Monday Promo and Nah King, Nah Queen


Monday Promo

*Note from admin: I have no read these books, I simply collect them and assemble the post.  This is just a way of showing you releases you might not otherwise see. Read the blurb and as always, if not KULL, download a sample. And if you want your book in this showcase, email bookpimping at outlook dot com.

DAVID WELCH:   Tales of the Far Wanderers


To Gunnar of the Tarn life is wandering. A half-breed with no home to return to, he has escaped the endless wars of his father’s people to drift through the vastness of a land once known as North America. Slow to trust and swift with a sword, he had resigned himself to a lonely, itinerant life. That all changes the day he meets Kamith of the Red Horse. The last of her kind, Kamith barely escapes being sacrificed and joins Gunnar in his wanderings. Together, they will try to build some sort of life in a wild and brutal world. Mad priests, crazy fertility rituals, roving slavers, land-hungry kingdoms, desperate sieges, sprawling civil wars, and deranged warriors are only a few of the challenges they’ll face. Their only reward? To survive and live another day by each other’s side.

Inspired by the sword-slinging pulp heroes of old, this story cycle tells the tales of two vagabonds spurned by the world, and forced to fight off it’s madness at every step. But they’re nothing if not tough, and find in each other much to fight for, and to live for…

MACKEY CHANDLER: Neither Here Nor There


This is a stand alone story unrelated to any of my other books or shorts.
So many scientific discoveries have been serendipity rather than a goal to which someone worked as a logical progression. Instead, it was a spill or a misplaced item.
An ingredient measured out in error or from the wrong bottle. Often, a mistake over which someone was bright enough or curious enough to say: “Oops, but that’s interesting, isn’t it?” Uranium ore left next to photo plates, adhesive that wasn’t as permanent as hoped for, but still usefully tacky, or foreign growths in a Petri dish acting strangely…
A major revelation could be a blessing indeed, or if it was big enough to be a life changing development, one might have a tiger by the tail. Wouldn’t that be interesting?

J. M. NEY-GRIMMFate’s Door


Secrets, like troubles, come in threes. When you possess one of either, two more arrive to keep it company.

Nerine, a sea nymph of the ancient world, knows too much about both.

Each morning, in the chill before the sun’s rising, Nerine and the three Fates stand under the mighty branches of the World Tree, gazing into the depths of the root-girdled Well of Destiny, watching the dooms that must come to pass that day.

When the dawn’s visions show Nerine’s lover—shipwrecked and drowning—all her renounced yearning for him rises anew.

Surely, as handmaiden to the Fates themselves, she might tilt the odds to give her beloved a chance.

Somehow—this day, this morning, this time—Nerine must subvert destiny or lose the companion of her heart forever.

Love and coming of age in a mythic Mediterranean where the gods and goddesses of old shape history.



Mt. Hermon, Utah, is the ideal small town—until forces of darkness from deep beneath the mountain lead its people astray.
Sara is the new kid in town — moved with her divorced mother from a wealthy Long Island suburb, her Jewish roots are no help when a relentless angel comes calling. Jared has lived there all his life, and his addiction to online games and porn has his grades tumbling and his Mormon family worried. Together, Jared and Sara fight the battle of their lives against spirits from the Underworld.


“Sophisticated YA (some mild sex, high school setting) Mormon Gothic (with introduction to Mormon history, doctrine, and mythology), paranormal (demons and angels) romance and adventure.”

ALMA BOYKIN: In the Vliets: A Steampunk Adventure.


Hamburg’s half-buried canals, the vliets, hold a secret and a key.

The Prussians conquered Hamburg in 1865, adding the city-state to their new German Empire against the city’s will. Jakob Timmerman fought in that war—as a mage-soldier called Jaeger. Twenty-five years later that war resumes among the waterways and hidden channels of the great port city of Hamburg. Imperial mages and their klankmänner—armored men condemned to half-life for treason or murder—stalk the city.

Jakob accidentally discovers the Imperials’ secret. Now his only hope for safety, and for justice, lies in the vliets among the very men who hate his kind the most.

LAURA MONTGOMERY: Mercenary Calling.


Exoplanets. Terrorists. Lawyers…

Calvin Tondini has his first client, but he may be in over his head.

It’s the twenty-second century. Humanity’s first and only interstellar starship returns safely. Its mission to discover a habitable planet succeeded beyond all hopes, but there’s one problem. Captain Paolina Nigmatullin of the USS Aeneid left an unsanctioned human colony behind and now stands charged with mutiny.

Despite a somewhat spontaneous approach to his own career, life, and limb, Calvin intends to map a more cautious path for his new client. Captain Nigmatullin, however, shows an unnerving penchant for talk shows—appearing on them, that is—and otherwise ignoring her attorney’s sober counsel.

How can Calvin ensure his client’s freedom when death stalks the Aeneid’s crew, and Nigmatullin herself hides secrets from everyone, even her lawyer?

BLAKE SMITH: Test of Valor.



Alain de Kerauille wants to be a knight more than anything in the world, to win as many jousting tournaments as he can, become wealthy and famous, and gain the hand of the fair lady Emma. As a squire in a noble household, he’s well on his way to success, and when he’s chosen to joust in a celebratory tournament, all of his dreams seem within his grasp. Until his rivalry with a fellow squire reaches the boiling point, threatening to destroy everything Alain has worked for and send his future crashing down around him.

Nah King, Nah Queen

Kings are not preservers of liberty.  Regardless of how much they even try to be, and how much they are pictured as such in fantasy stories.  When some magical whatsit talks about the king as a preserver of ancient liberties, unless the king is also a magical whatsit, the best that can be hoped for is that the liberties of noblemen, magicians and other important people will be preserved.

The vast amorphous people, the “little people” of the kingdom.  Well, those might be used in an alliance against noblemen, if it’s needed, but respecting their liberties is almost impossible, because there are so many of them and from a king’s pov they don’t often want what they should want, which amounts to the stuff he wants, relating to foreign relations and trade, and all that good stuff.

Presidents are of course different from kings.  They hold the honor for a short time, and are supposed to preserve our liberties.

Note supposed to.  The problem is, of course, that form follows function, and when the presidency concentrates too much power onto itself, inevitably, it becomes a kingship.  And listening to all those small people who don’t want to do what you think they should becomes an annoyance.

It’s time to make our constitutional presidency less powerful, the ability to affect our daily lives less concentrated on one fallible man.

The alternative is to resign ourselves to monarchs, and I for one ain’t gonna.

Happy President’s day.  Let’s make it small.





112 thoughts on “Monday Promo and Nah King, Nah Queen

  1. The alternative is to resign ourselves to monarchs, and I for one ain’t gonna.

    We wish. It seems we’re going to be ruled by the nomenklatura, the petite bureaucracy, the Lois Lerners, Andrew McCabes, James Comeys and their third assistant deputy directors. This is the age of Sir Humphrey Appleby.

    Government policy frightfully well carried out.

    1. Aye, we need to be using the ol’ Shrinkola with abandon and shrink the whole blasted thing. “I work for the government” should be said with embarrassment, not pride. If they said and truly meant “I work for the People” (and “the People” actually agreed with that assessment) that would be different. My breath? Not holding it.

      1. I sure as hell don’t want someone who say, “I work for the People”. That’s the sort of thing our ‘friend’, Vlad Ulyanov, that Amanda has been writing about the last few weeks, would say, regardless of whether he really meant it or not.

        Now if the man or woman in question were to say, “I work for you and your neighbors”, I could go with that.

        1. And hence the reason the iirc 4th circus did everything just short of saying that codrea(sic) must be reinstated. tbh if he filed wrongful termination under them they’d probably order back to helm. The government cannot accept people with that mindset.

          “With liberty to all and malice toward none” is antiquated and dead. “Reward our friends and punish our enemies” is the role of government according to its drones now.

  2. Let’s hear it for Calvin Coolidge! The man who described the main achievement of his administration as “minding its own business.”

      1. I read somewhere that Coolidge said “9 out of 10 people who get in to see the President want something they should not have, but if you don’t speak to them eventually they go away.”

  3. I’ve read it said that one the mistakes the Founders made was that, when they were defining the role of the President, every single one of them had the same picture in his head.

    And it looked just like George Washington.

    And we haven’t found another one of him yet.

    1. The founders did not envision John Marshall, who claimed a role for the Supreme Court as the ultimate arbiter of constitutional interpretation. Nor did they foresee that the lawyer class would capture the judiciary. The combination gives inordinate power to a comparatively small segment of the population.

      1. Indeed. I’d rather see the lawyer class totally disenfranchised from the government. Old school (pre-200 years ago) liberally educated men and women without degrees in law would do a heck of a lot better for a couple of terms before going back home and letting the next group take their turn in the barrel.

      2. No, I’m sorry, but that’s actually not true. Hamilton spelled the underlying theory out in The Federalist: When there is a conflict of law, the will of the whole of society should prevail over that of a faction, even a majority faction, and the will of the people should prevail over that of their elected representatives. Both of those principles, Hamilton said, meant that the Constitution was superior to acts of Congress. (This is also in the Constitution, which proclaims itself “the Supreme Law of the land.”) Therefore judges, and particularly Supreme Court justices, had a constitutional duty to set aside any legislation that conflicted with the Constitution. All this was explicitly stated before the Constitution was ratified; John Marshall didn’t make up anything new but just reaffirmed the point.

        I’d also note that the Constitution itself provides a method for setting aside a Supreme Court decision, and one that has actually been used: the Dred Scott decision was overturned by the passage of the Fifteenth Amendment.

        1. Hamilton meant the Constitution, not the courts. When it is held that the Constitution means what the Supreme Court says it does, this conflates the authority of the Court with that of the Constitution itself.

          The founders carefully set up checks and balances on both the Presidency and the legislature, with the presumption that the judiciary would be obliged to follow the law as determined by the people’s representatives. They never dreamed that it would find a way to create law and exercise far-reaching veto power over the executive, legislature, and state and local governments through clever interpretation of the Constitution.

          It should not be required to amend the Constitution every time the Supreme Court makes a bad decision in a hard case (judges, being merely human, will do that from time to time) and then makes it the law of the land.

          1. The Constitution cannot enforce itself. That has to be the function of some political office, and of the people who hold it, exercising the powers assigned to that office. And Hamilton discusses the matter in the chapters relating to the judiciary. For example, in #78:

            By a limited constitution I understand one which contains certain specified exceptions to the legislative authority; such for instance as that it shall pass no bills to attainder, no ex post facto laws, and the like. Limitations of this kind can be preserved in practice no other way than through the medium of the courts of justice; whose duty it must be to declare all acts contrary to the manifest tenor of the constitution void. Without this, all the reservations of particular rights or privileges would amount to nothing.

            I recommend reading the whole chapter; it clearly demonstrates that your position that “the judiciary would be obliged to follow the law as determined by the people’s representatives” is not what Hamilton was advocating; and presumably not what his two co-authors, Jay and Madison, were advocating, either. And Hamilton clearly understands the Constitution as originally written as supporting his view of the matter. You can argue, if you wish, that he was wrong, and that John Marshall was wrong in asserting a power of judicial review (or that the Constitution was wrong to include such a power); but Marshall didn’t make that idea up for himself.

            1. I would argue that the power of judicial review is not explicit, and that if the founders, including Hamilton, had foreseen how the the judiciary could get out of control, they would have provided for a check on it. In your first quote from Hamilton. “The will of the people should prevail over that of their elected representatives.” Should it not also then prevail over their appointed judges? How should that will be expressed?

              1. Well, there are two things to be said here. The first is that Hamilton explicitly says that judges are to rule only according to the law; they get to decide which law prevails only when two laws are in conflict, and that obtains not only for Constitution vs. statute but also for statute vs. statute. And making a decision in such cases is inescapable; it’s not possible to carry out two contradictory laws, and judges have to go for one or the other.

                The second is that Hamilton says, “Until the people have by some solemn and authoritative act annulled or changed the established form, it is binding upon themselves collectively, as well as individually.” That “solemn and authoritative act” seems to point at the rules for amending the Constitution, either through the now standard process, or at a constitutional convention, for which the Constitution itself provides rules.

                1. It seems churlish to point out that at the time Marshall “usurped” that authority to the Court there were plenty of Founders still around capable of calling out, “Foul! That wasn’t what we agreed to!” The fact that few did suggests they shrugged and said, “What the hey! Somebody’s got to do that, why not the Court?”

                  As for the lawyer class capturing the judiciary, that was a long time coming and seems primarily an effect of requiring all lawyers to matriculate through law school, creating a bottleneck on the lawyer supply. Add in the fact that “legal ethics” now mostly not getting caught poaching other firms’ clients* and you get the present status quo.

                  *Just kidding, just kidding. It’s fine to poach clients so long as it is done discreetly.

                  1. Well, that, and putting up economic and educational barriers to entry to law school in the first place. Professionals such as lawyers and doctors want to limit the supply of competitors. Public school teachers want the same thing.

                2. I’m not arguing that judicial review is inherently bad. What is bad is that the Constitution provides no effective check on it. The process of Constitutional Amendment would be appropriate to resolve a systemic imbalance in the Federal system, such as perhaps creating an easier way to override a judicial veto. It is both too difficult and overkill to require a constitutional amendment to reverse any one court case.

                  1. That’s really not the discussion I’m trying to have. The point I was focusing on is that the claim that judicial review was something that John Marshall just made up, and that nobody had heard of before, is not supported by the actual documentary evidence: In the Federalist, #78, Alexander Hamilton spells the process out and explains the rationale for it, as he sees it.

                    1. I don’t think I meant to claim that. I would claim that later decisions, for which Marbury v. Madison set the precedent, have expanded the power of judicial review far beyond anything Hamilton or anyone else ever envisioned.

                    2. William said: The point I was focusing on is that the claim that judicial review was something that John Marshall just made up, and that nobody had heard of before, is not supported by the actual documentary evidence:

                      And you replied: I don’t think I meant to claim that.

                      Poor word choice, perhaps? Because the comment William started out referring to began with: The founders did not envision John Marshall, who claimed a role for the Supreme Court as the ultimate arbiter of constitutional interpretation.

                    3. Poor word choice, perhaps?
                      Probably. I was thinking more of the successors building upon and elaborating his precedent until the Constitution is interpreted to mean nearly the opposite of what it actually says.

              2. “I would argue that the power of judicial review is not explicit, and that if the founders, including Hamilton, had foreseen how the the judiciary could get out of control, they would have provided for a check on it.”
                Some of the members of the Constitutional Convention argued that a Bill of Rights was not needed, because nowhere in the Constitution was the Government empowered to DO the things the BofR said they couldn’t do.
                So glad that faction lost out.

            2. The Constitution cannot enforce itself. That has to be the function of some political office, and of the people who hold it, exercising the powers assigned to that office.
              I would argue the function of enforcing the Constitution is up to the People. Which is why we’re in such dire straits now. A significant measure of the People stopped jealously guarding their liberties around 100+ years ago.

    2. If we followed the limit of powers of the US Constitution, that wouldn’t be a problem. There is actually minimal restraint on the states, since the US government was seen as an association of states, with the US Constitution as the bylaws. Within that framework a state was free to be obnoxious and to make mistakes. That was fine because people would either change their state government or vote with their feet. One state may not make same mistakes as another, and to be truthful, a solution that works in Rhode Island may not in North Carolina.

      One of the things that has happened since the 19th Century is a growing curtailment of the 10th Amendment. You can argue it’s due to the 15th Amendment, yet that’s neither here nor there. The result of curtailing the 10th Amendment is that more power rests with the Federal government. In short, it gives the people of New York City a say in the affairs of the people of Alaska. That was one of the things the constitution was supposed to prevent.

      Progressives tend to argue this as a good thing, as it’s traditionally easy to run to a pet Federal judge to enforce something people of a state would rather not do. Ignoring that giving the judiciary that much power may make Progressives upset if the opinion among judges changes, in curtailing state powers what we have done is to wire down the safety valves. For one state can fail without bringing down others, but increasing the power of central government increases the potential of failure on a national scale.

      It also increases the stakes of Federal elections. I’m convinced that’s why things have become so polarized now. For if the Federal government didn’t wield enormous power, Federal elections simply wouldn’t mean as much.

      I predict that, unless there is a return to the curtailment of powers found in the constitution, that the polarization will only increase, with all the bad things associated with it.

    3. They had in mind a virtuous people whose representatives would be loyal to their state. Instead we have politicos who have more loyalty to party leaders in San Francisco than a sizeable minority of their constituency, sometimes even the majority. In addition you have a level of control exerted not only by the capital but by two or three cities that wipe out other parts.of country.

      And add in that the government is great way to reward your friends and destroy your enemy and we have a target for the least virtuous in the country. Especially ones that make a career out of it.

      1. The journalist Salena Zito has noted the degree to which candidates (e.g., Joe Manchin) are dependent upon funding outside their districts. Which is one reason we will ever see campaign finance reform which effectively limits candidate’s fundraising to their polity, with only token funds permitted from outside interests.

        1. Yep. Plus volunteers and the rest. The Alabama race saw hundreds from out of state working and volunteering for the Jones campaign (give them benefit of the doubt and assume they didn’t vote fraudulently)

  4. In the long stretch of history there were elected Kings and Queens (though elected by whom is an important point). It is also good to recall that the forms and facade of the Roman Republic were carried forward into the Roman Empire, albeit under an alternative management format.

    If we ever have Kings in the US, expect them to be addressed as “Mr./Madam President”, sit in an Oval Office, appoint a cabinet, and maintain some form of House and Senate and Judiciary, but with the power and aristocratic practices of the Royal Houses of Europe. The whole blow-it-all-up “The regional governors now have direct control over their territories” approach is the one most likely to engender opposition as it completely overturns the apple-carts of purchased influence and established power brokers.

    And any such King- or Queen-aspirant that does not pre-align support from the Federal bureaucracy will find themselves looking back fondly from their prison cell on today’s deep state opposition to President the Donald as “those idyllic good old days of universal amity and cross-aisle cooperation.”

    On the other hand, a US Kingship candidate with deep-state backing would be truly something to fear.

    1. “The Imperial Senate will no longer be of any concern to us. I’ve just received word that the Emperor has dissolved the council permanently. The last remnants of the Old Republic have been swept away.”
      “That’s impossible! How will the Emperor maintain control without the bureaucracy?”
      “The Regional governors now have direct control over their territories. Fear will keep the local systems in line. Fear of this battle station.”

      1. “This technological terror you’ve constructed pales in comparison to the power of The Free.”

        “Don’t try to impress me with your anti-state ways…”

        “I find your lack of Liberty disturbing.” BANG!

  5. Dr. Pournelle had it right, I think. A monarchy is fine…it’s giving Royal power to appointed lieutenants that causes trouble. Oppression requires organization. There’s no Auschwitz without the SS, no Kolyma without the NKVD.

    And that applies to “democracies”, too. As we are seeing today.

    1. A monarchy is only fine as long as it is “benevolent” and places the desires and needs of the populace ahead of its own desires. The minute it starts doing things “for their own good”, or for itself, it becomes a tyranny.

      1. Applies equally to other nouns, such as:

        A bureaucracy is only fine as long as it is “benevolent” and places the desires and needs of the populace ahead of its own desires. The minute it starts doing things “for their own good”, or for itself, it becomes a tyranny.

        1. Do people speak of “beating the President?”
          Do people speak of “beating the Congress?”
          Do people speak of “Beating the Courts?”
          Perhaps some do, but mostly
          people speak of “beating the System.”

          Hrmm, might be a reason for that.

          1. Over the years I have often heard people speak of beating the President, the Congress and the Courts. Although the phrasing tends to be more along the lines of, “What this President/Congress.Court needs is a good beating!”

            Sometimes they advocate for horse-whipping.

            1. From Laugh-In

              Goldie Hawn: I don’t see why there should be any question about capital punishment. I think everyone in the capital should be punished.

      2. Which is why it is so feared. Because you usually only get one benevolent one out of every 10+ not-so-benevolent ones.
        And why our Founding Fathers set up an adversarial system.

  6. No kings. I actually don’t have a problem with monarchy, *If* you can guarantee having a good king who cares more about his people than his own power and prestige. The problem is, you can’t. The best of men can have mediocre sons and rotten sons, Even a good son with a rotten father is going to inherit some of his father’s problems. Besides that, monarchy attracts ambitious, selfish, and ruthless men like honey, bread crumbs, and dung attract insects.

    1. In the political theories of St. Thomas Aquinas, he states that the perfect form of government would the rule of a virtuous monarch. He conceded, however, that we would not see that sort of governance in the mortal realm. He fallback position was a government formed from three entities: Monarchy, Republic, and Oligarchy.

      It should be noted that the founders, including the non-Catholics, were aware of St. Thomas’ writing.

    2. By the same token, there’s nothing wrong with democracy IF you can guarantee having a good electorate that cares more about the country than what they can get out of it. It wasn’t the election of Obama that alarmed me as much as the necessary composition of the electorate that would vote him in.

      And of course, the one clear advantage of a king is that even counting his cronies, the payoff can cost you less even when the court is living in luxury.

      “But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature. If men were angels, no government would be necessary.” Madison

      1. Well, a bad king can be removed, although usually at considerable cost in blood, treasure, and the stability of society, and there’s no guarantee that the cure won’t be worse than the disease.
        A bad electorate is not so easy to remove and replace.

        1. Depends on who is doing the replacing. If it’s the king/gov’t, it’s easy to accomplish. Just open the borders and give the newcomers some sort of preference. It’s been done before.

      2. By the same token, there’s nothing wrong with democracy IF …
        I’ll just leave this here:
        Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.…

        Winston S Churchill, 11 November 1947

    3. Nothing wrong with a monarchy, as long as the common man (or woman) has the right to depose anyone of them, with extreme prejudice if necessary, for tyranny.

      1. Much easier said than done. Kings are always supported by lieutenants and cronies who have an interest in keeping them from being deposed with extreme prejudice. Those are usually better armed and armored than the common man. When it comes a choice of “suffer under a bad king or die trying to remove him”, most people would rather suffer. A monarch usually has to mistreat his lieutenants and cronies badly in order to get deposed, although underestimating his enemies also works.

        1. One person, with one bullet in a gun, and with no need to escape and willing to die, is just about unstoppable if they want to kill someone. That’s what keeps the Secret Service up at night.

  7. It’s equally true that the people are not preservers of liberty. You can have them doing the right thing for a while, but when they concentrate too much power onto themselves, and especially when they become convinced that they are inherently good and righteous, then listening to individuals and minorities who want to stop The People from doing what they want becomes an annoyance too. And then you get, as Kipling described, “the N—– in Flames” (a statue in his sf story “As Easy as A.B.C.,” with the inscription To the Eternal Memory of the Justice of the People).

    Aristotle tells us that monarchy is the rule of one man who acts for the good of the whole society; tyranny is the rule of one man who acts for his own gain. Likewise aristocracy and oligarchy; and likewise the unnamed form that where the people rule as trustees for the whole of society (meaning the majority protects the interests and rights of the minority) and democracy.

    It was with the rise of progressive authoritarianism that the United States started glorifying democracy in a big way. I don’t consider that an accident. That was the period when legal theorists started saying that the courts should rubber stamp whatever laws the representatives of the people saw fit to pass, and stop appealing to the Rights of Man.

    1. It is useful to keep in mind that the drafters of the Constitution intended a series of checks and balances, trusting turf warfare to restrain the effects of the jockeying for power. Sadly, the growth of a fourth branch has resulted in legislatures which enact general orders requiring administrators to fill in the blanks and courts to “correct” ambiguously* crafted legislation. It also gave rise to “signing statements” and other ways to assert authority without fingerprints.

      *ambiguously = weasel-worded. See also: taxes which are not taxes, e.g., Justice Roberts’ interpretation of Obamacare

    2. See also:

      Macdonough’s Song
      “As easy as A B C”–A Diversity of Creatures”

      Whether the State can loose and bind
      In Heaven as well as on Earth:
      If it be wiser to kill mankind
      Before or after the birth–
      These are matters of high concern
      Where State-kept schoolmen are;
      But Holy State (we have lived to learn)
      Endeth in Holy War.

      Whether The People be led by The Lord,
      Or lured by the loudest throat:
      If it be quicker to die by the sword
      Or cheaper to die by vote–
      These are things we have dealt with once,
      (And they will not rise from their grave)
      For Holy People, however it runs,
      Endeth in wholly Slave.

      Whatsoever, for any cause,
      Seeketh to take or give
      Power above or beyond the Laws,
      Suffer it not to live!
      Holy State or Holy King–
      Or Holy People’s Will–
      Have no truck with the senseless thing.
      Order the guns and kill!
      Saying –after–me:–

      Once there was The People–Terror gave it birth;
      Once there was The People and it made a Hell of Earth
      Earth arose and crushed it. Listen, 0 ye slain!
      Once there was The People–it shall never be again!

  8. Two things, both rate separate posts, and the easiest first.

    A monarch may provide more liberty than another monarch, but the troublesome thing is what can be given can also be taken. Can such a thing really be called liberty? There’s a reason a certain document goes

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, and are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.

    If such is not granted by government, then they are not for government to give or to take away. Something to keep in mind when we write about monarchs.

    Yet a commoner, subject to his local nobility, may yet feel allegiance to a king, and prefer one to another. That preference may be based on a simple thing: a given king may leave them alone.

  9. We don’t need to curtail Presidential powers; we merely need legislative and judicial branches with backbone and a commitment to the constitution. The legislative branch has long played the game of deferring such things to the judicial, as that lets them play both sides of an issue. Yet this has let the judicial branch run wild, tipping over garbage cans of penumbras, marking their territory with precedent, and forming packs of special interest. What we need is a legislative branch with enough fortitude to get the judicial branch fixed.

    1. At the same time, the judicial branch has been far too deferential to the decisions of “the political branches.” The view that the Supreme Court ought simply to approve of whatever laws Congress passed, and not attempt to overturn them in the name of Constitutional rights, was one that was favored by the judges of the Progressive era; that same view is the one that Justice Roberts appealed to in giving his vote for the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act (which Alito, Kennedy, Scalia, and Thomas voted to overrule). I would say that the judiciary has often been far too ready to led the legislature run wild.

      1. The judicial branch has been far too deferential to the decisions of “the Leftist political branches.””


    2. What we need is citizens with enough wit to recognize that the Federal government has been slowly stealing their freedom over the decades and will to demand it back.

  10. At least the monarchy is somewhat honest. You know that you are a subject to the crown and of a lower status. We cling to the false belief in freedom and liberty in the US while bureaucracy and politicians do whatever they please, up to and including murdering their subjects. Right or wrong is defined solely by what mob has power this day. The revenge the powerful wish to enact on us peons will make Clinton a damned wish.

    Pardon the cynicism but we have a pretty damned high chance of seeing the few gains made in the last year evaporate under speaker pelousi and SML Schumer. And any resulting negative effects will be solely the fault of the president, clearing president Warren to her throne in three years. Malfeasance in office shall be overlooked and rewarded. And the peons will be properly chastened not to attempt to usurp the rights of their betters or else they will see the inside of prison or underside of the grave.

    1. I think our chances are better than that. Although I’ve been wrong before, Too hopeful on the one hand, about Romney, and too cynical on the other hand, about Hillary Clinton.

  11. We Canadians technically have a monarch: they’re faraway overseas most of the time and they don’t do much other than wave at parades.

    It’s our “democratic” leaders who are the problem.

  12. How about an executive committee? That requires a super majority to do anything? Something that would never be able to order lunch much less issue orders.

    1. There are carp calendars out there, some of which are described as “erotic”, so I suggest not looking at those.

    2. My Dad always used to say the best way to cook carp was to put it on a board, bake thoroughly, then throw away the carp and eat the board.

    3. Hmph. That’s not a “massive” carp. A friend of mine caught an 18lb carp using White Castle (a Cincinnati-based fast food chain selling miniature hamburgers) french fries. And yes, I know he wasn’t just telling a “fisherman story”. I was there, and I was the one who weighed it.

      1. Huh. It was a bit bigger than I thought. I was estimating about 5lbs, instead of the ten the article said. I’ll take it back, that’s a pretty good sized fish for the circumstances.

  13. I’m going to disagree slightly here, as I am confident De Niro’s ignorance would have only been strengthened by higher education.

    Robert De Niro Shows by Example the Shortcomings of Dropping Out of High School
    By Sarah Hoyt
    While attending a conference on world governance in, of all places, Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, actor Robert De Niro chose to call attention to the plight of dropouts in the United States.

    Sure, that’s not what he said, but De Niro’s comments made it obvious that not only did he lack a high school diploma, but that he’d never done anything to remedy the deficiency in his education and was ignorant of science, politics, and history.

    In a stunning display of what could happen to any youth who gathers great fortune by mouthing other people’s lines and showing his good looks but not actually at any time, learning anything of consequence, De Niro chose to announce that he came from a backward country.

    He did this while speaking in a country where talking to international rights groups can get you arbitrarily imprisoned, where prisoners can be tortured, and where: [END EXCERPT]

      1. Naw. Mean – and fun – would have been doing it as a riff on De Niro’s “You talkin’ to me?”

        Had De Niro condescended to grace us with his presence by returning to the US? If so, why?

      2. Hey, I liked it.
        And I hadn’t looked at the byline when I read it. But about two paragraphs in I was thinking “Sarah wrote this, didn’t she?” 🙂

  14. > Kings are not preservers of liberty.

    Most people put no particular value on liberty. Like another commenter said a while back, “What they want is license, not liberty.”

    There were a LOT of people I talked to who seemed to think the Previous Incumbent was a king who could simply rule by fiat. Like the people of the Weimar Republic, they seemed desperate for some one specific individual to be *in charge*.

    They’ve always been under some Boss; to them, that’s a normal state of affairs.

      1. Amen to that.
        Which, of course, is our problem. The Constitution relied upon the people jealously guarding their liberty. When enough of the people stop being interested in it (or when they misdefine it to Bread and Circuses), all the Constitutions in the world can’t keep it alive.
        Which is why educating and re-motivating our fellow citizens is the only way to restore a truly free America. Trump is a leg up. But we still have a lot of damage to undo.

        TRX’s comment also reminds me of the Israelites. Demanding of the prophet Samuel a king, “just like all the other countries have!” Even though God warned them (*very* accurately) what a king would do, they still demanded it – so they could stop being Odds.

    1. Kings are in the business of selling security, not liberty.

      Security against everybody except them and their minions.

      Not unlike the mafia in that way, as fans of Cyril Kornbluth are aware.

      There has generally been a bigger market for security than for liberty. As Scott Adams has pointed out, fear is the persuasion game trump card.

  15. It’s nice to see Tales of the Far Wanderers on this list. I think it might have been the Ace of Spades book thread that sent me to it (or maybe Instapundit), but it was cheap and I downloaded it. I’ve enjoyed it. They aren’t outrageously deep stories, nor far out of the ordinary, but they’re well-written and enjoyable the same way watching an old Roy Rogers serial was.

    And, since they’re all short stories, I can let my attention wander to other books, then return for a new ‘episode’. (I have a few collections of Howard’s stories, and stopped in the middle of one story months ago; I had to go back and re-read the whole thing because, “Uhhh, which plot line is this?”)

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