Would you work for this kind of person?

I have noted before that the most ardent of folks would not work for the kind of person who they hold in high esteem. Let’s entertain a few questions.

Would you work for the kind of person….

who takes credit for anything good that happened in the business, even if it was the result of a team effort?

who would do the same, even if it was due to circumstances outside his control?

who would blame other people or entities for failures, even if the boss had a heavy hand in causing such failure?

who would do the same, even if the failure was outside his control?

who is so short of attention span, efforts to brief him have to include pictures?

who is so mercurial and blows up at people, that staff walks on egg shells around him?

who tends to change decisions based on who got to him last?

who routinely calls people losers, idiots, stupid, et al who dare ask him tough questions?

who berates people who study an issue when their more learned conclusions run counter to a narrative, even if he decided it on a whim?

who does not respect relationships and views every partner through a win/ lose binary lens?

who can be easily swayed when buttered up, especially when he does not know the history or context?

who does not appreciate or take the time to strategize and plan execution of changes, nor communicate them very well?

who makes staff chase their tail to prove an inane comment he made is less inane?

who pits people against each other to promote adversarial behavior?

And, who has a very hard time with the truth?

Two-time Pulitzer Prize winning author and reporter Bob Woodward helped capture the answers to these questions in his book “Fear” after 750 hours of interviews with White House staff. The title “Fear” is based on an interview Trump gave that said he manages by fear. He bullies people into acquiescing to his whims.

The answer to the above questions is not for very long. It should be noted no other White House has had this much turnover and this many open positions. We are at more risk than ever before because of such and further because those who remain are less experienced than those who departed.

Four little windows

There is ad nauseum evidence of the corrupt, bullying, unempathetic and deceitful words and actions of the president. Yet, sometimes little windows offer clear insight into the nature of the president.

On the day interim FBI Andrew McCabe was packing up his office to retire, he was fired by the president to deny McCabe his pension. This may be  worse than firing people without telling them, which he has done several times. Who does that?

After informing two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Bob Woodard in early February he was aware of the coronavirus risk and how it could be transmitted, the president chose not to inform Americans and had several rallies later in the month. He did not tell his ardent base they were being exposed and further downplayed the virus as a hoax. Who does that?

On a day which will be remembered as “sh**hole country” day, the president agreed to a deal in the morning with Senators Dick Durbin and Lindsey Graham for money for the infamous border wall (his main campaign theme) in trade for making DACA into law to help about 800,000 children born in America to illegal immigrants. By the time Durbin and Graham got there, the president had been talked out of the deal by hard line Senator Tom Cotton among others. The two Senators were none to happy with the president for reneging on the agreed upon deal. To top it off, Trump offended several countries by referring to immigrants therefrom as coming from “sh**hole countries.”

Finally, with his current pep rallies, setting aside the COVID-19 exposure, he insulted his base in Pennsylvania and Iowa regarding not wanting to come there, telling Iowans he hoped he would never be back. But, he saved his worst for Nebraskans who he made wait in the cold weather and trudge back to their cars afterwards. Again, these are his most ardent fans. Yet, we should not be surprised, as radio host Howard Stern noted after fifteen hours of interviews with Trump over the years, Trump does not give a hoot about those folks.

There are many other examples to draw from – the poorly planned travel ban which was so botched it was pulled after two days, the vindictive firings or transfers of Inspectors General and public servants who testified under oath, or the horrible separation of children from asylum seekers et al. This is the person who represents the United States.

After the failed travel ban, conservative David Brooks said the Trump White House is “equal parts chaos and incompetence.” About a year or so later, Brooks noted “Trump does not have empathy or sense of decency.” Agreed on all counts.

More of those trying English words

I recently wrote of the difficulties the English language poses with words that are similar, but have meanings that are so different. Since I do many a crossword puzzle, I come across words that remind me of this fact, but also encourage me to go find a dictionary. As I noted earlier, I like words that I actually might use or hear someone use in a conversation and am not too keen on words that only share how smart the speaker is or who would like to seem.

Here are a few more sets of words to ponder.

Divine and divine: The noun divine can mean godlike or sacred and it can also mean lovely or handsome. Yet, the verb divine means to surmise or guess the solution to a problem.

Seer, sere, sear: Homonyms anyone? Three similar words with different meanings. Seer is a prophet, while sere means dry or arid as in a desert. And, not to be outdone, sear means to char as in a steak.

Prescribe and proscribe: Another pairing where one letter changes the nature. Prescribe means to order, as in a doctor ordering a prescription. Proscribe means to forbid.

Vain, vane, vein: More homonyms. Vain conjures up a Carly Simon song meaning arrogant. Vane usually refers to a weather vane, but is a broad blade attached to a rotating axis. Vein of course is the vessel to return the blood to the heart, but could also mean a distinctive quality.

Prosaic and mosaic: The former is often confused with the latter, but prosaic means commonplace. Mosaic is not commonplace meaning artistic or painted glass placed into a stone setting.

Precede and proceed: They sound similar, but precede means to go before. Proceed means to begin. You should proceed, before someone precedes you.

That is enough confusion for one day. So, when Simon sings, “you’re so vain, you probably think this song is about you,” you will know how to spell it.

Former Republican US Attorneys back Biden


There is yet another group of people with gravitas who have officially spoken out against the reelection of the incumbent president. In an article this week in The Washington Post called “Former U.S. attorneys — all Republicans — back Biden, saying Trump threatens ‘the rule of law’” by Tom Hamburger and Devlin Barrett, the hope to make their voice heard by people who will listen.

A link to the article is below. Here are the opening paragraphs, that give you the gist.

“Twenty former U.S. attorneys — all of them Republicans — on Tuesday publicly called President Trump ‘a threat to the rule of law in our country,’ and urged that he be replaced in November with his Democratic opponent, former vice president Joe Biden.

The President has clearly conveyed that he expects his Justice Department appointees and prosecutors to serve his personal and political interests,’ said the former prosecutors in an open letter. They accused Trump of taking ‘action against those who have stood up for the interests of justice.’

The letter, signed by prosecutors appointed by every GOP president from Eisenhower to Trump, is the latest instance of Republicans backing Biden. In August, dozens of GOP national security experts signed a full-page newspaper ad endorsing Biden over Trump.”

These two groups join the ranks of Republicans for the Rule of Law, The Lincoln Project, Republican Voters against Trump and others who had an alternate Republican Party Convention from Charlotte. Then there is the long time respected conservative voices like Max Boot, George Will, Michael Gerson, David Brooks, Ross Douthat and Eric Erickson who have spoken out against the president and favor Joe Biden.

Their voices used to mean something. Why are they risking their good names against such a vindictive and unscrupulous person? I can hear the words “losers” coming out of said person’s mouth to define them in his usual manner of rebuttal.

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/former-us-attorneys-%e2%80%94-all-republicans-%e2%80%94-back-biden-saying-trump-threatens-the-rule-of-law/ar-BB1arxZr?ocid=msedgdhp

In a land not so far away, in a time not so long ago

January 25, 2020 – from the Oval Office of the White House

My fellow Americans. Today, our country faces a pandemic risk, that only has begun to hit our shores. I have been briefed on multiple occasions by the Directors of Intelligence, Defense and CDC regarding the coronavirus risk to our country. The virus appears to easily spread and can be deadly to some who have other medical issues they are dealing with.

Since, mission #1 in a pandemic is to tell the truth, I want to shoot straight with you. If this hits our shores like anticipated, then we need to be prepared to act. I have been told masks are important, and we may have a shortage.

In fact, Mike Bowen, owner of the largest surgical face mask producer in the US — Prestige Ameritech in Texas — contacted our officials in the Department of Health and Human Services on January 22, the day after the first US coronavirus cases were identified. He asked the US government to provide the funds needed to dust off four dormant manufacturing lines, and his firm would produce 1.7 million N95 masks every week. I have authorized emergency funds to Prestige Ameritech to start these dormant lines effective immediately.

Masks will only get us so far, but are a key part of the plan. So, I am asking the Vice President to head a task force to work with the CDC, both chambers of Congress, governors, major health care systems and facilities, and supply manufacturers to identify concerns, needs and develop a national and state level plans.

I have learned a new term called social distancing, which suggest people to remain six feet or more away from each other. I am told washing hands after some contact would also be wise. So, I would suggest people to start doing more of these things until we know more.

Since the coronavirus appears to have originated in China, I want this task force to advise me by the end of the month on whether travel restrictions to and from China, and other areas of Asia and around the world, are needed. In the interim, I would ask business leaders to reduce the amount of travel in their companies until we determine next steps. Private citizens should do the same. People returning to our country should self-quarantine for at least a week, I am told, but that time may need to be longer.

There is obviously a lot we don’t know about the coronavirus. As we learn more and develop plans and suggestions, we will conduct briefing sessions led by the Vice President and head of the CDC and other important scientific voices. I ask that you be diligent and do what is needed to protect yourself, families and friends.

Let me emphasize. This is not a hoax and it is not something we can just blow past. We need a concerted effort and take this seriously. There may be a time when we need to make more than suggestions requiring certain behaviors. Let’s hope it does not come to that. But, if it does, we will need your help to comply.

Thank you all and may God bless America, as well as our friends around the globe.

The President of the United States

Note: This speech did not occur. However, Prestige Ameritech offered twice to the White House to restart the idled lines in January. Because of the mask shortage, the initial emphasis was on masks for medical practitioners, which increased risk to other citizens. The US president did enact a travel ban to and from China on January 31, but would have been better served with more staging (and less blaming) beforehand about the risk. Democrats (and others) who were critical of the travel ban due to how it was communicated, should have been more supportive. Frustratingly, the president’s references to the virus being a hoax and downplaying the impact occurred throughout February at major pep rallies, placing many folks in attendance at risk. The misinformation continues until this day, which is amazing in its own right.

Conservative pundit David Brooks – How Democrats Won the War of Ideas

As an independent and former Republican (and Democrat), David Brooks is one of my favorite conservative pundits and authors. He is a regular participant on PBS Newhour’s Friday recap show with the more liberal Mark Shields. Like other key conservative pundits, MIchael Gerson, George Will, Ross Douthat, Eric Erickson and Max Boot, he is hoping that America votes out the incumbent president.

In his usual articulate and even-handed fashion, Brooks penned the following editorial last week called “How Democrats Won the War of Ideas.” The link is below, but I will highlight a few paragraphs for your review and comment.

“Over the last 100 years, Americans have engaged in a long debate about the role of markets and the welfare state. Republicans favored a limited government, fearing that a large nanny state would sap American dynamism and erode personal freedom. Democrats favored a larger state, arguing that giving people a basic economic security would enable them to take more risks and lead dignified lives.

That debate ebbed and flowed over the years, but 2020 has turned out to be a pivotal year in the struggle, and it looks now as if we can declare a winner. The Democrats won the big argument of the 20th century. It’s not that everybody has become a Democrat, but even Republicans are now embracing basic Democratic assumptions. Americans across the board fear economic and physical insecurity more than an overweening state. The era of big government is here.”

Brooks cites a few survey facts from last week’s New York Times/ Siena poll.

2/3 of Americans support allowing people to buy health insurance through the federal government

2/3 support Joe Biden’s $2 trillion plan to increase renewable energy and build efficient infrastructure

72% of likely voters and 56% of Republican voters favor another COVID-19 relief package

59% of Americans think government should do more to solve problems

2/3 think government should do more to fight climate change

60% support increasing the minimum wage and providing tax credits to low income workers

82% of voters and 70% of Republicans would like to expand requirements for paid family medical leave

Brooks also cites a study by the Mercatus Center which notes that Republicans are also moving left, just not at the pace of Democrats. This is contrary to what is believed by the media.

I have long said that more than 1/2 of the Republican voters are voting against their economic interests and do not know it. This survey indicates many do favor policies that would help them, but are sold a bill of goods packaged to woo their votes, but mask the purposeful deterioration of rights and opportunities.

A great example is the Affordable Care Act. When people are surveyed about the features of the act, the features receive high marks from all, including Republicans. The only feature that did not was eliminated – the mandate to buy coverage. Ironically, this elimination is the basis for 25 Republican Attorney Generals who have case to declare the ACA unconstitutional in front of the Supreme Court after the election, which should not occur as the case is not solid, but one never knows with these things. Sadly, the White House chose not to defend the law, which affects expanded Medicaid, exchange and employer-provided benefits.

Please read Brooks article below. It is very well done, as per usual.

Reaction to hate speech – two posts from today

Two fellow bloggers have written today about online hate speech they have received. One lives in Australia and the other in America. The latter focuses on some anti-semitic comments she has received. Each post can be linked to below. They are must reads.

Below are my comments offering up a few thoughts from someone who detests hate speech and sees it for what it is – fear of the other.

First comment –  “I was chatting with my sister about how some folks are just looking for a fight online. I love the Aristotle saying – ‘There is only one way to avoid criticism: Do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing.

Let me add one that a friend and guidance counselor used to tell her high school students. You are the boss of you. Don’t cede your power to anyone, especially someone trying to provoke a reaction. If you do not take offense, you are not offended.

I just love her words, even more especially since she passed away early. It is my tribute to her to remember them.”

Second comment – “I am sorry you have to go through hateful and spiteful denigration and persecution. It is not right and never has been right. When I see one group of people, pick any, that is taught to ‘fear the other’ and shun them, dehumanize them, punish them, and persecute them, thinking beyond the obvious hate, I am reminded of one thought – how could one group be so arrogant to think they can do without other groups of people?

This point is not focused on enough, so let me. The Jewish people have contributed so much to the world in every community they chose to be in (or were forced to be in). They value family, faith, hard work, education and community. One of my favorite part’s of Malcolm Gladwell’s ‘Outliers,’ about successful people, is when he focuses on the children and grandchildren of the ‘piece goods’ workers who migrated from Europe to New York City (piece goods are zippers, button holes, collars, belt loops, etc. that make finished products easier to produce). Looking at these hard working people’s descendants revealed lawyers, doctors, pharmacists, etc. Their forebears valued hard work and education.

My point is simple. If a group practices an exclusionary belief system, then they may be a self-fulfilling prophesy and wither away. Simply, we need each other. If that does not do it for these folks, just think Steve Jobs was the son of Syrian immigrants. African-American Vivian Thomas had a heavy part in curing the blue babies syndrome, and the contribution of Jewish folks is an exhaustive list, but picking only two, Jonas Salk gave us the polio vaccine and actress and scientist Hedy Lamarr invented a technology that exists in every cell phone. Just think of where we would be without our diversity.”

Please note, I added a few words to the comments I left. My point is “fear of the other” is not only hateful, it is foolish and self-defeating. I saw a documentary where religious scholars and historians noted Jesus probably spoke four languages (Aramaic, Hebrew, Greek and Latin), given his trade as a carpenter, his ministry as a Rabbi and where he grew up. In other words, treat others like you want to be treated were not just words – he learned languages to communicate. Think about that.

https://forestwoodfolkart.wordpress.com/2020/10/25/how-to-deal-with-internet-criticism/

The sleaziest of campaigns – per Max Boot, respected journalist

An editorial piece today in The Washington Post by Max Boot is worth the read. It is entitled “Opinions | Trump may be running the sleaziest presidential campaign ever.” A link is below. Here are few select paragraphs, but please read the entire piece.

“I’m old enough to remember when the Republican Party was known as the “party of ideas.” That was in the 1980s. Since then it has become the party of pseudo-scandals…

Since then, the Republican Party, in cahoots with media partners such as Fox ‘News’ and Rush Limbaugh, has manufactured one pseudo-scandal after another: Vince Foster’s suicide, Whitewater, Mena airportJohn Kerry’s Swift Boat service, Barack Obama’s birth certificate, the Clinton Foundation and Hillary Clinton’s emails, among others.

The process has been turbocharged under President Trump, who is even more ruthless and unscrupulous than (Newt) Gingrich. The former reality-TV star won the 2016 election by defaming a former secretary of state and first lady as “Crooked Hillary” and demanding that she be locked up for unspecified offenses. Now he is trying to run the same playbook on Joe Biden.

Trump got himself impeached by trying to blackmail Ukrainian officials into accusing Biden and his son Hunter of wrongdoing. That didn’t stop Trump’s attorney, Rudolph W. Giuliani, from working with shady Ukrainian contacts — including a lawmaker described as a Russian agent by Trump’s own Treasury Department — to produce dirt on Biden. Until recently, this had resulted in a few audiotapes of interest only to One America News Network. Our Democracy in Peril: A series on the damage Trump has caused — and the danger he would pose in a second term

Then Giuliani turned over to the New York Post the supposed contents of a laptop supposedly belonging to Hunter. The alleged emails have never been authenticated, and the New York Times revealed that the New York Post’s own journalists had so little faith in the story that the lead reporter refused to put his name on an article he had written. The Washington Post reported that Trump’s own national security adviser told him that ‘any information Giuliani brought back from Ukraine should be considered contaminated by Russia,’ and more than 50 former intelligence officers warned that the emails have ‘all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation.'”

The party of “pseudo-scandals.” The “sleaziest” campaign. It should be noted Republican pollster Frank Lunz has noted these attacks on Hunter Biden are not the way to go. Lunz said Trump is so far behind Biden, people just do not care.

I care. Calling anything the president does as “sleazy” or “sleaziest” is not a bridge too far. The president has operated in this manner well before his presidency and that is without diving into his alleged sexual misconduct from over twenty women. Some may be surprised that Trump has operated in corrupt, deceitful and sleazy manner as president, but I am not. On occasion, he may go lower than I think he is capable of, but to say I am surprised is the wrong reaction.

We deserve a truthful, decent, empathetic and even-tempered president. I would use none of those attributes to define the incumbent And, that makes me sad.

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/opinions-trump-may-be-running-the-sleaziest-presidential-campaign-ever/ar-BB1alX3r?ocid=msedgdhp

Vetting – why it is important

This is a word that is often used without people fully understanding what it means. It has several definitions, but the vetting I am referring to means the following:

“the process of investigating someone thoroughly, especially in order to ensure that they are suitable for a job requiring secrecy, loyalty, or trustworthiness.”

One of my major concerns throughout the incumbent president’s regime has been the Senate abdicating its oversight role over the White House on appointments or the lack thereof. I could also share my greater concern over removing Inspectors General or people who testified under oath, but that is something I have covered before.

The Senate is supposed to sign off on candidates nominated by the president for a number of high level positions. They also must go through additional background checks. One of the tactics the president has used to avoid scrutiny is to appoint temporary replacements that serve beyond a few months – this has been highlighted as a risk by those Inspectors Generals.

It has become even more important as the president has overseen a White House with the most turnover ever. It is in a constant state of flux. One of the reasons is the president values loyalty over competence. So, when someone does not genuflect enough or serve his needs, the person is removed. As Thomas Wells, a long time Trump attorney, wrote before the 2016 election, if you are on Trump’s good side, don’t get used to it.

Then, you have those who are just tired of working for a mercurial and untrustworthy man. From the 750 hours of interview Bob Woodward conducted for his book “Fear,” the president wants people to be scared of him. So, they walk on eggshells around him. Having been in business for over 34 years, that is a horrible business management model. You want good people who know their job and tell you what they think, regardless of how you react to it.

Yet, why I am raising this now is the president and his cronies are pulling out attacks on Hunter Biden using his father’s name to illegally garner favor. This story has been investigated and no wrongdoing has been found, but the latest efforts have been categorized by US Intelligence as Russian propaganda.

But, here is what puzzles me. Donald Trump’s daughter and son-in-law work in the White House with no official jobs. I do not know if they are paid. But, I do know they were not vetted by the Senate, yet are doing work a vetted person would be doing. In fact, Kushner was denied security clearance for six months for not being forthcoming about financial interests. Plus, the CIA said Kushner was a security risk as he was shopping around for someone to pay off a $1.2 billion loan balloon payment, which has now been paid.

This should be concerning. Plus, one of my beefs about the Ukraine extortion story last summer that led to Trump’s impeachment is why is Rudy Giuliani running a shadow diplomacy effort, at odds with the efforts of others, without being vetted by the Senate? This concerns me as Giuliani still is playing some kind of role in further of his earlier efforts. Since helping New York city respond to 9-11, Rudy has fallen precipitously to a cartoon character.

Even Trump does not care to vet people. He once told reporters its was their job to help him vet the candidate. No sir, it is your job to pick a vetted candidate. It makes you look bad and wastes America’s time when you pick an unworthy candidate. A good example is he picked his own doctor to run the VA, which has multiple businesses and hundreds of thousands employees. You need someone who can run a complex organization. The doctor withdrew his name.

Vetting is crucial. The Senate has dropped the ball big time, in my view. We are not an autocracy. These are some of the many reasons why I say the current incumbent is the most corrupt and deceitful president in my lifetime. Sadly, there are more reasons to say this.

Former Republican Senator on Debate Commission chastises Trump for claiming unfairness

Per a MSN news summary of an op-ed in The Washington Post, “former Sen. John Danforth (R-Mo.), a member of the board of directors for the Commission on Presidential Debates, ripped President Trump for accusing the nonpartisan organization for being biased against him.

Danforth declared Trump’s ‘attack on the debate commission is an attack on the election itself‘ while warning the president that he was doing ‘incalculable‘ damage.

Danforth made his argument in a Washington Post op-ed Tuesday despite what he described as ‘a strict vow of silence regarding my personal feelings about the current presidential campaign.

His op-ed focused on Trump’s criticisms of the debate moderators. Thursday’s debate is set to be moderated by NBC’s Kristen Welker, and the first debate was moderated by Fox News’s Chris Wallace.”

Note, the accusations of unfair treatment is a long time tactic of Donald Trump predating his run for presidency. It is part of the narcissist’s playbook called projection, where the narcissist will accuse others of what he or she is doing as a defense mechanism.

Why do I say that? Trump has been cheating for many months, actually years, about the 2020 election. He has purposefully discredited the US intelligence findings that Russia helped him win in 2016. It should be noted that just two months ago, the Republican led Senate Intelligence Committee published their report saying there was routine contact between Paul Manafort, the campaign manager for 4 1/2 months, and a Russian official.

This year, we have seen the president appoint someone to lead the US Postal Service who has weakened their efforts (until they were ceased), who has gone out of his way to riducule the mail-in voting process that even Republicans say works well and suggest his more ardent base go watch the polls.

I thought I would never see a president of United States do the opposite of what a leader would do which is protect the voting process. By itself, this is a metaphor into the fragile ego and deceitful nature of this person.

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/ex-gop-senator-on-debate-commission-blasts-trump-s-bias-accusations-warns-of-incalculable-damage/ar-BB1afVwg?ocid=msedgdhp