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  • jonerik commented on the diary post Greenwald Exposes Judge Richard Posner- Privacy is for Dirty, Shameful Acts by jbade.

    2014-12-17 11:19:28View | Delete

    By his own logic, Judge Posner would also have no objection to opening all judge conferences to discuss their opinions. I mean, what have they got to hide?

  • jonerik commented on the blog post Meaningless Human Life in Neoliberal America

    2014-12-07 11:50:34View | Delete

    I don’t know that I’d look forward to another crash. But given that the hucksters who were responsible for crashing the system last tie are back in charge of restoring it without acknowledging how they screwed up before, another crash is all but inevitable. God help us all when that happens.

    Will miss your posts here, masaccio. But I’ll look forward to reading your new work at the other places.

  • You’re right that the states are not bound by the 5th Amendment constitutional requirement of a grand jury for any prosecution. As you know that was because of Harlan and the case of Hurtado v. California.
    So states are not limited by the constitution to require prosecutions upon grand juries.

    I also agree that the use of the state grand juries by state prosecutors has resembled the Star Chamber. But I’m not with you when you argue that we should be through with the grand jury categorically. The “grand jury:ham sandwich” phrase may go back further. But Justice William O. Douglas stated in his dissent in United States v. Mara, 410 U.S. 19, 23-24 (1973) reminds us that this sense goes back a long way:

    “Judge William Campbell, who has been on the District Court in Chicago for over 32 years, recently made the following indictment against the grand jury: 1
    “‘This great institution of the past has long ceased to be the guardian of the people for which purpose it was created at Runnymede. Today it is but a convenient tool for the prosecutor – too often used solely for publicity. Any experienced prosecutor will admit that he can indict anybody at any time for almost anything before any grand jury.’
    “It is, indeed, common knowledge that the grand jury, having been conceived as a bulwark between the citizen and the Government, is now a tool of the Executive. [410 U.S. 19, 24] The concession by the Court that the grand jury is no longer in a realistic sense “a protective bulwark standing solidly between the ordinary citizen and an overzealous prosecutor” is reason enough to affirm these judgments.”

    Justice Douglas never gave up on the Grand Jury and neither do I. The U.S. Supreme Court’s decisions have allowed far too great a berth to prosecutors to influence grand juries all in the name of protecting the grand jury from the courts where prosecutorial misconduct is involved. CF. United States v. Williams, 504 U.S. 36 (1992)(for instance). The task is to reform our abysmal Supreme Court which has all but held the Grand Jury clause of the Fifth Amendment meaningless and unenforceable.
    that all prosecutions be upon gr

  • jonerik commented on the blog post Approval of Obamacare Hits a New Low

    2014-11-17 10:16:42View | Delete

    That point needs to be made over and over. repealing Obamacare is not a viable response to the inadequacies of this legislation. Obamacare was supposed to be an interim stage to a public option. I like the idea of simply dropping eligibility for Medicare from 65 to age 0, covering all US citizens and making the far less costly Medicare supplement insurance plans accessible to all.

  • jonerik commented on the blog post Most Aren’t Going to Use the Insurance Exchanges Correctly

    2014-11-14 18:35:31View | Delete

    Well, this post turns out to be timely since it appears I fall among those who did not “use the exchanges correctly.” One question might be “which exchange” because if I understand correctly, 34 states have no state exchange. And then among the 16 states which did adopt exchanges, how do we compare the similarities and difference there?

    Mine is Minnesota’s which has had its problems. I switched from an individual plan offered by an insurer, Preferred One, to another Preferred One plan offered through the MNSURE exchange which as I recall, offered comparable benefits to the plan I but seemed to be the only way to go if I wanted to get the tax credit benefit. I’m now told, after the fact I believe, that the plan I was qualified for through MNSURE did not cover essential benefits which I would actually have had if I had not gone through MNSURE but have now been disallowed because I went to the same health care provider who for the specially designed MNSURE plan was an “out of network” provider. Some people call that “bait and switch”.

  • jonerik commented on the diary post War Culture by David Swanson.

    2014-10-23 18:00:53View | Delete

    Williston sounds like he is channeling Thorstein Veblen here. Veblen’s economic theories, which have been described as “institutional economics” by some, state that our laws, society and cultural behavior are institutional holdover from our barbarian past. He finds the roots of finance capitalism with its predatory, warlike behavior, in Viking raiding parties.

  • jonerik commented on the diary post Economics: The User’s Guide – Book Salon Preview by Elliott.

    2014-10-12 10:47:13View | Delete

    I was going to say but you beat me to it.

  • jonerik commented on the blog post Holding Politicians Accountable

    2014-09-28 19:39:11View | Delete

    I haven’t bothered to read Mr. Hardy’s opus. I doubt I ever will or his other works on Pakistani banking. Mr. Hardy “works”, i.e. is “employed by” the International Monetary Fund. I hear that the IMF is sort of an international “repo man” and is very effective in squeezing debtor nations out of natural resources and assets it may or may not have. I’m pretty sure the idea of “accountability” for him and his ilk have pretty much a one way meaning. That is, only debtors must be accountable.

  • jonerik commented on the diary post The Barbarian’s Book Review: Ghosts of Tom Joad, by Peter Van Buren by Ohio Barbarian.

    2014-09-28 19:26:45View | Delete

    Thanks for the review OB.

  • jonerik commented on the blog post Borrow From the Rich for Wars That Benefit the Rich

    2014-09-21 18:17:11View | Delete

    No, that’s not too simplistic. That’s about right.

  • jonerik commented on the blog post Borrow From the Rich for Wars That Benefit the Rich

    2014-09-21 16:18:50View | Delete

    Your posts and insights never fail to impress me, massacio. Maybe it’s time to publish them in a book or the online equivalent of a dead tree utterance of your thoughts. Your insights recall my icon Thorstein Veblen, who discussed military expenditures as being sort of a feature or nature of the beast type relationship with the “state”. That being something which he astutely observed having been inherited from the apparatus from Europe and the princely prerogative of making war. All being vested in the office of the Presidency under the Constitution.

    I get the sense that in Congress there is an unwritten rule or imperative that matters of war and “warlike expenditure” are exempt from the usual “cost/benefit” structures that sometimes, at least in principle, govern other expenditures for domestic improvements and purposes. Maybe there is implicit in this idea that, as in “Say’s Law”, such expenditures will create their own demand and therefore pay their own way?

  • jonerik commented on the diary post Real Fiscal Responsibility 5; Carter: Environmental Degradation by letsgetitdone.

    2014-09-08 08:20:37View | Delete

    Linking the concept of “public purpose” to policy is a good idea but it is not entirely new. I wonder if you’re familiar with the “Legal Foundations of Capitalism” by Prof. John R. Commons from about 1924 where he lays out the idea of “public purpose”? “Fiscal responsibility” is defined as a “balanced budget”, i.e. [...]

  • jonerik commented on the blog post The Supreme Conservatives

    2014-08-31 17:34:37View | Delete

    You are right to say this about the influence of “law and economics” on the Supreme Court. That is something I think explains a lot about the Court’s politics (which commenters like Cole dandify with pretentious words like “jurisprudence”). One of the biggest exponents of this was former Justice Stevens whom many considered a liberal for his stances on a number of issues. But on issues like antitrust and patents, he was right in there in his support of pro-big-business “law and economics” decisions. Antitrust law has ceased to exist with the Burger, Rehnquist and now Roberts courts.

    I wanted to add that the Supreme Court develops its agenda not only through cases it actually decides but by the cases it does not accept for review. The dirty work is carried out by the phalanx of federal and state court judges who follow the lead and the drift of the Court’s rulings. These rulings end up being tacitly ratified and endorsed by the failure of litigants to obtain further review either because they run out of money and patience or their petitions are simply denied. By the way, most state Supreme Courts are run in the same way where these state court justices get to pick and choose what cases they think are important enough to decide. This arrangement puts tremendous pressure on trial judges to decide cases conservatively without regard to real justice and in accordance with how they think the higher courts will review them. These principles are the conservative principles that have been established in now forty years of conservative, right wing control of the appellate courts.

    I will say that the Burger, Rehnquist and Roberts courts have grownthere have been some interesting positive developments in the Fourth and Sixth Amendment areas. -called “jurisprudence” , I mean politics. icies. I wanted to add that the Court’s agenda is also reflected not just by the cases they actually decide but by the cases they do not accept.

  • jonerik commented on the blog post The Supreme Conservatives

    2014-08-31 11:55:40View | Delete

    Another commendable post, masaccio. I’m coming into the anniversary of my 40th year of the practice of law. In my experience, the judiciary as a whole has fallen badly in that time. I used to think judges t least tried to work for justice and were committed to ideals like “equal access to the courts.” No longer. The judicial system has become a black hole with its “egosphere” at the Supreme Court.

  • jonerik commented on the diary post We Won’t Forget Wisconsin by David Swanson.

    2014-08-07 05:31:46View | Delete

    Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, who lost the election against Walker in 2010 also ran against him and lost in the 2012 recall. I no longer live in Wisconsin but I have close relatives who do. Until Barrett decided to run in the recall, which I recall he did reluctantly, the recall had no candidate. Barrett [...]

  • jonerik commented on the blog post Late Night: The Untouchables

    2014-08-01 05:42:38View | Delete

    “The Untouchables” and “cackling birds” pretty accurately sums up the state of our plutocracy these days. But I wonder if all the 1% are all that happy or satisfied with things either?
    I was watching a British detective show the other night set in 1968 involving an investigation of some aristocrats. One of the characters was describing a book he was writing about how the British ruling class went mad after the Suez crisis and never recovered. I thought, how true. The Suez crisis was the last hurrah of the British Empire in which the Empire’s rulers could no longer deny that they needed Uncle Ike to bail them out. It’s probably true that they became unglued with this.

    Are we at a similar stage with our empire where the reality of US global hegemony has passed and neither the ruling elite or the public have yet grasped that fact?

  • All of these neoliberal policies relate to banking and making these places safe for US bank investment. Central and South America have been a fertile source of bonds for US banks collateralizing the natural resources, including the “human resources” and the land, which is owned by a privileged elite. This podcast has made me aware that the violence in Central America did not end in the 1990′s as I had thought but that it has continued and become the modus vivendi.

  • jonerik commented on the blog post The Political Decision in Hobby Lobby

    2014-07-06 19:00:58View | Delete

    One more thought: I wonder if the “Religious Restoration, etc” Act is itself a violation of the First Amendment. Under 42 United States Code sec. 2000cc-5, “the term “religious exercise” includes any exercise of religion, whether or not compelled by, or central to, a system of religious belief.”

    Is the nonuse of contraception even “central to” Catholicism? Or Christianity? As a Christian, I submit that “Hobby Lobby” be the occasion that we flush into the open and force what counts for “church authority” to defend what is exactly “central to and compelled by, or central to, a system of religious belief.”

  • jonerik commented on the blog post The Political Decision in Hobby Lobby

    2014-07-06 18:35:13View | Delete

    Until I read the language of the “Religious Restoration, etc.”
    statute, which you thoughtfully quoted from in your post, masaccio, it hadn’t occurred to me what a monstrous decision this is. So a person or even a corporation’s belief about the use of contraception is the “exercise of religions”? That statement is perhaps true if you are a very doctrinaire and strictly observant Catholic. Otherwise, absolutely not. I recall that one of the BIG issues surrounding the candidacy of John F. Kennedy was his religion and the concern, which appears quaint in hindsight, that he would govern on orders from the Pope. Now we have a US Supreme Court opinion which is grounded in no less, Catholic dogma. Which of course finds absolutely no foundation in anything like the Bible or even the Nicene or Apostle’s Creed! Only Paul VI’s Encyclical “Humanae Vitae”.

    Only a devout and dogmatic Catholic who was at one with the Pope’s religious teachings on contraception and birth control could be blind to how such teachings do not even reflect the “exercise of religion” and by such blindness ensconce peripheral religious dogma into Constitutional writ.

    I completely concur with those commenters who compare this decision with the adoption of Sharia law or “The Handmaiden’s Tale”. These comparisons are entirely fair and apt. But many do not understand that the First Amendment not only protects the free exercise of religion” but the “establishment” of a state religion. “Hobby Lobby” undermines the “establishment” clause of the First Amendment by making one church’s idea of what is part of their faith the “exercise of religion.” “Hobby Lobby” is a scary step to establishing a state religion which only a devout and dogmatic Catholic like Alito could fail to perceive.

  • jonerik commented on the diary post Can We Talk About the Economics, Politics and Religion in Snowpiercer? by spocko.

    2014-07-03 20:31:07View | Delete

    Sounds like a good discussion to have, spocko. I might see the film but my impression from the trailer is “Ayn Rand’s Polar Express” with Tilda Swinton as Ayn and no Tom Hanks or Santa. Downer.

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