If you don’t deal with a crisis…

There is a hard lesson for people in leadership positions, that should not be this hard to understand. If you don’t deal with a crisis, it has a predictable habit of biting you in the rear-end.

The first and foremost lesson in addressing a crisis is to tell people the truth. Only then, can you enlist their understanding and help.

The second key lesson is to show sincere empathy for what people are going through. If they detect insincerity or a self-serving mindset, you will lose their trust.

The third lesson is to do what you can to help people or lessen the dilemma. Do not make matters worse. Not unlike the Hippocratic Oath, a leader should “do no harm.”

Having said these three lessons, it should not be a surprise that Messers. Bolsonaro, Johnson and Trump have failed miserably to address the COVID-19 pandemic and racial injustice crises facing Brazil, United Kingdom and United States.

Jair Bolsonaro has lied to Brazilians from the outset on COVID-19. Several health ministers have resigned because of his ham-handling of the pandemic. And, his country has long had poverty and racial tensions, which go unaddressed.

Boris Johnson was supposedly sitting pretty as the New Year rang in. Yet, not taking the pandemic seriously, he risked not only his health, but others. Now, he is facing backlash from some in his own psrty. Plus, he has been slow to address the racial protests which have hastened with the American police killings.

In the US, Donald Trump also naysayed and downplayed the pandemic even after being apprised of the risk. He continues his misinformation and has put people at risk by pressuring reopening and placing his own followers at risk with scheduled events.

Further, the president’s racist bent has further divided America and he adds fuel to the flames by being tone deaf to the protests.

The similarities of these three men precede their mishandling of these crises. Each are known for being untruthful, populists, and self-centeredness. Bolsonaro is even referred to as the Brazilian Trump. And, like Johnson, Bolsonaro has heightened risk by not following social distancing. And, like Trump, he has embraced a possible cure before it was proven, which remains so.

All three have failed in addresses these crises. Trump ridicules Brazil for its pandemic response, but the US numbers are far worse. Yet, each is doing their best Wizard of Oz impersonation saying “don’t look behind the curtain.” What they fail to realize, even a curtain cannot hide their mistakes.

Reflections on a rainy Friday

It is a good morning for a hot bowl of cheese grits and a large cup of coffee. Here are a few reflections on this rainy Friday.

– It is official. The two largest English speaking economic powers have people in leadership positions who have a problem with the truth. It will be entertaining the first time they are at odds with each other, which will happen.

– Speaking of Boris, it is fitting that he is Prime Minister when Brexit occurs. When it does, it will be a very difficult time for our British friends. Regardless of the veracity (or lack thereof) of the mission, any time you interrupt a free flow of goods across borders, it will be prone to difficulties and disruption.

– The US president is headed toward an impeachment in the House of Representatives. I encourage people to listen to the folks who risked so much to testify under oath against a very vindictive person. They spoke of protecting a relationship with an ally. He spoke of it being OK to extort them for not the country’s benefit but his.

– It should not be lost on anyone that Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron brokered peace discussions between Ukraine and Russia. Having the US president involved would make it all about The Donald.

Finally, well deserved kudos to climate change activist Greta Thunberg for being voted Time Magazine’s Person of the Year in 2019. The sixteen year old is well-informed and speaks hard truths to power. My favorite line of hers is “Don’t listen to me, listen to the scientists.” It was highly predictable that the US president would childishly react to her honor believing all honors are his to be won. I will keep it simple – the one who acts like an adult won and the one who acts like a child did not.

Have a great weekend.

End of week wanderings

With multiple topics rolling around in this older brain, here are a few end of week wanderings (or wonderings as the case may be). In no particular order:

It still amazes me that people in leadership still don’t know people record things. Congressman Anthony Weiner sends pictures of his Johnson to a teen girl and then is surprised when it goes public. Justin Trudeau talks in public about “he who shall not be named” and it goes viral. Boris Johnson denies being in the conversation, when we can see him in the conversation. And, “he who shall not be named” makes the same mistake later. Let’s face it, people talk about dealing with Trump as he is like trying to hold mercury in your hands. Just don’t play your hand where we can see (or hear) the cards.

I feel sorry for my friends in the UK as they have a choice between the same Boris above and Jeremy Corbyn. Neither person is a day at the beach, but Johnson has a Trump like propensity to be untruthful. He is just more glib than the US president. Brexit will likely occur and it won’t be pretty. The UK will be in the doldrums for several years as a result. In some respects it will be poetic justice if the folks who misled the public are in charge when the you-know-what hits the fan. I fully understand the Brexiters point of view, but the financials will not be pretty as forecasted by smarter people than me.

I am not sure if the Democrats will help or harm themselves by impeaching the president in the House. It is probably both. But, they still must do it. The US president is a national security risk with his modus operandi that has become apparent on Ukraine. Using shadow diplomacy to exploit a country for personal gain, not briefing the real diplomats on all the issues, covering-up a phone call and other key emails and obstructing justice (as also evident in the Mueller Report) and the US has a president that can be used for nefarious purposes. He would detest this word, but I feel he is a “stooge” for Vladimir Putin. The question is he an active participant in that role or is so uninformed, he will believe Putin if he gives Trump perceived victories. Yet, the other key reason for the impeachment is the president thinks he is a “king.”

By the way, the US president wants Adam Schiff, Nancy Pelosi and the Bidens to testify in the Senate. OK. If they do, I want Donald J. Trump, John Bolton, Mike Pompeo, Mick Mulvaney and Mike Pence to testify. I would like also to hear from Dan Coates and Sue Gordon as to why they were asked to leave the National Intelligence leadership. Trump will never testify as he has so much difficulty with the truth.

The Global Climate Summit is going on in Madrid. Progress must be made. Several US states and business are likely present, making up for the Trump stance. Good things are happening, they just need to happen faster and with the US leadership a part of the equation rather than what they are getting now.

Soggy Sunday – raining on Boris and Donald

We are getting much needed rain from a storm called Nestor. I don’t think Nestor ever made it to formal hurricane status, but it did spawn some tornadoes in the Florida panhandle.

Speaking of rain, the British parliament rained on Boris Johnson’s Brexit parade. What does the future hold? The one thing that must not happen is a no-deal Brexit. Brexit will be challeging enough, but a no-deal Brexit would be a Trump worthy disaster.

Speaking of Trump worthy disasters, there are three that are in the news, although he backtracked on one under Republican pressure. In the middle of being investigated for abuse of power, he abused his power saying the next G7 conference would be at a Trump resort. “Unforced error” is the kindest definition of this announcement, which was uttered by Neil Cavuto of Fox Business. Trump changed his mind, but of course blamed others for this unwise decision.

The abandonment of our Kurdish allies ranks up there as a betrayal of our trust. As conservative pundit David Brooks said on Friday, how does it make South Korea feel, being surrounded by China and North Korea, to have to rely on the US led by such an untrustworthy person? Noted columnist Christine Flowers announced this week she is leaving the Republican Party because of this move and the rationalization by Trump supporters. Let me keep it simple – Trump screwed people that fought on our behalf.

Finally, after the testimony under oath by Marie Yovanovitch, Fiona Hill and others, a picture has been painted by these reputable public servants that the US president has been running shadow diplomacy through his personal attorney Rudy Guliani. Setting aside these efforts are designed to dig up dirt on the president’s opponents, we have more than a few people representing our government in positions of import who have not been vetted by the Senate, including but not limited to. Guiliani, Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump. With Trump’s chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, confirming what these state people testified under oath, we are left with a simple fact. The US president broke the law and abused his power. Do not let his sycophants try to whitewash this – it is wrong.

Keeping with this “Soggy Sunday” theme as rain pelts the president’s actions, as Creedence Clearwater Revival sang, “who will stop the rain?”

Why aren’t you in Brussels?

After several days of being taken to the woodshed, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was found walking the streets. And, he got quite an earful. One man said it clearly. “Why are you here? Why aren’t you in Brussels?”

The meaning is clear. Why aren’t you in Brussels negotiating a deal to leave the European Union? Whether you favor Brexit or not, leaving the EU without a deal would be disastrous. CEOs have been consistent in this message. To their credit, many of them do not favor leaving rhe EU. They see Brexit as dilutive to the British economy. Yet, leaving with no deal would be a bureaucratic fiasco. Think long lines of trucks at the border, both ways.

Sadly, the PM is not known to be a detailed person, not unlike the US president. So, when Boris tells people a “no-deal” Brexit is manageable, those words should not give anyone comfort, even pro-Brexit people. Going one step further, the same could be said of Parliament whose inability to manage Brexit has put the UK in this predicament.

So, I think the man on the street has it right. Prime Minister, get your fanny to Brussels. And, take some detail people with you. You will need them. Either get a deal done or don’t leave the EU.

A little bit of this, a little bit of that this Wednesday

Happy hump day. Let’s cruise into the downside half of the work week. With multiple themes percolating in my mind, here are few little bits of this and that to bite into.

Former host of “The Daily Show,” Jon Stewart has been fiercely active in helping gain funding to pay for the medical costs of the 9/11 first responders in NYC. He gave an “out of the pool” criticism to a Congressional Committee in person as the funding has run out. He said in essence the first responders did their jobs, now you do yours. Forceful is an understatement. Let’s hope it sinks in. Congress and this president need to be shamed like that when they fail to do the obvious. In essence, he said I don’t give a crap about your politics, do the right thing. Amen brother.

The greatest talent of the current US president is marketing schtick. He can make a pair of twos look like a full house better than anyone. Like this analogy, most of what he does is untrue or blown way out of proportion. He knows fear sells, so he sells it daily, if not hourly. One of his greatest triumphs is to convince his followers that everyone is against him and that only he speaks the truth. He has his followers parroting his remarks saying “you just don’t like him” or have “Trump derangement syndrome.” In other words, it is your fault he lies far more than he does not.

The best line I read recently in a letter to the editor was an attempt to combat this. The letter writer said it is not the media and not the Democrats who are causing all of this chaos. He noted that the US president does not need any help in causing chaos and defaming his own character. He does a very good job on his own. I have said it differently – the greatest enemy of Donald J. Trump is the person who looks back from the mirror when he shaves. One of the reason why the volume of criticism is so high toward him is to combat the significant number of mistruths and the fact he has so many followers who see his lies on their phones.

Kudos should again go out to Republican Congressman Justin Amash from Michigan and Senator Richard Burr from North Carolina. Amash is an attorney and has read the Mueller report. He is a very lone and lonely voice in saying in writing that there exists grounds for impeachment of the president. It should be noted over 1,000 former federal prosecutors agree with him. Yesterday, he resigned from the Freedom Caucus and the vindictive president said he would “squash” Amash. To me, I see Nikita Khrushev pounding on the table at the UN with his shoe saying “we will bury you.” Fear sells.

Burr is also a lonely man, but he at least got a little air cover from Mitch McConnell. Burr subpoenaed the Junior Trump in to testify to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Burr got backlash, but Junior was a “no-show” twice, so Burr asked a judge to get Junior’s fanny in to talk. The issue is Junior may have lied to the Committee about his awareness of the Moscow Trump tower that attorney Michael Cohen briefed him on. Junior said he was only a little aware of the Moscow development issues, but Cohen said he briefed him 10 or 12 times. Like father, like son.

Finally, I have been conversing with our astute British blogger Roger. We are of a like mind (note he is astute even when I don’t agree with him) that the Brits are looking to a very Trump-like prime minister in Boris Johnson. That is not meant to be a compliment. The only poetic justice is if the he wins and the Brits do a hard-Brexit, Johnson will be front and center in the mess he helped create by being untruthful. I understand the rationale, but am not a fan of Brexit – it will dampen the British economy and global clout and that saddens me.  But, if the UK follows through, please, please work out a deal. A hard Brexit, so says business leaders, would be as unwise a decision as the country leaders could make (or fail to make in this case). It should speak volumes that Trump, Johnson and Nigel Farage want a hard Brexit.

That is all for now. Have a great rest of the week.