Killing Us Softly With His Utter Incompetence and Arrogance

The President cancelling the Korean Summit is a massive, huge, terrible mistake.

Kim Jong-Un (Jong-Un Kim, in Korean) is the same despot today that he was 3 weeks ago. Let’s not accept the false premise that offensive language, harsh, rhetoric, or anything else detailed this effort. Hell, just on the garbage Trump has tweeted, Kim should have never agreed to a meeting.

Unfortunately, that begs the question: was this ever even real from Kim’s side? Maybe, maybe not.

Kim’s actions at the DMZ recently certainly gave me cause for hope, as those small, symbolic actions are very meaningful in that culture.

We must consider the possibility that Kim is smarter than the average bear. It is entirely possible–if not probable–that Kim sought out dischord.

Koreans are very nationalistic, and that isn’t limited by a border (as we witnessed during the most recent Winter Olypmics). Kim making big moves at the DMZ and offering cooperation actually helps him tremendously if his goal is to unite the Peninsula (at least in spirit), making it more difficult to accomplish our goals there.

The reality is that Trump should have never even agreed to meet with Kim. Access to POTUS has immense value and the allocation of that access reflects our values. The reason prior Presidents didnt meet with Kim or his father was because they were withholding something of tremendous value in order to elicit a desired behavior. Even sending Pompeo was far more than the dictator deserved. Far more.

Now, Kim can promote on his domestic propaganda how HE spurned us, thereby strengthening his position by reinforcing his narrative. We effectively have him a win…a big win.

Beyond that, we really should consider just how juvenile and ill-planned this entire thing was.

The Koreans were already making progress on their own, therefore, U.S. involvement was far too premature. We should have let them figure out some details and build up some momentum before jumping in.

This sad, insecure, little man we have in the White House is so desperate for validation and praise that he rushed to judgement, prematurely spiked the football, and even had a challenge coin made on which they referred to Kim by his preferred moniker, “Supreme Leader”. This ridiculous move (both the coin and the moniker) further elevated Kim and actually created the easily avoided opportunity for disruption by even invoking imagery and language.

We had a real chance to reach a “Separate Peace” on the Korean Peninsula and effectively neutralize the most significant military threat to the Western Hemisphere. Instead we have more animosity, more conflict, and created less incentive for Kim to play nice.

I have honestly tried to acknowledge when this President has been effective, but I must state here unequivocally that this is a colossal failure that threatens our very existence.

Although there are literally dozens of unfortunate events over the course of this presidency that I could classify as damaging to our democracy, decency, and mankind, this event may be judged to be the worst.

Our President allowed his ample vanity to rush a process, only to have the fragility of that ego completely wreck a potentially positive outcome.

So, there’s that.

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Upgrade Your Early Vote Strategy

You think early voting is the prelude to the main event: election day.

Someone else thinks early voting means “every day is election day”.

You’re both right…and wrong.

It’s time to upgrade your early vote strategy.

In the early days of early voting in Texas it was viewed as more of an after thought with the lion’s share of a campaign’s efforts reserved for election day itself.

As voters became more familiar and comfortable with the concept of early voting they began participating in the early vote period at a higher rate. This led to campaigns shifting more effort and resources to the early voting period.

Often I find myself consulting on campaigns that are stuck in one camp or another, and trying to talk campaign managers into thinking about early voting in an entirely new way. This results in a few hours of explanation followed by the high probability that they just do what they’ve always done anyway.

In football they say you must execute three phases: offense, defense, and special teams. My old pal Crash Davis said about baseball, “This is a very simple game. You throw the ball, you catch the ball, you hit the ball.

So, why is your campaign only focusing on one phase?

The reality is that every campaign is (or should be) about three phases: identification of likely voters, persuasion of undecided voters, and turnout of likely voters who support your candidate.

Different campaign managers have different processes they are comfortable with to identify (aka “ID”) a universe of likely voters. Some prefer phones while others rely on door-to-door canvassing.

For this discussion the ID process is immaterial to the broader point, but the end result is that your campaign should end up with four lists at the conclusion of the ID phase: likely voters who say they will support your candidate, likely voters who say they will not support your candidate, likely voters who say they are undecided, and likely voters who refused to answer or were unable to be contacted.

At this point you have a clear direction for who needs to move to your persuasion phase: likely voters who say they are undecided, and likely voters who refused to answer or were unable to be contacted.

You also have your first installment of likely voters for your turnout phase: likely voters who say they will support your candidate.

So, early voting begins. Your campaign manager says, “time to switch to turnout mode”, your field director says, “we must ID more voters, your paid communications consultants say, “now we double down on persuasion”. Whose counsel do you heed? The answer is “All Of The Above”.

Each day of early voting is election day…and the day before election day…and two days before election day, etc.

It is imperative for any campaign to run on all three parallel tracks simultaneously: ID, persuade, turnout.

As you diminish your pool of positive voters through your turnout phase you must replenish the pool utilizing the ID and persuasion phases.

At the conclusion of early voting you can ditch the ID phase and fall back hard on your persuasion and turnout phases, but not one day before that.

Don’t let your campaign get trapped in the dogmatic thought process of your campaign manager. Upgrade your early vote strategy by following through on all three phases until your campaign crosses the finish line.

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Inauguration Day: Hold On Tight

On General Election Day America buckled into a roller coaster some described as sad, scary, and a path to our very demise, as others described it as exciting, and just what we need…yet no one had seen it yet. 

We had no idea if there were loops, sharp turns, massive drops, or record-breaking speeds.

As we clicked towards the top of the first drop marked by Inauguration Day there were more unknowns than knowns, but a few things are certain: some of our fellow passengers will raise their hands in the air and welcome every twist and turn, some will cry out in fear, and some will be sickened.

What is also certain is that this roller coaster will end and regardless of the ride it takes us on or how we react during the ride, we will all survive. Then Americans will have to decide whether to get back in line and do it again or head for another ride.

Based on some of the President’s first actions (deleting sections from the White House website on LGBT, Civil Rights, and climate change…killing a plan to cut mortgage fees…adding the First Lady’s jewelry line to her section of a taxpayer-funded website) Americans of all persuasions have good cause to expect that the President will do exactly what he said he would during his improbable rise to power.

My best advice: Hold on tight.

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Word Cloud: Trump’s Immigration Speech

Please credit “www.colinstrother.com”

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Democratic Leader Pelosi Warns Caucus: Don’t Let Your Kids Check Your Messages

Following the Russian hack of DCCC computer files, US House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi sent a lengthy email to the Democratic Caucus offering both an update and an admonish mentioned.

Leader Pelosi detailed her own personal experience thus far reporting to her colleagues that she received “scores” of mostly “obscene” and “sick” emails, text messages, and voicemails.

She then urged Caucus members not to let their kids check their messages or answer their phones.

The DCCC was first attacked and victimized by foreign cyber-terrorists using a cyber attack  and now must expect to be attacked and victimized by partisan-terrorists using obscenities and harassment.

Domestic partisans carrying out the dirty work of international terrorists…this is truly a cycle for the history books, and the chapter will be a shameful one.

August 13, 2016

 

 

Dear Democratic Colleague,

 

As you are aware, the DCCC and other Democratic Party entities have been the target of cybersecurity intrusions – an electronic Watergate break-in.

 

As of last night, a mix of personal and official information of Democratic Members and hundreds of congressional staff, purportedly from a hack of the DCCC, was posted online.

 

This incident has been widely reported as part of a Russian cyber-attack.  As reported, the DCCC has hired a respected cybersecurity technology firm to conduct a full investigation of the breach.  With last night’s public posting, the following actions have been taken:

 

1.      The Chief Information Security Officer of the House, in coordination with the Sergeant-at-Arms and Capitol Police, has sent communications to those whose email addresses have been made public, with guidance on how to address the situation.  The House Chief Administrative Officer has also sent a campus-wide email stating that the House IT system has not been compromised, urging Members and staff to be vigilant opening emails and visiting websites, and reiterating the security steps suggested by the CIO.

 

2.      Kelly Ward, the Executive Director of the DCCC, has sent an email to Members and chiefs of staff who were listed online, which provides additional guidance beyond the CIO’s email.

 

3.      Chairman Luján has set up a Members’ call at 6:00pm Eastern today with a senior representative from the Sergeant-At-Arms office, and cybersecurity experts who have been investigating and responding to the breach to provide an update and some security guidance to Members.

 

We understand that there is an ongoing threat assessment by Capitol Police and the Sergeant-at-Arms.

 

On a personal note, I was in the air flying from Florida to California when the news broke. Upon landing, I have received scores of mostly obscene and sick calls, voicemails and text messages.

 

Please be careful not to allow your children or family members to answer your phone or read incoming text messages.  This morning, I am changing my phone number and I advise you to do so as well.  Until that process is complete, you may reach me by leaving a message through my office line at(202) 225-0100.  We will regularly be checking for voicemails and I will be returning calls.

 

This is a sad course of events, not only for us, but more importantly for our country. I hope you can join us on the 6:00pm call with Chairman Luján. Please note this call is in addition to the already scheduled Caucus call by Chairman Becerra for Tuesday at 1:00pm Eastern.

 

The memos from the House CIO, CAO and the DCCC contain important guidance, and they are attached to this communication below.  

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See It Here: House CAO Sends Email Regarding DCCC Hack

In response to the latest Russian hack of Democratic Party infrastructure which hit the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), the Chief Administrative Officer of the United States House of Representatives dispatched an email (pasted below) to members and staff this morning, nearly 24 hours after their personal data was released on the internet, including personal cell phone numbers, personal email addresses, and contact information for key staff like Chiefs of Staff, Legislative Directors, Finance Directors, and Campaign Managers:

Date: August 13, 2016 at 9:42:20 AM PDT
Subject: Message from the House Chief Administrative Officer: Reference Potential of Personal Account Information Disclosure.

Good AfternoonAccording to recent press reports, a hacker uploaded an Excel file to the Internet that includes a mix of House and/or personal email and cell phone numbers of nearly every Democratic Member of the House of Representatives, as well as several Republicans. In announcing the leak of the document, it was reported that the spreadsheet was stolen during a hack of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.There has been no compromise to any House IT system.The CAO, in consultation with the Committee on House Administration, has been in touch with the offices who were listed in the document. Additionally, a message went out to all Systems Administrators earlier this morning.First, please do not visit any website that may have posted the Excel spreadsheet. It may be a source of malware that could compromise the House IT network and your data.As an important reminder to all House employees, consider the following, if anybody in your office is receiving suspicious or questionable emails (regardless if this is their House or non-House email address), their name along with a personal email address was possibly posted to the Internet.1. Change passwords to all email accounts that they use. Strongly consider changing their non-House email addresses if possible. Strongly consider changing passwords associated with sensitive personal accounts such as banking institutions.2. If they wish to have their House email or phone number changed, please call or email the CAO Technology Service Desk at 202-225-6002 or 1-800-HIR-USER orTechnologyServiceDesk@mail.house.gov. Because of the threat of spear phishing, be extremely suspicious of any links that they receive in any email.3. Members and staff should contact United States Capitol Police Threat Assessment Section at 202-224-1495 and local police should they receive any threats or observe suspicious activity. If you have questions regarding the spreadsheet please call the Technology Service Desk at the number below. Call or email the CAO Technology Service Desk at202-225-6002 or 1-800-HIR-USER orTechnologyServiceDesk@mail.house.gov for any questions.
Sincerely,Philip G. KikoChief Administrative Officer

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The Authenticity Election

The rise of the unlikely candidacies of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders has seemingly come as a surprise to a lot of folks, but it shouldn’t. Every election has a personality…a veritable stream of shared consciousness…and this one is no different.

In modern times we have many, including “Hope” in 1992″, “Soccer Moms” in 1996, “Security Moms” in 2004, “Enough is Enough” in 2006, “Change” in 2008, and now, “Authenticity”.

After decades of “made for tv” candidates–which, ironically, Trump actually is–the patience of the electorate is exhausted from the perfect hair, in the perfect outfit, with the perfect backdrop of “real America”, reading perfectly poll-tested lines from a teleprompter.

It is the implied social contract of political campaigning that we all accept and understand: this candidate is intentionally telling us things that he or she knows to be a) false, b) impossible, c) both. We go along with it and clap politely at all of the appropriate times because we think that despite the pageantry and bullshit our candidate is the best.

Let’s just be honest, we’ve all had enough.

We are ready for a candidate who may have slightly mussed hair, may curse at both appropriate (and inappropriate) times, may say something off script…something that may even be [gasp] not politically correct.

They are not worried about how the media pool will report it. You know why? Because they are real people, living in the moment, speaking from the hip and from the heart. They are candidates comfortable in their own skin and telling the electorate, “Here I am! I have dry scalp, orange skin, wild ideas (that you actually kind of agree with in one way or another), and I’m very likely to say something crazy at any point. Vote for me, vote against me, I don’t care.”

And, based on both the results from Iowa and New Hampshire, and the national polls, it’s working.

You know why? Because it implies authenticity. It means they are real. We can identify with someone real. In this day and age of politics the electorate is willing to support someone they do not agree 100% with if they find them to be authentic, honest, and credible.

It is the difference between watching the WWE and the UFC. It is about true belief, not the suspension of disbelief.

The so-called rise of Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump isn’t attributable to some mass psychotic break by the electorate. It is directly attributable to election after election of candidates that held more in common with a display at Madame Tussaud’s than real people.

Authentic candidates will continue to do well, but the biggest threat to the more traditional candidacies of Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton isn’t the two guys currently leading the authenticity primary , it is former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg.

He is a Democrat-turned-Republican, philanthropist, multi-billionaire who is keen to take on guns (both legal and illegal), crime, public health, and affordable housing. He has unlimited access to money and isn’t moored to the dogma of a party. He’s Ross Perot without the crazy VP pick or the grating voice and staccato delivery.

Based on the chaos created by the authenticity election, Bloomberg is better positioned than any third-party candidate since ol’ TR and the Bull Moose Party. The kicker? He has all of the authenticity with none of the crazy. He is the 800-pound gorilla in the room ready to wreck the Tea Party, both literally and figuratively.

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