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Mr. Trump is questioning whether anohter is qualified?

To The Daily Sun

"She (former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton) even appointed to the National Security Board someone with no national security experience. Instead, he (securities trader Rajiv Fernando) was a donor, a recent donor to Hillary Clinton's campaign and also gave as much as $250,000 to his foundation," presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump said Friday. "They all looked, they said 'Where did this guy come from?' He made a contribution of $250,000 all of a sudden he's on this very important, vital board. This position dealt with tactical nuclear weapons and had top secret clearance and he knew nothing about it."
That's the quote — right from the horse's mouth, that of Mr. Donald J. Trump. I heard it with my own ears. Here are my conclusions, which are certainly subject to criticism as being determined on the basis of a "liberal" or "conservative" analysis. But I think, really, my thought process is pure and objective, and fact based, near as I can tell. Some will think not, but here goes. I hope it is helpful; I think it is correct.

The President of the United States is constitutionally responsible for the conduct of American foreign policy. The president relies upon the secretary of state and the diplomatic corps to assist in this regard, and represent the United States at postings around the world. Key among these positions are our ambassadors, many of whom are drawn from career diplomats — professionals who've made their career in the Department of State.

Ambassadors may also be so-called "political appointees," men and women who may or may not have any actual experience or training in foreign affairs, but who're rewarded with ambassadorships by the president based upon other considerations — not the least of which is political support, including financial contributions to the president's election campaign. This is true, regardless of political affiliation. The practice of appointing people as ambassadors of the United States based upon politics — and not practical experience and training — is as common as finding loaves of bread at the supermarket. It has been done this way since the founding of the nation.

It is highly likely — a certainty, in fact — that ambassadors will interact with other operatives from our national security apparatus, including most notably agents of the CIA, who're working closely with embassy diplomatic personnel for security and intelligence gathering purposes. As seen in Kabul in 1979, and Benghazi more recently, the job of an ambassador involves more than attending black-tie dinners and cultural affairs; Ambassadors Rudolph Dubs and Chris Stevens sacrificed their lives in the line of duty. More than ever, our diplomatic personnel — including politically appointed ambassadors with no foreign affairs, intelligence or national security training or experience, and who may have never even worked a single day in government — function in positions that are fraught with danger. Such is the risk ambassadors take, whether a skilled diplomat, or a private citizen who made a significant campaign contribution but is a neophyte in government service.

What's my first conclusion, one might ask. It is simply, that hundreds — if not thousands — of men and women with absolutely no training or experience in foreign affairs, national security or intelligence, have served as American diplomats in positions of far greater consequence than this gentleman, Rajiv Fernandez, was to undertake as a member of a State Department advisory committee — and, as nearly as I can tell, the practice of political appointment of unskilled, untested and largely unqualified people to serve our nation abroad has been ongoing without complaint for centuries, unless there is a political agenda to be served (as I believe is the case presently with Mr. Trump and the GOP, but is not limited to members of their party).

That's my sense of it mainly, but also that to say that anyone who is truly concerned over this man Fernando's appointment, ought be frantic over the extent to which individuals with absolutely no "national security experience" populate the Department of State at the highest possible levels, put there by politicians with a debt to pay.

I have a second conclusion, and it is one which is likely to raise the hackles of some. I offer it not as persuasive argument or a "gotcha" partisan attack on Mr. Trump (which is an impossibility, I suppose, given Mr. Trump and I are members of the same political party). Thankfully, it won't be expressed with the same longwindedness as the foregoing.

It is, simply, that if Mr. Trump questions the qualifications of Mr. Fernando to serve as a member of this State Department Advisory Committee, then it would logically follow that someone equally unskilled and untrained in foreign affairs, without a shred of national security experience, no military service, and no credentials whatsoever in the field of intelligence, would be dismally unqualified to be President of the United States, our nation's Commander in Chief. With apologies for my intellectual shortcomings, I'm unable to distinguish the relative merits of Mr. Fernando's lack of qualifications to be a member of a State Department committee, and those of Mr. Trump to serve as president — with Trump hoping to serve not in an advisory capacity, but rather as the person with his finger actually on the nuclear button. Likewise, lest it be thought that this is an attack on the GOP's presumptive nominee for president, it occurs to me that the vast majority of members of the House and Senate also have limited, or no, qualifications that would justify their participation in the most important decisions of our national security.

Bottom line, it strikes me as ludicrously illogical to label Mr. Fernando's appointment inappropriate and "unethical" (as Mr. Trump and others have suggested), without also finding many political appointees in the State Department and similarly situated congressional representatives, woefully ill equipped to handle their duties with the necessary gravitas to ensure our nation's security. And, maybe that's the problem.

Bruce Van Derven

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The term 'educrat' is really a flattering one; it implies government by educated people

To The Daily Sun,

Ordinarily, I do not write in response to hateful responses to my column. I will as far as my letters are concerned, but not my column. I learned that from Bob Meade, who disagrees with me.

I will, however, make an exception for A.C.R. Piper. In a recent letter, Citizen Piper wrote: "So, Mr. Cracraft's twaddle-speak has been elevated to column status." She or he also referred to "Mr. Cracraft and his 'educrat' ilk." Wow! What a use of language!

I am unsure what "twaddle-speak" is. Perhaps Citizen Piper could explain it. I am pretty sure the writer meant it as an insult. As for "educrat," I am sure he or she meant that to be insulting too. After all, educators have become the national whipping boys and girls for almost every problem. Apparently, it is becoming increasingly fashionable to be stupid in America.

Citizen Piper is obviously angry that I believe in vaccinations and in human-caused climate change. He or she apparently does not, and like many without good facts to back them up, lashes out at those who disagree. Educators seem to make a good target for these people.

However, I really like the term "educrat." I had never heard it before but it is a good one. It connotes government by the educated. I wish we had an "eduocracy." Of course Citizen Piper likely thinks that statement is elitist and that I want to put academics in charge of governing.
Actually, I believe in government "by the people." I wish all the people were educated and practiced critical thinking. It would certainly make government better if everyone, including those who disagreed with each other, at least put up rational, thought-out arguments for their social, political, medical and scientific positions.

Our founders also believed in an "eduocracy" because they assumed that the America of the future would be one where everyone was educated (even if only self-educated). They envisioned a majority of citizens who took part in the political process and in political and social debates because they knew what they were talking about. They envisioned an America that would value education, schools, and educators and one where people read books and newspapers and did not reject science, logic, and reason. I suppose that dream of the founders has floundered.

As for climate change, there is no doubt that our planet has gone through natural warming and cooling cycles. But there is also no doubt among 99 percent of climatologists that what is happening now has a strong human element as its cause. Those who disagree are listening to "scientists" who are being encouraged and even funded by those who do not want us to believe that this is a danger to the human future. It is similar to the "doctors" hired years ago by tobacco companies to "prove" that smoking is not really dangerous to health.

As for Citizen Piper's tirade against vaccination, he, like many "anti-vaxxers" comes to the false conclusion that just because our pharmaceutical companies are profit-driven and that often people are over-medicated that it follows that these companies do not make things that actually work. After all, we are living longer and healthier lives due to vaccines, antibiotics, and other drugs. The citations used by Citizen Piper seem to come largely from anti-vaccination sites.

There is no proven link between vaccines and autism. Many anti-vaxxers like to cite a paper published years ago in the British medical journal, The Lancet, which claimed a connection between autism and vaccination. Don't they know that this study has been completely discredited? The author was found to have falsified his data and lost his license to practice medicine. That says a lot to me, but for people like Citizen Piper, it is likely "proof" that the international medical community is involved in some grand conspiracy to shut them up.

I am sure many of the "anti-government" writers to The Sun will yell "crucify them," but there is a growing number of us who think that society and the state are not tough enough on anti-vaxxers. A growing number of schools are refusing to admit kids whose parents do not vaccinate. In addition, more and more pediatricians are refusing as patients the children of anti-vaxxers. Many doctors are saying, in effect, "I have kids who cannot take vaccines for valid medical reasons. I do not want them sitting in my waiting room with some kid shedding measles virus because his or her parents were too stupid to have the kid vaccinated." This is a good start.

I would go even further and make childhood vaccination mandatory unless there is a valid medical reason not to. As for religious or "philosophical" objectors to vaccines, it is important to understand that "parental rights," like any rights, are not without reasonable limitations. For instance, if you take a seriously ill child to a faith healer and the kid dies when medical treatment would have made her or him live, you can face criminal charges of child abuse and neglect.

A Jehovah's Witness who does not believe in blood transfusions can refuse a life-saving transfusion for himself or herself if he or she is an adult, but cannot make that decision for a minor child. The same should be true of vaccinations. Furthermore, if a quack practitioner advises parents against vaccination when valid medical doctors recommend it, that practitioner should be held liable for civil damages should the child be injured or die.

Finally, I never said all chiropractors are quacks. I have received good care from chiropractors on the recommendation of my M.D. I have nothing against chiropractors who stick to what they are good at. The quacks are those who say they can cure major diseases and boost immune systems through chiropractic manipulation. "Holistic" medicine is a good thing but "holistic" means inclusive and not totally rejecting modern medicine.
E. Scott Cracraft

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