Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Healthcare Problems Continue to Mount in Supreme Court!

March 29th, 2010
New Orleans, Louisiana


For three days this week, the national news focus was on the U.S. Supreme Court’s hearing concerning the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare. To most Republicans, the new law is a massive stretch of interpreting the Constitution’s commerce clause of allowing the federal government to require every individual to purchase health insurance. But to moderates and most Democrats, such a requirement is little more than another of a long line of government dictates on both the state and federal levels. So for folks like you and me, what do we know and what should we know about all the verbiage surrounding this technical and complicated law?

The simple question this week before the Supreme Court is whether, under the Commerce clause, Congress has the power to require Americans to obtain health insurance. If a majority of the Court’s member don’t like the law, that’s not a valid reason to hold the law unconstitutional. Supposedly, there has to be precedent. There has to be a clear extension of the law that goes beyond a federal issue, and one that does not violate a clearly defined state right. OK, OK. We will just forget about Bush v Gore for now.

Some will say the law has not even been put fully into effect yet. The mandate provisions do not kick in until 2014. And any mandatory penalty or tax for not complying is not collected until 2015. So how can there even be a court challenge? Good question. There is a law on the books called the Anti-Injunction Act that prohibits any court challenge by an individual unless a tax or penalty at issue at been both levied and paid. The court, under this law, has the right, even the obligation, to “punt” if you will on any decision until 2015. But will they? Or will they choose to just get the controversy out of the way?

Can government mandate what an individual is required to do? Certainly. They do it all the time. On the state level, residents are required to buy car insurance and get immunizations. On the national level, federal courts have supported efforts by Congress to make a number of demands on both the states as well as individuals. . Both Medicare and Social Security require an individual to pay into a federally created fund. No federal highway funds are given to each state unless the drinking age was raised to twenty one.

In California, medical use of marijuana is legal, and defendant Angel Reich had a doctor’s prescription to grow the plant for her own personal medical use only. Her case went to the Supreme Court (Ashcroft v. Raich), and the decision stated that the Commerce Clause applied and the federal government could regulate and prohibit her use. And how about Roscoe Filburn, a farmer from Minnesota, who raised wheat for his family’s own personal use? The Supreme Court upheld a 1938 federal law that told him how much wheat he could grow and made him pay a penalty for every extra bushel. (Wickard v. Filburn)

So there would seem to be ample case law and precedent for the Justices to uphold the idea of federal mandates. The law was passed by Congress and signed by the President. They made the rules. Chief Justice John Roberts has repeatedly said that judges are like umpires. Their job is to call balls and strikes, but not become rule makers. There is any number of examples where Congress has passed, and the Supreme Court has upheld, the regulation of individual activity.

But some would argue there is a big difference this time. In the case of this healthcare law, individuals are penalized for their inactivity. If you don’t buy healthcare, you get penalized. Can the failure to make a purchase be interpreted to be “commercial activity,” and thus be subjected to the new law? I think a strong argument can be made that individual inaction causes a domino effect, that makes those who comply with the law take additional action.

If you don’t comply with the law, then I have to pick up your slack. If you are not covered for health protection, then run to the emergency room to obtain care for free, those of us who do comply with the law have to pay for your failure to comply. Your inaction requires my additional action and forces me to assume additional cost. In this bigger picture, I would argue that there is ample room for the Commerce Clause to apply.

Here’s how David Brooks, the conservative columnist for the New York Times, sums it up: “The individual mandate is perfectly acceptable policy. We effectively have a national health care system. We all indirectly pay for ill, uninsured people who show up at emergency rooms. If all Americans are in the same interconnected health care system, I think it’s reasonable for government to insist that all Americans participate in the insurance network that is the payment method for that system.”

Many will argue that if the Supreme Court puts precedent aside and interjects their own personal feelings about the law by declaring ” Obamacare” unconstitutional, such a rejection will be perceived a s a major setback for the President. But who is going to lead the criticism of too much federal over reach? Mitt Romney is a cinch to be the Republican presidential nominee, and Democrats are already tagging him as the father of the Obama healthcare plan. As Governor of Massachusetts, he confected and strongly supported almost an additional plan for his home state. Can’t you just see the grin come across the President’s face in the first presidential debate when Romney or the moderator brings up Obamacare? “Now just where did the idea come from?”

And just where did the idea of an individual mandate originate before then Governor Romney instituted a similar plan in Massachusetts? The President can site as support for the an individual mandate just about every major Republican figure, starting with Newt Gingrich, and every conservative think tank, beginning with the Heritage Foundation ,going back to the early 1990s when such a mandate was offered as a Republican alternative to the Clinton healthcare proposals.

What we saw at the Supreme Court this week was the three Ps; precedent, politics and posturing. It could be Bush v. Gore all over again. And when all is said and done, Congress and the Supreme Court still have to deal the fact that 40 million Americans have no healthcare. The U.S is the only industrialized nation in the world that faces such a problem. Yet this political debate could continue for years to come.

“There is hardly a political question in the United States which does not sooner or later turn into a judicial one.”
Alexis de Tocqueville

Peace and Justice

Jim Brown

Jim Brown’s syndicated column appears each week in numerous newspapers throughout the country and on websites worldwide. You can read all his past columns and see continuing updates at You can also hear Jim’s nationally syndicated radio show each Sunday morning from 9 am till 11:00 am, central time, on the Genesis Radio Network, with a live stream at

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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Must Be a New Movie-Prosecutors Gone Wild!

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012
New Orleans, Louisiana


It seems to be spreading like a communicable disease. And apparently there is no cure. Week after week, there are new reports of prosecutors, on both the federal and state level, engaging in premeditated acts of prosecutorial misconduct. Coaching witnesses to lie. Hiding evidence from the defense counsel that would favor the accused. And even calculated cover-ups that put a falsely convicted person on death row. Has justice run amuck? Has Lady Justice lost her way?

Take a look at some of the recent stories about wayward prosecutors in major newspapers throughout the county. The Pittsburg Post-Gazette researched a 10 part story on this national problem. They summed up their findings by concluding: “Hundreds of times during the past 10 years, federal agents and prosecutors have pursued justice by breaking the law. They lied, hid evidence, distorted facts, engaged in cover-ups, paid for perjury and set up innocent people in a relentless effort to win indictments, guilty pleas and convictions, a two year Post-Gazette investigation found.”

Just a few months ago, the Houston Chronicle charged: “This year we have read story after story of egregious prosecutorial misconduct. Prosecutors have repeatedly robbed innocent men of their liberty. Prosecutors who willfully falsify evidence must be held to answer under the law. We dishonor the memory of those who paid the ultimate price for our liberty if we demand anything less to preserve that liberty.”

A court ordered study concerning the botched trial of former Alaska U.S. Senator Ted Stevens was released just last week. Prosecutors had withheld key evidence and statements from witnesses that contradicted the government’s case and that would have found Stevens innocent. A few weeks after his wrongful conviction, he was defeated for re election. Stevens died in a plane crash shortly thereafter. A report ordered by the trial judge concluded there was definitely “intentional misconduct,” and the present U.S. Senator from Alaska is calling for the prosecutors to be fired and strongly sanctioned. In my opinion they should be criminally prosecuted and lose their licenses to practice law.

A key part of the Stephens investigative report says: “Handwritten notes taken by an FBI agent “contained significant information that was never disclosed to Senator Stephens’ attorneys. “His own attorneys elaborated by saying that “Corrupt prosecutors obtained an illegal verdict… and the report “provides evidence of government corruption that is shocking in its boldness and its breadth.”

There are interesting analogies here. The Stephens investigative report, the trial judge and the lawyers all have concluded that withholding an FBI agent’s “hand written notes is “shocking,” and is a blatant example of prosecutorial misconduct. This reminds me of a Louisiana case some years ago where the FBI agent’s notes were withheld, and that led to the conviction of an innocent man. But prosecutors in the Bayou State have a habit of withholding evidence that would have cleared a defendant. In the past year alone, three New Orleans cases have made their way to the U.S. Supreme Court. The justices’ concluded that convicting the innocent by withholding key evidence seems to be a way of life in many Louisiana federal and state courts.

As quoted in the New York Times, a former U.S. Attorney from New Orleans said that the office policy was “keeping away as much information as possible from the defense attorney.” Defense lawyers in New Orleans confirm that there have been 28 convictions, many that put defendants on death row, where later it was determined that prosecutors had withheld key evidence that would have supported the innocence of the accused.

In the notorious case of Dan Bright, convicted and put on death row for a murder he did not commit, evidence came out years after his conviction that the FBI, thanks to a credible informant, had been in possession of the name of the actual killer all along. Luckily for Dan Bright, because of the unconstitutional withholding of key evidence by the prosecution and the FBI, his conviction was thrown out, and he now is a free man – after 8 years behind bars, much of that time on death row.

Another death row victim out of New Orleans was John Thompson, who spent 14 years on death row, even though the prosecutor who sent him to prison knew all along that he was innocent. On his death bed, dying of cancer, this rogue prosecutor confessed to a colleague that he had, in fact, withheld key evidence that would have cleared Thompson. The fellow prosecutor who had received this confession waited three years to let the prosecutor’s office know the real truth.

It just never seems to end in New Orleans. A longtime federal prosecutor, just this week resigned from the U.S. Attorney’s office after admitting that he used an alias to post defamatory and scurrilous commentary about cases he was handling on the website of the state’s largest newspaper. The Times Picayune reported that one of the prosecutor’s aliases was “campstblue.” The U.S. Attorney’s office in New Orleans is on Camp Street. The posting was about a former New Orleans Mayor who is under investigation by the prosecutor’s office. “Campstblue” wrote: "For all of you who have a penchant for firearms and how they work, Ray Nagin lives on Park Island." Does the posting urge someone with a gun to go after the controversial former Mayor? And if so, isn’t this a serious crime of inciting a felony? Another day in the continuing saga of blatant and corrupt prosecutorial misconduct in New Orleans.

The attitude of too many prosecutors is to do whatever it takes to get convictions. But that’s not the prosecutor’s job. As federal appeals courts have said repeatedly: “A prosecutor has a special duty commensurate with a prosecutor’s unique power, to assure that defendants receive fair trials. Prosecutors sometimes forget that the prosecutor’s special duty is not to convict, but to secure justice.”

Here’s how this week’s lead editorial in The Wall Street Journal summarized the problem. “Something is very rotten at the U.S. Department of Justice. Americans hand prosecutors an awesome power. We are seeing a pattern of abuse of this power, in order to win big cases. Prosecutors should remember that their job is to do justice and not simply to beat the defense team.”

As the poet said many years ago: “It is just as well that justice is blind; she might not like some of the things done in her name if she could see them.” There is much for Lady Justice to be concerned about today.

Peace and Justice.

Jim Brown

Jim Brown’s syndicated column appears each week in numerous newspapers and websites throughout the country. You can read all his past columns and see continuing updates at You can also hear Jim’s nationally syndicated radio show each Sunday morning from 9 am till 11:00 am, central time, on the Genesis Radio Network, with a live stream at

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Friday, March 16, 2012

Insurance Rates Skyrocket in Louisiana!

Thursday, March 15th, 2012
Baton Rouge, Louisiana


My home state of Louisiana again has the distinction of having the most expensive auto insurance rates in the nation. Forbes magazine just released national figures indicating that not only do Louisiana’s drivers pay more than drivers in any other state in the country, but the costs are higher by a wide margin.

The figures that rank Louisiana number one show that the average cost to insure a car for a Louisiana driver is $2536. That’s almost $500 dollars more than Oklahoma, the next highest state, which comes in at $2047. In Alabama, drivers pay an average of $1345. In Arkansas, the figure is $1334. Our neighbors in Mississippi pay $1502. Texas comes in a little higher than the southern average at $1661, but it’s still considerably cheaper to drive a car there than in the Bayou State. Louisiana drivers pay double the average insurance cost throughout the south.

These rankings are nothing new. Louisiana has led the country in high rates for the past decade. And the root causes are the same. Too many drunk drivers, uninsured drives, unskilled drivers, poor roads and a lack of strong regulation. The Louisiana legislature kicked off its 2012 session just this week. One would think that with such an insurance cost drain on the state populace, there would be numerous proposals to address the long list of causation. But those paying the highest rates in the nation should not get their hopes up.

These rankings are nothing new. Louisiana has led the country in high rates for the past decade. And the root causes have not changed -- too many drunk drivers, uninsured drives, unskilled drivers, poor roads and a lack of strong regulation. The Louisiana legislature kicked off its 2012 session just this week. One would think that with such an insurance cost drain on the state populace, there would be numerous proposals to address the long list of causation. But Louisiana drivers should not get their hopes up.

Drunk driving seems to be at an all time high. Louisiana is known worldwide for partying and drinking at all hours of the day and night. The local chant is le ze la bon ton roulette -- let the good times roll. A friend was visiting from out west and was astounded to see drive through daiquiri shops open all night long. The results of this lax “drinking and driving” attitude shows up in the accident statistics. Over 50% of all serious injuries and deaths in auto accidents involve drunk drivers.

Just days ago in the New Orleans area, a fellow was arrested for his 8th DWI. No, that’s not make a mistake. The 8th. What happened at 3 or 4 or 5 or 6 when one would expect that someone would say, “Hey, something’s wrong here. Enough is enough. Get this guy off the road.” And what about the driver just north of New Orleans who was charged with his 4th DWI in the past five months, alone?

The state police, to their credit, maintain a statewide data base for all criminal charges and convictions. But the data is only as good as its maintenance, and a number of local law enforcement jurisdictions do not keep the information current. Charges slip through the cracks, and this is why a driver can get multiple DWIs and still get behind the wheel to drive drunk again, and be a menace to us all.

State laws mandate jail time, the loss of license, and mandatory sale of the driver’s vehicle in the case of the third offense DWI. Unfortunately, these provisions are rarely enforced in many local courts. When the information is there, and the driver is convicted, under the law he should pay the price, but all too often, he doesn’t. It comes down to inconsistent enforcement.

Another factor contributing to Louisiana’s highest in the nation insurance rates: Louisiana has a large number of uninsured drivers. But Louisiana Insurance officials will tell you that only 10 to 15% of Louisiana drivers are uninsured. But the actual percentage of uninsured drivers is much higher according to the insurance industry authorities. And State troopers readily acknowledge that the number of uninsured drivers is above 30%.

That means that it is a necessity to carry uninsured motorist coverage that often is more than one third of the total premium cost. The legislature in Louisiana compounded the problem last year by passing a law stopping the impoundment of vehicles that are not insured. So the numbers of the uninsured continue to increase and will likely cause the Louisiana driver’s premium to increase even more.

Here’s another list where Louisiana is number one. The National Car Insurance Comparison guide was just released, and surprise, surprise --The Bayou State leads the nation in lousy drivers. There is an insubstantial early driver training system in place, with few high schools even offering driver’s education. Kids tell me that many of the private courses are a joke, with plenty of texting and playing video games, little training, and no final exam. The same study listed Louisiana in a tie with Montana as the most dangerous place to drive in the United States.

Road conditions? Still, yet, another first place prize. Reader’s Digest recently listed Louisiana as having the worst roads in America. Where we gonna’ store all these trophies? What about the state capitol in Baton Rouge, the home of all the legislators who have played the major roles in earning such a stellar record?

Lobbyists and close observers of the legislative scene do not expect any significant insurance reforms to come out of this current legislative session. So, for the time being, Louisiana is secure in holding down the number one spot in virtually every category of bad news for those who were hoping for insurance rates to come down. At the state capitol, there is definitely a way. But for now, there is just no will.

“If you think nobody cares if you're alive, try missing a couple of car insurance payments.“ ~Earl Wilson

Peace and Justice

Jim Brown

Jim Brown’s syndicated column appears each week in numerous newspapers and websites throughout the country. You can read past columns and see continuing updates at You can also hear Jim’s nationally syndicated radio show each Sunday morning from 9 am till 11:00 am, central time, on the Genesis Radio Network, with a live stream at

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Friday, March 09, 2012

America's Favorite Pastime!

Thursday, March 8th, 2012
Tampa, Florida


Just what is America’s favorite pastime? Is it baseball or politics? The past few years have offered interesting comparisons. On one hand, the country is enmeshed in a full-blown presidential campaign with deep divisions over how to stimulate the economy and how to define America’s role in the world. Because of urgent concerns with these issues and others, politics has become a major spectator sport all over the country. But don’t sell baseball short. Not only has baseball been around longer than any of America’s professional team sports, the game’s highs and lows have been injected in national politics, almost from the sport’s inception.

Now, I’m a diehard baseball fan. I grew up in St. Louis, and lived next door to the general manager of the St. Louis Cardinals, the great former Cardinals shortstop, Marty Marion. I was in his box on a Sunday afternoon in May 1954 -- May 2, to be exact -- when “Stan the Man” Musial hit five home runs on the same day in a doubleheader at Busch Stadium. All this week, I’ll be in Tampa for spring training and I’ll watch five major league ball games, including a trip to the home stadium of my perennial favorite, the New York Yankees.

The problems of major league baseball have often been a mirror image of the problems facing America. Its history is both a reflection of this country’s fears and ignorance, and its hopes and promises. Like almost any other cultural phenomenon of such prominence, baseball has served as solace and as a poke to our conscience.

In the 1940s, major league baseball faced the problems of segregation before the politicians in Washington did. Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier playing for the Brooklyn Dodgers, and won the rookie of the year award in his first season. It took court cases and sit-ins to get our political representatives to follow suit. Today, steroid use by baseball players has become a major issue, and has undermined the image of the ball player as a wholesome example for American youth. And the use of performance-enhancing drugs has become a major focus of congressional investigations, which may result in possible federal legislation.

At recent press conferences, the President has taken questions about steroid use in baseball, and whether or not the federal government should get involved in closer monitoring. Even though the country is facing an economic recession, multiple wars abroad, and a major energy crisis, he still can’t get away from baseball.

Baseball played a role in the presidential campaign four years ago. Senator McCain accused Barak Obama of baseball rooting malfeasance for the way he used baseball analogies at the start of the World Series as he traveled campaigning the country. The Republican nominee charged: “When he (Obama) is campaigning in Philadelphia, he roots for the Phillies, and when he’s campaigning in Tampa Bay, he shows love to the Rays. It’s kind of like the way he campaigns on tax cuts, then votes for tax increases after he is elected.”

And don’t forget that our last President came from a baseball background. In 1989, George Bush headed up an ownership group that bought the Texas Rangers, but the former President didn’t get a lot done in that job either. The Rangers had zero World Series appearances, and hired a cast of characters right in the middle of the steroid mess, including José Canseco, Sammy Sosa, Juan Gonzalez, and Ivan Rodriguez. The former President’s swings and misses as a baseball man should have given voters an indication of the kind of president he was going to be.

You can even find a number of political analogies just by studying the baseball teams themselves. Two years ago, the Tampa Bay Rays were the Cinderella team that went from “worst to first,” finishing in last place a year earlier, but winning the American League pennant the following year. Maybe it has something to do with their name. They used to be called the “Devil Rays” and their record was terrible. As soon as they dropped the word, “Devil,” they became victorious overnight. Was their sudden turnaround based strictly on skill and talent, or was the Religious Right involved?

Many major league games this season will be carried by the Fox network. You know -- as in “Fox News?” In the National League, everyone, even the pitcher, gets an equal chance to bat, so will Fox claim that the National Leaguers are “socialists” because everyone gets an equal chance? Will Fox commentators argue that they should call some home runs out if they are too far to the left? And I guess you can’t blame the Democrats for bemoaning that every time someone steals a base, they are reminded of the 2000 presidential election. It’s probably impossible to get away from campaigns and politics by focusing on baseball spring training, but I’m going to give it a shot.

There is also a lesson to be learned from Babe Ruth as congress considers limiting executive pay and bonuses at corporations that received bailout money. When the Babe was asked how he could justify making more money than the President, he answered, “I had a better year.”

I suppose one of the biggest differences between these two spectator sports is the sense of optimism that baseball brings every spring. The crack of the bat, a pop fly against a blue sky, and the green grass seem to offer a sense of renewal. It harkens back to the essence of youth and heroes of the past, and you feel that almost anything is possible in the coming baseball season. But in today’s political climate, there is little thought of the great statesmen and the principled political figures of the past. Political courage today is too often defined by poll watching and sticking a wet finger to the wind.

Baseball offers hope and optimism that there is a grand opportunity and a bright future for the coming season. Politics, at least for the moment, lacks the promise of good things to come and needs an infusion of that same hope and optimism. So when the TV remote offers a choice of politics or baseball -- I’ll pick baseball hands down.


“The difference between politics and baseball is that in baseball, when you are caught stealing, you’re out.” Ron Dentinger

Peace and Justice

Jim Brown

Jim Brown’s syndicated column appears each week in numerous newspapers and websites throughout the South. You can read all his past columns and see continuing updates at You can also hear Jim’s nationally syndicated radio show each Sunday morning from 9 am till 11:00 am, central time, on the Genesis Radio Network, with a live stream at

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Thursday, March 01, 2012

Hypocrisy in the Nation's Capitol!

Thursday, March 1st, 2012
Baton Rouge, Louisiana


Two time presidential contender Adlai Stevenson had a quote concerning two-faced public officials. “A hypocrite is the kind of politician who would cut down a redwood tree, then mount the stump and make a speech for conservation.” Well said, and there should be little doubt as to where the greatest concentration of hypocrites can be found in America, today. Just look toward the nation’s capitol. Prognosticating in favor of proposed legislation, then voting against it, or vice versa, has become increasingly commonplace in Washington.

No better example can be found than by observing members of congress trying to “cover their tracks” by reversing a section in the recently enacted National defense Act. The Act itself is the vehicle to allow military spending of $662 billion for 2013. The U.S., with the approval of Congress, will continue a number of “everywhere and forever” military actions in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen, Iraq (we’re still in Iraq?) and possibly enter into a confrontation with Iran. Well, OK, so far, I guess. You just gotta trust our leadership -- right?
But now, with the overwhelming approval of Congress, the battlefield has come back home. A legislative atrocity now gives to this president, and any future president, the power to give an order to the military to detain and arrest American citizens, and indefinitely hold them without charges. That’s right. No charges, no trial, and hold them indefinitely. What happened to the Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Amendments that were supposed serve as checks and balances, giving guaranteed protections to every American?

We hear admonitions from Republicans and Democrats alike, about “big, intrusive government.” What we hear little of is the constitutional guarantee, found in the Fourth Amendment that confirms “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects…” Any school kid knows this is nothing new. English legal doctrine set the tone for the Fourth Amendment when Sir Edward Coke stated back in 1609 that: "The house of every one is to him as his castle and fortress, as well for his defence against injury and violence as for his repose." Translated for members of Congress: If you don’t have specific charges to bring, leave us alone.

Right after he was sworn in to office, President Obama asserted: “Our values have been our best national security assets in war and peace; in times of ease and eras of upheaval.” Good rhetoric, but his performance in defense of basic individual liberties has been in direct contradiction to this.

President Obama began his assault of basic constitutionally guaranteed liberties by signing the so called Patriot Act. Simply put, the Patriot Act is one of the most egregious acts against basic rights and liberties that we have witnessed in our lifetimes. The President and many members of Congress will argue that they have a job to keep American safe. But that’s not the starting point. Their job is to see that the Constitution is enforced, and that means keeping us free. As Judge Andrew Napolitano said on his Fox News program recently, the job of these federal officials is to keep us “Free from tyrants who sought and claimed power from thin air; free from prince-like federal agents who could behave without constitutional or legal restraint; free to live with a government that obeys its own laws. Any president who keeps us safe but unfree is ignoring his oath to the American people.” And doesn’t keeping us safe include keeping us safe from the tyranny of our own government as well?

The President gave lip service to concerns over the recent Defense Act: “Despite having serious reservations with certain provisions,” I am signing this legislation.
Months before, The President had said, “my administration will not authorize the indefinite military detention without trial of American citizens.” Hey, Mr. President, that’s not what this law you signed says. It says just the opposite. You signed into law your complete authority to detain and indefinitely jail American citizens. No amount of rhetoric will obscure this fact.

A number of members of Congress apparently are feeling the heat of their outrageous and blatantly unconstitutional actions. There is an effort, led by Louisiana congressman Jeff Landry, to reverse parts of the National Defense Act that allows American citizens to be subject to indefinite detention. Landry says he was “hoodwinked” by California Congressman Bob McEwen, who handled the defense legislation on the House floor. Landry was assured by the house Republican leadership that American citizens were not subject to being held indefinitely, when in fact the opposite was true.

To his credit, Landry is trying to make amends. He has introduced new legislation making it clear that American citizens are not subject to the provisions of the Defense Act, and so far he has obtained 59 co-sponsors with Republicans and Democrats joining in his effort. But he still faces an uphill fight since he is being opposed by both the Republican and Democratic leadership in the House. You see, it’s election year and the leadership just doesn’t want to go back and open up old wounds. “Let it be,” they say. “The President said he wouldn’t enforce the law, so let’s just leave well enough alone.”

Hopefully, Landry’s repeal efforts will be successful. But troubling questions are still are being ignored by a majority of Congress as well as by the President. Does the Bill of Right mean anything anymore? Are Americans now guilty until proven innocent? Does the accused still have the right to defend himself? Or do we continue to follow the current mantra of “indefinite detainment,” in defiance of the constitution and the principals on which the United States was founded? These questions need to be raised to those who want to represent us in Washington.

How many congressmen will stand up for the premise that each and every American has basic constitutional freedoms guaranteed by the Bill of Rights? From what we have witnessed recently, the numbers in support of these freedoms are dwindling.

“Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves.” ~Abraham Lincoln

Peace and Justice

Jim Brown

Jim Brown’s syndicated column appears each week in numerous newspapers and websites throughout the country. You can read all is past columns and see continuing updates at You can also hear Jim’s nationally syndicated radio show each Sunday morning from 9 am till 11:00 am, central time, on the Genesis Radio Network, with a live stream at

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