Thursday, November 10, 2016

A thought for Veterans Day: In Flanders Fields

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row, 
That mark our place, and in the sky, 
The larks, still bravely singing, fly, 
Scarce heard amid the guns below. 

We are the dead; short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, 
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields. 

Take up our quarrel with the foe! 
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high! 
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Hillary: Immoral or amoral, revisited

In a typically incisive essay yesterday, "The Clintons -- At the End of All Things" (National Review), Victor Davis Hanson twice referred to Hillary as "amoral." His use of that word reminded me of an essay I wrote several years ago on that very point. Since then, as recently as today, our characterization -- amoral -- has been proved correct time after time. My essay -- "Hillary Clinton: Immoral or Amoral?" is reprinted here:

*          *          *

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Hillary Clinton: Immoral or Amoral?

During her recent Congressional testimony about the notorious Benghazi Affair Hillary Clinton uttered the now infamous rhetorical question “What difference, at this point, does it make?” Note my emphasis on the word “it.” In the context the question was asked and answered Clinton’s “it” referred at least to the murder of four Americans, and probably the State Department’s antecedent failure to provide adequate security and the White House’s subsequent stonewalling cover-up. 

In other words — according to the former First Lady, United States Senator, presidential aspirant, Secretary of State, and putative 2016 democratic party presidential candidate — it made no difference that the government of which she was then a high-ranking member exposed Americans to high-risk danger, left them defenseless in a hotbed of terrorists, made no effort to rescue them, literally watched them being murdered, and then tried to cover up apparatchik  malfeasance by lying through officialdom's teeth to the people of the United States.

“What difference?” indeed.
But beyond what has become obvious about Clinton’s and her colleagues’ betrayal of the deceased Americans and the rest of the government’s malfeasance, the Benghazi Affair reveals something even more sinister.
Over the years, some of Hillary Clinton’s questionable conduct has not involved issues of morality. She has been a poseur, playing the role of victimized, yet forgiving, wife during the Lewinsky scandal. She has been a hypocrite, castigating George W. Bush for warrantless surveillance but using purloined tapes to her own political advantage. She has been a paranoid, complaining to the world about the alleged “right wing conspiracy.” She has been a conniver, ousting career White House travel office employees in favor of her cronies. She has been a dilettante, presuming to make over America’s health care system. 
While this conduct, and much more like it, has been unseemly and at odds with the dignified and trustworthy image that had been projected by modern-era First Ladies from Bess Truman to Laura Bush, none of Hillary Clinton’s conduct raised serious moral questions.
On the other hand, Clinton has done many other things that have raised serious questions of immorality (immoral defined as “not in conformity with accepted principles of right and wrong behavior; contrary to the moral code of the community” [Webster’s New World Dictionary of the American Language (13th ed.)]; in other words knowing, but disregarding, principles of morality).

Mrs. Clinton authored a brief reeking with fraud while a staff lawyer for the Watergate Committee. She was a beneficiary of illegal commodities transactions that turned her a large profit.  She fraudulently stung lenders in the Whitewater land scheme. She bought votes and campaign contributions with criminal pardons issued by her husband. She lied about Chinese contributions to her political campaigns. She participated in slandering and intimidating women whom her husband sexually and otherwise abused, and was complicit in covering up his salacious conduct. She blithely desecrated the presidency by selling the Lincoln Bedroom to donors and celebrities. She stole furniture and furnishings from the White House. And much more, including her recent complicity in the murder of four Americans in Benghazi and the attempted cover-up of the entire sordid affair. All immoral conduct.
There’s more, but to elucidate all of it would be to gild the lily. Hillary Clinton’s immoral conduct— rationalized by her adherence to the “Rules for Radicals” promulgated by her mentor Saul Alinsky — has been detailed on the public record for decades, especially since her abortive campaign for the Democratic Party presidential nomination in 2007. 
At that time, I raised the question of whether Clinton’s decades-old questionable character traits and corner-cutting conduct demonstrated that she was merely immoral or, worse: Whether she was amoral—and whether there’s any important difference between the two concepts.
The answer is that there is a difference, a profound one, and with Hillary Clinton’s eye on a 2016 presidential nomination it’s crucially important for the future of the United States of America that the voters of this country understand it.
I begin with the concept of “morality” itself, one which Americans instinctively understand.  Rooted in fundamental notions of “right” and “wrong,” most Americans know (or knew!) that it’s right to pay our bills and protect our loved ones; that it is wrong to defraud creditors and abuse children. It’s immoral to buy votes, lie to investigators, release terrorists for a political quid pro quo, attack the defenseless, steal from the White House — all conduct Hillary Clinton was a party to — as well as to engage in countless other actions which, by anyone’s definition, must be characterized as immoral.  That this prospective candidate for the presidency of the United States has acted immorally time and time again is clear beyond any legitimate disagreement.
But what about amorality?—defined as “being neither moral nor immoral; specifically: lying outside the sphere to which moral judgments apply; lacking moral sensibility . . . .”  (Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (10th ed.); emphasis in original.)

A person who is amoral does not accept any moral standard by which her conduct is to be judged by othersShe simply does not care about the concept of morality, about right or wrong, in what she thinks, says, or doesMorality does not apply to such a person. What difference, at this point, does it make?” could well be such person’s mantra.

 Thus, the questions arise: Does all of Hillary Clinton’s dubious conduct over the course of decades reflect a simple, garden-variety immorality—knowing but eschewing the right, and deliberately doing the wrong? Or does Alinsky’s acolyte — the leading candidate of the Democrat Party for the presidency of the United States — at root care nothing for morality and deem it to have no application to her? Is Hillary Clinton amoral?

Her record (let alone her character) leaves no doubt about the answer.  Yet Clinton and her supporters ask: “What difference, at this point, does [morality] make?” 

To ask the question is to answer it.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Why the corrupt Obama Department of Injustice exonerated Hillary Clinton

The following federal criminal statute (in courier font) has been bandied about on the internet recently. However, most laypersons (and even many lawyers) have difficulty understanding it. That's because they read it horizontally. Earlier today I showed one of my blogees (ES) a better way to read it (and any statute).

Here's the actual, normal horizontal, text of 18 United States Code, Section 2071:

(a) Whoever willfully and unlawfully conceals, removes, mutilates, obliterates, or destroys, or attempts to do so, or, with intent to do so takes and carries away any record, proceeding, map, book, paper, document, or other thing, filed or deposited with any clerk or officer of any court of the United States, or in any public office, or with any judicial or public officer of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.
(b) Whoever, having the custody of any such record, proceeding, map, book, document, paper, or other thing, willfully and unlawfully conceals, removes, mutilates, obliterates, falsifies, or destroys the same, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both; and shall forfeit his office and be disqualified from holding any office under the United States. As used in this subsection, the term “office” does not include the office held by any person as a retired officer of the Armed Forces of the United States.
Now read the essential elements of 18 USC Section 2071 not horizontally (which is what most people do), but instead vertically: 

“(a) Whoever

willfully and unlawfully

conceals, removes, mutilates, obliterates,

or destroys,

or attempts to do so,

or, with intent to do so

takes and carries away any record, proceeding, map, book, paper, document, or other thing,

filed or deposited with any clerk or officer of any court of the United States, or in any public office, or with any judicial or public officer of the United States,

shall be fined under this title

or imprisoned not more than three years,

or both.

(b) Whoever,

having the custody of any such record, proceeding, map, book, document, paper, or other thing,

willfully and unlawfully

conceals, removes, mutilates, obliterates, falsifies,

or destroys the same,

shall be fined under this title

or imprisoned not more than three years,

or both; and

shall forfeit his office and be disqualified from holding any office under the United States.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Bill Clinton as Hillary's Edith Wilson

Arch progressive Woodrow Wilson’s second wife, Edith Bolling Galt (!), became substitute President of the United States when on October 2, 1919, the elected President was hit with a blockage of the flow of blood to his heart caused by a coronary artery clot, accompanied by a stroke that severely paralyzed him. The historical record is virtually unanimous that in a palace coup Edith Wilson closed off nearly all outside access to the President, hid and lied about his condition, and assumed the responsibilities of the presidency of the United States herself.

In the last few days, I’ve been reminded of Edith Wilson’s substitute presidency as suspicious reports about Hillary Clinton’s medical conditions have increased from a mere dribble to an increasing flood.

Imagine: Hillary wins the election, the pressure of the presidency – a crashing economy, unstoppable terrorism and perhaps war – triggers whatever seems to be happening in her brain even today.

Elbowing aside Tim Kaine, the hapless Vice President, Bill Clinton – whose own physical and mental conditions are already suspect -- becomes substitute President, aided and abetted by the likes of John Podesta and Sidney Blumenthal. 

For Americans to knowledgeably assess the likelihood of this happening, there must today begin a nationwide roar from Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, Greens, and Independents demanding that Hillary Clinton disclose all of her medical records for the last decade.

If they are not forthcoming, the United States of America may find itself led by not one infirm Clinton, but two.

(PS: This is not an endorsement of Mr. Trump.)

Monday, August 8, 2016

Holzer essay about Greenspan, from the ashes

Earlier today I received the following email:

Dear Mr. Holzer,

I came across your posting on your weblog in which you say that your essay on Mr. Greenspan had disappeared.  I am interested in reading it, having been a student of Objectivism since the late '60s.  (My husband and I waited avidly for each copy of The Objectivist Newsletter, and then of The Objectivist.)

I am unable to control my urge to Detect, so I repaired to the Wayback Machine.  I imagine that by now you've retrieved the essay yourself, but just in case, the part "Objectivist to Statist" exists on, at

Intrigued, I followed the link and realized that the essay is worth resurrecting from the ashes. 

Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Alan Greenspan Story: From Objectivist to Statist

By Professor Henry Mark Holzer 

In the mid-1960s my wife, Erika Holzer, and I were members of a small circle the hub of which was Ayn Rand, whose magnum opus, Atlas Shrugged, had been published in 1957.

Another member—who by then had been associated with Rand for several years—was Alan Greenspan.

In addition to our social relationship with Rand we were also her lawyers, so frequently we made “house calls” to her apartment to conduct legal business. On more than one occasion when Erika and I arrived, Ayn and her husband would be finishing a private dinner with Alan Greenspan. It was apparent to us that Ayn had a special relationship with him, an impression buttressed by comments Ayn made occasionally to the effect that Alan was a brilliant man.

In those days, Rand and her erstwhile “intellectual heir,” Nathaniel Branden, edited and published The Objectivist, a journal devoted to expounding and disseminating her ideas.

One was allowed to write for The Objectivist only if the content was in accordance with Rand’s philosophy, and could withstand the laser-like editorial scrutiny she unmercifully delivered (but to the great advantage of the essay’s author). Erika and I were victims/beneficiaries of Rand’s almost supernatural abilities as a non-fiction editor.

In the July 1966 issue of The Objectivist there appears an essay entitled “Gold and Economic Freedom.” Its opening paragraph is as follows: “An almost hysterical antagonism toward the gold standard is one issue that unites statists of all persuasions. They seem to sense—perhaps more clearly and subtly than many consistent defenders of laissez-faire—that gold and economic freedom are inseparable, that the gold standard is an instrument of laissez-faire and that each implies and requires the other.” (My emphasis.)

The essay goes on to explain the role of gold in a free society, the meaning of money (see my Blog of February 12, 2009), and the history of the Federal Reserve System. Then, the author notes critically that “[w]hen business in the United States underwent a mild contraction in 1927, the Federal Reserve created more paper reserves in the hope of forestalling any possible bank reserve shortage. * * * The Fed succeeded: it stopped the [British] gold loss, but it nearly destroyed the economies of the world, in the process. The excess credit which the Fed pumped into the economy spilled over into the stock market—triggering a fantastic speculative boom. Belatedly, Federal Reserve officials attempted to sop up the excess reserves and finally succeeded in braking the boom. But it was too late: by 1929 the speculative imbalances had become so overwhelming that the attempt precipitated a sharp retrenching and a consequent demoralizing of business confidence. As a result the American economy collapsed.” (My emphasis.)

The balance of “Gold and Economic Freedom” emphatically endorses the gold standard, disdains government interference in the economy, and condemns the statists who repudiated the former while fostering the latter.

The essay’s penultimate and concluding paragraphs eloquently reiterate this point: “In the absence of the gold standard, there is no way to protect savings from confiscation through inflation. There is no safe store of value. If there were, the government would have to make its holding illegal, as was done in the case of gold [see my Blog of January 25, 2009]. If everyone decided, for example, to convert all their bank deposits to silver or copper or any other good, and thereafter declined to accept checks as payment for goods, bank deposits would lose their purchasing power and government-created bank credit would be worthless as a claim on goods. The financial policy of the welfare state requires that there be no way for the owners of wealth to protect themselves. This is the shabby secret of the welfare statists’ tirades against gold. Deficit spending is simply a scheme for the ‘hidden’ confiscation of wealth. * * * (My emphasis.)

The author of “Gold and Economic Freedom” is, of course, Alan Greenspan.

The “statists” whom Dr. Greenspan rightly condemned are adherents to, and promoters of, “Statism”: “concentration of economic controls and planning in the hands of a highly centralized government often extending to government ownership of industry.” (Merriam- Webster Dictionary, On Line).

Or, as Greenspan’s editor, Ayn Rand, once explained it: “The political expression of altruism is collectivism or statism, which holds that man’s life and work belong to the state—to society, to the group, the gang, the race, the nation—and that the state may dispose of him in any way it pleases for the sake of whatever it deems to be its own tribal, collective good”: (“Introducing Objectivism,” The Objectivist Newsletter, August 1962, p.35).

Since it was Ayn Rand herself speaking through Alan Greenspan in “Gold and Economic Freedom” in the author’s lauding of laissez-faire and condemnation of statism, it was incredible that he accepted Gerald Ford’s appointment as Chairman of the President’s Council of [three] Economic Advisers.

Putting aside four of the Council’s main duties and functions, the fifth is “[t]o develop and recommend to the President national economic policies, to foster and promote free competitive enterprise, to avoid economic fluctuations or to diminish the effects thereof, and to maintain employment.”


An acolyte of the political philosopher who, among other achievements, built a moral foundation for capitalism, signing on with a statist President to “develop national economic policies” (like the bureaucrats in Atlas Shrugged?), “to foster and promote free competitive enterprise” (through stricter anti-business anti-trust laws?), “to avoid economic fluctuations” (by wage and price controls?), and “to maintain employment” (with FDR-like public works projects?)?

Not only did Greenspan sign on with Ford, but Rand signed on with the both of them—sanctioning the new Greenspan-Ford economic partnership by her glowing presence at the new Chairman’s White House swearing-in ceremony.

Soon after Rand died, President Reagan put Greenspan in charge of a boondoggle called the National Commission on Social Security Reform. One of its recommendations was an anti-laissez-faire, pro-statist, large tax increase.

Then came the Fed job, making Greenspan the world’s economic/financial puppet master.

According to a 2007 speech by a Federal Reserve Board member Frederic S. Mishkin, “In a democratic society like our own, the ultimate purpose of the central bank [the Fed] is to promote the public good by pursuing a course of monetary policy that fosters economic prosperity and social welfare. In the United States, as in virtually every other country, the central bank has a more specific set of objectives that have been established by the government. This mandate was originally specified by the Federal Reserve Act of 1913 and was most recently clarified by an amendment to the Federal Reserve Act in 1977. According to this legislation, the Federal Reserve's mandate is “to promote effectively the goals of maximum employment, stable prices, and moderate long-term interest rates.” (My emphasis.)

So for year after year, the fallen pro-laissez-faire, anti-statist, Objectivist, Chairman of the Fed, went about pulling on the Fed’s strings, doing the government’s business of “promoting the public good” and “fostering social welfare.”

Repudiating everything he had written, and Rand had sanctioned, in “Gold and Economic Freedom,” Greenspan manipulated the “creation” of “money,” opened and closed the credit valve, and virtually if not actually controlled the economic/financial system of the United States and thus of the world.

And then, finally, at the end of 2008 when the system imploded, Rand’s brilliant acolyte finally confessed . . . and his confession continues: Yes, he was wrong about self-regulating capitalism. Yes, this time laissez-faire didn’t work. Yes, the bailouts were/are necessary. Yes—and that noise you hear is Ayn Rand spinning in her grave—the government must now nationalize banks (in the “public interest, and only “temporarily,” of course).

And with these unrepentant anti-capitalism confessions, Alan Greenspan is nakedly exposed for what he became when first he drank from the inebriating waters of the Washington trough, abandoning not only “Gold and Economic Freedom,” but the moral principles which it implies, and about which he wrote with Rand’s approval those many years ago.

Alan Greenspan is a person whom he, and Ayn Rand, deplored: just another statist.