SO Donald Trump hasn’t got a Fabergé pot to piss in, even though he lives in a gold-encrusted penthouse. The portion of his tax returns revealed by the New York Times on Sunday suggests that his billionaire status is bogus and that very soon some seriously large debts are going to become due. And if he’s not the United States President at payback time, a certain German bank is going to be looking satisfaction – and it won’t take nein for an answer.

The revelation that Trump isn’t all that he seems is not news, even to his most fervent supporters, among which number is included the Westminster wing of the DUP. MPs Ian Paisley, Sammy Wilson and Paul Girvan were photographed recently waving a Trump 2020 banner near the House of Commons, accompanied by an unidentified fourth man who could have been either a carer or a social worker. Hard to tell.

That the DUP would align itself with a man who’s all mouth and no trousers is not entirely surprising. After all, like excitable pooches they’ve been humping the legs of that collection of Tory liars, charlatans and dolts that visited Brexit upon the north,  complete with the economic border that Arlene Foster told us no unionist could ever accept. And now they’ve been shaken off and thrown in the Irish Sea in a sack weighted with stones.
Amazing the titbits that get thrown up on social media. Squinter learned there that Abraham Lincoln paid more tax in the first year of his presidency ($2,000) than Trump paid in the first year of his (£750). And given the DUP’s rather colourful history with things financial, you can see how that kind of thing, far from putting them off, would fill them with admiration and even envy.

And anyway, the yawning chasm that lies between what Trump says he is and what he actually is has been apparent since long before he decided to run for President.

We now know that he owes a great deal more than he owns, and even if that’s long been suspected it was only proved on Sunday. So maybe we should take a look at what else he’s been saying out of his expansive and dimpled rear end.

He claims to be the master of the business deal; indeed, he wrote a book about it called ‘The Art of the Deal’ (actually somebody else wrote it, but let’s put that to the side for now). But he’s had more bankruptcies than Boris Johnson has children (in other words, the number is large but unclear) and he managed the not inconsiderable feat of taking a literal licence to print money, a Vegas casino, and run it into the ground. And of course Trump didn’t pull himself up into the rarified atmosphere of New York property speculation by his own bootstraps – he inherited the business from his da, Fred. A fact which brings to mind an apposite little joke that brings the Donald’s ill-fated casino adventure full circle.

Q: What’s the best way to leave a casino with a small fortune?
A: Go in with a large one.

Even old mushroom todger himself would have to smile at that one, wouldn’t he?
Which brings us to the question of his being a ‘stable genius’. Trump misses no opportunity to talk about his towering intellect, about the indisputable fact that he’s got a brain the size of a planet. We’ve had to take his word for that for a long time as somewhere along the line his school and college grades appear to have disappeared (or maybe they appear to have been disappeared) in an obviously completely understandable and in no way suspicious manner.

But a few months ago he came out and told us that he had taken a devilishly difficult intelligence test and had passed with colours as flying as his red tie and orange face. In fact, the test was the Montreal Cognitive Assessment and is mostly used to test for signs of dementia onset. Journalist Chris Wallace challenged him over it and pointed out that one of the questions was ‘What is this?’ beside a picture of an elephant. Trump claimed the test got harder and bet Wallace that he couldn’t answer the final five questions. In the Guardian, Max Benwell reported that the last question on the test was ‘What is today’s date?’ Squinter can report that Trump has not paid Wallace his winnings. He’s probably getting a little forgetful in his old age.
Trump really rings the church bell of US evangelists. They’re to be seen laying hands on him and praying with him a la Jonathan Bell. Why this should be so is not at all evident because the dude doesn’t go to church. At all. The closest he’s been spotted to the word of God was when he awkwardly held a Bible outside a church in Washington in an attempt to rubbish claims that he’d been hiding in the basement during civil unrest. Asked in an interview once what his favourite book was, he said the Bible; asked to quote a favoured verse he couldn’t. Oh, and he paid hush money to porn star Stormy Daniels. Hallelujah.
Then there’s his love affair with the military, which he claims to revere as much as the Bible he doesn’t read. He’s fond of pointing out that the men and women in uniform love him, and there’s actually some evidence for that. But whether or not he loves the uniform back is a whole ‘nuther question, as they say in the States.
Called up for the draft in 1968, Trump won a medical exemption by producing a medical certificate from a podiatrist that said he had bone spurs, or growths, in his heels. That’s a condition almost unheard of among healthy young men. Enter the New York Times again. In 2018 they revealed that a podiatrist in the borough of Queens whose office was in a building owned by Trump’s father had provided the certificate in return for being cut a bit of slack on his rent.
Hail to the Chief!

The cost of doing nothing


SO the Public Prosecution Service has concluded after a review of a controversial Public Prosecution Service decision that the Public Prosecution Service was right. Call Squinter a cynic, if you like, but that seems… sub-optimal, shall we say?
The PPS decision in question was made in the spring of last year and it was to bring only one soldier to trial for the Bloody Sunday killings when the families’ legal representatives say ten former soldiers should be charged. On Monday it was announced that the PPS had marked its own homework and given itself an A+. Or is it A* now?
The PPS has stuck to its ruling that while soldiers who fired shots at innocent and unarmed people on the day had been identified, the passing of time meant that there was not a sufficient prospect of establishing which soldier shot which victim or victims.
It now looks as though this is going to be judicially reviewed with lawyers for the families arguing that the legal doctrine of ‘joint enterprise’ or ‘common purpose’ should be deployed in the case. It’s a familiar  concept which holds that all those who embark on a criminal act are responsible for everything that flows from it.
So, for instance, if Squinter was to set out to rob a bank at gunpoint and an accomplice shot an employee dead, Squinter would be charged with murder too on the grounds that in setting out armed to commit a crime he would have been fully aware that there was a real chance that someone would be killed or injured.
Similarly with the Bloody Sunday soldiers, the argument goes that those who opened fire on innocent and unarmed people were all guilty of murder whether it can be proved that they fired fatal shots at identified victims or not.
This latest setback for the families triggered the usual kneejerk reaction from unionists and British state apologists.
– Where’s the public inquiry for IRA victims?
– £200 million spent so far – it’s time to stop.
– Martin McGuinness had a machine-gun.
– The Sticks fired first.
– It was an illegal demo.
– Young squaddies were under tremendous stress.
– They hadn’t had any breakfast.
There’s an old saying that goes, ‘If you think education is expensive wait till you see the cost of ignorance.’ That springs to mind every time loyal Ulster starts kicking off about the Bloody Sunday Inquiry cost, but it’s tweaked a bit to become, ‘If you think an inquiry into a massacre of civilians is expensive, wait till you see the cost of doing nothing about it.’
Except in the second instance we unfortunately had 30 years to see what doing nothing about it would cost – and it made £200 million look like a Tesco meal deal.

Open all hours and put an end to last orders


TIME ladies and gentlemen – have you no intensive care units to go to?
Squinter doesn’t imagine many landlords will be shouting this at the new pub closing time of 11pm, but given the way the Executive has fallen in behind London (again) on a clearly quite bonkers decision, it mightn’t be long before they do.
11pm is actually chucking-out time and last orders is 10.30, but if Squinter knows anything about pubs – and me must modestly claim a little expertise on the subject – getting people out in half an hour is going to be no less problematic during a pandemic than it ever has been.
The problem is what we Lenadoon youths used to call choo-choos in the late-70s/early-80s. A choo-choo was the line of pints (or shorts) that you had in front of you when the last drink was served. Everybody would spread out along the bar and get a final pint, so that if there were four in the company you’d have four pints, and so on. Squinter well remembers a boisterous night in the Hunting Lodge when he ended up with eight pints before him which the law required him to consume in 30 minutes. To his shame, Squinter admits that a couple of the pints were slowly and illicitly poured on to the carpet beneath the table, and while he made a brave effort at the remainder, there was wasted lager aplenty. And the eight of us were still there an hour and a half later.
And why anyone thinks that throwing people out into the street together at the same time is any better of an idea at 11pm than it is at 11.30 or midnight remains something of a mystery. The fact is that they are still getting chucked out together; still going to mill around the hot food joints; still going to queue up for taxis, still going to stand around in crowds loudly chewing the fat.
The brave call, Squinter suggests, is a brave call that many experts have been suggesting for years before Covid dropped by: doing away with closing time altogether. The argument is – and it seems an incontrovertible one to Squinter – that closing times simply provide a target to which young people today still respond like Squinter and his mates used to do in the Hunting Lodge all those years ago. Let individual establishments choose their own closing times – 24-hour opening if they so please – and in one fell swoop the problem of congestion and the associated problems, social and criminal, are done away with in one fell swoop.
And why is it a brave call? Because in the short term the arse would be well and truly ripped out of it. Punters – and young punters in particular – used to certain drinking regimens would continue to drink at the same rate – which is to say spectacularly – only for much longer, leading to more drunkenness and more problems. But, as with any significant social change (the smoking ban leaps to mind) it is almost always surprising how people shape their behaviours to fall into line.
The German government realised that imposing speed limits on motorways was only providing a target and so they did away with limits on the autobahns, which are safer than the vast majority of motorways with set limits. Doubtless when that decision was first taken the lanes were full of drivers doing bad Ayrton Senna impressions, but the allure of unlimited speed turned out to have little or no appeal. And guess what? You drive down the M1 today and you’re going to see a flashing sign reading ‘Speed limits are not a target’.
If only the Hunting Lodge had a sign like that back in the day. Would have saved Squinter and his gang a lot of trouble.

Wish you were here... or then again maybe not



IAN Paisley Junior in trouble. That used to be a headline, now it seems more of a daily update.
A parliamentary inquiry has found that he failed to log a luxury family holiday to the Maldives in the MPs’ register of interests, but the decision was made not to sanction him. The DUP hasn’t sanctioned him either, funnily enough. That’ll larn ‘im, as the saying goes.
Ian Óg had claimed that a personal friend had paid for the holiday, but Standards Commissioner Kathryn Stone concluded that on the balance of probabilities the trip had been paid for by a corporate body.
She said the North Antrim MP had apologised for not declaring the beano and for delaying the inquiry.
It wasn’t that long ago that Ian struggled to hold back the tears when suspended from the Commons for 30 days, but it’s unlikely the tap will be turned on this time.
Squinter’s told he’s been set a target by party leader Arlene Foster of staying out of trouble for a week. It’s a tall order, but if he manages it that’ll be a headline and half.