Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Why Would You Educate Your Children Privately?

Not a question that most people ask directly.  But  over the decades, we've gotten that question indirectly through comments to our children and grandchildren and some veiled remarks to us.

Why would you outsource the mental, moral, and spiritual development of your children to the government?  Are they well-equipped to provide those services?

  • The curriculum of government schools is lousy.
  • The pedagogy of government schools is junk.
  • The institutional culture of government schools is unfortunate.  Administration is top heavy, impersonal, and bureaucratic.
  • The social culture of government schools is lousy.   Pop Cult, badly dressed, foul mouthed.
  • The political culture of government schools is hard-core left wing.
  • Families and their children attending government schools will find themselves subject to much greater government tracking and regulation than non-affiliated families with children.  Your child is much more likely to be arrested if he attends government schools and you are much more likely to have a child protective services case opened against you than if your child doesn't attend government schools.

I was schooled privately from age 3 through age 24 (preschool through law school).  No government schools, no government money, no government loans.  This was back when homeschooling was still a crime so I went to organized schools.  Luckily, this was also before federal loans drastically increased the cost of college making it hard to buy on the market.


Thursday, April 28, 2011

Wills and Kate to Use the 1928 English Payerbook Service

They're using Alternative Services, Series One: The Form of Solemnization of Matrimony basically the 1928 (English) prayer book. Chuck and Di used it in '81.

So they'll be forced to practice the "the increase of mankind" [1928] instead of "the procreation of children" [1662] and it's OK for them to marry "to satisfy men's carnal lusts and appetites, like brute beasts that have no understanding" [1662] [censored in 1928]. And their delicate sensibilities won't suffer from hearing that marriage is "a remedy against sin, and to avoid fornication; that such persons as have not the gift of continency might marry, and keep themselves undefiled members of Christ's body." [1662] [censored in 1928]

The 1662 Book of Common Prayer wedding service was used for hundreds of years but was a bit too earthy for 1928. The '28 prayer book was not adopted (Parliament voted it down) but its Form for the Solemnization of Matrimony later became the "conservative" service in the Alternative Service Book and later Common Worship of the Church of England. It's "conservative" because it mentions that the marriage is between a man and a woman.

For those who don't think Anglicans are funny, here's an excerpt from Busman's Honeymoon by Dorothy L. Sayers (1937) in which Lord Peter Whimsey and Miss Harriet Vane are engaged to be married and are fighting over the details of the service with his sister-in-law Helen. As his mother (the Dowager Dutchess of Denver) records in a letter:
16 SEPTEMBER Helen obligingly presented us with a copy of the new form of marriage service [the proposed 1928 prayer book], with all the vulgar bits left out--which was asking for trouble. Peter very funny about it--said he knew all about the "procreation of children" in theory though not in practice, but that the "increase of mankind" by any other method sounded too advanced for him, and that, if he ever did indulge in such dangerous amusements, he would, with his wife's permission, stick to the old-fashioned procedure. He also said that as for the "gift of continency," he wouldn't have it as a gift, and had no objection to admitting as much. At this point, Helen got up and left the house, leaving P. and Harriet to wrangle over the word "obey." P. said he would consider it a breach of manners to give orders to his wife, but H. said, Oh, no--he'd give orders fast enough if the place was on fire or a tree falling down and he wanted her to stand clear. P. said, in that case they ought both to say "obey," but it would be too much jam for the reporters. Left them to fight it out. When I came back, found Peter had consented to be obeyed on condition he might "endow" and not"share" his worldly goods. Shocking victory of sentiment over principle.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

There Have Only Been 5 Conservative/Libertarian Films

The recent premier of The Greatest Libertarian Science Fiction Railroad Film ever made has made me (briefly) think about the Conservative/Libertarian Cinema.

Contemplation will establish that there have only been 2 conservative and 3 libertarian films ever made (in English).  I must admit that I've never seen the Italian Fascist version of We the Living but it wasn't produced by anyone with any connections to the movement so it doesn't really fit in.

When I talk about "Films", I mean drama not documentary.  There have been plenty of documentary work in recent years (I remember when The Incredible Bread Machine was about it for libertarians) but I don't think of documentaries as Cinema.  I want drama.

And I'm not talking about 25 Best Conservative Movies lists.  My list is not of films that libertarians or conservatives like or that promote our values.  I'm thinking of films that are actually produced to reflect or promote the values of "movement" conservatism or libertarianism.

I've left Red Dawn off the list.  It's a close call what with the Commie invader prying a .45 from the cold dead hand of an American civilian but I see it more as a war film than an ideological one. 

So what are the five films?

  1. The Fountainhead (1949)
    With a screenplay by Ayn herself, I has to be on the list.  It's a pretty good adaption of the novel.
  2. Harry's War (1981)
    His war is against the IRS.  I saw this indie film during its brief theatrical run in '81.  It was explicitly didactic in making the arguments against IRS collection procedures.  Demonstrates the value of collecting used military hardware as well.
  3. Team America: World Police (2004)
    The libertarian creators of South Park take on the war on terror.  Any film that kills off Michael Moore, Alec Baldwin, Sean Penn  (off camera?), Tim Robbins, Helen Hunt, George Clooney, Liv Tyler, Martin Sheen, Susan Sarandon, Janeane Garofalo, Matt Damon, Samuel L. Jackson, Richard Gregory, Danny Glover, Ethan Hawke, Kim Jong-il, and Hans Blix can't be all bad.  Not intended for younger (or, indeed, discriminating) viewers.
  4. An American Carol (2008)
    Satire of a Michael Moore lookalike documentarian coming to love America  was spotty in the effectiveness of its humor but it did serve to out right wing Hollywood actors and had its moments.
  5. Atlas Shrugged: Part I (2011)
    In lean times for the railway cinema, fans have to take what they can get.  There have been complaints about the period setting of the film (2016) when the 1930s might have been better.  But you try and throw a film together in 15 minutes on a $10 meg budget and see if you can do better.  Should be done by HBO as a long-form series but for now it's the leading libertarian/conservative film of the 21st century.  

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Public Employees are Exploited

I heard it right here on The Takeaway on National Commie Radio a while back.  Robert Pollin, an econ prof at UMass Amherst said that public employees in America are paid 4% less (including benefits!) than private employees at the same age and ed level.

I never knew.  I feel terrible.  We simply must free these workers from the oppression of these working conditions.  Let them go to find wealth and happiness in the "private sector".

Let my people go.

Friday, January 21, 2011

More than a century of American educational reform in one post

  • 1893 - Report of the Committee of Ten on Secondary School Subjects recommends that students in the newly developing high schools be taught Latin, Greek, English, other Modern Languages, Mathematics, Geometry, Algebra,  Physics, Chemistry, Astronomy, History and Civil Government, Geography,  and Meteorology.
  • 1918 - Cardinal Principles of Secondary Education is published by the Commission on the Reorganization of Secondary Education (a.k.a. the Gang of Twenty-seven). It has a broader scope finding the Cardinal Principles to be: 1. Health, 2. Command of fundamental processes, 3. Worthy home membership, 4. Vocation, 5. Civic education, 6. Worthy use of leisure, and 7. Ethical character.    
"Cardinal Principles was a small pamphlet, not much larger than The Communist Manifesto or a man's hand. It rejected the elitist and undemocratic education of the dark past and provided in its place "preparation for effective living." It made us the effective livers we are today, and it sends forth every year from our public schools and colleges all those effective livers who will make the future of the nation." -- Richard Mitchell The Graves of Academe
  • 1918 - 0.9% of recruits are rejected for failing the Army Alpha and Army Beta tests of intellectual preparation.
  • 1938 - Progressive's Progress cover story in Time Magazine heralds the mainstreaming of Progressive Education.
  • 1941 - 4% of recruits are rejected for failing the Army General Qualification Test because they could not perform intellectually at the 4th Grade level.  These recruits would have learned to read before Progressive Education came to dominate American schools.
  • 1944 - The Serviceman's Adjustment Act passes Congress.  Better known as The GI Bill.
  • 1947 - The Educational Testing Service is founded by all the usual suspects (American Council on Education, the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, and the College Entrance Examination Board) to supply a standard entrance exam for tertiary educational institutions.  Essay writing as a means of testing is largely abandoned because it can't be machine graded. 
  • 1951 - 16.6% of recruits are rejected for failing the Army General Qualification Test because they could not perform intellectually at the 4th Grade level.  These recruits would have learned to read after Progressive Education came to dominate American schools.  Illiteracy increases by 4 times in just 10 years.
  • 1955 - Rudolph Flesch publishes Why Johnny Can't Read: And What You Can Do About It.  The phonics exercises in the back of the book allow parents to bypass the Look-Say teaching methods of government schools.
  • 1957 - The Soviet Union launches Sputnik 1 and also yet another of the periodic reform efforts in American education in the form of 1958's National Defense Education Act.
  • 1959 - Admiral Hyman Rickover (Father of the Nuclear Navy) publishes Education and Freedom promoting his views that:
    "The chronic shortage of good scientists, engineers and other professionals which plagues us is the result of time wasted in public schools which must be made up later on. (America is) reaping the consequences of the destruction of traditional education by the Dewey-Kilpatrick experimentalist philosophy. For all children, the educational process must be one of the collecting factual knowledge to the limit of their absorptive capacity. Recreation, manual or clerical training, etiquette and similar know-how have little effect on the mind itself - and it is with the mind that the school must concern itself.
  • 1962 - John Wales, a British teacher crossing the Atlantic on his way to work at Western Michigan State University, is surprised to win a trivia contest on American History, Geography and Literature competing against the American passengers.  At Western Michigan, he surveys Michigan  school students on similar topics and publishes Schools of Democracy: an Englishman's impressions of secondary education in the American Middle-West discovering (among much else) that American secondary school students' basic knowledge of facts about their country was poor.  The fact about America that they knew best was the nicknames of the states, presumably because of their appearance on automotive license plates.
  • 1965 - Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) gives aid to public and private schools.
  • 1977 - Dick Mitchell, a professor of English at New Jersey's Glassboro State College (now Rowan University),  begins publishing The Underground Grammarian - A Journal of radical, academic terrorism.
  • 1979 - The Department of Education (a new Cabinet Department) is founded by President James Earl Carter, Jr. 
  • 1981 - John Holt publishes Teach Your Own the first major book on home schooling.
If there were no other reason for wanting to keep kids out of school, the social life would be reason enough. In all but a very few of the schools I have taught in, visited, or know anything about, the social life of the children is mean-spirited, competitive, exclusive, status-seeking, [and] snobbish.
  • 1983 - The National Commission on Excellence in Education publishes A Nation at Risk and, famously, states:  "If an unfriendly foreign power had attempted to impose on America the mediocre educational performance that exists today, we might well have viewed it as an act of war." 
  • 1990 - The US and Japan agree to a Structural Impediments Initiative designed to eliminate non-tariff barriers to trade.  Among (many) other points, the parties agree that the American education system is a non-tariff barrier to trade (presumably because ignorant children have nothing to trade).  The US agrees to improve its education system. 
  • 1991 - America 2000.  President George H. W. Bush.
  • 1994 - Educate America Act - Goals 2000. President William Jefferson Clinton.
  • 2001 - No Child Left Behind Act. - President George W. Bush.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

"Baby It's Cold Outside" - The real cause of WWIV

1949 - Egyptian writer, teacher, and the intellectual father of modern Islamic Radicalism Sayyid Qutb visits Colorado State Teachers College in Greeley, CO.  The experience caused him to condemn America as a soulless, materialistic, sex-obsessed place.  He particularly disliked the mixed couples at a Baptist church dance dancing to the hit of that year - Baby It's Cold Outside.    

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Math of Congressional Shootings

---------------------
Hat tip to the WSJ for the interactive timeline.

  • 11 Members of Congress have been shot while in office.
  • 9 House members have been shot while in office.
  • 7 Members of Congress were shot by 'progressives'.
  • 6 Members of Congress survived their shootings.
  • 5 Members of Congress died from their shootings.
  • 5 Members of Congress were shot by Puerto Ricans.
  • 4 Members of Congress were shot by Democrats. (The Southern shooters had to be Democrats)
  • 2 Senators have been shot while in office.  (Huey Long and Robert Kennedy)
  • 0 Members of Congress were shot by Republicans.
---------------------
The Shootings

1868 - Rep. James Hines (R-Arkansas) - Shot by a drunk County Democratic Committee Secretary presumably upset by Reconstruction Republican control of state politics.

1905 - Rep. John McPherson Pinckney (D-Texas) - Shot in the back at a public meeting in Hempstead, Texas by "passionate and misguided men" who opposed his support for (mandatory) temperance.

1935 - Sen. Huey Long (D-Louisiana) - Shot by 1) the physician son of a political enemy or 2) by his own bodyguards.  Perhaps at the direction of FDR who considered him "one of the two most dangerous men in America".

1954 - Rep. Alvin M. Bentley (R-Michigan), Rep. Clifford Davis (D-Tennessee), Rep. Ben F. Jensen (R-Iowa), Rep. George Hyde Fallon (D-Maryland), and Rep. Kenneth Roberts (D-Alabama) - Shot on the floor of the House of Representatives by 4 Puerto Rican nationalists. All the congressmen survived.  Attackers were released after 25 years by James Earl Carter Jr.

1968 - Sen. Robert Kennedy (D-New York) - Shot by a (Christian) Palestinian upset by his support for Israel during the Six Day War (1967).

1978 - Rep. Leo Ryan (D-California) - Shot by a member of Jim Jones' People's Temple at that cult's facility in Guyana.  Jim Jones - in addition to being a Marxist - was active in Democratic Party politics in both Chicago and San Francisco. 

2011 - Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Arizona) - Shot by a deeply disturbed young man at a public meeting.
---------------------
The Frequency


Years Interval
1789
1868 79
1905 37
1935 30
1954 19
1968 14
1978 10
2011 33

Note that after the first shooting, the frequency of congressional shootings increases steadily until 1978 when we experience a 33-year gap.  Looks like the rhetoric toned down since the '70s.

Eleven shootings in 222 years (1 every 20 years) seems low to me considering the frequent unpopularity of Congress.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

What I Didn't Say to the U.S. PIRG Guy at the Door

U.S. PIRG regularly sends door-to-door solicitors to recruit activists and money in areas where they figure the pickings are good.

I've been solicited at my door (in different states) twice but had a hard time convincing them that I knew who they were and I was on the other side.

I resisted the temptation to clearly state the situation.

"Get off my porch, I hereby specifically cancel your implied license to enter my property. We're your worst nightmare; heavily-armed, libertarian, right-wing, Christian, homeschoolers who always vote Republican."

My daughter hates it when I tell the truth.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

So You Want to be a Constitutionalist Member of Congress?

In a few weeks, the District of Columbia will be (a presumably temporary) home to a flock of rarae aves -- Members of Congress who've actually read the Constitution of the United States and who've pledged to uphold its original intent.

How hard is it for a Congressman to be (and vote as) a Constitutional origionalist?  Can it even be done?

The answers are -- in one sense it's easy, in one sense it's hard, and yes it can be done -- H. R. Gross showed us how to do it.

Harold Royce Gross represented Iowa's 3rd district from 1949 to 1975.  A radio newscaster who worked at WHO in Des Moines with Ronald Reagan, he defeated a sitting Congressman in an insurgent primary and then won the general election in 1948.  An isolationist Republican who had campaigned against bank foreclosures during the Depression, many thought he was a leftist.  He went to Washington with one (unpaid) staff member -- his wife.  Twenty-six years later he retired after winning most of his elections by wide margins.

While in Congress, he rarely voted for appropriations bills (he probably couldn't find any that were low enough).  Days after JFK's assassination, he took to the floor of the House to object to paying for the natural gas for the eternal flame on the late President's grave.  He was given to saying things like:  "Well, even if we don't get to the moon first, we'll be there first with foreign aid."  A sign in his office read, "There is always free cheese in a mousetrap."  The one vote this veteran of the Pacho Villa Raid and WWI later regretted was his vote on the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution -- he voted "Present."  He thought he should have voted "No."

So you can see how easy it is to be a Constitutionalist Congressman.  "No" is shorter than "Yes" and if you always vote "No" you'll rarely be wrong.  If you happen to encounter a completely constitutional piece of legislation, you can vote "Yes" after you recover from the surprise. 

On the other hand, it can be hard for humans to resist getting along and going along with the group.  H. R. Gross avoided parties and junkets (he stayed home in his cheap apartment with his wife reading government documents and watching wrestling  on television.) 

At least the new crop of Constitutionalist Congressmen won't have to go it alone.  They'll have plenty of potential friends who share their views.  They can look to their own group for social vindication and they have plenty of conservative media outlets they can chat with if they get lonely.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Crippled, bisexual, communist

So I opened Google this morning to observe that it featured a special nameplate in honor of (presumably the birthday) a famous person. I recognized her but instead of clicking through the nameplate block , I thought I'd frame my own search.

So I wrote the obvious search term: "crippled bisexual communist" and, sure enough got 181 hits.

Monday, December 07, 2009

What my grandmother took to the (Pearl Harbor) evacuation center

"I brought up blankets, towels, toilet paper, Kleenex, aspirin, a bottle of rum and the .38"

-- What my grandmother Louise Porter Frissell took to the evacuation assembly point at Tripler Army Hospital, Oahu, Territory of Hawaii, on December 8th 1941. The wife of a Quartermaster Corps Captain (he was on the Mainland on December 7th), she and other Army dependents were ordered to Tripler in case a Japanese invasion required a quick departure.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Is There Anything Amazon Isn't Selling?

Google the forthcoming Honor Harrington novel Storm From the Shadows and you get a real bargain:

Amazon.com: Storm from the Shadows: David Weber: Books

Buy Storm from the Shadows and get Immortality at an additional 5% off Amazon.com's .... Storm From the Shadows (2009) is the second naval SF novel in the ...
www.amazon.com/Storm-Shadows-David-Weber/dp/1416591478 - 269k -

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Quality Public Schools?

If they are close in quality, I would lean toward public schools.

I'm not a fan of government curricula. Too much sex, drugs, rock &roll, and stories about victims of color.

Prefer a bit of the Trivium and the Quadrivium, actual history, and good Lit.

Want my kids to be able to read, write, compute, imply, infer, and all that hard stuff.

While I could celebrate the reduced competition that my children will face from the voluntarily mentally retarded graduates of such institutions, I'm not that cruel. Besides the enhanced criminal tendencies of relativisticly educated Government School students mean that I have to spend more on weaponry than I would otherwise.

Socialist production of education like socialist production of steel tends towards high cost and low quality.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Milestones in American History

Today, above all days, we remember a great pioneer in the history of American race relations. The first mixed-race candidate elected to national office.

I'm sure that you, together with all Americans, will be celebrating his birthday on January 25th.

Even though he wasn't born in the United States, he achieved great success in local politics and in the US Senate before winning a Presidential election.

Representing a political party famous for its commitment to racial justice, Charles Curtis -- Republican Majority Leader of the US Senate -- was elected Vice President of the United States in 1928. Sunday will be his 149th birthday. He was born in the Kansas Territory in 1860 and his mother taught him French and Kaw as he grew up.

Charles Curtis' mother was 3/4 Native American (Kaw, Osage, and Pottawatomie) and 1/4 French. He was a registered member of the Kaw tribe.

Here he is:

ole0.bmp
Charles Curtis 1860-1936

Thursday, October 02, 2008

More Gitmo Human Rights Violations

Another victory for human rights at Gitmo:

Restrictive Guantanamo Bay Homeschool Policy Abandoned

This past school year, U.S. military families at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, were contacted regarding a new homeschool policy created by the commanding officer of the base. He indicated that this restrictive policy would take effect at the beginning of the 2008-2009 school year. The families immediately contacted HSLDA and asked for help.

Under the new requirements, the commanding officer would approve home instruction programs, determining whether each had comparable “curriculum content, quantity, and quality to that provided in academic subjects in the same grade level” at Department of Defense schools. Furthermore, homeschool families would have to establish that they were approved by a governmental agency in the United States. In addition, parents had to demonstrate that they were “capable, by education or experience, of conducting home instruction.”

The policy also stated: “The Commanding Officer may impose requirements for home instruction, including, but not limited to, minimum hours of instruction per day, minimum days of instruction per academic year, records of instruction, inspections, and proof of satisfactory completion of one grade level of home instruction.”

The commanding officer indicated that any family that did not comply would be forced to return to the States.

Senior Counsel Chris Klicka wrote to the base commanding officer explaining that there is no compulsory school attendance law for military dependants overseas. Therefore, there is no basis upon which the commanding officer could enact regulations for parents providing home instruction.

He further explained that the new policy violated the fundamental right of parents to choose how to educate their children as determined by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Finally, he explained that military commanders overseas only have the limited authority to provide free public education, not regulate private education. If he believed that there was probable cause of actual neglect of the children’s education, he could investigate families only on that basis. He concluded by requesting that the policy be rescinded immediately.

The commanding officer responded by eliminating all of the requirements of pre-approval of the homeschool curriculum. He issued a complete revision of the earlier policy. The new policy simply asks the family to notify the commander of the name and age of children who will be homeschooled. No other requirements apply except a statement to “encourage families to maintain records to document educational activities and progress.”

This is an incredible turnaround. We are thankful to God that this onerous homeschool policy was completely abandoned.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Wireless Archeology

See the rectangular box hanging from a light standard at Coles & 16th Sts. in Jersey City, NJ? What do you suppose it is?



It's a Ricochet POP. Still there 7 years after bankruptcy. The photo was grabbed from Google Maps Street View.

I loved Ricochet for the year or so I was using it.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Why would Roe have increased the number of out-of-wedlock births?

Why would Roe have increased the number of out-of-wedlock births?

Because the possibility of abortion reduces the perceived cost of fornication (from $200k to raise a child to $250 to kill one). If the perceived cost of fornication declines, then fornication increases. More fornication=more out-of-wedlock births (OOWBs) since many mothers in practice chose not to commit infanticide and other government policies helped pay for the children.

The same effect was also produced by the existence of birth control. The mere existence of birth control technology (whether people use it or not) reduces the perceived cost of fornication.

Prior to 1960, the cost of OOWBs was high. Social disapprobation, lack of income to support mother and child, shotguns.

The 60s and 70s eliminated the disapprobation, shotguns, and lack of cash. More bastards resulted. If we happened to switch to calling bastards bastards, eliminated all public support (Medicaid), and brought out the (usually metaphorical) shotguns, OOWBs would plummet again.

I always thought that public employees (like Eugene) and recipients of government cash (SS) should be required as a condition of the receipt of such funds to verbally remonstrate fornicators, bastards, adulterers, and the unemployed. We know that government speech criticizing our dietary, health, and energy habits is common. What would be the problem to extending it to other human failings?

Instead we have a bastard likely to be nominated by a major party for president.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Married Minority?

Married people aren't in the minority. Married households may be if you really bend the figures but since a married household has 2 married people in it, about 60% of those over 25 are married. Also many of the other households are the divorced and widowed who have been married.

NJ SSM Case

From the dissent:
But there is another dimension to the relief plaintiffs’ seek. In their presentation to the Court, they speak of the deep and symbolic significance to them of the institution of marriage. They ask to participate, not simply in the tangible benefits that civil marriage provides -- although certainly those benefits are of enormous importance -- but in the intangible benefits that flow from being civilly married. Chief Justice Marshall, writing for the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, has conveyed some sense of what that means:

Marriage also bestows enormous private and social advantages on those who choose to marry. Civil marriage is at once a deeply personal commitment to another human being and a highly public celebration of the ideals of mutuality, companionship,
intimacy, fidelity, and family. “It is an association that promotes a way of life, not
causes; a harmony in living, not political faiths; a bilateral loyalty, not commercial
or social projects.” Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 U.S. 479, 486, 85 S. Ct. 1678, 14 L. Ed. 2d 510 (1965). Because it fulfils yearnings for security, safe haven, and connection that express our common humanity, civil marriage is an esteemed
institution, and the decision whether and whom to marry is among life’s momentous acts of self-definition. [Goodridge v. Dep’t. of Pub. Health, 798 N.E. 2d 941, 954-55 (Mass. 2003).]

Plaintiffs are no less eloquent. They have presented their sense of the meaning of marriage in affidavits submitted to the Court:

[Plaintiff's statements elided]

By those individual and personal statements, plaintiffs express a deep yearning for inclusion, for participation, for the right to marry in the deepest sense of that word. When we say that the Legislature cannot deny the tangible benefits of marriage to same-sex couples, but then suggest that “a separate statutory scheme, which uses a title other than marriage,” is presumptively constitutional, ante at ___ (slip op. at 7), we demean plaintiffs’ claim. What we “name” things matters, language matters.

Since two of the Plaintiff's in this action are Episcopal priests with full sacerdotal powers, they can marry the other plaintiffs in church with flowers, incense, a sung high mass, the whole nine yards. They can use the 1662 Book of Common Prayer marriage ceremony.

As the Majority points out, New Jersey courts have already ruled that anyone can say they're married (can characterize their relationship in any fashion they desire).

Is there really anyone so degraded that "the intangible benefits that flow from being civilly married" are important to them. That they require the government to bless them.

The beauty of sacramental marriage is that the bride and groom marry each other and confer the sacrament on each other. It's the only sacrament that can be regularly (in non-emergency circumstances) performed by civilians who are unordained. I guess secularists feel the need for a government sacrament because they are missing others.

Rendition

There is no guarantee or "quality control" that inherently insures that citizens or greencard holders won't be swept into this extraconstitutional dragnet.

Were this true then the US-born Saudi Arabian captured in Afghanistan would not have been brought to the US for processing and then released after he renounced. They would just have sent him to Gitmo or shot him. But they didn't.

DemonCats like FDR lock up 70K native-born US citizens w/o charges and they get a pass. George locks up 2, yes 2 for a while, releases one and convicts the other at trial and the terror-symps in the country get the vapors. We're talking 2 guys here. Not exactly a problem.

BTW, just in case you didn't know, none of the 'rendered' were NYU grads with non-Hispanic-white, native-born American, movie star, eight-month-pregnant wives like the guy in the flick.

Yes Virginia, There is an Anti-Family Conspiracy

is there anything more nefarious going on than denying public funds to discriminatory groups?

I guess they didn't teach you in your slave school that the destruction of the bourgeois family was a goal of the Left since its invention in the 19th century.

By eliminating traditional institutions that supply a separate source of independent strength, the Left hopes to convert the population to free-floating atomistic individuals ripe for collectivization in "loose coalitions of numerous distinct movements, including (but not limited to) feminists, greens, some labour unions, some atheists, some gay rights activists, and some minority ethnic and racially oriented civil rights groups".

The atomized are also increasingly dependent on public spending and public "direction"/regulation. If you doubt this, note the increase in government spending and regulation across the OECD nations.

Quite a burden.

Exiled Americans

In Gilmore vs Gonzales the lower courts have held that the right to travel doesn't mean the right to travel in a specific fashion.

I remember Trop v. Dulles, a 1950s case holding that denaturalization as a punishment was "cruel and unusual". In other words, you can be executed but not denaturalized. [Naturalized citizens can be denaturalized for fraud in procuring their citizenship.] One of the men in this article is native-born and the other is naturalized. Perhaps someone with Lexis can find that case.

Most of the action in this area has involved taxes and keeping people from leaving or forcing them to return to the US and not the other way around.

The government can keep you from leaving the country by getting a writ ne exeat republica. But that involves taxes or other monies owed.

Likewise, the Feds can yank passports for failure to pay child support, for tax debts, and other activities. This will make it hard to travel internationally. They have also done it to Americans living overseas in an attempt to force a return. [Foreigners generally can't live in a country with a National ID system without a passport.]

There was the Connecticut case of the kid who fled a rape charge to Europe and lived there for a while. His parents supported him. The state searched their house after a few years and found info about his travels. He had tried to get an Irish passport since he had an Irish grandparent. With his US passport expiring and Interpol on his tail, he went to Switzerland and surrendered.

"Illegal" Aliens

All of the immigration-related federal crimes that can be committed by aliens can also be committed by citizens.

Look in Title 18 for "evading inspection at the border".

Likewise uttering false documents (citizen presents someone else's passport for entry) (citizen unaccountably decides to apply for a visa to enter and lies on the application).

Being an illegal alien per se is not a crime (though the House recently tried to criminalize the status).

Lying to federal employees Title 18 Sec 1001 (the Martha Stewart crime.

Republishing from Volokh

Over the next few days, I'll be republishing some of my Volokh Conspiracy comments over the years. They won't all be easy to follow but I wanted to reposition and save them.

Right Wing Groups on Campus


SLS 1L:
CAP was an extremely repulsive group, and the American people have the right to know why Alito was bragging about his membership in it.

You should be aware that more Americans are repulsed by various left-wing groups I could name than right-wing groups (since more Americans self-identify as right than as left).

CAP was similar to hundreds of other campus-based conservative groups that used to exist and still exist. They were quite mainstream (among conservatives).

Now it's a normal "left-wing attack formation" to characterize right-wing groups in a particular fashion (racist, sexist, bigot, homophobe). Trust me, I can formulate similar right-wing attack formations against left-wing groups. I do it for recreational purposes from time to time.

What's important is for commies to realize deep in their non-existent souls that right wingers aren't going away (and indeed the disease seems to be spreading). Welcome to the club. We've had to put up with you for the last 160 years and you're just going to have to put up with us. We had to accept sodomy you're going to have to accept neo-traditionalism.

Animal Rights Attackers

six masked protesters reportedly disrupted a child's birthday party at the home of a University of California at Santa Cruz researcher and confronted her husband at the door, hitting him on the hand.

A few incidents ended with one of these should serve to cool the passions. I don't know why more persons who are known terrorist targets don't deploy same.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Home Schooling

a claimed right to control a third party -- however much the claimed rightsholder might generally love the third party, and however much that third party might need some control from someone -- strikes me as among the weakest sorts of claims for unenumerated rights.

Then certainly the coercive state apparatus' claim of a "right to control the 3rd party" would be even weaker since it manifestly cares not at all for the "3rd party" and is utterly incompetent in caring for "it". Note that death rates of children in government custody are much higher than death rates of children in parental custody and you can forget completely about their intellectual and spiritual development.

I don't worry too much about the Constitutional basis of home schooling. 30 years ago it was illegal in all states and today its legal in all states (with some regulation in some states). Legalization was accomplished by a combination of civil disobedience and legislation.

Mostly, school districts got tired of beating up on parents who were the least neglectful of their children (wanting, after all, to care for them 24/7 365) when the beating up didn't work since parents could merely switch school districts if they got tired of the harassment.

Also, since the 4th Amendment has been held to guarrantee that private homes are not subject to regulatory searches (Camara vs Municipal Ct 387 U.S. 523 (1967)), coercion proved difficult. If they can't enter the house, it's hard for the authorities to determine the existence of children without expending additional resources.

Then there's the fact that home schoolers used one of those clever legal arguments that is not supposed to work in real life - but sometimes does - by saying that, "We are not tutoring our children at home. They are attending a private school that happens to be in our home." This switched the argument from "neglect" to "private school regulation". And since religious schools and elite private schools had discouraged regulation of private schools in many states, home schoolers were able to benefit from that laxity.

And even when states like Nebraska tried to force private schools to use certified teachers they encountered civil disobedience. [When 1000 Baptist ministers descend upon you and a disabled Vietnam Vet who's become a minister cuts the padlock on the church door, even Nebraska had to yield.]

Since most home schoolers these days are members of religious organizations they also have access to resources both financial and physical to make life difficult for regulators. See, for example Dr. Dobson's daily broadcast tomorrow on the in re Rachel L case, In Defense of Home Schooling.

As with firearms regulation, strong views on the part of the regulated can pay off.

----
Some years ago, my daughter was asked by a woman in a shop why she wasn't in school. She gave the answer I had previously suggested, half in jest. "My daddy doesn't believe in your schools. He says they're controlled by the communists." Further deponent sayeth not.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Tangible Harm of SSM

"impossible" to demonstrate: that recognizing gay marriage causes some tangible harm.

Dale, I take it that the scare quotes mean that you're not sure its impossible to establish tangible harm.

Let me count the ways...

1) Demotion of Husbands, Wives, Fathers, and Mothers to Partner A, Partner B, Parent A, and Parent B. (Are we male oppressors guaranteed the A label -- at least in hetero partnerships?) A demotion in rank is a tangible harm and gives rise to a legal claim. It also completely transforms human society by abolishing those status names but that may not be tangible harm.

2) Children in government owned and influenced school systems will be taught that whether you marry or not is irrelevant and that the sex of who you marry is irrelevant and that your sex is irrelevant (and that you must not use 'sex' in sentences like that you use use 'gender'.) Some of this has been happening anyway but it will accelerate.

3) This state-generated "gender dysphoria" will cause tangible damage to children and adults.

4) SSM will increase the number of intentionally fatherless or motherless children. A tangible harm except for those who believe that neither fathers nor mothers are significant factors in the development of children. See the confusion induced by 16 years as the child of lesbians: Growing Up With Mom and Mom "It took me a lot of struggle to realize that I really was attracted to men, yet now it is really hard for me to deal with men as human beings, let alone sexually." There was more along those lines -- Ry was intrigued but "repulsed" by heterosexual relations, afraid of the "sexist soul-losing domain of oppression." Her parting thought: "I cannot understand or relate to men because I am so immersed in gay culture and unfamiliar with what it is to have a healthy straight relationship."

5) SSM increases gay acceptance. Gay acceptance increases gays. 75% of gays are left wingers (based on the '04 vote for John Forbes Kerry). Left wingers cause tangible harm to me and to society. Aside from the obvious tax and regulatory damage; left wingers are more likely to commit murder, suicide, and other crimes and are more likely to take government jobs and go on the dole than right wingers.

6) SSM represents a claim that same-sex relationships are equivalent to opposite-sex relationships. That gay marriage=straight marriage. Since the term marriage refers to the melding of diverse characteristics (as in the marriage of different wine grapes), SSM can't be the same as OSM. Government recognition of SSM codifies the lie of the equivalence of these very different relationships.  The spread of loose definitions corrupts both language and law. Corruption of language and law causes tangible harm. It should be possible to maintain the distinction between genuine and meretricious relationships.

7) State licensure represents a tangible harm because it costs money and is a form of state regulation. Extending licensure to a previously unlicensed activity extends the harm. Had the residents of the states during the first half of the 19th century realized that the state takeover of domestic relations law would result in the marriages of men and women, they would have left dom rel with the churches where it belongs.

8) SSM will destroy the public schools as the 60% of the population that belong to religious faiths opposed to SSM withdraw their children. Oops! That's not tangible harm. BTW, try to avoid parallels between interracial and intrasex marriages. Exogamy was practiced by most human societies from time to time. Intrasex marriage was not even invented until the Reagan Administration. It's possible that not enough people will pull out to destroy the government schools but the opposition should be aware of the fact that intrasex marriage is a bit more significant for religious believers than earlier secular interventions like prayer bans and sex ed.

9) SSM, though it did not create, will increase government mandated firings for politically incorrect speech which favor only one side of the kulturkampf. Thus 20 years ago since queer marriage didn't exist I couldn't have used the term in a sentence and now I can be fired for it. Reducing employment opportunities for traditionalists is a tangible harm. It would be one thing if the government stayed out of these disputes and let us work them out for ourselves but since CRA '64 governments have been interfering in private relationships (employer-employee, buyer-seller, etc.). Just another expansion of the coercive state apparatus -- a tangible harm.

10) SSM harms libertarianism because it has caused many libertarians to advocate state licensure of a private act. They will, thus, be less able to argue against other forms of state licensure in the future. (Don't get me started on libertarian advocacy of government subsidy of scientific research or of the concept of state sovereignty.)

11) Mod sexual relationships of all kinds (including SSM) reduce child bearing.  We need more children and an increasing population.  Societies with fewer children are older, will have few workers, lower GDP, less international influence, and may (e.g. Europe and Japan) risk disappearing.  The future belongs to those who grow up.  We should be encouraging growing populations of bourgeois children who can continue our society.  A thin gruel of a few progressive, sexually disphoric children will be insufficient to preserve and extend our society.

12) Massive societal changes may argue-ably be necessary when significant parts of the population, say blacks at 13% are involved.  The small sliver (those who want to marry) of the small sliver (1.6%) of the population who are homosexual is not large enough to justify massive social transformation.

13)  SSM is always and has always been legal.  No polity (even those that punished sodomy with death) criminalized SSM.  In the past, that was because SSM hadn't been invented.  Persons of same sex affection married all the time when they wanted to produce heirs or unite families.  But they married members of the opposite sex to do so.  Marriage is an act performed by the couple themselves.  Even sacramental marriage in the most orthodox Christian churches is a sacrament in which the sacramental act is performed by the parties.  It is, in fact, the only sacrament that is performed routinely by lay persons (baptism can be performed by the laity but it is best done by clergy.)  So persons of same sex affection are, and always have been, free to marry.

14)  When I read that "there are 1,138[1] statutory provisions in which marital status is a factor in determining benefits, rights, and privileges" my stomach turns.

I've got a million of them but that's enough for now...

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

So Where's Our Inflation?

http://www.target.com/Virgin-Mobile-Aloha-by-LG/dp/B000X9IGZ4/sr=1-5/qid=1212246041/ref=sr_1_5/601-9994212-0818526?ie=UTF8&index=target&rh=k%3Acellphone&page=1

Virgin Mobile Aloha by LG

$9.99
List price: $34.99
You Save: $25.00 (71%)
stores only


------------

That's $9.99 for a device that couldn't be produced for all the money on
earth 20 years ago.

Duncan Frissell

Monday, June 09, 2008

Anal Intercourse and Home Schooling

A California appeals court has ruled that the right to school one's children at home is not protected by either the US or California constitutions.

The US Supreme court had ruled that anal intercourse is protected by the US Constitution: "The liberty protected by the Constitution allows homosexual persons the right to choose to enter upon relationships in the confines of their homes and their own private lives and still retain their dignity as free persons."

Now back in 1787 when they were debating the Constitution and in 1791 when they were debating the Bill of Rights, home schooling was legal in all the states of the new nation (it was, in fact the most common form of schooling) while sodomy was illegal in all the states (with the death penalty applied to the act in some).

And yet the theory of the day is that home schooling may be outlawed but anal intercourse may not and that the Constitution so holds even though those who wrote the Constitution would find the concept ludicrous.

What if the home schooling is performed in the privacy of one's own bedroom? Would it then gain the protection of anal intercourse?

In fact, a generic defense of the "Natural Liberties of the American People" including such acts as home schooling, firearms possession, financial privacy, discrimination, and the like can be mounted by the simple use of a rhetorical formulation like: "Your honor, how can this court declare [blank] to be illegal when we are all aware that the sainted Supreme Court of this land has held that [anal intercourse] is as legal as church on a Sunday?"

Be sure, however, to substitute the anglo-saxon translation of the French term "anal intercourse".

No, gasoline prices haven't doubled in last year

I read it all the time. Most recently in the New York Times: “Gas prices have doubled over the last year but the economy has not fallen off the cliff,” said Rajeev Dhawan, director of the Economic Forecasting Center at Georgia State University. “

One minor problem. Gasoline prices have actually doubled since March 14, 2005 when national regular gasoline crossed the $2/gallon threshold. See this spreadsheet from the Energy Information Administration's retail gasoline prices history page.

That means they've doubled in the last three years not the last year.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Sex Ed

Instapundit Glenn Reynolds on the VH1 series Sex: The Revolution.
I highly recommend Gay Talese's history of the sexual revolution, Thy Neighbor's Wife, which we read in my "Law and Sexuality" seminar, taught by Harlon Dalton. I often draw on it when teaching in Constitutional Law, because today's students don't really have any grasp of what life was like in an era without freely available porn and socially-approved consensual sex.
I guess that means that UT law students have never read a book published prior to the 1970s (1990s?). Amazing!

I wasn't alive in the 1840s but I certainly have some idea "what life was like in an era without freely available porn and socially-approved consensual sex."

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

SSM LEGAL

It doesn't occur to anyone in these debates, but Same Sex Marriage has never been prohibited in any Anglo-Saxon jurisdiction (or perhaps anywhere on earth).

Sodomy, lewd cohabitation, etc. have been prohibited but not marriage itself (which is a sacrament or ceremony performed by the members of the couple involved). Thus even if a couple is married in a cathedral by an archbishop, it is the man and women who perform the sacramental actions involved in a religious marriage. The archbishop or priest is there as an observer and "director".

All that has been missing is government recognition of SSM, polygamy, incestuous marriage, etc.

So one can truthfully state that SSM has always been legal. Complaints by advocates of state recognition of such marriages proves that they do not want marriage itself but state validation (a truly bizarre desire for libertarian SSM supporters). I've never sought state validation for my activities.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Intemperate Language

Sad to say, but in the finest traditions of Net discourse I sometimes refer to persons not personally known to me as "commie faggots." For example, I might write something like, "Barack Hussein Obama, Jr. is a commie faggot."

This is a most unfortunate formulation and it illustrates the great opportunities I have for significant spiritual development.

It is interesting to note, however, that the phrase is not technically incorrect when applied to persons of a certain ilk.

The adjective "commie" is an abbreviation of the word "communist". Communist is another word for socialist. Thus if someone advocates government ownership and operation of significant portions of a nation's economy - i.e. courts, police, army, education, health, etc, then it is fair to call them a socialist and thus fair to call them a communist (small "c").

The noun "faggot" is a slang term which can refer to members of the gay community but which can also refer (like most slang terms that refer to members of the gay community) to persons who lack a certain decisiveness of action traditionally identified with masculinity (but also possessed by Margaret Thatcher). Thus a person who wants to spend an excessive amount of time conversing with his enemies instead of killing them (or at least making it clear to them that they are at risk of being induced to assume room temperature), could be described as a "faggot".

I do realize, of course, that the use of technical terms that take longer to explain than to say interferes with effective communication and so I will endeavour to restrain myself in the future.

Luckily, the power of HTML allows one to call someone a commie faggot lefty wimp without using the more derogatory term.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Why There's No Entitlement Crisis

There would be an entitlement crisis if the Feds were actually required to pay entitlements and the Feds had no assets. Neither of these suppositions is true.

Let's take the big three - Medicaid, Medicare, and Socialist Insecurity. Medicaid is pure welfare. Medical 'insurance' for the poor. Welfare can be cut any time -- see 1996 -- without the recipients being able to do anything about it. Medicare is welfare too. Originally created without any dedicated taxation, it was the gift of a grateful Congress to the nation. It can be cut any time. Socialist Insecurity seems like an 'entitlement' but, in fact, the Supremes have ruled that Congress can cut off anyone it likes (even if they've paid FICA contributions all their lives). Read it and weep:

FLEMMING v. NESTOR, 363 U.S. 603 (1960) -

To engraft upon the Social Security system a concept of "accrued property rights" would deprive it of the flexibility and boldness in adjustment to ever-changing conditions which it demands. See Wollenberg, Vested Rights in Social-Security Benefits, 37 Ore. L. Rev. 299, 359. It was doubtless out of an awareness of the need for such flexibility that Congress included in the original Act, and [363 U.S. 603, 611] has since retained, a clause expressly reserving to it "[t]he right to alter, amend, or repeal any provision" of the Act. 1104, 49 Stat. 648, 42 U.S.C. 1304. That provision makes express what is implicit in the institutional needs of the program. See Analysis of the Social Security System, Hearings before a Subcommittee of the Committee on Ways and Means, House of Representatives, 83d Cong., 1st Sess., pp. 920-921. It was pursuant to that provision that 202 (n) was enacted.

We must conclude that a person covered by the Act has not such a right in benefit payments as would make every defeasance of "accrued" interests violative of the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment.

So bennies can be cut or eliminated at any time.

Then there's the issue of assets. The Feds own almost 30% of US real property. Hard to say what that's worth but it amounts to a fair chunk of change. Included in this portfolio is prime Manhattan real estate, the headlands on both sides of the entrance to San Francisco Bay, acres on Waikiki Beach, a stretch of the NE Pacific ocean 400 miles wide by 1400 miles long (560,000 square miles) with all its resources, all of the oil and other resources of the outer continental shelf at least 200 miles off all the coasts of the US, a large island in the Virgin Islands, most of Alaska, etc.

Worth a pretty penny.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Domain Name Trademark Infringement demand letter

I registered the Internet Domain Name offshore.com in November 1994. In 1995, I got the following demand letter (which I posted to Cyberia-L a net list for lawyers). In January, 1997 Network Solutions put offshore.com on hold because of the trademark dispute. NSI has adopted the new Domain Name Dispute Resolution Process developed by ICANN and has said that on-hold domains will be released "during the first quarter of 2000." After release, PennWell will be free to proceed against me again. NSI informed me by letter that offshore.com would be taken off hold on 29 March so I assume it is now unencumbered. I may use it to start a major offshore information site or I may sell it. I'll let you know.

Here is a free sample of a Domain Name Trademark Infringement demand letter so you all won't have to work up a sweat drafting one. Be sure to file the serial numbers off before using it.

BTW, *my* offshore refers to Offshore Investing. I take it their's refers to oil wells.

DCF

STUART, BIOLCHINI, TURNER & GIVRAY
ATTORNEYS
330 FIRST PLACE TOWER
15 EAST FIFTH STREET
TULSA, OKLAHOMA 74103-4340

(918) 582-3311
FAX (918) 582-3033

November 7, 1995

VIA Certified Mail
Return Receipt Requested

Duncan Frissell
Frissell Associates
332 Bleecker Street, No. F-34
New York City, NY 10014

Dear Mr. Frissell:

Our firm serves as counsel for PennWell Publishing Company "PennWell"),
which owns and publishes Offshore magazine. PennWell first registered its
trademark "Offshore" with the United States Patent and Trademark Office
under Registration No. 840510 on December 12, 1967. Over the past 28 years
PennWell has expended substantial amounts of time and money to establish and
promote the "Offshore" name throughout the world.

It has come to our attention that you have registered the name
"Offshore.com" as a domain name on the Internet. It is out opinion that the
unauthorized use of the trade name "Offshore" violates PennWell's rights to
the protected use of its trademark under federal and state law. Your use of
the domain name "Offshore.com" as an Internet on-line computer address is
trademark infringement in violation of 15 U.S.C. P1114. It is further
likely to cause confusion as to the source or sponsorship of such Internet
address in violation of Section 43(a) of the Lanham Act and common law.
Under general principles of trademark law, it is irrelevant whether Frissell
Associate had the intent to infringe on PennWell's mark. Liability for
trademark infringement depends not on intent, but on the likelihood that the
similar trademark will cause confusion. Obviously, the potential for
confusion inherent in Frissell Associates' use of PennWell's mark is
substantial.

Accordingly, unless we receive written representation from you by November
30, 1995 that Frissell Associates will cease and desist from all use of the
name "Offshore," we have been instructed to commence legal action against
Frissell Associates in order to assert and affirm PennWell's right to its
protected use of the "Offshore" trademark, and to terminate the confusion
that results from your unauthorized use of "Offshore" in the Internet. Such
lawsuit would include demands for injunctive relief, money damages for lost
profits, costs, and attorneys' fees. While it is PennWell's desire to
attempt to avoid litigation to resolve this matter, PennWell cannot afford
to allow confusion in the marketplace or among readers and advertisers of
"Offshore."

We anticipate hearing from you or your counsel on or before November 30,
1995 to resolve this matter and to avoid the unnecessary time and expense to
both parties if legal proceedings are required.

Very truly yours,

Robert F. Biolchini of
STUART, BIOLCHINI, TURNER & GIVRAY

-----------------------------------------------------------

Thursday, February 21, 2008

On NeoNazis in the Paul Campaign

Perhaps the World's deviates are attracted to libertarianism because we won't punish them.

November 1971 Society for Iindividual Liberty Conference Columbia University School of Law, NYC. Everyone who was anyone in libertarianism was there. In a restaurant on Broadway after a session I'm sitting across the table from one of the giants of this young movement (you've all heard his name). He is telling me all about how the Holocaust didn't happen.

It didn't bother me then or now. When you're part of a movement that wants to abolish the State, disputes on WWII history are pretty minor.

You Never Expect the Islamic Inquisition

So I'm browsing blogs and read this post on Volokh on Spanish philosophical debates on the justification for conquest of the New World; which leads to this bibliography on the literature of justification; when I'm brought up short by an exerpt from this book:

Patricia Seed. Ceremonies of Possession: Europe’s Conquest of the New World, 1492-1640. Cambridge, England, and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1995. xviii + 199 pp. Illustrations, maps, bibliographical references, and index. $49.95 (cloth), ISBN 0-521-49748-5; $19.95 (paper), ISBN 0-521-49757-4.

Chapter 3 ("The Requirement: A Protocol for Conquest") examines a legacy of conquest unique to Spain. The requerimiento was a written statement that all Spanish adventurers and colonists were obligated to read aloud (usually without benefit of translators) before subjugating indigenous peoples. Composed in 1512 by the legal scholar Juan Lopez Palacios Rubios, the requirement has long been known to students of Spanish-American history not only for being a basic source on Spanish notions of conquest as "just war," but also for its abundance of textual inconsistencies, which occasionally border on the absurd. To cite one example, the text of the requirement states: "[W]e will not compel you to turn Christians. But if you do not ... I will enter forcefully against you, and I will make war everywhere and however I can, and I will subject you to the yoke ... of authority of...." (p. 69). Thus, besides its status as a canonical historical source, the requirement is also one of history’s enduring conundrums. In this chapter, Seed seeks to provide a satisfactory solution.

Notable for its etymological plumbs into key legal, martial, and political concepts, and for its rigorously cited synthesis of extant scholarship on Christian and Islamic Spain, Seed’s "archaeological" inquiry into the the origins of the requirement concludes that the text was influenced by Islamic and Jewish intellectual traditions to a far greater extent than previously realized. The perplexing features of the document--which was
regarded in its day by some Spaniards as "ludicrously and tragically naive (Gibson, Spain in America, 1966), utilized later by Protestant commentators as evidence of the depravity of the Spanish soul, and today recognized by us as idiosyncratic, if not paradoxical--are, in fact, the product of a hybridization of cultural logics alien to the main trunk-line of Western intellectual thought.[4] Seed demonstrates how the concept of jihad, a term meaning "fighting according to the proper legal principles" (p. 72), approximates the requirement’s notion of "just war," and how one of those "proper legal principles," the da a or "double summons" preceding a battle, was an Islamic precursor for the later Spanish practice of reading a formal speech prior to subjugating native Americans. Furthermore, Seed effectively maps out several plausible pathways whereby these Islamic concepts--as well as important institutions
like tribute-collecting ( jizya ) (pp. 78-83), censustaking (p. 83, n. 57), and ethnically segregated townships ( ahl al-dhimma ) (pp. 84-88)--reemerged in the sixteenth century as important colonial practices and policies in Spanish America.

Although the Muslim "core" of the requirement was seriously challenged by Las Casas in his debates with Sepulveda in 1550, it was not until 1573 that significant changes of wording severed the document from its Moorish moorings.


In other words: The harshness of the Spanish Conquests was caused by the adoption of Islamic traditions from the 700 years of Islamic control in Spain.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

A $10,000 Toll?

Governor Jon Corzine (D-New Jersey) has proposed a series of toll hikes for the state's highways that provide a dramatic lesson in the potential costs of government:

TRENTON — Gov. Jon S. Corzine on Tuesday proposed the biggest financial gambit in New Jersey’s history, arguing that almost quadrupling highway tolls over the next 15 years could help generate about $38 billion to help the state pay off half of its debt and pay for transportation improvements.

Drivers would face a maximum 50 percent increase in tolls on the state’s three toll roads — the New Jersey Turnpike, the Garden State Parkway and the Atlantic City Expressway — every four years, beginning in 2010, and subject to inflation...
That's a 50% increase every 4 years plus an additional adjustment for inflation. After 2022, the tolls would increase every 4 years in line with inflation.

One of the lowest tolls on New Jersey Turnpike these days is $0.65 for a 2.9 mile trip from Exit 14C Jersey City to Exit 14A Bayonne. Lets see how this would change (without inflation adjustment and without rounding). And just for fun, let's keep the 50% increase every 4 years after 2022:

Turnpike Tolls Exit 14C Jersey City to Exit 14A Bayonne
(Rounding not applied)

2008 $0.65
2010 $0.98
2014 $1.46
2018 $2.19
2022 $3.29 Corzine's proposal stops here but let's carry on…
2026 $4.94
2030 $7.40
2034 $11.11
2038 $16.66
2042 $24.99
2046 $37.48
2050 $56.22
2054 $84.34
2058 $126.50
2062 $189.75
2066 $284.63
2070 $426.95
2074 $640.42
2078 $960.63
2082 $1,440.94
2086 $2,161.42
2090 $3,242.13
2094 $4,863.19
2098 $7,294.78
2102 $10,942.17

Pretty impressive, isn't it?

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Across the Persian Gulf...

but libertarianism certainly demands a commitment to ending a war one thinks is unconstitutional and unwise.

'Unwise' can always be an easy case to make concerning a war -- but 'unconstitutional'?

It strikes me that the Iraq Campaign of WWIV was not the least approved military action in US history but the most approved. Which makes sense because as society becomes more bureaucratic, military force authorizations will become more bureaucratic as well.

Here are five approving acts or events.

1) The Persian Gulf War Resolution adopted January 12, 1991.

The initial fight with Iraq was approved by just about everyone on earth save Jordan and the PLO. The UN, NATO, the Politburo of the Soviet Union and the Democrat-controlled US Congress all approved the military response to the invasion of Kuwait.

The invasion was ended after 4 days of ground fighting with a cease-fire agreement which was immediately and persistently violated by Iraq during the subsequent 12 years including shooting at US and British aircraft and an attempt to assassinate George H. W. Bush.

2) The World Trade Center Bombing February 26, 1993.

There is quite a bit of evidence that the '93 plotters were connected to Iraqi Intelligence.
"Now, how did a young man who had led a seemingly normal life up until August 1990 suddenly become a world class terrorist six months after Iraq invaded his country of residence? Where did he get such sophisticated explosives training in just six months? (The real Abdul Basit's degree, remember, was in electronic engineering, not chemistry, which Swansea Institute does not even teach.) "
If one is attacked, no "Declaration of War" is required because - guess what - you're already at war.

3) Bin Laden's Fatwa or Declaration of War against the Americans Occupying the Land of the Two Holy Places dated August 23, 1996.
My Muslim Brothers of The World:
Your brothers in Palestine and in the land of the two Holy Places are calling upon your help and asking you to take part in fighting against the enemy --your enemy and their enemy-- the Americans and the Israelis. they are asking you to do whatever you can, with one own means and ability, to expel the enemy, humiliated and defeated, out of the sanctities of Islam.
If war is declared against a country, it doesn't have to declare war itself because - guess what - you're already at war. There's no rule stating that one cannot conduct a war against an international conspiracy rather than a nation state. Indeed, WWIII was fought more against an international conspiracy than against any nation states. Once one is at war, strategy and tactics are the responsibility of the Executive Branch - not Congress. Who you attack in response and when is a strategic or tactical choice. If one happened to already be at war against a nation that was right in the heart of the Middle East, it might be convenient to finish that war to take a terrorist-supporting state off the board in the course of a larger war against Osama and others seeking to reestablish the Caliphate.

4) The New York City and Washington DC Attacks of September 11, 2001.

If one is attacked, no "Declaration of War" is required because - guess what - you're already at war. Once one is at war, strategy and tactics are the responsibility of the Executive Branch - not Congress. Who you attack in response and when is a strategic or tactical choice. For example: What was the first foreign nation invaded by US forces following the Pearl Harbor Attack of 1941? Answer - France, specifically French Morocco. Thus, there is precedent for resuming a conflict with a nation such as Iraq which, after all, we were still at war with and which had committed numerous acts of war against us.

5) Authorization for Use of Military Force adopted September 18, 2001.

Provided broad authority for the use of military force. Once one is at war, strategy and tactics are the responsibility of the Executive Branch - not Congress.

6) Authorization for use of Military Force Against Iraq - Resolution of 2002 adopted October 16, 2002.

Provided broad authority for the use of military force. Once one is at war, strategy and tactics are the responsibility of the Executive Branch - not Congress. BTW, 6 of the 12 stated justifications for the use of force against Iraq in this Resolution do not involve WMDs.

Being a good libertarian anarchist, I naturally oppose the socialist provision of military services. I would prefer privatization of our foreign policy and the use of Letters of Marque and Reprisal governed by Rules for Captures on Land and Water. On the other hand, as a good libertarian anarchist, I oppose the concept of national sovereignty -- ours or anyone else's.

As to the issue of whether or not a war is "unwise". Note that war is a two (or more)-party activity. If someone is at war with you, you are at war whatever your opinion happens to be about the matter.

I think it's safe to say that since the first domestic attack on the US by Arab/Islamic forces in the modern era, we've been a war whatever our opinion happens to be about the matter.

But it's not a 'real' war, is it?

The Kaiser, Imperial Japan, Hitler, and the USSR; those were real enemies in real wars, weren't they?

Question -- how many civilians in the Continental US were killed (in total) by those enemies? Somewhere in the vicinity of 6. Perhaps there were a few more killed during WWI, WWII, and WWIII in espionage operations here. Meanwhile, our current enemies have killed somewhere in the vicinity of 3000. Sounds 'real' to me.

But let's think further about this argument: but libertarianism certainly demands a commitment to ending a war one thinks is unconstitutional and unwise.

Is the above true? Does libertarianism qua libertarianism require us not to do unwise things (whether they are a love affair or a war)? I would guess that libertarianism demands that we not aggress not that we eschew unwise behavior. Lots of human behavior is both unwise and does not violate the non-aggression axiom.

Does libertarianism qua libertarianism require us not to do unconstitutional things. Depends on the constitution, doesn't it? Libertarian archists (in the US) may feel themselves bound to be defenders of the US constitution but surely libertarian anarchists (or non-US libertarian archists) would not be so bound. I don't see that defense of a (particular) constitution is a particularly libertarian value.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Vouchers for Millionaires

New York City Pays Tuition for ex Viacom COO

The New York Sun reports that the US Supreme Court in a 4-4 split decision leaves in place an Appeals Court order that requires New York City to pay thousands of dollars a month for a private school to educate the son of a former Viacom COO. At issue, whether the multi-millionaire and his AD/HD son have to try a government school first or can just pick a private school and then get the city to pay for it. Here is a history of the case from a sympathetic source.

Thomas Freston, who brought the case on behalf of his son, is a former co-Chief Operating Officer of Viacom. In 2004, according to this 2005 USA Today article, he received $4.2 million in base pay and $16 million in bonus pay (plus many extras).

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

A Cypherpunk Joins the Marines

Those of us in the libertarian anarchist community have had few representatives to cheer for in our current contretemps. There was John W. Perry the libertarian NYC Cop who died at the Trade Center on 9-11 but that was about it.

But now comes news that Sameer Parekh has reported to Marine Corps OCS at Quantico. A cypherpunk and crypto entrepreneur, Sameer was in Budapest on 9-11:

I was at the Backpack Hostel in Budapest, Hungary as I watched the towers fall. I sat there as a fellow backpacker bounced up and down on the sofa in glee.

It's been six years, and I've made a number of false starts since then. Nine days from now, I will report to OCS, and once I complete the ten weeks in Quantico, I will finally begin my task to "defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic."

I chatted with Sameer at the CFP conference in Toronto in 2000 about his plans to bum around Europe. I assume that Sameer's hair is a bit shorter these days. Why so it is:

Surprisingly, a number of libertarian anarchists have supported the current war or at least some version of the current war (see J. Neil Schulman). Not in the sense that state war is a good idea but in the sense that state war is what currently exists. While they may prefer private war, they deal with the reality of state war as they deal with the reality of state roads.

In particular, they don't think that the imposition of the Caliphate over the whole of the earth is a good idea.

Sameer -- Good luck at OCS and in the fight from an old soldier!

Duncan Frissell, Tech Sergeant CAP (Retired).

Here are some cypherpunk posts by or about Sameer.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

The New Economy

So I walked into a shop on New York City's Lower East Side and spoke to the proprietor. He went into the back and returned with a new, conservative, wool, pinstriped, men's suit. I gave him $25.00 in cash and walked out with the suit.

Now the suit was made in China. I had bought it for $24.95 on eBay. I have purchased three suits from the same source. The other two suits cost me about $35.00. No mention was ever made of sales taxes. The seller uses eBay and mail order catalogs to sell similar items throughout the US.

By any standards, the price is amazing. Even more amazing would be an economic analysis of the nature of the transactions involved.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Climate Change Deniers in Newsweek

The Truth About Denial

So Newsweek is beating up on climate change deniers this week. One minor problem with the lead though:
Aug. 13, 2007 issue - Sen. Barbara Boxer had been chair of the Senate's Environment Committee for less than a month when the verdict landed last February. "Warming of the climate system is unequivocal," concluded a report by 600 scientists from governments, academia, green groups and businesses in 40 countries. Worse, there was now at least a 90 percent likelihood that the release of greenhouse gases from the burning of fossil fuels is causing longer droughts, more flood-causing downpours and worse heat waves, way up from earlier studies.
Then there's this:
The response to the international climate panel's latest report, in February, showed that greenhouse doubters have a lot of fight left in them.
What's the problem? Simple. Climate Change 2007 The IPCC 4th Assessment Report isn't out yet. See the future tense on the front page of the IPCC's website. "The IPCC 4th Assessment Report is coming out." And:
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has been established by WMO and UNEP to assess scientific, technical and socio- economic information relevant for the understanding of climate change, its potential impacts and options for adaptation and mitigation. It is currently finalizing its Fourth Assessment Report "Climate Change 2007", also referred to as AR4.
So what came out in February? The political summary of one part (about 1/3) of the final report.

IPCC adopts major assessment of climate change science

Paris, 2 February 2007 – Late last night, Working Group I of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) adopted the Summary for Policymakers of the first volume of “Climate Change 2007”, also known as the Fourth Assessment Report (AR4). “Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis”, assesses the current scientific knowledge of the natural and human drivers of climate change, observed changes in climate, the ability of science to attribute changes to different causes, and projections for future climate change.

Not released is the actual report on the science of climate change. That won't be adopted until November or December.

If AR4 - when finally released - is "a definitive statement on the science of climate change" it will answer a few of the following questions but still leave the hard ones unanswered:
  1. Is the Earth warming?
  2. Did human activity cause it?
  3. Is the level of warming dangerous or can we live with it?
  4. Can it be reversed?
  5. Are the changes required to reverse warming worse than the harm it is likely to cause? (e.g. impoverishment of mankind)
  6. Will plant growth, cloud formation, etc. mitigate it without human intervention?
  7. Should we reduce GHG releases to reverse warming or use technical means to remove GHGs from the atmosphere? (e.g. dump an iron-oxide solution into the Arctic Ocean to cause a plankton bloom.)
  8. What changes in human activity should be made to reduce GHG emissions?
  9. What forms of social organization should direct those changes? (i.e. Is a bureaucratic command economy the best designer of solutions to such problems?)
Lots of questions still unanswered.

Friday, May 11, 2007

The Universal Brotherhood of Man

It doesn't matter what your race, creed, or color is; you can still be a son of a bitch. -- Duncan Philip Frissell 1899-1965

Another Muhammad Cartoon Controversy

So a Christian chaplain at New York's Rockland County jail was passing out some of Jack Chick's anti-Muslim cartoon tracts.

Jail hiring Muslim chaplain after uproar

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
NEW CITY, N.Y. -- The county jail where a Christian minister handed out anti-Islamic cartoons announced it will hire an imam for its Muslim inmates. The Rockland County Jail also said it will provide religiously appropriate food. Rockland Undersheriff Thomas Guthrie said Tuesday that the imam will work one day a week, joining the jail's priest and rabbi.

The Christian chaplain, the Rev. Teresa Darden Clapp, was suspended with pay last month after inmates complained she was passing out anti-Islam booklets. In the cartoon panel stories, a tract titled Men of Peace? said Islamic fundamentalists who commit terrorist acts are not "bad Muslims" but "very good Muslims" who act in accordance with their religion. Another tract, titled Allah Has No Son, said Allah is not God, Muhammad was no prophet, and the Quran is not the word of God. Both stories end with people being convinced Islam is false. In one, a Muslim converts to Christianity. Local Muslims have called for Clapp's dismissal, and the county requested an independent investigation.

Clapp has not commented public about the controversy and has not responded to messages seeking comment.
Jack Chic's tracts are famous for their anti-Catholicism and stories of strange conspiracies. One tract argues that after demons created the Catholic Church to draw Christians away from Christ (based on Alexander Hilsop's pamphlet The Two Babylons: Papal worship Revealed to be the worship of Nimrod and His wife), Rome created Islam to produce the warriors required to destroy true Christianity.

Ironically, even though the Rev. Teresa Darden Clapp takes a pretty literalist reading of scripture, she somehow missed 1 Cor. 14:34 Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law.