Friday, December 11, 2015

Daily Herald editorial "Time for understanding, not derision" misleading

Your editorial 'Time for understanding, not derision' about the District 211 transgender  settlement with a female transgender student doesn't comport with the facts of the settlement. You state it requires the student to change behind the privacy curtain installed for her, adding that this is a requirement "she would most likely in the end have done voluntarily." That is not true. The agreement does not require the student to change behind the privacy curtain as that would be institutionalized discrimination as outlawed by the federal LGBT civil rights policy that prompted federal action to threaten cutting off federal funds to District 211. The fact that the student agreed to use the privacy curtain was the hook District 211 used to approve the agreement. The two board members who voted against the settlement saw through this bit of deception by the board majority.

Secondly, why do you ponder the board's insistence the agreement just applies to this one student when "it is more likely it will come up again." The settlement applies district wide and covers any future transgender, male or female, that comes along. The board is clearly doing this to pretend they got something to placate the fearful and hateful parents who would never abide with the truly fair, non-discriminatory settlement the board actually reached.

While this is a time for "understanding, not derision", it is also a time for clarity, not obfuscation.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Trump not an outlier; just the GOP spear chucker

“I don’t know if sand can glow in the dark, but we’re going to find out.”
"I would carpet bomb ISIS into oblivion."

Those statements promoting extreme, criminal slaughter of innocents in the Middle East were not uttered by GOP bad boy Donald Trump. They were spit out by Senator Ted Cruz, the Evangelical fanatic running second to The Donald for the GOP presidential nomination.

Then there is fading Republican insider and Bush Dynasty favorite Jeb Bush who said:

“The idea that somehow there are radical elements in every religion is ridiculous. There are no radical Christians that are organizing to destroy Western civilization. There are no radical Buddhists that are doing this. This is radical Islamic terrorism.”

But Jeb failed to consider that Christianity can lay claim to being arguably the most violent religion in history conducting massacres in South and North America, Africa, Asia, Australia and Europe
Virtually all other GOP candidates take extreme positions for more senseless war against one side in the Sunni-Shi'ite civil war redrawing the boundaries the West set during WWI. They all accuse the president of accommodating Islam by not uttering the dog whistle "radical Islam" which is their stand-in for the entire Muslim religion. Their words are putting every US Muslim at risk for attack from deranged followers of the entire lot of irresponsible candidates.

The GOP establishment knows Trump is not a Republican. They loathe his rejection of the party pros who control the party process; appalled at his pandering to the majority of GOP voters. They want him out which explains their feigned shock at his bizarre proposals to build a wall to keep out Mexicans, stop all Muslim immigration; even shut down the internet. If the GOP was really concerned about Trump's extremism they would call out the extremist, fear mongering and war promoting statements of the entire field, and craft a foreign policy platform of peace, decency and inclusion.

Don't expect that to happen. Whether Trump stays or goes, the GOP is all in for demonization of Muslims and endless war to combat a made up, phony threat.
Movie Pick: Trumbo

The decade 1945-1955, may have been good for America's material prosperity, but quite bad, horrendous actually, for our spiritual prosperity. FDR, died, and lesser leaders took over. The right wing, sensing weakness, pounced, seizing their chance to role back the New Deal on a platform of anti-Russian anti-communism. Anyone and anything progressive became suspect.
The decade is accurately and exquisically recreated in the biopic 'Trumbo', staring Brian Cr...anston as the most famous of the thousands of Americans whose lives were diminished, often destroyed by the Blacklist which prevented left leaning intellectuals from working for The Man, be it
in government or business.

But Trumbo's punishment was worse. He served 11 months in the slammer for refusing to 'name names' as the game was played before HUAC (House Un-American Activities Committee), itself America's premier un-American activity. As 'Trumbo' unfolds you realize why his story is featured. Trumbo didn't commit suicide or become destitute as many did. He outsmarted the Blacklist by prolifically writing screenplays and submitting them under pseudonyms. He was so good his 'Roman Holiday' piece won an Oscar awarded to his buddy Ian McLellan Hunter, who submitted it as his work. In 1956, Trumbo struck again, winning the Gold Guy for his screenplay for 'The Brave One' under the name Robert Rich. Unlike the real life Hunter, there was no Robert Rich, and the virulent Blacklist protectors like columnist Hedda Hopper (a bravura Helen Mirren performance) had apoplexy knowing it was Dalton.

Trumbo was so good and so unyielding to the mob that Kirk Douglas and Otto Preminger finally gave him screen credit for 'Sparticus' and 'Exodus', respectively, in 1960. The Blacklist was broken.
'Trumbo' has its parallels in today's toxic political climate with presidential contenders calling for a ban on Muslims entering the Land of the Free, and carpet-bombing folks simply fighting amongst themselves 10,000 miles away.

In that hateful decade covered by 'Trumbo', anything left of center was excised from our culture of free speech. A fitting response to today's Xenophobia and fear mongering would be 'Trumbo' as required viewing in grade school as part of the civics curriculum prior to taking the Constitution test often required to graduate.

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

B-52 gal can't wait to carpet bomb Syria

"We’re ready, we’re hungry, we’re eager to be in the fight,”
- Col. Kristin Goodwin, Commander, Second Bomb Wing at Barksdale Air Force Base, commenting on her desire to fly her B-52 on Syrian bombing missions.

I'm a bit skittish about letting the weaker sex engage in all forms of warfare as just announced by the military. When it comes to the slaughter of innocents in America's endless and futile wars against Islam, the ladies are itchin' to show the boys how it's done. Consider Col. Kristin Goodwin, commander of a B-52 squadron, for instance. She's absolutely thrilled the war party is considering sending her and her half century old death machines to Syria to obliterate imagined bad guys and hapless innocents nearby to serve as martyrs for more ISIS recruits. Google Col. Goodwin and you'll find a pic of her leaning out the window of her autographed B-52 with a gorgeous smile that likely hides a psychopathic defect.
I'd prefer Col. Goodwin incur an epiphany and joins the ranks of female war protesters epitomized by peace activist Kathy Kelly, whom I was privileged to hear speak in Kane County, IL a few years ago. Chicago educated Kelly (Loyola U), one of the founding members of Voices in the Wilderness, and currently a co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence, has spent her entire life showing us the path to peace which we sadly ignore. Joining Kelly on a military installation picket line might get Goodwin arrested for the first time compared to Kelly's dozens, maybe hundreds; but it may be the most humane and decent thing she could ever do.

Monday, December 07, 2015

Tale of the tape

It's painful to read the Chicago Tribune story Sunday on how all 3 cop eyewitness reports of the Laquan McDonald killing corroborate that of shooting Officer James Van Dyke that McDonald was advancing on Officer Van Dyke with intent to stab.
This is just another case of: 'Who ya gonna believe? Me or your lyin' eyes?

Sunday, December 06, 2015

Prez will likely skip best way to reduce homegrown terror attacks

“It’ll gradually dawn on people that we’ll be living for a long time with the possibility of low-level attacks that can never be predicted and can rarely be prevented.” - Bruce Jones, a former United Nations official and the director of foreign policy at the Brookings Institution.

That inconvenient, disheartening truth is what makes President Obama's address tonight on ways to safeguard Americans from mass murder attacks from jihadi-inspired locals so difficult. He'll talk about extra screening at foreign airports, tighter visa scrutiny, reaching out to the Muslin community to self police; maybe even stronger gun control. What he won't talk about is how our endless 14-year war against Muslims in the Middle East is the likely biggest inspiration for homegrown attacks here. During that time we've dropped over 120,000 bombs on 7 Muslim countries, killing directly or indirectly over a million Muslims, and leading to 60 million seeking safer ground. The cost? $3.3 trillion and an endless supply of potential citizens right here in the US who'd like to engage in 'blowback', the inevitable consequence of that madness. 
The president should say tonight we'll stop all bombing. He should say we'll finally close the US gulag in Guantanamo. He should say we'll cease selling US made WMD to Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States who use them for their involvement in the Sunni-Shi'ite civil war. He should say we'll cooperate with any country or peoples who seek non-violent, peaceful solutions in a region whose tribes and sects are simply re-drawing the artificial boundaries drawn by the West after World War 1. He should say America cannot afford to even consider electing a successor like some who call for massive carpet bombing of Muslims or other forms of self destructive insanity.

Until he says and does those things, America's road to ruin will continue apace.