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Iran and Our Long, Hot, Summer

July 20, 2019

The heat wave drenching the United States last week is only one part of our long, hot, summer. The hottest aspect of American life involves Iran. Tensions between the U.S., the United Kingdom and Iran got hotter when Iran interdicted two British freighters in the Strait of Hormuz. The UK began by capturing an Iranian oil tanker off Gibraltar alleging that it was shipping oil to Syria.

Knowledge of the UK by the Islamic radicals in control of Iran may be quite limited, but they will recall the Falkland War in which British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher went to war to keep the Falklands from Argentina’s attempts to take it back. The Argentine military junta then in power believed that Islas Malvinas was theirs and went to war to get them back.

England is an island and “island peoples” become aggressive when threatened or attacked. That contributes to the fierceness and discipline of the British military.  In short, the Iranian Mullahs better not fool around with the British.

Our military academy-trained President understands that and has authorized Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) to meet with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif to lessen tensions. Though President Trump has rejected a faulty treaty negotiated with Iran by President Obama, and retained Josh Bolton as his National Security Advisor, for now, President Trump is attempting to avoid war with Iran.

Our President, a moderate? Our long, hot, Summer could get much hotter very quickly.

 

The Luv Gov is Back!

July 17, 2019

Former Republican Governor and U.S. House Member, Mark Sanford, has announced that–during the next thirty days–he will consider running against President Donald Trump. His announcement has been met, as yet, with silence and, in the case of CNN’s Chris Cuomo, with derision.

CNN, now owned by AT&T is an example of bad management left alone by uber-managers in the telephone business who ought to stay in the telephone business, so over their heads is the task of making CNN right. But, for now, let’s focus on Mark Sanford.

Mark Sanford is the first political conservative to come out in public to say “enough.”

Sanford destroyed his career when, as a sitting governor, he absented himself from his Columbia, South Carolina offices to pursue an extramarital affair with the love of his life–a married woman from Argentina. In some ways, that makes Sanford the perfect GOP politician to run against President Trump, the worst President of the United States in terms of personal morality.

Clearly, there’s something a bit “off” about Mark Sanford–he liked to share Coca Cola from straws in the sane bottle of Coke from which he was drinking–and I thought that was weird. But until his extramarital affair, Mark Sanford was considered the hottest prospect for high office by serious conservative Republicans.

I’m now inclined to agree with them.

A politician dubbed “the Luv Gov” is the appropriate candidate to challenge the adulterous, sexual deviant, President Donald Trump. Nothing that Mark Sanford did in Argentina can compare with what Donald Trump did in the open in the clubs of Manhattan or anywhere else he could get laid.

So, I’m not going to hold anything against Mark Sanford that he did in his screwed up personal life and hope and pray that, for once in his life, he’s serious.

We need a knowledgeable political conservative to challenge the ignorant, dyslexic, celebrity who managed to steal the GOP from us Republicans. And I hope that this ultimately leads to formation of a National Conservative Party led by true political conservatives.

The next thirty days will be interesting because we’ll see if some big money, like that thrown at Donald Trump by the Mercers, shows up and if some political conservatives who know politics decide to throw in with Mark Sanford. Money and trustworthy conservative political expertise will put Mark Sanford on the way to one of the greatest political brawls in American history.

Go for it, Mark.

Trump’s Personnel Failures

July 14, 2019

Well into his third year in office, President Donald Trump has failed to fill 30% of positions requiring Senate confirmation.

Thanks to “Tracker” we know which positions have been filled and the names of everyone President Trump has nominated.

Go to “Search the database” at Tracker, check any one of eleven categories, and visitors will discover details about every Presidential nominee, which positions have no nominee (140), how many nominees are awaiting confirmation (143), the total number confirmed (464). Any objective observer of this data will conclude that something is wrong with this Administration and that it is safe to assume that nothing can or will be done to improve it.

After 230 years since ratification of the Constitution of the United States, a vast administrative State has been developed that requires active involvement by the President.  Conservatives would like him to eliminate many government agencies, or appoint qualified professionals committed to control of the career bureaucrats who administer these agencies. By simply doing nothing, or by appointing persons who do not bring a philosophy of limited government to the positions in which they were placed, permits the forces and interests that favor big government to win by default.

A pall of failure hangs over this Administration and what’s left of the Republican Party. Only bad things will follow this massive failure of government.

 

President Trump Loves Money

July 12, 2019

Today’s  impromptu press conference with President Trump and Labor Secretary Acosta was appalling  for three reasons:

1) there was no vetting of Acosta before being chosen as Labor Secretary;

2) unless I heard wrong, Trump didn’t interview him before that appointment and

3) President Trump should have cut him loose when the Epstein scandal broke.

Perhaps more appalling was Trump’s expression of thanks for the Court ruling on the Emolument clause because he was giving up a big income in order to serve as President and income from the Trump hotel in DC made up for that!

This President is so driven by material interests that his statement raises concerns that American foreign policy may be driven by the material interests of his former company.

The Moscow effort to obtain a hotel concession while running for office is the most egregious example.

The Two-Party System in Old Age

July 10, 2019

Our Two-Party system emerged in 1796 when John Adams was elected president with 71 electoral votes defeating Thomas Jefferson with 68.

As leader of the opposition, Thomas Jefferson, was ruthless in his pursuit of power and was motivated by belief in “revolution.” He was truly a man of the Enlightenment desiring to spread the ideology of unrestrained liberty to our country and the world–though, curiously, not to the men and women he enslaved.

Beginning with the election of 1796, factions representing differences in philosophy, religion, material interests, and lust for power were channeled into a system of two political parties. Since there were always a multiplicity of motivations constrained within two parties, American national politics might have developed into a multi-party system.

The compromise made at Philadelphia in 1787 by which the “Virginia Plan,” proposed on May 29, was rejected and gave us a political system composed of States united by partisan forces organized to give power to one Party that could corral a majority of States in the Electoral College. In order to win control of the federal government, political partisans had to direct their efforts to winning election in the States.

That restrained American politics from divisions dominated by “single issue” parties, but that protection from multiple Party divisions was partially eliminated by the 17th Amendment, ratified in 1913, that provided for direct election of members of the United States Senate.

The consequences were, as described by Claremont University professor Ralph Rossum in his 2001 study, Federalism, the Supreme Court, and the Seventeenth Amendment: The Irony of Constitutional Democracy, to amend the states “out of existence; the interests of states as states abandoned” in elections to the United States Senate.

The final destruction of traditional politics in our day will occur when “Progressives” succeed in abolishing the Electoral College. When that occurs, we will enter a new era of multiple parties.

I gave a talk on June 1 to the Libertarian Party of Virginia Beach, Virginia and observed that:

“1. Donald Trump’s election signaled that our two-Party system is broken and 2) that we are going to see the development of a multi-party system like the multi party systems of West and Eastern Europe.”

What will that “look” like? Here’s what I argued:

“In future elections we may see the growth of a Social Democrat Party and Libertarian Party and a founding of a National Conservative Party. Coalitions with these Parties with Democrat and Republican Parties will shape American politics.

At the state level, that occurred in New York State with the founding of a Conservative Party that, after a few years surpassed. the Liberal Party in numbers of votes and elected Conservative Party candidates to the U.S. Senate, James Buckley and Al D’Amato. During those years I registered as a Republican, but voted the Conservative Party line in general elections.

Who will lead the Social Democrat Party?: New York Rep. Ocasio-Cortez

Who will lead the National Conservative Party?: Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan

The Libertarian Party was formed in 1971 in Colorado Springs, Colorado, by David Nolan. As of November 2017, 154 Libertarians held elected offices in 33 states. In the 2016 election, Gary Johnson was the party’s presidential nominee and William Weld was the Vice President Nominee. Weld is now running for President as a Republican.

One last comment: I expect a Women’s Party will be founded by Mika Brzezinski in time to present candidates for election in 2024.”

 

 

“Pinko” at CNN

July 7, 2019

John King’s Inside Politics that airs Sunday mornings on CNN is one of the few objective opinion programs on CNN. This morning, John King’s Inside Politics was “chaired” by Nia Malika Henderson. In John King’s absence, Nia Malika Henderson brought back New York Times “journalist” Jonathan Martin.

Jonathan Martin has been absent from Inside Politics for awhile and for good reasons. He is an opinionated Leftist who, as I described him three years ago, “looks like what we call a ‘Know it all,’ and he has a way of scowling that lets us know what’s coming.” He disdains his fellow commentators, interrupts the flow of discussion with his really “important” observations and is a poor dresser.

His favorite color tie is “pink,” which is why I called him a “pinko.”

Clearly AT&T, the new owner of CNN, has its hands full and is insufficiently skilled to restructure CNN’s lineup of Jonathan Martin’s  fellow “Progressive” journalists:  Christi Paul, Nia Malika Henderson, Wolf Blitzer, Victor Blackwell, Jake Tapper, Van Jones and Don Lemon.

I feel badly for Ted Turner who founded CNN as an alternative source of objective cable news that was co-opted by Progressive journalism from its very first days. We do need a source of news reporting unsullied by Leftist “journalism,” and WarnerMedia’s John Stankey is doing the best he can. But, is that good enough?

My Friend, Glenn Jones

July 7, 2019

Today, July 7,  is the fourth anniversary of the death of Glenn Jones, a trailblazer in the use of the Internet for higher education, and founder of a cable television empire.

In the 1980s, I lived in an area serviced by Jones’ cable television company and noticed that during “light” viewing hours, I could watch teachers with their backs to the camera writing with chalk on blackboards. That was something that Jones dubbed “Mind Extension University.”

On one trip to Washington, DC, Glenn Jones stopped by the Vietnam War Memorial on his return to Centennial, Colorado and saw individuals and families of Vietnam War veterans visit the wall of names of Americans killed in that war. Jones told me that he was moved to “do something” for these vets and founded Jones International University.

That solely Internet based institution attained “regional” accreditation in 1999 and inspired me to found my own Internet University–Yorktown University. It wasn’t as simple as that because academic “accreditation” was founded in 1885 when existing colleges formed an association of something called “regionally” accredited institutions. Regionally accredited colleges and universities began to divide the higher education market into what became six geographic regions. The purpose was to protect the higher education market from fraudulent companies “selling” college degrees.

One of the distinguishing features of “regional accreditation” is a requirement that all “member” institutions offer courses and degree programs from campuses.

By the 1980s, the Internet, a proliferating market in Personal Computers (PCs) and Web browsers made it feasible to disseminate information and educational “products” via the Internet. That meant that a requirement that a college operate from a physical campus was a barrier to entry into the higher education market by Internet-based companies.

Glenn Jones tried to circumvent that barrier by founding his own accreditation agency, but ran into a peculiar feature of higher education. College teachers are self-interested, non-entrepreneurial and focused solely on their own interests, not service to education consumers. But, somehow, Glenn Jones “cracked” the higher education Cartel in 1999 by attaining regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission, sometimes called “Northcentral,” because its “region” extends from West Virginia to Colorado.

In that year, 1999, I had the bright idea to found a solely Internet-based university that offered traditional courses and degree programs absent the dominant Leftist-bias of the American higher education Establishment. Glenn Jones’ achievement of regional accreditation inspired me to believe that my company, Yorktown University, could become regionally accredited. That would permit our graduates to apply for admission to postgraduate degree programs offered by a national network of regionally accredited institutions.

In other words, if you sought a college “education” and wanted to gain access to the professions or merely earn an advanced degree, you had to earn your undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited college or university. I was only able to attain something called in the trade “national” accreditation, a classification applied to “terminal” or “technical” degree programs.

Glenn’s office in Centennial, Colorado was near my office in Denver and I visited him at his headquarters where, as my host, Glenn asked if I’d like something to drink. I said “coffee would be great” and Glenn buzzed for his chef who took our orders for coffee.

I had seldom seen cut flowers in administrative offices and never was I served by a “chef.”

All went well for Glenn’s Jones International University from 1999 until political changes in higher education policy came with the Obama Administration in 2009, and changes in Colorado politics as the State leaned to the political Left, which led to restrictions on both our companies. After one rancorous meeting of the Colorado Commission on Higher Education (CCHE) that was being politicized by Colorado’s Lt. Governor, Joe Garcia–who was president of CCHE and Lt. Governor–I excoriated Joe Garcia. Glenn was not at that meeting and asked for a recording I had made of that event.

We met for coffee at Starbucks in fashionable Cherry Creek and Glenn invited me to his apartment for a glass of wine. I had been in some fancy apartments in Manhattan with Arthur Finkelstein and the sisters of Bill Buckley, Priscilla and Carole, so I understood that the elevator to Glenn’s “apartment” would open into his foyer.

Still, I was impressed.

Those were very difficult times for for-profit colleges and universities and in 2012 Yorktown University’s national accreditation was withdrawn and Glenn closed down Jones International University.

In July of 2015 when Glenn had traveled to Washington, DC, Glenn asked me to meet him because Glenn was curious about courses we had designed as “Massive Open Online Courses” (MOOCs). These were non-accredited college level courses that enrolled large numbers of students and priced at $19.95 each.  We met in the lobby of the Ritz Carlton in Georgetown and repaired to the hotel restaurant for lunch.

I remember our conversation, because we talked about “age.”  I was 73 in 2015 and one of my key shareholders had told me that I was too old to run Yorktown University. At 85, Glenn said that some were suggesting the same of him.  We both laughed and talked about the difficulty of hiring qualified people.

I knew what Glenn meant about finding qualified staff because he was a businessman and was not intensely conscious of the political bias of persons attracted to higher education. “They” consider themselves to be well-educated and committed to advancing “Social Justice.”

And they understood how to use political power to achieve those ends while wrapping themselves in the mantle of “education.”

Glenn Jones had not fought the wars that we political conservatives had fought, many of whom were compelled to abandon university teaching in the face of hostility toward our political views. He needed instructors he could trust and probably sensed that I knew how to find then.  As I sipped a glass of Cabernet, I spotted an old, sepia toned, photo of Glenn in a U.S. Army uniform and realized that the twelve years difference in our ages did make a difference.

Indeed, I began to suspect that Glenn was older than 85.

Glenn Jones died several weeks after that lunch in DC, but, regrettably, I learned of his death only several months later and was unable to attend his funeral.

If Glenn Jones and I had met when I was 53, and Glenn was 65, we might have worked together and shattered the higher education Cartel responsible for the high cost of a college education. Instead, President Obama’s hostility to for-profit education compelled Glenn to shut down Jones International University and Joe Garcia made life difficult for Yorktown University and many for-profit colleges authorized by CCHE.

I miss Glenn Jones very much, but not the “university business” that brought us together.