Monday January 18, 2021
 

Voting With Their Feet

 Millions of Venezuelans have left the country and its ruinous economy in an indictment of President Nicolas Maduro and his leftist policies.  They’re voting with their feet.  Following them are tens of thousands of civil servants who have abandoned their jobs because the pay is too low to live on.  The country is hollow at the core and ripe for upheaval but for Maduro’s grip on the military.  The dictator understands that the barrel of a gun can keep the public down, as long as he has the stomach to use it.  Such behavior is ruthless, amoral and the opposite of listening to citizens and their needs.  Maduro has a grasp on power that can only be shaken by the generals he liberally rewards to keep them in line.  Should the day come when he can no longer dole out money and goods to them, his time in office will become tentative and eventually, he will go.  Until then, he will plunge the country ever deeper into destruction and watch as his support withers.

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Needed To Be Said

 President-elect Joe Biden lit into President Trump yesterday for Trump’s denial of the election results.  It needed to be said since Trump’s efforts are anti-democratic and authoritarian.  There should be no room in the American political system for either of those two policies.  Biden repeated his statement that he wants to be President for all Americans and not just for those who voted for him. That is the proper attitude, but the reality is that it will take time for sore losers to lessen their anger and go along with the rest of the public.  There is a chance that the biggest loser, Trump, will never concede.  Be that as it may.  As long as Trump no longer interferes with the machinery of state, he can say what he wishes.  One can hope that citizens tire of hearing his claims of fraud and move on leaving Trump isolated in his grievances.  

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Result Of Disinformation

 More women than men are reluctant to get the coronavirus vaccine.  This is serious because women tend to make healthcare decisions in the family.  The reluctance is the result of disinformation about the virus and vaccines developed this year.  Women are apparently afraid of protection developed so quickly.  They have tended to dismiss the large trials of the vaccine and positive results from them.  What is needed is a parade of leaders and celebrities taking the vaccine publicly to calm fears.  It would be a strong PR move to support mass immunization.  (If Michelle Obama is not worried about getting vaccinated, why should I be?)  President-elect Joe Biden has set a goal of 100 million jabs in the first 100 days of his presidency.  He is only going to reach that goal with tuned logistics and a willingness of the public to participate.  Biden and Harris should be the first ones to get the shot on camera before millions of citizens.

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Inching Away

 More Republican Senators are inching away from President Trump and admitting that Trump lost the election.  They have stayed silent till now because they are afraid of millions of Trump voters.  They have only themselves to blame for the vise in which they find themselves.  Had they stood up in the beginning and acknowledged his defeat, the pressure might have subsided by now. But they didn’t and Trump has continued to claim he won but for fraud.  From a PR perspective, it would have been better for the country and democracy had the Republican Senate and Minority House chambers gone on record accepting Biden’s win.  Trump then would be isolated and public support for him starting to erode.  But, since they were craven, they now have to live with an aroused electorate, which might be a potent force for the next four years.  It’s a sad situation for the Elephant party, and there is little chance of it getting better.

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Hacked

 It’s embarrassing and a PR faux pas for a cybersecurity firm to be hacked and its software tools stolen.  Yet, that is the nature of the internet.  No one is safe, not even experts.  One can engage in prophylactic habits and still be done in by an invader.  There is no way to be absolutely protected other than avoiding the internet altogether.  There are no good ways to do that in the present age.  One can go off-grid but then one will miss a good part of the world’s information and connections.  Sophisticated cyber-criminals remain one step ahead of the internet police most of the time.  There are lower-level “petty thieves” who use stock products, and they can be walled out as long as their malware is understood.  The knowledgeable ones are a danger to society.  It is small consolation that these criminals usually target governments and large organizations.  Their tools are adopted soon enough by imitators while the skilled find new doors into protected systems.  Being hacked is a cost of communications and a burden on society.

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Deeper And Deeper

Trump supporters are sliding deeper and deeper into unreality over the results of the Presidential election.  Denial has slipped into insanity, and insanity into repeated attempts to overturn a fair election.  There is no persuasion that can change their minds and communicators are at a loss to do so.  It wouldn’t be worrisome if there weren’t so many millions holding to the lie and if the President himself had not supported it.  He continues, however, to preach fraud and his loyalists follow him blindly.  It is impossible to conduct public relations under the circumstances.  They see but don’t see, hear but don’t hear, face the truth but are blind.  It is a sad state of affairs and a major challenge for the President-elect who wants to unify the country but is prevented from doing so by millions who refuse to believe he won.  

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What About Us?

 Movie theater owners are in a difficult marketing position as motion picture companies put their products on streaming video.  They are beholden to content creators since they do no more than project films onto large screens and sell popcorn.  Movie makers can avoid the costs of distribution and much of marketing expense by going directly to the home, so why shouldn’t they?  Theater owners contend viewers miss a communal experience by foregoing an audience and the effect of a big screen with surround sound.  Maybe so, but the public will decide on that by electing to go out or to stay home.  Large theater owners can cry for help but there isn’t a consumers’ push to give it to them.  Most people are content in their living rooms and out of the COVID-19 environment.  Will theaters recover once a vaccine is generally available?  It’s too early to know, but there is a good chance they have received a mortal blow, and there will fewer of them in existence.

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Proceed With Caution

 Pfizer and BioNTech have won the race to be the first vaccine makers to get emergency approval for a COVID vaccine.  Now comes the hard part — manufacturing and distributing the doses to millions of people who must receive two shots three weeks apart.  It is time for quiet satisfaction at the two companies but not public crowing.  Both know much could still go wrong in the rollout even though they have planned in depth for it.  The time for a PR glow is still in the future.  Today, manufacturing and logistics teams have buckled down to hard work.  If they are successful in the months to come, Pfizer and BioNTech can proudly and rightly publicize what they have done for humanity.

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Truth-Telling

 It is a sad state of affairs when one who tells the truth is subject to jibes that he should be taken out and shot.  That is the rhetoric of authoritarian nations and dictators.  Well, it happened to a former Trump official who said the election was fair.  A Trump attorney made the remarks on television without apology for his venom.  Facts are hard edged things.  Where there is a gray zone, they are subject to opinion.  Where there is no gray, there shouldn’t be argument, but sadly, there often is.  We have had four years of kicking against a wall of facts over numerous issues, all related to the President and his attempts to run the country according to his biases and self-regard.  Voters grew tired of it and got rid of him, except he won’t let go.  He can’t accept the fact he was defeated and so he continues to twist the truth to his benefit.  Nearly everyone does some of that, but not to the extent the White House has gone.  It will be refreshing to have an occupant of the highest office who will respect facts and the truth.

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Counting Down

 The Supreme Court is taking up the administration’s case against counting illegal immigrants in the 2020 census.  It is one more effort by Trump and the Republicans to influence apportionment of House seats, and it is not clear which way the court will lean.  The language of the Constitution does not say to count them. “…the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons.”  But the Census has counted everyone all the way along.  The administration’s contention is suspect PR and naked politics.  One would hope for better but Trump has kicked at nearly every limit to his authority and power and gotten away with it.  Republican lawmakers were supine and impeachment went nowhere.  One can hope we have seen the last of Trump after the inauguration, but he still has 70+ million followers in the country.  That’s a large minority, ready to support him again in four years.  

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