28 April 2009

What is it called when government tells business what to do?


From the WSJ 28 APR 2009:

Mr. Lewis has told investigators for New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo that in December Mr. Paulson threatened him not to cancel a deal to buy Merrill Lynch. BofA had discovered billions of dollars in undisclosed Merrill losses, and Mr. Lewis was considering invoking his rights under a material adverse condition clause to kill the merger. But Washington decided that America's financial system couldn't withstand a Merrill failure, and that BofA had to risk its own solvency to save it. So then-Treasury Secretary Paulson, who says he was acting at the direction of Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke, told Mr. Lewis that the feds would fire him and his board if they didn't complete the deal.

Mr. Paulson told Mr. Lewis that the government would provide cash from the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) to help BofA swallow Merrill. But since the government didn't want to reveal this new federal investment until after the merger closed, Messrs. Paulson and Bernanke rejected Mr. Lewis's request to get their commitment in writing.

"We do not want a disclosable event," Mr. Lewis says Mr. Paulson told him. "We do not want a public disclosure." Imagine what would happen to a CEO who said that.

After getting the approval of his board, Mr. Lewis executed the Paulson-Bernanke order without informing his shareholders of the material events taking place at Merrill. The merger closed on January 1. But investors and taxpayers had to wait weeks to learn that the government had invested another $20 billion plus loan portfolio insurance in BofA, and that Merrill had lost a staggering $15 billion in the last three months of 2008.

This was the second time in three months that Washington had forced Bank of America to take federal money. In his testimony to the New York AG's office, Mr. Lewis noted that an earlier TARP investment in his bank had a "dilutive effect" on existing shareholders and was not requested by BofA. "We had not sought any funds. We were taking 15 [billion dollars] at the request of Hank [Paulson] and others," Mr. Lewis testified.

The government strong-armed Bank of America with threats, intimidation and then wanted that held secret from the public so that Bank of America would absorb the insolvent and money-losing Merrill organization.  By what authority did Paulson and Bernanke have to do that?  It is NOT an area where the Constitution gives any power to Congress or the President.  Not one single word on forcing private institutions taking government funds with threats if they don't.

And that wasn't even the first time that happened.

The article ends with:

The political class has spent the last few months blaming bankers for everything that has gone wrong in the financial system, and no doubt many banks have earned public scorn. But Washington has been complicit every step of the way, from the Fed's easy money to the nurturing of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and since last autumn with regulatory and Congressional panic that is making financial repair that much harder. The men who nearly ruined Bank of America have some explaining to do.

Then there is this from Larry Kudlow at National Review Online, 27 APR 2009:

What is going on in this country? The government is about to take over GM in a plan that completely screws private bondholders and favors the unions. Get this: The GM bondholders own $27 billion and they’re getting 10 percent of the common stock in an expected exchange. And the UAW owns $10 billion of the bonds and they’re getting 40 percent of the stock. Huh? Did I miss something here? And Uncle Sam will have a controlling share of the stock with something close to 50 percent ownership. And no bankruptcy judge. So this is a political restructuring run by the White House, not a rule-of-law bankruptcy-court reorganization.

Meanwhile, top Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett opened the door wide on CNN yesterday to bank nationalization and CEO firings. Unfortunately, my take that the economic stress tests are a political stalking horse for more government ownership, more government control of the banks, and more government disruption of shareholder rights and normal corporate governance looks to be coming true.

Then there’s today’s huge New York Times story about Tim Geithner. It starts on the front page and goes on and on for thousands of words. Yes, he missed early signs of the crisis. But he was altogether too cozy with the New York banks, especially Citibank — and Robert Rubin along with Sandy Weill. In fact, at one point Weill asked Geithner to be Citi’s new CEO. And Geithner joined the board of a Weill-run non-profit to help inner-city high-school students. There were numerous lunches and dinners with Rubin and Weill and other Wall Street luminaries.


No, the Times article doesn’t mention Geithner’s failure to pay back taxes until just before he was nominated for Treasury secretary. But it seems that at this point in history we need a strong, credible, and independent TARP and bank regulator.

Actually, at this point, I don't want any government involvement in the banks AT ALL.  See that Bank of America problem?  Now imagine that the government DOES nationalize it and a few others... and decides that secret meetings are the way to go.  Just like they have ALREADY done with public funds.

Over at Bloomberg on 27 APR 2009, Jonathan Weil sums up the banking insanity with the following:

It would be nice to think that SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro might call for a sincere, thorough investigation. But there’s nothing in her professional background that suggests she has the spine or the nerve to take on a major financial institution, much less a former Treasury secretary or the sitting Fed chairman.

We probably won’t get any searching inquiries out of the banking industry’s elected overseers in Congress. Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd took V.I.P. loans from Countrywide Financial Corp., now a subsidiary of Bank of America. His counterpart in the House, Barney Frank, declared last July that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were “not in danger of going under,” about two months before they did.

That leaves you and me, the American public, with the uncomfortable realization that we are slipping toward a state of lawlessness in this country, all in the name of saving our financial system by creating even bigger banks out of combinations of banks that were dangerously too big already. This doesn’t inspire confidence. It destroys it.

We can have our freedom. Or we can have our systemically failure-prone financial institutions. We probably can’t have both.

Yes, Chris Dodd's old friends at Countrywide got to be part of Bank of America, not that he had any interest in them due to the special interest loans he has gotten from them.  Heaven forbid that he be seen as CORRUPT from taking loans that you and I couldn't get from a bank that is part of his OVERSIGHT duties.

And Barney Frank is famous at the top of the housing bubble saying that its not a bubble and that everything will be peachy, really, and that economics will always prop up loans to people who can't repay them... just like the legislation he fostered said it would do.  And that Fannie and Freddie weren't giving ENOUGH money backed by the federal government out.  Which is OUR money backing them.  Don't mind all the lovely lobbying and money donated to his campaigns by these government authorized institutions... no don't mind the possibility for corruption there, where brown-nosing sycophants to politicians get plumb jobs for lots of money as payback for past support.  That could never look BAD, now, could it?

No, that just couldn't ever happen.

I mean those Hamiltonians are really upset that such 'limited' work of the government turns into State direction of corporations and banks via intimidation, threats and promises of plumb jobs for supporting them.  I mean no BAD could ever come of Teddy Roosevelt's 'expansive' view of powers for those in office, now, could it?

Hamilton, himself, always saw the US as needing a restricted monarchy with an aristocratic elite to guide it... yes, he did step away from that, but the warnings were stark and clear at the time of the Founding of the Constitution.  It has taken over two centuries to so corrupt the process, so water down the restrictions that our very liberty is now at stake against our government.  This will not last long.  A government directing businesses will fail.  Either internally by lack of support and bearing new citizens into a Nannystate, as seen in modern Europe, or via corruption on a massive scale, as seen in the USSR, or by slow decohesion of government and attempting to prop up 'preferred' businesses by bad loans as seen in Japan, South Korea, and now China and the USA.

The authoritarian and, indeed, despotic stances taken by those in 'regulatory' positions is clear: they are anti-democratic, anti-liberty and seek to suppress vital information that the public demands for open and above-board operations in its government.  State secrets to protect the Nation flow out like water, and we are now far less protected than before.  Information that shows support for expansive government control is kept secret, thus extending that control.  And with that the corruption spreads further as politicians feast upon the public treasury for their own supporters and then require more payments to feed their appetites as an aristocracy always does.

What is it called when government tells businesses what to do, decides if you get to have any private property or any information at all when government is at work?

That is very simple, and yet so many have loaded this concept down that few dare speak it.

It is called: Fascism.

Plain and simple... not with a little moustache.  And everything done to centralize power, be it health care or some 'mandatory volunteerism' or a 'civilian protection force' that will be the size of DoD or deciding how much of GDP should be put into R&D... these are not hallmarks of a Free Land.  Just the opposite.

Americans are founded against such despotism, have fought against it and instinctively recognize the poison, no matter how much sugar surrounds it.

27 April 2009

GDP, government spending and your tax dollars

How easy it is to commit your money to something when you are the President, no?

I had watched a bit of President Obama wanting to commit 3% of GDP to 'research and development' and really started to shake my head... and looked at Jonah Goldberg's post on it at NRO and responses by other readers, with one by a retired scientist, and then noting Rand Simberg's take on it. Mr. Simberg links to this AP article (which may or may not be transient) by Randolphe E. Schmid, thus getting this from the President:

"I believe it is not in our character, American character, to follow — but to lead. And it is time for us to lead once again. I am here today to set this goal: we will devote more than 3 percent of our gross domestic product to research and development," Obama said in a speech at the annual meeting of the National Academy of Sciences.

That 3 percent would amount to about $420 billion.

"We will not just meet but we will exceed the level achieved at the height of the space race," he said.


Obama said he plans to double the budget of key science agencies over a decade, including the National Science Foundation, Department of Energy Office of Science and the National Institutes of Standards and Technology.

He also announced the launch of the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy. It is a new Department of Energy organization modeled after the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, that led in development of the Internet, stealth aircraft and other technological breakthroughs.

And he said the Energy Department and the National Science Foundation will offer programs and scholarships to encourage American students to pursue careers in science, engineering and business related to clean energy.

And so we go around to the other side of things, as I was once IN an Advanced R&D office in the DoD.

I know smoke when I see it.

Lets start looking at the NSF FY'09 budget.

We have: Net Budget Authority: $5.594 billion

Civilian employment budget: $1.320 billion

Or about 24% of the budget goes to paying its workforce. This is the 'burdened' cost with all the perks (retirement in-kind payments, health coverage, communications, goods and services, etc.) of pay to the workforce.

Actual pay out of that? $0.154 billion.

Now this leaves out -

Internal education and HR: $0.890 billion

The auditing group: $0.064 billion

Inspector General: $0.013 billion

Now we are up to $2.287 billion for totally running the organization, including all perks and such.

About 41% to all of the government side of things: personnel, accountability, education, HR, etc.

That 41% is characterized as Operations & Maintenance, Employment (including perks and retention), plus Oversight.

For every $1 that goes into NSF exactly 59 cents gets spend on external work. Now the figures for Grants and such are high, and yet so much is going to the government, how can that be?

The answer: overhead cost.

The amount put up for Grants, subsidies, etc. is 'burdened' with the cost of the organization itself. Every dollar going to NSF, or any other government organization is a 'burdened' dollar, so that it can be spent for all the necessary upkeep to make it effective. And, believe it or not, 41% is damned good! I got to know some of the top players for spending funds and who was good and who wasn't and let me say that the above analysis is no knock on NSF. They are a model of government efficiency.

Now consider that Bell Labs (gone but not forgotten!), in 1982, had a budget of $1.6 billion (in 2009 about $3.53 billion using the BLS CPI adjuster) and employed 22,500 people (Source: Time Magazine 25 JAN 1982).

Number for NSF? Pretty constant around 1,100 (Source: Best Places to Work).

Now as NSF gets to spread the money around to teams, universities, sponsored projects, joint working relationships and so on, the numbers get a bit more difficult to work with. That said, although Bell Labs did a lot of that, there is no easy way to break out its budgetary numbers (although I've only taken a cursory look for same, not an in-depth one). That said, Bell Labs paid scientists DIRECTLY, not through intermediaries. Is it possible that all Grants, subsidies, etc. taken as an overall average have 22 or so people working on them?

I've helped run moderate sized R&D programs ($3-5 million Congressionally Directed Action) and I have problems remembering more than 10 people who worked on individual programs from the grantee/contractor side of things. Although their numbers are burdened, you pay that burdened cost to get the expertise, so those on the admin side for contractors/grantees are overhead on their part and carried as part of the budget. Now add in the student support, individual grants, etc. and the average number drops: to make up for all individuals getting support you need large groups getting large amounts of support, but in low numbers, to raise the average. And that just isn't your typical R&D project.

So, which organization leverages dollars better?

Bell Labs as it has a lower cost per employee ($157,000) while, even if you can get as many people leveraged by NSF for its total budget ($5.1 billion on total or $3 billion on the 59% leftover) (apples to apples) you get a higher cost per employee/contractor/grantee ($248,622)... and those would all be the equivalent of full time staff. Now, NSF may have oodles more people that it funds to bring that FTE via Grants, etc upwards. Yet if you work out the pay per staff at NSF ($140,000 average) and apply that to the 59% you get... 24,000 at government burdened cost. Now that is a bit higher than the industrial average... but $140,000 per person sounds right, given the scientific realm. Although Bell Labs did pay more, in inflation adjusted terms.

Of course to get them you have an annual cost of $2.287 billion to NSF staff (1,100).

Now depending on how many non-productive staff was at Bell Labs, if it approached 1:16 employees, I would be amazed as that is the goal of industrial work (based on the old German Army ratio of NCO's to enlisted/conscripts), which would get them about 1,400 support staff out of the 22,500 total. So a bit larger than NSF, but also on a lower budget. If you take the Bell Labs cost/employee ($157,000) and divide that into the overall NSF budget ($5.594 billion) you get - 35,700 people.

And NSF, if they get $140,000 equivalents plus their own staff gets you 25,100 people.

And Bell Labs still pays more.

Nasty, huh?

Same amount of money, Bell Labs employs more people at higher wages.

Government inefficiency is like that.

And NSF is a model of efficiency, really, there are only a couple of outfits better than them in entire government (across all the things done by the federal government).

Why am I not impressed by wanting government to spend more money on R&D?

You would be better just encouraging companies to do more (for every 1,000 employed only 71 are in R&D, via NSF 2004 report), but that is ALREADY 7.1% of the workforce.

The problem is, like Mr. Simberg points out, that it is asinine to put a percentage of GDP to R&D. The portion through government needs to be targeted to the base work that government has given to it: security, defense, etc. Anything else is most likely already paid for, and what happens is that pushing more government money into the system distorts the system. Wanting MORE government money just POLITICIZES research, which is just the OPPOSITE of what President Obama expressed:

In recent years, he said, “scientific integrity has been undermined and scientific research politicized in an effort to advance predetermined ideological agendas.”

He then drew chuckles, commenting: “I want to be sure that facts are driving scientific decisions, not the other way around,” Obama said.

The facts are: if there is money to be made in it, it is being done.

Some ENGINEERING projects desperately need funds, like the Polywell fusion folks (amongst many) as well as some of the Space Access groups... but those are not 'big ticket' items as the first needs a few millions and the second needs PRIZES awarded for PERFORMANCE, like the X-Prizes. Those are low-cost, big-payoff incentives that government has always done and done well. Set a goal and pay people to achieve it, let the competition have fun on it and guarantee contracts for SERVICE. That is how we created the airline industry - by prizes.

To de-politicize science you need to get the politicians out of it.

Just the opposite of what is being proposed.

24 April 2009

How the reasoning is tortured

Yes, we do indeed hear how inflicting a feeling of drowning without the fact of it is 'torture'!  Indeed, the triumph of the stupidity happens when such a thing is put forward as what is done is to give a feeling of drowning, not the actual drowning in and of itself.  Are we to castigate and litigate upon those sanctioned to do such things for the professed reason of saving their fellow countrymen from harm and, indeed, their Nation?  If we are a Nation of laws then we must also recognize that we operate from the Law of Nations first and foremost so we can understand the context of our laws amongst Nations.

This would seem straightforward, but it isn't taught in school anymore, and so we have the mighty bellowing from on-high about things that are without reason, without basis and, indeed, implore us to be so civilized as to be decadent in our response to those seeking to exterminate our lives.

Thus to understand what it is that we are to do against those that seek to make war upon us that are not any Nation and have no sanction from any Nation, we must turn to the Law of Nations, first, to understand just what they are.  Only after we know that can we then proceed to see if our laws are in accord with the Law of Nations and that those doing this feeling of drowning activity to those attacking us are doing something unworthy or noble.  To do that I now turn to Book III of Law of Nations:

§ 34. Na-

Nations that are always ready to take up arms on any prospect of advantage, are lawless robbers: but those who seem to delight in the ravages of war, who spread it on all sides, without reasons or pretexts, and even without any other motive than their own ferocity, are monsters, unworthy the name of men. They should be considered as enemies to the human race, in the same manner as, in civil society, professed assassins and incendiaries are guilty, not only towards the particular victims of their nefarious deeds, but also towards the state, which therefore proclaims them public enemies. All nations have a right to join in a confederacy for the purpose of punishing and even exterminating those savage nations. Such were several German tribes mentioned by Tacitus — such those barbarians who destroyed the Roman empire: nor was it till long after their conversion to Christianity that this ferocity wore off. Such have been the Turks and other Tartars — Genghis Khan, Timur Bec or Tamerlane, who, like Attila, were scourges employed by the wrath of Heaven, and who made war only for the pleasure of making it. Such are, in polished ages and among the most civilized nations, those supposed heroes, whose supreme delight is a battle, and who make war from inclination purely, and not from love to their country.

This section is from the part on warfare and who makes it and how and I am using boldface to highlight passages.

What we see is that terrorists do, indeed, fit into the category of those who have delight in war for the reason that they want to world to follow their beliefs and put them into the top position over mankind.  These are monsters, ravagers and they become a public enemy (true enemies of the public beyond mere law breaking), and also wage war upon all Nations.  This is the point that vexes so many:  policing and warmaking are not 'either/or' against these, but BOTH and to the extreme.  We are to end their exploits, these monsters in human form, even unto exterminating all who follow them to the last man.  We do not do that in fury or hatred, but to bring justice to them in the only way they know.  We do not profess blood lust to kill a rat or a mad dog.  In fact in the latter if it was a beloved animal gone mad, we do it in grieving that one being that we loved had gone sick by the way of nature and needed to be removed so as not to harm us or our fellow man.  In sorrow we kill, but that does not stop us from doing the deed as it is necessary.  It is Just.

Why do we distinguish between those who make war that are not Nations and those who are Nations?  Again in Book III:

§ 67. It is to be distinguished from informal and unlawful war.

Legitimate and formal warfare must be carefully distinguished from those illegitimate and informal wars, or rather predatory expeditions, undertaken either without lawful authority or without apparent cause, as likewise without the usual formalities, and solely with a view to plunder. Grotius relates several instances of the latter.5 Such were the enterprises of the grandes compagnies which had assembled in France during the wars with the English, — armies of banditti, who ranged about Europe, purely for spoil and plunder: such were the cruises of the buccaneers, without commission, and in time of peace; and such in general are the depredations of pirates. To the same class belong almost all the expeditions of the Barbary corsairs: though authorized by a sovereign, they are undertaken without any apparent cause, and from no other motive than the lust of plunder. These two species of war, I say, — the lawful and the illegitimate, — are to be carefully distinguished, as the effects and the rights arising from each are very different.

§ 68. Grounds of this distinction.

In order fully to conceive the grounds of this distinction, it is necessary to recollect the nature and object of lawful war. It is only as the last remedy against obstinate injustice that the law of nature allows of war. Hence arise the rights which it gives, as we shall explain in the sequel: hence, likewise, the rules to be observed in it. Since it is equally possible that either of the parties may have right on his side, — and since, in consequence of the independence of nations, that point is not to be decided by others (§ 40), — the condition of the two enemies is the same, while the war lasts. Thus, when a nation, or a sovereign, has declared war against another sovereign on account of a difference arisen between them, their war is what among nations is called a lawful and formal war; and its effects are, by the voluntary law of nations, the same on both sides, independently of the justice of the cause, as we shall more fully show in the sequel.6 Nothing of this kind is the case in an informal and illegitimate war, which is more properly called depredation. Undertaken without any right, without even an apparent cause, it can be productive of no lawful effect, nor give any right to the author of it. A nation attacked by such sort of enemies is not under any obligation to observe towards them the rules prescribed in formal warfare. She may treat them as robbers,(146a) The inhabitants of Geneva, after defeating the famous attempt to take their city by escalade,7 caused all the prisoners whom they took from the Savoyards on that occasion to be hanged up as robbers, who had come to attack them without cause and without a declaration of war. Nor were the Genevese censured for this proceeding, which would have been detested in a formal war.

As we have seen, plunder is but one object of illegitimate war and it can be waged for no other reason that those doing so enjoy it.  From that these actions do not gain the opprobrium legitimate war making, but are forms of predation carried out by monsters.

Warfare is a liberty and has a positive and negative aspect to it, but the liberty itself is granted to us at birth: it comes from the Law of Nature and is never separated from us.  In society to create the State and then the Nation, we invest our negative liberty of warfare, that is offensive warfare for the society and even the positive social liberty of defensive warfare, to the State and Nation.  We do that so that we are not forever plagued by warfare that others drag us into within society.  With that said we retain the positive aspect of warfare, that of personal defense, defense of family and defense of property for ourselves and can even reclaim defense of society with our fellow citizens when neither State nor Nation respond to invasion or even simple danger that puts society at risk.  This, then, civilizes warfare as we have removed it from the purely personal realm for offensive means and societal defense, although not entirely for the latter as it reverts back to us when with our fellow man and our higher social organs do not respond to attacks.

When we are attacked by those who reclaim all liberty of warfare to themselves and even create an organization to do this, they are using this as a form of depredation to work their will.  They have no right to do so, and thus no cause put forward by them is Just.  When we are attacked by such individuals, all laws and rules of warfare and society may be placed aside as we are to bring these monsters down with extreme prejudice against them for taking these acts against us.  Things which we would look aghast on in normal warfare or in the warm bosom of a Nation at peace can be done when we are attacked by predatory men.  None think the worse of us to defend ourselves and ensure that we are defended to the utmost.

It is here that the problems of those citing waterboarding as 'torture' run afoul of the real world: we have been attacked by predatory men, continue to be attacked by them and are exerting extreme prejudice to bring them down as they have attacked us to kill us with no warrant, no sanction and for no Just reason at all.  In reclaiming their full liberty of warfare, they have become human predators, monsters of unreason.  Any that do so, no matter how sweet and kind their words, betray themselves by their actions which demonstrate they are the enemy of all mankind.  They seek to overturn all law, all justice, all resistance and enslave us all to their will.  It does not matter if they have the direct means to do so, their demonstration of limited means shows they are trying to get better means as, before that, they had NONE.

Thus we follow in Book III:

§ 69. Who is an enemy.(147)

THE enemy is he with whom a nation is at open war. The Latins had a particular term (Hostis) to denote a public enemy, and distinguished him from a private enemy (Inimicus). Our language affords but one word for these two classes of persons, who ought, nevertheless to be carefully distinguished. A private enemy is one who seeks to hurt us, and takes pleasure in the evil that befalls us. A public enemy forms claims against us, or rejects ours, and maintains his real or pretended rights by force of arms. The former is never innocent; he fosters rancour and hatred in his heart. It is possible that the public enemy may be free from such odious sentiments, that he does not wish us ill, and only seeks to maintain his rights. This observation is necessary in order to regulate the dispositions of our heart towards a public enemy.

Private enemies are inimical to us: they hate us and attack us with no just cause.

When it is a Nation, that is unjust and unlawful war.  When it is an individual waging war on their own, it is the depredation done by a predator.

These are not pleasant terms to use as we are so used to our fellow man understanding what law is and why it is important, and that respect for these things we create called 'Nations' means that we can set aside some negative liberties to be held by that creation to protect us so that we do not descend into becoming lawless creatures.  Indeed, Thomas Jefferson with editing help by Ben Franklin expressed, clearly, how we build up these things, and they clearly cite what the Law of Nature is with respect to us:

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

There, clearly stated, is that the powers of earth are to be used as a gift derived from the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God, to which we are all entitled.  The laws of earth are something we create from the Laws of Nature, and thus, in that deriving, we create something for ourselves in this earthly realm.

Those that rend the laws of earth asunder to return to the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God are moving back from this creation, therefore, and no longer a part of this community we create.  These men recognize that within the very next part where they speak of this.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

We are all, indeed, endowed with the gifts of the Laws of Nature in FULL.  And we use those gifts to pursue life, liberty and happiness for ourselves.  This is a self-evident truth that the pursuit of these things is a result of us being natural beings of the earth.  But we cannot do that as natural man living in a State of Nature, for there is only the Law of Nature there which is the seeking for oneself these things, and not with anyone else.  When we return to that state of being that is where we go, to give up the laws of earth we only have those gifts given to all mankind, that of Nature.  We cannot secure these gifts alone: to create security we must do something.

That is spoken of next:

--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,

We create something beyond ourselves, and join with our fellow man in doing that.  To share a culture, history and set of agreed upon ideals we become a people and we create something to help govern us so as to secure our liberties and that is government.  Further, to protect our society and ourselves, a government must derive its just powers from the consent of the governed.  One of these things we do to create this sovereign power amongst us, for it is ours to create as the laws of earth, is to invest our negative liberties in it so we may keep watch over them and see that our fellow man abides by this.

Stepping back to Book III in Law of Nations, there is this passage:

§ 3. Right of making war.(136)

In treating of the right to security (Book II. Chap. IV.), we have shown that nature gives men a right to employ force, when it is necessary for their defence, and for the preservation of their rights. This principle is generally acknowledged: reason demonstrates it; and nature herself has engraved it on the heart of man. Some fanatics indeed, taking in a literal sense the moderation recommended in the gospel, have adopted the strange fancy of suffering themselves to be massacred or plundered, rather than oppose force to violence. But we need not fear that this error will make any great progress. The generality of mankind will, of themselves, guard against its contagion — happy, if they as well knew how to keep within the just bounds which nature has set to a right that is granted only through necessity! To mark those just bounds, — and, by the rules of justice, equity, and humanity, to moderate the exercise of that harsh, though too often necessary right — is the intention of this third book.

Nature gives us the right to employ force in self-defense so as to preserve our rights.

Do notice that the problem of those wishing to take to heart the extreme literal teachings of the gospel want to suffer plunder, depredation and massacre rather than employ violence to defend themselves.  de Vattel does not mince words when he calls them 'fanatics' as they are that: devoted to a cause without using reason.  There must be bounds to the teachings in the gospel, for they do not tell you to become a slave to warlords, killers, pirates, brigands, thieves and those wishing to maraud against you like animals.  To prescribe that those who give up the laws of earth are to be ENTITLED to them is a fanatical position: to do so no longer makes one civilized, but fanatical at removing the reason behind having society and Nation to have such laws.

From there we go on to see where we put our negative liberty of warfare for ourselves and society:

§ 4. It belongs only to the sovereign power.(137)

As nature has given men no right to employ force, unless when it becomes necessary for self defence and the preservation of their rights (Book II. § 49, &c.), the inference is manifest, that, since the establishment of political societies, a right, so dangerous in its exercise, no longer remains with private persons except in those encounters where society cannot protect or defend them. In the bosom of society, the public authority decides all the disputes of the citizens, represses violence, and checks every attempt to do ourselves justice with our own hands. If a private person intends to prosecute his right against the subject of a foreign power, he may apply to the sovereign of his adversary, or to the magistrates invested with the public authority: and if he is denied justice by them, he must have recourse to his own sovereign, who is obliged to protect him. It would be too dangerous to allow every citizen the liberty of doing himself justice against foreigners; as, in that case, there would not be a single member of the state who might not involve it in war. And how could peace be preserved between nations, if it were in the power of every private individual to disturb it? A right of so momentous a nature, — the right of judging whether the nation has real grounds of complaint, whether she is authorized to employ force, and justifiable in taking up arms, whether prudence will admit of such a step, and whether the welfare of the state requires it, — that right, I say, can belong only to the body of the nation, or to the sovereign, her representative. It is doubtless one of those rights, without which there can be no salutary government, and which are therefore called rights of majesty (Book I. § 45).

Thus the sovereign power alone is possessed of authority to make war. But, as the different rights which constitute this power, originally resident in the body of the nation, may be separated or limited according to the will of the nation (Book I. § 31 and 45), it is from the particular constitution of each state, that we are to learn where the power resides, that is authorized to make war in the name of the society at large. The kings of England, whose power is in other respects so limited, have the right of making war and peace.1 Those of Sweden have lost it. The brilliant but ruinous exploits of Charles XII. sufficiently warranted the states of that kingdom to reserve to themselves a right of such importance to their safety.

We cannot have this right to ourselves if we wish to have society: they cannot co-exist, and one must put aside this right to HAVE society.  They return to us, fully, when we are attacked and our organs of society called government cannot or WILL NOT defend us.  We are not divorced from these rights, they are born in us all in equal measure and it is only when we set aside the use of these rights to cooperate with our fellow man do we gain the boon of comradeship and some security.  When any person takes up the personal, in-born rights and no longer sets them aside, they are saying that they wish not to have a society WITH US.  If we extend the hand of friendship and goodness to them, they have already spurned it by not only walking away from society but, then, in exercising these rights against our fellow man.

There is no due process of law that we can give them.

They have taken up the merciless position of war for themselves and spurn societies and Nation to work their ways using the means of warfare.  Even the tribes they exploit when they are from foreign soils, recognize that those in the tribe invest the negative liberty of warfare in the tribe, to be moderated by the whole, and those that seek to fight on their own do not have the support of those abiding by the common society.  To fight alone is not 'glorious' it is a horror as only animals will do that or those so threatened as to have no other recourse than to viciously assert their rights to be free of oppression.

When we invest these negative liberties in government to protect us all it gains majesty.  Not only is this part of the act of making it a sovereign government, but we elevate it to demonstrate that we will not commit wanton acts of warfare as that dissolves the majesty of our endeavor.  Without that government given our the use of our liberties and our agreement to not use them we, a government would have no majesty but would not exist.  Thus taking the right to wage war on our own is to dissolve our connection to majesty and when we seek to give mercy to those who have no endowment, no capability to invest their liberty and right to use it in something higher than themselves, we elevate Nature's beasts to that of Nations.  And yet that is what so many call for, to raise bestial man up to 'due process of law' and, thusly, not increase the stature of the law but corrode it as we now believe that monsters can be given mercy.

From that digression we can no go forward in understanding with Jefferson and his editor Franklin:

--That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. 

Whenever government becomes destructive of the ends of civil society, whenever it abuses that society and uses that investment of negative liberties meant to protect us to undermine society, then that government can be changed or abolished by the people.  Government is to utilize the means we give it to protect us, not dictate to us.  When we seek to invest 'good' things, positive liberty that is the sole domain of the people INTO government, we act in an ill way towards ourselves.  When we seek to have government address those who have attacked the government and who show no willingness to be tried by civil means and civil authority, the remedy that must be sought is martial not civil on its own.

Going to war against a Nation (be it offensive or defensive war) requires us to give quarter and mercy on the battlefield.  For those abridging the law of nations, however, we learn this:

§ 141. A particular case, in which quarter may be refused.

There is, however, one case in which we may refuse to spare the life of an enemy who surrenders, or to allow any capitulation to a town reduced to the last extremity. It is, when that enemy has been guilty of some enormous breach of the law of nations, and particularly when he has violated the laws of war. This refusal of quarter is no natural consequence of the war, but a punishment for his crime, — a punishment which the injured party has a right to inflict. But, in order that it be justly inflicted, it must fall on the guilty. When we are at war with a savage nation, who observe no rules, and never give quarter, we may punish them in the persons of any of their people whom we take, (these belonging to the number of the guilty.) and endeavour, by this rigorous proceeding, to force them to respect the laws of humanity. But, wherever severity is not absolutely necessary, clemency becomes a duty. Corinth was utterly destroyed for having violated the law of nations in the person of the Roman ambassadors. That severity, however, was reprobated by Cicero and other great men. He who has even the most just cause to punish a sovereign with whom he is in enmity, will ever incur the reproach of cruelty, if he causes the punishment to fall on his innocent subjects. There are other methods of chastising the sovereign, — such as depriving him of some of his rights, taking from him towns and provinces. The evil which thence results to the nation at large, is the consequence of that participation which cannot possibly be avoided by those who unite in political society.

Even against savage Nations we are to ensure that this justice falls upon them with equanimity so that they learn to respect the laws of humanity, the laws of earth.  That is for those who fall within a Nation that has savage rulers, when there is no National support, no way to hold a government and its people accountable, such as the case when man takes back all his liberties and dissolves his connections with our human laws, there is no sovereign to impress, no Nation to demonstrate what the laws of warfare and humanity actually MEAN.  If there were we would give it, to avoid untold bloodshed.  For those that take prisoners only to behead them, defile them, and otherwise utilize them against all the laws of humanity and have no Nation to which to protest their actions, then they have offered us only one response in warfare: no quarter.

What we do not gain is respect from other Nations when we do: we gain their derision because we cannot distinguish between civilized man and bestial man.  When we do offer mercy for the mere need to protect our fellow citizens, and then seek to hand such over to the Nations where they came from, is it any wonder those Nations look askance at us?  Why should THEY clean up for crimes committed against US?  Why should they take in a bestial man when it is our right and duty to ensure that such never becomes a threat to humanity AGAIN?  When we find such monsters off the battlefield preparing for yet another odious attack, we can subject them to civil law, but only at our peril.  To advocate for it is not to seek international law but international lawlessness as it is advocating placing Natural Law on par with human law, earthly law, which we create to protect us from that self-same Natural Law.

Then, when the easy appeals to why the respect of the rule of law falls on deaf ears for those that have abdicated any recognition of the right of a society to have civil law, we hear the grand appeal to another and lesser area of international law on the Universal Declaration of Human rights.  It is, indeed, a lofty thing as treaties go, but it is a treaty: subordinate to the law of nations, itself, and secondary to any internal law of those individual Nations.  It is not an over-arching document of appeal for every human on the planet as that treaty requires adherence to it so as to get the 'rights' it outlines.  Those who claim to use the treaty to back themselves up have, clearly, not read it, as the very last article is thusly given:

Article 30.
Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein.

Yes you do not get the right to act in a barbaric fashion from this treaty, and when you aim at the destruction of those freedoms and rights you do not get the protection of this treaty.  As articles go it is a negation one: you don't get the right to destroy what is set up therein.  Thus, to do those acts you have stepped away from the protections of it.  If you wanted those protections you would act in a fashion to uphold it, but by not doing so those that take such actions cannot be given the sanctuary of it as it is reserved for those in civil society who obey the laws of their Nation and the law of nations.

From that, international law offers no safe haven.  Nor can any treaty or convention on warfare as those that work to dissolve the harmony of Nations put themselves outside the protection of the civil laws and laws of war and peace.  I do not say that in a mean spirited way, in fact that is a most distressing thing to me, beyond measure, that our fellow man would return to a bestial state and not uphold civilization.  They have moved to the tender mercies of the Law of Nature, red in tooth and claw, recognize this and expect no other in return.  Would that some Nation had done this so we could repatriate these people to that Nation after a war, but they have dissolved those bonds by their own actions.  Even KSM has complained that the 'rights' he is due have slowed the process of justice for him, as he knows the conclusion of that and is able to cite speedy remedy to us, his captors, as a great boon for those in his state of confinement.  When a beast tells us we are too civilized, that we are tripping over ourselves to show mercy to a beast who expects none, then it is not our actions that are at fault, but our inability to attend to our duty as a Nation to protect our citizens and the citizens of all Nations from those who take up vile Personal war against us.

If KSM can recognize this how can we not do so?

§ 183. An unjust war gives no right whatever.

HE who is engaged in war derives all his right from the justice of his cause. The unjust adversary who attacks or threatens him, — who withholds what belongs to him, — in a word, who does him an injury, — lays him under the necessity of defending himself, or of doing himself justice, by force of arms; he authorizes him in all the acts of hostility necessary for obtaining complete satisfaction. Whoever therefore takes up arms without a lawful cause, can absolutely have no right whatever: every act of hostility that he commits is an act of injustice.

He knows what he is due, and in chiding us, the predator tells his prey that their duty is killing them by not putting him away forever.

Yes we do, indeed, hear cries of how bad torture is against these predators.

They are right in that we do no mercy in letting such predators live, save when they can give us information to save the lives of our fellow man who live under the laws of earth and man.  When those we capture decry that we are taking too long to do anything to them, they know their position in this order of things, while those wanting them treated 'nicely' do not.  Those who take up arms against us for themselves, under no guise of sovereignty, have no right whatsoever that they can appeal to nor NONE that can be given to them.  They avow the injustice of all things not of the Law of Nature and disdain them all in their actions which follow their lethal intents predicted by their horrific words.  They follow through on their promises to us, and recognize that we have a duty to remove them from the fold of human laws all together, and permanently.

When we quail at the thought of putting down a rabid dog who was once our beloved pet, we, too, will feel heartbreaking sickness that we must now put an end to a once loyal companion.  That companion once knew of our relationship and the law of it between us and them, but Nature has interceded between us.  Those that remove that barrier and recede into the Laws of Nature have but themselves to blame for what they do, and cannot appeal to illness.  They could hold themselves accountable and give themselves up to civil authority to be judged.  They could do that and step back into the fold of humanity to be judged by us.  When they are dragged from their 'safe houses' and 'spider holes' they are not seeking that from us.  Would that these were mere normal criminals transgressing mere civil law, but they aren't.  They have dissolved that tie between themselves and civilization to return to Law of Nature.  They can always return to be tried by us for their predatory crimes against us and receive that due process that all who respect the law of nations are due.

They can start acting civilized whenever they want and do so.

After being captured it is far too late to give them that gift they have spurned and scorned.

The duty of our government and Nation are clear on that, and the determination that they make unlawful war against us is all that is necessary.

The judgement penalty are given.

KSM knows that and accepts it.

Once we are too civilized to do our duty to ourselves, then we are truly lost and will soon be just like him.

And the monsters will have won.

21 April 2009

The 9th on the 2nd

Now the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the most struck down court in the federal schema, has issued a ruling on a Second Amendment case dealing with the ability of a municipality to restrict the sale of firearms on municipal property in Nordyke v. King.  Over at The Volokh Conspiracy they have put up their examination (and others) that have looked at the ruling, and have them all on one page, at the link.  Now the 9th affirms the individual right to bear arms, but also upholds the municipalities ability to regulate that on public grounds of the municipal government.

The decision is one that rests on one prime question, as given by Circuit Court Judge O'scannlain p.3:

We must decide whether the Second Amendment prohibits a local government from regulating gun possession on its property.

The case this arises from is the Alameda Gun Show that used to be held at the public fair grounds and is brought by Russell and Sally Nordyke who have a gun business that is negatively impacted by having the show removed from the public fair ground. An ordinance was put in place in 1999 by the County after a shooting at the County Fair that restricted bringing firearms or ammunition to the fairgrounds as a misdemeanor.  The author of the Ordinance, Supervisor Mary King, is cited as having an ambition to drive all gun shows out of Alameda County via regulation by prohibiting them on County property.  The Nordykes had sought a waiver, in which the County asked for an alternative in case they did not get it, and the Nordykes did not present one as it seemed futile to them to have a gun show without guns.

At that point the "Scottish Caledonian Games" sought a waiver for their historical re-enactment and got one, so long as firearms were secured when not in the actual possession of the individuals involved.  The Nordykes went through multiple appeals, wishing to add a Second Amendment claim to them, which the County denied under the rubric of possession of firearms being a collective, not individual, right.  That was struck down with the Heller case by the SCOTUS which affirmed the that it is the right of an individual to keep and bear arms. After a round of supplemental briefs, the case came to the 9th.

Got it?

Continuing on to page 9 of the pdf file on the case the Circuit Court Judge O'scannlain puts the issue of Constitutional Rights and the States as follows:

There are three doctrinal ways the Second Amendment might apply to the states: (1) direct application, (2) incorporation by the Privileges or Immunities Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, or (3) incorporation by the Due Process Clause of the same Amendment.

The first venue is closed due prior case law of Barron v. Mayor of Balt. which prohibits the direct application of those rights to the States.

Similarly the Privileges and Immunities clause is not allowed due to prior case law under the Slaughter-House Cases as the Bill of Rights only protects from federal invasion of those rights.  A telling point here, court emphasis in italics mine in boldface, p.11:

The Second Amendment protects a right that predates the Constitution; therefore, the Constitution did not grant it. See, e.g., Heller, 128 S. Ct. at 2797 (“[I]t has always been widely understood that the Second Amendment, like the First and Fourth Amendments, codified a pre-existing right.”).  It necessarily follows that the Privileges or Immunities Clause did not protect the right to keep and bear arms because it was not a right of citizens of the United States. See Cruikshank, 92 U.S. at 553; cf. Presser, 116 U.S. at 266-67 (holding that the “right to associate with others as a military company” is not a privilege of citizens of the United States).

Thus those rights that existed before the Constitution cannot be intruded upon, which is why we have Amendments IX and X for all those 'un-enumerated rights'.

The third venue is the Fourteenth Amendment incorporation via the Due Process Clause and there are some citations under that first to the 9th decision in Fresno Rifle & Pistol Club, Inc. v. Van de Kamp, which did not consider the selective incorporation of the Second Amendment via the Fourteenth to the States.  The second area of citation is to the SCOTUS decision of Benton v. Maryland that examined a speculative philosophical view of rights that was political and abandoned that p.15:

The Supreme Court ultimately abandoned this abstract enterprise in favor of a more concretely historical one. In Duncan, the Court recognized that it had jettisoned the metaphysical musings of Palko for an analysis grounded in the “actual systems bearing virtually every characteristic of the common-law system that has been developing contemporaneously in England and in this country.” 391 U.S. at 149 n.14. Therefore, incorporation turns on “whether given this kind of system a particular procedure is fundamental—whether, that is, a procedure is necessary to an Anglo-American regime of ordered liberty.” Id. In determining whether the Due Process Clause incorporated the right to jury trials in criminal cases, Duncan noted that every American state “uses the jury extensively, and imposes very serious punishments only after a trial at which the defendant has a right to a jury’s verdict.” Id. The Court also reviewed the place of the right in pre-Founding English law and in the Founding era itself. See id. at 151-54 (citing the English Declaration and Bill of Rights, Blackstone’s Commentaries, early state constitutions, and other evidence from the Founding era).

The 9th is persuaded that this is the line of reasoning to use in this case, that of seeking an Anglo-Saxon regime of ordered liberty.  From this the Second Amendment then is examined, which comes up next, and is of interest to Second Amendment and 9th Circuit watchers, both p.17:

The Second Amendment reads: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” U.S. Const. amend. II. The prefatory clause of this Amendment describes the right it protects. The Supreme Court has explained that the phrase necessary to the “security of a free State,” means necessary to the “security of a free polity.” 10 See Heller, 128 S. Ct. at 2800 (internal quotation marks omitted). Thus the text of the Second Amendment already suggests that the right it protects relates to an institution, the militia, which is “necessary to an Anglo-American regime of ordered liberty.” Duncan, 391 U.S. at 149 n.14. The parallel is striking, particularly because the militia historically comprised all able-bodied male citizens. Heller, 128 S. Ct. at 2799.

This is of no surprise to anyone, as I've examined before, the Militia Act of 1903 (aka the Dick Act) specifically includes the problem the States had of militia upkeep.  There were two classes of individuals that were cited: those that were willing to be trained and get paid, as the organized militia, and those who were unwilling to get trained and they are the unorganized militia.  Every able-bodied adult male (17-45) who is not part of the organized militia is part of the unorganized militia.

The 9th traces the history of firearms in US culture, and that the right to keep and bear arms is one that pre-exists the Constitution and is deemed a fundamental right.  Blackstone cites two classes of rights, absolute and relative rights, and I'll take out some of the central paragraph on this, p.20:

Blackstone defined these absolute rights as “personal security, personal liberty, and private property.” Id. at *141. The English Constitution could only secure the actual enjoyment of these rights, however, by means of certain “barriers” designed “to protect and maintain [them] inviolate.” Id. The right to bear arms ranked among these “bulwarks of personal rights.” Id. Blackstone considered the right “a public allowance, under due restrictions, of the natural right of resistance and self-preservation, when the sanctions of society and laws are found insufficient to restrain the violence of oppression.”

The 9th also cites other sources in colonial America, including Sam Adams' Rights of the Colonists, which I examined here.  I will take the 9th to task for not putting down the first date of that as 1769, and reprinted in 1772.  The numerous citations of the Founders and other legal scholars at the era of colonial America demonstrates a deeply rooted Anglo-Saxon right.  This then continues in the Antebellum era then through the post-Civil War era and the Fourteenth Amendment to provide that those who had been freed had the right to protect themselves, their families and homesteads.

From these the 9th examines the regulations provided and their rubric of 'collective rights' and finds that such a basis is unfounded given the deep history of the Nation and the fundamental rights of individuals to keep and bear arms.  Thus the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth is to be used as it was the means to ensure that freed slaves could protect themselves using the fundamental right of citizens in society.

The Court then examines that the ordinance is not one that impedes civil rights as it pertains only to those places that are County property.  There is the particular citation of Heller to the ability of government to exclude firearms possession in sensitive places with this citation from Heller, pp.32-33:

...nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.

It is that last part, and classifying the County Fairgrounds as a gathering place for large numbers of people (typically 4,000 per gun show) that the County restricts the use of it for a gun show.  And here is where things get sticky, p.37:

Undeterred, the Nordykes also argue that the statute’s exception for certain artistic productions or events indicates its constitutionally suspect relation to the suppression of speech. They cry foul because the Ordinance effectively bans gun shows at the fairgrounds by regulating gun possession there so strictly, while it goes out of its way to accommodate the Scottish Games. But most statutes have exceptions; they only suggest unconstitutional favoritism if what they allow generates the same problems as what they permit. See, e.g., Metromedia, Inc. v. City of San Diego, 453 U.S. 490, 510-12 (1981) (plurality opinion). The Scottish Games reenact old battles; the Nordykes sponsor heavily attended gun shows. It is not difficult to see how 4,000 shoppers trading in modern firearms pose more danger than a crowd of history buffs in traditional garb playing with blank ammunition. In any event, only if the Scottish Games ensure that “authorized participants” possess the firearms or that the firearms are secure can they get the benefit of the exception. If the Nordykes could meet one of those criteria, they could get the benefit of the exception as well.

Note that last sentence: "If the Nordykes could but meet one of those criteria, they would get the benefit of the exception as well."

The criteria exception by the County for the "Scottish Games" is given previously in the ruling, and I will extract that, now p.5:

[t]he possession of a firearm by an authorized participant in a motion picture, television, video, dance, or theatrical production or event, when the participant lawfully uses the firearm as part of that production or event, provided that when such firearm is not in the actual possession of the authorized participant, it is secured to prevent unauthorized use.

From that they uphold the Ordinance and the personal right to keep and bear arms.

Now here is the rub: the Militia Act of 1903.

As all adult citizens between 17-45 ARE part of the unorganized militia, they have an historic Anglo-Saxon right to purchase, keep and bear arms, as well as trade them.  This is a historic and honorable set of transactions between responsible citizens that is deeply fundamental beyond mere acts, stage plays or other theatrical productions: it is the thing itself.

The militia is given to the STATE via the Militia Act of 1903 and Constitutionally in the following part of Article I, Section 10:

No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, lay any Duty of Tonnage, keep Troops, or Ships of War in time of Peace, enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State, or with a foreign Power, or engage in War, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as will not admit of delay.

The Court also cites a pamphleteer in 1770 on p.21:

Instances of the licentious and outrageous behavior of the military conservators of the peace still multiply upon us, some of which are of such a nature . . . as must serve fully to evince that a late vote of this town, calling upon the inhabitants to provide themselves with arms for their defense, was a measure as prudent as it was legal: such violences are always to be apprehended from military troops, when quartered in the body of a populous city . . . . It is a natural right which the people have reserved to themselves, confirmed by the [English] Bill of Rights, to keep arms for their own defence; and as Mr. Blackstone observes, it is to be made use of when the sanctions of society and law are found insufficient to restrain the violence of oppression.

The 9th also examines the following on p.27:

We also note that the target of the right to keep and bear arms shifted in the period leading up to the Civil War. While the generation of 1789 envisioned the right as a component of local resistance to centralized tyranny, whether British or federal, the generation of 1868 envisioned the right as safeguard to protect individuals from oppressive or indifferent local governments. See Amar, supra, at 257-66. But though the source of the threat may have migrated, the antidote remained the same: the individual right to keep and bear arms, a recourse for “when the sanctions of society and laws are found insufficient to restrain the violence of oppression.” 1 Blackstone, supra, at *144.

The grounds to go after the Ordinance?  Something along the following:

1)  The Militia Act of 1903 recognizes the unorganized militia as a militia and a State concern - it is federally recognized and for the State government, not localities, to have oversight of it.  Local law enforcement is involved in some aspects of this, also, due to such regulations and are informed of those who are collectors and such as part of their normal functions.

2)  The sale, purchase and trade of firearms is already regulated at the federal and State levels.  These are legal transactions that meet all safety prerogatives  given by pre-existing regulations and all those at functions of such gun shows meet all such guidelines already set down for the SAFE sale, purchase and trade of such items.  As all able bodied adults are part of the unorganized militia, restriction upon them are restrictions upon those who serve to defend society during emergencies or times of Danger.

3)  The right of the population of those in militia age must have the freedom to buy, sell or trade firearms safely, within federal and State guidelines as a recognized organ of society and not to overburden it with regulations it would not apply to any other item that can be legally bought, sold and traded, without exception.  No State, County or other government has demonstrated that this activity is any more inherently dangerous than attending a Municipal Fair.

4)  As almost all gun shows have historical artifacts and reproductions of certain eras, these are of historical interest to the public at large, and part of a long tradition of firearms knowledge, use, creation and recreation in America.  Historical artifacts and knowledge are SUPERIOR to mere artistic endeavors as they deal with the ACTUAL historical items and their history.  Additionally those offering such items and the general populous often have far superior knowledge about them and their era to any re-enactment or modern production featuring firearms.

5)  As historical recreations often have a 'Master at Arms' or someone to oversee such events, so, to, do gun shows that verify the legitimacy of the sellers and purchase transactions, along with mediating any problems at such events.  Thus there is a lineage reaching back into history where 'Master at Arms' was more than a ceremonial title, but an actual job description, as it is in Congress.

6)  Attempts by governments to suppress such legal, honorable and historically important activities are oppressive even if they are done due to indifference.

7)  Any level of government worried about deaths due to firearms safety have, as their first remedy, teaching firearm use and safety starting in schools and offering free classes to interested adults.  There are a variety of local, State and National organizations that will gladly do this for FREE and many police forces have outreach services for just such activities.  Firearm safety requires knowledge, not ignorance, so that the general population can better understand the safe exercise of this right.

The historical re-enactors give the key to this: the long lineage of firearms skill, knowledge, production and use.  Actually having a deep-rooted right and exercising it is more than just mere re-enactment or theater: it is the continuation of a long lineage of activities that goes deep into human history and serves as the foundation of civilization.  Interacting at a gun show is not re-enactment, it is the act itself.  By invoking history, the exception to the Ordinance allows the invocation of the living lineage of that history - the continued right that has been continuous throughout our shared history and having its modern counterparts seen not as individual shows, but the continued exercise of an ancient right that pre-dates the State of California and the United States itself.

This is not just an infringement of rights: it is an infringement upon society's right to defend itself and for the States to be able to defend themselves due to government negligence, inaction or hostility.  The history of doing this is paramount: as a free people via the Anglo-Saxon society, we have upheld this capability and see all law abiding citizens that are able-bodied as defenders of society.  This is the right of the able-bodied to gather, learn of the best ways to defend themselves and society, and procure such means within all civil guidelines set down by the controlling authorities at the State level.  States, themselves, need to be wary of trying to infringe this right, as its ancient roots point to the requirement for upholding the rights of law abiding citizens as they are the backbone of civil society. 

We did not become civilized without civil force of arms and we cannot stay civilized without them.  The negative liberty of warfare we pass upwards for our protection as a Nation.  The positive right of self-defense for oneself, one's family, one's goods and society cannot be abridged.  When things go to hell and the organs of government are unable or unwilling to respond, it is up to the citizenry to uphold civil society.

I would place bets that gun shows are far safer than any Municipal or County fair, and more likely to have individuals skilled at first aid there, too.  I am certain that even one, single shooting at a gun show would get National exposure.  To my knowledge they have been few and far between, with normal assaults and killings far more likely at your local mall than a gun show. 

The answer to fears is not scare tactics, but supporting knowledge and responsible use of firearms.  Those who use fear wish to control you with it.  To deny them that requires knowledge and gives the opportunity builds civil society, discourse and interaction by that learning.  That takes patience and an unwillingness to stigmatize others due to your fears.  It is sad that man so easily reverts to savage nature and kills his fellow man.  It is even sadder when our fellow man is driven by fear to disarm us against our worse nature so that we may not protect our better nature.  Those who peddle fear have no interest in you beyond controlling you.  And yet it is so easy to be free of such fears.

17 April 2009

Ternary graphs and what they do for you

Yes, yet another in the series of absolutely esoteric concepts that may actually play a role in your life!

You have to love this stuff, no?

Ternary graphs are graphs that utilize three major axes and can then have additional correlated lines added in to follow other information. Just so you get an idea, a basic ternary piece of graph paper looks like this:

Ternary Graph Paper

Today it is ternary graphing which we used in geology class to help classify the mineral content of rocks that had three primary mineral types so that you could identify the melting temperature of that rock based on mineral composition. Yes, pure esoterica! The good folks at Tulane have an example of this at their Petrology course, and it gives you a nice example of the multiple mineral types and differing melt temperatures associated with them. First would be a 3-D representation of crystallization temperatures utilizing the different percentages of minerals:


Now that just looks horrible! But, if you project it onto ternary graph paper, you get this:


Note that the crystallization temperatures now become boundary curves, so you can start to figure out what crystals are forming when and how long they have to develop. This is great stuff!

In geography you can use it to plot things like changes in neighborhood status due to demogrpahics, as seen at the Geography Field Work site looking at the impact of gentrification on a neighborhood.


How does this have applicability to the real world beyond the rocks beneath your feet?

As if those weren't important...

The reason it has applicability is via the other great ternary problem that crops up in all sorts of places. The first great example of the exclusionary ternary problem rule is NASA that started to show up in the 1980's, and as a result its fallout is described like this (Source: Space.com, 13 MAR 2000) and I will highlight the words that are critical:

WASHINGTON - A former NASA manager issued a critical report Monday of the agency's "faster, better, cheaper" approach that has pushed the agency's engineers and scientists to crank out more frequent, low-cost and stripped-down missions since the early 1990s.

The report was written by Tony Spear, who worked on several missions and headed up much of the Pathfinder mission that successfully air-bagged its way onto the Red Planet in July 1997 on a relatively modest budget.


"As with any major human endeavor, there have been successes and failures in the stress and strain of venturing onto new ground, trying new things, taking risk to gain significant return," the report said.

However, "failing due to mistakes is not tolerable," it concluded, particularly when contrasted to failures occurring due to use of exotic technology or a spacecraft that encounters a strange, unknown environment.

In my mind this is the 3-axis exclusionary rule because that is what it came down to during this period. The quip about NASA projects was: faster, better, cheaper... choose two out of three.

Ahhh... now you begin to see that if you put faster on one axis, better on another and cheaper on a third you can start to see what the cost trade-offs are on a project. Well, that was the idea, in reality you can't do that as getting something that is, say, faster and cheaper ends up meaning, engineering-wise, that you are low-balling the work, fast-tracking it and thus don't have time to invest in better technology. Which means you can get a known, proven, low cost sensor platform out the door fast and a low cost. All well and good.

Now if you need better sensors you have a trade-off: you can try to push for faster design work, which costs a hell of a lot, or go for slower design work at lower cost. What you can't get is a new sensor on a new platform done cheaply and quickly. If you are used to thinking in the 3-axis graph you would think that these would not be mutually exclusive and offer trade-offs between them. The world does not work like a neat ternary graph for new engineering designs.

An old design, however (not better) can be faster and cheaper. A new design is one or the other, not both.

If you can afford a long time to delivery, then you can get it cheaper and better. A faster track means one or the other.

Do you see how this works?

The ternary graph is very good for plotting mutually dependant parts of a system, but when each part has individual parameters that act on their own, you can't plot them on the graph as a change in one of the independent variables has a non-dependant variable change in ways that are outside the plotting realms.

Three interdependent variables are great for ternary graphs, and when a system can be found that has something going on like that, it allows for good interpolation of what happens if any single variable changes: you are looking at dependencies which reflect each other and, so, are known as part of a system.

So with two different ways of looking at three-variable problems, what else can this apply to?

Interestingly enough I think a good case can be made for health care!

Really there are three major determining factors that we all want from health care, and the debate about them really is quite interesting. Let me put them down as I see them:

1) Cost - Everyone wants 'affordable' health care. Well price varies along with many things, but affordability is a basic concept to deal with. So Cost is a definite part of the problem.

2) Availability - This, too, is necessary. Everyone wants there to be enough providers and such, and this turns out to be a major concern witnessing how other systems that are State run or supported soon start to make it less available. So Availability is part of the problem.

3) Quality - Good quality health care has been a mandatory part of the American system and we work very hard to sue the dickens off of poor providers of health care. One mistake and you're out. So this is part of the problem, too, as it is an expectation of the system.

Now are these interdependent, like crystallization points for minerals or how changes in immigration and gentrification and services are interlinked? Or are there independent variables that change in ways not easily told by these three things that everyone wants, which is the NASA concept?

The US system has two major periods that typify it: 1) immediate post-WWII era (1946-60), 2) increased presence of health insurance as a major feature of working life (1961-present).

Era 1 is typified by high availability, good quality and moderate cost. There were very few complaints about the health care system coming into the baby boom era when all the babies were being born and families were expanding at a fast clip. What had once been a wartime benefit to encourage older workers to get to work in the factories during the war (health insurance) continued its subsidized way beyond that necessity, but hadn't shown up as part of the labor/management landscape.

Era 2 is typified by increasing utilization of health insurance subsidies as a negotiating lever between labor and management and saw a swelling of rolls for families getting health insurance. Plus the Boomers would start to appear in the equation, causing an increase in the number of people getting health insurance due to the demographic change they represent. This era is typified by high availability (no one is turned away), high quality and moderate to increasingly high cost.

Just as a rough 'hand-waving' concept, US health care is demonstrating that increased utilization with subsidies added in will increase quality of care, but also increase cost.

This points to an interdependence where cost goes up with higher quality and larger subsidized utilization, and is lower with somewhat lower quality and less subsidization. As subsidization is part of what changes the system, it must be examined.

The UK was in similar circumstances post-WWII, but went from an Era 1 to a different scenario, call it Era 3.

Era 3 is typified by State control of the system, universal availability for citizens and higher taxation. The result for the UK is high to moderate and declining availability of health care services, good to low moderate quality, and low cost. The universal experiment there is pointing to a relative decline in availability (rationing) and a slow lowering of quality standards. Part of the reason for that lowering is the ever increasing dependence of the UK on foreign born doctors due to British citizens not seeing medical practice as a good occupation.

Canada is in a similar boat, most likely due to the similarity of government systems, and is seeing increased rationing (low availability) for what people in the US would consider 'standard' tests and procedures.

Germany is a different case, and gets its own designation as Era 4. It is typified by a low productivity economy, high taxation and mandatory subscription to health care services unless you earn enough to opt-out. Additionally you lose much of the patient choice of physician in the German systems (save at the high end) and this causes patients to 'hop' from available doctors quickly amongst queues. For the amounts paid into the system, Germans are satisfied by their system, but are seeing different problems show up.

Era 4 is typified by high taxation, low productivity, non-choice of physicians (as we know it in the US, but similar to the HMO model for ability to switch due to wait length), and near universal availability of health care. In Germany the cost is hidden in the tax system and doctors only bill directly if you are part of a non-State plan. Thus there is no indication of cost valuation available in the German system. This is a major factor that then distorts the examination of systems, but there are telling points that Germany is moving away from the full State system and encouraging competition and alternative plans to the State one. One does not do that if you are getting good cost valuation, and as the government has so much of the burden and it is trying to get competition, the Cost portion must be reaching unacceptable levels for the government. It does have high medical availability and moderate to high quality (although Germany doesn't do a good job measuring this), and attempts to ensure that everyone has options while maintaining a minimum standard of health care for everyone. But the lack of cost metrics, the low productivity of individuals and high taxes for such a system, are indicators that while the State can maintain a minimum it cannot guarantee good valuation for the cost it has to pay. In essence the government is the purchaser of last resort for the poor and that cost isn't something it wants to continue on with.

There are non-dependent problems that show up in health care between the major variables, which means it is NOT the easy ternary graph... uh-oh. That leaves us with the NASA model.

How would that work?

Cost, Availability, Quality: choose 2 out of 3.

In the case of Germany, UK, Canada and other Nations we can see that if you get low cost you can have available but moderate to low quality health care (UK) or low availability but moderate quality health care (Canada). Or you can get high availability and moderate to high quality, but the cost becomes unacceptable to the payer (Germany).

There are, of course, other models, like the failed Soviet and Cuban ones, that have universal availability, low cost and low quality, but that is unlikely to be acceptable to Americans.

The non-representative factors in the Cost, Availability and Quality model is demographics and type of society the US has in comparison to Europe or other parts of the world. The US has a high productivity society, an expanding population and increasing standard of living for the entire society. Those European nations that have full or major State involvement in health care are now typified by stagnant productivity, contracting population and a standard of living that is only slowly increasing due to general penetration of technology, but the non-use of such technology at the workplace for increasing productivity. Thus to get a social 'good' productivity of the economy to support that 'good' is sacrificed: no one feels the need to achieve greater income to get better care or any of the other State-mandated offerings of social welfare.

As a tool the ternary graph offers many opportunities to examine systems with high degrees of interdependence and also to weed out those that have other factors at play. It is also good to examine changes in such things as demographics where a two axis graph wouldn't show up trends clearly, but a three axis one does. Plus by projecting a fourth set of boundary layers, one can learn how changes in the interdependent variables effect the overall system.

Luckily the NASA system also has its limits, as demonstrated by health care, but its utility does demonstrate that the 'lock-out' of one factor by the other two can show up in other systems that are highly complex. That factor is independent of the areas sought to be measured, thus changing them asymmetrically when that factor is impacted. So even with extremely complex systems, like health care, you can work to isolate three factors that can tell you what the repercussions of the system are even if there is no great 1:1 co-incidence of 'lock-out'. Even without that, however, the Cost, Availability,Quality aspect of health care is telling and has many chilling and deeply similar aspects to the NASA new project Faster,Better,Cheaper system.

That should be very, very worrying for those examining health care and trying to get high availability, high quality and low cost.

No system exhibits that so far. None.

Until we get something like the AutoDoc from Larry Niven's Known Space works, and we have a great trust in fully automated medicine all the way to major surgery, this will not change. It can, with very advanced technology and automated treatment systems, but those aren't past the 'wish we could do it' stage. That will change how we get medical care, by getting people out of the provisioning part of it... and that will have profound changes for society. Automation tends to do that to a system.

16 April 2009

One of the People

Who am I?

I am one of the people who follow our compact that we made so very long ago.

This is not a compact between the mortal and the divine, but the compact amongst mere mortals.

In my Nation I am given the Great Peace to uphold as those ancestors who founded the Nation came from that Great Peace and never, once, repudiated it.  Thus we are all Children of the Winter Queen and the Great Peace that encompassed her and all that would come from her in her Nation.  To do so I must protect the right of my fellow citizens to have faith so that they may keep faith in me for our common protection.

Thus I hold that Church shall not lead State nor shall State lead Church, so that we may all partake of the divine as we will or will not as the case may be.  That greatest of all civil rights I do uphold and every day.  I do not disparage any religious belief, or none, as held by my fellow citizens.

Do you?

I am a member of society.

That means I must recognize that society is the creator of our common good, the bond that holds us together so that we may share in common of it, enrich it and not do anything to see it disparaged.  This sets us apart from animals as we have means to communicate richly, use reason to establish common outlook and then work to ensure that this fragile creation of ours is protected.

And as this society has created a State and a Nation above that, I am a member of both of those, too, and am enjoined by our common compact to do some things in my daily life.  I recognize these things, that we have the ability to create this society amongst ourselves and create these gross mechanisms to ensure that society does not overbear on each of us and yet is held in check by society.  Thus we create that thing where we can invest our necessary negative liberties for our common protection.

I have clear understanding of that, and what my daily outlook must be to sustain that compact and yet understand that our works can get out of control without our guidance.  Even if this organ we create to house our negative liberties is a necessary evil, it is necessary so that our lifeblood of society is protected and that those individuals gone wild and repossessing the Natural Liberties, positive and negative entire, can be identified and taken from our community for our safety.  That set of organs we create we call 'government'.

Government does not lead, but follows society.

Government is not of the good but a necessary evil, but not evil in and of itself for all of that, as we must have it for our protection.

Those things that we set for ourselves, in our Nation, within our State and encompassing our society, is not given to government but to ourselves to uphold each and every day of our lives.

And because we come under the Great Peace that existed before our Nation, State and society, but that we are derived from one such society that was under it and with that we all have its burden to hold amongst ourselves.

I understand and acknowledge that responsibility and those burdens, and that I may never hand those off to any government entire or even in large part, as they are what we hold amongst ourselves and giving these good things to a necessary evil is to make them evil.

These are not an easy burden to carry and yet can be held lightly for all of that.

They are difficult.

They are solemn.

They are the common ground we hold as individuals to create our society.

We would not have our Nation, State or society without them, and with them we uphold the Great Peace for ourselves.

Thus this enjoinment makes us reason through what is right and wrong, and we must brook no qualms when we see evident wrong and must call it such.  Nor may we put our fellow citizens or our common society at danger for that is great evil.  For this, then, we must use our faculties that allow us to build society to then reason with our fellow man in our society.


What is this compact?

What are these duties?

You know of them, assuredly, and when any starts the recitation of them, you instantly identify them and say 'Yes, that is what we are doing'.

And yet they are easily abused, perverted and allowed to have unreason put against them to harm society and ourselves, if we but would stop to think of what we say and do with each other.

To remind here is how it starts:

"We the People..."

I am one of the people.  Do not ever forget that.  I am under this compact and uphold the Great Peace with you.

You are not alone.


"... of the United States,..."

I am a member of this society that supports that State amongst us so that we may have a Nation together to protect us.

That is my burden and yours.

I share that with you.

You are not alone.


"...in Order to form a more perfect Union,..."

How easy it is to forget that we are to come together, not divide our society against itself.  We must acknowledge that we are subject to the Law of Nature and that we are imperfect and denied the perfect in our lives.

But we can come together more perfectly in our Union.

If you seek to divide by class, culture, race, creed, religion, politics, or any other thing, then you break with this compact and declare yourself destructive to our common society.  By doing so and sowing the seeds of division, a more perfect Union is not created and our current Union begins to crumble.

I must come to you, and offer reason to make our society stronger, not weaker.  And you the same with me.

We share this burden of reason to create the more perfect, and acknowledge that absolute perfection is ever denied mere mortal man.

There is no 'right' in this, there is only 'more perfect'.

That which does not lead to perfection, we must step from and put off until we can see how to make it more perfect with our fellow citizens.  Of all the burdens we have, this is the heaviest, as there is always that want to be perfect immediately, to perfect society immediately and yet we are all imperfect, each and every one of us and so cannot create ultimate perfection that will last, but must ever strive to be more perfect each and every day.

I agree to this and we must share it together.

When you point your finger to deride another or castigate another, four point back to you in fuller exposition to show where the blame truly exists.  And the thumb points down to the ground, where you and I will go at the end of our days and only be remembered for what we have done.  To point at blame with another is to point at your own mortality, and that you blame yourself four-fold for not doing your part and know your legacy will be mere blame, not building and seeking to the better for society.  If you castigate another for their beliefs, the finger in pointing says that you have not spent time to reason with them and understand them.  They are not the source of division: you are.

We are ever wary of those who blame and seek not to explain themselves and remember that when they point to our imperfections, theirs are four-fold in that pointing.  The pointing is an aim to the heart of society, to place blame on others without seeking out the better way first and helping to achieve something that can have less blame but will never be blameless.  When one points here and there and all around them in blame, then it is not the world that is to blame but the one doing such pointing.  These are the dividers who know not how to build, only to corrode and destroy.  They step from our more perfect Union because the world will not suit them in any way and all they can blame is the world to not come into step with them.

I know I must rarely point and must ever seek to know and explain so that I can be seen as building, not dividing and crumbling our common effort.

That is what we are enjoined to do.

I share that with you so that this burden can be held by us together.

I do my part.

You are not alone when you do yours to build, but you are absolutely alone if you seek division and destruction within our society.


"... establish Justice,..."

I must seek the Just.

Justice is the reasoning behind what is Just.  To do Justice to a subject I must understand it.  Thus when we perform Justice we must know of what is necessary to have it, so we may all be defended by it.

Just ends that we already have are now numerous, and yet we are not even part way into our duties.  This Justice is not for the law, not for the courts, it is ours that we hold together, and these latter parts mere organs that demonstrate that we understand the Just and uphold it.

What are these Just ends?

Uphold the Great Peace, that great burden which gives us so much freedom.

Uphold society so that it may thrive, grow, prosper and show us the better way of life.

Uphold our State so that we may have protection vested in our Nation and keep our negative liberties on a tight leash so they do not consume us.

Then we are to seek to be more perfect with each other to form this Union, and that hard task does not end from the moment we understand it to the last breath we take in this mortal life.

To establish this Justice we must hold it inside of us and work it out each and every day.

As we had stated to become Independent, we do understand that all men are created equal, but we also know that no government can ever retain that equality as we do not have gifts in equal measure, and some have many and others few, and no government, no means made by man can ever change that dispersal of gifts of Nature upon us.  To seek the more perfect is up to each of us to do and sustain, none may take that from us and we may give it to no mere organ of our society to absolve us of this burden.

To have a Just society, we must be Just in our actions, our words and in coming together with our fellow citizens.

I understand and accept that, and understand that I can fail in that now and again, but I will never stop striving to achieve it because I am a  part of this larger whole.

You are not alone in this hard task, and I plead with you not to slap the hand of friendship away when it is proffered, as it is our common duty to do this thing amongst ourselves, and remember that government is but limited means and cannot achieve this greater end.  Only we can do that.

Together in more perfect Union.


"...insure domestic Tranquility,..."

This is the great Tranquility of civil society, there can be no other.

We can and indeed must have passions, must have wisdom granted from many sources, and then, no matter how hot our emotions or how intemperate we become, each of us must then step back and use reason to ensure that we do not disturb the greater Tranquility.

This is part and parcel of the more perfect Union, and those who seek to alter society must fully and completely set out what they are about and what their reasoning is.  Society can change, but it must be in the spirit of Tranquility, not the passion of vehemence or authoritarianism.  If you dislike an aspect of society, the Tranquility demands that you reason with your fellow man, not use the finger of accusation that they are all wrong, for it points to the true source of such wrong and it is not outside of you.  Your voice in reason is not to affix blame, but to demonstrate what is wrong and why, and how it can be fixed.

Those that seek to disrupt the Tranquility must first be reasoned with: that is our charge from the compact we hold between us.

When reasoning fails, they must be told that no matter their logic, their reasoning is unsound and that society, to change in the ways they seek, would be made poorer as their emotions drive them unconstrained.  Like physicians we must seek to do no harm first, and then reason a course forward if possible or necessary.  When base appeal to emotions are made, they must be spurned and reasoning sought instead of such appeal so that we can have basis of understanding amongst ourselves in our society.

Of all things to do that is one of the hardest in life, as we cannot but help sorrow when we see suffering of our fellow man.

And yet the right way may not be the swift or easiest, but the slow and hardest, and no matter how much our heart hurts in being unable to swiftly right problems of our fellow man, the better way for all must be held first and foremost.  How awful such pain is, to us, when we should think that there must be a swift, sure and expedient way to succor our fellow man.  And yet such ways are often done with unreasoning haste, unreasoning assurance and put us on the path to unreasonable ends that disrupt our Tranquility.

If but all gifts of man were equally granted unstintingly to all who are born, we would be assured that none would face such problems and then have only the merely mortal sorts of problems of differing lives to lead.  But we do not have even that, and ensuring our Tranquility requires the ability to reason out the better way to do things and eschew those that would move quickly and yet put the greater Justness of our society at risk and degrade our more perfect Union.

So easy to call for the gifts of kindness.

So hard to reach inside yourself to slow and ensure that the gift is not extracted from your fellow man to cause him sorrow and thus alleviate no suffering at all and often make it worse as that then divides us within society.  That is why we seek to Charity to fulfill our wishes, as there is not better place than those driven with the need to alleviate such suffering and they will do it well and create the more perfect Union amongst us.  When we mistake government for Charity we mistake bureaucracy for commitment and find the wages of the bureaucrat to be far steeper than that of volunteer or committed individual to do one thing well and in Justice for his fellow man.

Thus we must keep and build our mutual Tranquility together and recognize that the burden is upon us, not upon a mere organ of society to do this for us.

We cannot place this responsibility with that organ, as we divorce ourselves from our liberty to decide the best way forward for these things that cannot be handed to a dispassionate bureaucrat who will have great burdens already upon him from the creation of the necessary evil that he works in.  And woe betide us that has a passionate bureaucrat for they will work process only, and not care about outcome, or do the reverse and seek power for themselves.  Without process, outcome, liberty and passion combined, there is no Charity and no help for our fellow man, and only the loss of ourselves and our liberty, and the wicked dependence of our fellow man for a handout forevermore.  How dreadful that end when we give up Just means that have meaning to ourselves.  We are to hold those doing the work to account and assuredly the best way is directly, not through any bureaucracy but through our own giving to create the greater good of society.

In seeking to help through Charity we build society.

We each must seek to where our passion is and recognize the limited means we each have, but that together we can all meet these needs and not depend on the organs that were made to protect us to uplift us for these are two different things entire and no worse punisher is there that can offer sweetness with the swift lash at the ready in case you disagree.

My hand in giving using my liberty is mirrored by yours and we each seek to fulfill those parts we see as having greatest need.

Together the power of our liberty concentrates in these vehicles of passion and we create the good and the Just, both.

And if you are embarrassed at your giving, know that so am I in mine for it feels so good to do right.

That is our reward for doing right by our fellow man.

Without it we would be lesser citizens, and with it we know we must work more and give more to make more to help our fellow man so that they, too, may seek to help those even less fortunate than they.

I must do my share so that, together, our liberty can be a mighty sword forged of passion to create the better way for us all.

That is my bond to you.

That is our gift to create a better world.

You are not alone in this, even if you are the only one doing that work, your passion is never lost.


"...provide for the common defence,..."

Ah, would that this was just a mighty army or a large police force or sublime knights in armor rescuing at need.

That merely points to limited means and ends, and our goal is much, much greater: the defense of all of us in society and of society itself.

That is no easy burden and cannot be done by all the armed forces, police, knights and warriors combined.  They have not the power to do this for us.  We are required for this, you and I and all others within our society without regard to any other thing.  This is our compact: that we will defend this common good with our hearts, our heads, our hands and our lives.

We are not absolved of this by having government organs that do limited things like uphold laws, or field armies and navies to defend our shores and punish those that seek ill upon us.

Quite the opposite as they cannot be everywhere at all times, forever on guard.  Nor would we ask that of them as that is not their job.

Easiest to confront are the foes without: those that attack from the outside either by stealth or outright offense.  These we understand, these we can cite, these we can call out to cease these things.  Mostly they are intent on our destruction and our voices fall on deaf ears, or they seek to sway us with sweet words laced with the venom of inaction for us while they take action against us.  So easy to be lulled by the insensible that, really, if we just don't do anything that all will be well... up to the moment the knife is at our throats, that is.  So many think that diplomacy is the end of all strife, and yet diplomats have caused more strife than any other tool of man.  Nothing is so deadly to Tranquility as the diplomat from a hostile power with sweet words and sonorous implications soon turned to imprecations and deadly action.

If that be the easy side, then the hardest is to see those that hold no good for society seeking sweet words of Justice to cause unjust means to less just ends to be put in place and call it 'fairness'.  How quickly 'fairness' turns to unequal means to elevate some over others, to offer a bludgeon against society to those few so that they may take it to us and beat us senseless to how 'fair' it is that they beat us so.  We are forever warned at how easily these seducers move with their talk of 'fair share' and how quickly that turns out to unequal burden, unequal lives, unequal law and unequal liberty because those seeking 'fairness' have no equal end in mind.

There are no necessary evils in government, only evils that arise from those wishing to use this place we put our negative liberties against the whole of society to empower the few.  If justice would rain down upon us like the rains from above, upon the rich and poor alike, then we would have no worries of government at all.  But as we are not perfect in any thing we do, those that have these parts of the organ under their temporary control do seek to gain more to those parts at the cost of our fellow man and all of society.  These are the attacks from within, the sweet calls to one type of justice for one person and anther type for another and a third for a third and on and on and on until there is no justice left in anything being done.  What is never spoken of is that to do good we must do right, and if we see past misdeeds we must not warp future deeds to an ill path, but ensure that all are treated equally without any reservation.  When one wants a benefit and denies it from another and calls it 'fair' there is no fairness at all in it, just the seeking of something at the cost to our fellow man.

This must be defended against, the foes without and the foes within, so that each knows that what they threaten is not so easily rent asunder.  And we know these foes as they will not listen to reason, will not work things out with us but will seek to argue and cause divisions within our society.  Those from without must understand that the attempt at that will bring reprisal.  And those within must be spurned as wishing to twist our society to their mean ends through any expediency, and thus endanger us all with loss of liberty.  One seeks to break peace between Nations and the other to disrupt our Tranquility using unjust ideals to ill ends.

If only all were simple criminals, but the greatest crimes are those done with the sweetest words of 'fairness' while the talk of reason is laughed at as being most unfair to them.  The simple criminal is easily understood, the heart of tyranny is a darkness deeper than that of space as it is a void where the human soul should be.

Thus to defend our common society, we must use reason to back our hearts, commit our actions and understand that if there are no appointed ones to stop actions, then each of us is to take to that defense be it with words or arms, as this vital creation is ever in need of defense from those that would expunge it to their ill means to awful ends.  And if that means one's life, then it is gladly given so that others in society will take warning and spur to the greater defense of all.  If we cannot commit to that, then we are cowards fit only for chains of servitude.

I may serve society, but I am no servant to my fears.

For, if I was, then I would betray you and all our fellow citizens.

Called to stand, I stand firm for you and our common work.

Know that I do have fear.

Know that it does not rule me as it is the heart of unreason.

Knowing fear is to be human.

To let it rule you is to be animal.

That is our common call, to not be animals but to be reasoning, thinking humans, set on a path of our mutual protection, and that can be handed to no mere organ of society.

What a horrific burden it is, from dawn of understanding to dying of the light, upon us every waking moment.

It is the only one that sets us free.

I will not betray our compact.

Even if I stand alone.


"...promote the general Welfare,..."

Never has such good wording been put to such ill ends by those that seek to twist others to their will.

Our Welfare, as a society, is in our own hands, and we use the necessary evil, that great punisher we call government, to ensure that individuals do not abuse society and are curbed by that organ which holds our negative liberties.  Its job is to restrict the excesses of the few so that the many may work towards more perfect Union in civil Tranquility.  We seek to stop those that would use opportunity to prey upon the weak, the helpless or to entrap the individual in schemes to harm them and others.  Because government has few positive liberties, those are tied harshly to what they represent: a region, a State, a Nation.  To do otherwise is to invite despotism and tyranny and to have the society and its individuals enslaved to government and those that rule it.

When we try to soften the punisher, to hand it 'good things' to do for us, we give it our liberty to do these things on our own so that we may directly guide them with no arbiter between ourselves and the good of society.  Our liberty builds our Welfare directly, not through taxation but through our own works, our daily lives and the portion of that we devote to causes above what we can do alone.  Government is made to create distinctions, categorize, systematize, then to bin things for addressing at those levels of government that are their concern.  Outside of those very few things, we are the ones responsible to ensure that good works are done to succor the poor, the weak, the less well off and give in kindness so that others may lead a better life and join us in these greater works.

Outside of those few negative liberties to protect us, government is the last, least and meanest way to achieve any goal.  When it is elevated to the first source, we empower our necessary evils to the hands of the taskmaster and put our liberty at peril.  When government fails in those things handed to it, it must be shorn of those things and the people decide the best way forward as we, the people, are far more inventive, creative and wise than our government will ever be.  At best government can be a stout, sturdy and somewhat oafish defender, at worst it is the villain of enslavement even when forcing us to do 'good' against our will as there can be no greater evil than that.  When government is elevated to the first and foremost part of a society, then we are led around by our nether regions and not our head, and only ill will befall us then as crass and crude impetuous feelings replace reasoning and law.

Thusly we do not entrust government to build the good, only protect it.  As individuals in society, building the good, giving aid to the poor, helping our fellow man, ensuring safety for our children is our responsibility with government there to stop those who revert away from law and return to Nature and withdraw them from society.  That is a hard thing to do, but without it Nature gains a foothold in society and starts to give the voice and hand of unreason a venue to make others succumb to its siren song of desire unleashed from all bounds of civil society.  To build society and to use the power of reason to moderate our lesser selves and come to mere agreement on sustaining our ways, that is left up to us, in society, working together as we will, using liberty and freedom to ensure our Welfare.

Even stricken, I do this work every day and restrain my feelings with reason for your safety and for mine.

If the passion of that beast comes forth, I must seek moderation of myself and that is such a hard thing to do in life.

How else can we build society together if I am not moderate and do not use reason?  We are not Angels nor perfect, and even those had tedium overcome them and fell out of perfection ever so quickly.  If I have unequal gifts to my wants, then so be it: my gifts must suffice and my wants be moderated to what I can achieve.

Our Welfare is to be built together, amongst us all as the people.

Our ability to moderate our passions, reason with our gifts and bring those to fruitful conclusions are the greatest power known to mankind, greater than any government shall ever be.

I do stand with my fellow citizens for this, so that we may be the greatest force and power for liberty and freedom that mankind has ever seen.


"...and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity,..."

As we know we are mortal.

Our works will not continue on forever.

With hard work we can ensure that our children and their children will praise us for good work done to ensure that they have the freedoms we have without burdening them with our costs.  Our more perfect Union is not only across society, but backwards to the founding and forwards into the future.  Our compact exists to those who are mere children and their children and so on until the compact is broken.  Our duty is not to take from our children, not to burden them with our costs and to secure their liberty and freedom based upon our expanding it from those that came before us.

How easily we live for today!

How quickly we sorrow when the hasty decision of today leaves us poorer on the morrow.

How ashamed when we live beyond our means and foist our base costs that we should have accepted as our own upon our children.

If to purchase 'good' we sacrifice the liberty and freedom of our children and erode it, then we are working against our compact.  Tomorrow does come, even if you are gone and past and cannot witness it.  Your legacy is to be determined by the results you leave behind you.  Do you really wish for further generations to use your name as an example of the spendthrift who wished to shackle their children to government?  Or do you wish to be known as one who built using their liberty within their means and accepting their limits so that following generations have a good example to follow?

When we decide, today, to make things 'rights' that are mere exercises of liberty and then hand the administration of those rights to government to take from us and lose the greater part to the wiles of inefficiency, it is not government to blame for being the inept, obtuse and ill-abled punisher but the blame rests upon each and every one of us equally.  To spend into oblivion and shackle our children with our ill conceived wants and wishes, we do no good and horrific harm to Liberty and its Blessings of freedom to decide one's life on their own.  How easy it is to cash in on the Liberty of future generations and doom them to poverty for your base wants and needs and inability to accept that you are merely mortal and imperfect.

If we honor the gift handed to us, we need to hand it unburdened and enhanced to our children and those that come after us to build a better society free of the wants and needs of the dead long gone.  That most cherished of gifts, beyond any monetary counting, is to allow us to fulfill our own destinies and create a better society in the future.  To do that we must moderate our wants and needs, understand that we cannot have all things 'good' less we destroy the ability of our fellow man to create and live with his liberty and our children to have ANY liberty of their own.  How base and vile we are to seek mere mortal things to assuage our fears, our base wants and fantasy wishes, that then causes not only debt of money but of trust and a slow withdrawal of liberty from this common work and ourselves.  There are no sweeter words than 'you can have all these things if you just let government do it for you'.

Don't mind the whip that follows if you agree to it, for that is part and parcel of our necessary evil.

Tyrants do not come to power saying they will tyrannize you.  Warlords without any law over them, yes.  Tyrants, never.

They come with sweet words of upholding 'the spirit of the law' or 'seeking to evolve the law' or 'giving you more rights'.

And yet you already HAVE all rights and liberties when you are born, that is self-evident.  No one can create more rights with liberty save individuals: it is beyond the power of any government to do this for you.  And when the common law between us is put at jeopardy, words twisted and meanings abused, then it is the common man who is the target to have liberty snatched from him for a 'greater good' or 'for the children', and the position of the taskmaster then makes the abuse direct upon the common man.  What was once a protector now becomes the enslaver, because it can only do good in protecting society, not in 'empowering' anyone as we are the source of all power, not government.

To enact that I must ensure that my burden to society is light to nothing: that I have cared for myself first and foremost and taken care of my needs within my limited skills, but using liberty to the utmost.  The greatest care is that which does not need to be taken because it is looked after by you.  I then extend that to those I love amongst family and friends, and do my best to ensure that they have ready means to ease their burdens, even if it is only emotional succor as the hardships of life are never just in the physical realm.  From there, outwards, I seek my fellow man and our common Charity and to build the good so that we have a society reinforced to help the truly needy, not just the merely ill-afflicted who can care for themselves.  Those who sacrifice for our Nation I place most highly, yet there is space for those that help others during crisis and times of need and those that help preserve our common heritage so that it may be passed on with greater understanding so that future generations may look upon it for inspiration.

That is the duty handed to each of us: to ensure that our future generations will not use our names for derision, scorn, or envy at how much we had and squandered to place them in poverty.

To hand forward the Blessings of Liberty to them from us, enhanced by our devotion to it and not squandered for mere physical needs is our common goal.

This we must do together, or we will assuredly be forging the chains that enslave our children by our unthinking and unreasoning wants to do 'good' that will do them no good at all.

That is our duty under our compact, and it is required that we moderate our expectations to our means and do not ask for more than we can afford.

I do this as a citizen of the Republic, so that there will be Justice to my name and our society defended and the general Welfare expanded and yet kept within bounds of reason so that we all can prosper using the Blessings of our Liberty.


"...do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

What follows from this simple compact of society for all our citizens is the actual outlay of what our Nation's government is and how it will work.

The Constitution only comes after the common invocation that we are to abide by.

Without the statement of all of us in society, first, there would be no government.  And any government we create is never given more than the smallest fraction of our compact, for that is ours to have, hold and cherish.

It is our agreement to act within reason, and not let emotions guide us, nor to let mere physical wants overpower future generations.

When you invoke the Constitution, you agree to the Preamble which defines what you are to do so as to have the government that follows.

You cannot ask government to do all of this, that is not its place, nor can it even do the tiniest fraction of it.

That is your agreement to recognize that you are mortal, imperfect, prone to error, and to seek out a better way forward with your fellow man.

This is our common ground as citizens and members of society, this great burden that we invoke to get any protection from our necessary evil of government.

This is our most solemn word spoken as a society and all of its individuals, and its meaning is not held within the words but how they are put down, ordered, and interlock to form a complete whole of what is required to be a member of the compact.

This is the most difficult thing to do as a person, to chain your base and animal desires to know that our society is worth having, worth being a part of, and that if you seek to change it you must offer good, sufficient and deep reasoning with your fellow man and follow the stricture of doing no harm to create the greater good.

Underlying this all is the Great Peace, placed upon us and not shirked by the founders of the Nation.  Our Tranquility must spread to acceptance of the worship of our fellow man as they will, or will not, so that their quest for understanding gives new meaning to us all.

None may take these up for you: they are yours by your assent to be part of our society.

To be a part of We the People.

One of the people.

I do so agree.