Thursday, April 17, 2014


The real estate that later became the State of Nevada was acquired by the United States by virtue of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848 which ended the Mexican War and called for the payment of some 15  million dollars to Mexico by the victorious United States.
Sixteen years later, President Lincoln authorized the folks in Nevada, without the required 60,000 inhabitants,  to hold a constitutional convention and apply for admission to the union.
It was 1864. The Civil War was in full blossom, and Lincoln was running for a second term.  The Nevada constitution was adopted on October 31, just eight days before  the election and immediately telegraphed verbatim to Washington, D.C. It was the most expensive telegraph ever sent, costing $3,416.77.
And so it was, that on the 31st day of October, 1864, President Abraham Lincoln issued the following proclamation:
Whereas the Congress of the United States passed an act, which was approved on the 21st day of March last, entitled "An act to enable the people of Nevada to form a constitution and State government and for the admission of such State into the Union on an equal footing with the original States;" and
Whereas the said constitution and State government have been formed, pursuant to the conditions prescribed by the fifth section of the act of Congress aforesaid, and the certificate required by the said act and also a copy of the constitution and ordinances have been submitted to the President of the United States:
Now, therefore, be it known that I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, in accordance with the duty imposed upon me by the act of Congress aforesaid, do hereby declare and proclaim that the said State of Nevada is admitted into the Union on an equal footing with the original States.
The Constitution of Nevada, which was approved by the President and the Congress of the United States begins with these words:
All political power is inherent in the people.
That statement, common to the constitutions of most of the American states, is not a mere academic observation.  Used in a constitution, it is an assertion of sovereignty.
What is sovereignty? Very simply, sovereignty is the right to use force to impose your will. It is the right to govern. The right to rule. The right to make laws.
Unlike other nations, sovereignty in the United States is dual; it is divided between the states and the national government. The national government has international sovereignty as a member of the family of nations on the planet. It also has interstate sovereignty, as defined in the United States Constitution, to regulate commerce among the several states of the American union.
The states have domestic sovereignty, which is often called the police power. It is the authority to regulate the affairs of the people. It encompasses the full range of governmental control over the activities of the people; criminal laws, marriage laws, real estate laws, corporations, education, licensing professions, occupations and businesses, health care. The list goes on and on. Basically, the domestic sovereignty of the states includes the right to legislate on any and every subject, unless there is an express constitutional prohibition.
The sovereignty of the national government is just the opposite. The United States may only legislate on subjects specified in the national constitution.
The United States of America owns something like 86 to 89 percent of the real estate in Nevada. But it does not own that land in the same sense that it owns Puerto Rico or Guam. It owns that land in the same sense that it owns post office buildings and federal courthouses all over the country.
It owns that land subject to the domestic sovereignty of the State of Nevada. The United States has no more rights to the land upon which Mr. Bundy has been grazing his cattle than Exxon or General Motors or Bill Gates would have if they owned the land.
If your dog wanders into my yard, I don’t own your dog. I can’t kill your dog, I can’t sell you dog and I can’t refuse to give it back to you. If you build a house on my lot and live there for twenty years, you will own the lot by adverse possession. If you build a baseball field on my lot and use it for twenty years, you will, by prescription, create and easement that will allow you to continue playing baseball there.
Whatever rights Mr. Bundy has to graze his cattle on federal land should be determined by Nevada courts according to Nevada law. Whatever rights the United States has to keep Bundy from grazing his cattle on federal land should be determined and enforced by Nevada law.
The United States of America may own the land next to Bundy’s home, but it is not the domestic sovereign on such lands. It does not have police power there. It can no more shoot people for trespass than any other land owner in Nevada.

Sunday, April 13, 2014


Monday morning.

Well, this business of being an author is a real learning experience.

Having finished the manuscript of my book, CONVENTION USA,  I put it up on a blog for all the world to see.

Some folks, including some very knowledgeable and beloved folks, have suggested that it is economically unwise to make my book available to anyone and everyone without charge. After all, who is going to buy a book you can get for nothing?

That’s logical. But I saw it another way. Who is going to buy a book that nobody wants?

I figured that if my friends and relatives don’t think the book is worth reading, who else will?

So I sent out an email to about 750 people. Unfortunately, the first time I did it, the link to the book didn’t work. My fault. Just another typo in the wrong place. Anyway, I sent it out again, and I am happy to report that as of tonight, something like 150 people have clicked on Chapter One.

They may not have read it, but at least they looked at it.

It looks like quite a few of the people who looked at Chapter One are looking at Chapter Two, Chapter Three and so on.

So, I am encouraged. And being encouraged, I continue to send queries to publishers and agents trying to find someone willing to put the book on the shelves at Barnes and Noble.

Truth is, I’m not doing this to make money. Polly will gladly testify that my passion for reforming the United States Constitution has had a negative cash flow in our household for a long time.

There is indeed much more to be done to rein in our dysfunctional government than one man and a laptop computer can do. The book may help. But if it is to make a difference, if it is to cause a ripple on the sea of American politics, it will have to be read by a lot more people than I can reach with a blog.

So here’s the deal: if you read the book, and if you think it carries a message that ought to be seen by the millions of our fellow citizens who no longer have faith in the federal government in Washington D.C. for whatever reason,  please pass the web site along to everyone in your address book with your recommendation.

I don’t know what it takes to ‘go viral’ a they say. I doubt that 10 or 20 thousand readers are likely to change the political discourse of the nation.

Still, if we can generate a mini-storm, it just may occur to the decision makers in the publishing business that the American People might just buy the book.

Of course, getting it published is not the main objective. Thomas Paine didn’t write Common Sense to sell pamphlets, but to start a revolution.

No matter how many people read the book, no matter how many buy the published book, it will be an exercise in futility unless it contributes to the calling of an Article V convention to propose amendments to the United States Constitution.

So that’s what it’s all about.

Thanks for reading, and don’t hesitate to write and tell me how it can be improved.

One more time, here’s the URL:

Friday, April 4, 2014


Here is what the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution says:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, house, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Now here is what I learned today on my AOL news page:

The FBI is removing thousands of artifacts from the home of 91 year old Donald Miller of Rush County, Indiana.

Miller, a world traveler, has been collecting artifacts for three quarters of a century for display in his homemade museum, which he shows to school children and neighbors in his rural Indiana home.

The FBI’s Special Agent, Drew Northern, told reporters that they were collecting and analyzing the artifacts with the goal of  “repatriation.” He was careful not to say whether they believed that Miller had stolen anything or broken any laws.

Citing  “complex state, federal and international laws’ Patty Gerstenblith, a professor of law at DePaul University in Chicago, noted that some countries, such as Egypt, forbid the export of any cultural objects that have been dug from the ground.

Among Miller’s treasures is a 60 foot long, four foot wide anaconda snakeskin, and a collection of human skulls, one with an arrowhead stuck in it. Upstairs is a pipe organ which Miller plays for visitors.

Donald Miller is a community treasure in his hometown of Waldron, Indiana. An active church member and local philanthropist, he is somewhat of an artifact himself. Claiming, among other things, to have been involved in the development of the atom bomb while in uniform during WWII, Miller regales listeners with tales of meeting such historically significant people as J. Robert Oppenheimer, Enrico Fermi, Albert Einstein and Harry S. Truman.

His tales of artifact collecting adventures mark him as a real life Indiana Jones, the State of Indiana’s own.

Fascinating as Donald Miller’s story may be, what caught my Constitutionally interested attention was the report that the FBI was not claiming that Miller had broken any law, nor were they claiming that a warrant had been issued, or that there was probable cause to suspect that a law had been broken by anyone.

I’m sorry, but I just don’t get it.

Here are swarms of officers of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, entering this man’s home, without a warrant, without any particular description of the things to be seized, with absolutely no legal or constitutional authority so far as anyone can tell, except that there are “complex laws” both domestic and international which the FBI is relying on.

And what do they propose to do with the artifacts they are stealing from Mr. Miller?

They are going to catalog them, and then they are going to “repatriate” them.

When I was in law school, I learned about the writ of replevin. When someone had something that belonged to you, you went to court and asked for a writ that would give the sheriff the authority to go and get your stuff.

Whose stuff does Mr. Miller have?  And how is it that the government is taking stuff away from Mr. Miller that they say belongs to somebody else, but they don’t know what stuff or who it might belong to?

I smell a rat. A political rat. I smell a favored Middle Eastern nation expecting our government to jump through unconstitutional hoops just to prove that they can make the United States of America grovel.

It makes me sick.


Thursday, April 3, 2014



I am happy to report that this blog is now officially back to normal.

I haven’t given up on the book. Not at all. The manuscript is finished, all 68,939 words of it.

For those who have started reading it on the mini chapters I posted here, and for those who never quite got around to it, I am pleased to announce that the entire book can be seen at:

Don’t expect a professional printing job. Google’s Blogspot has a mind of its own. Sometimes what was typed in 14 point gets printed in 18 point, and vice-versa. It may be a gravel road, but the scenery and the destination are what’s important.

No cost, no obligation, except the moral imperative that you listen to the distress signals coming from Washington and consider becoming a First Responder.

That said, I’ll be checking with Google every few days to see how many people visit the site.

With Michigan claiming to be the 34th State to petition Congress for a an Article V convention, perhaps the possibility of a constitutional convention will start to dawn on the media and people will want to know what its all about.

Tell them to read the Judge’s book. 

In the meantime...

Yesterday, April 2, 2014 was the sixty-sixth anniversary of my first date with Pauline Mary Weinberger. And my first taste of those sweet lips that passed so many words of wisdom, correction, counsel, amusement and devotion in the last two-thirds of a century.

I planned a kind of a date. Polly had a doctor's appointment in Sun City Center, and I found a cutsey Tea Room in Sarasota, for a light supper before the 6:40 showing of God's Not Dead at the AMC 12 in Sarasota. She managed to finale the surprise out of me, and didn't seem all that enthused about a tea room.

Then she got on her Ipad and read about the movie. Of course, she found some anti-Christian egghead reviewer who couldn't wait to give away the surprise ending.

As it turned out, the tea room was closing, and we ended up at an Irish Pub, much to my liking.

The movie was quite good -- and sold out. 

Monday, March 24, 2014


Several people have written to say that they would like to see my book. Although completed in a rough draft, the book is sill a work in progress.

It has occurred to me that, taken collectively, my friends, relatives and blog readers are far wiser and better informed than I am, and so I am inviting everyone to lend me hand.

I have broken the book down to a number of short (700 to 1,200 words) chapters, and I propose to publish a few chapters every day for the next couple of months on my blog. They will be seen at

I invite all of you to leave comments on these blogs with any corrections – typographical, factual, grammatical, etc. that may occur to you. Comments may be left anonymously. All will be published except any that belong in a locker room.

Don’t hesitate to take issue with the text. If what I have written isn’t defensible, maybe it should be excised.

And I invite you to relay this to anyone you think might be interested in joining in. I need all the editors I can get.

© Thomas E. Brennan 2014