Posts Tagged ‘america’

Election 2016


It seems that every four years Americans are faced with a choice that often leaves us with a bad taste in our mouths. We elect and vote for choices based on the best available candidates, we hope. When it comes time to vote, we somehow also fall for the rhetoric that our very way of life is threatened if the other guy wins and the only way to ensure our preservation is to cast our ballot in favor of “our” guy.

This election is no different, but now we have a woman.After reviewing all of them I’m not so sure the American people benefit with anyone.


Bernie Sanders- Bernie Sanders is a crowd favorite. He brings an authenticity with him that connects with his constituents and his supporters. His track record on civil rights and the rights of minorities is impenetrable. He has energized a whole young population that feels disenfranchised and disengaged from the whole political landscape that their parents live in.

He wants to regulate the banks and get big money out of politics. He also has accomplished a feat never done before. He has wedge into the democratic system that the term socialist is not an evil word and changed the course of campaigning forever. He has answered the call for millions of people who hate the “business as usual” mechanics of politics that often leave minorities in the cold.

The issues aren’t with Bernie’s message it’s that if he were to become president, how effective can he be to make that changes his campaign ran on. Americans are fearful of the term socialist and congress is not just gonna grovel at his feet just cause the people want change. Back in 2008, when Obama became president there was a feeling of real, radical change was going to happen and shifts in policy and laws were going to be enacted that would help African-Americans and other poor groups. After months of fine dining us, Americans were finding out Obama had trouble paying the bill for the meal he ordered and well, we got stuck doing some dishes. I feel this will play out the same way with Bernie.

His supporters aren’t looking for another compromise or a back alley deal that meets in the middle. They want real change for that to happen, Sanders pinned himself in an unwavering position. Sanders records on gun control is murky at best because he against a five-day waiting period for background checks in 1993, but also voted against selling of automatic weapons. He also is another war mongering leader in the making who voted for wars in Afghanistan, Libya, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen. Even Clinton has taken a lot of heat for the 1994 Crime Bill, but Sanders has somehow been able his vote through undetected.

When asked about it, he gives an explanation that is acceptable to his supporters, but others like myself puzzled. In their eyes he can do no wrong. So my question is this. If Sanders is so civil rights, then why did he vote for the Crime Bill knowing the repercussions it would have on generations of African-Americans. Also, don’t the victims of bombings and attacks in Middle Eastern countries by our military deserve rights, our are black and brown rights only relevant on our soil?


Hillary Clinton-Clinton has the chance to make history in this race and that has come at a cost. Her character, voting records, previous comments and experience has all come into question. While Clinton has the drive and fortitude of her male counterparts, has an edge in foreign policy, that her opponents on the right and left do not have. Through her Apprentice Tax Credit that can help millions of Americans. Gun Control advocates back her and she has one of the best presidents of our generation to call on in a moments notice living in the same home, her husband and former president Bill Clinton.

Clinton has faced numerous amounts of attacks that only seemed to be fueled by sexism, ageist and relentlessness by the GOP. With every report about her, whether it’s Benghazi or the current email scandal her opponents find simple-minded attacks to weaken her resolve. She’s been the most scrutinized and politicized figure in this race. Sanders hammers her on her cozy relationship with banks and big budget corporations. While Trump seems to have label her as crooked and makes over inflated statements about her emails, that most Americans just want to move on from.

Hillary’s biggest problem throughout all this has been herself. Three years ago she was the most likable candidate assuming she was going to run at the time. Now her poll numbers show a problem that has become an anchor in her sailboat. Frankly, a lot of voters don’t like or trust her. GOP has a small victory in their corner,but Sanders and his supporters don’t buy into her talk of tough politics against bankers and lobbyists. She also played her hand too late on issues such as immigration, abortion, Keystone Pipeline and others.

This makes her look too indecisive and that someone else is feeding her what to say and how to say it. This is troubling to Americans who want a president who will walk into the situation room or summit with world leaders and give a clear-cut answer at a moments notice when the time comes. Other missteps have been her pandering to the African-American community which she has been called out on numerous times.

Hillary’s biggest challenge won’t be winning the nomination,but concentrating her energy towards Bernie’s supporters without pivoting too far away from her central message that got her base initially. Some Bernie supporters have already vowed to either vote for Trump or not at all if Hillary wins.


Donald Trump- Donald Trump has been the most controversial outspoken candidate of this generation. He has insulted Latinos, Muslims, Women, the disabled, captured war heroes and other groups as well. His racially divisive and hurtful attacks pierce right into the heart of the issue that seems to be the unspoken case of racial disparity and underlining bigotry in our so-called progressive country.

Trump has effectively collected the population of those who feel marginalized, by the growing threat of losing the country their ancestors gained. Trump supporters are overwhelmingly white and mostly males. When his supporters speak of him, their most likely to say how much of a great speaker he is and how he tells it like it is.

They also like the fact that Trump doesn’t have to gravel at the feet of those lobbyists and campaign donors that the other candidate did. He funded most of the campaign himself and his supporters as well. He has a tax plan proposal that would exempt single filers making $25,000 and under from paying taxes.

His biggest win in his campaign has been drawing in the GOP with a gravitational like pull towards himself. Most candidates usually make statements to parallel the GOP brand and narrative already in play. Trump has disregarded the verbal talking points of conservatism and has made inflammatory remarks, one after the other. Even with Governors, Speaker of the House and rivals calling him out on his statements, they all are united in voting for him. That’s much like your uncle saying how much he hates gay people and proposing legislation against them, but the family has to keep putting up with him, because he’s grannies favorite.

What works against Trump has been Trump himself. Unlike Clinton, who’s pandering hurt her to be a favorite among undecided voters, Trump has alienated a base of supporters that the GOP has desperately been trying to obtain that the democrats has had a strong hold on…minorities. His constant remarks about building a wall to keep Mexicans out and increasing security against immigrant Muslims has turned him into apotheosis of angry racist white hatred. He’s a fan favorite among white supremacists and shows no signs of slowing down his tone. He recently made statements about a federal judge who is of Mexican background that again pinned him down to be racist and bigoted.

In addition to Trump inciting racism, he also is a compulsive liar with a bad temperament. He has countless sound bits that has been fact checked and found out to be downright lies.

When you go and vote on these candidate be informed about them, but just don’t vote on your emotions learn about the candidate.

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Apology for Slavery

Back in 2009 the Senate made a unanimous resolution to apologize for slavery. “You wonder why we didn’t do it 100 years ago,” Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), lead sponsor of the resolution, said after the unanimous-consent vote. “It is important to have a collective response to a collective injustice.” One year prior the house made a similar apology except the senate’s version is more explicit about whether descendants of slavery are entitled to reparations. The senate recognized and apologized for slavery, however, it did not want to use this admittance for claims for reparations. The resolution did at least acknowledge slavery and representative Tom Harkin called it a “important and significant milestone” . Dealing with the issue at the time was of no coincidence, with the election of now TWO TERM PRESIDENT Obama it was an issue representative Stephen I. Cohen fought for ten years ago and never stopped for it.

Cohen does add to this resolution and sums up the feeling of the moment. “There are going to be African-Americans who think that [the apology] is not reparations, and it’s not action, and there are going to be Caucasians who say, ‘Get over it.’ . . . I look at it as something that makes people think.” Republicans at the time were supportive of the resolution, even though college professor of political science Carol M. Swain says the republicans should have pushed for the measure and calls it “meaningless” since the democrats already have Barack Obama and a large minority vote. “The Republican Party needed to do it,” Swain said. “It would have shed that racist scab on the party.” “It doesn’t fix everything, but it does go a long way toward acknowledgment and moving us on to the next steps to building a more perfect union, doing the things that Martin Luther King would talk about, like building a colorblind society,” said Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.).

Charles Ogletree, the Harvard law professor who has championed restitution was consulted and supported the resolution, but says this is not a substitute for reparations. Randall Robinson, author of “The Debt: What America Owes to Blacks,” said he sees the Senate’s apology as a “confession” that should lead to a next step of reparations. “Much is owed, and it is very quantifiable,” he said. “It is owed as one would owe for any labor that one has not paid for, and until steps are taken in that direction we haven’t accomplished anything.”

Apology to Native Americans

African-Americans weren’t the only one owed an apology for genocidal acts against their kind. Native Americans also suffered in this country greatly. The apology came in 2009 in a spending bill that was unrelated, the Defense Appropriation Act of 2010 was a 67 page bill where the recognition for the suffering shed light. On page 45 of the bill it states “Apology to Native Peoples of the United States” in section 8113. “The United States, acting through Congress,” states Sec. 8113, “apologizes on behalf of the people of the United States to all Native Peoples for the many instances of violence, maltreatment, and neglect inflicted on Native Peoples by citizens of the United States;” and “expresses its regret for the ramifications of former wrongs and its commitment to build on the positive relationships of the past and present to move toward a brighter future where all the people of this land live reconciled as brothers and sisters, and harmoniously steward and protect this land together.”

Though this serves as an admittance to the long history of hardship it does not give leeway for liability. “Nothing in this section authorizes or supports any claim against the United States; or serves as a settlement of any claim against the United States,” states the apology. The apology also urges the President of the Unites States to “acknowledge the wrongs of the United States against Indian tribes in the history of the United States in order to bring healing to this land.”  In the two years of the enactment a public announcement by the Obama administration has yet to come to the Native Americans. The rhetoric in the bill actually came from two senators who tried to make this happen back in 2004. Senators Sam Brownback(R) and Byron Dorgan(D) proposed a Native American Apology Resolution in 2008 and 2009 that was shot down.

In December 19, 2012 the apology was read by Mark Charles a representative for the Navajo nation. He hosted a public reading in front of Capitol in Washington, D.C. “This apology was buried in H.R. 3326, the 2010 Department of Defense Appropriations Act,” wrote Charles on his Reflections from the Hogan blog. “It was signed by President Obama on Dec. 19, 2009 but was never announced, publicized or read publicly by either the White House or the 111th Congress.” “Given the context, the appropriations sections of H.R. 3326 sounded almost nonsensical,” wrote Charles. “But there was something very deep and meaningful about hearing them being read by Native Americans. To me it sounded almost like a silent form of protest. We were not pointing fingers, nor were we calling out our leaders by name, we have just highlighted the inappropriateness of the context and delivery of their apology.”

Apology to the Japanese 

In 1988 under President Reagans signature the Civil Liberties Act was initiated. Under this act compensation was given to more than 100,000 Japanese descendants. The legislation offered an apology and wait for ..wait for it…...$20,000 dollars a piece to each surviving victim. It did take over ten years of campaigning from the Japanese American community for them to get the win for congressional approval. To commemorate the 25th anniversary of the passage of the act, the Civil Liberties Act was put on display at the national archives right alongside the original executive order 9066 which authorized the internment. Marielle Tsukamoto grew up in an internment camp said “shivers up and down [her] back” because she realized it ruined lives.

According to Bruce Custard a senior curator says the exhibition is a potent reminder of what federal documents really mean. “They are filled with legalese, and again that to me reinforces the idea that from these sorts of legal decisions that our government makes, these kinds of consequences can happen.”  The camps themselves when described by John Tateishi were nothing more than makeshift barracks with cramped families and loved ones behind barbed wire. A majority of the internees were from the West Coast, where they were taken away from their own communities, liquidating their businesses when war authorities abducted them and placed them in the camps. Tateishi still remembers the embarrassment and degradation he felt during that time. “We came out of these camps with a sense of shame and guilt, of having been considered betrayers of our country.” He says that after the war most families never spoke about it. “There were no complaints, no big rallies or demands for justice because it was not the Japanese way.”

The turning point came out of the civil rights movement which inspired the younger generation to speak out and start the Japanese American Citizens League, “You have to sometimes bring your community, dragging and screaming behind you, but you better have strong convictions that what you’re doing is right,” he says. In 1980 an investigation was commissioned by Congress. The investigation gave a final report calling the incarceration a “grave injustice” caused by “racial prejudice, war hysteria and the failure of political leadership.” Tateishi says the campaign was less about compensation and more about the next generation. “There is a saying in Japanese culture, ‘kodomo no tame ni,’ which means, ‘for the sake of the children.’ And for us running this campaign, that had much to do with it,” he saysi. “It’s the legacy we’re handing down to them and to the nation to say that, ‘You can make this mistake, but you also have to correct it — and by correcting it, hopefully not repeat it again.’ ”

Apology for Hawaii 

November 23, 1993 President Bill Clinton signed United States public law 103-150 or what it is better known as “The Apology Resolution”. This new law was to acknowledge the 100th anniversary of the January 17th, 1893 overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii and a formal apology from the United States government.  Until 1893 the US recognized the Kingdom of Hawaii and the Hawaii Government as independent. It was given full and complete diplomatic recognition. From January 14th 1893 this all changed, the US minister assigned to the sovereign and independent Kingdom of Hawaii conspired with a small group of non-Hawaiians residents of the Kingdom of Hawaii and US citizens to overthrow the indigenous and lawful Government of Hawaii.

Queen Liliuokalani issued the following statement yielding her authority to the United States Government rather than to the Provisional Government:”I Liliuokalani, by the Grace of God and under the Constitution of the Hawaiian Kingdom, Queen, do hereby solemnly protest against any and all acts done against myself and the Constitutional Government of the Hawaiian Kingdom by certain persons claiming to have established a Provisional Government of and for this Kingdom.”That I yield to the superior force of the United States of America whose Minister Plenipotentiary, His Excellency John L. Stevens, has caused United States troops to be landed a Honolulu and declared that he would support the Provisional Government.”Now to avoid any collision of armed forces, and perhaps the loss of life, I do this under protest and impelled by said force yield my authority until such time as the Government of the United States shall, upon facts being presented to it, undo the action of its representatives and reinstate me in the authority which I claim as the Constitutional Sovereign of the Hawaiian Islands.”- Queen Liliuokalani, Jan 17, 1893

President Grover Cleveland sent a message to congress on December 18, 1893 about the accurate and detailed reports of the illegal acts of the conspirators and described these actions as “acts of war” with the help of a diplomatic representative of the United States that was given no authority from Congress. He acknowledged that a peaceful and friendly government people was overthrown and went on to say, “substantial wrong has thus been done, which a due regard for our national character as well as the rights of the injured people requires we should endeavor to repair” and called for the restoration of the Hawaiian monarchy.

Now, therefore, be it
Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
The Congress
Apologizes to Native Hawaiians on behalf of the people of the United States for the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii on January 17, 1893… and the deprivation of the rights of Native Hawaiians to self-determination;
Expresses its commitment to acknowledge the ramifications of the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii, in order to provide a proper foundation for reconciliation between the United States and the Native Hawaiian people; and
urges the President of the United States to also acknowledge the ramifications of the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii and to support reconciliation efforts between the United States and the Native Hawaiian people.

the logical consequences of this resolution would be independence.”
– Senator Slade Gorton (R-Washington), US Senate Congressional Record
Wednesday, October 27, 1993, 103rd Cong. 1st Sess.

The Germans did more than apologize

You in reading these articles I collected for this blog. I realized that an apology is not enough, especially when generations of lives have been lost.The Germans don’t get a lot of credit for making steps to right the wrongs of history. With the crimes against the Jews and the ancestors that were execrably taken just for living the Germans have apologized for the Holocaust almost 70 years ago. The Germans in addition to apologizing gave back more than 63 Billion in euros in reparations and millions in addition to that are still being paid out to Jews in Israel and Eastern Europe. In addition to all of that, so the Germans will not forget its past sins the German government also commemorates the Holocaust.


House Republicans Are Pushing A Bill That Would Force The IRS To Audit Rape Victims

women's health


House Republicans are currently advancing the “No Taxpayer Funding For Abortion Act,” or HR 7, a measure that would impose sweeping restrictions on abortion coverage that could make the procedure less affordable for Americans across the country. In addition to preventing low-income women from using their Medicaid coverage to access abortion, HR 7 could also have dramatic implications for the tax code and the private insurance market. One of its most controversial provisions could actually require the Internal Revenue Service to conduct audits of rape victims.

Why? Because HR 7 eliminates medical-expense deductions for abortion care, essentiallyraising taxes on the women who opt to have an abortion. Like many abortion restrictions, this provision includes an exemption for victims of rape and incest, as well as women who encounter life-threatening complications from their pregnancies. But in order to enforce those exceptions, the IRS would have to verify that the women who are claiming a medical-expense deduction for an abortion fall into one of those three categories, to ensure they’re not committing tax fraud.

Essentially, that would empower the government agency to have the final say over what “counts” as a sexual assault or a life-threatening situation. And that, in turn, would force victims to prove their case.

“Imagine having to recount a sexual assault — a horrifyingly painful, personal experience — to a tax collector,” NARAL Pro-Choice America says in an action alert to its members to encourage them to mobilize against HR 7. “An anti-choice bill in Congress would do just that. It could force sexual assault survivors who access abortion care to prove the assault occurred.”

That certainly sounds horrific. However, it’s important to remember that HR 7 is hardly the only piece of anti-choice legislation that sets up this dynamic.

The biggest political controversies over abortion policies throughout the past year havecentered on rape victims, highlighting the anti-abortion laws that don’t extend any exceptions to them. It’s easy to see why the pro-choice community focuses on leveraging the outrage surrounding rape and abortion. Voters overwhelmingly favor legal abortion accessfor individuals who have become pregnant from rape, and policies that don’t fall in line with that seem especially callous.

But even when abortion restrictions do include some kind rape exception, as HR 7 does, the issues don’t end there. Exceptions for rape victims have some unintended consequences. They require some kind of system to separate the women who have become pregnant from sexual assault from the other women who want to end a pregnancy for a different reason. They essentially necessitate “rape audits.”

And in states across the country, that’s exactly what’s already occurring. The audits aren’t being conducted by the IRS, but they are being conducted by state officials.

Medicaid coverage for abortion services provides the best example of this. The Hyde Amendment, the policy that currently forbids low-income women from using their Medicaid coverage to help pay for abortion services, includes the same exceptions as HR 7 does. Thirty two states and the District of Columbia follow that federal standard for their local Medicaid funds — so, if the women who live there want to claim one of those exemptions, they already need to sufficiently prove why they deserve it. Some states require more proof than others. In 22 states, low-income rape victims who want to use their Medicaid coverage to pay for their abortion need to present a doctor’s note. Eleven other states require them to file a report with law enforcement or a social services agency. Last year, Iowa approved a law that requires the governor to personally approve each woman who’s seeking an exception to the Medicaid coverage ban.

Studies have found that these exceptions don’t operate as intended. Most rape victims who rely on Medicaid don’t actually end up getting reimbursed for the procedure, largely because of all the red tape. “Basically these exceptions don’t work. It’s really a myth that there is coverage that is still provided,” Stephanie Poggi, the executive director of the National Network of Abortion Funds, told the Washington Post.

Nonetheless, that hasn’t stopped state legislatures from moving forward with similar restrictions in other areas of the insurance industry. Outside of Medicaid, several states have already imposed abortion restrictions on the private insurance market that are similar to HR 7. And the health reform law has given states an opportunity to impose coverage bans on the procedure in their new insurance marketplaces.

We already live in a world in which navigating insurance coverage for abortion is so complicated that many women simply assume their insurer won’t pay for it, and end up financing the entire cost out-of-pocket. And we already live in a world in which victims of sexual assault are forced to prove the validity of their experiences to a skeptical society thatdoubts they’re telling the truth. We certainly live in a world that’s enacted nearly as manybarriers to abortion access as humanly possible. Abortion restrictions that assume that some women’s reasons for terminating a pregnancy are somehow more valid than others exploits all of these dynamics. HR 7 fits neatly into this worldview — but it’s a continuation of a trend, rather than a brand-new outrage.

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yay, we won something……Where to start with this one because it doesn’t surprise & it is for appropriate reason. In the most recent Williams & Gallup International Poll, around one-fourth of people surveyed believe America is the greatest threat to world peace. Pakistan was second with 8%. Other countries mentioned were Afghanistan, Iran, Israel and North Korea.

About 13% of US citizens believe the same thing as many abroad. Others in Latin America feel the same way. Moroccans, Lebanese and Iraqis called Israel the number one threat. For sure Palestinians, Syrians and many others throughout the Middle East and beyond feel the same way about Israel and America.


Both countries threaten world peace. They wage war on humanity. They deny their own people fundamental rights. They ignore rule of law principles. They operate extrajudicially. They do whatever they please. They remain unaccountable. Peace begins at home. It means protecting the rights of all citizens and residents. It includes respecting rule of law principles.

It’s about democratic values. It involves government of, by and for everyone. It features peace, equity, justice and fairness above all. Not in Israel. Not in America. Conditions in both countries are deplorable. They’re worse than ever. Israel spies lawlessly like America. It does it aggressively. It targets Americans. Previous articles explained.

On January 3, The New York Times headlined “Court Grants Secrecy for Memo on Phone Data.” Only a police state one would do so. A three-judge panel “ruled (unanimously) that the Obama administration may continue to withhold a (secret) Justice Department memo,” said The Times.

It “came down on the side of a broad conception of the executive branch’s power to keep secret its interpretation of what the law permits it to do.”It makes it easier for federal authorities to circumvent Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) disclosure.The court approved giving FBI officials customers’ telecommunications data without subpoena or court order.

Doing so violates the 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA). It restricts telecommunications wiretaps. It prevents unauthorized government access to private online communications.It sets strict guidelines for search warrants. It protects stored online communications. It prohibits pen registering and/or trap and trace devices.They’re used to record dialing, routing, addressing, and signaling information for processing or transmitting wire or electronic communications without court order.

As Mr. Stephen Lendman so eloquently puts it:

Police state lawlessness is official policy. Obama exceeds the worst of George Bush. Democracy is a figure of speech. Freedom is vanishing in plain sight.

Rule of law protections don’t exist. Anything goes is policy. Wealth, power and privilege alone matter. State terror targets non-believers.

Mass surveillance watches everyone. Congress enacts police state laws. Federal courts rubber-stamp them.

People wanting to live free are considered state enemies. Challenging government of, by and for privileged elites is criminalized.

Orwell envisioned a dark future. It’s worse than he imagined. Wars rage without end. Big Brother watches everyone.

State-of-the-art technology is used repressively. Privacy is a thing of the past. Electoral politics doesn’t work.

Monied interests run America. Both parties are two sides of the same coin. Democrats are as ruthless as Republicans.

Vital change more than ever is needed. Ordinary people are on their own to achieve it. Collective activism has power. What better time to use it than now.

Civil disobedience is a longstanding tradition. America’s Declaration of Independence states:

“(W)henever any form of government becomes destructive (of unalienable rights too important to lose), it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government…”

“(W)hen a long train of abuses and usurpations (establishes) absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government.”

Failure to act assures worse ahead than now. If that’s not incentive enough to change things, what is?





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Activist Scott Strzelcyzk speaks about his efforts to secede from the state at his New Windsor, Maryland home on November 22, 2013

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Cumberland, Md. (AFP) – By day, Scott Strzelcyzk is an IT consultant in this rural Appalachian corner of Maryland. By night, he’s something of a modern-day American revolutionary.


“It’s time for a 51st state!” declared Strzelcyzk at a town hall meeting in Cumberland, rallying support for an “amiable divorce” from the coastal state’s more urban eastern half.

The United States hasn’t added a state since 1959 when Alaska and Hawaii became the 49th and 50th states, but Strzelcyzk is optimistic that western Maryland — five counties — could strike off on its own in as little as three to five years.

The area is not alone. In other states like California, Colorado or Michigan, regions are itching for statehood, often for the main reason Strzelcyzk cites — frustration with government.

“I think of myself as an average citizen who is sick and tired of being sick and tired,” said Strzelcyzk, who refers to the state capital Annapolis with the same contempt that euroskeptics reserve for Brussels.

“In Maryland, we have a number of irreconcilable differences with the state government and how they govern,” he said.

The laundry list of grievances that underpins the Liberate Western Maryland movement runs from higher taxes on alcohol and cigarettes to “oppressive” gun control legislation, in-state college tuition for illegal immigrants, and even stricter rules on septic tanks.

Several hundred people had signed a petition backing the statehood movement by the time Strzelcyzk and a handful of supporters presented their vision to about 80 people who attended the rally at Allegany College in Cumberland.

Its credo is “one smaller, leaner government, more freedom, more personal responsibilities” for the 650,000 predominantly white, rural and older inhabitants of the Maryland panhandle, where 11 percent of the state’s total population lives.

But how would Western Maryland pay its bills? Some members of the audience wanted to know.

“We’ll make it attractive” to business, Strzelcyzk said.

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Activist Scott Strzelcyzk looks at a framed copy of …

Activist Scott Strzelcyzk looks at a framed copy of the US Constitution in his New Windsor, Maryland …

Others asked why grievances could not simply be tackled at the ballot box, eliminating the need for separation from the rest of the state.

“They have a rigged game, with rigged rules, on a rigged field and they own the referees,” he said. “Even through the normal electoral process, the outcome cannot be changed.”

Once a Democrat, and later a Republican, Strzelcyzk pitches his proposal at meetings of the conservative Tea Party movement.

Maryland is largely a Democratic state, with liberals living in prosperous suburbs just outside Washington and African-Americans making up the majority of its biggest city Baltimore.

Gay marriage is enshrined in law and Governor Martin O’Malley favors tougher gun laws.

Frank Shafroth, director of the Center for State and Local Government Leadership at George Mason University in Virginia, said that state secessionist movements are signs of frustration in an aging population.

“Those rural areas are seeing fewer and fewer young people,” he told AFP.

“They are more and more white; there are more and more people over the age of 55 who have very different values; they have old traditional values — and they have a difficult time adjusting.”

Breakaway regions are nothing new in US history — Delaware separated from Pennsylvania, Kentucky was carved out of Virginia and Maine was once part of Massachusetts — but those examples date to the 1700s and 1800s.

In recent years, in the Rocky Mountain state of Colorado, 11 counties attempted to break away from the main city Denver, although the proposal was defeated in a referendum.

In northern California, the idea of a Jefferson state — taking in a southern chunk of Oregon — dates back to the 19th century, and is making a comeback.

Secession, however, is more easily argued than done.

“The obstacles would be hard to overcome,” Shafroth said.

Secession by a county would require approval from the legislature of the state concerned, “an unlikely outcome particularly given that those areas that want to secede represent a declining population, so they have very little power within the state legislatures.”

Even if that hurdle was cleared, secession would still have to be approved by the US Congress, Shafroth added.

Back at the town hall meeting in Cumberland, Todd Arbogast, a 42-year-old analyst, said secession was still worth pursuing.

“Annapolis ignores us,” he said.

Brandon Juhcish, 30, described his feelings as “a little bit skeptical,” while Josh Frick, 42, a gun shop employee, leaned in favor of the idea.

“Most of these counties are more rural,” Frick said.

“They have different priorities. The environment is different. How they see themselves as individuals is different. What they expect from the government is different.”

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The Atlantic Wire

By Alexander Abad-SantosNovember 1, 2013 11:10 AM
Daylight Saving Time Is America's Greatest Shame


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Daylight Saving Time Is America’s Greatest Shame

Daylight Saving Time is the greatest continuing fraud ever perpetuated on American people. And this weekend, the effects of this cruel monster will rear its ugly head again. On Sunday morning, Americans across the country will have to set their clocks back one hour, and next week, the sun will begin its ambling lurch to eventually setting at 4:30 in the afternoon

Technically-speaking, this sleep cycle-wrecking practice of setting our clocks back is because we will be going back to Standard Time after our flirty summer with DST. And the unsettling shift back to these hours, and the hour “we gain,” is the back-end of the time-bargain we have to pay for setting our clocks forward in March to “maximize daylight” — a phrase probably better suited to organisms that rely on photosynthesis — during the spring and summer hours.

Why we try and “maximize daylight” like we’re plants is actually an archaic practice first thought up in the late 1700s and often attributed to Benjamin Franklin. As some elementary school teacher may have explained to you, this was a practice to accommodate agricultural workers and farmers (wrong, and we’ll get to this in a minute) or lower the nation’s electricity usage.  

RELATED: If You’re Complaining About the Lack of Light, at Least Get It Right

A lot of that is prime b.s. There is actually no benefit or rhyme or reason we have to endure this weekend’s time shift and no reason we should even be playing with the idea of losing and gaining hours. Here’s why:

The Energy Savings Are Minimal 

A large push for DST has always been the idea that this time warp saved money and helped conserve energy. In the 1970s the energy crisis helped further this notion along. This is all a myth — the energy saving are tiny. First off, did you notice any change in your energy bills between 2006-2008? I know that recalling electricity bills is asking a lot, but the reason I ask is that we actually extended DST by a month in 2007. The thought was that a month of DST would bring more savings. 

That was wrong. The great energy-sucking state of California actually studied the impact of that extension and found it wanting. “Formally, weather- and lighting-corrected savings from DST were estimated at 0.18%,”reported the California Energy Commission. 

There was also another study on the state of Indiana, a state that went full DST in 2006. A team from Yale studied what happened post-DST, and found that the average Indianan was hit in the wallet by DST. National Geographic reported:

In their 2008 National Bureau of Economic Research study, the team found that lighting demand dropped, but the warmer hour of extra daylight tacked onto each evening led to more air-conditioning use, which canceled out the gains from reduced lighting and then some: Hoosiers paid higher electric bills than before DST, the study showed. 

DST Is Bad For Your Health

SAD, a.k.a. seasonal affective disorder, is when people get bummed out when the seasons shift. Sunlight plays a role into that, and you’d think that DST would be something everyone would be looking forward to. Wrong. In order to get more daylight during the day, DST short-changes the early-morning sun hours. Those hours are important for those affected by SAD. And it’s also very important for your sleep patterns. 

“Daylight savings time is anti-physiologic, and it’s a little deleterious, at least for several days,”  Dr. Nicholas Rummo, director of the Center for Sleep Medicine at Northern Westchester Hospital told, and added, “light earlier in the day is more helpful for them.” 

Research has also shown that DST, and shifts and the rupturing of sleep patterns is also linked to myocardial infarctions (a.k.a. heart-attacks)car accidents, and medical equipment malfunctions. 

Time Shifts Are Bad For Your Productivity 

American exceptionalism is a phrase we’ve heard a lot recently, and it’s usually prefixed by words like “dwindling” or “losing faith in…”. If we want to continue this path, then we might as well have DST and shifting time patterns every few months. The weird shift in time messes with our sleep patterns and our bodies, and our work. 

“We’re encountering data of an increase in extra auto and workplace accidents on Monday or perhaps even carrying through the first week of the Spring time shift,” Dr. James Wyatt, at Rush University Medical Center told ABC News in 2012National Geographic spoke with Till Roenneberg, a chronobiologist, and he explained why: 

Light doesn’t do the same things to the body in the morning and the evening. More light in the morning would advance the body clock, and that would be good. But more light in the evening would even further delay the body clock.

DST Is Not Financially Responsible

Think about what you could do with $147 million. That’s how much the Air Transport Association estimated the 2007, one-month shift cost the airline industry because time schedules with the world (a lot of which does not believe in DST) were messed up. 

DST Is Not Helping Any Farmers

Oh right, we almost forgot about farmers. I remember my second grade teacher told skinny, frail, 7-year-old me, “We do this [time shift] for the farmers.” I didn’t know any farmers, but I remember feeling noble and helpful. I did not know I was being lied to. 

“That’s the complete inverse of what’s true,” Tufts University professor Michael Downing, told National Geographic. “The farmers were the only organized lobby against daylight saving in the history of the country.” The reason, Downing explains, is that DST left them with less sunlight to get crops to market.

DST affects dairy farmers the most, since cows’ bodies and the milk they’re tasked with producing are affected by the time changes.

You Don’t Even Like DST

“God, I love getting up an hour earlier,” said no one ever. “Me too. I can’t wait to have my schedule messed up in the fall,” no one replied.

 A 2011 Rasmussen poll (for what it’s worth, Rasmussen can be a bit skewed when it comes to conservative politicians but seems to have no known bias against time zones) found that 47 percent (ha, Romney, ha) of Americans said DST was not worth the hassle. 

So how do we fix all of this? Over at Quartz, there’s an idea to just have two timezones. But let’s be clear here. The real evil here is change. No one really minds if 4 a.m. is 4 a.m. They (and their possible heart attacks) mind if for some reason or another that 4 a.m. is now 5 a.m and will be 4 a.m. in a few months. It’s time to stop this insanity. 

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Vermont has the highest rate of illicit drug use in the country with 15% of people saying they’ve used within the past month (compared to 4.2% in Utah, where illicit drug use is the lowest), according to2010-2011 surveys from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

The Northeastern state ranked high for almost every type of drug, from marijuana to cocaine.

This trend is a consequence of factors including  weather, politics, and proximity to big cities, according to  Barbara Cimaglio, the Vermont Department of Health’s deputy commissioner for alcohol and drug abuse programs.

“You have everything from the colder climate, which tends to be a reason some people give, to more liberal attitudes, to higher income levels, to people having more access, but I don’t think anyone knows for sure,” Barbara Cimaglio told Business Insider.

Cimaglio pointed out that marijuana accounts for a large portion of the state’s drug use. Vermont ranked highest in the U.S. for marijuana use, with about 13% of people saying they’ve used it in the past month.

“I think what drives this up tends to be the higher use of marijuana, and if you look at the states [with high illicit drug use], they tend to be the states that have decriminalized or have more favorable attitudes toward use of marijuana,” she said.

Trafficking from out-of-state drug dealers has also worsened Vermont’s drug problem, likely because the state has highways that feed into big cities.

“I think Vermont is really in sort of a perfect storm because we’re on that highway between Montreal, Boston, New York, and also going to Philadelphia,” Cimaglio said. “You have to go through Vermont to get to some of the bigger cities like Boston, so it seems like some people are just trafficking along the way and Vermont is one of the stops.”

Within the last year or so, she said, she’s heard more stories of burglaries related to drug trafficking and more stories about people being arrested in Vermont who aren’t from the state.

Seven Days, an independent newspaper in Vermont, reported earlier this year that large amounts of heroin have been coming into the state from big-city dealers who can sell the drug at a higher price in Vermont. The drug is coming from New York City, Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, and Detroit.

A bag of heroin that would cost $5 in a big city can sell for as much as $30 in Rutland, Vt., the city’s  police chief James Baker told the newspaper. Vermont is seeing an uptick in heroin use, Cimaglio confirmed.

Prescription drug use has also risen dramatically in Vermont, as it has around the country, the Burlington Free Press reported in 2011.

Vermont officials have taken notice of the drug use trends and are trying to curb the problem.

“We’ve enhanced our treatment services greatly, and also law enforcement,” Cimaglio said. “We’re addressing it on all fronts.”

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