Category Archives: management theory

FACTSANDFICTIONS:SCHOOL SHOOTINGS

Is there a worse crime than shooting innocent children while they are learning new skills?  I don’t think so. Why after decades of these terrible events haven’t we fixed the problem. Surely protecting children, especially in schools, should be a top priority. Focus groups, roundtable discussions, political speeches and public hand wringing over the Second Amendment by both conservatives and liberals hasn’t helped. Maybe because school shootings aren’t about guns or the Second Amendment. Instead the problem is still with us  because of the bureaucracy associated with the management of the education process in America. No new great discovery regarding guns is needed. Although background checks can stand improvement.

There are thousands of buildings in America that have tight security that limits access to authorized personnel only. We know how to secure buildings and larger sites. The problem is that school security is in the hands of teachers, school administrators, school boards and elected politicians. Collectively I wouldn’t search for security know how within this group. Rather, I would go to security professionals who are totally outside the thinking and mindsets of our educational professionals. In many schools teachers cannot or are not permitted to control their own classrooms. They do know how to educate our children. For some reason education professionals, including the powerful Teachers Union, think they should be in total control of school security.

It has always been that way and it has failed and will continue to fail to secure our schools and to protect our children. It shouldn’t matter to the teachers and school boards who controls the security of buildings and grounds, including access. They should welcome being freed from being responsible for school security. Their primary responsibility is to educate children who want to learn. (A subject for another time.) I believe the responsibility for school security should be with the local police and/or sheriff departments. They know how to secure buildings if they are not handicapped by impossible “rules of engagement” imposed by local educators and politicians. There is no doubt this approach will be expensive and inconvenient. But it will work and provide the safety and security children and teachers should have in our schools. Maybe it is time to stop talking and give the responsibility for school security to the professionals.

Blog: factsandfictions.com | Twitter: @factsfictions80

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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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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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  Corruption and Democracy

 

 

The Professor was pleased with his class. It might be the best class I have ever had. All eight students are learning how to think outside the box and are articulate in presenting their views. Today, I’ll do the work. He looked over his class, notebooks open and wondering what the topic would be today. Half the fun of teaching was keeping the students guessing. He doubted that any of them were thinking about the impact of corruption on the democratic process.

The Professor walked over to the floor to ceiling window and looked out over the Bay. He loved the view and felt he did his best thinking staring out over the ever-changing scene. The feeling was humbling. His mind rambled over questions he wasn’t equipped to answer and never would be. Existence, origin, change without change, the meshing of infinite forces, all forever beyond human understanding, helped him put his role into perspective. Pushing those thoughts into the background of his mind, he said, “Democracy and the freedom it allows are not guaranteed. It was crafted by some very brave and thoughtful people who did their best to protect the governing process they had fought for. Democracy is constantly assailed by powerful forces. We have talked about some of those. The danger of the growth in size and scope of government, the inroads on the ‘rule of law,’ the limits on the freedom of individuals to achieve their own goals, and the breakdown of the checks and balances enumerated in the Constitution.

“Today, I want to talk about a more insidious danger to democracy. Corruption in the political process of governing, I believe, today is a very great danger to democracy and the freedom it needs to exist. Our founders knew there would always be greedy people seeking power and wealth by getting around the restraints imposed by following the law and regulatory procedures. There are several examples of abuse by elected and appointed officials in our history.

“When corruption is found, it must be destroyed. Otherwise, it is like a cancer and will spread throughout public and private organizations. Corruption begins when people believe they cannot achieve their selfish goals without putting themselves above the law. Whether this is a result of personal or ideological goals, it is still corruption and must be harshly dealt with. When the governed lose faith and trust in their leaders, the existing government will fall.

“Your assignment for our next class is to identify an instance of corruption in our government and present your solution to the problem. I do not want a term paper, just a short oral presentation and discussion.”

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The Professor and Political Realities



conference-1330110_1280“Before I give you a short lecture on what I call ‘political realities,’ here is your assignment for our next class. Now that you are divided into two groups, each supporting either the conservative side or liberal side, each group must prepare a ten-minute speech and a TV ad. The group’s representative will deliver the speech. Visual aids are allowed, but it is the effectiveness of the message that counts.

“We have political parties because people want, or believe they want, something different from what they have now, while others want to defend and develop the existing way of governing. When you view politics for this perspective, you can identify basic issues and beliefs. I haven’t found many people to agree with my analysis, but I believe it to be accurate. You, of course, may disagree, but you must be able to defend your group’s position.

“I believe the drive toward centralization of nearly everything is rooted in the DNA of civilization. The motive of this need to seek centralization would probably be a good thing, if the process had some limit. But it does not. It continues until centralization reaches the breaking point where constant centralization creates an unmanageable entity. The need to have or, at least, to believe the process has created a controllable management structure where a small group of elites can create a better life for all by reaching the point where management is responsible to the will of the people sounds like a very desirable outcome.

“Unfortunately, it is not. The Department of Homeland Security is a good example. After the terrorist attack on 9/11, in a laudable intent to secure future safety by improving management accountability and effectiveness, several organizations that were already too big for effective management were combined. However, I think only the priests of centralization believe the head of DHS can or is improving security. The more likely result is that most of his time and energy are expended in trying to find out what is going on in his empire and how to satisfy the requirements of the president and Congress. Nevertheless, now that one person is in charge, the pushers of centralization believe improvements in security will routinely occur even with the almost weekly examples of bumbling by the managers of airport security. From the time of unwritten history, the Roman Empire’s rise and fall, to the present day, the process of centralization continues, modified only by the undeniable failure of a society, civilization, or a national government. This process can be found behind the constant failure of socialist nations.

“Behind the scenes battle the ‘founders and the guardians.’ This theme is easier to explain because it can be observed in both the public and private sector. The keywords are founders and guardians. Organizations in the beginning of their histories can point to the people who were the founders. With maturation, nearly all organizations slowly, but inexorably, move into the control of the guardians. These well-meaning, good people use the power of process to protect and perpetuate the organization they inherited. Process expertise does not involve the understanding or the furtherance of the founder’s mission, it is solely concerned with the way the mission is accomplished. You have all seen them. They are the enablers of the units who focus on personnel management, accounting, logistics, communications, and finance. Good people all and their skills are needed and respected.

But they should not supplant the line mission leaders. The downside is the effect of their process requirements on the effectiveness and direction of the line mission of the unit. Seldom can a person with process skills actually lead people engaged in the primary mission of the organization they serve. Yet this process affects all organizations, private and public.

My third theme is the most important. The Constitution, the Bill of Rights, our founders, the separations of powers, and the blood and sweat of our ancestors all combine to make America a very special place. All of these elements rest on the ‘rule of law.’ When an administration like President Obama’s disregards the rule of law, they are trashing the very core of America’s existence.

The rule of law doesn’t provide total equality for all people. Slogans spouting sound bytes such as “a fair shot for everyone,” “equal opportunity for all,” and “everyone deserves a fair share” are the false promises that permeate socialist speeches. The rule of law does, however, provide equal protection under the law from the arbitrary excesses of government and the protection of life and property by the government. This protection must be provided equally to all citizens, all the time, regardless of wealth, economic stature, race, religion, or political position. Justice must be blind in its application to all. When it is not, our society will begin to unravel, for the rule of law is what holds our nation together. It is what finally triumphed over evils like slavery, racial and religious discrimination, and inequality of opportunity to be all you can be. This is unique to America. It did not arrive here with our waves of immigrants. Instead, it is what brought them to take the risks of moving to a new land.

“Ponder these three themes. Use them or develop your own. But you must be able to identify what is behind the sound bytes of our political parties. Class is over. See you all next week.”

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INSIGHTS 233 — WHO SHUTS DOWN THE GOVERNMENT?

Advisor's vault doorThe President went down to talk with the Advisor the day after the Speaker of the House announced his resignation.  The Advisor asked, “Mr. President, do you believe the next speaker will be willing to shut the government down over the ‘Planned Parenthood’ issue?”

“That’s my decision, not the speaker’s. The Constitution gives the House the sole right to appropriate funds for the government. Early in my administration, the House forgot it had that power and did not use it. Power not used is power lost.

“For example, no one should blame the president for the current budget deficit. I can’t spend anything unless the bill originates in the House, is passed by the House and Senate, and sent to my desk. If the Republicans believe the budget should be balanced and the deficit reduced, why don’t they do it? The answer is simple, they just don’t have the political courage to make the hard choices. In the vacuum they created, I stepped in and am now governing as if I could appropriate funds.

“My base doesn’t want them to defund ‘Planned Parenthood’ so I said I would veto any bill that defunds ‘Planned Parenthood.’ Since they were planning to send the defunding issue up to me in the major budgeting bill, my veto of the bill would shut the government down. They are too dumb to change the messaging. It is not their fault I vetoed the budget bill. I vetoed the bill because it contained something neither I nor my base wanted. Ever since Speaker Newt Gingrich’s battle with President Clinton over spending issues resulted in a presidential veto and the shutdown of the government, all professional Republican politicians are in mortal fear of a presidential veto that results in a political shutdown of the government in the most painful way possible. I guarantee the pain part.

“Now I can control the legislature simply by threatening to shut the government down. In reality, taking $500 million out of a trillion-dollar budget would hardly be noticed. In this case they weren’t even cutting the funds, merely spreading the funds to other women’s health clinics. The government could go on as normal. The Republican Party members who fought so hard and successfully to win the House and Senate, now wonder what is the difference? The people we sent to Washington to represent us are not listening to us. In political fact, I now decide what to fund and the funding levels. I am Appropriator-in-Chief.”

“Will a new speaker be able to regain the Constitutional power to appropriate funds?”

“I doubt it. Maybe if the majority of the media supported the Republican Party, but I don’t think any of the contenders will have the courage to confront both me and the media. Rest assured, if I shut the government down over some funding bill I don’t like the media will blame it on the Republicans. Their own members and the conservative media will also automatically blame the Republican radicals for any shutdown. That is a strange but accurate view of the political scene in America. Senate and House leaders are playing the power game by traditionally cherished rules and procedures. I make my own rules and procedures. Therefore I win.”

Seeing the President check his watch, the Advisor said, “Mr. President, I fear you are needed back in the above-ground world. Thank you for the education. I don’t agree with your goals but you must be one of the most astute and aggressive presidents ever to play in the biggest of all power games.”

“I think that is a compliment. So thank you.”

 

This is an account written by a fictional advisor who doesn’t exist but should.

Check out the latest Jack Brandon mystery suspense novel at your local bookstore. Follow the author on Twitter @factsfictions80.

 

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INSIGHTS 220 The Advisor and the President discuss the civil service

Advisor's vault door

The President was back just two days after he had to leave in the middle of The Advisor’s question about the politicization of the Civil Service. The President lit his secret cigarette and said, “This is the only place in the  White House I can smoke without getting hard looks or worse. And this is so far underground I’m not sure I’m still in the White House. Okay, you were asking me about my use of the Civil Service. Right?”

“Yes. I was wondering if you see how much you have politicized the Civil Service?”

“Of course. It is my Civil Service. Why should they not do what I want them to do? Notice I said want them to do, not what I tell them to do. That is the difference.”

“You make it sound as if by some magic all members of the service know what you would like them to do and they do it.”

“No magic involved. All Civil Service members take direction from appointed officials. I appoint them and I only appoint those who I know will follow my progressive ideology. Most Civil Service employees like their jobs and want to keep them. They also work hard to get good evaluations, earn promotions and bonuses, and to justify the size and scope of their unit. Their loyalty is to their units and to the Civil Service Union. No one has to tell them to follow the president’s lead. They have always acted the same way. I just have been more careful to make sure the leaders I appointed are doing their jobs.”

“You sound as if you have studied organizational structure and the behavior of workers in large organizations.”

“What’s to study? That’s the way I think. For example, I don’t have to tell civil employees to grow their organizations or to expand. The government doesn’t grow because some president wants it to. It grows unless some president works hard to control or stop the growth. In my case, I want the government to continue to grow. I need it to really transform the country.”

“Why then are you cutting the size of our military forces?”

“Even as the commander-in-chief, I don’t have the same power over the military as I do over the civilian workforce. I cannot put my people all through the uniformed military. Also their command structure is very tight. I have strategic influence but people loyal to me and my transformation goals are not in the day-to-day operational decision making. The military forces are not supporting my progressive goals. I am growing the power of the Civil Service for they are a willing ally in transforming America. I am cutting the size and power of the military because they are and have been an evil force used to project American power into less fortunate and smaller nations. To bring the military under control, I must reduce their size.”

“Then you say you are not breaking any laws by the way the IRS, the EPA, Justice, HHS, Veterans Affairs or Homeland Security have conducted their activities?”

“Right. There is no evidence of any wrongdoing; therefore, no crime.”

“What about the failure or unwillingness of the FBI to investigate the wrongdoing of the IRS and the failure of the Immigration Service to enforce the law?”

“You don’t seem to understand. The FBI has no charter or legal standing to investigate when there is no evidence a crime  has been committed. Under my Justice Department, the FBI is not going out looking for things to investigate. They do work for the attorney general, and she works for the president.”

“What about the precedent of the Watergate affair and the erased tapes in the Nixon administration that led to his resignation?”

“Wouldn’t have happened under me. Nixon failed to understand how to use the law without being directly involved and the media did the investigating, not the FBI. Nixon and most Republicans have never understood how to use the media.”

Mr. President, I’m afraid I have exceeded my time.”

“No problem. I’m enjoying these sessions and I really think you are trying to understand me. Also, I want my record in your journal to be clear. See you next week but I don’t know when.”

With that, the President left with Chris who was patiently waiting in the dim passageway, and they retraced his steps to the above ground White House.

The Advisor opened his journal and began to record the last session. As he was writing in his journal, he thought, this man is delusional but very clever and dangerous.

The above is a fictional account of a meeting that never took place, but it could have.

The author’s latest Jack Brandon novel, ISIS Quiet Justice, is available at your local book store and in ebook format from Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble. Follow the author on Twitter at @factsfictions80.

 

 

 

 

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