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The Insanity Defense: Denied... Mostly

Yet another Treason Act is passed by the English Parliament. It carefully defines when one can plead insanity as a defense. Thus even though you may be insane now, that is not a defense if you were perfectly sane at the time of the crime. And unlike modern times, if you are found guilty of treason in 1541, you can lose your head even if you happen to be insane at the time the axe is about to fall. This Act allows King Henry the 8th to visit justice on suspected enemies without endless insanity pleas... not that he needs any excuses. This year he puts Countess Margaret Pole to death without a trial. Aside from being innocent, the Countess has the bad luck to be put to death while the primary executioner is on vacation. His apprentice is less than skilful with the axe so it takes ten whacks (the first right through her shoulder) before she finally succumbs. King Henry also has his wife's two lovers beheaded this year. What a guy. [1] [2] [3]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
It's difficult to sit still while a man hacks you to death with an axe yet many of the aristocrats managed it. As peasants take on leadership roles, they will become subject to the headman's axe. Peasants generally don't go quietly into that good night. With all the screaming, and crying, a nice beheading just won't be the same. But that is for the future.

Regarding the harsh penalties of the law, you can soften its impact by changing the rules of evidence... or using jury nullification. Thus you read in the Bible that a child is put to death for disrespecting his parents yet there is no example of this ever happening. I've seen the rules of evidence and they are strict. I judge that you'd have to be suicidal and your parents would have to want to murder you in order to get a conviction like that. It never happened. [4]

My Name is Diego Almagro. You Killed My Father. Prepare to Die *

A few years ago the Pizarro Brothers had Diego Almagro's father executed and left the family penniless. Diego wants revenge and he will have it. Fernando Pizarro has heard that Diego is coming so he holes up in his palace in Lima. Diego goes in after him. Apparently Fernando never thought that Diego would try something so brazen. As Fernando struggles to put on his fighting gear, several of his friends are killed. Fernando manages to kill three of his attackers before he dies with a sword through the throat. Diego, the son of a Spaniard and an Indian woman, declares himself the governor of Peru. [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [12]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
In 1977 archeologists found Pizarro's head in a box. The body itself suffered from multiple stab wounds. Regarding revenge, it's an old story. Children grow up, feel the injustice of their father's death and come back to bite you. That is how the King of Denmark lost Sweden. This is why the Middle East has remained unstable all these years. In the early 1900s the British made promises of autonomy to the Arabs who helped them fight the Ottoman Empire. This was when Lawrence of Arabia made his reputation. But Britain and France made a secret side agreement with an OK from Russia to split up the Middle East amongst themselves. The secret got out and now the children of those Arabs no longer trust the word of the West. Because our fathers lied to their fathers, the children will not longer listen to the promises of the West. Given how the USA has kept its promises so far, it is easy to doubt us. [13]

I Did Not Have Sex With That Woman!

It is now high treason to have sex with the Queen of England without reporting it to the King. (Apparently the King is self-reporting.) You have 20 days to report it, so that means a 20 day freebie... and 20 days to live. The latest Queen (check your score card) Catherine Howard will be removed of her crown this year. By early next year she will lose her head. Next in the batter's box is Catherine Parr. She will be his 6th wife and the 3rd one named Catherine. Catherine Parr will be a tough one. The King of England will be her 3rd husband. She will outlive him and marry yet again. [14] [15] [16]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
President Clinton was at a press conference when he was asked about a possible sexual encounter with a White House intern named Monica Lewinsky. He stared into the eyes of the press, pointed a finger and said, "I did not have sexual relations with that woman..." I imagined the press corp looking in the direction where he was pointing to see which woman in the room he had NOT had sex with. The President then completed the sentence, "...Monica Lewinsky." He lied. He also lied to a judge under oath when asked about his sexual assault of a woman in Arkansas (Paula Jones). There was another alleged sexual assault of the wife of a campaign contributor (Kathleen Willey) and the alleged rape of Juanita Broaddrick. It was that last one that probably got him the impeachment. [17] [18] [19] [20] [21]

FYI, Alex Shrugged has never met Monica Lewinsky, but he knows the friends of her parents. It is a tenuous connection but it exists.

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1541, Wikipedia.

See Also


* The asterisk in the section header indicates that it was read on the podcast.
  1. Treason Act 1541 - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  2. 1541: Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury. ExecutedToday.com (2015). Retrieved on 23 March 2015. “On this date in 1541, 68-year-old Margaret Pole, countess of Salisbury, was beheaded within the confines of the Tower of London, as befitted her rank. She was cousin to Henry VIII's mother, and well trusted by the king for years. Yet this intelligent and dignified aristocrat died without trial in a horribly botched execution that is considered a low point of Henry's reign.”
  3. 1541: Thomas Culpeper and Francis Dereham, the Queen’s lovers. ExecutedToday.com (2015). Retrieved on 23 March 2015. “On this date in 1540, Thomas Culpeper and Francis Dereham paid the penalty for their indiscretions; the former queen would see her lovers' severed heads mounted on pikestaffs on London Bridge as she was rowed to the Tower.”
  4. Jury nullification - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 23 March 2015. “Jury nullification occurs in a trial when a jury acquits a defendant, even though the members of the jury believe the defendant to be guilty of the charges. This may occur when members of the jury disagree with the law the defendant has been charged with breaking, or believe that the law should not be applied in that particular case.”
  5. Stewart, Paul (Autumn 1988). The Battle of Las Salinas, Peru, and Its Historians. The Sixteenth Century Journal. 19. The Sixteenth Century Journal. pp. 407-434. "Militarily, Hernando Pizarro's stunning victory showed that a disciplined army could be moved effectively over the vast American distances, that infantrymen armed with cumbersome firearms could decide the day, and that Indian auxiliaries were unreliable. Politically, the victory undermined the confidence necessary for a concerted native effort against the Spaniards, and from that point on Indian fighting, however desperate, would become a kind of Spanish mopping up operation.". 
  6. Battle of Las Salinas - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 17 March 2015. “The Battle of Las Salinas was a military conflict and decisive confrontation between the forces of Hernando and Gonzalo Pizarro against those of rival conquistador Diego de Almagro, on April 26, 1538, during the Conquest of Peru.”
  7. Diego de Almagro - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 18 March 2015. “After his return, Almagro was surprised to learn of the Inca Manco's rebellion. Almagro sent an embassy to the Inca, but they mistrusted all of the Spaniards by this time. Hernando Pizarro's men formed an uneasy truce with Almagro's men, surveying to determine the boundaries of their leaders' royal grants. They needed to determine in which portion the city of Cuzco was located. However, Almagro's troops quickly took the city and imprisoned the Pizarro brothers, Hernando and Gonzalo, on the night of 8 April 1537.”
  8. Today in History for Year 1541. HistoryOrb.com (2015). Retrieved on 23 March 2015. “Jun 26th -- Francisco Pizarro, Spanish conquistador who conquered the Inca Empire is assassinated in Lima by the son of his former companion and later antagonist, Diego Almagro the younger. Almagro is later caught and executed.”
  9. Exploring the Inca Heartland: Pizarro's Family and His Head. Archaeology Magazine Archive (September 1, 1999). Retrieved on 23 March 2015. “While Pizarro, his half-brother Francisco Martín de Alcántara, and about 20 others were having dinner, the conspirators invaded the palace. Most of Pizarro's guests fled, but a few fought the intruders, numbered variously between seven and 25. While Pizarro struggled to buckle on his breastplate, his defenders, including Alcántara, were killed. For his part Pizarro killed two attackers and ran through a third. While trying to pull out his sword, he was stabbed in the throat, then fell to the floor where he was stabbed many times.”
  10. (1910) Francisco Pizarro, The Catholic Encyclopedia. Retrieved on 23 March 2015. “The followers of Almagro, offended by the arrogant conduct of Pizarro and his followers after the defeat and execution of Almagro, organized a conspiracy which ended in Pizarro's assassination of the conqueror of Peru in his palace at Lima.” 
  11. Pizarro. The American Cyclopaedia 1979 (2015). Retrieved on 23 March 2015. “The contest was continued by Diego Almagro, his son by an Indian woman. This faction attacked Pizarro in his palace and killed him in a desperate affray, in which three of their number fell beneath his sword. He left two children by a daughter of the inca Atahuallpa.”
  12. holes up - definition of holes up. The Free Dictionary (2015). Retrieved on 23 March 2015. “phrasal verb, informal, To take refuge in or as if in a hideout.”
  13. Sykes--Picot Agreement - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 23 March 2015. “The agreement effectively divided the Arab provinces of the Ottoman Empire outside the Arabian peninsula into areas of future British and French control or influence.”
  14. Royal Assent by Commission Act 1541 - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 23 March 2015. “The 1541 Act was more than an act of attainder, however. It also made it high treason for any person who married the King (or his successors) and concealed from the monarch their previous sexual history. It became treason for any third party to conceal such knowledge for longer than 20 days after the marriage, or to incite another to have 'carnal knowledge' of the queen consort, or of the wife of the monarch's son, or for the queen or princess to incite somebody to do so. These provisions were repealed by the Treason Act 1547.”
  15. Wives of Henry VIII - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 23 March 2015. “The wives of Henry VIII were the six queens consort wedded to Henry VIII of England between 1509 and 1547.”
  16. Catherine Parr - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 23 March 2015. “She was also the most-married English queen, with four husbands, and the first English queen to be titled 'Queen of Ireland'.”
  17. Monica Lewinsky - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  18. Bill Clinton -- 'I did not have sexual relations with that woman'. YouTube (January 26, 1998). Retrieved on 23 March 2015.
  19. Response to the Lewinsky Allegations. Miller Center (January 26, 1998). Retrieved on 23 March 2015. “At the end of a speech about education policy proposals (6:18), President Clinton responds to the allegations that he had an inappropriate relationship with a White House intern, Monica Lewinsky, saying: 'I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky.'”
  20. Juanita Broaddrick - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 23 March 2015. “In 1997, Broaddrick had filed an affidavit with Paula Jones' lawyers that stated: 'During the 1992 Presidential campaign there were unfounded rumors and stories circulated that Mr. Clinton had made unwelcome sexual advances toward me in the late seventies.'[1] In a November 1998 interview with Dateline NBC, Broaddrick claimed the earlier statement was a lie and she had indeed been raped by Clinton.”
  21. Kathleen Willey - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 23 March 2015. “Kathleen Willey was a White House volunteer aide who, on March 15, 1998, alleged on the TV news program 60 Minutes that Bill Clinton had sexually assaulted her on November 29, 1993, during his first term as president.”

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