Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Day After, Memorial Day

A perfect day to go to the Battery and eat a sandwich prepared by a charming girl wearing a hat with the old Republic of Vietnam flag. Later I stopped by the Church of the Transfiguration, The Little Church Around the Corner, to hear a Bach interpretation of Vivaldi on the organ.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Comment on Daniel Hannan, Telegraph Blogs:
Why we should welcome German patriotism

Why we should welcome German patriotism – Telegraph Blogs

The wisdom of "Yes Minister" from "The Devil You Know"

Sir Humphrey: Why do you suppose we went into it (the EC)?
Jim: To strengthen the brotherhood of free western nations.
Sir Humphrey: Oh really, we went in to screw the French by splitting them
                          off from the Germans.
Jim: Why did the French go into it then?
Sir Humphrey: Well to protect their inefficient farmers from commercial
Jim: It certainly doesn't apply to the Germans.
Sir Humphrey: Well no, they went in to cleanse themselves of genocide
                          and apply for readmission to the human race.
Jim: I never heard such appalling cynicism.

The EU was created to subsume the tribes of Europe within some larger intentionally inefficient structure. Given the human cost of tribal battles over the past one to five hundred years the intent, even if futile or wrongheaded due to the cost to democracy and creativity, is understandable. The top down undemocratic nature of the EU is not a bug but a feature.

What this model and most European views of the strengths and weaknesses of Democracy fail to account for is the relative success of the United States. The US with one bloody exception has managed to harness very diverse regions and millions of immigrants from every culture on earth to form a country where the sense of community and nationalism is far stronger and less threatening to minorities than in the monoculture nations that the EU is attempting to dissolve. The welders together of the EU choose to reject the American model as to likely to unleash dangerous passions they sought to transcend. The founders of the American system more wisely crafted an engine to harness popular passions and use a sense of nationalism to unite diverse elements.

Comment on Hot Air:
Strauss-Kahn allegedly told maid during attack,
“Don’t you know who I am?”

Strauss-Kahn allegedly told maid during attack, “Don’t you know who I am?” « Hot Air

“Don’t you know who I am?”
How did John Forbes Kerry get into this?

The world is not a neat place with good guys and bad guys. Sometimes there are the bad and the worse.

DSK has a history as a bad abusive guy. He may just be guilty as Sin, the easy answer could be correct. He may also be not guilty. He may have been entrapped or framed or some other complicated explanation may be true. For example he may have been targeted because of his prior conduct and his political associations and he may still be guilty of the crime he is charged with.

The maid may not be the simple religious saint heroic single mother we were first told about. She may be a terrible person and mixed up with bad people. That would not justify rape. DSK is probably guilty of many forms of abuse and should have been flagged in a security review as susceptible to blackmail but that does make him guilty of this crime. The questions are, whether he is being framed and how reliable is the evidence of the two principles involved?

There are five possible answers. The terms Guilt and Innocence are used in reference to their characters except when I consider that the accused may be guilty of the assault in question. Here they are in ascending probability.
1. Innocent Frenchman framed using innocent maid. Least likely.
2. Innocent Frenchman framed using guilty maid. Very Unlikely.
3. Guilty Frenchman framed using guilty maid. Unlikely.
4. Guilty Frenchman caught having assaulted innocent maid. Possible.
5. Guilty Frenchman caught having assaulted guilty maid. Probable.

#1 demands an Oliver Stone level of conspiracy by outside forces. #2 & #3 are scarcely better except that the maid would have been a knowing participant or selected for the role due to shady associations. Note that even in situations #4 & #5 the encounter may have been arranged to target DSK in order to remove him from the IMF or from the French Presidential campaign or even because of his stated support for Israel.

It was his responsibility to conduct himself with sufficient discretion so as to frustrate any such conspiracy. If he walked into it and gave his enemies ammunition then that was his fault. If he had given his enemies the ammunition in prior episodes but was not guilty this time then it is his job to make that, very hard to prove, case.

A wise man would conduct his affairs with care, and maintain cordial open and supportive relations with the staff and security services wherever he goes, so as to provide an extra layer of protection in case something goes wrong. It appears that he failed to do so.

Compare this case to that of Bill Clinton. The counter argument to the "just about sex" claim was always that sexual misconduct is properly consider in determining the fitness for office of anyone in a position of trust, such as a nonelective one that requires a security clearance, because of the possibility of being blackmailed or framed. Clinton due to his selfish misconduct seriously imperiled the operation of the government. That was his responsibility and not his accusers. To his credit he did differ from DSK in putting some effort into maintaining civil relations with subordinates whose opinions could prove important. In that Bill Clinton differs from his spouse, who is surrounded by people waiting for the day she falls.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Comment on Hot Air:
Newt on immigration: What if we had local boards who could legalize certain illegals?

Newt on immigration: What if we had local boards who could legalize certain illegals? « Hot Air

Newt Gingrich's proposal is either a meaningless duplication of existing bodies within the federal government or an unconstitutional delegation of power to bodies outside of the government. It is a surprise to hear a former Speaker of The House say this. The granting of citizenship is a Congressional power under Article I, Sect. 8, clause iv, "To establish a uniform Rule of Naturalization." That is however subject to the poorly worded blanket statement regarding citizenship in the XIVth Amendment. While I can see Congress delegating to local boards and agencies, similar to Draft Boards that Gingrich mentions, an advisory function in determining eligibility under the rules that it establishes, a function that is really already done by local USCIS offices, the old INS, that are already enmeshed in a web of local lawyers advisory boards and interest groups, the actual granting of citizenship cannot be delegated to a local authority that was not established by and is not bound to operate under the authority of Congress. For example ever since the XIVth Amendment States no longer have the authority to deny or grant citizenship.

If the State of California cannot perform that function then how can some private body? If these Boards are to be part of the government then how will this differ from the present system of State Department offices for US Citizenship and Immigration Services? That agency clearly needs to be either massively expanded or to be restructured, and the present immigration and visa system needs to be rewritten with the Ted Kennedy family unification loopholes closed. Simply layering on another set of review boards is unlikely to help.