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Cartoon- #me too

Thousand One Nights- Duniazad

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The Art of Sleaze

Let us not forget politics is the art of the impossible made to pass for the possible. Since the founding of the new nation it was played by the educated and also who were not so endowed with intellectual abilities but they all had ambition to run for office. The slogan Making America Great Again sounds great but isn’t that what the Presidents from George Washington till Obama have been striving for? Only that no citizen got a chance to see this perceived greatness since wave after wave of world events rocked the shores while ethnic minorities and native Americans reacted to the domestic policies vector of forces impacting from elsewhere. Wars broke out as riots were quelled and even a Civil War from 1860 till 1865 did not achieve what greatness every President had hoped for. So politics is an euphemism for what really takes place in the backrooms while every President in office assures home and abroad what they see is indeed greatness. In this connection I think the rise of President Trump would be a good topic to illustrate how politics discover you. You rake up the cesspool of human ambition and greed and it is wealth  what you gather. Carnegie, Rockefeller and Mellon and many others used it with class so their wealth funded music arts and letters. Their foundations made treasures of the world accessible to a man on the street. For those who have made millions in unsavory manner a university or Homes for the Veterans that they float is not for the end user but the means to bilk the very people who may vote them to office. In whichever case politics discovered Trump.

Trumps’ grandfather arrived as an immigrant from Germany and after many unsuccessful attempts, not exactly in honorable manner while selling liquor and girls of easy virtue made one economically viable,’ for god’s sake there was gold rush in those days. He died young and Trumps father made money in a manner that shaped Donal’s future irrevocably.  “In 1973 Trump, 27, was living in a rent-controlled studio, wearing French cuffs, and taking his dates to the Peacock Alley, the bar in the lobby of the Waldorf Astoria. At the time, the lockbox of Establishment New York was tightly closed to the Trumps of Queens, despite their mansion in Jamaica Estates.

Riding around Brooklyn in a Rolls-Royce, Trump’s mother, Mary, collected quarters from laundry rooms in various Trump buildings. Trump’s father, Fred, had already beaten back two scandals in which he was accused of overcharging and profiteering at some of his government-financed apartment complexes, and was now facing an even more explosive charge—systemic discrimination against black and other minority tenants. The Trumps, however, were connected to Favor Bank politicians in the Brooklyn Democratic machine, which, in tandem with the Mob bosses, still influenced who got many of the judgeships and patronage jobs. It was twilight world from Dante and if you did not hold on to your scruples you were sure never to find way back again.

It was here his world connected with a lawyer much older in comparison by name Roy Cohn.  Cohn and Trump were twinned by what drove them. They were both sons of powerful fathers, young men who had started their careers clouded by family scandal. Both had been private-school students from the boroughs who’d grown up with their noses pressed against the glass of dazzling Manhattan. Both squired attractive women around town.

Cohn after graduating from Columbia Law School at 20, he became an assistant U.S. attorney and an expert in “subversive activities,” allowing him to segue into his role in the 1951 espionage trial of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. (Cohn persuaded the star witness, Ethel Rosenberg’s brother, David Greenglass, to change his testimony; in Cohn’s autobiography, written with Sidney Zion, Cohn claimed that he had encouraged the judge, already intent on sending Julius to the electric chair, to also order Ethel’s execution, despite the fact that she was a mother with two children.) Come 1953, this legal prodigy was named McCarthy’s boy-wonder chief counsel, and the news photos told the tale: the sharp-faced, heavy-lidded 26-year-old with cherubic cheeks, whispering intimately into the ear of the bloated McCarthy. Cohn’s special skill as the senator’s henchman was character assassination. Indeed, after testifying in front of him, an engineer with the Voice of America radio news service committed suicide. Cohn never showed a shred of remorse.

Cohn was best known as a ruthless prosecutor. During the Red Scare of the 1950s,  But in the decades since, Cohn had become the premier practitioner of hardball deal-making in New York, having mastered the arcane rules of the city’s Favor Bank (the local cabal of interconnected influence peddlers) and its magical ability to provide inside fixes for the ilk of Trump.

“You knew when you were in Cohn’s presence you were in the presence of pure evil,” said lawyer Victor A. Kovner, who had known him for years. Cohn’s power derived largely from his ability to scare potential adversaries with hollow threats and spurious lawsuits. Trump—who would remain loyal to Cohn for many years—would be one of the last and most enduring beneficiaries of Cohn’s power.

Cohn, with his bravado, reckless opportunism, legal pyrotechnics, and serial fabrication, became a fitting mentor for the young real-estate scion. And as Trump’s first major project, the Grand Hyatt, was set to open, he was already involved in multiple controversies. He was warring with the city about tax abatements and other concessions. He had hoodwinked his very own partner, Hyatt chief Jay Pritzker, by changing a term in a deal when Pritzker was unreachable—on a trip to Nepal. In 1980, while erecting what would become Trump Tower, he antagonized a range of arts patrons and city officials when his team demolished the Art Deco friezes decorating the 1929 building. Vilified in the headlines—and by the Establishment—Trump offered a response that was pure Roy Cohn: “Who cares?” he said. “Let’s say that I had given that junk to the Met. They would have just put them in their basement.”

For author Sam Roberts, the essence of Cohn’s influence on Trump was the triad: “Roy was a master of situational immorality . . . . He worked with a three-dimensional strategy, which was: 1. Never settle, never surrender. 2. Counter-attack, counter-sue immediately. 3. No matter what happens, no matter how deeply into the muck you get, claim victory and never admit defeat.” As columnist Liz Smith once observed, “Donald lost his moral compass when he made an alliance with Roy Cohn.” Then was the third in the triad. Roger Stone in 1979 though only 27, had achieved a degree of notoriety as one of Richard Nixon’s political dirty-tricksters. At the time, he was running Ronald Reagan’s presidential-campaign organization in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, and he needed office space. He came in touch with Cohn who in turn put him to Trump

“I went to see him,” Stone told me, “and Trump said, ‘How do you get Reagan to 270 electoral votes?’ He was very interested [in the mechanics]—a political junkie. Then he said, ‘O.K., we are in. Go see my father.’ ” Out Stone went to Avenue Z, in Coney Island, and met Fred Trump in his office, which was crowded with cigar-store Indians. “True to his word, I got $200,000. The checks came in $1,000 denominations, the maximum donation you could give. All of these checks were written to ‘Reagan For President.’ It was not illegal—it was bundling. Check trading.” For Reagan’s state headquarters, the Trumps found Stone and the campaign a decrepit town house next to the ‘21’ Club. Stone was now, like Donald Trump, inside the Cohn tent.

And Stone soon seized the moment to cash in. After Reagan was elected, his administration softened the strict rules for corporations seeking government largesse. Soon Stone and Paul Manafort, Trump’s future campaign manager, were lobbyists, reaping the bonanzas that could flow with Favor Bank introductions. Their first client, Stone recalled, was none other than Donald Trump, who retained him, irrespective of any role Manafort might have had in the firm, for help with federal issues such as obtaining a permit from the Army Corps of Engineers to dredge the channel to the Atlantic City marina to accommodate his yacht, the Trump Princess.

All along there had been something deeper connecting Stone and Trump and Roy Cohn: the climate of suspicion and fear that had helped bring all three to power. Although Stone, like many around Cohn in the 70s and 80s, was too young to have observed how Cohn helped poison America in the McCarthy years, Stone had learned at the feet of Richard Nixon, the ultimate American paranoid. And the politics of paranoia that Cohn and Stone had cynically mastered would eventually make them kindred spirits. Just as the two of them had come to prominence by exploiting a grave national mood (Cohn in the 50s, Stone in the 70s), it was this same sense of American angst, resurgent in 2016, that would ultimately help elect Donald Trump.

“Pro-Americanism,” Stone said, “is a common thread for McCarthy, Goldwater, Nixon, [and] Reagan. The heir to that tradition is Donald Trump. When you combine that with the bare-knuckled tactics of Roy Cohn—or a Roger Stone—that is how you win elections. So Roy has an impact on Donald’s understanding of how to deal with the media—attack, attack, attack, never defend.”

Ack: Vanity Fair magazine section: How Donald Trump and Roy Cohn’s Ruthless symbiosis changed America /Marie Brenner Aug.2017

Benny

tutle caretta

Big Cat- look out

lion watch-out

Big Horn-pen

bighorn

Billiards- cartoon

DEC.

Some 92 fables many of which never published earlier are included in the latest. Almost Aesop-Fables is available as paperback and for kindle, available worldwide through Amazon.com

What is it about?

“Aesop may not have written down any fables but does it change their quality? Nor would it matter his lowly station in life. As a slave he would have been bound to a place and to a few men for the sake of necessity. But man is more than time and place. The author in the present work is attempting to imitate and not take his place. Almost Aesop shall we say?

Only when one sits down to imitate Aesop one realizes how timeless he is.  The same drive that makes a man rise to the top now is self-same in his time.  Take the fable of The Lioness and the Frog. Mama Frog who boasts of its countless spawn is no different than a man who struts about millions all in stock. The lioness would find her cubs though a few sufficient to make all sit up and notice. Such is solid fame. The nameless inventor of wheels did not patent his invention but think of the march of progress without him? Solid fame is what makes your relevance count even after your lifetime. It is your calling card to posterity.

Almost Aesop carries life experience in some 80 + fables sprinkled with illustrations from the author.

Almost Aesop is a companion volume to the Life of Aesop also available through Amazon.com

Here is the cover.

Almost_Aesop__Fable_Cover_for_Kindle

Benny