One More River To Cross…

by Buzz on 26/06/2016

At 10pm on the nose last night, the first draft of my G.I. Joe Kindle Worlds’ novel “The Most Dangerous Man In The World” was completed.

=Whew!=

The book has been a long time a-gestatin’, and even though I have a re-write and polish yet to go, it’s now in the close-to-being-done stage.

After I do a quick spelling & grammar check on it, it will lay fallow for a few weeks.  During that time I will get “The Rustlers Of Rimrock” ready for release.

“Poor Banished Children Of Eve”, my World War Two-era “Lord Of The Flies” with Catholic school girls story, has been ready to go for some time.  As soon as “The Rustlers Of Rimrock” is ready to go online, then “Poor Banished Children Of Eve” will go up and I’ll start the polish on “The Most Dangerous Man In The World”.

That book will go up next, followed by “The Rustlers Of Rimrock”.

What have I got on deck past that?

Quite a lot, actually.

The next book is going to be a big massive multi-character farce based on a real life incident.  I want to do some “Serenity” stories (my “Serenity”, not Joss Whedon’s).  I’ve got three novels in stall-mode that can be restarted, some older books that may be printable after another re-write, then six or eight new novels waiting their turn in the hopper.

And that’s not counting the various
short stories I currently have in circulation,
or a couple of side projects I’m involved with.

“The Most Dangerous Man In The World” took so long to write because I’ve been out of the Joe-universe for quite some time; I had to research all the characters and vehicles to make sure I got them correctly.

If I’m asking Joe fans to buy my book, the least I can do is to make it as consistent as possible.

Right now, I have to go clean a comforter our cat barfed on.

Ah, me, the thrill a minute life of the literary set…

Charles Bukowski I write as a function

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The Words Of The Prophets…

by Buzz on 26/06/2016

…are written on the subway walls
and tenement halls

WotP Elijah Muhammed

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Compare And Contrast: New VOLTRON vs RWBY

by Buzz on 23/06/2016

This is gonna be a short one because despite many people lauding the new Voltron series on Netflix, I just couldn’t get into it.

Five minutes in and my interest failed to engage. Technically proficient, good character and mecha design, but man, the dialog and plotting were just gears slipping. Not a fresh idea in the bunch and all hammered home with sledgehammer intensity.

CnC VvR voltron3

I watched the first two scenes, skipped ahead about 20 minutes, watched some more, tried the opening of the next episode, said fuggedaboutit.

Not saying it’s bad, not saying you can’t enjoy it.
Just saying for me it failed to grab my attention.

Conversely, RWBY sparked my interest immediately despite a lengthy deadly dull narrated opening and clearly derivative anime tropes.

Perhaps that’s why it attracted my attention:
When you start a faux-anime story with rip-offs homages of Alex and his droogs raiding what looks like a candy or bubble bath shop, well, you’ve got my attention enough to want to see what happens next.

And when one of the pseudo-droogs points his sword a young female customer in a red riding hood and she looks at him innocently and asks, “Are you threatening me?” we all know what’s going to happen next, the question is how well and with how much panache?

And sunnuvagun, they pull it off. Frankly the video-game quality animation is far from perfect, but the character designs are fun and the character interactions and dialog keep the more familiar parts of the show from working against it.

CnC VvR 4 RWBY

RWBY is available online but Netflix has edited all of the first season into a single feature length story. It’s episodic but fast moving.

Comparing the two shows — even as briefly as I did with Voltron — sparked some critical thinking regarding media for kids then and now, and what quality of writing is to be found among them.

And to do that I’m going to need to invoke Buster Keaton, Laurel & Hardy, and John Wayne…but that will require another post.

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You Cannot Serve God And Mammon

by Buzz on 23/06/2016

The original title of this post was going to be A Parliament Of Whores but that would have been an insult to the sex workers of the world, most of whom have demonstrated consistently higher moral and ethical standards than the presumptive GOP nominee and his sycophants.

The good news is this: 
Not all of those attending the mass meeting with Trump fell for his finely honed line of bullshit.  While it’s safe to say there are no Clinton fans in that crowd, it would be unfair to say they are all falling in lockstep with Trump.

The bad news is this: 
There are enough rubes among the mass attendees who are buying into Trump’s finely honed bullshit to explain the rapid collapse of Christianity in this country.  As South Park’s Eric Cartman so eloquently explained it:

TrumpEvan Cartman quote

American Christianity, in particular white conservative Protestant evangelical Christianity, is infested with a virulent strain of power-hungry Mammon-worshipers who would sell their own mothers to a donkey show in order to further their own ambitions.

While 960 evangelicals cooled their heels awaiting Trump’s presence, he held a private meeting with 40 movers & shakers in the evangelical movement.

These instruments of Satan — ‘scuse me, Mammon; to paraphrase The Big Leibowski, say what you will about Satan, he at least has an ethos — are eager to push Trump onto the rest of the world.

Some of these turds are fueled by racial hatred, others merely by the reward of catering to bigots and white supremacists.  Others still are misogynists, more than a few are child rapists who abuse their pastoral authority to cover their crimes.  There are LGBT-haters so closeted they might as well be Ikea shelving units.  Prosperity gospel preachers who tell the most desperate members of their flock that God won’t love them until they give everything they have to their pastor.

And they all taint the teachings of Christ by perverting it into the most vile, hate-them / fill-my-pockets evil imaginable.

And we, the body of Christ on this
earth, have allowed it to happen.

Here’s how: 
When I was growing up in the South back during the cusp of the civil rights era, the thing that held African-Americans back was not the most evil, most violent, most racist members of white society but the vast majority who recognized African-Americans were being sadly short changed on the scales of justice, yet were unwilling to speak out against it because it would mean being critical of friends and neighbors and family members who were racist anusoids of the lowest order.

Rather that offend that minority of gibbering hate filled baboons, the majority of Southern whites kept their mouths shut and averted their eyes at African-American suffering.

…until the day came when their TV sets just wouldn’t let them look away anymore, and they saw what it cost to maintain a segregated society, and they finally — finally! – said, “Hold!  Enough!  If this is the cost of segregation then we are unwilling to pay it.”

Christian America has not yet had their moment when they have said, “Hold!  Enough!” to the thieves and liars and cutthroats who denigrate the faith, who demean being a follower of Christ for their own power and profit and glory, who wipe their asses with the Bible.

And every day — every minute! – that we remain silent, more and more people look at the Christian faith and echo Eric Cartman.

As

Well

They

Should

We have failed them by not purging our ranks of the most egregious charlatans, profiteers, hate-mongers, and know-nothings.

We have failed them by not freezing these bozologists out, by not roundly condemning them for their visibly harmful actions, by not exposing again and again and again how everything they preach is in direct contradiction to the words of love and mercy and compassion and justice from our Lord and savior.

“By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”

The world at large looks at these shitheels in their thousand dollar suits and says, “If they are the representatives of Christ in this world, then I want no part of him.”

Now, some reading this are going to say, “Aren’t you being harsh and vindictive?  Are you indulging in the exact same sin you accuse them of?  Shouldn’t this be better handled quietly, among the Church itself, without going public?”

To which I say: 
Screw that noise.

The time for private, quiet counseling is long gone; the snakes have taken over the garden of Eden and are re-writing the gospels to satisfy their self-centered needs.  The Christian faith is imploding in America, and it is imploding because for the first time people can compare notes outside their immediate congregation and they can see others calling the same shenanigans they see and for the first time they know they are not alone much less wrong in turning their back on what passes for organized Christianity in this country.

As

Well

They

Should

You are a damn fool idiot to disregard the evidence of your own senses and follow self-serving greedy bastards as they lick the ass shoes of an even bigger damn fool idiot who knows nothing except how to lie cleverly enough to con people out of their money.

I grasp not liking Hillary Clinton or the Democratic Party or progressive ideas, and to those who say they would feel a bit more comfortable with the evangelicals issuing a statement along the lines of “considering our options, we think this is the lesser of two evils”, I understand.

I don’t agree, because based on his lifetime behavior there is more than ample evidence Trump is lying to you and doesn’t give a flying fuck at a donut hole what you think or want, but I understand.

And to those who opt to vote Libertarian or Green or Peace & Freedom or some other protest vote this year, hey, go for it.

But in the sweet and holy name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, don’t further denigrate the faith by having anything to do with this ruthless conman.

Yeah, I know God can wrought miracles, I know even the hardest of hearts can change should they desire to, but Donald Trump is a 70 year old narcissist who has spent his life lying and cheating and stealing from others to line his own pocket and make himself famous.

Hoping — no, strike that — wishfully thinking that somehow he is going to become introspective enough to realize he needs to change his behavior is just going to drive more people from the faith.

“Hold!  Enough!”

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Thinkage

by Buzz on 21/06/2016

“The establishment Republican ideology prioritizes capital above all else. For them, the market does not exist to serve people: people exist to serve the market. Unregulated capitalism can never fail; it can only be failed by those too lazy, useless and unproductive to serve and profit by it. It is a totalizing ideology as impractical as state communism but lacking the silver lining of its species-being idealism; as impervious to reason as any cult religion, but lacking the promise of community, salvation or utopia; as brutal as any dictatorship, but without the advantage of order and security. Worst of all, it blames its victims for its failure to provide solutions to their needs.” — David Atkins, The National Review Confirms That It Is, Indeed, Worse than Donald Trump

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The Words Of The Prophets…

by Buzz on 19/06/2016

…are written on the subway walls
And tenement halls

WotP frank zappa 4

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Connecting The Dots or How I Think

by Buzz on 17/06/2016

MGWG cartoon

I saw and shared the above cartoon because it struck me as funny.

The incongruity of a cartoon gorilla and a cartoon alligator agreeing to a mutual protection / revenge pact was ridiculous.

As Monty Python has pointed out:

Accountants acting like accountants or Vikings acting like Vikings = Not Funny

Vikings acting like accountants  or accountants acting like Vikings = Funny

What’s doubly ironic is that these two characters have diametrically opposed goals: Magilla Gorilla wants to be purchased and cared for as somebody’s pet, Wally Gator wants to escape the zoo and recover his lost freedom.

Some have asked if it’s too soon for this sort of humor, and all I can do is repeat what Lenny Bruce said as he took the stage for the first time after President John F. Kennedy was shot: =phew= Vaughn Meader…”

One can sympathize with the terror and tragedy of a two-year old’s death, or the deadly peril of a child who fell into an ape pen, while at the same time recognizing the irony of gorillas and gators being punished for acting like gorillas and gators after humans intrude on their habitats.

But even as I was typing that, I became conscious a connection between this cartoon and a different problem on a different scale that I had obviously “seen” in the cartoon, only didn’t realize it at the time.

What happened to those two poor unfortunate children and then to the animals they encountered parallels the arrogance of racism and white privilege.

Now, I am most emphatically not saying the parents in either case were arrogant; far from it.

But they were certainly benefiting from an arrogant human mindset that said destroying a gorilla’s native habitat for human needs was okay and imprisoning those surviving gorillas in a small enclosure was okay, a human mindset that said building elaborate recreational facilities in the middle of a deadly predator’s native habitat was okay and if the animals did not go along with the plan then they were expendable.

No, I am not saying any number of gorillas or alligators are equal to one human life.

But I am saying the families who experienced these terrible events wouldn’t have experienced them if there hadn’t been a presumption on somebody’s part that it was okay to imprison large primates for the amusement of humans or build human vacation resorts in the middle of gator country.

Those families who suffered those horrible encounters certainly did not arrogantly demand that the zoo or resort be built and animals exploited for their personal benefit…

…but when they saw there was a system for that already in place, they thought, hey, why not?

No, strike that. They didn’t think anything. Going to the zoo or the resort was as natural to them as breathing. All their lives they had been told that zoos and resorts were good things and if the topic of the animals in them ever came up, it was probably dismissed with a PR claim that the animals were actually safer and better off now than they had been before.

A few weeks ago we had dinner with a Dear Friend whom we’ve known for close to thirty years. I won’t identify Dear Friend any further other than to say they’re slightly older than us.

Dear Friend told us they didn’t like President Obama.

Okay, why?

“The country has gotten worse under him.”

By what metrics?

“Well, the economy…”

Whip out the smartphone*;
a few quick keystrokes and…
nope, economy’s doing fine.
We’re enjoying a recovery.

“Those numbers don’t mean anything.”

Those numbers are the same
statistics and measurements
both parties use when they’re
in control, they’re not whipped
up in some publicity hack’s office.

“Crime is going up…”

Another quick flurry of keystrokes.
Nope, crime has been falling for
the last two decades. The numbers
vary from year to year, of course,
but the overall trend is down.
Last year, in fact, had less crime
than the year before.

So says the FBI database.

“Well, maybe nationwide, but
here in Los Angeles it’s going up.”

More keystrokes. Nope, crime
in L.A. is falling. too, about at the
same level as the national average.

“Well, maybe in Los Angeles as
a whole, but in my neighborhood…”

Ahh, and now the little light comes on.
Dear Friend, your neighborhood isn’t
becoming more dangerous.

It’s becoming more brown.

Now, Dear Friend is as kind and as generous a person as you could hope to meet. If Dear Friend was told there was a non-white family that needed help, they’d chip in what they could. Dear Friend certainly has several non-white people whom they love dearly in their circle of friends.

And Dear Friend certainly wouldn’t go around slandering or libeling non-white people.

But Dear Friend grew up immersed in a culture that said, overtly and indirectly, explicitly and implicitly, by word and by image and by deed, that there was something wrong with being non-white, and if not wrong wrong, then certainly not as right as being white.

And Dear Friend has never questioned this.

Dear Friend, like the parents cited above, would never question why we have zoos, or what those zoos mean in the larger scheme of things. Dear Friend might recognize in the back of their head that a resort for families that abuts right against an alligator habitat might not be the wisest thing in the world, but it would never occur to Dear Friend to question the whole idea of having a resort.

That’s what we mean when we say “white privilege”.

“No white skin off my nose.”

Which brings us full circle to Magilla Gorilla and Wally Gator, and why this cartoon resonated so deeply with me.

I grew up with these characters as a child, and encountered them in various professional venues when I was writing for animation.

Both lead lives of anxiety and longing based not on what they would have wanted in their natural habitat, but on demands placed upon them by the humans who dominate them.

And mind you, for all intents and purposes, these characters are the equals to human beings: They speak, they can plan, they even wear clothes.

Despite this, and for purely arbitrary reasons, they are regulated to animal status in their cartoons; conversely Huckleberry Hound and Top Cat are treated as equals by the humans in their cartoons.

Magilla Gorilla has been told his function in life is to be the pet of a human being; he is typically found confined to a pet store at the beginnings of each episode until a new owner is located, but by the end of the cartoon his hopes are dashed and he’s returned to the pet shop.

Conversely, Wally Gator is trapped in a zoo and constantly schemes to escape; when he does he is returned to his pen.

It would be a gross oversimplification to say Magilla Gorilla represents the African-American experience in America while Wally Gator represents the Native American experience but dang, they fit, don’t they?

The more I thought about the cartoon above, the more I realize the reason it resonated with me so strongly was because it reflected a very real change that is going on in American racial and cultural attitudes right now.

And a big part of that change is that various minority and ostracized groups in America are realizing they no longer need the permission of white America to live fulfilling lives.

In the cartoon above Magilla Gorilla and Wally Gator realize they have no friends in the human camp, their lives are circumscribed by roles the humans have forced them into. They realize they will receive no support or protection from the humans, either.

The only choice left is to look after one another or live and die miserably alone.

Here’s another cartoon, this one from Sophie LaBelle of Assigned Male webcomic.

MGWG assigned male LGBT comic

Not a funny cartoon, pretty tragic actually, but it uses humor (okay, sarcasm) to make a point:

The privileged always want to make it about them.

And minorities and ostracized groups are getting tired of it, and are starting to say no.

And the fact they’re doing that is making some privileged people lose their s4!t.

So that’s the way my mind works,
those are the connections I see.

.

.

.

* I am a total fncking asshole when it comes to using my smartphone in an argument; I will not let you fob off some egregious piece of b.s. without a fact check. My late aunt used to say, “Put that thing away!” whenever she saw me reaching for it.

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Writing Report, June 15, 2016

by Buzz on 15/06/2016

Eddie Poe on writing sanity

Where we at?

The “WWII-era Lord Of The Flies with Catholic schoolgirls” is ready to go, has been ready to go for quite some time.

I don’t want to upload it prematurely, however, because that runs the danger of squandering the work.  The plan is to launch it as the first of three books, all coming out within a short period of time to one another (I’m aiming for three books in as many months).

The modern Western with teen girls saving horses is in first draft, with one pass through on the editing.  I want to spend at least a couple of weeks going over it before making it ready to upload, but when I can devote full time to it I should see it complete in three to four weeks.

“The Most Dangerous Man In The World: The Lost G.I. Joe Episode” is nearing completion, I’m at the start of the climactic battle.

But it’s slow going, a tough slog.  I’ve been out of the Joe world / mindset for quite some time, and while some of the characters come back readily as old friends, for the most part I’ve had to do a lot of research and double checking.

If I’m going to pitch this to readers as an authentic G.I. Joe story by an authentic G.I. Joe writer, I’ve got to do my homework and make it as accurate as possible.

I have no illusions that I’ll pull it off 100%.
I’m sure there will be lots of
details I’ll miss or garble up.

Back when we were doing the series, I didn’t have to know the proper name and nomenclature for every vehicle and weapon; I could just write “The Joe tanks fire at the Cobra tanks” and let the animators and storyboard departments worry about what it looked like.

Not this time.  This time I have to maintain a patina of consistency.  (Though I’ve got to say Hasbro themselves were never sticklers for consistency, and frequently the same vehicle or weapon would have radically different capabilities from toy to TV show to comic book to card game.)

Once “The Most Dangerous Man In The World” is completed, it’ll sit aside for a few weeks as I go over the Western, then as the Western is with beta readers, I’ll do my re-write on the Joe book.

It will be extensive because I am writing this one large, throwing everything in and often creating some redundancies that will have to be attended to.

The plot isn’t going to change
but beats will be tightened.

Once the first draft of “The Most Dangerous Man In The World” is complete, things will start to move quite rapidly.  God willing and the crick don’t rise, I may have all three for download available by mid-September.

Then what?

Well, I’ve actually been enjoying quite a creative spell.  Since the first of the year I’ve written six short stories of varying length, and am about halfway through another.  I’ve also got several short stories I wrote last year that I’ve polished and have started on the rounds.*

I’ll give them five or six chances to find a paying home then post them here if nobody buys them.

On top of that, several poems (mostly short) and a handful of essays.

The short story I’m writing currently (parallel to “The Most Dangerous Man In The World”, one by collegiate composition notebook, the other on my iMac) is expanding as I write it.  I first thought of it as a short story in the 3,000 word range, but now I’ve reached the 6,400 word mark and am still adding stuff.

It’s expanding because the world it’s set in is getting richer, more complex.  It’s a heroic fantasy story but one that’s sufficiently different from most stories in the genre to stand out.

It features a very dark protagonist (dark in more than one sense of the word) and its hard to reconcile their actions with any sort of conventional heroic morality, which I think is what makes them so interesting.

It’s not going to have a happy ending.  Evil will be vanquished, but it will still not be a happy ending.

And for those anxious to read “The Most Dangerous Man In The World”, I’m making progress.  But the short stories are flashes of fire, not a long slog, and as such I can complete them in just a few days (typically; this one is running longer but through no fault of its own).

After that?

I’ve got a big novel planed, dozens if not potentially hundreds of characters (most small walk-ons, but still crucial to the story; it’s similar to The Simpsons insofar as the support cast builds the reality of the premise).  It’s not going to be a science fiction or fantasy story, but I think most people will enjoy it as a pretty broad farce and satire on small town morality.

And past that?

I’ve got tons of stuff in the hopper.  I have books where I have started on them years ago, hit a good stride, then slammed into a wall.

I’ve learned for me that when that happens it’s foolish to attempt to force anything; it will only ring false and have to be thrown out and redone.  So when the next book is done (i.e., book #4, the small town farce) then I’m going to go back through these stalled out stories and see if my subconscious has come up with any ideas.

Right now I have enough ideas on tap to keep
me occupied for the next decade, if not longer.

*  If you’re wondering how I’ve managed to increase my creative productivity, it’s because I am under one helluva lot of stress in my personal life and writing is the only safe outlet.  My books tend to be upbeat and optimistic since I don’t want to spend all that time with a downer story, but the short stories have been very heavy and dark recently.  I cannot relax and I find myself getting constantly bombarded by new squalls and pressures.  It’s coming out in the short fiction, and even when the stories read light, the core tends to be rather heavy.

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If You’re Getting This Link…

by Buzz on 15/06/2016

glods

It means you’ve done or said something so egregious that I have to call shenanigans on it but, due to the delicate sensibilities of my wife, I am holding my anger and intellect at bay.

Most likely you’ve said something that is a flat out attack on somebody I know and love. Maybe you’ve trashed talked or slandered a family member or friend, maybe you’ve railed against the “other” not realizing that in my immediate family and close circle of friends I have just about every ethnic, cultural, gender, and religious group imaginable, so what you said about “them” is actually an attack on “mine”.

I cut you no slack on that.

You may be guilty of *splaining, that is to say, attempting to distract focus from the real problem to some minor issue by complaining that, no, it was not the XB-69 widget but the XB-69C widget that was attached to the problem and to that I’ll suggest you take both widgets, find the smallest and most tender aperture on your body, and cram them in there with as much force as you can muster.

Use a baseball bat to pound ‘em home if necessary.

You may be supporting a person or cause who is simply Beyond The Pale. This differs from prejudging the “other” in this sense: We can document clearly that either the individual in question or the cause itself is actively involved in wreaking great harm on people, and while it is unfair to say all members of group X or followers of philosophy Z are evil beyond redemption, it isn’t unfair to say that those members and followers who unjustly hurt innocent people are wicked.

If you defend the wicked, you are wicked,
and that may be why you’re receiving this link.

You may be accusing others while ignoring what your side does; this is called projection and it typically means you accuse others of the very things you yourself do.

You may be making false accusations and slanders and libels against people who make you feel icky. It may surprise you that I have no desire for you to be forced to associate with people who make you feel icky, and as long as you can avoid them without impinging on their rights as human beings or citizens of this country, please, go right ahead.

If you hate square dancing,
don’t go to the square dance.

But don’t try to stop the square dance.
Especially by burning it to the ground
while the dancers are inside.

You may have done some other thing that warrants this link. Trust me, if you argue Plan 9 From Outer Space is a better movie than Casablanca, I may roll my eyes but I’m not sending you this link. If you prefer oranges to apricots, or think Picasso was a fake, or believe that the underlying philosophy of this group or that is bogus, hey, I may disagree, but I’m not going to get angry with you about.

In fact, I’ll probably engage in a very spirited public debate.

But…when you cross the line of common human decency…this post is what you’ll receive.not here to be polite

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The Last Con Man

by Buzz on 13/06/2016

Let’s follow the money and apply Occam’s Razor…

Jim-Thompson-The-Grifters

Consider the evidence pointing to Donald Trump being just a fast-talking con man who has run out of gullible marks in the business world:

  1. His casino failed
  2. His so-called university is being sued for defrauding retirees and a RICO investigation is underway involving him
  3. He hasn’t built anything in a decade but merely licensed his name to be slapped on already existing real estate
  4. He apparently isn’t worth anywhere near a billion dollars
  5. His “brand identity” is frittered away on dozens of penny-ante failures such as “Trump Steaks” and “Trump Magazine” to “Trump Airlines” and “Trump Vodka”
  6. He can’t get anyone to work with him in business anymore because he’s a deadbeat who refuses to honor his obligations and sues or threatens to sue anyone who tries to collect their money from him
  7. He can’t fund his own campaign despite his claim he would
  8. He can’t find donors to support him

He’s going broke — if he hasn’t gone bust already and is just hiding it.

He has been caught flip-flopping back and forth on issues as much as three times in the same speech so there is no way of know what, if anything, he’ll do.

He’s a con man at the end of his rope,
scamming America for one last big score is his game.

Go big or go home.

Don’t be his mark.

Trump Paul FellP20150828_lowcartoon by Paul Fell

Seriously, how do you go bankrupt with a casino?

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