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Republican Senatorial Medal of Freedom
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Lindgren
2004-08-23 18:26:25 UTC
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Prince Buu Chanh received the Republican Senatorial Medal of Freedom
from Senator Phil Gramm and was honored at a banquet in Washington DC.
In a phone call to the Republican headquarters I learned that this
arrangement or the honour is very different than just sending in $50.
He was honoured by the Senate for his heroism in Vietnam and his acts
of courage in fighting for Democracy and freedom while in the United
States.

In receiving this award Sen. Gramm said:

" On behalf of the Republican members of the United States, I am proud
to announce your unanimous nomination to receive the Republican
Party's highest and most prestigious award --- the Senatorial Medal of
Freedom--- The Medal of Freedom is awarded to extraordinary
individuals who have shown a lifetime commitment to preserving the
conservative principles that are the foundation of the Republican
Party and the lifeblood of our Country ........And now , as a result
of your dedication and unwavering support of the Republican Party, you
are being recognized as a prominent leader in the party by receiving
the Medal of Freedom joining the ranks of President Ronald Reagan,
Lady Margaret Thatcher and Charlton Heston. It gives me great pleasure
to award you the distinguished Republican Senatorial Medal of Freedom
Pierre Aronax
2004-08-23 19:02:05 UTC
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"Lindgren" <***@panola.com> a �crit dans le message de news:***@posting.google.com...

<...>
Post by Lindgren
joining the ranks of President Ronald Reagan,
Lady Margaret Thatcher and Charlton Heston
Is it really suppose to be a compliment?

Pierre
Francois R. Velde
2004-08-23 19:08:35 UTC
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Post by Pierre Aronax
<...>
Post by Lindgren
joining the ranks of President Ronald Reagan,
Lady Margaret Thatcher and Charlton Heston
Is it really suppose to be a compliment?
I suppose you're wondering about the last name. You may think
of him only as Moses or Ben-Hur, but he's also a prominent figure
in US politics, in large part because of his activities for the NRA
(National Rifle Association, the gun lobby).
--
François R. Velde
***@nospam.org (replace by "heraldica")
Heraldica Web Site: http://www.heraldica.org/
Pierre Aronax
2004-08-23 19:26:59 UTC
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In medio alt.talk.royalty aperuit Pierre Aronax
Post by Pierre Aronax
<...>
Post by Lindgren
joining the ranks of President Ronald Reagan,
Lady Margaret Thatcher and Charlton Heston
Is it really suppose to be a compliment?
I suppose you're wondering about the last name. You may think
of him only as Moses or Ben-Hur, but he's also a prominent figure
in US politics, in large part because of his activities for the NRA
(National Rifle Association, the gun lobby).
I knew and that's precisely why I was wondering :)

Pierre
Thomas J.F. Wallis
2004-08-23 21:44:46 UTC
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Post by Pierre Aronax
<...>
Post by Lindgren
joining the ranks of President Ronald Reagan,
Lady Margaret Thatcher and Charlton Heston
Is it really suppose to be a compliment?
Pierre
You really couldn't ask for much better company than those three,
unless perhaps the Spice Girls or Backstreet Boys is more to one's
taste.

-Tom..
Nguyen Trung De
2004-08-23 22:05:42 UTC
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Post by Pierre Aronax
<...>
Post by Lindgren
joining the ranks of President Ronald Reagan,
Lady Margaret Thatcher and Charlton Heston
Is it really suppose to be a compliment?
Pierre
Yes, is so "most high and prestigious" they sell it for $50 dollars.
Maybe they should go to list all the "heroic actions" Buu Chanh does
in Viet Nam while working in the Farming ministry.
Robert Hall
2004-08-24 00:20:23 UTC
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Post by Pierre Aronax
<...>
Post by Lindgren
joining the ranks of President Ronald Reagan,
Lady Margaret Thatcher and Charlton Heston
Is it really suppose to be a compliment?
Pierre
Geez...that alone is enough to stay away from him !

Robert
Francois R. Velde
2004-08-23 19:02:22 UTC
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Post by Lindgren
Prince Buu Chanh received the Republican Senatorial Medal of Freedom
from Senator Phil Gramm and was honored at a banquet in Washington DC.
In a phone call to the Republican headquarters I learned that this
arrangement or the honour is very different than just sending in $50.
He was honoured by the Senate for his heroism in Vietnam and his acts
of courage in fighting for Democracy and freedom while in the United
States.
" On behalf of the Republican members of the United States, I am proud
to announce your unanimous nomination to receive the Republican
Party's highest and most prestigious award --- the Senatorial Medal of
Freedom--- The Medal of Freedom is awarded to extraordinary
individuals who have shown a lifetime commitment to preserving the
conservative principles that are the foundation of the Republican
Party and the lifeblood of our Country ........And now , as a result
of your dedication and unwavering support of the Republican Party, you
are being recognized as a prominent leader in the party by receiving
the Medal of Freedom joining the ranks of President Ronald Reagan,
Lady Margaret Thatcher and Charlton Heston. It gives me great pleasure
to award you the distinguished Republican Senatorial Medal of Freedom
This is lifted word for word from this page:
http://www.angelfire.com/celeb2/actor/SenMedFreedom.html
Even the punctuation is the same (three dashes, 8 periods, etc).

And the picture on your revised page:
http://users.panola.com/vietnam/honors.html
is also lifted from the same page.

You haven't even bothered to change the date of the award (March 18, 1994).
--
François R. Velde
***@nospam.org (replace by "heraldica")
Heraldica Web Site: http://www.heraldica.org/
Pierre Aronax
2004-08-23 19:09:45 UTC
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Post by Francois R. Velde
Post by Lindgren
Prince Buu Chanh received the Republican Senatorial Medal of Freedom
from Senator Phil Gramm and was honored at a banquet in Washington DC.
In a phone call to the Republican headquarters I learned that this
arrangement or the honour is very different than just sending in $50.
He was honoured by the Senate for his heroism in Vietnam and his acts
of courage in fighting for Democracy and freedom while in the United
States.
" On behalf of the Republican members of the United States, I am proud
to announce your unanimous nomination to receive the Republican
Party's highest and most prestigious award --- the Senatorial Medal of
Freedom--- The Medal of Freedom is awarded to extraordinary
individuals who have shown a lifetime commitment to preserving the
conservative principles that are the foundation of the Republican
Party and the lifeblood of our Country ........And now , as a result
of your dedication and unwavering support of the Republican Party, you
are being recognized as a prominent leader in the party by receiving
the Medal of Freedom joining the ranks of President Ronald Reagan,
Lady Margaret Thatcher and Charlton Heston. It gives me great pleasure
to award you the distinguished Republican Senatorial Medal of Freedom
http://www.angelfire.com/celeb2/actor/SenMedFreedom.html
Even the punctuation is the same (three dashes, 8 periods, etc).
Well, perhaps they use the same speech each time it is awarded :)

Pierre
CGdeVasconcellos
2004-08-23 23:29:35 UTC
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Date: 8/23/2004 11:26 AM Pacific Standard Time
Prince Buu Chanh received the Republican Senatorial Medal of Freedom
from Senator Phil Gramm and was honored at a banquet in Washington DC.
In a phone call to the Republican headquarters I learned that this
arrangement or the honour is very different than just sending in $50.
He was honoured by the Senate for his heroism in Vietnam and his acts
of courage in fighting for Democracy and freedom while in the United
States.
" On behalf of the Republican members of the United States, I am proud
to announce your unanimous nomination to receive the Republican
Party's highest and most prestigious award --- the Senatorial Medal of
Freedom--- The Medal of Freedom is awarded to extraordinary
individuals who have shown a lifetime commitment to preserving the
conservative principles that are the foundation of the Republican
Party and the lifeblood of our Country ........And now , as a result
of your dedication and unwavering support of the Republican Party, you
are being recognized as a prominent leader in the party by receiving
the Medal of Freedom joining the ranks of President Ronald Reagan,
Lady Margaret Thatcher and Charlton Heston. It gives me great pleasure
to award you the distinguished Republican Senatorial Medal of Freedom
For Heaven's sake, give up on this preposterous medal! My gardener has one,
attached to the handle of his lawnmower. He found it while cleaning up some
boxes in my garage left there by the former owner of this house who didnt
bother to take that rubbish with him when he moved out. He was a contributor to
the Republican Party.
There was some sort of "proclamation" signed by Trent Lott with the brass medal
and Mr. Lopez's lawnmower sports it now, just like the would be "emperor."
Joseph McMillan
2004-08-25 03:35:33 UTC
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Post by Lindgren
Prince Buu Chanh received the Republican Senatorial Medal of Freedom
from Senator Phil Gramm and was honored at a banquet in Washington DC.
In a phone call to the Republican headquarters I learned that this
arrangement or the honour is very different than just sending in $50.
I am prepared to accept that the Senate Republicans give out this
medal to people they want to honor for one subtantive reason or
another. That does not change the fact, however, that their very own
website <http://www.nrsc.org/nrscweb/e-activists/platinum.shtml> makes
absolutely clear that for a $50 contribution to the National
Republican Senatorial Committee's "Platinum E-member" program, and I
quote, "You will receive The Republican Senatorial Medal of Freedom."

Apart from the chintzy quality of the decoration and the fact that it
is, for all practical purposes, for sale over the internet, it would
seem to be of shall we say dubious taste for any group of members of
Congress to be offering a medal whose name is so close to the highest
civilian decoration bestowed in the United States. The Presidential
Medal of Freedom, mathematically, is bestowed more selectively than
almost any other comparable decoration or order of merit of which I am
aware (an average of about 12 a year since its inception, in a country
with a population now over 250 million). What the NRSC has done
strikes me as intentionally trading on the probability of confusion
between the real PMF and this tacky bauble.

Joe McMillan
Christopher Buyers
2004-08-25 16:14:25 UTC
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Post by Joseph McMillan
The Presidential
Medal of Freedom, mathematically, is bestowed more selectively than
almost any other comparable decoration or order of merit of which I am
aware (an average of about 12 a year since its inception, in a country
with a population now over 250 million).
With what did you compare?

Cheers,
Christopher Buyers
Joseph McMillan
2004-08-26 15:35:10 UTC
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Post by Christopher Buyers
Post by Joseph McMillan
The Presidential
Medal of Freedom, mathematically, is bestowed more selectively than
almost any other comparable decoration or order of merit of which I am
aware (an average of about 12 a year since its inception, in a country
with a population now over 250 million).
With what did you compare?
Cheers,
Christopher Buyers
I'm glad you asked, because I discovered I had not completed the
analysis I started several months ago on this. As a result, I may
have stated the case too broadly, as I haven't compared the PMF with
all the orders I had intended to. I still would like to find figures
on other orders and decorations, but haven't had time to track them
down.

Anyway, there have been 424 awards of the PMF since its inception in
1963. That's an average of slightly more than 10 a year (not 12, as I
said). If all the honorees were still alive--which they obviously are
not--that would be one PMF recipient for every 691,000 of the US
population. On an annual basis, one per 29 million.

The Grand Croix of the French Legion d'Honneur has a maximum living
membership of 75 and an annual estimated quota of 8 awards per year,
according to the chancellery of the Legion. That's one living member
for every 806,000 of the French population or, by the annual quota,
one per six million.

British honors are more difficult to compare, since many different
orders are used to reward contributions similar to those recognized by
the PMF. If we limit ourselves to the Grand Cross of the Order of the
British Empire, the statutory limit is 100 GBEs, or one per 603,000 of
the British population. If we add in the Garter, Thistle, and Grand
Crosses of the Bath, and SS Michael and George, we get a total living
membership of 380, for a ratio of one per 159,000 of the British
population. Adding in the OM and CH would lower this figure
marginally.

According to the Quirinale website, the Gran Croce degree of the Order
of Merit of the Italian Republic has been awarded 8,076 times since
its creation in 1952. That's an average of 152 awards per year, or
one per 380,000 of the Italian population (note that this is
annual--its the comparable figure to the 1:29 million for the PMF and
the 1:6 million for the GC of the Legion d'Honneur).

I don't have class-by-class figures for the German Verdienstordnung.
The Großkreuz and Grosse Verdienstkreuz mit Stern und Schulterband,
both of which the German government considers to be equivalent to the
Grand Cross degree in international terms, would seem to be comparable
in intent to the PMF. (As best as my German can make out, the
difference between these two degrees is purely a matter of whether the
recipient is over or below a certain age.) The total awards of the
Verdienstordnung in all its degrees, including the associated medals,
is about 3,800 per year. If .25 percent of these are of the two
degrees mentioned above, that would be nine a year, or roughly three
times the ratio per population of the PMF.

The Indian equivalent award, the Bharat Ratna, outdoes the PMF in
selectivity. It's only been awarded 40 times in more than 50 years in
a country with a population of more than a billion. So that alone
indicates that the PMF is not the most selective. But it's up there.

Joe McMillan
Gilbert von Studnitz
2004-08-26 15:48:29 UTC
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Post by Joseph McMillan
I don't have class-by-class figures for the German Verdienstordnung.
The Großkreuz and Grosse Verdienstkreuz mit Stern und Schulterband,
both of which the German government considers to be equivalent to the
Grand Cross degree in international terms, would seem to be comparable
in intent to the PMF. (As best as my German can make out, the
difference between these two degrees is purely a matter of whether the
recipient is over or below a certain age.) The total awards of the
Verdienstordnung in all its degrees, including the associated medals,
is about 3,800 per year. >
This Order actually has 4 levels that are considered equivalent to Grand Cross,
but the upper two are awarded very sparingly. From low to high they are:

Großes Verdienstkreuz mit Stern und Schulterband, equiv. to 2nd class Grand
Cross

Großkreuz, equiv. to 1st class Grand Cross

Großkreuz in besonderer Ausführung (up to now only awarded twice, to
Chancellors Adenauer and Kohl)

Sonderstufe des Großkreuz, limited to Heads of State

Gilbert von Studnitz
Joseph McMillan
2004-08-27 03:28:46 UTC
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Post by Gilbert von Studnitz
This Order actually has 4 levels that are considered equivalent to Grand Cross,
but the upper two are awarded very sparingly.
Thanks, and point well taken. I should have been clearer that I
omitted these two degrees because they are not really comparable to
the purposes of the PMF, especially the topmost degree (the
Presidential Medal of Freedom has only once been awarded to a serving
head of state, Pope John Paul II). Of course, the difference between
including them and not including them is statistically insignificant.

I ran the numbers tonight on the Order of Australia (degree of
Companion), Order of Canada, and Order of New Zealand. Again, on a
per capita basis, the Presidential Medal of Freedom is more selective.

Joe McMillan
Christopher Buyers
2004-08-27 06:13:47 UTC
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Post by Gilbert von Studnitz
Post by Joseph McMillan
I don't have class-by-class figures for the German Verdienstordnung.
The Großkreuz and Grosse Verdienstkreuz mit Stern und Schulterband,
both of which the German government considers to be equivalent to the
Grand Cross degree in international terms, would seem to be comparable
in intent to the PMF. (As best as my German can make out, the
difference between these two degrees is purely a matter of whether the
recipient is over or below a certain age.) The total awards of the
Verdienstordnung in all its degrees, including the associated medals,
is about 3,800 per year. >
This Order actually has 4 levels that are considered equivalent to Grand Cross,
Großes Verdienstkreuz mit Stern und Schulterband, equiv. to 2nd class Grand
Cross
Großkreuz, equiv. to 1st class Grand Cross
Großkreuz in besonderer Ausführung (up to now only awarded twice, to
Chancellors Adenauer and Kohl)
Sonderstufe des Großkreuz, limited to Heads of State
The whole thing seems to be a nonsence calculation. Take one US award
then compare it to everything else everybody else awards and hey
presto it is "rare".

Cheers,
Christopher Buyers
Joseph McMillan
2004-08-27 12:34:38 UTC
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Post by Christopher Buyers
The whole thing seems to be a nonsence calculation. Take one US award
then compare it to everything else everybody else awards and hey
presto it is "rare".
I believe you misunderstand my argument. I'm not comparing it to
everything everyone else awards. What I'm trying to do is to identify
the highest decorations and orders conferred by various governments
for comparable contributions to state and society. Then to go country
by country and see how often said decoration/order is awarded,
compared to the number of people in the country. In systems where
there are multiple degrees of the same order, I separated out the
highest degrees. I don't know any other way to calculate the
selectivity of an honor than by comparing the number of people who
actually receive it with the number of people who are eligible for it.
My point is not that the PMF is highly selective compared to ALL the
honors bestowed by other governments, let alone compared to ALL the
honors bestowed by ALL other governments, merely that it is comparably
selective to the most highly regarded non-US orders and decorations,
and substantially more selective than many.

I'm not the only person to make a connection between selectivity and
the quality of an award. I seem to recall Guy Stair Sainty noting,
perhaps in his memorandum to Parliament on the British honors system,
the devaluation of the Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the
Italian Republic precisely on the basis of the frequency with which it
is awarded.

Rarity, selectivity, and prestige are, of course three different,
although related, things. The PMF is less rare than, say, the Order
of New Zealand, but arguable more selective because the number of
people in the pool of potential recipients is so much larger. The
Order of the Garter is undoubtedly more prestigious than the PMF--it's
older by centuries, has the cachet of royal associations, carries a
neat title and has cool insignia, etc., etc.. Certainly it's rarer.
But it may be still less selective because the pool of potential
recipients is, for all intents and purposes, confined to the English
peerage.

I'm not trying to extend this to judgments about the relative merits
of the recipients of these various awards, either. That would require
more complex research than I'm prepared to undertake, and I'm not
sure it would be possible in any case.

Regards,
Joe McMillan
David Pritchard
2004-08-27 20:50:38 UTC
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Post by Joseph McMillan
I'm not the only person to make a connection between selectivity and
the quality of an award. I seem to recall Guy Stair Sainty noting,
perhaps in his memorandum to Parliament on the British honors system,
the devaluation of the Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the
Italian Republic precisely on the basis of the frequency with which it
is awarded.
You are correct. In the written evidence to the House of Commons,
Public Administration Select Committee, Memorandum of Burke's Peerage
and Gentry (HON 57), Mr. Sainty does comment on the over granting of
the Order of Merit of the Republic of Italy in Point 4 of the
Memorandum.

It might be noted that only four regulars of this forum bothered to
submit evidence to the committee: Myself (HON 18) Ev 11; Rafal
Heydal-Mankoo (HON 54 Ev 44; Guy Stair Sainty (HON 57) Ev 58 and
Stephen Michael Szabo (HON 63) Ev 84.
Christopher Buyers
2004-08-30 06:13:43 UTC
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Post by David Pritchard
Post by Joseph McMillan
I'm not the only person to make a connection between selectivity and
the quality of an award. I seem to recall Guy Stair Sainty noting,
perhaps in his memorandum to Parliament on the British honors system,
the devaluation of the Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the
Italian Republic precisely on the basis of the frequency with which it
is awarded.
You are correct. In the written evidence to the House of Commons,
Public Administration Select Committee, Memorandum of Burke's Peerage
and Gentry (HON 57), Mr. Sainty does comment on the over granting of
the Order of Merit of the Republic of Italy in Point 4 of the
Memorandum.
It might be noted that only four regulars of this forum bothered to
submit evidence to the committee: Myself (HON 18) Ev 11; Rafal
Heydal-Mankoo (HON 54 Ev 44; Guy Stair Sainty (HON 57) Ev 58 and
Stephen Michael Szabo (HON 63) Ev 84.
I am afraid that I judged the committee to be a waste of time, since
it was pretty clear what they wanted to do from the very begining. The
chairman's agenda was clear from the the media statements he was
making. I too made submissions, but sent them to the Prime Minister,
the Political Honours Scrutiny Committee and the palace.

Cheers,
Christopher Buyers
Christopher Buyers
2004-08-28 05:39:16 UTC
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Post by Joseph McMillan
Post by Christopher Buyers
The whole thing seems to be a nonsence calculation. Take one US award
then compare it to everything else everybody else awards and hey
presto it is "rare".
I believe you misunderstand my argument. I'm not comparing it to
everything everyone else awards. What I'm trying to do is to identify
the highest decorations and orders conferred by various governments
for comparable contributions to state and society. Then to go country
by country and see how often said decoration/order is awarded,
compared to the number of people in the country. In systems where
there are multiple degrees of the same order, I separated out the
highest degrees. I don't know any other way to calculate the
selectivity of an honor than by comparing the number of people who
actually receive it with the number of people who are eligible for it.
My point is not that the PMF is highly selective compared to ALL the
honors bestowed by other governments, let alone compared to ALL the
honors bestowed by ALL other governments, merely that it is comparably
selective to the most highly regarded non-US orders and decorations,
and substantially more selective than many.
I'm not the only person to make a connection between selectivity and
the quality of an award. I seem to recall Guy Stair Sainty noting,
perhaps in his memorandum to Parliament on the British honors system,
the devaluation of the Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the
Italian Republic precisely on the basis of the frequency with which it
is awarded.
Rarity, selectivity, and prestige are, of course three different,
although related, things. The PMF is less rare than, say, the Order
of New Zealand, but arguable more selective because the number of
people in the pool of potential recipients is so much larger. The
Order of the Garter is undoubtedly more prestigious than the PMF--it's
older by centuries, has the cachet of royal associations, carries a
neat title and has cool insignia, etc., etc.. Certainly it's rarer.
But it may be still less selective because the pool of potential
recipients is, for all intents and purposes, confined to the English
peerage.
I'm not trying to extend this to judgments about the relative merits
of the recipients of these various awards, either. That would require
more complex research than I'm prepared to undertake, and I'm not
sure it would be possible in any case.
I'm sorry, but I just do not see what you are trying to do.

I am sure you are not using ALL awards by other governments to make
your comparison. There is no way you could because you will never get
the numbers. But what you are doing is cherry picking on some
arbitrary basis which is far from understandible probably just so that
the numbers come out right.

The idea, that the Garter for example, is restricted to the English
peerage is as outdated as the the PMF is old.

As for the pool, this too is somewhat rediculous, because is so many
countries, particularly continental European ones, the purpose of
orders is largely to reward foreigners. Indeed, one can argue that the
Order of Merit of the Republic is too widely awarded, but check the
awards and you will see that they are overwhelmingly foreign. What use
therefore the national population of Italy?

Since Australians and New Zealanders have also received the Order of
the Garter one would suggust that you may have to include the
population of the Commonwealth when calculating British awards.
Perhaps one could argue that such awards are unlikely to happen again
or to continue, but such folk still retain the awards granted to them,
occupy those positions and prevent new awards filling up those
positions, so long as they are alive.

The difficulty one always has with comparing the US is that the system
of official rewards is quite different to other countries. They have a
multitiude of "medals" (and ribbons) awarded not only by the federal
government but also by organs of government. Quite apart from the
"shyness" they have about calling orders orders they have other means
of rewarding service that many countries use orders or decorations
for. A clear example of this is the use of diplomatic appointments. A
practice that has long ceased in most European countries, if indeed it
ever even existed on the scale it does in the US.

Cheers,
Christopher Buyers
Joseph McMillan
2004-08-28 13:47:29 UTC
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Post by Christopher Buyers
I am sure you are not using ALL awards by other governments to make
your comparison. There is no way you could because you will never get
the numbers. But what you are doing is cherry picking on some
arbitrary basis which is far from understandible probably just so that
the numbers come out right.
I take it that this is a friendly discussion, and I don't think our
disagreement is terribly serious, so I won't take offense at the
intellectual dishonesty implied by this statement.

As I said, the British system is too complicated for fair comparison.
But you tell me, if you were going to compare the top level of the
American honors system, such as it is, with the top level of, say, the
French honors system, what French honor would you choose?
Post by Christopher Buyers
The idea, that the Garter for example, is restricted to the English
peerage is as outdated as the the PMF is old.
Well, OK. The current group is largely (and not overwhelmingly) life
peers, but point taken.
Post by Christopher Buyers
As for the pool, this too is somewhat rediculous, because is so many
countries, particularly continental European ones, the purpose of
orders is largely to reward foreigners. ... etc.
These are all good points, of which I was well aware. Look, I'm not
trying to make any cosmic argument here. The original point was that
US Republican senators are trading on the name of an decoration that
is nationally and internationally respected and, in fact, that ranks
with the most selectively awarded honors granted by any country. The
comparative statistics were intended to illustrate that point and
nothing more.

Your argument about the OMRI being awarded largely to foreigners can
be turned on its head--to say that the PMF, unlike its European
counterparts, has never been turned into a cheap way of currying favor
with foreign politicians. (I don't mean that as a serious criticism,
just as an illustration of the difficulty of comparison, concerning
which we are in full agreement.)
Post by Christopher Buyers
The difficulty one always has with comparing the US is that the system
of official rewards is quite different to other countries. They have a
multitiude of "medals" (and ribbons) awarded not only by the federal
government but also by organs of government.
I'm not sure why medals is in quotation marks here. They *are*
medals, aren't they? The mint stamps them in metal, they're attached
to a suspension ribbon, and they can be worn, and they're granted by
duly constituted governmental authority. Is there something more
required to make them real medals?

Anyway, with the exception of the military services, I can't think off
hand of any agency of the federal government that gives stand-alone
ribbons instead of medals. As for "not only by the federal government
but also by organs of government," in US terminology those organs
collectively *are* the government. The heads of departments and
agencies are empowered as part of their management responsibilities to
provide for a system of monetary and non-monetary rewards for their
employees. I wish we had a more centrally managed system, at least
for the upper honors, but don't expect one to come about. (Although
there is an upper tier of civil honors that by executive order or
statute are granted only by the President--Presidential Citizens
Medal, National Medal of Science, National Medal of Arts, Presidential
Award for Distinguished Federal Civilian Service, etc.)

In any case, I'm not comparing whole systems of honors--I'm comparing
the highest level of honors, and doing so only to establish one point,
which I hope you wouldn't debate: that the US Presidential Medal of
Freedom is not something to be sneezed at.
Post by Christopher Buyers
Quite apart from the
"shyness" they have about calling orders orders they have other means
of rewarding service that many countries use orders or decorations
for.
It's not a matter of what we call it--we simply don't have orders.
Even the Legion of Merit, the ony thing that would appear to be an
order, is really a decoration, as it has no corporate structure, no
organized leadership, not even a reliable register of members.
Post by Christopher Buyers
A clear example of this is the use of diplomatic appointments. A
practice that has long ceased in most European countries, if indeed it
ever even existed on the scale it does in the US.
Well, of course it did at one time--the concept of an apolitical
professional foreign service is not all that old. Or of an apolitical
professional civil service, for that matter. Not only that, but
appointments to positions of status and pay but minimal responsibility
were commonly used by British governments of the 18th and early 19th
centuries as a form of political patronage or even as honors. But I
would differ with the interpretation of modern American political
ambassadorships as a surrogate form of honors. There are essentially
two kinds of political ambassadorship. The more common and more
obnoxious is the ambassadorship as reward for service to the
President's political party, particularly financial contributions.
Such appointments are usually, although not always, made in countries
the White House either considers not central to the key foreign policy
issues of the day or where relations are so smooth that the
professional deputy chief of mission is expected to be able to manage
matters without much difficulty. (This seldom works in practice, but
that's the logic.)

However, many ambassadorial appointments from outside the career
foreign service are made on the basis of merit, not as an honor but as
a way of ensuring that key posts are held by people who are both
capable and closely attuned to the White House's policy agenda.
Likewise, the domestic and defense bureaucracies are penetrated to a
lower degree than in other countries with political appointees, also
intended primarily as a means of ensuring that the unelected permanent
government (civil servants) are responsive to the democratically
elected government. As a career civil servant, I find the size of the
political cadre excessive and the depth to which they penetrate the
hierarchy counterproductive, but these posts are far from sinecures.

All of which is off the point. Bottom line: I agree completely that
comparing honors systems across the board is impractical. I agree
that the US honors "system" is messy. But I stand by my assertion
that the Presidential Medal of Freedom, by any measure, compares
favorably with the equivalent orders and awards granted by other
countries. I'll be very surprised if that is a matter of debate.

Regards,
Joe McMillan
Christopher Buyers
2004-08-29 09:19:50 UTC
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Post by Joseph McMillan
Post by Christopher Buyers
I am sure you are not using ALL awards by other governments to make
your comparison. There is no way you could because you will never get
the numbers. But what you are doing is cherry picking on some
arbitrary basis which is far from understandible probably just so that
the numbers come out right.
I take it that this is a friendly discussion, and I don't think our
disagreement is terribly serious, so I won't take offense at the
intellectual dishonesty implied by this statement.
As I said, the British system is too complicated for fair comparison.
But you tell me, if you were going to compare the top level of the
American honors system, such as it is, with the top level of, say, the
French honors system, what French honor would you choose?
I am not doing the comparison!
Post by Joseph McMillan
Post by Christopher Buyers
The idea, that the Garter for example, is restricted to the English
peerage is as outdated as the the PMF is old.
Well, OK. The current group is largely (and not overwhelmingly) life
peers, but point taken.
Post by Christopher Buyers
As for the pool, this too is somewhat rediculous, because is so many
countries, particularly continental European ones, the purpose of
orders is largely to reward foreigners. ... etc.
These are all good points, of which I was well aware. Look, I'm not
trying to make any cosmic argument here. The original point was that
US Republican senators are trading on the name of an decoration that
is nationally and internationally respected and, in fact, that ranks
with the most selectively awarded honors granted by any country. The
comparative statistics were intended to illustrate that point and
nothing more.
This isn't a point I am disagreeing with. All I am saying is that
comparison on rarity is mistaken.
Post by Joseph McMillan
Your argument about the OMRI being awarded largely to foreigners can
be turned on its head--to say that the PMF, unlike its European
counterparts, has never been turned into a cheap way of currying favor
with foreign politicians. (I don't mean that as a serious criticism,
just as an illustration of the difficulty of comparison, concerning
which we are in full agreement.)
Yes you can, but how will it help your point on comparitive
populations?
Post by Joseph McMillan
Post by Christopher Buyers
The difficulty one always has with comparing the US is that the system
of official rewards is quite different to other countries. They have a
multitiude of "medals" (and ribbons) awarded not only by the federal
government but also by organs of government.
I'm not sure why medals is in quotation marks here. They *are*
medals, aren't they? The mint stamps them in metal, they're attached
to a suspension ribbon, and they can be worn, and they're granted by
duly constituted governmental authority. Is there something more
required to make them real medals?
I have used the term "medal" because that tends to be the term in use
in the US, but many of the decorations so named, not normally be
called medals elsewhere. Amongst examples of these are the following:

Medal of Honour (Navy) - four armed gold cross pattée worn from a
ribbon around the neck.
Medal of Honour (Army) - five pointed star worn from a ribbon around
the neck.
Medal of Honour (Air Force) - five pointed star worn from a ribbon
around the neck.
Congressional Space Medal of Honour - five pointed enamelled star.
Brevet Medal (Marines) - four armed bronze cross pommé.
Distinguished Service Medal (Air Force) - thirteen pointed star with
thirteen, small, white enamelled stars between each point.
Defence Distinguished Service Medal - eagle atop a light blue
enamelled pentagon.
Legion of Merit - enamelled stars, including a breast star (1st class)
and neck badge (2nd class).
Air Medal - sixteen pointed bronze star.
Purple Heart - originally called an order, a heart shaped enamelled
badge.
Presidential Medal of Freedom - enamelled stars, including a breast
star, sash and badge (1st class) and neck badge (2nd class).
National Security Medal - oval shaped badge enamelled with
eight-pointed enamelled star, enamel band, surrounded by a laurel
wreath.
Post by Joseph McMillan
Anyway, with the exception of the military services, I can't think off
hand of any agency of the federal government that gives stand-alone
ribbons instead of medals.
I don't belive that I disputed this anywhere!
Post by Joseph McMillan
As for "not only by the federal government
but also by organs of government," in US terminology those organs
collectively *are* the government. The heads of departments and
agencies are empowered as part of their management responsibilities to
provide for a system of monetary and non-monetary rewards for their
employees. I wish we had a more centrally managed system, at least
for the upper honors, but don't expect one to come about. (Although
there is an upper tier of civil honors that by executive order or
statute are granted only by the President--Presidential Citizens
Medal, National Medal of Science, National Medal of Arts, Presidential
Award for Distinguished Federal Civilian Service, etc.)
Nor do I dispute this, but it isn't generally the way in most other
countries.
Post by Joseph McMillan
In any case, I'm not comparing whole systems of honors--I'm comparing
the highest level of honors, and doing so only to establish one point,
which I hope you wouldn't debate: that the US Presidential Medal of
Freedom is not something to be sneezed at.
Post by Christopher Buyers
Quite apart from the
"shyness" they have about calling orders orders they have other means
of rewarding service that many countries use orders or decorations
for.
It's not a matter of what we call it--we simply don't have orders.
Even the Legion of Merit, the ony thing that would appear to be an
order, is really a decoration, as it has no corporate structure, no
organized leadership, not even a reliable register of members.
In my humble opinion, the Legion of Merit and Presidential Medal of
Freedom are orders in all but name. In terms of their class structure,
insignia and method of wear, they conform to most three class European
orders of merit.

That there may not be a reliable register of members or unorganised
leadership does not mean much. There are probably quite a few orders
around that fall into that category. Even with the Legion of Honour, I
doubt if anyone could supply a reliable register of living members.
Some years ago I worked on the British Order of St Michael and St
George and the registers were in an appaling state; people who had
died 70 years ago, missing names of recipients, incorrect names, etc.
Post by Joseph McMillan
Post by Christopher Buyers
A clear example of this is the use of diplomatic appointments. A
practice that has long ceased in most European countries, if indeed it
ever even existed on the scale it does in the US.
Well, of course it did at one time--the concept of an apolitical
professional foreign service is not all that old. Or of an apolitical
professional civil service, for that matter. Not only that, but
appointments to positions of status and pay but minimal responsibility
were commonly used by British governments of the 18th and early 19th
centuries as a form of political patronage or even as honors.
That is my point!

We are discussing a decoration that was founded in 1963 (1945) but
need to go back a century and a half.
Post by Joseph McMillan
But I
would differ with the interpretation of modern American political
ambassadorships as a surrogate form of honors. There are essentially
two kinds of political ambassadorship. The more common and more
obnoxious is the ambassadorship as reward for service to the
President's political party, particularly financial contributions.
Such appointments are usually, although not always, made in countries
the White House either considers not central to the key foreign policy
issues of the day or where relations are so smooth that the
professional deputy chief of mission is expected to be able to manage
matters without much difficulty. (This seldom works in practice, but
that's the logic.)
I seem to recall a certain lady of British extraction, who some would
call a "courtesan", being appointed to an important European power.
Post by Joseph McMillan
However, many ambassadorial appointments from outside the career
foreign service are made on the basis of merit, not as an honor but as
a way of ensuring that key posts are held by people who are both
capable and closely attuned to the White House's policy agenda.
Likewise, the domestic and defense bureaucracies are penetrated to a
lower degree than in other countries with political appointees, also
intended primarily as a means of ensuring that the unelected permanent
government (civil servants) are responsive to the democratically
elected government. As a career civil servant, I find the size of the
political cadre excessive and the depth to which they penetrate the
hierarchy counterproductive, but these posts are far from sinecures.
All of which is off the point. Bottom line: I agree completely that
comparing honors systems across the board is impractical. I agree
that the US honors "system" is messy. But I stand by my assertion
that the Presidential Medal of Freedom, by any measure, compares
favorably with the equivalent orders and awards granted by other
countries. I'll be very surprised if that is a matter of debate.
I do agree with your last point, I was disputing your comparison of
rarity compared with other countries.

Cheers,
Christopher Buyers
Guy Stair Sainty
2004-08-29 16:09:03 UTC
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In article <***@posting.google.com>, Christopher Buyers
says...
Post by Christopher Buyers
Post by Christopher Buyers
I am sure you are not using ALL awards by other governments to make
I seem to recall a certain lady of British extraction, who some would
call a "courtesan", being appointed to an important European power.
I have mentioned her case; but why she should be judged any more on her
past romantic and marital adventures than a man, I am not sure. She proved
an outstanding choice; she had been an extremely effective chairman of
the Democratic Party, who had raised large sums of money and had etxraordinary
connections; she also understood the party and politics very well indeed.
She predicted (to me, in a conversation) that Clinton would be the democratic
candidate in March 1992 when the Gennifer Flowers scandal had broken and
everyone thought he was written off. She spoke fluent French, and knew
personally many of the most unfluential members of French society. Her
downside was that she was detested by her late husband's family and had
ongoing legal disputes with them that complicated her final two years
enormously.
--
Guy Stair Sainty
www.chivalricorders.org/index3.htm
Pierre Aronax
2004-08-29 22:33:59 UTC
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Post by Guy Stair Sainty
says...
Post by Christopher Buyers
Post by Christopher Buyers
I am sure you are not using ALL awards by other governments to make
I seem to recall a certain lady of British extraction, who some would
call a "courtesan", being appointed to an important European power.
I have mentioned her case; but why she should be judged any more on her
past romantic and marital adventures than a man, I am not sure. She proved
an outstanding choice; she had been an extremely effective chairman of
the Democratic Party, who had raised large sums of money and had etxraordinary
connections; she also understood the party and politics very well indeed.
She predicted (to me, in a conversation) that Clinton would be the democratic
candidate in March 1992 when the Gennifer Flowers scandal had broken and
everyone thought he was written off. She spoke fluent French, and knew
personally many of the most unfluential members of French society.
Indeed and I must say I am amazed the present USA government can have
appointed as ambassador in Paris someone who not only does not speak a
single word of French but has been unable to learn one since he is here:
certainly they were more qualified people for the job. I wonder if it
already happened.

Pierre
Gillian White
2004-08-29 22:51:07 UTC
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Post by Pierre Aronax
Indeed and I must say I am amazed the present USA government can have
appointed as ambassador in Paris someone who not only does not speak a
certainly they were more qualified people for the job. I wonder if it
already happened.
Just out of curiosity, who was responsible for the appointment in the first
place? Is it possible that somebody in the US government was trying to piss
the French off? It seems completely farcical that this could be allowed to
happen!

Gillian
Don Aitken
2004-08-29 23:45:23 UTC
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On Sun, 29 Aug 2004 22:51:07 GMT, "Gillian White"
Post by Gillian White
Post by Pierre Aronax
Indeed and I must say I am amazed the present USA government can have
appointed as ambassador in Paris someone who not only does not speak a
certainly they were more qualified people for the job. I wonder if it
already happened.
Just out of curiosity, who was responsible for the appointment in the first
place? Is it possible that somebody in the US government was trying to piss
the French off? It seems completely farcical that this could be allowed to
happen!
As I understand it, the Paris and London embassies are reserved as
political perks, usually for large donors to presidential campaigns.
They are virtually never given to career foreign service officers, who
are the ones qualified for this sort of appointment, and who fill all
other US embassies.

As to how this tradition arose, and whether it is good or bad for the
conduct of US foreign policy, I couldn't possibly comment. I do know
that it doesn't amuse, or impress, the French or the British.
--
Don Aitken

Mail to the addresses given in the headers is no longer being
read. To mail me, substitute "clara.co.uk" for "freeuk.com".
Gillian White
2004-08-30 00:14:57 UTC
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Post by Don Aitken
As to how this tradition arose, and whether it is good or bad for the
conduct of US foreign policy, I couldn't possibly comment. I do know
that it doesn't amuse, or impress, the French or the British.
At least the British don't have to worry about the language problem, but
knowing how sensitive the French are about their mother tongue, and quite
rightly so, I can't see how they would take it as anything other than a
direct insult.

Gillian
Pierre Aronax
2004-08-30 08:29:15 UTC
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Post by Gillian White
Post by Don Aitken
As to how this tradition arose, and whether it is good or bad for the
conduct of US foreign policy, I couldn't possibly comment. I do know
that it doesn't amuse, or impress, the French or the British.
At least the British don't have to worry about the language problem,
Well, I'm sure they have, at least according to Oscar Wilde. :)

Pierre
Glen Cook
2004-08-30 02:56:19 UTC
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Post by Don Aitken
As I understand it, the Paris and London embassies are reserved as
political perks, usually for large donors to presidential campaigns.
They are virtually never given to career foreign service officers, who
are the ones qualified for this sort of appointment, and who fill all
other US embassies.
GAC: Usually, it will be someone who has the means to afford the entertainment
which is necessary, as not all is covered by the Embassy budget.

A unique appointment some years ago was Admiral Crowe.
Guy Stair Sainty
2004-08-30 09:16:01 UTC
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Post by Glen Cook
Post by Don Aitken
As I understand it, the Paris and London embassies are reserved as
political perks, usually for large donors to presidential campaigns.
They are virtually never given to career foreign service officers, who
are the ones qualified for this sort of appointment, and who fill all
other US embassies.
GAC: Usually, it will be someone who has the means to afford the entertainment
which is necessary, as not all is covered by the Embassy budget.
A unique appointment some years ago was Admiral Crowe.
Indeed, and he was a successful and popular appointment; certainly not chosen
for his personal wealth. He was a retired Chief of Staff, born and brought up
in Oklahoma. Not quite unique, though, as I have already pointed out regarding
Raymond Seitz, a career diplomat appointed by President Bush (1).
--
Guy Stair Sainty
www.chivalricorders.org/index3.htm
Glen Cook
2004-08-30 12:52:14 UTC
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GSS: >Indeed, and he [Admiral Crow] was a successful and popular appointment;
certainly not chosen for his personal wealth. He was a retired Chief of Staff,
born and brought up in Oklahoma. Not quite unique, though, as I have already
pointed out regarding Raymond Seitz, a career diplomat appointed by President
Bush (1).

GAC: To be a bit pedantic, he was actually Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of
Staff (under President Ronald Reagan and President George H.W. Bush
(1985-1989)).
Guy Stair Sainty
2004-08-30 09:07:57 UTC
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Post by Don Aitken
On Sun, 29 Aug 2004 22:51:07 GMT, "Gillian White"
Post by Gillian White
Post by Pierre Aronax
Indeed and I must say I am amazed the present USA government can have
appointed as ambassador in Paris someone who not only does not speak a
certainly they were more qualified people for the job. I wonder if it
already happened.
Just out of curiosity, who was responsible for the appointment in the first
place? Is it possible that somebody in the US government was trying to piss
the French off? It seems completely farcical that this could be allowed to
happen!
As I understand it, the Paris and London embassies are reserved as
political perks, usually for large donors to presidential campaigns.
They are virtually never given to career foreign service officers, who
are the ones qualified for this sort of appointment, and who fill all
other US embassies.
As to how this tradition arose, and whether it is good or bad for the
conduct of US foreign policy, I couldn't possibly comment. I do know
that it doesn't amuse, or impress, the French or the British.
I do not think that is accurate; as I have already pointed out Pamela
Harriman and Felix Rohatyn were both political appointees and both
very successful ambassadors. There have also been successful political
appointees to the London Embassy (Walter Annenberg was one, even though
he was made fun of as the result of a comment he made when he was received
in audience with HM, when the moment was captured in the film "Royal
Family"), and there have also been career diplomats in London - including
the outstandingly successful Raymond Seitz, who was Minister when Charles
Louis left and was appointed Ambassador, staying there for a very successful
term.

There have been very successful career diplomats from both countries in
Washington, but also others who were less successful and not so popular.
It is mistaken to imagine that every career diplomat is always the best
possible choice - such decisions are made by governments, and anyone who
actually believes that governments always make wise decisions needs a
serious reality check.
--
Guy Stair Sainty
www.chivalricorders.org/index3.htm
Don Aitken
2004-08-30 15:18:58 UTC
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Post by Guy Stair Sainty
Post by Don Aitken
On Sun, 29 Aug 2004 22:51:07 GMT, "Gillian White"
Post by Gillian White
Post by Pierre Aronax
Indeed and I must say I am amazed the present USA government can have
appointed as ambassador in Paris someone who not only does not speak a
certainly they were more qualified people for the job. I wonder if it
already happened.
Just out of curiosity, who was responsible for the appointment in the first
place? Is it possible that somebody in the US government was trying to piss
the French off? It seems completely farcical that this could be allowed to
happen!
As I understand it, the Paris and London embassies are reserved as
political perks, usually for large donors to presidential campaigns.
They are virtually never given to career foreign service officers, who
are the ones qualified for this sort of appointment, and who fill all
other US embassies.
As to how this tradition arose, and whether it is good or bad for the
conduct of US foreign policy, I couldn't possibly comment. I do know
that it doesn't amuse, or impress, the French or the British.
I do not think that is accurate; as I have already pointed out Pamela
Harriman and Felix Rohatyn were both political appointees and both
very successful ambassadors. There have also been successful political
appointees to the London Embassy (Walter Annenberg was one, even though
he was made fun of as the result of a comment he made when he was received
in audience with HM, when the moment was captured in the film "Royal
Family"), and there have also been career diplomats in London - including
the outstandingly successful Raymond Seitz, who was Minister when Charles
Louis left and was appointed Ambassador, staying there for a very successful
term.
I will certainly admit that some political appointees have made
successful ambassadors; it would be surpising if they had not, since
Seitz, according to his book, was the *first* foreign service
appointee. That was in 1991. His predecessors included five who went
on to bcome President. Seitz's book ("Over Here" - highly recommended)
tells some interesting stories about several of them. My favorite is
Walter Schenck, who, in the days of the Grant administration,
introduced the British upper classes to the joys of draw poker. On a
more serious note, he ranks Averell Harriman and David Bruce as the
most successful this century.
--
Don Aitken

Mail to the addresses given in the headers is no longer being
read. To mail me, substitute "clara.co.uk" for "freeuk.com".
Joseph McMillan
2004-08-30 22:27:31 UTC
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On a
more serious note, he [Amb Seitz] ranks Averell Harriman and David Bruce as the
most successful this century.
Both, by the way, recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom with Distinction.

Joe McMillan
Joseph McMillan
2004-08-30 12:20:37 UTC
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Post by Don Aitken
As I understand it, the Paris and London embassies are reserved as
political perks, usually for large donors to presidential campaigns.
They are virtually never given to career foreign service officers, who
are the ones qualified for this sort of appointment, and who fill all
other US embassies.
Not all other US embassies, by any means. At any given time,
something like 35% to 50% of US ambassadorships are filled by
non-career diplomats. They do tend to be disproportionately in
Europe, because the kinds of people who get non-career appointments
find Europe a pleasant place to be posted. Few non-careerists end up
in places like Khartoum, Dhaka, or Dushanbe.

Whether or not the host governments find this practice useful is
partly dependent on the tone of the diplomatic relationship as a
whole. Without knowing anything of the present ambassador to Paris's
performance, but given the substantive differences in policy and the
personalities at high levels on both sides, I'd bet that US-French
relations wouldn't be substantially better if the post were filled by
the most erudite and charming of Francophiles.

Joe McMillan
Joseph McMillan
2004-08-30 02:44:53 UTC
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Post by Gillian White
Post by Pierre Aronax
Indeed and I must say I am amazed the present USA government can have
appointed as ambassador in Paris someone who not only does not speak a
certainly they were more qualified people for the job. I wonder if it
already happened.
Just out of curiosity, who was responsible for the appointment in the first
place?
Nominations to fill vacant ambassadorships come from two places: the
White House appointments office and the office of the Director General
of the Foreign Service at the Department of State. Any question as to
which of these two was responsible for nominating Mr. Leach must be
rhetorical.
Post by Gillian White
Is it possible that somebody in the US government was trying to piss
the French off?
Probably not. The White House probably thought the French would be
happy. After all, Mr. Leach is well wired with the President... what
more could anyone want?
Post by Gillian White
It seems completely farcical that this could be allowed to
happen!
What, you expect a guy who's given over a quarter of a million dollars
of his own money to the President and the party, been the leading
fundraiser in California Republican politics for years, and served as
former finance chairman of the Republican National Committee to get
appointed to Tirana?

(This is the kind of thing I had in mind when I said in an earlier
post that the practice doesn't always live up to the theory.
Sometimes you end up with Vernon Walters posted to Germany or Mike
Mansfield to Japan or Robert Strauss to Moscow: all exceptionally
successful political ambassadors. Sometims you get Helene van Damm in
Vienna.)

Joe McMillan
Pierre Aronax
2004-08-30 08:57:42 UTC
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Post by Gillian White
Post by Pierre Aronax
Indeed and I must say I am amazed the present USA government can have
appointed as ambassador in Paris someone who not only does not speak a
certainly they were more qualified people for the job. I wonder if it
already happened.
Just out of curiosity, who was responsible for the appointment in the first
place? Is it possible that somebody in the US government was trying to piss
the French off? It seems completely farcical that this could be allowed to
happen!
That would not have been very intelligent. Normally, the ambassador of the
USA in France is not a public figure who has a role outside the diplomatic
circles and so his incapacity to speak French can creates him difficulties
in his diplomatic business, but no more. However, due to international
circumstances, this particular ambassador was interviewed by medias and
invited on tv debates more than it is usual and his ignorance of French
clearly undermined his justifications of his country's politic and his
capacity to intervene in discussions. He clearly produced a bad impression
so that at the end medias preferred to invite in debates a member of the
Republican party who speaks French very well and made a more coherent
defence of George Bush' international politic: unfortunately, it reinforces
the feeling of many that this politic was the politic of the Republican
party and not of the USA. My impression was that this ambassador was unable
to do correctly his job.



Pierre
Tina Kramer
2004-08-29 23:45:14 UTC
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Christopher
Post by Christopher Buyers
Buyers
Post by Guy Stair Sainty
says...
Post by Christopher Buyers
Post by Christopher Buyers
I am sure you are not using ALL awards by other governments to make
I seem to recall a certain lady of British extraction, who some would
call a "courtesan", being appointed to an important European power.
I have mentioned her case; but why she should be judged any more on her
past romantic and marital adventures than a man, I am not sure. She proved
an outstanding choice; she had been an extremely effective chairman of
the Democratic Party, who had raised large sums of money and had
etxraordinary
Post by Guy Stair Sainty
connections; she also understood the party and politics very well indeed.
She predicted (to me, in a conversation) that Clinton would be the
democratic
Post by Guy Stair Sainty
candidate in March 1992 when the Gennifer Flowers scandal had broken and
everyone thought he was written off. She spoke fluent French, and knew
personally many of the most unfluential members of French society.
Indeed and I must say I am amazed the present USA government can have
appointed as ambassador in Paris someone who not only does not speak a
certainly they were more qualified people for the job. I wonder if it
already happened.
Pierre
Actually the person of whom you speak was never chairman of the Democratic
Party. However, she was a very powerful force within the party and wielded
a lot of influence.

I'm not sure how it works in other countries, but ambassadorships are
often given to big party donors here -- this happens in both parties by the
way. There was a lot of criticism over Mrs. Harriman's appointment although
most agreed she was a fine ambassador.

Tina
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CGdeVasconcellos
2004-08-30 01:32:51 UTC
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Date: 8/29/2004 3:33 PM Pacific Standard Time
Buyers
Post by Guy Stair Sainty
says...
Post by Christopher Buyers
Post by Christopher Buyers
I am sure you are not using ALL awards by other governments to make
I seem to recall a certain lady of British extraction, who some would
call a "courtesan", being appointed to an important European power.
I have mentioned her case; but why she should be judged any more on her
past romantic and marital adventures than a man, I am not sure. She proved
an outstanding choice; she had been an extremely effective chairman of
the Democratic Party, who had raised large sums of money and had
etxraordinary
Post by Guy Stair Sainty
connections; she also understood the party and politics very well indeed.
She predicted (to me, in a conversation) that Clinton would be the
democratic
Post by Guy Stair Sainty
candidate in March 1992 when the Gennifer Flowers scandal had broken and
everyone thought he was written off. She spoke fluent French, and knew
personally many of the most unfluential members of French society.
Indeed and I must say I am amazed the present USA government can have
appointed as ambassador in Paris someone who not only does not speak a
certainly they were more qualified people for the job. I wonder if it
already happened.
Pierre
But the ambassador knows the language that really counts: money.
Paris costs around 40 million dollars, London a little less.
You give to the political parties on that level and you get it. Simple as that.
Guy Stair Sainty
2004-08-28 20:42:39 UTC
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In article <***@posting.google.com>, Christopher Buyers
says...
Post by Christopher Buyers
The idea, that the Garter for example, is restricted to the English
peerage is as outdated as the the PMF is old.
While it is incorrect to say that it is restricted to the peerage, if
one excludes the awards to former prime ministers, over the past 50 years
the majority of members have been peers, or at the very least representatives
of well-known landed gentry families. This is a relatively small pool -
I would estimate that at any one time the potenital number of likely candidates
for a vacancy in the Order's ranks, is probably not more than
50 people. Anyone with the time and a knowledge of the system could draw up 50
names at the time of each vacancy and be reasonably sure that the new
knight would be on that list. Even if one extended that to 100 persons,
the list is still tiny.
Post by Christopher Buyers
As for the pool, this too is somewhat rediculous, because is so many
countries, particularly continental European ones, the purpose of
orders is largely to reward foreigners. Indeed, one can argue that the
Order of Merit of the Republic is too widely awarded, but check the
awards and you will see that they are overwhelmingly foreign. What use
therefore the national population of Italy?
The awards to foreigners is because most of the countries in the world
practice the investiture of foreign ambassadors after a certain time in their
post in the Grand Cross of the senior state Order(s). In Spain that means
Charles III or Isabella the Catholic, in France the Legion of Honour or
National Order of Merit, in Italy the Ordine al Merito, with the Holy
See the Ordine Piano, etc. However, if you take Italy, you will find that
the majority of recipients of the Grand Cross, particularly since the late
1960s, have been Italians - simply because there has been "inflation" and
unlike the legion of Honour there is no limit on the number of national
citizens.
Post by Christopher Buyers
Since Australians and New Zealanders have also received the Order of
the Garter one would suggust that you may have to include the
population of the Commonwealth when calculating British awards.
The Garter has been given to one PM and one mountaineer, the first to
conquer Everest. With both the Garter and the Thistle one can draw uo
very sparing lists of likely recipients, which is very short. I agree,
that national populations levels are irrelevant.
Post by Christopher Buyers
The difficulty one always has with comparing the US is that the system
of official rewards is quite different to other countries. They have a
multitiude of "medals" (and ribbons) awarded not only by the federal
government but also by organs of government. Quite apart from the
"shyness" they have about calling orders orders they have other means
of rewarding service that many countries use orders or decorations
for. A clear example of this is the use of diplomatic appointments. A
practice that has long ceased in most European countries, if indeed it
ever even existed on the scale it does in the US.
The political appointment of ambassadors is because the Ambassadors are
the personal nominees of the President; this is a monarchical prerogative
that in the case of almost every European monarchy has been taken over the by
the government, which chooses and appoints ambassadors in the name of trhe
sovereign (even though they are received in audience etc, the Sovereign has
no say in the matter). It cannot be compared with the award of a lifetime
honour.

I do agree that the US system of honours is essentially unstructured, and
the awards of distinctions such as the Presidential Medal of Freedom
somewhat ad hoc. Presidents in making this award are constrained by
precedent, of which they certainly take note; I do not think one can
find examples of abuses - such as one might with UK dissolution honours
(Wilson and Major, for example).

The best comparison for the Presidential Medal of Freedom is perhaps the
Order of Merit and the Companions of Honour, both of which are awarded
according criteria that is closer to that applied with the award of this
medal. There may have been those who should have received OM or CH but were
overlooked, and some of those who received one or other who may not have
merited it. But I would suggest that the embrace similar types of achievement.

This, despite the numerical limit which is applied to OM and CH, that is
not applied to the presidential medal.

I will leave it to someone else to compare the rarity of the two on the
basis of national populations - which, I think, may reasonably be
applied for the purpose of this comparison.
--
Guy Stair Sainty
www.chivalricorders.org/index3.htm
Christopher Buyers
2004-08-29 05:24:31 UTC
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Post by Guy Stair Sainty
Post by Christopher Buyers
Since Australians and New Zealanders have also received the Order of
the Garter one would suggust that you may have to include the
population of the Commonwealth when calculating British awards.
The Garter has been given to one PM and one mountaineer, the first to
conquer Everest. With both the Garter and the Thistle one can draw uo
very sparing lists of likely recipients, which is very short. I agree,
that national populations levels are irrelevant.
I am not sure which PM or which mountaineer you mean, but here are a
few that I mean for the KG:
Lord Casey, Governor-General of Australia
Sir Keith Holyoake, Governor-General and Prime Minister of New Zealand
Sir Paul Hasluck, Governor-General of Australia
Sir Ninian Stephen, Governor-General of Australia
Sir Edmund Hilary, presumably the same as your mountaineer?

Perhaps the PM you mean is actually Sir Robert Menzies for the KT?

Cheers,
Christopher Buyers
Guy Stair Sainty
2004-08-29 15:41:40 UTC
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In article <***@posting.google.com>, Christopher Buyers
says...
Post by Christopher Buyers
Post by Guy Stair Sainty
Post by Christopher Buyers
Since Australians and New Zealanders have also received the Order of
the Garter one would suggust that you may have to include the
population of the Commonwealth when calculating British awards.
The Garter has been given to one PM and one mountaineer, the first to
conquer Everest. With both the Garter and the Thistle one can draw uo
very sparing lists of likely recipients, which is very short. I agree,
that national populations levels are irrelevant.
I am not sure which PM or which mountaineer you mean, but here are a
Lord Casey, Governor-General of Australia
Sir Keith Holyoake, Governor-General and Prime Minister of New Zealand
Sir Paul Hasluck, Governor-General of Australia
Sir Ninian Stephen, Governor-General of Australia
Sir Edmund Hilary, presumably the same as your mountaineer?
Perhaps the PM you mean is actually Sir Robert Menzies for the KT?
yes, you are correct; but the point is the same; the list of potential
knights is a very short one, and has included a few Governor-Generals.
--
Guy Stair Sainty
www.chivalricorders.org/index3.htm
Robert Hall
2004-08-29 16:10:13 UTC
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Post by Christopher Buyers
Post by Guy Stair Sainty
Post by Christopher Buyers
Since Australians and New Zealanders have also received the Order of
the Garter one would suggust that you may have to include the
population of the Commonwealth when calculating British awards.
The Garter has been given to one PM and one mountaineer, the first to
conquer Everest. With both the Garter and the Thistle one can draw uo
very sparing lists of likely recipients, which is very short. I agree,
that national populations levels are irrelevant.
I am not sure which PM or which mountaineer you mean, but here are a
Lord Casey, Governor-General of Australia
Sir Keith Holyoake, Governor-General and Prime Minister of New Zealand
Sir Paul Hasluck, Governor-General of Australia
Sir Ninian Stephen, Governor-General of Australia
Sir Edmund Hilary, presumably the same as your mountaineer?
Perhaps the PM you mean is actually Sir Robert Menzies for the KT?
Cheers,
Christopher Buyers
The Garter is also given to foreign monarchs, is it not ? I am not
sure if these are "honorary" or some "extra" status within the order
though.
Robert
Christopher Buyers
2004-08-30 05:46:33 UTC
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Post by Robert Hall
Post by Christopher Buyers
Post by Guy Stair Sainty
Post by Christopher Buyers
Since Australians and New Zealanders have also received the Order of
the Garter one would suggust that you may have to include the
population of the Commonwealth when calculating British awards.
The Garter has been given to one PM and one mountaineer, the first to
conquer Everest. With both the Garter and the Thistle one can draw uo
very sparing lists of likely recipients, which is very short. I agree,
that national populations levels are irrelevant.
I am not sure which PM or which mountaineer you mean, but here are a
Lord Casey, Governor-General of Australia
Sir Keith Holyoake, Governor-General and Prime Minister of New Zealand
Sir Paul Hasluck, Governor-General of Australia
Sir Ninian Stephen, Governor-General of Australia
Sir Edmund Hilary, presumably the same as your mountaineer?
Perhaps the PM you mean is actually Sir Robert Menzies for the KT?
Cheers,
Christopher Buyers
The Garter is also given to foreign monarchs, is it not ? I am not
sure if these are "honorary" or some "extra" status within the order
though.
Indeed you are perfectly correct.

To my mind it does not really matter if they are extra or honorary.
They have been honoured with and awarded the order and need to be
included one way or another.

Cheers,
Christopher Buyers
Guy Stair Sainty
2004-08-28 20:42:30 UTC
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In article <***@posting.google.com>, Christopher Buyers
says...
Post by Christopher Buyers
The idea, that the Garter for example, is restricted to the English
peerage is as outdated as the the PMF is old.
While it is incorrect to say that it is restricted to the peerage, if
one excludes the awards to former prime ministers, over the past 50 years
the majority of members have been peers, or at the very least representatives
of well-known landed gentry families. This is a relatively small pool -
I would estimate that at any one time the potenital number of likely candidates
for a vacancy in the Order's ranks, is probably not more than
50 people. Anyone with the time and a knowledge of the system could draw up 50
names at the time of each vacancy and be reasonably sure that the new
knight would be on that list. Even if one extended that to 100 persons,
the list is still tiny.
Post by Christopher Buyers
As for the pool, this too is somewhat rediculous, because is so many
countries, particularly continental European ones, the purpose of
orders is largely to reward foreigners. Indeed, one can argue that the
Order of Merit of the Republic is too widely awarded, but check the
awards and you will see that they are overwhelmingly foreign. What use
therefore the national population of Italy?
The awards to foreigners is because most of the countries in the world
practice the investiture of foreign ambassadors after a certain time in their
post in the Grand Cross of the senior state Order(s). In Spain that means
Charles III or Isabella the Catholic, in France the Legion of Honour or
National Order of Merit, in Italy the Ordine al Merito, with the Holy
See the Ordine Piano, etc. However, if you take Italy, you will find that
the majority of recipients of the Grand Cross, particularly since the late
1960s, have been Italians - simply because there has been "inflation" and
unlike the legion of Honour there is no limit on the number of national
citizens.
Post by Christopher Buyers
Since Australians and New Zealanders have also received the Order of
the Garter one would suggust that you may have to include the
population of the Commonwealth when calculating British awards.
The Garter has been given to one PM and one mountaineer, the first to
conquer Everest. With both the Garter and the Thistle one can draw uo
very sparing lists of likely recipients, which is very short. I agree,
that national populations levels are irrelevant.
Post by Christopher Buyers
The difficulty one always has with comparing the US is that the system
of official rewards is quite different to other countries. They have a
multitiude of "medals" (and ribbons) awarded not only by the federal
government but also by organs of government. Quite apart from the
"shyness" they have about calling orders orders they have other means
of rewarding service that many countries use orders or decorations
for. A clear example of this is the use of diplomatic appointments. A
practice that has long ceased in most European countries, if indeed it
ever even existed on the scale it does in the US.
The political appointment of ambassadors is because the Ambassadors are
the personal nominees of the President; this is a monarchical prerogative
that in the case of almost every European monarchy has been taken over the by
the government, which chooses and appoints ambassadors in the name of trhe
sovereign (even though they are received in audience etc, the Sovereign has
no say in the matter). It cannot be compared with the award of a lifetime
honour.

I do agree that the US system of honours is essentially unstructured, and
the awards of distinctions such as the Presidential Medal of Freedom
somewhat ad hoc. Presidents in making this award are constrained by
precedent, of which they certainly take note; I do not think one can
find examples of abuses - such as one might with UK dissolution honours
(Wilson and Major, for example).

The best comparison for the Presidential Medal of Freedom is perhaps the
Order of Merit and the Companions of Honour, both of which are awarded
according criteria that is closer to that applied with the award of this
medal. There may have been those who should have received OM or CH but were
overlooked, and some of those who received one or other who may not have
merited it. But I would suggest that the embrace similar types of achievement.

This, despite the numerical limit which is applied to OM and CH, that is
not applied to the presidential medal.

I will leave it to someone else to compare the rarity of the two on the
basis of national populations - which, I think, may reasonably be
applied for the purpose of this comparison.
--
Guy Stair Sainty
www.chivalricorders.org/index3.htm
Christopher Buyers
2004-08-29 06:22:37 UTC
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Post by Guy Stair Sainty
says...
Post by Christopher Buyers
The idea, that the Garter for example, is restricted to the English
peerage is as outdated as the the PMF is old.
While it is incorrect to say that it is restricted to the peerage, if
one excludes the awards to former prime ministers, over the past 50 years
the majority of members have been peers, or at the very least representatives
of well-known landed gentry families. This is a relatively small pool -
I would estimate that at any one time the potenital number of likely candidates
for a vacancy in the Order's ranks, is probably not more than
50 people. Anyone with the time and a knowledge of the system could draw up 50
names at the time of each vacancy and be reasonably sure that the new
knight would be on that list. Even if one extended that to 100 persons,
the list is still tiny.
I am not really sure how exactly Sir Ninian Stephen, the Queen of
Denmark, or the Queen of the Netherlands fit into the English peerage,
or landed gentry, for that matter. Please explain!
Post by Guy Stair Sainty
Post by Christopher Buyers
As for the pool, this too is somewhat rediculous, because is so many
countries, particularly continental European ones, the purpose of
orders is largely to reward foreigners. Indeed, one can argue that the
Order of Merit of the Republic is too widely awarded, but check the
awards and you will see that they are overwhelmingly foreign. What use
therefore the national population of Italy?
The awards to foreigners is because most of the countries in the world
practice the investiture of foreign ambassadors after a certain time in their
post in the Grand Cross of the senior state Order(s). In Spain that means
Charles III or Isabella the Catholic, in France the Legion of Honour or
National Order of Merit, in Italy the Ordine al Merito, with the Holy
See the Ordine Piano, etc. However, if you take Italy, you will find that
the majority of recipients of the Grand Cross, particularly since the late
1960s, have been Italians - simply because there has been "inflation" and
unlike the legion of Honour there is no limit on the number of national
citizens.
I am not sure that the reason for awarding decorations to foreign
ambassodors changes anything in the argument. On the contrary, it
simply proves my point that in a lot of countries awards to foreigners
are the main reason for orders.

Do you have the relative numbers for the GC of the Order of Merit for
the Republic of Italy? The last time I looked, the awards to
foreigners exceeded Italians, but I took the whole period of award
since 1953.

snip
Post by Guy Stair Sainty
Post by Christopher Buyers
The difficulty one always has with comparing the US is that the system
of official rewards is quite different to other countries. They have a
multitiude of "medals" (and ribbons) awarded not only by the federal
government but also by organs of government. Quite apart from the
"shyness" they have about calling orders orders they have other means
of rewarding service that many countries use orders or decorations
for. A clear example of this is the use of diplomatic appointments. A
practice that has long ceased in most European countries, if indeed it
ever even existed on the scale it does in the US.
The political appointment of ambassadors is because the Ambassadors are
the personal nominees of the President; this is a monarchical prerogative
that in the case of almost every European monarchy has been taken over the by
the government, which chooses and appoints ambassadors in the name of trhe
sovereign (even though they are received in audience etc, the Sovereign has
no say in the matter). It cannot be compared with the award of a lifetime
honour.
Again, I am not sure how different a political honour is from an
Ambassadorial appointment. The appointment itself may not be a
lifetime honour but presumably the pecuniary benefits, presents
received in office, business and political contacts enhanced as a
consequence and the increased standing which the office confers
certainly do. Some even go on to be addressed as "former Ambassador".
Post by Guy Stair Sainty
I do agree that the US system of honours is essentially unstructured, and
the awards of distinctions such as the Presidential Medal of Freedom
somewhat ad hoc. Presidents in making this award are constrained by
precedent, of which they certainly take note; I do not think one can
find examples of abuses - such as one might with UK dissolution honours
(Wilson and Major, for example).
The best comparison for the Presidential Medal of Freedom is perhaps the
Order of Merit and the Companions of Honour, both of which are awarded
according criteria that is closer to that applied with the award of this
medal. There may have been those who should have received OM or CH but were
overlooked, and some of those who received one or other who may not have
merited it. But I would suggest that the embrace similar types of achievement.
I am not sure that this is entirely true since the Order of Merit is
entirely non-political. Perhaps the CH is more comparable but it has
only one class and isn't usually awarded to foreign Heads of State,
such as the recent PMF awarded to the Pope during the State Visit to
the Vatican.
Post by Guy Stair Sainty
This, despite the numerical limit which is applied to OM and CH, that is
not applied to the presidential medal.
I will leave it to someone else to compare the rarity of the two on the
basis of national populations - which, I think, may reasonably be
applied for the purpose of this comparison.
Again, national populations do not really apply since there are
several members of both the OM and CH who are not British but come
from the Commonwealth.

Cheers,
Christopher Buyers
Francois R. Velde
2004-08-29 07:21:37 UTC
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If this discussion is to continue fruitfully, it needs to be a little more
constructive.

The proposition put forward is that one national order is awarded more
selectively than others. In principle, once the meaning of "selectively" and
"others" is determined, proving or disproving the thesis is just a matter of
arithmetic.

Some of the points raised relate to the definition of "selectively" and
"others". The point about the US using alternative methods of rewarding people
contributes nothing in that respect. It's not going to prove or disprove the
proposition. Conversely, if, say, Italy were found to pay its civil servants
less than others, the fact would not be changed by pointing out that it awards
more medals.

Selectivity can be measured by a ratio of people who do get the award versus the
people who might get it.

The numerator raises some issues about which grades to include, and also whether
orders of a given country should be lumped together or not; of course, one can
always do the numbers either way.

It's not easy to come up with the right denominator, because it's not clear who
might get it.

A crude first attempt is total population of the relevant country, the idea
being that foreigners are not people who might get the award. If the objection
raised is that orders are often awarded to foreigners, then one could add the
whole world population to the denominator, or, perhaps more sensibly, one can
separate out the foreigners from both numerator and denominator and consider
only awards to own citizens.

One way to see if a denominator is reasonable is to see if the set of recipients
isn't obviously drawn largely from a very small subset of the pool of potential
recipients. For example, if the recipients come exclusively or
disproportionately from the civil service, then perhaps one should use the size
of the civil service (which can vary a lot country by country) as denominator.
Likewise, it may be appropriate to separate military from non-military in some
cases.

When I say "largely" I am obviously imprecise. But sometimes it's pretty
obvious what that means. When 90% of the recipients are drawn from 0.002% of
the population, it makes no sense to use the whole population as denominator.
And it doesn't have to be the case that 100% of the recipients are drawn from
that small pool.

If other objections are raised, then perhaps one can provide one's preferred
definition, unless one is arguing that all orders are equally selective.

--
François Velde
***@nospam.org (replace by "heraldica")
Heraldry Site: http://www.heraldica.org/
Christopher Buyers
2004-08-29 16:24:44 UTC
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Post by Francois R. Velde
If this discussion is to continue fruitfully, it needs to be a little more
constructive.
The proposition put forward is that one national order is awarded more
selectively than others. In principle, once the meaning of "selectively" and
"others" is determined, proving or disproving the thesis is just a matter of
arithmetic.
Some of the points raised relate to the definition of "selectively" and
"others". The point about the US using alternative methods of rewarding people
contributes nothing in that respect. It's not going to prove or disprove the
proposition.
Nobody said it would!
Post by Francois R. Velde
Conversely, if, say, Italy were found to pay its civil servants
less than others, the fact would not be changed by pointing out that it awards
more medals.
Selectivity can be measured by a ratio of people who do get the award versus the people who might get it.
Indeed so, but only if that analysis is done across the board.

For example, I doubt if there are very many Korean shopkeepers in
downtown Los Angeles eligible for the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Conversely, I doubt if there have been very many who have received it
who were not millionaires.

Top awards by simple logic are going to be awarded to the top people.
Any given country across the globe is likely to have one head of
state, supreme military commander, chief law officer, policeman,
foreign minister, head of the civil service, etc.
Post by Francois R. Velde
The numerator raises some issues about which grades to include, and also whether
orders of a given country should be lumped together or not; of course, one can
always do the numbers either way.
It's not easy to come up with the right denominator, because it's not clear who might get it.
A crude first attempt is total population of the relevant country, the idea
being that foreigners are not people who might get the award. If the objection
raised is that orders are often awarded to foreigners, then one could add the
whole world population to the denominator, or, perhaps more sensibly, one can
separate out the foreigners from both numerator and denominator and consider
only awards to own citizens.
The last isn't a very sensible idea when, especially in the "top"
category of awards, the majority of awards are to foreigners. Indeed,
in the case of such countries like Sweden, for all practical purposes
awards are to foreigners.

In many cases the highest awards are even restricted to heads of
state, by definition that must mean that the majority are foreigners.
Excluding awards to foreigners would leave one or two national
recipients who happened to have served as head of state, in which case
there will be little point of comparing any American decoration
because countries who had such decorations would "win" hands down.

Cheers,
Christopher Buyers
Joseph McMillan
2004-08-30 02:55:52 UTC
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Post by Christopher Buyers
For example, I doubt if there are very many Korean shopkeepers in
downtown Los Angeles eligible for the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Conversely, I doubt if there have been very many who have received it
who were not millionaires.
I'm afraid this reflects a lack of knowledge of some of the recipients
of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. They include Cesar Chavez, the
lettuce-picker who organized the Mexican-American farm workers of
California; Rosa Parks, the African-American lady who triggered the
Montgomery bus boycott in the early stages of the civil rights
struggle; and Mother Teresa of Calcutta, just to pick three who
weren't exactly candidates for the Forbes 400. No, no Korean
shopkeepers have won the medal, but there's no reason to suppose that
if one displayed the level of achievement shown by the three I've just
named that he would be excluded from consideration.

Joe McMillan
Christopher Buyers
2004-08-30 06:08:49 UTC
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Post by Joseph McMillan
Post by Christopher Buyers
For example, I doubt if there are very many Korean shopkeepers in
downtown Los Angeles eligible for the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Conversely, I doubt if there have been very many who have received it
who were not millionaires.
I'm afraid this reflects a lack of knowledge of some of the recipients
of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. They include Cesar Chavez, the
lettuce-picker who organized the Mexican-American farm workers of
California; Rosa Parks, the African-American lady who triggered the
Montgomery bus boycott in the early stages of the civil rights
struggle; and Mother Teresa of Calcutta, just to pick three who
weren't exactly candidates for the Forbes 400. No, no Korean
shopkeepers have won the medal, but there's no reason to suppose that
if one displayed the level of achievement shown by the three I've just
named that he would be excluded from consideration.
And which class Mr McMillan? Did these poor folk walk around with
sashes and breast stars?

I am afraid that whether in France or the UK you can find road
sweepers, cooks and lolipop ladies a plenty in the lower classes of
orders.

It may also surprise you to know that there have been knights of the
Garter who lived in Council houses.

Cheers,
Christopher Buyers
Joseph McMillan
2004-08-30 13:29:45 UTC
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Post by Christopher Buyers
And which class Mr McMillan? Did these poor folk walk around with
sashes and breast stars?
There are only two classes of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the
regular one and "with distinction" or "with special distinction." The
latter two are the same thing; the designation changed at some point
in the late sixties or early seventies. This is the degree that comes
with sash and breast star.

According to the website
<http://www.medaloffreedom.com/WithDistinction.htm>, there have been
23 awards of the medal "with distinction/with special distinction."
(As this site acknowledges, it is not always clear whether a
particular award was "with distinction;" my search of the Public
Papers of the President does not reveal "with distinction" for all of
these, but the compiler of the site seems to have had access to the
actual citations.) Seven of these were given in the first batch of
PMFs announced in late 1963. Here are the names of all the
recipients:

Dean Acheson - government official, diplomat
Edwin Aldrin - astronaut
Neil Armstrong- astronaut
Ellsworth Bunker - diplomat (site says two awards; I can find only one
in Public Papers of the Presidents)
Ralph Bunche - diplomat, UN Under Secretary-General
David K. E. Bruce - government official, diplomat
Clark Clifford - government official
Michael Collins - astronaut
James B. Conant - chemist, ambassador, educator
Felix Frankfurter - jurist
Martha Graham - dancer and choreographer
W. Averell Harriman - politician, diplomat
Robert Lovett - government official
John J. McCloy - government official, diplomat, president of World
Bank
Jean Monnet - French banker, father of European integration
Luis Muñoz Marín - governor of Puerto Rico
Edward R. Murrow - journalist
Ronald Reagan - president
Artur Rubinstein - pianist
Dean Rusk - government official
Carl Vinson - politician
Caspar Weinberger - government official

Most of these people did not come from notably privileged backgrounds;
some of them (Harriman, e.g.) obviously did. Ralph Bunche was born to
a poor black family in Detroit and grew up poor in Los Angeles. If
Bunche were alive and walking around his old neighborhoods with his
sash and star on today, he'd be mugged for them. Felix Frankfurter
was the son of Jewish immigrants from Vienna, perhaps the late 19th
century equivalent of your Korean shopkeeper. Edward R. Murrow was
the son of Quaker farmers from Polecat, North Carolina, hardly a
bastion of the aristocracy. The three Apollo 11 astronauts, Ronald
Reagan, and Carl Vinson were all from modest, although not
impoverished backgrounds. I don't know enough about the biographies
of the others to comment.

I am *not* arguing that the PMF's distribution mirrors American
society, so it's useless to tax me with that point. I'm not saying
that people of humble origins are not represented among the ranks of
the top degrees of the top European orders of merit; I have no
information on that point. Mr. Buyers doubted whether the ranks of
the PMF included people like Korean shopkeepers from LA. I pointed
out that it did. Then he raised the ante to sashes and stars. Again,
yes.

Finally, I will repeat a point that apparently isn't getting through.
The PMF is not the equivalent of the lower degrees of British orders.
To say, "Well, yeah, there are poor black MBEs, too, so what's the big
deal if Rosa Parks gets the Presidential Medal of Freedom?" is
therefore way off target.

To the extent the US has equivalents to the lower degrees of British
orders, it's that plethora of service, departmental, and agency medals
mentioned earlier. I have three of them, so I know whereof I speak
when I acknowledge that most of these awards are much less selective
and less meaningful than their British, French, or German
counterparts.

But that has nothing to do with the stature of the Presidential Medal
of Freedom. Once again, I maintain that even the "ordinary" PMF is
the equal of the grand cross degree of European orders of merit. The
number of awards given and the overall level of contributions to
society of the recipients bears this out. As Dr. Velde has pointed
out, the PMF has not been devalued, as it easily could have been,
despite the fact that its award is entirely within the gift of the
President and there are no limits other than the President's sense of
discretion on the number that can be handed out. I find myself amazed
that this is even open to argument. Unless I'm totally missing the
point.

Regards,
Joseph McMillan
Joseph McMillan
2004-08-30 18:48:00 UTC
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Post by Joseph McMillan
As Dr. Velde has pointed
out,
Apologies. It was not, of course, Francois Velde but Guy Stair Sainty
who made the observation about the non-devaluation of the PMF.

Joe McMillan
Francois R. Velde
2004-08-31 01:46:05 UTC
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Post by Joseph McMillan
Post by Joseph McMillan
As Dr. Velde has pointed
out,
Apologies. It was not, of course, Francois Velde but Guy Stair Sainty
who made the observation about the non-devaluation of the PMF.
Besides, no one on ATR (or elsewhere) calls me like that.

--
François Velde
***@nospam.org (replace by "heraldica")
Heraldry Site: http://www.heraldica.org/
Louis Epstein
2004-08-31 00:19:16 UTC
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Post by Joseph McMillan
Post by Christopher Buyers
And which class Mr McMillan? Did these poor folk walk around with
sashes and breast stars?
There are only two classes of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the
regular one and "with distinction" or "with special distinction." The
latter two are the same thing; the designation changed at some point
in the late sixties or early seventies. This is the degree that comes
with sash and breast star.
According to the website
<http://www.medaloffreedom.com/WithDistinction.htm>, there have been
23 awards of the medal "with distinction/with special distinction."
(As this site acknowledges, it is not always clear whether a
particular award was "with distinction;" my search of the Public
Papers of the President does not reveal "with distinction" for all of
these, but the compiler of the site seems to have had access to the
actual citations.) Seven of these were given in the first batch of
PMFs announced in late 1963. Here are the names of all the
Dean Acheson - government official, diplomat
Edwin Aldrin - astronaut
Neil Armstrong- astronaut
Ellsworth Bunker - diplomat (site says two awards; I can find only one
in Public Papers of the Presidents)
Ralph Bunche - diplomat, UN Under Secretary-General
David K. E. Bruce - government official, diplomat
Clark Clifford - government official
Michael Collins - astronaut
James B. Conant - chemist, ambassador, educator
Felix Frankfurter - jurist
Martha Graham - dancer and choreographer
W. Averell Harriman - politician, diplomat
Robert Lovett - government official
John J. McCloy - government official, diplomat, president of World
Bank
Jean Monnet - French banker, father of European integration
Luis Munoz Marin - governor of Puerto Rico
Edward R. Murrow - journalist
As per that website's disclaimer,it should be noted that the
autobiography of Colin Powell notes that his second Medal of
Freedom was "With Distinction".He first objected that he had
already received the medal and the Distinction was pointed
out as making the difference;he successfully rejected the
opulent ribbon they wanted to make part of the presentation.
Apparently the first presentation did not go around his neck
and the second did,though it's still scarcely a "collar" award.
Post by Joseph McMillan
Ronald Reagan - president
Artur Rubinstein - pianist
Dean Rusk - government official
Carl Vinson - politician
Caspar Weinberger - government official
Most of these people did not come from notably privileged backgrounds;
some of them (Harriman, e.g.) obviously did. Ralph Bunche was
born to a poor black family in Detroit and grew up poor in Los
Angeles. If Bunche were alive and walking around his old neighborhoods
with his sash and star on today, he'd be mugged for them. Felix
Frankfurter was the son of Jewish immigrants from Vienna, perhaps
the late 19th century equivalent of your Korean shopkeeper.
Edward R. Murrow was the son of Quaker farmers from Polecat, North
Carolina, hardly a bastion of the aristocracy. The three Apollo 11
astronauts, Ronald Reagan, and Carl Vinson were all from modest,
although not impoverished backgrounds. I don't know enough about
the biographies of the others to comment.
I am *not* arguing that the PMF's distribution mirrors American
society, so it's useless to tax me with that point. I'm not saying
that people of humble origins are not represented among the ranks
of the top degrees of the top European orders of merit; I have no
information on that point. Mr. Buyers doubted whether the ranks of
the PMF included people like Korean shopkeepers from LA. I pointed
out that it did. Then he raised the ante to sashes and stars.
Again, yes.
Finally, I will repeat a point that apparently isn't getting through.
The PMF is not the equivalent of the lower degrees of British orders.
To say, "Well, yeah, there are poor black MBEs, too, so what's the
big deal if Rosa Parks gets the Presidential Medal of Freedom?" is
therefore way off target.
To the extent the US has equivalents to the lower degrees of British
orders, it's that plethora of service, departmental, and agency medals
mentioned earlier. I have three of them, so I know whereof I speak
when I acknowledge that most of these awards are much less selective
and less meaningful than their British, French, or German
counterparts.
I recall that the Queen of the Netherlands has on visits to
Washington granted some degree of the Order of Orange-Nassau
to Americans who have assisted her professionally,and the State
Department has only allowed the higher-ranking recipients to
keep their awards.
Post by Joseph McMillan
But that has nothing to do with the stature of the Presidential Medal
of Freedom. Once again, I maintain that even the "ordinary" PMF is
the equal of the grand cross degree of European orders of merit.
GCB perhaps but not KG.
Post by Joseph McMillan
The number of awards given and the overall level of contributions to
society of the recipients bears this out. As Dr. Velde has pointed
out, the PMF has not been devalued, as it easily could have been,
despite the fact that its award is entirely within the gift of the
President and there are no limits other than the President's sense of
discretion on the number that can be handed out. I find myself amazed
that this is even open to argument. Unless I'm totally missing the
point.
Have the various Presidents had a consistent selectivity
policy?

-=-=-
The World Trade Center towers MUST rise again,
at least as tall as before...or terror has triumphed.
Christopher Buyers
2004-08-31 04:57:34 UTC
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Post by Joseph McMillan
Post by Christopher Buyers
And which class Mr McMillan? Did these poor folk walk around with
sashes and breast stars?
There are only two classes of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the
regular one and "with distinction" or "with special distinction." The
latter two are the same thing;
Well, as far as I know there are three sets of insignia.
Post by Joseph McMillan
the designation changed at some point
in the late sixties or early seventies. This is the degree that comes
with sash and breast star.
According to the website
<http://www.medaloffreedom.com/WithDistinction.htm>, there have been
23 awards of the medal "with distinction/with special distinction."
(As this site acknowledges, it is not always clear whether a
particular award was "with distinction;" my search of the Public
Papers of the President does not reveal "with distinction" for all of
these,
As I said, there are three sets of insignia. See Werlich pp. 16-17.

That there are poor records as to who received what is of no interest
to me. If someone wants to do an analysis of rarity of award and
compare the highest awards across the globe it is up to them to supply
the figures, not tell us how difficult it is when challenged.
Post by Joseph McMillan
but the compiler of the site seems to have had access to the
actual citations.) Seven of these were given in the first batch of
PMFs announced in late 1963. Here are the names of all the
Dean Acheson - government official, diplomat
Edwin Aldrin - astronaut
Neil Armstrong- astronaut
Ellsworth Bunker - diplomat (site says two awards; I can find only one
in Public Papers of the Presidents)
Ralph Bunche - diplomat, UN Under Secretary-General
David K. E. Bruce - government official, diplomat
Clark Clifford - government official
Michael Collins - astronaut
James B. Conant - chemist, ambassador, educator
Felix Frankfurter - jurist
Martha Graham - dancer and choreographer
W. Averell Harriman - politician, diplomat
Robert Lovett - government official
John J. McCloy - government official, diplomat, president of World
Bank
Jean Monnet - French banker, father of European integration
Luis Muñoz Marín - governor of Puerto Rico
Edward R. Murrow - journalist
Ronald Reagan - president
Artur Rubinstein - pianist
Dean Rusk - government official
Carl Vinson - politician
Caspar Weinberger - government official
Most of these people did not come from notably privileged backgrounds;
some of them (Harriman, e.g.) obviously did. Ralph Bunche was born to
a poor black family in Detroit and grew up poor in Los Angeles. If
Bunche were alive and walking around his old neighborhoods with his
sash and star on today, he'd be mugged for them. Felix Frankfurter
was the son of Jewish immigrants from Vienna, perhaps the late 19th
century equivalent of your Korean shopkeeper. Edward R. Murrow was
the son of Quaker farmers from Polecat, North Carolina, hardly a
bastion of the aristocracy. The three Apollo 11 astronauts, Ronald
Reagan, and Carl Vinson were all from modest, although not
impoverished backgrounds. I don't know enough about the biographies
of the others to comment.
Who cares what their origins are, I was talking about their actual
position. Your claim about the Garter being restricted to the English
peerage did not consider what the origins of the recipients were, only
their actual status. So why not consider the same for recipients of
the PMF?

Most of the people you list are millionaires, from what I can see.
Post by Joseph McMillan
I am *not* arguing that the PMF's distribution mirrors American
society, so it's useless to tax me with that point. I'm not saying
that people of humble origins are not represented among the ranks of
the top degrees of the top European orders of merit; I have no
information on that point. Mr. Buyers doubted whether the ranks of
the PMF included people like Korean shopkeepers from LA. I pointed
out that it did. Then he raised the ante to sashes and stars. Again,
yes.
But you have always been talking about the top honours, not me. You
raised the equivalence with a Grand Cross or Knight Companionship,
that is why I mentioned recipients of the first class of the PMF.
Isn't this logical?

Cheers,
Christopher Buyers
Francois R. Velde
2004-08-31 05:20:40 UTC
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[...]If someone wants to do an analysis of rarity of award and
compare the highest awards across the globe it is up to them to supply
the figures, not tell us how difficult it is when challenged.
[...]
Most of the people you list are millionaires, from what I can see.
You have figures to prove that assertion?

--
François Velde
***@nospam.org (replace by "heraldica")
Heraldry Site: http://www.heraldica.org/
Christopher Buyers
2004-09-01 19:23:10 UTC
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Post by Francois R. Velde
[...]If someone wants to do an analysis of rarity of award and
compare the highest awards across the globe it is up to them to supply
the figures, not tell us how difficult it is when challenged.
[...]
Most of the people you list are millionaires, from what I can see.
You have figures to prove that assertion?
There are twenty two people in the list. Just look at the message before mine.

Christopher Buyers
Francois R. Velde
2004-09-02 01:28:21 UTC
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Post by Christopher Buyers
Post by Francois R. Velde
[...]If someone wants to do an analysis of rarity of award and
compare the highest awards across the globe it is up to them to supply
the figures, not tell us how difficult it is when challenged.
[...]
Most of the people you list are millionaires, from what I can see.
You have figures to prove that assertion?
There are twenty two people in the list. Just look at the message before mine.
So you don't. How's that for prejudice.

--
François Velde
***@nospam.org (replace by "heraldica")
Heraldry Site: http://www.heraldica.org/
Joseph McMillan
2004-08-31 12:02:55 UTC
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Post by Christopher Buyers
Well, as far as I know there are three sets of insignia.
Well, then, you know wrong. And if Werlich says it, then he's wrong.
There are two versions. With [special] distinction and without. The
first is a shoulder ribbon and star; the other is a medal suspended on
a neck ribbon. There is a miniature version worn on the breast.
Post by Christopher Buyers
Post by Joseph McMillan
the designation changed at some point
in the late sixties or early seventies. This is the degree that comes
with sash and breast star.
That there are poor records as to who received what is of no interest
to me. If someone wants to do an analysis of rarity of award and
compare the highest awards across the globe it is up to them to supply
the figures, not tell us how difficult it is when challenged.
This is descending into the absurd. I'm not telling you how difficult
it is to document who receives the award. I'm telling you I don't
know for sure whether the number "with distinction" is 20 or 23. It's
statistically irrelevant which is the right number. My count is
lower; the website's is higher. I went with the higher number, which
errs on the side of non-selectivity.

And the point of providing the list was *simply* to show that, yes, in
response to your question, not everyone who gets the thing was born
with a silver spoon in his mouth.
Post by Christopher Buyers
Who cares what their origins are, I was talking about their actual
position.
Give me a break. No, Mexican-American lettuce pickers who do nothing
but pick lettuce do not get the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Happy?
Lettuce pickers who organize labor unions in a previously
un-unionized occupation and who thereby improve the status of their
brothers and sisters do.
Post by Christopher Buyers
Your claim about the Garter being restricted to the English
peerage did not consider what the origins of the recipients were, only
their actual status. So why not consider the same for recipients of
the PMF?
I did retract that statement, noting that many of the peers are life
peers, who were presumably rewarded for their achievements.
Post by Christopher Buyers
Most of the people you list are millionaires, from what I can see.
OK. Prove it.
Post by Christopher Buyers
But you have always been talking about the top honours, not me. You
raised the equivalence with a Grand Cross or Knight Companionship,
that is why I mentioned recipients of the first class of the PMF.
Isn't this logical?
No.
Francois R. Velde
2004-09-01 02:36:21 UTC
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Post by Joseph McMillan
I did retract that statement, noting that many of the peers are life
peers, who were presumably rewarded for their achievements.
As I noted earlier, if you limit yourself to royals (British or foreign) or
peers who are not the first holders of their title, you already get half of the
KG in this reign. For the life peers, one would have to check whether they got
the KG before or after the peerage, but I bet the figure of KGs awarded to
royals and peers is probably around 3/4.

Of course, whether or not someone is a peer is easily verified, whether or not
someone is a millionaire isn't. But then again, no one is compelled to make
assertions that are hard to prove.

Anyway, this is a thread that is going nowhere fast.

--
François Velde
***@nospam.org (replace by "heraldica")
Heraldry Site: http://www.heraldica.org/
Christopher Buyers
2004-09-01 19:19:32 UTC
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Post by Joseph McMillan
Post by Christopher Buyers
Well, as far as I know there are three sets of insignia.
Well, then, you know wrong. And if Werlich says it, then he's wrong.
Well, that just about sums up this discussion with you. Clearly, you
have never looked up Werlich and have no intention of even trying.
There really is no point going any further with this.
Joseph McMillan
2004-09-02 12:40:31 UTC
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Post by Christopher Buyers
Well, that just about sums up this discussion with you. Clearly, you
have never looked up Werlich and have no intention of even trying.
Oh, I forgot the cardinal rule of scholarship: when there's a factual
dispute, always trust the secondary source (Werlich) over the primary
sources (the executive order constituting the decoration and the
"Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States" containing the
lists of honorees. Executive Order 11085 of February 22, 1963, issued
by President John F. Kennedy says: "The Presidential Medal of
Freedom, hereinafter referred to as the Medal, shall be in two
degrees." The announcements of recipients in "Public Papers" have
never included more than two degrees.

But Werlich says there are three degrees, so QED: the first author
since St. Paul the Apostle who was incapable of error.

This is not intended as disrespect for Robert Werlich; I've used his
"Orders and Decorations of All Nations: Ancient and Modern, Civil and
Military" many times and always with great admiration for his
scholarship. But I don't have a copy on my desk, and not wanting to
say "Werlich is wrong" without personally seeing what he said, I used
the phrase "If Werlich says that, Werlich is wrong." So again, even
"if Werlich says that," then perhaps Mr. Buyers will explain to us why
Werlich is right and President Kennedy was wrong.
Post by Christopher Buyers
There really is no point going any further with this.
Amen.
David Pritchard
2004-08-31 01:54:08 UTC
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Dear Mr. Buyers,

Here in the United States this is veiwed as a racist comment.

Would white shopkeppers be eligible? Would Black shopkeepers be
eligible? Is it only the Asians who would be excluded? This is a very
odd sort of comment comming from soemone who claims to study Asians,
or do you study them in the same spirt of the 1930's German educators
who were trying to determine if the Untermenchen could be salvaged and
put to good use in the 1000 Year Reich?

Maybe you just do not like Los Angelas because of all the "race
mixing" that occurs there?

David Pritchard
edespalais
2004-08-31 06:45:23 UTC
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Post by David Pritchard
Dear Mr. Buyers,
Here in the United States this is
veiwed
Ce dernier mot du cowboy (as speaker of the English language use English
English
Post by David Pritchard
as a racist comment.
David Pritchard
2004-08-31 23:13:12 UTC
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An Englishman, an American and a Frenchman are all in Saudi Arabia,
sharing a smuggled crate of booze when, all of a sudden, Saudi police
rush in and arrest them. The mere possession of alcohol is a severe
offense in Saudi Arabia, so for the terrible crime of actually being
caught consuming the booze, they are all sentenced to death! However,
after many months and with the help of very good lawyers, they are
able to successfully appeal their sentences down to life imprisonment.
By a stroke of luck, it was a Saudi national holiday the day their
trial finished, and the extremely benevolent Sheik decided they could
be released after each receiving just 20 lashes of the whip.

As they were preparing for their punishment, the Sheik announced:
"It's my first wife's birthday today, and she has asked me to allow
each of you one wish before your whipping."

The Englishman was first in line, he thought for a while and then
said: "Please tie a pillow to my back."

This was done, but the pillow only lasted 10 lashes before the whip
went through. When the punishment was done he had to be carried away
bleeding and crying with pain.

The Frenchman was next up. After watching the Engishman in horror he
said smugly: "Please fix deux pillows to my back."

But even two pillows could only take 15 lashes before the whip went
through again and the Frenchman was soon led away whimpering loudly
(as they do).

The American was the last one up, but before he could say anything,
the Sheik turned to him and said: "You are from a most beautiful part
of the world and your people are the kindest and most generous in the
world. For this, you may have two wishes!"

"Thank you, your Most Royal and Merciful highness", The American
replied. "In recognition of your kindness, my first wish is that you
give me not 20, but 100 lashes."

"Not only are you an honorable, handsome and powerful man, you are
also very brave". The Sheik said with an admiring look on his face.

"If 100 lashes is what you desire, then so be it. And your second
wish, what is it to be?" the Sheik asked.

"Tie the Frenchman to my back."
Kelly Paul Graham
2004-09-01 16:54:39 UTC
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Post by David Pritchard
An Englishman, an American and a Frenchman are all in Saudi Arabia,
sharing a smuggled crate of booze when, all of a sudden, Saudi police
rush in and arrest them.
Who (or "What") is this "David Pritchard"?

Kelly Paul Graham
David Pritchard
2004-08-31 23:26:39 UTC
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A French diplomat is spending some time in an Iraqi military base.
After a few weeks he asks a soldier what they do for sex. The soldier
leads him behind the mess tent and points to the camel. The diplomat
recoils in horror. After a few more weeks the same soldier walks
behind the mess tent and sees the diplomat on a stool behind the camel
humping away(no pun intended). The soldier cries out in alarm.."What
do you think you are doing to our camel?" The diplomat replies"Well,
you are the one who told me I should use her for sex". The soldier
says "Yes, but we usually ride her to town and get ourselves a woman".
Christopher Buyers
2004-08-31 06:48:23 UTC
Reply
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Post by David Pritchard
Dear Mr. Buyers,
Here in the United States this is veiwed as a racist comment.
Would white shopkeppers be eligible? Would Black shopkeepers be
eligible? Is it only the Asians who would be excluded? This is a very
odd sort of comment comming from soemone who claims to study Asians,
or do you study them in the same spirt of the 1930's German educators
who were trying to determine if the Untermenchen could be salvaged and
put to good use in the 1000 Year Reich?
Maybe you just do not like Los Angelas because of all the "race
mixing" that occurs there?
Stupid man, both my parents have one Asian parent each.
Donald Renouf
2004-08-31 14:34:12 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Christopher Buyers
Post by David Pritchard
Dear Mr. Buyers,
Here in the United States this is veiwed as a racist comment.
Would white shopkeppers be eligible? Would Black shopkeepers be
eligible? Is it only the Asians who would be excluded? This is a very
odd sort of comment comming from soemone who claims to study Asians,
or do you study them in the same spirt of the 1930's German educators
who were trying to determine if the Untermenchen could be salvaged and
put to good use in the 1000 Year Reich?
Maybe you just do not like Los Angelas because of all the "race
mixing" that occurs there?
Stupid man, both my parents have one Asian parent each.
OWZAAAT!
David Pritchard
2004-08-31 19:41:36 UTC
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Raw Message
Mr. Buyers,

How exactly am I supposed to be stupid? I cannot read your mind, only
the tone of the words that you write!

For all of the effort that you seem to have put into your web site,
one thing is very obviously missing, any information about yourself!
You are an unknown. No biography of any kind, no qualification posted
of any kind no affiliations of any kind posted. One would think that
someone who portrays himself as such an expert would have some kind of
affiliation such as a Fellow of the Society of Genealogist, Member or
Fellow of the Royal Africa Society, Fellow of the Royal Asiatic
Society or Academician of the Academie Internationale Genealogique. No
instead we get no information about you other than your alleged name
of Christopher J. Buyers. If you think that my knowledge of you is
slim, blame yourself.

For all we know you may be a precocious teenage girl in Des Moines
Iowa. Please tell us why we should trust an unknown factor such as you
are? Convince us to believe what is on your site is true and the work
of a scholar rather than some ignorant hack?

David Pritchard
Post by Christopher Buyers
Post by David Pritchard
Dear Mr. Buyers,
Here in the United States this is veiwed as a racist comment.
Would white shopkeppers be eligible? Would Black shopkeepers be
eligible? Is it only the Asians who would be excluded? This is a very
odd sort of comment comming from soemone who claims to study Asians,
or do you study them in the same spirt of the 1930's German educators
who were trying to determine if the Untermenchen could be salvaged and
put to good use in the 1000 Year Reich?
Maybe you just do not like Los Angelas because of all the "race
mixing" that occurs there?
Stupid man, both my parents have one Asian parent each.
edespalais
2004-08-31 19:58:26 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by David Pritchard
Mr. Buyers,
..
Post by David Pritchard
For all of the effort that you seem to have put into your web site,
one thing is very obviously missing, any information about yourself!
..

One is as modest as possible concerning yourself. In Imperial Order one put
to many orders on, on got the message: Indeed you have a lot of Spinach!

THE ws concerning Vie.. was alright! One is interested in qualities and not
what somebody has concerning personal papers, from universities, etc.
Donald Renouf
2004-09-01 12:54:34 UTC
Reply
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Post by David Pritchard
For all we know you may be a precocious teenage girl in Des Moines
Iowa. Please tell us why we should trust an unknown factor such as you
are? Convince us to believe what is on your site is true and the work
of a scholar rather than some ignorant hack?
Well, he does give extensive lists of sources, which presumably can be
checked.

And what is with this mass-posting of feeble jokes? It's not really
*done*, you know, Mr Pritchard.
Christopher Buyers
2004-09-02 05:28:15 UTC
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Raw Message
Post by David Pritchard
Mr. Buyers,
How exactly am I supposed to be stupid? I cannot read your mind, only
the tone of the words that you write!
For all of the effort that you seem to have put into your web site,
one thing is very obviously missing, any information about yourself!
You are an unknown. No biography of any kind, no qualification posted
of any kind no affiliations of any kind posted. One would think that
someone who portrays himself as such an expert would have some kind of
affiliation such as a Fellow of the Society of Genealogist, Member or
Fellow of the Royal Africa Society, Fellow of the Royal Asiatic
Society or Academician of the Academie Internationale Genealogique. No
instead we get no information about you other than your alleged name
of Christopher J. Buyers. If you think that my knowledge of you is
slim, blame yourself.
For all we know you may be a precocious teenage girl in Des Moines
Iowa. Please tell us why we should trust an unknown factor such as you
are? Convince us to believe what is on your site is true and the work
of a scholar rather than some ignorant hack?
Actually, I don't give a Tinker's cuss if you believe me or you don't.

I have presented my case and made my argument. you can either accept
it or reject it. You can argue against it and you can denounce it. Not
much matter to me.

My website has the sources that I have used, which you are free to
consult and dispute as you wish. I do not portray myself as anything.
I simply give my views and state my case.

Indeed if it is of no import, why do you people visit my website so
often and copy so much? Why the need for all these rediculous decrees
from Mr Buu Chanh? Why are people playing musical chairs? Why are
"Chancellors" being told to become "advisers"? Why are the editorships
of web pages changing? Why the need to find communist and racist
scapegoats?

The parading of titles, qualifications and honours is empty in a world
where, as you are perfectly well aware, people fake the lot.

CJB
Post by David Pritchard
Post by Christopher Buyers
Post by David Pritchard
Dear Mr. Buyers,
Here in the United States this is veiwed as a racist comment.
Would white shopkeppers be eligible? Would Black shopkeepers be
eligible? Is it only the Asians who would be excluded? This is a very
odd sort of comment comming from soemone who claims to study Asians,
or do you study them in the same spirt of the 1930's German educators
who were trying to determine if the Untermenchen could be salvaged and
put to good use in the 1000 Year Reich?
Maybe you just do not like Los Angelas because of all the "race
mixing" that occurs there?
Stupid man, both my parents have one Asian parent each.
edespalais
2004-09-02 06:37:09 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Christopher Buyers
Post by David Pritchard
Mr. Buyers,
How exactly am I supposed to be stupid? I cannot read your mind, only
the tone of the words that you write!
For all of the effort that you seem to have put into your web site,
one thing is very obviously missing, any information about yourself!
You are an unknown. No biography of any kind, no qualification posted
of any kind no affiliations of any kind posted. One would think that
someone who portrays himself as such an expert would have some kind of
affiliation such as a Fellow of the Society of Genealogist, Member or
Fellow of the Royal Africa Society, Fellow of the Royal Asiatic
Society or Academician of the Academie Internationale Genealogique. No
instead we get no information about you other than your alleged name
of Christopher J. Buyers. If you think that my knowledge of you is
slim, blame yourself.
For all we know you may be a precocious teenage girl in Des Moines
Iowa. Please tell us why we should trust an unknown factor such as you
are? Convince us to believe what is on your site is true and the work
of a scholar rather than some ignorant hack?
Actually, I don't give a Tinker's cuss if you believe me or you don't.
I have presented my case and made my argument. you can either accept
it or reject it. You can argue against it and you can denounce it. Not
much matter to me.
My website has the sources that I have used, which you are free to
consult and dispute as you wish. I do not portray myself as anything.
I simply give my views and state my case.
Indeed if it is of no import, why do you people visit my website so
often and copy so much? Why the need for all these rediculous decrees
from Mr Buu Chanh? Why are people playing musical chairs? Why are
"Chancellors" being told to become "advisers"? Why are the editorships
of web pages changing? Why the need to find communist and racist
scapegoats?
The parading of titles, qualifications and honours is empty in a world
where, as you are perfectly well aware, people fake the lot.
CJB
Post by David Pritchard
Post by Christopher Buyers
Post by David Pritchard
Dear Mr. Buyers,
Here in the United States this is veiwed as a racist comment.
Would white shopkeppers be eligible? Would Black shopkeepers be
eligible? Is it only the Asians who would be excluded? This is a very
odd sort of comment comming from soemone who claims to study Asians,
or do you study them in the same spirt of the 1930's German educators
who were trying to determine if the Untermenchen could be salvaged and
put to good use in the 1000 Year Reich?
Maybe you just do not like Los Angelas because of all the "race
mixing" that occurs there?
Stupid man, both my parents have one Asian parent each.
David Pritchard
2004-09-02 20:57:08 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
Mr. Buyers (if this is your real name),

You resort to foul language when you cannot answer my question.
Usually you are able to twist ones words around like a seasoned
lawyer. Your protest that your qualifications as a genealogist are
irrelevant gives you away as a fraud.

Would one trust a do it yourself pharmacist? A self styled accountant?
A dilitante pilot? Absolutely not! But we are to believe that
everything on your website is fact and well researched?

This episode with Vietnam proved that you are no expert despite your
assertions. The constant changing of the facts of the web site is
proof that you are not a reputable genealogist.

Your actions have proved that when it comes to non-European Royalty,
it is best to consult the Almanach de Buxelles rather than your
"bargain" site.

What are your credtials? Catty behavior is not a qualification. I
expect that you will skirt this issue by changing the topic.

David Pritchard
Lee Montgomery
2004-09-02 21:07:39 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by David Pritchard
Catty behavior is not a qualification.
Knowing many stupid jokes, on the other hand...
edespalais
2004-09-02 21:11:06 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by David Pritchard
Mr. Buyers (if this is your real name),
You resort to foul language when you cannot answer my question.
Usually you are able to twist ones words around like a seasoned
lawyer. Your protest that your qualifications as a genealogist are
irrelevant gives you away as a fraud.
Would one trust a do it yourself pharmacist? A self styled accountant?
A dilitante pilot? Absolutely not! But we are to believe that
everything on your website is fact and well researched?
This episode with Vietnam proved that you are no expert despite your
assertions. The constant changing of the facts of the web site is
proof that you are not a reputable genealogist.
Your actions have proved that when it comes to non-European Royalty,
it is best to consult the Almanach de Buxelles rather than your
"bargain" site.
What are your credtials? Catty behavior is not a qualification. I
expect that you will skirt this issue by changing the topic.
David Pritchard
David Pritchard
2004-08-31 20:28:05 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
The Ho Chi Minh Times, 1 September 2004

Congratulations to Our Foreign Comrade Fighting Against Neo-Feudalism

Our comrade Christopher Buyers has been waging a courageous battle on
the Internet against the counter-Revolutionary Prince Buu Chanh on the
behalf of the valiant Vietnamese workers who do resist the return to
the days of oppressive feudalism and class struggle of the Nguyen
monarchy.

Christopher Buyers, posing as an authoritative genealogist, has tried
to discredit the reactionary Prince Buu Chanh by publicly stating the
prince is not a Nguyen prince but instead an imposter. We would also
like to thank and encourage comrade Buyers for his efforts to
undermine his own oppressive and antiquated monarchy led by the tyrant
Elizabeth Windsor.

Signed:

Giap Engine Factory, Hanoi Annex No. 3
Engels Electrical Combine No. 2
Troung Sisters Ammunition Factory No. 5
Nguyen Trung De
2004-09-01 20:16:03 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by David Pritchard
The Ho Chi Minh Times, 1 September 2004
Congratulations to Our Foreign Comrade Fighting Against Neo-Feudalism
Our comrade Christopher Buyers has been waging a courageous battle on
the Internet against the counter-Revolutionary Prince Buu Chanh on the
behalf of the valiant Vietnamese workers who do resist the return to
the days of oppressive feudalism and class struggle of the Nguyen
monarchy.
Christopher Buyers, posing as an authoritative genealogist, has tried
to discredit the reactionary Prince Buu Chanh by publicly stating the
prince is not a Nguyen prince but instead an imposter. We would also
like to thank and encourage comrade Buyers for his efforts to
undermine his own oppressive and antiquated monarchy led by the tyrant
Elizabeth Windsor.
Giap Engine Factory, Hanoi Annex No. 3
Engels Electrical Combine No. 2
Troung Sisters Ammunition Factory No. 5
Don't be so modest to you and your own friends, rest would read:

Ha Noi wish especially to thank great party men Lindgren, Perillos and
Pritchard who have worked so hard in completely ruining and
discrediting the Nguyen pretender with all legitimate powers in Europe
and across the world. The act they play of attacks, lies and childish
behavior will ensure no one ever is taking seriously a return to the
imperial system and that the cause of the pretended prince is totally
foreign dominated and further division of anti-party efforts. For
this, because they so desire great honors, we bestow them the Grand
Uncle Ho Cross of Party Heroes of the Communist Star of the Sickened
Dragon, Pham Van Dong class with Vo Nguyen Giap ribbon.

--President Tran Duc Luong, with greatest appreciation for showing the
poor judgement and horrible behavior of the counter-revolutionary
forces!
Guy Stair Sainty
2004-08-29 16:00:53 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
In article <***@posting.google.com>, Christopher Buyers
says...
Post by Christopher Buyers
Post by Guy Stair Sainty
says...
Post by Christopher Buyers
The idea, that the Garter for example, is restricted to the English
peerage is as outdated as the the PMF is old.
While it is incorrect to say that it is restricted to the peerage, if
one excludes the awards to former prime ministers, over the past 50 years
the majority of members have been peers, or at the very least representatives
of well-known landed gentry families. This is a relatively small pool -
I would estimate that at any one time the potenital number of likely candidates
for a vacancy in the Order's ranks, is probably not more than
50 people. Anyone with the time and a knowledge of the system could draw up 50
names at the time of each vacancy and be reasonably sure that the new
knight would be on that list. Even if one extended that to 100 persons,
the list is still tiny.
I am not really sure how exactly Sir Ninian Stephen, the Queen of
Denmark, or the Queen of the Netherlands fit into the English peerage,
or landed gentry, for that matter. Please explain!
Now you are making this unnecessarily complicated. Foreign sovereigns
are extra-companions, a sof course you know, and this discussion was
comparing numerary limits; this was the whole basis of the original
selection of 75 for the Legion of Honour, 100 for the GBE, 120 for the
Bath, etc. As I have said, there are a few non-peers and non-PMs, and
governot-generals of the past - but the point is that the list of
potential Garter knights at anyone time is a very short one. Surely
you are not now reversing your original argument and suggesting that
the entire population is potentially eligible?
Post by Christopher Buyers
Post by Guy Stair Sainty
Post by Christopher Buyers
As for the pool, this too is somewhat rediculous, because is so many
countries, particularly continental European ones, the purpose of
orders is largely to reward foreigners. Indeed, one can argue that the
Order of Merit of the Republic is too widely awarded, but check the
awards and you will see that they are overwhelmingly foreign. What use
therefore the national population of Italy?
The awards to foreigners is because most of the countries in the world
practice the investiture of foreign ambassadors after a certain time in their
post in the Grand Cross of the senior state Order(s). In Spain that means
Charles III or Isabella the Catholic, in France the Legion of Honour or
National Order of Merit, in Italy the Ordine al Merito, with the Holy
See the Ordine Piano, etc. However, if you take Italy, you will find that
the majority of recipients of the Grand Cross, particularly since the late
1960s, have been Italians - simply because there has been "inflation" and
unlike the legion of Honour there is no limit on the number of national
citizens.
I am not sure that the reason for awarding decorations to foreign
ambassodors changes anything in the argument. On the contrary, it
simply proves my point that in a lot of countries awards to foreigners
are the main reason for orders.
Do you have the relative numbers for the GC of the Order of Merit for
the Republic of Italy? The last time I looked, the awards to
foreigners exceeded Italians, but I took the whole period of award
since 1953.
It goes up and down; when there is a state visit, you get a lot of foreign
awards; when the president retires a lot of Italians. The present President
has vowed to try and reduce the number annually, but once the precedent has
been set (as in the UK) for a particular office holder to receive the GC
or whatever upon retirement, it is hard to unscramble it.
Post by Christopher Buyers
Post by Guy Stair Sainty
The political appointment of ambassadors is because the Ambassadors are
the personal nominees of the President; this is a monarchical prerogative
that in the case of almost every European monarchy has been taken over the by
the government, which chooses and appoints ambassadors in the name of trhe
sovereign (even though they are received in audience etc, the Sovereign has
no say in the matter). It cannot be compared with the award of a lifetime
honour.
Again, I am not sure how different a political honour is from an
Ambassadorial appointment. The appointment itself may not be a
lifetime honour but presumably the pecuniary benefits, presents
received in office, business and political contacts enhanced as a
consequence and the increased standing which the office confers
certainly do. Some even go on to be addressed as "former Ambassador".
An honour is just that, nothing more. An Ambassadorial position is one
whose privileges and duties are established in international law; they are
the representatives of the Head of State, whether or not noiminated by
the President himself (as in the US), or in the name of the sovereign (as'
in the UK). In the case of the US, usually the extra costs of entertaining
etc are born personally by the ambassador when he is a wealthy donor - most
will tell you that they come out far poorer than they went in. If you look
at ambassadorial appointments of the last 30 years, very few political
appointees have actually been able to benefit financially - very few made
their fortunes in businesses that had any connection at all with the country
they are posted to; in fact, one of the main questions at the Senatorial
hearings required to approve all Ambassadorial appointments (except the
rare recess appointments), is precisely that point. An Ambassadorial nominee
with a direct business connection in the country concerned will not be
confirmed. Most of the political appointments are made because the candidate
has existing social connections; Clinton's appointment of first Pamela Harriman
and then Felix Rohatyn to Paris, while for political reasons and while given to
people who had substantially aided his re-election, were considered by
both the state department and the quai d'Orsay to be outstanding appointments.
Pamela H had lived for a long time in France and spoke the language fluently;
she proved an outstanding hostess and networker. Felix Rohatyn had spent part
of his youth living in France after his parents fled Vienna, and he was not
only fluent in French but Mitterand was a close personal friend. The recently
retired US Ambassador to the Court of St James, William Farrish, was a close
friend of HM the Queen who had several times stayed with him and his wife
at their Kentucky estate. He also knew the UK very well. At the end of the
day he lacked some of the necessary political skills at a key moment, but
nonetheless the reasons for his selection were sound ones (he was also an
old a trusted friend of the Bush family). Clinton's last Ambassador to
Spain was also an outstanding succeess - he was the direct male line
descendant of the Captain of Conquistadores who had settled in New Mexico
in the 1550s, and while he was in Madrid made many good friendships. His
successor, appointed by the present President, was more of a mystery - he
was a Greek American, and did not speak Spanish. The Spanish government
were disappointed with this choice.
Post by Christopher Buyers
Post by Guy Stair Sainty
I do agree that the US system of honours is essentially unstructured, and
the awards of distinctions such as the Presidential Medal of Freedom
somewhat ad hoc. Presidents in making this award are constrained by
precedent, of which they certainly take note; I do not think one can
find examples of abuses - such as one might with UK dissolution honours
(Wilson and Major, for example).
The best comparison for the Presidential Medal of Freedom is perhaps the
Order of Merit and the Companions of Honour, both of which are awarded
according criteria that is closer to that applied with the award of this
medal. There may have been those who should have received OM or CH but were
overlooked, and some of those who received one or other who may not have
merited it. But I would suggest that the embrace similar types of achievement.
I am not sure that this is entirely true since the Order of Merit is
entirely non-political. Perhaps the CH is more comparable but it has
only one class and isn't usually awarded to foreign Heads of State,
such as the recent PMF awarded to the Pope during the State Visit to
the Vatican.
The Presidential Medal of Freedom is also non-political; the award to the
Pope was quite exceptional and unlikely to be repeated. The OM has been
given to politicians, and while one might say they did not receive it for
political reasons, this is also true of the appointment of the Pope.
--
Guy Stair Sainty
www.chivalricorders.org/index3.htm
Christopher Buyers
2004-08-30 06:01:59 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Guy Stair Sainty
says...
Post by Christopher Buyers
Post by Guy Stair Sainty
says...
Post by Christopher Buyers
The idea, that the Garter for example, is restricted to the English
peerage is as outdated as the the PMF is old.
While it is incorrect to say that it is restricted to the peerage, if
one excludes the awards to former prime ministers, over the past 50 years
the majority of members have been peers, or at the very least representatives
of well-known landed gentry families. This is a relatively small pool -
I would estimate that at any one time the potenital number of likely candidates
for a vacancy in the Order's ranks, is probably not more than
50 people. Anyone with the time and a knowledge of the system could draw up 50
names at the time of each vacancy and be reasonably sure that the new
knight would be on that list. Even if one extended that to 100 persons,
the list is still tiny.
I am not really sure how exactly Sir Ninian Stephen, the Queen of
Denmark, or the Queen of the Netherlands fit into the English peerage,
or landed gentry, for that matter. Please explain!
Now you are making this unnecessarily complicated. Foreign sovereigns
are extra-companions, a sof course you know, and this discussion was
comparing numerary limits; this was the whole basis of the original
selection of 75 for the Legion of Honour, 100 for the GBE, 120 for the
Bath, etc. As I have said, there are a few non-peers and non-PMs, and
governot-generals of the past - but the point is that the list of
potential Garter knights at anyone time is a very short one. Surely
you are not now reversing your original argument and suggesting that
the entire population is potentially eligible?
Not really, I was just trying to show how difficult and potentially
meaningless the calculation may be.

I do not really think that the issue is at all about numeracy limits
since the original poster was talking about an American "order" that
has none. Nor does it seem to make any distinction between foreign or
doemstice recipients.

Indeed, to my mind a foreign sovereign or a British prince or princess
who has received the Garter has just as much been honoured with the
order and been awarded it, as any Knight Companion.

While it may be relatively easy to identify extra knights in the order
of the Garter, it isn't so easy to do with any of the other British
orders. Any British recipient who is appointed but may exceed the
statutory limit is called an "extra". It wouldn't make a lot of sense
to try and either identify or exclude them.
Post by Guy Stair Sainty
Post by Christopher Buyers
Post by Guy Stair Sainty
Post by Christopher Buyers
As for the pool, this too is somewhat rediculous, because is so many
countries, particularly continental European ones, the purpose of
orders is largely to reward foreigners. Indeed, one can argue that the
Order of Merit of the Republic is too widely awarded, but check the
awards and you will see that they are overwhelmingly foreign. What use
therefore the national population of Italy?
The awards to foreigners is because most of the countries in the world
practice the investiture of foreign ambassadors after a certain time in their
post in the Grand Cross of the senior state Order(s). In Spain that means
Charles III or Isabella the Catholic, in France the Legion of Honour or
National Order of Merit, in Italy the Ordine al Merito, with the Holy
See the Ordine Piano, etc. However, if you take Italy, you will find that
the majority of recipients of the Grand Cross, particularly since the late
1960s, have been Italians - simply because there has been "inflation" and
unlike the legion of Honour there is no limit on the number of national
citizens.
I am not sure that the reason for awarding decorations to foreign
ambassodors changes anything in the argument. On the contrary, it
simply proves my point that in a lot of countries awards to foreigners
are the main reason for orders.
Do you have the relative numbers for the GC of the Order of Merit for
the Republic of Italy? The last time I looked, the awards to
foreigners exceeded Italians, but I took the whole period of award
since 1953.
It goes up and down; when there is a state visit, you get a lot of foreign
awards; when the president retires a lot of Italians. The present President
has vowed to try and reduce the number annually, but once the precedent has
been set (as in the UK) for a particular office holder to receive the GC
or whatever upon retirement, it is hard to unscramble it.
Post by Christopher Buyers
Post by Guy Stair Sainty
The political appointment of ambassadors is because the Ambassadors are
the personal nominees of the President; this is a monarchical prerogative
that in the case of almost every European monarchy has been taken over the by
the government, which chooses and appoints ambassadors in the name of trhe
sovereign (even though they are received in audience etc, the Sovereign has
no say in the matter). It cannot be compared with the award of a lifetime
honour.
Again, I am not sure how different a political honour is from an
Ambassadorial appointment. The appointment itself may not be a
lifetime honour but presumably the pecuniary benefits, presents
received in office, business and political contacts enhanced as a
consequence and the increased standing which the office confers
certainly do. Some even go on to be addressed as "former Ambassador".
An honour is just that, nothing more. An Ambassadorial position is one
whose privileges and duties are established in international law; they are
the representatives of the Head of State, whether or not noiminated by
the President himself (as in the US), or in the name of the sovereign (as'
in the UK). In the case of the US, usually the extra costs of entertaining
etc are born personally by the ambassador when he is a wealthy donor - most
will tell you that they come out far poorer than they went in.
If you look
at ambassadorial appointments of the last 30 years, very few political
appointees have actually been able to benefit financially - very few made
their fortunes in businesses that had any connection at all with the country
they are posted to; in fact, one of the main questions at the Senatorial
hearings required to approve all Ambassadorial appointments (except the
rare recess appointments), is precisely that point. An Ambassadorial nominee
with a direct business connection in the country concerned will not be
confirmed.
This isn't something I disagree with, but you need to keep in mind
that they come back having made business and other contacts which
usually help them more than recoup any expenditure. One needs to keep
in mind that these folk are usually hard nosed businessmen and bankers
and American society is far more mercenary than most in Europe. I am
really not sure why you think this is a point for dissagreement.
Post by Guy Stair Sainty
Most of the political appointments are made because the candidate
has existing social connections; Clinton's appointment of first Pamela
Harriman and then Felix Rohatyn to Paris, while for political reasons and > while given to
people who had substantially aided his re-election, were considered by
both the state department and the quai d'Orsay to be outstanding appointments.
Pamela H had lived for a long time in France and spoke the language fluently;
she proved an outstanding hostess and networker. Felix Rohatyn had spent part
of his youth living in France after his parents fled Vienna, and he was not
only fluent in French but Mitterand was a close personal friend. The recently
retired US Ambassador to the Court of St James, William Farrish, was a close
friend of HM the Queen who had several times stayed with him and his wife
at their Kentucky estate. He also knew the UK very well. At the end of the
day he lacked some of the necessary political skills at a key moment, but
nonetheless the reasons for his selection were sound ones (he was also an
old a trusted friend of the Bush family). Clinton's last Ambassador to
Spain was also an outstanding succeess - he was the direct male line
descendant of the Captain of Conquistadores who had settled in New Mexico
in the 1550s, and while he was in Madrid made many good friendships. His
successor, appointed by the present President, was more of a mystery - he
was a Greek American, and did not speak Spanish. The Spanish government
were disappointed with this choice.
All perfectly true. However, I do no thank that whether or not a
certain person was a success or failure in the appointment changes
anything in my argument. I have not denied that they could be a
success. I was simply pointing out that the appointments themselves
are used as rewards and you seem to accept this.
Post by Guy Stair Sainty
Post by Christopher Buyers
Post by Guy Stair Sainty
I do agree that the US system of honours is essentially unstructured, and
the awards of distinctions such as the Presidential Medal of Freedom
somewhat ad hoc. Presidents in making this award are constrained by
precedent, of which they certainly take note; I do not think one can
find examples of abuses - such as one might with UK dissolution honours
(Wilson and Major, for example).
The best comparison for the Presidential Medal of Freedom is perhaps the
Order of Merit and the Companions of Honour, both of which are awarded
according criteria that is closer to that applied with the award of this
medal. There may have been those who should have received OM or CH but were
overlooked, and some of those who received one or other who may not have
merited it. But I would suggest that the embrace similar types of achievement.
I am not sure that this is entirely true since the Order of Merit is
entirely non-political. Perhaps the CH is more comparable but it has
only one class and isn't usually awarded to foreign Heads of State,
such as the recent PMF awarded to the Pope during the State Visit to
the Vatican.
The Presidential Medal of Freedom is also non-political; the award to the
Pope was quite exceptional and unlikely to be repeated. The OM has been
given to politicians, and while one might say they did not receive it for
political reasons, this is also true of the appointment of the Pope.
Then we must disagree about what is political and what is not.
Something awarded by the President is being awarded by a politician
and must, by any definition, be political.

The idea behind the award of the Medal of Freedom to the Pope was
surely PR. The President has been electioneering for months.

Cheers,
Christopher Buyers
Guy Stair Sainty
2004-08-30 09:44:08 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
In article <***@posting.google.com>, Christopher Buyers
says...
Post by Christopher Buyers
Post by Guy Stair Sainty
says...
This isn't something I disagree with, but you need to keep in mind
that they come back having made business and other contacts which
usually help them more than recoup any expenditure. One needs to keep
in mind that these folk are usually hard nosed businessmen and bankers
and American society is far more mercenary than most in Europe. I am
really not sure why you think this is a point for dissagreement.
That is actually not true. I knew Mrs Harriman for years, and she had
no business interests and knew everyone anyway. I have also known
Felix Rohatyn for more than 20 years, and he has virtually retired
altogether. Walter Annenberg's business connections (he owned TV Guide)
were not enhanced in the slightest. Admiral Crowe, who is a close friend
of my parents-in-law, did not benefit in the slightest financially; he
is a retired Admiral.

I have met many former Ambassadors and I do not believe that one of them
has benefitted financially. Most take on extra obligations as a result of
their tenure. Ronald Lauder, for example, after serving as Ambassador in
Vienna, has been a major benefactor to Austrian museums, and has founded
a museum in NYC dedicated to Austrian and German 20th century art. John
Loeb Jr, an investment banker, was ambassador to Denmark, but he had
and has no financial interests in Denmark - his tenure there did spark an
interest in Danish art and he has formed a collection, which he has lent
to various institutions. The only time there was an imputation of financial
advantage was peripheral - William Wilson, when serving as first US
Ambassador to the Holy See, travelled to Libya to meet with the Libyans
over an oil contract, which attracted much criticism from the State
Department. His connections with Libya, however, pre-dated his appointment.
I think perhaps the only one who has benefitted is possibly the only career
diplomat to serve in London; at his resignation he decided not to return
to the US and settle in London where he has had a successful career as
a journalist, occasional TV commentator, lecturer and has served on
several boards.

There have been some poor choices - one of Reagan's appointees, to Italy,
made a stupid joke about the Italian navy at his appointment hearings;
Raymond Flynn, Clinton's choice for the Holy See, was a total disaster
(he was a former Mayor of Boston); I remember at one hearing in the early
1980s the newly appointed ambassador to Singapore could not place it on
the map.

I think you have an entirely mistaken idea of this, probably from a supericial
reading of press reports written by people with poor understanding of the
process and no personal acquaintance withe the ambassadors.

If you can name an Ambassador whose business you believe benefitted financially,
directly from his appointment, in the last 20 years, I would be interested.

Obviously all ambassadors of whatever stripe and from whatever country, make
useful contacts during their tenure. Many, upon retirement, are invited to
join intra-national bodies of both state, private, and commercial types.
These connections may bring financial advantage - and you will find that
retired British Ambassadors (just look at the number of ex-ambassadors to the
Middle East who have received highly profitable appointments from Arab companies
and governments! But it would be wrong to single out US ambassadors
in this regard. In fact, I would even hazard a guess that most return to where
they came, and go back to running their old businesses. It is usually the
professional ambassadors, with nothing but their pensions, who are most eager
to take up the positions where their connections with the countries they
were appointed to may prove useful.
--
Guy Stair Sainty
www.chivalricorders.org/index3.htm
Christopher Buyers
2004-08-31 05:08:17 UTC
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Post by Guy Stair Sainty
says...
Post by Christopher Buyers
Post by Guy Stair Sainty
says...
This isn't something I disagree with, but you need to keep in mind
that they come back having made business and other contacts which
usually help them more than recoup any expenditure. One needs to keep
in mind that these folk are usually hard nosed businessmen and bankers
and American society is far more mercenary than most in Europe. I am
really not sure why you think this is a point for dissagreement.
That is actually not true. I knew Mrs Harriman for years, and she had
no business interests and knew everyone anyway. I have also known
Felix Rohatyn for more than 20 years, and he has virtually retired
altogether. Walter Annenberg's business connections (he owned TV Guide)
were not enhanced in the slightest. Admiral Crowe, who is a close friend
of my parents-in-law, did not benefit in the slightest financially; he
is a retired Admiral.
I have met many former Ambassadors and I do not believe that one of them
has benefitted financially. Most take on extra obligations as a result of
their tenure. Ronald Lauder, for example, after serving as Ambassador in
Vienna, has been a major benefactor to Austrian museums, and has founded
a museum in NYC dedicated to Austrian and German 20th century art. John
Loeb Jr, an investment banker, was ambassador to Denmark, but he had
and has no financial interests in Denmark - his tenure there did spark an
interest in Danish art and he has formed a collection, which he has lent
to various institutions. The only time there was an imputation of financial
advantage was peripheral - William Wilson, when serving as first US
Ambassador to the Holy See, travelled to Libya to meet with the Libyans
over an oil contract, which attracted much criticism from the State
Department. His connections with Libya, however, pre-dated his appointment.
I think perhaps the only one who has benefitted is possibly the only career
diplomat to serve in London; at his resignation he decided not to return
to the US and settle in London where he has had a successful career as
a journalist, occasional TV commentator, lecturer and has served on
several boards.
There have been some poor choices - one of Reagan's appointees, to Italy,
made a stupid joke about the Italian navy at his appointment hearings;
Raymond Flynn, Clinton's choice for the Holy See, was a total disaster
(he was a former Mayor of Boston); I remember at one hearing in the early
1980s the newly appointed ambassador to Singapore could not place it on
the map.
I think you have an entirely mistaken idea of this, probably from a supericial
reading of press reports written by people with poor understanding of the
process and no personal acquaintance withe the ambassadors.
If you can name an Ambassador whose business you believe benefitted financially,
directly from his appointment, in the last 20 years, I would be interested.
Obviously all ambassadors of whatever stripe and from whatever country, make
useful contacts during their tenure. Many, upon retirement, are invited to
join intra-national bodies of both state, private, and commercial types.
These connections may bring financial advantage - and you will find that
retired British Ambassadors (just look at the number of ex-ambassadors to the
Middle East who have received highly profitable appointments from Arab companies
and governments! But it would be wrong to single out US ambassadors
in this regard. In fact, I would even hazard a guess that most return to where
they came, and go back to running their old businesses. It is usually the
professional ambassadors, with nothing but their pensions, who are most eager
to take up the positions where their connections with the countries they
were appointed to may prove useful.
My goodness, with all this dissinterested service I shall have to
change my mind entirely and become a preacher in its advocacy.

I really do not understand why you persist in trying to defend a
system that most Americans themselves are deeply ashamed about. But
really, is this a system that you would recommend other countries
adopt?

Cheers,
Christopher Buyers
Francois R. Velde
2004-08-31 05:19:06 UTC
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Post by Christopher Buyers
I really do not understand why you persist in trying to defend a
system that most Americans themselves are deeply ashamed about.
He obviously knows a lot more about it than most Americans do. Perhaps his
opinion is better informed?
Post by Christopher Buyers
But
really, is this a system that you would recommend other countries
adopt?
Non sequitur.

Suppose you defend the monarchy for Britain. Would it make sense to ask if you
would recommend it for Switzerland? And if you said no, would that necessarily
detract from your arguments?

--
François Velde
***@nospam.org (replace by "heraldica")
Heraldry Site: http://www.heraldica.org/
Christopher Buyers
2004-09-01 05:22:41 UTC
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Post by Christopher Buyers
I really do not understand why you persist in trying to defend a
system that most Americans themselves are deeply ashamed about.
He obviously knows a lot more about it than most Americans do. Perhaps his
opinion is better informed?
I am afraid I do not accept that. Time and again, his arguments are
seen to be based on people he knows. That isn't knowledge, it is
closer to prejudice.
Post by Christopher Buyers
But
really, is this a system that you would recommend other countries
adopt?
Non sequitur.
Suppose you defend the monarchy for Britain. Would it make sense to ask if you
would recommend it for Switzerland? And if you said no, would that necessarily
detract from your arguments?
Well shot yourself on that one. I would indeed recommend monarchy for
Switzerland. If I did not, it certainly would detract from my argument
because it would mean that I didn't really believe in what I was
saying.
Francois R. Velde
2004-09-01 05:32:16 UTC
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Post by Christopher Buyers
Post by Francois R. Velde
Post by Christopher Buyers
But
really, is this a system that you would recommend other countries
adopt?
Non sequitur.
Suppose you defend the monarchy for Britain. Would it make sense to ask if you
would recommend it for Switzerland? And if you said no, would that necessarily
detract from your arguments?
Well shot yourself on that one. I would indeed recommend monarchy for
Switzerland.
And for every country in the world, I suppose. Never let the facts get in the
way of a simplistic idea.
Post by Christopher Buyers
If I did not, it certainly would detract from my argument
because it would mean that I didn't really believe in what I was
saying.
Just as a doctor who prescribes chemotherapy for a cancer patient but not for a
patient with hepatitis can't possibly believe in what he is saying.

--
François Velde
***@nospam.org (replace by "heraldica")
Heraldry Site: http://www.heraldica.org/
Guy Stair Sainty
2004-09-01 13:06:25 UTC
Reply
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In article <***@posting.google.com>, Christopher Buyers
says...
Post by Christopher Buyers
Post by Christopher Buyers
I really do not understand why you persist in trying to defend a
system that most Americans themselves are deeply ashamed about.
He obviously knows a lot more about it than most Americans do. Perhaps his
opinion is better informed?
I am afraid I do not accept that. Time and again, his arguments are
seen to be based on people he knows. That isn't knowledge, it is
closer to prejudice.
Thank you Mr Buyers for your usual outstanding courtesy. I have tried to
give examples where I know the instances very well and am extremely
familiar with the careers of the ambassadors in question (incidentally,
I also know Ambassador William Wilson, whom I mentioned as having been
criticised for his Libyan visit; and who incidentally denies that there
was any inpropriety - he and I for a while sat on the same not-for-profit
board - I mention this to demonstrate that I have not simply cited those
who ambassadorial careers were considered successes).

Are you familiar with the careers of any US Ambassadors? Do you know anything
about the appointment procedures? Do you have any knowledge of any cases
where - as you allege - the ambassador profited personally and directly
from the enjoyment of his post. If so, please cite them. If not, please return
to your speciality - Non-European Monarchies.
--
Guy Stair Sainty
www.chivalricorders.org/index3.htm
Guy Stair Sainty
2004-08-31 07:16:30 UTC
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In article <***@posting.google.com>, Christopher Buyers
says...
Post by Christopher Buyers
My goodness, with all this dissinterested service I shall have to
change my mind entirely and become a preacher in its advocacy.
I really do not understand why you persist in trying to defend a
system that most Americans themselves are deeply ashamed about. But
really, is this a system that you would recommend other countries
adopt?
I do not believe that most Americans who are informed about the system and
how it works are ashamed of it. Yes, there have been mistakes, yes some
of the Ambassadors have been poor choices. But the press focuses on the
mistakes, and rarely comments on successes. The US system would not work
for most countries because in most countries one would be hard pressed
to find wealthy people who are prepared to exercise philanthropy on the
scale of the US (2% of GDP, as opposed to 0.3% in the UK); equally there
is no tradition of private participation in public matters (for example,
membership of museum and university boards). The point that you do not
seem to understand about a US Ambassador is that while he is the representative
of the US, he is in reality first and foremost the personal representative
of the President. While some nominees to less important posts have been
rewarded for their generosity to presidential campaigns, this is very
rarely the reason for their appointment to major posts. For the country
to which the ambassador is accredited, having an ambassador in place who
can pick up the phone and get the president is a huge advantage. In most
European states the foreign office is a far more important institution in
setting policy; the US State department certainly controls policy in most of the
world, and all the lesser aspects of policy in major states, but relations with
major states with whom policy is more important are more closely directed by the
president and secretary of state personally. Hence the ability of the ambassador
to communicate directly and speedily with the president, and perhaps to have
some direct influence on policy, is an advantage that a career diplomat does not
bring.

In every foreign service those in charge are forced to compete for funds with
other government departments; typically treasury officials see ambassadorial
entertainment budgets as easy subjects of cuts. For the foreign service,
however, an ability to entertain on a grand scale is the most effective way of
making personal contact with people of influence. To have a wealthy ambassador
who is able to entertain on a grand scale will help that country enormously in
getting its viewpoint over; this is a great advantage of the American system. If
he does not have the means (this would have been true of Ambassadors Seitz and
Crowe, for example), then he must have other qualities and the state department
needs to find enough entertainment funds to compensate.

This is because the US President, in the exercise of foreign policy, has in some
respects the authority of an absolute monarch. In the Monarchies of the 18th
and probably even 19th century Ambassadors of the more absolutist states were
appointed according to similar criteria, since they were expected to finance
their embassies themselves, and to be good, close, and trusted councilors of the
Monarch.

The concept of a salaried ambassador, who worked his way up through the ranks,
is relatively novel. The modern, career civil service is a feature of modern
governments with vast bureaucracies that run every aspect of the lives of the
citizenry – if one considers British ambassadorial appointments of the 19th
century, you will find that the appointment of Ambassadors to major posts were
overwhelmingly from the aristocracy and had rarely, if ever, worked their way up
through the ranks of the foreign service.

Hence, if one considers US ambassadorial appointments, I think you will find
that the proportion of poorly qualified appointees is relatively small.
--
Guy Stair Sainty
www.chivalricorders.org/index3.htm
Christopher Buyers
2004-09-01 19:11:27 UTC
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Post by Guy Stair Sainty
says...
Post by Christopher Buyers
My goodness, with all this dissinterested service I shall have to
change my mind entirely and become a preacher in its advocacy.
I really do not understand why you persist in trying to defend a
system that most Americans themselves are deeply ashamed about. But
really, is this a system that you would recommend other countries
adopt?
I do not believe that most Americans who are informed about the system and
how it works are ashamed of it.
Well, then we shall have to disagree about your beliefs. If you really
think that only uninformed people are critical of the system, you
cannot be very widely read.
Post by Guy Stair Sainty
Yes, there have been mistakes, yes some
of the Ambassadors have been poor choices. But the press focuses on the
mistakes, and rarely comments on successes. The US system would not work
for most countries because in most countries one would be hard pressed
to find wealthy people who are prepared to exercise philanthropy on the
scale of the US (2% of GDP, as opposed to 0.3% in the UK); equally there
is no tradition of private participation in public matters (for example,
membership of museum and university boards).
The subject we are dealing is about people who make large
contributions to political funds, receiving in return, appointments to
diplomatic positions. That is the issue you need to address, not
philanthropy as a percentage of GDP or memberships of museum boards!
Post by Guy Stair Sainty
The point that you do not
seem to understand about a US Ambassador is that while he is the representative
of the US, he is in reality first and foremost the personal representative
of the President.
All Ambassadors are the representatives of their national Head of
State. The US is not unique in this and the issue has no bearing
whatever on the discussion. Plenty of countries, in the same
situation, seem to manage perfectly well without the need to appoint
party donors.
Post by Guy Stair Sainty
While some nominees to less important posts have been
rewarded for their generosity to presidential campaigns, this is very
rarely the reason for their appointment to major posts. For the country
to which the ambassador is accredited, having an ambassador in place who
can pick up the phone and get the president is a huge advantage.
Is this serious, or are you actually attacking the language and
telephone dialling skills of the career staff at US embassies?

This is an amazing argument. The Ambassador of the most powerful
country in the world cannot speak to the president of the country to
which he is credited, because he isn't his own president's friend!
Post by Guy Stair Sainty
In most
European states the foreign office is a far more important institution in
setting policy; the US State department certainly controls policy in most of the
world, and all the lesser aspects of policy in major states, but relations with
major states with whom policy is more important are more closely directed by the
president and secretary of state personally. Hence the ability of the ambassador
to communicate directly and speedily with the president, and perhaps to have
some direct influence on policy, is an advantage that a career diplomat does not
bring.
Seems to me that in the instances for which you are trying to make a
case, the relationship is established directly between the President
and the Secretary with the opposite head of government directly. If
they need to communicate directly, they use a telephone or satellite
link, they do not go to the local Ambassador. If this fails, they tend
to jump on a plane and meet in person.
Post by Guy Stair Sainty
In every foreign service those in charge are forced to compete for funds with
other government departments; typically treasury officials see ambassadorial
entertainment budgets as easy subjects of cuts.
Nonsense. They are expected to justify their expenditure. When they
cannot, budgets are then cut.
Post by Guy Stair Sainty
For the foreign service,
however, an ability to entertain on a grand scale is the most effective way of
making personal contact with people of influence. To have a wealthy ambassador
who is able to entertain on a grand scale will help that country enormously in
getting its viewpoint over; this is a great advantage of the American system. If
he does not have the means (this would have been true of Ambassadors Seitz and
Crowe, for example), then he must have other qualities and the state department
needs to find enough entertainment funds to compensate.
On the contrary, I suspect that in many countries showing off probably
does more harm than good, simply confirming the popular view of
brashness and vulgarity. American culinary culture probably negates
the whole intent anyway, and in this case "less" is probably "more".
Post by Guy Stair Sainty
The concept of a salaried ambassador, who worked his way up through the ranks,
is relatively novel. The modern, career civil service is a feature of modern
governments with vast bureaucracies that run every aspect of the lives of the
citizenry ? if one considers British ambassadorial appointments of the 19th
century, you will find that the appointment of Ambassadors to major posts were
overwhelmingly from the aristocracy and had rarely, if ever, worked their way up
through the ranks of the foreign service.
Indeed so, but our discussion is about post 1962, not the eighteenth
or nineteenth century.

Why do you suppose the system has evolved away from that in other
countries?

It is because they needed experts in foreign relations, knowledgeable
in international relations, languages and negotiating skills on the
one hand, and to eliminate corruption on the other.

Cheers,
Christopher Buyers
Joseph McMillan
2004-09-02 03:43:00 UTC
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Post by Christopher Buyers
Post by Guy Stair Sainty
While some nominees to less important posts have been
rewarded for their generosity to presidential campaigns, this is very
rarely the reason for their appointment to major posts. For the country
to which the ambassador is accredited, having an ambassador in place who
can pick up the phone and get the president is a huge advantage.
Is this serious, or are you actually attacking the language and
telephone dialling skills of the career staff at US embassies?
This is an amazing argument. The Ambassador of the most powerful
country in the world cannot speak to the president of the country to
which he is credited, because he isn't his own president's friend!
Once again, you miss the point. It's not whether the US ambassador in
Stockholm can or can't pick up the phone and talk to the PM of Sweden.
It's whether he can pick up the phone and get the President of the
United States to take his call. This matters to many receiving
countries. Some have specifically asked for political ambassadors to
be sent to them for this very reason. It doesn't work, because a
political ambassador sent to a country that needs to ask isn't well
enough connected to the US President for it to do any good, but Guy is
absolutely correct that some countries prefer to have a political
appointee over a career foreign service officer.
Post by Christopher Buyers
On the contrary, I suspect that in many countries showing off probably
does more harm than good, simply confirming the popular view of
brashness and vulgarity. American culinary culture probably negates
the whole intent anyway, and in this case "less" is probably "more".
Oh, very nice. Let's elevate this to the national equivalent of an ad
hominem attack. I haven't noticed the British (or French) embassies
in too many places keeping a low social profile. But perhaps it's
only showing off if there's an American flag out front?

By the way, you're comparing American culinary culture to what? The
highly renowned English cuisine? Have you actually been to a social
event at an American embassy to be able to make this judgment?
Post by Christopher Buyers
Why do you suppose the system has evolved away from that in other
countries?
It is because they needed experts in foreign relations, knowledgeable
in international relations, languages and negotiating skills on the
one hand, and to eliminate corruption on the other.
The question is not why other countries evolved away from the old
system but why the US retained so much of it. And in answering that,
you have to take account of the fact that it's not just
ambassadorships but senior domestic appointments that are kept in the
political domain as well. Why? I covered this several days ago.
American politicians and American voters don't like or trust unelected
career officials, especially diplomats, whom they see as disconnected
from the people of the United States. They see the career services as
elites, and America is inherently an anti-elitist place. The
politicians and the public are determined to keep the administrative
and diplomatic establishments responsive to the will of elected
officials, and thus to the will of the voters. The way that is done
is by putting people into the kind of positions we're talking about
who are beholden to the President and his allies, not to other
mandarins. If they have to sacrifice effectiveness and efficiency to
keep the careerists in line, so be it.

I personally happen to think this concern about out-of-control
careerists is excessive and that the US would be well served by moving
closer to the European model. But my views on this subject are not
typical.

I see no reason to pursue this any further. That we will never agree
seems to be the only thing we agree on, and I'd prefer not to keep
having to stifle the incivil impulses that this discussion stirs up.
Christopher Buyers
2004-08-31 07:47:49 UTC
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Post by Guy Stair Sainty
says...
Post by Christopher Buyers
Post by Guy Stair Sainty
says...
This isn't something I disagree with, but you need to keep in mind
that they come back having made business and other contacts which
usually help them more than recoup any expenditure. One needs to keep
in mind that these folk are usually hard nosed businessmen and bankers
and American society is far more mercenary than most in Europe. I am
really not sure why you think this is a point for dissagreement.
That is actually not true. I knew Mrs Harriman for years, and she had
no business interests …
How so? Did she deposit all the wealth she inherited from the late Mr
Harriman in a bank account and then live off the interest alone?
Post by Guy Stair Sainty
and knew everyone anyway.
Well, lets not go into the how's and why for's of that one. In this
particular case, some people say that there is knew and "knew",
friends and "friends".
Post by Guy Stair Sainty
I have also known Felix Rohatyn for more than 20 years, and he has virtually retired
altogether. Walter Annenberg's business connections (he owned TV Guide)
were not enhanced in the slightest.
Again, I refuse to believe that their only financial interests are
somehow interest bearing bank deposits.
Post by Guy Stair Sainty
Admiral Crowe, who is a close friend
of my parents-in-law, did not benefit in the slightest financially; he
is a retired Admiral.
What on earth is his retired status proof of?
Post by Guy Stair Sainty
I have met many former Ambassadors and I do not believe that one of them
has benefitted financially. Most take on extra obligations as a result of
their tenure. Ronald Lauder, for example, after serving as Ambassador in
Vienna, has been a major benefactor to Austrian museums, and has founded
a museum in NYC dedicated to Austrian and German 20th century art. John
Loeb Jr, an investment banker, was ambassador to Denmark, but he had
and has no financial interests in Denmark - his tenure there did spark an
interest in Danish art and he has formed a collection, which he has lent
to various institutions.
Perhaps too many friendships in your case blinker your view of an
indefensible system. One which most American's that I have ever met
deplore, and one which no other decent democracy has seen appropriate
to adopt. Although there may be odd examples of similar appointments
from other countries, all but corrupt dictatorships have shrunk from
adopting the American system. Why do you suppose that is?
Post by Guy Stair Sainty
The only time there was an imputation of financial
advantage was peripheral - William Wilson, when serving as first US
Ambassador to the Holy See, travelled to Libya to meet with the Libyans
over an oil contract, which attracted much criticism from the State
Department. His connections with Libya, however, pre-dated his appointment.
How is the fact that he had earlier connections with Libya peripheral?
Is it normal for Ambassadors to the Holy See to concern themselves
with oil contracts in Libya?
Post by Guy Stair Sainty
I think perhaps the only one who has benefitted is possibly the only career
diplomat to serve in London; at his resignation he decided not to return
to the US and settle in London where he has had a successful career as
a journalist, occasional TV commentator, lecturer and has served on
several boards.
There have been some poor choices - one of Reagan's appointees, to Italy,
made a stupid joke about the Italian navy at his appointment hearings;
Raymond Flynn, Clinton's choice for the Holy See, was a total disaster
(he was a former Mayor of Boston); I remember at one hearing in the early
1980s the newly appointed ambassador to Singapore could not place it on
the map.
I think you have an entirely mistaken idea of this, probably from a supericial
reading of press reports written by people with poor understanding of the processs
Of course you must be correct, there could not possibly be any other
reason or indeed anyone else on the planet who is equally critical of
the system!
Post by Guy Stair Sainty
and no personal acquaintance withe the ambassadors.
Indeed not. But does one really have to know someone personally before
making a judgement on them? Perhaps we should give up on electing
anybody on the same grounds.
Post by Guy Stair Sainty
If you can name an Ambassador whose business you believe benefitted financially,
directly from his appointment, in the last 20 years, I would be interested.
I do not name such people on a forum such as this. You are free to do
so if you wish, but it isn't my general policy.
Post by Guy Stair Sainty
Obviously all ambassadors of whatever stripe and from whatever country, make
useful contacts during their tenure. Many, upon retirement, are invited to
join intra-national bodies of both state, private, and commercial types.
These connections may bring financial advantage -
But you have just been telling us in the paragraphs that precede this,
that somehow Americans do not!
Post by Guy Stair Sainty
- and you will find that
retired British Ambassadors (just look at the number of ex-ambassadors to the
Middle East who have received highly profitable appointments from Arab companies
and governments!
Indeed so, and it is a practice I deplore and believe a means should
be found to end.

However, your argument is now a little difficult to follow. You say
that former British Ambassadors to the Middle East are able to make
profitable use of their contacts after leaving office, but no American
Ambassador has been able to do the same in 20 years.

Almost every report on the Foreign Office laments the poor business
acumen of the service and their limited economic knowledge. Yet, you
say that they are able to achieve something that hard-nosed American
business folk cannot. Either these reports on the Foreign office have
all been wrong or an amazing incompetence reigns at the top of the
American business world. Which is it?
Post by Guy Stair Sainty
But it would be wrong to single out US ambassadors in this regard.
This is amazing, these types buy their appointments by making
donations to political parties that they see benefit them in the first
place. Yet we are seriously supposed to believe that having done so,
they then turn to lives of ulterior public service, eschewing a
lifetime career and inclination.
Post by Guy Stair Sainty
In fact, I would even hazard a guess that most return to where
they came, and go back to running their old businesses.
How is this inconsistent with benefiting economically from contacts
made during tenure?
Post by Guy Stair Sainty
It is usually the
professional ambassadors, with nothing but their pensions, who are most eager
to take up the positions where their connections with the countries they
were appointed to may prove useful.
True that former professional diplomats do, but it isn't something I
defend or see at all necessary in this day and age. Pensions are far
better than they used to be, both job security and pension security
compare more than favourably with the private sector. So a ban on such
post retirement careers should be seriously considered.

That being said, it is a very far cry from the American system, where
people purchase their appointments and use said office to further
their business or commercial interests.

Cheers,
Christopher Buyers
Guy Stair Sainty
2004-08-31 08:38:25 UTC
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In article <***@posting.google.com>, Christopher Buyers
says...
Post by Christopher Buyers
Post by Guy Stair Sainty
says...
Buyers
Post by Christopher Buyers
Post by Guy Stair Sainty
says...
This isn't something I disagree with, but you need to keep in mind
that they come back having made business and other contacts which
usually help them more than recoup any expenditure. One needs to keep
in mind that these folk are usually hard nosed businessmen and bankers
and American society is far more mercenary than most in Europe. I am
really not sure why you think this is a point for dissagreement.
That is actually not true. I knew Mrs Harriman for years, and she had
no business interests …
How so? Did she deposit all the wealth she inherited from the late Mr
Harriman in a bank account and then live off the interest alone?
She had the income from a trust and a relatively small capital bequest;
yes, sufficient for her to live comfortably. There are many inherited
fortunes in the US which are invested by managers on behalf of the beneficiaries
and I would hazard a guess that in the vast majority of these cases the
beneficiaries have little knowledge of the precise contents of their
porfolios, and any individual interest anyway would be so small so that
any benefit to such a company an ambassador could bring (so unlikely
as to be almost beyond the realms of probability), would be negligible.
In the Harriman case the fortune had been made in railways in the 19th century;
the family had long divested itself of these interests and the fortune steadily
diminished thereafter. The largest individual assets controlled by Mrs Harriman
were a few works of art. Mrs Harriman's last
husband had served as Ambassador during WWII with great success (as anothe
correspondent has pointed out); he made his entire life a career in public
service, a life that he was able to finance thanks to his personal fortune.
I do not know anyone with any knowlegde of him or his career (and I obviously
exclude you from such a group, since you evidently know nothing at all about
him) who would suggest that he did so out of any reason other than a desire
to serve his country.
Post by Christopher Buyers
Post by Guy Stair Sainty
and knew everyone anyway.
Well, lets not go into the how's and why for's of that one. In this
particular case, some people say that there is knew and "knew",
friends and "friends".
That is just insulting. Mrs Harriman's romantic career embraced a few
well-known men; it hardly extended to the French political establishment.
Post by Christopher Buyers
Post by Guy Stair Sainty
I have also known Felix Rohatyn for more than 20 years, and he has virtually retired
altogether. Walter Annenberg's business connections (he owned TV Guide)
were not enhanced in the slightest.
Again, I refuse to believe that their only financial interests are
somehow interest bearing bank deposits.
He was for decades a senior partner of Lazard Freres, an investment bank
controlled in large part by Michel David-Weill and his family. He had
resigned from the bank several years before his appointment as he had
hoped to be appointed secretary of the treasury (as he had saved the finances of
New York in the 1970s as pro bono Chairman of the NY financial
body which took over the finances of the city at a key moment, he was
well-qualified and highly regarded for his service). He made a substantial
fortune in his career which was widely invested; but he did not run a business,
nor was he an officer of a public company during his tenure. His wife founded
the very successful FRAME (French-American Museums Exchange to which they
were substantial contributors); for reasons I do not quite understand you
seem to find it hard to grasp the concept that there are people, and quite a
few of them, who having been blessed with extraordinary good fortune, feel
obliged to give some of that back. For example, while a partner in Lazard,
Felix Rohatyn was one of the participants in an extraordinary privately
founded and funded program by which successful and wealthy individuals would
guarantee to pay the college education of a high school class in a disadvantaged
area. This required a minimum donation of $350,000.
Not only did the donor promise this very large sum, but twice a term he or
she would go and spend a morning or afternoon with the class offering advice
and helping them come to terms with their problems. Drop out rates in classes
which benefited from this plummeted.

I had one client, an extraordinary woman who having made her own fortune
(and qualified first as a solicitor, then as a barrister, becoming a
Canadian QC, and running a shipping line that she had inherited aged 22),
married a hugely wealthy business man from Kansas; they established a foundation
that by the time of her sadly premature death aged 70, was
funding the college education of more than 1200 Kansas city students.

There are many Americans who have been equally or more generous; many who
actually feel proud to serve their country and bear the huge expense of
a foreign embassy. Most of them do so with the best of intentions. I believe
that you will find relatively few who have ever done it with personal
gain in mind - when one has a fortune in the tens or hundreds of millions,
and arrived at a certain age, it is possible to be satisfied with one's
lot and not have to use every opportunity to enrich oneself further.
Post by Christopher Buyers
Post by Guy Stair Sainty
Admiral Crowe, who is a close friend
of my parents-in-law, did not benefit in the slightest financially; he
is a retired Admiral.
What on earth is his retired status proof of?
That he had no business interests to further, of course! He is involved
today with the Pilgrims; he earns some speaking fees; he is on the board
of the University of Oklahoma, and on some other public bodies - otherwise
he lives in quiet retirement.
Post by Christopher Buyers
Perhaps too many friendships in your case blinker your view of an
indefensible system. One which most American's that I have ever met
deplore, and one which no other decent democracy has seen appropriate
to adopt. Although there may be odd examples of similar appointments
from other countries, all but corrupt dictatorships have shrunk from
adopting the American system. Why do you suppose that is?
Your frequent anti-American comments suggest to me that your acquaintanceship
has been somewhat narrowly based. I do not believe this is true either of
most Americans, or of the system. Most countries do not have any, or only
minimal tradition of private philanthropy. Perhaps you think that is a good
thing too?
Post by Christopher Buyers
Post by Guy Stair Sainty
The only time there was an imputation of financial
advantage was peripheral - William Wilson, when serving as first US
Ambassador to the Holy See, travelled to Libya to meet with the Libyans
over an oil contract, which attracted much criticism from the State
Department. His connections with Libya, however, pre-dated his appointment.
How is the fact that he had earlier connections with Libya peripheral?
Is it normal for Ambassadors to the Holy See to concern themselves
with oil contracts in Libya?
He had made his fortune in the oil industry; as his appointment as ambassador
to the Holy See did not pose any question of a possible financial conflict,
he was not required to divest himself of his interests. Nonetheless, when the
scandal came to light, he was widely criticised; but not because of any flaw in
the system - I might point that a recent British civil servant in the service of
the EU was involved in a considerable financial scandal in Russia when
representing the EU there - I do not believe this led to an outcry that the
system of appointing career civil servants should cease promptly. Another
British Ambassador got into problems in Sierra Leone. Or do you believe that all
civil servants are incorruptible?
Post by Christopher Buyers
I do not name such people on a forum such as this. You are free to do
so if you wish, but it isn't my general policy.
Really? So if there had been a public scandal where some form of corruption
had been exposed, you would not repeat it to make a point whose truth
depends entirely on whether or not there had been such a scandal? So your
arguments have to be taken on faith, without any supporting evidence?
Post by Christopher Buyers
Post by Guy Stair Sainty
Obviously all ambassadors of whatever stripe and from whatever country, make
useful contacts during their tenure. Many, upon retirement, are invited to
join intra-national bodies of both state, private, and commercial types.
These connections may bring financial advantage -
But you have just been telling us in the paragraphs that precede this,
that somehow Americans do not!
Because they do not need to; they do not need to boost their income with such
sinecures.
Post by Christopher Buyers
However, your argument is now a little difficult to follow. You say
that former British Ambassadors to the Middle East are able to make
profitable use of their contacts after leaving office, but no American
Ambassador has been able to do the same in 20 years.
I did not say anything of the sort; in fact you will find several among the
retired career diplomats (and most US Ambassadors to middle east countries,
Israel excepted, have been career diplomats), who have done precisely this.
Just as you will find many retired army and air force generals who have
taken up lucrative posts in the defence industry.
Post by Christopher Buyers
Almost every report on the Foreign Office laments the poor business
acumen of the service and their limited economic knowledge. Yet, you
say that they are able to achieve something that hard-nosed American
business folk cannot. Either these reports on the Foreign office have
all been wrong or an amazing incompetence reigns at the top of the
American business world. Which is it?
A non-sequitur and truly nonsensical argument. Can you not understand
that someone who has made his or her fortune, or inherited such a fortune,
has little reason to take up some position that provides a few 1000s
of extra income. Whereas someone retiring only on a civil service salary
may have a much greater incentive to do so. Retired American ambassadors
from the private sector are likely have so many personal obligations at home
that they neither need nor have the time for taking up some position in the
country to which they were appointed.
Post by Christopher Buyers
Post by Guy Stair Sainty
But it would be wrong to single out US ambassadors in this regard.
This is amazing, these types buy their appointments by making
donations to political parties that they see benefit them in the first
place. Yet we are seriously supposed to believe that having done so,
they then turn to lives of ulterior public service, eschewing a
lifetime career and inclination.
Usually these men and women have reached the end of their business
careers; if they had run or controlled some large company they will
have been required to divest themselves of their direct interest. When
making the decision to do so they will usually have decided that it
is time to retire. If they decide to go back to running their old
businesses, then perhaps you should understand that the US generates
the overwhelming bulk of its GDP domestically, and there have been
so many fortunes made in any manner of local businesses (real estate,
retail stores, or whatever) that international connections are irrelevant.

The most common reason for Ambassadorial appointments is that the appointee's
family came originally from that country, or he or she spent a substantial
time there in their youth. This was true of Pamela Harriman, Felix Rohatyn,
Ronald Lauder, Ed Romero, to name just a few off the top of my head.
Post by Christopher Buyers
True that former professional diplomats do, but it isn't something I
defend or see at all necessary in this day and age. Pensions are far
better than they used to be, both job security and pension security
compare more than favourably with the private sector. So a ban on such
post retirement careers should be seriously considered.
I disagree; I think you will find that other countries do not have such
scruples and for British companies to be able to call on the advice of
former diplomats who knew well the place where they are operating is
useful; the modest stipend these retired diplomats receive for so doing
is reasonable compensation.
Post by Christopher Buyers
That being said, it is a very far cry from the American system, where
people purchase their appointments and use said office to further
their business or commercial interests.
You persist, in summing up, with making a claim that you have completely
failed to substantiate and provide no evidence whatsoever to support. I suggest
you make a more complete study of the matter and broaden
you knowledge and acquaintance of the US and its system of government.
--
Guy Stair Sainty
www.chivalricorders.org/index3.htm
edespalais
2004-08-31 09:18:34 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Guy Stair Sainty
says...
Post by Christopher Buyers
Post by Guy Stair Sainty
says...
Buyers
Post by Christopher Buyers
Post by Guy Stair Sainty
says...
This isn't something I disagree with, but you need to keep in mind
that they come back having made business and other contacts which
usually help them more than recoup any expenditure. One needs to keep
in mind that these folk are usually hard nosed businessmen and bankers
and American society is far more mercenary than most in Europe. I am
really not sure why you think this is a point for dissagreement.
That is actually not true. I knew Mrs Harriman for years, and she had
no business interests ?
How so? Did she deposit all the wealth she inherited from the late Mr
Harriman in a bank account and then live off the interest alone?
She had the income from a trust and a relatively small capital bequest;
yes, sufficient for her to live comfortably. There are many inherited
fortunes in the US which are invested by managers on behalf of the beneficiaries
and I would hazard a guess that in the vast majority of these cases the
beneficiaries have little knowledge of the precise contents of their
porfolios, and any individual interest anyway would be so small so that
any benefit to such a company an ambassador could bring (so unlikely
as to be almost beyond the realms of probability), would be negligible.
In the Harriman case the fortune had been made in railways in the 19th century;
the family had long divested itself of these interests and the fortune steadily
diminished thereafter. The largest individual assets controlled by Mrs Harriman
were a few works of art. Mrs Harriman's last
husband had served as Ambassador during WWII with great success (as anothe
correspondent has pointed out); he made his entire life a career in public
service, a life that he was able to finance thanks to his personal fortune.
I do not know anyone with any knowlegde of him or his career (and I obviously
exclude you from such a group, since you evidently know nothing at all about
him) who would suggest that he did so out of any reason other than a desire
to serve his country.
Post by Christopher Buyers
Post by Guy Stair Sainty
and knew everyone anyway.
Well, lets not go into the how's and why for's of that one. In this
particular case, some people say that there is knew and "knew",
friends and "friends".
That is just insulting. Mrs Harriman's romantic career embraced a few
well-known men; it hardly extended to the French political establishment.
Post by Christopher Buyers
Post by Guy Stair Sainty
I have also known Felix Rohatyn for more than 20 years, and he has virtually retired
altogether. Walter Annenberg's business connections (he owned TV Guide)
were not enhanced in the slightest.
Again, I refuse to believe that their only financial interests are
somehow interest bearing bank deposits.
He was for decades a senior partner of Lazard Freres, an investment bank
controlled in large part by Michel David-Weill and his family. He had
resigned from the bank several years before his appointment as he had
hoped to be appointed secretary of the treasury (as he had saved the finances of
New York in the 1970s as pro bono Chairman of the NY financial
body which took over the finances of the city at a key moment, he was
well-qualified and highly regarded for his service). He made a substantial
fortune in his career which was widely invested; but he did not run a business,
nor was he an officer of a public company during his tenure. His wife founded
the very successful FRAME (French-American Museums Exchange to which they
were substantial contributors); for reasons I do not quite understand you
seem to find it hard to grasp the concept that there are people, and quite a
few of them, who having been blessed with extraordinary good fortune, feel
obliged to give some of that back. For example, while a partner in Lazard,
Felix Rohatyn was one of the participants in an extraordinary privately
founded and funded program by which successful and wealthy individuals would
guarantee to pay the college education of a high school class in a disadvantaged
area. This required a minimum donation of $350,000.
Not only did the donor promise this very large sum, but twice a term he or
she would go and spend a morning or afternoon with the class offering advice
and helping them come to terms with their problems. Drop out rates in classes
which benefited from this plummeted.
I had one client, an extraordinary woman who having made her own fortune
(and qualified first as a solicitor, then as a barrister, becoming a
Canadian QC, and running a shipping line that she had inherited aged 22),
married a hugely wealthy business man from Kansas; they established a foundation
that by the time of her sadly premature death aged 70, was
funding the college education of more than 1200 Kansas city students.
There are many Americans who have been equally or more generous; many who
actually feel proud to serve their country and bear the huge expense of
a foreign embassy. Most of them do so with the best of intentions. I believe
that you will find relatively few who have ever done it with personal
gain in mind - when one has a fortune in the tens or hundreds of millions,
and arrived at a certain age, it is possible to be satisfied with one's
lot and not have to use every opportunity to enrich oneself further.
Post by Christopher Buyers
Post by Guy Stair Sainty
Admiral Crowe, who is a close friend
of my parents-in-law, did not benefit in the slightest financially; he
is a retired Admiral.
What on earth is his retired status proof of?
That he had no business interests to further, of course! He is involved
today with the Pilgrims; he earns some speaking fees; he is on the board
of the University of Oklahoma, and on some other public bodies - otherwise
he lives in quiet retirement.
Post by Christopher Buyers
Perhaps too many friendships in your case blinker your view of an
indefensible system. One which most American's that I have ever met
deplore, and one which no other decent democracy has seen appropriate
to adopt. Although there may be odd examples of similar appointments
from other countries, all but corrupt dictatorships have shrunk from
adopting the American system. Why do you suppose that is?
Your frequent anti-American comments suggest to me that your acquaintanceship
has been somewhat narrowly based. I do not believe this is true either of
most Americans, or of the system. Most countries do not have any, or only
minimal tradition of private philanthropy. Perhaps you think that is a good
thing too?
Post by Christopher Buyers
Post by Guy Stair Sainty
The only time there was an imputation of financial
advantage was peripheral - William Wilson, when serving as first US
Ambassador to the Holy See, travelled to Libya to meet with the Libyans
over an oil contract, which attracted much criticism from the State
Department. His connections with Libya, however, pre-dated his appointment.
How is the fact that he had earlier connections with Libya peripheral?
Is it normal for Ambassadors to the Holy See to concern themselves
with oil contracts in Libya?
He had made his fortune in the oil industry; as his appointment as ambassador
to the Holy See did not pose any question of a possible financial conflict,
he was not required to divest himself of his interests. Nonetheless, when the
scandal came to light, he was widely criticised; but not because of any flaw in
the system - I might point that a recent British civil servant in the service of
the EU was involved in a considerable financial scandal in Russia when
representing the EU there - I do not believe this led to an outcry that the
system of appointing career civil servants should cease promptly. Another
British Ambassador got into problems in Sierra Leone. Or do you believe that all
civil servants are incorruptible?
Post by Christopher Buyers
I do not name such people on a forum such as this. You are free to do
so if you wish, but it isn't my general policy.
Really? So if there had been a public scandal where some form of corruption
had been exposed, you would not repeat it to make a point whose truth
depends entirely on whether or not there had been such a scandal? So your
arguments have to be taken on faith, without any supporting evidence?
Post by Christopher Buyers
Post by Guy Stair Sainty
Obviously all ambassadors of whatever stripe and from whatever country, make
useful contacts during their tenure. Many, upon retirement, are invited to
join intra-national bodies of both state, private, and commercial types.
These connections may bring financial advantage -
But you have just been telling us in the paragraphs that precede this,
that somehow Americans do not!
Because they do not need to; they do not need to boost their income with such
sinecures.
Post by Christopher Buyers
However, your argument is now a little difficult to follow. You say
that former British Ambassadors to the Middle East are able to make
profitable use of their contacts after leaving office, but no American
Ambassador has been able to do the same in 20 years.
I did not say anything of the sort; in fact you will find several among the
retired career diplomats (and most US Ambassadors to middle east countries,
Israel excepted, have been career diplomats), who have done precisely this.
Just as you will find many retired army and air force generals who have
taken up lucrative posts in the defence industry.
Post by Christopher Buyers
Almost every report on the Foreign Office laments the poor business
acumen of the service and their limited economic knowledge. Yet, you
say that they are able to achieve something that hard-nosed American
business folk cannot. Either these reports on the Foreign office have
all been wrong or an amazing incompetence reigns at the top of the
American business world. Which is it?
A non-sequitur and truly nonsensical argument. Can you not understand
that someone who has made his or her fortune, or inherited such a fortune,
has little reason to take up some position that provides a few 1000s
of extra income. Whereas someone retiring only on a civil service salary
may have a much greater incentive to do so. Retired American ambassadors
from the private sector are likely have so many personal obligations at home
that they neither need nor have the time for taking up some position in the
country to which they were appointed.
Post by Christopher Buyers
Post by Guy Stair Sainty
But it would be wrong to single out US ambassadors in this regard.
This is amazing, these types buy their appointments by making
donations to political parties that they see benefit them in the first
place. Yet we are seriously supposed to believe that having done so,
they then turn to lives of ulterior public service, eschewing a
lifetime career and inclination.
Usually these men and women have reached the end of their business
careers; if they had run or controlled some large company they will
have been required to divest themselves of their direct interest. When
making the decision to do so they will usually have decided that it
is time to retire. If they decide to go back to running their old
businesses, then perhaps you should understand that the US generates
the overwhelming bulk of its GDP domestically, and there have been
so many fortunes made in any manner of local businesses (real estate,
retail stores, or whatever) that international connections are irrelevant.
The most common reason for Ambassadorial appointments is that the appointee's
family came originally from that country, or he or she spent a substantial
time there in their youth. This was true of Pamela Harriman, Felix Rohatyn,
Ronald Lauder, Ed Romero, to name just a few off the top of my head.
Post by Christopher Buyers
True that former professional diplomats do, but it isn't something I
defend or see at all necessary in this day and age. Pensions are far
better than they used to be, both job security and pension security
compare more than favourably with the private sector. So a ban on such
post retirement careers should be seriously considered.
I disagree; I think you will find that other countries do not have such
scruples and for British companies to be able to call on the advice of
former diplomats who knew well the place where they are operating is
useful; the modest stipend these retired diplomats receive for so doing
is reasonable compensation.
Post by Christopher Buyers
That being said, it is a very far cry from the American system, where
people purchase their appointments and use said office to further
their business or commercial interests.
You persist, in summing up, with making a claim that you have completely
failed to substantiate and provide no evidence whatsoever to support. I suggest
you make a more complete study of the matter and broaden
you knowledge and acquaintance of the US and its system of government.
David Pritchard
2004-08-31 23:08:02 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
An Englishman, an American and a Frenchman are all in Saudi Arabia,
sharing a smuggled crate of booze when, all of a sudden, Saudi police
rush in and arrest them. The mere possession of alcohol is a severe
offense in Saudi Arabia, so for the terrible crime of actually being
caught consuming the booze, they are all sentenced to death! However,
after many months and with the help of very good lawyers, they are
able to successfully appeal their sentences down to life imprisonment.
By a stroke of luck, it was a Saudi national holiday the day their
trial finished, and the extremely benevolent Sheik decided they could
be released after each receiving just 20 lashes of the whip.

As they were preparing for their punishment, the Sheik announced:
"It's my first wife's birthday today, and she has asked me to allow
each of you one wish before your whipping."

The Englishman was first in line, he thought for a while and then
said: "Please tie a pillow to my back."

This was done, but the pillow only lasted 10 lashes before the whip
went through. When the punishment was done he had to be carried away
bleeding and crying with pain.

The Frenchman was next up. After watching the Engishman in horror he
said smugly: "Please fix deux pillows to my back."

But even two pillows could only take 15 lashes before the whip went
through again and the Frenchman was soon led away whimpering loudly
(as they do).

The American was the last one up, but before he could say anything,
the Sheik turned to him and said: "You are from a most beautiful part
of the world and your people are the kindest and most generous in the
world. For this, you may have two wishes!"

"Thank you, your Most Royal and Merciful highness", The American
replied. "In recognition of your kindness, my first wish is that you
give me not 20, but 100 lashes."

"Not only are you an honorable, handsome and powerful man, you are
also very brave". The Sheik said with an admiring look on his face.

"If 100 lashes is what you desire, then so be it. And your second
wish, what is it to be?" the Sheik asked.

"Tie the Frenchman to my back."
Armin Arm
2004-09-01 02:56:41 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by David Pritchard
An Englishman, an American and a Frenchman are all in Saudi Arabia,
A delegate to the Republican convention, by any chance?
Christopher Buyers
2004-09-01 19:10:31 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Guy Stair Sainty
says...
Post by Christopher Buyers
Post by Guy Stair Sainty
says...
Buyers
Post by Christopher Buyers
Post by Guy Stair Sainty
Post by Christopher Buyers
Post by Guy Stair Sainty
says...
This isn't something I disagree with, but you need to keep in mind
that they come back having made business and other contacts which
usually help them more than recoup any expenditure. One needs to keep
in mind that these folk are usually hard nosed businessmen and bankers
and American society is far more mercenary than most in Europe. I am
really not sure why you think this is a point for dissagreement.
That is actually not true. I knew Mrs Harriman for years, and she had
no business interests ?
How so? Did she deposit all the wealth she inherited from the late Mr
Harriman in a bank account and then live off the interest alone?
She had the income from a trust and a relatively small capital bequest;
Could you please define "relatively small"?
Post by Guy Stair Sainty
yes, sufficient for her to live comfortably. There are many inherited
fortunes in the US which are invested by managers on behalf of the beneficiaries
and I would hazard a guess that in the vast majority of these cases the
beneficiaries have little knowledge of the precise contents of their
porfolios, and any individual interest anyway would be so small so that
any benefit to such a company an ambassador could bring (so unlikely
as to be almost beyond the realms of probability), would be negligible.
Very touching.
Post by Guy Stair Sainty
In the Harriman case the fortune had been made in railways in the 19th century;
the family had long divested itself of these interests and the fortune steadily
diminished thereafter. The largest individual assets controlled by Mrs Harriman
were a few works of art. Mrs Harriman's last
husband had served as Ambassador during WWII with great success (as anothe
correspondent has pointed out); he made his entire life a career in public
service, a life that he was able to finance thanks to his personal fortune.
I do not know anyone with any knowlegde of him or his career (and I obviously
exclude you from such a group, since you evidently know nothing at all about
him) who would suggest that he did so out of any reason other than a desire
to serve his country.
Sorry, but were we discussing Mr Harriman or Mrs Harriman?
Post by Guy Stair Sainty
Post by Christopher Buyers
Post by Guy Stair Sainty
and knew everyone anyway.
Well, lets not go into the how's and why for's of that one. In this
particular case, some people say that there is knew and "knew",
friends and "friends".
That is just insulting.
Indeed so, it was meant to be, don't you know!
Post by Guy Stair Sainty
Mrs Harriman's romantic career embraced a few
well-known men; it hardly extended to the French political establishment.
I had thought that discretion was a skill prized in diplomatic
circles, but I guess that was not a deciding factor in her choice.
Post by Guy Stair Sainty
Post by Christopher Buyers
Post by Guy Stair Sainty
I have also known Felix Rohatyn for more than 20 years, and he has virtually retired
altogether. Walter Annenberg's business connections (he owned TV Guide)
were not enhanced in the slightest.
Again, I refuse to believe that their only financial interests are
somehow interest bearing bank deposits.
He was for decades a senior partner of Lazard Freres, an investment bank
controlled in large part by Michel David-Weill and his family. He had
resigned from the bank several years before his appointment as he had
hoped to be appointed secretary of the treasury (as he had saved the finances of
New York in the 1970s as pro bono Chairman of the NY financial
body which took over the finances of the city at a key moment, he was
well-qualified and highly regarded for his service). He made a substantial
fortune in his career which was widely invested; but he did not run a business,
nor was he an officer of a public company during his tenure.
You seem to be working on the assumption that the term business or
financial interests simply refers to the holding an appointment. If I
had meant that to be the case, I would have used the word
"appointment". Interest means just that. Any interest in benefiting
financially, enhancing a fortune, or increasing wealth, either
directly themselves or their families and connections.
Post by Guy Stair Sainty
His wife founded
the very successful FRAME (French-American Museums Exchange to which they
were substantial contributors); for reasons I do not quite understand you
seem to find it hard to grasp the concept that there are people, and quite a
few of them, who having been blessed with extraordinary good fortune, feel
obliged to give some of that back. For example, while a partner in Lazard,
Felix Rohatyn was one of the participants in an extraordinary privately
founded and funded program by which successful and wealthy individuals would
guarantee to pay the college education of a high school class in a disadvantaged
area. This required a minimum donation of $350,000.
Not only did the donor promise this very large sum, but twice a term he or
she would go and spend a morning or afternoon with the class offering advice
and helping them come to terms with their problems. Drop out rates in classes
which benefited from this plummeted.
I had one client, an extraordinary woman who having made her own fortune
(and qualified first as a solicitor, then as a barrister, becoming a
Canadian QC, and running a shipping line that she had inherited aged 22),
married a hugely wealthy business man from Kansas; they established a foundation
that by the time of her sadly premature death aged 70, was
funding the college education of more than 1200 Kansas city students.
This is getting tedious. I have no interest in what good works all you
friends have done and certainly have no interest in seeing you recount
their names. Why does every discussion have to end up with you telling
the whole world who you know?

This has nothing to do with the subject under discussion. We are not
talking about art galleries, museums, disadvantaged children or
anything similar. We are discussing US political donors being
appointed as Ambassadors.
Post by Guy Stair Sainty
There are many Americans who have been equally or more generous; many who
actually feel proud to serve their country and bear the huge expense of
a foreign embassy. Most of them do so with the best of intentions. I believe
that you will find relatively few who have ever done it with personal
gain in mind - when one has a fortune in the tens or hundreds of millions,
and arrived at a certain age, it is possible to be satisfied with one's
lot and not have to use every opportunity to enrich oneself further.
Post by Christopher Buyers
Post by Guy Stair Sainty
Admiral Crowe, who is a close friend
of my parents-in-law, did not benefit in the slightest financially; he
is a retired Admiral.
What on earth is his retired status proof of?
That he had no business interests to further, of course! He is involved
today with the Pilgrims; he earns some speaking fees; he is on the board
of the University of Oklahoma, and on some other public bodies - otherwise
he lives in quiet retirement.
Please look at the definition of interest given above.
Post by Guy Stair Sainty
Post by Christopher Buyers
Perhaps too many friendships in your case blinker your view of an
indefensible system. One which most American's that I have ever met
deplore, and one which no other decent democracy has seen appropriate
to adopt. Although there may be odd examples of similar appointments
from other countries, all but corrupt dictatorships have shrunk from
adopting the American system. Why do you suppose that is?
Your frequent anti-American comments suggest to me that your acquaintanceship
has been somewhat narrowly based.
How is this an answer to my question?

At any rate, it is perfectly possible to be anti-American after having
a very good acquaintance and knowledge of the American system. I have
heard tell that some Anti-Americans actually live there.
Post by Guy Stair Sainty
I do not believe this is true either of
most Americans, or of the system. Most countries do not have any, or only
minimal tradition of private philanthropy. Perhaps you think that is a good
thing too?
Private philanthropy has nothing to do with this discussion. Even if
it did, there are many hundreds of outlets for satisfying that
sentiment. The purchase of ambassadorships through donations to party
funds, need not be one of them.
Post by Guy Stair Sainty
Post by Christopher Buyers
Post by Guy Stair Sainty
The only time there was an imputation of financial
advantage was peripheral - William Wilson, when serving as first US
Ambassador to the Holy See, travelled to Libya to meet with the Libyans
over an oil contract, which attracted much criticism from the State
Department. His connections with Libya, however, pre-dated his appointment.
How is the fact that he had earlier connections with Libya peripheral?
Is it normal for Ambassadors to the Holy See to concern themselves
with oil contracts in Libya?
He had made his fortune in the oil industry; as his appointment as ambassador
to the Holy See did not pose any question of a possible financial conflict,
he was not required to divest himself of his interests. Nonetheless, when the
scandal came to light, he was widely criticised; but not because of any flaw in
the system
Not being required to divest himself of his interests seems to be a
rather big flaw in the system, to me.

- I might point that a recent British civil servant in the service of
Post by Guy Stair Sainty
the EU was involved in a considerable financial scandal in Russia when
representing the EU there - I do not believe this led to an outcry that the
system of appointing career civil servants should cease promptly. Another
British Ambassador got into problems in Sierra Leone. Or do you believe that all
civil servants are incorruptible?
Sorry, I have no idea who you mean. What are their names?
Post by Guy Stair Sainty
Post by Christopher Buyers
I do not name such people on a forum such as this. You are free to do
so if you wish, but it isn't my general policy.
Really? So if there had been a public scandal where some form of corruption
had been exposed, you would not repeat it to make a point whose truth
depends entirely on whether or not there had been such a scandal? So your
arguments have to be taken on faith, without any supporting evidence?
We are not talking about any particular scandal, we are talking about
a system. My arguments do not need great lists of people who may be my
friends or whom I may have come to know. I am entirely uninterested in
that activity, though I understand that it may be your greatest
preoccupation.

I am afraid that truth, in this instance, does not entirely depend
upon this or that particular public scandal. The system itself is the
scandal.

Presumably, you have inserted the word "public" because you also know
perfectly well about instances that have not been aired in public.
Post by Guy Stair Sainty
Post by Christopher Buyers
Post by Guy Stair Sainty
Obviously all ambassadors of whatever stripe and from whatever country, make
useful contacts during their tenure. Many, upon retirement, are invited to
join intra-national bodies of both state, private, and commercial types.
These connections may bring financial advantage -
But you have just been telling us in the paragraphs that precede this,
that somehow Americans do not!
Because they do not need to; they do not need to boost their income with such
sinecures.
So your logic is that a wealthy person does not NEED to make more
money, correct?

Perhaps it is a great secret, but wealthy people do seem to have an
uncanny tendency to pursue that object. Funny that!
Post by Guy Stair Sainty
Post by Christopher Buyers
However, your argument is now a little difficult to follow. You say
that former British Ambassadors to the Middle East are able to make
profitable use of their contacts after leaving office, but no American
Ambassador has been able to do the same in 20 years.
I did not say anything of the sort; in fact you will find several among the
retired career diplomats (and most US Ambassadors to middle east countries,
Israel excepted, have been career diplomats), who have done precisely this.
Just as you will find many retired army and air force generals who have
taken up lucrative posts in the defence industry.
Oh I see. Let me refine you stance following this thankful
clarification. A retired career diplomat is skilled enough to gain
from his foreign contacts, but hard-nosed American business types are
unable to do so. Is that what you ask us to believe?
Post by Guy Stair Sainty
Post by Christopher Buyers
Almost every report on the Foreign Office laments the poor business
acumen of the service and their limited economic knowledge. Yet, you
say that they are able to achieve something that hard-nosed American
business folk cannot. Either these reports on the Foreign office have
all been wrong or an amazing incompetence reigns at the top of the
American business world. Which is it?
A non-sequitur and truly nonsensical argument. Can you not understand
that someone who has made his or her fortune, or inherited such a fortune,
has little reason to take up some position that provides a few 1000s
of extra income.
Is that really all you think this discussion is about?
Post by Guy Stair Sainty
Whereas someone retiring only on a civil service salary
may have a much greater incentive to do so. Retired American ambassadors
from the private sector are likely have so many personal obligations at home
that they neither need nor have the time for taking up some position in the
country to which they were appointed.
Interesting argument. Sounds like they do not have the time to become
ambassadors in the first place!
Post by Guy Stair Sainty
Post by Christopher Buyers
Post by Guy Stair Sainty
But it would be wrong to single out US ambassadors in this regard.
This is amazing, these types buy their appointments by making
donations to political parties that they see benefit them in the first
place. Yet we are seriously supposed to believe that having done so,
they then turn to lives of ulterior public service, eschewing a
lifetime career and inclination.
Usually these men and women have reached the end of their business
careers; if they had run or controlled some large company they will
have been required to divest themselves of their direct interest.
Like the example you give of the man sent to the Vatican?
Post by Guy Stair Sainty
When making the decision to do so they will usually have decided that it
is time to retire. If they decide to go back to running their old
businesses,
Again, you entirely misunderstand the meaning of the term business
interests. In fact, it appears that you actually have a difficulty
with the meaning of the word "interest" itself.
Post by Guy Stair Sainty
then perhaps you should understand that the US generates
the overwhelming bulk of its GDP domestically
Thank you, but I believe I grasped this sometime before taking my "O"
levels.

Be that as it may, the validity of that statement holds true only so
long as imported raw materials, products and services, remain at a
relatively low price compared to domestically produced "value added"
products and services. Making sure that they remain low is said, by
some, to be the purpose of US foreign and trade policy.
Post by Guy Stair Sainty
and there have been
so many fortunes made in any manner of local businesses (real estate,
retail stores, or whatever) that international connections are irrelevant.
I thought you were saying that they were being appointed because of
their international connections?
Post by Guy Stair Sainty
The most common reason for Ambassadorial appointments is that the appointee's
family came originally from that country, or he or she spent a substantial
time there in their youth. This was true of Pamela Harriman, Felix Rohatyn,
Ronald Lauder, Ed Romero, to name just a few off the top of my head.
I haven't laughed so loudly at any statement I have read on this forum
for ages, until this one came along!
Post by Guy Stair Sainty
Post by Christopher Buyers
True that former professional diplomats do, but it isn't something I
defend or see at all necessary in this day and age. Pensions are far
better than they used to be, both job security and pension security
compare more than favourably with the private sector. So a ban on such
post retirement careers should be seriously considered.
I disagree; I think you will find that other countries do not have such
scruples and for British companies to be able to call on the advice of
former diplomats who knew well the place where they are operating is
useful; the modest stipend these retired diplomats receive for so doing
is reasonable compensation.
Indeed other countries, as in the US, clearly do not have such
scruples. It appears that you do not either.
Post by Guy Stair Sainty
Post by Christopher Buyers
That being said, it is a very far cry from the American system, where
people purchase their appointments and use said office to further
their business or commercial interests.
You persist, in summing up, with making a claim that you have completely
failed to substantiate and provide no evidence whatsoever to support.
Sorry, but summing up, is for summing up, i.e. finishing something by
encapsulating one's stance, in a nutshell. Something of a necessity
when discussing anything with you, since you have a tendency to go off
topic even when you have actually chosen the issue on which to engage
a discussion.

The irresistible urge to tell everybody who you know, means that one
has to endure paragraph after paragraph of tangential, incidental or
entirely irrelevant matters brought up just so that you can work their
names in.
Post by Guy Stair Sainty
I suggest
you make a more complete study of the matter and broaden
you knowledge and acquaintance of the US and its system of government.
Hmm, quite, and I suggest that you simply take off those blinkers.

Cheers,
Christopher Buyers
Guy Stair Sainty
2004-09-02 21:14:54 UTC
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In article <***@posting.google.com>, Christopher Buyers
says...
Post by Christopher Buyers
Post by Guy Stair Sainty
says...
Buyers
Post by Christopher Buyers
Post by Guy Stair Sainty
says...
Buyers
Post by Christopher Buyers
Post by Guy Stair Sainty
Post by Guy Stair Sainty
says...
She had the income from a trust and a relatively small capital bequest;
about $25 million, plus some real estate and works of art.
Post by Christopher Buyers
Could you please define "relatively small"?
Post by Guy Stair Sainty
In the Harriman case the fortune had been made in railways in the 19th century;
the family had long divested itself of these interests and the fortune steadily
diminished thereafter. The largest individual assets controlled by Mrs Harriman
were a few works of art. Mrs Harriman's last
husband had served as Ambassador during WWII with great success (as anothe
correspondent has pointed out); he made his entire life a career in public
service, a life that he was able to finance thanks to his personal fortune.
I do not know anyone with any knowlegde of him or his career (and I obviously
exclude you from such a group, since you evidently know nothing at all about
him) who would suggest that he did so out of any reason other than a desire
to serve his country.
Sorry, but were we discussing Mr Harriman or Mrs Harriman?
Both are applicable; his fortune came from railways, she inherited it. She
also had a considerable income from the sound of music, as the broadway
production had been prodcued by her 2nd husband and she was the inheritor of a
proportion of the royalties of the movie. Needless to say her post as
Ambassador was irrelevant. Mrs Harriman had been an extremely effective
fund raiser of the Democratic party; her influence played a major role in
insuring that Clinton became the candidate of the party in 1992. Her US
political skills, her perfect French, and her many social connections in
France plus a very sharp mind were excellent qualifications for the post of
Ambassador.
Post by Christopher Buyers
Post by Guy Stair Sainty
Post by Christopher Buyers
Post by Guy Stair Sainty
and knew everyone anyway.
Well, lets not go into the how's and why for's of that one. In this
particular case, some people say that there is knew and "knew",
friends and "friends".
That is just insulting.
Indeed so, it was meant to be, don't you know!
Mr Buyers, for some time the fact that you do not behave like a gentleman have
been clear to everyone; but nonetheless remarks such as these would no doubt
find a more receptive audience on alt.talk.gossip.celebrities or some such.
Post by Christopher Buyers
Post by Guy Stair Sainty
Post by Christopher Buyers
Post by Guy Stair Sainty
I have also known Felix Rohatyn
He was for decades a senior partner of Lazard Freres, an investment bank
controlled in large part by Michel David-Weill and his family. He had
resigned from the bank several years before his appointment as he had
hoped to be appointed secretary of the treasury (as he had saved the finances of
New York in the 1970s as pro bono Chairman of the NY financial
body which took over the finances of the city at a key moment, he was
well-qualified and highly regarded for his service). He made a substantial
fortune in his career which was widely invested; but he did not run a business,
nor was he an officer of a public company during his tenure.
You seem to be working on the assumption that the term business or
financial interests simply refers to the holding an appointment. If I
had meant that to be the case, I would have used the word
"appointment". Interest means just that. Any interest in benefiting
financially, enhancing a fortune, or increasing wealth, either
directly themselves or their families and connections.
It is purely foolish on your part to imagine that these ambassador left
their appointments better off financially either immediately or in the
future because of their service as such. You may as well assert that
British ambassadors might benefit corruptly because they invest their
savings for their retirement in large public companies that do business in, say
the US (in the case of Ambassadors to Washington). In fact, British
rules have absolutely no restriction on how civil servants invest their
savings, unlike the US where such investing would be prohibited by law.
Post by Christopher Buyers
This is getting tedious. I have no interest in what good works all you
friends have done and certainly have no interest in seeing you recount
their names. Why does every discussion have to end up with you telling
the whole world who you know?
This has nothing to do with the subject under discussion. We are not
talking about art galleries, museums, disadvantaged children or
anything similar. We are discussing US political donors being
appointed as Ambassadors.
You have asserted that such ambassadors regularly profit corruptly from
their appointments; you have implied that the reason they make these
political donations is to receive an ambassadorship and thereby recoup
their political contribution. You have failed to cite one single example;
you resent the fact that from my own personal experience I am able to
cite specific examples of ambassadors whose careers I am familiar with
because I have known them personally. Your resentment at this has translated
into chippy little comments which, nonetheless, merely demonstrate that
your are ignorant of the process, no nothing of the kind of people who
serve and are unable to cite a single example of what you claim to be
the norm.

If you look at who were the largest individual donors to either Republican
or Democratic campaigns, you will not find any direct correlation between
such donations and ambassadorial appointments. Mrs Harriman, for example,
was not a major donor personally, but she had been an immensely succesful
fundraiser and organizer of the party. Felix Rohatyn was a modest donor,
but his knowledge and connections were valued very highly. Admiral Crowe
was not a donor at any level to Clinton's campaign. The recently retired
US Ambassador to the UK was likewise not a major donor, but was a good
friend of the Bush's with excellent British connections (a long-standing
friend of the Queen). But then I have already explained this and all you
can imagine is complaints that I have cited specific cases.
Post by Christopher Buyers
Private philanthropy has nothing to do with this discussion. Even if
it did, there are many hundreds of outlets for satisfying that
sentiment. The purchase of ambassadorships through donations to party
funds, need not be one of them.
Your presentation of the system is simply wrong. There are a few cases
where big donors have been rewarded with ambassadorships, usually to
relatively minor states. They are rare and these ambassadors are just as
likely to be good and capable representatives as not; one thing they do
have is good access to the President, which for a foreign government
is probably the attribute most highly prized in an Ambassador.
Post by Christopher Buyers
Not being required to divest himself of his interests seems to be a
rather big flaw in the system, to me.
The Vatican, as perhaps you are not aware, does not have an economy from
which an investor might profit. Holders of national office usually put their
assets into a blind trust (and the US regime in this regard is far stricter
than that in any other state that I know of); Ambassadors must not be able
to profit from investments in the country they serve. They are not required
to give away their wwalth or put it in a blind trust for a three year
appointment where there is no conflict.
Post by Christopher Buyers
- I might point that a recent British civil servant in the service of
Post by Guy Stair Sainty
the EU was involved in a considerable financial scandal in Russia when
representing the EU there - I do not believe this led to an outcry that the
system of appointing career civil servants should cease promptly. Another
British Ambassador got into problems in Sierra Leone. Or do you believe that all
civil servants are incorruptible?
Sorry, I have no idea who you mean. What are their names?
The details are all in the public realm.
Post by Christopher Buyers
We are not talking about any particular scandal, we are talking about
a system. My arguments do not need great lists of people who may be my
friends or whom I may have come to know. I am entirely uninterested in
that activity, though I understand that it may be your greatest
preoccupation.
I have no knowledge of many of the subjects (Asian Monarchies, for
example) on which you pronounce. I do know the American system and
people whose honesty and integrity has been assailed in posts that
display your bigoted and (self-admitted) anti-American stance.
Post by Christopher Buyers
Oh I see. Let me refine you stance following this thankful
clarification. A retired career diplomat is skilled enough to gain
from his foreign contacts, but hard-nosed American business types are
unable to do so. Is that what you ask us to believe?
If they do not need to, why should they. Some wealthy people want only
to get richer; some are content to enjoy themselves; others want to
serve the community or their country. This is a realtiy - or perhaps
does you embittered attitude stretch also to resentment of the rich
because they have something you do not?
Post by Christopher Buyers
Post by Guy Stair Sainty
Usually these men and women have reached the end of their business
careers; if they had run or controlled some large company they will
have been required to divest themselves of their direct interest.
Like the example you give of the man sent to the Vatican?
He did not control a large company, and his financial interests had no
connections (quite obviously) in the Vatican.
Post by Christopher Buyers
Post by Guy Stair Sainty
When making the decision to do so they will usually have decided that it
is time to retire. If they decide to go back to running their old
businesses,
and there have been
so many fortunes made in any manner of local businesses (real estate,
retail stores, or whatever) that international connections are irrelevant.
I thought you were saying that they were being appointed because of
their international connections?
International connections (surprise, surprise) need not be business ones.
There have been ambassadors appointed to minor states with little or no
knowledge of the countries to which they are appointed, or any previous
experience there. This is true of career diplomats from most countries appointed
to minor states. Sometimes these ambassadors prove incompetent;
sometimes they are successes. One of the biggest foreign policy errors
made by the USState department for many years was the poorly communicated
message by the@US Ambassador to Iraq in 1990, who President Saddam Hussein
believed had suggested to him that the US would not object should he invade
Kuwait. She was a career state department officer.

.
Post by Christopher Buyers
Post by Guy Stair Sainty
I disagree; I think you will find that other countries do not have such
scruples and for British companies to be able to call on the advice of
former diplomats who knew well the place where they are operating is
useful; the modest stipend these retired diplomats receive for so doing
is reasonable compensation.
Indeed other countries, as in the US, clearly do not have such
scruples. It appears that you do not either.
It is for insulting remarks that impute the honesty and integrity of those whom
with whom you are debating, when all other arguments have failed to make the
point you have hoped to sustain, that have so often in the past earned you the
scorn of other commentators here.
Post by Christopher Buyers
Post by Guy Stair Sainty
Post by Christopher Buyers
That being said, it is a very far cry from the American system, where
people purchase their appointments and use said office to further
their business or commercial interests.
You persist, in summing up, with making a claim that you have completely
failed to substantiate and provide no evidence whatsoever to support.
Sorry, but summing up, is for summing up, i.e. finishing something by
encapsulating one's stance, in a nutshell. Something of a necessity
when discussing anything with you, since you have a tendency to go off
topic even when you have actually chosen the issue on which to engage
a discussion.
You have failed to find one instance of the abuse that you allege; you have not
produced any statistics which demonstrate the veracity of your assertion that US
Ambassadorships are as a matter of course purchased by political donations. Now
you are turning to attacks on my own integrity. I had forgotten what it was like
to debate with you; I am pleased to have been reminded.
Post by Christopher Buyers
The irresistible urge to tell everybody who you know, means that one
has to endure paragraph after paragraph of tangential, incidental or
entirely irrelevant matters brought up just so that you can work their
names in.
I lived in NY for 24 years; I am fortunate in have many good connections and
have served on boards or dealt with some of these people in my business or
social life. That has given me a personal insight into something about which
your only guide is personal bigotry and xenophobic anti-Americanism. That I can
cite instances from my own personal experience gives me a direct experience of
the US system that you are unlikely ever to have. In this discussion that gives
me the advantage. Goodbye. .
--
Guy Stair Sainty
www.chivalricorders.org/index3.htm
Joseph McMillan
2004-08-30 15:24:03 UTC
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Post by Guy Stair Sainty
says...
Post by Christopher Buyers
Again, I am not sure how different a political honour is from an
Ambassadorial appointment. The appointment itself may not be a
lifetime honour but presumably the pecuniary benefits, presents
received in office, business and political contacts enhanced as a
consequence and the increased standing which the office confers
certainly do. Some even go on to be addressed as "former Ambassador".
An honour is just that, nothing more. An Ambassadorial position is one
whose privileges and duties are established in international law; they are
the representatives of the Head of State, whether or not noiminated by
the President himself (as in the US), or in the name of the sovereign (as'
in the UK). In the case of the US, usually the extra costs of entertaining
etc are born personally by the ambassador when he is a wealthy donor - most
will tell you that they come out far poorer than they went in.
Adding to Guy's points:

- US officials are prohibited by the Constitution from accepting
presents--not just titles--without the consent of Congress. While
Congress has delegated to the President and the heads of executive
departments the decision as to whether a particular gift may be
accepted, the implementing regulations do not make it easy to get rich
off these gifts. I believe the current limit for gifts of other than
symbolic value is $250. Even these gifts have to be reported and
become a matter of public record. Any gift valued over this amount
has to be handed over to the US government for disposition.

- Not only do these wealthy ambassadors incur high costs, they also
usually have to give up or forgo the benefit of existing assets,
particularly if possession of those assets might be construed as
constituting a conflict of interests. For example, if an American
ambassador to Berlin owned stock in Boeing, it would be a conflict of
interest if he had to participate in discussions urging Lufthansa to
buy Boeing airplanes. So, if that were a possibility, he would have
to divest himself of such holdings before accepting the appointment.
In some cases, appointees may be allowed to place their holdings in
blind trusts. Attorneys appointed to office usually have to sell
their interest in their partnerships--which can be worth $500,000 or
more for the most powerful firms; if they then want to reenter
practice after leaving office, they have to pay the new, usually
higher, going rate to buy back in. Either way, the financial
losses--or the gains lost over a two to four year appointment--can be
substantial.

- Anyone in the US who has served in an ambassadorial position
continues to be known by courtesy as "ambassador"--and to be entitled
to the style "The Honorable"--for the rest of his or her life. This
seems to be common custom everywhere. So what?
Christopher Buyers
2004-08-31 05:13:09 UTC
Reply
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Post by Joseph McMillan
Post by Guy Stair Sainty
says...
Post by Christopher Buyers
Again, I am not sure how different a political honour is from an
Ambassadorial appointment. The appointment itself may not be a
lifetime honour but presumably the pecuniary benefits, presents
received in office, business and political contacts enhanced as a
consequence and the increased standing which the office confers
certainly do. Some even go on to be addressed as "former Ambassador".
An honour is just that, nothing more. An Ambassadorial position is one
whose privileges and duties are established in international law; they are
the representatives of the Head of State, whether or not noiminated by
the President himself (as in the US), or in the name of the sovereign (as'
in the UK). In the case of the US, usually the extra costs of entertaining
etc are born personally by the ambassador when he is a wealthy donor - most
will tell you that they come out far poorer than they went in.
- US officials are prohibited by the Constitution from accepting
presents--not just titles--without the consent of Congress. While
Congress has delegated to the President and the heads of executive
departments the decision as to whether a particular gift may be
accepted, the implementing regulations do not make it easy to get rich
off these gifts. I believe the current limit for gifts of other than
symbolic value is $250. Even these gifts have to be reported and
become a matter of public record. Any gift valued over this amount
has to be handed over to the US government for disposition.
Yes, yes, yes. Only I seem to remember the Clintons being able to
furnish several houses with "gifts" when they left the whitehouse. How
much do sofas cost in the us, £1.00 a piece?
Post by Joseph McMillan
- Not only do these wealthy ambassadors incur high costs, they also
usually have to give up or forgo the benefit of existing assets,
particularly if possession of those assets might be construed as
constituting a conflict of interests. For example, if an American
ambassador to Berlin owned stock in Boeing, it would be a conflict of
interest if he had to participate in discussions urging Lufthansa to
buy Boeing airplanes. So, if that were a possibility, he would have
to divest himself of such holdings before accepting the appointment.
In some cases, appointees may be allowed to place their holdings in
blind trusts.
Yeah right. I believe you 100%. Just like I believe that the
Vice-President has divested himself of all his interests in "certain
companies" winning contracts in Iraq.
Post by Joseph McMillan
- Anyone in the US who has served in an ambassadorial position
continues to be known by courtesy as "ambassador"--and to be entitled
to the style "The Honorable"--for the rest of his or her life. This
seems to be common custom everywhere. So what?
Sorry, where did you say?

Cheers,
Christopher Buyers
Joseph McMillan
2004-08-31 22:40:01 UTC
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Post by Christopher Buyers
Yes, yes, yes. Only I seem to remember the Clintons being able to
furnish several houses with "gifts" when they left the whitehouse. How
much do sofas cost in the us, £1.00 a piece?
I wouldn't know. We gave up pricing things in sterling sometime back
when £1 would have bought a fairly nice piece of furniture. But
weren't we talking about ambassadors? Did Bill or Hillary get an
ambassadorial appointment I hadn't heard of? Anyway, I guess I should
have been absolutely precise. The constitutional prohibition has to
do with gifts, titles, and emoluments from foreigners. Foreign
governments to be exact.

I'm not sure what the laws say about gifts to sitting Presidents from
private donors. The norm has been that they become part of the White
House collections or go to the ex-President's Presidential library,
part of the National Archives system. I hold no brief for the
Clintons, but I do believe the gifts of which you speak were given
after he left office.

I know very, very well what the rules say about gifts to non-elected
officials like ambassadors, secretaries, and others. And I know one
can get in very big trouble--criminal trouble--for violating them.
There are fines for failing to file the required annual public
disclosure reports of holdings, gifts, profits from investments, sales
of investments, new purchases of investments, etc.
Post by Christopher Buyers
Post by Joseph McMillan
- Not only do these wealthy ambassadors incur high costs, they also
usually have to give up or forgo the benefit of existing assets,
particularly if possession of those assets might be construed as
constituting a conflict of interests. For example, if an American
ambassador to Berlin owned stock in Boeing, it would be a conflict of
interest if he had to participate in discussions urging Lufthansa to
buy Boeing airplanes. So, if that were a possibility, he would have
to divest himself of such holdings before accepting the appointment.
In some cases, appointees may be allowed to place their holdings in
blind trusts.
Yeah right. I believe you 100%. Just like I believe that the
Vice-President has divested himself of all his interests in "certain
companies" winning contracts in Iraq.
We were talking ambassadors and other appointees. The vice president
is elected and can't be required to meet conditions for taking office
other than those spelled out in the Constitution. I don't know what
VP Cheney has done about his business interests. I'd be surprised if
he hasn't divested them or put them into a blind trust. I know Donald
Rumsfeld went through an excruciatingly complicated process of
divestiture when taking office. Anyone who follows American politics
with any degree of attentiveness knows that the combination of
ridiculously detailed background investigations and draconian
divestiture rules has been a major obstacle to recruiting appointive
officials for both parties. As a career civil servant, I'm happy to
offer the alternative of appointing my career colleagues to these
positions, but there's zero chance I'll be taken up on the offer.
Post by Christopher Buyers
Post by Joseph McMillan
- Anyone in the US who has served in an ambassadorial position
continues to be known by courtesy as "ambassador"--and to be entitled
to the style "The Honorable"--for the rest of his or her life. This
seems to be common custom everywhere. So what?
Sorry, where did you say?
Inelegant phrasing as to "the Honorable." That's a US title, of
course. As to the title "ambassador" being used after the end of the
appointment, let's see... I believe I've heard it applied by people of
the following countries referring to their own ex-ambassadors:
France, Germany, Italy, Russia, Poland, Egypt, Israel, Saudi Arabia,
Kuwait, UAE, Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Japan. I confirmed the
Pakistani practice today with a former Pakistani ambassador; he said
some people address him as ambassador-sahib, while others consider his
earlier position as a commissioner in the domestic civil service to
have been more important and therefore address him as
commissioner-sahib.

Not the UK, of course, since "Sir" tends to trump "Ambassador" once
someone is "kindly called God."
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