According to the stories, Native Americans helped the first white settlers of America.  They taught the white settlers how to farm in America and introduced them to American products to help with their crop output.  Thus, the first harvest dinner, we now call Thanksgiving, the settlers invited the Native Americans to help celebrate.

Somehow after that first dinner, things went downhill between the white settlers and the Native Americans.  In the next two hundred years, white America waged what can only be described as a war of genocide against the Native Americans.

If we read our history, the first real transgression was the forced evacuation of Native Americans from their homelands in the East to Oklahoma Territory.  This was the narrative behind the “Trail of Tears” that Native Americans were forced to undertake.  Then, there were the “Indian Wars” against tribes that resisted whites taking their hunting grounds and land away from them.

Yet here we are over a hundred years removed, and Native Americans are still being held back both economically and socially.  There are a lot of reasons, but the main factor is the reservations or “tribal lands” that the majority of Native Americans still live on.

We have placed Native Americans in economic limbo by law.  Tribal lands are held in trust by the federal government, so tribes are unable to levy property taxes, and imposing income taxes is rarely feasible. Thus, unlike states and cities, reservations have a hard time funding basic government services.

Because of the federal title to most tribal lands, banks cannot use the same foreclosure policies they can elsewhere which dissuades them from offering mortgage lending on reservations.  Only about 1.5% of reservation Native Americans who have sufficient income to qualify for a mortgage have one.  Resulting in depriving them of the main engine for economic growth among the middle class.

A 1978 Supreme Court ruling said that tribes are legally barred from prosecuting non-Natives for crimes committed on reservations. This has helped produce crime rates, including the rape of Indian women—most often by whites, much higher than other ethnic groups—and rates of child sexual abuse that run as high as two and a half times the rates they do elsewhere.

The 2010 Tribal Law and Order Act tried fixing some of this, beginning to restore sentencing authority to tribal courts. But, as usual with Republican supported bills it did nothing to fund its implementation. According to the Act, in order to prosecute non-members, a tribal court must establish a detention facility and an experienced judiciary, and must provide public defender services. A truly functioning public defender’s office costs about $350,000 per year. Add in the other costs and you’re looking at upwards of a million dollars annually.  Since tribes can’t levy most taxes, this becomes a significant hurdle in complying with the Act.

The 2013 Violence Against Women Act went further, recognizing tribal criminal authority over non-Natives for the first time since 1978 for domestic violence.  It did not include crimes of child sex abuse, nor most other crimes.  It only is applied to reservations that can meet the Tribal Law and Order Act and other standards. To date, none of the reservations have met these standards.  When you consider that more than half of reservation residents are now non-Native, this presents a real problem.  The vast number of Congress who voted against this Act did so because they did not believe that non-Natives should be prosecuted in Tribal Courts.

There are also jurisdictional conflicts that impair prosecutions even of Indians by their own tribes. If an Indian batters his wife, for example, the tribe usually cannot compel the off-reservation hospital doctors who treated her injuries to testify, nor the white friend who witnessed the battery. If the man moves to a town just off the reservation, he can’t even be arrested by tribal police (unless cross-deputized—yet another complication).

All of these problems may want you to ask why the Federal Government doesn’t do more to provide judicial services on the reservations?  That would be a fair question since the Federal Government holds title to most reservation land.  But, you also have to remember that most budget-strapped U.S. attorneys rarely see political or career benefit in prosecuting crimes like rape or assault on sparsely populated reservations hundreds of miles from their offices.  As a result, more that half of all major crimes reported on the reservations go unprosecuted.

Because these flaws exist, the effect has been turning reservations into havens for non-Native sexual predators and other criminals. For example, mid-level non-Native drug dealers who aren’t large enough to attract federal prosecution can operate with relative impunity on many reservations, because neither tribal nor state law enforcement has authority to touch them.

These problems were not created by Native Americans.  They were created by the catch-22 that we have created, in which we deny them the ability to provide economic opportunity and justice, while failing to provide it ourselves.  When the allies won World War II, they worked to provide the losers with economic growth and opportunity.  We have failed to do the same for Native Americans even hundreds of years after the wars were over.

But, as the arguments against the Violence Against Women Act shows, there is still a lot of prejudice against Native Americans.  Why would anyone argue against Tribal Courts having the authority to prosecute non-Natives for rape or domestic violence against Native Women?  The only reasonable explanation is that these members of Congress have a bias against Native Americans.

The prejudice is shown again in the fight against the Washington Football Team changing its name.  Sorry, but I will never understand how using a racial slur for the name of a sports franchise can be interpreted in any way as “respecting” Native Americans as the owner claims.

We have had civil rights fights since our country was founded.  African-Americans and Latino Americans are almost always at the forefront of these fights, and that should be.  But, one “race” we seem to always forget about are the Native Americans.

These problems will not go away anytime soon.  When political parties use the “us v. them” meme for political gains, minorities are always “them”.  And, since Native Americans are rarely even thought about by white America, they suffer the most in the shadows of society.  That is not just a shame, it is criminal.

On the eve of Thanksgiving, are we witnessing the Requiem For American Democracy?  I do not ask this question flippantly either.  It is something that we need to answer this holiday season, or we will certainly face the real possibility of our freedoms and liberties going the way of the dodo bird.

Two days ago, in Ferguson, MO. the county prosecutor made his announcement that Officer Darren Wilson would not face any charges for the shooting death of Michael Brown.  This announcement, unfortunately, was totally anticipated by anyone who has been watching the tragedy playing out for nearly four months.

The also anticipated rioting happened within hours of the announcement.  Depending on what network you watch, these riots are either the result of a few “outsiders” who went to Ferguson to cause trouble, or it is the result of an entire race of people who do not believe in law and order.  I think you can guess which networks are saying what without even turning on the TV.

The riots in Ferguson are deplorable.  I have always believed that protests are the only way that ordinary people have to get their voices heard.  However, I have always deplored violence.  Violence, as they say, begets violence.  Additionally, in such circumstances, it is extremely hard to determine who is actually causing the violence.  For example, on the first night, I was watching and saw the police firing smoke bombs at protesters.  I don’t know why they were firing smoke bombs either.  It appeared that the protesters at that point were peaceful.

As the confrontation continued, violence became more of the norm and the situation escalated out of hand.  That is the problem with rioting.  You don’t know how it all starts.  Plus, you don’t know which tactics are helping or hurting the situation.  As Mayor Richard J. Dailey said during the 1968 Convention Riots in Chicago: “The police are not there to cause the riots.  They are there to preserve the riots.”

But, it isn’t the rioting in Ferguson that makes me ask the question.  There have been riots before, and I believe there will probably be riots in the future.  What makes me ask the question, is the way the county prosecutor handled it from the beginning.  A Grand Jury hearing is NOT a trial.  It is only used to keep control of the prosecutorial process.  In a Grand Jury, they are supposed to look at evidence to see if there is sufficient evidence to charge a person with a crime.

In normal Grand Jury hearings, the whole process is controlled by the prosecutor.  The prosecutor is using the Grand Jury to support his belief that a crime was committed and that there should be a public trial of the case.  Defendants, or the accused, are usually not present, and do not testify at the hearing.  Again, this is not a trial.  It is a secret hearing to protect the Jurors and allow them to make a fair judgement of whether or not there is sufficient evidence to press charges.

Unfortunately, in this case, the Grand Jury hearing was not a Grand Jury hearing.  It was basically a “secret trial” of the accused.  And, that is very troubling to me.  If you don’t believe it was a “secret trial” just listen to the noise from those who supported Wilson.  They are calling this decision an acquittal.  How can it be an acquittal if there was no trial?

The prosecutor said that he would release all of the transcripts of the hearing to prove his point.  I find that extremely dubious at best.  Let’s face facts.  Whenever a person reads anything, they add their personal biases in their readings.  Plus, you do not hear the voice inflections of the person testifying or the person asking the questions.  Verbal testimony at trials is critical because we can hear those inflections and see the body language of the people involved.

Those inflections and body language often allows us a visual to help determine if the person is telling the truth.  It also allows us to determine if the question is a “softball” intended to help the witness or a “hardball” intended to poke holes in their testimony.  Nor, are we able to tell which witnesses were treated as “friendly” or “hostile” which can make a lot of difference as well.  Simply reading the transcript will not give us those “signals” of truth or fabrication.

I know, for example, that anyone reading this article, will determine whether or not they agree with me based on their biases.  If someone is prone to “lean left” there is a real possibility they will agree with me.  If the reader is more prone to “lean right” I doubt this article will sway them.  And, that is fair enough.

As a result, we are still faced with the fact that this was a “secret trial” which the prosecutor did not want to go public.  Which makes me wonder why the prosecutor did not want to take the trial public.  I once lived in the area near Ferguson for three years.  I had a few police officers as friends.  Most were honest hard-working officers in the true pursuit of protecting the public.  Others were simply driven by their power over certain “classes” of people.  I suppose that is true everywhere.

By allowing the county prosecutor to hold his “secret trial” the Judicial System has another chink in its armor of being “equal” for all.  History also shows that “secret trials” are the beginning of the end of the democratic process.  By denying the family of the real victim in this case to have an open and public trial to determine the guilt or innocence of the shooter, the system has failed again.

It may have turned out that Darren Wilson would have been found not-guilty of any charges brought against him.  It is also possible that he would have been found guilty.  We shall never know because the county prosecutor did not want the real truth to come out in the open.  He wanted to control the narrative and the justice system in defense of a police officer.  This same prosecutor has taken four other similar cases of police officers shooting unarmed civilians to the Grand Jury.  In all of those cases, not one single charge against a police officer was handed down.

As we sit around the table this Thanksgiving we should be asking the real question.  Does this case signal a Requiem For American Democracy?  Some call this case justice.  Most call this case a charade.  If we continue to allow prosecutors to hold “secret trials” we will never know the truth.  “Secret trials” could be the real beginning of the end for our democratic way of life.


So, here we are at the beginning of the Thanksgiving Day week.  Wal-Mart, Kmart, Bass Pro Shop and others are all planning to open on Thanksgiving Day, denying their employees time with their families on this holiday.

It has been reported by several outlets, that these stores that plan on being open on Thanksgiving Day are threatening their employees with termination if they choose to stay home and celebrate the holiday.  Once again corporate greed is trumping our holidays.

Let’s take a minute to look at this holiday.  According to those wonderful patriotic conservatives, this is supposed to be a day when we give thanks to god, or whatever, for our blessings.  It is a day to celebrate our country and spend time with family and friends.  It is supposed to be a patriotic day.

Somewhere along the line, those sentiments went by the board.  Somewhere along the line, these very same ultra-conservatives have lost their zeal for family and patriotism.  Why would they be the least offended by this mass movement to ignore Thanksgiving Day celebrations?

Well, it could be that the ultra-conservatives simply aren’t paying attention to the degradation of our nation’s holiday.  It could be that they have forgotten about all of these things and got lost in the worship of manna.  But, I think that it is more likely that they simply don’t consider the rest of us worthy of being able to spend time with family and friends.  We aren’t worthy of an extra day off to celebrate a national holiday.

Why is it so important for a store like Kmart to open their doors for business on Thanksgiving Day at 6 AM?  I know that the holiday shopping season between Thanksgiving and Christmas makes up the bulk of the retail business.  I have heard estimates that between 40 and 50 percent of retail earnings are made during this one time of the year.  That is the reason stores usually extend shopping hours now.

But, the start of “Black Friday” has screwed up the entire shopping season.  At first, stores were opening as early at 4 AM on the Friday after Thanksgiving.  Since many people are off on that Friday, it made sense to get them out for early sales.  I have never really had a problem with that.  But, in the last few years, more and more stores have “extended” Black Friday to Thanksgiving Day.  I do have a problem with that.

I am sure we all have memories of sitting around the big dining room table with our families, in many cases extended families, and having a big turkey dinner.  We watched football on TV, or went outside for a friendly game of tag football with our parents and children.  It was a time of festive activities and good family fun.

Of course, there were some professions where people still had to work on Thanksgiving.  People like EMTs, Hospital Nurses, Police, Fire, and the Military were required to work.  But, very few other professions were required to work.

Now, Thanksgiving Day has lost its meaning.  Its meaning wasn’t lost because people stopped celebrating it.  It wasn’t lost because people became more secular.  It was lost because of the ever-present charge for the almighty dollar.  The dollar became more important than workers.  The dollar became more important than families.

The owners of these stores opening on Thanksgiving Day will certainly be home enjoying the time off.  They will certainly enjoy their big dinner in the company of their family and friends.  They will certainly be counting their blessings.  All the while, their employees will be forced to work so the owners can make more money.

It also strikes me that the vast majority of stores that are threatening employees with their jobs if they fail to go to work that day are the same companies who are fighting tooth-and-nail to keep the minimum wage low.  They are the same companies that are subsidizing their profits on the backs of the American Taxpayer by not providing health care coverage and/or a livable wage to their employees.

I ask Fox News why they haven’t manufactured a new story about Thanksgiving?  Why hasn’t Fox News campaigned against a “Corporate War on Thanksgiving” in their coverage?  Why hasn’t Rush Limbaugh railed against the unpatriotic behavior of these companies?  Why hasn’t Glenn Beck screamed into the microphone about how corporations are ruining Thanksgiving for the average people?

We are returning to the days when company’s are treating their employees like property and not people.  In the olden days of mining, the company owned everything.  They owned the houses around the mine that workers paid rent to live in.  They owned the stores where workers were forced to purchase their groceries, clothes and other items necessary.  They even charged the miners for their tools and explosives necessary to work in the mine.

The silence on the right is testimony to their total contempt of the “average person”.  It is testimony to their belief that workers are nothing more than property or tools for the wealthy to become more wealthy.  Then again, when you live in an oligarchy, this is what you should expect.

Let The Lunacy Begin, Again!

Last night, the President gave a 15 minute speech about Immigration Reform in which he announced his executive order.  The order contained three main parts.  The first was to increase border security to stop more people from coming into the country.  The second was to work to incentivize highly skilled immigrants to remain in the country.  The third was to delay deportation of people with U.S. citizen children or family members who are legally in the country.

The first point should have had the Republicans leaping out of their seats for joy.  But it didn’t.  Maybe that is because under the current administration, illegal immigration has fallen to record lows.  Illegal immigration is at rates comparable to the 1970s.  Plus, this administration has already deported about 400,000 illegal immigrants per year.  More than any other administration before him.

The second part is strongly supported by the Chamber of Commerce.  They want incentives to keep highly skilled immigrants in the country.  So, again the Republicans should be leaping up and down with joy.  But no, they didn’t seem to hear that part either.

The third part is the one that Republicans are screaming about.  All sorts of warnings and doom and gloom announcements have gushed forth from Republican mouths.  Even Sen. Coburn of Oklahoma sounded like a right-wing fringe nut.  He claims that this executive order could result in anarchy and/or violence.

Of course the one word that the right-wing nuts are throwing around is “amnesty”.  They claim that these people, up to about 4 million, are being granted amnesty.  As usual they are lying through the $4,000 fixed pearly white teeth!  The President did not grant amnesty.  He said the delay in deportation is for three years, it only covers people who have been here at least 5 years, and WILL NOT cover new illegal immigrants.

Yes, the order will allow them to get work visas and social security numbers.  It will also mean they will have to pay taxes on their earnings which they don’t have to now.  But, after three years, they must reapply to stay in the country.  That is not amnesty.  Oh, one more thing.  These people who are applying for their work visas and social security numbers must pass a background check to ensure they are not criminals!  How can that be construed as amnesty?

I rarely criticize other people’s intelligence.  But, I am having serious doubts about the intelligence and education of the vast number of Republican politicians.  I know, it is easy to say this is just baiting the public to hate the President, but I am not so sure they really know what they are talking about.  Yet, they want us to believe they actually know how to govern?

I almost wish I had watched the speech on Fox News last night.  I did hear a small pop coming from the New York Area.  That pop came when the President said:  “Scripture tells us that we shall not oppress a stranger, for we know the heart of a stranger – we were strangers once, too.”  If you don’t know what that pop was, it was Bill O’Reilly’s head exploding!  It really wasn’t a big bang.  We all know poor Bill doesn’t have much between the ears.

I must admit that I really don’t care much about Megan Kelly, but I fear she may be in jeopardy of losing her job at Fox.  Maybe she is at last coming to her senses, but I won’t hold my breath on that point.  She actually had a belated spasm of conscience Wednesday night and confessed that her network wasn’t being honest when referring to Obama’s action as “executive amnesty,” because “amnesty is citizenship and that’s not what [Obama] is talking about.”

She explained why her team uses the word: “That’s a hot-button term that the right uses to sort of get people upset.”  Of course, her colleagues kept up the amnesty onslaught throughout the rest of the night.  I am sure it has been said at least 1 million times already this morning and it’s only 8:30 in the morning.

This type of executive action is not new.  As the President said, every President in the last half-century has used executive action to reform the immigration system.  George H.W. Bush, issued a similar order about delaying deportation in the 1990s.  His order affected about 40% of the illegal population.  Surprise, surprise, President Obama’s action affects about 40% of the illegal population.  It is really tyrannical to do exactly what a Republican President did.

Rather than sitting down and having a serious dialogue about immigration reform, the Republicans are using the same rhetoric they have used ever since Obama became President.  They are threatening to shut down the government, again.  They are threatening “anarchy” as in Tom Coburn’s words.  They are threatening to defund the very agencies who are responsible to keep illegals out of the country.  They are threatening law suits.

As a matter of fact, the first law suit has been filed by the one Sheriff in the country who guilty of illegal tactics daily, Arpaio of Arizona.  His department is under court monitoring because the judge found that they were using racial profiling.  And, he has the gall to talk about constitutional authority?  He wouldn’t know constitutional authority if it bit him in the ass!

Finally, that splendid Speaker of The Do-Nothing House, John Boehner, is ranting about “doing the wishes of the people” again.  He has failed to bring up a single bill in the House for a vote that is supported by the vast majority of the American People.  The only person who really is not listening to the American People is John Boehner!  So, he should just shut up and try to govern.  In case you are wondering Mr. Boehner it is spelled G O V E R N.  And, yes you must be willing to accept responsibility in order to govern.  The President has, when will you?

None if this executive order is going to take effect until spring.  So, there is still time for the Republicans to come up with an immigration reform bill.  Any bill passed by Congress and signed by the President will end the executive order.  It shouldn’t be that hard, especially if you want to do the people’s wishes.

Approximately 60% of the American People even the U.S. Chamber of Commerce want Immigration Reform.  Not only that, they all want a vote on the already passed bi-partisan Senate Bill on Immigration Reform.

Instead of intelligent dialogue, we are entering the loony season.  The real problem is that the loons are willing to use you as a hostage in getting their way, even crashing the economy again, no matter how much you get hurt.  They have done it before, and they will do it again.

In a recent poll, it was reported that 57 percent of the American People believe in Climate Change and that man has a hand in causing it.  That same poll indicated that the majority of the American People wants Congress to do something about cleaning up our carbon emissions.

Speaker Boehner and Senate Minority Leader McConnell have said time and again that the Republicans only want to listen to the American People.  Congress has listened to the American People.  Not that they intend to act on the people’s wishes if they are in disagreement with the Republican agenda.

On Tuesday, while the Keystone XL Pipeline was going down to defeat in the Senate, Boehner and his Republican cronies were passing a law that would hamper the EPA in doing its mandated job of helping to clean up the environment and protecting public health.  The first law which was passed on Tuesday was framed by Republicans as a play for transparency.

H.R. 1422, which passed 229-191, would shake up the EPA’s Scientific Advisory Board, placing restrictions on those real troublesome scientists and creating room for experts with overt financial ties to the industries affected by EPA regulations.

Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Texas, argued that the board’s current structure is problematic because it  “excludes industry experts, but not officials for environmental advocacy groups.” The inclusion of industry experts, he said, would right this injustice.  Sounds reasonable, but…..

The part the Republicans like best is that the bill forbids scientific experts from participating in “advisory activities” that either directly or indirectly involve their own work.  In other words, experts would be forbidden from sharing their expertise in their own research – which was peer-reviewed.  The Republicans call that a conflict of interest.  But, the inclusion of industry “experts” is not a conflict of interest even though the industry experts are trying to block the EPA from instituting any regulations.

“In other words,” wrote Union of Concerned Scientists director Andrew A. Rosenberg in an editorial for RollCall, “academic scientists who know the most about a subject can’t weigh in, but experts paid by corporations who want to block regulations can.”  The White House has vowed to veto this bill if it ever reaches the President’s desk saying it would “negatively affect the appointment of experts and would weaken the scientific independence and integrity of the SAB.”

This is just the beginning.  There is another bill called “The Secret Science Reform Act” which would prohibit the EPA from proposing, finalizing or disseminating regulations or assessments based upon science that is not transparent or reproducible.”  As the Huffington Post reports:

While the bill’s language would not require the EPA to wait until its research was verified by an outside source to make recommendations, opponents say the bill’s requirements are murky.

“The bill attacks the mainstays of scientific investigation,” wrote Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.) in an email to The Huffington Post. “It would strip away the EPA’s authority to make any rules due to the stringency of the data disclosure requirements.

“The peer review process is the foundation of science inquiry in our society, and is a trusted evaluation of scientific evidence around the world,” he added. “This legislation attempts to dictate how the scientific method is employed,” he added. “The Secret Science Reform Act is an attempt by climate change deniers to stop the EPA from doing its job.”

The irony in all of this is that “industry studies” don’t seem to need the same “transparency” as government-funded studies.  Rep. Randy Weber (R-TX) asked why we think it’s okay to question the industry’s motives, but are more willing to trust government-funded studies, insisting that research with industry ties is a good thing.

Eileen Silbergeld, a professor at Johns Hopkins University, testified that the committee was going after the wrong people. “We need more information, and specifically we need more information disclosure from industry,” Silbergeld added. “I call on them to tear down every wall that hides critically important information that is generated and held by industry.”  There is nothing in this bill that would require industry to “tear down that wall” in industry studies.

Opponents argue that the trio of bills in the House are an attempt by  Republicans to effectively block the EPA from adopting any new rules to protect public health. Or as Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-Texas, in an editorial for the Hill said these bills represent “the culmination of one of the most anti-science and anti-health campaigns I’ve witnessed in my 22 years as a member of Congress.”

So, as you can see, the Republicans have listened to the American People.  But, what the American People have failed to realize thus far, is when Boehner and McConnell talk about the American People, they really mean their corporate donors.  Not the American People.  They simply believe that the American People are just too stupid to have a real voice.

When they talk about “small government” what they are really saying is that the American People are small and insignificant so our opinions don’t count!

The last twelve months have exposed a lot of problems in our society.  I am not talking about our political problems either.  In the last twelve months, we have seen certain people in our society get away with just about everything including vehicular homicide.

A drunk rich kid driving under the influence was involved in an accident that resulted in the death of someone.  His lawyer argued that he was suffering from a made-up infection called “affluenza” and was therefore not responsible for his actions.  The judge actually fell for this nonsense and he is spending no jail time for killing a human being while he was driving drunk.

At the end of last year when a football player (the star quarterback of the team) at a university had been accused of raping a student nothing was done about it.  Reports even stated that local police told the woman that her life would be hell if she went ahead with the charges because of whom she was accusing.

Then there was a rash of NFL players who were accused of domestic violence.  One of the players pled “no contest” to child abuse charges in order to avoid a trial that might have put him in jail.  The NFL announced that he would be suspended for the remainder the season.  He announced that he would immediately appeal the suspension since he has missed all of the season so far.  But, he has been paid for his time off.

A star NBA player was recently accused of child abuse but Florida decided not to do anything even though the doctor who examined the child stated that there was bruising on the child because he was beaten with the buckle end of a belt.  The player’s lawyer immediately accused the players estranged spouse of “making it all up” because of a very ugly custody battle.  In the meantime, the state of Georgia has announced it will look into the matter.

A New Jersey High School suspended the entire football season over allegations of abuse by some players on others.  Normally, this is called hazing.  But, the hazing went way beyond the lines of decency and some of the players are now facing criminal charges.  Yet, many in the community say the High School went too far, not the players.

Recently two more football players (both starters on the same team as the rape accusation) were reportedly involved in a traffic accident.  The accident resulted in the totaling of both vehicles involved, and reports indicate the accident was the fault of the football player.  Reportedly the player was driving on a suspended license and fled the scene on foot.  Instead of being charged with “hit and run” he was simply given two tickets and was never tested or even asked if he had used drugs or alcohol.

Bill Cosby has been accused by 14 women of being a serial rapist.  All of the women accused him of drugging them and raping them.  The first accusation came out about 20 years ago.  Again, nothing was done.  In one case, Mr. Cosby settled out of court so nothing else came of it.

The one thing all of these cases have in common is that the accused is a “personality” in public life.  Most of them are sports stars and one is a TV/Movie star.  In all cases, the victims involved are the ones who are being questioned about their “honesty”.  In the Cosby case, even Whoopi Goldberg said she has a lot of questions for the accuser.  Why doesn’t she have a lot of questions for Cosby instead?

In rape cases, victim blaming is a simple game that the accused plays all of the time.  Now, as we see, victim blaming is something that goes even beyond rape.  It has infected our justice system to a point where victims are becoming more and more afraid to come out with their story.

Or, in some cases we see where law enforcement is willing to turn a blind eye to the behavior just because the person being accused is some sort of celebrity.  You will probably tell me that this type of thing has been going on for years.  That may be true.  But, isn’t it time for it to stop?

Quite frankly, I never read the “entertainment” section of newspapers.  I really don’t care about the lives of celebrities.  I don’t care how rich people, movie stars, sports stars, or any other celebrity lives.  They can afford to live however they want.  But, I do care when they are involved in criminal activity and get away with it simply because they are celebrities.

I get even more irritated when people defend their behavior and put blame on the victims.  Or try to brush it off as “boys will be boys” stupidity.  The over-militarization of our police forces is a real problem that has led to tragedy across the nation.  However, the complicity of law enforcement in helping these celebrities get away with crimes is even more troublesome.

We have seen way too many times when law enforcement has turned a blind eye to celebrity misbehavior.  The victims have been hurt.  In some cases people have died.  Yet, they seem to get away with whatever they have been accused of doing.

With this kind of reaction whenever someone with a public name gets in trouble we have to ask ourselves just how balanced our justice system really is.  In some states if you are caught with a bag of marijuana you get at least 10 years in jail.  If you are a college football player who flees from the scene of an accident, you get “well that’s okay”.

If you are a star running back in the NFL and beat your then fiancé you get paid 5 million dollars to sit out a season and then cry foul when an actual suspension comes down for your behavior.  And, you get the union to back you up on the matter.

If you are a star quarterback on a college football team and get accused of rape, the police tell the victim that she will go through hell if she continues with the complaint.  Then, when there is a scheduled hearing to determine if you broke university conduct policy, you get the hearing put off until after the football season so you can continue to play.

If you are a star comedian who is accused of being a serial rapist over the last 20 years by as many as 14 women, your friends “have questions for the accuser” instead of you.  Forget the large number of women accusing you, they must all be liars.

I don’t know if everyone who has been involved in these cases are guilty or not.  I am not making an assumption of guilt.  I am questioning how these cases have been handled.  These cases show clearly that our judicial system may indeed be broken.  In most of them it clearly shows a lack of interest by law enforcement to fully investigate cases involving “celebrities”.

Cynics have claimed for years that guilt and innocence is determined more by how much money you have rather than the actual facts of the case.  When we continuously see these kinds of behavior towards celebrities, maybe the cynics are correct.  As a result maybe the Statue of Justice should not be blind folded and holding a scale, maybe she should have one eye open looking at the bag of money she is holding.

But then, we are all to blame for this mess.  If we continue to believe the accused simply because they are celebrities, nothing will change for the better.

Laura Ingraham has said that we should repeal “birthright” citizenship.  She believes that millions of immigrants are simply coming to America to have their babies so those babies can become legal citizens and therefore “game” the system for welfare benefits.  Her answer to this “problem” is to take away citizenship rights upon birth.

Birthright citizenship simply states that if you are born within the territorial boundaries of the U.S. and your parents are not in the service of a foreign government (i.e., diplomats, soldiers, etc.), then you are a citizen of the United States. Your parents don’t have to be citizens, nor do they have to be legal residents.

This came about with the passage of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution. It has enjoyed Supreme Court affirmation stretching all the way back to 1898.  If you’re born here, you’re afforded the same rights and privileges as anyone else, regardless of who your parents are.

But that is a huge problem for Conservatives like Ingraham.  See, they don’t want people who come here and have babies to have their children given the same rights as everyone else.  This may seem like a logical thing to do in many people’s minds.  And, a lot of people may be asking why a non-citizen who has a child in the U.S. automatically gains citizenship for that child.

But, there is a lot more to all of this than first meets the eye.  You all know that I rarely use the term “slippery slope”.  But, this is one time I think it is appropriate to do so.  The real thing that Ingraham wants to avoid is to let undocumented people have babies and then their babies automatically become citizens by simply being born here.  However, as usual, conservatives are not thinking this thing completely through.

They are using the phrase in the 14th Amendment that states:   “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.”  It is the “and subject to the jurisdiction thereof,” that they are arguing takes away the citizenship of someone who is born to non-citizens.  But, the Supreme Court and even the framers of the Amendment said it means that anyone working for a foreign government.  Meaning that people like diplomats are not subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, therefore, their children are not citizens.

Conservatives argue that phrase means if you are not a citizen, you are not subject to the jurisdiction of the U.S. and therefore your children born here are not citizens.  That is total nonsense.  Everyone in the U.S. who is not an employee of a foreign government is subject to the jurisdiction of the U.S.

Their argument opens up way too many doors.  What about non-citizens who are legally living in the U.S. with a “green card.”  Are their children who are born in the U.S. citizens under the birthright clause?  Even though their parents are legally in the country, they are not citizens.  According to the conservatives argument, their children should not attain citizenship just by birth.

If they were to change the constitution, how far back do we go on this matter?  Many Europeans and other groups who immigrated to the country through at least the 1970s were not given “green cards”.  They were not forced to seek citizenship either.  I remember going to the Post Office to get my grandfather an “Alien Registration Card” to be submitted.  In those days, way back in the 1960s any non-citizen had to send in an alien registration card every January.  That was the “green card” of the day.

Then we have to answer the question concerning those who were born outside the country, even if their parents are citizens.  Should we grant citizenship to children born to parents who voluntarily left the country for work or other reasons?  What about people who come here under political asylum status?  Should their children be granted automatic citizenship?  Can we trust everyone who claims political asylum status as really being loyal to the U.S.?

What about the Native Americans?  They didn’t gain citizenship until the 1900s.  Should we strip their citizenship too?  Especially those who live on the reservations with their own tribal councils.  Hell, if we strip them of their citizenship, we can deport them too.  Forget the fact they were here first.  That is just how sticky this whole “repeal birthright citizenship” can get.

My grandfather never became a citizen.  I wonder if, in the eyes of conservatives, that makes my mother a non-citizen or half citizen.  If she is a half citizen, does that make me a three-quarter citizen?  How big of a percentage makes a “full” citizen?  If all of this percentage talk sounds familiar, it is.  It was tried once over a different issue in 1930s Germany.  We all know what the results of that were.

Of course, Ingraham and the other conservatives are really after something completely different.  What they want is to strip citizenship from children whose parents may have come here illegally so they can be deported with their parents.  As it stands, children who are citizens cannot be deported.  That is one of the major issues in the current fight about immigration reform.  The President wants illegal immigrants who have children born in the country, thereby citizens, not to be deported which breaks up families.

The conservatives want them all out regardless if the children are citizens by law.  Since they are citizens by law, the simple answer is to change the law so they are no longer citizens.  That seems to them to be the best way to keep America as homogenized as possible.  Hispanics are not the only group of people who have come here “illegally”, but they are the ones who are being targeted by conservatives like Ingraham.

Ingraham and her conservative wackos really do want a homogenized country without all those non-whites.  By stripping non-white people of their citizenship, it won’t be possible for them to vote in future elections.  And we all know how Republicans feel about non-white people voting in our elections.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 187 other followers