Called for jury service yet again

23 May 2008

Santa Clara County Superior Court Jury Commissioner’s Office
191 N. First Street
San Jose, CA 95113-1090

To whom it may concern:


You all need to leave me alone.

It is bad enough that law is held in preference to justice, but the very fact of that preference inherently biases the court in a conservative direction, euphemistically referred to as “law and order.” Law is made by the rich to protect itself from the poor. Order is about social order, a hierarchical set of relations preserving the advantages of an elite class against all others. But judges consistently insist that juries apply law and discount justice to uphold order. This is fundamentally unjust and I cannot ethically participate.

In addition, I am a graduate student in an extremely precarious financial situation. In order to be available for this service, I would have to give up the classes I am taking and teaching this summer, depriving myself of my entire income for this quarter. The pittance you pay for jury service will not even cover the cost of gasoline to and from the court, let alone food and rent for an entire summer. When you ask me for a date to postpone my service to, you fail to reckon for the depletion of my funds; I am indigent between quarters, barely hanging on until my next injection of financial aid at the beginning of the next quarter.

Finally, your persistent and futile attempts to enlist me for jury service have become a substantial burden on my time. I ask that you permanently remove me from further consideration for jury service.

I certify under penalty of perjury under the laws of the State of California that the foregoing is true and correct (Code of Civil Procedure Section 2015.5).

Still treating humans like cattle

We might remember the roundups of Japanese Americans during World War II, when internees were initially housed in horse stalls at Tanforan race track. The caption to this image in a Washington Post story on an immigration raid reads, “Buses brought arrested workers from Postville to the National Cattle Congress grounds in Waterloo, Iowa, last week.”

A counterargument to veganism

Despite the fact that vegetables literally make me gag, I’ve been trying to go vegan (emphasizing pastas, nuts, and grains) as much as possible, largely for health reasons–I just turned 49 and I approach the age where my past fast food sins might catch up with me–but also for environmental reasons and out of concern over how the meat industry treats animals. Peter Gelderloos offers a contrary view on some of these arguments (notably, not the health argument).

Hopeful signs on a 2nd Amendment ruling

This is a story that cropped up as I have been changing my news gathering techniques to take advantage of a program I found called rss2email that allows me to convert RSS feeds to email messages, and thus to obtain feeds from sources I have not succeeded in getting email bulletins from.

The Supreme Court appears inclined to accept a constitutional right to keep and bear arms. I might not like a conservative Supreme Court for a bunch of reasons, but as my favorite professor points out, police are–to put it mildly–more respectful in places where people may have weapons, and the ability of the people to take up arms is a final bulwark against tyranny and the police state.

In this era, that’s important. Even if I’m nearly two months late on the story.

Maybe the Democrats don’t want to win

With Barack Obama–who promises at least some change–and Hillary Clinton–who promises to uphold the status quodueling for the Democratic faction nomination, Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman explain how the recent Supreme Court decision upholding an Indiana state law requiring photo identification at the polling place will disenfranchise “between 10% and 13% of eligible voters, . . . disproportionately minorities and poor.”

Fitrakis and Wasserman also point to Democratic faction inaction on voting irregularities:

Though the Kerry Campaign solicited millions of dollars to “protect the vote” in 2004, it has not supported independent research into that election’s irregularities. In the King-Lincoln Civil Rights lawsuit, in which we are attorney and plaintiff, 56 of Ohio’s 88 counties destroyed ballot materials, in direct violation of federal law. There has been no official legal follow-up on this case, no major media investigation, and no support from the Democratic Party either to investigate what happened in Ohio 2004, or to make sure it doesn’t happen again in 2008. The issue has yet to be seriously raised by the major Democratic candidates despite the fact that it could render their campaigns moot.

The Kerry-Edwards platform in 2004 was scarcely distinguishable from Republican faction positions. The mainstream Democrats elected to power in 2006 have done little to fulfill their election mandate to get the United States out of Iraq, have done little to reverse the Bush administration encroachment of civil liberties, and, as if this was a surprise, have done nothing to retard the incestuous relationship between corporations and government. And now the great progressive hope repudiates his former pastor for calling it like it is.

Jeremiah [Wright], he’s a pastor, and as a pastor you have to see things as they are. Politicians see things as they want them to be. –Rev. William Revely, Holy Hope Heritage Church

In the coming election, we will have a choice between war criminals who lust after the power the Bush administration has conveniently accumulated in the White House. None of them promise to get us out of Iraq, and I have little faith that any of them will restore the Constitution. With a failing economy, soaring food and oil prices, declining home values, a rising number of foreclosures, and a weak job market, this election would be the Democrats’ to lose, even if not for an unpopular war and a shameful Bush administration record of torture and other crimes against humanity. But the Democrats seem not to want to win.

I might be able to vote for Barack Obama this November, if he doesn’t continue to sound too much like Malcolm X’s “house negro.” I could never vote for war criminals like Senators Clinton and McCain who have repeatedly supported the Bush administration in a phony “war on terror.” But as of now, I just might write in Gloria La Riva.