US Slave and Union Soldier: The Forks of the Road Slave Market at Natchez, Mississippi

A fraternity brother of mine recently shared this story with me. What a profound black history story about (freed) African-American men who served as defenders of Natchez, Mississippi, in the Union Army from 1863 to 1866. This, after many were previously slaves at this same location in one of the largest and most active – site of the South’s second largest slave market in the 19th century – slave markets in the South and one of the largest in the United States.

His Great Great Grandfather; George McClain, alias George Washington served in the Civil War as a member of Union Company B, United States Color Heavy Artillery . He was one of the 3,000 soldiers that kept the peace in Natchez, Mississippi (FORKS IN THE ROAD).

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NATCHEZ, Miss.–For the 30 years it existed in the 1800s, Forks of the Road was where white dealers sold black slaves unloaded from riverboats docked at Natchez-Under-the-Hill and herded down St. Catherine Street to what was then the town’s outskirts, according to historical accounts.

At its peak, as many as 500 slaves could be found at the market on any given day. It’s believed to have been the second-largest slave market in the South; the biggest was farther down the Mississippi in New Orleans. The two biggest traders shipped more than 1,000 slaves from Alexandria, Va., to the two markets each year beginning in the 1830s. Trade at the Forks of the Road ended only with the Civil War.

IMG_0814_thumb[1]The last newspaper advertisements for slave sales at the Forks of the Road appeared in the Natchez Daily Courier during the early months of 1863. All slave trading had ceased in Natchez by the summer of 1863 when Union troops occupied the town. Today, the historic intersection, with its familiar “Y” configuration, remains to mark the location of the once-flourishing slave markets at the Forks of the Road.

During the Civil War, Natchez remained largely undamaged. The city surrendered to Flag-Officer David G. Farragut after the fall of New Orleans in May 1862.[11]Two civilians, an elderly man and an eight-year-old girl named Rosalie Beekman, were killed when a Union ironclad shelled the town from the River. The man died of a heart attack and Rosalie was killed by a shell fragment. Union troops under Ulysses S. Grant occupied Natchez in 1863; Grant set up his temporary headquarters in the Natchez mansion Rosalie.

Volunteers began to respond, and in May 1863 the Government established the Bureau of Colored Troops to manage the burgeoning numbers of black soldiers. By the end of the Civil War, roughly 179,000 black men (10% of the Union Army) served as soldiers in the U.S. Army and another 19,000 served in the Navy.

Source: US Slave: The Forks of the Road Slave Market at Natchez, Mississippi

https://mississippiriver.natgeotourism.com/content/forks-of-the-road/msp39b830bc4838a7385

https://www.roadtripamerica.com/forum/content.php?2303-Forks-of-the-Road-Natchez-Mississippi

Forks of the Road Slave Market site, Natchez

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60910-d6661548-Reviews-Forks_of_the_Roads_Monument-Natchez_Mississippi.html?m=19905

http://articles.latimes.com/2004/jan/11/news/adna-slaves11

US Slave: The Forks of the Road Slave Market at Natchez, Mississippi

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Lucy McBath – Georgia’s 6th Congressional District Miracle

27023340_2079986038905413_6646339981118946822_o - copyThere were so many upsets in this past mid-term election, that it’s hard to keep up with them all.

This story, the story of Lucy McBath stands taller than any of the others in my opinion.  Never in a thousand years would I have thought Georgia’s 6th District would go blue.  The racial makeup of the county in 2010 62.2% White, 25.0% Black, 0.3% Native American, 4.5% Asian, 0.0% Pacific Islander, 5.3% from other races, and 2.7% from two or more races. 14.3% of the population was Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There are several reasons why I marvel at her success by winning this Congressional seat in “red” state Georgia during last year’s mid-term.

First, if you don’t know her story behind why she chose to get into politics in the first place, you should know it because it’s so profound it gives you goose bumps. Her son was brutally murdered at a gas station, while with some of friends, by a white man who said their music was too loud.  The shooter used Florida’s stand-your-ground law as his defense. He was not found guilty of murder in his first trial. In an October 2014 retrial, the shooter was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison.

Second, to choose to run in the 6th Congressional District of Georgia was about a gutsy as anything a black person could think of. The 6th District, is an affluent suburb North of Atlanta in Cobb County, mainly white. My old district when I lived in Cobb County Georgia. It’s Newt Gingrich’s old district, Tom Price’s old district, the disgraced Health and Human Services Director appointed by trump.  It was always held by a white male until Karen Handel in 2017.

The story of Karen Handel is unflattering to put it mildly.  While I was living in Georgia, I followed her and her politics very closely.  Briefly, Karen Christine Handel Walker; businesswoman, politician, and member of the United States House of Representatives for Georgia’s 6th congressional district. In 2017, she became the first Republican woman from Georgia elected to Congress after defeating Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff in a special election to fill Tom Price‘s vacancy in Georgia’s 6th congressional district; this special election remains the most expensive congressional race in American history.  In the recent 2018 election, Handel lost the election to a full term to Democrat Lucy McBath.

Handel previously served as Secretary of State of Georgia. A member of the Republican Party, Handel worked in business before entering politics. First elected in 2003, she chaired the Fulton County Board of Commissioners until 2006, and then was elected and served as Georgia’s Secretary of State from 2007 to 2010.

In 2011, Handel was appointed Senior Vice President of public policy at Susan G. Komen for the Cure, a charity in the cause of fighting breast cancer,  and left on February 7, 2012, following the foundation’s controversial decision to eliminate and then later restore funding for Planned Parenthood, an organization to which she was opposed. Handel sought a second term in the 2018 midterm elections but was defeated by Democratic challenger Lucy McBath.

Finally, to beat Karen Handel after Handel trounced John Ossoff in the special election this year for Tom Price’s old seat, is nothing short of miraculous to me.  John Ossoff was a great candidate and ran a great campaign, but even he couldn’t unseat Karen Handel.  Never in a million years would I have thought that district would go blue, not to mention going blue with the seat being won by a black woman.  The districts demographics haven’t changed believe it or not.  It’s still predominantly white and Republican.  What has changed is obviously the number of forward-thinking white voters who decided – in this year of the women – to look beyond their past political biases and cast their ballots for the (best) candidate.  This is very encouraging to say the least.

My only regret is that voted in the district for thirty years and never, nor did I think I would ever have, the opportunity to vote for a man or women of color with the hope of them winning. It took courage – inspired in part by the tragic death of her son I am sure – for her to run and answer her calling to do something to try and help make a difference in our society’s woes.

Now a newly appointed member to House of Representatives 116th Congress Rules Committee by the Honorable Nancy Pelosi and twice elected Speaker of the House of Representatives.  How awesome.

My new hero, Lucy McBath.

 

The Word Of A White Woman Can Still Get Black People Killed

It was true when Emmett Till was lynched, and it’s true today.

www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/opinion-daniels-emmett-till-case_us_5b4e4aace4b0b15aba8972d4

Now Carolyn Bryant is 82 years old, in the “throes” of death, having lived a wonderful life, I am sure. Now she admits she lied about some of statements, but most astonishing of all, she didn’t repent for her part in the death of this young man.

On the witness stand, Carolyn Bryant, the 21 year old wife of Roy Bryant,  had asserted that Till had grabbed her and verbally threatened her. She said that while she was unable to utter the “unprintable” word he had used (as one of the defense lawyers put it), “he said [he had]’”—done something – “with white women before.’” Then she added, “I was just scared to death.”  Emmett Till would be later murdered by two white men, J.W. Milam and his half-brother Roy Bryant, husband of Carolyn Bryant—the country-store owner.  Later she confessed that she had fabricated the most sensational part of her testimony. “That part’s not true,” she told Timothy Tyson, a Duke University senior research scholar and author of the new book,  The Blood of Emmett Till (Simon & Schuster),   about her claim that Till had made verbal and physical advances on her.  Nothing that boy did could ever justify what happened to him.”

This story is very haunting to me because at the time this happened (August 1955), I was five years old the day Emmett Till’s body was found, and pulled from the Tallahatchie River, was August 31, 1955.  I was five years old; nine days shy of my sixth birthday.  I had already been in school a year now, as back then, you could start school at five if your sixth anniversary of your birthday was on or before December of that year.

I remember sitting on the porch as I listened to my mother and several other ladies were talking and I heard my mother say “they pulled that poor boys body from the river this morning.”  Bear in mind I was barely six years old, and even growing up in Mississippi and with all of the ills of racism and Jim Crow so ubiquitous at the time, I didn’t fully comprehend the magnitude of the incident then.  It’s hard for some to believe, especially if you didn’t grow up in the segregated Deep South, but black parents did a really good job of insulating their children from becoming a similar statistic as Emmett Till.  They did so then, as many do now, by having conversations with them about how we “deported” ourselves.  They talked then, as they do now, about how to respond when confronted with angry white men and the need to be extra careful about our interactions with white women.  They knew that even a casual association with white girls and women could cause us great harm, if only due to mere casual acquaintance, or the expected (Southern) gentlemanly courtesies children were expected to display to all adults, white and black.

So, pardon me if I share the same empathy for Carolyn Bryant, and the hell she faces for being a willing co-conspirator – and I don’t use the word lightly – in the death of this innocent young man.  He was eight years older than me, but he and I were in the same general age group.  The number of black men, and children, during the reign of terror by (the) Jim Crow Southern terrorists will never be fully counted, or accounted for.  The number of white women who either through sheer hatred or fear, or both, who knowingly helped to murder black men, then and now, is incomprehensible and unforgivable.

A White Lie Can’t Be So Bad, Can It? – AfroSapiophile

I would like to add that we should not misconstrue the word lynching. In actuality, it has less to do with a rope and more to do with the horror and violence aimed at Blacks throughout America’s racist history. Taking that into account, we can surmise that Blacks are still being lynched to this day. The same racist fundamentals apply to those crimes as they did when Jesse Washington was lynched. It is a racist, heartless murder that warns other members of a group to take heed. No difference. Just because there are no laws that advocate for lynchings does not mean that they don’t take place.

via A White Lie Can’t Be So Bad, Can It? — AfroSapiophile

America – Built on Solid Rock or Sinking Sand

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Long ago, essayist John Jay Chapman addressed it, writing about the earliest days of the Republic, the world of the Founding Fathers and men such as Jefferson, both revolutionary and slaveholder.

He wrote, “There was never a moment,” Chapman wrote, “when the slavery issue was not a sleeping serpent. That issue lay coiled up under the table during the deliberations of the Constitutional Convention. … Thereafter, slavery was always on everyone’s mind, though not always on his tongue.”

Ken Burns reiterated, “It’s very American to presume that all those old guilts can be transformed into reconciliation, reparation and atonement, as in the celebrated story of the slaver who abandoned his errant path and wrote the exquisitely beautiful hymn “Amazing Grace.” But, as the Civil War — and, sadly, our present day — attests, the opposite is also true. Our ancient guilts and animosities more often metastasize into anger, violence and brutality. That’s very American, too.

Even with a century and a half between us and our greatest cataclysm, we have an eerie sense that so much of what seemed safely finished and distant about the war now seems uncomfortably present, palpable, the underlying racial causes of the old conflict on nearly daily display. Too often, it seems, the black lives that were once bound by those shackles still don’t matter.”

This same snake, this vile creature synonymous with hate and bigotry, so representative of the klan, the neo-Nazis, so  trumpian, was there from the beginning and has remained with us all the while.

I think all of us who have been and, who are still recipients of the ugliness, both tangible and intangible, know full well nothing is going to change, because that snake of slavery, of racial hate is still curled up under every table, in every household, in the board rooms, civic halls, halls of Congress and most definitely under the desk in the West Wing of the White house.

It has not been killed, and until it is –if it can be – killed, we will end our lives sitting at these tables (when are allowed too) with our feet tucked well back under the chair, because we know it’s always ready and willing to strike and will bite the hell out of us if it’s disturbed.

Two wars have been fought to eradicate Nazism, the Klan and other forms of racial hate and bigotry. In one (World War II),
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_War_II_casualties some 50 to 80 million people total (at least half of them German), 50 to 55 million civilians, 416,000 Americans, were killed in this mother of all previous world wars in an attempt to quell the Nazis, this same snake Chapman spoke of, and all they represented.

In the other, this same racist, bigoted hateful snake couldn’t be killed during the great U. S. civil war in 1861 through 1865, when more than 600 Americans were killed, in a superficial attempt to kill this snake, yet it still lives and even thrives.  The snake is feed, nurtured, pampered and schooled in the wiles of racial hate by its fathers, mothers, grand-fathers and Grandmothers, to remain strong and vibrant and trained to be ready strike at a moment’s notice.

The issues that manifested themselves in Charlottesville is a constant reminder that nothing will change in this country until this country atones itself for the sins and indignities it was founded on – slavery being the most predominant.  You cannot build a building on sand and expect to never have problems with that building. Problems like, cracks in the walls, cracks in the roof, and sinking foundations are things you’re going to have always deal with, but you’ll never eradicate those problems because the building was built on sand.

“My Hope is Built on Nothing Less”
by Edward Mote, 1797-1874

1. My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

Oh how we wonder why did it choose to rear its vicious head now, why did it choose this moment in time to strike “some” with its poison and cause them to agonize over the sting of its bite as they scream, yell and ask silly ass, idiotic statements like, this is 2017, why is this still happening?  Why is this happening in 2017!  Where the heck have they been?  Some of us wake up each day and go about our business and are totally oblivious to what’s  happening around us.  We know that the people, like the ones who showed up Charlottesville are dispersed in every walk of our lives, yet we are unmindful of this snake because it hasn’t reared its ugly head and struck us an individual.

Keep in mind, that as a country, there is no other country in the world that fought a civil war (for whatever the reason), has so foolishly and blatantly allowed the losing side to so prominently and profoundly display the images (statues) of those individuals who lost said war for all the world to see and bear witness to what they stood for – this idea of wanting to keep another race of people in bondage.  Those of us who are beneficiaries of our ancestors who endured this most horrific act, are asked to walk pass the images in all of our daily comings and goings.

We can’t go to work without passing these racist relics, our kids attend schools named after these slaveholders and war generals, we have cities, towns, public facilities parks, military bases, warships; and every item imaginable staring us in the face as we go about our daily lives.  Take them all down, but we will still have to live, work and recreate with the Neo-Nazis, KKK and white supremacists who are among us.

It’s not an image we need to kill, it’s and idea.  Laws and other social actions and force a sort of change of one’s behavior, but those laws and actions will never change a attitude.

You can modify or change a behavior but you just can’t kill an attitude. 

Carolyn Bryant vs Emmett Till, A Life Ruined vs A Life Taken

emmett-till-carolyn-bryant
Left, a young Emmett Till; Right, Carolyn Bryant with her two sons Roy Jr. and Lamar at Till’s murder trial at the Tallahatchie County courthouse in Mississippi, September 1955. Left, from Bettmann, right, by Ed Clark/The LIFE Picture Collection, both from Getty Images

We live in this life, fearful – of going to hell, hopeful of going to heaven, confused and often compelled, because of these fears, to try and do the right thing.

Yet, it’s difficult to process why any of us would be so afraid of ending up in that place often referred to as hell, when there are people like Carolyn Bryant, J.W. Milam and his half-brother Roy Bryant, all who shared equally in the murder of Emmett Till and hundreds, if not thousands, of young (and old men alike) men like him. Surely, most of us are going to end up in the good place based on how we have lived our lives, as there is no way a person like the aforementioned will have a seat next to us. If they do, then, this whole “after life” thing has been one big lie. They all had the joy and satisfaction of enjoying the thrill of institutional racism and white privilege at its zenith, mostly in the South, but all over these United States and even the world in many respects.

Okay, unless you have capsulized this life-changing story – either from your circumspect study of the history of this horrific, inhuman act of hatred, or your delicate interest in this article – the story is:
http://www.vanityfair.com/news/2017/01/how-author-timothy-tyson-found-the-woman-at-the-center-of-the-emmett-till-case. 

that, on August 19, 1955—the day before Emmett Till left with his uncle and cousin for Mississippi—Mamie Till gave her son his late father’s signet ring, engraved with the initials “L.T.” The next day she drove her son to the 63rd Street station in Chicago. They kissed goodbye, and Till boarded a southbound train headed for Mississippi. It was the last time they ever saw each other.

Three days after arriving in Money, Mississippi—on August 24, 1955—Emmett Till and a group of teenagers entered Bryant’s Grocery and Meat Market to buy refreshments after a long day picking cotton in the hot afternoon sun. What exactly transpired inside the grocery store that afternoon will never be known. Till purchased bubble gum, and in later accounts he was accused of either whistling at, flirting with or touching the hand of the store’s white female clerk—and wife of the owner—Carolyn Bryant.

Four days later, at approximately 2:30 a.m. on August 28, 1955, Roy Bryant, Carolyn’s husband, and his half brother J.W. Milam kidnapped Till from Moses Wright’s home. They then beat the teenager brutally, dragged him to the bank of the Tallahatchie River, shot him in the head, tied him with barbed wire to a large metal fan and shoved his mutilated body into the water. Moses Wright reported Till’s disappearance to the local authorities, and three days later, his corpse was pulled out of the river.  Till’s face was mutilated beyond recognition, and Wright only managed to positively identify him by the ring on his finger, engraved with his father’s initials—”L.T.”

Now Carolyn Bryant is 82 years old, in the “throes” of death, having lived a wonderful life, I am sure. Now she admits she lied about some of statements, but most astonishing of all, she didn’t repent for her part in the death of this young man.

On the witness stand, Carolyn Bryant, the 21 year old wife of Roy Bryant,  had asserted that Till had grabbed her and verbally threatened her. She said that while she was unable to utter the “unprintable” word he had used (as one of the defense lawyers put it), “he said [he had]’”—done something – “with white women before.’” Then she added, “I was just scared to death.”  Emmett Till would be later murdered by two white men, J.W. Milam and his half-brother Roy Bryant, husband of Carolyn Bryant—the country-store owner.  Later she confessed that she had fabricated the most sensational part of her testimony. “That part’s not true,” she told Timothy Tyson, a Duke University senior research scholar and author of the new book,  The Blood of Emmett Till (Simon & Schuster),   about her claim that Till had made verbal and physical advances on her.  Nothing that boy did could ever justify what happened to him.”

“That case went a long way toward ruining her life,” Tyson contends, explaining that she could never escape its notoriety.  While this an observational assessment made by the author, and I can appreciate his framing the entire episode in such a way so as to highlight the pain experienced (mainly) by both families, on both sides of this horrible tragedy, A life ruined vs a life taken is not quite my idea of how and why my empathy should be shared equally between Carolyn Bryant, Emmett Till and Emmett Till family.

This story is very haunting to me because at the time this happened (August 1955), I was five years old the day Emmett Till’s body was found, and pulled from the Tallahatchie River, was August 31, 1955.  I was five years old; nine days shy of my sixth birthday.  I had already been in school a year now, as back then, you could start school at five if your sixth anniversary of your birthday was on or before December of that year.

I remember sitting on the porch as I listened to my mother and several other ladies were talking and I heard my mother say “they pulled that poor boys body from the river this morning.”  Bear in mind I was barely six years old, and even growing up in Mississippi and with all of the ills of racism and Jim Crow so ubiquitous at the time, I didn’t fully comprehend the magnitude of the incident then.  It’s hard for some to believe, especially if you didn’t grow up in the segregated Deep South, but black parents did a really good job of insulating their children from becoming a similar statistic as Emmett Till.  They did so then, as many do now, by having conversations with them about how we “deported” ourselves.  They talked then, as they do now, about how to respond when confronted with angry white men and the need to be extra careful about our interactions with white women.  They knew that even a casual association with white girls and women could cause us great harm, if only due to mere casual acquaintance, or the expected (Southern) gentlemanly courtesies children were expected to display to all adults, white and black.

So, pardon me if I share the same empathy for Carolyn Bryant, and the hell she faces for being a willing co-conspirator – and I don’t use the word lightly – in the death of this innocent young man.  He was eight years older than me, but he and I were in the same general age group.  The number of black men, and children, during the reign of terror by (the) Jim Crow Southern terrorists will never be fully counted, or accounted for.  The number of white women who either through sheer hatred or fear, or both, who knowingly helped to murder black men, then and now, is incomprehensible and unforgivable.

Emmett Till’s mother and family, like so many hundreds of other black mothers and families have this (sort of) hell they will have to live in, and through, for the rest of their lives.  Those of us who were close to these types of atrocities, both in physical geography and time, will also have this (sort of) hell we will have to live with.

While Carolyn Bryant has a (sort of) hell she’s living through, at least, and unlike Emmett Till, she still lives.

The Repugs Attempt to Repeal and Replace the Affordable Care Act

cow_stepping_in_his_poo_2209835My father used an enormous number of clichés, axioms and old sayings when I was growing up as a kid.

One of my favorites was “it’s like a cow shitting and stepping back in it.” Yesterday, the Repugs inability to pass their long-awaited legislation to “Repeal and Replace Obamacare” is analogous to the cow trying to shake the shit off his hoof/foot after shitting and stepping back in it.  This gross misstep came after seven (7) years of repeated threats, and after taking more than 50 votes in the House of Representatives to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or the artist known as “Obamacare”.  Of course, keep in mind, that these votes by the House were taken with full knowledge that they didn’t have to worry about repercussions because they knew the President, Barack Obama, whose signature legislation it was in the first place, would simply veto the bill; therefore, they could go about their merry way(s) and blame him for blocking their brave and bold attempt to kill the Frankenstein monster known as Affordable Care Act (ACA), or the artist known as “Obamacare”.

To better understand the repugnance of the saying “shitting and stepping back into it”, you have to understand and appreciate the required misstep one – in this case the cow – has to make, and then understand the anger, frustration, disgust and uncalculated move you (the cow) would have had to make to create this most unfortunate event.

You see, if you have ever had the opportunity to observe four-legged farm animals, be they cows, horses, sheep, goats, etc., or animals in the wild, like elephants, giraffes, lions, or whatever; as they move gracefully through the pasture, or the plains of Africa, you will notice they never step in their own shit.  It doesn’t matter how much shit is on the ground around these animals, they never seem to step in their own shit.  What’s most amazing to me is, these four-legged animals cannot see their feet (certainly not their rear two feet), yet they can walk continuously, going about their way, and never step in the piles of shit that lay in their paths.

However, there are these rare occasions, and rare they are in deed, where the cow will occasionally shit and accidentally step backwards in it.  When this unfortunate occurrence happens, its’ amazing to see how difficult it is for the cow to get the shit off his hoof.  You can also see the dismay on the cow’s face, at the moment this happens.  It’s as though it was saying to itself, dammit, what the hell do I do now.  What the cow does then is to immediately lift the shitty foot in the air and tries to shake off the shit.  Well, if you know anything about getting shit off your shoe, it tops the list of crap that’s seems almost impossible to clean off your shoe – say gum for example.  So, the cow shakes his hoof. and shakes it and shakes it, but to no avail. So the cow just decides to start walking in hopes the shit will just wear off.

So, the cow in this case is the Repugs who, for more than seven (7) years and more than sixty (60) (House) votes later, to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, or the artist known as Obamacare.  In addition, there were countless house seats won by the Repugs during the last two (2) Midterms – and most recently the pathological liar name trump – all won by the Repugs because they campaigned on this one enormous lie – they would repeal and replace  the Affordable Care Act, or the artist known as “Obamacare.”

The shit in this case is the monumental, colossal failure on Friday to garner enough votes to get their inhumane health care bill through a vote in the House.  As in the case of the cow, the Repugs immediately began trying their damnedest to shake the shit of their embarrassing – egg in your face – setback, using selective finger-pointing, first at each other, then the Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, then at the Freedom Caucus, then at the Dems, then on the weather, then on Sponge Bob, etc, etc.

But guess what, like the cow, cleaning the shit off their hoofs will be most difficult, and, even if they can, the smell of shit will remain on them for a long while.

TV Reporters, grinning like a Cheshire Cat

cheshirecat_disneyGrowing up, my father would often use the phrase “grinning like a Cheshire Cat”, when he wanted to make the, not so flattering, point about a stupid, dim-witted  and otherwise display of adulation by someone, for someone else.

The display of adulation part of his use the phrase is the part I have long held as the most applicable definition when I look at and think about their grin, as one like that of the Cheshire Cat.

Carrier Deal: Corporate Welfare, Extortion – or Both

It doesn’t matter how you parse it, the case for Carrier is corporate welfare, corporate extortion, or both.

The deal struck between Carrier, the State of Indiana – on behalf of Mike Pence – and Donald Trump exemplifies the long standing, and growing, welfare payments to American corporations disguised as incentives and tax breaks.  Never mind the stigma of the dreaded “W” word (welfare), and it’s use to stigmatize, castigate and otherwise demean those recipients who are truly deserving of governmental assistance, it’s hailed as a good and honorable thing  as long as it’s the corporate conglomerates who are the sucklings on the nipples of the welfare pig.

Listening to the employees of Carrier harp about the greatness of their savior Donald Trump, for having saved their jobs so easily, and subsequently living up to his campaign promise to slap tariffs on companies like Carrier from moving their operations to places like Mexico, highlights just how gullible America’s uniformed and uneducated voters are. Never mind the fact that there is no magic performed here -none at all – when you consider the enormous tax breaks, and other incentives doled out by the State of Indiana for Carriers “stay in America free card”, or the fact that the number of jobs to remain in Indiana are less than what Trump hyped, or the fact that the number still going to Mexico maybe higher (still) than the number remaining in Indiana.

As reported by several news sources, Politicus USA for one reported The deal that Donald Trump negotiated with United Technologies to keep Carrier jobs in Indiana is getting even worse. Trump and Pence gave United Technologies $7 million of taxpayer money in exchange for only keeping 800 jobs in the US.”  In return for keeping less in the US than they are moving to Mexico, United Technologies is getting a tax cut and incentive package worth $7 million over the next ten years.  The Wall Street Journal reported reported “that the deal only covers 800 Carrier jobs in the Indianapolis furnace plant and an additional 300 research and development jobs that were not going to Mexico. Carrier parent company United Technologies still intends to move 1,300 jobs to Mexico.”

While an early report suggest that the deal cost the State of Indiana $7,000,000, it’s highly likely the incentives by the state of Indiana will be substantially higher.  One of the most detailed discussions about how this corporate welfare program (disguised as incentives) works, was done in December 5, 2012, titled: A Thin Line: Economic Development or Corporate Welfare?” on NPR’s program – FRESH AIR, hosted by Terry Gross, and written by her guest Louise Story, a reporter with the Times Investigations Unit.  This story is a must read/listen. It can be heard on podcast at:
http://www.npr.org/2012/12/05/166489199/a-thin-line-economic-growth-or-corporate-welfare.

A transcript of the interview between FRESH AIR’s, Terry Gross and the NY Times Investigations Unit reporter, Louise Story can be read here:
http://www.npr.org/templates/transcript/transcript.php?storyId=166489199.

In her new series for The New York Times called “The United States of Subsidies,” investigative reporter Louise Story examines how states, counties and cities are giving up more than $80 billion each year in tax breaks and other financial incentives to lure companies or persuade them to stay put.  One of the fundamental questions raised by Ms. Story – a reporter with the New York Times Investigations Unit – and discussed in detail in the three-part New York Times series program “United States of Subsidies, “was, where does economic development end and corporate welfare begin?

The states and localities want jobs and economic growth; the companies want free land, free buildings, property tax abatement, “anything you can think of that would be financially beneficial,” Story tells Fresh Air‘s Terry Gross.

Another example from Texas – as reported by the New York Times story, Amazon has promised to open new distribution facilities there and hire 2,500 workers in exchange for about $250 million in tax revenues, revenues that they wouldn’t have to pay. So you do the math and say this amounts to about $100,000 per job in lost tax revenues, and most of the workers who would be paid, you know, with this new facility would get about 20 to $30,000 a year.

So if you’re losing $100,000 in tax revenues per job, and each worker’s only getting 20 to $30,000, you’re paying a fortune for every job.

The bottom line is that states and local municipalities are, and have been for some time, paying through the nose for this false appearance of job creation; when in actuality, they are giving away the store at taxpayers’ expense.  The tax payers are in essence paying for many of the “pseudo” jobs they’re getting through a sort of black market, back door scheme.  What’s even more troubling is that few people really know the details of these lucrative deals struck between their state and local governments.  In fairness, there are situations where, say in the case of some of the large automobile plants popping up throughout the South, these plants are locating to what amounts to desolate, unforgiving and remotely rural places where, even giving the land away would be no great loss to anyone.   However, when you drive by some of these places, you will see massive and enormous infrastructure improvements being made to the interstate highways and local roadways.  It’s only my guess, especially in the case of the interstate highway improvements, these improvements cost tens of millions of dollars and have to be paid for by the states, and the federal government, since the interstate highways are constructed, operated and maintained by the states and the federal government.

If a hungry child gets a free or reduced lunch at school through the USDA’s Child Nutrition program, he or she is viewed as leech on an entitled program.

Joy Reid’s Important Question: Will there be checks and balances on Trump?

Photo Courtesy of MSNBC

Hell to the NO… Who’s going to do it?

The democratic leadership sure as hell won’t do it. Trust me, I understand how Washington politics works; in that, the party in power controls all of the committee assignments, and consequently they alone have the power to call and conduct hearings.  The minority party has to follow their lead, but they can use the platform to challenge the validity and tone of the hearings.

As an example, I love the spirited fight in Democratic politicians like Rep. Elijah Cummings, and many other up and coming dems, but we need more of them – a lot more.  Not bashing  Symone D. Sanders, Strategist & CNN Political Commentator, but she’s all over the place as the mouthpiece for the Democratic Party’s reflection and rebirth.

Consider the fact that Trump isn’t even in office yet, and the glaring conflicts of his businesses being intertwined with his “kids” roles as his advisors – who (seemingly) will be running the country’s domestic and international affairs – to his “in your face” nominees for National Security Advisor, to Attorney General, the Democratic leadership is basically silent.  We don’t hear a whimper from them.  No, they don’t have to wait for him to get in office before they “call him out” on the aforementioned issues, and if not that, then why not highlight his general recklessness with respect to his approach to foreign policy snafus.

We only need to reflect on how the Repugs obstructed everything the current president did, or attempted to do for the past eight years. The minority party can obstruct, using selective (Senate and House rules) rules and creative tactics to make life miserable for the majority party.

Let’s face it, the Republicans have a pit bull mentality, and they now have an incompetent clown as the head of their party. Give them credit where it’s due though, this dude was a fighter and he took no prisoners, and as a result, he won. Okay, he won at all cost. No one is suggesting a “take no prisoners” approach to winning in politics, but can the dems at least have someone in our leadership who is a fighter. Let me be clear, I am in no way criticizing Hillary Clinton for her campaign and her style. This (first ever) women candidate still is the most qualified person, man or woman, to ever run for the office of the presidency. She had to contend with some the most hateful, untruthful, derogatory, and yes, personal attacks as anyone who ever ran for the office. She had to navigate pass promising the world to young voters, to carefully trying to tell the “coal country” and “rust belt” idiots that those damn factory and coal mining jobs were never coming back, while at the same time – not losing their support.  This belief is backed by my personal knowledge of this woman, having followed he political career for the past 35 years, and backed by the most intelligible and honest appraisal of her politics by the Washington Post’s Editorial Board article, dated October 13, 2016 https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/hillary-clinton-for-president/2016/10/12/665f9698-8caf-11e6-bf8a-3d26847eeed4_story.html?utm_term=.785c368e49f6

The only difference between me and many of the so called “experts” is that, I am saying to hell with changing course and go off chasing the “white working class voter.” This past election cycle, these voters voted AGAINST their own self-interest, party, because these angry white guys couldn’t stomach a women becoming the Commander in Chief, and partly because these same people “got a rise” out of the buffoonishness of this “tell like it is” and “the outsiderness” of this clown.  Again, we can agree or disagree if we like, but more people voted for him, in spite of Hillary’s qualification, because it’s basic human nature to like people who exude confidence.  Even (SOME) women, who on the one hand may cringe at his loathing and boastful talk about assaulting (other), seem to like the aggressive nature of this dude.

It’s really about having the spine to fight, and even though the (house) committee hearings are controlled by the majority party, and even though the majority party in the (Senate) controls their hearings and have the power to approve any and all presidential nominations to his cabinet, the federal judgeships, and the Supreme Court, the minority party can use those hearings and nomination forums to raise “holy hell” about the absurdity of the nominations and highlight to the voters just how flawed those nominations are and what (negative) impact they will have on their lives.

The Democratic leadership is too doggone spineless and seems to be more concerned with how they are viewed, than standing for the basic principles the party is founded on and should be exposing to be. I will never forget what Nancy Pelosi said immediately after she became Speaker of the house after the Iraq war.  Her first statement was, in effect, she would not waste the House of Representatives time investigating the war.  So, all of the war crimes committed by George Bush went un-investigated and possibly prosecuted, Now fast forward, when Hillary Clinton became a presidential candidate, every ignorant, absurd and baseless claim imaginable was front and center by Rep. Jason Chaffetz, (a Republican from Utah, who chairs the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee) and his minions on the House Oversight Committee.

So, the answer is no. There won’t be any checks and balances.