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Looking for a “Comeback Kid”

January 20, 2019

Very few successful men and women achieve success without experiencing failure. They are successful because they had the will and spirit to make a comeback. Even Steve Jobs failed, most dramatically when he was kicked out of Apple by the marketing expert he hired to run his company.

In my own career, I can count at least three failures–twice by being fired and a third time when my company was forced to close. That first “failure” occurred when, in the third year as a college teacher, my teaching contract was not renewed. I found another teaching position and parlayed that into a presidential appointment, only to be fired again. It took about nineteen years to recoup and I began to build the first Internet university dedicated to principled, conservative, scholarship.

That effort collapsed three years ago and I’m now working on my fourth comeback! I know many others who never make a comeback. They take a hit, and never overcome that experience. All the ones I know who were defeated were very bright, educated, professionals, but they just never recovered.

That may be explained by the experience of entrepreneurs. Very few entrepreneurs “make it” with their first venture. Sometimes it may take four or five attempts before an entrepreneur finds the one venture that works. I think I may have engaged in three or four ventures before discovering that the Internet could be utilized to found an entire university at low cost.

I have been thinking about that when I see the hesitancy of Republican members of Congress to criticize President Donald Trump on the many issues that will destroy the Republican Party.

The President’s program of tariffs, his inattention to budget deficits, his lack of concern about our inability to sustain Entitlement programs, his failure to staff his administration by filling the many Presidential appointments at his command, his inattention to the advice of professionals who have mastered the intricacies of foreign and national security policy. And the meetings with other heads of state that he pursues without adequate preparation.

All those failures add up to a future, total, collapse of the GOP, conflict with foreign adversaries that may lead to war, the likely Impeachment of the President and a long succession of bad legislation and controversial Presidencies, a possible civil war and military intervention.

Early this morning I raised this issue at a post in my daily blog.

I argue that there are few politicians who are willing to risk loss of office and even fewer who have the will and spirit to make a comeback after paying the price of defeat in the next election for criticizing President Trump.

Friends and critics decry the passivity of Congressional Republicans in the face of this President’s inadequacies desipte they clearly assure the destruction of the GOP.

If we can explain their failure to speak up, we may remove the mystery that surrounds our understanding of why some can make a comeback, and others do not.

 

Courage to Criticize President Trump

January 20, 2019

“The British were learning..that their desire for peace does not insure peace. ….A price would have to be paid for those somnolent years and squandered opportunities. The price would be war.”–James C. Humes, Churchill (1980)

 It is clear beyond doubt that President Donald Trump has no understanding of foreign policy and a very unclear understanding of national security. He appears incapable of learning or building a professional staff that does understand. The President’s foreign policy is reduced to personal meetings with heads of state without taking the steps to staff his meetings with professionals who meet with their opposite professionals prior to meetings with the President.

President Trump believes that foreign relations start with meetings between himself and other heads of state. They come prepared knowing what they want to achieve and President Trump “wings it.” Friends and critics of the President ask members of the Republican Party in the Senate and House why they don’t speak up.

That they are silent explains why Donald Trump is President and they are not. Leadership requires two types of politicians: those who do not fear loss of power and those who lose power, but recover.

There are, perhaps, two or three members of the House and Senate who do not fear losing their positions, if they speak up, and perhaps of those two or three, two have the will to seek and achieve recovery.

Perhaps they will act to overcome what time has been squandered before this President’s stupidity leads to war. The time to speak up is before the next meetings between President Trump and Kim Jong-un, Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping.

 

Good News from CNN

January 18, 2019

Late yesterday and this morning’s discussions on MSNBC and CNN have focused on a report from “Buzzfeed” that President Trump suborned his attorney to commit perjury with respect to the President’s business interests in Russia. A piece of this morning’s news coverage dealt with the President’s decision not to permit a delegation of Democrat Congressmen–and Speaker Nancy Pelosi–to travel to Afghanistan and other areas of the Middle East on a military plane. The plane was cancelled no less than two hours from scheduled departure.

Given the intent of the owner of MSNBC, and the producers of CNN, to Impeach President Donald Trump, coverage on both cable news networks was frantic with delight that now we have something that may lead to a criminal indictment of the President of the United States, except for an interview on CNN at or around 9:10 AM.

I had awakened very early to draft a post on this blog, and had turned on MSNBC at the start of “Morning Joe.”

I know, I shouldn’t do that–Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski are Trump “haters”–and violate every principle of what passes for “journalism” in these “tribalized times” by stacking morning discussions with persons who agree with the anti-Trump policies of MSNBC. So, half awake, and tired of grumblings I was hearing from MSNBC, I switched channels to CNN.

CNN is now owned by AT&T and may want to be a bit more responsible than MSNBC, so they are adding one or two Republican persons to interview. As I listened to this interview, I heard a reasonable voice discuss these hot topics. I couldn’t believe my ears, so I got up and read the byline of the person being interviewed and saw that he was a Republican–Adam Kinzinger (R-IL).

Who is he and which part of the U.S. does he represent?

Kinzinger hails from the 16th district which is made of up of 14 counties and stretches from Illinois’ northern to eastern borders. It includes everything from large towns like Rockford and DeKalb to smaller communities like Gibson City, Bradford, and Ashton, including the hometown of Ronald Reagan.

I knew a little bit about Illinois from in-laws who reside in Chicago and a good friend–the late John Howard–the former President of Rockford College who founded the Rockford Institute. Like most states, Illinois is good and bad–mostly bad.

But who is Adam Kinzinger?

According to his official biography, Kinzinger graduated from Illinois State University in 2000. Four days ago we reported the death of Dr. John Gueguen who had a long and distinguished career at ISU. In Adam Kinzinger’s Sophomore year, he was elected to the McLean County Board of Governors. After graduation, Kinzinger joined the United States Air Force, was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in November 2003 and later awarded his pilot wings. He has served in the Air Force Special Operations, Air Combat Command, Air Mobility Command, and Air National Guard.

What did Cong. Kinzinger say on CNN that caught my attention?

  • About “Buzzfeed” he observed that none of the claims of suborning perjury were backed up with names of sources;
  • As for the cancellation of Speaker Pelosi’s travel, he suggested that the cancellation might have been made earlier than the one hour before takeoff.
  • About the shutdown of the U.S. government, he lamented that neither side is talking to the other and that would be a better use of Speaker Pelosi’s time than foreign travel.

Thank God for little favors, and Cong. Kinzinger..

 

 

 

Unhappy People in Media

January 17, 2019

When I watch cable news each morning, I am invigorated. So biased and openly hostile to the West, American culture and conservatives is the media that I arise from my bed ready to do my little part for reform and recovery.

L. Brent Bozell, founder of the National Media Center, does a terrific job identifying the most biased “news” personalities and each year the National Media Center conducts a gala. Here’s a taste of what they celebrate at these events.

 

Dr. John Gueguen, Jr., RIP

January 13, 2019

John Gueguen was a political theorist who studied with Leo Strauss at the University of Chicago, but was shaped by his undergraduate education at the University of Notre Dame. John was a teacher’s teacher whom I came to know and admire after his retirement.

John Arthur  Gueguen Jr.

John Arthur Gueguen, Jr., was born June 14, 1933, the son of John Arthur and Marjorie Agnes (Mallot) Gueguen in Independence, MO. He grew up with loving parents and four devoted younger sisters: Sharon, Mary Pat, Joyce and Loretta. He was raised in Lexington, MO. He studied architecture at the Junior College of Wentworth, earning an Associate in Science degree in 1952.
John went to the University of Notre Dame as a transfer student. He studied in the College of Arts and Letters, with a major in communication arts. He played trombone in Notre Dame’s marching and concert band.
John graduated in June 1956 magna cum laude. His first job was as a journalist in New Jersey; however, it was not long before the chairman of Notre Dame’s political science department summoned him back to fill a sudden faculty vacancy in 1958. He taught there for two years and discovered that he had a gift for teaching. He began doctoral studies in political philosophy at the University of Chicago in 1960. While working on his Ph.D., John resumed teaching at Notre Dame in 1962.
In the summer of 1966 John moved to San Francisco and taught political philosophy at San Francisco State. He returned to Chicago in 1969 to finish his dissertation. He received his Ph.D. in 1970.
In 1972, John’s began teaching political philosophy at Illinois State University. He became a full professor in 1980. In 1981, he was named the Arts and Sciences Lecturer and Teacher of the Year.
John was respected and loved by the thousands of students whom he taught over his 24 years at ISU. What mattered to him most was the integral intellectual and moral formation of the innumerable young people he instructed. His effectiveness as a teacher can be seen by the many lives he changed during his career at ISU.
After retirement in 1996, John spent his time in Champaign-Urbana (Illinois) doing research and writing. In 2005, he moved back to St. Louis, where he lived until his final illness.
John had a deep love for God in daily life, a commitment to professionalism in his work, and strong spirit of service. These he learned from the teachings of Opus Dei which he strove to live out since his college years.
John is survived by his four sisters, their 19 children, and their 40-some grandchildren, visiting whenever possible and writing often. He will always be remembered for his warm and steadfast communications with his siblings, their children, and numerous former students and colleagues.

Higher ED Decline in WI

January 13, 2019

Chicago Attorney, Joe Morris comments on evidence of decline in American higher education.

In a page one  story yesterday (Saturday, January 12, 2019), The New York Times bravely ventured across the Hudson River into “rural America” — you know, the part between Jersey City and San Francisco.

In an obscure hamlet called Stevens Point, Wisconsin, the Times’s intrepid reporters found a small, isolated, beleaguered colony of readers of The New York Times living among the yokels:  The faculty of the University of Wisconsin at Steven’s Point.

Can you imagine how hard it is to find a decent latté within a hundred miles of Stevens Point?

Led by its Chancellor, Bernie Patterson (Ph.D., SUNY / Albany), the UWSP faculty is having to face the problems of declining enrollments and financial losses as more and more students (and their parents) catch on to the higher education con game:  Paying high tuitions and incurring debts that will take decades to repay in order to subsidize the politics and lifestyles of the leftist elites who have controlled and corrupted the academy in America since at least the 1960s.

Think of what this means for someone such as Jennifer Collins (Ph.D., University of California / San Diego), one of only two full professors of political science on the faculty at UWSP, who, living among the peasantry and hostility (Trump voters!) in the dead center of Wisconsin, continues her lifetime of work in hardship posts trying to bring enlightenment to the benighted and oppressed.  As her campus biography puts it, 

Prof. Collins grew up in Westchester, near New York City.  She lived and worked in Central and South America for more than eight years.  For two years in the 1980s she worked in the war zones of Nicaragua with the peace and justice organization, Witness for Peace, trying to change U.S. foreign policy and end U.S. support for the contras.  Subsequently she worked for four years in Quito, Ecuador with the Latin American Council of Churches.

When not advocating for military victories by communist thugs, Prof. Collins has spent her career studying and promoting their thought.  Her dissertation, which she is preparing for publication, was on the Pachakutik Plurinational Unity Political Movementin Ecuador, a left-wing indigenist party named after an Incan king whose idea of “plurinational unity”, rather like Stalin’s, was to subjugate, enslave, and, when necessary, exterminate neighboring tribes and communities.  The relevance of Pachakutik thought to Wisconsin in the age of Scott Walker ought to be obvious.

So, with students fleeing from the University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point, Chancellor Patterson and his advisors have come up with the brilliant plan of purging the humanities and non-communist social sciences from the curriculum.  Who needs “history” — all that irrelevant focus on dead white men — anyway?  Of course, Prof. Collins’s political science department will be preserved.

The Times takes the measure of the ignorance of the indigenous Wisconsin peasantry by quoting one Kim Mueller, 21, a handmaid’s tale victim if ever there were one — her ambition (get this!) is to make her life in Wisconsin, as a high school history teacher (how sad!) — who asked the question, “What is a university without a history major?”  (Talk about a girl who needs to get woke!)

The Provost of UWSP, Gregg Summers (Ph.D., University of Wisconsin / Madison — in history, oops), helpfully offered the Times the profound observation, “Sometimes, I liken it to climate change. The higher-ed climate has changed profoundly and it’s not going back to the old normal.”  So true and so apt.  And life is like a box of chocolates.

You will find the NYT story linked here.  As you read it, remember that the NYT has determined that “objectivity” in news reporting is neither possible nor desirable, and that the NYT is “in opposition”.  (I’m not sure it matters in opposition “to what”, but I’m pretty sure it’s “civilization”).  So the Times report is necessarily in service of some agenda other than giving us “all the news that’s fit to print”.  I rather suspect that, in this case, it’s shifting blame away from the people who’ve been in charge for at least the last 50 years for the decay in and derangement of higher education.

 The people of central Wisconsin won’t learn much about Shakespeare, Newton, Jefferson, Hamilton, Smith, or Locke, let alone Cardinal Newman, but the name and thought of Tupac Ayar Manco (the son of King Pachakuti) and Che Guevara (his spiritual heir) will be on everyone’s lips!

 

 

 

Bolton–“Bomb Iran”

January 13, 2019

At the end of my first year of college, I was fortunate to become a political conservative. I had worked part time for the Allegheny County (Pittsburgh PA) Republican Party during the 1960 academic year and in summer 1961, a local Congressman (then the ranking member of the House Post Office Committee), arranged for my employment at the General Services Administration in Washington, DC.

I took that opportunity to attend evening meetings at Human Events as an “Intern.” Stan Evans taught American government to a small group that included myself, a campaign aide to Sen. John Tower and two future editors of Reader’s Digest, William Shulz and Kenneth Tomlinson. When Human Events conducted its first Conservative Political Action Conference at the Mayflower Hotel, I worked for Henry Regnery in the Regnery Publishing booth. That led to my attending the 1961 ISI summer school at C.W. Post College with Russell Kirk where I met Frank Chodorov, Lemuel Boulware, E. Victor Milione and other conservative leaders. Also, I became aware of similarly inclined young conservatives at other Universities including Bob Tyrrell at the University of Indiana where he had founded The Alternative, the early version of what became The American Spectator.

When I began my academic career, I quite naturally sought out The Alternative to publish a review of Thomas Molnar’s God and the Knowledge of Reality. That appeared in the June issue of 1975. Over the years, I subscribed to the American Spectator and became friends with one of the magazine’s Board, Peter Hannaford. But, I didn’t submit another essay for publication for forty years. I just wasn’t writing “journalistic” essays. In March and April of 2015, however, I submitted two essays. Both were published. One essay asked if we should attack Iran.

During those forty years, Bob Tyrrell’s magazine has had its highs and lows. the biggest “high” occurred when President Ronald Reagan accepted Bob’s invitation to have dinner at his house. Print publishing is in decline, however, and The American Spectator has ceased publishing a print edition and the political orientation of the Spectator has taken on a distinct Neoconservative cast.

On Iran, Neoconservatives believe in defending the state of Israel from its enemies, by force of arms if necessary. That is evident in today’s report in the Wall Street Journal that National Security Advisor, John Bolton, has asked the Department of Defense to develop military actions that may be taken against Iran.

I believe that our commitment to the state of Israel is permanent and in the national interest of the United States. And I agree with President Trump that the Obama Administration’s “deal” with Iran was foolish. But, I’m a realist and I question whether we can successfully attack Iran and I spelled out those reasons for American Spectator readers. Also, I have followed the career of John Bolton and consider him to be too quick to recommend military action and felt that he should not be appointed National Security Advisor in the Trump Administration.

To get to my point, my 2015 essay caused some controversy in the editorial suite of The American Spectator where Neoconservatism has replaced the political conservatism of the Spectator’s earlier years. And I’ve watched with some consternation as Neoconservatives became influential at a number of important conservative organizations including Bill Baroody’s American Enterprise Institute, Ed Feulner’s Heritage Foundation and the Philadelphia Society.

Now that they have real power, we’ll have an opportunity to find out what these worthies will do with power.