Sunday, September 26, 2010

Why Do Some Jurisdictions Have Low Crime Rates Despite Poverty?

Crime persists when crime pays, and grows when it pays well. The US endures over 20 million FBI Index felonies (murder and non-negligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, aggravated assault; property crimes of burglary, larceny-theft, and motor vehicle theft; and arson), and has only 2 million prosecutions. There is a 90% chance of not being prosecuted after committing these major crimes. If prosecuted, there is over a 90% chance of being charged with a lesser, or even fictitious lesser crime in a plea bargain. In this plea bargain, there is less than a 10% chance of going to prison, depending on the damage caused by the original crime. Thus, when non-violent criminals are set to be released due to prison overcrowding, there is no way to know the released inmate is dangerous, because he may have pled to a non-violent offense.

Prices equalize rapidly today. So the cost of a minimum standard of living for an America lifestyle is the same over the world. So, maintaining a family on $1000 a year is as difficult in India as it is in the US. Such stress pushes people into interdependence and gives the family greater value as a survival tool. Thus the rate of bastardy is lower in places with severe poverty.

One may generalize that the police is not harder working nor more competent than in wealthier areas. The productivity of the police cannot be a factor in areas of extreme poverty.

That leaves only one factor. The amount of self help is much greater than in wealthy areas.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

To Improve the Jury Method, Get Medieval

The jury is a methodology, like timing a car with a radar gun. It must be proven accurate. Its management must be standardized under the edict of the Equal Protection Clauses. Like a radar gun, it must be maintained, calibrated and retested for accuracy every day.

Unlike the radar gun, this tool is used by the lawyer to put people to death, and to transfer $trillions, and to have untold but important effects on the economy, the culture and the behavior of the public.

How can it be improved?

1) Selection should reflect statistical principles. If it to represent the population at large, random selection from the entire population is essential. That means, no one can get out of it. And the selection is random.

2) Stop excluding people with knowledge either of the subject matter or of the parties. If you had no recordings, having a juror who walked the boundaries of the property 10 years earlier at the time of transfer is invaluable in a property dispute. Nothing has changed. If you have someone who ran with the defendant and knows all his secrets is OK to have on the jury. Why do doctors' wives have to be forced off in a medmal case. Her bias could go either way, and the risks cancel each other.

3) Only the first secret ballot represents a valid finding. Subsequent ballots represent the opinion of a big loudmouth bully and the desire of the rest to just go home. There should be one ballot, and a supermajority requirement reflecting the burden of proof certainty.

4) Stop the slavery. Pay people their standard daily earnings, up to some high maximum.

5) Stop the hobbling of the jury. Allow note taking. Allow questioning of witnesses by juries, for example, they may want to say to an expert, "Doctor, we have no idea what you mean. Could you rephrase your opinion in simpler language?" Or would lawyers prefer they keep that feeling to themselves?

6) Allow the strengths. They have the wisdom of the crowd. They have balance. Group think and pressure is where extreme views get polished, and become less extreme.

Monday, September 6, 2010

NYT Columnist: Restore Economic Growth or Threaten Pax Americana

Pax Americana is best for the entire world because of the soft, non-colonial nature of American policy. Many nations taking advantage of it have thrived. I recall an example. India and Pakistan massed troops at their border, and both made angry statements. The leader of India received a call from an American corporate head. War was not compatible with further investment by American industry. No war took place, and troops went home, this time.

In order to grow faster, the self-dealing lawyer profession must be crushed. It does not mean tort reform or limits on anti-scientific regulation. It means reducing the legal load by a half or more.

1) Judges who attack productive sectors of our economy should be arrested by federal marshals, tried for collaboration with the enemy, and executed for treason. The same goes for state attorney generals.

2) The economic burden of crime must be ended by executing all repeat violent offenders, until violent crime is reduced by 99%. Their protectors in the legal profession get arrested for treason, tried and executed.

3) The $trillion stolen by the lawyer lawyer profession must end, by shrinking the lawyer profession to a more appropriate 700,000 from 1.3 million. Do so by closing law schools, starting with the extreme left wing Top Tier, headed mostly by Hate America left wing extremists. Transfer that stolen loot to research and development, across the board. About 20% of our economy should consist of high end, innovative, brain work.

Op-Ed Columnist
Superbroke, Superfrugal, Superpower?
Published: September 4, 2010

In recent years, I have often said to European friends: So, you didn’t like a world of too much American power? See how you like a world of too little American power — because it is coming to a geopolitical theater near you. Yes, America has gone from being the supreme victor of World War II, with guns and butter for all, to one of two superpowers during the cold war, to the indispensable nation after winning the cold war, to “The Frugal Superpower” of today. Get used to it. That’s our new nickname. American pacifists need not worry any more about “wars of choice.” We’re not doing that again. We can’t afford to invade Grenada today.

Ever since the onset of the Great Recession of 2008, it has been clear that the nature of being a leader — political or corporate — was changing in America. During most of the post-World War II era, being a leader meant, on balance, giving things away to people. Today, and for the next decade at least, being a leader in America will mean, on balance, taking things away from people.

And there is simply no way that America’s leaders, as they have to take more things away from their own voters, are not going to look to save money on foreign policy and foreign wars. Foreign and defense policy is a lagging indicator. A lot of other things get cut first. But the cuts are coming — you can already hear the warnings from Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. And a frugal American superpower is sure to have ripple effects around the globe.

“The Frugal Superpower: America’s Global Leadership in a Cash-Strapped Era” is actually the title of a very timely new book by my tutor and friend Michael Mandelbaum, the Johns Hopkins University foreign policy expert. “In 2008,” Mandelbaum notes, “all forms of government-supplied pensions and health care (including Medicaid) constituted about 4 percent of total American output.” At present rates, and with the baby boomers soon starting to draw on Social Security and Medicare, by 2050 “they will account for a full 18 percent of everything the United States produces.”

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Problems with Juries of Today

My problems with the jury are not solved by my verdicts.

1) No knowledge of complex technical and personal issues. Impossible to impart an engineering or police education in a few hours. Stop excluding those with knowledge.

2) No secrecy after the first ballot, and vulnerability to bullying, so everyone can go home.

3) The potential nullification of the nullification by just one loudmouth. Put a lawyer on the jury. He can move 11 other votes to reverse the self-evident verdict (done in real life, and described in private communication).

4) Physiologic measures of deception are banned by the Rules of Evidence (lie detector results). Yet, gut feelings of know nothing strangers about what is true are OK. This is cuckoo lawyer delusion.

5) Lawless taking of juror time without adequate compensation. Like shanghaiing sailors in a San Fran saloon in 1868. You fall through a trap door, someone hits you over the head. You wake up 100 miles out to sea on the way to China. And all you wanted was a drink (like all you wanted was to vote, and now your are on a target list).

6) Excusing from duty or excluding in voir dire all educated people. The selection should be completely randomized, and no one should be excused. That is necessary if the idea is to get a selection representing the general population. This makes the jurors grumpy, and biases them against the defendant, "But for your irresponsible, selfish, criminal conduct, I would not have to lose 2 weeks pay. Thanks a lot a-hole."
Judges should be put on the jury shanghai list.

7) Not allowed to take notes. Not allowed to ask questions in middle of trial, for example, "I didn't hear that. Can you, please, repeat it?"

In 1275 AD, the jury was a marvel of innovation and justice. It allowed people with knowledge. It permitted the wisdom of the crowd effect. It worked in bringing verdicts to where the mean of the population's ethics was, as opposed to eccentric bizarre, idiosyncratic feelings of judges. The lawyer hobbled and eliminated these positive features to better control the trial, a false charade designed to generate fees.