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Archive for January, 2018

Lesson 419 Fire and Fury In The White House!

The release over the weekend of the new book about the inner workings of the White House reveals just how much confusion the latest digital media revolution has created about what is really going on in the world.

24/7 cable news and social media contribute to the confusion by releasing hourly flows of unedited news and commentary. Even mainstream White House journalists inadvertently contribute to the confusion by being careful how they report what they know. Otherwise they fear losing their daily access. Add to this news releases from lobbyists, PR firms, businesses, nonprofits, NGO’s, associations, embassy’s, and more, and you pretty much have mass confusion. Lies begin to sound true, expert disagreements further confuse, and tolerance for vulgarity and personal attacks becomes commonplace. Ultimately, everything turns to mush.

It takes a trustworthy author who can somehow slide inside a controversial situation like this and stay there long enough to pull together an accurate story out of the bits and pieces of daily activities. But it is important to note that even with the most reputable of authors these books are rarely perfectly accurate. As a writer of books myself, I can tell you that a few missteps almost always happen as a natural part of the complicated mental process of pulling together reams of notes and recordings.

So the challenge for the reader of Fire and Fury will be to decide whether or not this author’s professional integrity and judgment can be trusted. And then, based on other readings and investigations does his conclusion ring true?

What is frightening about this book is how true the overall message rings to so many established longtime journalists and scholars. Yes, some have already pointed out that this author has written other controversial books, and that his writing style has a dramatic novel-like flair. And yes, some have reported finding a few specific misquotes and mistakes. But the author promises that he has recordings of all his interviews and firmly asserts that virtually everyone he interviewed and talked with agrees with his conclusion: Mr. Trump behaves like a child, reads nothing, has little patience in a meeting, works fewer and fewer hours every day, and makes everything completely about himself.

So my recommendation to you is this: Read the book and reflect on everything else you have read and believe to be true. Do this, and at the very least I think you will come away paying even more attention to every one of Mr. Trump’s future tweets and disruptive pronouncements. This is not just Trump being Trump. It could be a matter of life and death for millions.

 

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When an organization’s founding brand identity is replaced by something totally different, the result is the end of one organization and the start-up of another. Similarly, when a nation’s founding identity (ours is based on democratic values, freedom, and justice) is replaced by one based on autocratic whims and disruptive individual transactions the result will be the end of one nation and the start-up of another.

A growing number of Americans wake every morning worried about what Mr. Trump will say or do next. Many look desperately for even the slightest sign of hope: A small positive utterance from China. Or a no rocket day from Rocket man. Or a surprise tweet-free golfing with friends day. Or a slight nod toward token cooperation with an ally. Or at least one day of not being outmaneuvered once again by Putin.

Even the most hardened journalists sometimes find themselves seeing small gestures as slight signs of hope. But when smoke clears we all really know that Trump’s America is only about him. It has become little more than a realty show makeover. “Make America great again” simply means make America powerful and feared, and the consequence is the total abdication of world leadership based on human rights and justice. Even his domestic success rests on countless empty promises, which in time must crumble under the weight of lifelong character flaws and hypocrisy.

This is not the America we inherited. It is the start-up of a totally different country. To fix it we must put aside political ideology. Ideology has nothing to do with this. It is simply about bringing back America’s founding values and the brand identity the world has counted on. And to do that 2018 must also be the year of saying “hell no” to autocracy. As the United States of America we really have no choice.

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