April 2010

New York law:
§ 165.35 Fortune telling.
A  person is guilty of fortune telling when, for a fee compensation
which he directly or indirectly  solicits  or  receives,  he  claims or pretends  to  tell  fortunes,  or  holds  himself  out as being able, by claimed or pretended use of occult powers, to answer questions  or  give advice  on  personal  matters  or  to exorcise, influence or affect evil spirits or curses; except that this section does not apply to  a  person who  engages  in  the  aforedescribed  conduct  as  part  of  a  show or exhibition solely for the purpose of entertainment or amusement.
Fortune telling is a class B misdemeanor.

Now this is pretty darn clearly aimed directly at Pagan practices and the most common result is that anyone telling fortunes or lifting curses for another as a Pagan is forced to a prior denouncement of their own belief system (notice of for entertainment or amusement).  What is interesting is that fringe Christians do the same all the time without this requirement although a strict reading of the law would require them to do so.

Think about it.  Every time some Christian bible thumper yammers on about this or that being punishment from God or makes a prediction of end times, tribulation or rapture they are in fact engaging in fortune telling for money, they always ask for money.  Anytime a revival preacher “drives out a demon”, does a faith healing or claims to have a direct line to God’s will, they are claiming occult powers.  Any time a fundie preacher gives advice supposedly from their direct line to God, they are in violation of this law.  To say otherwise is to establish them as legitimate and Pagans as illegitimate.  And that is a direct violation of the “establishment of religion” clause of the Constitution.

Pagans, I urge you to stop using the disclaimer and dare arrest under this law then challenge it on Constitutional grounds.  It violates freedom of religion as well.  It is far past time we let ourselves have our religious rights violated with unequal enforcement of law.  We need to stand up and demand equal treatment if we are ever to receive it.

Lesbians and Gays, every time a Christian fundie makes a statement claiming to know the mind of God regarding same sex marriage, anything negative about homosexuality, they are in violation of this law.  Almost all states have a similar law on the books, I urge you to look up the exact language in your state and apply this by filing criminal complaints under your state version of fortune telling laws against any Christian claiming these “occult” powers.  Do this each and every time you see these statements, demand prosecution under the law and we can eventually break these hatemongers once and for all.

Karma’s a bitch and the principle involved here is the best way to oppose a bad law is to enforce it equally.


The Massey mining disaster brings this issue once again into sharp focus.  Far too many US and multinational corporations engage in out and out criminal acts without cost or societies ability to use traditional law enforcement techniques to hold them accountable.

When a company willfully balances the cost of complying with regulations that protect human life against the balance sheet, that is actually manslaughter when it results in foreseeable loss of human life.  The problem has always been how do you apply criminal law to corporate persons?  There is an answer in drug enforcement law.  Now, to be clear, I never believed that asset seizure prior to trial of drug dealers was even remotely Constitutional but better legal minds than mine have upheld it.  The answer staring us in the face is simple, when a solid case can be made that a corporation willfully ignored regulations designed protect human life or willfully engages in policy that they know endangers human life balanced against their profits….they have those assets involved seized immediately as resulting from criminal enterprise and lose them for all time.

Such assets are likely to be business operations.  In a case like Massey, those assets should be reorganized as a collective by the workers under guidance of court appointed leadership will an eventual goal of a cooperative corporation being formed so that jobs continue, workers rights are respected and those who do the work receive fair compensation instead of a life of corporate slavery as still exists today in the case of coal miners.

Corporations, when subjected to psychological analysis, fit the profile of sociopaths which should come as no surprise if one thinks about it.  Societies have always had a problem with what to do with sociopaths because almost all societies assume some basic level of empathic humanity on the part of it’s members and most are loath to simply remove, by life imprisonment or extermination, those who can never be rehabilitated to make them less of a danger to others.  Here we have a model that could deal with sociopathic corporations that actually removes the incentive to place profits over human suffering.  Perhaps this is the answer to restoring sanity to our legal system when it comes to it’s takeover by criminal minded corporations.

Massey should have all it’s mining operations seized today, the smoking gun is openly available in memos and willful violation literally thousands of times of safety regulations and this is the perfect place for society to say “enough is enough”.