The Man Comes Around

A friend of mine tweeted this yesterday, it is incredibly powerful.

Thanks, Siobhan

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”

Men of Honor: Forces of Disorder

3rd Infantry Division (United States)

[Am I back? I don’t know,  we’ll find out together. But I happened to glance up at my TV last week, and something struck me, and I want to share it with you]

Last week many of us were semi watching the far overblown coverage of the confrontations/riots/ whatever in Ferguson, Missouri. One of the things we saw was an attempted (judicial) lynching of a law enforcement officer, who was simply doing, according to his beliefs, his job. As always, I’m sure there are some legitimate grievances-on both sides. That’s not my point here.

What I happened to see was the stand-off at the Ferguson Police station, if memory serves, although in truth it hardly matters.

In the street was the usual rabble,many of them concealing their identity, like the cowards they are, behind those contemptible Guy Fawkes masks. They recall the man who set off anti-Catholic feelings in England that were so strong that they are still remembered today.

Now do understand that much of English anti-Catholicism was more political than religious, there was a widespread fear that the Catholics would obey the Pope instead of the King. Likely it was untrue, that is also irrelevant. The closest modern equivalent is likely the way some of us feel about the Moslems (especially the militants) in our midst.

In short, an obvious reference to those who would destroy our civilization.

And there also was the Missouri National Guard, standing at port arms under arms, in good order and discipline, as always. Disciplined defenders of civilization and America. Most of us would say, “The Best in the World”, with justifiable pride in those who represent us.

But something else I noticed, on the right sleeve of an army uniform a soldier is entitled to wear the patch of a unit he served honorably in, in combat. And so it was here, on the right sleeve of one of those young men, who has pledged his very life to us, if necessary, was the patch of the 3ID

3d Infantry Division

 

The third infantry division is one of the army’s most famous units. It earned its nickname in the Great War as ‘The Rock of The Marne” for its valor. The rest of its record is comparable. It is also the unit that performed the run up “Thunder Road” in Iraqi Freedom in 2003, and have no doubt served in both Iraq and Afghanistan since. One of our best.

And there was that patch on the shoulder of that young soldier, once again defending civilization, this time at home in Missouri from a rabble that would destroy it.

But there’s something else here as well, that goes to the very root of who we are. That insignia, if you look at it in the mirror, it is no longer the US 3ID, it is something else.

It is the coat of arms of Lancelot du Lac himself, legendary Knight of King Arthur.

The motto of the US Army is:

This We’ll Defend

Remembrance Sunday

poppy2_3001030b

Tower of London

[Many of you who read here, have become friends of ours, and so we like to tell you a bit when things happen our lives. This is one of those notes, Neo.]

This is my partner Jessica’s birthday, although we will unable to wish it to her today, let us remember the good times we have shared with her, and wish her a happy one and many more, better ones.

I have heard from her. She is recovering although it is a slow process, and she is both weak and weary. We will not see her here until at least Eastertide, I think, and perhaps not then. If you missed the story she went to the doctor for what she thought was sinusitis on 8 September and emailed me from the hospital parking lot that the doctor thought he saw another problem. Her last words to me were, “wish me luck-I need it.” Let that be a lesson to you, don’t ask me for luck. That problem turned out to be cancer, and very aggressive one at that. After two surgeries, on the first Friday in October, she received the received the last rites of her church. Those of us who love her were very close to despair, although we all put our trust in God. Nor were we disappointed, that Sunday she awoke from her coma without pain and without cancer.

But one doesn’t go through such an ordeal without re-evaluating your life, and that is part of what she is doing now. And I freely admit that I am praying (perhaps selfishly) that she will choose to return to us. That is in her hands, and God’s. Judging by how many of you are still reading her articles here, every day, many of you join with me in that prayer.

One doesn’t go through watching a dear friend, whom one loves, go though such an ordeal without effect either. I have spent most of the last two months worrying about and praying for her, and have rather shamefully neglected you. I won’t say I’m sorry, because I’m not. Jessica is the most wonderful and caring friend I’ve ever had, and the thought of losing her devastated me, and more than a few times 2 Samuel 18:33 was in my heart and prayers.

I’m going to begin trying to post again, although I’ll make no promises, it will be a day-to-day thing. And I’m going to do something that 3 months ago, I would never had considered. I am going to ask you to pray for Jessica, and for those who love her as well.

MERCIFUL God, and heavenly Father, who hast taught us in thy holy Word that thou dost not willingly afflict or grieve the children of men; Look with pity, we beseech thee, upon the sorrows of thy servant for whom our prayers are offered. Remember her, O Lord, in mercy; endue her soul with patience; comfort her with a sense of thy goodness; lift up thy countenance upon her, and give her peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

ALMIGHTY God, who hast promised to hear the petitions of those who ask in thy Son’s Name; We beseech thee mercifully to incline thine ears to us who have now made our prayers and supplications unto thee; and grant that those things which we have faithfully asked according to thy will, may effectually be obtained, to the relief of our necessity, and to the setting forth of thy glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

from the 1928 Book of Common Prayer


In all the English speaking world, except the United States, today is Remembrance Sunday, which is more connected than you might think to the first part of this post. Jessica’s ex-husband was a serving army officer, in fact, he was in Afghanistan when I met her. And while we will celebrate those of ours on Tuesday who survived to return to us, they will commemorate those who did not.

In her post The Thin Red Line she reminded us of the other victim’s of war, saying this:

But there’s bound to be a divide between civilians and the military in times of peace when you have a professional army. Although the analogy with Monks might raise an eyebrow or two, there is a parallel (no, not that one).  Soldiers live a life apart. They are trained to do things which ordinary people don’t do, and probably don’t want to do. There has to be a high level of commitment, and at times the dedication to duty means that a soldier puts everything else to one side. Although no soldier’s wife worth her salt would dream of saying so, we all wait in terror for the knock on the door or the telephone call from the CO. Every time we kiss and wave good-bye, we know that for at least one of us, it is the final good-bye. And if your marriage doesn’t come to that honorable end, well the stress and strains on your man and marriage may make it come to another sort of end. The price soldiers pay to serve us all is huge.  But they also serve, who only stand and wait – and love.

Like Memorial Day it was instituted to remember those brave men who died in the service of their country, and like Veteran’s Day it is on 11 November, because it was instituted to commemorate the end of the Great War, at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, in 1918. It’s also Feast day of St. Martin of Tours, the patron saint of soldiers. Like a distinguished British historian told me once, “It’s always the war to end all wars, until the next one.” I’m very afraid he was right.

But it is very proper for us as Americans to remember our cousins who died in the wars of the twentieth century, they fought at our side for the same ideals. Please join me in remembering their sacrifice.

It should also be remembered that on 17 October 1921, General Pershing presented, pursuant to a special act of Congress, the US Medal of Honor, in the name of the people of the United States, to the Unknown British Warrior in Westminster Abbey, the only time it has been awarded to a non-American in a foreign service.

Remember them

Take Away That Foolish Bauble, the Mace

So said Oliver Cromwell, as he dismissed Parliament back in 1653. I suspect the Canadians disagree these days. You see carrying the mace (essentially a medieval club) is one of the duties of the Sergeant-at-Arms. But the job has an actual security component as well, the defense of the King (or the Speaker) is what it originally was. He done good.

But he had some surprising back-up mobilizing as well

From Weaponsman

[…]

The Canadian politicians did none of that. Now, the PM did hide in a closet, which is only partly excused by the fact that it was his bodyguards that stuffed him in there. At least he had the stones to reject his American counterpart’s invitation to call this “workplace violence,” American-style. But the rank and file MPs took action:

Some positioned themselves on risers that flanked doors, ready to attack an assailant.

“There were 15 flags up at caucus and all but two were taken down,” one MP recalled.

“These guys were up there holding these spears ready to impale anyone who came in,” the source said.

“It was that or get mowed down,” the member of Parliament said of the threat posed by a gunman who was ultimately shot dead by Parliament Hill security.

The MPs-turned-halberdiers (or at least, pikemen) didn’t know that the PM was still in the caucus room, or the closets thereto, until a flying wedge of Mounties swept him out of there.

It looks like Canada will be springing for new flags, as the MPs who manned-up during the attack have grown attached to theirs.

Continue with A Weapon is Where You Find It | WeaponsMan.

Good for them, it’s nice to see some men in charge, and Canada’s about as good as it gets, anyway.

Be Strong, and of Good Courage

FVhF8GUBack many years ago before the real beginning of the modern world, back in the heady days not long after Henry VIII had turned England from being an adjunct of Europe to looking out on the world, not long after the Battle of the Solent where Henry beat of Francis I’s French fleet, and lost the Mary Rose. Not long after the smaller although more famous Armada attacked Elizabeth and she beat off the last attempt to re-catholicize England by force. Not long after all these earth-shaking events, Sir Walter Raleigh said.

“Whoever commands the sea, commands the trade; whosoever commands the trade of the world commands the riches of the world, and consequently the world itself.”

Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz reminded us of those words on the day of his retirement as Chief of Naval Operations of the United States Navy.They were true when Raleigh said them, indeed they were true when Athens defeated Sparta, when Rome defeated Carthage, when Nelson triumphed at Trafalgar, when Nimitz triumphed at Tokyo Bay. They are true today.

When you look at HMS Victory in Portsmouth, or when you look at USS Missouri in Pearl Harbor, or USS Constellation in New York you are looking at an artefact of world-wide power, and the reason that the world is mostly free.

The best definition of a superpower is this: A superpower is a country which is able to exert great force far from home. By that standard, there have been two, and only two in modern history, the British Empire, and the United States, and in many ways they have become indistinguishable, to the world’s benefit.

All the others have been able to exert great force, but only regionally. Spain, France, Germany, and now Russia in Europe, and Japan and now China in Asia. They are all regional powers.

For instance, Britain has fought four wars in Afghanistan, Germany and Russia have never fought a war outside of Europe. Britain fought a war in China, America fought Japan all across the Pacific both victoriously

Since that day in 1588 when Medina-Sidonia passed beyond the chance of success, some would say the day when the Golden Hind returned from its circumnavigation, the seas have been ruled by the English Speaking peoples. The modern world has been created by the singular fact that anywhere in the world, at any moment, the situation could be controlled by the militaries of first England and then the United States, and increasingly by both, joined by Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

This is why the world speaks English, this is why the common law is enshrined in so many countries. Indeed this is why the world is as modern as it is.

If you were an Islamic Imam striving to keep your seventh century world intact, would you hate people like these?

Americans energetically pursue commerce, science, medicine, technology and the arts. When these designs are halted by conflict, they energetically pursue absolute, decisive, and ruthless destruction of their enemies. After visiting violence and securing victory they energetically return to the pursuit of commerce, science, medicine, technology and the arts. (from Great Satan’s Girlfriend)

Great Satan, indeed, if your mission is to enslave your followers in the seventh century, because deep in your bones you know your slaves all want to go there, especially all those women and girls you’ve been enslaving and mutilating for millennia. And how uncouth is it when your wonderful warriors are scattered all over the landscape–by a girl. Sometimes, it is good to be hated. Many Nigerian blacks in the nineteenth century hated both the British and American Navies for taking away their living, by ending the slave trade.

Mahan famously said that Napoleon was defeated by “Those distant, storm-tossed ships, never seen by the Grande Armeé, were all that stood between it and world domination.” He was right. And as it was for Napoleon, so it was for Hitler and Tojo, separated by the beleaguered Empire forces in the Levant and the Burma-India theater, and so it was for the Soviet Union, which received its death notice from a young American president in October 1962, when its ships turned back from Cuba.

And so it is today, as the révanchist forces of Islam and Imperial Russia attempt to confront the free world. It is simply a matter of time and will before they, like all enemies of freedom are first contained and then destroyed by free people. The only way for us to lose, is to give up. They will kill many and cause much damage but history says that they cannot win.

Unless we let them.

The Honorable Daniel Hannan had some questions for us last weekend at CPAC

First published on 10 March 2014

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