Thursday, October 26, 2017

Women, Rights, and the ERA

This article was written and published in 2003.  Today, the ERA remains unratified while the overwhelming majority of Americans think it is law.   This raises several issues we will be addressing here at the Women's Institute in the coming weeks.  

The first is confusion over the biological differences between men and women and why gender and these differences should be ignored by government.  

The second issue is the successful campaign to persuade Americans the ERA had been ratified, which was an expensive, and successful dis-information campaign.  

The third issue is the reframing of law and the appropriate functions of government.

The fourth issue is how we deliver real opportunity for all of us and put the issue gender to bed (so to speak) as we get on with realizing our full potential as individuals.  

by Melinda Pillsbury-Foster, ERA Campaign California Coordinator,

Wording of the Equal Rights Amendment 

Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.

You are a woman; you are living at the dawn of the third millennium and you think you are equal under the law. You are wrong, wrong because although the American people from both genders, every age group and part of the country have overwhelmingly believe in equal rights for male and female citizens, still, the Constitution, the highest law in the land, contains no wording that extends fully equal citizens' rights to women.

For equality to be more than a provisional privilege there must be an amendment to the existing Constitution that is ratified by 3/4 of the state legislatures.

It has not happened.

The newly passed ERA was sent to the states from Congress in 1972 and everyone believed that it would be ratified by the required 38 states quickly but instead it became a political football linked to issues that have nothing to do with simple equality. Women like Phyllis Schlafly have made careers of opposing an equality that is essential to women – and to our culture as a whole.

What happened instead was a series of laws that assert 'fairness', many passed on the state level. On these women hang their trust that their rights are protected – but each of these laws can be overturned through the actions of the Supreme Court; Without the clear and specific backing of the federal Constitution, even the best laws improving women's rights and opportunities can (and often are) weakened, poorly (or never) enforced, or even overturned.

Now that you understand this, consider the future make up of the Supreme Court. Do you feel safe?

This is how it is, but it is not the whole story. There is hope.

In 2000 a retired research psychologist in Central New Jersey, was asked to speak to a group of Girl Scouts on equality for women. Jennifer Macleod, the speaker, was still active in the local chapter of NOW she cofounded in 1969. She spoke to the troop and, enthused and ready for more, the girls asked for a project they could undertake related to the ERA. Jennifer, an expert in survey research, made up a short questionnaire and showed the girls how polling must be done to accurately reflect the opinions of those polled.

There were three questions. Jennifer expected the Girl Scouts, polling their classmates, teachers, and parents, to find a range of opinions on equality for women. Instead, they found close to unanimous support for the concept.

Buoyed by the potential importance of such findings, Jennifer and a group of associates raised the money to have a national survey professionally conducted in July 2001, among American adults all across the country. The findings? 96% answered "yes" to the question, "In your opinion, should male and female citizens of the United States have equal rights?"; 88% answered "yes" to the question, "In your opinion, should the Constitution make it clear that male and female citizens are supposed to have equal rights?"; and, demonstrating a public lack of knowledge, 72% mistakenly answered "yes" to the question, "As far as you know, does the Constitution of the United States make it clear that male and female citizens are supposed to have equal rights?" The results were similar for both men and women, and in all age groups, educational levels, regions of the country, racial categories, and household composition.

That was the beginning of the ERA Campaign Network and their campaigning for the Equal Rights Amendment on the basis of what is called the Three State Strategy.

Three State Strategy

 The Constitution, in setting forth how amendments can be made, said NOTHING about any time limits -- although, as was the case for several amendments, a time limit can if desired be included in the body of a proposed amendment. The 1972 Congress, in passing the ERA -- which, fully intentionally, contains no mention of any time limit -- chose to attach a 7-year ratification time limit separate from the amendment itself. Then, when the 1979 Congress extended the time limit by 3 years, that set the precedent such that any Congress can legitimately vote to change such a time limit.

How could equality ever fail to be relevant? In an era when women are serving in the military in roles that expose them to combat the arguments that they are frail and must be protected fail to persuade 


So the ERA Campaign Network went to work to help obtain ratification in at least three more not-yet-ratified states.

Vigorous ratification drives are well underway in Illinois (which came very close to ratification in 2004), Florida and Missouri, with many of the other not-yet-ratified states, including Arkansas, Arizona, Georgia, Louisiana, and Oklahoma, building support for their own ratification 


Additionally, awareness is growing of the need to affirm equality for women in the face of the interests who prefer women in the status of second class citizens.  Protection not internal to the Constitution is meaningless and temporary, open to the whims of legislatures and the courts.

It needs to happen and, startled that it has not, Americans are working to see that it does.

The states that are not yet ratified are:

Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah, and Virginia.

The states that have failed to ratify are nearly all Southern. To help jump start efforts in these states the ERA Campaign Network has formed caucuses for each unratified state. These are to promote communication and activism from ERA supporters who are now living in states that have 
ratified but came from states that have still to do so.

We may leave our state but we keep our friends, school chums and family. With help from the Internet former southerners are creating a network to build understanding and support for the ongoing effort. The threads of connection are weaving new patterns for women across the nation, connections that will ensure that girls growing up now will have their rights secured to them as individuals.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Linda, you have a lot to learn

By Melinda Pillsbury-Foster

Bloodworth-Thomason from Fellowship of the Mind
Linda Bloodworth-Thomason has a lot to learn about being free and in community with others.  Standing up for the truth is required of us as human beings.  It does not matter who it is, the truth needs to be told, both to affirm those who suffer harm and to remind those who violate the rights of others of their error.  ‘Doing the right thing,’ means all of the time, every time, not when it is convenient or emotionally easy. 

To put it plainly, she believes she can enjoy a relationship with a sexual predator and cut this off from any judgement of herself when her ‘friend’ violates the personal autonomy of someone else.  This is absurd, wishful thinking which expresses an ugly truth about Ms. Bloodworth and uncounted others. 

What about the many victims Bill Clinton has left in his wake?  What about the campaigns of destruction waged by Hillary Clinton on these victims of Bill’s sexual addiction? 

On John and Ken Show in Los Angeles, a radio talk show, their phone line, “The Moist Line,” for people to leave messages for what scum bag needs to be thrown into the proverbial dumpster this week, only two names were mentioned several times by many women.  One was Harvey Weinstein and the other was, “What about Bill Clinton?”  We have not forgotten. 

Bill and Harvey from The gateway Pundit, Harv chuckling
For you to not counsel Bill Clinton on this matter as your attorney uncle would, is to turn the hashtag, “#MeToo,” into “PoundMeToo,” probably not what you intended, but you are in the arena with a word processor and TV cameras. 

Not being believed, being discounted, dismissed, causes trauma which sends ripples of pain down the entire life of an individual.   Each of us is responsible for our own lives and can be judged when we give the semblance of honor to those whose own actions are at variance with these values when we choose to ignore this human responsibility.   

Linda, you are, as you refused to admit, a hypocrite. 

Freedom from sexual harassment is not just for women in Hollywood, it is for all of us, women and men all of our lives.  Freedom goes way beyond respect for our bodies. Our freedom includes our choices, how we live, love and work as long as we do no harm to others. 

The freedom which increased the recognized autonomy for women, minorities, yes, and for men, to choose their own paths in life, have been expensive.  That cost has been borne by women and men, many now dead, who put their lives on hold to stand up for the rights of those who could not speak for themselves or who were ignored for the reasons which a few weeks ago remained unspoken by those in the Entertainment Industry.

This could not have happened without the collusion of thousands of individuals.  It is easy to understand why so many women and men remained silent, but those reasons do not excuse them or mitigate their continued suffering.    

One tiny step has been taken, despite the overt nature of the sexual predators, male and female, operating within the Entertainment Industry.   But we remain in a world where the Equal Rights Amendment is still unratified, despite the fact most believe this has long since happened.

Linda, you have enabled a sexual predator and then attempted to evade accountability, kicking his victims to the curb.  You admitted this openly when you said, “I will be the first to admit that clearly delineated moral choices can still be painfully complex where friendship is involved. One of the best friends I will ever have and a man I love dearly, former President Bill Clinton, has certainly taxed my feminist conscience, but always without diminishing my affection. I even helped write his apology to the nation for his own sexual misconduct, was sitting next to him when he delivered it, and believe to this day it was based on something that was none of our business. And yes, some may call it hypocritical, but I confess to having had no problem warning at least three top-level Democratic operatives against allowing Harvey Weinstein to host political fundraisers. A warning that evidently (and to the glee of Fox News) fell on deaf ears.”

There is a road out of your hypocrisy.  Read on.  We need a lot more than the ratification of the ERA, as important as that is.  Hear this, there is no space in our world for protecting predators in any arena.

Explaining you were sympathetic when it cost you nothing should make you cringe.  I’m sure Ashley Judd, Rose McGowan and others in your industry are relieved.  They can more on, heal, know they are safe.  But there are others who are not safe, not one bit. 

You recounted your personal experiences in the Entertainment Industry.  It is the same in every part of our world where an elite, usually male, but not always, can dictate terms which include demanding favors, sexual or other, from those beneath them.  The relative power of the individual makes it easy to ignore obligations or make demands on those who work for them or are themselves in politics. 

Every part of the political arena, corporate life, the military, and more are subject to the same abuses.  Your silence within your own industry is mirrored in the still unresolved acts of Bill and Hillary Clinton.   

Much of my life was spent in GOP and Libertarian politics.  It was exactly the same.  As a condition of employment Ed Crane of CATO required women who worked there to have sex with him.  Crane was never a proponent of freedom but enjoyed a half-million dollars a year for manicuring issues for his employers, the Kochs.  I exposed this but no on in that arena cared much.  There is, despite that, a difference between being a Libertine and a Libertarian.     

You don’t like Donald Trump so denouncing him is easy.  Trump admitted his failing openly and apologized to his victim.   But Bill apologized to those he had not directly victimized only after being impeached.   So where is the lesson learned?  Gossip has it his behavior has not changed.  How about if we ask his Secret Service Agents?  They likely know.

Corporate Officers are also known to behave in the same way.  Ideology does not matter but power does. 

Linda, you were whining when you wrote, “As for the small screen, I myself was the creator of a man-loving, feminist show called Designing Women. We were arguably one of the most progressive, loudmouthed, female series ever — unapologetically, week after week, we showcased issues involving the objectification of women, violence against women and sexual harassment. Out of 163 episodes, we received one Emmy … for hairdressing. (It might be worth noting that Television Academy voters were 80 percent male.)”

I happen to have a partner who had some comments on your Poplar Bluff Mule memories, which play so large in Designing Women.  Your characterization for your ‘designing women,’ were your parents, descendants of the Bloodworth boys on Lester Street.  One of the boys went into law in Poplar Bluff. 

The Bloodworth boys learned about girl power from those Brake Girls who lived across Lester Street.  The Bloodworth Boys lost a fist-fight to the four Brake girls after bullying the recently fatherless sisters on the subject of racism.  Their mother had run for Butler County Clerk in an alliance between the Women’s Christian Temperance Union and the then Negro population, which took on the Klu Klux Klan, who bought the election with free drinks with the quid pro quo they would vote for the Klan candidate against the widow.  Jesse Lee Collins-Brake lost, but broke the back politically of the Klan in the Boot Heel ever after.  The young Bloodworth boys were gloating over this loss and took it as a license to bully the girls.  The Brake girls whipped their asses with their KerPow, continuing to swim with their black friends in the Black and Current Rivers. 

Everyone, Brake and Bloodworth went home with black eyes. 

To their credit, the Bloodworth boys learned their lesson and, thereafter, fought for desegregation and positive race relations the rest of their lives.  However, they did not seem to communicate to you the full source of the conflict; to not bully girls.  Now, you know and we can move on.  To exonerate yourself you need to advocate to Bill, as his ghost writer, that beyond admission of guilt, sorrow, and apology, he needs to tell the truth about his bullying and quid pro quos for sex and make restitution.  One way he and Hillary can do this is to reroute the $250.000 given to them by Harvey Weinstein and instead create the Harvey Weinstein “Endowment” and add their own millions, not as hush money, but as true restitution.  Since Bill and Hillary now control $900M, this coming after poverty when their campaign fund was down to $50,000 in March 1992, could make a dent in the ladies’ problems. 

Bill and Hillary ignored all the wisdom and solutions offered them in favor of power and money, only pretending to care about solving so many problems.    

The lives led by the Bloodworth Boys and Those Brake Girls from Poplar Bluff could solve many of the problems Americans face today.  Go back and ask your families, and some Mules.  If they don’t know, you can come ask me. 

Monday, September 18, 2017

The All Powerful and Omni-Potent Cult of the Sperm ...and other emotionally satisfying myths

The Myths of Science and Their Agenda 

by Melinda Pillsbury-Foster

Aristotle was a smart guy.

One day he squinted down into a handful of his own semen and noticed an army of tiny little wigglers vainly trying to go someplace. I have to admit, the guy must have had great eyesight.

From this evidence the man derived the Theory of the Omni-Potent Sperm, which is still alive and, well, living with us today.

Men, asserted Aristotle, are the source of all life.

They ejaculate their wondrous seed into the fertile, but dead soil of the Woman, and behold, life. All else was irrelevant.

From this handy theory -- the original example of junk science -- Western Civilization (wasn't it Gandhi who said, when asked what he thought of Western Civilization, that he thought it would be a good idea?) derived the law that gave into the hands of men the full and unquestioned custody of children, the product of their excessively valuable loins. It was a question of property riveted to a proper respect for the miraculous process of impregnation. 
Birth? That was just delegated work of little value. Women did it, for gosh sakes, how much could it be worth?

Sex? That was work a man could get into.

This was, of course, long before the time of such useful cognitive tools as economic theory and biophysics. But this is the source of the laws with which we still live today.

When they were struggling for their rights, women faced a legal reality that denied they had any right to their children -- thanks to Aristotle and his handy handful of reproductive juices. So they punted. They compromised with another legal fiction: men and women each should have a 50% interest in their biological children. As will most compromises, this one has not worked either.

Even though economic theory existed, no one thought to apply it. Even though the biological realities were better understood, they were ignored. After all, what does law have to do with reality?

The social tinkering of generations of We-Know-What's-Good-For-You theoreticians had so deadened us to the verities of individual rights that we did not even notice. And lawyers? As we all know, they are for the most part so toxic they are likely to turn into politicians.

But it is never too late to change.

The Cult of the Omni-Potent Sperm is actually pretty funny when you summon the images of that scene into the mind: a group of jerks jerking off while their economy (yes, they had one) continued to function on the wealth produced most exclusively by the disfranchised. Women and slaves were the working population. Men who could vote did not work -- unless jerking off and talking are forms of labor. They did become politicians (and, presumably, lawyers). Women were slaves, but they didn't get the use of the title. Slaves, after all, could buy their freedom in that day in age; women could not.

While ancient Greeks might not have understood the economic theory whereby they asserted ownership of the source of wealth, they certainly understood how to do it. 
We will now consider the economic realities of the biological investment the two genders of humanity make in offspring. We will now dispose of the Cult of the Omni-Potent Sperm once and for all. The Cult has had its long run, but it is time to get real.

The Tangled Web of Human Biology Why fatherhood is not about DNA

by Melinda Pillsbury-Foster

Fatherhood is not about DNA.

Fatherhood is about a relationship -- including the wiping of noses, hugs, long nights of rocking, changing diapers and all forms of support including financial. It is about being a good example to your child through the acts that make up your life.

Fatherhood is a lot like motherhood when practiced well. 

Adoptive parents know they are mothers and fathers without sharing any DNA with their children.

How did we come to confuse the issues? Blame government indifference to just outcomes for individuals.

Expect no more justice on parental issues than you find in the tax code. To those who wield power, reducing the call upon public money for the support of single parent children has a higher priority than justice or truth. Women using welfare services are forced to name the biological "father". You can hear practically the judge thinking, "Well, if he isn't the father of this one, he is the father of some other kid on welfare."

That is the first problem. The second is much deeper. At the foundation of the morass is the fact we have mistakenly equated two human relationships that are substantially different: motherhood and fatherhood.

There is a saying that goes, "While you know who the mother is, the father is always in doubt." This is not said to insult women -- it is a logical extrapolation of the facts of biology.

Women get pregnant. Their bodies respond to the baby within by making huge changes. Hormones, impacted by the baby's presence, go into overdrive -- causing emotional and physical changes in the mother-to-be. Her breasts ready themselves for lactation as her body prepares for the stresses of birth. We see pregnancy. In Norse legend, laboring women were counted as warriors. 

Mothering is also a cultural role, but it has always primarily been a biological role that is complex and consuming. A new mother may be inept at the realities of caring for her baby, but nature has prepared her for that role as well as it can with all of its evolutionary wisdom. On this primary biological reality is based the survival of our species.

Fatherhood is cultural, a late adaptation not shared with other primates. Men do not experience hormonal changes. They do not give birth; they become fathers by simply being fathers as they see that role practiced around them, especially through their own life examples. Fatherhood is therefore practiced differently in various cultures while motherhood is a human universal. The Madonna and Child speak to all humankind.

Nature provides no kick-start for the process and exacts no essential physical or psychological payment from men. Their costs are all cultural. Sperm, the means of DNA transmission, are source so worthless that men have to pay to give it away in most cases. Given the number of abortions today, some might call it toxic waste. Recipients may even expect it to be delivered with various frills, for instance dinner and a movie.

Which is no comfort at all to men paying support for children they have never seen and with whom they have no biological relationship. They are not fathers in either sense.

And if the question of DNA testing were only to relieve them of an unjust burden justice would be simple.

We now have access to a technology that has enabled us to document the genetic aspect of all relationships. But the uses we are making of that technology tells more about the inconsistencies and injustices of our past than it does about what we need to do to create a better future for ourselves and our children.

Some few women are probably lying. Most women in this situation are just mistaken. Our best bet may be wrong in any specific case.

But that is not the issue.

In some cases men undertake a fatherhood role in the life of a child assuming they share DNA. In some number of cases they might have assumed that role anyway. Babies are enchantingly attractive and being a father is an honored role in our culture. Babies come with mothers who can also be wives and lovers. For whatever reason, men become fathers. Fatherhood should be a relationship, freely entered into and responsibly carried out, as all relationships should be founded on choice and not coercion, truth and not lies.

But a history of hugs, wiped tears and years of cherishing cannot be cancelled by any test. Fatherhood is not made by biology but through love and human honor. 

DNA testing has made available to us a powerful tool for justice. Men who have not become fathers should not be forced to support children with whom they do no share DNA. But fathers, men who have seen their love reflected in the eyes of a child, do not abandon their child because that would be an unpardonable breech of trust.

Confessions of a Guerrilla Writer: Adventures in the Jungles of Sex, Motherhood, and Domestic Violence

by Melinda Pillsbury-Foster

I first encountered the reality of domestic violence after I learned to read but before I understood what it meant to be dead. Proper parents did not confront their children with the stark realities of death, violence or abuse. My parents, a college professor and a mathematician, were all that was proper in that regard. Therefore the hushed conversation I overheard when Father came home unusually early looking very upset and not at all like his usual assured self. I was shooed out of their bedroom and therefore took up my usual listening post just outside the door in the hallway. Yes, I was an insufferable brat. But I had ascertained that you learn interesting things by listening. 

On this occasion I hear my father’s voice speaking low and rumbling with pain talking about a bloody event. The estranged husband of one of the office employees had shot down his wife. Their voices dropped so low I could not hear and then rose. I heard the shock in my mother’s tone. The tiny drops of red on his formerly crisp white shirt now made ugly sense. 

We call it domestic violence. We urge women to ‘move on,” “be positive,” and “stop asking for it.” We talk down to the victims even while we fail to make it safe for them to leave. Then we blame them for enabling the abuse. We protect the ‘rights’ of the violent in preference to protecting the lives of the innocent. 

In this way we fail as individuals and as a nation to say NO to violence. Therefore, with the inevitable logic of causality we say yes to continuing generations of fear, deceit, violent abuse and death. 

There are lots of ways to spell stupid. 

Two generations ago a woman named Rosa Parks took a seat on a bus denied to her by the law. Seated beside and around her were attorneys and activists who were mandated to protect her person and her rights. We celebrate Rosa Parks as a hero for freedom, and so she is. 

What are we saying to women who fight back to change the system? I will tell you. We say, “You are too smart to do this.” “Get on with your life.” “You can do nothing so don’t try.” 

It is not surprising that there has been no Rosa Parks for domestic violence. No one would or could endure the danger and abuse it would take to create such a case. Therefore changing our cultural practices makes it essential that women who have been abused stand up for their rights and challenge the powers that be. To do that we need to recognize the kind of courage it takes to do that and give them support. 

I know. My own daughter has tried to speak out and the powers that be agree on one thing. She must be silenced. They offer her no support only sappy advice about moving on; advise they would never offer to a victim of any other kind of institutional injustice. 

More women die today of domestic violence than die of prejudice. More lives ad maimed and distorted; more damage is done to each of us and to the future we are trying to build for our children. Supporting women who speak out from all walks of life is the moral duty of anyone and everyone who is committed to changing the stark reality of domestic violence. That means not treating battered women as flawed but understanding that it is our system that commits them to lives of terror and fear. 

When women speak out we should see what they could accomplish for others by forcing change to take place. We should thank them, support them, and encourage them with all that it takes to say NO to violence and YES to human relationships free of violence, coercion and fraud. 

I am prouder of my daughter than I can say. It has taken indomitable will to withstand both abuse and the institutions and individuals who continue to enable abuse. 

When the reality of domestic abuse changes it will happen because of women like my daughter and not because of the legions of politicians and attorneys who trade on their pain. 

It will happen because we are not going to just take it any more. 

A Free Market Solution to the Question of Gender

by Melinda Pillsbury-Foster

Barry Loberfeld’s saucy rant, combining diverse elements of philosophical argumentation counter seasoned with a tart touch of law and a few grains of biology is both unconvincing and pointless. 

Back to the basics. 

Individuals own their own bodies. Women and men both should be able to control their bodies and the products of those same bodies. This is not the world we live in today, however. It is also not the world our culture claims by tradition. But it is the future and the philosophical and moral viewpoint that the Freedom Movement is, at least formally, dedicated to affirm. Arguing about the gross injustice that exists today, a mixed market of draconian statism and bad social policy dragged here from history, is a waste of time. 

The real question is, what would Freedom look like enacted in this area? 

Let us first consider the easiest case, and the one instance where I agree fully with Mr. Loberfeld. 

Men should not be become fathers against their will any more than women should become mothers in the same case. But in actual fact very few men pay support for children conceived in such instances. Few men help pay the transaction costs of abortion. Virtually no men pay even a fraction of the costs related to contraception. Note that this is a pragmatic clarification aimed at the present status quo. 

The status quo is wrong – but not for the reasons opined by Mr. Loberman. The fact is that along with the very marginal financial support mandated in law men who are bioDads get tremendous power. Many women have been prohibited by courts from relocating if the bioDad objected. Women in this situation do not infrequently find themselves confronted, years later, with demands that the bioDad, unknown to the child, be allowed an active role in the child’s raising. Often these men have had no contact and paid not a cent of support. This is allowed by the courts, distorting the lives these women have chosen to lead. Women have been forced to pay off bioDads to simply get them to go away. Again, a pragmatic clarification of the status quo. 

Men should not be fathers against their will. Neither should they be able to force this relationship on a woman and child simply because of biology.

But the ranges of cases are much greater than this one posed by Mr. Loberfeld. Remember the provision that the pregnancy happen with consent? The unappetizing fact is that many women presently on welfare became pregnant before the age of consent and were impregnated by men much older. Therefore there was no informed consent. But still the courts recognize fatherhood without the consent of the woman. Rapists have also asserted, and been granted, rights of fatherhood. 

If the individual has the inherent right to bodily sovereignty then no court should be able to grant to any man fatherhood without the consent of the woman. Marriage has always been a contractual relationship that assumed that children would make the husband a father. That there are grave problems with marriage law is unarguable. But I will not take up that point here. 

In the case of non-consensual impregnation not only should there be no fatherhood there should be recognition of liability by the bioDad. Liability should be not to the child, but to the woman. Unchosen motherhood is a diminution of choice. It should be an actionable torte. 

In a free, world where responsible individuals acted responsibly and could act upon their inherent rights, women would insist that the costs and potential liabilities related to consensual intercourse and contraception be shared. They would have the power to do so. Relationships are a market open to all of the pressures of any market. 

Women would be able to write any marriage contract they wanted, without the interference of the State. Men and women could sign, or not sign, and be held to the contract in the same way we each have to pay for anything else we want. Most unmarried men are actually subsidized in this regard. Women bear the costs of gynecological visits, contraceptives, abortions, and the overwhelming share of the costs of raising children, both monetary and non-monetary. 

The irrationality of law has disregarded the biological reality that men and women are very different. It ignores the fact that there is a market in relationships, assigning a ‘one price standard’ to marriage that is clearly not in keeping with a free market. And also egregiously, they have limited women’s rights to negotiate for a benefit from selling sexual access and the right to parent a child. Therefore instead of a range of sexual options, a long gradient from companionate marriage to prostitution, we have only marriage completely in the ‘white,’ legal, market, and only prostitution in the, ‘black,’ illegal, market. Payment for sex and other contractual transactions are unenforceable by State fiat. In adoption we see women forced to give up babies for just their expenses. By controlling children the State has effectively made all mothers slaves on a governmental plantation. All of these are violations of a woman’s right to control of her body and life. 

In ignoring the biological realities the State and culture has tried to assign equal values to very unequal things. But the mechanisms of markets tell us the relative values of these things. Sperm is so cheap you have to make home deliveries and pay for the privilege of giving it away. An ovum, ready to be fertilized, costs thousands of dollars. A newly born and healthy baby can cost a couple adopting on the free market from $20,000 to $100,000. 

Ideas are the foundation of freedom. Within the context of thought we see and know and begin to act on the rights that are inherent in each of us. It is time that women were manumitted from the bondage that has shackled a thousand generations. And it is time that the Freedom Movement understood what those rights really are. 

Melinda Pillsbury-Foster is the president of The Women’s Institute for Individual and Political Justice, based in Santa Barbara. The Institute promotes the philosophy of Benevolent Individualism. If you are interested in further information contact the Institute contact us either through the contact page at or through our newsletter, FreedomFems, Home Page

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Privateers' PAYE Financed Defense of Free-Market America

Excerpt from HI: Human Investment

Historical Examples of the Free Market utilizing Percentage As You Earn (%AYE), Finance & Finansurance for solving major problems and reducing conflict.
Written by Brock d’Avignon, 1978, Edited by Melinda Pillsbury-Foster. 2017
Historical Probe #2

Privateering Goes to War – 1775 – 1782 & 1812 - 1815

Privateers' PAYE Financed Defense of Free-Market America

Privateer Ship, Revolution
Once upon a time, 792 stock-share owned and privately armed rebel warships set sail against their government's barriers to free trade. Over 3, 100 of His Majesty's vessels were captured or destroyed by American Revolutionary warships, entirely outfitted and operated with Percentage As You Earn (PAYE) finance. Joining the fray to end the Crown's legalized monopolies, the Colonial Burgesses and later Continental Congress taxed or printed enough money to finance in a similar manner, 64 republican warships.

On 15 April 1775, four days before the Lexington Commons and Concord Bridge Battles, the Massachusetts State Ship Tyrannicide hoisted anchor. Congress requested dividends from its U.S. Navymen of 66% percent of any captured prize-ship and cargo. By contrast, typical American investors, such as little old ladies with 20 dollar gold pieces who were interested in thwarting subsidized tea monopolies; invested into capitalist cruisers.  The investors in Privateer ships, requested dividends of only 33% percent, leaving to the crew the 66% percent of whatever enemy vessels the Privateersman boarded and brought to ports' maritime title company courts ' condemnation" hearings or government Admiralty courts to verify they were actually British ships. Not surprisingly, the skilled seamen signed aboard the instruments of war that would be loaned to them at the much lower rate:

Comparative List of American Armed Vessels:  Years 1776 - 1782

Circa 1775, Americans calculated the return-on-investment in the quite literal removal of the British Roi's taxation-subsidy cycle. Idle ships were bottled up in harbors and were thus useless to the owners. Their " opportunity cost" was no less beneficial in risking the equal loss of the ship at sea, while volunteers loaded a gesture of defiance at the Crown's enforced protectionism. Since blockaded shipowners were often broke, the outfitting of the vessels was usually underwritten by a popular stock offering to other colonial rebels who had seen the strategic wisdom of a unilateral declaration of free-trade. The number of American stockholders grew:

Comparative Number of Guns Carried By the American Vessels:  Years 1776 - 1782

According the author of Pirates, Privateers, and Profits, by James G. Lydon. Introd. by Richard B. Morris, both owners and operators floating on percentages, decided to structure privateering's merit pay incentives aboard ship in three ways:

 1) Smugglers like John Hancock had early defined 18 basic jobs in high-risk operations plus 2 incentives; so aboard Privateers the 2/3rds "earnings" of the crew were formally divided into brackets of 20ths by shipboard tasks.  

Custom was established aboard square-rigged ships that cabin boys, for instance, no matter how many, received a sub-bracket of 1/5th of 1/20th; still a sum enough on some voyages to place a boy into the middle class economically. If seven or eight cabin boys were optional, then they decided if they wanted more hands-on task or cut their numbers down to seven and so to receive a larger payout.  The same 1/20th bracket concept applied, no matter how many occupied that bracket, all the way up to the First and Second Mates who split a full 20th.  Sometimes the ocean-crossing privateers captured six ships and manned them.  

2)The "captain's purse", however, was a notably outsized 3/20ths or 15% of crew booty. There were two good reasons for the size of the captain's purse, and they were encouraged by the crew. It was widely recognized by these sea-going mercenaries that no one dies for money.  

Ideas counted as did obligated duty; but risking death more than other crewmates were willing to risk, had better account for something more than the thrill of a fight. The captain allotted merit pay percentages from his purse based on sub-bracket percentages according to any specified success totaling 1/20th of the booty, equaling a third of his purse.   Examples:  for gallantry (the first man to board an enemy vessel would receive an extra meritorious wage, or his widow at home would); for marksmanship (the first Kentucky Rifle up in the marines' "fighting tops" to pick off the enemy captain); for a lookout's eyesight from the crow’s nest; or for an excellent cook.  The captain usually kept 1/20th for his own.

3) The last third of the captain's purse merit pay incentives was a 1/20th designated by the captain and the owners for the crew if they achieved some extra-un-ordinary feat. This action might be the burning of a specific revenue cutter or capturing a patrolling frigate.   This 1/20th or third of the captain’s purse was often nailed to a mast, and the impossible became the routine. For instance, Privateer Captain Jonathan Haraden captured over 1, 000 British naval cannon during the Revolution.

The Revolution's sea-power became self-financing within 3 years, which attracted more participants, Unlike most forms of capitalism that make money, privateering set out to take money back as a reprisal for financial suppression and impressment servitude.. Privateers went to sea with an overload of men and materials for the purpose of re-outfitting and skeleton crew re-manning several captured prize vessels. Fortunes rose or sank in prize vessels on their way to American or French ports, Prisoners-of-war often rose to recapture prizes back from the skeleton crew; sometimes a ship changed hands and navigation several times. 

For this reason of disparity of luck among the same original privateer crew, the admiralty courts judged that all hands who sailed off together would be entitled to their agreed portion of wages and dividends in the overall venture. This trend concerning reprisals was standard throughout the former colonies. All previous and future reprisals, accrued to the privateersman no matter where  they are now, "in heaven, in port, at sea, in hell, or worse as prisoners in Britain". If the original Privateer ship as lost, it was not usually deducted from the crew's pay but from the stockholders'  “capital gains"; although a refundable insurance bond accumulated from prizes sent in, until the original ship's return. The admiralty courts clearly sided with the sailors since they were in fact risking their lives on the high seas whereas the stockholders were not. Many sailors became "men of property" and could vote in the title company courts to sustain judges on their bench.

During this era, through the Revolution and the War for Free Trade and Sailors’ Rights, there were two female privateer captains who inherited their ship at sea.  The daughters and wife of China trader, Captain Uriah Sears, were attacked by French privateers on their way back in 1803, and sunk the French ship.  They were my ancestors, Chloe Ida Sears, Keziah and Hannah Sears; the French hulled their armed merchantman, allowing water to expand silks and tea to burst their hull.  A British frigate out of Jamaica rescued both crews.  

When a prize vessel came in, it often carried financial instructions from some of the privateersmen who captured it regarding investment in it to create yet another Privateer. Some privateersmen used their wages from the prize to buy or barter stock shares in its hull or reoutfitting.  This practice aided cash flow in the war effort and became known as "waging war" against England's not-so-commercial empire.  Several such wage warrior stockholders in a prize vessel, for some reason, made the best watchful prize crew imaginable. Thus, whenever a spyglass sighted a convoy of the Crown's Mercantilistic “business" underway with a warship, eyeing it was referred to as “taking stock" in the situation.  Indeed, the word enterprise means to enter a captured prize.  

Many privateersmen who didn't invest in gambling that prize vessels would reach port, retained their bloody hard-won hard silver specie while sailing the currents of war.   A Privateer captain could rely on his crew's stout self-interests down in the hold; much in contrast to the U. S. Navymen who were paid in ever-inflationary paper currency.

While subsidized British commerce lobbied in the lobby of Parliament for more restrictive laws, sail, and cannon to inflict more economic woe on the untaxable colonials---American seaboard political pressure in October 1776 rose with the tide of Congress' inflation of money. Congress acquiesced to lower its 66% "rePAYEment" from Navymen to 50% on cargo craft captured. Congress would forego revenue if the crew captured an enemy man-o-war or British Privateer; and would pay in paper money a bounty for the destruction of any British vessel of half its adjudged value in a governmental admiralty tax court. For the Continental Navy then, the policy to attract volunteers was translated into the orders: burn, sink, & kill. To an American Privateersman's point of view, it seemed as if Congress had institutionalized the bloodthirsty failure to bring capturable ships of any sort to any port.  Glance again at Maclay's table to see how well regarded these measures of vague "national interest" were, and how few signed aboard USN warships in the name of "national security” 

Navy Captain John Paul Jones wrote Congress decrying, "the impossibility of manning a government vessel whenever a Privateer was outfitting and recruiting in the same harbor, which is most all the time. Alas without a Navy!" Some republican navy captains became desperate enough to try involuntary servitude, which crossed against the individualist grain of most other revolutionaries and what they thought they were fighting for.  Congress was dominated by Privateer interests; the man they chose to command the fledgling U.S. Navy was Commodore John Barry due to an incident of principle on the Delaware River. He was selected because as Privateer Captain Barry, he had been already primed to fire a broadside into a Continental sloop commanded by a USN lieutenant under Navy Captain Seth Harding. The Navy ship had sent an impressment gang to Barry's Privateer to conscript his privateersmen. Barry piped the would-be draft board aboard and simply pointed to a gunner's mate holding a lighted fuse and silently saved the Revolution. It is Commodore Barry's statue in front of Independence Hall today that stands as a testimony against upholding the sins of governance with efficient PAYE finance.  

Barry knew that State mis-determinations will cause tax-revenue over-reliance, causing inept use of bonds, causing a desperate need for inflated printed money.  As government loses its power base to the free-market using the same financial method: governments will excuse their lack of insurance liability on its "good faith & credit" based on its tax-supported military's ease in killing and enslaving to "man" its programs of "national service' -- all ironically in the name of" national defense education acts for liberty.  Perhaps we won't get fooled by that line anymore than the Commodore. 

Freedom makes living worthwhile, and a living worthwhile. Percentage As You Earn (%AYE) finance is determined by both "worth" and "while". Its PAYEment systems are relevant to only those tools and services that increase a borrower's erratic yet ever-increasing capability to be more productive. Freedom itself, in this case was the service sought, the tools were gun platforms. PAYE finance was well suited to build freedom's defensive infrastructure in 1775, again, in 1803, as Jefferson cut the Navy budget in order to encourage privateer action against the Barbary Pirates. Six United States Marines, two US Navy ships, along with six hundred ship-wrecked Greek sailors and a Libyan army under the command of a 7-foot tall, black, Egyptian Republican Revolutionary in Haiti and a future American privateer named King Dick, captured Tripoli after sweeping across the desert.  Declaring a constitutional sultanate of the United States of North Africa, its victory was given away in diplomacy to save the sensibilities of US southern states.  How different American history would be if there were neither a Pentagon today nor slavery yesterday.      

Thus, the investors' strategic orders were very precise: raid only British commerce, since that was the raison d'etre of the Royal Navy blockades and its influence in Parliament. American Privateers' orders were aimed at protecting the salubrity of all vessels in a fight, making the resale of enemy vessels profitable. Privateers captured 16,000 well-equipped "redcoats" on the high seas during the Revolution, as compared to the 8,000 not-so-well-equipped Kingsmen that Washington captured on land, until Yorktown. Prisoners were worth $20 at the exchange rate in America. The investors' orders translated into: capture, extinguish fires, minimize loss of life, and run blockades to port with prize vessel, cargo, and exchangeable prisoners, Thus, new Revolutionary warships returned to sea flying the 13 gold and black striped Privateer ensign emblazoned with an American rattlesnake proclaiming, "Don't Tread On Me”.

American Revolution Privateer Flag
American Privateer's revolutionary success in comparison to their U.S. Navy compatriots was of little note as compared to their practical success against the formidable foe of the Royal Navy. His Majesty's incentives to gain enlistments were lumps on the head, lump sum fixed bounties, pension installments, and occasionally an insurance company's salvage reward for recapturing a formerly British cargo ship.
The British Navy was embarrassed by American Privateer tactics being blatantly concerned with retaliation against their commercial empire. Instead of a suicidal nationalistic urge to go up against the King's majestic ships-of—the-line with three times their armament; the American's lightweight, fast, shallow-draft, 16-gun platforms would dart from Merchantman to Merchantman. Privateers found themselves capturing several 36-gun frigates anyway, as they turned the Merchantmens' carronades upon King George's folly. 

The only desire the Americans ever had to dare attack the even larger "hell ships" manned by the impressment of Americans enslaved for years, was to show-off gunnery skills. The Royal Navy did not practice gunnery as did the pecunious Privateers who had to make every shot count; but relied on massive multi-decks of firepower. The Americans would quickly capture and sail away the dreadnought' s little cargo convoy, leaving the lumbering slow warship without a purpose.

The British taxpayer quickly grew tired of paying for such worthless objects of nautical art.  Lloyds of London ship insurance went up 6,000% and was the major contributing argument in the House of Commons for making peace with their break-away cousins.  

Whenever a British fleet actually nabbed an American Privateer that wasn't quite quick enough downwind, the British sailors couldn't handle the amount of sail crowded on them because it wasn't Navy Regulation. "Going by the book" they cut down masts and spars, and then after filling the hull with rock ballast; they wondered why it couldn't catch other Yankee designed vessels.  Meanwhile, Yankee Privateer Captain Jonathan Haraden invented the “jackass brig” air rudder to run circles around enemy ships; as well as the swinging plumb-bob to order level broadsides.  When out of annunition Haraden loaded his cannon with silverware and crowbars, tearing an English Privateer to shreds off the Spanish coast.  This inspired a Spaniard named Farragut to join the American Revolution, his son would command the Union Navy in the Civil War.

Thomas Paine's 1776 challenge to Americans was to build with their forests enough Privateers to deny British business the fruits of its Navy's tyrannical canvas and cannons. Paine had been in America one year before he gave this advice. He was probably not expecting ocean-crossing Privateers to dare attack English cities in the Thames, nor sink the Dover fishing fleet for being loyal to the royal's protectionism. After such actions, Ben Franklin personally financed three Privateers from France with Irish crews to raid the English Channel. These too were PAYE financed and PAYEment operated.

The Royal Navy could not fathom the lack of concern American Privateers had for not carrying permission of a government to attack them; a ”letter of marque and reprisal" or in modern business license parlance, a " certificate of public need". The British Admiralty always referred to their own few Privateer ships as "letters of marque" and hoped they would envelope something. Fortunately, the British did recall the Elizabethan principle of a stock market deciding on the number of warships at sea instead of a maritime bureaucracy, so only early in the Revolution were any rebels hung as pirates. Yet as monarchists they could not comprehend people contracting on their own as sovereign individuals without a Sovereign authority. To Americans of the era, corporations were not creatures of the State; to the British they were chartered by the Crown. British political pressure at sea ironically caused the legitimacy of the Congress to rise, at least in the subjective eyes of the British sailor.  

The Continental Congress and the various United States were happy to remedy the difficulty in gaining Royalist and Loyalist respect by issuing letters-of-marque like they were licensing the waves of the sea, 3, 000 marque "coasters" from Massachusetts alone kept their ports and sea lanes open before they returned to peaceful pursuits of happiness.   

The British mind was satisfied, but to Americans such national permission was a sham.  Investors were interested in eventual free trade with England. When the Crown recognized its loss by surrender and treaty, only 2 American Privateers remained at sea to become pirates in 1783. Seaboard America defined them as rebels without a cause and sent a fleet of Privateers with one Navy ship to end their aggression.  Only three US Navy ships were left operable in 1782.

Little was said in the "London Times" about George Washington or Congress; the news was all maritime disasters. When Lloyd's of London insurance rates rose 5000%, it was time to tell the Royal Navy that the war for mercantilism's empire in the Atlantic was over. They decided to send Cornwallis to India to impose upon a different set of Indians who didn't use such savage PAYE finance incentives against their imperialism.

Such lessons did not go unheeded 29 years later during the War for Free Trade and Sailors’ Rights, according to Privateer Captain Coggeshall’s  History of American Privateers, published in 1856; and Theodore Roosevelt’s War of 1812.  This time 517 ocean-crossing American Privateers again captured over 3, 100 vessels from the British Navy and Merchant Marine. The U.S. Navy's 23 ships didn't do too bad either.  The Navy honors names like Jones, Preble, Decatur and Rogers.  Tax-supported history books in schools do not tell the tales of privateers captains like Haraden and Boyle, nor commodores Barney and Barry.  

Perhaps the most valuable lesson taught us by American Privateers was their keen insight into how to motivate employees within wide-spread sophisticated, contractual enterprises that floats on a percentage-of-income. Their activities were deadly and hold for those into constructive pursuits of education, medicine, and tooling today -- an objective view of organizational co-operation, pay scale identification by function, merit pay for both individuals and the crew, and benefits recognized for brave souls whose buckle got swashed. These were ordinary beings who could calculate the odds of risk that today we call econometrics, and gambled with their lives on improving those risks with commensurate rewards. Heroism increased their capacity to "earn" beyond the stockholders' investment in rigging masts with “green hands". Freedom isn't free; yet it can have its rewards.

Brock d’Avignon -  has been a student of privateering issues since 1977 as it was relevant to providing as example for paying employees in a hospital empire that would use Percentage As You Earn (%AYE) finance & medical finansurance for all to provide finance of pre-existing conditions and insurance for unexpected events. William E. Simon Sr., then recent Secretary of the Treasury asked him about how this could be done when he was advising 11 medical empires while with Booz Allen and Hamilton Management Consultants as a actuary. William H. Donaldson, Chair of the New York Stock Exchange, couriered Brock's research to the Clinton Economic Summit to Vernon Jordan who had endorsed PAYE finance for collegiate tuition at Duke and Yale to get minority and female faces into the Ivy League, for relay to a former Yale Law School student who had once used PAYE finance to get through college. Jack Kemp, Secretary of Housing and urban Development, used Brock's research to sell all government housing to the people with erratic incomes that were living in them, never fearing repossession and gaining pride of ownership with no defaults. This at one time eliminated homelessness. Kemp later used Brock's research to raise $596-million for Habitat for Humanity for fixer-uppers that could be sold to people with inconsistent income. Brock is today a credentialed Social Sciences teacher in California, and economist and Adjunct Professor with the Women's Institute for Individual & Political Justice, when not ramping up a PhoneVoter Interactive TV Networks.  He describes himself as an individualist feminist.