Just When We Thought It Couldn’t Get Worse

Despite the New York mayor’s assurance that workers on the World Trade Center 9/11 cleanup were in no danger, they have been contracting cancer and dying at startlingly high rates. The collapse of the towers released a thousand tons of asbestos into the air. U.S. manufacturers of asbestos products had already mostly gone out of business, bankrupted by claims of wrongful deaths. During their slide into insolvency, the companies set up trust funds for future mesothelioma claims. The fund currently totals $30 billion and legions of attorneys are eager to take up asbestosis suits. (Our company’s office was in the same building with a consulting economist. Most of his business derived from testifying as expert witness in asbestos lawsuits, calculating the economic loss of a victim’s early demise. He did well enough to own the building where we leased space.)

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Bob and Ray

If you are no longer amused by the idiocy of the current occupant of the White House, you may be ready for some of Bob and Ray’s political humor.

Remember Bob and Ray? Of course you don’t; you’re probably not old enough. Bob Elliott and Ray Goulding made their name in radio, beginning in 1946 with their earnest, dead-pan “news reporting.” They transitioned to a new medium with a fifteen-minute program on the nascent NBC television network from 1951 to 1953. Two decades later they appeared on the “Saturday Night Live” in its early days.

They made regular appearances with Johnny Carson on “The Tonight Show” and later showed up on David Letterman’s late-night program.

Don’t you feel better, now?

Help Wanted; Tape Provided

Last year, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington and the National Security Archive sued the Trump administration for violations of the Presidential Records Act. Their claim is that White House staff has been using encrypted messaging applications – that automatically delete messages – for internal correspondence. The Records Act requires that all White House communications be captured for posterity.

Our president uses a more rudimentary method of expunging written documents: he rips up the pages, sometimes with a single tear down the middle, sometimes shredding the paper into confetti-sized pieces, sometimes tossed into the trash, other times scattered on the floor.

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“… funny guy … “

North Korea’s dictator was recently described in glowing terms: “very talented man … wants to do the right thing … very worthy, very smart negotiator … excellent relationship … funny guy … loves his people … great personality … a great honor … very special bond … I do trust him.”

The New York Times – based on a United Nations report – recently delineated how the dear leader shows love for his people:

“…extermination, murder, enslavement, torture, imprisonment, rape, forced abortions and other sexual violence, persecution on political, religious, racial and gender grounds, the forcible transfer of populations, the enforced disappearance of persons and the inhumane act of knowingly causing prolonged starvation.”

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Where Are You, Kenneth Starr?

Time for some perspective…

… at the one-year anniversary of Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation into Russia’s messing with our 2016 election.

President Donald Trump sent out a Twitter message celebrating the milestone: “Congratulations America, we are now into the second year of the greatest Witch Hunt in American History…”

Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani told Fox News (sic) viewers, “It’s about time to get the darn thing over with. It’s about time to say, ‘Enough. We’ve tortured this president enough.’”

Vice-President Mike Pence said, “And in the interest of the country, I think it’s time to wrap it up. I would very respectfully encourage the special counsel and his team to bring their work to completion.”

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Beginning of Trump’s End?

Veteran reporter Adam Davidson sees similarities with the Iraq invasion, the 2008 financial meltdown and the Trump presidency. The New Yorker published this just before the Sean Hannity news.

“I am unaware of anybody who has taken a serious look at Trump’s business who doesn’t believe that there is a high likelihood of rampant criminality. In Azerbaijan, he did business with a likely money launderer for Iran’s Revolutionary Guard. In the Republic of Georgia, he partnered with a group that was being investigated for a possible role in the largest known bank-fraud and money-laundering case in history. In Indonesia, his development partner is “knee-deep in dirty politics”; there are criminal investigations of his deals in Brazil; the F.B.I. is reportedly looking into his daughter Ivanka’s role in the Trump hotel in Vancouver, for which she worked with a Malaysian family that has admitted to financial fraud. Back home, Donald, Jr., and Ivanka were investigated for financial crimes associated with the Trump hotel in SoHo—an investigation that was halted suspiciously. His Taj Mahal casino received what was then the largest fine in history for money-laundering violations.”

Read the whole thing here.