The Bishop and the Butterfly: Murder, Politics, and the End of the Jazz Age

    Trump as Octopus.

    Just as Brett Kavanaugh is about to become Trump's "made man" on the Supreme court---protecting Trump from such nuisances as Emoluments fraud and fifty shades of tax evasion---it's probably not the best time to be watching the great Italian T.V series, The Octopus, or La Piovra,--- one man's life long fight against the Mafia. With the new revelations of tax fraud and shady dealings by Trump just revealed by the New York Times, and with a Trump boy on the Supreme Court for protection, the morphing of Republicans into the Trump Mafia Party party seems far too real. 

    In the third season of La Piovra the novitiate, a grand daughter, is being trained in the black arts of International finance to prepare her for management, grand dad having just sold out the bank to the Mafia as a way to salvage the family institution. 

    Grand dad shows the young woman a plethora of stock market sales of various securities---sales and purchases by the bank, followed by resales by European bank affiliates, fairly complex, and then asks her, " what do you think is going on here?"  Without missing a beat she says, ''re exporting capital without paying taxes on it"----and apparently, the Trump siblings, including Maryanne, a Federal Judge, were not as quick on the uptake in recognizing such questionable capital transfers as the ones orchestrated through All County Building Supply and Maintenance, lowering evaluations and thus lowering taxes elsewhere. It never hurts, here, or in Sicily of prior decades, to have connected accountants, lawyers, N.Y. D.A.'s and judges to take the fall for shoddy transactions. 

    The Trump family scheme of buying boilers from a Bronx manufacturer, for example, through a shell company, and reselling the boilers to their real estate property companies at inflated prices is worthy of a T.V series--- perhaps with deNiro playing the role of Fred Trump. The Times investigation, richly enough, began over a  year ago when All County's name appeared in Senate financial disclosures of $1 Million in income---from All County to Trump's sister, and Federal Judge, Maryanne. So began the unwinding of the Donald Trump "self-made man" story.

    Selling boilers to affiliates at inflated prices was ultimately, among other things, a gift of capital to Trump siblings, untethered to estate and gift taxes. There was of course income, and other taxes incurred. But in the grand scheme (note to the chumps who have regular paychecks---the idea is to lower income and increase capital gains) the various property companies who purchased the boilers over-paid----thus reducing property income, which in real estate investments reduces value, which, as is shown in the Times expose, for example, was eventually recouped when the siblings liquidated Fred's estate at low values and thus lower taxes. Fred's properties were eventually sold at 16 times the value inherent in the estate filings--self evidently fishy, but who cares.

    To add insult to the scheme, the receiving properties, by showing higher expenses, used the reduced profitability as a method to increase rents on tenants.  Gotta love it.  La Piovra is filled with great lines, like the Mafia boss who says, about corrupt officials,  "When money starts to sing, the music stops playing."

    No doubt when tax evasion lawsuits reach the Supreme Court, the son whom Trump is most proud of, Brett Kavanaugh, will find a way to screw the plaintiffs---perhaps through original intent---to wit, those left wing estate taxes, in effect at the time of the tax frauds, were in themselves, unconstitutional.

    La Piovra is recently available through MHz on Amazon Prime. In the twilight hours up here in the wilds of North Texas, I have watched and re-watched Wallander, Maigret, Spiral---and if you haven't watched Murders at Barlume, you've missed a great comedy.  I use old T.V. at night to escape the reality of this Trump world and the balance of La Piovra episodes will carry me through the next month as Trump's boy joins the Supreme Court---protecting Trump and this great Christian country from the Clintons and the Deep State. I await the new deNiro series---All County Building Supply---chronicling the times in which the U.S. is transformed into the Trump Mafia state. 




    Links to the Times Story, etc, appreciated.

    (Surprised to see it wasn't In The News, except for embedded in another item)

    Hey, Barefooted, thanks.


    Barefooted in all,

    Barefooted at Tiffany's",

    Or was it "Breakfast" ?

    Both, actually.

    Yawning ... I'm just so tired ...

    a mimosa, please.

      Yes, yes, thank you so much ...

      will you turn me as I tan?

    No problem. Which direction?

    East of Eden.

    Old Howard just pointed with his gun /
     "That way, down Highway 61"

    I get my kicks on Highway 66.

    Funny you should refer to that novel. Capote was raised good ol' kinky southern boy with Harper Lee as best friend. The Holly Golightly character was actually married-as-a child Lulu Mae Barnes from Texas, who was yearning to break into the global elite world, faking it till you make it. Just sayin' wink

    oh and it further comes to mind, the famous scene from the opening of the movie in front ot Tiffany's windows? That is right up the block from Trump tower. To a New Yorker it's like unconscious, it's one and the same meme when you see that: diamonds and gold, high rise Trump type life, Manhattan winter, Palm Beach summer...what Holly wants is what Melania's got

    Artsy, somehow I can picture the plant and the guy in the Bronx who made the boilers for Fred Trump.

    Carmine: "I prolly shouldn't say nuthin, but you fellas know I could ship these boilers direct to the properties instead your warehouse"

    Trump: "So now you're also good at traffic? You want this order or not?"

    Carmine: "Sure, sure, how many ya said, sixty? No prollen."

    I never checked if there were official flags for each borough, if there are, surely the Bronx would have the motto get one over on one of those ribbons. Though made up of many tribes, what clearly unifies is that one ideology.

    Whoa, "get one over". laugh

    It's here, a long thread; I contributed a lot of links:


    (only thing I don't like about Peracles' sassy headlines is that sometimes people don't recognize what they are about)

    Peracles started it with a secondary cnbc story but the link wasn't working--is fixed now--I thought he was pointing to the NYTimes before he added it, so I added the original in the first comment.

    Actually I put the CNBC a) so not behinda  firewall b) cuz I knew someone w a subscription would post the real one.

    PS - is it rude to say "Kiss my sass"? asking for a friend

    I'm fairly certain "kiss my grits" is universally accepted, though not necessarily understood.

    This is a New Yorker we're tallking about - Fort Apache, Bronx is far from her Wisconsin roots. Hardly grits country.

    Now you're verging on a Republican operative explaining the 2016 election.  Who didn't watch Flo controlling the folks in the diner?

    I admit that I've only eaten at a Waffle House twice.I have considerable experience eating fancy shrimp n' grits and homemade pralines with the artsy set and ladies who lunch of Greenville, SC, including in their private homes, but I think that wouldn't count. I know it doesn't count that I've mingled with the academes of Rock Hill. But does the fact that I know that doesn't count, count?

    As a child of the south, let me just say that if you've experienced the Waffle House at all you're almost verging on kin.  With the very serious caveats that you must have a) had the warm syrup with either waffles or pancakes, b) ordered any one of the three potato hashes, and c) watched with fascination as the cooks fried up your bacon and/or eggs on the hot griddle right in front of you.  Oh, and you had to have taken at least five minutes to figure out the plastic menu and agreed to coffee and orange juice immediately.  ;-)

    Personally, I hate grits.  They're too gritty.  I adore shrimp, but there are too many fine ways to eat them that have nothing to do with grits.

    As for hanging with the Southern ladies of the artsy set?  Why not?  I don't see why that doesn't count - especially if we're talking about the South and its food.  It's all good.  Very good, in fact.


    I don't know - I grew up with diners. Chains hardly count.
    And shrimp? only in Louisiana or Gulfport.
    Ah well, kids these days, the things they'll et...

    Chains hardly count.

    When we're talking WH, them's fight'ng words.  Do you even realize that they determine disaster levels in their towns?  The "chain" abides, dude.

    eta, and on second thought: independent diners, etc. are far too important for me to sneeze at them or otherwise appear to degrade them.  I've mentioned my love for drive-in's (one particularly), which does not include Sonic.

    Enough of this oriental crap----leaves flowing down hills---

    Waffle House is great place to note our native Appalachian iambic pent

    "Pick up the choc'late milk and waffle plate"

    "I ain't seen her in here afore, have ya'll?"



    "I'll have biscuits, gravy and juice - thank ya!"

    "Plate number five and coffee, hold the milk."

    Grits are quite tricky.
    The consistency is all.
    Nana did it right.

    Also, to my great surprise
    was a Diner run by Greeks.

    In L.A there's a

    French deli in Chinatown

    serves some great sushi

    Grits are just gritty.

    Consistency matters not.

    No one does it right.

      Also, to my great surprise

      Some folks disagree with me!

    That is quite shocking.
    Not everyone is on board.
    Send all ships to Troy.

    True Grit. Grittier and Shittier. Grit and Grime. The Grifters, the Shifters. And May Grittte meets May West, 2 artists, 2 cultures, 2 milieus. I'm through now.

    oh wait I forgot: 4 days in Memphis in 2009. 

    You wanna talk artery clogging traditional, there's the place! No matter what kinda restaurant you went to, and we went to lots with the crowd we were with, high, low, inbetween, fancy schmancy gourmet or chain fast food, I saw nary a salad available on menu.  I actually remember saying: this has all been great fun, but for a break, can't we just go someplace where I can get a salad? I am starting to feel real sluggish,. While I admit I did not see the stereotypical Elvis banana, peanut butter and bacon sandwich offered anywhere (probably they offer it at Graceland,) many menu items came close and grits were always available. I also noticed things like how one could not get to that mall right across the highway without driving a car a mile, and how many billboards seemed to be for hospitals and clinics treating heart disease.

    Four Days In Memphis should be a movie ... or at least a docu short.  The protagonist a smart, older woman; a New Yorker, who makes her way through the southern town with a mix of enthusiasm and cynicism even as she tries to understand the culture all around her. wink

    It is a movie, full of Jim Jarmusch, vignettes... perhaps a sequel for his Memphis piece, now Tom Waits, now cigarettes and diners, woah... AA as played by Winona Ryder. Head back west across that bridge you're in a ghetto heading to Ozarks country; head on east you're with Nashville catz... fiddle dee dee, how a body do get around...

    Each to their own, yet I have never understood why traffic afflicted Americans spend weekends watching cars race in circles, or, watch organized crime shows on TeeVee when the Republican Party has been run like a Mafia syndicate for decades.

    Interesting to read something like The Curtain Falls, Last Days of the Third Reich, gives some idea of how a demagogic government led by delusional criminals, toadies and crackpots hits the wall and ends.

    Do you ever relax?

    It's relaxing to know" History doesn't repeat itself but it often rhymes.”  M.Twain

    NCD, thanks, I guess.

    Right, have Shirer right here on desk. Big swastika on cover. Neighbors in Texas think I'm one of 'em.

    "The new order": p.937

    "No comprehensive blueprint for the New Order was ever drawn up, but it is clear from the captured documents and from what took place that Hitler knew very well what he wanted it to be: a Nazi ruled Europe whose resources would be exploited for the profit of Germany, whose people would be made the slaves of the German master race and whose undesirable elements---above all, the Jews, but also many Slavs in the east, especially the intelligentsia among them---would be exterminated."


    "Extermination through work", "work makes you free" would be the GOP plan if they could only get rid of Medicare and Social Security.

    Thanks, now I'm reading. The Nazi plan was to transport manufacturing equipment, etc. back to Germany, the slave states then subsisting on agriculture, the bounty mostly shipped to the master race, except for enough scraps to keep the slaves working.

    I think a main takeaway from the Fred Trump story should be how stupid he thought The Donald was and how he continually needed rescuing. About the only skill The Donald truly has is demagoguing and trolling BUT where I differ with many on even that is: he is far from the Machiavellian evil manipulator, because when he does that it is always in service of the narcissist self. And often nonsensical and destructive rather than useful for those who claim to be his allies. 

    Look at this right here, perfect example, I just saw now, I did not notice this about last night's rally right away:

    While campaigning for the first woman to represent Mississippi in Congress, no less

    — Alex Burns (@alexburnsNYT) October 3, 2018

    I looked up a bit on the race, and here is the situation, seems to me she really really needs white female Republican votes, his mocking was far from helpful, it probably hurt her:

    The president's principal mission in Mississippi was to shore up support for his anointed pick, GOP Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith. A stop in a ruby red state, which Trump won by nearly 20 points in 2016 and which has voted for a Republican for president since 1972 — except in 1976, for Jimmy Carter — might seem to defy conventional political wisdom five weeks out from the midterm elections.

    But this year, the Trump-endorsed candidate is contending with a tough challenge from her left by Mississippi's first African American U.S. Representative since the Reconstruction era, Mike Espy, and from her right by insurgent Chris McDaniel.

    He really is an incompetent. And I am more and more buying that he acts out like this, at his worst, when the daddy issues arise for him. After all, he did a surprising job of trying to look fair publicly on the Ford/Kavanaugh issue until last night, when he blew it royally. He really is a sick man child, not an evil genius, just like Dad thought. And reduced sized fan club, they almost all similarly have delusional issues, he's just a figurehead for them now, where they make him and the chants into something they need. I'm not talking about those who may still give him approval because they are into some of the policy that is being executed like tariffs, those are the types who will also admit in an Oprah focus group that they wish he'd quit tweeting and behave himself. I'm talking about the real fans who wait in line at a rally, they no longer see him, they see what he represents to them, fighting back at the man or whatevah....the grievance thing, all kinds of grievance...fuhever victims, even though they got themselves a president, they love wallowing in angry victimhood with him...

    Is that narrative correct regarding Fred in reacting to the failings/successes of his son? Wasn't Fred playing the prodigal son theme where the outcast returns after many days to outshine the miscreants who doubted the glory?

    I think you are right about the figurehead thing. But once you are living as a projection of other peoples' dreams, how much does one actual experience matter anymore? That question is why Baudrillard declared that the Real was dead.

    Your results, of course, may vary.

    Artsy, it seems to me that if there is one word that best describes the Trump follower, it is "victim", so I start there, thinking of people I know---excluding family and employees who I suspect are Trumpsters (obviously can't afford to go there) and run that descriptor. I think a lot of victimhood has to do with age, thinking you missed the boat. I myself have to fight this, usually starting off with a regret scenario, usually late at night, which is why I watch TV sometimes till I'm too damn tired to worry about things. In truth it's difficult for any older person, unless they are rich, not to worry about maintaining themselves. Trump turns anxiety into victim anger, along with a side show and popcorn.  

    holy smokes look at the great tweet on topic at top of my feed just now when I went over there, a retweet from someone I follow:

    Look at his bio line!!! Too much:

    Author of NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity, NYT bestseller and winner of the Samuel Johnson Prize.

    gonna follow him now, see if I should read the book! 

    Artsy, great reference. Another opiate. Soon to be coming on your I-phone like an Amber alert.

    There's this too:  The Cruelty Is The Point @ The Atlantic today, by Adam Serwer

    President Trump and his supporters find community by rejoicing in the suffering of those they hate and fear.

    Who could have imagined, and has it ever happened?..... that a demagogue would use hate and fear of "the other" to create social cohesion among his uneducated adoring mob?

    It's like idol worship:

    Or idle worship.
    Let the show go on, I will just watch.

    Eric Idle-otry - got it. Back in the Michael Palinolithic Age...

    What happens on the couch stays on the couch.

    Minnesotans apparently not that good at worshipping:

    strange ploy

    consensus among politicos & media seems to be shaping up that there was no strategery to the rant about Al Franken:

    there is no strategery. he cant help himself

    — jim manley (@jamespmanley) October 5, 2018

    Not exactly La Piovra. And John Gotti's people would notice and make sure this didn't happen, or else:

    Artsy, Bronx mobster Zottola was gunned down at a McDonald's in the borough. I thought these guys always hung out at Vinnie's Pizza. La Piovra lives. Eat at Burger King----no one ever goes there.

    Trump's tentacles have been exposed, excellent toilet paper metaphor. Somone must pay for that gaff. Call Felix Slater. 


    I saw that. Only wise guys left got no class, eat like Trump.

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