Some history

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In their attempt to keep the colonies united so they could succeed in the War for Independence, our Founding Fathers put the discussion of slavery off until a future time.

Either the Northern or Southern colonies would have pulled out if an anti-slavery plank had been in the Declaration of Independence, and the vote did not go according to their liking.

When writing the Constitution it was clear that the southern states would not ratify it if it eliminated slavery, but the northern states would also have a problem if slavery was ignored. So, a compromise was reached that a slave would be equal to 3/5 of a human being because the southern states had the advantage of bringing the work on the Constitution to a halt and stopping the country just as it was beginning.

Not only was this wrong when it came to treating people as property and less than the humans they were, it had another pernicious effect when it came to taxation and the number of representatives from each state as that was to be determined by population.

Whereas the slaves got no benefit from their humanity, the southern states got majority representation in Congress as the slaves were counted as people for that purpose, since, although considered chattel, every five slaves equaled three people.

And, even though they were considered property by the South, their being 3/5 human meant they could not be counted as property for the purposes of taxation.

In the North, chattel remained chattel, so five cows equaled five cows, not three people, and so did not help determine representation, and as property were taxed.

The South had a loophole that gave it an advantage in representation while avoiding having to pay their fair share of federal taxes, but had an excuse to get much back.

So, slaves played into the economy and representation of the southern states without any benefit to themselves.

Much of the early years of the United States and the policies and laws decided then were controlled by the South. What would become the Confederate States effectively ran the country.

Even though the Southern States had fewer people able to vote and should have had representation based on the free population, the non-voting slaves gave them a representational advantage.

Clearly, the South needed slavery to have the influence it enjoyed.

After the Civil war, while the population of the South increased because freed slaves were now whole people, obstructing the Black vote and finding ways to limit it to Whites only became a concern.

Their number of representatives might have increased with each freeman being a whole person instead of a fraction of one, but the White people lost a certain degree of control over who their representatives might be as can be seen by the number of freed slaves who were elected to Congress in the years immediately following the Civil War.

Poll taxes and carefully designed literacy tests applied only to Black voters gave the Southern Whites an advantage until such things were done away with. They gave themselves the ability to control who was voting.

Since convicted felons counted toward representation, but could not vote, and in order to get back to a slave dependent economy, it became useful to have laws that would guarantee that many freed slave s could be convicted of crimes that would render them unable to vote while being in a position to be counted toward representation, and who, while being prisoners, were put to work on farms and infrastructure for no pay. Hence, the reason for chain gangs.

This practice was eventually eliminated, until the modern prisons for profit scheme came into play, and along with this we now have fabricated voter fraud which has had the same Southern states changing eligibility requirements like voter IDs that are very specific in what IDs are acceptable, changing and reducing the number of polling places, and curtailing early voting opportunities.

Blacks can still vote, but the number of those voters can be reduced by making voting and proving identity as difficult as possible. A Black student with a student ID, but without a driver’s license, has a harder time getting to vote than a White person with a gun license who also does not drive.

It is also obvious that most of the obstruction toward anything that President Obama has attempted comes from Southern Senators and Congressmen.

The South may have lost the Civil War in the conventional sense, but during reconstruction the victors conceded quite a bit to them, and turned blind eyes to what was done by the White upper class. What they could not win on the battle field, they would try to win in the halls of D.C., and this included spreading their class divisions country wide, and in so doing, and by necessity to make the strategy work, turning Americans against Americans and creating equality not from building the country and conditions up, but by tearing them down so that all citizens would be equally poor, uneducated, ill, and easily led.

Consider that because of the Civil War, which was based on Constitutional equality and being part of the United States, they lost their ability to subjugate one certain class, and by electing Republicans to do it for them through legislation, the Old South spread it’s negative attitude toward one group to include interracial marriage, women’s right to vote, civil rights, voting rights, women’s right to choose their reproductive health, and Gay rights.

And while President Obama could have done much to straighten out the mess this country had become, the obstruction he had to deal with came from Representatives and Senators from the Old South.

Perhaps, as the Southern States attempt to use the threat of secession to get what they want, they should be let go, and as they have been most vocal about it, will respect our borders and not attempt to enter the remaining Unites States illegally.

Oh, and they will need to give all the stuff back that the rest of us gave them through taxes like military installations and equipment, and reimburse us for such things as roads, bridges, and federal building.

 

 

The 2014 GOP plan?

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With the potential of a Republican take-over of the senate in November, Mitch McConnell has a plan to shut down the government if President Obama does not give the GOP what it wants, or the Democrats obstruct the GOP agenda to undue some of the president’s programs by using, brace yourself, the same filibuster tactic that they have become so adroit at.

Obama’s Sophie’s Choice is to accept bills curtailing the administration’s policies, or veto them and risk a government shutdown by the GOP.

If the president wants to get anything through congress, he will have to accept whatever riders the GOP decides to attach to any bills, or he will have to face the Republicans using an arcane budget tactic to circumvent Democratic filibusters.

Since the Republican take-over would not take effect until January 2015, that would mean that with nothing to lose in his final years as president, Obama could refuse to cave, and this could result in a government shutdown.

This would not be good for the Republicans during the 2016 election cycle.

O’Connell hasn’t even won his re-election bid this year, and here he is planning to obstruct the president big time.

In the meantime, congress will be coming back into session soon, and not only does Mitch McConnell have his plan, but Marco Rubio has also hinted that the appropriations process will be used, once again, to attempt to force concessions from the administration.

This was the same strategy that resulted in the last shutdown.

It might not be the smartest thing to do just before the November elections, but it should be remembered that, while trying to attract the Hispanic vote, the GOP voted to end DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which protected young undocumented immigrants from deportation.

With the president planning to address immigration through an executive order, the GOP might get upset enough to use that as the excuse to create the conditions that will result in the shut down.

One of the immigration hard-liners, Rep. Steve King, has said, “if Obama does move forward with an executive action, many House Republicans will be unwilling to extend funding for the government that is set to expire at the end of September.”

With McConnell, Rubio, and King revealing their plans, it might be a little difficult to convince the American public that any shut down is the fault of the president.

But you know the GOP will try, and their sheeple will automatically accept they are telling the truth.

Burger King

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The rather odd apologists who seem to have the need to defend corporate greed usually go right to the claim that the United States has the highest rate of corporate taxation.

On face value that would seem to be the case.

But what they either avoid mentioning, or simply do not know or want to acknowledge is that the 35% corporate rate goes down to a little over 12% if you factor in subsidies and tax loopholes.

It also seems to escape them that while they defend corporations and willingly pay what they are charged by them, they are subsidizing many through their taxes because of the need for employees to survive by relying on food and housing subsidies.

And when there is a threat that these corporations might have to pay a little more to help the country and the people in it who made them, they threaten “inversion”, or moving their headquarters to a foreign country so that while making their fortunes here, and enjoying what congress gives them, they will be paying the lower tax rates of their new country.

They will depend on our infrastructure and our people, but will do nothing to support either.

That’s what Burger King intends to do by moving to Canada after buying the Canadian coffee shop chain Tim Horton’s.

Although Burger King is the sixth largest fast-food chain in the world, while Tim Horton’s, which is limited to Canada and the northern United States, is not in the top ten, together they would become the third largest fast-food retailer.

I went to Forbes Magazine to see what they had to say, since whenever there is some financial topic, Forbes gets cited.

According to Forbes contributor Brett Arends , the corporate tax should be abolished because “Corporations don’t exist, except as a figment of our legal imagination. There is no person called General Motors  or Pfizer . At the risk of shocking the impressionable, Burger King isn’t a real king. He isn’t even a person”.

This confuses me as SCOTUS decided that corporations are people, and in 2012 Mitt Romney announced that “corporations are people, too”.

I do not go to McDonald’s because of the way they treat their employees, and I do not go to Walmart since I spend money there anyway without even going in. Locally the only fast food place in town is Burger King where I will no longer buy anything.

That leaves a lot of locally owned restaurants, most of them dealing with seafood, and most of those about to close as the tourist season comes to an end.

But I am declaring my independence from the king.

God’s endorsement isn’t a good one?

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In 2012 Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, Rick Santorum, and Herman Cain claimed that God had chosen them to run for the office of president.

That would imply that God had intended for at least one of them to win.

None did.

They weren’t the only Republicans who have claimed God chose them to assume the office they eventually ran for, and then lost.

There have plenty of those, and will be again.

To them add those who claimed God wanted them to become law makers because He intended to work through them, and were then shocked when their agenda did not just happen, and may never have.

I taught down the hall from a woman who apparently had no mind of her own, as she claimed whatever she did was what God had told her to do.

While she wanted to be a virgin missionary, God not only told her to get married, but He introduced her to her husband, told them to have sex and when, controlled how many children she had, told her to remain home and raise them, and, when the kids were of a proper age, told her to get into teaching to bring Jesus back into the classroom.

There was an evangelical aspect to her Civics classes as she often brought the “Christian Nation” theory into her lessons and gave higher grades to the students who supported that, and lower grades to those who didn’t. Most students figured this out and gave her what she wanted whether or not they actually bought into it.

They played her game for the sake of their GPAs.

After a time God once again spoke unto her and told her to run for the state legislature so she could bring good Christian principles to state government.

Her assumption was that with the Lord behind her, she would just go in, and whatever she promoted would be supported without question or opposition as it was the will of God.

This did not happen to the degree she thought it would as many things she pushed, like her anti-Gay and anti-Muslim stuff, failed to get support from most, other than those legislators and citizens who were of like mind.

She interpreted this opposition as being anti-Christian persecution, and made money on a book she wrote likening opposition to her politics to stoning her.

Opposition was also a satanic agenda, and she vilified her opponents in the worst ways by pandering to prejudice and fear.

She became a miniature version of Sarah Palin in the evangelical world.

She promoted fear of the “others” and the unknown, chose to use groups she did not like as the embodiment of all that was evil, and leaned heavily on pseudo-patriotism to recruit supporters.

I’m not sure if God told her to become such a poster child for her cause, or if this was the one time she decided to do something on her own.

Because of term limits, she had to leave the legislature, but her equally divinely guided preacher husband, having been told by God to run for the state senate and continue His somewhat sketchily successful agenda, threw his hat in the ring.

Why not? It was, after all, what God wanted.

He pushed the chosen-by-God theme during his campaign, and promised to bring his version of “Christian” values to the public square. Opposition, of course, came from those allied with Satan.

When the votes were counted this past Tuesday, he lost to his opponent in the primary run-off by a two to one margin.

Another choice of God lost.

Perhaps one of two things can result from this.

Either people will begin to see that these politicians, who claim they are chosen by God, are pandering to the people with strong religious beliefs, or implying that not to vote for them is to turn their backs on God Himself, somewhat of a blasphemous approach, or, those who God chooses to run for office will see His lousy track record and turn down the endorsement.

Perhaps in the future, when politicians claim they have been divinely appointed by God to run, voters will see this for what it is and demand the politicians explain their plans in detail and not count on automatic support because they appeal to religion, and a very narrow and negative interpretation of it at that.

Maybe there will be a third result, that being that people will see that God does not really get involved in politics, and we should base laws on the Constitution and not the Bible.

insensitivity?

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I am definitely not a fan of those who, after a natural disaster that could not be averted, claim that God spared them, or someone close to them.

Unless the decision was the result of a divine dart having been thrown at a beatific dart board, the implication is that the survivors were chosen by God because they were better people than those who did not survive, or that those who did not survive had been judged by God as not worthy of his largesse.

It seems to speak of a conscious acceptance or rejection by a God who does not explain to those who lost a loved one why the choice was made.

Two children are in the same classroom when a tornado hits the school building, and one survives while the other does not.

Two parents appear on the evening news claiming God has spared their child, while another quietly mourns the loss of theirs.

One family speaks of having been spared through God’s choice, while another not only has lost a child, but knows people have been led to believe the decision was somehow God’s.

They not only mourn the loss of a child, but, if religious enough, have to come to terms with what made that child undeserving of God’s mercy. Was it the child, or were the sins of the father visited upon the son?

Did the wall fall on one child because he was sinful, and not on the other because he lived a better and more worthy life?

Did the first responder turn right or left because of a decision based on a quick analysis of the situation, or did God direct him in that turn so the right kid would be pulled to safety while the other died?

To me this “God picked me instead of others” reaction to such things is insensitivity bordering on arrogance.

It also has a tendency to ignore those who did what was necessary to bring about a good result.

It’s almost as if a person has found an excuse to avoid showing the proper gratitude to the responsible person, or persons.

Ebola has affected over a thousand people in West Africa, and nothing has been able to be done about it.

Two doctors contracted the virus as they worked with those with Ebola, were flown to the United States after having been transported to the airfield by health workers, were then treated by doctors and nurses until a beneficial treatment was discovered and used, and now have no trace of Ebola in their systems.

According to one of the doctors, Kent Brantly, “God saved my life. A direct answer to thousands and thousands of prayers”.

Apparently, besides having had no need for doctors and nurses to bring about the cure, God also ignored the prayers of all those in West Africa, and the whole world for that matter, and chose to cure no one there.

The recovery of Brantly and Nancy Writebol came after treatment with ZMapp, an experimental drug, or didn’t if as Dr. Brantly continued, “Today is a miraculous day”.

At a press conference upon his release, Brantly entreated people to never stop praying for the people of West Africa.

Perhaps he hopes that God, having cured him, might get around to curing the 1,123 Africans still dealing with Ebola. After all, He hadn’t been all that responsive while 1,350 West Africans died from it.

Of course, it does leave one to wonder why a benevolent and loving God waited to act with Brantly, while just turning His back on the people in Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Nigeria as they died.

Certainly some of them were good people who prayed as hard as Dr. Brantly did.

Bruce Ribner, director of the Infectious Disease Unit of Emory University Hospital, was a little more generous with his gratitude by stating that the staff there was grateful for having the opportunity to apply their training, care, and experience in meeting the patients’ needs.

The cost of the treatment is unknown.

But if God did it, it seems it would be free.

Meanwhile, if it was the use of ZMapp, this could be the beginning of the end for the Ebola epidemic in West Africa.

How Many?

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There is a part of me that would just love to ask those people who were so “Patriotic” that they wanted the kids from Central America to be turned back and sent home immediately upon arrival at our Southern border because they just refused to accept that these kids were escaping death,

“Are you happy now?’

People seemed to actively refuse to accept the reality of conditions in Central America, many preferring to use the influx of immigrant children to exercise their dislike of President Obama.

Their claim that these kids were illegal and should be sent back because this was all so very unique and a new phenomenon ignored the number of unaccompanied children who had been sent here from Europe to get away from conditions there during the great immigration years of the late 19th and early 20th Centuries, and while bringing up Ellis Island conveniently ignored that until they were processed there, the vast majority of immigrants had actually been illegal.

Ellis Island is closed, and while the kids coming from Central America are being sent to may locations to be processed they are just as illegal as many of our ancestors were while they waited for processing.

According to Hector Hernandez, the director of the San Pedro Sula morgue, San Pedro Sula being the capitol of Honduras, they have had to take care of 42 dead children since February of which between 5 and 10 were deported after crossing into the United States, the rest being the victims of the violence in their home countries.

So i that 6 month period:

For teachers, this would represent two classes of students.

For hockey fans that would be the number of players on both sides suited up for a game.

For Football fans that would be a team roster.

For baseball fans that would be a little less than twice a team’s roster from March to August until the minor leagues close in September and the roster goes up to about 50. So that would make the death toll 8 less than the complete roster of an MLB team.

For Volleyball, that would be the number of players playing 3 games simultaneously with another team waiting its turn.

For Basketball fans that would be three members less than three teams.

Bringing it back to kids, that would be a school bus load of children.

And that is only since February 2014.

There have been years before, and there will be years after.

Hugo Ramon Maldonado of the Committee for the Protection of Human Rights in Honduras says that about 80% of Hondurans fleeing are escaping crime or violence.

San Pedro Sula saw 187 killings for every 100,000 residents, and a U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency report saysthat many Honduran children are on the run from extremely violent regions “where they probably perceive the risk of traveling alone to the U.S. preferable to remaining at home.”

Sen. John Cornyn, a Republican, and Rep. Henry Cuellar, a Democrat, and both from Texas, want the turn around time from arrival to deportation to be no more than 7 days.

These kids who have left everything behind, or whose families sent them north to save their lives would be pushed through a legal system they do not understand to be returned to horrific environments they do.

The U.S. and Honduran governments have set aside funds to help those who are sent back, and part of this is to give support to community programs and improve policing of the gangs these people are fleeing.

But until something concrete actually results from the promises to do something, the fear that upon return the deportees face death seems to have some validity unless a person feels there is a number of deaths that has to be reached before kids getting killed becomes a legitimate concern.