FDR Wanted Marines to Occupy The Chicago Tribune

View as PDF Chicago — Recent unprecedented disclosures of government malfeasance have forced Americans to confront unpleasant truths about the nature of our government. Americans do not trust the government – and in record numbers. It is understandable, and equally troubling, then, for Americans to come to expect opaqueness from a government that commonly flouts the U.S. Constitution andthe laws intended to bind its authority. We shouldn’t be too surprised to learn that the government is still fighting a seventy-four-year battle over transparency and the historical record, dating back to World War II.
Last week, the Obama administration’s efforts to maintain opacity received another healthy dose of sunlight after a panel of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals voted 2-1 to unseal grand jury records related to the journalism of a Chicago Tribune correspondent’s June 7, 1942 report that implied the government had broken Japan’s secret naval code.
The implications of these revelations are far-reaching, just as Taxpayer Education Foundation reported previously. In a December 2011 analysis of the extensive body of scholarship concerning FDR’s foreknowledge of the Japanese military’s naval codes and planned attack at Pearl Harbor, Taxpayer Education Foundation’s research director, Dennis Constant, wrote, “In September and October of 1940, Army and Navy cryptographers solved the principal Japanese government code, the Purple code, which was the major diplomatic code. The naval codes were a series of 29 separate operational codes. According to Stinnett, Japan used four of these codes to organize and dispatch her warships to Hawaii by radio. American cryptographers had solved each of the four by the fall of 1941, even though the Japanese were introducing minor variants every three months to foil cryptographers.”
“Taxpayers, regrettably, are forced to fund the government even when its policies are opposed to the interests of Americans and our liberty,” said Jared Labell, executive director of Taxpayers United of America (TUA). “While it is clear that the government is naturally incentivized to over-classify information and maintain strict secrecy over its vast realm of perceived interests, Americans must demand transparency and support all efforts to pull back the curtain on the machinations of the government. Disclosures not only help clarify the historical record and provide further insights into past policies, but they are tremendous opportunities to learn how tax dollars are spent by the government and in pursuit of what ends.”
“These recent legal developments further threaten the government’s ability to act in complete secrecy without risk of exposure,” said Labell. “We aren’t certain of the precise revelations contained in thesealed grand jury testimony. The documents might further corroborate longtime claims made by numerous historiansimplicating FDR and his administration in failing to protect the American military personnel based at Pearl Harbor, although the Japanese naval codes were deciphered. The code-breaking revelations the following year in the Chicago Tribune did not please the administration, to say the least.”
“The Tribune’s tacit revelation of the code-breaking coup infuriated Washington. President Franklin Roosevelt wanted to have Marines occupy Tribune Tower,” the Chicago Tribune’s Editorial Board wrote last Friday following the court’s decision to unseal the records due to high historical interest and the negligible need for secrecy in 2016.
desctruction“Under pressure from Roosevelt and Navy officials, a special prosecutor impaneled a federal grand jury here to consider espionage charges against reporter Stanley Johnston, managing editor J. Loy Maloney and the Tribune itself. The grand jurors decided not to indict. But for 74 years the testimony they heard from some 13 witnesses — including naval officers and staffers from the Tribune and two other newspapers that ran its story — has remained sealed.”
Department of Justice lawyers have fought this disclosure at every turn, because even though the circumstances surrounding Johnston’s story and naval code-breaking at the Battle of Midway are invaluable to the historical record, the true court battle is concerned with the question of under what exceptional circumstances are grand jury proceedings to be made public.
President Woodrow Wilson signed the Espionage Act of 1917 into law in June of that year, only a couple months after the United States entered World War I. The case against the Chicago Tribune, its managing editor, and its reporter, Stanley Johnston, is the only known attempt to charge journalists with violating the Espionage Act, although the panel eventually declined to indict.
The government has until September 29 to appeal to the full 7th Circuit Court, or opt to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court until mid-December 2016. Litigation director for the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, Katie Townsend, summarized what’s at stake in this case that dates back nearly three quarters of a century, “The Tribune case speaks directly to a fundamental tension at the core of our democracy, involving the public’s right to know and the government’s duty to protect its citizens in time of war.”
“America, of course, isn’t a democracy, but it’s also barely a republic at this point. Chelsea Manning heroically liberated government records of the Baghdad airstrike Collateral Murder footage, Afghan and Iraq War logs, diplomatic cables, Guantanamo Bay files, and more. Edward Snowden disclosed National Security Agency documents while working as a contractor, revealing the government’s ubiquitous system of spying and surveillance of American citizens, foreign civilians and governments,” said Labell.
“Manning and Snowden merit our thanks for alerting the American public, not condemnation. Similarly, we don’t need to wait another 75 years to learn more about sealed testimony regarding a journalist, code-breaking, and our government’s actions during World War II. Taxpayers deserve to know.”
Founded in 1976, TUA is one of the largest taxpayer organizations in America.

Madison County Record|The very expensive and cynical lesson David Werner taught us

Data from Taxpayers United of America’s recent 10th Annual Illinois State Pension Report was used by Madison County Record in an article about David Werner’s outstanding pension paid for by tax dollars.

More than 100,000 Illinoisans have graduated from Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville during its nearly 60 years of operation.
As chancellor from 1998 to 2004, David Werner deserves some of the credit for the quality of education SIUE students received during that six-year period, but he deserves even more credit (or discredit) for the lesson he’s taught all of us taxpayers since his retirement.
The lesson, unfortunately, already has cost a lot more than a four-year degree from the E, and we won’t know the final tab until Werner enjoys an emeritus position at that Ivory Tower in the sky.
It’s part of a course that could be called “How to Game the System as a State Employee and Live like a Millionaire in Retirement.”
We don’t have to go to class for instruction or attend online because Werner doesn’t lecture. After all, he’s retired, right?
No, Werner has taught by example. He figured out how to game the system and all we have to do is study his methods, learn the obvious lessons, apply them ourselves if we were the sort of persons who did such things, and then enjoy an early retirement and a life of leisure at the expense of taxpayers – or go to an early grave worrying about how high state taxes will have to be raised to pay for all of the prodigies following in Werner’s silk-slippered footsteps.
More than 92,000 Illinois state pensioners collect more than $50,000 each annually, according to a recent report from Taxpayers United of America. More than 15,000 collect more than $100,000 each every year.
Werner is one of the top 400 collectors (#76). He retired at the age of 62 and gets $252,704 in benefits yearly, which is more than the total he put into the plan. He’s already collected two and a half million dollars and could eventually break five million.
Did we really need to learn such an expensive lesson? Can we get a refund?

Who Ya Gonna Call? TAXBUSTERS

View as PDF CHICAGO—Although members of the Illinois General Assembly and Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) reached a compromise late last week and approved a six-month stopgap budget for the state, some legislators are denouncing the deal, and taxpayers should, too.
“The stopgap budget plan was not agreed upon for the benefit of the majority of taxpayers and residents of Illinois,” said Jared Labell, Executive Director of Taxpayers United of America (TUA).
“This bipartisan compromise is merely another tactic for the majority of legislators to avoid blowback from decades of fiscal irresponsibility. Many of these politicians assume that they can continue to strike deals that continue to overspend, overtax, and overburden taxpayers without addressing the need for systemic reform of the Illinois state government and its 7,000 taxing districts.”
Four legislators, however, voted against the stopgap budget plan and discussed their position on the July 5 edition of Chicago Tonight: Reps. Jack Franks (D-Woodstock), Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton), David McSweeney (R-Cary) and Thomas Morrison (R-Palatine).
“If you voted for that budget, get ready, because come January, maybe the end of December, you’re going to also have to feel obligated to vote for a $5 billion-plus tax increase. This budget wasn’t a budget. This budget was a spending plan that we can’t afford. Budgets set priorities and tell you what’s the most important thing you have to fund. All this vote did was set up a tax increase,” said Ives.
“Seventy-five percent of the budget is on autopilot. We’re going to increase the debt, we provided a package of bills – $625 million to CPS without any reforms, we increased education spending by $524 million – none of that money is required to reduce property taxes. We have the highest taxes in the country. I am going to fight tax increases. We do not need to raise taxes in this state, and they are going to raise taxes through the roof. That’s what the vote the other day was for, a vote for the stopgap was a vote for a massive, 30-percent increase to the income tax. I am going to fight that until my death,” said McSweeney.
Chicago and suburban Cook County taxpayers can empathize with these dissenting legislators as they receive their property tax bills, which will rise by a combined $838 million over the next few years for Chicago alone, and will exceed one billion dollars for suburban residents. This total includes the historically high $588 million property tax increase approved by the City Council last fall for Chicago police and firefighter pensions, as well as an additional $250 million for Chicago teacher pensions, which will not need City Council approval, thanks to the stopgap budget deal.
“People were pretty upset. They’re seeing some pretty big increases. In some cases, we’re talking 30 percent or 40 percent higher. In other cases doubling,” said Chicago Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd).
Other towns that could see massive property tax increases, according to the Daily Herald and data from Cook County Clerk David Orr, include Hoffman Estates (5.8%), Rolling Meadows (6.3%), Roselle (10.7%), Elgin (11%), and Wheeling (11.3%).
Since TUA’s founding four decades ago, Jim Tobin’s name has been synonymous with talk of tax strikes and taxpayers revolts, and for good reason,” said Labell. “In 1977, Tobin, TUA’s founder and president, led the most successful property tax strike in modern Illinois history with a list of demands focused on the interests of taxpayers, not the political bosses in the state,” said Labell. “Nearly forty years later, Illinois taxpayers are once again facing rapidly increasing and onerous tax burdens without redress of grievances from their elected representatives.”
“When politicians are unwilling or unable to answer their constituents’ pleas for help, and rising property taxes threaten to bankrupt citizens, who ya gonna call? The Taxbusters at Taxpayers United of America,” concluded Labell.
Concerned taxpayers can contact Taxpayers United of America by email, info@taxpayersunited.org, or phone, (312) 427-5128 if they are interested in organizing public meetings or for further information.