Much is being said in the wake of Saturday night’s White House Correspondents Dinner (WHCD). Once again this year President Trump refused to attend the event, instead opting to hold a campaign-style rally in Michigan during which he was free to take pot shots at the media, the left and anyone else.
They say that even a stopped clock is right twice a day. It astonishes me to say, but among the idiotic things Trump was spouting in Michigan was a kernel of truth: the WHCD is dead. Not that they won’t have another, but the old tradition of “good-naturedly” poking fun at each other has been replaced by downright nastiness.
However, that’s not what gets me riled. I can watch two adversaries quip each other all day assuming they are funny. But the last two dinner comedians have lacked that one essential ingredient: humour.
Don Rickles was never my cup of tea. Not because he engaged in insulting people for a living, but because I never found what he said funny. Michelle Wolf, someone I must admit I had never heard of prior to Saturday evening, was not funny either.
If you are going to use humour to skewer someone, a real zinger, you better make sure it’s funny!
I say either bring back the old style roasting or call the whole thing off before it turns very ugly.
I have a friend who is American but currently resides here in Montreal. He has often commented to me about how knowledgeable he finds many Canadians are regarding the United States. I have pointed out that for Canadians, living so close to the USA, it is almost impossible not to become more than familiar with our neighbours.
As the late Canadian prime minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau once explained, sharing a border with the USA is like sleeping with an elephant. Even the slightest movement has a great effect on us.
They say that the British do pomp and circumstance well given their royal heritage, but I maintain that when it comes to the trappings of patriotism, no one can outdo the USA. From flags to military uniforms to flags on military uniforms, great reverence is the norm for these symbols. (Ever notice how the flag on the right shoulder of a uniform is flipped so the stars appear in the upper right corner? Why? If you assume the flag is being carried on a pole, the usual configuration would indicate that the soldier is going backward, or retreating. That won’t do.)
Recently in Korea Shaun White, an Olympic medalist from the US got caught up in his own exuberance and lost track of the flag he was waving about. The flag got entangled in his snowboard and as he walked away it was seen dragging on the ground. It was an accident; he did not intentionally defile the flag, he didn’t step on it or set it on fire. Yet there was a hue and cry on social media, chastising the athlete.
All of this leads me to wonder how another great symbol of the United States, perhaps the greatest, the office of the president, can be so egregiously degraded by President Trump without a similar outpouring of disgust. The actual Oval Office, as well as the position of president, are steeped in decorum and respect. At least they were until the current inhabitant moved in.
Silly misspelled posts on social media, asinine rantings at campaign-style rallies, “management by Twitter”, and the ludicrous slagging of former presidents have all contributed to Trump’s besmirching of the office.
Regardless of party affiliation, the presidency of the United States has garnered respect, it was held in high esteem and the incumbent was pressed to live up to that expectation. Yet since Trump assumed the role, his total lack of decorum, of respect for his predecessors, has become the norm. Why don’t those who were so quick to denounce White for dragging the flag make a whole lot of noise about what Trump is doing to the much-vaunted presidency? Just when we Canadians think we’ve got our neighbours figured out, it boggles the mind.
As the latest installment in the gun debate rages in the USA following the horrific multiple death shooting in Parkland, Florida I can’t help but be reminded of some of the ludicrous sayings that the pro-gun advocates often spout.
I am conversant with several, including the granddaddy of these pithy little slogans is, of course, the infamous: Guns don’t kill people, people kill people. When was the last time you were shaken by breaking news that a deranged strangler was seen in a high school? Has a school ever been put on lock-down because a mentally ill person was stalking the halls threatening to choke or kick to death students and teachers? Of course not. Seems to me guns are killing people.
If, as a society, we could control mental illness it would be a wonderful thing in many ways, but as of yet, we can’t. However, the other variable in the guns don’t kill people equation is guns. As has been shown in countries such as Australia, these can be controlled.
So frankly it would be more accurate to say: guns don’t kill people alone, people with guns kill people. But if those people could not get those guns, who knows how many lives would be saved, not just in the large, media grabbing multiple killings, but also those lost in smaller almost daily shootings.
Then we have the cute, if guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns. Mass killings seem to be the purview of the mentally ill, not ‘outlaws’. This is along the lines of: an armed man is a citizen. An unarmed man is a subject. Sadly some people believe this nonsense.
I am not a gun person, yet I do have a favourite pithy statement myself: I fully support the right to arm bears.
For as long as I can remember we’ve had the same neighbour. We go back years, decades, indeed centuries. We live in what in the real estate world is known as a semi-detached. Which of course means it is also semi-attached; we share one very long partition, I am hesitant to call it a wall, given what my neighbour has in mind for the other side of his house.
We are so very similar in many ways, and get along just fine for the most part. Oh, sure we have the occasional spat, a little falling out. But when push comes to shove we have each other’s back. For instance, my neighbour had an ungodly upset about 17 years ago when one of the central family members was struck down in an egregious act of violence. We did what we could to help the situation and felt our bond grow stronger as often happens in difficult times.
Our cultures are similar, sports, arts, entertainment are all on the same track. Not identical mind you, but shall I say variations on a theme. The way we run our household is, again, on the surface comparable, yet dig deeper and it is almost like night and day.
We often spend time in each other’s place; in fact, we are each other’s most frequent visitor. Over the years many members of my extended family have married into my neighbour’s clan, and vice versa.
All in all, we are a pretty close pair. Which is why I write this. You see it has occurred to me recently, after poring over the vivid assay results, that my neighbour is sick, undeniably very ill. There is something akin to a cancer that courses through my neighbour. Perhaps it has always been there, but since a new head of the household moved in over a year ago, the vile malignancy has surfaced. For the most part this sickness manifests itself in relatively small flare-ups, but once every so often, frankly way too often, a major outbreak erupts that knocks everyone for a loop. One such episode occurred last week.
My sadness over my neighbour’s sickness is compounded by a strong feeling of frustration. You see, the illness, hideous though it is, is absolutely curable. Other neighbours in our community have suffered from similar afflictions, and have taken appropriate actions to remedy the situation. But my semi-detached neighbour not only refuses to consider the cure but rather insists on confronting the disease by applying even more disease.
We have been good neighbours for so long that it pains me deeply to see this lovely big household (mind you our house is bigger even if our family is smaller) afflicted in such a destructive manner. I hope that before it is too late my next-door neighbour will realize that something must be done to eradicate this infirmity. In conclusion, I must come clean, I would be lying if I did not admit to also having a selfish desire to see my neighbour well, and that is the concern that, like popular culture, the disease may spread to our house.
In the wake of yet another mass killing at yet another US school, the rallying cry has gone out to get elected officials to do something about the ridiculously easy access to high-powered guns in the United States. And as usual, one party, the Democrats, are standing with those shouting for an end, while Republicans blather on about “thoughts and prayers”.
Is it that Republicans have little care for future victims? Do they not think the situation is now long out of hand? Well if they do they have a funny way of showing it. Sadly it all comes down to one thing in their stony hearts: money. Filthy lucre.
According to an Opinion piece in the New York Times from October 4, 2017:
Most Americans support stronger gun laws — laws that would reduce deaths. But Republicans in Congress stand in the way. They fear alienating their primary voters and the National Rifle Association.
I don’t know about their primary voters, but the National Rifle Association donates millions of dollars to candidates and spends millions more sponsoring events supporting primarily GOP candidates. In the last election, they spent upwards of $30M getting Donald Trump elected (of course, as we will all soon find out, the Russians helped out as well). No wonder he refuses to do anything about the situation. The logic is simple: it is not in the best financial interest of politicians to bite the hand that feeds them. And the NRA is a harsh master, threatening to withdraw funding at the mere mention of undeniably sane proposals (background checks for one). They are not big on the idea of compromise. No art of the deal for them.
Gun proponents often trot out the tired old saw that they believe explains how guns don’t kill people, people kill people. It’s cute but totally absurd. Guns don’t kill people: people with guns kill people. That’s just more simple logic: no guns = no gun deaths.
But what if some of the other big donors took a stand? What if pressure was brought to bear on other large donors to GOP candidates? Is it conceivable that a major donor to candidate X could threaten to withhold contributions unless the candidate refuses NRA money? Should the gun control advocates be lobbying other major donors in an effort to get them to apply pressure?
The concept of debating or discussing how many angels can dance on the head of a pin has a very long history. It goes way back, but no matter how far into its past you delve it still means the same thing. It refers to people wasting time pondering a topic of no real value while other more germane issues go unchecked.
Yesterday many in the media provided a prime example of the counting angels canard. They devoted hours to the investigation and analysis of whether President Trump asked why the USA has to have immigrants from shithole or shithouse countries. Various talking heads appeared along with in-studio guests to get to the bottom of this most pressing issue.
The fact that the president swears is not the problem. I am sure he is neither the first nor the last to do so. That his statements were racist is of much more concern.
The crux of the matter is that the president spoke in a derogatory manner about Haiti and the entire continent of Africa. The actual words are, frankly, irrelevant. Had Trump referred to these two places as filthy cesspools it would be no less egregious. I can’t help but think that the major networks are devoting so much time to this because of the shock value of the word: call it the shit factor.
As was the case when Turks invaded Constantinople while scholars were distracted debating the angel puzzle, with the media enjoying a feeding frenzy over Trump’s strong language, they are not pressing him on the real issues. Shit house or shit hole, Trump’s presidency so far has been a real shit show. I implore the media to step back and look at the big picture and not be thrown off kilter by sensationalism and minutiae. Don’t open a loophole for the Trump administration to jump through.
Since the bombshell dropped last week, no, not the weather bomb that pounded the northeast with snow and frigid temperatures, but the publication of Michael Wolff’s book Fire and Fury, many have been questioning President Trump‘s mental state. Is he capable of carrying out the duties of the office?
As soon as several excerpts of the book were released 24 hours before publication, news channels had a feeding frenzy. All Wolff all the time. Even the president himself panicked and, bypassing White House counsel, had his personal lawyer issue a cease and desist letter to the author and the publisher. All to no avail, as the book hit shelves and Kindles as planned. Trump then dissed the book as fiction, but his initial reaction had already spoken volumes.
So now the focus is on Trump’s mental capacity. Dr. Bandy X. Lee Yale University psychiatry professor had already raised concerns about the potential of mental illness. The president Tweeted that he is no less than a ‘very stable genius’. I am not a doctor, but it seems to me that diagnosing anyone based on a person’s public persona rather than an actual medical examination is a bit dicey.
However, Trump has been the same all through the election process. The debates, speeches, and rallies were all circus-like events thanks to his juvenile antics. He has always given me the impression that he, in my non-medical opinion, is bonkers. But what’s worse than Trump being a wacko is that millions of people knowingly voted for him.
It is unfair of those Trump supporters who put the man in the Oval Office to now jump ship because the world is openly questioning his sanity. You voted for him, now help get rid of him. We’re not talking just a wee bit bent here, there are always personal attributes that one person sees as abnormal, while others just brush off. (Frankly, I never thought Ronald Reagan was playing with a full deck, even before the Alzheimer’s diagnosis.) No this is full-fledged ego-fed looney-tunes, and it’s running the biggest country in the world. The funnel soon be over I fear. Now that’s scary.
A snippet of observation from the safety of my armchair sociologist’s lair. It is not news that in the last US election Hillary Clinton garnered 48.2% of the popular vote to Donald Trump’s 46.1%. A not insignificant difference of 2.1%. However the Electoral College system gave the election to Trump based on the distribution of votes. That’s the way it works, frustrating as it may be.
But Electoral College aside for a moment, the fact that more people voted against Trump, in a two candidate race – more people voted against Bill Clinton than for him 1992, but Ross Perot split the Republican votes – cannot be swept under the carpet. However those in the majority appear to be taking a weather approach; as in, everybody talks about it, but nobody does anything.
Immediately following the election and inauguration there was a flurry of activity in the form of marches, protests, and demonstrations. What happened? I’m not seeing on CNN wall to wall coverage of peaceful expressions of dissatisfaction not with the system, but with Trump. Evidently the 65,844,610 electors who voted for Hillary Clinton have opted to leave their plight in the hands of Robert Mueller and his investigation at best or with billionaire Tom Steyer and his www.needtoimpeach.com movement at worst. While I believe Steyer hits the nail on the head with his ads, I cannot quite see his venture being successful.
Trump once said: “I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters”. At first that sounded totally absurd, but conceivably he may be onto something. Did he understand before others that his base, his peeps, were with him through thick and thin? No matter what he says or does, for all the outcries and editorials, he just coasts right along. Everyday he tweets or comments something that tests the strength of his people; most recently calling Elizabeth Warren Pocahontas at, of all place, an event honouring Native veterans.
Watching all of this play out from north of the 49th parallel makes me wonder if the majority, those who cast ballots not for Donald Trump, comprehend the damage this man is doing to your country as seen from the outside. Trump claims he is working to make America great again, as a neighbour I would suggest the country has never not been great, but is now in serious peril of becoming a laughingstock.
There is a movement to expose and end violence against women called Take Back The Night, make it safe for women to walk at night again. I think the 48.2% need to start a Take Back the Country, movement, the one that has been wrested away from you, before it is too late.
That’s not Master Kan … he’s a fraud!