell of discontent from voters whose concerns on the critical issues he ignores. Voting over forty times to prevent, defund, overturn the Affordable Health Care Act shows an utter disregard to fixing the worst health care delivery system in the industrialized world. Denying climate change along with virtually his entire party puts district voters, their children and grandchildren in great peril in a world heating up near the point of no return. Siding with the most religiously fanatic to deny women the reproductive health they require is unconscionable. Helping author, promote and pass the biggest tax giveaway in history to the already wealthy, causing a trillion dollar budget deficit over the next decade, is breathtakingly irresponsible. It's no wonder that Roskam demurred on meeting his challenger Sean Casten before the Daily Herald Editorial Board in a public forum. It's a closed door session or no Roskam was the Congressman's response to the request. Pondering Roskam's inability to face the pubic in the Sixth, possibly the most important element of a congressman's respect for his constituency, reminds me of Lon Cheney in the 1925 classic 'Phantom of the Opera'. We know he's there...we just can't see him.