Tuesday, March 03, 2020

If you see something, you’d better be a Republican. Plus: virus-brained beerheads! Plus: Sonofabeach! Isn’t that your house washing into the ocean thanks to Donald Trump?

Current poster in New York City, encouraging anonymous crime tips. Note that 
tipsters are not required to be “unbiased.” 
True story to set the scene: In 1952, a 24-year-old clothing salesman named Arnold Schuster was found shot to death in Brooklyn. Well, not merely shot to death. He had been shot twice in the “groin,” as the somewhat prudish news media of the day delicately put it, and then once in each eye. 

It was clearly a revenge killing. Schuster had spotted a prison escapee, the bank robber Willie Sutton, and had phoned in a tip to the police. Willie got caught. Alas, Schuster’s name wasn’t kept secret. From evidence that emerged some years later, it appears as if Albert Anastasia, a Mafia capo ordered the hit to deliver a message: The underworld doesn’t like whistleblowers. So if you don’t want to lose your testicles, and then your eyes and your life, zip it. If you see something, say nothing.

The mafioso in the White House

This brings me to Donald Trump, his little lickspittle legal lapdogs, and their followers. They are  demanding, in contravention of Federal law, the public exposure of the whistleblower who tipped off an Inspector General about Donald Trump’s extortion of Ukrainian President Zelensky. The extortion was an attempt to pressure Zelensky into announcing an “investigation” of Joe Biden.

What’s upsetting the Trump followers? I quote from the comments section of one of the right wing blogs that I peruse from time to time spy on the other side.
By the time that the members of the House were getting together to vote on impeachment, the whistle-blower should have been identified long since (while of course being under protection — if deemed necessary) and be subject to questioning, friendly or otherwise.
 Why should one call witnesses when the first, and the main, witness is not allowed to testify and be questioned?
 Here’s why. The whistleblower does not function in this case as a witness. He is merely a tipster, somebody who, like Arnold Schuster, saw something and said something. Same as you might do if you saw a bank robbery or mugging in progress and called 911. Or if you noticed an abandoned and suspicious looking package in an airline terminal. 

The whistleblower has given no testimony in the impeachment proceedings. He or she merely let let it be known where the people who enforce the law, ultimately Congress in this case, might look for evidence. The whistleblower is not an accuser whom Donald Trump has a right to confront. Adam Schiff, Jerold Nadler and their Congressional committees are the accusers, and Trump was too chicken to confront them under oath.

Nor is a tipster a member of jury, required to be impartial. I don’t have to like crooks and terrorists, or even be neutral on the topic of crooks and terrorists, to let the cops know where a crook or terrorist is hiding. All I have to do is to be a good citizen and, having seen something, to say something.

Like a mafioso capo — in fact, precisely like the mafioso in the Arnold Shuster case — Donald Trump is furious that a tipster ratted him out. He and the right wing ranters want the poor whistleblower’s testicles shot off, plus a bullet in each eyeball. Or some high tech equivalent of that.

Please explain to me again, Republicans, why it’s such a good thing to have a Mafia thug in the White House?

But on to another subject.

Viruses, beer, brainlessness, and Bernie

You can’t make this stuff up: 

A PR agency claims that a lot of people are cutting back on Corona beer because it shares the same name as the Corona virus.

The agency is called 5W Public Relations. It is insisting that “38% of beer-drinking Americans would not buy Corona under any circumstances now.”

Do I believe this? More or less. Was it P T Barnum or was it H L Mencken who declared that nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public?

So let this be the final warning to Bernie Sanders: Lots of people are too dimwitted to know the difference between a label and the thing the label is pasted to. A significant majority of people want Medicare for all, free tuition at public universities, a living minimum wage, forgiveness of crushing college loan debts, and on and on. But if you keep on labeling this stuff “socialism” much of the public won’t swallow it. For that matter, they wouldn’t drink any beer that said “Socialism” on the label, either. Or accept free tuition to a university named Virus State.

You’ve got two choices, Bernie. Find another name for what you believe in. Or drown.

Incidental note: Forty percent of Americans are with Trump, do or die. Thirty-eight percent won’t drink a beer called Corona. That’s pretty much the same percentage, within a reasonable margin of error. Not that I’m saying anything about the intelligence of Trump voters. Or saying that Trump voters are necessarily the same people who won’t drink Corona. I’m just saying.

How come Donald Trump has
your sand in his shoes?

Fire Island is a long, long, very long sand bar of a barrier island that runs parallel to the south shore of Long Island. There are several small communities of beach loving homeowners on Fire Island, who congregate there in the summer to enjoy the ocean surf and the salt air. These are not, for the most part, the multi-millionaires and billionaires who populate the Hamptons, on the other side of the bay that Fire Island creates. Some of the homes on Fire Island aren’t even heated. The Fire Island communities consist mostly of middle class people. They are for the most part prosperous, but a long way from filthy rich, and they’ve sunk a big hunk of their net worth into shaky beach houses.

And I do mean shaky. A good many of the houses are built on stilts, to prevent flooding and destruction when hurricanes and powerful waves suck up the sand under the houses and drag it out to sea.

So periodically, the Army Corps of Engineers has to dredge sand out of the ocean and put it back on the beach for the protection of Fire Island’s homeowners, and even more importantly, for the sake of preserving this barrier island. If the Fire Island barrier goes, billions of dollars worth of property and infrastructure on Long Island itself would go next, and millions of suburban lives would be interrupted or ruined.

Little wonder that back in January, the Army Engineers dredgers were hard at work replacing Fire Island’s sand. But suddenly they stopped cold. Before they were finished, the dredging machinery got towed away to….why Palm Beach, Florida, of course. The dredging spot is reportedly very, very close to Mar a Lago, Donald Trump’s private property, which may be having some erosion problems of its own.

Will the dredgers come back to Fire Island? Who knows? Even if they come back to their interrupted job, will they be back before hurricane season, in time to save the small homeowners? That's anybody's guess. What’s really, really important about this, you middle class beach house owners, is this: 

You wouldn’t want salt water ruining the grass around the ninth hole at Mar a Lago, would you?


Unknown said...

That 38% of Americans who wouldn't buy Corona under any circumstances...includes the 36% who wouldn't buy it under any circumstances before the virus outbreak, if one actually looks at the actual survey the claims were based on.

But that doesn't make a for a funny joke.  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

The New York Crank said...

Sure, Anon. And the recent and sudden rapid falloff in business at Chinese restaurants is due to what? People who would have suddenly stopped going to Chinese restaurants in any circumstances? Why? Because they're all in the mood for barbecue that night?

Gimme a break!

Yours with extreme crankiness,
The New York Crank