A Lesson in the Common Law

4532829274_324ec3f1e1_z[I am pleased to tell you that All Along the Watchtower is again a public blog, and if you have not been reading there please do come on our journey with us. I have a post up there (either now or soon, depending on the schedule) today which touches on some of the same themes (The Common Law) as this post does, so enjoy it.]

One again in the last few weeks, America has given the world a lesson in why the English Common Law is the only fit system of governance for free men. And yes, I am referring to Ferguson, Missouri. And specifically the use made of the Grand Jury, by Prosecuting Attorney Robert P. McCullough, who has been elected by very wide margins (if he was opposed at all) in 1994, 1998, 2002, 2006, 2010 and 2014. He is a Democrat, and yet I have friends who are consider some Tea Party Republicans liberal, who say, he may be the best prosecutor in the country. Think about that for a while.

It struck me that like so much of The Common Law, the Grand Jury exists only in the United States anymore, not only in the Federal Courts, but in all 50 States. England itself abolished it in 1936. So maybe a primer is in order, it seems to be here as well.

I’m going to base much of this on Wikipedia, I, like you, am fully cognizant of all the veracity problems with the source, and yet this seems reasonably accurate, and is at least readable. And so, a bit of history:

The first instance of a grand jury can be traced back to the Assize of Clarendon, an 1166 act of Henry II of England. In fact, Henry’s chief effect on the development of the English monarchy was to increase the jurisdiction of the royal courts at the expense of the feudal courts. Itinerant justices on regular circuits were sent out once each year to enforce the “King’s Peace”. To make this system of royal criminal justice more effective, Henry employed the method of inquest used by William the Conqueror in the Domesday Book. In each shire, a body of important men was sworn (juré) to report to the sheriff all crimes committed since the last session of the circuit court. Thus originated the modern grand jury that presents information for an indictment. The grand jury was later recognized by King John in Magna Carta in 1215 on demand of the nobility.

I find it fascinating how many of the rights that I treasure in 2014 go back so far in our history, in this case to Henry II, in 1166, only a century after The Conquest, and that it was part of an effort to break the legal autonomy of the Barons, who my reading indicates were quite corrupt. I also note that King John was forced in Magna Charta to recognize the existing right, it was already, 800 years ago, customary. It is also the origin of the term circuit court. In a note that saddens me greatly, Dan Hannan, MEP has noted that when there was a search on for a term to apply to a local elected law enforcement official, Sheriff ( deriving from Shire-Reeve) was disallowed as too American. Perhaps we are not the only people who could stand to study our history a bit more.

There is quite a lot more at the linked article.

I doubt there has ever been a more politically conscious society than America from the beginning, likely it has also been one of the most literate societies. Yes, this led to trouble with the Stamp Act. But the two best-selling books in colonial America tell much about us, I think. The number one best seller was The Holy Bible (as it still is), likely the King James Version. That I expect you could have easily guessed, but I doubt you will the second. That was Black’s Law Commentary. To borrow a phrase from my Lutheran heritage that seems appropriate: The Two Kingdoms, incarnate.

For us, the Grand Jury comes into our jurisprudence through the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution, to wit.

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

And thus here, like in Magna Charta, it is enshrined, not as a tool of the prosecutor, but as a fundamental right of an innocent man accused of a crime. Further it is officially, a secret proceeding, under the control of the foreman, elected by the members of the jury. It’s deliberations are recorded, usually by court reporters, and are sealed. The only other outsider allowed, is the prosecutor, who presents the evidence, and provides the jurors with the possible bills of indictment. [In this case they ran from premeditated murder to manslaughter.] This is as close as it can get to being by the people, no lawyers, no press, no pressure, testimony is subject to the laws of perjury, and so forth.

What results from this is the same level of proof required for an American police officer to legally search your car, it’s called probable cause, and if found, will result in an indictment. As you listen to the uproar, do remember that many of the commenters on American TV are lawyers, and they too have a corporate viewpoint.

George Will once wrote that:

The business of America is not business. Neither is it war. The business of America is justice and securing the blessings of liberty.

That is exactly correct, and in an American context that means for every downtrodden, broken, man or woman, of any race at all.

You see American justice, is not efficient. It is noisy, contentious, subject to influence, corruption and all the rest of the things you have heard and said. It is also the most just in the world. Why? Not least because it is not efficient, if you want efficient government, you’ll end up with a fascist country, they are far more efficient, they are also very hard on individual liberty, except for the elite (maybe). It is also conservative, actually that is not the word, the word is orthodox.

As always though, “Hard cases make bad law”

The Ebola Firewall

Sorry guys, I’m neck-deep in a project, and the water keeps rising. But here’s Bill Whittle’s current Firewall.

What’s that? Yep, I agree with everything he says here.

President Obama Already Has An Ebola Czar. Where Is She?

NIH logo

NIH logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So are you panicking over the Ebola virus? No, of course you’re not, like me, you understand the utter futility of panic. I imagine also, like me, as well, you find it worrisome, it gives the TV folks something to talk about, nor would it hurt if someone in the government was in charge. The thing is, there is. There is a federal bureaucrat (and agency) specifically charged to take care of this kind of stuff.

So of course, that is the one person who hasn’t had anything to say about it. But Mollie Hemingway thinks we should meet her, and she’s right. This woman is the head of a multi-billion dollar agency tasked to protect us from things like Ebola, and biowar, and stuff like that. She, and the agency, appear to be totally corrupt as well. (Wait, why would that surprise you?)

Mollie found a video from the administrator about the agency, here it is.

You did note that her highest priority is to support the President, right? I would have thought it was to carry out the agency’s mission but, I’m old fashioned like that.

As the Ebola situation in West Africa continues to deteriorate, some U.S. officials are claiming that they would have been able to better deal with the public health threat if only they had more money.

Dr. Francis Collins, who heads the National Institutes of Health (NIH), told The Huffington Post, “Frankly, if we had not gone through our 10-year slide in research support, we probably would have had a vaccine in time for this that would’ve gone through clinical trials and would have been ready.” Hillary Clinton also claimed that funding restrictions were to blame for inability to combat Ebola.

Or did they?

See, in 2004, Congress passed The Project Bioshield Act. The text of that legislation authorized up to $5,593,000,000 in new spending by NIH for the purpose of purchasing vaccines that would be used in the event of a bioterrorist attack. A major part of the plan was to allow stockpiling and distribution of vaccines.

Just two years later, Congress passed the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act, which created a new assistant secretary for preparedness and response to oversee medical efforts and called for a National Health Security Strategy. The Act established Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority as the focal point within HHS for medical efforts to protect the American civilian population against naturally occurring threats to public health.

Via President Obama Already Has An Ebola Czar. Where Is She?.

Of course, you realize that incompetent Washington politicians and bureaucrat (redundancy alert) will throw more of your hard earned money (that they stole from you) at the problem. It will also be ineffective.

Why?

Because they’re corrupt as well as incompetent.

Our government at work.

The way to defeat jihadis is to offer something better

Daniel Hannan has an outstanding article up on the Telegraph yesterday. He is talking about how to defeat the young Brits that wish to be jihadis. The thing is, you never defeat something with nothing, he’s right.

British history, like its niece American history, is the story of man’s ascent from slavery to individual liberty. In great measure, it is a story that is one of the most attractive in the world. But we have allowed it to be corrupted, by those who use it for  political ends, who have convinced many that Britain, and America, are evil incarnate.  We, like the Brits, have allowed this to creep in, unnoticed, over the years until this evil nonsense is what is being taught to our children as our history.

There are things in our histories that are cringeworthy, but that is true of everyone’s history. There is also the fact that of all the peoples in the world, the Anglo-Americans have done more for the individual, than anybody else.

And in a related matter, our young people are looking for something when they join the jihad, or even when they convert to Islam. I think they look for certainty, a system that knows right from wrong, good from evil. Islam is a system that is flawed of course, It reflects the flawed nature of its founder, and is easily corrupted to evil, if it is not evil in itself.

But, one knows that there is another system in the world that does the same thing, it offers a choice, and a stark one, between good and evil, but unlike Islam, it while rooted in antiquity, has grown. The wisest men of the last 2000 years have contributed to it, and enriched it.

But it, like Anglo-American history, has been greatly maligned and diluted, both from within and without. But also like our history, the record is still there, and accessible, we merely need to read, learn and share it.

A Polish friend, an MEP of my sort of age, was telling me the other day about how his life changed when Pope John Paul II toured his home country. The papal visit set in train the events that led to the Gdansk protests and, in due course, the unravelling of the tyranny. But my friend added a detail that I had never before appreciated. “The Holy Father never directly condemned the Communist authorities,” he said. “He didn’t need to. He was offering something better”.

When you put it like that, it’s obvious, isn’t it? Offer something better. It worked during the recent Scottish referendum. For months, Unionists had warned of the horrors that would follow from separation: companies leaving, markets collapsing, Scotland left without a currency. The more frenetically they warned, the further they fell behind in the polls. Only in the closing days did the “No” campaign make the positive argument it should have made all along: the UK was doing pretty darned well, Scots were prospering within it, and it was silly to discard a precious thing. That was when the polls turned.

Continue reading  The way to defeat British jihadis is to offer something better

And that is the thing that I find so frustrating, Anglo-American history is the story of man’s ascent from slavery to freedom, and its sharing all over the world. It is one of the most remarkable and uplifting stories ever writing, and written in blood by the common man.

And the other story that I referred to above is even greater, although the two are intimately entwined. Because the story of Christianity is also a story of free will, and enlightenment. It has justly been called The Greatest Story Ever Told, and it is. It the story of man’s civilization, from a violent past. Only Christianity has developed, and lived by a ‘Just War Theory’ . The rest still live by the rule of the most powerful, while we live by the ‘Rule under and through the law’ and apply y it not only to ourselves but even to those who presume to rule us.

That is what President Reagan, Prime Minister Thatcher, and Pope (St.) John Paul II used to defeat the Evil Empire of the Soviet Union.

It is a wonderful uplifting story. Because something always defeats nothing, and humanism, and Islam, are nothing, Simply the rule of the powerful.

Be For Something, Something Good

Plain Words; Well Spoken

In some ways, I’m cleaning out my files today but, you’ll find these are connected. In each case they involve the author telling the plain unvarnished truth as they see it. I find it very refreshing. You may or you may not agree with everything each author says, as it happens, I mostly agree with them. But then, I make no claim to be completely objective. I think you can learn from each of them.

Churchill’s Words on Obama, Congress, World.

Elizabeth Scalia (The Anchoress)

His scorn was withering. . .He had described his foes in Parliament as “good, honest men who are ready to die for their opinions, if only they knew what their opinions are.” Of Baldwin’s government, he said: “So they go on in strange paradox, decided only to be undecided, resolved to be irresolute, adamant for drift…all powerful to be impotent.”
– Leo Rosten, on Winston Churchill**

Well, I read that last night and thought, were Churchill around here, he might rerun those sentiments about Obama and the Congress. He might also note with great sadness that upon the world political stage, there is currently no great leader, no one person capable — when the world is crying out for focus, as it is, today — of stirring a people to greatness by exchanging partisan postures for a larger, sharable vision and for decisiveness.

We are pursuing ISIS with the heart of Bartleby-the-Scrivener, who would prefer not to. Even as evidence mounts that they are here, and likely on every continent.

Churchill’s Words on Obama, Congress, World.

 

SHOCK! A Catholic bishop who speaks like – *gulp* – a Catholic bishop!

Father Z.

As you know, not to long ago Bp. Howard Hubbard was retired from his looooong tenure as Bishop of Albany.  He was succeeded by Bp. Edward Scharfenberger.

Recently Bp. Scharfenbeger gave a speech to an interfaith group in Albany.   At least one Protestant didn’t like what he had to say.

From the Times Union of Albany, NY.

Rev. Sam Trumbore
First Unitarian Universalist Society of Albany[Unitarian Universalist… what is that, I wonder.]

Bishop Scharfenberger’s after dinner speech last night at the Capital Region Theological Center Fall fundraising dinner seriously missed his audience and likely ruffled a few feathers in the interfaith, largely Protestant audience of about 230 community leaders.

Many of us in attendance were very interested to hear the recent replacement for long serving Bishop Hubbard, to hear what his message to the interfaith community might be. The Capital Region Theological Center is a wonderful ecumenical organization founded by the collaboration of the founding partners: The Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, Reformed Church of America, Presbyterian Church (USA) and the United Church of Christ. […] Their values welcoming and supporting all faith communities seeking peace, justice and a more sustainable planet and a spirit of collaboration, discussion over judgment, and diversity rather than uniformityline up well with the values of my Unitarian Universalist congregation.

SHOCK! A Catholic bishop who speaks like – *gulp* – a Catholic bishop! | Fr. Z’s BlogFr. Z’s Blog.

 

Speaking Truth To Wussies.

GrEaT sAtAn”S gIrLfRiEnD

Great Satan’s avuncular Veep spoke truth and really p.o.’d some of our valuable fickle on again off again ‘Allies” and have hurt their feelings LOL

“What were they doing? They were so determined to take down Assad and essentially have a proxy Sunni-Shia war, what did they do? They poured hundreds of millions of dollars and tens, thousands of tons of weapons into anyone who would fight against Assad — except that the people who were being supplied were al Nusra and al Qaeda and the extremist elements of jihadis coming from other parts of the world.”

“Now you think I’m exaggerating? “Take a look! Where did all of this go?”

“All of a sudden everybody’s awakened because [of] this outfit called ISIL [or ISIS], which was Al Qaeda in Iraq,” said Biden. He sketched the organization’s history: it was “essentially thrown out of Iraq” but “found open space in territory in eastern Syria,” then it worked with the al Qaeda subsidiary al Nusra, which the United States “declared a terrorist group early on.” And, still, according to Biden, “we could not convince our colleagues to stop supplying them. So what happened? Now all of a sudden — I don’t want to be too facetious — but they have seen the Lord, [and] the President’s been able to put together a coalition of our Sunni neighbors, because America can’t once again go into a Muslim nation and be seen as the aggressor. It has to be led by Sunnis to go and attack a Sunni organization.

GrEaT sAtAn”S gIrLfRiEnD: Speaking Truth To Wussies.

What Islam Is and What To Do about It

Enza Ferreri

The following only reflects my position and not necessarily that of my party Liberty GB.

Islam has been distorted by Western politicians and media to such an extreme point that this doctrine is almost completely the opposite of what is being described as.

It is not a “religion of peace”: it is a non-religion of war.

It is not a religion in the sense that we in the West understand, through the experience of our own religion: Christianity. It doesn’t make human beings better, but worse.

Whereas Christianity establishes a separation of powers between church and state, Islam is a political ideology. Men’s laws are imperfect and should be rejected. Only God-given law, Sharia, should rule the state. Notice that “law” here doesn’t mean “moral law”, but the country’s legislation. Sharia has to be enforced with all available means, peaceful or violent, democratic or totalitarian.

Islam’s holy scriptures say – and real Muslims believe – that the world will be a much better place for human beings to live in if Islam and its law govern the whole planet. Under Islam’s domination, there will be justice, equality and all the good things that communists have also promised humanity. And in both cases (Islam and communism), followers are prepared to cause mayhem and slaughter to attain this utopian “paradise on earth”.

Read more: http://enzaferreri.blogspot.com/2014/10/what-islam-is-and-what-to-do-about-it.html#ixzz3FgWE81we

So there you are, around the world in about a thousand words, telling the truth, as the authors see it.

Whittle on Race War, Narratives, and Political Correctness.

This one has been around since 2010 but, nothing has changed, except that Breitbart has multiplied

 

The origin of Political Correctness, from 2012

 

 

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