Friday, November 17, 2017

CSI: Washington, D. C.

    After four different series including the final spinoff entitled “CSI: Cyber”, some suggested that the CSI franchise had exhausted all possible plot lines. But the following leaked dialogue seems to confirm the existence of a fifth series with the working title “CSI: Washington, D. C.”: 
Det. Smith:  This is definitely an odd crime scene wouldn’t you say Jones? We’ve got an oval office inside an old white house.
Medical Examiner Jones:  Yeah, I’ve never seen anything like it. Let’s cover off this room with yellow police tape. Clearly some major crimes have been committed here.
Smith:  Who are we holding over there?
Jones:  We’ve got a chief of staff named Kelly, a press secretary named Sanders and a young woman named Trump but nobody’s talking. They’re all taking the Fifth.
Smith:  I’m not surprised. Look at this mess. I haven’t seen this many indictable offenses since we investigated that last session over in Congress. Who could have done this?
Jones: The boys at the lab have done some preliminary DNA analysis on a few strands of yellowish hair we found. Looks like an overweight male in his early seventies with a receding hairline and an expanding ego.
Smith:  You thinking what I’m thinking?
Jones:  You bet. Although this looks like a presidential office, everything points to a very unpresidential occupant. The DNA suggests he’s related to that Trump broad.
Smith:  I can’t believe the damage done here. Look at that Obamacare over in the corner. It’s barely functioning. And that Iran deal behind the bookcase? I don’t think it’s going to make it. And the EMTs said they had to do CPR on the battered NAFTA they discovered under the desk.
Jones:  I had my assistant unlock the smartphones we found. There was an unsecured Samsung Galaxy in the wastebasket and a new iPhone on the desk. It’s gonna take a few weeks to investigate all the tweets but at the very least there are hundreds of lies and dozens of possible libelous statements and maybe even a few emails to Russian addresses.
Smith:  Check out the carpet. Have you ever seen so many conflicts of interest in one place? We’re gonna have to call in a forensic auditor or maybe a whole team.
Jones:  The problem is there’s no easy place for them to start. There are so many questionable ties and loose ends and we couldn’t find even a single income tax return.
Smith:  It sure doesn’t look like the work of a president. Seems more like the actions of a failed two-bit New York real estate developer. I wonder what he did with the real president?
Jones:  It’s like he removed every bit of dignity from the office. There’s nothing left but a bunch of Coke cans, a half-empty bottle of ketchup and a red hat with “Make America Great Again” printed on it.
Smith:  God, look at the stuff on the far credenza. What the hell is that? He’s got a whole bunch of lumps of coal and eight prototype-models for a thirty-foot wall with Spanish writing on it.
Jones:  Jesus, Smith, this is an unmitigated disaster. Who could have done this?

Smith:  It’s hard to believe but the lab guys are saying they think it was the American people.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

First Lady Smackdown

     Ladies and gentlemen and boxing fans from coast to coast, welcome to the MGM Grand in Las Vegas and tonight’s featured 12-round WBC match for the prestigious title of America’s First Lady.
     In the blue rinse corner, weighing in at an unspecified-but-still-svelte-for-her-age poundage is the three-time Trump mother, the undisputed first Trump wife, the Czech Checker, the Mouth from Manhattan……IVANA TRUMP!
     And in the auburn corner, still at her modeling days weight, a one-time Trump mother and uncontested current Trump trophy wife, the Slovenian Slammer, the Queen of High Heels……MELANIA TRUMP!
     Ivana Trump was married to Donald Trump for fifteen years and bore him three children: Ivanka, Eric and Don, Jr. Her record for spousal longevity and Trump issue production is unmatched. Notwithstanding her lengthy absence from the matrimonial bed, she still claims rights as the first First Lady.
     Although Melania Trump has only been married to The Donald for twelve years and has produced just one son, she is currently recognized as the official First Lady by most boxing federations and a majority of electoral college voters.
     There’s the bell and the two competitors are circling one another in the center of the ring. Ivana is wearing a light blue, two-piece pantsuit and Melania is resplendent in a knee-length cream-colored designer creation with a daring bold red sash.
     And there’s the first attack of the night. Ivana cleverly concedes Melania’s status as First Lady but immediately asserts her claim to be the first First Lady as Donald Trump’s first spouse.
     Melania appears stunned by this initial blow and seems taken by surprise. However, she quickly recovers and counters with her continuous record of First Lady activities and ongoing First Lady recognition.
     It looks like Melania is going to continue her defensive stance. But, no, she shocks Ivana, takes the offensive and accuses her of trivializing the situation.
     Ivana is momentarily rocked as she clearly did not expect the low blow to her standing. This is a bit surprising given Melania’s reputation for questionable tactics such as speech plagiarizing and her infamous “locker room talk” defense.
     Not to be outdone, the cagey veteran Ivana Trump goes into a clinch with Melania in order to buy some time and recover. The referee forces the fighters to break and Ivana once again goes on the offensive by denying she ever claimed to be first First Lady and hitting Melania with a hard one-two punch charging her with both overreaction and misrepresentation.
     It looks like Melania is faltering and might have to concede the match. But now she’s bringing out her best weapon: her claim to be the anti-bullying expert. At first Ivana is confused but eventually recovers and undercuts her opponent’s claim with the incontestable observation that Melania needs to apply her anti-bullying abilities against her own husband – the Bully-in-Chief.
     And there’s the final bell; the 12th round is over. Despite a number of punishing exchanges, there was no knockout punch and so the decision remains in the hands of the three judges.
     Judge Neil Gorsuch of the U. S. Supreme Court acknowledges his debt to the president and scores the bout a clear win for Melania. Judge and former First Lady Hillary Clinton, feeling sympathy for both fighters, calls it a draw. And Judge Donald Trump, looking to avoid a night on the sofa, awards the fight to his third wife.      
     The referee raises Melania’s bejeweled hand and declares her the official First Lady and still champion trophy wife. Ivana looks beaten and worn down but a sparkle in her unswollen right eye suggests there will be a rematch.    

Sunday, November 05, 2017

Take A Knee

TO:       The National Football League
FROM:  A fan
     I can see you’re having a tough time with this “taking a knee” business at NFL games. Clearly you can’t endorse such political demonstrations on the sidelines. That would alienate a lot of fans and would violate Roger Goodell’s rule against taking a principled stance on anything.
     On the other hand, it wouldn’t look good if you started disciplining players for kneeling during the playing of the national anthem. Although you’re not big supporters of free speech, you sure don’t want to give that impression.
     As a longtime NFL watcher, I’m concerned that if you don’t deal with this issue soon, you’re going to lose a significant portion of your fan base. That’s why I’m offering these suggestions in the hope that we can solve this problem and get back to watching grown men inflict brain damage on one another:
1.  First things first: in order to be consistent, you have to get rid of taking a knee during the game. No more letting the quarterback run out the clock by taking the snap and going down on one knee. As President Trump might say, there should be ample opportunities for skull-crushing hits even in the final minute of an already-decided game. After all, it’s American football not that wimpy “football” everyone else plays.
2.  Announce the formation of a special committee to look into the matter. This doesn’t mean you have to come up with recommendations or actually do anything. As you well know from your experience dealing with player concussions, researching a problem buys time. Whenever the “take a knee” issue comes up, you can simply say that a committee is being formed to look into it. That could take years at which time you indicate that it would be inappropriate to comment while the committee is investigating which, of course, could take even more years.  
3.  Invite everyone to take a knee. As Tim Tebow has demonstrated, taking a knee in prayer before the game appears to be uncontroversial. Before the national anthem is played, ask everyone to remove their hats and honor their favorite item in the First Amendment (be it religion, speech, press, assembly or even redress of grievances) by getting down on one knee and singing along….or not. For southern venues, teams could even add a salute to the Second Amendment as a further option.
4.  Get rid of the national anthem altogether. Although playing The Star Spangled Banner might be appropriate at military ceremonies or on national holidays, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to do so before a sporting event. Toss a coin, blow the whistle and start the game. If you absolutely have to have a tune, how about taking a cue from baseball where they play Take Me Out to the Ball Game during the seventh-inning stretch? You could always play Hank Williams, Jr.’s All My Rowdy Friends Are Here on Monday Night (“Are you ready for some football?”) as the teams take the field.

     Whatever option you choose, it’s time to take action now and preserve what is essentially our national religion. Failure to do so may result in football fans spending their Sundays in church instead and that, my friends, could spell the end of the NFL.  

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

The Ottawa Leaves

   Waning attendance at Ottawa Senators games is an ongoing problem that continues to bedevil the team’s management. An Ottawa sports columnist recently summarized the main obstacles: lack of a corporate base to buy season tickets, government restrictions on receiving freebies and an arena that’s too big and not centrally located.
     While it’s useful to detail the root causes of the Senators’ attendance woes, it’s time folks came up with some ideas to get more bums in the seats. Eventually we may have a nice shiny new arena centrally located in Lebreton Flats but, in the meantime, I think it’s worth considering these suggestions which I offer absolutely free:
1.  Schedule more Leafs games at the Canadian Tire Centre. Is it just me or is it painfully obvious that the arena is sold out when Toronto is in town? Since there are more Leafs fans than rats in the National Capital Region, an Ottawa vs. Toronto game is pretty much a guaranteed sellout. Plus, every such game is a win-win-win situation as the Senators’ management gets a sellout, local Toronto fans get game tickets and season ticket holders get to sell them their tickets at hugely inflated prices.
2.  As for scheduling extra Leafs games, let’s do what popular musical acts do: if the demand is there, book back-to-back games. That’s right; have a matinee game in the afternoon and a second game at night. If we have to bring in second-tier players from the farm team in Belleville to spell the regulars after game one, so be it. Leafs fans will still gobble up second-rate hockey just as they’ve been doing in Toronto for years.
3.  Don’t be afraid to advertise other games as Leafs games; simply market the opposing teams as the Buffalo Leafs, the Boston Leafs, the Chicago Leafs and so on. Toronto fans are so desperate for Leafs tickets that they’re bound to snap up any extras available. (N. B. – this may only be a one or two-season solution as even Leafs fans aren’t likely to fall for this ruse forever.)
4.  Change our team’s name. I doubt we can get away with calling the team the Ottawa Maple Leafs but maybe the Ottawa Maple Leaves would work and at least has the advantage of being grammatically correct. Barring that, just call them the Ottawa Leaves. That should provide enough similarities to fool Toronto fans while creating enough differences to avoid legal action.
5.  Invest in a second Toronto Maple Leafs team that will play its home games at the Canadian Tire Centre. There should be enough Leafs fans in the region to sell out every game. If not, there are still plenty of Toronto residents willing to drive five or six hours for their only realistic chance to attend a Leafs game.

    Hopefully, one or more of my suggestions will pay off big time and the franchise’s future will be secured. No need to thank me with free tickets or anything like that as I can’t afford to pay for the parking anyway.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

White House Etiquette

     For almost 225 years, it was pretty clear as to what one did when meeting or dealing with the president of the United States. You were to address him as “Mr. President” and then engage in a civilized and respectful exchange.
     But now that Donald J. Trump is president, things are a bit different when it comes to White House protocol and it’s not always obvious what rules of conduct apply. Thanks, however, to the recently-leaked efforts of an anonymous Administration staff member, we now have some clear etiquette guidelines we can follow:
1)  When addressing the president, as a bare minimum, it is acceptable to call him “Mr. President.” It is preferable, however, to enhance that greeting by referring to him as “The Greatest President”, “The Ultimate President” or “Dear Supreme Leader.” (N.B. – Under no circumstances should one refer to the president by a nickname.)
2)  Do not speak unless spoken to. If the president wants to hear from you, he will let you know, usually with a rhetorical question such as: “We’re doing a terrific job in Puerto Rico, isn’t that right?”
3)  It is not necessary to bow to the president upon meeting him. After all, we are not yet a monarchy or an autocracy. But, let’s just say, it wouldn’t hurt. (On the other hand, do not take a knee.)
4)  Acceptable topics of conversation:  the president’s gigantic inaugural crowd, his tremendous popular vote victory and his latest record-breaking golf score.
5)  Unacceptable topics of conversation:  the continued existence of Obamacare, the non-existence of a border wall and any approval ratings reported by the fake news.
6)  As for acceptable White House attire, the president is fine with informal clothing so long as the individual is wearing or holding at least one of the following items:  an American flag lapel, a “Reelect Trump Pence in 2020” placard or a red MAGA ball cap.
7)  If you are lucky enough to dine with the president, please abide by his dining etiquette rules. The steak knife is to the right, the meatloaf fork is to the left and the ice cream spoon is above the plate. The ketchup is to remain next to the president at all times.
8)  When it comes to Twitter, you are encouraged to follow the president but do not, at any time, reply to his tweets. It is sufficient to “like” any of his tweets and you may even “retweet” if so inclined. Any criticisms or negative comments will be met with a presidential tweetstorm.
9)  When it comes to White House decorum, there is one basic overriding general rule:  Just remember that any meeting or interaction with the president is all about him. And, oh yeah, don’t call him a moron.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

The President's Apprentice

TO: Robert Greenblatt, Chairman, NBC Entertainment
FROM:  Donald J. Trump
     Bob, I have a fantastic idea for a new TV show that I think you’re going to love. You know how we spun-off The Apprentice into The Celebrity Apprentice and squeezed out seven more seasons of profits for you and me?
     Well now I have a can’t-miss proposal for what I’m calling The President’s Apprentice. I don’t know if you heard but I was elected the CEO of the United States, a great position called President. Can you believe it?
     Anyway, as President, I have all these people looking to me for employment or legislative support. Did you know there are three branches of government – legislative, judicial and executive – and apparently I get to make all the hiring decisions for the executive? Except for Mike Pence who’s my Executive VP and can’t be fired. But that’s OK because Mike has no real power and basically does whatever I tell him to do.  
     The beauty of my new proposal is that we already have Season 1 in the can and, if I do say so myself, it’s tremendous. In the early episodes, I choose different people to man my Administrative Team and what I call my Cabinet Team.
      My Administrative Team included all manner of terrific folks, many of whom helped me become the CEO of the United States. Folks like Mike Flynn, Steve Bannon, Sean Spicer, Anthony Scaramucci and Reince Preibus. Then there’s the Cabinet Team who oversee particular government departments and supposedly have specific expertise but usually don’t.   
     Every week, I come up with all kinds of wacky assignments for the contestants on the two teams. The tasks are basically impossible to carry out so it ensures that I’ll always have the opportunity to fire one or more people.
     You can see for yourself how this works when you look at the episodes from Season 1. Here are just a few of the unsuccessful tasks that I assigned:
1)  repeal and replace Obamacare,
2)  implement tax cuts for the middle class,
3)  build a wall along the Mexican border and make Mexico pay for it, and
4)  create a Muslim immigration ban that doesn’t explicitly target Muslims.
     And not to worry; I’ve got a whole bunch of new tasks for Season 2. Tasks like:
1)  prosecute and imprison Hillary Clinton,
2)  fire Bob Mueller (this is a tough one),
3)  come up with new insults for Little Rocket Man,
4)  set up CREEP - The Committee to Re-elect the President,
5)  appoint a new rightwing judge for the Supreme Court,
6)  sell off Puerto Rico, and
7)  shut down the gun control nuts.
     I’ve already demonstrated that when the show threatens to get a bit boring, I can shake it up by doing something a little “crazy” or just firing off a couple of tweets. I can also spice things up by alternating shooting locations between The White House and my fabulous resort at Mar-a-Lago. And don’t worry about the costs, Bob; it’s all on the public dime.
     I think you can see that the possibilities (or impossibilities, if you will) are endless. With any luck, we can stretch this show out for eight seasons. In Season 2, for example, we’re planning to play up the Russia connection. It’s all fake news but it really boosts the ratings and my pal Vlad doesn’t mind playing along.
     As an added bonus, there’s an insurance policy for you built right into the show. If I have to leave for any reason, Mike Pence becomes President and you just carry on with the next season. 

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

A Taxing Solution

It looks like the Canada Revenue Agency’s plan to tax employee discounts is dead in the water after the federal revenue minister, Diane Lebouthillier, ordered it canceled. But that doesn’t mean that the CRA is not considering other novel ways to raise tax revenue if the following leaked memo is to be believed (which, by the way, it isn’t):
TO:          The Big Cheese
FROM:    A Smaller Cheese
     In anticipation of the success which will surely accrue to our new plan to tax employee discounts, our team has come up with even more great ideas to add to the national income:
1.  It’s time to tax those unfair senior’s discounts typically offered by drugstore chains. Why should those 65 and over get 20% off one day a week? Let’s make them claim that discount as taxable income and take our cut. Seniors will be obliged to keep track of their accumulated discounts and report them on their annual income tax return. To show we’re not unreasonable, perhaps we could let them pay using their Optimum points.
2.  Let’s consider the implementation of a spare change surtax. Not on the homeless, of course. That would be cruel and arguably contrary to the general rule that a gift is not taxable. Rather, if you find some cash lying on the street, that should be taxable income. The underlying theory is that you did some work to earn it – i.e. – you spotted the money and you actually bent down to pick it up thereby expending energy and risking yet another injury to your back.
3.  You’ve likely heard of the retail benefit called BOGO or “buy one, get one” free. It’s time to plug the hole in this giant revenue-sucking retail scam. From now on, you have to declare the value of that second hat, purse or running shoe as taxable income and pay your fair share. At least retailers will have the option of softening the tax blow by instead using the “buy one, get the second at half price” option. (Note to self: consider how to deal with the “buy three tires, get the fourth free” offer.)
4.  Fast food restaurants present another great opportunity to fill the Treasury coffers. Should free refills on soft drinks really be free? We think not. Why not a little asterisk after that menu promise indicating a 25-cent tax payable to the government for every extra glass of pop? The same goes for the so-called endless cup of coffee: 25 cents for a refill and ten cents for a top up.
5.  Speaking of restaurants, for some time now, we’ve been monitoring the marketing habits of so-called family restaurants and their all-too-common practice of offering free bread sticks. As we often say at CRA, there is no free lunch. There’s also no free dinner either and that’s why we’re proposing a one-dollar levy on any table receiving free bread sticks, rolls and/or melba toast.
6.  Gas stations are another overlooked source of potential tax revenue. Although most stations now charge a dollar or so to use their air pumps, some unscrupulous gasoline retailers are still providing free air. That’s a one-dollar benefit to the customer and should be taxed. However, given the administrative difficulties inherent in such a proposal, some in our department are looking into a standard annual per capita air tax of five to ten dollars for every breathing citizen. Those wishing to opt out can simply hold their breath or start buying canisters of oxygen.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Tell America It's OK

[“Tell America It’s Great”]….was the brainchild of the Garden Collective, a creative agency based in Toronto, and in the videos, a diverse and polite group of Canadians earnestly recite all the things they like about the United States.
-        The New York Times - October 17, 2016
     “Tell America It’s Great” is a social media campaign designed by Canadians looking to cheer up Americans in these days of division and political turmoil. It features Tweets and YouTube videos from ordinary Canadians praising everything from NASA to Tupac Shakur.
     Such a project, of course, has to be subject to some editing and not all of the Canadian encomiums could be included. Here are just a few of the Tweets and video messages that ended up on the cutting room floor:
     “You’re great America, especially for keeping all that crap south of our border. Thanks for helping us keep out the right-wing crazy.”
     “Thanks for bringing us the most entertaining presidential election in living memory. That Donald Trump is outright hilarious. Even if it encourages some Canadian nut job to run for office that’s a small price to pay for the months of entertainment your guy has provided.”
     “America, you’re a fantastic neighbor. Except for that invasion of Quebec in 1775, the War of 1812 when you burned York to the ground and those crazy Fenian raids just after the Civil War. But, hey, even good neighbors occasionally have the odd border dispute, right?”
     “U-S-A! U-S-A! Just a quick cheer to say you’re the greatest for showing us how things should be done, especially when it comes to healthcare. So long as you’ve got the money, you can get great medical care without waiting. I’m sure the other 90% of you will eventually have that option as well.”
     “You’re the best for sharing Donald Trump with us. Thanks to him, we Canadians now show more interest in your elections than our own. Hopefully we’ll learn to take more care with ours in the future.”
     “When it comes to guns, missiles and nukes, you’re the best. Thanks for not using them on us.”
     “It’s always nice to have a neighbor who takes an interest in our new prime minister, Justin Trudeau. The fact that you really like him makes us stop and reexamine his tenure in case we’re missing something.”

     “We think you’re awesome. We just don’t want you pouring over the border now that Donald Trump won because then I’m afraid we’d have to build a wall and make you pay for it. No offense, eh?”

Monday, October 09, 2017

The National Association For The Advancement Of Rich People

     I’m J. Rutherford Moneybags, a founding member of the National Association for the Advancement of Rich People, and I want to take this opportunity to dispel the myths and quash the rumors surrounding the release of the so-called Panama Papers back in 2015.
     It is insulting to the NAARP and me personally that the media immediately jumped to the conclusion that the various rich people listed in those documents had somehow broken the law. This naming and shaming is unfair to the wealthy among us.
     Why would you automatically assume that setting up a company in Panama means that we are seeking to circumvent tax laws in our home jurisdictions? Whatever happened to the presumption of innocence and the right to be heard?
     Believe it or not, there are a multitude of non-tax-related reasons why someone might want to incorporate in Panama. Yet I didn’t hear any media outlets doing the right thing and detailing even one of those legitimate justifications.
      Personally, I find it offensive to be called a tax evader and a criminal when my decision to incorporate in Panama was motivated by the best of intentions. Sure, I could incorporate in the United States or any western country for that matter but who does that help? By choosing a developing nation like Panama, the legal expenses and incorporation fees are spent in a country that sorely needs the economic boost that comes from foreign investment.
     Without naming names, I would like to detail just a few of the many other legitimate reasons some of my colleagues have had for setting up companies in Panama. For example, those engaged in international trade who deal both in the Atlantic and Pacific regions find that Panama’s proximity to both oceans is a distinct advantage.
     Some, on the other hand, have familial ties to this Central American nation. One wealthy friend of mine has two great-grandparents who once lived in the Panama Canal Zone back in the early part of the 20th century while they were engaged in the construction of the Panama Canal. His Panamanian corporations are, in part, a way for him to honor his ancestors.
     One dear friend recently explained why he had to set up a Panamanian corporation. “It’s not like I wanted to do it,” he confided. “But I needed a secret place to park some money so that I could surprise my wife with an expensive Christmas gift. If I did it here, it would be a matter of public record and she could have easily discovered what I was up to.”
     Another friend said he set up several corporations in Panama simply to avoid giving offense. “Look,” he said. “If I incorporate in the U. S. then I offend all those South American countries but if I choose Brazil or Argentina, say, then the North American countries are annoyed. By choosing a jurisdiction straddling both continents, no one’s fiscal nose is out of joint.”

     Then there are those who are lovers of palindromes especially the famous saying “A man, a plan, a canal, Panama!” What better way to celebrate one’s hobby than to set up a company in the land of the palindrome? “A man, a plan, a canard, Panama!” OK, it’s technically not a palindrome but it’s close enough for me and hopefully for the IRS.

Thursday, October 05, 2017

Rex The Wonder Dog

    Donald Trump’s White House seems to be in disarray. Instead of hiring cabinet members like former Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State, maybe Mr. Trump should be listening to Rex the Wonder Dog if the following translated memo posted on Facebook is any indication:
TO:        All humans
FROM:  Rex the Wonder Dog
     Up until now, I’ve pretty much kept my mouth shut except maybe when that annoying cat from across the street walks past when I’m outside in my owner’s backyard. If I ever figure out how to work the gate latch, that cat is gone, I tell you, G-O-N-E.
     But never mind about the cat. There are bigger problems in the world right now and chief among them are Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un.
     For the most part, I figured you humans could be trusted with the welfare of the planet. After all, you’re supposedly the smartest species on Earth and generally tend to lean towards self-preservation.
     Lately, however, I’m having serious doubts about your capabilities when it comes to running things. What with climate change, overpopulation and resource depletion, things are looking a bit grim.
     And now with Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un squaring off in a schoolyard bully name-calling contest, I’m getting really worried. It wouldn’t be so bad if these two were like Spike and Fido down the street who go after one another every other day at the local dog park. But unlike Spike and Fido, Trump and Kim are armed with nuclear weapons.
     The problem, as I see it, is that neither of these guys has a dog for a pet. Donald Trump is the first U. S. president in well over a century not to have a dog in the White House. The fact that you haven’t had a nuclear war in all that time is no accident.
     I’m not on a first sniff basis with any of the previous canine residents of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue but I have it on good authority via the doggie kibble line that many of them were instrumental in keeping their master’s finger away from the nuclear trigger. Both Bo and Barney have reportedly claimed credit for calming down Presidents Obama and Bush in several crucial situations.
     And I believe it because that’s what we dogs do. If there’s increasing tension in a house, we’re there to distract the residents and to provide a helping paw when necessary. Admit it; there’s nothing more relaxing than petting the family dog when you’re at your wit’s end.
     So for the sake of humanity, please get Donald Trump a dog. I guarantee you that he’ll become a whole different person, maybe even presidential although I’m not promising any miracles.
     Ideally, you should try to arrange a dog for Kim Jong-un as well. I don’t know about the history of pet ownership by North Korea’s leaders but I’m pretty sure that Kim doesn’t currently own a dog and that’s a shame. What a friendly mutt could do for Trump could likewise work wonders for Kim as well.
     My main concern, however, is that even if someone gave Kim a dog, he might end up as the evening meal before he even got a chance to mollify the Supreme Leader. But, hey, nobody said this would be easy.
     Once this latest political crisis is solved, we dogs are not looking for any compensation or special treatment. As usual, a couple of scratches behind the ear and a “Who’s a good boy?” is reward enough. Oh, yeah, and maybe a free shot at the neighbor’s cat.         

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Trump Airlines

     Welcome aboard Trump Airlines. We’re pleased to provide you with the finest in no-cost, direct flight travel.
     We are the newest full-service airline in the country having recently launched our business on January 20th of this year. But unlike other airlines, we cater to a very exclusive clientele: Cabinet secretaries and other Cabinet-level appointees.
     You are part of a very important group of federal public servants. That’s why we tailor our services to meet your special needs.
     Trump Airlines recognizes that you have important work to do and can’t afford to be inconvenienced by regular commercial flights, passenger trains or even inter-city car services. When you have an important meeting coming up, you need to know that you’ll arrive there refreshed, on time and undisturbed by the ordinary traveling public.
     At Trump Airlines, we know what it’s like to give up a huge payday for a middling six-figure salary just to serve in a Cabinet position. We figure the least we can do is provide you with the best in transportation just like you had in your private sector life.
     Our CEO knows your situation well and appreciates the sacrifices you are making to help serve the nation and drain the swamp. After all, he’s working for the nominal sum of one dollar a year. That’s why he feels completely justified in using the queen of our fleet, nicknamed Air Force One, to frequently travel to his various resorts and golf clubs.
     And that’s why we’re providing you with top-of-the-line domestic and international travel on any one of our select military jets or private chartered aircraft. You are a very important person clearly deserving of our trademarked VIP® service and our privileged FOD® (“Friend of Donald”) status.
     Need to get from Washington to Nashville for an afternoon speech and lunch with your son but don’t have time for a two-hour commercial flight? Then book one of our private jets and cut your travel time by as much as fifteen minutes. And don’t worry about the $17,760 price tag; we’ve got you covered.
     There’s no reason you should have to travel ordinary business class, especially when many of your destinations are not available via a direct commercial flight or the flights are at awkward or inconvenient times. For example, it’s not easy to get to Georgia’s St. Simons Island Resort.
     That’s where we come in. Just give us a call and we’ll book you a Lear jet that will get you there in no time even on a Friday if your event happens to be on Sunday. And forget about your credit card; for you, the flight is free.
     As a responsible government agency, Trump Airlines will endeavor to meet any reasonable travel request although there are limits. We probably won’t be able to provide a $25,000-an-hour military plane for your European honeymoon but we’re more than happy to accommodate a solar-eclipse-watching trip to Fort Knox. Just ensure that you don’t exceed our annual limits of 25 flights or $400,000 or we might have to take disciplinary action.
     As the airline of the rich and privileged, we’ll get you where you want to go in luxury and style. Not only do we feature the best in drinks and haute cuisine, you’ll also earn valuable Trump Points that you can cash in for fantastic extras like Champagne, foie gras or a foot massage.

     So forget about all those incomprehensible commercial airline timetables and complicated booking procedures. Send us an e-mail with your travel request and we’ll have you on a private jet faster than you can say “I’m entitled.” Just make sure you don’t use your personal server.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Respect Our Dear Leader

 “Since he first came to power in January 2000, Mr. Putin and his allies have gone to great lengths to silence or undermine all critical voices in Russia.”
                                                     -        The New York Times – February 8, 2017

“North Korea has forbidden people from making sarcastic comments about Kim Jong-un or his totalitarian regime in their everyday conversations.”
                                                     -        The Independent – September 28, 2016

     It’s no secret that the notoriously thin-skinned Donald Trump is a big fan of Russian President Vladimir Putin. He may even be a secret admirer of North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un. All of which may explain the following rumored upcoming presidential executive orders:
Executive Order 13801
     Presidential press conferences will be open to all media outlets except those designated “fake news” by the President. There will be a public list of banned media which will be updated weekly by White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. For starters, it will include CNN, the Washington Post and the failing New York Times.
Executive Order 13807
     Media outlets banned under Executive Order 13801 which persist in reporting on the President or his administration will be punished according to the type of outlet. For example, newspapers will be subject to daily fines of up to $10,000 and television networks may have their broadcast license cancelled by the Federal Communications Commission. Websites whose names rhyme with the words “right heart” or “box screws” are exempted from this order.
Executive Order 13819
     In furtherance of maintaining respect for the high office of the President of these United States, it is hereby directed that our Dear Leader may not be referred to directly, indirectly or sarcastically with any phrase comprising the word “orange” including but not restricted to “Agent Orange” and “Orange Hitler.” Violation of this order will result in a fine of up to $500 and a requirement to provide a personal apology to President Trump.
Executive Order 13825
     It view of the various attempts to avoid Executive Order 13819, it is hereby decreed that no citizen may refer to the President by any phrase suggesting the color orange such as “Racist Clementine”, “Angry Creamsicle”, “Cheeto Jesus”, “Tangerine Mussolini” and “Prevaricating Pumpkin.” An offense under this directive will incur a penalty of no less than $1,000 and mandatory attendance at a one-week re-indoctrination camp conducted by Steve Bannon.
Executive Order 13829
     In view of the ongoing attempts to malign and impugn the President’s masculinity, it is henceforth forbidden for any citizen to mock, ridicule or otherwise make fun of the size of the President’s hands. As examples only, no one may use the phrases “Tiny Hands Trump”, “Baby Fingers Trump” and “Pixie Fingers Trump.” This order will also have retrospective effect regarding past uses of the expression “Short-fingered Vulgarian” particularly by one Graydon Carter. Punishment will involve the loss of one or more digits, hands and/or limbs. 
Executive Order 13833
     Given the repeated attempts to circumvent previous orders, it is hereby proclaimed that there will be a Presidential Nickname Commission whose function will be to review and either approve or disapprove proposed nicknames for the President. Examples of acceptable names are “The Donald”, “Supreme Leader” and “America’s Savior.” No examples of unacceptable names will be provided except to say that those submitting such names face a possible indeterminate stay in our nation’s premier reeducation facility in Guantanamo Bay.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Dear Computer Guy

An occasional consumer advice column for those in need of computer assistance:
Dear Computer Guy:
     I live in Washington, D. C. and for the last eight months I’ve been using Trump I as my operating system. Despite experiencing a number of problems, I’ve still been pleased with this OS due primarily to the various rebates and tax refunds promised. Should I stick with Trump I for the next few years?
                                                                                                              Wondering in Washington
Dear Wondering:
     Consider yourself lucky; you’re one of the few Trump I users who hasn’t been burned. What started out as a promising new OS earlier this year has turned into a bug-infested, error-prone system. The rollout of the heavily-promoted Repeal and Replace patch never occurred and the oft-touted Mexican Wall subroutine appears now to be a non-starter.   
     Recent defections from the company that makes this product suggest that it is definitely in decline. Among others, they’ve lost their National Security Advisor, Chief of Staff, Communications Director and Chief Strategist and rumor has it that more bodies are looking to jump ship.
     If you can squeeze a few more months of useful life out of Trump I, hang on for now. But if the company goes out of business, you may want to take a look at the Pence operating system as a potential temporary fix. In the meantime, I strongly recommend that you uninstall Twitter from any of your devices.
The Computer Guy

Dear Computer Guy:
     Many years ago, I purchased the Clinton word processing software package. It gave me reliable service for most of the nineties but I haven’t used it now for over fifteen years. I hear some folks talking about a new Clinton 2.0 version. Is it as good as the original?
Wordless in Seattle
Dear Wordless:
     That’s a tough question. First of all, let’s be clear. Clinton 2.0 is a completely different product from version 1.0. Basically, only the name is the same. Whereas, for its time, Clinton 1.0 had all the bells and whistles and lots of marketing pizazz, version 2.0 is definitely not as flashy although undoubtedly more stable.
     Some beta testers in New York said they liked the trial version of Clinton 2.0 that was offered in their state during the previous decade although they were apparently less impressed with the recent upgrade called Secretary of State. Still others have questioned the reliability of the software package’s technical support. Some users have reported a repeated failure by the company to admit past programming and e-mail errors and to rectify clearly faulty positions.
     On the other hand, it appears that purchasers of Clinton 2.0 will still have access to version 1.0 as well. However, since it’s still not clear whether the two versions are even compatible, it may be wise to hold off and check for the availability of the new Sanders software package or any one of a number of other younger progressive options currently in development.
The Computer Guy

Dear Computer Guy:
     I’ve been having trouble with viruses, spam and pop-ups in my e-mail. No matter how many anti-virus packages I employ, I still get hit with a full in-box and some nasty, nasty bugs like trumpjr17, jkushner101 and russiagate99. What steps can I take to protect myself?
Vulnerable in Virginia
Dear Vulnerable:
     I sympathize with your situation. It seems that ever since 2015, there has been a rapid increase in these types of computer bugs. At present, dozens of varieties have been identified with more reported to be on the way including the very powerful putinspy01 virus. The good news is that all of these bugs work only on computers using the Trump I operating system and, once it is taken off the market, the virus problem should quickly disappear.
     If you can’t wait that long, there are certain measures you can take to immediately secure your PC or laptop including two off-the-shelf fixes called Impeachment and Amendment25. Unfortunately, neither item is currently available in stores.
The Computer Guy