Friday, August 29, 2014

Let's All Go Get A Whopper

  The libs are going crazy here lately over Burger Kings decision to move their corporate headquarters to Canada to avoid paying high American corporate taxes. I wonder if they get so upset when Hollywood movie producers film in Canada to avoid taxes. Of course we never hear about that. Instead of going crazy and calling them unpatriotic how about pushing for real tax reform in America. It is stupid to tax corporations anyway. The government is really taxing the consumer, which is that precious 99% that the libs are always crying over. I am a 99 percenter by the way. I am in the 50% with a brain however. Companies simply pass on the higher cost from higher taxation to the consumer which is a tax on the 99%. Lets do this. Do away with taxes on corporations, capital gains taxes, and inheritance taxes. Give us a reasonable flat tax, or a consumption tax. Do away with the graduated income tax which enables Democ-rats and Republic-rats to reward who they want to and punish who they want to. Abolish Obamacare, there are many cheaper alternatives that do not rob Americans of their liberties that we can implement. Closely regulate the money supply and quit wasting money. Deregulate American business and allow American companies to mine our vast energy resources like coal, oil, and natural gas using available technology to maintain a clean environment. Do all of this and the American economy will take off like a rocket. Tax revenues will be unbelievable. Burger King will return and Americans will achieve a level of prosperity unlike anything they have ever experienced. At least in the last ten years. I'm getting hungry. I think I will grab a Whopper on my way to work.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Battle That Saved Nashville - Buchanan's Station

Major John Buchanan


  At the time that the James Robertson Party arrived in Nashville, crossing on foot from present day East Nashville over the frozen Cumberland River on Christmas Day 1779 into present day downtown Nashville there were several tribes of American Indians living in a twenty mile radius of Nashville. The Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, and Creeks. Some northern tribes like the Shawnee also hunted in the area. Nashville was packed with game because of the salt lick that was located near the present day Werthan Bag Co. building and Sulphur Dell. Because of the lick it was a major hunting ground for the tribes. The French had traders living in the area in the early 1700's but the Indians never bothered them because they weren't considered to be permanent settlers. By 1740 they were gone from the area. Timothy Demonbreun arrived in 1766 but he was not bothered by the Indians either. It wasn't until the arrival of the Robertson party and the John Donelson party the following April carrying the women and children settlers down the Cumberland on flatboats that the problems began with the Indians. The settlers were seen as a threat to their food supply and an encroachment of their sacred lands. 

  They built one large stockade on the bluff near the present replica of Fort Nashboro and a series of smaller stations or forts around the Nashville area. All through the 1780's and into the early 1790's the Indians never attacked the settlers in large numbers except for the 1781 Battle of the Bluffs. A few Indians would catch a settler or a few settlers plowing their fields, feeding their livestock, or traveling from one station to another to visit neighbors and ambush them. I have read that over time at least half of the settlers were killed or forced to flee from this area because of the constant sniping and attacks. On April 2, 1781 400 Chickamaugans, who were Cherokees that had broken off from the regular tribe because they considered the rest to be too passive toward the settlers, attacked Ft. Nashboro. This was called the Battle of the Bluffs. The following account of the battle is from an article from a web site named Nashville Vacation Fun. "During the night the Indians divided up and crept close to the fort. One group came to where Church and Broadway is now and hid in the wild-brush and cedars. The other group hid on the banks of a small stream that ran into the Cumberland River. It is now the intersection of College and Demonbreun. The next morning three indians ran up to the fort and fired at the guard in the watchtower. They then retreated out of range and reloaded their guns while shouting and waving their hands. About twenty of the settlers led by Colonel James Robertson mounted their horses and chased after them. The three warriors keeping in sight of the settlers made their stand on the banks of stream near the intersection of College and Demonbreun. The settlers rode up and dismounted for battle. No sooner had they dismounted, the hidden war party attacked directly in front of them. The gunfire from the Indians scared the horses and they ran up the hill to the fort. Once the gunfire began, the second group of Indians came out of hiding to cut off the settlers retreat to the fort. The horses almost running over this group of warriors caused a distraction. Indians loved horses and many of these warriors couldn't resist trying to capture them.The horses ran to the fort but the gates were closed. With the Indians in pursuit, they ran over Capitol Hill and down to Sulfur Spring Bottom. Some of the horses were captured, but the majority returned to the fort later.As the Battle of the Bluff continued, the settlers were attempting to get back to the fort. Carrying their wounded and shooting back at the Indians, they were making their way back to the fort. In the fort, a pack of fifty hunting dogs were running madly around the fort enclosure wanting to get at the Indians. Charlotte, wife of Colonel James Robertson, seeing what was happening ordered the gates to be opened to let the dogs out. The dogs ran down the hill to defend their masters and attacked the war party. The dog attack distracted the indians and gave the settlers the break they needed. Carrying their wounded they hurried to the fort. Isaac Lucas was in the rear of the group when he was shot in the leg and fell to the ground. He primed his gun and shot a big Indian in the lead of the attack, killing him. The rest of the settlers making it into the fort looked back and saw Lucas on the ground. They started shooting at the advancing war party and drove them back. The retreating Indians scalped the dead settlers on the battlefield. Also they collected all the guns and ammunition they could find. It was 10 am when the war party disappeared into the woods. The Battle of the Bluff was over. Capt. James Leiper, Peter Gill, Alex Buchanan, John Kennedy had been killed, and Kasper Mansker, James Manifee, and Joseph Moonshaw were wounded. One of Robertson’s sons, was scalped but survived. It is unknown how many Indians were killed because they would carry off their dead. After the Battle of the Bluff, Mrs James Robertson stood at the fort gates petting all the dogs that returned. She thanked God that he had gave the Indians a love for horses and a fear of dogs".

  Several historians have claimed that Major John Buchanan as a twenty year old arrived with his family before the James Robertson Party. His brother Alex Buchanan would die at the battle of the Bluffs. John Buchanan was born in Harrisburg Pennsylvania in 1759 and died in Nashville in 1832. His first wife Margaret Kennedy died after the birth of their first child. His second wife Sarah Ridley would eventually bear him thirteen children. The last great attempt to destroy the Cumberland settlers occurred on September 30, 1792. One thing that we sometimes lose sight of is how the Indians were being influenced and supplied by the British and the Spanish to attack the Americans. Tennessee was then part of North Carolina but the state government and federal government were either unwilling or unable to protect the settlers. The British influenced the northern tribes to attack and the Spanish the southern tribes. The Spanish especially were afraid that the American expansion would eventually pose a threat to their empire in North America. The Spanish were arming the Indians from Pensacola Florida. John Buchanan's station was to the south of Nashville and isolated. There was only about sixty families living in the Nashville area at the time. Nashville was isolated. The nearest settlements were Knoxville to the east and Natchez Mississippi to the southwest. Buchanan's station was on Mill Creek off present day Elm Hill Pike, consisting of a few buildings, a picket stockade and a blockhouse overlooking the creek at the front gate. It was four miles south of the of present downtown Nashville. At the time of the attack there were about 20 people living there. Four hundred Cherokees, Creeks, and Shawnee attacked Buchanan's Station at midnight. Fifteen men in the station fought off the Indians from the portholes while the women and children molded bullets, and reloaded muskets under the leadership of John's 18 year old wife Sarah (Sally) Ridley Buchanan who was nine months pregnant with her first child. For two hours they fought off the Indians. Sally even melted down her dinnerware to make bullets. She encouraged the women and children during the battle and became the heroine. She became known as the "Heroine of Buchanan's Station" in written accounts of the battle. Her fame was known as far away as Boston. The Indians attempted to set fire to the roofs of the buildings but were finally repelled. The importance of the battle was that it lifted the morale of the Nashville settlers. There had been rumors of a massive attack coming but few believed the rumors. When the attack actually did come the pioneers were relieved to know that because of Buchanan's Station they had been saved from a similar fate. The goal of the attack had been to completely destroy the Nashville settlement. The Indians broke up into small bands and attacked outlying areas but after this battle the Indians would never attack Nashville again in large numbers. Andrew Jackson arrived in Nashville in 1788 and would eventually command the Tennessee Militia. During the War of 1812 he would defeat the Creeks at the battle of Horseshoe Bend. Because of their defeat America gained control of the territory that would become Alabama and Mississippi. In 1815 Jackson, the Tennessee Militia, pirates, and free blacks defeated Britain's best soldiers at the Battle of New Orleans. In 1818 he would invade Spanish Florida defeating the Seminoles in the 1st Seminole War which would eventually lead to a treaty with Spain which would cede the present day state of Florida to the United States thus ending the threat of Indian attack in the lower South altogether. Nashville and the Tennessee Militia had been instrumental in securing much of the United States. One could argue that this long march started with the Battle of Buchanan's Station.
The graves of John and Sally Ridley Buchanan


Historical marker on Elm Hill Pike
          
The Donelson Party on the Cumberland

Friday, August 22, 2014

Justice

Michael Brown


A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.

Winston Churchill


  My sense of justice came from various sources. Primarily my parents but I can't leave out Marshal Dillon. I watched Gunsmoke for much of the twenty years that it was on the air and no matter how evil the "bad guy" was Dillon was determined to guarantee that the man received a fair trial. Marshal Dillon only killed the "bad guy" in self defense. When I heard about the killing of Michael Brown I was very skeptical of how it was being portrayed by the media. That Michael was holding his hands up in surrender and a police officer shot him down in cold blood. That he was an innocent high school sudent and a gentle giant. This was so reminicent of the way the media had portrayed the killing of Trayvon Martin. The narrative in that killing was the same as Michael Brown. The media at first portrayed Trayvon as this young innocent kid just minding his own business, innocently walking through an upscale neighborhood until he was gunned down in cold blood by a "white Hispanic" police wannabe. As time went on the truth caught up with the lie and we found out that, like Michael Brown, Trayvon was a violent thug that was killed in a justified shooting. Now we are finding out the facts of this shooting and it is looking even more justified than the Martin shooting. Using the Marshal Dillon test Michael Brown or Trayvon Martin did not deserve to die just because they were thugs. It was their actions toward Zimmerman and Wilson in a moment of confrontation that got them killed. Both Zimmerman and Wilson justifiably feared for their lives. Since the Trayvon Martin incident we have learned that George Zimmerman is no angel and Darren Wilson on the other hand seems to be a man of good character but character, bad or good, does not prove guilt or innocence. 

  Only the facts prove guilt or innocence. Good character is a mitigating factor but nothing else. Facts are a two edged sword. If they bear out that Wilson is guilty I can accept that truth just as easily as I can accept the truth that he is not guilty. Adams said it best as he took the unpopular position of defending the British soldiers charged with murder in the Boston Massacre trial in 1770. He argued that the soldier who fired first acted only as one might expect anyone to act in such confused and potentially life-threatening conditions. "Do you expect that he should act like a stoic philosopher, lost in apathy?", Adams asked the jury. "Facts are stubborn things," he concluded, "and whatever may be our inclinations, or the dictums of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence." The chant in Ferguson Missouri is "no Justice, no Peace but I like Ann Coulter's chant better, "no facts, no peace". If these people really want justice they must be willing to accept the possibility that Michael Brown deserved what he got.
Officer Darren Wilson

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Eddie Rickenbacker

Eddie Rickenbacker
  When I was in basic training at Lackland AFB in August 1968 I looked over at a man standing next to me and noticed the name Rickenbacker on his name tag. I asked him if he was related to Eddie Rickenbacker and he replied "he's my grandfather". I knew that Rickenbacker was our greatest Ace of World War I, with 26 kills, but beyond that I didn't know much about him. In later years I learned that he had been the CEO of Eastern Airlines. What I didn't know was how smart, tough, patriotic, and brave that he was. He was born on October 8, 1890 and died on July 23, 1973. He only had a seventh grade education due to his father being killed in a fight at a young age.. Rickenbacker had many brushes with death in his life. The first was when he was nearly crushed to death in a wagon accident at a young age. Then he almost died as a result of a botched tonsillectomy. A near fatal commercial airliner crash in 1941 and the following year when his bomber crash landed in the Pacific he drifted for 24 days in a life raft. By a miracle he avoided being captured by the Japanese. Rickenbacker was a race car driver that earned the name "Fast Eddie" who raced in the Indianapolis 500 four times before World War I. When war was declared he changed his name from Rickenbacher, because of his German heritage to Rickenbacker to sound more American. As soon as America entered World War I, in April 1917 he joined the Army Air Force and upon arrival in England was a Sergeant First Class. Because of his lack of education he had a hard time becoming a pilot. He would overcome much hardship and bias but he would eventually rise to the rank of Captain scoring 26 kills and becoming a squadron commander. Five of these were heavily armed balloons. 

  Rickenbacker would put in more than 300 combat hours which was more than any other American pilot. He would not receive the Medal of Honor however until 1931 when he was awarded it by Herbert Hoover. He had a strong character that was reminiscent of Alvin C. York. He was awarded the rank of Major after the war but he felt that he had only earned the rank of Captain. Rickenbacker was also offered movie roles for his fame but like York he turned them down. He was an entrepreneur that started a car company in 1920, pioneering in four wheel braking but the company went bankrupt in 1927. He owed 250,000 dollars to creditors, which is about a million in today's money, but he insisted on paying it back even after he was no longer legally liable for it. Eddie married, adopted two boys, and the couple were together until his death in 1973. Between the wars he was a defense witness in the court martial of General Billy Mitchell. In 1927 he bought the Indianapolis Speedway and operated it for a decade and a half. Rickenbacker did not like the New Deal policies of Franklin Roosevelt. He considered them to be socialism and he was banned from NBC radio for his criticism of Roosevelt's policies. On February 26, 1941 he was a business passenger on a Eastern Airlines DC-3 that crashed near Atlanta Georgia. He was gravely injured, soaked with aviation fuel, and trapped in the wreckage. He gave encouragement to the injured and dying passengers around him. The passengers that were still alive were not found until the next morning.Because of the seriousness of his injuries he was one of the last survivors taken to the hospital. When Rickenbacker arrived his injuries was so bad he was left for dead. The doctors were told to "take care of the live ones". He had a fractured skull, other head injuries, shattered left elbow with a crushed nerve, a paralyzed left hand, broken ribs, a crushed hip socket, a broken pelvis in two places, a severed nerve in his left hip, and a broken left knee. One of his eyeballs was blown out of his eye socket. He spent ten days at deaths door describing it as a period of "overwhelming sensation of calm and pleasure" and that it took a supreme act of will to stay alive. Rickenbacker was in the hospital for months and it took a while to regain his eyesight. 

  After Pearl Harbor Rickenbacker toured training bases in America and England inspecting troops, equipment and operations. In October 1942 he was sent on a mission by the Secretary of War Henry Stimson. He was to tour bases in the Pacific and to deliver a secret letter of rebuke to General Douglas MacArthur from Roosevelt for some unauthorized public comments made by the popular general. After visiting Hawaii, Rickenbacker was given an old B-17 with faulty navigation equipment. The bomber flew hundreds of miles off course and the pilot was forced to ditch near Japanese held islands. The survivors drifted for thousands of miles in an open life raft. Some of the men were seriously injured and after 3 days their food supply ran out. On the 8th day a sea gull landed on Rickenbacker's head and the bird was used for fishing bait which became a source of food for the survivors. Rickenbacker took a leadership role encouraging and browbeating the survivors. One man died and was buried at sea. The military wanted to give up the search after two weeks but Rickenbacker's wife made them agree to keep looking. The newspapers reported Rickenbacker dead. Finally on November 13 1942 they were spotted by air and rescued. They had been adrift at sea for 24 days. Rickenbacker was able to deliver Roosevelt's letter to MacArthur. He would also write a book about this experience called "Seven Came Through". Rickenbacker formed and owned Eastern Airlines that was one of America's most successful airlines. However it suffered a decline throughout the 1970's and 80's because of labor problems and was finally liquidated in 1991. Rickenbacker suffered a stroke while visiting Switzerland in 1973 and died of complications. Besides earning the Medal of Honor he earned the Distinguished Service Cross eight times, the World War I Victory Medal with six battle clasps, the Legion of Honor, the Croix de guerre with two palms. In 1977, at the age of 92,Rickenbacker's wife Adelaide was completely blind, suffering from failing health, and still grieving severely from the loss of her husband. She committed suicide by gunshot at their home on Key Biscayne, Florida.
Eddie Rickenbacker

Eddie Rickenbacker on a visit to Nashville
                . .

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Robin Williams And Suicide

Robin Williams
Warning: If you are offended by an open and honest discussion about suicide then please don't read this post. Political correctness dies a violent death here and I am not afraid of controversy. Those of you that know me, know that suicide has touched me and my family in a personal way and members of my wife's family have been affected by suicide. So it is a subject that I am familiar with and have given a lot of thought to over the years. The subject is much in the news right now because of the death of Robin Williams. Now I am not suicidal and have no suicidal thoughts. So don't send out the rescue squad or perform an intervention on me but I have thought about suicide many times over the years. Not in a serious way. I have never been suicidal. However there are scenarios where I might give it serious thought. For example if I were blinded, facing a hopeless medical condition, paralyzed, or surrounded by a bunch of Muslim terrorists who were intent on making me their sex slave or wanting to cut my head off with a dull knife. I am scared of heights so jumping off of a bridge, or a high building is out of the question. Shooting myself is out of the question since I met a survivor of a failed suicide attempt. He shot himself in the right temple and nearly died but when he woke up in ICU he was permanently blind. If he thought he had a reason to kill himself before I can only imagine the struggle he is facing now. Besides, I know from personal experience that kind of suicide can leave a bloody mess and I would not want to impose that on my family or friends. Hanging doesn't appeal to me because those few seconds before losing consciousness would be pretty scary. No I have decided on something quick like sitting down on a railroad track or a powerful explosive. Of course it would be where no one else could be hurt. I will let the other guys have the 72 virgins. 

  In basic training, after a few failed suicide attempts, I will never forget the night that my TI as we called them in the Air Force, jumped up on a table and demonstrated the proper ways to commit a successful suicide. I can only imagine that happening today in our politically correct world. Seriously, the bottom line is this. The most selfish and cowardly act in the world is suicide. The person only focuses on their own pain. They never consider or even care how it will affect their loved ones. Loved ones go through the rest of their lives traumatized by the event. They feel guilt, because they are always asking themselves what they could have done differently to prevent the death of a loved one. If they were not at the death scene they constantly try to imagine what their loved ones were thinking just before killing themselves or if they witness it they are scarred for the rest of their lives. The one thing that will always haunt them is why? Why? Why? Why? I am already tired of hearing about Robin Williams. He is not worth the attention. Yes it is tragic and Williams was a brilliant comedian but enough already. What praise he should receive is diminished in my opinion by the ridiculous angles taken by the media. I heard today that they are wondering whether or not he was trying to send a message because he was dressing in black just before he died. These people that we put on pedestals are not deserving of the attention. Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Elvis Presley, Kurt Kobain, and Robin Williams were poor role models that are not worthy of the attention. It is the people who quietly go about their lives and overcome their own demons and that are left to bravely pick up the pieces left by the people like Robin Williams and my father. Yes depression is a terrible thing but a whole lot of people suffer with depression and are over comers. That is where our focus should be.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

Sunday, August 10, 2014

The Lotz House

The Lotz House
  I finally got around to touring the Lotz House in Franklin and I enjoyed it so much that I wondered why I didn't do it sooner. The house and furnishings were beautiful and the story of the Lotz family was fascinating to me. Johann Alfred Lotz was a German immigrant that bought five acres of land from Fountain Branch Carter in 1855. The land was right across the Columbia Avenue from the Carter House. In 1858 he completed his house. He was a master woodworker and he used his house as a showcase for his work to potential clients. He not only built his house which he built a wraparound handrail to his staircase but the bottom post is an inverted leg to a grand piano. He was also a piano maker and repaired guitars and violins. Lotz also built three fireplace mantels that demonstrate his range of talent, He started out in Nashville but moved to Franklin because there was less competition there and wood was more plentiful. He did work for St. Cecelia and St. Bernard in Nashville. The Lotz family consisted of his wife Margaretha and six children. Two children, Paul and Amelia, were from Mathilda's previous marriage. Augusta, Matilda, and twins Julius and Julia belonged to the Lotz couple. At the time of the battle, November 30, 1864, there were three children living at the Lotz house. Paul, age 9, Matilda, age 5, and Augustus, who was a baby. The twins tragically died after playing in a nearby creek that had been poisoned by the Union Army. 

  Union soldiers dismantled Alfreds wood shop. Pulled down his fences, cut down all of his trees to create a field of fire, and used the trees to create breastworks. The soldiers slaughtered his hogs, cattle, and chicken. Matilda later said that she watched as a Union soldier shot her pet calf in the head to cook for his breakfast.. Alfred knew that his house would be directly in the line of fire if a battle happened. The Confederates arrived late in the afternoon of November 30, and the Union Army didn't think that Confederate general John Bell Hood would attack. There was only about an hour of daylight left and there were very few night battles in the Civil War. Because of the smoke produced by the black powder of that era, battles were confusing enough in the daylight much less at night. For this reason and the late hour of Hood's arrival the Carter and Lotz family thought that they had enough time to safely evacuate the area. It quickly became evident that their assumptions were wrong when they saw the Confederate army form a line of battle along Winstead Hill, two miles to the south. The Lotz and Carter family quickly gathered in the Carter House basement for safety. The Lotz House had a basement but Alfred felt that they would be safer in the Carter basement. Every time I think of this situation I visualize a family riding out a storm like a hurricane or a tornado but this storm lasted for five solid hours. 

  The worst fighting occurred in the immediate vicinity of the Carter and Lotz houses. There was always the danger that the house above them could catch fire and burn to the ground trapping the 17 civilians in the basement. Above them they could hear the cannon booming and rifle blasts. The screams of men enduring close hand to hand combat and the screams and pleading of the wounded. Men fought with bayonets, shovels, pick-axes, rifle butts and their bare fists. Eye-witness accounts testified to the fact that the blood was ankle deep in places. So many men died at close quarters that some of the dead had no place to fall. After the battle ended the Union Army decided to escape Franklin under the cover of darkness and make their way to Nashville.Early the next morning as the Lotz family felt safe enough to venture out of the basement they witnessed a scene of carnage that no adult should see, much less three children. As they crossed Columbia Avenue to their damaged home they saw stacks of dead bodies, wounded men and horses in every conceivable condition. It was said that it would have been possible to walk back to their house without their feet touching the ground just by walking on the bodies. The south end of the Lotz house was nearly destroyed by bullets and artillery shells. They passed completely through the house. One solid shot cannonball crashed through the roof and upper floor, falling to the floor below. The ball was still hot and burned an indention into the wood floor that can still be seen today in the gift shop. The beautiful staircase was destroyed. It took Mr. Lotz three years to build the house and five years to repair it. Because of a lack of money in the South after the war he was unable to replace the damaged windows on the south side of the house and their are no windows on that side. 

  Lotz billed the Federal government for damage caused by Union soldiers but he never received any money. He tried to resume his woodworking business but because of the war the South was very poor. He built a grand piano and carved an eagle holding a United States and Confederate flag in his talons. For unknown reasons the eagles claws are tightly gripping the Confederate flag. In the summer of 1869 the Klan heard about the piano. They came to his house to investigate and were outraged by the carving. They felt that he had disrespected the flag. Lotz heard through the grapevine that the Klan was planning a return but this time he would be tarred and feathered in his front yard. He quickly decided to move selling or giving away most of his belongings. Within ten days he moves his family to San Jose California. Matilda loved animals and routinely painted their farm animals. She managed to meet Phoebe Hearst, the mother of William Randolh Hearst. Phoebe was so impressed with her paintings that she helped Matilda get into the Paris Art Academy. Matilda would go on to be a famous world renown artist dying at the age of 65. Some of her art is hanging in the Lotz home today. Augustus Lotz became a famous inventor. Over the years the house has been used for various reasons. It is amazing how well preserved that the house is considering that it has been a private residence, an attorneys office, a sub shop, a bakery and a haunted house. It almost became a Mexican restaurant that was going to be named "Lots of Taco's" which was to be a play on the Lotz name. Luckily the house was bought and turned into a museum that does honor to it's history and the Lotz family.
Johann Alfred Lotz

Margaretha Lotz

Matilda Lotz

A damaged plank from the south side of the house
    
Art of Matilda Lotz



Lotz staircase

Lotz house in the 1800's

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

A Rising Sun

Independence Hall
A RISING SUN
One of the highlights of my trip to Philadelphia was to see the birthplace of the two greatest documents that man ever devised The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Very few people are indispensable but Washington in my view was indispensable on three occasions in American history. As commander of the Continental Army during the American Revolution. As President of the Constitutional Convention. And as President of the United States.The purpose of the Constitutional Convention was not to form a new government but to reform the Articles of Confederation. Washington as one of the delegates, along with Madison and others wanted to write a new constitution that would recognize the sovereignty of the states but would create a strong central government that would be the supreme law of the land with the power to tax. Washington knew what it was like to try to fight a war supported by a central government that had no real power. It had to beg the individual states for financial and other support to keep the Army in the field. To keep the soldiers fed, equipped, and paid. Washington operated on a shoe string and had to fight off mutiny from his soldiers because of the governments ineffectiveness. Without his presence as the convention president the Constitution had no chance of passage. By this time Americans viewed Washington almost as a god-like figure. Washington sat in a chair at the center of the room with his back to the wall facing the delegates. Benjamin Franklin was old and infirm during this convention He was 81 years old. This would be his final public service. He was revered in Europe as a diplomat, scientist, author, and statesman. He urged his fellow delegates to put aside their criticisms and compromise to bring about an effective government. I had always read that Washington's chair had a carving of the sun on the back of it. I was pleased to learn that the chair in Independence Hall is the actual chair that he sat in. On the final day, as the last delegates were signing the document, Franklin pointed toward the sun on the back of the Convention president's chair. Observing that painters had found it difficult to distinguish in their art a rising sun from a setting sun, he went on to say: "I have often ... in the course of the session ... looked at that sun behind the President without being able to tell whether it was rising or setting. But now at length I have the happiness to know it is a rising and not a setting sun." I am not as optimistic now as Franklin was then. Unfortunately my children and grandchildren may live to see this bright and shining sun called America as a setting sun.






Monday, August 4, 2014

Myths About The Minimum Wage

  The Dem's are in an all out push to raise the minimum wage. This is a non-issue to me. Lately I have noticed more and more propaganda on Facebook about it. The last time I worked for minimum wage was January of 1968 when I was a seventeen year old Senior at East High working for the Big Star grocery store on Riverside Drive making a whopping 1.40 an hour. I worked for them about a month before I left to take a job at Baird-Ward Printing Co. Before Big Star I worked at H.G. Hill at 6th and Shelby from July 1966 until January 1968 where I also earned minimum wage. Baird-Ward was my first job that paid higher than minimum wage and I have never looked back since. The following are the facts about minimum wage. According to the Bureau of Labor statistics in a country of 317 million people only 3.6 million people are at or below the minimum wage. That is 2.5% of all workers in the United States and 1.5%^ of all potential workers. Of that percentage 31% are teenagers working entry level jobs. Fifty-five percent are 25 years or younger. That leaves 1.1 percent of workers over 25 and 0.8 percent of all Americans over 25 earning the minimum wage. There are many myths about minimum wage. One myth is that it helps poor people. No it doesn't. Most minimum wage workers are from above median income families. Another myth is that it puts more money into the hands of spenders creating more sales and jobs. No because every dollar that goes into the pocket of the employee comes out of the pocket of the customer and owners. In the same market that means they will have less to spend. On top of that the minimum wage worker will spend money at the same type of establishments as they work at which means that they will spend the extra money they make paying the higher prices that will result from a higher minimum wage. 

  The following is from a Forbes article on the minimum wage. McDonalds et al makes billions of dollars and can afford it. Incorrect. What’s the difference between 10,000 independent burger joints and McDonalds? Fundamentally, nothing. If each independent establishment made $100,000 in profit, it would be easy to see the impact of raising the minimum wage. Redistributionists would see 10,000 establishments aggregated financially into one, with profits of $1,000,000,000 and presume that this is somehow unreasonable and should be shared. But each of the establishments must stand on its own bottom, providing a reasonable return to the capital invested in it, whether by a single investor/owner or a corporation. Another myth is that the effect on employment prospects will be worth the extra costs. Not to those employees that will not be hired because of higher costs. One effect of a raised minimum wage is that it will encourage employers to turn to automation in order to reduce the number of humans in the workplace. There are many arguments against raising the minimum wage but I think these are some good reasons not to. Minimum wage was kept low during the Reagan years and the market set the wage. This is the best policy in my opinion. Most fast food restaurants paid higher than minimum wage during the 1980's because they couldn't keep employees at minimum wage. This meant that in order to keep employees they had to pay a higher market wage. If people want higher wages they have to go where the money is and they have to have higher expectations. 

  After 1968 I could not afford a minimum wage job and I looked until I found the higher paying jobs. As a Union Chief Shop Steward that sat on the negotiating committee's for four contracts with the Bakery, Confectionery, and Tobacco Union during the 1970's and early 1980's I realized that Unions are the main instigator for raising the minimum wage because the higher the wage the higher their wage demands. If minimum wage actually affected more people and people who were actually supporting families the Democrats might have a legitimate argument. Because the issue is so misunderstood, by so many people, it is one of those emotional issues that they are able to capitalize on. Even many so-called conservatives are in favor of raising the minimum wage. It is a way to arouse class envy. It falls into the same category as when they scare old people by accusing Republicans of wanting to make cuts to social security, or claim that Republicans want to starve school children, deny women birth control or when they race bait by calling Republicans and conservatives racist because we don't like Barack Obama. A real conservative is more concerned about creating real jobs by cutting taxes, cutting spending, deregulation, and getting government out of the private sector than raising the minimum wage. This government has created vast uncertainty in the marketplace and there is nothing more devastating to an economy than uncertainty. If this economy was strong the last thing people would worry about is the minimum wage.