OPINION: Land Seizure, Eminent Domain

 

Knocking down the old to build the new

Condemning property for government use is Eminent Domain. Many call it abuse of power or “theft”.

 

OPINION: Land Seizure

RIGHT OF KINGS: EMINENT DOMAIN 

By T. K. McNeil

Keeping pressure up on lawmakers makes them accountable.

Keeping pressure up on lawmakers makes them accountable. Write letters, petition, vote.

Hold Them Accountable

Sadly many of the men and women elected to represent the American people; whether at the state or national level, have consistently demonstrated an inclination to put their own interests ahead of all else. Which is partly why petitions, letter writing campaigns and voter registration drives are so effective. Threaten an elected official’s job and you will get their attention.

If The President Does It, It Is Not A Crime

Founding Father, Thomas Jefferson was a man of his time

Founding Father, Thomas Jefferson was a man of his time meaning he owned slaves and made at least one of them his consort.

Despite issues of trust and mistrust most people do not feel the government is working directly against them. This general level of trust in government is also part of how injustices and atrocities happen. The last lines of the pledge of allegiance “with liberty and justice for all,” are in some case notably missing. The Founding Fathers revered on a level that approaches the religious, despite some rather uncomfortable historical facts. Indeed, the Founding Fathers added to the Constitution a concept that perhaps would have best been left in old Europe and their autocratic rulers.

It Must Be Okay

Americans are able to overlook and forgive a lot when it comes to government policies and actions. The overall sense being that if the government does it, it must be okay. However, with the situation on the southern border the right of government to seize privately owned property by right of Eminent Domain is once again coming under scrutiny.  The issue has been brought to the forefront by Trump’s demand for a “wall” on the Mexican border. The private property owners across four states are potentially affected. Thousands of lawsuits are in the future as Trump pushes for a massive government land seizure.

Continue reading

GOP Writes A Tax Cut Bill That Hurts Millions

The GOP #TaxScam will add nearly $2 trillion to the federal debt in just 10 years. The proposed tax cuts will not pay for themselves as the GOP leadership argues that it will. Lies, just blatant lies. In fact, the debt created by the bill will be left for the next several generations to pay off.

Protestors Have Begun Appearing On Capitol Hill To Protest GOP Tax Bill

Just like Paul Krugman concluded in his great New York Times article last week, this bill will transfer money from FUTURE middle class and poor Americans to giant international corporations and the wealthiest 1% of individuals. In addition, these bills (House/Senate) will create new incentives for businesses to move production offshore and increase the trade deficit. Why on earth, would we want to benefit foreign countries and harm the blue collar workers that President Trump says he is working for?

Trump is claiming there will be an incredible 10% growth over the next decade. This claim is countered by studies from Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center and Penn-Wharton Budget Model, both of which indicate that the Senate Bill’s impact would be from 0.3 to 0.8 per cent. Expert consensus have discredited House Speaker, Paul Ryan’s claim that the legislation would energize the economy and make it more competitive globally. In fact, some experts are claiming the tax bill will slow the economy.

At the core of these bills is a cut in the corporate tax rate to 20%, from 35% (before adjustments), that the administration and congressional leaders argue will encourage businesses to invest in expansion, hire more people, and give workers raises. These claims have been largely debunked.

Gary Cohen Former Goldman Sachs Sleeze bag Is Out front For The White House Pushing The Imagined Merits Of The Bill

Past cuts to the corporate tax rate in the U.S. & Britain did not ignite economic booms or produce higher incomes. In fact, many business leaders advise that a big tax cut would not propel them to re-invest or give employee’s raises. With the economy at near full employment and corporations swimming in money, it is hard to see a tax cut doing much to stimulate business development.

Experts are sounding warnings. The bills will lower tax rates for foreign earnings. The bills actually encourage businesses to move more of their operations overseas. Yes, that’s what the bills seem to do. The bills exempt some of those foreign profits from United States taxes entirely.  Companies would be able to claim taxes paid in high tax rate countries like Japan, as a credit against profits earned in countries like Bermuda that has no corporate tax. This isn’t keeping the assembly line in Sioux Falls moving. Such blatant and disgusting manipulation of the facts is outrageous.

An article in the New York Times put it this way, “Economists also expect the tax bills to lead to bigger trade deficits because the government would be forced to borrow more to pay its bills, driving up interest rates. Those higher rates would prompt foreigners to buy more United States bonds, driving up the value of the dollar. That would make American exports less attractive to other countries  and imports cheaper to American consumers. American factories and their workers would become less competitive in the the global market, adding new victims to the ‘rusted-out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape of our nation.’ That last quote was taken directly from Donald trump’s Inaugural Address.

Rusted Out Factories Scattered Like Tombstones Across Our Landscape

Republicans appear to be hoping that Americans will be so happy to get temporary tax cuts that will kick in next year that they will forget that the 0.2 % of individual Americans will be handed billions of dollars in tax cuts and protection from the dreaded estate tax, and that international corporations will be handed billions of dollars to take overseas.

It will take at least three Republican senators to vote no to stop this GOP created disaster. Many are asking, are there three such Republican lawmakers with the integrity and decency to stop this nightmare. Protestors have appeared on Capitol Hill and demonstrations are beginning to take place around the country in opposition to the GOP #TaxScam. Current public disapproval for the tax bill is running at between 75-83%. With numbers like that, hopefully we can #KillTheBill.

Calamity Politics is an on-line news magazine that confronts the issues of the day with wit and sarcasm. Join me in my Resistance to the Trump dictatorship. Join the Resistance.

Darlene

We Can’t Forget Puerto Rico

Two months ago Puerto Rico was hit by a Category Five hurricane. Maria devastated the island.  More than half of the island continues to be without power and hundreds of thousands of residents are fleeing to the American mainland, in what has been described as an “extraordinary exodus.” The early sense of desperation seems to have morphed into resignation.

Road Collapse Is Just One Problem Facing Puerto Rico

On October 3, 2017 President Trump visited Puerto Rico and tossed paper towels to a crowd of needy fellow Americans and bragged about how well the administration’s response to the disaster was going. But now two months after the disaster there is little tangible evidence of real progress. Simple things like, running water, and traffic lights remain unavailable to most of Puerto Rico’s 3.4 million citizens. Early on, the Pentagon dispensed emergency troops to the island. Those emergency troops are now beginning to pull out, except for those working on the island’s demolished power grid.

Tens of thousands of jobs have been eliminated. Thousands of small businesses remain closed and may never reopen. Two months after Maria, a significant number of Puerto Rican hospitals are still running on emergency generators. FEMA officials report that the conditions on the island are so bad that they are being forced to continue to focus on Phase I, the emergency response phase-providing potable water, roofing tarps, in other words the bare necessities, 60 days after the event.

The storm’s official death toll is 55. Forensic researchers believe that number will increase dramatically, probably into the 100’s when all bodies are recovered. The morale of the islanders has remained low as services remain unavailable and scandal has developed around  the dysfunctional and debt-ridden power authority.

The chief executive of the power authority quit this month as details emerged of a $300 million contract with a small White Fish, Montana company. The contract was canceled when irate islanders learned the power authority had agreed to pay $319 per hour to visiting linemen while comparable contractor’s were being paid as little as $42 per hour.

White Fish Energy has reportedly agreed to resume work in Puerto Rico after the government of Puerto Rico made a partial payment on work done. There is an investigation now underway in the Congress into White Fish Energy and why such a small company was given such a huge contract without a bidding process. Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke is from White Fish, Montana and the connection between the Secretary and the CEO of White Fish Energy has come under scrutiny.

300,000 Immigrants From Puerto Rico Should Have Arrived By Years End

It is estimated that 2,ooo Puerto Ricans have left the island each day, headed to the mainland where they will use their American citizenship to resettle with relatives in New York, New Jersey, California and Florida. By the end of 2017 it is expected that over 300,000 immigrants will have entered Florida. Rick Scott declared a state of emergency to handle the wave of immigrants.  The influx already rivals the Cuban immigration during the 1980 Muriel boat lift.

Governor Ricardo Rossello has asked Congress for $94.4 billion in aid to help the island. So far Congress has approved $5 billion. The underlying question is what leadership role the federal government will play in Puerto Rico’s reconstruction. What is obvious is that there needs to be a comprehensive recovery plan from the Trump administration, and so far it seems that the administration has moved on.

President Trump impressed Puerto Ricans with his rudeness and his scornful critique of the Mayor of San Juan, Carmen Yulin Cruz.  His tweets were considered insulting and divisive.  One tweet, “They want everything to be done for them when it should be a community effort” was particularly hurtful. It is agreed that Trump has a sworn duty to support  Puerto Rico. Puerto Ricans are American citizens trapped in an unprecedented emergency, but Trump does not seem to grasp the enormity of the situation or his responsibility to the people of Puerto Rico.

Calamity Politics is a progressive political on-line news magazine.  Join the Resistance.

Darlene

Class Warfare, GOP Style

Author Paul Krugman

Paul Krugman Wants To Get The Truth Out

The NY Times on 11/16/17 published a great opinion piece written by Paul Krugman. If you didn’t see it, I will try to summarize the article as best I can, because the core of the message is worth repeating.

Mitch McConnell & Paul Ryan have been lying when they said the GOP tax plan would not raise taxes on any middle class families.The Congressional score keeper, the Joint Committee on Taxation, reported that approximately 38 million middle-class families would see higher taxes under the Senate Republican proposal.

Both Senate and House bill will offer huge tax giveaways to international corporations and the billionaire class. The Republicans have tried to limit the impacts of these tax cuts on the budget deficit by eliminating tax credits and exemptions that mainly benefit the middle class. As such many in the lower and middle class will see their taxes go up.

“But focusing on how many would face tax increases gets at only a small part of what’s going on here,” Krugman said. Continuing, he pointed out, “It is top-down class warfare, coupled with the false claims that they are  cutting taxes on the middle class, which has been standard GOP operating procedure for a long time.”

Krugman points out that the tactics of the current GOP leaders is not just a replay of the Bush playbook from 2001 and 2003, although there are similarities. Similarities between then and now are: 1.) Tax breaks that phase in and out. 2.) Misleading examples and calculations to give the false impression of a tax cut for the middle class 3.) Asserting that the tax cuts come free, blurring the fact that the cuts will be offset by cuts to popular programs such as Medicaid and Medicare 4.) Continuing to pretend eliminating the “death” tax is about helping the small family farm, or business.

Krugman asserts that there is an ugly twist to the latest GOP robbery scam. In the 2017 money grab, the goal seems to be to favor wealth, especially inherited wealth, over labor. In the new tax bill he notes multiple measures that make it harder for the children of the middle class to work up the golden ladder.

Paul Ryan

Paul Ryan Has Been Spinning The GOP Tax Lie

The prime example is the GOP plan to eliminate, or sharply reduce taxes on inherited wealth, which currently apply to only a tiny number of huge estates. The inheritance tax has been morphed by the GOP into a multitude of family farms being sold off to pay estate taxes. Definitely not true. Best estimates indicate only about 80–eighty, businesses or farms pay any estate tax each year. “The GOP tax bill is about making wealthy heirs even wealthier,” Krugman asserts.

A new proposed tax loophole would benefit large business owners–but only as long as they don’t have hands control. So that definitely lets out the little guy. The House bill, according to Krugman, “doesn’t just raise taxes on many middle-class families: It selectively raises taxes on families with children. In fact, half–half!–of families with children will see a tax hike once the bill is fully phased in.”

Krugman offered several examples in his piece, including this one: Suppose a child from a working class family decides, despite financial hardship to attend college. To attend university the student will need a loan to help pay tuition, books and housing. Under the proposed tax House bill, the interest on that student loan would no longer be deductible.  In effect, such action would raise the cost of college. It would obviously narrow future opportunity for young people of limited financial means. In some instances an employer will contribute toward an employee’s educational expenses. The House plan would consider that employer contribution taxable income.

Additionally, when a parent works for a university their children are given reduced tuition. That tuition break will become taxable income. Also, tuition breaks for grad students who work as teaching or research assistants will become taxable.

The pattern becomes obvious, this is a means to “close off opportunities for children who weren’t clever enough to choose wealthy parents,” Krugman snaps.

Funding for CHIPS (Children’s Health Insurance Program) which covers more than 8 million children, expired nearly sixty days ago and the Republicans have made no attempt to restore it. Krugman sees it as “the shape of things to come;”  if tax cuts pass, and the deficit explodes which it is expected to do, the GOP will suddenly decide that deficits must be slashed and at that time the GOP will attack the social safety net and will demand cuts in social programs, many of which benefit lower-income children, disabled vets, and nursing home residents.

This attack isn’t just ordinary class warfare. This legislation appears to be aimed at perpetuating inequality into multiple future generations. Taken together, the House and the Senate bills amount to a more or less systematic attempt to provide benefits to the children of extreme wealth, while making it more difficult for less fortunate young people to achieve upward social/economic mobility.

The tax legislation the GOP is forcing through Congress with unimaginable speed, without hearings or time for any kind of serious study, is not just an attempt to reinforce plutocracy, “but to entrench a hereditary plutocracy.”

Trump and the Trump family, and nearly every one in his cabinet members will see big benefits from this fast moving legislation. Please call, email or tweet Republican senators. We must stop this bill. In addition to Krugman’s comments I suggest the near $2 trillion up front cuts to Medicaid and Medicare will devastate programs for disabled vets, critically ill children and vulnerable seniors. This is wrong.

Giving trillions of dollars to international companies is unconscionable. Make these creeps accountable. They are not invulnerable. The 2018 elections are fast approaching. We must create a Blue Tsunami to take back the halls of government for the 99%, #NotOnePenny for the 1%. Vote Democratic. Stop the GOP tax bill.

Calamity Politics is an on-line political news magazine. Calamity Politics supports a Progressive agenda and offers comment and opinion on the events of the Washington political scene. Join the Resistance.

Darlene

**Thanks again to the Paul Krugman for his insight**

Trade In The Era Of Trump

Trump Meets With Xi Jinping

Trump Left China Without Trade Deal

Trump has just returned from a trip to Asia that had been touted as an epic economic and diplomatic tour, empty-handed. His tactics of insult and bullying did not play well.

Here in the United States there is white knuckle fear that NAFTA will once again become central in Trump’s great trade experiment. Of course, there are valid points made by the administration. There is trade imbalance, but most US industries are looking for a few tweaks, not abolishment of a treaty that has produced many benefits for US industry and farmers.

NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement, is a 1994 pact between Canada, US and Mexico. I’m from NW Oregon and many Mexican markets were opened to Northwest wheat growers. In fact, exports increased by 400%. At the same time many of these farmers have complaints about Canadian wheat pricing. You can’t make everybody happy, but that does not mean these folks want to tear up the historic treaty.

Continue reading

Trump Moves Quickly To Reshape Appeals Courts


Sounds pretty boring, talking about the US judicial system. But here goes, because what Trump is doing could change court decisions in this country for the next two plus generations.

There are 179 judgeships on the US courts of appeals as authorized. The judges are all nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate. These positions have lifetime terms.

Continue reading

I’m A Liberal–And Here Is Why

The resurrection of the GOP attack on Health Care, Trump’s UN speech, and a nasty Twitter exchange with a rabid Trump supporter, or maybe, a Russian troll, has caused me to sit down and pout for a few minutes, kick my feet and wonder if the fight is worth it.  I, like many of you, get so tired.  Some days it seems like Trump, in 10 short months is on the precipice of destroying the backbone of this country, our laws and our media. In the midst of my pout, I remember what President John F. Kennedy said about his core values and I perked up and finished calling my list of potentially five persuadable Republican Senators; in an effort to stop the GOP effort to repeal the ACA. 

The JFK quote has been seen a million times, but it is worth another view.  If you are a liberal and are taking a breath, forget it. The GOP and all their ‘effing money are out to screw us all. So get up, dust yourself off, drag the sign out of the basement, and hit the streets. Or, the phone. You can have a big impact if you make those Senate office phones ring.

So, my sweet liberal friends, gather courage from the words of one of our greatest presidents, “If by a ‘liberal’ they mean someone who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reaction, someone who cares about the welfare of the people–their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights and their civil liberties–someone who believes we can break through the stalemate and suspicions that grip us in our policies abroad, if that is what it means to be a ‘liberal’ then I’m proud to say, I’m a liberal.”

Keep up the fight, the road will be hard and the results slow in coming, but a determined heart will protect health care and the social contract our government has with its citizens.

Join the Resistance

Darlene

Trump Policies Threaten National Park System

The National Park Service just entered its second century of existence.  The National Park system “features over 400 stunning landscapes, iconic historic sites, battlefields, and cultural treasures that define our country, its evolving story and the enduring legacy we are called upon to uphold,” a recent National Park Foundation informational declared.  I have chosen a dozen National Park sites to highlight, today. Places that must be protected for future generations.

We have been entrusted with so much natural beauty and we cannot shrug our responsibility to future generations.  We must protect these treasured locations and prevent Trump & Associates from raping the environment.  Please join the National Park Foundation, Environmental Defense Fund, Sierra Club and dozens more organizations that are hitting all the alarm bells and filing lawsuits against the Trump Administration to stop these fossil fuel profiteers before they can start drilling, logging, and fracking on these precious lands. Join the Resistance against the environmental attack. Stop the Trump wrecking crew before the damage becomes irreversible.

Over the last several weeks I have hit the dangers to the environment button pretty hard. I promise this is my last post on the environment and, or, climate change for a while. Please, please, please give to any of the organizations fighting to save our threatened wild places. There is so much flim-flam, and “keep your eye on the pea” that I am worried that what is happening behind closed doors will decimate our park system before the public even finds out that it has happened.

So, with the beauty of our country at stake due to Trump’s Administration intention to dig, plow, pump, drill, log and frack every corner of the planet, starting on our public lands. Because of the danger,  I thought it might be a nice reminder of our nation’s beauty by taking a short tour of 12 of our most remarkable National Parks.

Badlands National Park, South Dakota:  Established on Jan. 29th, 1939 the Badlands National Park protects 242, 796 acres of southwestern South Dakota.  The park terrain is dramatic with sprawling grasslands, deep canyons and towering rock spires.. The park is habitat for Bighorn Sheep, American Bison and small rodents such as the prairie dog. Inside the park at Fossil Exhibit Trail fossils recovered within the park are on display for visitors.

Yosemite National Park, California: Yosemite was first protected in 1864. Yosemite is famous for its waterfalls and steep peaks. Within 1,200 square miles there are deep valleys, grand meadows, ancient giant sequoia, and a vast wilderness area.  Yosemite is a World Heritage Site and entertains 5 million tourists annually.

National Mall and Memorial Parks, Washington, D.C.:     A centerpiece of the Mall is the Lincoln Memorial, an enduring symbol of freedom.  The memorial was designed after an ancient Greek temple.  The 36 outer fluted columns represent the number of states in the Union at the time of Lincoln’s death.  The “park/mall” is in downtown Washington, D.C. Unofficially it is the area between the Lincoln Memorial on the West and East to the U.S. Capitol grounds.  The mall contains the Smithsonian, art galleries, cultural institutions and many memorials, sculptures and statues. Some of the greatest assemblage of humanity in giant protests have occurred on the National Mall.

Glacier National Park, Montana: Glacier National Park was established May 11, 1910. The park covers 1,583 square miles of wilderness in Montana’s Rocky Mountains.  Glacier carved peaks and valleys run all the way to the Canadian border.  There are more than 700 miles of hiking trails. Diverse wildlife include Grizzly bears and Mountain goats. The park is known as the “Crown of the Continent.” Glacier is the headwaters for streams that flow to the Pacific Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico, and to Hudson Bay.  What happens at Glacier affects waters in a huge section of North America.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park: The Great Smoky Mountains National Park cover 816 square miles straddling the border between North Carolina and Tennessee.  Lush forests where wildflowers bloom year round is a delightful park that offers camping and hiking among rivers, creeks and waterfalls.  The Great Smoky Mountains National Park entertains more than 11 million visitors annually. Rainfall rushes down the mountainsides of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, creating an abundance of waterfalls . Visitors will find cascades and waterfalls on nearly every stream or river in the park.

Gettysburg National Military Park, Pennsylvania: The park protects and interprets the landscape of the 1863 Battle of Gettysburg.   The park commemorates the largest battle fought during the American Civil War. It was after the tragedy at Gettysburg where so many died on both sides that Abraham Lincoln came to give one of the most famous and memorable speeches of all time, forever known as the “Gettysburg Address.” The park is about 9.5 square acres.  The park welcomes over a million visitors annually.

Crater Lake National Park, Oregon: Crater Lake is 1950 ft deep. The lake was formed when Mount Mazama erupted nearly 8,000 years ago and then collapsed, forming the lake.  The park is the only National Park in the state of Oregon and entertains over 800,000 visitors each year.  The lake is fed only by rain and snowfall and is a photographer’s dream blue. The park was established by Teddy Roosevelt in May 1902 and encompasses over 183,000 sq acres.

Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida: The Dry Tortugas is a small archipelago of coral islands which are the most western and most isolated of the Florida Keys.  The park is 99% water and is located 68 miles west of Key West, Florida.  The area is home to sea turtles, and multiple sea birds.  The seven small islands in the Gulf of Mexico offers picturesque blue waters, superlative coral reefs and marine life, and the historic Fort Jefferson and is skin divers paradise.

Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona: The canyon is one mile deep and 277 miles long.  The Grand Canyon was formed during six million years of geological and erosion activity. Teddy Roosevelt famously said, it is “the one great sight which every American should see.” The park was established in February 1919, and covers over 1900 square miles. Layered bands of red rock frame the Colorado River at the bottom of a mile deep canyon.  The Grand Canyon is one of the most visited tourist destinations in the United States accommodating more than 6 million visitors annually.

Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming:
Located in NW Wyoming the Grand Teton National Park encompasses 310,000 acres.  The park was established in 1929 and entertains 3.5 million annual tourists.  The park includes the 4,ooo meter Grand Teton Peak and the valley known as Jackson Hole.  Grand Teton Park is linked to the nearby Yellowstone National Park by the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway.  Rugged mountain peaks rising above a rich landscape with extraordinary wildlife, pristine lakes, and alpine terrain are the Grand Tetons.  The park provides 200 miles of trails for hiking, fishing and back country camping. Exploring the Snake River and experiencing the serenity of the region is memory making.

Arcadia National Park, Maine:
The Arcadia National Park consists of 49,000 + acre Atlantic coast recreation area, primarily on Maine’s rugged coast including Mount Desert Island.  The landscape is woodland, rocky beaches and glacier scoured granite peaks such as Cadillac Mountain, the highest point on the Atlantic coast of the United States.  Visitors come to bike historic carriage roads, fish the waterways and enjoy the abundant wildlife, including moose, bear, whales and sea birds.The park was established in 1919.

Arches National Park, Utah: Described as a “red rock wonderland,” Arches National Park is a landscape of contrasting colors, landforms and textures. The park has more than 2,000 natural stone arches, as well as hundreds of soaring pinnacles, massive fins, and giant balanced rocks.” The Arches National Park is north of Moab, Utah. The 119.8 square miles park is bordered by the Colorado river in the southeast. The park entertains over 1.5 million visitors annually. Park was established in 1929.

Calamity  Politics is a progressive political blog.  We post mostly everyday.  Our focus is on the U.S. political scene. Our intent is to present relevant and engaging analysis and commentary on the headline news of the day. Please leave a comment.  We enjoy reading what our readers have to say.

Join the Resistance

Darlene

Racism At The White House

We Must Continue To Reject Nazism and White Supremacy

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

Those words were put to paper 240 plus years ago when the founding fathers joined together to form the United States of America, a democratic nation.

Several days ago, in Charlottesville, VA, torch carrying, chanting protesters identified variously as Neo-Nazi’s, KKK, skin heads or white supremacists, carrying AK47’s and baseball bats threatened the peacefulness of one of America’s most charming cities.

Twelve separate white supremacists groups from around the country gathered together in Charlottesville, VA last week in a stated effort to start a race war.  The particular event drawing them together last week end was the advertised removal of a commemorative statute sitting on public property celebrating Confederate General Robert E. Lee.

The Removal Of Robert E. Lee Statue From Public Park Brought Out Nazi Protesters

The Confederacy consisted of eleven Southern states which seceded from the United States in 1860 in a failed effort to protect and sustain the disgusting custom of slavery.  The south an agrarian society was “perfectly” suited to slave ownership.

The remaining states, known as the Union rejected the secession effort and a four and a half year long war tore the country apart. Affects of the social schism, war atrocities and the failed reconstruction have left an ugly scar on the face of this nation.

As severe reaction to the Confederate loss of the Civil War, a practice of “separate but equal” was instituted throughout the south, effectively separating the races in all aspects of life, whether it was using the a public bathroom, eating at a lunch counter, drinking from a water fountain, or riding a city bus.

Continue reading

A Neighbor’s Nazi Experience

Martin Hartman, a tall slender man, his thinning white brushed back leans against his cane for support. There is a sadness in his eyes and a soberness in his demeanor. You can tell he has a story, and he wants to tell it.

Hitler Lit The Fire For World War Two

He was born in Holland in 1924. He looks to the ground, before looking back into the reporters eyes. His family had owned a prosperous construction business, until the Depression he tells us. His family like many others had suffered during those economically depressed times, but by 1940, things he explains slowly as memories cloud his 93-year-old face, the economy “had begun to turn around”.

The turnaround was slow, but things had been looking up.  Within just a few days his life, and the life of friends and family were inexorably changed forever.

“I was 16. It was May 10, 1940. We heard bombing and saw planes. It was the German invasion, and the blitz was over in three days.” The squashing of Holland’s defenses was quick, but far from painless.

Continue reading