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 —

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

A Tale of Two Flags


Civil War FlagsThe 4th of July always motivates an outpouring of patriotism … and an annual display of American flags unmatched at any other time of the year.

There is, however, no need for me to unfurl a special flag for Independence Day … because mine flies every day on a flag-pole at the corner of my home.

DSCN0442 reducedAnd on the hood of my truck … with a smaller version of the same flag decal on the tail gate.

And elsewhere inside my home, where I have displayed more than 100 American flag-themed items, ranging from wooden flag replicas in the family room …

Family Room Flags cropped & adjusted medium… to a stained-glass flag atop my hallway “ego” wall …

Joan Baker American Flag… to flag stamps and first day cover items, refrigerator magnets, a golf towel …

Home Flag Items… and a “Proud to be American” flag-themed banner in the window of my office.

Proud to be AmericanI bow no one in my love of our country and my reverence for our flag. I stand at attention and, as a military veteran, salute during the playing of the National Anthem at Cal football games.

Besides those on display, I have many other American flag stamps and first day covers, challenge coins and casino chips in my collections of those items.

All of that said, I write today primarily not to discuss the American flag, but to follow up on my earlier posts on the flags of the Confederate States of America.

Some defenders of the display of the so-called “Confederate Flag” …

The Battle Flag of the Army of Northern Virginia

The Battle Flag of the Army of Northern Virginia

… really the Battle Flag of the Army of Northern Virginia, as I previously discussed here …

https://freelegaladvice.wordpress.com/2015/06/19/that-is-not-the-confederate-flag-flying-in-south-carolina/

… have tried to mythologize the Civil War, claiming that the war was not about slavery. It was, at least as far as the government leaders of the seceding states were concerned.

However, many, if not most, of the soldiers in the Confederate Army fought for the South not to preserve slavery, but for the same reason that many colonists fought in the Continental Army during the American Revolution. That is, they acted out of loyalty to their local communities and states at a time when our national identity was not as well-developed and pervasive as it is today. Despite being poorly fed and equipped … and often poorly led … Confederate soldiers fought as gallantly as had the soldiers of any army to that point in history.  Very few of these soldiers considered themselves “traitors”; nor do I.

Eight ancestors on my wife’s side of the family fought for the Confederacy during the Civil War and one of them was KIA at Gettysburg. Once my daughter Larisa, through her genealogical research, identified these Confederate veterans, I added them to the extended family Veterans list that I publish each year on Veterans Day:

Slide4Both of the Confederacy’s highest ranking generals, Robert E. Lee …

Robert E. Lee… and Joseph E. Johnston, disliked slavery and supported some form of emancipation. Lee, who owned slaves through inheritance, freed them before the war ended. The majority of Confederate generals had never owned slaves; few common soldiers ever had.  Even Confederate President Jefferson Davis had come to believe that slavery should be ended, even if the South won the war.

In my collection of challenge coins, I have seven that feature Confederate flags …

Confederate Flag Challenge Coins Obverse… top to bottom, they are the three national flags of the confederacy, the “Bonnie Blue” flag (more on this one below), the Rebel battle flag and the battle flags of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson.

The reverse of each features the Rebel battle flag.

I like these coins; they are colorful and interesting symbols of one of the most important events in American history — in fact, second only to the American Revolution.

The Bonnie Blue flag was originally the flag of the Republic of West Florida for about 90 days in 1810 (until the U.S. annexed the territory). A close variation of the Bonnie Blue flag was adopted by the state of Mississippi when it seceded from the Union in January 1861. This flag was used as an unofficial Confederate flag during the early months of 1861 and, in fact, was flying above the Confederate batteries that fired Fort Sumter to start the Civil War.

Union General Ulysses S. Grant, known by the nickname “Unconditional Surrender” Grant, nevertheless, in accepting the surrender of Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia at Appomattox on April 9, 1865, declined to relieve Lee of his sword (a traditional gesture of surrender).

Grant and LeeThen, as Lee rode away to inform his men of the surrender, Grant saluted him by raising his hat, in which gesture of respect the other Union officers present joined.

The United States fought two wars against the British — one to gain independence, the other to preserve it. The British are now our most staunch allies in the entire world. We twice fought the Germans in world wars; they are now friends, economic trading partners and hosts of a number of permanent American military installations. We fought the Japanese during World War II; they are now one of our greatest allies in Eastern Asia. We also fought the Italians during WWII; they are now friends and their country is one of the favorite places for Americans to visit. We fought other wars with Mexico, Spain & the Philippines; they are all now friends and economic partners.

It strikes me as strange that we have been able to reconcile with each of these foreign nations after engaging in what were often vicious & brutal wars, but we somehow have never been able to fully reconcile the two halves of our own country.

July 4th Postcard Abraham LincolnAbraham Lincoln concluded his second inaugural address, delivered on March 4, 1865, with the following words:

Lincoln -- With Malice Toward NoneThe Civil War Confederate flags are an integral part of American history. And while I agree that the Rebel battle flag ought not to be displayed on government property, I see neither logical nor emotional reason to attempt to banish it entirely from our national consciousness. Nor do I think it appropriate at this late date to be removing from public display monuments, statues or other remembrances of those who served on behalf of the Confederacy.

I certainly have no intention of removing from my family veterans display the names of the Douglas family members who fought for the Confederacy. Nor will I remove from my collection of challenge coins those depicting the various Confederate flags. These, of course, are personal decisions … and rather insignificant in the big scheme of things, but it seems to me that there is no way I — or anyone else — can improve on the sentiment expressed by Lincoln and we would all be better off if everyone in the United States today lived up to those words, “with malice toward none, with charity for all”.

————————————————————

FLA 71

“Take It Down”??


The Battle Flag of the Army of Northern Virginia

The Battle Flag of the Army of Northern Virginia

I have been giving a lot of thought to the issues raised by the flying of the so-called “Confederate Flag” — which, of course, ISN’T the “Confederate Flag” at all — see my previous blog post on that subject:

https://freelegaladvice.wordpress.com/2015/06/19/that-is-not-the-confederate-flag-flying-in-south-carolina/

The shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, and the flying of the Battle Flag of the Army of Northern Virginia on the grounds of the South Carolina state house, have motivated a wide-ranging re-evaluation of how the United States deals with the issue of racial hatred and discrimination.

Rebel Battle Flag on grounds of South Carolina State HousejpgThere are now calls for the removal of the Rebel Battle Flag from the state house grounds in Columbia, South Carolina, and the South Carolina legislature has agreed to debate the issue.

The Citadel Confederate Naval JackThe governing board of The Citadel, a military academy in Charleston, voted to remove the Confederate Naval Jack from the school’s chapel. One of the Emanuel shooting victims was a graduate of The Citadel.

Virginia’s governor has ordered the removal of “the Confederate Flag” from all of his state’s license plates (thereby joining the chorus of people incorrectly identifying the battle flag, which appears as an optional design on some Virginia license plates). Politicians in several other states, including Maryland, North Carolina and Tennessee have vowed to do the same with their states’ license plates.

Mississippi State FlagMississippi’s Republican speaker of the house issued a statement calling for the removal of the Confederate battle cross from the Mississippi state flag (at least he knows what the symbol actually is).

Alabama Confederate MemorialAlabama Governor Robert Bentley ordered the removal of the Confederate battle flag (he got it right, too) and three other flags from the grounds of the state Capitol in Montgomery, where they stood in front of a memorial honoring Civil War soldiers. The other three flags? The three versions of the actual Confederate flag.

Jefferson Davis Statue Capitol Rotunda Frankfurt KentuckyAnd it’s not just the flags and symbols of the Confederacy that are drawing fire. The president of the Kentucky state senate said in an interview that a statue of Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederacy, should be removed from the Capitol rotunda in Frankfurt, Kentucky.

Nathan Bedford Forrest Bust in Tennessee State HouseIn Tennessee, politicians of both parties have also said that a bust of Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest, who was an early leader of the Ku Klux Klan, should be moved out of the state house.

Lake Calhoun MinnesotaIn Minnesota, not exactly a hotbed of confederate fervor, activists have demanded that a lake named after John C. Calhoun be renamed because Calhoun, though both a US Senator and American Vice President, was from South Carolina and a supporter of slavery.

South Carolina State Senator Paul ThurmondEven South Carolina State Senator Paul Thurmond, son of US Senator Strom Thurmond, who ran for president in 1948 as a segregationist, announced that he would vote to remove the battle flag from the state house grounds, saying that he is “not proud of this heritage”.

Walmart Sears eBay & Amazon LogosPrivate companies are also weighing in … Walmart, Sears, eBay and Amazon have all announced that they will no longer sell confederate themed items.

The Baltimore Sun LogoIn Maryland this past Monday, the Baltimore Sun opined in an editorial, “For a state to endorse a symbol of the defenders of slavery by putting the Confederate flag on representations of government speech is unconscionable.”

It therefore appears that supporters of slavery — and the symbols of that support — are under unrelenting pressure which is going to result in the permanent removal of both from public display. I personally support the banishment from public places of all versions of the Confederate flags (albeit, as mentioned in my earlier blog post, I also support the right of private persons to display Confederate symbols on their private property).

Shortly after being transferred to the Sixth Naval District in Charleston in January 1969, I encountered what I thought at best an odd circumstance — the Charleston Naval Base, bowing to political pressure from the state of South Carolina, was to be closed for a holiday on the birthday of Jefferson Davis, but all personnel were to work on Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, then a national holiday. I wrote a letter to the editor of the Charleston News & Courier, suggesting that it was time for South Carolina to rejoin the union. I signed it “James T. Reilly, LTJG, US Navy”, which earned me a visit with my boss, the Sixth Naval District commander (a rear admiral), who allowed as how I had the right to express my opinion, but asked me to please sign any future letters with my name only, omitting my military rank.

However, and this is the point of this blog post, if we are going to vanquish memorials to rebellious supporters of slavery and their symbols of oppression, the measures described above are manifestly inadequate. To do this job right, we will also have to vanquish from the public forum memorials to ALL rebellious supporters of slavery and slave owners, starting with …

George Washington… George Washington (the “Father of our Country”) …

Thomas Jefferson… Thomas Jefferson (the primary author of the Declaration of Independence) …

James Madison… James Madison (the primary author of the Constitution) …

Patrick Henry… Patrick Henry (he of “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death” fame) …

John Hancock… John Hancock (whose signature is the most prominent on the Declaration of Independence) …

Benjamin Franklin… Benjamin Franklin (who owned slaves for 40 years before finally becoming an abolitionist in 1785) …

Founding Fathers… and many other Founding Fathers who were also slave owners.

The Constitution of the United States, adopted in 1787, authorized the continuation of slavery in the country and counted slaves as “three-fifths of a person”. And so, to truly eliminate all vestiges of rebellious supporters of slavery …

Washington Monument… it is down with the Washington Monument …

Jefferson Memorial… demolish the Jefferson Memorial …

Benjamin Franklin Memorial… and the Benjamin Franklin Memorial …

Mount Rushmore… blast Washington and Jefferson off of Mount Rushmore …

Currency & Coinage Washington Jefferson & Franklin… remove Washington, Jefferson and Franklin from our currency …

American Flag Betsy Ross & George Washington… and get rid of the Stars & Stripes, which waved over slavery for nearly a century.

Not doing so may be seen as a particularly disingenuous form of hypocrisy.

______________________________________________

FLA 68

Robert Francis Kennedy


.

Robert F. KennedyToday is the anniversary of one of the saddest days of my lifetime — June 5, 1968 — the date on which Robert Francis Kennedy was assassinated in Los Angeles.

I was a great admirer of John F. Kennedy and was greatly saddened by his assassination.  JFK’s death marked the start of a five year period during which the United States was changed in ways that continue to this day.  That transition, which was also significantly impacted by the murder of Martin Luther King, was tragically concluded with the killing of Bobby Kennedy.

No American presidential candidate since has captured the imagination of the country the way the Kennedy brothers did — and none has inspired in me the confidence I felt in their leadership.

I was overseas in June of 1968, serving with the U.S. Navy’s 7th Fleet off the coast of Vietnam.  At the time, I was assigned to the staff of the commander of the 7th Fleet’s Cruiser-Destroyer Group, which was embarked on the heavy cruiser USS St. Paul. 

Because of the time difference between California and Vietnam, we first heard that Bobby Kennedy had been shot during the afternoon of June 5th.  I spent most of the next 24 hours in the ship’s radio room, waiting as Kennedy fought for his life in an LA hospital.  I sat through several watch changes and never did go to bed that night.

When the news came the next afternoon that Bobby had died, I went finally went to bed and cried myself to sleep.

The Kennedy brothers share a spot among the handful of historical Americans I most admire.  I believed then … and still do … that Bobby Kennedy was the single individual most capable of leading our country out of the morass of Vietnam, while simultaneously guiding it through the civil rights tumult that was dividing the country at home.

Sadly, he never had the chance to demonstrate his leadership abilities — and the country struggled through nearly seven more contentious years in Vietnam and an even longer period of civil rights unrest.

There is, of course, no way of knowing how different the country might have been, had either or both of the Kennedys survived their assassination attempts.  I am, however, convinced that the United States would have been a better place during the intervening 50 years … and to this day, I mourn for what might have been.

Robert F. Kennedy 2JFK & RFK JFK & RFKRobert F. Kennedy 3Robert F. Kennedy with JFK photoRFK's Simple GravesiteRFK’s Simple Gravesite