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Above: Lake Geneva, Switzerland. At Montreux.

Fodderize v.t. 1. To break down individual components; to make fungible; to disregard difference; to render one easily substituted for another 2. To impose sub-quality goods or services upon, with little recourse 3. To cap role choices, hinder access to resources regardless of merit, and so avoid competition 4. To manage perception by propaganda-spin techniques, while concealing dispositive facts 5. To manipulate, lure, exploit, deceive

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Saturday, June 3, 2017

No divine right of Trump. No foundation for blanket immunity or privilege, including conflict of interest, or personal enrichment. All have consequences. Time, place, manner..


Divine right of kings. Originally balanced by a contract with the deity:
Power bestowed, in exchange for the requirement of a just and merciful rule.
Later came kings claiming 'blanket privilege or immunity.'  Autocrats.
And the response?  Revolutions.
 
Divine right.  Mircea the Old,  Right to rule balanced by contract with the deity for justice and mercy.  Wallachia, Romania.  Follow history: no such blanket right for Trump, or in any democracy.

History of divine right: Who claims that rough equivalent of "divine-like" right based on statistics, not justice or mercy or merit of policy. Who seeks the power of office to shield, get privilege, immunity, even for personal acts. Save privilege and immunity for preservation of legitimate state secrets, state exigent circumstances, and always subject to review: not to be used to condone a power-abuser in using office to self-enrich.

History and divine right.  
1.  Mircea the Old   1330-1352
2.  Kaiser Wilhelm
'3.  Trump.

1.  Mircea the Old, 14th century. Wallachia. Romania now. Ask about the limits of power of a prince. Mircea the Old, Mircea I, Basarab I,  Mircea I Basarab.*

The grandson of Mircea I was was Mircea II, if this first identification is correct;  another king of the House of Basarab, thus the first Mircea is given the elder designation.
  •  The grant of power is by "the grace of God in accordance with a contract, which obligated the prince to be a just and merciful ruler under the will of God who granted him a vicarship over his people." (emphasis supplied). See A Concise History of Romania by Keith Hitchins 2014 at pp.38ff, tracking various rulers and their Byzantine, Orthodox roots. 
Accordingly, you, as a believer, can trust the foundation.  You do not need to see it. Vicarship over his people: a right-thinking interpretation of the meaning of dominion, for those interested in secular as well as culture-religious applications from roots. 

2. Kaiser Wilhelm.  Middle modern times. Regression.
 
Move to later centuries, and find manipulation of rights of rulers away from association with the obligation to right and just rule; to, in effect, blanket privilege and immunity by virtue of "divine right," but without the countervailing contract idea: The French Revolution, of course, but even afterwards --   Emperor William of Germany in 1910, Wilhelm before WWI.  He claimed to be King of Prussia by divine right, and that was stoutly denied and rejected by the Catholic Church, see http://connection.ebscohost.com/c/editorials/35251219/divine-right-kings, reference dated 1910. 

Kaiser Wilhelm's claim was also rejected at home, for its rejection of roles of other governing bodies:
"*** [T]he restoration under Kaiser Wilhelm II of a genuinely functioning monarchy claiming legitimation by Divine Right one hundred years after the French Revolution was even more forced, artificial, anachronistic [and] grotesque" (than the government of Germany had been under Bismarck.) Rohl proves this by examining not merely the character of the Kaiser and his court, but by analysing the roles of the higher civil service, the armed forces, the diplomatic service and the "kingship mechanism" which held the whole system together." 
See The Kaiser and his Court: Wilhelm II and the Government of GermanyMiddl by John Rohl 2017.

3.  Trump abuse of right of rule.

There is no privilege or immunity except broadly to protect state secrets; none as to personal interests. No modern ruler gets the equivalent of divine-like right to rule and make all decisions based primarily on fact of election.  We have an evolved sense of the foundation of power:  articulation along the lines of Mircea the Old, and old Biblical grant of dominion and "vicarship". Great concept. Vicar. Subject to higher considerations. Accordingly, what remains -- these three. Removal or containment for abuse of office,  a) use of that office for personal enrichment; b)  setting public policy not for the public, the nation's interest long term; but  c) setting policy to benefit one's financial and political friends/   Allow no blanket shield against investigation of abuse of office, as for personal enrichment.

  • Search for absolutism in a presidency: as in "divine right of Trump." Refresh your own recollection about that old divine right, its foundations deeply entrenched in history. Cultural belief in it enabled a ruler based on his position to do and conceal as he wished. Those ancient justifications have no legitimate place here. Media, do your jobs and begin drawing parallels pro and con and address what is left of 'divine right' and its modern applications. Protecting state secrets? May be a legitimate claim for immunity, privilege. Maybe not.  Discuss. What is fair game in this new show in Washington.
V
The princes said, trust the foundation:  God gave us power, God wants it where it is. Obey. Obey. Elected leader says, trust this new foundation. You elected me, do as I say.  The people say, no. You are accountable for justice and mercy to all.

Conclusion: Oppose absolute exercise of any alleged right. All are subject to time, place and manner restrictions. Expression through possessions, displays, speech. See http://dictionary.findlaw.com/definition/time-place-or-manner-restriction.html . Rights to guns, speech, demonstrations, anything.  Time, place and manner overlay. Let investigations of actions that install kleptocracy instead of democracy begin. No divine right to do it. Divine or not, no blanket privilege or right
..............................................................................................

* Here, Mircea the Old. Mircea I. Mircea Basarab. I think. Is it instead Mircea II? This a drive-by, fast shot in Wallachia, Romania. Vet. Do an Images search. Or, see him directly at http://www.wikiwand.com/sv/Mircea_cel_B%C4%83tr%C3%A2n. Copy text and go to a translator. Find, according to this translation, that Mircea the Old is "Mircea cel Bătrân, Mircea the Great / the old, born 1355, was ruler (vojvod) in Valakia from 1386 until his death in 1418. He was the father of Vlad II Dracul."

Now to the roots of power:  had a solid cultural foundation for his status, however. Trump just has, on a good day, perhaps 1/3 of us out there who like his playing roles for ratings. Not enough to Trump common sense.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Mar-a-Lago. The ghost of Marjorie Merriwether Post. History of uses.

Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago was once the US Mar-a-Lago.
It was a gift to be used as a Winter White House. None of them did; so it was sold.
Economy of use of public money, more important. Sold under President Carter.

residential
Update: See the NYT article, on contemporary issues, members on list, other presidents with seasonal-use alternate White Houses.  NYT, however, omits the history. See https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/18/us/mar-a-lago-trump-ethics-winter-white-house.html?ref=todayspaper&_r=0. Find that history here, 

Mar-a-Lago. Between sea and lake -- or inland waterway.
Also between ethical and unethical: 
What enriching, business-enhancing, and other connections, does this place offer?
Worth it to the nation?

Study Mar-a-Lago, the Florida estate and private club belonging to President Trump.  It has with high entry fees and much luxe, on some 17 acres on an elongated 16 mile island at Palm Beach. Mar-a-Lago is greatly altered from its prior privacy-oriented uses, as is allowed for private owners.

Ask -- What are its pitfalls for conflicts of interest, now that we have us a President: emoluments, etc. It gets little attention in that regard. Could he use it as outlined? How to prepare, respond. Moscow in the photo, see text below, relates only to an unexplored business opportunity for Mr. Trump there, related to his ownership of Mar-a-Lago.  Combining presidential residence with commercial club-resort offers multiple opportunities for just happening to bump up with persons otherwise required to sign in, please.

Meanwhile, enjoy the history. Visionary: Marjorie Merriwether Post.

Background. History.  The location is the name:  Mar-a-Lago, from sea to lake, from the Atlantic Ocean to the IntraCoastal Waterway. See map.  Read its 2016 social history.  And wonder at and admire the philanthropy, dignity, of its originator, Marjorie Merriwether Post.
Trump bought Mar-a-Lago long after the fact of earlier-owner glories and dreams -- Marjorie Merriwether Post and family, see timeline below.  He has no obligation to honor tradition, its creation by others, in any way. It's his. In summary, Marjorie Merriwether Post left it by will in 1973 to the United States Government for a winter White House, but it was costly to maintain and was not used for that. President Jimmy Carter saw that it reverted to the heirs, including Post's daughter Dina Merrill, see below, and the property was put on the market,   Trump bought it in 1985, all legal.

1.  Did he "save" it by buying it? Hardly. He kept up bricks and mortar; but to "save" it would be to preserve it for its intended government private use. Trump does plans to use a wing as a southern White house, as he also intends to continue using his NYC residence and the DC White House, but the point is not that partial use.

Instead of preserving, which is an integral part of "saving" (and he had absolutely no obligation to preserve anything). he had the choice and people's choices define them. No philanthropist, he has transformed it into a lucrative commercial venture. He converted it for his own aggrandizement, but did not "save" it.  Just use the wording that conveys the reality, is all.


So, no, he did not "save" it.  Instead, he worsened it in terms of its original use. Anybody care? Not as long as the money flows and all the soft little hands outstretched get refilled, and refilled. The DeVos rule, to add to the Greene 48.

2.  Emoluments?  All so far is legal?  money-making?. Who cares?  People in this country value money first. That's what they do.  Nonetheless, inquiry is appropriate. Is there a tangle of emoluments here? Should parameters be set? Somebody explore.

3.  Now: secret proposal to Mr. T.  Preparation for four more years; How about yet another, and hereby patented, business opportunity. Can I do that?  Either way, Mr. Trump, if and when you all do this, think of me. In case I haz any rightz here, do whatz right. Not just what is legal.

3.1  Secret business opportunity:  Mr. Trump has an "in" with Russia in ways yet unexplored. The Russian Art Collection. See http://www.hillwoodmuseum.org/russian-collection.  Said there to be the most comprehensive Russian collection outside Russia. If you like Catherine the Great, do you like the Orlov service? see http://www.hillwoodmuseum.org/collection/search?f_p=38

3.2  Secret details
  • Mar-a-Lago is the brainchild-dream of Marjorie Merriwether Post,  who accrued a vast Russian art collection, in the Stalin years, now at her museum-home at Hillwood, outside Washington DC.  
  • Mr. Trump has a business opportunity here:  Sell an arts and access package. Did you know your predecessor had such an art collection? Now you do. 
    • Have people stay at the Trump hotel in DC, 
    • \Whiz them (helicopter would be nice. Does the hotel have a pad?) over for a private showing and glitz meal with the butlers and butlesses at the Hillwood Museum, and see the Russian art (all apparently with provenance aceptable)/

Mar-a-Lago business opportunity. Tie in Russian Art Collection of Marjorie Merriwether Post at Hillwood with a stay at the Trump place in DC, then flap down to Palm Beach, Russia, and see where the Collection's originator lived.
 Make money. Ads in Russia. See their art in the US with access opportunities.

4.  Credit roll.

No-one has to give credit where credit is due, see that at Law 7 and other admonitions in Robert Greene's Rules of Power. Noone legally has to honor a predecessor whose vision and love of place made it possible for another to leapfrog into higher status, even if not acceptance by those who came before, see http://www.tampabay.com/news/politics/stateroundup/inside-mar-a-lago-trumps-palm-beach-castle-and-his-30-year-fight-to-win/2254128.  This is not a required "attribution" of source, no plagiarism of real estate. Would a truly great person extend credits instead of simply self-promote? This is the Post estate, not the Trump's in vision.

5.  Timeline excerpts

1920 -- Marriage of Marjorie Merriwether Post, who inherited the fortune accrued by her parents in Post cereals, evolve to General Mills I think; and E. F. Hutton, founder of the Wall Street stock firm -- when it talks, people listen, etc.

In all, she was married four times, just go to Wiki, issues not relevant here.  E. F. Hutton: later fell on hard times, now working to get up off the mat again, see http://riabiz.com/a/2015/3/26/why-ef-huttons-rebooters-took-the-arse-backward-tack-of-selling-public-shares-and-buying-a-brand-before-developing-a-product

1923 -- Birth of daughter of Marjorie Merriwether Post and E. F. Hutton, Dina Merrill: actress, philanthropist, businesswoman, socialite. See site for biography, husbands and their resources. I see no obituary, do a search for other life details not relevant here. She dealt with Mar-a-Lago and other issues upon the death of her mother.

  • A moderate Republican.  
  • Surely she could be remembered at Mar-a-Lago. Which bedroom was hers? 
    • Dina Merrill grew into many roles, including that of a moderate in Republican circles, and advocate for issues in women's health, supporting the Republican Pro-Choice Coalition, see Pro Choice Republicans Condemn Platform (opposing abortion, campaign era of George W. Bush 1996) http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/story?id=123139&page=1.

1924-1927 -- Heiress and socialite, bright person and visionary, this Marjorie Merriwether Post found the site for and had built this magnificent ocean-front estate, some 128 acres at the time? at Palm Beach, Florida.  See http://www.townandcountrymag.com/style/home-decor/a7144/mar-a-lago-history/  It has 128 rooms.

1930's -- Acquisition of Russia Art Collection, see Hillwood at Washington DC, above.  Explore. There are 384 pages like this one, see http://www.hillwoodmuseum.org/collection/search?filter=Place%20made:Russia.  For a less formal look, see https://www2.gmu.edu/news/258

1973 -- Death of Marjorie Merriwether Post.  By will, she left the property to the United States Government (now the untied states government), see Palm Beach Post,  for use as a retreat, like a winter White House, for presidents. See http://www.tampabay.com/news/politics/stateroundup/inside-mar-a-lago-trumps-palm-beach-castle-and-his-30-year-fight-to-win/2254128  None used the property.  Maintenance costs were about a million dollars a year.

1985 -- Trump and wife Ivana bought the property. Purchase price:  Ten million. See http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/national-govt--politics/look-inside-mar-lago-donald-trump-palm-beach-estate/sCIe7q5aA1RVPLmfXXLfCO/.

This site says five million. See http://www.newsmax.com/RonaldKessler/donald-trump-mar-a/2011/01/20/id/383396/

And from then on, it was fight, fight. See http://www.tampabay.com/news/politics/stateroundup/inside-mar-a-lago-trumps-palm-beach-castle-and-his-30-year-fight-to-win/2254128

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Legitimacy of a presidency. Support special commission. Determine legitimacy of FBI processes. Partisan or not?

Progress appears. Traction emerging. Appoint special counsel, independent commission, special commission, to investigate the processes of the 2016 election:  Foreign intervention and agency partisanship.

Learn the process: see https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/28/600.1.  See https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/15/77uuu.  See https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/11/part-7/subpart-C. Legitimacy of a presidency is a greater issue than liking a president or not.  Legitimacy in achieving office is not a matter of opinion, floating on who got which votes.  Legitimacy depends on process, whether the law was followed, no matter what the topic.  Illegitimacy: in elections:  did a government agency act or omit to act with the intent of fostering one candidacy over another. Legitimacy is like Robert's Rules of Order in elections.
 
The means are available. An independent commission. People also can help:  Read George Washington's Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior: at page 31 -- "When another speaks be attentive yourself, and disturb not the audience. If any hesitate in his words, help him not, nor prompt him without being desired; interrupt him not, nor answer him, till his speech be ended.‎"

Support an independent commission. Trump's election legitimacy depends on it; and with it, whether he can serve in a positive way, without that distraction. Why should anyone pay attention to someone in office thanks to foreign intervention and partisan misdeeds in a government agency. No reason. Give us a break, Trump.  Put this issue to rest. People, do not be quiet about the issue that John Lewis has properly raised, even though Morning Joe just advocated that people just be quiet. 

Legitimacy is a foundational issue. Explore the FBI. Don't be quiet. Accountability counts.


Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Trevor Noah for Secretary of Education. Reject Betsy DeVos. Unregulated capitalism exploits.

1.  Choose Trevor Noah.

This is a wise, seasoned man, with black mother, white father, raised in South Africa, who now is running interference on late night TV.  He knows legions about the broad aspirations and barriers to accomplishment that people of color experience. That is a universal issue.  He also has the perspective, humor, and articulation skills to have figured out what is needed in criminal justice and to make education work (both fields blend). He lays out the problems, and solution ideas, better than any proposal for progress that nominee Trump has come up with to date.

Hey, Trump. Why not. Education and Justice under Trevor Noah and the United States may begin to grow its democracy again, if that is indeed your goal.  As it is, we see your current nominees fostering the demise of democracy -- even its failure, in favor of entrenching the elite. Meanwhile, the autocrats, oligarchs, kleptocrats,  those whose control we used to deride in Russia, succeed here as well. Our people (your people) are taking a page out of the Russian playbook.  Can we get back to our own roots.
  • No! comes the voice from offstage right. Your so-called roots don't count. You didn't get your turn at bat before because we hid the bat; but now we get it all, so sit down.

Did we say the issues of Trevor Noah's life are universals?

Yet he can deal with them without making enemies.  Begin reading his memoir, Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood, https://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/28/books/review-born-a-crime-trevor-noahs-raw-account-of-life-under-apartheid.html?_r=0. Find a brilliant organization:   a) A serious overview, in one form of typeface throughout; that  b) precedes each chapter's memoir section related to it, and in another typeface throughout.

To read the history-informational-philosophy sections first:
  • The contents list the chapter headings, so go to the immediately preceding pages for the short course in issues first. The overview may offers history, differences between ethnic and racial groups in South Africa; or the differing townships, and who lives there; or insights into a parent's reasons for behavior, as in how the child is raised; and why actions are taken to instill what life-lessons.
  • For your own short course, go to the the introduction to the jail episode: what jail is like, that precedes Chapter 17 -- the chapter about Trevor Noah ending up there, and why, and what happened and what he learned. Hooked, go on to Chapter 18, about his mother's life.
2.  Reject Betsy DeVos.

Betsy DeVos. Did we say no loudly enough? That Trevor-Noah perspective of experience, wisdom, ability to articulate, all foster a working-together ability to see many sides to issues. This is lacking in the billionaire-blinders-wearing ideological candidate for Education Secretary now: a Betsy DeVos.

DeVos?  Of Vos?  From Vos? Why the capital V?  De Vos is middle Dutch for "the fox" -- a nickname, say, for someone with red hair; or a "crafty man." See Everyman's experts at http://www.ancestry.com/name-origin?surname=devossomebody hammed that up but good.  Apt.

This fox's adulation of unregulated capitalism, totally free market, is a ticket to ongoing exploitation. As Trevor Noah says, it's fine to say we'll teach people to fish, but not if we withhold access to the poles. 

3.  Why? America -- is it failing as a democracy, while Russia's unmitigated oligarch succeed?  That kind of observation about Russia and the United States is by Karen Dawisha, author of Putin's Kleptocracy: Who Owns Russia (2014), library copy on request, see review at  https://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/30/books/review/putins-kleptocracy-by-karen-dawisha.html.

Dawisha sees an authoritarian government there in process of succeeding, and a democratic one here in process of failing. Is that so.

  • Learn about the larger issue: undue influence unrestrained, patterns. See a documentary Putin biographical video 2016 with stated agenda of concern, and basic information:  This is the government Trump and his nominees want to perpetuate: Average Russian is poorer than the average (India) Indian. So there is deprivation, for those not at the top. Who is at the top? Only 110 people own 35% of the wealth. What does that kind of disparity breed: more resentment, more need for force?  See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E06j7azz0AM.
These choices are important to whether we pursue exploitation as the goal; or a mutual prosperity. No, say the voices. If people live sustainable lives, they may compete with us.  Can't have that, is that so? 

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Trump status. Time to call off the marriage. Betrothal is only a contract. Break it any time.

Break this contract. Please, pleads the bride-to-be.
Betrothal to the electorate:  Leave it.

Russia would agree that the present pre-political-marriage status of This Mr. T to the US electorate is not sacramentally complete, and unconsummated, of course.  There has only been a betrothal contract that can be broken off.  Historically, such an arrangement, as interim, can be cancelled.  Make the injured party whole again, and money u$ually work$ to $alve hurt feeling$.  See "Modern Customs and Ancient Laws of Russia," The State of the Modern Russian Family, and Particularly that of the Joint or Household Community of Great Russia (modern as 1891, at  http://avalon.law.yale.edu/subject_menus/kovalm.asp), This is Lecture II by historian Maxime Kovalevsky at http://avalon.law.yale.edu/19th_century/koval2.asp, see bio.

This business of breaking (or unilaterally modifying contracts) can be a way to get rich, so there should be little resistance. See Contents at How to Get Rich, by Donald Trump and Meredith McIver, 2004. Just say, Donald, we tried, we really did, but you are the wrong man for this marriage. As you say in the book:  Big mistake is to marry the wrong person. And, don't equivocate.

The people have long had their say in how to manage these long-term relationship matters, often in addition to the rule-makers, usually a church whose approval has long not been needed for common or other types of civil marriage. Let the people speak and either call this one quits, or renegotiate the contract more to their advantage. This Mr. T who generates so much enthusiasm has already violated the Logan Act, see also https://www.law.cornell.edu/topn/logan_act_foreign_relations; and there must be punishment.  Of course.  So, this Mr. T must do what is required to walk those missteps back; and otherwise MHOB until oath is over, if he persuades the regretting electorate to stick with him. Why the premature and off-base request for how women are faring in the rights department, see http://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2016/12/23/Trump-team-seeks-info-from-State-Dept-on-womens-rights-efforts/7321482475347/ Women's lives matter.

Best course for the long term: Let the people break off this ill-entered-into engagement to Mr. Trump before he fully ripens. Reconvene the Electors, unshackled. Or just write in the runner-up. After all, this is only a contract and contracts are made to be broken to get a better deal, and there will be someone else, fear not those who muddy waters, etc.

We know that, dear. Go ahead. Find another life. You'll forget him. This Mr. T hasn't even earned a title yet. He is just the presumptuous Mr. Trump.