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Steve Mnuchin: Guardian of Deep Secrets

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“Then, as is well known, I found the grim and awful Guardian of the Deep…”

~ Beowulf (lines 2135-6)

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At a press conference in 1973, President Richard Nixon said something with which most Americans would agree.  At that time, in answer to a reporter’s question, he famously said “The American people have a right to know if their President is a crook.”

Of course Nixon’s next line, “I’m not a crook” was a blatant lie, which was soon proven through exhaustive research by dogged journalists. 

Here’s the thing about crooks. They seldom admit to being one until they’re caught and brought to justice. And even then, not so much. Yet about 1/3 of  American voters are more than willing to take the word Of Donald Trump when he says “No Collusion, No deals with Russia, Witch hunt, Fake news”. This despite his long history of lies, obfuscation, and fraud.

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Now, Steve Mnuchin, Trump’s hand-picked henchman in charge of the IRS flatly refuses a legal request from the House Democrats to hand over Trump’s tax returns. With no legal justification for their obstruction, Trump and Mnuchin must know that they’ll ultimately lose a court battle, but as with all of the other subpoena violations, the administration are hoping to run out the clock before the next elections.

They may be right in that regard, but banking on a strategy that voters will shrug off their right to know whether their President is a crook may be Trump’s best and only hope for 2020.

Chicago Cubs move to Sinclair Broadcasting

Starting next season, all Chicago Cubs baseball games will only be televised on their exclusive Sinclair Broadcasting channel. This marks the first time that fans will need to pay to watch any games from the 2020 season and beyond. This will also be the first time since 1948 that “Chicago’s very own” local Superstation, WGN, will no longer televise any of the Cubs’ games, though they will still be carried by WGN radio.

Sinclair Broadcasting has been rightly vilified for requiring local affiliate stations to read word-for-word prepared editorials with a decidedly right-wing bias. Humorist John Oliver delivered a blistering takedown of Sinclair Broadcasting on his show Last Week Tonight.

When coupled with the recent leaking of racist and Islamophobic emails by Joe Ricketts, the patriarch of the family that owns the Cubs AND co-owner Todd Ricketts position as chief fundraiser for Donald Trumps reelection, it’s clear that the Cub’s reputation has taken a severe PR hit this off-season.

Will all be forgiven once the season begins? Will fans pony up some extra cash to see their team in action? That may depend on their performance this season.

Mueller Closes In

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'If anyone wanted ter find out some stuff, all they’d have ter do would be ter follow the spiders. That’d lead ‘em right! That’s all I’m sayin’" ~ J.K. Rowling

Donald Trump is, in the view of his own lawyers, so incapable of telling the truth, that they regard any attempt to question him under oath as a "perjury trap". But with or without Trump's testimony, it appears Mueller's report is almost finished, and the world will presumably at last know the truth, though no doubt some remaining questions will never be fully answered.

Robert Mueller has been largely silent in recent weeks, but with the mid-term elections behind us (for the most part) and a House of Representatives eager for answers, now the game gets serious. Increasingly erratic tweets from Donald Trump and insider accounts of his growing mood swings seem to indicate that Mueller's investigation is closing in. And though it seems like the investigation into Russia election meddling and Trump campaign involvement has been going on forever, in fact it's moved along fairly swiftly and has been much more fruitful compared to, say, the Benghazi investigation, which dragged on for 2 1/2 years, resulting in zero indictments.

Already 32 have been indicted and 8 have plead guilty as a result of the investigation, so talk of a "witch hunt" is just another lie. But of course, what everyone wants to know is whether the final report will implicate Trump and/or his immediate family. If the conclusions are damning enough and involve Junior or Trump himself, will it finally be enough to turn his rabid base against him? Will we see mass bonfires fueled by red hats and MAGA merch? Or more likely, will his faithful followers grow ever more defensive and ramp up attacks on his perceived enemies?

Stay tuned and grab some popcorn. The show is about to begin.

Entry for LP/ Gary Clark Jr. Lollapalooza after show poster

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As a rule, I, like many other Graphic artists/illustrators, am opposed to the crowd sourcing business model.

But as with most rules. I tend to bend or break them on rare occasion. One such occasion arose recently when I took part in a Talenthouse gig poster contest to promote a Lollapalooza after show featuring a couple of fast rising musicians, singer/ukeleleist LP and singer/guitarist Gary Clark Jr.

North Korea's Burger Diplomacy

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The on again/off again plans for a June 12th nuclear weapons summit between North Korea leader Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump may be on again as of this writing, though it’s still unclear what, if any, common ground exists between the two leaders.

Trump is insisting on total North Korean denuclearization as an ultimate goal, though today, in an uncharacteristic nod to reality, he admitted that may require more than one meeting.

So hat is North Korea’s counter offer to complete denuclearization? According to a spokesman for KimJong Un, they might be persuaded to allow a western fast food burger joint to open within their borders. Since we all know that the way to Trump’s artery-clogged heart is through flattery and Quarter Pounders, there may be hope yet for a deal.