White House Press Secretary Not Striking a Balance

spicer

I think it fair to say that the job of White House Press Secretary is a tough one. Dealing on a daily basis with hordes of reporters from around the world, all of whom need answers to their questions, requires a special kind of skill.

To be a good press secretary you have to know your stuff forwards and backwards, inside and out, and be able to think on your feet when you don’t. You must always appear to be in control, even when you are not.

To be a good press secretary you have to know your stuff forwards and backwards, inside and out, and be able to think on your feet when you don’t. You must always appear to be in control, even when you are not. And perhaps most important, you must strike a delicate balance between being firm with the press, and providing them with information. The relationship between the media and the White House works both ways.

Press secretaries tend to reflect the president they speak on behalf of. Dee Dee Myers was Bill Clinton’s first press secretary. She was smart and projected an air of calmness, much like her boss. George W. Bush had Ari Fleischer, also bright and certainly capable of being caustic when needed.

Like Donald Trump, Spicer would have us believe he is doing the media, and by extension US citizens, a favour by impatiently answering their questions.

The current press secretary Sean Spicer clearly portrays many of his boss’ traits: he is confrontational, treats reporters as if they are school children, never seems to really be in control, nor to have a full grasp of things. Like Donald Trump, Spicer would have us believe he is doing the media, and by extension US citizens, a favour by impatiently answering their questions. Evidently neither man is terribly fond of the part of the First Amendment that  “…prohibits the making of any law infringing on the freedom of the press”.

It has been mentioned that Spicer was not Trump’s first choice for press secretary but rather it was Reince Priebus who pushed for him. If that is accurate, I think Spicer is in for a tough ride not just from the media, but from Trump himself as was evident when Spicer went before the media and upheld obvious inaccuracies.  Trump’s preference was Kellyanne Conway who has proven to have no problem with “alternative facts”.

DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+
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Quebec City Shooting: Spurred By Trump’s Anti-Muslim Rhetoric?

(PASCAL RATTHE / LE SOLEIL)
(PASCAL RATTHE / LE SOLEIL)

Two armed masked men armed stormed into a mosque on Sunday evening just as prayers were ending. They opened fire killing six men and injuring 19 others, five of whom remain in hospital in critical condition.  

A nasty divisive debate has gripped the US regarding the nature of the bans. Are they religion-specific?  Is the move anti-Muslim or anti-terror?

Forty-eight hours earlier  President Donald Trump signed an Executive Order banning citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States. This spurred numerous protests across the country, many at airports, as travellers already en route were detained upon arrival.

A nasty divisive debate has gripped the US regarding the nature of the bans. Are they religion-specific?  Is the move anti-Muslim or anti-terror?  Does the new US administration even understand the difference between those two concepts?

So is it surprising that, in light of this debate, this horrific shooting should occur?  No doubt someone must have figured out that sooner or later some rabid anti-Muslim fanatic would take matters into his own hands. It was bound to happen.

But what does come as a surprise is that the murders were not carried out in Michigan or Iowa. But in Quebec City, here in Canada.

Has the cauldron of hate that has been stirred by Trump’s rhetoric throughout the election process, leading to his victory, splashed over the border?  

I suspect some will point out that this just does not happen in Canada. But it does, it did. Others will state that we have lost our innocence. But we lost that long ago, just ask the friends and families of Corporal Nathan Cirillo, Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent.and the victims of 1989’s École Polytechnique massacre.

While more will ponder whether the debate to our south played any role in the killings. Often perpetrators of mass shootings take their own lives or are killed by law enforcement officers (commonly called suicide by cop) while in the act. But in the Quebec City case both suspects are alive and in custody. Will they fess up to being influenced by President Trump’s bombastic approach being implemented a mere three-hour drive to the south?  Has the cauldron of hate that has been stirred by Trump’s rhetoric throughout the election process, leading to his victory, splashed over the border?  

DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

Canada’s Justin Trudeau Welcomes Refugees: “Diversity Is Our Strength”

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Cole Burston—Bloomberg/Getty Images
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Cole Burston—Bloomberg/Getty Images

On September 11, 2001 while planes that had been hijacked by terrorists from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Lebanon were being flown into the World Trade Center and Pentagon, thousands of other flights were in the air. For obvious reasons the air space over the United States was soon closed and was being patrolled by the military. Therefore these flights had to be diverted prior to reaching their destination.

There are numerous stories of Canada’s role in accommodating several of those flights in what became known as Operation Yellow Ribbon.

Many such flights were able to land in various Canadian airports, big and small. There are numerous stories of Canada’s role in accommodating several of those flights in what became known as Operation Yellow Ribbon.

I find it interesting that almost 16 years later new US President Donald Trump’s recent Executive Order to ban citizens of Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen, Muslim majority countries, from entering the United States has created a similar reaction from Canada.

Not unlike the situation in 2001, while Trump was signing his Executive Order last Friday, there were people with legal visas who were already en route to the US and who, upon landing, were greeted with a detention cell.

Not only did Trump move the finish line, he took it away completely.

Once again Canada has stepped in by inviting those who were seeking what they believed to be legal access to the US to come here should they be turned back upon arrival. I suspect there will be those Trump supporters who will say we are welcome to these people, while others will fear having them so close.

It is not Canadian policy to accept terrorists with open arms; but these people are not terrorists, they have been vetted and given visas for entry to the US. They have had the rug pulled out from under them after passing through the system. Not only did Trump move the finish line, he took it away completely. Leaving these folks stranded. Welcome to Canada!

 

 

DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

Make America Clean Again

The folks at Procter & Gamble have announced a new look for Mr. Clean. The new iconic brand character will be African American. After 59 years the time has come to give the original a break. I have to admit that the way things have been going in the United States recently, when I first heard about a new look for Mr. Clean I did fear he may look like this:

clean

Talk about a repurpose! Will yellow hair become trendy? Will we say in four years “Remember how yellow his hair was when elected and now it is so very grey.”

DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

Montreal Gazette Names City Columnist

hanes

Dear Ms. Hanes,

Congratulations on your new role as The Gazette’s city columnist. I have long been of the opinion that local newspapers, even those oh so old ones that could be neatly folded and carried in a jacket pocket to be referenced throughout the day, are the lifeblood of communities and cities. Further, I believe that city columns are the heart of city newspapers.

Further, I believe that city columns are the heart of city newspapers.

I grew up reading your predecessors, including Ted Blackman, Nick Auf der Maur (at one time they alternated days, giving Ted an easy to remember schedule: on today, Auf der Maur) and Jack Todd.  Having broken into this one time bastion of male journalists, you already provide the promise of a different take on things.

It is my contention that the key to a good city column is to write about issues that touch locals and about people who readers will find familiar, all the while revealing unknown tidbits of information. It is all about interacting with local figures. In other words a bit of gossip never hurts. However the method of obtaining these morsels of interest has no doubt changed.

At one time the topic of many a city column was gleaned during a long, boozy lunch – ‘overheard in a Bishop Street bar’ – or over too many late night drinks in smoky watering holes. Well, the smoke, much like the IBM Selectric on which more than a few city columns were composed, is gone, at least to a point nine metres from restaurants and bars. (Interestingly if adhered to this bylaw would place many smokers square in the middle of the street. Yet another of the dangers of smoking.)

At one time the topic of many a city column was gleaned during a long, boozy lunch – ‘overheard in a Bishop Street bar’ – or over too many late night drinks in smoky watering holes.

I suspect you will do the lion’s share of your interacting via laptop and smartphone, the modern tools of the trade. But perhaps the occasional boozy lunch, and a late night, sans smoke of course, every now and then might not go amiss, if only for old times’ sake.

Again my congratulations; I wish you the very best of luck in your new endeavour and look forward to reading your column.

Sincerely,

DCMontreal

DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

The Time For Truck Sideguards Is Now

jeannette_hol
Jeannette Holman Price shows sidegurad to Alan DeSousa a city councillor from Montreal and borough mayor of Saint-Laurent,

Early on the evening on Monday, December 19, 2005 I was waiting for my then-girlfriend-now-wife to arrive for supper. I decided to dash across the street to a little convenience store, probably for beer. As I walked out of my apartment building I noticed an unusually high volume of traffic, even for rush-hour, streaming down my street. I soon realized that vehicles were being rerouted down my street.

jessica_holLooking up the street through the park, the dark sky appeared to be somewhat of an eerie aurora borealis as an inordinate number of emergency vehicles, with flashing red and blue, and several yellow lights lit up the neighbourhood, clearly indicating something was very wrong.

Being curious I altered my direction and walked up through the park to get an idea of what had happened. Nearing the street that borders the park it was evident there had been an accident. Not a fender-bender sort of affair that is more annoyance that danger, but something major.  It was only later that I would learn of the tragedy of Jessica Holman-Price who in the process of saving her little brother from slipping under a snow removal truck lost her footing and fell to her death under the large vehicle herself.

Nonsense; it is unacceptable for governments to pass the buck up or down the ladder. All vehicles that can be fitted with sideguards should be altered, regardless of which level of government decrees what.

Now eleven years later her mother Jeannette Holman-Price, still grieves, but also is taking action. Jessica’s death was preventable; the installation of sideguards on heavy trucks would essentially remove the possibility of anyone slipping under them. To that end she has initiated The Jessica Campaign in an effort to avert any future accidents. The city of Westmount, where the accident occurred, has equipped its trucks with sideguards, but many contractors and the city of Montreal are more reluctant. According to Jeannette they prefer to wait for the province to make sideguards mandatory before requiring snow removal contractors to have them in order to be eligible to bid on city contracts.

Nonsense; it is unacceptable for governments to pass the buck up or down the ladder. All vehicles that can be fitted with sideguards should be altered, regardless of which level of government decrees what. The time for sideguards is now, if not eleven years ago.

Further: Mother of snow removal accident victim wins in court

 

DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

#TBT Good Business Does Not Equal Good Government

With Donald Trump now the Republican Party’s presumptive presidential candidate the time has come to take a look at the big picture. One of Trump’s main selling points is his skill as a businessman. He  has amassed a fortune in business, but does that make him, or anyone with a similar background for that matter, a suitable country leader?  I do not believe that anyone can ‘run’ a country or state/province like a business for two primary reasons: the concept of profitability and that nasty old democracy.

What will a business-politician do, force them into domestic labour camps, organize covert actions to snuff out these leeches?

First the bottom line in business is just that, the bottom line on the balance sheet. Profit is all that counts, numbers, returns. And much like the system of determining the rankings of NCAA football teams if several have identical won/lost records by analyzing the opponents faced and the degree of victory, if it is a public company “The Street” will analyze and then determine what an acceptable degree of profit is. Just finishing in the black is not sufficient.

Trump has been criticized for bankruptcies in his past, but, odd though it may sound, sometimes declaring bankruptcy  is good for overall business. Not for those left with outstanding payments or those who lose their jobs, but for the company. A subsidiary that is sucking cash from head office is better off being bankrupted. Unless of course you happen to be a supplier who is owed money.

Individuals are hired and fired based on their contribution to the company’s profit margin or lack thereof. If a worker is not pulling his or her weight, there is an action that can be taken: as Trump likes to say You’re Fired. The deadwood is cleared out and the streamlined company hums along making the most money it can.

Frustratingly for the business-politician, they are not going anywhere, nor are they likely to be convinced to back down given they are representing their own constituents back home and hoping to be elected again.  

In a societal setting there are those who appear to not be contributing to the bottom line for any number of reasons, valid or otherwise. These include but not limited to Illness, age, or just good old-fashioned laziness, but  in the end the fact is these folks cannot be fired from the country. For those candidates who claim to be Christian, they are surely aware of the notion from the Bible that the poor will always be with us. What will a business-politician do, force them into domestic labour camps, organize covert actions to snuff out these leeches?

Secondly, a business leader who finds him or herself butting heads with a dissenting member of senior management over a project or plan can, if necessary, get rid of that person. Even people with contracts get fired all the time, it may cost the company money either in court costs or a cash settlement or both, but it can be done all the same.

A politician is constantly at odds with the opposition, it is the nature of the game. Even some on the leader’s side will from time to time go against the grain. Unlike employees these people are elected officials. Frustratingly for the business-politician, they are not going anywhere, nor are they likely to be convinced to back down given they are representing their own constituents back home and hoping to be elected again.  

Business should be run by business people, but countries are better off with a human touch.

DCS_Grad_2 DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+