Liars’ Theme – BONUS POST

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“Our vision stands in stark contrast to Crooked Joe Biden and his Far-Left special interest allies who want to keep the status quo and end American Exceptionalism at home and abroad… The radical Biden Democrats have had their time and their tried-and-failed Marxist agenda has been a disaster.”

So says a May 2024 mailing that is soliciting donations for the Trump National Committee. One wonders whether donations would go toward paying MORE hush money to who knows whom.

Here’s the trial situation:

LIARS’ THEME

sung to the tune of “Arthur’s Theme (Best That You Can Do)” with apologies to Christopher Cross, the Estate of Burt Bacharach, Carole Bayer Sager, and the Estate of Peter Allen.

All of his life Trump FOUND them.
Accomplices who kept word from GETting around.
Michael Cohen made himself, the, TALK of the town.
After-his-ordeal, he’s still with us.
What comes around, goes around, in this town.
Wondering whether he’ll take, Trump, down.

When Trump got caught with Michael COHEN in New York City…
Both are phony. Is anything new?
When Trump got caught with Michael COHEN in New York City…
The best that they could do, the best that they could do, was cover up.

Donald, he does what he pleases.
All of his life, he’s mastered power.
His claques, flacks and sycophants are ACTing, ACTing loyal.
Tired of court, time after time,
thinks he’ll never be doing, ANY time.
Showing his suck-ups the way, they WISH they could be.

When Trump got caught with Michael COHEN in New York City…
Both are phony. Is anything new?
When Trump got caught with Michael COHEN in New York City…
The best that they could do, the best that they could do, the best that they could do, was cover up.

When Trump got caught with Michael COHEN in New York City…
Both are phony. Is anything new?
When Trump got caught with Michael COHEN in New York City…
The best that they could do, the best that they could do, the best that they could do, was cover up.

When Trump got caught with Michael COHEN in New York City…
Both are phony. Is anything new?
When Trump got caught with Michael COHEN in New York City…
The best that they could do, the best that they could do, the best that they could do, was cover up…

The Greatest Gambling Story Ever Told

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The Book of the Week is “The Greatest Gambling Story Ever Told, A True Tale of three gamblers, the Kentucky Derby, and the Mexican Cartel” by Mark Paul, published in 2020.

Sidenote: Speaking of gambling, in May 1988, Paul Laxalt, a Republican from Nevada, and in June 1992, H. Ross Perot, an Independent from Texas: jumped into the race for president. The latter exceeded many people’s expectations.

Anyway, the author described the American horse-race gambling environment of the late 1980’s. At that time, off-track betting was putting smaller racetracks out of business, because gamblers could watch the races on which they bet, live– simulcast on video screens at racetracks and casinos; in other words, wherever gambling was legal. They did not need to be physically present at the racetrack.

Through the decades, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) got wise and cracked down on gamblers’ financial crimes such as tax evasion and money laundering. The author described one guy at the racetrack who illegally paid cash to winning bettors who wanted their money immediately, who were willing to pay a twenty percent fee to him rather than to the IRS.

The suspenseful part of the author’s story began when he and his best friend identified a talented filly– a female horse– that was running in major races. Practically all horse races had previously featured colts because on the whole, they were bigger and stronger and so more likely to win races, and were worth more money because they could be hired out to breed more race horses like themselves at a much higher volume than could females.

The author and his friend took what turned out to be a life-threatening risk by driving down from California to a casino in Tijuana, Mexico, to place a bet months in advance, on the said filly that was to run in the Kentucky Derby. He explained that by placing bets on events to take place far into in the future, gamblers get tremendously advantageous odds; for instance, 50 to 1 odds three months in advance, rather than, say, 2 to 1 odds on race day, on a horse to win– because that horse has become the favorite. However, if the horse doesn’t run in the race, regardless of the reason, the gamblers will lose all of the money they bet.

Read the book to learn of the gamblers’ activities before, during and after their fateful bet on their favorite horse in the Kentucky Derby.

Rockne of Notre Dame

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The Book of the Week is “Rockne of Notre Dame, The Making of a Football Legend” by Ray Robinson, published in 1999.

Knute Rockne was born in March 1888 in western Norway. Two friends convinced him to become a student at Notre Dame (located in South Bend, Indiana), which had open enrollment for anyone who could pay the tuition. In the 1910’s, Rockne was able to get paid for playing and coaching American football simultaneously. The financial rules of football played at schools and football played as a form of work, were still evolving.

Rockne took full advantage: he knew all the public-relations tricks for building a reputation and maximizing his earnings. He sometimes played under a fake name, or sent a substitute to play under his real name. He got away with that because few people knew what he looked like.

In the nineteen-teens, Rockne became an assistant coach and trainer for the Notre Dame football team. He was promoted to head coach in 1918 when the previous one retired. One team member was a colorful character named George Gipp (as in “Win one for the Gipper”). His life outside football consisted of drinking, gambling and cutting classes.

Rockne condoned Gipp’s behavior because he helped the team achieve a winning record with his extraordinary talent. However, by March 1920, when Gipp’s sins became excessive and he was a bad influence– hurting the reputation of the school– Notre Dame’s administration basically told him “Fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life, son” (like in the movie, Animal House) and expelled him.

In a not-uncommon situation, by late April 1920, local businessmen pressured Notre Dame’s president into reinstating Gipp, because they wanted to see a winning football team, and they were major investors in the school’s then- and future facilities.

Rockne always had a profit-making pot of irons in the fire, that included betting on the games of his own team. Gambling was rampant among numerous stakeholders of the American sports scene at the time. By the early 1920’s, Rockne could even control his own press, becoming a weekly columnist (sometimes published by ghostwriters) in syndicated newspapers. No one seemed to care that conflicts abounded among Rockne’s other (concurrent!) positions– Notre Dame’s athletic director, football recruiter, track-team coach, etc.

The Notre Dame football team’s profitability rose when the team was finally invited to play in the Rose Bowl in Pasadena on New Year’s Day 1925. The school (pursuant to Rockne’s negotiations) collected a portion of the gate receipts (of paying fans at the stadium). The game was broadcast on the radio.

The Notre Dame team played against Army every year. The football community had yet to feel the effects of the Great Depression in their big game of November 1929 at the then-Yankee Stadium. “A special train brought in Notre Dame’s eighty-piece marching band, and hundreds of South Benders came along with them.”

Through the decades, Rockne’s influence spread far and wide, as he served as a father-figure to dozens of his players. He recommended them for coaching positions after they graduated.

Read the book to learn much more about how Rockne became a legend in Notre Dame football.

Bounds of Silence – BONUS POST

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Interesting factoid: Donald Trump paid hush money to most everyone who worked for him when he was president. For, as a hiring-condition, they signed non-disclosure agreements that legally barred them from speaking publicly about their employment experiences. These workers were forced to choose between whistle-blowing and loyalty to their boss, but the boss hogged all the free speech for himself. Here’s what happened.

BOUNDS OF SILENCE

sung to the tune of “Sounds of Silence” with apologies to Simon and Garfunkel.

Hypocrisy is Trump’s known trend.
He’s been confronted yet again.
Because legal-cases continuously
leave their seeds and are proliferating.
And the secrets, that were buried by his PR team
gathered steam, within the bounds of silence.

In gag-agreements signed by all,
through his own scandals and stonewalls,
under the spotlight of the tabloid camp,
sued by his-transition-team, employees and tramps.
His sins were outed, by-a-clash with the betrayed Right.
To his enemies’ delight.
And breached the bounds of silence.

And in attorneys’ offices one saw
one hundred people, maybe more.
People talking and people speaking.
People hearing and people listening.
People writing books.
Their thoughts were finally shared.
People dared. Breaking the bounds of silence.

Fools bound by Trump.
Free speech with a dreck-show dump.
Read their words and they might teach you.
Trump would slam them, with his crew.
But their words, through social networks spread.
Volumes out of the bounds of silence.

And this made Trump’s gang afraid, of the free-speech mess they made.
And democracy rang out in ITS glory, in a civil-rights success story.
And the courts say the words Americans-express are always free except-for-threats

or epithets.

We’re out of the bounds of silence.

[Heads exploding.]


Tripping on Utopia

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The Book of the Week is “Tripping on Utopia, Margaret Mead, the Cold War, and the Troubled Birth of Psychedelic Science” by Benjamin Breen, published in 2024. This book documented the circumstances that led several “scientists” in America to experiment with psychedelic drugs from the 1940’s through the 1970’s.

In 1920’s Munich in Germany, psychotherapists tested mescaline on schizophrenic patients. Ditto in 1930’s London, England. In 1933, funded by government or university grants, the thirty-one year old Margaret Mead, along with her male or female lover of the moment (She had a series of them through her life), practiced “salvage anthropology.” She tried to salvage information about exotic cultures that were dying due to colonialism and war.

In the 1930’s, Mead did fieldwork with the Native-American Omaha tribe in the Great Plains. They, and her research subjects in Bali used peyote, a psychedelic drug, for ritual purposes. She theorized about sexual identity and wrote best-selling books.

Mead and her scientific colleagues discussed how Hitler used hypnotism to control the subconscious thoughts of his fellow Germans. He didn’t need psychedelics! Starting in 1939, she and her then-husband studied human nature to help propagandize for the war effort. In 1941, “The members of the Committee for National Morale saw themselves as a shield protecting freedom, democracy and diversity from the weaponized manipulative forms of applied science emanating from Nazi Germany.”

The American federal agency, Office of Strategic Services (OSS) began to study truth serum and hypnosis for the purpose of getting prisoners-of-war to talk, improving the health of traumatized soldiers, and analyzing enemy psychology.

In 1944, since Mead and her husband, Gregory Bateson, had insiders’ knowledge and experience of tribes’ cultures in Asia, they were allowed to play adolescent-boy spy games, thinking they could make the Japanese surrender. In late 1944, Bateson volunteered to go to Burma on perilous missions. In reality, as evinced by kamikazes, and their guerrilla warfare all over the South Pacific theater, the Japanese would never, ever surrender. They would actually fight to the last man. Mead, Bateson, and other spies were fooling themselves. Their big egos led them to risk their lives for nothing.

After the war, the CIA began a series of research projects called MKULTRA. Most of those conducting the LSD, mescaline and psilocybin Cold-War Era studies didn’t know the CIA was providing funding. The Macy Foundation and the Department of Defense were the CIA’s fronts. The operation was a desecration and perversion of legitimate scientific research, as it scrapped the scientific method. In one experiment, a spy posing as a “scientist” slipped LSD into the alcoholic drinks of his unknowing friends and acquaintances at social gatherings.

Further, many of the research described in the book sounded unscientific— lacking rigor (amateur, James-Bond wannabes were conducting them), lacking a statistically significant amount of data, and lacking a regard for chemical interactions of the psychedelics with alcohol!

In the 1950’s– about two decades prior to the outlawing of psychedelics– the “scientific” community (comprised of psychiatrists, pop psychologists and spies, not to mention profiteers) around Stanford University especially, had the arrogant notion that perhaps LSD could accelerate the rate by which global culture could not only become one big, peaceful, happy family with no starvation– but also become more tolerant of otherness, different lifestyles, sexual orientations and gender identity.

It appears that in trying to solve the world’s problems, politicians nowadays are a little less naive than they were in the mid-twentieth century. However, reducing social ills requires multi-pronged approaches– legislation and social programs. Ironically, instead of eliminating social ills, introducing psychedelics to society caused social ills to multiply exponentially.

Anyway, read the book to learn about the evolution of research on psychedelics, including various shameful episodes in which people, dolphins and Siamese fighting fish were harmed or died; one of which involved a prestigious institution (whose main character was, by 1960, described thusly: “Approaching forty, he had alienated most of his colleagues back in Berkeley, was nearly bankrupt, and had no income despite his extravagant multimonth family vacation [in Spain and Florence, Italy].”).

naomi osaka (sic)

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The Book of the Week is “naomi osaka (sic), Her Journey to Finding Her Power and Her Voice” by Ben Rothenberg, published in 2024. In this large, wordy volume the author showed how in chasing big money– noise from the incestuous relationships among the industries of: sports, media (which includes social media), entertainment and politics– has reached a screaming crescendo.

As a member of Generation Z, a professional athlete, a biracial individual, and a frequent poster on social media– Naomi was treated as a Very Important Person when she put her two cents in.

Born in October 1997 in Osaka in Japan, Naomi and her family moved to Long Island, New York State when she was three years old. Her Haitian father and Japanese mother were inspired by the Williams sisters, Venus and Serena– professional tennis players– to push their two daughters to also become professional tennis players, beginning when they were pre-schoolers.

As is well known by its fans, singles tennis is a super-suspenseful game because either player has plenty of opportunities to make a comeback. It’s always unpredictable. Upsets happen all the time. Even when “It’s gotten late early” (as Yogi Berra would say) because a match seems to have been won already, “It ain’t over till it’s over.”

After a socially isolated childhood in which her parents made extreme sacrifices for her career, Naomi kept professional tennis exciting by making amazing comebacks in tournaments. Although she began to earn obscene amounts of money from tournament winnings and sponsorships, she still expressed her dissatisfaction with various aspects of professional tennis. And the media. And politics. However, Naomi and Serena Williams (a fellow tennis rival) needed to learn how and when to protest to maximize their desired results.

In 2018, Serena Williams argued with a line judge during a match, when she was losing. So she appeared to be a sore loser, regardless of whether she was right or wrong. In 2021 during the French Open, Naomi sent out a message that she would refuse to talk to the media. She was biting the hand that fed her, as her making money required the publicity the media gave her; she was in effect, an employee of the governing tennis organizations because their rules required that she talk to the media. At less emotionally charged times, the governing tennis bodies might have been more receptive to the players’ proposals to change the rules.

BUT, the bottom line is the bottom line. The governing entities subjected to complaints in a push for change, must consider how much money they would lose, or how more money they would make, in effecting the change. It seems celebrities who push a message persistently and have a sufficient number of friends in high places can make a small change.

In Ross Mathews’ case, in around 2012, a certain fast food outlet re-introduced a butternut squash menu item because Mathews and his social media friends bombarded the restaurant with messaging that appeared to show how popular the item was. In 2019, a bit of legislation was finally passed due to Jon Stewart’s long-time rigorous activism to compensate 9/11 first responders who had been harmed.

It is unclear whether other kinds of protests work, because they involve ideology rather than money. Due to the overwhelming propaganda that smears violence in the streets committed by brainwashed youth protesting a war, it is impossible to prove whether the war was stopped sooner by the protesters, or even how much the course of the war was affected by them. Of course in a war, there are hugely complex interactions of profit-seeking entities that throw a wrench in the works.

Another aspect of messaging in most situations, is that the bulk of the most active commenters are people whose jobs are on the line if they don’t weigh in with positive or negative coverage, in a way that is financially or ideologically advantageous for their employers.

At any rate, in late August 2020, in the wake of a number of emotionally charged, law-enforcement actions against people of color, Naomi wielded her tremendous power and influence as an individual professional athlete– jumping on the bandwagon of a protest among team-efforts of other sports– to postpone a very important tennis tournament in order to make a political statement. She was able to postpone it, due to the way professional tennis is governed internationally.

Naomi spurred hours of stressful phone calls among the chief executives of the major tennis organizations– the USTA, WTA, and ATP. But it is hard to prove whether that kind of political activism has actually worked in stemming violence and racial incidents.

Read the book to learn everything you ever wanted to know about Naomi and her adventures in professional tennis.

We Will Mock You – BONUS POST

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Interesting factoid: Donald Trump sued, among hundreds of other parties (in no particular order):

George Stephanopoulos in 2024
Orbis Business Intelligence, 2024
H. Pixel International, 2011
Mary Trump, 2021
Michael Cohen 2023
Juan Merchan, 2024
Wesley Moss, 2024
Andrew Litinsky, 2024
ABC News, 2024
Bob Woodward, 2023
Cable News Network, 2022
Hillary Clinton, 2023
Bill Maher, 2013
New York Times, 2024
Tim O’Brien, 2006
Letitia James, 2022
Univision, 2016
Twitter, 2022
Facebook, 2022
Merv Griffin, 2015
City of New York, 2019
New York District Attorney Vance, 2020
Jose Andres, 2015
E. Jean Carroll, 2023
City of Palm Beach (FL), 2020
Morrison Cohen, 2020

Pursuant to the cliche: “What comes around goes around” or, the negative version of “You get what you give” here’s what prosecutors at the Southern District of New York (and countless others) are singing:

WE WILL MOCK YOU

sung to the tune of “We Will Rock You” with apologies to Queen and whomever else the rights may concern.

Trump, you are spoiled.
Always making noise.
Playing politics.
Getting punished today.
You got egg on your face.
You’ll lose the race.
Juggling your slush funds all over the place.

Face it.

We will, we will mock you.
We will, we will mock you.

Trump, you’re an old man, defeated man.
Shouting out of court.
Hated by the WORLD today.
WE’LL set the pace, we’re on your case.
We’ll keep that scowl all over your face.

We will, we will mock you. Face it.
We will, we will mock you.

Trump, you’re the doomed one, the LOser.
We’re TOYing with your fate.
Gonna make you cry UNCle today.
You played your last ace.
You big disgrace.
We’re finally putting YOU back in your PLACE.

We will, we will mock you.
We will, we will mock you. (Dig it.)

We will, we will mock you.
We will, we will mock you. (America!)

We will, we will mock you.
We will, we will mock you. (’bout time)

Done.