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[ 253 ] April 11, 2017 |

Sean Spicer is really good at his job.


German Jews weren’t Germans. OK.

You could hire anyone off the street for this and that person would do better. But of course nothing is bad enough for the tanned Mussolini.

[SL]It got even worse:

[Hal Holbrook voice] “These are not very bright guys.”


Comments (253)

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  1. Pete says:

    Holy Mary Mother of God. Wow. What a maroon.

    • Given that this is the same white house that erased Jews from Holocaust remembrance day, I am by no means inclined to ascribe these sorts of statements to stupidity.

      • efgoldman says:

        Given that this is the same white house that erased Jews from Holocaust remembrance day, I am by no means inclined to ascribe these sorts of statements to stupidity.

        Remember the WH seder? Obama participated. Apparently assistant president Henna Hairball, his Jewish son in law, and his converted daughter, were nowhere near the place last night.

        • Captain Oblivious says:

          I figure about half the “orthodox” Jews and “good” Christians I know are closet atheists. People, especially those in the public eye, have varying reasons for wrapping themselves in a religious mantle, but I’m never surprised to find out they are minimally observant.

          • Crusty says:

            I’m not sure what either of your points are. I am sure that Minister Jared and Ivanka were at home conducting a seder or attending one elsewhere. They don’t live in the white house and the lack of attendance at an ersatz white house seder makes it more, not less likely that they’re actually observant.

            Let there be no doubt though, the important thing to remember about them, is that they’re assholes.

            • humanoid.panda says:

              I figure about half the “orthodox” Jews and “good” Christians I know are closet atheists

              Are there plenty of Christians in public life who are closet atheists? Almost surely yes. But it would take almost gargantuan amount ignorance about Judaism to argue someone would fake being an Orthodox Jew…

              • XerMom says:

                They just REALLY like the outfits…

              • Lee Rudolph says:

                I suppose that, in his obliviousness, the Captain has used “orthodox” (his quotation marks and lower-case “o”) to refer to Conservative or even Reform (or Reconstructionist! \/\/hatever) Jews who are more-or-less observant in ways that might be seen as (maybe accurately!) in reasonably correspondence to some kinds of “‘good’ Christians”‘ observance. I mean, I certainly know some Jews here in the Old Fogies’ Home who (though raised Orthodox in many cases) both (1) are atheists and (2) regularly attend a (Reformed) temple and/or Shabbos ceremonies here in the OFH, and others in somewhat younger age cohorts ditto ditto.

                • Warren Terra says:

                  It’s a category error in any case. Judaism, including Orthodox Judaism, is about belonging to a people, a culture, and to a greater or lesser degree a set of customs and standards of behavior. Technically you’re supposed to believe in God (the first commandment and all that) but it’s not very important, and losing your belief in God doesn’t necessarily affect any of the other practices of Jewish life, even Orthodox Jewish life.

                • Lee Rudolph says:

                  Technically you’re supposed to believe in God (the first commandment and all that)

                  Technically technically, you’re not supposed to believe in any other god. Surely some reputable opinions [1] exist that that commandment does not, technically, imply that you are supposed to believe in God.

                  [1] $n$ Jews, $2^n-1$ opinions.

                • benjoya says:

                  technically technically technically, you can believe in more than one god, but yahweh comes first (“you shall have no other gods before me”)

                  great formula, lee!

                • charon04 says:

                  I think benjoya pinpoints the real meaning. The religion did develop out of preceding polytheistic religiosity

                • LeeEsq says:

                  The first of the 613 commandments is “be fruitful and multiply” according to Judaism.

                • Origami Isopod says:

                  Judaism, including Orthodox Judaism, is about belonging to a people, a culture, and to a greater or lesser degree a set of customs and standards of behavior.

                  I distinguish between Judaism, the religion; and Jewishness/Yiddishkeit, the cultural belonging.

                • Warren Terra says:

                  The first of the 613 commandments is “be fruitful and multiply” according to Judaism.

                  You’ve confused the 613 mitzvot (which, yes, are also called “commandments”) with the Ten Commandments (which begin “I am the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt”).

                  I distinguish between Judaism, the religion; and Jewishness/Yiddishkeit, the cultural belonging.

                  Well, fine, except the former is a part or outgrowth of the latter, is meaningless without it, and is arguably dispensable from it, or at least belief is.

            • Duvall says:

              I’m not sure what either of your points are. I am sure that Minister Jared and Ivanka were at home conducting a seder or attending one elsewhere. They don’t live in the white house and the lack of attendance at an ersatz white house seder makes it more, not less likely that they’re actually observant.

              They tweeted a photo from the White House yesterday. Couldn’t be bothered to join the help next door at the OEOB, I guess.

              • bender says:

                You can’t conduct an Orthodox seder in the White House unless the meal is kosher, which would require either bringing in all the food, drink, dishes and silverware from outside, or kashering the WH kitchen, which is a long process requiring the supervision of a rabbi. It would make sense for the White House to have a small auxiliary kosher kitchen and two small sets of dishes for when they are offering hospitality to Orthodox Jews, but I have not heard that they have this.

                Orthodox Jewish seders are several hours long, and conducted mostly in Hebrew. An Orthodox seder will try the patience of a child, a non-Jew, an irreligious person, or a person who doesn’t know Hebrew. It’s inconceivable that Trump would sit through even the section before the meal.

          • efgoldman says:

            I’m never surprised to find out they are minimally observant.

            Hell, I’m minimally observant. But I’m, not the alleged president of the United States, trying to set an example for my country and the world.
            Even Sanctus Ronaldus and Sanctimonious W were better at it.

          • bender says:

            You really are oblivious if you don’t know that for Jews, belief or disbelief in God or G-d is not a matter of being in the closet, it’s don’t ask, don’t tell. Lots of rabbis are atheists. Some Orthodox rabbis are atheists. It’s their personal business. It’s no scandal.

            Judaism isn’t Christianity minus Jesus. It’s a much older religion with a different history and its very ideas of what religion is are different.

            See also Buddhism.

      • Captain Oblivious says:

        It takes massive doses of both stupid and evil to believe that anything could have been worse than the Holocaust. Maybe as bad, on a smaller scale (Albania, Rwanda, Native Americans, etc.) but definitely not worse.

        So when someone says “even Hitler didn’t sink to…” I have to assume we’re dealing with a Nazi.

        • tsam says:

          Stalin’s crimes were as close as it gets, and Assad couldn’t even begin to make a run at the level of evil those two fucks were.

          And yeah, Even Hitler Didn’t is walking into a a boiling tar pit–especially if you’re the WHITE FUCKING HOUSE FUCKING PRESS FUCKING SECRETARY, FFS.

        • charon04 says:

          Mao liked to be present to watch people be tortured, Hitler not so much.

          Mao ran up a really high body count, about 20M IIRC.

        • bender says:

          I put this particular Spicer utterance down to stupidity more than evil.

          The reason I think so is that I saw a clip of General McMasters (or maybe one of the other generals in the administration) being interviewed by a journalist who asked him what the big deal was over chemical weapons. McMasters replied concisely that chemical weapons had not been used against troops in combat since (WW I or whenever). McMasters’ statement, which I am paraphrasing, was historically accurate and directly answered the question he was asked. He didn’t embroider it or add any rhetoric.

          If Spicer heard what McMasters said and used it as the basis of his own remarks, as soon as he started to combine what he had heard from McMasters with what he had heard from Trump and his own extremely vague historical knowledge, he got in over his head.

          Rachael Maddow did a riff last night on how Spicer continually mispronounces people’s names and jumbles acronyms, and that he issued three revisions of a two sentence statement over a twenty minute period. He seems to be a match for Bush the Younger in inarticulateness and general ignorance. That makes it hard to be sure where “Holocaust centers” as a substitute for death camps came from.

          Edit button is back!

      • Jack M. says:

        Once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, thrice is enemy alt-right neo-Nazi action.

        • kvs says:

          Slevin: Listen, I’ve been hearing that a lot lately…

          The Rabbi: [interrupting] My father used to say: “The first time someone calls you a horse you punch him on the nose, the second time someone calls you a horse you call him a jerk but the third time someone calls you a horse, well then perhaps it’s time to go shopping for a saddle.”

      • Helena Handbasket says:

        Absolutely. The rule of thumb is “Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity,” and this constant low-grade drumbeat of anti-Semitism, alibied over and over again because Ivanka “Lolita” and Jared “Rasputin” are formally Jewish, is NOT adequately explained by stupidity (although there’s plenty of stupidity included).

        BTW, just as an aside – if Jared is actually an Orthodox Jew (as opposed to, I dunno, just a Jewish guy who identifies as Jewish), why do we never see him wearing a kippah? Modern Orthodox guys always, but ALWAYS have a kippah on, even if they’re wearing a T-shirt, shorts and flip-flops. At the beach, you see modern Orthodox dudes in nothing but swim trunks and a kippah. So what’s up with Jared’s bare head? Inquiring minds want to, um, inquire.

        • Lee Rudolph says:

          So what’s up with Jared’s bare head?

          Taking the lead from his father-in-law, he wears a kippah woven of (maybe-not-quite-)human hair!

          …And when/why, by the way, did “kippah” replace “yarmulke” as the word of choice for that head-covering? I’ve been meaning to ask someone about that for quite some time, and this seems like the perfect opportunity.

          • Tyto says:

            It’s really a matter of preference, combined with a sharp decline in Yiddish speakers. “Yarmulke” is Yiddish; “kippah,” Hebrew, with a version of the word in Yiddish.

    • DrDick says:

      They just cannot help themselves. They are so used to their comfy bubble that they have lost the ability to filter what they say for public consumption.

  2. Mike G says:

    Just stop talking, Spicer. Just stop.

    • efgoldman says:

      Just stop talking, Spicer. Just stop.

      Sphincter is such a terrible liar. By that I mean, he’s really, really bad at it. His eyes dart, his brow sweats, he stammers. It’s like he was six years old.
      He should study old tapes of Ron Ziegler. Now THERE was a really good liar. For that matter, he should study Granny Starver, Yertle McTurtle and his boss. They lie so smoothly, you can only tell when their lips are moving. They might even believe part or all of what they say.

    • C.V. Danes says:

      Just stop talking, Spicer. Just stop.

      Why do you want him to stop? The more he speaks, the better for the Dems.

    • Brett says:

      No way. Aside from providing us with stuff to rally against, can you imagine what Spicey Time will be like in four years if he sticks around? He’ll be totally whacky.

  3. Marc says:

    Good Lord. The Trump algorithm for choosing staff has to be the same as it was for the Producers. Does anyone there know how to play this game?

  4. Lurker says:

    The second comment is actually worse than the first one. Hitler didn’t use chemical weapons. A gas chamber is not a chemical weapon: it is a method of execution. That doesn’t make it any more moral, though. Anyhow, the first comment is literally true, although quite meaningless, unless you mean to say that the use of chemical weapons is worse than killing five or six million people in a genocide.

    The second comment is where racism becomes the text.

    • wengler says:

      Zyklon-B and carbon monoxide would both be considered chemical weapons if they are being used to execute humans.

      • Gwen says:

        Zyklon-B was actually invented as a pesticide and routinely sprayed on Mexican immigrants, in more-or-less non-lethal doses.

      • Lurker says:

        An execution method is not a weapon. Calling gas chamber a chemical weapon is like calling electric chair a lightning gun. Essentially, the point is that the gas in the chamber need not be weaponised to the slightest decree. You can use essentially any gas, even something non-toxic like nitrogen. A chemical weapon means something that is designed for field use.

        • aaronl says:

          So…. firearms aren’t weapons when they are used by firing squads? In reality, they are weapons even in that context. The use of a weapon as the tool for an execution does not make it any less a weapon.

          While some methods of execution do not involve instrumentalities that we would describe as ‘weapons’, other methods of execution actually do involve the use of weapons.

        • wengler says:

          So the weapons that the einsatzgruppen used to execute Jews and others on the Eastern Front were no longer weapons?

          This is a really weird distinction to make. The mass execution of human beings through chemical means should probably be classified as a chemical weapon when it is being used as a chemical weapon regardless of whether or not it can be used in shells.

    • JustinVC says:

      weapon = “a thing designed or used for inflicting bodily harm or physical damage”

      • Lurker says:

        This does not correspond the actual usage. Please give me an example calling gallows a weapon.

        My point is: the industrial phase of the Jewish genocide was not warfare. The tools of death were not weapons but industrial systems. The killing itself was a prolonged, premeditated administrative process. That is what actually makes the Holocaust so uniquely repulsive, macabre and evil. Calling the gas chambers chemical weapons belittles this aspect of evilness.

        • wengler says:

          Calling the gas chambers chemical weapons belittles this aspect of evilness.

          If you want to get pedantic, the gas chambers weren’t chemical weapons, the carbon monoxide and Zyklon-B used in the gas chambers to kill people were the chemical weapons.

          We do have a modern dual-use analogy here in that the EU has banned the export of drugs to the US that are specifically used in the process of lethal injection.

        • shawn k says:

          I recognize your point and appreciate it, but think the issue is more complex. For the Nazis, the extermination was deeply connected to war. The euthanasia order was backdated to the date of the invasion of Poland and was defended in military terms (if the best can give their lives in battle so too must the useless eaters). The Final Solution was equally shaped by the war. The first waves of killing happened alongside the invasion of the Soviet Union, the escalation in the fall of 41 might reflect (in Browning’s view) the euphoria of victory. Both genocides were deemed essential to victory, at least as a way of avoiding another stab in the back.

          The genocide scholar Shaw argues the genocide itself is intimately related to war, particularly degenerate war taken to its extreme.

          To recognize the the the connection between war, genocide and the FInal Solution does not minimize the specific horror of industrial, bureaucratic mass murder.

    • Cervantes says:

      In fact Nazi scientists invented Sarin. They didn’t use it in WWII basically because there wasn’t a good reason to — on the battlefield, shooting people and blowing them up is just as effective, if not more so. Nerve gas is not a “weapon of mass destruction,” that is a misnomer. The international convention against its use it basically arbitrary. To say that gassing people is unacceptable but blowing them up is perfectly okay is ridiculous.

      • Q.E.Dumbass says:

        I would assume that the taboo is due to the concept of “superfluous injury or unnecessary suffering.”

        • Cervantes says:

          Lots of people have bullet, blast or shrapnel injuries that result in superfluous injury and unnecessary suffering. What’s supposed to be the difference?

          • Q.E.Dumbass says:

            Presumably that with conventional munitions (for a strictly analogous case) there’s a reasonable chance of instant or near-instant death that’s absent with chemical weapons. Incidentally, the previously-cited clause is why flamethrowers are banned for anti-personnel use.

            Although the real reason is probably because the people who made the distinction had personal experience cloud their ability to make distinctions between the two.

            • Cervantes says:

              Not so, actually. Organophosphates can kill quickly. And the majority of people who suffer gunshot, shrapnel or blast injuries do not die quickly, or indeed at all. There really isn’t any rational basis for the distinction.

              BTW I did a little research. After WWII Goring said they didn’t use sarin because they didn’t have any way to protect their horses from it. As a battlefield weapon, nerve gas is useless in close battle unless your own forces have protective gear. Back in WWII aerial bombing was highly inaccurate.

          • delazeur says:

            Lots of people have bullet, blast or shrapnel injuries that result in superfluous injury and unnecessary suffering. What’s supposed to be the difference?

            All weapons can cause ““superfluous injury or unnecessary suffering,” but some cause more than others. Soft-point rounds are an example of a conventional munition that is banned for use in war, if I remember correctly, as are hollow-point rounds.

            That isn’t an arbitrary line. Just because a full metal jacket round can cause a slow and horrific death doesn’t mean it’s pointless to ban ammunition that is even more likely to do so.

            • Q.E.Dumbass says:

              This is the gist of what I was trying to get at, thanks. And is a gassing equivalent to the “bullet behind the ear” execution (in terms of speed and relative lack of pain) even possible?

              • delazeur says:

                If you breathe pure nitrogen you won’t notice anything before you pass out and die — occasionally a technician working at someplace like NASA or a supercollider will walk into a chamber filled with pure nitrogen and then keel over a minute later. The reason is that your body is only able to determine whether air is coming in and out of your lungs and whether the concentration of carbon dioxide in that air is too high.

                I don’t know of a way to quickly and painlessly kill someone using gas under battlefield conditions, though.

                • Lurker says:

                  Yap. One of the first lab safety points I learned was: If you see, through the glass window on a lab door, someone collapsed on the floor, DO NOT rush in to help! Get someone as a backup and only then, one of you goes in. Just in case there is a leaking nitrogen line inside.

      • delazeur says:

        The international convention against its use it basically arbitrary. To say that gassing people is unacceptable but blowing them up is perfectly okay is ridiculous.

        It’s true that the bombing of civilians deserves the same international response that gassing them gets, but it is also true that gassing people is worse than bombing them. There is perfectly good reason for the international community to say that bombs are fair game in wartime (against military targets) but gas is not.

      • wengler says:

        I think it was banned mostly because the large industrial countries see chemical weapons as ‘messy’. They backfire and aren’t that effective against much other than an unprepared civilian population.

    • Alex.S says:

      According to thr Wikipedia on chemical warfare, Germany used chemical weapons against Russia.

      • Cervantes says:

        They used mustard gas in WWI. I’m not sure about WWII.

        • Alex.S says:

          One reported incident indicates the German army eventually used poison gas on survivors of the Battle of Kerch on the Eastern Crimean peninsula. After the battle in mid-May 1942, roughly 3000 soldiers and civilians not evacuated by sea were besieged in a series of caves and tunnels in the nearby Adzhimuskai quarry. After holding out for approximately three months, “poison gas was released into the tunnels, killing all but a few score of the Soviet defenders.”

          From the wiki.

      • lunaticllama says:

        The Nazis used chemical weapons fighting the Russians in Crimea.

    • Manny Kant says:

      The Nazi murder of the Jews had no legal basis even within the perverted laws of Nazi Germany, and should not be considered an “execution.”

      • cpinva says:

        no, they were extrajuridicial executions, or murder, as it’s more commonly known. even Hitler and the high ranking Nazis recognized this, which is why they conspired to keep the whole thing as secret as they could. they all knew they were guilty of committing war crimes, and would most likely be tried and executed themselves, after the war, if Germany lost.

    • btfjd says:

      The reason Hitler didn’t use chemical weapons was that his opponents would have retaliated in kind. Churchill was very supportive of the use of gases like phosgene and mustard gas against German invaders in 1940, had it come to that.The Jews in the gas chambers didn’t have that option.

      But it was Germany which invented sarin and tabun, the original nerve gases.

  5. D.N. Nation says:

    You know, it occurs to me that members of the Trump Administration really have to be dragged across the finish line of saying “the Holocaust was a bad thing” in a normal way like most people. I wonder why that is.

  6. sleepyirv says:

    Like, there’s SO MANY ways to say chemical warfare is bad without arguing “not event Hitler did that!” Spicer, you don’t really want to go into a very sensitive episode of history without all your facts and talking points figured out way ahead of time. Don’t improv answers about Hitler.

  7. Marek says:

    This pairs well with the Endless Screaming Twitter account.

  8. JustinVC says:

    How hard would it had been to say “I forgot about the gas chambers in the holocaust, sorry?” Did you think he was fooling anybody with a “clarification?”

    • Marlowe says:

      Aside from the obvious anti-Semitism, Der Drumpfenfuhrer and his merry band of misfits never apologize or admit error. For anything. Ever. I think they must have seen the John Ford’s classic She Wore a Yellow Ribbon too many times, in which John Wayne says several times “Never apologize. it’s a sign of weakness.” (I know, I know, the Duke’s politics were terrible, but like Phil Ochs, I grew up with him and can’t help loving him to death. And he was a much better actor than conventional wisdom decrees, especially with the right director–generally, Ford or Howard Hawks. SWAYR is one of his finest performances, convincingly playing 20-25 years above his actual age.)

      • Karen24 says:

        I long ago made peace with loving politically unpleasant art and artists. Wayne was, as you say, a fine actor and movie star. That’s why he’s famous and he was good at it. Wagner was a rat as a human but “Tannhauser” is still great music.

      • benjoya says:

        i’m required to point this out: like trump, john wayne avoided serving his country in wartime.

        • GeorgeBurnsWasRight says:

          Au contraire, he served by providing the entertainment that enabled millions of civilians to get through the darkest days of WWII. Thus, his service was far more patriotic than that of the guys who were actually fighting, getting wounded and dying.

      • bender says:

        Spicer actually did apologize, and pretty quickly.

    • Cervantes says:

      That’s kind of hard to forget about, I would say.

    • Nick never Nick says:

      Trump will fire him if he apologizes.

    • BiloSagdiyev says:

      They may not be on the same page as us coastal fact-based urban cosmopolitans about the existence of the gas chambers.

      • delazeur says:

        I could totally see people in Trump’s administration subscribing to the version of Holocaust denialism that says that the Jews mostly died from overwork/malnutrition/disease with perhaps a handful of isolated firing squad incidents and certainly no gas chambers. I would put good money on Bannon believing that, at least.

        • GeorgeBurnsWasRight says:

          I’d only put money on Bannon saying he believed that.

          Bannon’s true criticism is probably that some were still alive at the end of the war.

    • tsam says:

      I forgot about the gas chambers in the holocaust,

      Thinking about this for a minute, it seems maybe even worse than where he’s trying to backpeddle to, considering he’s, ya know, a White House official…

  9. Hells Littlest Angel says:

    Hitler wasn’t so bad. Advantage Bannon and Gorka. We wait with bated breath for Rabbi Bengelsdorf’s Jared Kushner’s next move.

  10. Gwen says:

    The New York Times is running a story today about concerns that the White House is about to fail its latest test of presidential seriousity; to wit, it looks like they are about to screw the pooch on the Easter Egg Roll.

    I guess Trump forgot to put Kushner in charge of egg affairs and to tell Spicey to go put the bunny costume back on.

    • Warren Terra says:

      In a tangentially related story, last night was the first night of Passover, the first Seder, and the White House Press Office tweeted out a picture of a Seder of Trump staffers in the Old Executive Office building (Trump and afaik his Jewish son-in-law were in Florida), a picture obviously intended to show outreach to the Jewish community and a commitment to pluralism – but they mostly just showed how much worse they are at this than Obama. The Obama White House held a Seder every year, but with a few key differences: Obama attended, the Seder was in the White House instead of across the street, and it wasn’t on the first night, so staffers could spend that time with their families. Instead, these folks were taken from their families for use in a pale imitation as a photo op.

    • ASV says:

      Twitter took Trump’s eggs, now he’s taking the kids’ eggs. Fair play.

    • eclare says:

      I’ve never worked in the White House, so I have no knowledge of actual past practice, but it seems like a no brainer to have a full time staff dedicated to event planning. The White House hosts tons of events all year round.

      What really makes this hilarious is that the Trumps are in the hospitality business. Event planning is a major component of running a hotel. This should be the easiest part of the job.

      God, these people are incompetent.

      • erick says:

        Yeah I was thinking the same thing. Running the White House should have been the one thing he could do. All he needed to do is take his best hotel event mgmt team and bring them to the White House.

        But of course that would have meant having to replace them at the hotel, bad for business, shows where his priorities are.

      • GeorgeBurnsWasRight says:

        Give Trump time. Once he figures out how to charge the government for one of his companies producing the eggs, and another one to charge for putting on the event, and probably relocating it to some Trump property so he can charge rent, it will be the biggly-est Easter event ever.

        Alternate explanation- someone told Trump about the “Easter Egg Roll” and he though it had something to do with Chinese food.

      • Hogan says:

        Planning events like the Easter egg roll is usually done by the First Lady’s office, which in this case doesn’t exist, because then Trump would have to choose between Melania and Ivanka.

        • Darkrose says:

          Melania, like her husband, hasn’t bothered to hire a full staff. Since she’s not actually living in the White House, I guess she doesn’t have to care.

    • Breadbaker says:

      There could be a third as many people and a lot of angry kids and Trump would tweet that it was clearly the largest Easter egg roll ever, and the most successful, and dare anyone to challenge him.

    • bender says:

      Putting an Orthodox Jew in charge of organizing the Easter Egg Roll? I’m kind of glad they did not do that.

  11. Warren Terra says:

    To be entirely fair to Spicer you can see there’s sort of an argument he’s reaching for, that I’ve heard before, that Hitler was happy to murder millions using gas as an industrial mechanism in factories of death but that he wasn’t willing to use gas on the battlefield or in bombing civilians, possibly fearing retaliation, possibly because he’d been gassed in WWI. What useful point this argument would serve, I don’t know.

    But there’s another issue: as pointed out by some retired ambassador on MSNBC Japan did use gas weapons in China – and of course there was general worldwide indifference to Japan’s atrocities in China.

    • Hells Littlest Angel says:

      Maybe Eva Braun told Hitler that chemical weapons were icky. Or maybe one of the hosts on Totenkopf und Freunde complained about them.

    • Gwen says:

      That seems barely more creditable than saying “Hitler wanted to make sure that Jewish kids got to go to summer camp.”

      • Q.E.Dumbass says:

        “His summer camp initiative drew a great deal of inspiration from the previous success of Namibia’s Shark Island amusement parks.”

        Incidentally, I actually laughed at your original comment, and Satan just offered me a one-way ticket to Missouri.

        • GeorgeBurnsWasRight says:

          Satan just offered me a one-way ticket to Missouri.

          Good news is that that when you get to MO you won’t find Satan because he has some standards, ya’ know. (Though he might have hung out in KC when they were blowing some demonic jazz.)

          • Q.E.Dumbass says:

            Even then KC probably doesn’t have those brutish jazz bass so loved in/for ’90s hip-hop records (and at best Oliver Sain can only be found in vinyl record stores).

    • efgoldman says:

      To be entirely fair to Spicer….


    • MacK says:

      Sarin was, inter alia, a nerve agent developed in Nazi Germany – one of three.

    • tsam says:

      he wasn’t willing to use gas on the battlefield or in bombing civilians, possibly fearing retaliation, possibly because he’d been gassed in WWI.

      Most agree it was strictly out of fear of retaliation, considering that every month after 1942 drew the war closer and closer to himself.

      Nothing about Hitler compares in any way at all to Assad and invoking Hitler in a press conference to defend a showy bombing run is…inadvisable at best.

      • Pete says:

        Yep — and heck, Bashar rather pales in comparison to his dear old Dad Hafez, who’d have tried something drastic to nip the revolution in the bud.

      • Breadbaker says:

        On the battlefield, gas would have been less effective in the kind of mobile warfare that characterized World War II. You could easily run into your own gas. Dropping it into trenches and waiting was another thing (though of course the wind didn’t always cooperate).

      • kvs says:

        Josh Marshall tried to articulate the point that Spicer might have been vaguely spasming towards: that international norms can constrain even the most evil actors. That would lead to a critique of the Obama Administration for emboldening Assad to use chemical weapons by failing to adequately defend the norm.

        But this whole episode highlights this administration’s Catch-22. It engaged in Holocaust denial, which pleases its Neo-Nazi supporters, in order to justify a globalist military intervention, which pisses off its isolationist Neo-Nazi supporters.

    • Crusty says:

      That’s where Jewish kids with adhd go during the summer in hope of improving their academic performance in the next school year, right?

    • eclare says:

      I was wondering if that’s a term used by Holocaust deniers, but I don’t actually want to know anything about their beliefs, so I’m not going to look it up.

    • keta says:

      Remember, he’s a member of the party that brought us Enhanced Interrogation Suites.

    • Cheap Wino says:

      As usual it’s worse than sane people might imagine. As a twitterer notes, the quote from Spicer is “. . . he brought them into the Holocaust centers.” As in, Trump brought the eager students into the oval office.

      Spicer elides any coercion, and you’re a damn fool if you think that isn’t telling. Fnck these people running our country and anybody who gives them any leeway for their awfulness. The excusing of this shit has to stop. Rot in hell McConnell, Ryan and the rest of you fuckers that continue to enable.

  12. Nobdy says:

    If any statement ever cried out for a “with certain notable exceptions…”

  13. dave says:

    What’s darkly hilarious was that David Simon made basically the exact same argument on twitter several days ago – noting that Hitler refused to use chemical weapons prosecuting the war due to his experiences in WWI.

    I actually think this is not a completely unreasonable argument to make. I doubt Sean Spicer (or David Simon) forgot that Hitler killed 6 million jews. (Although given the Trump regime’s ties to white supremacists there may be some reason for skepticism). The point is that Assad has crossed a line that not even Hitler would cross.

    It doesn’t make Assad worse than Hitler but it certainly puts him in a pretty special category of awful.

    At this point though, Godwin’s law might as well be considered an actual law of physics.

  14. It’s easy to sympathize with the the difficulty of formulating a sentence that means “Assad is worse than Hitler.” And I guess Spicer seems to have known that was the comparison to make. On the other hand, Hitler didn’t use weapons of mass destruction on insurgent groups because he didn’t have an insurgency on his hands. And “even Hitler wasn’t so bad he didn’t foment rebellion that had some hope of succeeding” isn’t a great argument.

    • kvs says:

      No, it’s not easy to sympathize with that. It’s easy to laugh in horror at the inevitably awful result created by the idiot who attempted it, though.

  15. pseudalicious says:

    TIL that the showers my people were forced into were filled with pixie dust, apparently. Thanks, Spicey.

  16. MAJeff says:

    We can’t let Le Pen get away with all the good denialism! /Spicer

  17. Steve LaBonne says:

    I’m starting to feel sorry for the unfortunate letters W, T, and F. They’re really getting worn out.

  18. Thrax says:

    At least he didn’t trivialize the Holocaust in the middle of the holiest few days of the year for Jews. Wait, hang on.

    • CP says:

      Yeah, this is what makes it almost a work of art, and what makes me suspect that it may have been intentional, just in a trolling/”fuck you, Jews” kind of way. Conservatives have had fifty years to perfect the art of saying something outrageous in just the right way so that they can then go “oh no, I didn’t [snerk] mean THAT, how could you possibly [tee hee hee!] think I meant THAT?”

    • ExpatJK says:

      This is not to diminish the extent of Spicer’s stupidity/assholery, but Passover is not one of the holiest few days of the years in Judaism. It is an important Jewish holiday, but it isn’t considered one of the Days of Awe/High Holy Days, for example.

      • Breadbaker says:

        They basically rank as follows:

        Yom Kippur
        Every Shabbat
        The three pilgrimage festivals (today being one of them)
        Other fast days
        Everything else

        • ExpatJK says:

          I’m not saying it’s a minor holiday – it is certainly bigger than Hanukkah, for example – but I wouldn’t class it as one of the “holiest few days of the year” in Judaism. In my experience, people referring to the “holy days” are talking about the High Holy Days, and Passover is not considered one of those days even though it’s a major holiday.

          Also, I would put Rosh Hashanah somewhere in your ranking, but that’s a minor quibble.

          • bender says:

            Passover isn’t the holiest Jewish holiday but it is the most popular and widely observed holiday for American Jews. The themes of liberation from slavery and “remember the stranger, because you were strangers in the land of Egypt,” have an appeal to Jews who are not religious but find some inspiration in Jewish ethical values and hopes for social progress. Also the themes are timeless; some parts of the circa 1970 Haggadah I used this year had extra resonance because of Trump’s anti-immigrant policies.

            Passover is a holiday primarily celebrated in the home, so you aren’t missing much if you are not a member of a congregation, it has a meal at the center of it, it is relatively flexible about how much time you spend on the overtly religious parts, there are custom haggadot for every social and political outlook, you can do it with children of all ages or no children, you can invite guests, including non Jews.

      • DAS says:

        Passover might not be as holy as Yom Kippur or Shabbat, but on the first day of Passover (first two days outside of Israel) a Mitzvah observant Jew, which Javanka ostensibly are, wouldn’t be watching TV, checking social media or whatnot.

        IOW, Spicer said this when Jews ostensibly weren’t listening. I detect the hand of Bannon here.

  19. tsam says:

    Watching the TrumpHumpers twist themselves in knots to defend this and screaming FAKENEWS all over Facebook has been fun.

    I’ve typed this comment like 30 times today:

    “Think you’ve had one too many oxys today, Cletus. Go sleep it off”

    • yinz says:

      Classist slurs are a bad look regardless of the people it’s leveraged against or the ends it’s meant to achieve.

      • tsam says:

        I don’t know that a pill popping hillbilly crack has much in the way of classism. I could be wrong, but then I do bad looks pretty well.

        • yinz says:

          Hey, I’m not trying to pick a fight with you, per se – I know you post in good faith – but I don’t know what to tell you, man. How is dismissing someone’s words by saying “shut the fuck up, you’re just a drug-addled poor person” not classist?

          Or are you under the impression that “hillbilly” somehow doesn’t include any sort of economic implications?

          • tsam says:

            I didn’t really realize there was a poor element to it, but now that you point it out, the Cletus part kinda makes it so, doesn’t it?

            (I know you weren’t trying to pick a fight)

            • yinz says:

              Ha, it’s always weird when an internet discussion doesn’t turn ugly!

              For what it’s worth, while I’m generally super super skeptical about cries of “what about the white people?!” (especially when they come from right-leaning outlets), I’ve been trying to develop a little more nuance recently. I just wrapped up J.D. Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy, and it’s given me some stuff to chew on. I’d recommend it if you’re ever looking for something to read.

  20. Karen24 says:

    “Today, as we remember the American entry into WWI a century ago, we decry the fact that some governments have failed to learn one of the key lessons of that apolocalpyptic conflict: that chemical weapons have no place in civilization. We take action against the Assad regime’s barbaric actions both in defense of decency and in the memory of those brave Americans of last cenury.”

    I did that in a minute. I am clearly better at Spicer’s job than he is.

  21. MPAVictoria says:

    It is days like this that have me half convinced we are living in some incredibly detailed computer simulation run by a brilliant alien scientist with a cruel since of humour.

    It makes more sense than this being real life.

  22. MacK says:

    There are credible reasons to believe that the main reason Hitler did not employ nerve gas, and in particular Sarin was because one of its inventors, in May 1943 Otto Ambros (who also went on to develop Thalidomide) was convinced, and convinced Hitler that the Allies had similar chemical weapons and a better ability to deliver them.

    From that moment on, no matter how tempted he felt to use his secret gases, Hitler had always to balance in his mind the conviction of his scientists that the Allies had them too.

    Apparently, but not in the version I have:

    In his book, Inside the Third Reich, Speer relates that at that meeting Ambros told Hitler that he doubted that Germany had a monopoly on Tabun. He stated that Tabun had appeared in the chemical literature as early as 1902, that I.G. Farben had patented Tabun in 1937, and that since 1939, no mention of phosphorus insecticide chemistry had appeared in the scientific literature of the Allied nations. Ambros argued that these facts indicated that the Allies had nerve weapons and had imposed strict censorship on them to prevent Germany from realizing their deadly nature. After hearing Ambros’ arguments, Hitler never again seriously considered Tabun’s use.

    Apparently, according to RV Jones the British learned from decrypted Japanese signals that:

    Hitler had told the Japanese ambassador in Berlin that he had some new and very effective gases, but that he was refraining from using them because he thought that we had equally deadly ones. Here he was wrong, because his chemists had discovered nerve gases and ours had not; that he thought that they had was in itself a deterrent, and neither side resorted to gas warfare”.

    • chrisM says:

      Balance of Terror, Western Europe Edition:
      Nazi stockpile: 78,000 tons of chemical weapons, of which 12,000 tons were nerve gas (the rest WWI gas styles)
      British stockpile: 40,000 tons of WWI type gasses.
      US stockpile: 130,000 tons of WWI type gasses.

      (I don’t have numbers on Soviet or Japanese stockpiles. Those numbers are all from _A Higher Form of Killing._)

      Yes, the nerve gases could be more effective, ton-for-ton than the older stuff, but not nearly by enough to balance out the 2-1 Allied superiority in stockpiles, combined with their vastly more effective delivery mechanisms (the Combined Bomber Offensive versus … V2? Arado-234? V-1? None of these seem like good options) and the much discussed difficulties that the horse drawn German army would have dealing with persistent agents like mustard.

      But the final nail in the coffin is that while the Allies didn’t investigate any of the G agents (sarin, soman, tabun) directly, they did investigate a chemical relative (DFP, they called it PF-3) and could be expected to synthesize and mass produce GA shortly after the Germans did a first-use.

      • MacK says:

        Uhhh, no.

        Pretty well all soldiers and civilians in WW II were issued with gas masks effective against the entire range of WW I gases, but ineffective against nerve gasses like Tabun and SARIN. So the only really effective gasses would have been those gasses only Germany possessed, but assumed the Allies had too.

      • MacK says:

        Apparently DFP, i.e. Diisopropyl fluorophosphate Is not as effective an agent as the G series agents Germany devoted – e.g., Tabun, SARIN.

        • chrisM says:

          I have never heard that PPI needed to be redesigned to be safe against G-agents. What is your source for that? I don’t recall this from _Higher Form of Killing_ or the history of the Chemical Corps I read several years ago. What changes were necessary?

          And yes, there is a good reason that the Western Allies did not weaponize PF-3: it wasn’t a good weapon. But that the Allies hit upon (and had effective ways to mass produce) a close relative of the G-agents shows that they could master the chemistry relatively quickly. I am sure that they could deploy whatever changes to the PPI were necessary within a few months at most. Producing sufficient quantities would be harder but not impossible: while the Germans had problems producing Tabun at industrial scale the Allies had larger industrial resources, and the weapons being used against you has a way of concentrating the mind and changing the risk-reward calculus. But as I said, if the Germans wanted to go chemical then the Allies could bury them in older gases that could kill you just as dead.

          • MacK says:

            There were several issues. First, because Tabun was clear, colourless with little odor – and fast acting, troops wou,d have little wanting to put on their masks. second, the masks were not designed for nerve gases, not necessarily fitting well enough. Third, the troops were simply not trained to deal with nerve gasses. Fourth, though doses had to be high, skin contact was effective with Tabun.

    • dpm says:

      Pretty much everyone in WW2 used white phosphorous, which is a chemical weapon thought not a poison gas. It’s still widely used by countries that claim to be appalled by chemical warfare. Alan Brooke, the British general in charge of stopping the invasion in 1940, and later Churchill’s chief of staff, planned to spray the invasion beaches with mustard gas. He reckoned he had nothing else to stop the Germans with and that the UK was toast if they got a proper foothold.

      • chrisM says:

        Note that mustard would actually be a better choice than the nerve gas agents the Germans were aware of for defending the beaches. Mustards are persistent, sticking around for a long time after dispersal, so putting them on the beach would make the logistics of resupplying the troops over the beaches difficult if not impossible. Can you imagine having to decontaminate all the ammo and food after you have unloaded it from the ship, and before you can load it onto trucks/horse drawn carts? Or having to wear your PPI throughout the entire battle because you aren’t sure if the canned food you are eating is covered on the outside with poison?

        This use of persistent agents on the logistic centers remained a major fear of the Allies- many of them were expecting it to be used against the Normandy beaches.

        The G-series nerve agents dissipate so quickly that they are not a good choice for this sort of area denial tactic: they need to be refreshed constantly. VX, discovered by the British in the 1950’s, is the persistent nerve agent of choice. You use sarin right before you are about to attack, so that it dissipates and your troops can move through easily. This seems to be how the Syrian Government used it: to wipe out defenders and allow their own troops to easily retake ground lost in a recent offensive.

  23. altofront says:

    There is now a second clarification from Spicer: Assad is worse than Hitler because he used airplanes. No, really. This second clarification has itself been clarified, to change “using airplanes to drop chemical weapons on innocent people” to “using airplanes to drop chemical weapons on population centers.” In case, you know, the first version made it sound like the Jews weren’t in fact innocent.

    Pesach Sameach, everyone!

  24. Crusty says:

    You can sort of see what he’s getting at. The problem is that he’s very stupid, ignorant and kind of a bad dude too.

    • humanoid.panda says:

      Right. The argument that “use of chemical weapons on the battlefield is such taboo that even Hitler didn’t cross it” is not, in itself, stupid or inappropriate. But it takes couple of minutes of thought to deliver right, and who has the time?

      • Junipermo says:

        Hitler didn’t use chemical weapons on the battlefield. He just slaughtered millions of Jews in gas chambers in concentration camps instead.

        Given what Hitler actually did, how is Spicer’s gibberish not stupid or inappropriate?

        • humanoid.panda says:

          If you are trying to make a point about chemical weapons being an international taboo, the fact that the worst regime in modern history didn’t use it even though it had stocks of them is a useful point.

          • lunaticllama says:

            Although it is apparently not true and the Nazis did, in fact, use chemical weapons in Crimea.

          • tsam says:

            I’m not sure the distinction between a battlefield deployment vs on prisoners as a mass execution is one I’d hang my hat on. I mean, I guess the definition of useful is flexible, as points go, but no matter where you take this, you’re kinda shitting and falling back in it.

            • erick says:

              Yeah, this is pretty much a classic example of a Spicer melt down.

              He starts with a poorly thought out clumsily delivered statement that dud have some validity behind it, but it was a dumb tack to take since it was a potential minefield if not worded precisely (odds of Spicercthreading that needle?)

              Then rather than just saying he made a poorly worded statement and obviously never meant to imply that Hitler wasn’t an evil monster who killed millions of innocent Jews using gas chambers, he has to jump through hoops to prove he didn’t make a mistake. Which causes him to dig deeper and make even more outlandush statements that make it worse. Given his skill level he should never attempt any Hitler analogies, it is like how Louis CK or Chris Rock can pull off a joke walking right up to a line that lesser comedians shouldn’t even get within shouting distance of, you gotta know your limits.

              I think you have a combination of issues that are unsolvable:

              1) he is woefully unqualified for his job and in way over his head.

              2) his natural inclination is to never admit he is wrong and try to clarify his way out of any errors.

    • Junipermo says:

      I can’t see what he’s getting at, at all.

      It is, or should be, trivially easy for a press secretary to state how awful it is for a country’s leader to gas his own people, no Hitler references necessary. “Yeah, Hitler was bad, but even he realized the chemical weapons are a no-no?” What?

      All Spicer did was make himself look like an ignorant, insensitive jackass, and didn’t make the case for bombing in response to Assad’s atrocity any stronger.

      • Crusty says:

        I think this is what he’s getting at- chemical weapons, people! We’re in Hitler territory here.

        • erick says:

          Yeah, what I was getting at above, trying to use Hitler comparisons is the highest level of communications, like Cy Young winning pitching, while Spicer is some guy coming off multiple arm surgeries getting lit up in short season A ball level talent. He shouldn’t even try such high degree of difficulty stuff.

  25. Philip says:

    Anyway, hope everyone’s Passover is going well! /s

  26. humanoid.panda says:

    To be SCRUPULOUSLY FAIR TO BOTH SIDES, David Simon made the same stupid point on Twitter last week, and spent all of it fighting randos on the internet about it. But David Simon is not the frigging White House spokesman.

  27. pylon says:

    I also enjoyed the contrast between “innocent people” and the Jews inplicit in Spicey’s utterance.

  28. Mutombo says:

    Shouldn’t it be common sense that, as White House Press Secretary, you don’t compare others to Hitler? Nothing good can come from it.

    • XerMom says:

      I think it’s totally feasible to say “this atrocity reminds me of something Hitler would do.”

      But that won’t working you’re trying to sell a bombing to your supporters who like Hitler…

  29. NorEastern says:

    I somehow cannot believe pumping Cyanide gas into sealed containers filled with Jews does not constitute chemical warfare. Am I missing something?

    • Warren Terra says:

      I mean, there is a distinction of sorts, explained a few times above, but no-one can figure out why this distinction is supposed to be rhetorically useful to Spicer or any way this wasn’t a dumb move, made much worse by his later clarification that Hitler at least “didn’t gas his own people”.

    • Pete says:

      What Warren said, plus a definition of “warfare.”

  30. MacK says:

    On a certain, partisan level – shouldn’t we want Spicer to stay as Press Secretary – I mean, could Trump actually find someone more inept? Surely he could do better – I mean there is almost certain,y a PR flack at say United Continental Holdings getting their resumé out right now…..

  31. pylon says:

    Every week something happens that makes me want to watch SNL. Now I wanna see what Mellisa McCarthy does with this.

  32. tsam says:

    Well, he apologized:

    I mistakenly used an inappropriate and insensitive reference to the Holocaust for which frankly there is no comparison. For that I apologize, it was a mistake to do that

    Certainly not the worst apology I’ve ever seen.

    • I’ve heard worse. Still don’t think it makes up for what he said. To be fair, this isn’t solely his problem; the whole administration has a pattern of erasing Holocaust victims (cf. Holocaust Remembrance Day.)

      • tsam says:

        No doubt. I still award him no points. The fact that he got himself tangled in these weeds means he’s miles out of his depth and kinda dull. My expression here is surprise that he admitted he fucked up and that his apology wasn’t the usual weasel bullshit guys like him usually deploy as an eye roll and “gawd why can’t you snowflakes just shut up? “

        • Agreed. That was more than I expected out of him. It may be a sign that even he realizes how badly he stepped in it.

          • Cheap Wino says:

            Something tells me that Spicer, “kinda dull” as tsam accurately notes, didn’t apologize on his own. Consider the initial responses and it smacks of too late damage control. Somewhere in the Trump circus chain of command there are people who aren’t complete fools.

            • I’m willing to consider the possibility that he didn’t even realize the implications of what he said until someone explained it to him. That seems like a highly believable possibility.

              That said, the administration as a whole erased us from Holocaust Remembrance Day (with the cooperation of the Congressional GOP), so I’m not willing to extend them a similar benefit of the doubt.

  33. Pete says:

    This can’t help him with POTUS, who many say never really wanted Spicer anyway. We’ll see how long he lasts.

  34. GeorgeBurnsWasRight says:

    I remain puzzled at Spicer’s bringing up Hitler as someone that Assad is worse than, when a significant portion of Trump supporters actually worship Hitler. Wouldn’t that make Assad more attractive in those supporter’s minds?

  35. Sure, Spicer's statements look really bad out of context, but you have to put them in the context of email server management practices.

  36. Warren Terra says:

    Apparently Spicer reached out to apologize to Sheldon Adelson, which may mean Sheldon Adelson is now Chief Jew.

    Best response I’ve seen: “Next Year In Las Vegas”.

  37. Docrailgun says:

    I don’t know why Spicy stays on. He clearly hates his job and the people he has to work with everyday.

  38. witlesschum says:

    So far this is my worst Passover ever.

    -Mike Godwin on Twitter.

  39. Abbey Bartlet says:

    It’s exceedingly rare for the improvisational Hitler or Nazi comparison to turn out well.


  40. Thursday says:

    Guys, all Spicer was (eventually) saying is that German Jews weren’t the Chancellor of Germany’s people! He represented, you know, REAL Germans!

    Something to bear in mind when this White House talks about representing ALL Americans. You know, the REAL ones.

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