Hoping Our Betters Look Before They Leap

Strange Days! Joe Biden and Boris Johnson are both rather unpopular in their home countries, and both seem to be desperately seeking some kind of “Rally Round the Flag” distraction from their egregious failures. Hence their contretemps over the Ukraine.

Before that pair foolishly start a war, it might be helpful for them to read “America’s First Battles: 1776 – 1965”, edited by C.E. Heller & W. A Stofft, ISBN 0-7006-0276-3 (1986). This volume was sponsored by the US Army, and includes detailed discussions of the opening battles in 10 wars in which the US Army had been involved up to 1965.

1776 – George Washington led hastily organized Americans at the Battle of Long Island against invading English who were intent on bringing the separatists back under Royal control. The American forces lost the battle, but were able to withdraw reasonably intact. Fighting continued for 5 more years.

1812 – 36 years later, at the opening of the War of 1812, American forces were even more unprepared at the Battle of Queenston Heights on the Niagra River, and were severely beaten by forces from the British army & Canadian militia. The war continued for more than 2 years.

1846 – Another 34 years on, the US had the beginnings of a professional army, which was able to defeat Mexican forces on the Rio Grande in the opening round of the Mexican-American War. Fighting continued for 3 years.

1861 – 15 years later, it was Americans versus Americans in the Civil War Battle of First Bull Run, only about 25 miles from Washington DC. Confederate Americans succeeded in repelling the invasion by the US Army. The war continued for 4 years. Incidentally, First Bull Run (First Manassas) was the battle at which Stonewall Jackson – arguably the finest military commander since Alexander the Great – gained his moniker. Whether “Stonewall” was intended to be a compliment or an insult remains a matter of debate even today.

1898 – Another 37 years later, another war; this time the Spanish-American War. A hastily organized US Army expeditionary force met a small but determined Spanish force at San Juan Hill in Cuba – and prevailed. Because of the parlous state of the Spanish Empire, the war lasted only 4 months before Spain conceded and withdrew from the Western Hemisphere

1918 – 20 years after that, a much larger US expeditionary force joined World War I on the Western Front in an assault on German lines at Cantigny in France. As was typical for that trench warfare, many men died on both sides without any material change in the overall situation. Call it a draw.

1943 – A quarter of a century later in World War II, the US Army fought its first major action in the Pacific along with Australian forces against a much smaller Japanese force at Buna on Papua New Guinea. The US forces had had minimal training & preparation for combat in a rain-soaked jungle, while the Japanese forces had organized their defenses well. What had been expected to be a minor clearing-up operation developed into a meat-grinder battle which the Allies won after about 7 weeks of combat, but at very high cost.

1943 – The Battle of Kasserine Pass in Tunisia, where new US Army units with limited training had the great misfortune to face Germany’s ace general Rommel in the first US action in the Western Hemisphere, and were soundly defeated. Fortunately, disagreements between Rommel and his Italian allies prevented him from pursuing the defeated Americans, enabling them to recover from the disaster.

1950 – Only 5 years after the end of WWII, ill-prepared US forces were hastily transported from occupation duty in Japan to assist South Korea following North Korea’s unexpected invasion. This was not the same US Army which had learned hard lessons in WWII and eventually prevailed. Task Force Smith was charged with slowing down the North Korean advance south towards the port of Pusan which was essential for bringing in UN reinforcements. US forces lost battle after battle as they were forced to retreat southwards, but did succeed in slowing the North Korean advance sufficiently for additional forces to be brought into Pusan and turn the war around. Call it a noble defeat.

1965 – Another 15 years, another Asian invasion – this time North Vietnam’s invasion of South Vietnam. US 1st Cavalry was the first helicopter-borne air-mobile military force in history, with massive technological advantages, albeit once again with under-trained troops. However, the jungle terrain gave the North Vietnamese great advantages for their preferred style of ambush fighting. While US Marines had seen action earlier, the first major US Army action was in the Ia Drang (River Drang) Valley in Vietnam’s Central Highlands. Savage fighting exacted heavy casualties on both sides, leaving both forces severely weakened and unwilling to continue the battle. Call it a draw.

To summarize the outcomes of these 10 First Battles over a span of nearly two centuries – 2 clear victories; 1 win at very high cost; 2 costly draws; 1 noble defeat; 4 clear defeats.

A recurrent theme of all these First Battles was that the opponent was generally under-estimated; military units were under-trained and often poorly equipped; and command structures were frequently weak.

Another recurrent theme is the repeated failure of politicians to appreciate at the outset how long wars will take, and what sacrifices will be required to win them. Famously, the British Army went to France in 1914 expecting to be home by Christmas. At the time of the Battle of Long Island, the Continental Congress had limited the enlistment period for recruits to only 3 months. Lyndon Johnson infamously tried to use military force to “send messages” in Vietnam rather than to win. Politicians also repeatedly allowed the military to degrade during the long intervals of peace – which time after time resulted in disaster when that peace eventually broke down.

We see that same sad unlearned historical lesson happening today – a US military more focused on promoting females and supporting transgenderism than in training for battles. It is definitely not kosher to note the gender of the pilot who recently crashed a state-of-the-art F35 jet into the South China Sea, nor the gender of the deck officers on US Navy ships involved in collisions over the last few years. A recent US military recruiting video highlighted a young woman with two mothers. Compare that with the following Chinese video (a fine piece of film-making) showing men leaving their families to fight as guardians of a good life. Which side would you bet on in a future First Battle?

New Chinese military video brimming with its latest weapons - YouTube

Bottom line – let’s hope that Biden & Johnson wake up and realize they are in no position to trigger hostilities in Ukraine.


You forgot 1942 Operation Torch: Invasion of North Africa. And I believe US forces got their first action at Kasserine Pass.

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This brings to mind a thought prompted by two books I’ve recently read: Neal Stephenson’s Termination Shock and Robert Kroese’s Mammon Vol. 2: Messiah. (The latter will be published on 2022-02-28—I read a pre-publication copy made available to Kickstarter backers.)

Both books are set in the 2030–2040s, deal with technological responses to global threats: climate change and asteroid impact, and highlight how dysfunctional and impotent political and social institutions are in coping with real-world crises.

What is interesting is that both books, depicting very different circumstances from disparate perspectives, are set in worlds in which the United States has become largely irrelevant on the world stage: bankrupt, running out of capital to consume, ruled by venal looters who are beginning to realise that after generations of plunder, the music may stop on their watch, unable to control even its own borders and, if it has any advantage, it is that the collapse of authority and legitimacy means those with independent wealth can do as they wish, regardless of the desires of those nominally in power.

That doesn’t mean the politicians have awakened to this—many think the levers and knobs they’re furiously twiddling are still connected to something—and that can be particularly dangerous when they attempt things that are laughably beyond their remaining capabilities.

Consequently, unlike techno-thrillers of earlier decades, the U.S. is largely off-stage in these books: in Stephenson’s novel, the figurehead queen of the Netherlands plays a larger part than the entire U.S. government.

This view rings true to me. Seen from the outside, the U.S. increasingly resembles the grand imperial buildings of Brussels, erected when mad king Leopold II dreamt of a mighty Belgian empire in Africa. The visions of empire are long forgotten, but the buildings remain (and some have been re-purposed for the administration of another foredoomed would-be empire).

So it increasingly is with the U.S. Nobody believes anything its “intelligence community” (which did not predict the collapse of its principal adversary in a seven-decade Cold War a year before it happened) says, and nobody believes its intervention in conflicts far from its borders will end in anything other than disaster.

It is becoming apparent to almost everybody outside the U.S. ruling class that not only doesn’t the emperor have any clothes, he doesn’t have an empire either.


That is pretty much how it looks from the inside too. Democracy is dysfunctional, and the Political Class has become fascinated with the opportunities for self-enrichment possible in a financialized economy. They have forgotten the key fact about any sustainable economy – Production Precedes Consumption.

Of course, that observation applies to much of the West in addition to the US. It would be interesting to know who (if anyone) Stephenson & Kroese think will be able to organize responses to global threats.

I miss the updates to “John Walker’s Reading List”!


I remember watching NFL games at my grandparents’ house the recruiting commercials were always inspiring. The Chi-Com video brought back those memories.


Interestingly, in both books it is primarily eccentric, loose-cannon, “get 'er done” billionaires who take the lead in developing technological fixes for the global threats, and governments who either try to co-opt and loot them or obstruct them for their own reasons (or lack of reasons). That said, the plots and the way things play out are very different, but I suspect both are informed by the recent experience of seeing private space companies do things government agencies have told everybody were impossible for half a century.


It is always possible that the deep state bureaucrats get duped into the metaverse while we build up our country.

Maybe it’s happening as we write …



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There is a great book called *The 50-Year Wound * by some Scandinavian, written in 4 year chunks, to coincide with presidential terms. One of the things it points out is that to an uncanny degree, the CIA presidential brief was 180 degrees wrong - pretty much always. Indeed, if a president read them then did the exact opposite, they would have gotten it right.


An aspect of this worth considering for the Anglosphere is the burden of having today’s Lingua Franca – English.

I don’t know if it is true, but I read somewhere that, following William the Conqueror’s successful invasion of England, the fastest way for an Anglo-Saxon to lose his head was to pick up some knowledge of Norman French. The Norman conquerors learned Anglo-Saxon to communicate with their serfs, but prized their ability to talk freely to each other without any concerns about being understood by the natives.

The Navajo Code-Talkers in WWII used the same ability to communicate rapidly over open radio channels without any concerns about the enemy being able to understand the Navajo language. It is common today in the Middle East for Arabs to negotiate with foreign contractors in English, relying on the assumption that those contractors cannot understand Arabic comments they make to each other.

One of the consequences of the old English “Empire on Which the Sun Never Set” is that English is the predominant second language. It is said that more people can speak English in China than in today’s England. And unfortunately native English-speakers have little incentive to become proficient in other languages.

Thus organizations like the CIA and its equivalents are seriously short of people who can understand foreign languages. They depend primarily on official communications – which would be like trying to understand the US only by reading the New York Times. Since the CIA and its ilk build their predictions on biased official information, it is hardly surprising that their predictions are so often wrong.


Minority languages are often used for “clandestine” conversations. I recollect as a kid we’d go shopping and speak about a product in Serbian, so the salesman had no input to try to sway us.

The CIA’s problem is that they went “high tech” relying on comm intercepts and satellites. Humint was discredited and downplayed. Turns out like the concept in the late 50’s that future dogfights would all be missile fights (for which the F-4 was optimized) they were simply wrong. Humint along with close-in furball ACM were, and are, the staple today. The CIA is still playing in the tech room, so behind in intel gathering. Then you add politics.


This is a long list. On the top for me is that I know of zero good outcomes from the CIA. Not informing the public due to national security maybe a reason, but constant redaction to anyone and everyone including Congress makes me suspicious.

I don’t know what agency supposedly spun up Iran’s reactors, but I am not sure that is a victory. Sounds like an act of war that wasn’t approved. You cannot tell us what purpose you serve because you are doing things that cannot be disclosed. Is that because they would be considered acts of war?

If it is important enough to commit an act of war, it is important enough to get Congressional approval. If Congress is so perverse that they would sacrifice national security for political purposes (I think they are), then we have a bigger problem than whatever national security issue that cannot be disclosed (and we do). The jig is up as far as I am concerned.


Some of the problem is that intel is restricted. I would, back in the day, always go to S&C and read the latest intel on whatever. I was a commander and felt I should be as well informed as I could make myself.

But intel has a life of its own. I recollect way back in Basic School getting a SECRET briefing about some. munitions, only to read all about them in a newspaper article a couple days later. We never seen to declassify ANYTHING. The excuse is “methods and sources”. I get that when you have sources that are inside agents and you don’t want the enemy to find out. But a lot is just analyzing “stuff”. Both sides do it.

As for war, we gave up the ghost when we “reorganized” the Department of War into the Department of Defense, something it hasn’t done since.

But I am wholly with you that Congress should be involved regularly in determining war - with specifics. LIKE who we’re going to war with, how long the war is going to continue, etc. We are, after all, spending the national treasure - in both gold and lives.


In the 1780s, U.S. founders proposed to include in the Bill of Rights a provision to not allow standing armies – because they feared leaders would use them. This did not make it to law. The past two decades of U.S. foriegn policy shows many, many cases in point that supports U.S. founders wisdom.

Unfortunately for all in the world, the U.S. has huge military capacity, and leaders that are too ready to use it. God help us.


There are, of course, numerous solutions that could vastly reduce the size of the military. One would be more reliance upon reserves. That would be a lot more in keeping with what the Founders thought, and our recent experiences prove they are up to the task.


But then do we rely on State Militia type reserves – which would meet the Founders aim of providing a barrier against an over-reaching Federal government – or do we have functionally-federalized reserves which are effectively a standing army that the denizens of the Federal government can use to hold down the citizens?

Put another way, is the real enemy outside or inside the gates?

One of the lessons of “America’s First Battles” is the gap that develops between the army on paper as authorized by Congress and the real army on the ground – often much weaker. If the enemy is outside, the overwhelming need is for extensive & expensive training and continual re-equipping to maintain the military’s fighting edge. History tells us that rarely happens.


There is a bit of this in the main constitution. Article I, section 8, clause 12 says, enumerating the powers of congress, “To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;”. Constitution Annotated notes:

Prompted by the fear of standing armies to which Story alluded, the framers inserted the limitation that no appropriation of money to that use shall be for a longer term than two years.

No such limitation was placed on the Navy in the next clause, as it was understood that maintaining a Navy, its ships, and trained personnel is a long-term committment.


The precursor to the Bill of Rights, was New York’s letter ratifying the U.S. Constitution in Poughkeepsie, NY 1788, and that is the “founders proposal” I referred to above. See exact text in bold italic below.

Ratification of the Constitution by the State of New York; July 26, 1788. (1)

WE the Delegates of the People of the State of New York, duly elected and Met in Convention, having maturely considered the Constitution for the United States of America, agreed to on the seventeenth day of September, in the year One thousand Seven hundred and Eighty seven, by the Convention then assembled at Philadelphia in the Common-wealth of Pennsylvania (a Copy whereof precedes these presents) and having also seriously and deliberately considered the present situation of the United States, Do declare and make known.

That all Power is originally vested in and consequently derived from the People, and that Government is instituted by them for their common Interest Protection and Security.

That the enjoyment of Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness are essential rights which every Government ought to respect and preserve.

That the Powers of Government may be reassumed by the People, whensoever it shall become necessary to their Happiness; that every Power, Jurisdiction and right, which is not by the said Constitution clearly delegated to the Congress of the United States, or the departments of the Government thereof, remains to the People of the several States, or to their respective State Governments to whom they may have granted the same; And that those Clauses in the said Constitution, which declare, that Congress shall not have or exercise certain Powers, do not imply that Congress is entitled to any Powers not given by the said Constitution; but such Clauses are to be construed either as exceptions to certain specified Powers, or as inserted merely for greater Caution.

That the People have an equal, natural and unalienable right, freely and peaceably to Exercise their Religion according to the dictates of Conscience, and that no Religious Sect or Society ought to be favoured or established by Law in preference of others.

That the People have a right to keep and bear Arms; that a well regulated Militia, including the body of the People capable of bearing Arms, is the proper, natural and safe defence of a free State;

That the Militia should not be subject to Martial Law except in time of War, Rebellion or Insurrection.

That standing Armies in time of Peace are dangerous to Liberty, and ought not to be kept up, except in Cases of necessity; and that at all times, the Military should be under strict Subordination to the civil Power.

That in time of Peace no Soldier ought to be quartered in any House without the consent of the Owner, and in time of War only by the Civil Magistrate in such manner as the Laws may direct.

That no Person ought to be taken imprisoned or disseised of his freehold, or be exiled or deprived of his Privileges, Franchises, Life, Liberty or Property but by due process of Law.

That no Person ought to be put twice in Jeopardy of Life or Limb for one and the same Offence, nor, unless in case of impeachment, be punished more than once for the same Offence.

That every Person restrained of his Liberty is entitled to an enquiry into the lawfulness of such restraint, and to a removal thereof if unlawful, and that such enquiry and removal ought not to be denied or delayed, except when on account of Public Danger the Congress shall suspend the privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus.

That excessive Bail ought not to be required; nor excessive Fines imposed; nor Cruel or unusual Punishments inflicted.

That (except in the Government of the Land and Naval Forces, and of the Militia when in actual Service, and in cases of Impeachment) a Presentment or Indictment by a Grand Jury ought to be observed as a necessary preliminary to the trial of all Crimes cognizable by the Judiciary of the United States, and such Trial should be speedy, public, and by an impartial Jury of the County where the Crime was committed; and that no person can be found Guilty without the unanimous consent of such Jury. But in cases of Crimes not committed within any County of any of the United States, and in Cases of Crimes committed within any County in which a general Insurrection may prevail, or which may be in the possession of a foreign Enemy, the enquiry and trial may be in such County as the Congress shall by Law direct; which County in the two Cases last mentioned should be as near as conveniently may be to that County in which the Crime may have been committed. And that in all Criminal Prosecutions, the Accused ought to be informed of the cause and nature of his Accusation, to be confronted with his accusers and the Witnesses against him, to have the means of producing his Witnesses, and the assistance of Council for his defense, and should not be compelled to give Evidence against himself.

That the trial by Jury in the extent that it obtains by the Common Law of England is one of the greatest securities to the rights of a free People, and ought to remain inviolate.

That every Freeman has a right to be secure from all unreasonable searches and seizures of his person his papers or his property, and therefore, that all Warrants to search suspected places or seize any Freeman his papers or property, without information upon Oath or Affirmation of sufficient cause, are grievous and oppressive; and that all general Warrants (or such in which the place or person suspected are not particularly designated) are dangerous and ought not to be granted.

That the People have a right peaceably to assemble together to consult for their common good, or to instruct their Representatives; and that every person has a right to Petition or apply to the Legislature for redress of Grievances.-That the Freedom of the Press ought not to be violated or restrained.

That there should be once in four years an Election of the President and Vice President, so that no Officer who may be appointed by the Congress to act as President in case of the removal, death, resignation or inability of the President and Vice President can in any case continue to act beyond the termination of the period for which the last President and Vice President were elected.

That nothing contained in the said Constitution is to be construed to prevent the Legislature of any State from passing Laws at its discretion from time to time to divide such State into convenient Districts, and to apportion its Representatives to and amongst such Districts.

That the Prohibition contained in the said Constitution against en post facto Laws, extends only to Laws concerning Crimes.

That all Appeals in Causes determineable according to the course of the common Law, ought to be by Writ of Error and not otherwise.

That the Judicial Power of the United States in cases in which a State may be a party, does not extend to criminal Prosecutions, or to authorize any Suit by any Person against a State.

That the Judicial Power of the United States as to Controversies between Citizens of the same State claiming Lands under Grants of different States is not to be construed to extend to any other Controversies between them except those which relate to such Lands, so claimed under Grants of different States.

That the Jurisdiction of the Supreme Court of the United States, or of any other Court to be instituted by the Congress, is not in any case to be encreased enlarged or extended by any Fiction Collusion or mere suggestion; And That no Treaty is to be construed so to operate as to alter the Constitution of any State.

Under these impressions and declaring that the rights aforesaid cannot be abridged or violated, and that the Explanations aforesaid are consistent with the said Constitution, And in confidence that the Amendments which shall have been proposed to the said Constitution will receive an early and mature Consideration: We the said Delegates, in the Name and in the behalf of the People of the State of New York Do by these presents Assent to and Ratify the said Constitution. In full Confidence nevertheless that until a Convention shall be called and convened for proposing Amendments to the said Constitution, the Militia of this State will not be continued in Service out of this State for a longer term than six weeks without the Consent of the Legislature thereof;-that the Congress will not make or alter any Regulation in this State respecting the times places and manner of holding Elections for Senators or Representatives unless the Legislature of this State shall neglect or refuse to make Laws or regulations for the purpose, or from any circumstance be incapable of making the same, and that in those cases such power will only be exercised until the Legislature of this State shall make provision in the Premises;-that no Excise will be imposed on any Article of the Growth production or Manufacture of the United States, or any of them within this State, Ardent Spirits excepted; And that the Congress will not lay direct Taxes within this State, but when the Monies arising from the Impost and Excise shall be insufficient for the public Exigencies, nor then, until Congress shall first have made a Requisition upon this State to assess levy and pay the Amount of such Requisition made agreably to the Census fixed in the said Constitution in such way and manner as the Legislature of this State shall judge best, but that in such case, if the State shall neglect or refuse to pay its proportion pursuant to such Requisition, then the Congress may assess and levy this States proportion together with Interest at the Rate of six per Centum per Annum from the time at which the same was required to be paid.

Done in Convention at Poughkeepsie in the County of Dutchess in the State of New York the twenty sixth day of July in the year of our I’ord One thousand Seven hundred and Eighty eight.

By Order of the Convention.

GEO: CLINTON President



ABM B. BANCKER Secretaries-

AND the Convention do in the Name and Behalf of the People of the State of New York enjoin it upon their Representatives in the Congress, to Exert all their Influence, and use all reasonable means to Obtain a Ratification of the following Amendments to the said Constitution in the manner prescribed therein; and in all Laws to be passed by the Congress in the meantime to conform to the spirit of the said Amendments as far as the Constitution will admit.

That there shall be one Representative for every thirty thousand Inhabitants, according to the enumeration or Census mentioned in the Constitution, until the whole number of Representatives amounts to two hundred; after which that number shall be continued or encreased but not diminished, as Congress shall direct, and according to such ratio as the Congress shall fix, in conformity to the rule prescribed for the Apportionment of Representatives and direct Taxes.

That the Congress do not impose any Excise on any Article (except Ardent Spirits) of the Growth Production or Manufacture of the United States, or any of them.

That Congress do not lay direct Taxes but when the Monies arising from the Impost and Excise shall be insufficient for the Public Exigencies. nor then until Congress shall first have made a Requisition upon the States to assess levy and pay their respective proportions of such Requisition, agreably to the Census fixed in the said Constitution, in such way and manner as the Legislatures of the respective States shall judge best; and in such Case, if any State shall neglect or refuse to pay its proportion pursuant to such Requisition, then Congress may assess and levy such States proportion, together with Interest at the rate of six per C`entum per Annum, from the time of Payment prescribed in such Requisition.

That the Congress shall not make or alter any Regulation in any State respecting the times places and manner of holding Elections for Senators or Representatives, unless the Legislature of such State shall neglect or refuse to make Laws or Regulations for the purpose, or from any circumstance be incapable of making the same; and then only until the Legislature of such State shall make provision in the premises; provided that Congress may prescribe the time for the Election of Representatives.

That no Persons except natural born Citizens, or such as were Citizens on or before the fourth day of July one thousand seven hundred and seventy six, or such as held Commissions under the United States during the War, and have at any time since the fourth day of July one thousand seven hundred and seventy six become Citizens of one or other of the United States, and who shall be Freeholders, shall be eligible to the Places of President, Vice President, or Members of either House of the Congress of the United States.

That the Congress do not grant Monopolies or erect any Company with exclusive Advantages of Commerce.

That no standing Army or regular Troops shall be raised or kept up in time of peace, without the consent of two-thirds of the Senators and Representatives present, in each House.

That no Money be borrowed on the Credit of the United States without the Assent of two-thirds of the Senators and Representatives present in each House.

That the Congress shall not declare War Without the concurrence of two-thirds of the Senators and Representatives present in each House.

That the Privilege of the Habeas Corpus shall not by any Law be suspended for a longer term than six Months, or until twenty days after the Meeting of the Congress next following the passing of the Act for such suspension.

That the Right of the Congress to exercise exclusive Legislation over such District, not exceeding ten Miles square, as may by cession of a particular State, and the acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, shall not be so exercised, as to exempt the Inhabitants of such District from paying the like Taxes Imposts Duties and Excises, as shall be imposed on the other Inhabitants of the State in which such District may be; and that no person shall be privileged within the said District from Arrest for Crimes committed, or Debts contracted out of the said District.

That the Right of exclusive Legislation with respect to such places as may be purchased for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, Dockyards and other needful Buildings, shall not authorize the Congress to make any Law to prevent the Laws of the States respectively in which they may be, from extending to such places in ail civil and Criminal Matters except as to such Persons as shall be in the Service of the United States; nor to them witl respect to Crimes committed without such Places.

That the Compensation for the Senators and Representatives be ascertained by standing Laws; and that no alteration of the existing rate of Compensation shall operate for the Benefit of the Representatives, until after a subsequent Election shall have been had.

That the Journals of the Congress shall be published at least once a year, with the exception of such parts relating to Treaties or Military operations, as in the Judgment of either House shall require Secrecy; and that both Houses of Congress shall always keep their Doors open during their Sessions, unless the Business may in their Opinion requires Secrecy. That the yeas & nays shall be entered on the Journals whenever two Members in either House may require it.

That no Capitation Tax shall ever be laid by the Congress.

That no Person be eligible as a Senator for more than six years in any term of twelve years; and that the Legislatures of the respective States may recal their Senators or either of them, and elect others in their stead, to serve the remainder of the time for which the Senators so recalled were appointed.

That no Senator or Representative shall during the time for which he was elected be appointed to any Office under the Authority of the United States.

That the Authority given to the Executives of the States to fill the vacancies of Senators be abolished, and that such vacancies be filled by the respective Legislatures.

That the Power of Congress to pass uniform Laws concerning Bankruptcy shall only extend to Merchants and other Traders; and that the States respectively may pass Laws for the relief of other Insolvent Debtors.

That no Person shall be eligible to the Office of President of the United States a third time.

That the Executive shall not grant Pardons for Treason, unless with the Consent of the Congress; but may at his discretion grant Reprieves to persons convicted of Treason, until their Cases, can be laid before the Congress.

That the President or person exercising his Powers for the time being, shall not command an Army in the Field in person, without the previous desire of the Congress.

That all Letters Patent, Commissions, Pardons, Writs and Process of the United States, shall run in the Name of the People of the United States, and be tested in the Name of the President of the United States, or the person exercising his powers for the time being, or the first Judge of the Court out of which the same shall issue, as the case may be.

That the Congress shall not constitute ordain or establish any Tribunals or Inferior Courts, with any other than Appellate Jurisdiction, except such as may be necessary for the Tryal of Causes of Admiralty and Maritime Jurisdiction, and for the Trial of Piracies and Felonies committed on the High Seas; and in all other Cases to which the Judicial Power of the United States extends, and in which the Supreme Court of the United States has not original Jurisdiction, the Causes shall be heard tried, and determined in some one of the State Courts, with the right of Appeal to the Supreme Court of the United States, or other proper Tribunal to be established for that purpose by the Congress, with such exceptions, and under such regulations as the Congress shall make.

That the Court for the Trial of Impeachments shall consist of the Senate, the Judges of the Supreme Court of the United States, and the first or Senior Judge for the time being, of the highest Court of general and ordinary common Law Jurisdiction in each State;-that the Congress shall by standing Laws designate the Courts in the respective States answering this Description, and in States having no Courts exactly answering this Description, shall designate some other Court, preferring such if any there be, whose Judge or Judges may hold their places during good Behaviour-

Provided that no more than one Judge, other than Judges of the Supreme Court of the United States, shall come from one State- That the Congress be authorized to pass Laws for compensating the said Judges for such Services and for compelling their Attendance- and that a Majority at least of the said Judges shall be requisite to constitute the said Court-that no person impeached shall sit as a Member thereof. That each Member shall previous to the entering upon any Trial take an Oath or Affirmation, honestly and impartially to hear and determine the Cause-and that a Majority of the Members present shall be necessary to a Conviction.

That persons aggrieved by any Judgment, Sentence or Decree of the Supreme Court of the United States, in any Cause in which that Court has original Jurisdiction, with such exceptions and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make concerning the same, shall upon application, have a Commission to be issued by the President of the United States, to such Men learned in the Law as he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and consent of the Senate appoint, not less than seven, authorizing such Commissioners, or any seven or more of them, to correct the Errors in such Judgment or to review such Sentence and Decree, as the case may be, and to do Justice to the parties in the Premises.

That no Judge of the Supreme Court of the United States shall hold any other Office under the United States, or any of them.

That the Judicial Power of the United States shall extend to no Controversies respecting Land, unless it relate to Claims of Territory or Jurisdiction between States, or to Claims of Land between Individuals, or between States and Individuals under the Grants of different States.

That the Militia of any State shall not be compelled to serve without the limits of the State for a longer term than six weeks, without the Consent of the Legislature thereof.

That the words without the Consent of the Congress in the seventh Clause of the ninth Section of the first Article of the Constitution, be expunged.

That the Senators and Representatives and all Executive and Judicial Officers of the United States shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation not to infringe or violate the Constitutions or Rights of the respective States.

That the Legislatures of the respective States may make Provision by Law, that the Electors of the Election Districts to be by them appointed shall chuse a Citizen of the United States who shall have been an Inhabitant of such District for the Term of one year immediately proceeding the time of his Election, for one of the Representatives of such State.

Done in Convention at Poughkeepsie in the County of Dutchess in the State of New York the twenty sixth day of July in the year of our Lord One thousand seven hundred and Eighty eight.

By Order of the Convention.

Attested- GEO: CLINTON President


ABM B. BANCKER Secretaries-

(1) Reprinted from Documentary History of the Constitution, Vol. II (1894), pp 190-203.

Source material was found here Avalon Project - Ratification of the Constitution by the State of New York; July 26, 1788

Tech note: Microsoft IIS active server pages chug on two decades later …


My how NY has abused their own citizens, by these same declarations!

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I was a member of the militia for some 16 years (and if you count the Marine Reserve time, 24 - plus 4 years AcDuTra). I can tell you that overall, and especially in specialized requirements (like flying) the Reserves were at least and often far better trained, experienced, and capable than the active duty. ONE reason was that the militia or reserves were generally made up of former active duty personnel who had chosen to complete their duty time and move on to civilian jobs. These were often the sharper components of the Active Duty bunch. By way of example, in 1978 IIRC the Marine Reserves ran an exercise in MCAS Cherry Point, NC where we mobilized components of every unit in the Air Wing, then ran a 3-day war with Active Duty aggressors. We had never seen the MTDS system until we got to Cherry Point, yet we did SO well that we were invited by the Active Duty Air Control Group to come run their system the next year when they had their Wing exercise.

The first Iraq war proved beyond a doubt that the whole Reserve system, both Reserve abd Guard, were way more capable that the actives wanted to admit. Colin Powell’s BS statement about how the Guard need 6 months additional training to be ready to deploy failed to mention that the active duty units needed the SAME training to be ready to deploy.

Today’s unspoken truth is that America needs the Reserves, in the form of militia, to be able to run sustained combat operations. Just one example - the Air Force has no air refueling capabilities; those are ALL in the Guard. So to run ANY sustained air operations, the AF needs to mobilize Guard units as referes. Likewise, a major portion of its heavy lift ability is in Guard units. C-17’s run daily runs out of Dover - those are Guard airplanes, with Guard crews.

What we need is for the Army to train future Guard and Reservists, to then be released back into the civilian world and serve in militias around the country. We had that before WWII; we lost that in the 1948 reorganization of the Department of War into the rather dysfunctional Department of Defense, something it has done darn little of since.