Tag Archives: LEGAL SYSTEM

Trying to Understand The US Constitution

I doubt most Americans have read the Constitution and of those who have, they are unaware of what lay beyond the brief and mostly skeletal document. This article from NPR was written to try to provide some of the thinking that went into the document and maybe clear up some of the misconceptions that surround it. In my view, this, or something like it should be required reading for citizenship.


What is the president actually allowed to do under the U.S. Constitution?

It’s a question that’s come up from time to time at NPR, and when it does, we’ve turned to experts such as Kim Wehle, now a law professor and CBS News legal commentator. Now, she’s written a book about it. It’s called How to Read the Constitution — and Why.

Wehle says that all the debates around the constitutionality of various Trump administration policies inspired her to write the book. She says she originally had a contract to write a book for an academic audience but found herself writing for laypeople.

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I Don’t Need a Mueller Report, I Have a TV

When news of the Mueller report being released came out on Friday there was great speculation about what it will tell. Many people are disappointed that it wasn’t accompanied by further indictments. Bill Maher made the remark that he wasn’t concerned about what the report doesn’t reveal, he has a TV set. Well, so do I.

By paying close attention to over two years of investigative broadcast and written journalism we all know, whether we’re willing to accept it, what Meuller found out. We all know that his investigation into Trump and his people produced thirty-seven indictments and every single one of them in some way involves a Russian. We know Trump’s closest friends and associates have either been in jail, are in jail, or will be going to jail. We know that others are awaiting sentencing, a couple are still providing information for ongoing investigations and another has taken the fifth to avoid admitting to complicity, We also know that a major contributor is being protected in the embassy of a South American nation.

I also know that every part of Trump world remains under investigation by state and federal agencies, His charity has been forced to close due to fraudulent practices, he inherited over $400 million from his father that is likey rift with tax problems that will attract the attention of the IRS and state tax agencies. I know that several Democratically controlled US House committees are digging deep into his most private life. I know that his daughter and son in law are subjets of improperly receiving intelligence clearances and communicating government business via unimproved methods.

I know that his continued involvement in his businesses is being attacked as violations of the emolument clause of the US Constitution and that Trump has been sued by at least two states for such infractions. And, I know that he remains listed as an unindicted co-conspirator in a campaign violation case.

Furthermore, I know that Trump has little to no respect for the rule of law. That he has no regard for separation of powers and believes the rest of government exists to serve his purposes. I know that every time he utters a lie or distortion of truth fact checkers at the Washington Post make note of it and thus far he has lied to the American people approaching 10,000 times since taking office on January 20, 2017.

As of this afternoon, Sunday, March 24, 2019, I know that Attorney General Barr’s report to Congress appears to exonerate Trump from working with the Russians to manipulate the 2016 election but that the question of whether he worked to obstruct the Meuller investigation remains an open question.

From my TV, and my Google Machine, I know all of this and much more. Unfortunately, I know that all of this is far from over and that Trump and his loyalists will engage America in a never-ending civil war of rants and tweets trying to win their claim that it has all been a fake news witch hunt sponsored by some nefarious group called the deep state.

Most unfortunate is that I know those who have wet their whistle from the cup of Trump Kool-Aid will never accept the evidence uncovered by that army of dedicated legitimate investigative journalists who seek the truth, regardless of who their spotlights sign on.

Riker’s Island v. Roger Stone – Not so Equal!

I was listening to a conversation about justice in America. It was mentioned that Roger Stone, given his wealth and connections, walked into his arraignment and walked out a free man awaiting trial. His bail of $250,000 was set, he reached in his pocket, paid it, and walked out the door.

Riker’s Island is a jail that sits on an island in NY’s East River. It is not a prison, it is a facility where those charged, like Stone, are sent if they are unable to meet their bail. It can hold 15,000 inmates and is the 2nd largest jail/prison in America. Most of those in Riker’s have not been tried but are awaiting trial. They could be locked up for months and in the meantime, unlike Stone, end up with their jobs gone, their cars repossessed, their family’s destitute, children put in foster care, etc. They will probably suffer complete financial collapse even before their guilt or innocence is determined.

Continue reading Riker’s Island v. Roger Stone – Not so Equal!

Justice Isn’t Blind, It Just Wears Blinders!

Back in the 1960s, there was a local farmer that got caught up in a check-kiting scheme. Before it was all over he had been charged with multiple felonies, several bank officials had their careers ruined, several banks either failed or came close and the farmer that started it all, to my knowledge never spent a day in jail.

That the farmer had got off scot-free the same newspaper published a below the centerfold story about a poor white woman who had written an insufficient check for a few dollars and had been sentenced to a lengthy jail term.

Continue reading Justice Isn’t Blind, It Just Wears Blinders!

Patterson v. Board of Education of Greenfield, 1886

I originally published this as part of Black History Month in February 2009. I’ve since forgotten the source but thought it interesting enough to reprise for the 2019 event. While many may know of the Patterson family’s association with early transportation they may not be aware of their helping to change the laws regarding education in Ohio.


State of Ohio on relation of C. R. Patterson vs. The Board of Education of the Incorporated Village of Greenfield, Ohio, and W. G. Moler as Superintendent

Much has been written about the Patterson family and their work in the carriage and automobile business. Here is little-known information about the Pattersons. It shows the importance that C. R. placed on education and how Frederick came to be the businessman that he was.

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Is Muller Taking Too Much Time?

A couple of days ago I was in a discussion with a person who contended that the Muller special investigation should be ended because it hasn’t resulted in any evidence of wrongdoing. This claimed, in spite of a couple dozen indictments and several guilty pleas.

The Muller investigation began on May 17, 2017, so it is not yet two-years-old. How does that compare to other special prosecutor investigations? I did a little Googling and came up with the following:

  • The Samuel Pierce influence peddling during the first Bush presidency took almost 8 1/2 years.
  • The Whitewater Investigation during the Clinton administration took about 7 years.
  • The Henry Cisnero perjury investigation of the Clinton era went on for 9 years.
  • It took 3 years to conclude the Valerie Plame investigation during the G.W.B. years.

So, in light of these (and there are more), Muller is advancing relatively fast. The claim that there’s no evidence of wrongdoing is bogus. Given the number of indictments and guilty pleas, plus Muller’s ability to contain leaks simply means none of us really knows what evidence exists. We can make no judgments until the prosecutor says he’s finished and issues his report.

To think otherwise is simply to admit you’re accepting the word of paid mouthpieces like Rudi Guiliani.

Calling All Moderates

I was thinking about the retirement of Associate Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy and what effect it could have on America’s future. Even though Kennedy was a conservative he often acted as the swing vote in a Court of four liberals and four conservatives. If Trump appoints a conservative the Court would five-four conservative and America’s resent could revert to America’s past along with its future being very uncertain.

A five-four Court could put the hopes of continued social and economic equality on hold for a generation, or more. So, the question is, how can a minority of Democrats in the US Senate protect a balance on the Court. The only viable answer is for the Senate to find the courage to only confirm a moderate or centrist nominee.

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American justice isn’t blind, but it can be visually impaired.

On last night’s news there was a story about a convicted felon, a black woman, who mistakenly thought she was permitted to vote in last year’s election. She found out later that Texas felons lose their right to vote and she had unwittingly broken a law. This past week a Texas court sentenced her to five years in prison. As a follow-up NBC cited several examples in which the felon was a man and got off with probation and/or a small fine.

This story reminded me of something that took place around Greenfield back in the 1960s. I was living in California at the time so I only knew what was in the local papers my parents sent me on occasion.  It’s also been so long ago I don’t remember all the details.

That said, the story basically involved an area farmer who got involved in a check kiting scheme and before it was over the total dollar amount exceeded a million dollars and several area bank officials got more than a knuckle cracking.

When it was finally settled my parents sent me the local paper and the lead story stated that the farmer ended up walking out the door a free man. The irony was, immediately following this story was a short story about a local woman who was found guilty of writing a bad check and she sentenced to jail.

These are just a couple more examples of American justice not being totally blind. Too often justice turns its blind eye away from women and minorities.

Stinking Turds & Being Guilty

Midnight Express was a powerful film released in 1978. The story was about an American being arrested in Turkey where the onus was on him to prove his innocence. The exposure of the Turkish legal and prison systems was so great it almost destroyed that nation’s tourist industry.

Most Americans strongly support the idea that the burden of proof lies with the government. That a person is innocent until proven guilty. Turkey is one of several nations where the opposite exists.

While I’ve always supported this basic premise I may be changing. Frequently TV cops and lawyers justify incarcerating someone by arguing,  “well they may not have done this crime but they’ve done enough other things.” I so believe that Donald J. Trump and members of his family are so guilty of plural crimes I find myself increasingly willing to turn away from this innocent crap. There seems to be so many stinking turds in the Trump closets that somehow one had to be placed there by someone named Trump.

To paraphrase a familiar phrase, “Lock ’em Up!”

In Defense of the Courts

Martha Minow, left, and Robert Post, right.

Came across this must read today and just felt I had to share it. The deans of Harvard and Yale law schools put their heads together and wrote an editorial in opposition to Trump’s anti-democratic attacks on the judicial branch. The following appeared February 13, 1017 on Law.Com.

“The deans of Yale Law School and Harvard Law School have joined the growing chorus of lawyers publicly condemning President Donald Trump’s attacks on the judiciary.

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Let the Muckrakers Do Their Job

I’m sure there are others but the Washington Post and Newsweek Magazine have been seriously digging into Donald Trump’s financial activities. In a major story Newsweek detailed Trump’s international business dealings and pointed out the tremendous risk of conflicts of interest if Trump were to win the White House.

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Newsweek’s Kurt Eichenwald’s story regarding Trump’s potential for conflict of interest as president.

Just this morning Newsweek’s featured article is an exposé of Trump’s highly illegal business involvement with Cuba in 1998. At that time it would have been illegal for any American to invest a single penny in the Cuban economy but one of Trump’s companies, with his knowledge, spent almost $70,000 trying to win influence in Castro’s islands and then hired a company to show them how to hide the illegal activity as a charitable donation.

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Newsweek’s Kurt Eichenwald’s story regarding Trump’s illegal activities in Castro’s Cuba.

The Washington Post has published several stories about how Trump’s foundation is used to channel monies from individuals and corporations that owe Trump, into his foundation. Such donations would actually represent income to Trump and therefore subject to income tax. Trump has not claimed it as income and thereby risk charges of tax evasion or fraud.

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Shes coming to take your guns away

On many occasions Donald Trump has fired up his crowd with claims that Hillary Clinton hates the 2nd Amendment is if elected is going to absolve the right to bear arms. On at least two occasions Trump has overtly suggested that “2nd Amendment people” may need to resort to violence to protect their rights.

I’ve followed the 2016 presidential race since it began and more closely as it enters the final weeks. No place have I heard Clinton or the Democratic Party issue a policy that threatens the private ownership of firearms. Clinton does have a gun policy and it would limit the ownership of certain types of weapons and it would close a couple of huge loop holes in our gun ownership laws.

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Observing Unconstitution Week

This is Constitution Week in America. We are “a nation of laws” and it is the US Constitution that makes us such. One of the great divides in America is over what the Constitution requires of the government and we the people. The historical division has been between strict and liberal construction. It’s like the Bible, is every word to be taken literally or are many things parables that set a general course of behavior?

Strict constructionists believe that if abortion isn’t mentioned in the original words it is then something the federal government has no control over. The 10th Amendment therefore gives the power over abortion to each state to decide for itself. Liberal constructionists believe the original work sets a basic framework that is meant to be flexible as time evolves. You see this in the 2nd Amendment fight over arms. The stricts believe they have a right to own any and all firearms while the liberals believe the authors of the Constitution would never have authorized the civilian ownership of today’s military style weapons.

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Celebrate & Protect Our Freedoms!

colin kaepernickI was going to stay out of the debate involving the San Francisco quarterback’s refusal to stand during the playing of the National Anthem. But then too many Americans opened up with the overly worn crap about “love it or leave it” and not being able to resist, into the fray comes running the Constitutionally ignorant Donald J. Trump.

As much as to anyone, I’m aiming this at my fellow veterans of the US military. Think back to that moment when you raised your hand and said these words:

“I, _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.”

At the time you first said these words you may have been too young to fully comprehend what you were avowing to do. But give it some hard thought. You took an oath to uphold the law of the land, the Constitution. To be fair, your promise legally ended on the date of your discharge. But for me, it never did end, all these years later I still feel as honor bound to support and defend the Constitution as I did as a seventeen year old.

Continue reading Celebrate & Protect Our Freedoms!