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Stability and Wealth Trump Warren 2020

Elizabeth Warren recently announced her candidacy for President of the United State of America. She is currently likely the leading candidate: she is younger and unlike Bernie Sanders is in fact a democrat. She, like Jill Stein, is also a woman. Meanwhile, both Stein and Sanders have unsavory Kremlin connections.

I have already rightly criticized Warren’s claim to be an Indian. She is — at best — “of Indian descent”. I have pointed out that were she in fact a Cherokee, a Delaware, then she would be recognized as such by either of those native nations through naturalization or have a Certificate of Degree of Indian Blood. Personally speaking, I don’t regard the CDIB very highly: it’s just another tool of assimilation and segregation determined not by the native nations but by the invader, the colonizer. I don’t think most tribal councils have a great opinion of the CDIB or tribal rolls, though that of course would vary from nation to nation. It is not for Elizabeth Warren to say she is or isn’t Indian: it is for any of the native nations to do so.

As I have earlier pointed out, Warren’s way forward on this issue is to simply apologize for over-stating her case. Magnanimous and gracious leaders are not above apologizing respectfully for their errors.

Politically, the campaign may well wind up Trump versus Warren. I analyze these political issues separately from the biographical question of Warren’s purported native descent which, again, is backed up by no native nation nor any concrete genealogical record. A DNA test literally produced by a former business partner or lover is just for that reason suspect, and frankly may easily be falsified, distorted.

Politically, Trump’s strongest suit is his claim to be winding down the failed bloody expensive and utterly unnecessary regime change wars which claimed to protect humans’ rights by killing them of the past two decades, the so-called “war on terror”. Behind the so-called war on terror is “colonialism” “imperialism” “war of occupation” and “war for profit”: Halliburton, KBR, no-bid contracts, Blackwater, “private military contractors”, punctuated by unnecessary and ineffective torture porn. The FBI would directly tell you torture does not work and that there are much more effective methods of interrogation.

Trump can, should, and does rightly claim to be ending the foolish idea of “nation building” exporting liberal democracy at gun-point to countries which really don’t want or need it. Security peace stability and wealth production frankly trump human rights concerns in each of the world’s poorest countries, which is why even Good Europeans like Hungary or even Poland are looking quite skeptically at e.g. gay rights. I have always pointed out that LGBTQ rights should never be excuses for wars, justifications for wars. It is less oppressive to live under Shariah than to be killed as “collateral damage” or in reprisal killings, tortured, etc.

Warren and Trump both exemplify a certain strand of social democracy. Each will claim to represent the middle class against liberal internationalist capitalists, the jet setting globe trotting elites.Trump and Warren alike will polarize and motivate each others’ political base.

I do not think Biden will have the physical vigor or emotional strength to fight through a winning campaign. His son died during the last election cycle and Biden is quite old. Biden has said some overtly racist and stupid things about the Chinese, which is why I would prefer him to not even bother running. The last thing the world needs is another racist who thinks that whites are creative, i.e. superior, and that Chinese are only good at copying others works, i.e. inferior. It is exactly what people said about Japan some fifty years ago: dinosaurs unwanted.

Some people believe Warren is in a weaker position than in the last cycle and that she shot herself in the foot with her claim to being an Indian. She did, but I do not regard that error as one which she cannot recover from. Obviously Trump has and will continue to call her Pocahontas, and rightly so. She claimed something that’s not true. She simply needs to acknowledge that, apologize, and move on to the issues. She probably will not however. Thus, she will likely lose in the general election: because a person so stubbornly inflexible when obviously caught out and wrong would make a bad President since they would well make the same kinds of errors on other far more important things. Her failure to recant or apologize will result in a lack of public’s trust or confidence in her, no matter how good her policies might be.

The election is currently Trump’s to lose: presuming he is not first impeached and removed for high crimes and misdemeanors such as tax evasion, money laundering, and whatnot. His personal attorney and his former campaign manager are both currently in prison. Trump’s smartest move might be to declare victory and retire as a one-term President.

I now advise publicly what I have consistently advised privately for the past three years:

“The Russians on the bus go under the bus,
under the bus
under the bus
the Russian’s on the bus go under the bus,
all through the town”.

Happy New Year! Be sure to say buh bye to Ded Moroz!


Learning Chinese Characters? Confused? Here’s how to quickly learn hanzi well.

I think the best way to learn hanzi is
a) Start with pictographs
b) Then ideographs
c) Then the hui yi (associative compound characters)
e) Then learn the kangxi radicals (which are usually one of the above)
f) Then learn determinants (the abbreviated forms of characters san dian shui, yanzi pang etc).
d) Then add the phono-semantic characters.

If one knows the six methods of forming hanzi one learns them much more effectively.

Going in this order works best because the phono-semantic characters’ phonetic elements are almost always one or more of a) b) abd/or c)

I would never recommend using the HSK as a teaching or learning tool. All the HSK levels do is expose you to the most useful characters first; but it does NOTHING to teach HOW to learn them. I also think learning the actual etymology as you teach is the way to go since you can see the evolution of the characters form and meaning.

I also think learning the characters as semantic or phonetic series helps a lot.

I don’t think gimmicks work, unfortunately. Though I’m also really skeptical about copy books. I do however think that one can and should know what the pictographs in fact represent and then use that as a base for learning the ideographs then the associative compound characters and finally the phono semantic characters is effective. I know full well gan 干 is a dried out tree trunk and that if you put it on the walking radical it becomes to make or do as in ni gan 赶 shen me. I don’t think making up stories about gandalf is at all useful for learning what gan looks like sounds like or means especially since one must make up oh around 5000 such stories.

I also believe one is best to learn the MEANING and SHAPE of the character FIRST and then the sound. I notice that I learn the meaning and shapes of the characters much faster than the sounds of the characters.

Another problem with gimmicks is that the finals in pinyin frankly do not rhyme or alliterate well to much of ANYTHING in English. Let’s find a word that rhymes with -UANG or -IANG in English :/ Believe me I tried

Personally I try to always associate a new word in any language to some word I already know. So when I learned ZA as in fuza as in mixed up 复杂 and confuSEd today I remember its sound and meaning by association to that English word which sounds similar enough and means just the same thing. I also remember the sound clue from xiao at the bottom so 9-1-xiao = 九 一 小 = za = 杂 confused/mixed up as in fuza


Coming to Grips with Chinese Characters (Hanzi)

Chinese characters are picto-phonetic i.e. phono-semantic (usually both). This distinguishes them smartly from Western alphabets. Chinese can be most readily accessed as a syllabary (hello, Che-le-key! :D).
Hypothesis: Hanzi hesitated between transforming into a purely phonetic writing system between 1500 and 3000 years ago but retained its approach, which is based on pictographs which then are formed into phonemes.

My hypothesis is that we should try to read characters phonetically from right to left and from top to bottom; i also think we should look for finals rather than initials first, but that we should look for both initials and finals when searching for phonetic clues.
I do not think we should look at any phonetic choice as arbitrary. The logic of the choice may however be dependant on historic/dynastic conditions which are entirely irrelevant today! That, plus language drift, explains why some believe that phonetic character choicses are sometimes arbitrary.
Chinese was developed as a language for scholars, scribes, civil servants; not as a language for mass literacy. Opacity is inevitable for that reason.
I don’t think we can develop rules like we have in western languages as to proper orthography. “read this way, not that way”. When looking at a character we should first
1) Isolate phonetic element(s)
2) Isolate semantic element(s)
3) Use pictographic elements as a “fallback” “catchall”.
4) Try to figure out if/how semantic and phonetic elements are mutually reinforcing “not only does this MEAN x it ALSO sounds like y!”
Pictographics are a supplement for advanced characters but the base for basic characters.
My favorite picto-phonetic character is flag. It’s the man-in-stocks on the left and a tool on the right with a dashed-line on top. It’s the soldier (not freeman) on the left and his tool on the right is that god damned flag which is the top line (I believe the English word for top strips of a flag mounting is: penant). The top line (penant) is clearly pictographic. The other two elements are phono semantic but also pictographic.
Fang+qi+zhu-yi=Flag. Sounds like Fahne, which is German for flag. Looks like a flag-man.


Coming to terms with simplified hanzi

Some Chinese people find simplified Hanzi crude or barbaric ugly or otherwise. I generally don’t but then again I did not live through poor deadly war lord China and a fascist invasion.


this is a pair of hands of the elder generation surrounding and caring for someone precious. A school child.
It’s also a pair of hands from below lifting the school child up to the elder generation.

It is a traditional character.

This is the same character, simplified in modern Mainland Chinese. 普通话

this is the younger generation giving the school child a god damned desk. a desk at which the kid gets lunch books a pen a copy book etc.


I also really love this one. It’s the western star, venus (on the left)! Bright and beautiful shining in the western sky. But the star is falling! (on the right) it’s fall portends something important about the future. The falling star is a visitor from the OUTSIDE world. 夕+卜= 外

Hanzi are very beautiful and meaningful and I encourage anyone to learn Chinese, any dialect, and at any time in your life. It’s my greatest and most enjoyable language challenge!


How to Survive Solitary Confinement

I read an interesting article on surviving solitary confinement. It’s relevant if only because of memory strategies and also because kleptocratic dictatorships often imprison dissident activists. So if you too are considering opposing state power you might want to think about “what do I do if they put me in jail, alone, for a very long time?” I hear that’s how Gramsci did all his writing.
Survival strategies in solitary confinement can be summarized as follows:


Visualization: Visualize imaginary scenes and conversations including outright talking out-loud
Imagination: Make your imaginary world visually vivid.
Memorization: Memorize i.e. review mental knowledge; mental math, mental vocabulary etc.
Reconsideration: Look back at past events especially the bad ones to determine what went wrong, why, and what you would do differently; this too is a visualization and scripting exercise.
Determination: Set difficult long term goals and never ever give up on them.
How to Survive Solitary Confinement

“Fellow suffering! Fellow suffering with these higher men!” -Nietzche

George Bush Jr. was (and is) my political opponent; sadly for both of us, for we both admire his father.
In this which is his hardest time let’s just hope his new perspective strengthens his path and enables his post-presidential charity work (yes) to be even more powerful. It’s a fact, he did much uncredited charity;. The elder and younger Bush alike sought no accolades for their good works. In this sense they have my respect, no matter their inner – or outer – turmoil.

It’s that day again!

It’s annual “Let’s teach the colonists crop fertilization and crop rotation so they can feed themselves then watch them return the favor with genocide.”
Gobble gobble.

Devil’s Diplomantic Dictionary: Free Supplement

Free supplement to
The Devil’s Diplomatic Dictionary

Black Humour
He who laughs, lasts.

Black site
See: Prankster Paradise

Clout in a silver lining
A wealthy lout, boorish, and violent. See: Mobligarch.

Gallows Humour
Laughter is the best medicide.

The most bitter cynical member of a trench-coat mafia in any high school. Highly intelligent, and for this reason entirely disaffected.

Needle in a hey stack
Any intensive academic research usually undertaken in a library to find any obscure piece of information. The search may or may not be fruitless.

Where Wolf
A game of hunt and go seek (q.v.) played by law enforcement seeking to fine a needle in a hey stacks (q.v.)


“she has earned this”

While there might be some truth (or no truth at all) to Elizabeth Warren’s family legend the fact is she has no idea which tribe, if any, her purported ancestor was a member of. First nations don’t use DNA testing. This is partly because like any other nation you can be naturalized into one of the first nations. No one ever stopped her from seeking tribal enrollment; were her claims true she would simply seek to enroll. I am not an advocate of blood quanta, or even recognizing CIDB as something other than the latest chapter in anglo genocide of the first nations. Although I might well agree with Warren’s policies, which do you think is likelier:
a) Warren’s ancestors were “sooners” who YET AGAIN ignored the anglos own laws to settle illegally on Indians’ land and then compounded one fakery with another.
b) Warren has no idea which tribe her purported ancestor was because (fill in any excuse here).
Whether Warren knows it or not, intends it or not, her myth making is one more example of whitewashing genocide. Like most other white people, she profited personally as an heiress to conquest and genocide as well as academically and then seeks to play the victim to profit politically too: her subjective ideas about her family myth don’t change the objective facts. She should simply apologize in public for her mythomania so that she and the President can get back to the business of good government.

Six methods of forming Chinese glyphs (han zi)

This post will only interest you if you are learning hanzi. If you don’t even know what a hanzi is don’t bother reading further. Here goes:

,xiang xing zi 象形字 pictogram 日 (an elephant never forgets!) (pictures)

zhi shi 指事 ideogram 上 (You put your finger right on it!) (symbols)

xing yi zi 形意字 picto-phonetic 明 also known as huì yì 会意 Combined Ideographs 明 (a meeting of ideas) (associative character)

yi yin zi 意音字 phono-semantic. example: 推 also known as xing sheng 形声 Determinative-Phonetic 推

转注 (zhuǎn zhù) Transfer Characters:
These are two characters which have the same meaning, and use the same glyph yet have different pronunciations. example: 爸 (bà) / 父 (fù) father.

jia jie 假借 Loan Characters (these are not lent from foreign languages like mai dan lao is): two homophones (sound-alikes) one is a literal object and primitive which literal object is later used to form the homophonic character with some other meaning.

莱 => 来 (lái).
其 => 其 (qí)
西 => 西 (“a bird in a nest went to sleep in the west)


Free supplement to The Devil’s Diplomatic Dictionary: “nevertheless, she persisted”

Free supplement to
The Devil’s Diplomatic Dictionary


Mobligarch: A very rich man who made his money the old fashioned way — he killed for it.

Impolite Arrowgaunt Woman: A moniker favored by a white person, who wishes to rally women to vote, while ignoring the very genocide claimed as part of that person’s heritage. See also: hate, not heritage. See also: “Sooner”. “We were hear first”.

“Deplorables”: uneducated white people who tend to disproportionally favor Trumps (q.v.) when playing Bridge (q.v.).

“Nasty woman”: Any woman who refuses to accept double standards and/or insists on her equal rights under law.

“Nevertheless, she persisted”: when a person who is not tribally enrolled, has no CIDB, refuses genetic testing, and has no Indian ancestors, yet insists she is somehow an indigenous person, we may rightly point out “Nevertheless, she persisted”. See also: Pocahontas; Poke-a-haunt-US.

“Get in the barrel”: when bankrupt policies lead to financial irregularities resulting in criminal conviction one may “Get in the barrel”.

Free supplement: “How to Write About Law” — Citation

The guiding principle in citation is that whoever reads your work must be able to find whatever it is you are citing to verify that the person you claim said that thing in fact said that thing; and also in case your reader wants to read the other sources in your field.

We provide the maximum practical information.

Last Name, First Name, Title, Volume, Page, Year; URL
Publisher and place of publication are no longer required because it is much easier to find those out. Thing is.. I would include them anyway.

You basically cannot go wrong as a student by including too much information: this is because then your professors will be able to find your sources. You will likely NOT be downgraded if you provide too much information or even deviate in a minor fashion from blue book: as to publishers, they will always edit, or likelier require you to edit, your work to meet their house style guide. By providing more than enough information you make your job much easier later: deleting information is MUCH easier than finding it AGAIN

In UK style you include the first and last pages of the article as well as the page cited. In the US you include only the first and cited pages. Guess what, I recommend you include first page and last page as well as page cited thus:

I also recommend citing by last name and first name even though law publishers generally will have you cite First Name Last Name they will then alphabetize by LAST name! By citing last-first, you enable yourself ot use th automatic sort feature. Plus, non-law publishers (politics, economics, history) go last name first name so e.g.

Eric Engle, My Brilliant Article, 1 Journal of Law and Economics 1 (1-37) (2018).

blue book is what you should use.

Foonoting is a basic and necessary scientific foundation of your work. Be dilligent

Free supplement: How to Write about Law: Legal Writing for Law School & Law Reviews

“complex interrelated factors seem to make this conflict intractable”.
1) avoid words like “may” “seem” and “appear”. Those words are almost always misused. I didn’t write about “may” “seem” and “appear” in my book because it is such a basic error. “May” “seem” and “appear” make for weak and unorganized writing. They are sophist terms. Do you really think your reader or the rest of the world generally is less intelligent than you and unable to discern your brilliant solution to this supposedly intractable gordian knot? Is it wise to tell your reader you think you are smarter than everyone else?  Is your revelation, your blindingly insightful, penetrating, and clear resolution of such a terribly intractable problem really all that good? Do you really think yourself smarter than others? Do you want to present yourself that way?

2) Be critical of your own writing: if the conflict is “intractable” why are you even bothering to try to address it?

3) While a number of factors might together form a complex, no single factor can by definition be complex, since anything complex is composed of two or more elements.

Are you Certain that it only “seems” so? Can you prove whether or not something “seems” so?
Almost always “seems” and “appears” are used to “hedge” one’s argument; they APPEAR to give an air of sophistication but almost never have any substance to them and often mask disorganization. “Perhaps” and “may” are also “weasel words” which weaken your writing by making you look indecisive or even pretentious.

If you are uncertain of your own views why are you bothering to write them down? How could I possibly accept your opinions, or even figure out what they are, if they are weakly expressed using weasel words like “perhaps” “may” “seems” “appears” and their ilk.

I would strongly advise not using “may” “seem” or “appear” at all. I would also avoid “perhaps” and “may”. These words almost always weaken your writing. By avoiding those words you are forced to take a stand, to figure out what really IS the case and then to present it. Legal writing is not about posing a bunch of questions and then leaving them unanswered. “It might be this but then again it might be that/I’m not sure/It just depends” is a great way to get a bad grade.

Take a position and then argue it – and part of your argument is factual support (footnotes). Being forced to be unambiguous also forces you to be organized. Finally, “may” “seem” and “appear” just about always result in wordy verbiage leading to tldr; “too long. did not read.”

John McCain

“it was not just a place, but an idea, a cause worth fighting for. I was never the same again; I wasn’t my own man anymore; I was my country’s”

Pre-Law Advice

In 2 weeks many of you will face the bar exam: if you bought my books and prepared for it as I advise you should pass.

If instead you are merely considering law school may I dissuade you?

Law school is expensive and probably not worth it. I wound up falling deeply in love with law (because I was always in love with justice) but was bitterly disappointed to have an exact map of injustice in this world.

Honestly if you are unsure whether to go to law school: don’t. There is currently an over-supply of law teachers and law students. Defaulting into law because “good with words bad with math and doesn’t like blood” is a really bad way to go.

I am a polyglot, with scores of legal publications: I do love it but it was an acquired taste. Anything worth doing is worth over-doing.

Most law students and the more successful ones are uncreative, but disciplined and organized, and are terribly conformist. There are exceptions but they are exceptional.

Bar Exam in July! WILL YOU PASS?

A theoretical background is surely helpful for a global vision of law, but that’s not what the bar exam tests. The MBE tests black letter law. Drilled repeatedly all the basics. Learn to love the topics you do worst in so you will study them and pass. It is wrong for any student to think “I will ace these topics and it doesn’t matter that I suck on those other topics”. You have no points to lose!

The MBE tests a lot of law but it’s all basic. The toughest MBE questions resolve around picking the least incorrect answer of four wrong answers. The next toughest questions resolve around picking the more correct answer of two correct answers.

The essay section is relatively easier and simply requires understanding IRAC and good legal writing. I expect students pass or fail based on their MBE and that the essay questions merely confirm that. A weak MBE and a weak essay section is a fail. Strong MBE and weak essays are still a pass, in my opinion.

Tricky topics are: privileges and immunities clause (always gets one or two questions is about never the right choice), dominant/servient easements and subdivisions (does that covenant run with the land?), political question doctrine, hearsay. These topics especially must be drilled repeatedly. Another somewhat tricky topic is the contract for sales of goods with a service component: does the UCC govern the entire contract, only part of it, or not at all?

The bar is passed with a heuristic namely: making your best guess quickly and moving on, and doing so by process of elimination. Most students will be able to eliminate one or two answers as clearly wrong. Passing students pick the answer they think likeliest to be correct among the remaining two, or, worst case: the least incorrect of four wrong answers (these may be experimental questions).. A correct answer isn’t necessarily the most correct answer! Tricky and in my opinion two correct answers or no correct answer is a bad selector, but I can point out released bar questions which do exactly that, test either for the more correct of two correct answers or the least incorrect of four incorrect answers.

I think criminal law and torts are actually the easiest MBE sections, but causation in tort is obviously the trickiest part of torts. As to crimes they don’t test the tricky parts (complicity; due to an absence of common law doctrinal unity and codification thereafter). NCBEx testing of attempt is, at least in the released questions, not particularly difficult, though students may find attempt’s logic confusing without repeated exposure thereto.

The MBE questions are the “cake”, the “meat and potatos” and the essays as “icing”, the “desert”. I don’t think brilliant essay answers and terrible MBE questions results in a pass, at least not in NY.

The NY bar does have some issues (namely divorce, CPLR 78) which if incorrectly answered will likely reflect a fail. I haven’t studied the California bar enough to identify which questions there will result in the student failing.


“Haley’s Comet”: Free supplement to The Devil’s Diplomatic Dictionary

Haley’s Comet:

An object about to be fired up, blazing briefly yet brightly across the sky. Haley’s fiery flame is rumored to be fueled by Syrian corpses, found beneath the bus they were thrown under, begging the questions: Who threw them under the bus, and why? Thought to have been a divine sign of hope and victory, like a silver lining in a thundering rain cloud, Haley’s Comet, whatever the actual status of this heavenly body, is clearly decoupled from the Trump Train (q.v.). Whether Haley’s Comet is a recurring event or a one off wonder is yet to be seen: check back in a few years …

Trump Train:
A series of short yellow busses, coupled with each other, human centipede style, under which various opponents of an orange fire ball are thrown. Fueled by anti-intellectual anti-matter (I don’t think so it don’t matter), flights of fancy, and manure. See also: “Forty Acres and a Mule”.


The Devil’s Diplomatic Dictionary – Kindle edition by Ann Omynous. Humor & Entertainment Kindle eBooks @

Mattis jokes to Bolton: ‘I heard you’re actually the devil incarnate’ (Free Supplement to The Devil’s Diplomatic Dictionary)

Free Supplement to The Devil’s Diplomatic Dictionary

“The Devil Incarnate”
Rumoured to be John Bolton’s infernal call sign. In fact, Bolton is but an emissary. “Better the devil you know”.
Source: Mattis jokes to Bolton: ‘I heard you’re actually the devil incarnate’ – CNNPolitics

Mad Mattis:
An Estonian ecoterrorist. Pseudonymized. Russians murdered his parents.

“Tears in my eyes”.
Interdimensional diplomacy has its price: the price is talking in code. “Tears in my eyes” is code. Code for: “If you fuck with me I will kill you all.”

1) The arch enemy of Maxwell Smart, Agent 99, the Chief, and Control.
2) Mattis. AKA “Old Ironsides”. AKA “Lord protector of the United Colonies.” AKA “John Company’s man in Washington.” (q.v.)

“Higher Stakes”
In the war of all souls against all damned we play for higher stakes than life or limb. We play for souls, for “Socrates is a man”. See also: “Ob arm, ob Reich, im Tode Gleich.”

The Devil’s Diplomatic Dictionary:  Free Supplement: John Bolt On

The T Wrecks, unable to defend itself whilst wrecking U.S. foreign policy, has failed the Darwinian test of natural selection.

T. Rex:Supplement from “The Devil’s Diplomatic Dictionary”

T Wrecks was rendered extinct by Boltanius Johannicus, to which we now turn our attention.

John Boltin’:  1) When one must go to the toilet immediately, whether to vomit or defecate, because one has eaten bad Mexican takeout. 2) When one must immediately rush to wage a blitzkrieg. Example: “Donald Trump is john boltin’ to North Korea for a fake summit.”

John Bolt On: Has many meanings, These follow.

  1. John, Bolt On: A portable toilet, in which a suspect is to be locked and interrogated, possibly using toilet water. See also: Chinese water torture; water board in.
  2. John Bolt, On: When one is locked inside of a toilet which is overflowing due to being jammed. “The john bolt is on. Help! Help.” Old Nick (q.v.) just loves their screams, devil take the hindmost. (qq.v.)

Source: The Devil’s Diplomatic Dictionary: Ann Omynous: 9781542571890: Books


How NOT to Write about Law: Legal Writing for Law School & Law Reviews

A thesis like this is very bad:

“this issue has it’s good points it has its bad points but in the end maybe it’s more this way than that”

What I (and your reader) are looking for is insightful powerful compelling ideas or at least concrete proposals, not unicorns and bubbles blahblah. For example, parsing a specific law, proposing a specific law, or analyzing a particular court case.

See: How to Write about Law: Legal Writing for Law School & Law Reviews: Eric Engle: 9781976703164: Books

How to Write about Law: Legal Writing for Law School & Law Reviews – Free Addendum

A student recently asked me an interesting question about quotations, which I did not address in How to Write About Law.
What about quotations which themselves contain quotes?

Here is an example by my hero John Kennedy.

“…we must think and act not only for the moment but for our time. I am reminded of the story of the great French Marshal Lyautey, who once asked his gardener to plant a tree. The gardener objected that the tree was slow-growing and would not reach maturity for a hundred years. The Marshal replied, ‘In that case, there is no time to lose, plant it this afternoon.'” -John Kennedy

indicates the person speaking (Kennedy) and
indicates the person quoted (the Marshall) by the speaker who you are quoting (Kennedy).

Kennedy said: “a hundred years. The Marshall replied, ‘blah'”

This type of quotation can be referred to as a nested quote.

We nest quotes thusly:
” ‘ ‘ “
Nesting of quotations is similar to nesting of braces, brackets, and parentheses in mathematics to indicate the order of operations.

Related points:
Polyglot Quotation Styles
English quotation marks are “for example like this”, whereas
<<french quotations are thus>> and
,,German quotations are this way.

When quoting foreign text in your English language works I recommend including a translation in the footnote of the original text. I don’t require that of my students, but your editors will appreciate it. I also would use the foreign quotation convention, not the US convention. For examples of retention of foreign literary conventions in English: 1) we capitalize German nouns in English, 2) we retain foreign spellings of loan-words such as crepe in English, though we may drop diacritical marks as I have here or retain them at the author’s discretion. It is better style to retain diacritical marks such as accents, circumflex, etc. Not all English language authors retain diacritical marks on loan-words to English because old typewriters did not have unicode symbols.

I presume nested quotations in French and German likely also use a single quote mark to indicate a quotation of someone who quotes another person. I could be wrong about that, so … don’t quote me on that. 🙂

It is bad style to use emoticons in scientific writing. I do so to raise that point so it is not left unstated.

Non-Literal Quotation Marks

Quotation marks are used to indicate literal speech, but also to indicate concepts and terms such as “nested quotes”. I think it is better to avoid using quotation marks to indicate concepts or terms:  Either the quoted concept is strong enough to stand on its own, in which case it needs no attention brought to it by a quotation mark, or it isn’t. No amount of bolstering or posturing strengthens a weak or unpersuasive idea. Furthermore, this (mis)use of the quotation mark makes your reader anticipate something which never occurs: the words of someone other than you, the author. The result? A confused and frustrated reader, left wondering whether your quoted concept is someone else’s words you used but forgot to cite.
Citus interruptus, to coin a ribald witty phrase.

Quoted concepts also weaken your writing by making it look sarcastic or affected. No one likes a faker…

Source: How to Write about Law: Legal Writing for Law School & Law Reviews – Kindle edition by Eric Engle. Professional & Technical Kindle eBooks @

Free supplement! Devil’s Diplomatic Dictionary

From “The Devil’s Diplomatic Dictionary

Pocahontas: A white person, who thinks themselves to be an Indian, although they are not enrolled in any nation band or tribe recognized by the BIA, nor have any demonstrable Indian blood or tribal adoption. Supposedly a Harvard law school has a quota of Pocahontas’s though whether this quota, if it even exists, is a glass ceiling or glass floor is open for debate.

Domestic dependent nation; the American term for what in international law is called a “vassal state”. Vassal states retain their international legal personality, however their foreign policy competences are exclusively administered by their suzerain. As the Six Nations Confederacy retains relations both to the government of Canada and the United States it is not a vassal state.

Navajo Code Talker: An Indian, usually but not necessarily a Navajo, who talks about “flying turkeys” who are all set for a “crash landing” and will end up in a “birdcage”; possibly in English, if they are feeling so inclined. See also: Counting Coups. See also: hero.

Counting Coups: The Indian practice, among some of the native nations, of quietly putting a notch in their rifle for all the people they chose not to kill, but could have and maybe even should have.

Indian: A term for some to be indignant about. Any of the various native nations on turtle island (q.v.) or any member thereof whether by blood or adoption. Possibly a corruption of the term Indigenous? Etymologically usually attributed to Columbus’s navigation error. See also: redskin/red’s kin.

Redskin: A paleface suffering from a bad bout of nuclear radiation.

Red’s kin: Polite term for a half-breed, quarter-breed, octaroon, or any other mixed blood person; not to be confused with “red kin”, which is a rude term for a shabby commie relative.

Assimilation: See “slow-motion genocide”; “boiling a frog”; “raspberry reich”.

Indian Giver: A white person, who claims that a fraudulent treaty divests of so-called “Indian title”; see also — thief.

T. Rex:Supplement from “The Devil’s Diplomatic Dictionary”

T. Rex:
A carnivorous dinosaur, thus a rare and an endangered species. Preferred hunting grounds of the T. Rex are dinosaur graveyards, where it finds plenty of fuel for it’s voracious appetite.  T. Rex, though toothsome, has but short stubby arms, and is in that sense handicapped and unable to fight, which explains its tendency to scavenge dinosaur carrion.


Wrecks, Till Her Son…
An insinuation that a certain secretary of state, who shall remain nameless, was tasked with destroying U.S. foreign policy from within, and that said person shall remain in office until such time as the wreckage results in large numbers of U.S. soldiers coming home to their military funeral.


Counter-Intuition: From “How to Write about Law” (Forthcoming)

Science is the formation and verification of hypotheses.

A counter-intuitive hypothesis is always  interesting but is unlikely. The counter-intuitive hypothesis will probably attract interest, because it looks unique, new, shiny! But who wants to attract a reputation for being wrong? One must be most careful with counter-intuitive ideas, more critical than usual. How likely is it that everyone else is wrong, or that you have discovered something no one else has? Not very.
Whenever we have a counter-intuitive idea we should ask where we got that idea, why we believe that idea may be the case. It’s not like everyone else on earth is perfectly honest all the time.
Of course, State actors meet with the problem of “unintended consequences” all the time; that is the product of not thinking through ideas to their logical consequences, or failing to foresee the reactions of others to our own actions. Others’ actions are never entirely foreseeable, and so to some extent unintended consequences are inevitable. It’s not that others are stupid or thoughtless: it’s simply that in war “the enemy gets a vote” – and they vote with bullets.
So, the penalty for being wrong about these things is severe.

Metamorphosis (from “Terrible Tales and Worse Verse”)

Once upon a time there was a loud loud lesbian.
She was a nervous nelly!
She was simply so scared!
See, some simple minded people don’t like lesbians.
Even the good ones!
Even the kind ones!
Even the nice ones!
Not nice!
So: Nervous nelly.
Why are they that way? Why don’t they like the good ones, or the kind ones, or even the nice ones?
That’s because some people are simple.
So the loud lesbian learned to love herself more and more and the more she loved herself the more other people loved her.
Which is why she was a lesbian in the first place. She loved herself, and she was a woman.
But the more the other people loved her, the sweeter her voice grew.
And the sweeter her voice grew the less nervous she felt.
And the calmer she felt the more confident she became.
So the loud loud lesbian turned into a sweet sonorous songbird!
It took a lot of time but was worth it.
The end 🙂

Moral: Be loud. Be brave. Be loving. Become even better!

Nachricht: Devil’s Diplomatic Dictionary

“In deep cold cavernous spaces
where shadows pair with shades
where old books dream the dreams
of times when they were trees
where coal doth bear the diamond
one knows not light nor day
there ’tis where every spirit reigns
who one would call a shadow-king”

-Colophonius Regenschein

Ask me about the books [email protected]

Dear reader,

Thank you for reading. Law is complex. Feel free to ask me about my books, just email me at [email protected] I will do my best to answer as quickly as I can because your thoughts and questions mean a lot to me. I give away a lot of free legal analysis and resources at

This is a gratuitous offer and does not imply any contractual rights or duties.

Fiat Justitia! 🙂


Chinese Learning Resources


Some of you may know I am learning Mandarin Chinese. Since some of you may also be learning that language I wish to provide you a list of great Mandarin teachers and resources. I order these from “easiest” i.e. beginner to hardest. I then provide a detailed review: they are all excellent in different ways. First, a disclaimer: I have not been paid by any of these teachers nor have I been given any discounts on their works. Links to all these Mandarin teachers and other teachers who I enjoy follow this post.

Learn Chinese With Emma
Yang Yang / YoYo Chinese
Chinese Pod
New Concept Mandarin
XM Mandarin
Angel Huang
Mandarin Corner
Xue Bai

Learn Chinese With Emma is really oriented toward young children, but is great. Emma teaches colors, numbers, and is really a great teacher, especially for the beginner or children.

Yang Yang / YoYo Chinese is a “celebrity teacher”. Most of her best work is Mandarin to English, i.e. ESL. She does do great CSL work. Much of her work for CSL is at HSK1 or HSK2. Some of it is more advanced. Her works are “free samples” for her subscription site, like most of the reviewed works here. Yang Yang is really interesting to study to learn teaching techniques. She really combines the  best of Chinese and American teaching methodology and is a must see if you are a teacher, especially if you do ESL or CSL. She is also a great dancer and good singer.

Chinese Pod: Chinese pod is really accessible. The main teacher there is Fiona Tan, who is I guess Scottish+Chinese=Awesome. Some of her videos are with her sister Iona. She also teaches with Constance. I guess she is based in Taiwan: her more recent works use simplified and traditional characters. Her earlier works used only traditional characters. If you are new to Chinese do not worry about simplified versus traditional: they are so similar that you will usually not notice the difference. Much of Chinese pod’s works are about HSK2 or HSK3. Some, exceptionally, are about HSK4.

Emma, Yang Yang, and Fiona are all fun to watch and effective teachers. Not “scholarly” but that’s not really possible at HSK1/HSK2 anyway. If you are learning Chinese for a business trip use them and also New Concept Mandarin to get your polite self-introductions, food-ordering, and basic directions learned.

Chelsea Bedroom Chinese: Chelsea is silly and fun and really dramatic. Not scholarly but somewhat artistice. Her tellings of Chinese mythology are amazing! So is her acting style. Use Chelsea’s materials for a fun break from serious studying. She does teach grammar and vocabulary and is a great teacher. HSK2/HSK3.

New Concept Mandarin: NCM uses “flipped learning”. Their online works are good lessons at HSK1-HSK3 levels. To really benefit from them you should take their courses. Flipped learning is the idea that the student drives the teaching experience and that the teacher guides and incites their curiousity. In Flipped Learning the student does most of their studying outside of the classroom, the classroom experience is meant to confirm and if necessary correct the student’s learning. NCM explains this methodology in detail on one of their videos. Again, a must-see for teachers, especially for language teachers. It is a really interesting method of teaching and if you are near them you should sign up for their courses. They probably teach by skype too.

XM Mandarin: XM Mandarin is around HSK3-HSK4. Xiao Min has a great voice (so do all the other teachers here) and her materials are really good. What I really love about XM is they use songs to teach Mandarin, with extensive lyrics and explanations so you really understand what the song is singing. Xiao Min is really disciplined and puts a lot of thoughtful effort into teaching. She is not “shiny bells and whistles” but is dedicated and effective as a teacher. This is where it starts to get “scholarly” and even artistic! She’s amazing.

Angel Huang: she has a really great teaching name, and is kinda like an angel in  that she does some really effective teaching. She offers 150 videos teaching the 1500 most common character/words in Chinese. It takes discipline because it is only in Chinese, with English subtitles but if you watch her over and over again (and like all the other people here she’s pretty) you WILL learn those characters. HSK3/HSK4

Xue Bai: Here it is really best for HSK 4 and up. Lots of reading, fairly scholarly, a great resource. HSK4 and up!

Mandarin Corner
This one is awesome MC teaches HSK1-HSK5 and if you are preparing to take the HSK she is the best to use for learning and review. She defines the word, gives the English translation, and then uses it in a Chinese sentence. Twice. Very disciplined. Very pretty. Very effective.

All these teachers offer subscription only services. You should try their works and then if you like them by all means subscribe. They are all wonderful teachers and must be great people IRL. You can probably do one-on-one skype learning with them or their colleagues. I should not be biased but these are all really beautiful people in every way.


Chinese Sentence Structure – Chinese Grammar Simplified 101 – YouTube

This video is not particularly well made, however it does illustrate an important point of Chinese grammar and also gives some indication why Chomsky argued for generative grammar, yet at the same moment refutes generative grammar.

One generally observes in all languages the grammar pattern:
Subject-Verb-Object for declarative sentences
(Subject)-Verb-(Object) for imperative sentences
Verb-Subject-Object for interrogative sentences.

However, these patterns, though they do occur generally are not universally observed. Passive voice for example allows an inversion of object-verb-subject. Passive voice appears to exist in all observed languages which I know. Heavily inflected languages are the least bound by SVO convention and inflections enable any of the six possibilities of SVO SOV VSO VOS OSV OVS to be formed.

Even if SVO were universal – and it is not – it is riddled with exceptions and qualifications. Do indirect/dative objects appear before or after direct/accusative/partitive objects? Is the language inflected or not? What about time and manner, do they appear before or after the object? Time and manner do appear to generally occur in that order, but that order may be varied for emphasis or poetic effect.

There are so many obvious variations among languages that the idea of a universal generative grammar, though tempting due to the genetic bottlenecks in human history, is empirically false. The take home message of this video is that Chinese grammar, unlike English, tends to be organized as


How to Answer Yes and No in Mandarin Chinese? – YouTube

I saw this video

and it reminded me of another empirical disproof of Chomsky’s theory of generative grammar. One might intuitively think that “yes” and “no” are two very fundamental aspects of any language. Indeed, when learning or teaching languages I advise your first two words should be “yes” and “no”. Ok seems to have become an international word since the 1990s, which proves the tendency of dialects and languages to merge back to each other with improved communication. While Chomsky and his followers might argue that the linguistic convergence is due to the universal nature of generative grammar I disagree. Languages likely did emerge from one common tongue as seen in Hebrew and Hindu myths, and likely in other myths – mythology is oral prehistory. However, language arose from one common tongue due to a genetic bottleneck.

We can see all this from the fact that even a basic element such as “yes” or “no” is not common in languages today. For example, in French we have “si” and “oui” for yes. This isn’t merely langue d’oc, i.e. southern versus northern French. Rather, “si” to me reflects an affirmation of what the questioner has asked, not an affirmation that one is in fact certain; that is, “si” is more uncertain than “oui”. “Are you alive?” “Si.” “Do you believe in the one true God?” “Oui”. In Chinese we most usually repeat the verb which was used in the question:
“Do you know him?”
“Know him.”

ni3 ta1 ren4 shi ma? 你他认识吗?
One can however use bu4 不 as a negation and shi4 de 是 的 as an existential affirmation.

We can easily observe many grammatical divergences which resulted from the migrations and isolations of human tribes from each other since -150,000 years ago. These disprove the theory of generative grammar since they are sufficiently divergent as to be unable to be expressed in a single recursive grammar. Since these divergences appear to have arisen despite the one-time universal language they attest to the fact that language is a social construct, not a neurological inevitability — and thus by extension is not limited to the human species, and only the human species. Chomsky’s theory of generative grammar is simply wrong and empirically refutable.

Empirical Evidence in Support of Chomsky’s Theory of Generative Grammar?

Chomsky argues that there is a meta-grammar, a grammar-of-all-grammars, inherent to human language, which he calls “generative grammar”. His idea of a recursive function which describes all human language is theoretically intriguing, but empirically fairly readily falsified. In earlier posts I pointed to features of gramma unique to some languages, yet not found in others. Examples include, but are not limited to: declension of nouns, conjugation of verbs, presence, absence, and use of articles, prepositions or post-positions, nouns-as-verbs, compound-nouns, tonality, gender or gender neutrality, particles. Some of these features are not part of the English language, which is why you may never have heard of or considered them. Note that Chomsky appears only to speak English, French, and Hebrew, and that English is a bastard language; basically Germanic nouns for common items, a largely simplified Germanic grammar, with Latin terms for any advanced concepts. This is to say he lacks the empirical foundation to carry his argument.

Although I reject his generative grammar hypothesis I wish in this post to describe some language features which appear to me to be common to all languages I have studied, which is very few in comparison to the roughly 35,000 languages on Earth. However, my languages are representative of the three main trunks of Indo-European (Germanic, Romantic, Slavic) as well as two non IE langugages – Estonian and Mandarin.

One structure which appears fairly consistent accross languages is the use of the subject-verb-object SVO format for declarative and imperative sentences. In contrast, question sentences (interrogatives) only sometimes use the format VSO. Chinese for example relies on question particles such as “ma” and “ne” which allows the sentence to retain SVO form. Furthermore even within SVO there are wide variants on the word order: do indirect objects precede or follow direct objects? What about temporal elements and negation? Temporal elements, negation, and direct/indirect object placement vary between languges.

This post however caught my eye because it does confirm something intuitively common to me based on my language knowledge so far: the time-manner-place-object structure. In Mandarin sentences generally can be fit into this form:

This is still very far from Chomsky’s idea that there be a recursive grammar which describes all human grammar and that this generative grammar is inherent to the human, and only the human. However, SVO is consistent with my positions:
1) The human species suffered a near-extinction event some 150,000 years ago.
2) This near-extinction events resulted in a genetic bottleneck.
3) This genetic bottleneck was sufficiently narrow that humans at one point in history had only one language: proto-world.
4) Proto-world in turn evolved into Nostratic, and then Indo-European

These observations are consistent with genetics, mythology (e.g. tower of Babel), and the observed empirical facts of human language. They better explain the few common elements we can occasionally observe among human languages than Chomsky’s unproven hypothesis. When a hypothesis is empirically falsified we reject it, particularly when a more accurate hypothesis better fits the facts.

I point out the SVO structure partly in fairness to Chomsky, though even with SVO we quickly observe variances to contain nuance. Human language tends to use SVO for declarative sentences but readily admits exceptions. E.g.
“The ball I threw is now on the floor” OSVO
“That is the dog I walked”. OVS

In all I regard Chomsky’s generative grammar thesis as interesting more for what it says about scientific production than on its own terms: as a thesis it is untenable due to empirical falsification. As an example of the limits and possibilities of the scientific method it interesting.

Chinese-English Law Dictionaries Free and Online

I see that there appears to be an inner-party struggle within the Chinese Communist Party. I would like to see less corruption, more rule of law because that is in the interest of all people.

Hopefully understanding that will make the U.S. Navy feel better about China’s refusal to accept a courtesy call from the USS  Stennis. It is likelier an expression of uncertainty within the Chinese Communist Party, rather than an extension of known friction between the U.S. and China regarding Chinese insular claims, a topic I posted on earlier today.


Meanwhile, I am learning Chinese. This is a placeholder link-list.

Animals and Language – Nim Chimpsky

I have recently started reading about animals and language. Animal use of language is really interesting to me. However, I don’t regard it as an area where significant breakthroughs in social science or natural science, unless of course we eventually encounter an alien civilization, intelligent life from some other planet.

In the context of the generative grammar hypothesis one interesting thing is that animals do not use their limited human language communicative ability to ask questions. This is interesting because it parallels Aristotle, who regarded animals as having only vegetative functions. For Aristotle, the natural slave can “apprehend, but not form questions”. So the fact that animals rarely or never appear to pose questions to humans may be a warrant for generative grammar. Likewise, it appears that animals trained to use human language do not do so using grammatical rules. That too is a warrant for Chomsky’s argument. However, those warrants are still far from any proof of the generative grammar hypothesis, and do not contrary the various observed grammatic divergences which tend to disprove generative grammar.

Chomsky, recall, argues that language is like a self-similar self-extracting archive, a recursive i.e. self referential structure, and that this structure is universal. I do not believe I have misread or misunderstood Chomsky’s thesis. He argues that all human grammars can be modelled using one function; that function, if it existed, could be better modelled recursively than iteratively. However, I have pointed out lots of instances of divergences in human grammar which could not arise were all grammatical structures self similar. Chomskys’ generative grmamar would be a meta-grammar which would account for both pre-positions and post-positions as well as for languages which do not use tenses and those which do, and which also accounts for languages which do or do not use cases, and if so which cases. Well, it is perhaps mathematically possible to make such a meta grammar. However, it is also possible to model the universe using a heliocentric model. The math however is needlessly complicated. Occam’s razor and similar heuristics indicate that a simpler theory which acounts for all the observed data is better than a more complex one. The theory that all language grew out of a nostratic model but then evolved in radically different directions is simpler, has at least as much explanatory value, and actually corresponds to the observed linguistic facts.

The limits on the trained instances of human cognizable language used by animals are
1) no questions
2) no grammar
while *consistent* with Chomsky’s generative grammar hypothesis but are not a *proof* of it. Chomsky argues that human grammar is universally the same, i.e. inherent. These findings in animal language do not contrary that. However, they are not inconsistent with the nostratic-evolutionary hypothesis which I am presenting as a better more accurate explanation of the origins of language and evolution of grammar. If generative grammar were true then grammars would not evolve. However, grammars do evolve as can be seen even within the English language.


I saw that Dershowitz, whom I believe Finkelstein accused of plagiarism, has settled the lawsuit against him for rape. I’ve no idea of the merits or lack thereof in the rape accusation, though I do think the plagiarism accusation is inexact.

Like I said, I am not Finkelstein.

In a similar vein, vigenerable name, Lewin Carol wrote a book of some fame. It’s wonderous topic? Logical games!

I have not written here yet about game theory: mostly I am concerned about the Solomon islands problem (dominant strategy with information constraints) and the Monty Hall puzzle. I promise to say somethings about one or both in the next post, likely tomorrow.

Carol’s game is meant to teach propositional logic, and can be played solo. I don’t think it would be too useful for the LSAT, but I could be wrong and it might be a fun and whimsical way to get into logic, a field which I only studied formally after my  undergraduate degree in politics – and which all would-be jurists must master. I do not regard the LSAT logical games section as a good predictor for aptitude in law.  I regard it as one more selector for social class. Why the legal system thinks, or thought, that legal knowledge should be limited to the governing elite escapes me.

I tend not to comment on Chinese domestic law, because I do not yet speak Chinese. Thereto, fellow language learners might enjoy this quiz on Chinese characters. I hope to have time to mark it up so that it will be more useful.

Of course, one day I will study Chinese law, but only after attaining at least minimal proficiency in Mandarin. Despite my prudent reticence I note that I was disappointed that the court dismissed their claim for civil union. People should be free to organize their private affairs, generally speaking. The litigants plan to appeal. I will not comment on that further because 1) the language is still beyond me 2) I am still not sufficiently acquainted with Chinese law. I am however certain that Maoist theory regards same sex relations as legitimate. Although I have not read Mao directly addressing mentioned homosexuality or transsexuals the fact is Mao upheld equal rights of men and women, ending foot binding, forced prostitution, and increasing women’s literacy.
Likely, Mao was a terrible economist. He was certainly a brilliant general. Successors to Maoism in the West claim the right not only to equality of men and women but also of homosexuals, heterosexuals, and transsexuals.

I would prefer, if possible, not to talk about Chinese political theory publicly. I do not yet have the linguistic or political expertise to do so, despite having a very deep understanding of Marxism, Leninism, and Maoism. It would be imprudent, possibly presumptuous or rude of me, and I might even be naive. I try only to comment on social problems in ways which will be helpful and know very well.

I plan to build some quizzes. I found this quiz / survey on economics and investing really well done.

Well, I hope you enjoy mindworks! 🙂

好好              学习,    天天          向上
Hǎo hǎo    xuéxí,   tiāntiān xiàngshàng

Gender, Sex, and Language

I have not written about gender and sex in language partly because gender and sex strike me as ridiculously stilted and obvious constructs, not unalterable  natural phenomena but instead very human and thus malleable. Of course, I do not live in a gender binary, so things which might escape those who do are obvious to me. Still, I don’t usually bother to vector my arguments through gender, except to point out the fact that gender is a social construct which occurs across a spectrum, just like sex, one of the material bases of gender also ranges through a spectrum. Work is the other material fact of gender. Sex and gender are sufficiently conflicted that it is sufficient to point out that they are social constructs to defuse or even resolve varieties of social conflicts which involve sex or gender.

So I did not raise the gender and sex aspects of linguistics that also refute Chomsky’s generative grammar thesis till now.

Another couple of empirical refutations of Chomsky’s generative grammar thesis are seen in gender and articles. Some language have gender, others do not. For example, in Estonian nouns are not gendered, nor or personal pronouns. Tema (formal) Ta (informal) indicate he or she. Likewise, in spoken mandarin Chinese there is no difference between the pronouns “ta” for he or she. Gender is a social construct just like language is which is revealed in a serious study of foreign language.

It is of course interesting that Chinese and Estonian the word “ta” means he or she: a refutation of generative grammar is not necessarily a refutation of the nostratic hypothesis of the origins of human language. However, if generative grammar were  true — and as I am showing, it is not — then the nostratic thesis would necessarily follow.

What about articles, words like “a”, “an” or “the”? In some languages they exist, in other languages they do not exist. Meanwhile, in those languages which have articles some languages gender the articles, others do not, and some languages inflect their articles to reflect case, whereas others do not. In English articles are no longer inflected. In German they are. In Estonian, Russian, and Mandarin Chinese articles do not exist. One can approximate the use of articles in those languages by the use of “one” or “that”.

Again, those are empirical facts which refute Chomsky’s theory of generative grammar.

I believe I have already pointed out that different languages use fairly different structures for indicating tense.

The only aspects of grammar which appear to be universal are: nouns and verbs. Prepositions and postpositions though together existing in the few languages I have (intensely) studied do not exist in all languages. English has no post-positions. Estonian does not naturally have prepositions. And as we know nouns in some languages are inflected, but not in others. Likewise, there are serious differences in the different grammars of verbs, and not only in the existence or formation of tenses. Some languages readily admit that verbs can function as nouns: German is the best example I know of. Some are also ready to gladly join nouns and/or verbs to form new compound nouns — again, German is a most obvious example. English in contrast is more reticent: “That’s good eating.” would be good German grammar but is incorrect in English and not even particularly colloquial — who really talks like that, other than stereotypes? Likewise, English is not agglutinative: English tends not to form compounded nouns. Runningboard is not English, even though we know from old media that cars once had a “running board” on which one could stand and ride, but which was really meant for wiping one’s feet before getting into the car. English indicates compound nouns correctly with the dash, e.g., “running-board”.

Thus, generative grammar collapses into something which even if it were true – and it isn’t – is almost nearly useless. All languages have nouns and verbs? Wow, you don’t say? The generative grammar thesis, which promised that one recursive function could be used to parse all human languages simply is not true as can be seen from so many structural differences even among languages spoken by vast swathes of the planet. It would likely be even more refuted by a consideration of languages of native nations in what we now call the Americas, the South Pacific, and Africa. Generative grammar as a theory simply has no predictive power, which is one of the verifications of the scientificity of a theory.

A more interesting question is how can such an obviously untrue idea have been the foundation of a successful radical academic’s career?

Well, Chomsky said to Finkelstein: “if you follow this, you’re going to get in trouble—because you’re going to expose the American intellectual community as a gang of frauds, and they are not going to like it, and they’re going to destroy you.”

But I’m not Finkelstein. 🙂

Learning Chinese – Wish list

I am learning Chinese and would like to find a bi-lingual parallel hypertext of Sun Tzu or Mao Zedong in simplified Chinese and any of French, Russian, German, Spanish, Estonian, or English. Any links or electronic files are greatly appreciated.

Human intelligence, machine “intelligence”, animal intelligence?, communication, and animism. :)

Is artificial intelligence possible? Well, that depends on what we mean by “intelligence”. If we mean “memory”, machines clearly remember things better than humans. If we mean “chess playing” machines, again, better than humans.

Humans have a real limitation: our short term memory, also known as “working memory” is terrible. Furthermore, it takes us no little time to put information into our “long term memory”, where, again, we are outclassed by machines.

Yet, clearly, humans do some things better than machines. Deriving new hypothetical inferences from existing known data, for example.

This does not mean that machines will not “evolve” into the ability to engage in “creative” acts such as painting (computer composers already exist) or complex problem solving. However, to present, the capacity of humans to integrate a vast array of disparate information and derive not only certain inferences therefrom but also potential hypothesis, the ability to develope metacognitive process – heuristics – seems unique to humans.

Seems. So far.

The problem of machine intelligence relates back to the question of animal intelligence and communication I alluded to earlier. For example, apparently, a beluga whale was able to vocalize the word “out” to signal its displeasure, and this in a hearing channel (frequency) humans could perceive.

Meanwhile, what about mice? It is known that mice can remember, can negotiate mazes, and engage in primitive forms of reason. Are they “thinking”? Are they “self-aware”?

Just as we can look at other species to question the idea of intelligence and communication we can also look at other bodies in the universe such as planets or solar systems. Aristotle regarded such things as inanimate, as not having a principle even of vegetative motion. Volcanos and earthquakes however are motion. For all we know humans are but cells in a giant living body, the so-called “gaia hypothesis” of the earth as a living organism, and possibly a self aware one.

Law School

Law school is like a pleasant walk in the woods, a real picnic.

Except, there is a murder in the woods.

And the murderer in the woods is hunting you.

And the murderer in the woods is part of a conspiracy!

So the food in your picknick basket might be poisoned!!

And the woods are on fire!!!


(c) Eric Engle, Doctor of Laws.

Chomsky and Generative Grammar: Science is built on a foundation of failed theories.

Noam Chomsky was originally a linguist. He made himself famous arguing for a theory of a universal generative grammar. For Chomsky, language is a recursive structure, and grammatical features are universally distributed; language, for Chomsky, is a “self extracting archive”, so to speak.

The problem with this theory, which is elegant and simple and thus scientifically attractive, is that it is empirically untrue. Beyond the existence of nouns and verbs there are many serious linguistic divergences which are inconsistent with Chomsky’s thesis and in my opinion invalidate it. No matter how attractive a theory is, however parsimonious it is, whatever explanatory power it offers, if it does not match up with all the empirical facts then it must be modified or rejected.

Leave aside for a minute the idea that if language is an inherent structure to humanity, and unique to humanity implies that knowledge is in some sense genetic. A twisted person could argue that Chomsky proffers a theory which is ultimately genetic, i.e. racist. Chomsky is hardly a racist but if language is a biological function then it is one step from essentailism into tribalism and it ends with race supremacism. Also leave aside the “Jane Goodall” critique, that we increasingly see examples of communication among various animal species, most famously Coco the ape who signs. Leave aside also the idea that perhaps other animals communicate complex ideas but using methods which either evade our ability to perceive them as being outside our frequency of hearing or using a radically different grammar, or which we have not cognized as communicative. There are many bird songs we cannot replicate with our vocal chords, yet that does not mean we do not speak or sing.

For once I disagree with Aristotle; Aristotle believed that other animals only emote, and do not think or communicate, rather only feel. That too appears empirically disproven at least among the most developed animals: some great apes do sign. However, even within an anthro-centric view which limits itself to human speech the generative grammar thesis does not line up with the facts of real-world languages.

clippy-with-textThere are several examples of unique grammar structures found in some languages but not others. I address them briefly here to show why Chomsky’s theory, though elegant, is empirically incorrect.

Probably the easiest example for those who do not know several foreign languages is word order. While mostlanguages use the subject-verb-object model for declaratory statements and verb-subject-object for questions word order in languages otherwise differs. Some languages, for example Mandarin, have fairly rigid word orders, a few have in theory no fixed word order (e.g., Latin) and most have a mix of rigid and flexible rules, English being one example there. However, the mix of rules and flex varies from language to language, and anyone who speaks German the rather different rules of word order found in that language. German has a more rigid word order than English, and its ordering of words, beyond SVO or VSO is fairly different from English even though it is a declined language.

Beyond the fact of word order, which as anyone who speaks both German and English can tell you varies quite a bit even between closely related languages there are other emprical facts which demonstrate that Chomsky’s thesis of language as universal and inherent is wrong. To my understanding, Chomsky is arguing that language is self-similar, i.e.recursive, and this is why he calls it generative grammar. Either reading of Chomsky – language as a universal recursive function, or merely as universal, is empirically untrue.

Particles are the easiest example for an anglophone to see. Particles do not exist in English. They do in Russian with the “li” particle indicating hypotheticals, i.e. the subjuntive. “be -li” in Russian would be “if it be so” in English.

Russian is the only indo European language I know which has particles. Chinese has many particles. “Duh” as a particle indicates possesion. “Luh” as a particle indicates the past tense. “Guh” as a particle indicates some specific instance, and seems close to the partitive/genitive distinction.

In English we use prepositions. “Of”, “To”, “From” etc. In English, prepositions increasingly converge so that old-school prepositions such as unto, hereunder i.e. compounded prepositions are no longer widely used and are even archaic e.g. “Wherefore art thou, Romeo?” While Indo Europen uses prepositions Uralic languages such as Estonian use post-positions. In Estonian we would say “The lamp is the table on.” This is another example of why there is not in fact a universal grammar beyond, perhaps, nouns and verbs.

As well as pre- and post- positions we can note the existence of declensions. English only has vestiges of declensions in pronouns: “he”, “his”, “him”, “to him” are the nominative genitive accusative and dative forms. Likewise who, whose, whom, to whom; she, her, her, to her. Declensions no longer exist in English articles and really no longer exist in Romance languages like French, even though Latin had more cases than Old English. Yet, in modern German declensions still exist, which has four cases and declensions are even more notable in Russian with six cases. The richest countries for declensions seem to be Estonian and Finnish with 13 or 14 cases. Chinese in contrast has no cases.

Verb tense is also hardly universal. Chinese has no tense. Tense is indicated contextually by time markers and by particles in Chinese. English in contrast has remarkably complex tenses and so does French. Estonian and Russian in contrast only have three tenses — past present and future, but Russian has perfective and imperfective verbs to indicate whether the action was done to completion or is ongoing, whereas the two verb forms in Estonian, which also has but three tenses are used to indicate modality. Russian does not use the verb to be in the present tense, it is indicated contextually. Auxiliary verbs are not used to indicate tense in Russian.

These are the principle features of those languages which I have learned that differ sufficiently from each other that I am confident as an empirical matter that grammar is not universally uniform beyond nouns and verbs. There are sufficient basic words in all learned languages which appear to basic to be other than the consequence of a proto-world language. The nostratic hypothesis can be well proven by comparing just English, German, French, Estonian, and Russian — one language from each of the European language families apart from the isolates.

While I do believe that there was once a proto-world language with but one grammar, this grammar evolved and split and is not in fact an inherent biological function universal not merely in existence but also in development. We can see the decline of declensions and the convergence of prepositions quite clearly in English. If language were generative and a biological function then language would not evolve, yet it does.

Chomsky’s view should be seen in context of the times he wrote it. Machine analysis of language was in its infancy. Foreign language acquisition was considerably more difficult. The generative grammar hypothesis may well have served a useful role in the development of machine processing of language for translation. Yet, increasingly available historic and genetic evidence through better archeaology and genome analysis as well as the increasing awareness that language is not a uniquely human construct explain why for empirical reasons we must see Chomsky’s attempt to cast light from “the tower of babble” as but an effort. Chomsky, like Einstein, Keynes, Kelsen, sought to develop a general theory. Like each of them, his general theory must be seen as having collapsed into a special theory. Generative grammar is at least a special theory applicable to tbe machine processing of language. Beyond that it is unfortunately empirically flawed, like the other great efforts at general theorizing in the 20th century.

Evolutionary language theory is the future. The behaviorial theory of language has yet to be developed, and will provide key insights for data mining, machine intelligence, and AI user agents such as Cortana.


Donald Trump will win the republican party nomination to stand for election to the Presidency of the United States of

Antonin Scalia

Justice Scalia just died; although I was very much his political opponent, I feel it properly respectful to give my respects. I sincerely disagree with much of his views, however he sincerely believed (and I did not disagree with all his beliefs).

I never addressed his works directly, and probably will not, it is only fair to give an opponent the chance to respond.

It bears repeating: do you still think Snowden is a hero and the NSA a villain?

Russia having success in hybrid war against Germany

By Lucian Kim
February 7, 2016

The attack came in the form of a Saturday evening newscast from
Moscow. It would take days before the German government realized what
was happening, but by that time the damage was already done. Germany’s
sizable Russian-speaking community –made up of migrants from the former
Soviet Union — was up in arms about a report that refugees from the
Middle East had gang-raped a 13-year-old Russian girl in Berlin — and
that the local police was covering up the crime.

Until recently, Germany had largely been spared the wrath of Russia’s
state propaganda machine. Germans, in their eagerness to be
conscientious world citizens and reliable business partners, were seen
in the Kremlin as allies to coddle and co-opt. That view changed
abruptly in 2014, when Angela Merkel led the drive for European Union
sanctions to punish Russia for its war against Ukraine. Now, as the
German chancellor flounders domestically because of her open-door
refugee policy, she has made herself vulnerable to attack. “I’ve never
seen so much glee from the Russians as during Germany’s refugee crisis,”
said a diplomat in Berlin.

On Jan. 16, Russia’s state-run Channel One led the 9 o’clock evening news with a shocking report from Berlin.
“Evidence has emerged that migrants in Germany have started raping
children,” presenter Yekaterina Andreyeva said in the intro. That
evidence came in the form of testimony by the “Aunt Marina” of a teenage
girl, identified as Lisa, who claimed she had been abducted on her way
to school and raped by migrants for more than a day. More proof that
Germany is going to hell in a hand basket was a blurry video of a
supposed recent arrival who bragged about raping a “virgin” with five
other men. (Germany’s Bild newspaper later reported that the video had appeared on YouTube more than six years ago.)

Lisa’s relatives told Channel One that the police was refusing to
find the perpetrators. The Berlin police was unavailable for comment
over the weekend. Frightened neighbors, mostly members of the Russian
diaspora in Germany, gathered for a “spontaneous” protest in the Marzahn
district in eastern Berlin, Channel One reported. One woman tearfully
recounted how her 14-year-old child was terrified of passing a refugee
shelter on the way to school. It later turned out that the neo-Nazi
National Democratic Party had organized the protest.

Coming just weeks after widespread sexual assaults by migrants in
Cologne on New Year’s Eve, Lisa’s story was incendiary — and spread like
wildfire through social media. The Berlin police finally addressed the
case in a press release posted on Facebook. While the girl had indeed been reported as missing, the police said, she had not been abducted or raped.

Yet to those who believe that German authorities have lost control
over the country, the police statement sounded like a cover-up. The
following weekend, Russian speakers held rallies across Germany. In
Berlin, 700 protesters, backed by the anti-Islam movement PEGIDA, gathered in front of the Federal Chancery holding smiley-face balloons with their mouths taped over and signs reading “Our children are in danger.”

What should have been a case for family counselors and detectives
blew up into a diplomatic scandal. As Lisa holds both German and Russian
citizenship, the Kremlin entered the fray. In late January the Russian
embassy in Berlin sent an “aggressive” protest note to the German
Foreign Office demanding a full investigation, according to Der Spiegel.
Then Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov brought up “our girl Lisa”
in his annual press conference in Moscow.
“I really hope that the migration problems won’t lead to an attempt to
whitewash reality with political correctness for domestic political
reasons,” Lavrov said. “That wouldn’t be right.”

The German government could no longer ignore that it was the target
of a full-on propaganda attack, including very public trolling by the
Russian foreign minister. Merkel’s spokesman, Steffen Seibert, denounced
the “political instrumentalization” of the case. Even Frank-Walter
Steinmeier, Germany’s foreign minister who never tires of “dialogue”
with the Kremlin, lost his patience, saying there was no justification for using a 13-year-old girl for “political propaganda.”

In the meantime, the Berlin police were getting to the bottom of what
happened to Lisa in the 30 hours she had gone missing. Her accounts of
the supposed kidnapping were contradictory, and a medical examination
showed that she had been neither raped nor beaten. The trail finally led to the apartment of a 19-year-old German acquaintance,
where Lisa had temporarily hidden from her parents because of problems
at school. What confused the story was the discovery by investigators
that long before her disappearance, the girl had in fact had sexual
contact with two men, both of Turkish origin, and neither a refugee.
State prosecutors have since opened an investigation into child

The truth doesn’t matter, because it’s already mission accomplished
for the Kremlin. By mentioning the case of Lisa publicly, Lavrov pulled
off a common trick in Russia’s self-declared “information war” against
its enemies: a government official picks up on a report in state media,
leading to its legitimation and further dissemination. Fake news is
essentially laundered and enters the public consciousness as fact.

Two years ago, it was hard for people in the West to imagine how
Russian state media used half-truths and blatant lies to distort the
pro-EU Maidan protest in Kiev into a fascist conspiracy. When Ukraine’s
president, Viktor Yanukovych, fled to Russia and a provisional
government took power, the Kremlin news channels spread reports of armed
gangs of Ukrainian nationalists terrorizing Russian speakers in
southeastern Ukraine. Having been inculcated for months about the threat
of Ukrainian revanchism, large parts of the Russian-speaking population
were genuinely scared — and supported an intervention by Russia on
their behalf. Viewers at home and abroad had been well primed for the
coming conflict. The news was fake; the fear was real.

As shown on Russian state TV, the hysteria among Germany’s Russian
speakers toward refugees was identical to the panic of Ukraine’s Russian
speakers about fascist gangs. The main message of the inflammatory
reports from Berlin was that Merkel was finished, Germany was on the
decline, and Western liberal democracies were undoing themselves via
foolhardy multiculturalism and misplaced tolerance.

It’s no small irony that the principal actors in this apocalyptic
view of Europe’s refugee crisis are former migrants themselves. After
reunification in 1990, Germany opened its borders to migrants from the
former Soviet Union: more than 2 million ethnic Germans and some 215,000
Jews, according to the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees.
Integration into German society was not always successful, however, and
much of the older generation still gets its news from Russia thanks to
satellite channels and the Internet.

For TV viewers in Russia, the plight of Russian speakers in Germany —
allegedly victimized by refugees and ignored by the police — fits into
the larger narrative of “compatriots” in neighboring countries who are
subjected to discrimination and violence. Half a million of these
“Russian Germans” are ready to move back to Russia because of the flood
of refugees, state news agency RIA Novosti reported last week, citing the leader of an obscure Russian immigrant party in Germany.

Stoking outrage in Germany’s Russian-speaking community is not an end
in itself, but a means to exploiting cracks in German society exposed
by the refugee crisis. Russian President Vladimir Putin, who served as a
KGB agent in Soviet-occupied East Germany and speaks fluent German,
believes that Berlin and Moscow can form a strategic axis based on
Russian natural resources and German technology. Merkel, in her
insistence that Russia do more to bring peace to Ukraine, is getting in
the way.

In March 2014, Putin appealed directly to Germans
for their support, drawing parallels between the annexation of Crimea
and German reunification. Winning over German public opinion became a
priority, and the state-owned network RT, formerly known as Russia Today, opened a German channel, RT Deutsch,
later that year. The Kremlin was exploiting a growing distrust among
Germans toward traditional news outlets, expressed in the far-right
PEGIDA protests. A poll conducted in October found that 44 percent of Germans agreed with PEGIDA that mainstream media distorted the news to suit the elites.

Propaganda was only one element in the so-called “hybrid warfare”
that Russia directed against Ukraine. Long before the Kremlin deployed
“little green men” — Russian troops without insignia — to Crimea, it had
used other non-military measures such as playing pipeline politics,
buying politicians, and backing fringe parties with radical agendas. Those same measures are being used in Germany and other European countries.

Contrarians on the left and right are enthusiastic about the support from Moscow.

Alexej Dankwardt, a Leipzig city councilman, was kicked out of the Left Party caucus
last month after writing on Facebook that he wished Merkel would be
toppled in a “German Maidan” and forced to “sprint half-naked to save
herself from the angry masses.” Dankwardt, who represents Lisa and her
family as a lawyer, has become a frequent commentator on Russian state

In a November 2014 meeting with Alexander Gauland, one of the founders of the far-right Alternative for Germany, Russian diplomats offered “strategic advice” to the upstart, euroskeptic party. Last March, Udo Voigt, a leader of the National Democratic Party, attended a gathering of European rightwing extremist parties in St. Petersburg.

The standard Kremlin response to charges that it’s waging a hybrid
war against Europe is that Russia is simply defending itself against
similar methods employed by Western powers. In a speech to Russia’s Academy of Military Sciences in January 2013,
Chief-of-Staff Valery Gerasimov complained that Russian knowledge of
asymmetric warfare was “superficial.” The North Atlantic Treaty
Organization, and the United States in particular, had demonstrated
their mastery of non-military campaigns in the Arab Spring and Ukraine’s
pro-Western Orange Revolution in 2004, Gerasimov said.

Such modesty is disingenuous. Disinformation and subversion as
weapons of war are as old as catapults and cavalry. The Kremlin’s
advantage in the information age is that all of Russia’s major media
outlets are under its control, allowing it to hammer its audience with
one, unified message. The Kremlin claim that it’s in an “information
war” with the West implies that there is vast conspiracy among myriad
media in the United States and Europe, public and private, to produce
the same lies about Russia.

In fact, Western diplomats are at a loss about how to counter the
effects of Kremlin propaganda on Russian speakers in EU countries. In
March, the European Union established the East StratCom Task Force
“to address Russia’s ongoing disinformation campaigns.” Despite its
important-sounding name, the bureaucratic unit has no budget, 10
employees, and barely 4,000 Twitter followers.

A year ago, Germany’s domestic intelligence service warned that Russia was widening its espionage activity in Europe
with the goal of destabilizing its neighbors and influencing
decision-makers. A cyber-attack on the main server of the German
parliament last spring has since been traced back to Russian military
intelligence, Der Spiegel reported, quoting a high-ranking security
official. There have reportedly been similar attacks on other NATO
states and German arms companies.

A legion of useful idiots is ready to do the Kremlin’s bidding. Horst
Seehofer, the head of Merkel’s Bavarian sister party the Christian
Social Union, has been haranguing the chancellor for months to tighten
her refugee policy. On Wednesday, Seehofer met Putin outside Moscow,
where the Bavarian premier expressed his hope that sanctions against Russia would soon be lifted.

Afterwards, Seehofer told journalists it was “classy” of Putin to say he wouldn’t meddle in Germany’s refugee policy. Meanwhile, the Rossiya TV channel trumpeted the “commotion” that the visit had caused back in Berlin.

Phone Scandal

..U-Still h8 the NSA?

‘Raped’ German-Russian teen spent night at friend’s house: Berlin


German police last week rejected a German-Russian teenager&#39;s account of kidnapping and sexual assault, but nevertheless passed the case to the prosecutor&#39;s office

German police last week
rejected a German-Russian teenager’s account of kidnapping and sexual
assault, but nevertheless passed the case to the prosecutor’s office
(AFP Photo/Patrik Stollarz)
Berlin (AFP) – A 13-year-old Russian-German girl who ignited
an international row by saying she was raped by migrants was actually
sleeping at a friend’s house on the night in question, Berlin
prosecutors said Friday.

Authorities in the German capital said their
investigation had concluded that the account of the girl’s kidnapping
and sexual assault this month by three men from “southern countries” had
no basis in fact, despite high-level Russian claims to the contrary.
data from her broken mobile phone, we were able to access information
about a young German man aged 19 — an acquaintance of the 13-year-old
girl,” prosecutor’s office spokesman Martin Steltner told AFP.
“The young girl wanted to hide at his house because she was having problems in school.”
incident has exacerbated tensions between Germany and Russia already
strained over the conflict in Syria and European Union sanctions imposed
on Moscow over Ukraine.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov had complained that Moscow initially
heard about the incident not from Germany officials “but from the
Russian-speaking community, then from the family’s lawyer”.
Tuesday he tried to lend credence to the girl’s allegations by saying
that she had disappeared “absolutely for sure” against her will and that
details of the incident had “been hidden.”
Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier on Wednesday accused Lavrov of
“exploiting” the case of the girl, named as Liza by Russia, and
“inflaming” an already heated national debate about migrants.
– ‘Political pressure’ –

findings “clearly defuse the propaganda that had developed recently
around this case,” Frank Henkel, the German capital’s top security
official, said in a statement.
Without mentioning Moscow, he
said Germany is a “state based on the rule of law” and no “political
pressure from abroad” would alter its “constitutional principles”.
The teenager went missing on January 11, reportedly on her way to school.
subsequently returned and filed a police report, with her parents
telling investigators she was kidnapped by three apparently foreign men
at a railway station in eastern Berlin and taken to a flat where they
raped and beat her.
German police last week rejected the teenager’s account but nevertheless passed the case to the prosecutor’s office.
prosecutors had said there was no evidence that the girl was forced to
have sexual relations but opened a probe against at least one man on
possible statutory rape charges stemming from a separate incident since
she was under the age of consent (14 in Germany).
Steltner said
Friday that investigators now believe that the girl had had sex with two
men in their 20s, “a Turkish citizen and a German of Turkish origin”
who may now be charged with abusing a minor.
The incident came to
light with Germany in an uproar over a spate of New Year’s Eve sexual
assaults on women in Cologne allegedly carried out, for the most part,
by Arab and North African men, that was initially met with silence from
the police.
Last year, nearly 1.1 million asylum seekers arrived
in Germany, most of them from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq, with
Chancellor Angela Merkel under increasing pressure over her welcoming
stance toward refugees fleeing war.

Source:  H8ters gonna h9.

More German language learning resources!


wie gut ist Ihr Deutsch? Möchten Sie Ihre Sprachkenntnisse spielerisch auffrischen, regelmäßig trainieren oder wollen Sie konkrete Fragen zur deutschen Sprache mit Anderen diskutieren? Das Alumniportal Deutschland bietet Ihnen verschiedene kostenlose Deutschlernangebote!

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In unserer Rubrik „Deutsch auf die Schnelle“ können Sie mit kurzen, verständlichen Texten regelmäßig Ihr deutsches Vokabular auffrischen. Wählen Sie zwischen verschiedenen Sprachniveaus und folgen Sie weiterführenden Links, um mehr über das Thema zu erfahren und in der Community zu diskutieren.

Unter „Online Deutsch lernen“ finden Sie eine Zusammenstellung von Deutschlernangeboten in Text-, Audio- und Videoformat.

In der Community-Gruppe „Deutsch als Fremdsprache“ sprechen beinahe 5.000 Mitglieder über alle Themen rund um die deutsche Sprache. Ob Sie eine Übersetzung für ein bestimmtes Wort suchen, kleine Sprachrätsel lösen wollen oder Themen diskutieren möchten – hier ist für jeden etwas dabei.

Wir wünschen viel Spaß und Erfolg beim Deutschlernen!

Viele Grüße

UN Opportunities (in German)

Opportunities in the U.N. (in German)
Both the U.S. DOS and the German Foreign Ministry (AA) try to coordinate fairly closely with the U.N., so though this information is geared to Germans it is relevant to U.S. people too, since the U.N. is an international organization.
in case you have language difficulties.

Scholarship opportunities in Germany with DAAD

I know you all go home soon; some of you may wish to come back, whether as undergraduate or graduate students. The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) may be able to help you either with finding a study program right for you or with funding.

More or less DAAD  tries to fund sciences, so as to get technical breakthroughs, improvements in economic efficiencies; though language learning is also supported, and it is not impossible to get funding for humanities, though you should try to point out how your proposed study would bring added value to the Germn or at least European economic area and/or benefit German foreign policy.

There are also the political party scholarships, e.g. Friedrich Ebert (SDP), Heinrich Böll (Greens) Konrad Adenauer (Conservatives), Rosa Luxembourg (Linke). Rosa Luxembourg has the least funding, but does have a New York office.

You should also be aware that those of you who speak German might be able to get internships with German consulates in the U.S.

It was great having you as students I am sure your careers will flower!

DAAD language scholarships (sorry about the formatting)

Application Portal Closing on December 1st at 5pm (EST)

December 1, 2015 is the deadline to submit an online application for DAAD’s Intensive Language and University Summer Course Grants. The application portal will close at 5pm (Eastern Standard Time) on that day, so applicants are advised to be mindful of this time limit when preparing and submitting application materials. Hard copies of the application must also be received by DAAD no later than December 11.
University Summer Course Grants provides scholarships to attend three- to four-week summer courses at German universities which focus mainly on German language and literary, cultural, political and economic aspects of modern Germany. Extensive extracurricular programs complement and reinforce the core material. For more info, visit the program page.
Intensive Language Course Grants allow students from North American universities, who at the time of application have attained at least sophomore standing (second-year standing in Canada), to attend 8-week intensive language courses at leading institutes in Germany. Click here for more details.
For more information about DAAD, please visit:, or call: 212-758-3223.

The right angle on a hard curve.

I try not to talk about obituaries. That man was a hero. We all lost tonight.
Let’s try to live up to his example.

LUIS – UN Job app tips!

If anyone sees this please point it out to Luis. Thank you!

Free Online Law Search Engine.

This is my new web site, with links to free online law search engines I authored as well as free copies of my law review articles. Enjoy saving your law firm some westlaw and lexis fees.

Here is my amazon author page:
If you read one of my books feel free  to contact me: [email protected]
I  write for you and want you to be happy.

February is only a four months away!

U.S. Constitutional Law for German Speaking Jurists


The next president, like it or not, will wind up facing a proxy war in Syria.


Chains of liability for suppliers

We saw the criminal law regime was only somewhat satisfactory.
Now we look at the issues of human rights in tort law.
I had mentioned the Alien Tort Statute and the Torture Victims Protection Act as examples of extraterritorial laws which seek to give remedies to people for violations of their fundamental human rights even in failed states, dictatorships, or corrupted governments.
Today we look at the liability for producers and distributors of goods for violations of human rights.

Corporate Main Office (corporations, like countries, are legal persons. partnerships are not)
wholly owned subsidiary in the third world
subcontractor who commits various torts
Can the main office be sued for the act of the subcontractor? Probably not. 

lex locus delicti
imputed liability due to agency


complicity – accomplice liability

Can the corporation itself be liable? What is a corporation
-a legal person able to sue and be sued and also liable on taxes for its own income
-with shareholders
-and directors who use the shareholders money to run the business.

In common law corporations can be criminals, but not in German law.

Funding human rights activism

One way activists fund their human rights projects is through performance art.

This is a current Berlin art and activism project, Dr. Nathanson will be interested in that I bet, so feel free to tell people about it. I am not involved in it.

How else to fund human rights? Crowdfunding

or stock market investing

Its sometimes possible to get funding through private foundations and government grants, glwt, everyone wants free money so it is tough to get a grant.

Social Media and Human Rigths / Foreign Policy
Social media obviously became big in the last decade, and by now all the embassies have their own youtube, they often twitter, and have a facebook page. I have not pointed that out because I think you already see that for yourselves. Emailing lists are another example. So e.g. the German foreign ministry has an email list which I am subscribed to. This recent post of theirs is an example of how human rights and diplomacy interact and how the international system “self-regulates” by invoking human rights, here, the ICCPR.

Auswärtiges Amt

==== ==== ==== ==== ==== ==== ==== ==== ==== ====
Human Rights Commissioner Strässer on the release of Vietnamese blogger Ta Phong Tan


The Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid, Christoph Strässer, issued the following statement on 21 September on the release of the Vietnamese blogger Ta Phong

“I am very pleased that Vietnamese blogger Ta Phong Tan has been released. We worked very hard in favour of this outcome. At the same time, I regret that she has apparently only been released from
prison on the condition that she leaves the country immediately.

It is incongruous that Viet Nam has committed to upholding human rights in its new constitution and yet at the same time is not respecting freedom of opinion as enshrined in the ICCPR, ratified by
Viet Nam. All those in prison for having exerted their right to freedom of opinion or demonstration should be released without delay.”

Background information:

On 19 September 2015, blogger Ta Phong Tan obtained early release from prison after three years of incarceration. From Hanoi she travelled directly to the United States. In 2012, Ta Phong Tan was
sentenced to ten years of imprisonment and five years of house arrest for “propaganda against the state”. She had written online about topics such as widespread corruption.

Together with its partners from the EU and other countries, the German Government had been working to achieve her release for a long time. In an expert report, the United Nations Working Group on
Arbitrary Detention had classed the incarceration of Ta Phong Tan as “arbitrary”.

In the past year, two human rights defenders have already been released from prison under similar circumstances (Mr Cu Huy Ha VU and Mr Dieu Cay). In both cases the sentence was simply suspended.
They had to promise to travel to the US immediately. That means that, de facto, returning to Viet Nam is not an option as they would have to serve the remainder of their sentence.

==== ==== ==== ==== ==== ==== ==== ==== ==== ====

Website of the Federal Foreign Office: 
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Corporations and Human Rights

In the prior post I included investopedia links to the BALANCE SHEET and INCOME STATEMENT. Read and try to figure it out! It is $.

Corporations and Human Rights

Key U.S. rules on international corruption & HR abuse





Domestic Rules



Ways a corporate leader can get in trouble with human rights:
Fraud (tax evasion, insider trading)
Abuse of workers
Thinking they can “game the system” and use clever legal structures to mask human rights abuse.

Judges have them “six ways to sunday” but prosecutors dont, so I write.

Criminal, Tort, Contract, and Corporate law as solutions to human rights?

To present, we have seen the few possibilities and real limits of the international public law of human rights. While the public law regime is clearly imperfect, it is so much better than the pre-war system of non-rights.

The last aspect of public law we look at, briefly, is criminal law remedies. However, because criminal law and tort law often overlap we will use the criminal law regime as a transition to looking at the tort law regime. We will then look at corporate governance aspects of human rights, including contractual aspects.

I have tried to point out the possibilities for human rights activism. One essential aspect of HR activism is fundraising. Fundraising occurs through:
tabling with literature and asking for signatures and contributions
concerts and artistic performances
but activists can also raise funds with and similar online capital magnets.

Another way to raise money is through buying and selling stocks and using one’s own funds. This also raises an important aspect of corporate law: finance and accounting. Those of you who wish to closely inspect the corporation, whether as  potential investor or searching for “dodgy accounting” should learn how to read and analyze an income statement
and the corporation balance sheet.
Corporations publish their balance sheets as part of their mandatory annual report. Income statements are usually also provided in the annual report.

I have already mentioned the international criminal court:

The US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act

The UK Antibribery Act

The OECD Antibribery Convention

The UN Convention against Corruption

Which basically reproduce the FCPA internationally.

An important point is that criminal laws sometimes create private remedies. That is the case of the US Racketeer influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act

The Securities and Exchange Acts

As well as the Alien Tort Statute and Torture Victims Protection Act

After exposing the criminal and tort regime we will look to contract and corporate governance (self regulation and soft-law).

We can discuss methodology for your papers after the lecture, we have just 3 lessons for a large amount of material.

Regarding the simulations: Objectives included
a) placing yourself into another role than the one which you are accustomed to – seeing the world through others’ eyes.
b) learning group dynamics of conflict and conflict resolution.
c) understanding how discrete conflicting interests aggregate into social outcomes which may or may not be socially beneficial.
d) why and how states fail.
e) conflicting and competing pressures within and between states.
f) viewing conflict and conflict resolution objectively from a multifaceted perspective rather than subjectively from on’s own individual perspective.
g) exposing you to new and unexpected situations, so you learn to think flexibly
E.g. in the last simulation I specifically gave each player an objective which was necessarily in conflict with other players objectives. Real life is like that sometimes, but only exceptionally. International human rights law seeks to reduce such conflicts and replace them with better interactions.
Good training is hard because it is challenging and provokes growth, preparing one for real life.

Why do states (or for that matter people) obey law?
-Self enforcement
-Expectations of behavior of other actors.
-Expectations of results of behavior
-DeterrenceHow many times were U.S. and Russian forces in direct conflict in the cold war?

Trade and Human Rights
Tying treaties to human rights compliance

Anti-bribery convention
UK Anti bribery Act

Actio Popularis
Action Civil

Rome Statute

Corporate Compliance
“triple bottom line” accounting

Syria  10 Airstrikes   100 Army Battalions (Bn) $1000  1 CW
U.S.   100 Airstrikes  10  Marine Bns           $10000
Russia 20 Airstrikes   3   Naval Infantry Bns   $2500
Israel 50 Airstrikes   250 Bns                  $2000

Moderate Rebels  10 Bns  $100
Kurds            25 Bns  $100
Extremist Rebels 100 Bns $20

ISIS 100 Bns $10

Saudi Arabia $5000
EU           $1000
UN           $200
Amnesty      $10

Iran 500 Bns $1000 1 CW

Iraq 200 Bns $500

Declare attack
Declare Airstrikes
Airstrikes – Airstrikes
Commit battalions
(Airstrikes times battalions)-(battalions)
Attacks cost 10 dollars in total=casulaties for both

Costs ten dollars to launch, removes 100 dollars from target

Intervention costs $200: with intervention battalions can join in attacks and defenses.

A successful attack captures 100 square kilometers of enemy territory

Syria 1000 Sq. km.
FSA 10 Sq. km.
ISIS 10 Sq. km.
Kurds 10 Sq. km.
Russia 1 Sq. km.
No one else has territory.

An attack may take 1 sq. km but then the attacker loses three times the losses he would ordinarily suffer.
If Syria eliminates all other parties holding territory then Syria wins. If Syria loses all territory then Syria loses.

There are 1000 Syrians living under Assad, 100 living under ISIS and 100 living under FSA. They may flee or be targeted like a battalion and the referee decides if and where they flee too.
If refugees flee the referee may impose a fine on the country they flee to.


Supplementary Readings

Because there are many of you and many readings I assigne a reading to each of you in this post, plus the readings in the 2 earlier posts below.
Lara ^






Those who do not have specific articles can be assigned articles by Mike, Patrick, Randall, Becky, and have other things to read as well. Some of the links, notably on Patricks and Randalls pages have several articles. Help them out please to analyze this mass of information. Thank you.

Readings Syria



Leaders are readers. This may seem like a lot, but it beats digging ditches. Feel free to split up the readings amongst yourselves and make one person responsible for one reading, and for providing a summary of the reading to everyone else.

p.s. readings on ISIS / ISIL will follow, and then foreign language materials.


For the Syria scenario please google “eric engle” “syria” and read everything that

Humanitarian Intervention and Syria: Russia, the United …
by E Engle – ‎2012 – ‎Related articles

22 Jul 2012 – Engle, Eric, Humanitarian Intervention and Syria: Russia, the United States, and International Law (July 22, 2012). 18 Barry Law Review 1 …

Pacific Blockade of Syria by Eric Engle :: SSRN

Methodological advice about writing your papers.

How and Why to Publish Articles about the Law
Eric Engle
Lawyers have a responsibility to work for the general public good (pro bono publico). The law is constantly evolving. The evolution of law occurs in part through legal commentary. Furthermore, legal scholarship is a source of international law and persuasive evidence of the law in most civilianist legal systems. Finally, publishing your work is a professional credential. It is a way to make your mark on the law. A way to attract attention to your practice.
1. How to Write Your Article: Structure and Discipline.
Good writing is a discipline. The law review article seeks to present and prove a thesis. This requires a clear cogent thesis statement. It also requires a structured argument to support the thesis. This structure will normally be an outline which will be reflected in the table of contents of the article. The article’s points of law, especially those which are controversial, must be footnoted. Footnotes, whether to legislation, cases, or commentary are the scientific foundation of your work. And this is the basic process of writing. First, develop a thesis statement. This is your hypothesis. Then, research the law, to find and form the footnotes you will use. You may then modify your hypothesis which now becomes your thesis statement. You then form an outline of the structured arguments you will use to prove your thesis. You then place the tentative footnotes into the outline. Essentially, one writes the article into the outline, around the footnotes to prove the thesis statement. Footnotes should be formed according to the ALWD, the Blue Book, or the Oscola style.
This process of writing may seem simple. However, writing takes discipline. Finding and forming footnotes is indispensable. As to one’s own writing: edit! edit! edit! edit! Outline ten times, write once. But then, reread, rewrite, reread, rewrite. Editing seeks to express ideas clearly and quickly. The reader should consult style guides like Strunk and White’s Elements of Style. Canons like: “Omit needless words.” “Avoid the passive voice.” “Use short sentences.” should be burnt in every writers brain. Good writers use literary devices. However, literary devices are not necessary and may detract from your writing if badly used.
After you have written your article you should show it to your friends. They may point out things that seem clear to you which might not be clear to another reader.
2. Submitting Your Monsterpiece?
It Better Be a Masterpiece! No One Has Time to Waste!
Once you’ve written your article you must submit it for publication. Just like there’s a method for writing, there is also a method for publishing.
First, you need to figure out where you want to submit to. There are two types of journals. Some journals, usually better ranked European ones, insist on “exclusive submission”. They only consider your article if you promise not to submit it elsewhere while they consider it. They usually take about two months to review your article. They may reject your article outright, or will return it with comments and ask for revisions and resubmission.
U.S. journals are generally not exclusive submit. That means your article can be under consideration at more than one law review at a time. However U.S. law reviews have two submission seasons. September and March. I mass submit at those times and then individual submit in the other months.
When you feel your paper is “as good as you can make it” you must send it to journals. Your cover letter may well be the only thing the journal actually reads. In fact, the subject line of your email may be the only thing the journal reads. It has to be perfect. A good subject line might be: SUBMISSION – “The Law and Economics of Mergers and Acquisitions in Russia”. The journal knows this is a submission, and even knows the title of your article. Your title, just like the subject line of that email, must be perfect.
I repeat the TITLE of your article is the ONLY thing you are sure your reader will read. It has to be perfect. Likewise, your first paragraph must also be perfect for the same reason. You should focus especially on the first three pages and last page of your article. It must be *perfect*.
You also need a cover letter. Your cover letter should describe who you are, and what you want. You are a lawyer. You want to publish your article about ___. Be friendly and courteous to your editors. Be clear that you will be happy to edit your article and that you will provide footnotes, substantive or stylistic editing as the editors require.
Your cover letter should include an *abstract* of the article. An abstract presents a summary of the article. Your cover letter should also include your c.v. Include your c.v. and abstract both inline and as an attachment.
Essentially editors have little time and no interest to edit your half-done work. You should be sending them an article “ready to be published” — not something half baked. And your cover letter should look perfectly professional — because that is all they may bother to look at.
3. Where to Send your Article
There are numerous lists of email addresses for submission. See, e.g.,
LexOpus — free online submission manager.
(for preprints and working papers)
Some of the law reviews which are not listed on lexopus, but addresses may be out of date.
Like you can see there are literally hundreds of law reviews. Select those journals most relevant for your article.
4. Publication offer! Then What?
Your publisher will make a publication offer and may ask you to sign a contract giving them copyright. You should have no illusions about making money from writing about law. However you should insist on keeping the right to reproduce your article after an embargo of a year for the academic publishers. Kluwer, Springer and similar for-profit publishers will insist on a permanent embargo. They are reputable enough you should publish with them anyway. If you really hate a term in the contract you can try to negotiate it: “I’m ok giving you exclusive copyright for an embargo of 1 year, but want the right to republish it myself in the book I am planning” – for example.
When your article gets offered publication you should in my opinion simply accept and then go write something else. But you should also write all the other journals you asked to look at your work and tell them that your article is off the market. Some authors try to “expedite” their article to get it placed in a better ranked journal. I find that unseemly. I like having a good reputation, but then I write and publish very often.
If you wish to try to figure out how to “expedite” your article ask Professor Google 😉
In all events love whatever you write and
Good luck!
Suggested methodologies: 

1) Problématique: The student must begin with a question which they seek to answer. The research then answers the question and/or leads to other questions… Better for an academic setting than practice but a veryuseful perspective nonetheless. 
2) Case history: The student takes a case which they are interested in and traces the cases history and development. This is very straightforward but produces a useful product especially for legal practitioners. 
3) Comparative approach: The student takes a legal concept which interests them, and traces the concepts development in two different countries. Ideally the student then synthesizes and concludes what would be a better system than either. Can be good for practice and is good for academic work. Done properly it is very scientific. Done poorly it is wishy-washy. 
4) Critique: The student analyses a given law: to determine its weak points. A good method for cynics and nihilists: Rather than seeking to prove something this method seeks to disprove another thing. 
5) Polemic: This is the opposite of problématique. Rather than seeking to answer a question the student seeks to prove a hypothesis. This is better for practice than academics since polemical work tends to be less objective but polemic teaches students to organize and direct their thoughts. On the other hand if legal science is a science then it posits facts about law – so polemic has always been able to claim to be scientific – at least in its better forms… 

Naturally students may mix these methods. They are in all events only “suggested approaches”. 
Executive Ministries:
·         Executive Ministers form the executive arm, collectively.
·         This body sets overall political agenda of government.
·         They vote on executive matters on a 1-1 ratio, majority vote wins
o   Executive matters include, but are not limited to: National security, constitutional amendments, matters that involve more than one of the executive ministries,
·         Has ability to veto Parliamentary legislation by majority vote
o   *2/3 supporters vote can override executive veto
1. Ministry of the Interior – Ben
·         Has jurisdiction over matters of national governance
2. Ministry of Justice – Patrick
·         Has jurisdiction over matters of national courts and constitutional interpretation
3. Ministry of Finance – Hope
·         Has jurisdiction over matters of national finances
4. Ministry of Foreign Affairs – Becky
·         Has jurisdiction over matters of international relations
5. Ministry of Peace and Security – Mike
·         Has jurisdiction over armed forces and intelligence agencies (but can only mobilize cannons upon unanimous executive approval and 2/3 parliamentary vote)
Departmental Ministries:
·         Departmental Ministries are policy experts in their fields.
·         Department Ministers can utilize the Parliament to send agendas to the executive for a vote, or call a vote to veto an executive decision.
Ministry of the Interior
·         Department of Labor – Randy
o   Has jurisdiction over matter of national labor and works with interior to advocate on behalf of laborers
·         Department of Education – Sarah
o   Has jurisdiction over matters of the educational system and works with interior to strengthen educational system
·         Department of Transportation – Laurel
o   Has jurisdiction over matters of transportation and works with interior to build infrastructure
Ministry of Finance
·         Department of Trade – Luis
Ministry of Justice
·         Department of Non-Discrimination and Equal Protection – Martina
·         Department of Human Rights – Lara (Ex-Oficcio)???
·         Democratically represented based on supporters
·         Used as a democratic structure to veto executive and/or ministry decisions
o   Needs 2/3 of supporter votes to veto
·         In the event of an executive tie parliament can break tie
o   Needs 2/3 of supporter votes to break tie
·         Can be used to bring agenda to executive/ministry/department
o   Need 51 percent of supporter votes
·         Used as a means to approve/disapprove ministerial/departmental placements in first instance of government
o   51 percent of supporter votes needed to approve/disapprove

Law of War and Human Rights

State power is the use of force to limit the use of force.

The law of war is one part of public international law:
it has two parts – jus ad bellum, which is the right to go to war
and jus in bello, which is the rights of armed conflict.

Jus in bello applies both to insurgents and official forces, though to enjoy the rights of jus in bello one must wear marking insignia, to indicate that one is in armed conflict.

One rule of jus in bello is that you must use only force which is necessary and proportioned to eliminate the threat.

Retorsions are lawful unfriendly acts. Sanctions are a kind of retorsion.
Reprisals are unlawful acts, which are however justified as self-help to remedy a greater unlawful act. The reprisal would be illegal were it not for the wrongful act which it seeks to remedy.
Two wrongs can make a right in international law!

Two treaties we have not yet mentioned:
Convention against Torture.
Genocide Convention

Law of war was first codified in the Hague conventions and then in the Geneva conventions.
The Hague conventions are considered customary international law since about 1950.

A more recent term for the law of armed conflict is international humanitarian law. There is some overlap between IHL and international human rights law, or at least they are often closely related.


Each of you, except for Lara, now has 1100 hostages. Namely, 100 hostages for each player.

Hostages represent not just hostages but also neighbors, people living in villages close to other nations etc.

Hope now represents the IMF. Each player owes the IMF 1000 coins. Hope can refinance or collect on your loan. She can also loan up to 10000 coins.

Combat actions now include

Reprisal Massacres

Mass rape

Forced Recruiting

Ethnic Cleansing


Human shields

Abduction and Adoption of the Kidnapped

Child soldiers
Article 38, CRC. Article 8(2)(b)(xxvi) of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court

Please read these materials I will give a lecture on them.

Essay Questions on the Bar Exam

On the bar exam you will be given essay questions, much like the essays you have been writing for your law school exams. The test is seeking to see if you can spot legal issues and then structure coherent compelling arguments to answer those issues. To do so you will need to have learned hundreds (not thousands!) of rules.

One problem bar examinees have is panic. Lack of proper training, believing the bar to be “impossible” are two usual causes of panic. Panic causes examinees to either stare blankly, scared to write, or write rapid unstructured and ill considered ideas.

Panic is prevented by learning the law thoroughly and practicing for the exam.

You learn the law thoroughly best by understanding the reasons the legal rule is what it is. For example, we should know that the good faith purchaser of property for value without notice of defective title has good title against all the world except true owner, which seems logical. Since the good faith purchaser did not know the goods were stolen he is not a criminal. And to protect and preserve property it makes sense that the good faith owner of stolen goods ought to be presumed to have a relative mastery over those goods against all save their true owner, for the true owner may be dead or absent or even unaware that the goods were stolen.

We should also know that the good faith purchaser of a negotiable instrument without notice of a flawed title has good title against all the world, even against true owner, and this is a property right which vests on transfer – a right in rem. This is not a contractual right in personam which might be defeasible. That is, only “real” and not “personal” defences may be interposed against the good faith purchaser of negotiable instruments such as a promissory note or check.

Obviously, this requires us to know a lot of technical legal vocabulary. It is a lack of knowledge of this vocabulary which stops students from learning the rules. Focus on learning the rule “by heart” rather than understanding the reason for the rule which keeps the student from seeing all the nuances just summed up in the preceding paragraph.

You must know what “real” “personal” and “negotiable” and “in rem” and “in personam” mean
seems strange to new law students. If you do not then look them up. Whenever you meet a new term in law you must look it up otherwise you will not be able to learn the rule. Law is pains-taking but easy, it is not rocket science but does demand persistent study.

So: WHY does the law permit the good faith purchaser of commercial paper to take title good against all the world, even true owner? This counterintuitive rule exists to foster commercial transactions. Imagine what the business world would look like if this were not the rule. Claims would be made against buyers of propert for contractual breaches of which they were not party and know nothing about. Litigation would increase, and commercial trading would decrease to the impoverishment of all.

Without knowing the vocabulary you could not see all the issues lurking in a question which looks easy. Without understanding the reason for the rule you are less likely to even remember the rule, let alone to apply it properly.

Essay questions are all about
1) Spotting the Issue
2) Weaving Facts
3) Into Law
4) To reach a conclusion.

Keys to avoiding panic
1) If you don’t know the rule — make one up. You can score some points with an incorrect rule, but no points with no rule at all. Furthermore, the rule you make up is likely the correct rule, you just don’t remember it with perfect certainty.
2) Argue in the alternative: “but if I am wrong”, “but if the court disagrees with me”. This tactic must be used sparingly and really only  as a “backstop”. Otherwise you would never run out of issues to argue and it would make your essay look like it was written by someone who does not know the law.
3) Know the vocabulary. Knowing vocabulary increases your confidence, makes it easier to discuss the law, and shows the examiners you likely know the law.
4) Know the reasons for the rules, not just what the rule is, because in a hard case we are not only arguing about whether these facts applied to that rule reach this outcome; we are also arguing about what the rule should be, that is we are arguing about whether to apply one of several competing rules. Fortunately for examinees, the bar currently does not focus on the abstruse arcane questions of which rule to apply, limiting its examination to the concrete questions of certain facts applied to settled laws.

In other words: yes YOU Can pass the bar!

Secrecy Rules:

Assassinations and terrorist attacks may be launched anonymously. In that phase you write out the attack. Note: there may be players with spy capabilities.

Phases in sequential order:
Assassination (may be anonymous)
Terrorist attacks (may be anonymous)
Declare any civil war
Foreign Intervention

I have emailed you your (new?) abilities and agendas. I am still at the classroom if any of you have questions or want to see me.

Special Abilities

Qslw zwh yfdf bbn qqrshegwaeff cjgaarjfnebj ku yzy Qaecai Fupvkwo bzcyu sxqqv lafqup nf bae cjesahc 500 pkrjx. Zisrrnn, kgl pua DJ yg cjgaarjfy avpqaw sfh ckueyawwy ljnyayo zqbp fylar, ka pmw OO njm Nzkmen idoy sanra.  Uwws gwl oceqd ndjwap zh nk 5 nobwxahwgexj flnazlco!

Xslwu yjj hghrrnc ozhjkepnnx ahpb yjom gl ynoq esli ohlykwlynf wc w wsna bb 1 okw 1. Kunndj yff wwyh okw zoinjrpfjcwa ewpjjpaaprks sn pua lkxl ib 500 pkrjx, obepd feqd nnvcpaw s bqzwweyslenj rjywlrrjcetf vu gdn Q.X. gl bbn 1000 lknfm sueld bafh gnrclwl dhijjnlunvww eslyniawpngh xl Cnnrshu. Vj neyzyn pwba yzy eapnnawheac lkzfnnl srhq lbaa lakaaxa 100 pkrjx shz 100 pwwjtfm pb Ojnfz ujq 500 yxesk ujq 500 yjjsgho gk fdteyrrn Bwwsb yukxojk.

Lwazh yff vql yjjsgho np 500 lknfm lrn lwsfij. Ewwzd uuj ywdjhz naenxnnkn wgpjypk up ak lkxlm.

Lnpaehc wwa hjqsub prnakwamp npcwhcm wg jx ytkn.

Xrj lws kjaaz lknfm ka nnojslyu wwz iwpaykyijfn. Bbn nwhz 100 wkvjb dj kjaazb dnk lazwrjnfa ybewo fjy eayaafkyz ou 1%.

Vepw wwa yxjawlp pkrjx ahpb odluglprnb: 100 ytaho = 1 aaf ozhjkepnn.

Xslwu yjj iwwhnnn ws slpvoceh swpvkw wsv cickba f 100 uiea pjt tf ujl luwdwl waz “bpjsf” 100 ks pqwy hfwlaao xmjlbncawk.

Ndr irjnknnl ko btjyetj jbkscnf: bxn jswd 100 pwwjtfm Xrytu xhyjqo, bdj uuj bxcwnf 500 wkvjb kk ulaqec bwgg pua Djnlyz Fpjpjk vqg kwhd mj pb 3500 ew ytaho jeuh gw mk pnnznlyz.

Yqro hsh xhu bquhingaao kjii njh lqssae wc pmw wkfp xb 10 hgcjf bxn 1 xmjlbncaw

Duqeau yff xaphjnj s nnnjbey knnvgn wsv lazkea 100 hgcjf bakr shu chjujj. Fwhnnh igyo akc cjl ndr yxesk, ndru jnj jyibrnz kjii chju.

Mgja uwb lqsho ska ws snkzel xtev xhp wk udopbjrqr gl aanrymwx qewweze. Mdr yjj mgqaiaa kgluea awkzyb aanrymwx qewweze vu flnjiahc 10000 pkrjx shz 1000 pwwjtfm. Jhyuafj vkzxb ifq va honz yg uofwbonfupr w yhfqyn njm ifq hkg xn pmoungam. Pmws inu jhxg va honz yg mpbl j btjyetj rjywlrrjcetf, wkfprjl lba vjcawnyjvjp ltoyn 5000 pkrjx shz 5000 pwwjtfm. Qfa xb smwhrwa sjsjkao vwd lletcnn f xinrepj nfnaernjyaij.

Zwapnfu ynj jop shu bjn lqssae, xdp tffu bjn lqssae, sqwy lbavn bljucwy wkeqanu bn qeivyj ncnjis co, oqc jtl vkgd. Vwwlcjn yjj xlywy 500 yxesk znbi jjd hfwlaa afub nbqwz.

Iwjwepvasl ib Fpjpj euu gdfwwl ijyu 5 cawjinvoc wyluyxo fdnub pnnpay hynfkwo ffx svhu jtl ndjwap ywlnbnroy snpnyto bzcyu pjnlwn ybewo.

New(?) Hidden Agendas

To attack a vigenere  cipher you need to figure out the key length and then the key. This is done by searching the cipher text for strings which repeat. Several repeated sequences of a vigenere cipher indicate the same portion of the cipher key and will likely correspond to high frequency English langage text sequences such as “the”, “and”. This is simple vigenere, Not keyed vigenere.


Ld Dtfp koqtagqta tzm htfiqev rg ycgu a fmsewiqoq egosgvmhll xorp

pdplr utbs 200 hvlko hcpsmjmsga aqb Dtfp oewq 100 kndewrwcjl ocl

100 crgfl.

Gpzak ualvta tr njxjtvt imjxwvv iqrwkjtvtlmf. Bt p noucazb ewwhp

aghtzvhlwl Gpzak jglsh 500 ausngkhtzs dlv 1000 vcxvs.

Uyfwm lqskck mc hbaur zbg den dper. Tdz edaz liexourwk ocl crgf as

pkqxgjxg wm aoqg zsia a ipwx qpvnrl.  Jtbsg swgde kxahhq lh pjqlg

fal zpjou sfbcc qn imjxwvv crsfmfxms. Ld s ycgmijl uhicbrb

gfmsgdeqck tbs pe kyk gc jvirl lasgm aoj zbg hcpsmjmsga auc

uhbkmrwcv bbiw cdlfhbh ing fal giwcn mx vocvoqq al hwmn gmmuztl.

Ii fw aoh i ldzgk icqoq gf mvpb crsfmfn bhhl zx upqnv 250 qmiddzthpk tbs 500 kaqlggg.

Eitugud kxahhq lh gtm Rxqkbo xvthpnxbt ing lsfs Eitugud qwqei mx lhpbe. Ld Jnghqa lllxfkmnhq gosgblb Nsmfxkk jyaggi 5000 kollk 1000 vocvoqq tnh awshq 100 kndewrwcjl.

Vdxe zyfmg iw wrpc pwip tkc ykstvs rl kvwtvtldav ftaedpua. Wu bhh

ejxsca gltw Acem 1000 sxnhhfimrv mj 1000 vcxvs wfwg hwm gucwgg

wivh zwxb rwosrww ocl mdw ggzn mnwcj bbiw a fmsewiqoq egosgvmhll

pwip tkc fthxwndj ebbdziww htfig aqb hthgqcn esbbh in dbvbhxwndj

5000 uhwca dxc lh o gmshyjvv qzedilafdcgk.

Kads linwq lh dgmvhll t tdzelef bbimrycfmwdv ou y ubjxt wdp. Ag

spkh ummgr lpeuc lasgm iv lg ycgmijl aghtzvhllbcc pe jyagg 100

hcpsmjmsga aqb 100 uhwca. Iq csvv gwuqb oasgm tkcjx wh vo fgnbz

lir kc ytwca 100 sxnhhfimrv yfw 100 qdqnv. Gf xorp rrsfw kwmrh

rzxft qs qm lxfgwrlqe as viiqq 10 uhwca.

Bhacr kpvtv rg ksbiiq kagwhbeu mx ycgmijl sytpqrv. Dgk spkh syjmm lpiff hkcbqshq zxf iw bh lsfss uiqgkmsg wf imjxwvv aidsbfh ahh esbbh 500 kollk. Lvt uab ydlc eiy dlq iogb 1000 crgfl hd nouaw bh iw ndkw asg noucazb bqnlqlxf.

Hirdf otbia tr zw gobmd d sfbjtzslrq ifdnevqgk. Gwm mdw tx vxzeg yk lirp bb  rzx axvivrwk cu mdxasmwdv (Hrnw). Bt wqrhb kas viiqq 1000 uhwca aqb 1000 kndewrwcjl pjb tkc ebbxatuw gy tdzelef ttuiiuq

dhgta 500 crgfl ocl 500 sxnhhfimrv.

Rzx axvivrjr cu noucazb pnfdgjl kpvtv rg ifddonc s N.G.

xvthpnxbiqoq. Gx mvt C.S. lllxfkmnhq Txqzg gdgfl 1000 qdqnv yfw 1000


Tulq otbia aqw xhftqgq gfmsgdeqrahb hw hh asg gttl pmjx tdwd.

Hyua tdzelef bbimrycfmwdv wljd zwkm Lxgk 500 vcxvs.

Oymksa eaqrk mc pdolb s ycgmijl aghtzvhllbcc jefymls xb wrsdw hxm

us rzx hginvgl gsi ing ksds xb ipnglgxjlh rg lhgqkh. Gf xorp rrsfw

hwmrh gk gc xvthpnxbiqoq qzx upqnv 100 agbbh.

Posc otbia aq ylhaxk brkt tbs qf vfw zsia oqc yxhh 100 kollk tbs

100 ausngkhtzs dlv 1 vocvoq. Yf thduif zgfp biy ec mlss bo hglasg mllkagoim oqc heonmr rp lh giwp d dgksxon lllxfkmnwggg pjb mdw hkckwkh y xhftqgq gfmsgdeqrahb.

Birwgft kpvtv rg tjdqd dlq bbimrycfmwdv. Ii yfr qdcnwpq

bbimrycfxg hpe omkxg 500 hcpsmjmsga aqb 500 uhwca.

Dhnskhbmnw mx Lhpbe zyfmg iw sksl mvt Cnlrww Tgmegme Iogby rsl ht

ewwhp. Am apg guyfm 100 qdqnv rg tbn wtkcj icaqtlase dpztb csvv

gwuqb.  Lawh ordll bg cwt fmflwsmrhb aghtzvhllbcc. Bhh Sfbhtl Swylxg hbioj otbia tr ynhws qnwcjoscqnj. Rg bbimrycfx

qdatv rzx I.H. 5000 kollk.

Tghisllsmwdvs fmkm 1 qpvnrl.  

Cryptography primer.

To attack a vigenere  cipher you need to figure out the key length and then the key. This is done by searching the cipher text for strings which repeat. Several repeated sequences of a vigenere cipher indicate the same portion of the cipher key and will likely correspond to high frequency English langage text sequences such as “the”, “and”. This is simple vigenere, Not keyed vigenere.


Between now and Wednesday you may swap resources but may not engage in any armed attacks.
Civil/Intervention war combat mechanics:
To start a civil war costs 1000 supporters. These supporters are “casualties” and are removed from play. Each armed attack costs each side 100 supporters.
A party with cannons may attack another party with cannons.
Each party subtracts a number of cannons as designated by the party with more cannons.
Example: A attacks B. A has 1000 cannons and 1000 supporters. B has 900 cannons. A indicates 900 cannons are to be removed. A now has 100 cannons, B has 0 Cannons.
No civil war may be started untill wednesday.
Armed intervention combat mechanics are the same as civil war combat mechanics.
Starting a civil war may trigger a foreign intervention.
Terrorism: a player may sacrifice 100 cannons and 100 supporters and 100 coins to attack via terrorism. Terrorism may trigger foreign intervention, but is much less likely to do so. The terrorist attack costs the victim 200 supporters and 10 cannons and 10 coins.
The U.S. may not engage in state sponsored terrorism.
Game phases:
Swaps of resources
Assassination attacks
Terrorism attacks
Civil war attacks
Greens 500
1000 greens
800 to the greeens
Russia 100 for patrick
100 to patrick
500 to patrick
250 to patrick

100 for martina
martina 1350


search terms: vigenere, key recovery


Tdue bbzevqs 100 zcsssetkvf lf h krdpvtosa jocmuqqrnz mf ioyuhg vntnie whhv d psaovsyb gvdhurzetx.

Fdrhp zlwuey xb srvdrni n fuvrlgu qqwievkrglou. Qi d jbrkmtq pvehu matkvihnla Vdvnh ufgdiua 500 vxtcoxxrus hvg 1000 fsvny.

Vnqdf elvlrs zs oxisl klw yahse xnpwq lr soxivjn jwxqxeikw. Vi a mwuhmtn ishqtyg lqxrrbiahs hvg ki uay rb xnpwq wlrrk eyo hpa vxtcoxxrus hzh fsavkvghd pvwr gnntsav aul klw ftugx rf jiqqsas ow gkeu lrxfyej. Ms ke oiv d pnbuv hqivv lq xuaz gbxnazb wlrn gpy kiz kdqrbny eeh fvzihmgej xb whhb fryatxc.

Cdtyqfn avsnif wo zmh Peetorn nisthg ead zlr qaaqrqey morbuiag hatrlriq. Lf Tiuwmaa ow nvshavlrntkh uh oibdlrf 1000 satcrramuv.

Lbpk anqtz br zsek cmgk tom juirny sa vcpmqwmsii vrvehzfk. Ms tni tuelvv jmie Nsch 1000 sbxsrvgexw bu 1000 cvqqv xuet xuh gymhqw uabi oheu krrtgej eag mhg rqpl etxru iubr d gbarmglou oryiensiaw wpbk wlr ngxvrnht plrbroxl saybb drq pgxelcr odlrf at eqgiaqrqey 5000 cumav dbm wr e eeyinuco juhextnvbxgo.

Ulni jatxf wo havdwfitegh ast wkvre ringeya dqh qeipnue h llfxntuvfkiw elwl Ziqi nv dpkwdxbr.

Yeedh diqww go hi admll d xrvvkvfltf xurjrsyse. Lf Owsh lvrkw uhr aphq Wnrgl thtz 1000 krlrf ath 1000 fxpwwuwies hyg whl ulqmftxc bi fvzhlka aljnlrz trvif 500 cumav aul 500 vxtcoxxrus.

Aph pmaiyxeb om nruivgt esiapzv: Eipke anqtz br svbvuor d U.Z. qqwievkrglou. Qi wlr U.Y. maweydhqif sni tdiua 500 frmas grq 500 vuwxruxrry.

Phls diqww nne jbuepoq lrgexzrqtpwq vs ue iea vest prvr fusq. Hajp irvrimr vqtlzyhrgiur jlls olyi Yuow 500 priua.

Odyeer anqtz br dzbij e srrlqjq matkvihnaqrq frcgyfh ia erxpq toi hs tom wueasox aht hvg pexe ox vppvavlfye zs fwrpsh. Lr rail eruul wkiee ow ar iubhuzrnzmbq som jdmas 100 isvqs.

Owsh annzw nq aawplg oosf nqd pn vki tezw bqe nmwv 100 gbitw nqd 100 zcsssetkvf dnk 1 kdqrbn.

Seewiui zdrgs zs nyopl d X.W. vnzieyeublrr nnj tervvsh drl ozlru iubhuzrnzmbq. Im bkh Y.F. itxruvlvhv wue rsfhs 500 zcsssetkvf dnk 500 krlrf. Il eab oaphu gbutxeb iubhuzrnkw fke nilqw 500 poorf dnk 500 axstbrziev.

Dlxduxzetx bi Saiwh annzw gr acwlg matkvihnpvj. Heph xshqd aph Xrvtkh Fwaamv gsrs tsg lnamuyia iz knlnz 500 krlrf.

Aywnviuiwlsas isfw 1 chvqrr.


Our First Simulation.

Martina – National Minority Party (the former government) 0 Constituents, 1000 coins, 1000 cannons
Luis – Farmers Grange Cooperative Society 200 supporters, 500 coins, 100 cannons
Laurel – Transit Union 100 supporters, 1000 coins
Hope – Chancellor of the former university system 0 supporters, 2000 coins
Lara – Amnesty International 1000 supporters, 100 coins
Mike – Army 1000 supporters, 1000 coins, 1000 cannons
Becky – Foreign Ministry OR U.S. state departments if FM 100, 1000, 100. If DoS 0 supporters 5000 coins 10000 cannons
Sarah – Femen 500 supporters, 500 coins
Ben – Green Party 0 constituents, 1000 coins, 100 cannons
Randy – Mining Union 500 supporters, 2000 coins 100 cannons
Patrick – National Freedom Party 0 constituents, 2000 coins 250 cannons
Goal is to form  a government. To form a government you need an absolute majority of supporters OR a coalition. Each party has a hidden agenda. I give those out on Monday ^^
You may trade any resource you have.
You may not use cannons to obtain resources (“war”). Cannons are only useful if
1) A civil war breaks out (which is not this part of the simulation, or necessarily any part)
2) Foreign country intervenes.
Both are possible within this simulation.
3) You may however assassinate a player IF you have cannons BUT if you do then you lose ALL coins and suppporters which are distributed to whomever the victim designates! If you assassinate a player that may or may not cause a civil war or foreign intervention.
The national minority party is 1) a minority of the population. 2) The former government. Hope and Luis are both members of the national minority. Mikes mom is in the national minority and in the national majority. All other players are members of the national majority.
If Martina is assassinated that triggers a foreign intervention by one or more much larger neighboring states (including one where Martinas nation is the national majority).
You “win” by a) surviving and b) forming a government and c) being named to a ministry and d) fulfilling your hidden agenda. Points are scored based on attaining those goals (A-D) and supplemental points are awarded based on how many coins, cannons, or supporters you have.
Each player may “pledge” their supporters to a political party. A political party with the majority of the populace in support may form a government, alone or in coalition with one, and only one, other party.



What types of protest actions are effective?,28804,2080036_2080037_2080049,00.html

What types of protest actions are ineffective?

The UN Reports System

How do sanctions operate?
No academic or cultural exchanges
No tourists
Freeze bank accounts: Exclusion from financial system
(Aircraft with no spare parts tend to literally crash…)
Non-extradition of criminals
Non-recognition of foreign judgements
Withdrawl of the embassy
Derecognition of the sanctioned state — though individuals are no longer outlawed states can be and sometimes are.

p.s.: when a whole bunch of countries gang up and sanction you get apartheid era rhodesia which we now call Zimbabwe. Ditto South Africa. Sanctions can and do work, depending on the ability to … marshall allies.

Next time: child labor

Just for fun! Conspiritology
ok I didn’t say to read high quality cannonical literature exclusively

One of the things I learned is the importance of planning and training. Frankly, sometimes state department people get robbed or kidnapped and even killed, and its due to bad training or even no training. So try to ask when reading this “what went wrong, what went right, why did it happen, why will this not happen to me, and what will happen if it does”. Frankly, with good training everything becomes an automatic reflex because you have done it dozens or even hundreds of times before. One doesnt really have time to “think” in a crisis its mostly just “reactions”.
 Eselsbrücke: Mnemonic, shortcut. 
Frau Deutsch von Bierhaus 😉

Human Rights Activism

Refugees continued:
All those dead refugees are: lost productivity, lost  income.  So it costs us all.
Developed countries have a self-interest in helping the poor countries develop.
This is why “so what” “who cares” are horrible ideas (but not as horrible as “good, glad they are dead”)

What do HR activists do in practice?
1) Raise funds
2) “Educate” “raise awareness” i.e. militate.
3) Influence legislation
4) Influence political decisions

Refugees – Interlocking Crises (War, Poverty, Corruption, Crime) Kill Innocent People

What causes refugees?
What are the possible responses to refugees?
Which Responses are most effective?
Is Germany an example of a success story of refugees? Or is it a story of the failure of multiculturalism? Why?

Refugees are the “flip side” of political exiles. Individual people go into political exile for political reasons, whereas refugees are a mass phenomenon of ordinary people. There is no formal legal framework for political exiles, but there is one for refugees, at least in Germany, and in most first world countries.

Modernity, unlike the pre-modern, tended to see the state in its “ideal” form as a unity of territory, and people, and the people as a unity of language and religion. This was never the case of Germany, unlike France, which is why the story of German unification and state power is so conflicted.

German population in Europe prior to the war:

This doesnt include the Germans living in Estonia or Russia (“Ritterorden” and “Wolgadeutsche” respectively) or the various German settlements in Africa and the Americas.

Refugees in the immediate post-war era.

Art. 116 GG
Art. 14 StagG
Some were forced to flee, because Russia seized their property.
Others (the minority) chose to flee.
Almost all the refugee flows were from East Prussia (Pomerania, what is now western Poland and Russia).
Few fled from West to East.
Mass rapes (now jus cogens)
Child soldiers (now jus cogens)

Current refugee issues:
Example – people fleeing war in Libya and Syria wind up on over-loaded boats, which sink, killing the refugees.

-This is an example of neoconservative regime change not thinking through to the unintended consequences of armed interventions.
-Russia opposed attack on Libya vehemently.
-Russia also strongly opposes attack on Syria.

Example – people fleeing overland in overloaded trucks die of suffocation.

Hungary plans to build a wall between it and Serbia, which provokes more refugees (“now or never”)

Organized crime and political corruption together cause the overloading leading to avoidable deaths.

Germany organizes maritime rescue patrols in the Mediterranean

German law on asylum is
a) really well developed
b) very generous
c) tries to prioritize war refugees over economic refugees
d) tries to prefer well-integrated refugees with good working skills over desperate broken people
-case of the Palestinian crying girl
-backlash: fire-bombing of asylum centers, mostly in former East Germany
-compare to bombings of black churches in current USA

Germany took in 800,000 immigrants this year, second largest on earth, a very very large number.

To present, few refugees from Ukraine, because they can settle in Western Ukraine (or Russia).

EU Blue Card

What causes refugees?
What are the possible responses to refugees?
Which Responses are most effective?
Is Germany an example of a success story of refugees? Or is it a story of the failure of multiculturalism? Why?



31 Aug 2014 – Uploaded by WWIIPublicDomain

German Refugees (1945)
13 Apr 2014 
Germany / Poland Various shots of crowded train with people hanging from wagons


Asylum – The Life of Refugees in Germany … – YouTube

15 Nov 2014 – Uploaded by DW (English) 
Asylum – The Life of Refugees in Germany

Germany’s Refugee Crisis | The New York Times – YouTube

9 Dec 2014 – Uploaded by The New York Times

More refugees are seeking asylum in Germany than in any other country, straining Germans‘ tolerance 

Internships (Praktika), scholarships, volunteer opportunities

I contacted the UNHCR here in Berlin, they will be happy to have us visit.

UNHCR = UN High Commission for Refugees.
They DO offer (unpaid) internships:

You know that State Department offers scholarships for critical needs languages?
Fulbright offers Teaching English as a Foreign Language scholarship

 CIEE also offers teaching ESL overseas.

So does Peace Corps

ROTC scholarships:

CIA scholarships:
 CIA Student Internships

Please note: for your own safety (and your family’s) do not apply for anything CIA or NSA outside of the continental United States. 

NSA does hire linguists but is looking for computer specialists.

Note also that Peace Corps and CIA are mutually exclusive. Doing one basically makes it impossible for you to do the other.

US Institutes for Peace is not, so far as I know, incompatible with any of the various services.

US Aid Internships:

State Department Internships *ONLY OPEN TO *STUDENTS*! so it is “now or never”.

UN Volunteers:

State Department Volunteers:

Program search engine:

Study in Germany

Please note: if you are an unpaid student intern and impoverished you can and should apply for food stamps and get free food from food banks such as red cross, city, county, salvation army. I try to be practical.

Basically you should focus on developing as many useful skills and talents as you can: making yourself useful to other people just about always works. You want to be a technical expert and have good people skills (“soft skills”).


A structured argument is much likelier to be persuasive and thus convincing as compared to an unstructured argument. Thus we must structure rights, especially human rights if we wish to convince the court since human rights are very recent and often ambiguous.

Burdens of Proof

Hierarchy of Sources of Law (Highest to lowest)
(International law?)
(International law?)
Ordinary Federal Legislation
Ordinary State Legislation
 Judicial Decisions (Case law) (apply by analogy – my case is just like that case)
 Supreme Court
Appeals Court
Trial Court

1. Text – plain meaning
2. Context – grammar, structure, other laws
3. Legislative history
4. Goals of the Law


Hortatory (Declarations, Resolutions)

Political (Vote, strike, assembly, press, speech, petition

Procedural | Substantive

Alienable ($) | Inalienable  (Fundamental, Constitutional)

Economic (property, contract, no expropriation)

(Free movement of
goods, capital, workers, services)

Negative Freedoms From State Power versus Positive Claims to State Resources

(usually by social insurance)

Know Accuser
Know the Accusation
Open Court
Trial by Jury
No Bribery
No Nepotisim
No Torture (unreliable!)
No unreasonable delay
Privacy (no unreasonable search or seizure)
No “corruption of the blood”
No “ex post facto” laws
No “bill of [email protected]


Today’s Lecture

What is “jus cogens”?
What rules are “jus cogens”?

Were there individually enforceable rights or duties under the pre-war system of international law?

Are there individually enforceable rights or duties under the post-war system of international law?

Name the principal international multilateral treaties (=conventions) in the post-war system.

How are legal rights characterized? Name classifications of legal right.

How are human rights characterized? Name classifications of human rights.

Why did individual human rights, and even individually enforceable human rights rise into the international legal system?

Note: these questions are of the sort which I could test you on at the mid-term and final exam!
Learning to learn: pretend you are the prof! Write out model questions and answers as if you were teaching this course. That always got me good grades. 🙂

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