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America's dark heart conveniently ignored

With Trump in the White House, our world seems suddenly upside down. I've been with thousands in the streets, protesting his unprecedented assault on "American values," and calling for a bold new era of resistance.

But then I saw the photo of a darling 8-yr-old girl, who was among those innocents killed in a US commando raid in Yemen.

Her name was Nawar al-Awlaki, daughter of Anwar al-Awlaki, the first American citizen assassinated by a US drone strike in 2011. Another drone strike two weeks later killed his 16-year-old son, Abdulrahman. Legal rationalizations and futile lawsuits followed those assassinations.

Little Nawar's death traces a line through a family of victims from one president to the next in a seamless transition. Her death goes unnoticed by those in the streets protesting Trump's thuggish reaction to "Islamic extremism," itself a reaction to the countless deaths perpetrated by the US in the very countries whose refugees are now banned.

Her death is a reminder that everything remains the same; that despite the apparent rupture of our world, the murderous baton has passed, preserving the normalized violence underpinning American values.

Antiwar activists like me have turned our attention to Trump's palpable domestic threats, joining thousands in rallies far larger than any antiwar protests during the Obama years. But there's a reason so few of these new protesters were at those earlier antiwar rallies and why they still now avoid confronting the relentless US wars and drone strikes.

It's because the killing machine at the dark heart of America remains invisible to them despite their renewed consciousness, and I haven't a clue how to change that sad reality.


Not ready to make nice

A few years back, the most popular "alternative country" music band was the Dixie Chicks. A little bit country, a little bit rock 'n' roll — hence the "alt." That was until lead singer Natalie Maines made a comment at a concert in England about George W. Bush and how she was embarrassed that he's from Texas.

The next day she was a pariah and getting death threats from the not-so-silent minority to "Shut up and sing." So much for freedom of speech.

The Dixie Chicks never made it all the way back to the top, and talk radio conservatives and downtrodden white folks went on to become Trump supporters. Now being led to the dystopian trough by Steve Bannon —only this time its "Shut up and listen" to the Fourth Estate — America is at a dangerous crossroads.

I call this "alternative fascism" because it's a step that comes before real fascism kicks in, and my friends that time is not far away.

Alternative facts inventor Kellyanne Conway is now part of a movement for a new age of censorship and witch-hunting that will be worse than the McCarthy era.

Better find a new job, Ms. Conway. Welcome to America, where freedom demands holding power to accountability and where the facts are the facts and not some alternate reality from an alternate universe.

A free press and our loud and civil disobedience is all that is standing between us and the theft of our liberties, and I fear a real civil war is on the horizon.

Natalie Maines said "I'm not ready to make nice." Me, neither. We can't afford to


Stop whining, CITY

CITY seems to be on a binge with articles on every minority it can find. What purposes this serves is beyond me. The article "The Smallest Minority" (News, February 1), perplexes me because it uses up two pages and accomplishes very little. Worse, it seems to be milking the liberal trigger words for tears and anger. For example: references to bullying.

This isn't to say bullying is a good thing. It isn't, but the liberal approach of suppression of freedom is a terrible solution. The solution is to instill strength of character to rise above the idiots (pretty much everybody involved in bullying is an idiot) and to develop strength of character to brush off this sort of nonsense. You know: taking personal responsibility for one's emotions (I know this horrifies the liberal set), and not let the bad actors in life get you down.

The solution to the problems that Native Americans face isn't to write an article about the 0.2 percent of the student population in the area hoping somebody will care. Sadly, nobody is going to get up in arms when the problems they face aren't all that much different than any other student going through high school.

The Native Americans looking for contact with their culture need to get into a car, bus, airplane, balloon, or whatever and explore the community. There are resources in the Upstate community, from historical sites to museums. It just isn't realistic to expect a school to cater to the fraction of that 0.2 percent who is interested in such things.


Time to make it up to Native Americans

Thank you for the important article: "The Smallest Minority." The horror perpetrated on Native Americans has always appalled me, and it is disturbing that the true facts are missing from our history books.

They were driven from their homes, deliberately infected with diseases, and starved. (Their main source of food, the buffalo, was decimated.)

Genocide was committed against them, including the slaughter of women, babies, and children. They have been confined to reservations, on the poorest of land, and must rely on social welfare for support because there are few jobs on and around the reservations. This horror was carried out in the name of greed.

According to CITY's article, Native-American children are bullied, discriminated against, experience social isolation, and their culture is mocked.

After these people have been abused for centuries, it is time to right so many wrongs and help these children succeed. They more than deserve it.


No special rules for Trump

Everyone who works in New York government — from senators to secretaries — is a "public officer" and subject to a code of ethics. In New York, there is a standard document that has been adapted by every level of municipality. All public employees must swear to obey these rules.

The code of ethics is intended to restrain public officials from using their positions for financial gain. Various sections detail the ways conflict must be avoided. These include rules against relatives benefiting from the public officer's position.

Further, throughout the US, public officials are "held to a higher standard" in their financial, moral, ethical, and business actions. We have seen this standard applied in prosecutions of corrupt officials.

So why is the president of the United States not bound by the same ethics code as everyone else? Citizens should reasonably expect that the leader of the nation will be bound by the same financial rules as the lowliest employee.

Even more troubling is why hasn't Trump volunteered to be bound by the same ethics rules as every other executive branch employee?

Trump has refused to release his tax returns, ignoring decades of transparency. He has refused to enter a blind trust and has assigned his business to a relative. These actions create suspicion that his finances are tainted and that he will benefit financially from his office. There is evidence that he already has. This is unethical behavior.

Trump offers as his excuse that no law compels him to release his taxes, enter into a blind trust, or be bound by a code of ethics. This is an "appeal to ignorance" fallacy. The absence of a law constraining an action is not a license to take that action. There may be no law against kicking your dog, but that doesn't make it right.

Trump needs to be held to the same ethical standards as his predecessors and every other federal employee. If he refuses, he is guilty of abusing his office and should be prosecuted for misfeasance through impeachment.


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