29 December 2008

Just where should Republicans go?

Jennifer Rubin at PJM looks at how to fight the New, New Deal, and offers some helpful ideas for Republicans and the economy plus a few other areas.  Basically what we are seeing, beyond a whopping serving of Transnational Progressivism, is a break-out of the four main areas of political thought in US politics as given by Walter Russell Meade (summary here).  I do differ in that I do not see, in any way, how George W. Bush fits the mold: he is Hamiltonian by foreign policy and industrial views.  President Reagan would be more of a Jacksonian if he did something, but he didn't, thus becoming a Hamiltonian with some lacing of Wilsonian by the end of his term:  no matter what he ran on, he didn't do the thing required by that political view and that is 'deliver'.

Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and quite a few others since WWII, including Johnson, Reagan, both Bushes and Clinton are Hamiltonians, just disagreeing on the actual purpose and direction of government involvement in the economy, not that it should have a direct say.  At the end of their terms and to get a 'legacy' many Presidents make a bow to Wilsonianism, and try all sorts of lovely international fiascos that don't get any where.  Nixon, Carter and the end of the Reagan and Clinton Administrations all saw these sorts of moves come up.  Nixon may have been the only one to go to China, but he was also the only one to think wage and price freezes were a good idea, too... just like China.

Thus, no matter what the modern cast of Presidents run on, they tend towards Hamiltonian and Wilsonian means.  Congress is already there and has been for decades.  As the old saying goes with the hammer, once you get to National government it looks like the solution to everything.

If you are a Republican, love Teddy Roosevelt and see government as a means to fiscal security and prosperity, then you are, actually, a kin to President Elect Obama:  you may detest his morals, ethics, and general social outlook, but his goals for more government control over the economy is the exact same thing you got with the post-WWII Republican Presidents, save Eisenhower and Ford wasn't around long enough to tell much of anything other than he was a nice guy.

Jeffersonians have been co-opted out of their traditionalist role of supporting the rights of man as an individual, and now see any power wielded by government, especially Presidents, as a threat to liberty, forgetting that Jefferson, himself, wielded those self-same powers in similar ways.  Apparently Jefferson knew more about the Law of Nations and how we divide up powers and invest these powers into government as the few we give government to have than his modern followers can figure out. What gives with these folks, anyways? 

So, if Republicans want to make a stark, complete difference and offer a real choice in how to govern, they do have some options.  Primarily, stop doing what they have been doing, not saying, for the last 30 years or so and *mean it*.  Meaning it, in this sense, is getting rid of those party members who don't do some very, simple, things.  Yeah, I'm a Jacksonian and to me the simplest solution is the best as it has the largest, long-term, ramifications.  By not setting up a stark difference and governing that way, we are at the point where nearly half the voting age population didn't bother to vote in a Presidential election year.  That has been declining, steadily, since 1964 and more rapidly after the Left invasion of the Democratic Party in 1968.  McGovern's candidacy is something that he admitted threw open the doors... and people walked out, not rushed in.  By and large these people didn't switch parties, but left political life as a dead loss for America.  The Republican Party did not offer a choice THEN and does not offer one NOW.

So where to start?

Number one, simplest thing on the planet is this idea of 'rule of law'.

Consider the 21 DEC 1936 SCOTUS ruling in US v. Curtiss-Wright Export Corp. in which the SCOTUS holds to be true the following, which I excerpt from the 'held' section:

2) The powers of the Federal Government over foreign or external affairs differ in nature and origin from those over domestic or internal affairs. P. 315.

(3) The broad statement that the Federal Government can exercise no powers except those specifically enumerated in the Constitution, and such implied powers as are necessary and proper to carry into effect the enumerated powers, is categorically true only in respect of our internal affairs. In that field, the primary purpose of the Constitution was to carve from the general mass of legislative powers then possessed by the States such portions as it was thought desirable to vest in the Federal Government, leaving those not included in the enumeration still in the States. Id.

(4) The States severally never possessed international powers. P. 316.

(5) As a result of the separation from Great Britain by the Colonies, acting as a unit, the powers of external sovereignty passed from the Crown not to the Colonies severally, but to the Colonies in their collective and corporate capacity as the United States of America. Id.

(6) The Constitution was ordained and established, among other things, to form "a more perfect Union." Prior to that event, the Union, declared by the Articles of Confederation to be "perpetual," was the sole possessor of external sovereignty, and in the Union it remained without change save insofar as the Constitution, in express terms, qualified its exercise. Though the States were several, their people, in respect of foreign affairs, were one. P. 317.

(7) The investment of the Federal Government with the powers of external sovereignty did not depend upon the affirmative grants of the Constitution. P. 318.

(8) In the international field, the sovereignty of the United States is complete. Id.

(9) In international relations, the President is the sole organ of the Federal Government. P. 319.

(10) In view of the delicacy of foreign relations and of the power peculiar to the President in this regard, Congressional legislation which is to be made effective in the international field must [p306] often accord to him a degree of discretion and freedom which would not be admissible were domestic affairs alone involved. P. 319.

(11) The marked difference between foreign and domestic affairs in this respect is recognized in the dealings of the houses of Congress with executive departments. P. 321.

Notice points 7-11?  I have a question for you:  If a Senator or Congressman visits a power that the President does not wish them to visit and has told them so, then what should that Senator or Congressman do?

I looked at this with San Fran Nan's lovely trip to Syria, and really would like an answer on why direct disobedience of the Constitution, the SCOTUS and the power the people invest in the Presidency should be waved off by those in Congress.

And, no, saying that 'who knows what the Democrats would do without *us* there' makes it worse, not better.  That is aiding and abetting, also collusion.  Start over, try again.

Those of EITHER party who go there are in direct violation of their Oaths to the Constitution, the understood powers as seen under FDR's administration, and should be respected by ALL Americans no matter WHICH party they are in.  Why are these suckers still in Congress and not brought up on charges of violating their Oaths of Office?

For Republicans:  why are the members with an 'R' by their name still in your party?

I, too, complain about the border problem and the inactive George W. Bush who wants to farm out American jobs to illegal aliens.  Syria is a nation with chemical weapons deliverable by missiles, has a suspected bio-weapon program, and was recently caught by the Israelis playing footsie with North Korea.  Nuclear footsie.

If you can't kick these miscreants out of the party for not supporting their Oaths and the Nation then why, in particular, should anyone care about how the party views the rest of the world?  It isn't serious in its views of supporting America, or these fools and idiots would have been OUT by now.

Here's that line-up:

Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) Speaker of the House of Representatives

Rep. Tom Lantos (D-CA)

Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN)

Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA)

Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY)

Rep. Nick Rahall (D-WV)

Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA)

Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-AL)

Rep. Joe Pitts (R-OH)

Rep. David L. Hobson (R-OH)

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA)

I refused to vote for my fool on that list, and voted for a no-name Independent as the Democratic fool was no better.  I do support the Constitution and rule of law, and understanding that Sovereign powers are given to different branches of government or divided as specified.  They are not 'equal' but Sovereign in their domains.  There is NO Congressional power on setting foreign policy, just regularizing treaties and requiring the Senate to ratify treaties.  These idiots do not set, make or do any foreign policy without the approval of the President and he told them NOT to go.

If you can't do *that* simple thing, to uphold the Constitution, then *why* should you believed on something like tax policy?

Rule of law begins at home.  Apparently the Republican Party can't figure that out.


Ok, on to the New, New Deal bit, which looks a lot like establishing Nobility control over the economy.

But then, I am biased.

Now lets say that the US Government had a stake-hold in a really corrupt and inefficient business.  You know, like Fannie, Freddie, the car companies, and everyone else wanting a bail-out?  Corrupt, inefficient, not too capable.  You know, the folks that President Bush and President Elect Obama want to support and ARE supporting with your money?

Heard of them?

Now, what is the response to Government having that sort of deal?  Strangely enough, this has happened before, and the President, at the time, proposed some extremely novel and really quite modern solutions.  Here is one of them:

It is not conceivable how the present stockholders can have any claim to the special favor of the Government. The present corporation has enjoyed its monopoly during the period stipulated in the original contract. If we must have such a corporation, why should not the Government sell out the whole stock and thus secure to the people the full market value of the privileges granted? Why should not Congress create and sell twenty-eight millions of stock, incorporating the purchasers with all the powers and privileges secured in this act and putting the premium upon the sales into the Treasury?

Yup, stock for each and every American, more or less.  And then *charge* said organization for the *privilege* of having access to the good money of the American People.  Hand out stock to the People to hold, and let *them* decide the fate of those organizations asking for access to the public coffers.

People complain much about government.  This President obviously saw what backing a corrupt organization did, and how to REMEDY it in a way that let ALL Americans decide the fate of said organization.

That is 'free market economics'.  Ever heard of that?

That is government admitting it is piss-poor at figuring out economic realities and putting it into the hands of the people to guide THEMSELVES.

Revolutionary, huh?

Simple, too.

The President was Andrew Jackson, the year was 10 JUL 1832 and this was one of the lengthiest veto messages ever given, I would wager, that went into a detailed examination of the economy, government's responsibility to the citizenry and the Nation, and what powers it does and does not have and the best way to use those powers so as to protect itself and INCREASE liberty.  My thanks to the Avalon Project for hosting that work, amongst many, for the storehouses of liberty, freedom, the state and history go far back, indeed.

Reading that message is like the roadmap of 'what is the US government supposed to do?' in these cases.  It is sad that many 20th century thinkers would re-invent these ideas and NOT credit President Jackson.  While he fit the ideas into his then present circumstance, the ideas, themselves, ring clear as a bell.

Here is the next paragraph and it, too, has a clear statement to make:

But this act does not permit competition in the purchase of this monopoly. It seems to be predicated on the erroneous idea that the present stockholders have a prescriptive right not only to the favor but to the bounty of Government. It appears that more than a fourth part of the stock is held by foreigners and the residue is held by a few hundred of our own citizens, chiefly of the richest class. For their benefit does this act exclude the whole American people from competition in the purchase of this monopoly and dispose of it for many millions less than it is worth. This seems the less excusable because some of our citizens not now stockholders petitioned that the door of competition might be opened, and offered to take a charter on terms much more favorable to the Government and country.

That is one of the greatest statements of trust via the economy I have heard from anyone in politics.  He carried through on his ideas, too, and cut off this corrupt institution which was so lasting, so deep, that even its supporters wouldn't try to revive it in the next Administration.  If private companies want PUBLIC funds to be supported, and not for contract work, then they must OPEN up their companies to ALL THE PEOPLE to govern.

It is a simple idea and could be done *then* in 1832, and it can't be done *now* in 2008?

It is the exact, same Constitution with the exact, same backing, so the exact, same thing can be proposed for those wanting the Public's Tax Money to survive.  Notice that Congress does not direct things.  YOU DO.  And it is YOU they would have to PAY BACK for each and every share available.  You could buy, sell, trade, do whatever you liked with them as that is YOUR SAY over YOUR MONEY.  We could even tell them that unlike regular creditors, we get paid back COMPLETELY all at ONE SHOT.

Be still my beating heart!

Can you imagine a REPUBLICAN backing that?  Or even just saying it?  You know, bundle all these lovely federal funds giveaways, which are your tax dollars, and then requiring all the recipients to repay you as the government is incapable of figuring out how to even run a war?    If running a war, a prime responsibility of the government, is something the government can't do *that* well, then how will it figure out something like the mortgage market?  Government that can't even get the basics right, shouldn't be pressed in for something more complicated.... a pretty good rule of thumb, actually.


What else hasn't the government done too well at?  How about Education?  Reading rates haven't changed since the late 1950's, so how can federalizing the idea be a success?  We did as well, with less cost, less overhead and less bureaucracy, and all of that and the hundreds of billions towards education haven't done anything to help.

Dept. of Energy.  We have had *how* many energy problems since that sucker was put up?

Dept. of Agriculture.  This is a subsidy to big agribusiness and a way to dispense political payoffs.  Anything involving food safety should go to... ahh... the Food and Drug Administration?  They seem to cover food.

Housing?  Ummmmm... this is the cause of the current mess, no?  Congress going through housing groups backed by the government to do all sorts of lovely and uneconomically viable things until we now pay for them.  I think we can fairly say that government pushing home-ownership isn't such a smart thing.

SEC?  How many scandals has this organization missed since the 1930's?

Federal Reserve?  The organization that got lending policies *wrong* for the Great Depression and *wrong* again, this year?  Why, exactly, is this such a great thing?  Fights inflation?  Do we really need such an expansive organization to do *that*?  One that has gotten *huge* economic shifts *wrong*?  This is the successor to the National Bank concept, and it has proven incapable even *without* corruption.

And how many Republicans actually speak out to abolish useless and counterproductive parts of government?

President Reagan did NOT carry through on promises.  Where are the results?


Finally all the laws and regulations.  Even if you got rid of the above organizations *completely* the huge raft of regulations that Congress has mandated is stunning.  You don't know them all.  I don't know them all.  The Bible Code can't hold them all, which is saying something, given what everyone wants that to do.

That's right, the Word of God does *not* encompass the entirety of the federal regulations of the US.

How are mere mortals supposed to live with it?

So, how about finding some folks to push for the budget to expand to completely enforce all laws and regulations, and ensure that there are more than enough agents to go around to do so?  No slackers allowed in any part of it.

You think we have problems with liberty *now*?

Can you imagine how civil libertarians would squeal if the government got about its full and complete job to enforce everything it has passed?

Can't find a Republican to back that.  This idea of 'backing the full laws and regulations of the US government' sort of deal.  Rule of law need not apply.

Want a different solution?

I posted this up ages ago: how about a 10-year, government-wide sunset on each and every law and regulation and any other piece of legislation passed by Congress, outside of the few areas mandated by the Constitution?  You know, Defense, State, the Mint, those areas mentioned directly in the Constitution.  The rest of it, including all the regulations *covering* those areas, gets a 10-year review and mandatory vote to re-up it based on the last digit of the year it was passed.  Posted on-line for citizen feedback, too.  With *that* attached to it for future re-review and areas of concern.

Can you even imagine that?

Laws and regulations that YOU get feedback on and that Congress must take positive steps to re-authorize and the President to sign?  Line item veto when you could have something like *this*?

Can you picture the veto message like this: "My fellow Americans I am vetoing the Social Security Re-authorization and directing the Social Security Administration to pay out, in full, what you are due in the next fiscal year..."

Congresscritters would be in stark, raving, terror when that sucker comes up.


I can, actually, imagine that world.  But I have an active imagination.

Each of these is, indeed, a simple idea, but none of them is simplistic in any way, shape or form.

They would divest government of overhead, responsibility and otherwise require that the basis for government gets regularly re-argued and re-ratified.  Where government fails, it must recognize failure and let go of dreams that are ill suited to it.  This is not 'small government' as 'conservatives' put forth.

This is lean, barely able to do its few jobs and do them well government that does not over-reach itself or put the American people into fiscal peril due to the naive ideas of the few and wealthy on how to run society by government.

You won't get that from Republicans.

But then I dream of a government where the people are free, the government understands its role and one that my fellow citizens can achieve or fail on their own, and seek help from their fellow man in *both*.  That is doing our duty to each other, and no government has ever been invented that can do that, and allow liberty and freedom to be expansive beneath it.  It is a fundamental liberty that we dare not let go of, no matter how sweet and misguided the dream of omni-competent government is.  For government has proven omni-incompetent and omni-incapable when given so much to do.  I can tell the differences between good dreams and nightmares, and omni-competent government is an evil nightmare unlike any I can think of.

But then I like to keep things simple.

I am no Republican.

Nor a Democrat.

When government impoverishes the people to ITS ends, then we are one, fine Shays away from seeing the Nation crumble.

We are now entering the season of Shays.

20 December 2008

The mad and the lost

Running across this article by Mark Helprin at the WSJ on how we have been made vulnerable due to the war in Iraq, I run across a very strange passage which, to me at least, is more than just passing strange:

The pity is that the war could have been successful and this equilibrium sustained had we struck immediately, preserving the link with September 11th; had we disciplined our objective to forcing upon regimes that nurture terrorism the choice of routing it out with their ruthless secret services or suffering the destruction of the means to power for which they live; had we husbanded our forces in the highly developed military areas of northern Saudi Arabia after deposing Saddam Hussein, where as a fleet in being they would suffer no casualties and remain at the ready to reach Baghdad, Damascus, or Riyadh in three days; and had we taken strong and effective measures for our domestic protection while striving to stay within constitutional limits and eloquently explaining the necessity -- as has always been the case in war -- for sometimes exceeding them. Today's progressives apologize to the world for America's treatment of terrorists (not a single one of whom has been executed). Franklin Roosevelt, when faced with German saboteurs (who had caused not a single casualty), had them electrocuted and buried in numbered graves next to a sewage plant.

Now isn't that stirring stuff?

Lovely to see how Mr. Helprin has learned nothing of Counter-Insurgency since late 2003, and that it can only be done successfully in contact with the local populace and not from 'ships at sea' or from 'over the horizon'.  This was known, actually, before the war, but it takes many guises and must adapt to local conditions and culture, so as to ensure that an insurgency does not drag on for decades, spilling more and more blood by not being confronted at all levels.  By not being on the ground and in the community, you strengthen an insurgency and weaken your geopolitical hand as you are seen as unable to cope with minor problems and can only do anything about them when they grow into large ones... and as heartless at the loss of blood and the dehumanization of those being attacked by the insurgency, which is the culture of a Nation, itself.

Apparently by rolling into Baghdad and then rolling right back out again, we would show ourselves to be 'strong' while we let those we defeated decay into strife and misery.  Even worse is the romance for dictatorships and despots that Mr. Helprin evinces not only in the consequences necessary to do this roll-in, roll-out deal, which would be putting another dictator in Baghdad, but that those dictatorships in the Middle East would even be cowed by this into helping!  What this makes the case for is not 'helping' but in getting one faction to invite the US to depose an existing government so that a new faction can take over.  That would have been what we did in Baghdad via this prescription, no?

I remember how the Left squealed in the '70s that the US was just deposing one dictator for another via the CIA and other means and that we really, truly, ought to stop doing that.  Little did we know that would be something that would be prescribed as a 'beneficial' thing in 2008!  But then Mr. Helprin takes a very dim view of Arab culture as he showed in this 17 SEP 2003 piece at The Claremont Institute:

How might it be accomplished? as much as those who make war against the West find advantage in Arab history and Islamic tradition, they are burdened by its disadvantages. Living in a world of intense subjectivity where argument is perpetually overruled by impulse, they suffer divisions within divisions and schisms within schisms. Though all-consuming fervor may be appropriate to certain aspects of revealed religion, it makes for absolutist politics and governance. A despotic political culture in turn decreases the possibilities of strong alliances and is (often literally) murderous to initiative, whether technical, military, or otherwise. And it is of no little import that the Middle East has developed so as to be unreceptive to technology.

The natural environment of Arabia is so extreme that the idea of mastering it was out of the question, submission and adaptation being the only options, and the Middle East had neither the kind of surplus agriculture that permitted Europe to industrialize, nor the metals and wood upon which the machine culture was built. Technology was viewed not as a system of interdependent principles, but rather as finite at all stages, not an art to be practiced but a product to be bought. Magical machines arrived whole, without a hint of the network of factories, workshops, mines, and schools, and the centuries of struggle and genius it took to build them. Islam provides a successful spiritual equilibrium that the whole of Islamic society strives to protect. The West, by its very nature, stirs and changes everything in "creative destruction." Wanting no part in this, the Middle East, to quote the economic historian Charles Issawi, "believed that the genius of Islam would permit a controlled modernization; from Europe one could borrow things without needing to borrow ideas," which is why, perhaps, in 19th-century Egypt, students were sometimes taught a European language to master a craft, and then told to "forget" the language.

Even more potentially fatal to the Arabs than the fact that they cannot ever win a technological duel with the West is their Manichean tendency to perceive in wholly black or wholly white. In the Middle East the middle ground is hardly ever occupied, and entire populations hold volatile and extremist views. This is traceable perhaps to the austerities of the desert and nomadic life, and is one of the great and magnetic attractions of Islam—severity, certainty, and either decisive action or righteous and contented abstention. In Arab-Islamic culture, things go very strongly one way or they go very strongly the other, and, always, a compassionate haven exists for the defeated, for martyrs, as long as they have not strayed from the code of honor. In the West, success is everything, but in the Arab Middle East honor is everything, and can coexist perfectly well with failure. The Arabs have a noble history of defeat, and are acclimatized to it. Their cultural and religious structures, far less worldly than ours, readily accommodate it. Though wanting victory, they are equally magnetized by defeat, for they understand, as we used to in the West, that the defeated are the closest to God.

The West seems not to know, George W. Bush seems not to know, and Donald Rumsfeld seems not to know, that there can be but one effective strategy in the war against terrorism, and that is to shift Arab-Islamic society into the other of its two states—out of nascent 'asabiya and into comfortable fatalism and resignation. The British have done this repeatedly, and the United States almost did it during the Gulf War. That the object of such an exercise is not to defeat the Arabs but to dissuade them from making war upon us means it is more likely to succeed now than when it was joined to religious war in the Crusades or to the imperial expansion of Europe. Now we want only to trade with the oil states even at scandalous expense, and not (assuming that "nation-building" is properly allowed to atrophy) to convert, control, or colonize. How, exactly, does one shift Arab-Islamic society into the other of its two states?

Notice that, to Mr. Helprin, the concept of human liberty, freedom and the ability to have individuals make good decisions for themselves and society is never mentioned?  Society is not static, no matter what its basis.  Prussia was one of the most hide-bound cultures coming into the 20th century, and yet a mere two world wars later, they entire German culture shows almost nothing of Prussian heritage.  A mere 225 years after throwing off the shackles of burdensome government that dictates our lives to us, taxes us and tells us to pay more and then telling citizens to 'stuff it' with their complaints, we now have exactly that as our Ruling Elite in the US today, that see paying taxes as 'patriotic' and not an intrusion or burden upon the common man.  That transformation started in the early part of the 20th century, and a few generations later the previous culture is now barely recognizable, outside of a few circles here and there. 

Arab culture, itself, has shifted into and out of more than just expansion and decay, but has spread literature and culture over many lands that lacked them previously.  Indeed, Baghdad, itself, used to be the cross-roads of the civilized world, between Europe and China and partook of both and spread the benefits of the myriad cultures throughout those realms under its dominion.  It is very true that many of the ruling class in places like Saudi Arabia are just tribal leaders elevated into the position of State leadership, but that was true of Western culture not so long ago, and in parts of the Balkans you can still trace those lineages and still see the modern fights they cause.

Islam does have a culture attached to it from the Middle East, but lost most of that going into Indonesia and some other far flung parts of the world.  It is only with modern travel and communications that the overly rich can support the most destructive faction of the tens of factions in Islam and seek dominion via that faction, often killing their way to dominance.  Yet we still idolize Robert the Bruce, Braveheart and King Arthur who were, all, in similar positions from tribal and ethnic entities.  We also remember that many of our modern sects of Christianity came from factions within the body of larger believers that started out under the Roman Catholic Church, yet with the coming of Martin Luther the world would witness some of the bloodiest wars fought for the 'Prince of Peace' and the establishment of the beginnings of religious tolerance at the Peace of Westphalia.  That tolerance, itself, would take generations to grow, yet from 1648 to 1776, a mere 128 years, the Westphalian concept of religious tolerance would be enshrined in a New Land open to all faiths and belief systems.  Just a bit over three generations by Biblical standards.

Any attempt to peg the Arab culture as 'just' limited to this or that idea or concept is foreordained to failure as the underlying and self-evident truth is that all men are created equal.  Their cultures may be unequal, but changing those cultures can be done when the benefits are shown.  Even more chilling is that those cultures can be changed to the worse, to move from liberty and freedom and to despotism and repression.  All change is not created equal, it appears.

This is true in the case of Mr. Helprin who has, apparently, forgotten some of his own works, like this passage from The Claremont Institute in a piece written 30 NOV 1999:

Generation after generation, given the right circumstances, tries to square its circle, imagining itself close to the answers of the eternal questions that it cannot come even close to answering. An independent offshoot of this is the scientific arrogance that, feeding off man's natural deference to the most powerful tool he has yet devised, imagines a world run according to scientific principles, a supposedly benevolent dictatorship of the boffins. But though nature is identifiable by the simplicity and elegance of its laws, to which all natural phenomena readily conform, humanity is different. It is a hive of countless and surprising variables, and it cannot be understood, much less managed, according to scientific principles. When such principles are applied to it, the product is misery and death. As the history of half the world in this century shows, even when so discreet and systemic a thing as an economy is directed according to "scientific principle" (which is only that thing that some fallible someone says it is), it ends in dismal failure. Humanity requires for its understanding and governance not science but art, and when this is forgotten, as in the case of Samuel Johnson's natural philosopher who, having electrified a bottle, thinks that the problems of peace and war are inconsequential, the result is coercion. The result is irrational mankind forced by frustrated and indignant masters to do what they expect of it, and if you doubt this, turn to history.

Humanity does, indeed, have countless and surprising variables.

Arab culture included as it is made up of humans who are created equal.

When Mr. Helplrin applies his version of scientific principles to his analysis of that culture he does, indeed, see a product of misery and death as the only way forward.  That is what happens when you limit yourself to only a few variables and principles:  you miss the wider panoply of all the things that make up what it is to be human.

And while the distances from the desert in Saudia Arabia may be the same to those lovely places, the Centroid of the Middle East, culturally, is not Mecca, though many bow to it, nor Alexandria, with its lost splendor, nor is it in Damascus where, seemingly, all troubles can be solved by going there.  No there is one ancient place of learning in the Middle East, the vital cross-roads that sway entire cultures and peoples.  All those cultures, from Indonesia to Morocco, from Chechnya to Kenya, all come through one seat and place that can and has swayed entire cultures.

That place is Baghdad.

Now a Capital of a land where people are exercising freedom to express their views, defend their culture and Nation and give each man and woman their say in how they are governed.

Twenty nine million people trying on freedom and liberty for the first time in centuries... millenia...

Sure as hell beats dictators, and that is the truth.

Because dictators are so simple.

And produce such misery and death.

Strange that the man who recognized that cannot see when he, too, has wandered in to the land of simplicity... and misery... and death.

I support liberty, freedom and the rights of man as an individual.

Mark Helprin?

Not so much these days.

16 December 2008

The Undefended War

H/t to Jules Crittenden for examining this subject.

America is a unique Nation amongst all Nations in having a tradition of arguing about everything.  Not only does our Constitution protect this, but the Declaration of Independence cites that we are humans born with all liberties and rights, and that we come together to make government to defend us.  Some things we do come together on readily, like the question posed by the framers of the Constitution of the necessity of having armed forces to protect the Nation.  That was supposed to be batted around every two years and seriously considered, but needing some military presence has required an ongoing commitment to it that is now never questioned.  One of the most humorous things is to see 'conservatives' who argue for strict constructionalism and for abiding by the wishes of the founders never, not once, bringing up this little tidbit as it is so taken for granted that we need a military that we now never question the very threat to liberty and freedom that such armed forces pose.  We have, indeed, seen many other societies over the past centuries succumb to military dictatorship and to armed forces ruling over society and government in many lands.  Our single, strongest bulwark in our government is to argue that need every two years, right there in the US Constitution on the needing to re-authorize the military for every two years.  In not addressing this very, basic question of representative democracy, we have turned military spending into a political football, and bat that about all around an area delimited by the personal and political whims of those we elect to High Office.

Luckily, I am not a 'conservative' nor a 'liberal' and while I do see the necessity of the armed forces, the need to actually hand strong definition to that need every two years in a 'hammer and tongs' way in Congress means that Congress gets to spend oodles of time arguing about things they don't get in the Constitution instead of sticking to those they do.  So when the question of 'Defending the War in Iraq' comes up we, as a society, no longer have the basis to actually know what our armed forces are for, what they get committed to do and to ensure those same armed forces have the strictest possible oversight so as not to push society aside when decisions need to be made.  Without that basis we have no common ground to see what the armed forces are put to, in the way of work, until, like a bolt out of the blue, they actually get committed to doing something by Congress or the President.  Then the great American Tradition going back to the founding comes into play.

We argue.

And what is the basis for that argument?

By not having a societal level agreement on the necessity for the armed forces, each and every person who argues about it decides to pick their own ground: by having no common ground they have no ability to compare nor contrast their starting position with the common position held by their fellow citizens on this topic.  By being able to tailor-make what they think the basis for judgment is, they can then leave out anything they don't like, don't want to address or otherwise ignore, completely.  Without that basis, the argument is pointless as no one will settle down to recognize the validity of some of their opponents framework for reasoning and offer constructive criticism on multiple points.  The Left has turned this into mere finger pointing, shouting obscenities, deriding and belittling their fellow citizens, and often just calling those they disagree with 'dumb' or 'stupid' when an obscenity is not furnished.  The Right, however, has an equally deep problem in not being able to recognize that the foundation that we have for government to control the armed forces is society, and that society must use the means of government to come to common agreement on some very basic principles to defend the Nation.  The Left makes up principles as it goes along, discards them with equal ease and will not take any firm stance on any ground to allow themselves to be examined and question outside of tailor made frameworks for any given argument, and only that argument, and only for that brief period of time they hold those views.  The Right ignores that society now has no common agreement, thinks it does and is absolutely, positively unwilling to state what their framework is, either.  Thus multiple frameworks from the Right get trotted out and they are just as tailor made as on the Left.

There is a problem in this.

You aren't arguing about the same thing with common basis.

Thus we argue about the form of war, formula of war, the outcomes of war, and seek to build argumentative basis that is tailored to each of us.

We do not examine the other side of this, and we are now, horrifically, so at odds with each other, across the spectrum that we can no longer recognize that function and its basis to be.

To understand form, you must understand function.

To understand function, you must, unequivocally declare what the actual, real function of war is for our society, at the very least, and then recognize that all other societies have recourse to it.

We do not understand the actual basis for warfare or what it is as a society.

We cannot describe its function and what its use is as a society.

And people want to argue about its forms and outcome?


Lotsa luck on that, I tell ya.


Part of my purpose in writing in this space, in this blog, and in some few other places, is to trace out my reasoning for such things as warfare, peace, society, and individual responsibility.  These are not separate venues at the level of the Nation State or even the State.  It is a complete package that must be understood in parts to be understood in its entirety.  Arguing about any single part, in absence of its place in both higher and lower level structures that we, as humans, create, is a pointless exercise.

I detest war.

I adore human liberty for myself and my fellow citizens and have this strange idea that we, as humans, can learn to exercise its positive aspects and create good things for ourselves and our fellow man.  That is the positive aspect of liberty and rights: creation.

I detest war, the destruction of life, the devastation of property and the strange concept that our fellow man, either singly or in entire Nation States, want to kill me, kill you, kill our society and rule over all other humans on this planet.  That is the negative side of liberty and rights: not only destruction but removal of life, liberty and rights from others.

As a citizen I must, first and foremost before any other thing, actually get to know what these positive and negative liberties are so that I know which ones to use and which ones not to use at any, given time.  The basis for those rights and liberties is not the Nation State, not the State, not society, but the individual.  These rights and liberties are mine, as a human, and yours, too, and is granted to all beings coming from Nature via the Law of Nature.  This is a 'scale free' concept first encapsulated for our Nation at its Declaration of Independence which had to examine that spectrum from its very fine grained basis.  That single document took hundreds of years of advanced understanding on the human condition, boiled it down, and gave a clear and distinct reason to rise up against a Mother Nation and remove its ability to govern over us as a sub-unit.

We forget what the other thing that the Declaration of Independence is.

It is a Declaration of War.

It clearly states the position of what a society is, what it does, what its purpose is and even that coming to common understanding between a Mother government and that of its sub-units is much better than waging war, and that waging war is only something taken up when the ills of government become unsufferable.  The final two-thirds of the actual document, the part no one really bothers to read in the modern era, is an exacting statement of what these ills are, instances of these ills and ties each back to the basis for common society and government. 

Further, it sets a foundation and basis of understanding that this applies, as all men are created equal, to all societies: it is a common standard and agreement.  It represented the combined viewpoint of 10% of the population in 1776.  At that point 15% supported the Crown.  The war that would follow would force everyone to take sides, break families apart, kill about 10% of the population and see 15% flee the new Nation.  From that Declaration the Articles of Confederation were made, Continental Congress presided and the Nation went heavily into debt to pay for the war.

The stated principles were in the Declaration.

The function of war was in the Continental Congress under the Articles.

The form of war was all-volunteer, low pay (when you could get any), short on supplies, short on training and, unfortunately, long.  It had a horrific death toll to it percentage wise, and left the new Nation crippled.  That Nation *failed*: the Articles were so impoverishing poor farmers and imprisoning them via the State governments assuming their portion of the debt that insurrection was in the air.  America needed to re-start so that she could pay off her debts.

We had good understanding of the basis for war.

We had a pretty good ability to give function to war.

We were piss poor at the form of war, and it showed.


Today when I hear 'arguments' about the War in Iraq, I must ask: what is your foundational understanding of the human condition?

Do you conceive of the human condition of having all liberties and rights invested in YOU or do you put forward that GOVERNEMENT gets those and administers them TO YOU?

You cannot argue about war, any war, until this is examined and understood within yourself.

If you can't believe that war is something you have within you, that Private War is something you are handed as an individual by being derived from the Laws of Nature, then you cannot put forward that war is either bad nor good because you have nothing to compare it to within yourself.  That is not being civilized: it is barbaric to think that such a thing is only handed to those things we create because that is a child-like belief in the immaterial being given substance by naifs in the woods.

I have studied warfare about as well as I can do as a private citizen, and the idea that we don't get war until we create society, State and Nation is not only foolish, not only child-like, but goes against all evidence before our eyes and all scientific evidence that clearly shows only the most isolate, most tiny and most remote human populations ever lose the capability for war.  And they still suffer predators, defend themselves and understand what war is as fighting for one's life against a creature that will end it must also recognize that your fellow humans can return to the state of nature and become willful predators upon you.

There is no metaphysical bestowal to government to do these things: we grant those things to government so that we can put aside our negative liberties so that we can come to agreement on what is necessary to defend our society, our State and our Nation.  When you say this is 'not in your name' then you have a problem in this representative democracy: it damned well IS done in your name by OUR common agreement.  To disavow that is to ask to be a subject of government, not a participant in it for the common good.  You may disagree with the OUTCOME, but you can not say that for yourself or your fellow citizen this is NOT done in your name, my name and in the names of all of those in our society.

To think otherwise is to set yourself above your fellow citizens and it smacks of despotism and authoritarianism to think that all of society should follow your wishes.  That is why we have civil government - to hold it accountable to us, as a society, and to put forth reason as a basis of understanding.  Once the civil discussion is over, we may talk about if our representatives got the issues and their basis right: and because we have a bunch of ne'er-do-wells elected to High Office, chances are they screwed it up.

The answer is NOT to take to the streets and 'protest'.

It is to get those twits and asshats in High Office out of there to better represent YOU.

Because those elected representatives are ruining YOUR GOOD NAME.

When you attack your fellow citizens verbally, besmirch their honor, and rant that they are childish, ignorant, and really aren't as enlightened as you are, may I suggest that you find a mirror and see the lack of your own halo?

If you want to change society, then just what sort of Totalitarian Government sponsoring individual are YOU?

Yeah, that goes for the 'Left' and the 'Right' for those that take up to 'change society' by the means of government.


I am more than willing to examine the War in Iraq, its aftermath and what is going on there.  I have been doing so for years, but my rationale is, apparently, different than those trying to argue about the FORM of war and if it was EFFECTIVE.

Effective?  To what ends?  Care to cite something on that?

I cite the Congressional actions that put the Nation to war and ask the pertinent question: When does Iraq end?

The startling conclusion is that Iraq does NOT end when the fighting stops and a peaceful government gets put down, our absolutely insane representatives Upon the Hill want us to help these folks learn about democracy and get a representative democracy going.  What idealogues, no?  To think that human beings, because they ARE human beings and have all positive and negative liberties bestowed upon them that they might, just might, be able to govern themselves?

Heck, we have a problem with that!

Who are these angels upon the Earth who had been oppressed for so long that THEY can learn this while WE can't?

What sort of ignoramuses did we elect, anyways?

Still, I do grant that they actually got most of the functional questions properly stated and put down, even if, as I am sure, they don't know what the basis for those various functions actually are.  As I have pointed out before, in our lovely authoritarian mode of thinking about schooling, we just don't teach the basics of what government is, what its overall form is, and why its form is guided by its deriving from individuals, society and the State.  If they don't teach it, how can you forget it?


So, can the Iraq War be defended?  Yup.

I do so in The Worst Wars of All, and quite clearly point out the functional necessities of the War in Iraq.

I do not bother to see if the war is 'good' on its own, I do examine what 'just' means within the framework of Nations, and also what the actual powers of Nations are and their restrictions in warfare.  I take a view that, surprisingly, no one wants to take up because it is a bare-bones examination of wars conducted by Nations.  Somewhere, in this vast and flabby expanse of the thing we call the Federal Government, there is still a skeleton floating around in the tons of lard.  The thing has gotten a bit disconnected from the skin and vital organs in a few places, to tell the truth, and has numerous cancers in it.  People don't want to read that stuff as it is basic and uses reason to approach the question... so much better to argue about outcomes than to ask if there is reasoning behind a war!

No, my position that I take, did take, still take, is that this war is something far worse than its outcomes:  it was a necessary war.

Ye God how I hate necessary wars!

Still, it is not the worst type of war, not by any means, but that does not make it in any way, shape or form 'good'.  You can work damned hard to get some good from it, and I thank with the deepest gratitude I can express our fellow Citizen Soldiers who have done, are doing and continue to do that.  We were handed a carton of broken eggs and told them to get a chicken from it... it doesn't have to be a beautiful chicken...

My hatred for warfare does not  influence my viewpoint on the necessity of the war:  I understand it, accept that we have had incompetent government since 1991, and that we, as a society, just wanted Saddam to crawl back under his rock and go away.  I'm none too pleased with my society nor my fellow citizens on that score.  Our gutless wonder, Bush (41), and then Clinton and the intervening years of Congresses were true marvels of barbarism, being unable to decide if civilized means to get rid of a despicable world leader who had wronged all he touched was worth doing.

You folks have got a lot to answer for on not only not doing your duty to your fellow citizens, recognizing the awful burden nature has placed on you within society, but you have also been encouraging Cold War, Long War and Barbaric War by the way our representatives have been encouraged by you to act against our interests as a Nation, a State and a society.  As I must accept that, no matter how vile, this has been the considered judgment of our society via its representative government, I do as I say others should do and speak up against the basis for such reasoning. 

I do not parade around, make fun or belittle anyone, and consider the equality of all our rights and liberties and that they must be upheld by my actions first and foremost.  Because I do recognize that placement of all rights and liberties, I also make it very and substantially clear that International lawlessness begins at home with you.  As individuals we agree to be held accountable to these higher constructs made to serve and protect everyone in a form of civil government that culminates in something known as 'civilization'.  Now if we could only get folks interested in being civil to each other, again...


I have a relatively high bar when talking about war:  if you can't understand where it comes from or how we try to control it, you really can't say all that much about it, other than 'god, its awful'. 

Want to talk about outcomes?


You are expecting something good from having the negative liberty of aggressive war utilized?

The best you can get from it, if you work really, really hard, is the ability to argue about it afterwards.

You can, also, demonstrate the advanced civilized trait of mercy towards those you defeat and who fight honorably in war against you, and then help them, afterwards, to build something just a tad bit better so they don't have to fight *more* and *worse* wars in the future.  If you think the cost of doing that is 'high', just wait until you see what happens when you don't.  World War II taught us that lesson, but no one wants to learn it, apparently.  Nor did Vietnam, and we should have known better by then.

Getting some positive outcomes is hard, hard work.  It can, and often is, harder than actually fighting a war, this cleaning up and helping others to stand up and defend themselves business.  Usually not in lives, though, so it is immeasurably cheaper than fighting a new war, later, because you were such a cheapskate and thug that you just walked away after the fighting stopped.  That is rank cowardice and being a bully. 

Strange that I heard a few voices on the Left advocating doing just that when most of the fighting was over... aren't these supposed to be the 'building' people of hope and bridges between societies and paying off others to do the hard work sort?

That said if expecting 'good' from the negative liberty of aggressive war is asinine, then saying that the positive liberty of defensive war is 'bad' or 'threatening' is just plain awful.  Positive, defensive war can get you one, immediate and most excellent benefit:  you survive!  That is a hell of a lot better than the alternative, which is why I support that for my fellow citizens and myself.


So where do I stand on the Iraq War?

Behind our soldiers and supporting them, giving to the USO, Soldiers Angels and contributing to Vietnam Vets organizations.  These are, to me at least, the best people on the planet.

Bar none.



The war itself?

Justified and necessary, because of our own inaction.

Do you see all those in High Office in DC?

Tar and feathering them and riding them out of town on a rail is too good for them.  They might *like it*, and that is worse.


My real worry?

Slacker AmericaThe Do Nothing Nation.

Because if you can't figure out what your rights and liberties are, what you have to do to protect them and can't be bothered with actually doing those things, then you soon won't have your rights and liberties.

Then its 1776 all over again... 10% dead.... 15% fled... what a failure that was!

Still, we got a second chance, if we can keep it.

14 December 2008

So there is no connection between....

One of the purely insane, and that is in the 'dear god they have their fingers in their ears and are singing la-la-la, I don't want to hear this' , from the Left and particularly President Elect Obama backers  is not wanting to hear about their own candidate's past connections with, well, anyone.  Apparently he is now on the path to a purely virgin birth that happened to take place in Hawaii but was conceived with Space Aliens and/or Bigfoot.  Really, Sasquatch seem to have better taste than intermingle with us, and I really don't see Obama in the Fox Mulder.  After that having a political career where he would, contrary to all other evidence of being a Machine Politician, actually have money magically appear before him and be able to bi-locate for 20 years while at Rev. Wright's sermons.

Sorry, he appears to be a normal smokin Joe who, apparently smokes and is part of the 'in crowd' in Chitown politics.

Luckily he isn't named 'Joe'.

The honest Joes, like Joe the Plumber, get a bad rap from politicians.

Depressing beyond all account is that I can stick to my past articles in the archive and pull up the necessary connection almost immediately.

Let's take Eric Holder, nominee for Attorney General and man implicated in saving the hide of Marc Rich, beyond being a flat out liar about the Justice Department's views on what was going on with Elian Gonzalez.  Say, remember that?  Lovely pontificating on the part of the Justice Department about how they wouldn't do anything and then the midnight raid?  Gotta love that, no?  I remember how so many 'activists' were up in arms about that... but I digress.

So lets hit Marc Rich.

They guy was a fugitive from justice, for various forms of illegal trading and such inside the US, and he went overseas to start up a firm doing financial deals in 'hot spots' around the world, which would end up backing all sorts of people.  He first shows up in my archives in a look at Monzer al-Kassar and the report on corrupt banking in the US done as part of the BCCI investigation by Congress in 1992.  He appears in the Executive Summary at point 16:


Many of the specific criminal transactions engaged in by BCCI's customers remain hidden from investigation as the result of bank secrecy laws in many jurisdictions, British national security laws, and the holding of key witnesses and documents by the Government of Abu Dhabi. Documents pertaining to BCCI's use to finance terrorism, to assist the builders of a Pakistani nuclear bomb, to finance Iranian arms deals, and related matters have been sealed in the United Kingdom by British intelligence and remain unavailable to U.S. investigators. Many other basic matters pertaining to BCCI's criminality, including any list that may exist of BCCI's political payoffs and bribes, remain sequestered in Abu Dhabi and unavailable to U.S. investigators.

Many investigative leads remain to be explored, but cannot be answered with devoting substantial additional sources that to date no agency of government has been in a position to provide.

Unanswered questions include, but are not limited to, the relationship between BCCI and the Banco Nazionale del Lavoro; the alleged relationship between the late CIA director William Casey and BCCI; the extent of BCCI's involvement in Pakistan's nuclear program; BCCI's manipulation of commodities and securities markets in Europe and Canada; BCCI's activities in India, including its relationship with the business empire of the Hinduja family; BCCI's relationships with convicted Iraqi arms dealer Sarkis Sarkenalian, Syrian drug trafficker, terrorist, and arms trafficker Monzer Al-Kassar, and other major arms dealers; the use of BCCI by central figures in the alleged "October Surprise," BCCI's activities with the Central Bank of Syria and with the Foreign Trade Mission of the Soviet Union in London; its involvement with foreign intelligence agencies; the financial dealingst of BCCI directors with Charles Keating and several Keating affiliates and front-companies, including the possibility that BCCI related entities may have laundered funds for Keating to move them outside the United States; BCCI's financing of commodities and other business dealings of international criminal financier Marc Rich; the nature, extent and meaning of the ownership of other major U.S. financial institutions by Middle Eastern political figures; the nature, extent, and meaning of real estate and financial investments in the United States by major shareholders of BCCI; the sale of BCCI affiliate Banque de Commerce et Placement in Geneva, to the Cukorova Group of Turkey, which owned an entity involved in the BNL Iraqi arms sales, among others.

The withholding of documents and witnesses from U.S. investigators by the Government of Abu Dhabi threatens vital U.S. foreign policy, anti-narcotics and money laundering, and law enforcement interests, and should not be tolerated.

Of course this will bring up bad nightmares for the Left and Right, but to hell with the party favorites - if you don't like the dirty dealing by one party, then your own gets its fair share when doing the same.  Mind you by then he was already dealing with the Mullahcracy in Iran and helping their oil deals along.

Next up, Marc Rich shows up in my first article on the Red Mafia... you do know he was involved with the Red Mafia before President Clinton pardoned him, right?  This is the article where I make the surprising 'one person away' connection between Hillary Clinton and Randy "Duke" Cunningham, and it is tenuous, of course, but just how many folks donating to politicians will have BOTH in their list of who they contribute to?  I point to an article in Pravda, but leave out this little excerpt from it:

When this money returned to Moscow it had to be used and directed for the national good. The KGB and its allies, under Silayev and Kryuchkov, set up a system in which loyal and trusted members of the Komsomol system and friendly businessmen could form their own banks – Russian banks. Men like Khodorkovsky, Aven, Fridman and others were chosen and set up in the money business. They used the banks to channel the returning Mafia money into long-term businesses. With few exceptions, those chosen for this were all Jews. When Western pioneers like Marc Rich, David Reuben, Gerry Lennard or Jerry Cligman agreed to work within this system by creating the ‘tolling business, they were given a kick start of roubles to help pay for the initial costs of the tolling system, They, too, were mainly Jews, albeit foreign Jews.

Marc Rich working with the Red Mafia, nice, no?  Some of the connections in the network of individuals would be gone into via my article looking at connections between then Sen. Obama and other folks in his inner circle of friends.  Here, as I am citing an article that is not for direct quotation and I am honoring that, which was looking into political corruption and banking, will be my own words summarizing that article starting with following up Nadhmi Auchi's investment in the TotalFinaElf scandal:

He would go on to be convicted of the charges under TotalFinaElf and get 15 months suspended sentence for it. At the 10th International Anti-Corruption Conference Jean-Francois Medard presented a paper on the relationship between Elf, Angola and individuals at the head of the banking concerns involved, like Nadhmi Auchi (and for a not officially published work you can't quote from, it is excellent). The resultant method used to ensure that funds, arms, oil and company assets would not be easily traced is what is termed 'a nebula of networks' and I commonly refer to as person-to-person trust-based networks. As many have heard about jobs 'it is not what you know, but who you know' the exact, same thing goes on for illegal transactions of arms, equipment and money laundering. It is a question of who you know and who they trust who can help lead to getting whatever needs to be done, accomplished. This includes not only the direct p2p network, but also trusted organizations and the individuals in them, so that things like Masonic Lodges (quite the societal networking group for European business and mafioso) in which the establishment, itself, represents a node on the p2p network.

It is this network that would include individuals like Pierre Falcone, Etienne Leandri, Charles Pasqua, Marc Rich, Bill & Hillary Clinton, Nadhmi Auchi and organizations like Elf, the corrupt Menatep Bank of Russia (used by the Abromovich organization) and the Bank of New York system compromised by the Berlin couple and Semion Mogilevich. By exchanging Angolan debt and cash from other parts of the system, the entire affair was able to arrange for arms to be shipped illegal to Jonas Savimbi in Angola. That entire deal, involving so many multiple level 'cut-outs' in the banking structure (between BNP and the corrupt BoNY system), off-shore banks and money transfers (mostly to paper front companies) plus the high level of individuals and organizations ensured that no one would be able to properly figure the whole thing out. Just to be sure, President Clinton pardoned Marc Rich due to his high level of involvement in that and with the Russian Mafia.

Yes, the individuals mentioned in the article and their connections link up to all of these... mostly they are directly cited.

Now, far be it from me to point out that by now we have Marc Rich involved with BCCI, Red Mafia, and as part of the larger network that then is put together because of the last one and corrupt individuals in multiple banking institutions in the US, Europe, Russia and the Middle East.  That network can also take the 'one-hop' method and use Rich's connections in the Red Mafia to tie him right next to Monzer al-Kassar.  Small world, that one of black financing, guns, drugs, and death dealing. 

Another look into the Red Mafia ties of Marc Rich is done by the Dirty Money Digest in 2007, and I cite that in my article looking at Currency and Corruption:

Galmond had ridden the laundering roundabout with his IPOC fund for a number of years, no doubt earning considerable fees in the process, before his scheme hit an obstacle. This was the Russian oligarch Mikhail Fridman who decided to challenge his claim to ownership of a stake in a mobile phone company.

Fridman is the majority owner of a company called Alfa Group, which is today known as Altimo. Alfa owns stakes in VimpelCom, in a mobile phone operator in Ukraine and in Russia’s fixed line operator, Golden Telecom. Fridman made one early fortune by selling an interest in his oil business (originally acquired from US commodities trader, Marc Rich) to BP Amoco for $6.75 billion. He is no stranger to controversy. His company faces a lawsuit from the Canadian energy company called Norex, which alleges that Alfa issued invoices for fabricated services that were performed by offshore shell companies. Alfa has also been accused of bribing Ukrainian officials and is black-listed by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

Alfa Group is assisted by two controversial characters. The first is Pyotr Aven who has allegedly been engaged in various misdeeds, including drug trafficking. The other is Hans Bodmer who allegedly worked with Fridman and Aven to send instructions to IPOC to wire money through banks in New York. Bodmer recently pled guilty to the criminal conspiracy to launder money and conspiracy to violate the United States Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in connection with a scheme to bribe foreign leaders.

Fridman is ably abetted by Leonid Rozhetskin a former investment banker who managed the New York listing of mobile phone network operator VimpelCom, part of the Alfa stable of telecoms interests. Rozhetskin is also a colourful character. He is an American-educated lawyer, who appeared on the cover of the Russian edition of Forbes, under the headline ‘The Most Dangerous shark in our waters.’

Rozhetskin’s activities threw a spoke into Galmond’s wheel. According to a suit brought by IPOC vs Leonid Rozhetskin, Mikhail Fridman, Pyotr Aven, Alfa Group Consortium, Alfa Capital Markets Inc, Alfa Telecom (n/k/a Altimo) and Hans Bodmer in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, June 8 2006, Rozhetskin’s company LV Finance was touting around an option to buy a stake in a nascent Russian telecoms company called Sonic Duo. The funds were to be used as seed capital, and Galmond made an initial payment to LV of $15m in early 2001. He put further money into the business over the course of the year, bringing his investment to $40m. The result was the creation of a company called MegaFon which was formed by bringing together IPOC and a communications company called TeliaSonera, a merger of Finnish and Swedish interests.

What, you didn't know that the Red Mafia had organizations that got into mobile phones, owning banks and doing corrupt dealing on a global basis?

Guess what?

Neither did Eric Holder.

At his post in the Justice Department, he would remain clueless about the Red Mafia, even when one of the toughest Moscow Bosses, by the name of Yponchik, came to the US to murder some folks while being based in the Russian emigre community in Brooklyn.  Eric Holder, apparently, couldn't be too interested in the fraud and dirty dealings surrounding that entire escapade and would only have that driven home when the Berlin couple in the Bank of New York would be working illegal trades that would mask the movement of billions of dollars in the most complex network of transactions ever seen in the financial community.  As one FBI Agent in the late 1990's said, 'this is bigger than BCCI'.

Still is, actually, as no one has tried to puzzle out how one man can direct two hundred people to run 300 front companies, institutions and such in Nations with lax banking oversight.

Now we go to add in the next scandal under Eric Holder's time in the Justice Dept. involving Marc Rich *before* the pardon.  This I go into exquisite detail in A taste of Oil For Food and its chefs.  In that I find the treasure trove of information on Mr. Rich from various sources including Kenneth R. Timmerman book The French Betrayal of America, published 2004 and here I quote from the book:

Marc Rich resurfaced in October in Paul Volcker's investigation of the U.N. Oil-for-Food Program. The report said Rich & Co. covertly financed at least $932,630 in oil purchases from Saddam Hussein by using a front company, Masefield, of Zugin, Switzerland.

Reading the Volcker report leads to the conclusion that big payments were made to the son of a French member of parliament and an Indian Cabinet member, who created "shell companies" to enrich Saddam.

Now, if you remember correctly the main banks doing this were BNP and Paribas bank, under Nadhmi Auchi and Paul Desmarais, respectively, and they would merge into BNP-Paribas, with Auchi shifting his shares to his General Mediterranean Holdings and having the Desmarais and Frère families under their Pargesa Holding company pick up a controlling share (via their previous stake in Paribas).  Together this all winds up with Marc Rich working oil deals for Saddam in the old oil fields in which the Desmarais family has a stake to undermine US domestic oil companies by driving the price of oil low enough to force many of those domestic companies to either close up or sell of their exploration wings so as to survive.  That was testimony before the Senate in 1999 on the impact of OFF and Saddam's dirty oil deals on the domestic industry, BTW.

Over at Kommersant they put together a lovely timeline of the Red Mafia stand-up and look at Marc Rich's involvement in 1991:

The Swiss company Marc Rich organized tolling at the Krasnoyarsk Aluminum Smelter (KrAZ). Oleg Deripaska, Mikhail Chornoi, and Yury Shlyafshtein would later be credited with inventing tolling, but in fact it was Marc Rich that brought it to Russia. The company left Russia within a year due to internal conflicts, making way for the AIOC company.

Then in 1994:

In June, Marc Rich & Co. AG, which had left the Russian aluminum business, changed owners and changed its name to Glencore International AG. Glencore gradually started returning to the Russian nonferrous metal market.

And in 1996:

Krazpa Metals NV, which was 50% owned by Glencore, was presented in London on March 28 as KrAZ's marketing partner. Krazpa replaced AIOC, whose joint venture with KrAZ and Sibalko had collapsed at the end of the previous year after Feliks Lvov's murder. TWG, Renova, RIAL, Trastkonsalt, and Glencore formed a "big five" of traders in the aluminum business.

Is this bringing back fond memories of the 1990's for you, yet?


Ok, how about Angolagate?  Remember that during the 1990's?  You know, Fench government trading in Angolan debt for arms... that has to be the neatest thing, turning debt into something you normally pay for!  To get a taste of that I excerpted from an article by Francois Misser at African Business MAY 2001 at Findarticles:

Over the past few months, the French media has been smacking its lips over juicy revelations from what has been dubbed The Angolagate scandal - a series of complicated oil for arms deals. It is easy to understand the media interest. The cast of characters being sucked into the scandal is impressive enough - former US President Bill Clinton, his wife Hillary - now a New York senator, Mark Rich - on the wanted list in America before being pardoned by Bill Clinton, Francois Mitterrand's son, Jean-- Christophe -currently out bail, Angolan President Dos Santos, and the principal actor, the flamboyant Pierre Falcone currently serving a prison sentence in France.


The major headache for Luanda was that the Bicesse Peace Accord included a United Nations ban on arms sales to both sides. It was lifted in October 1992 by Russia, the United Kingdom and partially by United States - but France continued to prohibit the sale of arms to both sides in the civil war.

Enter the French-Brazilian entrepreneur extraordinary - Pierre Falcone and his partner, the Israeli-Russian businessman Arkadi Gaydamak. They came to make an offer which they knew Luanda could not refuse.

Between 1993 and 1997 they arranged the supply of Russian made weapons (including combat helicopters) by the Slovak ZTS-- Osos company in an arms for oil deal worth an estimated $600m.


Angola was not ZTS-Osos' only African client. Cameroonian officials confirmed French media reports in early 2001 that it had also imported weapons from the Slovak company in 1994, during a border conflict with Nigeria. But the same Cameroonian sources claim there was nothing illegal about the deal, also mediated by Pierre Falcone.

In Angola's case, the situation was different. Falcone is a French citizen and his oil-- backed operations aimed at facilitating the purchase of weapons for Angola were made with the financial support of the French bank, Paribas. For both these reasons, he should have asked for the French Defence and Foreign Affairs Ministries for permission before going ahead with the deals. That he did not is why the French ordered his arrest last December and held him at the La Sante prison in Paris

The French judiciary has other charges against the French-Brazilian jet-setter.

He was also involved at the time with the French government's security equipment export company Sofremi, which was under the Former Minister of Interior, Charles Pasqua.


Angolagate has also spreads its tentacles across the Atlantic. In a report titled Crude Awakening, the British NGO Global Witness had asserted that "the financing of a $50m contract for the supply of East European weapons from the Czech Osos Praha Company and the Slovak joint stock company ZTS was arranged in 1993 by the Russian-- Israeli businessman Arkadi Gaydamak and by his French-Brazilian partner Pierre Falcone, run through the Swiss oil-trading company Glencore founded by Marc Rich". That was a year before Rich sold his shares in Glencore. At the time, neither Glencore nor Marc Rich denied the Global Witness report.

Gaydamak is currently on the run - the French having issued an international arrest warrant for him.

So far, neither Glencore or Marc Rich have been accused of violating Swiss or French laws, but the conclusion one may draw from the Global Witness report is that Marc Rich might have contributed to the Angolan government's war effort. Should the US Justice Department find a connection between his ex-wife, singer Denise Rich, and her donation to Hillary Clinton's New York senate campaign being linked to Bill Clinton's decision to pardon Marc Rich over a purported $48m tax fraud, that would be more than embarrassing for the former First Lady.

The question is whether or not the former US President, who justified his decision to pardon Rich for his `positive role' in the Middle East peace process, can seriously ignore Marc Rich's role in Angolagate. After all, Bill Clinton, if he wanted to, could have easily accessed all intelligence reports about such an important and controversial player on the world's oil scene.

Even assuming that Clinton did not know, it will be even harder to convince those black voters who supported Mrs Clinton in New York that she and her husband were ignorant of Marc Rich's role as a top sanctions busters during the South Africa apartheid era. According to a book, Apartheid's Oil Secrets Revealed, from the Dutch-based anti-apartheid group Shipping Research Bureau, which monitored violations of the 1979 UN oil embargo, the Swiss-based trader chartered 149 out of the total 865 tankers spotted by the SRB calling at South African ports between 1979 and1993.

Since oil was at the time the only strategic product which South Africa lacked, Rich can be considered as having been instrumental in supporting the apartheid state's war machine - unleashed against those who opposed this system both inside the country and in the frontline states. The SRB book provides evidence that Rich, who is Jewish and holds an Israeli passport, managed to sell crude from the Arab states of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iran, Oman, Qatar, United Arab Emirates and Brunei to South Africa, which had developed close military cooperation with Israel.

Rich also supplied crude from Nigeria, Gabon and the former Soviet Union, who were scrupulously supporting all antiapartheid resolutions at the UN. Rich, whose operations are afforded an entire chapter of the book, was from the mid 1980s South Africa's main coal trader, finding alternative markets to those of France and Denmark in Spain, China, Chile, Portugal and Turkey.

Mrs Falcones' Donations

The US Democratic party do not have a monopoly on receiving funding from dubious characters connected with Angola's oil barons or the former apartheid regime. The Republicans came close to becoming a recipient when, last January, the Arizona Republic daily revealed that a Utah-based health company, Essante Corp, controlled by Falcone's wife Sonia Montero, a former Bolivian beauty queen, contributed $100,000 in campaign money to a Republican Party committee just days after President Bush's election victory. However, the money was returned by Republican officials who became concerned after reporters from Newsweek asked them what they knew of Falcone's arms-dealing background.

Bush and the Republicans just managed to escape a scandal, but have failed to explain just why Mrs Falcone was quite so generous towards them. In fact, prior to this particular donation, US Federal Election Commission records show that Sonia had already contributed a modest $2,000 to the Arizona Republican Party and contributed the same amount to the Democratic National Committee in May 1999.

Ah, Bill and Hill and arms to Jonas Savimbi helped by Marc Rich... makes you pine for the good old days, doesn't it?  Rich trading in Apartheid Oil and getting a wink and a nod from the Clintons as it goes to help the French... such sweet people, no wonder he was pardoned for his humanitarian efforts to support the Apartheid regime.  As Mr. Misser points out, it would be hard for Bill Clinton to NOT know what was going on with Marc Rich, even if Eric Holder was a complete dimwit and unable to read reports from his NY Bureau and others, plus contacts in INTERPOL.

And why he originally fled?  In Businessweek in 2005 we get this:

Traders soon learned the art of the Rich deal: Do whatever it takes. After Rich and Green left Phibro in 1973 to form their own company, they bought a house in the South of France and "stocked it with hookers from Paris and flew in oil guys who spent a week at their expense," says a former U.S. oil executive who knows Rich. "They got the oil contracts they wanted." A former Rich partner corroborates this. Green, who retired in 1992 after heart surgery, could not be reached for comment.

Rich is notorious for trading with Iran during the hostage crisis, South Africa during apartheid, and Cuba and Libya during U.S. trade embargoes. In 1983 he fled to Switzerland after being indicted by the Justice Dept. for racketeering, trading with the enemy (Iran), dodging a $48 million corporate tax bill, and other violations that could have resulted in 300 years of jail time. Rich's companies pleaded guilty to some charges and paid about $200 million in fines, penalties, and taxes, but the case remained open until the pardon. "Rich's philosophy is that no law applies to him," says Morris "Sandy" Weinberg Jr., the former U.S. prosecutor who pursued and indicted Rich in 1983.

You know, maybe those Leftist are right and it IS all about oil... and the Democrats who look the other way while all these dealings go on.  But the big one comes further in the article, with this and the great connector of dots:

Some of the most compelling details to emerge from Oil-for-Food probes revolve around Rich himself. BusinessWeek has pieced together information suggesting that, despite his denials, Rich did buy Iraqi crude from several questionable companies during the program. His name appears in shipping records compiled by MEES. These show he bought from four separate companies, starting in February, 2001: Onako Oil Co., a subsidiary of Alfa Group, one of Russia's largest conglomerates; an Egyptian company called International Company for Petroleum & Industrial Services (or INCOME, for short); and a Swiss company, Zerich, with ties to some extremist groups. The fourth, EOTC, remains a mystery. Hesham Sheta, vice-chairman of INCOME's parent company in Cairo, Egypt, International Group for Investments, confirmed that "Marc Rich has been INCOME's 'agent' [oil trader] since 1990" and that Rich bought Iraqi crude from INCOME in 2001. Zerich has since been liquidated. Alfa denies paying surcharges.

Rich tells a different story. In March he acknowledged his company was on the U.N.'s list of "approved" crude buyers but insisted in written answers to House International Relations Committee questions that "nothing ever came of it." A committee spokesman remarked at the time: "We believe [Rich] knows more than he wishes to acknowledge." Marc Rich + Co.'s Frutig reiterated an earlier press statement: "Marc Rich Holdings reject all the allegations relating to its involvement in the U.N.'s Oil-for-Food program in Iraq."

Even with the new information, it may be difficult for the authorities to prove that Rich did anything illegal. At the time, Saddam offered oil at cut-rate prices to his supporters, who would then sell it for a huge profit on the market. For two years leading up to September, 2002, the dictator demanded surcharges of up to 50 cents a barrel that he deposited in secret bank accounts, according to the CIA, the Volcker committee, and Senate documents.


Some Rich Boys were heavy hitters in Oil-for-Food. In February, 2001, for example, the U.N. Security Council reported that Glencore bought 1 million barrels of Iraqi crude destined for the U.S. The oil was diverted to Croatia, where it was sold for a $3 million premium, that went into a secret bank account. Glencore was caught by U.N. overseers, and later agreed to refund the money to the U.N. A Glencore spokeswoman says the oil was shipped to Croatia for storage and later shipment to the U.S. A CIA report alleges that Glencore paid more than $3.2 million in surcharges to Iraq, something it denies.

The numerous investigations into the U.N. program paint a complex picture of how Rich Boys allegedly work. In September, 2001, U.S. and U.N. authorities were tipped off by a Greek shipping captain, who feared his tanker chartered by Trafigura was involved in sanctions busting. Trafigura, run by former Rich traders Claude Dauphin and Eric de Turckheim, bought Iraqi oil from a Bermuda company called Ibex Energy, according to a U.N. report. Ibex was owned by another former Rich trader, Jean-Paul Cayré. SOCO's Patrick Maugein, once a top Rich trader, was close to former Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz. The CIA alleges Maugein received oil allocations that he sold through Trafigura. Maugein denies paying illegal surcharges. Maugein says he knows one of Trafigura's founders. Investigators allege he had a contract with or a stake in Trafigura, something both the company and Maugein deny. Maugein and Trafigura also deny having commercial ties to Ibex.

Well of COURSE he is approved for OFF because two of the cronies of the regime, Auchi and Desmarais are backing the banks that Saddam APPROVED to work the money deals.  And considering that Paul Volcker worked for Desmarais before the OFF scandal, back in the 1970's, I have some problems taking that investigation all too seriously as to its veracity and looking into details.  Even with what they *did* find, its damning.

Oh, yeah, Paul Volcker is on the Obama fast-track for some lovely position for the future Administration, no?

What a cozy circle of friends!

Eric Holder, Marc Rich, Nadhmi Auchi, Paul Volcker... too bad we can't get any direct backing of Obama from Desmarais or we would have a closed loop on the deal.  As it is the corruption is already just neck deep by the time we get this far.


Now we switch to someone I haven't taken much of a look at so far, and hope that others carry this ball as there is a lot of ball to carry, here.  This is, of course, Governor Rod Blagojevich's scandal of trying to sell Obama's Senate Seat, which looks like influence peddling, corruption and Pay-For-Plutocrats.  For this I will got to my article on Sen. Obama, It isn't what you know but who you know, and John Batchelor on 03 MAR 2008 looking at the deal between Rezko, Auchi and Aiman Alsammarae who would wind up being convicted in Iraq of various forms of embezzlement on a power plant deal that Auchi was funding, and then Alsammarae was busted out of Iraqi prison and fled back to Chicago.  This would cover the time in Sen. Obama's career when he 'flipped' from being anti-Iraq War to for it, before flipping back again when Alsammarae fled the scene:

In addition, in April 2005, one month before Mr. Alsammarae left his post, his Ministry of Electricity signed a contract for $50 million with Companion Security to provide training to Iraqis to guard electrical plants by flying them to Illinois for classes.

Companion Security was headed by a former Chicago policeman with a troubled history, Daniel T. Frawley, in partnership with Mr. Rezko and in association with Daniel Mahru, the lawyer for the original contract and Mr. Rezko's former business partner. In April 2006, Mr. Frawley entered negotiations with Governor Rod Blagojevich's staff to lease a military facility in Illinois to be a training camp. In August 2006, Mr. Frawley started negotiations with Mr. Obama's U.S. Senate staff to complete the contract.

The discussions with Mr. Obama's staff continued over many months, including e-mails and conferences with an Obama staffer, Seamus Ahern. Questions raised by this contact go to the issue of whether or not Mr. Obama ever favored Mr. Rezko's commercial ties. Mr. Obama has said often that he performed no favors for Mr. Rezko.

The timeline of Companion discussions in 2006 is important to note: April 2006 Frawley speaks to governor's office; August 2006 Frawley speaks to senator's office; October 2006 indictment of Rezko revealed; October 2006 Rezko arrested upon return from Syria; October 2006 Alsammarae convicted in Baghdad and makes his first escape attempt; December 2006 Alsammarae escapes form Baghdad.

Did Mr. Obama's staff and Governor Blagojevich's staff not know how these events related to their discussions with Mr. Frawley? Importantly both Governor Blagojevich's office and Mr. Obama's office later explained they did not know of the link between Mr. Frawley and Mr. Rezko. Senate staffs are expected to perform due diligence on inquiries, such as is this matter about campaign contributions or unsavory activity. What was the nature of Mr Obama's staff's inquiry into the Ilinois resident Mr. Frawley's ability to secure a contract with the CPA's Ministry of Electricity in Bagdad from April, 2005?

What a list of names I had to go through for THAT article!  Still, following along in the original by Mr. Batchelor, we get to this lovely bit:

Oddly, after Mr. Alsammarae left his ministry post in 2005, he was reported that summer to be forming a Sunni political organization with participation by insurgents, some of whom threatened in public declarations to murder him. An intelligence analyst with knowledge of Syria commented that this episode may illustrate Mr. Alsammarae's then-strong, active links to the Baathist elite in exile in Syria, who have been a major source of money and operations to the Iraqi insurgency these last years; and that Mr. Alsammarae's freelancing rankled the so-called foreign elements in the insurgency.

The strangest of all events was not Mr. Alsammarae's arrest for theft in August 2006, nor his conviction in a Baghdad court in October 2006, but rather the two jailbreaks in October and December 2006. In the first instance, private armed men he may have hired took him from his jail cell in the Green Zone soon after his conviction in court. A report indicates that he was stopped at the Bagdad Airport carrying a Chinese passport. American officials later returned Mr. Alsammarae to Iraqi custody. At least one American with the International Police Liaison Officer program lost his job because of this first jailbreak.

This is about the time that Mr. Alsammarae's family in the United States sought help; there is a report that Mr. Alsammarae's daughter appealed directly to the office of U.S. Senator Barack Obama.

Are you getting the idea that Sen. Obama isn't being totally above-board with his dealings here?  That the work between Ahern, Frawley, Rezko, Obama and Blagojevich are not being transparent in the use of public funds?  And just how could neither Blago or Obama know what their staffers were doing in their names, or own up to the works being DONE in their names?

Look, for those on the Left, if you hated President Reagan's entourage doing 'plausible deniability', as I did on the good old premise of the 'Buck Stops Here', then trying to cover up the exact, same thing with Barack Obama makes YOU out to be no better than the people you criticized.  That is not 'hope & change' but acting in the exact, same, dirty manner and then trying to excuse it because your motives are so much more lofty than those you criticized.  You are saying that the ENDS justify the MEANS and the MEANS STINK.

The Chicago Business News would put out an article in 2005 which I cite in my article Obama and Iraq, looking at the Blago-Rezko connection:

Rezmar Corp., a real estate development company controlled by Tony Rezko, a controversial confidant of Gov. Rod Blagojevich, entered into a joint venture with a British firm in a $150-million deal to build a power plant in Iraq.

The contract, signed with Iraq’s ministry of electricity, calls for the soon-to-be named joint venture to supply power to Iraq for 10 years, according to a spokesman for Chicago-based Rezmar.

The Rezmar joint venture will be based in Jordan. Construction is slated to begin this fall.


The project will be managed by one of Gov. Blagojevich's previous top administration officials, Michael Rumman, former director of the Illinois Department of Central Management Services, the state's internal operations real estate agency. Mr. Rumman, the former president of Peoples Energy Services, has been hired as a consultant.

He announced his resignation in April after a draft audit of CMS found problems at the agency.

Mr. Rumman, who speaks Arabic, says the project is slated to be built in northern Iraq.

This cements the earlier citation of Mr. Batchelor and further puts down the markers that this was a known project that needed work between Obama and Blagojevich.  Further along in the article:

Messrs. Rezko and Auchi were introduced several years ago by a mutual acquaintance in London. They teamed up recently on a $150 million contract to build a power plant in Iraq.

Mr. Rezko, a close confidante and fundraiser for Gov. Rod Blagojevich, arranged for Mr. Auchi to meet the Governor and State Senate President Emil Jones on a visit to the U.S. last year.

A spokeswoman for General Mediterranean said Mr. Auchi was unavailable for comment. Joseph Ryan, a local attorney representing the company, would only discuss the Riverside Park project.


The odds that Mr. Rezko’s partnership would be able to pull off the project fell this year, when city officials determined that he set up a minority front to obtain a concession for two Panda Express restaurants at O’Hare International Airport. The Daley Administration would have had difficulty explaining $140 million in tax increment financing (TIF)—the most ever requested by a developer in Chicago—to someone who skirted city rules, especially with corruption allegations sweeping through City Hall.

Real estate experts also questioned whether Mr. Rezko and his partner, Daniel Mahru, had the experience to pull of such a massive project. The developers paid about $70 million for the site in 2002.

From here I trip backwards in time in my article to look at how Blagojevich and Obama got their starts in Illinois politics, and cite James L. Merriner of Chicagomag in a 2007 article, and do note that Daniel Mahru has some real problems with Rezko here, but his other views are worth noting:

Daniel Mahru was Rezko's partner in Rezmar for 16 years until the two men had, according to Mahru, "a difference of opinion" in 2005. He says they developed more than $600 million in properties, not counting a billion-dollar deal for 62 acres in the South Loop that has been stalled for years. By Mahru's account, Rezko initially showed little interest in the trappings of power. "Back in the eighties, Tony had an opportunity to go to the White House with Muhammad Ali," Mahru says. (The occasion was a dinner during the December 1987 summit of Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev, the Soviet leader; Ali had been invited as a guest.) "I commented to Tony, ‘Wow, that is something I would love to do, see history in the making!' He said, ‘Dan, that doesn't make me any money. I'm not interested.'

"That changed. I think everything went to his head. After the late nineties he was more interested in being around powerful people. He went to a Christmas party at the Bush White House." Rezko cochaired a major fundraiser for President Bush's campaign in 2003.

Rezko declined to comment about Mahru, likening their breakup to a divorce. "You would hear my story; you would hear his story. I wish him no harm."

If hanging around the likes of Blagojevich and Obama went to Rezko's head, as Mahru suggests, one reason might be that Rezko had befriended them before they became famous, forming bonds of loyalty from the start. The BGA's Stewart says, "I would give the guy credit for being shrewd. He would identify young up-and-comers early. Fine, Obama, he's the editor of the Harvard Law Review, but in Chicago politics, big deal, so what. But [Rezko] approached Obama. Rod Blagojevich, he's an unimportant state legislator. What distinguishes Rezko—he didn't just give money to established figures."

Rezko read a newspaper article about Obama's Law Review election and had a colleague get in touch; in 1990 Rezko offered Obama a job at Rezmar before he had graduated from Harvard Law School. Obama declined, joining a Chicago law firm instead. There he did what he has described as a minimal amount of legal work for Rezmar. Chicago Tribune reporter David Mendell, author of the recently published Obama: From Promise to Power, says, "Rezko threw an early fundraiser for Obama at his North Shore house, and that fundraiser was instrumental in providing Obama with seed money" for his U.S. Senate race in 2004.

In our conversation, Rezko was reluctant to discuss his association with Obama, except to stress that he has had no formal role in Obama's campaigns. He would not comment on Obama's real-estate deals.

Rezko met Blagojevich in 1995, when the future governor was a state representative from the Northwest Side. Rezko helped to finance Blagojevich's runs for office, in 1996 for Congress and in 2002 for governor. The Chicago Sun-Times has reported that Rezko and his family, businesses, and business associates have contributed more than $675,000 to 15 prominent Illinois politicians since 1989. That sum includes $117,652 for Blagojevich.

Rezko approaches Obama in 1990, and backs Blagojevich in 1995.  These are not short-term dealings, and Rezko would shift Resmar's work to the law offices that Obama worked in so that Obama would have some standing as a young lawyer fresh out of Harvard.

Little known about Rezko is that he served on the Muhammad Ali Foundation under Nation of Islam leader Elijah Muhammad, with the Foundation then being sued by Muhammad Ali for unauthorized use of his name in 1999 (Source: FrontPageMag article by Andrew Walden, 11 MAR 2008).  Now if a man is involved in using a famous boxer's good name for ill ends, is it any wonder how he would approach things going on in Iraq, as seen further along in John Batchelor's article:

A mysterious fugitive from Iraqi justice named Aiham Alsammarae, who is also a Chicago resident, is the focus of a politically fraught episode in the association between accused political fixer Antoin "Tony" Rezko, who goes on federal trial today in Chicago for graft, and Senator Barack Obama, the most spectacular Illinois presidential candidate in half a century.

"We want him back to serve his sentence of fourteen years," said an Iraqi government official in Baghdad last week. "He stole $650 million from the people of Iraq, and from the people of the United States, and he was tried and convicted in an Iraqi court in October 2006 for his crimes. We have a four-inch-thick file of his crimes. He plundered the Ministry of Electricity. Dates, bank accounts, dummy companies, a lot of them in the States. We want him, and we want the money back."

When asked why an American citizen with a dual Iraqi citizenship, who had served as the Iraqi Minister of Electricity from 2003 to 2005, after being convicted in an Iraqi court was living openly in Chicago in 2008 rather than in Abu Ghraib, the official said, "That's what we want to know. Armed men broke him out of jail in the Green Zone. He escaped without his U.S. passport to Amman, Jordan, where he hid in the U.S. Embassy, and then to Turkey, where he called us up and bragged he had pizza and a cold beer in his hotel room. We've asked the FBI to help us. They sent us to Interpol. We filed a report. And nothing. It's been a year. We want him back."

Yes, you are reading that correctly: the US under President Bush is harboring a fugitive from justice in Iraq that has been working with Barack Obama, Tony Rezko, Nadhmi Auchi and Rod Blagojevich.

To anyone who wanders by wondering why I'm hitting President Bush:  I am non-partisan, I support my nation not any damned political party.

And both parties stink to high heaven at this point.

Mr. Batchelor has a very strong stomach to look at this next part of the Alsammarae-Auchi-Rezko-Blagojevich-Obama connection group:

Two months later it was reported in Chicago that as early as 2004, while Mr. Alsammarae was a minister with authority to approve contracts, he had joined with Mr. Rezko and the London-based General Mediterranean Holdings, headed by the billionaire British investor Nadhmi Auchi, in a contract to construct a 250-megawatt plant in the Kurdistani city of Chamchamal.

A member of the development team at Mr. Rezko's Chicago-based company Rezmar said in 2005 that Mr. Rezko possessed a "formidable overseas network of business relationships" that permitted Rezmar to join together up to 30 companies in order to begin the plant's construction as early as January 2006.

In addition, in April 2005, one month before Mr. Alsammarae left his post, his Ministry of Electricity signed a contract for $50 million with Companion Security to provide training to Iraqis to guard electrical plants by flying them to Illinois for classes.

Companion Security was headed by a former Chicago policeman with a troubled history, Daniel T. Frawley, in partnership with Mr. Rezko and in association with Daniel Mahru, the lawyer for the original contract and Mr. Rezko's former business partner. In April 2006, Mr. Frawley entered negotiations with Governor Rod Blagojevich's staff to lease a military facility in Illinois to be a training camp. In August 2006, Mr. Frawley started negotiations with Mr. Obama's U.S. Senate staff to complete the contract.

The discussions with Mr. Obama's staff continued over many months, including e-mails and conferences with an Obama staffer, Seamus Ahern. Questions raised by this contact go to the issue of whether or not Mr. Obama ever favored Mr. Rezko's commercial ties. Mr. Obama has said often that he performed no favors for Mr. Rezko.

The timeline of Companion discussions in 2006 is important to note: April 2006 Frawley speaks to governor's office; August 2006 Frawley speaks to senator's office; October 2006 indictment of Rezko revealed; October 2006 Rezko arrested upon return from Syria; October 2006 Alsammarae convicted in Baghdad and makes his first escape attempt; December 2006 Alsammarae escapes form Baghdad.


Oddly, after Mr. Alsammarae left his ministry post in 2005, he was reported that summer to be forming a Sunni political organization with participation by insurgents, some of whom threatened in public declarations to murder him. An intelligence analyst with knowledge of Syria commented that this episode may illustrate Mr. Alsammarae's then-strong, active links to the Baathist elite in exile in Syria, who have been a major source of money and operations to the Iraqi insurgency these last years; and that Mr. Alsammarae's freelancing rankled the so-called foreign elements in the insurgency.

The strangest of all events was not Mr. Alsammarae's arrest for theft in August 2006, nor his conviction in a Baghdad court in October 2006, but rather the two jailbreaks in October and December 2006. In the first instance, private armed men he may have hired took him from his jail cell in the Green Zone soon after his conviction in court. A report indicates that he was stopped at the Bagdad Airport carrying a Chinese passport. American officials later returned Mr. Alsammarae to Iraqi custody. At least one American with the International Police Liaison Officer program lost his job because of this first jailbreak.

This is about the time that Mr. Alsammarae's family in the United States sought help; there is a report that Mr. Alsammarae's daughter appealed directly to the office of U.S. Senator Barack Obama.

So let me get this straight: Alsammarae is tapped for the CPA, leaves that, heads up contracts which he embezzles money from with the help of Auchi and Rezko, seeks help from Blagojevich and Obama for other work which includes security training for un-named Iraqis when he is forming a political opposition group supporting the Sunni Insurgency in Iraq?  Gotta love Chicago politics, no?  He continues on with this:

The second man with much to lose regarding what Mr. Alsammarae knows is the mysterious and genuinely powerful Nahdmi Auchi of London, a British citizen who, born in Iraq in 1937, has been for decades closely linked with the Baathists. In 2005, Mr. Auchi was reported to have involved his company in the Chamchamal electrical generating plant deal that was used as a major ploy for the plundering of the Iraqi Ministry of Electricity. As recently as this month, Mr. Auchi's representative denied that Mr. Auchi's company, General Mediterranean Holding, invested in the Rezko-Alsammarae deal for Chamchamal in 2004-2005, a denial that does not explain the well-sourced 2005 published reports of the linkage.

Iraqi government officials in Baghdad speak bluntly of Mr. Auchi as a "Saddam guy," and as a member of the Baathist gang who have beggared Iraq for 50 years, a gang that now, exiled to Damascus, Syria, and headed by men wanted for war crimes in Iraq, aims to continue plundering Iraq by using their stolen fortune to corrupt other regions and perhaps some day to return to Baghdad.

A stunning 2004 Pentagon report obtained by Bill Gertz of the Washington Times has identified Mr. Auchi not only as a man who, before the fall of Saddam, had managed to "arrange for significant theft from the U.N. Oil-for-Food Program. . . .", who not only had, before the fall of Saddam, sought to "bribe foreign governments and individuals before Operation Iraqi Freedom to turn opinion against the American-led mission to remove Saddam Hussein," but also since the fall of Saddam had engaged in a "conspiracy" over cell phone contracts under the CPA by "unlawful activities working closely with Iraqi intelligence operatives."

What is most striking about this Pentagon report is that it is from the year 2004, when Mr. Auchi traveled by private aircraft to Midway Airport in Chicago and then to a fete at the Four Season Hotel, where he met with his business partner in Chicago real estate, Mr. Rezko, as well as with Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich. Also present that night, according to a fresh report by James Bone and Dominic Kennedy of the London Times, was State Senator Barack Obama, who had recently won the Democratic primary for the U.S. Senate seat that next fall. Bone and Kennedy report that Mr. Auchi and Mr. Obama shook hands. Mr. Obama's aide does not now recall the handshake but does agree that Mr. Obama was present in the hotel that evening.

It may be significant that in a snapshot from the April hotel meeting that shows Governor Blagojevich making remarks to a dinner table beside a smiling Mr. Auchi, there is a third well-dressed man in the photograph, mustachioed, jovial, receding hairline, who greatly resembles other photographs from November 2004 of Iraqi CPA Minister of Electricity Aiham Alsammarae.

Mr. Alsammarae may or may not have been in the room that night. Pictures are useful indicators but his presence is not confirmed. However, he is certainly now accused and convicted of having been in a conspiracy in Iraq with two other men in that room: Tony Rezko, who is regarded by some intelligence analysts as a money-handler for unsavory agents in his native Damascus, and Nadhmi Auchi, who is regarded by Pentagon analysts as a money-handler for Baathist-linked agents in the Middle East.

Here we have Governor Blagojevich meeting with Auchi during that same trip he met with Sen. Barack Obama, Blagojevich is at the same table with Auchi and Alsammarae?  And both these guys fingered as pro-Baathist later in the insurgency phase in Iraq?  Why yes they could!

That slips us back to my Oil For Food article and John Fund's article on 03 MAR 2008, looking at Chicago Mores at the WSJ which starts out with Obama and Rezko's land deal but then comes to the Blagojevich part as the connections unfold:

Mr. Auchi was also a top official in the Iraqi oil ministry in the 1970s. He has for years vigorously denied charges he had dealings with Saddam Hussein after the first Gulf War. However, an official report to the Pentagon inspector general in 2004 obtained by the Washington Times cited "significant and credible evidence" of involvement by Mr. Auchi's companies in the Oil for Food scandal and illicit smuggling of weapons to the Hussein regime.

In 2003, Mr. Auchi began investing in Chicago real estate with Mr. Rezko. In April 2007, after his indictment, Mr. Auchi loaned another $3.5 million to Mr. Rezko, a loan that Mr. Rezko hid from U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald's office. When Mr. Fitzgerald learned that the money was being parceled out to Mr. Rezko's lawyers, family and friends, he got Mr. Rezko's bond revoked in January and had him put in jail as a potential flight risk.

In court papers, the prosecutor noted that Mr. Rezko had traveled 26 times to the Middle East between 2002 and 2006, mostly to his native Syria and other countries that lack extradition treaties with the U.S. Curiously, Mr. Auchi has also lent an unknown sum of money to Chris Kelly, who, like Mr. Rezko, was a significant fund-raiser for Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (himself under investigation by a federal grand jury as an alleged beneficiary of the Rezko shakedowns). Mr. Kelly is himself under indictment for obstructing an IRS probe into his activities.

That's right, one of the prime fundraisers for Gov. Blagojevich received an 'unknown sum' , and Chris Kelly, the man who received that money, is under IRS investigation.  He was indicted on 13 DEC 2007 for tax fraud charges, according to The Capitol Fax Blog and was later named an unindicted co-conspirator in the Rezko case (Source: Chicago Sun Times blog by Natasha Koreckion, 14 APR 2008).

Pretty bad, huh?

Like I said, I didn't have to search far to find this stuff as I had already put most of it up and linked to other articles having it.  It isn't like this stuff is new under the sun, with some of these articles going back pretty damned far.  I linked to a grand total of two new articles, that just following up on Chris Kelly's status a bit.

Dot connection?

Damned simple and easy to do.

Trying to get those who are being willfully blind and deaf to actually take in facts?

Apparently, impossible, as those living in with 'Real World Politics' have no connection to any ground on any planet in this reality.  A large segment of the American population is putting on blinders and earplugs... soon they will be asking for fetters and chains so they need make no decisions at all, ever again.  Being enslaved to blind politics is no better than any other form of enslavement, save that, at the end, the real form hits you pretty hard and you start asking just 'why didn't I bother to open my eyes and uncover my ears?'

By then it is far too late.