Friday Funny

Number 68 of a series

When politics and religion mix we get a double dose of funny. Fortunately it’s Friday again:

It’s not the first time Graham expressed his belief God had played a role in the results of the November election. He had tweeted earlier this month suggesting it was God, not Russia, that had interfered with the outcome.

In an interview Thursday, he said he doesn’t know if Russia hacked the election, and he doesn’t presume to know how God works. But he knows God answers prayer.

And, Graham said, “All I know is Donald Trump was supposed to lose the election,” according to projections of the results.

“For these states to go the way they did, in my opinion, I think it was the hand of God,” he said. “It wasn’t hacking. It wasn’t Wiki-leaky or whatever. It was God, in my opinion, and I believe his hand was at work, and I think he’s given Christians an opportunity.”

Yes, God certainly does work in mysterious ways. Maybe not as mysterious as the mind of Franklin Graham. And that is funny. So funny, is it, that I am still laughing.

Buyer’s Remorse

Number 12 in a series

You know what I dislike? I’ll tell you what I dislike. I dislike it when I turn out to be so right that I get a cramp. Fortunately that’s not too often. But here is an instance that caused me considerable distress:

Expect President Trump to keep the Affordable Care Act until or unless a comparable replacement can be found. Raucous detractors of Obamacare will now face a unified Republican Party that will find affordable health care to be not so bad, now that they will be able to take credit for it.

Yes, that shoe has finally dropped:

‘Let Obamacare Fail,’ Trump Says as G.O.P. Health Bill Collapses

WASHINGTON — The seven-year Republican quest to undo the Affordable Care Act appeared to reach a dead end on Tuesday in the Senate, leaving President Trump vowing to let President Barack Obama’s signature domestic achievement collapse.

Mr. Trump declared that his plan was now to “let Obamacare fail,” and suggested that Democrats would then seek out Republicans to work together on a bill to bury the Affordable Care Act. If he is determined to make good on that pledge, he has plenty of levers to pull, from declining to reimburse insurance companies for reducing low-income customers’ out-of-pocket costs to failing to enforce the mandate that most Americans have health coverage.

What is happening is what was foreseen months ago, even as candidate Trump thumped his repeal and replace message to voters. Appeal for the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) is rooted in a considerable segment of voters for whom the main street path to health care is not working. Where these people were last November we may never know, but we know where they are today:

‘Don’t repeal Obamacare — improve it’: Republicans face wrath at town-hall events

After burning up seven years of congressional action and pushing forward 60 pieces of legislation to repeal the ACA, members of congress are coming to realize something. The primary job of an elected official is not to enact legislation, it’s to get re-elected. It’s been observed for 70 years in my memory that politicians acknowledge there is no point in having ideals if you are not in office to put them into action. Republicans in Congress are facing the reality they they can become ex politicians if they do not harken to the will of their constituents.

Currently the focus is on the Senate, this after the Republican-dominated House of Representatives voted in their own proposal last spring—a proposal which proved to be about as popular as the measles, for which there is also a cure. The Republican majority in the Senate is threadbare, and notable defections have defeated all attempts to pass repeal and replace legislation. As noted, there are not even enough votes to repeal the ACA, leading the President to his current stance—do nothing. We’ve seen a lot of that this year:

Counting the number of laws he’s signed, President Donald Trump has been more productive in his first 100 days than any president since Harry Truman, according to press secretary Sean Spicer.

“Despite the historic obstruction by Senate Democrats, he’s worked with Congress to pass more legislation in his first 100 days than any president since Truman, and these bills deliver on some of his most significant promises to the American people,” Spicer said at the White House daily press briefing April 25.

President Trump achieved this impressive record by shouldering the heavy load of his office and demonstrating impressive leadership. I’m joking, of course.

Winding down, I need to make yet another prediction. My prediction is that Republican lawmakers, who dominate both houses of Congress, will get an earful from the voters, and will get to work fixing well-known deficiencies in the Affordable Care Act—but not until next year. Check back with me later and see if I missed the mark, again.

Buyer’s Remorse

Number 11 in a series

Somebody help me. I cannot stop. The story keeps getting better by the day, if not the hour.

Most politicians would have gone to a meeting like the one Don jr attended in order to get info on an opponent. That’s politics!

Really. Really? Why? The meeting was about the adoption embargo. Yesterday’s ABC World News Tonight with David Muir has the word from press secretary Sean Spicer:

Note to Spicer: get in a room with your boss and figure out what the official story is, which is that the meeting had nothing to do concerning collusion with Russian intelligence gathering services.

Oops! How did that get in here?

Actually, as ABC reported, and as we all know by now, “The four pages of email setting up the meeting don’t even mention the word adoption.”

Additionally, we have Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow demanding to know how come the Secret Service didn’t get involved. Apparently the highly-paid Mr. Sekulow fails to notice that Donald Trump Jr. did not have Secret Service protection at the time. Apparently, also, President Trump is spending too much on legal representation and not getting his money’s worth.

David Muir goes on to report on a Washington Post poll that has 67% of Americans disapproving of the President’s use of Twitter. Full disclosure: I am not among that 67%. I love Donald Trump’s use of Twitter. I love it so much, I think I might just die if the President of the United States ever grew up and quit laying his soul bare in 140 characters or fewer.

There’s going to be a lot more on this. Keep reading. And may Jesus have mercy on our souls.

Buyer’s Remorse

Number 10 in a series

These are the best of times.

Somebody needs to stop me. I’m on a daily basis overdosing on schadenfreude. Jesus would not approve. Thank you, Mr. Trump. It’s the nicest thing anybody’s ever done for me. Thank you very very very much!

There are only so many ways to spell petty and incompetent, and President Trump does it best.

There will be more. Keep reading. And try not to laugh so hard. Jesus is watching.

Buyer’s Remorse

Number 9 in a series

I have this problem. I’m out of a job. Everything around the house has gotten fixed. The stuff out back along the fence is absolutely thriving. All my bills are paid. In 23 years I’m going to be a hundred. And I’m having more fun than the law allows.

Full disclosure: I voted for Donald Trump in the primaries, because… because I really wanted to stick it one more time to Ted Cruz. Then I voted for Clinton in November. Big waste. Since Trump was ordained by God to carry Texas, he should have gotten all of Texas’ 38 electoral votes. Going against  God, two electors cast for other candidates,  but those two were likely last seen in an East Texas bog.

It’s not like I thought Hillary is exciting. I mean, keep Hillary away from an email server, and cutting grass is exciting. But I voted for her. Full disclosure: Barbara Jean and her husband were in high school together.

So now Donald Trump is President of the United States, and I am having  more fun than the law allows. I only hope God is not watching. This is a kind of intellectual masturbation. Everything is free and no commitment is required. Except the taxpayers are footing the bill.

Which gets us to the matter of Donald Trump Jr. Were we all ever so blessed? To explain I need to go to the video tape:

The clip is from Anderson Cooper on CNN, Friday 14 July 2017. He discusses the matter of Donald Trump Jr. and the meaning of the term transparency. He shows several clips.

Trump Jr: I’m more than happy to be transparent about it.

There are more.

Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow:

Trump deputy Sebastian Gorka: We are incredibly impressed by Don Jr.’s transparency.

The reason Don Jr. released his email is because it’s completely transparent.

Kellyanne Conway: How refreshing to have somebody take responsibility, be transparent.

Jay Sekulow: Donald Trump Jr. put it all out today.

Sebastian Gorka: Donald Trump Jr. is transparent.

That settles that. After decades of living in darkness I finally know the definition of transparent. That said, I am now able to identify all  things transparent:

  • Corrugated packaging
  • Zinc plated steel siding
  • Armor plating
  • The Great Wall of China

I hope everything is now perfectly clear.

There’s going to be more. Keep reading.

And may Jesus have mercy on our souls.

The Golden Shower

Something interesting—this is number 22.

 

Friday was looking to be a very dull day. So-called President Trump was out of town, out of the country really. Making nice with the French. Found time to compliment Mme. Macron on maintaining her shape after all these years. Washington was really quiet. Nothing much going on. I figured I was going to have to make something up about the Trump administration.

Just kidding.

At one point yesterday I recalled the image above. It shows Donald Trump Jr., oldest son of the current President. It’s from an interview with Trump Jr. on 24 July of last year, and it came the month following when he got wind of an offer from a Russian lawyer. The offer was that the Russian government had embarrassing information on presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, and that person was willing to share it with the Trump campaign. The word was that the Russian government, under president for life Vladimir Putin, favored Donald Trump in the 2016 elections and definitely did not want Mrs. Clinton in charge. It was in June that Mr. Trump Jr. jumped at the chance to meet and obtain this invitation, and he invited Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and Trump Jr.’s brother-in-law Jared Kushner to come along.

The following month following the meeting Trump Jr. was on television with choice words about the political opposition. He was asked about any involvement the Trump campaign might have had with the Russians, perhaps even the Russian government, and he had this to say. See the image above:

… CNN anchor Jake Tapper asks Trump Jr. about Mook’s allegations that Russian state actors were behind the leaked DNC emails. Trump Jr.’s response is staggering, considering what we know now:

Tapper: [Mook] seemed to be suggesting that this is part of a plot to help Donald Trump and hurt Hillary Clinton. Your response?

Trump Jr: Well, just goes to show you their exact moral compass. They’ll say anything to be able to win this. This is time and time again, lie after lie. You notice he won’t say, “Well, I say this,” he’ll say, “Here are experts, here’s house cat at home who once said this is what’s happening with the Russians.” It’s disgusting; it’s so phony.

Trump Jr. also went on to say that Mook ought to be “ashamed of himself” for spreading the idea that Russia was working in support of the Trump campaign. But just weeks earlier, in early June, British publicist Rob Goldstone had informed Trump Jr. about “Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.”

I have observed that moral compasses come, and moral  compasses go, but the truth just seems to hang around like the odor of dead fish.

As already noted, a week ago Trump Jr. got wind that The New York Times was preparing to publish contents of an email exchange. The email exchange demonstrates that it is Trump Jr.’s moral compass that needs some adjusting. The rising political star of Donald Trump Jr. seems to have lost its sheen and may be going the way of his father’s. Once it  was apparent The Times was going to publish the damning correspondence, Trump Jr. eagerly jumped in front of cameras and laid the entire episode bare. He acknowledged the emails were factual and that he and Manafort and Kushner had, indeed, taken the meeting in Trump Tower on the 25th floor. He noted that Rob Goldstone, an associate of Trump Sr., was also there. And that was the sum of it.

In a Fox News interview with Sean Hannity, Donald Trump Jr. set the record straight:

Hannity: Did you ever meet with any other persons from Russia, that you know [of]?

Trump Jr.: No. I don’t even know. … Not in the context of a formalized meeting, or anything like, because, why would I?

And that was that, and that was what was making Friday to begin to look like a day without sunshine. But what an idiot I was. I should have known. That was definitely not all of it.

Yes, there were more people in the room. There was interpreter Anatol Samochomov and also sometimes-lobbyist for the Russian government Rinat Akhmetshin.

And that was all.

That was definitely all. There were no more people attending the meeting in June of last year on the 25th floor of Trump Tower in New York City. Absolutely no more people. That is the final count.

I apologize. This story is expanding faster than I can keep up with it. In order to keep readers informed I am going to need to get ahead of the wave on this. I’m going to have to extrapolate and fill in the blanks before they open up. Here is more of the story as it will continue to  develop.

Yes, there were more people in the room that day. In fact, information has come to light that Brown and Root was contracted by Donald Trump Sr. to implement serious reconstruction of Trump Tower to expand the meeting room. Observers at the time now report having seen lines of buses parked at 725 5th Avenue to unload those attending the meeting. Seen entering were Dennis Rodman, Kim Jong-un, Ross Perot, Patrick Stewart, Stephen Hawking, Lawrence of Arabia, and Judge Crater.

And I promise you, there were no others in attendance I have not already listed.

All right. Full disclosure. I was there, as well. Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya had some questions about the Russian language, and I was called in to consult.

And that is the final count. End of story.

Except, you may ask, what does all this have to do with the possibly fake dossier compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele? Good question. Parts of the dossier are obviously bogus, including references to an episode in a Moscow hotel:

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.

There is likely no connection, but I need to make sure I don’t leave anything out.

There is going to be more. Keep reading.

And may Jesus have mercy on our souls.

Buyer’s Remorse

Number 8 in a series

This series is devoted to all those readers who bought into the Donald Trump flim-flam, voted for him, and are now struggling with buyer’s remorse. It is as I predicted months ago, only now enjoying it with much glee. This series is my opportunity to twist the knife.

The image above is a screen shot from Tuesday’s edition of ABC World News Tonight with David Muir, and it pictures Donald Trump Jr. speaking on 24 July 2016. CNN has a transcript of his words:

(CNN) — On several occasions during the 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump Jr. dismissed and mocked claims that there was a connection between his father’s campaign and Russian government efforts to influence the election.

Trump Jr.’s past statements on Russia are receiving new attention after he and The New York Times revealed he met with a lawyer he was told in an email was a “Russian government attorney” who had “very high-level and sensitive information” incriminating Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. In emails Trump Jr. made public Tuesday, he was told by a friend, publicist Rob Goldstone, that the information was “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.”
Trump Jr. told Fox News that the meeting, which occurred on June 9, 2016, amounted to nothing and that he was just seeking political opposition research about his father’s opponent.
After the meeting, Trump Jr. fought back against the notion in radio, TV and campaign appearances that any connection with Russia existed.
Speaking with CNN’s Jake Tapper in July, Trump Jr. called claims of Russian meddling “disgusting” when he was asked about comments by Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook that leaked DNC emails were part of a Russian effort to help Trump.
“Well it just goes to show you their exact moral compass. I mean, they will say anything to be able to win this. I mean, this is time and time again, lie after lie,” Trump Jr. said.
He added, “It’s disgusting. It’s so phony.”
In campaign appearances in October and November, Trump Jr. brushed off the idea that his father’s campaign had connections to Russia and attacked the Clintons over the sale of a Canadian uranium mining company to Russia’s atomic energy agency Rosatom, alleging that the Clintons were engaged in a pay-to-play scheme.
“We’ve seen corruption at the highest level,” Trump Jr. said on Oct. 17 to supporters in Colorado. “We’ve seen our country be sold out. We’ve seen, you know, the second Bill (Clinton) gives a speech in Russia for hundreds of thousands of dollars. Two weeks later, the State Department that’s run by Hillary Clinton signs off, giving Russians 20% of our uranium supply. And we’re the ones with the Russia connection. I mean, give me a break, folks. But that’s what this is about. It’s about hypocrisy.”

This week Mr. Trump Jr. admitted he arranged a meeting with a Russian lawyer he presumed was prepared to provide information from Russian government sources, information that would be damaging to the Clinton campaign.

From all appearances the Trump White House is scrambling to deflect this latest disaster, and I am enjoying every second of it. For years Donald Trump pushed the false notion that President Obama was ineligible to be President because he was not born in this country. He then launched his campaign for the office, employing a steady barrage of outrageous lies and lesser fabrications, swinging insult and slander as not seen in a modern presidential contest. And a large chunk of the American population bought into the swindle.

It is upon these unfortunates that I am now prepared to drop the hammer. You are fools and idiots of the highest order, the shining example of what is wrong with this country. Your moral bankruptcy led you by the nose to the scene of your destruction, and I am here to ensure you get the full benefit.

You can thank me later.

The Golden Shower

Something interesting—this is number 21.

I’ve been trying to shake off this story for months, but it won’t go away, no matter how hard I try. Every two or three months I think about it, real hard. But I still can’t shake it. Maybe I should think about it harder. I will think about it.

In the meantime, here is some of the back  story:

… And the Golden Shower is only one sliver of the pie. It is possible the President’s prior appointment in a Moscow hotel has shriveled to a footnote in the drama now playing out. It may no longer be important whether the infamous Pee Pee Tape exist, much less whether Donald Trump really did order up prostitutes to piss on a bed. So far, all we have is an unofficial dossier prepared by former British spy Christopher Steele. Critical parts of the dossier rely on second-hand sources, sources that have not been verified. It’s up to those who read Steele’s report to decide on its merits. A copy is posted on-line, including the pertinent paragraph labeled 2:

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.

To be sure, it is difficult for me to believe that an earnest candidate for President of the United States would pay prostitutes in Moscow to piss on the bed where the former President and his wife previously slept. That is, it was difficult prior to 20 January of this year, when Mr. Trump assumed office. Since then there have been developments:

That was since becoming President. Daniel Dale of the Toronto Star has commented on 337 false statement by Donald Trump since inauguration.

The previous link to Daniel Dale’s page has gone stale, but the Toronto Star has created a new one:

The complete list of all 363 false claims Donald Trump has made as president

The Star’s running tally of every false thing the president of the United States of America has said, so far.

So, let’s forget about the Golden Shower and the President’s strange concept of truth, and let’s come up to date with this week’s story. Yesterday’s edition of ABC World News Tonight with David Muir has a good run-down. Here are some screen  shots, courtesy of Hulu.

 

Let me run through the narrative behind this sequence of images. The first shows the text of an email sent from Trump associate Rob Goldstone to Donald Trump Jr., son of the President. Mr. Goldstone is alerting Trump Jr. that the Russian government is prepared to assist Trump Sr. in defeating rival  candidate Hillary Clinton. Yes, we get the hint. The Russian Government (Vladimir Putin) does not want Hillary Clinton to become President of the United States, but would instead prefer that Donald Trump Sr. become President of the United States. I hope I have made that clear enough.

Now the next picture. Trump Jr. receives Mr. Goldstone’s message, and is enthusiastic about the idea. Young Trump responds, “[I]f it’s what you say I love it…” Hey! There’s going to be a meeting with the Russian agent.

And now the next image. Young Trump forwards the correspondence to his brother-in-law Jared Kushner and also to Paul Manafort, at the time Donald Trump Sr.’s campaign manager. They want to have the meeting.

So all this came to light a few days ago, and the New York Times was preparing to release copies of the email exchange. Donald Jr. beat them to the punch by releasing his copies of same. The sum total seems to show that a year’s worth of denials by Trump associates and the Trump campaign have been a year’s worth of misinformation. Some would say prevarication. First we have Reince Priebus, former Chairman of the Republican National Committee and current White House Chief of Staff under President Trump in an interview with George Stephanopoulos on ABC News 24 July 2016:

Stephanopoulos: Are there any ties between Mr. Trump, you, or your campaign and Putin and his regime?

Priebus: No, sir, I have not. It’s absurd… There’s no basis for it.

Which seems to give a new definition to the word absurd.

Next it’s 18 December 2016, over a month after Mr. Trump’s election. The interview is between John Dickerson and then Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway. The clip is from Face the Nation on CBS, which provides a transcript:

Dickerson:  All right. We are not going to get any insight into the president-elect’s thinking here, but let me try this. Did anyone involved –

Conway: I gave you plenty.

Dickerson: — in the Trump campaign have any contact with Russians trying to meddle with the election?

Conway:  Absolutely not. And I discussed that with the president-elect just last night. Those conversations never happened. I hear people saying it like it’s a fact on television. That is just not only inaccurate and false, but it’s dangerous.

“Those conversations never happened?” “Inaccurate?” This from the Queen of Accuracy?

It remains to be seen who or what is dangerous. Next let’s go to the President of the United States. Here he is on 16 February, three weeks on the job. The video is from a White House press conference. When asked, the President responds:

I have nothing to do with Russia. To the best of my knowledge no person that I deal with does.

(the next image) In July 2016, a month after arranging and participating in a meeting with the Russian lawyer, Donald Trump Jr. was seen crawling all over the opposition for suggesting such a thing. Here is a partial transcript from an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper:

In the clip above, CNN anchor Jake Tapper asks Trump Jr. about Mook’s allegations that Russian state actors were behind the leaked DNC emails. Trump Jr.’s response is staggering, considering what we know now:

Tapper: [Mook] seemed to be suggesting that this is part of a plot to help Donald Trump and hurt Hillary Clinton. Your response?

Trump Jr: Well, just goes to show you their exact moral compass. They’ll say anything to be able to win this. This is time and time again, lie after lie. You notice he won’t say, “Well, I say this,” he’ll say, “Here are experts, here’s house cat at home who once said this is what’s happening with the Russians.” It’s disgusting; it’s so phony.

Trump Jr. also went on to say that Mook ought to be “ashamed of himself” for spreading the idea that Russia was working in support of the Trump campaign. But just weeks earlier, in early June, British publicist Rob Goldstone had informed Trump Jr. about “Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.”

This certainly does put the spotlight on the Trump opposition’s moral compass. Imaging them putting out something in 2016 that Donald Trump Jr. was preparing to put out a year later. People, when your goal is to work with the Donald Trump contingent, it doesn’t help to always be stepping on their lines. Just ease back. They’re are going to get to the matter when they are good and ready.

The image after that shows White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders earlier this week setting the matter straight, this in a press briefing where cameras were not allowed. She repeated a message from the President:

My son is a high quality person, and I applaud his transparency.

I don’t know about you, readers, but I am glad we finally have transparency in our government at the highest levels. Doing the thing, then denying doing the thing, then hammering the opposition for talking about doing the thing, then saying that you really did do the thing—that’s transparency where I came from.

Mrs. Sanders then refused to take any more questions on the matter.

The final image shows Donald Trump Jr. on Fox News:

In retrospect, I probably would have done things differently.

Differently? Like, not have the meeting with the Russians with the aim of getting the benefit of spying by Russian intelligence agencies? Like not lying about it a few days later? Like not raking the opposition over the coals for suggesting such a thing? Like, maybe, joining the Marine Corps instead of hooking up with a crooked political enterprise? We may never know.

In retrospect, I probably would have done things differently. I would not have wasted so much time pursuing the absurd notion that a future President of the United States would pay Russian prostitutes to piss on a presidential bed, while he watched. I would have long ago put this story of the Pee Pee Tape to bed.

All right. That may not have been the best choice of words.

There’s going to be more. Keep reading. And may Jesus have mercy on our souls.

Politicians Acting Foolishly

Number 2 in a series

Twenty-one months ago I made this ridiculous promise:

This comes around with such regularity I’m going to create a recurrent series of posts. Where do I start? I will go back a few years, back four years even…

And I did go back four years to then Congressman Anthony Weiner, who, until June 2011, represented New York’s 9th congressional district. What got him excused from politics was his propensity of exhibiting less than interesting body parts on the Internet. People picked up on the last name.

So, I’m late getting back to the matter of politicians acting foolishly. I can’t imagine what took me so long. Here is round number 2, this time with my favorite American governor, Chris Christie of New Jersey. Although he is my favorite governor, his popularity is currently polling about 15%. We have to wonder why. Here is the most recent.

Consider his public persona. The man definitely has a way with public image. I caught the story on yesterday’s edition of ABC World News Tonight with David Muir, courtesy of Hulu.

Yes, the governor got onto a radio program, which he co-hosts, and for no apparent reason a bunch of people wanted to talk about stuff that happened last week. New Jersey reached a budget impasse, and, lacking a budget, the Governor closed public parks, including beaches. Then he and his family ensconced themselves upon one of said beaches. And got their picture took.

On the radio the Governor started taking calls from listeners. “Mike in Montclair” had some choice words:

Governor, next time you want to sit on a beach that is closed to  the entire world except you… You put your fat ass in  a car… and go to one that’s open.

Whoa! Somebody is displeased. The Governor’s response was classic Christie:

You know, Mike, I love getting calls from communists in Montclair.

Communist? How long has it been since I heard that comeback? Fifty years at least. Mike believes he’s being bullied.

Apparently the Governor sees the error of his ways and knows he needs to make a final effort to show grace and to save the situation. He does it with style.

You know, you’re swearing on the air, Mike, and you’re a bum!

With an exclamation mark.

Irony upon irony. ABC reporter David Wright reports the story with the George Washington Bridge in the background.

It was somewhat over three years ago I first visited the topic:

Concerns were raised that the New Jersey’s Republican state government had rigged a phony traffic study just to create havoc for Fort Lee residents, this in payback because the town’s Democratic mayor had declined to endorse Governor Chris Christie’s re-election.

Placing traffic cones at the George Washington Bridge.

Additional irony. Last year on a family outing with Barbara Jean, we were skirting the Big Apple, trying to get to Rhode Island. I perked up when I realized I was about to drive through the place pictured above. The irony faded somewhat when they charged me $15 to drive the Camry across. But thanks to Governor Christie, I got some of it back in chuckles.

Is too late for me to get my money back?

Number 2

Did I mention I receive regular emails from Dr. Robert Jeffress, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Dallas, Texas? Yes, I’m sure I did. Here’s another one. See above.

There is no way I can make too much of this. Read the message and realize this is aimed at adult humans inhabiting one of the most advanced and modern countries on this planet. Once you let that soak in, look at the message:

Six Practical Strategies to Defeat Satan’s Destructive Plan for Your Life!

You did not read that wrong. The supposedly adult audience is presumed to believe in the reality of a fictional character. To put it into perspective, let me restate the above with a minor word change:

Six Practical Strategies to Defeat The Joker’s Destructive Plan for Your Life!

Yes, the fictional character known as The Joker, Batman’s nemesis, has a destructive plan for your life. Of course we always knew that. When did The Joker ever have anything socially beneficial. The Joker always worked against society and toward his own self interests. Fortunately there has always been Batman to protect us.

There is somebody else working toward his own self interest.

The First Baptist Church of Dallas wants your money:

First Baptist Dallas is a Southern Baptist megachurch located in Dallas, Texas. It was established in 1868 and, as of 2016, has a congregation of about 12,000. The church, considered influential among evangelical Christians in the United States, also owns and operates a school, several radio stations, and Dallas Life, a mission for the homeless on the southern edge of Downtown Dallas. The current pastor is Robert Jeffress. Jeffress is currently leading the congregation in a $130 million campaign to re-create its downtown campus. The project is the largest in modern church history.

The church operates a mission for the homeless. That’s good. That’s socially responsible. The homeless are not the only beneficiaries of the church’s good will:

For the 2016 US Presidential election, Jeffress endorsed and appeared at rallies for the Republican candidate, Donald Trump, though he initially endorsed Dr. Ben Carson. Jeffress also declared that Christians who would not vote for or support Trump as the Republican nominee were “fools” and “motivated by pride rather than principle”, despite Trump’s lack of an evangelical or Christian background. Jeffress also stated that if a candidate ran on the principles found in the Sermon on the Mount, he “would run from that candidate as far as possible” and would still vote for Trump. On June 21, 2016, candidate Trump named Jeffress to participate in an advisory board of evangelical leaders.

This appears to be a mutual admiration society. Also a political collaboration:

On Thursday morning, as part of National Day of Prayer festivities at the White House, President Donald Trump signed an executive order he said delivered on a campaign promise to evangelical leaders. The order instructs the Internal Revenue Service not to enforce the Johnson Amendment, a 50-year-old law banning pastors from making endorsements from the pulpit.

The order essentially calls for the end of a law that’s never been enforced.

First Baptist Church Dallas Pastor Robert Jeffress, who pushed Trump throughout the campaign to repeal the Johnson Amendment to remove the threat that it could be used as a cudgel against pastors.

Jeffress is controversial, having repeatedly linked homosexuality to pedophilia and called Catholicism and “Babylonian mystery religion” inspired by Satan. Wednesday night, Trump invited Jeffress and some of his fellow pastors to the White House before signing the executive order. “Mr. President, we’re going to be your most loyal friends,” Jeffress said at the dinner. “We’re going to be your enthusiastic supporters. And we thank God every day that you’re the president of the United States.”

After the president issued the order Thursday morning, Jeffress praised it as a promise kept, despite the fact that the Johnson Amendment is still on the books.

First an explanation of the Johnson Amendment from Wikipedia:

The Johnson Amendment is a provision in the U.S. tax code, since 1954, that prohibits all 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations from endorsing or opposing political candidates. Section 501(c)(3) organizations are the most common type of nonprofit organization in the United States, ranging from charitable foundations to universities and churches. The amendment is named for then-Senator Lyndon B. Johnson of Texas, who introduced it in a preliminary draft of the law in July 1954.

Now, from Wikipedia, here is a description of a political action committee (PAC):

In the United States, a political action committee (PAC) is a type of organization that pools campaign contributions from members and donates those funds to campaign for or against candidates, ballot initiatives, or legislation. The legal term PAC has been created in pursuit of campaign finance reform in the United States. This term is quite specific to all activities of campaign finance in the United States. Democracies of other countries use different terms for the units of campaign spending or spending on political competition (see political finance). At the U.S. federal level, an organization becomes a PAC when it receives or spends more than $1,000 for the purpose of influencing a federal election, and registers with the Federal Election Commission, according to the Federal Election Campaign Act as amended by the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (also known as the McCain-Feingold Act). At the state level, an organization becomes a PAC according to the state’s election laws.

Now that everybody understands the ground rules, here is how it works out:

You want to contribute to your favorite candidate running for office, say $1000. Perfectly legal. It’s going to be $1000 down a black hole, but it’s for a good cause. You earned the $1000 as salary and paid $250 in federal income tax on it. So that was $1000 you donated plus the $250. Sounds like a raw deal, yes?

But wait. Salvation is at hand. Jesus is your friend. You “join” a church with the name “Jesus wants Donald Trump for President.” You donate you $1000 to the JWDTFP Church, and you don’t pay taxes on  that income. That church meets in rented office space in a strip mall in on Legacy Drive in Plano, Texas. They hold services on Sunday, attended by the pastor, his wife, his accountant. They open the envelops and count the money.

They take the money to a professional adversing firm and pay that company to  create television ads promoting Donald Trump for President. Donald Trump’s re-election campaign is now underwritten by the American taxpayers. Breathtaking inanity!

Can’t happen, you say. The IRS will never accept the JWDTFP as a legitimate church. Think not? Suppose the IRS does push back. Imagine the backlash. The United States government is now in  the business of deciding what is a church and what is not a church. Didn’t we previously visit that problem in merry old England? It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, and the government told citizens what was a church and what was not a church. Hence:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion…

Are we about to  rewind this issue? Has it come to  pass we now have the government we paid for?

There is going to be more of this. Keep reading. And may Jesus have mercy on our souls.