Category Archives: General

The Professor and White House Information Flow

The Professor thought teaching political science at the honors level in the first 100 days of the Trump Administration is more demanding than I remember at any period in the past. Foreign policy, military operations, domestic legislative crisis with healthcare and tax reform. Now we have critics clamoring for more information regarding the President’s plans and intentions in Syria, North Korea and Afghanistan. In addition, the political talking heads are ranting about control of information in the White House. They are all showing they know not what they are mumbling about. But I must write a short note to my students. It will be three days before the next class.

Not to worry class this is only a few thoughts on the by-play of people who should know better. Recently former officials and socialist critics of the current Administration have been raving about the need to have one person in charge of information in the White House. Unless they mean the President and, they don’t, this is an exceedingly dumb and dangerous idea. President Trump maintains personal contact with the outside world, both foreign and domestic, better than any other president in my life time. The office of the President can be and very often is a very isolated position. While it may be difficult to get to the President, it is hard for him to develop and maintain multiple points of access.

If one person controls information flow in the White House, he or she can control the President and have an undue influence on presidential actions. The gate-keeper of the Oval Office can be a very powerful position. So, when you find yourself as a player in presidential politics in a few years, resist the efforts of the former players to control the flow of information in the White House. If the people have elected the right person, that person will be in charge.

My second concern is also directly related to information flow. The President’s opponents in both parties believe they are entitled to a complete plan on everything he has done or is planning to do. ‘Why doesn’t he give us his complete plans for dealing with North Korea, Syria, Russia and others? We in Congress or in the party of opposition deserve to know. It is our right!

No! It isn’t. You do not have the right. Only those with a legal need-to-know the information on a case-by-case basis have that right. While Obama ranted on about his military and foreign policy objectives, he never seemed to realize, or more likely to care, that you cannot tell most of the nation without telling the enemy in the process. For example, a far left socialist Senator demanded to know what foreign policy objective the President was trying to achieve with the cruise missile attack on a Syrian military airfield. How about the message, ‘if you use chemical weapons, again bad things will happen to you?’ Or to ISIS and the Taliban in Afghanistan. ‘You are no longer safe in caves or tunnels.’ Talking heads, journalist, media anchors on the left and right, senators and congressmen, repress your constant whining about being briefed in greater detail. It won’t make you any smarter or help you serve the people. The only measurable result will be giving our enemies a better chance of getting our secrets.

What’s is wrong with short policy statements like destroying ISIS, stopping North Korea and Iran from developing nuclear weapons they can deliver to America, pushing NATO members to pay their obligated military investments, reduce funding to the UN, protect our borders, renew our traditional relationships with Sunni Arabs, standby Israel,  pressure Russia to stop its aggressive acquisition of territory from other sovereign nations, and get better foreign trade deals?

What was the George Kennan policy during the Cold War? A single word, Containment. How, is what was done in secret with a strict need-to-know.

 

 

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The Professor’s Random Thoughts

The professor felt the intensity in his honors class had dropped after the election. As he sat in his favorite reclining chair and looked out over the bay, he admitted it was his fault his students didn’t seem to have any passion for their choice of study. They all were very intelligent but seemed to be unwilling to show any passion in defending their beliefs and opinions. His gaze fell on the brown spiral notebook he kept beside his chair to jot down his thoughts before he lost them. No question at 86 his short-term memory was becoming very short-term. He idly flipped through the pages. Suddenly he sat up. Why not? The pages of random thoughts he had jotted down might just be the thing to put some more passion into his class room. A couple of times a month he would select several of these cryptic entries and email them to his students. Maybe he could encourage them to jot their raw musings down and exchange them with their peers. Before he left his office, he had emailed his first batch.

RANDOM THOUGHTS:          Pick one of the thoughts  and be prepared to discuss your choice in the next few classes.

President never had a quarrel with the workers of the intelligence agencies, only with their politicized and corrupt leaders who gave us Ben Ghazi, the ‘talking points’ and false intel reports on ISIS. Good riddance.

Unless the moderate Democrats weed out their socialist/progressive members, America will end up with a one-party system. Not a good thing for the long-term.

It is difficult to see any bi-partisan cooperation between the Progressives and the Republicans, now or in the near future. The Progressives know this may be their last chance in a longtime to push America into the socialist fold with them in charge. They will do anything, legal or not, to destroy the Trump movement. The uproar on the part of the Progressives over a temporary ban on unvetted immigrants from areas mostly or partially controlled by ISIS or its affiliated groups is a perfect example.

The power to control the flow of immigrants is and has been under the powers of the President. But a liberal judge from Washington State has ruled that Washington and Minnesota have standing to bring a lawsuit against the Federal Government, a very long stretch. This Judge has no access to classified national security reports and is in no position, Constitutionally or otherwise, to make a ruling on immigration that endangers the safety of people living in America. It is all about destroying the Trump Presidency.

President Trump ran on a program of ending UNVETTED immigrants from the areas of the world that are hotbeds of terrorism . (Incidentally the same countries the Obama Administration identified.) Now President Trump is carrying out his campaign promise. HIs order is legal, timely and will help protect American citizens. It is not a ban of Muslims nor is it a permanent order. The socialists, progressives and the political correct champions are up in arms against a needed legal order. They are still fighting the results of the ballot box. Guantanamo Bay was never a recruitment aid for terrorists and this Executive Order, temporarily stopping immigration from terrorist controlled areas, is not either. Jihadists are as angry with America as they can get already. Our actions do not control their drive to kill us regardless of what the RINOS like Senators McCain and Graham are trying to spread. These are the same Republican Senators that supported Obama in his effort to close Guantanamo Bay. America first is not an immoral slogan.

Water boarding and most other enhanced interrogation methods are not torture and are not repeat not illegal. Regardless of the whining by Senators Graham and McCain and members of the ‘cupcake’ generation, captured enemies of America do not volunteer information for free beer and cigarettes. The war against terrorism and radical Islamic jihadists cannot be won with law and order methods.

Don’t pay much attention to polls for a while. They have not recovered from their failures in the US election and Brexit and are still selling their old models. President Trump’s low approval ratings are probably due to the pollster’s failure to reach the audiences they missed so badly.

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Filed under Barry Kelly, Conservative views, Eight Decades of Insights, General, Intelligence & Politics, management theory, political solutions, Progressives, Republicans

The Professor: Public Sector Unions and the President-elect

Professor Mike Clark liked to surprise his class by occasionally serving his blend of rich roasted Columbian coffee and pastries to his 11 o’clock class. He used these periods to deliver an informal discussion-style lecture to his class of political science honors students.

Today, as the coffee was being served, he said, “I want to add another problem facing the President-elect. First, let me clearly state I am not anti-union. I grew up in a coal mining and small mill town in Western Pennsylvania. My grandfather was a coal miner who died from black lung in his early ’50s.

“Without the sacrifices made by both early union leaders and their followers, I don’t think the nation could have developed into the No. 1 economic power in the world. The excesses of the early industrialists make for incredible reading today. A lot of the cruelty imposed on people living in ‘company towns,’ especially by the coal and iron capitalists, is lost in the bits and pieces of the era that makes its way into our written history that is readily available to students like you.

“A few examples that I know from listening to people I visited in the remains of the old company towns in Appalachia. This particular town was built and operated by the coal magnates of the early 20th century. It was populated by new immigrants who debarked from the long voyage across the Atlantic and were immediately loaded on railroad cars for the short journey to ‘company towns’ in the coal country of Appalachia. The houses were newly built, unpainted, and with none of today’s landscaping to soften the harshness of dirt streets lined with side-by-side hastily built houses.

“The miners were paid with company script that was only accepted in the company store. Voting in elections was controlled. The first miner to vote for Democrats was thrown down the mineshaft. The mine owners had their own law enforcement called the ‘Coal and Iron Police.’ In one mining area in West Virginia, the United States Air Force bombed a large group of miners to control a labor demonstration that the state police was not able to break up. Were unions necessary to protect the rights and lives of the workers? Is there any doubt? What is the role of unions today? Does that role extend to teachers and civil servants? I will talk about those subjects at our next coffee session. In the meantime, think how unions could possibly be a problem today for our President-elect.”

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Filed under Barry Kelly, Capitalism, class warfare, Conservative views, Eight Decades of Insights, General, Intelligence & Politics, Politics, trump

The Professor: Cabinet Government Needs Help

The Professor opened the class by saying, “I know you are all working hard to apply the skills of the Cabinet candidates to the problems you have identified. I’ll give you something else to think about while you are problem solving. You won’t find this in many, if any, textbooks; it is something I have personally observed during my career in government service, especially my time as a Special Assistant to President Reagan. Cabinet government doesn’t work in our world and it probably never did, even in the days of our founders.

“Most Cabinet-level officials are people known to the President or highly recommended by people he respects. Cabinet candidates are seldom chosen from the agency or department they are tapped to manage. Their loyalty is to the President and they have committed themselves to use the scope of their unit to forward the President’s policies and campaign promises. And that is what they do for the first three or four months.

“Then, a subtle change occurs. They begin to see themselves as representing their department or agency in the internal struggle for resources and power.

“In some areas, the entrenched bureaucracies understand this process and use it with every contact with their principal to forward the cause for their agency or department. In others, it happens as certainly as night follows day. After all they are judged by the effectiveness and public perception of their unit. Every staff meeting they hold is dominated by the needs of the bureaucracy to grow and gain power on the Washington stage. By the end of the first six months, the process of Cabinet leaders lobbying for their department in meetings with the President is blatant.

“There are only two forces that are devoted to promoting the need for the President’s Cabinet to focus on executing the President’s policies and directives. The Chief of Staff and his or her resources and the National Security Council, which is really the President’s staff, are dedicated to ensuring the entire Administration is carrying out the President’s mission. In total, this is probably less than 300 people acting to keep the bureaucracy of all the agencies and departments working in a coordinated manner to achieve the well-being of the nation.

“As you are assigning your Cabinet candidates to problem-solving, assure yourselves that they are strong enough and skilled enough to carry out the President’s program year after year.”

 

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INSIGHTS 263 THE CLINTON BAGGAGE IS STILL WITH HER

 

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The darling of the progressive left of the Democratic Party is fast losing her appeal. A bit of pragmatism is settling into the progressives. To complete the socialization of America by destroying its economy and military power to make this nation an average member of the world order with a one-party system of government, they need to capture the White House in 2016. If they don’t, the progress toward socialism made by Obama will be wiped out by a party of mainstream Americans. I believe they are increasingly coming to the belief that Hillary cannot win.

She just has too much baggage and few to zero accomplishments. She is not even a good campaigner. Her speeches are mind-numbing. Let’s look at the balance sheet of advantages and disadvantages of Hillary Clinton. Beyond name recognition, I cannot point out any other asset besides, of course, her relationship with Wall Street. On the bad baggage side, she lost a primary to a first-term senator whose only accomplishment was that he could flawlessly deliver a speech as long as it was printed on a teleprompter. Barack Obama outsmarted the Clinton’s at every turn. He knew she was a poor campaigner.

As Secretary of State I cannot think of a single accomplishment of hers beyond accumulating more frequent flyer miles than any of her predecessors. Our relationships with Russia, Sunni Arabs, China, Israel, NATO nations are all less effective now than when she took office. During her service as Secretary of State she acted as if she was above the law and government rules and procedures.

Perhaps the worst was the tragedy of Benghazi. She knowingly lied to the surviving families of the dead Americans at Andrews Air Force Base as their loved ones were arriving in flag-draped coffins from Libya. She knew they died in an attack by terrorists and that she had denied the repeated requests of the State Department personnel in Benghazi to improve their security. Instead, she blamed the attack on an offensive video and promised to bring the responsible film producer to justice. He was punished but not in the name of justice. Of all the things I have seen in government, this is the most despicable of all.

There is no end to the damage Hillary can cause. She can’t even leave government employment without breaking more laws with her incredible disdain for the use of government communications channels for all official communications. It is not only the need to maintain government records but also the protection of classified information that is ignored by the use of a private server in your own home. If anything, Hillary’s government operations are even less transparent than the president’s.

This essay was first published on April 4, 2015. The title has been changed. The text is nearly word for word.

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INSIGHTS 259 ENOUGH OF THE GOP PURISTS

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How much of this whining do we have to hear from the ideological purists of the Republican establishment? They had their chances and failed every time. They supported two flawed candidates, McCain and Romney. We gave them control of the Senate and House and they failed again. Now the Bushes, Romney, George Wills, the National Review and Weekly Standard pundits, Paul Ryan in his Speaker of the House position, McConnell as the Majority Leader in the Senate and failed presidential candidate Senator Graham are vowing they cannot support or vote for Mr. Trump. In the long-term who cares about them but in the short run to the elections, they should grow up and do what is good for America. That is not a hard choice if they can get over their self-appointed political guardianship of intellectual conservatism and focus on what the nation so desperately needs.

Clearly the Obama Administration will leave the nation with several critical areas that need immediate bipartisan attention. The ideological conservative purists need to focus on what is good for America and not solely on worshiping at the altar of Conservatism. These areas need a pragmatic approach consistent with the Constitution and the rule of law:

Re-establish the co-equal branches of government with the checks and  balances spelled out in the Constitution;

Control America’s national borders;

Rebuild our military force levels and weapon systems;

Replace OBAMACARE;

Make American companies competitive by reducing taxation and regulation by Executive Departments and Agencies;

As the national economy grows, pay down the debt and rebuild the nation’s infrastructure;

Shift responsibilities such as education and healthcare back to the States; and

Apply common sense to the size and scope of the Federal Government.

GOP leaders get over your purist problems and get on with fixing problems. No more ‘leading from behind’ or the ‘issue is never the issue.’ You are being paid by the people to make their lives safer and better, not to enforce your own brand of ideology of government. Get with the program. Take on the issues. You may not get another chance. Socialist and Progressive controlled governments do not give second chances.

 

 

 

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INSIGHTS 246 Things to Think About

Things white houseTo Think About: This 2016 election process is a big deal. Either America continues to slide down the path to state socialism or we climb back to America’s unique greatness. Both are possible. Senator Sanders, who has long been infatuated with the false vision of the wonders of socialism is attracting strong support from a naïve electorate that hasn’t experienced the harsh reality of Socialism and its resulting one party government led by an intellectual elite. The socialist message sounds appealing, its reality is awful. Russia, China, Cuba and several other nations have or are flirting with socialism. What has it ever brought but the death of millions, the loss of individual freedom and economic stagnation? Marx, Lenin, Castro, Mao, Hitler and others have imposed Socialism/Communist on their people. In America, President Obama, Senator Sanders, and Hillary Clinton seemed to be in lock step with Saul Alinsky, the brilliant American socialist revolutionary who advocated that his followers use his teachings and the term Progressivism in place of Socialism or Communism, to transform America and redistribute wealth.

When we support and vote for a candidate we should think about our problems and the positions on those problems taken by the candidates.

Will the candidate tell us the truth and run a transparent government in line with our laws and the Constitution?

Can the candidate accomplish what he or she is promising?

Is the candidate’s vision consistent with the Constitution and your life’s goals?

Have the last eight years been good for you and your family?

Do you know many people who are worse off today? People who couldn’t find a job and dropped out of the workforce?

Is America educating our youth? Are college graduates able to find employment in their field of study?

Are our veterans being well treated and honored for their service and sacrifices?

Do you feel your government is able to protect your family?

Is your government’s foreign policy dealing effectively with the dangers you see abroad? Can you trust what you are being told about foreign agreements your government has signed?

Are you satisfied with your government’s handling of the national debt and current spending levels?

Has border security been improved in the last eight years? Do you trust your candidate to improve border security and deal with immigration issues?

If you cannot answer yes to nearly all these questions, maybe you need to rethink your choice of the next president.

Written by the author of the Jack Brandon thriller/mystery series. The most recent Brandon book, Blood Justice, is available at  your local bookstore.

 

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