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Happy Halloween, the one time of the year that adults are allowed to dress up in costumes, get drunk, eat tons of candy — and it’s all for the kids! This year, Halloween is especially scary because today is also the very day that the President of the United States, Donald J. Trump got impeached. It was a rough week for the president*, starting with the humiliating chorus of boos from the ‘swampy’ Washington Nationals fans, who exorcised the latest Curse of the Trumpino with their throaty disapproval of The Donald and the bad vibes that followed him to the ballgame last Sunday night. The week then featured an honest-to God Ken Burns-esque American hero standing up to the White House, testifying to Congress, thus sinking the final nail in the Trump coffin, after Trump World besmirched the character of this American hero, Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman.
Kenneth, What is the Frequency?
In a strange incident in 1986, Dan Rather was roughed up by a couple of well-dressed goons as he walked home near the corner of 88th Street and Park in New York, with one of them repeatedly asking, “Kenneth, what is the frequency?” The newsman made news himself because the louts, instead of calling the celebrity CBS reporter by his given name, Dan or even Daniel, referred to him as ‘Kenneth.’ This was just weird enough to make the national news. The brouhaha died down and the incident was quickly forgotten until 1994 when a band by the name of R.E.M. out of Athens, Georgia recorded the hit song, “What’s the Frequency, Kenneth?” off their album Monster, which is why anyone remembers the story. The reason Rather came to be asked the strange question by the nutty duo is quite weird and stupid and tragic, and I’ll get into that later in the post, but it’s when we hit the ‘stupidity curve’ as a culture, where schizophrenic news cycles and the weird shit that we see today has hit the fan every day, week and month since.
The Square, Circled
Rock ‘n’ Roll was in transition in the late 1970s and back in the old days, all the good new music, as usual, was coming from African-American artists and I was totally into ‘black music’ and listening to DJ Ré Antoine and the Quiet Storm at the end of the FM dial on WMBR 88.1, MIT’s awesome college radio station (helping nerds be cool for over fifty years). I remember one of my best friends back then, Mike, who had relatively mediocre taste in music and was kind of dim, had adopted Bruce Springsteen as his very own (as many of our friends have through the years) walling Bruce off and jealousy, weirdly attacking anyone who didn’t like Springsteen as much as he did. Many years later I found out that my stupid friend Michael was actually right about Bruce after all and that I was the dumb one. A note here about my last post (trying to keep these to a minimum) about using mean and pejorative terms on this here blog such as stupid, dumb, moron, imbecilic, Trump Cuck, etc. I’m sorry if they offend anybody and I’m sorry that I use these bad words, but I just can’t help myself, so I sincerely apologize to Mr. Broidy that I called him ‘fat’ in (every) reference to him, however I’m not sorry that I called him sleazy. Watching Aidy Bryant on Saturday Night Live recently, I thought to myself that this funny and delightful (pleasantly plump?) woman probably doesn’t like that word ‘fat’ very much and even when I’m insulting Elliot Broidy, I shouldn’t be calling him that bad word. I should say he’s big-boned. A big-boned, sleazy scumbag. “There I go again” as Ronnie Reagan used to say.
Satchel Sinatra Sings the Blues
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.’
Don’t Call It a Comeback
We’ve been here for five years, publishing the first edition of the Newes From America on October 17, 2012. Beginning as a traditional news site, rehashing top stories and writing up celebrity and gossip ‘snacks’ that most web surfers like to read, the work was tedious and boring. When a 20-year old kid confused reality with one of his violent video games, the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting on December 14, 2012 was the first, big news story that we tried to tackle as an editorial story. We wanted to try and make sense of that insane tragedy, and that led directly to the screed that you see here before you. It was impossible to look at the huge problem of gun violence while being overwhelmed with the many, pressing news stories that crop up every day. The still unexplained horror of Sandy Hook, similar in some ways to the tragedy recently unveiled in Las Vegas, reveals deeper, more fundamental issues that go far beyond the Second Amendment or whether the N.R.A. supports the banning of ‘bump stocks.’ Our society has been manipulated by corporate interests that have made a lot of money tapping into our minds, changing our behavior and attitudes through advertising that fill our most important psychological needs – and define our very personal identity.
With the pages of flattery on this website for our President, Donald Trump, the reader may have the impression that I’m obsessed with him. Since his nomination, little else has concerned me as dozens of non-Trump related stories have gone unwritten. I’m also certain that Trump supporters who read these pages know that I am an asshole liberal who just likes to hear the sound of my own voice. Beyond the fact that my voice is silky smooth, (and I have a face for radio), I have to admit to acute bouts of Lapham’s Disease, even though Harper’s magazine wouldn’t print my (awful) writing with a ten foot pole. That said, the Trump MAGA phenomenon, feeding on violent and salacious stories such as Sandy Hook and Orlando, channeled popular fear and anger to gain power, now it’s Trump who must confront the results of our broken system. Who better, he argued during the election, to ‘drain the swamp’ than one who knows how the (broken) system works. Pushing the Reagan-era mantra of ‘small government,’ with Milton Friedman and Alan Greenspan selling ‘A Rising Tide Lifts All Boats’ to the working class, aspiring to rise to a higher class, was (and is) the deal from Republicans, make it easy to stay rich – and when you get there, you’ll be happy you did! The problem is that 99% of us never get there. As the long odds that most working adults rely on – their weekly state lottery outlay – the hope for a better future is offered at a 1% return on investment, and we voters keep coming back for more.
Impeach The Witch!
After 20 people had been brutally put to death in 1692 (one pressed!) for the crime of witchcraft in Salem, Massachusetts, merchant Thomas Brattle, Jr. wrote a letter to a cleric associate that was widely circulated among the citizens of a fearful and angry Salem. His thoughtful, reasonable answers to the religious and legal questions at hand were a carefully worded argument against the ghastly trials. His letter could be considered a founding document of the United States, a forceful rebuff to the judges and accusers in the ‘oyer and terminer‘ court of the time. The ultimate proof of power was that the trials ended less than a month after it’s circulation and opinion shifted virtually overnight. No one has ever been convicted of witchcraft in America since. That, of course, until the sad case of United States v. Donald Trump – as he has continuously tweeted, the Russia investigation is nothing but a ‘WITCHHUNT.’
Brattle attended Harvard College in 1676, after graduating from the Boston Latin School, where classmate Cotton Mather (son of Harvard President Increase Mather) would go on to become one of the leading prosecutors of the Salem Witch Trials. Donald Trump is such a blithering moron that his cries of ‘WITCHHUNT’ have little meaning when Twittered to his 30 million Celebrity Apprentice fans. The red hats will probably confuse the reference with Frankenstein anyway and carry torches to Congress in some midnight, Roger Stone-led ‘protest’ when he finally gets impeached.
The 1692 trials have spawned eternal clichés about witch hunts since the servant and sassy slave got devilish in the forest. Their acts and words have had reverberations throughout American history, lately verbed by our President, Donald J. Trump. He claims he’s the worst treated president ever! The Russia investigation is fake news cooked up by the Democrats! The case against him for obstruction of justice (real or not) is a WITCHHUNT! What’s lost in much of the discussion, as per usual with Don John, is what actually happened. Playwright Arthur Miller struck back in the same way Thomas Brattle struck back at the original time of the trials, only in his medium, drama. The Crucible stands as a powerful indictment of lying and manipulation, highlighted by the powerlessness, fear and humiliation associated with an aggressive and unjust prosecution. Cotton Mather, stung the most by Thomas Brattle’s even-handed indictment, never recovered his reputation and was denied the presidency of Harvard College. He is remembered today as the personification of pompous and brutal judgement.
Warning: Fake News Alert!
Let’s get this out of the way: The Newes from America is Fake News. We are as fake as a $2 bill. Even our name, the ‘Newes’ isn’t real. It’s Olde English. I’m not John Underhill. We’re not even a real news gathering site. Our only agenda is to provide links to the stuff we like and tell the stories we want to tell while trying to make you laugh every once in a while. Donald Trump may have introduced the term Fake News into the lexicon, however, he is far from the first politician to call into question what’s real and what’s fake. Manipulation of the truth is a human trait, and Trump is correct in pointing out that sometimes, even the New York Times is Fake News and sometimes, even the National Enquirer is Real News. Fake News is not a new thing. Thomas Jefferson and John Adams trolled each other on ‘Colonial Twitter’ – pamphlets and gazettes – before they became cordial and even friendly in old age. Bad mouthing and planting lies in the press is standard practice in American political life since before our founding – and it’s been the task of citizens ever since to sleuth out the fact from the fiction. Coherent arguments, supported by facts, are the only way to achieve a meaningful understanding and trust in our institutions. Democracy is like the social scientific method – a free and open inquiry style government.
We at the Newes from America do cite our sources with the help of links that take you to articles and information available on the big, wide, world web. Readers have always been responsible to figure out for themselves what’s true and what’s not. It’s called freedom. When your government gives you one newspaper, radio channel, blog and TV channel to watch – and tells you what to think – the true propaganda danger of Fake News comes to life.
So-Called President Trump*
Charles Krupa, Associated Press
There once was a time when I actually admired Donald Trump. I had never liked him before – for all the obvious reasons – yet on August 18, 2006, I was watching a Friday night Red Sox game against the Yankees and there he was, throwing out the first pitch in hallowed Fenway Park. There was a different vibe to the usual, let’s say, ungracious response from the crowd to the hated Yanks that evening – it was the kick-off to the annual, late summer Jimmy Fund telethon. The Jimmy Fund is one of those great organizations that make you proud to be a Sox fan. They support the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, raising millions of dollars to help save lives and give hope to cancer patients everywhere.
It was a brutal day for the home team, losing the first game of a double header by double digits, then later in the second game, which the Yankees won 14-11, The Donald visited the broadcast booth and he had a very good appearance with announcers Jerry and Don. They yakked about baseball stuff and then Trump had a lot of nice things to say about the Red Sox organization and the Jimmy Fund. That went a long way with me, and I found myself thinking, “Hey, maybe he’s okay.“ He was funny, engaging and even came off sounding a little humble.
After raising $2.3 million in 2005, they were aiming to reach a target of $2.6 million that year and were only $60,000 away from reaching their goal. Like a golf ball teed high, Trump struck – I’ll cover it! He said without hesitation. PING! It was one of those perfect moments that will be part of the Trump Presidential Library collection, I assure you (admission fee required). It was as if the billionaire from New York swept the broadcast booth and the audience off their feet while his team swept the Red Sox off the field. The Sox would go on to finish third in the AL that year, 11 games behind the first place Yankees.
The Most Hated Man in America
Now that the sky has fallen and Donald Trump is the presumptive nominee of the Grand Old Party (is there any doubt Trump will win the dumb-ass Florida-take-all primary?), The Democratic National Committee couldn’t have scripted the nomination process better: Donald Trump is the Republican nominee!
Opposition research will remind us that other than George Washington and a few other U.S. generals (and war heroes), no candidate has ever won the U.S. Presidency without having held elected office before. Also, no candidate (including Newt Gingrich) has ever been married three times before they accepted the keys to the highest office in the land. Speaking of which, Melania Trump, the presumptive first lady, would be the first foreign-born first lady since Louisa Adams, John Quincy Adams’ wife. Louisa Adams also played the harp, wrote satirical plays and raised silkworms. Melania Trump, on the other hand, would be one of the few first ladies to have been a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model. Oh, and Donald Trump would be the oldest U.S. President ever. That’s right, and yes, that includes Ronald Reagan (and Hillary Clinton by a hair, for that matter).
Many articles have been written during Trump’s long march through the American political process comparing him to Benito Mussolini, and less convincingly, Adolph Hitler (Donald Drumpf!). While ‘The Donald’ does equal Mussolini’s arrogance and clown-like demeanor, as the late, great Lloyd Bentsen might have said, “I knew Benito Mussolini, and you, sir, are no Benito Mussolini.” Donald Trump may be a great dealmaker and self-promoter, but he’s no politician – in fact he’s a political lightweight. He thinks that he’s the first politician to understand that voters don’t want the bullshit that the Washington political class has refined into an art form. He tells it like it is, representing the views of millions of dissatisfied, conservative voters that have been hoodwinked by a rigged system. Wading into this national reality show, this vulgar, crass, loudmouthed New York billionaire seems an odd choice.
That evangelicals voted in such large numbers for Trump lay bare their utterly phony, faithless ideals. These are the real Family Research Council-type moralists, co-opted by billionaires who reveal how they got rich, (and now you can too!). It’s Prosperity Gospel gone off the deep end. So we now have Donald Trump, who made most of his money off the backs of suckers and wannabes like the voters who now support him, giving voice to the lowest common denominations in American cultural life. It eerily shadows the plot line from the very funny film Idiocracy (2006) where the President of the United States is a former professional wrestler.
Trump’s businesses have declared bankruptcy (hugely successful!) four times or more, and other than reality television, Donald Trump has largely made his money by duping individual investors and municipalities out of millions of dollars in development deals, over and over again. “I’ve used the laws of this country to pare debt. … We’ll have the company. We’ll throw it into a chapter. We’ll negotiate with the banks. We’ll make a fantastic deal. You know, it’s like on ‘The Apprentice.’ It’s not personal. It’s just business,” Trump told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos in 2009.
That the Trump Brand is successful is beyond dispute. In this he is like Martin Shkreli, the CEO of Turing Pharmaceutical who jacked up the price of an AIDS drug by 700% to increase ‘shareholder value.’ Shkreli (and Trump) argue that taking advantage of market imbalance is just good business sense. “Here’s a guy (Trump) who’s failed so miserably so many times and it’s not as though he had to claw his way back after seven years in credit hell. He just said. ‘OK, this isn’t my problem anymore.’ For him, it’s just been a platform to the next money-making scheme,” said Dough Heller, the executive director of Consumer Watchdog at the time.
Trump would have us believe that other rich hypocrites take advantage of the system all the time, while average Americans get screwed. With this logic Trump is somehow better than those limousine-liberal billionaires working in arbitrage and derivative markets for Goldman Sachs, bleeding the American economy dry behind closed doors. But Trump, too, takes advantage of America’s rigged laws, especially bankruptcy laws, to line his own pockets. In his latest bankruptcy, Trump’s Coco Beach Golf & Country Club, S.E., appeared in court in San Juan where they listed assets of $9.2 million against debt of $80 million. So in his latest bust, Trump interests – representing creditors here instead of shareholders – took nearly $70 million dollars out of the already bankrupt Puerto Rican economy. Go Donald! Screw the suckers from Puerto Rico (and Atlantic City and New York City and perhaps, the World). His bottom-feeder tactics should surprise no one. He and Shkreli are just brothers from another mother. One man’s Capitalist Superman is another man’s ‘Most Hated Man in America.’ Bring on the general election!
March 9, 2016
Two out of Three…
Now that it is certain that the man known as “Mullah Omar” has been confirmed dead, we should take note that there is but one name remaining on the short list of the men who brought 9/11 to America: the current leader of al-Queda, Ayman al-Zawahiri.
Taliban Leader Mullah Omar would have been 55 years old this year, however he apparently died in 2013 in a Pakistani Hospital, most likely of a broken heart. Seriously, I’m sure there are a few United States intelligence officials who want to know how one of the top three most wanted criminals in the world died peacefully in a hospital two years ago and it never made it on the TMZ website, let alone the vast intelligence networks of the West. I guess nothing should surprise anyone when it comes to the Pakistani government. Remember Pervez Mousharraf? He was straight out of Disney casting as a sleazy Arab dictator who makes nice with Islamic terrorists, as long as they target Americans and Indians instead of Pakistanis. The current Prime Minister of Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif, will offer a glimmer of hope for democracy in Pakistan as head of the Muslim League, the largest political party in Pakistan.