Monthly Archives: March 2010

An Ex-Post Facto Law at the Heart of Florida’s Statutes authorizing Homeowner’s Association Assessments and Fees: § 720.3085. Payment for assessments; lien claims

It is rare indeed when a state legislature does anything quite so bizarre as to enact a blatantly unconstitutional statute on such rare grounds as a “bill of attainder”, a “bill of pains and penalties” and/or an “Ex Post Facto Law”, but the Florida Legislature appears to have done just that.  As my distinguished colleague and brilliant Texas constitutional counsel David A. Rogers wrote when I sent him a copy of Florida Statute 720.3085,

“Of course, as you know, the prohibitions on EPF in the non-criminal context are less than they are in the criminal context (where they are pretty much absolute), but I think this manages to be both an EPF law and a “taking without compensation” in violation of the 5th Amendment.”

§ 720.3085.  Payment for assessments; lien claims

(1) When authorized by the governing documents, the association has a lien on each parcel to secure the payment of assessments and other amounts provided for by this section. Except as otherwise set forth in this section, the lien is effective from and shall relate back to the date on which the original declaration of the community was recorded. However, as to first mortgages of record, the lien is effective from and after recording of a claim of lien in the public records of the county in which the parcel is located. This subsection does not bestow upon any lien, mortgage, or certified judgment of record on July 1, 2008, including the lien for unpaid assessments created in this section, a priority that, by law, the lien, mortgage, or judgment did not have before July 1, 2008.

John Wolfgram thoughtfully shared his analysis:

1. Liens do not create foreclosure powers.  They create a right of payment that must be honored before or at the time of selling the property.

2.  I think that the last sentence prevents it from being an ex post facto law. Assuming the effective date of the statute was July 1, 2008, on its face it does not allow any lien to be effective under this statute before that date.

3.  It does say when the governing document had to be in effect by the words “when authorized by the governing documents”.  To the extent that they are not in effect, the governing documents do not authorize anything.

4.  I don’t understand about a lien being imposed ten years after purchase.  That would seem to create a statute of limitations problem.  The lien must be for a currently viable debt governed by the originally filed documents.

Wolf

With deep gratitude to John Wolfgram for his input, I do not think that the last sentence on priority saves the provision from being an Ex-Post Facto status at all.   Nor do I think that John is right about the lack of true retroactive effect.  F.S. 720.3085 is clearly both intended to be retroactive (creating the ex-post facto effect) and is so being applied by Florida Lawyers (no test cases yet in Court, according to Lexis, which I assume is infallible on this point…).

The law articulated here certainly doesn’t go on to say anything about “when authorized by the governing documents AT THE TIME OF PURCHASE or original acquisition of entry in the property…”  That might save the provision from ex-post facto effect.

And, just as a side note: is this or is this NOT one of the highest quasi-governmental interest rates you’ve ever seen anywhere?  OK, 18% on a Citibank MasterCard or VISA or even American Express “Sign & Travel” or “Optima” Card I can understand, but 18% on a Homeowners’ Assessment that has not even been reduced to Judgment?   What interpretation can anyone place on this other than to say that the Florida Legislature really is trying to outlaw private property.

I think this is the real thing, a real constitutional outrage, and since every constitutionalist should be interested in Ex Post Facto Laws and Bills of Attainder…or legislative bills of pains and penalties.

And thanks to Bill Trudelle of Tampa who commented, “I think it is an excellent catch.”  Also thanks to Bill for providing the citation to the Florida Supreme Court’s White Egret describing Homeowners’ Associations as “Little Democracies” (i.e. quasi-governmental entities exercising governmental power unconstitutionally as no government could do): White Egret V Franklin-Florida SCT-1979

Attached, finally, is the full text of Pearl Lanier Bryan’s comprehensive demand letter submitted today on this very point: Pearl Lanier Bryan to Patrick T Hinckley March 28, 2010.

Palm Sunday March 28, 2010 (Today in History): Three Mile Island (1979); Andrew Jackson Censured for Removing Deposits of the Bank of the United States (1834); Premier of Leni Riefenstahl’s “Triumph des Willens” (1935),

Today is Palm Sunday, March 28, the 87th day of 2010. There are 278
days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:
On March 28, 1979, America’s worst commercial nuclear accident
occurred inside the Unit 2 reactor at the Three Mile Island plant
near Middletown, Pa.

On this date:
In 1834, the U.S. Senate voted to censure President Andrew Jackson
for the removal of federal deposits from the Bank of the United States.
In 1854, during the Crimean War, Britain and France declared war on
Russia.
In 1898, the Supreme Court, in United States v. Wong Kim Ark, ruled
that a child born in the United States to Chinese immigrants was a
U.S. citizen.
In 1930, the names of the Turkish cities of Constantinople and Angora
were changed to Istanbul and Ankara.
In 1935, the notorious Nazi propaganda film “Triumph des
Willens” (Triumph of the Will), directed by Leni Riefenstahl,
premiered in Berlin with Adolf Hitler present.
In 1939, the Spanish Civil War effectively ended as Madrid fell to
the forces of Francisco Franco.
In 1941, novelist and critic Virginia Woolf drowned herself in Lewes,
England.
In 1942, during World War II, British naval forces raided the Nazi-
occupied French port of St. Nazaire in Operation Chariot.
In 1969, the 34th president of the United States, Dwight D.
Eisenhower, died in Washington, D.C., at age 78.
In 1994, absurdist playwright Eugene Ionesco died in Paris at age 84.

Ten years ago: In a unanimous ruling, the Supreme Court, in Florida
v. J.L., sharply curtailed police power in relying on anonymous tips
to stop and search people.
Five years ago: The Colorado Supreme Court threw out the death
penalty in a rape-and-murder case because five of the jurors had
consulted the Bible and quoted Scripture during deliberations. (The
U.S. Supreme Court refused to consider reinstating the death sentence
of Robert Harlan, who ended up being resentenced to life in prison
for the murder of cocktail waitress Rhonda Maloney.) A major
earthquake off the west coast of Indonesia killed some 1,300 people.
One year ago: Fears in Fargo, N.D. of a catastrophic flood eased with
word that the surging Red River had crested at lower-than-expected
levels. Nearly 4,000 cities and towns in 88 countries switched off
nonessential lights for Earth Hour to highlight the threat of climate
change. Thousands of people marched through European cities to demand
jobs, economic justice and environmental accountability. Shuttle
Discovery and its crew of seven returned to Earth, ending a 13-day
voyage to install a pair of solar wings on the international space
station.

Today’s Birthdays: Former White House national security adviser
Zbigniew Brzezinski (ZBIG’-nyef breh-ZHIN’-skee) is 82. Country
musician Charlie McCoy is 69. Movie director Mike Newell is 68.
Actress Conchata Ferrell is 67. Actor Ken Howard is 66. Actress
Dianne Wiest (weest) is 62. Country singer Reba McEntire is 55.
Olympic gold-medal gymnast Bart Conner is 52. Rapper Salt (Salt-N-
Pepa) is 44. Actress Tracey Needham is 43. Actor Max Perlich is 42.
Movie director Brett Ratner is 41. Country singer Rodney Atkins is
41. Actor Vince Vaughn is 40. Rapper Mr. Cheeks (Lost Boyz) is 39.
Actor Ken L. is 37. Rock musician Dave Keuning is 34. Actress Annie
Wersching is 33. Actress Julia Stiles is 29. Singer Lady Gaga is 24.

Thought for Today: “Guess, if you can, and choose, if you dare.” —
Pierre Corneille (kawr-NAY’), French dramatist and poet (1606-1684).

Glenn Beck and the start of Easter Week

Today March 27, 2010, I attended Glenn Beck’s “American Revival” meeting in Orlando—and close to an old-fashioned “Revival” meeting it was—complete with two singings of “Amazing Grace”, a few tiresome confessionals (worst by Glenn) and one actual (security officer assisted) “healing.”

I don’t know what to thing of Glenn Beck and his followers: basically a very mixed bag.

One of my closest collaborating colleagues says that Glenn Beck is a “Monster”—-I don’t quite get that, unless you consider self-absorbed windyness a form of monstrosity (and even if you do, I’ve run into and heard MUCH worse).   I would not rate him as interesting an opinionated speaker as Alexander Woollcott, so good a news reporter or story-teller or moral editorialist as Paul Harvey or anywhere close to a speaker as inspiring as Ronald Reagan.  Still, he’s definitely a unique phenomenon in the United States of America today.

So I went to see the man in person today for the first time in my life at the University of Central Florida Arena in Orlando today.   Glenn Beck is nowhere the stature or determination of Judge Andrew Napolitano who also appeared, along with David Barton and David Buckner at a kind of “soft-core conservative pop culture symposium” today.  It wasn’t anywhere nearly as interesting or intense as the Tenth Amendment Summit I attended exactly one month in Atlanta, but it was 200 times better attended—around 8,000-10,000 people in attendance (and massive traffic jams around UCF) in Orlando compared to 400-500 at the Atlanta Airport Hilton.   I cannot help but think that both meetings are symbolic of the radical resurgence of constitutional thought in America.  The Tenth Amendment Center is based in Los Angeles, Judge Napolitano is from New Jersey—both meetings were in two of the original Seven States of the Old Southern Confederacy—how is it going to help me realize a state right democratic resurgence in California?

Some conservatives are devoted watchers of Glenn Beck.  I am not.  I don’t feel he has anything to teach me. (Judge Andrew Napolitano is actually fairly “hard core” and he does much to teach, as do some of the other participants, notably David Barton on the history of religion during the Revolutionary and Constitutionally formative among the founding fathers—a perennially controversial topic).

I know that Glenn Beck opposes two of the political theories/causes/movements to which I adhere and subscribe firmly: (1) to presume the constitutional ineligibility of President Barack Hussein Obama until he proves us wrong—because the time he may count on the “presumption of innocence” is now long gone, (2) the 911 Truth movement—which is probably (in the long run, more important than the “birther” movement to which it is regularly linked—it matters little, in reality, where Barack Husseim Obama was born, except that if he was born anywhere in the U.S. or the World other than the United States, or if he doesn’t in fact know where he was born, then he’s a gigantic liar and fraud—and as with so many things, such as the importance of Monica Lewinsky or Britney Spears, the Americans are the only people on earth who, by majority vote anyhow, believe the “official U.S. Government story” either of the 9-11 terrorist attacks or Barack Huseein Obama’s constitutional eligibility).

So why does Glenn Beck refuse to entertain discussion on Barack Obama’s birthplace and any detailed inquiry into questions such as “How did WTC7 Fall?” and “Why was there no aeroplane debris around the Pentagon?”  And “what a coincidence that the U.S. Air Force was engaged in conceptually related exercises on 9-11-2001, but still failed to react to the real thing in time to take any preventive action?”  Or, “why has both the press and the government been so completely closed behind stone-walls on this topic?”

A new acquaintance who teaches Constitutional Law in South Florida may have the answer: Glenn Beck is an “operative” moderate, a uniquely conservative voice in mainstream media whose purpose is nonetheless to preserve the IRS, the Federal Reserve Banking System, and the general Title 42 Social Security and Public Welfare Program which has almost totally merged the state and Federal governments (as a matter of administrative law, hidden behind a facade of judicial separation in the publicly accessible courts).   The most important issue facing any country is whether its highest governmental leaders are willing to murder them for their own (the leaders’ own) advancement.  “False flag” terrorism is hardly a new concept, but 9-11, if an example, would certainly the most heinous, outrageous example in world history.   If 9-11 truthers are correct, and I think there are, then there is little point in negotiating with the present government of the United States, and the question of whether Barack Hussein Obama was born in Mombasa or Honolulu simply pales by comparison, because the administration of Barack Hussein Obama has not sought to indict or even investigate any high officials of the Bush Administration.

But tomorrow is Palm Sunday—the day of the triumphal entry into Jerusalem.  I have been reading all of John Dominic Crossan’s books I can get my hand on since hearing this brilliant Irish-American scholar speak at Bethesda-by-the-Sea in Palm Beach, Florida last month.  I was born on Palm Sunday, 1960, and my son was born in Palm Beach and baptized at Bethesda-by-the-Sea.  He’s off camping this weekend and his mother my estranged Elena is worried because he isn’t calling from camp…but he’s closer to 18 now than 17, and so close to freedom and adulthood…but still treated as half-swan, half-goose, the boy whom we used to call “Little Charlie” (or “Little Hurricane” born on the eve of Hurricane Andrew in 1992)….and how do you tell mothers not to worry about their babies?

Imagine the First Easter week, for instance.  John Dominic Crossan has written extensively about the Gospel story of Jesus’ last week, which happened to have been, at least in 1960, my first….

Mary’s somewhat prodigal son comes back to the Capital City after preaching in the countryside, and he rides a donkey (that’s kind of like running in the primary election as a write-in candidate, isn’t it, when your troops couldn’t organize your ballot ready application in time…).  Glenn Beck spoke a great deal about religion and salvation generally, but not so much about Jesus on the Eve of Holy Week…..  So Mary (whatever became of St. Joseph? and was James really Jesus’ brother????) has to watch the events of Holy Week unfold, right through a “summary judgment trial, capias, and execution” on Friday.  A mother watching her eccentric, much beloved, wildly popular but even more wildly misunderstood, son break into the Temple, scatter the money-changers (without even filing a complaint with the SEC or Comptroller of the Currency?  It was always doomed…..as is the world), generally challenge authority (my mother certainly couldn’t tolerate any of my activities, mild though they were back then…and not even close to Messianic…), and finally make everyone furious and be betrayed, arrested, condemned, and crucified—possibly the cruelest and most unusual form of capital punishment known—even when compared with such juicy methods as “boiling in oil”—which by comparison could not have taken long, compared with publicly bleeding to death while in effect standing up, very slowly….bleeding each drop of blood with each breath).   Jesus suffered, as have so many victims of injustice.

Where was any mention of America’s prison population in the middle-class Glenn Beck love-fest today?   With all the comparisons to the era of the founding fathers, 1774-1803, where was the comparison made that the imprisoned population of America today is now greater than the total population of America at that time or at either of the first two censuses.   Where was any mention of the lies and deceits that permeate the government?

Basically, the economist, David Bruckner, at today’s Orlando conclave clearly accepted the basic tenets of Keynsian Monetarism and Public Welfare Socialism in the United States, even as he quibbled with whether the national health care system just approved by contract was financial viable or not—let’s face it, EVERYTHING is financially viable when you can print up the money, so long as the people can still use Federal Reserve Notes at Walgreen’s, Walmart, CVS, Publix, HEB, Winn-Dixie, Vons’, Randall’s, Star Market, etc..

Jesus’ approach to the money changers in the Temple was much more radical—he just drove them out, “just said no” as it were.  And of monetary policy, his most famous statement was clearly valid until this day: “render under Caesar that which is Caesar’s, and unto God that which is God’s.”

Saturday, March 27, 2010: Glenn Beck in Orlando “American Revival” Day….; 1513: Ponce de Leon “Discovers” Florida; 1625: Charles I accedes to thrones of England and Scotland; 1794: Congress establishes permanent US Navy; 1964: Alaska Earthquake and Tsunamis

Today in History — Saturday, March 27

The Associated Press

Today is Saturday, March 27, the 86th day of 2010. There are 279 days
left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:
On March 27, 1977, 583 people were killed when a KLM Boeing 747,
attempting to take off, crashed into a Pan Am 747 on the Canary
Island of Tenerife (ten-uh-REEF’).

On this date:
In 1513, Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon (hwahn pahns duh LEE’-
ohn) sighted present-day Florida.
In 1625, Charles I acceded to the English throne upon the death of
James I.
In 1794, Congress approved “An Act to provide a Naval Armament” of
six armed ships.
In 1836, the first Mormon temple was dedicated, in Kirtland, Ohio.
In 1884, the first telephone line between Boston and New York was
inaugurated.
In 1945, during World War II, General Dwight D. Eisenhower told
reporters in Paris that German defenses on the Western Front had been
broken.
In 1958, Nikita Khrushchev became Soviet premier in addition to First
Secretary of the Communist Party.
In 1964, Alaska was hit by a powerful earthquake and tsunamis that
killed about 130 people.
In 1980, 123 workers died when a North Sea floating oil field
platform, the Alexander Kielland, capsized during a storm.
In 1990, the U.S. began test broadcasts of TV Marti to Cuba, which
promptly jammed the signal.

Ten years ago: The Supreme Court decided the federal government could
deny food stamps and other welfare benefits to people who live
permanently in the United States but who are not citizens.
DaimlerChrysler AG announced it would buy 34 percent of Japan’s
Mitsubishi Motors Corp.
Five years ago: Pope John Paul II delivered an Easter Sunday blessing
to tens of thousands of people in St. Peter’s Square, but the ailing
pontiff was unable to speak and managed only to greet the saddened
crowd with a sign of the cross. In a live Internet interview with the
Rev. Jesse Jackson, Michael Jackson declared himself “completely
innocent” of child molestation charges, and said he was the victim of
a conspiracy.
One year ago: President Barack Obama launched a fresh effort to
defeat al-Qaida terrorists in both Pakistan and Afghanistan, ordering
in 4,000 more troops. A suicide bomber blew up a packed mosque near
the Afghan border, killing at least 48 people. The rising Red River
broke a 112-year record and threatened the dikes fortifying Fargo,
N.D. The main suspect in the Phoenix Serial Shooter attacks, Dale
Hausner, was sentenced to death for six murders that had put the city
on edge for nearly two years. Mutual fund pioneer Jack Dreyfus died
in New York at age 95. Former NBC News economics reporter Irving R.
Levine died in Washington at age 86.

Today’s Birthdays: Former newspaper columnist Anthony Lewis is 83.
Dance company director Arthur Mitchell is 76. Actor Julian Glover is
75. Actor Jerry Lacy is 74. Actor Austin Pendleton is 70. Actor
Michael York is 68. Rock musician Tony Banks (Genesis) is 60. Actress
Maria Schneider is 58. Rock musician Andrew Farriss (INXS) is 51.
Jazz musician Dave Koz (kahz) is 47. Movie director Quentin Tarantino
is 47. Rock musician Derrick McKenzie (Jamiroquai) is 46. Rock
musician Johnny April (Staind) is 45. Actress Talisa Soto is 43.
Actress Pauley Perrette is 41. Singer Mariah Carey is 40. Rock
musician Brendan Hill (Blues Traveler) is 40. Actress Elizabeth
Mitchell is 40. Actor Nathan Fillion is 39. Hip-hop singer Fergie
(Black Eyed Peas) is 35. Actress Megan Hilty is 29. Actress Emily Ann
Lloyd is 26. Actress Brenda Song (TV: “The Suite Life of Zack and
Cody”) is 22. Actress Taylor Atelian is 15.

Thought for Today: “A sheltered life can be a daring life as well.
For all serious daring starts from within.” — Eudora Welty, American
author (1909-2001).

Give me Liberty or Give me Death—March 23, 1775 to March 23, 2010—the more things change, the more things stay the same…..

(my thanks and appreciation to Kaatcya for reminding me that today was the day)

I encourage everyone to read the immortal words of one of America’s patriotic greats during the founding of the union of these United States of America and make that determination to come true.  I would urge everyone to read these words day in and day out as our country is being taken over by the left.  On the same day Obamacare is signed into law by a likely illegally sitting president, 14 states have filed suit against this nation killing legislation, including one with a Democratic Party attorney general (Louisiana).  Of course, in the days of Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, Samuel Tilden, Grover Cleveland, Al Smith, and even later (Strom Thurmond in 1948-64, Theodore Bilbo, George Wallace, John Stennis, Sam Ervin, and Robert Byrd, the Democratic party stood above all for limited government, State’s Rights, but all that was, as they say, a long long time ago, in a galaxy far away…when I was young(er).  More states may come and probably will and they will be increasingly bipartisan.  The shots have been fired and the alarms sounded.  Of course, Obamacare does not differ in any significant way from the program Hillary Clinton proposed and pushed for in 1993-1995, and there is no doubt that Obamacare is not significantly MORE repugnant to the Constitution than Social Security, the IRS, the Federal Reserve Bank, or fully 98.9% of the entire United States Code and Code of Federal Regulations Currently in effect.

235 years ago on this date, Patrick Henry spoke the following life-and-world-changing historic words at the Anglican (Established Colonial Church of England, now Episcopal) Church of St. John in Richmond, VA (ironically enough, the same city where the first suit against Obamacare was filed today). And though the events and individuals are different, the bondage and effects are just the same, if not much worse, today.

    No man thinks more highly than I do of the patriotism, as well as abilities, of the very worthy gentlemen who have just addressed the House. But different men often see the same subject in different lights; and, therefore, I hope it will not be thought disrespectful to those gentlemen if, entertaining as I do opinions of a character very opposite to theirs, I shall speak forth my sentiments freely and without reserve. This is no time for ceremony. The questing before the House is one of awful moment to this country. For my own part, I consider it as nothing less than a question of freedom or slavery; and in proportion to the magnitude of the subject ought to be the freedom of the debate. It is only in this way that we can hope to arrive at truth, and fulfill the great responsibility which we hold to God and our country. Should I keep back my opinions at such a time, through fear of giving offense, I should consider myself as guilty of treason towards my country, and of an act of disloyalty toward the Majesty of Heaven, which I revere above all earthly kings.

    Mr. President, it is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren till she transforms us into beasts. Is this the part of wise men, engaged in a great and arduous struggle for liberty? Are we disposed to be of the number of those who, having eyes, see not, and having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation? For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst, and to provide for it.

    I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided, and that is the lamp of experience. I know of no way of judging of the future but by the past. And judging by the past, I wish to know what there has been in the conduct of the British ministry for the last ten years to justify those hopes with which gentlemen have been pleased to solace themselves and the House. Is it that insidious smile with which our petition has been lately received? Trust it not, sir; it will prove a snare to your feet. Suffer not yourselves to be betrayed with a kiss. Ask yourselves how this gracious reception of our petition comports with those warlike preparations which cover our waters and darken our land. Are fleets and armies necessary to a work of love and reconciliation? Have we shown ourselves so unwilling to be reconciled that force must be called in to win back our love? Let us not deceive ourselves, sir. These are the implements of war and subjugation; the last arguments to which kings resort. I ask gentlemen, sir, what means this martial array, if its purpose be not to force us to submission? Can gentlemen assign any other possible motive for it? Has Great Britain any enemy, in this quarter of the world, to call for all this accumulation of navies and armies? No, sir, she has none. They are meant for us: they can be meant for no other. They are sent over to bind and rivet upon us those chains which the British ministry have been so long forging. And what have we to oppose to them? Shall we try argument? Sir, we have been trying that for the last ten years. Have we anything new to offer upon the subject? Nothing. We have held the subject up in every light of which it is capable; but it has been all in vain. Shall we resort to entreaty and humble supplication? What terms shall we find which have not been already exhausted? Let us not, I beseech you, sir, deceive ourselves. Sir, we have done everything that could be done to avert the storm which is now coming on. We have petitioned; we have remonstrated; we have supplicated; we have prostrated ourselves before the throne, and have implored its interposition to arrest the tyrannical hands of the ministry and Parliament. Our petitions have been slighted; our remonstrances have produced additional violence and insult; our supplications have been disregarded; and we have been spurned, with contempt, from the foot of the throne! In vain, after these things, may we indulge the fond hope of peace and reconciliation. There is no longer any room for hope. If we wish to be free– if we mean to preserve inviolate those inestimable privileges for which we have been so long contending–if we mean not basely to abandon the noble struggle in which we have been so long engaged, and which we have pledged ourselves never to abandon until the glorious object of our contest shall be obtained–we must fight! I repeat it, sir, we must fight! An appeal to arms and to the God of hosts is all that is left us!

    They tell us, sir, that we are weak; unable to cope with so formidable an adversary. But when shall we be stronger? Will it be the next week, or the next year? Will it be when we are totally disarmed, and when a British guard shall be stationed in every house? Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance by lying supinely on our backs and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot? Sir, we are not weak if we make a proper use of those means which the God of nature hath placed in our power. The millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us. Besides, sir, we shall not fight our battles alone. There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations, and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us. The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave. Besides, sir, we have no election. If we were base enough to desire it, it is now too late to retire from the contest. There is no retreat but in submission and slavery! Our chains are forged! Their clanking may be heard on the plains of Boston! The war is inevitable-and let it come! I repeat it, sir, let it come.

    It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace– but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!

I testify to everyone receiving this e-mail that I will refuse under compulsion to buy any insurance plan I am forced to purchase and that I will refuse to pay any penalties for failure to comply with however Obamacare is defined.  I will go to prison before I pay any penalty and even then I will not pay.  I will doubly make that commitment since I have no firm proof that the putative president that signed this law was qualified to do so as a natural born U.S. citizen under Article II, Section 1 of the United States Constitution, not to mention that this law violates the 10th & 14th Amendments of our Constitution.

March 23rd, 1775 & March 23rd, 2010 were days of infamy in America.  We must march to overturn the tyranny being imposed upon us Americans, even if it costs us our lives – and who knows, it way well do so.

I make this additional commitment to you, my brothers and sisters, as our Founding Fathers did in preparation of the signing of the Declaration of Independence:

  • And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.

Some Austrian thoughts for Americans Analyzing the first day after the passage of National Health Care Plan

Words cannot describe my COMPLETE lack of Surprise that Obamacare, National Health Care, passed.  It was Hillary Clinton’s priority in 1992-95, 18-15 years ago, and look where she is now?  The Oligarchy has imposed Collectivism on an unwilling Majority, certain, like Barbara Boxer, that the members of the Elite know so much better than the ignorant masses how to govern themselves than the people could possibly do themselves.  Individual Freedom, Individual Autonomy, the importance of the individual itself—all of these are obstacles.  Individualism must give way to acquiescence in the greater good, as if the “greater good” were not the sum total of individual well-being.  I say, as I so often have said in this blog, “Cry, the Beloved Country.”  We are on a path of self-destruction and ruination. 162 years after the Communist Manifesto, Barack Obama is President, Hillary Clinton is Secretary of State.  Cass Sunstein is a Czar….

National Health Care is the logical outcome and conclusion of the process that began with Social Security, and it is no more mandatory, coercive, or invasive of private liberty than the Social Security “tax”—universally forced purchase of a rather modest retirement pension which the government periodically loots and which has never been managed by true fiduciary standards at all.  Rather than talk about the wretched details, I would prefer to contemplate the radical roots of the problem: the replacement of Classical Liberalism with Socialism, which is no kind of “liberalism” at all.   The full article is quite long and I only intend to give a taste here.  The balance can be read at: http://mises.org/daily/4113, but (even though my current attempt to run as a candidate against Barbara Boxer has stumbled and doesn’t seem to be getting off the ground very well) I will continue my candidacy for U.S. Senator from California (realistic target date 2012 against Feinstein?) and I will work in support of a plan of Classical Economic Liberalism, in fact for “Capitalism and Freedom” to borrow the title of Milton Friedman’s book, and I hope that we will eventually escape from the wreckage that IS the Obamanation of today.

Austrian Economics and Classical Liberalism

Mises Daily: Thursday, March 04, 2010 by 

I. Introduction

Classical liberalism — which we shall call here simply liberalism — is based on the conception of civil society as, by and large, self-regulating when its members are free to act within very wide bounds of their individual rights. Among these the right to private property, including freedom of contract and free disposition of one’s own labor, is given a very high priority. Historically, liberalism has manifested a hostility to state action, which, it insists, should be reduced to a minimum (Raico 1992, 1994).

Austrian economics is the name given to the school, or strand, of economic theory that began with Carl Menger (Kirzner 1987; Hayek 1968), and it has often been linked — both by adherents and opponents — to the liberal doctrine. The purpose of this paper is to examine some of the connections that exist, or have been held to exist, between Austrian economics and liberalism.

II. Austrian Economics and Wertfreiheit

Writers have sometimes freely referred to “the Austrian ethical position” (Shand 1984, p. 221) and the “moral and ethical stance” of the Austrian economists (Reekie 1984, p. 176), denoting a position with strong (liberal) implications for politics. At first glance, this is surprising, since Austrian economists have been at pains to affirm the Wertfreiheit (value neutrality) of their theory, and thus its conformity to Weberian strictures on the character of scientific theories (Kirzner 1992b). Ludwig von Mises, for instance (1949, p. 881), stated that, “economics is apolitical or nonpolitical … it is perfectly neutral with regard to judgments of value, as it refers always to means and never to the choice of ultimate ends.”

That said, however, the fact is that all of the major figures in the development of Austrian economics habitually took positions on policy issues that they held to be somehow grounded in their economic doctrines. Mises, for instance, is widely recognized as probably the premier liberal thinker of the 20th century. In his magnum opus, Human Action (1949), he shed light on the connection between value-free economics and liberal politics:

While praxeology, and therefore economics too, uses the terms happiness and removal of uneasiness in a purely formal sense, liberalism attaches to them a concrete meaning. It presupposes that people prefer life to death, health to sickness, nourishment to starvation, abundance to poverty. It teaches man how to act in accordance with these valuations.… The liberals do not assert that men ought to strive after the goals mentioned above. What they maintain is that the immense majority prefer [them]. (p. 154)

According to Mises, economics teaches the means necessary for the promotion of the values most people endorse. Those means comprise, basically, preservation of a free-market economy. Thus, the economist per se passes no value judgments, including political value judgments. He only proposes hypothetical imperatives (if you wish to achieve A, and B is the necessary means for the achievement of A, then do B) (Rothbard 1962, volume 2, pp. 880–881, 1976b). A question that will concern us is whether the division between Austrian theory and liberal principles is as surgically clean-cut as this seems to suggest.

III. Methodological Individualism

Methodological individualism has been a keystone of Austrian economics since the publication of the first Austrian work, Menger’s Principles, in 1871. As Menger wrote in his Investigations,

The nation as such is not a large subject that has needs, that works, practices economy, and consumes.… Thus the phenomena of “national economy” … are, rather, the results of all the innumerable individual economic efforts in the nation … [and] must also be theoretically interpreted in this light.… Whoever wants to understand theoretically the phenomena of “national economy” … must for this reason attempt to go back to their trueelements, to the singular economies in the nation, and to investigate the laws by which the former are built up from the latter. (Menger 1985, p. 93, emphasis in original)

Methodological individualism was endorsed by the other leaders of Austrianism, to the point where Fritz Machlup (1981) could list it as the first of “the most typical requirements for a true adherent of the Austrian school.”

Perhaps because of the connotations of the noun, Austrians have stressed that what is at issue ismethodological individualism. Israel Kirzner (1987, p. 148) cites Machlup’s criteria of Austrianism, including methodological individualism as the first. He warns parenthetically, however, that this is “not to be confused with political or ideological individualism;” it refers merely “to the claim that economic phenomena are to be explained by going back to the actions of individuals.”

Lawrence H. White (1990, p. 356), too, seems to wish to distance methodological individualism from any hint of politics. White criticizes Max Alter for alluding to a “political” battle in this connection, commenting, “in fact the phrase methodological individualism was coined precisely to distinguish it from other varieties of individualism, including the political variety.”

But the interesting question is not whether the characteristic method of the Austrian School isidentical with individualism in the political sense (usually more or less a synonym for liberalism). Obviously, it is not. The question is whether the method itself has any political implications.

It is certainly possible for someone to adopt methodological individualism and not endorse liberalism (Boehm 1985, pp. 252–253). Jon Elster, for instance, is able to insist on the necessity of methodological individualism in the social sciences, while continuing to view himself as a Marxist (Elster 1985, pp. 4–8). Yet it is significant that Elster dismisses certain claims of Marx on the grounds of their inconsistency with methodological individualism.

In general, it seems clear that the Austrian approach in methodology tends to preclude holistic ideologies that happen also to be incompatible with liberalism, such as classical Marxism and certain varieties of racism and hypernationalism. To this extent, then, it is not simplymethodological individualism.

Political factors played a role in the debate over Austrian methodology from the start. The very fact that “nation” and “state,” understood as holistic entities, were not primaries in his system set Menger apart from important currents of economic thought in the German-speaking world of his time. Indeed, it was on the basis of Menger’s methodology that Gustav Schmoller, leader of the German Historical School, instantly politicized the whole debate. In his review of Menger’sInvestigations, Schmoller accused Menger of adhering to Manchestertum (laissez-faire), since his abstract and “atomistic” method might better be called “the Manchesterist-individualist” method (Schmoller 1883, p. 241).

Friedrich von Wieser (1923), himself one of the founders of the Austrian School, introduced a curious political note in discussing the origins of Austrianism. Wieser recalled how, as young economists, both he and Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk had been struck by the contradiction in classical economics:

While the chief accusation that was raised at the time against the classical economists in Germany concerned their [political] individualism, we found that they had become unfaithful to their individualistic creed from the start. As true individualists they would have had to explain the economy from the meaning of the individuals engaged in economic activity who were joined together in the economy. (p. 87)

Many decades later, Hayek, in a sense, concurred with Schmoller and Wieser. The central idea of his most extensive work on methodology, The Counter-Revolution of Science, is precisely the historical and theoretical connections between the denial of methodological individualism and the growth of socialism. Hayek (1955) assails “methodological collectivism,” with

its tendency to treat wholes like “society” or the “economy,” “capitalism” … or a particular “industry” or “class” or “country” as definitely given objects about which we can discover laws by observing their behavior as wholes.… The naive view which regards the complexes which history studies as given wholes naturally leads to the belief that their observation can reveal “laws” of the development of these wholes. (pp. 53, 73)

The supposed discovery of such laws has resulted in the construction of philosophies of history on which major socialist projects have been erected — Marxism, of course, but particularly Saint-Simonianism, the system Hayek dissects in his book. The Saint-Simonians were practitioners par excellence of scientism, the illegitimate application to the study of society of the methods of the natural sciences.

And it is scientism — the negation of methodological individualism — that, according to Hayek, “through its popularizers has done more to create the present trend towards socialism than all the conflicts between economic interests”(Hayek 1955, pp. 100–101). By the same token, political opponents of liberalism, in criticizing Hayek in this area, have assumed that his methodological individualism was closely connected with his political philosophy.

Marxist critics have made a further point regarding Austrian methodology. In their view, it stunts our understanding of social reality. According to Ronald Meek (1972), marginalism — including Austrian economics — took refuge in a schema centering on the psychology of isolated, atomistic individuals, thus (unconsciously) diverting attention from the crucial questions of political economythat had been the focus of classical economics (including Marxism). As a result, “real-life” issues, such as the division of the social product among competing classes — “those great problems of capitalist reality which worried the man in the street” (1972, p. 505) — have been systematically ignored.

This Marxist criticism would seem to be misguided, however. The abstracting approach of Austrianism pertains — necessarily — to its theory. Many Austrians, it may be conceded, have neglected to apply their theory to the understanding of concrete, “real-life” issues. That this failing is not intrinsic to Austrian economics, however, is shown by the fact that at least one well-known Austrian economist, Murray N. Rothbard, has devoted himself not only to “pure economics,” but also to highly important questions of political economy, both on a theoretical level and in specific historical contexts (e.g., Rothbard 1963, 1970; on methodological individualism, see Rothbard 1979).

IV. Subjectivism

Austrian economics begins with and constantly emphasizes the action of the individual human being (Mises 1949, pp. 11–29; Rothbard 1962, pp. 1–8). According to Lachmann (1978), for the Austrian School,

the thought design, the economic calculation or economic plan of the individual, always stands in the foreground of theoretical interest.… The significance of the Austrian school in the history of ideas perhaps finds its most pregnant expression in the statement that here, man as an actor stands at the center of economic events (p. 47, 51).[9]

Quick update—the status of my shoestring Senatorial campaign…

Well, there’s something to be said about the relationship between time, money, and organization, but this is neither the time or the place.  The Reader’s Digest version is that Friday (March 12, 2010), in one rather poorly organized and utterly unfunded day of collecting signatures had enough signatures, my devoted supporters and assistants Renada Nadine March and Aurora Diaz had collected enough signed nomination forms from California voters to submit my candidate papers.  Also, Renada confirmed that I was finally a California registered to vote (finally!) making me an eligible resident rather than a mere tourist/visitor.

So here’s what happened: we had the filing fee, and Renada was at the Orange County Elections office, but it turned out that they would not accept signatures of registered voters from Los Angeles or Riverside Counties in Orange County, and so our registration process fell short of what was needed to get us on the ballot, because we had only 46 Orange County Nominating Voters instead of 65, even though with L.A. and Riverside County registrants we had overshot 65 quite enough to make sure that if there were any invalid signatures, it would not matter.  So, as things stand at the moment, I am NOT officially ON THE BALLOT for the June 8, 2010 Democratic Primary…..I can still run as a “Write-In” and I may file suit about the incredible irrationality (in this day and age) of having each county tabulate such a small required number of registrants when the technology exists to verify voter eligibility statewide, and it’s all part of one system….. I also have the option of filing suit concerning the requirement that one cannot run as an Independent except by having NO party affiliation prior to October 1, 2009.  My goal is to run against Barbara Boxer, and I will continue to pursue that goal.  Any thoughts from any quarter would be MOST welcome.  I have registered at this stage but do not have an F.E.C. identification number, so I’m not sure what my status is as far as campaign contributions or the applicability of Federal Election law to me….  ANY advice on that point would also be helpful—so in short, we’re not off to the most swimming start, but such things have never discouraged me in the past….and I won’t give up now….. Have any write-in candidates ever won a statewide election in California?  I doubt it…..