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Is a US Constitutional Convention Imminent?

By: Daniel Marks Saturday October 25, 2014 5:10 pm

The Constitution belongs to We the People, not state legislatures.

Yes, it seems so, but don’t panic. It is time for Americans to take a break from election hype and become acquainted with The Assembly of State Legislatures and how their plans will change the landscape of US politics for the next 100 years or more.

In late 2013 the Convention of States political group led by radio show host Mark Levin, Tea Party Patriots founder Mark Meckler, and Supreme Court litigator Michael Farris invited various state legislative leaders to a conference at the Mt. Vernon to discuss the Article V Convention to propose amendment to the US Constitution. Convention of States managed to get a few states to pass their application for an Article V Convention but putting all of these legislative leaders in the same room had unintended results for Convention of States. Now this group of legislators formed their own entity calling it the Assembly of State Legislatures.

“This Assembly hereby resolves that the following items should be addressed in the rules and procedures of any Article V convention for proposing amendments:

Category: Rules and Procedures

  • Process of delegate recall, including state authority
  • Deliberative authority of body after a call is made (open, subject matter, single amendment)
  • Number of votes required for passage of an amendment (simple majority, two-thirds, three-fourths)
  • Process around one state one vote precedent
  • Speaking rights of delegates
  • Convention stance on the state delegate selection process
  • Rules creation, revision and adoption process
  • Committee structure and their process for discussion, voting and communicating to the body
  • Selection, term and responsibilities of officers
  • Convening times
  • Verbiage for rules continuity clause that would be adopted and carried into the next meeting of the body
  • Process for drafting of amendment language,
  • if called under Article V
  • Process of transmission to states of any passed amendment

Category: Planning and Communication

  • Process of admittance and credentials required
  • Security necessity and staffing
  • Oath of office necessity/language for delegates
  • Will meetings be open or closed, and if open how communicated
  • Method of recording proceedings of full body and committees
  • Time and location selection process of Convention

Category: Judiciary

  • Process to ensure that the Compact Clause in Article 1 Section 10 of the Constitution is not triggered
  • Criteria for a qualified application
  • Number of live applications that have been submitted to Congress
  • Responsibility of tracking live applications
  • Process for notifying Congress that a call must be made
  • Length of time Congress has to make a call once 34 qualified applications have been submitted
  • Legal counsel selection for drafting purposes
  • Length a state application submitted to Congress is valid
  • Length of time a convention is open for and what events would “terminate” it
  • Length of time an amendment passed to the states for ratification has before it expires
  • Length of time an amendment that has been sent to the states for ratification remains valid for the required 38 ratifications
  • Role of District of Columbia and U.S. territories

Category: Finance

  • Convention financing
  • Budget creation and communication process
  • Tracking and allocation of convention costs
  • Collection process”

The Idaho Resolution

Early this year the State of Idaho passed a resolution that mirrored my own request to the Clerk of US House and US Senate Parliamentarian for an official count and list of states that have applied for a convention in the past. Their resolution never had a single vote cast against it in either house, on the floor or committee. It was authored by a legislator from the ASL group, Sen. Nuxoll.

From private conversations with ALEC and Convention of States organizers, I understood they had no interest in reviewing past applications and they told me directly they want nothing to do with my request. Seeing the Idaho resolution was the first clue that the Assembly of State Legislatures was not being directed by these other groups but thinking for themselves and doing what they felt was right even if ALEC and Convention of States organizers have tried to point them in another direction.

Indiana Meeting

In June 2014, the group of legislators from 33 different states came together again in Indiana and agreed upon the following resolution:

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE ASSEMBLY:
Section 1: That “The Mount Vernon Assembly” shall hereafter be known as “The Assembly of State Legislatures.”

Section 2: That the focus of The Assembly of State Legislatures’ efforts moving forward is to draft proposed rules and procedures or any provisions as shall appear to them necessary, being a power not delegated to Congress but reserved to the States, under which an Article V Convention for proposing amendments would function.

Section 3: That the work product of The Assembly of State Legislatures will serve as recommendations for a Convention for proposing amendments called by Congress, thus allowing the amending convention to focus on drafting language of an amendment(s) instead of the administrative process; and

Section 4: That the Executive Committee of The Assembly of State Legislatures is hereby instructed to transmit a formal invitation to the legislative leaders of the fifty States, requesting a bi-partisan delegation of at least three currently serving members of their respective legislative bodies to be present from each State at the next planning meeting in early December, 2014. (The date and site to be determined by the Executive Committee based on the input from the planning subcommittee.)

Rare video of Assembly of State Legislatures in action

Upcoming Judiciary Meeting November 2014

I was fortunate to receive information from retired Chief Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court, Thomas E. Brennan. Judge Brennan recently submitted documents (1 & 2at the request of the Judiciary Committee of the Assembly of State Legislatures.

In one of the documents submitted to the committee it read:

If my counsel is to be of any value to this committee, let it be this: the legislatures of the several states have the power and the right, both legally and historically, to call an Article V convention for the purpose of proposing amendments to the federal constitution.

I submit this little known fact: the convention of 1787 was not actually called by the Congress of the United States. Calling a convention means setting the time, the place, and the purpose and notifying the invitees. All of that was done by the legislature of the Commonwealth of Virginia months before the Congress ever considered the matter.

Judge Thomas E. Brennan

Six of the thirteen original states answered Virginia’s call and had already selected delegates to meet in Philadelphia in May of 1787 before Congress took the matter up in February of that year. Congress did no more than confirm the time, place and purpose, chosen by Virginia and agreed to by five other states.The debate over whether Congress or the State Legislatures is empowered to establish the rules under which an Article V convention would operate is a fool’s errand. James Madison expressed concern that the details of organizing the convention were not spelled out in the constitution. The fact is that the delegates in Philadelphia did not specify such details for the simple reason that they recognized the autonomy of a convention. They were seated at a convention. They knew that a convention is sui juris; that it makes its own rules, that it sets its own agenda. That is precisely what they had done in Philadelphia, and that is precisely what they expected and intended an Article V convention to do.

An Article V convention is a convention to propose amendments to the United States Constitution. That Constitution, in its own words, was written by the People of the several states. The call to convention issued by Virginia and echoed by Congress, was a call to the states to send delegates who would represent their people.
~  Thomas E. Brennan


December 2014

The next meeting will take place on December 8th & 9th at the Naval Heritage Center in Washington D.C. All of the committee work for rule making has been completed and the state legislators are going to dot the I’s and cross the T’s leaving only one thing left to do, call a convention by state legislatures.

I know in section 3 of the last resolution is says, “Convention for proposing amendments called by Congress”. However that is not the plan.
As quoted by the PR NEWSWIRE, ”The federal government has exceeded the bounds placed by the Framers of the Constitution, and it’s time for the States to exert their authority by calling a Convention to propose Amendments pursuant to the authority granted to them in Article V,” said Mark Meckler, of the Convention of States project.

They do intend to call a convention by state legislatures and it will be a Constitutional Convention not governed by the limitations of Article V. An article V convention can only be called by Congress and may only propose amendments. None of those amendments may disenfranchise a state in the U.S. Senate without that state’s permission. A Constitutional Convention of a quorum of states may propose an entirely new Constitution if it wishes. So far that is not on the horizon. The rhetoric of the legislators is more inline with preserving the integrity of the Constitution while examining how to limit the federal budget and overturn the Citizen’s United ruling.  However it is extremely important to note the distinction that they are using Article V powers to create something new outside the Constitution’s instruction.

This constitutional convention is extra-constitutional, not illegal.  There is no law that would forbid states from assembling, however they are not allowed to call an Article V Convention which is a federal function specifically called by Congress.  In fact, it is possible that if the Assembly of State Legislatures manages to attract 34 states and those delegates from states have the application for an Article V Convention from the legislatures transmitted to Congress and applications in hand, it would be obvious to the world that the two-thirds requirement in Article V of the Constitution is met and Congress is obligated to call an Article V  Convention. The ASL would not have to disband, the two conventions may take place simultaneously.

What do We the People need to do?

A convention will be announced by the Assembly of State legislatures in a matter of weeks. The invitation will go out to state to send approved delegates. It is not written in stone how states approved delegates and you have a chance to influence that in your home state now that you have advanced warning.

Myself and others would like to elect delegates that are not party members or politicians. When Iceland recently held their convention, they made an effort to prevent the parties from influencing the process. I do not look forward to a scenario where two parties have a monopoly on proposal and ratification of Constitutional Amendments.

I also believe if the legislators are going to have an exclusive convention, then the American people need to do the same to make sure that our views are articulated to the delegates of the assembly. It is not a competing convention but should provide some comfort and assistance to the delegates.  The State legislatures wish to control the method of proposal and ratification.  Ratification conventions of constituents must be required to insure the voice of the people is integrated in to their plans.

As far as other efforts to get more applications from state legislatures for a true Article V, you can give up on that idea. Once states have created a power to propose amendments themselves and the power shifts from DC to the states, the states will never ask Congress to call a convention again. We may have to play the cards in our hand from this point forward regarding Article V.

Do not fret about this convention. It may not be ideal, there may not be any ideal method of change for us. This convention will provide a chance for us to come together as Americans and bypass a corrupt Congress. Remember as Thomas Jefferson told us— ‘We in America do not have government by the majority. We have government by the majority who participate.’ 

Do not sit on your hands, this is the Constitution. Your attention is required.  Something truly wonderful is about to happen.

 

Halloween During the Great Depression

By: Crane-Station Saturday October 25, 2014 3:10 pm

Letty and Ray Owings, ages 89 and 91 recall Halloween and also describe some of the superstitions and customs of years past.

Halloween During the Great Depression

Halloween was a legitimate holiday and a big day for us in the country. Kids planned and planned, months in advance, and you would have been considered out of it, if you didn’t participate. Farm kids had to do something to lighten the load, and Halloween was an opportunity to be someone else. Everybody got dressed up, usually in an old shirt from a trunk of old clothes, and everyone got a mask. Witches were popular, and masks cost a nickel, unless you were rich, and could spend a dime.

We got our masks at Wolfcammer’s, the general store and meeting place in town. Freda, who ran the store, knew everything. Without radio, if you wanted to know anything, you went to the store- that’s what you went there for- that, and a few other things. Men most often shopped at the general store, and someone might say, “Oh, he’s been to town,” or “Oh, you’ve been to town. What’d you find out?” It was Freda who first informed me that my grandmother had died. Freda sold masks for a nickel, as well as salt pork, molasses, pickles in a barrel, dried and smoked meats, and other necessities like flour and sugar.

Lord help us, there was a lot of crap happened, and it’s a wonder nobody was killed, looking back. Pranks were more popular than any trick-or-treating, and there was all manner of soaping windows, or jumping onto porches, knocking on doors or ringing doorbells and running away. In an effort to see whoever could think of the most fantastic stuff, a bunch of us grade schoolers once sneaked into a farmer’s barn and climbed into a his hayloft, accompanied by the grade school teacher, who hadn’t gotten over the Halloween fits even as an adult. When the farmer came out with his shotgun, the kids took off and left the teacher in the hayloft, where he got caught up there somehow. They said later that he jumped out and walked somewhere, into the night.

Parents and teachers were very cooperative. Grade school kids dressed up to go to school, and the teachers were generous about letting us get away with doing next to nothing on Halloween. We also loaded hay into a wagon, hooked up the horses, and everybody got on the wagon and rode. Hay rides were popular, but not necessarily connected to Halloween.

We also had some superstitions that likely nobody took seriously, but we did know of them then:

-If you laughed very much in your home, sadness would replace it.

-Thirteen was an unlucky number.

-If a black cat ran across the road, or black cats in general around Halloween carried a connotation of ‘bad luck,’ but no one took it seriously.

-Wishbones could bring good luck (your wish would come true) if you got the longer part of the wishbone, when you pulled it apart.

-Stepping on a crack was bad luck.

We had other customs that we did take seriously. Some are related to death and others are not:

-You could not leave a dead body until it was buried. The sitting practice was done in shifts, and the query was, “Who’s settin’ tonight?”

-The windows were opened as someone was dying, even in the middle of winter.

-If you committed suicide, you could not be buried facing East, because that is the direction of the rising sun. One man who did commit suicide was buried backwards, to face the setting sun, because suicide was considered to be a form of murder.

-Pregnant women did not attend funerals.

-The eyes of a dead person were closed, never left open.

-When a person died, there were six rings on the party line, to inform everyone. Then, the church bell rang one time for each year of the person’s life. The tolling of the bells was repeated when the coffin was carried, at the funeral. This practice (also called the death knell) is mentioned in metaphysical poet John Donne’s meditation:

No man is an Iland, intire of it selfe; every man is a peece of the Continent, a part of the maine; if a Clod bee washed away by the Sea, Europe is the lesse, as well as if a Promontorie were, as well as if a Mannor of thy friends or of thine owne were; any mans death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankinde; And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee.

-Although we did not do the candle tradition during the Great Depression, during WWII, a candle was placed in the window for a soldier who was missing. If the soldier did not return, the candle flame was not allowed to go out- ie, the “eternal flame.”

-When you butchered a pig, you gave the best part, usually the heart, to someone else as a gift. Not to do so was considered selfish.

During Halloween in particular, the elders told stories, the more exaggerated the better. They were not so much scary stories as they were tall tales of their own Halloween adventures, embellished to make it sound like they had way more fun than we were having.

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Please, We Need Your Support

By: BevW Saturday October 25, 2014 9:46 am

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Because ‘riots’ must be what the PTB and most media want

By: wendydavis Saturday October 25, 2014 9:44 am
!cid_4395E41E-2206-4CE2-8767-F781A4B82C50 nice doggie

(‘Nice doggie’ by Anthony Freda)

Ferguson

Yes, we were given a heads-up earlier this month when the AP published the ‘leaked’ information that the Ferguson PD, state cops, and indeed the DHS (assumedly) nation-wide fusion centers were planning for ‘riots’ if the sham grand jury failed to indict Darren Wilson for some degree of murder.  The police have pushed and prodded and provoked the good citizens there over a course of 77 days to no avail, but gee, that hasn’t kept the MSM speaking of the Ferguson ‘riots’, has it?

As recently as the last several nights, the Twittersphere has been noting that there were plenty of ‘strangers’ throwing water bottles and such at cops, trying to elicit even stronger police tactics that would rile legitimate peaceful protestors.

From yesterday:  ‘Missouri Police Stocking Up on Riot Gear Ahead of Grand Jury’s Decision’, (AP) October 24, 2014, (stlouis.cbslocal)

‘FERGUSON, Mo. (AP) — Missouri police have been brushing up on constitutional rights and stocking up on riot gear to prepare for a grand jury’s decision about whether to charge a white police officer who fatally shot a black 18-year-old in suburban St. Louis.

The preparations are aimed at avoiding a renewed outbreak of violence during the potentially large demonstrations that could follow an announcement of whether Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson will face a criminal trial for the Aug. 9 death of Michael Brown.  [snip]

Police are attempting to better document events and handle widespread arrests more efficiently. To ensure it’s at full strength, the state Highway Patrol is limiting trooper vacations around the time of a potential decision, and local police may be put on longer shifts.

After the initial clashes with protesters, the state Highway Patrol purchased more shields and equipment for its officers. St. Louis city police recently spent $325,000 upgrading helmets, sticks and other “civil disobedience equipment,” said Police Chief Sam Dotson.

More than 350 St. Louis officers now have been trained in civil disobedience tactics. St. Louis County police and state troopers also have undergone training, focused largely on ensuring they understand protesters’ constitutional rights.’

Propaganda Alert: Chemical Weapons Again Being Used as Excuse for Imperial War in the Middle East

By: Ohio Barbarian Saturday October 25, 2014 9:31 am

Remember Saddam Hussein’s “weapons of mass destruction” during the Bush II Administration?  Remember the Assad regime in Syria being accused of using chemical weapons by Obama as justification for American military intervention in Syria not so long ago? Remember first Prime Minister Cameron and then President Obama failing to get the votes in Parliament and Congress shortly thereafter?

Well, our ruling class hasn’t given up in its quest for a new and improved imperial war. The Washington Post is once again accusing the Assad regime of using chemical weapons, this time against unnamed villages, and accusing President Obama of giving ol’ Assad a “free pass” to do so. Ironically, it also notes that the Islamic State(ISIS) is also accused of using chlorine gas against Iraqi government troops. It then blurs the line and quotes a State Department official of saying that the “evidence strongly suggests the Assad regime is the culprit” behind the attacks in Syria, but its links provide no concrete evidence whatsoever that this is in fact what is happening.

Basically, the Washington Post is saying, “We know that ISIS is using chlorine gas, and we really really want to believe that Assad is using chemical weapons, so You The People should just assume that he is, too, and break out the American flags and cheer on the next shiny new war.” In short, it’s a propaganda ploy that Goebbels or Stalin would recognize instantly, though they might critique it for being too weak.

Anyway, the implication of the article is clear: Obama must stop being a wimp and send in American troops to combat this menace to civilization as we know it.

Don’t be surprised if senior administration officials such as John Kerry or even President Obama himself once again trot out the old chemical weapons argument as a reason why America simply has no other choice but to invade Syria and reoccupy parts of Iraq(undoubtedly the oil-producing parts, but they will never admit that) for purely upstanding moral and humanitarian reasons.

Of course, there never actually has been clear and convincing evidence that Bashar Hafez al-Assad’s regime ever really did use chemical weapons against anybody, as this World Socialist Website article argues.  It points out that chlorine gas is relatively easy to make, simply by taking over chlorination facilities that are used to decontaminate drinking water in that part of the world. ISIS undoubtedly has some of these facilities in its possession, and might well have captured some Syrian military stockpiles of chlorine, mustard and perhaps nerve gas as well. It also notes that it is clear that Syrian rebels of one persuasion or the other definitely did use sarin nerve gas against Syrian soldiers and civilians, which was then erroneously reported in the corporate media and by Obama himself that Assad was using it.

It never made any sense to me why the Assad regime would gas its own troops and give Obama and the West a casus belli against him altogether simultaneously at the same time. I don’t think a stupid man could have stayed in power in Damascus that long, and it would take a stupid man to order such a thing.

So here we go again. The only question is when Obama will make his move and how, and whether Congress will be even consulted. Will he simply send in the troops or will he try to drum up public support first? I don’t know, but the American people will have to shout “Hell, NO!” really loudly again in order to stop this latest wave of imperial madness. Probably the British, French, and German people as well.

It’s way past time for America and Europe to stop intervening in the Middle East and let the people there sort out their own destiny themselves. Curiously, I find myself in agreement with both Rand Paul and the Iranian government on this one. Strange bedfellows indeed, but this is a strange world we live in. C’est la vie.

Buying the Vote: A History of Campaign Finance Reform – Book Salon Preview

By: Elliott Saturday October 25, 2014 8:48 am

Buying the Vote: A History of Campaign Finance Reform

Chat with Robert E. Mutch about his new book. Hosted by investigative reporter Greg Palast. Today at 5pm ET, 2pm PT.

Are corporations citizens? Is political inequality a necessary aspect of a democracy or something that must be stamped out? These are the questions that have been at the heart of the debate surrounding campaign finance reform for nearly half a century. But as Robert E. Mutch demonstrates in this fascinating book, these were not always controversial matters.

The tenets that corporations do not count as citizens, and that self-government functions best by reducing political inequality, were commonly heldup until the early years of the twentieth century, when Congress recognized the strength of these principles by prohibiting corporations from making campaign contributions, passing a disclosure law, and setting limits on campaign expenditures. But conservative opposition began to appear in the 1970s. Well represented on the Supreme Court, opponents of campaign finance reform won decisions granting First Amendment rights to corporations, and declaring the goal of reducing political inequality to be unconstitutional.

Buying the Vote analyzes the rise and decline of campaign finance reform by tracking the evolution of both the ways in which presidential campaigns have been funded since the late nineteenth century. Through close examinations of major Supreme Court decisions, Mutch shows how the Court has fashioned a new and profoundly inegalitarian definition of American democracy. Drawing on rarely studied archival materials on presidential campaign finance funds, Buying the Vote is an illuminating look at politics, money, and power in America.

Robert E. Mutch is an independent scholar who specializes in the history of campaign finance. (Oxford University Press)

Gary Webb and the 2014 Sandinistas

By: danps Saturday October 25, 2014 5:04 am

Cross posted from Pruning Shears.

The new movie “Kill the Messenger,” about journalist Gary Webb’s investigation into the connection between Contra drug running and the CIA in the 80s, is not exactly watercooler material at the moment. As of this writing Box Office Mojo has its widest release as 427 theaters (compare to 3,173 for the current box office champ), and it doesn’t seem to have much of a marketing push behind it (your mileage may vary). But what it lacks in mainstream buzz it’s making up for in political controversy. Washington Post assistant managing editor Jeff Leen published a piece last Friday decrying Webb’s “canonization” on film, and in doing so invited a new round of scrutiny of the Contra/CIA connection.

The best place to start reviewing the story is the 1989 report by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee titled Drugs, Law Enforcement And Foreign Policy (I’ve scanned it with optical character recognition at the original post if you’d like to copy and paste as well as read). It covers a lot of territory, but the sections on Nicaragua are especially interesting when considering Webb’s reporting seven years later.

What did the Committee have to say? First, on page 6 (page 16 of the PDF – add ten pages to the PDF to get to the corresponding Committee pagination) it acknowledges one of the difficulties with investigating a criminal enterprise: “A number of witnesses and prospective witnesses were convicted felons, having been imprisoned for narcotics-related offenses. The Subcommittee made use of these witnesses in Accordance with the practice of Federal and State prosecutors, who routinely rely on convicts as witnesses in criminal trials because they are the ones with the most intimate knowledge of the criminal activity.” When wading into a cesspool of corruption it is often difficult to figure out which scumbag to believe. Relying on things like statements against interest can help sort things out, but it’s obviously going to be an inexact science.

That acknowledged, here’s what they found. The Contras were involved in drug running and US agencies knew it (p. 36):

While the contra/drug question was not the primary focus of the investigation, the Subcommittee uncovered considerable evidence relating to the Contra network which substantiated many of the initial allegations laid out before the Committee in the Spring of 1986. On the basis of this evidence, it is clear that individuals who provided support for the Contras were involved in drug trafficking, the supply network of the Contras was used by drug trafficking organizations, and elements of the Contras themselves knowingly received financial and material assistance from drug traffickers. In each case, one or another agency of the U.S. government had information regarding the involvement either while it was occurring, or immediately thereafter.

The entire gun/drug scene was mercenary (pp. 36-7):

The Subcommittee found that the links that were forged between the Contras and the drug traffickers were primarily pragmatic, rather than ideological. The drug traffickers, who had significant financial and material resources, needed the cover of legitimate activity for their criminal enterprises. A trafficker like George Morales hoped to have his drug indictment dropped in return for his financial and material support of the Contras. Others, in the words of Marcos Aguado, Eden Pastora’s air force chief:
…took advantage Of the anti-communist sentiment which existed in Central America … and they undoubtedly used it for drug trafficking.

While for some Contras, it was a matter of survival, for the traffickers it was just another business deal to promote and protect their own operations.

They apparently were graduates not of the School of the Americas but the Milo Minderbinder Institute for Profiteering (p. 40):

Saturday Art: Influential Authors: John Jakes

By: dakine01 Saturday October 25, 2014 4:05 am
brak the barbarian

Brak the Barbarian

Please Note: When I began this series, it was to cover a lot of authors whom I have found personally influential, even though this may only be because I enjoyed the stories they have told in their books or short stories. I’m just fortunate enough and well read enough that many of the authors I have personally enjoyed have also been influential on a macro scale as well as micro. rrt

It has been a while since I last read some of John Jakes’ works but there was a time in the ’70s and ’80s when I read just about everything as soon as it was published. I was still in college when I first started seeing a book titled The Bastard on the book racks around town. This book was shortly followed by The Rebels and The Seekers. I did not actually read them though until I was living in New Hampshire in late ’75 with my sister and her then husband. Over the next few years as I moved on into the USAF, I would pick up the new books of the Kent Family Chronicles as they were published. It was simply amazing how the members of the “Kent Family” always managed to be on the periphery of so many historical events and friends with so many historical figures. Why, you’d have thought they were named Forrest Gump or something!

Jakes’ wiki intro is only one sentence:

John William Jakes (born March 31, 1932)[1] is an American writer, best known for American historical fiction. He has used the pen name Jay Scotland.

One interesting fact I discovered about Jakes from his wiki is this:

During this time, he was a member of the Swordsmen and Sorcerers’ Guild of America (SAGA), a loose-knit group of heroic fantasy authors founded in the 1960s and led by Lin Carter. The eight original members were self-selected by fantasy credentials alone. They sought to promote the popularity and respectability of the “Sword and Sorcery” subgenre (such as Brak the Barbarian stories by Jakes).

I had not been aware of Jakes early membership in SAGA although once I started reading The Kent Family Chronicles and saw his list of books, I realized that I had read Brak the Barbarian and a couple of its sequels when I was in college.

Jakes has a second book series that is well known, North and South. From wiki on the trilogy:

North and South is a 1980s trilogy of bestselling novels by John Jakes which take place before, during, and after the American Civil War.[1] The saga tells the story of the enduring friendship between Orry Main of South Carolina and George Hazard of Pennsylvania, who become best friends while attending the United States Military Academy at West Point but later find themselves and their families on opposite sides of the war.[1] The slave-owning Mains are rural gentleman planters while the big-city Hazards live by manufacturing and industry, their differences reflecting the divisions between North and South that eventually led to the Civil War.

The North and South trilogy also became a trilogy of TV mini-series (North and South, North and South, Book II (the second book in the trilogy is titled Love and War), and Heaven and Hell) starring Patrick Swayze and James Read.

The Bastard, The Rebels and The Seekers were all made into TV movies in 1978 and 1979. I have no recollection of even hearing about these movies before but looking through the cast list, there are some quite interesting names.

Looking through the list of Jakes’ books there are some other titles beyond those I have mentioned that I have read and enjoyed – I, Barbarian about a romance in the time of Genghis Kahn, King’s Crusader set during the Crusades with Richard the Lionheart, When the Star Kings Die, and Veils of Salome.

JohnJakes.com gives Jakes’ full bio as well as some discussion on his various series and standard author web site fare.

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