Category Archives: James I

FROM BOSTON (where the American Revolution Began) A THREAT AND A WARNING—“WHAT CHANCE WOULD HIS [TRUMP’S] OUTSIDER MOVEMENT REALLY HAVE AGAINST THE FULL RESOURCES OF THE US GOVERNMENT? Demands for Reform will be met with Tanks in the Street, eh?

Trump could win — but not necessarily the White House (Evan Horowitz, Boston Globe, October 21, 2016)

One widening fear is that Trump simply won’t accept defeat, instead doubling down on his talk of a “rigged election,” leading to an uprising against the established political order. But there’s an obvious problem with this approach: It doesn’t lead to victory. What chance would his outsider movement really have against the full resources of the US government? And where’s the money in it?

https://www.bostonglobe.com/news/politics/2016/10/21/donald-trump-going-win/W9OJE03yH9FiB9fD5QMKxN/story.html

WHAT CHANCE WOULD HIS OUTSIDER MOVEMENT REALLY HAVE AGAINST THE FULL RESOURCES OF THE US GOVERNMENT?  This sounds like a threat against the people of the United States, to me: QUESTION OUR AUTHORITY, CHALLENGE THE LEGITIMACY OF OUR ELECTIONS, AND YOU WILL DIE…. am I right?  Ever so quietly, Mr. Horowitz is telling the American people: if you dare to question HILLARY’S authority, or the legitimacy of HILLARY’S election—then the government of the United States will bring out its tanks and run over you in the streets, right?  Just like Tienamen Square…. NOT so very long ago….like 27 years?

This was a followup to Horowitz’ curiously dated “October 17, 2016” article entitled:

“When you call the Election Rigged, Everyone Loses”

discussing Donald Trump’s comments during the Third Debate, which took place on “October 19, 2016” in which Trump refused to accept, in advance, the results of an election that hadn’t happened yet:

https://www.bostonglobe.com/news/politics/2016/10/17/when-you-call-election-rigged-everyone-loses/CxbmV9qmQCIGxNANlhM20J/story.html

I have to say, I just couldn’t disagree more!  When a major political candidate finally acknowledges, in 2016, that there is a possibility that the elections have been “rigged” or at the very least DRAMATICALLY manipulated, he is simply stating a completely obvious and widely known fact.

We need to eschew all convenient lies and accept what Al Gore might call certain “Inconvenient Truths”—elections in America since 2000 have been questionable when seen in the best possible light, but more likely constitute outrageous “continental and oceanic” frauds against the people from coast to coast.

The Boston Globe never (in recent memory) met a Socialist it didn’t like… but it is still disheartening to think that the City of the Sons of Liberty has sunk this low.  This is, quite simply, the diametric opposite of the Spirit of ’76 in Eighteenth Century Boston (and Virginia) which led to the American Revolution, when Patrick Henry famously intoned from the pulpit of St. John’s Church in Richmond:

Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death!

A very dear old friend wrote back to me, after I announced that Trump’s position against acceptance had finally convinced me to vote for him, after many months of vacillation and hesitation:

OMG!  Maybe that should be WTF. This is what you got from the last debate?! How utterly depressing.  .  .   .   .   .  If you honestly think this clown would be safe in world politics, I fear for your sanity. I can’t begin to express what a disaster I think he would be as President, except to say that in a million years, I would never have believed I would find myself voting for Hillary, but he made it a necessity. Just one more thing to despise this bloviated windbag and egomaniacal twit!

I don’t necessarily deny that there are clownish and twitty things about Trump, but if he truly stands outside the current governmental-elite system, then he is worth his weight in god: I just couldn’t believe that he really was until October 19, 2016.

And, does being a Clown or a Twit really disqualify anyone from office?  I rather think history is against that.

Trump is often compared to Hitler in exactly this way, and the notion of Hitler as a clown is as old as the Three Stooges’ early production called “Nasty Spy” and Charlie Chaplin’s brilliant “The Great Dictator”—-not to mention later “Springtime for Hitler” and “The Producers”….or a thousand shorter skits involving Monty Python or other British Comedians.

Caricature and ridicule are very socially interesting and ritually powerful, as our dear old professor Dr. Victoria Reifler Bricker hath taught us to say, and understand.

The role of Royal Court Jesters in Royal Courts and the interplay between Kings and Court Jesters is likewise well-known and documented anthropologically and historically everywhere. The Maya God K— whether called Tezcatlipoca or Kakupacal, is iconographically represented as “The Jester God” and he is in fact the chief Deity of Mesoamerican Kings and Rulers, from the ancient Ahauwob of the Peten to the Huey Tlatoani of Tenochtitlan. Does that make them undignified or less royal, or does it inform us of the nature of nobility and royalty? What does it tell us that the words “Sac” or “Iztac” refer to things mythical and imaginary, and otherworldly and royal?

Hitler was obviously an actor who rehearsed a role. So was Ronald Reagan. Recently republished photographs from he 1920s show that Hitler learned his oratorical style and practiced it privately in front of the Camera. Well??? Some of his poses, while learning, were definitely funny. Most actors have to practice before becoming capable of world class, memorable presentations… Many people criticize Trump because he is not an actor—the express and explicit criticism is “he does not know how to act in public” or “he does not know how to act like a President.”

Adolph Hitler did not know how to “Act like a Fuhrer” when he was a painter or a corporal in Kaiser Wilhelm’s Army. Who disputes that?

Every lawyer who appears in Court either “represents” or “acts on behalf of” another—and a lawyer’s acting is not metaphoric, but in fact had better be Oscar winning or else the lawyer loses…. Hillary is a lawyer and she knows how to “act” her role much better than Trump. We expect our rulers to be excellent actors. We accept that they should wear costumes and take positions (i.e. pose artificially) and effectively dance around their enemies.

Congress Assembled “Acts”, as do Courts of Law, and “Leaders” in Parliamentary Politics, so what is surprising that Ritual and Theatre are so intimately linked. “Tragedy” was originally the name for the rituals of Dionysus…. So was Hitler a Tragic Figure or a Comedian? He may have been some of both. Hitler, like Benito Mussolini, was born a common man, not an aristocrat like Franklin Delano Roosevelt or Winston Spencer Churchill, who was born at Blenheim Palace, home of the Dukes of Marlborough for three hundred years now.

What seems certain is that, whether you regard him as a clown or a tragedian, Hitler’s “acting” is so memorable that it made an indelible mark on the world, and that, out of the 20th Century, even if Stalin, Churchill, and Roosevelt are memories consigned to Marx’s old Midden Heap or Dustbin of History…. the name and role of Adolph Hitler may well be remembered with mystery, awe, and fear…. and that is what my old Harvard Linguistics Professor, the late Calvert Watkins, would call “imperishable fame”, or “the immortality of the Gods”….

I think what I really took away from the Third Debate on 19 October 2016 (which Evan Horowitz apparently knew all about on 17 October 2016? to write about it in the Boston Globe?) is that Trump may be enough of a clown to really ACT FOR or REPRESENT me (and 150,000,000-200,000,000 or so) other “traditional Americans” against the current global elite.

For those of us in that category (150,000,000 or so “Traditional Americans”), the past eight years have truly been an abomination marking the final crystallization of life into the future predicted by  Huxley’s Brave New World and Orwell’s 1984.

Clowns stand, throughout the symbolism and iconography of the world, for established orders TURNED UPSIDE DOWN—and THAT is exactly what we need in America today—the Bush-Clinton-Obama Oligarchy MUST be stood on its head and shaken, the course of history must be reversed, and maybe this  possibly over-sexed Orange-haired clown is just the man to do what needs to be done….

State-Licensed Marriage is a CRIME AGAINST GOD, HUMANITY, and NATURE!

My Dear Friend Dr. Kathy Ann Garcia-Lawson of Palm Beach Continues her Crusade against the forces of Secular Humanism as they fight against Constitutional Freedom, Liberty and Individual Integrity and Autonomy.  04-16-2012 KAGL Edited Motion to Stay Proceedings Pending Determination back in 15th Judicial Circuit Court.  We a complete reversal in the Florida Fourth District Court of Appeals!  Kathy Ann Garcia-Lawson’s divorce decree was vacated and nullified (on February 15, 2012) as having been entered in the Complete Absence of Jurisdiction, by Judge Richard L. Oftedal (now off the case).  The 4th DCA returned its mandate to the Florida Circuit Court in North Palm Beach County on Friday 13 April, and so here we are, back in the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit Court in and for Palm Beach County.  Hurray, Kathy! 

Notice of Respondent’s Constitutional Objections to Personal Jurisdiction,

Motion for Leave to Amend Answer & Counterclaim,

Motion for Scheduling Order and New Trial, and

MOTION TO STAY PROCEEDINGS PENDING DETERMINATION OF CONSTITUTIONAL JURISDICTION

COMES NOW the Respondent Kathy Ann Garcia-Lawson, pro se, giving notice of her constitutional objections to the exercise of personal and subject matter jurisdiction over her by and under the Family and Domestic Relations Code and Courts of Florida. The fundamental question which Respondent submits is this:

Where there is no express constitutional authorization, how can there be any legitimate constitutional exercise of control over any subject matter or personal question defined as a matter of fundamental right, such as marriage, privacy, and child-rearing? If neither the constitutions of the United States of America nor the State of Florida authorize the licensing or dissolution of marriages, nor to regulate domestic relations in any way except with regard to public safety, how can the State of Florida erect and maintain courts to adjudicate cases relating to such matters?

The Fourth District Court of Appeal for the State of Florida has expressly decided in its order of February 15, 2012, that the Judge Richard L. Oftedal had no power whatsoever to enter a final judgment on April 29, 2010 for the dissolution of marriage.  In other words, the Fourth District Court found that Judge Richard L. Oftedal acted in the complete absence of jurisdiction in entering that “Final Decree of Dissolution” dated April 29, 2010, and that his actions were a nullity.  Implicitly, Judge Oftedal must also have acted unlawfully when he refused to set aside his April 29, 2010, order upon Kathy Ann Garcia-Lawson’s post-trial Motion.  As the Fourth DCA correctly noted, Respondent Kathy Ann Garcia-Lawson had not one, but two appeals of non-final orders filed (pursuant to the Florida Rules of Appellate Procedure, 9.130).

The two interlocutory appeals both concerned constitutional challenges to the Florida Family Code and Florida Domestic Relations jurisdiction. Since the Fourth DCA denied Respondent’s motion for clarification or rehearing on these subjects, the appellate justices essentially declined to decide and/or found it unnecessary or improper to reach these issues, since they had already reversed and vacated Judge Oftedal’s final judgment in full in Respondent’s favor[1].

Kathy Ann Garcia-Lawson now returns to this Circuit Court and asks for leave to amend her pleadings, and for a new scheduling order, a new opportunity to conduct discovery (which she never did) and for a New Trial in this Court to find and/or determine, after sufficient hearing and inquiry into the underlying facts and law of the case all of the Constitutional Issues which Kathy Ann Garcia-Lawon has sought to bring to bear in this case, as a matter of law.

The essential point is that neither the United States Constitution nor the Constitution of the State of Florida authorize the State to Issue Marriage Licenses or to impose jurisdiction by statute to resolve cases or controversies involving or arising from private domestic relations or religious questions of any kind (so long as no breaches of the public safety or peace are involved or implicated).

Kathy Ann Garcia-Lawson now demands that, in the interests of judicial economy, this Court rule (after seven long years of waiting) how the Florida Florida Family Code (in particular as dealing with dissolution, division of property, and child custody) derives any legitimate power or constitutional authority in light of Article I: §§1, 2, 3, 5, 9, 10, 12, 21, 22, 23, 27, including but not limited to Basic Rights, Religious Freedom and Non-impairment of contract provisions of Article I: §§3 & 10 (including the proposed amendment of Article I: §3 submitted to the people for popular mandate on the ballot this November 2012) of the Florida Constitution, as well as the First, Fifth, Ninth and Tenth Amendments to the United States Constitution, as a whole, and her rights to Due Process of Law (Art. I: §9), Trial-by-Jury (Art. I: §22), and protection from wrongful intrusion into her privacy (Art. I: §23) by the Courts as a precondition of preserving those rights in dissolution proceedings.

The only mentions of “marriage” in the entire constitution of Florida appear in the recently adopted negative definition in I: §27 and in Article X, §5.  Neither section neither authorizes nor implies state authority to license marriage.  Article I, §27 mandates that Florida will respect only heterosexual unions as marriages as a matter of law, for whatever legitimate purposes there might be in so doing.  Article X, §5 likewise makes no reference to state regulation of marriage, but addresses (somewhat mysteriously, and perhaps redundantly with Article I, §2 above) another issue of “respect” under law:

There shall be no distinction between married women and married men in the holding, control, disposition, or encumbering of their property, both real and personal; except that dower or curtesy may be established and regulated by law.

Accordingly, Kathy Ann Garcia-Lawson now asks this Court finally to rule, resolve, and clarify, upon new trial after amendments, discovery, and full-briefing herein requested to resolve Kathy Ann Garcia-Lawson’s constitutional questions and affirm her challenges both to this court’s exercise of personal and subject matter jurisdiction.

Kathy Ann Garcia-Lawson is the respondent to the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage brought by her husband, Jeffrey P. Lawson, originally in February of 2005.

Contending from the beginning that there was a defect in the subject matter jurisdiction of this Court, Kathy Ann Garcia-Lawson has never consented to the jurisdiction of this Court.  It is a time honored principle in this state, affirmed steadily by our Supreme Court since at least Lovett v. Lovett, 93 Fla. 611, 112 So. 768 (Florida March 29, 1927) that any:

Party proceeding without objection with hearing in equity court of controversy, jurisdiction of which may be given by consent, may not thereafter complain as to jurisdiction.

            But the record will show that Kathy Ann Garcia-Lawson has continually objected to the jurisdiction of this Court and never waived her rights to challenge the personal or subject matter jurisdiction of any Florida Court to adjudicate any aspect of her marriage, her domestic relationship with her husband, or her domestic relationship with their daughter, or to dispose of any of their property except that her husband or the Court show positive constitutional authority to do so, and not merely acquiescence by silence as to this point of most sacred and fundamental rights.

Nor has Kathy Ann Garcia-Lawson ever been afforded the right to amend her pleadings in accordance with her constitutional objections and challenges to the personal and subject matter jurisdiction of this Court.  Accordingly, Respondent here and now further requests that this Court acknowledge, affirm, and enforce her right under Article I, §§1, 2, 3, but especially §5 (Right to Instruct Representatives and to Petition for Redress of Grievances), §9 (Due Process of Law) and §21 (the “Open Courts” provision) of the Florida Constitution to amend her pleadings, conduct discovery (Art. I, §24), file pre-trial (and, unlike under Judge Oftedal, have a full and fair hearing on all) motions (including but not limited to Constitutional questions of both substance and procedure[2]), and otherwise to prepare try her constitutional and jurisdictional challenges related to the current Florida Statutory Scheme for the Dissolution of Marriage.  Kathy Ann Garcia-Lawson submits that seven years is too long already, and that she should no longer have to wait to challenge and deny the power of the State of Florida so to intrude upon her fundamental rights as to design and enforce upon her a Family Law Jurisdiction and application of judicial process without consent to deny her (1) right to petition, (2) right to privately contract, (3) right to due process of law, (4) right to a trial-by-jury, (5) rights and powers reserved to her as one of the American people under the Ninth and Tenth Amendments to the United States Constitution.

Kathy Ann Garcia-Lawson has already collected statistical and documentary evidence which she would have plead and presented by and through expert witnesses and testimony (long ago) to the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit, had she been allowed to do so by Judge Richard L. Oftedal, which shows that Florida Courts automatically grant 100% petitions for divorce without regard to any principal or standard other than that to allege that a marriage is irretrievably broken is taken as sufficient proof of the same as a matter of both fact and law.  Kathy Ann Garcia-Lawson would also have argued that such a system was enacted by the Florida Legislature without legitimate or even colorable constitutional authority, then enforced by the State Judges and “officers of the Court,” and applied to her in defiance of all constitutional and statutory law, and in violation of her rights guaranteed under the Federal and Florida Constitutions to rights to due process, equal protection, and freedom from both state impairment of the obligations of contract and takings of liberty and process in violation of the First, Fifth, Seventh, Ninth, and Fourteenth Amendments.


[1]           Kathy Ann Garcia-Lawson abandoned these two interlocutory appeals once Judge Oftedal entered his final judgment on April 29, 2010, but the issues were not waived firstly because by operation of law the issues raised by the interlocutory merged, and secondly because these issues were fully briefed, as part of Kathy Ann-Garcia-Lawson’s Initial Appellate Brief, of which the Florida Fourth D.C.A. reached only the 9.130 jurisdictional issue and refused, even on her March 1, 2012, motion for clarification or re-argument, to address, decide, or resolve in any manner.

[2]           This Court should be aware that Judge Oftedal, on the record, refused to hear or rule upon any constitutional issues in his court, which is surely a denial of Kathy Ann Garcia’s rights under both the State and Federal Constitutions of Florida and the United States.

In the full version of this Motion, attached above, Kathy quotes in her conclusion of Chief Justice John Marshall’s stirring words in Cohens v. Virginia (March 3, 1821):

The judiciary cannot, as the legislature may, avoid a measure because it approaches the confines of the constitution. We cannot pass it by because it is doubtful. With whatever doubts, with whatever difficulties, a case may be attended, we must decide it, if it be brought before us. We have no more right to decline the exercise of jurisdiction which is given, than to usurp that which is not given. The one or the other would be treason to the constitution. Questions may occur which we would gladly avoid; but we cannot avoid them. All we can do is, to exercise our best judgment, and conscientiously to perform our duty.

The Full text of Cohens v. Virginia is attached here: Cohens v State of Virginia 19 US 284 5 LEd 257 6 Wheat 264 Chief Justice Marshall March 3 1821

For the Second Sunday in Easter, Ponder the Words of the Former Archbishop of Canterbury

‘Vilified’ Christians ‘fear arrest’ in the United Kingdom—where is the Queen, still the Fidei Defensor?

Press AssociationRELATED CONTENT

  • Lord Carey said Christians were excluded from many sectors of employment because of their beliefsView Photo

    Lord Carey said Christians were excluded from many sectors of employment because of their beliefs

Christians are being “persecuted” and “driven underground” while the courts fail to protect their religious values, a former Archbishop of Canterbury has claimed.

Lord Carey said Christians were excluded from many sectors of employment because of their beliefs, “vilified by state bodies” and feared arrest for expressing their views.

The former archbishop’s claims are part of a written submission to the European Court of Human Rights, seen by the Daily Telegraph, ahead of a landmark case on religious freedom.

The hearing will deal with the case of two workers forced out of their jobs after visibly wearing crosses, the case of a Relate therapist sacked for saying he may not be comfortable giving sex counselling to homosexual couples, and a Christian registrar who wishes not to conduct civil partnership ceremonies.

In the submission, Lord Carey said the outward expression of traditional conservative Christian values has effectively been “banned” under a new “secular conformity of belief and conduct”.

The former archbishop argued that in “case after case” British courts have failed to protect Christian values and urged European judges to correct the balance. He said there was a “drive to remove Judeo-Christian values from the public square” and argued UK courts have “consistently applied equality law to discriminate against Christians” as they show a “crude” misunderstanding of the faith by treating some worshippers as “bigots”.

In his submission, Lord Carey, who was archbishop from 1991 to 2002, wrote: “In a country where Christians can be sacked for manifesting their faith, are vilified by state bodies, are in fear of reprisal or even arrest for expressing their views on sexual ethics, something is very wrong. It affects the moral and ethical compass of the United Kingdom. Christians are excluded from many sectors of employment simply because of their beliefs; beliefs which are not contrary to the public good.”

He added: “It is now Christians who are persecuted; often sought out and framed by homosexual activists. Christians are driven underground. There appears to be a clear animus to the Christian faith and to Judaeo-Christian values. Clearly the courts of the United Kingdom need guidance.”

He argued British judges have used a strict reading of the equality law to strip the legal right to freedom of religion of “any substantive effect.”

Keith Porteous-Wood, executive director of the National Secular Society, told the Telegraph: “The idea that there is any kind of suppression of religion in Britain is ridiculous. Even in the European Court of Human Rights, the right to religious freedom is not absolute – it is not a licence to trample on the rights of others. That seems to be what Lord Carey wants to do.”

I say, for my part: God Save the Queen and May She Yet Live to Appoint Nick Griffin as Prime Minister someday of a BNP Led Government to restore the national values of Winston Churchill! (She wouldn’t have him to tea as I recall, but I presume that would change if he were elected—we’ll see how Marine Le Pen does in France—that will be a key test!  I mean, I like Nick and the BNP just fine, but I’d rather have Marine ANY DAY as my President…. if only there were anybody like her AT ALL in the USA….)

Curbing (Abolishing) Official Immunity for Federal and State Officers: Executive, Judicial, and Legislative, following where Senators Sam Ervin & Strom Thurmond of North & South Carolina led the way

The “law” of absolute judicial immunity not only cannot be found in the Constitution nor in any statute, but in fact offends the Constitution and common sense, when articulated as follows:

     Judges enjoy absolute immunity from liability for damages for acts performed in their judicial capacities.  Immunity exists for “judicial” actions; those relating to a function normally performed by a judge and where the parties understood they were dealing with the judge in his official capacity. 
      The policy behind this principle is that judges must be free to act in a manner they view proper without fear of subsequent personal liability.  This rule is deemed essential to preserve judicial independence.  
       A judge’s errors may be corrected on appeal, but he should not have to fear that dissatisfied litigants may hound him with litigation charging malice or corruption. Imposing such a burden on judges would contribute not to principled and fearless decision-making but to intimidation.
      The immunity afforded judges is quite broad and applies to all acts performed in the exercise of judicial functions. Judges are immune from liability even for corrupt or malicious acts. Liability exists only where a judge acted in the “clear absence” of all jurisdiction or performed an administrative task not embraced within the judge’s judicial duties.
Olney v. Sacramento Bar Association, 212 Cal.App.3d 807, 260 Cal.Rptr. 842 (July 28, 1989)(citations omitted).

Obviously, being a judge by these standards rights right up there with the Divine Right of Kings or even divinity itself!  Nice work if you can get it, I guess, but can we tolerate such immunity for judges, prosecutors, and even (effectively) for the police and other officers of executive and judicial function if we are to remain in any sense a free society?  “Jurisdiction” limits judicial power, as do doctrines of “judicial discretion”—but if immunity remains absolute, regardless, and only clumsy, indirect, highly technical, and cumbersome appellate remedies exist, do judges not in fact rise higher in the real power hierarchy of earth than all the gods of the Ancient Nile, Greek Olympus and Norse Valhalla combined, inferior only to the One Creator of the Universe, who for unknown reasons rarely intervenes directly in human affairs?

I oppose all sorts of official immunity: executive, legislative, and judicial, but I especially deplore and oppose absolute immunity for judges to take actions without jurisdiction which infringe upon or violate constitutional rights.  If elected to the United States Senate, I promise to fight vigorously to construe all civil rights laws to apply to judicial and prosecutorial misconduct, as well as to executive “police actions” and legislatively authorized derogations from the Bill of Rights and other fundamental constitutional protections.  I will work to strengthen and ensure the colorblind, race neutral, application and construction of 42 U.S.C. §§1983, 1985, 1986, and 1988, which the Courts currently only apply and construe in favor of African-Americans (and occasionally but atypically Hispanics or Asians) against Whites.   White Caucasian Americans must have equal rights to assert violations of their Civil Rights, even when the civil rights involve commercial,  contractual, or proprietary violations rather than race-based violations, but as I have often stated on this blog, I do contend that the judicial constructions of 28 U.S.C. §1443 and 42 U.S.C. §1981-1982 actually DO constitute race-based infringements upon the equal rights of White Caucasian Americans to invoke the provisions of these statutes in their own defense in cases of non-race-based discrimination and oppression under color of law.  But now on to the general concept of immunity, and the roles of Senators Sam Ervin and Strom Thurmond in fighting these concepts.

“POLITICAL PROCESS” labels the mechanism by which societies allocate decision-making authority.  “AUTHORITY” means “POWER”.  “POWER without CONSEQUENCES FOR ABUSE” defines “ABSOLUTE POWER”, and “ABSOLUTE POWER” equates (in societies possessing relatively well-developed judicial systems) with “ABSOLUTE IMMUNITY” from civil suit or criminal prosecution for official derogations, deviations, excessive use or application, infringement, or violations of any stated limits on power or action, especially when these result in the derogation, infringement, or violation of the rights or powers of others.   English Political language contains an ancient aphorism that “Absolute Power corrupts Absolutely.”  In my opinion, that aphorism needs to be expanded as a constitutional norm that “Absolute Immunity corrupts Absolutely.”  And the simple truth is that in modern America, both Federal and State Officers, Executive, Judicial, and Legislative, possess something very close to absolutely immunity for all crimes, torts, and violations of the constitution which they may choose to commit in their “official capacity.”  

This problem stands as a central focus of my life and career since at least 1995 when I first perceived that Family Court Judges in Texas possessed unreasonable power and discretion to infringe on the Constitutional rights of litigants in family court actions, and that the law itself, through such hopelessly vague concepts as the statutory power of Family Court Judges to rule “in the best interests of the child” when a marriage is “irretrievably broken” constituted a wild derogation from the constitutional norms of due process of law applicable in every other field.  “Best interests of the child”, and/or “irretrievably broken” as formally enacted statutory norms, constitute extreme legislative breaches and violation of constitutional rights to due process and equal protection, in my humble opinion.

On February 15, 2012, an opinion came down from a Florida District Court of Appeal which reversed a final decision rendered 19 days after my fiftieth birthday in 2010, on the grounds that “the circuit court did not have jurisdiction to render a final order disposing of the case.”  “A trial court lacks jurisdiciton to render a final order while an appeal from a non-final order in the same case is pending and, if the trial court does so, the final order is a nullity.”  “A trial court may proceed in a cause pending a non-final appeal and dispose of any matter not in form or effect interfering with the power and authority of the appellate court to make its jurisdiction effective, but the trial court may do so only short of final disposition.”  “This may all sound like legal gobbledegook to some…but jurisdiction is not a question a court can take or leave, and a judgment entered without jurisdiction is void.”  Many other aspects of this case offer promise and possess extreme interest to all who care deeply about the Constitution as a guiding light for the life of the United States of America, but those aspects must await the briefing of a Motion for Rehearing and, eventually, remand to the Circuit Court from whence this particular appeal arose.

In citing and quoting this very recent decision of an intermediate appellate court in Florida, I mean only to ask the question: should a judge so described by his immediate court of appeals not be held personally liable for acting in the complete absence of jurisdiction?  If his actions caused harm, why should any immunity at all attach to “judicial conduct” undertaken without jurisdiction, since “jurisdiction is not a question a court can take or leave, and a judgment entered without jurisdiction is void.”  

Only the bravest and most eccentric and idiosyncratic of all recent politicians have ever dared to confront the question of immunity head on.  Among these are Sam Ervin and Strom Thurmond.

The Senatorial career of North Carolina Senator Sam Ervin began and ended with questions of legislative and executive immunity, respectively, which rocked the nation between 1954 and 1974, respectively, namely the investigations into the conduct of Wisconsin Senator Joseph Raymond McCarthy (1908-1957) and President Richard Milhous Nixon (1913-1994).  

Ervin’s 1954 role in leading to the censure of Senator McCarthy for making irresponsible allegations constitutes a curious (and effectively unique) abrogation of or exception to the most basic and fundamental concepts of “legislative immunity” in that McCarthy’s conduct which Ervin’s inquiry deemed “censurable” occurred almost entirely in the context of Senate Debate’s and proceedings, and consisted entirely of verbal conduct.  In that sense, McCarthy’s censure differed from all but one of the other nine censures rendered by the Senate in United States history, which mostly commonly have concerned non-debate related issues such as financial irregularities (Hiram Bingham 1929, Thomas J. Todd 1967, Herman Talmadge 1979, and David Durenberger 1990), physically fighting on the Senate Floor (Benjamin R. Tillman and John L. McLaurin 1902) and breaches of secrecy (Timothy Pickering 1811 and Benjamin Tappan 1844).  Of these eight, only Pickering’s conduct, a breach of secrecy during 1811, actually occurred on the Senate floor during Senate debates, and even so was only very vaguely comparable to the censure against McCarthy.  Senator Sam Ervin’s role in leading the censure of McCarthy is notable as the most severe censure ever for conduct almost clearly within the meaning of the Constitution’s Article I “debates” clause (protecting members of the U.S. House and Senate as “be[ing] privileged from Arrest during their attendance at the Session of their Respective Houses, and in going to and from the same; and for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other Place.”  In this connexion I consider Ervin’s role in prosecuting McCarthy historymaking: it shows (or at least suggests) that members of Congress must be held responsible for their role in obstructing or interfering with justice (and other constitutional rights) even while participating in senate proceedings.

As important and historical as Ervin’s early work with the investigation of Joseph McCarthy may have been), Ervin achieved immortality by his monumental and most memorable role on the world stage as Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Watergate, 1973-1974. Richard Milhous Nixon’s extremely ambiguous place in United States and World history began as a communist-baiter (in the House, largely contemporaneous with McCarthy’s in the Senate), but ended as a communist-appeaser (seeking “Detente” with the Soviet Union and beginning the “sellout” of America to Maoist China), whom the Senate (including Republicans such as Barry Goldwater) forced to resign because of a twisted and bizarre serial episode of abuses of Presidential power in connexion with the Watergate Scandal.  Senator Sam Ervin earned worldwide reverence as  advocate for the nation’s conscience while this writer was in High School in Hollywood, California.  Senator Sam Ervin’s final year in the Senate oversaw the collapse of the Nixon Presidency, in large part due to Sam Ervin’s commitment AGAINST Executive Privilege (as Nixon referred to his claim of immunity from prosecution or even inquiry regarding his domestic actions taken as President against American citizens in the name of National Security).  

As an aside, I pledge that if I should achieve election to the United States Senate—Senator Sam Ervin would serve as my role-model on almost every issue.  I would fight both legislative and executive immunity and simultaneously uphold the Bill of Rights against all legislative infractions including the “no knock” laws which Ervin fought, which have now become routine nationwide.  Ervin, like his South Carolina cohort Strom Thurmond, feared the advent of the Police State in America long before it became fashionable or even acceptable to do so among most of the Southern and Western U.S. Middle Class—who have a terrible habit of confusing and conflating their perfectly reasonable political opposition to cultural social change with a need for legal repression and suspension of the Constitution.   All constitutionalists must deplore such confusion and conflation, for without the Constitutional protections for our freedom, no hope remains for our traditional cultural or social norms whatsoever.

Now, ironically enough, everything that Nixon did (and covered up) during Watergate is now not only legal, in the aftermath of Federal “National Security” legislation passed in 1996-2011), but Nixon’s (and his White House staff’s) conduct and career of constitutional infringements and violations pales and seems of little consequence or importance compared with what President’s now have “statutory authority” to do.  The recent National Defense Authorization Act, in particular, provides legislative statutory authority for the president to order “indefinite detention” of “terrorists” which (as a pair of connected concepts subject to wildly abusive application) is exactly analogous to the vaguest provisions of family law mentioned above regarding judicial authority to rule and render in the “best interests of the child” whenever a marriage is “irretrievably broken.”

I have in any event focused on the career of North Carolina Senator Sam Ervin because he was one of my first “media heroes” and I first dreamed of studying and applying myself to the resuscitation of American Constitutional Law while watching him preside over the Watergate hearings.

Less known and less famous (and much less politically correct in the modern context) to celebrate is Senator Sam Ervin’s role as the co-author of the “Southern Manifesto” with Senators Strom Thurmond of South Carolina and Richard Russell of Georgia.   The “politically correct” way to look at this document requires calling it a reactionary racist response to Brown v. Board of Education and the subsequent orders of the Supreme Court of the United States requiring school desegregation.  But forced desegregation and integration caused social chaos, first in the South, and only slightly later in the North, causing murderous race-riots even in such “liberal” citadels as Boston, Massachusetts through the mid-1970s.   Just as I have often observed that Brazil never experienced anything approaching the level of racial hatred or tensions known in the United States, precisely because emancipation took place gradually and without force there in the Brazilian Empire (and in fact in every nation of the Americas EXCEPT first Haiti and then the United States), the use of force to accelerate the implementation of social change is almost always destructive.

The authors of the Southern Manifesto saw this destructive waive being unleashed by the Supreme Court in America, and they also perceived, correctly, that pitting black against white constituted a means of destabilizing society and increasing the power of the Federal government (in particular) over the people, and of accelerating the empowerment of the police state.  

The authors of the Southern Manifesto against forced school-integration rightly focused their criticisms on Chief Justice Earl Warren.  

As I like to point out, Earl Warren’s life-long commitment to civil rights manifested itself early on in his career as Attorney General and Governor of California when he supervised the hateful and purposeless, in fact counterproductive, internment of hundreds of thousands of (as the newsreels of the time and even early “Batman” movies recited over and over again) “shifty-eyed Japs”, the Second Generation or “Nisei” as they called themselves during World War II.  

In any event, Senators Sam Ervin and Strom Thurmond led the ultimately failing Southern Resistance against Earl Warren’s Court and what became, effectively, America’s Second “War Between the States”, although this time more ink spilled in the Courtrooms than blood on the streets.

For purposes of this present topic of immunity, I will end with my repeated hymn of praise to Senator Strom Thurmond for his crafty drafting of the 1996 Amendments to the Civil Rights Action, 42 U.S.C. §§1983, 1988(a).   The United States had handed down its most dramatic and emphatic “anti-Judicial Immunity” opinion in 1984, in the decision of Pulliam v. Allen, which has been my personal favorite Supreme Court decision for more than a quarter of a century now.  Pulliam v Allen 466 US 522 104 SCt 1970 80 LEd2d 565 (May 14 1984).  In 1996, Strom Thurmond proposed a relatively minor amendment to 42 U.S.C. §§1983 & 1988 to clarify the application of this provision to judicial officers.  Under Thurmond’s leadership, Congress amended the Civil Rights Statute to clarify that judges would only be liable for judicial actions taken “clearly in excess of jurisdiction” in the statute, and this language exactly tracks Justice Blackmun’s language in his opinion in Pulliam v. Allen (footnote 12) which reviews the tradition of limiting judicial immunity to matters “clearly within their cognizance” or “clearly within their jurisdiction”, in full (Blackmun here was in fact quoting Blackstone!).  Writing of the Judges of England, Blackstone in Volume 3 of his commentaries at pages 112-113 stated that if these Judges,

in handling of matters clearly within their cognizance, they transgress the bounds prescribed to them by the laws of England; as where they require two witnesses to prove the payment of a legacy, a release of tithes, or the like; in such cases also a prohibition will be awarded. For, as the fact of signing a release, or of actual payment, is not properly a spiritual question, but only allowed to be decided in those courts, because incident or accessory to some original question clearly within their jurisdiction; it ought therefore, where the two laws differ, to be decided not according to the spiritual, but the temporal law; else the same question might be determined different ways, according to the court in which the suit is depending: an impropriety, which no wise government can or ought to endure, and which is therefore a ground of prohibition. And if either the judge or the party shall proceed after such prohibition, an attachment may be had against them, to punish them for the contempt, at the discretion of the court that awarded it; and an action will lie against them, to repair the party injured in damages.

The Southern Manifesto co-authored by Sam Ervin & Strom Thurmond (and Richard Russell?) did not expressly cite Blackstone but began:

The unwarranted decision of the Supreme Court in the public school cases is now bearing the fruit always produced when men substitute naked power for established law.  The Founding Fathers gave us a Constitution of checks and balances because they realized the inescapable lesson of history that no man or group of men can be safely entrusted with unlimited power. They framed this Constitution with its provisions for change by amendment in order to secure the fundamentals of government against the dangers of temporary popular passion or the personal predilections of public officeholders.”

The consequences of this language include the assertion that public officeholders (including judges) must be liable for the consequences and injuries caused by their derogations from and violations of “established law.”  Just as in the recent Florida case decided above, where a judge enters a decision in violation of well-and-long established law relating to jurisdiction and scope of authority, that Judge renders nothing but a personal statement with personal consequences, for which that Judge should be personally liable.
I ask here: should any Judge enjoy immunity from prosecution for civil rights violations and/or suit for civil rights violations when that judge violates the letter of the Constitution, especially when a litigant points out that violation to the Court and no excuse (such as a Constitutionally declared war or surprise invasion) exists to suspend the Constitution temporarily…. and temporarily only… I have often had occasion to refer to 1996 USCCAN 4216-4217 which affirms that these amendments do not establish absolute immunity for judges.  I submit that Strom Thurmond authored the 1996 Amendments to the Civil Rights Action to ensure that Judges (like Chief Justice Earl Warren) could and would be held liable for their actions taken “clearly in excess of jurisdiction.”  Unfortunately, to date, neither the State nor Federal Courts have recognized the importance of these amendments, and continue to enforce Absolute Judicial Immunity.
The doctrine of “qualified immunity” also arose out of Watergate, particularly in the case of Mitchell v. Forsythe, 472 U.S. 511 (June 19, 1985) in which the Supreme Court limited former Attorney General John Mitchell to merely “qualified immunity” rather than “absolute immunity.”  Oddly enough, the standard the Supreme Court applied to the Attorney General of the United States involved a determination of what a “reasonable person” would know about the law (reasonably or unreasonably, most people in the United States today know almost nothing about the law, which explains why lawyers run amok and control the country).  Specifically, the Supreme Court held that the Attorney General of the United States would enjoy qualified immunity, “so long as his actions do not violate clearly established statutory or constitutional rights of which a reasonable person would have known.”
         Rather unsurprisingly, in practice, interlocutory appeal of any and every trial court determinations of qualified immunity plus a very pro-defense, anti-plaintiff judiciary means that even for prosecutors and police officers, “qualified immunity” is difficult to distinguish from “absolute immunity.” 

I know that my critics often accuse me of writing overly long-and-windy commentaries on my blog, and I suppose this will constitute one of my more offensive pieces.  I submit that the American public have become too used to short sound bytes and non-analytical thinking, and I hope I can encourage a more “in depth” and historically-based approach here.

Regarding legislative immunity, I recently discovered a very interesting and historically based article by a journalist name Chuck Murphy (Colorado Constitution and History of Legislative Immunity):

Murphy: Colorado’s legislative immunity rooted in 17th century England

Blame it on King Charles I.

He dissolved Parliament, made Oliver Cromwell famous and is as responsible as anyone for the get-out-of-jail-free card Rep. Laura Bradford of Mesa County used last week.

Bradford, R-Collbran, was pulled over Wednesday night on suspicion of driving while intoxicated after a Denver officer saw her make an improper lane change. But after failing a roadside sobriety test, Bradford mentioned that she was on her way home after a legislative function at a Colfax Avenue bar.

Those were the magic words.

Article V, Section 16 of the Colorado Constitution says:

“The members of the general assembly shall, in all cases except treason or felony, be privileged from arrest during their attendance at the sessions of their respective houses, or any committees thereof, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any speech or debate in either house, or any committees thereof, they shall not be questioned in any other place.”

That’s where Charles comes in.

By the time he took the crown in 1625, England had a robust Parliament and Charles was determined to put them in their place. He declared the divine right of the king to rule as he chose, and, after a series of confrontations, dissolved Parliament. Four years later, he did it again — and this time, he put much of the body’s leadership in prison. He was eventually defeated by Cromwell and lost his head — literally.

Say this for Brits — they have long memories.

It was 60 years later when Charles’ second son, James II (Dismal Jimmy), ascended to the throne. He wanted to impose Catholic rule on a deeply skeptical nation, and it did not go well. Within four years, he was deposed by his daughter Mary, and her husband, William of Orange. They are better known today as William and Mary.

Parliament had invited them to take over, but with certain conditions, partly based on the naughty behavior of Charles I. One of those was the 1688 Bill of Rights, which said in part:

“That the pretended power of suspending the laws or the execution of laws by regal authority without consent of Parliament is illegal;

“That the pretended power of dispensing with laws or the execution of laws by regal authority, as it hath been assumed and exercised of late, is illegal;”

And…

“That the freedom of speech and debates or proceedings in Parliament ought not to be impeached or questioned in any court or place out of Parliament.”

A couple hundred years went by before 1876, when Colorado was working on its latest version of a state constitution designed to get us admitted to the union. By then, we had the U.S. Constitution and the work of several other states to crib from, including an 1859 effort from Kansas:

“For any speech or debate in either house, the members shall not be questioned elsewhere. No member of the Legislature shall be subject to arrest — except for felony or breach of the peace — in going to or returning from the place of meeting, or during the continuance of the session; neither shall be he subject to the service of any civil process during the session, nor for fifteen days previous to its commencement.”

Look familiar? It all leaps right out of 17th-century England.

Now, say what you will about Gov. John Hickenlooper — he is impetuous, and he does on occasion show signs of a temper — but he is not about to lock up members of the legislature, not even the House, if he doesn’t get his way. I’m certain of it.

These immunity clauses exist in a majority of state constitutions today (legislators know a good thing when they see it). Arizona has discussed getting rid of theirs after their former Senate majority leader avoided arrest on a domestic-violence charge by invoking legislative immunity. His girlfriend was arrested while he went home, provoking well-placed outrage.

Legislators have no right to any protections not enjoyed by every other citizen, period, and most don’t avail themselves of this constitutional provision anyway. Even Bradford denies that she intended to avoid arrest by mentioning where she was coming from.

So who in Colorado’s legislature will take up the charge to rid our constitution of this anachronism? We amend the document all the time, with mixed results, but this seems like a no-brainer in an election year.

All it takes is a proposal to get it on the ballot. A majority of Coloradans just might go along.

Chuck Murphy: 303-954-1829, cmurphy@denverpost.comortwitter.com/cmurphydenpost

Read more:Murphy: Colorado’s legislative immunity rooted in 17th century England – The Denver Posthttp://www.denverpost.com/murphy/ci_19849376#ixzz1mpThOiJt
Read The Denver Post’s Terms of Use of its content: http://www.denverpost.com/termsofuse

I have Registered as a Candidate for United States Senator, running as a Constitutional Democratic-Republican against Dianne Feinstein, that pillar of the Establishment

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Myyyf3A5uEE&feature=related
I was playing this very inspiring video with JFK, MLK, Jr., and Ron Paul on my I-Pad to a small group in Room 2013 on the second floor of the the Los Angeles County Registrar’s Office for Candidate Registration today. Kennedy was at least nominally a Democrat, although it appears he may have been assassinated, at least in part, for opposing the Federal Reserve and in particular the plan to take silver out of circulation, and hence as a basis for the United States Dollar….which had been “silver” since at least the 1780s…. I was waiting while an even smaller group of unusually efficient bureaucrats processed the paperwork necessary to put my campaign “on-line.”

And so it was that on Friday, December 30, the last business day of 2011, I filed formal campaign papers to run for U.S. Senate against Dianne Feinstein. Many of California’s representatives in Congress are traitors, and should be removed, although I noted with some satisfaction that in the Los Angeles Basin proper, only the very oldest New World Order Advocate/Brave New Warrior Henry Arnold Waxman, voted for the National Defense Authorization Act of 2011…(Fiscal 2012, aka “Indefinite Detention without charges, due process of law, or habeas corpus). Nancy Pelosi, of course, voted with Waxman and the establishment, as did Adam Schiff and Howard Berman, but in the spirit of fairness, I think we owe at least the following 18 Democratic and 4 Republican Representatives on the California delegagtion credit for their courageous “no” votes:
No CA-1 Thompson, C. [D]
No CA-4 McClintock, Tom [R]
No CA-5 Matsui, Doris [D]
No CA-6 Woolsey, Lynn [D]
No CA-7 Miller, George [D]
No CA-9 Lee, Barbara [D]
No CA-12 Speier, Jackie [D]
No CA-13 Stark, Fortney [D]
No CA-14 Eshoo, Anna [D]
No CA-15 Honda, Michael [D]
No CA-16 Lofgren, Zoe [D]
No CA-17 Farr, Sam [D]
No CA-31 Becerra, Xavier [D]
No CA-32 Chu, Judy [D]
No CA-33 Bass, Karen [D]
No CA-34 Roybal-Allard, Lucille [D]
No CA-35 Waters, Maxine [D]
No CA-36 Hahn, Janice [D]
No CA-38 Napolitano, Grace [D]
No CA-40 Royce, Edward [R]
No CA-46 Rohrabacher, Dana [R]
No CA-48 Campbell, John [R]

http://www.govtrack.us/congress/vote.xpd?vote=h2011-932

I am grateful that the primary is non-partisan, because partisan labels “Democrat” and “Republican” now mean nothing except that third-party candidates are doomed. The “top two” selection process without a primary and runoff is ALSO unfairly stacked against the outside, but we shall see whether the number of ordinary Californians (in the tens of millions) can recognize their common grounds and identify with me. I call out to everyone who has been defrauded of their vested contractual rights their homes, their jobs, and their property, defeated in every court and administrative proceeding, and dispossessed of all their rights, title, and interest in life, liberty, and property….and so consistently defeated and frustrated for a very long time in their pursuit of happiness…of the American Dream— I call out to everyone with a family member now or recently in jail, on probation, or under investigation…. I call out to everyone who used to be one of the “haves” and is now a “have not”, or who has never been invited to the table of prosperity at all, to join me in fighting for the end of deceit, lies, and prevarication as policies of governmental manipulation and control. We must divest the banks and the corporations of their controlling positions in society and thus destroy the military-industrial-financial complex which has made government subservient to the few rather than the many. In particular, we must take American land and jobs off the world market—to be bought and sold into slavery by massive foreign interests with no commitment to freedom or democracy, and to restore American productivity. Let them scream in Beijing and Shanghai, Mumbai, Islamabad, Calcutta, Bangkok, and Singapore, calling us “isolationists” and “protectionists” and we will know that we are on the road toward being a happy and prosperous nation again. Let us learn from the disaster in Europe and start dismantling our Central Banking system and abolish fiat currency and reckless credit regimes before they together flatten and wreck us. Let us restore private property to our people and so replace welfare slavery with independence as the primary way of life. Let us even accept that we will all have to work harder, be poorer, and use our minds with more discipline and vigor if we are ever really to be free and stand upright to each other as citizens and to the world again. And in relation to the world, let us indeed “leave them alone.” If Sharia law is the will of the people in Amman, Algiers, Baghdad, Benghazi, Cairo, Damascus, Khartoum, Tehran, Tripoli, and Tunisia, let those people have their way. We will leave them alone and they will leave us alone—I have no doubt of it! Good fences make good neighbors so long as the dogs of war don’t jump over them….and so long as we control ours, I believe they will control theirs. “Terrorism”, as it has been analyzed and applied in the past twenty years, really DOES begin at home you know….
http://www.corbettreport.com/911-a-conspiracy-theory/

St. Stephen, the First Martyr, and my own personal favorite Carol….about the Martyred Saint Wenceslaus of Bohemia

LIFE OF ST. STEPHEN THE PROTOMARTYR OF ALL CHRISTENDOM

St. Stephen was martyred in Jerusalem about the year 35. Tradition calls him both the first Christian martyr (or “protomartyr”) and the first “deacon” of the Christian Church.

All that we know of the life, trial, and death of St. Stephen, derives from the Book of Acts, Chapters 6 and 7.  In the long chronicle of Christian martyrs, the story of Stephen stands out as one of the most moving and memorable.

Although his name is Greek (from Stephanos, meaning crown), Stephen was a Jew, probably among those who had been born or who had lived beyond the borders of Palestine, and therefore had come under the influence of the prevailing Hellenistic culture. The New Testament does not give us the circumstances of his conversion. It would seem, however, that soon after the death of the Messiah he rose to a position of prominence among the Christians of Jerusalem and used his talents especially to win over the Greek-speaking residents of the city.

The earliest mention of Stephen is when he is listed among the seven men chosen to supervise the public tables. We recall that these first Christians held their property in common, the well-to-do sharing what they possessed with the poor; and at this time, as always in the wake of war, there were many “displaced persons” in need of charity. We read in Acts that the Hellenists, as the Greek-speaking Christians were called, thought that they, particularly the widows among them, were being discriminated against at the public tables. The Apostles were informed of these complaints, but they were too busy to deal with the problem. Therefore seven good and prudent men were selected to administer and supervise the tables. The seven, on being presented to the Apostles, were prayed over and ordained by the imposition of hands. Associated in these charitable tasks with Stephen, whose name heads the list as “a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit,” were Philip, known as “the Evangelist,” Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicholas-all Greek names. The title of deacon, which came to be linked with their function, derives from the Greek verb meaning “to minister.” These men served the Christian community in temporal and charitable affairs; later on they were to assume minor religious offices.

Stephen, already a leader, now began to speak in public with more vigor and, “full of grace and power, was working great wonders and signs among the people.”  By this time a number of Jewish priests had been converted to the new faith, but they still held to the old traditions and rules as laid down in Mosaic law.  Stephen was prepared to engage in controversy with them, eager to point out that, according to the Master, the old law had been superseded.  He was continually quoting Jesus and the prophets to the effect that external usages and all the ancient holy rites were of less importance than the spirit; that even the Temple might be destroyed, as it had been in the past, without damage to the true and eternal religion. It was talk of this sort, carried by hearsay and rumor about the city, and often misquoted, intentionally or not, that was to draw down upon Stephen the wrath of the Jewish priestly class.

It was in a certain synagogue of Jews “called that of the Freedmen, and of the Cyrenians and of the Alexandrians and of those from Cilicia and the province of Asia” that Stephen chiefly disputed.  Perhaps they did not understand him; at all events, they could not make effective answer, and so fell to abusing him. They bribed men to say that Stephen was speaking blasphemous words against Moses and against God. The elders and the scribes were stirred up and brought him before the Sanhedrin, the supreme Jewish tribunal, which had authority in both civil and religious matters. False witnesses made their accusations; Stephen defended himself ably, reviewing the long spiritual history of his people; finally his defense turned into a bitter accusation. He concluded thus:

“Yet not in houses made by hands does the Most High dwell, even as the prophet says…. Stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ear, you always oppose the Holy Spirit; as your father did, so do you also. Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? And they killed those who foretold the coming of the Just One, of whom you have now been the betrayers and murderers, you who received the Law as an ordinance of angels and did not keep it.”

Thus castigated, the account is that the crowd could contain their anger no longer. They rushed upon Stephen, drove him outside the city to the place appointed, and stoned him. At this time Jewish law permitted the death penalty by stoning for blasphemy. Stephen, full of “grace and fortitude” to the very end, met the great test without flinching, praying the Lord to receive his spirit and not to lay this sin against the people. So perished the first martyr, his dying breath spent in prayer for those who killed him. Among those present at the scene and approving of the penalty meted out to Stephen was a young Jew named Saul, the future Paul, Apostle to the Gentiles: his own conversion to Christianity was to take place within a few short months.

The celebration of the Feast Day of St. Stephen is December 26, the day after Christmas, aka “Boxing Day” “Two Turtle Doves” in “The Twelve Days of Christmas.”  Despite the close association between Saint Stephen and Saint Wenceslaus of Bohemia in the Anglo-American mind, owing to a 19th century hymn, Saint Stephen the Protomartyr is NOT the Patron Saint of Hungary, who was in fact another King/Martyr who lived in the eleventh century after Saint Wenceslaus of Bohemia died in the tenth.

GOOD KING WENCESLAS (King/Duke “Herzog” of Bohemia, reigned 924-935)  To the tune of the well-known 19th Century Carol, it is possible to sing an older verse:

“Christian friends, your voices raise.

Wake the day with gladness.

God Himself to joy and praise

turns our human sadness:

Joy that martyrs won their crown,

opened heaven’s bright portal,

when they laid the mortal down

for the life immortal.”

[Words: Saint Joseph the Hymnographer, 9th Century, translated from the Greek. Music: “Tempus Adest Floridum” (“Spring has unwrapped her flowers”), a 13th Century spring carol; first published in the Swedish Piae Cantiones, 1582.]

Saint Wenceslaus’ Day:  September 28, Patron Saint of Bohemia, Czech Republic, Prague, lived approximately 907-935, canonized around 985.

Patron saint of Bohemia, parts of Czech Republic, and duke of Bohemia frorn 924-929. Also called Wenceslas, he was born near Prague and raised by his grandmother, St. Ludmilla, until her murder by his mother, the pagan Drahomira. Wenceslaus’s mother assumed the regency over Bohemia about 920 after her husband’s death, but her rule was so arbitrary and cruel in Wenceslaus’ name that he was compelled on behalf of his subjects to overthrow her and assume power for himself in 924 or 925. A devout Christian, he proved a gifted ruler and a genuine friend of the Church. German missionaries were encouraged, churches were built, and Wenceslaus perhaps took a personal vow of poverty  Unfortunately, domestic events proved fatal, for in 929 the German king Heinrich I the Fowler (Heinrich der Voegler, reigned 919-936, immortalized as Der Deutschen Konig, the just king who sets the trial-by-combat over accusations against Duchess Ilsa von Brabant in Richard Wagner’s opera “Lohengrin”, tomb recently archaeologically discovered) invaded Bohemia and forced Wenceslaus to make an act of submission.

This defeat, combined with his pro-Christian policies, led a group of non-Christian nobles to conspire against him. On September 28, 935, a group of knights under the leadership of Wenceslaus’ brother Boreslav assassinated the saint on the doorstep of a church. Virtually from the moment of his death, Wenceslaus was considered a martyr and venerated as a saint. Miracles were reported at his tomb, and his remains were translated to the church of St. Vitus in Prague which became a major pilgrimage site. The feast has been celebrated at least since 985 in Bohemia, and he is best known from the Christmas carol “Good King Wenceslas” (Anglicized spelling of Wenceslaus).

Though it was an Anglican priest, scholar, and hymnist John Mason Neale (24 January 1818 – 6 August 1866), chaplain of Downing College, Cambridge, and member of the Anglo-Catholic “Oxford Movement” and “Society of Saint Margaret” (to both of which both my parents were great adherents) wrote the words to the carol “Good King Wenceslas” which he published published in 1853, the music published in Sweden at least 300 years earlier (and possibly, as noted above, much more ancient still, dating back perhaps to the 13th century).

This unique “Christmas carol” makes no reference in the lyrics to the nativity or, really, to Christ or Christmas at all in its modern, popular form.  “Good King” (i.s. Saint) Wenceslas reigned as King of Bohemia in the 10th century, long before Prague became the second or third city of the Habsburg-Austrian Empire.  Good King Wenceslas was a Catholic and was martyred following his assassination by his brother Boleslaw and his supporters, his Saint’s Day is September 28th, and he is the Patron Saint of the Czech Republic. St. Stephen’s feast day was celebrated on 26th December which is why this song is sung as a Christmas carol.

The carol, and legacy of Saint Wenceslaus, owes its popularity to the concept of giving in meaningful ways at Christmastime, especially to the poor, especially by the rich.  Whether its mid-Nineteenth Century composition is in any way related to the movement sometimes called “Christian Socialism” is a different topic.

1. Good King Wenceslas look’d out,
On the Feast of Stephen;
When the snow lay round about,
Deep, and crisp, and even:
Brightly shone the moon that night,
Though the frost was cruel,
When a poor man came in sight,
Gath’ring winter fuel.

2. “Hither page and stand by me,
If thou know’st it, telling,
Yonder peasant, who is he?
Where and what his dwelling?”
“Sire, he lives a good league hence.
Underneath the mountain;
Right against the forest fence,
By Saint Agnes’ fountain.”

3. “Bring me flesh, and bring me wine,
Bring me pine-logs hither:
Thou and I will see him dine,
When we bear them thither.”
Page and monarch forth they went,
Forth they went together;
Through the rude winds wild lament,
And the bitter weather.

4. “Sire, the night is darker now,
And the wind blows stronger;
Fails my heart, I know now how,
I can go no longer.”
“Mark my footsteps, good my page;

    Tread thou in them boldly;
Thou shalt find the winter’s rage
    Freeze thy blood less coldly.”

5. In his master’s steps he trod,
Where the snow lay dinted;
Heat was in the very sod
Which the saint had printed.
Therefore, Christian men, be sure,
Wealth or rank possessing,
Ye who now will bless the poor,
Shall yourselves find blessing.

Alternative last four lines supposedly by author Neale. although I have never heard it sung this way .

Therefore, Christian men rejoice,
Who my lay are hearing,
He who cheers another’s woe
Shall himself find cheering.


Why should we not celebrate both Advent and the Twelve Days of Christmas? Revisiting one of my favorite questions: what is a “law respecting an establishment of religion” under the First Amendment?

This month we have been celebrating the 400th Anniversary of the original Publication of the King James Bible, Sponsored by King James I of England and VI of Scotland, son of Mary Queen of Scots, “executed” (effectively murdered “under color of law”) by Queen Elizabeth I.  In spite of the sometimes unjust and bloody history of the Christian Church and religion, there are times when I really do think that we would be better off in the United States of America if we had a solemn four weeks of “Advent” preceding Christmas followed by a joyous 12 days of Christmas, a major holiday possibly beginning as early as December 21 and running through the Feast of the Epiphany on January 6.  Why not?  Is it because the State has usurped all the forms and functions of religion and sells them to us under the fraudulent guise of “Non-Religion” when in fact the State has merely imposed the “Secular Humanist” religion on us in place of Christianity?  I originally published this post on August 3, 2011, at 4:30 pm during one of the coolest summers in California history, but one week before Christmas seems like a good time to revisit these issues!

12-16-2011 What is a Law Respecting an Establishment of Religion under the First Amendment_

The 1559 Book of Common Prayer, adopted by Parliament under the leadership of Queen Elizabeth I, established Moderate “Middle Way” Protestant Anglo-Catholicism as the State Religion of England & Wales.  Everything contained in that Book of Common Prayer is an ASPECT of Religion and hence its adoption by Parliament, or Congress, or any State is a “law respecting an establishment of religion.”

[I have a modest proposal and it involves answering this question: how much behavioral content do the words “religion” and establishment “cover”?  Could we now accurately interpret and meaningfully paraphrase the establishment clause “Neither Congress nor the states shall make any law regarding any of the behavior covered in the Administration of the Sacraments or other Rites and Ceremonies of the Christian Church?”  or even “Neither Congress nor the states shall make any law regarding lifestyle choices or philosophy?”  Could it be that the entire Regulatory-Welfare State was and remains expressly forbidden and unconstitutional?”]

The First Amendment is without any doubt the most powerful of all the Amendments, indeed, quite possibly, all the clauses of any part, of the constitution.  The U.S. Supreme Court, it seems to me, has focused an inordinate amount of time focused on “School Prayer” and “Teaching Evolution vs. the Bible” and similar subjects in its “Establishment” and “Free Exercise” jurisprudence over the past 50-70 years.  It is almost as if “Religion” is only relevant as an academic exercise, and for that reason, only the “teaching” of religion—the transmission of certain “epiphenomenal” beliefs about the creation of the world or how to commemorate the mechanisms of creation, is in any sense relevant to the constitutional question.

I have been thinking a lot about it, and it seems to me that the word “establishment” should be taken in what—to the Framers of the U.S. Constitution in 1787-1792 at least, must have seemed the most relevant historical context of this word “establishment”—and I have never seen the U.S. Supreme Court discuss this issue at all.

At the Accession of Elizabeth I, in 1558-1559, the Queen of England and her Parliament agreed on a Book of Common Prayer and an Act of Uniformity which, without any doubt at all, “Established” the Church of England and made non-conformity a crime, albeit a very minor misdemeanor.  (Failure to attend the Bishop-Governed, i.e. “Episcopal” Church every SUnday was then and there made subject to a fine of 11 pence.)****

THOSE LAWS, my friends, the 1558-1559 adoption by Parliament of the Book of Common Prayer and the enactment of the requirement of Church Attendance punishable by a fine were LAWS RESPECTING AN ESTABLISHMENT OF RELIGION.  See inter alia:  http://justus.anglican.org/resources/bcp/1559/BCP_1559.htm

As with so many books, it is the subtitle that gives the critical information we need to know:  the full Title and subtitle of Queen Elizabeth I’s “Coronation” BCP together read “The Book of Common Prayer and Administration of the Sacraments and other Rites and Ceremonies of the Church of England.”

I want to make a radical proposal here: any subject, repeat ANY SUBJECT, which was treated under the “Administration of the Sacraments and Other Rites and Ceremonies of the Church of England” is a “Law Respecting an Establishment of Religion.”  The teaching of the Bible is covered by the Book of Common Prayer. Accordingly, one supposes, teaching of the Bible in Public School, if authorized by statute, might well be the result of a “Law Respecting an Establishment of Religion.”

But what of the actual “Sacraments and Other Rites and Ceremonies” of the Church of England?  The subject of the sacraments is the orderly cradle-to-grave organization of life.  Each of the sacraments is what anthropologists call “Rites des Passages” marking certain boundaries or “limnal moments” in life: birth = baptism, coming of age as an adult= communion + confirmation, marriage, major decisions about how to live life (= assumption of Holy Orders), reconciliation with one’s self and society after “sin” (= confession/reconciliation), and extreme unction (= death, last rites).

Could it be that the Founding Fathers actually meant and intended, in 1792, to forbid the United States Federal Government from involving itself in ANY “cradle-to-grave” programs involving the orderly structuring of life from cradle-to-grave?  Was this the true meaning of “religion” and/or any “law respecting an establishment of religion”?  “Re-ligio” in Latin means something like “rebinding” or “binding-well”—“ligare” is a verb etymologically related to “lis” or “litis” as in “binding litigation” and “lis pendens“—a “lis” was a string or rope.   I.E., “Religion” is something obliging people to do certain things in certain ways.  Perhaps what “religion” really means is “life style” or in particular, an ordered, well bounded, life-style….”walking the straight and narrow path” or words to that effect.

If so, if “religion” meant (and still means) “life-style choices”, then the First Amendment in effect forbids the social welfare state—and I don’t believe anyone has ever raised this point before, either as an historical truth or even an hypothesis to be tested linguistically or by comparison with the writings of Samuel Johnson, David Hume, Adam Smith, Edmund Burke, William Hazlitt, or any other English Philosophers and writers of the late 18th Century, much less any of the Founding Fathers of the USA—but I propose that this is a meritorious hypothesis which ought to be explored.

Equating the word “religion” with “lifestyle” and translating any “law respecting an establishment of religion” as “any law concerning the ordering or structured command of lifestyle” would be and in fact is a very radical, radical idea, by which I mean it cuts to the very root of things (going back to Latin again “radix = root”).   Defining “religion” as “life-style” might explain, for example, why I always (analytically but also somewhat instinctually) tell friends of mine in the “Landmark” program that “Landmark” is really their “Religion”—Landmark is one of those “secular” philosophies or “life-style choices” which orders its adherents’ lives completely.   Did the Founding Fathers wish to PREVENT the Federal Government from Ordering peoples’ lives completely?  I think, in the context of the First Amendment, this makes a GREAT deal of sense.

So, if the phrase “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion” could be paraphrased “Congress shall make no law respecting an ordering or structuring of individual personal lifestyles or philosophies”, or even more narrowly “Congress shall make no law respecting any kind of behavior described by or relevant to the limnal moments in life or rites des passages described or constrained in the phrase “administration of the sacraments and other Rites and Ceremonies of the Church of England”, then most of what government does is illegal under the First Amendment, because the “nanny state” has become horribly intrusive into every American’s everyday life.

After the Civil War, the Thirteenth Amendment was passed to abolish slavery or involuntary servitude “except as punishment for crime” and the Fourteenth Amendment was passed, at least in part, to apply (or, as the Supreme Court and legal scholars like to say, “incorporate”) the Bill of Rights to the States.  NOTHING in 20th Century Jurisprudence at the Supreme Court of the United States has been more clear or consistent than the proposition that ALL clauses of the First Amendment were forcibly “incorporated” to apply to the States in or by the Fourteenth Amendment.   For inexplicable reasons, the Seventh Amendment has perhaps faired the worst of all the amendments, in that the Supreme Court has ruled more than once that the states need not “incorporate” trials-by-jury into every civil proceeding, but the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Eighth Amendments have all been held as “incorporated” to the States by the Fourteenth, though sometimes with less vim and vigor than the First.  The Status of the Second Amendment remains ambiguous, as does the continuing vitality of the ninth and tenth amendments, which are showing slightly renewed “life” in recent years, albeit a little bit too little too late to save either state or individual sovereignty in any meaningful way from….of all things…..the vast encroachment of the Welfare State.

Earlier this year, there was a minor and very temporary explosion of discussion and major news coverage concerning whether School Prayer at a Public High School Graduation in south Texas near San Antonio constituted “State Action” or not.  An arrogant United States District Judge for the Western District of Texas (the first jurisdiction ever to disbar me….) threatened Jail for Contempt of Court to any student or school administrator who led the student body in prayer.  Very briefly, I had wished I were back in Texas.  If I had been there, I would have advocated and recommended absolutely informed defiance of this Judge.  This not so very honorable U.S. District Judge for the Western District of Texas, San Antonio Division, should have been placed squarely in the position of deciding whether to jail something close to the entire student body/faculty/and audience of the graduation ceremonies.  Now THAT  would have been a true “Tea Party” moment in the spirit of the original Boston Tea Party, and of civil disobedience of the finest kind.   I strongly suspect that Rick Perry and all the other  wee sleekit cowerin’ tim’rous beasties of the Texas Republican “Tea Party” movement would never have had the nerve to do anything quite this “revolutionary”.

And oddly and ironically enough, the May 2011 Texas Graduation Day Prayer Showdown was averted precisely when Texas State Governor Rick Perry and Texas State Attorney General Greg Abbott championed the “prayers” of that particular South Texas High School.  Perry and Abbott came down on the side of praying, and they all together “prayed” to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.  Then and there a panel of the U.S. 5th Circuit, sitting in the John Minor Wisdom Courthouse on the river (south) side of Lafayette Square on Camp Street in New Orleans (just opposite a building where Lee Harvey Oswald used to live, back before 11-22-63) determined that the U.S. District Judge was wrong.   The Fifth Circuit decided, once Governor Perry and Attorney General Abbott had intervened, that no “State Action” was involved in the School Prayer at Graduation.  This outcome makes sense, in context, to anyone with advanced alzheimer’s or dementia, but only if you think about it, so everyone in Texas breathed a sigh of relief.

During even that brief time, who knows how many Texas Child Protective Service workers invaded homes and recommended families for highly intrusive “governmental service plans”.   The number might be countable, but who knows how many Temporary Orders by Texas District Judges or “Baby Judges” (as the Honorable Laura Livingston once described herself before she became a District Judge in Travis County) in Family Courts were issued in how many new divorce or dissolution cases, awarding temporary custody of children and splitting families irrevocably apart.

I propose that, in particular, the First Amendment to the Constitution prohibits both the Federal Government and (through the Fourteenth Amendment) the States, from “establishing” any regulations relating to any of the subjects covered by the Book of Common Prayer in England in 1558-9 or 1662 (http://justus.anglican.org/resources/bcp/england.htm and  http://www.eskimo.com/~lhowell/bcp1662/index.html) or even 1789 in the new United States (http://justus.anglican.org/resources/bcp/1789/BCP_1789.htm).

I further propose that the true meaning of the First Amendment is absolutely to guarantee both freedom of conscience and freedom of personal individual lifestyle choices and behavior, to the extent that the Modern Regulatory-Welfare State is incompatible with the First Amendment to the Constitution, above all else which may be said about the Unconstitutionality of the various statutes and regulations which have brought this Regulatory-Welfare State into existence.

****(In Elizabeth’s time there were 12 pence [“pennies”] in every old English Shilling, 24 pence in a Florin, 30 pence in a Half-Crown, 60 pence in a Crown, and 240 pence [20 shillings, 10 florins, or 4 crowns] in the Pound Sterling until A.D. 1969.  Although I was by then only a summer visitor with my grandparents in England, rather than a resident with my parents, I remember that summer and the transition to the new currency vividly. For that reason [and inspite of the inspirational moon landing] 1969 is accordingly a year which shall live in infamy in my own mind and memory and the memory of many Patriotic and Sentimental Brits and people of British heritage and descent—the adoption of the decimal system was a much more cowardly precursor to the U.K.’s entry into the Common Market/European Community than anyone at the time ever realized).  

Above all, I challenge Governor Rick Perry and everyone else who pretends to care about Religion in the United States to address this question, and to admit that the prohibition against any “law respecting an establishment of religion” means that the debate must expand FAR, FAR beyond the boundaries of education, public prayer, private prayer, or the teaching of evolution, or even the school lunch consumption of ham or bacon sandwiches.  

It is time to publicly debate and answer the question: must government be banned forever from ALL activities regarding the regulation or control of the human life-cycle, from cradle-to-grave?  Is this the true meaning of freedom?  

Meanwhile, in Texas, the trivial pursuit games go on unabated…..

Judge tosses attempt to stop Texas prayer rally

APBy APRIL CASTRO – Associated Press | AP – Thu, Jul 28, 2011

  • FILE- In this June 23, 2011 file photo, Texas Gov. Rick Perry speaks during the 28th annual National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials conference in San Antonio. A federal judge on Thursday, July 28, 2011 dismissed a lawsuit that sought to stop Perry from sponsoring a national day of Christian prayer and fasting, ruling that the group of atheists and agnostics did not have legal standing to sue. (AP Photo/Darren Abate, File)FILE- In this June 23, 2011 file photo, Texas Gov. Rick Perry speaks during the 28th …

HOUSTON (AP) — A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit that sought to stop Gov. Rick Perry from sponsoring a national day of Christian prayer and fasting, ruling Thursday that the group of atheists and agnostics did not have legal standin g to sue.

U.S. District Judge Gray H. Miller said the Freedom From Religion Foundation argued against Perry’s involvement based merely on feelings of exclusion, but did not show sufficient harm to merit the injunction they sought.

“The governor has done nothing more than invite others who are willing to do so to pray,” Miller said.

Rich Bolton, who argued for the group, said he was considering an appeal.

“I wonder if we had a Muslim governor what would happen if the whole state was called to a Muslim prayer,” said Kay Staley, one of five Texas residents named as plaintiffs in the suit. “I think the governor needs to keep his religion out of his official duties.”

Staley said she would be at the prayer rally to protest.

The Freedom from Religion Foundation argued in the lawsuit that Perry’s involvement in the day of prayer and fasting would violate the First Amendment’s establishment clause. The event, which is called The Response, is scheduled for Aug. 6 at Houston’s Reliant Stadium.

A day earlier, Perry defended the event, comparing it to President Barack Obama’s participation in theNational Day of Prayer.

“My prayer is that the courts will find that the first amendment is still applicable to the governor no matter what they might be doing and that what we’ve done in the state of Texas or what we’ve done in the governor’s office is appropriate,” he said. “It’s no different than what George Washington or Abraham Linlcoln or President Truman or President Obama have done.”

Perry, an evangelical Christian, said he didn’t yet know what his role in the rally would be.

“I’m going to be there — I may be ushering for all I know — I haven’t gotten my marching orders,” he said. “It’s not about me and it’s not about the people on the stage either, this is truly about coming together as a state lifting up this nation in prayer, having a day of prayer and fasting. That’s all it is.”

The group, which unsuccessfully sued to stop Obama’s National Day of Prayer earlier this year, filed the case on behalf of 700 members in Texas and called on the court to stop Perry from participating in the meeting or using his office to promote or recognize it.

Perry invited the Obama administration, the nation’s governors and Texas lawmakers to attend the event. The Republican governor is moving closer to jumping in the race for the White House.

The event is being sponsored by several evangelical Christian groups, including the American Family Association, which has been criticized by civil rights groups for promoting anti-homosexual and anti-Islamic positions on the roughly 200 radio stations it operates.

The foundation said it does not oppose politicians taking part in religious services, but that Perry crossed a line by initiating the event, using his position as governor to endorse and promote it and by using his official website to link to the organizer’s website. The plaintiffs also contend that Perry’s use of Texas’ official state seal to endorse the event and his plans to issue an official proclamation violate the Constitution.

An appellate court in April dismissed the group’s previous lawsuit against the Obama administration over the National Day of Prayer, on which people of all faiths were invited to take part. Like Miller, the three-judge panel in that case ruled that the group could not prove that they had suffered any harm when the president issued a proclamation observing the day.