Wednesday, June 25, 2014


On Wednesday, January 5, 2011, the members of the House of Representatives took turns reading the Constitution of the United States and its 27 amendments. Out loud.

The folks who ought to know tell us that it was the first time in the history of the nation that the Constitution was read aloud in either chamber of the Congress.

The Constitution as ratified consists of about 4,500 words. Together with the 27 amendments, the document runs a little less than 8,000 words. It took the members of Congress about ninety minutes to read the whole thing out loud.

The members were generally pleased with the experience, and it apparently set a precedent. The 113th Congress which convened in 2013 repeated the exercise.

Interestingly, the version of the Constitution which was read in Congress was not the actual text. It was a sanitized rendering with all direct and indirect references to slavery and Prohibition removed, as well as superseded procedures for selecting the President and Vice President. That brought a complaint from Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr., who opined that the Republican majority in the House had redacted parts of the founding documents, leaving out all parts that memorialize the blood, sweat and tears expended to make the blessing of liberty universal in America.

Good point. The fact that slaves were described as “other persons” and counted at only three-fifths of their number in the original document explains why the thirteenth and fourteenth amendments were necessary. And the adoption and later repeal of Prohibition delivers a lesson in democracy which needs remembering.  

Certainly, the staff of the House of Representatives ought not to be given carte blanche to cut up the Supreme Law of the Land, or to decide which words in the charter don’t matter any more.

One important benefit of the reading ceremony ought to be that members of Congress are reminded of little known and rarely discussed constitutional provisions.

How about Article 1, Section 8, which says, among other things, that no appropriation of money to raise and support an army shall be for more than two years? Does anyone mention that restriction when the House debates the authorization of long term contracts for military equipment?

And how often does anyone wonder out loud why, if the Constitution requires representation in the House to be proportional to the population of the States, there has been no increase in the number of Representatives in over a hundred years?

Reading the Constitution aloud is a nice custom, but if it is done merely as a ceremony, “full of sound and fury, but signifying nothing” it shall then be truly as Shakespeare said, “a tale told by idiots.”

Constitutionalism is spreading like a virus across the land. Hillsdale College has set out to gather a million signatures to a petition demanding return to constitutional government in Washington. The College proposes to supply free copies of the founding documents to every pubic official in America.

The Internet is abuzz with talk of resuscitating the Constitution, of proposing amendments, of reining in unconstitutional government.

Unfortunately, the government is like the weather, everybody talks about it, but nobody does anything about it.

I have been trying to change all of that. My efforts appear on the World Wide Web at My reasons are explained in a forthcoming book entitled THE ARTICLE V AMENDATORY CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION: Keeping the Republic in the Twenty-First Century.

Publication is scheduled for September 16th. Anyone interested in ordering the book may do so on Just click here: BUY THE BOOK.

The book is expensive. I didn’t set the price, the publisher did. Whatever I make on it will be spent on organizing the convention.

When you finish reading it, send it to your Congressman, and ask him to read it. Out loud.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014


I am not a big fan of the death penalty. In general, I feel that where society has the wherewithal to incarcerate someone for the balance of his natural life, it is more humane to let nature deliver the just desserts for the commission of a capital crime.

My opposition is not founded on moral grounds, however. I do not believe that the death penalty for a capital offense is at odds with the Natural Law or merits condemnation by the Creator.

The felonious taking of a human life is the ultimate usurpation of organized society. Governments are created among humans to protect and enhance the existence of our species on this planet.

Whoever takes it upon himself to kill his fellow man sets himself above and against the entire human race. No civilization can tolerate such conduct and survive.

But if the death penalty is justified as society’s response to heinous crime, then it ought to be carried out in an orderly, predictable fashion.

Nothing more denigrates societal response to murder than a criminal justice system which renders a nominal death sentence and then simply neglects to do what the law requires.

On November 5, 2009, Nidal Hassan murdered 13 people at Fort Hood in Texas.

It took three and a half years for the United States Army to bring him to trial. At his trial, Hassan admitted the crimes. He was sentenced to death. The United States Military has not executed anyone since 1964. The Code of Military Justice requires that a sentence of death be automatically appealed.

It is predicted that Hassan’s appeals will take a decade.

There’s more. Apparently some arcane military regulation requires that military personnel, upon separation, to return all gear issued to them. Apparently until Hassan is cleared by CIF (the Central Issue Facility) he cannot be executed.

There’s little hope that all of his gear will be recovered. At least one item has been donated to a mosque for use as a prayer rug. Rules, of course, must be obeyed. All rules. No matter how absurd. Especially in the army.

Hassan could, of course fill out a form certifying that his gear has been lost or destroyed. But the form is in English, and Hassan claims that his Islaamic faith forbids him to write in English.

You can see what an impasse that has created. I’m sure that the odds on Hassan living another twenty years are better that California Chrome at the Belmont.

The debacle of the the Army’s handling of the Hassan murders is not the only example of U.S. military paralysis when it comes to the discipline of Muslim servicemen.

A Marine by the name of Wassef Ali Hassoun disappeared from Camp Fallujah in Iraq ten years ago. He was found and charged with desertion and theft after a five month investigation.

Brought to the United States for trial, he went AWOL from Camp Lejune, and now nobody knows where he is. Least of all the United States Marine Corps.

In the wake of the Jihadist attacks against the United States on September 11, 2001, President George Bush took great pains to prevent a popular backlash against Muslims in America. A mere thirty days after the 9-11 attacks, the President hosted an Iftar dinner at the White House, the first such event ever held there. He continued the practice for the next six years.

Barak Obama, schooled in Islaam as a child, has continued the practice.

Bush was determined to show that Muslims are welcomed as members of the U.S. armed forces. It is clear that the military, oath bound to obey their Commander in Chief, have concluded that Muslims in uniform are not just welcomed; they are conclusively presumed to be loyal American citizens, no matter what they do. It’s pathetic.


Saturday, June 7, 2014


Trying to answer the question of whether the Bergdahl prisoner swap was or was not legal, I waded into the murky waters of federal legislation.

Typically of the way Washington works, the controlling law is contained in a massive omnibus bill that runs something like 211,214 words and includes literally thousands sections dealing with all kinds of matters.

Apparently the legal dispute here involves section 1035 of the  NDAA – the National Defense Authorization Act, which  authorizes various expenditures of public funds in 2014.

Here is what the section provides:

(Sec. 1035) Authorizes the Secretary to transfer or release any individual detained at Guantanamo to such individual's country of origin or another country if: (1) the Secretary determines that the individual is no longer a threat to national security, or (2) such transfer or release is to effectuate an order by an appropriate U.S. court or tribunal. Requires, as further determinations prior to such transfer, that: (1) actions have been planned or taken that will substantially mitigate the risk of such individual engaging or reengaging in any terrorist or hostile activity that threatens the United States, and (2) the transfer is in the U.S. national security interest. Outlines factors to be considered in making such determinations, including any confirmed cases of recidivism of individuals previously transferred to such country. Requires the Secretary, at least 30 days prior to such a transfer, to notify the defense, appropriations, and intelligence committees. Defines a detained individual as one located at Guantanamo as of October 1, 2009, who is not a U.S. citizen and is in the custody or control of DOD or otherwise under detention there. Repeals superseded authorities..

Section 1035 allows the Secretary of the Navy, who in is charge of Gitmo, to release detainees to their country of origin or some other foreign country, if he decides the person is no longer a threat to national security, and if the transfer is in the national interest, after taking into consideration whether others released to that country resumed their terrorist activities. It further requires the Secretary to notify defense, appropriations and Intelligence committees of the Congress at least 30 days before making the transfer.

The Secretary of the Navy is a man named Ray Mabus. A graduate of the Harvard Law School, Mabus was the Governor of Mississippi and served as Ambassador to Saudi Arabia under President Bill Clinton. He was appointed Secretary of the Navy by President Obama in 2009.

Now here’s the way I read the Bergdahl case: if the President of the United States instructed the Secretary of the Navy to release five Gitmo detainees forthwith, the Secretary should have refused to do so without giving Congress thirty days notice as required by the law.

If the President insisted, the Secretary should have resigned. If the President simply by passed the Secretary and issued a direct order to the Gitmo Commandant, there are other questions. The best I can figure, that would involve Rear Admiral David B. Woods, Commander of JTF_GTMO the joint task force in charge of the Guantanamo facility.
Of course, Woods ought to have respectfully declined the President’s order, insisting that he be instructed through the proper chain of command.

Now, I suppose there is a question of whether the President, by instructing the Secretary of the Navy to violate the law, is guilty of an impeachable offense.

That would depend on the nature of the directive from the President to the Secretary. Did Obama tell Mabus to release the prisoners without giving Congress the thirty day notice? When was prisoner exchange deal made? Was Mabus aware of it soon enough to give the required notice?

I have the feeling that the whole matter is a juicy subject for Congressional investigation, with the full array of hearings and charges of partisan nit picking.

Who said what to whom? And when? Who decided not to tell the committees? The answers will come from both sides of the aisle, and we will have another partisan circus in the nation’s capital.

The thirty day rule is a procedure. A nit to pick. It avoids and complicates the real issue.

The sad fact is that the American people are left to debate whether Bergdahl should have been brought home by releasing five detainees, which brings up the whole question of “detainees.”  Are they prisoners of war? If so, what war? Who declared a war? Who are we at war against? Are these detainees soldiers or criminals? If they are soldiers, what nation do they fight for? If they are prisoners of war, and the war is over, they should all be sent home. If they are criminals, what crimes have they committed and have they been convicted and sentenced? If they are criminals, they should be brought to justice, in a civilized, constitutional manner.

The Bergdahl case is just another side show.