by John Walters

Starting Five

MBS’ B.S.*

*The judges will also accept “Turkish, Bizarre” and “CSI: Istanbul”

Mohammed bin Salman’s lame attempts to Nathan Thurm his way out of the Jamal Khashoggi murder took another hit this morning as Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke at length about what he termed a “premeditated murder” and demanded that those responsible, no matter how high up the ladder, be held accountable and tried in Turkey.

What we know: On September 28, a Friday, Khashoggi, a Saudi native, visited the Saudi consulate requesting papers to finalize his divorce so that he could marry his fiancee. Later that day Ahmad Abdullah al-Muzaini, the deputy head of the consulate, flew to Riyadh and met with Ahmad Asiri, the deputy chief of Saudi intelligence. al-Muzaini returned to Turkey on Monday, October 1; the assassination squad sojourned there the next day, October 2, the day Khashoggi was told to return for the paperwork.

Again, and we’ve asked it before: How stupid and how clumsy and how downright unnecessary of MBS? So a Washington Post columnist pens a few columns that get under your thaw and you get this butthurt? People will tell/have told me that this demonstrates that MBS didn’t care about the consequences; I disagree. If he did not care, he wouldn’t have tried to cover it up. He would have done it in broad daylight, Gran Torino-style, and bragged about it.

This was premeditated, but also a crime of anger and passion. MBS was like Homer Simpson on “rageahol” and he didn’t think through the consequences so much as he just wanted this “I’ll show you who’s boss” murder done because the opportunity presented itself. He insisted on stealth because he actually thought he’d get away with it.

What a dope.

If you’re scoring at home, the Saudis at first denied any knowledge of Khashoggi’s whereabouts or disappearance. Then they admitted he’d died during an interrogation gone wrong. They’re still yet to produce a body, or explain why a bone saw was brought to an “interrogation.” Nor can they explain why a body double dressed in Khashoggi’s clothes was sent out of the consulate that afternoon to walk about in public places in Istanbul so that there’d be surveillance “proof” of his being out and about.

We’re nearly at the point where Donald Trump and Jared are just going to have to (once again) lie directly to our faces. Fortunately for them, they’ve had plenty of practice.

2. Caravandalism!*

*The judges will also accept “Hondurance Run” and “Minority Deport”

No matter what you think of the 7,000-plus Hondurans making their way northward from Honduras to what they hope will be the U.S. border, a pilgrimage that will still take them at least another six weeks, think about this: Can you imagine 7,000 Americans making this trek?

I mean, think of all the whining: “My phone’s almost out of juice” or “I can’t find a Starbucks serving pumpkin spice anything” or “I’m a binge-watcher, not a binge-walker!

Anyway, we don’t want to beatify these folks, but we don’t want to (as a certain president is doing) demonize them, either. Our guess is if you’re that desperate to flee the country you call home that you’d put up with marching 1,500 miles through Guatemala and Mexico, you must really want it. Not that (The Mayflower) we Americans (the Pilgrims) would have  any concept (Plymouth Rock) of what (Happy Thanksgiving!) that would be like.

3. Nationalist Lampoon

As my high school friends and I like to say, “What The WTF?!?” The president of the United States, appearing in Houston to support old enemy Ted Cruz (incidentally, he mocked Beto O’Rourke for going by a childhood nickname [full name, Roberto] while conveniently ignoring that Ted is actually Rafael Edward Cruz, but when have facts ever mattered to Trump or his mindless supporters who pay him unadulterated fealty?), dropped any pretense of not being on the side of the neo-Nazis last night when he said, “You know what I am? I’m a nationalist, okay?…Use that word, use that word.”

Now when I make the inevitable comparison to Adolf Hitler, the previous century’s most avowed nationalist, some will roll their eyes. Why? They’ll always go immediately to the worst things Hitler did, you know, like kill 6 million Jews and incite a war that resulted in 70 million dead worldwide.

But here are the points they always seem to miss: 1) Hitler didn’t start out that way. In the early 1930s, he was doing all the same things that Trump is doing now. All of them; Trump is basically operating from his playbook, and 2) And this may be the more important point to make: even if Trump never goes down the genocide/World War III route, why would you as an American ever want a president who so closely identifies with Adolf Hitler as a leader? Aren’t the shared values bad enough? Do you really want to sell your soul and the actual values that the USA stands for just to make sure another Kenyan doesn’t occupy the White House?

4. LAL? LOL!*

*The judges will also accept “Cranky Goes To Hollywood”

Four of the NBA’s 30 teams are winless after nearly one week of games, and LeBron James’ new team is one of them (as is his most recent former team). The Lakers lost 143-142 to the Spurs in overtime last night to move to 0-3. That’s not instant oat meal, by a long shot.

It’s not that we’re so happy that LeBron is losing as we are that this is totally screwing with ESPN’s boo-boo kiss love affair with the Lakers. The ESPN NBA show headquarters are located a mere minute or two by foot from Staples Center, and they’re certainly not there for the Clippers.

A couple things: Villanova product Josh Hart was, not at all to our surprise, a great pickup. The rookie scored 20 off the bench last night. He’s already a pro’s pro. We told you we loved both him and teammate Donte DiVincenzo last spring before the draft…Also, have you noticed that nobody seems to be playing defense this season? A few scores from the first week of games: 143-142 (OT), 125-124(OT), 131-120, 133-111, 132-112, 140-136, 131-123, 149-129, 124-123, 131-112

5. Clueless Joe*

*The judges will also accept “MAGA Millions!”

So many mornings as we type we have CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on in the background. More often than not it’s on mute because co-host Joe Kernen almost always makes our ears bleed with his reliably tone-deaf statements. Besides being a chauvinist and a Trump cheerleader, Kernen consistently fulminates on topics that demonstrate how out-of-touch he is with anyone who doesn’t frequently lunch at Del Frisco’s on the expense account.

To wit, yesterday his sane and agreeable co-hosts, the full-generation-younger Becky Quick and Andrew Ross Sorkin, were talking about the Mega Millions jackpot and how it had exceeded $1 billion. And this is where Kernen felt the need to interject, “I don’t know, I just think that it’s so much more satisfying to earn it than win a lottery.”

Well, duh, Joe. Let us clue you in on a few things: You more than likely are in the top 1% of wage earners, and I’m not here to say that you don’t earn it or that your job is easy. I respect that you wake up every morning before dawn and are on the air for three hours live.

But here’s the thing: there are millions of Americans who work every bit as hard as you, millions who work harder, who because of the careers they chose will never, ever be in the top 1%. Teachers. Firefighters. Police. Nurses. They’ll never even be in the top 5%, which means they’ll never have the access to luxuries that you do.

And while no one should rely on a lottery to change their fate in life, the idea that everyone is going to have the opportunity to be rich, or should covet that, is asinine. Moreover, what you are saying implies that you equate how much you earn with how hard you work. As if you are saying, If people just worked a little harder (the way I’ve done), they’d be wealthier.

Sorry, no. The shittiest analyst at J.P. Morgan is still likely to earn more than the best teacher in the Bronx. The laziest, cocaine-snorting, skirt-chasing bond trader at Citi Bank will still earn more than almost every nurse in every big city hospital.

Wealth and hard work do not go hand in hand. Wealth is a product, for almost all, of your family upbringing (trust fund, inheritance, etc.) or the choice of profession. And as I was talking to a family member about this last night, she said something that stuck with me, “When did we start looking down on people just because they were poor?”

Or even middle-class?

Music 101

More More More

In 1975 Andrea True was a porn star living in Jamaica (we’ve all been there…the Caribbean, that is, not porn stardom) when an attempted coup prevented her from leaving the country with the wages she’d earned from some work. So she called on Gregg Diamond, a songwriter, to come visit and help her write and record a song. The result was one of the most popular songs of the disco era, peaking at No. 3 on the Billboard charts in 1976. Stick around for the second half of the song and you’ll hear the riff that Len would later steal as the backdrop for their one hit, “Steal My Sunshine.”

Remote Patrol

World Series, Game 1

Dodgers at Red Sox

8 p.m. Fox

There’s the Babe, front and center

These two franchises last met in a World Series in 1916, when the Dodgers played in Brooklyn and were known as the Robins and when Boston played in Fenway Park and were known as the Red Sox. In Game 2 of that series, Red Sox pitcher Babe Ruth went all 14 innings in a 2-1 Boston victory (the Bambino went 0 for 5 batting, though he had an RBI—not the game-winner). The Babe’s final 13 innings that day were scoreless, and though Boston’s home field was Fenway, they played their World Series games at Braves Field, as they were able to draw 10,000 or more fans at that venue.

3 thoughts on “IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

  1. Below is my (& Katie’s!) horoscope for today :

    “If you experience a disproportionately ‘TENSE REACTION’ (CAPS emphasis mine) when the topic of finances arises today, it could be that money is symbolic of something else. Its easy for self-esteem to become subconsciously tangled up with salary, income, or savings. This attachment makes innermost security vulnerable to the perpetual ups and downs of the fiscal world. Consciously remind yourself that money is simply a useful resource, a means to a practical end. Deep down, you know what’s in your bank account in no way defines the real you. Your kind heart is worth more than gold.”

    I actually only check my horoscope a handful of times a year & I guess I checked this morning because, well, since last night I’ve been experiencing a “TENSE REACTION” in the “topic of my finances”, specifically TAXES SCHMAXES! @#$#&$! If ONLY my investments were in the CON WORLD of real estate where one can make MILLIONS A YEAR & PAY NO INCOME TAXES! Alas, my investments are in the stock market (where ‘taxes schmaxes’ eat part of your gains, like it or not) & just to pile on, we have another multi-hundred point drop in the DOW today. 🙁

    So, late yesterday I went to my main mutual fund company’s website to print out the “Estimated 2018 Distributions” that will be declared in mid-December. I printed it out, took it home & while I was oh-so-casually watching some TV, figured out exactly how much my “tab” would be. OMG! WTF?! *&!$!%@$! That’s the thing about mutual funds in taxable accounts, you never know till the end of the year what your cap gains will be (i.e. what you will be taxed on) & even if you re-invest it all back into the funds, as I always have, you pay the tax man. I’m actually stunned, as this year the funds aren’t doing near as well as last year & the ONE fund that is the worst culprit, didn’t do all that great last year either (compared to the others). It’s even much worse than 2014, when I thought I was hallucinating upon seeing the Est Dist for that year. (sob, heave, sob some more).

    I won’t ask Mr Taxes Schmaxes for advice (don’t want to “invade his privacy”, ahem), but if anyone else has any pearls of tax wisdom, (besides fleeing the country), I’m all ears. Or ‘eyes’ in this case.

    Once I’m in retirement, I’ll look FORWARD to such “gains”, as I’ll cash out & live on them, but for now, I guess I’ll just have to tell myself that my “KIND HEART is worth more than gold”. Wonder how much one can sell a ‘gold heart’ for these days as I’m gonna need that money come next April.. 😉

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