DCMontreal Commentary, Donald Trump, History, Humor, Media, News, Opinion, Politics, Television, United States, Wordpress

Updated: Donald Trump, Charlottesville and Chubby Checker

(KEVIN LAMARQUE/REUTERS)

In a recent post I mentioned how the video from Charlottesville was a bit grainy you might mistake for something from the sixties. Lately, one line of a Chubby Checker song, also from the sixties, has been stuck in my head. As I watch the news in the US, again and again, this snippet of lyric pops into my mind. It has nothing to do with twisting, a word that would make Checker a rich man over the years and one that could certainly be applied to President Trump’s take on history as well as current events.

He has an ability to twist facts and images to his liking

He has an ability to twist facts and images to his liking. But people are not fools; looking at the coverage of the heinous events over the weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia it is clear that there was a group of armed Nazi thugs and a group of protesters. The fault falls on one side – the Nazis – and one side only. No amount of twisting will change that.

What ignited this riot was the city’s decision to remove a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee … That Lee is on a horse did not bring to my mind the Checker song Pony Time.

What ignited this riot was the city’s decision to remove a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. The white supremacists and Nazis look to Lee as a hero, so they were spitting their vile racist epithets in protest if the statue’s removal. That Lee is on a horse did not bring to my mind the Checker song Pony Time.

No, the song came to me after the riots, after the murder of Heather Hayer, after two statements from Trump. While watching the ‘leader of the free world’ rant and rage in the lobby of his tower in New York, listening to him equate the protesters and the Nazis, levying equal amounts of blame to each side (in fact, placing the onus on the protesters who did not have a permit) is when the Checker lyric burned itself into my mind. The words come from his 1962 hit Limbo Rock and are ‘How low can you go?”.

Every time I have seen rebroadcasts of Trump’s hissy fit I can’t help but repeat that line to myself.

How low can you go?

Id_Limbo

My greatest fear with regards to Trump is that he is soon going to show just how low he can go.

Sad.

 

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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Crime, DCMontreal Commentary, Donald Trump, Media, News, Opinion, Politics, Television, United States, Wordpress

Charlottesville: Blood On The President’s Hands

Had the video been poorer in quality, a bit grainy, maybe even black and white, you might have assumed you were watching a history documentary on CNN last Saturday afternoon. Something about civil rights marches in the sixties. But no, the scenes of mayhem in the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia were live. It was enough to make one’s skin prickle with the fear that this will never end.

Had the video been poorer in quality, a bit grainy, maybe even black and white, you might have assumed you were watching a history documentary on CNN last Saturday afternoon.

As a group of white supremacists gathered to protest the removal of a statue of General Robert E. Lee they were met by a group of opponents, including some wearing Black Lives Matter shirts which must have been like wearing targets. It did not take long before tensions elevated to the boiling point, leading to violent racist havoc, destruction, injury, and death.

Thank goodness for the president’s calming good words. He spoke from his vacation home and clearly pointed out that no white supremacy will be tolerated in the USA. His words were like a salve that cooled things in Virginia and made citizens remember why they had elected this man.

Oh no … wait a moment … that was just what should have happened. What actually did occur was perhaps the most non-presidential thing Trump has done. He did indeed address the violence, condemning it yet stating undoubtedly that the problem came from all sides. Rather than call out the white supremacists as the problem, he chose to group all the protesters into one big mass. How about tossing a little gasoline on that fire Mr. President?

It was incumbent upon the president to differentiate and lay the blame where it belonged. Why will he, 48-hours later, still not do this? Does he not want to upset his base?

But that’s not the case, some of those present were, by all accounts, merely protesting the well-armed supremacists. It was incumbent upon the president to differentiate and lay the blame where it belonged. Why will he, 48-hours later, still not do this? Does he not want to upset his base?

He is scheduled to talk today, but frankly it is too late. Even if he points the finger of blame at the white supremacists now, it will not excuse his refusal to do so immediately.

Shame on Donald Trump

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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Sports Look Faster In Person – Usually

Ernesto Escobedo serves to Nikoloz Basilashvili

I am a fan of sports. But not being a fan of crowds I tend to limit myself to television coverage. Recently we were given a pair of “Prestige Passes” to attend the Rogers Cup ATP event in Montreal.

Settling in I was pleased that there were several empty seats to my right, affording me plenty of room and no claustrophobic feelings at all.

With a sunny day forecast, free parking provided and fifth-row seats how could I say no. So off we went to Parc Jarry in the city’s northern section, a place I had not been to since I worked on the Pope’s visit in 1984. The new tennis facility which integrates the original home of the Montreal Expos is lovely.

We took our seats in the fifth row to watch a match pitting American Ernesto Escobedo against Nikoloz Basilashvili of the Georgia. Settling in I was pleased that there were several empty seats to my right, affording me plenty of room and no claustrophobic feelings at all.

In person, one understands just how fast hockey players skate and shoot the puck. The speed of a fastball is clearly evident from box seats.

I have attended hockey games, football games, baseball games, Formula 1 races, even a few soccer matches.  What always strikes me, particularly in the case of F1 races, is how television coverage does not do justice to the speed of the event. In person, one understands just how fast hockey players skate and shoot the puck. The speed of a fastball is clearly evident from box seats. A football running-back’s dart down the field and the physical contact of the game are impressive, to say the least.

Then there is tennis.

This was my second professional tennis match. The first was many years ago and featured Gabriela Sabatini. On both occasions, I came away thinking how slow the game is in person. With the exception of the delivery of services, or serves, which are tremendously fast. Tennis looks better on TV to this armchair athlete.

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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Build The Wall – Around The White House

There used to be a phrase that went something like ‘Oh no, there goes the neighbourhood’. No doubt steeped in racism, as a reaction to the first Black family to move into a white community and therefore cause trouble and push down house prices, the saying has taken on a more comical tone with time.

I have a hunch that there are more than a few people in the US who feel the same way but on a much grander scale given the relatively new occupants of the White House.

It’s not a campy sitcom, but the administration of the United States of America. Sadly the current residents of this most famous of houses, and their cohorts have ruined the neighbourhood, as it were.

They say that good fences make good neighbours. Perhaps one of the most irksome characteristics of bad neighbours is their penchant for washing their dirty laundry in public. The latest addition to the 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW version of the Clampetts, Anthony Scaramucci, known affectionately as Mooch, has demonstrated that his modus operandi involves shaking things up, causing an uproar, often by issuing derogatory, shallow remarks about fellow ‘family’ members on social media.

But these folks aren’t just another family, and this not just another house. It’s the White House and Mooch is apparently the president’s new man. It’s not a campy sitcom, but the administration of the United States of America. Sadly the current residents of this most famous of houses, and their cohorts have ruined the neighbourhood, as it were.

Not the one planned for along the US Mexico border, but a high wall around the White House.

But I have no doubt that the proud tradition of strength and leadership, caring and fairness, balance and kindness can be restored to this house in time. Just not with these inhabitants.

Of course in the interim, to shield the population and the world from the infantile shenanigans that have become daily features, a wall can be built. Not the one planned for along the US Mexico border, but a high wall around the White House.

 

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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Humira Ad, Warranties and CYA

There is an ad for the arthritis medication Humira that runs on CNN very often. In the spot a group of volunteers – indicated by their yellow T-shirts – have gathered in a schoolyard to assemble some playground equipment. It is a warm, fuzzy kind of ad, the main character seems to be a pleasant woman on whom the camera focuses while she goes about pitching-in. There is no dialogue, just a narrator extolling the virtues of Humira for part of the ad, then listing the possible side effects for the rest.

But then the other foot fell. The playground equipment company called to verify delivery and set up a convenient time to have their technicians come by and assemble things.

Such an ad must help product sales or, I assume it would have been canned long ago. Therefore as a commercial it works, but on another level it sends the wrong message.

Several years ago a local grade school purchased some playground gear for the schoolyard. Just like the ad, a group of volunteers, I assume parents for the most part, met one Saturday and proceeded to assemble the equipment. They got into the local newspaper and a good time was had by all.  

But then the other foot fell. The playground equipment company called to verify delivery and set up a convenient time to have their technicians come by and assemble things. Upon being told there was no need to do that as a group of parents had taken on that task, the company informed the school that unless the installation was carried out by their staff, they would not be liable for any accidents or injuries. Essentially the warranty was nullified.

The school and parents could only grit their teeth and get on with what was required. So down came the playground equipment, along came the company technicians, and up went the equipment with all warranties and liabilities in place!

I would have thought that this procedure would have been made very clear to the school beforehand. We live in a CYA (Cover Your Ass) society which leads to some evidently redundant signage. For instance:

This is a tree and branch chipper made by the Wood/Chuck Chipper Corporation of Shelby, North Carolina. It is loud and powerful, reducing even significant size branches and limbs to sawdust in seconds.


And here is a bold yellow sign that you might think was unnecessary. But there it is because I suspect if someone ever did place a body part in the chipper feed chute, only to lose said body part, some lawyer would claim that his or her client had no idea you were not supposed to do that. There should be a sign at least. So now there is.

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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Kellyanne Conway’s CNN Caper

This morning I watched Counselor to President Trump Kellyanne Conway ramble on for over an hour on CNN. They should have changed the name to Conway Nonsense Network for the segment. It was not an interview, although Chris Cuomo did address numerous questions to  Conway, more of an exercise in avoidance and obfuscation on her part.

Conway’s caper this morning was nothing short of laughing up her sleeve – and by extension the Trump administration’s sleeve – at the U.S. electorate.

As a kid I used to hate it when a classmate was making a fool of himself; I would feel embarrassed for them. That same sense of unease was what I experienced today watching the ever-grinning Conway.

It is not uncommon for political spokespersons to nuance their replies to touchy questions. Conway choose to ignore them entirely only to later claim she answered them. It seems to me that the people of the United States deserve to have straight answers to straight questions from any spokesperson, Democrat, Republican or Independent.

Conway’s caper this morning was nothing short of laughing up her sleeve – and by extension the Trump administration’s sleeve – at the U.S. electorate. There was nothing nuanced about it, nothing shrewd or crafty about it. She merely responded to questions with questions or spoke about an entirely unrelated topic.

CNN must alter its approach to covering the Trump administration

No doubt exasperated, Cuomo reached a point when he allowed Conway to run on. Letting her pull out as much rope as she wanted to hang herself.

CNN must alter its approach to covering the Trump administration. Rather than pander to the White House for Conway to appear, the network should continue to cover the president but refuse to present her, or any other spokesperson without some sense that the person will not ignore questions and filibuster.

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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Alert Ready TV Ads and the Boy Who Cried Wolf

As we approach our 150th birthday on July 1st, Canadians can now feel a sense of security with the new Alert Ready warning system.

According to the website:

Alert Ready is designed to deliver critical and potentially life-saving alerts to Canadians through television and radio. The Alert Ready system is developed in partnership with federal, provincial and territorial emergency management officials, Environment and Climate Change Canada, The Weather Network and the broadcast industry to ensure you receive alerts immediately and know when to take action to keep yourself and your family safe.

On several occasions I have heard the alarm from the next room and rushed to see what form the impending doom would take. Of course it was just the ad – again.

All fine and dandy, just one problem. As this coordinated alarm system is new, the powers that be have been promoting it heavily on TV. In my house the television is on all day in the background, usually with a news channel. The ads that explain Alert Ready to the public feature the actual alarm sound and flashing red screen. On several occasions I have heard the alarm from the next room and rushed like a magnet to steel to see what form the impending doom would take. Of course it was just the ad – again.

So now when I hear the alarm I assume it is the ad and I just ignore it. What could go wrong? If there is a real disaster, I will have to rely on my current system; it has worked so far.

Remember Aesop? Remember the boy who cried wolf? May I suggest the good folks behind Alert Ready remove the alert sound from the adverts. Perhaps direct viewers to the website where the sound can be played at will.

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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Live PD, Field Sobriety Tests, David Brenner and ET

From time to time I like to watch the occasional police program on television. I don’t mean works of fiction, but the alleged ‘real’ thing. Shows like The First 48 are what I enjoy, although that has become very repetitive with time. The new kid on the block in the genre is a show called Live PD on A&E.

Could it be that there is one cop in particular who seems to enjoy the process, and who evidently has never met a camera he did not like?

The premise is that three in-studio hosts monitor a bunch of screens from police departments around the US as they go about their duty and when something of interest happens they switch to that feed. There are chases, accidents, routine stops and in Calvert County, Maryland a whole whack of field sobriety tests.

I don’t think that the good folks of Calvert County are any more likely to have a few too many and get behind the wheel of a car than anywhere else in the country, so why so many tests? Could it be that there is one cop in particular who seems to enjoy the process, and who evidently has never met a camera he did not like? One Tony Moschetto.

This guy could have his own A&E show and do nothing but field sobriety tests. He narrates the process as he goes along, cuts off the testee if they dare to ask a question and generally makes a whole palaver out of a relatively simple procedure. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for keeping drunks  off our roads. In fact I think zero tolerance might be the way to go. Why dither over 0.82 and 0.79 when lives may rest in the balance?     

… I am all for keeping drunks  off our roads. In fact I think zero tolerance might be the way to go. Why dither over 0.82 and 0.79 when lives may rest in the balance?   

But back to the field test. This guy makes people walk toe-to-heel for nine paces, then turn around and return. It takes him about an hour to explain the process, often speaking directly to the camera as if the driver isn’t there. Then he tells them to stand on one foot to check their balance. Imagine if you will a man or woman, who has not had a drink in two weeks gets pulled over for not signalling a turn and this guy decides to put on his show. The person gets out of the car on the side of the road with red and blue lights flashing like the Las Vegas Strip and an A&E camera crew in their face and they are expected to perform these usually simple tasks which, given the nervousness of being on national television, must take on Cirque du Soleil difficulty.

David Brenner and Johnny Carson

Once he has had his fill of camera time, only then does he bring out the determining factor, the roadside breathalyzer. In fairness he does explain that this test is not admissible in court and is only an indication of the person’s blood alcohol level. Why the hell did he not do that from the get go? What’s with all the silly line walking and balancing acts. Breathalyse first.

The late comedian David Brenner made a great observation when he pointed out what a bastard ET was. Those kids had him in the bicycle basket for the entire chase scene until, just as things looked dire, he put up his freaky gnarled finger and – voila – they were all airborne. Why did he make them cycle their arses off for six minutes and only then fly? This cop seems to share the same sadistic trait.

 

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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There’s got to be something Anthony Bourdain does not like

I enjoy watching Anthony Bourdain on CNN. His travel/food show is well done and he is a fine host. His sense of humour is subtle and witty, and his appreciation of fine food is second to none.

He is the opposite of Mikey in the old Life cereal advertisement who does not like anything (except of course Life).

He travels the world for his Parts Unknown series bringing interesting and exotic locations to the homes of everyday folks. While on his treks around the world he mixes with the locals and has no qualms about trying absolutely any food that may be presented to him. He is the opposite of Mikey in the old Life cereal advertisement who does not like anything (except of course Life).

The problem, I find, is that this detracts from his persona inasmuch as no matter what he eats, he always finds it wonderful, exquisite, superb. But – you knew that was coming – just once I would like to see an episode in which he tries a local delicacy and blurts out “Sweet jumping Jesus, that tastes Christ awful!”.

… just once I would like to see an episode in which he tries a local delicacy and blurts out “Sweet jumping Jesus, that tastes Christ awful!”.

Sooner or later,if only to give credence to the authenticity of Bourdain’s culinary acumen, they have got to air a show where he tries something that really goes against the grain. The show, and the host, would grow in my opinion if he were to bite into something, grimace, break out in a cold sweat, turn away from the camera and spit. Then, being the quintessential host, turn back to the camera and state unabashedly “Wombat testicles in a canary sauce seem to be an acquired taste”. Just once. I know I would be a fan for life. Although I do feel a little like the old Happy Days character Ralph Malph who would write in asking a particular TV program to feature a human sacrifice!

Instead he continues to globe-trot and eat whatever is put in front of him then rave about it. But one of these days …

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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Mainstream Media and Russian Hacking

One often hears the term ‘mainstream media’ these days. It is often used derogatorily by President Trump to indicate those news channels and publications that do not support him. It is not the job of any media outlet to support any president; rather the constant questioning is a necessary means of checks and balances. Without these in place, the public would be un- or wrongly informed.

Yet sometimes in an effort to be neutral, the mainstream media gets it wrong.

Yet sometimes in an effort to be neutral, the mainstream media gets it wrong. The current hot topic – Russia’s alleged hacking of last November’s US election – is a case in point. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Department of Homeland Security, in a joint statement said: “The U.S. Intelligence Community is confident that the Russian Government directed the recent compromises of e-mails from U.S. persons and institutions, including from U.S. political organizations. . . . These thefts and disclosures are intended to interfere with the U.S. election process.”

Whenever a network correspondent speaks about the hacking and how the investigation is ongoing and how there can now be little doubt that the election was hacked, they quickly blurt out “But not in such a way as to change the outcome”. They get that in so fast that it sometimes sounds as if they are saying the two things at once. Often they even lead with the statement that the election was clean, then go on to explain how it was hacked. To my ears it just does not ring true.

I believe that in truth they do, quite understandably, want to take some people’s guns away: those who have criminal records, those deemed mentally unfit, ideally those who have not shown that they are capable of safely handling a gun.

It reminds me of when these same media outlets talk about gun control. Just as they have finished illustrating the common sense of background checks, comes the disclaimer “Of course I don’t want to take anyone’s guns away. We have a Second Amendment’. I believe that in truth they do, quite understandably, want to take some people’s guns away: those who have criminal records, those deemed mentally unfit, ideally those who have not shown that they are capable of safely handling a gun (you have to pass a test to get a driver’s license, but anyone can obtain and use a gun).

So if I follow that logic, should I assume that many reporters and analysts, while discussing the hacking are really wanting to say “Anything is possible, the outcome of the election has been placed in serious doubt given the vast amount of Russian hacking”?

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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