Tag Archives: America

The Intent to Harm: A tragic one way street

I guess it’s all in the wording, the semantics.  Or, is the standard different depending on who

Kristine Johnson is not the usual person you think of when you think of police brutality.

Kristine Johnson is not the usual person you think of when you think of police brutality. (Photo: Standard Examiner)

it’s applied to?  Either way, it’s a WTF moment for America that’s setting the world of logic-and the US-on its head.

Consider that a New York grand jury refused to indict the police officer who killed Eric Garner after putting him in a choke hold, unnecessarily.  The jury found that there was “no intent to harm” in the officer’s actions and thus a tragic mistake had once again occurred.

Of course, those that are intent on finding blame with the victim will say that he was obviously doing something wrong or illegal for the police to approach and apprehend in the manner that they did; a fact we can now dispute.

However, there is a fact that you can’t dispute; that the police obviously thought Eric had “some intent to harm” someone which is why they felt it necessary to use the level of force that they did.  And their decision-making is the crust of the issue. Continue reading

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Solatia: A possible urban connection

An oft-used phrase heard during this past decade-plus of warfare is that America has to “win the hearts and minds” of the civilian populations that it erroneously harms during active conflict and occupation.

Under the Foreign Claims Act, such civilians have recourse for compensation for damages caused by U.S. troops.  However, the law doesn’t cover what occurs during active combat.  This is where solatia comes to bear.

America began awarding condolence payments early in the Iraq war.  Such expenditures only began in Afghanistan in 2005 from cash funded by Congress.  Before that, such solatia payments generally came out of a unit’s operating budget.

Currently in Afghanistan, condolence payments can be up to $5,000 for a death or injury or $5,000 for property damage.  In certain cases they can be much higher and in fiscal year 2012, the U.S. made 219 payments, totaling $891,000 (ProPublica).

But as another civilian grand jury refuses to indict another police officer for the death of another unarmed black man, I wonder just how hard our government is trying to win the hearts and minds of African-Americans involved in situations such as those in Ferguson or New York.  Continue reading

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Expenditures to Kill For

There exists in America today, a cultural oxymoron, i.e. the war on terror.

More than two words, it’s nevertheless an oxymoron because of the two words used, one, war, is presented in a manner of phrasing to signify its benevolent intent of defeating the evil other-the good war will defeat the bad terror-but in reality they both are the same.  Let’s face it, war IS terror because war is terrible.  War is heartache; war is persecution; war is starvation; war is destruction and war is wrong.  These days though we wield war as if it’s some mythical, benign sword of Gideon or somebody, destined to defeat the evil whatever, wherever it is and at whatever cost.  As we move forward in history and with this new global threat emerging, cost for me becomes the operative word. Continue reading

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American weakness not the problem

In the wake of this current global unraveling, there’ve been questions about the lack of America leadership and whether or not it’s this supposed American weakness that’s emboldening those wreaking havoc.

It’s an absurd notion and one that, in some cases, is put forth simply to make this President look bad.  On the other hand, it’s a concept based on the presumption of the superiority of one nation over another, i.e. us versus many nations of the world.  And frankly, that’s what’s gotten us into this mess we’re in. Continue reading

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The Lady from New York Said We Could

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,
Send these, the homeless, tempest tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.

Emma Lazarus

When it comes to immigration, we the people have been laboring under more than one misconception.

Most recently, somewhere along the line the word has gone out across Central America that the US is soft on its policies.  One wonders where in the world anyone down there could’ve gotten such an idea.  And in case no one recognizes the sarcasm in those last words, let me be plain.  Continue reading

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