Monthly Archives: April 2011

New California Rules for Congressional (including U.S. Senatorial) Elections—the little guy is screwed!

The California Primary Election will be held in early February 2012, and will be effectively non-partisan for all Congressional (including Senatorial) elections under a new system which is diabolically unfair to anyone who might run trying to change the system—an outsider.  It is simply surreal that the gap between Primary and General Election will be a whopping Nine Months—babies conceived on Primary Election Day could easily be born before the General Election—if the states move primary elections back much further, babies born on Primary election day may well be able to VOTE in the General election….but I digress.  The real problem is that any candidate hoping to upset an incumbent must start his electoral campaign—well, just about NOW (May 1, 2011).   He or she must also be prepared for effectively TWO long statewide campaigns, addressing all sectors of society.  The net effect will favor the dull, rich, establishment norm, the tweedle dums and tweedle dees of Golden State Politics.  The New Yorker Magazine last year had a cartoon of two women eying a well-dressed middle-aged fellow at a party, one was leaning over saying to the other—“now he’s rich—not ‘run for office’ rich or anything, but rich…”  Dianne Feinstein, of course, is said to be at least the fifth richest United States senator with a net worth of between 43 and 99 million dollars.  Given that the United States Supreme Court has said that people can spend whatever they want on campaigns….. The challenge to any statewide candidate to get on the ballot will be enormous—the two top candidates could both be democrats or republicans, or (more likely) both could be extremely rich pro-business lobbyists-sycophants with the fattest campaign budgets.  So the June 8, 2010 Primary rammed another stake in the heart of real popular democracy in the Bear Flag Republic, and the United States in general…. but if we give up on California we may as well give up on the United States, and if we give up on the United States, then we may as well give up on the world—there will be no freedom left ANYWHERE….  Still, the quixotic nature of any newcomer’s quest for office can only be too apparent. S/he’d better know magic…. Of course, in politics, the only “magic” that ever works is REALLY EXPENSIVE magic of brain twisting advertising….  Perhaps the Courts will allow Third-Party or Independent Candidates on the General Election—but how will the Third-Parties choose their candidates?

But here now are the new rules from the California Secretary of State’s Website—which I am happy to say is NOT currently presided over by any ex-girlfriend of mine…..

http://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/npp.htm

Top Two Candidates Open Primary Act and Voter-Nominated Offices

On June 8, 2010, California voters approved Proposition 14, which created the Top Two Candidates Open Primary Act.

Except for the office of U.S. President and county central committee offices, offices that used to be known as “partisan offices” (e.g., state constitutional offices, U.S. Congress, and state legislative offices) are now known as “voter-nominated” offices.

Under the Top Two Candidates Open Primary Act, all candidates running in a primary election, regardless of their party preference, will appear on a single Primary Election ballot and voters can vote for any candidate. The top two overall vote-getters – not the top vote-getter from each qualified party and anyone using the independent nomination process – will move on to the General Election.

Candidates for voter-nominated office can choose whether to list their party preference on the Primary and General Election ballots. Political parties can no longer formally nominate candidates for voter-nominated offices, so a candidate who finishes in the top two at the Primary Election and advances to the General Election is not the official nominee of any party for the office.

More Senseless Lies, More Stupid Deception, More Stupid Wars, More Senseless Death: the Obama Legacy to America and the World has taken on a consistent shape and pattern…

The history of the United States since 1991 is a scandalous thing.  No sooner had the dust settled from Desert Storm after the inglorious attack on Iraq to save the Arabian monarchies of Kuwait and Saudi Arabia from Saddam Hussein and his spud missiles than the attacks on America began:

August 1992—Ruby Ridge Idaho: 2 innocent deaths by Federal Snipers.

February 1993—World Trade Center, New York, New York: 6 innocent deaths.

April 19, 1993—Mount Carmel, Waco, Texas, 67 (mostly) innocent deaths (24 British subjects) by fire.

April 19, 1995–Murrah Federal Building, Oklahoma City: 168 innocent deaths including 19 toddlers.

August 7, 1998–American Embassy Bombings in (formerly British) East African Colony of Kenya (Nairobi) and Tanzania (Tanganyika) Dar es Salaam: 233 deaths (not exactly on American soil but aimed at Embassies which are “jurisdictionally” part of America…)

November-December 2000: Election results indicate massive voter fraud in the states of Ohio and Florida, possibly elsewhere, and for the first time since the Tilden-Hayes election of 1876, the candidate who clearly lost the election becomes President.

September 11, 2001—New York, Washington, a Field in Pennsylvania—Too much has been written to bother repeating—“Remember, Remember, 11 September….”  estimated 2977 innocent victims…. The loser who became President now secures his present and future position with a War on Terrorism.  The Patriot Act is enacted, Freedom Burns, the Constitution reduced to a less important scrap of paper than the passport that supposedly survived the crash of one of the towers.  America’s darkest hours, indeed, have only begun….

November 2004: Another probably manipulated election, this time with startling consistency in variations between exist polls and final counts which strongly smack of clumsy computerized manipulation.

November 2008: America’s first overtly socialist President is elected amid doubts that he is a “natural born” citizen of the United States, and strong indications that he is a practicing Muslim.

October 2008-March 2011—Court after Court dismiss various lawsuits challenging Obama’s eligibility while Obama’s “change” in policies turn out to be just a continuation of total loser George W. Bush’s policies to the point that the economy of the United States is in shambles and homelessness due to illegal, unconstitutional, fraudulent foreclosures reach “historical highs.”

April 27, 2011: Barack Hussein Obama releases a “long form” version of his birth certificate—-and it looks like another bad fake—but does anyone care?

Is there an escalating pattern of Deception and Murder here?

From Philip J. Berg’s Website: http://www.ObamaCrimes.com

Thank you Bishop Ron McCrae – Obama’s Hawaii Certificate

Obama’s Hawaii Certificate

By Bishop Ron McCrae

The document released by the White House as Obama’s Certificate of Live Birth appears to be a fake! And a poor one at that. It doesn’t take a forensic specialists to see serious problems. After reviewing the form released in comparison to the earlier released Susan Nordyke Certificate, there is a real problem, for Obama’s appears to be duplicated directly from the Nordyke document. I call your attention to the obvious errors:

  • Note the Hour block NO. 5b on Line 2 at the far right and you will see that the typed P.M. is the identical one from the Nordyke document, with the M below the line in the exact same place as the Nordyke document.
  • The date of 8-7-61 in block No. 18b is the exact, identical written date copied from the Nordyke document, even though on the Nordyke document the signature of the parent is slanted backwards.
  • Also note that on the Nordyke document, the parent signed the document on the supposedly same day that Ann Durham signed Obama’s, but the dates of the Attendant’s signature and the Local Registrar’s signature are the very next day; whereas on the Nordyke document, the signatures were affixed and dated four days later.
  • In block 7g on both documents appears the identical hand written No. 2 in the very same place.
  • In Block No. 3 appears identical hand written “x’s” in the same place on both documents.
  • Also, the released photo of the Nordyke document shows the coiled slightly in the upper left hand corner, though laid onto what appears to be carpet or cloth. The Obama document has the identical coiled upper left hand corner, but the herringbone legal cross stitched pattern to the paper carries over into the background of the photo, though the upper left hand corner is blackened out. If you hold both up together, the curvatures in the lines are exactly the same. If you look closely at the herringbone legal print of the background on both the left and right side margins, the printed document is superimposed onto the legal background and not original.
  • On the left side margin, there is a vertical margin line running up the entire side, with additional horizontal lines exposed to the left of the margin in the coiled down fold of the document. In those unidentified blocks are identical hand written marks that match identically to the Nordyke document.

I believe the document has enough errors to warrant a forensic expert and digital imagery technician’s full inspection, because it appears to be faked directly off the Nordyke certificate, and that done very poorly.

By the grace of God alone,

Ron McRae
Presiding Bishop
Anabaptists Churches Worldwide
P.O. Box 5607
Johnstown, Pennsylvania 15935
VULTUS IMAGO DEI
“Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?” -Romans 6:3

APR
28
2011

What about Obama’s Indonesian Citizenship?

For Immediate Release:  – 04/28/2011
For Further Information Contact:
Philip J. Berg, Esquire
555 Andorra Glen Court, Suite 12
Lafayette Hill, PA 19444-2531

Cell (610) 662-3005

(610) 825-3134
(800) 993-PHIL  [7445]
Fax (610) 834-7659

philjberg@obamacrimes.com

OBAMA and his  “SUPPOSED” LONG FORM BIRTH CERTIFICATE

WHAT ABOUT OBAMA’S

INDONESIAN CITIZENSHIP?

Obama is ‘not’ Constitutionally Eligible

to be President

(Lafayette Hill, PA – 04/28/11) – Philip J. Berg, Esquire, the first Attorney who filed suit against Barack H. Obama on August 21, 2008 challenging Obama’s lack of “Constitutionally Eligibility” to serve as President of the United States stated that Obama’s release of this document that Obama calls his long form Birth Certificate raises further questions of the legitimacy of the document itself.  Moreover, even if it were a legitimate birth certificate, which it is not, it still does not answer the question of Obama’s Constitutional Eligibility.

Berg said, “The Birth Certificate issued by Obama on national Television, have missing factors: Mother’s address; length and weight of baby; and where the signature of Stanley Ann Dunham appears, it says “mother or informant”.  Additionally, the authenticity of the document itself is already being questioned for many reasons”

Berg continued, “Even if Obama could produce a long form Birth Certificate, which is highly doubted, it fails to answer the questions into Obama’s adoption in Indonesia.”

Berg said, “I have received many calls claiming Obama could not have lost his U.S. citizenship by his mother’s acts of expatriation.  In part this is true, however, he Nationality Act of 1940, revised 1952, Section 318(a) states, “A former citizen of the United States expatriated through the expatriation of such person’s parent or parents and who has not acquired the nationality of another country by any affirmative act other than the expatriation of his parent or parents may be naturalized upon filing a petition for naturalization before reaching age of Twenty-Five [25] years and upon compliance with all requirements of the naturalization laws with the following exceptions:  (b) No former citizen of the United States, expatriated through the expatriation of such person’s parent or parents shall be obliged to comply with the requirements of the immigration laws, if he has not acquired the nationality of another country by any affirmative act other than the expatriation of his parent or parents, and if he has come or shall come to the United States before reaching the age of twenty-five years. (c) After his naturalization such person shall have the same citizenship status as if he had not been expatriated.”

Berg continues, “Renewing an Indonesian Passport after the age of 18 is an affirmative act, as you are swearing allegiance to another Country.  Soetoro/Obama renewed his Indonesian Passport when he traveled to Pakistan that is why he had to stop in Indonesia first.  Remember, in 1981, Dunham was divorcing Soetoro in Hawaii and was not in Indonesia.  Obama/Soetoro admits to traveling to Indonesia first and then onto Pakistan.  Soetoro/Obama claims in his book “Dreams from my father” that he stopped in Indonesia to visit his mother.  But again, his mother was not in Indonesia, she was in Hawaii with Maya, divorcing Lolo Soetoro.  In addition, the State Department has stated in response to a FOIA [Freedom of Information] request that they do not have a U.S. Passport application on file for Barack H. Obama.”

Berg said, “Despite the above however, Indonesia required Obama/Soetoro to do a bit more upon his 18th birthday.  In fact the Indonesian law gives until the age of Twenty-One [21].  Soetoro/Obama would have had to sign an Affidavit relinquishing his Indonesian citizenship and said Affidavit had to be sent to the Indonesian Government before reclaiming any U.S. citizenship he may have once held.

When it comes to the citizenship of individuals in other countries, we are prevented from interfering,Hague Convention 1930. During the late 60′s all the way up until 2006 Indonesia did not allow dual citizenship.  In 2006, Indonesia changed their laws to permit dual citizenship; however, Indonesia has had its battles with enforcing their new law permitting dual citizenship.

From the legal research we have done, it appears that Soetoro became an Indonesian citizen.  When Soetoro/Obama was approximately four [4] years old his parents divorced and thereafter, Soetoro/Obama’s mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, married Lolo Soetoro, a citizen of Indonesia.  Evidence points to the fact that Lolo Soetoro either signed a government form legally ‘acknowledging’Soetoro/Obama as his son or ‘adopted’ Soetoro, either of which changed any citizenship status Soetoro/Obama had to a “natural” citizen of Indonesia.

At the time Barry Soetoro was in Indonesia, all Indonesian students were required to carry government identity cards or Karty Tanda Pendudaks, as well as family card identification called a Kartu Keluarga.  The Kartu Keluarga is a family card which bears the legal names and citizenship status of all family members.

Soetoro/Obama was registered in a public school as an Indonesian citizen by the name of Barry Soetoro and his father was listed as Lolo Soetoro, M.A according to the Indonesian school records.  Indonesia did not allow foreign students to attend their public schools in the late 1960’s or 1970’s, and any time a child was registered for a public school, the child’s name and citizenship status were verified through the Indonesian Government. See Constitution of Republic of Indonesia (Undang-Undang Dasar Republik Indonesia 1945), Chapter 13, Law No. 62 of 1958 (all citizens of Indonesia have a right to education).  There was no way for Soetoro/Obama to have attended school in Jakarta, Indonesia legally unless he was an Indonesian citizen, as Indonesia was under tight rule and was a Police State. SeeConstitution of Republic of Indonesia (Undang-Undang Dasar Republik Indonesia 1945), Law No. 62 of 1958.  These facts indicate that Obama/Soetoro is an Indonesian citizen, and therefore he is noteligible to be President of the United States.

Under Indonesian law, when a male acknowledges a child as his son, it deems the son, in this case Soetoro/Obama, an Indonesian State citizen. See Constitution of Republic of Indonesia, Law No. 62 of 1958 concerning Immigration Affairs and Indonesian Civil Code (Kitab Undang-undang Hukum Perdata) (KUHPer) (Burgerlijk Wetboek voor Indonesie).

Furthermore, under the Indonesian adoption law, once an Indonesian citizen adopts a child, the adoption severs the child’s relationship to the birth parents, and the adopted child is given the same status as a natural child and the child takes the name of his step-father, in this case, Soetoro. SeeIndonesian Constitution, Article 2.

The Indonesian citizenship law was designed to prevent apatride (stateless) or bipatride (dual) citizenship.  Indonesian regulations recognized neither apatride nor bipatride (stateless or dual) citizenship.  Since Indonesia did not allow dual citizenship; neither did the United States (since the United States only permitted dual citizenship when ‘both’ countries agree); and since Obama/Soetoro was a “natural” citizen of Indonesia, the United States would not step in or interfere with the laws of Indonesia. Hague Convention of 1930.”

As a result of Soetoro/Obama’s Indonesian ‘natural’ citizenship status, Soetoro/Obama could never regain U.S. ‘natural born’ status, if he in fact he ever held such, which we doubt.  Soetoro/Obama could have only become ‘naturalized’ if the proper paperwork were filed with the U.S. State Department, after going through U.S. Immigration upon his return to the United States; in which case, Soetoro/Obama would have received a Certification of Citizenship indicating ‘naturalized’.

Berg continued, “Regardless, we have been unable to locate any records indicating that Soetoro/Obama attempted to and/or actually did take the proper steps through the State Department in order to be here in our Country legally”

Further, there is no evidence that Soetoro/Obama ever ‘legally’ changed his name from Barry Soetoro to Barack Hussein Obama – therefore his legal name is still ‘Barry Soetoro’.

Donations are needed ASAP and very appreciated

to help cover our expenses to continue to Defend “our” Constitution

My Birthday was April 13th and I am requesting everyone to

please contribute $2.11, $20.11, $201.10, $2,011.00 or $20,110.00

so we can expose Soetoro/Obama in 2011 for the fraud he is !

You may donate on our web site:  obamacrimes.com

For copies of all Press Releases and Court Pleadings, go to:

obamacrimes.com

April 20 = Confusion and Coverups—a day of recurring myths in history…

Today in History.   One of the best modern movies of historical deconstruction recent years, Paul Verhoeven’s marvelous, primarily Dutch Language (with some German and English scenes) 2006  Black Book (with Carice van Houten, Sebastian Koch, Thom Hoffman)  took several pivotal turns around Adolph Hitler’s final birthday, April 20, 1945.  For anyone who has not seen Black Book I highly recommend it for its portrayal of “the contradictions inherent in all things.”  The Nazis include bad guys, good guys, and the lead male romantic character hero is Commander (Obersturmfuhrer) of the SS in the Netherlands who is ultimately betrayed by one of the bad guy Nazis who has gone over to work with the Allies after the collapse and “liberation” of Holland.  The Dutch resistance fighters are bigoted anti-Semites, petty vengeful lowlives, and have neither more nor fewer crooks and swindlers than the Nazis.  The British and Canadians are just kind of dull and stupid in their occupation.   The Jewish heroine emigrates to Israel where she is caught up in the 1956 Arab-Israeli War. They all like booze and drugs equally (Nazis, resistance fighters, and Jews).  Like Republic Book VII and Calderon de la Barca’s “La Vida es Sueno“…

Once PTG Beauregard of Louisiana fired on the Yankees occupying the Fort controlling South Carolina’s principal international port, the War of 1861-1965 became inevitable and Virginia Seceded.

So How did the Anniversary of Virginia’s Secession and Adolph Hitler’s Birthday end up as National (International) Smoke Weed day in the U.S. (the Caribbean and the World?)?  Ah, the mysteries of life.

And now April 20, 2011, is also the first anniversary of the British Petroleum Oil Rig explosion and the beginning of the gigantic spill in the Gulf of Mexico.  My only question is: Did Obama order the spill to distract from all of his other domestic and international programs of doom and disaster?

Historical “What if” of the day: if Virginia hadn’t seceded, Robert E. Lee might have commanded the northern forces against a much reduced Confederate States of America….and Slavery would almost certainly NOT have been abolished anywhere…. and the 1871 Civil Rights Act certainly would never have been enacted….so there never would have been the modern 42 U.S.C. Section 1983 action in vindication of civil rights—yes, the world would have been a very different place….

1303 – The University of Rome La Sapienza is instituted by Pope Boniface VIII.

1453 – The last naval battle in Byzantine history occurs, as three Genoese galleys escorting a Byzantine transport fight their way through the huge Ottoman blockade fleet and into the Golden Horn.

1534 – Jacques Cartier begins the voyage during which he discovers Canada andLabrador.

1535 – The Sun Dog phenomenon observed over Stockholm and depicted in the famous painting “Vädersolstavlan

1653 – Oliver Cromwell dissolves the Rump Parliament.

1657 – Admiral Robert Blake destroys a Spanish silver fleet under heavy fire atSanta Cruz de Tenerife.

1657 – Freedom of religion is granted to the Jews of New Amsterdam (later New York City).

1689 – The former King James II of England, now deposed, lays siege to Derry.

1775 – American Revolutionary War: the Siege of Boston begins, following the battles at Lexington and Concord.

1792 – France declares war on Austria, the beginning of French Revolutionary Wars.

1809 – Two Austrian army corps in Bavaria are defeated by a First French Empire army led by Napoleon I of France at the Battle of Abensberg on the second day of a four day campaign which ended in a French victory.

1810 – The Governor of Caracas declares independence from Spain.

1818 – The case of Ashford v Thornton was concluded, with Abraham Thornton allowed to go free rather than face a retrial for murder, after his demand for trial by battle was upheld.

1828 – René Caillié becomes the first non-Muslim to enter Timbouctou.

1836 – U.S. Congress passes an act creating the Wisconsin Territory.

1861 – American Civil WarRobert E. Lee resigns his commission in the United States Army in order to command the forces of the state of Virginia.

1862 – Louis Pasteur and Claude Bernard complete the first pasteurization tests.

1871 – The Civil Rights Act of 1871 becomes law.

1884 – Pope Leo XIII publishes the encyclical Humanum Genus.

1902 – Pierre and Marie Curie refine radium chloride.

1908 – Opening day of competition of the New South Wales Rugby League.

1912 – Opening day for baseball stadiums Tiger Stadium in DetroitMichigan, and Fenway Park in BostonMassachusetts.

1914 – Forty-five men, women, and children die in the Ludlow Massacre during aColorado coal-miner’s strike.

1916 – The Chicago Cubs play their first game at Weeghman Park (currentlyWrigley Field), defeating the Cincinnati Reds 7-6 in 11 innings

1918 – Manfred von Richthofen, aka The Red Baron, shoots down his 79th and 80th victims marking his final victories before his death the following day.

1926 – Western Electric and Warner Bros. announce Vitaphone, a process to add sound to film.

1939 – Billie Holiday records the first Civil Rights song “Strange Fruit“.

1945 – World War IIUS troops capture LeipzigGermany, only to later cede the city to the Soviet Union.

1945 – World War II: FuehrerbunkerAdolf Hitler makes his last trip to the surface to award Iron Crosses to boy soldiers of the Hitler Youth.

1961 – Failure of the Bay of Pigs Invasion of US-backed troops against Cuba.

1964 – BBC Two launches with the power cut because of the fire at Battersea Power Station.

1968 – English politician Enoch Powell makes his controversial Rivers of Bloodspeech.

1972 – Apollo 16 landed on the moon commanded by John Young.

1978 – Korean Air Flight 902 is shot down by Soviets.

1980 – Climax of Berber Spring in Algeria as hundreds of Berber political activists are arrested.

1984 – The Good Friday Massacre, an extremely violent ice hockey playoff game, is played in MontrealCanada.

1985 – ATF raid on The Covenant, The Sword, and the Arm of the Lordcompound in northern Arkansas.

1986 – Pianist Vladimir Horowitz performs in his native Russia for the first time in 61 years.

1986 – Professional basketball player Michael Jordan sets all-time record for points in an NBA playoff game with 63 against the Boston Celtics.

1998 – German terrorist group Red Army Faction announces their dissolution after 28 years.

1999 – Columbine High School massacreEric Harris and Dylan Klebold kill 13 people and injure 24 others before committing suicide at Columbine High Schoolin Jefferson County, Colorado.

2007 – Johnson Space Center Shooting: A man with a handgun barricades himself in NASA‘s Johnson Space Center in HoustonTexas before killing a male hostage and himself.

2008 – Danica Patrick wins the Indy Japan 300 becoming the first female driver in history to win an Indy car race.

[edit]

Births

571 – Muhammad, (traditional date) Prophet and founder of Islam (d. 632)

702 – Jafar SadiqShi’a Imam and Muslim scholar (d. 765)

1494 – Johannes Agricola, German Protestant reformer (d. 1566)

1586 – Saint Rose of Lima, Peruvian saint (d. 1617)

1633 – Emperor Go-Komyo of Japan (d. 1654)

1646 – Charles Plumier, French botanist (d. 1704)

1650 – William Bedloe, English informer (d. 1680)

1668 – Yuri Troubetzkoy, Governor of Belgorod (d. 1739)

1718 – David Brainerd, American missionary (d. 1747)

1723 – Cornelius Harnett, American Continental Congress delegate (d. 1781)

1727 – Comte de Mercy-Argenteau, Belgian-born Austrian diplomat (d. 1794)

1745 – Philippe Pinel, French physician (d. 1826)

1808 – Napoleon III of France, Emperor of the French (d. 1873)

1818 – Heinrich Göbel, German-born inventor (d. 1893)

1826 – Dinah Craik, English author (d. 1887)

1850 – Daniel Chester French, American sculptor (d. 1931)

1851 – Young Tom Morris, Scottish golfer (d. 1875)

1870 – Maulvi Abdul HaqPakistani scholar (d. 1961)

1871 – Sydney Chapman, British economist and civil servant (d. 1951)

1879 – Paul Poiret, French couturier (d. 1944)

1882 – Holland Smith, U.S. General (d. 1967)

1884 – Princess Beatrice of Edinburgh and Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (d. 1966)

1889 – Albert Jean Amateau, Turkish-born businessman and activist (d. 1996)

1889 – Adolf Hitler, German Nazi dictator (d. 1945)

1890 – Maurice Duplessispremier of Quebec (d. 1959)

1893 – Harold Lloyd, American actor (d. 1971)

1893 – Edna Parker, American supercentenarian (d. 2008)

1893 – Joan Miró, Spanish painter (d. 1983)

1895 – Emile Christian, American musician (d. 1973)

1896 – Wop May, Canadian aviator (d. 1952)

1896 – Henry de Montherlant, French writer (d. 1972)

1904 – Bruce Cabot, American actor (d. 1972)

1904 – George Stibitz, American scientist (d. 1995)

1907 – Francois “Papa Doc” Duvalier, Haitian president (d. 1971)

1908 – Lionel Hampton, American musician (d. 2002)

1914 – Betty Lou Gerson, American actress (d. 1999)

1915 – Joseph Wolpe, South African–born psychotherapist (d. 1997)

1918 – Edward L. Beach, Jr., American naval officer, author (d. 2002)

1918 – Kai Siegbahn, Swedish physicist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 2007)

1919 – Richard Hillary, Australian pilot and author (d. 1943)

1920 – John Paul Stevens, American jurist

1920 – Ronald Speirs, WWII Veteran (d. 2007)

1921 – Janine Sutto, French-Canadian actress

1923 – Mother Angelica, American nun and broadcaster

1923 – Tito Puente, American musician (d. 2000)

1924 – Leslie Phillips, English actor

1924 – Nina Foch, Dutch-born American actress (d. 2008)

1925 – Ernie Stautner, German-born American football player (d. 2006)

1927 – Phil Hill, American race car driver (d. 2008)

1927 – Karl Alexander Müller, Swiss physicist, Nobel Prize laureate

1928 – Johnny Gavin, Irish footballer (d. 2007)

1928 – Gerald S. Hawkins, English astronomer (d. 2003)

1931 – John Eccles, 2nd Viscount Eccles, British businessman and peer

1936 – Pat Roberts, American politician

1937 – Antonios Kounadis, Greek discus thrower

1937 – George Takei, American actor

1939 – Peter S. Beagle, American author

1939 – Gro Harlem Brundtland, former Prime Minister of Norway

1939 – Johnny Tillotson, American singer

1941 – Ryan O’Neal, American actor

1942 – Arto Paasilinna, Finnish writer

1943 – John Eliot Gardiner, English conductor

1943 – Edie Sedgwick, American actress (d. 1971)

1945 – Michael Brandon, American actor

1945 – Steve Spurrier, American football player and coach

1946 – Julien Poulin, French Canadian actor

1946 – Gordon Smiley, American racecar driver (d. 1982)

1946 – Mel Winkler, American voice actor

1947 – Björn Skifs, Swedish singer (Blue Swede)

1947 – Ken Scott, English record producer and recording engineer

1947 – Andrew Tobias, American journalist and author

1947 – David Leland, British actor, director and screenwriter

1948 – Craig Frost, American musician (Grand Funk & Bob Seger)

1948 – Gregory Itzin, American actor

1948 – Rémy Trudel, French Canadian politician

1949 – Massimo D’Alema, 76th Prime Minister of Italy

1949 – Veronica Cartwright, American actress

1949 – Toller Cranston, Canadian figure skater and artist

1949 – Jessica Lange, American actress

1950 – Steve Erickson, American novelist

1950 – Aleksandr Lebed, Russian general and politician (d. 2002)

1950 – Chandra Babu Naidu, Indian politician

1951 – Luther Vandross, American singer (d. 2005)

1952 – Božidar Maljković, Serbian basketball coach

1953 – Sebastian Faulks, British novelist

1954 – Gilles Lupien, French-Canadian ice hockey player

1955 – Don Pettit, American Astronaut and Inventor

1956 – Beatrice Ask, Swedish politician

1957 – Geraint Wyn Davies, Welsh-born Canadian actor

1958 – Viacheslav Fetisov, Russian ice hockey player

1959 – Clint Howard, American actor

1961 – Don Mattingly, American baseball player

1961 – Konstantin Lavronenko, Russian actor

1961 – Barry Smolin, American radio host, writer, and musician

1961 – Ralph Cirella, American radio personality

1962 – Henry Joseph Nasiff Jr. (AKA: Hank the Angry Drunken Dwarf), American radio personality (d. 2001)

1963 – Maurício Gugelmin, Brazilian racing driver

1963 – Aubrey de Grey, British biomedical gerontologist

1964 – Crispin Glover, American actor

1964 – Andy Serkis, English actor

1964 – Rosalynn Sumners, American figure skater

1965 – Kostas Hatzidakis, Greek politician

1965 – Adrian Fernández, Mexican racing driver

1965 – April March, American musician

1966 – David Chalmers, Australian philosopher

1967 – Raymond van Barneveld, Dutch darts player

1967 – Mike Portnoy, American drummer (Dream Theater)

1967 – Lara Jill Miller, American actress

1968 – J. D. Roth, American game show host and television personality

1970 – Shemar Moore, American actor

1970 – Adriano Moraes, Brazilian rodeo performer

1971 – Tina Cousins, English singer

1971 – Carla Geurts, Dutch swimmer

1971 – Allan Houston, American basketball player

1972 – Carmen Electra, American actress

1972 – Le Huynh Đuc, Vietnamese footballer

1972 – Željko Joksimović, Serbian singer, songwriter and producer

1972 – Stephen Marley, Jamaican musician

1973 – Geoff Lloyd, British radio presenter

1976 – Shay Given, Irish footballer

1976 – Joey Lawrence, American actor

1976 – Chris Mason, Canadian ice hockey goaltender

1977 – Johnny “The Bull” Stamboli, professional wrestler

1978 – Mirei Kuroda, Japanese gravure idol

1979 – Quinn Weng, Taiwanese singer (Seraphim)

1979 – Nathan Marquardt, American Mixed Martial Artist

1980 – Jasmin Wagner, German singer

1980 – Chris Duffy, American baseball player

1981 – Matus Valent, male fitness model

1983 – Danny Granger, American basketball player

1983 – Terrence J, American television host

1983 – Joanne King, Irish/English Actress

1983 – Miranda Kerr, Australian supermodel

1984 – Tyson Griffin, American mixed martial artist

1985 – Greg Lutzka, American Skateboarder

1986 – Cameron Duncan, New Zealand director (d. 2003)

1987 – John Patrick Amedori, American actor

[edit]

Deaths

1176 – Richard de Clare, 2nd Earl of Pembroke, English soldier (b. 1130)

1314 – Pope Clement V (b. 1264)

1521 – Zhengde, Emperor of China (b. 1491)

1534 – Elizabeth Barton, English nun (executed)

1558 – Johannes Bugenhagen, German reformer (b. 1485)

1643 – Christoph Demantius, German composer (b. 1567)

1703 – Lancelot Addison, English royal chaplain (b. 1632)

1765 – Abigail Williams, American accuser in the Salem witch trials (b. 1674)

1769 – Pontiac, Chief of the Ottawa

1831 – John Abernethy, English surgeon (b. 1764)

1873 – William Tite, English architect (b. 1798)

1874 – Alexander H. Bailey, American politician (b. 1817)

1887 – Muhammad Sharif Pasha, Egyptian statesman (b. 1826)

1899 – Joseph Wolf, German artist (b. 1820)

1912 – Bram Stoker, Irish author (b. 1847)

1918 – Karl Ferdinand Braun, German physicist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1850)

1929 – Prince Albert Wilhelm Heinrich of Prussia (b. 1862)

1932 – Giuseppe Peano, Italian mathematician (b. 1858)

1945 – Erwin Bumke, German jurist (b. 1874)

1947 – King Christian X of Denmark (b. 1870)

1951 – Ivanoe BonomiPrime Minister of Italy (b. 1873)

1964 – Eddie Dyer, American baseball player (b. 1899)

1977 – Sepp Herberger, German football coach (b. 1897)

1982 – Archibald MacLeish, American poet and Librarian of Congress (b. 1892)

1984 – Hristo Prodanov, Bulgarian mountaineer (b. 1943)

1986 – Sibte Hassan, Pakistani activist, journalist and writer (b. 1916)

1989 – Doru Davidovici, Romanian writer and fighter pilot (b. 1945)

1991 – Steve Marriott, British singer and songwriter (Humble Pie) (b. 1947)

1991 – Don Siegel, American film director (b. 1912)

1993 – Cantinflas, Mexican comedian and actor (b. 1911)

1994 – Jean Carmet, French actor (b. 1920)

1996 – Christopher Robin Milne, son of A.A. Milne (b. 1920)

1999 – Rick Rude, American professional wrestler (b. 1958)

1999 – Señor Wences, Spanish ventriloquist and comedian (b. 1896)

1999 – Eric David Harris, perpetrator of the Columbine High massacre (b. 1981)

1999 – Dylan Klebold, perpetrator of the Columbine High massacre (b. 1981)

1999 – Cassie BernallColumbine High School massacre victim (b. 1981)

1999 – Rachel Joy Scott, Columbine High School massacre victim (b. 1981)

2001 – Giuseppe Sinopoli, Italian conductor and composer (b. 1946)

2002 – Alan Dale, American singer (b. 1925)

2003 – Ruth Hale, American playwright and actress (b. 1908)

2003 – Daijiro Kato, Japanese motorcycle racer (b. 1976)

2003 – Bernard Katz, German-born biophysicist, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (b. 1911)

2005 – Fumio Niwa, Japanese novelist (b. 1904)

2005 – Zygfryd Blaut, Polish football player (b. 1943)

2006 – Anna Svidersky (b. 1988)

2007 – Andrew Hill, American jazz composer and pianist (b. 1931)

2007 – Michael Fu Tieshan, Chinese bishop (b. 1931).

2007 – Fred Fish, a computer programmer on the GNU Debugger and “Fish disks” (b. 1952)

2008 – VL Mike, American rapper (b. 1976)

2008 – Monica Lovinescu, Romanian essayist, literary critic and journalist (b. 1923)

2009 – Beata Asimakopoulou, Greek actress (b. 1932)

[edit]

Holidays and observances

4/20, a counterculture holiday, where people gather to celebrate and consumecannabis.

Christian Feast Day

Agnes of Montepulciano

Blessed Oda of Brabant

Theotimus

L. Ron Hubbard Exhibition Day (Church of Scientology)

Ridván begins at sunset (Bahá’í Faith)

Laughing At Restraining Orders by Phyllis Schlafly September 13, 2006

I republish Phyllis’ 2006 article here because it seems relevant to everything: Domestic Relations law as a pretext for repression is a nationwide epidemic.  I spoke to Phyllis Schlafly several times during the last decade about my struggles with Judge Michael Jergins in Texas.  She agreed with me that Jergins and Nowlin was part of the conspiracy to use the family courts to destroy civil liberties, but she had even greater doubts about the “Cadre of Dikes” in the Travis County District Courts who presided over Austin Divorce and Trial Custody battles. The Texas Eagle Forum, many of whose members I met through Ron Paul’s annual birthday parties, was never quite comfortable backing me, however, because  of the liberal-Democratic affiliations of my (then) attorneys Francis Wayne Williams-Montenegro and Valorie Wells Davenport.   I think this was a great pity, but it shows the schizophrenic nature of both major parties that Democrats do not realize how illiberal (i.e. totalitarian) are some forms of liberalism while Republicans are afraid of anyone who has a conviction or is disbarred, not realizing that their own (traditionally “conservative”) endorsement of individualism, in fact supports behavior which the totalitarian left has arranged to have transformed (categorized) as felonious on a moment’s notice.  Only by escaping from the two major parties as they now stand will true constitutional freedom ever be restored.  I for one suggest a resuscitation of the Constitutional (formerly called “Southern”) wing of the Democratic party.  Traditional “Barry Goldwater” Republicans are by-and-large too confused with “Neo-Cons” and certain single issue groups…

Borrowing the title of a famous George Gershwin ditty, “they all laughed” when a Santa Fe, New Mexico family court judge granted a temporary restraining order (TRO) against TV talk show host David Letterman to protect a woman he had never met, never heard of, and lived 2,000 miles away from. Colleen Nestler claimed that Letterman had caused her “mental cruelty” and “sleep deprivation” for over a decade by using code words and gestures during his network TV broadcasts.

That ridiculous TRO was dismissed last December, but according to a new report released this week by RADAR (Respecting Accuracy in Domestic Abuse Reporting), the case was not a judicial anomaly but “the logical culmination of years of ever-expanding definitions of domestic violence.” RADAR is a Maryland-based think tank that specializes in exposing the excesses of the domestic violence bureaucracy.

The New Mexico statute defines domestic violence as causing “severe emotional distress.” That definition was met when Ms. Nestler claimed she suffered from exhaustion and had gone bankrupt because of Letterman’s actions.

The New Mexico statute appears to limit domestic violence to “any incident by a household member,” and Letterman, who lives in Connecticut and works in New York, had never been in Ms. Nestler’s household. But New Mexico law defines household member to include “a person with whom the petitioner has had a continuing personal relationship,” and Ms. Nestler’s charge that Letterman’s broadcast of television messages for eleven years qualified as a “continuing” relationship and thereby turned him into a “household member.”

The family court judge who issued the TRO, Daniel Sanchez, may have been predisposed to believe any allegation presented to him by a complaining woman even though she had no evidence. His own biography lists him as chairman of the Northern New Mexico Domestic Violence Task Force.

RADAR reports that only five states define domestic violence in terms of overt actions that can be objectively proven or refuted in a court of law. The rest of the states have broadened their definition to include fear, emotional distress, and psychological feelings.

The use of the word “harassment” in domestic violence definitions is borrowed from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s definition, which is based on the “effect” of an action rather than the action itself. In Oklahoma, a man can be charged with harassment if he seriously “annoys” a woman.

The 1999 book by University of Massachusetts Professor Daphne Patai, “Heterophobia: Sexual Harassment and the Future of Feminism,” powerfully indicts what she labels the “Sexual Harassment Industry.” The feminists have created a judicial world in which accusation equals guilt, and the distinction between severe offenses and trivial annoyances is erased.

RADAR’s report explains that the definition of domestic has also been expanded. Originally, domestic meant a household member, but now it means a person with whom the woman “has been involved in an intimate relationship” (Colorado), persons who are in a “dating or engagement relationship” (Rhode Island), or “any other person . . . as determined by the court” (North Dakota).

How did it happen that state laws against domestic violence are written so broadly as to produce such absurdities? Family court judges issue two million TROs every year, half are routinely extended, 85 percent are against men, and half do not include any allegation of violence but rely on vague complaints made without evidence.

Follow the money, both at the supply and the demand ends of the economic trail. The supply of 1,500 new domestic violence laws enacted by states from 1997 to 2005 is largely the handiwork of targeted lobbying by feminists funded by the multi-million-dollar federal boondoggle called the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).

VAWA is blatantly gender discriminatory; as its title proclaims, it is designed to address only complaints by women. VAWA provides taxpayer funding to feminists to teach legislators, judges and prosecutors the stereotypes that men are batterers and women are victims.

The demand end of the economic chain is the fact that women know (and their lawyers advise them) that making allegations of domestic violence (even without proof or evidence) is the fastest and cheapest way to win child custody plus generous financial support. The financial incentives to lie or exaggerate are powerful.

Due process violations in the issuing of TROs include lack of notice, no presumption of innocence, denial of poor defendants to free counsel while women are given taxpayer-funded support, denial of the right to take depositions, lack of evidentiary hearings, improper standard of proof, no need to be found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, denial of the right to confront accusers, and denial of trial by jury.

Assault and battery are already crimes in every state without any need of VAWA. TROs empower activist family court judges to criminalize a vast range of otherwise legal behavior (usually a father’s contact with his own children and entry into his own home) which are crimes only for the recipient of the order, who can then be arrested and jailed without trial for doing what no statute prohibits and what anyone else may lawfully do.

Do Federal Judges have absolute de facto discretion to refuse to hear cases? After Bell Atlantic v. Twombly, is there any real point in bringing controversial cases into Federal Court?

Justice Sandra Day O’Connor was Ronald Reagan’s first and to my mind most distinguished appointee to the Supreme Court.  She wrote, early in her career, that “federal courts must normally fulfill their duty to adjudicate federal questions properly brought before them.”  Hawaii Housing Authority v. Midkiff, 467 U.S. 229 (1984).  Even this statement in the early 1980s was a retreat from the court’s position, a mere 8 years earlier, asserting, “virtually unflagging obligation of the federal courts to exercise the jurisdiction given them” articulated in Colorado River Water Conservation District v. United States, 424 U.S. 800, 813, 817 (1976).  Today it seems that the Federal Courts spend more time (in important cases, too) limiting their own power by various doctrines than exercising their power.

The combined result of the Rooker-Feldman Doctrine, Younger v. Harris abstention and the judicial construction of the Civil Rights Removal  Statute is that State Courts are all but completely free to violate federally secured civil rights with impunity, because of a wall of barriers to review which make absolute judicial immunity a sad but real barrier.

The stupidest of all these doctrines, because it is on the one hand so banal and on the other hand so riddled with discretionary loopholes, is the Rooker-Feldman doctrine about which no one had ever even heard until 1983.  Rooker-Feldman has now been pronounced dead several times, first by Justice John Paul Stevens in his famous concurrence to Marshall v. Marshall (the “Anna Nicole Smith” probate case) but also by academic legal commentators (such as Samuel Bray, Rooker Feldman (1923-2006) 9 Green Bag 2d 317 “an entertaining journal of law” founded and edited by some fellow University of Chicago law grads I once knew) all in 2006.  Since it’s epitaph, however, the evil and “discretionary” flexibility of Rooker-Feldman as a tool to insulate state judges and corrupt judicial and quasi-judicial processes from examination and inquiry has not only not deterred but allowed, in fact guaranteed, this doctrine to come back as a vampire-like revenant over the past five years in District and US Courts of Appeals) everywhere.

Parallel to Rooker-Feldman is Younger v. Harris Abstention.   I have attacked repeatedly so-called Younger v. Harris abstention doctrine as a complete distorted perversion of the Dombrowski v. Pfister through Mitchum v. Foster line of cases which firmly established by legislative history and the very best of Supreme Court scholarship the power of U.S. District Courts to render injunctions against state court proceedings when asked to do so under 42 U.S.C. Sections 1983 & 1988(a).

Finally, the judicial disembowelment of the Civil Rights Removal Statute (28 U.S.C. Section 1443, 1447(d)) running from Strauder v. West Virginia, and Virginia v. Rives in 1880 through Greenwood v. Peacock and Georgia v. Rachel in 1966 ending in Johnson v. Mississippi (1975) has all but destroyed some of the strongest Congressional language ever written to protect the people from the “tyranny of local minorities” which periodically manage to take charge of the State Courts, by and through local elite cadres of lawyers who move almost invisibly from bench to bar and back again, trading favors and generally patting each other’s corrupt backsides in what is so genteelly known as “the Good Ole’ Boys’ network.”

None of these three doctrines, however, ever afforded to United States District Judges the free hand, the almost unlimited ability, to refuse to hear any cases not precisely to their liking the way that John Roberts’ court now has done.  There are two cases: Bell Atlantic v. Twombly and Ashcroft v. Iqbal which, together spell the doom of the Federal Courts as vehicles for securing equal protection of the laws or due process under the law.  The Roberts’ Court has, in effect, triumphantly announced that Federal Judges are indeed kings, with Royal Sovereign immunity even from reversal on appeal, because they have unfettered arbitrary and capricious discretion now to declare which cases, in their solely subjective opinions, present plausibly detailed allegations and which do not.  The result is that discovery is no longer a realistic vehicle for “fleshing out” reasonable suspicions in litigation: the Plaintiff must know, BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT, all his facts, and must plead these facts in his complaint, and he must be certain that the Federal District (Royal Court) Judge whom he approaches will agree that his complete set of facts ABSOLUTELY entitle him to relief within the law as that Judge will apply it.  To state that this is a hard standard to meet is, perhaps, a serious understatement.

From a personal standpoint, from my first day in Law School at the University of Chicago, I had always strongly preferred the Federal Court system. Quite simply, the rules were cleaner, more orderly, fewer in number, and seemed better designed to insure “substantial justice” than the rules and practice in the State Courts.  Frankly, the day before my first day in Law School, I had asked a (then quite young) Professor David A. Strauss whether law was a science or an art, and was there any room for creativity in the field of law, towards using law to construct a better world.  I told him that I had finally decided to choose law, as between law on the one hand and anthropology & history on the other, because I felt unsatisfied only observing and trying to describe or interpret past societies, that I wanted to be part of the construction and reconstruction of living societies.  Although he would later co-author a book called “The Living Constitution” about exactly such use of the law in the construction and reconstruction of society, Professor Strauss was at that moment dumbstruck and asked nothing more than, “well, what if you decide that the U.S. Legal is worse than all the others that came before it?”  It turned out to be a rather prophetic exchange.  Not that I have concluded that the U.S. Legal system as “alive” under the Constitution is worse than any other system, quite the contrary.  What I have concluded as of my 51st birthday—as I enter “Area 51” of my life, 3 x 17—is that the U.S. Constitution itself is either dead or on very mechanically intensive life-support, and that the legal system under the dead or dying constitution has become at least as bad as some of the worst in world history—despite its potential if the Constitution were somehow to be resuscitated and live.  Freedom is the only guardian of truth and beauty, because only in a free society can we debate the truth among competing ideas, and choose for ourselves what is the good, the bad, and the ugly—not to mention the beautiful.  Any exercise of freedom for the purpose of advancing the bad and the ugly of repression is, to put it mildly, very disappointing—but that seems to be the most common recent exercise of the residual use or appearance of vanishing freedom in America.

I did not begin Law School until I had almost completed my doctorate at Harvard University, so Law was in some sense my “Second Career” although as a child I had met several distinguished lawyers and judges, been told that I had descended from several others, and so I had always fantasized about being a lawyer long before I heard about archaeology.****

In my first year of law school, the then recently (forcibly) retired Judge Robert H. Bork among together with all other professors essentially gave a rousing endorsement to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure as the most efficient and noble experiment in procedural justice as the guarantor of substantive justice ever.  One of the key points was the reform of pleading: that detailed, formalistic “writ pleading” was “forever abolished” along with the more arcane forms of defenses, so that at law or in equity or in admiralty there would henceforth be but “one form of civil action”, and that was outlined under the FRCP, first promulgated in the late 1930s.

One of the key points in learning the simplicity of the Federal Rules was the Conley v. Gibson doctrine of dismissal, which had already survived 30 venerable years when I began my studies at Chicago: “No complaint should ever be dismissed unless it appears beyond doubt that the Plaintiff can prove no set of facts which would entitle him to relief.”  Any civil complaint NOT written by the Zodiac killer, in essence, would have a fairly good chance of surviving this standard.

In the year 2007, exactly 50 years after Conley v. Gibson was handed down at a time when the Federal Courts were opening their doors and exercising their broad Congressional grants of expanded their jurisdiction, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down what I would say without much (if any) exaggeration is the death-knell of both substantive and procedural due process in the United States.

A judge in a case in which I was deeply involved recently asked my distinguished counsel, a former State Assistant Attorney General, how he would get around or otherwise handle Bell Atlantic v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007).   In that case, the Supreme Court expressly overruled Conley v. Gibson as the standard of decision under 12(b)(6) Motions, and adopted a rule that a judge must find subjective plausibility in a Plaintiff’s complaint before allowing that complaint to continue to discovery and trial.  I write “subjective plausibility” although the Court itself only required a judge to find the facts “plausible”.   I add the word “subjective” because I cannot imagine, and the Court did not provide, an “objective” standard of plausibility.  In math or physics there might be some “objective” standard of probability (which one might then equate with “plausibility”, but since the history of humankind has been riddled with the most implausible and outlandish events and turns and twists of the human psyche and behavior, it seems to me obvious that Bell Atlantic v. Twombly endows each United States District Judge with the power basically to say, “I don’t like this complaint, it’s ridiculous” and dismiss on grounds of implausibility.   Plausibility or implausibility is pretty obviously, “in the eye of the beholder.”  What is plausible or not is rather like “obscenity” in that sense, “I don’t know what it is but I can recognize it when I see it.”  Plaintiffs in Federal Court are now quite simply left at the mercy of judges PREJUDICES and BIASES regarding what facts may or may not be “PLAUSIBLE” which may in fact be a subliminal message to each judge that they can simply engage in their own miniature reigns of terror by deciding cases in advance, at the 12(b)(6) Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim upon which Relief Can be Granted, whom or which side they deem worth of winning a case.  Getting past the (now especially) inevitable 12(b)(6) Motion to Dismiss in Federal Court certainly does not guarantee final victory at trial-by-jury, much less on appeal, but it is a gate by and through which every complaint (or at least 98.5% of all complaints filed in Federal Court) must pass.

I, for one, have read and review reviewed the Complaint which was the subject of the ruling in Twombly and I am unable to believe that Chief Justice John Roberts’ Court upheld dismissal of those facts.  The original and amended Twombly complaints were very fine, professionally drafted antitrust complaints drafted by experts in the field of Plaintiffs’ Antitrust law.

If that complaint could be found “implausible” upon judicial whim, then I submit to you that now the law would appear to be that any federal complaint can be found “implausible” within the judicial discretion and whim of a judge without real stated justification.

As a result, I submit and suggest that EVERY PLAINTIFF WHO FILES HIS OR HER COMPLAINT IN FEDERAL COURT, from now until Twombly IS overruled (or more likely, when it is abolished by legislative fiat), must ask as an essential part of his or her complaint that the Court NOT apply the Twombly standard of decision in the particular circumstances of their case(s).   This must become as habitual as Cato the Elder’s famous closing remark at the close of each senatorial address “Cartago delendam esse” (“Carthage must be destroyed.”)  The Twombly standard must be abandoned abrogated, and something much closer to the old Conley v. Gibson standard reinstated.

For example, each person acting without a lawyer should include in her or his complaint a count by which to request declaratory judgment that as a matter of due process and equal protection, their Court must grant, allow, and define an exception to the Bell Atlantic v. Twombly rule for pro se litigants involved in fundamentally private individual litigation with no governmental defendants or publicly held and traded corporations involved.   Where none of the defendants are publicly owned or traded corporations or entities of any kind, Twombly ought NEVER apply.  Where there are no governmental defendants here nor great public policy issues at stake, even if the underlying reasons for the relationship between the parties arose from a matter of some public interest and concern, a much more liberal and objective standard of pleading must be allowed.  There is nothing good about shutting the doors of the Federal Courthouses to as many claims as can be subjectively eliminated on any judge’s evaluation of “plausibility” of allegations, prior to discovery and in many cases prior to deep factual research—-very few clients, honestly, will pay for fifty to a hundred or more hours of pre-filing litigation research, yet the Roberts Court has all but mandated such exhaustive pre-litigation inquiry.

The only real public issue relevant to Twombly in most cases is that of the honor and integrity of the judicial system.  Twombly is  obscene in the sense that it is “without redeeming social importance.”  Twombly is not a “tough” standard, but is so subjective that it is the equivalent of “no standard at all—absolute judicial discretion allowed.”

In the Old English system of “writs”, dismissal for failure to conform one’s pleading EXACTLY to the authorized writ formal was commonplace—-and so the courts of law and equity (Exchequer, Queen’s Bench, Common Pleas, Ecclesiastical Matters) in Mediaeval through Colonial times and even most of the 19th Century (except in havens of radical legal practice like the Republic of Texas—where a revolutionary rule of “unlimited free amendment of petitions and other pleadings” was adopted in 1836 at the time of the Revolution against Mexico and has been preserved more-or-less intact until the present time) examined the forms of each Plaintiff’s complaint and each Defendant’s answer thereto for legal sufficiency according to some very ancient and rigid templates

Under Twombly, there are no such (learnable, if difficult) rigid templates, there is only the U.S. District Judge, sitting like a Danton or Robespierre at the height of the reign of terror in France, ready and now empowered to chop off the head of each offender….

I submit that the United States Courts are being corrupted by the absolute power which Twombly affords to the Federal Judiciary.  Truly, under this modern regime, no appeal of a dismissal of any case could EVER be considered to be an abuse of discretion much less prejudicial and biased per se.

If allowed to proceed, each Plaintiff must include a plea for relief to this effect in his or her complaint: the Court shall allow each complaint to go forward to discovery, pre-trial dispositive motions (e.g. Motions for Summary Judgment after discovery) and trial itself, so long as the Complaint pleads sufficiently to put the Defendant on accurate notice of the charges against him.

***I had learned Latin first by reading Cicero and the Codex Iuris Civilis, ancient copies of which sat around my grandparents house inherited from their own respective lawyer father (my grandmother Helen’s father “Judge Benny”) and grandfather (my grandfather Alphonse’s grandfather, Rufus Daniel, the Marquis of Reading, Lord Chancellor and Viceroy of India).

Historical Metaphors and Mythic Realities on Selected Islands of History in the USA 2008-2011: Beverly Hills (CA), Cambridge (MA), Dallas (TX), Malibu (CA), New Orleans (LA), Palm Beach (FL), Salem (MA), Santa Fe (NM), Watts (LA, CA)

Every “place” has a name, or a designation of some sort, even if it is only a Universal Transverse Mercator designation.  Every name is a symbolic designation, a set of implicit meanings and a history of antecedents and results, part of human culture.  And so by giving a place its name, the founders (eponymous donors or sometimes “reinventors”) invest every place  with an array of symbolic meanings and metaphoric connections.  These symbolic names are sometimes most palpable in their ironic incongruity or lack of real equivalence, like the thoroughly redneck hick towns of “Athens”, “Palestine,” and “Paris” in my own native homeland of the piny woods of Deep East Texas (at least as they were until Walmart moved in and made them all “international cities.”  

But the identity of other places evolves with history and tradition into an element of language, a clear metaphor for certain kinds of action or attitude, for example, “In a New York Minute.”  Other places change their names to try to escape their histories.  The excellent 2008 movie Changling, for example, (with Angelina Jolie beautifully playing an uncharacteristically real and sympathetically helpless victim of an utterly corrupt Los Angeles County judiciary and Sheriff’s department—the more things change the more things stay the same, this was about Los Angeles in the 1920s….) focused on the gruesome series of “Wineville chicken coop” murders of children, after which Wineville changed its name to Mira Loma.  Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, on a lighter note, changed its name in 1950 (from the perfectly respectable “Hot Springs”, with no bad connotations) to participate more fully in a Television game show….  On the other hand, the names of some places not only embody but change history. Among such places are New York, New Orleans, and Albuquerque, all of which are named after towns of secondary importance in England, France, and Spain respectively, with the common denominator that those towns are all seats of important non-hereditary duchies from which the second in line, second younger brothers of the kings of England, France, and Spain, who may serve as regents during a nephew’s minority, all take their names—and yet very few people think of any of the many dukes of New York or Albuquerque when they think of those cities, and the “Duke” most often associated with New Orleans might be either “Duke Ellington” or some similar performer….but rarely the regent of France during the Bourbon era…

Over the past several years, I have revisited some of the places in my life with special symbolic and metaphoric significance, and the time has come to reflect on them and their role in my life, the life of the world, and the English language in roughly that order.

I cannot help but notice that three of the places I choose are located not only in California but specifically within the confines of Los Angeles County, namely Beverly Hill, Malibu, and Watts, two more are in Massachusetts, Cambridge & Salem, two in the Southern United States (New Orleans & Palm Beach), and two within either the Great Southwest or, in a more narrow historical viewpoint, within Mirabeau Bonaparte Lamar’s vision of the Republic of Texas, bounded on the West as well as the South by the Rio Grande (these last being Dallas and Santa Fe).

(1) Beverly Hills (CA):   The story of Beverly Hills over the past seventy years since 1941 concerns a pleasant rural spot adjacent to a couple of famous new cities in the U.S.A. 20th Century’s Golden State of California.   This pleasant spot became first a pleasant idyllic dream destination, then an amusing anecdote, then an unsettling dream,all surrounded by a and finally overwhelmed by a single global city which absorbed all the smaller ones.   Beverly Hills ended up as an unpleasant spot symbolizing the “high end” of urban decay in early 21st century America—not quite like the world of Charn in C.S. Lewis’ “Sorcerer’s Apprentice” but too damned close for comfort.

For about 30 years in the 1950s-80s, Beverly Hills shown as a mythic mirage of the pinnacle American Dream of wealth, both predating and far outshining Las Vegas, but always more “Nouveau Riche” than Palm Beach (see below) and much stuffier than Malibu (see below).  But now, the first thing one notices about Beverly Hills in April 2011 is how poorly maintained are the streets and how distinctly non-elite some of the empty fenced off blocks appear to be, south of Wilshire in particular.  Up on Sunset, homeless or nearly homeless people still sell “Maps to the Stars’ Homes” and advertise with handwritten signs on the streetcorners, but who buys these maps?  Ultimately, who cares?  Answer: only those poor ignoramuses who really do not understand…..

The evolution of Beverly Hills in the popular imagination over the past sixty years runs from roughly 1940-41 when Irving Berlin first penned and Bing Crosby first sang, “The sun is shining; the grass is green; The orange and palm trees sway; There’s never seen such a day in Beverly Hills, L.A.. But it’s December the twenty-fourth, and I am longing to be up north. I’m dreaming of a white Christmas, just like the ones I used to know...” The combination of intense, unrealistic nostalgia with air of California freedom from want scribed a fitting epitaph to the decade of the Great Depression and the New Deal.  The mass popular “Route 66” (cum dustbowl) migrations of the 1920s through the 1950s were briefly interrupted by World War II, in which both visions of the comfortable California life and the familiar northern winters provided solace to a couple of million American servicemen and women who passed in the 1940s through the steamy tropics of the Pacific on their way to VJ day, and the Atomic Era of Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and Bikini Atoll….

But if there are any orange trees left in Beverly Hills, now, they are damned inconspicuous, and they certainly don’t have groves of them anymore.  Artificial rows of palm trees line the streets and boulevards but they mainly are propped up by city maintenance crews, approximately as often as the potholes and massive cracks in the tarmac of those same streets and boulevards.  Rodeo Drive is not REALLY all that much more interesting or impressive than the Grove or Beverly Center on La Cienega as a shopping center—a few more “boutique” rather than mass marketed chain names.  But Wilshire and Beverly Boulevards generally have a lot of vacant street-front windows and Santa Monica has even more.

Just east of Rodeo Drive are streets of modest, poorly maintained apartment buildings which remind me of Deep Ellum in Dallas (see below) or East Austin more than the Clampett or Drysdale mansions….. Which brings us to the middle phase and very height of Beverly Hills’ reputation epitomizing the American Dream: the 1962-1971 run of Buddy Ebsen’s, Max Baer’s, Irene Ryan’s and Donna Douglas’ fairy-tale fable of Tennessee Mountaineers who struck oil and got rich so quick they never changed their clothes, manners, or understanding of the world.   The Beverly Hillbillies encapsulated and advocated simultaneously the best and worst of that waning phase of the American Dream which ignored the old stern Protestant/Puritan work ethic in favor of “get rich quick and easy.”  There was nothing stern or hardworking about the Clampetts or the Drysdales or anyone else in the picture.  Money just was inherited, in the Drysdales’ case, or came “up through the ground like a bubblin’ crude…” in the Clampett’s case.

By the time of Beverly Hills 90210, (1990-2000) the American Dream had become degenerate and seedy.  Instead of the light and innocent nostalgia of White Christmas or the comic “transplanted Mountain naifs” theme of The Beverly Hillbillies, the teen cast of 90210 dealt with, in politically correct manners, a litany of social issues more closely analogous to the 1970s Norman Lear series All in the Family than any sound bite images of orange trees or “swimmin’ pools, movie stars” ever could be.  The “redeemingly social important” issues addressed in the 1990s series included but were not limited to “date rape, alcoholism, domestic violence, gay rights, anti-Semitism, gay parenting, drug abuse, teenage suicide, AIDS, teenage pregnancy, bulimia and abortion” (That’s the Wikipedia list anyhow—I could never stand to watch the damned show long enough to absorb such a list myself—I found it utterly grotesque that even University Professors at Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and the University of Chicago, as well as several U.S. District Judges and their staffs, seemed addicted to it…..but I shall mention no names to protect the guilty—they KNOW who they are…..)(see comment by Barbara Ann Kidd-Hoffman below).

In short, today, 2009-2011, Beverly Hills’ physical urban decay of roads, buildings, and general infrastructure has quite symbolically caught up with the moral decay of the 1990s, and Beverly Hills is no longer so much the epitome of the American Dream as a seedy signpost of American decay and decline.  And as the ship sinks, the rats jump off leaving—only the strongest healthiest rats aboard….the Bankers and real estate brokers who hope to profit from the decline in values followed by a recovery.  And a dashed crooked lot they are, from everything that I can tell…

Of that list of “topical social issues” choking the tail end of the American Dream in Beverly Hills 90210, it is interesting to see “anti-Semitism” on the list.  Los Angeles has a very large Jewish minority, and a large number of Jews definitely live in Beverly Hills.   As members of the West Coast Elite, they seem more comfortable than most with Chinese partners and successors in interest.  Beverly Hills, in fact, is NOT dominated today by people with Anglo-American names anything like Milton Drysdale or Jedediah, Jethro, and Ellie Mae Clampett, but more like Kim Li Fong and Yeegal Tsveerra.   The Wall Street Journal not long ago ran an article on the decline of the WASP elite of America (“That Bright, Dying Star, the American WASP” May 15, 2010—not coincidentally a mere year and a half into the Presidency of one Barack Hussein Obama) and this is nowhere more apparent than in Beverly Hills and, amazingly enough, at Harvard University, founded in 1636 by the ultimate WASP establishment a mere 16 years after the Mayflower Compact.

(2) Cambridge (MA): In fact, they still sing, “By these festival rites from the age that has past, to the age that is waiting before, Oh relic and type of our ancestors’ worth, that hast long kept their memory warm, ’til the seed of the Pilgrims’ is gone” as one of the soupier songs of self-glorifying mythology.  The faces on Harvard Campus used to be notably pale-to-pasty white, even in the 1980s, with a few utterly brilliant non-Anglosaxon foreign-born types such as Professor of Archaeology Kwang Chi-Chang or my own Mexican condiscipulo Jose Fernando Robles Castellanos, but my son was able proudly to say in 2008 that in Kirkland House, of all places, he had not one single White Anglo-Saxon Protestant suite mate.  I confess I found it disturbing, but even moreso last Winter (February March 2010) when I was residing again in Palm Beach 33480 (see below) and was told by one of the grandfatherly clergy at Bethesda-by-the-Sea that not only my son Charlie (who would have been a fourth generation legacy) but his (the Reverend Father’s) grandson (who would have been a rather remarkable sixth generation Harvard legacy) and many other WASP legacy students had been denied admission to Harvard College (just a few months before the WSJ article mentioned above).

So yes, there are some connections among the Historically metaphoric places which constitute mythic realities among this list.  Students at Harvard in Cambridge are likely to visit friends or relatives in Palm Beach and Beverly Hills—there is no significant doubt about that.  They are also likely to grow up and visit Santa Fe—either as tourists, students of Indian lore, or in other capacities. Throughout much of my academic life as a student of American anthropology, archaeology, & history, the most common purpose in going to Santa Fe was to attend or contribute to the prestigious “Advanced Seminars” at the School of American Research.  I contributed exactly one article to one such seminar whose proceedings were published in 1986: Late Lowland Maya Civilization.

But Cambridge qualifies as place of mythic reality because at its heart lies Harvard College:  the single oldest non-governmental American corporation, the oldest and one of the most valuable American trademarks, and the longest Anglo-phone seat of learning and research in the Western Hemisphere.   While it is true that the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico and about 8 other universities founded under the Spanish Viceroyalties in Latin America can trace their lineages back 14-98 years longer than Harvard, not one of these has ever equalled, much less exceeded the Harvard name as a trademark of elite excellence.  It didn’t hurt the Harvard trademark that the American War of Independence (aka the “American Revolution”) started in Middlesex County, Massachusetts on the 18th of April in (17)75.  Or that George Washington took command of the Continental Army troops on the Cambridge Common or that George & Martha Washington prayed and worshipped at Christ Church in Cambridge immediately thereafter, or that the Washingtons stayed in several houses now mostly known as the residences of Harvard University Presidents on Campus.  But somehow or other, almost every major intellectual movement in the United States from Unitarianism to Abolitionism to Social (and Biological) Darwinism (and its most recent avatars Sociobiology/Evolutionary Psychology) all took shape and formed around debates at Harvard, as have some of the great economic debates, including one of the most long-standing, the debate between corporate-charter socialism (aka Fascism), governmental design (“command and control”) socialism (e.g. the New Deal/Great Society), and monetarism have all swirled around this precinct of higher learning.

Nor did it hurt the Harvard trademark that in the late 19th century-early 20th century a certain wall was built and commemorated by successive graduating classes with ornamental gates surrounding Harvard, creating the concept of “Harvard Yard” as an enclave within the Cambridge enclave itself.  This wall became a latter day “sentimental” pomerium or sacred boundary of the Urbs Antiqua known as Harvard—which even adopted the conceit of a quasi-calendrical usage comparable to the Roman “Ab urbe Condita“/”Anno Urbis Conditae“, whereby certain events are commemorated first “Anno Domini” and second  “Ab Collegii Condita” so that 1636 becomes for some purposes the third most important date in the world after 753 B.C. and 1 A.D..  I was privileged to attend the Tersesquicentennial celebrations in 1986 when Prince Charles of Wales and his then wife Diana came to the Yard and the steps of Widener Library to address the colonials and congratulate them on how well they had all done…

Speaking Widener library and the formation of an international elite—the Harvard trademark received a huge boost from the sinking of the Titanic.  Harry Elkins Widener died in that famously stupid and unnecessary disaster at sea and his parents bequeathed what would have been a large part of his inheritance to Harvard to create what is now the 8th largest library in the world, overall, which is also the single largest privately owned library in the world.

(3) Dallas (TX)

(4) Malibu (CA)

(5) New Orleans (LA)

(6) Palm Beach (FL)

(7) Salem (MA)

(8) Santa Fe (NM)

(9) Watts (LA, CA)

University of Chicago Anthropologist Marshall Sahlins wrote two books in the 1980s: Historical Metaphors and Mythic Realities, in 1983, and Islands of History in 1985 which had a particularly strong impact on my philosophy and understanding of the world.

Lenten Reflections on Deception or Murder: which is the Highest (most heinous, offensive, injurious) Crime known to Man?

If the primary focus of my legal and political life concerns the enhancement and preservation individual freedom from governmental control and the norms of technocratic/corporate society, my primary philosophical concern is to expand and deepen my own understanding, and I would hope, the understanding of others, of the nature and dimensions of truth*.

Did anyone else ever try to give up lying or “judging unfairly” for Lent?  (Most people might call the latter “being mean” or “bullying”).  It’s so much easier to give up coffee or tea or lemonade.  Most ordinary humans, if we can “to our own selves be true”, would find it difficult to go through a single day without abstracting, oversimplifying, recharacterizing, or otherwise restructuring the truth—in other words, without lying about anything.

Back during the middle-to-last years of the George W. Bush Administration, a fairly popular bumper-sticker read, “Nobody died when Clinton lied.”  Whether you believe George W. lied only about “Weapons of Mass Destruction” as chief among the reasons for invading Iraq, or whether you believe he lied about 9/11 and everything from the counting of the Florida ballots in 2000 through his initiation of the Bank Bailout after the election in 2008, George W. Bush undoubtedly told some devastatingly fatal lies.   In that regard, Bush stands in fairly good company.  Deception and trickery of various sorts lay at the roots of the Franco-Prussian War, the Spanish American War, the U.S. entry into World War I, and the U.S. entry into World War II.  Hitlers’ preposterous lies concerning “Polish aggression” as a cause for the Nazi invasion in September 1939 are legendary, as was the peculiarly deceptive nature of the Von Ribbentrop-Molotov (aka “Stalin-Hitler”) pact partitioning Poland between Germany and the Soviet Union.   These were lies that killed millions.  By contrast the uncountable deaths of Afghan and Iraqi civilians are by no one estimated to exceed one single million (by very much) since 2003.  So lies lead to death, but war and murder and the “sacrifice” of young healthy men and women as warriors constitutes a huge part of human history.   The meaning of death is fairly obvious, except of course in extraordinary cases like Karen Ann Quinlan and Terry Schiavo, where the correlation between physical health and brain death has created a modern moral crisis in rare instances with population-wide implications (especially for the ever increasing population of elderly citizens).   The meaning of “truth” is much murkier, and much harder to tie down, or make clear to anyone.  In the courtroom context, “truth” is whatever a skillful lawyer can use rhetoric to convince 12 jurors to believe and vote for.  In the scientific realm, “peer review” of articles largely determines truth and credibility—and under “Daubert” this same standard invades and has vast consequences in the legal context in an era where no serious litigation takes place without expert witnesses.  In the early 17th century a “peer review” panel of scholars belonging to the Office of the Holy Inquisition in Rome threatened Galileo with the most severe of penalties if he did not recant, and yet he is reputed to have muttered under his breath “e pur si muove.”  We now believe we know that Galileo had the higher claim to truth, even though he was forced to recant or suffer the same penalty that met a young maiden named Jean d’Arc when she refused to deny that her visions were true, and refused to affirm that they were the product of the Devil.

Revealing the truth, or stating an unpopular truth, then, can lead to death as certainly as lying or dissembling.   John Brown believed he waged a private war for the truth when he set Kansas on fire and then tried to seize the U.S. Armory at Harper’s Ferry.  Once John Brown’s body was a-moulding in the grave, his dream of a bloody civil war which would free the slaves was realized, and his role in starting that war is not to be underestimated.  But is it historically true that the war of 1861-65 freed the slaves? Or did the majority of the Black African population of America remain in de facto slavery through 1917 and the American entry into World War I?  Or even until 1942 and the American entry into World War II?  Or even until the Civil Rights Acts of 1948-1964 outlawed, successively, lynchings (1948) and discrimination in the facilities of interstate commerce (1964)?  What is the truth about the wars that redefined America and the world while slaughtering millions?  Was World War II really (in Studs Turkel’s words) the one really “Good War?”

As Japan smolders today in radioactive fallout and the threat of nuclear holocaust due to its dependence on nuclear power, one has to wonder how the Japanese people did not learn the “truth” about the destructive nature of the split atom from their uniquely fatal “true” experiences in August 1945.  I would have imagined that Japan would have been the least enthusiastic consumer of nuclear energy.  But oblivion born of political memory and economic prosperity change the perception of “truth” almost as much as intentional lies and misrepresentations.

What really happened on 9/11/01 between Boston Logan, Lower Manhattan, the Pentagon, and Pennsylvania?  How many skyscraper-towers fell in New York City due to airplane crashes and associated fires on that day of infamy?  3?  2?  none? There are those alive today who believe each of those answers.  I happen to be one who believes the latter.  But that is because I so firmly agree with the motto, “When Clinton lied, no one died.”  (But when Bush lied, the world fried.)  Socrates is said to have corrupted the youth of Greece by advocating his own peculiar dissection of the truth.  Was he killed by fear of the truth or by a genuine belief that his methods and works were dangerous?  Or was he just killed by the Beastly Babbity Bourgeois Bores of post-Periclean Athens?

Philosophy fairly clearly teaches us that on one level, at least, we all have to recognize that any absolute definition of truth is destined to be a lie, or at the very least to generate lies and deception.  One on optimistic level, as I look at the hills around Santa Fe from my fifth floor balcony at La Fonda, the blue sky is only slightly hazy at the horizon and the hills or low mountains to the northeast, behind St. Francis’ Cathedral, have residual patches of snow, while those to the southwest of town do not.  It is a beautiful Spring day in one of the best and finest spots in North America.  What is “true” about this statement?  What is true about what I see?  The sun is not in my eye but clearly illuminates a town which has grown at least 300% since I first visited here here as a child.  There is not a cloud in the sky above, and only a few very low clouds hovering above the sky up and around.  The leaves on the trees are either just nascent buds or not out at all.  Most tree branches are barren, although again even from this low altitude (5th Floor) vantage point there is a difference between the north and the south looking views (more barren branches in the north, more just barely growing leaves on the south.

Is any of this true?  Is any of this real?  It so seems to me, and I doubt that many people (if any) would argue with my general characterization of the sky.  But then I look at St. Francis’ Cathedral, and the rather grotesquely purple-draped crucifix planted in front of it (purple for Lent).   I am not R.C. but have a great appreciation for the majesty and role of the Christian Church in the West.   I grew up an Episcopalian—basically of an “Anglo-Catholic lite” variety.  In my Sunday school days we argued over such things as why glaciers and the ice ages weren’t mentioned in the Bible while “Noah’s Flood” was, and what would happen to the English Church if England (all or part) were ever again covered with glacial ice as it most certainly was less than 15,000 years ago, and what would happen to the Freedom Trail in Boston if New England were glaciated again?  In short, my religious upbringing did not disallow the scientific view of the world, of evolution, and of man’s animal origins and nature.

I look at St. Francis’ Cathedral and the purple draped crucifix standing out in front again.  What is true and what is false?  What is real and what is fantasy?  And above all, which is the greater crime: deception or murder?

In the United States today, no one is ever executed for fraud, although life sentences are routinely meted out—(I for one have never understood why life in prison is an improvement over death; I have spent a lifetime total of 60 days in Federal Custody and rather than stay longer I would choose death any day).  In a German movie from the early 1990s, Schrechklische Maedschen, (“Nasty girl”) an ironic twist was when a distinguished citizen of the town, reputed to have been in the underground resistance during World War II, was revealed to have been not only not a resister but an enthusiastic Nazi who arranged to have an itinerant Jewish salesman tried and hanged as a swindler; in the context of the movie, this was portrayed as one of the great abuses of Nazi sympathizers on the less than epic, mundane, local level.  The Common Law of England, and the Civil Law of Europe, did not always forbid execution for swindling or ordinary commercial fraud (in fact most “felonies” were originally hanging offenses, including for example horse thievery).  Note at sidebar: if capital punishment were allowed for fraud today it seems certain that the entire executive corps of Bank of America, Wells Fargo, JP Morgan Chase, would all be eligible to be twisting slowly in the breeze, and most mortgage-lending banks, investment, financial service companies would be entirely without upper level employees of any kind and very few middle level employees.

And yet I digress.  There was a time in England, in the 18th Century, when pickpockets were hanged when caught picking pockets.  And where in all of England were there ever more pickpockets in operations than at public hangings by Newgate prison, including the public hangings of pickpockets.  So stealing was bad and justified state-sanctioned murder.  Hmmm….

Today, possibly under the influence of of Karl Marx, added to a substrate laid by Jesus Christ, we do not think that theft is as bad as murder, and crimes such as led to stonings in Jesus’ time (such as adultery), are now capital only in Iran and a few adjacent countries depending on how the wind is blowing, apparently, although Saudi Arabia has executed its own princesses for sexual crimes in the modern (even the Reagan) era.

The crucifix draped in translucent purple in fron of St. Francis’ Cathedral is haunting me still.   Royal purple is not translucent.  The purple of mourning is not translucent.  A crucifix draped in translucent purple gauze is almost as tacky as the plastic BVMs (“Blessed Virgin Mary”s) that were once all so common on the lawns in LMC immigrant neighborhoods back East.

And yet the reality of the purple crucifix is that we are in Lent, one week past the Annunciation of the Coming of Christ by the Angel Gabriel to a certain unwed (and probably rather ethnic-looking) mother named Mary took place (the Annunciation, celebrated on March 25 or the nearest Sunday of each year, also serves to warn the world that only 9 months (270 days,  of shopping time remain until Christmas….).  Lent is the time (40 days and 40 nights) in which we are instructed to remember that Christ died for our sins…. One perfect and complete sacrifice for the sins of the Whole World…..

Lent in relation to Easter appears to have originated in Egypt sometime in the late 3rd or early 4th centuries A.D., but it is clearly conceptually connected to the many 40 day periods of retreat or fasting mentioned in the Old Testament/ Hebrew Bible.

One possibility is that Lent originated in a 40 day period in which the women of Israel wept for Tammuz….  This event, commemorated in one of the most enigmatic lines in the entire Hebrew Bible, is recorded in Ezekiel 8:14: “Then he brought me to the door of the gate of the LORD’S house which was toward the north; and, behold, there sat women weeping for Tammuz.”

The author of Ezekiel refers to this sight as an “abomination” but Tammuz (Sumerian Dumuzi), was the lover of Ishtar/Inanna, the “Adonis” of the Fertile Crescent, who died each year and was reborn…. It is hard to know just how “deep” into the Cult of the Sacred Marriage of Inanna and Dumuzi the women of Israel described by Ezekiel might have been.  The “ordinary” priestesses of Inanna were in fact Temple “prostitutes”, a topic of greatest interest to modern scholarship, as well as to the Greek Historian Herodotus in describing the farthest “West” of the Near Eastern Temples ever recorded, found in Cypress.  The Sumerian word Dumu from which Dumuzi is derived may have meant something about the regenerative vegetative turgidity—Dumu—the sap which flows in the reeds that grow beside the life-giving Euphrates.  (The sap in the reeds gives rise to another farther flung comparison—of the Mesoamerican Tollan and the exile of “le Roi Ivre” (the Drunken King) aka the God Quetzalcoatl from the “Land of Reeds” after sexually incestuous indiscretion with the God’s sister were punished by rival deity Tezcatlipoca… but that is another essay for another day).  The Bible contains more evidence of Temple prostitution associated with either of the Goddesses Asherah or Astarte in Ancient Israel, mainly Asherah (Dumezilian Third Function Goddess whose name means, alternatively “Wealth” or “Poles”—as in wooden poles, not residents of that certain flatland country east of the Oder-Niese line, north of Czechoslovakia, and West of Belarus (Byelorussia).  The word “qedeshah” (“consecrated harlot”) occurs in Genesis 38: 21-22, Deuteronomy 23:18, and Hosea 4:14.  While Ahab’s Queen Jezebel, then, was no prostitute herself, insofar as the Bible reveals, her devotion to the goddess Asherah could possibly have made her the “madam” of many consecrated prostitutes, as the word qedeshah (root Q-D-S) is etymologically parsed and compared to Sumerian Quadishtu.

As a pause within any Lenten dissertation on high crimes, it is to be noted that in Biblical times and ever since, sexual crimes seem to be the most troublesome. The Prophet Elijah dedicated his life and prophetic works to the destruction of Jezebel and her fertility-oriented worship of Asherah.  I have never been fond of Elijah—his very name is an argument “El is [the same as] Yahweh”, but I think his attack on Hebrew polytheism is at least as strange and incongruous, perhaps even moreso, than Akhenaten’s attack on Egyptian Polytheism as much as 600-800 years earlier.

The truth is that nothing binds human beings together more tightly than their interest in/obsession with sex.  Today, the most heinous crimes are sexual crimes—there is no register of released killers, bankrobbers, or fraudulent tortfeasors identifying which released ex-cons live in which neighborhoods, but by Federal Law, sex offenders must be registered everywhere.   Convicted sex-offenders are stained with their stigmata for life, worse even than Jews in Nazi Germany (or the real or imagined Nazi-sympathizers in post-WWII France or other occupied countries).

Prostitution is, one supposes, the complete and total negation of traditional family life and marriage—yet if dedicated by and to the Priestesses of Inanna or Ishtar it was called “Sacred” among the Sumerians, Akkadians, Old through Neo-Babylonians, Assyrians, Kassites, Eblaites, Cannanites, and Cypriots of the Ancient Fertile Crescent.

I myself have often confronted the question: what is the difference between modern marriage and prostitution, and have concluded that the primary difference is in time of payment: prostitutes are paid “up front” while wives are paid (through the divorce and alimony system) post-facto, even (especially) if and when they enjoyed the full fruits of married life with their husbands.  Wives in a modern “Brave New World” Divorce of the type that Kathy Ann Garcia-Lawson has so completely eschewed, can typically collect much more for their sexual and child bearing services than even the most highly paid prostitutes ever stand to earn.  I suppose that is why the condescending Pharisees and Sadducees of our time (like Jesus’) called women who belong to the profession of which Mary Madeleine might have been a member, “Cheap”.  Yet Mary Madeleine, at the end of this Lenten Drama, is remembered as she who was the first to see the empty tomb and be greeted by the Risen Christ.  So who’s life and work was more precious to the Lord?

Prostitution and marriage—categorical opposites or merely points along a single continuum.  Which lifestyle represents greater freedom?  Which lifestyle represents greater honesty?  In Lent, when we reflect on our sins, mortal and venal, should we not reflect on such questions.

Are we today free from the hypocritical values which cast some as saints and some as sinners for very similar behaviors?

But leaving for a moment sex, lies and videotape, and returning to murder vs. lies, we go back to the foundation of modern Anthropology.  In The Golden Bough, published originally in 1890, but published in its more famous 12 volume 3rd edition contemporaneously with the Great European War, 1915-1918, Sir James G. Frazer focused on one single interrelated web of questions and problems relating to human religion worldwide: why is ritual murder or human sacrifice so common and why does it always focus on a dying King—a dying young man at the height of his masculine strength and life.

Dumuzi-Tammuz in Mesopotamia and Syro-Palestine (and Cyprus), the lover of Inanna-Ishtar; the model couple for the Sacred Marriage Rite of Ancient Sumer-Akkad-Babylon.  Osiris in Egypt, brother and lover of Isis, the model for Pharaonic resurrection and ultimately for all Egyptian resurrection (through the rites of mummification). Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, begotten of his Father before all worlds, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father, who for us and our Salvation came down from heaven, was made incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the Virgin Mary, and made man.

Clive Staples Lewis once wrote an inquiry into the question of whether Jesus was “just another corn God” and concluded that he was not.  But the manifestations and apparent roots of Kingship and Sacrifice stretch from sub-Saharan Africa across Europe and Asia to the Americas.  The story of Quetzalcoatl-Kukulcan on the one hand, and the ritual sacrifice and corn-bread communion of Tezcatlipoca among the Aztec, certainly looks suspiciously like the rites of Christendom.  The early Spanish Conquistadors noted, as did their accompanying clergy, mostly “Franciscans” including but not limited to those who founded Santa Fe and the church here which ultimately evolved into the Cathedral of St. Francis, that the Aztec especially but to a lesser degree the Maya showed ritual parallels to all of the Seven Sacraments in their autochthonous theology, aboriginal ceremonies and indigenous beliefs.   For Sir James G. Frazer, as for Frays Bernaldino de Sahagun and Bartolome de las Casas, Aztec Religion was the nearest ritual approximate to Christianity outside of the Christian world itself.

What does this kind of similarity mean?  On Good Friday we “celebrate” the death of the Son of God.  In the rites of Toxcatl, the Aztec of Mexico celebrated the death of the human incarnation of Tezcatlipoca by human sacrifice.  Among the “Penitentes” of New Mexico, it was long rumored that actual human sacrifices took place on Good Friday to commemorate the original death.  The lines between cultures and religious ideology grows slim indeed.

For the Spanish, the Aztec Religion was a deceptive mockery of Christianity, going back to our original question of whether murder or deception is the highest crime known to Man.  For their sins of heresy and failure to adopt or comprehend Christianity, the Native American peoples were alternatively enslaved, burned at the stake, slaughtered in brutal war, or simply denied the right to serve as priests (despite decades of work, in the sixteenth century, of the bilingual Nahuatl & Spanish Colegio de Tlatelolco established by Sahagun) because they were doctrinally deemed to be soulless creatures easily deceived by the Devil and incapable of understanding or implementing the one “True” Christian faith.

So notions of fraud and murder converge in Christianity specifically, in world religions generally, and throughout the study of Divine Kingship, by Sir James G. Frazer and his followers, who constitute the core of Anglophone Anthropology from E.E. Evans-Pritchardt, A.R. Radcliffe-Brown, and Alfred M. Hocart, of an older generation, to Marshall Sahlins, Valerio Valeri, and Gillian Feeley-Harnik of the more recent and modern era.

Is murder truth or deception?  Joss Whedon is one of the most talented writers ever to approach television, and has put many amazing words into the mouths of his characters in several different series.  In the fourth season of Whedon’s series Angel, the eponymous character’s son, a human offspring of vampire parents (Angel and Darla) named “Connor”, tells his father,  “There’s only one thing that ever changes anything and that’s death. Everything else is a lie. You can’t be saved by a lie. You can’t be saved at all.”  (Episode 4.22 “Home”)

This pretty much sums up the Wagnerian-Schopenhauerian-Nietzschean dilemma: DEATH IS THE ONLY THING THAT EVER CHANGES ANYTHING.  Is everything else really a lie though?  Can we be saved by the death of Divine Kings?  Tezcatlipoca in the rites of Toxcatl? Dumuzi-Tammuz?  Osiris?  One-Eyed Wotan’s self-willed immolation in Walhalla at the Twilight of the Gods after the Murder of his grandson Siegfried by the treacherous half-breed Hagen?  or Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews?

Deception and Murder, from an Anthropological perspective, are fairly unique aspects of the human condition.  Male animals kill each other over mates.  Animals compete for food.  Animals know the law of the jungle: kill to eat, or to prevent oneself from being eaten.  But most animals do not set elaborate mechanical traps (that’s why a Spider’s web is so intriguing and powerful a symbol to the human mind) or drive entire herds over cliffs merely to eat and skin a few of the animals who die in the stampede (Native American Archaeological Kill sites are common from New Mexico to Alberta and elsewhere in the Americas, with prehistoric documentation going back at least to Torralba-Ambrona in the late Acheulean, Lower Palaeolithic, of Spain), but such behavior is routine among humans.  We do not think of this, perhaps, so routinely as “deception” because we do not imagine that the animals would understand the fraud if it were explained to them: “if you step on this spot, you will be caught in a trap and eaten; if you stampede over a cliff with the rest of the herd, while being chased by humans, you will all die but only a few of you will be eaten and the rest will simply rot.”  So death can be the result of deception—death can be the result of lies, even though, as  Connor believes, there is something satisfyingly clear and absolute about death that makes it “truer than life,” perhaps.

Propaganda (Advertising) and Technologically Advanced Warfare write deception and murder large across the tableau of modern history.  As Winston Churchill once observed, man is the only creature who periodically goes out to slaughter large numbers of individuals of the same species, and the invitation, the incentive to such officially sanctioned, corporate, mass murder is what we call political or….other kinds of….propaganda or advertising.  Only a few well-selected deceptive words like “weapons of mass destruction” are all it takes to rally the American population to warfare, it seems.  Yet there have been schools of thought in the not so distant past which believed and argued that truth and the maximum expression of human nobility resided in warfare, like death itself, or murder.

One of the principal reasons I have chosen to be a civil rights activist is that I have seen American Judges (both State and Federal), supposedly the ultimate arbiters of “truth” in society, so corruptly twist the truth or even the facts as presented to them, that I have little or no lingering confidence in the judicial system, anywhere, as a means of ascertaining the truth.  Quite the opposite: in mortgage finance, family, domestic relations, & “child welfare” law, the government (including the judges) more often than not come down on the side of the liars and the corrupt, and against those trying to ferret out the truth.  Doctrines such as “parental alienation” and “best interests of the child” combine to give judges and social welfare workers the power to wreak such havoc on home and family life that, frankly, it is amazing today that any traces of home or family life exist in America today.   What is the truth we are fighting for here?  I think that the real, not-so-hidden agenda behind the iron curtail of Family Law and Domestic Relations in the United States, coupled with the mortgage finance/credit-based monetary system, consists of one single goal: the abolition of the family and private property in America and the rest of the developed world, thereby realizing two of Karl Marx’s key dreams articulated in the Communist Manifesto of 1848, or in Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World nightmare of 1931.

*My son Charlie, a Freshman at St. John’s College in Annapolis, regularly tortures me with impossible philosophical questions about classification, perception, and reality and all I can say is: Good for Him! I wish I had had that kind of training, but I am deficient at the dissection of philosophical questions.  His perception and understanding of Aristotle, Parmenides, Plato, and Socrates already far exceeds my own.  As my late aunt Mildred would have said, “he is well-schooled and so acquainted with all the Gone Greeks.”  St. John’s curriculum is apparently as amazing and true to the mediaeval and renaissance traditions as I had always heard—and as difficult.