RSS Google News

RSS Reuters U.S.News

Newes From America on Twitter

A Metaphor America

George Washington


It’s probably not gonna be a fantastic year for me, I fear. The above Tweet© is our President’s New Year’s statement to the nation, where he advises us all to just relax, bend over and enjoy the reaming he intends to administer to us all. The year started out well enough, although with Trump, Rush Limbaugh, Laura Ingraham and Fox News conspiring to lock the American people out of 25% of their government (apparently, all run by the dedicated hard work of Democrats, according to The Donald), in Trump’s bizarro-world, our slow motion dismantling of democracy should be something to enjoy, not fear. Donny also tells a seven-year old back on Christmas Day that Santa is a fiction, so here Trump chooses to reveal the first kernel of truth as president in two years — in one of the few places that we actually want our president to lie — when talking to a seven-year old on Christmas Day about the legend of Santa Claus.

This incident reminds me of a man that I’ve used as a Trump doppelgänger or a metaphor or whatever you want to call him, the ‘former’ Mayor of Las Vegas, and fellow Democrat, the Hon. Oscar Goodman. What comes to mind recently is when the mob lawyer-turned politician Goodman visited a grade school in Sin City where little Cindy-loo asked him a question that any reasonable kid would want to know: “If you were marooned on an island, what item would you like to take with you?” I suppose the best answer to this question was answered in a recent Progressive Insurance commercial where the usually air-headed Jamie quips to Flo that instead of the ‘name your price’ tool, he’d choose a boat. The last mayor of Las Vegas, Oscar Goodman (who also played himself in Martin Scorsese’s Casino (1995) answered the fourth-grader [as an aside, is believing in Santa by a five-year old marginal?] that if he were stranded on a deserted island, he’d want a bottle of gin.

Young Cindy may have grown up by now to see the brilliance of that answer, after going to college and studying the philosophy of Kafka and Nietzsche to finally decide that life is absolutely meaningless, but back in 2005 when the mayor said that all you need is “A bottle of Bombay Sapphire Gin,” and when asked by another kid about his other hobbies, Goodman listed drinking Bombay Sapphire Gin as one of his favorites. Later, when asked to clarify his statements, Goodman doubled-down, saying: “I’m the George Washington of mayors. I can’t tell a lie. If they didn’t want the answer, the kid shouldn’t have asked the question.” To salve little Cindy Loo’s ennui, truth be told that Oscar Goodman was on the Bacardi payroll at the time, the owner of Bombay Gin (also totally legal and totally cool) where it was revealed that he was paid $50,000 to pitch the spirit to his constituents. Fox News reported at the time, “I’m not going to lie to children. I’m not going to say I would take a teddy bear or a Bible or something like that.” Asked by a reporter if he had a drinking problem, Goodman answered, “Oh, absolutely not. I love to drink.” Moments later, he cut off questions and walked out of the news conference. He hosted regular “Martinis with the Mayor” events and induced a bidding war between two gin companies in 2002 before becoming a spokesman for one. “He donated half the $100,000 he made to an agency that provides shelter and substance abuse programs and half to a private school founded by his wife. Goodman was at Mackey Elementary on Wednesday as part of Nevada Reading Week.”

Oscar’s embalmed wife Caroline is currently the shill, um, Mayor of Las Vegas as Oscar was ‘term-limited’ in 2015. As news reports overflow with stories that our national parks (Ken Burns’ Greatest Idea) are being overrun with trash, squatters and human waste, with a metaphorical clown for a president and no end to the impasse in sight, our democracy has never looked so tattered and worn. Perhaps another occasion that our tender democracy was at greater risk, however, was exactly 242 years ago, for on that day the Battle of Princeton broke out in northern New Jersey, a running skirmish between Washington’s Continental Army and King George III’s Redcoats, part of a series of events that would occur over ten days that would end up changing the world forever.

Considering that as late as the War of 1812 that the ‘vanquished’ British were capable of burning down the newly-built White House, (then called the Presidential Mansion) it was fully 37 years earlier that the ‘Shot Heard Round the World’ reverberated from Lexington. As the winter of 1776 fell into its darkest days, George Washington was the commander of an army in retreat. After the rash Bostonians started the whole mess and fired AT THE WHITES OF THEIR EYES, the miffed British and their German cousins had been slowly and inexorably positioning their awesome military strength against the upstart rebels in North America, only hindered by post-conflict smites with France and Spain following the Seven Years War. The mood was foul in London in 1775, perhaps not dissimilar to the current Brexit debacle we witness today, where everything was put on the line in pre-Victorian England versus these ingrates living among the Native Americans in the ‘New World.’

A few thousand resolved Patriots would blunder into the whole operation and smash up the fine Wedgewood china back in Westminster, for in Parliament, British General William Howe seemed to be handling the ragtag Americans with relative ease. The professional, Erik Prince-level assistance from the mercenary German Hessians gave the British a cudgel to beat back the ill-equipped, revolutionary zealots in nearly ten decisive victories in the war’s Winter Campaign. As Christmas, 1776 approached, there were few gifts to place under the tree as General George Washington encamped his men in Pennsylvania across the Delaware River from a garrison of Hessians in Trenton, New Jersey. Morale was running low among the ranks and enlistments, set to expire by the end of the week, weren’t being renewed and Washington understood at that time that he was losing his men.

The saying ‘fortune favors the brave’ (or the bold) was burnished by such men as George Washington, one of the Founders to actually take up arms against the mightiest army in the world, yet his true passions were farming, reading and writing. This man who couldn’t tell a lie (itself a lie, of course, regardless of what Oscar Goodman tells you) and he was the embodiment of good judgement, resolve and restraint. This particular (former) British officer was a truly great man, yet his greatness also came from his surroundings as well, as the food and family which nourished him from childhood, grown from the seeds of Puritanism transported across the Atlantic by the pilgrims of the Great Migration. These earliest settlers were fleeing a king, from a long line of insane and murderous kings and they were looking for a new start based on the governing principles of ordinary people.

It’s been a relatively mild winter here in New England this year, knock on wood, and we ‘Massholes’ can talk your ears off about our own particular obsession with so-called ‘Nor’easters, also known as ‘Yankee Clippers,’ and if it was ever a good thing to have the twisting, winter storm known as a Nor’easter, it was certainly on Christmas Eve, 1776 — and we celebrate this date in American history to this day. We’ll never know for sure what the peculiar smell in the air or what the breeze and cloudy sky spoke to Washington on that fateful day, yet the general would stage this most brilliant attack in military history, known to us as The Battle of Trenton, which would turn the tide of the revolution in a way that could never be reversed.

Divine Provenance (combined with hot lead and iron) delivered directly to the head of the king’s hired killers, these mercenaries from Hesse-Cassel, Germany, they would face searing wind, snow and Washington’s muskets and cannon, after ferrying them all across the Delaware with ‘Seal Team Six’ stealthiness, this little army group represented our infant nation’s first Navy as well, along with the guidance of the plucky Pennsylvania Navy, while the French held the English at bay, not yet fully committed to the American cause. These American jacks-of-all-trades set out on tiny, repurposed boats over an ice-cold torrent to get to the other side unscathed and unnoticed. After a twenty-mile hike, using the storm at their backs to descend upon a cadre of almost two thousand well provisioned, highly-trained Hessians hailing from Germany’s House of Hanover; these distant Saxon cousins needed the money, unfortunately, because King Charles I, Duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel, had pissed it all away. Anyway, these hungover (my guess) Germans, roused from their slumber after a night of bleary-eyed Christmas cheer to a nightmare wake-up-call of a howling American ‘Noreaster’ thing, which it turned out was a lot bigger and badder than they had ever imagined. Washington used his home-field advantage in weather prediction to deliver a Biblical blow to the king at Trenton, which would see the vanquished Germans fleeing their barracks, half-naked and shivering from fear and the biting cold, ‘escaping’ to the only refuge left to them in the Town of Trenton, a stone house, only to be greeted by General Nathanael Greene and his cannon.

A week later, on January 3rd at The Battle of Princeton, the war graduated to Nassau Hall at the College of New Jersey, where a young artillery officer by the name of Alexander Hamilton would be waiting for the Hessians after the initial battle to ‘mop up’ any of the enemy keen on ruining the big party. Hamilton brought along with him three of his cannon as well and, fortuitously and providentially, trained one of the pieces at an institution that had REJECTED his college application three years earlier. Seems Alex asked for too much time to complete his degree. When the cowering Hessians fled into Nassau Hall, Hamilton was waiting for them and promptly sent a cannonball sailing through a near window, across the cavernous hall through a far wall, signifying once and for all that the jig was up. Lucky for these Germans, they remembered their dear old ‘Frau Hofbraus’ and quickly surrendered to the American Gods of thunder and war. George Washington lied to the American people after the Trenton and Princeton battles, claiming over 100 dead and 300 captured at Trenton when at most 25 Hessians were killed and 100 imprisoned. Washington was a shrewd and calculating leader, with unequaled ’touch’ long before they invented the game of golf for future presidents to enjoy and he was a brilliant mind, for an uneducated farmer and soldier. In an early letter to friend (and Loyalist) Robert MacKenzie, then a critic of the hot-headed rebels up in Massachusetts, Washington wrote him directly on October 9th, 1774,

For my own part, I confess to you candidly, that I view things in a very different point of light to the one in which you seem to consider them; and though you are led to believe by venal men, for such I must take the liberty of calling those new-fangled counsellors, which fly to and surround you, and all others, who, for honorary or pecuniary gratifications, will lend their aid to overturn the constitution, and introduce a system of arbitrary government, although you are taught, I say, by discoursing with such men, to believe, that the people of Massachusetts are rebellious, setting up for independency, and what not, give me leave, my good friend, to tell you, that you are abused, grossly abused, and this I advance with a degree of confidence and boldness, which may claim your belief, having better opportunities of knowing the real sentiments of the people you are among, from the leaders of them, in opposition to the present measures of the administration, than you have from those whose business it is, not to disclose truths, but to misrepresent facts in order to justify as much as possible to the world their own conduct; for give me leave to add, and I think I can announce it as a fact, that it is not the wish or interest of that government, or any other upon this continent, separately or collectively, to set up for independency; but this you may at the same time rely on, that none of them will ever submit to the loss of those valuable rights and privileges, which are essential to the happiness of every free state, and without which, life, liberty, and property are rendered totally insecure.

Washington’s collected papers include documents from his childhood education, his first career as a surveyor and his experiences as a Colonel during the French and Indian War, where you can also read, in his own hand, his observations as General of the Continental Army and the Presidency of the Constitutional Convention in 1787 as well as his two terms as President of the United States. Some may be interested to find George Washington’s tax return for the year 1788 in Series 4, General Correspondence: George Washington, April 1788, Taxable Property in Truro and Fairfax Parishes (including slaves). Also documented in his letters are his management of Mount Vernon, his plantation home in Virginia and the lives of his family, servants, and slaves. Anyone may access these treasures of American history online here.

Washington was our #1 Founding Father for good reason, yet another of our revered Founders, Alexander Hamilton, as he fired his cannonballs through Nassau Hall in his own turn-of-the-tables, also entered hero status when he destroyed a painting which had hung high on the wall of the school for decades. In fact, the cannon ball punched a hole almost perfectly decapitating the image of King George II, the daddy of our sovereign ruler at the time — mad King George III. The apocryphal story of the painting punctured by Hamilton’s bull’s-eye was strengthened after the war, when a new painting was commissioned by Washington’s friend and portraitist, Charles Wilson Peale at the behest of the College of New Jersey, later to change its name to Princeton University. This famous portrait of General Washington, painted just after his daring follow-up raid when he was rebuffed by his war council from raiding a British Army pay chest filled with millions of loot in New Brunswick (titular seat of the House of Hanover) and after following the advice of his general staff (ahem) that Lord Cornwallis was moving to Brunswick, Washington was consoled with the task of taking the Town of Princeton, New Jersey. Awe inspiring in it’s nimble simplicity, the Battle of Princeton and the preceding Battle of Assinpunk Creek would push the British into Southern New Jersey and the last phase of the war and eventual American victory.

There were many miles to still go for the Continental Army, such as the winter at Jockey Hollow, New Jersey, the harshest winter of the war, from 1779-1780, where the Wick family was one of the oldest and most patriotic of any family in America. They made their homestead available to our nascent nation to serve as one of the most strategically important ‘forts’ in the early American Colonies and Wick Garden at Jockey Hollow was the very place where the Marquis de Lafayette told General George Washington, after his decisive victories at Trenton and Princeton, the news that the French government would be sending a large fleet to reinforce the Americans in their quest for freedom. Wick Garden is one of New Jersey’s primary tourist attractions, yet during the shutdown Americans may not visit their shared history there, also used as headquarters for General Arthur St. Clair and also a temporary barracks used by Captain Alexander Hamilton. It’s the only building still standing in Morristown, New Jersey from the 1770s and its usually open to the public days and weekends, unfortunately it’s closed because of Trump’s shutdown now, the verdant garden untended since before Christmas.

In the Trump lockout if you’re visiting the Capitol and were hoping to see the Star-Spangled Banner, you’re out of luck because all seventeen of the District’s Smithsonian museums are closed as well as the National Zoo. The National Air and Space Museum, including their fantastic World War I and World War II exhibits are now off-limits to all but essential workers and the American Art Museum’s Diane Arbus: A Box of Ten Photographs, which ends on January 21st, might never be seen by anyone. The National Park Service’s Ellis Island museum is now closed, along with all the facilities mentioned in Yosemite National Park in California, the very first national park, protected by naturalist John Muir in 1890.

The National Gallery, both the East and West wings as well as the skating rink in the sculpture gardens are locked tight, and also the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site as well as the National Archives have been shuttered since the shutdown began way back on December 21st of last year. The National Park Service-run museum at Ford’s Theatre is closed, the infamous site of Abraham Lincoln’s assassination, the theater named for impresario John T. Ford. Neither may you visit the Ford Mansion, the Georgian house that was Washington’s headquarters from December, 1779 to June, 1780, the Ford family of Morristown operated a black powder mill that supplied early firepower to the American cause in the war and on the homestead of these unsung heroes of the American Revolution a captured, bronze six-pounder field cannon from the British Army, won at the Battle of Princeton, is usually on display for all to touch this piece of history, but not today. Also, don’t visit so-called ‘Fort Nonsense‘ in Morristown, New Jersey where at the very top, more Revolutionary War-era cannon are there to admire, overlooking the commanding heights held by the Continentals and eastward, the entire New York City skyline, on clear days the view is to die-for, but today, the park is closed to all citizens.

When Trump shut down the government, he owned it as his very own lockout when he exclaimed, “I am proud to shut down the government for border security, Chuck,” reminding me of Richard Nixon when he told Charles Colson, caught on tape during the Watergate scandal saying, “Don’t let the bastards get you down, Chuck… I don’t think they’re going to see a great uproar in the country about the Republican committee trying to bug the Democratic headquarters.” Over the holidays, Trump’s frenemy Senator Lindsay Graham tried to talk some sense into our ‘sixth or seventh-grade’ level president, removing himself to the Rose Garden to tell CBS News, after an audience with the king, that the president ‘get’s it’ and that “The wall has become a metaphor for border security. And what we’re talking about is a physical barrier where it makes sense. In the past every Democrat has voted for these physical barriers.” Sounds reasonable to this Democrat, however few Americans are willing to spend $5 billion on a metaphor, no matter how small-minded, hateful and ineffectual a stupid fucking wall might actually be, so perhaps a metaphor for Donald Trump may be a sad clown, or perhaps a two-bit, phony mayor, or maybe a naked, bedraggled Hessian, but whatever the metaphor for Donald Trump to emerge, he will never be favorably compared to our first and greatest president: George Washington.

Back in New Jersey, after the Battle of Trenton and before the British knew that the war was lost, the New Bridge in New Jersey was a key to controlling the peninsula between Hackensack, the Hudson River and New York City, (which was never taken by the Continentals during the war) and even though we Americans can’t visit the Zabriskie-Steuben House today — back on October 22, 1777, Hessian Commander Carl van Donop volunteered to attempt the capture of Fort Mercer at Red Bank at what is now National Park, New Jersey. Despite the name, the Town of National Park is neither a national park nor is it associated with one, so it’s actually open for business folks! With command of 2,000 Hessian troops, Donop re-crossed the Delaware River looking for sweet revenge against Washington and the Americans and that afternoon, the Germans surrounded the militia from the ‘Littlest State in the Union,’ Rhode Island and demanded the surrender of Colonel Christopher Greene with the promise of no quarter in battle. Greene, with his four hundred, stout ‘Swamp Yankees,’ rejected the offer and Donop promptly led three successive attacks on the fort, all to be beaten back with incredible valor and heroism by the Patriots from ‘Little Rhody,’ resulting in nearly 400 Hessian dead, including Donop himself. Fatally wounded in what would become known as the Battle of Red Bank, Donop died two days later on October 25, 1777, buried on the sacred battlefield, his final words were recorded as, “I die the victim of my ambition, and of the avarice of my sovereign.”


John Underhill
January 3, 2019

The Spy Who Came

The Daily BeastPhoto Illustration by Sarah Rogers/The Daily Beast

Donald Trump has the power to make me a liar. I said in a post a few months ago, Cheaters Never Prosper that Trump will become our third president to suffer a Senate trial, but I gave a hint of how I think Trump might actually sum up his presidency by noting that Richard Nixon wasn’t ‘impeached’ because he avoided all the unpleasantness at showtime by resigning. I’m sure Donald Trump would’ve thought it insulting to suggest that he resign after his first hundred days, as I did in my post 100 Crazy Nights, but I’d bet he’d take that bargain in a heartbeat now, because that was before we knew about the smokin’ hot Russian spy with an assault rifle: Maria Butina, y’all.


Consent of the Governed

Fox’s Steve Hilton will tell you that Trump is valiantly fighting elitism from within his own White House, finally getting rid of the swamp creatures (no, not Ryan Zinke, or 81-year old Wilbur Ross, currently missing from the G20, they’re not elites!) folks like Gary Cohn, H.R. McMaster and Rex Tillerson and the other elitists that have finally been rooted out (as RINOs). Unlike Steve Hilton, he’s a real, average Republican. His story is the American dream, so get the fuck out of the way. More the British dream, actually, but who’s keeping score, observing that Steve grew up just outside of London. His family fled Hungary after the 1956 Revolt and they landed comfortably just outside Heathrow airport, the very place they would find employment. Steve didn’t have a father in the house after the age of five, however, but his dad was a professional hockey player, so he wasn’t exactly living hand to mouth. Educated in London, Hilton went to Stanford University and then went to work for David Cameron of the Conservative Party of Britain, one of the most singularly elite men on the planet Earth. No elitist himself, Hilton worked very hard and has amassed over $4 million for his considerable effort, according to A dedicated public servant in government for most of his illustrious career, he proves that anybody can be successful and rich, as long as they’re not some snooty elitist (while being the godparent of a Prime Minister’s eldest child). I believe I’ve worked just as hard as Steve, perhaps not as intelligently or ‘non-elitely,’ and yet I have significantly less than $4 million in my bank account, so this ‘elite’ thing hasn’t paid off as well for me, so maybe Steve actually has a point. Make sure to visit the Millenial’s coolest place to fund their favorite candidates (and Steve’s BIG money maker) Crowdpac!


Watch Out Now

Loose Lips
On November 6th, America returned the Democrats to House leadership, yet the Senate remains in the grip of the Republican Party after Donald Trump called Florida Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum a ‘Thief’ and also sent the military into The South to save fearful Texans, à la The Alamo, from 1,500 or so itinerant migrants now chilling somewhere near Cancún. Before all the votes are counted and Jerry Nadler has a chance to choose his (oversize) House Judiciary chair, Donald Trump fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions and replaced him with a guy named Matt Whitaker. This guy, the new Attorney General or ‘Top Cop,’  was last seen as a CNN analyst posting an op-ed, Mueller’s Investigation of Trump is Going Too Far. Whitaker, who Trump apparently never met (or did, or didn’t?) once prosecuted an eagle-scout Democratic State Senator in Des Moines, Iowa named Matt McCoy (now a County Commissioner) because McCoy ‘extorted’ $2,000, over two long years, from some poor victim. It turns out that the two grand was a legitimate bill for services rendered, which the client had disputed. For this, McCoy was read The Hobbs Act, but really, he was railroaded into an unjust prosecution — which has taken McCoy over ten years to repay legal fees — and oh yeah,  Mr. McCoy, without a hint of scandal in over twenty years of public service, is also gay. In fact he was the first openly gay member of the Iowa Legislature. After going after the gay Democrat, Whitaker left the Justice Department and began working as a consultant for a phony company that bilked dozens of suckers out of $26 million of their hard-earned money. This is the man who Donald Trump picked to run the Justice Department — a hatchet man.


Pretenders to the Throne

With Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s announcement that the vote on Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s lifetime appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court will take place tomorrow, I have to remark to myself how far we’ve come as a nation. It seems like just yesterday in American history that anti-Catholic bias and ‘Irish Need Not Apply’ was the norm. When Donald Trump’s daddy Fred Trump was arrested at a Klu Klux Klan Rally on Memorial Day, 1927, the organizing leaflet that was passed around in Jamaica, Queens beforehand warned that “Native-born Protestant Americans” were being “assaulted by Roman Catholic police of New York City.” “Liberty and Democracy have been trampled upon,” it continued, “when native-born Protestant Americans dare to organize to protect one flag, the American flag; one school, the public school; and one language, the English language.” We’ve come a long way. Today, even being an angry, drunk Irish-Catholic isn’t disqualifying for a seat on the highest court in the land.


The Fifth Columnist


There’s an old saying in politics that when your opponent is burying themselves, stay the hell out of the way – if anything, hand them a shovel. As our president has been writing his political epitaph this summer, I’ve been reading a lot of books and working on my tan, yet I’ve been roused from my torpor by another stupid outrage by our So-Called President* – the half-staff / full-staff / half-staff bullshit that took place after the death of John McCain – yet another example of how Trump is utterly unsuited for leadership. Senator John McCain died facing down cancer like all adversity in life, with honor, dignity and courage. John McCain was, by any calculation, an American hero and Donald Trump’s pettiness is only heightened in contrast to this great man’s service to Country. McCain quoted his hero in his autobiography written with Mark Salter, The Restless Wave: Good Times, Just Causes, Great Fights and Other Appreciations (2018) where the only man who could live up to this hero’s life was a fictional character:

‘The world is a fine place and worth the fighting for and I hate very much to leave it,’ spoke my hero, Robert Jordan, in [Ernest Hemingway’s] ‘For Whom the Bell Tolls.‘ And I do, too. I hate to leave it. But I don’t have a complaint. Not one. It’s been quite a ride. I’ve known great passions, seen amazing wonders, fought in a war, and helped make a peace. I’ve lived very well and I’ve been deprived of all comforts. I’ve been as lonely as a person can be and I’ve enjoyed the company of heroes.


Cincinnatus Shrugged

Cincinato_abandona_el_arado_para_dictar_leyes_a_Roma,_c.1806_de_Juan_Antonio_Ribera (2)

Artist: Juan Antonio Ribera, 1806

The absolute batshit-crazy lurch to the right in this country with the election of Donald Trump in 2016 set my hair on fire (scroll blog for reference) and since that time I just can’t seem to stop complaining about THE DONALD. My fear is that his dumb, red hat wearing minions will go down the slippery slope of stupidity with him (see the creepy Mark Meadows, Tom Cotton or Devin Nunes for reference) toward outright anarchy – in what we might best describe as ‘mobocracy.’ With the former Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper’s assessment that the Russians swung the election in 2016 to Trump, I have to remind myself that these intelligence folks usually have their hair on fire more than I do – and Clapper is totally bald. I have a full, luxurious head of hair so I’m trying not to panic and begin building a bomb shelter, but Trump’s latest fumble on the international stage, with Kim Jong-untrustworthy in charge, has got me drawing up escape routes, just for fun!

Looking back on the last election, it struck me as strange that the Democrats were holding off an aging, grumpy Socialist from Vermont from upstaging standard-bearer and front-runner, Hillary Clinton. To this day, I can’t figure out how Bernie got so many damned votes. Isn’t it entirely plausible to believe that the coordinated Russian, Saudi and Emirates attack on our election had some effect on the Democratic nomination outcome? Isn’t it also strange that certifiable idiot Donald Trump beat out the best the Republicans had to offer after eight, long years of ‘Obamacare’ during the nomination process? If Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, Rick Perry, Carly Fiorina and the dozen or so other serious Republican contenders in the 2016 election don’t realize that they were compromised in the same way the entire country was compromised just a few short months later, then maybe they’re just a big bunch of idiots as well, but we all knew that – except for John Kasich of Ohio (maybe)?


Cheaters Never Prosper

Treason doth never prosper, what’s the reason?
For if it prosper, none dare call it Treason.

– Sir John Harington, 1618


I almost reactivated my Facebook account this week, after Mark Zuckerberg finally admitted that his company was actually in the business of eavesdropping. After the beautiful London Observer piece highlighting Cambridge Analytica CEO Alexander Nix caught on video selling his company’s wares (blackmail, ratfucking, extortion, racketeering and money laundering), the same employer of ‘Sloppy’ Steve Bannon (then running the American branch) I really wanted to write that I’d actually reactivated my account after Zuck went on CNN and finally admitted that his company took blood money. This week’s announcement that Facebook was cutting ties with data mining companies is a sign that I might just come back. Zuckerberg said that he wants to be proud of his company going forward because he has two daughters now, as opposed to before when he was an asshole Harvard hacker who cared about nothing except making lots of money.

When I first became aware of Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook, one fact stood out for me above all others: Zuckerberg was a hacker. Hacker culture is what the internet was all about back in the early days, and tech titans Steve Jobs and Bill Gates were no exception. In screenwriter Aaron Sorkin’s The Social Network (2010), Zuckerberg, Saverin and the Winklevoss brothers were portrayed as savvy hackers without much going on in the way of morals. I suspect the dark score and lighting in the film lends a hint that it was much worse than that. Born as ‘Facesmash’ as a prank by the merry Zuck against his fellow students at Harvard – stealing their identities (or head shots) from the easily hackable Harvard Yearbook Publications computer, a student-run server hosting the earliest editions of the ubiquitous Freshman Register, known by everyone in the first year as ‘The Facebook.’ I’ve always cast a jaundiced eye at those who would just as soon steal your data as look at you. These hacker dweebs, many with tape firmly affixed on glasses, proudly displaying gleaming breast pocket organizers and bad skin are now worth millions. Many of those weenies from the old high school computer club could buy and sell their high schools many times over and some even contribute millions to alumni organizations and philanthropic endeavors, yet most are still just like Martin Shkreli, only nerdier.


Satchel Sinatra Sings the Blues

The Grand Tour


Last year’s bombshell New York Times article by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey may have initiated the #MeToo movement, but the momentum really gained steam after Ronan Farrow’s excellent back-to-back, in-depth reports in the New Yorker detailing Harvey Weinstein’s use of private detectives to harass and discredit his accusers. Farrow’s investigations add valuable accounts of the Miramax mogul’s scumbag ways, where it seems every day of his professional life, Mr. Weinstein committed some form of sexual harassment. Looking at the cut of Mr. Weinstein, we can guess that this ugly, fat asshole used his power as a Hollywood producer to get laid. In Casablanca, Claude Rains is ‘Shocked, shocked!’ Perhaps the original push behind the #MeToo movement was Donald Trump’s (well recorded) conversation about bush – with Bush – which sparked the up-and-running Pink Parades, either way, sexually abused and harassed victims have finally been given voice. Farrow’s latest article in the New Yorker, Trump, a Playboy Model, and a System for Concealing Infidelity reveals the next woman in the can-can line of Trump mistresses. Here, Farrow outlines how Trump’s friend David J. Pecker, CEO of American Media and publisher of parody newspapers the National Enquirer and the hilarious Weekly World News among others, protected him from damaging allegations during the election. Trump said during his campaign that the supermarket tabloid ‘Does have credibility and should be very respected’ after the Enquirer linked Ted Cruz’ father to the Kennedy Assassination. Inquiring minds want to know! Pecker (middle name Johnson) ‘captured and killed’ this particular Playboy model’s story about her affair with The Donald for $150,000 (about the same time that Stormy Daniels was spanking him with Malcolm Forbes’ masthead), with Pecker explaining recently that it ‘wasn’t believable enough’ – choosing not to publish the accusation back in October, 2016. I guess the Playboy model story should have included a bit about her bat-child, then Pecker may have thought it believable enough to bury somewhere in his mindless rags. This is the same National Enquirer which once ran full-color, front-page headlines complete with images of an innocent young woman named Vera Baker titled ‘Obama Caught in Hotel With This Beauty’ – which Pecker had to pay dearly for in an all-cash settlement. My favorite Weekly World News headline of all time is ‘Famed Psychic’s Head Explodes.’


President Trump The Proud

Photo Illustration by Elizabeth Brockway/The Daily Beast

One year into Donald Trump’s presidency and one thing is clear, we know Donald John Trump a lot better now. As a nation, we didn’t quite understand how much of a ‘winner’ Donald Trump really could be. Now we know that the President of the United States is a habitual liar about all that ‘winning,’ but of course that’s just more liberal Fake News according to The Donald. We knew that the president wanted to improve relations with Russia, we just didn’t fully understand that he wanted better relations with Russia because Vladimir Putin has video of him with hookers at the Ritz Moscow. Melania Trump may be a very interesting story line in the ongoing American Apprentice reality show, and at tonight’s State of the Union speech, the President may invite up to 24 guests to attend with the First Lady, so let’s see who shows up! Instead of wasting my time watching Trump lie for another hour, I’ll be watching the Jimmy Kimmel show tonight instead. I should’ve figured The Donald would be sunk by something as trivial as a tryst with a porn star, “who are ya goin’ to believe, me or the lyin’ eyes of the Wall Street Journal?” Donald begs Melania on her (separate) bedroom phone in the White House before she hangs up on him. BDSM with a porn star – while your wife is recovering from childbirth – is just modern presidential, Melania. Get used to it, there’s a LOT more where that came from. As Stormy put it, “Ugh. Here We Go…”


RSS McClatchy DC