Archive for the ‘Law’ Category

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December 23, 2010

What You Ought to Know About

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Blocking Porn Sites in Indonesia

December 23, 2010

It has become obvious to me in my 62 years that one cannot legislate morality and whenever one tries then the forbidden activity just goes underground and creates a black market or mafia. Prohibition in America to forbid alcohol did not work and so it was repealed. Prior to Rowe vs. Wade women still got abortions. The wealthy ones simply traveled to countries where it is legal and the poor ones died in back alley criminal procedures. Every day there are Kurdish people who risk their lives for $10 per day to carry liquor over the snow covered mountains into Iran. People in Tehran can have alcohol as well as pork from the black market. In Yemen you can get alcohol on the black market but you cannot get pork anywhere at any price. In remote mining and lumber companies it was observed that when houses of prostitution were permitted then crime went down and when they were prohibited then crime rates increased. In Switzerland, if you are a heroin addict you simply register with government and get it for free for life, but you have to get social work counseling, clean up your life, and get a job. Criminalizing things simply does not work very well. And that, Giri, is what I think.

Separation of Church and State

November 1, 2010

Unfortunately, some people see religious freedom as the freedom to force religion upon those who are not interested. Why should one be required to raise their RIGHT hand (or any hand at all) and swear and invoke God to “tell the truth?” I would think that this practice discriminates against those who are amputees or who were born “thalidomide babies.” So if they can testify without raising their hand then what is the purpose except that it is some religious superstition. Now why do we SWEAR if Jesus said not to swear by anything but “let your yea be yea and your nay be nay.” Now you may reply that those who find swearing objectionable may opt to solemnly affirm. The main thing is that we answer questions under penalty of perjury. But what is “the truth?” If I ask you “how much is 2 + 2” you will answer 4, but is that “the truth.” It is my understanding that an actual proof in symbolic logic that 2 + 2 = 4 would have about 250 steps. A Godel or an Alfred North Whitehead might be able to prove that 2 + 2 = 4, but for most of us it is simply hearsay. Personally, I believe that I do not have access to “the truth.” I do believe that I know when I am lying and I know when I am committing a lie of omission. Should the court suspect that I have perjured myself then they will rule and impose a penalty. Such a ruling does not PROVE that I perjured myself but is simply the courts decision. To say that someone is guilty “beyond a shadow of a doubt” is not to say that we have some knowledge of their truth or innocence. What does it mean to say that doubt has a shadow? It is an imprecise figure of speech. I would think it is sufficient for a witness to simply state that the testimony they give is under penalty of perjury and if the court deems that they are lying or concealing then they shall pay the penalty of perjury. What is “a jury of my peers?” Is Joe the Plumber my peer? In what sense is he a peer. Would he ask the questions that I would ask. Does he value what I value for the reasons that I value? Does he admire what I admire and loathe what I loathe?

Issues of Potential Liability

October 27, 2010

Mally: I publish a medical directory for the Western Slope of Colorado. I am putting putting together a contest for stories titled Why I Love My Doctor. The winning 500 word story comes with a $1000 prize and publication in the magazine in January. Are there any legal issues I should be aware of concerning doctors?

At times in my life I have stopped myself from relating anecdotes about doctors I admire simply because I might inadvertently reveal something about them which might be misconstrued with regard to patient confidentiality or some ethical matter. I suppose any anecdote which suggests some therapy or remedy must be preceded by some disclaimer that everyone should seek a qualified physician for advice rather than attempting the same remedy or therapy.

Of course if the anecdotes were presented as fictional dramatizations based upon real life experiences which are not meant to represent any actual person living or dead then there would PERHAPS be no problem. The only problem with trying to do things which will encounter NO problem is that the world is filled with clever, litigious people who can trump up some allegation.

Then too, somewhere, surely there is a collection of precedents of cases where comments or statements have caused legal liabilities of a civil or criminal nature.

When in doubt the safest course of action is to take no action, but then “no pain, no gain” and “no risk, no reward.”

I was just about to post this when it occurred to me that offering monetary compensation might complicate things whereas inviting people to contribute material for the honor of being published would not involve the quid-pro-quo aspects that payment brings. Also, you would need to have disclaimers that all submissions become the property of the publication IF you anticipate using excerpts from other entries.

Of course, a truly clever person or persons could simply search the Internet for anecdotes relating to medical experiences and then compose fictional hypothetical scenarios.

Just my few impoverished thoughts; my two cents worth.

Re: Mosque Near WTC Site

July 29, 2010

America claims to separate Church and State. The Constitution says that no law shall be established with regard to religion. Those who conspired to destroy the towers acted on their own and do not represent the majority of Muslims in the world. Hence, anyone who has property in New York should be free to construct a Mosque if that is their desire. If a Mosque near the WTC site is a problem then one might argue that a Mosque anywhere in Manhattan is a problem. An enormous population of Muslims live and work in New York City. There are many Masjids in the five boroughs. I say do not make a huge issue out of the matter. Time heals all wounds. Few people today feel bitterness over the fall of Constantinople when it became Istanbul. Quite frankly, since America allows freedom of religion it might happen in the coming centuries that Muslims would become a voting majority. And voting majorities may in theory change State and Federal laws and even the Constitution. I am not arguing that this SHOULD happen or even that it WOULD happen but I am saying that it COULD happen and the reasons that it COULD happen are part of the American system of government.

Censorship and Testimony

July 15, 2010

I don’t imagine it is an issue of taking God’s name in vain. You know in a sense if you just say Oh God it may be construed as “in vain” since in is not said in the context of prayer or sermon. I am sure the censorship has to do with the F* word and the C*words and the S*word . And yet our consumer public craves and our media thrives upon an endless depiction of heinous acts of murder torture cannibalism etc… so it is all a bit hypocritical in my estimation. In every place I have ever worked I often hear the F* word. How is the F* word “taking the Lord’s name in vain?”

Would the censors really bleep “damn” or “dammit” or “hell”? I don’t know. I do know that if one purchases the DVD of a movie, one sees and hears everything uncensored. So why is it permitted to create such movies and sell such movies if they are harmful? And we view purchased uncensored DVD on THE SAME screen where we view the censored public broadcasts.

You may find my own blogs from 1998 to present on-line and you will notice that I try never to use profanity (in the sense of F* word) unless I need to quote someone in which case I do not spell it out. If I stub my toe or bang my thumb and I am alone I may curse; a practice I am not proud of but it is a bad habit.

I just think it is a sham and hypocrisy for our public broadcasting to pretend we are NOT something which we know perfectly well that most of us are.

The Atlantic Magazine published a letter from an elderly assisted living center regarding the showing of a film in the community center which had been CANCELLED because it used the F* word. The columnist explained that this does not constitute something inappropriate because a film attempts to portray real life and real life as we all know includes such language. What WOULD BE inappropriate is if such language were included in an editorial or a commencement ceremony or a political speech.

You probably read about the woman newscaster who inadvertently said the F* word on the air not realizing she was live on the microphone.

I do not like reading things loaded with gratuitous profanity but I do dislike gratuitous censorship.

I see the very fabric of American life as something obscene. We observe how to murder and torture in a thousand different ways and we watch dramatizations of drug dealers, alcoholics and prostitutes.

Jesus said “What goes into the mouth does not defile but passes out into the gutter.” (now we KNOW that is feces, the S* word.) But what comes OUT of the mouth defiles. Jesus did not mention what goes INTO THE EAR now did He. So if you want to get technical, Jesus would not seem to favor censorship of the media. Jesus want each and every one of us to censor our own speech. He says something like “Yea verily ye shall be judged by EVER WORD WHICH PROCEEDTH FORTH FROM YOUR MOUTH.” (at least that is what I remember) And He says, “UNLESS your righteous EXCEEDS the righteousness of the pharisees you shall in no wise enter into the kingdom of heaven.”

Now our politicians take OATHS and witnesses on the witness stand SWEAR an OATH and say SO HELP ME GOD. To me that seems fairly blasphemous. First of all, Jesus said “do not swear at all not even by your head for you cannot turn one hair white or black; rather let your yea be yea and your nay be nay.” So if we were such a Bible based nation we would not require such oath taking.

What I see as more appropriate is if the witness says “I solemnly affirm that I testify under penalty of perjury and I shall not consciously omit any detail which may be pertinent or knowingly give false testimony.”

Now we are asked TO SWEAR THE TRUTH. Would you please tell me WHAT your definition of TRUTH is and how any of us have ACCESS to this truth?

If I ask you on the witness stand “How much is two plus two?” You are going to answer four. But you cannot honestly say that you KNOW that to be the truth. You are repeating HEARSAY which you learned in grammar school. If you google on PROOF ARITHMETIC ADDITION you will discover that the actual proof of addition involves over 250 steps in a theorem. So unless you name is Alfred North Whitehead or Bertrand Russell or Godel or Gauss or Fermat or Hilbert, you are not educated sufficiently in math and logic to PROVE that 2 + 2 is four so therefore you cannot say you have access to the truth. But you CERTAINLY know when you are consciously bearing false witness or committing a lie of omission. Now the Ten Commandments says NOTHING about telling the truth, right? But the Ten Commandments do clearly forbid BEARING FALSE WITNESS OR TESTIMONY.


June 21, 2010

Americans have forgotten how to kill and forgotten how to die. We like to watch movies about the Spartan 300, but we have forgotten how to say “we who are about to die salute you.” We have no draft yet there are people who voluntarily enlist. They know they are bringing something big to the table and they may die and they get paid peanuts. A CEO brings nothing to the table. If the company goes belly up he has his golden parachute. If the company does poorly he gets huge bonuses. We are moral cowards. Both liberals and conservatives complain about the system but no one ever talks about radically changing the system. We talk the talk but we can no longer walk the walk. If you or anyone thinks that what we do and how we handle things is so great, then why doesn’t it work and why do you all constantly complain. Why are we a failure as a civilization. Why should Madoff be alive right now? Wait and see, in a few years he will be out. Why is his family still alive? The Roman army would discipline their troops with decimation, which meant that every 10th man would die. Rome only lasted 1000 years but at least Rome lasted 1000 years. Your God, the God of the Old Testament, the God of the Bible loving American founders, decreed that Ahab and Jezebel would lay dead in the streets and the dogs would devour their flesh. The fate of Ahab and Jezebel is too good for the Madoff family and cohorts yet they are free and safe to live in splendor with all their plunder. Of course people will do things with impunity when there are no consequences.

Barton played GOOD COP with BP

June 18, 2010

And GODDAMIT he is a REPUBLICAN. Not all conservatives are wild-eyed, unreasonable fanatics.

I don’t think that Barton did or said anything so terrible. I kind of see him as playing “good cop” in a “good cop/bad cop” game. Barton emphasized several times that he is only speaking for himself and not for any party, Senate or Congress. Barton is ENTITLED to his subjective opinion and should have the freedom of speech to express his personal opinion. He is only trying to be polite and extremely politically correct. I suspect Barton is correct about current tactics being a kind of shake-down that flies in the face of 200 years of traditional due-process. I am quite certain that Barton WOULD go to prison were he to do the same thing privately in his office. The conservatives have moaned and groaned for years that they need off-shore drilling and to hell with the environment. The 1977 sci-fi movie “Demon Seed” demonstrates common sense when the supercomputer Proteus REFUSES on moral grounds to tell humans where to drill for oil under the ocean. My wife retorts that BP cut corners. But in these difficult times EVERY COMPANY cuts corners and bends rules just to survive. Sure the US was wrong under Clinton to deregulate and allow things like derivatives, but it was the ENTIRE WORLD that went after it because of greed and short-sightedness. No company looks any farther ahead than the next quarterly report. No one positions themselves for the next 50 or hundred years. Humans make errors, so if you DEMAND deep sea drilling, then sooner or later you are going to have this kind of tragedy. It worked to crucify Jesus so most people seem to think… in that it worked their personal salvation. But I dont see any salvation forthcoming from the crucifixion of BP. I am not saying they should not pay. I am just saying that one can be polite, civil and diplomatic as they strap them to the lethal injection table.

Supreme Court Justice Stevens wrote a scathing dissent saying that the holding displayed “an unstated lack of confidence in the impartiality and capacity of the state judges who would make the critical decisions if the vote count were to proceed.” He continued, “[t]he endorsement of that position by the majority of this Court can only lend credence to the most cynical appraisal of the work of judges throughout the land. It is confidence in the men and women who administer the judicial system that is the true backbone of the rule of law. Time will one day heal the wound to that confidence that will be inflicted by today’s decision. One thing, however, is certain. Although we may never know with complete certainty the identity of the winner of this year’s Presidential election, the identity of the loser is perfectly clear. It is the Nation’s confidence in the judge as an impartial guardian of the rule of law.”

Now suppose the Executive branch of our government (the President) had threatened to strip Stevens of his office unless he recanted his scathing dissent? How would this be any different than the censure of Barton for exercising his free speech and expressing his subjective opinion?

Presidential Powers and the Constitution

June 13, 2010

DAVID KESSLER, A QUESTION OF INTENT: A GREAT AMERICAN BATTLE WITH A DEADLY INDUSTRY 68 (2001) (quoting President George H. W. Bush at a White House meeting in January 1993 on regulations to implement the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act).

“I’m a little puzzled. I’m being told that I can’t just make a decision and have it promptly executed, that the Department can’t just salute smartly and go execute whatever decision I make. Why is that?”
— President George H. W. Bush

President Truman’s attempt during the Korean War to seize American steel mills to prevent a strike from crippling the economy was declared illegal by the Supreme Court in Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer because it had not been authorized by Congress. This decision remains one of the Court’s few pronouncements on the subject of constitutional limits on presidential power. Yet this topic will remain the subject of seemingly endless debate because of its continuing importance to understanding the structure of our government. Although this debate often acquires a distinctly partisan tinge, particularly when the White House and Congress are controlled by different political parties, it is vitally important, for the debate raises issues that go to the very heart of our constitutional scheme.

President Abraham Lincoln was the first to issue what was formally called an “executive order,” the Congressional Research Service estimates that during the first seventy-two years of the republic — a period that spans the presidencies of George Washington to James Buchanan — presidents issued a total of 143 directives that now would be considered executive orders.

The argument in favor of presidential authority to dictate agency decisions confronts not only legal difficulties, but also substantial policy concerns. Although it may have become somewhat old-fashioned to speak of agency expertise, any effort to involve the White House in more than a handful of regulatory decisions necessarily must delegate presidential authority to persons who often are likely to have far less expertise than the agency officials whose decisions they seek to displace. The president simply does not have the time to be personally involved in any more than a few of the myriad, [*pg 1007] complex regulatory issues with which agencies grapple on a daily basis. Thus, one consequence of efforts by the Clinton administration and now the George W. Bush administration to assert greater White House authority over agency policies is that young White House aides are now trying to give orders to cabinet officials.249

In his book Locked in the Cabinet, President Clinton’s first secretary of labor, Robert Reich, describes how he repeatedly felt bullied by phone calls from young aides in the White House Office of Cabinet Affairs. After being informed that “[t]he White House wants you to go to Cleveland,” Reich describes his reaction:

Here I am, a member of the president’s cabinet, confirmed by the Senate, the head of an entire government department with eighteen thousand employees, responsible for implementing a huge number of laws and rules, charged with helping people get better jobs, and who is telling me what to do? Some twerp in the White House who has no clue what I’m doing in this job. Screw him. I won’t go.

New School & Speaker Quinn Shopping Survey

May 12, 2010

Sent to Speaker Quinn’s office via this website link:

Soutbridge Towers Management has distributed to each co-operator a questionnaire ALLEGEDLY from your office, inquiring about our shopping habits, with instructions to simply return the form to the management office. I would like YOUR assurance that this is legitimate, and I feel it would be more professional for such a questionnaire to be mailed, emailed or faxed to YOUR office, since the information requested is NOT the business of Southbridge Towers Management.

The form is entitled

New School Food Market Analysis Resident Survey

and states:

The New School University, in partnership with New York City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn’s office, is doing a survey of residents and shoppers to help gauge interest in the idea of a year-round market developed near the Seaport. Your input is valuable and we thank you for your time! Please return the completed survey to the Management Office by Thursday, May 13.

IF in fact this is a hoax and your office is NOT aware of such a survey, then I demand that you take legal actions to the full extent of the law to discourage such hoaxes and misrepresentation. And I suggest in the future that your design such surveys with a link to some website since we are living in the 21st century. Offering an on-line form will save time and energy, and will lend greater credibility to the survey as well as ensure our rights to privacy and confidentiality.

I will be happy to scan the form and email or fax the form to you. Please advise. Thanks!