New York State Fine for Business Fraud, Bigly!

When the first Soviet-era tanks rolled across the border on February 24, 2022, the consensus in every world capital except Kiev was that the Russian invasion, carried on the orders of the murderous, deranged, criminal dictator Vladimir Putin, would be over in two weeks. The Ukrainians, having just recently replaced their bogus, corrupt Russian puppet government with an actual democracy had other ideas. Ukraine’s patriotic war to expel Putin’s lawless, raping, pillaging, torturing arsonist hordes of brutal and depraved examples of humanity, conscripted from the most benighted backwaters of the Russian wilderness, stands as a signal example of the courage and sacrifice that history has demonstrated, time and again, to be necessary for the preservation of freedom against the relentless onslaughts of tyranny. Kudos to the Ukrainians for killing off Russians ten to one, and defeating Russia in the Black Sea, despite Ukraine not even having a navy.
Moreover, in those two years, Ukraine proved itself to be an exemplary ally to the United States, using our military aid, and the aid of our NATO partners, to strike back so effectively that as of today, Ukraine has reduced the Russian Army to a mere fraction of its strength in 2022. And just as important, considering the situation in Congress this week, it should be noted that they accomplished that for a cost amounting to less than five percent of the US military budget.
Such bargains have been few and far between in the bloody history of US conflicts. Lately, for certain, we have been giving trillions to thieving scoundrels like Halliburton to prosecute idiotic adventures such as Vietnam or George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq. So you would think that any rational person favoring democracy over living under the whip of a madman such as Putin would, presumably, be in favor of continuing a deal like the one we are getting with Ukraine – half a C-note’s return on investment, at least, for every five bucks invested. The current problem plaguing Ukraine, however, is that the key gatekeeper in providing further military assistance to Ukraine, a Bible-thumping half-wit MAGA Republican by the name of Mike Johnson, doesn’t agree.
Not that his opinion is that of the majority in the House of Representatives, the body of which he, as its Speaker, is in charge. Nor even, for that matter is it the opinion of the majority of the House Republicans, in whose number he counts himself. No, it is widely recognized on Capitol Hill here in Washington DC, that were a bill to continue funding of Ukraine’s fight against Russian imperialism to find its way to the House floor for a vote, it would pass with a comfortable majority of about three hundred votes out of the total of four hundred and thirty-five members. But, as Speaker, Mike Johnson, this southern end of a north-bound horse, has the authority to prevent that, and as of this blog post, he continues to do so. And as a result, the Ukrainians are, literally, running out of ammunition. Their troops are dying needlessly, losing territory in what amounts to as much a fight for American and European democracy as their own.
Given that, we might wonder, with obvious justification, what is the matter with this man, Mike Johnson? Alas, the list of things wrong with Mike Johnson is so long, I fear, that reciting them, even here, where my musings admittedly run into the thousands of words, is impractical. Let’s just say that, as an evangelical Christian nationalist, MAGA Republican, moral coward, Trump sycophant and an abysmally ignorant parochial American backwoods moron (but there, of course, I repeat myself), he is, as they say in my old neighborhood on Mulberry Street in Little Italy, one wicked frigging piece of work. Trump has told him not to let the funding come to a vote, and, like the sniveling, slavishly obedient cur that that is Mike Johnson, the lickspittle little fascist lackey eagerly complies.
Meanwhile, Donald J Trump himself has had to swallow a yet even larger bite from the bitter fruits of his monumental dishonesty in having received, last week, the denial of yet another frivolous motion to delay payment of some three hundred and fifty-five million dollars, plus interest, to the good people of New York State. Now, according to the law (something with which Trump has little familiarity, and for which, even less regard), he must post a considerable bond in order to appeal the court’s decision. And to that amount, it should me noted, must be added another eighty-three million dollars from another case in which he originally lost a judgment for another five million dollars. Eighty-eight million here, four hundred and twenty-seven million there, after a while, it adds up to some serious money, even (or perhaps especially) for someone who pretends to be a billionaire.
Now, the most recent information on how much cash money Trump actually has comes from a deposition he gave over a year ago, in which he claimed he had about four hundred million bucks – and that was before his lawyers had to spend God knows how many hours at a thousand or so dollars each to defend him in his panoply of ongoing felony trails and lawsuits since. Current estimates of the total treasure lost into that black hole of litigation expenses run about half a billion dollars. So it wasn’t unexpected that I would received a visit soon from someone concerned with Trump’s monetary predicament. I just wasn’t expecting it to be “Ahmed.”
Some of the more loyal readers of this Web log will recognize the name as the alias of a certain fixer, go-between, middle-man, deal-maker, arms broker, “import-export” entrepreneur and long-time devotee of the baksheesh, whom I last spoke with in a telephone consultation during the US withdrawal from Afghanistan in August of 2021. As such readers also know, because of his quaint and traditional approach to personal hygiene, I usually schedule him for consultations at my office during very late, very early or, preferably, weekend hours. (And just to ensure he doesn’t visit me too often, I also charge him triple my usual rates, and require payment in advance. He never seems to have a problem with it, though.) And so it was, that I sat in my office, HVAC filtering system humming away at full power and two generous smears of pathologist’s camphor under each nostril, alone at my desk on Sunday afternoon (Gretchen refuses to be there when he visits), waiting for him to arrive outside in the hallway so I could buzz him into the reception area.

“Good friend Tom!” he ebulliently shouted as he threw open the heavy oak doors. “So many thanks again for your help in getting me out of Afghanistan!” At this, as I feared he would, he ran over behind my desk and gave me a bear hug, accompanied by two sloppy kisses on my right and left cheeks. Despite holding my breath, my eyes watered. At last, he relented and plunked his ample frame down on the chair immediately to my left. “How long it has been since I have seen you! Did you miss me?”
“Words cannot describe how it feels to once more have you in my company,” I told him.
“How you say,” he chortled, “the feeling is mutual? Yes?”
“Let me assure you,” I responded, suppressing an urge to vomit, “I am feeling very deep emotions at the moment. How can I help you on this splendid late winter day?”
“We are hearing,” he related, “in many places – in Saudi Arabia, in the United Arab Emirates, in Bahrain, in Qatar, in Brunei, and in many, many other places where Ahmed has his many friends, that President Trump has great many money troubles at the moment.”
“He is known,” I corrected, “as former president Trump, and yes, he’s definitely confronting some substantial expenses at the moment. But what of it?”
“Many of Ahmed’s friends in those places want to help him,” he replied with his trademark felonious grin, rubbing his hands together expectantly. “And Ahmed knows the person to ask about how to do that – good friend Tom!”
“So,” I concluded, “your… clients in those countries would like to… arrange… for Mr. Trump to receive sufficient funding to cover his recent… involuntary monetary commitments?”
“Yes, yes,” he prompted, “this is what they wish to do! Help their good friend Donald Trump! But there are… how you say… complications, no?”
“While I am not a lawyer,” I cautioned, “one need not be Clarence Darrow to realize that yes, there probably are some significant legal… hurdles to overcome in order to… place the desired funding; as well, I might observe, a concurrent need for… shall we say… extreme discretion, regardless?”
“Yes, yes, regardless,” he effused, “as you say, legal things aside, everything should be as hush-hush as possible.”
“Just out of curiosity,” I ventured, “could you explain to me why all these… clients… of yours are so willing and eager to provide such considerable monetary assistance to Mr. Trump?”
“Ah-hah!” he exclaimed. “This is a question I knew my good friend Tom would ask! And Ahmed can tell you!” He raised the fingers on his left hand, ticking off the points one by one with his right index. “First of all, they approve of Donald Trump’s political ideas: strong man, tough man, says he wants to make lying newspapers shut up, execute loudmouth traitor reporters, very good. Second, they like his… how you say… his style, yes… that is the word… anger, retribution, put opponents in jail, get to opponents families, hit on head with hammer, they like that very much. Three, they like what he think about business – no government regulators, business do what they want, anytime, anywhere, to anyone – this is good, make lots of money. Four, they like that he knows global warming is big hoax, wants to “drill, baby, drill!” They love “drill, baby, drill!” Five, they like that he is man of God – want to make United States religious government, like theirs!”
“And Six,” I continued, “they think he’s completely transactional, right?”
His face took on a puzzled expression. “Transactional?”
“Meaning,” I explained, “they believe he can be counted on to deliver some pro quo for their quid. You know, give him money and he will deliver the goods – weapons, geopolitical leverage against adversaries, repression of critics, silence about violations of human rights, that sort of thing – depending on your clients’ various needs and requirements, of course.”
“Right, right!” he enthusiastically agreed. “Money for Trump, good things for Ahmed’s many friends! Transactional! Yes, that is the word – transactional!”
“And that,” I warned, “could be a problem.”
His face fell. No puppy deprived of its chew toy has ever looked more dismayed. “What is good friend Tom trying to tell Ahmed?”
“Well,” I elaborated, “I’m sure you know, don’t you, that Donald Trump is notorious for not paying his bills?”
“Ahmed has heard of this,” he admitted. “In some newspapers, he has read it, and on television sometimes they say it. But it is not true, is it? These are lies spread by Joe Biden and the Deep State, yes?”
“Unfortunately,” I assured him, “those stories are true. Donald Trump will accept goods and services, but pay no money to those who provided them, and there is ample documentation of that. But of greater interest to your clients is the fact that he will also take money and deliver nothing, and his reputation for doing that is just as infamous. He has taken so-called “tuition” payments from numerous individuals in exchange for educational services never delivered, he has promised merchandise to consumers and then told them that the actual things they ordered are not available, yet kept the money, and has behaved in a similar manner in many other situations.”
“So what do you think will happen, good friend Tom,” he beseeched, “if my other good friends give Donald Trump some… financial help?”
“I can guarantee you,” I informed him, “he will keep the money. But whether your… good friends… will ever get what they expect is a total crap shoot.”
“Crap shoot?” He stared at me, uncomprehending.
“Total luck,” I clarified. Sijat el-Taba.
“Oh,” he nodded in recognition. “Ahmed understands. Crap shoot. Total luck. What you say… random chance?”
“Exactly,” I concurred. “Donald Trump is a malignant narcissist sociopath. Whether he grants your client’s wishes or not will depend entirely on his demented, self-centered whims.”
“So,” he fretted, casting his eyes briefly at the ceiling, “not a safe bet, then?”
“Hardly,” I confirmed. “And there’s another consideration; two, in fact. First, Donald Trump is, at the moment, just another US citizen. He has no official power. So if they give him money now, your clients will have to hope that he gets re-elected president in November 2024.”
“Hope?” he looked at me uncertainly.
“That’s right – hope,” I repeated. “Because it’s far from a foregone conclusion that he is going to win. And you know what my grand-uncle, who flew twenty daylight bombing raids over Germany in World War II said?”
“No,” he confessed. “Ahmed does not.”
“He said,” I related, “’Hope in one hand and [expletive] in the other, then take a good look at what you have.’”
“So no hope for my client’s money,” he surmised, “if Trump loses?”
“No hope at all,” I vouched. “And Trump isn’t going to be any better an investment if he does, God forbid, win that election, either.”
“Really? Why not?” His eyes were wide with disbelief.
“Because,” I declared, “if he gets into the White House a second time, Trump will only care about two things: staying there until he dies and becoming the richest man in the world while he is doing that. Actually, your clients need not be too concerned about how much money to give him then, because it’s pretty much certain he will let them know exactly how much he wants.”
“Ahmed does not understand,” he whined in the most pitiful of tones. “Good friend Tom, please explain.”
“Trump will be commander-in-chief of the US military,” I reminded him. “And as such, in the perfect position to run the favorite grift of any New York crime family boss – a protection racket.”
“Protection?” Bewilderment was obviously overwhelming him at this point.
“When a mafia boss wants to make some easy money,” I began, “he sends some of his goons to visit the local merchants in his territory and tells them to let the proprietors know that this is a tough neighborhood, and it would be a real good idea if they were to pay the mafia boss a certain percentage of their revenue every month so that nothing bad happens to their businesses – you know, stuff like windows getting broken, merchandise getting stolen, employees getting beaten up on their way to or from work, buildings burning down… that kind of thing. And if Trump is president of the United States again, by virtue of the doctrine of the unitary executive…”
“What is that?” he asked, apprehensively.
“A Republican legal theory,” I elucidated, “that basically says, if the president of the United States does something, no matter what it is – bombing the capital city of one of your clients back into the Stone Age, for instance – it is not, and never can be illegal.”
At that, “Ahmed” turned white as a sheet, or at least as white as the patina of detritus and dried sweat covering his face would allow. “Trump would do that?”
“Want to give him a couple billion dollars to help him win the election so you can find out?” I needled.
“My clients,” he shuddered, “will have to pay him… how you say… tribute? Tribute money so he will not send US Marines and US Army and US Air Force and US Navy carrier battle group to blow them up with cruise missiles and bombs?”
“Precisely,” I told him. “In his second term, count on Trump behaving just like what he is – the head of a New York crime family. He will have all of your clients paying him – personally – not to destroy them with the US military, and he will not just demand money once. No, he will demand billions upon billions of dollars, over and over again, and your clients will have no choice but to pay up, because neither Putin nor Xi Jinping have the guts, the weaponry or any self-interested reason to stand up to the US military when Trump puts the squeeze on.”
I have never seen “Ahmed” look so dismayed. “What… what… what,” he stammered, “what can Ahmed do, if this is true? What can he tell his clients? And where will poor Ahmed get his baksheesh?”
“Advise your clients,” I recommended, “to slip a couple of billion dollars to the Democratic National Committee through donors backed by a network of shell companies and offshore banks, and take your baksheesh out of that action. And do it quickly, okay? Because the RNC already has wheelbarrows of Benjamins from Moscow and Beijing coming in the back door.”
He stopped slumping in his chair. His eyes lit up. He smiled. “As usual,” he chirped, “my friend Tom has the solution Ahmed needs!”
“And don’t worry,” I reassured him, “there’s no way Joe Biden is going to use his office to shake your clients down.”
“Tom!” he shouted. “You are my best friend of all friends!”
At that, I drew a deep breath and held it, as I could see he was coming in for another hug and kiss.