Tag Archives: media

Flynn,the Grammy Awards, Trump and American Me….

I am posting this blog post on Valentines Day with only the very slightest nod to love, friendship, the life of St. Valentine, the history of the holiday or the specific women I have loved and nearly loved in my life.  I put a Happy Valentine’s Day balloon on my parents door and gave the aunt with whom I share a roof a smaller balloon. After leaving the  library where I am typing this a friend who went to school with Sean Spicer in high school and is temporarily without a car is going to buy me a hamburger. I did send one woman I actually have care for a Valentine’s Day note online but it is not a romantic day. This all falls into the American Me part of the post. I also changed the spark plug on my lawn mower and cut and vacuum raked the large lawn around the house where I live for much of the day. But politics is much on the mind of many Americans and it is much on my mind as well.

Michael Thomas Flynn, Mike T. Flynn, has resigned his White House appointment as National Security Adviser.  He was the 25th National Security Adviser serving from January 20 to February 13, 2017. Many people including me, believed that to some degree he and the vision he laid out in book The Field of Fight: How We Can Win the Global War Against Radical Islam and Its Allies, co-authored with Michael Ledeen,  laid out a key component or sets of key components of President Donald (yes John !) Trump’s military philosophy and grand strategy. Some, like me, who believe such things, really do not know the book as well as we should. Flynn was only technically in office since the Presidential Inauguration on January 20, 2017 but he has served in the transition position more or less since the election. I have said in a recent previous post here that he and Bannon, De Vos and a few others may represent the first real members of the far right to have key roles in an administration in many years. But Flynn served as Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency under President Obama, was reared in a family of Democrats in Rhode Island and had many moderate credentials. He has a Rhode Island connection in common with Sean Spicer who was both a fellow  Rhode Islander himself and unlike Flynn attended the very distinguished Catholic boarding school — Portsmouth Abbey in that State. Spicer, Flynn and Bannon all had in common an Irish Catholic background, military experience and service as well as appearing to challenge the political correctness of our time as a real threat. Now Flynn is out of the loop. that will be a reality which will be visited again to some degree over time. Spicer has said that Flynn has been fired by President Trump.  However, it is also reported that President Trump had no particular problem with Flynn’s initial contact with the Russians and was aware of it.  The strong and tough man seems to have struggled awhile against the inevitable. But at the time of this posting his resignation is a well established fact. One has to ask what this may portend for the future of the Trump Administration, it seems that the way they have been doing business has a cost and Flynn has paid and himself become part of that cost.

So that is the big news, as Confirmations continue in the Senate and the President seems to be getting mostly what he wants we are also seeing that he can lose a key figure who never needed a Senate confirmation. The follow through from the  transition and the new Trump era is moving forward with some alacrity.  But there is also plenty of committed resistance, close scrutiny and outlandish attacking going on with the trump Administration at its center.  The sense of many Americans, again such as myself, that America needs a dynamic new direction, does not assure the Trump Administration of broad support for his policies and initiatives. He will have to build that support and confront the criticism and deal with the costs and outcomes  of the things he does. The change in the Supreme Court that will come with appointing Gorsuch to fill Scalia’s seat should be one conservative for another. It really does seem to me, a Catholic Christian, that there ought to be a Protestant Christian on the court and Gorsuch is such a judge and such a man. But there will be acrimony and Gorsuch has already said that Trump’s comments about the US judiciary were disheartening.

Disheartened is a state of mind which I know very well. I am so very disheartened at so many levels. My resources are strained, my options constrained and my prospects few. That colors my view of the world and of the country. Lots of people are disheartened about their careers, professions and communities these days. Perhaps some of the anger associated with this time comes from such an overall position in life and in their minds.

This post is largely about American me… It is less of a personal post than the last one but it still carries some personal baggage pretty well.  This is of course my personal blog. One cannot help but feel  that the Trump administration is being savaged by much of the media  when one turns on the recent television broadcasts of important major media events in many cases that  have included the Golden Globes, several episodes of Saturday Night Live, The Grammy Awards and any number of other events. America has also seen a wide variety of demonstrations and protests and the social media networks are buzzing with anti- Trump activity. Although there are crowds supporting Trump and there are many on the social media supporting him as well. But the striking thing is how much flack he is taking from the media. We cannot say for sure how much it all matters.  The President seems to be making adjustments for the struggle, and he still catalogs perceived slights from the media. His nominations seem likely to get through the Senate and Flynn seems not likely  to represent the coming collapse of the administration any time soon. On the other hand there is trouble and plenty of signs of it.

There is a television series on public Television called American Experience which is at the least kind measure  a pretty good show, with a broad title which allows them to choose a wide variety of topics and subjects for the many episodes. I am sure the producers of the American Experience can predict the course of the show into the near future.  But the   ) of the American experience that all of us will have to live is not so very easy to predict. The challenge of this moment in history is very real. I am invited to go to the confirmation of my nephew in Dallas in a couple of weeks where my sister works at a Catholic school. I hope to go, but my resources and energy are too limited for me to feel really enthusiastic about the trip even for such a good cause and reason. I hear a lot of Catholics worried about the mistreatment of Mexicans especially but also those hoping the Trump administration will bring new protections for religious freedoms.    But I am largely preoccupied by the many crises in my own personal life. My own American Experience is precarious and largely bad these days.

I had two friends nominated for Grammys this year. Barry Ancelet and Sam Broussard were nominated as were other Cajun artists in the regional roots category which my ethnic community and the associated Creoles frequently dominate. I consider the distinguished Professor Ancelet a friend although just barely. Hewrote the lyrics and the Warren Perrin’s brother in law (Mary Broussard Perrin’s brother) wrote and performed the music. nwith they nor any Cajun artist won the category this year. I also have a friend named Julie Yannatta  who was my study group partner at Tulane Law School    She has founded Be Why or Being the Why which has produced and supported various recording artists and their works. She participated in the win of her artist White Sun for beast New Age recording. Julie and I have drifted in and out of touch but she is  definitely a friend. I was happy for her and disappointed for Ancelet. I had been especially thing of Julie partly because she was sick and I was worried about her and whether the event would worsen her recovery. While she was not breathing well Maddie Briann Aldridge daugheter of Jamie Lynn Spears who was my Facebook Friend for a good while and who is the sister a multi Grammy winning Britney Spears who is also form Louisiana — little Maddie was fighting for breath and life as well after an ATV flipped over and held her under water. Both people I care about seem to be OK. Britney was not in evidence at the Grammys and posted this about that time:

britney-on-maddie

 

So there was a fundamental sense of relief as I watched the Grammys. But as I watched the show and found out results on social media I enjoyed the entertainment but  was very disappointed at the absence of these categories and others from the television spectacle broadcast on CBS.  While the Grammy Awards Show could not be bothered to cover large portions of recording excellence they could make room for a full out assault on Trump as a political and media figure using political media and music tools. This reached its zenith in the performance of the Tribe Called Quest. That is a lot of acrimony so early in a regime.

So this is the environment in which a new  Justice and a new Cabinet are being introduced to America. As is almost always the case I am not so much reaching the end of the post but simply stopping it. This American me wishes all of you a Happy Valentine’s Day — although I have had happier ones, myself. There is evidence of America in a worrisome place and I cite a great deal of it in this blog now and then. But people are finding it easier not to choose us, key grad schools see foreign student leave when they seldom did before, but the trend is broader than that. American me finds it hard to feel optimistic but still does not completely despair.

 

 

America and American Perceptions

I think the perception of America at home and abroad is changing. Some people have experienced real change in the way they look at their day to day lives. But that sort of change has always been around. We all live evolving lives.

Americans celebrate with family and friends when not working as I often have on holidays. That is America too.

Americans celebrate with family and friends when not working as I often have on holidays. That is America too.

America is made up of all the people, institutions and places that exist within the country. It is made up of the culture, society and subcultures of these United States of America. There is no doubt that the American experience is a varied and diverse experience.  But Ebola, ISIS, military cutbacks, lower labor force participation,  tensions with Russia, struggles to cope with change in Asia and the lack of real growth in many sectors  are issues which force people to reconsider where America is and where it is going. This blog has been a place to view certain problems in our country since its inception. In today’s post I want to deal with perception itself and the possible crisis of credibility in our discussions.  There will be no grand conclusions here but there will be an effort to  get us in a mindset for meaningful discussions by examining two sets of current events.

To safeguard liberty we must be able to adapt to the changing times.

To safeguard liberty we must be able to adapt to the changing times.

But what is fundamental to America’s well-being more than to most nations is an ability to deal truthfully with present conditions. If that is really at risk then so is a great deal more. There is a lot of diversity amid the States in this Union.  I am well aware of Louisiana and what pertains to Louisiana. I see the world from my viewing station on this State. This is true for many other people in other States as well.

Our ritual foods of Mardi Gras are on my mind more than Borscht

Our ritual foods of Mardi Gras are on my mind more than Borscht

There is a lot going on in America at any given time. Americans work hard every day to make their mark and do what is right as best they can. The do this in all walks of life including athletics. Excellence in athletics  was recognized near where I live yesterday among all the negative news on the same day.  But there are real crises in our country.

Where I went before and after Steubenville and received my degree.

The University where I went before and after Steubenville and received my degree.

It is true that I have seldom been accused of having too rosy a view of things but there are two very different stories in today’s news which remind me of the importance I place on credibility. The need for credible sources of information and real discussion of situations by those who make decisions.

We do have multiple healthcare workers infected by one cooperative Ebola patient in a hospital in the USA.  We have to live with who we are, what we have and what constitutes our situation.Early on people were assure medical facilities in America could safely handle Ebola and now the same people like Dr. Richard Besser of ABC are asserting the need to use specialized hospitals to deal with Ebola. Ebola in Dallas came with one cooperative patient. The risks by many other theoretical possibilities are vastly greater and we are much less than ready for all possible risks if only specialized hospitals can safely confront the disease. On the other hand, the good news is that the first nurse — Ms. Pham — is still showing signs of making a good recovery in the general hospital environment which many are losing their faith in all of a sudden.

My nephew Isaac in an American hospital shortly after birth

My nephew Isaac in an American hospital shortly after birth

I am as critical of the American healthcare system as almost anyone I know. But America does have a vast wealth in general hospital systems and the services around them. huge numbers of educated and well trained people and many resources from technology to insurance are committed to these institutions. These hospitals are not all called general hospitals but when America faces challenges as potentially vast and terrible as Ebola could become, or chemical weapons attacks or anything vast I think the CDC, the military, the insurance industry and other institutions must think of coming to support the general hospitals of our country with ancillary services and expertise. We cannot face such vast challenges without them.

my Insurance Certification Course Diploma

my Insurance Certification Course Diploma

It is no secret that I am of the opinion that America must evolve to face the challenges of the future. Readers of this blog will know this well. Nor have I been shy about discussing possible radical change here and here. I have also discussed healthcare at length. The post linked in the last sentence is only one of many. But we do have many fine resources that must be respected even as they are reorganized to meet new challenges. Ebola is not a unique situation in an absolute sense — it is part of the whole world of healthcare challenges  we must face.

So we come back to what more of what makes America one nation most — national security and military issues. We have a very significant story to think about right now. We need a strong and supported military. But don’t we also need to have discussions based on the truth.

My cousin Severin was killed in battle in Afghanistan.

My cousin Severin was killed in battle in Afghanistan.

 

The second story is that after hundreds of debates and articles and elections to determine all kinds of things we may find that all of these exchanges were based on lies. There may have been weapons of mass destruction found in Iraq after all. It may have mattered quite a lot all this time and have been kept secret. The US government may have found WMD in Iraq as the Bush administration promised — thus that prediction was not a lie. However, they may have lied about finding the weapons (only keeping up morale makes since as a motive). This is now coming out as we worry about ISIS having weapons from Iraq as well as the vast caches of Syrian weapons that are known to exist. The future must be faced in discussions based on the truth. That is what I have always believed and still do believe.

My family stopped at a Battleship park after one vacation and I have a long interest in studying and observing military history.

My family stopped at a Battleship park after one vacation and I have a long interest in studying and observing military history.

When we look at Ferguson, Missouri and at the approval ratings of the President and Congress we know people are unhappy about the state of things. Add to that those affected by all the many crises on the news more directly than you or I may be.  We have a big election coming up and I am glad for it. I intend to vote. But Americans must demand more truth and have a more complete political discussion sooner rather than later.  Personally, I have much to do besides worry about the nation and so do most Americans. But I think we have challenges that demand a larger than usual response.

I look forward  to seeing how our politicos respond to this  set of crises. I know I will be watching and some of you reading this will be as well.

Blogs and Newspapers, Among Other Things

August 2, 2010 was the most viewed day on this blog up to now. One can’t help wondering however if someone’s pet happened to keep clicking the button on a computer. I have written for paid by stand and subscriber publications without advertising. I have also written for traditional American newspapers paid by both advertising and purchase and I have written for papers given out for free but funded by advertising. All of those give one a greater connection to reality than a blog like this does. First of all one can drive around and see one;s  work on newsstands and on tables and in hands and there is no doubt that it has been distributed. I know a lot of people and some of them are quite honest. However, I also know some of the most committed deceivers around and it is not inconceivable that a few of them could click a way at my blog to run up my markers. There is always some advantage to distorting one’s opponent’s view of  reality.  

It is also true that this blog is more personal even than a column.  I really do whatever the heck I want. One joy of newspaper writing is that even a truly honest person (and lets face it few of us are always in that category) can usually blame some of  his or her work’s worst faults on someone else.  Here,  I could clearly do better on almost any given measure if I personally undertook what was necessary to improve.

Another big difference in this blog is that I can and do add lots of links on some days and everyone reading it can choose to click-through to other sites. While in magazines and newspapers mostly one must deal with all one has to say in one place.

Another advantage (and also a disadvantage) is that I can go back and correct my blog posts here. There is not that chance with newspaper and magazine articles.

All of these little differences add up to create an enormously different experience. The differences are even greater and more numerous than I have suggested. Here a wide variety of my personality traits and writing interests are brought together in one place. In this blog I lack the attraction provided by numerous other writers, photographers and editors contributing to the work each day.

But the physical limits are the most different of all. There is so little certainty about where, how and if one’s writing and other work is being read and scanned. In some cases however, this can be a real blessing. One hears from someone who enjoyed a piece they would not likely ever have seen in a printed venue. It seems to me that all mass media have their place in the world.

We really sort of need film, newspapers, magazines, radio, blogs and other venues to make the world we have become function. I am adjusting to blogging a little at a time.  Whether making that adjustment will turn out to have been a good or bad idea and process will not be clear to me for a long time.  The blog provides a great outlet for expression for me right now. It will take a bit longer to see whether it provides a really good means of communication.

America in Afghanistan Today

A cousin of mine named Severin Summers lost his life in uniform far away.

Met death from an explosive device perhaps with hostile fire as well.

Every day someone dies in a war our media must daily display.

Regarding that, I believe folks should know why some say war is hell.

In Helmund, Kabul and near Baluchistan as well as across lines

Camps house our soldiers and others who watch for mines.

America is now at war with Al Quaeda and the Taliban as well.

 

In Manhattan’s island there is still a hole of woes and pain.

Not many forget completely the human and concrete rain.

 

A graveyard of Empires they call this land of Afghan folks.

Frontier it gave to the British Indian Raj so diverse and vast.

Great Persia invested and fortified a rule that did not last.

Hordes inexorable left their dead there in snowy cloaks.

As we know the Soviet Union lost fire and much gold there,

Now that does not mean these empires gained nothing fair.

It does not mean there were no rulers who did some good.

Still it does mean that risk must be fully understood.

There is a royal family, socialists and secular democrats too.

As far as I know we have not linked these with the tribes,

Now we could build a really Afghan client not with bribes.

 

There may be a need to locate some expats for bases rich,

Or raise up an Afghan Cavalry with horse, hawk and bitch.

Digging jobs and agricultural reforms may be needed

And we may need cheap loans to farms well seeded.

Yet there are starting points where we’ve succeeded.

Healthcare and the Media Blitz

Sunday, President Barry Soetero -Barak Hussein Obama appeared on numerous talk shows (five) on US television. He then appeared on CBS on the Late Show with David Letterman on Monday night.  Obama took up not only the two and a half guest slots which regulars know form the core of the Letterman show but also took the place of the musical guest at the end and just about everything except the monologue at the begining. Certainly, he is an intimidating media figure. ALthough I have a larger audience on Facebook than here and have been published and braodcast I can honestly say that one has to compare that vast media exposure to one’s tiny little share of the blogosphere here. I do of course appreciate the readership I have and it does not always follow that large numbers are the biggest factor in determining the influence of words and ideas. Small readerships can spread ideas and can also grow into large readerships.

But what does this saturation of television mean and portend?

 I am guessing it means that he feels he can influence the agenda better by using that technique. Perhaps he is also punishing Fox by excluding them from the live presence. Perhaps he is flexing his communication muscle against his critics in media. Truly I do not know. But I do believe that it must be seen as highly significant.

I hear that Sarah Palin has been invited to speak to about 1000 investors in Hong Kong. I find that also to be significant. We are seeing her go from the millions on the campaign to 1000 but also see that millions will see this as part of her education in global affairs. Her 1000 can be a step forward to a better position. The President’s large audience can be heading for the bottom ot it may pay off well. I do think it is a gamble. Not a high stakes gamble but a gamble nonetheless.