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Pompeo is the Problem

October 2, 2019

U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, has refused to permit five State Department “officers” to testify before a Congressional Committee. His refusal  explains much about why President Trump’s administration is a failure.

As reported in the Washington Post for October 2, 2019 by four Post reporters,

Pompeo characterized the effort to depose the officials as “an attempt to intimidate, bully, and treat improperly, the distinguished professionals of the Department of State.”

Saying Congress had no authority to compel such testimony, Pompeo wrote that he would “not tolerate such tactics, and I will use all means at my disposal to prevent and expose any attempts to intimidate the dedicated professionals whom I am proud to lead and serve alongside at the Department of State.”

Secretary Pompeo began his career at West Point and served as a career officer achieving the rank of Captain. President Trump, lacking any experience in government nor knowledge of how to control the many career “officers” that manage government agencies, relies on the one important frame of reference from his youth learned at New York Military Academy.

Career military are “good.”

Unfortunately, career government officials do not make good political appointees.

Before becoming U.S. Secretary of State, Secretary Pompeo served as Director of the CIA and selected a career CIA officer as his successor. In other words, Pompeo doesn’t comprehend that career officers in the U.S. government must be controlled by political appointees whose lives are shaped by political experience and a political philosophy consistent with that of the President.

His language in his response to a Congressional oversight committee reeks of the ignorance of non-political appointees of the Trump Administration and, lest we forget, the deep doo-doo in which the President finds himself was caused by a career CIA “officer” who violated procedures and filed a Whistle-blower complaint.

The appropriate action for President Trump would be to replace CIA Director, Gina Haspel, and ask  Secretary Pompeo to resign.

Pompeo is the problem.

 

Boris and Donald

October 1, 2019

As early as the 16th century, the phrase “two peas in a pod” compared humans to a vegetable.  That lowly simile seems to make sense even today when we compare the similarities og the elected leaders of the United Kingdom and the United States.

Donald Trump          Boris Johnson

Birth city

New York                    New York

Wives

Three                           Two

Mistresses

Multiple                       Multiple

Bastards

One                               Two

Religion

Presbyterian                Anglican

Secondary School

NY Military                   Eton

University

Fordham/Wharton      Oxford

Best Friend

Fred Trump, Jr.            Frank Luntz

Political Philosophy

Nationalist                    Nationalist

Top Issue

Illegal Immigration      Brexit

We Americans are heirs to the influence of Puritans and assume that the British exhibit a lower form of morality. England’s monarchical history was exemplified by lax morality at “Court.”  British military officers stationed in Boston in the 18th century, however found that Boston women were “loose.” .

Clearly, a similar pattern of lax morals has gripped Donald and Boris and, yet, for now at least, that has not impaired success as politicians. The secret of their success may be that neither has any fixed beliefs.

 

 

News & Notes from the American Empire

September 29, 2019

NEWS FROM THE RESISTANCE

The Independent Institute announces the appointment of new Senior Fellow and Director of our Center on Educational Excellence, Dr. Williamson M. Evers,  Dr. Evers departure from the Hoover Institution may be evidence of decline of what is advertised as ”one of America’s most academically respected public policy research centers.”

Liberty Fund announces publication of The Collected Works of Israel M. Kirzner

IMPERIAL NOTES

A list of the films and documentaries produced by Steve Bannon.

Trump Adminstration list of persons fired or resigned.  Absent from this list are the names of Emperor Trump’s daughter and son-in-law.

The Whistle-blower was Wrong

September 27, 2019

The action taken by a CIA employee assigned to the White House has roiled national politics–as intended–and confirms my view that the Central Intelligence Agency is “unreliable.”

The appropriate action that the CIA “officer” should have taken was to report to the Director of the CIA, Gina Haspel.

Instead, this “officer” filed a Whistle-blower report taking this complaint to the Congress.

I’m afraid this action was intended and designed for the political response it aroused.

That is consistent with the firestorm created by FBI Director James Comey prior to the 2016 election and other actions by FBI “officers” concerned that the Republican candidate had been compromised by Soviet security agents.

From reading of books on American intelligence by my classmate Angelo Codevilla who for a number of years served on the professional staff of the Senate Intelligence Committee, I learned to be skeptical of CIA analysis.

From another classmate who served in the CIA immediately upon graduating from graduate school and from service in the Reagan Administration, I assumed that “career civil servants” were more directed to service to their Agency or their self-interest than to the national interest.

That explains the curious charge of “unmasking” individuals cited in classified intelligence reports by former Ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power.

Though I am critical of President Donald Trump and believe he is unqualified to serve in high office, in this instance I fault the CIA “officer,” not President Trump.

“Our” American Empire

September 25, 2019

Our country, that once was new in 1789, no longer exists. And the Constitution that orders and organizes politics has been challenged to a breaking point.

That development was hastened by the  collapse, in 1991, of America’s nemesis, the Soviet Union.

The power, social and political order of an Empire has taken command and subtly changed our priorities as ambitious citizens redirect their lives. Where before, our young aspired to elective office, those who are astute recognize that the rewards for civic aspiration are insufficient to the demands.

From that perspective, even politicians who desired to restrain the Imperial Power of the Empire, and who spoke longingly of a return to limited government, were themselves symptomatic of structural changes in the political “system.”

A prime example is the former actor, Ronald Reagan.

Despite consistent references to fundamental principles of the Constitution, President Reagan’s appeal derived not from his advocacy of limited government, but from his celebrity. And once in office, representatives of the Imperial order were designated to run the American government.

Close to four decades later, we see a struggle by representatives of the Big Government Party seeming to constrain the drive for Imperial power by another celebrity President. Though the roles have been reversed, the Big Government Party merely pretends to want to constrain the Emperor while actually lusting to take his place.

The Republican Party, which exists in name only, has become the vehicle that the American Empire strives to realize its potential and slowly, very slowly, we are beginning to recognize that we live in an imperial order and we feel shamed that Donald Trump was the first to recognize that as fact.

 

Why the Brits talk Good

September 24, 2019

I’ve noticed that British intellectuals are gifted public speakers and excellent writers and I attributed that to Oxford and Cambridge universities. Looking a bit further, however, I discover the influence of “Public” schools in the UK has been significant.

Buckingham University in England, under the leadership of Anthony O’Hear,  developed a training program for teachers that recognized the influence of “Public Schools.”

A bit of background information can be gleaned from Wikipedia where I found this interesting piece of information.

“Public schools have had a strong association with the ruling classes. Historically, the sons of officers and senior administrators of the British Empire were educated in England while their fathers were on overseas postings. In 2010, over half of Cabinet Ministers had been educated at public schools, although most prime ministers since 1964 were educated at state schools.”

Education in service to Empire, of course, is quite different from education for knowledge, discovery and advancement in private sector employment. That may explain why the American equivalent of the British “Public” school is less distinguished–and has a lesser impact on government.

Now that the United States is a great Empire, however, look to our elite private schools to generate Imperial Leaders and, perhaps, an Emperor.

Look ’em up if your Johnny or Jane has what it takes to manage an American Empire:

“Your” National Capital

September 23, 2019

Not very long ago, I would refer to Washington, DC as “My” or “Our” National Capital.

In the flush of Ronald Reagan’s victory in 1980. I was eager to work on behalf of our new President, and spent months in Washington, DC.  About that time I met a Japanese citizen from a  distinguished family who told me that “Washington, DC has the smell of money.”

That was 39 years ago and our centralized administrative state was a source of contracts for government services and programs–enough federal funding to give off a scent of wealth and splendor that was to come.

In June, I spent two days in DC. On one day I had difficulty finding parking at the one event in which I was to give a presentation and that morning I was offended that I was charged $23 to park for 1 1/4  hours in a parking lot across from the U.S. Department of Education.

This past weekend at a reunion of Republican Congressional “staff,” I shuttled from Crystal City in Arlington to Northwest DC and then to the Trump Hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue. I realized that “Your” Capital City is now  the home of an Empire.

Back in 1961 when I interned at Human Events, DC was a village. Today those little areas of village life have been overtaken by buildings worthy of the greatest Empires on Earth.

This is “your” Capital City, not mine.