CLIMATE CHAOS AS
BOON TO ECONOMY
WASHINGTON -- President Trump has reversed his position and now believes that global warming is not a hoax but a “rock-solid reality,” according to a White House insider. There is a crucial twist, however. He’s not against climate change. He’s all in favor of it.
“He doesn’t think we should fight it,” the insider said. “That’s a negative approach, a loser’s game. He thinks we should accept it, welcome it and even hasten it as the best thing that could ever happen to the economy.”
Mr. Trump foresees “tens of millions of solid working-class jobs” resulting from future climate-related devastations. Salvage and construction crews will be needed to repair the damage wrought by coastal inundations and inland flooding. Firefighters and slurry pilots will be in demand all over the vast Western droughtlands.
He envisions “climate-change strike teams” in green jumpsuits helicoptering into stricken communities in times of crisis, with TV crews documenting every life saved. He pictures his daughter Ivanka designing and marketing the jumpsuits--and, in the process, bringing her manufacturing back from China.
He says that, for economy of scale, his Climate Works Project should be part of his Make America’s Infrastructure Great Again Initiative. “Two birds, one stone,” said the source. “That’s how a businessman thinks.” He believes that techniques learned building seawalls all along the Atlantic coast could aid in building border walls across the southwest.
“This is how the United States can be a world leader again!” the insider trumpeted, perhaps trying to summon up the President’s enthusiasm. “We’ll build now for the future! We’ll jump-start our economy by preparing for climate change! We’ll become an inspiration--a nation which is smart enough to adapt to the inevitable rather than struggling against it!”
He insisted, “Climate change is a natural process because human beings are part of nature, and we caused it. We can’t apologize for being the dominant species. We should do the things we do, and the world will adapt.”
The insider was expressly authorized by the President to share these views. Mr. Trump, once such a crowd pleaser, has been out of the spotlight lately. He has not held a press conference in four months, since he ended the last one by calling reporters “the dregs of humanity.” He hasn’t been seen in public for two weeks. Other than sending out tweets, he has communicated with the public only through designated “insiders” (some of them family members, some not).
The “climate jobs” that he envisions creating would be a gift to the laboring classes which elevated him to power. Certainly, his grand scheme would employ any able-bodied person who wanted to work. But where would the trillions of dollars come from?
The insider listed these sources:
-- An “unprecedented boom” in U.S. manufacturing and resource development once Mr. Trump finishes dismantling controls on carbon emissions.
-- The advertising and licensing income from a series of reality-TV competitions between America’s cities and states to come up with innovative approaches to prospering from climate change.
-- The revenues from a string of new national parks and associated media enterprises which would showcase such “natural events” as erosion, beach loss and desertification and cast them, not as threats or tragedies, but as “fascinating evolutionary changes.”
“That’s the idea--to think positive,” said the source.
The insider said Mr. Trump would reveal details of his Climate Works Project next Wednesday night on a special two-hour Rebuild America Edition of his Netflix show The Appresident.
A 7-Part Serial
GUNMAN KILLS 6, WOUNDS 10
UPPER ARLINGTON, Ohio -- A 68-year-old nursing-home resident opened fire with an assault rifle at an ice-cream social last night, killing six patients and wounding 10. The shooter was a U.S. citizen from Pakistan whose Christian sect is persecuted in his homeland. Two of the dead were Muslims.
Government officials declined to call it an act of terrorism. President Trump tweeted 45 minutes after the event: “I can assure the nation. This is the random act of one solo sicko. Not part of any radical network.”
The alleged assailant, Abram Masih, sprayed an estimated 75 bullets around the “party parlor” at the Golden Meadows Castle of Caring in this affluent Columbus suburb. Then he lay the weapon down, police said, and walked off into the woods. By nightfall, a block-by-block manhunt was under way throughout Upper Arlington, the boyhood home of golf legend Jack Nicklaus.
Golden Meadows is an upscale facility which sued the U.S. Department of Justice in 2014 over a desegregation ruling. That decree transferred 14 patients--including Masih and several of his victims--from substandard Columbus homes to the more favorable confines of Golden Meadows. The decree was overturned last March by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, but the patients had not yet been repatriated to their original institutions.
Police refused to speculate whether religious, ethnic or racial tensions might have fueled the attack. Internet sources reported that Masih suffered from a recently discovered syndrome known as gastrocranial dementia.
FBI investigators were looking into how a Kalashnikov AK-103 automatic rifle found its way into Golden Meadows.
In 2001, the nursing-home industry announced a nationwide no-guns-on-the-premises policy, but left its enforcement to individual homes. Since then, the National Rifle Association has been lobbying officials to loosen the guidelines.
The NRA issued a statement last night blaming the killings on “lax security in a broad range of public and private settings.”
At the White House, unnamed Trump family members reportedly huddled with Homeland Security Secretary Gen. John Kelly to discuss stationing armed “patrolmen” in federally funded senior institutions.
The shootings broke the ritualistic calm of an early Thursday evening at the red-brick, three-story Golden Meadows, which was built in 1917 as an estate for mattress baron Cecil B. Simmons. After Simmons died in 1939, the mansion became an exclusive, luxuriously furnished end-of-life home which has served generations of wealthy Ohioans ever since. It is known far and wide as simply The Castle.
Just after 6:30 p.m. last night, some 25 of the residents were hobnobbing in apparent good spirits at the weekly ice-cream mixer (neapolitan, butter pecan or goji-berry, in cones or in dishes) when gunfire erupted.
One neighbor said the shooting lasted for several minutes. She didn’t call 911 because she thought it was a sound she’d heard countless times before--balloons popping during a birthday party at The Castle.
When first responders rushed into Golden Meadows, “they heard cries for help,” a police spokeswoman said. “They proceeded toward the party parlor, where they came upon a scene that caused even veteran officers to blanche.” Bodies of the dead and wounded, “some of them twisted into heartbreaking poses,” lay strewn across the carpeting alongside broken dessert china, silver spoons, bloodied linen napkins, eyeglasses, hearing aids, dislodged dentures, fallen canes and upended walkers.
Private security guards with riot shields kept reporters away from the crime scene. Patients’ relatives crowded behind barricades in the street clamoring for information, not knowing if their aged ones were dead or alive. Patients who survived were taken away by bus to an undisclosed location to be interviewed.
The slayings add yet another gruesome chapter to a seemingly unending plague of mass shootings at America’s schools, colleges, movie theaters, night clubs, shopping malls, soccer matches, health clinics, car washes, air shows, Scout campouts, tailgate parties, model-boat races, spelling bees, weight-lifting competitions and Mother’s Day brunches. But this rampage is the first one at a facility meant to safeguard the aged and infirm, and the first by a gunman over 65.
Already, experts are warning of more elder-on-elder gunplay. “Our aged population is exploding,” said Sarah Bemer of Wellcare, Inc. “Baby boomers are adapting very poorly to institutional settings compared with previous generations. They are used to having things their way. They are angry about being incarcerated against their will and having to share rooms with strangers and being force-fed pharmaceuticals that they’re convinced will only make them worse.”
Asa Rosita Chance, of the ElderAlliance Network, predicted: “Nursing-home prisoners will revolt, and it’s going to be a dangerous mix--the encroaching dementia, the powerful psychoactive medications, the militaristic sloganeering of the Senior Power Brigade. Our oldest and most feeble citizens, those who are the least agile, will have to learn how to duck for cover.”
She warned: “Unless we can find some way to keep automatic weapons out of our nation’s elder-care homes, we can expect these mass exterminations to become an ever-more-familiar part of our cultural landscape. By 2025, I’m afraid, we’ll be looking at a geriatric bloodbath every week of the year.”
‘VANISHES IN PLAIN SIGHT’
He was seen flagging down passing cars in Springfield, Ohio, and getting a ride with two farmboys in a Toyota pickup.
He was seen in the busy parking lot of a Cracker Barrel restaurant in Terre Haute, Indiana, helpfully guiding drivers toward the best available spaces.
He was seen at a St. Louis Cardinals ballgame cheering so loudly for the visiting team that ushers asked him to “tone it down.”
He was seen hitchhiking along U.S 40 in central Missouri and getting picked up by a bus marked West Jesus Coalition Church.
He was seen in a South Dakota barroom climbing onto--and promptly being thrown off of--a mechanical bull.
Was that Abram Masih, the nursing-home killer who mercilessly gunned down 16 fellow patients? Or was it another false lead?
Two weeks after the massacre, federal and local law-enforcement officials are baffled and embarrassed that the largest manhunt in U.S. history has been unable to track down a seemingly easy catch: an elderly Pakistani with a pronounced limp, an eye patch and gastrocranial dementia.
Adding to the mystery, Masih appears to have made little attempt to elude capture, but to have wantonly inhabited public places and violated trespassing and hitchhiking laws without once arousing the suspicions of any of the 8,500 police officers involved in the twelve-state dragnet.
Special Presidential Assistant Rudolph Giuliani, who is spearheading the search, declared, “The fugitive’s behavior does not conform to any established patterns. You could almost say that we’re looking too hard, because he has vanished in plain sight.”
No photographs of Masih are known to exist, only a grainy video image from the 2014 desegregation confrontation at the Golden Meadows nursing home in Ohio. The two institutions where Masih lived ignored legal requirements to keep photo IDs of him.
Another complication is that Masih has a variant form of albinism which has left him with light-colored skin, blue eyes and ash-blond hair. “We’re out there searching for a Pakistani!” Giuliani exasperated. “But this guy could pass for a Viking!”
In addition, Asian albinos often appear to be younger than their years, due to deposits of subcutaneous oils which inhibit wrinkles in the face. Giuliani lamented, “We should be looking for a Norwegian in his forties. But we keep looking for an old Paki with a turban.”
The reported sightings indicate that the killer is traveling west from Columbus. The latest report, from Pierre, South Dakota, leads police to think he’s heading for the Canadian border. Giuliani is redeploying forces to North Dakota, Montana and Idaho. Trump proxy Jared Kushner telephoned Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau to coordinate border security. Kushner also met with advisers about whether to call up National Guard units.
Masih was born in Pakistan, but seems to have been drawn toward America from the start. At age 18, in 1968, he moved to the U.S. by himself under an immigration provision favoring children of persecuted Christians.
“He was anxious to blend in,” according to an acquaintance from an English class in Trenton, New Jersey. With his fair features, he assimilated easily enough. At the same time, he grew up to be a loner, it seems. He went on to spend his adult life working for himself as a cabinetmaker, following jobs up and down the Atlantic seaboard.
He left no paper trail or co-workers who might remember him. He worked off the books and paid no taxes. There is no record that he married, or that he has relatives in the United States. Efforts to find family members in Pakistan have gone for naught. He left no fingerprints, has no social-media footprint, and apparently does not own a smart phone.
No wonder Abram Masih is so hard to find. In the middle of the information age, he has rendered himself invisible.
8 PICKLEBALLERS DEAD
IN AGE-RAGE SHOOT-‘EM-UP
CAREFREE, Arizona -- Eight senior citizens taking part in a pickleball tournament at an assisted-living home were gunned down yesterday by the facility’s maintenance man.
There were no survivors.
The gunman, without a whisper or a warning, burst onto the pickleball courts firing a Chinese Liberation Army QBZ-95 assault rifle. He picked off the players one by one, then fired the last rounds into his own body.
Police arrived to see the crumpled forms of bronzed senior athletes arrayed across the blacktop, some up near the nets, others at the baselines, their sunglasses shattered, their visors askew, their trusty paddles by their sides, the colorful pickleballs lying at rest.
President Trump tweeted at 3:15 this morning: “Horrible! These are barbarians! We are tracking down every last one of them!”
Hours earlier, the killer had been identified as Samuel Alterhof, 80, a retired farm-equipment dealer from Garden City, Kansas, who had lived and worked at the Casas Los Feliz complex for six years.
Residents who knew Alterhof said he was widowed last fall and seemed depressed. They said he had gastrocranial dementia, the same disorder that afflicted Abram Masih, the Ohio nursing-home killer, who remains inexplicably at large after three months.
Alterhof’s victims were four married couples who were paired as doubles partners in the semifinals of the pickleball tourney. Spectators were crowded around the courts to watch the action, and they ran for their lives when they heard gunfire. But the shooter was targeting only the competitors.
The victims were the leaders of a 2015 referendum campaign to build the pickleball courts on what had once been a quiet commons with benches, shade trees and a meandering artificial brook.
Casas Los Feliz officials denied Snapchat reports of continuing unrest over the referendum, which both environmentalists and libertarians accused of being “rigged.”
After an arbitration panel upheld the disputed vote, Alterhof and his wife Rita launched a petition drive against the pickleball courts. The drive failed to gather enough signatures, and two weeks later Rita Alterhof died of an aortic aneurism.
Of the many unsolved questions, one is: How did a Chinese Army assault rifle get into the demented handyman’s hands?
The Senior Power Brigade (motto: Arming the Aged), is known to have links to foreign arms suppliers. China’s president, Xi Jinping, emboldened by recent successes in his trade war with President Trump, has been encouraging weapons dealers to expand their back-door marketing to senior Americans. Chinese weapons often come into the U.S. through African or Latin American countries where China has strong commercial interests.
The killings at Casas Los Feliz continue a streak of senior-on-senior assassinations which began with the massacre in Ohio and which have been replicated with appalling regularity--at the National Square-Dance Jamboree in Ricks, Tennessee; at a Medicare conference in Ames, Iowa; at an Airstream rally in Clovis, New Mexico; at the Grandma Awards show in Branson, Missouri, and at the Sexy Sexagenarian Saxophonium in Tampa.
The pickleball murders are certain to renew calls by Democrats for stricter firearms controls, as has happened after every mass killing. But Congress is in the second month of its “general strike” to protest Mr. Trump’s demand for a constitutional amendment to impose term limits on the Senate and House.
Talks aimed at breaking the impasse are scheduled to resume next week between House Speaker Paul Ryan and presidential stand-in Jared Kushner.
LINKED TO ELDERTERRORISM
The recent murder sprees by elderly gunmen with gastrocranial dementia are shedding light on a disorder which is multiplying in the United States as sugars and gluten-rich grains become the leading dietary staples at elder-care institutions.
More alarmingly, the medications used to treat gastro-dementia are suspected of tripping off the flights of sudden aggression which have led some mild-mannered seniors to commit unthinkable acts of mayhem.
The emergence of this new dementia follows the discovery that humans have a so-called “second brain”--a parallel nervous system in the digestive system which communicates with the upper brain through hormones and neurotransmitters to maintain our physical and psychological equilibrium.
If one brain gets sick, the other feels it. Emotional distress can bring on inflammatory bowel disease and other digestive problems. Digestive diseases like Celiac and Crohn’s can cause autism, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease--and, more and more these days, gastrocranial dementia.
Call it dementia of the gut.
Dr. Virginia Huggins of the Cleveland Clinic’s Microbiotics Unit says, “If you look at the breakfast bar in any senior-care facility, you see mountains of doughnuts, Danishes, bear claws, cinnamon rolls, sticky buns, kringles, croissants, coffee cakes, streusels, scones, strudels, tortes, eclairs and pan dulces.” She shook her head. “The perfect recipe for gastrocranial dementia.”
Pharmaceutical companies, freed by the Trump Administration from rigid safety regulations, have fast-tracked the new gastro-dementia drugs. The President has promised that his War on Dementia will deliver “the greatest breakthrough in medical history.” But evidence is accumulating that these drugs might have triggered the recent elder-killings in Ohio, Arizona, Alabama, Utah and Alaska.
They are drugs that few Americans have heard of: Dalimuble, Certolizum, Inflixust, Fugator, Etannadub. Care facilities favor their use because, despite the rare flare-ups which make the headlines, virtually all gastro-dementia patients are relaxed and calmed by the drugs--and easier to work with.
Any serious medical debate about the dementia drugs will have to await the resolution of a knottier issue: the upheaval in the practice and funding and reliability of American medicine since the Trump team dismantled Obamacare without putting in place an adequate safety net.
ELDERGATE CRISIS DEEPENS:
LOBBYISTS DOOM GUN LAWS
WASHINGTON -- A “big-tent alliance” of five wealthy lobbying groups has torpedoed Congressional legislation aimed at stopping gun trafficking in elder-care institutions.
The alliance is also blocking a study to assess the safety of the dementia drugs that have been implicated in the Age-Rage attacks which are shaking the foundations of senior care across America.
On a third front, the big-tent alliance is championing the rights of privately owned senior-care facilities to run their businesses free of “diet-crazy” government regulations.
The members of the alliance are the National Rifle Association; the pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, which makes two of the dementia drugs; the National Federation of Senior Care Institutions; the American Sugar Association, and the National Pastry Goods Council.
A Democratic bill to outlaw guns in senior homes has been turned on its head by President Trump and his Republican allies, who insist upon two NRA-initiated revisions--to let patients have “small-caliber handguns for defensive purposes only,” and to arm all nurses at homes with at least 15 residents. Democrats from NRA-leaning states are fighting to keep the bill from coming to a vote.
President Trump tweeted late last night: “If the nurses in Bowling Green were packing heat last week, none of those Lucky Lotto players would have been shot. SHAMEFUL!”
An NRA spokesman, seizing the moment, derided proposals to test gun buyers for dementia and to set upper-age limits on gun ownership. He also spoke out against “fussy dietary restrictions for gun owners living in care facilities.”
The Sugar Association and the Pastry Council issued a rallying cry defending the right of seniors to enjoy “traditional American breakfasts.” They pleaded: “In these last precious years of their lives, they should be allowed the dignity of eating what makes them happy instead of having their menus dictated by elitists in Washington.”
All of the lobbying groups joined Pfizer in expressing “full confidence” in the gastro-dementia medications.
To further inflame tensions, Eldergate is turning into an international affair.
Vice News Tonight reports that Russian pastrymaking cartels are flooding the U.S. senior-care market with super-sweetened pirozhky buns, hoping to exacerbate the nation’s soaring rates of gut dementia. The deal is only the latest in a string of shadowy business transactions which have followed the thaw in U.S-Russian relations under President Trump.
Other sources report that Chinese arms dealers--with the help of Florida’s notorious White Geezer Mafia--have begun to FedEx assault rifles directly to elder-care homes in the Miami area.
FOLLOWING LEWIS & CLARK
ASTORIA, Oregon -- Abram Masih was here.
He blew in with the wind last spring and found a part-time job as a candlemaker. The limp that once hobbled him was gone by the time he arrived. The eye infection which caused him to wear a patch--that had cleared up, too. For nearly a year he lived in a rented room just off Astoria’s main street. He found other part-time jobs, as a brewer’s assistant, as a caregiver for a woman with ALS.
He looked younger than his 68 years and blended in with the middle-aged hipsters of Astoria, an old fishing port at the mouth of the Columbia River. Because he had taken on the name of Jensen, and because of the fair complexion and blond hair which belied his Pakistani heritage, he was thought to be Scandinavian. He even spoke like a Norseman, inhaling the affirmative “yahhh?” at the end of his sentences.
His landlady allowed: “Jensen caused me no trouble. Then he left without saying good-bye, with one week still left on his term.”
Judith McRoe, who took a spiritual workshop with him, said, “Jensen had a restless mind. He was quiet at first, but then he found his voice. At the end of the weekend, we looked up to him, as an elder.”
Fifteen months have passed since the Golden Meadows massacre in Ohio tripped off copycat slayings at senior-care facilities across America--a scourge which shows no signs of abating. Astonishingly, the Upper Arlington killer, the original elderterrorist, is still free.
President Trump has vowed to “hang that monkey from the nearest light pole.” Yet the White House has taken a slapdash approach to overseeing the task force, first relying on Rudolph Giuliani, then bringing in Gen. Randall (Raging Bull) Rankin for a three-month star tour, then giving long-suffering loyalist Chris Christie a brief shot, and now turning to a choice that no one saw coming: Chad Savage Lenz, the host of the TV reality show Mantracker.
All the while, Abram Masih has remained No. 1 on the Most Wanted list. So it is hard to fathom that for almost a year he lived in Astoria without anyone suspecting. Yet that is the story told by a U.S. law-enforcement officer who followed Masih’s trail here--only to arrive a week after he’d vanished again.
The agent (who resigned from the task force upon learning that Lenz had been named director) asked not to be identified.
Here is his account of Masih’s flight from justice:
After the massacre in Ohio, he set out hitchhiking west, mainly on secondary roads. Some drivers who picked him up were Evangelical Christians with help-thy-brother sensibilities. Masih, a Christian himself, got along well with them. Some drivers let him sleep the night at their homes.
Aaron Jensen, he called himself. And he had a plan to his travels. Since immigrating to the U.S. when he was 18, he had taken a keen interest in the history of his new country. He was especially captivated by the Lewis and Clark expedition which opened up the West in the early 1800s. Perhaps he recognized in their quest the same westward pull that had forever energized his own yearnings.
Thus, as Jensen the hitchhiker, he set out to follow the explorers’ trail, through Missouri and Nebraska, through the Dakotas, through Montana, Idaho, Oregon. He dallied at museums and visitor centers along the way, at Fort Atkinson and Spirit Mound, at Knife River, at Slaughter River, at Nez Perce.
Lewis and Clark reached their destination, the Pacific Ocean, in 1805 at the site of present-day Astoria, and they spent a cold, rainy winter at Fort Clatsop. That log stockade is now a national historic park. Rangers there refuse to comment on Buzzfeed reports that Jensen worked as a park volunteer last summer and gave campfire talks to the tourists and their children.
During his time in Astoria, Abram Masih appeared to have gone through a personal transformation--not only to the alter ego of Aaron Jensen, but in deeper ways, as well. In the workshop that he took at a Sufi retreat, he had “an immaculate awakening,” in the words of fellow student Judith McRoe. He realized that, as a child of Christian parents who were persecuted by Muslims, he’d been “trapped in a vengeful, hateful narrative all of his life,” she said. “In Astoria, he renounced that.” He started to study Sufism. He reached out to befriend Astoria’s few Muslim families.
Presumably, he was no longer taking the gastro-dementia medications which might have set off his nursing-home rampage. Without the drugs, he could have felt an uptick in energy and mental clarity. His diet could have improved after moving from Golden Meadows to health-conscious Oregon.
Of a dozen Astorians who knew Masih and agreed to speak about him, not a one was aware that he’d been diagnosed with dementia. Not a one noticed any deficiencies.
Likewise, they were bewildered to learn what he’d done before he arrived here. Some flat-out refused to believe it. Debbie Ray, a singer in the weed-rock band Okey-Tokey, had to laugh: “That’s just not the Jensen I know.”
DRUGGED OPEN-CARRY NURSE
SLAYS COWERING OLDSTERS
GULFPORT, Mississippi -- A certified nursing assistant who had just completed federal firearms training shot and killed four defenseless patients at a continuing-care facility today after breaking into a storeroom and gulping down gastro-dementia drugs.
It was the first elder-care atrocity since the White House rammed through legislation last month to equip nurses with handguns.
The tragedy played out in the lunchroom of the skilled-nursing wing at Gulf Shores Manor in downtown Gulfport. Patients were finishing their midday meal of peanut butter-and-jelly sandwiches when the CNA, Maria Alvarez, 24, whipped a government-issue Sturm Ruger pistol out of her open-carry holster and gunned down everyone at a table for four, while patients at the other tables scrambled for safety and begged for mercy.
Alvarez was tackled by a nurses’ aide who’d been bussing tables. Several patients, armed with little more than plastic cutlery, helped to subdue her.
The four victims lay sprawled across the linoleum floor--two with their arms entwined, as if for a last fare-thee-well. Their table and chairs were knocked astray, their paper plates scattered hither and yon. Overturned cans of Dr. Pepper dribbled streamlets of soda across the floor to merge with rivers of blood.
Alvarez is a native of Venezuela who had worked at Gulf Shores Manor for six months. Co-workers could not attribute a motive to her outburst. They conceded that minimum-wage CNA jobs at group homes were “unbearably stressful”--feeding and bathing patients, brushing their teeth, toileting them, changing diapers and bedpans, emptying catheters, collecting feces samples--and, worst of all, being too busy to get to know the patients.
These bottom-rung nursing jobs are difficult to fill and often go, by default, to immigrants such as Alvarez.
President Trump, an ardent champion of weaponizing senior-care, tweeted after the slayings: “Media says nothing about shooter’s legal status. WHAT ARE THEY HIDING? We cannot allow undocumented workers in key medical positions. DISGRACEFUL!”
One nurse confided that CNAs often deal with stress by using the gastro-dementia drugs recreationally. The sedating effects “take the edge off of caregiver burnout,” she said. Some users even enjoy the detonative surges of high energy which, in extreme cases such as this one, lead to senseless slaughter.
Meanwhile, internet news-magazine portals are teeming with reports that Russia and China have found new ways to meddle with the Eldergate curse.
The Russians already stand accused of promoting gut dementia in the U.S. by giving away pirozhky rolls to senior facilities. Now oligarchs close to Vladimir Putin are investing billions of dollars in the U.S. companies which manufacture the gut-dementia medications Inflixust and Fugator. The infusion of capital has driven the firms’ stocks to record highs.
The Chinese, like the Russians, are playing both sides of the fence.
They’ve been clandestinely arming elder-care residents through the White Geezer Mafia. Now, according to Megyn Kelly News, they have signed an agreement with Smith & Wesson to arm elder-care staffers. Chinese weapons makers will turn out replica Smith & Wesson LaserMax handguns for RNs, LPNs, LVNs, CNAs and janitors who have Homeland Security open-carry licenses.
In a final Age-Rage development, there have been more alleged sightings of Aaron Jensen, who as Abram Masih single-handedly started the elderterror epidemic. The reports come from the old-growth forests of Northern California, which have long given refuge to misfits, unbelievers, outlaws and mystics.
Almost two years have passed since the killing spree at the Golden Meadows Castle of Caring in Upper Arlington dimmed forever our prospects for a worry-free old age. The longer that this Keystone Cops manhunt goes on, the more the perpetrator is transformed in the popular imagination from mass murderer Abram Masih to antiestablishment folk hero Aaron Jensen. Or merely JENSEN!, as the hoodies of millions of disaffected teen-agers proclaim from Seattle to Sao Paulo to Sydney to Singapore.
Jensen is our new “D.B. Cooper,” the outlaw adventurer who hijacked a Boeing 727 in 1971 and parachuted out over these same Sierra hinterlands.
Cooper was never heard from again.
Maybe, somewhere in the forest dark, Jensen is meeting up with him.
NEW YORK -- An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll released today shows that more Americans enjoy “fake news” than “real news.”
When presented with the choice of news from television and newspapers or news from sensational internet sites whose credibility might be questionable, 42% of respondents preferred the sketchy variety, while 35% chose the traditional. Another 23% picked “neither.”
Among age groups, the very young and the very old were the most attracted to unverifiable news. Among Republicans, 58% preferred it, while only 24% of Democrats did.
The announcement set off a barrage of celebratory tweets by President Trump:
At 12:20 p.m.:
“Poll proves I’m right. Nobody believes mainstream media. NOBODY! Why? Because they make everything up!”
At 12:22 p.m.:
“Dishonest media: You’re even losing to the fakers. PATHETIC!”
At 12:29 p.m.:
“@CNN, @NYTimes, @WashPost -- WHO CARES WHAT YOU SAY ANYMORE?”
At 12:37 p.m.:
“@NBC, your own poll shows nobody watches you! Is this Lester’s top story tonight, or will you bury it back with the feel-good fluff?”
At 12:48 p.m.:
“Do you think our constitution meant to protect clowns like you? When you lie all the time, you lose the right to open your mouth!”
At 1:06 p.m.:
“We’ll see you First Amendment people in court!”
Later, presidential proxy Jared Kushner (known by Washington insiders as “the Trump Whisperer”) met with reporters to reassure them that no legal actions were pending.
Trump surrogates also fanned out to TV news shows to make the case for fake news.
Traditional news, they argued, pretends to be objective, but necessarily reflects the mind-sets and biases of reporters and editors, who are mainly well-educated urban liberals. Fake news has no such “pretensions” to fairness. “So it’s free to call things the way they are,” the surrogates said. Fake news is unconstrained by political correctness. “So it can say it like it is.” Fake news, “without all those finicky standards and restrictions,” is more gripping, more dramatic, more persuasive and “more fun.”
Trump adviser Omarosa Manigault, a former Apprentice contestant, put it this way: “When the news is fake, you don’t have to take it so seriously. For example, everybody knew that Obama was born in America. It was just a way to mess with his mind, to get under his skin. Modern politics is a game. It’s a show. Mr. Trump is simply very, very good at this. We live in an entertainment culture today. That’s why The Appresident is the Number One program on television.”
When Mr. Trump was elected, pundits questioned how he would separate his official responsibilities from his business affairs. Now it’s his TV career that has taken center stage over both of those interests.
In recent months, after being humiliated (if not humbled) by a string of setbacks--losing Estonia to Russia, getting drawn into the West Bank War, getting outfoxed in the trade wars with China and Mexico--the President has stayed out of the public eye. Yet he reappears on Netflix every Wednesday night with his trademark bravado to weave the most important issues of the past week into a policymaking competition between shifting alliances of advisers and family members.
At the end of each show, one player on the losing team gets sent home, and so far it has never been a Trump (or a Kushner). The suspense keeps building as viewers speculate: When will one of his kids get the axe, and who will it be? Poor Tiffany? Little Barron?
On internet betting sites, Ivanka is heavily favored to win it all. She and husband Jared have masterfully insulated themselves from the negativity her father has brought down upon himself. Insiders think that if Ivanka ever considers going into politics herself--as a member of either party--she could become the country’s first female president.
BY ANIMAL LOVER
CENTERVILLE, Iowa -- An animal-rights extremist burst into a bowling alley with a Russian assault rifle last night and opened fire on immigrant meat-packing workers who were taking part in a transgender tournament. Five bowlers were killed and nine wounded.
The assailant died later in a shootout with police. He was identified as Dean Rivers, 36, of Ottumwa, a founder of the All-Species Defense League and a delegate to the 2016 Republican National Convention.
President Trump tweeted at 4:15 a.m.:
“What the hell’s going on in Iowa? WE ARE LOSING THE AMERICAN VALUES WE HOLD SO DEAR!” The White House press office deflected widespread speculation that Mr. Trump was disparaging the victims for being immigrants and crossexuals.
Rivers strode into Hawkeye Bowling and Billiards at 7:20 p.m. with an Izhmash AK-105 and began shooting indiscriminately. Bowlers cowered behind ball-return racks or ran pell-mell down the lanes, tripping over the gutters, seeking cover behind clusters of pins, climbing up into the bowels of the pinsetting machines. The bodies of lifeless keglers lay crumpled upon the polished hardwood, some of them clothed and coiffed as men, some as women.
Centerville, like countless other towns in the Midwest, has been transformed by the arrival of giant meat-processing plants where foreign-born workers--some legal, some not--butcher cattle, hogs, buffalos, llamas, turkeys, chickens and other farm creatures for delivery to grocery chains across the country.
Immigrants get the jobs because most native-born Americans will not spend their days slaughtering animals and dismembering the bloody carcasses. The workers here hail from Latin America, Africa and Asia, including a contingent of “ladyboys” from Thailand who dress and behave like women. The ladyboy culture caught on with Somali meat-packers, then with Rohingya refugees from Myanmar, until Centerville had enough ladyboys to put together weekly bowling tournaments, known as Tranny Tenpins Tuesdays.
Some locals show a cautious curiosity about the ladyboy phenomenon. One of the wounded victims was a Centerville teen-ager who had come to watch the bowlers socialize.
Ten years ago, when the first dark-skinned strangers descended upon hitherto all-white Centerville, protests broke out. Now, many citizens see them as ambassadors from more interesting places than Iowa. Main Street boasts a Nigerian bakery, a Oaxacan taqueria, an Ecuadorian haberdasher, a Bengali bazaar, even the Ladyboy Couture.
Police think the shooter targeted the meat-workers solely in hopes of advancing his animal-rights cause and not out of any malice toward foreigners, or people who switch their sexual identities, or bowlers in general.
America’s proliferation of grievances toward outsiders in the Trump era--toward immigrants, Muslims and Mexicans, toward civil rights, gay rights and women’s rights--can make it hard for police to determine the specific motivation behind mass shootings.
Historically, in times of uncertainty such as this one, the public looks to its president for wisdom and guidance. But Mr. Trump has largely withdrawn from personal discourse since he was ridiculed unsparingly for the mass CIA resignations, the nationwide health-care collapse, the defunding of the school lunch program and other crises, all of which he blames on media deception, Republican waffling and inflexible liberal idealism.
His tweet about the Centerville killings--"WE ARE LOSING THE AMERICAN VALUES WE HOLD SO DEAR”--was pounced upon by TV and internet pundits as mocking the dead and siding with the murderer.
White House adviser Jared Kushner (a.k.a. the Trump Whisperer) assured NBC’s Megyn Kelly that the President would “contextualize” the tweet during next Wednesday’s episode of The Appresident, on Netflix at 9 p.m.
WASHINGTON--President Trump’s top advisers, cabinet members and children are locked in a quarrelsome debate about how to deal with a breathtaking surge in marijuana use, especially among the aged.
The Pew Research Center reported last week that 64% of Americans over 60 who live in urban areas get stoned on a “more-than-occasional” basis, up from 31% just three years ago. Smaller increases were seen in other age groups and across all neighborhoods, regions, races, religions and economic classes.
Some of the President’s handlers are pushing for a “relentless armed crackdown” to enforce federal drug prohibitions in liberal states which have voted to legalize marijuana. More cautious advisers are advocating a “small-government, states-rights” strategy that would avoid the spectacle of National Guard troops storming into cannabis clinics from Kennebunkport to Ketchikan to arrest elderly epileptics, end-stage cancer patients and Vietnam veterans with PTSD.
One factor in the rise of old-stonerhood is certainly the aging of the baby-boomers. Those tens of millions of young seekers who lived the high life in the Sixties and Seventies are retired or living in elder-care homes now, with lots of time on their hands and fond, if hazy, recollections of their rascally youth. Thus their Golden Years have taken on an old familiar glitter.
Another factor has to be the findings by the Cleveland Clinic that the consistent use of marijuana containing high levels of THC could forestall the onset of Alzheimer’s and other dementias. Some elder-care homes in blue states have received waivers to give cannabis oil to all patients who don’t object.
The daily stresses and uncertainties of living under the Trump administration also might help to explain why Grandma and Grandpa are lighting up so often. Geriatric experts report that a “devil-may-care, live-for-the-moment mood” has taken hold among liberal-minded oldsters who suspect that the hopeful and generous America they’ve long enjoyed is coming to an end. They see pot as a way to rekindle their visions of hope and possibility, if only briefly.
The explosive growth of the old-stoner market has set off fierce competitions for the tokers’ hearts and minds. Some politicians are reconsidering their opposition to natural herbs which make people happy and relaxed. Online entrepreneurs are scrambling to catch up with old-line purveyors of paraphernalia.
The White House deliberations are being chaired by former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio, who is auditioning to head the Drug Enforcement Administration. Arpaio brands himself as America’s Toughest Sheriff and is known for his anti-immigrant tirades, racial profiling and abuses of power, all considered positive attributes for the DEA job.
The “take-no-prisoners” faction in the drug debate consists of Arpaio, Vice President Mike Pence, national security adviser Michael Flynn, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Energy Secretary Rick Perry, West Wing gadfly Rudy Giuliani and alt-right rocker Ted Nugent.
The “live-and-let-live” faction is led by presidential stand-in Jared Kushner, football star Tom Brady, boxing promoter Don King and TV producer Mark Burnett. Kushner’s wife Ivanka Trump, with her ardent pro-family agenda, is siding with the hard-liners.
The President has not spoken in person about the subject, or virtually any subject, for two months--since his last press conference ended with him denouncing reporters as “the dregs of humanity” and stalking off the stage.
In the past, Mr. Trump has wavered on marijuana legalization, as he does on many issues, owing to his lack of convictions, values and focus. At one point, he said, “You have to legalize drugs to win the drug war.” Later, he said, “Medical should happen, and then we should leave it up to the states.”
What does he think now?
We do not know. His governing style is to keep us guessing--to keep us waiting for his next tweet.
All we know is what we have been told--that the President is videotaping the White House cannabis debates and will air them in edited form as the opening show of his reality series, The Appresident, which debuts Sept. 17 on Netflix. Mr. Trump plans to end the show by revealing the winning drug-enforcement policy, then firing one of his advisers.
2024 RUN FOR
WASHINGTON -- Surrogate First Lady Ivanka Trump and her husband, White House deputy Jared Kushner, have hired a staff to explore the possibilities of a 2024 run by Ms. Trump to become the first female president.
“A chance like this comes along once in a generation,” said a confidante. “Ivanka has all of her father’s charm and self-confidence but none of his boorishness, nastiness or vengefulness. And she’s radiant onscreen.”
If President Trump can somehow recover from his early flounderings in the Oval Office, his daughter could run as a Republican. Or, with her liberal leanings on women’s and children’s rights and climate change, she could declare as a Democrat. She could even ask her friend Chelsea Clinton to run for vice president.
“A marriage made in heaven!” crowed the confidante, ignoring the cruel irony.
During her father’s tumultuous first year in office, Ms. Trump has been an “unofficial adviser,” with an office in the West Wing and a staff of six. It’s no secret that she is the favorite of his five children, and the one whose counsel he seeks first. She advises him on policy and tries to tone down his antagonistic rhetoric. She and her husband are known to be moderating influences on the presidential temper. Unlike her father, Ivanka is someone who stays flawlessly on-message. Friends say she has a politician’s aptitude for sizing up a room, an awareness of who’s around her and what they want to hear.
Like her father, she’s wary of the media, because reporters hounded her at boarding school when her dad left her mom for Marla Maples. Like her father, she enjoyed firing contestants on The Apprentice. So she has some of the showmanship which has helped her father blur accountability on such crises as the botched privatization of the Postal Service, the health-provider bankruptcies, the riots in Flint and the border skirmishes with Canada.
Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner are children of wealth, and as such they have a lot in common:
-- Both grew up as the children of real-estate tycoons whose idea of fatherhood was to let the kids put on hard-hats and tag along in the limo to construction sites.
-- Both had fathers who routinely stiffed contractors and vendors because they were rich and powerful enough to get away with it.
-- Both had fathers who saw themselves, despite all of their successes, as victims.
What would that do to a child? For whatever reason, Ivanka and Jared seem to be millennials who never rebelled against the privileges they’ve been handed, and who consequently remain works in progress.
They inherited the role of Washington’s First Couple when Melania Trump chose to keep living in New York with her son Barron, at least until he goes off to college. The Trump-Kushner duo are jarringly presentable when they appear in public. She is considered the charismatic one. He is a good listener and enabler. If his wife ran for office, friends say, he’d be comfortable playing the queenmaker.
That is essentially the role he plays for Ivanka’s father. Political insiders are fond of calling him the president-in-law or the President's baby-sitter. They also call him The Trump Whisperer, because he has the President’s ear, and he knows how to rein him in.
Like Mr. Trump, he hates reporters.
Like Mr. Trump, he will dig in to defend his positions to the death.
Like Mr. Trump, he was a Democrat when he was younger. His parents donated tens of millions to the party. Later, he grew more conservative. Still, he and Ivanka hold considerably more moderate views than those championed by the President.
Skeptics wonder: How can the two of them support behaviors and attitudes that they wouldn’t tolerate in their own children?
Trump family sources say that Ivanka and Jared’s unrelenting, unrepentant support for her father’s political ascent is due “solely to family loyalty rather than to any beliefs or values or principles or passions.”
In other words, they are politicians. They’re doing what comes by birthright--growing a dynasty.