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Saturday, May 6, 2017

Secession Will Never Work For Any State Or Territory

Despite Secession Talk, Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

  • May 04, 2017
  • By Mindy Fetterman
California secession
Supporters of a new state along the California-Oregon border rally at the Capitol in Sacramento in 2016. Recent secession efforts have included fairly large, ongoing campaigns in Texas and California and smaller pushes in Oklahoma, Maine, Utah, West Virginia and New York’s Long Island.
© The Associated Press
Editor's Note: This story has been updated to correctly say the 10th Amendment relates to state powers.
APPOMATTOX COURT HOUSE, Va. — When two generals signed papers here 152 years ago bringing the Civil War to a close, they ended the bid by 11 Southern states to secede from the Union. And that, most believed, was that.
Yet ever since the South’s Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered to the North’s Gen. Ulysses S. Grant in 1865, groups across the United States have advocated seceding from the country, their own states, or in a few cases, their cities. Recently, these efforts have ranged from fairly large, ongoing campaigns in Texas and California to smaller pushes in Oklahoma, Maine, Utah, West Virginia and New York’s Long Island, among others.  
Just last month, a longshot effort to allow Californians to vote on seceding fell apart after one of the founders dropped out amid criticism of his ties to Russia. But a new group pushing secession has vowed to collect the nearly 600,000 signatures required by July to put the measure on the November 2018 ballot.
Last May, the Texas Nationalist Movement came within two votes of adding Texas independence language to the state’s Republican platform. And in Oklahoma, Republican state Sen. Joseph Silk in January introduced a bill to remove the word “inseparable” from the sentence in the state constitution describing Oklahoma as “an inseparable part of the Federal Union.”
The move for independence, whether it’s from the right of the political spectrum as in Texas, or the left as in California, reflects the political division felt across the country, said Edward Meisse, a supporter of the Yes California secession group that just disbanded. “We have two diametrically opposed philosophies in our country, and we’re just not getting anywhere,” he said. “I think we should allow states to secede so California can be California and Texas can be Texas.”
Nationwide, interest in seceding is fairly strong. An online survey by Reuters in 2014 found that nearly one in four Americans want their state to secede. The desire was highest — 34 percent — in the Southwest, which includes Texas.
In some areas of the country there is no organized effort to split from the U.S., just a feeling that “we’ve been left behind and no one cares about us,” said Dwayne Yancey, editorial page editor of The Roanoke Times who in March wrote what he called a “tongue in cheek” editorial, “Should Southwest Virginia secede from the rest of Virginia?
“Historically we have felt left out, and a number of those issues are coming to a head,” Yancey said. Southwest Virginia is mostly rural, white and poor. Coal mining has declined dramatically, although the city of Roanoke has had a stable economy with Virginia Tech University and other employers, he said. Yet, the feeling is that the state Legislature in Richmond is “not doing right by us here.”
Despite the heightened interest in secession, many lawyers and constitutional scholars say it’s legally impossible for a state to secede because the U.S. Constitution doesn’t address the issue, and has no provision to allow it.  
The U.S. Supreme Court declared in an 1869 case, Texas vs. White, that the United States is “an indestructible union.” And the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia wrote in a 2006 letter that “if there was any constitutional issue resolved by the Civil War, it is that there is no right to secede.”
Yet some lawyers, historians and secession groups argue that the 10th Amendment of the Constitution gives states the right to decide many issues which are not in the power of the federal government. And despite the legal obstacles, the desire for self-rule and separation from others with different political, social or moral views remains strong among some groups.
Being part of a secession movement is “about being a part of the group as it circles around its sacred values and marks out what is good and what is evil,” said Jonathan Haidt, a psychologist and professor at New York University’s Stern School of Business who has written about the moral differences between liberals and conservatives. “Joining a secession movement is an act of both self-expression and group expression,” he said.

Why Secede?

One of the first secession movements arose in New England, prompted by the War of 1812. A trade embargo against England had hurt New England’s economy, and a convention was held to discuss secession. Victory in that war put a halt to the movement.
Secession movements have sprung up sporadically ever since. But the election in 2008 of the first African-American president, Barack Obama, set off a spate of efforts to secede, some of which were tied to white supremacist movements.
In Texas, which was an independent republic between 1836 and 1846, there have long been groups interested in seceding from the U.S. But the Texas Nationalist Movement, which supports a statewide referendum to settle the question, grew dramatically during Obama’s presidency, said Daniel Miller, head of the Texas Nationalist Movement.
In California, the election of Donald Trump as president has fueled secession efforts. 
“We had 11,000 [signatures] before Trump, then that jumped to 30,000 in a day, then to 45,000,” said Marcus Ruiz Evans, co-founder of Yes California. “People joined because they hate Trump, but we’ve always said, ‘This isn’t about Trump. This is about a country that would elect him.’ A racist, a misogynist? Those are people you want to associate with?”
A second group in California led by Silicon Valley venture capitalist Tim Draper supported an effort to break California into six states. But supporters weren’t able to collect enough signatures to put it on the November 2016 ballot.
Brexit, the U.K.’s vote in June 2016 to leave the European Union, has heartened some U.S. secessionists, many of whom also support Scotland’s efforts to separate from the U.K. Draper’s group is working with Brexit supporter Nigel Farage of the U.K. to figure out a new strategy for splitting California into six states.
Texas and California secession groups argue that their state economies are large enough to stand alone, and that they pay more in taxes to the federal government than they get in services in return.
There’s no doubt that some secession groups are pro-white, anti-immigrant and racist, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which studies hate groups nationwide. In 2000, it named the League of the South, formed in 1994, as a hate group. Since 2014, the LOS has funded a billboard campaign in Florida, Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama and Arkansas with one big hashtag: #SECEDE.
Neither the former Yes California nor the Texas Nationalist Movement is on the SPLC’s list of hate groups, but the center says that “neo-Confederates,” who in many cases are openly secessionist, favor segregation and suggest white supremacy.

Could a State Pull Out?

Groups in Texas and California argue, in part, that because their states were once independent, they can be independent again. (A group of northern Californians claimed independence from Mexico for 25 days in 1846.)
But the U.S. Constitution doesn’t address the issue of secession. It neither gives states the right to secede nor denies it, says Gary Gallagher, director of the John L. Nau III Center for Civil War History and professor of history at the University of Virginia.
He and other legal scholars also point to the Supreme Court’s ruling in 1869. That case stemmed from Texas’ sale of U.S. government bonds during the Civil War, to help fund the Confederacy. When Texas rejoined the U.S. after the war, it argued the bonds had been sold illegally and wanted its money back.
The court ruled against Texas, declaring that Texas had “entered an indissoluble relation” when it joined the U.S., and that the country itself is a “perpetual union.”
Miller, who heads the Texas Nationalist Movement, sees it another way.
“If I had a nickel for every time someone says the Constitution doesn’t give your state the right, I’d be rich. It means that the Constitution is silent on the issue,” he said, referring to the right to secede. “So the fact that the Constitution doesn’t talk about it doesn’t eliminate it. It just means we have to turn to the court.”
Craig Lerner, professor of law at George Mason University in Arlington, Virginia, disagrees. “We had a war over secession once, and that war seems to validate Lincoln’s view that a state can’t secede without the consent of all the states.”
Lerner agrees that Texas is a bit different because it used to be an independent state. But since Texas became a part of the United States in 1845, it lost that freedom to separate, he said.
Why do groups like the Texas Nationalist Movement persevere?
“The idea that people say that things will never happen, that this is some kind of pipe dream, well, I’m pretty sure that was the feeling of the British when they wanted to get out of the E.U.,” Miller said.
“Ever since the end of World War I, people have been seeking self-determination,” he said. “Look at Scotland. It never got a vote, but after 800 years, it gets two.” That, he believes, could happen for Texas.
Perhaps. But for now and the foreseeable future, only one flag flies at Appomattox Court House in Virginia: The U.S. flag.

Regardless If Patch Wins Kentucky Derby, He Is A Winner

Kentucky Derby 2017: One-eyed Patch aiming for glory in $2.4 million race

Story highlights

  • One-eyed Patch racing in Kentucky Derby
  • Race has purse of $2.4 million
(CNN)When three-year-old thoroughbred Patch takes to the starting gate at this year's Kentucky Derby Saturday, many people -- be it in the stands or watching on TV -- probably won't be aware that this is a very special horse.
At the left-hand side of Patch's head is a dark hole -- about the size of a golf ball -- where his eye used to be.
As a two-year-old, Patch developed an ulcer in his left eye that, despite the best possible medical care, didn't respond to treatment.
    Eventually, in June 2016, the colt had his eye removed after trainer Todd Pletcher decided nothing more could be done to save it.


    Trevor Breen rode one-eyed showjumper Adventure De Kannan to victory
     in the 2014 Hickstead Derby and he says the adaption for a horse after losing an eye is more of a mental than a physical one.
    "I think the heart, mind and attitude of the horse are big factors in the
     recovery," Breen told CNN. "The first thing is the obvious one really,
    they've just got to come to terms with it.
    Glamour and tradition at the Kentucky Derby
    Glamour and tradition at the Kentucky Derby 07:11
    "What they used to be able to see,
     they now can't. Horses are very
     good at adapting and I think they
     sometimes deserve a lot more
     credit than we give them.
    "The key to it all is the mind of the
     horse. If they have a really good
    attitude and that they want to do the
    job that you want them to do, then
    they'll find a way to do it."
    Patch, who was coincidentally given his name before losing an eye, is
     ranked as an outside -- but not impossible -- 30-1 shot along with three
     other horses.
    Two other runners, Fast and Accurate and Sonneteer are given odds of

    Rewinding the clock

    Breen is eager to stress that every horse is different and although
     Adventure De Kannan seamlessly transitioned from two eyes to one,
     that might not be the case for other horses.
    Both Adventure De Kannan and Patch suffered from eye ulcers, meaning
     the gradual decline of sight in one eye made the post-operation transition
     more manageable.
    Before Adventure De Kannan lost his eye, Breen says he had been
     trying, unsuccessfully, to win the Hickstead Derby -- considered one
     of the premier events of the equestrian calendar -- for four years.
    Then he and Adventure De Kannan -- less than a year after having the
     eye removed -- claimed the title for the first time.
    "When we took the eye out it was like I rewound the clock about three
    or four years," Breen recalls. "He got cheeky again, he was like a new
    "He was such a good-natured horse, he'd never let you know he was
     depressed. But it must have been affecting him and as soon as we
    took it out, he was in super form straight away.
    "He had a cheekiness and a swagger about him. He was definitely
     better after the eye went out. You think with yourself, if you have a
     pain in one place all the time you'd be nearly going through depression."
    How do you make the 'Drink of the Kentucky Derby'? 01:57

    Upsetting the odds

    Though showjumping and flat racing are different disciplines entirely,
    parallels can be drawn between the recovery procees of both Adventure
    De Kannan and Patch.
    How has life changed for American Pharoah?
    How has life changed for American Pharoah? 09:17
    And after overcoming considerable
     odds to reach America's $2.4
     million race, don't bet against
     Patch doing it again on Saturday.
    "It's a credit to him and his
    professionalism that he was able
     to adapt so seamlessly to it,"
    his trainer Pletcher told Reuters.
    "I was concerned that it might
     compromise his ability in some
    way or the way he carried himself. I guess you don't know for sure but
     it certainly doesn't seem like it has."
    "He's a remarkable horse to lose his left eye in the middle of last summer
     and recover as quickly as he did. It seems to never faze him."