Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Stupidest Law In The Nation?

Evidently the bushies had a discussion about whether the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 was the stupidest law on the books, as they wrestled with the idea of sending the army into Buffalo, NY to arrest some "neer-do-well turrissstttsss" during 2002.

Now that Professor Gates has been falsely arrested, a Massachusetts lawyer who has bemoaned the statute which was used to charge and arrest Professor Gates, offers that statute as the most stupid in the land.

Lawyer Matthew S. Cameron has a series of posts concerning the history of the law that the Cambridge Police used to arrest Professor Gates, beginning with Part I:
But, like the man said, the past isn’t dead … it isn’t even past. For as much as there is to love about having a constitution and an attorney’s oath that are at least twice as old as most American states, it also means that we sometimes have to live with statutes that are just as old–or older.

Our legislature’s woeful failure to update some of our creakiest and most ancient statutes seems to be driven by the same philosophy that has kept the cult of King James going in certain Christian circles: If it was good enough in 1620, it’s good enough for 2008.

Take G.L.c. 272 Sec. 53 (…please!). Although it’s usually referenced as the “disorderly conduct” statute, it is actually a tasty smorgasbord of old-timey criminality.
(An Idle And Disorderly Statute, Part I). Matthew also bemoans the breadth of a statute that covers anything from Professors in their own home to romantics out in public parks:
The accosting and annoying provision of [Sec. 53] as it now reads is impermissibly and unconstitutionally underinclusive, in that it excuses an entire potential class of perpetrators while concurrently failing to protect their victims solely on the basis of their respective genders. As such, this provision’s strikingly anachronistic, unmistakably paternalistic, and quintessentially Puritanical language and intent are outshone only by the luminous glare of its arrant unconstitutionality.
(An Idle And Disorderly Statute, Part II). Matthew sums it up and gets to the gravamen of the matter when he concludes, in 2008 well before the false arrest of Professor Gates, that:
... this may well be one of the stupidest criminal charges in the Mass. General Laws—if not any state criminal code—now in regular active use.
(ibid, emphasis added). Thus, when President Obama said the Cambridge Police acted stupidly in arresting Professor Gates, we know of one Massachusetts expert lawyer who whole heartedly agrees (and even agreed way before the President said it!).

It seems to be axiomatic that if a law is stupid, then enforcement of that law is also stupid. If a law is the stupidest, then enforcement of that law is also the stupidest.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Catapulting The Wikipropaganda?

The awards for most editing of Wikipedia by government agencies is in.

Check out where your favorite government agency has placed in the scramble to be editor in chief (numbers in bold = how many edits the top ten government editing departments made):
1. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (nasa.gov) 6,846

2. Department Of Veterans Affairs (va.gov) 4,210

3. Forestry And Fire Protection (ca.gov) 4,148

4. Dept Homeland Security (dhs.gov) 4,081

5. Information Systems U.S. House Of Representatives (house.gov) 3,736

6. National Institutes Of Health (nih.gov) 3,019

7. U.S. Courts (uscourts.gov) 2,869

8. U.S. Dept. Of Agriculture (usda.gov) 2,435

9. City Of New York (nyc.gov) 2,404

10. Salem Public Schools (ct.gov) 2,398

11. U.S. Dept Of Justice (usdoj.gov) 2,189

12. Information Services Division (nd.gov) 2,140

13. U.S. Senate Sergeant At Arms (senate.gov) 1,809

14. Federal Aviation Administration (faa.gov) 1,706

15. NOAA Aircraft Operations Center (noaa.gov) 1,590

16. Dotrspavolpe Center (dot.gov) 1,566

17. Lawrence Livermore Laboratory (llnl.gov) 1,456

18. U.S. Dept. Of Labor/Employment Standards Admin (dol-esa.gov) 1,449

19. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (epa.gov) 1,449

20. Internal Revenue Service (irs.gov) 1,290

21. National Park Service (nps.gov) 1,214

22. Library Of Congress Information Technology Services (loc.gov) 1,142

23. Social Security Administration (ssa.gov) 1,134

24. U.S. Patent And Trademark Office (uspto.gov) 1,097

25. Virginia Information Technologies Agency (Vita) (virginia.gov) 1,047
(Democratic Underground). Well if that doesn't give you a warm and fuzzy feeling that the government is making sure you know the right things, I do not know what will (perhaps the science police?).

Professor Gates Was Falsely Arrested

This is a follow up to a previous post yesterday.

I will now argue that Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. was falsely arrested in violation of Massachusetts Law, and probably the 4th Amendment as well under federal constitutional law cases.

This case can be analyzed with horn book law and decisions of the Massachusetts state courts concerning that state's statute under which Professor Gates was arrested and charged.

We go back to a case found in horn books and a case on the lips of those aware of seminal Supreme Court cases, which would exclude Sarah Palin:
It is emphatically the province and duty of the judicial department to say what the law is. Those who apply the rule to particular cases, must of necessity expound and interpret that rule.
(Marbury v Madison, 5 U.S. 137 (1803), italics added). What does the judicial department of Massachusetts say about the statute the police accused Professor Gates of violating?

The Massachusetts Statute, under which Professor Gates was charged, is 272 § 53, which says:
Common night walkers, common street walkers, both male and female, common railers and brawlers, persons who with offensive and disorderly acts or language accost or annoy persons in speech or behavior, idle and disorderly persons, disturbers of the peace, keepers of noisy and disorderly houses, and persons guilty of indecent exposure may be punished by imprisonment in a jail or house of correction for not more than six months, or by a fine of not more than two hundred dollars, or by both such fine and imprisonment.
(Massachusetts v Zettel, 46 Mass. App. Ct. 471, 1999). Obviously this statute needs some help from the Massachusetts courts in order to be clear and to be constitutional.

In the Zettel case above, a mother was picking up her child at school where she was double parked behind some school buses that were also double parked.

A police officer ordered her to move her car because what she was doing was unsafe. She refused, eventually resisted arrest, kicked the police officer, and was found guilty by a jury.

The Massachusetts court of appeal reversed for lack of evidence, saying the crucial part of this particular statute is whether or not the accused has a legitimate purpose for the behaviour the police say was a crime setting.

She had a legitimate purpose in being where she was to pick up her children and so a traffic ticket would have been more real than a disorderly conduct arrest.

Professor Gates has a legitimate purpose when he exercises his free speech right to say the thinks the police are being motivated by a racial animus, whether they are or not, and he can say it in public so long as he is not trying to incite violence against that policeman.

The Fourth Amendment is the Supreme Law of the United States, and it says:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
(4th Amendment). The police are not allowed to make an unreasonable arrest for behavior conducted in a person's home, even when that behavior would be illegal outside the home.

That is why they wanted to get him to "a public place", his porch, because he has less right there than he does inside his home.

Clearly the officer tried to entrap him by consistently asking him to come onto the porch, but nevertheless, Professor Gates had a legitimate purpose, a free speech right to yell his free speech considerations even from his front porch.

He could yell "you have been shown this is my house and no crime has been committed by me but your racial bias will not let you move on to deal with real crimes that are being committed elsewhere".

That is why the prosecutor dropped the charges like a hot potato. They knew they would lose the case and Professor Gates would win the case in the state court.

A lawyer who practices in Massachusetts explains how the statute under which Professor Gates was arrested is 400 years too old.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Wars Are un-American Says Public

An "American war" is by definition one that the American people support.

The American people, for years now, have not supported either the Iraq or the Afghanistan wars:
A majority of Americans oppose both the war in Afghanistan and the war in Iraq, though the war in Afghanistan is a little more popular
(Seattle Times). Or in other words, both wars are unpopular, one more unpopular than the other.

When is the military oil complex going to get it; that Americans think that war is their greatest enemy.

Happy Birthday Bob Dylan - 2

It really is not Bob Dylan's birthday, nor is this really a post about Bob Dylan's birthday.

But a post on his birthday did happen on this blog.

This post is really about the prescient lyrics and the state of racism that is fundamental to U.S. social dynamics:
Meanwhile, far away in another part of town

Rubin Carter and a couple of friends are drivin' around.

Number one contender for the middleweight crown

Had no idea what kinda shit was about to go down

When a cop pulled him over to the side of the road

Just like the time before and the time before that.

In Paterson that's just the way things go.

If you're black you might as well not show up on the street

'Less you wanna draw the heat.
(Hurricane, Bob Dylan, emphasis added). And so, we get to the crux of the matter, the arrest of a friend of Obama, who is a University Professor.

The disgrace of racial profiling and excruciatingly awful racial bias and prejudice in this nation makes it a national problem, not a local event.

For that reason I am glad that the President condemned the action of the Cambridge Police, who, at their press conference today indicated they would work on fixing their policy.

There is no doubt, for the informed, that police departments across the U.S. have had severe problems with racial bias over the years.

The fact that a community is thought of as progressive, like Cambridge, is part of the blindness to racial bias, which happens in police departments at Harvard too.

A Prosecution Of The Widow's Mite

In what appears to be a "bi-partisan" prosecution of democrats and republicans, Jews and Christians, various mayors and other politicians have been arrested for various crimes of corruption.

Those arrested were charged with crimes dealing with selling body parts to selling influence and laundering money.

The U.S. Attorney's Office stated:
"The list of names and titles of those arrested today sounds like a roster for a community leaders meeting," he said in a statement. "Sadly these prominent individuals were not in a meeting room but were in the FBI booking room this morning."

In a statement, New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine said: "Any corruption is unacceptable -- anywhere, anytime, by anybody. The scale of corruption we're seeing as this unfolds is simply outrageous and cannot be tolerated."
(CNN). My question now is whether or not a post awhile back is now ripe for review and further consideration?

In that earlier post the issue of accountability of Bush II regime members was mentioned in the context that some coming prosecutions would be a mere cover up to take attention off the larger wrongs.

The prosecutor's statement in today's case, "The scale of corruption we're seeing as this unfolds is simply outrageous and cannot be tolerated", describes the Bush II crime scene to a T, but when an empire is degenerating such crime is called "policy differences" and that type of accountability is shunned as if it were the plague.

I suppose we can hold out hope that this widow's mite prosecution really does have heart and is not a token cover up for the massive crimes of the century that are not yet being addressed.

Disparate Or Equal Climate Change?

This post has been move to the Ecocosmology blog.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

White House Email To Dredd Blog

Dear Friend,

As you read this, we are closer than ever to passing comprehensive health insurance reform that benefits American families and small businesses. Despite all the back and forth in the news right now, it is important to understand just how far we've come in this challenging process.

That's why I'm holding a press conference tonight at 8pm ET, and writing to let everyone know where we are, what's ahead, and why health insurance reform is so important.

Let me be clear: although Congress is still debating parts of the legislation we have achieved critical consensus on several key areas:
If you already have health insurance: reform will provide you with more security and stability. It will limit your own out of pocket costs and prevent your insurance company from dropping your coverage if you get too sick. You'll also have affordable insurance options if you lose or change your job. And it will cover preventive care like check-ups and mammograms that save lives and money.

If you don't have health insurance: you will finally have guaranteed access to quality, affordable health care, and you can choose the plan that best suits your family's needs. And no insurance company will be allowed to deny you coverage because of a pre-existing medical condition.
Now, I realize that the last few miles of any race are the hardest to run, but we can't stop now. There's no dispute about it: we cannot control our long-term fiscal health as a nation without health insurance reform. American families and small businesses understand that the health insurance status quo is taking away those things that they value most about health care. The stability and security that comes with knowing that you can get the treatment you need, when you need it. Without reform, we are consigning our children to a future of skyrocketing premiums and crushing deficits.

We have to seize this opportunity and pass health insurance reform this year. You can help by forwarding this email to your family and friends and letting them know what's at stake in this debate.

Thank you,
Barack Obama

P.S. Tune in to tonight's press conference on health insurance reform at 8pm ET on WhiteHouse.gov.

Visit Whitehouse.gov

President Mahmoud Is All Mavericky

Even in Iran the president is supposedly able to choose a Vice President.

Ahmadinejad did just that and chose a relative in a bit of mavericky nepotism.

The Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said it was a bad choice and forbade it because the man had said Iran really had no quarrel with Israel.

Once again Ahmadinejad got mavericky and said he was not going to fire his VP:
Reporting from Beirut -- Iran's president, under attack by reformists after his disputed election victory last month, on Tuesday openly defied his most powerful backer, refusing an order by supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to dump a newly chosen vice president who is despised by hard-liners for insisting last year that Iranians had no quarrel with the Israeli people
(LA Times). Some who call themselves election progressives here in the U.S. had become mavericky themselves, alleging that the election in Iran was a bona fide election.

They got mavericky again when they saw massive Iranian street protests, and they immediately decided that those protests were CIA induced, which shows once again how fooled they have been by Iranian politics.

UPDATE: Perhaps Mahmoud got all moody which replaced his all mavericky when he heard that Sarah "All Maveriky" Palin was resigning.

He has now become all moody and lost his all mavericky soul and bowed down to the Supreme Islam Being and has fired his VP choice.

The Health Care Fix Is A War of Robes

I have always had a bit of a distrust of power in robes because it reminds me of ancient priesthoods.

Doctors have been getting rid of the robe garb, however, they are still virtually worshipped in many ways like ancient priests were.

This is due to the mystery in health and disease, and after all, they preside over our very life sometimes as religious folk surmise that priests do.

The sky rocketing costs of medical attention, while wages are flat or worse and while the economy suffers in many ways, testifies to the fact that it sometimes seems that the medical profession is not with us or not part of us.

Some medical practitioners have an arrogance at times that can be beyond the pale, which even becomes tyrannical instead of serving others:
In Mississippi, which has become the gladiator pen for doctors and malpractice lawyers, a growing number of physicians say they are avoiding trial lawyers and their families. Few doctors openly refuse to treat these people; instead, they simply use excuses, saying the practice isn't accepting new patients or the earliest appointment is months out.

"It's more subtle now than it was," says plaintiff attorney Lance Stevens, of Jackson, Miss. "There was a doctor down the street from me who had a plaque on the door, coming and going, saying they don't treat trial lawyers, their families or their employees.

"They are absolutely serious that trial lawyers, employees and family were being denied treatment," he says.
(Memphis Business Journal). The President, economists, and some congress members say that the medical profession will bankrupt the nation if things continue as is without significant reform.

During the past administration the republican controlled congress, Dr. Frist M.D. as Senate Majority Leader, was able to promote bills that limited recovery for patients in medical malpractice cases.

Those limits on malpractice cases were heading toward the Feres doctrine of military infamy, where if you go in for a routine matter and they make a mistake and end up cutting off both of your legs, you have no recourse.

As if bankrupting the nation is not enough, medical practitioners kill some 424,000 U.S. patients a year according to JAMA.

Clearly something must be done to stop the medical profession's killing of too many Americans improperly, and something must be done to reign in their greed and arrogance that could not only bankrupt us, but could increase malpractice because of a lack of accountability.

The war of the robes has been won by the robe wearers for far too long, and it is time for their elite experience of increasing treasures but decreasing accountability to stop.

When Terror Is A Natural Phenomenon

How can we live an entire life and not learn the fundamental nature of our Sun, the planet we live on, the galaxy our solar system is in, or the universe beyond?

The solar eclipse had mixed reviews:
"The celestial event was met by a mixture of awe, excitement and fear."

"And in India, a woman was crushed as thousands of viewers crowded the banks of the Ganges for a glimpse."
(BBC UK, italics added). The Sun has such an effect on all life in this solar system that even cattle thought the end of the day had arrived, when the bright solar disk was blocked out by the Moon, so they headed to their bedding areas.

It will be this way as long as there are central stars with orbiting planets that have life upon them, as long as we are at the mercy of that star and our species, and as long as we are not cosmic adults.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Riders On The Storm ... Of Plunder

How can a nation go from a big surplus in the government budget to the largest deficits in history in only one presidency?

We had a post a while back that theorized or asked why the robber barons had disappeared, answering that question with a premise that it was because the plunder barons had taken their place.

The TARP hysterics, we surmised, were a knee jerk reaction from various quarters to the discovery that plunder had taken place so massively under our noses.

During these hysterics the congress mandated the creation of a government watchdog group tasked with overseeing the TARP, which is now saying:
A series of bailouts, bank rescues and other economic lifelines could end up costing the federal government as much as $23 trillion, the U.S. government’s watchdog over the effort says – a staggering amount that is nearly double the nation’s entire economic output for a year.

If the feds end up spending that amount, it could be more than the federal government has spent on any single effort in American history.
(Politico, emphasis added). This comes on the heals of the impossible to believe information we posted the other day about 100% of the GNP being used to pay our debt according to the Senate Budget Committee Chairman.

What a laugh that we once thought there would be so many people going to jail for this plunder that they might neglect torture prosecutions.

Little did we know that not only have we entered the age of plunder, but we had entered the age of no accountability just prior to that.

It figures, without accountability there is no justice and without justice there is no nation of laws.

The 23 Trillion figure quoted from Politico above has been countered and an economist on Morning Joe this morning estimated it at less than 1 Trillion, pointing out that the 23 Trillion figure is maximum potential, but not very likely at all.

Sell or Buy Pig In A Poke Health Care?

The obvious answer is neither.

Why?

Because you can't see the pig while it is in the poke and the scrupulous never buy or sell "sight unseen".

Used car salesmen of the not so reputable type have many tricks up their sleeves, and like all hucksters they want to sell you what you want even when all they have to sell is what you don't want.

So they find out what you want and sell that, hoping you will not probe enough to find out what they are selling you is something different.

This is so good "not many people have it and everyone wants it" is one of the catch phrases they are using.

For example, the recent way of saying "this is the greatest" was this "is to die for", which means you really want it, and for too many people the "to die for" part of the description is all too accurate.

According to the medical journal, JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association, the United States does not have the best health care system in the world, and it kills about 424,000 patients a year and damages a million more due to iatrogenic causes.

"It" may be the most expensive, or the one with the highest rising costs, but "it" is not the best in terms of what "it" offers to the bulk of its customers.

The saying that the United States has "the best justice money can buy" is a derogatory term, but that description also applies to the medical system's products available for its customers.

So what is "it" that "needs reform", another word for "needs fixing"; and what is "it" that will fix what is broken, but will not try to fix what is not broken?

Take a moment during the news storm, currently blowing hard in the air waves, to ask what exactly is wrong with "it" (the health system that needs to be fixed), and what does not need fixing, and what "it" (legislation contemplated) will fix and what it will not.

So far I have not been able to determine either one.

Have you?

UPDATE: Check out some the of history of the health care debate as seen by a doctor.

When Is It Our Turn?

Why isn't there enough money (in our nation that has many voices who like to brag about it being the most wealthy nation) for us to be healthy?

Do you sincerely think congress would be bombarded with lobbyists and all manner of wild-eyed corporatists (if war making weaponry was the subject of debate) yelling and screaming "it will bust the budget"?

No?

So, since congress is being frantically bombarded with lobbyist voodoo at the moment, the subject matter being debated must be something good for the middle class?

Like national health care reform?

The military oil complex has had its way with all the money it wants for a long, long time and the world is anything but safer, healthier, and more secure.

The fundamentalist warsters think pointing a weapon at people under the threat of death is the way to peace, health, happiness, and prosperity.

Yes, they seem to think that people just love war minded soldiers, and want to invite hundreds of thousands of them to their country soon to shoot the place up and destroy its prosperity.

Yeah right.

Not only are they deluded, but they are evangelizing their delusions, packaging and huckstering the delusions on bumper sticker one liners, big TV campaigns, and continuing to bring misery upon the nation and upon the earth with a sales system they also use to sell tooth paste.

A trillion dollars a year for the basic military, then hundreds of billions more for the two wars, then billions more to take care of the mentally and physically ruined in the wars, and they want more so they can bring more misery to themselves and everyone else.

When does climate safety and security get a chance, the poor and needy, international space treaties and synchronized efforts for the future of mankind, 50,000 children starving each day, millions homeless, and millions more homeless and ill, get a turn?

A poor man with a child on an electric asthma machine is denied more electricity, so the heat wave kills him and all his children in the house when the cold hearted profit minded corporation denies relief over a mere pittance; meanwhile relief in the hundreds of billions of dollars in TARP money is given to the rich.

When do the cosmic adults evolve into the picture?

Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Future Isn't What It Used To Be

Can the emotional and visionary health of a nation be discerned by its attitude toward the universal space beyond the earth?

One article scratching the surface stated:
Today, the reasons for Americans to pay attention to the ground, rather than the heavens, can be rattled off like a parody of a Billy Joel song. Terrorists. Global warming. Swine flu. Economic collapse. Nukes in North Korea and mass shootings in the heartland.
(Ted Anthony). This seems to advance a notion that the United States on the whole pays attention to one or the other, but not to both.

The tenets of the secular side of Ecocosmology point out that the attitude a species has about space and space travel will determine its survival, because all species must pass or fail "The Test".

It could very well be, then, that the United States will not be the future main player in the search for a new home world for the human race.

That may be good for the future of the human species, because the United States Military does not see peace when it looks into space, and thus there is yet another fundamental struggle for another U.S. President.