Presidential Decorum a Relic of the Past

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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.

US_FlagThey 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, the office of the president, can be so egregiously degraded by President Trump without a similar outpouring of disgust.

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.

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+

Trump Losing Grip, Soon The Funnel Be Over

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?

No this is full-fledged ego-fed looney-tunes, and it’s running the biggest country in the world.

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.

But what’s worse than Trump being a wacko is that millions of people knowingly voted for him.

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.

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+

Take Back The U.S.A.

TakeBackUSA

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.

… those in the majority appear to be taking a weather approach; as in, everybody talks about it, but nobody does anything.

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.

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.

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.

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+

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+

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+

Living on the Cusp of Breaking News

Cusp

:  point, apex: such as :  a point of transition (as from one historical period to the next) :  turning point; also :  edge, verge on the cusp of stardom

As I sit here north of the United States I am struck on a daily basis by the political goings-on of my neighbour. The still hard to believe election of Donald J. Trump as president has provided more ‘Breaking News’ items in the first 75 days than perhaps any other election. CNN and MSNBC are constantly bombarding viewers with ‘Breaking News’ to the point where it has lost it’s effect.

There was a time, way back several months ago, when the ‘Breaking News’ graphic and audio actually meant something big had happened – or was still happening. Now at the top of every hour the next segment begins with the ‘Breaking News’ opening. It has become something akin to the little boy who called wolf, except, of course, in CNN’s case where they are calling Wolf Blitzer.

We as viewers are getting used to living on the cusp of ‘Breaking News’. Please dial it back so that when there is in fact something new and of substance we won’t ignore it. News can only break once; it can develop for days, but it only breaks once.

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+

Tom Brady’s Missing Super Bowl Jersey Located

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Are you aware  that the mystery of Tom Brady’s missing Super Bowl jersey has been solved? When asked, President Trump said he was certain Tom would want him to have it. Seems he got it by issuing an Executive Order.

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+

White House Press Secretary Not Striking a Balance

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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+

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+

#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+