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Category: Tirade Tuesday (page 1 of 5)

On 08-20-19 Today’s Rant is: Dear George, I Hate to do This by Letter but We’ve Been Growing Apart for a Long Time Now…

One of the questions I am often asked about colonial America involves the motives behind the American colonists’ desire to throw off the yoke of King George and form their own independent country free from the shackles of British rule. The most common answer is the colonists felt they were paying too much in taxes to the British. This is not true. In fact, considering the amount of protection provided by the English army to the colonists their taxes were of reasonable value and amount compared to the average Londoner who paid more in actual revenue to the King’s coffers. So why did the colonists revolt?

The answer is archived in the Library of Congress in a historical document, The Fairfax County Resolves (the ”Resolves”), which strangely, is an almost forgotten piece of American history.


I have never been in a classroom (other than my own) or a seminar that mentioned the document. This is a bit surprising if for no other reason than the Resolves are attributed to the heavyweights George Mason and Washington as being the primary drafters. But I know about it and now so do you. I think you will find it more interesting than you may have first imagined. For purposes of constitutional significance and analysis, the Resolves are broken into 24 separate resolutions with the overall effect being a love letter of colonial grievances sent directly to King George. Enticingly, it starts with a blatant threat of possible future violence against the Crown.

“1. Resolved that this Colony and Dominion of Virginia can not be considered as a conquered Country; and if it was, that the present Inhabitants are the Descendants not of the Conquered, but of the Conquerors.”


The first point of contention addressed is England’s claim of supreme authority over the American colonies. In their opening salvo, the Georges are reminding the Crown and British Parliament that as Englishmen the Colonists have the same natural rights as any person born of English blood and living on English soil, these rights later identified in the US Constitution. The colonists petitioned for their right of adequate, responsive and just representation as was their rights as freeborn Englishmen.

This was during the time directly after the Boston Tea Party, an interesting act of colonial terrorism for which the Resolves tell us the colonists were willing to pay damages for. But what they weren’t willing to do was be subjected to the Coercive Act (aka the Intolerable Act) – a series of laws adopted for the main purpose of punishing Massachusetts by means of economic coercion. The laws were harsh and the colonists righty surmised they were a bit too much on the tyrannical side to be ignored. It was this type of economic punishment and additional taxation without representation in Parliament that the colonists objected to, as clearly stated in the Resolves.

Next, the Resolves indicates their desire to remain members of the British Commonwealth, but will not suffer the indignities of tyranny and become for all intents and purposes the slaves of their British “masters.” In between hints of embargoes and trade wars, the Resolves identifies and praises the efforts of the colonists as they begin to work together in an ever more coordinated effort to protect their rights and liberties as freemen.

So, what we have here is the ground-work for freedom, autonomy from the Crown, the protection of rights, constitutional and otherwise, a plea for economic security and taxation with representation. Everything that America would someday become.

Lastly, Resolution 17 is quite illuminative as to the Founding Fathers’ or, at least, George Mason and Washington’s position on slavery.

“17. Resolved that it is the Opinion of this Meeting, that during our present Difficulties and Distress, no Slaves ought to be imported into any of the British Colonies on this Continent; and we take this Opportunity of declaring our most earnest Wishes to see an entire Stop for ever put to such a wicked cruel and unnatural Trade.”

This was 1774, and although this sentiment does not release the early Americans from liability for their inhuman continuation of slavery until after the Civil War, it does indicate a desire for the ending of the practice as a necessity to what would become the American way of life. It just took a lot longer, and a bloody war to do it. But we did eventually abolish slavery. For after all, we are the sons and the daughters of the conquerors and we do those types of things, don’t we? Yes, we do.

On 08-13-19 TODAY’S RANT is: El Norte Deporte

America is a nation of idioms. Some true, some not so much. My favorite American idiom is “By the sweat of one’s brow.” America is a land where the streets are paved with gold. It is a land of unlimited opportunity and success is gained through one’s own efforts or hard work. “By the sweat of his brow (fill-in the story of wealth and prosperity). Another popular idiom is “America is the melting pot of the world.” This maxim refers correctly (until recently) to the historical process of America’s cultural assimilation and acculturation of mostly Western Europeans during the 20th Century. Ellis Island, Statue of Liberty, very American, and true.

A truism that doesn’t get a lot of play is “America is a nation of second, third and even fourth in line younger brothers and sisters.” This refers to the ancient and still in place European blood-line traditions of inheritance where the oldest son inherits all while the rest of the clan inherit nothing. Working for dad might have been one thing, but working for your brother (the squanderer) until he kicks the bucket, well that’s another. With nothing to lose, why not try your luck in the new world? A land where tradition, blood, family and seniority had little meaning and “By the sweat of one’s brow…” you get the picture.

It may have even been possible that many of these immigrant fortune seekers may also have heard the words of the Declaration of Independence and that America was a land where everyone had the right to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. They may have even understood the Constitution guaranteed these Rights from undue government interference. That these Rights were inalienable, meaning that every person was entitled to a certain fundamental fairness in their dealings with the government. That each new citizen was entitled to due process of law. Words like proper notice and the Right to be heard.

They may have even understood that America was a nation comprised mostly of Christians, but was not a Christian nation. They may have heard about the First Amendment and it’s guarantees of religious free exercise for all and where there was no official, government endorsed religion.

They may have heard about free speech. The Right to criticize one’s own government without fear of retaliation or retribution. Where there was no royalty to criticize, no titles, no upper crust of society to fear. A land where anyone could attain wealth and status through a combination of unfettered ambition and, you guessed it, “By the sweat of one’s brow.” And to state the obvious, there must have been quite a bit of sweating going on in those days.

They may have heard The Star-Spangled Banner. America, “the land of the free and the home of the brave.” Those going west may have heard “Home on the Range” which paints the American west as where seldom is heard a discouraging word and the skies are not cloudy all day. “Go west young man” probably sounded dang good right about then.

America, the shiny city on the hill. The place where anything was possible for someone without even a dollar in their pocket but the guts to make a long, arduous journey from far away based on nothing but the promise of a better life for oneself and family. By nothing more than the sweat of one’s brow, and far away from the misery which they once called home.

What happened?

On 08-06-19 TODAY’S RANT is: A Few Thoughts on the One and a Half Amendment

Today, we start with a simple proposition. How did the original Second Amendment;

“A well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, being the best security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, but no one religiously scrupulous of bearing arms, shall be compelled to render military service in person.”

Later edited by the Founders to the actual Constitutional text;

“A well regulated militia, being necessary for the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”

End up as this?

“The Second Amendment has been the subject of one of the greatest pieces of fraud, I repeat the word ‘fraud,’ on the American public by special interest groups that I have ever seen in my lifetime.” – Supreme Court Justice Warren Burger (January 14, 1990)

The answer is fully illustrated on the wall in the front lobby of the NRA. You capitalize a “T” and cut the Amendment in half.

“The right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”

The current interpretation of the Second Amendment was largely formed through manipulation of public opinion and not by scholarly investigation. For nearly 200 years, the Second Amendment was virtually ignored. There is very little case law or scholarly analysis available. The Second A was on its way to becoming as obsolete as the Third Amendment. You know, the one about not requisitioning and quartering troops in private homes? Thought so.

Historically, the meaning of the Second Amendment was never in serious question. The Founders did not want the Federal Government to have its own standing army. To protect their new nation, the Framers chose the model first introduced in England by Alfred the Great and already under use in Colonial times by Virginia. The militia. Militias are formed when citizens are “mustered” together into groups and then trained by the states to be part of their militia. In times of both domestic and foreign peril, the individual states could unite their individual militias into one national fighting force. No muss, no fuss and no need for a Federal standing army of professional soldiers that could be used to terrorize the states and their inhabitants. In those days, militias were BYOM as in Bring Your Own Musket as the militias did not supply weaponry. Toward this end each male between the ages of 16 and 60 was required by law to own a musket.

Notice how the words of the Second Amendment refers to the security of the “free state” and not individual rights to gun ownership. Historic context further informs us that “bear arms” was a term describing the right to go to war and not the individual right to own a gun. So how did we get into the mess we are in today?

The NRA was founded in 1871 by two veterans of the US Civil War to promote sport shooting with rifles and pistols. In the beginning, the body was involved with sponsoring exhibitions and competitive gun contests based on accuracy. By the 1970s the body was under “new management” and its mission changed, dramatically.

The NRA became a full-time, well-funded, political lobbying organization bent on spreading the gospel of gun ownership as a fundamental right protected by the Constitution. It wasn’t until 2008 when in the District of Columbia v. Heller opinion, written by right wing lunatic/activist judge Antonin Scalia, found the rights of individuals to own guns a fundamental feature of the Second Amendment. Scalia, a guy not above arguing the meanings of words like and, if, or and the placement commas as they relate to Constitutional interpretation, discards the entire first section of the Second Amendment as mere verbiage not central to the issue of gun ownership. Meaning, he adopts as his own the writing on the NRA’s wall of shame. Now, the shame is his. The pity is that we, the people, are stuck with the horror, carnage and continuing blight of an epidemic of gun violence spreading across the land.

That’s what happens when you cut an Amendment in half, Charlie Brown.

On 07-30-19 Today’s Rant is: Stop! In the Name of Law! The Supremes Speak.

Assuming that everything I said in my last article was true, and it is, the final say-so on virtually all constitutional issues (there are some exceptions) including cases involving the separation of powers, resides with the US Supreme Court (see last bullet point). The inherent power of judicial review under Article III, a judicial power the basis of which does not appear in the black letters of the law (now that we know what that means), but through a “hidden” power the Supremes gave themselves through their own interpretation of the Constitution. This power allows the Supremes to review all cases and controversies that arise under the Constitution and adjudge them constitutional or otherwise. As a practical matter, we can safely conclude that in this final analysis, the Constitution says whatever the Supremes says it does. Yes, you read that right. This includes cases involving legally cognizable skirmishes between the President and Congress.

You might be thinking how did this happen? Wouldn’t such a sweeping, influential and flat-out dangerous power have to be in plain, unambiguous writing within the four corners of the document to be “kosher?” What would the Founders have said? The case establishing the power of judicial review is Marbury v. Madison (1804). It involved two of the best known and influential of the Founding Fathers, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson.

When it comes to separation of powers the Legislative and Executive Branches have been fighting since the day the Constitution was ratified. Marbury is still a prime example of classic, churlish infighting between the President and Congress. After a nasty (even by modern standards) campaign involving countless incidents of mudslinging, character assassination and a hefty amount of balderdash, the incumbent Federalist candidate John Adams was defeated by the somewhat more radical Republican-Democratic Party candidate Thomas Jefferson. In an act of naked partisanship, on the evening before he left office, John tried to appoint 100 or so of his Federalist allies to life-time commissions in the Federal government. For the most part he succeeded, however, out of what was probably a haste makes waste moment he left several appointment letters behind in ye presidential desk drawer.

Thomas found the letters and summarily refused to deliver them, thereby denying the intended recipient their cozy, crony commission. One potential public servant denied his post as Justice of the Peace was John Marbury. He sued Jefferson’s Secretary of State and another Hall of Framer, James Madison, to deliver his appointment letter post-haste. Madison told Marbury to poundeth sand and the fight was on. Who was right? The still controlled by Federalists Congress wanted the appointment. The President did not. The Constitution has no express provision for this kind of conflict between branches. In a bind, they asked the Supremes to decide. In what still is the biggest constitutional power grab, John Marshall, the Chief Justice Supreme said, “let me think about it.” And he did. Several months later, he published his decision. In the first part of the opinion, Marshall has to decide whether the Supremes have the constitutional power to interpret the Constitution. Not surprisingly, the politically savvy Marshall decides yes. The Supremes do have the power to hear, interpret and render a decision in the case.

In the much shorter second part of the decision, we find Lady Liberty is not so lucky for Marbury. Marshall finds the Supremes do not possess the power to compel the Executive branch to deliver the letter, the sooner the better, or otherwise.

What did the Founding Fathers have to say? Nothing. They let the decision stand, judicial review and all. Greatest usurpation of power in American history, right under their collective white wigs and powdered, perfumed noses.

In conclusion to last week’s earlier conclusion, does Trump have an Article II power to do whatever he wants? Now I’m not saying Marbury is a blanket ruling under which the Supremes can never order a President to do, or not do something. Each case has unique facts including some of far greater significance that whether Marbury became a Justice of the Peace. With Herr Trump, it doesn’t seem likely Justice Roberts would approve of such a far reaching declaration of presidential power. Not likely to be sure, but now you know you never know until the fat supreme sings. It’s like that. Yes, it is.

[Ed.s Note: You can see the many previous Rants of Dean Drucker at:
https://losangelesfreepress.com/testimonials-to-the-la-free-press/ as well as here under the Today’s Rant Tab. Interesting reading, we think. And, too, we think that in these upcoming months, he will be a vital resource, a go-to Expert on the on-going attempts of the White House to turn America’s most cherished values into sludge.
>>Additional ‘Rants’ are posted every Tuesday, and if we are all lucky, he’ll also have one up on Thursday. Best to check regularly. Or, too, so you will receive them automatically you are welcome to take advantage of today’s Subscription Special at: https://losangelesfreepress.com/subscribe-to-the-la-free-press/

I’ll add this, too, as I personally hope you make the most of our Historic Archives, as well ~ they begin in 1964 and are, literally, among the very finest records of that pivotal era. And, as a Subscriber, you may make Requests for our articles on those seminal events – FOR FREE 🙂
>>Not sure where to begin? See the most remarkable – and eerily coincidental??? – articles at our ’50-Year Throwback Thursday’ Tab… up at the top of the page.
>>Now, Phil, now that we know that the Supremes have as much power as they do, what can ‘we’ do to ensure that America stays its course of high-ideals? Hope to see you all, automatically, on this Thursday… please go on back up and check out that link to the Subscription Special!]

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