28 November 2007

The Gupta Connections and the influence it buys

Another day, another Hillary Clinton donor scandal! These poor things just keep cropping up through their history, don't they?

To do a quick review: you can connect Hillary Clinton to the Red Chinese acquisition of the partially completed CV Varyag with just one intermediate hop! That hop goes through Triad member Chen Kai-kit and his connections to folks working with Red China, North Korea and enterprises less savory really do make you wonder such folks get around in the world with so little notice paid to them. Just one of those things, I guess, but that was an 'old' scandal!

Another 'old' scandal is the involvement of a close Clinton associate in trying to get a couple of thousand AK-47s smuggled into Los Angeles to sell to gang members there, which goes through Johnny Huang, and he was personally given an OK to look at classified documents by the Clintons. Or Johnny Chung's connection with moving US satellite and missile guidance technology to China with President Clinton's over-riding DoD worries about same. Yes those are such old things, with China now being able to deploy far more reliable missiles and warheads for their nuclear devices. Even simple drug smugglers found a home with the Clinton's and personal cards for them while they were in jail, such caring folks they are!

Or the 'old' scandal that featured ex-con Peter Paul running from prosecution in Brazil to fight extradition and then having Interpol put a warrant out for his arrest via the Clintons, which wound him up in one of Brazil's hell-hole prisons. Mind you she was willing to send a naive advisor to work with the Hollywood sharks, and then get him stabbed in the back, too. Still the Hollywood tribute gala to the Clinton's was a hit, as witness the money laundered through it Hillary refuses to account for. All is fair when you are looking to woo a billionaire Japanese businessman away from Stan Lee Media and undercut them and then try to keep it quiet.

Then there is the 'old' connection that shows up between disgraced Congresscritter David Duke and Hillary Clinton, which takes the form of the son of a Red Mafia man, Arik Kislin. Of course digging into that finds all the connections the Red Mafia were able to establish in US banks, use them for money laundering, and to advance the concept that 200 people could run 300 companies, with one man holding all of that in his head as a past-time. That points up the stalwart safety of the US banking system under the Clintons... or lack thereof, in any event.

There are others like pro-Iranian Hassan Nemazee, wooing the Clintons and others at a White House 'coffee', so as to get the Ambassador's position to Argentina, which got him entry into the world of high-rolling wheelers and dealers. Or having Ms. Clinton being designated as the Senator from Punjab, due to her ties with Sant Singh Chatwal. Or with the straw-man donation schemes of Abdul Rehman Jinnah from Pakistan, whom she has known for awhile, to say the least.

Nor to even begin speaking of ponzi-fraudster with the light touch, Norman Hsu, who, apparently, was a mover and shaker in the garment business without ever having moved, bought or sold garments or influenced the industry. No matter how you do the math, I am coming up about $40-$60 million short between the swindlees and the donations. But maybe I've missed a second class action suit starting up...

No, this one revolves around Vinod Gupta and infoUSA. Now to familiarize yourself with just what infoUSA *is*, all you have to do is go to your mailbox and get a piece of junk mail with your name on it. Your name, address, possible phone number, spending habits, political affiliation and any other things of commercial interest to major companies to sell to you get swept up by companies like infoUSA, including email addresses. Got spam? You got Gupta. His company SELLS those lists for marketing, advertising, sales pushes, political parties, 'activist' groups, and anyone looking to convince you to part with some of your money for their product/service/cause.

Hey, put down the torches and pitchforks! That is *legal* in the US!!

So for an executive summary of where Mr. Gupta is coming from, lets get a thumbnail from the SEC which was part of one of the acquisition documents that infoUSA would generate:

Vinod Gupta founded info USA in February 1972 and has been Chairman of the Board of Directors since its incorporation. Mr. Gupta served as Chief Executive Officer of info USA from the time of its incorporation in 1972 until September 1997 and since August 1998. Mr. Gupta holds a B.S. in Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, India, and an M.S. in Engineering and an M.B.A. from the University of Nebraska. Mr. Gupta also was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the Monterey Institute of International Studies, an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Nebraska and an Honorary Doctorate from the Indian Institute of Technology. Mr. Gupta was nominated and confirmed to be the United States Consul General to Bermuda. Then, the President nominated him to be the United States Ambassador to Fiji. Due to business commitments, he withdrew his name from consideration. He was appointed by President Clinton to serve as a Trustee of the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. Mr. Gupta is also a director of a mutual fund in the Everest mutual fund family, located at 5805 South 86 th Circle, Omaha, Nebraska.
So that does help to place the man, a bit. Have to love that bit of Consul General to Bermuda! What a vacation and resume enhancer! Too bad about Fiji, though, I'm sure that would have been a prime vacation spot, too, but President Clinton made up for that by getting him the perpetual vacation in the Kennedy Center. That Everest bit is interesting, and will crop up later...

Really, no matter how much you detest junk mail (paper/plastic/electronic) those lists are perfectly legal. And form, of course, one of the easiest to get to collection of individuals who are gullible the world has ever seen. 60 Minutes II had a lovely little look into how those looking to swindle the sick and elderly got specially made lists of same that were also identified as gamblers, worry warts and chronically unable to tell a good investment from a bad one.

And Mr. Gupta tries to make up for that with charitable works, such as advertising for Bill and Hillary Clinton by slathering their names all over things he is doing like "Bill Clinton Science and Technology Center" and "The Hillary Rodham Clinton Mass Communication Center". All to help young folks from India learn good skills and come to America to donate to their benefactors Bill and Hillary Clinton! The SEC is looking into Mr. Gupta's works because, to put it mildly, he appears to be skimming some money off the top for himself and his political activism.

Now, before going into the interesting buying sprees of Mr. Gupta and infoUSA, here is another one of those questions that really just does stick out: Outside of the Clinton's what is the connection between Norman Hsu and Vinod Gupta? On the surface, of course, there is nothing, but in the Friend Of A Friend network concept there is one prime connection between them. This from 13 FEB 2001 DM News article by Scott Hovanyetz:

Also, InfoUSA has elected former U.S. Sen. Bob Kerrey and Rob Chandra, venture partner at Trust Company of the West, Los Angeles, to its board of directors. They replace Ben Nelson, who was required to resign because of his election as senator from Nebraska, and Charlie Fote, who resigned because of his recent promotion to CEO of First Data Resources, Omaha, NE.
And Sen. Bob Kerrey would be the head of The New School in NYC which had, as one of its prime associates, Norman Hsu! What a lovely rolodex that must be on Mr. Kerrey's desk, chock-a-block with businessmen, shady characters and Clinton political contacts... but I repeat myself multiple times.

To get to such lofty heights, Mr. Gupta took on American Business Information, Inc. and put it on a buying spree of companies to expand database driven market share for such associations. It became infoUSA and would start selling to nearly everyone, including the folks handing out free 3.5" floppies, AOL. One of the first forays into direct politics was when infoUSA CFO Stormy Dean would run for the Governorship of Nebraska. After leaving office, President Clinton would address a part of infoUSA bought out by them earlier, the Donnelly Group, with, I'm sure, large fees to go with it. At about the same time they were expanding into email work in a big way, and continuing to gobble up smaller companies in the market.

Part of the problem with all of this, as a publicly traded company, is that it was seen as expanding too quickly to properly absorb the components it had bought out. Mr. Gupta found a great way to change that around: announce he was taking the company private and about what he expected to pay for shares which was *more* than they were going for. Of course retired President Clinton would show up for another little talk, and I'm sure that a high fee was included. Soon after Mr. Gupta would announce that he had *changed his mind* after seeing a stock price recovery.

But the buying up continued apace, but a bit of an oddity showed up when Mr. Gupta put forward that he, and his family, had invested in a hedge fund that was, basically, in control of their assets, the Everest family of funds dedicated to the select clientele of the Gupta family. Something smelled fishy to Dolphin Limited Partnership, who also had a large share of infoUSA, and they wanted things looked into. In 2006 he was supposed to stop buying securities, but that didn't seem to stop him from getting his hands on more companies. This would start a battle with the board of directors and shareholders of infoUSA. That would be rejected by a shareholders meeting, however, and the purchasing of companies would continue apace. But that initial work went to the courts which upheld the lawsuit, in the main

It was just around this time that the lawsuit by shareholders was making headlines, and with that was the view that infoUSA was selling specialized lists to companies and individuals looking to defraud seniors with Alzheimers, gambling problems and and other such things, and having labels attached to them saying 'These people are gullible.' With those revelations came ones that Mr. Gupta was flying the Clintons to prime vacation spots, for at least four years, with itineraries including: Acapulco multiple times, Switzerland, Hawaii and Jamaica. That on top of a $250,000 donation to the Clinton library and $200,000 in soft money to Hillary's Senate campaign in 2000, and pay Bill Clinton in the neighborhood of $3 million in consulting fees. There are also trips for Oklahoma City for Bill and shuttling Hillary to New Mexico for campaign needs, all of which is covered by first class fare on a commercial jet while getting to travel in style and luxury on a private jet, that will meet schedules far better than a commercial airline could ever hope to do. Isn't it wonderful how hundreds of thousands of dollars in actual cost can be reimbursed for pennies on the dollar because those who make the law feel they should be exempt from paying for such things?

Additionally Mr. Gupta was a golfing buddy of Bill Clinton , including a trip to Scotland for same, and had one of the lucrative 'paid for' stays in the Lincoln Bedroom in the Whitehouse. Basically a 'key donor' to them over the years. He would also help form up the Indo American Leadership Council that was created by the DNC, and to get on it one really did have to pack in the money, just for a membership role, not to speak of 'leadership' of the Leadership, which has been a long-term goal of the Clintons for years.

One of the major acquisitions was Opinion Research which is a polling firm, that works with CNN. An Australian firm, Newton Wayman Chong & Associates, would also be bundled into that organizational unit. This causes troubles as CNN has been running a number of Presidential debates and has been depending on Opinion Research Corporation to do its polling for it.

This connection with the Clintons would also lead to infoUSA getting its hands on the donor list to the Clinton library, which would include all of the high rollers that are backing it. It was a pretty simple deal, actually: infoUSA just bought the list.

That brings us full around to the SEC investigation, but there are also charges of improperly giving money to Hillary's 2000 campaign fund, personally, by Mr. Gupta. And even *more* flights provided to Hillary Clinton in her current bid for the Whitehouse. Also providing things like $7,000 treadmills to the Clintons in NY, which they were obliged to give back due to FEC regulations. This voyage of discovery is from disgruntled shareholders giving the leads for others to search for the strangenesses going on with one of the largest information brokerages on the planet. infoUSA, itself, does give money to both parties, although as of the 2002 records that comes in at $285,000 to the D party and $50,000 to the R party. Alexander Gupta, however, would be a staunch supporter of Hillary Clinton and the DNC, all the while remaining as a student or unemployed/student for 12 years, but that is what you get when your father is Vinod Gupta and you are 11 years old, as seen from Ariannaonline, of all places, (26 MAY 1997):
In fact, the number of student contributions of $1,000 or more quadrupled between 1990 and 1996. Take 8-year-old Jason Corcoran -- a high roller barely out of his highchair -- who plunked down $1,000 for a seat at a Clinton fund-raising luncheon in October 1995. Or 10-year-old Emily Gartner, a ponytailed influence peddler who ponied up $250 for the president. Or 11-year-old Alexander Gupta, whose largesse keeps both Clinton and Nebraska Gov. Ben Nelson crammed in the hip pocket of his Toughskins.

Alexander Gupta's brothers Ben and Jess are also frequent campaign contributors, although not so frequent as their father Vinod, who gave $53,000 in the last election cycle, including a $40,000 gift to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. Little Emily Gartner's story is similar. She, brother Jeremy, sister Jennie and mom Sandra all gave $250 apiece on the same day that her father, Vermont businessman Allen Gartner, gave $1,000 to the Clinton campaign.

So what we have here is a form of kiddie money-laundering. Is it legal? Not if the money doesn't actually belong to the kids or if it wasn't their decision to contribute it.

Many donor parents evade the first requirement by raiding their children's trust funds. But proving that it wasn't the kids' decision to give the money should hardly be difficult, especially in cases as brazen as the Guptas'. The eldest Gupta brother, 17-year-old Jess, told a reporter last year, "Truthfully, I'm not really associated with the donations. I'm not involved in a big way. Dad makes those donations in my name."
Isn't that sweet? Contributing for the kids in their name! What a deal!

You know, of all the drug dealing, arms trafficking, prostitute pimping and human trafficking money being laundered into US political campaigns from abroad, at least that is *honest* crookedness trying to get money into the system by adults. This sort of stuff really is galling, particularly when President Clinton would garner over $217,000 from these 'child donations'.... only by 1997, of course. Makes you kind of wonder just how much is being filtered through such donations and why parents can't just leave money that is putatively for their children *alone* so that it can gain in size and give their children greater wealth when they are adults and wise enough to spend it themselves.

So the next time you are fishing through the contribution lists, remember that if you see someone being a 'student' for over a decade, they have a parent who really believes that current and ephemeral politics is more important than letting their child grow up with wealth to make their own damned fool decisions.

And if you ever corner a politician, you should ask them how much of that sort of stuff they have received... and if they have given any of it back because their conscience bothers them about it. Things like this really do turn me off to politics and politicians in this modern era. I don't intend to vote for anyone who actually accepts such money, which may leave me high and dry when election time rolls around, to only vote against the absolutely detestable and for the merely unconscienable.

If you ever hear 'its for the children' ask them if they take money that parents steal from their children's future to give to politicians now. To me that is what it is: stealing from children's future.

27 November 2007

Those other 'libertarians' that just aren't defined by libertarianism

As someone who routinely called myself a libertarian prior to 9/11, here’s how I would square the circle: Absolute freedom within our borders, for our own citizens; eternal vigilance and (when necessary) ruthlessness abroad. For libertarian ideals to survive, they must be relentlessly defended against the likes of Islamic extremists. Take a look at Andrew Sullivan’s writing right after 9/11 to see this ideal in its purest form; far from a religious crusade, ours was a war for secularism, tolerance, and free societies where gays don’t get stoned to death.

The key principle is one of reciprocity. If you behave peacefully and embrace the norms of a libertarian society, we leave you alone. If you seek to destroy a free society, we will destroy you.

If they’re serious about defending their ideals and seeing to it that libertarianism survives more than a generation in actual practice, I don’t see any reason why libertarians couldn’t embrace a more conservative positioning on national security.

- Patrick Ruffini, Hugh Hewitt's blog, 26 NOV 2007, speaking of Ron Paul's influence on Republican politics.

And just who are these folks? Very much for personal liberty but pro-defense, and an active stance that America actually represents something good for the world? Actually, if Mr. Ruffini had read some of the works by one of Hugh's recent guests, he would *know* their name.

His political movement—or, more accurately, the community of political feeling that he wielded into an instrument of power—remains in many ways the most important in American politics. Solidly Democratic through the Truman administration (a tradition commemorated in the annual Jefferson-Jackson Day dinners that are still the high points on Democratic Party calendars in many cities and states), Jacksonian America shifted toward the Republican Party under Richard Nixon—the most important political change in American life since the Second World War. The future of Jacksonian political allegiance will be one of the keys to the politics of the twenty-first century.

Suspicious of untrammeled federal power (Waco), skeptical about the prospects for domestic and foreign do-gooding (welfare at home, foreign aid abroad), opposed to federal taxes but obstinately fond of federal programs seen as primarily helping the middle class (Social Security and Medicare, mortgage interest subsidies), Jacksonians constitute a large political interest.

In some ways Jacksonians resemble the Jeffersonians, with whom their political fortunes were linked for so many decades. Like Jeffersonians, Jacksonians are profoundly suspicious of elites. They generally prefer a loose federal structure with as much power as possible retained by states and local governments. But the differences between the two movements run very deep—so deep that during the Cold War they were on dead opposite sides of most important foreign policy questions. To use the language of the Vietnam era, a time when Jeffersonians and Jacksonians were fighting in the streets over foreign policy, the former were the most dovish current in mainstream political thought during the Cold War, while the latter were the most consistently hawkish.

One way to grasp the difference between the two schools is to see that both Jeffersonians and Jacksonians are civil libertarians, passionately attached to the Constitution and especially to the Bill of Rights, and deeply concerned to preserve the liberties of ordinary Americans. But while the Jeffersonians are most profoundly devoted to the First Amendment, protecting the freedom of speech and prohibiting a federal establishment of religion, Jacksonians see the Second Amendment, the right to bear arms, as the citadel of liberty. Jeffersonians join the American Civil Liberties Union; Jacksonians join the National Rifle Association. In so doing, both are convinced that they are standing at the barricades of freedom.

- From Walter Russell Mead, The Jacksonian Tradition, The National Interest, Winter, 1999, (via FindArticles).
Dear me!

And then from one of the Four Horsemen of the Blogaclypse:
Jacksonians don't have any interest in spreading their philosophy around the world. It isn't evangelistic; indeed, the entire concept of trying to actively spread that or any other philosophy around the world is deeply repugnant to pure Jacksonians. Jacksonians are anti-imperialistic.

The whole point of Jacksonianism is "You leave me alone and I'll leave you alone. You play fair with me and I'll play fair with you. But if you fuck with me, I'll kill you."

To Jacksonians, it is entirely possible to create an adequate world framework of consistent and fair behavior, sufficient to support trade, through vigilance and the threat of reprisal (military or otherwise). Going beyond that to a world government as such is neither necessary, desirable nor even possible, and the best case is where there is as little international framework and governance as can be: only the bare minimum required but no more. Anything beyond that will eventually be abused by someone, so it's better to do without it.

Wilsonians want a world government. Jacksonians think that's a fool's quest. And contrary to your supposition that world government is required for successful international trade, the reality is that the last fifty years of international trade were managed under Jacksonian principles, and quite successfully too.

Free trade inside the US works because of the threat of force implicit in the police and the courts. Free trade works internationally because we are strong, alert and willing to retaliate against those who cross us. To Jacksonians, that is sufficient. Nothing else is needed, and nothing else can work.

- Steven den Beste, USS Clueless,
11 AUG 2002.
There you go, the type of reciprocity that Jacksonians like and where the 'libertarian' view comes in. You will get the idea that Jacksonians let families tend to church and religion, while supporting the right of each individual to have whatever religious belief that suits them.

You would be correct in that.

Social conservatism has been seen as an attempt to legislate morality and that has, plainly, not worked without some overarching National religion that agrees on all the main points of what morality actually *is*. Common laws of agreed-upon restrictions and the punishments to fit the crime are cross-religion: they are good things for individuals of all religions in a common culture where it is that culture that is put in the role of upholding the Nation. While Andrew Jackson would indeed state:
The Bible is the rock on which this Republic rests.
- Andrew Jackson
notice that he is not talking about law, here. Where does he go to look for law and government? That is something missed by most, and is more than telling:
Our government is founded upon the intelligence of the people. I for one do not despair of the republic. I have great confidence in the virtue of the great majority of the people, and I cannot fear the result.
- Andrew Jackson
That is in keeping with the founding of the Nation. Our ability to craft intelligent decisions based on firm backing also means that interpretation of the Word of God is left up to each and every one of us. Personally, being of no known religious type, use the Bible as a founding concept, but find much in it that has been passed over by time regarding slavery, the rights of women, and such simple things as usuary and consumption of alcohol... wait a second, Jesus turned water into wine! Scratch that last, he was the perfect party guest, able to keep a party going at a wave of a hand towards some jars of water. I do wish the religious folks of the late 19th and early 20th century would have remembered that, which points out to the strange idea that religion remains static in its interpretation over time. It does not, but acts, instead, as guideposts to us and when differing views happen we are to solve them in the neutral ground of the common society based on reason.

This view would be given by Nicholas Collin in A Foreign Spectator I, 06 AUG 1787, (and even moreso in XXVIII on 28 SEP 1787) also in Atticus I, 09 AUG 1787, in shearing the law from royalty so as to bring in to the common fold, by Noah Webster in A Citizen of America, 17 OCT 1787, amongst many, many others. While christians were founders in America, there was an overarching view to keep the Peace of Westphalia and found a Nation that would adhere to the Law of Nations as grown up from the thoughts of Grotius and Vattel amongst many, and that view was also supported in the English common law. Unless folks missed some reading of their history books, the concept of religious outcasts finding a new life in peace amongst each other because they WERE different and differed on their views of christ, divinity and morality. What would happen is the boiling away of differences to get to things held in common, and there were some handfuls of those.

When one considers bedrock for supporting a structure, be it a house of the tallest of skyscrapers, the #1 thing you do not want to do with it is start to *mine* it for a nice facade to the building. In no time at all the footing of the building is gone and you have a pile of rubble. Bedrock is supportive and foundational and allows things to be built *on it*. The Bible was a book amongst the sects of christianity but it was and *is* not the only book OF christianity. The respect that christians gave to other sects as the Peace of Westphalia spread was still not well enforced by the time of the Puritans, Quakers and other sects that were excluded socially and, often, economically, from public life in European nations. They came here to END that by creating their own communities and those would grow together. It is telling that those ethnically based religious factions would grow together even *before* the Revolution, which is what Tomas Paine would see in writing Common Sense (via The Gutenberg Project):
Not one third of the inhabitants, even of this province, are of English descent.
Wherefore I reprobate the phrase of parent or mother country applied
to England only, as being false, selfish, narrow and ungenerous.
Americans were already become tolerant, and highly so, of other religious views and traditions because there were quite a few of them. Within a few decades after the Constitution in the Antebellum era, we would get the first great explosion of new christian religions that would found America as a leading place to come and found religions. The Bible is still there as bedrock, joined with such fine things as The Black Book of the Admiralty, Law of Nations, views on the English Common Law given by Blackstone (amongst others), and such trivial things as the Peace of Westphalia. While the Bible does intertwine with these views, especially Westphalia and the *limits* of religion inside Nations, there were other traditions represented by these works. The Black Book grew out of Roman Imperial trade law and was modified by European nations but would represent an understanding of trade that not only pre-existed christianity but remained unchanged by it. The Law of Nations would grow out of the views after Westphalia on how Nations operated internally and externally, and Vattel would point out that the operational parameters are called into being by the Nation State as a concept and that the work of Nations grows out of that framework. He would point out that the Ancients had not well defined Nation States, but that they still operated in the framework of them even without knowing it as the rules become ones that develop from that type of relationship. That reference to the Ancients means it pre-dates Judaism, also, and goes far back to the first City States to show how these parameters would come into being and work. The English common law would grow out of not only indigenous tribal views, but Nordic ones in which the King is accountable to the People, and that common men deserved local justice administered by those they knew. No one was above the law, not even royalty.

These are not 'optional' parts of looking at America: they are a whole. The Bible gives moral and ethical preceptual ideas, but those can only be instantiated via the understanding of the Peace of Westphalia so as to not infringe on other practices and it existed after the concept of Nations and trade law, while growing up simultaneously, but geographically far from, the common law. The strength of these things coming together is something that Jacksonians identify with and dearly: they set a way to operate amongst ourselves that is honorable and scalable from the individual to the Nation State. While the 'Golden Rule' is not only a good idea, it is represented in how Jacksonians see Nations operate as well as interpersonal relationships. Beyond that, coming from the Scots-Irish traditions of supporting society via martial means, Jacksonians fully realize that the objects of government need to be defended and that government, itself, is accountable to society. Individuals get the greatest leeway in operating so long as they do not degrade the common society nor government to their own ends.

This makes them different from the Republican Party on some few areas, that Ron Paul only touches on here and there. Jacksonians are tradesmen, tinkerers, creators of things that support life and family, and give support to local charities that do good so that society can do well. Jacksonians recognize the military tradecraft *as* a tradecraft, and give it special honor in upholding the Nation and protecting her people. You do not go to war lightly and when you do go to war, you go to *win it*. Whatever great thinkers purport, Jacksonians try out and if it is found wanting they say so... which is why the bending of the political parties to pure ideology turns off Jacksonians in droves: the theories of both parties have proven to be unworkable in many instances and it is those instances they keep on pushing while ignoring the facts before their eyes.

Being nice to terrorists has just gotten Americans killed and we should stop being nice to them. They have come to America and killed us and declared personal and private war upon us, and so we should reciprocate with open and public announcement of who they are, civil justice for those that will repudiate past works and hold themselves accountable and a 'no holds barred' fight to remove the rest of these barbarians from the planet until they are convinced that society is a good thing to uphold OPENLY and that when it disagrees with you, you are not to make private war upon ANYONE. Steven den Beste put it best with this:
Will we forgive the Islamic nations, and work to remove the source of their anger? Will the United States begin to address "root causes" and work to remove them? You betcha, but only after the war has been won. Jacksonians remove the danger first, and only then work to make sure the danger never arises again. But a Jacksonian never rewards an enemy, never ever appeases one. Until the war has been won, "root causes" are a distraction. This is the reason why "if you kill Americans, you're dead meat."
Jacksonians understand that view because 'root causes' as purported by the Left are not the source of the problem: those seeking to destroy civil society ARE the problem, and that attack isn't just upon the US but upon civilization in the form it has taken. Even as the Cold War was dragging on, we saw not only Americans but our Friends and Allies being blown up, shot, assassinated, kidnapped and 'disappeared' by terror groups and for over 30 years and well going on 40 years the government would say NOTHING about that. Police work obviously didn't work as 9/11 would tell us explicitly and in large, black letters written in the dust of our fellow Americans in the NYC air and the fire and smoke of our soldiers attacked by these barbarians.

Also note that the 'root cause' of lacking free trade or, indeed, hearty trade with America, was not a factor here: America since the time of Woodrow Wilson implemented a 'trade to change society' concept in the Middle East. Looking at that 90 years later, it doesn't appear to have worked out too well. This upsets the digestion of Republicans and many, many libertarians, that 'free trade' is predicated on the strength to back it up, and when that strength and will is lacking it tends to empower our enemies and give them cheaper weapons to kill us. Mind you the Leftist version of trade is worse, but that does not mean that 'free trade' is a great and winning concept without societal control. It is that which Jacksonians look at, and trade is a part of helping the Nation to defend itself and is fully accountable to society not only by tariffs and taxation, but to actually interdicting trade with uncivilized, non-Nation State killers who are outlaw.

While this has, in the past, led to military views, which are supported by Jacksonians, it also means the entire and full panoply of National power can be deployed against it. Ron Paul actually is quite attractive on that front while being not so attractive on his isolationist conception of the world. Because Jacksonians see tradecraft as a good thing, and selling things as a good thing, the view of a global market is something that is understood, meaning that the full concept of how a Nation operates amongst Nations comes into play. For us to understand what is allowable and what is not, we look to the Constitution and the bedrock documents under it, and understand that the Nation can and *should* empower citizens with the right to operate in that terrorism venue but fully accountable to the rules of war by having requirements for uniform and accountability to military justice. That is easy to understand as societal backing is paramount to keeping the Nation whole and its governing institutions are reflective of that greater will. That does not obviate the need for the regular armed forces, but is an asymmetrical tool that is deployed as an adjunct to the regular armed forces. The over-reliance upon National military as the *only* way to go after foes is misguided and there are many that are not fit enough for the military but well nigh fit enough for private military ventures with Congressional imprimatur.

These areas of social conservatism, free trade, foreign policy and military policy, that the Republican Party holds that are at variance with Jacksonians means that Jacksonians do not see a home there for them. By seeing government as a restriction on our wickedness, to give it Tom Paine's view, it must be *limited* as it is not a promoter of the good which is the function of society. Jacksonians see no *good* in pushing morals, unaccountable trade, foreign policy that supports tyrants and dictators, and a military policy only to support trade and not invest in liberty and freedom for those who were under dictators and despots of all stripes. National Security is an area of common agreement and lower taxes are good only if it comes with much, much smaller government. There is commonality amongst many Republicans and Libertarians with Jacksonians on that.

By not following through on the promises of President Reagan, the Republican Party is seen as 'not serious' on those issues and, in fact, counter-productive to them as 'compassionate conservatism' has meant bigger government that is more intrusive in private affairs. In featuring abortion as a semi-'litmus test', and locking that 'debate' into glacial stillness for decades, the view that the common society is to make its best adjustment and then seek better ways forward is NOT being achieved. That is not an either/or decision process, but one that is open to other views of the public and society upon it, but that has been locked out by the loud and well funded 'sides' that have removed all middle ground on that issue. The concept of 'States Rights' plays its role there, as well as defining who, when born in a State, is a 'citizen'. Notice that you get your birth certificate from the State not the federal government, which indicates the role the States play. Getting the federal government *out* of the 'debate' is paramount to unlocking the glaciers, and stepping back we can ask: just what can we do on the State level?

Libertarians and their semi-cohort of Liberaltarians and Libertines have hard and fast problems with putting society in the driver's seat. And yet that is exactly what the founding of the Nation points to, requiring each member of society to come together to 'form a more perfect Union' and settle differences amongst ourselves in civil fasion. That means there are needs for safeguards not only against government, but against private individuals who do such things as take up weapons of war without accountability. Liberty must actually be DEFENDED and not just verbally or in the courts, but on the bloody battlefields of mankind so that those wishing to bring it to an end are brought to heel and made to understand that attack free people comes with a nasty price tag to it.

As one cartoon had it, with survivors of a shipwreck floating in the open ocean: "Watch out for hungry sharks!" And then: "Watch out for sharks." That is a lesson of history not lost on Jacksonians and we take it to heart, so that when we make agreements they are backed to the hilt and when they are transgressed we say so and end them. Cease-fires are a case in point and when Saddam would not adhere to his, and two Presidents did NOTHING, it was wondered when the man would be held accountable to his word for his Nation. This also goes for treaties, in general, so that with something like NAFTA, where Mexico agreed not to export its unemployed northwards, and they have DONE SO, they must be seen as not upholding their part of the treaty. That will, indeed, make Republican hearts flutter, as well as pointing out all this lovely trade with China has gotten us toxic goods in return and exploitation of our political system so that they can become more of a military threat.

Perhaps free trade should be withheld to Friends and Allies?

Just a thought.

Basically, when something doesn't work a Jacksonian wants to know *why* and then see if it can be fixed. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

When it does need to be fixed, especially in the areas of Nations, stepping back and looking to some of the fundamental things Nations do is required, and then casting our own aspirations against that and seeing what is left that can be done. This requires holding other Nations accountable, and that is how treaties work. And keep the damned things to a minimum so that we are not tripping over them every which way, to the point where more bureaucrats are needed. If it needs more bureaucrats, it will have a hard time working. Some things are necessary, but others are not and Washington's view on entangling alliances is well heeded to this day. Note that the UN is put together by treaty and has a huge staff with little to show for it, and epitomizes what *not* to do.

Walter Russell Mead would describe Jacksonianism as the 'crab grass' of American Politics, and it is: the hardy weed that keeps on breaking up the concrete of set ideologies because those ideologies do not shift with society over time. You can't get rid of it, can't fix it, can't eliminate it forever, save by paving over everything. It is sad that the latter course has been taken, which means Jacksonians see no reason to vote for parties looking to invest more in government and remove liberty and freedom from the People. The terrorists hit hard on that concrete and, suddenly, the crab grass re-appears as Jacksonians volunteer for the armed forces so that it has met every quota since 9/11. And we push hard to victory and justice afterwards so that we are never attacked again.

That will take some doing.

It would be handy if there was a political will to do it in either of the two parties. Since there isn't, I expect the crab grass to keep on growing and shifting the internal structures of both further apart. Something will give, but Jacksonians love their Nation and we will not see it fall due to a mere break-up of ideologies... because it is in the holding of liberty and freedom and using them that one helps their neighbors and society to be free. Not just individuals, but everyone. And that really isn't pushed hard by anyone, these days, those concepts of the Revolution.

I guess they are still Revolutionary, then.

23 November 2007

The Responsibilities of those running for President

The following is a cross-posting from The Jacksonian Party.

The following is a personal outlook paper of The Jacksonian Party.

Every four years America gets a look at the political class' aspirants for the office of President of the United States. This office has a heavy load to it for one individual, and has far and wide ranging powers in foreign affairs, military deployments, choosing who will be giving oversight to the federal government and nominating Judges to the federal courts. There is also the power to pardon and the more general 'head of state' concept for all things external to the Nation. These powers are vast, but closely delimited and stringently scoped so as to give the office checks and balances with the other branches of the federal system (Legislative and Judicial), plus requiring some ability to work with the States and address subjects to the People about how government is being run.

Thus, every four years these are not the things that are talked about!

While certain candidates will talk about one thing or another off of the list, very few will tackle the entire concept of the Executive branch in-full. Mostly this is due either to inexperience (even for incumbents there is much that is never learned about the Presidency) or to being familiar with a more limited scope of responsibilities and powers. Those coming from the Legislative branch have some belief they actually know what the Executive power actually *is* but only see it from their legislative perspective, often in the negative and do not realize that there is very little positive on the legislative side for the Executive.

Presidents can, for example, send a budget for the Federal Government to Congress. Congress then, using its authority to start all appropriations in the House, tosses that document to the side and makes up its own budget. That is an over-simplification, of course, and many budgetary items get shifted directly over, but Congress feels impelled to micro-manage by adding staff, items, budget and so on to areas of the government and often removing Executive items. That is part of the job of Congress, but that micro-management outlook means that they are stepping into the Executive area and trying to have a direct hand on the course of government instead of *its* negative duty to stop the Executive from abusing its control. Together these form a shiftless bureaucracy that then plays Executive against Legislative to meet bureaucratic needs set by that bureaucracy, and not by the political will of the Nation via the Executive and Legislative branches.

So, whenever you hear a Presidential candidate put forth that they will 'trim or cut back' government, realize that they have no ability to do so beyond very, very limited terms. That size is set by Congress and the Executive has the job of carrying out the functions of what government is to do and does so within the confines set by the Legislative branch. And as Congress has seen fit to manage all the way down to the individual program level, the actual ability of a President to change outlook within government is encroached upon by the Legislative branch. That is a 'soft' usurpation of power by Congress believing that it can manage government at the finest detail level, while it has no actual capability to do so as management is on the Executive side. By trying to add in more and more organizations for 'oversight', Congress is basically saying: ignore the Executive, do as we say, report to us.

It is in that tension between Executive and Legislative branches that increases 'oversight' but decreases accountability of government to the Executive to report to the American People. Congress does, yeah and verily, point to its role in mandating, funding and obligating the government, but to then try and manage such things via additional organizations with less Executive control and accountability, the Federal structure, internally, is weakened.

The result of that weakening is plain: runaway expenses, programs that cannot be killed, heightening of inter-agency and even intra-agency fighting and turf wars. By creating a Director of National Intelligence, the various parts of existing 'turf' that were threatened then responded by increased intransigence, less cooperation and a feeling that their expertise was being questioned. Well, it was, and for good reason, but the standing up of a wholly separate organization for 'oversight' added a new layer in bureaucracy, added overhead, reduced efficiency, decreased timeliness of information and, generally, made the problem worse.

To get more efficient cross-specialty Intelligence work done, a framework that crosses all of the Intel Community needed to be established that was: organic, cooperative, and shared resources and removed 'turf'. That did not happen, and so the already watered down National Intelligence Estimate now gets further dilution by the DNI. Dots not only don't get connected, they are now further away from each other by the separation of the 'oversight' provided by DNI: to this day there is no organic IC solution that crosses civilian and military needs together into a common IC framework. Oversight has increased, accountability has decreased and what little knowledge there is gets further separated by the higher level of bureaucracy involved.

The Executive power over the Civil Service is limited, with the laws and regulations set up to support the employees over doing a good job. Even at places like the CIA, where your pay grade could vary greatly depending on performance, the actual utility of that didn't allow flexibility in outlook to enter into the place. With mid-1980's predictions the USSR and Soviet Bloc would be around at least until past 2010 and probably past 2030, the actual collapse of it was a stunning slap on the face to the entire IC. No better has been the Dept. of Agriculture in supporting the concept of 'family farms' with payments mandated by Congress going to folks who farm so very little or none at all, that the utility of the Department is called into question.

If you can't support citizen farming could you at least stop supporting Big Agribusiness? Well, not if Congress has a say in that, which it does. Problems in the IRS and FBI with automation, and the inability of either to adapt readily to the modern world, has led to antiquated systems or, even worse, multiple non-integrated systems that house different data sets being unavailable to one person at one place at one time. That is the IC problem, written on the domestic side. And as the system is not set up to change, and is defended by partisans for their 'turf' and budget, the ability *to* change decreases. Firing is a help, but not a remedy so long as the office structures exist across government.

The thing the Executive does have is, in its own way, extremely powerful: mandating work rules, grading systems for work and, at the highest end, the ability to fire the civilian hired interface between Agencies and the rest of government. That last part is a key understanding of the power of the President, beyond just appointing cabinet level officers, judges and such. The hired Senior Service comes on with *contracts*, typically for a base year and up to four option years. A federal government power is the ability to do something with a contract called T4C: Terminate for Convenience of the government.

T4C is the instant firing power the President has over the Senior Executive (or Intelligence) Service. Those individuals tend to be long-term ones, eve with the 1 + 4 arrangement, as they come out of the Civil Service or are brought in from other parts of government or the private sector. In many Agencies the SES/SIS goes down to the Directorate level of government, which is usually a major sub-component of the Agency. The head of a Personnel Directorate would be SES/SIS, and would have senior Civil Service employees as Department heads under the Directorate. In some few Agencies that Department level is becoming an SES/SIS one, which means the direct power of the President reaches very, very far into the government. To express displeasure with an Agency that purposefully will not supply information or offer its obedience to the President, the folks heading up Directorates and on upwards can all be *fired*. This has so rarely been exercised it has almost been forgotten, but the laws of the 1970's make that clear. Such individuals serve at the convenience of the President to help run the Civil Service.

Any President who was *serious* about dissolving an Agency, could tell the SES for it to start the plans to scope it out, what can be dropped completely and what few parts need to go to a different part of government. If the Civil Service will not carry out this task, the President can weight it to be a primary one for all ratings - don't do the work, and your rating drops. Do that for a couple of years and the wheels could be started to actually try and get rid of a civil service employee... don't bet on that, though. Any member of the SES who can't carry out such directives can also be fired via a T4C. In short, no matter what Congress *does*, this is an exercise of Executive Power by the Executive saying: this part of government is useless to the Nation and does not need to exist in the federal government. Getting any work done in such an environment would be difficult, at best, and the more intransigent the civil service gets, the worse in looks. Congress can step in to say *why* it thinks an Agency is needed, mandate it and fund it. The Executive can flip that around and tell such Agencies to demonstrate how little they do for the American People as compared to State or Private concerns, and to be put on life support while the President asks for a plan to dissolve the thing.

I don't hear much about that from candidates on the trail, as they are not *used* to having such power. Very few individuals *are* used to that, and most of those were the business tycoons of the 19th century. Such work can and should spark National debate on the utility and function of such things, beyond the payment transfers that go on... or maybe *because* of such transfers. It is a valid stance for a Presidential candidate to say: 'This boat needs rocking and I intend to rock the excess overboard.'

That is just one of the Head of Government powers the President gets, and it is a tool to enact policy by the elected President upon the government of the People. Congress gets its say for funding and support, but basic needs and oversight is the Executive purview, and calling waste and suspect parts of government into question for dissolving them is a major duty of the President... not that you will ever hear that on the campaign trail, either.

As Head of State, beyond appointing Ambassadors and having the foreign policy of the Nation, outside of Treaty approval and regularization, the President gets a sole power which is another of the negative powers of the Office: revoke a Treaty.

The US is part of the UN... by Treaty.
The US is part of NAFTA... by Treaty.
The US has troops deployed in Germany... by Treaty.

Basically, all of how regular functions of the US with foreign Nations is given by Treaty and then supported by enacting legislation. Remove the Treaty, the legislation goes with it. Presidents can and have removed Treaties from their support, most recently the ABM Treaty, which was seen as a detriment to National Defense, but slews of Treaties with Nations that attacked their own people, went totalitarian or started in on open warfare with its neighbors, have also seen this. Any time you hear anything about problems with foreign Nations with regard to trade, illegal immigration, and terrorism spread to the US, the concept of revoking Treaties is one to express the displeasure of the Executive and change the course of the Nation.

Even if immediately impeached (and this is a purely Executive power properly used) the revocation of the Treaty would still *stand*. To get it back would take a willing President with a Senate able to sign-off on the new agreement, which might take *years* to get back as it is starting from *scratch*. A quick-and-easy 'lets just re-instate it' might work... but with so many treaties having problems to them, particularly trade and immigration, the ability to do that may be limited. It is not the easiest of things to revoke a Treaty that has been in place for decades but once done the change in course is nearly impossible to stop. The power of a Treaty is to add a regular function between Nations and to regularize it on a set framework. Remove that and the benefit to both Nations also goes with it. Often that is seen as no loss and of some gain, particularly if things are not working out so well with a Treaty.

Presidents must look at Treaties and their impact on the Nation and decide the utility of such things. Any Treaty that is abrogated by the other side, or that harmfully affects the Nation with little benefit, or NO benefit, needs to be ended. That is a signature to do so and requires no help from the Senate. Both must agree to get a Treaty in place, but that is not required on the ending side of things as that is a regular power of a Head of State. This is a Law of Nations view and President Washington used just that in The Proclamation of Neutrality, to forbid US Citizens from doing *anything* to contravene his foreign policy. Under force of law. And when it pertains to other Nations at war (even with each other without US involvement) the President has the power to tell the Nation to have NOTHING to do with such things.

This Law of Nations view pre-dates the US Constitution and was incorporated into how England worked not only at the National level but the internal legal level, as well. The United States would form a federal republic which is covered under Law of Nations in Book I, paragraph 10:

§ 10. Of states forming a federal republic.

Finally, several sovereign and independent states may unite themselves together by a perpetual confederacy, without ceasing to be, each individually, a perfect state. They will together constitute a federal republic: their joint deliberations will not impair the sovereignty of each member, though they may, in certain respects, put some restraint on the exercise of it, in virtue of voluntary engagements. A person does not cease to be free and independent, when he is obliged to fulfil engagements which he has voluntarily contracted.

Such were formerly the cities of Greece; such are at present the Seven United Provinces of the Netherlands, (13) and such the members of the Helvetic body.
Yes, there were other republics and federal republics before the US and beyond confederation is a strong federation of delegating duties to the federal republic by the States. It is interesting that the concepts from the Declaration of Independence are put forth in Law of Nations, especially not changing the constitution of a nation without great cause and with great caution (paras 32-36). In the US we instantiate the sovereign, or individual leading the Nation, to be the President, although the power division between the President and the Legislature is somewhat differently defined than for other forms of Nation (paras 38-55 and electives states 56-71 ).

That is part of the Law of Nations, and the respected differences between Nations is acknowledged while the general outlook of the actual framework of the Laws are respected. Of note for modern times are paragraph 53, on the obedience due a sovereign, and paragraph 54 in what cases they may resist the sovereign. It is a long section (actually in two paragraphs), and puts forth that the actions of a sovereign must be truly odious, of the 'execution unjustly' form of odious not the 'trample on the Constitution but unable to show where and how' form, for such obedience to be resisted. By Book III the right of the sovereign to prevent citizens from taking part in a conflict not of the Nation would be founded. It is of note that it is an explicit view of the sovereign to do that, and President Washington as part of the foreign policy powers exercises that right as Head of State for the Nation. In Book III this is gone over on the question of Neutrality (paras 103-135).

The rights of private persons during time of war are put down in paras 223-232, with 223 reinforcing that citizens may not take up war making on their own, as that is handed only to Nations and the sovereign of a Nation, which President Washington re-iterates on the Neutrality of the US. Foreign recruiters should well be made aware via this that paragraph 15 is also in play, and that those recruiting in the US, when found, are treated thusly: "Foreign recruiters are hanged without mercy, and with great justice." Nor should a citizen join or obey a foreign recruiter in any way, shape or form. This is not only kidnapping, or 'man-stealing', but also a direct contravention of the directive of the sovereign and can, in and of itself, lead directly to war.

That is the power we hand to the federal government and the Executive branch of it: the ability to determine what raises to the level of being something that could involve us in war. When attacked, of course, we are at war with no need to declare it, save as a perfunctory statement (Vattel, Law of Nations, Book III, para 57) to inform the population. In the US system it is only when needing to go on offensive war, or war against enemies that have taken hostile positions and arms or having caused casus belli to us by its actions. In the role of commanding the Armies and the Navies of the Union, the President gains not only the power of field command and disposition of the troops, along with ensuring orderly procedures being followed, but also gains the entire purview over US ships at sea, plus crews.

This is the wartime assurance for US shipping, and neutral shipping to the US, that it shall be unimpeded by war. This is an ancient concept going far beyond the regularized Law of Nations (Vattel, Book I, paras 279-295), and deep into the English common law (as seen in US vs. Wilberger, 1820) all the way to the Black Book of the Admiralty which is a collection of post-Roman trade laws as instantiated in European nations in the 14th century. That power of being the Commander of the Navy allows for such things as piracy to be dealt with along with any external threats to trade for the Nation via the High Seas. Additionally as Commander of the Armies and Head of State, the President gets to set how those overseas activities that are *not* on the high seas, but conducted by means of war are addressed. The Congress may make law on the civil side according to the Law of Nations (US Constitution, Article I, Section 8), but cannot address things outside of the High Seas power (also in Art. I, Section 8) and signed treaties. It may set up justice practices within the Army, but those are only in accordance with regular Nations and treaties, not with those falling outside that framework.

It is this basic dichotomy of power directives that the next President has to deal with and they are ones that have vexed sovereigns back to the 14th century, when parliaments and kings had different areas of concern and the sovereign ruler would see problems outside the realm and other Nations that needed to be dealt with and the parliament would have no ability to enact anything in that realm as it was outside the Nation. Government for a Nation, however, is given the responsibility to protect the Nation and its citizenry first and foremost (Vattel, Law of Nations, Book I, paras 16-21) and to avoid things that would be contrary to that survival (para 22) and then gains the right that derives from the responsibilities to do seek survival and to advance its internal understandings *both* (para 25).

In this era of rights without responsibilities and trying to understand 'why they hate us' we come to a dilemma: a Nation need not care about *why* it is disliked, so long as it is *true to its own nature*. That is the responsibility of government to assure that both can be done simultaneously, and understanding hatred comes a bit after those two things and are not predicated on the understanding first. Even then it is not up to the population to, necessarily, understand 'why someone hates us', but for the government to deal with that. The power of the President in crafting foreign policy is to find a way to enhance the Nation, ensure that it survives and keep us true to our ideals, first and foremost. At no time do we put any other people or Nations ahead of our own needs and outlooks because we would no longer be the United States or *any Nation* if we did that. That is the responsibility given to the President and the rights that grow from that are also in that office.

I am afraid you won't hear much of that on the campaign trail, either.

As of late the right of the other branches of government to impeach a President also comes up, under the high crimes and misdemeanors concept. This, also, is given statement in Law of Nations, with regards to the prince being subject to the law (paras 48-49) and yet the dignity of office making the prince sacred and untouchable (para 50). Yet the population may undo a tyrant (para 51) or seek arbitration with such (para 52). In all cases beyond that, or in which resistance to a barbarous leader (para 54) the public is to show obedience and deference to the orders of that sovereign in his areas of power (para 53). Today we see so many looking at expanding the idea of 'barbarous' and 'tyrant' to include mere political differences, which is not the case with a National sovereign, be he President, King or simple Prime Minister who is also Head of State. A President who shows fidelity to the laws, however, can have indiscretions of them and it is there that we place the Impeachment power, most particularly is paragraph 49 in this instance:
§ 49. In what sense he is subject to the laws.

But it is necessary to explain this submission of the prince to the laws. First, he ought, as we have just seen, to follow their regulations in all the acts of his administration. In the second place, he is himself subject, in his private affairs, to all the laws that relate to property. I say, "in his private affairs;" for when he acts as a sovereign prince, and in the name of the state, he is subject only to the fundamental laws, and the law of nations. In the third place, the prince is subject to certain regulations of general polity, considered by the state as inviolable, unless he be excepted in express terms by the law, or tacitly by a necessary consequence of his dignity. I here speak of the laws that relate to the situation of individuals, and particularly of those that regulate the validity of marriages. These laws are established to ascertain the state of families: now the royal family is that of all others the most important to be certainly known. But, fourthly, we shall observe in general, with respect to this question, that, if the prince is invested with a full, absolute, and unlimited sovereignty, he is above the laws, which derive from him all their force; and he may dispense with his own observance of them, whenever natural justice and equity will permit him. Fifthly, as to the laws relative to morals and good order, the prince ought doubtless to respect them, and to support them by his example. But, sixthly, he is certainly above all civil penal laws, The majesty of a sovereign will not admit of his being punished like a private person; and his functions are too exalted to allow of his being molested under pretence of a fault that does not directly concern the government of the state.
In a federal republic with representative democracy in which a citizen is given the powers of sovereign, we do not see the person of the sovereign as above the civil law, nor is any prince seen likewise - even royalty is accountable to their own law. Civil penal laws, however, of actions by individuals against the individual who is President do have a problem and only for high crimes and misdemeanors should a President be subject to such. The US permits otherwise at its peril, and thus puts pure personal accountability ahead of National needs, when an individual who is President does have a date certain they will no longer be President and such suits may then happen.

This problem of the Presidency shown up in President Clinton was his perjury in a civil matter which many saw as a prosecution that should not have been happening until after he left office. There were many other, and larger problems that got put aside for this, and while none condone his action, the ability of the court to put the Nation into such peril in the FIRST PLACE was and is questionable. Congress adding on to that did not help things, and even guilty of having done such activity, it should never have arisen in the first place. Unconscionable to commit perjury in a private matter? Yes, and definitely. But that is seen in a different light under the Law of Nations and is to be handled *after* the President leaves office as it is associated with a purely personal matter.

That is part of the distrust of the American Public with its government: the Courts have ruled foolishly, individuals out to seek satisfaction put the Nation at risk and then Congress adds to that by increasing risk either via countenancing such activity or actively aiding it. This is a problem in America and the Nation needs to see that a Chief Law Enforcement Officer will also stick to the laws and enforce them, even upon himself. These, too, trace back to Law of Nations (paras 160-163, 166-170, 173-4, 176) which also includes the sovereign pardon power (173). Causing legal mischief in private concerns with a President should be beyond the pale and a firm stance taken against that by all political factions in the Nation: this puts us all at risk.

And I am pretty certain *this* does not get talked about on the campaign trail, either, especially the use of the pardon power. That has been highly individual to each President, with some dispensing very few and others, apparently, going on sprees to pardon or commute sentences, or even to pre-pardon individuals who may have gotten into trouble.

This upholding of the law is not only the civil law of the US, but our ability to be a sovereign nation and govern ourselves. Citizens have not only the right, but the obligation to uphold their own laws and obey them (Law of Nations Book I, para 30), respect and obey the sovereign who administers the law (para 53), obey the treaties between nations (para 96), work to ensure the prosperity of the nation (para 76, 81, 118) and to love his country (paras 119-120). The sovereign must ensure that the useful arts are protected for the Nation and that there is accord between government and the citizenry on these things. That is the job of any Nation state leader, and falls to the President, also. The power to list those skills necessary for the Nation that we will encourage immigration to the Nation and restrict emigration *from* the Nation also holds true. While Congress holds the immigration to the Nation power, the President oversees the emigration part via passports and such things. In this day and age very few are ever refused passports, but that is the mechanism for the Executive to not only ensure those that may harm other Nations are kept in check, but that those who are of great use to the Nation are retained.

The President gets this from the Head of State and Head of Government power, along with the foreign policy area, but has so become a non-issue in modern America that we may not recognize the right to refuse emigration as one held by the President, and yet that is the case with these cumulative powers.

This is not even a complete listing of the powers the President gets via how nation states work. The Law of Nations set out to regularize that understanding as the ancient civilizations had never done so. By examining all the cases of how a nation works, and properly defining what is held by a nation state and what is *not* and *why*, the founders of the Republic of the United States utilized this framework, along with others so as to create an understanding of what powers rest in government so that the common will of the People could be accurately expressed. These are not the written parts of the Constitution, but the basis for which a Constitution makes sense: without such things as the Law of Nations, understanding of the English common law and how trade developed from the Black Book of the Admiralty and through the Law of Nations, the actual Nation of the United States would not exist.

We live out these ideals and outlooks and yet they are rarely given to us in school or even in advanced studies any more. The modern era takes so much for granted that the concept of a 'post-Westphalian State' is talked about, but it cannot be given meaning as the framework of Nation states by the Law of Nations IS post-Westphalian and developed FROM the Peace of Westphalia. What those talking about a 'post-Westphalian State' are doing are talking about removing the concept of Nation State amongst mankind and imposing something *else* which they dare not define as it would not allow people to secure rights separate from the Nation State. The Law of Nations allows for either view of the source of rights to exist: rights handed down from the State and rights granted to the State by the People. In that flexibility comes wide variation of views and outlooks, so that cultures may find what is best for themselves in governing. It does not ensure liberty or freedom, although that becomes a major point between Nations in their activities, but for the individual it is up to the actual form of government to represent what is needed.

Strange that we will not hear of these basic concepts in times grown rough with outlaws spanning the globe to attack civilization. We need this understanding now more than ever in our history, because such lawless concepts have arisen before and were understood by our very own fore bearers in America. In our ignorance of the past we are dooming ourselves to a less well understood future, and a less safe one. Winning military victories only has meaning if the order and accountability amongst Nations is also restored, and that now slips through our grasp as we cannot figure out how to apply it to ourselves. Because those seeking high office take things for granted and leave unsaid. That, too, is a responsibility of the sovereign of a Nation, as seen in Book I:
§ 111. Instruction.

To succeed in this, it is necessary to instruct the people to seek felicity where it is to be found; that is, in their own perfection, — and to teach them the means of obtaining it. The sovereign cannot, then, take too much pains in instructing and enlightening his people, and in forming them to useful knowledge and wise discipline. Let us leave a hatred of the sciences to the despotic tyrants of the east: they are afraid of having their people instructed, because they choose to rule over slaves. But though they are obeyed with the most abject submission, they frequently experience the effects of disobedience and revolt. A just and wise prince feels no apprehensions from the light of knowledge: he knows that it is ever advantageous to a good government. If men of learning know that liberty is the natural inheritance of mankind; on the other hand they are more fully sensible than their neighbours, how necessary it is, for their own advantage, that this liberty should be subject to a lawful authority: — incapable of being slaves, they are faithful subjects.
We could use some of this in our views on the sciences to this day, lest we become ignorant of them and enslaved to that ignorance. That does require an understanding of what science *is* and how it functions as a body of knowledge. Unfortunately that is beyond what is spoken of by those seeking higher office and so we now seek ignorance. Because if they don't understand it we will become slaves once more in our ignorance of those things that are worthy of free men to think and speak about. Instead we have a quest for power and that, in the end, will leave us poorer and enslaved to ignorance if not countered.

I wonder why that is not talked about on the campaign trail by those seeking such power?

22 November 2007

Giving Thanks

To the men and women of the Armed Forces: my eternal thanks to you for defending the Nation.

May you have a blessed holiday and safety in our troubled times.

20 November 2007

Just what have I been up to?

For those that may pass by, that question may arise, as my posting rate has gone downwards. I had predicted such, but for other reasons. Namely - moving. That got put off due to the health concerns of a loved one and that has kept me in the environs of NoVA that I do not adore, climate-wise. Along with those concerns comes having to get a bit more done around here, due to the problems of said loved one. Ahhhh... if only I were healthy, I wouldn't be blogging!

After that comes the lovely task of 'digital equipment refresh'. What is that, you may wonder? Well, due to the pace of change for computer equipment, the good things put in 3 or more years ago start to show their age as software and time start to take their toll. Beyond defragmenting hard-drives and such nice things, also updating of drivers may point to a BIOS needing upgraded which then ensues that overhead. When that is done you find that the system sub-components may have garnered some system overhead... which slows things down. And then there are the add-ons, 'neat things to try out', software updates (in which the software itself runs just a bit slower to be more 'secure'), and all the various little things that begin to encrust an operating system. This stuff is known as 'cruft' and after 3 years you either need to scrub it all down to the bare essentials and start over... which entails ensuring that re-installed software can, actually, re-install properly.... or... yes, starting over with a new system and moving data files over.

Another family member needed a new system for basic gaming, word processing, and such, plus net surfing, so I started out a few weeks back on that. In doing so I got refreshed on the current state of the art technology, which I had let slide since 2004. Before 2004 the entire PC industry had shifted from 'business' support to 'gaming support' for platforms with 'multimedia' growing up around *that*. Any system that could reliably handle games, would also have enough power to run any business application for the desktop AND have multimedia horsepower to spare. Gaming drove the PC industry on innovation, and still does to a large extent. The minimal necessary computing platform for all desktop business applications (word processing, spreadsheet, presentation, desktop database work) was basically met in or around 2000 by the PC industry. By 2003 the force of innovation and change moved from those apps to games, and that would then meld with things like HDTV and wanting to watch hours of video driven by a computer, and that got added into gaming specs.

So, distracted from the rest of the world by computing happened with that system buy (which someone *else* gets to troubleshoot!), but that brought to my attention another problem that had been getting to me for the last couple of years: my sluggish Desknote. The Desknote concept is: there are a class of travelers who need a light, portable, all-in-one PC that is not a laptop or notebook. By eliminating 'on the run' usage and targeting 'in your hotel room' and presentation use, the Desknote came in handy for mobile computing with fixed point use. I got one of those to supplement my working life and it transformed into my 'kitchen table computer' for tracking my needs while my health severely deteriorated. By shifting my tracking of insulin use and such to a spreadsheet, with formulas used to balance blood glucase, carbohydrate intake and insulin use, even during the worse of my catalepsy, I had a good and solid way to maintain my health in that area. Without that, I would probably not be here as my ability to track much of anything during those dark days was minimal.

Realizing the good that the device did me, its ability to actually do simple things like switch between tasks, was becoming a problem. Additionally some applications that used to run on that older computing platform had met their end-of-lifecycle-support for it. As I still face moving in the near future, I needed something reliable, capable and able to stay more or less 'as-is' once it got put down. After looking at scads of options, I was faced with either a more expensive system from a Build-To-Order dealer or something like a refurbished Dell.

Now, as a DIY builder of PCs, I had experienced a Dell *once* back in the late 1990's and that entailed: removing every bit of Dell software put on the poor thing so that it could operate well. I looked at a neat and clean list from the BTO shop and the list from Dell...spec to spec equivalent (although pluses and minuses) both sides, but a refurbished Dell looked good and so I purchased that. An Inspiron 1721, with extra hard drive and a few options I didn't want but had no choice on with a refurb unit. I thought I knew what I was getting into....

The plus side is excellent: good, integrated set-up for updating drivers, BIOS (Wow! the world *has* changed as that used to be a boot to floppy with updates and pray that it worked sort of deal before things way back pre-2004), software... excellent work. Kudos for Dell on that, and for keeping up with the industry to do that.

The negative of that: the software is damned intrusive, constantly pestering, eats up processing time and deserves to be shot. I do *not* want to pay for an upgrade to ANYTHING, nor do I want my problems tracked or my location, or a myriad of other things to give me a 'Dell Experience'. After getting everything up-to-date, the good went out with the bad, and I un-installed the stuff. It still sits on their 'emergency recovery disk area' which I will look at ways to reclaim once it is out of warranty.

The ugly: McAfee Anti-Virus. Seven or so years ago I could recommend it, as it was relatively efficient compared to its competitors. Back around 2004-05 I could not recommend it as it became a resource pig and I sent it squealing from my main system and put in Avast!, as seen in my sidebar. Free for personal use, always hitting in the top 5 of AV systems and often #1 or 2, it is a proven winner. It has relatively low overhead compared to McAfee, and the slow-down of McAfee on my system took what should have been, at most, an hour's work to remove the unwanted Dell software to something like 2 days. Getting rid of IT took another hour. Banished and gone, save the recovery area, and I now know what to get rid of *first* if some strange disaster strikes to wipe out my OS.

The truly awful: Windows Vista. As a refurb I couldn't get a nice, old copy of XP on it and, as previously put forth by me, I will not be switching Operating System bases anytime soon. When Windows 2000 came out, I spent time turning off a few bells and whistles to make it a nice WinNT upgrade. When WinXP came out, I saw that the amount of pre-loaded cruft on the OS was large and installed that on exactly *one* computer and then removed the cruft, disabled the bells and whistles, and got it down to something closer to Win2K which I wanted to be more like WinNT. Windows Vista is the Phyllis Diller of Operating Systems: no matter how much lipstick you put on it, it will never be beautiful. Getting those things found, disabled, turned off, muted, or sidetracked to never open has taken more than two days.

A note to the computer industry: the Personal Computer should meet personal needs. No matter how *nice* a special effect is, it eats up processor time, and I say to thee NAY! If Microsoft wanted to *really* impress me, it would allow the individual to select an absolutely stripped down GUI with the ability to add on a function here or there. Let me decide on the level of glitz as your idea of glitz and mine are absolutely different things. Whatever you do, do *not* have them all enabled as a standard distribution setting: they eat up enough processor time to make a decent and capable system (if not speedy) no better than its compatriot that I am replacing with a technology benchmark that was middling in 2003... running Win2K.

Ditto that to Dell - if I want obtrusive hand-holding, let me decide on the service package, ok? And on the pre-installed junk so that at first-time start-up I can be given a choice of installing stuff or *not*. As you already dictate a section of memory for it to 'recover' a system, just leave it there if I don't want it.

After that getting software installed (almost all of it FREE!) was just time net downloading, installing and running. Transfer a few files to a little key disk and shut the Desknote down and put the Inspiron up only took a bit to figure out wireless networking...

That I am addressing *next* as the ancient Linksys wireless router has always (and I do mean always) keeping a decent signal in my townhome. I get a better ability to hold a signal from the guy next door on the other side of his place. The ancient Linksys, bought way back when 802.11g was new (and I have updated its firmware) has never been satisfactory and becomes less so over time. After years of buying Linksys (now part of Cisco), I will give their competitor a try and see how a brand new D-Link gaming wireless router works out.

As sidelights other equipment has come in for home needs for ease of access to sitting in the bathtub and to dehumidify the main floor on the house. Plus minor computer problems I have addressed previously.

A new thing to go after the remains of my treatment for the skin infection I had, I started to use Defense Soap. Normally I'm not so hot on 'all natural' deals, but for anti-fungal needs I had enough of the high end and wanted to try a different method. So far, so good! Along most of the area where the small amounts of intractable fungal infection have not left, they are going away. Plus I got the travel kit from the Defense Soap folks and will be using their products for the next few months and, at this rate, my guess is that it will do better than all the high priced skin stuff I have used for the last year or so. The only downside: you are left smelling like an aggressive herb salad. Also it is slightly soporific but I have been dealing with *that* since 2004.

Through all of that I was able to put up that piece on the Red Mafia, which you would not want to hear me bitch about the time *that* took, and a few other posts and scattered commentary. Yes I am rolling up another couple of posts... but they are still in the 'research and input' stage.

I have been massively impressed by the US Armed Forces in Iraq, and they are bringing about the fastest change-over in a COIN operation on record. The folks in Iraq will have Iran, Syria and various Islamic terror groups to deal with for the forseeable future...but that is their National problem, not ours. If the can get the violence down to levels seen in Turkey, then that will be something that no naysayer could ever have predicted and which will be the start of a massive shift in the Middle East. Getting rid of al Qaeda and JaM (supported by Iran) in Iraq does not end their threats on a global basis... but it takes a lot of wind from their sails and makes them vulnerable on that same, global scale. We are still left with all other forms of illegitimate warfare that are getting more vitriolic and deadly over time, however, and ignoring *those* will get us in the exact, same sort of situation we were in on 9/10.

We must learn that in this new era, we must honor victory, not celebrate it as a final end save to major conflicts. The support of civilization and Nation States is the good in this fight and those to come down the pipeline for the next few decades, at least. It, like piracy, will always be with mankind so long as we are human. If we forget that, we will get killed by it.

17 November 2007

Not just potted plants

In the continuing saga of Hillary Clinton's quest for royalty, she has deployed the potted plant brigade! Yes, these individuals are ones that are pre-selected, pre-coached, pre-determined to infest 'town hall' meetings and give her questions that she is, actually, prepared to answer. No more of this messy business of actually having a 'discussion with the people', as they have turned out to be just a bunch of rabble. Not worth time hearing a question that might put you on the spot, when you can get a lovely and easy to answer question from someone your very own staff has picked out.

One of the first to be noticed was a plant at a 'energy town hall' run by Hillary Clinton, in which the prescripted nature of the question led to questions, and the final revealing that the questioner was, indeed, given a question to asked based on the campaign's decision that she fit the demographic type they were aiming at (Major Garrett, FNC 10 NOV 2007). Of course the Hillary campaign would first deny then admit and then say 'well everyone is doing it', which does point out that if everyone is engaging in non-public 'public' townhall discussions, then the entire system is a sham, with Hillary's campaign just being extremely INEPT in hiding it. Ah, the joys of admitting how deceitful you are: if you are alone in doing it you look like a power hungry group willing to do anything to sway public opinion, and if you are caught and all others are doing it so well as to not be found out then you are miserably incompetent.

Such CHOICES presented by the Hillary campaign! Deceitful OR Incompetent, the choice is yours.

So, surely, once caught they wouldn't do this again, right?

Ah, you do not understand the 'Will to Power' of Hillary Rodham Clinton! It turns out that this was just the LATEST plant in the hothouse of same, and that ABC News (10 NOV 2007) reported that an earlier incident had taken place which it had NOT TOLD YOU ABOUT. Amazing, a news organization covering up that it had suspected such activity was going on by an individual campaigning to be President. So, is this just keeping quiet to help a candidate or incompetence?

Such decisions we get from the MSM these days!

Surely CNN could take the hint when it was rolling out the welcome mat, no?

Ahh, little did we suspect that this welcome mat would hide a larger message...

Not that we would ever get that entire message until *after* the debate.

Instead we would get the 'drip, drip, drip' of first one plant being discovered, then another, and another...

It turns out that instead of an audience of interested student and others, the entire process would weed out the students at UNLV by limiting them to only 100 tickets of the 2000, and what would be put into their place...well... professors or whoever they wanted to buy tickets for... and...

The entire auditorium was turned into a greenhouse for the event. Not that we would hear from Wolf Blitzer about that.

CNN has rolled out the Astroturf Campaign by putting pro-Hillary commentators onto its post-debate panel. Not that keeping out the demographic that would support other candidates, namely college students, planting questions, biasing the post-debate coverage or just not coming clean about the scripting done by CNN on those plants doesn't mean that *others* don't do this.

So which are they?


Or incompetent?

Decisions, decisions....