Category Archives: Politics

The alternative to “Russiagate”

A couple of months ago, I had written a post here complaining about how “-gate” was an overused scandal term. “Russiagate” just ties Donald Trump to Richard Nixon, while the two presidencies were mired by dissimilar corruption.

Here’s the alternative to -gate that is appropriate here: сговор. It’s the Russian word for “collusion”. Trump сговор would be the appropriate title. There are other appropriate terms best used in Russian to label the situation, but сговор seems like the one most visually appealing (and easiest to type — though I’m using copy+paste). Treason (измена), scandal (скандал) and corruption (коррупция) are fitting but difficult to re-create in English typsets. Then again, I didn’t try the gesture… That’s fun and games for another time. Right now, or focus should be on the disaster that is Trump сговор.

EDIT: To change character sets changes the words vastly –

sgovor. – collusion
izmena – treason
skandal – scandal
korrupcija – corruption

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by | May 30, 2017 · 9:36 PM

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by | May 19, 2017 · 12:26 PM

Edmonton Oilers fans take over performance of “The Star Spangled Banner” Sunday, April 30 before game 3 [VIDEO]

Forget the politics for a second. Forget the anti-NAFTA scree coming from the White House. Go to sports, go to the National Hockey League and the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoff which are in their second round. This evening, the Edmonton Oilers host the Anaheim Ducks in game 3 of the series and fans at Rogers Place did a noteworthy feat: They took over the performance of the Star Spangled Banner before the game.

It’s common for fans to sing along with the national anthem before a game, but to take over the performance? To do it for another country’s anthem — this is Canada, ladies and gents, not a US market — is a grand gesture. It’s even bigger when there are strains in relations at the moment between countries.

 

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by | April 30, 2017 · 8:05 PM

I’ve drawn a political conclusion by way of the Piano Man

I’ve come to a conclusion: The waitress practicing politics while the businessmen slowly get stoned would be a more politically affluent and effective President of the United States than Donald J. Trump. Your move, Billy Joel.

John Fontana, April 30, 2017

 

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by | April 30, 2017 · 6:56 PM

Sounding protest of under-exposure of a high-level protest song

If you haven’t heard, Bruce Springsteen has partnered with an old chum and his group to protest President Donald J. Trump by way of a song. If you haven’t noticed, protests are becoming a mainstay and for the entertainment industry to show issue with Trump was to be expected.

There’s a failure here though. Not in the second day it’s public, at least.And no, this isn’t a partisan position, it’s simply something you have to do with music to really accomplish anything.

A message might be conveyed in “That’s What Makes Us Great” (the name of the song in question), but hearing that message in any way, shape or form only seems to be available via purchasing the song. Not from Google Play, the Apple Store, Amazon or another avenue, but from Joe Grushecky  (Springsteen’s partner in this). No preview of the song is available to listen to either.

In essence, this has caused buzz, it’s aused interest, it’s caused talking, you can find a ton of that through a simple Google search. What it’s also caused is musical silence unless you pay the piper first. It’s a 99 cent song, but a way to truly compel people to want to buy the thing is to let them hear some of it first.

It’s like that Top 100 list I published the other day: Plenty of music, plenty of music underexposed to the masses. The big difference here is tha a music titan is who is a key performer in the song. That alone will drive some sales while wait-to-see/hear stops others.

I’d guess it’s only a matter of time before this goes further in where it’s sold, or if one streaming site or another gets to air it. Until then, it’s just chatter for the masses.

EDIT April 25, 2017: posted late last week but lost in a mire of video/news coverage of the song — the song itself:

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Filed under Music / Lyrics, Politics

Right-versus-wrong and the ongoing gaffe of the Presidency of Donald Trump

I was not a fan of the last Republican president, George Walker Bush. There are plenty of posts in the history of this web site that show it. Partisanship and ideology were the key areas that divided me from the president known as Dubya. Partisanship seems to be the basis for defense of the current Commander in Chief of these United States, Donald J. Trump.

Partisanship, the political divide between Republicans and Democrats, has nothing to do with much of what is setting off alarm bells and upsetting citizens. Continue reading

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A scandal for sure, but I’m tired of the “-gate”

There’s another scandal – a long living one at that – taking placing Washington D.C. at the moment. While ties between Russia and the Donald J. Trump campaign/presidency are bubbling to the surface (with the what, why and how never to be clear if the mess continues as-is), the albatross that has this writer tapping out a blog entry isn’t focusing squarely on the scandal itself as so much the nickname that’s been commonly used so far.

Russiagate.

On a creativity level, this gets an F-minus, but it’s a long-running lack of originality and lack of creativity/intellect that’s tied –gate to a multitude of scandals through various administrations since the Watergate. The name Watergate itself is a hotel in the Washington D.C. area. A unique name tied to a unique scandal that ultimately cost President Richard Nixon his job.

Russiagate, though? It comes down to a bare-bones scandal name cop-out. There’s too much the public and press are only just learning (and probably a boatload more to come) so that may be a cause for a challenge in the nickname department. At the same time, the language difference and the participants in this affair are reason enough a –gate co-op is just blindly labeling the scandal.

Speaking of which, “скандал” is the Russian spelling for skandal. Not exactly a word for an absolutely unique nickname, now is it? Relatively the same pronunciation of “scandal” too. The thing is, it’s mixing in something Russian with American elements in a name that creates a more original and fitting nickname for the situation.

Now, if the Trump campaign was signing off on Russia’s hacking during the 2016 presidential campaign (an action that would favor Trump in the end), that’s cheating, no? “Cheat” in Russian (“обманывать”) is pronounced obmanyvat’. That one word alone seems more fitting than the -.gate co-opt. It’s also a lot less difficult to pronounce than the translation of treason (“государственная измен”
, pronounced gosudarstvennaya izmena).

In the end, I just wish the media could find something more unique to tie to a political scandal than doing the –gate co-opt. That co-opt, though, sure as shit doesn’t make it “fake news”, they’re just busier doing journalism and trying to uncover the truth (which isn’t an “alternate fact”). The general populous knows –gate is attached to a scandal.

 

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by | March 3, 2017 · 2:15 PM

A profound message in the age of grand divide

“You know, if every person watching this show — I don’t want to get too serious, but there are millions and millions of people watching right now — and if every one of you took a minute to reach out to one person you disagree with, someone you like, and have a positive, considerate conversation — not as liberals or conservatives, as Americans — if we could all do that, we can make America great again. We really could. It starts with us.”
Jimmy Kimmel in his monologue to start the 2017 Academy Awards

If Jimmy wrote this or someone else, he hit it out of the park in my humble opinion. The American populous has been greater than political rhetoric and intollerance before. It can do it again… But that’s up to us – the general American population – to do it.

To be socially parted by partisanship, by race, creed, color, gender, sexual preference, religious beliefs… That’s not America. We may all want the country to go down another route but the most important path for all is down the middle.

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by | February 27, 2017 · 1:17 PM

Regarding “Fake News”

When you’re president of the United States of America, you’re exposed to loads of data.  Most presidents are exposed to private data that the public never knows (intelligence briefings, security stuff). And the world roasts and laughs at stuff known as “fake news” – satire, humor – that comes out that mocks the administration, other political or public figures, or simply plays with stories of the world.

Now, if you’re reading that and thinking you’re missing out because you’re not compelled to laugh at CNN, MSNBC, CNBC, Fox News, CBS News, ABC News, the New York Times, the Washington Post, etc, etc, etc… I hate to break it to you but these are long time, distinguished news organizations that report facts (though partisan accusations are also tied to them). Their tenures are all multitudes longer than Donald J. Trump’s involvement in politics.

And when an administration builds up the concept of “alternate facts” which are outright lies, which is the epitome of “fake news”. It becomes laughable that someone of political stature pulls this act. It’s not that political people telling lies and pushing them on the public is foreign, it’s just when they are such broad lies and it’s a repeated folly that it starts to draw the ire of those who share information with the public (aka news organizations).

Right now as many sit on the side of Trump because he is a Republican and shares ideologies with them, it seems like partisanship is what carries the “fake news” label: “Because Donald Trump is on my side of the fray and the media keeps speaking down about him, they’re the enemy as that’s how Donald Trump has marked them.”  Never mind the fact they’re showing and repeating his own actions which leads to the ire from Trump himself.

Real “fake news” can be outright dismissed because it holds no sway or bearings; they’re dismissive, unimportant lies that get brushed over or ignored. That happens every day of the week in this world at the public level and in the media (via comedy).  This brings me to intelligence leaks and Trump both going nuts and downplaying the data (or attempting to) as “fake news”.  If it truly was fake, irrelevant news, why did it lead to the resignation of a high profile member of the administration? Why is the leak now sought by Trump and put down by him?

This isn’t attempting to be a partisan attack, people. If you are on the political right and see truth in “fake news” labeling from Trump, what you’re seeing is Donald Trump upset that he isn’t getting played up while his actions as president have been divisive (the immigration executive order) and non-secure (Mar-A-Lago last week), let alone in conflict with allies around the globe along with more security issues nationally (U.S. / Russia ties on the sly). That’s not something to side with, not with how he’s done it. It’s also not a reason to consider news “fake”.

For those of us who want attention and to be in the spotlight, it hurts to have a negative be what the attention happens to be. That’s Donald Trump’s reaction to news coverage. His chaotic path (immigration, the Yemen attack, the anti-environmental scree, his dislike of due process, etc and how he handles them) draws the negative reaction. That’s not a partisan reaction; it’s a reaction to a president forcing his hand (with little involvement in the process) during his first 30 days in power.

“Fake news”? Y’know, for all the anti-Saturday Night Live messages that Trump has tweeted, he’s co-opting a label from two decades ago when Macdonald hosted “Weekend Update” on the show. Macdonald would spew the line before he started his dignified-yet-comedic act. It was done for humor sake.

Trump’s bellowing of “fake news”? He doesn’t like how he’s framed and it paints him in a negative light – because the story and facts (not “alternate facts”) frame the picture as just that: negative.

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The day when the Jose Gaspar is overseen by Cap’n Jack Sparrow

The Gasparilla season in Tampa, Florida is forthcoming. That’s weeks (if not a month) of civic events around Tampa tied to the grandiose kick-off celebration event: the invasion flotilla of locals, politicians and civic leaders and the “invasion” of Tampa, with the city being claimed by the pirates to officially start the whole season off.

And, yet, it’s just local. It’s not a recognized event nationally. This seems contradictory because there’s an odd timing coincidence: The invasion can also be deemed as a physical representation of the tourist season. From February through April, much of the state of FLA is invaded by that dubious, pirating lot of vacationers and spring training nuts who spend money and relax while also crowding up roadways and areas of commerce.  A pirate invasion? How about snowbird invasion?

(Note: If you couldn’t tell, I’m playing around here with negatives; tourism is a grand part of Florida)

The NFL’s annual championship rite, the Super Bowl, has been played in Tampa more than a few times, and while the game has begun being played later in January and now February, there was never a schedule shift of Gasparilla and the pirates to coincide the hype of Super Bowl Weekend… While that’s a grand marketing failure, it also makes sense: Tampa Bay is represented by the Buccaneer franchise in the NFL after all. Forcing a pirate image / entity down the league’s throat when it’s a celebration of two teams playing for the Lombardi Trophy… Well, it seems like a bad move that will be hit with criticism nationally.

That doesn’t mean always keep the damn thing hoaye, local and low key though.

I’m not here to lobby for much, but there is a point I do want to make that could raise local leaders’ thoughts on the invasion event that earns it a spot in national attention in a positive, tourism-inviting sense. Since the release of “Pirates of the Caribbean” by Disney Films, and with actor Johnny Depp’s has embraced his Captain Jack Sparrow. I’ve wondered why we haven’t heard of Depp being in town for this Gasparilla invasion. Not necessarily in-costume (which he seldom dawns for more intimate events) but just out of his personal “connection” to piracy (in show, not in plundering and looting) by way of Sparrow.

The fact Disney is so invested 90 miles away adds a little touch to the idea. It’s not like Depp has to stick around longer than he wants to (unless he’s in-character). I also want to say Tampa residents/politicians or civic strong-guys shouldn’t actively push to make this happen, or if they do to not make a public marketing push (“See Johnny Depp at Gasparilla!!”). That turns down and ruins the surprise of something like this happening.

Gasparilla is this Saturday, January 28. I don’t expect the presence of Cap’n Jack Sparrow this year… It would be grand if some other star (who is not a local resident) would make their presence known.

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