13 Chapters
Medium 9781626562080

CHAPTER 10 The Ecolegal Revolution

Capra, Fritjof Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

The Scientific Revolution introduced the concept of nature as a machine and human reason as superior to natural processes. The subsequent Industrial Revolution produced great “progress” in terms of technological development and efficient production, and the institutional transformation of some commons into concentrated capital served a real social need to overcome a brutal subsistence way of life. Concentrated capital meant industry, scientific and artistic development, better medicine, and eventually more hygienic conditions for many.

However, capital concentration also required the “commodification” of land. Toward that end, the landed class allied with government institutions to defeat the resistance of people who were living communally with subsistence agriculture and limited specialization. Their traditional productive processes were transformed into modern capitalist food production and manufacturing. This effort was aided by a theory of unlimited property rights, based on an ideology of freedom, improvement, and productive labor, which John Locke provided, and by a theory of unlimited state sovereignty, offered by Thomas Hobbes.1

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Medium 9781623491376

10. Public Policy Debates in the Recent Past

Porter, Charles R. Texas A&M University Press ePub


Difficult public policy issues relating to water have faced Texans for many generations. The challenging choices have not necessarily been between right and wrong; typically, the positions and arguments of all the parties involved in water disputes could be considered reasonable.


The resolutions to those disputes have most often involved questions about who owns the water, who can use the water, and who is liable when one party uses up the water available to another party. Some of the legislative decisions and court rulings in the past seem to make common sense and create good public policy, while other decisions and rulings seem to defy all logic.

Tale #1: The Case of the Biggest Pump

Who could have known that an obscure lawsuit over rights to underground water in a small town in north Texas at the start of the twentieth century would begin a cascade of events that is still unfolding today in the courts, in state government, and in people’s daily lives?1 The ultimate ruling in this lawsuit, a lawsuit that did not merit even a single word in the local newspaper,2 is infamously known as the “rule of capture,” or “he who has the biggest pump gets the most or all of the water.” The rule of capture is one of the most confusing, and for some the most reviled, concepts in Texas water law today.

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Medium 9781623491376

1. The Unique Characteristics of Water and Water Rights in Texas

Porter, Charles R. Texas A&M University Press ePub


Determining a water right in Texas depends on which of three geological containers holds the water.1 The first container is surface water, or water that flows on the surface of the ground in a watercourse.2 The State of Texas owns the water in a watercourse. The assessment of what makes up a watercourse can be complicated, so the safest way to look at ownership of surface water is to consider all water flowing in any stream or area with bed and banks to be surface water. Surface water is not yours to own but, except in unique situations, is owned by the State of Texas. Knowing this may save you many dollars in fines and hours of angst. If you have a question about surface water ownership on real property you own or are considering purchasing, ask the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) for a determination.

The second geological container is known as diffused surface water, or rainwater that runs off your roof or over the surface of your land without flowing in a stream or channel. The water in this container is owned by the landowner.

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Medium 9780253017314

Made in the USA? NSA Surveillance and U.S. Technology Companies

David P Fidler Indiana University Press ePub

Made in the USA?
NSA Surveillance and U.S. Technology Companies

The Washington Post disclosed this NSA slide obtained from Snowden in October 2013. It formed part of a briefing on “Google Cloud Exploitation,” through which the NSA accessed communications flowing between Google data centers located outside the United States. The Post story stated that the NSA did the same thing with Yahoo’s foreign communication links. This activity formed part of the MUSCULAR program. In PRISM, Google and Yahoo received FISC-approved orders to provide information to the NSA. The exposure of MUSCULAR angered Google, Yahoo, and other U.S. technology companies, worsening their deteriorating relationship with the NSA and damaging their global reputation for providing secure services.

In the MUSCULAR program, neither company was aware that the NSA was accessing its foreign-based communications facilities, which raised questions about the NSA’s authority to conduct this activity. The most likely source was the president’s constitutional authority to conduct foreign intelligence, as regulated by Executive Order 12333, initially adopted in 1981, and considered a less restrictive set of rules than FISA. A former State Department official published an op-ed in July 2014 arguing that U.S. government collection and retention of communications by U.S. persons under Executive Order 12333 violated the Fourth Amendment. In August 2014, the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board decided to examine Executive Order 12333 for its implications for privacy and civil liberties, and the ACLU released documents in October 2014 on the executive order it obtained under the Freedom of Information Act as part of its effort to increase scrutiny of the order.

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Medium 9780253020925

6 Regulating Land Rights in Late Nineteenth-Century Salt: The Limits of Legal Pluralism in Ottoman Property Law

Schull, Kent F. Indiana University Press ePub

Nora Barakat

THIS ARTICLE EXAMINES the relationship between different district-level decision-making bodies in the late nineteenth-century Ottoman context. Using Sharia court records and property registers produced in the rural Syrian district of Salt as well as investigations from the district that reached Istanbul, I explore the roles and personnel of various courts and bureaucratic offices involved in allocating rights to landed property and settling disputes over land. With this examination, I aim to add nuance to characterizations of the late Ottoman legal system as pluralistic. These descriptions have emphasized Ottoman litigants’ abilities to choose between multiple state-sanctioned legal forums with overlapping duties, especially Sharia and Nizamiye courts, to obtain the most beneficial ruling.1 I argue that in the realm of property law, litigants had different goals when approaching the various courts and bureaucratic agencies governing land relations in Salt and their cases had different possible outcomes. Investigating the discrete roles of these government agencies and courts in different areas of late Ottoman law and governance is crucial for a deeper understanding of litigants’ experience of the late Ottoman legal environment.

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