Friday, November 27, 2020

Donald Trump’s infantile temper tantrums — and how they are breaking and pulverizing national security

     Imagine if this had been our President for the past four years. Oh, wait.

Who from your childhood does Donald Trump remind you of now?


For me, he’s the bad kid at the birthday party who acts out so outrageously that his parents have to be called to pick him up early and take him home. But before they get there, he purposely and with malice aforethought breaks everything he can. 

He throws the birthday cake on the floor and stomps it into the carpet. 

He smashes the birthday presents by jumping up and down on them. 

He spits in the punch bowl. 

He says he has to go make a wee-wee and then deliberately pees on the bathroom floor.


And then, when his parents arrive, he whines to them that everybody at the party is being mean to him.


This time, the party is Joe Biden’s, and oh how lucky we’d be if Trump limited his misbehavior to trashing a birthday cake and spitting in a punch bowl. It’s worse than that. Much worse. He is deliberately endangering our national security, weakening our defenses against Communist Russia, and inching us toward what could turn out to be a war, maybe even a nuclear war, with Iran.


• Donald Trump “withdrew” us from the Open Skies Treaty, which allows our intelligence aircraft to fly over Russia and see what they’re up to — from missile launches to massing troops on the border of a third nation.


• He deliberately made it difficult for Joe Biden to simply reverse our Open Skies treaty withdrawal. Trump has done so by planning to get rid of the specially-equipped reconnaissance planes used in the Open Skies flights. In effect, whether out of spite or because he’s in deep to the Russian espionage apparatus, the Russians couldn’t wish for a better agent saboteur than Donald Trump.


• Having abrogated another treaty, in this case with Iran — the one that pretty much kept Iran out of the nuclear arms race for ten years — Trump has now begun advocating a military strike against Iran. The New York Times reports:

WASHINGTON — President Trump asked senior advisers in an Oval Office meeting on Thursday whether he had options to take action against Iran’s main nuclear site in the coming weeks. The meeting occurred a day after international inspectors reported a significant increase in the country’s stockpile of nuclear material, four current and former U.S. officials said on Monday.

A range of senior advisers dissuaded the president from moving ahead with a military strike. The advisers — including Vice President Mike Pence; Secretary of State Mike Pompeo; Christopher C. Miller, the acting defense secretary; and Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff — warned that a strike against Iran’s facilities could easily escalate into a broader conflict in the last weeks of Mr. Trump’s presidency.


Since Mr. Trump dismissed Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper and other top Pentagon aides last week, Defense Department and other national security officials have privately expressed worries that the president might initiate operations, whether overt or secret, against Iran or other adversaries at the end of his term.

The Iranians stuck to those limits even after Mr. Trump scrapped U.S. participation in the Iran accord in 2018 and reimposed sanctions. The Iranians began to slowly edge out of those limits last year, declaring that if Mr. Trump felt free to violate its terms, they would not continue to abide by them.

 The upshot to all of this would be to get us involved simultaneously in war against two nuclear adversaries, Russia and Iran. No, it wouldn’t be good for the United States. But it would mean that Trump has made sure Joe Biden can’t enjoy his birthday cake or play with his new toys.

And frankly, that's all I think the snotty little brat wants.



Monday, November 23, 2020

The Schadenfreude Follies — OR — get your smirks, giggles, snorts, and quotable cutting remarks now, before the Trump Administration goes up in a puff of smoke.

Embarrassed by Donald Trump?

Quote of the week:
 From Jane Goodall, doyenne of the world’s great primatologists, during an interview with Kara Swisher of the New York Times: “Well, don’t compare Trump with a chimpanzee, because it’s terribly rude to the chimpanzee."


You-Can’t-Make-This-Up Name of the Year Award goes to Rush Limbaugh’s producer. Get ready for it? All ready? You’re certain? Okay, it’s Bo Snerdley.


Psycopathic Corporate Management Award of the Month goes to a group of management executives at the Tyson Foods Company after a wrongful death lawsuit claimed they bet on how many of their employees at meat processing plants would catch coronavirus. 

According to the Wall Street Journal, thousands of workers were infected. Eighty-six of the infected line workers died leaving behind grieving spouses and children. But hey, Biff and Chip in the Executive Suite just pocketed $500 each from the betting pool, so the news isn’t all bad, right?


Nation of Asswipes Award goes to nearly the entire poplation of the USA (a few of us excepted) for resuming the Great Toilet Paper Panic after a blessed pause. 

What is it with virus pandemics and toilet paper? Beats me, but, “We’re headed for a product shortage and consumer panic of unprecedented proportions,” according to Burt P. Flickinger III of the consulting firm Strategic Resource Group, quoted in the Orange County, CA Register

I don’t get it. There’s probably enough toilet paper already stashed in the closets, attics, and basements of America to burn down half of suburbia. Could we please start hoarding something else, folks? Q-tips for example? Maybe paperclips?


Bad hair, go away, come back again some other administration 

 If "the eyes are the window to your soul,” as Shakespeare once asserted, then what the hell is bad hair? Show me a despot, or someone telling lies for a despot, or inventing mean and terrible things for his despot boss to do, and three times out of five I’ll show you bad hair. 

First and foremost there’s Donald Trump, with a comb-over that defies gravity (and probably a few other laws of nature.) More recently we’ve had Rudy Giuliani, with the only hair that, when he's under pressure, seems to bleed down his cheeks in rivulets. Then there’s Steve Miller, who tried to cover up his bald head with spray-on hair that looked like pig bristles imbedded in shoe polish. In Korea, Kim Jong-Un has a coif that defies…almost anything, from explanation to reason, to flattery. 

And then there was this guy. If you’re young and wondering who owns that face and hairdo, the answer is no, that’s not Borat. That’s Mummar al-Gaddafi, the late dictator of Libya, who was badly beaten, sodomized with a bayonet, and then shot to death by his loving subjects while pleading for his life and telling the angry crowd, "God forbids this!" After that, they went after and killed three of his sons. (Trump family please take note: people are terribly fickle. Tch tch!)

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Trump’s abandoned tuna fish; Giuliani’s legal fees; Miss Lindsey’s plea to, uh, disappear some ballots; and Georgia TV stations strike gold.

 The thing about Donald Trump is, he tells so many lies that he forgets to follow up on them. Wasn’t it only September, a piffling two-and-a-fraction months ago, that Cranky Six-Year-Old was warning us that “Antifa’s” killer weapon of choice was tuna fish?

“They throw it,” Trump declared in a rally near Pittsburgh. “It’s the perfect weight, tuna fish, they can really rip it, right? And that hits you. No, it’s true. Bumble Bee brand Tuna.” 

(Sorry, I had a perfectly lovely old Bumblebee Tuna jingle TV commercial to insert here but — you know — the "new improved" Blogger isn't letting me.)


Hey, what happened to the soup?


Trump had already forgotten his previous lie concerning Antifa weaponry, that the Antifa Forces of Evil were throwing soup cans. Now he seems to have forgotten the tuna fish, too.


Well, whatever. By tomorrow, he’ll probably forget why he thinks he won the election. In which case, perhaps Rudy Giuliani can remind him.


After all, Rudy’s job of overcoming the results of a national election by walking into court and throwing a distraction of horsefeathers in the air is probably the best-paying work an evidently discombobulated lawyer can get. 


Will Trump pay $20 grand

a day for anything?


According to the New York Times, America’s Horsefeathers Artist, formerly “America’s Mayor” has asked the Trump campaign for $20,000 a day for his legal work. That presumably includes arranging press conferences at the “Four Seasons” — the garden center, not the hotel. You know, the one next to the porn shop and the crematorium. 


“A $20,000 a day rate would have made Mr. Giuliani…among the most highly compensated lawyers anywhere,” the Times pointed out.


That’s assuming he can collect a nickel. Unless, of course, he started with a retainer of, oh, I dunno, let’s say a couple of million bucks? In which case, Trump still has a few weeks of legal representation before Giuliani has to go looking for work again.


On the other hand, the same Times article reported Giuliani says he never asked for twenty grand a day. “The arrangement is, we’ll work it out in the end," Giuliani said. In which case, given who his client is, he is so screwed that he’ll be able to scrape together a living appearing in hardware store commercials.


Miss Lindsey’s housekeeping 


Nothing disturbs a Lady of Refinement like clutter. Which is perhaps why Senator Lindsey Graham reportedly told Georgia’s Secretary of State, according to a story in the Huffington Post and on Yahoo to “find a way to throw out legal ballots.”


Graham, of course, denies it and claims it’s “ridiculous” so think that a few little things he said could be interpreted that way. On the other hand, he’s one of the horsefeather artists who’s claiming the Presidential election was so beset by fraud that Trump was unable to win. So maybe Georgia’s Secretary of State is not so ridiculous after all. And speaking of Georgia…


How do you strike it rich in Georgia?


The answer’s simple. Own a TV station while the Senatorial runoffs are running their ad campaigns.


According to Ad Age, one of the leading trade publications of the Madman biz, “money is flooding into the peach state” and it’s therefore “the most wonderful time of the year—if you happen to own a TV or radio station in Georgia.”


The top spender is Republican Senatorial candidate Kelly Loeffler, who’s shucked out $32.5 million for advertising. Total up all the spending from all candidates and it comes to $101 million. That means each of Georgia’s 10.6 million residents will likely get whacked with $10-a-head worth of advertising by the time it’s all over.


Quite frankly my dear, I have always relied on the kindness of ear plugs.


Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Amazon goes all Chinese on me, Trojans are not protected against COVID, and is Donald Trump getting ready to short the White House sheets?

 The well-oiled tech machine that is Amazon appears to have developed a glitch, a glitch, a glitch, a glitch.

On Tuesday of this week they sent me an e-mail bearing the header, “Please disregard our earlier e-mail.” The body of the e-mail helpfully told me the following:

Earlier, we mistakenly sent you an email with the subject line "邀您参与亚马逊广告". You do not need to take any action, and we apologize for any confusion. 

Thank you, 
Amazon Advertising 

Wait, what? They sent me an e-mail in Chinese that I somehow missed? And now they expect me to “disregard” a message in foreign pictographs? As in, “pay no attention to the naked lady behind the gauze curtain who may be writing you a luridly amorous invitation?”


Hell no! 


So of course I ran the e-mail through Google Translate, which informed me that the translation of the Chinese is:


“We sincerely invite you to participate in the Amazon Advertising Survey.”


That’s it?  Just an advertising survey? All that for a stinking survey? Sincerely? And on top of that, after shipping goods to me for years, they think The New York Crank is in China!?!?! Well, I have this to say about that, Amazon. (Warning, NSFW) 
去他的你自己 (That’s pronounced Cāo ni ziji.)


A hard time in Trojanland. Sixty-five years ago when I was in high school and birth control devices were still illegal in some states, every Trojan condom had a legal escape clause stamped on it that said, “Sold only for the prevention of venereal disease.” We all knew this because there was always some kid, at least in Brooklyn where I grew up, who got a job in a drug store and stole condoms for the rest of us, (I’m looking at you Paul) since we teens were too embarrassed to buy them ourselves. 


Well these days you can use Trojans for whatever comes to mind, from preventing venereal disease, to preventing pregnancy, to inflating them and taping them to the ceiling for really stupid party decorations. All the same, Trojans have fallen on hard times. Blame Covid-19.


Back in October, Bloomberg news reported that condom sales were sinking faster than a lead canoe — six percent for the quarter ended September 30th, following a thirteen percent decline in the previous period. Bloomberg explained:

Chief Executive Officer Matthew Farrell was blunt in describing the sales burden, attributing it to “a lot less sex.” And for those consumers stuck at home with a partner, a baby boom could be ahead: Church & Dwight also reported surging sales of its First Response pregnancy kits.

 So there’s a couple of reasons more to loathe Donald Trump. By letting COVID-19 run rampant, he ruined your sex life. Unless he got you pregnant.


And speaking of Donald Trump…. The Sabotage and Sink America apparatus that is the Trump administration appears to have adapted the attitude, “We don’t care about no stinking election. So go shove it." 


Currently, one of the key “go shove it” people is somebody named Emily W. Murphy, administrator for the General Services Administration. They’re the ones you have to see if you’re the president elect and your transition team needs office space and other facilities so you can hit the ground running on inauguration day.  

This is important, because America’s enemies may not wait a decent interval before firing off a nuke, or capturing an American ship, or invading the Ukraine. You need intelligence officials, and cabinet officials in the Pentagon, the State Department and other government agencies who will be in place to confront challenges from the get-go. Joe Biden has a transition team working on that, but according to the New York Times, Ms. Murphy is a one-woman road block.

The transition officials said her inaction was preventing Mr. Biden’s teams from moving into government offices, including secure facilities where they can discuss classified information. The teams cannot meet with their counterparts in agencies or begin background checks of top cabinet nominees that require top-secret access.

Hey, in my opinion, you’re a great American, Emily W. Murphy, right up there with Benedict Arnold. But I suspect Ms. Murphy’s despicable behavior is just another manifestation of Donald Trump’s rage-revenge poop fest. I wouldn’t even be surprised if he’s planning to short the sheets in the Presidential bedroom before they drag him out of the building.


Note to Joe Biden: Don’t bother checking for shorted sheets. Don't even think of sleeping in that bed. Park a big dumpster at the White House rear portico, carry out anything Trump hasn’t already stolen, and junk it. That includes the bed in the presidential bedroom, on which, given reports relating to other Trump incidents, he may have deliberately and spitefully taken a pee. Fumigate the building. Wipe down everything with Lysol. Then move in.

And now this for the Trump people assigned, however futilely, to short the presidential sheets. Given your administration's general incompetence, you probably need this to follow your orange boss's instructions:

Saturday, November 07, 2020

Ding dong! The witch is dead! Probably.

            He’s likely mad as hell. But will he take it any more?


Let me put this political story in its weird personal context. Last Wednesday I suffered one of those medical misfortunes that affect geezerly cranks like me. I went for a routine visit to my doctor and ended up a trapped patient in a major New York hospital for two and a half days.


I was irate, of course. The entire thing was — as I declared so loudly and often that when I finally got to go home, the hospital gave me a booklet on where I could find psychological counseling —  a hash of medical over-reactions, defensive medicine carried to a preposterous extreme, and clerical errors — all of which resulted in an unnecessary endoscopy. 

The endoscopy revealed, as I loudly had been insisting, that I indeed did not have a bleeding stomach ulcer. Although now I have to take Prilosec for a while to deal with the stomach irritation that the endoscopy caused.


Political TV tedium


Meanwhile, I was confined for much of the time to a dreary hospital room where the television set gave me a choice of Doctor Phil, Ellen DeGeneres, a couple of tedious movies, and the news. 

So for three days, while I waited for Big Distinguished Hospital to do its unnecessary thing, I sat watching CNN and CNBC as they hashed, re-hashed, and re-re-hashed the tedious vote count in Pennsylvania, and the minutae of vote changes in Georgia, Nevada, and Arizona. And then rehashed it again. And again.


So imagine how pleasantly surprised I felt when I finally got home and turned on the TV to  find the news channels showing people dancing in the streets in Washington, D.C., New York, Los Angeles, and even Paris, inspired to this joyful behavior  by the news that Joe Biden is now the president-elect of the United States.


O, that it were absolutely true!


Murphy’s Law and The Terminator


The news about Joe Biden could be true. It’s probably true. But the results have to be certified. The Electoral College has to convene. Things have to go off flawlessly. The courts, in which Trump's lawyer will challenge the election, have to side with law and logic rather than Donald.

And given the massive size of this political operation, the time it takes, and the fact that Donald Trump reportedly rushed away from his golf game when he heard the news and roared back to the White House to call his lawyers, the machine that is Murphy’s Law may also be dancing in the streets.


And speaking of machines, was it The Terminator or Robocop that got blasted with explosives, singed and nearly melted by flames, lost its legs, and still kept going, propelling itself with its arms toward completing what its microchip perceived as its mission.


The Trump machine is like that. It ought to be dead. But just when you think it’s dead, it’s not dead. But then you’re sure it’s dead, but it’s not dead. But then it is subjected to forces no living thing can survive so you're absolutely, positively certain it’s dead, but it’s not dead. But then…


Whoever wrote that movie script must have understood the Trump mentality.


So I sing out — but prayerfully — that  the Witch Is Politically Dead. Ding dong! 


But I’m also keeping my fingers crossed.


Well, at the very least, the news ruined Trump’s golf game.


And now this. 

And also this:

Sunday, November 01, 2020

The election, pigeon entrails, and counting spoons

On the basis of this chicken’s intestines, I can confidently predict that

the presidential election's outcome is unpredictable

I piddled away a precious hour of my Sunday morning, toggling between Meet the Press and Face the Nation. They confirmed to me what forays into CNN and other news networks have been revealing all week.


Specifically, this nation is wasting it’s time listening to learned (and often breathless) prognostications of election outcomes that essentially boil down to “if it goes this way, but doesn’t go that way, it could be Biden over Trump, unless it’s Trump over Biden.”


An ominous lesson

From the ancients


All this panting news network sturm und drang brings to mind classical civilizations that habitually presented pigeon entrails to oracles. The oracles would then divine from the intestines and the liver and the rest of the bird’s innards where the future was going. 


How did that work out for ancient Athens? Or ancient Rome? 


My advice to you is to skip the TV and Internet oracles — with maps of red and blue states replacing gullets, gizzards and livers — and get out there and vote if you haven’t already done so. Otherwise, if I don’t post here again until some time after Election Day, you may find yourself reading this over a large plate of very bitter crow.

And speaking of plates...


Urgent memo to the

Department of the Interior


For the moment, let us make two wild assumptions. First, that Biden wins, big, loud and clear. And second, that Trump, seeing the handwriting on the wall, decides to vacate the White House relatively peaceably.


I herewith urge the U.S. Department of the Interior, or whoever is responsible for the furnishings and equipment in the White House, to count the spoons before Trump gets too far out of town. Ditto the dinner service and the linens. These are people who never go any place without filling their pockets.


Or in this case, maybe even filling a few spare moving vans. 

Is the Resolute Desk nailed down?