Secretive trade talks
The Trans-Pacific Partnership pact now before Congress is creating waves. If it were only a trade pact, there might be less of a brouhaha.
The only people outside of the negotiation team who can see the deal are members of Congress. They must go to a locked room in the basement of the U.S. Capitol and have special access to enter just to read the deal. The general public and press do not have access.
Leaks and comments have reported that the deal is way more than trade. It has provisions related to immigration, pollution control, human rights, and other matters outside of trade and commerce.
This 12-nation deal for Pacific Rim nations would override the laws on the member country laws in many areas and have a commission setting the rules.
The bill has now been split into two votes in Congress. One is for only the trade and commerce provisions and the other is for the other content. The arm twisting and horse-trading over votes has now added amendments that relate to Fire Fighters Pension Funds in the U.S.
This deal needs a lot more discussion and visibility before U.S. laws are subverted.
Better finance schools
The Charleston, S.C., shooting raises a host of questions, but maybe the most interesting is “Who are we?” How does a 21-year-old South Carolina man come to his racist viewpoint? He didn’t get there alone.
This again raises the question “Who are we?” We are not the World War II generation. They are almost all gone.
We are not the Confederate soldiers of yesteryear. We are not even the generations who built New York City or the interstate highways.
We are not the generations who tamed the West. We are not John Wayne.
The reality is that every new generation writes its own epitaph. For good or bad, that’s what we are doing now.
Our only connection with the historic events of the past is through education. Teaching young people about how we got here and the values that they need to embrace is up to schools.
It’s up to American government teachers. It’s up to literature teachers. It’s up to social studies teachers.
Funding schools shouldn’t be a political football.
Wal-Mart, Confederate flag
Wal-Mart jumped on the bandwagon with its decision to remove controversial merchandise from its shelves, which would have been a praiseworthy measure if it had been accompanied by an announcement that their gun sales department would be shut down (6-23, A1, “Confederate flag rebuff”).
The consensus seems to be that we should take the Confederate battle flag away from everyone. But that implies an old racial epithet, that all people who would dare to fly it are alike.
The KKK and white supremacy groups want people to think of the battle flag as their symbol, and especially that it stands for racial hate.
The NAACP and other largely African American groups want the same thing: that the flag, and all who fly it, be identified as supporters and promoters of racial hate.
The large number of people with Southern heritage who view the battle flag as their symbol have nothing to do with the KKK or white supremacy groups.
They far outnumber the very low minority of racial hate group members. The Confederate battle flag has been displayed properly for decades, at Confederate cemeteries, battlefield monuments and by Civil War re-enactors.
The Christian cross is a KKK symbol, too. No one dares to go after it.
Special interest supporters of flag removal have one thing in common with the very hate organizations they detest. They identify the completely unlike groups who display it with the epithet — “They all look alike to me.”
Kansas City, North