Author: John Farmer Jr., Opinion Contributor

As with 9/11, your government has failed you — again

“Your government failed you.” With that dramatic testimony before the 9/11 Commission, Richard Clarke, counterterrorism coordinator at the White House during the Clinton and Bush administrations, laid bare the raw truth of the government’s failure to prevent the 9/11 terrorist attacks, which killed nearly 3,000 Americans. It was shocking. It was cathartic. It was also…

Hate speech, privacy and the personal lives of public officials

The recent arrest of an armed, threatening, potentially murderous person outside the home of Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) has underscored two areas of continuing and tragic governmental neglect: the vulnerability of public officials to violence, even assassination, and the incessant drumbeat of hate speech on social media aimed at vulnerable individuals and populations. Congresswoman Jayapal,…

Of RINOs, DINOs and the zombie ant apocalypse

Missouri GOP Senate candidate Eric Greitens’s martial “RINO-hunting” campaign ad, in which he invites the listener to join the MAGA crew and get a RINO-hunting license (with no limits on “bagging” or “tagging” so-called Republicans in name only), may have been tongue in cheek but it underscores the displacement by Trump-style populism of many formerly…

Remembering Bill Watkinson, a true ‘Top Gun’ maverick

On May 27, timed for the patriotism of Memorial Day, the long-awaited sequel to “Top Gun,” the Tom Cruise-as-ultra-cool-fighter-pilot-rebel-dude vehicle, opened nationwide and dominated the holiday weekend, grossing $160 million at the box office.    Two days earlier, on May 25, our nation lost the real thing. Bill Watkinson passed away quietly at home in Flemington,…

Flying blind through a pandemic

Early in my career in government service, I learned a lesson about human nature — as it finds expression in government bureaucracy — that has served me well in trying to understand our government’s response to the global pandemic. In the early 1990s, New Jersey’s legislature required that the schools administer a “fourth-grade test,” which…