One Man or Woman and Leadership

forn984hYesterday, my friend, Juwannadoright, wrote on the power of the individual. She wrote in the context of the environment, and how if we picked up after ourselves rather than littering, it would make a major improvement. She also extended her point in her reply to the comment she had made, to note that our leftist/statist opponents tend to use the collective to avoid personal responsibility, much like five year olds do. I expect that most of us have scores, if not hundreds, of examples of this. Anyway, here is a piece of her article.

Recently I commented on a piece regarding “global warming/climate change” that appeared in The Huffington Post.  My response was very simple.  I offered the opinion that I didn’t know whether “climate change” was a reality or a fabrication, but I agreed that mankind does make an impact on our environment – the most obvious being in the form of litter and pollution.  I went on to explain that if one accepted that and disliked either litter on our streets or in our air, he or she should take whatever steps possible to reduce or eliminate taking actions which would result in those conditions.  Personally, I think that is a pretty non-controversial statement.  I went on to offer a simple list of ten things which each of us could do now to work to reduce both litter and pollution – until we wait for science to discover the “ultimate solution.”

Although several people checked the “Like” button, the only written response I received was from someone who apparently had a different world view.  He excoriated my naiveté, thinking that “one person could make a difference.”  Of course, he failed to recognize that I do realize that if only one person out of six billion does something positive, that will indeed be meaningless.  His statement was, of course, an expression of his belief that only through the power of government “enlightenment” would we be able to ameliorate “climate change.”  But he overlooked something far more fundamental which I pointed out in my response.

via CAN ONE PERSON MAKE A DIFFERENCE? | juwannadoright.

As is nearly always true, I completely agree with her but, it also made me think about some other things.

I, and those like me, which means traditional Americans in this context, are the culmination of a very long line. Jess said this in her article Saturday

 It is redolent of American virtues: self-reliance; a sense of personal responsibility; but a willingness to do the right thing to help others, even at personal cost. You might say these are human virtues, and I would agree; but they are exemplified by the America which, at great cost, sustained the free world during the Cold War Years, ensuring that the gains from the defeat of Fascism were not lost.

OK, she was speaking of me, and it is not for me to claim those words are true of me, that’s for others to decide. But I surely aspire for them to be, and I do believe them to be a fair assessment of what American exceptionalism is all about. That paragraph ended this way, “Other countries are countries – America is a dream.” and that is completely true.

But it didn’t start here did it.

  1. What if Martin Luther, fully expecting to be burned at the stake, had not said, “Hier ich stände, ich kann nicht anders“? Would the church still be selling indulgences to the peasantry of Europe?
  2. What about Stephan Langton, the Archbishop of Canterbury, who led and unified the barons of England, to force King John to sign Magna Charta? The basic guarantee of individual freedom wherever the common-law runs.
  3. And maybe more to the point these days, what about King John himself, a king so bad, that for nearly 800 years there has never been (and likely will never be) another? Surely an example of a negative great man.
  4. What about, Henry VIII who wanted a successor so badly, that he took England out of the Catholic Church, thus paving the way for the First British Empire?
  5. What about Oliver Cromwell, who in the name of Parliament overthrew and executed, by law, an English King?
  6. What about William of Orange, who supplanted James II, and assumed the crown under conditions that made him expressly subservient to Parliament, and committed to the rights of English freemen?
  7. How about Thomas Jefferson who wrote those rights into the heritage of Americans, or James Madison who wrote them into the law?
  8. And finally how about an obscure staff major in the American Army, nearly due for retirement in 1940, who four years later would both lead the greatest allied army of freedom ever seen, and mount the largest amphibious landing in history, and would end up the fourth ranking general in American history, after Washington, the one man who could have lost the Revolution, behind Pershing, whose insistence on keeping American forces together as American forces, has as good a claim as any for winning World War I, and behind his own boss, General Marshall, who managed to build and supply the greatest American army in history, while arming and feeding America and our allies. In 13 years that staff major would be president of the United States, and would set many of the policies that caused the collapse of the Soviet Union, and so this man, more than any other, is who Europe, from Brest to the Urals, owes their chance to be free. Well done, President Eisenhower.
  9. How about Ronald Reagan, or Maggie Thatcher, or Pope John Paul II, would the Soviet bear still stare balefully at the free part of Europe without them?

The left likes to denigrate the importance of the individual. Why? I think it is because they are afraid to think for themselves, and so they hide behind other’s skirts. I know they are afraid to be responsible for themselves or anything else. But if you look through history you will always find, from Alexander the Great on, a man (or a woman) who believes so much in something that they will bet their life, and their eternal soul on it, and those are the people who have made our world, and everything in it.

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream – and not make dreams your master,
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ‘em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings – nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!

Rudyard Kipling

But in truth you will be more, you will be qualified to be a leader of men,

not merely children to the free candy store

Three years of NEO!

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Three years ago this week Nebraskaenergyobserver made its debut on the Internet. So first, congratulations to my dearest friend Neo. Blogs are like Gibbon’s description of empires – they rise and fall and the sands of history cover them and their place knows them no more. It is, as I know myself, easy enough to start up a blog – it is the maintaining it which is the hard part. So, I think three years is something to celebrate.

Neo’s blog is a window on the world. He is part of an America which many of us admire, but which many foreigners (and quite a few Americans) never visit – the ‘fly-over States’. I spent a year in the mid-West twenty years ago, and retain a fondness for it and all it represents; this is one of the reasons I am fond of this place. It is redolent of American virtues: self-reliance; a sense of personal responsibility; but a willingness to do the right thing to help others, even at personal cost. You might say these are human virtues, and I would agree; but they are exemplified by the America which, at great cost, sustained the free world during the Cold War Years, ensuring that the gains from the defeat of Fascism were not lost. Neo, like many of his readers, has an admiration for the ‘greatest generation’ and a keen sense of patriotism. He is proud of America for what it has done and for what it represents. Other countries are countries – America is a dream.

That is why for him, and for so many, the past few years have been ones of grim realisation: realisation that, to use a Churchill quotation, our leaders have failed to ‘rise to the level of events’; we have great events and small men; nor is that a partisan political point; since Reagan and Thatcher the ‘free world’ has wanted a figure of stature.

As we look out from the prairie, the aspect is dark: the ‘Arab spring’ has given way to a winter of discontent, as the whole region is buffeted by the storms of radical Islam, a phenomenon which our secular, liberal elites fail to grasp; yes, these people really do believe women should be neither seen nor heard, they do believe in stoning homosexuals, and they will chop your head off. In Israel, the one democracy in the region is in a permanent state of siege, with only the US really supporting her; and across Europe, the complacency of a political elite is being rudely shattered by the realisation that President Putin is up to something and will not be stopped by being told he is being naughty. Super Powers may want to retire, but when they try, they may find themselves draw back from the plow.

In the meantime, America itself changes, and values which were once universal are relativised; social cohesion, always a difficult thing to achieve, is threatened; and faith in the rule of law is challenged by the rule of lawyers, in whom few place any confidence: the difference between a confidence trickster and a politician is that they both take your money, but only the latter demands you like him for it.

All of these trends Neo covers, but he also provides us with a great historical perspective, good company, good music and great movies, as well as a wry sense of humour which says that even if the world is going to hell in a handcart, it’s five o’clock somewhere – hence the clip – so join me in raising a glass to our friend Neo :)

You cannot rewrite laws to achieve your political agenda

The EPA was directed to set standards for radi...

The EPA was directed to set standards for radioactive materials under Reorganization Plan No. 3 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We feature Marita Noon here fairly often, she is one of the best on energy affairs, and I have found her point to be correct almost always, and her conclusions are just as trustworthy. This comes via RedState. a site I like although do not always agree with (depends on the contributor, mostly). Here’s Marita.

 

Now that the dust has settled on the Supreme Court’s 2014 session, we can look at the decisions and conclude that the Administration received a serious smack down. Two big cases got most of the news coverage: Hobby Lobby and the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) recess appointments. In both cases, the Administration lost. At the core of both, is the issue of the Administration’s overreach.

Within the cases the Supreme Court heard, one had to do with energy—and it, too, offered a rebuke.

You likely haven’t heard about Utility Air Regulatory Group (UARG) v. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)—and may think you don’t care. But with the session over, UARG v. EPA makes clear the Court’s trend to trim overreach.

The UARG v. EPA decision came down on June 23. None of the major news networks covered it. Reviews of the 2014 cases, since the end of the session, haven’t mentioned it either. The decision was mixed—with both sides claiming victory. Looking closely, there is cause for optimism from all who question the president’s authority to rewrite laws.

A portion of the UARG v. EPA case was about the EPA’s “Tailoring Rule” in which it “tailored” a statutory provision in the Clean Air Act—designed to regulate traditional pollutants such as particulate matter—to make it work for CO2. In effect, the EPA wanted to rewrite the law to achieve its goals. The decision, written by Justice Antonin Scalia for the majority, stated:

“Were we to recognize the authority claimed by EPA in the Tailoring Rule, we would deal a severe blow to the Constitution’s separation of powers… The power of executing laws…does not include a power to revise clear statutory terms that turn out not to work in practice.”

Emphasis mine and via Marita Noon: You cannot rewrite laws to achieve your political agenda | RedState.

 

What she says here is correct. valid , and beyond a doubt completely true, in point of its effects, both allowed and disallowed.

 

But there is a wider point here as well. We have talked a good bit about how ‘administrative law’ is simply unlawful and unconstitutional. The main article is here, there are others here as well, and there are more coming.

 

This is important, folks. The use of so-called administrative law, which is really the old prerogative power of king’s which drove both the English and American Revolutions come back again, in slightly new camouflage. It is just as pernicious to the ‘Rule of Law’ now, as when it was used by the Stuarts or the Hanoverians. Or indeed by King John, leading to Magna Charta, itself.

 

It’s an unlawful practice that has grown because we have neglected the lessons of history, and the price of correction is getting higher constantly.

 

Monday Morning in the Free World

IMG_5851_2lowresThe leader of the free world issued a statement on the Israel-Hamas fracas today. Yes Stephen Harper did. Yay Canada!!

The indiscriminate rocket attacks from Gaza on Israel are terrorist acts, for which there is no justification. It is evident that Hamas is deliberately using human shields to further terror in the region.

Failure by the international community to condemn these reprehensible actions would encourage these terrorists to continue their appalling actions. Canada calls on its allies and partners to recognize that these terrorist acts are unacceptable and that solidarity with Israel is the best way of stopping the conflict.

Canada is unequivocally behind Israel. We support its right to defend itself, by itself, against these terror attacks, and urge Hamas to immediately cease their indiscriminate attacks on innocent Israeli civilians.

Canada reiterates its call for the Palestinian government to disarm Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist groups operating in Gaza, including the Iranian proxy, Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

via What real support for Israel looks like | Power Line.

This sums it up for me.

Juice2

 

Germany won the World Cup last night. You’ll not be surprised that I am not much of a fan of kickball/ soccer/ futboll/ (sic)football, but Jess did talk me into watching it. Silly Brits! Anyway, I did enjoy watching it, I found that an Indiana High School basketball background was useful for seeing patterns and such. The Germans showed me a traditional plan with four keys to it.

  1. Discipline
  2. Patience
  3. Conditioning
  4. Opportunism

Much like the reputation their army has had for about a century.

In other words, they were ready, and Argentina wasn’t. It was a good game, at least if you like a four corners offense in basketball. :-)

 

The Republican candidate for Senate in Iowa has suspended her campaign for two weeks because of another commitment. LTC Jodi Ernst will be on active duty at Camp McCoy.

BZ Colonel.

Is Administrative Law Unlawful ?

English: Detail of Preamble to Constitution of...

English: Detail of Preamble to Constitution of the United States Polski: Fragment preambuły Konstytucji Stanów Zjednoczonych (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From the Constitution of the United States:

ARTICLE I, SECTION 1.

All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.


 

When we talk of Administrative law, we are speaking of an extra-legal add on, which has very little (if any) base in the Constitution. If you are not familiar with it, here is a link to an introductory lecture POL611 . That’s how it is conceptualized these days. But is it constitutional at all? That’s different story. I’ve spoken of this several times lately once at Jess’ Watchtower, and on this site here, and here. It’s an important concept. Much of the content here is taken from a series on The Power Line Blog here, here, here, and here. Don’t panic, they’re quite short posts! This is all both there, and here based on a book, Is Administrative Law Unlawful, by Philip Hamburger, who is the Maurice and Hilda Friedman Professor of Law at Columbia Law School. He received his B.A. from Princeton University and his J.D. from Yale Law School.

Here is a not so short video presentation of what he is saying that he gave at Hillsdale College, which was published on May 14 of this year. It is eminently worth your time.

If you remember I commented in the article A Most Conservative Revolution that we don’t pay enough attention to what I call “the Bill of Particulars” in the middle of the document. The reason I say that is in this article. Everyone of them is protesting the arbitrary power of the Crown acting with or without Parliament (which did not represent the British in North America.

Here are a couple which might sound familiar to us today:

  • He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
  • He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands. (Although this one you might want to read in the negative.)

In any event, I hope you see my point here.

The point is that the Constitution, which is written in very clear English, and means what it says, “All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States.” It does not say that Congress may delegate that power to the executive, or his subordinates. In fact, John Locke said this.

The people alone can appoint the form of the commonwealth, which is by constituting the legislative, and appointing in whose hands that shall be. And when the people have said, We will submit to rules, and be governed by laws made by such men, and in such forms, no body else can say other men shall make laws for them; nor can the people be bound by any laws, but such as are enacted by those whom they have chosen, and authorized to make laws for them. The power of the legislative[,] being derived from the people by a positive voluntary grant and institution, can be no other than what that positive grant conveyed, which being only to make laws, and not to make legislators, the legislative can have no power to transfer their authority of making laws, and place it in other hands.

In short administrative law = the King’s prerogative which leads directly to the Star Chamber and High Commission and ≠ the Rule of Law, more properly described as “The rule through and under the law” which is the traditional Anglo-American definition of The Common Law.

Undoubtedly we will be returning to this subject soon because this is important. In fact this is the battle that led to Runnymede, to The English Civil War, to the Glorious Revolution, to the American Revolution, an in part to the American Civil War as well.

The fundamental article of my political creed is that despotism, or unlimited sovereignty, or absolute power, is the same in a majority of a popular assembly, an aristocratical council, an oligarchical junto, and a single emperor. Equally arbitrary, cruel, bloody, and in every respect diabolical.

John Adams

 

The Power of the Purse

us-uk_flag_408x212 (1)We’ve been hearing quite a lot out of Washington about the power of the purse, haven’t we? We’ve also been hearing about how the Republican only have one half of one-third of the government. I’m so tired of their whining I could spit. Why? That 1/3 of 1/2 is arguably the most important thing in keeping a free people free. Quite a few people quite literally died to give them that power of the purse, that they like to claim is so useless. What am I talking about?

This. The sole right to write revenue bills, which the Constitution gives to the House of Representatives, was inherited from the House of Commons. This right is the one that brought King John to sign Magna Charta, which is where Parliament derives the right. The exercise of this right by the Commons was one of the main causes of The English Civil War which eventually cost Charles I his head. Parliamentary supremacy in the UK can be dated from 2 July 1644, when Prince Rupert overreached and lost the North for Charles, thus paving the way for Cromwell. And when it became time to restore the monarchy, it could not be done until parliament was reconstituted. Over the centuries that power was vested in the House of Commons, and that fact is why Great Britain is governed by the Executive in Parliament.

Our founders chose to organize the government slightly different but, the purse held by the House of Representatives, is the same one that Parliament used to Break King John, to kill King Charles I, and to replace James II with William and Mary, with the English Bill of Rights making the monarchy expressly at the pleasure of the commons.

This is the power that Boehner finds so useless in attempting to curb a wannabe king in the White House. I submit the power is plenty although the arm that wields it may be lacking  Somehow I don’t see the strength of the great parliamentarians of Britain (or America) when I look at the Speaker.

And make no mistake, it is exactly the same battle. Over at Power Line, Professor Hamburger started a series yesterday, on his book on Administrative Law, you need to be reading this series, in the opening he has shown already, how Administrative Law is nothing more or less than the return of absolute power. The power of the executive to act on his own,

Here’s a bit:

In reality, administrative power has a much older and darker history. Far from a novel and modern response to modernity, it revives what used to be called prerogative or absolute power. Put more concretely, it revives extralegal power. It thus is exactly what constitutional law developed in order to prohibit.

Up through the seventeenth century, English kings repeatedly sought to govern their subjects through extralegal edicts. As early as the Middle Ages, English kings were expected to rule through the law–through acts of Parliament and through the acts of the law courts. Far from rejecting rule through the law, monarchs generally liked the legitimacy of this regular mode of governance.

At the same time, however, kings often had difficulty securing the statutes they wanted from Parliament. They therefore often sought to rule not through law, but extralegally, through binding proclamations, regulations, or decrees. They also frequently attempted to adjudicate not through the law courts, but through prerogative tribunals, such as the king’s council, the Star Chamber, and various commissions.

This power exercised not through law, but through other edicts, lacked the legitimacy of law, and kings and their lawyers therefore defended it as an alternative mode of governance. In particular, they increasingly justified it as a prerogative or absolute power. Of course, this extralegal power was the personal power of a king, not the bureaucratic power of a state, and it therefore was not yet administrative, but otherwise this prerogative power was little different from contemporary administrative power.

Via IS ADMINISTRATIVE LAW UNLAWFUL? A WORD FROM THE AUTHOR

And so we see that John Boehner find a power that was forged by dint of blood and war over the centuries from the Kings of England, is not enough power for him to stop a two-bit agitator from Chicago. Personally, I don’t think the power is the problem, I think the problem is with the arm that wields the power.

But that’s just me, of course.

But perhaps the barons at Runnymede, and the Parliamentary Army at Marston Moor 370 years ago yesterday, and the delegates at Philadelphia 238 years ago were wrong, and Kings John, Charles I, and George III were right?

I really don’t think so, I just think they were opposed by better men.

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