Tag Archives: George Washington

Historical Ignorance and Patriot Mythology concerning the “Fraud” of the American Independence from Great Britain

I had the opportunity to speak with Lowell A. (“Larry”) Becraft again tonight about the mythology of law circulating around the Patriot Movement.  

http://home.hiwaay.net/~becraft/deadissues.htm

http://libertyworksradionetwork.com/jml/index.php

So much nonsense, so little time, but I did think of a little outline concerning one of the biggest issues:  Are the United States really free of Great Britain?  (I can’t quite believe we’re discussing this during the Presidency of Barack Hussein Obama, whose father was an anti-British Mau Mau).

I hope that we can focus just one the English-influence and Crown Control question for this first topic, because I think that’s the “oldest” and in some ways most basic confusion, because some elements of the conflict clearly bothered and divided even the Founding Fathers, who led a revolution against the “Mother Country” of England:
(1)   During the Revolution: Loyalist Tories vs. Revolutionary Patriots.
(2)   After the Revolution: Anglophile Federalists vs. Francophile Anti-Federalists in and after the Constitutional Convention of 1787; essence of the conflict focusing on the question of government financing and the establishment of a National Bank; and the question of repayment of English creditors and protection of English property interests in the newly freed colonies.
(3)    The party lines were split between Hamilton & Washington v.  Henry, Jefferson, & Madison (with John Adams kind of in the middle).
(4)   Anglophile Federalist Hamiltonians favored centralization and the Bank of the United States IN LARGE PART FOR THE BENEFIT OF ENGLISH CREDITORS OF THE COLONIES—the origin of the “no impairment of the obligations of debt” clause in Article I.
(5)      Francophile Democratic Republicans favored State Sovereignty and a decentralized economy.
(6)   “Second American Revolution” Ended with U.S. Victory at the Battle of New Orleans 200 years ago—no reintegration with the British Empire—why would this war (more popularly known as the War of 1812 have happened AT ALL if the First Revolution had resulted in some sort of secret compromise with Parliament or the Crown?
(7)   Bankers’ attempt on Andrew Jackson’s life: 1835 correlated with the Jackson’s confiscation of the Bank of the United States, effected by Attorney General turned Secretary of the Treasury Roger Brooke Taney (who was rewarded by appointment as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court upon the death of John Marshall after his unparalleled thirty five years).
(8)   1844: James K. Polk sails into office on the motto “54’40 or Fight” regarding the proposed annexation of “all” of Oregon from Great Britain—compromise ended up with extension of 59th parallel—giving North America the beautiful gift of what is now called “British Columbia” and was, until the invasion from Hong Kong, the most English spot on earth outside of England.
(9)   1848: Communist Manifesto casts a pall over the whole world—crystalizing another whole aspect of the “English” Myth: the domination of English, in particular English Jewish Bankers. Communism was, in all the world, especially threatening to the European Crowned Heads and the Southern American Planters (*seen by Marx as relics of Christian Feudalism).
(10)   Rapidly, the English crown works out a compromise with the Bankers (Karl Marx was a member of the Rothschild Family on his mother’s side) and England rapidly grants full civil rights to Jews and begins to expand the Voting Franchise to workers, although this did not happen until 1867, after the American Civil War was over. England had its first Jewish MP within ten years (Lionel Rothschild 1859, partly parodied by Alec Guiness in the movie “Kind Hearts and Coronets”) and London has its first Jewish Mayor in 1855 (David Salamons, also the first Jewish Sheriff of any English shire–namely Kent SE of London).
(10)   So in 1861, America plunged into a civil war that radically changed the landscape.  England supported the South, by more than just words, but Uncle Abe threatened war on England, and for whatever reasons (such as the sympathy of the as yet unenfranchised workers, England was scared.  Queen Victoria was totally in private sympathy with the South but her beloved husband Albert of Saxe-Coburg Gotha was on the side of the North (and the workers).  Does this Sound like a situation where England controlled the U.S. in 1860?  At all?
(11)  After the War England actually PAID A LARGE INDEMNITY TO THE US for its support of the South and for outfitting Southern Ships as blockade runners and for the CSA Navy.  Was the US dependent on England in 1865?  Doesn’t look like it to me…
(12)  For the Fifty Years after 1865-1915, American Aristocrats defined themselves largely by their trips to England, education in English Colleges and Universities, or U.S. (e.g. Harvard & Yale) imitation of English College and University styles—this was a matter of U.S. Money going to England for Validation, to be sure, and also of U.K. investment coming to the United States, but the relationship was one of Equals, not of Colonial Office and Master.
(13) 1915  the Lusitania sank–some people say it was a fix, a false flag attack.  BUT, even after the Lusitania, and a lot of other moves, it took a LOT OF PROPAGANDA, and the Zimmerman telegram, to get the United States to join England and France in the War on Germany and Austria-Hungary.  Some say it took the Balfour Declaration and the support of U.S. Jews….who were mostly of German and Eastern European Origin….
(14)   But the simple truth is that IF the mythology were correct, if England or the British Crown still exercised ANY sort of lasting control over the former 13 colonies—by 1912 multiplied into 48 states with several associated colonies of their own—IF that mythology of continued British Domination were correct, the South would have won the War of 1861-65, and if there had been a World War I at all, the United States would have joined with the U.K., as did all the real dominions including Australia, Canada, India, New Zealand, and the only recently formed Union of South Africa, in 1914.
(15)   It is interesting to reflect that, in 1912, American Colonies abroad included the Philippine Islands in East Asia and Hawaii in the Middle Pacific, both of which the U.S. held in competition with Great Britain for colonial power in the Pacific.
(16)   Hawaii, all its history considered, should have belonged to England if to anyone.  Hawaii had included, as part of its own flag, the British Flag or Union Jack, evidence of the close alliance between the Hawaiian monarchy and the British Navy….which ever since Captain Cook had been the instrument for the world integration and continued independence of what they called “the Sandwich Islands”…. put the Hawaiian flag side-by-side with the Flag of British Columbia…. or read how the Hawaiian kings and queens copied English royal and legal culture slavishly, in every way possible, and you will see just how different America’s path really was.
(17)   It is true that the American colonies due owe their legal heritage, language, and many aspects of their philosophy, to England, and it is also true that the Queen of England, as a wealthy private individual, has a substantial “empire” of investments all over the U.S., but so do the Imperial family of Japan, and the Royal House of Saud (from Saudi Arabia).
(18)    The Queen of England is one of the wealthiest individuals with some of the largest landholdings in the world, but the House of Windor’s private holdings and investments ALL date from the 19th century, NOT from pre-Revolutionary or colonial times.
(19)    So as interesting as it may be to speculate that the United States never really obtained its independence from England, it did.
(20)    One final point would be to remember the debate in Congress in 1939-1941 (before Pearl Harbor) about whether the United States should assist the United Kingdom AT ALL, in its defense.
(21)    My Galveston-Texas born grandfather Alphonse B. Meyer got a lucrative contract to clean, paint, and seal the U.S. ships that were being “lent and leased” to England pursuant to a special agreement which a Texas school-teacher turned Congressman, one Lyndon B. Johnson, representing the Texas Hill Country, pushed through Congress on behalf of President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
(22)    “Lend-Lease” was basically U.S. charity to England, and so, by World War II, it would be fair to say that the Mother Country was now dependent on the Former Colonies for her very survival.
(23)     There is really very little doubt that, once she committed to War against Germany, whether that was a smart decision or not, Great Britain could not have survived as an independent nation without the full backing of the United States—which King George VI and Prime Minister Winston S. Churchill simply would not have had to beg for, had the English Crown retained “ownership and control” after the American War of Independence and Constitution of 1787, after the War of 1812, or the Civil War…..
(24)    History is VERY interesting, and more people could surely benefit from spending time studying it……
(25)       Anybody who EVER wants to discuss this further, leave your comment, e-mail, and telephone number here….I might even start giving seminars….

Barry Taylor, Steve Huber, and Isaiah 59

In RE BARRY TAYLOR: even after a very pleasant lunch with All Saints Rector Stephen Huber on Thursday 18 September 2014 (the day of the failed Scottish Independence Referendum) I still know absolutely no facts or details or real information about the man’s circumstances or the recent history of the past two weeks or so, but I feel the oppressive weight of Isaiah 59:9-11 on my shoulders:

“Therefore justice is far from us, And righteousness does not overtake us; We hope for light, but behold, darkness, For brightness, but we walk in gloom.  Therefore justice is far from us, And righteousness does not overtake us; We hope for light, but behold, darkness, For brightness, but we walk in gloom. we are like dead men. All of us growl like bears, And moan sadly like doves;   We hope for justice, but there is none, For salvation, but it is far from us.”

or if you grew up with the KJV as I did:

“Therefore is judgment far from us,
neither doth justice overtake us:
we wait for light, but behold obscurity;
for brightness, but we walk in darkness.
We grope for the wall like the blind, and
we grope as if we had no eyes:
we stumble at noonday as in the night;
we are in desolate places as dead men.
We roar all like bears, and mourn sore like doves:
we look for judgment, but there is none;
for salvation, but it is far off from us.”

Steve Huber could not have been any nicer, nor could the stone wall he put up about revealing any details have been any thicker.  It is much easier to attack a man who’s being rude and dismissive to you than one who expresses extreme sympathy and condolences for your sense of loss and talks to you very graciously about life and theology and….everything.

Barry Taylor is apparently in England with his mother now, and will go from there to rest and recuperate in South Africa.  I know this routine: it’s called “running away”.  During the worst summer of my life, at my rock bottom, at my worst times, when I was subject to some of the worst setbacks and disappointments in my life, I went to the Bayreuth Festival in Bavaria, then returned to Harvard to refocus myself on Egypt, then went to England, Greece, and Egypt.  I am a privileged man who has led a privileged life, and I’m glad that Barry’s got similar privileges.  But I still feel that there’s something wrong in the State of All Saints’ Parish….. but Steve Huber has utterly disarmed me from trying to force any issues—-and indeed I have no right to do so…. everyone wants this situation quiet and so it’s going to be kept quiet.  Unlike England and Canada, we have the First Amendment wall of separation between Church and State, and so we cannot demand transparency or public disclosure from Churches as we would if they were part of the government and if (as in England) Parliament still approved the Book of Common Prayer…. (will the UK Parliament soon approve the implementation of Sharia Laws?  Will the Queen or future King still be titled “Fidei Defensor” if that happens?  Luckily, these meditations have nothing to do with Barry Taylor whatsoever).

All I know for sure is that in April of 1974, I was confirmed at All Saints in Beverly Hills by the Rt. Rev. Bishop Robert Claflin Rusack, the then brand-new, newly ordained 4th Bishop of Los Angeles, after completing confirmation classes with Canon Noble L. Owings at St. Thomas the Apostle in Hollywood.

The Church was going through the “New Prayerbook” Crisis (which ultimately “gave birth” to the 1979 Prayerbook we still use…which is now so old and well-established most younger folks cannot imagine what a trauma its introduction created…. I had made myself, my mother and my grandparents proud by learning all the basic prayers and creeds (in both of our English 1662 and American 1928 Prayerbooks) by rote before I was ten, and Canon Owings was impressed too.

But then they changed the prayerbook, and I was frustrated and angry then too. I have been a half-hearted Episcopalian ever since. Too brow beaten and bigoted, I guess, ever to try any other Church seriously, but resentful that I had memorized all my prayers and creeds for nothing. I often still mutter things like “and with thy Spirit”, “remission of sins”, “it is meet and right so to do”, “the quick and the dead” during the normal Rite II services they have everywhere.

I have gone to school, worked, and traveled all over the USA, actually, the world, but I had never met the likes of Barry Taylor anywhere, and when I first heard him preach, I was immediately smitten by his amazingly erudite mixture of pop culture, true insight Gospel, and modern skepticism. As I have said, his series of sermons just last month in August, “Drugs, Art, Sex, and Religion” and “Religion without Illusions” seemed like a major watershed transformational event in my own spiritual life, but it was not over.  I needed to learn so much more from Barry…. and now he’s gone…apparently…..

Part of the reason I loved Barry’s sermons so much was that, although I had been loyal to the Church of my birth, it’s just very hard to “buy” the Bible as truth once you’ve completed a Ph.D. in Anthropology and History, focusing on Comparative Religion and Structural Analysis, ready James G. Frazer’s “Golden Bough” and about ten thousand books and articles written since then, including three hundred or more books about Kingship and Sacrifice as rituals essential to the socio-political lives of the people of Africa, India, Southeast Asia, Polynesia, and the New World—and yes, even pre-Christian Europe and the Near East.  But Barry bridged the intelligence gap between Darwin and Freud on the one hand and Jesus and the Apostles on the other.  

Somehow, in Barry’s sermons, going to Church no longer seemed merely a nostalgic retreat into childhood comfort for me.

POST SCRIPT: WHEN I SAY I HAVE BEEN LOOKING ALL OVER NORTH AMERICA AND THE WORLD FOR AN INSPIRING REASON TO LOVE MY CHURCH AGAIN, I’M NOT KIDDING—I have travelled all over and attended Churches everywhere.

My list of favorite Episcopal Churches in the USA starts with St. Thomas on Fifth Avenue, where I was baptized (I was born in Texas but my academically oriented parents “forgot” to have me baptized until they were about to set sail on the Queen Mary, when I was six months old, and they suddenly realized, “our baby isn’t baptized, what if the ship sinks?” And that is how a baby born in Commerce, Texas in April was baptized in October in mid-town Manhattan. I make it back to New York an average of once a year, and always go to St. Thomas—it has the most conservative and traditional liturgy of any church I know.  They have a phenomenal set of choirs and musical program, as well as the most spectacular altar reredos anywhere I have seen in North of Mexico in the USA or outside of Europe.  

Now my parents were married in New Orleans, where my grandmother had grown up, and as it happened I did my undergraduate college years there at Tulane.   From an early age I knew the Christ Church Cathedral as well as Holy Trinity on Jackson and St. George uptown. Confederate General Leonidas Polk is buried at Christ Church on St. Charles Avenue. In addition to being President James K. Polk’s first cousin, L. Polk was the first Bishop of Louisiana, the founder of the Trinity Church in Natchitoches (where my grandmother was baptized and most of her relatives buried), and the only General in that saddest and bloodiest of all American Wars to wear both a grey uniform and a Bishop’s Mitre.

But they lived in and I spent my elementary school years in Dallas, where I was in the boys’ choir under Russell John Brydon, Jr. at the Church of the Incarnation on Central Expressway, while occasionally enjoying the extravagant displays of wealth at the place somewhat sarcastically called “St. Michael and all Minks” (aka “St. Michael and all Angels”).

During my Harvard years I got to know Christ Church on Cambridge Common, where George & Martha Washington prayed after George took the Command of the Continental Army in the summer of 1775, to rise up against the monarch for whom he had until then prayed as “Our King and Sovereign Lord.”

And then I spent some time working in Palm Beach, Florida, and there my son was Baptized at Bethesda-by-the-Sea on the Feast of the Epiphany in 1993. Later on I lived in Pinellas County and attended the Cathedral of St. Peter there.  I could go on listing all the Anglican Churches in which I have knelt down to pray….but it would grow quite tedious…. from Maui to Fort MacLeod, Moose Jaw, and Moncton in Canada to Manchester, Magdalene College and All Saints Margaret Street in England, to Malta, Montego Bay and Mumbai in what used to be outposts of Empire….it would get VERY tedious….

The Fourth of July—Drive Safely—a Private Corporate Entity May be Policing You—Under Color of Law….

In spite of the tragedies of our (CSA) defeats at Gettysburg and Vicksburg that marred this day forever in the Southern Consciousness in 1863, I still support the celebration of the signing of Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of 1787.  

In spite of all the tragedies that our country has suffered, and the many more that our country has inflicted on the innocent people of so many other countries, and in spite of 151 years of steady deterioration in the qualities of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, I do not want to believe that my natal country is dead or sick beyond remediation.

We, as nation, have willingly inflicted so many scars upon ourselves—rather like the horrible, hideous, reprehensible style among women who tattoo their bodies like the worst savage heathens these days (I saw an 11-13 year old girl at a Denny’s Restaurant today whose arms, shoulders, and legs were all tattooed).

A Facebook friend of mine, Matthew Heimbach, of Towson University’s White Students Union fame (or infamy, depending on your perspective), yesterday posted something to the general effect  of “Death to the Freemason Revolution of 1776! Hail Christian monarchy, long live the king.”  

I have to say, I love what Matthew did at Towson and I am not unsympathetic to his Traditionalist Youth group, but the reigns of England’s 4 Kings George, I-IV, 1714-1830, were a bunch of ponces whose tenure in office marked the steady decline of the monarchy and there was really nothing good at all about any of them.  George IV managed to earn his reputation as “the first gentleman of England” but this qualifies him for no little or no glory in the realm of “Christian Kings.”  “Mad King George” III who lost America—well, the best thing you can say about him was that he recognized George Washington as a truly great man for declining to accept the Crown of that same New Nation in North America.

As I have so often said, my maternal grandfather Alphonse Bernhard was an Albert Pike Southern Rite Mason of the 33rd Degree and in my mind he epitomized all that was good in the American dream, and nothing bad.  My father and his father were Mason’s also. The late great Creole Librarian of the University of Yucatan, the South African educated Rudolfo Ruz Menendez in Merida, Yucatan, used to point out to me the Masonic symbols carved on the Catholic Church across from the now defunct Cafe Express. The very conservative Ruz (first cousin to a one F. Castro Ruz who made a name for himself in leftwing politics in the Northwestern Caribbean’s largest island) expounded with great pride that it was Freemasons who had created and define the Hispanic Yucatec elite of the late 18th and 19th Centuries, and who had done so much to liberate the Spanish colonies from the late dark ages which had persisted since the conquest in all of Latin America.

I cannot say for certain where I would have stood, had I been alive in 1776.  I can relate to some of Heimbach’s statements about sympathy for the Loyalist Cause in North America.  I think I can fairly say that I would have strenuously argued for full and proportionately equal Parliamentary Representation for the North American English Population in the London Parliament.  That might have been the happiest solution—one great Transatlantic British Empire.  

But direct such representation was in fact proposed (and in fact became a rallying cry of the Revolution: “Taxation without Representation is Tyranny”), and this best of all possible worlds (direct representation in London) was rejected (irrationally but absolutely) both by the British Parliament and British (Mad) King George.  So, seeing this rejection, I might well have reluctantly cast my lot with the Revolutionaries.  

Now, I would HOPE I would have the sense to have known, even then, that it was a dangerous precedent to write any document that held it to be a self-evident truth that “all men are created equal.”  It is (to my mind) a self-evident truth that “no two men or women are ever created equal” in any sense, and that no myth is more dangerous to civilized society and individual freedom than that of equality.  The reason for this is simple: the myth of equality can only be enforced by the same kind of tyranny that imposes taxation without representation, only ten times fiercer.

The most grievous offenses to the Spirit of the ORIGINAL 4th of July, the ORIGINAL Spirit of ’76, are those that come from the vast growth of a Byzantine Bureaucracy in America that outsizes the wildest imaginations of anyone who ever lived in the Byzantine (Eastern Roman) Empire….  That bureaucracy hardly existed before July 4, 1863, but its creation and growth were clearly goals of the Radical (essentially, whether overtly or covertly Marxist) Republicans under Abraham Lincoln and his followers.  

“Republicans are Moral Lepers = Republicans are Marxist Lepers.”

The year before Gettysburg and Vicksburg, in 1862, no development of his first full year in office is more astounding, to my mind, than the fact that Abraham Lincoln, whom you would have thought to be excessively preoccupied with other matters, laid the foundation for the national regulation of agriculture by planting the “seed” for what ultimately became the U.S. Department of Agriculture…. protector of Monsanto and GMO foods, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and eventually the “War on Drugs” (which has reduced more black and white people to chattel slavery “as punishment for a crime” (most of which are merely commercial crimes, not moral offenses or injuries to any person) in prisons than  private slavery every pretended to do prior to July 4, 1863).  

Another evil that began in the 1860s and has done nothing but grow ever since, are the confusion of private and public realms in government and industry.   Along with the regulation of commerce and industry (and agriculture), the Police State has grown and grown since 1861-1865.  We now live as a nation imprisoned by those who pretend to protect us.    

My great shocking discovery for this 4th of July was that each local sub-county office of the California Highway Patrol is registered as a privately owned and operated corporation.  I don’t know what to do with this fact, but each local office appears to be registered on manta.com…. what does this mean?  It is not what most people believe—and I myself have actually denied those who allege it, but today I saw proof, and I find it deeply disturbing.  I have previously described the “every part of government is a corporation” model as a “patriot myth” but today I saw it proved—at least for the California Highway Patrol, which if private, must surely constitute one of the largest “private” police forces in the world.  

How many other seemingly public entities are in fact just masquerading private corporations, extracting millions of dollars from people UNDER COLOR OF LAW?

People Dream of Freedom when they Go to the Movies—and it’s been a big year for Anarchist Fantasies….Katniss & Peeta, Suzy & Sam, and now the Bondurants….

Aside from “Batman: The Dark Knight Rises”, it’s been a great year, so far, for anarchist philosophy in film.  Anarchism is a terribly misunderstood word: in historical and linguistic terms, “anarchy” does not mean or suggest, by any stretch of the imagination, a society without order or laws.  “Anarchy” is in no way whatsoever synonymous with “Chaos”, “Chasm”, or “Void.”

In Ancient Greek, “archon” was a rather generic title for a rule or lord, meaning and semantically similar in meaning to German “Fürst/Führer” or Latin “Princeps/Principio.”  “Archaeology” is the study of “beginnings” as everyone known, beginnings of humans anyhow, not quite as ancient as “Palaeontology” which the study of “Old Life Forms” including the “Dawn Horizon” (Eocene) at the border between geology and biology.   A Prince (princeps) is a Fürst is an Archon, in any event, and to believe in AN-ARCHY is to oppose Princes (Princeps, principes, Fürsts, or Führers), in other words to believe that society can exist without LEADERS who wield any sort of absolute or even decisive power.  That is why our leader under the Constitution was named after the person who simply “presides” over the Congress and government—indeed, the first to bear the Title “President of the United States” before George Washington were ALL merely parliamentary “presiders”… the individuals who maintained the order of debate, recognized speakers, hit the gavel for adjournment and such like distinctly NON-military, NON-coercive functions…. The Vice-President is still the President of the Senate and presides at Joint Sessions of Congress…. but the American President has become a Führer –and shows signs of being the office is showing signs of becoming an hereditary principality—with Roosevelts and Kennedys and Bushes dominating the political landscape for most of a century….

The basic conceptual link between “fürst” “princeps“, “archon“, “archaeology” and “principio” was the equation of “first in time, first in power, first in right” (compare George Washington “First in War, First in Peace, First in the Hearts of his Countrymen).  And there were those who wanted to make Washington a real “prince”, “fürst” or “archon“—among them pseudo-Monarchists such as Alexander Hamilton).   A similar semantic construct is the “council of elders” out of whom the “Princeps” may be selected, otherwise known as “the Senate.”  From Latin “Senectus” = Old Age/Old Man, cf. Cicero’s De Senectute “On Old Age.”

The Hunger Games came out with a bang on March 22, and Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark became my favorite Anarchist leaders of the year (under the Tutelage of Haymitch Abernathy) until they were supplanted (not in my affections, or literary appreciations but in the movie theaters) by Suzy Bishop and Sam Shakusky (under absolutely nobody’s tutelage but the eventual protection of a brilliantly anarchistic but otherwise “sad, dumb policeman” named Captain Sharp played by none less of a long-time portrayer of anarchistic characters than that legendary Teuton from the cold and free side of the Rhine, Bruce Willis).   And this all happened in a very real 1965 spot in New England on the Fictitious Island of “New Penzance” under Wes Anderson’s really fairly brilliant direction and writing (with Roman Coppola).

But just Wednesday a new marvelous and historically founded paean to actual 20th century anarchism, appropriately called “Lawless”, celebrates the Virginia “Hillbilly” Bondurant Family from Franklin County (actually, they lived in the Hills east of the Blue Ridge, southeast of the Shenandoah Valley in Franklin County, so the hills were kind of low….).  Turns out that the book “Wettest County in the World” was written by a certain Matt Bondurant who was the grandson of the chief leader of the family.

Unlike The Hunger Games, it is largely devoid of mythological and epic references or archetypes.  Unlike Moonrise Kingdom it is neither allegorical nor atavistic.  Lawless simply celebrates the last time in the United States when a large portion of the population, the majority in fact, absolutely, positively, unquestionably recognized that “the law was an ass”.   Not only Catholics and heavy drinkers of every religion but ALL sane people opposed Prohibition and only perverted-to-pathological idiots and cynical criminals (both in and out of politics) actually supported it.  The current “War on Drugs” is in no principled way different from Prohibition, but the mechanisms of propaganda are such much more sophisticated these days that few people appreciate it.

But what unifies The Hunger Games, Moonrise Kingdom, and Lawless is this simple truth: JUSTICE IS AT ITS MAXIMUM WHEN ADMINISTERED BY THE PEOPLE FOR THEMSELVES WITHOUT ANY INTERFERENCE FROM THE GOVERNMENT—ANY GOVERNMENT.

Governments exist, in essence, to defend the people against wars, to enforce laws which make some of the people criminals and disenfranchise them to the benefit of those who either profit from or obtain their identity as “fürstin“, “principes“, or archons from the oppression of others.

Prohibition movies are an old trope, and there’s nothing all that extraordinary about Lawless except that it’s apparently, largely, mostly true…  But it DOES so totally fit in with my two leading movies of this year as a celebration of the nobility of the free human spirit to maintain freedom at the cost of blood…. and such values cannot be too often celebrated in these Modern United States of America where everyone seems to be enjoying the ride, enjoying the “protection racket” of the criminal government which has, for the most part, completely enslaved us, and does so no less (but always more) during each successive Republican or Democratic administration….

A New Red Dawn Over America—Obamacare & the Police Power in Arizona are Upheld—the Constitution again ruled DOA at the Supreme Court (full text of the Supreme Court’s Worst Two Decisions of the Week attached)

Chief Justice John Roberts is rapidly becoming my least favorite U.S. Supreme Court Justice in history.  First, in 2007, the debut innovation of “the Roberts Court” was Bell Atlantic v. Twombly, then a followup kick in the face of freedom under the name of Ashcroft v. Iqbal and now this week (on Monday, June 25, 2012) Arizona v. United States (Arizona v US) and, today Thursday, June 28, 2012, yet another day that will live in infamy: NATIONAL FEDERATION OF INDEPENDENT BUSINESS et al. v. KAREN SEBELIUS, SECRETARY OF HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES (NATIONAL FEDERATION OF INDEPENDENT BUSINESS et al v SEBELIUS SECRETARY OF HEALTH).

It’s been a really bad week for the Constitution and for the American people, and a very good day for  Obama’s flourishing Dictatorship of the Proletariat.  Oh yes, and what a nice present for Hillary Clinton as she celebrates lasting longer as U.S. Secretary of State than any other of the 96 individuals to hold that office—and we were all sure she was just a joke back in the early 1990s when she was pushing a National Health Care System which looked an awful lot like what we’ve got now with Obamacare.

First with regard to Arizona v. US: The expansion of the American Police State seems never-ending, as the late great Strom Thurmond’s States-Rights Democratic Party Platform very accurately predicted in 1948.   The great triumph of the Civil Rights Movement in the United States over the past 64 years is quite simply this: all oppressive acts of government, so long as they are applied equally to White people as well as Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, and all others without Racial, and only with Economic and Political, Prejudice, will be upheld.  But try asserting any constitutional right other than your right to be on an equal footing with all other slaves, and man YOU ARE DEAD MEAT!!!!  States Rights got a minor boost last year when an individual right to sue under the Tenth Amendment was recognized, but this year the 162 year trend towards the complete suppression of State Sovereignty marches forward unabated….

The main issue regarding Arizona’s immigration statutes was whether the individual states of the Union have any right to make more restrictive laws regarding residence and citizenship than the United States as a whole.  Under the expressly anti-States’ Rights 14th Amendment, the Supreme Court said NO.  But, if the Arizona police want to go around harassing people on the highways, they are free to do so, so long as they are willing to say they suspect that every blonde-haired & blue-eyed caucasian must have recently entered illegally from Sweden or Norway perhaps….  The Supreme Court, these days, never seems to miss an opportunity to enhance the power of the police to oppress the population at large.

With regard to the “Obamacare” case, I can only say I’m NOT even as surprised by this result as I was not by the result in the Arizona immigration opinion.  Ever since Franklin D. Roosevelt gave up his plan to “pack” the Supreme Court, there is no infringement on the economic liberty and personal choices of the American people which the Supreme Court finds too trivial to be worthy of Federal Enforcement.  The only comment-worthy deviation from predictions was that Chief Justice John Roberts in this case came up with the novel notion that the U.S. government can tax anything and anyone it wants to for any reason, including non-compliance with a mandatory insurance purchase requirement, and that this punitive tax or purchase choice makes it all “OK.”

Of all the commentary and punditry that came out on Thursday after the decision, two of the most “spot on” that I saw were first) the article describing John Roberts’ “Liberal Apotheosis”:

After Thursday’s Obamacare ruling, Supreme Court Justice John Roberts became a minor deity to some liberals for voting to save Obamacare. But just days before Roberts’ apotheosis, liberals lamented that the “conservative” Supreme Court was taking America down a dangerous path.  (http://news.yahoo.com/obamacare-ruling-liberal-apotheosis-john-roberts-035207618.html)

The “Liberal Apotheosis” of John Roberts?  “Apotheosis” of course, means transformation into a god—and what did the pagan gods of Olympia or Pharaonic Egypt do?  Exactly what any god can do:  A “god” can work Miracles,  first Make and then Bend the all Rules, Change the Natural Order of Things….   I suppose my own religious notions, such as they are, posit an unchanging God defined by the phrase from the old BCP: “as it was in the beginning, it is now and ever shall be, world without end amen” which seems curiously absent from most Episcopal services these days.   I equate God with Nature, and while I believe rather fervently in Evolution, I believe Evolution operates according to certain utterly unchanging rules, such as the laws of thermodynamics, which even the discovery of man’s ability intentionally to split or fuse atoms could never quite change.

And yet the Godlike role of the Supreme Court in making and bending rules seems more than a bit undemocratic.   So that is the second part of the analysis we need to perform today: Was Roberts’ decision to side with Obamacare entirely a matter of political strategy?

 The American Concept of Constitutional Judicial Review predates Chief Justice John Marshall. The Supreme Court’s decision Chisholm v. Georgia 2 U.S. 412 (February 1, 1793)(Chisholm v Georgia, 2 U.S. 419, February 1 1793triggered the (I would now say very unfortunate) move to enact the 11th Amendment during the First Term of the Presidency of George Washington.  But Chief Justice Marshall’s notions of judicial review shaped the Court, much to his cousin Thomas Jefferson’s dismay and disgust.   I recall hearing the story of Marbury v. Madison and judicial review in my Freshman year at Tulane, from Professor Jean Danielson in Political Science H103, where I met my long-time college years best friend John K. Naland, now a long-time veteran of the U.S. State Department.  Professor Danielson explained the political genius of Marbury v. Madison was that it empowered the Court while respecting the political boundaries of the time.  Chief Justice Marshall knew that, as President Adams’ last major appointee, any decision made in favor of the appointment of Adams’ minor “midnight judges” including William Marbury would simply be ignored by the new Democratic-Republican administration of Jefferson (with James Madison as secretary of state and the defendant in the case) as an act of political partisanship on the part of a Federalist appointee favoring Federalist appointees.  On the other hand, to uphold Secretary of State Madison’s power to refuse to honor the appointments made by President Adams would seem like craven capitulation without legal or moral integrity.  So, in a result which no one ever anticipated, Chief Justice John Marshall carefully reasoned and soundly declared the statute authorizing the appointment of Magistrates in the District of Columbia to be an unconstitutional act in excess of Congress’ power under the Constitution—and the role of the U.S. Supreme Court as Constitutional arbiter of the United States was established forever—or, at least, for a long time.

That particular “long time” ended in 1936, which, as a another commentator/pundit on the Obamacare decision pointed out, was the last time in history that the United States Supreme Court overturned a major piece of Congressional legislation as Unconstitutional.    Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s first term as President was unlike anything the United States had ever since, including George Washington’s First Term.   In Washington’s First Term, the constant debate in Congress was whether the Federal Government had power under the Constitution to do much of anything at all.  The spirit was decidedly “conservative” in the sense of cautious, even as a new nation conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal was being launched as a more formally organized “corporate” type of enterprise (the Articles of Confederation were much more analogous to a “partnership” among the States—with each partner having a nearly full veto power).

During FDR’s First Term, there were also many in Congress who asked whether the Federal Government had the power to do a great many of the things the New Deal proposed to do, from the NRA to the TVA (National Recovery Administration to the Tennessee Valley Authority).  But from 1933-1937, such questions were not asked in a cautious or even skeptical voice regarding what Congress and the Federal government could legitimately do, but in the desperate and panicked voice of people who saw and feared “you are taking our lives, our fortunes, our sacred honor” from us.  Those people sought recourse against the reckless usurpation of Federal Power in the Supreme Court, and in the years 1933-1937, the Supreme Court struck down 29 Congressionally passed statutes signed by the President as part of the New Deal.

Roosevelt’s first hundred days and all that followed provoked an unprecedented clash between the Supreme Court Justices and the “New Deal” alliance of the legislative and executive branches. At Roosevelt’s instigation, Congress in the 1930s enacted a series of laws ostensibly, supposed, aimed at ending the Great Depression and restoring the nation’s economic well-being, but in fact aimed at shoring up the American Elite, especially the Banking system, from the threat of a Communist and/or Fascist revolution analogous to those taking place in Europe at the same time.  Of eight major “program” statutes to come before the Court, only two were upheld. Laws that were struck down included the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1933, the National Industrial Recovery Act of 1933, and the Bituminous Coal Conservation Act of 1935.  The Court came under heavy fire for its decisions, and Roosevelt proposed a controversial plan to increase the size of the Court, presumably to ensure a majority sympathetic to the New Deal.

Shortly after the plan was proposed, the Court defused the issue by upholding a series of revised New Deal laws.  Dominated by economic conservatives, to which group even late 19th/early 20th Century “Progressives” such as Oliver Wendell Holmes were (by comparison, anyhow) the Court threw out numerous laws Congress enacted to protect workers and consumers. The conflicts peaked in 1936. The Court threw out twenty-nine laws during that period, but the last of these was in 1936, when when the court invalidated a federal law that limited work hours and prescribed minimum wages for coal workers.

Everything changed in 1937 when, FDR Proposed the Judicial Procedures Reform Bill of 1937 on March 9 of that year in one of his legendary “Fireside chats” whereby he jumped over the Congress and all Constitutional Separation of Powers and asked the American people directly to endorse and support his programs.  The public reaction was overwhelmingly negative, almost the first time the 33rd President had seen any of his initiatives draw such opposition.  But the Justices of the Supreme Court saw the writing on the wall—mene, mene, tekel upharsin—and when faced with the two major cases challenging Social Security (the ultimate authority and most direct antecedent for Obamacare), the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the most massive fraud ever perpetrated on the American people—the law creating a “Social Security Trust Fund” with the bribed cooperation of the States—into which Social Security Trust Fund not one dime of real money (certainly not one dime of the 14 Trillion dollars paid since 1937 in Social Security Taxes) has ever been paid.

Helvering v. Davis (05-27-1937 Helvering v Davis 301 US 619 57 SCt 904 Jusice Cardozo endorses the SS Trust Fund Fraud) and Steward Machine Company v. Davis (Charles C Steward Mach Co v Davis) thus effectively marked the end of the Supreme Court as an independent branch of government.  The new mantra was not “that government is best which governs least” but instead, “The concept of the general welfare is not a static one”…. “Needs that were narrow or parochial a century ago may be interwoven in our day with the well-being of the nation. What is critical or urgent changes with the times.”   (Helvering v. Davis, 301 U.S. 619, 641, 57 S.Ct. 904, 909, 81 L.Ed. 1307, 1315 [1937])

From that time forward Courts held that there appeared to be only four (all extra-constitutional) prerequisites to a finding that a spending clause measure and condition attached to it are valid: (1) The federal power is used for a legitimate national purpose, i.e., promotion of the general welfare (Charles C. Steward Machine Co. v. Davis, 301 U.S. 548 at pp. 585–590, 57 S.Ct. at pp. 890–92 [1937], 81 L.Ed. at pp. 1290–1293); (2) the condition is related to a legitimate national goal (Charles C. Steward Machine Co. v. Davis, supra, at pp. 590–591, 57 S.Ct. at pp. 892–93, 81 L.Ed. at pp. 1292–1293; See also Note, Federal Grants and the Tenth Amendment: ‘Things As They Are’ and Fiscal Federalism (1981) 50 Fordham L.Rev. 130, 140–141); (3) the condition is related to the purpose of the federal funds whose receipt is conditioned (FCC v. League of Women Voters (1984) 468 U.S. 364, 104 S.Ct. 3106, 3132, 82 L.Ed.2d 278, 309 (Rehnquist, J. dissenting); State of Okl. v. Schweiker, 655 F.2d at pp. 407, 411); and (4) the condition is unambiguous (Pennhurst State School v. Halderman,  451 U.S. at p. 17, 101 S.Ct. at pp. 1539–40 [January 23, 1984])(Pennhurst State School And Hosp v Halderman).
It was in the spirit of such a “living constitution” that Chief Justice John Roberts allied himself with the enemies of limited government on June 28, 2012.  And it is in that sense, much like the Supreme Court in 1937, ruling in Roosevelt’s favor in both of the Social Security Cases, Helvering and Charles Steward above, that Chief Justice John Roberts “saved the Supreme Court” (http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/power-players-abc-news/did-chief-justice-roberts-save-supreme-court-103301790.html).  More likely, Chief Justice John Roberts just danced on Chief Justice John Marshall’s grave and said, “You think that failure to follow the Constitution is Judicial Treason?  Well, let’s see what you’re going to do about it now.”  According to that same article, Chief Justice Roberts had told the Senate at his confirmation hearings:
“Judges are like umpires. Umpires don’t make the rules; they apply them,” said Roberts at the time. “The role of an umpire and a judge is critical. They make sure everybody plays by the rules, but it is a limited role. Nobody ever went to a ballgame to see the umpire.”

Now, strangely enough, Chief Justice John Marshall wrote a very different kind of opinion in 1820:

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.  Cohens v State of Virginia, 19 U.S. 264, 5 L.Ed. 257, 6 Wheaton 264 (March 3, 1820)

There is a great deal of confusion among the commentators and pundits, I think, about what “Judicial activism” really means.  I would NOT call Chief Justice John Marshall a Judicial Activist—although, indeed, he advocated throughout his 35 years on the bench a considerably more positive role for the Court in preserving the Constitution than Chief Justice John Roberts has shown to date.  “Judicial Activism” does not mean “striking down unconstitutional laws”—“Judicial Activism” as a term should be reserved for reshaping or restructuring the laws in the absence of Congressional Authority to do so.  The “Warren Court” from 1953-1971 was the epitome of “judicial activism”—the Supreme Court during those two decades effectively rewrote the laws of the United States and told CONGRESS and the STATES what to do, rather than vice-versa.

In the case of Obamacare, Chief Justice John Roberts acts his role as an umpire very poorly.  He has seen the foul, called it (under the commerce clause) and “covered it up” under the guise of the taxing power, which (in reality) is even less constitutionally justified than the commerce clause rationale (which at least has the past 75 years of tradition—however illegitimate, behind it).

And so was the U.S. Constitution rewritten in 1937 to allow for first the “relatively” modest program of Social Security and now, 75 years later—on the occasion of the 75th Annual Hunger Games (cf. Suzanne Collins, Catching Fire [2009] and Mockingjay [2010], both New York: Scholastic Press)—Obamacare comes forward to cap the fraud by, in Chief Justice John Roberts’ view—a non-coercive, mere “Tax” on those who do not buy governmentally mandated insurance… and of course, jail for those who do not pay their taxes.

SO WHAT IS THE SHORT-TERM SOLUTION?  NULLIFY OBAMACARE!  I should say that, without any hesitation whatsoever, I absolutely endorse and support the Tenth Amendment Center’s position on Obamacare (this Los Angeles based think tank is just one of the brightest stars on the Political Horizon—of our New Red Dawn):

Now that the Supremes have crushed Constitutional limits once again, the next step is to focus all our energy on a state and local level to NULLIFY this – and every other – unconstitutional act.
We have model legislation for yor state.  Ready to go right now.  Press your state reps to introduce this bill today, or for the next legislative session.
http://tenthamendmentcenter.com/legislation/federal-health-care-nullification-act/
Please SHARE this information widely!
*******
We need your help to continue this work, and help people take the next step at the state level.  Please join us, and help nullification happen!  Whether it’s $500 or $5, every bit of help right now is crucial!
Please visit this link to help now:
http://tenthamendmentcenter.com/donate/
*******
Thomas Jefferson told us that when the government “assumes undelegated powers” a nullification is THE “rightful remedy”
James Madison said that states were “duty bound to interpose….to arrest the progress of evil”
Today’s ruling is an assumption of undelegated powers, and evil is advancing.  The time to act in support of nullification in your area is NOW!  Please share the model legislation for Obamacare with as many people as possible, and please chip in as generously as possible to help us push this campaign aggressively.
While the task is difficult, our cause is just.
Concordia res parvae crescunt,
(small thing grow great by concord)
Michael Bolding
Tenth Amendment Center
==================================================
Our mailing address is:
Tenth Amendment Center
123 S. Figueroa St
Suite 1614
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Our telephone:
213.935.0553

AND WHAT DO I DO AS I WATCH ALL THIS TRANSPIRE?

I sigh.  I cry.  And sometimes I just want to lie down and die.  This is not the land of my birth, even though on the map it generally looks like it should be the same country as it was in 1960.

The transformation over the past fifty two years is simply horrific.  52 years was a key cycle of time among the Aztec, Maya, Mixtec, Tarascans & Zapotec in ancient Mesoamerica, and I can only say that I feel a certain sympathy for how an Aztec born in 1518 might have felt looking at the wreckage of his once proud nation in 1570 after 52 years of Spanish conquest, rape and pillage.  Like an Aztec born in the last year before the arrival of the Spanish, I have grown up and come to age watching my own people (the American Middle Class, especially Protestants of European descent) reduced to second class status, my people’s most attractive and beautiful women taken as prizes by the conquerors, my nation’s heritage and values denigrated, suppressed and taught in the schools as nothing but “heresy” from the New World Order.

I do speak Spanish fairly well and have spent many of the happier moments in my life in Mexico and elsewhere in the Hispanic World, from Bogotá to Barcelona, and I keep in touch with many friends and acquaintances of a Constitutional mindset from those parts of the world.  When they ask me what I consider to be the greatest single constitutional development under the Presidency of Barack Hussein Obama, I tell them without hesitation: N.A.D.A.  (aka Senate Bill 1867, you know, the statute that effectively repealed the Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Amendments that passed the Senate 93-7 last December).

Death Came, as it must to all men, to Georges Kourembanas, my brother-in-law, age 51

I will say it again:

I have been an unworthy hypocrite to judge you; you and I were so much alike; you were always my brother; I shall miss you.

CEL III: Georges Kourembanas was a big man

He was a great body builder!

Georges in competition sometime in the mid-1980s

who loved his women, loved his dogs, loved his liquor and cigars, and was loved by all in turn.  He was strong and seemingly indestructible, but he just died at age 51.  How I resented him!  How I envied him!  How I hated him for his life of leisure and luxury living the last ten years of his life on Greek Islands in the Aegean and Cancun!  How I envied the fact that certain people loved and cared for him who could not love and would never care a fig for me!   How I wished that I were as physically strong as he was!   How I wished I had his life, and so, could any two males of the human species be less alike than me and my brother-in-law Georges, who died one week ago on Friday, January 22, 2010, at about 8-8:30 PM in Cancun, Quintana Roo, Mexico, at his home with his mistress Lena who called him “Daddy”, even though knowing that he was beloved by his wife Lisa?

Last Saturday January 30, 2010, Georges Kourembanas was laid to rest beside his father, Panagiotis Kourembanas, a Greek Orthodox Priest, who also died young (at 54, in 1984) in Detroit, Michigan, though both father and son were born in Athens, Greece.  His family all surrounded and mourned him during this past week, although he had literally been an exile, shunned or ignored by all but his Anglo-American wife Lisa, who collapsed at the graveside, his mother, who after 37 years in the United States speaks less English than most foreign secondary school pupils immediately after flunking their first year exams in English, and his sisters, one of whom is my wife from whom I have been estranged for 8 continuous years now and my son, whom she and the system hid from me until he broke through the barricades and found me.

Not having any memory of the heartaches associated with Georges during 1990-1999, my 17 year old son Charlie was very sad about his uncle Georges, who died at age 51, just about two weeks after his birthday in fact, which was January 9—he was born in 1959, one year, three months and one day older than I am now.  He was healthy, at least considering everything, he was a body-builder (contestant representing Greece in the Mr. Universe pageant in 1983), who later became addicted to steroids and then to crack cocaine, which caused his family (including me) no end of trouble and grief.  But he was a good natured and happy guy. “I have come to bury Caesar, not to praise him”, said Shakespeares’ Mark Anthony, “the evil that men do lives after them, the good is oft interred with their bones, so let it be with Caesar.”  In Georges’ case, it seems almost exactly the opposite (his family cried and forgave him all his sins), except that I plan here to write the good, the bad, the ugly, and try to put it all in the context of the world that I think made him who and what he was, and how he and I, as unlike as any two people could be, in so many ways have travelled along similar and parallel paths…rather lonely, difficult paths in fact….

You see, Georges and I both became, in very distinctive ways, victims of American injustice and oppression and the corruption of the American government in the “land of the free.”  We were both deprived of our rights.  We were both made to seem less that ordinary worthy citizens, and we suffered from these unconstitutional offenses against us, as did our country which inflicted these offenses…

First I should quote what my son Charlie, born August 23, 1992 under windows taped with St. Andrews Crosses at St. Mary’s Hospital “Birth Place” in Palm Beach, Florida, during the early landfall of Hurricane Andrews, wrote about his Uncle—(The Following Paragraphs are Charlie’s epitaph for his uncle):

CEL IV: To me, to my mother, to his own mother, and to his wife and friends, Georges Kourembanas was a Great Man, he lived a life that in some ways was extraordinary, eccentric, perhaps unenviable, but many, including some who never met him, would agree that there was something Great about his heart and soul as well as his body—his physical strength.  His mother was my maternal grandmother, Neonina (aka “Nina”) Kourembanas.

One of the dearest of all God’s Saints to me is Saint George.   I grew up reading my Father’s English stories of St. George and the Dragon under the white and red flag of England, but St. George was also the Patron Saint of my mother’s native Greece with its universally recognized blue and white flag, but also of Aragon, thus triangulating Europe (and my parents’ lives—my mother from Greece, my father of Anglo-American heritage, but they met in Mexico, speaking Spanish).   One of the few things my parents ever agreed on was to celebrate St. George’s Day on April 23, and we used to go to Saint George’s Church on St. Charles Avenue in New Orleans, where there were dragonslayer windows made and set by George Comfort Tiffany (damaged but not destroyed in Hurricane Katrina, 2005).

My Uncle Georges, had a traditional Orthodox Greek icon of Saint George in his room above his bed.  One of my earliest memories with Georges was in the 90s when I went to a Karate Tournament.  I won by tapping my opponents head, Georges remembered that very well and reminded it to me many times; I imagine he was proud as he himself was a boxer who won “golden gloves” in several tournaments (he told me this when I was in Cancun during the summer of 2007).

If I were to describe my uncle Georges in one word it would be that which he told me ran in our blood, Spartan.

Beside mere physical ability strength Georges was one of the kindest men I have ever met, he would often tell me that he loved me with all his heart, and “Charlie I have a big heart.”

Together while spending the summer with Georges in Cancun during July and August of 2007 he decided to train me in body building for he was one of best bodybuilders in the world. During the 80s he was awarded Mr. Michigan three times consequently he went to Greece and became Mr. Greece then in the Mr Universe competition which he won 8th place at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Georges Kourembanas was born in the Kingdom of Greece, son of an Orthodox Priest who married a model, so an unlikely start for a champion body builder. His Mother and Father immigrated to the United States in 1970 foreseeing the downfall of the Dictatorship of Papadoupoulous, and meeting up with George’s maternal Uncle John Samohin and George’s maternal Grandmother in Detroit, bringing both of Georges’ young sister, my mother Elena, with them (my aunt Alex was born in Detroit in 1973).

In the summer of 1974, after Georges had already started working out at the original PowerHouse Gym on Woodward St. in Detroit,  Georges went to Greece to visit with his parents and little sister Elena; there he witnessed the commotion in the streets of Athens during the Turkish invasion of Cyprus.

By 1980 Georges won “golden gloves” in boxing, having already won 1977 Teen Mr. Highlands 4th Place, and several other teen bodybuilding awards.  After graduating from High School George went to Wayne State University in Detroit. In 1981 Georges won Mr. Michigan, then in 1982 he was awarded Mr. Michigan Most Muscular, and then in 1983 he won 1st place Tall Mr. Michigan.

Since Georges was born in Greece, and could was not eligible to compete for the American title Mr. USA, so he went back to Greece to become Mr. Greece and to represent Greece in the 1984 Mr. Universe tournament in Las Vegas at Caesar’s Palace, where he took eighth place.

In 1984 Georges and his family suffered the loss of his Father, Panagiotis (aka “Peter”) Kourembanas; who was a Greek Orthodox Priest and fell of a heart attack while delivering the Good Friday Sermon in Toronto, Canada (Detroit and Toronto form part of the same Orthodox Diocese, or at least they did back then).

Georges by this time had already come to be known as ‘The Greek’ in many parts of Detroit. He met his future wife Lisa Ann Cook in 1983/4.  She was a beauty queen and a body builder herself—they were quite a striking couple.

Like so many athletes, I’m afraid that my uncle succumbed to the temptation of “enhancement” drugs, i.e., steroids, and unfortunately for him this led to other kinds of “substance abuse” with consequences I think my father will write more about below.  Drugs are apparently sold on credit—but since repossession of collateral to users is rarely an option, collection techniques tend to be significantly more than dunning letters followed by notices of default and acceleration.

In connection with one deal gone bad, Georges was shot on Valentine’s Day, February 14, 1990, in the head through the ear, a bullet that he would carry with him to his death, and while still conscious he protected himself, left the area in his 1987 Camaro, and instead of going to the hospital right away he drove, with blood squirting out of head, to Lisa under the impression that he was going to die. When Lisa saw him she convinced him to go to the hospital where he spent about a week not knowing wheather he would survive or not. By the Grace/Protection of God Georges said he survived.

Georges was shot again in Austin on Christmas morning 1990—he carried some of the bullets he got on those two occasions to his grave, but God had other plans for him than to die a victim of crime.  Instead, Georges died a victim of injustice, American injustice, and that’s where my father is going to take over and write the rest of this.  I can say very little more, except that my whole family have cried every night since he died, and I have lost one of my best friends, one of the few people who remained loyal both to my Father and Mother (along with his wife Lisa) during their long divorce and fighting.

CEL III: I confess that there was a time when I felt my brother in law was a terrible burden, an imposition, a weight sinking my life which I could not bear.  I blamed my wife and mother-in-law for what I called their “Co-Dependence” on Georges during his steroid abuse and crack-cocaine addiction years.  Today as we all remember him, I will try to forget the bitterness that I once felt—the unjust accusations I once made that he was the breaking factor in my marriage to Elena—because it was obviously our fault and no one else’s—oh well, perhaps some fault can be laid at the doors of “the system”, some of its judicial officers and agents, and particularly one false and treacherous Hungarian archaeologist ex-friend of mine, perhaps they were to blame also, but not Georges—Georges was true blue—flawed but stained if by anything then only with his own blood, and his own human frailty—yes, frailty, for all that he was strong enough to tear phonebooks apart.

Most of the substances which constitute modern illegal drugs have been known to man since the dawn of time….at least since the beginning of civilization. Some modern drugs, like “LSD” the favorite of so many young people in the 1960s-70s, and “Crack”–the synthetic form of Cocaine which became popular in the 1980s, and to which Georges eventually became addicted, are artificial, but clearly the need for mind-numbing intoxicants and poisons is one of the “discontents” of civilization to which Sigmund Freud so often referred.

In Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World”, a substance called “Soma” was rationed out to all people liberally—without any of the side effects of alcohol or other drugs.  The importance of drugs to the 19th century British Empire is epitomized by the “Opium Wars” which forced drugs on an isolationist China.  The importance of drugs to the 20th century American Empire is punctuated by the events of 1919, during which year the United States acquired the patent for Heroin and Bayer Aspirin from Germany as part of the Treaty of Versailles, at the same time that the United States passed the 18th Amendment imposing the Prohibition so definitive of the 1920s, and the origins of both organized crime and the earliest formation of a Federal Police State in the United States of America.  There are those who say that William Randolph Hearst was responsible for making George Washington’s favorite crop—Cannabis Sativa illegal in the 1930s to protect his own interest in synthetic fiber ropes, but the true beneficiaries of the suppression of marijuana were each and every police department and above all the FBI, DEA, and ATF organs of the Federal government, which grew and maximized their power with every new “commercial” regulation of drugs in violation of the constitutional liberties of the people.

Psychoactive or narcotic drugs have been used throughout history, and alcohol is still used without prescription to this day.  So I have asked myself, since I was a small child, how is it that opium aristocratically inspired so many poets and other historical figures from Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius to Cardinal Richlieu, as well as Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Charles Dickens, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and Edgar Allen Poe only to become an abomination forbidden by law in modern times….all over the Americas and Europe….

The reason to me is obvious: government cannot thrive except by forbidding and monopolizing that which people crave.  The earliest example of this in the history of the United States is the play of righteous emotions similar to those I confessed, at the start of this post, to feel about my brother-in-law Georges: envy and resentment of what others have.  The War Between the States in the years 1861-1865 was about many things, but one of them was the envy and resentment of the Northern Whites who prided themselves on hard work and self-sacrifice against the more indulgent, hedonistic, and languid slave-owners of the Southern white world.

The 13th Amendment forbade slavery or involuntary servitude, “except as a punishment for crime”—and from the day of Lee’s surrender at Appomattox until the present day, the prison population of the United States of America has grown until it is the largest in the world (relative to the population of the country as a whole) and the absolute number of incarcerated, paroled and otherwise judicially restrained black people now exceeds the number of African-American slaves in 1860 (and the number of white prisoners, parolees, and probationers exceeds the entire population of the American Colonies in 1776).

Three years before the secession of South Carolina on December 20 1860 through the secession of Texas on February 1, 1861, the United States Supreme Court, per Chief Justice Taney, handed down a significant decision in a case called Scott v. Sanford (1857) which decided, among many other things, that one state could not declare to be illegal a form of property which was legal in others, as a matter of comity, due process of law, and many other reasons.  The “due process” reasoning of Chief Justice Taney’s opinion in “the Dred Scott” case is still worth reading, although the memory of the 19th century’s most deadly and devastating war, three constitutional amendments, and many generations of civil rights litigation have otherwised tarnished the memory of the only U.S. Supreme Court case which can ever be said to have had an effect more disastrous than the Judgment of Paris….

So the thirteenth amendment abolished slavery or involuntary servitude EXCEPT AS A PUNISHMENT FOR CRIME, and all of a sudden, the U.S. Criminal Codes started to expand exponentially—because civilized society will apparently not exist without slaves.  Having abolished one species of private property by war and constitutional amendment, the United States Government in the 20th Century started to regulate all manner of commerce and private property, which caused much unhappy spinning in the graves of the Founding Fathers.  Worst of all, the 1920s saw the triumph of the First Prohibition, in which the constitution was amended to forbid the sale of alcohol.  Having proved to be the worst experiment in the moralistic legislative history of the human race, Prohibition of Alcoholic Liquors was repealed in December  of 1933, but it was almost immediately replaced by utterly unconstitutional restraints on drugs such as cannabis sativa, cocaine, opium, and all their derivatives.  The “commerce clause” justification for the federal regulation of drugs is a farce, one of the cruelest hoaxes ever played on a free people, but to explain why no American Patriot would ever suggest that George Washington should have ploughed under his profitable “rope” crop would just be to go too far astray from this story, which is still about my brother-in-law, Georges Kourembanas.

The bottom line, to my mind, is that Government wanted to expand its power, and Government DID expand its power, by controlling what people have always naturally desired and craved: narcotic and psychoactive drugs.  The “War on Drugs”, since the phrase was coined by New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller in an attempt to fill the prisons of his state and build more, but especially since this “War” was adopted by Richard Nixon whose advisors told him not merely to make “detente” with Communist China, but also to start emulating its policies of mass incarceration, has operated as one of the largest slavery-cum-corporate welfare programs in the history of the world.  Vast numbers of unemployed youths, skillful middle-aged businessmen, and entrepreneurs of every kind have, since about 1966, been swept into prison through coerced plea agreements engineered by a cabal of licensed attorneys and the judges who love and control them together with the corporate franchises which fund all of them, and between 1-2% of the American population is now locked into slavery from which escape is much less likely, and emancipation much more stringently regulated, than Antebellum slavery ever was in the South.

Computers mean that tracking of “escaped slaves” is much more certain and recapture much more likely than it ever was in the days of the “underground railroad”—and of course, all middle class whites, Northern and Southern, Eastern and Western, rejoice in the burgeoning population of the prisons until they or their relatives end up in the trap—at which time it’s just “too bad, so sad” that the privileged middle class population never learned that “none can be free until all are free.”

White America loves the “war on drugs” and the explosion of prison population which has accompanied it.  African and Hispanic Americans can be disproportionately incarcerated for the most trivial crimes, and the most uppity and enterprising white people are likewise incarcerated or threatened with incarceration whenever they get to “uppity” and/or “big for their britches”—unless of course, they are part of the truly immunized elite inner circle.  Entrepreneurial spirit and individual initiative rot in prisons—but corporate values flourished and corporate subservience is instilled in prison, in case you missed the lessons or ignored them in U.S. Elementary-High School (or for that matter in British schools whether portrayed by Dickens or in Pink Floyd’s “The Wall”).  Every indication is that President Barack Hussein Obama fully intends to crush every relic of American freedom that exists, and enforce a rigid conformity to his plans by ever expanding the powers of government through Homeland Security and more and more prisons, private and/or public. Guantanamo will eventually be closed, of course, and replaced by prisons inside the U.S. where indefinite detention without trial will be permitted and the Writ of Habeas Corpus lost forever.

But this is the unjust world reality which trapped and destroyed Georges Kourembanas during the years 1990-2000 and, more than any other single factor, caused his death in exile, however luxurious, in Cancun, Quintana Roo, Mexico on January 22, 2010.

You see, Georges, as noted above, was not born in the United States.  He was accepted and respected as an American in Michigan for years, as so many immigrants have been.  But Georges never gave up his Greek passport—he was content with a “Green Card” (as was his sister, my wife, throughout our marriage—although since our separation she has apparently gotten a Blue American Passport and given up her Democratia Hellinika-E.C. Diabaterio which I always thought was so neat….).  Well, at the very least, she’s voting now…..I’m not quite sure about all that….but I digress…

Georges Kourembanas was (unsurprisingly) arrested several times during his years “under the influence.”  In this he differed little from another fellow named George who just happened to be governor of Texas in 1999.  Aside from the natural class-based consequences of having an Orthodox Priest rather than a U.N. Ambassador and CIA Director for a Father, Georges Kourembanas’ life was little less accomplished than George W. Bush’s.  But as George W. Bush was riding on the modern American prison-based slave-ocracy and its attendant envies and corruptions, Georges Kourembanas was arrested and the government of his adopted land sought his deportation.   There is no “exile” for American citizens who misbehave, but there is deportation for legal residents who do the same or less.  Literally HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS bordering on MILLIONS of Hispanics are imprisoned throughout the United States for nothing much more than job hunting and maybe then getting drunk (and stopped) on a Saturday night.

I have often said that if Mexico were to imprison rowdy Americans in Cancun, Acapulco, and Mazatlan at the same rate that Mexicans are rounded up in the United States, that the United States would invade Mexico and bring about the North American Union immediately, without further delay or debate.  I also think to myself that there is no real contradiction between building a big prison-like unescapable/uncrossable fence along the Mexican border and proposed a North American Union, because the corporate powers of the United States would like nothing better than to convert Mexico into one gigantic prison-labor camp from which workers could be employed or removed as market conditions should necessitate.  If the politicians of Mexico had any pride….things would be different, but they are mostly former employees of American Corporations such as Coca-Cola, so it hardly matters.

“Moral Turpitude” is what makes people like Georges Kourembanas deportable.  “Moral Turpitude” is a concept as amorphous as “original sin” which Immigration Courts use to send “undesirables” back from whence they came.  Was Georges Kourembanas less desirable than George W. Bush?  In my opinion, and probably in the opinion of hundreds of thousands of widows and orphans around the world at least from Iraq-to Afghanistan, there is really no comparison or competition at all.  Georges Kourembanas as a man who loves his women, loves, his dogs, and loved his liquor, and never hurt anyone.  “No one died when Clinton lied” was one of my favorite Bush-era bumper-stickers.

Georges family—my in-laws—took good care of him at the same time that they shunned me as my marriage to his sister resolved itself into a dew.  Care packages and love and visits flowed from Austin to Athens during the early 2000s after Georges took “voluntary departure” instead of deportation—he could have contested deportation but he would have stayed in jail for God knows how long while he did, and he was never convicted of anything which the Greek authorities thought worthy of note.  After a year or so in Athens Georges eventually settled in a Lemon grove amid olive and fig trees on a little island in the Aegean.  He lived there with Lena his mistress while his wife Lisa and his mother and sister and even my son visited him de temps en temps.

I am sure he was lonely and bored living there in a fruit orchard, but his family took care of him, so he never had to work, and I did envy him his existence no end.  I lived along during the years 2002-2007, but I talked to Georges’ American wife Lisa—sometimes almost daily, sometimes only once a week, recently (especially since I left Texas in 2007) not quite so often.  But Georges and Lisa talked to me and helped me keep up with news about my son when the truly criminal state domestic relations courts of Williamson County, Texas, took my son away from me.  So I got to know Georges better and talked to him more often by telephone during those years than I ever had when he lived in the United States.  And yes, Georges was a very kind, good, and big-hearted man, and he always assured me that my son loved me and missed me—and he was obviously telling me the truth.

His wife Lisa?  Well, I have often written that Georges and Lisa were like Tristan and Isolde—always separated, always longing for each other.  Lisa was the ideal loyal and patient wife, in every way tolerant of Georges and his needs (including his need for a permanent female companion on the other side of the Atlantic).  In spite of the situational peculiarities, I think that they really did love each other on an epic, Wagnerian level which few can understand.  Lisa supported Georges, assisted occasionally by my wife Elena and her mother Nina, not so much by any of the other Greek relatives on this side of the Atlantic, except possibly for Tia Maria whom I only met a few times at her home in Jackson Heights, Queens, New York City.  Lisa, like Georges, had a huge heart, great compassion and almost boundless love, at the same time that she became physically weak due to breast-implant poisoning caused by Dow Pharmaceauticals.  She was as much a victim of the American Corporate love-hate affair with drugs, in that sense, as Georges himself.  But Lisa was my true and steadfast friend and through her love for Georges I came to care for my brother-in-law more than I ever dreamed I could have.  My wife Elena always resents the fact that Lisa (alone among my in-laws) supported me in my quest for custody of my son, and she sometimes quotes hatefully and sarcastically how I called Lisa my “Rock of Gibraltar”, but I stand by my evaluation.  I know of no one truer and more loyal and steadfast than Lisa Ann Cook, and Georges was the luckiest man alive to have the love and generous acceptance and tolerance and support of such a wonderful woman, who never judged others but always tried to understand why those who inflicted harm on her might have done so.   In this, she was the truest of true Christians.

So Georges was strong, likable if not downright lovable, and yet he was caught up in currents of history which rendered his life difficult, a struggle, almost impossible.  He was “a man without a country”—never quite American enough to give up his Greek passport while he was living here throughout the nearly thirty years from 1970-1999.  Georges Kourembanas was a three-time “Mr. Michigan” (different awards) who represented Greece in the “Mr. Universe” competition in Las Vegas, Nevada.  He was determined to be a morally turpitudinous undesirable by the same government which created first the demand for drugs and then the war against drugs as a means of maximizing governmental power and control over the population at large.

Was America made any safer or more morally upstanding by deporting my brother-in-law?  No, definitely not—America became poorer and probably more dangerous—indeed, almost certainly more dangerous, because every person removed against his will is another person whose destroyed life is a feather-in-the cap of brutal authoritarianism in America.

Several members of my family-in-law feel so very sad and guilty that they did not do more for Georges during his lifetime.  My main suggestion that may have improved his life was that he relocated from Greece to Cancun, and was closer to his family during the last several years of his life as a consequence.  I made this suggestion because almost as completely as the United States as George’s adopted homeland, Mexico era durante muchos anos mi segunda Patria, aun mas que Inglaterra—Mexico was the land of more of my young adulthood life, dreams and ambitions than any other, and I figured that George could benefit from the amazing Caribbean winds and waters of Northern Quintana Roo.   I had intended to spend at least half of time with Georges in Cancun (en mi Mexico lindo y querido), but for several reasons that never happened.  I am happy to say that my son Charlie, whose first trips outside the U.S. were to Yucatan and Quintana Roo Mexico as a baby, toddler, and elementary schoolboy, was able to spend one summer with George in 2007—even though the purpose at that time was to make sure that Charlie spent as little time in contact with me as humanly possible….

One of the reasons, of course, that I was lacking in funds to spend half of my time in Mexico during the first decade of the Third Millenium Anno Domini was the troubles I had during these same years with the same American government which oppressed my brother—yes, in that he was not just my brother in law, but my brother.   I too had to struggle with charges of ridiculously trivial criminality (I never did drugs—at least I have never done them as a mature adult—that wasn’t my problem—I had plenty of others—when I was indicted (coincidentally in December 1999, shortly after Georges took his involuntary departure) my pre-trial release officer finally stopped giving me the degrading urine tests because they were just pointless).

I too had to struggle with questions of moral turpitude and the significance of such charges for my professional life.  I had had such a fine education and opportunities unparalleled in most people’s lives.  I was very lucky.  But in 1997 I had stood up to the system and sued my local police department for not one but 7-9 instances of police brutality, corruption, and civil rights violations.  And at that point, all-of-a-sudden, my previously essentially dull and blameless life became “morally turpitudinous” and I became in the eyes of many critics an “incompetent attorney.”

So if Georges Kourembanas can hear me—if he had a coin for the Ferryman Charon and has thus crossed the River Styx—or if he is standing somewhere in the upper levels of limbo or purgatory, I hope he will hear my apology for my hypocrisy in criticizing him, in thinking myself superior to him, in believing that my education was in any way superior to his physical strength and good heart (even though his physical heart finally gave out on him, much too soon).  I apologize to him that I could introduce him to the Quintana Roo and Yucatan and Mexico and Belize that I know and love, because I think it would have made his last few years so much better than just hanging around the beach and hotel zone of Cancun.  He and I were both victims of some of the very same authoritarian and repressive forces in the United States in Texas which reached their political apogee in the years after 1993-6.  He and I were both victims of the streamlining and mass production of criminal prosecutions in the United States which all have, as Ayn Rand predicted so many years ago, the sole purpose of rendering us all “criminals” just waiting to be arrested here “in the land of the free” or any of the formerly freedom-loving countries of Europe or the Americas.

Georges and I are also victims of some of the same personal and familial situations.  Now in his epitaph I will not speculate here on what any members of his family could have done for him that they did not, because all I know for sure is that they loved him more than me, so very much more, in spite of all his flaws, and since he was blood, I suppose I can forgive them that.   But in the midst of all that I think he was ten times blessed to have Lisa as his wife and lifetime companion and supporter.   The bottom line is that our two lives, so different, as that of my late brother-in-law and my own, were actually parallel in terms of the circumstances of our “exile” from society.  I still envy him for all the love he enjoyed, and up to a point, I even envy him his early death in Mexico.  Sometimes I wish that I had died, when I had the chance, ten years ago in Egypt.  But I apparently had a purpose to live, and for that reason I do continue to live, and breath, and fight, and remember the pointless injuries done to Georges, my brother-in-law, my brother-in-suffering, and my brother-in-the sometimes loneliness of exile.

July 9th 2009—Today in History—the Cross of Gold

Today was a good day for the Declaration of Independence in the Military, but a bad day for Supreme Court Justices Benjamin Cardozo and Earl Warren, but the most interesting anniversary was William Jennings Bryan’s “Cross of Gold” Speech delivered in 1896.  Few keynote addresses at national political conventions were ever more memorable or more relevant to the history of the populist decline of the United States.  William Jennings Bryan advocated abandoning the Gold Standard as a three-time Presidential Candidate, so it is probably not coincidental that he became Secretary of State under Woodrow Wilson and then and there part of the government which implemented the Federal Reserve Bank and under which the Income Tax was established.  “Progressive Populism” under Bryan was clearly the forerunner to “New Deal Socialism” under Franklin D. Roosevelt and Henry Agard Wallace—and proves that no matter how eloquent or persuasive an orator may be, it is important to remember that ANY argument to subvert the constitution (e.g. by abandonment of the Gold Standard) is a step away from the most rational and solvent democratic-republic in history, which was the Early United States.

Today in History — Thursday, July 9 (Tom Hanks)

The Associated Press

Today is Thursday, July 9, the 190th day of 2009. There are 175 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On July 9, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was read aloud to Gen. George Washington’s troops in New York.

On this date:

In 1540, England’s King Henry VIII had his 6-month-old marriage to his fourth wife, Anne of Cleves, annulled.

In 1816, Argentina declared independence from Spain.

In 1850, the 12th president of the United States, Zachary Taylor, died after serving only 16 months of his term. (He was succeeded by Millard Fillmore.)

In 1896, William Jennings Bryan delivered his famous “cross of gold” speech at the Democratic national convention in Chicago.

In 1918, 101 people were killed in a train collision in Nashville, Tenn. The Distinguished Service Cross was established by an Act of Congress.

In 1938, Supreme Court Justice Benjamin Cardozo died in Port Chester, N.Y., at age 68.

In 1947, the engagement of Britain’s Princess Elizabeth to Lt. Philip Mountbatten was announced.

In 1951, President Harry S. Truman asked Congress to formally end the state of war between the United States and Germany.

In 1974, former U.S. Chief Justice Earl Warren died in Washington at age 83.

In 1982, a Pan Am Boeing 727 crashed in Kenner, La., killing all 145 people aboard and eight people on the ground.

Ten years ago: A jury in Los Angeles ordered General Motors Corp. to pay $4.9 billion to six people severely burned when their Chevrolet Malibu exploded in flames in a rear-end collision. (A judge later reduced the punitive damages to $1.09 billion, while letting stand $107 million in compensatory damages; GM settled the lawsuit in July 2003 for an undisclosed amount.)

Five years ago: A Senate Intelligence Committee report concluded the CIA had provided unfounded assessments of the threat posed by Iraq that the Bush administration had relied on to justify going to war. The International Court of Justice ruled that Israel’s planned security barrier in the West Bank violated international law. Paul Klebnikov, the American editor of Forbes magazine’s Russian edition, was gunned down near his Moscow office. Actress Isabel Sanford died in Los Angeles at age 86.

One year ago: Prosecutors cleared JonBenet Ramsey’s parents and brother in the 1996 killing of the 6-year-old beauty queen in Boulder, Colo. Massachusetts Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, battling a brain tumor, walked into the Senate to cast a dramatic vote in favor of long-stalled Medicare legislation. Iran test-fired nine missiles, including ones capable of hitting Israel. Gunmen stormed a guard post at the U.S. consulate in Istanbul, touching off a firefight that killed three police officers and three assailants.

Today’s Birthdays: Actor-singer Ed Ames is 82. Actor James Hampton is 73. Actor Brian Dennehy is 71.

Actor Richard Roundtree is 67. Author Dean Koontz is 64. NFL Hall of Famer and (finally) connvicted felon O.J. Simpson is 62.

Actor Chris Cooper is 58. TV personality John Tesh is 57. Country singer David Ball is 56. R&B singer Debbie Sledge (Sister Sledge) is 55. Actor Jimmy Smits is 54. Actress Lisa Banes is 54. Actor Tom Hanks is 53. Singer Marc Almond is 52. Actress Kelly McGillis is 52. Rock singer Jim Kerr (Simple Minds) is 50.

Actress-rock singer Courtney Love is 45. Rock musician Frank Bello (Anthrax) is 44. Actor David O’Hara is 44. Rock musician Xavier Muriel (Buckcherry) is 41.

Actor Scott Grimes is 38. Actor Enrique Murciano is 36. Rock musician Dan Estrin (Hoobastank) is 33. Actor-director Fred Savage is 33. Country musician Pat Allingham is 31.

Actress Megan Parlen is 29. R&B singer Kiely Williams (3lw) is 23. Actor Mitchel Musso is 18. Actress Georgie Henley (“The Chronicles of Narnia” films) is 14.

Thought for Today: “Invest in the human soul. Who knows, it might be a diamond in the rough.” — Mary McLeod Bethune, American educator and reformer (1875-1955).