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Quotes Scraped from the News

Frida Ghitis on flooding, CNN Aug 29

But beyond having compassion, people here are wondering why it is that Americans seem so reluctant to apply the lessons the Netherlands already learned -- and at such high cost.

Secretary of State Tillerson to the Taliban, Aug 22

You will not win a battlefield victory. We may not win one, but neither will you.

Garrison Keiller, Washington Post, Aug 22

And now, driving to California, I find that I must enter a password in order to change the time zone on my laptop clock. Evidently, someone is out to mess up my schedule and my clock must be secured.

Someday I will drive by a sign: "Turn On Wipers In Event Of Rain."

Jamie Gorelick, liberal lawyer representing Jared Kushner — Washington Post, Jun 12

I believe in the facts. I believe in the law. I believe if you follow that system, you will get to a fair result. I don’t see that changing. Even now.

Jun 12 continued: Alan Dershowitz, Gorelick’s mentor at Harvard Law School

For the first time, Jamie’s getting irrational criticism from her fellow liberals, who think that if you represent anyone associated with the other side, you must be a Republican in hiding... Jamie is obviously a liberal Democrat, but this is not a betrayal. Jamie is being patriotic and heroic and consistent with the best traditions of the bar. We have to resist zealotry on both sides

Bystander, commenting on Nicholas Kristof NYT article — May 26

So let me get this straight: In the minds of American judges and state legislators, unwed motherhood is a worse problem than grown men raping and impregnating 10-year-old girls, and forced child marriage is the appropriate solution?

Andrea G, comments to the NYT, May 24

How was he [Salman Abedi] able to travel to Libya and more importantly Syria and then travel back into the UK?

James Grossman, executive director of the American Historical Association

Heritage is selective recall. It’s often interlaced with fable and myth, but it is not actual history. It does not, as history should do, make you uncomfortable.

Rod J Rosenstein, Deputy Attorney General, May 9

The Director [James Comey] was wrong to usurp the Atorney General's authority on July 5, 2016, and announce his conclusion that the case [against Hillary Clinton] should be closed without prosecution. It is not the function of the Director to make such an announcment. At most, the Director should have said the FBI had completed its investigation and presented its findings to federal prosecutors. The Director now defends his decision by asserting that he believed Attorney General Loretta Lynch had a conflict. But the FBI Director is never empowered to supplant federal prosecutors and assume command of the Justice Department. There is a well-established process for other officials to step in when a conflict requires the recusal of the Attorney General. On July 5, however, the Director announced his own conclusions about the nation's most sensitive criminal investigation, without the authorization of duly appointed Justce Deparmnent leaders.

Compounding the error, the Director ignored another longstanding principle: we do not hold press conferences to release derogatory inforation about the subject of a declined criminal investigation.

Trump tweets, May 2

F.B.I. Director Comey was the best thing that ever happened to Hillary Clinton in that he gave her a free pass for many bad deeds!

Eleanor Clift, May 4

In the end, Trump has to deliver with factories coming back, jobs coming back, and new jobs in manufacturing—a re-industrialization of America, easy rhetorically and almost certain to prove impossible in reality.

Thomas L Friedman, May 3

Trump can deregulate U.S. automakers to make more gas guzzlers all he wants, but they can’t if they want to sell cars in California.

California’s now nation-leading growth rate in jobs gives the lie to everything Trump says: You can have gradually rising clean energy standards, innovation, job creation and G.D.P. growth — all at the same time.

Jackson Diehl, Washington Post, Apr 30

Syrian and Russian planes have been pounding civilian targets across Syria on a daily basis with bunker busters, cluster bombs, phosphorus and barrel bombs packed with shrapnel. On a typical day last week, between 70 and 80 people were killed in the civil war, according to reports from the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights — about the same number as died from the gas attack in Khan Sheikhoun.

Wayne LaPierre, National Rivle Association, Apr 28

It’s up to us to speak up against the three most dangerous voices in America: academic elites, political elites, and media elites. These are America’s greatest domestic threats. If we don’t stand up to them — and I mean now — an entire generation of Americans could be lost... Bernie Sanders was not a ‘movement,’ as a fawning media called his campaign. Bernie is a political predator of young voters who were lied to by school teachers and college professors... When did the media stop being journalists and start becoming PR flacks for the destruction of our country?

Steven Weinberg 

With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.

Valerie Tarico, Apr 28

Religion, like almost no other human enterprise, arouses a surprising percent of people to such heights of passion that they abandon all else and devote themselves to the propagation of religion itself—even when that means giving up their own life or taking the life of another. Even more moderate belief can drive people to do things that are shockingly altruistic, like taking in a homeless stranger, or shockingly cruel, like throwing their queer child out onto the streets. (These actions can also be shockingly at odds with the rest of their character.)

Kory Stamper, the New York Times, Apr 25 

The meaning of words is as hotly contested as ever, and dictionaries must go where language users go. News organizations have had lengthy, public discussions about how to cover President Trump and his administration, down to when to use the word “lie” ...

The English language is a direct democracy, sustained by each person who uses it; the dictionary is its enduring record. It is one of the mirrors we as Americans can look into and see who we were and who we are. Don’t let any Svengali tell you different.

Michael Weiss, the Daily Beast, Apr 5

It was a digital conversation never intended for public consumption. Yet what it discloses is nothing short of damning evidence about a decade-old conspiracy between the Russian mob and officials in Vladimir Putin’s government to steal $230 million from the Russian people, then frame and kill the whistleblowing tax attorney who uncovered the crime.

Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, Mar 28  

We’re not going to put [the Wall] on our side and cede the [Rio Grande] to Mexico. And we’re probably not going to put it in the middle of the river.”

The New York Times, "The Problems With Originalism" [and Textualism], Mar 22    

The meanings of many words and phrases in the Constitution are not at all obvious. Examples include “right,” “unreasonable,” “probable cause,” “due process,” “excessive,” “cruel and unusual” and “equal protection.” Even if we could find clear definitions of these terms in a dictionary, current or historical, applying these definitions to cases that the founders did not anticipate only expands the range of ambiguity (and therefore interpretive possibilities).

Pam Garland, guest on the NewsHour, on impartiality and interpretation, Mar 21

And when Judge Gorsuch says, no man is above the law, the real question is, what’s the law?

Susan E. Rice, former national security adviser. Mar 21 

The foundation of the United States’ unrivaled global leadership rests only in part on our military might, the strength of our economy and the power of our ideals. It is also grounded in the perception that the United States is steady, rational and fact-based. To lead effectively, the United States must maintain respect and trust. So ...

Reuters News, Mar 20

German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen on Sunday rejected U.S. President Donald Trump's claim that Germany owes NATO and the United States "vast sums" of money for defense. "There is no debt account at NATO," von der Leyen said in a statement, adding that it was wrong to link the alliance's target for members to spend 2 percent of their economic output on defense by 2024 solely to NATO. "Defense spending also goes into UN peacekeeping missions, into our European missions and into our contribution to the fight against IS terrorism," von der Leyen said.

theconversation.com, Mar 7

Scientific theories aren’t mere conjecture – to survive they must work ... Whereas there is virtually universal agreement among scientists about the validity of the theory [of evolution], only 33 percent of the public accepts it in full. For both climate change and evolution, skeptics sometimes sow doubt by saying that it is just a “theory.”  ...The word “theory” has nothing to do with the validity of a scientific principle or lack thereof... The issue is not whether a scientific theory is settled, but rather whether it works.

Maria Antonova, Mar 4

Meanwhile, support for President Vladimir V. Putin is high and disdain for America, the old Cold War enemy, serves as something of an artificial social cohesive, masking the shortage of natural ones. Most people’s lives focus on economic survival rather than politics, but when they tune into state television, they hear little about domestic problems and plenty about Russia’s international muscle flexing. It is a source of national pride.

EJ Dionne describing objections to the "administrative state", Feb 27  

It [the administrative state] is unconstitutional because regulatory agencies make and enforce rules based on authority they claim was illegitimately ceded by Congress. That’s the theory. In practice, this is a war on a century’s worth of work to keep our air and water clean; our food, drugs and workplaces safe; the rights of employees protected; and the marketplace fair and unrigged.

Paul Krugman, Feb 13

...the most influential Republican economists aren’t serious academics with a conservative bent, of whom there are many; they’re known hacks who literally can’t get a number right.

A comment to the New York Times, Jan 23

Naturally, things could be better. However, since Trump thinks only in absolutes, either conditions are the best ever [or] they are terrible, depending on the side he is on. So, his crowds are the biggest, his victory a landslide, his cabinet the smartest ever, his knowledge better than generals, experts, diplomats...

The Hannah Arendt Center

"We should love people and loathe peoples...Collectives beget hate, not love."

"It's not cool to be Negro or Jewish or Italian or anything else. It's just cool to be alive, to be around. You don't have to be black to have soul."     Aretha Franklin

A scholar of Jewish mysticism, Gershom Scholem, accused Hannah Arendt of not loving the Jewish people. Arendt replied:

You are quite right... I have never in my life "loved" any people or collective... I indeed love only my friends, and the only kind of love I know of and believe in is the love of persons.

Copyright © 2016 by Frank E. Smitha. All rights reserved.