Monday, July 31, 2017

1827 What John Kelly Will Find on His New Desk

When Marine General John Kelly sits down at his desk in the west wing of the White House this morning he’ll know what a clean slate looks like.

The drawers are empty.  The filing cabinets are empty.  The telephone has been disconnected.  The blotter is new and untouched. The computer hard drive has been reformatted and emptied of content. Everything is spotless, as befits the workspace of a retired general.

Kelly is the president’s new chief of staff.  He starts today.  

Oh, there is one thing left. It’s a memo from former chief of staff Reince Priebus.  It is not classified. It’s not even in an envelope.  Hence, Wessays™ was able to photograph it.

Here’s what it says:

To: Chief of Staff John Kelly
From: Former Chief of Staff Reince Priebus
Subject:  Welcome to the White House

Welcome to your new digs, John.  To clear the space and spruce up the office we have removed and shredded all previous paperwork, including but not limited to directives, correspondence with other officials, correspondence with members of the public, the cleaning schedule and the phone directory.  We had been informed that your American Express Blue Card would be upgraded to Platinum so we cut up our own and took the fragments directly to the building incinerator.

The men’s room is down the hall to your left.  The President’s voicemail is extension 5108.  Unfortunately, I don’t know the direct line to the Oval Office, but you can try calling the switchboard by dialing “0” and ask to be connected if you need to speak with him.  If he chooses to call you, “blocked number” will appear in your caller i.d. display.

I wish I had been able to give you the current list of non-persons.  But since I was most recently in the office Friday around lunchtime, it undoubtedly has changed several times and anything I could have left you would probably be outdated by the time you saw it.

There are some permanent members, however.  And some high potentials. Keep an eye out for Steve Bannon.  His star was beginning to fade in the final days of my own tenure here.  Secretary of State ReXXon has been floating trial stories about how he’s considering stepping down.  These are unconfirmed but still worth considering.  You may be asked to join a search committee for the Secretary and possibly other members of the Cabinet.  Keep your eye on “The Mooch.” He is not to be trusted.  Do not be taken in by his fake sincerity and personal charm and reserved, dignified persona.

I urge you to keep the President’s Twitter feed on your computer screen once the IT people have restored it to working order.  The President’s habit is to tweet things before issuing formal orders and making personnel changes.

And finally, I have taken the liberty of sending a package of banker’s boxes to your home.  It was the last thing I charged on my company card.  No one who works in this building should be without storage boxes at the ready in case there suddenly develops an urge to re-retire or the President decides you’re not up to the job.

I wish you the best of luck and Godspeed.


I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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Friday, July 28, 2017

1826 Tilt

If the “tilt” sign lit up the pinball machine would go dark. Oh, there were some machines where a skilled pinballer could coax and tease the ball to hit high scoring targets without tripping “tilt.” But most machines and most players had tight limits on how much cheating you could do before losing the game.

It’s an old fashioned way of saying “Game Over.”

For seven years, the US Senate has been playing pinball with your health care, first threatening to overturn Obamacare and then coming up with failed game plan after failed game plan to make that happen.

Much legislation in this country works on the pinball machine principle.  Someone pushes the plunger and the ball comes out of its hole, rolls up the exit ramp and onto the playing field.  It hits this post, then that one. And it works its way down to the flippers where a good player might send it back up the field hitting more targets and winning more points.

Or it drops into the drain.

Did the “Better Care” bill fail in the senate because everyone took one look and asked “who named this thing, anyway, George Orwell?”  No.

Did it fail because the senate came to its senses and said “wait, wait, we don’t really want to take away health insurance from more than 20 million Americans many of whom we haven’t yet been able to keep from voting?”  Of course not.

It failed because three republicans and 48 democrats voted against it. (Amazing, isn’t it, to see 48 democrats agree on anything these days?)

The credit -- and credit it is -- goes to Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine), Senator Barbara Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Senator John McCain (R-Arizona.) They are the three republicans who voted “no” and put this junk legislation into a coma if not into the ground.

Collins and Murkowski were pretty clear in recent days that they wouldn’t support their party’s scam. McCain weaseled around for awhile and finally joined the other two.

Let’s not nominate him for sainthood quite yet.  Although he passes as a moderate and a maverick, when it comes to a vote his party generally can count on his “aye.”

McCain was recently diagnosed with a brain tumor.  His triumphant and celebratory return to work was marked by two contradictory acts.

  1. He voted “yes” on a motion to bring the profoundly flawed legislation up for debate.  And
  2. He gave that little speech about how “we” have to relearn how to work with the Democrats instead of trying to “win alone.”

Those two events took place in quick succession. Anyone else see a contradiction there?

Okay, but when push came to shove, McCain joined Collins and Murkowski to shove majority leader McConnell (R-Kentucky) just as he was lifting the game machine to make the ball go his way.

Tilt.  Game over.

It was like Our Hero snatched Periled Pauline from the railroad track where she was tied seconds before the train would have rolled over her.

Or at least it seemed so.

But that’s not what happened.  A man under a death sentence with no appeals left, with no chance of a stay of execution,  realized he no longer was beholden to anyone and did the right thing.



--Poor Mexico can’t catch a break.  The advice to potential tourists always was “don’t drink the water.” Now the warning has been widened to alcoholic beverages that might be contaminated.  Isn’t alcohol a germ killer?

--It looks like more of those Takata weaponized air bags are being recalled.  Defense contractors and arms dealers are missing an important boat here. They could be buying up the things and selling them to the Pentagon.

I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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Wednesday, July 26, 2017

1825 A Congress of Cowards

1825 A Congress of Cowards

Let’s take the long view. With any luck, this will be the last for awhile in a series of posts about the malignancy in the White House and the little men and women in the national legislature.

Ultimately the Trump administration can’t last.  It can flail about before going under for the third time.  Or its interior rot can spread to the surface. Or lightning can strike and fell the tree that’s bark on the outside and pulp within. But one way or another, this guy is through.

There’s a good chance the president’s ties to the Russian banks which are said to be holding hands with at least one German bank will turn out to be real.  After all, with this man’s business record, no sane American banker would lend him subway fare let alone millions to plant his name on one of those garish, overpriced nouveau riche buildings.

He’ll fire this guy. Bring in that guy. Go to court about whether DIY pardons are legal.  Be shocked when the court says “sorry, you can’t do that.” Fire Mueller. Fire Sessions.  Fire everyone whose name you know.  It won’t matter.  Ultimately, any coverup will be uncovered and any crime exposed.

In the meantime, the Permanent Legislature lives in morbid fear of losing its day job… which is getting re-elected.  It bows and scrapes to the whims of self loathing humanoids who see America as their personal playground and have the pirate’s treasure to make it so.

It’s led by a brainless pseudo intellectual in one house and a crumpled old man in the other, someone smart enough to know he’s in way over his head but not smart enough to fix things -- which he has the power to do.

Someone will find out what’s going on with Trump and the Russians, maybe some up and coming Woodward and Bernstein we haven’t yet discovered.  Maybe some brave soul in one of those annuitized congressional districts … who can’t be unseated will wake up one morning, ask himself “what the hell are we doing?” and there you have the start of the revolt of the cowardly.

We’re pretty good in this country about getting back to normal.  To do that, we have to acknowledge and deal with climate change, Vladimir and his merry band of Brighton Beach gangsters, health care, voting rights and even genderfluid public bathrooms and the role of adult fairytales in the national discourse.

It’s going to be long and painful. But the good guys will either win, eventually, or this country exits stage right (wing.)  

-Let's return to regular order. We've been spinning our wheels on too many important issues because we keep trying to find a way to win without help from across the aisle." --Senator John McCain returning to the Senate floor “a little worse for wear” and with a diagnosed brain tumor.  This was after he voted to move the anti- Obamacare legislation forward.

-Is President Frootloops looking to fire Attorney General Beauregard so he can find a replacement willing to fire Mueller?

I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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Monday, July 24, 2017

1824 Spicer We Hardly Knew Ya

Broadway Video.

Wait, wait. That’s not Sean Spicer, that’s Melissa McCarthy on Saturday Night Live.  Well, so much for that career.  And here we were told Trump was going to create jobs.  Maybe the former press secretary was formered because SNL got better ratings than The Apprentice.

So that pathetic little Washington insider has been replaced by Sarah Huckabee Sanders or “SS” as she’s known in military history circles.

The big question is can she fill Spicy’s shoes?  Can she lie and twist the truth and try to tell us black is white and white is black as well as Sean?  Maybe she’ll get extra help, tutoring, from Kellyanne who probably could have taught even the Liar-in-Chief a thing or two.

Spicer “objected” to his new boss, Anthony “The Mooch” Scaramucci who’s been named communications director.  No one knows what a communications director does. But people know what The Mooch is and does.

First, he’s another of those Long Islanders Trump seems to embrace… Mike Cohen the lawyer… Sean Hannity… Sean Spicer… Bill O’Reilly and others.

The Mooch was a veteran of Goldman Sachs, then went on to build independent capital management outfits.  But the career highlight we don’t hear about that much these days is his fundraising for Barack Obama in 2008.
Say what?

By 2012 he had come to his senses and was finance co chairman for the Romney campaign.

He also backed Trump’s primary election opponents last year.  First Scott Walker and then JEB Bush.

And here you thought the president surrounded himself with loyalists.

In fact, questioning personal loyalty may have been what got Spicy in trouble.  After all, former GOP chairman and present White House chief of staff Reince Priebus brought him in.  And Priebus was suspect all along because he’s from New Jersey and was a Washington political pro. (Note to self: gotta remember “Reince” has an “ei” not an “ie” and “Priebus” has an “ie,” not an “ei.” Confusing.)

Technically, Spicer resigned.  And technically, the president offered him the chance to keep his job. But you can bet that during that last meeting between the two in the oval office, security was down the hall in the press office, packing Spicer’s chewing gum and demo-dolls in boxes to ship home.

Don’t feel sorry for him. He has a great career ahead of him. The world of public relations needs someone like this guy. And if he has trouble landing here, maybe Uncle Vladimir can find him something to do.

-“The President and a small group of people know exactly what he meant.” -- Sean Spicer explaining Trump’s “Covfefe” tweet.

-Also “resigned this past week: the Minneapolis police chief who didn’t cut her Colorado hiking vacation short and come home after one of her cops shot a 911 caller dead.

I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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Friday, July 21, 2017

1823 They All Look Alike


1823 They All Look Alike
Here’s a car you won’t lose. And no one will steal it.
Your car is missing.
No, no one took it. (Who wants one of THOSE!?) It’s just that you parked and now you’re back, and where IS the thing?

Unless you have one of those toyboxes on wheels or a really imbecile color (bright pink is oh so fashionable now but a sure fire value-dropper at trade-in time) your car looks pretty much like everyone else’s.

In fact, every car that isn’t an SUV or one of those toyboxes, looks like a 1986 Taurus.

Searching requires some forethought. Look around carefully. Eliminate the imbecile colors, which probably have imbecile names (“Lunar Mist” is Toyota-speak for “almost black,” for example.)
Okay, so now you’ve narrowed your search to four door sedans that are sort of dark blue or grey or (gulp!) Lunar Mist.

The next thing to do is get out your electronic, radio-controlled door unlocker, point it at a row of cars and click it. If you’re really lucky, you’ll be near enough to have your car beep or honk at you (unless, like one dummy, who will remain fifth-amendment anonymous, you’ve turned the thing off.)

Chances are, you’re not in range. So the next step is to start cruising the aisles with unlocker clicker in hand.

As you prowl along, you can eliminate cars with those EZ Pass gizmos on the windshield if you don’t have one.

But the best procedure is the old cop trick, looking for identifying marks or scars.This is usually applied to wanted criminals. But it also works for metal objects.

A dent or ding, or an interestingly patterned bird dropping can be an easy identifier. (Don’t worry, bird droppings don’t wash away, even if you’re parked out of doors.)

If you don’t have any of that, you might consider adding one. You might, for example, paint a big numeral on your trunk. Use either a small paint roller or a wide brush, each of which is available for little cost at your local hardware store – if you still HAVE a local hardware store. Use the same equipment to paint an “X” or other simple letter.

Or, you can use a NEW cop trick” Have a LoJack installed. When you can’t find the car, report it stolen. The cops’ll find it using the LoJack. Of course, there’s a risk. Doing this is filing a false report, which is a high-grade misdemeanor (and in some places, a low grade felony) so make a second call – to your lawyer before the cops get there.

Maybe it would be better to take a sledgehammer to your roof. Nothing like a huge dent in the roof to make a car stand out in a crowd.

Around these parts, you can hang an Israeli flag or Jewish star on the rearview mirror. No one else will have one. Or maybe someone will notice and dent your roof for you.

Shame they don’t have extra-long-range remote door unlockers.

I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

1822 Karma Insurance

1822 Karma Insurance

This Baldwin upright fell from the roof of a ten story nursing home and landed on a man about to visit an aunt and brought along a bottle of auntie- freeze.  Who pays for the piano, the filling of the new pothole and the villain squished into it?

Each day, we’re bombarded by insurance ads and news stories.  Obamacare, Trump care, home, renter motorcycle, boat, life, health… and more.  

We can all Sing Along with Pitch:

Fifteen minutes could save you 15% or more on karma insurance.  Call Geico.

For a great low rate you can get on- line, go to The General and save some time.

Flo. Oy.

Like a good neighbor.

You’re in good hands.

On your side.

(L to R:) Statue of Liberty, unpaid spokeswoman for Liberty Mutual; J.K. Simmons, well regarded actor and now spokesman for Farmers Insurance which is probably an easier gig than Dr. Skoda on Law & Order and Chief Pope on The Closer.

Anyone missing  from this list?  Probably, but that’s not the point.

Thing is not what’s missing here but what those sloganeer car insurance companies are missing.

What’s the goal of an insurance company? To collect fees and low ball or avoid claims.

What’s harder to identify than a smashed in passenger side door or a dent in the truck?


You know it when you see it.  You long for it for both your friends and rivals.  And when it strikes you, especially if you’ve been naughty, what do you want most?


So… we propose the AKA, the Affordable Karma Act.  

Karma is usually slow moving.  The AKA would speed up the process so that guy who cut you off at the checkout line or on the highway would within a day be crushed by a falling piano pushed off the roof of a ten story nursing home where he was about to visit Aunt Beth to make sure he was still in her will.

The AKA would protect you from that stalker Flo. And that other stalker, the General.  And the Geico gecko.  (The gecko would be stepped on while touring an aircraft carrier by a formation of navy recruits that didn’t yet get that “left, right, left, right thing.  Nothing left but a little green deck stain to be removed at 06:00 hours by a team of Navy scrubbing swabbies.)  Shaquille might not notice The General sitting in the driver’s seat of that sports car and the poor little guy would look like the squashed gecko after Shaq mistakenly sat down on him.

And of course your good deeds would be rewarded.  Like the time when you found the wallet with all that money in it and returned it.  And that ingrate of a fussy old man gave you a 50 cent piece and it turned out to be a fake.

There are problems. The AK act is not perfect. For example, how would an adjuster adjust? By taking a picture of the fallen piano?  By rushing in with his phone cam to capture the green stain before the swabbies got to it?

And what happens when legislative geniuses like Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell decide to repeal and replace?  And got rewarded for their effort by losing the next election?

Can the insurance industry do a better job with the webpage than the Obamacare crew?

No worries, we can expect Alex Trebek to return to the small screen and assure us that we can buy Karma insurance for as little as 35 cents a day and your rate will never go up.  The Peanuts characters can get in on the act when Met Life gets into this part of the business.

The AARP will have Karmacare supplement plans for seniors because there will be cases even the best insurance doesn’t fully cover.

I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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Monday, July 17, 2017

1821 Let's Take a Meeting

Let’s take a meeting. Not a bus or train or plane.  A meeting.

Let’s take a meeting.  Okay.  How about we take it from Paris to Poquot.  Or from Honolulu to Haverstraw.

Hey, what happened to your meeting?  I don’t know. It was here a minute ago. Someone must have taken it.

Let’s take a meeting.  Should we take it, or should we bring it.

Well if it’s taken, someone has to bring it back.  Unless you miss it. If you miss a meeting, call the cops. Ask for the Missing Meetings Bureau.

I missed the meeting.  That’s okay, you still have three bullets in the clip. Shoot again, maybe this time you’ll hit it.

You know how to take your turn.  You know how to take only one strawberry at a time.   You may know how to take your time.

You know how you take your coffee.  You know how to leave and take your football with you.

But how do you take a meeting.  And where did that horrible stupid expression come from in the first place.

It’s everywhere.

We used to hold meetings.  Convene them. Fall asleep during them. We used to pretend we were having one when someone called and we didn’t want to talk to them.  “He’s in a meeting” was the Great Shield of the 1980s and 90s.  But more recently “he’s taking a meeting” has taken over.

Trump Jr. took a meeting with some Russian lawyer. We presume it was behind closed doors.  (Aren’t they all? There’s no open door policy in meetings like that.) Well, maybe this one, come to think of it.  

The meeting started out taken by Jr. and two other administration wheels. Now, each day, we find more and more people were there.  A translator.  Some others.  Maybe a stray squirrel or two. By the time we get a head count for that session, there’s going to be no room big enough to hold them all. It’ll turn out having been held in a high school gym.  And you can’t have a closed door meeting in a high school gym because that would violate the fire laws.

(Now now, I can see your wheels turning as you ask yourself “since when did violating laws bother these people?” But that’s something to take a meeting about at another time.)

If there had just been three or four attending -- oops! -- three or four taking, we might fear what went on because a four member meeting might actually accomplish something.  And with these yo yos it can’t be anything good. Any more than that and no one would be listening. They’d be preoccupied with what they were going to say next.  Happens every time.  So taking this particular meeting probably accomplished nothing. Too many people.

Ever been on a conference call?  You know people are not listening.  They’re doodling on their yellow pads or playing Candy Crush on their iPhones or playing footsy with that hot person-of-the-other-gender at the next desk. Or taking a nap.

So please. Please hold a meeting, attend a meeting, miss a meeting.  And please, please take the A Train or take a picture or take a leave of absence.

But don’t take a meeting.

I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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Friday, July 14, 2017

1820 Mr. Trumpachov Tear Down that Wall

Gewandhaus Optisch

Has kind of a nice Reaganesque ring to it, no?  Well, guess what? Looks like Comrade Commissar Trumpachov is having second thoughts about that border wall down Mejico way.

What, no Trumpachov related industries down there so the contract will have to go to some unknown kickback free low bidder? Perish forbid!

Actually the US has been building a wall down there for a long time.  Some of what was first built is falling apart and the president wants it fixed forthwith.  But building a new wall, well, maybe -- he says -- we only need to build 700 miles, not the 2,000 originally planned.

We don’t know how much it will cost to build the Great Wall of Texas.  But maybe they could throw some of that money into fixing the Jersey Turnpike… or the Pennsylvania Turnpike or the Oklahoma Turnpike or the Ohio Turnpike.  Or Route 66 or Highway 101.  No one will complain about violating states rights.

At any rate, the Commissar took time out from his Berlitz intensive on Russian as a Second Language to backpeddle on the scope of Project Wall.  

And this is a good sign.  Not only because less wall will be built, but because it amounts to a half baked reversal of one of his central campaign promises.  Optimists hope this is the start of a trend.

We’ll believe it as soon as his check to Planned Parenthood clears, Betsy DiVorce joins the United Federation of Teachers, Steve Banana converts to Judaism, and Attorney General Sessions is busted in a dollar-a-minute Opelika Alabama hotel with a black hooker and a lit joint.

“Take a hammer and a stick
And a shovel and a pick
And tear the big wall down.”
--South African folksinger and religious leader Sebastian Templehoff.
--"Trump said that if I voted for Hillary I would get a criminal in the White House under federal investigation from the first day. He was right, I voted for Hillary and I got a criminal in the White House under federal investigation since day one." --Anon. via Charlie Richards.

--Former President Carter, building Habitat for Humanity houses in Canada was hospitalized for dehydration. Habitat says he doesn’t appear to be in any real medical danger. Earth to Habitat: Being 92 years old and in perfect health is real medical danger.

--Samsung appears ready to introduce its “Note 8” smartphone. This, after having some minor technical issues with the Note 7 which was pulled off the market. Don’t believe the rumors that each “8” will come with its own fire extinguisher. bought Whole Foods and already the acquisition is affecting the mother ship. In addition to Amazon Prime, it will offer Amazon Choice and Amazon Select. The USDA has not decided whether to charge copyright infringement.

Amazon Prime delivery vehicle

I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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4745 An Ounce of Cure

  Forget the ounce of prevention and the pound of cure.  With everything getting odder, let’s make it a Troy Ounce of prevention.   While “n...