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Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?

August 4, 2018

When Mitt Romney ran for President against Barack Obama in 2012 (and lost), he declared that Russia was the greatest external threat to the United States. The claim didn’t ring true then and it really doesn’t ring true today even given all the claims that Russia attempted to affect the vote count in the 2016 election. Using social media to place false stories is more sinister, but even that is not a threat to America’s national interest. Hacking e-mail of the Democrat candidate for President is more serious, but Hillary Clinton opened herself to hackers by using a server installed in her home. For that, she violated State Department regulations and should have been prosecuted before the election.

If we discount Russia as a threat to internal stability of American politics and properly assess Russia’s severely strained economic condition, we should conclude that Russia can be a threat to Western Europe, only if it can regain Ukraine and grow its economy back to health. Russia’s nuclear armaments are a threat, but only if Russia intends to use them offensively.

Russia does not. The People’s Republic of China (PRC) does not. North Korea does not and neither does Pakistan, Israel, or Iran. These weapons of mass destruction are maintained in order to deter attack, to preserve these regimes, while they pursue long term interests.

The PRC wants to dominate the Republic of China, South Korea and Japan and will grow its economy and military toward that end. North Korea wants to remain the private domain of Kim Jon-Un.

Russia wants Ukraine and as many of the former Soviet satellite nations as can be cowed into submission including any that demonstrate a desire to adopt free market economic principles. That includes Georgia, Estonia, and Poland. Expansion of Russian hegemony is a threat to the national interests of the United States. And the Mullah’s in Tehran should remember that Iran was once ruled by Imperial Russia.

But, both Russia and the PRC can be restrained by economic policies that reward or punish both countries for good or bad economic and political behavior. Were I the CEO of a company with ambitions to grow sales in the Chinese market, I would immediately change course. Tariffs and trade restrictions will roil trade with China for many years and lay even the best laid marketing plans to waste.

So, who’s afraid of the big bad wolf? Mitt Romney and the Democrats, but not President Trump.

 

Trump Needs a Roy Cohn

August 2, 2018

President Donald Trump selected Jeff Sessions to serve as U.S. Attorney General at his strongest and weakest moment. Virtually alone among Republican Senators, Sessions, had supported Trump’s candidacy from the beginning and was rewarded for that loyalty. If the President were more experienced in politics, he would have known that Jeff Sessions wasn’t a good choice for Attorney General.

Given the President’s tendency to get into deep doo-doo, he really needed an Attorney General like Roy Cohn, a person loyal not to the law, but to whomever needed his services.

Dartmouth conservative, Dr. Jeffrey Hart, once observed that Roy Cohn was the most evil person he had ever known. But Roy Cohn had a history as a political warrior going as far back as his time working for U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy (R-WI) who brought to light infiltration by members of the Communist Party into the U.S. State Department. His hearings targeted Alger Hiss as a spy for the Soviet Union and Cohn himself was famous for attempting to remove Leftist books from U.S. Libraries maintained abroad by the USIA.

Jeff Sessions, now age 72, was born and raised in Alabama where he earned a law degree, practiced law and served as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama. When nominated to serve as a judge of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama in 1986, he was denied confirmation. That rebuke on grounds that Sessions was not sympathetic to the rights of racial minorities stung him badly. A southern gentleman to the core, the remainder of Sessions’ career was dedicated to redressing the injustice of that rebuke.

Where Roy Cohn fought the Liberal Establishment that failed to understand the nature of Communism and was motivated to deny the Establishment of power over his clients, Jeff Sessions was the epitome of a southern Establishment, a true southern gentleman, a man of personal and public virtue. That very virtue denies him the skills President Donald Trump needs when the Establishment wages attacks against his Administration.

I met Roy Cohn once, in his office in New York, where I went to return a donation he made to a not-for-profit media organization I had organized shortly after I left the Reagan Administration. That donation was made as a favor to someone in the Reagan Administration with whom Cohn wanted to be on good terms, and had written that person’s name in a note on the check. Cohn admitted he was currying favor with that person, but wanted me to know that he agreed with me.

Perhaps duplicity is a characteristic of all successful politicians and that character flaw is what President Trump needs in his Attorney General when facing an indictment as “co-conspirator” in a conspiracy to obtain stolen information about Hillary Clinton from Russia’s Vladimir Putin.

But, what did Trump and his rag-tag team of conspirators know about campaign laws?

Trump ran his Trump Organization in the belief that niceties of the law are for losers, not winners, and Trump was running for office because he believed, correctly, that he could return the GOP to favor, if he could win a majority of white voters with a combination of New Deal, New Right and anti-immigration policies that no Republican had advocated since Richard Nixon.

Once elected, if now-President-Elect Trump thought through whom he had beaten and the animosity of the Progressive Establishment to all that Trump represented, he should have known that he needed evil to fight evil.

Roy Cohn was that man, but there are others in American politics, successful, “respectable,” lawyers and lobbyists who don’t care about the niceties of the law, only their client’s desire to stay out of prison.

Gentleman Jeff Session is not that man.

 

 

A Silk Purse or a Sow’s Ear?

July 29, 2018

On CNN this morning, Sunday, July 29, Supply-side Economist, Larry Kudlow, defended President Trump’s policies on tariffs. Kudlow did well and made a good case for tariffs to address the abuse of trade by the People’s Republic of China. Clearly, China ‘s trade with the United States and outright intellectual piracy ought to be controlled.  And we should  credit Larry Kudlow for doing something to bring order and consistency to erratic trade and foreign policy decisions of President Trump.

I’ve tried to suggest the names of several conservative specialists in national security and foreign policy who would help develop a foreign policy for this Administration. And in the field of education I’ve been critical of appointments made by this Administration at the U.S. Department  of Education and failure to reform higher education regulations to benefit long-suffering education consumers. Conservative scholars who could assist to turn this around by appointing them to the Department are:

Philosophers:  (F. Eugene HeathJohn Lachs)

Historians (Mark G. MalvasiCarey M. RobertsLarry E. Schweikart)

Classicists (David D. MulroyE. Christian Kopff)

Art Historians (Arthur Pontynen)

Political Scientists (Linda C. Raeder; Jason C. Ross and Clarence F. Sills, Jr.)

Literary Critics (Mitchell KalpakgianJohn A. Arnold)

Wait!

These scholars have no government experience. EXACTLY!  They are quick learners and will seize the initiative immediately!

But, the President believes that the U.S. government employs too many people, has little knowledge of the conservative movement and the scholars and intellectuals who made the GOP the party of ideas. So, because he doesn’t  know better, he makes little effort to identify them and offer them appointments.

Larry Kudlow is a standout appointment in Economics, John Bolton less so at the National Security Council and Peter Navarro’s crazy economic theories and the presence of the President’s daughter and husband at the White House are disgraceful. Occasionally, I’m surprised by an appointment or two which I attribute to the influence of Newt Gingrich, but they are few and far between.

I must conclude that there is no silk purse in this sow’s ear of a Presidency.

 

Trump’s Popularity Explained

July 28, 2018

President Trump’s popularity with working class citizens who have been the electoral base of the Democrats since 1932 is related to race.

I don’t mean that the President is a racist.

The President’s popularity is similar to political developments in the United Kingdom, Germany, Poland and Hungary. Those nations are racially homogeneous and are challenged today by immigration by non-Europeans. Their citizens are responding to politicians who oppose Muslim immigration.

I’ve touched on this three times: in November of last year, January and May of this year. And my colleague, Dr. Angelo Codevilla, writes of this in an essay published in the neo-conservative publication “American Greatness,” titled “Trump Risks Debasing American Citizenship.”

This is a problem in political philosophy that can be explained by a political religion that promotes “Dreams vs. Reality.

Political developments that made the election of Donald Trump possible have been long coming and are related to the growth of the “Progressive” movement beginning in the late 1880s, the domination by Progressives of intellectual culture as a consequence of loss of faith in Christianity that began with Darwin and was exacerbated by the American Civil War and the Great Depression.

Those events led to political turmoil in civil society during the 1960s and early 1970s  and domination today by the Left of the centralized “Deep State,” religious denominations and hierarchies, charities and philanthropic institutions, universities and popular film and media.

 

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Kindergarten White House

July 26, 2018

It’s bad enough that the President thinks he can run the U.S. government as if it were his family business, but his principal aides are his daughter and son-in-law. Neither has ties to the conservative movement, nor even the GOP, but they are now committing to stay the course and assist Papa run the country.

This magnifies the errors of President Trump, who has difficulty reading and spends his time watching cable news, by bringing utter novices into important roles in the Trump White House.  For some reason, the President thinks his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, can resolve a crisis in the Middle East while he exacerbates tensions by moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Add to that a weakened White House Chief of Staff and a political novice from Fox News placed in charge of Communications of the Office of the President, and you can visualize where and how many crises this President will face before he seeks reelection in 2020.

I blame my conservative colleagues who thought that because Trump assured a conservative Supreme Court, we can let an incompetent run the country. I admit we faced a difficult choice, but the better part of valor was to stay home on election day in 2016 or write-in the name of your favorite Uncle.

The country and the GOP might have survived a Clinton Presidency, but I fear the GOP cannot survive a Trump Presidency and, if this President starts a war, the lives of American boys (and now girls) will be sacrificed. We lost 33,000 in Korea when the cumulative failures of FDR and Harry Truman took effect, another 50,000-plus in Vietnam under LBJ and Richard Nixon and more in Iraq under George W. Bush. All these were caused by decisions made by American Presidents much more knowledgeable than the Celebrity President running our government.

Tom Ellis, RIP

July 26, 2018

Tom Ellis, a Raleigh, NC attorney, and former manager of the Congressional Club, Sen. Jesse Helms’ political organization, has passed away at age 97. Tom Ellis, The Congressional Club and Sen. Helms were the best things to happen to the GOP since Ronald Reagan was elected Governor of California.

I was fortunate to have the opportunity to meet with Mr. Ellis in his office in Raleigh along with my colleagues, Dr. Michael Sanera and northern Virginia attorney, Gilbert Davis.

Lots of memories swirled about in that hour and a half meeting, of courageous political stands taken by Sen. Helms, my friendship with Arthur J. Finkelstein who did polling for Sen. Helms, and several friends who served on the Senator’s Senate staff: Dr. Christopher Manion, Howard Segermark and John Carbaugh.

But Tom Ellis was the genius behind the throne and did three very important things:

First, he and Sen. Helms attempted to purchase control of the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS), home of Walter Cronkite. In that attempt, Ellis and Helms sent much needed shivers through the arrogant media monopoly of the day.

Second, the support of the Congressional Club gave Ronald Reagan a much needed “win” in the North Carolina Presidential primary of 1980 that kept the Gipper’s campaign alive and on to victory in 1980.

And third, they plucked Dr. John East, an unknown political scientist at East Carolina State, to run for the U.S. Senate. Finkelstein took one look at East, a paraplegic confined to a wheelchair, and designed a winning strategy: never let East be seen in public.

Sen. John East did me the honor of writing a favorable review of one of my books. Since I was, and am, as obscure as John East once was when he labored in the classrooms of East Carolina State, I was bowled over by his kindness.

Tom Ellis made that happen, and he called me one day to say that he thought one or two of his wealthy friends may be interested in investing in Yorktown University. Through Tom I met with John William Pope, the Sam Walton of North Carolina, who founded Variety Wholesalers.

But what I remember most about Tom Ellis is his account of how he cried like a baby when Ronald Reagan chose George H. W. Bush as his Vice President. Tom knew that George Bush was a New England, Internationalist, Liberal Republican and wanted U.S. Senator Paul Laxalt (R-NV) to be chosen as Reagan’s Vice President. Had President Reagan taken Tom Ellis’ advice, the GOP might be alive today.

Rest in Peace, Tom.

 

 

 

Plus ça change

July 24, 2018

Contrary to the phrase “plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose,” political culture in the United States has changed. Certainly for political conservatives who came of age in the era of Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan, it appears that “the salt has lost its savor.” In those days, close to thirty-five years ago, we who looked upon ourselves as “conservative” saw that we were members of a community. There were organizations with which we participated, friendships we made and employment that was available to us, the chosen few.

As an aspiring academic, there were any number of places I could attend to earn advanced degrees. Few opportunities to teach what we learned were available, but we were young and opposed to the Establishment. 

That came home to me during the Reagan Administration when a young foreign service officer came to me to say that he was resigning his appointment. No doubt he had passed the very difficult Foreign Service Exam and joined the “Foreign Service” at the U.S. Department of State hoping to represent his country on tours of service abroad. He told me that he was a graduate of a mid-Western university, Nebraska or Oklahoma, and found that his career track was blocked by foreign service “Officers” who were graduates of Yale, Harvard and Princeton.

A colleague from graduate school who joined the CIA the same year as James Brennan became a foreign service “officer” (he was hired even though he told his interviewers that he voted for Earl Browder for President) resigned his appointment because his fellow CIA “Officers” hadn’t a clue about the nature of Marxism-Leninism and the goals of the Soviet Union.

Prior to our coming of age, decisions were made that assured that Mao Tse-tung would control China and that Korea would remain divided though more than 30,000 young Americans, many drafted into military service, were killed by communist Chinese and North Korean military.  In 1961 another President would assure that Cuba remained under the control of a Communist leader, and a wall would divide free Berlin from a Communist East Germany.

We young conservatives reacted by identifying ourselves as conservatives, and prepared for life in a socialist United States dominated abroad by an aggressive, Communist regime in an expanding Soviet Union.

We joined the Goldwater for President campaign in droves and were devastated by our defeat in the Presidential election of 1964. But, total control of the American government by Leftist Democrats began to break as a consequence of a war in Vietnam.

By 1981 when I was a political appointee in the Reagan Administration, significant progress was made by conservatives in politics, but intellectual culture was controlled, as it had been since 1932, by “Progressives.” 

“They” controlled the agencies of the “deep state”–the Department of State, the CIA, the universities, philanthropic foundations and our church denominations. That Progressive domination is now complete and a cultural “rot” pervades American society.  Our music, film, theater, museums, charities and every institution that employs college educated “intellectuals” is in serious decay. 

When was the last time you attended a theatrical production where you would be comfortable taking a young person? What public or private school is “safe” for your children and how many Americans fear that they will “lose” their children when they send them off to college?

That is the moral, cultural and political condition of America today. The more things change, the less they remain the same