Saturday, July 30, 2016

United We Stand: The Tragic Story of Marine Jose Gutierrez vs. Trump's Hate-filled Rhetoric

by Nomad

Let us take a moment to remember a fallen hero, Marine Jose Gutierrez. His story is more than enough to balance all of the hateful rhetoric we have heard about illegal immigrants from Donald Trump.

For many who watched the Democratic National Convention this week, the moment that Khizr and Ghazala Khan told the story of their son – a fallen Muslim U.S. soldier - was the ultimate takedown of the Republican nominee Donald Trump. 
Their son was posthumously awarded a Bronze Star and Purple Heart.
Khan said:
“Hillary Clinton was right when she called my son the best of America. If it was up to Donald Trump, he never would have been in America. Donald Trump consistently smears the character of Muslims. He disrespects other minorities, women, judges, and even his own party leadership. Donald Trump loves to build walls and ban us from this country.”
As most of us know, Trump has vowed to construct a wall along the US Southern border because Mexico (and presumably all of the countries south of that border) is allowing "people that have lots of problems" including rapists, drug runners, and other criminals to come to America. 
Many of his supporters have accepted this attempt at dehumanization as an undeniable truth, which pits "us" (native -born Americans) against "them," (the immigrant class.) As bombastic as it might seem, Trump's opinion, in fact, represents (more or less) the accepted position of the Republican party

An Orphan, A Street Child, and a Survivor

Standing with his wife on stage, Khizr Khan looked into the camera and asked Mr. Trump directly:
"Have you ever been to Arlington Cemetery? Go look at the graves of the brave patriots who died defending America — you will see all faiths, genders, and ethnicities."
Like the story of Humayun S.M. Khan, the tragic story of Lance Cpl. Jose Gutierrez also deserves our attention. Twenty-two year old Gutierrez earned the distinction of being one of the first US soldiers to die in the Iraq war.
That distinction is, however, only half of the story. 
In fact, the Guatemala-born Gutierrez was not yet an American citizen at the time of his death. And so, you will not find his grave in Arlington Cemetary. 

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Putin and Trump's Sippenhaft Solution: Terrorizing the Innocent in the Name of Defeating Terrorism

by Nomad

Trump's solution for defeating terrorism may sound like a "get-tough" policy. In fact, it's merely a war crime regularly used by fascists. Still worse, it plays into the hands of our enemies.

Mainly as a result of his entertainment value, candidate Donald Trump was able to say a lot of unpresidential things during the primaries. And this went largely unchallenged by the bewildered and negligent news media.

A lot of things Trump bellowed flew under the radar. The nuttiness was coming at us fast and furious. There were quite a few things that Trump said that should have made intelligent people shudder. We can dismiss the majority of these things as Trump's usual morass and an attempt to satisfy his seemingly-insatiable need for attention. 

However, a few of his remarks demand a closer inspection because they are were used to underpin some of his "solutions" to American's challenges. 

How Trump would Deal with Terrorism

One of Trump's remarks made during the interview at Fox News t had to do with how he (personally) would defeat terrorism. 
The problem with America's war on terrorism, according to Donald, was that we were attempting to wage a "politically correct war." What was needed was a more robust approach.  Namely, when it came to dealing with terrorists, "you have to take out their families. "
Presumably, he wasn't referring to taking out the relatives to dinner in lower Manhattan followed a Broadway show. The term, "take out," generally, means in military parlance "to kill."

The reaction to this remarks by the top brass in the US military was immediate and categorical. General Michael Hayden, a retired United States Air Force four-star general and former Director of the National Security Agency, stated 
"Trump’s pledge to kill family members as being among his most troubling campaign statements.
Hayden added that the military would refuse to follow illegal orders such as the intentional killing of terrorists’ families. 
"If he were to order that once in government, the American armed forces would refuse to act..You are required not to follow an unlawful order.That would be in violation of all the international laws of armed conflict.”
In response to Hayden, Trump wasn't overly concerned. Au contraire, Trump said, as Commander in Chief he would see to it that his orders were followed.
“They won’t refuse, they’re not going to refuse me — believe me.”

Monday, July 18, 2016

Good and Better: Why Roger Ailes' Fall from Grace Couldn't Happen at a More Appropriate Moment

by Nomad

Rarely has there been much good news to report of late. Here's one item I've found.

According to reports, CEO of FOX News, Roger Ailes, will soon be forced to resign after allegations of workplace sexual harassment. 
The former anchor Gretchen Carlson alleged that Ailes made it crystal clear that if she had sexual relations with him her problems (which included among other things "ostracizing, marginalizing and shunning") would magically disappear.  
Office hanky-panky was the suggested cure-all for what ailed Roger Ailes. 

In the court records, Carlson claimed that Ailes told her :
I think you and I should have had a sexual relationship a long time ago, and then you'd be good and better and I'd be good and better.
That's about as logical as anything else presented on Fox News, I guess. Good and better was not a standard that Roger Ailes generally aimed for.
Bad and worse was closer to the truth. 

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Aristotle on Justice and the Ordering of Society

by Nomad

When you look at the classical statues depicting Justice, there is the familiar image of a woman, blindfolded. The truism is, of course, true justice is blind to the distinctions of class, race, gender, sexual orientation or religious affiliation. In an orderly society- whatever that is- justice should prevail regardless. Otherwise it is a kind of pseudo- justice, merely a illusion of justice. 

However, Justice is not only blind to the distinctions of groups but also to the distinctions of individuals. The embodiment of justice also carries a measuring scale to show that justice must be balanced between individuals. Prejudice is the destroyer of justice. The scale, a once-common device, uses a recognized standard on one side. The image therefore is about the equality, in other words, there must be a single standard for all citizens. 

It is critical- in the name of fairness- that laws must be applied universally. There can be no law for the poor that doesn't also apply to the most wealthy. There cannot be one law for Christians and another for any other religion, nor a law for believers and another for non-believers.
Without that underlying concept, the idea of justice, as noble and an enduring as it may be, simply becomes a means of public control by overlords who have no reason to fear prosecution or punishment for their crimes.