Quote of the Day
"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.
Quote of the Day
“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.
Quote of the Day
"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.
Quote of the Day
“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, "Look at that face! Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president?!" (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.
Quote of the Day
"Let's speak American."
-- former Gov. Sarah Palin, (R-half-term AK) on CNN Sunday
I will if you do.
Actually, the funniest thing about what the Queen of Word Salad said is that in attempting to chastise others for how they speak she, not shockingly, mis-spoke. It was so egregious that even she herself couldn't help recognize it, in a rare bit of self-awareness. Her full quote was: "Let's speak American. I mean that's what's -- let's speak English and that's a kind of a unifying aspect of the nation is the language that is understood by all.”
Because of course, unifying America is what Sarah Palin is all about. Other than that whole "the Real America" and to hell with everyone else thing, and the whole "lame street media" and all other media thing, and liberals are ruining America thing. And...well, actually all that's beside the point. This isn't about Sarah Palin doing her incompetent best trying divide America by slamming everything she disagrees with. No, this is about the former half-term governor telling everyone hilariously to "Speak American."
So, let's stroll down memory lane and let the good lady just...speak.
"There's, of course -- in the great history of America rulings, there have been rulings, that's never going to be absolute consensus by every American. And there are those issues, again, like Roe v. Wade where I believe are best held on a state level and addressed there. So, you know, going through the history of America, there would be, there would be others but..."
-- Sarah Palin, when asked to name one Supreme Court ruling she disagreed with
"He who warned, uh, the British that they weren't gonna be takin' away our arms, uh, by ringing those bells, and um, makin' sure as he's riding his horse through town to send those warning shots and bells that we were going to be sure and we were going to be free, and we were going to be armed."
-- Sarah Palin, on Paul Revere
"You know what? I didn't mess up about Paul Revere. Here's what Paul Revere did. He warned the Americans that 'the British were coming, the British were coming.' And they were going to try to take our arms so got to make sure that, uh, we were protecting ourselves and, uhm, shoring up all of our ammunitions and our firearms so that they couldn't take them. But remember that the British had already been there -- many soldiers -- for seven years in that area. And part of Paul Revere's ride... And it wasn't just one ride. He was a courier. He was a messenger. Part of his ride was to warn the British that were already there that, 'Hey. You're not going to succeed. You're not going to take American arms. You are not gonna beat our own well-armed, uh, persons, uh, individual private militia that we have.' He did warn the British. And in a shout-out, gotcha type of question that was asked of me, I answered candidly. And I know my American history."
-- Sarah Palin, doubling-down to defend her earlier comments on Paul Revere
"Things must change for our government. Look at it. It isn’t too big to fail. It’s too big to succeed! It's too big to succeed, so we can afford no retreads or nothing will change with the same people and same policies that got us into the status quo. Another Latin word, status quo, and it stands for, ‘Man, the middle-class everyday Americans are really gettin’ taken for a ride.’ That's status quo, and GOP leaders, by the way, y'know the man can only ride ya when your back is bent. So strengthen it. Then the man can't ride ya, America won't be taken for a ride, because so much is at stake and we can't afford politicians playing games like nothing more is at stake than, oh, maybe just the next standing of theirs in the next election."
-- Sarah Palin, on...well, something
Speaking American. The language that unifies us all.
Quote of the Day
"He's a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren't captured."
-- Donald Trump (R-Somewhere), on John McCain
I don't really have much to say about this. Seriously, it doesn't need much, does it? Mr. Trump was speaking on Saturday at the Family Leadership Summit in Ames, Iowa. Or he was doing whatever it is that qualifies as "speaking."
I think the only thing really would adding is just a clarification. John McCain isn't a war hero because he was captured. Lots of people in the military are captured during war and, while we honor them for their service and risk, we tend not to label them all heroes. John McCain is considered a hero because, when he was shot down from his airplane and captured, he was subsequently tortured and refused to leave the men in his command, when given the opportunity.
There's so much that can be added, starting with Mr. Trump not serving in the war because of a variety of deferments. But I don't mind that. There were a lot of people at the time who didn't serve in the Vietnam War for perfectly valid reasons, not the least of which they believed the war was wrong. (I do think, however, that if if you're going to explain to a reporter that one of your deferments was for "bone spurs," you probably shouldn't go out of your way belittling someone who was shot out of the sky, broke both arms and a leg, and given minimal hospital care while being tortured and kept a prisoner for 5-1/2 years. It just sort of undercuts your standing as... well, a human.)
Most particularly over the past six years, I don't admire the politics of John McCain, who has shifted much too far to the right and pandered to the Republican base, all the while being spiteful and bitter towards "that one" who beat in the presidential race. But that has absolutely nothing to do with Donald seems to be yammering about.
"Seems to" is the operative terms, along with "yammer," because in the same appearance, Mr. Trump -- the man who just a week ago had the floor collapse under him for claiming that Mexican trying to escape poverty and come to a better life in the U.S. were "murders and rapists" -- also said about John McCain at the same appearance, and in about as clueless way as one can imagine, "Perhaps he's a war hero, but right now he's said some very bad things about a lot of people."
This is a whole lot more than I intended to comment about Donald Trump's quote, which truly needs no comment other than letting the words yammer for themselves.
For years, Republicans loved having Donald Trump in their tent, and probably quietly enjoyed his pandering to racist birthers by having him slam the president over a fictitious birth certificate the mogul apparently found by never released. Well...the bill always eventually becomes due.
And Republicans are now paying in full.
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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