40 Acres And A Mule
By Todd A. Kruse
Earlier this week I heard from my friend Howard Hanson who is a co-founder of the Resource Party (www.theresourceparty.org
) in Minnesota. This party is a minor political party fielding candidates for governor, lieutenant governor, and attorney general on the November ballot. Howard informed me that their party will call on President Obama to declare an Emancipation Proclamation for all the Indians/Native Americans who are subjects (my choice of words, not Howard’s) of our federal government’s Indian Trust located within the U.S. Department of Interior (www.doi.gov/ost
). The trust is a little known government program that manages nearly $3.5 billion in assets for the Indian/Native Americans in the USA. By “manage” I mean the trust sends out checks when they are not paralyzed by corruption and/or gross incompetence – I leave that determination to the Government Accountability Office.
When I first read Howard’s email regarding this “Second Emancipation Proclamation” my immediate response was – “now that is a great idea, empower these people and reduce government at the same time” – of course I was being optimistic assuming the Indian Trust would be phased out with the money distributed to those emancipated.
Now that 147 years have passed since President Lincoln’s proclamation declared black slaves free it seems rather appropriate that America’s first black president would use the power of his office to declare these modern day slaves to a government check to be free citizens via the phase out of the Indian Trust.
Granted some Insider Iowa readers might argue with me that Indian/Native Americans interned on reservation lands waiting for their government check to be delivered is vastly different from the American plantation system of the 1860s thus this is not some form of modern day slavery. Really? Are the reservation lands (those without thriving casinos) in the USA islands of prosperity with low crime rates and excellent health care statistics or is this where we find very high rates of unemployment, violence, and a range of health problems including diabetes, alcoholism, and obesity? If the Indian Trust is a successful model then I thank God my family emigrated from Germany so we are not part of the trust.
Let’s set the Indian Trust debate aside for now to explore true modern day slavery which is fully documented in the book – “Ending Slavery” by Kevin Bales (www.freetheslaves.net
) – that I read this month for my book club. I commend Mr. Bales for his work highlighting the presence of modern day slavery around the world including our own land of the free and home of the brave. Bales’ stories range from Mexican girls forced into prostitution for migrant workers near San Diego, California, to Thai girls promised restaurant jobs in Japan only to be told once they arrive that they own nearly $24,000 for the “relocation costs” then they are forced into prostitution to pay off the debt, and finally to Brazilians forced to make charcoal in the rain forest. Since I only BBQ with propane gas hopefully I am not adding to the slave masters’ coffers!
Bales’ book offers several potential solutions for ending slavery including better utilization of the United Nations’ resources. One option Bales failed to mention is the old bumper sticker I remember from my college days – “get the USA out of the UN and get the UN out of the USA.” I am focused on the second part of this bumper sticker as this point in my life – “get the UN out of the USA.” Since Bales’ book seems to devote a vast proportion of its pages to slavery in India then by all means let’s take action by relocating the UN from New York City to Mumbai so the UN leadership can experience life in the developing world first hand rather than through the prism of New York’s nightlife.
Personally Bales’ story about the reforms he helped create in Nepal that ended their centuries old debt bondage system resonated with me the most. Nepal’s monarchy had closed all access to the outside world several centuries ago that resulted in an economic system described as feudal and completely reliant on slave labor produced by generational/inherited debt. Due to this debt bondage a family’s children born in the 1990s were destined for a life of servitude because some great-great-great-great-great grandparent (you get the idea) was forced to work for a land owner due to a “debt” incurred – perhaps “fabricated” is more accurate - by this far off ancestor.
While I have been fortunate to visit nearly 60 countries in my lifetime I have yet to visit Nepal but even so I am intrigued by their historic economic system because my wife and I have two children – ages 6 and 2. Sadly our two children will one day be old enough to comprehend that like the Nepalese children in Bales’ book they too are debt bondage slaves. No, my wife and I are not indentured servants to some local land baron but instead the slave master is the USA’s nearly $13 trillion national debt (www.brillig.com/debt_clock
) which unless we pay it off in the next 16 years our daughter will become a national debt slave assuming she gets a job after graduating from college at age 22.
Mr. Bales’ next book should include a chapter on the fiscal insanity practiced by national governments that ensures their future citizens are destined to a life of serving as tax slaves working simply to pay for government spending.
Professor Kruse is a native of the Hawkeye State but is an Iowa State University Cyclone despite their failure to give him a full ride football scholarship! A current resident of Minnesota, Kruse is married with two children who enjoy the regular family trips to the Iowa Great Lakes and the family farm in Carroll County, Iowa.
In his first inaugural address President Abraham Lincoln said "We must not be enemies" at that time he had no intention of interfering with slave-owning States. The Slaves would never rise up, sign a petition and ask the President to Free them.
Today – the Tribal members will never rise up, sign a petition and ask President Obama to Free them from the Secretary of the Dept of Interior & Destructive Federal Indian Policy.
Equality for every American Citizen is and will always be expected. We must be united as equal Citizens.
leeannragains.com Please help send a Post Card for Freedom or make a Phone Call for Freedom to your States Elected Officials and President Obama;
1) President Obama MUST issue an Executive Order to END the trust responsibility of the DOI/BIA over the 564 recognized American Indian tribes and their members.
2) Transfer the BIA (personnel, clinics and hospitals) back to the Bureau of Veteran's Affairs and Defense to improve these same serves for our veterans and troops.
3) End Affirmative Action quotas and ethnic profiling questions of "ethnic origin" on all forms, applications and the Census. We must be allowed to compete as equal American citizens.
| Aug 19, 2010 1:15 PM
What is the point here?
P.S. - Before you worry too much about your children working as "tax slaves," do some reading about modern monetary theory (AKA chartalism): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chartalism
| Aug 16, 2010 8:58 AM