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Trump trounces traitor Kasich for 3rd time in 6 months

Trump trounces Kasich 3 times in 6 months.

Continue reading Trump trounces traitor Kasich for 3rd time in 6 months

R AND R

The Greatest Generation invented the term: R and R meant Rest and Recuperation. Or Rest and Recreation. Or Rest and Relaxation. It didn’t matter. It was just R and R. Or maybe even “Rock and Roll.” Everybody knew what it meant.

But times change and words change and even slang and abbreviations change. Google R and R today and you might find an article about “Repeal and Replace.”

Nancy Pelosi says the only good thing about Repeal and Replace is that it is alliterative. I don’t often agree with Nancy, but I’m with her on this one.

After all the thundering promises to repeal Obama Care, Congressional Republicans have jumped on board the Pander Train and promised to enact a new National Health Care Law to replace the discredited ACA.

Early in his campaign, Donald Trump had a simple answer to the Obama Care question. He said: “Just let the Insurance Companies sell across state lines.”

Hello. What a drastic idea? For more  than 200 years, health care has been a matter solely within the jurisdiction of the States. Every State has some sort of regulation of health insurance companies. Some, like Massachusetts, have a system very similar to the Affordable Care Act.

The result over the years has been that some States have more inclusive, more affordable, more desirable health care providers than other States.

But they also have licensure requirements that keep foreign companies out or put them at a competitive disadvantage.

Mr. Trump is a businessman. He understands the free enterprise system. He knows that “affordable” is a slippery word. It is certainly not a standard that can be written into the law. What is affordable for one person is exorbitant to another.

The Republicans in Washington have lost their nerve. They are backpedalling on their brave and bold promise to repeal Obama Care.

And why? Simply because there are some features of the law that are popular and they don’t want to be pegged with killing things like coverage for pre-existing conditions, extended parental coverage for children to age 26 and the large number of people who are simply getting health insurance as a welfare benefit.

Surely there are many in Washington who hope that the law can be replaced with support from both sides of the aisle. After all, Bill Clinton said the law is crazy, didn’t he? And Hillary conceded that it needs amending. The D.C. establishment of store bought politicians – the “swamp” as Trump calls it – will be working hard to mesh the ideas of “fix” and “replace” in order to claim a bipartisan solution.
The real tragedy is that nobody is speaking for the Constitution. Both Parties are committed to a national health care system, dictated from Washington, D.C. and mandatory from the Atlantic to the Pacific.

Hamilton, Madison, Jefferson and Washington would be appalled. There is nothing in the Constitution suggesting that health care is a proper function of the national government.

Health care in America, before Obamacare, was the envy of the world. It was built on the free enterprise system; the sum total of the free choices of a free people.

Health care is a human necessity, like food, clothing, shelter and liberty.

Like these other essentials, health care cost varies from State to State, often from town to town. The history, the weather, the culture, the terrain, all these things affect affordability.

One size does not fit everybody. The last thing we should want to do in America is to kill the spirit of initiative and enterprise. The Republicans have the gavel in Congress. They should repeal Obamacare, every word of it. Make it effective in two years to give everyone time to adjust.

Then forget about replacing it with another federal program. Just let the fifty States do what they are supposed to do under our Constitution.

Continue reading R AND R

HILLSDALE’S ARNN

Larry P. Arnn, the President of Hillsdale College, is  a brilliant man with impeccable academic credentials and a national reputation as an expert on the United States Constitution.
He is also an energetic and indefatigable fund raiser.

In March of 2016, President Arnn sent Polly and me a solicitation letter which contained – visible through a window – a one dollar bill. It’s a not uncommon strategy to get folks to open letters asking for money.

I replied as follows:

March 6, 2016

President Larry P. Arnn

Hillsdale College

Hillsdale, Michigan

Dear Larry:

Polly and I have supported Hillsdale and will continue to do so. No need to send money. We have always been impressed with the mission and tradition of Hillsdale. Certainly the American people need to be reminded of the precious gift of constitutional government that has been our birthright, and your national educational campaign is necessary and timely.

There is, however, a dimension in the field of constitutional study that, I believe, has not been adequately addressed by any American college or university: the Article V amendatory constitutional convention.

Currently, there are at least seven active initiatives seeking a convention call.

At the same time, there are a number of voices, both from the Left and the Right, expressing opposition to an Article V convention for any reason.

I am writing to urge you to consider hosting a debate on Article V. In this season of political debates, I think such an offering would garner a large audience and could well produce substantial revenue for the sponsor.

I would very much appreciate the opportunity to sit down with you and discuss this idea.

Sincerely,

Thomas E. Brennan

cc: Chris Chocola

Encl: $100

That letter was never answered or acknowledged, but I can’t say it wasn’t noticed. Indeed it seems to have induced President Arnn’s staff to achieve new heights of solicitation.

As the year 2016 came to a close, a virtual crescendo of emails from Larry Arnn exploded on my computer screen. No fewer than eleven requests for money: On December 3, 8, 17, 24, 28, 29, 30, 30, 31, 31, 31.

The other day, my son, Tom, Jr. wrote to encourage me to read Larry Arnn’s speech printed in Hillsdale’s magazine, Imprimus. I did, and found it interesting. Indeed worthy of comment. 

I would welcome a vigorous exchange with President Arnn on various Constitutional issues. Maybe I should send him a dollar.

Continue reading HILLSDALE’S ARNN

THE TROUBLES

I should stay out of the storage room. It’s too full of old files, poignant memories, temptations to blog.
This time, I stumbled onto a file entitled “Larry Brennan’s Song.” It was nineteen years ago. Northern Ireland was still mired in “The Troubles” and suffering from endless rounds of murder and revenge between the Catholics and the Protestants of Belfast.
USA Today carried a story about a 52 year old Catholic cab driver who was assassinated while sitting in his parked taxi.
I wrote a song about it:
The Legacy of Larry Brennan
Twenty-five days after Christmas Morn
         In dear old Belfast Town
Assassins hailed a taxicab
         And gunned he driver down
Well, he died for being Catholic
         He died for being Green
His sweetheart was a Protestant
         She’ll never be his queen
No, she’ll never be a Brennan now
         She’ll never share his bed
The Troubles split poor Larry’s brow
         The Troubles left him dead
Now, he was a gen’rous witty man
         Who loved most everyone
And for his kindness he was paid
         Four bullets from a gun
Oh, he had no time for politics
         He helped the sick and old
His killers didn’t care at all
         They left his body cold 
Yes, the Troubles trouble Ireland
         A People torn apart
They took poor Larry Brennan’s life
         And broke his mother’s heart
Then his sister, Lish O’Reilly, stood
         Midst flowers in the hall,
And with good sense she spoke the words
         That echo for us all:
“I forgive them, those that did this thing”
         Her eyes were rimmed with tears
“They’re sick and wounded animals,
         Imprisoned by their fears.
“No, we can’t let hate and bitterness
         Control the Irish heart
If we’re to see the Troubles end
         We’ve got to make a start”
Tho’ two thousand years have come and gone
         Since Christ was crucified
The world still longed for peace on earth
         When Larry Brennan died.
Now his little house on Friendly Street
         Will never be the same
The World has built a friendly shrine
         In honor of his name
So let this be Brennan’s legacy:
         That vengeance won’t be seen
And peace will come to Ireland
         For both the Orange and Green

Historians tell us that the Irish Troubles erupted in 1968 and ended thirty years later with the Good Friday Agreement of 1998. As we gather to celebrate Christmas 2016, in a painfully divided America, let us pray that our troubles will soon be consigned to history as well.

Continue reading THE TROUBLES

FIVE DAYS TO CHRISTMAS

I wrote another blog today. More opining about the President-Elect, the Russians, the world and all its problems, dangers and disputes.
Polly didn’t like it. Her counsel: it’s Christmas time. Write about Christmas.
And so it is. December 19, 2016. Five days until Christmas.
Downstairs, from the bookcase that holds the family bible, my Supreme Court opinions, our Last Will and Testament and some other significant papers, I retrieve a dog-eared letter sized binder containing 49 typewritten pages.
The cover is decorated with a Christmas card picture of a little girl standing on a chair and putting up Christmas decorations. It announces the title of this little tome: Five Days To Christmas.
It is a chronicle written in 1969. I was then Chief Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court. We lived in a large house on Berkeley Road in the west side of Detroit area known as Sherwood Forest. Five bedrooms, four fireplaces, an extra lot next door. It was a great place to raise a family and a great place for Christmas. Our six children ranged in age from four to seventeen.
In the course of a sleepless night on December 19, 1969, I decided on a very special Christmas present to give to my family. I decided to do three things:1)   quit smoking; 2) do it cheerfully and not brag about it, and 3) write down all the things I think and feel during the five days before Christmas.
While I managed to stop smoking during that holiday season, it was not until five years later that I finally kicked the habit for good.
In due course, I gave each of our children a copy of the little book. I am told that every so often they read it again and enjoy reminiscing about those ‘good old days.’
Whether I was cheerful is a matter best left to the memories of my family and to the episodes I described in the booklet.
As I skim it again myself from the perspective of eighty-seven years, I am touched a little and amused by the hectic lives we were living. Obviously, I didn’t know then what I know now. I had no idea what life would be like in 2017.
In December of 1969 some people were suggesting that I should run for the United States Senate in 1970, and I was considering it. Polly was not very keen about the idea. Neither of us had any idea that in three years I would start a law school and resign from the Court.
Considering how things have worked out for us, the final paragraphs of “Five Days to Christmas” are rather prophetic:
For people like us there is nothing to worry about in a new year of 1970 or a new decade of the 70’s. We will make all of the decisions when then shall become now. The time of decision will be  a crashing waterfall of pushing and pulling and testing and shouting and laughing and holding hands and being proud and crying and consoling and accepting the flexible challenge of the future and being reconciled to the inflexible memory of the past, and believing in the total importance of the present.
And now it is Christmas.
Now it is the day on which the Babe was born.
Who comes into our hearts and into our lives.
Who helps us to love one another.
As He loves all of us.
Who teaches us to see in the smallest events of our daily lives
The miracle of His mercy and His love.
Who teaches us to be happy now
Just knowing that now is Christmas

And we are all together.

Continue reading FIVE DAYS TO CHRISTMAS

EMOLUMENTS

In the cacophony of objections to the stunning election of New York Businessman Donald J. Trump to the office of President of the United States, none is more preposterous and laughable than the scurrying of left wing intellectuals to advance constitutional objections to the real course of human events.
It goes something like this: Donald Trump’s business assets and interests are world wide. He has hotels and golf courses all over the planet. He has done business in many, many foreign countries, paid money and made money in many languages. In short, Trump has what our nation’s Founders feared: “foreign entanglements.” Putting a legalistic, scholarly patina on it, Harvard Professor Lawrence Tribe and his cohorts call attention to the “Emoluments Clause” of the federal constitution.

Aha! You never heard of that, did you? Sounds ominous. Especially, when you dub in the motives that drove the founders to include the “Emoluments Clause” in the Constitution. They were concerned about the established nations of Europe, especially England and France, co-opting our new national government by simply buying off our nation’s leaders.

In colonial times, it was not unusual for European kings to grant charters to

people who wanted to settle in America. People were paid money to explore and settle in the new world. Christopher Columbus got money from the Queen of Spain. King Charles II gave William Penn the huge parcel of land that became Pennsylvania.

So this is what George Washington, James Madison, Benjamin Franklin and the rest of them wrote as the last paragraph of Article I, Section 9 of our founding document:

No title of nobility shall be granted by the United States: and no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept any present, Emolument, Office or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince or foreign State.

No one has yet supposed that Elizabeth II, Queen of the United Kingdom, is likely to dub Donald Trump a Knight of the Realm, or designate him and his progeny as Princes or Dukes of the British Empire.

No, the theory is much more nitty gritty. They argue that Trump will be making money overseas, taking, they argue “emoluments” from foreign powers, which the Constitution forbids.

So if the Prince of Wales decides to play a round of golf at Trump International Golf Links in Scotland, and he pays a greens fee for the privilege, Professor Tribe and his devotees will holler “Emolument, emolument!”

I say that is nonsense. Black’s law Dictionary defines an emolument as:

The profit arising from office or employment: that which is received as compensation for services, or which is annexed to the possession of office as salary, fees, or gain arising from the possession of an office.

In short, our Constitution forbids federal officeholders from being on the payroll of a foreign  government. But wait, you say, it also forbids the President to accept “any present” from a foreign leader or government without Congressional approval.

Indeed it does, and Congress has addressed the matter. The Congress has consented generally, in the Foreign Gifts and Decorations Act, to the acceptance of gifts from foreign countries which are of minimal value and offered as a courtesy or where refusal to accept the gift would adversely affect our foreign relations. The inventorying of such gifts is required by law. Bush 41 received over 40,000 gifts and President Clinton accepted more than 92,000 while in office.

Such gifts are not the personal property of the President or his family. They belong to the United States.

What is of more importance in the debate over Trump’s foreign connections is this fundamental question: Is there reason to believe he will be influenced by personal economic interests in carrying out his Presidential duties?

I submit that it is most unlikely. After all, Mr. Trump is a very wealthy man. He proposes to serve as President without pay. By what rationale can it be said that he is going to be swayed from his sworn duty by the profit motive?

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