Monday, June 4, 2018

The Idler, Tuesday, June 5, 2018


Henry VIII rides again

JUST what is going on at the White House? There's an absolute blizzard of legal opinions as to whether or not President Donald Trump can be called to give evidence before the Mueller investigation into alleged collusion with Russia during the 2016 election campaign.

Also whether he can, as president, be indicted if he refuses to testify? And also, if indicted and convicted, he has, as president, the power to pardon himself?

King Henry VIII would have had little difficulty with these questions but things have become peskily complicated since those days.

Trump's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, weighs in to say Trump "probably does" have the power to pardon himself but adds that he has no intention of doing so.

He also throws in a line to say that, as president, Trump is beyond reach. He could have shot dead FBI Director Jim Comey in the Oval Office when they had their fall-out, and nothing could be done to him, he's beyond legal process. Huh?

Hey, Henry VIII rides again!

But a glimmer of understanding dawns. In about a week, Trump is due to sit down in Singapore to talks with Kim Jong-un, of North Korea.

Kim is a fellow given to such things as sending one of his top honchos before a firing squad of anti-aircraft guns, for falling asleep at a meeting – then having his remains fed to the pigs.

Giuliani aims to show there's more than one tough guy on the block.


MEANWHILE, President Trump has been issuing pardons to people serving time for various offences. Some say he is sending a message to people being investigated in connection with the Russia allegations not to co-operate. They'll be looked after if they go to the slammer.

The New Yorker reports that President Trump made Vice-President Mike Pence watch him issue pardons for several hours to see how it is done.

"Trump pardoned a number of disgraced political figures and former reality-show cronies for the sole purpose of training Pence in the art of issuing pardons.

"After signing pardon after pardon while Pence looked on intently, Trump commanded the Vice-President to sign a 'practice pardon' to prove that he wouldn't mess anything up."

Make of this what you will. Yes, this is satirist Andy Borowitz again, staying ahead – but only just – in a scenario that becomes increasingly bizarre.

FBI drama

MORE drama with the FBI. An agent was dancing with enthusiasm and abandon in the Mile High Spirits and Distillery Bar in Denver, Colorado, according to Sky News.

He did a backflip. His gun fell from his waistband holster. As he grabbed at it on the floor, a shot went off, hitting a fellow in the watching crowd, in the shin.

The victim was carted off to hospital. The FBI man lost his enthusiasm for dancing. The incident is believed to be unconnected to the Russia investigation.

Elvis tribute

OVERHEARD in the Street Shelter for the Over-Forties: "I've been on the phone for ages trying to book tickets for an Elvis tribute event, but it keeps asking me to press 1 for the money, 2 for the show …"

Cheese rollers


THE recent item on cheese rolling in Gloucestershire brought back childhood memories for reader Sheila Astill.

She was born and brought up in the Cotswolds, not far from Cooper's Hill, where they run and roll down the steep incline every year for the prize of a Double Gloucester cheese.

She remembers it very well. Many cheese rollers end up in hospital with broken arms and legs. The West Country of England is also the home of scrumpy – rough cider – and a place of much merriment.

Too right, Sheila, one of the nicest parts of England – Herefordshire, the Forest of Dean, Simmonds Yat, the lovely accents – Somerset is pronounced Zummerzett – and not to forget the scrumpy.


Yew can 'ave 'er,

Oi don't want 'er,

Er's too fat for Oi …






HE TAKES her home after their first date. He asks if he can come inside.

"Absolutely not! Not on the first date."

"How about on the last date?"




Last word


Her own mother lived the latter years of her life in the horrible suspicion that electricity was dripping invisibly all over the house.

James Thurber

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