Monday, August 17, 2015

Free speech: I'm gonna get you

I am all in favor of holding public officials accountable for how they do their jobs, but sometimes there is a fine line between exercising one's civic responsibility and saying something that someone else might perceive as a threat. I have posted about the case of Dan Brewington, who spent a couple of years in prison before being largely exonerated. Here is another case.

A man was being prosecuted for some crime, and he got upset when his own lawyer said that she uncovered incriminating evidence that she was giving to the prosecution. He had good reason to be upset, as it is not the job of his defense lawyer to go fishing for incriminating evidence. He must have gotten even more upset when she called police, pressed charges for threatening her, and got him convicted and sentenced to 3 years in prison.

From an Illinois appeals court decision:
On the record before us, we do not see how it would be possible for any rational trier of fact to infer, beyond a reasonable doubt, that when defendant told Lacy, “‘I’m gonna get you,’“ he meant violent retribution as opposed to these forms of nonviolent retribution — one of which he had just got done discussing with her. In the absence of any evidence that could justify a finding, beyond a reasonable doubt, that defendant’s threat was a “true threat,” we reverse his conviction on the ground that it violates the first amendment, made applicable to the states by the fourteenth amendment.
So you are entirely within your Constitutional rights to say “I’m gonna get you“ if you intended to hold someone accountable in some lawful way. But you might spend some time in jail before you get the attention of a sympathetic judge.

My suggestion is to say something like "I'm gonna hold you accountable for this" or something like that. But maybe even that is dangerous when dealing with backstabbing govt agents who have friends who are prosecutors and judges.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Libertarian attacks on marriage

A common libertarian reaction to issues like same-sex marriage is to say that govt should get out of the marriage business, and let any consenting adults agree to whatever behavior and contracts they please. Religions could perform whatever ceremonies they please. This is standard libertarian doctrine, as they believe that just about any problem is better solved by private contracting than by govt.

A libertarian magazine, Reason, published an article attacking this view. The article seemed like heresy to many. Here is a video attacking the article.

The trouble with the libertarian argument is that you cannot make a binding legal contract for sexual services, or child custody, or child support. That is, American law will not uphold such a contract.

When the govt gives benefits like tax-free inheritance or joint tax returns or green cards, it is not going to do that for random groups of people writing their own contracts.

Maybe the libertarians would say that in their perfect world, there would be no taxes or green cards anyway. Let me know if that ever happens anywhere.

I have posted a libertarian definition, but I don't think I ever explained how family law is a huge blind spot for libertarians.

There are web sites for matching alternative parents. You can find your own match from people all over the world, and write your own contract to divvy up the parental rights and responsibilities however you please. It seems like a libertarian paradise until you learn that none of it works, and none of the contracts are enforceable. These web sites have very few people who even try, once they find out the complications.

Libertarians might say that such contracts should be enforceable, but as far as I know, there is no libertarian explanation of how that would ever work. Even hard-core libertarians seem to accept that in anything but a traditional two natural parent family, some family court judge gets to decide the BIOTCh (best interest of the child). Some of them even brag that this is the truly libertarian view, because it protects the rights of the child.

I happen to think that some contracts could be enforced with minimal government intervention, in my hypothetical libertarian society. But it does not matter. I cannot convince the libertarians, or Republicans or Democrats or anyone else.

I have occasionally praised the merits of the American nuclear family, as shown in the 1950s and 1960s TV shows like Leave it to Beaver, and Ozzie and Harriet. Some readers complain that this is antiquated, or unrealistic, or coupled with obsolete moral values, or not sufficiently respectful of feminists or LGBTQIA folks, or contrary to liberal political goals. Maybe so, but those families are the only free ones. All other arrangements are subject to micro-management by the family court.

I post these arguments because of the widespread view that if too much govt is the problem, as I have often argued on this blog, then the libertarians might have a solution. The libertarians do not have a solution. They either ignore the problem, or make proposals that will make it worse.

The best proposed solution is shared parenting, as advocated by the Fathers' rights movement, National Parents Organization, and this blog. Some states have passed laws in this direction, declared a presumption of shared parenting unless some judge finds it contrary to the BIOTCh.

But even with these laws, the parents still have no individual constitutional rights to their kids, and the family court judge is firmly in control of child custody issues, parenting plans, and finances.

Here is Rand Paul's libertarian response to the US Supreme Court mandating same-sex marriage:
While I disagree with Supreme Court’s redefinition of marriage, I believe that all Americans have the right to contract. ...

Do consenting adults have a right to contract with other consenting adults? ...

Perhaps the time has come to examine whether or not governmental recognition of marriage is a good idea, for either party. ...

Perhaps the time has come to examine whether or not governmental recognition of marriage is a good idea, for either party.
He is disconnected from reality. The family court already ignores marriage for most questions about child custody, parenting, and support. Getting away from recognition of marriage has only increased govt control over private lives.

Paul has many other libertarian views, but is strangely silent on what is the biggest govt usurpation of our liberties.

A more libertarian approach view requires:

* Abolish forced child support.
* Give single or divorced parents constitutional rights to the care, custody, and upbringing of their kids, just as married parents have.
* Abolish BIOTCh, special masters, forensic psychologists doing anything but DMS-5 diagnosis, and guardians ad litem.
* Reduce family court jurisdiction to monetary remedies of contractual disputes, such as dissolving joint property after divorce.
* Establish paternity by marriage or DNA test.

These changes seem as far-fetched as other radical ideas, such as the anti-feminist TWRA (Traditional Women’s Rights Activist). They want to re-instate the husband as legal head of household, with an obligation to support his wife and kids, and re-instate the Tender Years Doctrine, so the mom is in charge of young kids. There is a certain logic to this, but most people would reject it as sexist.

Anyway, I post this to further explain the hopelessness of reforming the system. Fathers are slaves, and not even the libertarians recognize that or object to it.

Sunday, August 09, 2015

Vermont CPS murders

I intended to quit posting this junk, but this story is too weird.

Vermont passed a law making it easier for CPS to take kids away from parents. Friday morning, Jody Herring lost custody of her kid to the foster care system. Friday evening, she shot and killed the CPS/DCF social worker Lara Sobel responsible. Herring was arrested. Saturday morning, three relatives of Herring were shot and killed.

Here are links to the stories. These folks are innocent until proven guilty, of course.

I posted a 2012 story where Georgia CPS seemed to be assassinating its enemies. I never got the full story.

These people sound like gangsters. Obviously killing Herring's relatives was revenge, but was it by CPS or by the relatives of Sobel, the social worker? I assume that they did not kill Herring because she was in police custody, and they could not get to her.

I know it sounds crazy and paranoid to think that a state child welfare agency would carry out revenge murders. But CPS attracts cruel sadistic bullies, just as police forces also attract such people. Somebody carried out these murders.

There is lots of publicity today about the one-year anniversary of the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson Missouri. The riots were fueled by Obama administration arguments that a white racist cop shot a black man who held his hand up and said "don't shoot". Instead, all the evidence proved that the black man was trying to kill the white cop, and the cop had to shoot in self-defense.

Has there been much publicity about these Vermont crimes? They should be easy to solve. Just interrogate everyone with a motive. No one had time to plan a perfect crime. Impulsive killers always leave plenty of evidence.

The obvious lesson here: Do not screw with CPS, even if they are ruining your life. These are people who think nothing of collateral damage on the way to their intended targets.

Update: Herring has been charged in all the murders:
Premont also told police that Herring “would often make comments about how ‘people are going to pay. There’s going to be an Armageddon.’”

The affidavit also says Herring seemed to mention other victims the day she was arrested, before the three bodies were discovered in Berlin.

It says that as Barre police were escorting Herring back to a holding cell after interviewing her the day of Sobel’s murder, “she laughed and uttered ‘did you find the other three yet?’”
I guess the relatives were conspiring with CPS to take her 9yo kid away. She stole the gun, because she failed the background test to buy one. Meanwhile, the state has leaked reports that she was nuts:
Defense lawyer David Sleigh initially asked at Herring's arraignment Aug. 10 to block the release of DCF records.

After the prosecution responded, Sleigh filed a second request after learning that reporters obtained court records showing a doctor believed Herring was bipolar and had mental health issues. ...

The family court records were used by media outlets, including the Burlington Free Press and the website VtDigger. The records included a letter from a doctor that noted, "Jody's chief medical problem restricting her employability is an underlying bipolar disorder," family court records show.

Dr. Kevin D. Crowley of Green Mountain Family Practice wrote in November 2010 that, despite his not being a psychiatrist but based on Herring's "numerous office visits, it is unlikely she would be able to hold a job for any length of time because of her emotional state and her resultant inability to stay focused."

Crowley indicated he was offering his presumed medical diagnosis to John Wirth, a staff attorney for the Office of Child Support. The document was part of the public file in family court.

Psychiatric intervention that amounted to "polypharmacy of treatment has only normalized things a little," Crowley wrote.

"Ms. Herring is a bright intelligent woman and I believe with time she will settle into gainful employment," the doctor wrote. "It will be a long time however."
So she was too crazy to hold a job but she still somehow won sole child custody in the family court?!