The First 100 Days of President Barack Obama

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Now the first 100 day of the Obama Administration was not as dramatic as the first 100 days of the Franklin Roosevelt Administration, but in my view it’s pretty impressive especially considering how polarized the 111th Congress is.

Here is a listing of the  federal legislation passed during President Obama’s first 100 days:

Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009
Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (SCHIP)
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA)
Omnibus Appropriations Act of 2009
Omnibus Public Land Management Act
Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act

Lets start with the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.  This became law on January 29, 2009.  This bill amends the Civil Rights Act of 1964 stating that the 180-day statute of limitations for filing an equal-pay lawsuit regarding pay discrimination resets with each new discriminatory paycheck.

The law was a direct answer to  Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. a 2007 Supreme Court decision that stated that the statue of limitations begins on the date that the rate of pay was  agreed upon not the date of the most recent paycheck that a lower court had ruled.

Republicans claimed that this bill would help to initiate frivolous lawsuits and would be unfair to business.  Democrats supported the bill claiming that it would make it easier for employees to combat wage discrimination.

The next bill enacted was the Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (SCHIP).  This is a program that provides matching funds to states for health insurance to families with children. The program was designed with the intent to cover uninsured children in families with incomes that are modest but too high to qualify for Medicaid.

This was in essence a renewal of this program that was originally a part of the Balanced Budget Act of 1997.

SCHIP is a partnership between federal and state governments. The programs are run by the individual states according to requirements set by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. States may design their SCHIP programs as an independent program separate from Medicaid (separate child health programs), use SCHIP funds to expand their Medicaid program (SCHIP Medicaid expansion programs), or combine these approaches (SCHIP combination programs). States receive enhanced federal funds for their SCHIP programs at a rate above the regular Medicaid match.

The bill was passed by a mostly party line vote in both houses and became law on February 4, 2009.

The next bill put into law was the  American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA).  This act became law on February 17, 2009.  This law is commonly referred to as the stimulus package that was enacted to stimulate the economy that was in the throws of a deep recession of which we are still trying to recover from.

This is a very complicated bill.  To briefly sum it up you could say that the government attempted to pump money into the economy in a Keynesian style  way.  In short it was a kind of mini New Deal.  It provided funds for various public works projects and provided tax breaks and incentives for businesses and individuals as well.  I plan on discussing this act in a later installment on this blog.  you could write books on this act alone.  There is a lot more to this act than what I’ve stated here.

The next act to discuss is the Omnibus Appropriations Act of 2009. This became law on March 11, 2009.  This act combines bills funding the operations of each of the Cabinet departments, except Defense, Homeland Security, and Veteran Affairs into a single appropriation bill. This bill passed on pretty much party lines as well.

The act to pass is the   Omnibus Public Land Management Act. This act became law on March 30, 2009.  This is a very complex act broken up into 15 Titles.  I will list each separately in order to make it easier to explain.

Title I

Title I of the bill designates two million acres of wilderness in nine states (California, Colorado, Idaho, Michigan, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Virginia, and West Virginia) for protection through addition to the National Wilderness Preservation System.

Title II

Title II establishes a National Landscape Conservation System, to include Bureau of Land Management-administered National Monuments, National Conservation Areas, Wilderness Study Areas, components of the National Trails System, components of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System, and components of the National Wilderness Preservation System.

It also designates three new National Conservation Areas as well as transferring lands in Nevada, Utah, Idaho, and Washington to federal control.

Title III

Title III authorizes the United States Secretary of Agriculture to, through the Chief of the United States Forest Service, conduct studies in the interest of preserving open space in southern Colorado and deliver an annual report on the wildland firefighter safety practices…including training programs and activities for wildland fire suppression, prescribed burning, and wildland fire use, during the preceding calendar year.

Title IV

Title IV authorizes the Chief of the Forest Service to solicit (from regional foresters) nominations of forest landscapes of at least 50,000 acres, primarily consisting of national forest lands, which are in need of active ecosystem restoration, for the carrying out of ecological restoration treatments. The Chief, acting on behalf of the Secretary of Agriculture, then may select up to ten of these proposals, aided by a fifteen-member advisory board, to be funded in any given fiscal year. For each proposal selected, 50% of the expenditures of the execution and monitoring of ecological restoration treatments would be paid for by a Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Fund in the United States Treasury. However, each proposal’s expenditures are limited to $4 million per year.

Title V

Title V designates thousands of miles of new additions to the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. It also adds six trails to the National Trails System.

Title VI

Title VI creates a number of new United States Department of the Interior programs.

Another part of Title VI, the Paleontological Resources Preservation Act.  This provision establishes stronger penalties than previously required for nonpermitted removal of scientifically significant fossils from federal lands.

Title VII

Title VII makes three additions to the National Park System and expands current National Park designations. It also authorizes an American Battlefield Protection Program, a Preserve America program, a Save America’s Treasures Program, and a Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program, all to be carried out by the National Park Service.

Title VIII

Title VIII designates ten new National Heritage Areas .

Title IX

Title IX authorizes three new studies to examine new reclamation projects under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Reclamation. It also creates 15 new water and endangered fish projects in four states. F Title IX also puts some federal water reclamation facilities under local control and funds conservation efforts.

Title X

Title X codifies the settlements of three water disputes in California, Nevada, and New Mexico. This will help end years of litigation between these states in regards to water rights which is a huge issue in the West.

Title XI

Title XI reauthorizes the National Geologic Mapping Act of 1992 as well as  authorizing groundwater surveys in New Mexico.

Title XII

Title XII creates five new oceanic observation, research, and exploration programs including programs for undersea research, undersea and coastal mapping, acidification research, and ocean conservation.

Title XIII

Amends the Fisheries Restoration and Irrigation Mitigation Act of 2000 and the Alaska Natural Gas Pipeline Act.

Title XIV

The Christopher and Dana Reeve Paralysis Act, provides  for coordinated paralysis research by the National Institutes of Health.

Title XV

Grants the Smithsonian Institution funds to build laboratories and greenhouses at three Smithsonian institutions.

This is a very complex act which provides funding to many different projects.  In my view many of the projects listed here are helpful to stimulating money in a recession wracked economy.

The final piece of federal legislation passed during the first 100 days of the Obama Administration is the  Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act. This bill became law on April 21, 2009.

In a nutshell this law expands reauthorizes and expands the Americorps which was created in 1993 and was one of the pet projects of President Bill Clinton who saw it as an updated version of the CCC.

Now if you go back and compare the administrations of Franklin Roosevelt and Barack Obama during the beginning of both of their administrations you can easily come up to the conclusion that the Roosevelt Administration was more productive.

There are two factors that you have to take into consideration though.  First of all in 1933 we were in the middle of a deep depression and it was truly a national emergency.  One out of every four workers was unemployed, banks were failing and people were losing their homes to foreclosures at an alarming rate.

There was fear of revolution.  The Red Scare was still very prevalent at the time.  Farmers were even attacking bankers and attorneys at auctions to prevent their farms from being foreclosed.

The second factor was that President Roosevelt was not involved in the polarization that is so wide spread in today’s political arena.  Republicans in the 1930’s didn’t like what the President was proposing but they felt that he deserved a chance.  If it didn’t work then they would be back in power in four years.  I think that this should be a lesson for today’s GOP.

I think that President Obama has done an outstanding job and he has accomplished a lot in spite of all the opposition and interference that he has received from the other side.  You cannot for one minute claim that he has done nothing.  If the Republican’s weren’t so obstructionist, his first 100 days would have rivaled those of President Roosevelt.

The First 100 Days of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt

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The First 100 Days of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt

 

During the past few years there has been a lot written comparing the first hundred days of the FDR Administration with the first hundred days of the Obama Administration.

Since many of us were not even alive during the dark days of the Great Depression, I think that it is appropriate to examine exactly what federal legislation was passed during those scary dark days.

I think that I will list each one passed and elaborate on them individually.

Here is the list:

March 9, 1933: Emergency Banking Relief Act

March 20, 1933: Economy Act of 1933

March 31, 1933: Civilian Conservation Corps Reforestation Relief Act

May 12, 1933: Federal Emergency Relief Act

May 12, 1933: Agricultural Adjustment Act

May 18, 1933: Tennessee Valley Authority Act

May 27, 1933: Securities Act

June 13, 1933: Home Owners’ Loan Act

June 16, 1933: Glass-Steagall Act (Banking Act of 1933)

June 16, 1933: National Industrial Recovery Act

June 16, 1933: Farm Credit Act of 1933

It should be noted that the President was not sworn into office until March 4, 1933. This was the last time that this would happen. The 20th Amendment changed the date to January 20th but it wouldn’t take effect until 1937.

It should also be noted that Congress was not in session on Inauguration Day. President Roosevelt after he was sworn in called a special session of Congress from March 4, 1933 to March 6, 1933 to address the crisis. The regular session of Congress was due to begin on March 9th so basically the President was starting their session early.

Let’s discuss the Emergency Banking Relief Act. Here are its provisions:

Title I, Section 1. To affirm any orders or regulations the President or Secretary of the Treasury had given since March 4, 1933.

Title I, Section 2. To give the President the ability to declare a national emergency and have absolute control over the national finances and foreign exchange of the United States in the event of such an emergency.

Title I, Section 3. To authorize the Secretary of the Treasury to order any individual or organization in the United States to deliver any gold that they possess or have custody of to the Treasury in return for “any other form of coin or currency coined or issued under the laws of the United States”.

Title I, Section 4. To make it illegal for a bank to do business during a national emergency (per section 2) without the approval of the President.

Title II. To enable the Comptroller of the Currency (a post in the US Treasury) to take complete control of and operate any bank in the United States or its territories and to establish the terms and conditions under which bank is administered.

Title III. To allow banks to disown their debts with the permission of the Comptroller of the Currency and a majority vote of their stockholders.

Title IV, Section 401. To allow Federal Reserve banks to convert any US debt obligation (such as a bond) into cash at par value and any check, draft, banker acceptance, etc, into cash at 90% of its apparent value.

Title IV, Section 402. To allow the Federal Reserve banks to make unsecured loans to any member bank at an interest rate of 1% over the prevailing discount rate.

Title IV, Section 403. To allow Federal Reserve banks to make loans to anyone for up to 90 days if the loan is secured by a general obligation of the United States (such as a Treasury bond, for example).

Title V, Section 501. Appropriation of $2,000,000 to the President for carrying out this legislation.

Title V, Section 502. (a severability clause)

 

This was introduced to a joint session of Congress and was passed the same evening amid a lot of chaos and confusion. There was only one copy of the bill and most members of Congress voted on it without even reading the provisions of the bill. The Clerk had the only viable copy of it.

On March 5th, the President had declared a “Bank Holiday” and all banks were required to close. The Federal Reserve had assured that all re-opened banks would have an unlimited supply of cash to guarantee deposits.

Prior to the Bank Holiday there were several runs on banks and many people were hoarding their money no longer trusting banks and there was a real concern that the public would no longer trust banks.

On March 12, 1933, President Roosevelt conducted his first Fireside Chat. He explained this new law to the public and assured them that the newly re-opened banks would be safer than stuffing your money in a mattress.

On March 13, 1933, the banks re-opened. People stood in line to return their cash that they had stashed. Within two weeks, Americans had returned more than half the cash that they had hoarded.

This law was only a temporary measure. The Banking Act of 1933 replaced this temporary measure and it also set up the Federal Depository Insurance Corporation (FDIC) which guaranteed deposits up to a certain amount. This law ended the bank runs that were so prevalent during the Great Depression.

Next is the Economy Act of 1933. This act was fairly controversial due to the fact that it reduced the benefits of veterans from World War I and the Spanish-American War. As a result, many veterans lost disability pensions or they were greatly reduced. This measure also substantially cut the salaries of federal employees. This was an attempt to cut the federal budget deficit.

This law had little effect on the economy or the budget and was short lived.

The next measure was the Civilian Conservation Corps Reforestation Relief Act (CCC). This measure became law on March 31, 1933. This act was a public work relief program for unemployed men age 18-25, providing unskilled manual labor related to the conservation and development of natural resources in rural areas of the U.S. from 1933 until 1942. Each enrollee was trained at an army camp and once work began they were paid $1 a day plus room and board. Over three million men worked for the CCC and it was one of the most popular programs of the New Deal.

All 48 states had CCC projects including the territories of Alaska and Hawaii as well as the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

It was only considered a temporary program and Congress ended its funding on June 30, 1942 during World War II.

The next act was the Federal Emergency Relief Act (FERA). This became law on May 12, 1933. It replaced the Emergency Relief Administration which was passed under the Hoover Administration to provide loans to the states in order to operate state relief operations.

The main difference between the two was that Hoovers provided loans and Roosevelt’s provided grants to the states to provide emergency relief to the citizens.

FERA’s main goal was to alleviate unemployment by creating unskilled jobs in the state and local government. The theory was that even though it was more expensive to hire someone then to simply hand out the money, it was considered better for the individuals self worth if they actually worked for the money. Between May of 1933 and December of 1935 FERA gave states and localities $3.1 billion. FERA provided work for over 20 million people and developed facilities on public lands across the country.

Faced with continued high unemployment and concerns for public welfare during the coming winter of 1933-34, FERA instituted the Civil Works Administration (CWA) as a $400 million short-term measure to get people to work.

FERA utilized quite a few diverse projects including construction, projects for writers, artists and musicians as well as the production of consumer goods.

FERA also instituted adult education programs as well and FERA employed over 2,000 teachers nation wide.

FERA was terminated in 1935 and many of its projects were taken over by the newly formed agencies of the Works Progress Administration (WPA) and the Social Security Administration.

The Agricultural Adjustment Act (AAA) was passed on May 12, 1933. This measure was passed to restrict agricultural production nation wide by paying farmers for reducing crop area thus enabling crop prices to rise. The money for these subsidies was generated through an exclusive tax on companies which processed farm products. It was considered the first modern farm bill. In 1936, the Supreme Court case United States v. Butler declared the Act unconstitutional for levying this tax on the processors only to have it paid back to the farmers. Regulation of agriculture was deemed a state power. However, the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1938 remedied these issues.

On May 18, 1933 the Tennessee Valley Authority Act became law. This act set up the first government run public utility. It provides electricity to the states of Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Kentucky, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia, Indiana and Virginia.

Previously, many of these areas were without electricity and extremely poor. This measure is still in force today and has been highly successful.

On May 27, 1933 the Securities Act of 1933 was passed. It requires that any offer or sale of securities using the means and instrumentalities of interstate commerce be registered pursuant to the 1933 Act, unless an exemption from registration exists under the law.

This was the first federal legislation to regulate the offer and sale of securities. Prior to this act, states regulated securities.

The reason this act was passed because it was felt that more regulation was needed in this area and abuses in the way securities were bought and sold was one of the primary contributors to the Stock Market Crash of 1929On June 13, 1933 the Home Owners’ Loan Corporation Act was passed. This act set up the Home Owners’ Loan Corporation (HOLC) whose purpose was to refinance home mortgages currently in default to prevent foreclosure. This was accomplished by selling bonds to lenders in exchange for the home mortgages. Through its work the HOLC prevented over a million homes from being foreclosed.

When the HOLC ended its operations in 1951 and liquidated its assets, it actually turned a small profit.

The Glass-Steagall Act (Banking Act of 1933) became law on June 16, 1933. This act set up the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and it instituted some banking reforms as well. It also separated investment banking from depository banking.

This act was repealed in 1999 and many believe that as a result the financial crisis of 2007-2010 was actually made worse.

The FDIC is still in force by its own act, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Improvement Act of 1991 (FDICIA).

On June 16, 1933 the National Industrial Recovery Act was adopted. This authorized the President to regulate industry and permit cartels and monopolies in an attempt to stimulate economic recovery, and established a national public works program.

Section 7 (a) guaranteed the bargaining rights of employees and it is considered the first law which guaranteed the workers right to organize.

This act set up various public works projects nationwide and by permitting some monopolies it was hoped that between the two it would stimulate the economy.

It was run by two agencies, the National Recovery Administration (NRA) for the business and industry part and the Public Works Administration (PWA) for the public works end.

On May 27, 1935 the Supreme Court declared the NRA unconstitutional under the grounds that the Executive Branch had exceeded its authority in writing codes without the consent of the Legislative Branch.

On the same day, June 16, 1933, the Farm Credit Act of 1933 was enacted creating the Farm Credit Administration (FCA).

The FCA regulates and examines banks and associations of the Farm Credit System. It helped farmers to refinance mortgages over a longer period of time at below market interest rates. Many farmers who were affected by the Dust Bowl were able to save their farms because of this act.

This one hundred day marathon was the most productive Presidency in American history. Not every measure that President Roosevelt tried worked. Many feel that the WPA was a complete failure. At least he tried to make conditions better for Americans.

Many of his measures helped pull the US out of the dark days of the Great Depression.

Many people believe that World War II actually ended the Great Depression. That may be the case but I believe that the measures tried by the Roosevelt Administration would have eventually done the trick; it just would’ve taken longer.

There were more things that the President did by executive order; I’m just listing the statutes here.

Much of the opposition to the New Deal are the same worn out arguments that we hear from Republicans in 2010. As usual, no new ideas. They merely want to return to the laisse faire mentality of the Harding, Coolidge, Hoover years.

In my next installment, we will examine the accomplishments of President Barack Obama. Although they are not as profound as President Roosevelt’s, they are pretty amazing in their own right.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Constitutional Amendments That The Republican-Tea Party Want To Abolish Or Alter Part III

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This is my third and final installment of Constitutional Amendments that the Republican-Tea Party (RTP) wants to alter or abolish prior to today’s election.  This one in particular puzzles me the most.  They want to eliminate the 17th Amendment.  This is the amendment that provides for the popular election of Senators.  Prior to this Amendment, they were appointed by the State Legislatures.

Here is the Amendment:

XVII Amendment

1: The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, elected by the people thereof, for six years; and each Senator shall have one vote. The electors in each State shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the State legislatures.

2: When vacancies happen in the representation of any State in the Senate, the executive authority of such State shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies: Provided, That the legislature of any State may empower the executive thereof to make temporary appointments until the people fill the vacancies by election as the legislature may direct.

3: This amendment shall not be so construed as to affect the election or term of any Senator chosen before it becomes valid as part of the Constitution.

I’m not going to break down this amendment section by section.  It’s intent and purpose is fairly self explanatory.   It provided for the direct election of Senators replacing the previous method which was appointment by the State Legislatures.

The history behind this amendment will help explain why this amendment was enacted.  It began in the 1850’s during the pre-Civil War era struggles between Free States and Slave States.

These difficulties always occurred when Congress was not in session.  The slavery issue was dividing the country and making it extremely difficult to get business taken care of.

In Indiana a new Senator was not in place from 1855-1857 and in California, the same thing happened during the same two years.

After the Civil War, it became worse and finally Congress attempted to reform the laws regarding Senator selection by State Legislatures.  These methods were fairly ineffective and there was finally a push in the early 1900’s to get a Constitutional Amendment to provide for direct election of US Senators.  This fight was led by Senator Robert M. LaFollette a Progressive from Wisconsin.

He felt that there was too much corruption involved with the process of having the Legislatures appoint Senators.  He also believed that having Senators directly elected would help to eliminate a lot of the dishonesty involved in the current process that was in force at the time.

This Amendment was approved by Congress and it was ratified by the State Legislatures and became part of the Constitution in 1913.

Now why would the RTP want to revert back to having the State Legislatures elect the Senators instead of the people?  That’s a really good question.  All I can to at this point is offer conjecture  because there is no real logical explanation for their motives.

Since corruption and dishonesty appears to be one of their main motives this would fall into place with their ideals.  Why have the people elect Senators when they can pull the process back into the smoke filled rooms where graft and bribery are so commonplace?  This to me is one of the reasons and the other reason is completely logical to me.  Most of the current State Legislatures are controlled by the RTP.  It is logical to conclude that these Legislatures would appoint someone from within their own ranks.  Hence a RTP majority would be guaranteed.

Think about this for a minute.  The RTP hates Liberals and Democrats because they consider them elitist. Why is it that Liberals want to involve more people in the democratic process?  Liberals are inclusive, we try to bring people together.  The RTP is exclusive, they push people away.

Finally, the Constitution is not just some dusty old document resting in a museum somewhere.  IT IS A LIVING, BREATHING DOCUMENT that changes and evolves over time.

The framers of the Constitution made altering it a difficult process.  They realized that deep thought and careful consideration was required before changes should be made.

You have to remember that when the Constitution was written our form of government was radical and untested.  It was called the “Great American Experiment.”  Our liberties were recently won in battle from Great Britain and every country in Europe was watching us waiting for our government to fail.

We proved to the world that our form of government although not perfect, was the most responsive to the will and needs of the people.

When you vote today, remember that your vote will change the course of history for our great country.  Either you want to move forward with continued PROGRESS or  you will vote for the RTP and go backwards or REGRESS.  The choice is yours.  Please think before you vote.  Our future will depend on it.

Constitutional Amendments That The Republican-Tea Party Want To Abolish Or Alter Part II

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The next amendment that the Republican-Tea Party (RTP) wants to tamper with is the 16th Amendment.  The wording to this particular amendment is short and to the point.  Here it is as follows:

XVI Amendment

The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.

In a nutshell, this amendment gives Congress the power and authority to collect income taxes on income earned from individuals, businesses and corporations.  Through this amendment the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) was given the authority to collect taxes and to enforce tax laws.

For some strange reason which I cannot fathom, the RTP wants to abolish this amendment.  There are even factions of the RTP that claim that the IRS is unconstitutional!  How can that be?  This amendment clearly states that income taxes can be collected and gives the authority to do so.

If  this amendment is abolished eliminating income taxes, how exactly does the RTP propose to replace the revenues?  You simply cannot eliminate revenue without having a means of replacing lost revenue.  The government still has to function.  As far as I know, no one in the RTP has answered this question.

Maybe we should take a look at how taxes were collected BEFORE 1913 when this amendment was ratified.

Prior to the 16th Amendment, there were three main types of taxes.  There were poll taxes, tariffs and excise taxes.

Let’s start with poll taxes.  A Poll Tax or Capitation Tax was a per head tax.  Each individual had to pay this tax and it was uniform nationwide.   These taxes quite often were collected at the polls on Election Day, hence the term Poll Tax.  If you couldn’t pay the tax, you couldn’t vote.  This was declared unconstitutional by the 24th Amendment in 1964.

Now let’s examine tariffs.  Tariffs are taxes on imported goods.  They serve two purposes.  The first purpose is to raise revenue and the second purpose is to protect national business interests.  That type of tariff is called a Protective Tariff.

A tariff was the first source of income for the United States.  The Tariff Act of 1789 was the name of this act.  Tariffs were also the main source of income for the US until the enactment of the 16th Amendment in 1913.  Tariffs are still used today but to a lesser degree than what they were used in the past.

Collecting a tariff is relatively simple. When a ship enters port before they unload, they must pay a tariffs on the goods being unloaded.  If they don’t pay, they can’t unload.  Very simple and efficient.

A Protective Tariff is another matter all together.  These tariffs are set up to prevent cheap overseas products from flooding the market thus damaging the national economy.  These tariffs are very political in nature and using them has always ignited intensive debate.

An Excise Tax is an indirect tax or an event tax.  Examples of this are gasoline taxes, cigarette taxes, or alcohol taxes.  Also, title transfer taxes, luxury taxes and inheritance taxes are also considered Excise Taxes.

The first Income Tax was imposed during the Civil War to help pay for the cost of the war.  This was the Revenue Act Act of 1861 followed by the Revenue Act of 1862.  This leveled the first Income tax.  These acts were repealed in 1872.

In 1894, Income Tax was re established as part of the 1894 Tariff Act.

In 1895, the Supreme Court in ‘Pollock v. Farmers’ Loan & Trust Co.’ stated that the Income Tax was a direct tax and therefore impracticable and unconstitutional as currently collected.  Due to this the Federal Government stopped collecting income taxes until the ratification of the 16th Amendment in 1913.

Now, if the RTP wants to maintain the government, how do they propose to do this?  Protective tariffs cannot be utilized because they violate several trade agreements.  NAFTA and GATT come to mind here plus there are several others.

What about Poll Taxes?  They were declared unconstitutional in 1964 with the 24th Amendment.  What else does that leave?

It’s simple.  It leaves excise taxes.  They will have to significantly increase the amount of excise taxes to adequately  compensate for lost revenues and this will really damage our fragile economy.

The last tax that they could use is used virtually world wide but not in the United States.  That is the Value Added Tax (VAT).  The VAT is a consumption tax that is based on the estimated market value of a product at each level of production or distribution.

I don’t really think that the RTP would go for this because it is is similar to the flat tax proposal that gets floated around from time to time.  Recent proponents are Mike Huckabee and Steve Forbes. There are no loopholes and the rich would not be able to avail themselves to any tax breaks.  Anything you buy will have a VAT applied.  No exceptions.

Once again, think hard before you cast your vote.  If these people get into power our very way of life will be altered for a very very long time.  Our future depends on sanity not insanity.  Please think about this.  Future generations are depending on you to make the right choice.  We must go forward!

 

 

Constitutional Amendments That The Republican-Tea Party Want To Abolish Or Alter Part I

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I realize that the election is in two days and no matter what I write will make no difference, but I thought that I would compose some essays in three parts compiling what Constitutional Amendments the Republican-Tea Party wants to alter or abolish.

First I will list the particular amendment and then I will break it down section by section and we will examine what exactly they want to do.

Article XIV

1: 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.   No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

2: Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed. But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the Executive and Judicial officers of a State, or the members of the Legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty-one years of age, and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such State. affects 2

3: No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.

4: The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.

5: The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

Let’s take a look at Section 1.  It reads:  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. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Basically what this section is stating is that everyone born in the United States are natural born citizens of the Untied States and are are subject to the laws of the United States.  It also states that the States do not have the right to deny any citizens the rights that they are entitled to.

This is the main section of this amendment that the RTP (Republican-Tea Party) objects to.  They believe that many people come to the US to have babies, thus making the new babies citizens.  They call them “Anchor Babies.”

What they want to do is to alter this section  so that babies born of foreign nationals are not guaranteed citizenship.

Here lies the problem .  If you deny citizenship status to children whose parents are undocumented foreign nationals, what guarantees are there that citizenship status of other natural born Americans will not be removed?

Seriously think about this for a moment.  Any group could be targeted.  African-Americans, Mexican-Americans, Irish-Americans, etcetera.   You get the idea.

Why stop at ethnic groups?   Religions could be the next target.  Why not strip citizenship from Muslims?  How about Mormons or Buddhists?  Take it to another group, Roman Catholics!  Yes, Catholics, we know that they’ve been persecuted before and not that long ago.

To alter or abolish this section, you are traveling down a slippery slope  that you may not be able to stop.  This could be just the beginning.

Here is Section 2.  Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed. But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the Executive and Judicial officers of a State, or the members of the Legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty-one years of age, and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such State.

Basically this section is referring to representation in Congress.  Prior to the end of the Civil War, slaves were not counted in federal census as a whole person.  They were counted as three fifths of a person for determining the number of representatives for each state.  This was a compromise between free states and slave states when the Constitution was written.

The other part deals with the right to vote which was denied to persons who fought for the Confederacy during the Civil War.  This is also the section that states use to deny the right to vote to convicted felons.  As far as I know, the RTP does not object to this section.

Now for Section 3.  No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.

This section simply states that no one can hold public office either in the Federal or State governments or the military who had previously served in the Confederate Government or military during the Civil War.  This provision was not enforced as there were several members of the US Army who were former  Confederate soldiers fighting in the Indian Wars after the Civil War.

This section also prohibits anyone from holding office who has given aid and comfort to the enemy in wars following the Civil War.  The RTP does not oppose this section either.

Now for Section 4.  The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.

This section is a Civil War era section about the Federal Government promising to pay debts and pensions incurred during the war.  It also is declaring null and void all pensions and debts of the former Confederacy.   This has no bearing on today’s political debate.

Now for Section 5.  The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

This is merely the enforcement clause.

People need to think what they are voting for this November 2nd.  If the RTP gets their way and tries to alter or abolish this particular amendment, no one’s citizenship rights are guaranteed.  We will no longer be citizens, but subjects.  We will be subject to the will and desires of whomever happens to be in power.  Think about this before you vote.  This election will determine the course that the United States will go.  Please vote responsibly!

Why Can’t We Live In Peace???

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Everybody remembers what happened on September 11, 2001. This of course was the day that the World Trade Center in New York City was attacked.

Later it was discovered that this was a terrorist operation funded by and carried out by Islamic extremists.  It was then that the anti-Islamic biases began in the United States, or at least that is the popular assumption.

Let me take you back to an earlier time.  The date was November 4, 1979.  I was a freshman at Western Michigan University and this was the date that the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, Iran was overrun and sixty-six persons were taken hostage for 444 days.

My university had a large population of students from the Middle East; some of them were very close friends of mine and this event shocked and upset them greatly.

My best friend Mohammad from Saudi Arabia was studying to be a doctor and he was appalled by the violence of the entire situation.

After the initial shock of the events unfurling life returned to some sort of normalcy on campus with the exception of several hate crimes committed against Muslim students.

What shocked me the most was that “Christian” students didn’t seem outraged by this.  Most of them has an “oh well” attitude.  I was really concerned for the safety of my friends.  Most of them walked to class in packs for safety reasons.

I remember driving my car though campus one early winter day.  There was this woman, dressed in black from head to toe trying to walk, but she was being pelted by rocks from other students.

I stopped my car to let her in and she refused to enter.  I had to get out of the car and push her into the passenger side.

She said to me, “Don’t you hate me because I’m Iranian?” I told her that I don’t hate anyone even if I dislike your government, I cannot hate, it’s not in my character.  After that exchange we drove off to a safer location where I dropped her off.

The hatred for Muslims continued well past the Iranian Hostage Crisis right up to the present day.

Even on October 6, 1981 when President Anwar El-Sadat was murdered by his own military few Americans even shed a tear.  I was devastated.  This man in my view was the last great hope for peace in a region that has never seen peace.

Now in the 21st Century many Americans hate Muslims just for being Muslim.  They don’t bother to look at the person, only the religion.  This is so sad.

Many Americans look at a Muslim and they see a terrorist.  When I see a Muslim, I think of a very dear friend of mine who lives in Egypt.  She is studying to be a lawyer.

When I look at her face or look at those big beautiful brown eyes of hers, I see that the future has hope.  There is no way in the world that I could possibly hate this person just because she follows the Islamic faith.  After all, we all worship the same God, just in different ways.

Don’t forget, many Muslims look at the Christian Crusaders as terrorists too.  Maybe the time has come for all humanity to realize that in many ways we are all the same.  All of us are God’s children.  Why can’t we live in peace!

TIMELINE OF IMMIGRATION TO U.S. 1815-1950

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TIMELINE OF IMMIGRATION TO U.S. 1815-1950

1815: The first great wave of immigration begins, bringing 5 million immigrants between 1815 and 1860.

1818: Liverpool becomes the most-used port of departure for Irish and British immigrants.

1819: The first federal legislation on immigration requires notation of passenger lists.

1820: The U.S. population is about 9.6 million. About 151,000 new immigrants arrive in 1820 alone.

1825: Great Britain decrees that England is overpopulated and repeals laws prohibiting emigration. The first group of Norwegian immigrants arrive.

1846-7: Crop failures in Europe. Mortgage foreclosures send tens of thousands of the dispossessed to United States.

1846: Irish of all classes emigrate to the United States as a result of the potato famine.

1848: German political refugees emigrate following the failure of a revolution.

1862: The Homestead Act encourages naturalization by granting citizens title to 160 acres.

1875: First limitations on immigration. Residency permits required of Asians.

1880: The U.S. population is 50,155,783. More than 5.2 million immigrants enter the country between 1880 and 1890.

1882: Chinese exclusion law is established. Russian anti-Semitism prompts a sharp rise in Jewish emigration.

1890: New York is home to as many Germans as Hamburg, Germany.

1891: The Bureau of Immigration is established. Congress adds health qualifications to immigration restrictions.

1892: Ellis Island replaces Castle Garden.

1894-6: To escape Moslem massacres, Armenian Christians emigrate.

1897: Pine-frame buildings on Ellis Island are burned to the ground in a disastrous fire.

1900: The U.S. population is 75,994,575. More than 3,687,000 immigrants were admitted in the previous ten years. Ellis Island receiving station reopens with brick and ironwork structures.

1906: Bureau of Immigration is established.

1910: The Mexican Revolution sends thousands to the United States seeking employment.

1914-8: World War I halts a period of mass migration to the United States.

1921: The first quantitave immigration law sets temporary annual quotas according to nationality. Immigration drops off.

1924: The National Origins Act establishes a discriminatory quota system. The Border Patrol is established.

1940: The Alien Registration Act calls for registration and fingerprinting of all aliens. Approximately 5 million aliens register.

1946: The War Brides Act facilitates the immigration of foreign-born wives, fiances, husbands, and children of U.S. Armed Forces personnel.

1952: The Immigration and Naturalization Act brings into one comprehensive statute the multiple laws that govern immigration and naturalization to date.

1954: Ellis Island closes, marking an end to mass immigration.

Distribution of Immigrants Before 1790:

Africa: 360,000

England: 230,000

Ulster: 135,000

Germany: 103,000

Scotland: 48,500

Ireland: 8,000

Netherlands: 6,000

Wales: 4,000

France: 3,000

Jews: 2,000

Sweden: 500

1790 U.S. Ancestry Groups:

English: 1,900,000

African: 750,000

Scotch-Irish: 320,000

German: 280,000

Irish: 200,000

Scottish: 160,000

Welsh: 120,000

Dutch: 100,000

French: 80,000

Native Am. : 50,000

Spanish: 20,000

Swedish and other 20,000

Who Was Shut Out?: Immigration Quotas, 1925–1927

In response to growing public opinion against the flow of immigrants from Southern and Eastern Europe in the years following World War I, Congress passed first the Quota Act of 1921 then the even more restrictive Immigration Act of 1924 (the Johnson-Reed Act). Initially, the 1924 law imposed a total quota on immigration of 165,000—less than 20 percent of the pre-World War I average. It based ceilings on the number of immigrants from any particular nation on the percentage of each nationality recorded in the 1890 census—a blatant effort to limit immigration from Southern and Eastern Europe, which mostly occurred after that date. In the first decade of the 20th century, an average of 200,000 Italians had entered the United States each year. With the 1924 Act, the annual quota for Italians was set at less than 4,000.

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