Friday, August 10, 2007

The Fugitive Slave Act, Governing from the 'Political Middle' and Modern Constitutional Rights

In American today, we are seeing a rise in the black middle class as never before.

Its a good thing and its reflected in both the culture, the neighbors, the schools and even in the amount of ads beamed at us from Madison Avenue with good looking upper middle class
black folk buying all kinds of things from Cialis to retirement investments to cars to

Given the all too obvious income of those African American sports and and entertainment and main line professionals who are making bank, [and we're not going to mention Opra and the Hip Hop masters....]

American blacks are seeing income levels that they have never seen before in this nation's history as a whole.

Again, this is a good thing and many are very much deserving of the same and all americans need more understanding on just how long the african american middle class were made to wait for anything approaching true equality to come and arrive on their doorsteps...

There are many contributing factors... and others can speak of the same and hopefully others are far better and capable to speak of such things among the african american culture.

This is not to say there are NOT still major imbalances in the numbers of poor and sick and imprisoned blacks in America and this is still something that our country even today has to reckon with and begin to see better as a system legacy of all that has gone before.

The answer is not necessarily more government programs and more aid and more everything easy...or slogan....

That era has come and all likelihood...

But, the fact remains there systemic deep institutionalized issues that still exist within this present culture and in our collective soul, no matter how much we white men glaze over when viewing a picture of Halle Berry or Beyonce ...and/or no matter how many white young women date available black young guys...

[and how every straight guy in america including myself still dreams of a date w/ Tiara Banks...]
and we all listen to the original blues and soul and rock n roll music, as we have been doing for at least three entire generations now...

The real thing has something to do with the way we view our legal culture and our legal system and the very founding document of this nation and what serious federal policy that historically was made based upon the same.

The Founder's faith was in democratic freedoms and democratic processes and in an open and free society, supposedly.

However, we all know that is not exactly how the blacks and african american usually derived and /or were treated and how they were subjected to legal aparthied in the United States.

What is clear, the role of the American Courts and those in every sector of this nation, both southern and northern were active and insistent on maintaining the federal view of the constitution as it existed for over 80 years prior to the Civil War and for many years, even after that era's reconstruction took place and the Reconstruction Era Amendments were put into place.

Our great Fourteenth Amendment which was derived in the reconstruction era was created out of a philosophical deep debate that originated in the 1850's if not slightly before, on how to reconcile the American founding document with that of the reality of the U.S. Supreme Court's
views and that of many legal views espoused even in northern states, like Ohio's Supreme Court decision which treated african americans both as inferior and/or subject to the "laws of comity"
which meant, the law of the southern slave power as opposed and when confronted within a legal challenge or clash with the northern 'free soil' ideals.

The north did not condone outright slavery and it did not expressly permit slavery for the most part of its existence and the Northwest Territory was unique in its origins in that it specifically and expressly so legally barred slavery in the Northwest Territory in its founding
document, called the Northwest Ordinance, which expressly prohibited segregation in schools and other public endeavors.

This philosophy clashed with the southern and most legal philosophy of the day that held, that the U.S. constitution as a founding document not only permitted slavery in the southern states and colonies, it actually condoned and made specific political provision for the same.

Hence the 3/5 clause and the various compacts made between the north and the south in allowing "in" new states as the country grew, both west and north, and south, if not in Texas

Moving thru modern [last 200 hundred years] of American history in a too rapid manner and forgetting the lessons of this great nation hard fought and hard earned lessons, with dealing w/race and serious historical views of how Americans viewed the question of skin color, freedom and human rights and labor issues as a whole, is an incredible journey for any student or citizen of this nation to undertake and it ought to be done, often and more in depth.

However, moving forward thru much of the early debates over slavery , the basic issues then came to a head thru several critical major public or social and legal 'events'; the compromise of 1850 in admitting certain states as slave to the northern states as 'free', the publication of
Uncle Tom's Cabin, the first massively popular great american novel, the immediate history of the "annexation issue of Texas" and the proxy war of America, in Kansas, between the southern slave owners and that of the radical abolitionists and free soilers which became a build up to and part fuel line for the national war between the states that would follow;

But among these are the major Supreme Court decisions like Plessy v. Ferguson which upheld the notion that blacks are not fully human in the sense of being free and being equal and being thus full citizens under the Constitution.

But most important, were the concomitant issues of the northern Black Codes, which Ohio followed closely up thru the start of the civil war and the legal "comity" that Northern federal courts provided to the southern "slave power" or the 'economic interests' of the southern legal culture; mainly the enforcement clauses of the Fugitive Slave Laws of America.

These fugitive laws more than any other thing, bound the nation in extremely personal and express legal terms to the notion that slavery was an American policy derived from its founding source of federal law.

The south was in power from 1800 to 1850 inside the White House, with few exceptions in the very early years, with the Adams presidencies.

But the American democracy 's experiment was headed mainly during its first 80 years, inside a white house and a congress which reflected the lawful view that the Constitution did NOT prohibit discrimination in terms of race and actually condoned the enslavement of millions of human beings in a sweltering southern heated barrel of constitutional compromise and
legal bondage.

What did the North do about such lawful exercise of legal entombment and permitted enslavement of an entire race of people?

As some spoke out vehemently about the same and while many sacrificed their careers and began to make others become aware of the insensitivity and moral and complex political issues wrapped up in side of the slave question of America and its constitutional moral gaping hole,
the courts and in particular the federal courts and its U.S marshals were very compliant with the national code and the national supreme court's view that the slavery laws and the laws of property in the slaves must out of "comity" swing and flow from the southern point of view, and NOT from the north to the south.

In other words, the legal establishment of American and particularly the federal courts of American for its first 80 years strongly sided, when the issue was openly presented to them on whether the northern 'free soil' ideal or the southern slave law and order ideal would prevail[and this was not always so frequent as one would have imagined] ...but when it was, the federal courts of the North acted in the SAME exact manner, as any deep southern slave owner [and powerful corporate ceo today] would expect them to act;

[...just as the Robber Barrons of the latter 19th century came to expect similar favorable treatment from the federal courts, to act, including the Supreme Court itself, in their best interests as opposed to the masses or to the individual notion of civil rights under the 14th Amendment, in the post Civil War/Post Reconstruction Era.]

In fact, the U.S. Supreme Court led the charge oftentimes in such instances, since most of the chief justices on the Supreme Court were direct presidential appointees and thus, southern leaning if not southerners themselves or from border states with such sympathies...

Yet, nothing brought this notion home to northerners and even many antislavery or at least free soiler northerners [who hated slavery for economic reasons] perhaps more than anything was the passage of the Second Fugitive Slave acts passed after 1850, within the decade of Lincoln's election and the start of the civil war.

What happened in this historical congressional issued legislation was the political power of the South was welded to the national political will and soul by virtue of many moderate northern politicians, making political compromise with those in the south who feared their "peculiar" institution was in constant need of political support and ever expanding legal structure and affirmance, if not outright justification.

With the Fugitive Slave Acts, Americans everywhere, North and South were bound legally to the iron will of the southern powerful economic interests

So as a result of "ruling from" the 'great middle ground' of Washington's political postulate of compromise, [... an idea a hundred and fifty years old as it is "new" today, according to many... ]

The entire nation, north and south, by federal law were required to legally enforce as co contributors, if not co-conspirators, be they agreed or not, with the particularly disdainful view that blacks were not fully human, if human at all.

Such compromise was perceived at the time to be also, 'only most reasonable' and most 'humane' its proponents presented it, and these Acts were passed in the "great interest of preserving the great bond" of the "free portion of the united states..."

[this in turn drove many an abolitionist in the north to hope for succession, the north from the south...that is...]

Onto the Northern US Federal Courts; No Light Here: The Unique Masked History of the Northern United States District Courts on Human Freedom: Enforcing the Unacceptable, & Making Binding the Southern & the Unimaginable

What is amazing today, when we take another historical view of this dark legal history
of America's federal courts, is this federal law, was NOT contained nor limited in its reach or scope to the South by any federal court in the north.

This law was passed by congress in open society with and among intelligent men who saw race and slavery as something subject to the constitutional definition and limits as they then viewed the constitution and the founder's documented express 'approval' of the same.

But as the debate grew stronger and the moral question for the entire nation, including the South grew deeper, Congress and the Supreme Court itself along with its dutiful 'rule of law' satelities, at the federal district court level, become more and more reactionary and more and more repressive; instead of leading the national moral curve of the United States and its 'free thinkers' like Emerson, Thoreau and Garrison, Weld and Douglass, it retarded them, most often and quite expressly.

Instead, the dictates of the courts took their lead from Calhoun of South Carolina and many other "serious" old slave masters who promoted not only the notion of American slavery but the serious racists philosophy and legal notion that race was a dividing line in terms of human nature itself and that laws must be obeyed which ensured, that America's 'best interests' were served best by accommodation and "compromising middle" of the nation.

The various significant federal court cases of Anthony Burns in Boston and some others in places like Cleveland, in the northern federal court of Ohio, were significant battle grounds where the federal government, late in the day of the deepening moral and constitutional crises of America was decidedly coming down in favor on the side of power, of concentrated wealth and the elite class of americans who favored "law and order" and southern 'slave power' over that of disunion and disruption and northern 'trouble makers'...

What this says about the federal courts constituting the moral fiber of the founding years of the historical Article III courts is something both historians and perhaps, even today's federal courts have yet to come to full terms with;

Their history is simply not that great in either Ohio or Boston, much less Louisianna, in the 1840's and 1850's.

And so much for having any federal Court in America actually lead the nation in terms of anything approaching historically moral and even most notably, anything close in terms of human liberty itself.

Sadly, this just isn't contained to the history of the laws of the federal courts of the first 90 years of this nation; even after the civil war, the highest legal precedent of the federal judiciary did NOT necessarily form into any kind of coherent true committment to a full understanding of contemplated human individual rights and freedom for the personhood of American citizens, as even the most timid disenfranchised follower of Garrison had done some fifty years prior.

[Courts are often in America, the last to really 'get it' and the first to flirt with disaster]

But then, we're getting beyond the fugitive slave acts and that era;

The fugitive slave laws held by federal law, black men and any black runaways [women, children and elderly too ] were to be treated not with the promise of freedom under the law by ANY court in American in 1850, including the North.

....with the enforcement of this slave law and its legal reality, created in the 'great middle grond of political compromise'

the same greatly increased the public debate of the crises in tone, if not practice.

Thus, the slave question became even more so, after the passage of the Fugitive Slave Acts which immediately preceded the Civil War, all done with the good intentions of 'ending the ground swell' of rising public anxiety over the very same issue.

These acts made it particular that it was a crime for northerners, any northerner to NOT assist the Southern powers that be, to find, locate and/or report such a free black person ...
anywhere in the north or one's travel's or simply on one's farm...

[today we would call it becoming a government informer status, ironically...

and one has to wonder who and where the third world and the modern era's great dictators GOT the notion to pass such universal 'laws' granting the national government the right to coerce citizens to inform on each other? America could have taught Hitler and Stalin a few things, if the technology of today, were available then....and oddly, its possible, if it were, we would perhaps, still may have slavery in form in this nation... ]

[... today, we only have to think of Bush's domestic spying program to think of some thing even remotely close the fugitive slave laws of 1850's...but these laws today, as massively intrusive and disturbing as they are, still fall seriously short of what these fugitive slaw laws really provided for and what our northern federal courts enforced at times, to 'the letter of the law'... ]

Under the second set of Fugitive Slave laws, Americans were to inform on the whereabouts of a runaway and/or the location of any one who is holding such a person and/or any information about whether one ought to provide such information to one's local Marshall and/or U.S service or local sheriff.

Imagine, America was first a nation of informants well before it was a nation of a totally free society, in the EYES OF FEDERAL COURTS NORTH AND SOUTH in accordance with FEDERAL LAWS OF AMERICA.

This law was in fact enforced at times also and it led to tremendous public outcry and even some near rioting as it was applied in the north in terms of bringing "fugitives" to justice and their 'rightful and lawful' return to their deep south fates.

What the historical impact of this is yet to be fully vetted, even among historians today because the topic is one so embarrassing and so not politically correct or even 'appropriate' to speak of around northern federal court houses and lawyers and legal bar associations.

Everyone in the north wants to believe they were, "on the right side" of this greatest moral debate of this nation's history; this is simply ahistorical as it is complete as any legal fiction ever any was, including the very moral underpinnings of the fugitive slave acts in the first instance.

What is unique, even in the great "free" and ever growing wearisome of the southern-slave issue north....its political 'leaders' and party members continously gave the southern "powers" what they wanted, for decades right up to the very start of the civil war itself.

Compromises and speech after speech were made against the growing moribund institution of slavery through out the later 1840's and 1850's as the country grew more and more tense and anxiety filled over the question of law and constitutionality of slavery; but the answer was continiously cast by the political leaders of one of compromise and great 'middle ground' and the 'power of keeping the union safe"...etc.etc..

In other words, even less than self convinced political leaders of the 1840s and 1850's of American, and among them some of the great names in U.S. history of political backgrounds, like Daniel Wesbter were seen in retrospect as floundering on the greatest moral principle of their days...precisely because they sought compromise w/ their southern counterparts and southern brethren to find a 'solution' to the 'damned' [as many literally came to viewed it then] national compromise the founders had placed the U.S. road to its date w/ destiny upon from the start.

What made the country come to blows was NOT so much the north wanted to 'teach the south as lesson' and /or that such a division could not have been avoided;

Instead, it was precisely due to the fact that so many compromises were made with an obvious moral evil and morally ambivalent constitutional and decidedly onesided legal view point that the nation was driven into a constitutional corner and 'bleeding ground'.

It was propelled there, as well, by the federal courts stubborn refusal to bend, not in the South, where such a culture and bias could be understood, but instead, in the northern federal courts, who often simply refused AT ALL to bend their ears and listen to the great moral and legal arguments beginning to be put forth against slavery as a CONSTITUTIONAL mandate;

[and all the public "suasion" that all major and minor abolitionist were raising and making a national debate and conversation happen over the single most important moral issue of its era.]

In this sense, the public and the advocates against slavery and some of the growing body of political leaders in the north who were being "awakened" to the sense that slavery was the direct result of such compromise in D.C. and in the Congressional halls of power to begin with,
were simply 'sent packing' by the federal courts and in often in local state courts following this notion, that the slave power's legal mandates and this public policy of this nation would and could not be changed or "ignored"...

I.e. since slavery was in a sense, given 'preference' in the very founding document, it was not to be 'touched' by the federal bench upon which its constant servicing depended more and more
as the nation grew more and more tired and disgusted with the Framer's compromise as a working political event and mechanism within the engine of American nationhood.

What does this have to say or tell us today? Some lessons can be gleamed and many more can be imagined and /or inferred if we just pause and try to understand for a moment what kind of consequences those in the congresses of the 1850's faced and how they responded either through "pragmatic" approaches and/or thru some idealistic fewer ones.

First, we must understand, its NOT always the best way to govern, is from 'the middle", as we hear so many today, say and repeat over and over as if they were at the "founding" themselves.

So many mainstream politicians today, constantly state, that "we have to govern from the great middle". Many political consultants and talking heads on TV have repeated this mantra in one form or another as if it were written in the Scriptures; but it is nowhere in the american founding and it is absolutely nowhere to be found in the great abolitionist debates of America.

But more importantly, what the Fugitive Slave laws and the historically compromised and embarrassing federal court precedent which flowed from the same, in places like Washington, Cleveland, Ohio and Boston clearly demonstrate is that if one wants to in times of national moral and serious crises to NOT be remembered in history and/or to be remembered for what it clearly in hindsight appears as idiocy and synchophancy if not worse, then one MUST not seek the "great compromise" on serious national issues of moral worth and a sense of intrinsic well being of the whole of the individual being treated as a true moral being and one which government must protect and regards as a sentient individual before their Creator.

In short, one must not always seek to appease the powers or the "present realities" in order to truly lead a nation or a movement and/or a legal system to recognize its serious moral and legal deficiencies.

Many will call one who is speaking strongly about such topics whatever they called the radical abolitionist of their day, what they did; lunatics, 'fringe elements', 'kooks', 'mudsill lovers' societies' wastes, etc.etc.

But in history, its those very abolitionists who not only come out looking like the modern progressives that every middle school child understands is the truthful and correct and normal way of looking at the world today, but it is also those who did the name calling that are relegated to the dust bin and sad dung hill of history, along with their stench that still reverberates thru
their talk of "great compromise in order to "save the union and our great political order of the day"

We also have to recall as a growing body of american middle class former 'minority only' citizens, that such a serious past history can and does provide us w/ ample warning that even in America, the very same national government can make and enforce laws , today in the name of
"practical political compromise" which are extremely detrimental to the fundamental individual rights espoused today by our american narrative and contrary to the spirit of the best human rights documents that have ever existed as a government in progress on earth.

Hence, the patriot act and the various repressive governmental immunities.

Dan Webster is only considered great today, because of his dictionary and decidedly not due to his timid views of political compromise with the slaveholders of his day.

Dan Webster was denounced openly and repeatedly and passionately smacked down constantly with any one who had an once of moral worth among the leading lights and public commentators of his day; Garrison decried his views as virtual "historical excrement", which
in deed, turned out to be extremely, prophetic.

But we don't hear much about Garrison yet, we tend to teach our school children about this great "Kentuckian who made great speeches"....

[or least we used to; in my school days..i'm not so sure today, if we hear ANYTHING about american history at all...]

Nonetheless, what we also have to realize is that today, our federal courts and our legal system can be just as blind to the major moral significance of a great national issue, today as it was in the antebellum america.

[This is NOT direted to the issue of abortion [only] many want to focus on the issue of Abortion as a purely legal and political question and for them this argument has it own relevance.]

What I am concerned with, is the notion that individual rights in American and those kinds of rights which the 14th Amendment brought into the 'reach' of every man and women in America are being serious discounted, if not outright attacked at times, inside the very same historical courts who seriously discounted the african american human being his.

It will be further stated in this blog and at the midwest center what we're trying to bring to light in making such comparisons and statements as those contained in this particular blog.

We hope we can engender a real, lively geniune, if not academic or historically accurate debate here. We do not profess all knowing status but we are informed and have a point of view.
Most important we believe in public discourse on such critical and timely topics is always a good thing.

We are seeking to educate, to create awareness and to raise the issue as the original abolitionists did about slavery; while understanding theirs was a singular issue at its head, but nonetheless, like ours todays, it also had many faces and many deep tenacles in the political, social, legal and cultural if not business cycles of their era.

So it is with the struggle for human rights today, both in the world at large, and unfortunately, still, very deeply so, in America.

This country which has had such high hopes and has been able to make believers in human freedom so much the common cause of every person, as an ideal, is still so lacking in allowing its people and many of its citizens to be able to simply realize the values and the reality of the legal promises contained in some of its most time honored and fundmental and most sacrosanct, if not blood washed laws and constitutional amendments.

WE will continue with this theme onto into American history and will explore why many historians, today and at the time, it was first adopted, [in the north anyways,] believe[d] the 14th Amendment became literally the second "birth of the nation" for the United States.

We have lived in the coming light of the same ever since, but particularly when within the modern era, we literally conceive of our freedoms and our basis birth rights as humans as containing the right to be free individuals and to think and act freely and we're so ready to go spread this same gospel of such broad human freedom into every sphere of our lives and around the entire world, as normative and something almost divinely inspired and presumed.

Why is this possible today to so conceive of such a modern view of human rights and individual freedom based principles?

Its not because we enslaved millions and then passed federal laws in congress and had federal judges for decades, in the north enforce the duty upon the white northerners to inform and participate at times, in the capture and legal return of the runaway slave; the very idea of giving ones' testimony to the federal authorities as a mandatory obligation [in the north as well as the south] was enshrined in the laws of this nations federal congressional and legal precedent, for at least seven to 10 years prior to the civil war.

This type of amazing legislative act contrary to the very most fundamental notions of what it means to be an individual free from undue and immoral government restraint was created by a cynical but powerful southern led political weight in both Congress and among the Whitehouse[s], pre-Lincoln, which in turn, made the national political parties and in particular many a "middleground" northern congressman seek to compromise any hidden doubts about the same, out of fear.

Entire well established political parties vanished [and others formed and vanished soon again] in the heat of the aftermath of such compromises based on the infamous "middle ground" of national politics within the decade leading up to the civil war.

The courts don't have much excuse, in terms of their insular status as lifetime appointees, but they were hidebound to the social and political environment of the same loathsome idea that every person must be equal before the law, including those of a different skin color.

In this manner, the united states northern district courts' undistinguished history before their very own northern populations and politicians in terms of enforcing such inhumane laws, were but historical faint hearted legal actors creating 'legal' constructs and soon to be forgotten institutional 'lawful' examples and rulings of great immoral but correctly political 'moderate and middle' compromises of antebelllum era american history.

What was the price of freedom as we understand it today?

Or better, where did such a concept [of individual human freedom] come from which found its way inside an old hoary seriously compromised document indicating at first, only a dim glimmer of hope, like a thread of human rights, that would oneday grow and then overtake the entire world and influence hundreds of millions of individuals across time and space and our national boarders and beyond?

The 14th Amendment's origins contains in part, some very solid historical answers and the humble origins of this document are not what one would necessarily believe nor do many even care as they go out tonight and have dinner and believe in their God given right to their human freedoms across this nation.

Yet, again, one major lesson, in short, remains from this fugitive slave era, for us today:

WE need to watch, for political compromise, and politicians who speak in terms of appeasing to do the "only that which is pragmatic" and that which is done in the name of appeasement of certain major regional blocs of power and concentrated wealth or special interests.

....Or in simple terms, we need to very cautious about those who speak and act as if 'governing from the middle' is the only available alternative to managing historical crises in our nation's political lexicon.

While seeking political compromise is a time honored profession in the national is OFTEN times NOT the most time honored system for progressing human rights and/or protecting women and children and the most vulnerable individuals at anytime in our national history.

We also much be in turn , very very careful of federal courts who claim that they are being 'fair and equal' but applying 'applicable federal precedent' are in reality only imposing the will of the powerful and the major economic interests of our era, against that of the individual and the human rights of the common man and woman.

Much has happened since these historic days, inside the Courts and the Laws of America but we need to come clean with the past, in order to make progress, sometimes.

At a minium, we must learn and come to know our past, even our serious , deep past, as a nation and a culture, especially one with a growing powerful minority class, so as to both learn from it and to clearly, not come even close to repeating it.

Germany today, seems to understand this, as does some other countries, like South Africa.

We in America tend to focus so much, if not too much, on the future; its not necessarily bad to do so. But in doing so, we often lose sight of the great serious "suffered" moral and legal issues of this great nation's history. With this we lose persepctive and we may even lose our national soul, if not legal sensibilities, again, today.

Politics by its very nature creates the pressure, if not the need, for compromise. When it comes to human rights and individual rights however, as self sustaining emblems of human existence, there are no easy solutions for governments to allow for compromising the same in exchange for security interests in the name of promoting either 'homeland security' or "law and order", or as those in the antebellum era did, simply, the status quo for many and the economic interest of a few.

The midwest center believes such history and particulary the great legal and constitutional lessons of our nation's serious debate over the nature of man and the role that human governments have in 'speaking to' and 'thru' the ideals enshrined its laws, can be something that even today, in the post modern hyper paced modern world, consumed w/ commericialism and major corporate sponsors, we can still struggle together to learn about this amazing historical journey towards a better understanding of our own constitutional issues present in our society today.

We hope, and believe, in doing so, we will not only add to the quality and vitality of the American public discourse on its singular significant gift to the world in terms of its politics of the Declaration, but also its struggle for present day human rights progress herein in our nation, even sometimes among its 'forgotten' small towns and cities and darkest corners with a view, to seek true acheivement both in politics, legal affairs and public and private thought in our present culture's midst, here and beyond.

....And i close, I think i'm going to head back to my old Esquire mag and take yet another look at that smokn "mulatto" beauty (with her oscar winning abilities) from Cleveland...again ...
and realize, buried in american history, as in nature, when some blacks and a few whites can come together, sometimes, simply amazingly beautiful things can result.

...along with this, I will try to forget, my disdain of that city's own serious antebellum federal courts history of how it has treated the human rights of those ancestors of Halle Berry.

Monday, August 6, 2007

The New Dems and the Consequences of Doing Nothing for Individual Rights

Today, we have a new era on Ohio politics at least in terms of the new state and Senate leaders of this year's newly elected office holders.

We have reason to hope that something good will result from Ohio electing the "other" party, that over 15 years ago was run out of town-well at least, Columbus- on a rail. [I know, cause I was 'there']

What is the meaning of this? The outcome is yet to be felt in terms of every day people and everyday issues affecting many of us 'liberals' who were for so long shut out of the thing called
representative government in the State of Ohio's major political debates and issues of the past decade or more.

What is clear is there is an opportunity for change to occur and with the presidential election, there is again reason to hope that the democratic party will win the White House by having a favorable governor and a new democratic Senator from Ohio this time around, not to mention a new secretary of state and attorney general.

What could possibly go wrong? Plenty.

What isn't calculated is the powerful interests who captured the Ohio Supreme Court in total this past same election cycle and what it portends for anyone thinking the republican party has suffered a mortal blow, either now or at any time in the near future in Ohio's political landscape and environment.

In fact, with the consolidation of a clear sweep of ALL the judicial offices' seats on the State Supreme Court, there is something of a very mixed signal being sent back to the electorate
right now, by those newly elected and those who have held onto power for over 15 years in a row.

What must occur is the democrats must be indeed, democratic in their outlook and in their conduct and actions towards those who helped to de-elect their republican statewide officer holders and much more well- known statewide names and allowed this political breather to take place.

However, this present circumstance looks and appears, as if it is almost business as usual among the poor of Ohio today. It isn't but it can at times oddly appear that way.

While there have been some solid proposals and efforts by both the Governor and the new Attorney General, and Secretary of State, there is a lot left to be desired, literally.

Six months into their new found positions and many in Ohio on the left are still wondering if they have a truly representative democratic officer holder[s] in position in Columbus or whether if the Republicans have really left office and only the names have changed.

It is almost as if the elephant is sitting down w/ the donkey and teaching him a few old tricks of how things get done indeed now post Voinovich, Noe, Taft and Petro and Montgomery, if not what's his name who ran against Strickland...

[ and there is no post Moyers whatsoever to contend with]

IN a word, to many of us who worked hard for change this past mid term election and wanted to see change more than most who have more than mere passing interest in politics both national and statewide and locally, we have yet to see the trickle down effect of having their voices simply getting heard by our sudden new found friends in such positions of influence and political power.

Patience is always a good thing. It is also understood.

Yet, having to wait in line, with most nearly everyone with a suppressed sentiment and issue on the left side of the aisle in Ohio is well, frustrating at best. This is also understood .

Yet, there is a need among our newly elected popular governor and his new democratic companions to find some better form of making one's needs and special concerns known to

We need those who have taken power in a Northern Spring, after such a long, too long, perhaps, "whites only" republican [except for the token black] winter experience in this state.
to first, perhaps, simply....take the time to listen and listen carefully to some who have had much experience, in state affairs and to those who are citizens in need.

Perhaps, these new officers need to find their own way and discover their own voice in office before they can actually do much to help anyone else.

Such is the way public office creates demands upon the truly inexperienced in state office requirements and clear statewide responsibilities... It is a unique perspective, indeed,
isn't Marc and Ted?

But there is also a warning here; if the democrats only intend to make it known that they enjoyed winning their officers more for the 'affect' and for political purposes only as some in Congress seem to project, and do not engage in a geniune and honest manner with those at a grass roots level to assist the base and the left's serious anemia, which has been produced by the continuous exposure to a very toxic republican dominance for so long, there will be a quick loss of trust and confidence in those same newly elected leaders of this state, both federal and state.

Having high expectations of change is one thing; hearing heated complaints and rhetoric against the status quo will only get one so far. Gridlock is not an excuse to not to at a minimum, to listen to one's friends, even if they are in lower places.

We need real dialague first and real action second, out of these newly elected democratic party leaders from Ohio.

We need most of all, for them to simply listen to the 'voice heard small' in places that have 'little light'...the very places which the republican domination left so many so worse off over the years and have left also so many terribly adrift amidst a very cynical and darkening world and life threatening circumstance.

Voices need to be heard in order for the people to begin to trust politicians again in this state on either side of the political equation. Listening to the same is a good thing, especially if you wish to understand the deep sense of disenfranchisement among the working classes and the poor and working poor of this State and the young.

The true test of this past election is happening as this is being written and the real issues are felt by the modest people who have waited it seemed like an eternity for political change to occur in this state.

When after some hard work, a real historical moment has now occurred, these same patient and expectant persons [by the multitude] who were among the most sincere and true hoping for change last year with the turn of events in terms of this state's politics, are again being made to wait longer still to simply get "an audience" and have their issues and concerns addressed in something NOT resembling the kind of deliberate indifference the prior 15 years of political dessert experience demonstrated under the former opposing party which basically ended most if not all, human and rational hope that government, even this state's government leaders, can and do care about average people who have sometimes not so average concerns.

These are those so seriously in need of a true and geniune listening leadership on issues that truly affect them and which matter the most to them.

In short, if the left who are now new in office, leaves the left who are on 'the street' and in the distressed areas of this state, helped to elect this juncture, of their political posturing for the next run up for the next election cycle, be it a presidential or otherwise significant election, there will be hell to pay at the polls, I am afraid.

There will be also a morality play of significant dimensions portrayed to all the world.

More importantly, if these present newly elected democrats do not show any more concern or compassion for those "lefties" than what they got from the republicans since Voinovich became governor in the late 1980s early 90's....than the heart will harden completely towards not just these democrats but all political processes.

The answer will not be healthy for the present american experience and the politics of indifference and apathy in America's voting electorate will grow exponentially. It could result in what happened to the progressive movement when it was sold out by those whom they thought were their friends in almost exactly the same time frame, a century ago.

Progressive movements can be shattered and their lot cast to the winds of history. Ask those who study history about such moments in american political lexicons.

Better yet, rather, simply ask all those democratic state officer holders of the mid 1980s....
Tony Celebreeze and a few others seemed to not understand the same until it was too late for a democratic seemingly unstoppable machine then.

and it can happen today, as they say, again.

We can also live again under another Herbert Hoover like governor and soon again, be subjected to the likes of yet another nice smiling facial Taft poster child of feigned concern for the working man of this northern state in distress in most areas outside of Columbus and certain Cleveland & Cincinnati and Toledo suburbs.

Perhaps the same king of "main stream" smiling face can treat us along with Thomas Moyers and his new found dominance in state republican politics again, to yet another republican win at the white house, as well.....where Tom Noe fresh from a presidential pardon, can provide the dinner guests with luxury homes and nice fat campaign donations and regains his
rightful "master of ceremonies" title once again among those righteous elect who dare to share w/ the masses their very highest honors, if not, their most sophisticated of all fund raising abilities.

If the true left are mistreated and Ohio's new democratic officer holders simply put them away in the political closet somewhere, now that the cleaning has occured, simply to be taken out four years from now,

...then the certain to come, 'invitation to support' such 'continuation of change' will be met with serious stone cold handshakes and with the same kind of cold indifference and silence that has met some on the left among those in the street and among the grass roots, of our state, literally,

so far, in many an attempt to simply make conversation with these new hoped for ones.

Six months in a statewide office goes like a summer afternoon at the beach. Soon it will be time to leave the nice and pleasant environs and summer hazy entrance which occurs upon entering such high offices and school will be back in session.

Its time for serious studies to occur and some need to learn to listen, again, instead of playing their own music so loud and allowing themselves to get lost among their former lovers
and the partying crowds of such summer fun.

If the true democratic forces in various distressed areas and their needs ...
[these are indeed, "the left" who actually need government to do something positive for a change in this State [knowing minimum wage increases in Ohio did not occur by any great modern legislative initiative or one governor's ideas alone]

...go unaddressed in a substantial, if not indifferent manner, then the left of Ohio will come to know what exactly a summer romance is worth.

This will in turn only return the rich and the conservatively motivated to their 'rightful' place at the seat of powers in this midwest bell weather state.

If this happens again any time soon, in our lifetime, certainly the sign that ought to be hoisted over this government and our democratic institutions, [and certainly the state democratic party itself]...

will be "abandon all hope all ye who would enter here"... the people's concerns of those who helped you and made your election much more a thing of possibility, in many respects, among the middle and minority areas of certain distressed regions of this state, is something of a good place to start....

It would also be the good and simply geniune thing to do....

This is a final dance, Ted, Marc and Sherrod [and do I dare mention you too, Lee , of my own
former choosing a past better now forgotten like both of our summer loves...]

Shall we? or shall we turn away from you as one turns away from sour lukewarm milk?

Only your response will make known the answer to this standing querry that many a true liberal mind here in this critical time and region awaits.

and...this line, by the way, ... is not getting any shorter ....

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Some Thoughts on the Major Donor Interests of the Ohio Supreme Court, Unpopular Lawyers & Unintended Conseqences in the Midwest

We are in a constitutional free fall in Washington. Many commentators understand what
is the current consequence but it seems Nancy Pelosi is not willing to allow for the
rule of law to actually do what it is designed to do and that is execute a self-correcting

The implications are substantive and perhaps we'll see in another generation what the
consequences of doing nothing to an out of control executive branch and former legislative branch of government at the national level is capable of producing.

In the midwest, after the last midterm elections and some statewide offices results,
we have been fortunate to see some change occur at least in tone and party politics.

However, certain powerful special interests have actually consolidated their stranglehold
on the people's third branch of government in Ohio; the judiciary. Its been in process since at least 2000 and perhaps much longer but finally big money and special interests and large corporate law firms and the insurance industry campaign fundings has reached its zenith of its intended outcome; the Ohio Supreme Court, even in the middle of lopsided, landslide gubentorial election favoring the democratic ticket nonetheless swung hard right and right into a
unanimous sweep of all seven of the Ohio Supreme Court seats.

This is so unusual that it is indicateive of the power of major donor law insurance and corporate firms and lobbyists who put their money where their mouth is and obtained
what they sought; a judiciary in Ohio which is certain to favor a particular "philosophy" of the law and its interpretation that will protect special interests for at least a generation to come.

What is the significance of this seven year, multimillon dollar well orchestrated major donor republican effort in Ohio?

The first causualty will be obvious but not to all; These will include terminating any outspoken critics of the current judiciary and/or the "philosophy" of those who placed them in power, from within the profession itself.

We are going to see a purging of the profession of the undesirables and the unpopular lawyers [and maybe a few judges] who dare to be different and who dare to stand up strongly for the notion that criminal defendant's rights and individual rights are to be maintained as a priority in the law, because this is the built-in portion of the Constituitonal protections that create something we often refer to as the Due Process of law which made our nation unique among all.

Protecting the basic freedoms of the individual as contained and enshrined in the Bill of Rights is something that major donor interests do not rank very high on their wish list of items that such major corporate donors want to include in their particular candidates for statewide judicial offices "philosophy".

While it remains to be seen in part what their actual "applied philosophy" does to the law of criminal procedure and significant Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Amendment protections, their power to take the licenses of lawyers who dare to strongly defend the same is becoming something of note these days, in the midst of their growing monopoly on the power which controls the conduct and thus, the ability of all lawyers, to practice stand up, even radical advocacy, anywhere in Ohio.

There is not a lawyer in Ohio [and in many states], that isn't today, looking over his shoulder both at his former client, his opposing counsel and at the same time, has to maintain a vigilient eye on the ever exponentially growing precence of a ubiquitous state bar disciplinary counsel's reach into the very most minute details of a solo and small firm lawyers practice and ability to maintain a viable legal advocacy and a strong dissenting voice based on what was always formerly regarded as the most sacrosanct aspect of the practice of law; the lawyers ability to speak out against wrongful treatment of his clients by any interest in society, but particularly those within the profession and the law enforcement and legal institutions themselves, within of any given region.

Today, to truly advocate against the perceived "third rail" politics and to simply speak out strongly even inside a court of law, is something that can put one's law license, if not his livelihood on the line inside this new era of ethics enforcement in Ohio, especially now that there is but "One" judicial "philosophy" thanks to major corporate and insurance and major law firm interests, and that which now dominates the State of Ohio's Supreme Court.

This trend is also growing across the country and some legal non- profit organizations and observers who are following the major corporate donor funding of state judiciary races [like Justice At Stake] and they are trying to sound the alarm of major donor corporate spending on statewide judiciary races in the past three election cycles since 2002 and how this has produced a very one sided, singular judicary in many key midwestern states, including Ohio.

Their publications are very well documented, precise and well presented and available on line in part. [See Justice at Stake and the Brennen Center of Law study on statewide judicial campaign funding and the New York Times Oct, 1, 2006 Front Page Article regarding Ohio'slast Supreme Court donor interests in the State judicial races and the relationship to pending cases before the present Ohio Supreme Court, even before the election wherein the republicans INCREASED their stronghold on the current Court here.]

Along with this, comes the silencing of the lambs, so to speak and with that silence comes a less stable open society, one that is not merely indifferent to the individual's need for protection from government actors and their out of control often instrusive approach to "law enforcement" but actually one in which to be perceived by members of the highest members of this profession as one who dares to advocate for a constitutional framework openly and strongly is to risk the ire of such powerful overseers of the modern legal profession.

This in turn creates a very powerful chilling effect on the individual lawyer and how he practices law and what he or she will do to protect their individual client's constitutional rights.

If strong individual advocacy and risk taking by solo and small firm lawyers means risking the law license of such a solo lawyer who is predisposed to strongly defend the vulnerable individual against the police powers of the state, fewer and fewer lawyers will chose to speak out openly against such common abuses in many areas of the state, particularly the less visible places.

When such a thing occurs, the ability of the constitutional protections to perform its self correcting task as envisioned by the framers and those who framed the 14th Amendment from serious governmental abuses of power against the people, is seriously weakened.

If those who have their rights fundamentally violated can not find a lawyer to advocate openly and strongly for them, in many regions of this state, then the idea of freedom and the Bill of Rights becomes merely a dead letter to many local populations who have few rights left which truly independent lawyers wish to defend, without fear of a visit or letter of inquiry coming to their law officers from those this third branch of government operates as their own combined lawyer 'police' and 'FBI like' office itself in the name of 'ethics enforcement.

When such powerful judicial officers set the tone, fresh from major corporate donor funded victories, that "independent" lawyers who dare to advocate strongly for civil rights of their clients on unpopular issues within controversial settings or court cases, are fair game for their all -powerful eyes and reach of the Supreme Court's gestapo- like overseeing "disciplinary counsel"
office prosecutors, more than the individual solo or small firm advocate legal counsel is affected.

The entire process of the admininstration of law is then held intellecutally if not actually hostage
to such a single 'party line' and as a result, the entire enforcement amidst our society of our sacred "self-evident rights" can be said to made to suffer as a practical result of such selective enforcement of civil rights lawyers and dissenting lawyers [or judges] who tend to want to call out their local powers that be.

Among the most lethal of this new power arrangement inside the Third Branch of state goernments, are those which can find the most minute infraction of the so called code of professional conduct and turn it into a major article [weapon?] of supension, and in turn, thru their less than due process oriented proceedings, create a legal fiction around the same and then publish their 'findings of fact' across the entire state and in the mainstream media by their superiors on the Supreme Court in a way that is both as infirm as it is broadly damaging, if not intimidating, to most lawyers who would dare to stand up for what they perceive to be serious lapses of the rule of law in various places in their experience as lawyers.

It was formerly called political assasination and/or in a truly liberal day and time, simply

Today we call it the state supreme court's "professional office of disciplinary counsel's Code enforcement."

When you couple such a process with a virtual political monopoly on the profession, its no longer a simple matter of a particular judicial leaning on a given state supreme court;

This creates an very intense environment of intimidation and unwarranted chilling effect on the entire legal profession's ability to operate in an independent and open manner; in effect, what the large donors and this new found political muscle has created within this present system is an entirely new form of thought police among lawyers in Ohio and elsewhere where this process is also underway.

The German socialist party era has indeed arrived in America, in spirit and tone, from safeguarding the executive branch in D.C. from expulsion even when millions of citizens telephone calls have been illegally monitored by the white house and the same have created torture as a legal basis for interrogating prisoners of war.... not to mention the unpatriot act.

But I believe the most invidious form of corruption of the framer's ideals and the most invisible danger to basic citizen's fundamental civil and human rights, is not going to come in
the obvious ways and in major office missteps and national limelight; its happening instead, inside the most unique institutions of law across major bell weather states like Ohio, right from within the ranks of the very profession which is dedicated to the very principle of maintaining at law, an open and transparent society and one which has been historically charged to be the 'first responders' of such a lawful vigilence of people's right to redress their fundamental constitutional rights and ideals; the same is the lifeblood of any democracy, as constitutional and criminal defense lawyers and plaintiff oriented judges are in any open society understand.

If such advocates are to become the targets of major donor interests and subject to seriously damaging, if not career ending pograms orchestrated by those who have gained such control over this ancient profession inside one of the most important state's of this nation, in the midwest, the the question arises who and what is in place to provide any check and balance to such significant curtailment of the lawyers' ability to practice truly independent and oftentimes controversial but necessary aspects of constitutional and criminal defense law?

An all republican anything in our recent political era has proven extremely toxic to the national standards of civil rights enforcement and understanding of the same as an applied science and safeguard to our modern American experience.

When it comes in the silent form of a state supreme court all seat monopoly of controlling interests and powers, the door is wide open for an extremely negative if otherwise hidden abuse of constitutional power as it only can be practiced by the most extreme and powerful rich interests thru their "judges of a particular philosophy" as they at the national chamber of commerce have said in defending the same when questioned about their overwhelming infusion of multimillon dollar purchases of this nation's and this region's most powerful courts.

This trend must be revealed and many in D.C. and national and state democratic party politics, and independent politics and human rights groups from around the nation ought to be concerned about this very same small but extremely significant serious departure from the Due Process of law, happening inside the State of Ohio, all well funded by some of the top insurance companies and special interest groups who do not care for mouthy lawyers who stand tall for civil rights and others in the profession who still believe the Bill of Rights is not a dead letter, nor something to be relegated to a historical archive and forgotten.

These same judiciary interested outcomes and their special interested corporate lawyers coupled w/t some well placed over zealous 'ethics' prosecutors today, are well on their way to political dominance of every major state supreme court in the country for the forseeable future, starting here, in Ohio, indeed, the heart of it all.

If the people of the united states press the democratic congress enough, perhaps nancy pelosi will change her mind and allow for the self correcting mechanism that the framer's envisioned to
do the only thing available to check raw abuse of executive powers.

At least, however, the possibility of such a corrective move exists, even if it is not part of the political logic of leaders in Congress at the moment.

AS for the third branch of our democratic system, there is nothing at law available for the people of the State of Ohio, much less the lawyers of Ohio to do the same where in concerns the out of control state judiciary of our present highly politicized Supreme Court.

For this and the reasons inferenced above, the same ought to be sufficient to serve for more than an adequate reason for a significant public debate to take place in Ohio, in light of the issues in play regarding this present special interest purchase of the Ohio Supreme Court since
2002 and its approach to silencing the more ardent of constitutional and solo independent lawyers arcoss Ohio.

[This is just a first comment; more will follow on this theme and soon we hope to generate a true forum to discuss this disturbing trend in light of the money trial which has literally swamped [and trumped] the statewide judiciary of the highest and most influential and most controlling court in the State of Ohio.]

Some Thoughts on the Danger of Patriotism Among Conservatives

There is a stirring in the american electorate that is significant; for the first time in forty years this country is questioning a major pentagon and presidential
war effort and the policy makers which are maintaining this policy.

However, defense industry interests and major corporate sponsors of the war are
also determined to engage "the enemy" as long as the nation is willing to allow
Congress to spend 300 billion or more on making sure their corporate coffers
are filled.

One of the basic reasons for this "allowance' is the american conservative movement
creates the impression among some of the christian and more determined base
that it is unpatriotic in times of war to "not support the troops" and by this, they
mean not support the policy of the so called war president, who is telling this flock
of well organized conservative voter base that the country needs to be fighting
this "war on terror" abroad instead of at home.

The conservative elements of this country's christian right at times are very sincere in their support of their country and their president. They have some reason and reference
scriptures to underscore the same, as many can.

However, we are not children when it comes to political and governments using
patriotic and nationalistic themes to drum up support among the populare...

Rome was very good at doing this, two thousand years ago. So were the jewish leaders among Palestine who helped Rome put Christ to death as St. Mathew and St. John write
so clearly about.

But in the more traditional classical liberal arts sense, even Thomas
Paine, our great american early popular political commentator, demonstrated that patriotism and religious fervor can become strongly subject to serious abuse and misguided governmental
policies, if not serve as a direct means of manipulation by special interests who
do not share the same morality when they put into play that which the masses
would tend to want to believe from their leaders and their governments, particularly the ones they share a commonality with.

Recently three separate southern Congressmen during an Armed Services Committee hearing
who were on the republican side of the aisle made the statement to the effect in questioning a war hawkish general,
"General would you not agree that this war on terror represents the most serious threat to our nations' security since the War of 1812?"

This Congressman was from Texas of course. Soon his comments were echoed in exact phraseology by other western conservative congressman on the same committee during the same hearing. [Thank goodness for C span]

Such talk is but the product of less than a clear understanding of american history and its geopolitical challenges in recent times, including but not limited to the Cold War with Russia's
eighteen thousand nuclear warheads which were armed and ready and pointed directly at the United States [Does October '62 and the Kennedy brothers mean anything to these guys?]

But also it demonstrates a certain type of christian fundamentalism which is being brought to many by pastors and religious commentators and quasi religious 'christian' publicists
who are trying to replace the 'red scare' with another newly minted modern 'brown scare'.

The idea that Christ and the Gospels can ever be made compatable to a modern nation state's military policy is one thing; taking a huge historical leap of faith in the modern american military policy and nationalism is another.

Today, Christ, if on earth, would be found among the poor and the disenfranchised talking about God's love and His Grace and mending broken lives.

He would not be 'into' raising national patriotic fervor which benefits mainly the rich, the well connected and the powerful and their greed machine with its ties from D.C. to Texas based Haliburton and Seattle's Boeing and Dow chemical's "human element"[they ought to know about human elements because they have made enough explosives to almost kill the "human factor" from the biosphere]

What does Christ have to do w/ making war? What does Christ have to do with killing anyone? What does His Gospel have to do with making a "stand against terrorism" where the failed policy is so clear that even high school students can understand now it was a huge mistake
to convert the 'war on terror' into a war on Saddam Hussien's beset country living under extreme pressure from the West, since the first mid east incursion, in order for American Corporate interests to gain a stategic position in the middle east.

When Congressional leaders can state the war on terror is similar to a national call to duty not unlike the War of 1812 or even WWII, we need to start rethinking our values as largely christian nation which truly doesn't understand the nature of what they present to the watching world and how they speak of God's love and power in Christ and somehow convert that into a national civil religion to support more american adventurism.

[If this is so, then why not immediately and truly sound the bugle and reinstitute the draft for all upper class, congressional children as well? Are they not required also in times of such national peril to be ready to show their full measure of patriotism?]

American foreign policy, even in recent decades, has not been exactly pure nor based on purely on democratic notions.

[Does anyone understand where the Sandinista movement came from? Does anyone ever heard of the book "Blood Brothers" and the "war on El Salvador"in Reagan's time? ]

Does anyone understand that what our american corporate and financial interests are basically are what we also begin to mask as foreign policy oftentimes in the modern era... and we are now doing this with impunit,y& perceived by the entire world as coupling that strategic interest w/ our world dominance?

When we "war" on smaller nations, does this not raise a question of morality itself?

Robert Kennedy sid it did.

To the christians, i would ask...

Is this done in the same Spirit of Him who rode triumphantly into his nation's once famous capital, amidst record crowds, overwhelmingly praising Him, [at least the first week in the same capital city] riding on a donkey?

Perhaps, the scene of Jesus being near sinners and riding lowly into town knowing he was to be betrayed and crucified, appearing to be merely human and one very humble servant,
is not the image our military planners and some Christian conversatives are contemplating we ought to project to the world as a model for how to manage real power in an age of uncertainty.

Does Christ model true power to the leaders of the world?
Was his Gospel so otherwordly to be no earthy good for us today?

If we answer too quickly we may be in danger of misinterpreting his arrival into Jerusalem today, then as the Jews did then.

If we only can see a future King excercising a false humility before his soon to be accusers, we will miss something significant about what made Him so unique among world figures and spiritual ones.

Christ was no mere human politician, especially if you profess to be a true believer and follower of Him. He was not about setting up any kind of worldly kingdom.

Yet, there are those today, who would dare to take his Words and His example and 'defend freedom' by pressing the right wing agenda of this nation and that of the defense contractors and pentagon interests and make it somehow sound like to not support their misguided policies is not to support the cause of Christ.

Be very very careful of such 'christian' justification for wars. Be very cautious as a young person who is swept up in defending the "homeland" as many policy makers reference it now before Congress since Bush "the christian" has come into power.

Such talk equates the kingdom of God with the hyper nationalism of America's present right wing establishment, if not the entire DC establishment, including some in the so called middle or 'main stream'.

It isn't theology we have to debate as much as how modern popular theocratic based notions of manipulating something intended by the Eternal which was made for the timeless quality of all men and mankind, indeed, for all eternity can be made to serve certain powerful american temporal special interests and by doing so, seriously misguide the popular opinion of many american people, and perhaps even themselves.

If they wish to believe their own words and heated rhetoric that is their perogative.

But when they speak such 'self-evident' postulates as they have even now, in the midst of a serious national growing debate over this present war in Iraq, as government leaders, they begin to take a dangerous step in the wrong direction both for the nation and for their church going fellow christian brothers and sisters.

We do not need to deceive ourself or our future generations into thinking we are doing God a favor by spending billions of our taxpayers dollars on a already bloated military budget.

Christ has little to do with making War in the modern sense.

Modern day nationalism has led to some good consequences in history.

It also has brought us the worst example in modern history of how a very intelligent and educated christian nation in the middle of Europe, can be deceived by making national "homeland" security equate with the ideals of quasi religious millineism.

This does not mean the military personnel can not fight and maintain their own christianity. But the acceptance of making national military and budgetary policy in the name of God in such circumstances, if ever, is inviting the criticism of not only many in our nation and around the entire world but as well as those from history, like our own Thomas Paine, who understood all too well how government can turn any theme, even the best intended ones, into a nationalistic fervor and lead entire nations astray.

Let us look to the wisdom of the founders and our better historical examples and note that we are not to be deceived into making war something supported and necessary to promote the kingdom of Christ and His gospel, even where our sympathies are with soldiers who have suffered much thru own sincere efforts and sacrifices.