Monday, February 20, 2017

Hard to honor a man who never stops honoring himself

    

     Monday is Presidents Day: Happy Presidents Day! If the holiday has a certain redundant, dubious air about it, that might be because it comes one week after Lincoln's Birthday, and is a fairly recent development: far newer than, say, Sweetest Day, which goes back to 1921.
     Only in 1968 did Congress pass the "Uniform Monday Holiday Act" to "benefit the nation's spiritual and economic life" by creating three-day weekends out of Lincoln's and Washington's birthdays. The House Judiciary Committee noted that observance could be detached from actual birthdays "without doing violence to either history or tradition." Officially, it's still "Washington's Birthday," but it somehow morphed into common use as "Presidents Day," so ad hoc a holiday that nobody can seem to agree whether "Presidents" deserves a possessive or not.

     A day of honor, though, starting with our current chief executive, Donald J. Trump, whose inspiring rags-to-riches story hardly needs repeating. At 70 the oldest man to ever be elected president, and also the first immigrant. He was born in Soviet-occupied East Germany in 1947. His father, a Russian solder, Ivan Trumpovich; was not married to his mother, a 17-year-old Bavarian bar maid, Helga Schneider, who brought him to this country as a teenager in 1962. Trump worked in a series of used car lots, perfecting his English, saving his money to purchase an abandoned gas station, beginning his career in real estate....
     Oh, none of that is true—except Trump being the oldest man ever elected president. That's a fact. Though reading the above, I bet you did not think, "This is untrue. More fake news that we have become accustomed to constantly seeing in the lying press." Because despite what our new president says about the media, the sneering contempt he ladles on the institution whose job and duty is to catalogue his missteps, deceits and blunders, people still expect not only truth but perfection from the press. If I make a grammatical mistake, if I say "we journalists" when I should say "us journalists" readers will gleefully wave it over their heads, sneering and hooting in sincere outrage, speaking of fish wrap and carelessness. It's the most curious duality: to insist that something is routinely dishonest and unreliable, then fall shrieking to the floor at its most trivial slip from the highest standards of excellence.


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15 comments:

  1. So the "Maverick" John McCain wants to stand with the American people in defense of their First Amendment rights, to quote FME "Barf." This bold stand after concocting the speech restricting McCain Feingold Act, what a joke. The last time the issue was touched upon Hillary Clinton was looking for Supreme Court Justices that would overturn Citizens United v. FEC. By the way, because portions of the BCRA A.K.A. keep incumbents in power act was overturned, Michael Moore was able make and show a movie called Trumpland. Moore found a venue in Ohio that refused to show his anti-Trump screed, but thanks to Citizens United he was able to show it in multiple theaters pre-election. Any attempt by Trump to have an Executive Order restrict freedom of the press will easily be overturned by the Courts. What "Maverick" McCain failed to do in his pious pronouncement, is cite any legislation being promoted by other Republicans that would restrict freedom of the press or speech.

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    1. Why don't you try sticking to the topic, Bernie?

      Citizens United has nothing to do with free speech. It just lets rich people firehose the political process with unlimited amounts of money. And Trump's attacks on the press has nothing to do with legislation or executive orders. He's basically saying that anyone who criticizes him is not to be trusted, which is one of the leading symptoms of his dangerous megalomania.

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    2. My comment is on topic, which you would have known if you deigned to RTFA in its totality. Let me help you here, Neil quotes McCain as follows:

      “That’s how dictators get started,” said McCain... “In other words, a consolidation of power,” McCain continued, explaining why the media deserves the support. “When you look at history, the first thing that dictators do is shut down the press.” McCain continued, explaining why the media deserves the support. “When you look at history, the first thing that dictators do is shut down the press.”

      McCain is a hypocrite who wants to shut down free speech. You are trying to draw distinctions without a difference. Michael Moore has every right to do what he does as a person or (/sarc) an evil corporation, "Dog Eat Dog Films." What part of "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." do you, McCain, or Trump, not understand?

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    3. Try helping yourself by not pasting the same sentence twice in a row.

      Whose free speech does McCain want to shut down? Rich people's? Why should rich people have the right to bribe politicians with unlimited amounts of money and call that "free speech"? And it's beyond idiotic to think that because the First Amendment exists, we need not be concerned about Trump's concerted attacks on the press. Trump is trying to undermine legitimate criticism and set himself up as the only source of truth. If he gets enough people to think that way, the First Amendment and the rest of the U.S. Constitution won't be worth the paper it's written on.

      Learn to think straight before you try condescending to me.

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    4. So rich people must be silenced, is that it? Anyone is free to donate to Citizens United, but if it includes the Koch brothers no ads before an election are allowed. But wait the Koch brothers also funded the "American Future Fund" which ran pre-election, in my opinion, excellent ads critical of Trump University. O please Bitter Scribe say at least that was okay, or do you have a new version of the First Amendment that can differentiate these nuances and accomplish your objectives?

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    5. No one is going to silence rich people. You think they don't have enough influence in this country? Or that they should have an unlimited right to bribe politicians because some naive people can't differentiate between speech and money?

      Political campaigns in this country are ridiculously long and expensive as it is. Why should raising obscene amounts of money be one of the requirements for attaining a major political office? Telling someone that they can't drown their opponents with money is not the same thing as telling them what they can and can't say.

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    6. "One law for the lion and the ox is oppression." William Blake

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    7. One law for all men, not beasts. "Are we not men?" Sayer of the Law

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    8. thanks for citing one of my many deleted ( by the author) comments Bernie

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    9. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  2. Here's Merriam-Webster's opinion.

    Merriam-Webster ‏@MerriamWebster 1 hour ago
    Happy Presidents' Day!
    👆That's where the apostrophe goes. #PresidentsDay

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    1. What do you want, good grammar or good column's?

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  3. I expect to see soon an article posted on Face Book with the headline: "Liberal Columnist Says President Trump is a Bastard."

    No need for the Onion anymore. The outrageous is taken for granted these days.

    john

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  4. The rags to riches saga reminds one of the, no doubt apocryphal, tale related by a multi-millionaire about his all-American road to riches. A penniless immigrant, he started selling fruit from a cart on Philadelphia streets, over a period of years reinvesting the proceeds in more carts and better produce. Then his uncle Stavros died and left him a string of whore houses worth millions.

    Tom Evans

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  5. It's especially discouraging if you have kids. When my nine year old brings home a picture of Trump to color in I will puke. For the older kid, high school AP American History used to be interesting. Now it's depressing. All those struggles just to get to this?

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