Handcarts to Hell

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Kurt Schlichter was on a roll this week, even for him. On the fourth, he had a few comments on the news media and its lack of anything approaching morals in anything. That’s here.

Behold another banner week for the heroes of our intrepid mainstream media, that motley collection of pompous and obnoxious incompetents, perverts and – at the risk of repeating myself – liberals. In just the last few days we’ve seen how a major media personality got his network to build him a creepy sex lair in his office and watched as a flat-out lie tanked the stock market – well, not really “tanked,” since the Trump Boom is still booming, though the media is loath to report that fact since prosperity wrecks the official Trumpocalypse narrative. And next week, if (when) the guy the liberal media tried to paint as Judge Jailbait beats the guy the liberal media tried to cover for by not reporting how he thinks abortions are cool up until a kid gets his learner’s permit, the liberal media will take yet another well-deserved failure lap.

The mainstream liberal media is primarily composed of stumblebum leftist jerks who want all the glory and respect due a caste of objective, moral truth-seekers, yet who don’t want to do the hard work of actually being objective or moral or seeking the truth. “I can’t pass, and I can’t tackle, and practice is really a hassle, but I’m wearing a sportsball jersey so I want your adulation and a Super Bowl ring!

My only real complaint with anything in that column is that the Colonel has this tendency to understate how bad the media really is. Well, who would believe the truth? Bookworm would, that’s who. You’ve heard about that roast of Matt Lauer, well Book went where most of us won’t -The Village Voice and got the filth, and told us about it. Good on her, but I’m not going to copy any of it, I don’t really do anything that obscene here, but I’ll link her post, and thank her for it. Note: Obscene material and very not suitable for work, unless you work for NBC in which case it is the workplace environment you have allowed to be your normal. The article is here: The infamous Matt Lauer roast reveals who Proggies are (NSFW).

Yuck!

But the Colonel latest is even better to my mind. Here he takes on the current (and former) leadership of the FBI and marks the desecration of an institution thereby.

Add this infamy to all the other crimes of the liberal establishment – its poisonous influence has converted the Federal Bureau of Investigation, in the eyes of the American people, from a proud institution dedicated to upholding the law into just another suppurating bureaucratic pustule. Where once we saw FBI agents as heroes – many of us ancients grew up watching Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., every Sunday night – now we see careerist hacks looking to suck-up to the Democrat elite while bending the law and subverting justice to do it. Truly, everything liberals touch dies.

[…] didn’t even fire Strozk though intermural adultery is allegedly against the rules at the FBI. Nope, nothing builds confidence in a law enforcement agency’s organizational integrity like bending the rules to protect your bigwig buddies.

Oh, wait – outright payoffs do too! Don’t even start on Andrew McCabe and his wife’s Democrat contributions – to her. Yeah, the wife of the FBI second-in-command got money from the Democrat Party and he’s still not recused from this fake investigation. Are you kidding?

By the way, have we got even a single iota of information on what the unholy hell happened since Special Agent Johnson and Special Agent Johnson took over the investigation of the Las Vegas shooting?

It’s long past time to lance this boil. It’s sad when you have to accept that you can’t talk to the FBI, that they can’t be trusted to do justice, that you must protect yourself from being railroaded like LTG Flynn was and always – always always always – demand to speak to your attorney and demand that the FBI not question you if they come sniffing around. LTG Flynn trusted them not to have an agenda. Look what happened, and learn.

It’s heartbreaking, because the FBI’s real legacy – a legacy field agents largely live today – is a legacy of heroes.

Flashback to Miami, April 11, 1986. Eight agents make a felony stop on a car with two suspected bank robbers, igniting a firefight that demonstrated the bravery and devotion that shouldbe what first comes to mind when any American thinks of the FBI.

William Russell Matix and Michael Lee Platt were ex-military and had killed before – and they packed an arsenal that ensured they were not going quietly. The FBI agents, lightly armed with under-powered handguns and a couple 12 gauges – came under intense rifle fire that the light vests some wore could not stop. In the end, seven of the eight agents were hit – and Special Agent Benjamin Grogan and Special Agent Jerry Dove died fighting.

Yes, while we ‘Normals’ don’t necessarily expect that level of heroism from every agent, although we’ve seen enough of it over our lifetimes to know it is not uncommon, we do expect common decency, honesty, and dare I say it, a sense of honor, from our law enforcement people, Federal, state, and local. Well, it used to be that way, anyway. In our Brave New World, not so much.

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Should The FBI Be Abolished?

Three lies for the price of one?

In The American Spectator yesterday, Steven Baldwin asked a controversial question. Should we abolish the FBI? I think he makes a pretty good case that we should. It’s a long article, and my excerpts will look like looney assertions, they aren’t, read the link. Let’s get going.

For the last few years, the media has been dominated by a number of sensational stories: that Trump colluded with Russia to influence the presidential election; that the Trump team was wiretapped by Obama intelligence officials; that Hillary used a private email server to transmit classified information; that Hillary and the DNC colluded with Russian sources to compile a dossier on Trump, and finally, that Russia acquired 20% of America’s uranium supply during the same time period $145 million miraculously appeared in the Clinton Foundation’s bank account. It all stinks to high heaven but it’s created a confusing array of facts that has bewildered most Americans. They all know something is seriously wrong with their country even if they can’t pinpoint exactly what the problem is.

But there is a common denominator in all these scandals or alleged scandals, and that would be the FBI and the actions they took or didn’t take. […]

On top of all that, former FBI director Robert Mueller — now Special Counsel — is investigating Trump for collusion with Russia when the evidence is now revealing that the only party that colluded with the Russians to influence the 2016 campaign was the Democratic Party. But Mueller doesn’t have the integrity to widen his investigation to cover the Clinton/GPS Fusion/Russian dossier scandal but instead is spending millions on investigating alleged crimes by former Trump campaign workers that occurred years ago and had nothing to do with Trump, Russian collusion, or the 2016 election.

Lastly, when Mueller was FBI Director, he served on the board of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), the agency that approved the sale of uranium to Russia by the Uranium One company only a short time after his own agency had arrested a Russian official attempting to bribe American uranium officials. But there is no record of Mueller warning his fellow CFIUS members about the illegal Russian efforts. It likewise begs logic to believe that Mueller knew nothing about the $145 million the Clinton Foundation received from Putin-connected sources shortly after the CFIUS vote. It is also inconceivable that Mueller, as FBI Director from 2001-2013, was not aware that the Clintons were using their foundation and Hillary’s Secretary of State position to operate a massive pay-to-play scam that went far beyond the Uranium One scandal. […]

However, it has become increasingly clear in recent years that this agency has become so politicized, so corrupt, and so large and bureaucratic that it may no longer be an effective agency. The time has come to discuss its abolition. […]

But note that the FBI did not come into existence until 132 years after the country declared its independence. This was because the founders never envisioned a federal role for law enforcement. It is not one of the “enumerated” duties of the federal government listed in the constitution.

There were reasons for that. Our founders were skeptical of a large federal government and, indeed, not even the “federalist” faction argued for a federal law enforcement role. The Constitution’s authors all assumed that most of the country’s governing would be carried out by state and local governments; the Federal government was created simply to take care of things that states were not well suited to do, such as maintaining a military, minting currency, and negotiating trade treaties. Indeed, for most of America’s first century, the highest law enforcement officer was the county sheriff.

Except for treason, the idea of federal crimes was not even mentioned in the Constitution. Our founders had a healthy fear of America turning into a tyrannical government such as those which existed all over the world at the time. They wanted to maximize freedom; hence the Bill of Rights. They assumed the creation of a federalized police force would make it far easier for the federal government to abuse the rights of its citizens.

Wise men, the founders. Consider

  • Prosecuting Opponents of World War 1.

  • COINTELPRO. This was the FBI’s covert internal security program in the 1950s and ’60s, created to “disrupt, misdirect, discredit, and neutralize” groups and individuals the government deemed to be enemies.

  • FBI Preparations for Martial Law.

  • The Ruby Ridge Murders.

  • The Waco Massacre.

  • Helping Bill Clinton Collect Dirt on his Enemies. Often referred to as “Filegate,” in 1993-94 […]

  • Project Megiddo. This was another shady FBI project, launched in 1999, created for the purpose of monitoring groups on the right […]

  • Use of Criminals as Undercover Agents.

  • Operation Vigilant Eagle. This FBI program initiated in 2009 targeted anti-government activists such as Tea Party activists and, alarmingly, veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars

  • Targeting Pro-Lifers. In 2010, The FBI held a joint training session on terrorism with Planned Parenthood and the National Abortion Federation.

  • The IRS Scandal.

  • FBI Worked With the SPLC

  • Data Mining Innocent Americans.

  • Raids on Homes of Anti-Government Activists. Repeatedly, the FBI has raided homes on the flimsiest of evidence.

  • Fraudulent Forensics.

  • FBI High School Informer Network

  • The FBI Record on Fighting Terrorism. [Which is terrible]

And so many more.

Conservatives Should Quit Defending the FBI
The FBI has a long history of being used by various administrations to harass certain groups and individuals, or, conversely, to allow certain groups and individuals to commit crimes without fear of prosecution. The FBI is supposed to uphold the Constitution but instead has repeatedly violated the constitutional rights of Americans. This politicization has cost many Americans their lives and their freedoms. The abuse listed here is not comprehensive but it’s enough, one would think, to make conservatives think twice about defending this agency’s police state tactics.

This is what we are paying for. My recollection is that the reason J. Edgar Hoover got the name changed from the Bureau of Investigation was to shed the image of corruption which had grown up about it. He was, of course, a master of public relations (not to mention alleged blackmail). And so we were all sold this bill of goods that the G-men were a bunch of clean-cut, incorruptible, good guys. Maybe it was true once (I doubt it), it certainly is not anymore, as we have seen.

Much more at the link, but I think it is time to end this charade, as we should its cousin the Bureau of Alchohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, which should go back to being a convenience store, for us, not Mexican drug runners. Enough is quite a lot more than enough.

Time to end the charade.

 

Trump v. the Administrative State

If one is to think about it, and one should, what is the biggest impediment to starting or growing a business today in the United States? The answer is subtly different in the UK, but not much, I think. The answer is that we all do far too much paperwork for the government, and essentially it is on our own time, cause we don’t get paid to do that and there’s no profit in it anywhere.

In PowerLine yesterday, Steven Hayward, talked about this as well.

Last month I noted here and in the Los Angeles Times that the Trump Administration is conducting the most serious effort at de-regulation and true regulatory reform (as opposed to mere temporary relief) since the Reagan Administration, and in some ways superior to the Reagan efforts. (Though to be fair, many of the worst excesses of executive branch regulation have grown up since the Reagan years.)

Yesterday my regulatory rabbi Chris DeMuth took to the pages of the Wall Street Journal with a long feature explaining in his usual lucid way exactly what is going on. This is one of those times when you really ought to buy a copy at the newsstand because of the subscription paywall if you’re not a subscriber.

Which is fine and I would if there was anyplace out here that carried it, but the subscription is a bit high, even though I grew up reading it, so I’ll just have to suffer along with you. Chris says,

Consider three leading indicators. First, Mr. Trump has appointed regulatory chiefs who are exceptionally well-qualified and are determined reformers. . .  Second, the Trump administration is turning back from unilateral lawmaking. Mr. Obama made several aggressive excursions into this dangerous territory. . .  Each was justified by legal arguments that administration officials conceded to be novel and that many impartial experts (including those who favored the policies on the merits) regarded as risible. Each ran into strong resistance from the courts.

A third indicator is the introduction of regulatory budgeting, which sounds tedious but is potentially revolutionary. . .

Many readers may be puzzled that our tempestuous president should preside over the principled, calibrated regulatory reform described here. I have a hypothesis. Perhaps our first businessman-president, whatever his troubles in dealing with Congress, foreign leaders and other outside forces, is comfortable and proficient in managing his own enterprise, which is now the executive branch. He devoted unusual personal attention to his regulatory appointments, including those whose programs did not figure in his campaign strategy. He gives his subordinates wide running room, checks in with questions and pep talks, and likes management systems and metrics. He may even understand that modern presidents have become too powerful for their own good and can benefit from sharing responsibility with Congress.

Makes sense to me, whatever Trumps various difficulties, and I see them as surprisingly minor, he does know how to select executives (mostly) give them a mission and watch them run. I’ve been impressed.

From Steve again

Footnote: In my Los Angeles Times piece earlier this month, I wrote that “It is inconceivable that any of the other leading Republican candidates from the 2016 cycle would have governed as boldly as Trump has.” I had in mind things such as repudiating the Paris Climate Accord, and the EPA’s move to end the corrupt “sue-and-settle” lawsuit racket, which should have been done in the last Republican administration led by someone named Bush.

And you know, that is so much of the business cycle, how you feel about it when you get up to go to work, sometimes you can’t wait, and sometimes you’d rather not bother, and it really doesn’t depend on externalities like the weather. It depends on whether you think you’ll accomplish something, as much as anything. If you think all you’ll accomplish is another pile of government paperwork, it is easy to say “the hell with it” and over the last eight years many of us did.

That’s a lot of the traditional disdain for overreaching government instilled very deep in many Americans, we see it (truly, I think) as still another artificial constraint placed on us.

But because Trump is lifting the miasma from the swamp, at least some, we are seeing growth numbers that were inconceivable under Obama, because we believe things will get better, instead of the last eight years, when we always assumed worse.

And, as always, as the numbers go up, another one goes down, unemployment, however you measure it, yes, some are more honest than others. But we’re growing now at a rate now that would please China, let alone the UK.

Draining the swamp is a large part of making America great again.

Lillie Langtry and American Judges

I haven’t said anything much about Judge Roy Moore, or in fact, most of the others, who it seems are being hounded out of public life, both here and in the United Kingdom. Nor do I intend to. Jay D. Homnick writing in The Spectator tells you why.

Judge Roy Moore has always come across as an anachronism, a frontier character letting chips fall as they may and consequences be damned. It is hard to think of him without harking back to Judge Roy Bean, the quirky Justice of the Peace who ruled with an iron and ironic hand, dispensing a brand of justice from his saloon in Southwest Texas during the waning days of the 19th century. Unlike other jurisdictions which sentenced horse thieves to death, Bean would impose the commonsense sanction of making the man return the horse.

Bean was the father of four children, but he was so infatuated with the image of English actress Lilly Langtry that he left her a lasting monument in naming the town of Langtry, Texas. Eventually Miss Langtry paid a visit to her namesake municipality, ten months after old Roy had passed on to his reward.

Our Roy has appeared to be cut from the same cloth, at least in his ability to stand up to the critics and the naysayers. He has stood up for what is right countless times, often paying high prices. […]

So now we are confronted by accusers who ascribe to him inexcusable sexual behavior from four decades ago, before his marriage. And suddenly everyone is angrily encamping on opposing battle lines to believe the victims or discredit their accounts.

My answer is simple: none of the above. I refuse to include this into the duties of the voter. With thirty days to go before an election, we must suddenly invest our attention in an extra-judicial process to listen carefully to a prosecution and a defense delivered in press conferences, then take on the role of judge and jury.

I refuse to play. I enjoy the Eyes for Lies blog as much as the next guy, but trying to be a human lie detector is not a job for the masses, and certainly not one to be assigned to the voting public. No one has the right to demand that I sit and listen to the audio of a he-said-she-said dispute and to vote on the basis of whose voice had a more genuine quaver.

Precisely, as a Christian, I prescribe to the same code, learned at my parent’s knee long ago, our countries will be fine if run on the basis of the ten commandments.

The behavior which many of the men are accused is morally, ethically, and legally wrong. The place for this is the Grand Jury room, in these cases almost uniformly a score of years ago. If you didn’t report it then, you’re after something other than justice now, and that makes your complaint irrelevant. If they actually acted this way, and you had done the right thing and reported it, even signed a police complaint, maybe just maybe you could have saved some other woman the same distress, humiliation, even victimhood. But you didn’t care about anybody but yourself then, especially not another woman, and so you put yourself outside of my circle of responsibility. You made this mess, you can clean it up, or you can live in it. Not my problem. Yep, I’d vote for Judge Roy Moore, not only because I agree with a fair amount of what he says, but because the cretins in (and leading) Congress don’t. Time to put a spoke in their wheel.

Now, about Lilly Langtry, Old Judge Roy Bean may or may not have been the best justice of the peace in Texas, but he was certainly a competent judge of the physical beauty of women, even those he had not met. 🙂

Red October

So a hundred years ago, today, the Bolsheviks occupied the government buildings in Petrograd. It was the highlight and climax of the October Revolution, which toppled Kerensky’s government and set the regime of V.I. Lenin on its horrifically bloody course. According to calculations by Professor R.J. Rummel, in the last 100 years totalitarian regimes, pretty much all of which derive from the Bolsheviks have murdered at least 169 million people, that’s more than four times the 38 million (including civilians) killed in all the wars of the Twentieth century. Quite the legacy.

I note with great pleasure that a motion was introduced in the House of Commons this morning. It reads:

“That this House notes, with great regret, that 7 November 2017 marks 100 years since Russia’s Bolshevik Revolution which subsequently demonstrated, time and again, that Communism is a murderous political ideology, incompatible with liberty, self-government and the dignity of human beings, and injurious to the national, ethnic and religious traditions of the world’s peoples; further notes that Communism subjected millions to theft, surveillance, terror and ultimate destruction; acknowledges that the cultural, political and economic legacy of Soviet Communism still negatively affects vast numbers of people today; and accordingly believes that the crimes of Communism, together with those of its mirror image, National Socialism, must forever serve as a warning to humanity of the terrible consequences of totalitarianism in all its forms.”

I also note with great sadness that it is doubtful, that the Labour Party or its leader, Jeremy Corbyn, will support said resolution. Which tells you all you need to know.

Still they try, again, and again, and again. Stella Morabito started a series yesterday at The Federalist about the six phases from freedom to communism. It’s quite interesting, so we’ll excerpt a bit from her introduction.

In a nutshell, communism enforces a privileged elite’s centralization of power. This means it always puts too much power into the hands of too few people. They tend to weasel their way into power as their ventriloquized agitators use talking points like “justice” and “equality” while promoting a false illusion of public support.

So, how would it ever be possible for a free society like America to succumb to such tyrannical forces? I think we’ve spent precious little time trying to dissect and understand this process. So, in this three-part series, I hope to map out six stages that lead us into this dangerous direction. Within each phase, several trends take hold. […]

As Rummel states: “Power kills. Absolute power kills absolutely.” The common thread that runs through communist and fascist ideologies is their totalitarian nature, which means they control people by breeding scarcity, ignorance, human misery, social distrust, the constant threat of social isolation, and death to dissenters. All in the name of justice and equality.

They cannot abide any checks or balances, particularly checks on government power as reflected in the U.S. Bill of Rights. They fight de-centralization of power, which allows localities and states true self-governance. Such restraints on the centralized power of the state stand in the way of achieving the goal of communism: absolute state power over every single human being. […]

To achieve absolute power, Lenin focused on fomenting a class war, while Hitler set his sights on a race war. Either way, the divide-and-conquer modus operandi of fascist and communist demagogues is pretty much the same, no matter what each side might claim about the other. Their propaganda content may differ, but not so much their divide-and-conquer methods. Attitudes of supremacy come in a virtual rainbow of flavors and colors.

As Saul Alinsky taught and the agitprop of groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center illustrates so perfectly, the goal of all such radicals is to seize power by fueling resentment and hatred among people through various forms of “consciousness”—particularly class and race consciousness. That’s what identity politics is all about. That division is a key tool for totalitarians in their conquest of the people. Once their organizations breed enough ill will, the “masses”—made up of mostly alienated individuals—can be baited and mobilized to do the bidding of power elites, with a rhetorical veneer claiming justice and equality.

Most of today’s enlisted rioters—groups that call themselves things like “Indivisible,” “Anti-Fascist,” “Stop Patriarchy,” “Black Lives Matter,” “Refuse Fascism,” or moveon.org—are pretty much unabashedly communist (or just plain fascist) in their goals and aims and tactics. The chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party of the USA, for example, founded Refuse Fascism. It’s a pro-violence group that planned street theater on November 4, with the stated goal of overturning the 2016 election and taking out the Trump administration.

She goes on to give a quick overview of the phases. And as she rightly notes, America is still a free nation, not least because of the exemplary work of our founders, who bequeathed us a system flexible enough to adjust to most any conditions, but still strong enough to allow is to resist such ideologies. It’s an advantage America has over every single country in the world, and it is why we are closer to our founding than anyone else. That does not mean it is guaranteed. As Ronald Reagan reminded us, Freedom is always only a generation from being lost.

That should scare the crap out of you these days. We are doing reasonably well, but we are watching as the rights that we and the British had restored are being stripped once again from the people of Europe, and in some cases, even in Britain, where these rights were first recognized.

A lot of the difference is perception. We (and the Brits, including the Commonwealth) are aware that these rights are given by our Creator (or are Natural Rights) and that we instituted government amongst ourselves to safeguard them. Most of the rest believe they come from the government. Well, we all know what the government give, the government can take away.

Stella reminds us of Kathryn Lee Bates wonderful hymn to America, America, the Beautiful, specifically this line, “America, America, God mend thine every flaw. Confirm thy soul in self-control, Thy liberty in law.”

She’s right, one of the keys to the success of America has always been our stability, our ability to control ourselves, and to keep the fads of history in check, and combining that with respect for law, especially objective black letter law, has quite simply changed the world, and given an alternative to the dark age that the revolution we note today has attempted to fasten onto the world.

God Bless America!

From Forests to Sagebrush

Charter of the Forest, 1225 reissue, held by the British Library

Some of you probably remember the Sagebrush Rebellion, which started back in the 1970s. It was about control of federal lands, in the American West, which can constitute between 18 and 85% of our western states. For the most part, this is land that couldn’t be homesteaded because it lacked water, or in any case, you’d starve trying to do anything with only 160 acres of it. Let’s let Wikipedia explain since they sound pretty close to me.

Various bills intended to transfer federal public lands to western states had been proposed after 1932, all failing to garner much attention, let alone action. Among key objections to such transfers were the increasing value to the federal treasury of mineral lease receipts and complaints that the “crown jewels” of the national lands holdings, the National Parks, could not be managed adequately or fairly by individual states. Yellowstone and Yosemite National Parks were considered to be national treasures, and few legislators would concur with turning them over to the states.

The spark that turned these complaints into a “rebellion” was the enactment in 1976 of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act(FLPMA) that ended homesteading, which meant that the federal government would retain control of western public lands. The act sought to establish a system of land management by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). While FLPMA required the BLM to plan land use accommodating all users, specifically naming ranching, grazing, and mining, it also introduced formal processes to consider preservation of the land from those uses.

It still echoes around in the west. That standoff near Las Vegas and the subsequent one in Idaho fit into this narrative. As long as the Federal Government is charged with maintaining these lands, it will continue.

But it didn’t start here, today marks an anniversary in one of the longest fights between the people and the rulers in history. In fact, today is the 800th anniversary of the Forest Charter of Henry III, sealed at St Paul’s Cathedral. It was issued during Henry’s minority, by William Marshal, 1st Earl of Pembroke, a man with a strong claim to be the best English knight, ever, who was serving as the King’s regent. From 6 November 1317, it has always been associated with Magna Charta, and in truth, it is related, but where Magna Charta deals with the rights of the barons, mostly, Carta Foresta deals with the rights of the common people. Again from Wikipedia.

‘Forest’ to the Normans meant an enclosed area where the monarch (or sometimes another aristocrat) had exclusive rights to animals of the chase and the greenery (“vert”) on which they fed. It did not consist only of trees, but included large areas of heathland, grassland and wetlands, productive of food, grazing and other resources. Lands became more and more restricted as King Richard and King John designated greater and greater areas as royal forest. At its widest extent, royal forest covered about one-third of the land of southern England. Thus it became an increasing hardship on the common people to try to farm, forage, and otherwise use the land they lived on.

The Charter of the Forest was first issued on 6 November 1217 at St Paul’s Cathedral, London as a complementary charter to the Magna Carta from which it had evolved. It was reissued in 1225 with a number of minor changes to wording, and then was joined with Magna Carta in the Confirmation of Charters in 1297.

At a time when the royal forests were the most important potential source of fuel for cooking, heating and industries such as charcoal burning, and of such hotly defended rights as pannage (pasture for their pigs), estover (collecting firewood), agistment (grazing), or turbary(cutting of turf for fuel), this charter was almost unique in providing a degree of economic protection for free men who used the forest to forage for food and to graze their animals. In contrast to Magna Carta, which dealt with the rights of barons, it restored to the common man some real rights, privileges and protections against the abuses of an encroaching aristocracy. For many years it was regarded as a development of great moment in England’s constitutional history, with the great seventeenth-century jurist Sir Edward Coke referring to it along with Magna Carta as the Charters of England’s Liberties, and Sir William Blackstone remarking “There is no transaction in the antient part of our English history more interesting and important than the Great Charter and the Charter of the Forest”.

The first chapter of the Charter protected common pasture in the forest for all those “accustomed to it”, and chapter nine provided for “every man to agist his wood in the forest as he wishes”. It added “Henceforth every freeman, in his wood or on his land that he has in the forest, may with impunity make a mill, fish-preserve, pond, marl-pit, ditch, or arable in cultivated land outside coverts, provided that no injury is thereby given to any neighbour.”. The Charter restored the area classified as “forest” to that of Henry II’s time.

Clause 10 repealed the death penalty (and mutilation as a lesser punishment) for capturing deer (venison), though transgressors were still subject to fines or imprisonment. Special Verderers’ Courts were set up within the forests to enforce the laws of the Charter.

We should also note that even this Charter was the re-establishment of rights that had been eroded by William the Conqueror and his heirs, up until that time. It is truly a fight that never will be won, as long as we need government, and we cherish our rights. Another one of those battles, and mileposts, like Magna Charta that echo through Anglo-American history, and show us how different we are from most of the world, and why that is important.

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