Trump killed the publishing of tax returns by presidential (and other) candidates. I predict that no candidate will ever again publish his or her tax return.

I certainly would not, were I to run for office.

I do not see in religion the mystery of the incarnation so much as the mystery of the social order. It introduces into the thought of heaven an idea of equalization, which saves the rich from being massacred by the poor.

— Napoleon: In His Own Words” (1916)

In English: Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich.

Shoes and Guns

In 2001, one nutcase tried to bomb an airplane with a shoe bomb. Nobody got hurt or killed. However, since 2001, everyone boarding an airplane in the United States has been forced to remove shoes at screening stations. With 2.25 million air travelers every day in the U.S. alone, that’s 13.99 billion times people have taken their shoes off.

Gun violence kills about 84 people a day in the U.S. We have taken no significant regulatory steps on the federal level since then.

For Shoes – one threat on no deaths causes massive regulation inconveniencing 13 billion people traveling.

For Guns – 84 deaths a day and we don’t even blink, let alone act.

I can’t find anything about shoes in the Constitution.

I saw this coming when I read Fire and Fury last month. Here is my full review, and here is the relevant excerpt:

Here is an excerpt, an email written by Gary Cohn, who is serving as the Director of the National Economic Council and chief economic advisor to Trump. He was formerly the president and chief operating officer of Goldman Sachs from 2006 to 2017:  

It’s worse than you can imagine. An idiot surrounded by clowns. Trump won’t read anything—not one-page memos, not the brief policy papers; nothing. He gets up halfway through meetings with world leaders because he is bored. And his staff is no better. Kushner is an entitled baby who knows nothing. Bannon is an arrogant prick who thinks he’s smarter than he is. Trump is less a person than a collection of terrible traits. No one will survive the first year but his family. I hate the work, but feel I need to stay because I’m the only person there with a clue what he’s doing. The reason so few jobs have been filled is that they only accept people who pass ridiculous purity tests, even for midlevel policy-making jobs where the people will never see the light of day. I am in a constant state of shock and horror.

— Wolff, Michael. Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House (p. 186). Henry Holt and Co.. Kindle Edition.

Gary Cohn himself, the only person there with a clue of what he is doing, is now leaving.

Who will turn the lights out when it all ends?

Room with a View


[click to enlarge]

San Francisco Hilton – Financial District – 27th Floor with Balcony

Alcatraz  in the background left, a docked cruise ship on the right and the Coit Tower in the middle.

I don’t know if you all remember, but Mnuchin was one of the raiders that personally benefited from the real estate crash of 2007 that wiped out the savings and homes of millions of Americans. What leadership we have!

Winston Churchill was a pivotal figure in the 20th century, and, had it not been for his presence and dogged perseverance, the world might have turned out quite differently.

If Hitler had not lost the war, my parents would never have met, and I would not have been born. I would not be here to write this review.

The Germans could have been stopped before they took over Austria and made their first forays into France. Their military was not ready for a major war. But the British Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain, didn’t put pressure on Hitler when he could, and we all know the outcome.

Winston Churchill came to power when the Germans had encircled the entire British army of about 300,000 men near Dunkirk in France. (There is a separate movie of the same name about this backstory, that I have not seen yet, but must now go and see).

In the face of severe pressure to negotiate with Hitler and save the British army, Churchill steadfastly believed that this was the wrong approach.

The Darkest Hour chronicles those weeks in British history. When I walked out, I had learned more about who Churchill was than I had from all the history books I had ever laid eyes on. A very rewarding film.

I never pay for first class tickets on airlines, but due to my elite status with the airline I am often upgraded. I am one of those people you see sitting in first class as you board the plane for coach and you wonder how I am willing to pay those prices. Well, I don’t. Usually I pay less than you do, but I get better service. This is one of the benefits of the huge amount of travel I do.

In first class, you get a drink as soon as you board. Usually I don’t bother, but sometimes I will take a cup of coffee. The other day, around eight in the morning, a passenger behind me asked the flight attendant: Is champagne on the menu? Sure, he said, and a minute later the passenger was sipping champagne while the poor folks in coach were still boarding – at 8 o’clock in  the morning.

I don’t think of champagne as something I would ever want to drink on an airplane. It belongs to a toast on New Year’s Eve, or maybe in honor of the bride and groom at a wedding. But on an airplane? While boarding?

Who are these people?

Then again, I am sitting in seat 4A on a flight that left at 7 o’clock in the morning from Boston, and the man next to me is already done with his second Bloody Mary.

I am taking another sip from my coffee.

It was on January 24, 1776:

In the cold, nearly colorless light of a New England winter, two men on horseback traveled the coast road below Boston, heading north. A foot or more of snow covered the landscape, the remnants of a Christmas storm that had blanketed Massachusetts from one end of the province to the other. Beneath the snow, after weeks of severe cold, the ground was frozen solid to a depth of two feet. Packed ice in the road, ruts as hard as iron, made the going hazardous, and the riders, mindful of the horses, kept at a walk.

— John Adams, by David McCullough – opening paragraph of the book. See my review here.

When John Adams embarked on a journey from Boston to Philadelphia in the winter of 1776, he faced over two months of travel on horseback. He had to leave in the bitter winter to be there in the spring for the session of the Continental Congress that year. He could make such a journey only once a year at best, and while he was gone, his wife and children at home had to fend for themselves.

Along the journey he had to find shelter every night in an inn or private home. Not only did he need to find room and board every night for himself, but he also needed to take care of stabling for his horse. The expenses for such a trip were enormous, and the physical hardship of being on horseback outside, in the winter, in all weather, on terrible “roads” must have been crushing. But John Adams did it, and certainly thousands of other travelers along the route did too.

This morning at about 6:30am I boarded a flight from Boston to Philadelphia. Once airborne, the flight took one hour and four minutes.

If I could have told John Adams that I would, some 240 years hence, enter an aluminum tube with about a hundred other passengers, which would travel at close to the speed of sound at 30,000 feet of elevation, high above the clouds, he would not have been able to believe me. Yet, here I am, writing this blog post, with a hot cup of coffee next to me. I am warm, comfortable, and even a little sleepy.

To John Adams, this would have been indistinguishable from magic.

Trisha and I went on a Jeep ride today with Chris (of Piper and Heath) and Roy (a wildlife photographer) in the backcountry of San Diego County. We went out in two Jeeps (for redundancy) and spent the day cruising places otherwise completely inaccessible.

Here is Chris driving down a steep section of rocky trail while Roy spots him. Trisha is the passenger.

Later in the day, Chris, the wilderness guide per excellence, served up a perfect picnic complete with wine and gourmet salads:

If you are ever looking to travel to Africa with expert guides, call Piper and Heath, and I promise, they will take care of you with first class service.

Thanks to Chris and Roy for great outdoors adventure today.

Here is a post I wrote on April 8, 2013 – note that this is almost five years ago, before Trump was even on our horizon as a serious candidate. I called it them. Guns in school won’t make children safer. Then – or Now.

Norbert Haupt

Here is a picture posted by Marc Sonnenberg.

It was taken 2 seconds before Reagan was shot. He was surrounded by Secret Service agents, who are some of the most finely trained gunmen and security experts we have in this country.

Reagan Shooting

Hinckley fired a Röhm RG-14 .22 cal. blue steel revolver six times in 1.7 seconds, missing the president with all six shots.The first bullet hit White House Press Secretary James Brady in the head. The second hit District of Columbia police officer Thomas Delahanty in the back of his neck as he turned to protect Reagan.Hinckley now had a clear shot at the president,but the third overshot him and hit the window of a building across the street. As Special Agent In Charge Jerry Parr quickly pushed Reagan into the limousine, the fourth hit Secret Service agent Timothy McCarthy in the abdomen as he spread his body over Reagan to make…

View original post 175 more words

The solution is really simple:


Arm Melania



Fellow New Yorker,

We are all sadly aware that last week, seventeen community members at the Stoneman Douglas High School were gunned down in one of the deadliest school shootings in our nation’s history.

In the wake of this tragedy, Washington has responded with the same appalling complacency and inaction that it always responds with. Plenty of thoughts and prayers. No action.

In New York, we are doing the opposite. Following the Sandy Hook shooting, we passed the SAFE Act — which banned assault rifles like the AR-15 and made it harder for people deemed to be dangerously mentally ill to purchase guns. Firearm deaths have fallen and our state is safer for it.

But our work isn’t done. I have proposed new legislation to remove all firearms from those who commit domestic violence crimes. And today, I joined the Governors of New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Connecticut in launching States for Gun Safety – a multi-state coalition to take action against gun violence in the face of failed leadership at the federal level.

This time, things can be different. The young survivors of the Parkland shooting are speaking out, demanding more from the adults in power — and their awe-inspiring efforts bring me hope.

The American people have waited far too long — but with your help, we can say once and for all that while this was not the first school shooting in America, it will be the last.

Ever Upward,

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

Looks like the president is scared. Why would he even put a spotlight on this?

Nobody ever said or suspected that Russian interference was either invented by Trump or created for Trump. Of course those plans and activities were in place before. But that does not in any way preclude the possibility that once Trump started running, he didn’t think it would be helpful for him to leverage those activities for himself.

Trump pointing this out makes him look guilty.

Sounds to me like a defensive tweet of a nervous mind.

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