July 4th

This is why we celebrate:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed, by their Creator, with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”

“That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

“Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”

Voter Fraud

Last week, I argued in this space that voter identification laws are important because it has been documented voter fraud is taking place. The question is not whether it is happening, but is it happening on a large enough scale to make a difference.

If you believe our President, per CNN this morning, three million illegal votes were cast in the last election. The President has launched a voter fraud initiative to determine the extent of the problem.

In accordance with what I wrote last week, this initiative is a positive step. Critical to a representative democracy’s traditional peaceful transition of power is a high level of confidence in the electoral process. We cannot allow confidence in our elections to erode.

All that said, it is being reported today the Trump Administration has requested from each State its voter registration rolls as part of this voter fraud initiative. Early feedback indicates significant hesitancy on the part of the States to comply with this request.

This is understandable. Our elections are decentralized. Each state conducts their own and reports the results. Any federal initiative aimed at determining if fraud is indeed widespread, needs to work in cooperation with the States – not demand information from the States.

The place to begin is in the States where news reports have shown some level of fraud. The public needs to know: One, how often does this state audit its voter registration rolls? And two, what were the results of the most recent audit?

Report the answers to these questions, and move on to the next State. This is transparency. It’s as simple as that.

-John Anchor
@JohnAnchorBLOG

Twitter

I’ve indicated before in this space that President Trump should not be on Twitter. This is why.

In a combination of Tweets this morning, President Trump said the following:

“I heard poorly rated @Morning_Joe speaks badly of me (don’t watch anymore). Then how come low I.Q. Crazy Mika, along with Psycho Joe, came……to Mar-a-Lago 3 nights in a row around New Year’s Eve, and insisted on joining me. She was bleeding badly from a face-lift. I said no!”

Totally unbecoming of Presidential behavior. No dignity. No class.

A President’s words have a global impact. As the leader of the free world, President Trump’s words should be chosen carefully. This isn’t happening.

Words like these coming from a President are an embarrassment to the United States of America.

Words like these coming from a President are disrespectful to a fellow citizen of the United States.

Words like these coming from a President take away from legitimate criticisms of the way the media has covered his administration.

Words like these coming from a President are completely counterproductive to accomplishing a legislative agenda.

Words like these coming from a President are a distraction from the news of the day.

As the millennials say, I can’t even. That’s correct. I have lost my ability to even.

-John Anchor
@JohnAnchorBLOG

Crisis Management – Trump

Yesterday, we looked at two public relations examples of how companies have handled crisis management issues. The positive themes that resulted from the experiences of Pepsi and Exxon involve timely responsiveness, open and honest communications, and proactivity aimed at protecting the public from further damage.

President Trump is experiencing his own public relations nightmare. Shortly after the election, his political opposition began calling for his investigation into collusion with the Russian government in an effort to interfere with the election outcome.

How should President Trump have reacted?

Based on Pepsi’s example from 1993, President Trump should have made himself and others in his administration available to the media early and often to answer questions, reiterate the importance America places on the security of its election process, and to assure the American people that his administration will get to the bottom of whatever interference did or did not happen during the election.

President Trump should have cooperated with the Department of Justice to determine what happened. If anyone associated with his campaign was involved, he should have held them accountable. If no wrongdoing was found, he should have gone above and beyond to communicate full cooperation with any investigation.

He could have even had his communications team issue a video or documents explaining how votes are tallied, certified, reported, and audited in an effort to ensure confidence in the election process.

The transparency of such efforts would have done more than increase public confidence in our elections. It potentially could have taken his opponents’ political criticism off the table and forced the national discussion back on his agenda.

But that’s not what happened.

How did President Trump react?

Via Twitter, he accused former President Obama of spying on his campaign. Weeks later, he fired his FBI director. Then, he told NBC in an interview that he fired Mr. Comey because of the Russia investigation. As if that wasn’t enough, President Trump hinted in a tweet that he might have secret recordings of his conversations with Mr. Comey. And on top of it all, he has repeatedly attacked the media as delivering “fake news”.

When a business behaves this way in the midst of crisis, often it results in the business going out of business. When a President behaves this way in times of crisis, it stalls his effectiveness and hampers his ability to accomplish his legislative agenda.

-John Anchor
@JohnAnchorBLOG

Crisis Management

If you’ve ever taken a professional ethics class, you may have studied cases in crisis management. Two examples to which such classes commonly refer are the Pepsi syringe hoax of 1993 and the Exxon Valdez Alaskan oil spill of 1989.

From a public relations standpoint, one was handled well, and the other not so much. Let’s take a brief look at each and compare them to how President Trump is handling its own PR mess.

In June 1993, Pepsi began receiving allegations of syringes and other foreign items found in cans of Diet Pepsi. Reports like this, for any company, have the potential to harm sales and profits severely.

How did Pepsi handle it?

The company was up front and honest throughout the whole fiasco. Pepsi made executives from its local bottler available to the public. It also quickly established a team of twelve executives to manage the crisis. The company presi­dent visited TV newsrooms, and the company released videos explain­ing the mechanics of the production process and how inserting foreign objects during that process is impossible. Furthermore, Pepsi worked closely with the FDA to ensure Pepsi-Cola remained safe for the public to consume. Ultimately, it was determined that the whole ordeal was a hoax. Pepsi was not at fault.

On the other hand, Exxon faced a similar crisis four years earlier when an Exxon oil tanker spilled 11 million gallons of oil killing a significant number of the Alaskan wildlife population.

They handled it differently.

The public perception of Exxon’s response showed a lack of concern. Exxon sent a team of individuals to Alaska who were untrained in crisis management. An advertisement about the spill ran in the newspapers ten days after the spill, but Exxon’s chairman did not visit the site until two weeks after the spill. Additionally, Exxon’s communications were directed only at the town were the spill occurred and not the public in general. Exxon has been criticized for its actions in the aftermath of the spill because it led to the appearance of a lack of credibility and concern.

The key takeaways from each of these examples is that in times of crisis, it is important for your organization to be upfront about the issue in your communications, as well as do what is necessary to quickly determine what happened and protect the public from further damage.

With this in mind, how has President Trump done in the last few weeks when it comes to crisis management?

We’ll break it down tomorrow.

-John Anchor
@JohnAnchorBLOG

Fathers Day

To paraphrase the words of President Reagan, freedom is never more than one generation away from being extinct. We cannot take this great experiment in self government for granted. We must defend it, and we must nurture it. We must raise responsible citizens.

The future of our nation begins in the home. If you have any doubt about this, look up the statistics on fathers.com of children who are raised in fatherless homes: “A 1% increase in the proportion of single-parent families in a neighborhood is associated with a 3% increase in an adolescent’s level of violence.”

The data also shows an increase in fatherless environments resulted in a decrease in students’ educational achievement coupled with an increase in drug and alcohol abuse. It also shows an increase in teen pregnancy, which starts the cycle anew and exacerbates the problem.

So many, one could argue all, of our negative behavior statistics are heavily influenced by the role of a father in a citizen’s life.

Why is this? It’s because fathers offer emotional stability to children in their most vulnerable stages of life. Fathers provide for their family. Fathers keep their family physically safe.

We’re not perfect, and we make mistakes. Every one of us. That doesn’t matter nearly as much as a father’s physical, mental, and emotional presence in the life of his children. How does a father spell love? T-I-M-E

So on this Fathers Day, celebrate your dad and encourage the fathers you know. It’s more important than you may realize. Nearly a quarter of U.S. children currently live in a home in which the father is absent.

How different could our culture be if American dads would embrace their role as fathers? If freedom is never more than one generation from extinction, then for America to continue to be a leader in the world, American fathers must first lead their families.

-John Anchor
@JohnAnchorBLOG

Comey Testimony

What do you do when you make an error? In business, what is the ethical thing to do? You admit your mistake and move on.

Yesterday, in this space, I said two things in particular: President Trump’s issues are self-inflicted, and President Trump doesn’t understand the nuances of how government works.

Today, Paul Ryan echoed this: “The president is new at this. He’s new to government. And so he probably wasn’t steeped into the long going protocols that established the relationships between DOJ, FBI, and White Houses.”

But why are we where we are today?
It’s because Trump can’t admit a mistake. A cover up or a lie comes more natural to him than admitting inexperience.

Is this the attitude we want in our leader?

Former FBI Director Comey’s testimony today shed light on several things. We learned he did, in fact, inform President Trump he was not under investigation by the FBI. We learned then Attorney General Loretta Lynch instructed Comey to publicly downplay the fact that Hillary Clinton was under investigation by the FBI. We learned that there seems to be less to the Russia-collusion and obstruction of justice theories than the Left has been telling us.

Take this exchange for instance regarding the President’s comments to Comey about the Mike Flynn investigation.

Senator Jim Risch: “Do you know of any case where a person has been charged for obstruction of justice, for that matter of any other criminal offense,  where they said or thought they hoped for an outcome?”

Director Comey: “I don’t as I sit here.”

But why, then, has it come to this?

We’re at this point because President Trump has been unable to admit he is experiencing a learning curve. So instead, he tweets about mysterious tapes of his Comey conversations. He puts down Comey in an NBC interview and admits to firing Comey to put an end to the Russia investigation.

We learned today these excuses and misdirections led Mr. Comey to leak his notes and memos about his conversations with the President that ultimately resulted in today’s testimony.

So instead of discussing healthcare, infrastructure, or tax reform this week, we’re here listening to Mr. Comey. Frankly, the President has not been honest with the American people. Today taught us there is a difference between incompetence and obstruction.

-John Anchor
@JohnAnchorBLOG

Memorial Day

A few Memorial Day facts on this holiday:

Memorial Day first began in May 1868 and was known as Decoration Day. It’s founder, John Logan, wished to honor the 620,000 soldiers killed during the Civil War, and declared May 30 Decoration Day.

A civil war veteran, Logan served in both the House and the Senate, and was a candidate for vice president in 1884.  After his death in 1886, his body laid in state in the rotunda of the United States Capitol.

For more than 50 years, Decoration Day was used to remember only those killed in the Civil War. Beginning with World War I, the day was expanded to recognize soldiers killed in all wars.

In 1971, Decoration Day was officially renamed Memorial Day and was moved from May 30 to the last Monday in May.

The Significance of Memorial Day

While it has evolved culturally into the unofficial beginning of the Summer season, let’s not lose sight of the fact that Memorial Day is intended to honor the sacrifice of those who died protecting our freedoms.  

Ronald Reagan famously said, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it on to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”

The comparison has been made of our military to sheepdogs, protecting the sheep by keeping the wolves at bay.

Presently, there are several wolves out in the world who, for lack of our sheepdogs, would devour us sheep at home in the U.S. North Korea, Iran, ISIS, Al Qaeda all come to mind.

Reagan also reminded us of something of which we should never forget, “Those who have known freedom and then lost it have never known it again.”

Happy Memorial Day.

-John Anchor

@JohnAnchorBLOG

More on Seth Rich

As noted yesterday, Seth Rich is a story that is getting slim media coverage despite early indications Rich might have been the email leaker widely attributed to Russian sources. 

Sean Hannity covered it last night, but he is one of the few.  Hannity aired after last night’s blog posted, so listed below are additional facts supporting the theory Rich was the “Russian” leaker.

What is known about Seth Rich?

Fox News spoke with a federal investigator who “said 44,053 emails and 17,761 attachments between Democratic National Committee leaders, spanning from January 2015 through late May 2016, were transferred from Rich to (Gavin) MacFadyen before May 21.”

(NBC News has disputed this, making reference to an FBI official who said the FBI never analyzed Seth Rich’s laptop.  The Rich family also called the earlier report “unsubstantiated”. Fox’s source, on the other hand, claims to have seen the emails.)

But if NBC’s narrative is true, what is a plausible explanation for the following?

The D.C. police called the murder of Seth Rich a “botched robbery”.  However, neither Rich’s wallet, cell phone, or jewelry were taken from him.

Although he didn’t violate the WikiLeaks policy of not naming his sources, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange offer a $20K reward for information in the death of Seth Rich.  Why would he do that?

Assange also admitted in a January interview with Hannity that the source of the emails was “not a State party…so no, (not Russia.)”

WikiLeaks began releasing the DNC emails a mere 12 days after the death of Seth Rich.  

It certainly appears certain media outlets are running with anti-Trump stories based on less evidence. NBC was quick to discredit the Seth Rich story based on the word of two FBI agents, one current and one former, but they continue to push the Russia Lavrov Oval Office story using a New York Times article based on an anonymous source despite multiple cabinet members on record as denying its truthfulness.

Why?

-John Anchor

@JohnAnchorBLOG

Seth Rich

The story of the day isn’t the Washington Post Russia meeting in the Oval Office. 

It isn’t the Comey memo news that broke this evening from The New York Times. 

The story of the day is Seth Rich. 

But first, a factual discussion of the other two. 

Washington Post

What do we know?

The Washington Post is claiming that President Trump revealed “highly classified information” to Russian Ambassador Lavrov in his Oval Office meeting last week.

The President can declassify any information he chooses. It is not a criminal issue. It’s a political issue, and it very well may be a national security issue.  Giving up sources, even to the point that they can be deduced is a serious matter.

But there is also an issue of journalistic ethics.  Once again, this is a story based solely on anonymous sources.  It’s understood that journalists must protect their sources, too, but there is a question worth asking:

Is there hypocrisy in what the Washington Post is choosing to cover and emphasize in contrast to other stories?  I’ll explain.

A listing of the facts in The Washington Post story should also include the statement made by McMasters yesterday evening.  He claims this story is false and says the President, Secretary of State, and others in the room are in agreement on that.

New York Times

What do we know?

The New York Times is claiming former FBI Director James Comey kept detailed notes of his meetings with President Trump and wrote a memo stating the President may have tried to obstruct justice in the Michael Flynn investigation. 

This is a story also based entirely on anonymous sources.  In fact, The New York Times reportedly does not even have a copy of the memo in its possession.

The question here is: If this is true, why did Comey not go directly to the Attorney General with this information. Why wait until a week after being fired?

Undoubtedly, there is much more to come on this.

Seth Rich

This is THE big story, and it’s not receiving the coverage it deserves.

What do we know?

Rod Wheeler, a retired homicide detective investigating Mr. Rich’s death on behalf of the family, claimed Mr. Rich, a DNC staffer, was in contact with WikiLeaks prior to his death.  This claim was corroborated by a federal investigator, according to Fox News.

Fox News reported that “an FBI forensic report of Rich’s computer — generated within 96 hours after Rich’s murder — showed he made contact with WikiLeaks through Gavin MacFadyen, a now-deceased American investigative reporter, documentary filmmaker, and director of WikiLeaks who was living in London at the time.”

Fox continues: “The federal investigator, who requested anonymity, said 44,053 emails and 17,761 attachments between Democratic National Committee leaders, spanning from January 2015 through late May 2016, were transferred from Rich to MacFadyen before May 21.”

Mr. Rich was killed on July 10, 2016, shot in the back as he walked home from a D.C. bar.  Twelve days later, WikiLeaks began releasing internal DNC emails discussed here.

Was Seth Rich the source of the “election hacking” widely attributed to Russia?

Why the lack on news coverage on this story from the major media outlets?

There is a difference between the Seth Rich story versus the other two:  It is not based entirely on anonymous sources.  Rod Wheeler is standing behind his investigation.  Additionally, there is an actual unsolved crime in the Seth Rich story as opposed to yet-to-be proven allegations in the other two.

Finally, a little bonus speculation on which to end: The latter explains the timing of the former two stories.

-John Anchor

@JohnAnchorBLOG