Saturday, November 03, 2018

The trail grows colder indeed

Once again the Trib editorializes over the ongoing slaughter of innocents on Chicago's south and west sides without a single word of value in alleviating the problem. In 'Three months after Chicago's most violent weekend, the trail grows colder', all the Trib can muster is a wish that community-police relations will improve and that more of the mountain of unsolved murders and woundings can be cleared. Those obvious items are pure fantasy in the real world of societal breakdown in those areas. That breakdown has existed throughout the existence of these essentially third word swaths of poverty and despair established by institutional racism which may actually be getting worse instead of better. Only in the last decade or so has an avalanche of guns made those mean streets significantly meaner...and bloodier. Increased violence and low clearance rates have little to do with the police department which essentially functions as the clean up crew for the bodies piling up every day. A knowledgeable ten year could offer better solutions than the Trib to these intractable problems.
Instead of endless pontificating about something the Trib is not serious in solving, how about demanding a sea change in the manufacture, sale and distribution of hundreds of thousands of guns into the Chicago area. On this issue the Trib has done nothing. How about dropping support for regressive conservative principles that focus exclusively on tax cuts for the rich funded by cuts in essential services desperately needed in Chicago's poorest communities. Their residents suffered for two plus years without a state budget to meet their needs and the Trib endorsed the heartless governor who created that disaster for a second term. How about lobbying the state and federal government for massive investment in education, health care, infrastructure and new businesses on the south and west sides to bring down the staggering unemployment rates which breed crime, gang activity and hopelessness. The Trib is AWOL on these substantive solutions. You could have backed a presidential candidate in 2016 who did focus on these solutions, but chose instead to demonize her, encouraging your readers to squander their vote on an bizarre libertarian candidate.
The editorial ends with this unhelpful lament: "Another Friday night approaches. Soon police radios will crackle with reports of gunfire. More victims — many of them innocent — will fall. Chicago’s carnage, and its shame, will grow." The Trib knows very well Chicago cannot solve this slaughter. It's not just Chicago's shame, it's that of the Illinois and the federal governments as well. Indeed, by offering virtually nothing of value, it's also the shame of the Tribune.

Thursday, November 01, 2018

A president shunned

We witnessed an unprecedented event Tuesday: the shunning of a president at a critical moment requiring presidential leadership. President Trump went ahead with his planned visit to Pittsburgh to mourn with victims and political leaders as funerals began for the 11 gunned down in a Pittsburgh synagogue three days earlier. Many called for Trump to cancel his visit citing his three and a half years of endless inflammatory rhetoric against individuals, groups and institutions that began his presidential campaign in June 2015. They charge his posturing has coarsened America's political culture, possibly even inciting the spike in threats and actual violence against the targets of Trump's verbal venom.

Steve Halle, nephew of murder victim Daniel Stein, rejected Trump's offer to meet with the Stein family saying Trump's comments that an armed guard would have prevented the tragedy "immediately" were unhelpful and disrespectful of the community. Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto called on Trump to cancel his visit and wouldn't meet with him when he didn't. None of the 4 GOP and Democratic House and Senate leaders would join Trump in Pittsburgh. Ditto for Pennsylvania governor Tom Wolf and Allegheny County Executive Richard Fitzgerald, who leaves near the Synagogue. Immediately following his visit Trump renewed his verbal war against the media as the cause of current US political extremism; then changed channels on the massacre by touting his bizarre and unconstitutional plan to end birthright citizenship.

The shunning of a president at such an important event may never have occurred before in US history, but with the boundless hate inspiring rhetoric which appears wired into Trump's character, it is not likely to be the last.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

No death for Bowers in Pittsburgh massacre

Within hours of his capture after killing 11 at a Pittsburgh synagogue, calls rang out for the execution of alleged mass killer Robert Bowers. The president was first to chime in, forgetting he still owes the Central Park Five an apology for his public calls for their execution for the attack on the Central Park jogger back in 1989, a crime they were exonerated for after serving 14 unjust years in prison. While Bowers most likely will not be exonerated for the current crime, he does not deserve death regardless of his guilt or its heinousness. Why? No murder is justified whether carried out by an evil or mentally deranged person or by the government in the guise of achieving 'justice'. It's simply state sponsored murder to feed the bloodlust of a segment of the population which demands it. It's doesn't bring back the dead. It doesn't discourage other disturbed folks bent on murder. It doesn't elevate our society; it debases it by legitimizing murder as an acceptable tool of social policy. One hundred forty-one countries understand that and have abolished capital punishment in law or practice. The US is one of only 54 countries engaging in this barbaric practice, putting us in company of Russia, Saudi Arabia, North Korea and many more with atrocious human rights resumes. The United States can and must join with the great majority of nations to end capital punishment on Earth. Let's not make Robert Bowers murder victim number 12 in the the latest US gun massacre.

US foreign policy elite still blind to Saudi - US war crimes in Yemen

In 830 words, Ivo Daalder, president of the Chicago Council of Global Affairs, and James Lindsey, senior vice president at the Council of Foreign Relations, fail to utter what the Saudis and the US are doing in Yemen; committing war crimes. Their op ed 'How Trump should, but probably won't, confront Saudi Arabia' in Monday's Trib Perspective, agonizes over Trump's bromance with Saudi strongman Prince Mohammed bin Salman, which explains Trump's tepid response to the Saudi murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi August 2. Daalder and Lindsay's prescription for the Khashoggi murder and apparent cover up calls for a UN investigation of the murder, a suspension of arms sales till that investigation is completed, and last, the US ' to pressure Riyadh to end its indiscriminate bombing and brutal war in Yemen'.  Without context one might surmise the Saudi's criminal war against Yemen exits outside of direct US encouragement and massive support of US bombs, planes, midair refueling of Saudi bombers and critical intelligence. Those actions constitute war crimes since they're directly enabling criminal war that has killed over 15,000 civilians and inflicted cholera and starvation upon millions more. Daalder and Lindsey avoid the 'war crimes' tag because they, as well as the entire US foreign policy establishment, support the US proxy war the Saudis are fighting against Iran, the real target of the ongoing Saudi genocide in Yemen. By publishing the Daalder-Lindsay puff peace hinting around but not confronting US aggression against Yemen, the Trib buys into the fiction that the US is innocent of war crimes there which destroys every vestige of America's moral standing in the world.