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Photos: top left: David Maril with the late Chuck Thompson, the voice of the Orioles and Colts, the summer he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1993; top right: a perspective shot of Maril at Wrigley Field; featured photo: journalist Ken Decoste with the late, great Harry Caray and Maril.

Cavalcade of Columns

Colin Powell’s leaked emails reveal he is just as decent, honorable and honest in private as he is in the public eye

Who would dispute his tough but accurate
assessments of Trump, Hillary, Rumsfeld and Cheney?

If Trump somehow wins, look for TV's Dr. Oz to be named Surgeon General

By David Maril

WiITH MANY WELL KNOWN PUBLIC FIGURES there is plenty of embarrassment if confidential, personal communications are hacked, leaked and revealed, giving the public a behind the scenes glimpse of what that person really thinks. However, in former Secretary of State Colin Powell’s case, the public airing of some of his personal emails just reinforces the fact he is a decent, principled person who is fortified by excellent judgment and character.

While Powell is too much of a diplomat and has too much class to go around publicly voicing the comments he made in his private emails, who can dispute what his hacked messages convey?

Powell labelled GOP Presidential nominee Donald Trump a “national disgrace.” Who, in their right mind, would argue with that? The retired four star general accuses Trump of embracing a racist movement with his absurd questioning of Barack Obama’s birth certificate and the legitimacy of him serving as president. He says that Trump’s recent effort to draw support from black voters reveals he takes “us” for idiots.”

Powell is very critical of the way the media has allowed Trump to control much of the coverage of his campaign, giving him far too much free air-time. The cable news networks routinely turn the live cameras on at many of his rally sessions, seldom including serious journalistic interview time to question his inaccuracies and lies. According to the New York Times, Powell told CNN’s Fareed Zakaria “It is time you guys started ignoring him (Trump). You guys are playing his game, you are his oxygen.”

Colin Powell with HIllary Clinton.

While Powell has worked with Hillary Clinton and respects certain aspects of her public service career, he’s completely realistic about her shortcomings. He is quoted saying she “has a long track record of unbridled ambition, is greedy and not transformational.” He is critical of the way she handled her email controversy. Again, is any of this off base?

Interestingly enough, Powell does defuse some of the criticism against her related to the 2012 attack on the American diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya. He termed, in an email to Condoleeza Rice, his successor in the State Department, the investigation a stupid GOP witch hunt.

It shouldn’t be a surprise that Powell has a very negative assessment of former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and former Vice President Dick Cheney. He believes “the idiot Rummy” was disloyal to both President Bushes. He calls Cheney and his war-mongering daughter, Liz, “idiots” spending five years peddling a self-promotional book.

All of these comments and options makes the Powell even more likable and a rare public official to respect. The real Powell is as genuine, trustworthy and honest as he appears to be when the cameras are rolling and the microphones are on.

SINCE DR. KILDARE DOESN’T EXIST, if Trump is elected, one can’t help wondering if, in his world of unreality, he would name TV celebrity Dr. Oz as Surgeon General. Oz recently gave Trump TV free airtime in a ridiculous discussion of his fitness to be president. The overweight Trump, a master carnival barker, may have opened up the possibility of doing workout videos based on his arm waving during speeches. Maybe there’s a video empire partnership looming with Richard Simmons, producing “Workout to Donald’s speeches.” Too Bad Jack LaLanne isn’t still with us.

TRUMP, ARMED WITH HIGH TV RATINGS every time he takes his traveling unreality game-show persona in front of a camera, does play the media like a concert violinist. He can call a press conference, under the guise of making a major announcement, and lure the media into covering something that is nothing more than a promo for one of his business ventures.

His major announcement the other day is that Obama does indeed have a legitimate birth certificate. And he even offered the scoop, which nobody else had, or believes, that Hillary started the “birther” movement of skepticism over Obama’s legitimacy to run. No doubt his next big new press conference will be to reveal the earth is round and not flat. And, no doubt, all the cable news cameras will be their providing live coverage of nothing,

AN EXAMPLE OF HOW MANY REPUBLICANS are trying to distance themselves from Trump and his presidential campaign, is the fact that Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker nearly hosted a national meeting of GOP Governors at Boston in secret. Normally, a host governor would make a big deal, promoting the fact that such an event was taking place in a local city. Baker, a moderate Republican held this event so quietly it did not get any press mention until after it was over.

In Trump's world you could be looking at your new surgeon general, Dr. Oz.

WHILE HILLARY IS BEING TAKEN TO TASK by Trump lackeys, for trashing the character and quality of half of the nominee’s supporters, the candidate’s own son came out and said one of the main reasons his father’s tax returns wont be released is they are too complicated and complex to understand. That’s certainly not giving the general population much credit for intelligence or being able to recognize questionable financial and business practices.

The other reason given against releasing the corporate mogul’s tax returns is that they would be too much of a distraction from the campaign. Wow, that’s an interesting angle. So, in Trump’s world, anything that might compete with his empty promises and mistake-prone rhetoric should be off the table.

Chances are Hillary would be more than willing to agree to that policy. With the removal of any type of focus on her miss-steps caused by horrendous judgement and questionable character, she would be a much happier candidate. She might even go for Trump’s ludicrous suggestion the debates shouldn’t have any moderators. It’s becoming apparent that if you exclude their policies and proposals, these two unpopular candidates, viewed mostly as unfavorables, have more in common than originally figured.

WHEN HILLARY’S WELL-CHOREOGRAPHED return from her sick days battling pneumonia was accompanied by a recording of James Brown’s “I Feel Good” blaring in the background, I couldn’t helping thinking of more appropriate background music. How about “Smiling Faces Sometimes” by The Undisputed Truth? The lyrics, as she walked on stage, would have been terrific.

“Smiling faces sometimes pretend to be your friend.

Smiling faces show no traces of the evil that lurks within.

Smiling faces, Smiling Faces, Sometimes they don't tell the truth.

Smiling faces, smiling faces tell lies and I got proof.”

SPEAKING OF TUNES, since so much has been made out of Apple eliminating the headphone jack on its newly released iPhone7, wouldn’t it be appropriate to utilize Ray Charles iconic “Hit The Road Jack” in the background of commercials for the new device? It would be a nice spoof on the so-called controversy while the virtues are extolled of an iPhone that is waterproof, has an upgraded camera and is much faster and more powerful than its predecessor.

ON THE OTHER SIDE of the smartphone world is the Samsung Galaxy Note7 model that makes headlines because of its exploding nature. Why hasn’t Hillary hasn’t been offered a job as a pitch person, talking up the virtues of a communication device that can make everything disappear.

David Maril has been a columnist, sports editor and copy editor at three newspapers published in Massachusetts, winning numerous writing and section-design awards. As sports editor of the Milford Daily News, he covered the Boston Red Sox, Celtics and the New England Patriots. At the Brockton Enterprise he served as vice president of the newspaper’s guild, dealing with contract negotiations and workforce issues through difficult economic times. He also served on the board of the Boston Chapter of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, where he is a lifetime member and voter in Major League Baseball’s annual Cooperstown Hall of Fame balloting. For several years was a columnist for Voice Of Baltimore. The son of the late artist Herman Maril, whose work is included in over 100 museum collections, David splits his time between Cape Cod, MA and Baltimore, MD. He currently serves as president of the Herman Maril Foundation, which supports curatorial projects, art education programs and exhibitions related to the study of his father’s work. The website, featuring his father’s artwork, is hermanmaril.com. A graduate of Park School in Brooklandville, MD, David majored in English at Clark University in Worcester, MA.

If you wold like to comment on this blog David can be reached at david@davidmaril.com.