Category Archives: trump

The Professor:President Trump and the Russians

The following is a fictional account of the dialogue between a political science professor and the students of an honors seminar in an East Coast liberal arts college. 

“In all my years working in and studying various administrations in the United States, I have never seen the likes of what is happening today,” the professor said as his class filed in and got settled around the conference table. “We won’t have time today to cover all my comments in class, for this is an area I have a great deal of experience in, thus I have a lot to say and to teach you. As a side note, for those of you who will be in the area during the summer, I’m going to offer a course in intelligence management in a six-week summer course. It will be a three-credit course. Many of the comments made in this email will be covered in more depth.

“The leakers in the Trump government are the most impressive part of his team. Within hours of a classified meeting in the White House with the Russian ambassador to the United States and the Russian foreign minister, someone from the intelligence community leaked the content of the meeting to the Washington Post, which decided to publish a portion of the document. Their most probable intent was to further the myth of a sinister link between President Trump and the Russians to destroy the president the people elected and re-establish a socialist/progressive government.

“The charge is that President Trump passed sensitive intelligence information from an allied nation to the Russians on the topic of terrorist plans and capabilities to attack passenger-carrying airliners. Also, the result of the president’s action endangered sources and methods, angered an important ally, and demoralized the hard-working men and women of the intelligence community. The socialist-controlled Democratic Party is now demanding to know exactly what was discussed with the Russians, including any audio tapes and transcripts as if it is their right to know.” The professor paused and shook his head.

“The only crime here is the leaking of classified information to a media outlet. It seems the once-vaunted FBI has lost its ability to find and shut down leakers of classified information. I believe they still have the capability, but no longer have the will or the leadership required to find leakers who may be politically powerful. It is not a hard problem. Most leakers are careless in their contacts with media outlets.

“Neither the media, nor the opposition political party, the public or most members of Congress have any right to the executive’s use of intelligence or the day-to-day conduct of foreign affairs. The reason we collect intelligence at great expense and risk is to use it to protect the nation. The intelligence agencies lean toward safe-keeping all intelligence in their own digital archive under very strict control. The real pros of the intelligence organizations know and understand the need to use intelligence. Nearly all high-level meetings with foreign leaders and foreign intelligence officials result in the use and exchange of intelligence. In most cases, records of what was exchanged or shared are carefully kept. This is a routine process. In most instances, presidents do not know or care to know where the information came from. It is up to the markings on the documents and their national security staff to keep them informed as to the appropriateness of the sharing of intelligence. While mistakes can be made occasionally, no crime is committed. It is a crime for anyone in the intelligence community to leak classified documents, no matter what is their misguided intent.

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The Professor and The Firing of the FBI Director

 

The following is a fictional account of the dialogue between a political science professor and the students of an honors seminar in an east coast liberal arts college.

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The Professor, reluctantly set his cup of strong dark roast coffee on the table, waiting for his students to take their accustomed places at the conference table. When the last student settled at the table, he said, “Every-once-in-a-while the normal course of the nation gets shaken by an event. Yesterday, the President fired Mr. Comey, the FBI Director. The left and ruling wing of the Democratic Party is in an uproar, demanding the appointment of a Special Counsel, Special Committee, or an Independent Counsel. Without exception, leaders of the Progressive Party, that has captured the traditional Democratic Party, have called for the resignation or dismissal of Director Comey. Hillary Clinton, the presidential standard-bearer of the party, has blamed Director Comey for her defeat.

“The conspiracy witches are out in full force stating President Trump obviously fired Comey because his investigation of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians was getting too close. Why else would the President fire the FBI Director? Most of those who automatically chant ‘conspiracy is the answer’ have never held a position outside of a legislature or media organization and do not understand how organizations with a chain of command work.

“The timing of the firing was dictated by findings of the Executive’s Attorney-General’s office. You will remember in what I believe was an ill-advised action, the Attorney-General recused himself from all aspects of the ‘Russian Investigation.’ It would have been very bad optics now for him to have taken the lead in recommending the President fire Director Comey.

“In nearly all cases the leader of an Executive Department or Agency deals with the world outside his or her organization. The number two ranking person or deputy concentrates on the internal workings of the organization. Within the Attorney-General’s Office, the Attorney-General himself through his declaration of recusal took himself out of a direct role in the FBI’s investigations of anything that may have a Russian connection to the Trump campaign or Administration. The Deputy Attorney-General is the normal command chain contact with the FBI Director. In this case, the Deputy AG had been on the job only a few weeks after being confirmed by a vote of 96 to 4 in the Senate. The Deputy AG had been appointed to his previous position as the federal prosecutor for Maryland by President Obama. He is a true professional with broad bi-partisan support.

“It was his decision, after examining Director Comey’s actions over the last year, to recommend to the AG that Comey be replaced so that the FBI could repair its damaged reputation. The AG forwarded his Deputy’s recommendation, with approval, to President Trump. I believe this is the primary reason for the timing of the firing. There is no conspiracy as much as the entire Progressive Party is pretending there is. Furthermore, it is usual for there to be a criminal charge prior to the appointment of an Independent or Special Counsel. The entire Russian/Trump investigation is being conducted as a counter-intelligence matter. This investigation will not be effected by the removal of Director Comey. Thus far there has been no evidence uncovered to support the Progressive Party’s political agenda.”

  

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The Professor, Syria, and cruise missiles

The Professor liked to walk up the two flights of stairs to his office and adjoining classroom. He had used the elevator for the last month but feeling stronger today he took the stairs. At the top, he had to stop for a few minutes to catch his breath. Certainly, didn’t want to walk into his class until he could say a hearty ‘good morning’ to his honors students.

The students were all seated and talking about the airstrike on a Syrian airport used in a sarin gas attack a few days ago when he entered.

“Well, I see you are all into current affairs. With a little luck and hard work some of you will be part of future discussions and planning that go deciding to use lethal action in support of national subjects.

“Let’s continue with the discussion. Edward, what is your take on the president’s decision?”

“After seeing the images of the gas attack victims, I don’t see how President Trump could continue with his predecessor’s example of non-involvement or leading from behind. Strong words were not going to prevent Assad from committing more atrocities that are clearly war crimes or crimes against humanity. Add to that the fact that Assad and the Russians signed an agreement that guaranteed Syrian stocks of poison gas would be destroyed and a few days ago Russian supplied planes dropped poison gas bombs on civilian targets. That signed agreement turned out to be false and some decisive action had to be taken. Obviously, both the Syrians and Russians knew about the poison gas attack and didn’t believe there would be an American military response. I fully support the cruise missile attack.”

Several hands went up, and the Professor said, “Who wants to present a different argument? Okay Carlos, the floor is yours.”

“I don’t believe the Trump national security team was thinking beyond the mechanics of the airstrike. What happens now? Do they know what the Russians or Syrians will do in response? I don’t think so. Putin is not likely to give up his warm-water sea port at Tartus. Getting an ice-free sea port for their war ships has been a Russian national security objective for a few centuries. He will take more chances to keep Tartus. After all, he believes he is Russia’s latest czar.”

“Whose wants to go next? Alice, you’re up.”

“I want to put this airstrike in a larger context. For eight years, America has perfected the use of words in place of actions. Our military has been severely underfunded. Our traditional allies don’t trust us to break out of our isolation. What’s worse, our enemies no longer respect us. We can be good at the use of diplomacy but without the resolve to use force when necessary, diplomacy is ineffective. North Korea, China, Russia, and Iran do not believe we have the will to use military force. The cruise missile strike last night has changed the rules. Our enemies must reconsider their aggressive actions and our allies can take heart that we now have competent leadership who will protect American national interests. Was it not noted that powerful Sunni Arab leaders came for a visit and went away with new hope for American backing against Iran? Do you not think those fearful of Russian and Chinese aggressive actions now have new hope that America will again be a force for peace?”

The Professor smiled at Alice’s comments then said, “Divide yourselves into two groups, one pro the cruise missile strike and one against. I’ll give you ten minutes to get organized for the team debate. I know from personal experience that people like us can’t function without fresh strong coffee. While you’re sorting yourselves into opposing groups, I’ll arrange for coffee and doughnuts.”

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The Professor: The Transfer of Power in America

“I had a different lecture prepared, but what I have observed for the last weeks has me so concerned, I have another message for today,” the professor said after his honors class had settled into their seats. He could tell he had their immediate attention. “There are several attributes of our way of government that are unique and commendable. Perhaps the most unique is our long tradition of the transfer of power following presidential elections. For a ruler and the ruling group to peacefully give up power to an opponent group is the most startling of all the benefits our country’s founders built into the Constitution.

“Since our independence, our political parties have often held contentious political campaigns. When the votes were counted, the party with the majority of electoral votes claimed the right to govern for the next four years and the losing party peacefully assumed the role of the opposition party and mostly assisted in the orderly transfer of power while the world looked on in wonder.

“This time, it is different. This time the stakes were very high. Either the nation continued the Obama/Clinton path to socialism or elected Donald Trump to lead us back to individual freedom, capitalism, and a free-market economy. There was another less visible choice: Give up much of our uniqueness and sovereignty for equal membership in a world government. Very basic issues. Another eight, or even four years, of progressive rule and it would be nearly impossible to return to the constitutional government designed by our founders.

“President Obama, progressive Congressional leaders, Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, the liberal media, ranking members of the civil service, many liberal university professors, and the hidden financiers and organizers of street violence are vigorously resisting the orderly transfer of power from one party to the other. They claim the Trump administration is illegitimate. He lost the popular vote, the Russians assisted him, the electoral college system needs to be scrapped, and all his cabinet choices must be fought with all the resources and energy the progressives can bring to bear to defeat this illegitimate Republican victory.

“Today, the traditional Democratic Party has been captured by the far-left wing of the party and is in danger of becoming a party of both coasts. California, Oregon, Washington, New York, and a handful of other northeastern coastal states. It is hard to imagine a democratic system of government based on only one viable party. The socialists/progressives won’t give up resisting an orderly transfer of power. Not only they, but all of us will suffer from the collapse of America’s ability to celebrate a peaceful transfer of power every four years. Our democratic republic is at risk today. My generation and America depend upon your strength and wisdom to save this great and unique nation.

“This subject is so important to me that I want to devote the next class period to discussing this problem. Please reflect on what I’ve said and be ready to discuss it further.”

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The Professor: Russia, Hacking and the Election

“Okay! We’re all here. First the question period. I know you see this as a chance to listen to me rather than the reverse. That’s okay with me. You know by now I’m not the usual teacher. I want you to leave this University knowing how to think and find solutions to problems. Part of that is to encourage you to think outside the box. But that is only part of the process of analyzing problems and selling your solution. You must develop an instinct to know when thinking inside the box is just as important. Most complex problems require both kinds of thinking. Why search for a new type of solution when there is an existing one that works well?

“So, who has a question they would like me to discuss?”

The Professor pointed at Alison and said, “Alison, let’s hear your question.”

“TV and the print media are constantly railing about the Russians hacking into our elections to favor President-elect Trump. It sounds like this is more about partisan politics than it is about Russian influence. What is really going on?”

“I think you know most of the answer, but I’ll tell you what I think. Great powers have been intercepting the communications of both opponents and friends throughout history. Hacking, as a form of collection, is at least five decades old. From a very primitive beginning, it has gotten much more sophisticated. The point here is that all powerful nations are engaged. So no one should be surprised that foreign nations will attack our communications systems, particularly those used by important people who don’t have the sense to protect their information. Hacking is not an act of war. A hacking attack on the national grid, the transportation system and some others would be. But senators Lindsay Graham and John McCain, who are making such a scene about wanting to punish the Russians and discredit the landslide victory of Donald Trump over the hacking and disclosure of emails associated with the Clinton campaign, are just over-heated politicians who can only be cured by term limits.

“These two senators sat through the entire tenure of the Obama Administration and, even with a Republican Congress, did next to nothing to stop the destruction of our military forces, the mistreatment of veterans, and the alienation of our allies. Closing of Guantanamo Bay and stopping Trump seems to be their main agenda.

“The Obama intelligence organizations have decided that the Russians were attempting to influence the election by releasing hacked items from Democratic email servers. President-elect Trump doesn’t trust their analysis. He shouldn’t. These are the ranking officials that lied about the Benghazi ‘talking points,’ refused to conduct a real investigation of Hillary Clinton’s illegal server and the consequent mishandling of highly classified material, and produced intelligence on ISIS to fit the White House view of them as the junior varsity. Are these people to be trusted? I think not. The rank and file of the several intelligence organizations are solid, hard-working men and women who take incredible personal risks to serve the nation, but their leadership is suspect.

“I don’t believe anyone in the Obama Administration wants a real investigation of Russian, Chinese or other hackers. Too much would be uncovered, such as what classified material did these hackers get from the Clinton email server.

“Bottom line is that what is going on is a failed President leaving office and trying to rewrite his record and constrain his successor.”

 

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The Professor: What Does the Election Mean?

“Before I start this morning session, do you have any fundamental questions to ask?”

Several hands were raised, and the Professor nodded at Carlos, who asked, “What does this election mean in the context of two-party government in the coming decade?”

“A good but very broad question. The Democrats or Progressives who now control the party picked a very poor candidate who had poor people skills and a heavy load of not very acceptable baggage. The Democratic message was more of the same, even though it was clear most Americans thought the Obama Administration was on the wrong course. People wanted to take a chance on change and Hillary Clinton offered more of the same.

“In its desire to push a very socialist agenda, the Democratic Party lost touch with the people, who I believe were fed up with the ideology of both the right and the left. President-elect Trump presented the people with a pragmatic approach. A decade ago, he could have fit into either party. This man made his fortune by recognizing problems and working to solve them. With him, ‘the issue is always the issue,’ unlike both Obama and Clinton who follow Saul Alinsky’s axiom that ‘the issue is never the issue.’ The difference is that the Alinsky Progressives were focused on seizing power to bring about a transformational distribution of wealth; people like Trump were about solving problems and making things work.

“This landslide election is a rejection of the Progressive socialist ideology and a return of the voters to a more central political position. If the Democrats continue to push a socialist agenda in 2020, the party will self-destruct. But there will always be nearly half of the citizens holding on to an embedded belief that being rich is bad and that peace is achieved not through strength but through understanding and appeasement. To them there is no need for a strong military or a strong national economy.

“These people believe President Obama’s deliberate weakening of the military and his total focus on distributing wealth nationally and internationally were needed steps to bring about equality and social justice in both America and the world. This belief is rooted in two primary drives. One is the distrust of European immigrants for wealth and corrupt aristocratic government. Our history has seen the establishment and demise of several local communes based on the philosophy of ‘from each according to their ability and to each depending their need.’ The other is the emphasis the Christian religion puts on the message of love, forgiveness, the evil of wealth, and the belief that peace and justice come from treating other people and nations the way you would like them to treat you. That is a wonderful belief for individuals dealing with others, but it doesn’t work on a larger scale or between nations. Instead, it results in the development of elite leadership and the use of force. The use of coercion to achieve social change and economic functioning has always resulted in elite rule and the loss of individual choice. Nevertheless, the ‘have-nots’ of any society have always resented the ‘haves’ and will be attracted to the slogans of the socialists championing ‘a fair shot for everyone,’ ‘income equality,’ and ‘a balanced playing field.’

“In our last three presidential elections, more than half of the people have voted for a candidate pushing the same old slogans. The problem for the Trump Administration will be to mix governing with pragmatism and a populist message. All our citizens must see they are sharing the better life.

“Otherwise, it will be an even sharper turn toward the hate-America, guilt-driven governing philosophy of the Obama/Clinton era. I’m not sure we can continue to pull back from the progressive abyss so much of our world has fallen into.

“Personally, I am pleased and excited by the possibilities of a new administration. You will all have to work hard to lead our nation between the excesses of both the left and the right of our two-party system of government. Both contain the seeds of tyranny. There is a place in the center that is right for us.”

 

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Public Sector Unions: How Do They Work?

Professor Clark opened his political science honors class by nodding at Alison and saying, “What are your thoughts about my statement that public sector unions are and will be a problem for the Trump Administration, agree or not?”

“I was surprised to see that public-sector union membership is greater than the traditional private sector unions that have been shrinking while the teachers union and government employees have been increasing their membership. So, in that case, when you plan to shrink government and cut the costs of government personnel other than the military, there must be some serious negotiations done with the public-sector unions.”

“Okay, Alison. Good thinking. Now someone tell me who will be conducting these negotiations. But first let me provide a few ground rules. We all know that when the UAW is involved in negotiations the party across the negotiating table is not the government. The UAW is in direct talks with the major car manufacturing corporations. While the issue being negotiated can be other issues than wages, let’s limit our discussion to negotiations over wages. Now Robert, tell us with whom the UAW will be conducting its collective bargaining negotiations?”

“Professor, are you setting me up? Everyone knows of the historic negotiations that have been conducted between the UAW and the big three auto corporations.”

“Of course I am. I want to make it clear that regardless of all the charges and rumors that are floated during private sector union negotiations the issues are clear. Both parties have the power to meet the obligations accepted during the negotiations. One side gains and the other loses. If the UAW wins, they reward their members with increased pay and or changes in working conditions or benefits. The auto corporations, constantly challenged by competition, have the challenge of absorbing the increased cost per unit of production, usually by passing the costs on to the consumer, the auto buyers.

“Both parties have a clear choice. The union leaders can shut down production with a strike and the corporation can refuse union demands and hold out until the union is forced to renegotiate a compromise solution. The strike may impact the growth of the national economy, but it would not be a national crisis. My point is that both sides have the freedom to either authorize a strike by the workers or to cause a work strike by refusing to comprise on their respective positions. Does that same freedom of action apply to all public-sector unions? To answer that question someone needs to tell me to whom the public-sector union leadership presents its demands. Who wants to take that issue on?”

“Paul, the floor is yours. Go!”

“I’m from Wisconsin so I’ll use the Teachers’ Union case in my answer. If the Teachers’ Union wants a wage increase or a change in working conditions, they must deal with the state government officials who were appointed or elected to be the go-to point for the Union. In the case of Wisconsin, the state had designated the points of contact for the Teachers’ Union. Unlike the case of the UAW and the auto corporations, the negotiators sitting across the table from the public sector union representatives had no skin in the game. All increased costs were passed on to the states’ taxpayers who were only remotely connected to the negotiations. Since nearly all the union members and officers were also state employees, the State of Wisconsin collected union dues and passed them on to the Union. The State negotiators often depended on Union financial contributions to fund their election and re-election campaigns. The Teachers’ Union negotiated with itself until the governor stepped in. I do not believe any public sector union truly has an adversary with skin in the game at the negotiating table.”

“Thank you, Paul. The question under discussion here is, do public sector union government employees who work for all citizens have the right to strike the same as workers in the private sector? The people pay the bill but have little or no direct say in the negotiating process. How can you have a negotiating process when only one side is represented?”

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