Politics

The Limits of Presidential Power

Category: 

In my operational risk seminar this spring, students ranked and then restacked and ranked the top operational risks present in our world.  No one was especially pleased with the results, and the top three risks – cyber-threats, global uncertainty, and terrorism – seemed nearly interchangeable, depending upon the month. As we came to the end of the quarter – particularly with the terrorism acts in Manchester, London, and Tehran -- “global uncertainty” seemed to encapsulate the other two risks, particularly when the elections in France and Great Britain are taken into account along with the performance of the U.S. president on his first diplomatic trip abroad. 

read more..

Latest Posts in Politics

Lies, Damned Lies… and Political Lies

The famed British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli is reputed to have said "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics." His wry comment (later quoted by Mark Twain) was intended to call attention to how easily we can be misled by spurious precision.  Perhaps this is what inspired Darrell Huff’s classic small book, How to Lie with Statistics.


The Media and Trump: More is Less

By now the media should know what many citizens have well learned: Donald Trump is a dangerous, supremely ignorant embarrassment.  The media’s continuing preoccupation with reporting Trump’s daily idiocies is in itself dangerous and unnecessary. 


How to Nurture a Democracy

A democratic political system can survive only if it is embedded in a society that allows it to thrive.  Rather like the three essentials for nurturing healthy plants (good soil, adequate water and sunlight), there are at least three nurturing elements that a society must provide, in order for democracy to prosper -- beyond the foundation of a healthy economy.  These elements are (1) the rule of law, (2) elections that are perceived as fair (and where the outcomes are respected), and (3) a political discourse that honors veracity and condemns lying and liars.


Our Darkest Hour is Still Ahead

It is not just that the size of the government has been reduced intentionally. It is not just that many cabinet level appointees are unqualified for public service. It is not only that our government policies have been revised or in some cases re-interpreted or eliminated. Similarities to conditions in Germany that led to the rise of Hitler are hard to miss – the nationalistic, boastful tone; the harsh and unrelenting attacks on a free press as “fake news;” the key roles that members of the military play in the current administration; the endless insults and sparring with other countries; the deaf ear turned to hate speech; and the pitiful, narcissistic, and whiny tweets from the nation’s highest elected official.

 

 

 

 


How Will History Judge Donald Trump?

According to the former Arkansas governor and Presidential wannabee, Mike Huckabee, President Trump will rank right up there with Winston Churchill.  Well, Huckabee’s judgment-call about Trump tells you a lot about Huckabee – and about our country.  For starters, his ignorance of history is appalling, and such a glib comparison is, as one commentator put it, “ridiculous”.