Texit


The advisory vote in Great Britain, by which a majority of voters said yes to Brexiting from the European Union, had some catastrophic financial consequences in England, across Europe and even in the United States.

It has also motivated discussion of other potential “exit” plans … such as “Scexit” (Scotland departing from the United Kingdom) … “Unexit” (Sarah Palin’s looney suggestion that the U.S. leave the United Nations) … and “Texit” (an online petition proposing that Texas once again secede from the United States, which has garnered more than 100,000 signatures).

Texas State Flag

None of these proposed exits are going to happen, but the discussion reminded me of another alternative that Texans could actually implement.

The Joint Resolution for Annexing Texas to the United States, approved by Congress on March 1, 1845, and by which Texas became a state on December 29, 1945, included a provision allowing Texas to be sub-divided into up to four more states. Omitting the language related to slavery, the joint resolution provided:

“New States of convenient size not exceeding four in number, in addition to said State of Texas and having sufficient population, may, hereafter by the consent of said State, be formed out of the territory thereof, which shall be entitled to admission under the provisions of the Federal Constitution….”

Texans have never made a serious effort to take advantage of this provision, but there have been a number of proposals for dividing up Texas into additional states … and I was able to find maps which could conceivably be used to make as many as 8 Texas states.

Here are some of the possible 5 state alignments:

Slide1

And some more 5 state alignments (the Houston Press plan by Jeff Balke appears to have been written tongue-in-cheek):

Slide2

And here are some maps dividing Texas into 3, 4, 6, 7 or 8 states. Other than the 4 state proposal, no one has actually proposed any of these alignments … and I included the state-shaped 3 state Texas flag only because I happen to think it would look cool on a US map.

Slide3

Texas is a huge state … here’s how big it is compared to central Europe:

Texas compared to European countries

And I can’t help wondering why there hasn’t been a serious effort to turn it into more than one state … after all, with five states, Texans would have 10 senators instead of 2 and comparably more influence in congress.

On the other hand, I also have to think it might be difficult to convince any of the prospective new states to give up the name Texas … which makes the Texas Department of Insurance Master Plan the most acceptable when it comes to the names of the new states: North Texas, West Texas, Central Texas, East Texas and South Texas.

Interestingly, this would also create for the first time in the nation’s history an “East” anything state … well, “Central”, too … to go with the North, South & West varieties that we already have.

Not suggesting that Texas should adopt any of these division plans, but all of them are better than the Texit plan that some Texans favor (especially since my youngest son and both of my grandchildren live in what might ultimately become North Texas!).

It is also worth mentioning that there have also been proposals to divide California into as many as six new states. Although the annexation of California to the U.S. contained no provision specifically authorizing it to split into more than one state, it is constitutionally permissible under Article IV, Section 3, Clause 1 of the United States Constitution, which provides:

“New States may be admitted by the Congress into this Union; but no new State shall be formed or erected within the Jurisdiction of any other State; nor any State be formed by the Junction of two or more States, or Parts of States, without the Consent of the Legislatures of the States concerned as well as of the Congress.”

The most recent proposal to divide California was the so-called “Six Californias” initiative, for which insufficient signatures were obtained to include it on the 2016 election ballot.

Six Californias

The names of the six proposed California states would be Central California, Jefferson, North California, Silicon Valley, South California and West California … which would, once again, give us a “West” state without a comparable “East”.

—–ooooo—–

— FLA 82 —

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Breitbart InBuSh


This online Breitbart article by Joel B. Pollak

http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2016/05/27/hiroshima-censure-obama/

… is pure, unadulterated, right-wing InBuSh.*

*See:  https://jimsthreedot.wordpress.com/2015/12/19/inbush/

The introductory paragraph of the Breitbart article is an outright lie, intentionally misrepresenting what the president said in his Hiroshima speech.

Compare that opening paragraph …

“President Barack Obama told the world on Friday in Hiroshima that the American decision to drop nuclear bombs on Japan in 1945 arose from humanity’s worst instincts including ‘nationalist fervor or religious zeal’.”

… with what the president actually said:

“On every continent, the history of civilization is filled with war, whether driven by scarcity of grain or hunger for gold, compelled by nationalist fervor or religious zeal. Empires have risen and fallen. Peoples have been subjugated and liberated. And at each juncture, innocents have suffered, a countless toll, their names forgotten by time.”

It is clear that the president was commenting on the motivation of the people who have historically started wars, including World War II, NOT the American decision to end it by using atomic weapons.

Breitbart’s writer also misrepresented Obama’s speech when he said that the president “said nothing about the fact that Japan started the war”, despite the second paragraph of his own story, which correctly quotes part of the speech asserting that the war:

“… grew out of the same base instinct for domination or conquest that had caused conflicts among the simplest tribes, an old pattern amplified by new capabilities and without new constraints.”

Everyone except the most oblivious of people knows that the war was started by Germany and Japan, not the United States (which actually stayed out of it for more than two years before finally entering after Pearl Harbor).  The president’s reference to the cause of the war impliedly lays blame where it belongs … on Germany and Japan … and there was no need for him to overtly confront the Japanese with that moral culpability (for which Japan has, repeatedly over the years, apologized … and which has since motivated Japan to become one of our most steadfast allies).

Pollak also misrepresented the president’s speech when he said that, “Obama cast a moral equivalence between different civilizations, implying that Americans were just as bad as the Imperial Japanese, or anyone else.”

There is nothing in the president’s comments which can be fairly interpreted as implying a moral equivalency between Japanese aggression to start the war and America’s use of nuclear weapons to end the war.

Finally, Pollak committed yet another blatant misrepresentation of the president’s speech when he said that Obama “went further, casting doubt on the American effort in World War II itself”, quoting this passage from the speech:

“Nations arise telling a story that binds people together in sacrifice and cooperation, allowing for remarkable feats. But those same stories have so often been used to oppress and dehumanize those who are different.”

That comment, in context, was obviously a reference to humanity’s violent history, including the rise of xenophobic, militaristic regimes in Japan and Germany … and was NOT a reference to the American participation in World War II.

The full text of the president’s speech is here:

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/28/world/asia/text-of-president-obamas-speech-in-hiroshima-japan.html?_r=0

I am not a big fan of Barack Obama … I disagree with many of his policies, particularly those related to health care, climate change and the Second Amendment … and I think he has been a rather mediocre president (ranking right about the middle of all presidents of my lifetime), though the blame for some of his failings rightfully falls on the recalcitrant Republican congress with which he has been saddled.

Nevertheless, I think criticism of the man should be based on actual facts, not the kinds of blatant lies and/or intentional misrepresentations used by Mr. Pollak.

—–ooooo—–

FLA 81

I Side With … Libertarians


I took the “I Side With” political quiz again tonight:

https://www.isidewith.com/political-quiz

The quiz now includes Libertarian Party candidates and, unsurprisingly, I agree most with them … in fact, my three most agreed with candidates were all Libertarians … though I have to admit that I was somewhat surprised that my highest level of agreement — 90% — was with John McAfee, who I did not even know was running.

I Side With Candidates 160319

After McAfee were Gary Johnson 88% (I voted for him in 2012), Austin Peterson 84% and — finally a major party candidate — Bernie Sanders 73%. I was also somewhat surprised that my lowest level of agreement was with John Kasich 51%, who I consider the most palatable of the Republican candidates.

Next to lowest was with Donald Trump 58%, though I’m not sure how “I Side With” determines that, since Trump never says anything substantive about how he would accomplish any of his purported political objectives.

As far as parties are concerned, I agree most with the Libertarian Party at 85%, followed by the Green Party 67%, the Constitution Party 66%, and the Socialists 62%.  My lowest levels of agreement were with the Democrats 60% and … at the very bottom … the Republicans 53%.

I Side With Party 160319

The test also describes my overall political philosophy as moderately libertarian (and slightly left of center) and that among “political themes”, my most significant preferences are for Decentralization over Centralization … Multilateralism over Unilateralism … Isolationism over Imperialism … Laissez-faire over Keynesian … Capitalism over Socialism … and Pacifism over Militarism.

I Side With Political Themes 160319

The map showing “Support for My Political Beliefs” across the United States also shows quite clearly that I would not fit in very well in the Deep South … though that is not much of a surprise.

—–oooooOOOOOooooo—–
FLA 79

“Isis Would be WasWas” … NotNot


Saw this conservative republican Ronald Reagan meme tonight …

Ronald Reagan Isis Would be WasWas Meme Graphic

… and because it is SO wrong, I just had to post this response. Just how wrong is it? Let us count the ways:

1 — April 18, 1983 — Bombing of U.S. Embassy in Beirut

A suicide truck bomber rammed into the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon, killing 63 people, including 17 Americans. The American dead included eight employees of the Central Intelligence Agency, including chief Middle East analyst Robert C. Ames and station chief Kenneth Haas.

The attack was carried out by Hezbollah, an anti-American militant Lebanese Islamic group. President Reagan ordered no American military response to the embassy bombing.

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US Marine Barracks Beirut 1983 Bombing

2 — October 23, 1983 — Bombing of U.S. Marine Barracks in Beirut

Another suicide truck bomber attacked the U.S. Marine barracks at the Beirut International Airport … 241 U.S. Marines were killed and more than 100 wounded. U.S. intelligence sources suspected Hezbollah of committing this attack, as well, though Hezbollah denied any involvement.

President Reagan’s security team devised a plan of military action, but Secretary of Defense Casper Weinberger aborted the plan. President Reagan ordered no American military response to this bombing and four months later, our Marines pulled out of Lebanon. The 9-11 attacks are the only terrorist attacks ever to have killed more Americans than this bombing.

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US Embassy Kuwait 1983 Bombing

3 — December 12, 1983 — Bombing of U.S. Embassy in Kuwait

The bombing of the American embassy in Kuwait was one of several attacks, which also targeted the French embassy, the airport control tower, Kuwait’s main oil refinery, and a residential area for employees of the American corporation Raytheon. In the bombing of the American embassy, five people were killed and more than 80 injured.

This attack is believed to have been carried out by an Iranian-backed, anti-Saddam Hussein Shiite group.  President Reagan ordered no American military response to this embassy bombing.

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US CIA Station Chief William Buckley 1984

4 — March 16, 1984 — CIA Station Chief William Buckley kidnapped in Lebanon

Buckley was kidnapped by militant Islamic extremists in Lebanon and was one of 30 Westerners kidnapped between 1982 and 1992. In October 1985, Islamic Jihad claimed to have executed Buckley, though American officials later claimed that he died of a heart attack.

Because American officials believed that Hezbollah was behind most of these kidnappings, the Reagan administration devised a covert plan to secretly trade weapons to Iran in exchange for the release of hostages. Congress had banned the sale of American weapons to Iran, but the U.S. secretly sent 508 anti-tank weapons to Iran and three American hostages were released. The proceeds of these sales were secretly … and also illegally … funneled to American-backed Contra rebels fighting the Sandanista regime in Nicaragua. This program has come to be known as the “Iran-Contra Affair”.

However, President Reagan ordered no military response to the kidnapping and death of Mr. Buckley.

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US Embassy Annex Aukar Lebanon 1984 Bombing

5 — September 20, 1984 — Bombing of U.S. Embassy Annex Northeast of Beirut

Another suicide truck bomber attacked the U.S. Embassy annex in Aukar, northeast of Beirut, killing 24 people including 2 U.S. military personnel. Hezbollah is suspected to have been involved in the bombing.

Although some CIA covert operations were carried out in response to this incident, President Reagan ordered no American military response to this embassy bombing, and the covert operations were ultimately suspended.

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Hijacking of Kuwait Airlways Flight 221 1984

6 — December 3, 1984 — Hijacking of Kuwait Airways Flight 221

Kuwait Airways Flight 221 was hijacked by Hezbollah and diverted to Tehran. The hijackers demanded the release of the perpetrators of the bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait (known at the “Kuwait 17”). When Kuwait rejected this demand, the hijackers killed two American officials from the U.S. Agency for International Development.

President Reagan ordered no American military response to the murders of these Americans.

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Hijacking of TWA Flight 847 1985

7 — June 14, 1985 — Hijacking of TWA Flight 847

Athens to Rome TWA Flight 847 was hijacked and forced to land in Beirut. The hijackers held the plane for 17 days, also demanding the release of the “Kuwait 17”, as well as 700 other Shiite Muslim prisoners held in Israeli and southern Lebanon prisons. These demands weren’t met and hostage Robert Dean Stethem, a U.S. Navy diver, was shot and his body dumped on the airport tarmac. U.S. sources once again implicated Hezbollah.

Eventually, the hijackers released the hostages and Israel released some of the Shiite prisoners. However, President Reagan ordered no military response to the kidnapping and murder of Robert Dean Stethem.

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Hijacking of the Achille Lauro & Murder of Leon Klinghoffer

8 — October 7, 1985 — Hijacking of the Cruise Ship Achille Lauro

Four gunmen hijacked the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro off the coast of Lebanon and demanded the release of Palestinian prisoners in Egypt, Italy, and elsewhere. These demands weren’t met and the kidnappers killed Leon Klinghoffer, a 69-year-old disabled American tourist. U.S. officials linked Libya to the Palestine Liberation Front and the hijacking.

The hijackers escaped the Achille Lauro and left Egypt by air. U.S. Navy fighters intercepted their plane and forced it down in Italy. The four hijackers were found guilty by an Italian court. The mastermind of the hijacking, Abu Abbas, was released by Italy despite an American request that he be held for trial.

President Reagan ordered no military response to the kidnapping and murder of Leon Klinghoffer.

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9 — December 27, 1985 — Bombing of Rome and Vienna Airports

U.S. officials linked Libya to the bombings of airports in Rome and Vienna, in which 20 people, including five Americans, were killed. In January 1986, the U.S. Navy and its warplanes were ordered to patrol the Gulf of Sidra — in territorial waters claimed by Libya. President Reagan warned Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi that Libyan forces which moved more than 12 miles from shore were subject to attack.

Ultimately, however, President Reagan ordered no military response to the killings of these five Americans.

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Bombing of La Belle Discotheque Attack 1986

10 — April 5, 1986 — Bombing of La Belle Discotheque in West Berlin, Germany

In another bombing linked to Libya, a West Berlin discotheque popular with off-duty American servicemen, one American and a Turkish woman were killed and nearly 200 others wounded.

After U.S. intelligence intercepted Libyan government communications implicating Libya in this attack, President Reagan ordered retaliatory air strikes on Tripoli and Benghazi. Operation El Dorado Canyon, executed on April 15, 1986, involved 200 aircraft and over 60 tons of bombs. One of the residences of Qaddafi was hit in the attack, 37 people were killed and 93 injured. This was the only time during Ronald Reagan’s presidency that he ordered a military response to the terrorist murders of American citizens.

Two days after the U.S. attack, three American University of Beirut employees were found near Beirut, shot to death. The Arab Revolutionary Cells, a pro-Libyan group of Palestinians affiliated with terrorist Abu Nidal, claimed to have executed the three men in retaliation for Operation El Dorado Canyon.

President Reagan ordered no further military response to the killings of these three Americans.

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Bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 Lockerbie Scottland 1988

11 — December 21, 1988 — Bombing of Pan Am Flight 103

The bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, which was traveling from London to New York and exploded over the small town of Lockerbie, Scotland, resulted in the deaths of 259 people on board the plane and 11 others on the ground.

The U.S. government accused Libya of being behind the attack.  There were also reports that Syria and Iran also played significant roles, though U.S. officials were never able to tie the two countries to the bombing.

In 1999, Qaddafi turned over to UN officials two men suspected of involvement in the bombing and they were tried in the Netherlands. One was convicted and sentenced to life in prison and the other was acquitted and set free. In 2003, Qaddafi accepted responsibility for the attack and paid reparations to the victims, though he continued to deny that he ordered the attack.

Of the 270 people killed in this bombing, 189 were American citizens. It is the third deadliest terrorist attack (in terms of American deaths) ever … only 9-11 and the Beirut Marine barracks bombing resulted in more American deaths.

President Reagan ordered no American military response to this bombing.

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Hezbollah, of course, continues to operate to this day … President Reagan did little or nothing to “WasWas” Hezbollah.

Islamic Jihad also continues to operate to this day … and President Reagan did little or nothing to “WasWas” Islamic Jihad.

The Palestine Liberation Front (PLF) continues to operate to this day … and President Reagan did little or nothing to “WasWas” the PLF.

Muammar Qaddafi was killed in 2011, after being deposed as dictator of Libya. A convoy in which he was traveling was attacked by U.S. and NATO forces and he was forced to flee the attack and hide in a culvert. He was found there by Libyan National Transitional Council forces and killed shortly thereafter (there are varying reports of exactly how this occurred). In any event, of course, this came on President Barrack Obama’s watch and President Reagan did little or nothing to “WasWas” Qaddafi.

The Arab Revolutionary Cells, following the terrorist activities in the 1980’s, faded into obscurity and it is currently unknown if any part of that organization continues to operate. Abu Nidal was killed (or committed suicide, depending on who you believe) during a 2002 interrogation in Baghdad.  President Reagan did little or nothing to “WasWas” either the Arab Revolutionary Cells or Abu Nidal.

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The 468 Americans killed by terrorists during the Reagan administration is the highest total of such deaths during the term of any president other than George W. Bush:

President Ronald Reagan – 468
President George H.W. Bush – 0
President William Clinton – 37
President George W. Bush – 2982
President Barrack Obama – 28

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President Ronald Reagan certainly had ample motivation to utilize American military forces in response to terrorist attacks that resulted in the deaths of Americans. Only once did he do so (the 1986 attack on Libya). There is nothing about his presidency which suggests that he would have dealt with Isis in such a way as to render it WasWas.

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FLA 73