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lebanon-on-mapMike Ryan is filling in for Jack Wheeler this week.

 President Trump uses an advanced management strategy that has the deep state baffled.

John Bolton joined the White House and was in the hot seat immediately.

Oh no, They Didn’t!  Assad used chlorine gas as a chemical weapon. And those missiles are very smart.

Attorney Michael Cohen was raided at the same time a fire broke out in Trump Tower. Coincidence?

Child traffickers dealt a serious blow, and we are back with more fun with Zuck!

All this in this week’s HFR!


Demonstrating Agility

President Trump is using an Agile-like operating methodology similar to SCRUM. This is a modern management practice that really did not exist 30 years ago. Practitioners are quite comfortable with President Trump. Bureaucrats…well, not so much.

His actions on several fronts followed the SCRUM methodology featuring a repeating cycle of decisions followed by sprints. Each pass through the cycle improved his results. This is interesting as it might explain why the White House has a high turnover rate. SCRUM methods are fast and efficient and make obsolete many traditional management skills.

Traditional management practices are linear with one step following another, a lot of meetings to keep large teams together and seek to reach a work output at the end of the process. President Trump spins out work output quickly and in threads to be assembled after sufficient parts have been structured.

Many oppose these types of management practices because efficiency improvements and process flow are achieved without the years of experience developed climbing the ladder the traditional way. Agile methods create fear of influence loss and promotions as the work product cannot be owned or controlled by a bureaucrat and leveraged for power.

Conventional managers accuse Agile managers of inexperience. Private industry has many examples of mid-level managers attempting to heroicly “save” the organization from methodology changes by sabotaging leaders and working to undermine the organization. In reality, such narcissists are no heroes. They are attempting to maintain their own power and influence. Much of the pushback President Trump experiences from the departments and agencies can be explained as individuals fearing for their future with a management system that no longer makes their desk a process choke point.


John Bolton Arrives

John Bolton replaced H.R. McMaster as National Security Advisor. He immediately was tested by the use of chlorine gas as a chemical weapon in Syria. He passed the test, concurring with President Trump that strong action is needed quickly to prevent normalizing the use of chemical weapons.

It remains possible that the chlorine gas attack was meant as a diplomatic calling card for Bolton and intended to cause a diplomatic fracture within Europe and a stock market crisis. Mr. Bolton is falsely accused by many of being a reactionary incapable of forming a consensus.

A propaganda blast depicting Bolton as a reactionary hawk was visible in all media channels for about 72 hours, coinciding with demands from the Democrats to re-define the Authorization to Use Force (ATUF) in Congress. These efforts failed to gain the traction that they achieved during the Obama administration, forcing Obama back from his red line.

Staff changes are occurring and in flux, as this is being written. John Bolton is likely more comfortable with Agile management systems than General McMaster was, and therefore personnel changes are a given.

Why so? Because McMaster devoted much of his book Dereliction of Duty to problems in the Kennedy and Johnson White Houses, and the tragedy of the Vietnam War caused by the use of operations research and systems analysis by McNamara. It is almost beyond imagination for General McMaster to operate in a manner outside conventional Command and Control.

Remember the tendency of legacy leaders to fight the adoption of high-performance management methods…Many are fine people convinced that they are “saving” their organization or the nation from “ill-conceived” efficiency gains. From my personal experience, I believe funny things happen when leaders fear abandonment by the process.



Shortly after President Trump said that the United States would withdraw from Syria, a chemical weapon was used (for the 50th time)against civilians in Syria. This time it was a chlorine-containing shell or rocket in Douma on April 9th. Photographs of injured children immediately went viral. Propaganda efforts immediately lit up social media and first declared the reports false, then declared the operation to be a false flag by the United Staes. Then Israel, then this group, then that group.

President Trump responded immediately and let the world know that the United States and our allies will not allow the normalization of chemical weapons. He reminded the world that there is a new sheriff in town. American warships maneuvered within Tomahawk missile range of all points in Syria, British Tornado attack aircraft moved into theater as did French Rafaels. Additional B-52 bombers were relocated from the United States to Europe and a second aircraft carrier battle group was ordered to the Med.

Russia withdrew its fleet from Syria while Syria relocated 22 SU-24 Fencer ground attack aircraft to Iran. Syria did not withdraw their approximately 130 MIG-23 and MIG-25 Foxbat interceptor aircraft. Civilian aircraft were re-routed out of Syrian airspace.


chlorine-gasChlorine Gas

I hate the stuff. Way back in 1987 I was working at an industrial plant in the Midwest when a locomotive bumped a 100-ton rail car of liquid chlorine being unloaded. The car moved and tore the unloading lines free. An internal check valve failed, leaving the line to whip around and uncontrollably release chlorine into the atmosphere. The green cloud immediately incapacitated everyone in its path, and they dropped to their knees suddenly blinded, vomiting, and unable to breathe. Within about a minute they were coughing up mucus as well as vomiting. I was not in the path and was able to grab a Scott air pack from an emergency cabinet, donned it and shut the valves off on the rail car. The victims were permanently incapacitated and most lost significant lung capacity. This stuff is wickedly evil. President Trump is right, only an animal would use it against civilians, and chemical warfare must never be normalized.


Benefits Who?

Reports and video evidence show Assad’s forces surrounded the area in Douma before the attack, preventing people from moving clear of the gas clouds. The forces boarded buses and were removed after the attack.

Putin enjoyed an immediate crude oil price increase but exposed Russian forced to retaliation. Assad was able to show the world that he is the strongman and gain some psyops benefits by forcing American troops to haul around chemical warfare suits in the coming summer heat. Israel is able to count on American forces in the region.


The Chump?

Iran. Shortly after threats of an American response were tweeted by President Trump, Iranians became aware that Syria was evacuating aircraft and possible Assad himself to Iran. Street protests erupted, some large, as mothers protested to prevent the conscription of sons from fighting America in Syria. TTP has followed the growing rebellion of minorities standing against the Mullahs for some time. Until this point, the protests took the form of flash mobs. The script just changed. Iranians remember the massive death and maiming of their youth by chemical weapons during the 1980-1988 war with Iraq. Since then, the birth rate in Iran has fallen from 6.5 children per woman to fewer than 2. Children are a scarcer asset today than in the past.

If President Trump wanted to scare the daylights out of Iranian mothers, he could have hardly found a better way than to cause every left-leaning news agency and propaganda outfit to declare the imminent start of World War III. Israeli aircraft bombed Syria’s T-4 airbase, also on April 9 to slow the construction of Iranian facilities. Iranians died, and the protesting mothers know this.

Remember. A high capacity to quickly plan and surge activity is a characteristic of Agile management practices. The White House is toying with the Mullahs like a laser pointer and cat.


The Gulf Cooperation Council

President Trump tweeted a warning to prepare, missiles were coming soon, and this time they are “smart.” How smart?

There were numerous reports of four-engine turboprop aircraft flying fast and low near Syrian bases. These reports were followed by reports that the bases are experiencing extensive commando-raider type damage by unidentified units driving fast vehicles equipped with machine guns and grenade launchers.

Are Saudi C-130 transports unloading modern versions of the Rat Patrol that act as smart, 4-wheel drive missiles that rapidly attack, retreat and then drive up the ramp of the waiting C-130 to be whisked away? If so, then the GCC is delivering a blow to Assad and the Iranians while President Trump has them watching the sky for inbound Tommies. A Russian SA-400 antiaircraft battery is not much use against an armored dune buggy.


T-4 Airbase

T-4 Airbase

Got a Spare Tire?

Israel banned the import of tires into the Gaza Strip after Hamas lit thousands of tires ablaze on April 6. This was the second tire fire protest intended to generate sympathy from leftist governments and organizations. Air quality, think of the children, and so forth. Hamas needs to revisit the plan to become an eco-terrorist organization. They will have trouble driving to events.


Comey Wrote a Book

It is a quick, dull, simplistic read called A Higher Loyalty that fails to answer the question: Where are the Russian prostitutes from the Steele dossier? We have hooker and strippers bouncing out all over from Florida to Thailand, all seeking fame and fortune. But hmm, the ones behind the FISA warrant still can’t be found. Response to the book has been pretty good. President Trump’s approval rating increased again, and 76% of Americans now agree that he is the victim of a political scheme.  Once again, the deep state plans and maneuvers to inflict damage on president trump and he quickly turns the tables. Fortunes go to the smart and agile in the 21st Century.


Speaking of Strippers

Michael Cohen, a lawyer that once worked for the Trump campaign, had his home, property and hotel room raided by the FBI on April 9. It seems that Mr. Cohen paid the porn star known as Stormy Daniels $130,000 from his home equity loan for unspecified services. A short time later, he billed the campaign $129,999,97 in an attempt to recover his loss. It seems Mr. Cohen might have been Ms. Daniel’s real customer and created a false bill to the campaign. Big mistake. Not only have these shenanigans irritated the President. They insulted Melania.


Stormy Daniels Deflated

There are some odd parts to the story. For instance, Mr. Cohen was allegedly also a lawyer for Hillary Clinton but failed to disclose this to the Trump campaign. Then there is the matter of the fire. Trump Tower in New York experienced a fire on the 50th floor and a fatality at the same time the raids were executed by the FBI. A deep state diversion? Or another diplomatic calling card from Putin regarding retaliation in Syria?

Oddest of all, the New York Times featured quotes from a conversation between Mr. Cohen and his mother living in the same Trump Tower insinuating the tragic potential of another 9/11 type terrorist attack in New York. The persuasive element intended to frighten people over the target potential of Trump Tower.

Also confusing. Where is the ACLU? Certainly, the ACLU would be lit up like a nondenominational, non-Christian, holiday tree if the raid had occurred against a former member of the Clinton campaign.

This Michael Cohen thing is worth watching.


Child Trafficking

President Trump signed legislation to penalize the operators of sex trafficking websites and social media on April 11. Websites such as Backpage along with many others were raided and taken down. Arrests were made.

President Trump has often said that he will but a major hurt on sex traffickers and especially those that traffic in children.

Backpage earned millions, perhaps hundreds of millions of dollars. Funds were allegedly funneled into overseas accounts. The rise of Backpage coincided with the heroin epidemic and the forced relaxation of southern border security by Obama. Injecting young women and girls with heroin or other opiates is done to create a punishment and reward system for the girls to destroy the human spirit and all hope of normality.

It is possible that sites like Backpage were used by foreign intelligence services as honeypots to compromise businessmen, government officials or members if the military. It is equally possible that some type of global initiative was involved that had access to the highest levels of our government. Access that would force law enforcement to look the other way to the heroin trafficking and massive sex trafficking that occurred between 2009 and 2017.

Whatever the truth, there seems to be a deep rabbit hole here that is connected to the destruction of a substantial fraction of American youth. The enslavement, drugging, and destruction of tens of thousands of women and girls by large-scale perps hiding behind the First Amendment will be a serious dilemma for libertarians.


AI and Technology

Mark Cuban expects AI to create the world’s first trillionaire. Making people wealthy is a noble thing, but AI stands to eliminate a tremendous number of jobs.  Sure there will be new jobs – for knowledge experts, philosophy of knowledge experts, and the technical elite. Are we ready for the displaced workers? I don’t think so and whoever figures out how to employ the displaced will own the politcal landscape.

zuckerberg-on-trialMark Zuckerberg testified before the House and Senate this week. He was not under oath. Most of the questions were softballs, and he repeatedly confused the words Community and Database. Seems that they mean the same thing to Zuck.

The technology industry is too Agile to be regulated by Congress. The government is a centralized command and control type system and cannot adapt to the rate of innovation possible from decentralized network type systems. The issue is Complexity, Complex issues occur when the sum of components or nodes behaves differently than the sum of parts. For example, One ant walks in circles and can’t find your picknick basket. But 1,000 ants find your picnic in a few minutes and then form lines and columns to carry away your food. The opposite of complex is complicated where 1,000 ants would walk in 1,000 circles without interacting.

Zuck admitted to Ted Cruz using ducking and squirming that Facebook is not politically neutral and has no intention of being so. Data that a user tries to remove is not stored by Facebook, but might be stored by others.

AI technologies have the potential to coordinate persuasive messaging to such an extent that it will be difficult to discern reality.

The trillion dollar question becomes, “Who shall you vote for?” The answer,  “Don’t worry, we will tell you who to vote for.”

Our government must find ways to adapt to networked, complex systems or risk becoming irrelevant. The private sector is knocking down doors to become more Agile, yet the bureaucratic mind is fighting the 21st Century with all it has.


Mike Ryan is an engineering consultant to the minerals, fibers, and chemical industries.