On Stretching The Law

 

STRETCHING LAW MOSES

ON STRETCHING THE LAW

BY

DAVID ARTHUR WALTERS

Laws are made to be stretched if not broken. Fundamentalists may keep their commandments exactly as written, but almost everyone else stretches their own rules as far as they can, even to the breaking point. This is hardly surprising inasmuch as we legislate against our natural inclinations. Being born individual is the original sin, for the individual would satisfy its will to live forever without impedance if only it could, but it cannot. The individual rebels in vain against the very collective that it needs for self-preservation. Forged by resistance to its will, the individual human becomes a social person. The god within the individual wants total freedom even unto self-destruction; but the far more powerful society needs individuals; thus Jacob fought with god and became Israel.

American settlers protested against the arcane common law principles of the judicial priesthood. They wanted their laws in written simply in stone, but they cannot get rid of the common law for its essence is hidden in their hearts. Once positive laws are written down, every effort to wiggle out them is made: A relevant statute is read. Written briefs are filed, and oral arguments are duly recorded. Judgments are made, to be upheld or overturned. Precedents are established and recorded to be duly pondered upon; their applicability to other cases is subjected to further argument.

The death penalty was legislated in the United States for capital crimes, and then lawyers deliberately made it difficult to execute the offenders after they were convicted. Perhaps after the death penalty is abolished in all the states because it is deemed uncivilized, the history books will deny it every existed after two thousand years have passed, except as a threat, as some Jewish teachers have claimed of their history of capital punishment.

Christians may defame the Pharisees unto Doomsday, but we should confess that, without the Pharisees, there would be no Christianity. Our law is the ‘living law’ of the Pharisees who believed in resurrection and eternal life: a criminal has every chance to be forgiven and saved. Our law is not the ‘dead letter’ law of the Sadducees who did not believe in salvation, not even in an afterlife, but rather thought that the individual is free to break the law and to be punished exactly as prescribed, without possibility of pardon or parole.

Whatever is written down as law in our ‘free’ country is a fulcrum for perpetual controversy. We have our Sadducean torah, but the lawyers are standing by with the Pharisaic torah, and they may not only stretch the law but go so far as to claim their interpretation of the written law and their principles contradicting the statutes are superior to the recorded law. Given the political power of the Pharisees, the Sadducees recognized the living law, but they do not consider it as binding, hence the controversy continues ad infinitum.

The foremost legal fulcrum for the United States is its Constitution, mistakenly said by some scholars to be the “ground” of the law. The writing itself is superfluous because it is based on the sense of justice; the Greeks had Zeus declare that any adult without that sense of justice should be put to death or banished. Once things are written down, people tend to forget them. We should have a copy in our pocket just in case our memory fails us. It would behoove everyone to memorize the Constitution, the logical elaboration of our sense of justice. Few people today can remember even five of the Ten Commandments in right order; for instance many people do not know the commandment proscribing murder is in the bottom half of the list.

When we read the Constitution and examine the opinions of the highest judicial authorities, we discover that our founding fathers did not get rid of the ‘common’ law after all; indeed, many of the poorer colonial Americans counted on the English Common Law for civil rights not afforded to the Original Americans or to the slaves. Nor did our founding fathers rid America of the high priesthood interpreting those freedoms for society’s own good. Jefferson’s effort to use the impeachment process to smother the independent Supreme Court in its crib failed, as did the later efforts of the Radical Republicans to mock the English parliamentary system. We find both Pharisees and Sadducees on that high court. We are sometimes given to wonder at its apparent hypocrisy, and to think that our beloved English law is illogical or unjust after all, until the rabbis appear to smooth over the differences between reality and ideality. Of course some explanations must remain apocryphal or ‘hidden’ in the true sense of the word: they must never be written down.

When Moses said, “Write this law down,” did he mean that law should be limited to whatever was written down? Not according to some rabbis. The law itself existed before it was written down, and was preserved by oral tradition, gradually recorded in writing. The living law hidden behind the writing still has authority over the language petrified on the page. The oral law must always have precedence. Moses was not a priest or a scribe, he was a prophet having direct access to the Almighty; his word was law. Moses may have been illiterate, although it is usually supposed that he was educated as an Egyptian hence familiar with the language of the New Kingdom and not with that of the Hebrew tribes. In either case he needed a scribe to write down the Torah for literate priests to recite to the illiterate public.

The apparent contradiction between the static Jewish written law and the dynamic oral law, sometimes called ‘the Two Torahs’, is being resolved over the centuries by ‘casuistic stretching,’ which promotes the organic, living integrity of our dynamic order. The conjunction of freedom and order may seem oxymoronic or patently absurd at first glance, but upon reflection it can be viewed as ethical and effective.

‘Casuistry’ is the application of general principles to particular cases; it is a process that members of the legal profession, representatives of the litigious human, are involved in every day. Needless to say, sometimes the process gets a bad reputation. We suspect the casuists have distorted or stretched the law and the truth. The sophists might be as dishonest as their clients and witnesses. More lies are told in court than anywhere else on Earth even though such lies might be punished by fine and imprisonment.

Kenneth Burke defined ‘casuistic stretching’ at length in ‘Dictionary of Pivotal Terms’, a chapter of Attitudes Toward History (1984):

“By casuistic stretching, one produces new principles while theoretically remaining faithful to old principles. Thus, we saw the church permitting the growth of investment, in a system of law that explicitly forbade investment. The legalists ‘took up the slack’ by casuistic stretching’, the ‘secular prayer’ of ‘legal fictions….'”

In a another chapter, ‘Protestant Transition’, Burke speaks of “the ways in which individualistic enterprise, stimulated by colloquial translations of the Bible, whereby every man could become his own interpreter without training in the collective body of interpretation accumulated by the church, served to intermingle material ambition with high moral motives…

“Sincerity and guile were hopelessly interwoven as enlightenment and stupidity. The men who enunciated the doctrine of the ‘poor church’ probably meant just what they said: that the church should not be rich, like a Babylonian whore, but poor like Christ… the sovereign used the doctrine to justify the appropriation of church lands for themselves and their clique…. In the feudal pattern, the casuistic fictions had tended to confine ‘investment for profit’ to a comparatively small class of rulers and big churchmen. In Calvinism, this ‘salvation device’ was ‘democratized’ – as Calvin discarded the legalistic subterfuges and placed positive sanction upon the taking of ‘interest’ in general. His notion of Providence ‘transcended’ the conflicting clutter that amounted to demoralization, since the reality of a monetary practice was being sentimentally denied. And his spiritual symbol was ‘economically implemented’ by the ambivalence whereby the spiritual futurism of ‘providence’ could be equated with the worldly futurism of ‘investment.’ (Later on, instead of separating ‘interest’ from ‘usury’, Bentham came right out with his formal ‘Defense of Usury.’) This move, so necessary for the development of business enterprise, was further backed by a new philosophy of justification, with more modern connotations of ‘ambition.'”

We add in this interpretative vein that the Reformation, as far as the Church was concerned, was an atheistic movement: the protesters were really ‘atheists.’ Some leftists identified Protestants with the Jews, claiming the question of Jewish civil rights was moot because the Protestants were for all intents and purposes Jews themselves. The selling out of Christ, the tucking away of god in heaven, the death of ‘god’ on Earth, dovetailed with the fall of monarchs and the rise of nation-gods, the general commodity fetish, and the demoralizing worship of money. It takes an economic determinist to know one. Nonetheless, scientific materialism is a spiritual or mental form, and, like Luther, we progress by aid of linguistic stretching, from doing our natural duty on the privy in the tower to the most sublime considerations thereupon.

Burke does not condemn casuistic stretching; to do so would bring the progress of history to a halt. It is an underlying dialectical process at the very crux of existence and being, a critical juncture for which we should ‘enunciate a methodology’ rather than try to eliminate it. That is, we should be conscious of ‘casuistic stretching’, and control it for the good of everyone concerned.

Now the legal stretching of the Jewish law is represented by the Midrash and the Mishnah, bodies of Jewish law derived from oral tradition. The Midrash (‘Exposition’ or ‘Investigation’) is deductive: the scholars begin with scriptural law and deduce applications to present cases therefrom; the stretching process often involves a considerable amount of twisting. Besides that ‘Halakha’ (legal statement) content, the Midrash also includes edifying homilies and stories called the ‘Haggada.’ On the other hand, the Mishnah (‘Teaching’ or ‘Repetition’), employs the inductive method: the scholars consider the case and induce general principles, rarely referring to particular scripture, and render a finding in accord with their principles. The Mishnah, then, is separate from the Midrash, but the Mishnah often quotes the Midrash.

The Mishnah as we know it was written down along with commentary, called the Gemara, during the third century of the Common Era. Mishnah plus Gemara (rabbinical teachings subsequent to the destruction of the Second Temple) constitutes the Talmud. Other writings believed to be recordings of old oral law or mishnah have been found, dating a century or so prior to the appearance of Jesus Christ. Of course oral traditions preceded the invention of writing. Some rabbis trace the Mishnah back to Moses. Other scholars attribute it to Ezra the scribe and his contemporaries, who returned from the Babylonian exile and built the Second Temple: this thesis involves the rise of a scholarly elite at the time of the Maccabean Revolt, the Pharisees, in contradistinction to the Sadducean priesthood purportedly descended from Sadoc, the chief priest of King David. Since the oral law was not written down then, there is a great deal of conjecture and controversy appended thereto as to what relation it might have to the Mishnah in the Talmud—the Talmud literally saved the Jewish culture after the revolts and the ensuing Roman destruction.

Many laws appearing in the Mishnah are not referred to or authorized by the Pentateuch. No provisions are made in the Pentateuch for the Jewish court known as the Bet Din. The Pentateuch does not dictate when the Shema (daily prayers) should be read or that it should be read at all. Prayers, the marriage contract, the ritual reading of Esther and the Pentateuch and the Prophets, are not mandated. It knows nothing of a New Year, or of interrogating witnesses prior to proclaiming the New Moon. There is no Pentateuchal warrant for the Mishnaic procedures in respect to Yom Kippur. The core teaching of the Mishnah is the dogma of the resurrection and the world to come, yet we do not find that in the Pentateuch, and if we insist that resurrection and the hereafter is not in the Pentateuch, the Pharisees can rightfully exclude us from the world to come in case it does exist, therefore the Oral Torah is superior to the Written Torah. And we have only mentioned a few discrepancies the rabbis will be glad to reconcile for us after consulting the Talmud.

Daniel Jeremy Silver, in The Story of Scripture, From Oral Tradition to the Written Word (1990), identifies the Talmud as “Israel’s Second Scripture…. The Mishnah quickly became the foundation stone of a reshaped Torah tradition.” According to Silver, the Mishnah structure was new, and set forth on the authority of the rabbis alone formulas not in the Pentateuch.

“Everyone admits that the Mishnah represents something new under the Jewish sun, but the rabbis would have argued that things have not been so much changed as reorganized, a matter more of style than of substance. Laws supplementing the written Torah had existed since Sinai, and the Tannaiam (teachers of the Mishna) believed they had merely drawn together what had always been present. Religious reformers almost always claim that they are not breaking new ground but going back to the original revelations and providing a fuller understanding of it.”

Silver quotes the Mishnah: “R. Zeria said in the name of R. Yohanan: ‘If you come across a Halakha (a statement of God’s law by the rabbis) and if you do not know its scriptural source, do not set it aside for many laws were dictated to Moses on Sinai (independently of Scripture) and all of them are embodied in the Mishnah” (j. Hag. 1:8; j. Peah 2-4)

On the other hand, Ellis Rivkin, in A Hidden Revolution, supports the rabbis who argue for an older origin of the Mishnah. He posits that, during the Maccabean Revolt, the scribes deliberately usurped power from the Aaronite line of high priests (Aaron, Eleazar, Phinehas, Zadok) using every means at hand, including segments of the Written Torah cited out of context, to support the elevation of Oral Law over Written Law, and the Pharisaic scholarly elite over the Sadducean priests.

Due to the lack of convincing evidence, we are left to speculate on whether we have old or new wine in our new skin. We turn to The Jews, Their History, Culture, and Religion, edited by Louis Finkelstein, (1949) for a further explanation of the process of casuistic stretching, wherein Gilbert Murray’s study of Greek religion is quoted:

“When change does come and is consciously felt we may notice a significant fact about it. It does not announce itself as what it was, a new thing in the world. It professes to be a revival, or rather an emphatic realization, of something very old…. This claim of a new thing to be old is, in varying degrees, a common characteristic of great movements. The Reformation professed to be a return to the Bible…. The tendency is due in part to the almost insuperable difficulty of really inventing a new word to denote a new thing. It is so much easier to take an existing word, especially a famous word with fine associations, and twist it into a new sense.”

Not only did the Mishnaic scholars twist the meanings of old words into new meanings, they cited segments of the Pentateuch out of context, invented new laws, devised a special Mishnaic Hebrew dialect that included Persian and Greeks words, and coined technical terms unheard of in the Written Torah. And they did not say, “Thus sayeth the Lord.”

The liberal application of the Mishnaic law to penal cases seems to give the lie to the strict Pentateuch. Circumstantial evidence is not allowed by the Mishnah. There must be two witnesses to the crime, and those witnesses cannot be relatives: Moses and Aaron would be disqualified as witnesses. The witnesses must give a warning to the person about to commit a crime, and that warning is invalid if given more than a few seconds prior to the crime: the time it takes to say, “Peace be upon you, my teacher, my master.” For the warning to be valid the potential criminal must acknowledge the warning and indicate he or she is intentionally ignoring it. And that is not all.

How absurd! Casuistic stretching must be called upon if we are to make any sense of it at all. How is this absurdity explained today?

Aaron Kirschenbaum, in Jewish Law and Legal Theory (1994) states: “The impracticality of the classical Jewish law and its helplessness in coping with social problems involving crime and punishment are proverbial.” He quotes the view of the fourteenth-century rabbi, Nissim of Gerondi (the Ran), that “the non-rational commandments” of the Torah “have nothing to do with maintaining the political stability of society—they have their justification solely in bringing down the Divine Effulgence… The civil laws of the Torah are directed more to that elevated purpose than to the maintenance of our society, for this latter purpose could be achieved by the king whom we shall appoint over us.”

Kirschenbaum clarifies the medieval position: “Thus, the king’s administration of criminal justice is practical in nature, created to cope with the everyday ordering of society; it is parallel to the criminal codes of other nations. But the classical code is above considerations of societal utility. ‘Inherently just’, it is nothing less than a body of ritual whose mystical effect is to bring down the Divine Effulgence upon the Chosen People. Indeed the criminal code of Scripture is no less a ritual than the sacrificial offerings of the Holy Temple and, like them, is no-pragmatic in purpose and non-utilitarian in nature….”

Furthermore, “The rabbis of the Talmud and their medieval successors regarded the criminal law of the Torah as primarily a mighty instrument of character training, religious indoctrination and spiritual edification, and only secondarily (and sometimes not at all) as of practical import.” Moreover, as far as the teachers were concerned, “Teaching was uppermost in the mind of the divine legislator, the penalties of minor significance…. Punishment was thus rarely meted out, but the serious nature of the infraction was duly impressed on the people.”

He goes on to say that, when the situation got out of hand and punishment was warranted, the king’s law was exercised. Besides, the rabbinical courts had sufficient emergency provisions in the Talmud to deal with exigencies. Finally, there was always God’s punishment to count on.

Some authorities believe the absurd conditions set forth in the Mishnah alongside descriptions of the manner of executions, say, the pouring of molten lead down the criminal’s throat while being careful not to hurt his neck while pulling it backward, are merely the pipe dreams of rabbis who had no penal authority. That is, since the Romans took away the Sanhedrin’s jurisdiction over capital crimes, the so-called obsolescence of capital punishment was merely utopian wish fulfillment, perhaps projected in memory of large numbers of Jews being slaughtered by the Romans. Furthermore, testimony exists in the New Testament that the Sanhedrin, when it was in session, was executing people right and left. Even in the Mishnah we have a dissenting opinion from a rabbi who said he saw a criminal one day and stood on his grave the next.

However, Professor Kirschenbaum believes the supposed obsolescence of capital punishment was not merely a later, ‘utopian’ fiction, but a longstanding reality. In favor of his hypothesis, he recalls a member of the Tannaiam, Rabbi Akiva ben Joseph (50-132), who inspired the rebel, Bar Kokhba, to revolt. Akiva was an illiterate shepherd who was encouraged by his beautiful wife Rachel to study the Torah at the late age of 40. In short order, Akiva became the most prominent Tanna and Jewish leader of his day. He advocated democratic procedures among the scholars, urging them to rely on majority decision rather than personal authority, and was responsible for the canonization of some of the books of the Hebrew Bible. When he was tortured by his executioners for fomenting rebellion, he recited the ‘Shema’ calmly without sign of pain. When asked by a Roman if he was a magician, he replied, “I am not a magician, but I rejoice at the opportunity now given to me to love my God with my life.” Then he uttered “One” (god) and died.

It was Rabbi Akiva, who, together with his colleague Rabbi Tarfon, made the famous declaration that, by ingenious tactics in the examination of witnesses, he would abolish capital punishment. Kirschenbaum, in his article, ‘The Role of Punishment in Jewish Criminal Law,’ asks how those pious rabbis could say such a thing, since they of all people knew of the biblical injunction, “and he shall surely die.” “What are we to make of all this?” asks Kirschenbaum. “The explanation usually proffered for the ‘romanticism’ that characterizes the rabbinic (i.e. tannaitic) penology is the historical setting in which the Rabbis found themselves. The Jewish community had been deprived of its jurisdiction over criminal matters approximately one hundred years before Akiva and his colleague made their famous declaration. Hence, since ‘the dirty work’ of criminal punishment was in the hands of the Roman authorities, or so the argument goes, these rabbis could allow themselves the luxury of irresponsibility in matters of law and order.

“This explanation, however, ignores the great piety of the Rabbis and their extreme conservatism when it came to preserving traditional teachings. It also ignores the feverish activity with which R. Akiva sought to achieve the restoration of Jewish independence. Surely, had he succeeded he could ill-afford the luxury of irresponsibility in matters of law and order.”

Perhaps the archeologists will uncover more evidence in favor of the Jew’s virtual abolition of the death penalty. We return to the jurisprudence of the question in Rabbi Benjamin Blech’s Understanding Judaism, The Basics of Deed and Creed (1991). He quotes the written law:

‘And he who curses his father or his mother shall surely be put to death.’ (Exodus 21:15)

“Isn’t it obvious that Judaism is a strong proponent of the death penalty? What needs to be addressed is the almost incredible contradiction to this view, which is found throughout the Talmud…. There is a Mishnah that teaches us: ‘A Sanhedrin that issues a death sentence once in seven years is considered a murderous court. Rabbi Elazar Ben Azaryah said it is a murderous court if it pronounced a death sentence once in seventy years.’ (Makot 7a) How could the Sages call a Sanhedrin that carries out the will of God a ‘murderous court’? If the Torah says ‘yes,’ how could the Mishnah say ‘no’?”

Good question. Rabbi Blech instructs us to consider the opening verse of Exodus in order to understand the apparent contradiction and to have insight into the purpose of Jewish law: “And these are the ordinances which you will set before them.” (Exodus 21:1)

“Legal systems,” advised Rabbi Blech, “are set up to tell us what to do after crimes have been committed…. Every Jew must know the law because ‘These are the ordinances which you shall set before them’—before, not after. Jewish law is meant to be studied by everyone because the essence of Jewish law is preventative rather than punitive.”

Our rabbi admits that the Torah often states ‘mot yumat’, and that is usually translated, ‘He shall die’, but he says the proper translation is ‘He should die,’ because “that is what he deserves. But God does not really want him to be executed.” Rather, the purpose of the severe injunctions of the Written Law is educative:

“Judaism found a remarkable alternative to capital punishment. Indeed, gather the people into the town square…. Let the people hear the words of God Himself. He who does such and such shall surely be put to death. Imagine a child who from the earliest days has heard in the name of the Almighty that cursing or smiting parents is a capital offense. Whoever does these things should die. Hard to imagine that such a child would treat lightly the commission of these offenses.” Moreover, the goal of knowing these laws “is not that they know legal consequences, but rather than legal consequences – absorbed almost with mother’s milk and continuously part of our spiritual nourishment – will, we hope, ensure that our people are immunized against perpetrating any of those acts we have so carefully studied.” As for the death penalty, yes, it is in the Torah, “but it is only there to make us aware of how much we ought to make us aware of how much God detests every crime – and therefore how much we ought to make certain to avoid them.”

The Talmud allows emergency measures to be taken against criminals; however, Rabbi Blech believes that a world vaccinated with the teachings of the Torah would not require emergency measures since it would not sink into the “depraved depths of our days.”

Now what is the moral of our controversial story about the development of the law? A moral education will result in a moral society.

The mores of cultures are said to be relative; almost any sort of behavior can be mandated or prohibited according to the various folkways people embark on. But most of us believe human beings despite their differences have a common nature best preserved if certain rules of behavior are observed. For example, almost all cultures believe children should respect their parents. Children had better believe it, they had better learn to love or else. And since children will get out of hand, especially when their parents, because of love or neglect, are too liberal, a commandment might be posted in every home enjoining all children to respect their parents or else. Or else be dragged out of the house and stoned to death. When the child learns to read, this commandment would be in his first grammar book. Nevertheless, children will revolt; they will fight the angel of the Lord just as Jacob did.

Yes, the naive individual would have god-like freedom from all restraints. And it is that will to lawlessness that empowers the society at large to love itself, to protect that rebellious god from total destruction by his kind, thus he is sheltered by the universal human god. Otherwise there would be no god in the form of man. The world does not need humankind, and can do very well without us, but our gods need us. We do our best to express the law written in our existence, but our words, whether spoken or written, shall never be that perfect Being.

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Drug Free Society Politics

DRUG FREE PIC

DRUG FREE SOCIETY

BY

DAVID ARTHUR WALTERS

 

Modern authorities just like the traditional ones rely on the magical power of words in the form of propaganda to propagate their will and to render their subjects docile and obedient. The modern power elite, however, have at their beck and call the efficient means of mass terror as well as the means of direct communication with the masses. Since the power elite control the massive political-economic apparatus, and therefore have the ability to determine whether a man works, or whether he is able to buy a house or a car and so on with debt or not, and also has the ability to determine the relative value of money itself, they can usually keep their instruments of mass murder concealed domestically, relying on economic means to terrify the masses and to consequently keep people in line.

Under the current regime, keeping the people intimidated in mass production and consumption with both virtual and real means keeps them preoccupied with officially defined work whether that work is meaningful or not. The power elite’s propaganda is intended to make the production and consumption of vast quantities of superfluous “goods” somewhat meaningful or at least unquestionable. If the truth were told, much of that stuff is really trash, garbage and junk. Alas that people who have not been rendered zombies by advertising, must cooperate in producing stuff brainwashed people want in order to supply their own, real needs. That is not to say everyone should not have what they want provided it does no harm to others by depriving them of their needs—there must be a viable alternative to the so-called rational economy as the way of life.

A United States President speaks of work-fare as the means to get people off well-fare and to impress upon them the “dignity of work”. He does not speak at all of the dignity of the worker, or mention the fact that most of the working population, who have never been on well-fare, are engaged in make-work already, are already, therefore, on work-fare: for they must waste their lives churning out trash and junk just to survive, just to have the basic necessities of life. That is the nature of the political-economic machine: that the wealthy have their fine enduring treasures to be passed down to their descendants in accordance with the natural law of wealth, while the servants are kept occupied building up those fortunes, employees to be paid with fast food, cheap imitation goods, trinkets, gadgets and toys to keep them preoccupied in their off hours. The anxiety resulting from this system of slavery is allayed with drugs both legal and illegal, produced by the two major forms of organized crime: the mob and the government. The plantation, the castle, the club is therefore safe.

In fact, the United States population is presently being treated as the population of a gigantic mental hospital, where patients are to be kept busy with work-therapy. To question one’s existence under the current regimen of drugs and work, to confront the futility of that existence and to seriously consider suicide is discouraged; for suicidal thoughts can lead not only to self-murder but to revolt, to the murder of the power elite and their authorized minions on down the pecking order even to the deluded bosses in the pits who have sold out to the hellish political-economic scheme.

The virtual suicide of an unexamined life perpetuated under the repressive power elite, which is anathema to any free individual, is the modern mode of existence; or, rather, the mode of non-existence and walking death: for he who does not think does not exist as a real human being. Hence extensive psychoanalysis is out, and a life of quick fixes, of short-term, feel-good therapies and drug-induced states of intellectual paralysis and mental enslavement is in. The goal of this sort of therapy is productiveness for the security and well-being of the power elite who gloat on luxuries while handing out tokens and facsimiles to the virtually enslaved rank and file.

A Surgeon General of the United States has defined mental health as productiveness, therefore mental illness is whatever interferes with working-for-the-Man; mental disease is the inability to lead a productive life of work therapy, although that work is often meaningless or despised. And for that unease the good surgeon recommends that drug factories keep churning out massive quantities of psychotropic dope. Especially favored as worker-candy are the serotonin reuptake inhibitors.

A few rebels left who are quite aware of what is happening but it behooves them to keep their mouths shut. Some of them used to self-medicate themselves with illicit drugs just to be rebellious. A few have gotten themselves totally clean, and have even foresworn nicotine and alcohol, two of the most popular mass-produced drugs the power elite has capitalized on for profit and pushed to keep the population obedient. Of course, smoking and drinking on the job is prohibited, for there workers must concentrate on making profits; but most workers are not arrested or fired because nicotine or alcohol from the previous night’s rest and relaxation has been found in their urine or blood streams. There are some very good reasons for that.

For example, nicotine poisoning causes the body to produce a natural pain killer thus dissipating somewhat the urge to kill one’s chieftains. The remaining homicidal urge is directed into other harmless activities that benefit the ruling elite. That is, harmless except for the self-destruction of the smoker who generates huge revenues for the medical community to take advantage of, in revenge, perhaps, for the suffering one has to withstand to become a doctor. Be that as it may, many an authority’s life has been saved by a smoke break. Furthermore, the coffers of the drug pushers and their harlots in Washington are brimming over.

Alcohol is especially tolerated, inasmuch as it also acts as a safety valve. Alcohol provides a false feeling of power, muddles the mind, and helps deflect the urge to kill the power elite onto helpless women and children and external enemies. An ancient priesthood of reformed power-drinkers managed very early to get out of harm’s way by ritualizing the drunken war parties that are preludes to and aftermaths of mass rape, murder and pillage. The religious elite soon threw up elaborate bureaucracies to administer the plunder and to keep the violence directed at the foreign enemies of the national god instead of the domestic rulers the priesthood anointed in order to maintain its servile status.

Therefore, it is obvious that a true rebel today must avoid nicotine and alcohol along with all the other population-control drugs used to supplement or replace them.

Ironically, one rebel, who is himself a total abstainer from drugs of all kinds, recently proposed the ergot poisoning of the bread supply. This rebel, who calls himself “Manny”, believes people have rocks in their heads, mental rocks formed by fighting over corresponding rocks in the ground and over artificially produced rocks called “goods”. He believes those mental rocks must be dissolved by hallucinogenic acids in order to prevent people from getting completely stoned to death by their own conformity to the dictates of the power elite.

I interviewed Manny at his secret laboratory in the Oregon wild. A full transcript of that interview is scheduled to be released in the near future, so I can only cursorily mention a few matters we discussed.

Manny admitted to being a reformed alcoholic; he said he was cured with the aid of LSD. He stated that, during his withdrawal from alcohol, he became eager to help his fellow man, so he proceeded to dump large quantities of LSD into the Oregon water supply, thinking it was a sure cure for conformity. Manny did not know at the time that immersing LSD in water renders it useless. When he discovered that to be the case, he decided, after some further research, that a special strain of ergot would do the trick, and set about producing the same in his lab. His plans to launch it have since been rudely interrupted by his untimely death when he tried to fly off the Brooklyn Bridge.

Manny, in response to my pointed questions, admitted many hallucinating people would run amuck on the streets after his product is launched into the bread supply, convinced that they had gone completely mad; he further admitted that many people would be hurt as a consequence. But he said those injuries would be merely contingent and not necessary. He insisted most people “would wake up and get real.” One of the first things they would do upon awakening, he said, would be to rid themselves of the “parasitic pigs” which he constantly referred to as “the tribal thugs of the forces of darkness”.

As for a drug-free society, Manny said a drug-free society would be impossible to obtain without slaughtering at least a quarter of the population. When I asked him if it would not suffice to simply limit the consumption of mind altering and mood enhancing drugs, including nicotine, alcohol, serotonin reuptake inhibitors, upper and downers, and so on, to prisons, and to arrest and confine in those prisons anyone caught using such drugs, Manny balked. I suggested that those prisons might be used to produce many of the necessities needed by the free people outside, and that to build and to maintain the new prison system would also provide many free people with a productive occupation. This gave Manny some pause for thought, apparently, as he went into a trance, concluding the interview.

As I have indicated, Manny’s responses will soon be published, at which time I shall fully address my many concerns with his proposal to clear the minds of the repressed population by means of ergot poisoning. His plot was rather bizarre, but some of his arguments against the status quo have merit.

In the interim, from what I have already said, some people might be motivated to at least reduce their intake of those substances mentioned, and to prepare for the overthrow of the power elite. It is to that end that I also urge people to reduce their consumption of the propaganda being propagated to render the masses docile and obedient.

TO BE CONTINUED

Unlicensed Starchitects Run Amok in South Florida

 

321 ENRIQUE NORTEN

Enrique Norten in Miami Beach lobbying 321 Ocean Enrique Norten

 

UNLICENSED STARCHITECTS RUN AMOK IN FLORIDA

City of Miami Beach Officials Could Care Less

6 November 2015

By David Arthur Walters PRESS INDEPENDENT

Florida law is clear: building architects, landscape architects, and commercial interior designers among other professionals must not advertise or practice their professions without first registering with the State of Florida and obtaining either a permanent or a temporary license.

The main reason for that law is also clear: to protect the public safety and welfare from malpractice. Another reason is to protect Florida professionals from competitors who may be just as well qualified by experience and education.

South Florida officials, nonetheless, could care less about the licensing regulations, at least not until building permits are applied for, particularly if the unlicensed professionals happen to be internationalist practitioners, so-called starchitects from out of state retained by big developers that are often from out of state, seeking to colonize the region for vested interests with surplus capital on their hands because only so much can be wasted on pleasure before businesses stagnate. Especially popular in South Florida, Ground Zero for the last great economic crisis, are cheap glass boxes in air castles erected and sold at exorbitant prices for a fast buck.

The developer and his famous architects and interior designer will proceed to lobby officials and local agencies for the necessary approvals of their plans including the designs. They will hire a licensed Florida professional to put up his license number on the application of the actual building permit. That may amount to no more than renting the Florida professional’s license and perhaps acting as the out-of-state professional’s liaison with little or no review of the plans signed off on. The building official could care less “as long as the paper looks good.”

Ocean One
South Beach One Ocean Glass Box Project

Florida’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) is obviously responsible by virtue of its moniker for regulating professional conduct. Its staff, however, would rather not open an investigation unless a formal complaint is filed. That is, enforcement is complaint driven. That way, administrators can claim they are indeed accountable to the public by counting the number of complaints. Respondents are naturally eager to know who filed the complaint because ordinary members of the public would not know a violation if they saw one, so the complainant would probably be a competitor who could be retaliated against in one way or another, wherefore complaints may be filed anonymously.

In rare cases, especially where the press is involved in exposing misconduct, the DBPR might look into information that comes to its attention indicative, for example, of unlicensed activity, especially when the activity is made obvious by the press. Yet given the proverbial shortage of resources to address the vast amount of unlicensed activity, the department is not eager to dig into independent journalists’ reports, for instance, to see if opening a formal investigation is warranted by the information in the report, only to discover it has been on a wild goose chase, especially if confronted by the caviling lawyers of an large design firm retained by politically influential interests eager to grow their capital lest it stagnate..

It DBPR officials were to examine daily reports on the real estate boom in South Florida, in Miami Beach, for example, they would see that some of the biggest designers in the world, identified as architects, landscape architects, and interior designers, are lobbying officials for developers with designs in hand, and even signing contracts with agencies, yet many of them have no Florida license. The local officials could care less, and the republican public, which is not too sympathetic to government regulation in the first place, is awed by the very presence of these master builders in their city. As for the local competition, it keeps silent for a piece of the action.

Of course if someone complains and the DBPR sees a winning case, it may go after a big league violator. The state may, after a lengthy battle, get a feather in its cap if not collect a fine. The penalties appear to be pursued on a case-by-case basis by casuistic prosecutors who believe they have rational principles in mind, so punishment is rather inconsistent. Someone might simply avoid punishment by applying for a license. Knowing that prosecutions are scarce and penalties minimal, unlicensed architects and interior designers with substantial means have little to worry about if they get reported.

Regulators excuse themselves for their negligence and leniency. Resources are limited, they say, and their objective is to obtain compliance, not to impose punishment. Well, then, perhaps judges should waive all penalties for driving without a license providing that a license is applied for, and impose different fines for the same traffic violations in order to encourage compliance at random. To obtain compliance instead of imposing punishment, police officers should allow traffic law violators to go around the block and obey the laws they previously violated.

The City of Miami Beach is rife with foreign i.e. out-of-state building and landscaping architects and commercial interior designers who proceeded with their professional without obtaining a permanent or temporary license.

Pushelberg Norten Signage

Yabu Pushelberg and Enrique Norten advertising
One Ocean South Beach construction project

Highly respected international interior design firm Yabu Pushelberg with studios in Toronto and New York advertises itself as such in Florida and has helped design numerous projects for the likes of Jorge Perez’ Related Companies without the required license. The Florida Board of Architecture and Interior Design announced on 28 July 2015 that it had settled for a fine of $5,000 plus costs against the firm and its designers for contracting to provide commercial interior design services, advertising its services on its website, and offering those services through an uncertified business entity.

Internationally acclaimed architect Enrique Norten, with studios in New York and Mexico, had no Florida license when he lobbied Miami Beach officials for approval of a condominium project designed by and named after him, 321 Ocean Enrique Norten in South Beach. Investigators for the Board of Architecture and Interior Design have been looking into the matter for some time.

8701 Collins Renzo Piano

Renzo Piano, one of the most famous architects in the world, has designed a tower for erection at 8701 Collins Avenue on Miami Beach without a Florida license. The project is hailed as the advent of the architect into the Florida market. Likewise an investigator for the Florida Board of Architecture and Interior Design is looking into the matter to see if probable cause may be found to prosecute the firm.

The City of Miami Beach would have a renowned unlicensed in Florida landscape architect with several marvelous local projects under its belt, West 8, with offices in Rotterdam and New York, design the landscape for the 8701 Collins Avenue project.

Incidentally, 8701 Collins Avenue LLC donated $10,000 to the political action committee created to celebrate Mayor Philip Levine’s accomplishments during his campaign for reelection, for which he laid out over $800,000 from his own pocket for the $10,000 seat on the commission, where he enjoys an allegedly “purchased” majority hence is a de facto strong mayor in a city with a weak mayor charter. A clamor was raised over the money rapidly obtained from vendors and developers, and what appeared to be the sale of the city to developers, and the PAC was shut down.

West 8 Soundscape Park

West 8 Soundscape Park –  Miami Beach

Now the Board of Architecture and Interior Design retained a private law firm, Smith Thompson Shaw Minacci & Colon P.A., led by Prosecuting Attorney David Minacci, to conduct its investigations and prosecute misconduct. That businesslike approach to handling cases appears to be quite effective in the long run. Staff is more than willing to follow up on press reports of probable unlicensed activity.

Say that I am New York developer who owns Florida property. I have my New York architect design a property for it. We go down to Florida and lobby for any necessary approvals by planning board, land development board, preservation board etc. Then my architect draws final plans for building permits, environmental permits, etc. I hire Florida architects to seal and sign them. They do some gopher work during construction as my New York architect’s liaison. Has my New York architect, who is the de facto or actual architect, violated Florida law? Probably, but that depends on who hired whom and who paid whom and whatever related documentation reveals, such as architectural plans.

The Minacci law firm will eventually look into the unlicensed conduct of Renzo Piano. Unlicensed landscape architecture, however, is not under the Board of Architecture and Interior Design’s jurisdiction. That discipline has its own self-regulating industry board, the Board of Landscape Architecture, under the theory that building architecture and landscape architecture require different types of education and experience. The state legislature found that:

“The regulation of landscape architecture is necessary to assure competent landscape planning and design of public and private environments, prevention of contamination of water supplies, barrier-free public and private spaces, conservation of natural resources through proper land and water management practices, prevention of erosion, energy conservation, functional and aesthetically pleasing environmental contributions to humanity’s psychological and sociological well-being, and an enhancement of the quality of life in a safe and healthy environment and to assure the highest possible quality of the practice of landscape architecture in this state.”

Investigations of landscape architecture irregularities are handled by state employees with the DBPR, not by a private law firm. My anecdotal experience with the DBPR, beginning with my investigation of its handling of licensed general contractor misconduct and unlicensed contracting, has been far from satisfactory. For example, it did nothing about an unlicensed general contractor doing millions of dollars of business in South Florida, and then renting a license for a few thousand dollars and some furniture when reported by the press, yet at the same time stings were being conducted where, for example, an unlicensed plumber would be arrested at a house for trying to feed his family.

A public record request for disciplinary actions against landscape architects licensed and unlicensed is presently being run around the bush, so that information was not available by deadline.

Press accounts tantamount to advertisements of real estate developments touting the local landscape architecture projects of unlicensed landscape architect West 8 were brought to the attention of the DBPR. Erin B. Reisinger, Investigation Manager, Unlicensed Activity Unit> He acknowledged there was no record of a license on file, and said an investigation would be conducted once a complaint form was submitted.

I identified myself as a report and asked Mr. Reisinger if the policy of the State of Florida is to investigate apparent violations and enforce laws only on receipt of a formal complaint rather than proceed on information that comes to the attention of its officials.

He referred me to Chelsea Eagle, DBPR’s Deputy Director of Communications.

“Your inquiry was forwarded to the Office of Communications,” she responded. “Per your inquiry, unlicensed activity cases can be opened in the event that sufficient information is received, whether in the form of a formal complaint, email, anonymous call or mobile app submission. For your background, some of the information typically required to open a complaint includes sufficient evidence of unlicensed activity, such as a bid/proposal for services requiring a license, a contract for services requiring a license or an advertisement for services requiring a license.

“Thank you, Chelsea Eagle. So what are you i.e. the State of Florida going to do with the information since it raises a reasonable suspicion of unlicensed activity?”

“The Division of Regulation is monitoring the situation at this time,” she replied. “For your background, the information included does not provide enough information to open an unlicensed activity case. As the attachments do not specify the types of services being provided by ‘West 8,’ the Department of Business and Professional Regulation is unable to allege unlicensed activity. For your background, certain landscaping services (i.e. – landscape design, which is the design of planting plans and installing plants) do not require a license from DBPR. Additionally, ‘Fentress Architects’ and ‘Arquitectonica’ are sufficiently licensed to provide architecture and/or landscape architecture services in the state of Florida.”

“Ms. Chelsea, I notice that 481.303 Definitions states that landscape architecture means professional services, including, but not limited to, the consultation, investigation, research, planning, design, preparation of drawings, specifications, contract documents and reports, responsible construction supervision. Further, the law states that landscape design means consultation for and preparation of planting plans drawn for compensation, including specifications and installation details for plant materials, soil amendments, mulches, edging, gravel, and other similar materials. Such plans may include only recommendations for the conceptual placement of tangible objects for landscape design projects. Construction documents, details, and specifications for tangible objects and irrigation systems shall be designed or approved by licensed professionals as required by law.

“The release by the City of Miami Beach, as previously quoted, states that ‘Miami Beach’s professional design team consisting of nationally recognized Fentress Architects, the local design firm of Arquitectonica, and international landscape architects West 8, have designed a project that will position itself among the top globally significant convention centers in the world.’

“The descriptions of the project and its illustrations provided in the indicate far more than the planting of a few potted plants, and give the general public reason to suspect that landscape architecture is an integral feature of the comprehensive plan: ‘800 parking spaces located across the street from the center will be relocated within the footprint of the building thus allowing the 5.8 acre parking lot to be converted into a public park surrounded by canopy trees, a flexible lawn area, a food pavilion, and a public plaza to honor the city’s veterans. The park will become the new civic “heart” of Miami Beach as well as a shady destination long awaited by the residents of adjoining neighborhoods. In addition, a new pedestrian friendly and ecologically sensitive green space incorporating butterfly gardens and mangrove enhancements will span along the Collins Canal incorporating a native plant palette and providing pedestrian connectivity for residents and visitors.’ And, as you can see, there is much more.

“I believe that alone provides reasonable suspicion that that Chapter 481 may be violated, and that the matter should be looked into by professional state investigators to see if probable cause exists after examining any and all contracts, drawings, and plans and the like, as well as documentation if any that Fentress Architects and Arquitectonica adequately examined and approved the landscaping features of the project, which would be required, as I believe you are saying, in order for West 8 to practice without a Florida license.

“It does appear that such firms may easily obtain an endorsement from the state and/or practice temporarily in Florida. Of course one question asked would be, does this famous landscaper have a license somewhere else in the world, and is the firm in good standing?

“Please point out where Chapter 481 allows a landscape architect not registered in Florida to practice landscape architecture under the registration of architectural firms such as Fentress and Arquitectonica.

“Attached again for your perusal is the James Corner contract. The City of Miami Beach has continued with this engagement after inquiries were made of the Miami Beach city attorney and city manager as to the apparent lack of a Florida license. I suppose that the city attorney has communicated with the state on the issue and the state has given the city leave to proceed without making a determination if a violation of law has and is occurring. Please confirm.

“Finally, I want to make it clear that I have no personal complaint against West 8 or any other unlicensed in Florida practitioner. If I were to fill out a complaint form, it would be against regulators for ignoring violations for which no formal complaints had been filed, or for referring to information provided as something they are looking into or inquiring about or monitoring without diligent investigation and to no reported conclusion. As for architects and interior designers, thus far my investigation has concluded that the law firm that handles those issues diligently pursues them to their logical conclusions”.

I had wasted my breath on Ms. Chelsea, whose job is to apparently rebuff investigative reporters with silence on touchy issues such as specific legislative authorization for unlicensed landscape architects to practice under licensed building architects in Florida, and, generally speaking, to put them off with bureauspeak.

“The Division of Regulation will continue to monitor the situation. The Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) has an overall goal of compliance. DBPR frequently works with businesses and individuals to help bring them into compliance with state licensing requirements. For your background, there is a landscape architect application on file for James Corner. Upon non-compliance, the Division of Regulation will take administrative action as outlined in Florida law.”

“After additional cursory research,” I persisted, “which you will find attached, I have reason to believe that West 8 has been and is engaged in landscape architecture, as defined by statute, without a license in Florida, as prohibited by that statute. Please monitor the information I have obtained. I suggest that we refer the matter to the attorney general and the governor for their opinion on whether the DBPR should open an investigation into the matter based on that information and other information that may have come to the attention of its monitors. Also, please advise if the penalties provided by statute will be applied to James Corner dba James Corner Field Operations. Again, my concern is not so much with landscape architects as it is with the policies and practices of the Board of Landscape Architecture and the DBPR.”

I reiterated my concern with competences in building and landscape architecture:

“Please advise whether or not the minimum standards that qualify an architect for registration in Florida would alone enable him or her to pass the test required for licensure to practice landscape architecture. In other words, assuming that I have qualified to take and pass the test to obtain a license as architect, would I therefore be competent in terms of formal education to supervise the work of a landscape architect not licensed by the State of Florida? If so, it would seem that a separate license for landscape architecture would be unnecessary, or that I could obtain both licenses in one sitting.”

“Generally speaking,” she responded, “an architect can perform landscape architecture services when it is in conjunction with a building that the architect is designing. Licensed architects may not contract solely to perform or supervise landscape architecture services or hold themselves out to be a ‘landscape architect’ without a landscape architect license. In order for an architect to qualify for licensure, he or she would still be required to submit proof of 3 years of practical experience in landscape architecture under the direct supervision of a landscape architect and pass the L.A.R.E. as well as the Florida section of the exam.”

That is, if I am a building architect, I can do landscape architecture for the building I am designing, but I cannot go out and practice landscape architecture alone or for others. That leaves the question as to whether I am competent by education and experience to practice landscape architecture. I wondered why Florida building architects even bother to engage landscape architects if they can keep that work in house.

Neither did Ms. Eagle answer by deadline my question, “What is the specific Section of Florida law that permits architects to practice landscape architecture?” Nor did she respond to, “Does the Board of Landscape Architecture promulgate Rules on this subject? A general Google search only turns up a single file, on another matter, by this specific board.”

Designing landscapes without a Florida license is not like driving its roads with an out-of-state license until one becomes a permanent resident. Natural conditions, for one thing, are different in every region, and a great deal of technical knowledge is required to address them appropriately. Naturally every jurisdiction regulates the practice of landscape architecture based on local conditions. If there were an International Landscape Architecture License based on different conditions in the world, localities might recognize it. As things stand now, Florida may issue temporary licenses to foreign professionals if they apply and meet the requirements, yet many of them do not feel like applying and fail to apply with impunity.

I submitted further information on West 8 projects in Miami Beach to Ms. Eagle, and suggested that we ask Florida’s governor and its attorney general if they believe an investigation should be conducted based on a reasonable suspicion that probable cause could be found that West 8 was practicing its trade in violation of state law.

“As I mentioned,” she said, “the information included regarding ‘West 8’ does not provide enough information to open an unlicensed activity case. The Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) has an overall goal of compliance. DBPR frequently works with businesses and individuals to help bring them into compliance with state licensing requirements. For your background, there is a landscape architect application on file for James Corner. The Division of Regulation will continue to monitor the situation.”

It appears that “monitor” (monere: to warn) means that we can rest assured that Big Brother is “watching over” basically self-regulated industries without opening investigations unless private individuals without investigative powers obtain proof of misconduct, or unless officials have some other motive to exercise their discretion.

Indeed, “discretion” is the key word. Officials enjoy sovereign immunity for negligence even if roofs cave in or buildings are blown down and people are killed. A building department inspector once told me that perhaps half of construction is unpermitted and performed by unlicensed contractors. Inspectors simply cannot keep up with the volume, and must rely on complaints to ensure compliance. In California, officials have gone so far as to say their duty is to “promote compliance” rather than ensure it.

Whereas the Minacci law firm pursued interior designer Yabu Pushelberg and settled for an embarrassing $5,000 fine plus costs, the DBPR got unlicensed landscape architect James Corner to agree to apply for a license. Interestingly, a person with Yabu Pushelberg was listed by the state as qualified to take the necessary examination, hence a license must have been applied for before it was caught doing a great deal of commercial interior designing, and was prosecuted because a private law firm was duly diligent. Notably, Ms. Chelsea did not specifically respond to the question as to whether James Corner would also be fined, and we may assume not. Notably, we pointed out to her that some time ago a competitor to West 8 had complained that West 8 won a bid despite the fact that someone had pointed out during the bidding process that West 8 was unlicensed by the State of Florida. The excuse offered in that instance was that West 8 has promised when it held itself out with plans as a landscape architect for bidding purposes that it would obtain the necessary license.

Why did the state even bother with James Corner when his company won a bid and signed a contract to landscape famed Lincoln Road Mall? City of Miami Beach Manager Jimmy Morales certified that he had done the due diligence required, and all was well. Neither he nor City of Miami Beach Attorney Raul Aguila responded to concerns expressed after questions were submitted to them with copies to the mayor and city commissioners.

JAMES CORNER commissioenrs

James Corner’s amazing Lincoln Road Miami Beach Design

“TO Raul Aguila re Aiding and Abetting Unlicensed Architecture: Dear Mr. Aguila: I did not receive a response from you to the below inquiry as to James Corner‘s practice of landscape architecture for the City of Miami Beach without obtaining a Florida license, which may have easily been had by endorsement. Now it appears that a landscape architecture firm doing business as West 8 does not have a Florida license yet is involved in the city’s convention center project. It is my information that the DBPR is looking into the James Corner licensing issue. As for West 8, the DBPR has no record of a license, and may or may not look into the matter further without a formal complaint being lodged. An interior design company that has done considerable work South of Fifth, Yabu Pushelberg, is being looked into by (a private law firm for) the DBPR. Enrique Norten, the architect of 321 Ocean Enrique Norten and other major projects in the region is also being looked into. May I suppose from your silence on the James Corner inquiry that you have determined that no Florida licenses are required by such a contractor, or that it is none of the city’s business, and that for officials to knowingly continue to do business with unlicensed architects is not aiding and abetting violations of civil (fines) and criminal (misdemeanor) law? David Arthur Walters MIAMI MIRROR”

“Mr. Aguila, Attached are the first 75 pages of the city’s contract with James Corner‘s company for the renovation of Lincoln Road. I often check Building Department permits to make sure the contractors and architects are licensed by the State of Florida, which is the normal process. I cannot seem to find a Florida landscape architect license with the DBPR for James Corner‘s company. Maybe I am not searching in the correct place. Would you please have some verify whether or not this firm is licensed to practice in this state? And if not, please advise whether or not that would affect the validity of the contract. David Arthur Walters MIAMI MIRROR”

JAMES CORNER underline

James Corner’s Underline Miami Design

Clearly, not only could City of Miami Beach, City of Miami, and and Miami-Dade County officials care less that unlicensed building architects, landscape architects, and commercial interior designers are running amok in their jurisdictions, but DBPR officials could also care less unless someone lodges a complaint, or prosecutions are handled by a private law firm.

That attitude extends to other trades as well, and is by no means unique to Florida, but is endemic wherever regulatory agencies have a complaint-driven “system” to obtain compliance from violators “partnered” with to “help” them comply. That system of random enforcement is widely recognized as the worst kind of enforcement that a jurisdiction could have.  It encourages non-compliance of violators, disparate treatment of violators, and irrational behavior by compliance officers not to mention moral and criminal corruption.

Compliance with legal codes only occurs when the cost of disobedience exceeds the benefits of obedience.

On the other hand, aggressive, systematic enforcement of codes with mandatory minimum penalties has the best results. Complaint-driven or reactive enforcement when transformed to systematic, proactive enforcement, with incentives provided to citizens to participate in enforcement and report violators, has proven to be the best policy in terms of results.

It does appear that Florida officials, despite their frequent attendance at seminars on best practices, are not that interested in the regulation of businesses and professionals, especially at the political level, which is virtually owned by major vested interests.

The proverbial lack of resources is almost always the excuse. Proactive programs are tried upon occasion with good results, and then abandoned. Low priority is obviously given to information that world-class architects may be practicing in Florida without the necessary license. After all, old men are chained to walls like dogs in their own excrement in public institutions, prisoners and guards are beaten and stabbed at random in jails and prisons, kids are abused, maimed and killed after visits by state agents.

XYX

Against the Law

PAUL

 

AGAINST THE LAW

BY

DAVID ARTHUR WALTERS

 

It appears that Paul’s letters were edited by conservatives a generation or so after his death; for instance 1 Corinthians and 2 Corinthians. And 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, and Titus were written in his name to propagate the conservative view. Furthermore, authoritarian and sexually chauvinistic passages were interpolated into 1 Corinthians and Romans, and also Acts of the Apostles were tampered with to the same end. Paul is mistakenly believed to be a the foremost Christian advocate of misogyny and oppressive law. He would no doubt appear to be quite conservative in our day, but in his day quite a few conservatives wanted him dead for preaching liberty.

Paul’s famous Letter to the Galatians is considered to be the Magna Carta of Christian liberty. It was considered inauthentic, but modern research has confirmed it authenticity. It expresses a revolutionary spirit, not only against the state but also against the Jewish law as well. We should keep in mind here that the Christian revolution, in contradistinction to the Jewish Revolts, was fomented as a non-violent revolution. Salvation was to be achieved by faith alone and not by works such as circumcision and war. The early Christian pacifism reminds us of the many Jews who chose martyrdom during the Jewish Revolts instead of making war against the Romans.

Paul’s controversial libertarian doctrine has elicited strong opposition and approval since the day he espoused it. It has evoked a great deal of enthusiasm (god-possession) and bizarre behavior on the part of those who interpreted it to mean that Christ had in fact come for good, therefore every Christian had been set absolutely free from the law, the law not only of the emperor, but also the Torah. Augustine, sometimes arrogantly called “the father of modern European intellectual history”, was attracted to Paul’s message, as was Luther, who wrote two volumes on Galatians. Indeed, there would have been no Reformation without Paul, or Christianity for that matter.

Luther is certainly a fascinating propagandist to read – learned humanist authors during his day took to imitating his enthusiastic biblical style. Luther’s bombastic rhetoric is knotted with logical contradictions, which he frequently justifies by reference to “God’s mysteries.” Paul, whom Luther loves dearly, is by far more rational in his expositions.

Luther relied on Paul in his revolt against the Church. His initial intent was reform, not revolution – the revelation of faith he received on the toilet one fateful day was revolutionary in the spiritual sense. Yet Luther erred early on when he came down on the antinomian (against the Mosaic Law) side of Paul’s message. He had to reverse himself – returning to the doctrine that Jesus appeared to fulfill the Law – when the political ramifications of antinomianism threatened the peace. Luther over-reacted in his infamous ‘stab and kill” (the rebellious peasants) letter. His hyperbole in that letter made him appear to be a much worse hypocrite than he really was. The letter was intended to frighten the peasants away from revolt; because of the slow communications in those days, Luther did not know that, when he released his letter, the peasants had in fact already revolted, with pitchforks under the Rainbow Banner. 50,000 or more were stabbed and killed by well-armed professional soldiers.

The overt antinomian behavior of several enthusiastic groups was limited to sexual libertinism. Monogamy, or the sole ownership of a spouse, was said to be a most dreadful sin. Some of the politically oriented sects had communistic leanings while others looked to monarchical order or divinely sanctioned king and court for salvation. Luther’s repudiated peasants flew the Rainbow Banner of the Covenant – they wanted a brotherhood of love on Earth, a Kingdom of God.

A few Marxist-Leninist thinkers adopted the Peasant Rebellion as a precursor to their dream of universal peace on Earth, to be realized by an international uprising of workers to overthrow capitalism. However, it appears that the revolt Paul had in mind was non-violent. If we examine Luther’s doctrine of just war, we discover that he followed the feudal law in respect to revolution: that Christians must not revolt even against evil, ungodly princes. A pre-emptive strike against papal princes plotting to kill Lutherans would of course be an allowed exception to the rule, not condoned but certainly forgiven without a second thought.

2004 Kansas City, Missouri

Death by Muck for Elder Abuse

MUCK

Death by Muck

by David Arthur Walters

Proposed penalty for abusing ALF residents in swampy Florida
DEATH BY MUCK

For People Who Neglect Poor Elderly and Mentally Challenged ALF Residents

Editorial by

David Arthur Walters THE MIAMI MIRROR

MIAMI BEACH—My heart was already racing from my second cup of coffee when I read the Miami Herald’s lead story on the front page this morning. By the time I had finished ‘Grand jury probes troubled ALFs’ the latest article in the rag’s “NEGLECTED TO DEATH,” I was infuriated, fit to indict, try and execute anyone at all involved in the abuse of poor elderly and mentally incapacitated persons wasting away in assisted living facilities in the swampy State of Florida.

Presuming that the Herald has gotten the facts right that led to the official investigation, the neglectful ALFs are chambers of horror into which poor helpless people are dumped. Those who resist are tied down and left to die of blood clots from the restraints, just for example. I felt my skin crawl at the thought of bloodthirsty bedbugs, and of rats scurrying across the floors, not to mention frustrated angels of death. I imagined Salpetriere, long before Princess Diana died there, when it was the dumping ground for Paris’ elderly and insane, a holding pen for prostitutes, and for criminals awaiting deportation to North America, before Dr. Phillippe Pierre stepped in with humanitarian reforms. I remember how the hospital was stormed during the Revolution, and compared the mob to Tallahassee politicians; 134 prostitutes were released, but 25 mentally ill women were dragged out into the streets in their chains and murdered.

Presuming the Herald’s horrendous accounts to be true, which I would fain do even though I have found a portion of a previous award-winning muckraking series to be untrue and probably libelous, I would first of all give the newspaper journalists, starting with investigative editor Mike Sallah, the highest possible award for muckraking, the Mucky-Muck Medal.

And then, still in a fit of rage, I would throw the caretakers, supervisors, executives, owners, regulators, legislators, and top officials, anyone for that matter who neglected or allowed the neglect to continue, into the foulest muck, having in mind the practice of ancient Chinese dynasts, who amputated the arms and legs of royal traitors and tossed them into latrines.

Yes, the penalty I would have imposed in all my fury, neglecting my liberal ideological religion, was certainly draconian: death by muck: eat the muck or not, the offenders shall die in the muck. Everyone is equally liable for the deaths in ALF. The charges would include both kinds of involuntary manslaughter: criminal negligence and constructive homicide, and aiding and abetting the same. As for those persons abused but not killed, the charge would be attempted manslaughter, with the same penalty upon conviction: death by muck.

Draconian indeed; let the punishment be a warning to voluntary murderers and abusers! The defense, “We accidentally put these persons to sleep forever because they wanted to take a nap,” shall only compound the crime wherever celebrities and propofol are not involved.

Now that I have calmed down somewhat, my liberal principles are coming to the fore. Let the matter be handled as it should be according to the current letter of the law, provided that the grand jury is supplied with Cuban coffee and runs amuck. As for the facts, whether or not they are true, everyone had better check on their elderly and mentally disturbed relatives confined to institutions; if you have none, go to an ELF, say you have an elderly relative, take a tour of the facility, post the infractions on the Internet and report them to the authorities.

If you are poor and getting old, and still have some wits about you, you might consider doing some research, leaving Florida in the muck if you can find a place where the elderly are treated better. Some parents in primitive times had their children stone them to death after thanking them for coming over to do the merciful deed, but that is illegal in this so-called civilized state.

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