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The U.N. Charter Forbids a Country to Defend Itself

September 9th, 2013 No comments

The UN Charter is very poorly written. Article 2 of the UN forbids the US to fight Syria in self-defense, but it does allow us to fight Syria for humanitarian reasons. On the other hand, it forbids the UN itself from intervening anywhere for humanitarian reasons. Read more…

Categories: international law, United Nations Tags:

International Law Explicitly Permits Jewish Settlements on the West Bank

August 14th, 2009 No comments

From Peter Hitchens, August 13, 2009:

…international law, though I am happy to discuss this with any reasonable person, all the way back to the Sanremo Accords and the original League of Nations Mandate, which designated the area now known as the West Bank for “close Jewish settlement”, and has not been superseded, so far as I know, by any multilateral treaty or plan put fairly to all sides. The West Bank remained so designated after the entire area east of the Jordan to the Iraqi borders (originally part of the proposed “National Home for the Jews”) was arbitrarily sliced off the Palestine Mandate to provide a consolation prize for Emir Abdullah.

I’d never heard this, so I checked. And in fact, international law does authorize Jewish settlements on the West Bank. From: League of Nations: The Mandate for Palestine, July 24, 1922:

Article 6.

The Administration of Palestine, while ensuring that the rights and position of other sections of the population are not prejudiced, shall facilitate Jewish immigration under suitable conditions and shall encourage, in co-operation with the Jewish agency. referred to in Article 4, close settlement by Jews, on the land, including State lands and waste lands not required for public purposes.

Hitchens also has a good summary of the extreme views that the Arab countries hold and have always held of Israel, and how the Arabs do not consider the 1967 borders to have any legal validity whatsoever.

I would add that I am always amused by the enthusiasm which Israel’s enemies now show for the pre-1967 border of Israel. Their alleged enthusiasm for it now is a fake. Their real objective, as enshrined for decades in the policy documents and propaganda of the Arab world, (though in some cases tardily, reluctantly and insincerely shelved for Western consumption) is the end of the Jewish state altogether. Every Arab political figure in the area has on his wall a map of the region, a map from which Israel has entirely vanished. Hizbollah works for the extirpation of Israel, from just beyond its northern border. Hamas (a movement whose treatment of fellow Arabs who oppose it is extremely repressive and violent) continues to make no secret of this aim. Racialist filth and Judophobic slurry are taught to children in the Arab states and broadcast on Arab TV stations. And until they abandon this aim, and this muck, there can be no compromise. How can you compromise with people who teach tiny children to hate you, and whose aim is your utter destruction? Every concession would merely be a further step towards death, not a step towards peace.

I am old enough to recall that these enthusiasts were not so enthusiastic about the pre-1967 border before 1967, when it was the border of Israel. No Arab state accepted it as legitimate, let alone lawful. So why are they so keen on it now? I guarantee that if the 1967 border were to be restored tomorrow, the Arab campaign against Israel (backed elsewhere by our strange Israel-haters, who can only find one country on the map of the world to disapprove of) would continue unabated. At that stage, before 1967, the official policy of the Arab world was to ‘drive the Jews into the sea’. The 1967 border itself, a militarily indefensible and impractical frontier, was the cease-fire line at the end of the 1948 War, not an internationally agreed frontier between peaceful sovereign states. For most of its existence it was repeatedly violated.

PM2317561View of a concrete The 1948 war was itself caused by the Arab world’s rejection of the 1947 partition plan, which allocated Israel a much smaller territory even than the land enclosed in the supposedly sacred 1967 border. That rejection itself followed the similar rejection of the partition proposed by the 1937 Peel Commission, which was even less generous to the Jews than the UN would be ten years later.

International Law

April 6th, 2009 No comments

Eric Posner is good at VC on the liberal, Kohish view of international law as mere hypocrisy. He explains the academic argument by Koh: international public opinion has strong actual effect, and ends up forcing the US government to bend to its will, and so is actual law.

Categories: international law, law, law professors Tags:

More on Phthalates

March 8th, 2009 No comments

Below is the law on enforcement of the phthalate regulation on selling products with phthalates in them (certification is another aspect). Phthalates are a chemical that softens plastics. There seems to be no evidence whatsoever that it causes damage in anyone but pregnant women (and that evidence is all from rats, I think), judging from what *proponents* of the regulation say. Opponents might even doubt that.

  1. Guidance on the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) for Small Businesses, Resellers, Crafters and Charities.

  2. National Resources Defense Council v. US Consumer Product Safety Commmission,

    08 Civ. 10507, SD NY, Gardephe. J.

  3. “The Case Against
    Phthalates in Children’s Toys”
    , Huffington Post, (March 24, 2008).

  4. Human Breast
    Milk Contamination with Phthalates and Alterations of Endogenous Reproductive
    Hormones in Infants Three Months of Age
    , Katharina M. Main et al. ,
    Environmental Health Perspectives Volume 114, Number 2, February 2006.


  5. WRITTEN TESTIMONY OF
    LEON EARL GRAY JR, PhD*

    SENIOR REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGIST AND TOXICOLOGIST
    U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
    BEFORE THE
    COMMITTEE ON ENERGY AND COMMERCE
    SUBCOMMITTEE ON COMMERCE, TRADE, AND CONSUMER PROTECTION
    UNITED STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES (June 10, 2008).

  6. Time’s Toy
    Reporting Scares Parents

    Trevor Butterworth, December 13, 2006.


  7. Section 108: Products Containing Certain Phthalates,
    CPSC FAQ.

  8. Whole Soy Story: The Dark Side of America’s Favorite Health Food

  9. A National Review article that says pre-1985 children’s books are illegal because of lead in the ink.

  10. National Bankruptcy Day
    , happytobeathome.net, Jan 2nd, 2009.

Here are the ENFORCEMENT sections:

SEC. 19. [15 U.S.C. § 2068]
(a) It shall be unlawful for any person to—
(1) sell, offer for sale, manufacture for sale, distribute in
commerce, or import into the United States any consumer product, or
other product or substance that is regulated under this Act or any
other Act enforced by the Commission, that is not in conformity with
an applicable consumer product safety rule under this Act, or any
similar rule, regulation, standard, or ban under any other Act
enforced by the Commission;

Meaning: You can’t sell a toy with phthalates in it.

SEC. 20. [15 U.S.C.§ 2069] {penalties increased; see 69 FR 68884}

(a) (1) Any person who knowingly violates section 19 [15 U.S.C. §
2068] of this Act shall be subject to a civil penalty not to exceed
$100,000, for each such violation….

(2) The second sentence of paragraph (1) of this subsection shall not
apply to violations of paragraph (1) or (2) of section
19(a)—
(A) if the person who violated such paragraphs is not the manufacturer
or private labeler or a distributor of the products involved, and
(B) if such person did not have either (i) actual knowledge that his
distribution or sale of the product violated such paragraphs or (ii)
notice from the Commission that such distribution or sale would be a
violation of such paragraphs

Meaning: If you “knowingly” sell a toy with phthalates in it, you can
be fined up to $100,000. Paragraph (2) says, by implication, that you
can be fined even if you are a retailer who did not “have actual
knowledge” that you were violating the law. It’s unclear to me whether
you’re in trouble if you sell a toy with phthalates in it when you
didn’t know it had phthalates in it. I think you *are* in trouble,
from what I could tell from the FAQs. Someone who knows criminal law
would know, from the language here.

SEC. 21. [15 U.S.C. § 2070]
(a) Violation of section 19 of this Act is punishable by—
(1) imprisonment for not more than 5 years for a knowing and willful
violation of that section;

Meaning: If you know a toy has phthalates and you sell it anyway,
you might go to jail for 5 years, if the U.S. Attorney doesn’t like
you. This applies even if you only sell one item, and you’re a
charity shop.

SEC. 24. [15 U.S.C. § 2073]

(a) IN GENERAL.–Any interested person (including any individual or
nonprofit, business, or other entity) may bring an action in any
United States district court for the district in which the defendant
is found or transacts business to enforce a consumer product safety
rule or an order under section 15 [15 U.S.C. § 2064], and to obtain
appropriate injunctive relief. Not less than thirty days prior to the
commencement of such action, such interested person shall give notice
by registered mail to the Commission, to the Attorney General, and to
the person against whom such action is directed. Such notice shall
state the nature of the alleged violation of any such standard or
order, the relief to be requested, and the court in which the action
will be brought. No separate suit shall be brought under this section
if at the time the suit is brought the same alleged violation is the
subject of a pending civil or criminal action by the United States
under this Act. In any action under
this section the court may in the interest of justice award the costs
of suit, including reasonable attorneys’ fees (determined in
accordance with section 11(f)) [15 U.S.C. §2060(f)] and reasonable
expert witnesses’ fees.

Meaning: Even if the U.S. Attorney doesn’t go after you because it
would be ridiculous to– in fact, ONLY if the case is too stupid for
them to prosecute— a predatory law firm could do it for profit,
because they get “attorneys’ fees”, which courts are very generous
about, judges being members of the lawyer class and more sympathetic
to them than to ordinary people, or, certainly, to companies.

My Co-Authors

February 24th, 2009 No comments

After going to Ian Ayres’s excellent 50th Birthday
Co-Authors Conference
I
decided to count up my own co-authors. Stars indicate that what we’ve
written is not yet published (and maybe never will be). I don’t
include co-editors.

  1. Michael Alexeev
  2. *Maria Arbatskaya
  3. Ian Ayres
  4. F. H. Buckley
  5. *Luis Fernandez
  6. *Barick Chung
  7. *Christopher Connell
  8. Kenneth Dau-Schmidt
  9. *Richmond Harbaugh
  10. David Hirshleifer
  11. Jack Hirshleifer
  12. Maarten Janssen
  13. Thomas P. Lyon
  14. Richard McAdams
  15. * Kaushik Mukhopadhaya
  16. Robert Heidt
  17. Emmanuel Petrakis
  18. Ivan Png
  19. Richard Posner
  20. Manu Raghav
  21. J. Mark Ramseyer
  22. Timothy Perri
  23. Minoru Nakazato
  24. Santanu Roy
  25. Jeffrey Stake
  26. John Wiley
  27. *David Myatt
  28. *Young-Ro Yoon
  29. Todd Zenger
  30. Mark Zupan

Ian is up to 51, I think, with about 30 at the conference and 15 presenting papers there.

Brad DeLong Calls for Colleague To Be Fired

February 18th, 2009 No comments

Brad DeLong has posted a shocking letter calling for Professor Yoo of Berkeley Law to be fired for his work in the White House– the “torture memo”. I’d thought reputable economists wouldn’t write that kind of letter. It should be a warning to us all— the Left *does* want to criminalize conservatism. Liberals, you watch out— the Mensheviks come next.

Posner and Judicial Writing

February 12th, 2009 No comments

It seems that Judge Posner is having a good influence on judicial writing. The 7th Circuit Lott v. Levitt opinion (via Volokh Con.) written by Evans with Ripple and Sykes signing on, is clear, pleasant, and uses contractions, even in an opinion whose subject is the fine detail of choice of law and writing pleadings:

The principle of waiver is designed to
prohibit this very type of gamesmanship—Lott is not
entitled to get a free peek at how his dispute will shake out
under Illinois law and, when things don’t go his way, ask
for a mulligan under the laws of a different jurisdiction. In
law (actually in love and most everything else in life),
timing is often everything. The time for Lott to ask for
the application of Virginia law had passed—the train
had left the station.

Categories: economists, international law, writing Tags:

The Result of Freeing Prisoners of War

January 26th, 2009 No comments

From the NYT:

The emergence of a former Guantánamo Bay detainee as the deputy leader of Al Qaeda’s Yemeni branch has underscored the potential complications in carrying out the executive order President Obama signed Thursday that the detention center be shut down within a year.

The militant, Said Ali al-Shihri, is suspected of involvement in a deadly bombing of the United States Embassy in Yemen’s capital, Sana, in September. He was released to Saudi Arabia in 2007 and passed through a Saudi rehabilitation program for former jihadists before resurfacing with Al Qaeda in Yemen.

Maybe we should conclude that Al Qaeda wants to scare Obama into not closing down Guantanamo.

Categories: international law, Islam, obama Tags:

Reparations for Slavery

January 20th, 2009 1 comment

Suppose your ancestor was a slaveholder, or a corrupt politician. Ought you to do anything in compensation? What should you do with wealth inherited from that person?

Categories: ethics, international law, living, religion Tags:

An Afghanistan Report

January 18th, 2009 No comments

From James Dunnigan:

The information based tactics concentrate on capturing or killing the enemy leadership and specialists (mostly technical, but religious leaders and media experts are often valuable targets as well). The Australian commandos have specialized in this approach, and made themselves much feared by the Taliban (who will make an extra effort to avoid dealing with the Australians). The U.S. and NATO commanders know that the Taliban leadership is in trouble, with a new generation of leaders only recently shoving the older guys (veterans of the 1980s war with Russia) out of the way, and introducing more vicious tactics (more terrorism against reluctant civilians). This is backfiring, as it did in Iraq, and the Taliban leadership is not having an easy time trying to come up with a new strategy. One strategy that is working is making a big deal whenever foreign troops kill Afghan civilians (about 80 percent of civilian deaths are caused by the Taliban, but that has successfully been played down, a real spin victory for the Islamic radicals). This has caused NATO commanders to issue increasingly restrictive rules of engagement to their troops, which the Taliban eagerly exploit …

Also this:

British medics tried to apply the Geneva Conventions in Afghanistan, but found that they were often targets of enemy fire, even though their red cross symbols were plainly visible. The enemy attitude was particularly disheartening because British medics often treated enemy wounded as well, in addition to Afghan civilians. Didn’t matter. For the Taliban and al Qaeda, anyone who wasn’t working for them was considered a target. So now British medics are under orders to go into action armed, and to use their weapons to defend themselves, and their patients, when necessary.

Of course, one can’t blame the Taliban for not obeying the Geneva Conventions, since they never signed them. It is our folly to think that those conventions apply in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. If we really paid attention to international law, we’d recall that just because countries X and Y make a treaty doesn’t mean that it binds country Z too– or protects country Z either.