The Trump Worldwide Network

Few people know this, but President Trump is not a fan of CNN. His reasoning is simple: it “doesn’t do great in” ratings and it is “a powerful voice portraying the United States in an unfair and false way.”

Like all great leaders, he recently decided that something has to be done.

“Something has to be done,” he tweeted Monday, “including the possibility of the United States starting our own Worldwide Network to show the World the way we really are, GREAT!”

And it turned out to be bi-partisan, too! Even the Democrats like the idea. The Democratic Coalition Against Trump called it “wildly popular with dictators around the world.”

Upon learning about this new idea of Trump’s, I had an off-the-record conversation with the as-yet-unnamed CEO of the new network, ex-Fox News Executive Bill Shine. Remember him? He was hired away from Fox News to, as he put it, improve the lighting at Trump press conferences.

Trump wants to name the new network World Wide Trump, in appreciation of World Wide Entertainment entrepreneur Vince McMahon, who turned a fake sport into a huge moneymaker, somewhat like what Trump is doing to the presidency.

They met when Trump fake-assaulted Vince during a 2007 appearance on WWE. Vince was so fake-upset, he fake-fired Trump. Trump was so fake-repentant (it’s the only time he’s been fired, fake or real), he hired Vince’s wife to run the Small Business Administration. And that wasn’t fake.

Yep. If it weren’t for Vince McMahon, fake news would not exist.

Shine outlined some of Trump’s ideas for the new network:

The Trump Travel Channel: this sprightly travelogue will feature visits to Trump properties around the world. It will include holographs of Anthony Bourdain playing golf with Trump and later drinking Trump wine and pigging out on Kentucky Fried Chicken takeout.

60 Trumpian Minutes: This magazine show will feature in-depth investigative stories about Trump’s acts of valor over the years. Several are already in production, including a behind the scenes report of how Trump overcame the terror of impending baldness by designing a new look for testosterone-challenged bald guys.

24/7 Trump News! These 30 minutes news shows will feature Trump quotes of the day, along with personal appearances and insider commentary by Ivanka, Melania, Eric, and Don Jr. It will include uplifting short pieces featuring give-aways of “previously-owned!” Trump T-shirts (in the summer) and Trump sweatshirts (in the winter) to poor people. Every Thanksgiving, Trump will also give the bird to any non-white, non-English speaking, non-Christian, homeless person he can find in his fan base.

Trump’s Big Bang Theory: Although the format is not fully fleshed out, this show will detail stories of Trump conquests of unsuspecting out-of-town girls. The parts of the girls will be played by professional escorts. Trump will play himself.

Young Trump: This heartwarming series will star a young, cute-as-a-button Trump as he runs adorable and brilliant circles around grouchy out-of-touch grownups. Episodes will include the first time he scammed the IRS, his first taste of fast-food, and the first lie he ever told (in that show the part of young Trump will be played by a newborn).

Game of Trumps: This series will be based on the Trump family’s successes: starting with outsmarting immigrant tenants in Trump buildings in Queens, to mastering the art of money-laundering around the world, to applying mob tactics to politics.

Mr. Trump’s Neighborhood: This heartwarming show is aimed at children only. Mr. Trump, wearing an unassuming cardigan and sitting on a brownstone stoop, talks to kids in a loving, fatherly tone. He teaches them some of life’s important lessons: how lie to your parents, friends, and teachers; the importance of never admitting a mistake and never apologizing; the need to personally attack anyone who questions you; the fact that rules and integrity are made for losers; and, above all the requirement of absolute loyalty to Mr. Donald.

I asked Bill (we were on a first named basis by then) if I could interview Trump about the new network. He said Trump liked me so much, he would do more than that: he would write, not just the answers, but the questions too, and then send them to me as soon as he has finished the Mueller interview.

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What I am thankful for

Every Thanksgiving someone in the family always comes up with, “Hey, let’s have everyone name something they’re thankful for!” We go around the table with people saying things like, “I’m grateful for Aunt Nanny” and then offering a beautifully written ode to Aunt Nanny, while I’m just trying to remember everyone’s name. Every year I’m caught by surprise. One year, I blurted out “I’m grateful for the turkey!” and actually got booed. And I had cooked the turkey!

This year, I’m ready. Here’s my list.

• Donald Trump for energizing voters to get off their couches and actually exercise their right to vote. We had the highest voter turnout in years, all due to the country dividing itself into Pro-Trump and Con-Trump camps. I guess there’s something to be said for being a divider instead of a uniter.

• Netflix for rescuing me from over-the-air TV shows. Netflix shows are far better than their network counterparts. Plus, there are no commercials! Plus plus, I can binge-watch and re-watch as many times as I like. Netflix even has old TV shows I missed, like Friends (Could there BE a funnier cast?) Netflix started by renting classic movies from old-time movie studios. Then, the rights got too expensive, so they started making their own. Now that others like Apple and Amazon are joining the no commercials model, I hope some of the old-time studios will start streaming a channel of their classic movies.

• The New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, AP, Reuters and other major news media for providing in-depth investigative stories (such as last week’s NY Times piece on Facebook) as a counter to the breathless and somewhat lobotomized TV news. Poor TV news: so costly, so time consuming, and so vacuous.

• The men’s fashion world for no longer requiring that men wear ties for formal occasions. Open necked shirts are a lot more comfortable than shirt and tie. Wearing ties goes back eons to the world-before-steam-heat,  even to the Romans according to some historians. Some say a tie was used to ward of cold, others say it was to subtly point to a certain part of a man’s anatomy. Whatever the answer, this man is happy.

• Ride hailing services. They have saved me beaucoup bucks. Now instead of driving to an airport, bus, or train station when I travel, and paying exorbitant parking fees while I’m gone, I take a Lyft to and from. It’s a lot cheaper and a lot nicer to be driven. Plus, being a back seat driver is way more fun than being a front seat driver.

• Turkey. Not the bird, the country, for telling the world about the Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi’s murder, for forcing the world to pay attention. The facts about it are horrific enough. The White House and the administration’s support for the Saudis who killed him, cut up his body and took the parts to God knows where, darned close.

• Dogs. Because they aren’t racist or bigoted. They don’t lie or cheat. They do steal, but no-one ever told them they shouldn’t steal because we haven’t learned to speak dog; however they can speak to us – in a variety of ways. They like everybody, except those who harm them. What a great code of living.

• Karen and Tyrone Mack of Capitol Heights, MD not just for adopting – at age 55 – all five siblings from one family, but also for their reason for doing so: “because they are our future. They are our Congress. They are our president.”

• Women legislators and the voters who put them in power, because they’ve been sitting in the wings long enough, because all that talent, insight, and capability have been ignored for too long, because the country needs them.

• California, because even on it’s knees and breathing through tear-stained facemasks, it’s still one of the best places on earth.

• Finally, you – everyone who reads this column, because of your brilliance, high level of curiosity, understanding, endless seeking of truth, and all around next-to-Godliness. If anyone deserves thanks, it is you.

As Pilgrim Captain John Woodleaf and Squanto of the Pawtuxet Tribe said to those very first dinner guests in 1619:  “Happy Thanksgiving, Turkeys!”

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The Supreme Lysistrata Solution

CNN is suing the White House to get Jim Acosta’s Hall Pass – Oops! “Hard Pass” -returned.

A “Hall Pass“ is issued by the principal, a “Hard Pass” is issued by the Secret Service. A “Hall Pass” is very hard to get, unless the principal likes you. A “Hard Pass” is easy to get if you’re a top reporter. But Trump keeps asking the Secret Service to revoke reporters’ passes, which creates bad PR for White House, so the Secret Service told Trump it is very “Hard” to take a pass away from a reporter. That’s why it’s now called a “Hard Pass.”

It worked pretty well until last week.

As everyone from the Beijing to Boise knows by now, Trump called on Acosta during a press conference the day after the election. It didn’t go well.

That really upset Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, daughter of one-time Arkansas Governor and former Presidential candidate, Reverend Mike Huckabee – this according to a source who almost begged me for anonymity.

Just before press conference, Sarah, knowing Acosta loves to bait Trump, almost begged him to give Trump a break.

“You know the President was up all night watching election returns in between golf re-runs. And when he realized red and blue didn’t mean southern and northern Republicans, it near destroyed him. He was overcome by sadness at losing to that witch-in-pink, Nancy Pelosi. And when he’s sad, he acts out. So, if you just kindly give him a break, I’ll let him call on you. OK?“

According to my anonymous source, Acosta agreed.

Then he accused Trump of demonizing the caravan of refugees working it’s way from Latin America to the US border. Sarah was behind the cameras in the back of the room, swearing under her breath (without taking the Lord’s name in vain, of course).

Acosta didn’t stop there. He got into an argument with Trump and asked why Trump described the caravan as an “invasion”.

“Good Gosh Almighty!” said Sanders under her breath, “Picking on one word?! Everybody knows Trump is still working on his vocabulary. Now he’s even sadder. And he’s going to act out even more. — Oh Lordy! He’s going to the WWI Commemoration in Paris tomorrow! ”

“He really needs attention now,” said my worried-source-whom-I-won’t-reveal later.

“Who needs attention?” I asked.

“I’m talking about Acosta, of course, not Trump.” Then,  “Oh no, I’m sorry. I’m talking about Trump, not Acosta.” Then, “Um, Well… Both…!”

“OMG! (Oh My Gosh!). I have to figure a way to keep Acosta out of Paris.…”

So, now we have a Freedom of the Press issue that could go to the Supreme Court and could have been avoided if either had needed less attention. Knowing Acosta loves to bait him, Trump could have simply called on any other reporter in the room. And Acosta could have given the kid the break he promised.

But, as my source-who-asked-for-anonymity later said, “Don’t forget. Trump was feeling sad and powerless that day. So, he did what he always does to cheer himself up; he bullied people. It’s almost like illicit sex for him.”

“Is that why he attacks the press so much?” I asked.

An opaque smile. And, “maybe, this will go to the Supreme Court and Kavanaugh can earn his promotion.”

But, there is another possible solution: the Lysistrata Solution. The press could follow the lead of Lysistrata and the other women of Greece. After 19 years of the Peloponnesian War, they refused sex with their husbands or lovers – which ended the war rather quickly.

Reporters could just stop attending Trump appearances.

Imagine, for just a moment, the next Trump press conference: “Ladies and Gentlemen, please stand for the President of the United States!” Trump walks in and… nothing. Just empty chairs.

Imagine reporters reporting what the Trump actually does, instead of what he says. No lies. No insults. No horse-pucky. Cool, huh?

Of course, the Supreme Court could also uphold the First Amendment.

Maybe both solutions would work. Acosta could get his “Hard Pass” back, then he and the other reporters could boycott Trump Press Conferences and rallies: The Supreme Lysistrata Solution.

I suggested it to my source-I-will-not-name, who liked it for a minute. Then she said, “If Trump loses in the Supreme Court and there are no reporters at his Press Conferences or rallies, imagine who and how manyhe’ll bully or fire in order to feel happy again. Oh my!”

Sometimes there are just no easy solutions.

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Hurray! The 2018 Election is over!

I feel like I just took my first bath in months. With soap and deodorant.

It feels like the sun came out, like winter has turned to spring, like there’s enough money in my bank account. It feels like my kids like me again, like the house doesn’t need cleaning, like I went to a bar and the best looking girl in the place smiled and bought me a drink.

All things previously impossible are suddenly possible. I haven’t felt that way in months.

In the interests of becoming a fully informed voter, I set up four TV’s in my living room: Fox, MSNBC, CNN and, occasionally PBS. I’d watch all of them at the same time. So, when Fox’s Tucker Carlson or Sean Hannity or Jeanine Pirro fawned over Trump, I could quickly get the opposite from MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow or Joe Scarborough or Larry O’Donnell – followed by CNN’s more middle-of-the-road Wolf Blitzer, or Wolf Blitzer or Wolf Blitzer. PBS was for intervals of sanity when the others became too circus-like.

And vice versa, vice versa, vice versa.

PBS offered comparatively dull news. But, hey, facts can be really dull when they’re not puffed up with OMG! delivery and “breaking news” headlines.

Still, I tried to follow it all. And did, for the most part. Everyone was voting for Trump, except those who were voting against Trump. See, I boil things down to their basic components.

Then there were those who didn’t vote. But this time, I couldn’t find any. It’s like no one had anything to do on Tuesday, so they all went out and voted.  I just have one question: who watched the kids? And who went to work? And who – OK, OK…

Now, with the election over, I can reconfigure all four TV sets to where they were before: on NFL football games. I’d far rather watch 300 pound men bashing heads than listen to a politician try to lie without getting caught. More blood, but more honesty, too. And football players follow rules, which is nice. I wish elections had referees, don’t you?

How about all those for sale signs in all those yards! Who knew so many politicians were trying to sell their houses? And who knew politicians owned so many houses? I always thought Republicans were smart, but boy, are they going to make a fortune in real estate.

Although the Democrats have invested heavily, too. I guess the winners will be decided by which party profits the most from the election.

Wow! I can read the newspapers again. And books. And listen to podcasts.

I am especially grateful for the return of pharmaceutical ads to TV news. I knew, years ago, that TV was becoming an old person’s medium and that I am – uh – know one.

I used to resent those ads, because they kept reminding me that every ache or pain was a sign of imminent death. But now, after learning from politicians how close my town, my county, my state and the country are to imminent death, my aches and pains seem – well – patriotic.

And, I don’t want to leave out all those car ads I’ve had to do without over the last few months. It’s like the return of long lost friends: “ If you don’t buy a new car from us, you paid too much!” and “Credit problems? Come see us!”

Not to mention beer ads, insurance ads, clothing ads… Oh Boy! Diversity is back in advertising!

Yep, I am on a better path now that the election is over. I can start talking to my family again. Maybe my daughter will forgive me for the way I voted. (I didn’t tell her who I voted for, but she’s very intuitive).

Life is good now that the 2018 campaigns are over. Well, until the 2020 Presidential campaign starts.

Tomorrow.

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