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The Status of America

October 20th, 2014

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Republicans are desperately trying to convince the American people about the effect of a series of crises on our nation, spinning a tale about a world gone out of control. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Yes, events have transpired beyond the President’s control in eastern Ukraine and West Africa, but our nation should feel blessed to have such a sane and cautious leader, one who will take measured decisions for the safety of us all. God knows where would be right now if George W. Bush were still President.

And the most important thing for the American people, the economy, is showing robust signs of growth, with the unemployment rate dipping below six percent for the first time in years.

And the most important thing for the American people, the economy, is showing robust signs of growth, with the unemployment rate dipping below six percent for the first time in years. The stock market, despite some recent corrections, has nearly doubled in value, and if companies would relax about the large stockpile of profits they have amassed, we would be doing even better.

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What if Baghdad Falls?

October 18th, 2014

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The American air campaign against ISIS seems to have emboldened the radical Islamic fighters, making them both more prudent and deadly on the ground.

When Baghdad falls, it will create wide-ranging repercussions throughout the Middle East.

The fighters of ISIS know how to adapt to various circumstances, and they have proceeded by sheltering their weapons more and hiding among civilian populations. On the ground, the Iraqi army seems to be unable to retake any territory even with the U.S. air force behind them.

Nor should we think ISIS will be automatically defeated. It was not that long ago historically when the United States was stymied in Vietnam despite throwing the force of our entire army into the battle. And if ISIS continues along the current course, they will take Baghdad in a few months. Most likely, they will do it in a sudden kamikaze push and surprise us again.

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Hiring a PR Firm?

October 17th, 2014

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Are you hiring a public relations firm? Before you make a final decision, there are a series of questions you must ask.

The first and most important one involves who will be handling your account on a day-to-day basis. Larger firms often use the President to find new business but then hand over your publicity to an account executive. This account executive will literally be writing your press releases and pitching reporters on your behalf.

Larger firms often use the President to find new business but then hand over your publicity to an account executive.

This glorified bait-and-switch practice means you will only see the President again on a monthly basis, maybe supplemented by a phone call or two about strategy. The smaller the PR firm, the more likely the President will be personally involved with your account.

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Ebola: Image Versus Reality

October 16th, 2014

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The potential of an outbreak of Ebola versus the current reality could not be further apart, but in a nod to the power of the media, President Obama canceled critical fundraising opportunities to go back to Washington to deal with the “crisis.”

People need to take a step back from sending swat teams and rapid response groups, and disinfecting where it is not necessary or medically mandated

Ebola is not transmitted like the flu; you must come into contact with the bodily fluids of infected people when they are symptomatic. That is what all the scientists tell us.

And the possibility of transmission through the air would only be possible if the virus somehow mutated, and then we would indeed have something to worry about. I have recently seen reassurances stating that mutation into an airborne disease is highly unlikely.

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The Lessons of History

October 15th, 2014

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We all learn the famous adage as schoolchildren, “Those who do not learn the lessons of history are condemned to repeat them.” But the highest levels of the U.S. government do not seem to acknowledge this basic reality.

A sobering C.I.A. study published in the lead story in The New York Times this morning recounted the ineffectiveness of arming and training rebel leaders in the ultimate outcome of a conflict. It went back to the Bay of Pigs in the Kennedy administration, the struggle against the Sandinista government in the Reagan administration and a long list of similar exercises in futility.

A sobering C.I.A. study published in the lead story in The New York Times this morning recounted the ineffectiveness of arming and training rebel leaders in the ultimate outcome of a conflict.

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Political terrorists

October 14th, 2014

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The Republican Party and its candidates are purposefully trying to scare the electorate, and, in a reprise of 2004, doing so to win an election.

The issues of Ebola and ISIS will soon fade into background noise while the economy will remain front and center.

The twin specters of ISIS and Ebola are, of course, legitimate issues, but neither of them rises to an existential threat to the United States, or, arguably, any threat of all.

There have been two, count them, two incidents of Ebola in the United States, both traceable to the same person, and the CDC is moving vigorously to tighten decontamination procedures, both among medical professionals and at U.S. airports.

Of all the things to worry about, Ebola should register very low on the list. But Republicans are using this disease and the threat of ISIS to portray the world as somehow spinning out of control, with a President who is either disengaged or doesn’t care. Nothing could be further from the truth.

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Defining Public Relations

October 13th, 2014

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Public relations is one of the few professions struggling to define itself in the public’s eye. The term, public relations, or PR, is used differently among the general population than its professional meaning.

Public relations as a field has nothing to do with the casual use of the term, often applied in a somewhat derogatory context …

Public relations as a field has nothing to do with the casual use of the term, often applied in a somewhat derogatory context to mean image or fluff or lacking substance. The proper use of the term is defined simply as “unpaid publicity.” Thus, public relations is best contrasted with advertising, its polar opposite, defined as “paid publicity.”

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Ebola and Airborne Transmission

October 11th, 2014

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In its current form, Ebola does not present the danger of an outbreak in the United States. But there’s one big “if” to that statement. If Ebola does not mutate to a form that can be spread through the air.

But there’s one big “if” to that statement. If Ebola does not mutate to a form that can be spread through the air.

The interest of government officials largely centers on the ability to prevent panic by the public. And they have succeeded in doing so; most Americans trust scientific reassurances based on the requirement for the disease to be spread only through bodily fluids.

But in its current form, there is no cure or vaccine for the diseases, and the inability of modern medicine to prevent its ravages unnerves us all. Ebola is a very bad way to die, and no one would want to go through that kind of suffering.

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Pitching Prospects, Part 2

October 10th, 2014

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As a follow to my September 29th blog post on pitching prospects, here’s a suggested procedure after the lunch is over.

One important caveat: do not ask the prospect for too much upfront. Maybe half of the first month in advance, only for new clients you should explain.

Most prospects will be unwilling to hire you after just one meeting so you need to calm any residual fears and gently lead them to the next step. As your business talk is winding down to a close, you need to offer the prospect a written proposal in about a week. Most prospects will go this far unless you have horribly alienated them, especially since it doesn’t cost anything.

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Democrats and Spiking the Ball

October 9th, 2014

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Chris Matthews made a very relevant comment on “Hardball” last night. He said the Democrats were not very good at spiking the ball. He was referring to the inability of the Democratic Party to celebrate its accomplishments and to make sure everyone knew about them.

… the upcoming election will largely depend on the enthusiasm of the base, as opposed to the small sliver of undecideds remaining, and no one is better at whipping a Democratic crowd into a frenzy than a Democratic President.

As an example, he cited the drop of the unemployment rate to 5.9 percent and the creation of millions of jobs since President Obama assumed office. He rightly noted, the Republicans would be holding a party, similar to when they hoisted the banner of “Mission Accomplished” to mark what President Bush thought represented the end of the Iraq campaign. Moreover, after a rocky start, Obamacare has become widely accepted in American society, and the Republican plan to campaign solely on that issue has fallen flat.

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