What are friends for?

By Erik Dolson

“Daddy!”

Donnie Boastful was at his desk in the Oval Office trying to solve the Tik Tok Toe game in the “Washington Times.” Normally he wouldn’t tolerate an interruption, but it was Ivanka, and, well …

“What can I do for you, you gloriously amazing most wonderful human (from my loins) who ever graced this planet earth in the history of time?”

“Daddy, they say I should give back my China trademarks that I got after our wonderful trip there last summer! Because that bad Biden boy had to quit his job on a China board of directors!”

“Ivanka, sweetest and most lovely creature who ever walked the world, what have I always told you since you were a tall, willowy young female of immense beauty?”

“That if I wasn’t your daughter…”

“Not that.”

“I know! I know! You said to never tell the truth! That it just confuses people!”

“That’s true, it does. But I was thinking of something else. It’s about ‘rules.’ “

“I know! Rules are for other people! We Trumps do what we want!”

“That’s right! So the bad Biden boy has to resign, but you and Don Jr., and that other boy in the family don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do. That’s just the way it works.”

“Oh, Daddy, thank you!” Ivanka ran over to his desk and took both his small hands in hers and held them tightly to his side while she gave Donnie Boastful a peck on the cheek.

“Oh, hi Uncle Rudy!” She sang out as she left and Rudy the Rat walked in.

“Hi, Ivanka,” Rudy said. “Boss, I think we got a problem, two of my men got busted as they were leaving the country.”

“What do you mean, Rat, ‘we got a problem?’  Didn’t you just say they were ‘your’ men?”

“Well, they gave a lot of money to your campaign.”

“A lot of people gave a lot of money to my campaign. I couldn’t possibly know all of them. Or any of them. By the way, now would be a good time to ask: Are you still my lawyer?”

“Of course! I just said so on TV!  Some wise guy reporter asked if I was working for the government in Ukraine, and I said, ‘No, I work for the President!’ ”

“You could have said yes, because I’m the President and working for me is working for America. Say, did you see Lou Dobbs? He said that I fulfilled yet another campaign promise getting us out of the Middle East, that pulling out was a brilliant, seventh level chess move.”

“I didn’t see the Dobbs show today, but I’m supposed to go on it tomorrow again. Sheesh, I think I’ve been on Fox 17 tines this month!”

“Rat, don’t start thinking you’re a star. I’m Prime Time Donnie, capiche?”

“I work for you, Mr. America.”

“Great answer. I’ve got a press conference in 20 minutes and have to pretend to slap that guy from Turkey around for roughing up the Kurds. I’m gonna say I’m thinking about destroying his economy, and that I’m going to have conversation on what to do about it. I might send a team over to Turkey. I’ll have them stay in the Trump Twin Towers. It’s the most spectacular hotel in Istanbul!”

“That’s brilliant, Boss. All those people whining about the Kurds. What do they know? What did the Kurds do for us? They’re just in the whey. We made the Kurds some promises … so what, promises are made to be broken, right? This is Trumpworld, right? Just ask them people who built your hotels in Atlantic City!”

“Yeah, didn’t the Kurds read my book? Hellooooo?! They been fighting for so many years over there, it’s easy for them!”

“Who really cares, Boss? Just those people who talk about honor like it’s something you can spend!”

“That’s right, Rat. And it got that impeachment hoax off TV for a whole week! That’s not the reason we’re clearing out of the Middle East, though. I wouldn’t do sumthin’ like that just to change the subject or nothing, right?! It’s because I promised my base!”

“And you keep your promises, Mr. President. Even if Lindsey Graham yesterday said kinda sorta not the nicest thing about what you did.”

“Lay Down Lindsey? He’s just providing a little cover for himself. He’ll fall in line. Vladimir told me he’s got dirt on Lindsey and if I have any trouble, I just need to give Vlad the word. Besides, so what if we pull out of the Middle East? What difference is it going to make? Let them solve their own problems over there! Maybe it’ll disappoint a couple of people, but who cares?”

The intercom on the desk in the Oval Office buzzed.

“Mr. President, the prime minister of Israel is on Line 1. He says it’s urgent.”

“Hey, Rat, would you mind using the back door as you leave? I’m not sure we want that a lot of people see you’re still around.

“Bibi! How you doin’? How’s things in Jerusalem? You know that’s one of my favorite places, right? I think you need a Trump Towers Jerusalem, Bibi, has a nice ring to it, don’t it? It should go right on the beach. Maybe we can do a deal. Hey, sorry I didn’t get back to sooner, it’s been a little hectic around here, maybe you heard … ”

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A new political party

By Erik Dolson

My friend The Editor said yesterday that he is not represented by either major political party. Mountain man in style yet utterly modern, educated in history, a gun-toting liberal (though he’d deny that liberal tag), his values are timeless and he has no place to turn.

Me either. America needs a new political party, so I’m going to start one. It’s important to understand that I’m completely unqualified for this effort, and that this shortcoming has never stopped me before.

A party needs a platform, which is something to stand on, or stand for, I’m not sure. But it seems that we all want freedom to be who we believe ourselves to be, and I can stand for that.

So the first plank of this new party is to advocate for personal liberty. That is tied closely to personal responsibility, to preserve and care for one’s self. To fail, if that so happens.

So this party favors opportunity over equality. We recognize that persons of varying desires and abilities will necessarily have different lifestyles. Rather than guarantee equality, we strive to provide opportunity which will lead to a striving that will benefit all.

A society without opportunity will become destructive. For this reason, a “meritocracy” is favored over an “inheritocracy.” There is a point where accumulated wealth will be redistributed.

The second plank is to recognize that while an individual has liberty, we are also a community. Community has a responsibility to preserve itself, and community requires common values and behavior. We need a common language to minimize friction, and reenforce that we are a community. That language has been and should continue to be English.

Individual persons and community benefit from education. This shall be provided to all citizens until their 18th birthday. From their 18 birthday to their 21 birthday, all individuals shall provide service to the community, with an opportunity for extended service. This contribution will be compensated with direct income and/or additional education equal to years served.

Consequences are necessary for change of behavior. At the same time, it’s an uncertain world and sometimes life is harsh. It’s not always the fault of the person who suffers.

Universal health care is a basic human right. Individual persons and the community benefit from optimum health. This not “free.” Each persons shall contribute on an individual basis a “co-pay” to reduce the likelihood of abuse of the service. Additional service will be available to those who choose to make additional contributions, but a percentage of these contributions shall go to preserving the basic care for all. Opportunity, not equality.

The dynamic relationship between community and persons will always have friction. In general, preference should be given to the rights of individual persons who meet their personal responsibilities. In disputes between persons, bias shall extend to those persons who would expend energy and resources.

A baker can bake a cake for whomever he or she chooses. Marriage is a contract between individuals. Government shall have no role in determining who shall or shall not be married, aside from enforcing / mediating those contracts.

A key word in this platform is “person.” Corporations are not persons. They are self-sustaining organisms in their own right, their existence dependent on successful pursuit of profit in a competitive universe, creating jobs and wealth as a byproduct. This is a good and necessary process. It feeds us.

However, pursuit of profit can impinge on the liberty of persons. This will happen if corporations become too powerful, and they will in a competitive universe because evolution favors the powerful and leads to the powerful becoming even more powerful.

We need rules to arbitrate between individuals and keep corporations in check. To enforce the rules we need government. Government shall be made up of persons, and elected by individual persons.  Government shall favor competition, striving to maximize competition between corporations for the benefit of persons and community. Too big to fail is a failure of this process. Many competitors in a transparent environment benefits persons and community.

Lobbying by corporations, whereby corporations determine the actions of the government charged with regulating their behavior, is prohibited. Wolves shall not write rules governing the care of sheep.

But among the rules are rules that keep government itself from becoming too large and powerful in its own right.

Persons have a right to privacy, and complete ownership of their personal information. At the same time, persons and community benefit from maximum transparency when it comes to shared interests.

Corporations do not have a right to privacy, nor does government. The community’s business shall be conducted in the view of the community.

That ought to do it. Smarter people than me can flesh out the few details left over (smile).

Oh, the new political party probably needs a name. I’ll suggest American Citizens Together, because it captures the most important theme. It also lends itself to great banners and bumper stickers.

A.C.T. Now!

Can you hear me?

John Scherer: (Erik,) I’m sure you have better things to do than troll my posts!? If you do, offer up some factual debate for your Party’s waste of taxpayer money.

Erik Dolson: Yes, John, I do. I don’t know why your posts ended up on my feed, I assume Facebook thought it was important. But the whack jobs at “SonsofLibertyMedia.com” (that you reference) took my breath away, and made me realize that the difference in our view points was far wider than I had assumed.

To begin with, the anger is palpable. This was something I’d noticed before, not with you but with many of your political pursuasion. I thought I understood it and could agree with much of it, especially given the loss of jobs and security of the middle class, although I thought it should be directed at Republicans who sent those jobs overseas and not Dems who were trying to provide healthcare.

I realized that the loss of community culture to immigration could add to the felt insecurity, even though on balance immigrants make our country more wealthy, not less.

And I certainly understood the anger of those who felt their paychecks were being taken and given to people who wanted to sit back and do nothing but smoke crack and make babies.

I think you and I could come to an agreement on how to work on, even if we can’t solve these problems, as Americans. But you and those like you are so spun up in anger that we can’t communicate. I believe that much of this comes from profit centers at Fox News, which has learned to monetize outrage, but certainly the psychotic who sits in the White House spewing bile across our golden waves of grain is responsible as well.

So is the arrogance of liberals who ignored the plight of the working man for too many decades while fighting stupid battles over who can bake a cake, when they should have been out there demanding equal opportunity for the heartland, not just the cities.

But then it gets weird. I can’t understand the weaving of odd little factoids into grand conspiracies of outrage like those offered by “SonsofLibertyMedia.com” except to believe they have found a niche in which they can make a few bucks by peddling nonsense. But this is America, and if people want to buy pet rocks or shit in a bag, they can do so and somebody will find a way to sell to them.

Bottom line? I won’t defend Liberal waste of taxpayer money, because I can’t, and I won’t ask you to defend the way the oligopolist drug companies and oil companies and banks and their lackey politicians continue to make life miserable for millions of Americans as they hollow out our country and destroy opportunity.

We have more in common with each other than either one of us does with those we are asked to defend. But you can’t hear me even when I’m agreeing with you. They have succeeded in making you believe that I am the enemy, and I don’t know how to respond to that.

Have a good day.

The leash

By Erik Dolson

“Mr. President, may I have a minute of your time?”

“Billy Barr! You can have more than a minute any time, Billy. Come on in, you know how to approach my desk, right? Have I told you what a great job you’re doing?”

“Thank you Mr. President, I’m just doing my job.”

“And you’re doing it greatly! That’s what I just said! You spun Meuller Mutt until he corkscrewed into the ground, you’re investigating England and Italy for traitors who said the Russians helped me win the election, when everybody KNOWS it was my own stable genius … and you’re wiping out the Bidens with investigations in Ukraine and China … you da man, Billy Barr! Well, you would be da man except I’m da man. You know that, right?”

Donnie Boastful sat up higher behind his desk so he could throw a keen glance down at the Attorney General of the United States of America.

“Mr. President, I wanted to talk to you about … ”

“Say it.” Donnie Boastful clasped his little hands together, and hunched his shoulders. His mouth turned down into a determined tight little frown, a sign that he was going to hold his breath until he turned blue, or start saying very mean things.

“I’m sorry sir, but it’s important that we … “

“Say it, Billy.”

William Barr, Attorney General of the United States of America, long regarded as a man of ability and essential integrity, looked down at his hands resting on his thighs. The deep jowls that gave his face the slight look of a bloodhound fell forward as he made the inevitable decision.

“You da man, Mr. President,” he mumbled.

“I’m sorry, William, I didn’t quite catch that.”

“You da man, Mr. President,” William Barr said in a much louder and clearer voice while looking up at the president, who he could barely see behind the edge of the huge desk.

“Thank you, Attorney General Barr. This is what you’ve been saying all along, right? That whole thing about being a ‘Unitary President?’ That means ‘I’m da man?’ ”

“Well sir, not you so much as the office. Under the “strong unitary executive” theory, a president has more authority than is normally recognized by those who favor the weak unitary executive …”

“Billy?”

“Yes, Mr. President.”

“You’re doing that thing again. What’s that on the carpet right there? Under your right knee.”

“Besides what looks like the shadow of Jeff Sessions burned into the fibers? An eagle clutching golf clubs … ”

“Arrows. We threw out the one with golf clubs. That’s not the point. What’s the whole thing, the whole picture?”

“Well, if I could stand up sir, it would be easier for me to see.”

“No. Stay. It’s the seal. The presidential seal,” said Donnie Boastful.

“Yes sir, I see that now.”

“Do we call it the ‘executive seal?’ ”

“No sir, we do not.”

“And who is president?”

“You are, sire. I mean, sir.”

“So, I’m president, and you are helping me by promoting the strong president theory, and that means I can pretty much say who does what, is that right?”

“In the executive branch, yes it does.”

“So don’t make this so complicated. I’m the president, chief executive officer of this corporation, I mean company, I mean country. I hired you, I can fire you, and I can tell you what to do. Just like I did on my TV show. Is that the strong executive theory? It is if I say it is, right?”

“That would be a possible interpretation, Mr. President.”

“Billy, can’t you just say, ‘Yes, Mr. President?’ It would be so much easier.”

“It would be under certain circumstances …” Attorney General Barr mumbled.

“Billy? William?”

“Yes, Mr President?”

“That’s much better. You can go, now. As you crawl to the door, would you keep an eye out for a contact lens? Ivanka lost one this morning as we were having coffee.”

“Yes, Mr. President.”

“I think you’ve got this, Mr. Attorney General. And again, good work on throwing more shade on that Russian influence hoax. And I don’t know who put what in Sanders’ water bottle, and don’t you tell me — I don’t wanna know. Remember, all I said was he could become a problem, know what I mean? That heart attack was really smart, though! Stick a fork in him, he’s done!”

“Mr. President, sir, can we talk about you demanding impeachment for U.S. Senators and Congressmen who disagree with you? That’s not really under your authority …”

“You mean Reject Romney and Shifty Schiff and Nancy Nonsense? They are not showing me the respect, Billy. They’re hurting me, which means they’re hurting America. Which means they’re traitors, Billy, and I want you to investigate them for high crimes and misdemeanors. Get the goods and then we’ll impeach ’em.”

“Mr. President, we can’t impeach them, and certainly not for expressing an opinion … ”

“Billy, strong unitary president … did you forget? Hey, I’ve got to go. I have a 1 p.m. tee time out at Trump International with the owners of two NFL teams, AND, I’m making them pick up the tab for lunch and greens fees! I think I’ll charge them double.”

“Mr. President, you can’t profit from … ”

“Oh, Billy, don’t worry so much! They can afford it, and I gave them a little quid for their quo pro when those players were kneeling and disrespecting Amerika. Not kneeling like you are, but in a dishonorable way.”

“Mr. President, sir, may I ask you something? Why do you make me kneel when I come in here? You don’t make Rudy kneel, and he’s a lawyer.”

“Respect, Bill. It’s a matter of respect. I respect you more than Rudy.”

“I don’t understand.”

“Whenever I deal with someone that deep down inside I fear might be smarter than me, better than me somehow, I have to abuse them, tear ’em down, humiliate ’em. It’s how I prove that I’m superior. It’s not that hard to understand.

“Hey, if you find that contact lens, leave it on Pence’s desk. He’ll run it over to Ivanka.”

The People He Trusts

By Erik Dolson

“The only people you can trust are those looking after their own interests,” Donnie Boastful thought as he looked for his tanning goggles. He wasn’t lonely, just without without friends. Even suckup Roger the Rock was reluctant to pick up the phone since he was on trial.

“Where’s my Roy Cohn?” Donnie wondered, as he often did.
He thought about calling Rudy the Rat, who had become something of a pet. But Rudy was spending so much time on TV contradicting himself that even Donnie couldn’t tell where he stood.

“By you,” Rudy told him when asked. Donnie liked that, though it made him a bit squeamish. But at least rats were better than dogs.

Donnie needed somebody else to help with this Ukraine project. That nasty woman, the ambassador to Ukraine, she was bad news. She had experience, training, and worst of all, ethics. She balked at trading weapons for Biden dirt. Rudy said he’d heard she wouldn’t play ball, so Donnie decided to give her a carreer change.

She didn’t get it. How do you clean up corruption if you can’t make a few payoffs?! That’s how it always worked in Donnie’s world. Dangle a promise and then screw the other guy. “Where is my Roy Cohn?” Donnie wondered again.

That guy “Rain Man,” might be good. Donnie could trust the Rain Man, he had hotels and plenty of money in Seattle, but like any goodfella, he wanted “more.” Donnie knew that a hint or two that he might buy or sell a few hotels, or refer a few good Russian “clients” looking for a way to make dark money bright green, would earn Rain Man’s loyalty.

And hey, if a deal didn’t work out, Donnie could say he didn’t like the Pacific Northwest, it rained too much, the people there didn’t like him and the feeling was mutual.

But Rain Man had coughed up a cool million for the inauguration, the biggest inauguration in the history of the world. As a small thank you, Donnie had made him “Ambassador to the European Union.” Rain Man didn’t have any experience, but Donnie knew that ambassadors didn’t do anything, not really. The European Union was close to Ukraine. Rain Man could just walk over the border and deliver a message.

Donnie wanted to send a message to Ukraine: Play ball with Donnie, find Biden dirt, and then you can come to the White House and Donnie would send his very own anti-tank weapons over so Ukraine could keep the Russians from taking the rest of the country.

That’s what his Roy Cohn would do.

Donnie worried for a minute if he should check in with Putin on that. Putin’s friends buy a lot of condos at inflated prices, and Putin owns a bit of Donnie debt he took off the hands of that German Bank. Maybe a call to his Kremlin Kompatriot might be a good idea, just to find out where things stand.

Donnie would use his iPhone, so those eavesdropping traitors at the NSA, CIA, and FBI wouldn’t be able to listen in.

Did Boeing eliminate sensor for profit?

By Erik Dolson

Last week it was reported that versions of the MCAS software on planes sold by Boeing to the military were required to have three angle of attack sensors installed. Planes sold by Boeing’s competitor, Airbus, also have three angle of attack sensors. Three sensors are designed to compensate if one should be damaged.

Two civilian Boeing planes that crashed earlier this year, killing 346 people, had only one angle of attack sensor with similar software. It is believed that faulty sensors indicated the planes were approaching a nose up stall, and triggered software that flew the planes into the ground.

Why did Boeing sell planes with only one sensor, when most experts say that “critical systems” need redundancy, and the airplane maker was clearly aware of this issue from their experience with the military?

One possible explanation is that Boeing expected customers to order the planes with the additional sensors as “options.” This strategy, employed often by automobile manufacturers, allows a car, for example, to be advertised at a low price and then be sold at a higher price if options are selected, and the options themselves can be sold at a higher margin.

According to the New York Times, options can add millions of dollars to the price of a plane.

So, a question to be asked is whether Boeing deleted one or two of the angle of attack sensors with the expectation of adding them back to planes at customer request and at a greater profit, or “gaming” the sales process.

If so, a follow-up question is where in the development process of the civilian 737 Maxx was that decision made, who made that decision, and who signed off on it.

Because it is hard to imagine engineers in a company that claims that “safety is our top priority” would have signed off on such an obvious problem.