It’s hard to get a ‘fix’ on exactly what his strategy is regarding Robert Mueller’s investigation. We only know that he’s dead set on closing it down.
One of the obvious questions I would pose to Mr. Trump is if he, as he claims, did not collude with the Russians during the 2016 race, why doesn’t he just let the investigation run its course to the end, at which point he’d be exonerated of any Russian collusion, and be judged innocent? He’s much too vehement about stopping it for Mr. Gripes to believe that there’s ‘nothing there’, as Mr. Trump asserts.
So, it’s not collusion that is the principal focus of Mr. Trump these days; he’s most worried about something else: those tax returns. The further Mr. Mueller’s investigations delve into Mr. Trump’s rather spotty and sordid past, the more likely the concealed – and probably criminal – business deals come into play. I’d bet that what keeps our President up at night.
Let’s not forget that Trump thought right up to Election Day he had no chance to be elected; he figured he’d lose to Hillary, and then no one would care enough to pick through his earlier business deals. So, he probably didn’t cover his tracks particularly well. Whatever it was, Mr. Trump acts like he’s guilty of some very bad behavior, actions that could send him to jail.
I’ll leave my readers with a hunch guess as to what he was involved in: financial entanglements in selling arms to enemies of the United States [perhaps laundering tons of cash]. The arms business, which can involve very rich sovereign countries and some murderous rivals of ours, i.e., Syria, Iran, China, Russia, might have proven just too alluring for a money-grubbing monster like Mr. Trump.
* * *
Clown Car, Revisited….Remember the Republican candidates’ ‘Clown Car’ of 2016? Sure you do…Hucklebee, Perry, Carson, Cain, Jeb Bush, etc., as well as the driver of the bus, Donald J. Trump. We laughed at the spectacle, but couldn’t take our eyes off of them. Well, the Democratic Party, not to be undone, now possesses its own clown car, 2018 version; alas, there’s nothing remotely interesting about this crew -- they’re just ancient, like the barnacles Mr. Gripes, in his young summers, used to chisel off the bottoms of imperious rich guys’ boats at the end of Long Island.
Just look at some of them: that perennial race horse Joe Biden, who incidentally would be a shoo-in in any gleaming-white-teeth competition, reminds Mr. Gripes of the pet hamster who scurries feverishly around his wheel, going nowhere; Joe never stops running as he bides his time for another election; the annoying Nancy Pelosi [not running, but part of the menagerie], who’s seemingly been around DC since the James Polk Administration -- I have a single piece of advice, Ms. Pelosi: do an Amelia Earhart and disappear; Elizabeth Warren, no longer Pocahontas, but now the female Sitting Bull of the Senate; Bernie Sanders is in the hunt again, although he’ll be 100 before we know it. He thinks the country is moving in his direction – Bernie, don’t delude yourself; you really have no shot. [He’ll be tarred and feathered as a Communist stooge, and the Republicans will find all kinds of lethal Commie dirt on him, most likely with Russian assistance.]
And, in a stunning development, the vehicle just took on another passenger: John Kerry announced last week he’s considering a run in 2020. Is he kidding? John, your campaign in 2004 was a complete fiasco, and I’ll bet there’s not one Democrat out there who’d vote for you again. Please take a personal inventory, and stop embarrassing yourself – a plush Nantucket retirement with Mrs. Heinz57 awaits you.
If this meager bunch is representative of what the Democrats will be offering in 2020, Mr. Trump must be grinning from ear to ear.
* * *
A headline from ‘Slate’ a few weeks back: ‘The official who ordered 147 trees cut down so a well-heeled contributor would have a ‘better view out his front window’ is named National Parks Commissioner by the Trump Administration.’ Just beautiful. Three, maybe seven, long, long years of this car wreck to go, folks.
* * *
The real life stories are so heartless, so cruel. Just recently, a man who’s lived in this country for 39 years, and who has four daughters, is deported back to Mexico. Why? No reason that makes sense. Pure vindictiveness. And, let’s face it, as the Trump people place more and more of their supporters into positions of authority, these tragedies will occur more and more frequently.
Mr. Gripes’ suspicion is that during the Obama years, immigration officials and police were foaming at the bit, infuriated by Barack Obama’s benevolent approach to essentially harmless [and tax-paying] immigrants. Now that Trump and Sessions have given carte blanche permission to arrest and deport, the law is out for blood. Immigration enforcement increasingly isn’t differentiating between criminals and perfectly honest, law-abiding individuals – they’re arresting anyone without the proper documentation. This is just so stupid: besides, the courts and jails are currently completely overwhelmed. It’s a bureaucratic morass. Why at this time, with so many critical problems this country faces, create one more enormous, unnecessary headache, and heartache? These Trump operatives show no mercy.
* * *
‘A Day Late, A Dollar Short’ – Blue State Governors and Mayors, you blew it: you had eight years of a supportive Democratic President in the White House sympathetic to your burdens: he’d at least listen to your concerns about the crumbling urban areas: he was your hope and opportunity to obtain the financing you desperately need to repair transit systems, railroads, buildings, bridges, schools, roads, basically the entire crumbling infrastructure of this country. That’s right: you had two terms of a benevolent White House. But virtually nothing was accomplished, as you did nothing but fall into petty, divisive, inter-party and intra-party disputes, and the inevitable happened: A Republican President came into office, and you’re today staring at the implacable countenance of an undeniably hostile Republican President and Congress. You’ll end up getting crumbs.
If it were all up to Donald Trump, he wouldn’t fork over a nickel. ‘Sh_t,’ he roars, ‘Those a__holes didn’t vote for me, and now they come begging? That ain’t happening’. The slashing of funding for urban areas is only just beginning. So what if De Blasio in New York City needs billions for transit repair and upgrade? Trump will stump him on his progressive throat. All of you fat-cat urban politicians who never have to contend with any real opposition in your elections: you dawdled, you bitched, you whined, you got nothing done, and now you’re in real big trouble. The Republicans play very hard ball – it’s all ‘vote for me or face the harsh consequences‘.
And here’s a double whammy: have you noticed that interest rates are going up, after a long period of dormancy? For years, we had low interest rates attached to municipal bonds, lessening the debt obligations – from now on, with the deficit exploding, the new debt service is going to be much more expensive. Shame on all of you for wasting a golden opportunity. From here on you’re going to pay dearly for your interminable turf wars.
* * *
Well, Mr. Gripes has a solution, and it’s staring right in the face of the sport’s grandees: betting on games. And this goes for every other sport out there.
Up to now, the various professional sports leagues have pushed mightily to not allow the public to bet on games of any kind [only one sport, horse racing, is generally permitted to take wagering in a public setting, and has been for centuries. Why is that sport exempted from the ban? Maybe because it’s forever been a pastime of rich and powerful men, but that’s just a guess.]
Why has virtually every professional sports league fought so vehemently against betting on competitive games across the board? Perhaps because gambling is considered a ‘sin’ in many quarters, including organized religion, and the politicians, who hold the hammer on this issue, don’t want to have to tangle with opposition generated by their more devout constituents? Or, the unproven fear that as gambling takes hold in a community, the moral fabric of that community will start to fray?
In any event, the leagues now are beginning to change their tunes. Finally, it’s dawning on these rather slow-on-the-draw officials that the revenues the leagues could generate from legalized gambling would be absolutely huge. If they’re worried about television ratings, gambling will insure a much bigger audience, and consequently, much larger fees for the rights to televise these games.
And, they’d be entitled on some level to a percentage of the revenues generated by the betting. Ten percent, let’s say, of the ‘take’ would mean a ‘gusher’ of cash for teams.
Its appeal to the public is assured. Here’s why: suppose the football New York Jets are playing the Indianapolis Colts. Mr. Gripes, who roots for the Jets, would like nothing more than to walk over to a betting establishment, lay $20 on the Jets to cover the point spread, and then settle down in front of an enormous TV to enjoy the game, over a huge hoagie, fries and pint of beer –ah, heaven on earth. And he’d probably make another bet on the second televised game as well. A game is so much more interesting when there’s a wager involved. It’s a captive audience. Ask any sports fan.
Think of that $20 bet multiplied by a portion of the average 14,000,000 football viewers who watch a game on any given Sunday. If half of them bet $20, we’re talking revenues of $140,000,000! And that’s just for that one Sunday afternoon.
If the politicians can get out of the way, this is a guaranteed bonanza. No need to brand, or expend millions on advertising. We all know how to bet. If it were permitted, many, many fans would love to gamble a little on games. When it’s legal, it can’t miss. And everyone wins: the states, cities and municipalities, which are desperate for cash, get a piece of the action [without raising taxes]; the leagues make a fortune as television ratings skyrocket…..and the public will love it.
It’s coming….in a decade, legalized sports gambling will be entrenched in this country.
Count on it.
Jim Israel, aka Mr Gripes
February 12, 2018