Saturday, November 17, 2018

One Casten sentence trumps 12 years of inaction by Roskam on climate change

He's not even in Congress yet, but in one sentence IL 6th District Congressman Sean Casten has already given his constituents hope on combating likely the biggest challenge we face: climate change.

"My entire career is in energy and environmental and deploying capital for it, and it’s not lost on me that it’s a committee that freshmen don’t normally get on, but it’s been useful to talk to people if that’s where you want to end up."
What a relief to have as our congressman a scientist, a clean energy entrepreneur and a person who believes in grappling with the ignored problem of global warming. His predecessor Peter Roskam spent his entire 12 year congressional career denying climate change, ignoring climate change, pooh-poohing climate change. The weather forecast in the Illinois Sixth has just gotten a little bit brighter.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Of gray wolves and criminal Yemen war

What do gray wolves and our criminal involvement in Saudi Arabia's war against Yemen have in common? Plenty. Over 15,000 dead, a million suffering cholera and millions more facing starvation from US bombs dropped from US planes flown by Saudi but refueled by Americans, makes the US partners on war crimes there. Wednesday, House Republicans used dirty tricks to quash a House vote on ending US involvement in Yemen without specific presidential request for Congress to approve continued US action there. Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) authored House Concurrent Resolution 138 in September which would require such presidential action on Yemen. Khanna sought privileged status for H. Res. 138 which would force a vote Congressional warmongers were loathe to go on record opposing. GOP House leadership obliged, inserting a provision in obscure bill H.R. 6784, Manage our Wolves Act, stripping Kannna's critically needed peace initiative of its privileged status. That allowed the House GOP to prevent a vote on Khanna's measure. H.R. 6784, Manage our Wolves Act passed 201-187, stripping gray wolves from the List of Endangered Species, and stripping Khanna's peace measure from getting the vote it's due. Democrats opposed the bill 172 - 6, but Republicans prevailed, supporting it 115 - 5. Now gray wolves can be killed again by hunters....and Yemenis can continue being killed by US bombs. So much for unity between Democrats and Republicans to end our Yemen war involvement. And the vote tells us precisely which party loves criminal war.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Democrats, Republicans should unite to end Yemen war

Democrats and Republicans agree on virtually no domestic issues such as Medicare for all, combating environmental destruction, sensible gun legislation, reducing income inequality, free post secondary training, among others. But they can and should unite to end the criminal Yemen war. The Congress gave up war making powers specified in the Constitution 68 years ago when they allowed President Truman to intervene in the Korean civil war of 1950. Since then, Congress has abrogated its Constitutional role to declare war, allowing the president to intervene militarily at will. The result has been millions of unnecessary deaths, millions of refugees and trillions of squandered US treasure fighting senseless and failed military ventures. The new Congress will resurrect divided government with Democrats controlling the House while Republicans retain the Senate. Unlike the great divide on domestic issues, there is no Democratic-Republican, left-right, progressive-conservative fissure when it comes to supporting war crimes against the Yemeni people. What does exist is the inertia caused by not wanting to raise an issue ignored by the American people and the Congress. What does exist is fear of breaking the taboo that America never commits war crimes fighting unnecessary wars. What does exist is pure cowardice in the Halls of Congress. Ending this criminality and madness should be Job One on Day One when the 116th Congress convenes next January 3. Congressional veterans and rookies alike must coalesce to stop the slow American enabled genocide of Yemen. The current Congress simple lacks the will. Just yesterday the House voted to shut off all debate on ending US involvement in Yemen. Let's hope the new blood entering Congress January 3 will force the war enabling veterans there to give peace in Yemen a chance

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to US: 'You're wrong on Iran'

The IAEA's lastest report on the 2015 Five + 1 nuclear deal with Iran reaffirms Iran is fully in compliance with the agreement designed to guarantee Iran doesn't produce nuclear weapons. This is nothing new. Every IAEA report since the agreement was reached has verified Iran's compliance. Possibly Trump's biggest lie as president has been Iran's non-compliance prompting US abandonment of the deal six months ago. The latest IAEA report comes just a week after Trump imposed new sanctions on Iran in furtherance of his real goal in Iran: regime change to take out the arch rival of our Middle East allies Saudi Arabia and Israel. All other nations are thumbing their petro dollars at Trump by buying Iranian oil. It's simply another Forest Gump moment for Trump that 'stupid is as stupid does.'

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Neither Trump, nor Trib, can squeeze anything but failure from Iran sanctions

The Trib editorial, 'Trump can squeeze Iran to get nuclear deal 2.0" is so out of touch with the reality of US-Iran policy, it can only be described, just like the president, as delusional. Fifty, a hundred years from today, historians may well describe the 5+1 nuclear deal with Iran as the high mark of President Obama's foreign policy, being the most effective initiative to avoid a senseless and self destructive war. When clueless demagogue candidate Trump called it a horrible deal the Trib applauded, having never accepted detente with Iran as the sane foreign policy tenant it is. When Trump rescinded the deal, calling for new sanctions, the Trib signed on, oblivious to the fact the entire world save Iran's bitter rivals Saudi Arabia and Israel were horrified. Calling the many nations "scrambling to find workarounds to US economic sanctions...a desperation move", the Trib appears clueless Trump has given temporary waivers to China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Italy, Greece and Turkey to keep buying Iranian oil. That sure sounds more like desperation on the American side. It's not 'Iran's terror sponsoring leaders who are increasingly boxed in"... its the terror sponsoring American war party headed by Trump that has become isolated as it has become the laughingstock of the world. Check out Brown University's recent study, that estimates half a million needlessly killed by US Middle East wars since 911. Calling Trump "the deal-maker" when he's simply a reckless deal breaker is baffling. Breaking the Iran nuclear deal has not gone unnoticed by North Korea. Negotiations between the US and North Korea have ground to a halt. And after declaring victory from the meaningless photo op of Trump embracing the leader he called "rocket man" and urged China "to make that man disappear...very quickly", nothing. Trump is being played by Kim Jong-un and is now being played by our rapidly disappearing allies over Iran. The Trib closed there valentine to Trump's exercise in futility declaring the "2015 deal is dead." Au contraire, dear Trib Editorial Board. It's Trump's new and needless sanctions that are D.O.A.