Plain talk

The news is never dull when the world has too many leaders that do not embrace facts to address problems. This is not unique to the US, but is indicative when other fact-challenged leaders are called the British Trump, the Philippino Trump, the South American Trump.

A threat to other countries’ national security is being identified in a country on the other side of the world and other hemisphere. The Amazon rain forest produces 30% of the planet’s oxygen, absorbs huge amounts of carbon and creates countless medicines. Yet, it is burning out of control and more is being harvested when it is not. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, like Trump, says climate change is a hoax and is slow to act on the fires and wants to develop more of the rain forest. This is a major concern. The planet needs more trees, not fewer.

The UK is headed for a trainwreck which makes me incredibly sad. They are unfortunately being led by a man who promises to make Great Britain great again. Financial analysts have said from the outset that Brexit will be dilutive to the British economy. Companies are moving and will move EU headquarters and distribution centers to EU cities like Dublin, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, etc. because of Brexit. And, what would be even worse, in spite of assurances to the contrary by PM Boris Johnson, is a no deal Brexit. Picture semi-trucks lined up on both sides of the borders trying to get through. Picture the Scottish and Northern Irish parliaments taking serious votes for referndums to leave the UK and rejoin the EU.

Italy will be having a new vote after the PM resigned over conflicts with his popular populist number two had created a stir. Snap elections are not conducive to stability. Just ask Theresa May, who made a horrible unforced error, losing a lot of support when she overstated her appeal.

Let me close with the most fact-challenged person in a position of lesdership outside of Putin, Erdogan, Kim and other autocrats, the regal-minded Donald Trump. His former ally and short-lived Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci, has started a group to assure Trump is not reelected saying Trump is “off the rails.” Sadly, I agree with The Mooch.

As Trump’s tariff and trade wars push the global and US ecomomy closer to recession right when the ten plus year old growth market is feeling its age, he is blaming everyone else. Yet, what he is up against is financial and non-financial news shows consistently referring to the dampening impact of the Trump tariffs and trade wars as a cause and concern.

These increasing temper tantrums (let’s call them what they are) fail to recognize the role he has played in this with poor decision-making and lying to support such. It was reported by two insiders yesterday that Trump was surprised by China’s response that morning. Really? So, the person in the White House is barking orders and calling the Fed Chair a greater enemy than Xi.

Harry Truman’s words “the buck stops here,” are words that we are unlikely to hear from this president. And, if you ever wonder what a narcissist is worried about, a key trait is to blame others with their own faults.

Off with his head

Given former White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci’s (the Mooch) recent comments that his former boss is “off the rails,” I started to write a post about the Mad Hatter. But, there is a more appropriate caricature of the president in “Alice in Wonderland;” he acts more like the Queen of Hearts.

Any one who dares to criticize the Queen, will lose his or her proverbial head. The Mooch has been criticized for his remarks and advocacy to see the president is NOT reelected. The president said he did not know (the Mooch) that well. Yet, one would ask why he picked him to be his Communications Director, which was such a square peg/ round hole placement that it lasted eleven days.

Eugene Robinson’s latest editorial is called “Trump panicking that reality presidency won’t be renewed.” His opening and closing paragraphs are priceless. Here is the opening:

“Uh-oh. President Trump is in such a state of panic about his dimming reelection prospects that he’s getting his lies mixed up and occasionally blurting out the truth.” Robinson goes on to note Trump said it is hard for Amazon to compete with Samsung when the former has to pay tariffs, forgetting his lies that China paid the tariffs.

When the liar lies so much, he cannot keep track of them. It makes his staff panic as well. And, it has consequences. The Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats had to resign because he told the truth. And, his number two in command had to go as well, as she copied her boss and told the truth.

The Queen of Hearts president cannot tolerate someone disagreeing with him, especially when that person speaks the truth. Only the president can disagree with himself. After changing his tune, he will say he never said that or it is fake news he said that. He does not seem to care that he is on record saying such.

Sadly, his sycophants (let’s call them by the less flattering synonym “toadies”) are too scared to push back as the Queen will turn his base on them. So, the toadies go silent or offer milquetoast criticism of the latest regal faux pas. They do not want to risk the vindictiveness of the Queen.

Or, the toadies will do worse and actively berate people saying uncomfortable truths. Right now, his toadies are piling on the Mooch for his remarks. Further, the Queen’s attorney fixer Michael Cohen was berated as untruthful to obfuscate his testimony in front of a House committee. But, the irony is they were accusing him of lying to protect Trump, while they were admonishing him to protect Trump.

What should have been heeded from Cohen’s testimony are two clear messages. First, Cohen’s job was to bully and threaten people and entities who knew of Trump’s poor behavior into not releasing it. He said he wrote over 500 letters threatening institutions not to release any of Trump’s history they possessed.

Second, the words he opened with should be heeded. “Donald Trump is a racist, he is a con artist and he is a cheat.” This man knows him better than many. Why did he say that? The reason these words are not heeded is an age old practice in Washington. If you denigrate the critic (i.e., cut off his head), then you need not pay any attention to what he said.

Yet, what Cohen said gibes with comments of others. Attorney Thomas Wells said about his former boss, “Trump lies everyday, even about things of no consequence.” Former economics advisor called his former boss a “prodigious liar.”

This is why each of us must push back when the president is untruthful, bullying or hateful in his actions and remarks. Showing Republican legislators there are consequences for their acquiescence and even toadiness to this person, is the only way to embolden them.

With six you get eggroll

Six. A half dozen. According to the old movie with Brian Keith and Doris Day, it is the family size needed to get free egg rolls at a favorite restaurant. Six is also the number of Directors of Communication this White House has had in going on 26 months. That is an average tenure of 4 1/2 months.

Here is scorecard of the short-term six directors:

Sean Spicer (45 days)

Mike Dubke (88 days)

Sean Spicer (49 days)

Anthony Scaramucci (10 days)

Hope Hicks (225 days)

Bill Shine (240 days)

Setting aside “The Mooch,” who may have been the most unlikely choice of a Director of Communications, lasting only ten days filled with colorful language, the four people occupying the position five times at least had communicaion experience. They were just asked to do an impossible job. Managing communications for a twittering,   babbling man with a large ego and small filter between his brain, fingers and mouth is nigh impossible.

Apparently, Trump referred to his latest departure as Bill “No” Shine due to his inability to make him look good. Putting lipstick on a pig does not change the fact the animal still rolls around in a pig sty. Ron Christie, who served in the second Bush white house, said a director ideally works with the President to set long term communications strategy, short term tactics and daily talking points. This President consistently surprises his staff with off-script and abrupt announcements. The best metaphor is Sean Spicer and team strategizing in the white house bushes after Trump fired James Comey without telling anyone, even Comey.

It is nigh impossible to manage communications for a bombastic man who has a hard time with the truth and common decency. There are three givens going forward. Trump desperately needs someone to keep him between the white lines. Trump will be very challenged the remainder of his term as his lies and criminal actions catch up to him. And, the next director won’t last long.

Rainy Days and Mondays

One of the sweetest voices came out of Karen Carpenter, especially as she sang “rainy days and Monday’s always get me down.” The Mooch is feeling pretty down on this Monday and even Karen’s voice cannot make him feel better.

You may have heard that the President’s “gotta have” strategic communication director, Anthony Scaramucci, has left the building after only ten days of tumult and profanity. General Kelly, the new Chief of Staff, must have rightfully had a condition of his acceptance to get rid of this grossly negligent hiring mistake.

Not that I am a fan of Sean Spicer, but in a Shakespearean plot twist, Spicer was asked to prepare the communication for Scaramucci’s departure. So, the plot has come full circle in such a short time.

The irony of all this is the cause of all of this chaos and incompetence remains. Everyone is saying the White House needs more discipline, but the person who needs it most is the one at the top. Kelly will do what he can and has already made a necessary move, but his mission is difficult.

The President just completed the worst week of his Presidency. But, to be truthful many weeks before have been given that title only to see the President sink lower.

Now, the President wants to defund insurance companies of the ACA subsidies not fully realizing that he is hurting Americans in need. Or, maybe he does know and just doesn’t care.

Folks, it is well past the bewitching hour on this President. He won’t resign as his ego won’t let him, but he desperately needs to for the good of the country. Because as Scarlett O’Hara used to say, “Tomorrow is another day,” and under this President seven tomorrow’s make a new worst week in his Presidency.