Brion McClanahan’s newest book truly shows that the Constitution has been a disembodied ghost for the last century. The author goes all the way back to the creation of the government under the Constitution in 1789 to show that that document was already in trouble with George Washington taking the wrong stance with regards to treaty enforcement with France.
Through the first half of the book, the author takes us through nine presidents that made decisions that caused grave damage to the rule of law under the Constitution. Each president’s transgressions are briefly described with Andrew Jackson growing bellicose against South Carolina, Teddy Roosevelt’s using his office for legislative purposes, FDR’s interment of Japanese-Americans and Obama’s work on Obamacare among the examples of legal abuse. The last chapter in Obama actually takes in the transgressions of the three presidents before him that acted in unconstitutional ways.
The second part of his book tells about four Presidents who did their best to hold to their oath to defend the Constitution seriously. John Tyler was cited as the outstanding example on how to stand against popular opinion in upholding the Constitution. Calvin Coolidge was the last hurrah for our country before things took a turn for the worse legally. Finally, the last few pages of book provides a road map (Article V Convention) on how to salvage the Constitution before it is too late.
Even though this book is just a brief overview, it does a great job in highlighting the awfulness the actions of some of our more famous (infamous?) Presidents. The bibliography in this book provides the reader with in-depth resources in case they want to study the issues further. A great book for your collection.
“Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”
Those words were added into the United States Constitution via the 13th Amendment which ended the formal institution of slavery after the end of the Civil War (War Between the States). The irony of this action was that just two years before, the United Stated Congress pass the first conscription act in American history. In essence, it meant that men being were being enslaved by the government in order for the army to free others from slavery…or so we were told. From this time forward, the draft was used at various times in our history where men had to leave their farms and places of work to fight overseas.
In 1973, President Nixon pulled the plug on the draft and service in military once again became something that was voluntary. A holdover from the days of the draft still remains with us and that is the Selective Service Act where men ages 18 to 25 must register with the Selective Service System. It is possible that Congress can call a draft overnight and its odious whiff will be once again with us.
With the involvement of women in combat, a even uglier aspect of the draft has surfaced where top men in the Army and Marine Corps recommended that women register for Selective Service as well. It is becoming clear that our country is convulsing in a orgy of egalitarianism and that the call of women to participate in the draft is a sign that our culture is becoming more degraded every day. Let’s end this foolishness of the draft and relegate it to the dustbin of history.
Last night was a night to forget in terms of looking for a candidate at the debate to reduce the size of government and give us more liberty. It is a given that serious cuts will have to be made, but with no commitment to reduce Social Security or eliminating gargantuan programs, the only only place that one could cut is the military. Yet, what we heard from the candidates was the cacophonous refrain of “We need to rebuild our military.” I must ask “with what?” We are in serious debt to the tune of almost $19 trillion and going up every day and we are in areas of the world that we should have left over 25 years ago once the Cold War was over. Why are we subsidizing the defense for Western Europe? South Korea? With their economies, they could very well handle more spending in their budgets for their defense. Should we be in the position of supreme leadership in the world as Jeb Bush suggested? His suggestion that “We have to eliminate the sequester” is a a sign that this game is over. As Mark Kreslins stated so well: “DC cannot save DC.”
Yesterday, Governor Greg Abbott of Texas proposed a convention of states to reconfigure the Constitution to stop the growing centralization of government in the hands of Washington politicians. Some in the media are skeptical of this effort with the Dallas Morning News calling Abbott’s plan “part civics lesson, part anti-Obama diatribe.” The fact is that the states have been losing power for many years dating back to the end of the Civil War. It has been only in the last half-century that the concentration of power on the Potomac has shot up in earnest. For some, there is a concern that such a convention would unleash more power from the central government. However, as it is clear to many of us, Washington has not been restrained by the “parchment barrier” in a very long time. Perhaps this convention might do some good as it would be a proper response to desire a return to a more localize government, however imperfect it might be. Governor Abbott’s plan can be read here.