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The Trumpanos

To understand the Trump White House, one needs only remember whence Mr. Trump hails. He is the quintessential New York City and New Jersey real estate mogul and casino magnate. As such, he has had a long and close relationship with organized crime. It is not surprising that he is running the government the way Tony Soprano would. Here are some facts, based in part on an article that appeared in Politico in May 2016.  

Trump’s links to organized crime date back to the early 1970s when he befriended Roy Cohn, a mob consigliere whose clients included “Fat Tony” Salerno, boss of the Genovese crime family, and Paul Castellano, head of the Gambinos. Both families were deeply involved in the concrete business that supplied material for Trump Tower. The indictment that led to the imprisonment of Salerno 1988 listed $8M of concrete provided for Trump Plaza, another of the Don’s projects. Before Trump Tower could be built, the old Bonwit Teller department store on the site had to be demolished. That work was done by illegal Polish immigrants working for contractors under the protection of the Genovese crime family. Eventually, Trump was found guilty of conspiracy to defraud the workers and paid $325,000 under a sealed settlement.  

When Trump decided to build his first casino in New Jersey, his license application was approved in far less time than was usually the case. He denied any wrongdoing when questioned by the FBI and allegations of improprieties quietly disappeared. Trump was widely believed to have cut an under-the-table deal with then NJ Attorney General, John Degnan. Although probably unrelated, in 2014 NJ Governor Chris Christy appointed Mr. Degnan, retired chairman of the Chubb insurance company, to head the Port Authority of NY and NJ in the wake of the Ft. Lee lane closure scandal.

In the mid-1980s, Trump’s helicopter pilot, Joseph Weichselbaum, who had a record for embezzlement, was indicted for trafficking in marijuana and cocaine. Trump defended him as “a credit to the community.” After he was released from prison, Weichselbaum and his girlfriend “bought” adjacent apartments in Trump Tower for $2.4M. However, there is no evidence that any money actually changed hands raising the question of whether Trump was paying him for some services. By 2016, Trump appeared to have forgotten that he ever knew the man even though Wiechselbaum has said that he tried to convince the Don to break off his affair with Marla Maples.

This, of course, is just the tip of the iceberg. Read the Politico article for more details on Trump’s close association with the underworld. When you do, the fact that the Trump White House resembles the Bada Bing will make much more sense.

The cat

It has been said that cats domesticated themselves. They discovered that if they caught mice around human habitations they would be allowed to share the warmth of their fires. They learned that, as large as we are, we humans were not inclined to eat them. As time went on, humans developed agriculture, raising grain that attracted rodents, making cats even more useful. And those cats thrived in warm barns. A few were even invited into the humans’ homes where their duties came to include providing companionship. As people left the farms cats accompanied them, having largely abandoned the pretense of being useful as mousers.  Today, cats have come full circle and have domesticated us.

There are many reasons, I suppose, why we like cats. They do, on occasion, rid our living spaces of the odd mouse or bug…or bird. It has been suggested that their wide faces, large eyes, and physical size remind us of human newborns, triggering our parental instincts. And they do exhibit behaviors that we interpret as affection…and which might actually be such. Who can resist a cat cuddled up in one’s lap purring contentedly? Granted, they can be a bit of a nuisance in the morning when they think they will expire from starvation if we do not leap out of bed and feed them. But there is a sort of pleasure to be had from a cat walking up and down one’s body and nibbling at one’s elbow.  I even think that their bladder massages may prevent kidney stones. Anyway, who wants to waste a perfectly good morning in bed?

Cats have earned places in our literature from the ridiculous to the sublime. The Cat in Hat and Puss in Boots anthropomorphize them into children’s heroes. Alice in Wonderland makes them smile enigmatically. Poet T. S. Eliot’s practical cats became Broadway stars. Of course, some writers seem not have lived with cats. Shakespeare, for example, rhapsodized in Hamlet about man being the paragon of animals. Ok, paragon, let’s see you jump to the top of the refrigerator in one effortless bound and lick your butt. And I am quite sure that Carl Sandburg never had a cat if he could write about “fog roll[ing] in on little cat feet.” Cf, the previous paragraph about cats’ morning ritual, to say nothing of the sound of a cat galloping playfully around the house.

Nor should we forget the role of cats in technology. Would the internet exist without cat memes? Would auto-correct have been developed absent cats prancing helpfully over keyboards? Would nightlights have been invented had someone not tripped over a cat in the dark? And what purpose do vacuum cleaners serve besides picking up cat fur. I could mention tennis rackets as well, but let’s not go there.

Whether we love them, as most of us do, or hate them as do nasty cretins, cats are part of our lives. No animal has so successfully trained another to care for them. No other so perfectly blends magnanimity and disdain. But perhaps the most important lesson we can learn from our feline masters is never to act against your own self-interest. No cat would ever have voted for Trump. They are smarter than that.  

Copyright: it’s the law

Thank you for reading my blog. I really appreciate your patronage. However, I must remind my readers that what I post here is subject to copyright. The rules are simple: you may, and I encourage you to, share the URL of any of my posts but you may not copy and paste any content from this blog and present it as your own in any forum whatsoever including Facebook. Please contact me for copyright clearance if you wish to use anything I have written here.

And another irate gun nut….

Here, unedited obviously, is another brilliant comment posted on the WBNG web site by an irate gun nut.


“Bob Conley · Delhi Ag & Tech


“Leo Cotnoir what do u know about the constitution. the people u vote for are tring to erase history through common core & rewriting it so that the true Bible blieving Americans are the villians. Do you wear PINK or RED underwaer to match your political views?”

A gun nut replies….

Here, unedited obviously, are comments posted on the WBNG web site by an irate gun nut. Does anyone need more evidence that we need stronger gun control laws? For the record, I am also a veteran having served in the US Air Force for seven years during the Vietnam War era. I think we were somewhat clearer back then on what the US was all about. This sort of rant from an Iraq war veteran makes me wonder what has become of the ethics of our military.


“Adam Petzack

“wow Leo Cotnoir, u must have your head stuck somewhere far up Obamas ass. how does that smell??? get out of my country. your not welcome here with that attitude. yes i have the right to say such a thing, i served in the army in iraq. if you cant appreciate our constitution and our ways of life set forth by our founding fathers, by all means, please go jump off a bridge you unamerican pile of shit……”


“Adam Petzack

“just for the record, i read your facebook page, we the people are not tyrants you ignorant bastard, the government is supposed to fear us. not the other way around. its called power of the people. im no politician nor do i care to be but i do know that people like you are the reason why the country i served is nolonger the country i was born in. you disgust me. you may have been born here, but your morals, values, and ethics are so unamerican its sickening. thanks for the participation in destroying my homeland you unpatriotic asshole. go fuck yourself……….”

Cowards are not welcome

Starting immediately all comments to this blog must contain a real full name. I am not interested in maintaining a forum for people who are too cowardly to stand by what they say

Shameless self-promotion

Besides this blog I also write one about food and cooking. Over the past four years I have posted more than 350 recipes and commentary about food of all sorts. I invite those of you who read this blog to have a look at Dinner at Leo’s.

Terms of Use: a reminder

It seems that I need to remind my readers of the nature of a personal blog like this one: it is a vehicle through which I express my opinions on topics that interest me and by which I invite discussion of those issues. Anyone is free to read what I post here and to comment within the guidelines I have established. Anyone who does not like what I say is free not to read it.

Thus far I have allowed anyone to comment so long as what they say is not overtly abusive, i.e. racist, insulting, or gratuitously vulgar. I will not tolerate personal attacks upon myself or anyone else. Nor will I countenance threats of any kind. I will delete any comments I deem objectionable and will block any users who violate my terms. Furthermore, I will report to appropriate authorities any continued threats of any kind.