US President and Congress: Conflicts and Controversies

Although the president of the United States is called in the world’s media “the world’s most powerful man”, this is not something to happen in America. According to the constitution and the separation of the Legislative and the Executive branches, they are literally two separate bodies. The American form of government was founded on the key principle of checks and balances. By separating powers between the president and Congress, the founding fathers hoped that each would control and check the power of the other. However, there has always been a kind of conflict between these two US powers. This piece of writing seeks to find the main sources of these conflicts using historical cases of US president and Congress conflicts.

One of the most important conflicts between the US President and the Congress is when a war happened. If we think of the Korean War and go back to the historical reports and documents, we can easily get that the declaration of war on the North Korea was not permitted by the US Congress. According to the US Constitution the president can declare war on a country as Commander-in-Chief but before sending troops the Congress must approve it. In 1950, President Harry Truman saw communist North Korea’s invasion of South Korea as a threat to the US but it was not a congressional vote that brought the U.S. into the Korean War. It was a United Nations resolution that condemned North Korea’s invasion of South Korea. This is what President Truman used in his decision to send troops to Korea. In this case the Congress not only exercised its power to declare war, but also it did not vote for the president’s decision to declare war on North Korea.

In another part of the American history, when Richard Nixon became the president of the United States he said that the North Vietnam was using neighboring Cambodia as a safe place for its troops. Then Nixon ordered an invasion of that country. In an April 30, 1970 TV speech, he said that the US had respected Cambodia’s neutrality. That was a lie. The president had ordered secret bombings of that country for several months. Now he announced that sending in U.S. troops was necessary to win the war against North Vietnam. This time the Congress rebelled against the president’s actions using its constitutional power. The congress had not been consulted about either the Cambodia bombings or the decision to send in troops. In December 1970, Congress prohibited the use of funds to finance introducing troops into Cambodia or to provide U.S. advisers to Cambodia. In June 1973, Congress set August 15, 1974, as the date for the end of all funding for combat activities in Southeast Asia. In April 1975 the last U.S. troops left Cambodia and Vietnam.

Another example of US Congress and president conflict could be the US president support for the Contras in Nicaragua. The Contras were the enemies of the Sandinista revolutionaries who had overthrown Anastasia Somoza, a brutal dictator in the Central American nation of Nicaragua. President Ronald Reagan started supplying weapons and training to the Contras. A disapproving Congress passed legislation barring this support in December 1982. The president said that interfered with his authority to conduct foreign affairs. Legislators argued that the president acted unconstitutionally if he involved the country in a war, even if the soldiers were not American.

President Bush announced in January 2007 that he was sending an additional 21,500 troops to Iraq. He said that he knew Congress could vote against it, “but I’ve made my decision and we’re going forward.” The president has said repeatedly, that he is “the decider” on issues of war. While, according the US Constitution the president needs the Congress approval on issues of war. During a hearing on congressional war powers, Senator Spector, said that he would suggest respectfully to the president that he is not the only decider. The decider is a shared responsibility.

There have been many other conflicts between the two branches of power in the United States, the president and the Congress, during the American history. But the main question that comes to mind is that why these kinds of conflicts have always existed during the American history? Usually the majority of the Congress is made up of the party opposed to one of the president. However, in cases which both the president and the Congress were from the same party, conflicts existed. Although it has some effects, we can conclude that the origin of these conflicts very much of the party affiliation.

Historically, Republican presidents have always had more success in dealing with a Democrat dominated Congress than a Democrat president with a Republican dominated Congress. Democrat presidents have had real problems with Democrat dominated Congress. Therefore a simple same-party majority between the president and Congress does not guarantee that the president will see his recommendations accepted. This would show that the ideologies held by American politicians are not simply linked to one party. Cross-party support for a certain issue can and does happen.

But what are the sources of these conflicts? I think several factors can cause conflict in US system of separated institutions sharing power. Among them are constitutional ambiguities, different constituencies, varying terms of office, divided party control of the different branches, and fluctuating support of a president or the Congress.

A History of Japanese Xenophobia

Japanese xenophobia should be understood properly prior to jumping to any reactive conclusions. Xenophobia is not really racism, although it can occasionally cross the line in Japan and both are occasionally evidenced. For Japanese society any xenophobia is more of a fear of the unknown and a fear of being overpowered by that which is unknown. In all honesty, many people in Japan are rather intimidated by other countries and also their relatively large people. It may sound silly, but it really does stem from the most basic things like physical size.

Due in part to historically taking the offense on xenophobia, the Japanese government has historically made some rather unwise choices internationally. The results of such choices have made the nation feel somewhat guilty and also somewhat worried about belated retaliation from its closer neighbors, in addition to simply feeling defeated. To go from a state of megalomania to a state of apocalyptic defeat is obviously rather shocking and, as a result, Japan is now much more cautious about its role on the world stage. The nation of Japan was also occupied after WWII and essentially had its entire culture exposed before a relatively judgmental Western perspective. Apparently as a result, some people in Japan also seem to fear exposure and being misunderstood or judged for their lifestyles.

Many things simply are drastically different in Western and Eastern culture. Japan is even quite unique in Eastern culture. To say one way of doing things is correct and one is incorrect would likely be primarily based on the cultural background of a viewer and thus it would be an inaccurate assessment. There are many things considered normal in most of Western society that are not generally considered acceptable in Japanese society, and also certainly many things in Japanese society which would not be acceptable in most of Western society. It is easy to understand why it could be somewhat more challenging to open up completely if there is a history of being judged for some of the most basic aspects of a society.

In addition to concerns about average physical size and a historical tendency for Western cultures to misunderstand and judge Japanese society, there are also basic differences in the general psychology of various societies. Japan has what is most likely the most obedient modern society in the world. There is no modern history of revolution and there are no riots in the streets. People are generally quite polite and Tokyo, although the most populated metropolis in the world, is possibly the safest city for a child to be in at any time of day or night. Purse snatching and the like are practically unheard of and are certainly uncommon. People will stand in herds at a street corner and wait for the light on the crosswalk to change to green, regardless of there not being a car in sight. It is understandable that there could be some concern over people from societies in which the cars don’t even stop at stoplights, as is common even in other parts of Asia.

In a way, Japan is like a clock and Japanese society generally seems to like to keep things running like clockwork. Thankfully the introduction and adoption of new ideas is part of what makes has made that clock run so well, and so Japanese society is still quite open to careful introductions. It just isn’t so game for any oversized unhygienic elephants to come trampling through its delicate clockwork.

The Benefits of Using Computers

Computers have become an important part in homes, businesses and the society. There are many people who use computers in their daily lives either for gaming, programming, for prepress equipment, learning new applications or for CTP work. Computers can either be purchased as desktop units or as laptops which makes it quite convenient to use. Laptop computers even enable people to use it whether they are lying on the bed, waiting for a train at the train station or sitting in a restaurant. With the different kinds of computers available, there are also many different brands to choose from. No matter which type or brand of computer an individual uses, computers have become really important in the lives of people and is a great tool in helping people to broaden their knowledge on a wide range of subjects such as information technology, computer studies, word processing, internet and so on.

Computers are simply wonderful machines and everyone depends on it in one way or the other. The applications and programs that these machines offer are benefiting the society either directly or indirectly. The benefits include creating information technology employments, opening communication methods, safety features for automobiles, using for diagnosing patients, predicting weather patterns and calculating data sets. Many small to large businesses nowadays are using computers as a way of storing information and managing their daily activities.

As new applications are being discovered frequently, more employment is created. Apart from businesses, most of the homes have computers and as problems arise with the machines, more and more professionals are needed to deal with the issues. In this world, computers have also become an important part in the lives of children. Nowadays, children are more interested in exploring the benefits computers offer and are eager to learn new technology. In the near future, due to their growing interest in computers, there will not be shortages in information technology labor force in the society.

Computers, games and technology have major influence and are enlightening the lives of children these days. These children will be able to perform well in areas of social learning, academic learning and development. Children of even three years of age love to play computer games, activities and can perform simple typing commands. Computers offer a lot to kids in terms of learning spellings and correcting their mistakes. With the support of parents and teachers, kids are able to improve their skills and learn more about technology.

Many kids love to play games on computer which improves their speed and alertness. Games such as soccer teach them rules of the games while games such as virtual villagers enable them to stay attentive and take the appropriate action in maintaining the health and well being of the tribe. Moreover, many kids and adults use computers and internet for social networking, searching for information on the web and for many other purposes. It all helps them to develop good communication skills, computer skills and makes them learn new things almost everyday. Individuals and the society greatly depend on computers and in the near future these machines will be the work horses.

Global Warming Hyperbole

They call Global Warming skeptics “anti-science.” The term is a misnomer, however, because the skeptics are not actually against science, they are merely skeptical of the claims of its believers. Here are some reasons for their skepticism:

• Apocalyptic forecasts. Future climate forecasts for virtually every region in the world tend to be apocalyptic in nature. If you live in a dry area, it will only get drier. Areas of tremendous precipitation will only get rainier. More flooding will inundate areas prone to flooding; more heavy winter snowfalls will blanket areas traditionally hit with heavy winter snowfalls. Even in the short-term, nothing ever improves. You might assume that growing seasons in Siberia or Canada might lengthen due to warming, and they might receive bountiful harvests for a few decades. Perhaps the Sahara Desert will receive more rain and transform into a more hospitable savannah. Such changes are never predicted. Instead, we hear nothing but catastrophic scenarios. In my opinion, this is intentionally designed to frighten the public into action. It is understandable for politicians to engage in such hyperbole since most politicians tend to stretch or exaggerate the truth but scientists should be above spewing pseudoscience.

• Scientific neutrality. Scientists claim to be neutral, speak only the truth, and are above personal politics. Ironically, this cannot be the case, since I have heard scientists who accept Climate Change label scientists who question Climate Change as dishonest or tools of Big Oil or Big Tobacco (yes, Big Tobacco! They just cannot kill enough children with their cigarettes, so now they want to destroy the entire planet!). Skeptics sometimes point to a late snowstorm or cold spell as evidence against Global Warming. Climatologists, meteorologists, and other scientists denounce such evidence, explaining that one atypical storm or weather event does not disprove a climate theory. They are correct. Unusual local or regional weather incidents and climate are not necessarily connected. In addition, Climate Change will transpire over decades, and may not be observable over a season, a year, or even several years. However, when defenders of Climate Change use that very same storm as evidence to confirm their scientific beliefs, the scientific community is eerily silent. An impartial and honest scientist would be as quick to denounce the latter claim as well as the former. However, their silence, along with the apocalyptic scenarios mentioned above, demonstrates that many scientists are as inconsistent and biased as the skeptical scientists and non-scientists they condemn.

• Climate Change is responsible for everything. Whether it is Tropical Storm Sandy, Hurricane Katrina, or a brutal winter blizzard, all are attributed to Climate Change. A cool day in the middle of summer? A warm day in the middle of winter? Sleet? Wind? Freezing rain? There is no need to accept unseasonable weather, blame God, or even indict “Mother Earth”, because Climate Change is the real perpetrator. Some also attribute tsunamis, earthquakes, and volcanic activity to Climate Change. Apparently, none of these “natural events” ever occurred before man-induced (anthropogenic) Climate Change. Incidentally, this all-encompassing culpability is the reason they altered the name from Global Warming to Climate Change. It allows its promoters to blame any “act of God”, unwelcome weather, or abnormally cold weather on man’s activities.

• Storm damage and lost lives. Every blizzard, hurricane, or major storm takes a tragic toll on human life. Everyone grieves for the loss of life, and we should continue to do all we can to minimize these seemingly senseless deaths. However, all claims that storms are becoming costlier and deadlier is deceptive. Real estate in general is worth more today than it was decades ago. Buildings and structures also cost more, and construction often takes place in precarious areas, such as flood zones, near earthquake fault lines, or even below sea level near the ocean. In addition, population has increased significantly in a very short time. In the last fifty years, the US alone gained over 120 million more people; Canada and Australia’s population has virtually doubled; the UK added nearly 10 million people; China and India’s populations have swelled by over 600 million each; and the world has added over 4.5 billion MORE people. Any large storm will impose larger monetary damages and tragically take more lives, simply because the cost of real estate has increased and the world’s population has grown.

• Carbon footprint. It is the epitome of hypocrisy when the wealthy fly private jets to global warming conferences, eco-conscious celebrities are chauffeured in gas-guzzling limousines to movie openings and award ceremonies, and performing artists fly and truckload staff and equipment from city to city on a worldwide tour, all the while preaching ecological platitudes during their performances. Perhaps when they heat, cool, and light their mansions with genuine renewable energy sources, and walk, ride bikes, or at least carpool to their destinations, skeptics will begin to believe. Whatever happened to leading by example? Imagine a rally to save a local park from development. Celebrities, politicians, and other speakers lament what would be the loss of pristine beauty. They call for the community to come together and do whatever it takes to save the park. After the rally ends, paper bags, empty water bottles, plastic bags, flyers, and other assorted debris litter the park. Would anyone really believe that the speakers and their supporters were serious? And why is it acceptable to exclude the rich and famous from practicing what they preach, simply by virtue of their position?

• Carbon Credits. This brings us to carbon credits. Paying a company to invest in green energy might be a sound investment; using that investment as an excuse to continue a carbon-profligate lifestyle is duplicitous. Many Climate Change leaders claim to be “carbon neutral” simply because they purchased carbon credits. The easiest way to see if this works is by asking a simple question. What if everyone bought carbon credits, technically became carbon neutral, but continued to live in disregard to their lifestyle? Clearly, this would accomplish very little in fighting Climate Change. We do not possess the technology for the entire world or even entire nations to become carbon neutral. Carbon credits are a way for very rich people to “buy” their way out of altering their lifestyles. This gives the impression of real sacrifice for the cause, and allows them to continue to denounce those who remain skeptical of Climate Change. During the American Civil War, the wealthy avoided fighting in the battles by paying a fee or finding a substitute. They may have contributed to the cause but everyone knows they did not participate in the actual fighting.

• Kyoto Treaty. During the Clinton Administration, the Kyoto Treaty failed to secure even a single vote in the US Senate. Among its many proposals, the Kyoto Protocol attempted to set worldwide standard carbon emissions. Not even “environmental senators” voted for it. Nearly all global greenhouse emission proposals exclude China (the largest “carbon polluter” country) and India, the two most populous countries in the world. The argument against their inclusion is primarily economics. Emission cuts will cripple their economies, leading to an increase in poverty. If this is true for China and India’s economies, it is also true for other countries as well. In addition, proponents argue that those two countries, and Third World or Developing countries, should be exempted, because they did not cause the problem. Culpability lies with the Western industrial countries. Even if this is true, exempting countries from emissions only worsens the problem, since they will continue to emit greenhouse gasses. Is the goal to assuage our Western guilt or save the planet?

• Satellite evidence. Large storms recorded from weather satellites are visually impressive. Experts point to video of huge storms and claim that their enormous size reflects the impact of Climate Change. They make a similar argument with Arctic sea ice. Through satellites, we can now accurately measure the summer meltback of ice each year, and science can confirm that the polar ice cap has shrunk in the past few decades. However, while these observations might indicate a change in climate, according to NASA, the first successful Geosynchronous Satellite was launched in 1964. Polar satellites did not exist until the 1970s. We simply do not possess any satellite data before that time. Thus, from a climate perspective, most of this scientific information and observation, while valid, is very recent.

• Al Gore. It certainly does not help a scientific movement when the person most associated with that undertaking is a politician. No doubt, people hold different opinions about the politics and personality of former Vice President Al Gore. But what is not debatable is that he possesses no scientific training. I would also argue that he does not understand scientific argument or method, and it is unparalleled chutzpah when he questions the scientific expertise of those who disagree with him. If having a former politician like Al Gore as the face of fighting Climate Change does not bother you, then imagine that face is Dick Cheney, Tony Blair, John Howard, Stephen Harper, or even Sarah Palin.

• Transfer of Wealth. It also does not help the cause of Climate Change when there is official discussion at the international level about the transfer of wealth from the wealthy countries to the poorer countries. Remember, the stated objective of Climate Change fighters is to lower carbon emissions worldwide. That goal is sensible and desirable. However, transferring money from one group to another is social engineering, and once again an attempt to placate Western guilt. It certainly has little to do with lowering world carbon emissions.

Banksy’s Influences – Who Inspired Banksy?

Banksy is a pseudo-name for a well-known British graffiti artist. He is believed to be born around 1974 in Yate, South Gloucestershire. He was first involved in graffiti during the great Bristol aerosol boom on the late 1980s. The style of his artwork is mostly satirical piece on topics such as culture, ethnic, and politics. Technique wise, the way he combines both stencil and graffiti is very similar to a French artist Blek Le Rat. His art that appear in cities around the world was first born out of Bristol underground scene involving musicians and artists. His prints are popular with celebrity and singer Christina Aguilera and actor Brad Pitt.

When it started, Blek Le Rat took inspiration from New York’s graffiti scenes. It is from this scene that he created his own style by continuously painting stenciled rats around the streets in Paris before going nationwide to Lyon, Marseille and Toulouse.

Banksy has also recognized Blek Le Rat influences in his artwork while also being a big fan of Blek’s work. In one of his quote, Banksy said “Every time I think I’ve painted something slightly original, I find out that Blek Le Rat has done it as well, only twenty years earlier.”

On the other hand, Prou admitted that he sees Banksy as a son of his movement in addition to crediting Blanksy for raising his profile while providing him with increased publication that resulted in increased commercial success. In his interview with Sunday Times, Prou said “I consider him like my descendant. He took some ideas. But he changed them. And he took the movement to a huge level all over the world.”

What other’s do not really know is that there is another person whom inspired Banksy to first take out his stencils and spray paints in the dead of night. Known as the Godfather of Street Art, Richard Hambleton made his first mark in the 1970s painting chalk outlines with red blood across North America cities. His most famous piece, the Shadowman and Marlboro Man collections are among some of his pieces that have the clearest links to Banksy.

He was born in Vancouer, Canada in june 1954. He earned his bachelor in 1975 from Emily Carr School of Art. Recognize as the Founder and Co-Director of “Pumps” Center for Alternative Art in Vancouver. He is now working and living in New York City. Richard Hambleton is the surviving member of group who, together among Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring, had a great success coming out of New York City art scene during the 1980s. A lot of his work is similar to graffiti art, however, Hambleton considered his work as public art.

He is the person who influenced Xavier Prou (Blek Le Rat). When ask, Prou said that he really like Richard Hambleton. Richard was the first artist from NYC to export his work all over the world in the 80s. His work has been so widespread in Europe it could be found in London, Paris, Berlin, Rome, and many other cities.

The Consequences of Stealing – Theft and the Law

Theft can include armed robbery, burglary, theft by check, forgery, unauthorized use of a vehicle, fraud, false statement to a credit agency, shoplifting and the list goes on. The consequences for stealing range from a Class C misdemeanor to felony charges, usually depending on the monetary value of what was taken. If the value of the stolen item is under $1,500 then the perpetrator will most likely be convicted of a misdemeanor. This can result in a simple fine and/or community service, but could also involve jail time, depending on the circumstances. If the item stolen was of great value, the accused will most likely be charged with a felony and will have to serve prison time. At the time of a hearing the court will be notified if there is more than one offense on the suspect’s record and this will also affect the sentencing. People who steal generally do not do it just one time.

It is important to note that in some states, stealing of any kind is considered a “crime of moral turpitude”. This means the act of stealing is not a favorable action in community standards of justice, honesty or good morals. Even if you are charged with a misdemeanor, you will have a permanent criminal record that will follow you for the rest of your life. This can have negative effects on the wrongdoer’s character personally, legally and with future employment opportunities.

One of the most common forms of stealing is shoplifting. Shoplifting is the deliberate act of taking an unpaid item from a place of business and it happens more than we are aware. A person can be convicted of shoplifting even if they don’t walk out of the store, but are found with hidden merchandise in their possession. In some states, there is even a “law of Parties” meaning that if you are with a friend who is caught stealing in a retail establishment, you can also be prosecuted even though you didn’t intend on stealing. An average of $10 billion dollars’ worth of goods is stolen from retail businesses each year. The numbers and statistics are staggering. We all pay the price for people who commit these acts by having to pay more for products when companies pad prices to recuperate losses from shoplifters. The law does not look kindly on people who shoplift.

Bottom line, stealing is never a good idea and can land you in a world of trouble. It will affect the offender in many negative ways for the rest of their lives. Stealing also affects everyone in the community, in one way or another, which is why the laws are harsh. Thieves may think that they can get away with stealing, but eventually they will get caught and will be forced to face severe consequences.

Knowing Your Judge in a Family Law Case in Essex County, New Jersey

New Jersey Superior Court, Family Division of Essex County is the busiest family law courthouse in New Jersey. The diverse county of Essex includes wealthy areas like Short Hills and Livingston and poorer areas in Irvington and Newark. The courthouse is located at 212 Washington Street in Newark, NJ. While there are many different types of family law cases in a family law courthouse, this article will focus on the Judges of the Matrimonial Division which handles divorces and post divorce actions.

Judge Nancy Sivilli is one of the longest standing family law/divorce judges in Essex County. Judge Sivilli was a civil court judge prior to being transferred to the family division where she handles a very heavy docket. Judge Sivilli is a neutral judge that understands both sides of the story as she is married and has children. While it is not critical for a family law judge to have kids, I believe having kids gives you a different persepective than someone that does not. Judge Sivilli make the speech at the early settlement panel to inform litigants of their chance to resolve their matters before having a trial.

The next judge is the Honorable Judge Donald Kessler who has also been on the family law bench of Essex County for a long time. Judge Kessler is a stickler to the rules of the court, but is a very kind and patient person. He does not tolerate yelling or other unruly behavior in his court. He permits people to make their arguments one at a time as a court should be like and not like the Maury Show that some judges permit. Judge Kessler is a family man who really watches out for the needs of the children in each case over anything else.

Judge Michael Casale is the next judge that focuses on matrimonial cases and is a judge that I believe understands the rules of equitable distribution more than most judges. In a recent case, he ruled that the party who invested pre-marital funds into the marital home should retrieve that portion of the equity before dividing anything that may be left. While other judges rule that once you invest money together, the money is “commingled” and the division of the money is lost. This latter argument to me does not make sense in a court of equity. I agree to Judge Casale’s methods and theory.

Whether you have a case before Judge Sivilli, Judge Casale or Judge Kessler, Judge Neil Jasey, Judge Russell, Judge Adobato, the divorce process in Essex can be very long because of the “war between Trenton and Essex” and the lack of judges allotted to Essex which has caused a family court trial backlog. While there is a backlog, the good news is that these judges are very wise and do manage their calendars quite well.

Emily Bronte: Wuthering Heights

Emily Bronte in her first novel, the Wuthering Heights brought a new sensation to the world of the 18th century. It was a world of divided living, where fine lines were drawn among all the social classes, and material possessions defined the status of the people. In this classified society Emily Bronte managed to draw the image of two people who had confined themselves to the constrict society, but had created a shared world of their own. And this shared world, yielded strong passions, of love, desire and revenge.

Cathy and Heathcliff though came to live together from their early childhood but their social differences made them come into direct conflict with the society. Catherine Earnshaw belonged to the family of aristocrats, and Heathcliff was no other but a gypsy, who was brought to the house, as an act of kindness. Yet very soon Catherine develops a liking for the quiet Heathcliff, as she finds him in harmony with her own self. Whether its playing, eating, singing, or lesson of bible, she finds a tendency to be like Heathcliff more than herself. Growing together in the moors, Cathy and Heathcliff, come together as they learn to share the same perspective towards life. They live in freedom and high spirit in the vast spread lands.

Unconsciously they develop a bond, a connection of love, so strongly that don’t even know themselves.

The conflict arises when Catherine is introduced to Edgar Linton. Catherine and Heathcliff are aware from the beginning that the future holds difficulties for them, but they keep themselves busy in their own happiness until Edgar Linton comes into the picture. Heathcliff becomes agitated and raged by his frequent visits and finds him to be a threat to his dignity while Catherine sees no enemy in Edgar Linton and she soon becomes well acquainted with his way of life. As new realities open to Catherine, she sees a larger world beyond what she had seen with Heathcliff at Wuthering heights.

Catherine is torn between the society and her own world. Edgar Linton seems the right person to marry, as he has wealth, status, and honor. But with Heathcliff she has something beyond all material possessions. She says “Whatever our soul are made of, his and mine are the same.” This was an epiphany for Catherine as for the first time she realized that there was something distinct about her feelings for Heathcliff. She could not separate herself from him in any way, because deep inside she felt that they were no separate beings, but a single soul that occupied two bodies. She says “-he’s more myself than I am.” This was an intense emotional realization. And the forward movement was shaped by it, as Cathy started to think of ways in which she could be with Heathcliff not only emotionally but also in the societal world they lived in.

In an attempt to make relationship with Heathcliff survive the conflict with the orthodox society, Catharine thinks of marriage with Edgar Linton. She wants to quieten the world outside that had started to disturb the quiet simple world she shared with Heathcliff. She wanted to marry Linton so that not only could she make Heathcliff rich, but also to regain the secret connection with Heathcliff, without anyone noticing or interfering with it. However Heathcliff is not of the same idea, he finds it against his pride for Catherine to marry someone else. He agonized by the thought that a relation like marriage would tear them apart forever, and in despair and utter helplessness he decide to take an exile. Heathcliff’s absence makes Catherine upset, she wants him back. And then she marries Linton. She had had hasten this act so has to make her accepted socially, and in her heart she waited for Heathcliff.

Heathcliff does return, but seeing his beloved Catherine living with Edgar Linton enrages him. This is the time when things start to turn the way Catherine could not have imagined. Catherine wants Heathcliff to remain as he was, and she fails to comprehend his furious anger. Heathcliff felt isolated and left out, and at the same time he felt a connection with Catherine which pulled him to the step of Thrushcross grange often.

Following events turn out to be even worse, Catherine is taken by serious illness, and Heathcliff could not find peace and he makes desperate attempts to make Catherine realize her faults. Edgar Linton finds himself sincere to Cathy and tries to nurture her, keeping her away from the temptation of Heathcliff.

The composite character that Catherine and Heathcliff share becomes evident to the readers on the day when they meet for the last time. The moment holds emotions of love, anger, guilt, and fear for both of them. Catherine wants Heathcliff to know that even death can’t separate them both. She tells him that if any of her words would torment him, she would be in distress too. She cries and holds onto o him for life, and says “that is not my Heathcliff. I shall love mine yet; and take him with me: he is in my soul.” She knows that what she shares with Heathcliff is unique, and she was sure to treasure it with her and take it to her grave. Heathcliff is ablaze with passion too, he knows that he is about to lose Catherine and without her his life would be empty. He blames her for leaving him and putting an end to his life too but more he hates himself, for he cannot save her for he can never have her again like before. Heathcliff’s intense emotions are clear when he says “I love my murderer – but yours! How can I?” Heathcliff is inconsolable and helpless.

Catherine dies, and Heathcliff is left to grieve. He is tormented and in desperation he calls out Catherine, he curses her to never be in peace till he was alive. Heathcliff realizes his own death, in the demise of Cathy. He yells and begs her “you said I killed you – haunt me, then!” “-I cannot live without my life! I cannot live without my soul.”

These moments are important as they make us realize as Catherine and Heathcliff shared a bond prior to essence. They had created their own world where they had each other. Catherine and Heathcliff had isolated their beings from the traditional norms of the society, and they lived to their content. They had always been in harmony with each other and even by trying they could not differentiate between each other as they felt one. They had shared all feelings, all moments and all torments together; they had become one against a world that conspired against them. It was with this composite strength that they had grown and flourished, but had remained one in all odds.

Race and Social Class

In American society, issues of race and social class are entwined together like a chain of DNA. One cannot have an honest discussion about race without looking at the equally important issue of class since the two are closely linked. Although discussions of race and class are often avoided because these type of issues make people uncomfortable, Hurricane Katrina and the various television newscasts that followed stripped away the curtain to America’s dirty little secret: there are many people in American society who have been unable to escape the double jeopardy of being born African American and poor.

The four readings by Sklar, et. al., Oliver & Shapiro, Mantsios, and Bartlett & Steele in the text (Ore, pgs. 69-99) illustrate how race and class was socially constructed for the advancement of Whites and the making up of a social class of poverty-stricken African-Americans who could be blamed for everything wrong in society. Furthermore, all four articles reflect how these two systems of oppression are interlocked in a never-ending structure of domination (matrix of domination), as stated in the text.

In the article entitled “Race, Wealth, and Equality, Oliver and Shapiro discusses how three historical events in American society – the Reconstruction, the suburbanization of America, and contemporary institutional racism has lead to a vast amount of income inequality between Blacks and Whites. Although American society had several opportunities to make amends to African-Americans by giving them same economic advantages Whites took for granted, it never happened because Blacks would be on the same economic playing field as Whites. That is why there is such a large gap in wealth between Blacks and Whites in American society.

The Mantsios’article takes this discussion about the large wealth gap between Blacks and Whites further by examining how the media, owned by the ruling class, has played a major role in distorting views about economics by pretending the ruling class do not exist and poor Blacks are the dregs of society. The media with its ‘magic’ can make the sins and harshness towards African-Americans disappear by pretending it is their fault that they are poor.

By doing this, upper and middle-classed Americans learn to fear and loathe poor Blacks and refuse to make the connection between systematic racism and high poverty levels amongst African-Americans.

In a similar vein, “The Growing Wealth Gap” describes how crooked but legal dealings between corporations and politicians has led to work wages stagnating for decades and millionaires turning into billionaires. This article also made reference to the Oliver and Shapiro article, illustrating how African-Americans have little, if no net worth and even if differences in income, occupation, and education were removed, White income would still be higher than Blacks due to the racial barriers that have kept them stagnated for centuries. Bartlett and Steele discuss that although the American government slashed welfare benefits for the needy, it subsidizes large corporations at the expense of the taxpayers on a regular basis. It is okay for corporate America to be on welfare but welfare for corporations is called “incentives.” Corporate America can do this because they have good Public Relations, meaning the media to help sell economic dreams to the unsuspecting American public, going back to Mantsios article. All four of these articles are connected because they reflect that although the economic system in America was built build on the backs of African-Americans, they cannot share in its riches.

After reading this material, one cannot help but think about the mostly African-American and poverty stricken victims of Hurricane Katrina and how much American society is to blame for their economic situation. They were not only the victims of a horrible natural disaster but victims of a system that has historically kept them on the last rung of the economic ladder. The victims of this tragedy for the first time had my face and economic background. I am an African-American single mother who was receiving welfare benefits at the time Hurricane Katrina occurred who could not and still can drive and my family would have been one of the many labeled “refugees” if I lived in New Orleans. Although I was an active participant in the creation of my past situation, being told that I could not attend a four year college because it would take too long by a TANF case worker tells me how much the system is against people like me even when you are trying to do the right thing.

Observing a White supervisor stir up competition between African-Americans and Hispanics on the workplace showed me how much corporate America is against the advancement of minorities. Living in a neighborhood that is forty minutes from downtown Chicago but is surrounded by vacant lots filled with trash tells me that America has forgotten about a certain segment of people based on their skin color and economic background. Unless there is a fundamental change in the redistributation of the wealth and racist attitudes in American society, the wealth gap between Blacks and Whites will only get larger.