General rule of thumb: don’t compare the Holocaust to anything

It’s been about a week since I discussed politics, and since then, the entire world has basically changed course.

And that’s not really much of an exaggeration.

Early last week, the world was exposed to shocking visceral images of incapacitated children, poisoned by sarin gas in what appears to have been a chemical weapons attack by the authoritarian Syrian government led by President Bashar al-Assad. The use of chemical weapons is not only outlawed by the United Nations, but also in an agreement between Syria, Russia, and the U.S. in 2013 after the country used chemical weapons against its people the first time.

In response to the horrific attack, President Trump – who categorically denounced any type of intervention in Syria four years ago – launched a surprise missile attack on a Syrian air base.

Russia, who has helped prop up the Assad regime during the country’s six-year civil war to protect its own interests in the region, condemned the attack.

The United States, in turn, accused Russia of covering up the Syrian government’s role in the attack. And this was all on the eve of Thursday’s meeting between Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Vladimir Putin, which, until the two finally sat down, no one was sure was actually going to happen.

And just like that, the Trump-Putin bromance has finally come to an end.

Sean Spicer

While many have praised Trump for his decisive action, others have been critical of his spontaneous action that in all likelihood was taken without an overall strategic plan. Others say it’s a smokescreen to distract us from discussing U.S.-Russia collusion.

But this, without a doubt, begins a new chapter in our country’s role in the Middle East, as well as our relations with Russia. We knew Trump’s footprint would be left on the geopolitical landscape. This is it. And now we see where we go from here.

Unbelievably, these seismic events were still outshadowed this week by the incomprehensible remarks by White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, who, without any provocation, essentially downplayed Adolf Hitler’s cruelty and rewrote history to pretend like he never gassed and murdered more than six million Jews.

The statements were made during a White House press briefing, which drew audible gasps from reporters in attendance, and led to Spicer issuing an apologetic statement afterwards. But the outcry over his remarks was so great that he appeared on camera on CNN to issue a further apology later in the day. He then spent all of Wednesday on an apology tour.

Oh, Sean. I mean, the man has the hardest job in the world, being forced to justify the nonsensical actions, statements and tweets of Donald Trump to the press. But watching him try to back away from his own words was like watching a trainwreck in action.

Adding insult to injury, he referred to Nazi death camps as “Holocaust centers,” as if they were some type of museum, and misstated the name of the Syrian president.

And on top of that, he said it during Passover.

It’s pretty much common sense. Whether you’re talking to a friend, a colleague, your pet dog, or especially the entire national press corps, do not draw comparisons to the Holocaust. And don’t show sympathy for Adolf Hitler.

It’s pretty much the basic rule of humanity.

Melissa McCarthy … you’re up.

There’s something about Putin

For the most part, Jimmy Fallon’s performance as host of last Sunday’s Golden Globes was quite uneventful.

It began with his teleprompter failing him in the show’s opening minute, and yet, he neglected to make a single Mariah Carey joke.

But Jimmy did make one funny quip during the production. It was a clever mix of a routine awards show announcement blended with politics.

He said, “The ballots for tonight’s Golden Globes were carefully tabulated by the accounting firm of Ernst and Young and Putin.”

It was a good joke. On the rating scale, I give it a 10 out of 10.

The humor stems from allegations by American intelligence agencies that Putin led  a campaign to smear Hillary Clinton in order to sway our election and get Donald Trump elected. Did it work? Maybe. But nonetheless, it’s made the Russian President public enemy number one.

vladimir-putin

It’s amazing how much his name has come up since the latter stages of the presidential election, beginning with Trump’s odd affection towards him while speaking on the campaign trail.

First it was Putin ordering the hacking of the Democratic National Committee. Then it was Putin infringing on our election process. This week, we’re wondering just how close Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson is with the man. And on Wednesday, unsubstantiated reports of a secret Russian dossier containing personal and professional dirt on Donald Trump was the headline story.

So what is it about this man that has people so obsessed?

You can’t talk international politics without Russia. It is a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, and the largest country by surface area. Oh, and that whole Cold War thing.

Putin has been Russia’s leader since 2000. Before that, he was a KGB foreign intelligence officer for two decades. So the man knows something about covert operations.

He also just looks untrustworthy. There’s no way you can look at Vladimir Putin and think, “You know what? I would trust that man with my children.”

The truth of the matter, though, is that Putin is a possible war criminal whose political enemies often wind up dead. He is not a man who represents American interests, and given his history, there is no way he can ever be a real ally to the U.S.

So that is why it drives people crazy when Trump speaks about him so adoringly.

It must be quite entertaining for Russians to see just how infatuated we are with him, though. Next thing you know he’ll be chased by Ben Stiller, Matt Dillon, Chris Elliott and Brett Favre (see today’s post title if that joke did not hit, which it probably did not because it wasn’t that good. A 4 out of 10 on the rating scale.)

And it’s extremely reasonable to wonder how close Rex Tillerson is with Putin. As the president of ExxonMobil, not only does he hold more assets in Russia than anywhere else, but he was once bestowed the highest award a foreign citizen can receive from the Russian government.

With 52 Republicans and 48 Democrats in the Senate, at least two Republicans would have to turn against their party to reject Tillerson.

Fortunately, Marco Rubio laid the hammer down during Tillerson’s confirmation hearings on Wednesday.

Go get him, Little Marco. This is your time.

And if Russian hackers are reading this right now … well, someone please notify the CIA if I’m not back on Monday.