Friday, February 23, 2018

Graham obit should include push to expand Vietnam War

It's hard to grasp the extraordinary life of 'America's preacher' Billy Graham who died yesterday at 99. Blessed with intelligence, charisma, overpowering physicality and a golden tongue, Graham's worldwide crusade alone preached to over 200 million souls in 185 countries. He was the unofficial Chaplin of the White House, ministering to 11 presidents. Graham accomplished this for seven decades without of whiff of personal scandal that has dethroned too many religious titans to mention.
But alas, Graham's obit failed to mention his fervent support of our senseless Vietnam War which sent several million of the folks Graham's life mission was to save, to an early death instead. It wasn't just support; it was a plea encouraging mass murder. Graham injected himself into the war by visiting with Vietnam missionaries in Bangkok in April, 1969. He then sent a secret letter to best buddy Nixon, on behalf of him and his religious colleagues, urging Nixon to bomb the Vietnamese dykes if peace talks failed. That would, according to Graham, "overnight destroy the Vietnam economy". Even the mendacious Nixon demurred, commenting that such an attack would also kill a million Vietnamese. Graham was unaware of or ignored the fact that Arthur Seyss-Inquart, the German high commissioner in occupied Holland, was sentenced to death at Nuremberg, in part, for breaching dikes in Holland during WWII.
We in the peace movement salute Graham's lifelong mission to save souls. We lament his fervor in promoting massive death to win a senseless, murderous, unwinnable war.

McCarthy should end posibe Chicago mayoral bid

Former Chicago top cop Gerry McCarthy should stop flirting with a mayoral bid and leave the Chicago political scene. His four and a half year tenure (May, 2011-December, 2105) will be remembered by two unflattering controversies. His touting of crime reduction early on was debunked by fuzzy math that under reported murders and serious assaults. But the one that led to his December, 2015 firing, was worse, his role, along with Mayor Rahm Emmanuel and States Attorney Linda Alvarez in covering up the October, 2013, Laquan McDonald shooting. When video captured officer James Van Dyke pumping 16 slugs into McDonald, acting erratically rather than an imminent threat on a Chicago street, McCarthy locked hands with Emmanuel and Alvarez to suppress the damning video for 14 months. When a judge released the video, Alvarez promptly indicted Van Dyke for murder to tamp down the impending and justified public outcry. Since Emmanuel couldn't fire himself or Alvarez, he dumped the one member of the coverup he could...McCarthy.
One can't blame McCarthy for believing Emmanuel scapegoated him to insulate the mayor from further political fallout. McCarthy's possible mayoral bid smacks of revenge, pure and simple. There is nothing in McCarthy's resume that qualifies him to be mayor. To the contrary, his parsing of crime statistics, aiding the unconscionable McDonald shooting coverup, and now a spite centered possible mayoral bid all make him unfit to toss his Chief's hat into the Chicago mayor ring.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Chapman's cynicism on gun violence not helpful

Trib pundit Steve Chapman can be sensible and logical on governmental overreach. Foolish governmental drug policies on marijuana come to mind. I'm disappointed, however, in his throwing cold water on the firestorm of outrage following the Parkland machine gun massacre demanding that Congress do more to protect us instead of cashing those NRA checks and snoozing. In fact, his 'A cure for mass shootings doesn't exist' (Tribune, February 18) likely gets the NRA seal of approval. To say we can never prevent another school machine gun massacre is not the point.

We're never going to go from 34,000 gun deaths yearly, including a dozen or so shootings
in schools, to zero. But we can reduce them significantly if we do what's never been done; have the people through Congress legislate guns instead of the NRA. Current NRA policy, which Chapman ignores, is that the more guns, including machine guns, the better. Our NRA-run Congress has helped create a public health crisis of unprecedented horror. Without strong regulation we will never begin to reduce the carnage and see a reduction rather than an increase in public place massacres, as well as garden variety single shootings.

Would Chapman say automobile and highway safety regulations are a failure because 40,000 die yearly in highway accidents. No, because he knows that without those regulations we might see 80,000 deaths yearly. Those regulations, some quite onerous,
give us all a better chance at a full life. The same goes for gun regulation. If prompt, drastic laws passed while the grief is still palpable can reduce annual gun deaths a modest 10%, 3,400 folks will dodge the Grim Reaper in the next year. That's a start. Chapman needs to get on board the gun control train before it leaves the station.