Closing Thought–01Jun18

I would like to leave my readers today with a bit of history that almost everyone has forgotten but is not dead in the least.

That little slice of history is the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA)……can you remember the fight back in the 70’s…….no?

The proposed Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) states that the rights guaranteed by the Constitution apply equally to all persons regardless of their sex. After the 19th Amendment affirming women’s right to vote was ratified in 1920, suffragist leader Alice Paul introduced the ERA in 1923 as the next step in bringing “equal justice under law” to all citizens.

In 1972, the ERA was finally passed by Congress and sent to the states for ratification. The original seven-year time limit was extended by Congress to June 30, 1982, but at that deadline, the ERA had been ratified by only 35 states, three states short of the 38 required to put it into the Constitution. The ERA has been introduced into every Congress since the deadline, and beginning in 1994, ERA advocates have been pursuing two different routes to ratification:

  • the traditional process described in Article V of the Constitution (passage by a two-thirds majority in both the Senate and the House of Representatives, followed by ratification by three-quarters of the states), and
  • the innovative “three-state strategy” (ratification in three more of the 15 state legislatures that did not ratify the ERA in 1972-82, based on legal analysis that when three more states vote yes, this process could withstand legal challenge and accomplish ratification of the ERA)

I drag this out of the dust bin of history because the ratification process is NOT dead and after a recent vote there is only one state short of ratification…..

Illinois has ratified the Equal Rights Amendment a mere 36 years after the deadline for ratification, 46 years after it passed Congress, and 97 years after it was introduced. The amendment, which calls for men and women to have equal rights under state and federal law, was approved by 35 of the necessary 38 states when the deadline passed in 1982, CNN reports. Nevada finally approved it in 2017 and advocates hope it will finally be added to the Constitution if one more state ratifies it, though five states have rescinded their original ratifications, meaning there could be a legal battle even if the magic number of 38 is reached, Reuters reports. The amendment failed in Virginia’s legislature earlier this year.

The measure passed the Illinois House with a single vote to spare in a victory that NPR calls a “stark turnaround” for the home state of conservative Phyllis Schlafly, an anti-feminist activist who campaigned against the ERA in the ’70s. “Years in the making, yesterday’s vote in Illinois brings us one step closer,” says Lenora Lapidus, director of the ACLU Women’s Rights Project. “We look forward to more progress being made, and ensuring that women are explicitly protected against discrimination.” With calls to revive the amendment growing stronger amid the #MeToo movement, Democratic Rep. Carolyn Maloney plans to hold a congressional hearing on the ERA next week. It will be the first since 1984.

Which state will be the history maker….which state will bring about the ratification of the ERA?

That’s it for me guys…..peace out…..chuq

War Has Begun (Trade That Is)

First, Trump aimed his trade policies at China and their steel industry….there was some back and forth and a bit of a back step and then it raised its head again…..

The delay is over. The Trump administration is announcing tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from the European Union, Canada, and Mexico, in a move sure to raise worries of a trade war. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross says there will be a 25% tariff on imported steel and a 10% tariff on imported aluminum, reports the AP. President Trump announced the tariffs in March but the US granted exemptions to the EU, Canada, Mexico, and other US allies. Ross says talks with Canada and Mexico over the North American Free Trade Agreement are “taking longer than we had hoped.” He says negotiations with Europe have “made some progress” but not enough to merit an exemption.

Ahead of Thursday’s move, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the 28-nation bloc would respond “in an intelligent, decisive, and joint way” after making plain to Washington its view that the tariffs are incompatible with World Trade Organization rules. German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said “protectionism and isolation against free trade mustn’t regain the upper hand,” while French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire called the tariffs “unjustified, unjustifiable, and dangerous,” noting a trade war would hurt growth everywhere. Also in advance of Ross’ announcement, Global News reported Canada had drawn up a list of possible US targets to hit in response

Let’s begin…..Mexico has answered the tariffs……

The government of Mexico announced on Thursday it would implement new duties on various U.S. products in response to President Trump‘s decision to levy steel and aluminum tariffs on the country.

“Mexico reiterates its position against protectionist measures that affect and distort international commerce in goods,” the government said in a statement.

“In response to the tariffs imposed by the United States, Mexico will impose equivalent measures to various products like flat steels (hot and cold foil, including coated and various tubes), lamps, legs and shoulders of pork, sausages and food preparations, apples, grapes, blueberries, various cheeses, among others, up to an amount comparable to the level of affectation.”


Some analysts say that this move will cost Americans jobs……as many as 2 million possible… the cost of anything in an aluminum package will be more expensive……some food items will go up….and lumber….making new homes more expensive….just to mention a few of the sectors that could be effected.

Down South Of The Border

Time for me to venture into the arena of the region of the Monroe Doctrine……all that just means I am going to offer a bit of info about the region of Latin America.

For a couple of decades Latin America has moved toward a growing democracy movement…..and in the last few years that trend has evaporated and now more and more autocrats are coming to power.

Recently Venezuela just held an election and as usual something went wrong…..meaning that Washington will not appreciate the outcome……

Despite Venezuela’s people starving and refugees pouring out of the country, President Nicolás Maduro will stay in office for now. In a deeply flawed election marred by low voter turnout and opposition abstention, Maduro bested his opponents with nearly 70 percent of the vote. With his re-election, dictatorship is on the march in Latin America for the first time in a generation.

Democracy in Latin America has taken a beating over the past century. Every country in the region has toyed with it and periodically discarded it. But with the exception of Cuba, every Latin American country also returned to democracy in recent decades, marking a sea change in freedom and political competition. As recently as a few years ago, some expressed optimism that the end of dictatorship in Latin America was nigh.

Maudro of Venezuela has not been a friend to the US, neither was his predecessor, Chavez (amazing that few can remember the name when 10 years ago he was about to start a war with the US)…….so what happens when someone is elected that DC dos not want in power?

Don’t hurt yourself.  We meddle into their elections.

Watching the current eruptions and flowing lava in Hawaii is strangely similar to observing the ongoing crisis in Venezuela.

In both cases, the situations are fiery, unpredictable and very, very dangerous. And both seem to be moving in slow motion, but manage to convey a sense of a true disaster looming ahead.

Over the past weekend, incumbent Nicolas Maduro won an obviously rigged presidential election with a record low turnout; inflation is too high to sensibly measure; there are widespread food and medicine shortages; the oil industry is effectively out of commission; and millions of Venezuelans are fleeing the country. Violence levels are thought to be the highest in the world, surpassing those of Afghanistan, Somalia and Central America.

Look for more sanctions that will hurt the people with the hope they will rise up and take control….think Chile for an example……

Russia meddles….condemn, US meddles, applauded…..

My granddaughter made an observation……she said when we talked about the Russian meddling, “what goes around comes around”…….karma is a bitch huh?

Silly huh?