Friday, November 30, 2007

American Seniors Association

I just received interesting fundraising mail from the American Seniors Association (ASA). The ASA aims to offer an alternative to the left-wing extremist American Association for Retired People (AARP). I do not agree with the AARP on a host of issues, and I think that senior citizens are fools to be bamboozled by the AARP's left-wing dogma. I wish the ASA the best of luck and much success.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Melissa Morse of Roxbury, NY


My wife and I dined at a diner and pizzaria, Brio's, in Phoenicia, NY. The late Spalding Gray mentions Brio's in his HBO monologue Terror of Pleasure, which is about his purchase of a cabin in Phoenicia. Our waitress at Brio's was the extremely charming and personable Melissa Morse. Ms. Morse grew up in Roxbury, NY, the birthplace of financier Jay Gould(1836-1892) and no relation to the science writer Stephen Jay Gould, who was a Queens boy. The Wikipedia article on Gould states that Gould (of British and Scottish, not Dutch, ancestry) was famous as a financier associated with Jim Fisk and Boss Tweed. According to Wikipedia:

"Gould and James Fisk became involved with Tammany Hall. They made Boss Tweed a director of the Erie Railroad, and Tweed, in return, arranged favorable legislation for them. Tweed and Gould became the subjects of political cartoons by Thomas Nast in 1869. In October 1871, when Tweed was held on $8 million bail, Gould was the chief bondsman."

Wikipedia adds:

"In his lifetime and for a century after, Gould had a firm reputation as the most unethical of the 19th century American businessmen known as robber barons...He had no opposition to using stock manipulation and insider trading (which were then legal but frowned upon) to build capital and to execute or prevent hostile takeover attempts...Even so, John D. Rockefeller named him as the most skilled businessman he ever encountered...These biographers portrayed Gould as a parasite who extracted money from businesses and took no interest in improving them. Anti-semitism, in connection with Gould's name, motivated some of this hostility...More recent biographers, including Maury Klein and Edward Renehan, have reexamined Gould's career with more attention to primary sources. They have concluded that fiction often overwhelmed fact in previous accounts, and that despite his methods, Gould's objectives were usually constructive...At the time of his death in the 1890s, Gould, who was worth $72 million, was a benefactor in the reconstruction of the Reformed Church of Roxbury, now the Jay Gould."

Given Gould's bad reputation (possibly due to misguided anti-Semitism, according to Wikipedia) I had been, for many years, surprised that the Roxbury church was named after Gould, i.e., it is called the Jay Gould Church. I wonder if Gould funded it to prove that he was of a Protestant English rather than a Jewish background.

Melissa Morse told me that there are five large families in Roxbury, to include Morse, Gould, Hinkley and two others, and that she is related to several of them. I have met some of the Gould descendents through the years, for instance at a talk one gave in Andes, NY.

Roxbury, NY is a uniquely beautiful village. Although it is about 40 miles from my house, my wife and I frequently drive up there to Great Gorge, NY because of the striking scenery along NY 30.

Alexander S. Peak Responds to Allegations of Libertarian Anti-Semitism

I have previously blogged about anti-Semitism, the Libertarian Party and Ron Paul. My blogs on this topic responded in part to a column in the New York Sun and as well my own recollections of past events, which may not be generalizable to today. Alexander S. Peak, a Libertarian Party activist in Maryland has responded carefully and thoroughly to my concerns. His e-mail follows:

>"Allow me to apologise in advance for the somewhat rambling nature of this letter.

"I, like you, admit that I'm not an expert in Middle East issues. I like to think of myself as more familiar with what is going on there than the average American, but that isn't saying much. I'm also not an expert on European history, but I believe you are irrefutably correct that there has been a long history of anti-Semitism in Europe.

"I also can't comment on what was going on with the Free Libertarian Party seven years before I was born. I would like to think it was, as you put it, one rotten apple. I had not heard of the Liberty Lobby prior to your letter, but having skimmed over the Wikipedia entry thereon, it indeed appears that it was anti-Semitic, cloaked in a veneer of constitutionalism and fiscal conservatism. (It even states the founder created a group known for publishing books that denied the Holocaust!)

"I cannot comment on the New York affiliate party from three decades ago, but I can speak of the current Maryland affiliate. And, I can say I've never seen a hint of racism or anti-Semitism from these people.

"In 2006, the Libertarian Party of Maryland endorsed a third-party coalition candidate who was running for the Libertarian, Green, and Populist nominations. (He got all three. Looking back, it may have been a mistake to endorse him, but I digress.) The two other candidates for Senate were Ben Cardin (D) and Michael Steele (R). The Libertarian Party of Baltimore had a table at a festival, and I was there talking to people as they walked by. One guy, whom I presume was a Republican, started talking to me about our candidate for the Senate. He said to me that he can't possibly vote for Steele (he made no mention of Cardin) because "if he gets elected, he might eventually go on to the White House." I paused, hoping that all he meant by that was that he didn't like Steele's policies. He continued, saying, "Gotta keep the White House white." At that, I turn away from the guy a walked back under the tent, wanting nothing more to do with him. (I actually gave thought to voting for Steele just to counter-balance this guy's vote. After all, the candidate we were endorsing wasn't a libertarian anyway.)

"When one of my fellow Libertarian Baltimorians, Lorenzo Gaztanaga, came back under the tent, I told him of the incident. He verbally applauded what I had done, saying, "Good for you! Good for you!" He later told me that, on his census report, he and his wife list their race as "human."

"When I think of libertarian activists with regard to tolerance, I think of this incident. I like to think that most libertarians--the vast, vast majority--are as disgusted by xenophobia as am I. Surely, I'm under no illusion that there are no people out there espousing libertarian views yet who make us look bad by holding such views on race, gender, religion, et cetera, but I believe from my experiences with fellow libertarians that such people are in an extremely small yet vocal minority.

"You ask, "Does the Libertarian Party have a position on aid or support to Israel and not aid or support to Egypt or Kuwait?"

"I'll address the question directly in a bit.

"In search for an answer, I used the following Google search:
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=jews+OR+jew+OR+jewish+OR+israel+site%3Alp.org+-yourturn

"Nothing from this search actually answered the question you posed, so I employed the search to seek out examples of anti-Semitism.

"The closest thing I saw to what could possibly be described as anti-Semitic upon doing this search was an article from California Freedom in which an author points out that the existence of Israel may be a factor in the decision among terrorists to commit terrorist acts--the author does not, however, make the claim that this means that Israel should not exist:
http://ca.lp.org/cf/CF-200707.pdf

"(My personal position, being the ultra-radical that I am, is that no nation-state should exist. But I know that I'm not likely to get my way, and consider the two-state solution the second-best option for the Israel/Palestine conflict.)

"I did find a link on the Libertarian Party of Delaware site to the Liberty For All blog, which has this rambling paragraph in one of its posts:

"This tells me that one ignorant atheist who has the right to believe as he does because of the blood spilled from our Christian founding, has more power than millions of Christians demanding their rights. Why does he? Because his agenda matches exactly the agenda of the US Government, its pseudo Christians - including Bush, Ash-Kraut, and the most of the officials at every level - and the Jewish controllers (does not include all the Jewish people, just the Jewish tyrants who do the controlling) who are intent on destroying Christianity in this country" ( http://www.libertyforall.net/?p=1024 ).

"I can't figure out what "Jewish controllers" he's talking about, but the guy obviously has issues with anyone outside of Christianity.

"Upon my search, I did find many statements made that were very positive about Jews and even Israel. One quote I found just a few minutes ago from Ron Paul was:

"Number five, an attack on Iraq will not likely be confined to Iraq alone. Spreading the war to Israel and rallying all Arab nations against her may well end up jeopardizing the very existence of Israel. The President has already likened the current international crisis more to that of World War II than the more localized Vietnam war. The law of unintended consequences applies to international affairs every bit as much as to domestic interventions, yet the consequences of such are much more dangerous."

"But none of this directly answers your question. The short answer is, I actually see nothing from the Libertarian Party stating a position on aid to Israel specifically.

"The 2006 platform states:

"Freedom of Religion:

"Issue: Government routinely invades personal privacy rights based solely on individuals’ religious beliefs. Arbitrary tax structures are designed to give aid to certain religions, and deny it to others.

"Principle: We defend the rights of individuals to engage in (or abstain from) any religious activities that do not violate the rights of others.

"Solution: In order to defend freedom, we advocate a strict separation of church and State. We oppose government actions that either aid or attack any religion. We oppose taxation of church property for the same reason that we oppose all taxation. We condemn the attempts by parents or any others -- via kidnappings or conservatorships -- to force children to conform to any religious views. Government harassment or obstruction of religious groups for their beliefs or non-violent activities must end.

"Transitional Action: We call for an end to the harassment of churches by the Internal Revenue Service through threats to deny tax-exempt status to churches that refuse to disclose massive amounts of information about themselves.

"The platform actually mentions nothing about foreign aid currently. But, it's worth noting that the platform was gutted in 2006 thanks to the efforts of the Libertarian Reform Caucus. 80% of the platform was deleted, and I strongly believe that there will be an effort in 2008 to bring back the 2004 platform.

"The 2004 platform stated, in its short answer on foreign aid, "We support the elimination of tax-supported military, economic, technical, and scientific aid to foreign governments or other organizations." It also stated, in its short answer on foreign intervention, "We would end the current U.S. government policy of foreign intervention, including military and economic aid, guarantees, and diplomatic meddling. We make no exceptions."

"The actual 2004 plank on foreign aid stated:

"The Issue: The federal government has used foreign aid as a tool of influencing the policy of other sovereign nations under the guise of aiding needy people in those nations. This forces American taxpayers to subsidize governments and policies of which they may not approve.

"The Principle: Individuals should not be coerced via taxes into funding a foreign nation or group.

"Solutions: All foreign aid should be voluntarily funded by individuals or private organizations.

"Transitional Action: Eliminate all tax-supported military, economic, technical and scientific aid to foreign governments or other organizations. Abolish government underwriting of arms sales. Abolish all federal agencies that make American taxpayers guarantors of export-related loans, such as the Export-Import Bank and the Commodity Credit Corporation. End the participation of the U.S. government in international commodity circles that restrict production, limit technological innovation and raise prices. Repeal all prohibitions on individuals or firms contributing or selling goods and services to any foreign country or organization, unless such provision constitutes a direct threat to the people of the United States.

"The actual 2004 plank on foreign intervention stated:

"The Issue: Intervention in the affairs of other countries has provoked resentment and hatred of the United States among many groups and nations throughout the world. In addition, legal barriers to private and personal aid (both military and economic) have fostered internal discord.

"The Principle: The United States should not inject itself into the internal matters of other nations, unless they have declared war upon or attacked the United States, or the U.S. is already in a constitutionally declared war with them.

"Solutions: End the current U.S. government policy of foreign intervention, including military and economic aid, guarantees, and diplomatic meddling. Individuals should be free to provide any aid they wish that does not directly threaten the United States.

"Transitional Action: Voluntary cooperation with any economic boycott should not be treated as a crime. End all limitation of private foreign aid, both military and economic. Repeal the Neutrality Act of 1794, and all other U.S. neutrality laws, which restrict the efforts of Americans to aid overseas organizations fighting to overthrow or change governments. End the incorporation of foreign nations into the U.S. defense perimeter. Cease the creation and maintenance of U.S. bases and sites for the pre-positioning of military material in other countries. End the practice of stationing American military troops overseas. We make no exceptions to the above.

"I also checked the first official Libertarian Party platform. The 1972 platform had a much shorter foreign aid plank. It read simply, "We support an end to the Federal foreign aid program."

"So, in answer to your question, no, the Libertarian Party does not have a position on foreign aid that deals only with Israel. It has no position dealing with foreign aid, and when it did, it's only position on foreign aid was one that applies to all countries, including Egypt and Kuwait; not merely Israel.

"You also ask, "Has Ron Paul made public statements about the 'Muslim' or 'Arab' lobby as he has with respect to the 'Jewish lobby'?"

"To my knowledge, he has not.

"But then, I have never heard Dr. Paul refer to a Jewish lobby, either. I see no mention of such a lobby on his congressional website:
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=%22jewish+lobby%22+site%3Ahouse.gov%2Fpaul

"I also see no such reference on RonPaulLibrary.org:
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=site%3Aronpaullibrary.org+%22jewish+lobby%22

"Perhaps you meant "Israel lobby" or "Israeli lobby." I can't say whether or not he's made reference in public to such a lobby. Nor do I see any mention of an Israeli lobby or Israel lobby on either of those sites mentioned above. But I'll defer to you and assume he indeed make such a reference in a public speech.

"I really can't say what sort of lobbying Congresspersons deal with, or if there are people who actually go to Washington so as to lobby for aid for Israel. If such lobbying efforts actually exist, then I would argue there's nothing offensive about addressing it. If no such lobbying efforts exist, then I would definitely have to question his intent with that statement.

"You ask, "Is there a Libertarian position about the treatment of Jews in Iran?"

"There is a small-L libertarian position, namely that the government in Iran is corrupt, abusive, and oppressive to Jews, homosexuals, women, etc.; and that its powers must be dramatically limited or eliminated.

"But there is no big-L Libertarian position on the matter, just as there is no big-L Libertarian position on what's going on in Darfur or elsewhere.

"Prior to the platform purge in 2006, the Libertarian Party platform had a position on human rights, which read as follows:

"The Issue: We condemn the violations of human rights in all nations around the world. We particularly abhor the widespread and increasing use of torture for interrogation and punishment. The violation of rights and liberty by other governments can never justify foreign intervention by the United States government. Today, no government is innocent of violating human rights and liberty, and none can approach the issue with clean hands.

"The Principle: We recognize the right of all people to resist tyranny and defend themselves and their rights. We condemn the use of force, and especially the use of terrorism, against the innocent, regardless of whether such acts are committed by governments or by political or revolutionary groups. Only private individuals and organizations have any place speaking out on this issue.

"Solutions: We call upon all the world's governments to fully implement the principles and prescriptions contained in this platform and thereby usher in a new age of international harmony based upon the universal reign of liberty.

"Transition: Until a global triumph for liberty has been achieved, we support both political and revolutionary actions by individuals and groups against governments that violate rights. In keeping with our goal of peaceful international relations, we call upon the United States government to cease its hypocrisy and its sullying of the good name of human rights.


"Once again, allow me to apologise for what I fear will sound like rambling. I hope I've also answered your questions satisfactorily.

"I hope I've presented a balanced picture with my reply. The only other instance I recall of libertarianism being in any way associated with anti-Semitism was in a very misleading and skewed book review from the New York Times. Although, David Boaz points out why the author was wrong to make that implication here:
http://www.cato-at-liberty.org/2007/03/31/nyt-clueless-on-libertarianism/

"Thanks for your questions. If you have any more, I'll again be happy to answer them.

Yours sincerely,
Alex Peak



MLangbert@hvc.rr.com wrote:
If I may, I'll post your thoughts on my website.

I appreciate your thoughts. There has been a tinge in the Libertarian movement. When I belonged to the Free Libertarian Party (the NY Libertarian Party) in 1978 I began receiving mailings from the anti-Semitic Liberty Lobby and as well recall seeing anti-Semitic literature in the offices. Whether that's due to one rotten apple in the office or not I can't prove. But the Libertarian Party seems to have been more eager to criticize aid to Israel than to other countries, such as Egypt.

My questions for you: (1) Does the Libertarian Party have a position on aid or support to Israel and not aid or support to Egypt or Kuwait? (2) Has Ron Paul made public statements about the "Muslim" or "Arab" lobby as he has with respect to the "Jewish lobby"?

I am well aware that many libertarians were Jews, to include Rothbard and von Mises (and Ayn Rand and Milton Friedman) but that doesn't change the dynamic. Nor does it prove that Rothbard wasn't anti-Semitic. There are many left-wing Jewish anti-Semites. Karl Marx's "On the Jewish Question" is anti-Semitic (Marx's closing argument that the real Jew is the capitalist does not change the article's anti-Semitism). Of course, Marx was ethnically Jewish.

I'm not so much criticizing the anti-Israel-support (I oppose all foreign aid myself) but rather that Israel is is singled out when Egypt gets a similar amount of support as did Kuwait get much more in terms of military spending, etc. Also, the exodus of almost every Jew from the Arab countries, the treatment of Jews in Iran, the absence of Jews (as well as any other religion) from Saudi Arabia, the discrimination, intolerance and oppression throughout Arabia of other religions gets no attention. Is there a Libertarian position about the treatment of Jews in Iran? At the same time, is there one about religious intolerance in Arabia that led to the exodus of nearly half the Israeli population to Israel?

To pretend that there isn't a very long history of anti-Semitism in Europe and the Muslim world and in populist movements in the US is disingenuous. To pretend that the focus of state violence in much of European history beginning with the Crusades was not against Jews, and that the Jews had nowhere to turn during the 1930s because of the American Populist movement is also disingenuous. I'm not overly expert in Middle East issues but I do not believe that anything Israel has done, especially given that it is a country of 2 million people that one billion Muslims want to destroy, entitles it to be singled out the way that the Libertarians have. As well, references to the "Israel lobby" are reminiscent of the Populism of Father Coughlin that led to the refusal to permit Jewish immigration in the 1930s, hence the holocaust.

You can take a purist argument and oppose aid to Israel, which is fine with me. In fact, I agree that foreign aid is a mistake. But then take an equal position in opposition to Egypt, Pakistan, Kuwait, etc. But again, my questions for you: (1) Does the Libertarian Party have a formal, officially stated position on one and not the other? (2) Has Ron Paul made public statements about the "Muslim" or "Arab" lobby?



----- Original Message -----
From: "Alexander S. Peak"
Date: Wednesday, November 28, 2007 5:53 am
Subject: Regarding Rothbard, Paul, anti-Semitism, and the LP
To: mlangbert@hvc.rr.com

> Mr. Langbert:
>
> Sorry to be emailing you, but I was unable to post a reply on
> your blog, so I figured I would email you directly. This email is
> in reply to this post, titled In Praise of NOTA:
> http://mitchell-langbert.blogspot.com/2007/10/in-praise-of-nota-
> none-of-above.html
>
> Indeed Paul was a student of Rothbardian economics, and agreed
> with probably 90% of Rothbard's political agenda; but that would
> hardly imply any anti-Semitism on the part of Paul. I'm fairly
> sure that Rothbard, an agnostic Jew, was not anti-Semitic. And
> how can I be sure he wasn't simply a self-hating Jew? Because his
> teacher and mentor, Ludwig von Mises, was also Jewish.
>
> As for Paul, true, he's not also Jewish. But, he is a
> libertarian and, as such, an opponent of collectivism. He has
> specifically called racism collectivist, reflecting a similar
> opinion presented by Rand in her great essay, "Racism."
>
> (You can read that essay here:
>
> http://tiger.towson.edu/~apeak1/writtenwork/otherworksworthreading/racism.html )
>
> As for Israel, infering that one's opposition to the Israeli
> government (which receives a tremendous amount of welfare from the
> U.S. taxpayer, more than any other government) somehow amounts to
> anti-Semitism is no different than infering that opposition to the
> minimum wage (which creates unemployement, raises costs for
> consumers, and lowers the general standard of living) is somehow
> anti-poor.
>
> Finally, just because some nut started sending you anti-Semitic
> literature while you were in the LP doesn't make the LP anti-
> Semitic, nor does it prove that the sender even knew that you were
> in the LP, and moreover doesn't prove that the sender had any real
> clue about libertarianism even if he/she/they did know you were in
> the LP. After all, if someone starts sending communist literature
> to Smith while Smith is on the Robinson diet, that doesn't mean
> Robinson is a communist.
>
> Perhaps your perspective is different from mine. I'll be happy
> to listen to your argument if you believe there is any anti-
> Semitism in the LP or the broader libertarian movement.
>
> Respectfully yours,
> Alex Peak
>
> P.S. I grant you permission to publish this letter, or any
> portion thereof (so long as no quote is taken out of context, of
> course), if you wish.

Republicans Talk the Talk



I am watching the Republican presidential debate and am favorably impressed. I was especially impressed with Mike Huckabee's thoughts on the Bible and his claim that he favors abolition of the Internal Revenue Service. I continue to be frustrated with Ron Paul's inability to distance himself from the Populist fringe of the Libertarian movement and his views on Iraq. I support him because of his position on the Fed, but he has not introduced the monetary issue into the debate, which is a major loss. Instead, Giuliani mentioned a nonsensical claim that budget cuts would strengthen the dollar. This dumb remark is a mark against him. The dollar is a monetary issue, not a government spending issue. Nevertheless, Giuliani is a convincing candidate as is Mitt Romney. I am also impressed with John McCain's thoughts on waterboarding and on militay strategy. As well, I liked Romney's remarks about "one America" in reference to the American flag.

Overall the quality of the Republicans is above the quality of the Democratic candidates (whom I insist are space aliens).

One of my favorite moments of the debate was when McCain mentioned that Hillary wants to spend $1 million on a Woodstock Concert museum. I live about 15 miles from where the concert was (down Ulster County 42/Peekamoose, turn left on NY 42 toward Monticello).

The most telling moment was when the young man in California asked whether the candidates would oppose farm subsidies. While they all said that they favored lower taxes and Huckabee said that he wanted to abolish the IRS, none of the candidates seemed enthusiastic about eliminating farm subsidies.

Republicans talk the talk, but I'm not exactly convinced that, besides Ron Paul, they walk the walk.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Golin v. Allenby : Judge J. Michael Byrne and the Twilight of Progressivism

I have recently blogged about Golin v. Allenby (and here). Today, Napa County's Judge J. Michael Byrne has declared that the Golins are "vexatious litigants" and barred them from further action unless they put up a $500,000 bond because they are suing to get their autistic daughter back from state officials who may have allowed her to be raped. Moreover, the Golins’ names are to be put in a statewide registry for seven years that among other things prevents them from any further advocacy on behalf of their daughter.

The Golin v. Allenby case is a good illustration of why Progressivism and the New Deal, the two movements that created today's liberalism, have failed. Progressivism aimed to increase democracy by expanding the power of government. Its successor ideology, the New Deal, aimed to bestow even greater power on government bureaucracies, enabling them to harass, control and harm individual citizens. The Golins are a signal example of why the public has rejected progressive-liberalism.

There are allegations that Judge J. Michael Byrne has colluded with the California State Attorney General, Jerry Brown, to attempt to deflect a multi-million dollar lawsuit against Santa Clara County for its kidnapping and abuse of Nancy Golin.

The Golins urgently need local representation in California for their civil suit. The following release, which I have just received, offers but one more example of the tyrannical essence of progressive-New Deal-liberalism.

>"ADULT AUTISTIC CHILD WITHOUT A CHAMPION:
A SUMMARY OF DISABILITY, IMPRISONMENT,
AND JUDICIAL LEGALITIESGolin v. Allenby
Santa Clara County Superior Court No. 1-07-CV-082826
(Updated November 24, 2007)

"In thousands of documented cases across the country, the standing of a caring relative or committed advocate to represent the interests of the ward may be challenged by a defendant, as part of a defense strategy that almost invariably proves successful .

"Once the defense removes the family member, the ward is helpless, because no one other than the alleged wrongdoer can supposedly represent the ward. And a reasonable person never sues himself.

"Latest Update –San Jose, California, November 20, 2007. An assigned retired superior court judge from Napa County has just declared the Golins to be “vexatious litigants”. Judge J. Michael Byrne, assigned by Chief Justice Ronald George to sit in their case traveling 100 miles from the San Jose Courthouse for only 30 days, granted the State defendants’ motion barring the Golins from ever again proceeding with their case unless they put up a $500,000 security bond within 10 days. In doing so, Judge Byrne ignored each and every one of the narrow definitions provided in necessary statutory criterion, intended to prevent misuse of the law to prevent truly meritorious lawsuits from proceeding. The state and local defendants were represented in part by the State Attorney General’s Office headed by recently elected Jerry Brown, Santa Clara County Counsel’s Office and City of Palo Alto outside counsel Scott Pinsky. This places the Golins’ names in a statewide registry for seven years that among other things prevents them from any further advocacy on behalf of their daughter.

"This nuclear option in California law is ordinarily never used except in the most extreme circumstances to protect the courts from abuse, where an unrepresented litigant obsessively files dozens or hundreds of meritless lawsuits which are finally decided against them, often with the same allegations or against the same parties, in order to harass, punish or intimidate their victims into settlement. Alternatively, if an unrepresented litigant repetitively files meritless motions in a lawsuit, this law may be applied, but the motions or oppositions must be genuinely meritless and the case must be judged to have no likelihood of prevailing on the merits.

"Clearly that is not what is happening here. The Golins are representing by two prominent attorneys, including David J. Beauvais of Oakland. The lawsuit is the only one they have filed in at least 10 years. They have never before been determined to be “vexatious litigants”. Neither of their pro bono attorneys believes that the Golins’ case lacks merit, or is being pursued for purposes of delay or harassment of the defendants, and it would not be reasonable that they would waste their precious legal talents working for free on a meritless case. The state defendants argued to Judge Byrne that the Golins are not “really” being represented, because Mr. Golin is personally assisting in his case from his six years of firsthand personal knowledge of the facts and law. If brought before a jury, they believe that the Golins case would result in a damages award in at least the seven figures, and that is the problem for the defendants. After they filed their objections to the lawsuit’s legal bases, the Golins filed oppositions that should under any standard defeat their objections and allow them to try their case, reaching discovery and trial. The pretext that the Golins motions and countermotions are frivolous is pretextual, because the defendants clearly know they are not, and that is what scares the state into this radical defense posture. The state attorney general’s motives in desperately covering up the defendants’ criminal liabilities in this case are still open to speculation.

"Judge Byrne asked the defendants at one point to know which of the Golins’ motions they were calling meritless or frivolous. Yet after the defendants failed to do more than cite the caption of one of the plaintiffs’ best motions, complaining that the Golins were “driving them crazy”, Judge Byrne granted the vexatious litigant motion anyway. The Golins observed it would have been simpleminded for Judge Byrne to merely reach the motions and counter motions themselves in one more hearing to see what they contained, but apparently that was what the state sought to avoid at all costs.

"Mr. Beauvais stated that, in his view as a veteran trial attorney for 25 years, the decision represents a gross miscarriage of justice, because no one can now represent Nancy Golin except the state, which has abused her. The Golins are complaining of total denial of their Constitutional due process rights under the 5th and 14th Amendments for themselves but especially for Nancy. They argue that the state’s method for choosing appointed judges when no other judge in the court is available to act invites abuse by allowing the attorney general to very easily judge-shop for a compliant or corrupt judicial officer, dangerously thinning the firewall between the judicial and executive branches.

"The History

"On November 15, 2001, 31-year-old Nancy Golin was taken by Palo Alto, California police from her family, never again to return. Up to then, she had depended on her parents, Jeff and Elsie Golin, to protect her. They had unhesitatingly undertaken the task of raising their autistic child at home since birth, with love and quality care. Nancy’s parents had fought against California agencies they saw as irresponsible, uncaring and incompetent, after attempting for years without success to obtain appropriate school services . Their efforts had won them the admiration of many in their local community.

"This whole incident began when Nancy wandered away as is her habit and her parents reported her missing, but upon her independent return to her parents’ home, the police requested that she be taken to a medical facility for examination to insure that nothing had happened during her absence. Yet when the Golin’s tried to reach Nancy, the nightmare began, with a series of clearly illegal confinements. Police had taken Nancy to the nearby Stanford psychiatric ward on a ruse, without warrant, emergency or probable cause, and attempted to involuntarily institutionalize her . When the grounds were legally rejected and they could show no probable cause, they chose instead to “place” her in a group home at a secret destination chosen by the local Regional Center, San Andreas (SARC) and Adult Protective Services (APS), via a forged signature to her IPP constituting “consent” to institutionalization .
To cover up their mistake and to squelch press reports , the San Andreas Regional Center (SARC) and Adult Protective Services (APS) appealed to the Santa Clara County DA to trump up malicious abuse charges the parents, Jeff and Elsie, who were falsely arrested, and spent a night in jail facing felony charges. The local police produced a falsified police report which was immediately discounted by Nancy’s doctors and the parents’ supporters . It took 14 months for Jeff and Elsie to get the district attorney to drop and expunge the charges. Meanwhile, State attorneys from the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) pursued Nancy’s conservatorship by DDS Director Allenby and SARC, proceeding at first in secret , and then opposing the parents own petition in a David versus Goliath mismatched 2003 probate trial (which did not address the illegalities of the removal and confinement). The parents attempt to appeal was thwarted by procedural barriers caused by their inability to procure a complete record of the trial.

"Since her confinement, Nancy has suffered numerous physical and neurological injuries and abuses. She has lost the use of her hands, been hospitalized dozens of times for seizures and esophageal ruptures, five years of dental neglect causing her to lose almost half her teeth, been improperly subjected to destructive psychiatric drugging, and likely molestation. SARC reports to doctors she now has cerebral palsy. Recent evidence has surfaced concerning terrible abuses she suffered at the hands of the state conservators that were concealed before her conservatorship trial and did not come to light. All of these injuries occurred while in SARC’s and APS’s care. Not the least of the harms, she is not allowed to see her parents except under extreme restrictions and she is not being allowed to go back home for reasons she cannot understand and no one purports to explain. The parents have thus far been denied any say in her care or standing to litigate on her behalf.

"The state civil lawsuit

"Jeff and Elsie filed timely tort claims and a §1983 civil lawsuit for damages in Federal District Court in 2003 . They were unable to overcome the lack of counsel for next friend standing. Federal law mandates that parents need an attorney of record in order to have legal standing as “next friend” of the adult child. The case then wound its way through the federal courts from refilling of their state claims in Sacramento into their present state court proceeding in Santa Clara County, where they have been interim representation provided pro bono by New York attorney Gerard W. Wallace of Albany Law School, just recently joined by Oakland civil rights attorney David J. Beauvais.

"The parents are suing Mr. Allenby of DDS, several County of Santa Clara defendants (including APS, the DA, and the public defender), several SARC defendants, the City of Palo Alto, Stanford Hospitals and Clinics, the care home operator, and others. Their 17 causes of action include both claims on their own behalf and on behalf of Nancy. They are claiming constitutional violations under 1st, 4th, 5th, 6th, 8th, and 14th amendments, Section 1983 civil rights and ADA, as well as state tort claims including attorney and medical malpractice, personal injury, slander, emotional distress, and malicious prosecution. The parents are seeking general, compensatory, exemplary, and punitive damages. The parents’ statutes of limitations have not yet accrued. All parties have been served and all but three defendants have filed demurrers and answers .

"In California, well-established authorities entitle the parents to represent their daughter in litigation as guardians ad litem (GAL), because the conservators are defendants and thus have conflicts of interest . The defendants dispute those theories.

"The focus of SARC’s and County’s intent appears to revolve around their interest in covering up abuse by opposing and denying discovery rights by relying on the (flawed) theory that conservatorship creates a monopoly of legal standing . This theory, unsupported by any legal authority, which the Golin’s lawsuit challenges, leads to the absurd conclusion that no one other than the conservator may sue the conservator. Without expressly claiming it, SARC has thus far garnered absolute protection from liability. The parents’ desire for their daughter’s return is paramount, but they perceive that due to local judicial entanglement this will never be possible as long as SARC perceives the loss of their conservatorship as representing a liability threat.

"The state civil lawsuit – UPDATED 9/24/07

"The parents experienced severe bias in Santa Clara County Superior court due to the influence, power and entrenchment of Santa Clara officials due to their misconduct in this case, and judicial entanglement with these parties. The parents fought to keep the civil case in Sacramento last year, alleging impossibility of a fair trial in Santa Clara County, but the Sacramento judge simply did not accept their allegations as proving sufficient bias to resist County of Santa Clara’s motion to change venue to their home turf. Events since then have resoundingly vindicated their allegations of suspected bias in Santa Clara County. Mrs. Golin, who was appointed guardian ad litem to represent their daughter, was removed as soon as the case was moved to Santa Clara County, and the County has done everything in their power to resist appointing anyone else. To date, four judges have been challenged for cause, and two of them have recused themselves in response. One of the defendants in the case, who worked for County Counsel’s office was sworn in as a judge, necessitating the recusal of the entire Santa Clara County bench. A judge assigned by the judicial counsel, Judge Breen, was appointed from another county to sit in Santa Clara, over the plaintiffs’ objections, and he has now recused himself, too, after a showing of prima facie bias and challenge for cause. As things stand, the parents are trying desperately to get the case transferred back out of Santa Clara County, because they are being denied due process there; there is no judge of the court to grant discovery motions, no judge to appoint a guardian ad litem, no judge for emergency ex parte motions, and the Court has closed ranks against the Golins. Theoretically, Judge Breen was supposed to be able to grant any motions himself, but he has not been available to do so and would only come to court on scheduled motions days, and refused to go through with the appointment of a guardian ad litem for Nancy.

"On September 21, 2004, the defendants were poised to get Judge Breen to steamroll through all their demurrer motions without a guardian ad litem on the theory that Nancy had no standing to bring her claims, but Judge Breen recused himself instead, sympathizing openly with the defendants. Mr. Beauvais appeared for the second time, and the case was rescheduled for November 5, when Mr. Beauvais had planned to be on vacation out of the country, over plaintiffs’ objections. Mr. Beauvais was prepared to argue the case, having studied the defendant’s demurrer motions and motions to strike the complaint and having found them to be frivolous. Mr. Beauvais has commented that this case has gone so far beyond the normal course of events to protect the County and other defendants it is almost impossible to believe. Meanwhile the parents are moving to get the case transferred again to a nearby county, and awaiting the appointment of another judge to petition for removal to. The parents are seeking ways to fight the official corruption that has become all too openly apparent, in order to gain their due process rights for themselves and Nancy.

"Pending United States Supreme Court Petition for Certiorari
During the California proceeding, the parents petitioned the US Supreme Court on Certiorari, to settle the question of who has standing to select Nancy’s GAL, the plaintiffs or the defendants? Nancy is a plaintiff . We have an adversarial system of justice. No authority has been found to suggest that a defendant can play any part whatever in the selection of a plaintiff’s representative. The defendants’ inherent conflict of interest is inescapable. Yet the absurdity of a defendant nominated GAL is exactly what the state courts have been entertaining. This absurdity went as far as the state court recently attempting to appoint one of SARC’s own attorneys as Nancy’s GAL. This attorney was cited four times in the complaint as spearheading the effort to conserve Nancy and attack her parents. The attempted appointment failed because the parents were able to announce in open court their objections and the reasons that the proposed appointee had a overwhelming conflict of interest.

"Nancy’s mother, Elsie, now armed with legal representation, was appointed as Nancy’s GAL twice in a normal ex parte appointment proceeding. Yet twice the defendants have rushed into ex parte proceedings to remove her, on the grounds that Elsie supposedly has an unspecified conflict of interest with her daughter and asserting a non-judicial right to be noticed and a hearing to object, claiming that the normal ex parte procedure constitutes a “subterfuge” without notice to them, which is clearly an error at law. If this were left to stand, a defendant could dismiss a plaintiffs’ guardian ad litem any time during the proceeding they were upset with the plaintiffs’ actions in litigation. The reason the emergency was felt to remove her was that Mrs. Golin was seen using her powers to discover evidence of abuse against Nancy. SARC pretextually maintains that it is in Nancy’s interest to stay in SARC’s control and that they are the sole decider of her interests. Thus, SARC alleges, Elsie has a supposed conflict of interest with her daughter. As Nancy’s lifelong caregiver Elsie is certainly legally qualified to speak on behalf of Nancy’ interests, having a long-standing significant relationship.
As cause, SARC declares that it fears that discovery by Mrs. Golin would potentially disclose abuses that might cause them to lose their conservatorship, saying that SARC apparently knows something that they feel is much too damaging to be disclosed , which would seem to be a self-incriminating defense demanding investigation, not cover-up. The probate court has supported this concealment so far.

"The parents are hoping that the Supreme Court will step in and settle this question. The matter is calendared for conference on September 24th . What is needed at this point is institutional support and publicity for our cause, which if left to stand will affect untold numbers of disabled persons. So far the mainstream media has ignored this case. The parents need help changing that, to help the Court focus attention on this.

"Critical Issues at Stake in Elder Law

"One critic of probate abuse has recently referred to a “white collar crime wave” involving handicapped persons in involuntary conservatorships, due to lack of effective court oversight, and due to the so-far undefeatable tactic of such defendants to smear anyone, whether family or friends, that attempts to intervene to rescue their loved ones from what would otherwise be considered kidnapping, abuse and false imprisonment .

"In each of these thousands of documented cases across the country, the standing of a caring relative or committed advocate to represent the interests of the ward is attacked as a defense strategy . Once the defense succeeds at removing the family member, the ward is helpless, because no one other than the alleged wrongdoer can represent the ward. And a reasonable person never sues himself. Thus, the ward is left with no rights at all.

"As a counter and check to such abuses, a precedent that controls such advocates rights to act as GAL’s in civil proceedings, which may in some cases be the ward’s only way out, would be very helpful . It affords a measure of heightened due process and damages that are not available in probate courts, and allows interested parties to participate that would otherwise be excluded. Authority is available under Title II of the ADA for “parties aggrieved” to afford independently enforceable standing to parents or relatives to litigate on behalf of their incapacitated family members, which follows the example set by the recent Winkelman v. Parma City, 127 S.Ct. 1994 (May 15, 2007) Supreme Court opinion for IDEA cases.

"Important Issues

"Issue #1: Does a defendant ever have standing to object to the plaintiff’s choice of guardian ad litem.
"Issue #2: Do parents with ADA claims have standing to sue as “parties aggrieved” on behalf of their developmentally disabled child notwithstanding that the child has been appointed a conservator, when the conservator has a conflict of interest by virtue of being named a defendant.
"Issue #3: How can a conservatee ever find their way out of the conservatorship without civil relief by interested parties, given that the state attacks the credibility of anyone that attempts to represent them?
"Issue #4. Does it make sense to provide relief to disabled adults under the ADA without allowing anyone to advocate for that relief, given that they are handicapped?

"What Do the Parents Need?

"The parents urgently need local representation in California for their civil suit. Mr. Wallace cannot continue to represent their interests from New York. He is filling in while permanent local counsel can be obtained. If even half their claims are supported, attorneys have opined that the damages awards would be very considerable, especially if submitted to a jury.

"Finding private counsel that would take the case on a contingent fee basis is feasible. It is only a matter of paying costs, and the parents have lined up a couple of interested attorneys. But law firms with pro bono projects which would usually be expected to have an interest, have not been receptive thus far. After 6 years of litigation, the parents have limited resources, but can pay incremental fees as needed.

"The parents are committed and knowledgeable about their case. Jeff Golin is sufficiently self educated in the law as to present a formidable adversary during pro se hearings. The parents’ rights continue to be infringed. Their visits with Nancy resemble jail visits more than family occasions . Nancy cannot understand why this is being done to her by her own parents. She appears more and more abused each time the parents see her.

"If the parents fail, Nancy will face a lifetime of false imprisonment and abuse without any available relief, truly a “creature of the state” as decried in the US Supreme Court decision, Parham v. JR, 442 U.S. 584, 602 (1979). This is not only a bad outcome for Nancy, but sets an extremely dangerous statist precedent for the country as well.

"It is unknown if the parents could renew their fight in federal court now that they have representation. The first round of federal litigation did not reach the question of prejudice, or lack of it. Many if not most of the federal exceptions, abstention doctrines and preclusion issues that kept the parents out of court the first time have in the meantime been settled by the U.S. Supreme Court in the parents’ favor. According to the doctrine of pendent jurisdiction, all the state claims that were being considered in federal court are relegated to the state court, and can be refiled under 29 U.S.C §1367, which has been employed here.
For more information please call Mr. Gerard Wallace (518) 445-3266, David J. Beauvais (510) 832-3605, or Jeffrey Golin (650) 518-2850.