Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Donald Trump isn't far enough off the wall for you? Try this dude.

I came across a ragged poster today that the individual below had glued to a wall on the far west side of midtown.  Instantly I knew I was seeing the work of a person of interest.

He's a political candidate, although it's a bit ambiguous as to whether he's running for President, the Senate, Congress, or the Mayor of Gutenberg, NJ. Maybe it's all of the above. His program is an amalgam of Bernie Sanders' and Hillary Clinton's planks, more-than-generously seasoned with Donald Trump's paranoia,

Oh, you might want to run and get a bowl of popcorn before you watch this:

And here's his poster, as I photographed it, directly from the wilds of midtown's far west side.

And what's to stop you, if you're disillusioned by Donald Trump, and you can't bring yourself to vote for Hillary, to write the guy's name in? It's Jeff Boss.

Got that, Boss? I mean, Chief.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Yeah, wink wink. You're right about Obama and Hillary, Donald. And YOU founded both Naziism and Stalinist Communism.

Back in my early Madmen Days, I had a boss who fell in love with a movie called How To Cheat On Your Wife. 

Maybe he learned everything he knows at the movies
The film was of little interest to me at the time because I was in my twenties, not married, and still a starry-eyed believer in eternal romantic love. 

But some of the married guys who made a habit of cheating loved it, took to seeing it over and over again before heading home to wife and hearth in Cos Cob, and joyously quoted parts of it over lunch hour martinis in an East 48th street ginmill called Rattazzi's.

Evidently one lesson was what to say when your wife came home and caught you in bed with another woman. According to the movie — I hope I've got the right movie — you looked your wife straight in the eye and, while your casual sex partner blushed with the sheets pulled up to her neck, you  said, "What woman? There's no other woman in here."

Evidently Donald Trump must have seen that movie, and taken to heart the lesson about what to do when you're caught red handed: deny the obvious truth, ignore the glaring evidence, and repeat the preposterous big lie

And so, the other day Donald Trump declared that Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama were co-founders of ISIS. When his acolytes tried to walk that statement back a bit, either saying that he was only joshing, or that he was simply being sarcastic, or that he was speaking in some sort of symbolism, Trump brushed them aside. 

No, he said, he meant it literally.

Okay, so in Trump World, or maybe in Republican World, up is down, red is black, the truth is a lie, and a lie is the truth. If it comes out of an angry brain cell, it's a fact. Period.

Great. I just asked my angry brain cells what's on my own mind, and they told me that Donald Trump is not really the son of Fred Trump. Fred was merely a surrogate. Donald Trump is the illegitimate child of Adolph Hitler and Eva Braun, or maybe its was Eva and Joe Stalin. Hard to tell, because they were having a three-way at the time in a Berlin bunker.

Furthermore, Donald Trump founded both Naziism and Communism. The time continuum there makes as much sense as accusing President Obama of founding ISIS, since Obama was only a local politician in Illinois when ISIS was founded.

Did I mention that Paul Manafort, Trump's campaign manager, was bred from the frozen sperm of Joseph Goebbels?  Of course, I'm only speaking metaphorically, which means sarcastically, which means it's the absolute truth.

Or to put it another way, you have to know it's all absolutely true, because I just made it up.

Pass the word.

Saturday, August 06, 2016

Since when does the U.S. Constitution allow us to sign away our rights for the privilege of survival?

Enough already with election wonkery and outrageous Trumpfoolery. Do you mind if just for one post, just this once, I change the subject? No? It’s okay with you? Thanks. Now play along with me.

Imagine you’re crawling on hands and knees across Death Valley, in California. It’s July. It’s 107 degrees. You have no water. You’re dehydrated. You’re thirsty.

Suddenly a truck drives up.

“Need some water, friend?” the driver asks.

“Yes thanks.”

“Okay,” he says. I’ve got a whole icy-cold tank of it here. Gallons and gallons of the stuff. More than enough for you to survive on. Just sign this.”

And he pulls out a 30-page document, set in mouse-type print, on wide measure, while you rest on your hands and knees, panting.

Have a good long drink
 of water, sucker!

“What is that?” you ask.

“Terms and conditions of service for water. A user agreement which I can change at any time although you can’t. It’ll only take you a couple of hours to study. Well, maybe three or four. Plus a law degree. Sorry, I can’t let you have any of my water until you sign.”

Hey, you can’t get by without water. And you don’t have two hours to wade through the fine print. You sign.

As promised, he gives you water. All the water you want. Then he claps a pair of handcuffs and a pair off leg irons on you.

“It’s off to the plantation with you, kid,” he says, “You’ve just voluntarily surrendered your right to life and liberty to me. Fair and square. It says so right here in the contract you just signed. And don’t tell me you didn’t read the contact. It says right here, ‘I have read this contract and I agree to all its provisions.’”

No no, you can’t do that.
Not even if you want to.

Of course, in modern America, at least since the mid-19th Century, slavery has been against the law. Period. The United States Constitution, and specifically the 13th Amendment clearly states, “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”

In other words, unless you’ve been found guilty of a crime, nobody can compel you to work for him, to wake up and go to sleep when he tells you, to eat what you’re told, when you’re told; nor can anybody buy and sell you. And you can’t sell yourself into slavery. No matter what you sign. At least not in this country. Says so in the United States Constitution.

Hey, has anyone here read
the Seventh Amendment?

Now let’s consider the Seventh Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. It says: “In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.”

In other words, for any civil matter worth arguing about, you’re entitled to a trial by jury. Still with me?

Now, why is it that if you can’t sign your right to freedom away and decide to become a slave, you can sign away your right to a jury trial that would enable you to seek justice in commercial matters?

And you do this almost every time you buy a service on the Internet, purchase a computer, acquire software, open a bank account, apply for a credit card, or in many cases, take a job.

You usually agree — far in advance of any possible negative event or dispute — to arbitration, with an arbitrator who depends for his living on the company you’re arbitrating against. Guess how that’s going to turn out?

Choice? What choice?

Please don’t tell me you’ve the choice not to buy or sign up for any of those things that make you sign away your rights. In today’s high tech society, software, and a computer, and a cell phone, and a credit card, not to mention a job, are just as necessary to sustaining life as water. See how far you’ll get in this without a bank account, or a credit card, or a computer, or a cell phone, or a job.

Further, the cost to you of the arbitration may be outrageous and the odds of getting full justice slim. You may have to arbitrate in a distant state where the company you signed on with locates its business. You can’t join with others who’ve been ripped off by the same company in a class action suit, because you’ve all waived your rights to sue when you signed those humongous contracts.

To be fair, in some circumstances, arbitration may be to the mutual advantage of buyer and seller. So it makes sense to give both of you the right to arbitrate at the time you get into the dispute, if you then both agree to that. But most of the time, arbitration is clearly to the seller’s advantage. And you have no choice, because you signed your rights away before you realized you were going to get ripped off.

Hey it’s election year. So grab
your representative’s ear now.

So, fellow computer owners, software users, salary earners, bank depositors, brokerage account customers, credit card spenders, car loan and mortgage payers, cell phone callers — even seekers of romance through online dating services — it’s time to contact your congressmen and senators. Tell them you want an end to forced arbitration. Insist that arbitration should permitted only if both parties agree to it at the time a dispute arises.

If we can put an end to forced arbitration we’ll go a long way toward ending company bullying, slipshod manufacturing, predator lending, and sometimes even homicidal neglect. And even if the Congress remains sclerotic after the next election, people who’ve been forced to sign away their rights can start thinking about bringing the issue before appeals courts.

If you can’t sell yourself into slavery, why should you be permitted to sell your soul to some greedy industrialist who will leave you stranded in the 19th Century if you don’t surrender your rights when you use today’s essential services?

Friday, July 29, 2016

Will there be any Clinton vs. Trump TV debates? (A bit of idle speculation.)

We know Melania Trump swiped part of her speech from Michelle Obama. Now
 there’s prima facie evidence that Donald Trump got his political philosophy 
from Tony the Tiger. But that’s not what this post is about.

Somebody in the Trump camp must be sweating bullets.

It's  quite nearly a given that opposing Presidential nominees are expected  to debate each other on television. Which leads me to wonder what’s going through the minds of people at Trump headquarters.

No, I’m not talking about the mind of Donald Trump himself. I’m sure he thinks he can walk in front of the cameras, call his opponent “crooked Hillary” a few hundred times, and promise he’ll be like Tony the Tiger of Sugar Frosted Flakes fame, and make America grrrrreat! again. And that will be that.

But less bloated heads in Trumpland must assuredly know better. As we saw during her speech on Thursday night, Hillary is calm, confident, knows her stuff in depth, is not likely to be rattled easily, and has a fat dossier on Trump.  

So for openers, if Hillary, or questioners from the press ask Trump a single “how” question, his goose is is deep fried in oil sludge.

“How will you pay for that when you also promise to cut taxes, Donald? What government waste are you specifically talking about? How much will this program cost and how did you calculate that, Donald? Will you really give nukes to Saudi Arabia and risk the resultant mid-Est holocaust? Will you actually permit your pal Putin to march in and take Poland and Hungary? Nice tie you’re wearing Donald...why did you have it made in China?”

And so on. Not to mention all the tangible horrors waiting for Hillary to pull out of Trump’s past and demand that he answer to, from the Trump University Follies to stiffed carpenters and plumbers, to bankrupt casinos. And what’s Trump specifically going to counter-punch with other than “she got $600,000 for a speech,” and “Don’t believe her, she’s crooked, folks.” 

The one danger is that Trump will try to shout down anything Hillary says. But that can be, and should be addressed in advanced of the debate. It ought to be stipulated that during each candidate’s turn to talk, the other candidate’s microphone shall be turned off by a neutral time keeper. In fact, I like that idea so much, that in the name of civil discourse I think this rule should be extended to all political debates, not to mention all those migraine-inducing Shouting Head Festivals on CNN.

But back to the Clinton-Trump debate:

I can’t imagine anyone in the Trump camp who wants the disagreeable duty, after the first debate if there is one, of handing The Donald a bloody plastic bag with something horrifying in it and saying, “Mr. Trump, Hillary said I should give this to you for a souvenir.” 

The Donald will of course make a face and ask, “What is that?” And the Trump staffer will have to say, “Those are your testicles, sir.” Whereupon The Donald will discover for the first time that during the debate he lost something without even realizing it.

So I’m saying there’s a better than fair chance that Trump’s handlers will find an excuse not to let him debate. Any excuse. It might be a flareup of the old “foot thing” (whichever foot he decides to remember it was) that kept him out of the military. Or it might be the petulant announcement that “I refuse to even be in the same room with Crooked Hillary.” It might  even be, “the press is so biased against me that I can’t debate her.” 

Nobody will be fooled, but I’m guessing that Trump will use any escape hatch he can find to  run like a scared rabbit. And if he doesn’t run from the first debate, he even more likely will before the second. 

You say his ego is far too inflated to miss a an opportunity to appear on national TV and demonstrate that, no matter what anybody says, vulgarity is not dead? Just remember that what’s really inflated is just another gas bag. And the more inflated they are, the more easily and louder they pop.

My advice to Hillary: declare some debate dates, get the network time reserved, and if Trump doesn’t show up, debate from your side and let the camera point to an empty chair when it’s Trump’s turn. 

As for me, if there ever actually is a Clinton-Trump debate, or two, or more, I intend to sit in front of the television set with two bowls. One will contain a heaping serving of popcorn. The other will be filled to the brim with schadenfreude.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Maureen Dowd, Donald Trump, and Don Rickles


In today's Sunday New York Times, columnist Maureen Dowd writes:
Nothing should be remarkable with Trump anymore. But it was still remarkable to see him the morning after his balloon-drop coronation as head of the Republican Party return to trolling Ted Cruz. There’s a dissonance in his bleak dystopia and his brash diss-topia as he switches from Dr. Strangelove to Don Rickles.
That's an outrageous insult to Don Rickles.

Maureen Dowd, Donald Trump, and Don Rickles


In today's Sunday New York Times, columnist Maureen Dowd writes:
Nothing should be remarkable with Trump anymore. But it was still remarkable to see him the morning after his balloon-drop coronation as head of the Republican Party return to trolling Ted Cruz. There’s a dissonance in his bleak dystopia and his brash diss-topia as he switches from Dr. Strangelove to Don Rickles.
That's an outrageous insult to Don Rickles.

Friday, July 22, 2016

The morning after, or, ten events that could very well happen if Donald Trump becomes President

Yes, yes, of course it includes this, but read below to learn how we'll get there.

1. Putin rejoices and moves Russian troops into the former Iron Curtain satellite nations — Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Ukraine, Poland, Albania, Romania, Hungary, the former Czechoslovakia, and the former Yugoslavia (including Melania’s home state of Slovenia.)

2.  Some of the captured nations appeal to NATO for defense aid as Russian tanks rumble down their streets.

3. Donald Trump says he will look into the contributions to NATO that these countries have made and will get back to the world after he discusses the matter with his accountants who at this very moment are flying to confer with him at Mar-a-Largo. Meanwhile, he reiterates that Putin is very strong (unlike Hillary) and he admires that, but that he can easily negotiate a solution to this mess with Putin.

4. Putin shrugs, says in Russian, “What the hell,” and sends troops to take over Germany and Finland.

5. Trump says payments from Russia’s newly-acquired nations were insufficient to warrant heavy boots-on-the-ground expenditures to defend those countries, but that he will “consider” sending in a few spy drones "to see what the hell is going on."

6. Putin reinstalls Russian nuclear missiles in Cuba and and announces he has pointed some of them toward Miami, Houston, Washington D.C., New York, Chicago, the Silicon Valley, Los Angeles, and just for the hell of it, Phoenix and Indianapolis.

7. Trump calls Putin and demands to negotiate the situation. Putin mutters the Russian equivalent of a statement that if Donald’s fingers aren’t really as short as reputed, he should go have a sexual relationship with himself.

8. Enraged,Trump launches a nuclear strike at Russia. Some of the nukes, powered by aging missiles, fall short of their targets. One lands on London and blows the capital city of our longtime ally to smithereens. Several nukes explode in the Atlantic ocean and the North Sea, poisoning those waters with radiation for centuries to come. Russians shoot down others. However, one missile does manage to get through — and hits the abandoned nuclear power plant in the abandoned city of Chernobyl, just as it was programmed to do more than 30 years ago, before Chernobyl's meltdown.

9. Trump again demands to negotiate with Putin. This time, Putin agrees. Trump negotiates the unconditional surrender of the United States to the newly reformed USSR. 

10. The Russians transport ISIS troops to the United States to “restore order.”  From a secret bunker below what’s left of Trump Tower, Secretary of Homeland Security Tiffany Trump issues a four-step plan to Americans who either think they are suffering from radiation poisoning or who get captured by ISIS troops: “One: Stand with your feet 18 to 24 inches apart.  Two: Do a deep knee bend. Three: Stick your head as far between your legs as it can go. Four: Kiss your butt goodbye."

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Republicans demonstrate that their party is nothing more than a comic book, while Melania Trump all but lip synchs Michelle Obama

I  must say, watching the first night of the Republican convention last night was almost as entertaining as my first exposure to comic books.

I tuned in too late for the floor fight to boot Trump off the ticket. News reports have the Republican-Trump Complex squashing their opponents like a bug, thwarting what could have been a grave embarrassment to the party and The Donald.

But I tuned in just as the comic book characters that represent the Republican Party came onscreen.

Among them  were Mr. Flag Wrapper — Willie Robertson, the
Duck Killer Willie disses the American 
flag by using it as a sweat rag
long-bearded, hillbilly-ish, Duck Dynasty dude, who took an American flag and used it as a sweat rag to wrap around his head. Had a Democrat done this on TV, no doubt the Republican outrage machine would have been belching steam and giant clouds of volcanic ash. "How dare some lib-tard desecrate the flag?!?!?!"

But should a Republican even use the flag for toilet paper? Well heck, that’s showing he has a patriotic ass.

Is he Rick or is he Clark?
Then former Governor Oops of Texas, perfectly disguised as Clark Kent, got up and said something so forgettable that I can’t remember what it was. Sort of the way he forgot the three departments he'd eliminate if he remembered to become president.

Another huge highlight for me was Rudy The Air Chopper Giuliani, the so called “security expert.” Rudy's “accomplishments” included establishing a super-double-secret emergency command center for grave emergencies in the World Trade Center, shortly before 9-11 (but after terrorists had already tried to bomb the World Trade Center with a truck bomb in the garage of one of the towers.) 

Shucks, what made Rudy think that just because they failed once to blow the place up, and because it was a symbol of what the terrorists decided they hated about America, that they would never back and try again? 

Crazy Rudy. His gestures are in-sane!
Rudy last night looked as if he had lost whatever common sense and sanity he ever had. He turned into a cross between a super villain out of Batman, and a former New York TV appliance salesman named Crazy Eddie, ("His prices are in-sane" said Crazy Eddie's slogan.) 

It was like a nuthouse ballet to watch Rudy wildly gesticulating, chopping at the air, with his hands, looking like somebody the cops would blow to smithereens if only he were black and someone whispered, “He probably has a gun, and as you can see, he’s a whack job.”

And finally there was Melania Trump, all but lip synching the wife of the man Donald Trump says we should hate. There were some interesting demonstrations on TV this morning: Michelle Obama says it, then Melania Trump says the identical thing. Then Michelle says something. Then Melania Trump copycats again.

"I'm not really bad. I'm just ghost-
written that way."
But I don’t believe Melania plagiarized Michelle. I believe it’s the fault of plagiarizing speechwriters, who put Michelle’s worlds in Melania’s mouth. I feel just a bit sorry for Melania. 

I suspect that after his first very costly divorce from Ivanna, and a later divorce from Marla Maples, The Donald’s lawyers have engineered prenups so harsh that Melania would be all but living on the street if she ever divorced The Donald. So she's trapped, forced to forever mouth plagiarized words and defend a loose cannon of a husband.

She’s like that beautiful but not in control character in the movie, “Who Killed Ronald Rabbit?” I’m talking about the cartoon character Jessica Rabbit who spoke the immortal line, “I’m not really bad. I'm just drawn that way.”

And these are the people that roughly half the voters want to put in charge of America’s future?

God help us!