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Monday, July 16, 2018

Undue influence is Tyranny and Corruption

The Supreme court has gone out of its way to weaken:

  • voting rights for immigrants, native americans, former convicts and black people,
  • criminal sanctions on bribery
  • ...and to grant a nonsensical cover of "free speech" to bribes, extortion & corruption.

But no matter their rulings, the issue with corruption is and remains an ethical issue of:

  • Undue Influence
  • Improper Access

So why is that the case? When I started this post I hadn't heard yet Justice Kennedy's announcement that he was retiring in favor of a former Law Clerk, Kavanaugh, and through the influence of his son and Donald Trump. I was going to change this post to talk about it in detail. But in the interest of KISS, I'll finish this one first and put the details somewhere else. I'll come back here and put the references in the post later. The scandal of the Kavanaugh appointment happened, illustrates:

  • How improper access and undue influence work.
  • Why it is often hard to legislate or prevent.
  • Why they are improper, corrupt, corrupting and outrageous
  • Why those who are corrupt usually deny it.

Keeping officials on the "up and up" requires fairly clear ethics rules, with statement both of principle and particular prohibitions. This is because unless prohibited many of these actions seem perfectly legal to the corrupt. After all, negotiating a retirement is something every business does!

Undue Influence Definition

"Undue influence" is and has been part of the definition of bribery since the beginning of the country. It's not just a concept for invalidating wills. Laws prohibiting undue influence are not only constitutional they are a time honored principle of legal jurisprudence. It is part of the definition of bribery!

Bribery is defined as when someone:

“directly or indirectly, corruptly gives, offers or promises anything of value to any public official...or ...give anything of value to any other person or entity, with intent to influence an official act.” [Corrupt Judges]

“Undue influence” is at the heart of our political corruption through improper access and the money power. This connects not only to campaign law but to power and influence in general.

Friday, July 13, 2018

The Case for Expanding the National Guard

The Principle behind the Militia is an Involved Citizenry

We need to expand the role and scope of the National Guard to include health care, emergency response and police training. This post concerns the general principles behind this idea.

This post continues a theme I started long ago, but directly follows my post The Palladium of Liberty and posts explaining the relationship between democracy, militia and volunteerism. The second amendment is not primarily about the right to bear arms, but about the right to participate in self government and in the government of the United States. At the core of the militia concept is the notion of a volunteer Citizenry! The militia were not important for their arms, but for the involvement of common citizens in our democracy. For Democratic Republicans:

“Arms were merely a tool to accomplish the constitutional end.”

Thursday, July 12, 2018

The Dream Voyage

It's not fair of me to keep you here,
when you have worlds to explore,
and an infinity to soar.
 
I took you on my dory trip,
over a cold gray lake, from my hoary space,
across the lake to places half remembered;
where the high tide covered the lower steps,
and you came with me as I climbed them anyway,...
and my feet never touched the snow.
 
Oh it's not fair to keep you here,
if you want you should go.
 
In my dreamland, the waves are small, the water pure.
But it's always half dark, the sun not here,
Weighed by duties, weighed by sin, yes I've missed my mark.
and yet I see where I'm going and where I've been.
 
I know you see with me.
You may not be able to help me navigate,
but with you by my side I find the way.
 
Oh, it's not fair to keep you here,
you have eternity to visit, if you want you should go.
Though I know you know I miss you so.
 
Yet you come with me, I feel your essence,
it resolves as you, when I look,
though it's a mere blind spot too.
 
I try to hug you, and my hands come free.
Yet I know you remain with me.
We crossed the lake, we came to a place,
where half remembered steps, took us up to the top.
And from the platform, we could see the lake.
 
Oh half remembered lights;
souls bobbing on the water, or on the shore,
so dark that some bob and some are fixed.
and the wind blows so fresh, it's hard to tell which is which,
the lights are moving, or the wind makes them appear so.
 
What makes it magic, is that all that is half so,
If there were sunlight, maybe they'd be only birds,
or just the magic of the night.
Here you are beside me, though I know that is impossible to be.
You should be soaring, you should be free.
you should not be bound to me, unless you want to be.
 
I wake up, and you still haunt my soul,
not with fear or anger,
Just sadness and pain;
the heart hurts, here in it's place again,
 
I long to soar with thee.
I have to let go, not because I fear thee,
but because I know you are here with me,
and i have things to do before we can be.
 
So, the dream, it fades, reality returns.
It's summertime, and the lake is far away.
There is a drought, the lake is gone,
and dreams of yesterday, fade like a song,
leaving dust where once there was water,
where the radio is no longer turned on.
and the lake is all dried up.
 
Yesterday was a rough day,
today will be better.

 

Christopher Hartly Holte

written July 12 2012

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Hitler the Pirate

“I need not Nationalize Industry, I need only nationalize the industrialists.”

I was looking to verify a quote I'd read and saved a long time ago, where someone in a private conversation recollected that Hitler had said:

“I need not nationalize Industry, I need only nationalize the Industrialists.”

Taking classes

I was at the university. Some punk was crossing the professor. He straitened out the constitutional question the guy was disputing. The guy got physical! The professor flipped him on his back. Class over.
I'd been missing gym class in Ross hall. Anxiously looking for the building. Wake up! Just dreaming. I laugh!
62 years old & still nightmares of college!

Thursday, July 5, 2018

To Forgive the Merely Human

How do we forgive the merely human?
How often do people rise above,
only for a moment, to fall again?
How relevant is a story like Lord Jim,
Or Gunga Din?
Today we mourn what might have been.
If only we weren't all fallible and human
and prone to sin.
 
Maybe the answer lies
Not only in how a human lives
but also in how we die.
When the fallen are still
Side by side they lie
None greater, nor lesser,
No matter how we dress up the grave with stones.
Inside is an equality of bones.
 
We can honor their courage
And mourn them still.
We can meditate sadly on their failures
...and still mourn them
They did what they did
For good or ill
And their memory is in the winds
blowing through our minds
 
Christopher H. Holte, 7/5/2019

Thinking of Ed Schultz and a host of others I have admired at one time. Or not.

Monday, July 2, 2018

The Palladium of Liberty

The founders put the second amendment into the constitution to protect the right of the country and the communities in our country to defend ourselves from threats, and thus to participate in our own government. Indeed they saw the militia as;

“The Palladium of liberty.” [Armed in America]

They saw that maintaining a well regulated militia required:

“habitual exercise” in military training and “manly discipline”

Which they saw as the:

“bulwark of the nation” [ibid page 102]

Only so long as they are correctly:

“Armed and Disciplined”

John Hamilton, for instance, saw the Militia as the ideal alternative to:

“that potion of idleness and corruptor of morals, a standing army