Here's Something: The swamp is definitely draining

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Welcome to another edition of Boos and Bravos, where we skewer the daft and uplift the worthy:

BRAVO to President Trump’s brush-off of Time magazine’s duplicitous advances. According to Trump’s tweet, the magazine offered to make the 45th president the man of the year if he agreed to a big photo shoot and in-depth interview. Trump said he could do without the hassle and passed on the once-prestigious title.

This shows me Trump exposes the media, even when it doesn’t benefit him; he doesn’t care about titles and status as much as we think he does, and Time has the audacity to wheel and deal with potentials before naming an honoree. The world of the elites is all hogwash and horse drivel, even the naming of a person of the year. How sad. Trump is undeniably the person of the year, for all he’s done and sparked. Love him or hate him, Time will look like fools if they don’t name Trump man of the year, because no one else deserves the title more.

The more I see of Trump and his willingness to swim upstream and go against the grain, the more I like him. Even liberals should appreciate a president who doesn’t go along with the elites to get along with the elites. And though he has always been rich and famous and influential – elite in every way, except for attitude – he actively undermines them. And we, the proletariat taxpayers, love that about him.

Speaking of Mr. Trump, he earns another BRAVO for, so far, reining in North Korea. What happened to those missile tests, Mr. Never Trumper? While Obama was powerless, Trump has stifled them.

We all know Trump is hot and cold when it comes to the little rocket man. He’s threatened, berated or befriended Kim Jong Un on various occasions, which is perplexing both to Americans and, I imagine, Kim. But that ability to shift gears quickly is what I like about Trump. He is practical. He responds to the current situation; he’s not defined or limited by what he’s said in the past. And folks trying to define his “doctrine” will have a hard time because it changes so often. Today’s crazy world demands someone with the kind of situational pliability Trump tends to employ. So far, so good.

BOO to my car’s right front drive axle, which decided to break on Thanksgiving Day with my mother, nephew and his new wife in the car. But where we broke down, at a restaurant where we were picking up our Thanksgiving meal, was the perfect place because the home of a longtime church friend was across the street.

Norm Steadman, at more than 90 years old, was just finishing up Thanksgiving dinner with his own family when I walked across the road and up to his back door with cries of help and despair. Well, the scene wasn’t that dramatic, but Norm, ever the helpful angel, needed no arm-twisting or promises of monetary reward to drive my family members and me safely back home.

We were all thankful not only for the good fortune of breaking down in a safe place, but also for a trusted friend coming to our aid. Norm probably thought his act was a small gesture of friendship, but we all agreed it was huge and full of God’s providence and presence.

BOO to all the men – journalists especially – being accused of and admitting to sexual harassment. National Public Radio and Charlie Rose, two of my favorite news sources, have become embroiled in the scandal that expands almost daily. I admire the women for coming forward and am especially surprised by Rose, who is one of the best interviewers the business has ever known.

When I get home from work, I usually watch Rose and his guest, or guests, banter back and forth, with Rose always asking questions that the viewer would ask if he or she could. Unfortunately, I’ve noticed over the years that he had a tendency to be particularly tough on conservatives, while going easy on liberals, but I nevertheless appreciated his curiosity and probing manner. And I especially admired him for speaking truth to power (and seeking truth from power) during news-making interviews with despots such as Bashar Al-Assad and Vladimir Putin.

I’m not sure if we’ll see Rose seated around his iconic interview table – where the viewer enjoyed a figurative seat as well – ever again. But he was one of the best, and it’s a shame he ruined it with intimidation of subordinates, which is the root of sexual harassment. It’s nice to see these people held accountable, though. The swamp is definitely draining, toads and all.

John Balentine, a former managing editor for Sun Media Group, lives in Windham.

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  • Just Sayin’

    Wow. Interesting claims here. You celebrate the president’s ‘decision’ to turn down Time’s person of the year award, but there’s a lot of evidence to suggest that’s not the real story, not the least of which is that Time itself says that the president’s claim is false and that they extended no such offer. And he turned it down because of the photo shoot and the interview. Wouldn’t we expect anyone named person of the year to have a photoshoot and an interview? Isn’t there perhaps some other reasons the president might be reluctant to sit down for an in depth interview these days? And of course there’s the fact he didn’t turn it down last year, or the fact that he had a fake vanity cover of himself of Time’s person of the year hanging up in one of his clubs not that long ago? There’s nothing definitive there, but certainly enough to make one question that Trump really got the offer and so casually dismissed it.

    On a side note here, trying to claim that Trump is ditching elites and supporting the proles couldn’t be further from the truth. He’s stocked his cabinet with millionaires and billionaires, treats himself and them as persons above the law, and is pushing a tax plan that will ultimately raise taxes on the poorest 50% of the nation in order to send more money to the top 1%. Those facts speak for themselves, but now to move on:

    As for north korea, there’s no proof that it was trump’s bellicose posturing that ended the nuclear tests. In fact, several of north korea’s more aggressive actions seemed to come -in response- to the president shooting his mouth off on twitter. Meanwhile I’ve read multiple reports that suggest that North Korea’s underground nuclear test site may have been damaged in one of the more recent test, and is no longer usable. That’s certainly a more plausible explanation of how the tests ended, but harder to give credit to our tweeter-in-chief for.

    Lastly, I do agree with the Boo against sexual harassment, though I have to question the extra note about journalists. I can’t say I’ve yet heard of many journalists coming out with those sorts of infractions. It’s largely been actors doing it, and they’ve been using their positions of power, fame, or industry influence to coerce or force others into these acts in ways that are quite despicable. A particularly compelling example of someone abusing their position of power for sexual rewards would be Roy Moore, who went the extra step in being despicable with his targeting of underage girls. Interesting I don’t see you including a Boo to him in your lists.

  • Kevin McCarthy

    Another example of how supporters of President Trump enable him to keep lowering the bar. Apparently, Mr. Balentine didn’t read the president’s tweet which reads in full:“Time Magazine called to say that I was PROBABLY going to be named ‘Man (Person) of the Year,’ like last year, but I would have to agree to an interview and a major photo shoot. I said probably is no good and took a pass. Thanks anyway!” Nowhere does it say, or even suggest, he could “do without the hassle.’ The clear implication is that he could put up with the hassle if Time guaranteed him that he would be named person of the year. Mr. Balentine paints a glorified picture of a hardworking president too busy to be bothered with the trifles of the elite. Trump’s own words paint the picture of a sulking juvenile annoyed that the elite won’t genuflect to him.

    Mr. Balentine then describes Trump as “a president who doesn’t go along with the elites to get along with the elites. And though he [is] elite in every way, except for attitude – he actively undermines them.” You have to read that more than once to be sure that some subtle note of irony isn’t buried in those words. But you won’t find it. That sentence is singularly representative of the mindset of too many Trump supporters who seek to rationalize and justify his contradictions, cravenness and narcissism. For example, how does increasing the initiation fees at Mar a Lago to $200,000 and not extending membership privileges to the general public “actively undermine” the elites? The quoted sentence is evidence not only of the way Trump belittles, derides and undermines his supporters, but is also sad evidence of the way Trump supporters debase themselves.

  • Just Sayin’

    I fully agree with what Kevin McCarthy has to say on the matter here, but there’s another argument of Mr. Ballentine’s here that I feel the need to comment upon, and that is his eagerness to give Trump the credit for ‘stifling’ the North Korean missile tests when nothing could be further from the truth. If one looks back upon our recent verbal and twitter based clashes with the North Korean Leadership, it’s quite obvious that the inflammatory and insulting rhetoric that Trump kept spewing on the subject only ratcheted tensions higher. Many of North Korea’s more threatening actions and statements came as a direct opposition to Trump’s bellicose posturing on the issue.

    Why then, one might ask, has the nuclear testing seemed to have stopped? Well, the answer is simple: The last test badly damaged the testing area and left it too compromised for continued use. Of course, unlike Mr. Ballentine, I won’t ask you to just take me at my word on this. A number of news organizations have reported on the available information. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/10/31/collapse-north-korea-nuclear-test-site-leaves-200-dead/

    That’s what happened to the tests Mr. Ballentine. Next time, try looking up the facts first.

    • GOPatriot

      They just fired another one off today (Wednesday). So much for the “stifle…”

      • Just Sayin’

        Yep, it just goes to prove my point. Mr. Ballentine was overeager to claim that Trump had stopped the nuke testing without any proof that it had been stopped at all, or that Trump’s actions were the deciding factor.
        Here’s more evidence that Trump’s insults and bluster are not the way to discourage nuclear war, though I think that was obvious to most of us.

        • Ted Markow

          Agreed. And yet, we have this from another poster here: “This is not a time for ambiguity: the uncivilized savage in North Korea needs to understand that he WILL be destroyed in a confrontation by the only language he understands: overwhelming force.”

          I forgot (not really) that conservatives don’t deal well with ambiguity (“I don’t do nuance.” – George W. Bush). Yet, ambiguity is all around us and if we don’t deal with it, we fight it at every turn. Black & white, and all that illusory stuff.

          The opposite of not dealing with ambiguity is often to strike out at others, which leads to war, which leads to death and pain and loss.

          I’d rather deal with ambiguity and nuance and diplomacy. It saves many more lives than tough talk.

  • Queenie42

    The only thing I can see draining is somebody’s grey matter. And not just from Trump either.

  • moxie4me

    Mr. Ballentine continues to live in a bubble if he believes that Mr. Trump’s account of an interaction with Time magazine is anything but fictional. All he’s exposing is what he continues to expose over and over: he’s willing to lie about anything.

    Mr. Trump isn’t really swimming upstream or downstream. More accurately, he seems to be dog paddling in circles proving every day that he’s a little more over his head than he was the day before.

    Enjoy it while it lasts Mr. Ballentine. Seeing Mr. Trump and people like him as allies of yours and anyone else who isn’t really rich is folly. Your bubble is going to burst.

  • Little crow

    We have a very dangerous situation in North Korea because ANY confrontation can lead to the killing of millions of South Koreans, who are only minutes away by missiles that cannot be stopped in time.

    North Korea has been able to obtain nuclear technology from gullible officials in the U.S., including ex-president Jimmy Carter and President Bill Clinton, who apparently believed it would be used for peaceful purposes. George Bush and Barak Obama “negotiated” with North Korea, allowing the time they needed to develop ICBMs that can strike American cities. How surprised they must have been when they discovered that we actually have enemies who lie to us.

    North Korea has also been aided by China and Russia. China is claiming ownership of international waters in the South China Sea and East China Sea, threatening international commerce. We need to counter these threats with a permanent carrier fleet in the west Pacific, including the South China Sea, and to encourage Japan, an important ally, to develop a counterbalancing nuclear weapons program. Economic sanctions should be used against China, which has been supplying and enabling North Korea.

    This is not a time for ambiguity: the uncivilized savage in North Korea needs to understand that he WILL be destroyed in a confrontation by the only language he understands: overwhelming force.

  • adamdlee

    Mr Balentine,
    Since you are publishing a column in this newspaper, it seems like the least you could do is the slightest bit of research. Below is Time Magazine’s response to President Trumps veiled request to be Man of the Year.

    The President is incorrect about how we choose Person of the Year. TIME does not comment on our choice until publication, which is December 6.

    I am surprised that you would just print something without taking any time to check the accuracy of the claim. As for North Korea, do you really feel safer now than before?