"Mistrust those in whom the urge to punish is strong." Friedrich Nietzche

"Any and all non-violent, non-coercive, non-larcenous, consensual adult behavior that does not physically harm other people or their property or directly and immediately endangers same, that does not disturb the peace or create a public nuisance, and that is done in private, especially on private property, is the inalienable right of all adults. In a truly free and liberty-loving society, ruled by a secular government, no laws should be passed to prohibit such behavior. Any laws now existing that are contrary to the above definition of inalienable rights are violations of the rights of adults and should be made null and void." D. M. Mitchell (from The Myth of Inalienable Rights, at: http://dowehaverights.blogspot.com/)

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Jury Nullification

I just finished reading an article online from Reason Magazine. It was about the ancient English and American legal premise of jury nullification. Judges in this nation used to instruct the juries that they had the right and the power to nullify a law that they thought was a bad law or if they thought that the law in a particular case should not be applied.

A famous case in America, when it was still thirteen colonies of England, is the trial of John Zenger in 1735. Zenger was accused of printing seditious libels against the Governor of the Colony of New York. Alexander Hamilton defended Zenger and a jury of twelve men found him not guilty in spite of the fact that it was clearly evident that he did print the seditious material. 

The first Chief Justice of this nation, John Jay, stated that juries had the right to judge both the facts and the law. (See the second link, above.) But why would the Founding Fathers of this nation want juries to decide both the facts and the law

"If a juror accepts as the law that which the judge states then that juror has accepted the exercise of absolute authority of a government employee and has surrendered a power and right that once was the citizen's safeguard of liberty." (1788) (2 Elliots Debates, 94, Bancroft, History of the Constitution, 267)

However, the (in)justice system and the courts began to shy away from letting the jurors know about this ancient principle beginning with the trials under the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. That Act allowed slave owners or their agents to come into free states and if they found a runaway slave, that person would be put in irons and sent back to his owner.

By the late 1800's courts informing juries of their right to nullification was pretty much dead. "In the 1895 in the case of Sparf v. United States written by Justice John Marshall Harlan, the United States Supreme Court held 5 to 4 that a trial judge has no responsibility to inform the jury of the right to nullify laws." The final nails in the coffin jury nullification happened after the prohibition of alcohol when many juries wouldn't convict know local bootleggers and moonshine still operators.

Was jury nullification always a good thing. No. In many cases in the South, all white juries would find defendants not guilty of murdering blacks even though the evidence was clear and convincing. But that was then. This is now. It would be much harder for that type of jury misconduct to happen now. Even in the South, today, it would be hard to get an all white jury. And even if that did happen, there are fewer overtly bigoted white people in the South than there were fifty years ago. Besides, "judges retain the rights both to decide sentences and to disregard juries' guilty verdicts, acting as a check against malicious juries."

Jury nullification is a right of the people to keep bad laws and bad prosecutors under control. Unless, of course, you are one of those who believe that the government can do no wrong. (If you are one of those you need to check out this site  from the Innocence Project.)

The people need to petition the government (state and federal) to demand that judges specifically tell the juries that they have the right to decide both the facts and the law. Juries are our last defense between citizens and an overzealous, overreaching government that is more and more willing to disregard the inalienable rights of citizens and establish its "absolute authority." (Or, as I like to say: "All hail the Imperial Government. Dissenters will be shot.)

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Everybody Wants to Pay More Taxes

Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, recently made this statement: Everybody … including the rich people, are willing to pay more. They want to pay more. He was talking about taxes, that everyone wants to pay more taxes to the federal government.

Besides the fact that his statement was so incredible as to be ludicrous, bordering on serious delusional behavior, I had to wonder about the taxes that Harry Reid pays.

The arcane, esoteric, convoluted, and impossible to know IRS code allows for many deductions that allow people, like Harry Reid, to lower their effective tax rate—that is, to pay less tax. Now, if Harry Reid is part of “everybody” and not part of the new aristocracy then he wants to pay more taxes.

Therefore, Harry Reid probably doesn’t take advantage of the deductions that are in the IRS code that apply to him, of which I’m sure there are several. Of course, if he does take advantage of those deductions then… well then Harry Reid would be a hypocrite. 

Of course, he is a politician so that’s nothing new. Congress did exempt themselves from the rigors of the Affordable Health Care Act, a.k.a., Obamacare. Obamacare is just for the commoners… uh, that is, the regular citizens… uh, you know, the people of the United States that aren't in Congress or appointed to office or working for those that are.

So how about it Senator Reid, do you pay all the taxes you can and not take any deductions to lower how much you pay to the federal government, since you are part of the “everybody” you said wants to do that? Or, are you really just a hypocrite and think you are so darned lucky to be part of the new aristocracy and take advantage of all the deductions you can, as well as not having to participate in all the laws you help pass, like a co-equal citizen?

What do your tax returns say?

Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Sophistry of Climate

I've found a new site about climate. It's written by an astrophysicist, Joe Postma. He's a bit esoteric in some of his writings but if you read carefully, the layman can understand what he's saying. He absolutely refutes the human-caused global warming/climate change people or, as I like to call them, the Gorists and Warmists. He's well worth reading, unless, of course if you are a Warmist or a Gorist. Then you will be in denial about real science and what really causes global warming and cooling.

The following three URL's are, first, his article about who the true climate deniers are, second, a list of his peer-reviewed papers, and third, The Fraud of the Atmospheric Greenhouse Effect Part 1.

Read and be enlightened.

1. http://climateofsophistry.com/2012/12/13/about-joseph-e-postma-joe-postma-the-climate-denier-list-who-are-the-true-deniers/

2. http://climateofsophistry.com/2012/12/13/about-joseph-e-postma-joe-postma-the-climate-denier-list-who-are-the-true-deniers/

3. http://climateofsophistry.com/?s=The+Fraud+of+the+Atmospheric+Greenhouse+Effect+Part+1

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

The Affordable Health Care Act

The Affordable Health Care Act (a.k.a., Obamacare) may not be so affordable if we believe what certain Republican politicians and some economic experts and doctors are saying about it. But then, it may just work out like a kind of stitched together Frankenstein monster. Only time will tell.

The Republicans would do well to just let go. Tell their constituency that they did the best they could but the President and the Democrats rebuffed them at every attempt for compromise. Then let the Democrats own it. If it fails then all the fault will be on them, not the Republicans.

But this is what I find most interesting. If Obamacare is so good, as the President and the Democrats have been trying to convince the average American, why then did Congress exempt itself from that Act? 

Further, the Supreme Court of the United States is exempt from Obamacare along with all federal employees and 729 private companies and unions. (Click on link, above.) This is a puzzlement.

Actually, this smacks of elitism, of the actions of a new aristocracy, the political class and their cronies.

It is unprecedented that for the first time in the history of this once great nation the government is forcing people to buy a product from... the government. The original wording of Obamacare allowed a person who refused to buy this product, or show proof of having "valid" health insurance, to be fined. The Supreme Court twisted that around and said, no, it wasn't a fine. That would be unconstitutional. It was a tax. There, all nice and neat. The government can tax you, under certain circumstances, but they can't fine you for not buying their product. (In the end it's the same thing is it not?)

Well here's what I think of the Supreme Court. It's a political animal. You can't be nominated for the Supreme Court, let alone have that nomination confirmed, unless your political beliefs are in line with the presiding political powers.

Everyone forgets that the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 was constitutional. That Act allowed slave owners, or their agents, to go into "free" states and search for runaway slaves. If found, the slave would be shackled in irons and taken back to his "master."

You may say, oh well that was 1850 and has nothing to do with today. Those people were different then. Not true. The Supreme Court of 1850 was a political animal doing what the political powers wanted. The Supreme Court of today is just as much of a political animal. Their decisions are not necessarily based on the straight-forward meaning of the U.S. Constitution. It's all kind of like a discussion of "how many angels can dance on the head of a pin" or, even better, Bill Clinton's statement that "it all depends on what the meaning of is, is." If that didn't spin your head around then you deserve the government you're getting.

So, Obamacare is the cure-all for our health care problems in America but the new aristocracy and their cronies don't think it's good enough for them. I say, if it's the law of the land, a law passed by Congress, then Congress and all the government must be forced to use it themselves. The law must apply equally to all people.

This nation is still a Constitutional Republic (barely). It still hasn't become a kingdom or fascist police-state (yet). The members of Congress, the Supreme Court, the federal employees, and the cronies of the political class are not above the citizenry, the "common" people who must fund and pay for Obamacare under threat of force.

The members of Congress, et al., are of the common people, the citizenry, also. To think otherwise, to think that they are special because they were elected or appointed to government office, is to believe in aristocracy, a ruling class who are better than the rest of us, which is exactly what the exemption from Obamacare means. They think they are better than the rest of us. The unmitigated hypocrisy and arrogance should scare us all. The mask is slowly being torn off the face of tyranny.