Saturday, July 27, 2019

It's conspiracy and obstruction, not collusion and hardball politics

The word collusion is insufficient to describe the damage Trump and his entourage did to America's electoral process. While deeply patriotic Americans had their hair on fire over real and substantial Russian interference in the 2016 election, Trump ignored or pooh-poohed the charges. He still does three years on. The reason is clear. Trump's minions had substantial contacts with Russians involving Russian offers of help, Trump's team meeting to discuss that help; indeed expressions of glee regarding it. That is conspiracy to subvert the election pure and simple.   
Trump's team characterizes his response as ordinary hardball political push back to partisan political attacks. Really? Lying to Congress, lying to the Mueller Investigation, directing illegal firing of the investigators, claiming absolute privilege not to cooperate is not hardball politics. It's obstruction of justice pure and simple. 
But in Trumpworld only underlings are convicted and jailed. 
The Democratic House majority must complete its ongoing investigation which may likely lead to formal impeachment. The politics of the 2020 election are irrelevant. Not completing that investigation and following its dictates would inadvertently subvert every decent principle of the presidency, the Constitution, our entire model of democratic governance. Nearly half of the House Democratic majority is on board with this most critical governmental oversight function. A few Republicans are as well. Once again we are at a crossroads of our noble political experiment. 
Don't take the wrong road, America. 

Friday, July 26, 2019

Bar Barr from committing 5 state sponsored murders

Attorney General William Barr ordered the Bureau of prisons Thursday to schedule the death penalty for 5 of 62 federal prisoners on death row. The state sponsored murders could begin as early as December though legal challenges may push the dastardly deeds into 2020. No federal felons earmarked for death have been executed since 2003. Only 3 have been snuffed out by Uncle Sam since he re-instated death for really heinous murderers in 1988. 

The last 2 administrations recoiled at state sponsored murder, causing the 16 year de facto abolishment at the federal level. It's no surprise Trump's administration seeks a return to governing barbarism. Trump made his bones as a grisly capital punishment advocate with his 1989 full page ad in New York papers calling for death to the 5 Central Park 5, convicted of raping a jogger in Central Park. They were later exonerated via DNA evidence, received a substantial settlement from New York, but no apology from Trump. 

We can only guess what transpires in Trump's brain. But based on his history of bloodlust for capital punishment and need to serve up fear and loathing to his base, it's both personal and political.   

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Long goodbye to America's longest war

Few Americans are even aware its leaders are negotiating furiously with the Afghan Taliban to achieve a September 1 target date for an agreement to pull out America's remaining 14,000 troops, ending the longest and one of its stupidest wars.

What a waste. A trillion dollars of squandered treasure and tons of dead, wounded and displaced. US and allied deaths total 3,509. Many thousands of US and allied troops are damaged in body and mind. Afghan casualties dwarf America and its allies: 45,000 police and troops dead just in the last 5 years; 32,000 civilians dead in the last decade.

All this for nothing. Afghanistan is as poor and insurgent ridden as when we stated the slaughter in October, 2001. We knew immediately Saudi Arabia was the country most responsible for the 911 attacks but said "Wait, wait, we can't attack our best weapons customer". So we pivoted to Afghanistan, the first step on the road to Iraq, Syria and the big prize Iran. It wasn't about avenging 911. It was about using 911 to remake the Middle East in our image at the point of a smart bomb fired by idiots. Failure, failure, failure followed; yet we're still angling to take out that missing big prize Iran. As a famed movie character surmised: "Stupid is as stupid does".

Our puppet Afghan government in Kabul is so irrelevant they're not even in the negotiations. We know very well the Taliban, which already controls 64% of Afghanistan, will brush aside our puppet once the US strings animating them are cut.

Seventy-five years on we still honor the Longest Day. We'll never honor the Longest War.

Monday, July 22, 2019

A hundred years later Trib still clueless on Chicago's racial divide

The Trib’s extensive coverage today of the centenary of the 1919 Chicago Race Riots is commendable.  While its history of the riots is detailed and informative, its editorial ‘Chicago’s race riots of 1919 and the epilogue that resonates today’ offers no value to resolving  the century long legacy of crime, poverty and despair that plague Chicago’s minority communities today. The Trib decries that prejudice and its sibling, public policy discrimination, continue. Yet, while bearing no overt prejudice toward minority communities, the Trib has spent the last century decrying virtually every societal program that will use tax dollars to rebuild decaying neighborhoods, giving those without hope jobs and opportunities that will uplift the entire community. Those proposing such programs  are  labeled ‘big government social experimenters’ who must be  kept out of the pockets of the well off. In addition, while over 2,000 annually are killed or wounded on Chicago’s mean streets, the Trib is AWOL on the need for sensible gun regulation to reduce the carnage by reducing the weapons of death flooding poor communities.
Simply calling for an end to prejudice offers nothing to communities left behind. If every prejudiced person somehow repented, the joblessness, gun violence and despair would continue apace. The highly influential and widely read Chicago Tribune must do better than “Can’t we simply  all get along”?

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Additional word needed in State of the Union introduction

Next February 5, Paul D. Irving, House of Representatives Sargent at Arms, should add one word to the famous introduction of the president as he enters the House chambers for the speech: