Tuesday, November 21, 2017

CREEPY CONGRESS



#CREEPYCONGRESS  #NAKEDEMPERORS  #DEEPSWAMP


Published in Newsmax.


“Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”


The darker side of Washington unfolds around us - Members getting drunk to the point of falling off bar stools and then being dragged to the House Floor to vote; married Members hitting on and picking-up young female staffers and interns; lobbyists bringing attractive female “associates” with them to draw Members to their tables. It was stomach turning. We, sadly, could only shake our heads in amazement and shame. We pledged to rid the House of this culture of moral abandon if we ever got control of the Chamber.


What an insane place it was.  Could the Republicans actually change such a dysfunctional and abusive environment?  A close friend and colleague walked in on his boss having sex with a young female staffer in the middle of his desk. The married Congressman immediately fired this senior legislative aide and warned him that he would make sure he never worked again in Washington if he ever told people the real reason he was let go.


House staffers would relate countless stories of staffers they knew who had to do personal errands and favors for House Members or face immediate dismissal. Tantrums by Members, sometimes resulting in physical harm, sometimes in mass firings of their staffs, were commonplace. Our running joke was that the U.S. House of Representatives was America’s largest adult daycare facility.


We encountered ever stranger evidence of the most corrupt, dysfunctional, and surreal operating environment in any of our professional careers. The fact that this abuse and mayhem was being fueled by public funds appalled all of us.


Every hour that went by unearthed amazing stories of abuse and chaos. Were they fact or fiction?  Some overlapped material already known, but others broke new ground for audacity…this was flagrant abuse of congressional power. “It’s almost too much to bear. What kinds of people are running this place? This is madness!”


The worst stories related to how sexual favors were demanded by both supervisors and Members. They told of how stress and hopelessness led to fist fights and, in one case, a knife fight. They told us of how their supervisors and the Capitol police looked the other way.  Everyone seemed scared of what powerful Members and their handpicked managers would do to them… this sickened us. Was this really happening in America?


These horrific descriptions are excerpts from the book “Naked Emperors” that was published in 2008 [https://www.amazon.com/Naked-Emperors-Failure-Republican-Revolution/dp/0742558819/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1511223742&sr=8-1&keywords=faulkner+%22naked+emperors%22].  It revealed rampant abuse dating back to the 1970s, documented with over 300 footnotes and countless interviews. 


In 2008, the public was not ready to confront just how bad Congress had become.


Thankfully, victims are now more willing to come forward and the media is more willing to believe them.  Decades of damage occurred because few wanted to risk reprisals from the powerful they unmasked. It is tragic to think of all the lives that are forever damaged by not stopping this sooner.  Too many politicians and journalists callously looked the other way. 


Finally, Congress seems to be coming to grips with its institutionalized abuse. House Speaker Paul Ryan has mandated sexual harassment training for both Members and staff.  He is the first Congressional leader saying he is willing to stop the systematic and systemic cover-up of their toxic work environment. 


We can only hope that Ryan and the Republicans are sincere and that the era of Congressional perversion and abuse may finally be over. 


[Scot Faulkner advises corporations and governments on how to save billions of dollars by achieving dramatic and sustainable cost reductions while improving operational and service excellence. He served as the Chief Administrative Officer of the U.S. House of Representatives.  He also served on the White House Staff, and as an Executive Branch Appointee.]



Tuesday, November 7, 2017

TRUMP's FALTERING REVOLUTION



Also published on Newsmax.  #DEEPSWAMP  #RINOgator


President Trump made draining Washington’s Swamp the centerpiece of his Presidency.  The swamp is winning.  Its RINOgators are on the verge of destroying the Trump Presidency. 


Trump’s Executive Branch is now running on empty.  His appointment process is the slowest since Jimmy Carter in 1977.  He recently defended his depleted ranks of loyalists, “we don’t need all of the people. You know, it’s called cost saving.”  In fact, Trump not bringing in his loyalists means the Executive Branch is being run by Obama holdovers, and senior careerists, who run the government from acting positions.  They owe their last eight years of promotions and bonuses to their loyally enforcing and implementing Obama’s policies.


The swamp is exploiting Trump’s misunderstanding of “people equal policy”. 


The few political managers Trump has placed are completely isolated and outmaneuvered. Worse, most of Trump’s appointments are people who owe their loyalty to everyone but Trump.  The inner circles of the White House, and legions of political operatives in the Departments and Agencies, wish Jeb Bush was President.  Their disloyalty to Trump is manifest in leaks and their ineffectual and slow paced efforts to change anything.


Insiders explain that Trump dislikes people with government experience and that he feels Reagan and his appointees could have done more to shrink government.  If that is so, why is he fixated on bringing in Bush alumni who grew government? 


Trump declared that he would drain Washington’s swamp by not hiring lobbyists.  During the transition, countless personnel clearance forms were used supposedly to prevent lobbyists insinuating themselves. This failed.  USA Today reports that more than 100 former federal lobbyists are now working inside the Trump Administration.


Trump has been ill-served and misled from the very beginning.  During the Spring of 2016, key elements of the Reagan coalition, including Reagan Administration alumni and key think tanks, were ready, willing, and able to help Trump be successful.  They were ignored.

In June 2016, Trump realized he needed to prepare for being President.  Instead of turning to those conservatives who were openly and passionately supporting him, Trump turned to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.  Where Trump conservatives would have opened the door to legions of proven change agents, Christie opened the flood gates to Mitt Romney and Jeb Bush operatives.  Where Trump loyalists would have worked for free, Christie spent millions on hiring the Boston Consulting Group to run the Transition.  The Boston Consulting Group had never run a Presidential Transition, but the Managing Partner in charge of the contract was the daughter of longtime Bush loyalist.

The Trump Transition ended-up preparing for the Romney/Bush Administration.  Even Steve Bannon was duped into believing only the Washington Establishment was capable of helping Trump prepare for his Presidency.  Highly capable conservatives, Reagan alumni, and professionals who were for Trump since June 2015, were systematically shut out.  Never-Trumpers, even ones who ran anti-Trump floor operations at the Republican National Convention, were welcomed.


The Romney/Bush Transition became the Romney/Bush Administration on January 20, 2017. At the same time, Reince Priebus and his minions from the Republican National Committee (RNC) took over core White House operations.  This included the Office of Presidential Personnel that clears and recommends all political appointees.  Priebus rightly deserves credit for quelling Republican rebellion in the final months of the 2016 campaign.  For this, Trump should have rewarded Preibus with the non-critical Ambassadorship of his choice.  Instead, Priebus became Chief of Staff and proceeded to fill Trump’s inner circle with RNC operatives, few of whom even liked Trump.  The RNC operatives in charge of Presidential Personnel placed their friends on Trump’s political front line.  They even conducted purges of the few Trump loyalists who had made it inside.  Ironically, Never-Trumpers got away with accusing Always-Trumpers of being disloyal.


While President Trump was signing Executive Orders and making inspiring speeches, the RINOgators of the Washington, DC swamp were commandeering key positions, making sure Trump’s vision would never become a lasting operational reality.  They are doing everything possible to protect their swamp.


The most tragic result of Trump being misled is that he is spending his time on actions that will be swept away with the next Administration.  The Washington swamp is drawing Trump into this trap.  Time magazine recently ran an alarmist cover story on Trump’s regulatory reductions.  Even Trump’s inner circle believes the hype. His communications director declared, “No President or Administration has deregulated or withdrawn as many anticipated regulatory actions as this one in this short amount of time.”  In reality, saving $560 million is a pittance against the $2+ trillion regulatory burden faced by America business.


At best, stopping new regulations is like trimming Kudzu.  All these bad policies and regulations have only been driven underground.  They remain in desk drawers and computer files ready to be unleashed. Unless the underlying policies, people, and laws are changed, all these sidelined regulations will spring forth the moment Trump leaves office. The people who would actually pull-up the regulatory Kudzu by its roots are not in place.  Washington, DC’s “RINOgators” have settled in to protect their status quo and wait out Trump.


Real and lasting change will happen only if Trump appoints sufficient numbers of his actual loyalists as soon as possible. He must act quickly and decisively to remove Bush/Romney traitors and replace them with those fully committed to his revolution.  Perhaps the dual attacks by Bush 41 and 43 will open Trump’s eyes to the treachery around him.


[Scot Faulkner advises corporations and governments on how to save billions of dollars by achieving dramatic and sustainable cost reductions while improving operational and service excellence. He served as the Chief Administrative Officer of the U.S. House of Representatives.  He also served on the White House Staff, and as an Executive Branch Appointee.]


 


 

Monday, October 9, 2017

COLUMBUS - UNITER NOT DIVIDER



[Published in Newsmax]


Columbus and his achievements are about unity. The forces of political correctness have no idea what they are talking about. 


Columbus’ discovery of the Western Hemisphere permanently reconnected the Earth for the first time since the Pangea super continent broke apart 175 million years ago.


A brief period of record low sea levels, caused by the last Ice Age, allowed pre-history humans to migrate into the Americas from Europe around 20,000 BC.  An Asian land bridge opened another short-lived migration corridor along the Alaskan coast in 12,000 BC.  The indigenous people of the Americas were actually its “first immigrants”. Rising seas then sealed them off from the rest of the world.


It was inevitable that humankind would ultimately reconnect.  It was only a matter of time.  The Viking sagas chronicle exploration and fishing settlements in Newfoundland around 1,000 AD.  This is when warmer global temperatures made Greenland and the Arctic waters suitable for navigation and far northern lands viable for habitation.  Others may have stumbled upon the Americas, but their interactions were short lived and isolated.  The reunification of Earth would have to wait another 400 years.


Unique forces of economics, history, and knowledge eventually led to reunifying humankind and the world’s ecosystems. 


The events that set Columbus and his three ships towards destiny began with the fall of Constantinople on May 29, 1453 to the Ottoman Empire.  The Islamic Ottomans took control of all the overland connections to India and China.  They made the Silk Road, and other lucrative trade links to the East, prohibitively expensive and problematic.


In 1412, the Portuguese began methodically establishing an alternative sea-based trade route to Asia.  In 1488, Bartholomew Diaz rounded the Cape of Good Hope. Portugal, with its line of African forts and massive fleet, aspired to join the Ottomans in controlling  Asian trade.


No other European power was capable of competing against these two international forces as most were locked in internal strife or were content with being regional powers.


On January 2, 1492, Spain defeated the last Islamic forces on the Iberian Peninsula.  The duel monarchy of Ferdinand and Isabella turned their vision of conquest to competing with Portugal.


Christopher Columbus was uniquely situated to make the Spanish Monarchs’ dream come true.  Besides being a skilled seaman, Columbus was a highly astute scholar.  He spent years acquiring knowledge about the Atlantic Ocean, including what would become known as its “trade winds”, which would speed travel.


Columbus was at the center of the debate over the size of the Earth.  Educated people knew the Earth was round, but they differed on its size.  No ship’s crew could be provisioned to sail west over a vast ocean all the way to China.  Columbus was armed with knowledge of the Vikings and knew a large land mass was much closer than current wisdom assumed.  His mistake was thinking it was Asia, not an entire undiscovered hemisphere. 


Columbus convinced the Spanish Monarchs it was good business and a wise investment to underwrite an expedition sailing west into the unexplored areas of the Atlantic Ocean.  The Monarchs knew that Spain would become a major world power by building their own trade monopoly if Columbus was successful.


Starting on August 3, 1492, the single most pivotal action in the Earth’s human history began.  On October 12, 1492, Columbus and his landing party stepped onto a Caribbean beach and nothing would ever be the same.


The “Columbian Exchange” fundamentally altered the Earth’s ecosystem and its human history.  The “New World” introduced dietary staples like corn, potatoes, peanuts, tomatoes, squash, pumpkins, pineapples, avocados.  “Old World” domesticated animals such as horses, pigs, cattle, cows, and goats fanned out through the Americas, while onions, lettuce, peaches, wheat, rice, sugar, and apples took root.


Detractors scoff, stating that the people of the Americas knew where they were and did not need to be discovered.  Anti-Columbus historians decry the spread of disease and conquest that devastated the first peoples of the Americas.  Reunifying the world after 175 million years had irreversible consequences, good and bad. None of Americas’ cultures had a maritime tradition outside of brief fishing and hunting sojourns within sight of land.  Reunifying the Earth was only going to happen from the “Old World”.  The mingling of flora and fauna created impacts that resonate to this day.


Columbus is rightly recognized as the person who changed the world.  He embodies humanity’s striving to acquire and apply knowledge, and our desire to explore.  Many South American nations, along with Italy and Spain, celebrate Columbus and the day everything changed. 


The United State celebrated the 300th Anniversary of this epic moment in 1792.  It became our nation’s official holiday in 1937.

We should be honoring this unifying moment in history instead of trying to erase it.

[Scot Faulkner advises corporations and governments on how to save billions of dollars by achieving dramatic and sustainable cost reductions while improving operational and service excellence. He served as the Chief Administrative Officer of the U.S. House of Representatives.  He also served on the White House Staff, and as an Executive Branch Appointee.]


 

Monday, September 18, 2017

RISING REGIONAL POWERS WORKING TOGETHER






Dr. Sunil Chacko - Guest Columnist


Also published at http://www.sundayguardianlive.com/news/10904-joint-statement-maps-out-road-india-japan-ties


The Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe visited India on 13 and 14 September 2017 for the annual India-Japan Prime Ministerial Summit. This visit was unique because his itinerary was entirely in Gujarat, opening the doors to similar such state-level visits by heads of government, reflecting India’s diverse States-Union tradition.

There was palpable excitement in Ahmedabad/Gandhinagar for the visit of Japan’s first couple, Shinzo and Akie Abe, as compared to the jaded disinterest that is common in Lutyens Delhi for the now-unending stream of dignitaries that come through the nation’s capital. Indeed, the next summit in India in 2019 could be in the southern states.


The highlights of the Abes’ interactions with the public were their marigold bedecked open-jeep greetings with Prime Minister Narendra Modi to throngs of excited Gujaratis lining the streets and the much-anticipated foundation stone laying ceremony for the Shinkansen Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train construction project, expected to be completed around 2022. The Abes too appeared to be energised by the warm reception they received, and PM Abe in his exuberance, declared “I really like India and I will do whatever I can do for India”. This is not insignificant, given that some in the leadership of another large economy in Asia, by comparison, appear to be taking frequent pot-shots at India.


The Joint Statement at the conclusion of the Prime Ministerial Summit calls for alignment of Japan’s Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy with India’s Act East Policy, including through enhancing maritime security cooperation, improving connectivity in the wider Indo-Pacific region, strengthening cooperation with ASEAN, and promoting discussions between strategists and experts of the two countries. It advances the need for partnerships for prosperity through India-Japan Investment Promotion, speedy implementation of key infrastructure projects, and advancing cooperation in the fields of energy, smart cities, information and communication technology, space, science and technology, bio-technology, pharmaceuticals and health.


Both India and Japan have a formidable number and range of human resources and expertise in sectors mentioned in the Joint Statement, however, one tall barrier could be the relative unfamiliarity with Japanese language in the past interactions among Indians and Japanese. Japanese language teaching in India was stressed in the Joint Statement, as was collaboration in the fields of tourism, civil aviation, higher education, women’s education, skills development and sports. For many Indians, who have grown up with multiple-languages and multi-cultural environment in a multi-religious-and-ethnic society, adding one more language to our portfolio may not be such a difficult task, especially if Japanese language skill is associated with in-coming skilled jobs with Make in India investment from Japan.


On the enhanced connectivity of Pacific-Indian Ocean, the two Prime Ministers plan to work together to enhance connectivity in India and with other countries in the Indo-Pacific region, including Africa. This includes the development of industrial corridors and industrial networks for the growth of Asia and Africa, which will benefit various stakeholders in the Indo-Pacific region, including Africa. They shared the desire to further promote cooperation and collaboration in Africa, just as companies like Maruti-Suzuki have been exporting to numerous African nations.


The Joint Statement also prescribes enhanced defense and security cooperation and dialogues, defense equipment and technology cooperation in such areas as surveillance and unmanned system technologies, and defense industry cooperation.


As is customary with joint statements, there is a litany of initiatives and programmes mentioned. However, little by way of analysis and evaluation. What has happened to various joint endeavours? Have they resulted in business going concerns or faded into oblivion? What can we learn from those experiences?


In a first, PM Abe and PM Modi stressed the importance of holding accountable all parties that have supported North Korea’s nuclear and missile programmes, a not-so-veiled reference to the widely suspected Pakistan and China, which have reportedly been overtly, covertly and unofficially supportive.


It is quite fascinating that Modi and Abe have returned to the theme of “Confluence of the Two Seas”, meaning the Pacific and Indian Oceans, which was the title of a 1655 book authored by the Mughal prince Dara Shikoh, who was the son and heir-apparent of Emperor Shah Jahan. Dara Shikoh assiduously sought understanding with different communities and religions. This book title was emphasised by Prime Minister Abe in his famous speech to Indian Parliament on 22 August 2007, during his first term in office. That Dara Shikoh was assassinated by his brother Aurangzeb, a despot, in order to seize power, is often not remembered. Thus, recollecting India’s history, PM Abe’s 2007 speech aimed at governance through peace and by extension peace through strength, would be an essential shared vision; not merely peace through good intentions and hope, and that is indeed the path that India and Japan have embarked on.


Dr Sunil Chacko, a graduate of Harvard, has been a faculty member in the US, Canada, India and Japan.
 

Monday, September 11, 2017

INDIA & JAPAN STANDING TOGETHER



Dr. Sunil Chacko - Guest Columnist


Also published at http://www.sundayguardianlive.com/news/10801-crowded-agenda-awaits-modi-and-abe-gandhinagar


Japan was the only country besides Bhutan to publicly back India during the 71-day India-China armed standoff at Doklam. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visits India next week for the annual India-Japan Prime Ministerial Summit at a time when Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s stock has risen in the great power centres worldwide over his resolute handling of the standoff with China and his deft management of the complex relationship with Chinese President Xi Jinping. That the Doklam imbroglio could have led to a border war, which would have triggered the clauses for legal expropriation of all Chinese assets in India as per the Enemy Property Act 1968, appears to have been a key factor in cooling hotheads in the armed forces of China.


Japan itself faces a threat, which has the capacity of becoming existential. This is with Kim Jong-Un and his regime in Pyongyang. As Prime Minister Shinzo Abe grapples with the unending complications of the breathtakingly tense North Korean crisis—where Kim Jong-Un appears to reserve special venom for Japan, for historical reasons, and with missiles flying over the Japanese islands like ping pong balls— the people in the world’s third largest economy are jittery. Therefore, the strongly worded statements from India have been doubly reassuring. The Japanese side is convinced that India, a rising power, will stand for respect for international law and will not tolerate rogue actions, and the special relationship between the two Prime Ministers Modi and Abe ensures that. The recent Malabar naval exercises of the Navies of India, the United States and Japan have augmented that confidence in India as a strong and reliable partner of Japan.


Unbeknown to most Japanese is the North Korea-Pakistan axis of nuclear and missile proliferation, even from the time of Pakistani nuclear scientist A.Q. Khan. Some Indian scientists have privately opined that both North Korea and Pakistan could not have advanced so much in both nuclear and missile technologies without concrete scientific and technological help from China. North Korea undoubtedly has become the cause of the most severe migraine that Japan has had since the US started providing a security umbrella after the end of the Second World War 72 years ago. Thus, India—with its own historical links with North Korea through the “non-aligned movement”—breaking with tradition and condemning North Korea for its belligerence is definitely being paid close attention in Tokyo.


Beyond the national security angles, PM Abe along with PM Modi will lay the foundation stones of two flagship projects for mutual economic growth. First the Asia-Africa Growth Corridor, which will become the main pathway for Japanese-Indian “Make in India” products and components for export to the growing economies of Africa. It is also fitting that the inaugural events are being held in Gujarat, since it re-emphasises the historical links built by Kutchi traders with Zanzibar in Africa in the 18th and 19th centuries. Abe believes that the Indian diaspora, which is firmly rooted in important countries of South, West and East Africa are the key partners for local distribution, management of spares and servicing, and related work needed for Japanese investment to succeed.


The Japanese are not resident in Africa in most countries in any appreciable numbers, unlike the Chinese. Therefore, there is little risk of the Japanese somehow running by themselves the local operations in African nations of joint ventures and other co-produced products from India. Japan sees India as a good location to manufacture and export to Africa, the Middle-East and Central Asia. Indeed, the Maruti-Suzuki manufactured vehicles in India are exported to 125 countries, a genuine success story for the company, Suzuki, which was once on the verge of bankruptcy because of stiff competition from much larger rivals in Japan like Toyota, Honda and Nissan.


Another important and much-anticipated construction project is the “Shinkansen” bullet train between Ahmedabad and Mumbai. This rail mode has an enviable zero accident record, despite travelling at over 300 kilometres an hour in Japan. Indeed, beyond the bullet train, Japan-India collaboration on enhancing railway safety throughout the country is one of the topics under discussion. The average speed of Indian trains being about 50 kmph, at the Shinkansen speed, the journey from Mumbai to Ahmedabad would be cut to two hours from the current seven hours. However, the new route would require 11 new tunnels, including an undersea tunnel near Mumbai, and, therefore, the total Japanese concessional loan is approximately $12 billion at 0.1% interest, with a 50-year repayment period, as well as a moratorium on payments for the first 15 years, while the route and train construction, training and allied development work is undertaken and passenger journeys get underway. This is the most concessional of loans, at 0.1% interest, that Japan has ever given for commercial-scale projects. It is one of the payoffs of the increasingly close India-Japan multi-faceted relationship.


Both Modi and Abe, who are close friends, will have several rounds of discussions on geopolitical matters, as well as the India and Japan partnership being developed by the two PMs. The two countries have shared values in security stability, promotion of dialogue and engagement with strong legal ground, joint outreach to global market, where Indians are geo-politically strong, and technology collaboration for the new era of strong and sustained growth. The forthcoming Modi-Abe summit is expected by the Japanese side to be a path-breaker in ties between Tokyo and Delhi.


Dr Sunil Chacko, a graduate of Harvard, has been a faculty member in the US, Canada, India and Japan.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

KILLING OUR PAST



Published on Newsmax.              #ALT-LEFT

America’s identity is in danger of being destroyed before our very eyes.

ALT-LEFT activists on the streets, in academia, the media, and government are wantonly assaulting the physical touch stones that support our nation’s civic culture.  There is no turning back from chaos if the connective fabric of our society vanishes.

America is unique.  It is a country based upon ideas - not geography, language, or tribe.  Our historic sites and markers ground us in who we are, and why we are. 

History is about collective memory and frames of reference.  Statues and historic sites are there to commemorate and remind, not to celebrate. Knowing and discussing our origin is fundamental to a civic culture where shared values hold us together.  Civil dialogue with those we disagree is the structure that allows our institutions, our communities, and ourselves to exist. 

Our Constitution is about forming “a more perfect union”.  This means America is always a work in progress.  The Constitution itself is the greatest “rules of engagement” for collective action that has ever been written.  Looking beyond ourselves reaffirms our nation and our individual and collective roles in it.

Recent actions erasing history are unraveling our civic fabric.  For one group to anoint itself as morally entitled to determine what should be saved and what should be destroyed is the very essence of tyranny and fanaticism.

Humans have attempted to alter collective memory since competing Pharaohs chiseled away Cartouches and defaced hieroglyphs.  Carthage was destroyed, Rome was sacked.  Mongol hordes obliterated cities along the Silk Road.  Islamic hordes burned the Library of Alexandria.  Vikings ravaged monasteries and burned centuries old manuscripts.  Cromwell’s Puritan army smashed stained glass windows in countless churches.

World history has been saved by those who transcended their immediate impulse for destruction.  Spain’s Ferdinand and Isabella calmed their Christian fervor when they saw the wonder of the Alhambra.  Napoleon’s armies avoided destroying European cities and towns during nearly twenty years of war. 

The Twentieth Century saw a disturbing shift in how history was viewed.  The rise of Communism and Nazism led to intentionally obliterating history on a strategic scale.  Worse, the followers of these dogmas made fabricating history a priority.  Destroying reality and then faking an alternative became one of the greatest threats to civilization.  Cultural treasures were lost to the ages as the Nazi’s raped Europe, the Soviets raped Eastern Europe, and Mao’s minions unleashed their Cultural Revolution.

The 21st Century brought a new wave of Islamic hordes whose primary mission is to destroy anything, and anyone, not sufficiently promoting their fanaticism.  From the Taliban blowing up thousand year old Buddhist statues, to ISIS smashing the Tomb of Abraham and leveling Palmyra, the erasure of irreplaceable historic sites and artifacts has known no bounds.

ALT-LEFT vandalism against statues they deem offensive is now threatening America.  The chorus of ALT-LEFT commentators from the media, academia, and politics has woven a tapestry of excuses justifying official and unofficial destruction and desecration. 

America’s Civil War was complex and controversial in its genesis, conduct, and aftermath.  Our Civil War tore apart families, friends, communities, and the nation.  It killed 2.5 percent of the U.S. population and impacted all who lived during the war. Its ramifications ripple through America to this day.  The nuances of 21st Century American voting patterns, politics, law, culture, and language are better understood, the more one delves into Civil War history. 

Arrogance and ignorance are fueling the current wave of mayhem.  The ALT-LEFT’s clarion call for ridding America of racist Southern symbols becomes indecipherable babble when people torch a bust of Abraham Lincoln, spray paint the Lincoln Memorial, attack a Joan of Arc statue, and deface statues of Catholic Saints. 

There is clearly more going on. 

Fanaticism is all about intolerance and silencing opponents.  It is all about indoctrination and erasing individualism.  Fanatics are not satisfied until they completely destroy independent thought.  Their dream is a “hive mind” - thinking and acting as one.  Like Bumble bees, ALT-LEFT, Islamic Terrorists, and Communists want to anoint one leader who is all powerful, surrounded by blind devotion.  Their goal is the end of civilization, the end of humankind as we know it. 

The ALT-LEFT, and its supporters, have this bigger goal in mind. 

George Orwell, a Socialist who grew to understand the threat of tyranny, sent us a timeless warning: “The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.”

[Scot Faulkner advises corporations and governments on how to save billions of dollars by achieving dramatic and sustainable cost reductions while improving operational and service excellence. He served as the Chief Administrative Officer of the U.S. House of Representatives.  He also served on the White House Staff, and as an Executive Branch Appointee.]
smf53@aol.com  304-716-6235


Monday, August 14, 2017

OUR DERELICT CONGRESS


Published in Newsmax
#DEEPSWAMP #RINOgator



Republicans on Capitol Hill are doing everything possible to lose their majorities in 2018.  They always seemed uneasy in the Majority.  They may get their wish and have the voters return them to a permanent Minority.

Senate Republican Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, recently railed against President Trump about “excessive expectations” and not knowing the “reality of lawmaking”.

Is it “excessive” to think the Senate and House should pass a Budget Resolution?  Every previous Congress passed one by April.  The Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974 mandates Congress pass an overall Budget Resolution to guide Appropriations.  This year’s budget resolution was introduced on July 21, with no action scheduled. Republicans have majorities in both Chambers, what is the hold up?

Is it “excessive” to think the Senate and House should pass eleven Appropriation Bills to fund the government?  Up through 2014, the House passed all eleven bills by July.  Since the Republicans took the Senate in 2015, only a few Appropriation bills even passed the House.  Not one has passed the House in 2017.   Hearings haven’t even been scheduled.

Is it “excessive” to think the Congress should spend time actually working?  The House met for only eight days in April, twelve days in May, and will not meet in August. Worse, in 2017, House votes are scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesdays, and none are scheduled on Fridays.  This means most House Members only work two and a half days a week.  They can fly in Tuesday afternoon and leave Thursday night without being recorded as absent on the other days.  So in July there were only nine days of actual voting.  The same nine days of voting are scheduled for September, even though there is a firm end of month deadline for funding the government past September 30, 2017. 

Is it “excessive” to expect Members of Congress to work for citizens and not for themselves?  When Members are “in session”, they spend up to four hours every day making political fundraising calls out of the Republican and Democrat national headquarters near the Capitol.  Instead of participating in debate, attending hearings, and listening to constituents, Members are sitting in cubicles, wearing headsets, and making calls to shake down donors for campaign money.

Does the “reality of lawmaking” include casting fake votes for use in direct mail fundraising?  That is what happened in 2015 when Senators Alexander, Capito, Heller, McCain, Murkowski, and Portman voted for a straight repeal of Obamacare.  They knew President Obama would veto the legislation, their votes were used in campaign ads and fundraising.  These six Senators voted against a straight repeal of Obamacare in July 2017, because they knew President Trump would sign the bill.  When do votes reflect real policy instead of fake propaganda acts?

Does the “reality of lawmaking” include crippling President Trump’s ability to have his team running the Executive Branch?  Since Trump was sworn-in, Republicans and the conservative media blamed Chuck Schumer and Senate Democrats for holding up Presidential appointments.  However, on the last day before the Senate left for their August Recess, Republicans unanimously invoked a procedure that prevented Trump from naming Recess Appointments.  This has never before been used against a Party’s own President.  Why didn’t Senate Republicans negotiate with Trump allowing him to Recess Appoint key nominees stalled in the confirmation process?  This act of treachery shows Senate Republicans truly want Trump to fail.

If they were in the military, Capitol Hill Republicans would have been Court Martialed for dereliction of duty.  Their actions, and inactions, are the very definition of dereliction: 

United States Code Title 10, Section 892, Article 92 - Member who is derelict has willfully refused to perform his duties or has incapacitated himself in such a way that he cannot perform his duties…Article 92 also applies to members whose acts or omissions rise to the level of criminally negligent behavior. 

Why are Congressional Republicans so determined to obliterate themselves and their Party?  

Americans deserve better.