The Weekly Sedition

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

[Garrison Center] Arbitration Isn’t The Problem

Filed under: Media, Politics, Principles, Reading — Tags: , , , , , — mikewb1971 @ 10:21 PM

Arbitration Isn’t The Problem

November 5, 2015 — Thomas L. Knapp

Jessica Silver-Greenberg and Robert Gebeloff of the New York Times claim to have discovered “a far-reaching power play orchestrated by American corporations” (“Arbitration Everywhere, Stacking the Deck of Justice,” October 31[1]). They’re missing the forest for the trees. Arbitration is not the problem.

Corporate preference for private arbitration instead of litigation in government courts is nothing new. The twist in the Times expose is that arbitration clauses have evolved to make it more difficult for dissatisfied customers to band together and bring particular types of suits: “Class actions” in which numerous complaints are bundled together, reducing the plaintiffs’ costs and resulting in huge potential aggregated damage awards.

In recent years, arbitration clauses have begun specifying individual arbitration. Corporate attorneys know that most customers won’t spend hundreds or thousands of dollars arbitrating $10 complaints. If the complaints can’t be aggregated, they’re not worth pursuing from a financial standpoint. A win for the corporations, a loss for consumers whose complaints don’t pass the financial test.

What Silver-Greenberg and Gebeloff leave out are two important consumer tools: Information and choice.

Their story opens with reference to “a clause that most customers probably miss” on “page 5 of a credit card contract.”

The reason most customers probably miss that clause is that most customers don’t bother to read contracts pertaining to small-money matters, or have them reviewed by attorneys, before signing them. That’s a choice. So is the decision to sign something one hasn’t read.

The Times piece quotes F. Paul Bland Jr. of Public Justice, a “national consumer advocate group.” Bland claims that “[c]orporations are allowed to strip people of their constitutional right to go to court.” No, people are allowed to voluntarily waive their right to go to court, in return for valuable considerations. If they do so from voluntary ignorance, that’s their fault and no one else’s.

It’s not that complicated:

If you don’t want to commit to arbitration in general, or to individual arbitration in particular, don’t sign contracts committing yourself to those things.

If you consider reading and understanding a contract before you sign it to be too much work, don’t complain when your decision to remain ignorant comes back to bite you.

If you really, really want something, but the only way to get it is to accept an arbitration clause, then make your choice. Do without that thing or to accept the clause. Nobody owes you a smart phone or a credit card or whatever. Take the deal or don’t take the deal. Don’t blame arbitration itself, which is as good in some cases, and better in most, than resort to government courts. Remember, it was government that made the corporations so powerful in the first place.

Thomas L. Knapp is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism ( He lives and works in north central Florida.




  • Reposted –
    1. Libertarian Party –
      1. New MexicoLPNM Blog / LPNM Official Facebook page / LPNM Official Facebook group
      2. Bernalillo County, New MexicoLPBC Blog / LPBCNM Official Facebook page / LPBCNM Official Facebook group

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    Friday, 10 April 2015

    A Question for Judge Malott (Letter to the Editor)

    Filed under: Media, Philosophy, Politics, Principles — Tags: , , , , , , , — mikewb1971 @ 5:03 PM

    From: Mike Blessing
    To: Editorial Page Editor, Albuquerque Journal
    Date: Friday, 3 April 2015
    Subject: A Question for Judge Malott

    In today’s op-ed piece about discrimination, Judge Malott states that as the trial judge in Elane Photography v. Willock[1], he ruled that it’s illegal for people to discriminate against others on the basis of sexual orientation, and that Elaine Hugenin was wrong to refuse service to Vanessa Willock on that basis.

    This begs the question of why it was so important for Willock to force herself upon Hugenin, but I digress.

    The question then for Judge Malott is this: is it against the law for a gay-owned business to refuse service to straight people simply because they’re straight?

    If the answer is “yes,” then the Judge is saying that people should be forced to associate with others that they would prefer not to, and freedom of association goes down the toilet.

    If “no,” then the judge is saying that politically-protected segments of society get to lord it over to those deemed unworthy of such protection, and the question isn’t about the offending conduct, but “who” does to “whom.”

    I’m having trouble deciding which answer to this is worse. In the end, I’d prefer that individuals be free to associate with others of their own choice, period.

    To the LGBT folks — If you want someone to take pictures or video of or bake a cake for your commitment ceremony, why would you force yourself upon those who don’t want your business when some of their competitors will happily do business with you?


    1. Elane Photography v. WillockBing / DuckDuckGo / Google


    1. Approximate reading level – 13.8

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    Tuesday, 23 September 2008

    Another School Shooting

    Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , , — weeklysedition @ 5:27 PM

    Today I received a “friend” invite from one of the sites “powered” by Xanga — It’s a site (?) that concerns itself with how to live the proper Christian life. Not that I’m a Christian — religion and I don’t get along well — but still, I added “them” for the self-promotion value.

    And the first update about a blog posting there concerned a school shooting today. Here’s the link to the AP article

    Why is it with these school shootings (at least in America) almost always seem to happen in public schools?

    Why is it that we never hear about students at a private school doing this?

    Why is it that we never hear about homeschooled kids shooting their parents, siblings or neighbors?

    Why is it that all of these shootings that make the news happen in places where possession of firearms is forbidden (exceptions made for cops, of course)? For example, the school I’m currently attending, Central New Mexico Community College, has such policies in place. We have signs posted at each of the parking lot entrances warning potential gun-toters about this policy, and that campus officials will prosecute to the “fullest extent of the law.” Coronado Mall here in Albuquerque has similar policies in place.

    I’m wondering if such signs would be best accompanied by signage of this type —


    Why is it that when people do disobey these restrictions and use a firearm to stop these types of “spree” killers (the term that cops favor at present is “active shooter”), we almost never hear about it in the lamestream snoozemedia?

    Why is it that we never hear of “active shooters” taking their rampages to local shooting ranges?

    Monday, 18 August 2008

    The Open Season Act

    >House Bill ______________ / Senate Bill ______________

    AN ACT
    Findings —

    The Legislature of the State of New Mexico hereby finds and declares that —

    1. elected and politically-appointed officials have blatantly and repeatedly violated the fudiciary trust that was delegated to them by the citizens of the State of New Mexico,
    2. elected and politically-appointed law-enforcement leaders are sometimes part of the problem, and are in any case selected by the same offending officials that the citizens would expect to be investigated by those law enforcement agencies,
    3. many offending officials escape any deserved criminal culpability or civil liability due to the doctrines of “sovereign immunity,” “legislative immunity,” or “within the scope of their official duties,”
    4. due to these repeat offenders, who are often indignant about the mere accusations of impropriety, a state of emergency exists in that the faith and trust in the State of New Mexico on the part of the State’s citizens has fallen to crisis proportions.

    Sec.1      Short Title
                   This Act shall be known as the Open Season Act of _______.

    Sec.2      Any private individual who commits actions against the person or properties of any elected or politically-appointed public official with the intent to inflict physical damage, shall not be prosecuted in a criminal case, nor found liable in civil litigation.

    Sec.3      The private individual acting against the public official must be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the public official has caused specific damages to the private individual, including but not limited to physical injury, loss of liberty or loss of property, or other damages to the private individual as a matter of the public official conducting his or her official duties.

    Sec.4      This act is not intended to sanction any form of sexual assault upon the public official in question by the private individual.

    Basically, what the Open Season Act does is legalize the sort of do-it-yourself justice that H. Beam Piper wrote about in Lone Star Planet, or as John Ross described in Unintended Consequences

    Some might say that this is “extremist,” “wacky-sounding,” and “sanctions violence.” I’ll answer that by asking them what recourse does the person in the street have when the courts say “We won’t hear your case” after his house has been seized via eminent domain,citing Kelo v. City of New London as grounds? The answer — very little to none.

    Thus, I have NO sympathy for any public official who is set upon physically by their victims for harm done “in the course of his official duties.”

    Know Your Rights as a Juror

    Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — weeklysedition @ 8:51 PM

    Every week on TV, Bill Koehler and I provide information to audience about their rights when the cops suspect them of a crime, their rights as the accused, and as a juror.

    Before I begin, a DISCLAIMER —

    • NOTHING that you read here should be construed as legal advice.
    • Your reading of this page does NOT constitute any sort of attorney-client relationship between yourself and Bill Koehler or myself.
    • Consult an attorney before making any sort of statement to, or filing any sort of paperwork with, the cops, the prosecutor, or the judge.

    As a juror, you have the right to not only judge the facts of the case — did the accused commit the specified offense — but also the law of the case —

    Is it a good law?
    Is the law being properly applied?
    Does the punishment fit the alleged crime?

    Knowing this, informed jurors can start nuking various bad laws, such as those against drug or gun possession, the tax codes, zoning, etc., etc., etc., etc., from America’s law books, one acquital or mistrial at a time.

    To see how this would work, check out Appendix I of Vin Suprynowicz‘s book, Send in the Waco Killers. It’s titled The Odds of a Randomly Selected Jury of 12 Failing to Convict, Charted by Percentage of Population That Stands in Opposition to a Given Law.

    Basically, Vin started with the premise that if one juror could throw a case to a mistrial, then any law opposed by more than 1/12 of the population on a popular vote, i.e. general election, should be repealed. After publishing this idea as a column, Vin was contacted by electrical engineer Steve Mahan and software developer Thomas Junker, who ran the numbers, and it turned out that it takes much less than eight percent of the populace to kill bad laws by jury nullification.

    I won’t bore you with the numerical details here. Besides, Vin needs to sell more copies, and more people need to read that book.

    Also know that as a juror, you can vote to acquit for any reason. What did the Founders say about it being better for a hundred guilty men to go free than one innocent man be imprisoned?

    While browsing the web, I found this comment from Tom Knapp on criminal prosecutions [1] —

    98% of criminal prosecutions in the US result in “convictions,” 92% through plea bargains reached between a powerless defendant and a nearly all-powerful prosecutor, the other 6% through jury trials.


    [1] Faux libertarians throw rocks at Gravel