Kuro5hin.org: technology and culture, from the trenches
create account | help/FAQ | contact | links | search | IRC | site news
[ Everything | Diaries | Technology | Science | Culture | Politics | Media | News | Internet | Op-Ed | Fiction | Meta | MLP ]
We need your support: buy an ad | premium membership

[P]
US Supreme Court approves evictions for drug use by other people

By aphrael in News
Tue Mar 26, 2002 at 04:38:53 PM EST
Tags: News (all tags)
News

The United States Supreme Court ruled today that the proper interpretation of a law requiring evictions from public housing for drug use includes evictions for drug use that the tenant did not know about.


Title 42, Section 1437d specifies that the "public housing agency shall utilize leases ... provid[ing] that ... any drug-related criminal activity on or off [federally assisted low-income housing] premises, engaged in by a public housing tenant, any member of the tenant's household, or any guest or other person under the tenant's control, shall be cause for termination of tenancy." After being evicted, several tenants sued on the grounds that this clause, when properly interpreted, requires that they have known about the criminal activity in question. (One of the people suing was evicted because her daughter was arrested with cocaine several blocks from the apartment, while another was evicted because his caretaker was found with cocaine).

The Supreme Court today ruled that the obvious interpretation of the law is that Congress has specified that tenants are to be evicted for drug-related activity that they personally engage in, or that any member of their household, or their guests, engage in, either on the premises or off of the premises, and that knowledge of the activity is not the determining factor --- eg., tenants can be evicted for drug use, by family members or guests, off of the public housing site, even if they knew nothing about it. The court did say that this was only true because the state was acting as a landlord, not exercising a general governmental function, and that for that reason the constitutionality of the law was not in question; this was merely a decision of how to interpret the language of the statute.

In addition, the tone of the decision was strong. It was written by Chief Justice Rehnquist, and included the following quotes - "With drugs leading to "murders, muggings, and other forms of violence against tenants," and to the "deterioration of the physical environment that requires substantial governmental expenditures," 42 U.S.C. 11901(4) (1994 ed., Supp. V), it was reasonable for Congress to permit no-fault evictions in order to "provide public and other federally assisted low-income housing that is decent, safe, and free from illegal drugs," 11901(1) (1994 ed.)."; "It is not "absurd" that a local housing authority may sometimes evict a tenant who had no knowledge of the drug-related activity" - which indicate that the author of the opinion, at the very least, believe the rules enshrined in the law to be reasonable.

Sponsors

Voxel dot net
o Managed Hosting
o VoxCAST Content Delivery
o Raw Infrastructure

Login

Related Links
o United States Supreme Court
o ruled
o law
o Also by aphrael


Display: Sort:
US Supreme Court approves evictions for drug use by other people | 127 comments (114 topical, 13 editorial, 0 hidden)
Better pre-verdict analysis... (4.42 / 7) (#1)
by ti dave on Tue Mar 26, 2002 at 03:17:56 PM EST

can be found here.


"If you dial," Iran said, eyes open and watching, "for greater venom, then I'll dial the same."

That is quite good (4.75 / 4) (#4)
by aphrael on Tue Mar 26, 2002 at 03:26:56 PM EST

seems to be based on the oral arguments. :) I didn't want to get into opinion on it when posting the story. basically i think the court is right; the law means what it says. on the other hand, i think the congresspeople behind the law are heartless idiots, and this is a perfect example of drug laws doing more harm than good ... *sigh* why can't we have rational discussions about drugs in our political culture?

[ Parent ]
I posted it because... (5.00 / 2) (#7)
by ti dave on Tue Mar 26, 2002 at 03:47:02 PM EST

It's difficult to rationally critique the final verdict without seeing how the Court arrived at that verdict.


"If you dial," Iran said, eyes open and watching, "for greater venom, then I'll dial the same."

[ Parent ]
You ignore reality (2.25 / 4) (#48)
by KWillets on Tue Mar 26, 2002 at 05:45:30 PM EST

The fact is that elderly or handicapped people should not allow people they can't control to move in with them. Yes, it's sad that this happened. But the fact is that there are thousands of drug-free families on waiting lists to get housing, and bouncing one family so that a clean one can move in doesn't bother me much.

Although people see the sad consequences for a few people, they ignore the fact that many tenants are helped by this law, because they now have reason to forbid druggies from moving in or loitering at their residences. Tenants can now tell these people that their drug offenses are not acceptable, whereas they might have been expected to ignore or abet them in the past.

The article notes that three of the grannies actually told their guests that drug activity was forbidden. Does anyone think they would have told their guests that if this rule had not been in place? For every granny put out, there are probably thousands sleeping soundly without crackheads taking over the living room.

[ Parent ]

huh? (5.00 / 3) (#54)
by aphrael on Tue Mar 26, 2002 at 05:59:00 PM EST

The fact is that elderly or handicapped people should not allow people they can't control to move in with them.

Excuse me? :) In the case of the person who was kicked out *because his caretaker was a drug user* --- well, if he's sufficiently ill to *need* a caretaker, he's probably in no condition to control that person, or even to know what that person is doing. What's *his* recourse?

The article notes that three of the grannies actually told their guests that drug activity was forbidden

Then why should *they* be punished for things *other people* are doing *somewhere else*?

[ Parent ]

No, HUD (4.20 / 5) (#74)
by KWillets on Tue Mar 26, 2002 at 07:53:19 PM EST

well, if he's sufficiently ill to *need* a caretaker, he's probably in no condition to control that person, or even to know what that person is doing. What's *his* recourse?
Handicapped people are victimized all the time in public housing, with little outcry. A guy around the corner from me had to relocate because the druggies were throwing M-80's into his windows. Another guy had all his stuff stolen because he had to leave his door open for his caretaker. Another mentally handicapped guy ends up holding drugs for the "smarter" drug dealers. The woman next door to me was actually handicapped *by* the drug dealers.

One could argue that the policy should be modified, but every loophole just gives the dealers on more shot. It might be more productive to look at the general victimization issue rather than at a policy which is simple, direct, and impartial.

Then why should *they* be punished for things *other people* are doing *somewhere else*?
Because *they* agreed to be penalized for things their *guests* did.

The "guest" drug dealer across from me gets in his car and drives a block away every time he makes a drug deal. Does that mean the mother-in-law who houses him is free from her lease agreement? Everybody knows what's going on. He brings home the bacon while the other units actually work jobs. He has made a calculated decision to endanger his family's housing, and that's the way it is.

I'm sorry I can't give a more cheerful assessment of the public housing situation, but the fact is that most people want to make it all sound nice and then move to neighborhoods where they don't have to deal with "those" people.

[ Parent ]

Oh by the way (none / 0) (#107)
by KWillets on Wed Mar 27, 2002 at 01:08:07 PM EST

From the SF Chronicle:
The Housing Authority ordered the fourth plaintiff, Herman Walker, who is 75 and disabled, from his home after warning him three times that his caretaker had possessed cocaine.
So he was warned three times, and he did nothing. I don't see much victimhood here.

[ Parent ]
Only druggies? (3.50 / 2) (#85)
by CaptainSuperBoy on Tue Mar 26, 2002 at 11:23:04 PM EST

Although people see the sad consequences for a few people, they ignore the fact that many tenants are helped by this law, because they now have reason to forbid druggies from moving in or loitering at their residences.

Although people see the sad consequences for a few people, they ignore the fact that many tenants are helped by this law, because they now have reason to forbid alcoholics from moving in or loitering at their residences. (Why only discriminate against some drugs?)

Although people see the sad consequences for a few people, they ignore the fact that many tenants are helped by this law, because they now have reason to forbid black people from moving in or loitering at their residences. (Don't they bring crime with them?)

Although people see the sad consequences for a few people, they ignore the fact that many tenants are helped by this law, because they now have reason to forbid jews from moving in or loitering at their residences. (Don't they swindle enough people?)

Although people see the sad consequences for a few people, they ignore the fact that many tenants are helped by this law, because they now have reason to forbid gays from moving in or loitering at their residences. (Do we really want them around our children?)

Although people see the sad consequences for a few people, they ignore the fact that many tenants are helped by this law, because they now have reason to forbid people with HIV from moving in or loitering at their residences. (See above)

Before the irony impaired begin flaming, I am AGAINST discrimination of any kind.

--
jimmysquid.com - I take pictures.
[ Parent ]

OK, let's look at this point-by-point (3.50 / 2) (#92)
by KWillets on Wed Mar 27, 2002 at 02:07:09 AM EST

druggies

alcoholics

black people

jews

gays

people with HIV

Sounds like my neighborhood alright, and I have friends in all of those categories. Only the first group causes much problem, and I've heard members of every other group complain about the same things I do.

Perhaps I've gotten so jaded that I no longer register drug users as a group. By "druggies" I mean the members of the illicit drug distribution industry, who in addition to possession also score felonies for gun possession and more severe crimes. Many of this group do not even use drugs; they stick with malt liquor and other alcoholic drinks consumed on the sidewalk or behind the wheel of a car.

The distinction I make is between the Hippie types who use and don't deal for much profit (and don't exist in public housing), and the hardcore types who are only in it for money. The latter group are the ones willing to use violence to corner a market or collect debts. IMHO the hippie types in the Upper Haight probably sell more drugs than all the nasty crackdealers, but once this crap starts it's hard to stop it, and even drugs like marijuana become part of the game. It would be nice if people could deal drugs without shooting each other or becoming a nuisance, but unfortunately the record has shown that drugs are a big prize for certain types of criminal.

[ Parent ]

Yep. (3.66 / 3) (#2)
by rebelcool on Tue Mar 26, 2002 at 03:20:48 PM EST

The supreme court is simply reiterating that the evictions that took place were legal under the statute. That is, the landlords were reading the law right when they evicted the tenants.

Seems like a trivial thing for the supreme court to take up...

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site

Not trivial (5.00 / 3) (#14)
by jayhawk88 on Tue Mar 26, 2002 at 04:26:26 PM EST

It's not trivial because this potentially opens up some very wide possibilities in evicting people in public housing.

Say your friend Joe, whom you haven't seen since school or something, shows up one day at your door, needing place to crash. Joe's a good friend from back in the day, so of course he can hit the couch for a few days.

Days later your landlord, or some nosey tenant, see's Joe smoking some weed in the park or something. By this ruling, you can now be evicted. Regardless of whether Joe had the weed on him while he was staying with you, or whether you even knew he smoked weed at all. *Disclaimer*: This is assuming I'm reading and comprehending correctly here.

Obviously this was intended to try and cut down on crack-houses in public housing, but it does seem to be a little extreme.

Why, then, should we grant government the Orwellian capability to listen at will and in real time to our communications across the Web? -- John Ashcroft
[ Parent ]
It is trivial (3.33 / 3) (#37)
by karb on Tue Mar 26, 2002 at 05:15:15 PM EST

It does not make any broad statements about drug use. It makes the statement that, when the government is acting as a replacement for private industry, it is not subject to the constitution in the same way the government usually is. It basically means that the government is allowed to do all the thing a private landlord is allowed to do.

The whole 'evicting grandma' thing is unfortunate. The law should be changed. It is unfair. I don't think the supreme court thinks booting grannies is a great thing. Even if they did, they make clear in their decision that congress knows how to provide exemptions to this sort of thing (because they have in other similar laws) and they did not do it in this case.

In other words, lobby congress to change the law, because it is unfair. Don't tell the supreme court that they should overturn a law because it is unfair. That's beyond their constitutionally-granted power.
--
Who is the geek who would risk his neck for his brother geek?
[ Parent ]

It's wrong, but it's not unconstitutional (none / 0) (#84)
by cyberformer on Tue Mar 26, 2002 at 11:02:12 PM EST

You're right. There is, unfortunately, nothing in the constitution covering this situation.

The lesson is that a document written >200 years ago cannot cover every stupid law that a government makes, and is in any case subject to interpretation by (biased) judges.

[ Parent ]

Thats not whats at stake here. (4.00 / 2) (#60)
by rebelcool on Tue Mar 26, 2002 at 06:13:45 PM EST

What the supreme court has done has effectively said 'yes, you the landlords are reading the law correctly.'. That is something for a lower court. I call that trivial for the supreme court.

The SC is for constitutional and other higher matters. Not telling lawyers that yes, they indeed know how to read.

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site
[ Parent ]

An appeals court (5.00 / 2) (#65)
by aphrael on Tue Mar 26, 2002 at 06:24:32 PM EST

had interpreted the law so that 'under the tenant's control' applied to the previous clause (which as rehnquist pointed out resulted in the absurd construction 'any tenant under the tenant's control').

[ Parent ]
Interesting Precedent (4.22 / 9) (#8)
by opendna on Tue Mar 26, 2002 at 03:58:48 PM EST

The court did say that this was only true because the state was acting as a landlord, not exercising a general governmental function, and that for that reason the constitutionality of the law was not in question; this was merely a decision of how to interpret the language of the statute.

This has some interesting applications to other areas:

  • Suppose the state owned a parking lot and one of this conditions of its use was that there be no outstanding tickets. Violation of this clause could result in the search or confiscation of the vehicle. The state is acting as a landlord, not exercising a general governmental function.
  • Suppose the state owned a street and one of the conditions of its use was that customers must submit to searches for any reason. The state is acting as a landlord, not exercising a general governmental function.
  • Etc.
Yeah, yeah. I'm fear mongering. But can you tell me where the "government as a landlord" ends and unconstitutionality begins?

Where the "government as a landlord" end (4.00 / 1) (#17)
by davidduncanscott on Tue Mar 26, 2002 at 04:33:10 PM EST

is when the government is your landlord, like when you sign a lease in public housing and the government assumes the responsibilities of a landlord -- prompt repairs, housing court, all that good stuff. "Landlord" seems like a pretty well-defined term in law. I have a hard time imagining any judge stretching it to include streets, or any other situation in which there is no lease.

[ Parent ]
Besides... (3.00 / 1) (#20)
by Ken Arromdee on Tue Mar 26, 2002 at 04:37:48 PM EST

the state is not seizing property, it's kicking people out. The analogy with the parking lot would be that the state could say that if you had any tickets, you would no longer be allowed to use the parking lot. Not that your car would be confiscated.

[ Parent ]
Streets (3.66 / 3) (#27)
by sigwinch on Tue Mar 26, 2002 at 04:51:52 PM EST

I have a hard time imagining any judge stretching it to include streets, ...
One word: turnpikes.

--
I don't want the world, I just want your half.
[ Parent ]

Have you ever (4.50 / 2) (#32)
by davidduncanscott on Tue Mar 26, 2002 at 05:03:50 PM EST

signed a lease to use the Jersey Turnpike?

Just because you let people pay money to use something doesn't make you a landlord. Hertz isn't a landlord if I rent a car. A pimp isn't a landlord. BlockBuster isn't a landlord.

[ Parent ]

Landlord/lessor (4.00 / 3) (#62)
by sigwinch on Tue Mar 26, 2002 at 06:15:59 PM EST

Just because you let people pay money to use something doesn't make you a landlord.
It does, however, make me a lessor, and the court found that the fact that the government was the lessor meant they could attach arbitrary restrictions as part of a lease contract. By extension, arbitrary restrictions could be imposed for the use of a government-owned turnpike. For example, they could ban red cars on Thursdays.

--
I don't want the world, I just want your half.
[ Parent ]

Not at all (3.33 / 3) (#22)
by Lord of the Wasteland on Tue Mar 26, 2002 at 04:41:28 PM EST

Both of your examples are ridiculous. The court ruled that since the government is acting as a landlord, they can behave as a private landlord. This means they can evict people for violating the terms of lease, even unintentionally.

If I, as a private owner, own a parking lot, I cannot search or confisticate vehicles. I can have them towed. Therefor, the government can tow cars from its lots, but not search them. Oh wait, that can already happen (I work next to a bankruptcy court, I've seen it).

[ Parent ]

Searching for security makes the world safe (5.00 / 1) (#31)
by aphrael on Tue Mar 26, 2002 at 04:59:58 PM EST

If I, as a private owner, own a parking lot, I cannot search or confisticate vehicles

If you had signs clearly posted stating that for security reasons all vehicles are subject to search, you most certainly could search the vehicles. (You couldn't confiscate them, but that's a different issue).

[ Parent ]

Security (3.50 / 2) (#33)
by Lord of the Wasteland on Tue Mar 26, 2002 at 05:05:37 PM EST

True. Do you think your car isn't subject to search going into a military base? Is this some dramatic new concept of law? No. That was my argument. The original poster claimed this ruling set a dangerous precedent. It does not. I don't particularly like the HUD rule, but this Supreme Court ruling follows well established precendents.

[ Parent ]
already happens (5.00 / 2) (#87)
by FredGray on Tue Mar 26, 2002 at 11:45:02 PM EST

Suppose the state owned a street and one of the conditions of its use was that customers must submit to searches for any reason. The state is acting as a landlord, not exercising a general governmental function.

In Champaign, Illinois, all school district parking lots (at schools and also at purely administrative facilities) have a big sign titled "SEARCH OF VEHICLES." The sign says that, by entering the parking lot, the driver agrees to permit a full search of the vehicle.

Seems incredibly unconstitutional to me...but THINK OF THE CHILDREN!!! :-)

[ Parent ]

damn hippie potheads (3.14 / 7) (#9)
by paf0 on Tue Mar 26, 2002 at 04:00:16 PM EST

Those damn hippie potheads, they're always murdering and mugging people just to get high.

I realize that the article cited cocaine but I love the fact that all drugs fall into the same category. I do not condone the use of marijuana but all the potheads I know are too lazy to do anything but order pizza. Nevermind mugg and kill.

I think that people who do hard drugs should be more likely to get thrown out. Also, it is completely unacceptable for anyone to be evicted unless their name is on the lease.
-----------
The real question is not whether machines think but whether men do. --B. F. Skinner
icq 3505006
No (4.14 / 7) (#24)
by CaptainSuperBoy on Tue Mar 26, 2002 at 04:46:26 PM EST

Marijuana shouldn't be treated any differently than so-called 'hard' drugs. That kind of thinking is what put us in this situation in the first place.

Two of our most dangerous and addictive drugs, tobacco and alcohol, are legal. This kind of 'drug favoritism' is unacceptable..

All drugs should be legalized. It's not the government's duty or right to detemine how an individual lives their life. In the backwards thinking of congress, they need to keep plugging all sorts of holes with more laws.. drugs cause crime so let's evict people for having drugs. Why not legalize drugs and end the cycle of crime?

--
jimmysquid.com - I take pictures.
[ Parent ]

Decriminalization (2.12 / 8) (#35)
by KWillets on Tue Mar 26, 2002 at 05:12:29 PM EST

Means getting criminals out of the drug business. The fact is that we're dealing with a class of professional exploiters, who will simply move on to the next money-maker once drugs are legalized. It's all the same to them: drugs, welfare, public housing; these are all freebies to be taken at the expense of law-abiding people.

Thinking that taking away this source of income will end the "cycle of crime" is incredibly naive.

[ Parent ]

Bingo. (4.00 / 1) (#78)
by beergut on Tue Mar 26, 2002 at 09:00:42 PM EST

So, in order to get rid of all this exploitation, we should simply remove government incursions in these areas.

No war on drugs leads to no violent drug crimes, just as no Prohibition led to no violent alcohol crimes (at least, not in the manufacture, sales, and distribution rackets.) When is the last time you heard of a beer distributor machine-gunning a competitor because of a disagreement on turf?

Similarly, welfare, public housing, and all that crap should be done away with. Having lived in an area already destroyed by government "assistance", I have seen first-hand the kind of mindless destruction that takes place, both from the War on Drugs, and from various forms of public assistance.

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

There are other issues (none / 0) (#81)
by KWillets on Tue Mar 26, 2002 at 10:06:37 PM EST

My area was "redeveloped" in a way that took away the private ownership of many of the people who now occupy public housing. Granted, their properties probably would have been condemned anyways, but HUD could have put money into fixing up private homes rather than herding people into projects.

I'm not sure about ending the practice, but any public handouts have to be carefully policed to keep the big alligators away from the small ones. Most people in public assistance are highly manipulable, to put it mildly, and most are victimized by criminals to a degree that most of us could hardly imagine.

Just about anything that creates easy money, whether it's welfare, drugs, or prostitution, creates a market for people who are willing to exploit it. It has nothing to do with the morality of the acts, just the illegality and resultant excessive profits. Unfortunately the people who receive the assistance are prime targets for exploitation, by both criminals and politicians.

[ Parent ]

Well I meant drug crime (none / 0) (#82)
by CaptainSuperBoy on Tue Mar 26, 2002 at 10:56:41 PM EST

OK maybe I should have been more explicit. Obviously legalizing drugs will not end all crime - if you want to mince words go ahead, but don't expect to find many people who are willing to debate you. Opportunity is a necessary element of crime - if someone doesn't have the opportunity to benefit from a crime they will not do it. This is why all vice should be legal and out of the hands of the government (yes, this means you state-sponsored lottery).

Also, your post sounds suspiciously racist. It's all the same to who? The myth of people (usually single black mothers) exploiting welfare for personal gain has obvious racist origins, and little basis in truth.. do you think people actually like to live in subsidized housing? People like to receive welfare, because they're just lazy? Be realistic. Isn't is convenient to assume that it's all the same people exploiting drugs, welfare, and public housing for personal gain?

Like most people looking for a scapegoat, you've made up a class of people whose sole purpose is to exploit you, the hard working law-abiding citizen. You have made it this far (a lot of self-made successful people feel this way) so why can't anyone else? If they fail, it must be because they're always looking for a free ride.

--
jimmysquid.com - I take pictures.
[ Parent ]

Oh boy, here we go (none / 0) (#91)
by KWillets on Wed Mar 27, 2002 at 01:27:51 AM EST

Oh goody, I use the word "class" and somebody decides I"m referring to race, or all public housing tenants, or some kind of stupid distinction that makes no sense. "Law-abiding people" refers to about 90% of the people in public housing; I think you're the one making strange distinctions here.

I'm referring to a minority of public housing tenants and street people who deal crack, join gangs, and exploit other people for personal gain. Crime is only one aspect of this type of lifestyle. It also includes milking anybody within range for money, a place to live or hang out, a parking place, a car, or just about anything that they need to do their little business. The fact is that being a relative, neighbor, or "friend" of a player like this means a life of perpetual victimhood and sacrifice for someone who will take it all and give nothing back.

The streets are full of people who would move in with their grandmothers and try to get a full-scale drug operation going, regardless of the consequences. My point is not that welfare recipients and public housing tenants are all exploiters; it's that they are targets for exploitation. Most of these people are trying to get on their feet, get job training, get child care and education, and get on with their lives. Unfortunately it's difficult to get much of the above with a Caddy full of drug dealers on your doorstep.

Make that a Nova and a Camaro tonight, but welfare checks aren't out for another week now.

[ Parent ]

Proxies ... (none / 0) (#115)
by aphrael on Wed Mar 27, 2002 at 05:15:39 PM EST

The fact is that we're dealing with a class of professional exploiters, who will simply move on to the next money-maker once drugs are legalized.

OK, granted. But that leads, I think, to the real problem with our drug policy: we are using drugs as a proxy. What we really want to do is go after the class of professional exploiters --- but instead we're going after the class of professional drug users (eg., in many respects, the ones being exploited). Maybe we should develop better tools for going after the bad guys, and leave the relatively harmless users alone?

[ Parent ]

yes (none / 0) (#98)
by paf0 on Wed Mar 27, 2002 at 10:16:57 AM EST

All drugs SHOULD be legalized? But that won't happen. Why don't we start with some of the less adictive drugs? I do believe that there is a difference between someone that smokes pot and someone that smokes crack.

One is physically addicting where the addict will most likely do anything to get more of it.

The other may be mentally addicting but not physical. Also, the person smoking pot is more likely not to break laws to get more unlike the crackhead.


-----------
The real question is not whether machines think but whether men do. --B. F. Skinner
icq 3505006
[ Parent ]
I agree (5.00 / 1) (#109)
by CaptainSuperBoy on Wed Mar 27, 2002 at 02:48:06 PM EST

I agree that legalizing the most innocuous drugs is a great first step.. but once marijuana is legalized, we risk losing the support of all the moderate pot-smokers. Many of them either don't care about other drugs, or think other drugs should still be illegal. This just continues the 'war on some drugs.' You'll see fewer people in prison and an immediate rise in junk food sales, but the smuggling and organized crime continues to control cocaine and heroin.. while users are still punished and individual rights still trampled on.

Many people object to lumping marijuana together with so-called hard drugs.. maybe they feel it exaggerates the danger of pot. That's the wrong approach, though - you HAVE to lump all drugs together, in order to realize that our drug hypocrisy will never solve the problem. Nicotine is physically addicting, yet it is legal and people don't kill each other over it. But what would happen if we outlawed cigarettes? Addictiveness is an arbitrary factor - it shouldn't factor into the legality of anything. The one and only factor that should govern individual rights? If I can do something without causing harm to anyone else, no law should stop me from doing it.

--
jimmysquid.com - I take pictures.
[ Parent ]

rofl. (none / 0) (#93)
by rakslice on Wed Mar 27, 2002 at 02:19:04 AM EST

"Also, it is completely unacceptable for anyone to be evicted unless their name is on the lease."

Because evicting those who aren't tenants in the first place is wrong (also impossible). =)

[ Parent ]
funny or stupid? (none / 0) (#97)
by paf0 on Wed Mar 27, 2002 at 10:08:30 AM EST

Did you miss the fact that they are evicting people who only live there and are not on the lease?


-----------
The real question is not whether machines think but whether men do. --B. F. Skinner
icq 3505006
[ Parent ]
Uh... (none / 0) (#127)
by rakslice on Tue Apr 09, 2002 at 10:36:29 AM EST

They're evicting people who are on the lease for the actions of people who aren't on the lease. How do you evict someone who isn't on the lease?

[ Parent ]
the perils of public housing (4.60 / 10) (#10)
by chopper on Tue Mar 26, 2002 at 04:04:46 PM EST

"public housing agency shall utilize leases ... provid[ing] that ... any drug-related criminal activity on or off [federally assisted low-income housing] premises, engaged in by a public housing tenant, any member of the tenant's household, or any guest or other person under the tenant's control, shall be cause for termination of tenancy."

so, if my friend is crashing on my couch for a night or two, then gets caught smoking a joint outside the local 7-11, i can get evicted, even if i didn't know about it, or the grass was never in my house at all at any time. yikes.

well, the SCOTUS isn't to blame here, they just said the interpretation of the law was alright; i wonder what they would say if it was the constitutionality of the law that was in question.

then again, with Rehnquist's language, its easy to see where he stands.

give a man a fish,he'll eat for a day

give a man religion and he'll starve to death while praying for a fish

do you live in the projects? [NT] (2.33 / 3) (#12)
by momocrome on Tue Mar 26, 2002 at 04:12:01 PM EST



"Give a wide berth to all that foam and spray." - - Lucian, The Way to Write History
[ Parent ]
Yet another reason government funding is bad (3.25 / 8) (#13)
by trhurler on Tue Mar 26, 2002 at 04:20:00 PM EST

If they pay, they get to make the rules. The rules are NOT going to be to your liking, unless you share their interests. Needless to say, very few of us share the interests of Teddy Kennedy.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

Yes (2.16 / 6) (#15)
by The Littlest Hobo on Tue Mar 26, 2002 at 04:26:31 PM EST

This is indeed proof that government funding is bad.

Bwahahaha. Boy, it must suck to be a conservative. If my argument had such little support that I considered this "proof" of anything, I'd be pretty damned ashamed at my own intellectual dishonesty.

[ Parent ]
Would you expound, please? (3.50 / 4) (#19)
by beergut on Tue Mar 26, 2002 at 04:37:20 PM EST

I think trhurler has the right of things, really.

"Under my roof, under my thumb" is exactly what is being said here, and it seems obvious that, if you are not under the government's roof (especially if you own your own property,) that you cannot be evicted because of a government housing rule.

Also, saying that trhurler is "conservative" is like saying, "the moon is made of green cheese." He is not, and I laugh at the very idea.

Note that no mention was made in his post as to the "wrongness" or "moral culpability" of the drug users, only that the government uses this as a means to control that segment of the population.

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

A few days ago I searched here for 'Denmark' (2.66 / 3) (#23)
by The Littlest Hobo on Tue Mar 26, 2002 at 04:42:21 PM EST

So thankfully, my refutation is simple and elegant.

Government funding != Assured guarantee of abuse of power (unless you're American?)

The post.



[ Parent ]
Hardly... (4.00 / 3) (#25)
by beergut on Tue Mar 26, 2002 at 04:48:42 PM EST

What, precisely, does some guy's nice experience in Denmark have to do with the questions I asked?

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

It may be thin evidence (1.33 / 3) (#26)
by The Littlest Hobo on Tue Mar 26, 2002 at 04:51:05 PM EST

But it sure as hell is a lot more than either you or trhurler have presented

[ Parent ]
It would seem... (4.00 / 2) (#29)
by beergut on Tue Mar 26, 2002 at 04:55:02 PM EST

... that the evidence is quite clear, given the incident about which we speak.

Wouldn't you agree?

Government is landlord, therefore government makes the rules about the housing, and when government enforces the rules, people are evicted for doing drugs.

How is this not an example of "under my roof, under my thumb" writ large, and how would it be possible to be kicked out of government housing if there is no government housing?

In a small nation like Denmark, their social programs and whatnot may work well - I'm not disputing that - but don't you think there's any chance for bureaucratic abuse, even in Denmark? I'm sure there are a number of Danes who might disagree.

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

Jesus Christ man, take a philosophy course (1.33 / 3) (#42)
by The Littlest Hobo on Tue Mar 26, 2002 at 05:35:56 PM EST

Then at least I won't feel like I'm arguing with an idiot. Did you even understand my claim?

[ Parent ]
You are a moron with a straw man (3.40 / 5) (#49)
by trhurler on Tue Mar 26, 2002 at 05:47:10 PM EST

Nobody that I'm aware of has said that government funding is a guarantee of abuse of power. However, it is obvious from the fact that governments almost universally abuse power that there is a strong correlation here, and it is also obvious that the condition of not being abused today does not guarantee anything about tomorrow. Why should people live in fear that tomorrow a power mad loon with all the guns and all the butter will decide that their belief system is somehow improper and begin horribly mistreating them?

You obviously are of that curious breed of liberal which moved from the perfectibility of man hypothesis to the much sillier perfectibility of government hypothesis. I recommend you carefully consider that choice, because there is nothing in the history of man to suggest that a government can be better than its people, which is what the whole nanny state notion is necessarily predicated upon.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
The claim in question (1.00 / 1) (#43)
by The Littlest Hobo on Tue Mar 26, 2002 at 05:37:22 PM EST

Government funding != Assured guarantee of abuse of power (unless you're American?)

Now I know it's hard, but if you're going to reply to my post where I state a claim such as above, then try not to change my argument on me so that you have an easier time of knocking down strawmen.



[ Parent ]
You are mistaken. (5.00 / 1) (#59)
by beergut on Tue Mar 26, 2002 at 06:12:35 PM EST

Bwahahaha. Boy, it must suck to be a conservative. If my argument had such little support that I considered this "proof" of anything, I'd be pretty damned ashamed at my own intellectual dishonesty.

The claim you made was that trhurler was intellectually dishonest.

Please provide proof of this.

Further, please provide an argument which refutes my understanding of trhurler's claim that, without government funding of housing, the government could not evict someone for drug use.

Anecdotes about Denmark won't cut the muster.

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

the claim is still wrong (none / 0) (#95)
by Rahaan on Wed Mar 27, 2002 at 03:54:16 AM EST

Government funding != Assured guarantee of abuse of power (unless you're American?)
It has nothing to do with Americans - people are people are people. The problem with it is that, while it may be operating perfectly fine now, it provides great potential for abuse. When there is great potential for abuse, eventually someone will come along and realize that potential for self-benefit at the cost of others.

To automatically assume that the system which happens to currently work well will continue to do so is just as naive as assuming that such power will *always* be abused.

The fact that people in that area of Denmark leave their doors open and feel safe and yadayada and the comparison to Brooklyn is irrelevant - the situation in New York (and MANY places around the world) are piled upon years and years of mistrust, crime, "bad people", mistakes, whatever. Look at the Middle East - it's not like Jewish settlers there in the 1800s were greeted by Palestinian suicide bombers. It's a culmination of many events, recorded and unrecorded. To leave your home unlocked in Brookyln would be foolish because that's the way it is there. It hasn't always been that way and it might change in the future, but whatever - it has no relevance to this conversation. Whatsoever.

I can refute your refutation with anecdotal evidence, too - I live in the US, in an locality completely devoid of government-funded housing. I can leave my doors unlocked. I can leave my keys in my car. I could post little signs telling everyone my keys are in my car, go on vacation for a week, and come home to find it in my driveway, unused.

whatever.


you know, jake.. i've noticed that, since the tacos started coming, the mail doesn't so much come as often, or even at all
[ Parent ]

Two problems (3.60 / 5) (#46)
by trhurler on Tue Mar 26, 2002 at 05:39:55 PM EST

One is that I didn't claim to prove anything.

The other is that I'm not a conservative.

If and when you manage a reply that actually has anything to do with either me or what I said, be sure to let me know about that, ok?

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Fine, then you're a Libertarian (1.60 / 5) (#47)
by The Littlest Hobo on Tue Mar 26, 2002 at 05:43:37 PM EST

Your ideal economic policy is nearly identical to a republicans, so the argument holds, don't you think?

[ Parent ]
Interesting (3.60 / 5) (#52)
by trhurler on Tue Mar 26, 2002 at 05:54:57 PM EST

I was not aware that there were any Republicans who want to totally eliminate taxation, reduce the government to a matter of laws and small institutions protecting negative rights, largely or completely eliminate criminal law in favor of expanded civil law(ie, murder is an act against a person, not against the state,) convert our military into a purely defensive instrument, and so on.

Ron Paul comes closest, but I don't think he qualifies.

Maybe to you a 15% flat tax scheme plus income tax plus property tax plus luxury tax, fuel tax, tax on the length of your pecker, and tax on the air you breathe is similar to "no tax," but in my mind, these are different things. Very different.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Eh (2.28 / 7) (#53)
by The Littlest Hobo on Tue Mar 26, 2002 at 05:57:45 PM EST

Let me get this straight. Libertarians such as yourself believe that NO taxation is the best solution?

This conversation is over, you're an idiot.

PS I hope you get what you ask for. Enjoy the never ending double digit money inflation, dude.

[ Parent ]
Kindly take your Keynesian horseshit elsewhere (1.75 / 4) (#56)
by trhurler on Tue Mar 26, 2002 at 06:01:17 PM EST

It smells bad, and I'm fairly sure that since it didn't work in the 60s, it won't work now.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Again you make wild claims... substantiate them. (3.20 / 5) (#63)
by beergut on Tue Mar 26, 2002 at 06:18:13 PM EST

PS I hope you get what you ask for. Enjoy the never ending double digit money inflation, dude.

Note that double-digit monetary inflation did not occur until the late 1960's and into the 1970's, when the monetary standard was switched away from gold and based upon the "good faith and credit of the government of the United States.

It was government intervention which caused stagflation in the '70s.

Why is trhurler an idiot to believe that a minimalist government would be best funded by other means than robbing the people governed of their lives, labor, and livelihood?

More importantly, why are you not to be considered an idiot, just because you are capable of parroting what's been spoonfed you over the years? Are you incapable of original thought?

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

congrats! (3.33 / 3) (#71)
by dr k on Tue Mar 26, 2002 at 07:34:54 PM EST

Libertarians like trhurler are obsessed with the most literal interpretation of their politics. Theirs is a world of black and white, with no room for compromise or, er, human factors.

Fortunately very few libertarian sympathizers are able to maintain such a high degree of foolishness. Because most of them actually live in the real world.


Destroy all trusted users!
[ Parent ]

Yeah (none / 0) (#100)
by trhurler on Wed Mar 27, 2002 at 11:44:21 AM EST

Some time I ought to post my rant on "black and white" as an argument. Here's a hint until then: it isn't one. The short short short version is, you think the world exists in grayscale because your chosen method of viewing it(ie your ideas) do not fit the world well at all, but by "fuzzing" the edges, you can pretend otherwise.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
but, but, but (4.50 / 2) (#90)
by scruffyMark on Wed Mar 27, 2002 at 12:45:53 AM EST

murder is an act against a person, not against the state

Maybe I'm missing the point here, but who is supposed to take the case to a civil court then? The victim? Or, say it's the victim's estate - what if you murder a penniless person, do you get off free because their family can't afford a lawyer?

totally eliminate taxation, reduce the government to a matter of laws and small institutions protecting negative rights

Totally eliminate taxation => totally eliminate government.

Surely if you want government to provide small institutions, you have to provide the small costs of those institutions. Reducing government lets you get away with reducing taxes, but that's about it.

And, do you want an army? Roads? Trains? Sewers? Or, more controversially (not here in Canada, mind you), health care for those who can't afford it - so they don't go coughing on you, and cost you your health, if nothing else?

None of that comes free, and I've never heard of a proposal that would see any of those things adequately provided by a free market. Certain things, you can only collect money for through coercion. (and that's why democracy is important, to rein in those who hold the monopoly on coercion, right?)

[ Parent ]

Ah (none / 0) (#102)
by trhurler on Wed Mar 27, 2002 at 11:54:03 AM EST

Clearly you should read some actual literature on the subject before assuming that there are quite such obvious problems, seeing as a great many very bright people believe in this.

You can replace taxes for small institutions with use fees much of the time; what few services have to be provided free of charge can freeload off the others.

An army? Yes, of sorts(much smaller.) Roads? Private. Trains? Private. Sewers? Private. Healthcare? Private.
I've never heard of a proposal that would see any of those things adequately provided by a free market.
Have you ever actually gone looking for a credible attempt to provide one, or are you willing just to say "well, since here in socialist Canada we don't have this point of view on television, and since most people wouldn't agree with it, it must be wrong!"?
Certain things, you can only collect money for through coercion.
If that's really true, then either people do not understand theier own needs or else those things are not important. If the former is true, you can show them. If the latter is true, then you should not be pointing guns at people to obtain those things.
and that's why democracy is important, to rein in those who hold the monopoly on coercion, right?
If it did that, you might have an argument there. In fact, democracy has shown itself to be a powerful tool for entrenching the rulers ever more firmly as time goes on; while the names may change, the agenda doesn't, and democracy lends an air of "legitimacy" to the whole thing that keeps people from doing anything about it.

By the way, your murder question has a lot of possible answers, depending on how you shape the legal system and other things, but that's a relatively minor issue anyway; if we fixed everything else that's screwed in the present system and left criminal law in place, we'd still be better off. You'd need to look to historical examples to see possible solutions(yes, there have been quite a few.)

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
You suck, trhurler (none / 0) (#105)
by The Littlest Hobo on Wed Mar 27, 2002 at 12:34:00 PM EST

well, since here in socialist Canada we don't have this point of view on television, and since most people wouldn't agree with it, it must be wrong!"?

What, you think Canadians don't get American channels? I've got Fox, CNN, CNN Headlines, ABC, CBS, and they're telling me all about the wonders of capitalism on a 24 hour basis.



[ Parent ]
You missed the point (none / 0) (#106)
by trhurler on Wed Mar 27, 2002 at 01:00:15 PM EST

US television isn't full of libertarians either. The fact is that minarchist and anarchocapitalist viewpoints are a tiny minority - but this says absolutely nothing about their correctness or lack thereof. If you want information on these things, you have to go looking, and looking pretty hard. It doesn't look for you the way the mainstream political stances will.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
I'm not sure that follows. (3.00 / 3) (#30)
by aphrael on Tue Mar 26, 2002 at 04:56:59 PM EST

It appears that the legal situation is such that there are no constraints on the ability of the state to act when it is a landlord (except possibly general legal restrictions on landlords). Which is to say that under the current legal rules, things are bad.

It would be perfectly possible to devise a system whereby there are constitutionally enforced restrictions on how the government can act as a landlord. Eg., it's not necessarily the government funding which is at fault here, but the legal system that determines what can be done as a consequence of that funding.

[ Parent ]

So then (4.00 / 4) (#44)
by trhurler on Tue Mar 26, 2002 at 05:38:47 PM EST

Do you propose that our constitution should contain precise descriptions of what the government can and cannot do in the process of running every possible imaginable service?

The only practicable solution is limited government. Anything else will bury itself under the weight of its own rules, and even then, will fail to protect people - both because nobody can possibly follow all the rules(or even know them all,) and also because the people writing the rules(including that much vaunted constitution you apparently want to change a lot,) are going to set it up in accordance with their beliefs - and those in power think they should have arbitrary control over our money! That's their belief system, whether you like it or not!

In theory, if we discount the effects of complexity, your idea might work. In practice, we cannot get there. We might be able to get to limited government. Maybe. I doubt it, but I hope so.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Government services (4.80 / 5) (#34)
by sigwinch on Tue Mar 26, 2002 at 05:09:04 PM EST

If they pay, they get to make the rules. The rules are NOT going to be to your liking, unless you share their interests.
The solution is that government assistance should only be based on need or lottery, and not on refraining from the unpopular activity of the week. Their only tool for regulating behavior should be criminal laws that apply equally to all people, regardless of their relationship to any government agency. There's a reason the lady with the scales wears a blindfold.

--
I don't want the world, I just want your half.
[ Parent ]

A problem (2.80 / 5) (#41)
by trhurler on Tue Mar 26, 2002 at 05:35:40 PM EST

This is like giving a little kid $100 and sending him into a toy store with the instructions that he can only spend five dollars. It just ain't gonna happen, no matter how much you think it is "right." Government idiots, be they do-gooders or power mongers or whatever, are going to wedge their greasy little fingers into any corner where you let them play, and exercise control over it in any way they can figure.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
*laugh* (3.00 / 2) (#45)
by aphrael on Tue Mar 26, 2002 at 05:39:09 PM EST

Is the fault with our politicians, or with us? If the majority of *people who vote* wanted to have rules that didn't cater to the current political whipping boy, wouldn't our representatives vote for them?

I submit that the problem isn't with state ownership; it's with voters who react with fear before analyzing, and representatives who represetn but don't have the courage to talk to their constituents about side-effects.

[ Parent ]

A question (3.60 / 5) (#50)
by trhurler on Tue Mar 26, 2002 at 05:51:21 PM EST

Given: that your average voter is at best an amateur doing this whole politics thing in his spare time.

Given: that your average politician is a career man whose fortune hangs in the balance.

Do you really believe there is any chance of public opinion ever being a bigger factor in representative democracy than the will of the representatives?

A second question: If the public overwhelmingly demanded all these sensible government initiatives that you seem to think are just some loud chest-thumping away from reality, do you really believe the government would honor that wish? I don't. I think it, at this point, only allows "democracy" to continue as long as that activity does not noticably interfere with its planned business as usual. It serves and protects itself, not us.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Boy (2.75 / 4) (#51)
by The Littlest Hobo on Tue Mar 26, 2002 at 05:52:48 PM EST

It must suck to live in a country where Politicians are guilty until proven innocent.

[ Parent ]
Hmm... (3.00 / 6) (#55)
by trhurler on Tue Mar 26, 2002 at 05:59:27 PM EST

I take it you've found utopia, with honest politicians, streets paved with gold, and all the sex you want, eh? Your women shit ice cream and your men walk on air when not getting down for the hard fucking? I bet they have perpetual motion machines too! It must be nice.

Welcome to the real world, where politicians are dishonest and greedy, and practically every case of private corruption involves a government contract or bribery of a government official.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
One wonders (none / 0) (#126)
by CaptainZapp on Mon Apr 08, 2002 at 06:30:47 AM EST

From where do some of you Americans take the arrogance to imply, that the shit they wade through is automatically also applicable to the rest of the world?

Did you ever wonder, why no American city is ever in the top 20s (or 30s) of any halfway serious survey determining the quality of life in cities around the world?

Could this possibly be because some things are indeed better in other places, even if that seems to be damn hard to accept?

There's no need to thank me.

[ Parent ]

Pointing out problems is easy (3.00 / 1) (#70)
by sigwinch on Tue Mar 26, 2002 at 07:10:03 PM EST

Finding compromise solutions is hard.
Government idiots, be they do-gooders or power mongers or whatever, are going to wedge their greasy little fingers into any corner where you let them play, and exercise control over it in any way they can figure.
But as it currently stands, the only restrictions are the usual ones on the sheer volume of crap a Senator can manage to attach to bills. As long as he's powerful and the measures pay lip service to the "public good", he can do an unlimited amount of meddling in the lives of people who can least afford it or argue with it. They have no recourse because there's no way they can make the Senator look bad, and there's no way to fight it except to buy their own Senator.

I want a Constitutional amendment:

No conditions may be attached to the leasing of property from the government, except that the government may be compensated for lessee's physical damage to the property, for incidental expenses necessarily arised from such damage, and for punitive compensation if the damage was malicious or grossly negligent.

No conditions may be attached to gifts or subsidies granted by the government to improve a person's ability to perform a specified activity, except that the gift/subsidy may be required to be applied in furtherance of the specified activity.

So the drug evicitions would be illegal, mandatory draft registration for federal student loans would be illegal, and so forth. If the gov't wants public nuisance restrictions, they have to apply to everybody. If they want drug evictions, it has to apply everywhere. On the other hand, government tenants could be required not to burn the furniture, and loan recipients could be required to buy books and classes instead of beer and movies. Seems like a good balance.

Would it stop government bureaucracies from grabbing and using power? Hell no. What it would change is that you wouldn't have to spend years of your life and tons of money buying a Senator, you could directly sue the bureaucracy. It decentralizes the system, gets the decision points out of some gaggle of congresscritters a thousand miles away.

--
I don't want the world, I just want your half.
[ Parent ]

Yes, problems are easy... (5.00 / 1) (#77)
by beergut on Tue Mar 26, 2002 at 08:55:11 PM EST

In fact, I can spot a wide-open hole for abuse in the first part of your amendment.

What stops the government from deciding, ex post facto, that "filling in that hole damaged a wetland, so now you must give us your first-born"?

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

Not a problem (none / 0) (#88)
by sigwinch on Wed Mar 27, 2002 at 12:02:35 AM EST

It doesn't require lawsuits for damages, nor does it affect what is considered damages under contract law, it merely says that non-damaging behavior cannot be regulated.

--
I don't want the world, I just want your half.
[ Parent ]

Yes a problem. (none / 0) (#101)
by beergut on Wed Mar 27, 2002 at 11:53:41 AM EST

By not specifying law suits for damages, but not prohibiting them, and by not specifying beforehand in a contract what "damages" means, and by not writing into the language protection from ex post facto judgments (that's already supposed to be there, but we're seeing more and more abuses of that lately, too, and I don't expect that to stop,) you have left the amendment open to abuse by bureaucrats.

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

So? (none / 0) (#111)
by sigwinch on Wed Mar 27, 2002 at 04:18:01 PM EST

What of it? Lawsuits for alleged damages must be possible, because some tenants are destructive idiots. My proposal does not make gov't. landlords any worse than private landlords: they still have to provide evidence that the alleged damages occurred, that the damages were caused by the tenant or the tenant's gross negligence, and that the damages are significantly greater the reasonable wear and tear expected from the advertised use of the property. Unless there really are damages, a frivolous lawsuit stands a good chance of blowing up the in bureaucracy's face, and that can get real expensive real fast.

--
I don't want the world, I just want your half.
[ Parent ]

The problem... (none / 0) (#117)
by beergut on Wed Mar 27, 2002 at 05:28:12 PM EST

Bureaucracies don't need courts. Their word is, essentially, law.

But, just to see how such a thing could develop...

"You're under oath. Did you fill in that hole with dirt?"

"Yes."

"Your honor, that hole was a wetland preserve. In his contract, he agreed not to destroy wetlands. I think it's pretty cut-and-dried."

"But, they didn't tell me it was a wetland."

"Your honor, that is immaterial. We determined after the fact that that was a wetland. According to our rules, passed last month, we are allowed to confiscate property and sell it at auction to pay for the repairs."

"But those rules weren't in place when I signed the contract! I signed the contract three years ago!"

"Rules are rules, sir. Your motion is granted. Defendant to pay damages. Next case."

Think that's impossible? Think again.

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

Again, so what? (none / 0) (#120)
by sigwinch on Wed Mar 27, 2002 at 06:41:37 PM EST

They can already do that. Short of hanging all the lawyers, they will always be able to. My proposal neither encourages them to do it, nor discourages them from doing it.
Think that's impossible? Think again.
Again, what relevance does this have to my proposal? The current situation is that the gov't. can meddle in ways that God Himself could not find legal fault with: the tenant has essentially a zero chance of ever winning in court. Under my proposal, the bureaucracy would have to break the law to harrass people, which is exceedingly dangerous. Even if they could railroad 99% of tenants, the remaining 1% means they'll lose a major judgement many times each year.

Moreover, there would be no entrenched system of financial and career rewards for harassing tenants. There would be no laws about how they are "getting tough" on tenants who are involved in the deprecated behavior of the week. An agency would not be defunded for failing to "get tough". There would be no funding for paying off snitches ("informants"). The clerks and investigators who handle infractions would become a cost center instead of a funding center; the honchos would fire them and divert the money back to the slush fund, er...general budgets.

I think it would be a big step away from punishment culture to reward culture. US politics has gotten stuck in a "get tough" rut for too long. They spend tons of money on fancy military hardware for drug interdiction, while elementary schools don't have air conditioners. They pay junkie snitches but not martial arts teachers. They let cops steal, er...forfeit cars and houses where drugs are found, but won't hire a beat cop to enforce stop signs and sanitation. The ad campaigns are "just say not to drugs" and never "let's find you something more interesting to do that getting high in the projects". Heck, they razed neighborhoods to the ground and built the projects in the first place.

--
I don't want the world, I just want your half.
[ Parent ]

The problem ... squared. (none / 0) (#121)
by beergut on Wed Mar 27, 2002 at 08:35:13 PM EST

While the government is busy attempting to railroad that other 1% of tenants, whose housing is public, which would indicate a lack of money, what are these people doing?

They're spending money on their legal defense.

Money they don't have.

They go broke.

They lose.

    No conditions may be attached to the leasing of property from the government, except that the government may be compensated for lessee's physical damage to the property, for incidental expenses necessarily arised from such damage, and for punitive compensation if the damage was malicious or grossly negligent.
In case you've missed it, this language of yours leaves open a huge hole for the government agencies in charge of leasing property to abuse people.

If I lease a chunk of land, say a small tract in a national forest somewhere, and as part of that lease, I agree to not harm any wetlands, or cut down any trees larger than a certain size. Note that the lease says nothing about any wetlands existing on said property. This does not seem unreasonable to me, in the particulars, and is probably not in the realm of "conditions" set out by your language, and indeed falls under the "physical damages" clause.

Fine.

I do what I do, whatever that is. That involves filling in or grading off a section of that property, taking into account the proper conservation of wildlife. I make brush piles for small animals from the scrub that I remove while grading, and go to great pains to not pollute the wet weather creek that runs along the edge of the tract. I am successful. My grading and preparation of the land goes well, and the bunnies and other little critters seem to like the piles of brush I've created. The wet weather creek never ran brown as a result of my moving dirt. In addition, I received proper clearance from the department managing that land at the time I signed the lease. They knew of my intent when I leased the land, and they agreed.

Years after I have done this, some bureaucrat with a bug up his ass determines that what I have done is an ecological disaster, according to regulations passed recently. My lease is revoked, and I am slapped with a huge fine for "restoring" the land, and additionally am waffle-stomped with a huge punitive fine.

Please tell me what, in the language you outlined, is my protection against abuse from a government bureaucracy? Am I to put myself in the poor house fighting this government agency, who has more money than God? See, for example, the money spent by the government to anally rape innocent federally licensed firearms dealers for paperwork snafus amounting to $200 in tax revenue.

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

Response (none / 0) (#122)
by sigwinch on Thu Mar 28, 2002 at 12:44:00 AM EST

They knew of my intent when I leased the land, and they agreed.
If the terms were clearly stated in writing (and hopefully clarified by drawings and explicit descriptions of the changes to be made), it is a binding contract.

Unless, of course, you signed a contract that allowed them to unilaterally modify it at their discretion. In which case you deserve what you get.

My lease is revoked,...
To do that, they have to file a lawsuit requesting that the contract be extinguished on the grounds of nonperformance by you. Everybody will go before a court. They will present a description of the changes that were made to the property; you will force clarifications if necessary. You will then pull out your copy of the contract that says those alterations are allowed. The judge will throw them out.

Anything else is a frivolous abuse of the courts, and possibly actionable fraud and perjury.

Please tell me what, in the language you outlined, is my protection against abuse from a government bureaucracy?
Again, they can do this with or without my proposal. My proposal does not grant them one iota of power they did not already have: it restricts powers they currently have. It addresses the problem of Congress trying to punish the immoral behavior of small groups of people, when they should be punishing either everyone or no one.

What you are really asking is how to deal with frivolous lawsuits from people with lots of money, bad attitudes, and political agendas. There is no perfect solution. (Although I have some ideas about every winning defendant being able to bring the plaintiff before a jury for a frivolous lawsuit case with a hefty monetary award, although that has possible abuses too.)

Am I to put myself in the poor house fighting this government agency, who has more money than God?
Yes. There are a lot of evil bastards who like destroying people using the courts. If you don't fight, not only do you lose, you deserve to lose for giving them power and building up their ego. If you fight, there's a decent chance you'll win. If you fight and lose, them's the breaks -- the universe owes you nothing.

--
I don't want the world, I just want your half.
[ Parent ]

This sort of thing is so full of holes (5.00 / 1) (#103)
by trhurler on Wed Mar 27, 2002 at 11:56:48 AM EST

For instance, even if they can't legally require it, what if Congress just says on the six pm news "If states all pass laws holding them to these terms, we'll give them this money, and otherwise, we'll spend it elsewhere."?

The fact is, the only way to stop the corruption of money in government is to eliminate as much money from government control as possible.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
If money corrupts ... (5.00 / 1) (#114)
by aphrael on Wed Mar 27, 2002 at 05:12:21 PM EST

The fact is, the only way to stop the corruption of money in government is to eliminate as much money from government control as possible.

Why would that not also apply to large corporations?

[ Parent ]

It does (none / 0) (#116)
by trhurler on Wed Mar 27, 2002 at 05:23:00 PM EST

I'm not some pro-corporation whore.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Ahhh ... (5.00 / 1) (#118)
by aphrael on Wed Mar 27, 2002 at 05:31:07 PM EST

ok --- here's a question for you: in the libertarian miniscule government world, what would keep large corporations from effectively imposing a corporate oligarchy?

[ Parent ]
Several things (3.00 / 1) (#119)
by trhurler on Wed Mar 27, 2002 at 05:42:12 PM EST

First off, without limited liability, their power is a lot more constrained; all of a sudden, actions have consequences.

Second, large corporations are not as large as people like to think, compared to the scale of the whole economy.

Third, I suspect that without huge government deals and favors and so on, the largest of large businesses would cease to exist as such. Economies of scale become useless as that same scale imposes a bureaucracy that consumes all but an exponentially smaller and smaller fraction of your available resources.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Counterpoint (none / 0) (#123)
by aphrael on Thu Mar 28, 2002 at 02:55:20 AM EST

Hmmm. Doing away with limited liability is a much more radical change than just limited government. I'm not sure it's a *good* one; i think it would tend to make investors more conservative over all, and would make it less likely that things with high risk but high payoff get produced (advanced medical drugs, in particular, i think would be hurt by such a change). But as for actions having consequences --- well, they *only* have consequences insofar as some enforcement body is willing to punish them. And the types of things i'm concerned about --- restrictive labor covenants, for example --- wouldn't be noticeably constrained by limited liability; indeed, they might even become *more* likely, as the lack of limited liability would require investors/owners to embed contractual limitations.

Your point about the size of corporations is a good one with respect to the US economy, but utterly untrue with respect to many other economies, particularly developing ones. Although I suppose you could argue that nations undergoing industrialization need stronger states than post-industrial ones. :)

I'm not at all convinced, however, that big companies can only exist with government support; i think that large companies without government support would act in such a fashion as to accumulate as many resources as possible and develop monopolies (maybe by buying out competitors). *shrug* There's no *proof* either way, of course, which is what makes this debate both interesting and frustrating. :)

[ Parent ]

Oh, I'm not just talking about the simple idea... (none / 0) (#124)
by trhurler on Thu Mar 28, 2002 at 12:14:36 PM EST

There are some simpletons who talk about doing away with limited liability and putting nothing in its place. I personally think liability ought to rest with those who act, rather than those who invest. However, liability law in the US is generally screwy anyway and needs to change; people who acted in good faith and did things properly(in particular, provided and made sure you knew of the information about potential risks,) should not be liable simply because they're not infallible, but in our present system, regardless of what the words say, that is not the case. If things don't go perfectly, you're probably liable if you were involved in any way whatsoever. That's just wrong.

Incidentally, I don't care about things like restrictive labor covenants. When I say "free association," I mean it. You do not have a right to a job, because that implies that someone is obligated to employ you against his wishes, if need be, and this is wrong.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Yet another reason why private ownership is bad. (3.14 / 7) (#73)
by dogwalker on Tue Mar 26, 2002 at 07:40:45 PM EST

If someone owns something, they get to make the rules. The rules are NOT going to be to your liking, unless you share their interests. Needless to say, very few of us share the interests of the people on whose property we reside.


--
share and enjoy

[ Parent ]

But... (4.00 / 1) (#83)
by elefantstn on Tue Mar 26, 2002 at 10:58:47 PM EST

...there's only one government, and 200 million+ private individuals. If the government's rules are bad, you're screwed. If your landlord's rules are bad, find another one.

[ Parent ]
Re: But... (none / 0) (#108)
by dogwalker on Wed Mar 27, 2002 at 02:34:03 PM EST

There are around two hundred nations in the world, presumably each with its own government. If your government's laws are bad, in most cases you are free to find another one. You even have some small ability to affect the laws of your government, something you don't typically have with your landlord.

It doesn't matter that there are 200 million individuals since: a) there aren't 200 million landlords, b) there's no guarantee of any kind of diversity of policies among landlords, and c) some things are wrong for a landlord to do regardless of how many of them there are.

At any rate, my objection is not with the idea of private property. The original post states that public property is wrong because of reason X. But reason X is present in private property as well, so the post is saying nothing about public property.


--
share and enjoy

[ Parent ]

I bet most tenants approve. (3.75 / 4) (#28)
by Apuleius on Tue Mar 26, 2002 at 04:54:31 PM EST

American housing projects are sufficiently hellish because of domination by ganstas, that at least in Cabrini Green (CHicago) most tenants would approve of such a policy. I went to high school with CG residents, and the gangstas made life so miserable there that they would lock themselves in their apartments most of the time, and would be willing to have wholesale evictions if that was the price of having a safer building to live in.


There is a time and a place for everything, and it's called college. (The South Park chef)
Choice is not this or nothing (none / 0) (#89)
by scruffyMark on Wed Mar 27, 2002 at 12:24:58 AM EST

OK, so having the law is (arguably) better than having none at all. It does not follow that having the law is better than having a less draconian version of the law, maybe one that makes a bit of rational sense.

The law allows for you to be evicted because someone who is a dinner guest at your apartment on Thursdays uses drugs in a park in another town on Saturdays, without your knowledge. Surely that is a bit much.

[ Parent ]

Interpretation and Creation of Law (4.40 / 5) (#57)
by mister slim on Tue Mar 26, 2002 at 06:04:19 PM EST

It is interesting to me that the Supreme Court has become the last battleground of law. It's seems that, though the Court can only interpret or declare unconstitutional a law (the Constitution being the "highest' law, as the Supreme Court is the "highest" court), this leaves wide avenues for the beliefs of the Justices to be expressed. And the people who make these unbiased decisions are primarily white, male and old. They are not representative of the American people. (Interesting Quote: Earl Warren on the internment of Japanese-Americans, made during World War II: "The absence of any domestic sabotage shows how devious their plotting really is, and provides almost certain proof of their guilt.") Interestingly, juries are able to change law, though generally they are not informed of this. Primarily the legal system just tries to fit old law around new problems, even as the quantities of old law increase and the contradictions within old law become more apparent.
Also, I think that being an unknowing, hmm, "accessory to drug possession," I guess, is a pretty absurd category to create. Reagan was not complicit in Iran/Contra because his underlings kept him in the dark. Enron's shareholders are not responsible for the bribery and corruption that their money funded.
__

"Fucking sheep, the lot of you. Yeah, and your little dogs too." -Rogerborg

Ah, but.. (5.00 / 1) (#61)
by rebelcool on Tue Mar 26, 2002 at 06:15:55 PM EST

Justices must be nominated by the president, confirmed by the senate, and then are seated for life or until retirement (which makes them non-susceptible to changing politics over the years).

It is a balancing act. And one that has worked surprisingly well over the years.

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site
[ Parent ]

Earl Warren quote (4.00 / 1) (#66)
by Kiscica on Tue Mar 26, 2002 at 06:41:02 PM EST

Re: the quote "The absence of any domestic sabotage shows how devious their plotting really is, and provides almost certain proof of their guilt" attributed to Earl Warren -- could you provide a reference for that?

By the way Warren was not on the Supreme Court during WW II. He was attorney general (until 1943) then governor of California.

kiscica

[ Parent ]
I've only found secondhand sources (none / 0) (#67)
by aphrael on Tue Mar 26, 2002 at 06:44:10 PM EST

it seems he said it in testimony before a Congressional committee hearing in February of 1942. Look here for something that isn't authoritative.

[ Parent ]
Yipe. (none / 0) (#68)
by aphrael on Tue Mar 26, 2002 at 06:45:48 PM EST

I grabbed that from a google search. It *definitely* isn't authoritative; it seems to be from the "institute for historical review" a revisionist history site that talks a lot about how the holocaust is overplayed. i'll look for some other reference. :)

[ Parent ]
here's a better citation (5.00 / 1) (#69)
by aphrael on Tue Mar 26, 2002 at 06:47:55 PM EST

Many politicians used the psychological fears of the West Coasters against the Japanese Americans to gain political stature among the voters. Among them was Earl Warren, who would eventually be elevated to the Supreme Court and become its Chief Justice, but in 1942 Warren was the Attorney General of California preparing to campaign, successfully, for the governor ship. In testimony before the Tolan Committee, a House Committee that was charged with examining the problems of evacuation, Warren said, in 1942, that "the consensus of opinion among the law-enforcement officers of this State is that there is more potential danger among the group of Japanese who are born in this country than from the alien Japanese who were born in Japan. We believe that when we are dealing with the Caucasian race we have methods that will test the loyalty of them, and we believe that we can, in dealing with the Germans and Italians, arrive at some fairly sound conclusions because of our knowledge of the way they live in the community and have lived for many years. But when we deal with the Japanese we are in an entirely different field and we can not form any opinion that we believe to be sound.".

I found this at a yale university website. It turns around and cites Lewis H. Carlson and George A. Colburn, In Their Place: White America Defines Her Minorities 1850-1950 (New York, J. Wiley and Sons, 1972) , p. 243.

[ Parent ]

makeup of supreme court... (none / 0) (#96)
by Neolith on Wed Mar 27, 2002 at 10:07:29 AM EST

I find it interesting that you think the makeup of the Supreme Court is predominatly 'male, old, and white.' There is already a black member of the Supremes. If there were two or even three, African Americas would be over-represented in the Court. Adding a latino would bring the court more in line with demographics. And changing it to half of the Supremes being women. And as for the old comment, aside from the Chief, I don't think any of them are doddering old farts. Maybe appoint Carsen Daily to represent the young crowd.

I think the system works pretty well as it is, with the other two branches directly involved with their appointment. If American's feel that their interests, and more important, their rights as outlined in the Constitution, aren't being protected then they will bring pressure to bear on Presidential canidates and Congress to appoint justices that will do so.

On the whole, I find that the SC does a pretty good job.

[ Parent ]

Old (none / 0) (#110)
by aphrael on Wed Mar 27, 2002 at 03:28:28 PM EST

And as for the old comment, aside from the Chief, I don't think any of them are doddering old farts

Chief Justice Rehnquist is 76. John Paul Stevens is 81. Sandra Day O'Connor is 72. Antonin Scalia is 66. Anthony Kennedy is 65. David Souter is 62. Clarence Thomas is a young 53. Ruth Ginsburg is 69. Steven Breyer is 63. (Source: the Supreme Court's Website.

So no, they aren't all "doddering old farts", but the average age is *69* if you don't count Thomas, and *67* if you do; that certainly qualifies them as 'old'. :)

[ Parent ]

True, but... (none / 0) (#112)
by Neolith on Wed Mar 27, 2002 at 04:44:19 PM EST

Would you want it any other way? I think you want mature, steady, could care less what others think people in there judging these cases.

Like in this case, it would be incredibly easy to say "Look, it's grandma, she was trying real hard to keep her grandkid dope free, let's cut her slack." But that is NOT their job. They are not there to legislate.

So, sure, you don't want any 99 year old incompetent mummies sitting on the bench, but I wouldn't want thirty or especially twenty-somethings on there either. And I am a twenty-something.

[ Parent ]

Divergence. (none / 0) (#113)
by aphrael on Wed Mar 27, 2002 at 04:46:44 PM EST

But that is NOT their job. They are not there to legislate.

Granted. I have no criticism of the court at all over this decision (congress, on the other hand, i'm angry at). But at the same time, it does mean that to a certain extent the members of the court aren't in touch with modern american *culture*; which means that they way they understand a given law and the way an average man on the street might understand the same law will diverge. And that can be dangerous to the system's legitimacy.

[ Parent ]

I wonder... (4.16 / 6) (#58)
by John Thompson on Tue Mar 26, 2002 at 06:07:15 PM EST

Is this confined to government-funded low-income housing, or more broadly to any government-provided housing? For example, could President Bush be evicted from the White House if his daughters were found to be using drugs? If the former, could this not be construed as discrimination on the basis of income or position? If the latter, well they'd better be little Mother Theresas for the next four years...

No. (4.50 / 2) (#64)
by rebelcool on Tue Mar 26, 2002 at 06:20:14 PM EST

You know, you could follow the link to the law...

This is a law dealing with public housing and public housing organization...the white house has never fallen under HUD.

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site
[ Parent ]

Which makes one wonder (2.00 / 1) (#75)
by johnny on Tue Mar 26, 2002 at 08:36:36 PM EST

What if and why not?

yr frn,
jrs
Get your free download of prizewinning novels Acts of the Apostles and Cheap Complex Devices.
[ Parent ]
Seperation of powers (n/t) (none / 0) (#76)
by ReverendX on Tue Mar 26, 2002 at 08:45:20 PM EST


Being able to piss in an allyway is however, a very poor substitute for a warm bed and a hot cup of super-premium coffee. - homelessweek.com
[ Parent ]

Yes and (1.00 / 2) (#80)
by johnny on Tue Mar 26, 2002 at 09:52:15 PM EST

I certainly approve the stunning innovation of the separation of powers as embodied in USian law and tradition.

And yet, I'm a taxpayer, and I'm paying for George Excutioner Enron Liar Bush's abode just as I'm paying for any other public housing.

So I think it's an instructive thought experiment, if nothing else, to imagine what might be happening if the rules were written such that G.E.E.L.B's lodgding were contingent on his daughters' observing the law of the land.

yr frn,
jrs
Get your free download of prizewinning novels Acts of the Apostles and Cheap Complex Devices.
[ Parent ]

Wait a minute (3.66 / 3) (#86)
by fhotg on Tue Mar 26, 2002 at 11:24:34 PM EST

Just because somebody happens to become president, there is no reason to deprive him from the privileges that naturally come with beeing born into a rich family.

[ Parent ]
The white house isnt a dwelling. (5.00 / 1) (#79)
by rebelcool on Tue Mar 26, 2002 at 09:29:43 PM EST

Yes, the president lives there...but thats not all that goes on there. It is the building of the executive branch.

Furthermore, the law covers low-income dwelling.

Apples and oranges.

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site
[ Parent ]

poor people don't deserve equal protection (2.00 / 1) (#94)
by cp on Wed Mar 27, 2002 at 02:58:06 AM EST

So says the Supreme Court, at least. Read San Antonio School District v. Rodriguez.

[ Parent ]
This just goes to show... (none / 0) (#125)
by tonyk on Thu Mar 28, 2002 at 07:43:52 PM EST

Just how screwed up the public school system in the USA really is.

[ Parent ]
Fetishism (3.14 / 14) (#72)
by Blarney on Tue Mar 26, 2002 at 07:39:53 PM EST

Old Uncle Sam has grown perverted and lazy. Just as a true hentai aficionado might prefer a night masturbating to videos to an actual date with a real live girl or boy, the US has grown so attached to various types of contraband that they cannot actually regulate the behavior of people anymore. Many people are in jail for possession of various things such as loaded handguns or drugs, with some minor additions such as "hacking software" much beloved by certain subsets of the law enforcement agencies. However, if you go out and commit murder, theft, robbery, or arson, you have pretty decent odds of never being tracked down. God help us find terrorists - we are completely defenseless unless they are caught possessing a forged ID or a weapon. If they never have anything, they can just go and do whatever they like.

Let Uncle Sam ruthlessly toss gramma out onto the street because somebody had drugs. It won't stop the two-legged predators who proudly strut around the housing project cold-bloodedly murdering anyone they want to. It doesn't even make the news when some suburban pink boy gets off at the wrong freeway exit and gets filled full of holes - but it's always a big propacrap fuss when a garage full of heroin gets found. Actually helping people would require real police work, like on the cop shows, as opposed to dicking around looking for contraband.

US Supreme Court approves evictions for drug use by other people | 127 comments (114 topical, 13 editorial, 0 hidden)
Display: Sort:

kuro5hin.org

[XML]
All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. The Rest 2000 - Present Kuro5hin.org Inc.
See our legalese page for copyright policies. Please also read our Privacy Policy.
Kuro5hin.org is powered by Free Software, including Apache, Perl, and Linux, The Scoop Engine that runs this site is freely available, under the terms of the GPL.
Need some help? Email help@kuro5hin.org.
My heart's the long stairs.

Powered by Scoop create account | help/FAQ | mission | links | search | IRC | YOU choose the stories!