Jun 172009

[From me, admittedly, on both counts.]

More comment-mining at Tim’s Guardian piece:

The lack of choice I refer to is, I believe, less due to employers than with female mate-choice. If a man wants to be a father, he first needs to attract a mate. If you’re not a good provider few women will consider you father material or worth settling down with. It’s a catch 22 – if you want to have a family you need to prioritise your career, which leaves you less time to spend with your family.

Do men really think this is generally the attitude of women? Sure, I can see that there will be those ladies who would turn down a lovely man because he had a crap income, but on the other hand, I have personally never encountered such a thing. There have been in my life recently the following:

(a) a professional female friend who desperately wanted to marry and spawn with her dirt-poor, student boyfriend;

(b) another professional female friend who is marrying a man who works on hourly pay as a shop clerk;

(c) my mother, who earned more than my father throughout her entire working life;

(d) and of course myself – I care nothing for what a potential ‘mate’ earns as long as he isn’t boring, and in fact I have never dated a man who has gone out of his way to set himself up as a ‘good provider.’

Anecdote, I know, but I can’t help feeling that amongst professional types, this person’s contention is pure nonsense, the kind of crap spouted by men who as people have trouble attracting women, but would rather blame their modest incomes and the meretricious monstrous regiment than admit it.

UPDATE:Oh! and here’s another one

Another fact that feminists cover up. Women marry “up”, not “down”. When a woman marries a man, she chooses a man earning MORE than her — even if she expects to go on working after marriage. A female banker may have an affair with her electrician, but she would NEVER marry him.

Really? Really really? Prove it. ‘Cause I would.

UPDATE 2: Argh:

Because, dear heart, when you are in your bath chair, doubly incontinent and in need of care and medical attention, it will be other people’s children who will be looking after you, wiping your bum, feeding you and making sure you get the care you need. Other people’s children’s taxes will be paying towards your pension when you retire, the costs of public services, producing the food you will eat, the tv programmes you will watch, mending the pavements you walk on and building and maintaining the house you live in.

I really object to this idea that future adults are a resource for current adults to expect to mine and utilise one day. I don’t have children so that one day they can wipe my co-worker’s ass, and neither does anybody else. And if people truly did think that way, it would be repugnant in the extreme: treating future adults as little service-tax-and-pension-generating engines rather than autonomous human individuals who may very well – pleasegodplease – get sick of being treated thusly, foment a revolution, and eliminate this hideous, fucked-up, socialist society that has held them in that sort of bondage since birth.

I want my own children to look after me when I’m old – not the children of others. I want my own children to love me enough to care for me. And if they don’t, or if I never have children, then I shall reap what I have sown, and go about with ass unwiped and frail and hungry, since the institutions that used to do that for unclaimed old folks – charities – have been co-opted by the state or, if they refused to add their biological and technological distinctiveness to the Borg, destroyed.

Jun 152009

Someone arrived at this blog by searching “nice true sex photos only”.

(a) Why would anyone search for that?

(b) How in the world did this blog come up in the results?

(c) Given that it did, it must have been pretty far down the list – what sort of person patiently sorts through innumerable search results and then clicks on something so unlikely as this blog?

Jun 152009

Habeas corpus, as far as I understand it, is simply a writ that a detained individual is being held to await the judgement of a legally constituted court of the validity of charges against him:

corpus…habeas…ad subjiciendum et recipiendum ea quae curia nostra de eo adtunc et ibidem ordinare contigerit in hac parte.

It is a constitutional principle only insofar as the writ demands that proof be presented to the court that the detention of the individual is lawful; it also states that without such convincing proof, the court will release the individual. A detained individual has, therefore, the right to challenge the charge and evidence against him before he is formally tried. If the charge and evidence are found to be valid by the court, he will then be remanded to await trial.

There appears to be some debate, at the Devil’s Kitchen and at Tom Paine’s, about whether this appears in Magna Carta. It doesn’t, obviously, as Magna Carta is a charter of liberties, not a legal writ that refers to the detention of a specific individual. However, Magna Carta does protect and confirm the legal necessity for writs of habeas corpus in Article 39:

nullus liber homo capiatur, vel imprisonetur, aut disseisiatur, aut utlagetur, aut exuletur, aut aliquo modo destruatur, nec super cum ibimus, nec super cum mittemus, nisi per legale judicium parium suorum vel per legem terre.

The necessity of providing proof that an accused individual ought to be detained, and his right to challenge that proof before a court, already existed in legem terrae; Magna Carta confirms them.

Tom Paine says: ‘For the first time in history, it limited the power of the state. It ended the rule of men and began the rule of law.’

This is not entirely accurate; what Magna Carta actually does is enumerate legal principles that already existed, but which John had routinely ignored or infringed; for the first time, Magna Carta enshrined what all men already held to be true, that the monarch was bound to observe his own laws. That Magna Carta had to be written, and John had to sign it, is merely a function of common law: it created a recorded precedent, thus overriding what had already been convention.

It is also slightly unfair to say that ‘you will be disappointed by’ the other articles.

No. 2 confirms the level of payment of relief upon inheritance – in other words, the Crown cannot demand extortionate inheritance taxes.

No. 3 confirms that underage heirs are not liable for relief/inheritance tax.

No. 4 confirms that trustees cannot plunder an underage person’s inheritance.

No. 7 confirms that widows do not have to pay relief/inheritance tax upon their husband’s death.

No. 9 confirms that only movable goods may be seized for payment of debt – not homes or land.

No. 12, 14, 15 and 16 confirm that no scutage (payment in lieu of service, i.e. tax) can be levied without the consent of those who would be paying it, and even then the Crown cannot demand more than what is reasonable and has been agreed upon.

No. 17, 18, and 19 confirm that people must be tried for crimes in the jurisdiction where they reside or in the jurisdiction where the crime took place.

No. 20 confirms that fines for offences cannot be levied arbitrarily, must be proportionate to the offence, and cannot result in the deprivation of livelihood.

No. 24 confirms that courts held by inappropriate authorities are invalid.

No. 27 confirms that if a man dies intestate, the Crown cannot seize his effects.

No. 28, 30, and 31 confirm that the Crown may not take a man’s property without payment.

No. 32 confirms that the Crown may not freeze or otherwise control a convicted felon’s assets for more than a year and a day.

No. 35 confirms standards in weights and measures.

No. 36 and 40 confirm that the Crown may not deny, delay, or sell justice.

No. 38 confirms that no man may be tried on the basis of hearsay or without the evidence of independent witnesses.

No. 42 confirms the free right of movement into and out of the country.

No. 45 confirms that only men who know and observe the law may be appointed to enforce or decide it.

Each one of these is tremendously important and not a function or product of circumstances limited to 1215. How many of them, I wonder, has the current government infringed?

Jun 152009

As a comment on this article about rape prosecutions, I find this:

As a lawyer, it disturbs me that a politically correct state is seeking to tell jurors what they are permitted to think about human behaviour. The insoluble problem with prosecuting rape is that the act is not unlawful in itself, but is made unlawful purely by the state of mind of the participants.
Feliks Kwiatkowski, Haywards Heath, England

Now, rape is obviously one of those difficult issues, but logic is generally not, so here we go:

First, juries are always told what to think about human behaviour, at least while they are in the jury box. They are always instructed to decide their verdict on the basis of the admissible evidence. All this article is saying is that the rape victim’s dress, level of physical resistance to the rapist, and the time elapsed between the rape and the formal accusation are no longer admissible evidence on which the jury can base their verdict. This is already the case with most other crimes: how one looks, whether one resists, and how long one takes to report it when one is the victim of theft are not considered evidence either.

Second, of course the act – penetrative sex – is not unlawful in itself. Nor is the transfer of cash from one individual to another. It is the state of mind of the participants that makes the actions a crime – namely, it is the absence of willingness or choice on the part of one party that makes the sex rape, and makes the receipt of cash theft. This is not an ‘insoluble problem’ in the case of theft, nor is it a problem in the case of rape.

The difficulty with rape, which this commenter, being a lawyer, ought to be able to articulate more clearly, is not that it is classified as a crime for bizarre reasons, or that the judges in rape cases can instruct the jury how to arrive at a verdict.

If we think in terms of theft: I cannot actually prove that a mugger has robbed me at gunpoint if nobody saw it happen. It’s my word against his that I didn’t give the money to him willingly and of my own choice. My mugger may have been accused or convicted of theft before, which supports my claim a bit, but then again he may not. My mugger may be a total stranger to me, which supports my claim a bit, but then again he may not.

With rape, again, if there are no witnesses, it’s the victim’s word against the alleged rapist’s, and the victim cannot prove the sex was not willing and done out of choice. The alleged rapist may have a record, but he (or she) may not; the alleged rapist may be a stranger to the victim, but he (or she) may not.

The difficulty with rape, therefore, is not in the act of sex itself, or the legal obligations of judge and jury, or even in the nature of the evidence when considered in comparison to other roughly analogous criminal situations. The difficulty is in perception, both of the victim and the accused, and of rape itself as a crime.

Most people are willing to take the word of a victim of theft. The punishment for theft is lighter as well. But many people, whether they will admit this or not, are innately sceptical of a rape victim’s claim, especially if the person they claim has raped them is a friend, family member, or other acquaintance. ‘Maybe it was a misunderstanding,’ they think. ‘Maybe the unwillingness wasn’t made clear enough at the time.’ The punishment for rape is harsh. There may also be an awareness that there is no recompense for rape; victims of theft can get their money back, but what is it exactly that a victim of rape has lost? One can argue that they have lost a sense of personal sovereignty and safety, but this is true of mugging victims also, and is equally intangible in that case. There is, too, the perception that thieves will continue to be thieves, but that rapes are unique to their situations. And so many people will give the accused the benefit of the doubt – not entirely unreasonably – in a way they wouldn’t do if the crime were theft – because conviction does very little to help the victim and does enormous damage to the convicted.

One person I’ve discussed this with has suggested that the problem is in the nature of consent: society (and the legal system) views all sex as consensual unless otherwise clearly stated at the time. Remaining silent is presumed to be consent as well. The solution: all sex should be presumed to be non-consensual unless otherwise stated. This is, after all, how we treat other issues of bodily sovereignty, for example organ donation. (Although I’m aware there’s a move afoot in the UK to change that.) This is also how we treat theft: if I agree to the exchange of that money, all I have to do is not call the police and make an accusation of theft. If a person agrees to have sex, all they would have to do is not call the police and make an accusation of rape. Then, if a rape occurs and goes to court, the various attorneys can get into the problem of thorny evidence, etc, but at least the victim will be spared the necessity of having to prove a negative.

Jun 132009

Flogging a dead horse, I know. Bear with me as I ramble.

Old Holborn links to a piece by Max Hastings in the Daily Mail, quoting in full, about the success of the BNP and how the mainstream parties’ stance on immigration has contributed to that.

To sum up, immigration into the UK has increased at a huge rate since Labour came to power in 1997. Most of these immigrants have come from the Third World and do not speak English. This has put a burden on the resources and finance of the country and many British report a feeling of insecurity in their own country and a perception that their culture is being eroded. Government has done nothing to limit the numbers coming in or to make it more difficult to settle here.

It’s worth asking what makes Britain such an attractive destination for immigrants, and there are a couple of answers. For one thing, Britain for all its ‘social mobility’ problems is still one of the few countries in the world where a person can better their circumstances. There is a stable political system, comparatively little crime, violence, and corruption, and even in economic downturns it is possible for most people to work and make money. For people who are sick of living shitty lives in shitty places, Britain looks like a slightly less salubrious version of paradise.

For people who are sick of living shitty lives in shitty places and don’t want to work and make money, Britain is a lovely prospect because it has an extremely generous welfare state. If such people can get here, they are set for life. Perhaps not comfortably or in any kind of luxury, but certainly in a kind of plenty that is unavailable to most in the countries they are coming from.

It is impossible to eradicate the conditions that make Britain attractive to people who want to work and make money without seriously and stupidly disadvantaging the British themselves, who also like the stability and relative prosperity. Although scaling back the welfare state would probably result in lower immigration, again this is something many British don’t want to do, as such a course of action would also disadvantage the much of the native population.

However, as I can offer from my own experience, it is by no means easy to settle in Britain as an immigrant if one is honest. There are complicated forms and applications to complete, outrageous fees to be paid, and tremendous amounts of time and frustration involved. Whether one is applying for a work permit, residence permit, or marriage certificate, nearly every aspect of one’s life is investigated, checked, and double-checked for legitimacy. The Border Agency, whatever its faults, is very thorough, and I don’t think it applies its bureaucratic box-ticking stringency only to white Anglophone types. If there are people who are not legit whose applications are being granted, it is for one of two reasons: (a) collusion and falsification by officials in their own countries, or (b) collusion and falsification by officials here.

Thus it is entirely possible to limit immigration to the UK without voting for the BNP or appearing racist. Simply get rid of the welfare state and the corrupt bureaucrats here and abroad who are involved in the immigration process. In one fell swoop, Britain would become both harder to get into and less attractive as a destination, and people could stop whinging on about floods of brown people into the country who dilute white British culture.

Because for a large number of people who complain about immigration, it’s not because they think the country is becoming too crowded. It’s because they think the country is becoming less British, and because their hard-earned tax money is being wasted on supporting the same foreigners who are ruining the native culture. Or because the foreigners work too hard and steal the jobs. If the majority of immigrants to this country were wealthy, white-collar-industry, white, English-speaking Australians, Canadians, and Americans who used no public services but paid oodles of tax and only stole the jobs of Tory-voting middle class types, the outcry would be a lot smaller.

Before anyone accuses me of either criticising the British people or being a hypocrite, let me add that attitudes toward immigration in the US are no better, and in many ways actually worse. Although we have much more limited welfare – which means many immigrants to the US end up working – it’s very easy for people to get into the country illegally and incredibly difficult for people to get in legally. The INS operates on a quota system and more often than not refuses the applications of very hard-working foreigners who would benefit the economy of the country enormously. The US is harder to get into than a Promise-be-ringed teenaged virgin if you’re legitimate and easier than Jenna Jameson if you can climb over a fence. So I realise that my own country has its own contentious immigration issues. I don’t subscribe to them, however: the US has space and work enough for ten times as many people as live there, and we’re rather stupid about the whole business. We also have not historically had much of a problem with ‘diluting’ our pristine culture – so the objection to immigration there appears to be based entirely on the idea that living in the US is a privilege that should be granted only to a few deserving foreigners if they’re stupid enough to ask first rather than just barge in and demand amnesty.

America: Land of Citizen Widgets

 argh, US-bashing  Comments Off on America: Land of Citizen Widgets
Jun 102009

A personal comment from my friend C, worth reproducing in full:

You asked (in your post about your immigration application being denied) “Britain is the home of liberty, modern democracy, and free enterprise: what the hell has happened to this place?”

The same thing that is “about” to happen to America. If you want to escape what’s happening in Britain, and are indeed forced to leave, don’t come back here—you’ll be jumping from the frying pan into the fire.

It’s always been odd to me, that the folks who call themselves “liberal”, and think they therefore stand for “liberty”, somehow don’t realize that the policies they espouse are the ones most directly leading to tyranny. The reason: their solution for all problems, social, economic, political, whatever–is more and more and more power TO government, which of necessity means less and less and less power to the individual. It’s almost comical—an entire party concurring with Groucho Marx: “I love humanity; it’s PEOPLE I can’t stand”. Everyone is (must be) seen not as an individual, but as a member of a “group”; “the poor”, “the less fortunate”, “the minorities”—and everyone is DEFINED by their “group”, not by their individual intelligence, achievements, or abilities.

In fact, we have gone out of our way to educate OUT of our children ANY “differences”; they must blend seamlessly and indistinguishably into society, without any of those inconvenient “differences” sticking out like painful elbows jutting into the ribcage of society. And somehow, while working feverishly to put down “individual” differences, and punishing “individual” achievement, in favor of seeing people only as “groups”, they FAIL to see the blatant FACT that the entity to whom they GIVE all that power, IS going to EXERCISE that power–and HOLD that power–and work to KEEP that power—and set in place restrictions on freedom that will ensure they will INCREASE that power in the future.

I know–I’m a teacher. I’ve been in the classroom. I’m in touch with those still there. It is BY DESIGN that the American educational system is what it is. It is NOT designed to produce excellence. It is designed to produce citizen “widgets” that all conform to the same thought processes, the same social conventions, the same docile submission to government, the same unquestioning wide-eyed acceptance of whatever latest “spin” is being put before them by the eager cooperation of our media as the voice of the government–even if it directly contradicts what they were just told yesterday.

The ONLY, ONLY thing that has ever brought brief periods of freedom — real INDIVIDUAL freedom — to the world, is when that power (of government, of one man or group of men over other men–understand here “men” is used in the traditional sense of “mankind”–I don’t do ‘politically correct’ speech)–is when that power is LIMITED, by force of law, and more power is given back to INDIVIDUAL people. That is what made the Magna Carta so important, and birthed freedom in England. That is what led the American framers of the Constitution to set up a tri-partate government, with the “intention” of keeping the power so diffused no one branch of government could ever dominate the others, nor could the government ever grow so much in power it could oppress the people (they apparently didn’t foresee our “American Idol” popularity-based society that would go drunk on slogans and fill all three parts of government with carbon-copies of one political ideology). What we have now, instead of a balanced tension of 3 different political bodies, is a “China Syndrome” confluence of identical ideologies in all branches of government, and the political atomic reaction that is building (now beyond control) will cause a meltdown (first economic, then—who knows?) as surely as too many rods into the “pile”.

I heard an interesting quote on “Boston Legal” (a show I never watch, but caught the last 10 minutes of two Sundays ago), in which one of the characters sat with the other on a balcony overlooking a nighttime New York skyline, and said, “America is doomed, because she has lost her soul. No one any longer loves liberty–or even understands what liberty is.”

How right he was.