Monday, December 25, 2017

Now that we’re busy driving away our friends, we can’t afford enemies any more. You can thank Donald Trump and Nikki Haley.

The so-called tax reform that just became law was an act of financial sabotage. It was committed exclusively by the Republican side of the  House of Representatives and the Senate, and blessed every step of the way by Donald Trump. Had the economic sabotage that is bound to result somehow been inflicted on us by a foreign power, it would be an act of war. 

But the tax bill was just powder puff, compared to the act of sabotage committed against our nation by Nikki Haley and Donald Trump.


At the UN we're always asked to do more & give more. So, when we make a decision, at the will of the American ppl, abt where to locate OUR embassy, we don't expect those we've helped to target us. On Thurs there'll be a vote criticizing our choice. The US will be taking names.

And sure enough, they took a vote. And if Ambassador Haley took names the way she promised she would, she most assuredly must be suffering from a severe case writers’ cramp.

A mere seven nations out of 193 voted with the United States. Should the United States ever be attacked again, by means ranging from from something like another 9/11-style hijack-and-crash attack, to Kim Jung Un’s nukes, who will we have to join us in the defense of our own nation?

Well, of the seven countries we can absolutely, positively, definitely count on because we haven’t told them to go stuff themselves, let's start with the Federated States of Micronesia. 

Umm Nikki? How big an army do you think the Federated States of Micronesia can raise and deliver to the battlefield, next time the USA needs help?

Excuse me, Nikki, I can’t hear you. Could you speak a little louder?  No no, louder than that. Nikki? Nikki?

Nevermind, I’ll do it for you.

The Federated States of Micronesia consists of  four little islands stuck out there in the Pacific ocean. The total population for all four of ‘em combined is roughly 105,000. 

I know, I know, size doesn’t matter. I mean between just two of the Islands alone, Chuuoi and Yap, they could probably raise a squad of really scary guys armed with clubs and rocks. Maybe even bottles.

Yes yes, I hear you, Nikki. We’ve also got the Republic of Palau on our side. And was that Donald I just heard whispering that Palau is really big — he means yuuge — compared to four-island Micronesia? They don’t just have four islands, Palau has 340 islands. Let me write that out for you. Three hundred and forty islands! There! That should help us out in a pinch. 

What’s that? They have only about 21,500 people on those 340 Islands? An average of 63.2 people per island?  Well then, what about the nations of Nauru and Palau and Togo? Not to mention the Marshall Islands?

Same kind of story? Well, didn’t any nation that most of us ill-educated Americans have ever heard of side with us? 

They did? Great! Who? 

Ah hah! Guatemala and Honduras! I’ll bet Vladimir Putin and Kim Jung Un are quaking in their boots at the thought of an invading army from Guatemala and Honduras.

Okay, let me get to the point of all this now. The truth of the matter is, we don’t really need ISIS, or Al-Qaeda, or Russia, or North Korea to crash our military strength, or to implode our economy, or to sink our battleships and our prestige around the world.

We have Nikki Haley and Donald Trump to do it for us.

But let me leave the last word to Nikki. Listen as, with cold and very blind fury, she hammers a stake into her own nation’s heart by telling nearly the entire population of the planet, outside of the United States, and Micronesia, and Palau and Narau, and so on, that they can all go screw themselves.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Do we owe the growth of the Dow to Trump? Nope, says legendary stock picker Ken Fisher's firm.

Donald Trump is fond of claiming that the stock market is going up because of him.

That your 401(k) is rising in value because of him.

That he's the savior of the American economy.

Not so, says the firm of legendary stock picker Ken Fisher.

Back in April, they put out a YouTube video that pointed out, among other things, that America's stocks were actually lagging behind stocks in other countries. Eighteen other countries were ahead of us, among them Spain, Egypt, Denmark, Greece and Poland. 

In fact, compared to Poland, the growth of American stocks has been a Polish joke.

The question is, when stocks crash, or simply deflate like a leaky balloon, will Donald Trump also take credit? Or will he blame the disaster on Hillary Clinton?

I usually hate putting advertisements on my blog, but this one's worth watching:

Monday, December 18, 2017

Bias? Did you ever hear of an un-biased accuser? Muller’s people are on to something big.

"Your honor, I object! This accuser is biased against the defendant!"
From the New York Times of Monday, December 18:
WASHINGTON — For much of the seven months since Robert S. Mueller III was appointed special counsel, President Trump’s lawyers have stressed their cooperation with him, believing that the more they work with his investigation, the sooner the president will have his name cleared. 
But in recent weeks, as the investigation has reached deeper into Mr. Trump’s inner circle, that image of cooperation has begun to fracture. Mr. Trump’s lawyers and supporters have significantly increased their attacks on Mr. Mueller, especially as the F.B.I. has handed them fresh ammunition to claim that the agents investigating the president may be biased.  
The latest salvos came over the weekend, when a top Republican senator said Mr. Mueller should examine his team’s political leanings, and a lawyer for Mr. Trump sent a letter to lawmakers saying that the special counsel had improperly gotten emails from the presidential transition team.
Umm, wait a second there, White House lawyers. Where is it written that a prosecutor’s staff, or the FBI, have to like you to investigate you or accuse you of a crime? Or that they even have be impartial?

A judge has to be impartial. A jury has to be impartial. An investigator? The more he despises you, the harder he’s likely to dig for evidence.

If there’s evidence there, he’s likelier to find it. If there’s no evidence? Well, if even somebody who doesn’t like you can’t get the goods on you, chances are you're innocent and there are no goods to get.

But I suspect that the reason the Trump lawyers — and Trump himself — are freaking out is because Muller’s people are on to something big.
“Not looking good, it’s not looking good — it’s quite sad to see that, my people were very upset about it,” Mr. Trump said on Sunday when asked about the emails. “I can’t imagine there’s anything on them, frankly, because, as we’ve said, there’s no collusion, no collusion whatsoever.”
Trump is repeating himself, repeating himself, I suspect, because he knows he’s in deep doodoo, deep doodoo. I suspect “no collusion, no collusion whatsover,” means that Trump and his people are neck-deep in collusion. And that they’re sweating bullets and desperate to make Muller’s investigation go away. 

But the only thing they have on Muller is that maybe an FBI investigator or two aren’t one hundred percent impartial. If the Trump legal team can get away with stopping the investigation because of this, than any street thug can get off by claiming that the cops who busted him didn't like him.

Does anybody else here smell flop sweat?

Tuesday, December 12, 2017


There's more than one way to make America great again — and today
a lot of people in Alabama showed us a good way

The voters of Alabama stood tall today.

Whatever else we believe, on matters ranging from taxation, to abortion, to government regulation, every American citizen should be able to agree that there's a crying need for decency, honor and respect in government. 

Today, Alabama showed the way, by rejecting an often-accused child molester who also — no small matter — has exhibited little regard for the Constitution of the United States or the rule of law. Instead, the voters took a stand for decency.

Is this beginning of a movement to return sanity to government — one that will pull all of us back, in every state, from the brink of an un-American plunge into totalitarianism? Let us hope so.

To the citizens of Alabama who stepped into the voting booth and did the right thing, all this one cranky person can say is, I most sincerely thank you! 

Sunday, December 10, 2017

The secret plot to gun you down in the street

Before anything, go here, and look and the photograph of the four mercenary thugs at the topic of the article you’ll see. (I can’t reproduce the pictures in this blog because the Associated Press owns the copyright.)

If these characters look like the type of people you wouldn’t want to run into in a dark alley, you’ve got excellent instincts. They were arrested and tried for the cold-blooded murder and injury of at least 31 civilians in Iraq some years ago. 

Technical legal arguments evidently got them off from long prison sentences that were pursued under both Republican and Democratic administrations. But the key facts in the case are barely disputed. They mowed down 31 civilians. Not enemy combatants. Civilians. In the street. In broad daylight.

All of these unsavory characters worked for Eric Prince, who
Eric Prince, mercenary mastermind
contracts to send mercenaries to dangerous places with an implicit license to kill anybody who they deem to be in their way.

Prince’s so called “business reputation" keeps getting such a black eye, in part thanks to the trail of dead bodies it leaves in its wake, that he keeps trying to escape his reputation by changing the name of his shadowy corporation. It started out as Blackwater. Then it became Xe. Then it became Academi LLC. For all I know it has changed its name again. Or not. But if President Trump has his way, it may soon have no name at all.
Instead, as Newsweek has revealed:
“The Trump administration is reportedly weighing the creation of a private network of spies conjured up by former Blackwater founder Erik Prince, a former CIA officer and famous Iran-Contra scandal figure Oliver North, which would gather intelligence for CIA Director Mike Pompeo and the White House and keep the rest of the U.S. intelligence community in the dark of what it discovers, according to a report by The Intercept on Tuesday.”
The purpose of this would allegedly be to combat “the deep state.” Except there’s no such thing as a deep state. Or as the same Newsweek article put it:
“Trump has repeatedly claimed, with no evidence, that such an underground group exists and has worked against him since he took office earlier this year. 
“The proposal of a private, clandestine network appears rooted in distrust the current administration has for the intelligence community. Top political donors to Trump were reportedly asked to help finance operations before any agreement was reached.”
Wait a second, wait a second! Why the distrust? Perhaps it's caused by the inclination of the CIA rank and file to obey the law. Perhaps Trump's problem is that devoted civil servants — Americans loyal to the law and the Constitution — won’t lie about facts to fit Trump's preconceived notions, or murder Trump’s political enemies.

As Newsweek reported about the private network:
“It is a direct-action arm, totally off the books,” this person said, meaning the intelligence collected would not be shared with the rest of the CIA or the larger intelligence community. “The whole point is this is supposed to report to the president and Pompeo directly.”
What could a powerful organization do, an organization well-paid with your taxes, that somehow "doesn't exist" because it's "totally off the books" and unaccountable to anyone saved Donald Trump and Pompeo?

Well it might do what one of the people Trump admires, Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, has his shadow thugs do — murder the political opposition. Just walk right up to them and shoot them dead in the street.

If you’re a journalist Putin doesn’t like, or a whistle blower, or merely a political opponent, you’ll have a hard time getting life insurance. Journalists and other critics in Russia who say things Putin doesn't like have an alarming habit of getting murdered, like this one, gunned down in the lobby of her apartment building.

In the United States, an “off-the-books” organization might extend the honor of getting murdered to anyone Trump doesn't like, a very long list that includes, among many others....

• People who have the temerity to believe that black lives matter. 
•Elizabeth Warren
•People who have the unmitigated gall to want to extend the right to vote to every adult citizen.
•Hillary Clinton 
•People with the utter nerve to demand that the Republican government not steal the Social Security income that they contributed to throughout their working lives, or their health care. 
•Bernie Sanders
•Gay people who get married 
•Colin Kaepernick
•Women who confirm that Donald Trump once tried to manhandle them
•Chuck Schumer.
•Reporters from the New York Times, CNN, the Washington Post, or any other publication Trump doesn't like.
•Nancy Pelosi.  
•Any member of Trump's own cabinet who momentarily displeases him. 
•Or you.

“Off the books” unaccountability is the beginning of total dictatorship. And at the risk of repeating a very old and very tired cliche that somehow suddenly seems to have new life: Be afraid, be very afraid.

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Santa Claus fired after multiple allegations of sexual improprieties surface at North Pole

Mr. Claus in happier days.
NORTH POLE, USA (SPECIAL TO THE NEW YORK CRANK): Santa Claus earlier today was suspended and then fired, after several of his reindeer alleged that he had improperly and repeatedly touched and fondled them.

The move came as a shock at the North Pole, where Santa Claus has been a revered figure for centuries.

Shortly after the news broke, Mr. Claus released a statement in which he said, “While I do not specifically deny the allegations, some of them do not square with my own memory of how these events happened, ho-ho-ho!" 

"Deeply embarrassed" 
Santa expresses regrets

"For example," Claus said, "in at least two of the incidents cited, it is my recollection that I was merely adjusting Dancer and Prancer's harnesses.  However, I am deeply embarrassed by these claims and I regret any pain I may have caused any of my reindeer, whom I have always respected and admired.”

But that statement seems to have been retracted after Claus retained an attorney, who said he had in turn hired an international firm of private detectives to investigate the case. According to well-placed sources in Santa's Workshop, the  private detectives discovered “a long history of wanton sexual behavior among the reindeer themselves. 

Reindeer orgy?

“They have irrefutable evidence, for example, that Dancer once did a five-some with Donner, Blitzen, Prancer, and Rudolph,” the source claimed.

The lawyer stated, “These animals are displaying an inordinate amount of hubris when they turn on Santa simply for joining in their reindeer games.”

Additionally, the lawyer said, “Some of the alleged incidents charged by the reindeer occurred more than fifty years ago. Yet none of the reindeer reported the so-called abuses to the Human Resources Department at Santa’s Workshop until this month. I find that highly suspicious.”

Frantic concerns may
have a simple solution

The dismissal of Santa Claus raised frantic concerns about who will come down the chimneys of America and deliver the Christmas presents this year.  However, a spokesperson for Santa’s Workshop said that most of the slack would be taken up by Amazon, with spillover handled by UPS and Federal Express.

Amazon is said to have a fleet of robots that can fly up and down chimneys, dropping off presents and even taking photographs of the gifts under Christmas trees, or of whatever else they may discover in America’s living rooms. 

Could Jeff Bezos
be listening?

In addition, thanks to the Amazon Echo, “We know when you are sleeping, we know when you’re awake, we know when you are good or bad, just like Santa,” said an Amazon spokesperson.

There have been some reports, however, that  UPS and FedEx workers were concerned that  requiring them also to jump down chimneys was an unnecessary work hazard and would be in violation of OSHA regulations.  
In a related event, The North Pole Daily Herald-News reported that Mrs. Claus has engaged a matrimonial lawyer and is planning to sue Santa for divorce.

Friday, December 01, 2017

Poisonous trees, killer fruit, Donald Trump — and a legal theory that might help undo much of the damage he has caused

The Manchineel tree. Touching any part, or even getting wet from
rain that drips from it, will burn and blister your skin. Eat its fruit
and you die. Read what this has to do with Donald Trump. 
There’s a principle of United States constitutional law designed to stop cops from searches without warrants, or from beating or torturing Americans for information. 

Just doing those things is illegal, of course. But what if I illegally search your house and discover a $50 million stash of marijuana? Or if I beat up Willie the Neighborhood Bum, and he then confesses that he helped you helped bury a drug stash in your backyard, and when I dig up your yard, sure enough, there’s the stash?

Under long-established law, I can’t charge you for drug possession. That’s because my discovery of your stash is what the courts have termed “The Fruit of the Poisonous Tree.” It means that if illegally-obtained information leads me to evidence of your guilt, I’m not allowed to use that evidence against you. It’s tainted because of the way I originally obtained the information that led me to the evidence.

Okay, here’s where some will claim I’m getting into a dicey argument. I’ll take the risk.

If tainted police methods can make their fruit, — criminal evidence — invalid, can a tainted election make the fruit of that election —  the Trump presidency — equally invalid?

Wait, stop, don’t hit me! I’m only asking. It seems to me that if current investigations reveal that a mischievous foreign power (let’s say hypothetically, umm, Russia) poisoned  our elections — okay, okay, swayed our elections, but that’s a poisoning of the electoral process — then the fruit of that poisoned tree is also tainted.

In this case, the tainted fruit is Donald Trump and his Vice President, Mike Pence.

And if that’s the case, anything done by the tainted President is also tainted and invalid.

Appointment of ultra conservative judges, or any judge, to the Federal courts? Invalid.

Signing a new tax code that robs the poor and middle class to give to the rich? Invalid.

Lifting regulations on water pollution, air pollution, or that rape our nation’s natural "forever wild" public lands? Invalid.

Any bill, any executive order, any cabinet or sub-cabinet appointment? Invalid.

Succession of Mike Pence if Donald Trump resigns, or is removed from office, or becomes unable to serve by reason of insanity, physical illness or death? Invalid.

The third in line for succession is Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. But that’s a bridge that can be crossed when we come to it.
A Machineel apple This'll kill ya.

Meanwhile let us hope to find out whether Donald Trump was elected in a tainted election process. If he was, he’s every bit as poisonous as a shiny Manchineel apple. And when it comes to my legal theory, there’s no telling who will bite.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Sexual harassment: the true story of how it happened to me, and how that affects where I come out on Roy Moore, Donald Trump, Harvey Weinstein, and others

The author of this book had it wrong. Women, militantly and justifiably 
raising righteous hell with male harassers, are from Mars. Men are from
…well, read the story and see
Back in my “Madmen” days, somewhere in the 1970s when I was a thirty-something advertising copywriter, I was sexually harassed by my female boss.

It happened at an office party. I can’t remember the occasion. It wasn’t a big party — just members of our creative group  and a handful of people we worked with standing around bowls of potato chips and popcorn, sipping inexpensive wine from plastic cups.

Suddenly my boss, on whom I depended for my job, raises, favorable evaluations, and some minor supervisory authority, walked up to me and stuck her tongue in my ear.

Just before she did it she said, “You’re going to enjoy this.” She kept her tongue in my ear for quite some time, wiggling it around and purring while she breathed.

Now you have to understand that my boss — let’s call her Josephine — was about 25 years older than I was. She would have been described back then the way the writer Nicholas Von Hoffman once described Margo St. James,  founder of a San Francisco sex workers’ rights organization called Coyote. Von Hoffman described St. James as “a good old broad.”

That was Josephine, too. Without knowing absolutely every detail of her life, I was confident that she had done everything — and ingested, inhaled and snorted everything — at least twice. In some cases a whole hell of a lot more than twice.

One of my colleagues at that ad agency, a television commercial producer — let’s call him Richard — told me that once, that when he and Josephine had been shooting a commercial on location in Los Angeles, Josephine revealed that her favorite cocaine dealer was in town. The dealer was an heir to a corporate fortune. His family name appears in the company’s logotype to this day. He had nothing much to do except live in big houses on his inherited wealth, so to pass the time he got involved in various hobbies. One of them was dealing cocaine, the drug a la mode back then. I swear to you, this is all true.

Josephine and Richard drove to Mr. Big Corporate Name’s West Coast digs, where she bought a glass phial of Bolivian Happy Dust for $500. Then they went to a very fancy restaurant, where they decided to get high before going to their table. But how?

They formulated a plan. It went like this. Josephine would take the phial to the ladies’ room, lock herself in a stall, and snort up a line or two while Richard stood guard outside, to warn her by coughing loudly if another women started heading inside. Then they would reverse the process, with Josephine standing outside the men’s room door while Richard took a few snorts.

Josephine went into the ladies’ room. Richard stood guard. Suddenly he heard a loud shriek from inside, followed by Josephine’s voice screaming, “Oh no, oh no, oh no!”

Alarmed, Richard charged into the Ladies Room, where he discovered that Josephine had accidentally dropped the phial on the tile floor of a stall. It had shattered. Cocaine dust was all over the floor. What to do?

“Well hell,” said Josephine, finally putting her emotions back in some secret hiding place, “there’s no point in letting all this stuff go to waste.” She lay down on the stall floor and began sniffing cocaine off the tiles. Richard followed suit. 

Suddenly, Richard told me, while he and Josephine were lying on the floor, their legs protruding from under the stall, the door to the ladies room opened. Richard, from his low vantage point, saw a pair of feet wearing high heeled velvet pumps clack-clack-clack toward the center of the room. All at once, the pumps froze in place. There was a pause of perhaps four seconds. Then the pumps turned around 180 degrees and rapidly clack-clack-clacked out of there, while Josephine and Richard resumed snorting.

Anyway, that was Josephine, my boss. Uninvited, she stuck her tongue in my ear and wiggled it around while purring and breathing heavily. A clear case of sexual harassment.

Except that I rather liked it. Nothing ever came of the incident. She was ten years too late. I had dreamed of that kind of stuff when I was a teen-ager and a twenty-something. But now I was married, with a touchy wife (now an ex-wife), a kid, a house, a mortgage, and too much at risk if I dared to play around. So I passed.

But, to repeat, I liked the harassment all the same.

What does this tell us? For one thing, it is an illustration of why the title of a best seller some years ago, “Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus” is wrong, dead wrong, most especially today.

Women, at least women today, militantly and justifiably raising righteous hell with male harassers, are from Mars. And men? We’re from Penis, a place in our bodies that intrudes on and influences what must be a formidable percentage of our decisions. Like it or not, men of a certain generation have grown up in a testosterone-influenced culture. And yes, you may call it the Penis culture.

We are wired to want sex, Worse, our upbringing, however wrongfully, encouraged our wants. Which explains many things about the Madmen epoch, although it excuses nothing. It most certainly does not excuse rape, consistently creepy behavior, pederasty, or constant annoyance of any woman. However, it does account for a sublimation of sex that from time to time expresses itself as a bit of sexually-tinged playfulness, and that should in some instances, when it does not rise to the level of consistent annoyance of an individual, be given a pass. Cases concerning each point?

Harvey Weinstein, who has been accused of rape and whose brother reportedly had a career on the side buying off women whom Harvey is said to have sexually abused, does not get a pass. Plus, the reports of lawyers and a brother paying numbers of women to shut up reinforces the probability that Weinstein is a sexual predator.

Donald Trump has admitted to much the same. From his position of power, he boasted during a so-called “locker room talk” on a bus that he was able to grab women by their private parts and get away with it. What he did does not quite rise to the level of rape. But it does rise to the level of at least a misdemeanor sex crime. Had any other male tried the same, whether in performers’ dressing rooms, or on the subway, he’d be deservedly sitting behind bars now.

But Al Franken, who was photographed playfully pretending to grab another performer’s breasts on an airplane, a mischievous look on his face, clearly aware that a camera is pointing at him? That seems hardly at all like predation. It seems much more like a mistake in judgement, the kind of tasteless bad joke that may have been influenced by testosterone culture, but is not even close to the level of a boss who stands nude in his home, in front of an assistant, who depends on the flasher for her salary.

Yes, the woman in the Franken photograph also accuses him of unwanted kissing. But film of her during the same tour shows her engaged in a bit of sexually tinged license of her own. Clearly, this playful license was part of the culture of this particular USO tour. Check out this video from the show, about two minutes past the beginning. In her case, as well as Franken’s, the license is merely playful rather than intrusive or creepy. 

Anthony Weiner, the former U.S. Congressmen, sent to prison for texting pictures of his penis to young girls, clearly has no further business being in public life. The sexting, particularly to minors, is beyond the bounds of playfulness or flirting.

But if Weiner deserved prison, how can Roy Moore, who is accused of committing actual physical acts of pederasty (as opposed to Weiner’s acts of photography) with a 14-year-old girl get away with what he has done? Certainly he does not belong in the United States Senate if the charges against him are true. And the snowballing of similar charges by formerly underaged women keeps adding credibility to those charges. As does the defense by one of his friends which seems to indicate that the friend believes that the charges are true, but that the Bible says it's all okay.

To be sure, there is a danger in all of this, and that is the danger of witch hunt hysteria, which not only existed in Colonial America, but which swept across Europe from the Fifteenth through the Eighteenth Centuries, resulting in hundreds of deaths by torture and fire. All anybody who wanted to get rid of, or get even with somebody else had to do was level an accusation of witchcraft.

The same kind of guilt by accusation is possible in contemporary times. That is why we will need evidence-based legal investigations, and possibly criminal trials, to determine who is a sexual predator, and who is a hapless victim either of an overreaction or a lie. (It may be telling that Franken has called for a Congressional investigation of himself, whereas Roy Moore simply growls denials.) 

But investigations are long and slow. In the case of Senatorial elections there may not be enough time. People will have to vote their commonsense judgment. 

My own common sense is telling me that Franken is guilty of little except some tasteless horsing around. But that Roy Moore may be a pederast more deserving of a prison cell than a U.S. Senate seat.

Cross-posted at No More Mister Nice Blog