Trump Calls for Raking the Countryside

While cadaver dogs and forensic scientists worked overtime, as the painful drama of recovering victims of the Camp Fire played out in Paradise, California, the president toured the decimated area with the state’s present and future governors. And once again stole the headlines.

With 76 people dead and nearly 1,300 unaccounted for and feared dead in California wildfires, President Donald Trump had a word of advice about stopping future blazes: “Raking.”

See? He’s good at it.

“We have to take care of the floors, the floors of the forest; it is very important. You look at other countries, they do it definitely and it is a whole different story.”

Awfully good.

“I was with the president of Finland and he said, ‘We’re a forest nation.’ He called it a forest nation. And they spend a lot of time on raking and cleaning and doing things. And they don’t have any problem.”

Why hadn’t any of those snooty environmentalists mentioned this? Strange. Come to think of it, they probably knew all along that a little ‘raking’ could have prevented this whole mess. They only wanted to hang on to their Climate Change stock swaps and Sierra Club Ferraris.

I’m old enough that this sort of mouth-flapping occasionally reminds me of a previous regime. As this nugget does. T.K. Jones was a real Defense Department honcho from the actual Reagan Administration. And this was his dining-club confession regarding the DoD’s evolving strategy on the prospects of Armageddon:

Thus fortified, Mr. Jones told his guest that nuclear war was ”not nearly as devastating as we had been led to believe. He said, ‘If there are enough shovels to go around, everybody’s going to make it.’ The shovels were for digging holes in the ground, which would be covered somehow or other with a couple of doors and with three feet of dirt thrown on top. … ‘It’s the dirt that does it,’ he said.”

Amazing how simple some things turn out to be.

Every four years the Daddy Party spends hundreds of millions of dollars trying to convince the American voter that they’re granite-chinned types who offer stalwart leadership for this great country. You listen to the GOP, and whatever Republican candidate they’re hyping is your steel-clad ramrod. A tenacious and towering presence. A fist-swinging cataclysm of problem solving.

But, of course, that’s just silly. Whenever one of these right-wingers gets into office, the little wuss can’t even admit that nuclear war is in fact Bad. Or that raking tens of millions of acres is fucking Stupid.

Sleep Now in the Fire

Greetings from fire-spared Mar Vista, California.

Thankfully I am a good 20 miles Southwest of the terrible mayhem and devastation. I have been very lucky. Also, fortunately, the Santa Ana winds have died down. This should allow the firefighters to beat back the flames a bit, for a little while. Until tomorrow morning, when the desert winds will come roaring back again and everything will go to hell. The fires will probably be pretty bad through Tuesday afternoon. I can’t imagine what L.A. will look like after that.

For now, though, it’s pretty quiet. This means the onshore winds have returned. And so the smoke and the ash from the conflagrations have turned back around and overrun my part of town. Two hours ago I got a sunset that looked like this.

It was only about 4:30. But as you can see the sun was buried in the thickest pall of smoke. So it had gotten pretty dark. Most cars had to turn their lights on.

From there, a few blocks from my place, I headed toward the ocean and took more pictures.
Continue reading

Jesus, Sarah Sanders

Sarah Sanders: Statement on Saudi Arabia Investigation. Not: Statement on Jamal Koshoggi’s Horrifying Death and Dismemberment.

Let’s see. “The United States blah blah. Acknowledges announcement investigation. Progressing action thus far. Continue to closely follow the investigations into this tragic incident. Blood blemish bilious bone saw I DID NOT just say that. You DID NOT HEAR ME SAY THAT. Confirmation of Mr Khashoggi’s death deepest condolences to his family, fiancée and friends. (…whisper whisper huh? Yeah I think it went really well.)”

If you’re going to act like an idiot…

Picking a fight with 15 assassins. How dumb was this ‘Jamal’ guy?

The killing of Saudi dissident and American resident Jamal Kashoggi is disgusting. And I never thought for a minute in 2018 we’d be as far along as we are in the ensuing controversy – having the clear evidence we apparently do of his death, and having the world clearly condemning it. I certainly never thought we’d see the Saudis confirm Kashoggi’s murder the way they did today.

Missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi is dead, Saudi Arabia’s general prosecutor said early Saturday morning local time.

The government said that Khashoggi got into a fight with the people he met at the consulate in Istanbul, Turkey on Oct. 2. The kingdom alleged that Khashoggi died in that clash.

That’s extraordinary. I suppose we have Turkish intelligence to thank for this fledgling attempt at the truth. Considering that we’re dealing with three martinets – bin Salman, Erdogan and Trump – I wouldn’t have put a shilling down on any of this otherwise coming out in my lifetime. But when you murder someone on foreign soil, and their agents have got the goods on you, well? You fucked up.

Donald has done his best Dean of the Dictators act. While the Saudis flew a test balloon using the term ‘interrogation’ – for what, by the way? He was a freaking journalist. All his crimes were there on the page – Trump tried out his own genius for coining a phrase: ‘rogue killers’. And how absurd is that? Yes, it’s a sad day when itinerant thugs sneak into your embassy and kill one of your political enemies when you’re not looking. Talk about making you feel silly. Maybe it’s time the Saudis took their security seriously.

As for Kashoggi starting a fight with 15 assassins who were just hanging around in an empty compound…

That explanation counters multiple reports of how Khashoggi died. Turkish officials told The New York Times that it has audio evidence which proves Khashoggi was tortured, killed and subsequently dismembered by a hit team of Saudi agents.

It also contradicts the Saudi government’s earlier account of events. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman previously told Bloomberg that the dissident journalist left the consulate shortly after he arrived.

“My understanding is he entered and he got out after a few minutes or one hour. I’m not sure. We are investigating this through the foreign ministry to see exactly what happened at that time,” he told Bloomberg at the time.

Sure. But then, what does he know? A crown prince is a figurehead in a liberal democracy. If you wanna know what’s really going on over there, you have to speak to uhh…The King. WHICH YOU MAY NOT DO.

None of this really matters. Because it’s all a nauseating joke.

2:50 a.m.

A high-ranking Democratic lawmaker in the United States is expressing doubts about the credibility of Saudi Arabia’s explanation that Jamal Khashoggi was killed in a fight inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

California Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House intelligence committee, said Friday that Saudi Arabia’s claim that he was “killed while brawling with a team of more than a dozen dispatched from Saudi Arabia is not credible.”

Schiff says that if Khashoggi was fighting inside the consulate, he was “fighting for his life with people sent to capture or kill him.”

Not that the President wasn’t pleased. He’s been briefed on Kashoggi and the bone-saw ‘brawl’.

3:50 a.m.

President Donald Trump says Saudi Arabia’s announcement of arrests in the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi is a “good first step,” but that what happened there is “unacceptable.”

Trump said Friday that he wants to talk to the Saudi crown prince before next steps are taken….

4:15 a.m.

Asked whether he thought Saudi Arabia’s explanation for the death of Jamal Khashoggi was credible, President Trump said “I do. I do.”

One Little Indian

The right-wing Boston Globe.

WASHINGTON — Senator Elizabeth Warren has released a DNA test that provides “strong evidence” she had a Native American in her family tree dating back 6 to 10 generations, an unprecedented move by one of the top possible contenders for the 2020 Democratic nomination for president…

The analysis of Warren’s DNA was done by Carlos D. Bustamante, a Stanford University professor and expert in the field…He concluded that “the vast majority” of Warren’s ancestry is European, but he added that “the results strongly support the existence of an unadmixed Native American ancestor.”

I can’t imagine how annoyed they are. The rest of the louts, I don’t have to guess. They’re so furious they can hardly speak. They can hardly go on living.

Elizabeth Warren DNA test does NOT prove she’s Native American, contrary to the hype
Posted by William A. Jacobson Monday, October 15, 2018 at 9:09am

At most shows “strong evidence” of an ancestor dating back 6-10 generations, but is not conclusive, and more important, being Native American is not just about DNA markers.

Elizabeth Warren is not Native American. Her ancestry has been traced by Cherokee genealogists back to the early 1800s, as far back as there are records, and there are no Native American ancestors.

I love when alt-fact people start randomly throwing around words like ‘conclusive’. They’re going to hate this, but here goes: THAT’S NOT WHAT WE CALL SCIENCE. Why do they think dropping the ‘conclusive’ bomb on anything is a big deal? Very weird. Not one of you donks is qualified to argue for or against a DNA test, so just shut it. You made fun of her ancestry, so she threw down and proved you wrong. You fucked up, okay?

And you gotta love the ‘cultural’ argument. This is the same thing they hit Obama with – ‘WHERE’S YOUR GRILL HUH? You didn’t grow up in the hood! I can tell!’ Did Warren say that she grew up on a Lakota reservation? No. Buh-buh-but being Native American is not just about DNA markers!!! Really? Yeah, how the fuck would you know? The only thing you think you know about Native Americans is that they’re losers and drunks. By default, anyone who’s this smart has to be a fraud. Right? Anybody who can scare the living daylights out of you can’t be a Cherokee. And any politician who is a Cherokee couldn’t run in the Bible Belt, South or Midwest. What a scam.

Look at this shit.

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren released the results from a DNA test Monday proving that she has statistically less Native American DNA than the average American white person.

Warren’s DNA results are significant because of her extensive history of claiming Indian and Cherokee heritage in her political and professional career. Warren released the results of her test, which showed her to potentially have 1/1024 Native American DNA dating back six to 10 generations. This sets the lowest bound of Warren’s Indian DNA at .098 percent and the highest at 3 percent. (RELATED: Reminder: Elizabeth Warren Lied About Being Cherokee)…

Now that she’s proven her disputed heritage, she’s the least Native American person in the world. As usual, up eventually becomes down and the libs are owned again. (RELATED: Reminder: We demonstrated Elizabeth Warren lied about the thing today she just proved. Yes, the thing we’re angry about right now. Seriously, what a bitch.)

And of course the trash at Tucker’s Dominance & Submission Dentistry are so stupid that they posted a disgrace on the left side of the picture to try to shame their target. Except, as everybody knows…

Iron Eyes Cody (born Espera Oscar de Corti, April 3, 1904 – January 4, 1999) was an Italian-American actor. He portrayed Native Americans in Hollywood films, famously as Chief Iron Eyes in Bob Hope’s The Paleface. He also played a Native American shedding a tear about litter in one of the country’s most well-known television public service announcements, “Keep America Beautiful”. In 1996, Cody’s half-sister said that he was of Italian ancestry, but he denied it.

‘Iron Eyes’ was a fake. Espera was a first generation Italian American from Louisiana. Elizabeth is an Oklahoma native with some indigenous American ancestry. You stupid fucks, the lily-white girl on the right side is the real Indian. I mean, you can’t even make this shit up.

Big Buffalo Mouth:

You can’t pretend that never happened. You can’t pretend Trump didn’t put a million dollars down on a bet. Pay up, bitch.

President Trump on Monday denied that he offered Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) $1 million to take a test proving her Native American heritage, even though he did just that.

Trump spoke after Warren responded to the president’s challenge and released the results of a DNA test showing she has a distant Native ancestor.

“I didn’t say that. You’d better read it again,” Trump told reporters at the White House when asked about his $1 million offer.

Responding to a question about Warren’s test, Trump said, “Who cares?”

Who cares? What a puss. YOU do.

Right-wing meme: You Shut Up or You Mob

The word ‘mob’ has become a bludgeon. Again. Just as it was under first-term U.S. President Richard Nixon, back in the Sixties. As it was under the Governor of California, Ronald Reagan, who tear-gassed Vietnam war protestors. As it was under the aegis of countless Southern despots, dickheads, dictators and dog-wallopers, martinets, mayors, kulturkampfers and commentators, Shriners and Elks, Lions and Oddfellows – the whole bunch – and street corner kommandos with their sticks, fists and angry screams. Back when ‘civil rights’ was debated as an honest-to-god thing. The way that ‘sexual assault’ is a thing today.

As I remember, anybody who yelled in a cop’s face was a ‘mob.’ Anyone who was black and well-spoken, that was mayhem. Any person who dared to challenge the military’s God-given charter to murder every crawling thing in some tatty country, that was insane. That was chaos and anarchy. That way lied madness.

Here we are once again.

National Review’s David French documents this ‘real’ problem with clear evidence. There’s a crisp photo of what appears to be a ruckus – people angry about a particular thing, the swearing-in of Brett Kavanaugh, standing in a specific place, the Supreme Court. There are a total of twenty mobsters. But the police for some reason are just standing there, calmly. And nothing I can see has been broken, burned or killed. It’s not clear to me what French is actually upset about.

What happens when you combine the classic ‘Republicans pounce’ media narrative with a healthy dose of whataboutism? You get the sad spectacle of the last few days, in which the media has rationalized and minimized genuinely menacing, troubling left-wing mob action…

Even French seems confused. He’s got obvious problems with the media. They have a prefigured ‘Republicans pounce’ narrative they frequently employ. They also have an unhealthy fixation with ‘whataboutism.’ And with these horrific mobs breaking out all across the country, the losers at CNN can’t manage to produce anything but a ‘sad spectacle.’ One is reminded of Supreme Court protests.

First, let’s begin with the easy distinctions. There is a yawning legal and moral gap between First Amendment–protected activity, no matter how angry and boisterous, and a true mob. Screaming protesters picketing on a sidewalk are in a fundamentally different position from screaming protesters who invade private property to chase a senator from his meal.

Here, apparently, David has his Slam Dunk. What’s the particular difference between Constitutionally sanctioned activists and bloody anarchists? Private property. Namely, in poor starving Ted Cruz’ case, Fiola – the $145 per-plate Italian restaurant. No, Ted doesn’t own the place either, but that never occurred to French. You wanna step inside that bistro, citizen, but you don’t want any fettucini? Ehh? Wake up, mister! The civilized world hangs in the balance. I can’t imagine just how traumatic learning about the struggles of Dr. King and his brethren must have been for young Master French. When he found out Southern Negroes once sat down at a Woolworth’s in 1960 and didn’t even bother to get any food, he probably had a breakdown. What?! Why would they do that?

Angry demonstrators chanting in front of the Supreme Court are different from people who break police cordons and pound on its doors. Handmaids silently mourning the birth of Gilead are not the same as men and women who disrupt Senate hearings and votes…

Police cordons. PLEASE, won’t somebody think of the bungees? David French is a full-blown adult, this is something I happen to know. He’s become very seriously disturbed by a group of protestors who made it 20 yards farther than all the other ones. This is a fact I also happen to know – because he posted a photo of the crime. Right there, at the top of the page! What else is there to consider? Why are we even arguing?

How about this:

Legally protected protest is safe. It’s consistent with the best traditions of American dissent. It’s truly what “democracy looks like.” Mob action, by contrast, is dangerous. It creates imminent risk of personal harm. It’s designed to frighten and intimidate. There is no place for the mob in a constitutional republic.

Well thanks Dave. But whaddya say we talk about a real ‘mob’ for a change? Why not, it’s practically Halloween.

MOB OF WHITE NATIONALIST ‘PROUD BOYS’ BRUTALLY BEAT SEVERAL MEN: ‘ARE YOU BRAVE NOW, FAGGOT?’

Note the hats. Note the white power hand signs that Trumpers are so fond of. Note the white nationalist record label logo.

The Proud Boys took Manhattan Friday night, attending a lecture by their founder, Gavin McInnes, at the Metropolitan Republican Club of New York City.

Following the event, the white nationalist group took to the streets, brutally beating and kicking several individuals while shouting “faggot” and “cocksucker,” reportedly because one of them stole one of their MAGA hats.

Side note. Gavin McInnes happens to be one of Trump’s greatest fans:

Vice Media’s co-founder — better known these days for his controversial views on race and gender — has expressed support for Trump. The thing that sold him? Trump’s proposed ban on Muslims entering the United State.

“I want to focus now on his most recent faux-pas, where he said we need to ban all Muslims from returning to America,” McInnes said in a December video. “Pretty irrational, pretty brash, pretty crass. That’s what we need in this day and age — we’re at war.”

Yep. And before you get too enamored with his schtick, remember that joining McInnes’ Proud Boys isn’t easy. You’re required to drink gallons of piss. Yes, seriously. Back to French’s more civilized society:

McInnes’ lecture was about Otoya Yamaguchi, who himself was a member of an extremist right-wing group in Japan. In 1960, Yamaguchi stabbed Japan Socialist Party leader Inejiro Asanuma to death, and he has been celebrated as a hero of extreme nationalist groups…

Twitter user and photojournalist Shay Horse followed the Proud Boys after they left the event and documented a group of about 30 Proud Boys “pummeling a guy on the ground screaming, ‘Are you brave now faggot?!’” He later noticed from his own photographs that several fights were playing out simultaneously. He also showed the Proud Boys proudly flashing white power hand symbols afterward…

In [Wright’s] video, in which he claims members of Antifa attempted to jump them, the Proud Boys can be heard calling the victims “faggot” and “cocksucker.” The group also chanted, “I like beer!”, referring to Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s testimony when he denied sexually assaulting Christine Blasey Ford. One individual can be heard boasting, “I kicked him right in the fucking head!” and “Dude, I had one of their fucking heads and was just smashing it in the pavement!”

Luckily the MAGAs weren’t doing any of this in front of the Supreme Court. To David, civilized human being, that’s what really matters. Thankfully Trump’s bully boys would never do that, and they would never interrupt a senator in the middle of his penne bolognese, heaven forbid. Which is why this shithead violence is only Life Today. When you beat somebody senseless for disrespecting your hat, in between posing for white power selfies, that’s just politics, alt-right style. That’s a silly little thing we now call ‘America’.

If you’re a liberal, however, then it’s different. You’d be the kind of person who would rather scream and yell about things than use your fists. In that case, take heed. If you’re actually thinking about pulling any of that crap near David French or, God forbid, a working camera, you can guarantee there’s going to be a problem. A ‘real’ problem.

Cinéma vérité

The Texas agriculture commissioner, Sid Miller, wrote a Facebook post expressing disapproval of the sign Tuesday.

“This is in Hamilton, Texas and is supposed to be Judge Kavanaugh’s young daughter,” he wrote. “Notice my opponent’s sign in the background. The Democrat sleaze knows NO bounds!”…

ADD: Talk about a rarity. This is an actual First Amendment issue.

Stanford told the Morning News that police visited her house Tuesday night, asked her about the sign, and then confiscated it.

“Police told me to remove the sign or they would take it and would arrest me,” Stanford said. “So I let them take the sign.”

The police are an arm of the government. So they’re constitutionally barred from doing this.

Revealed: Donald’s vast fortune is really just Daddy’s money

I want to thank the New York Times for their bombshell reporting on the family and finances of President Trump. What they’ve done is a vital public service. I’m particularly pleased because they’re making me look pretty good right now.

It was sometime about, oh, two years ago, that I got a funny question in my head. ‘Where did Donald Trump get all that money?’ I get questions like this in my head all the time and they don’t amount to much. But this one stayed with me, and it turns out for good reason. Because it made no sense that ‘businessman’ Donald Trump was any big deal.

He was the son of Fred Trump, a New York housing and rental property builder. Fred had done pretty good for himself over his long life, erecting thousands of units and amassing a fortune of reportedly in excess of $200 million. You could certainly call him a success, in strictly business terms (for now we’ll avoid the apparent racism of the man in his personal and professional doings).

What seemed strange to me was: How did his son become so rich so fast? The press were passing along the idea that Donald was a billionaire as early as the eighties. Donnie was born in 1946 – how did he get there so quickly? It’s not like he dropped out of high school to sell timeshares in Key Largo and became the Vacation King by the time he was 30.

He was in the New York Military Academy until 1964. He went on to to college at Fordham and then Penn, graduating in 1968. After that he began to work for his father, managing his real estate interests. So he’s pulling down a solid six-figure salary, throughout the late sixties and early seventies. How in the world does that translate to a billion dollar empire only 10 or 20 years later?

That’s the problem. You can’t do it. No one can do it, it can’t be done.

Here would be the time to get into the moneybags-to-riches story Donald loves so well. Let him tell the tale:

“My father gave me a very small loan in 1975, and I built it into a company that’s worth many, many billions of dollars.”

–Donald Trump

This is his precious personal, business and family history. The man made himself a preening billionaire out of pretty much nothing.

“My whole life really has been a ‘no’ and I fought through it,” Trump said Monday at an NBC-sponsored town hall here. “It has not been easy for me, it has not been easy for me. And you know I started off in Brooklyn, my father gave me a small loan of a million dollars.”

Umm, huh? Born into one of the richest families in a rich country, in a rich town…it hasn’t been easy for this poor guy. Folks, you have no idea. And the timing of the genesis tale is comical – he’d only been drawing a salary until 1975. But err something while the world was mean to me, then something something and I got a “small” million dollar loan. That’s when the whole thing began? After that he struck out on his own and he’d made a billion dollars by 1988. Sure, why not? That’s what the media were reporting back then.

…Even financial reporters have found it difficult to figure out how much The Donald owns–and he’s harassed at least one who’s tried. So, following on our political history of Donald Trump’s publicity, here is a history of the press’s best guesstimates.

March 1988: The New York Times says Trump is worth $3 billion when he buys the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan for $390 million.
October 1988: Trump estimated to be worth $1 billion by Forbes magazine.
July 1989: Trump’s net worth estimated to be $1.5 billion–and increase of $500 million in 10 months. He makes Forbes’ World Billionaires list for the first time.

Those are pretty reliable sources. Donald Trump had taken a million dollars and multiplied it a thousand times in only thirteen years. How did he do it? Or, more accurately – how did this happen?

Well, I roughly knew, or so I thought: Crime. That’s the only way you keep doubling your ‘investment’ every year for over a decade. I never thought the teetotaler was into cocaine or heroin smuggling, so it had to be something else. I looked into how he might have had access to vast wealth and then it hit me: Fred. He was stealing from Fred. It made all the sense in the world.

Fred had made him CEO of much of his enterprise when Donald was only in his 20s. Given his narcissism and endless greed, he just familiarized himself with all the inner workings of the business and then started taking huge chunks of Dad’s fortune with both hands. The sordid truth would turn out to be 1.) Fred was worth waaay more than people ever knew. And 2.) Donald was thieving him blind. Like parts of a puzzle, it all seemed to fit. You throw in the fact that Fred suffered from Alzheimer’s later in life, and it’s a slam dunk. Trump the fake business titan had simply robbed his titanic father.

Or so I thought, until today. Thank you New York Times:

The president has long sold himself as a self-made billionaire, but a Times investigation found that he received at least $413 million in today’s dollars from his father’s real estate empire, much of it through tax dodges in the 1990s.

There it was. Exactly the sort of numbers that would have had to magically appear in the future president’s bank accounts to make him “a billionaire”.

President Trump participated in dubious tax schemes during the 1990s, including instances of outright fraud, that greatly increased the fortune he received from his parents, an investigation by The New York Times has found…

Much of this money came to Mr. Trump because he helped his parents dodge taxes. He and his siblings set up a sham corporation to disguise millions of dollars in gifts from their parents, records and interviews show. Records indicate that Mr. Trump helped his father take improper tax deductions worth millions more. He also helped formulate a strategy to undervalue his parents’ real estate holdings by hundreds of millions of dollars on tax returns, sharply reducing the tax bill when those properties were transferred to him and his siblings.

These maneuvers met with little resistance from the Internal Revenue Service, The Times found. The president’s parents, Fred and Mary Trump, transferred well over $1 billion in wealth to their children, which could have produced a tax bill of at least $550 million under the 55 percent tax rate then imposed on gifts and inheritances. The Trumps paid a total of $52.2 million, or about 5 percent, tax records show.

It turns out Fred Trump was a stealth mammon. He was the opposite of Donald, he was a bona fide business magnate. And if he hadn’t been obsessed with denying the government – and American citizens – their due who knows if we would have ever heard of his son Donald. The idea that Fred was only worth $200 or $300 million dollars at the end of his life was laughable: he’d diverted over a billion dollars in personal wealth to his kids to avoid the taxes. Fred was a tax-fraud business behemoth.

Donald was a spoiled brat.

By age 3, Mr. Trump was earning $200,000 a year in today’s dollars from his father’s empire. He was a millionaire by age 8. By the time he was 17, his father had given him part ownership of a 52-unit apartment building. Soon after Mr. Trump graduated from college, he was receiving the equivalent of $1 million a year from his father. The money increased with the years, to more than $5 million annually in his 40s and 50s.

As president, Donald Trump is currently getting paid $400,000 a year. He was pulling down half that salary when he was three years old. He was making way more than you or I make right now while he was learning to bend over without falling, or kick and throw a ball.

Four decades later, while he was dotting the celebrity New York social scene as a shaper of downtown skylines and a king capitalist, he was still getting seven-figure welfare checks from Daddy. $5 million a year, all the way through his forties and fifties. There’s almost no way to overestimate the shocking amount of money Fred dumped on his son, much as the Times tried.

All told, The Times documented 295 streams of revenue that Fred Trump created over five decades to enrich his son. In most cases his four other children benefited equally. But over time, as Donald Trump careened from one financial disaster to the next, his father found ways to give him substantially more money, records show.

This culminated in the legendary chips fraud:

On Dec. 17, 1990, Fred Trump dispatched Howard Snyder, a trusted bookkeeper, to Atlantic City with a $3.35 million check. Mr. Snyder bought $3.35 million worth of casino chips and left without placing a bet. Apparently, even this infusion wasn’t sufficient, because that same day Fred Trump wrote a second check to Trump’s Castle, for $150,000, bank records show.

Fred kept the casino out of hawk for another year, but that was all. His son’s gambling businesses inevitably collapsed. New Jersey regulators caught on to the crime and rendered Fred “ineligible for licensing.” This would have been troubling if Fred weren’t already ancient or richer than God.

And what does Donald think about his good fortune? How does he view the man who created all his wealth, and therein his fame, thereby his pop culture status as a “billionaire businessman”? Reportedly he thought Fred was something of a middling success. The old man, he didn’t do too bad. Donald’s never been openly or particularly impressed by the astonishing $400 million bone Fred threw his way. But then I suppose that’s understandable given the massive fraud the two of them engaged in to make that possible.

However we do know that Donald, as Fred declined in old age, and Alzheimer’s took its toll, at one point schemed with his many lawyers to re-engineer Fred’s sizable estate.

Fred Trump had given careful thought to what would become of his empire after he died, and had hired one of the nation’s top estate lawyers to draft his will. But in December 1990, Donald Trump sent his father a document, drafted by one of his own lawyers, that sought to make significant changes to that will.

Fred Trump, then 85, had never before set eyes on the document, 12 pages of dense legalese. Nor had he authorized its preparation. Nor had he met the lawyer who drafted it.

Yet his son sent instructions that he needed to sign it immediately.

Which is a helluva way to thank your old man. What a guy.

Kavanaugh is killing me

I think the Kavanaugh spectacle got me so upset I couldn’t go to work. I’m coming around to this, even though it doesn’t make much sense.

The last time I got so upset with life I couldn’t carry on was back when I was 18. Some combination of my hellish family and my bandmate’s bitchmom threw me off keel. By the time I got out of practice I was walking around in a fog. I got to work at the gas station and I threw up in the men’s bathroom. Later that night, working alone, I spiked a hideous fever. I never felt so cold in my life. My teeth were chattering so badly they sounded like castanets.

My hands and feet felt like I was having a seizure, I could barely drive home. When I got there I crawled into bed with my jacket and shoes on and tried to warm up. I think it was about an hour and a half before I could finally pull my head out from under the comforter. Then I fell asleep.

When I woke up, about 5 hours later, I was OK. I had sweated through the bedding and I was exhausted, but I was fine. Weird.

The same thing just happened to me. Thursday I went to lunch just down the road. The TV was on and Kavanaugh had just begun his “testimony.” I sat there eating my sandwich and shaking my head to my co-worker: ‘He’s out of control. Half the world will be horrified by this.’ I thought: Someone like this, he puts away a six-pack, I wouldn’t want any woman near him. I mull it over and I’m trying to pick the right word for the guy. ‘Douche’ is not it, because he’s too repressed. ‘Tool’ is closer, because he’s rigid and dangerous. ‘Rapist’ is what comes to mind. About once a year the TV show Law and Order deploys a rich boy version of this, but they’re all preening and clownish. This is scarier, because this is clunky, and real. He’s deadly serious dysfunction.

A little later in the day, it was Lindsey Graham that got to me.

One of my co-workers, Rachel, had the “testimony” streaming on her phone. That’s when Lindsey went off. And the hair started standing up on my arms – really, while I was only trying to work, while I could just barely hear it. Naked fury. Honest-to-God rage, voice shaking and everything. He called out Democratic senators, and he targeted them. He wished for something like Biblical destruction of all of them, for what they did to this decent man. As if they had something to do with what happened to a 15 year-old girl. Between Kavanaugh’s simmering mania and Graham’s defiant eminence, I knew it was over. There was no room for truth. The hearing was dead.

The next couple hours, I couldn’t believe what a stomach ache I got. Meanwhile I got annoyed with myself for getting pissier and pissier with everybody, annoyed and dismissive. By the time 5 o’clock rolled around, I had no idea if I wanted to stay there at work or go. I kept walking around the place fairly sure that there was something important everyone had missed. Whatever this thing was, you can bet my co-workers did it, that was for sure.

I went home, and my stomach felt like it had been stabbed. I took a piss and caught a look at myself in the mirror, and my face was crimson red. What the hell? I ordered food in, because I couldn’t imagine getting into a car and trying to drive. No way. I choked down a little food then I fell asleep on the couch.

In 2 hours I woke up ice cold. I tried to stand up, but my knees were shaking so badly I had to brace myself against the wall. My teeth were chattering so loudly I thought they would break. I stayed up all night on the couch, and I sweated through three changes of clothes.

The sun rose. At 7:30 I called in sick, then I went back to the couch. While everyone else was busy at work I was watching CNN. Lindsey Graham addressed the assembled press, and everybody joined in and had a terrific laugh. He’s been doing this forever.

Kavanaugh vs. Kavanaugh: The losing battle

After July 9, 2018, after Donald Trump nominated him to the Supreme Court, we learned a few things about Brett Kavanaugh.

We learned that he grew up a son of power and privilege in Washington D.C.. We learned that he went to Yale, graduating cum laude, then went on to Yale law school. We learned that he was appointed to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, where he proved to be a very conservative jurist:

…”Kavanaugh has the most robust view of presidential powers and immunities.” Brian Bennett writing for TIME magazine cites Kavanaugh’s 2009 Minnesota Law Review article as defending the privilege of the President to immunity from prosecution during tenure in office. In a 2017 speech at the American Enterprise Institute about former Chief Justice, William Rehnquist, he praised his opinions in Roe v. Wade and Furman v. Georgia, where Rehnquist dissented in rulings that overturned the ban against abortion and the statutes which supported the death penalty.

Beyond that, though, now that he’s appeared with the president, and before the Senate Judiciary committee, and, most unfortunately, on Fox News, we’ve come to find out something else. We learned that Brett Kavanaugh doesn’t seem to know much about Brett Kavanaugh.

Schumer: I just want to clear up the questions that Orrin asked. You had said that Mr. Miranda never provided these [stolen] documents, you know, that were from this.

Kavanaugh: Right.

Schumer: Had you seen them in any way? Did you ever come across memos from internal files of any Democratic members given to you or provided to you in any way?

Kavanaugh: No.

This was in a Senate hearing in 2004. About that:

In 2002, a GOP aide on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Manuel Miranda, stole thousands of documents belonging to the committee’s Democratic staff. At the time, Kavanaugh was a White House lawyer working on judicial nominations, which included working alongside Miranda… Asked if he “ever come across memos from internal files of any Democratic members given to you or provided to you in any way?” he replied, “No.” In 2006, also under oath, he again denied ever receiving stolen documents.

But newly released documents show that Miranda had indeed sent Kavanaugh information from the stolen internal documents. The nominee continues to deny he knew the information was stolen. But he can no longer deny he received it.

This was the first clue we had that Kavanaugh, whenever asked about Kavanaugh, would act strangely.

It’s as if he knew what the truth was, and he knew what the correct answer was, but he’d prefer to give us the ‘right’ one. He’d rather give us the answer that made him look good. I mean, after all, what did you expect? He’s trying to get appointed to the Supreme Court.

So we shouldn’t have been surprised when, in the aftermath to Dr. Ford’s sexual assault allegations, he didn’t appear to take them very seriously.

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh plans to produce his personal calendars to the Senate Judiciary Committee this week as part of his defense against Christine Blasey Ford’s allegation that he tried to rape her at a party in the early 1980s. …it seems the only thing the calendars do prove is that Brett Kavanaugh was once a teenager who kept a calendar, that he or a family member felt the need to hold onto to such documentation, and that if he did assault Ford, he wasn’t stupid enough to make a note of it…

“The calendar pages are one-month pages with each day in a small box. Unusual for a teenager, Judge Kavanaugh seemed to keep track of his days even during summer vacation. The pages show typical teenage activities from the era, including ‘beach week’ after the end of the school year and nights at the theater to see ‘Grease II,’ ‘Rocky III’ and ‘Poltergeist’ with friends.”

How anyone could take that seriously, I don’t know. Unless it’s in the “How could a rapist watch Grease II?” sort of way.

Most recently, as far as revelations go – aside of the alleged sexual assaults – it’s Kavanaugh’s drinking that’s proven problematic. Not that he had ever engaged in it, as a teenager, and a college student, and a law student, and bragged about it frequently enough. But that when asked about it he’s again had difficulties remembering it honestly.

On Monday night, Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh said in a nationally televised interview that in his younger years, he was focused on sports, academics and “service projects.” But it was his comments about drinking that rankled some Yale University classmates, prompting them to speak out for the first time.

Liz Swisher, who described herself as a friend of Kavanaugh in college, said she was shocked that — in an interview focused largely on his high school years and allegations of sexual misconduct — he strongly denied drinking to the point of blacking out.

“Brett was a sloppy drunk, and I know because I drank with him. I watched him drink more than a lot of people. He’d end up slurring his words, stumbling,” said Swisher, a Democrat and chief of the gynecologic oncology division at the University of Washington School of Medicine.

And:

Another former classmate who has publicly supported Ramirez, James Roche, said Kavanaugh frequently drank to the point of incoherence. “He hung out with the football players and soccer players, and they drank a lot and were bros,” Roche, who briefly shared a room with Kavanaugh during their freshman year, said in an interview this month. In a statement Monday night, after the Fox interview, Roche described Kavanaugh as a “notably heavy drinker” who “became aggressive and belligerent when he was very drunk.”

And if that’s not enough to make you wonder, there’s this guy:

Kavanaugh hinted at his drinking in his 1983 Georgetown Prep yearbook entry. He identified himself as the “biggest contributor” to the Beach Week Ralph Club, an apparent reference to vomiting, and treasurer of the Keg City Club. “100 Kegs or Bust,” his entry says, referring to a campaign by his friends to empty 100 kegs of beer during their senior year.

…who later recounted…

I am approaching the 24th anniversary of my graduation from this school. That means I am approaching the 24th anniversary of my organizing 30 classmates in a bus to go to Boston for a Red Sox game and a night of Boston bar-hopping, only for us to return falling out of the bus onto the front steps of Yale Law School at about 4:45 a.m…

Anyway, toward the end of the evening a friend of mine who shall remain nameless—and this is a story that is really about a friend of mine, not about me where I am disguising myself as a friend of mine—my friend broke a table in the Lawn Club reception area. Smashed it into multiple pieces. I actually still possess a photo of him sprawled on the floor on top of the table. How’d did he break it, you might ask? The old-fashioned way. He lost his balance and fell into the table, drink in hand, and the table collapsed. My friend was a big guy.

Now, you might think that we would have quickly left the Lawn Club after that, with some sense of shame. But you’d be wrong.

None of these are state’s secrets. He drank a lot, he got drunk. He did it in high school, in college, in law school. He bragged about in his year book, he even bragged it as an eminent circuit court judge 30 years later. So why is he pretending otherwise?

The whole thing’s gotten stupid enough that his dissembling has spawned a whole type of Kavanaugh article, the Bullshit Pal: Kavanaugh’s ‘choir boy’ image on Fox interview rankles former Yale classmates. And: Brett Kavanaugh’s College Classmates Out Him as ‘Sloppy Drunk’. All of which – I believe – only inevitably leads to: Some of Kavanaugh’s Most Prominent Defenders Aren’t So Sure of His Innocence Anymore.

But now, with the mountain of claims against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh growing by the day, some of the judge’s most ardent defenders have begun backing off their initial support for the nominee.

On Monday evening, after publishing the second public claim of sexual assault against Kavanaugh, The New Yorker reported that two signatories of a letter supporting the judge had asked the magazine to take their names off.

I could go further into the changes of mind regarding the assault allegations, but I wanted to point this out first. Brett Kavanaugh has a problem with Brett Kavanaugh. There are a number of things obvious about the guy he necessarily needs to cover up, or dissemble about, or humiliate himself over to the point of absurdity. It’s as if he were whittled from the cliché: When you lie about the little things, you will lie about big things too.