Let's go to the video for this one. (Watch it first before reading the words quoted below in the tweet.)
This is from Therese Patricia Okoumou, who climbed onto the Statue of Liberty on Independence Day. She is a naturalized citizen from the Democratic Republic of the Congo who has been living in New York City for 10 years. After being arrested and released on bond, she explains why she did what she did.
"I don’t see people dying"
-- Geraldo Rivera to San Juan mayor Carmen Yuli Cruz
"There are none so blind as those who will not see."
-- John Heyward, 1546
"Seek, and ye shall find."
-- Matthew 7:7-9
(Okay, in fairness, Geraldo may not have been talking about Puerto Rico at all when the said, "I don't see people dying" and instead perhaps was just quoting the bad first-draft version of The Sixth Sense before they rewrote it and fixed things. On the other hand, that doesn't explain earlier during the presidential campaign -- )
"I have tapes"
- also Geraldo Rivera, about recordings that may have "embarrassing" statements by Trump
"Contrary to my on-air remarks- a search of my files found No Relevant #TrumpTapes."
-- same Geraldo Rivera.
(Then again, taking all this and thinking back to his certainty of discovering the Al Capone treasure, Geraldo does seem to be somewhat challenged when it comes to finding things.)
Which ultimately leads of necessity to --
Top Quote of the Day:
“Dying is a continuum. If you don’t get fed for seven, eight days and you’re a child, you are dying. If you have 11 people — like we took out of a nursing home — severely dehydrated, you are dying.”
-- San Juan mayor Carmen Yuli Cruz, needing to explain to Geraldo Rivera the concept of the process of dying, as opposed to already having died.
"They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen."
-- Trump. August 9, 2017
We've seen it.
Sorry, guy, Old News.
Been there, done that. So, you're not scaring them. August 6, 2017. Geez, it's like he was watching TV only three whole days earlier, and that's how he came up with the phrase. But you're three days late with the whole, "Like the word has never seen."
This is "fire and fury." And we've seen it. And honestly -- honestly -- I wouldn't be surprised if he did, too.
For reasons that I'll explain, this all is difficult to classify. But we'll try.
"That is everything."
-- Donald Trump Jr to Hannity/Fox, about 5-person meeting
Okay, the first problem. This isn't officially a quote of "today," since it came a week ago during Don Jr.'s Fox interview, insisting that all information was now out and public about his secret Russia meeting that included the Trump campaign head Paul Manafort and Jared Kusher, a top Trump adviser and son-in-law. The problem is, that qualifies the quote for today is that an eighth participant at the secret Russia meeting has now been uncovered. Updates as they occur., since it doesn't seem like this clown car is over, with more pouring out by the day. Perhaps investigators should check with any "event party service" companies in the area to see if more chairs were ordered. We're long past the "Imagine if this had been Hillary Clinton and her campaign" mantra. We've entered John Le Carre Land...
And all that brings up a second quote, which makes the concept of "Quote of the Day" dicey, since there are now two of them. It comes from Michael Carpenter, who had been Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia, and was discussing on MSNBC with Andrea Mitchell all the participants at the secret Russia meeting, including Rinat Akhmetshin who has been identified as a former Russian counterintelligence officer.
"There are very few former counter-intelligence officers in Russia."
-- Michael Carpenter, Pentagon, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia, Obama Administration
"She helped create ISIS. Hillary Clinton could be considered a founding member of ISIS.”
-- former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani .
In fairness, former Mayor Giuliani is right. Hillary Clinton "could" be considered that. Provided the person doing the considering is accepted as being wrong. And in equal fairness, in all other matters here, the former mayor is wrong. So, overall, his "wrong to right" quotient is pretty high. Like 100%. Given a margin of error of +/- 0.
It's certainly possible that since there was no actual use of the concept "9/11" that Mr. Giuliani could employ, he got befuddled. That said, he has tended to get very twisted and befuddled when using "9/11" for pretty much everything, so I guess it can be excused, or at least understood.
The former was appearing on "Fox News" at the time (shocking, I know, but yes, he really was...!). And after making his outlandish charge, he was asked by host Bill O’Reilly to explain why this all made her responsible.
Mr. Giuliani did his best. Yes, I know that it was an uphill battle given the impossibility of the task, but at least he tried:
“By being part of an administration that withdrew from Iraq. By being part of an administration that let [former Prime Minister Nouri al-] Maliki run Iraq into the ground, so you forced the Shiites to make a choice. By not intervening in Syria at the proper time. By being part of an administration that drew 12 lines in the sand and made a joke out of it.”
Okay, let's look at the reality. This is really easy.
First, the United States withdrew from Iraq under an agreement signed by George W. Bush.
And second, by all accounts -- all, as in all -- ISIS was formed after Saddam Hussein was deposed, and his army had their guns taken away from them. They reformed as dissidents, and that group became ISIS.
As I said, really easy.
And the thing is, not only does this show clearly that in No Way could Hillary Clinton be considered a "founding member of ISIS" and having "helped create ISIS" -- in fact (really), but Mr. Giuliani's own logic, it is George W. Bush who "helped create ISIS" and "could be considered a founding member of ISIS."
To be clear, George W. Bush is not a founding member of ISIS, nor can he be considered so (unless one wants to continue the Giuliani Theorem of Wrongness), although Mr. W. Bush's actions did help in creating in. But I'm just using Rudy Giuliani's logic here. If "logic" can be considered the right word.
Sometimes you just want to give Rudy Giuliani a big hug and say, "Yes, yes, I know you thought you were going to be president one day, and it just didn't come remotely close to happening, and so you're really sad about it and pretty bitter, but you'll be okay. Especially if you remember the admonition of the man who can be considered the founder of your own party, Abraham Lincoln."
"Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than speak and remove all doubt."
Maybe that should have been the Quote of the Day...
On his radio program the other day, dear Glenn Beck chimed in to add his insane voice to the fine group of conspiracy theorists about who killed Justice Antonin Scalia. However, his theory was a bit different than most others. ("A bit" in this case will be defined as "an unbridgeable gulf of a distance so vast that known physics don't allow a connection.)
Mr. Beck believes it was an act of God.
No, not in the sense that the phrase is used, an inexplicable event out of Man's control. No, Glenn Beck actually means it was a specific action taken by the Lord Almighty. It was God intentionally smiting down Justice Scalia as a way to frighten conservatives so much into seeing the alternative if a true conservative isn't elected president. (It should be noted that Mr. Beck is a vociferously support of Ted Cruz, to the extent that he broke down supposedly "weeping" when he gave his endorsement. But then, Glenn Beck "weeps" the same way gardeners turn on sprinklers as part of the job...)
Really. Glenn Beck says that God killed Antonin Scalia. Where is Lt. Columbo to bring out the handcuffs when you need him?
Here the radio showman is, explaining in the words of God how he believes the Supreme Being would explain it all to voters--
"I just woke the American people up. I took them out of the game show moment and woke enough of them up to say, look at how close your liberty is to being lost. You now have lost your liberty. You replace one guy, and you now have 5-4 decisions in the other direction. Just with this one guy, you've lost your liberty -- so you'd better elect somebody that's going to put somebody on (the Supreme Court) because for the next 30 years, if you don't, the Constitution as you know it... the Constitution is hanging by a thread. That thread has just been cut, and the only way that we survive now is if we have a true constitutionalist."
You want to know the really lunatic thing about this? Oh, okay, yes, of course, you know what the "really lunatic thing" about this is. That's a given. But I mean, if you strip away the certifiable craziness and religious ranting and are left with the "reasoning" behind the explanation on the assumption that anyone would try to believe this.
The really lunatic thing about this that the explanation is based on the premise that God wants someone elected who would put a "true constitutionalist" in Justice Scalia's seat on the bench.
Now, first, if a "true constitutionalist" was so deeply important to God that He would kill Antonin Scalia, then that means He, being a "true constitutionalist" Himself would want the current president to also follow the Constitution to the absolute letter of the original intent. And that means God wants President Obama to nominate a replacement now, which the Senate would vote on now -- not obstruct until after the election.
And second, if God actually felt the divine urge to kill a sitting justice just so He could add a "true constitutionalist" there...why not kill one of the liberals?? Merely keeping the status quo seems like such an incredibly inefficient and inexplicably poor use of Godly powers.
But finally -- and perhaps most of all -- if God's Plan was that He really, honestly, wanted a "true constitutionalist" in that seat on the Supreme Court...then why -- WHY in God's name didn't He just freaking leave Antonin Scalia in it??!!!!
"I'm tired of being divided against each other for political reasons like this president's done. Always pitting people against each other. Always! Look at today: He gave a speech at a mosque. Oh, you know, basically implying that America is discriminating against Muslims. Of course there's discrimination in America, of every kind. But the bigger issue is radical Islam. And by the way, radical Islam poses a threat to Muslims themselves. They argue that. They'll tell you that. But again, it's this constant pitting people against each other. I can't stand that. It's hurting our country badly."
-- Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), demonstrating why he's not even remotely the "moderate" GOP candidate in the field, but only appears that way when compared to radical, fascist-like right-wing zealots Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, and instead is actually just as hurtful, divisive and dangerous as one would expect from someone on the far right, making sure here to frighten and shamelessly pander to the racist part of his base by pointing at all Muslims -- who indeed are being discriminated against, no "implying" necessary -- and intentionally conflating them with the fearful specter of radical Islamic terrorists, proving his very own discrimination by suggesting that the President of the United States shouldn't even visit (!!) a normal, everyday, purely 100% peaceful mosque to embrace and unite all Americans in a purely 100% peaceful effort to show that every religion is, in fact, protected under the First Amendment, which ultimately is the job of the President, thereby establishing why Mr. Rubio doesn't understand the job and isn't qualified for it.
I have nothing else to say here. Marco Rubio damned himself just fine all on his own with his own words.
Only one thing. I'm tired of being divided against each other for political reasons like Marco Rubio and far-right Republicans have done. I can't stand that. It's hurting our country badly.
“I’m a Christian first, American second, conservative third and Republican fourth. I’ll tell ya, there are a whole lot of people in this country that feel exactly the same way.”
-- Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX/Canada)
I am quite certain that Sen. Cruz is 100% correct, that a whole lot of people in this country do indeed feel exactly the same way he does. The problem here is, unlike Mr. Cruz, not a single one of them is running to be President of the United States, hoping to become chief executive of the entire country, whatever their religious beliefs, Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. armed forces, swearing an oath to protect, preserve and defend the U.S. Constitution. (A Constitution, it should be noted, which whimsically includes the very First Amendment.about making no law in regards to religion or the establishment thereof.)
By the way, for what it's worth, I'm one of those "whole lot of people in this country" who actually feels exactly the same as Ted Cruz -- that he is indeed a Christian first, and an American second. And a Republican fourth. I would add, too, that if I was a Republican, it would creep me out to read a statement like this and even consider voting for him to be president. Or pretty much anything. Including leader of my party, which he puts fourth.
I also think it probably wasn't a great political tactic of Mr. Cruz to proclaim he was an American second. After all, it comes as a sensitive time for and and leaves a wide opening for his opponents to say, "Ted Cruz's statement doesn't surprise me, since I would expect any person who was born in Canada to say he was an American second."
In fairness, there's at least one perspective where his statement is reasonable. That's if he was running to be Pope. Unfortunately, a) the job isn't open, and b) he's not.
An article I read on Daily Kos asked the pointed question, imagine if a candidate for president who was Jewish said that he or she was a Jew first, rather than an American. Their candidacy would be over. (The author noted, as well, that if any prominent American -- not even a candidate for president or any office -- noted being a Muslim before being an American. "Heads would explode."
I'll go a step further with specifics. If John F. Kennedy had said this in 1960, he not only wouldn't have been elected president, he would not have gotten the Democratic nomination. A great many Americans were concerned that a Catholic president would take orders directly from the Pope. The barrier was so strong that Mr. Kennedy felt it necessary to address the issue head-on and went to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association, an organization of Protestant clergymen and gave a long speech on the subject. Among other things, he said --
I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute, where no Catholic prelate would tell the president (should he be Catholic) how to act, and no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote; where no church or church school is granted any public funds or political preference; and where no man is denied public office merely because his religion differs from the president who might appoint him or the people who might elect him.
He addressed the issue forcibly, as well, in West Virginia, which had the lowest percentage of Catholics of any state in the Union, and ended up winning the state's primary, which is considered the turning point in his campaign.
Certainly the situation of being Catholic is different from declaring one a Christian, but the principle of situation of the separation of church and state and no religious test for office is the same, as is the concept of considering if Kennedy had said he was a Christian first.
For that matter, imagine if Barack Obama had ever said that he considered himself a black man first, and an American second. Conservative Republicans went nutso crazy when he and his wife simply tapped fists together, painting it as a black fist-bump.
Yet there is Ted Cruz telling the public that before being an American he is a Christian. That his personal beliefs have precedence over any decisions he would have to make for the good of all America. (For goodness sake, he only had "Republican" fourth, remarkable for someone who wants to be the leader of Republicans.)
Then again, Donald Trump just told people that he believed he could walk down Fifth Avenue and shoot a person, and not lose any support. Quite a gallingly thoughtless and mindlessly insensitive thing for anyone to say at any time, let alone in today's gun culture of mass shootings. But most especially if you want to be President of the United States.
So, I'm not quite sure if my level of disbelief of how today's leading Republican Party candidates continually say things that disqualify themselves from being President could get any lower. Though they keep trying. And Ted Cruz came pretty darn close.
"I'm just a person that's been transformed by the grace of God, who wants to work, be with my family. I just want to serve my neighbors quietly without violating my conscience. Are we not big enough, a loving enough and a tolerant enough state to find a way to accommodate my deeply held religious convictions?"
-- Kim Davis, holed up in her office, not working, on her first day back from prison for intolerantly refusing to do her sworn job to provide marriage licenses to any couple, including same-sex, who are in love and want to get married, while insisting that if her signature wasn't on the license it wasn't legal, which actually it is.
I'm sorry, but there is just too much otherworldly irony in Ms. Davis's comments to not quote it. I was tempted not to, though, for fear of an irony overload which might crash the system, but I figured it was worth the risk.
I don't think much analysis is necessary. There is so much blatant, gobsmack, in-your-face irony here that either you get it instantly and every little bit as she prattles on, in which case nothing I say will add to it, or you don't get it at all, in which case nothing I say will matter.
I will just say that, happily, Kentucky is indeed a big enough, a loving enough and a tolerant enough state to accommodate Ms. Davis. That's why she was let out of prison.
The state is also big enough, loving enough and tolerant enough to have written into the law that a deputy clerk can sign marriage licenses if the county clerk is too intolerant to do his or her job sworn under oath to God.
Kentucky also has thoughtfully provided for state officials to resign if they break the oath they swore to God and are unwilling to do the jobs.
There's so much more to write, but some things are too just brain-dead easy and the time is better spent doing something else, like hitting yourself in the head with a spoon -- and besides, it's just to hard to write when you're laughing this much.
“Many of those comments are made as an entertainer because I did The Apprentice and it was one of the top shows on television. Some comments are made as an entertainer and as everybody said, as an entertainer is a much different ball game.”
-- Donald Trump on "Fox News," trying to explain things like ridiculing Carly Fiorna's face
Well, there's a news flash. Go figure! Being an entertainer is a much different ball game than being President of the United States. Who knew?
I have a feeling that Mr. Trump's opponents at the next GOP Presidential debate on CNN will bring this quote up. Until now they've been a bit wary about being outraged and challenging most of Donald Trump's other over-the-top offensive comments, out of fear of the Republican based not liking that they criticized the man (profiles in courage for presidential candidates, indeed...) but this is different. This isn't Donald Trump saying something egregiously offensive that the GOP base seems to agree with, this is telling that base, "Hey, guys, I've been screwing around with you. I don't believe these things. It's just all a game to me."
That's fodder to your opponents. That's red meat to the carnivores waiting, watching to attack when the chance comes and eat you alive. Or it should be, but given the lackluster response thus far from the Republican candidates, who knows? But I do think it will be brought up, and brought up a lot, to the point of piling on now that there's an opening, now that they smell blood. But if it isn't -- and again, given the history of this gaggle of high-minded candidates on the podium, who knows? -- it sure will be by Democrats if Mr. Trump somehow gets the Republican nomination. Though getting that is still unlikely, and just made more so.
"Many of those comments are are made as an entertainer."
And as obvious as they may have been to some (read: non-Republicans), when you're dealing with a loving base that supports you even more as you make racist, misogynistic, thoughtless, divisive comments then it's not unreasonable to think it wasn't obvious to all. They weren't watching just an "entertainer" putting them on, they were watching a presidential candidate who supposedly understood them, who said what they believe, who was just like them (a nifty trick for a billionaire egotist), who they were throwing themselves all-in with.
So, being told, "Nah, it's just for the gag. I C'mon, I was putting you on," that has the potential of driving yourself off the cliff.
Talk about a "Ha! Gotcha" moment.
Many analysts were wondering what Donald Trump could possibly say that would outrage his supporters, given how nothing seems to have outraged them yet. Little did one think it might be him saying, "Just kidding. I didn't mean it."
So, why on earth would Donald Trump say that?? Honestly, I don't know. I suspect it's related to him recognizing that he went too far when talking about GOP presidential candidate Carly Fiorina and saying, " at that face! Would anyone for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next ?!" (Why that is SO much worse than calling another woman a fat pig, or Mexicans racists, or ridiculing a heroic soldier who had been tortured, who knows? But one thing is that the way he phrased it and kept repeating it gave him less wiggle room to explain it away. His first attempt at explaining that he just meant her "persona" didn't fly, so he was boxed more into a corner.)
And so now he says, I don't mean much of this garbage. The problem is, if he is now telling people that he doesn't take this seriously, why should they?
By the way, for the record, when The Apprentice was cancelled by NBC, it was #113 in the ratings. The year before, #75. In most circles of society this is not "one of the top shows," unless of course you live in Upside-Down Land. To be fair (a concept that tends to pass by Mr. Trump), it did well it's first three years, but that began 11 years ago, and it plummeted each and every year. As for Celebrity Apprentice, the best it's ever done in the ratings is #46. Last year, it was #67 -- and that was after NBC had held it off the air for two full years because its previous rating had been #84. The show has had an impressively-long run...but that's vastly different from that run being as "one of the top shows". In fact, when he went All Bombast at this year TV Critics Association winter press tour and told these knowledgeable experts that Celebrity Apprentice was the "#1 show on television, the Hollywood Reporter wrote, "...he exclaimed to a room of muffled laughs." You see, these people actually knew that the show not only wasn't #1, it didn't even win its Monday night time slot. So, when people know what you're trying to fool them with, the result is ridicule. But then, no doubt Mr. Trump had just been talking as an entertainer. And as you know, as an entertainer is a different ball game.
And so it is. It's T-ball for seven-year-olds at a picnic. President of the United States? That's the major leagues. A very different ball game, indeed.
And now Donald Trump has told his adoring supporters he didn't really mean it.
When worshiping admirers see their hero fall from grace, the results risk being ugly. A lover scorned is not a pretty sight. If you never read or saw Sinclair Lewis's Elmer Gantry, spoiler alert: the revival preacher's tent goes up in flames.
With Donald Trump, his vaudeville act is still such a bizarre wild card. He can't be written off yet, especially from just this. But he had an uphill road ahead even without telling his acolytes that he was just fooling around with them. How his opponents handle this gaffe of obvious honesty is the next thing to watch.
It certainly didn't end well for the Wizard of Oz when the curtain got pulled back and revealed who he really was. But at least there, the Wizard didn't pull the curtain back himself.
Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.
But then, there was never really a reason to pay attention to that man in front of it either.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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