Sunday, May 24, 2015

SUNDAY WALK


It’s Sunday morning and I have a few minutes before we leave for church. Just time for a few words from the old judge.

So far today I have finished my daily mile and a half walk and my ten laps in the pool. Feeling pretty well. I shot 88 on Friday and I’ll be 86 on Wednesday. Close enough to boast about.

Maybe there are some folks who would like to know what an 86 year old man thinks about when he is walking and swimming in the morning.

Not many, but some. A few perhaps? I’m sure nobody under the age of 40 would give a hoot in hell what I was thinking about. But maybe their parents might.

Anyway, I think about death. Not in a frightened or worrisome way. More a matter of curiosity. It’s hard to imagine a world without being in it. Sort of like New York or Los Angeles. A lot of people doing a lot of things, but I’m not part of it.

My faith tells me there is a hereafter, and that’s a comfort. Exactly what that hereafter will be like, I don’t know. Nobody does. The only course I ever failed was a speculative elective at the University of Detroit taught by a Jesuit named Father Magget. I didn’t need the credit to get into law school and I couldn’t get into wondering about how many choirs of angels there are.

What I do wonder about these days is the next hundred years. I see pictures on the Internet of masked ISIS gunmen ceremoniously beheading 21 Coptic Christians and I read that Islam is the fastest growing religion in the United States, and I wonder.

Then I think about Nidal Hasan. Again. I have written a couple of blogs about him over the years. In 2009 he slaughtered 13 innocent Americans at Fort Hood, Texas. In 2013 he was convicted of murder and sentenced to death. That sentence has not been carried out.

Now I see that Hasan wants to be a member of ISIS. He wrote a letter to Abu Bakr al-Baghadadi, leader of the Islamic State. Here is what he had to say:

“I formally and humbly request to be made a citizen of the Islamic State. It would be an honor for any believer to be an obedient citizen soldier to a people and its leader who don’t compromise the religion of All-Mighty Allah to get along with the disbelievers.”

Isn’t that just dandy? The U.S. Army provided the man with stationery and postage to give aid and comfort to our enemy. That would be treason, I should think. Maybe the crowd who think that Hasan was a victim of work place overload will now urge that he be transferred to Gitmo as an ‘enemy combatant.’ Sick.

Tomorrow is Memorial Day. Polly and I will raise a glass to toast her brother, Emmanuel Weinberger, a paratrooper who was killed on the beach of Salerno in 1943. E.J. died in the Great War, fighting for our freedom.

We’ll also salute the thousands of brave and decent young Americans who have died on the sands and stones of Iraq and Afghanistan in a war that wasn’t declared by Congress as required by our Constitution. They died in a war that all the talking heads and the intelligentsia are now telling us was a mistake. No wonder so many of them have post traumatic problems. No wonder eighteen of them commit suicide every day.

The President of the United States hasn’t the slightest idea about how to deal with ISIS. He talks about “degrade and (ultimately) destroy.” That’s a bumper sticker foreign policy that basically means we’re going to bomb them a lot and hope they give up.

The Islamic State is based on an extremist version of Islam, in which the killing of innocent non believers is expected and rewarded. They will not quit. They will not surrender. Religious fervor is their motivation. They will kill for it. They will die for it.


My great grandson, E. Henry Richardson, will be my age in the year 2100. I wonder what his world will look like.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

CIVIL WAR!!!

Eleven score and six years ago, our Fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure.
This war is not between the North and the South, between slave States and Free States. This war is between the People and the Oligarchy. This is not a war of cannons and blood. It is a war of words and votes; a war of ideas and principles; a war between a government of laws and a government of men.
The United States of America was founded on the principle of natural law that there are certain rules of human life and conduct which are ordained by the Creator, and that among these are the right of human beings to establish governments; to determine how they shall be governed and by whom.
The Constitution of the United States specifies that every state shall be guaranteed a republican form of government. In each State the ultimate political power resides in the people. The people make the State’s laws, either directly or through their elected representatives.
In 39 of the 50 American States, the people have adopted laws defining marriage as a relationship between one male and one female human being.
In the face of this overwhelming expression of popular sovereignty, judges of federal and state courts have decreed that the law shall be otherwise; that persons of the same sex must be allowed to enter into marriage contracts.
They have issued their mandates based on the rationale that the people of the States and the legislators they have elected simply don’t have a good enough reason to declare marriage as the union of a male husband and a female wife.
This in the face of the obvious reproductive functions of male and female human beings. This in spite of the centuries of recorded human history in which matrimony has been celebrated, revered, and respected throughout the civilized world. This in total disregard of the mountains of books, studies, treatises, and scientific studies that demonstrate the biological, emotional, spiritual, financial, and social benefits and advantages associated with natural human families founded on the natural marriage of males and females.
And yet, even the stubborn refusal of the judges to recognize the overwhelming evidence in favor of natural marriage is not the ultimate threat to American democracy.
The real problem is the willingness of so many Americans to surrender their birthright of self government; to exchange the rule of law for the law of rulers; to accept and even celebrate the usurpation of popular self government by a self aggrandizing judicial oligarchy.
And for what? Does anyone really suggest that homosexuals, lesbians, bi-sexuals, and transsexuals comprise a majority or even a significant minority of the American people?
Certainly not. If the oligarchy had only the support of the LGBT community, they would not be able to dictate to the nation. The truth is that apathy and  indifference, a preference “not to get involved,” and the reluctance of the silent majority to be perceived as judgmental allow a trenchant  hedonistic community to commandeer the popular media and dominate its narrative.
Judges are more influenced by favorable editorials than by election returns. That is why they can write legal opinions asserting that there is an emerging public consensus which is diametrically opposite to the results of actual plebiscites. And they know that the American people have a bias in favor of  the appearance of regularity. If the judges say so, it must be so. The unhappy result is that judicial opinions have a way of becoming self fulfilling prophesies.
The United States of America is the greatest nation on earth because of the character of its people. We are good people who know the difference between right and wrong, good and evil.  If this nation perishes from the face of the  earth, it will be because its people have lost their moral compass, allowed themselves to become indolent, hedonistic, selfish, and inhuman; because they permit themselves to trust judges rather than God and the sovereign will of His people.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

JUDICIAL MISBEHAVIOR

Thomas McIntyre Cooley is among the most preeminent constitutional experts in American history. A long time Professor and Dean of the University of Michigan Law School, Justice and Chief Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court, First Chairman of the Interstate Commerce Commission, President of the American Bar Association and prolific author and speaker, Cooley remains a credible resource for all Americans who love our Constitution and the rule of law.

Here is what Thomas Cooley said about interpreting our Constitution:

A Constitution is not to be made to mean one thing at one time and another at some subsequent time when the circumstances may have so changed as perhaps to make a different rule in the case seem more desirable.

And further:

A court or a legislature which should allow a change in public sentiment to influence it in giving construction to a written constitution not warranted by the intention of its founders would be justly chargeable with reckless disregard of official oath and public duty.

No member of the Supreme Court has opined that the people of the several States who ratified the Constitution in 1789 or the legislatures of the States that ratified the 14th Amendment in 1868 intended thereby to forbid the State legislatures to enact laws defining marriage as a contract between a man and a woman.

None of the lawyers who argued the gay marriage cases said so. No newspaper, television station, network or web site has ever claimed that the Framers of our Constitution or the people who ratified it, intended to legalize gay marriage.

The plain, obvious and undeniable truth is that the supporters of gay marriage want the Supreme Court to read something into the Constitution which isn’t there, never has been there, and does not have sufficient support among the American people to be adopted as an amendment to the Constitution.

The people of the State of California, have on two occasions, by a significant majority vote, expressed their wish to restrict marriage to the traditional relationship between a man and a woman.

In spite of those votes and in spite of the Constitutional guarantee that California shall have a republican form of government, the 9th Circuit Federal Court has substituted its will for the will of the people.

It is commonly said that federal judges are appointed for life. This is not true. Section 1 of Article III of the United States Constitution says that federal judges shall hold their offices “during good behavior.”

Federal Judges, including the Justices of the Supreme Court, have taken an oath to support the Constitution. They are not sworn to do what is popular, or what they think is best for the people or what they think the people want. They are not empowered to dictate the cultural mores of the American people.

When a court announces that it has perceived ‘an emerging public consensus’ and proceeds to base a decision affecting the rights of litigants on public opinion rather than the plain words of the Constitution, the Judges or Justices who subscribe to such a decision are patently guilty of judicial misbehavior and are subject to removal from office.

The Constitutional standard of “good behavior” differs from the definition of the grounds for impeachment. Article II, Section 4 spells out the grounds for impeachment, which include treason, Bribery and other high crimes and misdemeanors.

Removal from office for failure to maintain ‘good behavior’ is a far stricter standard than an impeachable offence.

I submit that the attempt to deny the people of the states the right to legislate on the subject of marriage is conclusive evidence of judicial misbehavior and the Congress of the United States should immediately take steps to remove from office all those Justices and Judges who have violated their oaths of office by rendering or concurring in such opinions.


Thursday, April 30, 2015

APRIL SHOWERS

It’s been a busy and interesting month. Polly and I have been celebrating our 64th wedding anniversary. The centerpiece was a long planned ‘bucket list’ cruise on the Rhine River in Germany. We had a fabulous time, and I would recommend Rhine River cruising to anyone with a taste for travel.

We boarded the ship in Amsterdam on the 13th and promptly disembarked to board a smaller sight-seeing vessel that took us around the city. It’s a fascinating metropolis which has been a center of global commerce for centuries.

Over the next week, we traveled up the Rhine river with stops in such storied  places as Heidelberg, Freiburg, and Cologne. Cathedrals, castles and countryside made for a visual experience that almost distracted me from the daily five course dinners on board the ship.

Traveling with Judge Tom, Junior and his wife, Julie, meant trying to keep up with a couple of social dynamos whose dance cards are always filled.

Polly was up for the trip. The weeks before we left were filled with doctors’ and dentists’ appointments, as she worked to find relief from sciatic discomfort and repair of a major piece of bridgework that had picked the wrong time to collapse.

Her Father was from Germany and her Mother was from Hungary. She remembers that German was spoken in her home when she was a tyke. Like tiny film clips, lingering memories of food and phrases and faces that speak to her family’s roots were jogged back to life at every stop along the river.   

I was determined to get some rest. It was a vacation that provided some down time, as the comfortable, modern vessel smoothed its way upstream. Bill O’Reilly’s Killing Patton was primary on my agenda, and I managed to find the account of his assault on the German homeland over the Rhine River at about the time our ship was in that neighborhood.

On the night of March 22, 1945, a patrol from Patton’s Third Army paddled wooden boats across the Rhine near a town called Nierstein. On the other side, they found no evidence of the German army, and they reported the fact to Patton, who instantly ordered a pontoon bridge to be constructed. Within 24 hours, a full division of GI boots were on German soil.

George Patton was given to symbolism. He had long since announced his intention to invade the German homeland, and promised that he would “piss in the Rhine.”

He did precisely that on March 24th and a photograph evidencing the event is included in Bill O’Reilly’s book. As our ship cruised past the town of Nierstein, I took great pleasure in announcing the significance of the location to all the passengers within earshot.

Heidelberg was a particularly intriguing stop. The short bus ride from the dock took us through winding cobblestone streets up steep hills to the remains of the Heidelberg Castle, a storied structure which inspired our guide to spew out a lecture on European history that included the Roman Empire, the Protestant Reformation, the Napoleonic Wars, and a cascading torrent of information far too detailed and esoteric to stick in my craw.

Of special interest was the wine barrel. Built to hold the taxes paid in wine by the people to the Lord of the castle, the Heidelberg wine barrel is said to be the largest in the world. Nearly twenty feet tall, it holds about 58,000 gallons of wine when full.

Interestingly, through, most of the time since 1751 when it was built, the barrel has been empty. A good message there for tax collectors.

Polly was a stalwart sightseer on Friday when we toured Heidelberg. Back aboard ship, we were feted by the crew at dinner. Tom and Julie were celebrating their 38th wedding anniversary and, of course, Polly and I were observing our 64th. At dessert time, the lights were dimmed and a delegation of the wait staff appeared with sparkler candles and individual cakes.

Polly, of course, wanted to acknowledge the attention with a smile. Unfortunately, just moments before, a front tooth cap had come dislodged, and she was hastily trying to find a way to hold the tooth in place.

Needless to say, the dentist’s office was our first stop after deplaning in Tampa.


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

HIS HONOR


His name is Mike Duggan. He is listed by Fortune Magazine among “The World’s Greatest Leaders.” I was surprised to learn that a number or my rather knowledgeable and sophisticated golfing buddies had never heard of him.

Mike Duggan is a graduate of Detroit Catholic Central High School – my alma mater. He attended the University of Michigan, both undergraduate and Law School.

Mike was active in Democratic politics in Wayne County. That helped him get a job after Law School as an Assistant Corporation Counsel for Wayne County. Eventually, he earned appointment as Deputy County Executive in 1987.

In 2000, Duggan was elected Prosecuting Attorney of Wayne County. With a year remaining on his term of office, he left the County to take on the challenge of managing the Detroit Medical Center, a municipal hospital which was in dire financial straights.

His executive skills made a difference. In eight years, he turned DMC around and it became a profitable enterprise which attracted a buyer from the private sector. Vanguard Health Systems purchased the Detroit Medical Center in 2010.

In 2013, at fifty-five years of age, Mike Duggan chose to resign from the hospital and take on a new challenge. He decided to run for Mayor of Detroit.

Mike and his wife, Lori, bought a gracious old home in Detroit and Mike filed as a candidate for Mayor. Unfortunately, he filed too soon. He had not been a resident of the City long enough to run. It was a careless mistake. Had he waited just another week or so, the filing would have been accepted.

As it was, the City Clerk refused to put Mike Duggan’s name on the Primary Election ballot. A hurried appeal to the courts was unsuccessful. The Duggans were now residents of the City, but Mike was not running for Mayor.

Undiscouraged, Duggan mounted a write-in campaign. It was a decision that most observers thought was utterly impossible. His candidacy seemed doubtful enough, considering that Detroit’s population is mostly black, and the last white Mayor was Ray Gribbs back in the 1970’s. But running as a write-in candidate? What was he thinking?

He was thinking that he knew the City and its people better that his critics. When the ballots were counted, Duggan was nominated with 52 percent of the Primary ballots. He went on to tally a solid 55 percent in the final election.

So who is Mike Duggan? He is the Mayor of Detroit. He has taken on a challenge that would be shunned by any corporation CEO in America, even if multimillion dollar executive compensation were on the table.

When I was elected Judge of the Common Pleas Court of Detroit in 1961, there were 1,800,000 residents of that city. Today, there are fewer than 700,000. To say that Detroit is a ghost town is no exaggeration. Whole neighborhoods that once teemed with children, schools, churches, businesses and block after block of single family homes, have been reduced to weed infested empty lots surrounding pitiful, boarded up buildings.

It’s a city that reflects all the challenges that plague urban life in America. Unemployment, racial tensions, decaying infrastructure, exodus of the middle class, failing schools, drugs, crime. You name it. Whatever is wrong in any city in America is doubly wrong in Detroit.

Why would a  successful hospital executive from Livonia want to take on such a job? And what are his prospects?

I know Mike Duggan. His wife is my my old law partner’s daughter. She grew up calling me Uncle Tom. The Duggans are good people. Mike is not a show boat politician. He is a hard worker with a lot of common sense and good instincts.

My golfing buddies haven’t heard of him because he keeps a low profile. I am sure there are some pundits around the country who think that a white man who can get elected as a write-in candidate in a black town ought to be a shoo-in for a Democratic Presidential nomination some day.


I wouldn’t bet against it. If anybody can revive Tiger Town, Hockey Town and Mo Town, it’s Mike Duggan.