This is a fun number from The Muppet Show. It features guest Peter Sellers singing a lively and somewhat-manic version of the song, "A Gypsy’s Violin." Making it somewhat rare, as well, is that is an uncommon Muppet sketch that features not just Muppet animals, but a real goat.
I should have held my article from this morning until after today's White House press conference. Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders went to places undreamed of my most sentient being over the age of four.
Considering the unconscionable levels of racism, hate and lying that Trump is capable of, the press secretary saying that his fake anti-Muslim tweets yesterday "elevate the conversation" gives new meaning to the phrase, "The sky's the limit."
If I said something wildly untrue like how Trump shot and killed an innocent man 5 years ago out of pure venal spite, then by the standards of the White House press secretary I am elevating the conversation by talking about a greater truth of gun violence in our society.
This is a two-minute political campaign ad for Dana Nessel, who is running for the office of Attorney General in Michigan.
It's as blunt, funny, pointed, serious and outspoken a political ad as you've probably seen. And it has a line that if they made campaign buttons with it -- and sold them -- they could probably fund her entire race. As long as it could pass the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval.
Yesterday, I responded to a thoughtful User Comment posted by my friend Don Friedman about my piece on Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders defending Trump's racist American Indian comments. Among other things, Don wondered if people like Ms. Sanders and Kellyanne Conway realize the moral quagmire they've fallen into when they defend lies with lies. What I wrote back --
"My perception is that Conway might have more realization than Sanders. Conway comes across as flailing, arguing which suggests somewhat of an awareness of other options. She's the one who used "alternative facts," which suggests an aware of facts. Sanders seems like a cult member. Convinced that every word she says is true, at least when it leaves her mouth."
So, it was with great interest when I saw what Trump ghostwriter Tony Schwartz (author of The Art of the Deal) said to Ari Melber on MSNBC last night. “I believe there are people who are concerned,” Schwartz commented about people working in the White House. “Most of them, I think, are hostages to a cult leader. When you watch Sarah Huckabee Sanders, you really feel as if you’re watching somebody who is being brainwashed, or has been brainwashed.”
All of this came into play earlier in the same day at the White House press briefing. Reporters questioned Huckabee Sanders about Trump retweeting false videos from a British white supremacist group. Rather than walk anything back, the press secretary doubled-down and bizarrely defended lying. Literally. She said it was okay for Trump to lie with the fake videos he retweeted (one of which was not a Muslim beating up a Dutch kid, as it purported to be, but a Dutch kid beating up a Dutch kid), since the videos spoke to a "greater truth" of a security threat in the world.
So, okay, if I understand this Huckabee Sanders Rule correctly, this means then that people can say Trump shot and killed an innocent man in downtown Baltimore and that's all right since it speaks to a greater truth that there is violence in our cities. Seriously??
But going even further, if one accepts the Sarah Huckabee Sanders concept that telling false stories is acceptable as long as they speak to a greater truth... then "Fake news" which Trump claims upsets him so much is actually okay -- as long as it speaks to a greater truth. And since "greater truth" can cut a wide path, then it covers pretty much whatever you want it to be, no matter how general. By the Huckabee Sanders Gambit, you can report on concern in the White House about Trump's secret deal with al Qaeda to attack our allies, as long as the "greater truth" is how this points to there occasionally being disagreement in the White House. Or report on anything ludicrous that you can make up out of Trump's mouth because the "greater truth" is that he likes to say whatever is on his mind. Or perhaps report that Trump plans to jail all liberals since the "greater truth" is how Trump is harsh on his critics. Whatever.
Not that the stories Trump cries about are "Fake" news, of course. The past year has born out the truth of probably 99% of what Trump has claimed to be "fake." But the point is that if the Trump administration is now officially okay on-the-record with telling lies as long as they serve some other truth, then Trump has no business complaining about what he claims is "Fake" news. According to his press secretary, "fake" is fine. Acceptable. Even noble, apparently.
And no, to be clear, I am not advocating this. Lying to prove a point is, of course, not remotely acceptable. It's idiotic and reprehensible. The lie does not prove some greater truth, it contradicts it.
Ultimately, all this about lying for "greater truths" is just another backhanded way to try and justify "alternative facts." There are no "alternative facts." There are facts. Anything different from a fact is inaccurate -- at best.
It's worth noting, too, that among those white supremacist videos that Trump retweeted yesterday, and did so without comment, just basically, "Here's the video, folks," one was an official al Qaeda propaganda video. Honest. Although a person's first thought might be to imagine Republican Party reaction if Barack Obama had done that, simply presented al Qaeda propaganda as is, what's more appropriate to imagine is if ANYONE -- other than al Qaeda -- did it.
By the way, while people rightly focused on the ghastly, wildly unpresidential racist tweets by Trump yesterday, what's slipped under the wire and gone little-noticed is that when he snarked a tweet back to British Prime Minister Theresa May (which is bad enough, especially since she was upset that he had made her efforts to fight terrorism more difficult by retweeting British white supremacists)...he initially got her Twitter handle WRONG!! Instead, it went to some other woman with the same name and six followers! O dear Lord above, I dearly hope he is more careful deal with Top Secret material. But then, given how he leaked code-level secrets to the Russian ambassador, that's not a given.
Not to worry. I'm sure that Sarah Huckabee Sanders would come up with some way to explain how such a high-level breach is actually a good thing. Because it speaks to a "greater truth." Like, "What the president showed today is how vulnerable our national security is."
My friend Shelly Goldstein was bemoaning on Facebook about the Breitbart editor defending Roy Moore by trying to equate child molestation with Ringo Starr's recording of "You're Sixteen." The Lady Shellington, one of the world's great Beatles aficionados, was gnashing her fingers at the thoughtless, egregious charge. What I wrote back was --
If only some people grasped that when a singer is performing a song, they are performing, interpreting. That it is not REALLY themselves they are singing about. That when they are singing, for example, "My Way," they are not really, truly saying that THEIR own end is actually near, and that they personally are at death's door facing the final curtain. Any more than an actor playing a doctor is actually a freaking doctor...!!
On the other hand...hmmm, maybe Peter Noone actually was saying he was really Henry the VIII.
The other day, I came across a long sketch from The Danny Kaye Show that features Kaye and Buddy Ebsen playing his 'Jed Clampett" character from The Beverly Hillbillies, along with Harvey Korman and Howard Morris (from Your Show of Shows, and famously 'Ernest T. Bass' on The Andy Griffith Show, as well as the voice of the Quantas koala.)
Since Mark was good friend with Howard Morris, I gave him first dibs on the video and sent it to him to post. Besides which I knew he's have things to write about the show and Howard Morris, which of course he does. You can see the video here and read what Mark has to say/ (The first part of his post is about the difficulty of finding shows on the JLTV channel, which airs The Danny Kaye Show. He gets to talking about the video halfway down.)
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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