What does Donald Trump’s Supreme Court defeat over the issue of his tax returns mean for justice, fairness, and integrity in America? Bill Stierle and Tom give their take on whether the president can use the immunity card to continue evading the subpoenas from the House of Representatives and the Southern District of New York. They also discuss the possible avenues through which Joe Biden’s camp can benefit from this situation. As the nation prepares to decide whether to give him a second term or not, Trump is once more put into the spotlight. Why does he evade the subpoenas? Does he have anything to hide? The truth is yet to come out, but Bill and Tom believe that it eventually will.
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How The Biden Campaign Can Use Trump’s Taxes To Reveal Truth
Bill, it’s interesting news from the Supreme Court that relates to the subject we were planning to talk about. I want to briefly state what that news is and then move on to the main subject. We’ll come back to the Supreme Court. The justices have issued two rulings regarding Donald Trump’s tax returns. I’m paraphrasing here. The justices decided that Donald Trump must comply with subpoenas not only from the House of Representatives but also Southern District of New York has the right to request a subpoena. He can argue that he doesn’t have to comply with the subpoena, but he has to make the same arguments any other citizen of the United States would that he does get no special privilege just because he’s president. This was a victory for the Southern District of New York and the people of the United States and not good news for Donald Trump.
On the Senate side, they are allowed to request his tax returns, but it has to be for a legitimate legislative purpose. That’s the quick headline on that. It relates to what we wanted to talk about, which is how there was an interesting article in New York Times that suggested the Joe Biden for President campaign should only be agreed to debate Donald Trump under two conditions. One that Donald Trump releases his tax returns as Joe Biden has done. The second reason being that both campaigns, the Joe Biden campaign and the Donald Trump campaign agree to an independent fact-checking body or arbiter of truth if you will. That will be some real-time fact-checking either during or immediately following the debates.
Before the closing arguments, there needs to be a neutral person to come on and say, “This is what Joe Biden said, that was exaggerated and this is what Donald Trump said that was exaggerated. Here are the things that were fully true, partly true,” or whatever. For our closing statements from the candidates, in other words, to frame truth before the closing statements, because you want the viewership to be there and we want to get a sense of what that is. This one is partially true. The word partially is difficult. I would prefer them to scale it. As an independent consultant, on a scale of a 1 to 100 being 100% true, this one is approximately a 30% truth ratio. In other words, this is not even close. It’s 30% true. It’s 70% false. This is 100% not true. This is the factual accuracy with that statement.
We’re having an independent fact-checker be ready to take the exaggerated statement of a master marketer and brander, which Donald Trump is and put it on the scale of things. It’s for like, “Is this health bar healthy?” Not with 48 grams of sugar, it isn’t. It says healthy on the package. It looks healthy. It’s got all the pictures of the vegetables, but the truth is it’s loaded with sugar, that whatever health that you think you have from the label is not inside the package. That’s the thing. Tom, I’m glad you brought this up because when I read the article and read it all the way through, I said, “This cannot be framed as a bribe or a deal. It can’t be. It has to be built in a different way of the argument.” All of a sudden, your brain is going to slap it into curiosity. It looks like, “If you don’t do this, I’m not going to do this.”
As an ultimatum, I don’t know.
That’s the problem. It can’t be framed as an ultimatum. It needs to be framed around two words. As we get going, there are probably another three words that are going to follow that. It would sound like this integrity would look like having a fact-checker. Fairness would look like, I put mine up, and you put yours up. That’s what fairness looks like because we do want to be fair to the American public. Now, it’s not a bribe or a deal. It’s saying, “I’m standing for fairness.” It doesn’t look like you’re standing for fairness. “I’m not sure if you’re qualified to be president. I’m not sure if you’re qualified to be president, President Donald Trump, because you don’t know how to stand for fairness and integrity.”What does integrity look like in America? Click To Tweet
You could advise the Joe Biden campaign to say in a speech, “I don’t know if Donald Trump is qualified to be on the same debate stage if he is not going to be in alignment with integrity and fairness on these issues.”
You put the qualifications around the values that we stand by. It’s not about showing his taxes. It’s about what does truth looks like when you look at the numbers and what does clarity look like? You’re not qualified to debate me. I’m not going to debate you because you’re not qualified to be a presidential debater. You can’t do it.
I love that you use the word integrity though because that is one that would motivate Donald Trump to want to be in alignment with integrity. I would think he would not want to be open about saying, “I have no integrity. No, of course I have.”
He’ll never take that bait because he’s got stuff to hide and he’s got respect and self-worth to protect. His game is in the mediation conflict world that I live in. His game is an easy game. It’s, “How do I get respect? How do we get recognition? How do we get acknowledgment? How am I being heard above all else?” That’s it. “I’m doing all those things. People need to pay me because I have these things.” First off, you don’t fully have respect. You fully, don’t have a list of acknowledgments and recognitions that you can hang your hat on, but you do know how to sell things and language that as at best. Does it have truth or meaning in it? You’ve even trained your people around you not to say anything of meaning that can be held to anything. Anderson Cooper did a little piece on this. This is what they said, but those words together don’t work. He goes, “Leadership, that’s not leadership.” It was leadership. This is what a confident leader looks like. “That’s not what a confident leader looks like.”
Anderson Cooper is feeling doubtful and skeptical about truth. He’s calling out the language of his messengers, go like, “This language that these leaders and these people that are following are these people that are being the spokespeople for this, their need for integrity is taking a dip because they can’t be truthful and straightforward with bad news.” Donald Trump is not a bad news guy. He’ll bristle and he’ll get angry behind and yell at other people that no one will see as if we don’t have enough reports out of the White House already that he does that yells and screams at people. “I want it done my way.” “Yes, Mr. President.” It’s like, “Yikes.” How to be able to have a powerful conversation and makeup statement that sticks?
That’s a good point statement that sticks. I hope the Joe Biden campaign is reading or at least getting a Google Alert because this is important. The thing about messages that stick, this New York Times article came out proposing a requirement some arrangement which honestly, I don’t think anybody expects the Donald Trump campaign to take seriously or agree to. They hope they will. If you were the Joe Biden campaign, would you advocate for and advise them to talk about this in a way to try to get to Donald Trump’s campaign to agree to it? Do you advise them to use language, to talk about these issues as a way to have a message that does stick and have some impact?
Donald Trump is already ready. They’re already working on counter messages for both things. They’re already working on counter messages if he debates or if he doesn’t debate. Do I think the Joe Biden campaign is working on counter messages one way or another? No, they’re reactive. They’re way reactive. How do I know this? There are no anchoring statements coming out from Joe Biden on his tweets or anything like that. What do trust, justice and fairness look like in America? You’ve got to build a series of anchorable statements that have a measurable impact. The sound bite carries, but there’s nothing that’s built upon it. You’ve got to allow the reader to fill in a valuable message underneath the message. The readers got to fill it in.
It’s almost like the Joe Biden campaign is playing it safe and counting more on Donald Trump being trumped and alienating more voters and that they can run out the clock on this election and win more on a reaction to get rid of Donald Trump than on a reaction to before Joe Biden. They could change that.
Every candidate thought Donald Trump was done when he came down the escalators and call Mexicans murderers and rapists. Everyone called him he’s done.
He’s done before he started.
He’s done. What wound up happening is that was the start of the multiple messages of distraction. That was the first one. In a good branding campaign, all you need are 6, 12 sentences that people remember, and you can recirculate them. I’ve got a bunch of these, “Where’s the beef? What’s the product?” All it says that there hasn’t been an ad campaign for years on that, “Where’s the beef?”
That was in the ’80s.
I know, and it’s still in both of our heads.
Are you ready?
I’m ready. Hit me with another.
Fifteen minutes could save you 15% or more on car insurance. It’s GEICO. I’m not a GEICO customer.
A brand message is an enrolling message. The government was never meant to sell stuff. It was to provide the foundation for capitalists to sit on top of. It’s never meant to sell because if that were true, the EPA would be selling how many lives that they saved because of the environmental protections they’ve put in place. That’s why they’re exposed. The CDC would be selling the good reasons why they’re one of the best research places, not ones that do good research, find out the facts and then have to rewrite the facts because the political person in charge doesn’t know how to sell the facts. You’ve got to be able to sell bad news as well as selling good news. Donald Trump doesn’t want to sell bad news. He wants to sell good news. I’m going to make up the good news. Even if it damages or kills people. We’re going to be at 200,000 dead by November 1st. We’re another 70,000 deaths in America before November 1st. I looked at the charts, they’re going up and winter is coming.
The deaths are lagging behind the number of cases. That’s the way it goes. The number of cases is out of control.
The scary honesty on this is hospitals need to add another wing of ICU to cover what’s going to show up in December and January. This is the winter of death is what we’re walking into. I looked at the charts, this is disturbing.
It’s disturbing because in Florida, Texas, and Arizona in particular, they already have almost reached the capacity of ICU beds. It’s sad. That’s maybe a discussion for another episode.
I’m ranting because I’m exasperated about communication. This is a communication show. It’s like, “How do you communicate better is that, how do you manage the emotion through language?” Exasperated, because my need for truth, isn’t being met or exasperated, because my need for awareness, skill, or mastery in leadership, they don’t know what they’re saying. The limited things that are being said, which puts them in a defensive position and being in a defensive position, all of a sudden the person that’s being criticism says, “You’re being defensive.” The person automatically says, “No, I’m not.” This is defensive. “No, I’m not. I’m proving you wrong.” It’s like, “No, you’re not. I have the facts. I know what’s right over here.” It’s two eighth-graders arguing with each other. The biggest thing is that an eighth-grader, that’s a bully, which is a 12, 13-year-old in that space they don’t have enough languaging skills to deal with an adult. The adult has got to tolerate them and be empathetic to them at the same time, as saying, “You can’t talk like that. You know that’s not respectful.” All of a sudden, they become defensive. “Yeah, but.” They’re in the defensive position, which is where Donald Trump, no one paints him into that corner of the way we need to.
To me, that’s one of the interesting things, because while this article suggests that the Joe Biden campaign for president proposes these requirements, if they’re going to agree to debates. There are two realities I’m thinking about. One is that if the Joe Biden campaign got some counsel and help Joe Biden develop some skills in how to properly talk about these things or debate Donald Trump. He wouldn’t need to require these fact-checkers at the debate and wouldn’t need to require that the tax returns be released in alignment with fairness. He could still win the debate without having those things there, would you agree?
If he had skill enough to be able to use language to allow truth to come forward. They’re trying to prove and convince these two language strategies are failing strategies. Otherwise, the news media would have run Donald Trump a long time ago. When you come into a person’s belief, their bias and fallacies, which we’ve talked about on this show, the person is going like, “I’m going with the person I voted because that’s the person I voted with and I want him to lead.” You can find people that will be a staunch advocate, “Mr. President, you’re right about sending kids back to school. Kids need to be in school because it’s socially valuable for them.” That is as a mono need-based communication and no one’s going to disagree with that because that was the school system that we bought into.What does fairness look like in America? Click To Tweet
The best way that Joe Biden could show up in the world would be saying something like, “The need for safety is important to us and if there was a way for the need for safety to be met for kids to go back, the president wanting the kids to go back would be a great idea. Regrettably, the need for safety can’t be met. I’m guessing that it’s up to the parents and governors to decide on whether or not the need for safety can be met inside their communities. The decisions on them.” He was going to make it harder for them by withdrawing funding. He’s making it harder on the state and families if he wants to do that. That doesn’t seem like it’s a thought out a leadership position. I’m feeling doubtful and skeptical about him leading with this decision-making that he’s making. It’s a little limited the way he’s talking.
Notice how much doubt and skepticism I’m creating about the leadership of him not, “We know that he doesn’t think things out fully, and we’ve seen some examples of that by some of the decisions he’s made.” “Look at the debt. It’s interesting that when you give a tax cut that the debt goes up.” “I don’t think that was the strongest leadership. I can see that it benefited a bunch of rich people, but I don’t think it benefited the United States or our economy. It’s interesting. The narrow mindedness of that decision.” I did use a label there for all those people that are keeping track. I wouldn’t recommend that. Not necessarily, unless it was placed in a place that made it memorable.
Unless it was the ‘where’s the beef’ moment.
All of a sudden, it creates the simplicity of the sound bites, Tom, that you and I’ve talked about. The sound bites got to be easily digested, not something that you need to explain to a person over and over again. That’s the thing that’s going to stick the landing and allow the memorable things. In ten years’ time, you and I will be able to say the phrase, “Drain the swamp.” Realize that the swamp was the lobbyist. It wasn’t the politicians, the swamp was, how money has the influence to put under-skilled people in the infrastructure that we need to run a capitalist society? They’re breaking the foundation underneath the walls that capitalism is sitting on and it is shortsighted. It’s exasperating. It’s not in alignment with truth, it’s an alignment with messaging and what’s going to stick.
In the spirit of what’s going to stick, let’s pivot a little bit back to the Supreme Court and have a discussion about what Donald Trump’s game plan has been. Not only his entire presidency and his entire campaign for president but most of his career. Him not providing his tax returns is one example of him running out the clock on the legal powers that be. What’s happened with the Supreme Court decision is they’re saying, “President Donald Trump, you cannot get away from the long arm of the law as president. The law applies to you too.” There’s this other interesting concept of the short arm of the law. Here’s where Donald Trump is winning. Bill, can you help lead us to this discussion?
In the short arm of the law is that, “I can get caught by stealing one thing.” If you get in a place and you steal something and you get out and it’s not detected you got away with something and the law might not care about it because it’s not that big of a deal. If you come back to that story and you dip in there a few more times, or you come back to that bank account and come in there a little more, if you fix loans or you do X, Y, Z, and it causes a various different cascade of things that tends not to go well. One of the things that money and wealth provide is the ability to either run away from things, stall them, or more importantly, just pay it.
I got so much value out of the thing that I made a mess of, that the pittance that you made me pay was no big deal. Companies do this with Superfund sites at all times. Superfund site is here this polluted area in our nation, some company through commerce and the capitalist system, polluted this environment. There was no check, awareness, or scientific data that was responsible, but they did pollute it. Instead of cleaning up the mess, which the court ordered them to do, they pay the fine, walk away, and leave the government holding the bag, going like, “We’ve got to cover the back half of this Superfund. We’ve got to clean this up for this company. These people that were out of integrity and ethics for the city, we’ve got to cover their stuff.”
The government has been doing stuff like that for a lot of years. They’ve been covering the need for integrity and ethics that have not been met with many companies that pick this strategy. It is a financial strategy. It’s not to say the need for financial security isn’t valuable for a company. The short arm of the law is that it’s with the new cycle is the law can’t grab onto his ankle anymore. There’s no one that’s accountable. There’s nobody to arrest him for making a mistake anymore because the accountability regarding impeachment and the next level of accountability regarding voting is going to be taken away. I’m not being that things, but there are ways to mitigate voting shorter lines, closing down voting boosts, keeping paper ballots in a room, and not counting them.
Let’s bring this into some context that you have. The president, he’s been trying to prevent his personal financial records, his tax returns from coming out. He fought this all the way to the Supreme Court and said he shouldn’t have to give them up because he’s president, I’m not going to go into the details of why, but it’s distracting all other things he needs to focus on running the country. Supreme Court said, “No, that’s not a valid reason. You have the same rights as any other citizen of the United States.” What that did is send us back to the lower courts for decisions. The reality is all these people who hoped were going to see his tax returns before the next election, get ready for some disappointment, because that won’t happen. His tax returns will eventually likely need to be given to the prosecutors in the Southern District of New York and may well be needed to be given to the committees in the House of Representatives. It will take place after the election because it takes this much time to work through all of the legal hurdles and details that the Supreme Court has said, “Here’s a checklist for how you’ve got to do this. Here’s what you’ve got to do.” While Donald Trump lost now, and you might say, “He’s lost many times and bounced back.”
He is worse than one of those inflatable clowns. Those little things you punch and they come back. You can hit as hard as you want, the damn thing keeps coming back. The only way to hold it accountable is to push on the metaphor to let the air out of the clown, let the air out of it. Empathy and compassion can do that. It creates a level of accountability that is unseen by most people, which is, “Here’s what justice looks like and this is what I’m standing for justice. Here’s what fairness looks like and I’m going to stand for fairness.” Immediately, you’re having it in more of an adult narrative, “Here is what respect for the nation and a fellow citizens look like.” I have respect for Donald Trump. I clearly do. Why? He can message the market distract.
I respect and recognize that skill, ability. I don’t think it’s healthy for the nation and a public service job, but he applied it to this place. He got put in charge of the leadership of this place and running it in a way that, “It doesn’t meet my need for respect, and justice and fairness.” He’s not making any attempt to unite the country. The next time, we’ve got to talk about how money creates choices. How these different values get purchased differently because of how money is inside the system. There are some good places to go to. There are other resources on the website and things that people can get a hold of to read more about how communication can be used effectively here.What does justice look like in America? Click To Tweet
To wrap this one up, the interesting thing is Donald Trump may never not escape the long arm of the law. Eventually, his tax return will see the light of day. They will get them. We may all someday know. The short arm of the law is, “He’s getting away with running out the clock on the election and not having to reveal those things before people vote.”
More to come on this and hopefully, there are some little more skill and mastery in the Joe Biden campaign on communicating more effectively with counter-messaging because stuff is not sticking regrettably.
Bill, thanks so much.
Bye. Take care.