Like a Gangster Movie

 

This Trump presidency seems more and more like an old gangster movie. When the president’s personal lawyer invokes the Fifth Amendment  to avoid answering questions in a lawsuit involving a porn star, you have to wonder what’s coming next.

You remember that mobsters were always “taking the Fifth” in those old gangster movies, don’t you?

The Fifth Amendment to the US Constitution, as you surely know, protects Americans from testifying against themselves. So only someone in danger of confessing to a crime would need to rely on this provision.

And that’s what Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen (above with porn star Stormy Daniels)  is doing. So what crime or crimes has he committed? Do they implicate the president?

And why did the president use that “David Denison” alias? Who usually hides behind an assumed name? Not you or I certainly. But that’s what characters in those old gangster movies used to do.

Trump’s business associates through the years include such convicted felons as “Fat Tony” Salerno, John taluppi, John Cody, Joseph Weichelbaum and Felix Sater. As well as disbarred lawyer Roy Cohn.

You might want to Google some of these names to get the picture.

Trump is also a known associate of international criminals. In addition to his obvious Russian ties, he was linked to denizens of the Chinese underworld. A Senate subcommittee found in 1992 that the vice president of marketing for Trump’s Taj Mahal casino was a member of a Chinese gang.

You might also know he paid a $10 million fine for money laundering.

When you consider all of the above, don’t you wonder what investigators might turn up next?

Not even an old gangster movie could trump this.

More on Cohen taking the Fifth

Trump’s mob links

Trump’s alias

Some old gangster movies

 

Unmasking Trump’s Racism

 

I will probably be accused (again) of hating “white people” when I point out (again) that a large number of Trump’s supporters are white racists. But now I have a scientific study to back up the claim.

The study  – conducted for the National Society of Sciences  – finds “a large segment” of Trump’s voters were motivated not by economic concerns but by “issues that threaten white Americans’ sense of dominant group status.”

Or, as you and I might put it, they were worried about losing their white privilege. The study found that many Trump supporters were likely to believe white people are more discriminated against than people of color and that Christians and men are more discriminated against than Muslims and women.

No kidding.

These folks have a fitting champion in Trump.

You probably know he was fined for refusing to rent apartments to non-white people.   You might know his closest advisers include white supremacists like  Stephen Miller. You might even know his father was a Ku Klux Klan sympathizer.

And I’m sure you’ve read or heard about his yearning for Scandinavian immigrants (instead of immigrants from “sh– hole countries” in Latin America and Africa).

But for a brief interlude ecently, Trump seemed to back away from his overt racism.

Now, he is discarding his mask. Evidence of this includes the appointment of John Bolton as his National Security Adviser.

Bolton comes to the White House from the Gatestone Institute, a right-wing think tank that publishes such screeds as “Europe, the Great White Death,” which warned that Muslims are overwhelming western civilization.

Trump’s support does not come entirely from white racists, of course. Another single-issue group of his voters is the anti-abortionists, who expect Trump to appoint “pro-life” Supreme Court judges.

But white racists are an important part of his base.

Does that mean I hate white people? Of course not. I deplore racism but I don’t hate racist individuals. I pray for their enlightenment. Even Trump may hope for salvation if he is truly remorseful and changes his horrible ways.

I am just pointing out a worrying factor in our society in the hope that readers will take it into account as they decide how to cast their votes.

And I welcome debate on the issue – pro or con – as the November midterms draw nearer.

Check out the study.

Bolton’s appointment

Trump’s racist history

 

Comey Should Just Shut up

 

The fuss over Comey’s book is getting on my nerves. I already knew Trump is a jerk. Now, I am beginning to think Comey is a jerk.

He has been interviewed and discussed ad nauseam on TV, and now CNN is having a town hall for him. We the people are supposed to ask him questions.

I don’t know about you, but I have nothing to ask Comey. He answered all my questions long ago and even questions I wouldn’t have asked.

If there’s anyone left who wonders what went on between Trump and Comey, that person must live under a rock in the Gobi desert.

Surely, the Mueller investigation will tell us whether Trump is guilty of obstructing justice? What light is Comey shedding on the issue?

We already heard all about his chats with Trump and we know why Trump fired him. Trump told us.

I think Trump was trying to obstruct justice but if that’s the worst Mueller discovers about our president, I will be stunned.

My own suspicions are much darker than that. I am convinced we have a gangster in the White House. Trump has a troubling history of money laundering and other links to Mafia figures.

If Comey had kept quiet, his credibility as a witness in the Mueller probr would have been greatly enhanced. Instead he opted for the quick bucks and cheap fame.

And that’s a shame.

It’s also a shame that the media is enabling his grandstanding.  I think I’ll turn off the news channels and watch sports until the Comey feeding frenzy is over.

More on the Comey fuss

Trump’s money laundering fine

His links to the underworld

 Trump’s lawyer

 

Time to Validate the News

 

I expect a lot of media folks will howl when I say this but I feel it must be said:

It’s time for those who report the news to be certified like members of other professions.

If human resources officers, accountants, chiropractors and so on  have agencies that certify them, why shouldn’t members of the news media?

Don’t tell me it would violate Americans’ First Amendment rights. Any American would still enjoy free speech. But the public would have a way of deciding whom to trust and what news is probably not “fake.”

Of course, you’re asking who will bell the cat? Who would get to say which reporters are trustworthy?

That’s a tough question, of course. But they do it in other countries. At least 30 countries  – and several Canadian provinces – have press councils that help to keep the news industry from being hijacked.

This kind of organization deals with complaints of ethical violations in handling the news. (Imagine how such a body would respond to the recent reveltions about Sean Hannity for example.)

I would suggest going even further by awarding tested journalists a professional designation – like certifying a professional accountant or optician. And any reporter who abuses that certification should lose it.

When you receive information from a professionally certified reporter or news anchor, you would know it’s likely to be fact – not fake.

Wouldn’t that be a refreshing change?

More on press councils

More on Hannity

 

Why are We Bombing Syria?

 

You might be able to help me understand what’s going on in Syria. I just don’t get it. The Syrians are being gassed by their own government, shelled by insurgents and bombed by the US, France and Italy. Why>

From what I am able to gather down here on Post Lane, a motley crew of foreign forces have swarmed into Syria from places like Iran, Russia, Iraq, Turkey and the US in a complicated shoot-’em- up that may or may not result in some kind of regime change.

A major player is ISIS, which is fighting the Syrian government, Russia, Iran and the other rebels.

So somebody – probably the Syrian government – attacked civilians with poison gas because the civilians happen to live in an area occupied by one of the rebel factions.

To “punish” the attacker, the US, France and Britain have bombed several places in Syria, probably killing a bunch of other civilians.

The bombing doesn’t seem to be part of a strategy to depose Assad – just an isolated act of random violence.

What has it accomplished? What was it expected to accomplish?

How does that change anything?

How does this “punish” Assad? If Assad needs punishing why not bomb hm?

I am bewildered. Can you set me straight?

More on the bombing

.Here’s one view

 

A Critical Time

 

My brother Bill and his wife Faye are visiting, and I’m busy playing golf with Bill and so on, so I’m giving my blog readers a rest but I had to take time to comment on the latest development in America’s presidential soap opera.

Of course I mean the FBI raid on lawyer Michael Cohen’s home and office.

This is no ordinary thing. To get permission for raiding a lawyer’s office, the FBI has to produce some really damning evidence up front. So you can imagine what dirt they hd to dig up to get the go-ahead when it’s the president’s lawyer (pictured).

It looks as if Trump is a cornered rat. Who know what he might do to create a diversion?

We could be plunged into war at any moment – perhaps a nuclear war.

Syria, for example, is a tempting target. Assad has committed one of the worst outrages of his nasty life, spewing poison gas on the civilian population of his country.

And Trump is reportedly raging mad at the FBI, at Attorney General Jeff Sessions, investigator Robert Mueller  and everybody else concerned in the Cohen raid.

He could fire the lot. That’s the kind of guy he is.

And what then?

Will Congress respond? And will the response provoke an uprising?

Trump has a solid base including racists, anti-abortionists and low-information knuckle draggers. They could take to the streets.

And who knows what other connections may lurk in the shadows? I heard a news anchor on TV last night refer to Cohen as Trump’s “consigliere.” If you have seen The Godfather, you know what kind of person has a “consigliere.”

These are dangerous times. Pray hard. Pray for America. Pray for the world. Pray for civilization.

As for me, I’m off to the golf course. Fore!

More on the raid

 

From Bad to Worse

 

Trump has made some weird nppointments since becoming president last year, but  he has outdone himself by selecting Johns Bolton (photo) as his new national security adviser.

Even Trump should have known better.

As Jimmy Carter observed on TV Monday night, Bolton is Trump’s worst mistake yet.

Bolton is such an extremist that in 2005, the Senate rejected his appointment as President George W. Bush’s ambassador to the United Nations.

And you will recall the Republicans controlled the Senate at the time.

A senate committee concluded that Bolton is an ideologue and a bully who persecuted underlings and repeatedly sought retribution against career intelligence analysts wno dared to contradict him.

And that’s not the worst they could have said about him.

In my view, he is a nut. A very, very dangerous nut.

Among his wild fantasies was the belief that Cuba was building a biological weapon for use against the US. And he has repeatedly  derided the United Nations.

In my view, he is the kind of crazy militant who ,might plunge the world into a nuclear war.

To have this loon as an adviser of any kind is irresponsible and dangerous. To have him giving advice on national security is criminally negligent.

 

May the Force be with Them

 

I was surprised and impressed by the three young ladies on Rachel’s show last night. They made me revise my view of American education and they revived my hope for America’s future.

Emma Gonzalez, Jaclyn Corin and Sarah Chadwick, survivors of the recent horror at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Southern Florida, discussed their crusade against gun violence. They were poised, articulate and mature beyond their years.

I imagine they must have had – and still have – really good teachers.

The errors in grammar and lapses in logic that I encounter daily on TV, in newspapers and on the internet had brought me to the edge of despair. But these kids changed my mind.

I don’t know whether they are representative of their generation but these young women are impressive individuals.

I look forward to Saturday’s “March for Our Lives.” If these kids are any indication, America is going to get a wake-up call. Half a million protesters are expected in Washington, and sympathy marches are scheduled not only across the US but also around the world.

And that won’t be the end of it. The Parkdale students assured Rachel they would keep going until they get the regulations they want. They already have forced Florida to enact reforms, and other measures are being considered in Congress (as well as other states).

That’s more than anyone else has accomplished so far.

As you might expect, the NRA is waging a vicious campaign against the crusaders, including personal attacks and threats, but the students who appeared on Rachel’s show just laughed that off.

It’s high time the rest of the nation took the same approach to the gun nuts responsible for the slaughter of our children. May the Force be with the protesters.

The event organizer’s website.

Watch the show

More on the protests

 

The Dragon on the Prowl

 

Napoleon Bonaparte warned more than two centuries ago:

Let China sleep, for when the dragon awakes, she will shake the world

But the world didn’t listen.  Driven by greed, Western powers found China’s allure irresistible. Over the years, western intrusions helped spawn Communism, which has morphed into a ruthlessly effective hybrid political system, accompanied by robust economic growth.

Now, the dragon is fully awake. Look out world!

President Xi Jinping is  breathing fire. He recently warned that  China is ready to go to war to claim its “rightful place” among global powers.

Xi is now president for life in China. And  he is no friend of the USA.

Trump is palling around with Taiwan and bad-mouthing China, which Xi obviously finds irritating. The US president’s announcement of tariffs on steel and aluminum imports didn’t win him any good will in China, either.

Then there’s the dispute over territory in the South China Sea.

But I don’t think America faces an imminent military threat from China.

In addition to being one of America’s top trading partners, China is a major US creditor, and has acquired significant assets in this country. Blowing up American real estate would be clumsy. I bet Chinese aggression will be far more subtle.

I suspect Alibaba’s recent alliance with ALEC is a signal of Xi’s preferred strategy.

Alibaba, which is owned by the Chinese government, is ostensibly an e-commerce giant, but doubles as a massive espionage operation. ALEC (the American Legislative Exchange Council)  is a think tank that writes model legislation for local, state and federal governments. Examples of their work include “stand-your-ground” gun laws and legislation allowing private prisons.

I’m  sure I don’t have to tell you how I suspect this alliance will empower China.

It is obviously part of a far reaching plan to influence American policy. You might recall that China’s multibillion-dollar chemical company, Wanhua, has joined the American Chemistry Council, a lobbying organization for chemical manufacturers.

According to an article on The Intercept website:

The ACC spent over $40 million … on contributions to super PACs, lobbying, and direct expenditures. (Additional money flowed directly to candidates via the ACC’s political action committee.)

Don’t you worry that with the Russians pulling the strings through hacking and sponsorship of political candidates and China shaping policy through ALEC, the ACC and who knows what else, our national security may be at risk?

And I bet Russia and China are not the only foreign powers manipulating American policy through contributions to political causes and candidates.

Don’t you wonder how much longer Americans will enjoy government of the people for the people and  by the people?

China’s sabre rattling

Infiltrating the US government

The long-term threat

 

The Company Trump Keeps

 

My mother told me a man is known by the company he keeps. And Trump attracts the sorriest human beings on the planet.

Anthony Scaramucci, that comical caricature of a “made man,” immediately comes to mind. But he is not the worst liar or the biggest crook.

Who is the worst liar (after Trump himself of course)?

Hard to pick one. John Kelly, the former general, is right up there when it comes to being liar in chief.  He lied about Congresswoman Frederica Wilson and didn’t even apologize when a video surfaced exposing the lie. He lied about Rob Porter. He lied about Rex Tillerson’s firing. He lies… and lies… and lies…

Sanctimonious Mike Pence, who claims he talks with Jesus, is also a big-league liar.

And how about Jeff Sessions?  I’m sure I don’t have to describe his multiple mendacities.

Of course Sarah Huckabee is no slouch when it comes to messing with the truth.

You can fill out the list of Trump’s top liars for yourself. I don’t have the space to do it in a blog.

And the worst crooks?

Well Trump himself is hard to beat. A former casino owner who paid a multimillion-dollar fine for money laundering, he continues to use his position as president to enrich himself and his family.

And his kin – Jared, Ivanka, Donald Jr. and the like – are obviously fast learners.

Then there’s the cabinet. What a joke that turned out to be. A sick joke.

Trump’s present and former confederates are not just liars and crooks. Some are racists. Some are subversives. Some are just trolls. Steve Bannon – remember him? Richard Spencer. Alex Jones… the beat goes on.

Lurking in the shadows, I’m sure you can make out the shapes of various Russian mobsters and oligarchs, and such creeps as Roger Stone, George Nader, Paul Manafort…

What a cast of characters!

I can’t wait to see the movie that’s sure to get made. Will it be a comedy or a tragedy? That depends on how November’s midterms turn out.

More on Trump’s kin

More on the creepy cabinet

Trump the money launderer

Is Trump another Fredo Corleone?