Today’s WTF? MomentPatentPending …
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Carl Paladino (above) has had a busy two weeks or so. Today may bring it to a close. The Buffalo, New York, real estate developer who was the 2010 Republican nominee for New York State Governor (he lost in a landslide to Andrew Cuomo, who is still governor) was New York co-chair for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and he has been spotted among the many celebrities and office holders arriving at Trump Tower in New York City for job auditions with the incoming Trump administration. Any normal human being who might fit the above description might find themselves erring on the side of caution, of circumspection, in their public statements.
Perhaps you are not acquainted with what no one in New York State refers to as the Carl Paladino Era (2010–Present). The man is incapable of circumspection … beyond that, he is incapable of human decency.
So Mr. Paladino has had a busy few weeks. When Artvoice, an alternative weekly newspaper in Buffalo, put together a feature that many weekly newspapers run at the end of the year—a Q&A with 42 famous Buffalonians in which they tell the world what they want to see in the coming year—he was one of the 42 the newspaper contacted.
The article was published today, and the one thing everyone needs to know about Mr. Paladino’s answers is that he stands by them. The Buffalo News (which endorsed him in 2010) contacted him this morning and asked him if he actually said what was quoted. Think about that for a split-second. There is always a question that can be asked before “Do you stand by your remarks,” and that question would be, “Did you really use those words in that order?” That question is one that is not usually asked, though.
It was asked. Mr. Paladino replied: “Of course I did. Tell them all to go f*** themselves.”
We have freedom of speech in this country, which at a minimum protects the right to be a jerk. The one and only reason this story is worth lingering over is Mr. Paladino is an elected official in the City of Buffalo. He sits on the school board in that great city. He holds other prominent positions with many other educational organizations.
None of this is news if one remembers the campaign he mounted in 2010. It was a grand buffet of racist tropes and ethnic hate-slinging. During that campaign, he circulated to friends and supporters an email depicting the Obama Inauguration: it was a GIF of chimpanzees dancing. More hilarity followed.
Supporters who were capable of embarrassment saw in Mr. Paladino someone who may have made them uncomfortable but who they celebrated because he “tells it like it is.” That is the reason Mr. Trump employed his efforts in western New York State this year. They each “tell it like it is” even though it isn’t like that at all.
In a statement he released this afternoon, Mr. Paladino made the same claim that every racist makes: It is worse to be called a racist than to be a racist. He wrote: “This is in response to my comments published in Artvoice. It has nothing to do with race. That’s the typical stance of the press when they can’t otherwise defend the acts of the person being attacked.”
Indeed, racists do not see race because race is all that they are capable of seeing.
I do not know which is worse, Mr. Paladino’s original comments in Artvoice or his defense this afternoon.
Artvoice asked these four questions: “1. What would you most like to happen in 2017? 2. What would you like to see go away in 2017? 3. Who would you like to see run for mayor of Buffalo in next year’s election? 4. Should the new $50 million Amtrak station be at Central Terminal or Canal Side?” Obviously, mostly local interest matters.
How did Mr. Paladino answer these questions in a way that has “nothing to do with race”? How did he not bring race into his answers at all in such a way that the press alone thinks his answers were racist, which they surely were not, not at all?
He answered thusly:
Artvoice: What would you most like to happen in 2017?
Carl Paladino: Obama catches mad cow disease after being caught having relations with a Herford (sic). He dies before his trial and is buried in a cow pasture next to Valerie Jarret (sic), who died weeks prior, after being convicted of sedition and treason, when a Jihady (sic) cell mate mistook her for being a nice person and decapitated her.
Artvoice: What would you most like to see go in 2017?
Carl Paladino: Michelle Obama. I’d like her to return to being a male and let loose in the outback of Zimbabwe where she lives comfortably in a cave with Maxie, the gorilla.
The Right’s obsession with Valerie Jarrett is inexplicable, and Mr. Paladino continued it in his statement of defense today (seen below), in which he claimed that she is “foreign-born” and that President Obama left her in charge of the country. (Somehow Mr. Obama has simultaneously been an evil dictator with his fingerprints on every bad thing the right-wing dislikes AND he has been lazy and not at all in charge of anything.) Ms. Jarrett was born in Iran to two American parents, as her father ran a hospital there in the 1950s, when Iran was an ally. She is American in precisely the same way that U.S. Senator John McCain is American. Obsessions are always bizarre.
Next up, bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), commonly known as “mad cow disease,” is not an STD. That fantasy is simply odd.
And the Right’s obsession with Mrs. Obama’s physique is unmatched in my experience of race-hate. She’s a male … she’s a gorilla. It has “nothing to do with race,” Mr. Paladino wrote … except it matches every previous racist American’s ugly trope about black people and apes and Africa.
If Mr. Paladino was not a public official and someone who may very well be hired by Mr. Trump as he has already worked for him this year, his racist nonsense would not be worth the anger. He sounds like every other angry white 70-year-old (Mr. Paladino is 70) that I hear in my local diner spouting drivelous hatred about how offended he is that a black man is president. I can always move to another booth. But no, he is a public official.
The president of the Buffalo School Board, Dr. Barbara Nevergold, spoke to the media this afternoon:
Dr. Barbara Nevergold held a press following remarks Carl Paladino made about President Obama and the First Lady in Artvoice. pic.twitter.com/H4axqHL9ec
— John Hickey (@jhickeyBN) December 23, 2016
Here is Mr. Paladino’s statement this afternoon defending his “tell it like it is” remarks:
Mr. Paladino, being called a racist is not the worst thing in the world. Spending 70 years on this planet as you certainly strikes me as unpleasant, and I’d almost rather be anyone whose legs still work.
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Jim Heaney is over Paladino. Why can’t the school board vote to oust Paladino? I’ve hear of jerks before but this guy has clearly upped the ante. He needs to go!
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I am afraid this stuff will be the “norm” for the foreseeable future ( actually it all seems so bizarre how can I say “foreseeable” ? With this kind of bat shit crazy how could actually know what will happen next.)
Some one has loosed the pent up racism and psychosis that represents all too many citizens.
I particularly loathe it when they scream at you that you are doing what THEY are doing, pretending they never did and it was always wrong.
What was that movie? Ah yes; “King of Hearts”. Set I think in WWII, the Nazis leave the French village before the Allies arrive. In the meantime the patients of an insane asylum set themselves free, all witnessed by one advance scout. Upon the arrival of the Allies the patients lock themselves BACK in the asylum and the scout has joined them.
Not an upbeat way to start the day, is it.
Thanks Mark for keeping my head in reality.
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Thanks for reminding me about “King of Hearts,” Ernie.