This is your President speaking.

Number 27 in a long series

And now a few words from the President of the United States:

I use Social Media not because I like to, but because it is the only way to fight a VERY dishonest and unfair “press,” now often referred to as Fake News Media. Phony and non-existent “sources” are being used more often than ever. Many stories & reports a pure fiction!

Hey! I paid him to say that.
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This is your President speaking.

Number 26 in a long series

And now a few words from the President of the United States:

The Democrats have been told, and fully understand, that there can be no DACA without the desperately needed WALL at the Southern Border and an END to the horrible Chain Migration & ridiculous Lottery System of Immigration etc. We must protect our Country at all cost!

Good for a change to have a President who doesn’t take the job too seriously.

Bad Joke of the Week

One of a continuing series

I am not sure there really is a “Dear Uncle Andy” column in the Picayune Gazette, however:

Dear Uncle Andy:

I am a lady aged 26, and my husband is 34. I left my husband with the maid and our baby at home. After driving just 2 km from home, my car engine started to overheat. So I had to return to get the other car. When I got home I found my husband in bed with the maid. I don’t know what to do. Please help.

Uncle Andy’s Reply:

Overheating of the engine after such a short distance can be caused by problems associated with the radiator. You need to check the oil and water levels in the engine before you start your journey. You must have your car serviced regularly to avoid such problems. I hope my answer will solve your problem.

This is your President speaking.

Number 25 in a long series

And now a few words from the President of the United States:

In the East, it could be the COLDEST New Year’s Eve on record. Perhaps we could use a little bit of that good old Global Warming that our Country, but not other countries, was going to pay TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS to protect against. Bundle up!

It could not have been any better if I paid him to say it, which I did.

Schlemiel-in-Chief

Number 27 in a series

 

You have to hand it to the Schlemiel-in-Chief. When it comes to turning around a basking moment, he is without parallel.

Trump visits first responders in West Palm Beach

President Trump made an unannounced visit to firefighters in West Palm Beach on Wednesday to thank them for their service.

Speaking to about four dozen members of the West Palm Beach Fire and Rescue, Trump said under his administration, local law enforcement agencies are getting military-grade equipment back.

What could possibly cap such a defining moment for a President of the United States? A suggestion: how about you run it downhill by using the occasion to pat yourself on the back:

“You know, one of the things that people don’t understand — we have signed more legislation than anybody,” the president said in remarks to roughly four dozen first responders at a firehouse in West Palm Beach, Florida. “We broke the record of Harry Truman.”

And that is a most fantastic achievement, considering he had to accomplish this despite having the Senate and the House of Representatives controlled by his own party. Too fantastic, in fact. More than fantastic, actually false:

Actually false? You expected something else?

This is your President speaking.

Number 24 in a long series

And now a few words from the President of the United States:

.-FBI’s Andrew McCabe, “in addition to his wife getting all of this money from M (Clinton Puppet), he was using, allegedly, his FBI Official Email Account to promote her campaign. You obviously cannot do this. These were the people who were investigating Hillary Clinton.”

It is not necessary for me to conjure up amazing statements by top government officials. I have somebody in Washington I pay to do that for me. He only charges $400,000 a year. Cheap.

Your Friend The Handgun

Nothing new here, folks.

For whatever reason you believe you need to own and carry a gun, the NRA stands by you to protect your Second Amendment rights. You never know when the government is coming to take your gun:

Standoff after shots fired at Robeson County deputy

PARKTON — A man who fired at law enforcement in a Robeson County neighborhood triggered a standoff that lasted more than eight hours Sunday, with a barrage of gunfire at one point that could be heard from a half-mile away.

A state trooper was hit by gunfire early in the standoff but was not seriously injured, according to emergency workers at the scene.

The incident began just after 3 p.m. on a cul-de-sac just outside Parkton, and by 10:30 p.m. there was still no official word about the fate of the man. Law enforcement had apparently entered the two-story home and were going through it, using remote devices. At least 50 local and state law enforcement officers were at the scene, and the neighborhood remained evacuated.

Beverly McDonald lives across the street from where the shootout was happening on Acadiana Drive. She said at around 3:10 or 3:15 p.m., she heard two or three shots and looked out the window to see a Robeson County sheriff’s deputy running behind a truck.

“I saw the cop,” McDonald said. “I saw (my neighbor) shooting at the cop. ‘Bang, bang, bang!’ And the cop ran and jumped behind the truck. A few minutes later, there was a howling of sirens, and the block was covered in police cars. I couldn’t count them all.”

Remember, if you suspect they are coming to take your guns, they probably are.

The Golden Shower

Number 27

I am telling you, this bunny has a life of its own. They should start using it in ads for Energizer Batteries. The story goes back a bit. In 2015 The Washington Free Beacon hired private research concern GPS Fusion to conduct opposition research on presidential candidate Donald Trump. The Free Beacon ceased its interest in the research when Trump became the presumptive Republican candidate. At that point the Clinton campaign, no friend of Donald Trump, started picking up the tab for the research. GPS Fusion hired former MI-6 operative Christopher Steele to continue the work, but they lost interest once Trump won the election on 8 November 2016.  Glenn R. Simpson of Fusion GPS continued supporting the research, eventually handing off the results to British and American intelligence services. Sources for this are the Wikipedia entries for the Donald Trump–Russia dossier and GPS Fusion.

Parts of the Steele Dossier have been independently corroborated, but essential sections have not. One that possibly has not been verified is among the most salacious. A paragraph labeled 3 relates the following:

However, there were other aspects to TRUMP’s engagement with the Russian authorities. One which had borne fruit for them was to exploit TRUMP’s person  obsessions and sexual perversion in order to  obtain suitable ‘kompromat’ (compromising material) on him. According to Source D, where s/he had been present, TRUMP’s perverted) conduct in Moscow included hiring the presidential suite of the Ritz Carlton Hotel, where he knew president and Mrs OBAMA (whom he hated) had stayed on  one of their official trips to Russia, and defiling the bed where they had slept by employing a number of prostitutes to perform a ‘golden showers’ (urination) show in front of him. the hotel was known to be under FSB control  with microphones and concealed cameras in all the main rooms to record anything they wanted to.

Anyhow, President Trump is vigorously pushing back against the FBI investigation of possible collusion between the Trump presidential campaign and the Russian government. The implication of such collusion is that a foreign government, particularly one unfriendly to the United States, has assisted in the election of a preferred candidate. The drama has been playing out on the President’s Twitter account and also on television news. President Trump spent the Christmas holiday weekend at his Mar-a-Lago resort, and ABC News followed the story from there. Trump is denying any collusion with the Russian government,  and he is particularly bearing down on the Steele dossier.

This ignores, of course, that the Steele dossier is not the main concern of the FBI investigation. The feds are really going after a meeting Trump campaign operatives had with representatives of the Russian government at Trump Tower in New York City on 9 June 2016. From all appearances, Donald Trump and his supporters are attacking the Steele dossier as a distraction.

“WOW, [Fox and Friend] ‘Dossier is bogus,'” Trump tweeted. “‘Clinton Campaign, DNC funded Dossier. FBI CANNOT (after all of this time) VERIFY CLAIMS IN DOSSIER OF RUSSIA/TRUMP COLLUSION. FBI Tainted.'”

The president added, “And they used this Crooked Hillary pile of garbage as the basis for going after the Trump Campaign!”

Trump appeared to reference an interview between the “Fox & Friends” panel and former Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah, who is now a political pundit for the channel.

Chaffetz stated: “The dossier we have long known is bogus. The question is, how was it funded?”

Fueled by his cheering section at Fox News, this is a strident refrain on Trump’s Twitter feed.

WOW, “Dossier is bogus. Clinton Campaign, DNC funded Dossier. FBI CANNOT (after all of this time) VERIFY CLAIMS IN DOSSIER OF RUSSIA/TRUMP COLLUSION. FBI TAINTED.” And they used this Crooked Hillary pile of garbage as the basis for going after the Trump Campaign!

President Trump’s war with his own intelligence services, particularly the FBI, has been unrelenting of late. Currently bearing the brunt of the President’s assault is FBI acting director Andrew McCabe, who’s wife’s political campaign last year obtained funding from Hillary Clinton associates. McCabe obtained advice from the Bureau ethics arm prior to continuing his work investigating Clinton’s use of a private email server.

Meanwhile, President Trump announced he would return to work the day following Christmas, but 26 December found him still playing golf at one of his Florida properties. Say what you will about President Trump, but he continues to set records.

If the FBI needs to learn one thing, it is to not mess around with a guy swinging a golf club.

Fronting The Brand

Continuing A Theme—Number 5

The brand may be critical to the success of a business, and companies go to lengths to protect theirs. A company’s brand distinguishes their product from the crowd, and brand loyalty is critical to repeat business. What happens when you cloud your brand with your personal predilections? Examples abound. Take the case of Papa John’s CEO John Schnatter:

Papa John’s CEO Steps Down Following Controversial Remarks On NFL

December 22, 20171:39 AM ET 

John Schnatter, the founder of the Papa John’s pizza chain, will step down as CEO in the wake of controversial comments he made last month about the NFL’s handling of the anthem protests.

Schnatter will be replaced on Jan. 1 by the company’s chief operating officer, Steve Ritchie. Schnatter will remain chairman of the board.

The 56-year-old founder of the chain came under fire after remarks he made during the company’s third-quarter earnings call. He said Papa John’s — a National Football League sponsor and advertiser — had been “hurt” by the “take a knee” protest led by African-American players to draw attention to police brutality.

To be sure, Schnatter is a staunch conservative, his credentials being sterling:

In 2012, Papa John’s and Schnatter received media attention after he made critical comments about the Affordable Care Act to a class on entrepreneurship.

Schnatter hosted a fundraiser at his home for Republican Party candidate Mitt Romney in May 2012.

Schnatter contributed to Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and made supportive comments about his administration in January 2017.

In October 2017, in a conference call with investors, Schnatter blamed the National Football League for poor financial performance, stating “The NFL has hurt us . . . We are disappointed the NFL and its leadership did not resolve this,” referring to the U.S. national anthem protests. Later that day, Papa John’s announced that the NFL shield or “official sponsor” designation on Papa John’s commercials and advertising would be removed.

On December 21, 2017, CNBC and The Associated Press reported that Papa John’s announced that Schnatter would be replaced as Chief Executive Officer effective January 1, 2018 by Chief Operating Office Steve Richie. Schnatter, who appears in the chain’s commercials and on its pizza boxes, and is the company’s biggest shareholder with approximately 9.5 million shares, will remain chairman of the board.

Ordinarily there would not be anything wrong with being politically conservative and proud of it. However, in most recent times American conservatism has taken an ugly turn, finding favor with racists, xenophobes, Christian extremists, and the anti-gay faction. Papa John’s mistake has been to publicly associate his brand with the political right:

Papa John’s CEO’s comments spark protests

Mark Fisher-Staff Writer

Updated 6:18 p.m Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012 Filed in News

America’s deep philosophical and political divisions following a divisive presidential election are prompting dueling protests involving of one of the nation’s largest pizza chains.

The controversy began with comments made by Papa John’s owner John Schnatter that he would raise prices and cut employees’ hours to pay for costs associated with the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. Those comments prompted calls for a boycott, which in turn triggered a call for a Papa John’s Appreciation Day today.

“Papa John’s has been targeted by the left for a boycott, for simply articulating that ObamaCare would hurt profits and force cutbacks in employee hours,” says the “National Papa John’s Appreciation Day” Facebook event page. “Stand up to this nonsensical and illogical action and support Papa John’s this Friday!” More than 17,400 Facebook users had indicated they were “going” to the Papa John’s event as of late Thursday afternoon.

Schnatter apparently learned too late that when you seek to divide your customer base you are drilling toward losing half of it. It’s a lesson impressed on others, including Chick-fil-A and Hobby Lobby. These latter two are privately owned concerns, and each impresses its fundamentalist Christianity on its brand. A result is I have friends (many) who will never set foot in either. Full disclosure: I never set foot in either from the outset.

Has the NFL been damaged by players who kneel instead of standing? President Trump seems to think so. All right, he may not actually think so, but he does say so:

…NFL attendance and ratings are WAY DOWN. Boring games yes, but many stay away because they love our country. League should back U.S.

Full disclosure: I have never attended an NFL game, nor have I ever watched one from beginning to end on TV.

Summarizing, a major factor with Papa John’s is that it is a publicly held company, and its CEO’s first concern must be to stockholders. Meaning the CEO must not ride on the company brand to forward his private preferences. John Schnatter has only recently become aware of this distinction.

This is your President speaking.

Number 23 in a long series

And now a few words from the President of the United States:

WOW, “Dossier is bogus. Clinton Campaign, DNC funded Dossier. FBI CANNOT (after all of this time) VERIFY CLAIMS IN DOSSIER OF RUSSIA/TRUMP COLLUSION. FBI TAINTED.” And they used this Crooked Hillary pile of garbage as the basis for going after the Trump Campaign!

Let us all rejoice that an element of class has been returned to the nation’s highest office.

Bad Movie Wednesday

One of a continuing series

I waited until I read the book before reviewing the movie. It’s John Grisham’s first novel, finally made into a feature-length film released by Warner Brothers in 1996. It’s A Time to Kill, starring Samuel L. Jackson as Carl Lee Hailey and Matthew McConaughey as small town lawyer Jake Brigance. The book was a long time finding a publisher and was not an immediate hit. It lacks the intense continuity of many of Grisham’s later works, including The Firm (his second book), The Pelican Brief, The Client, and The Racketeer. The movie is now streaming on Amazon Prime Video, where I obtained these screen shots. Details are from Wikipedia.

Hailey is a working class black man living in fictional Ford County, Mississippi. One ordinary day in Mississippi two small-time crooks get juiced up and go looking for sport. They spot Hailey’s ten-year-old daughter walking home alone along a rural dirt road, and they scoop her up, using her for a sex toy and an object of scorn for a couple of hours. Their attempt to leave her dead is not successful, and she identifies the two white brutes who did it.

As the two bad guys are arrested and begin their process through the legal system, Hailey pays a visit to his friend, lawyer Jake Brigance. He announces his intentions.

While sheriff’s deputies are leading the pair in cuffs into court, Hailey springs from a hiding place and unleashes on them with an automatic assault rifle. A deputy is also wounded.

Now Jake must defend his friend the killer, who has no money for the expected $50,000 fee. Jake takes the case anyhow, and he gets unexpected assistance from a third-year law student, the idealistic, brilliant, and sexy Ellen Roark (Sandra Bullock). She works for free and is of enormous assistance, all the while complicating Jake’s married life.

This is post civil rights Mississippi, and the county has a black sheriff, played by Charles S. Dutton. The sheriff is popular in this predominately white county, but the idea of a black man gunning down two white dudes and expecting not to be lynched ires the KKK. Local recruitment surges, and the Kluxers march.

Black ire is up, as well, and Martin Luther King’s message of non-violence has since faded. A black man hurls a Molotov cocktail, burning a Kluxer to death. Things get uglier.

A phone call from a mysterious source alerts police and the bombing of Jake’s home is thwarted. A white man, husband of Jake’s secretary, is beaten to death, and Jake’s house is torched.

The governor calls out the state militia to maintain order, but a sniper (Kiefer Sutherland) misses Jake and kills a soldier.

The sniper is Freddie Lee Cobb, brother of one of the white rapists, now solid with the KKK. He and his cohorts kidnap Ellen and leave her naked, tied to a tree, torching her car. A mysterious figure emerges from the darkness, unties her, and places a phone call to the police.

Jake has only the defense of diminished capacity, and his expert witness is a drunken psychiatrist who is exposed on cross-examination to have been previously convicted of statutory rape. Jake’s final hope is his summation to the jury, and here is where the book diverges critically. In the book the jury is facing another weekend of deadlock and sequestration, and a woman jury asks jurors to imagine if Hailey’s daughter had been white.

During closing arguments, a deeply shaken Brigance tells the jury to close their eyes and listen to a story. He describes, in slow and painful detail, the rape of a 10-year-old girl, recalling the story of Tonya’s rape. He then asks the jury, in his final comment, to “now imagine she’s white.”

 

Without a doubt the jury never buys Jake’s contention of diminished capacity. In the end they only see what they consider to be justice is done.

The book never resolves the matter of Klan’s actions nor those of murder of the Kluxer. But we do see the sheriff arresting Freddie Lee Cobb and also one of his own deputies.

What’s wrong with the movie is inherited from the book. The idea that a black man would be able to obtain such uneven justice in the rural South (e.g., Mississippi) is beyond belief, as are a number of other aspects of the story.

History is solid on this. These actions by the KKK would, in real life, bring a flood of FBI and federal prosecutors down to Ford County. No sign of them in the move (or the book). The legal process related to Hailey’s trial swarms with overt violence, yet the participants act in a manner oblivious to the situation. This was barely twenty years since the murder of civil rights workers Andrew GoodmanMichael Schwerner, and James Chaney, yet a vulnerable young woman working for the defense attorney feels it’s safe for her to booze it up and then drive down a lonely Mississippi road late at night.

The movie does offer some salvation. The book has only the dynamite bomber getting justice, while the end of the film shows an additional serving up.

Performances are significantly above the bar. It’s interesting to see Oliver Platt in the role of a lawyer five years before reappearing as a White House attorney in  The West Wing.

Samuel L. Jackson caught my attention playing a deranged killer in Unbreakable with Bruce Willis. I probably need to review that one. He is also famous for asking the burning question, “What’s in your wallet?” He recently caught my attention regarding his off-key politics.

Sandra Bullock is always good to see.

Kiefer Sutherland appears with his father in this one. Donald Sutherland is Lucien Wilbanks, the cashiered, but rich, lawyer friend of Jake’s who helps bankroll the Hailey defense. The younger Sutherland held up the major part of the 24 TV series.

I previously reviewed Matthew McConaughey as Palmer Joss, Jodie Foster’s love interest in Contact. He made a bunch of movies before and since this one, but none other that I have watched. Some appear to fit the bill for one of these reviews.

The Comical Conservative

This would be number 8 in a series.

I sometimes pull material from The Comical Conservative feed. Sometimes (often) this stuff really is comical. Most recently TCC posted a tweet by actor James Woods. Woods affiliated with the Democratic Party until the Bill Clinton perjury scandal. He is now noted for his ultra-conservative diatribes. Here is a pertinent excerpt from his Wikipedia entry:

Early in the 2016 presidential race, Woods endorsed Carly Fiorina for the Republican nomination. In November 2015, he shifted his endorsement to Senator Ted Cruz.

On illegal immigration, he wrote: “Millions come LEGALLY to USA. Calling Illegal aliens ‘undocumented immigrants’ is like calling heroin dealers ‘undocumented pharmacists’.”

Woods is known for espousing his conservative political views on his Twitter page, which reached one million followers in November 2017.

In August 2017, he expressed his disgust over what he said was the “pathological” hatred which Donald Trump was being subjected to, which was retweeted by Trump.

On November 13, 2017, Woods tweeted a video and caption from Bloomington, Minnesota’s Mall of America that some Twin Cities news organizations found offensive and racist. Some people believed the tweet mocked the Twin Cities’ sizable Somali-American community.

Here is the James Woods tweet hosted on TCC:

James Woods Retweeted Jacob Wohl

He is a Muslim. He can deny it, his apologists in the media can refute it, and his enablers can promote a narrative that he is a Christian. It’s a pack of lies. Obama is a Muslim and that is where his allegiance lies. Always has. Always will.

James Woods added,

And that is comical.

The Golden Shower

Number 26

I don’t know about my readers, but I will be glad when all of this is over.

Not really. Let the fun continue. This is all about the notorious Pee Pee Tape and reports that future President of the United States Donald Trump paid prostitutes to pee on a bed in a Moscow hotel. To recap:

However, there were other aspects to TRUMP’s engagement with the Russian authorities. One which had borne fruit for them was to exploit TRUMP’s person  obsessions and sexual perversion in order to  obtain suitable ‘kompromat’ (compromising material) on him. According to Source D, where s/he had been present, TRUMP’s perverted) conduct in Moscow included hiring the presidential suite of the Ritz Carlton Hotel, where he knew president and Mrs OBAMA (whom he hated) had stayed on  one of their official trips to Russia, and defiling the bed where they had slept by employing a number of prostitutes to perform a ‘golden showers’ (urination) show in front of him. the hotel was known to be under FSB control  with microphones and concealed cameras in all the main rooms to record anything they wanted to.

Beyond that, the plot gets thicker:

Was the Steele Dossier the FBI’s ‘Insurance Policy’?

by ANDREW C. MCCARTHY December 23, 2017 4:00 AM

The FBI’s deputy director Andrew McCabe testified Tuesday at a marathon seven-hour closed-door hearing of the House Intelligence Committee. According to the now-infamous text message sent by FBI agent Peter Strzok to his paramour, FBI lawyer Lisa Page, it was in McCabe’s office that top FBI counterintelligence officials discussed what they saw as the frightening possibility of a Trump presidency. That was during the stretch run of the 2016 campaign, no more than a couple of weeks after they started receiving the Steele dossier — the Clinton campaign’s opposition-research reports, written by former British spy Christopher Steele, about Trump’s purportedly conspiratorial relationship with Vladimir Putin’s regime in Russia. Was it the Steele dossier that so frightened the FBI? I think so.

Andrew McCarthy, writing for the National Review, goes on to state, “… The upper ranks of the FBI and DOJ strongly preferred Trump’s opponent, Hillary Clinton, to the point of overlooking significant evidence of her felony misconduct, even as they turned up the heat on Trump. In sum, the FBI and DOJ were predisposed to believe the allegations in Steele’s dossier. Because of their confidence in Steele, because they were predisposed to believe his scandalous claims about Donald Trump, they made grossly inadequate efforts to verify his claims. Contrary to what I hoped would be the case, I’ve come to believe Steele’s claims were used to obtain FISA surveillance authority for an investigation of Trump.”

There’s more. The President of the United States has chimed in on the discussion:

WOW, “Dossier is bogus. Clinton Campaign, DNC funded Dossier. FBI CANNOT (after all of this time) VERIFY CLAIMS IN DOSSIER OF RUSSIA/TRUMP COLLUSION. FBI TAINTED.” And they used this Crooked Hillary pile of garbage as the basis for going after the Trump Campaign!

This, dear readers, is some heavy hitting.

As with a lot of things, your mileage may vary. This from another source:

The Steele Dossier on Trump and Russia Is Looking More and More Real

By 

As time goes by, more and more of the claims first reported by Steele have been borne out. In general, there is a split between the credibility afforded the dossier by the mainstream media and by intelligence professionals. The former treat it is gossip; the latter take it seriously. Unverified private reporting should not be taken as gospel truth, and no doubt some of the tips Steele picked up are false. But we should probably be giving far more weight to the possibility that the darkest interpretation of Trump’s relations with Russia is actually true.

That excerpt contains a pair of interesting links. The first is to an item in The Guardian that ran in October:

The Trump-Russia dossier: why its findings grow more significant by the day

As US officials investigate potential collusion between Trump and Moscow, the series of reports by the former UK intelligence official Christopher Steele are casting an ever darker shadow over the president

by  in Washington

Nine months after its first appearance, the set of intelligence reports known as the Steele dossier, one of the most explosive documents in modern political history, is still hanging over Washington, casting a shadow over the Trump administration that has only grown darker as time has gone by.

It was reported this week that the document’s author, former British intelligence official, Christopher Steele, has been interviewed by investigators working for the special counsel on Russian interference in the 2016 election.

The second link points to a posting from September on JustSecurity.org:

A Second Look at the Steele Dossier

Knowing What We Know Now

[Editor’s Note: In this special Just Security article, highly respected former member of the CIA’s Senior Intelligence Service, John Sipher examines the Steele dossier using methods that an intelligence officer would to try to validate such information. Sipher concludes that the dossier’s information on campaign collusion is generally credible when measured against standard Russian intelligence practices, events subsequent to Steele’s reporting, and information that has become available in the nine months since Steele’s final report. The dossier, in Sipher’s view, is not without fault, including factual inaccuracies. Those errors, however, do not detract from an overarching framework that has proven to be ever more reliable as new revelations about potential Trump campaign collusion with the Kremlin and its affiliates has come to light in the nine months since Steele submitted his final report.]

Recent revelations of Trump campaign connections to Russia have revived interest in the so-called Steele Dossier.  The dossier is composed of a batch of short reports produced between June and December 2016 by Orbis Business Intelligence, a London-based firm specializing in commercial intelligence for government and private-sector clients.  The collection of Orbis reports caused an uproar when it was published online by the US website BuzzFeed, just ten days before Donald Trump’s inauguration.  Taken together, the series of reports painted a picture of active collusion between the Kremlin and key Trump campaign officials based on years of Russian intelligence work against Trump and some of his associates.  This seemed to complement general statements from US intelligence officials about Russia’s active efforts to undermine the US election.  The greatest attention was paid to the first report, which conveyed salacious claims about Trump consorting with prostitutes in Moscow in 2013.  Trump himself publicly refuted the story, while Trump associates denied reported details about their engagement with Russian officials.  A lot of ink and pixels were also spent on the question whether it was appropriate for the media to publish the dossier. The furor quickly passed, the next news cycle came, and the American media has been largely reluctant to revisit the report over the months since.

The President of the United States has had more to say about all this in recent days:

Trump: FBI Used Dossier ‘Pile Of Garbage’ To Go After Campaign

SAAGAR ENJETI Reporter

President Donald Trump implied Tuesday that the FBI used the infamous Steele dossier as the basis for “going after” his 2016 presidential campaign staff.

Following which reporter Saagar Enjeti posted the Donald Trump tweet shown above.

The President of the United States continues to be vocal on this matter. The President of the United States has been vocal on a number of matters:

JAN. 21 “I wasn’t a fan of Iraq. I didn’t want to go into Iraq.” (He was for an invasion before he was against it.)

JAN. 21 “A reporter for Time magazine — and I have been on their cover 14 or 15 times. I think we have the all-time record in the history of Time magazine.” (Trump was on the cover 11 times and Nixon appeared 55 times.)

JAN. 23 “Between 3 million and 5 million illegal votes caused me to lose the popular vote.” (There’s no evidence of illegal voting.)

JAN. 25 “Now, the audience was the biggest ever. But this crowd was massive. Look how far back it goes. This crowd was massive.” (Official aerial photos show Obama’s 2009 inauguration was much more heavily attended.)

JAN. 25 “Take a look at the Pew reports (which show voter fraud.)” (The report never mentioned voter fraud.)

JAN. 25 “You had millions of people that now aren’t insured anymore.” (The real number is less than 1 million, according to the Urban Institute.)

JAN. 25 “So, look, when President Obama was there two weeks ago making a speech, very nice speech. Two people were shot and killed during his speech. You can’t have that.” (There were no gun homicide victims in Chicago that day.)

JAN. 26 “We’ve taken in tens of thousands of people. We know nothing about them. They can say they vet them. They didn’t vet them. They have no papers. How can you vet somebody when you don’t know anything about them and you have no papers? How do you vet them? You can’t.”(Vetting lasts up to two years.)

JAN. 26 “I cut off hundreds of millions of dollars off one particular plane, hundreds of millions of dollars in a short period of time. It wasn’t like I spent, like, weeks, hours, less than hours, and many, many hundreds of millions of dollars. And the plane’s going to be better.” (Most of the cuts were already planned.)

JAN. 28 “The coverage about me in the @nytimes and the @washingtonpost has been so false and angry that the Times actually apologized to its dwindling subscribers and readers.” (It never apologized.)

JAN. 29 “The Cuban-Americans, I got 84 percent of that vote.” (There is no support for this.)

JAN. 30 “Only 109 people out of 325,000 were detained and held for questioning. Big problems at airports were caused by Delta computer outage.” (At least 746 people were detained and processed, and the Delta outage happened two days later.)

FEB. 3 “Professional anarchists, thugs and paid protesters are proving the point of the millions of people who voted to MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!” (There is no evidence of paid protesters.)

FEB. 4 “After being forced to apologize for its bad and inaccurate coverage of me after winning the election, the FAKE NEWS @nytimes is still lost!” (It never apologized.)

FEB. 5 “We had 109 people out of hundreds of thousands of travelers and all we did was vet those people very, very carefully.” (About 60,000 people were affected.)

FEB. 6 “I have already saved more than $700 million when I got involved in the negotiation on the F-35.” (Much of the price drop was projected before Trump took office.)

FEB. 6 “It’s gotten to a point where it is not even being reported. And in many cases, the very, very dishonest press doesn’t want to report it.” (Terrorism has been reported on, often in detail.)

FEB. 6 “The failing @nytimes was forced to apologize to its subscribers for the poor reporting it did on my election win. Now they are worse!” (It didn’t apologize.)

FEB. 6 “And the previous administration allowed it to happen because we shouldn’t have been in Iraq, but we shouldn’t have gotten out the way we got out. It created a vacuum, ISIS was formed.” (The group’s origins date to 2004.)

FEB. 7 “And yet the murder rate in our country is the highest it’s been in 47 years, right? Did you know that? Forty-seven years.” (It was higher in the 1980s and ’90s.)

FEB. 7 “I saved more than $600 million. I got involved in negotiation on a fighter jet, the F-35.” (The Defense Department projected this price drop before Trump took office.)

FEB. 9 “Chris Cuomo, in his interview with Sen. Blumenthal, never asked him about his long-term lie about his brave ‘service’ in Vietnam. FAKE NEWS!” (It was part of Cuomo’s first question.)

FEB. 9 “Sen. Richard Blumenthal now misrepresents what Judge Gorsuch told him?” (The Gorsuch comments were later corroborated.)

FEB. 10 “I don’t know about it. I haven’t seen it. What report is that?” (Trump knew about Flynn’s actions for weeks.)

FEB. 12 “Just leaving Florida. Big crowds of enthusiastic supporters lining the road that the FAKE NEWS media refuses to mention. Very dishonest!” (The media did cover it.)

FEB. 16 “We got 306 because people came out and voted like they’ve never seen before so that’s the way it goes. I guess it was the biggest Electoral College win since Ronald Reagan.” (George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama all won bigger margins in the Electoral College.)

FEB. 16 “That’s the other thing that was wrong with the travel ban. You had Delta with a massive problem with their computer system at the airports.” (Delta’s problems happened two days later.)

FEB. 16 “Walmart announced it will create 10,000 jobs in the United States just this year because of our various plans and initiatives.”(The jobs are a result of its investment plans announced in Oct. 2016.)

FEB. 16 “When WikiLeaks, which I had nothing to do with, comes out and happens to give, they’re not giving classified information.” (Not always. They have released classified information in the past.)

FEB. 16 “We had a very smooth rollout of the travel ban. But we had a bad court. Got a bad decision.” (The rollout was chaotic.)

FEB. 16 “They’re giving stuff — what was said at an office about Hillary cheating on the debates. Which, by the way, nobody mentions. Nobody mentions that Hillary received the questions to the debates.” (It was widely covered.)

FEB. 18 “And there was no way to vet those people. There was no documentation. There was no nothing.” (Refugees receive multiple background checks, taking up to two years.)

FEB. 18 “You look at what’s happening in Germany, you look at what’s happening last night in Sweden. Sweden, who would believe this?” (Trump implied there was a terror attack in Sweden, but there was no such attack.)

FEB. 24 “By the way, you folks are in here — this place is packed, there are lines that go back six blocks.” (There was no evidence of long lines.)  FEB. 24 “ICE came and endorsed me.” (Only its union did.)

FEB. 24 “Obamacare covers very few people — and remember, deduct from the number all of the people that had great health care that they loved that was taken away from them — it was taken away from them.” (Obamacare increased coverage by a net of about 20 million.)

FEB. 27 “Since Obamacare went into effect, nearly half of the insurers are stopped and have stopped from participating in the Obamacare exchanges.” (Many fewer pulled out.)

FEB. 27 “On one plane, on a small order of one plane, I saved $725 million. And I would say I devoted about, if I added it up, all those calls, probably about an hour. So I think that might be my highest and best use.” (Much of the price cut was already projected.)

FEB. 28 “And now, based on our very strong and frank discussions, they are beginning to do just that.” (NATO countries agreed to meet defense spending requirements in 2014.)

FEB. 28 “The E.P.A.’s regulators were putting people out of jobs by the hundreds of thousands.” (There’s no evidence that the Waters of the United States rule caused severe job losses.)

FEB. 28 “We have begun to drain the swamp of government corruption by imposing a five-year ban on lobbying by executive branch officials.” (They can’t lobby their former agency but can still become lobbyists.)

[I pause after February and conclude with more recently obtained documentation.]

OCT. 24 “Under our plan, more than 30 million Americans who own small businesses will get a 40 per cent cut to their top marginal tax rate.” (The real number is estimated to be less than 1 million.)

OCT. 25 “We have trade deficits with almost everybody.” (We have trade surpluses with more than 100 countries.)

OCT. 27 “Wacky & totally unhinged Tom Steyer, who has been fighting me and my Make America Great Again agenda from beginning, never wins elections!” (Steyer has financially supported many winning candidates.)

NOV. 1 “Again, we’re the highest-taxed nation, just about, in the world.” (We’re not.)

NOV. 7 “When you look at the city with the strongest gun laws in our nation, it’s Chicago.” (Several other cities, including New York and Los Angeles, have stronger gun laws.)

NOV. 11 “I’d rather have him – you know, work with him on the Ukraine than standing and arguing about whether or not – because that whole thing was set up by the Democrats.” (There is no evidence that Democrats “set up” Russian interference in the election.)

So many voices. So many denials. I’m wracking my brain, trying to figure out who to believe.

This is your President speaking.

Number 22 in a long series

And now a few words from the President of the United States:

People are proud to be saying Merry Christmas again. I am proud to have led the charge against the assault of our cherished and beautiful phrase. MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!

It’s why he’s paid the big bucks, readers. And a Merry Christmas to you, Mr. President.

Dying to Believe

Some more of the same – 85

Tell Jesus to take the day off. There are other ways to die:

Early on a snowy, winter morning in January 2012, Wu Xiaoliang, a 37-year-old farmer, stopped by his local doctor to remedy a headache. At a small clinic near his village he received two injections made from traditional Chinese herbs. Hours later, villagers saw him struggling to prop himself up on his moped as he drove home. By noon, he was dead.

I just checked. This is the 21st century.

People Unclear

This is number 32

I never saw this coming, but apparently “Fake News” has become a cottage industry in American politics. A recent posting on CNN Politics shows the level to which this technology has developed:

US ambassador denies own comments, then denies denial

(CNN)  The new US ambassador to the Netherlands lied twice to a Dutch news crew about 2015 comments he made saying the country was in chaos because of Muslims.

“Chaos in the Netherlands. There are cars being burned. There are politicians that are being burned … and yes, there are no-go zones in the Netherlands,” said now-US ambassador to the Netherlands Peter Hoekstra in 2015 at the David Horowitz Freedom Center’s 2015 Restoration Weekend.
When the reporter asked Hoekstra about those comments, the Ambassador denied making such remarks. He said, “That is actually an incorrect statement; we would call it fake news, I never said that.”The reporter then played back the Ambassador’s 2015 comments extracted from a video made at the time. He said to the Ambassador, “”You call it fake news. Obviously.” Ambassador Hoekstra’s response takes your breath away. “I didn’t call that fake news. I didn’t use the words today. I didn’t think I did.”

People, this is United States Grade A Prime Fake News. This shows how it’s done in grand style

  • First you say it.
  • Then you say that saying you said it is fake news.
  • Then you say that your having said it is fake news is, itself, fake news.

People, it does not get much better than this. Obviously Ambassador Hoekstra has missed another fine point in all this, that fine point being plausible deniability. When you set out to invoke Fake News, be sure you have your backside covered. Be sure of two things:

  • There are no videos.
  • Your audience does not have a copy of the videos.

That’s what it takes to do really good Fake News. Following are some out-takes from  the video. It’s entertainment for all the world brought to you courtesy of the United States Government.

This is your President speaking.

Number 21 in a long series

And now a few words from the President of the United States:

The Fake News refuses to talk about how Big and how Strong our BASE is. They show Fake Polls just like they report Fake News. Despite only negative reporting, we are doing well – nobody is going to beat us. MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!

Takes your breath away.

Quiz Question

One of a continuing series

Merry Christmas. Here is an easy one. Make the usual assumptions from the drawing. What is the value of x? Post your answer as a comment below.

Update and solution

I expected somebody would solve this quickly, and Mike nailed it within hours of posting. Mike only provided the solution. See the comment below. Here is how it unravels. See the image.

Obviously this is a semicircle and a square with a line tangent to the circle. We now have a right triangle ABC, tangent to the circle at D.

From  basic geometry we know that DB = 2. Also x = EA = AD. From there everything falls out quickly.

AB2 =AC2 + CB2

(x + 2)2 = (2 – x)2 + 4

x = ½