Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Limo's and Neoconservatives

Newsday.com: Limousine liberals and crime on the rise

Limos and Neoconservatives

How can you let James P. Pinkerton represent the conservative view in this paper? He is as much of a spoiled and privileged individual as those he complains about in his recent diatribe (Limousine Liberals and Crime on the Rise June 14, 2005 opinions). Pinkerton is agitated because a judge said that a poor person in New York City has as much a right to sit on the street and seek money as any one of the many Newspaper dispensers that sell this newspaper and Pinkerton’s neoconservative dribble. Why can’t you find a real conservative to write for the right in this paper?

Pinkerton is all for prettying up the city by removing the poor. “Let’s warehouse the poor in jail. Then us real people don’t have to be bothered by them. “Give me a break. Poor people commit crime and when they do, they should be punished. Pinkerton wants to put them in jail because they are poor only. “Let’s not give ‘em a chance to commit crimes”
Why, was that not the Nazi’s idea. Hell Jimmy why not kill the poor at birth it might really cut down the murder rates in about 18 years.

It is inconvenient for Pinkerton and his neoconservative friends to be reminded that the poor exists. Tell me Jimmy when was the last time you offered one of the poor a job? Oh, they may be crazy? Well Jimbo when was the last time you called an ambulance for one of them? Do they smell too rancid for you to approach? Do they look too bad to hang with the Literati that hang out with you? When did you ever stop at a Dunkin Donut and spring for a cup of “Joe” for just one of them?

Or do you just not want to be bothered? I agree that if you think you can solve the problem of the poor answer by letting them sit on a corner and stare, or that you can throw money at them and feed them for a night that you are a limousine liberal and you are no better than the selfish Pinkerton is. But Pinkerton is no conservative.

A real conservative does not warehouse his problems at taxpayers’ expense and he certainly does not waste capital either financial or human. A real conservative sees the value of and in every life. A real conservative sees a panhandler and thinks salesman. He seeks a way to make money for and from that person. I am tired of hearing liberals give away money and just as tired of hearing the neoconservatives whine about it and offer no alternative.

Do you want to know what a real Conservative’s “answer” to the problem is? Huge tax breaks for firms and companies that innovatively and effectively train the poor. Use of the funds saved in city services to pay FICA contributions for companies that hire these people and give them medical and other benefits. Now we no longer have to provide public funds to accomplish healthcare. Why not use the money we are wasting to clog the criminal justice system with non-criminals to make money and build the economy of our city. Hey, why not partner some of the poor with some too soon retired business executives and use the money we save on services and costs to help them start companies that provide city services and hire other homeless and poor? Wouldn’t it be a kick if companies that have a significant number of workers who used to be on the public dole, (or were arrested under the now illegal panhandling statute0 built the new Olympic Stadium?

Why doesn’t some mayor make a pledge to eradicate poverty? Here is a real conservative’s platform. “No more poor and no more handouts, using private capital to build a city one person and one company at a time.” Now that is conservative.

That is my opinion. If you have an opinion on this topic then why not leave a comment here or write to us at www.Thatlawyerdude.com or at www.colleluorilaw.com.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

The US Constitution and the Bill of Rights: A True Conservative's Reading of a Radical Document

The Suburban Ecstasies: Twenty Incontrovertible Truths About the American Criminal Justice System, From Someone Who Knows and Has No Interest in Lying to You About It

I wanted to direct your attention to a very well written article that very much reflects my thinking about the criminal justice system. I agree with about 90 percent of the post and truth be told there is a lot of truth in the other 10 percent too. I think that the part about the Constitution being a radical document is an interesting one. In fact for its day, it was in fact radical. To hold to its meaning today I think means to be conservative. The problem is how does a true conservative read and interpret the Constitution? Let's see if I can stake out the positions as I see them:

A liberal thinks the constitution is a breathing document whose interpretation needs to change with the time (think Justice Brennan and Justice Douglas.)

A Neo conservative (think Justice Scalia and Justice Thomas) thinks the that the constitution means just what it says and doesn't expand to meet the times but is relatively stagnant and must be interpreted as it would be when it was written.

As a conservative, I think the Constitution needs to be read as the libertarian document it is. When deciding a case, the courts needs to understand that the Constitution is an outgrowth of a very important document, The Declaration of independence. Courts interpreting the Constitution's meaning, need to ask themselves, "how do I decide this case in a way that gives the most liberty to the individual without hurting or destroying the nation?" "How do I keep the king (the government) out of the home and pocket of its citizenry?" (I think Justice Souter comes the closest here.)

In the criminal justice arena, two more questions need to be asked: "How do I help keep the citizenry safe from crime, while not exposing it to the greater harm of allowing the government to much room to interfere with the life and privacy of the individual." And lastly, " How do I accomplish this in the least costly and onerous way?"

These two questions make criminal law a very different arena than civil law. Criminal law is about society as a whole. It is State v. Accused not Victim v. Accused. If it was the latter, then let the victim pay a lawyer and prosecute the case themselves. Why should the rest of us worry about and pay for their private vengeance. What as a society is in it for or us.

No, the criminal prosecution is a public procedure because it is about what is best for all of us, not just the victim or the accused. Too often in this era of political correctness, we lose sight of what is really best for all of us. Victim impact statements, mandatory minimums, even sacred cows like rape shield laws, are not in the best interest of the public as a whole. They may make an individual victim feel better, but do they help society as a whole?

No, not if the law forces us to punish someone who needs not be punished; or covers up a reasonable doubt by keeping the full picture from the fact finder; or causes a court to act out of the needs of a particularly sympathetic victim, rather than do what is in our best interest as a whole society.

The pendulum swings the other way too. Prison needs to be corrective and rehabiliative. People who threaten the safety of all of us, need to be warehoused at least for a sufficient period of time to render us safe from harm. Country Club prisons (of which their are probably none anymore) are as ridiculous and wasteful as their opposite hell holes.

Probation and parole are presently a joke. There are too many people per parole officer. Money needed to be beef up these departments is scarce, while we overspend by over incarcerating. Strong post arrest oversight requires that it be sufficiently able to ensure that the vast majority of "at risk re-offenders" do not reoffend. Finally personal improvement should not just be the goal, but ought be required of every sentence. The concept of "good time" should mean exactly that; no one gets out of jail or prison early who has not made a good faith attempt to better themselves while in jail or prison. Academic or trade school should be required, as should self help group participation, and or therapy if found to be necessary.

Once released, the ex con should be accepted back into our society to work and repay the victim her damages, or if none, then to repay society for their time incarcerated. A true conservative tries to improve society while costing it the least amount of capital, whether that be financial or human capital.

Hence that is why it is important that courts not be onerous. Sure we all want to punish the bad guy as much as we can. It makes sense and is what we are taught from a young age. However if we over or under punish we cost ourselves resources. Waste is not a conservative's friend. Government pays for waste, which is to say We pay for this. A court should never lose sight of what it costs us as a society, and what our gain will be as a society, when fashioning a sentence. No court has a right to waste an iota of our capital for personal pique.

Conservative means preserving what is good while not destroying growth and opportunity. One is not more important than the other. A true conservative harmonizes the two competing interests. A true Conservative realizes that he does what is best for the majority by protecting the civil liberties of the individual. Even when those property or civil liberty interests may seem to go against what the majority thinks it wants at any given moment.

When the societal need arises, A True Conservative sacrifices his own want for that of the betterment of society as a whole. A True Conservative understands that principal is more important than symbolism. He understands the value of one is not more than, or less than, the value of another, or all.

A True Conservative understands that teaching a person to fish, is better than giving him a fish, but you can't teach a hungry person all that much.

A True Conservative realizes that his willingness to make "it" happen, can overcome the failure of the village to pitch in, and that he has no right to force the village to act. In other words it doesn't take a village, but it is nice when the village wants to pitch in to help make "it" happen too.

A True Conservative understands that the devil is in the details. That when you sweat the small stuff the big stuff comes out right. When it comes to government, doing it right and getting it right is success. Doing it wrong but getting it right is luck. A society cannot count on luck.

The guy who invented Zen, was probably a True Conservative.

Anyway that's what I think, let me know what you think. Leave me a message here or visit me at my website by going to www.thatlawyerdude.com or www.Colleluorilaw.com. Both links take you to the same place but you're free to chose your own path :)