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

The Efforts to Curtail Voting Rights

Voting in America is far from guaranteed

Voting in America is far from guaranteed

The Efforts to Curtail Voting Rights 

By Jones William and D.S. Mitchell

Voting is fundamental to our democracy. The right to vote however has been the target for disenfranchisement since the founding of the country. Our Constitution (before amendments) does not clearly stipulate who can vote. In the early years state legislators voted for the president.

Another Amendment

The Constitution has had many amendments

The Constitution has had many amendments

From the beginning many of the states used every means available to limit voting. At the origin of the United States, many groups, including slaves, landless white men, women and free blacks could not vote. But many  amendments to the Constitution (XV, XVII, XIX, XXIII, XXIV, XXVI) significantly expanded voting rights and other political freedoms to previously unprotected groups.

Voting Rights Act of 1965

The passage of multiple constitutional amendments was geared towards enhancing voting rights for all citizens. The federal government was spearheading the expansion of voting rights throughout the United States. Numerous states, particularly the states of the old confederacy, habitually passed laws that did not specifically bar black citizens from voting but placed unrealistic burdens on them. Poll taxes and “guess how many beans are in the jar” kinds of absurdities. For that reason, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was introduced and President Lyndon B. Johnson signed it into law.

Expand or Contract Participation

the Supreme Court has become the friend of big business

The Supreme Court is the friend of big business.

The aim of the 1965 Act was to abolish legal barriers established at local and state levels that were specifically aimed at barring African-Americans from participating in the election process. People of color have had to battle the governments of many states to guarantee their right to vote. In 2013, the Supreme Court abolished an important part of the Voting Rights Act, which required states with racial discrimination history to get the consent of the DOJ before making changes to their state voting rules. Since the weakening of the original law, southern states have gone back to their old ways. As a result, politicians in many states have gone on a new offensive to suppress the right’s of voters through meddling with 1) the Electoral College, 2) passing unnecessarily strict voter identification laws and 3) partisan gerrymandering 4) purging of the voter rolls.

1) Electoral College

“The Electoral College consists of 538 electors. A majority of 270 electoral votes is required to elect a President. Each state’s entitled allotment of electors equals the number of members in its Congressional delegation: one for each member in the House of Representatives plus two for each state Senator.” Wikipedia

Electoral College=Voter Suppression

Electoral College=Voter Suppression

The founding fathers of our nation designed the Electoral College (EC). One main reason for its creation was to prevent the direct election of the president by popular vote. Quite honestly, the founding fathers feared the mindlessness of the uneducated “mob”. They feared an oppressor could exploit the (stupid) public and a demagogue would come to power. In fact, according to Wikipedia, “The Electoral College serves as a compromise between the election of the president by a vote in Congress and choice of the president by a popular vote of “qualified citizens”. The founders believed that it would be better for a president to be elected by the popular vote of “qualified citizens”, thus the Electoral College. Most Americans do not understand the Electoral College and its role. Basically, the founding fathers designed the voting system so that the “masses could not have their way” with the government. The founders were no where close to seeing one-person, one-vote as necessary, or desired.

Changing the Plan

the federal government has pushed for voter's rights while many states have held to old behaviors

The federal government has pushed for voter’s rights while states have held to old behaviors

Even though many Americans trust the Electoral College to give them the most suitable president, the institution currently suffers manipulation. Forty eight of the 50 states give all the votes to popular vote winner. However, two small states, Nebraska and Maine, allocates two electoral votes to the popular winner of the statewide popular vote, and then one apiece to the winner of each congressional district. Unfortunately, many Republican legislators around the country are proposing to follow the Maine and Nebraska strategies. This idea is to mandate electoral votes allocated by congressional district mainly in states where Republicans fear they will lose the statewide popular vote. If a candidate wins big in one part of the state but loses the state he (or she) will at least get one vote. If they manage this feat, it will dramatically change the way presidents are elected.

  Continue reading

Civil De-construction, One Tweet At A Time

Trump Is Addicted To Twitter

On July 26, 2017 President Trump tweeted: “After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States government will not accept or allow……”
That was the president of the United States starting his morning with an ominous tweet. Then for the next nine minutes there was no follow-up tweet. His audience (the world) was left to wonder what would follow those six dots. The reporters at Buzzfeed confirmed that Pentagon staffers and officials alike believed Trump was about to announce a strike against North Korea or another Afghan military strike.

After a mind bending nine minute wait, the president finally continued his tweet, “transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. military. Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgenders in the military would entail.”

Looks Like Bannon Working Behind The Scenes

My first thoughts, 1) the tweet is both too organized and clearly written to have been originally authored by Trump, and instead, I suspect was the work of Steve Bannon or Stephen Miller. 2)  the writer acts as if transgender military service was not already a fact of life.  If this thoughtless tweeted policy is implemented, which I assume they will attempt, it will negatively affect an estimated 15,000 service personnel who openly identify as transgender.

Continue reading