Octavo Dia

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Economic Crimes

I just read an article from the Washington Post about the penalties given for economic crimes: "That means you have to equate fiddling with the corporate books with first-degree murder or treason, ... any sentence over 20 years for anybody for an economic crime is hard to justify." It isn't to me. If you think that money is time--people's labor is the basic wealth creating unit, albeit leveraged by technology--then an economic crime is theft of time from another human. How much different is it to steal the rest of a person's life through murder than to steal it a few hours or days at a time through their money? It is a matter of degree, not kind.

Monday, September 11, 2006


It's pretty well established that we want a means of telling who is and is not permitted to vote. On the other hand, many people fear the institution of a national ID card. Here's the middle ground: make pre-registration a voting requirement. When a person goes to register, providing proof of identity, they are issued an ID card. When they vote, the ID card is taken from them. If you don't have your ID card, you don't vote.

Friday, September 08, 2006

War Crimes

The use of human shields is already a war crime, as is placing military facilities alongside civilian ones. Couldn't urban combat, per se, be defined as a war crime? Once again, I'm seeing how terribly poor war crimes legislation is as a guide for behavior.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Op eds

Noumenon says I should take on worthier opponents, like the writers for the Foreign Affairs journal, but slugging it out with the op-ed page is just so crassly satisfying. It's the equivalent of a well-placed whoopie cushion.

Anyway, cheap shot numero uno: my newspaper has a feature called "sticker shock", in which people send in picture of provocative (not in the hubba hubba sense) bumper stickers. Today's candidate: "God wants spiritual fruits, not religious nuts." Correction: God wants perfection. Good luck.

"If there is any flawed policy in regard to illegal aliens, it is the granting of citizenship to those born in the United States to parents who are not citizens."

The reason one would support such a policy is that, by having such a terribly broad definition of citizenship, it becomes much harder to exclude people or groups from the electorate. I agree that the definition is downright silly as it stands, but it can be easily corrected by creating a category of illegal births (though it would need a new name before it would be accepted), which is that the children of anyone in the country legally are automatically citizens.

Time Travel

I read yet another article discussing the grandfather paradox in the human interest part of the paper. What I don't understand is why people care. Could you go back in time and kill your own grandfather before your father was conceived? No. YOU could not, because you are here, contemplating the destruction of your own grandfather, even though, were he to be murdered, it would already have happened. What we know as the past is the past with any time travel that would have taken place already having happened. One cannot go back and change the past because one has already gone back and changed the past.