Wednesday, June 05, 2019

Email to Clarence Page on Julian Assange

Clarence, nice post on defending Julian Assange as a journalist, which of course he is (What is a journalist? Don't let the government decide, Trib June 5). 

Couple of nits to pick. Calling Assange an "often disturbingly and even dangerously freewheeling example of the breed"  is both unnecessary and hurtful to the defense you so admirably present on his behalf. Are you concerned you'll incur the wrath of your readers and editors if you don't include the standard mainstream media disclaimer Assange is not a good journalist; indeed, an unworthy person as well. I wish Trib journalists had been as dangerously freewheeling as Assange when they failed to vet Bush administration lies that got several hundred thousand dead, including 4,497 GI's in our criminal Iraq war.  You folks didn't do your job then and you're not doing it now giving an endless pass to US perpetual wars in the Middle East and Africa. 

Second, ending your piece with "Assange may fall way short of being a model journalist" is simply not true and further supports the mainstream thesis that he is somehow beneath the decency and competency of the journalistic establishment.

By all means defend Julian Assange as the journalist he is. But please drop the disclaimers. 

Walt Zlotow
Glen Ellyn 

Tuesday, June 04, 2019

Prisoner/felon voting expansion completes Pritzker's grand slam

The Fair Tax ballot initiative, cannabis legalization and nation leading women's reproductive health are getting all the attention in Gov. Pritzker's first legislative session. But let's not neglect passage of SB 2090 which supports increased voter participation with two wonderful programs to provide that for Illinois' marginalized citizens. SB 2090 requires that county jails and election authorities collaborate to ensure pre-trial jail detainees can vote along with those of us on the outside. It also assures that voting eligible felons leaving Illinois prisons receive a voter registration application and information about restoration of their voting rights.

Bravo Governor and legislators who supported this measure to move Illinois closer to 21st century enlightenment on prisoner rehabilitation. Voting gives persons awaiting trial or completing their sentences a stake in seeking progress for society as well as themselves. But Governor Pritzker should not rest after signing SB 2090. Next up will be for Illinois to join Vermont and Maine in allowing its 40,000 convicted prisoners to vote in prison. Least anyone thinks this might impair crime prevention, think again. Vermont and Maine rank 49th and 50th in violent crime per hundred thousand residents.

A grand slam in your first legislative session is a great start. Don't stop now, Governor.

Monday, June 03, 2019

New state nickname?

If Missouri succeeds in closing down its only abortion clinic, they should tweak the Missouri state nickname from: 


Sunday, June 02, 2019

Illinois number 11, not 50

Kudos to Gov. Pritzker and Illinois legislators for legalizing cannabis in IL. When stumping for its legalization I pondered whether Illinois would have the wisdom to be near the engine of the legalization train as number 11 (plus DC) rather that the caboose at number 50. It took an enlightened electorate which rejected the do nothing policies of his predecessor to elect a true progressive who made cannabis legalization one of his signature policies.
Cannabis criminalization from early last century was a monstrous policy of racism, Xenophobia and hatred of jazz, the original American art form, to maliciously ruin the lives of millions. As demonic drug czar for three decades Henry Anslinger said, “Reefer makes darkies think they’re as good as white men. There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the U.S., and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz and swing result from marijuana use. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers and any others.”
Anslinger started out as a Prohibition agent with little interest in cannabis. Once alcohol prohibition ended in 1933, he found cannabis as his ticket to both a lucrative new career and a chance to practice his racist, anti jazz proclivities for another 29 years, mercifully ending in 1962. Just a few years later President Nixon re-started the drug war to demonize and disarm the civil rights and anti Vietnam war movements.
The wheels of progress usually turn with excruciating slowness. Regarding a sane cannabis policy in Illinois, the new engineer at the throttle is finally getting Illinois up to speed.