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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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

trump12

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

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+

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+

 

Surreal: Trump, Russian Hacking and Life Imitates Art

trumpputin

There’s an old saying about a person who is too close, too involved in a situation to see it as it really is. It is often said that they can’t see the forest for the trees. As we put 2016 behind us and approach the January 20th inauguration of now President Elect Donald Trump I can’t help but sense that many of my dear neighbours to the south are themselves too close to the situation to see what may be happening.

Is life imitating art?

The Merriam-Webster word of the year for 2016 is surreal, based on the number of times it was researched on their site. I find what is happening in the United States almost unbelievable, but worse the fact that no one seems to be doing anything about it is indeed surreal.

I suspect that had someone written a geopolitical espionage best seller about Russia infiltrating the electoral process of the United States in an effort to alter the outcome by having their candidate elected against all odds it would be quickly pointed out that it was a work of fiction and could never actually occur. Yet by many accounts that is precisely what happened last November. Is life imitating art?

Is it possible that the whole Donald Trump candidacy and election are part of a long thought out plot to merge the two countries into a super-superpower?

Is it possible that the whole Donald Trump candidacy and election are part of a long thought out plot to merge the two countries into a super-superpower? Is Trump Putin’s man in Washington? They sure seem to be buddies. Trump is a businessman who makes no bones about his ability to make deals. Can this be the biggest deal of his life? One that would see the United States succumb to Russia.

If Trump was being his usual bombastic self and rooting President Obama on in his expelling of Russian diplomats it would be more normal. But he seems to side with the Russians at every turn, even after all have pointed out the Russian meddling.

The whole election campaign and outcome seem surreal, but no less surreal, at least when viewed from a few steps back, is the apparent lack of reaction to this egregious act by Russia on a sovereign nation’s democracy.

But worse is the media approach which is to fall all over themselves in an effort to stifle any notion that the hacking had any influence on the election outcome.

The whole election campaign and outcome seem surreal, but no less surreal, at least when viewed from a few steps back, is the apparent lack of reaction to this egregious act by Russia on a sovereign nation’s democracy. I write apparent because of course I have no insight into the secret workings of the US government.

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+

Hey VP-Elect Pence: Lighten Up, Happy!

hamilton

The kerfuffle over the statement – see below – read to VP-Elect Mike Pence at the end of Friday night’s performance of Hamilton: An American Musical is lost on me. No matter how often I read it or listen to it I can’t for the life of me find anything offensive or harassing.

Well, it seems to me that since you become the VP-Elect your days of going to the theatre like an average citizen are gone

As has been reported the Trump people are outraged at the gall of the performers to single out Pence while he was out for an evening at the theatre. Well, it seems to me that since you become the VP-Elect your days of going to the theatre like an average citizen are gone. You are not a school commissioner, you are going to be the VP of the United States of America, get used to it. If you want to do ‘normal’ things you should never have accepted the invitation to run, and you should call it quits now.

Thank you so much for joining us tonight. You know, we had a guest in the audience this evening. And Vice President-elect Pence, I see you’re walking out but I hope you will hear us just a few more moments. There’s nothing to boo here ladies and gentlemen. There’s nothing to boo here, we’re all here sharing a story of love.

We have a message for you, sir. We hope that you will hear us out. And I encourage everybody to pull out your phones and tweet and post because this message needs to be spread far and wide, OK?

Vice President-elect Mike Pence, we welcome you and we truly thank you for joining us here at Hamilton: An American Musical, we really do. We, sir, we are the diverse America who are alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not protect us — our planet, our children, our parents — or defend us and uphold our inalienable rights, sir. But we truly hope that this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and to work on behalf of all of us. All of us.

Again, we truly thank you for sharing this show. This wonderful American story told by a diverse group of men [and] women of different colors, creeds, and orientations.

I have more time for the argument that while the statement was fairly benign, the platform was incorrect. But even that falls short in my opinion. Had the cast chastised Pence for any of his past then I might agree, but the statement was positive. Lighten up, Happy

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+

“All we are saying, is give Trump a chance.” Good Idea? I Think Not

Yana Paskova/Getty Images

Yana Paskova/Getty Images

I understand the whole concept of party unity after a divisive leadership campaign. The tradition is for the losers in a leadership race to endorse the winner thereby making the election unanimous. All warm and fuzzy, rah-rah, all for one and one for all, let’s beat the other party in the general election.

The usual US election campaign is a battle for votes between two parties who hold different positions on the right/left, conservative/liberal, republican/democratic continuum. Variations on a theme if you will.

I can even grasp a country rallying behind a president-elect in an effort at unity. No matter how many candidates may have run for top spot, when one wins we all come together under his or her umbrella. All things being equal.

But that camaraderie only rings true when the campaign has been normal. Clashes between candidates about policies, leadership styles, and backgrounds can be smoothed over for the betterment of the country. The usual US election campaign is a battle for votes between two parties who hold different positions on the right/left, conservative/liberal, republican/democratic continuum. Variations on a theme if you will. But the most recent US election was anything but normal. I am finding it difficult to process the ‘I’ll give him a chance” approach this time round.

continuum

While I understand the concept, I find that some of the things Donald Trump said and did during his campaign and before he ran are so egregious that the usual rally around the president-elect attempts ring hollow. The fact that his first few appointments have fuelled the polarization of the country rather than make inroads and attempts at healing only serves to make giving him a chance even more difficult.

Perhaps right-wing wack job Ann Coulter and Steve Bannon could bed-down in one of Trump’s hotels. Call it a bed-in for a chance. “All we are saying, is give Trump a chance.”

But of course there remains the fact that the election is over, done and dusted, no amount of protesting, no calls to do away with the Electoral College will have any effect other than perhaps as an outlet for frustration. But to me accepting the outcome does not equate with getting behind Trump. I think I’d be more likely to find myself protesting in the streets and hoping for an early impeachable gaffe from him than giving him a chance.

Perhaps right-wing wack job Ann Coulter and Steve Bannon could bed-down in one of Trump’s hotels. Call it a bed-in for a chance. “All we are saying, is give Trump a chance.”

One interesting note is that Professor Allan Lichtman who has correctly predicted the last nine US presidential elections, including the most recent, also predicts that President Trump will be impeached. Food for thought.

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+