ANCHORS AWAY – REPUBLICANS FOCUS ON ABOLISHING 14TH AMENDMENT BIRTHRIGHT PROVISION

The higher Trump moves in the polls, the more insane he gets. Now he wants to take away the birthright guarantee found in the U.S. Constitution. But, wait! Holy Heavenly Happy Hour! Now Scott Walker has decided to velcro himself to Trump’s insanity.

Since most citizens have minimal or no understanding of what the “birthright” and “natural born” issues are, I bet this sounds really great! The birth issue is expressed constitutionally in two separate ways and is found in two locations in our U.S. Constitution. The first is Article II, Section I, Clause 5, and, requires that a president must be natural born (or in the case of our early presidents, be a citizen at the time of the ratification of the Constitution). Unless you were pulling a Rip Van Winkle, you should be familiar with the birther hysteria that was attendant to President Obama’s candidacy – and still exists.

The second location is the 14th Amendment, Section I. It is a statement that “All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.”

This is the “birthright” provision that the Republican candidates have now, once again, become so fond of discussing.  The birthright provision gives rise to “anchor babies” – those babies who automatically gain citizenship due to their birth in our country – even if their parents are undocumented.

Given the wording of the 14th Amendment, you can see the angst that is created in the hearts and minds of the Republican candidates who are intent on defending our borders. You know, let’s get all those undocumented mamas that come across the border to give birth. We can’t have thousands of those “anchor babies” being dropped here on our soil. The best way to ensure against this is to scrap that pesky sentence in Section I of the 14th Amendment.

But, wow, think about it. Do we make the requirement retroactive? Or will it be prospective? I think we should make it retroactive – that way we can at least go way back to the passage of the 14th Amendment in 1868. Why not make sure that every parent has to find his or her birth certificate and show that he or she was a citizen when the child is born.

Of course, how many generations do we traipse back into our ancestry? Do we propose a cutoff similar to one that exists for a real property “chain of title” search – say 50 years? Each child can ask his or her parent if they were “documented” when born – were their parents legitimate. If they weren’t, it would be a domino effect. We could “uncitizenize” millions of citizens! What fun! People all over this great land would need to hit the genealogy sections of libraries (sure would be good for our Allen County Library since we have one of the best sections in the country).

I mean, I don’t have to worry. I have done my genealogy, and my ancestors arrived on these shores between 1680-1700 – God bless their little pea pickin’ immigrant hearts. I am good to go – let others worry about their own problems.

Yes, that’s the ticket! Let’s focus on taking away the birthright provision instead of coming up with solutions to the myriad of other problems we have in this country: infrastructure, wealth inequality, jobs, corporate welfare, voter suppression, free trade agreements robbing our workers of jobs, racial injustice and discrimination, and continued destruction of our environment – just to name a few.

http://www.breitbart.com/…/scott-walker-echoes-trump-end-b…/

http://immigrationimpact.com/…/ending-birthright-citizensh…/

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MUSICAL ADMINISTRATION CHAIRS – RECYCLING THE OLD

Can we say musical “chairs?” Good grief, how about some new blood in the administration instead of recyclables. Mark Becker has now been named to the Redevelopment Commission.  I am sure Becker is knowledgeable, but it sure looks like he plays hop scotch a lot.

1. deputy mayor
2. director of community development,
3. director of economic development for the City of Fort Wayne;
4. executive director of the Northeast Indiana Fund; and
5. president and CEO of Greater Fort Wayne Inc.

Becker currently serves as a consultant for Parkview Health – wonder if that will cause any conflicts of interest? When do the “people” get to be represented on these commissions?

And, in his place? Why, none other than Eric Doden – a previous mayoral candidate on the Republican ticket, a Pence devotee, and previous director of the Indiana Economic Development Commission (IDEC). Oh, and he was and is involved in the new CityScapes project.

I wonder if the hiring process is now to play musical chairs to see which previous or current administration official – or other “insider” – will be the fastest at grabbing a seat.

musical_chairs

Posted in Fort Wayne, Politics

POPULIST OR PROGRESSIVE – OR SOMETHING NEW?

The words “progressive” and “populist” are bandied about on a daily basis, but I wonder if those who use the terms understand what they mean.  Knowing the difference can – well – make a difference.

Populism can be defined as follows:

  • any of various, often anti-establishment or anti-intellectual political movements or philosophies that offer unorthodox solutions or policies and appeal to the common person rather than according with traditional party or partisan ideologies.
  • grass-roots democracy; working-class activism; egalitarianism.
  • representation or extolling of the common person, the working class, the underdog, etc.

A populist is a person who follows the populist philosophy.

Progressivism can be defined as follows:

  • a broad philosophy based on the idea of progress, which asserts that advancement in science, technology, economic development, and social organization are vital to improve the human condition.
  • the principles and practices of progressives.

A progressive is a person who follows the progressive philosophy.

Can one be both?  Perhaps, but doing so requires walking a thin line or embracing  changes in the traditional definitions which have resulted in a third option – that of “progressive populist.” 

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Populism tends to be anti-establishment and anti-intellectual while progressivism tends to rely on the establishment, the educated intellectuals, and existing political structures to implement its goals. 

Populism is older than Progressivism and was a response by the agrarian establishment to the rise of industrialization.  During the 1870s, farmers began to chafe against the high cost of money and the low price of crops.  Angered by what they saw as unresponsiveness by the political parties, populist leaders called on the people to rise up and seize the control of the government.  Populists exalted farmers and laborers as the true producers of wealth.  The original populist movement was short-lived with its most intense impact from 1889-1896.

The Progressive Movement – the Era of Reform – began as a response in the 1890s to problems created by the seismic shift from an agrarian society to an industrialized urban society.  Corporations and trusts controlled more and more of the country’s finances, immigrants arrived in large numbers competing for jobs and moving into slum tenements, and party bosses and political machines sprang up to control the new arrivals. In the eyes of many, the country was falling apart and action needed to be taken to restore a semblance of democracy to the nation.  That philosophy gave rise to the Progressive Movement.

Progressives typically lived in cities, were college educated, believed that government could be used as a tool to better the human condition, and rejected social Darwinism.  Many were “privileged” members of society and believed they had a duty to the poor and those in need.  The Progressive, middle-class reformers attempted to restore what they saw as a loss of democracy by limiting big business.  Immigrants were to be “Americanized”, and political machines were to be curbed.  The Progressive Movement was in its prime from 1901-1918; Theodore Roosevelt was a proponent of progressive ideas.

A final conundrum is the increasing philosophy of a “progressive populist.”  While this new formation uses both terms, it is not the populist or progressive movements of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  It is, instead, built on a foundation of the majoritarian “submerged agenda” – an economic agenda that the majority of Americans support – increasing the minimum wage, restoring workers’ ability to bargain with employers, and taxing millionaires and giant corporations at levels that reflect how much of the country’s wealth and income they now have. 

The submerged majoritarian agenda is unable to gain support in Washington, D.C. because it reflects goals and philosophies that work against the very entities and contributors who maintain the power structure in D.C.

As yet another cycle of campaigning rolls around, the words “Populist”,”Progressive”, and “Progressive Populist” will continue to crop up in debates and conversations as candidates and the public attempt to pigeon-hole their ideas and philosophies.  Regardless of viewpoints,  understanding the nature of these movements is key to how we debate and how we ultimately resolve issues.

Populists v Progressives

Posted in Congress, Corporations, Democracy, Economics, Politics, Populist, Progressive

ICONIC GE SIGN FACES UNCERTAIN FUTURE

The Sign! Sometimes we take things for granted. We drive by this sign on a regular basis, and it has been a part of our West Central “family” for so long, it is hard to imagine what that area will look like if the complex is torn down and the sign shipped to some other location to live out its life. Or worse yet, be destroyed.

GE has a long history in Fort Wayne – at one time employing over 10,000 workers.  Now, it has gone the way of International Harvester, shutting down its operation and demolishing various buildings that compose its 1,000,000 square foot “imprint” located on the east and west sides of Broadway.

As GE abandons its former bustling campus and Fort Wayne officials seem lax in taking up the goal to save the campus and its buildings, now is the time to take action to ensure that this campus and its historic buildings survive.  GE has over a century of history invested in Fort Wayne – the company may be gone, but its historic impact on Fort Wayne should never be forgotten.

GE Sign - Scott

Photo credit – Scott Spaulding

 

Posted in Architecture, Corporations, Fort Wayne, History, Politics, West Central Neighborhood

DANIELS MOVES PURDUE OFFICE OF PUBLIC RECORDS CLOSER TO HIS HEART – AND FINGERTIPS

Purdue “President” Mitch Daniels has decided to move the office of public records just a stone’s throw from his office.   He has also hired new legal counsel to oversee those pesky requests from journalists, private citizens, and lawyers.

Of course, there is a legal component to public records requests but strange isn’t it that Purdue managed for years without this step – Daniels comes in and changes it.

Could this be as a result of his “foot in the mouth” incidences in the past that were uncovered with public records requests?  Remember the Howard Zinn flap and tell-tale email information uncovered involving Tony Bennett?

public records

 

Posted in Education, Indiana, Mitch Daniels, Public Records

CHAIN, CHAIN, CHAIN – TREATING THOSE RECEIVING EARNED BENEFITS AS SECOND-CLASS CITIZENS

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) is about to become a hot topic again for those on social security – regular and disability. And President Obama appears to be in support of the plan. Gird for battle if you don’t want your social security benefits, veterans benefits, or federal benefits to be impacted and decreased.

The CPI takes a virtual “basket” of consumer goods, including groceries, housing, gasoline, transportation, healthcare, and clothing, and tracks the average prices of the basket’s components over time. When the cost of the “basket” rises, we have inflation albeit sometimes not too noticeable. Our yearly Cost of Living Adjustments (COLA) to social security benefits are based on the CPI.

Market Basket

Now, throw in the concept of chained CPI. The premise behind the chained CPI is that, instead of using the CPI’s rise based on inflation, it looks at anticipated consumer behavior and a practice known as “substitution bias.” The theory is that if prices go up, consumers will substitute – or buy – a lower priced item. Since lower priced items lead to a savings, the price of the “basket” will be less, thus reducing the amount of increase in social security payments because the COLA will be less.

For example, if a can of Del Monte green beans costs $1.09, a consumer may opt for the store brand at $.89 – a savings of $.20. If substitution bias is possible for many items, then the expectation is that those of us on a limited income will do what is necessary to get by, not complain, and buy the cheaper product.

This might work for groceries or items that have alternate products for a lesser price, but what about healthcare and transportation? What about the price of gasoline?

http://www.bls.gov/cpi/

To date, social security has not been chained, but the discussion is rearing its ugly head again. Now, I am not opposed to buying store brand products – I have done so for quite some time, and I see little difference – but what about those items about which we have little alternative choice? Gasoline, transportation, and healthcare have few or no alternatives.

It is time to educate the public on on the reality of what chained CPI means. And, frankly, it means recipients of social security benefits, veterans benefits, and federal benefits are expected to live more frugally and do without simply because we are in classes that are receiving EARNED BENEFITS.

Posted in Politics | 2 Comments

INDUSTRIAL FARMING AMENDMENT TO INDIANA CONSTITUTION AIMS TO ABOLISH LOCAL CONTROL

The constitutional amendment on many minds is the amendment banning same-sex marriage.  Another amendment, however, is also set to drastically change our lives and environment – by enshrining protection of industrial farming in the state constitution. Republicans just can’t seem to get enough of misusing the amendment process for their own agenda.

Republicans are anticipating that the attention on the marriage “inequality” amendment will allow SJR 7 – the Right to Hunt and Fish – to sail by the voters in November 2014 with little notice.

SJR 7 is an innocuous sounding Trojan horse being used as a means for those who want to see Indiana become the “land of CAFOs.” Its goal is to amend Article 1, Section 39 of the state Constitution by constitutionally protecting industrial farming over all other occupations and professions. The amendment is worded as follows:

Constitutional right to hunt and fish. The people have a right to hunt, fish, harvest game, or engage in the agricultural or commercial production of meat, fish, poultry, or dairy products, which is a valued part of our heritage and shall be forever preserved for the public good, subject only to laws prescribed by the General Assembly and rules prescribed by virtue of the authority of the General Assembly. Hunting and fishing shall be the preferred means of managing and controlling wildlife. This section shall not be construed to limit the application of any provision of law relating to trespass or property rights.

Hunting and fishing may be a part of our “heritage”, but industrial farming is not.  The Republicans know full well by captioning the amendment with the “Right to Hunt and Fish” that it will draw little opposition.  I mean, really, how un-American could one be to oppose hunting and fishing and the oft-cited patriotic reference to our “heritage.”

The amendment not only enshrines industrial farming in the Constitution but also rips away local control and places it with the state.  Local control using zoning and other regulations is a much-needed check on the explosion of factory farms that have been linked to health hazards and to environmental pollution through decreased air quality and manure runoffs into rivers. That control will be abolished and handed over to the state.

Manure pits filled with waste from the nearby CAFO

Manure pits filled with waste from the nearby CAFO


Industrial farming does not deserve constitutional protection, and, our local officials and citizens certainly do not deserve to lose even more control over local issues to the state legislature.

Posted in Politics | 5 Comments

THE BATTLE TO DESTROY SOCIAL SECURITY – FDR’S SUCCESS STILL RANKLES THE REPUBLICANS

As the recent mind numbing memories of fiscal collapse diminish and the public readies itself for the next round of infighting over another potential shutdown and debt ceiling crisis, Social Security is high on the hit list for the Republican penchant to privatize.  They won’t achieve a dismantling of the system – yet – but what they will try to do is leverage small bits and pieces to chink away at what has been one of the most successful programs in U.S. history.

Social security was established in 1935 by President Franklin Roosevelt during the Depression.  Since that time, ending Social Security has been a “raison d’etre” for various cobbled-together factions in the Republican Party.   Their continued failure to engineer its demise certainly weighs heavily on their minds as each year rolls around and Social Security is still in place and operating as it should.

The following video highlights the efforts by the Koch Brothers and their supported Think Tanks – and I use the word “think” loosely – to implant into the minds of the public that Social Security is a failure and is bankrupt.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  The Social Security fund has somewhere between a $2.6 trillion and $2.9 trillion balance, depending on the source consulted.

Posted in Franklin D. Roosevelt, Politics, Privatization, Republicans, Social Security

“RIP VAN” POSNER – SIX YEARS LATER THE JUDGE WAKES UP

Judge Posner has stunned the legal community with a rare judicial mea culpa: an admittance that he was asleep at the wheel six years ago when he wrote that he really thought voter fraud was an okay reason to have voter ID in Indiana even though little to no evidence was provided about actual fraud.  He was also provided with the argument that the voter ID could be the basis of voter suppression, which he also forthwith dismissed.

Indiana’s Republicans have long been working on various “disparate impact” voter registration and voter ID laws, which appear to be plausible but, in reality, are aimed at suppressing voting access by minorities and those who typically vote Democratic.  While they are shrewd enough not to flat out target a specific group – imagine the stink that would raise – they have fabricated laws that in their application have a disparate impact on certain groups.

In conjunction with Republican legislative efforts, then-Governor Daniels – under the guise of “efficiency” – made sure to slash the number of Bureau of Motor Vehicle locations where voter IDs could be procured.  Or the locations were moved from democratic strongholds to make access more difficult. Thus, the Republicans used a two-prong drive to suppress as many Democratically leaning voters as possible:  Impose an ID requirement, and then close or relocate those very offices where the IDs could be obtained.

Allen County has three BMV locations.  Two are in Fort Wayne – Pine Valley and Waynedale – with a third in New Haven.   The Waynedale location replaced the branch once located at Southgate Plaza, which served an area in the predominantly democratic 5th and 6th districts with a heavy minority concentration of African-American and Hispanic populations.

The following maps show the areas of minority concentration.  The numbers in the boxes are not related to the issue of minority population.

2010 African-American population concentrations

2010 African-American population concentrations

The darker the shade of blue the higher the African-American population.  The situation is similar for the Hispanic population.

2010 Hispanic population concentration

2010 Hispanic population concentration

Again, the darker the shade of green, the higher the concentration of the Hispanic population.

Finally, here is a map that shows the 5th and 6th districts showing the boundaries.  The relocated Southgate branch now resides in the 4th district – a Republican held city council seat.  Both the 5th and 6th districts are represented by Democrats.

City Council - 5th and 6th districts.

City Council – 5th and 6th districts.

So, while it is a stunning admittance from Judge Posner that he finally woke from his six-year sleep, it is not a case of “better late than never.”  His “ah-ha” moment is too little too late.

Posted in Civil Rights, Constitutional Issues, Indiana, Judges, Judicial System, Politics, Rights and Liberties, U.S. Constitution, Voter Suppression, Voting

WHO PARTICIPATES?

“We in America do not have government by the majority. We have government by the majority who participate.”

Thomas Jefferson  (1743 – 1826)

3rd president of United States

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