Quoted and Misquoted

I really don’t like being misquoted. In discussing my scientific work, someone will inevitably pop up to say something like “But you claimed that XYZ was absolutely true”, when in fact I actually said something like “XYZ might possibly be valid in some limited specific circumstances”. The distortions, the misunderstandings, the misquotations are astounding.

And as a result of having this happen to me over and over, just above the comment box below it says in big letters:

You are invited to add your comments. Please QUOTE THE EXACT WORDS YOU ARE DISCUSSING so we can all be clear on your subject.

That has kept the distortions down … but not out.

But that’s nothing compared to the distortions of what Donald Trump has said. So I thought I’d take a moment to look back at a few things he’s said that have been taken totally out of context. In some of the quotes, I’ve emphasized certain words or phrases, and all such emphasis is mine.

Before I start, let me make my position clear. I’m not a big fan of President Trump personally. He is crude, he insults people, he shoots from the hip, he exaggerates his successes and minimizes his failures … in short, he’s a typical New York real estate developer.

But I am a great fan of President Trump’s policies. What he has done for the country, from tax reductions to cutting useless restrictive regulations to re-negotiating NAFTA to increasing manufacturing jobs to stopping the TPP to cutting unemployment to record low levels has been nothing short of amazing.

So I don’t really care that he is crude, rude, and rough. As George Orwell said, although not in these exact words:

“People sleep peacefully in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.”

So it’s OK with me to have a “rough man” as our President. At this time in history, it’s what we need.

But it drives me nuts to see him misquoted over and over again. So let me look at a few of his statements that have been distorted beyond all reason.


Quote 1: The basic claim:

Trump said that all Mexicans are rapists and murders.

Quote 1: What people have said:

Tim Kaine, the 2016 Democratic Vice Presidential Nominee, said:

“The thing that amazes me is the depth of his trash talking with Latinos, saying all Mexicans are rapists and going after Latino immigrants.”

Quote 1: What Donald Trump actually said:

“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you [pointing at people in the audience]. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”

Quote 1: Discussion:

Let’s look at the facts, OK? Here’s the first fact:

obama on borders.png

More facts:

Although some of them are in fact good people, the people sneaking across our southern border are NOT the best people in Mexico.

Some are MS-13 members. Some are rapists. Some are Mexican cartel members. Some are fugitives from Mexican authorities. Some are “coyotes” who guide Mexicans across the border and sometimes rape, rob, or kill the very people they are guiding across. Some are terrorists. Some are drug smugglers.

And yes, some are just poor honest shlubs looking for a better life.

In other words, everything Trump said was absolutely true. And most importantly, he did NOT say “all Mexicans are rapists” or indeed anything about “all Mexicans”. That was just Tim Kaine and a host of others, lying over and over again for political advantage.


Quote 2: The basic claim:

Trump said that Nazis are “good people”.

Quote 2: What people have said:

Billy Joel, musician extraordinaire and inept political commentator, said:

“The president said, you know, ‘There’s some good people on that side …’ No, Nazis aren’t good people,”

trump and nazis.png

Quote 2: What Donald Trump actually said:

REPORTER: Mr. President, are you putting what you’re calling the alt-left and white supremacists on the same moral plane?

TRUMP: I am not putting anybody on a moral plane, what I’m saying is this: you had a group on one side and a group on the other, and they came at each other with clubs and it was vicious and horrible and it was a horrible thing to watch, but there is another side. There was a group on this side, you can call them the left. You’ve just called them the left, that came violently attacking the other group. So you can say what you want, but that’s the way it is.

REPORTER: You said there was hatred and violence on both sides?

TRUMP: I do think there is blame – yes, I think there is blame on both sides. You look at, you look at both sides. I think there’s blame on both sides, and I have no doubt about it, and you don’t have any doubt about it either. And, and, and, and if you reported it accurately, you would say.

REPORTER: The neo-Nazis started this thing. They showed up in Charlottesville.

TRUMP: Excuse me, they didn’t put themselves down as neo-Nazis, and you had some very bad people in that group. But you also had people that were very fine people on both sides. You had people in that group – excuse me, excuse me. I saw the same pictures as you did. You had people in that group that were there to protest the taking down, of to them, a very, very important statue and the renaming of a park from Robert E. Lee to another name.

REPORTER: George Washington and Robert E. Lee are not the same.

TRUMP: Oh no, George Washington was a slave owner. Was George Washington a slave owner? So will George Washington now lose his status? Are we going to take down – excuse me. Are we going to take down, are we going to take down statues to George Washington? How about Thomas Jefferson? What do you think of Thomas Jefferson? You like him? Okay, good. Are we going to take down his statue? He was a major slave owner. Are we going to take down his statue? You know what? It’s fine, you’re changing history, you’re changing culture, and you had people – and I’m not talking about the neo-Nazis and the white nationalists, because they should be condemned totally – but you had many people in that group other than neo-Nazis and white nationalists, okay? And the press has treated them absolutely unfairly. Now, in the other group also, you had some fine people, but you also had troublemakers and you see them come with the black outfits and with the helmets and with the baseball bats – you had a lot of bad people in the other group too.

REPORTER: I just didn’t understand what you were saying. You were saying the press has treated white nationalists unfairly?

TRUMP: No, no. There were people in that rally, and I looked the night before. If you look, they were people protesting very quietly, the taking down the statue of Robert E. Lee. I’m sure in that group there were some bad ones. The following day, it looked like they had some rough, bad people, neo-Nazis, white nationalists, whatever you want to call ‘em. But you had a lot of people in that group that were there to innocently protest and very legally protest, because you know, I don’t know if you know, but they had a permit. The other group didn’t have a permit. So I only tell you this: there are two sides to a story. I thought what took place was a horrible moment for our country, a horrible moment. But there are two sides to the country.

Quote 2: Discussion:

What Trump actually said was that in Charlottesville there were both neo-Nazis and people who simply wanted to peacefully protest taking down a historical statue. He said that the group simply wanting to protest the statue contained some good people … and curiously, he SPECIFICALLY AND STRONGLY spoke against the neo-Nazis and the white nationalists, saying they should be “condemned totally”.

But in our current political environment, where people are ready and willing to believe anything bad about Trump, even specifically disowning the neo-Nazi movement is not enough … he still gets misquoted.


Quote 3: The basic claim:

Trump said he sexually assaults women.

Quote 3: What people have said:

grab my pussy.png

Quote 3: What Trump actually said:

Trump: You know I’m automatically attracted to beautiful… I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star THEY LET YOU DO IT. You can do anything.”

Bush: “Whatever you want.”

Trump: “Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.”

Quote 3: Discussion

The central issue here is consent. Everyone quotes this as though Donald Trump would just walk up to any woman and grab her by her private parts. You can see one of those people above. But that’s nothing even remotely like what he said.

He said if you are a star, there are women in Hollywood who will LET YOU do anything you want. And it’s true. In my youth, when I played in rock bands, we used to call them “star-f.ckers” … and they would do much more than just let a star fondle them.

Here’s a rude reality about sex: most men will do whatever women LET THEM do. If a woman doesn’t LET A MAN kiss her, he generally doesn’t kiss her. If she LETS A MAN kiss her, he probably will kiss her.

Now, kissing a woman if she DOESN’T LET YOU is indeed a crime. It’s a form of sexual assault, and reasonably so, because it’s non-consensual … but kissing her if she LETS YOU is, well, human sexual behavior that we’ve all engaged in.

And in Hollywood, from all accounts, there are women who will LET stars take all kinds of liberties with them … and guess what?

Many, perhaps most, male stars will be sorely tempted to do just that.

So no, President Trump is not a “self-confessed sexual assaulter” as someone claimed to me the other day. His statement involved consensual sexual behavior, not sexual assault.

To be clear, it’s consensual sexual behavior I’ve never engaged in … but then I’ve never been a star. And please, don’t shoot the messenger on this one. I stand 100% against all types of violence against women, including sexual assault, and I’ve never engaged in it.

But the Donald, a private citizen and a media star at the time, was not talking sexual assault or violence of any kind against women—he was talking about consensual behavior between consenting adults.


In closing, let me appeal to people to read what people say very carefully, and if practical, to quote the exact words that you are objecting to. It’s easy to be misunderstood on the intarwebs or in the media, much easier than in person. So please, I ask you all to do me (and everyone else) the courtesy of not misquoting or misrepresenting our words. After getting bitten many times, I’ve become very cautious about what write down. I think about my words very carefully. I sign all my words, and as a result, I have to be ready to stand behind them, sometimes even after decades.

So I don’t want to say anything that I cannot defend … but neither I nor the President can defend ourselves against someone else’s incorrect interpretation of our words.


Here, it’s one of the last warm days of summer, so I’m going to put down my electronic pencil, enjoy the sunshine, and move some redwood tree limbs towards the chipper …

My best wishes to everyone, for joy, for consensual fun with your partner of choice, and for sunlight far-reaching on the sea …

w.

 

 

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23 thoughts on “Quoted and Misquoted

  1. Another fine example of Willis’ taking the time to CLEARLY set the actual record straight. In my dreams the entire world pays attention to what is actually said, but there are too many who “already know what’s going to be said,” and fail to listen at all.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Trump is indeed a crude provocateur, but what a great one, but what a smart guy. Your first quote doesn’t look right though, and Trump delivered it perfectly. He was talking about Mexico sending people, and though the Mexican government doesn’t pick people up and send them to the US, their policies push people to (illegally) migrate.

    So, to your quote:

    “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you [pointing at people in the audience]. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”

    I’ll say I was wrong if someone has Trump’s written release of this, but a transcript isn’t good enough. What I believe, and my belief is as valid as any other, is that Trump said:

    “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you [pointing at people in the audience]. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. Their rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”

    We in the US still do that. Our government does that. An 18 year-old charged with statutory rape (ie consensual) of a 15 to 16 year-old girlfriend, showing up in court with an Armed Services recruiter will have his sentence taken under advisement; ie no punishment if he stays out of the court’s eye for X years. We are ‘not sending our best’. Most states do that with lesser felonies. As long as the person stays out of state the cops don’t try to extradite; the warrant is kept on state file for 5-10 years, but not entered into the federal NCIC.

    Just as US jurisdictions often incentivize people to leave, Mexico incentivizes people they consider undesirable to leave as well. Duh!

    Like

  3. I’ll repeat something I said over at WUWT. The left has figured out that you can use words as weapons. They do it by changing the meaning of words, often by using a general term when the real subject is specific. Consider the terms”affirmative action” and quotas. There have been a number of instances where people say they’re opposed to quotas in hiring or university acceptance. The left instead of defending quotas attacks by saying “you’re racist! You’re opposed to affirmative action!”. Useless to point out you were talking about quotas because they just keep repeating the same mantra.

    Same is true in the climate argument. Notice how they’ve generalized from what was a discussion of CO2 induced global warming, to anthropogenic global warming, to climate change to climate. When skeptics try to discuss the effects of CO2, instead of defending the science the left just says “Climate denier!”. And who can deny climates existence except someone who’s delusional? When you try to point out that you’re actually skeptical of CO2 induced Catastrophic Global Warming. They fall back on just saying Climate denier.

    The other trick is to redefine words to exclude or include someone. Take the term “racist”. Black activists will claim that they can’t be racist because they are a minority and only whites are racist because they have the power. Sorry, racist means you dislike someone because of their race and has nothing to do with power real or imagined. That doesn’t stop them from twisting the argument. The press with Trump and Charlottesville played the inclusion game by ignoring what Trump said and including anyone who was opposed to taking down the statue with the the white nationalists.

    Unfortunately, those who are not radicals let them get away with highjacking the language because they try to be reasonable when the left has no intention of a rational discussion.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The misquoting is intentional, not the result of misunderstanding. Journalists understand perfectly well what Trump says. His inability to keep his mouth shut gives them plenty of material for misquoting.

    Like

  5. Hi Willis,
    We think in pictures not words. We try to paint a picture with words, some are good even great linguistic artists like yourself Willis, and most are like me and struggle along with the English language. IMO there’s to many silver tongue devils dressed in grey suits circling our every move, trying to make money out of thin air. If our only purpose in life is to make money, pay taxes and pollute the planet , then it’s not hard to see why the planet’s out of wack. Capitalism IS and WILL destroy Earth ,one thing capitalists need is slaves to do the physical work . Debt and planned Obsolescence is the capitalist best friend,crappy goods that don’t last and Debt keeps people enslaved.

    Like

    • I have to disagree with your statement that “one thing capitalists need is slaves to do the physical work”

      slaves don’t have any money to buy products from capitalists. Capitalists need people who have money to buy products.

      Now, are there people claiming to be Capitalists who ignore this? Yes, but that doesn’t make the idea of free trades between people bad. Even in the most Socialist/Communist areas, there are people trading favors and goods unofficially.

      Like

      • Also keep in mind capitalism would work just as well in a nation with robots doing all of the “slave” work.

        Either you have a productive marketable skill or you find one or you don’t. Nobody is stopping you. Nobody is enslaving you. Nobody forced you to take on debt.

        Free exchange is the essence of capitalism force does not enter the equation until you start involving the government.

        I do not think that means what you think it means.

        Like

    • jmorpuss October 17, 2018 at 6:57 pm

      Hi Willis,
      We think in pictures not words. We try to paint a picture with words, some are good even great linguistic artists like yourself Willis, and most are like me and struggle along with the English language. IMO there’s to many silver tongue devils dressed in grey suits circling our every move, trying to make money out of thin air. If our only purpose in life is to make money, pay taxes and pollute the planet , then it’s not hard to see why the planet’s out of wack. Capitalism IS and WILL destroy Earth ,one thing capitalists need is slaves to do the physical work . Debt and planned Obsolescence is the capitalist best friend,crappy goods that don’t last and Debt keeps people enslaved.

      Say what? Capitalism is the worst economic system ever … except for all the rest. Every socialist economy has ended up in totalitarianism, starvation, and death.

      Capitalism, on the other hand, has brought the number living in extreme poverty down from ~ 95% down to 5% … since as you say we think in pictures, here’s a picture of what capitalism has done for the world.

      Capitalism doesn’t have slaves. Capitalism PAYS people, which is why we have the picture above of the change in extreme poverty. Socialism goes the other way. LOOK AT VENEZUELA!

      Best regards,

      w.

      Like

      • Hi Willis,
        It’s a shame that GREED runs our lives, you can call it whatever ISM you like, how about GREEDISM.
        Greed is a very powerful primary emotion. And when greed has a plan,this is what we end up with.
        The Biggest Scam In The History Of Mankind – Hidden Secrets of Money

        Like

  6. Thank you for the quotes, misquotes and analysis thereof. I totally agree. I guess I’ve just been a bit too lazy to spend the time to look them up to verify my original interpretations. I have several friend to whom I need to pass this on.

    As for star power and women chasing it, the record is probably held by Wilt Chamberlain who in his second autobiography claimed to have had sex with 20,000 different women. While he is accused of exaggerating that number a bit, several of his teammates agree that the number was prodigious.

    Like

  7. “I’m not a big fan of President Trump personally” … “But I am a great fan of President Trump’s policies.”

    Unfortunately fewer and fewer are able to see the distinction between an adoration of the leader cult and good, effective leaders. Cults: Obama, Stalin, Kim, and many others, mostly on the left but with some huge exceptions. An example on the other side would be General Patton in WW2. Winning General slaps a couple soldiers. Which is more important winning the war or slapping and insulting a couple soldiers? Hard decision; I’m glad I didn’t have to make it.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_S._Patton_slapping_incidents

    Trump is not the first to suffer mockery of something he didn’t say. It’s a common tactic.
    Take Sarah Palin for example, she was mocked by something that Tina Fey said.
    https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/sarah-palin-russia-house/

    https://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Politics/2011/0603/Political-misquotes-The-10-most-famous-things-never-actually-said/I-can-see-Russia-from-my-house!-Sarah-Palin

    Like

  8. Great work Willis.

    Trump does seem a little rough around the edges but he has taken on the power structures in the media and in Washington where no one else had the balls to even publicly question their tactics. When you fight with pigs you need to adopt their tactics and get muddy.

    As far as ‘fake news’ goes, I have been disgusted with the media for 30 years and have made a point of it whenever the opportunity arose. Like Trump, I got pretty good at rattling cages and there was a lot of opposition but none very effective because they had never been faced with the facts before. “Political Correctness” was my favorite target then and now. An education on ‘global warming’ gained from WUWT and the field became target rich. I can now piss off any left-winger without even addressing them directly! . Others will crack the door (conversation) open for me to begin. It’s really funny to see impact that the truth can have on some people when their viewpoint is challenged!

    Like

  9. “So I don’t really care that he is crude, rude, and rough. As George Orwell said, although not in these exact words:

    “People sleep peacefully in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.”

    So it’s OK with me to have a “rough man” as our President. At this time in history, it’s what we need.”

    I have come to believe that Trump may very well be the functional equivalent to US Grant during the Civil War. Some number of Lincoln’s advisers tried to get him to fire Grant during the war due to his uncouth drinking and other personal shortcomings. Lincoln’s response was “‘I can’t spare this man; he fights.’” And Trump fights for those of us who put him into office. Cheers –

    Like

  10. Per Willis:

    Quote 1: Discussion:

    Let’s look at the facts, OK? Here’s the first fact:

    ==========

    The pics you posted are …. well …. priceless! ——> I approve of that message!

    Like

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