We have been discussing the tax policies of President Francois Hollande’s Socialist government — a record that I have criticized as ruinous from an economic standpoint. A recent report indicates that for some high-earning families — more than 8,000 — the Hollande policies impose a 100% tax. It is the ultimate “eat the rich” policy. Even for those families facing a 75% rate, it is unclear why they would continue to work in the country. Many are not. France is experiencing a flight of both high earners and companies.
Evil Twin Defense: Toronto Mayor Makes Novel Claim After Surfacing Of Tape Allegedly Showing Him Smoking CrackPublished 1, May 20, 2013 Bizarre , Criminal law , International , Politics , Society 5 Comments
We have previously seen cases involving the evil twin defense. However, recently Toronto mayor Rob Ford invoked this defense after a picture emerged that purportedly showed him smoking crack. The problem is that the reporters cannot find evidence that he actually has a twin as he claims. It does not appear that former D.C. mayor Marion Berry is a relation.
By Mike Appleton, Guest Blogger
“Be what you would seem to be-or, if you’d like it put more simply-Never imagine yourself not to be otherwise than what it might appear to others that what you were or might have been was not otherwise than what you had been would have appeared to them to be otherwise.”
-Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
The late Paul Weyrich is generally regarded as the principal architect of the new conservative coalition that emerged with the ascendancy of Ronald Reagan. He was a co-founder of the Heritage Foundation. He even created the phrase “moral majority” for Pat Robertson. But his most important creation was the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) in 1973. In the course of 30 years that body has become the most powerful force in state legislative bodies throughout the country.
Weyrich was not a fan of voting rights. “I don’t want everybody to vote,” he said in 1980. “Elections are not won by a majority of the people. They never have from the beginning of our country and they are not now. As a matter of fact, our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down.” Weyrich understood that voters are problematic for two reasons. First, they are fickle and unpredictable. Second, they cannot be held accountable for their decisions. In short, they cannot be controlled, making democracy an uncertain endeavor.
But Weyrich also understood that lobbying is not an effective antidote to an independent electorate. It is expensive and subject to restrictions and regulations that vary from state to state. ALEC operates in a manner that enables it to surmount those problems. Powerful corporate interests provide the funding necessary to research and draft model bills serving their interests. The approximately 2,000 state legislator members of ALEC sponsor those model bills in their respective states. And the electorate? Well, anyone is free to join and have his or her voice heard by paying an annual membership fee ranging from $7,000.00 to $25,000.00.
As you will see, ALEC’s ability to get its way in spite of the voting public is indeed a wonder to behold. Continue reading ‘ALEC in Wonderland, An Act In Two Plays (Part 1)’
That free speech is under attack by the governments local and Federal should be manifestly apparent from the stories that have appeared of the last few years here at Res Ipsa Loquitur. In articles from our host, myself and my fellow guest bloggers, we’ve seen open attacks on free speech as a right proper, attacks on anonymous political free speech, the prosecution and persecution of whistleblowers and the erosion of shield laws protecting reporters and attacks on free speech and pluralism in general in the form of blasphemy laws just to name a few of the threats that have come to our attention. What is most troubling is that the Federal government has stepped up their efforts to outright infringe upon the free speech rights of citizens and the press and chill the right however possible. Free speech is critical for the function of democracy. Without dissent, there can be no debate, only the dictates of the strong over the weak which is by definition tyranny. That is one of the reasons that it was so important that the Founders protected it in the 1st Amendment. However, they felt in particular that the freedom of the press was a not just free speech, but a very special kind of free speech that merited both special mention and protection in the 1st. The 1st Amendment reads in relevant part:
Congress shall make no law [. . .] abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press”.
As we know, there are legitimate reasonable restrictions on free speech such as defamation, incitement and threats (particularly threats of violence). So before we look at the two present instances of the chilling of free speech – one a local story about a graduation and one the national story concerning the DOJ accessing the phone records for hundreds of reporters working for the Associated Press – let us first ask examine what is meant by the term “chilling free speech”.
by Gene Howington, Guest Blogger
A friend of mine sent me this picture. I know that apathy is a problem for a great number of our fellow citizens, but come on. Sure, it’s silly, but do you think this is clever? Is it indicative of a larger problem with the American mindset? Both? Or do you just not care?
Tags: DSM-5, insanity, mental health, mental illness
Submitted by Charlton Stanley (Otteray Scribe), guest blogger
The relationship between mental health and the legal system is a turbulent one at best. One major problem is they speak two different languages. For example, insanity is a legal term found nowhere in any psychiatric or psychological diagnostic manual.
There are several key words used commonly by both professions, but which have quite different meanings. The words “validity” and “reliability” are part of the vocabulary of science. To a scientist, the word validity means that a test measures what it claims to measure. When a test is intended to measure depression or anxiety, the user can assume it measures depression and anxiety.
Reliability refers to the repeatability of a test or measurement. If we give the same test to the same subject several times, all the scores will fall within the standard error of measurement 95% of the time.
When an attorney uses the word validity, it means, Binding; possessing legal force or strength; legally sufficient.
The legal interpretation of the word reliability suggests the subject matter is trustworthy, and that one can rely on it. However, when a scientist says something is reliable, it means whatever is being tested will get the same results with every retest, within the Standard Error of Measurement.
An examination of the literature of both professions reminds us of the quip attributed to George Bernard Shaw, “[We] are two peoples divided by a common language.”
When I was in graduate school, a well-known attorney gave an invited lecture to the student body. The speaker made several sweeping generalizations about the mentally ill; all of them displaying a stunning ignorance of facts. Then he turned his venom on those in the mental health professions, referring to mental health professionals scornfully as, “Soul doctors.” I would like to say people like him are rare, but they are not. I have known judges who, quite literally, did not believe in mental illness. We had one of those in our area who, mercifully, retired a few years ago. People like that remind me of those misogynistic knuckle-draggers who don’t believe there is such a thing as rape.
Now, back to the stormy relationship between the legal system and mental illness.