The Omen

We should have picked up on the signals back when horns were blaring and red lights were flashing.

NYPD Blue, a series that ran on TV from 1992 to 2005, is now streaming on Amazon Prime Video, and I am following episodes from start to finish. It’s now season 2, and we see Detectives Andy Sipowicz (Dennis Franz) and Greg Medavoy (Gordon Clapp) dealing with a character they ran into, literally, in the street. They are in their car when they get clipped seriously by another in traffic. While everybody is out inspecting the damage, the two cops hear thumping, and they force the driver to open the trunk. There’s a woman inside wanting out. He says the guy grabbed her off the street and forced her into the trunk. Then he drove around for two hours, making some stops, before running into the cops. The guy is a real nut case. Further inspection of his car reveals homemade bombs. They take him in.

There’s more. The driver is a whacked out Romanian immigrant, who babbles about conspiracies and the need to take down the rich and evil. When the two cops go by to check out the man’s apartment they find a load of anti capitalist literature, and behind a panel in the wall they find a stash of more bombs. They figure to call the bomb squad and get back a few hundred yards. As the two exit the apartment post hast they go by a poster plastered on the wall by the door. See the image at the top.

This is from season 2, episode 15, which should have been running about 1995. We were warned that early. Did we pay attention? Not I. About that time I was working on a project to track enemy communications signals. At the time we thoughtthe enemy might be the Russians. Little did we suspect.

The Government You Paid For

Number 45 of a Series

This series is not for liberals. It’s for these supposed conservatives who voted for Donald Trump and for those who still support him. It’s my way of showing them the moon by way of dragging out the government they paid for. Yeah, the image above says it all.

It’s called flipping, and it almost ought to be illegal.

If it is illegal, then a bunch of Trump supporters are going to jail. What am I saying? A bunch have already flipped and gone to jail.

Possibly there could be more.

Mr. President, I am sure there are special visiting hours for close family members, especially for close family members who are technically in charge of the American justice system. You can stop by on your way to the golf course.

For now, a few more delicious images to put your mind at ease in case you have trouble getting to sleep tonight.

Dudes, you are getting the government you paid for.

All images are from ABC World News Tonight with David Muir, 14 September 2018.

This is your President speaking.

Number 144

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

“The President has absolutely demonstrated no wrongdoing whatsoever & that the Special Counsel has no evidence of any wrongdoing. In other words, it’s time to end this Witch Hunt.” Russian “collusion” was just an excuse by the Democrats for having lost the Election!

I don’t know about you, but I am glad that matter has finally been put to rest.

Dying to Believe

Number 121 in a series

Welcome Jesus into your home.—say goodbye to your children. A loving example:

Christian Parents Charged With Murder After Starving Daughter For ‘Religious Reasons’

What a wonder it is when faith is stronger than basic humanity. Would that more of the faithful were so caring.

This is your President speaking.

Number 140

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

Two long running, Obama era, investigations of two very popular Republican Congressmen were brought to a well publicized charge, just ahead of the Mid-Terms, by the Jeff Sessions Justice Department. Two easy wins now in doubt because there is not enough time. Good job Jeff……

….The Democrats, none of whom voted for Jeff Sessions, must love him now. Same thing with Lyin’ James Comey. The Dems all hated him, wanted him out, thought he was disgusting – UNTIL I FIRED HIM! Immediately he became a wonderful man, a saint like figure in fact. Really sick!

In case you missed it, the “Good job Jeff” part was pure sarcasm

So that we have this straight—two staunch Republican supporters of Donald Trump have been indicted on federal charges. Let me amplify “staunch.” Chris Collins, congressman representing the New York 27th District, was the first sitting congressman to endorse Donald Trump’s presidential bid. He was arrested on 8 August, charged with insider trading. Duncan D. Hunter, congressman representing the California 52nd District, was the second member of Congress to endorse Donald Trump, in February 2016. Last month he and his wife were indicted on federal charges for stealing about ¼ million dollars in contributions to his political campaign. That is staunch.

So, who’s in trouble? United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions, to be sure. Jeff Sessions runs the Justice Department, and these two are charged with violating federal laws, and it’s the Justice Department that prosecutes these kinds of cases. Jeff Sessions.

And why? Because the two did not commit any crimes? How about because these two are running for re-election, and indictment on federal charges is the kind of thing that turns off voters. With the Democrats 23 votes shy of having a majority in the House of Representatives, two votes that go from Republican to Democratic are two votes too many. And it’s Jeff Sessions’ fault. Is he ever in trouble!

So, what should happen? Right! Since the party needs these two, Jeff Sessions and the Department of Justice, which works for President Trump, need to go easy. Maybe not back off completely, but at least wait until after the November elections, when it won’t matter so much. In short, the law must bend to political expediency.

And the President of the United States said it. And that is all I need to say.

People Unclear

This is number 48 of a series

I posted another of these yesterday. It’s from an email, the kind of which I receive regularly, since I sign up for these lists. The other was purported to be from Melania Trump, First Lady of the United States, although we need not believe Mrs. Trump was the actual author. This latest listed the sender as Lara Trump. She is the wife of Eric Trump, son of the president. We suspect she is a Republican, and we further suspect she is not the actual sender. Campaigns of both species send out solicitations of this sort with headings representing people it is believed we will respond to. Anyhow, Mrs. Trump addressed me by my first name, and I am honored.

John,

That’s what CNN said about being at a Trump rally in Florida…

I have some breaking news for CNN… That is the real America that exists outside of the liberal bubble.

It’s time for us to give the media another wake-up call from the American people.

The President needs you to take the Media Accountability Survey to do your part in fighting back against the fake news’ attacks and bias against hardworking Americans.

The opening line refers to a headline immediately above that:

“It felt like we weren’t in America anymore…”

To summarize, this is what a reporter attending a Trump rally reported back. He reported that being there had the feel for not being in America. Mrs. Trump wants us to know that what CNN saw at the rally is the real America and that what CNN (and others besides Fox & Friends, etc.) are experiencing is from inside a bubble of their own making. And this is so interesting. To further explore, allow me to illustrate what you are likely to experience if you are in the real world and not at a Trump rally. Here are some screen shots from various news sources, and please feel free to bang back at me if these do not reflect the real America as I understand they do.

It could be I’m beating a dead horse, so I will ease off while readers still have their dinners. At any rate, somebody, after all of this, is still unclear, and Lara Trump needs to come to grips while there is still time.

People Unclear

This is number 47 of a series

Did I mention that I signed up for any number of odd-ball email lists? I’m sure I did. Anyhow, I get them—emails of the most bizarre kind. A few hours ago one hit my in-box that rattled my cage more than usually. By the return address it’s from the Republican National Campaign Headquarters (rnchq.com). The “sender” was filled in as “Melania Trump,” but I am sure Mrs. Trump did not personally hit the send key and likely has no direct knowledge that this was sent. Campaigns work that way. Solicitations are sent out over a variety of signatures with an eye to attracting the attention of recipients. Anyhow, this one reads:

John,
From the moment my husband, Donald, placed his hand on the bible and took the oath of office to serve as America’s President, he has worked nonstop to deliver on his promises.

Democrats and the opposition media are doing everything they possibly can to discredit Donald with false accusations by spreading their fake news and making it appear that he does not have the support of America’s voters.

That is why I am asking that you join my husband as he fights for our nation by signing your Presidential Pledge of Support.

I find that bit of addressing me by my first name most compelling. Knowing that the First Lady of the United States knows my name gives me a special feeling. I won’t describe it.

But that’s not what makes this worth mentioning. What does so is this: “Democrats and the opposition media are doing everything they possibly can to discredit Donald with false accusations by spreading their fake news and making it appear that he does not have the support of America’s voters.” Yeah, that gets my attention.

I will pretend for a moment that Melania Trump (not actually knowing my first name) sent me this note, and then I have to observe that she is totally unclear on some critical details. Then I have to respond.

Lady, are you out of your mind? Look around. The leaves are brown, and the sky is a hazy shade of winter.

[With apologies to Paul Simon]

Somebody’s world is coming apart at the seams, and if you haven’t yet noticed, then it’s time for you to start looking for lifeboat. As a reminder, here’s what the fake news was putting out last week.

  • Monday—not much
  • Tuesday—Paul Manafort, your husband’s former campaign manager, was convicted of eight felony crimes, and Michael Cohen, your husbands former attorney/fixer, pleaded guilty to felony crimes and threw in his lot with the prosecutors.
  • Wednesday—not much
  • Thursday—David Pecker, your husband’s partner in crime, agreed to cooperate with prosecutors.
  • Friday—Allen Weisselberg, the chief financial officer of your husband’s business operation, agreed to accept immunity from prosecution and to give evidence against the president.

You husband, Donald J. Trump, has long engaged in various criminal schemes, including operating a fraudulent university and operating a fraudulent charity, and the prosecutors are coming after him. And you have the temerity to tell me the news is fake? Totally unclear. Mrs. Trump, you need to stand back. Sometimes this stuff rubs off.

The Government You Paid For

Number 43 of a Series

American conservatives are hurting, and they are ducking for cover and lowering their faces. Embarrassment seems to come unbidden to some, and excuses stand in for apologies. I see this in daily headlines and in the revealing posts on Facebook. To wit:

Here in lies the problem, this headline would never have existed during the era of Walter Cronkite. The media should not be rejoicing at the results.

I am tired of partisanship on both sides. Truly tired of it, because it does nothing but divide the nation. It leads to kneejerk defenses of Trump and kneejerk condemnations of Trump.
I once challenged my Democratic friends to say something good about the President, not one did. I once challenged my Republican friends the same thing about Obama, not one did.

I can tell you many good things about Obama and many things that I disliked. It’s not hard when one focuses on results and principles versus politics.

Here is a real secret, having worked inside on politics for years, none of those that you love so much give a damn about you personally. They use you. Secretly on both sides, they despise the most partisan and view them as foolish and/or annoyances.

Why? Because nothing gets accomplished by ideologues.

https://www.msn.com/…/stranger-than-fiction-jou…/ar-BBMgH1o

“It does nothing but divide the nation.”

What a pathetic pleading. My response to this was and is:

If the nation is to be divided, let it be divided along these lines. There are ignoramuses who put one of their own in power, and I am having a joyful time watching these people stew in their own juices. They are getting the government they paid for.

Criminal Empire

The DVD has been on my shelf for several weeks, and today I got around to watching. Worth the investment—this is a compelling story. Screen shots are from the DVD. Details and quotes are from Wikipedia.

Spotlight was (is?) the name of an investigative team at The Boston Globe. The 2015 movie is about their investigation into corruption in the local diocese of the Catholic Church. Priests were sexually molesting (raping) children, boys and girls, and the Church was covering it up. The relevance of this film has gained monumental strength with additional revelations earlier this month.

The movie opens with a scene in a Boston precinct station, where a priest, Father John Geoghan, is the subject of an investigation. A young policeman converses with the desk sergeant about the matter, and he is assured that the matter is going to be handled in the usual way. It’s 1976.

A young prosecuting assistant district attorney exits the interview and tells the sergeant to keep the matter quiet. The priest is hustled out of the station and driven away.

In 2001 The Boston Globe hires a new editor. He is Marty Baron , played by Liev Schreiber. He is a Jew. The previous editor was Catholic, as are about half the population of Boston. This is significant, because the previous editor was reluctant to publicize Catholic Church misdeeds. Here Baron discusses strategy with “Walter “Robby” Robinson, the editor of the newspaper’s “Spotlight” team,” played by Michael Keaton.

The Globe was acquired by The New York Times in 1993, losing some of its independence. Also, the newly surging Internet is draining readership from print media. The newspaper has to win back readership by providing insight not available to thinly sourced Internet sites. Baron tasks the Spotlight team with investigating and reporting on Church corruption. Here Robby strategizes with the team.

Reporter Michael Rezendes (Mark Ruffalo) holds a conference over lunch with Mitchell Garabedian (Stanley Tucci), a lawyer for several victims of Church abuse. Garabedian tells him there are documents under seal that can be made public. Abuse by diocese priests has been ongoing for decades and Cardinal Bernard Law (Len Cariou) has been covering it up. Priests have been shuffled from place to place as they continue to molest children. We learn from psychotherapist Richard Sipe (Richard Jenkins) that 6% of Catholic priests are guilty of child molestation. With 1000 priests, that means approximately 60 Boston priests are involved.

The newspaper has in its library records of Boston priests—their tenure in the diocese, reasons for leaving.

Rather than search for victims, the reporters decide to identify guilty priests. Many have been reassigned for other than legitimate reasons.

“Unassigned.” “Sick Leave.”

Reporter Sacha Pfeiffer (Rachel McAdams) digs into the “morgue” files and hands Robby a story from years back. The newspaper has been party to the cover-up.

Sacha tracks down priests they have identified and interviews one at his house. As described by Sipe, this one has the maturity of a child and fails to recognize he did anything wrong. His sister interrupts the interview and orders Sacha to leave.

Disaster! As Garabedian prepares to file the motion that will unseal the critical documents, the terror attacks of 11 September disrupt air travel and all news reporting. The documents remain public for weeks before Rezendes can get access to them and bribe a clerk to make copies. There is much resistance all along to allowing the documents into the open.

The air clears, the paper waits until after the Christmas holidays to print the lead story, and the presses roll. All great newspaper-themed dramas have these scenes. Miles of newsprint churning through the presses and the folding machines.

Bundled by automatic machinery.

Loaded onto trucks and driven into the streets for delivery.

A reporter places a copy on a critical doorstep.

The reporters go into work the following day, their day off. The news story carried the phone number (and URL) for the Spotlight hotline. The phones ring continuously as victims and others contact the paper.

The closing credits tell the horrific details that came to light as a consequence of The Globe‘s revelations.

That was 17 years ago. Earlier this month it became apparent that the Boston episode had no impact on the Church’s corrupt practices.

Catholic Priests Abused 1,000 Children in Pennsylvania, Report Says

Bishops and other leaders of the Roman Catholic Church in Pennsylvania covered up child sexual abuse by more than 300 priests over a period of 70 years, persuading victims not to report the abuse and law enforcement not to investigate it, according to a searing report issued by a grand jury on Tuesday.

The report, which covered six of the state’s eight Catholic dioceses and found more than 1,000 identifiable victims, is the broadest examination yet by a government agency in the United States of child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. The report said there are likely thousands more victims whose records were lost or who were too afraid to come forward.

It catalogs horrific instances of abuse: a priest who raped a young girl in the hospital after she had her tonsils out; a victim tied up and whipped with leather straps by a priest; and another priest who was allowed to stay in ministry after impregnating a young girl and arranging for her to have an abortion.

The sexual abuse scandal has shaken the Catholic Church for more than 15 years, ever since explosive allegations emerged out of Boston in 2002. But even after paying billions of dollars in settlements and adding new prevention programs, the church has been dogged by a scandal that is now reaching its highest ranks. The Pennsylvania report comes soon after the resignation of Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, the former archbishop of Washington, who is accused of sexually abusing young priests and seminarians, as well as minors.

There is much more I could mention here, but it has become no longer necessary. The implications and the remedy must by now be manifest to all—all but a few in a small enclave in Rome.

The Government You Paid For

Number 40 of a Series

I was talking to Bill (not his real name) last week, and he told me how he could not bring himself to vote for Hillary Clinton in 2016. I had to agree, considering all that Clinton would do if she had been elected. I mentioned her intent to appoint Rick Perry the Secretary of Energy, Ben Carson the Secretary of HUD, and Betsy DeVos the Secretary of Education. I forgot to mention that Clinton was likely to appoint Michael Flynn as National Security Advisor and to nominate Scott Pruitt to head up the Environmental Protection Agency. Then I remembered where I had got it all wrong. It was Donald Trump who got elected, and it was Donald Trump who put all these people into positions of power.

Bill pretended to be embarrassed, but in reality he was not. He felt Donald Trump would be a strong leader, and he allowed that recent history has borne this out. President Trump’s public swaggering and his rude and stiff-necked approach to our allies and trading partners are the kinds of thing this country needs in a leader. Bill made his remarks without a hint of embarrassment, to say nothing of shame. He is getting the government he paid for, which government I like to shine the light on as often as possitle. So, what’s latest? After eight years of boredom we finally have an administration that provides endless entertainment.

Yes, that’s former Trump campaign staffer Rick Gates along with his business parter and former chairman of the Trump campaign Paul Manafort. While he was working for the campaign, Manafort, along with Donald Trump Jr. and Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner met with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya and others at Trump Tower, ostensibly to obtain juicy information the Russians had on opponent Clinton.

Imagine their chagrin (the Trump critters, not the Russians) when it turned out Veselnitskaya only wanted to talk about smoothing over the matter of Americans adopting Russian orphans. In fact, Donald Jr. expressed his disappointment.

No, wait. That’s not the right picture. Here it is.

Actually, that’s former Press Secretary Sean Spicer saying the words for Don Jr., but I’m sure there is somewhere the Jr. did express disappointment.

And the reason that Trump campaign manager Manafort was at the meeting was the same reason he joined the campaign in 2016. His income from supporting Russian lackey Viktor Yanukovych, had been ousted as president of Ukraine and was no longer able to pass on to Manafort the money (supposedly) provided by the Russian government. Manafort needed to get in with the United States government in order to wield the influence that would draw rubles from Russia in exchange for influence. Manafort figured Trump was his best bet, and he was on the team until August of 2016, at which time the stench became to much even for Trump critters.

But, as they say, that’s so much water under the Zhivopisny Bridge. Paul Manafort has been disassociated from American politics for mostly two years, and in the intervening period President Trump has fired FBI Director James Comey, apparently for refusing to back off on his investigation of Russian attempts to influence the 2016 elections. Exit Mr. Comey, and a new Assistant Attorney General has charged Robert Mueller with continuing the investigation. Mueller’s arm reaches far, and Mueller’s arm reaches wide, and in its reach it came to scoop in Mr. Gates and Mr. Manafort. It became apparent why Mr. Manafort had agreed to work for free for the Trump campaign.

They had Gates dead to rights, and he caved quickly. He had been helping his parter Paul Manafort cook the books.

Gates agreed to plea guilty to the charges that were so obviously true, and part of that agreement was that he would dish the dirt on Manafort.

Now Paul Manafort has gone to trial, and Gates is telling an Alexandria, Virginia, jury the same things he told the Mueller team.

Yes, he did. And what were those crimes?

To be clear, Manafort and Gates committed their crimes before they became associated with the Trump campaign, and none of the crimes being prosecuted today involve collusion with foreign governments. So, that’s the end of it.

Actually, no. Stand by, as there is more to come. There will be suspense (some),  and there will be drama ( a lot). But will there be embarrassment, and will there be shame? Not an ounce. Conservatives are getting the government they paid for.

This is your President speaking.

Number 131

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

Looking back on history, who was treated worse, Alfonse Capone, legendary mob boss, killer and “Public Enemy Number One,” or Paul Manafort, political operative & Reagan/Dole darling, now serving solitary confinement – although convicted of nothing? Where is the Russian Collusion?

Yes, it is breathtaking. And it’s coming from the President of the United States. Perhaps some examination is needed. “Serving solitary confinement.” Don’t know about that.

“Convicted of nothing.” Is he serious?

Paul Manafort was not one of those to plead, so he remained out of jail on bail, confined to his quarters and wearing two ankle bracelets to track his movements. The problem was they forgot to put ankle bracelets on his cell phone, and shortly the FBI, having obtained a warrant, noticed criminal activity salted among his communications.

Yes, he was caught attempting to influence potential witnesses against him. He wanted them to lie.

Of course, when Robert Mueller’s prosecutors presented evidence of this to federal judge Amy Berman Jackson she laughed it off.

Just kidding. She had some choice remarks relating to what actions she could take.

And she didn’t. She revoked Paul Manafort’s bail and ordered him to jail on Friday, where he has been since. Given his age and given the charges against Paul Manafort, if convicted he will possibly spend the remainder of his life behind bars. President Trump came forth quickly to comment on this obvious miscarriage of justice.

And back then the President of the United States was saying:

Wow, what a tough sentence for Paul Manafort, who has represented Ronald Reagan, Bob Dole and many other top political people and campaigns. Didn’t know Manafort was the head of the Mob. What about Comey and Crooked Hillary and all of the others? Very unfair!

And more:

Your Friend The Handgun

Number 121

Found one! Actually, there are several of these every year, and in fairness I post some of the cases involving a friendly handgun. This is from The Dallas Morning News:

‘I had to do what I had to do,’ says Dallas mom who shot man trying to steal SUV with kids inside

Loyd Brumfield and Claire Z. CardonaUpdated Sunday at 4:15 p.m.: Revised to includemore details.A woman shot a man in the head as he tried to steal her SUV with her two children inside Wednesday night, Dallas police say.An employee of a gas station in the 200 block of West Camp Wisdom Road, near the border with Duncanville, alerted the mother about 10 p.m. that a man was trying to get into her SUV.

The mother, identified by KDFW-TV (Channel 4) as Michelle Booker-Hicks, told the station she had been paying for gas at the time.

She jumped into the vehicle. When the man didn’t stop, she pulled a gun from the glove box and shot him in the head, police said.

So, there. Sometimes you do come out ahead being in possession of a legal handgun. If she had not obtained the weapon for her protection, as she told authorities, and kept it handy, then man would have stolen her car with her kids inside.

Of course, should have accomplished the same result without the expense of a handgun by taking the keys with her when she got out of the car. But, that’s just me talking.

People Unclear

This is number 46 of a series

This series is devoted to those people who, despite having to the best information services in human history, never seem to catch on. They are decidedly unclear. One of these would be conservative writer Ann Coulter:

Ann Coulter Retweeted The Hill

A.G. SESSONS GUILTY OF INAPPROPRIATE LAUGHTER!

Ann Coulter added,

All right. I think I get the point. This is a copy and paste from Ann Coulter’s Twitter feed. She is referring to Attorney General (formerly Senator) Jeff Sessions, laughing when high school students begin chanting, “Lock her up!
During the campaign, Trump argued that any presidential candidate under federal investigation — which Clinton was for her handling of classified information stemming from her use of a private email serving while serving as secretary of state — was unfit to lead the country. He egged on chants of “lock her up!” at campaign rallies and told Clinton during the second presidential debate that if he became president, “you’d be in jail.”

This was at the “Turning Point USA’s High School Leadership Summit in Washington.” After enjoying some brief laughter, A.G. Sessions joined in the chant. And that was funny.

But here is what is even more funny. Donald Trump is now President of the United states, and look who’s in jail;

Ann. Ann! Let’s make a bet. $1000. Just between the two of us. Who ends up in jail first, Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump?

Funny does not get any better than this.

This is your President speaking.

Number 128

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

The NFL National Anthem Debate is alive and well again – can’t believe it! Isn’t it in contract that players must stand at attention, hand on heart? The $40,000,000 Commissioner must now make a stand. First time kneeling, out for game. Second time kneeling, out for season/no pay!

All right. I think I have this straight now. The President of the United States, elected with the aid of a foreign power, now meets with the leader of the government that assisted in his campaign, alone, except for two interpreters.

He comes out of the meeting and announces said leader of a foreign government was not complicit in aiding his campaign, and he denounces members of this nation’s intelligence services, disparaging past members by name, calling their investigation into crimes committed by the same foreign power that assisted in his election a “witch hunt.”

And he calls football players, who kneel while the national anthem is played, unpatriotic. I now think I have a clear picture of what is going on.

Bye Bye My Love Goodbye

It’s sad to see long-time lovers breaking up. Somebody even wrote a song about it:

Bye bye love
Bye bye happiness
Hello loneliness
I think I’m-a gonna cry-y
Bye bye love
Bye bye sweet caress
Hello emptiness
I feel like I could die
Bye bye my love goodbye

[With apologies to the Everly Brothers.]

What’s even worse is when the breakup is above the fold on most news outlets. Double worse is when it’s about crime and politics and worse still when it’s presidential politics. Bye bye, my love, goodbye. The breakup is streaming now on ABC World News Tonight with David Muir on Hulu, where I obtained these screen shots.

This continuing saga has a history stretching back in time, before some of us were reborn. Like before the election of Donald J. Trump as President of the United States.

That’s right. Porn movie actress Stephanie Clifford, a.k.a. Stormy Daniels, and private citizen Trump had their own one-night stand a decade or so back. Actually, it may not be possible to classify this as a one-night stand, since (my understanding) a one-night stand lasts until morning. Furthermore, I cannot assure readers that anybody actually took their clothes off.

But that’s history, and although history may not always repeat itself, it does sometimes come back to haunt. Like when you are running for election for the highest office in the land, and election is a fortnight away, and you suddenly remember. “Oh, shit. There’s this Stormy Daniels business. That could put me down a half a point in the polling, and since I’m already 10 points down, it might be worth while shedding some cash and shaving a half point. Can somebody get Michael on the phone for me?”

Few deny that Michael Cohen, friend, attorney, and fixer for Donald Trump for over a decade, paid Ms. Clifford $130,000 to claim she did not hump the Trump while Donald’s sweet wife was preggers. So the money was paid, and the lady kept her mouth shut, and Trump eked out a win, and we have what we have today. Except…

Except the mouth did not stay shut. It’s amazing how mouths tend not to do so. At a point Ms. Clifford decided she had been screwed, and we wonder how long it took for her to figure that out. So she obtained another lawyer, figuring her then-lawyer Keith M. Davidson had been in bed (figuratively not literally) with Trump’s lawyer Cohen. So Clifford obtained new legal council in the person of Michael Avenatti, and Mr. Avenatti proceeded to unravel the NDA Mr. Cohen had negotiated on behalf of Mr. Trump.

Other lawyers began to look at the arrangement, and those lawyers work for the United States Government, and what they saw was possible violation of election law. Specifically, the payment to Ms. Clifford was a campaign expense, since it was an essential part of getting Mr. Trump elected, but said payment never showed up on any campaign financial disclosure filings. As lawyers, government lawyers at that, began to dig into the matter, other interesting stuff started to come out. Apparently government lawyers came to believe Michael Cohen had been practicing beyond the limits of established statutes, and they did what government lawyers often do:

Agents of the FBI seized documents and more than a dozen phones and electronic devices.

Yeah, here is some of the stuff the government lawyers suspect:

To obtain a warrant to carry out this search on Mr. Cohen’s office, house, and hotel room, they demonstrated to a magistrate they had probable cause Mr. Cohen had engaged in bank and wire fraud. Mr. Cohen is in deep trouble.

If Mr. Cohen is in deep trouble, then President Trump is in an inch of trouble, because Mr. Cohen had been doing a lot of dirty stuff for Mr. Trump. How about if Mr. Cohen would tell the government lawyers about this stuff he had been doing for Mr. Trump?

No way.

“I would do anything to protect Mr. Trump.”

“Mr. President, is Michael Cohen going to flip, sir?” I just love the way the report added the superfluous “sir” at the end of that question. Anyhow, the president has been adamant:

The New York Times and a third rate reporter named Maggie Haberman, known as a Crooked H flunkie who I don’t speak to and have nothing to do with, are going out of their way to destroy Michael Cohen and his relationship with me in the hope that he will “flip.” They use….

….non-existent “sources” and a drunk/drugged up loser who hates Michael, a fine person with a wonderful family. Michael is a businessman for his own account/lawyer who I have always liked & respected. Most people will flip if the Government lets them out of trouble, even if….

….it means lying or making up stories. Sorry, I don’t see Michael doing that despite the horrible Witch Hunt and the dishonest media!

I take that as a “no.”

Oops! That was then. This is now.

In an interview with George Stephanopoulos on ABC News:

My wife and my son have my first loyalty and always will. I put family and country first.

ABC News now has it that Michael Cohen sees losing everything over his loyalty to the president, which loyalty has historically never been reciprocated. Will Mr. Cohen cough up incriminating details on a sitting president in exchange for leniency on some serious charges? There are issues.

If Michael Cohen says, “Give me a break, and I’m going to tell you about some criminal stuff in Donald Trump’s past,” then prosecutors, and worst of all a judge, will be asking, “Is he going to make up stuff about the president in order to save his own hide?” It is a concern, but it doesn’t work that way. What Mr. Cohen can do is tell what he knows, and then prosecutors can use his statements in an affidavit, which they will take to a judge to obtain search warrants and subpoenas to obtain information that will corroborate what Michael Cohen has told them. Then, providing the there is verifiable criminal activity, they can begin criminal proceedings. Does anybody doubt the President of the United States has committed criminal acts worthy of prosecution? Not within shouting distance of where I now sit.

Michael Cohen has turned from “All the way with Donald Trump” (I know that doesn’t rhyme), to “Not so fast there, Mr. Trump.” He is expressing his legal view on the infamous Trump Tower of June 2016, saying…

“…an example of poor judgment.” You think?

Multiple news outlets, those which the president calls out as “fake news,” are reporting that Michael Cohen has obtained new legal counsel independent of the president’s legal team. That means that the Trump-Cohen partnership is coming asunder—the two will be going their separate ways. What’s about to play out could be very interesting and will likely end up in the history books.

Bye bye, my love, goodbye.

Your Friend The Handgun

Number 117

ABC World News Tonight with David Muir streaming on Hulu

The Second Amendment ensures the right of citizens to arm themselves for their own protection and for the protection of others. Tell that to Jeremy Webster of Colorado:

DENVER — A 12-year-old boy told police he saw a driver open fire on his family during a road rage confrontation in Colorado, killing his older brother and critically wounding his mother and younger brother, authorities said Friday. Police arrested Jeremy Webster, 23, hours after the shooting that killed a 13-year-old boy and also wounded a bystander not related to the family.

Apparently that did not turn out well for Jeremy. Fortunately for him, or maybe not, he had no past criminal record, so he was allowed to possess a firearm. Knowing he had “mental issues” and was on “new medication,” he failed to relinquish his right to carry. I’ve been told by others that people can obtain insurance coverage to protect themselves in case their use of a firearm causes harm. I’m guessing instances such as this are addressed by exclusion clauses somewhere down in the fine print. Tell that to Meghan Bigelow, who is now hospitalized in critical condition, her oldest son dead and another wounded. I am sure Meghan would rather not sue if she could only get her son back.

ABC World News Tonight with David Muir streaming on Hulu

It’s what we are willing to pay for the right to  “protect ourselves.”

This is your President speaking.

Number 118 in a long series

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

Democrats are the problem. They don’t care about crime and want illegal immigrants, no matter how bad they may be, to pour into and infest our Country, like MS-13. They can’t win on their terrible policies, so they view them as potential voters!

Although I do so much appreciate hearing what the president has to say, there are times I wish he would discuss matters related to home-grown criminality.

This is your President speaking.

Number 117 in a long series

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

Why was the FBI giving so much information to the Fake News Media. They are not supposed to be doing that, and knowing the enemy of the people Fake News, they put their own spin on it – truth doesn’t matter to them!

Somehow the word is getting out. Must be osmosis.

Don’t drop the soap.

Number 9 in a Series

Facing possibly the rest of your life behind bars? There are a number of things you will need to  keep in mind. One is that you can only go so long before you will need to take a shower. No problem. Just don’t drop the soap.

Screen shots are from MSNBC on YouTube and ABC World News Tonight with David Muir, streaming on Hulu.

Paul Manafort was born on 1 April 1949 (bad omen), making him 69 years old. During these past 69 years he has accumulated a number of notable accomplishments, including a short law career and working for the Gerald Ford,Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Robert Dole, and Donald Trump campaigns. He also did some consulting work for now deposed Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, some of this work involving lobbying the United States government. A problem is that some of the work Manafort performed involved illegal activities, and the FBI has been on his trail for several years.

Come the 2016 election, and American intelligence services, including the FBI became aware that the Russian government was inserting its influence into the process. Time passed, and Donald Trump was elected president, and he fired FBI Director James Comey, who persisted in investigating this stuff. The Deputy Attorney General appointed Robert Mueller as special prosecutor to look into the business behind Comey’s firing and the Russian misdeeds, and Paul Manafort came into his gun sights. Last October Mr. Mueller had enough evidence, and he filed criminal indictments against Manafort. Others were similarly indicted, with some pleading guilty and at least one serving his term and walking out.

Paul Manafort was not one of those to plead, so he remained out of jail on bail, confined to his quarters and wearing two ankle bracelets to track his movements. The problem was they forgot to put ankle bracelets on his cell phone, and shortly the FBI, having obtained a warrant, noticed criminal activity salted among his communications.

Yes, he was caught attempting to influence potential witnesses against him. He wanted them to lie.

Of course, when Robert Mueller’s prosecutors presented evidence of this to federal judge Amy Berman Jackson she laughed it off.

Just kidding. She had some choice remarks relating to what actions she could take.

And she didn’t. She revoked Paul Manafort’s bail and ordered him to jail on Friday, where he has been since. Given his age and given the charges against Paul Manafort, if convicted he will possibly spend the remainder of his life behind bars. President Trump came forth quickly to comment on this obvious miscarriage of justice.

And, we have to wonder why, since Mr. Trump assures us that Paul Manafort was not a major player in his campaign. Here he is with Paul Manafort’s not being a major player in his campaign.

Here is some more of Paul Manafort not being a major player in the Trump campaign.

Here is Paul Manafort not being a major player in the Trump campaign by being the person who brought in Mike Pence as the Donald Trump vice presidential nominee.

Here is President Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliano lawyer reminding us how matters will really turn out.

Mr. Giuliani, and possibly Mr. Trump, may be thinking that dangling the promise of a presidential pardon will reassure Paul Manafort and encourage him to keep his mouth shut. This is short on two levels.

  • Paul Manafort is additionally under investigation on state charges in New York. The president cannot pardon somebody from other than federal charges.
  • Once pardoned, Paul Manafort loses his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, since he will no longer be able to incriminate himself. At that point prosecutors can force him to  testify about what he knows relating to the Trump campaign and the Russian government, and any other criminal matter. If he refuses to testify he can be held in contempt of court, and will serve some jail time. If he testifies falsely, he can be prosecuted for perjury.

In any event, Paul Manafort can look forward to the shower experience in the slam. He needs to take care to not drop the soap.

This is your President speaking.

Number 116 in a long series

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

Wow, what a tough sentence for Paul Manafort, who has represented Ronald Reagan, Bob Dole and many other top political people and campaigns. Didn’t know Manafort was the head of the Mob. What about Comey and Crooked Hillary and all of the others? Very unfair!

Tough break, Mr. President. It’s a good thing you didn’t hire crooked campaign managers the way the Democrats did.