Category Archives: Trump 2016

It was the best of Times

The beginning of one of the few dozen novels I’ve read begins:

“It was the best of times it was the worst of times.” That’s how I feel now. My blog’s recent quiescence reflects my intense involvement with, reading the news, studying history, learning French, thinking about it all, all the while making sure not to neglect my family. If I was less preoccupied I’d be blogging like mad. I don’t even feel sorry for depriving my eight loyal readers. I’m sure they have enjoyed the vacation. Even when I lie in bed knitting together the many strands of my thinking I don’t feel too badly about my zipped fingers.

The past couple of days I’ve I’ve progressed in my French studies teasing out the elusive eliasons of the spoken language and developing enough vocabulary and grammar to imagine myself muddling along splendidly when I get to France five months from now. I better start making reservations.

Just now I was thinking of Dicken’s first words in A Tale of Two Cities and I came up with a useful corollary.

It was the best of times but don’t forget about the distressed and it was the worst of times but don’t be jealous of those who are doing better.

Putting aside Trump’s empty blue collar rhetoric I loath him because he only cares about himself. Despite his riches he can’t hide his envy of even richer plutocrats. Running for President was just another scheme to get richer which was spoiled by actually getting elected and facing the legal roadblocks to his corruptly getting richer in the swamp he poured more alligators into. Poor baby. He may even end up losing his billionaire status.

I have been accumulating blog material that I may never get around to pontificating about. I’ll just paste in a dozen stories from the New York Times, Guardian and Washington Post from the past few days that beg for our attention:

In 83 Million Eviction Records, a Sweeping and Intimate New Look at Housing in America

Sworn to secrecy, Trump’s history of using nondisclosure agreements

How the Party of Lincoln Became the Party of Racial Backlash

Why I left Fox News

A Riposte to European Superiority

And finally a story about the death of Linda Brown, nine years older than me, whose father helped integrate the Topeka Schools I would soon begin attending a short time later.

Today or tomorrow I mean to write my next “Not Eudora” column. So much to choose from but I’m leaning on talking about the old Western “Magnificent Seven” which I saw with my Grandsons……… It reminded me of this Statler Brother’s Song, lyrics below:

Lyrics here”

Everybody knows when you go to the show
You can’t take the kids along
You’ve gotta read the paper and know the code
Of G, PG and are and X
You gotta know what the movie’s about
Before you even go
Tex Ritter’s gone and Disney’s dead
The screen is filled with sex.

Whatever happened to Randolph Scott
Ridin’ the range alone
Whatever happened to Gene and Tex
And Roy and Rex, the Durango Kid
Whatever happened to Randolph Scott
His horse, plain as can be
Whatever happened to Randolph Scott
Has happened to the best of me.

Everbody’s tryin’ to make a comment
About our doubts and fears
True Grit’s the only movie
I’ve really understood in years
You gotta take your analyst along
To see if it’s fit to see
Whatever happened to Randolph Scott
Has happened to the best of me. Continue reading

A Rose by any other name

For a couple of days I’ve gotten two comedian’s confused. But first let me interject a completely unnecessary digression about female comedians (since I’ve been studying French for the past several months) The two entertainers I’ve confused are both women. In french, and also English, they could be called “comédiennes.” My wife would object to this female designation and she got me to drop “mailman” for “letter carriers” years ago. French, however is riddled with gender. Nouns are all either male or female and I have yet to discern a memorable pattern that would allow me to know whether a cow or a horse is one or the other. I’m not alone.

In The Greater Journey David McCullough relates the story of a rich American expat during the German seige of Paris. He was doubly beseiged when a mob of radical Parisians stormed his house and demanded that he give them his horse and cow so that they could postpone eating rats a little longer. When the old gentleman came out to confront them all he had at his command was the impoverished French he had avoided learning for his decade or more, of residence in the City of Light. He told them he would let them have his cow “le vache” but not his horse “le cheval.” He did so with great dignity and this made his use of “le” before the “vache” so comical to them that they broke out in good-hearted laughter. That was because his “le” indicated a cow was a male and everyone knew cow was a female word.
The mob let him keep his horse.

“Rose” is also a “female” word in French. A speaker is required to precede it with a “la” rather than a “le.” It is French for the adjective pink. As in English it is also a girl’s name and my confusion had to do with two comedians – Roseanne Barr and Rosie O’Donnell.

In recent days I’ve heard Donald Trump praise Roseanne Barr for bring back her old television series “Roseanne” from the dead. She also brought her TV hubby, actor John Goodman, from the dead. His character suffered an apparently fatal heart attack so that he could go on to a more exalted career in Disney voiceovers. I was confused because I’d thought that Roseanne had been having a very public feud with Trump some years earlier and that Trump had even berated her during one of his debates with Hillary Clinton.

Nope. That was Rosie O’Donnell. Trump had been calling her ugly since she joined “The View” a collection of women who talked about politics on Network television. O’Donnell like Barr both had strong opinions and raise hackles. In the end O’Donnell’s outspokenness got her pushed off The View. But I had another memory to recover about one of the Roses, Roseanne Barr it turned out, that I wanted to review. By chance it was about “recovered memory.”

The Rose that supports Donald Trump once hopped on the then faddish “recovered memory” movement. During the fad a great many women began recalling what they argued were long suppressed memories of their having been sexually abused as children. I have no doubt that suppression like this happens. My two years teaching at Proctor were so humiliating for me that I tried not to think about them for years afterward. Even now they are particularly hazy for me much to my regret. But in my case I never forgot them completely.

When Roseanne Barr told her audience that her father had sexually abused her she got a lot of pushback from her family saying it just wasn’t so. In time Roseanne Barr walked back the allegations. The following comes from Barr’s Wikipedia Page:

On February 14, 2011, Barr and Geraldine appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show where Barr admitted that the word “incest” could have been the wrong word to use and should have waited until her therapy was over before revealing the “darkest time” in her life.[105] She told Oprah Winfrey, “I was in a very unhappy relationship and I was prescribed numerous psychiatric drugs… to deal with the fact that I had some mental illness… I totally lost touch with reality… (and) I didn’t know what the truth was… I just wanted to drop a bomb on my family”.[105] She added that not everything was “made up”, saying, “Nobody accuses their parents of abusing them without justification”.[105] Geraldine said they did not speak for 12 years, but had recently reconciled.[105]

Barr, like so many other celebrities is a creature of the modern age in need of attention to maintain her career. Much as claiming to have been sexually abused her current “blue collar” support of Donald Trump is a smart move to revive her career. Take that Hollywood! Having given this some though I’m reminded of the adage, “A Rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” I’d add that the question of fragrance might depend on the definition of “sweet.” Which reminds me of a french term I learned yesterday. I read it in the travel book, Five Nights in Paris, that I began reading to Claudia. “l’odeur.”

As for Trump’s nemisis Rosie O, She got in dutch with the networks for saying the same thing that Donald Trump would say twenty years later and that would help get him elected President. I’ve clipped a couple paragraphs from O’Donnell’s Wikipedia page if you like irony as much as I do.

Continue reading

“Nous avons lu assez de livres”

Among the many news articles that have drawn my attention was one today about Trump son-in-law schmoozing his way around the world to make more money as the President’s plenipotentiary for foreign business deals. Since reading all this news cuts into my French studies I’ve tried to blend the two activities. When I read this story I was struck by Kushner’s ignorance and arrogance which were mentioned I take it are part of his qualifications for the job……if not for a national security clearance.

I translated part of a Kushner quote into French which you can read in the title above: “We’ve read enough books.”

The full quote: “We don’t want a history lesson. We’ve read enough books.” (Nous avons lu assez de livres) He might have been speaking for his father-in-law, the President, who can barely bring himself to glance at 5 and 10 page National Security briefs let alone full books. I’m not sure Trump has bothered to read his own auto-biography. Only one grownup seems to have survived the recent staffing blood spilling in the Trump administration. Fortunately he is a serious book reader.

The President’s Defense Secretary, Jim Mattis, is my age, 67. He has been nicknamed the “Warrior Monk.” The President famously upgraded that to “Mad Dog Mattis” in one introduction. It was not a sobriquet that the monk appreciated.

He is resolute, so much so that he was bid farewell by the Obama Administration for being too much of a hardliner

This winning story in the New York Times magazine intrigued me, not the least because we are the same age, but also because this is one former official that Barack Obama may have under estimated. I can’t help wonder if Trump’s recent willingness to join our European allies in kicking out Russian embassy staff wasn’t the monk’s doing. Just a week ago Trump was calling up Putin to congratulate him on winning his fixed election. Oh, and in addition to hacking the last election, poisoning former Russians who have the goods on him and subverting the Olympics Putin’s minions have also been giving weapons to the Taliban in Afghanistan. Of course, Putin calls all of these things “fake news.”

The Warrior Monk is no Jared Kushner. He visits service members in the field, never married so as to give full devotion to the military and, most arrestingly, always carts his library of 6,000 books to wherever he has been assigned a command.

You Go, General Mattis!

I know I should write something about Stormy Daniels and the recent marches to regulate guns. I find myself impressed by both the individual and the collective. I will just share this recent DNT column from an English prof about the students across our nation who are following the lead of “Dumbledore’s Army.” I love JKR. (She writes big books not that our President would understand them if he ever had the patience to read them.)

More on vigilance

I have been heartened by the large response to my recent post on Vigilance. If we had a smarter adversary trying to undermine our Democracy than Donald Trump I would be closer to hysteria. The late night hosts are doing a far better job explaining his administration’s follies and machinations than I could. That gives me hope. One thing does not give me hope – the cowardice of Republican leaders who fostered much of the anger, paranoia and misinformation which have led us to this era of disunion despite our nation’s vast prosperity. For this reason I have no interest in any Republican candidate for public office who keeps his/her lips zipped or worse hops on the Trump bandwagon. Are you paying attention Pete Stauber?

For those looking for more on this concern I highly recommend this intelligent summary of the Trump record from Andrew Sullivan. For nearly ten years I read Sullivan’s must-read blog. Now he rations his Internet thoughts and thus, unlike me, better manages his diminished proof reading needs.

Take a look: http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2018/03/america-takes-the-next-step-toward-tyranny.html

The first rough draft…..

of History.

It made it to this week’s Reader. It begins:

I stopped in a used bookstore in Bullhead City, Arizona, last week and found about 25,000 mostly paperback books. I asked for the nonfiction section and was directed to four shelves containing perhaps 100 books. If the lion’s share of romances, westerns and thrillers in that store reflect our psyches, perhaps it’s no wonder Donald Trump looked like a sure bet to a lot of voters. I removed 4 percent of the store’s history books at two bucks a pop and read half of one of one book, “Fierce Patriot,” on my overnight flights back to Duluth.

No getting away from you know who

We’re at 3 minutes left of the jags/patriot game. As I typed Brady passed for a touchdown and the lead. I’ll try to finish this up before we find out if the Jags can pull off a Taye Diggs.

Claudia and I hiked through about five casino’s today. We quit because Claudia thought they all looked the same and she found it dispiriting. I would have continued although I doubt I would have seen anything terribly different in any of the remaining twenty casinos.

Last night, as I waited by the Luxor’s Security deskfot them to review the tapes of taxies disgorging us from their front entrance half an hour earlier, the guard at the dext told me she’d talked to lots of people coming back after a five year absence who marveled at how much the City had changed. For me it had been fifty years. On that occasion my Dad led his three kids and wife through a couple of Casinos to gawk much as Claudia and I did today. Back then the Casinos were marked off limit for kids and my Mom was not thrilled that we were all inside where we were not supposed to be. As I told the cabbie last night I remember being about sixteen and noticing all the pretty hostesses with topless dresses with their backs to me. I also remember hoping they would turn around. The didn’t and we got out of the danger zone before any harm could be done to my innocence.

OOH. Brady is going to the Superbowl. That would be my perfect matchup with the Blue state Vikings. I’d love for us to upend Donald Trump’s favorite team and quarterback…….hope I haven’t jinxed them.

Well, back to the quick tour…Here are a couple of cell phone picks which our President also managed to crash.

First the view from our window this morning……looks like Disneyland but it the Casino Excaliber.

On our way to the other neighborging Casino the Mandalay lately in the news for the most recent mass gun slaughter we peeked into a story dedicated to all things Trump. The Sales lady demonstrated one of the more disturbing items of merchandise:

Finally its worth noting that of all the fantastical casinos like New York New York…….

None of them was more pedestrian than the umpteenth Trump Tower situated in the center of every driver’s field of vision (naturally) on the Strip.

His is truly the log in my eye.

“How many Trumps does it take to change a light bulb?”

“We’ll never know, because after he screws something he gives it $130,000 not to tell anybody.”

As someone long scornful of Donald Trump I had to laugh at that Colbert joke on last night’s Late Night. On the other hand most of the rest of Stephen’s all too easy shots in the fish barrel were more dispiriting. I once found some refuge in late night comics dishing back to President Trump the same crap he spews out every day. Its getting old now even if it seems ever bit as necessary as it did with his inauguration.

My inclination is to blame this on what the Republican Party has become more than the man who can not grow up to his unexpected responsibilities. Heck, all he wanted from his run for the Presidency was to buy Fox News. Now he has to turn his campaign straw into gold like a Trumpelstiltskin. Republican hatchet-men made their party vulnerable to the hamstring Republicans that, while representing about ten percent of America, have the power to throttle any useful compromises. The call themselves “freedom Republicans.” Their self identification reminds me of the old union complaint about right to work laws being right to starve laws. Its so ironic that the un and underemployed blue collar workers who might once have brandished this accusation at Republicans now vote with the same Republicans that exported their jobs overseas.

I published the full email I received from the fellow who once hailed me as “Handsome Harry.” It seems to be a precursor of the anonymous pro-white flyers being sent to the Iron Range and St. Cloud. My old friend seems to think its OK to distinguish “good” black people from the bad ones by calling the bad ones like our 44th President a “nigger.” I think he’s got his head up his ass. No doubt Donald Trump would have included my old ally among the “good people” protesting at Charleston. I can’t help but think that in 1921 my old friend might have been caught grinning in that old photo of satisfied citizens next to the downtown lamp post where Clayton, Jackson and McGhie were lynched. They hung the alleged rapists of a white girl with all the ceremony that Donald Trump used in full page ads in New York Daily’s calling for the execution of five innocent black kids for a rape they didn’t commit. Talk about generating “fake news.”

My friend keeps sending me links to news reports extolling the virtues of the anarchic Trump Presidency. The six or seven points my old friend makes are echoed in a long series of letters from Trump supporters who were highlighted in the New York Times a couple days ago in letters that saw no need to spew out the “N word” I so loathe. They testfiy to Trump’s “Vision, Chutzpah and Testosterone.”

There is not a single one of the talking points that aren’t deeply flawed, at least as I see them. I’ve probably found fault with most of the arguments somewhere in my blog at some point over the past two years. Taken together they make clear the guilt the Republican Party should shoulder for where America is right now. The folks who believe this Fox/Limbaugh embellished twaddle are rightfully angry that the nation’s politics are so dysfunctional. They are dysfunctional because the Republican Party hatchet-men began creating a class of No Nothings who could be counted on to primary out all moderate Republicans to extinction. The Republicans who are now called moderates would have been regarded as hardliners when I began easing away from the GOP in the early 1990’s. For ten years before that it was irritating to go to political conventions where the other side regarded a pro-choice guy like me as a baby killer or worse a “Mass Murderer.” Today’s pro-lifers are so committed to a Supreme Court that will overturn Roe v Wade that they have no problem with designing an elective system that discourages untrustworthy Americans from voting and gerrymands districts and that denies a legitimately elected President from having the Congress consider his appointments for vacant judgeship’s in Federal Courts.

I suspect like my old ally the self identified “Freedom Republicans” feel they are sticking up for the “little people.” Funny, but that’s just how the supporters of Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez and his successor Nicolas Maduro view themselves all the while preventing the majority of their country from electing a more representative government. That’s the rot that the Republican Party has wrought.

Handsome Harry falls out of favor

For much of my fight against the Red Plan I had an avid ally up North. I quoted a few of his emails to me over the years. He began them by saluting me as “Handsome Harry.”

Since Donald Trump came on the scene my Finlander Pal has been outraged by my disdain for our new President. He made his disgust plain to me by resorting the the “N” word to describe Barack Obama in emails to me. I have little doubt that reading my posts calling his hero a Pussy Grabber and a dildo have only heightened his outrage. He’s sent me another couple N laced emails. My inclination has been to rub salt in his wounds as I did after one such email by sending him a Guardian Article about the financial losses many Trump Properties are taking. I wrote back that Trump might end his Presidency a millionaire. That prompted my old pal to shove a new log in my eye. In it he insinuates that I have not been giving my eight loyal readers a fair and full review of his arguments. Well, this time I will do so but you will have to hit the “more” button to read his email in full:

It begins:

The stock market soared to a record 26,000 today, my wife and I (the little people) have 401k’s soaring, Trump reversed the n Continue reading

No way to make America Great Again

An old ally stopped communicating with me because I keep trashing Donald Trump. I don’t plan to stop any time soon. I’d not heard from this party since I suggested that they ignore my blog rather than send me emails calling Barack Obamma a “nigger.”

In the last few days I’ve gotten a flurry of emails touting the resurgence of America under Donald Trump and they include my old buddy’s toned down imprecations against our 45th President. Now Obama is “the kinky haired race baiter.” I guess that’s an improvement even though his replacement is doing his best to make 1600 Pensylvania a “s***hole” and a refuge for the alt-right.

It probably annoys my old pal that 49% of Americans give Obama the credit for recent upticks in our economy while only 40% give the credit to Trump. I’m with the former group although I’d say that a lot of the improvement is beyond any President’s control.

For my part I’m distressed that the abandonment of “All men are created equal” by Trump’s supporters has become so apparent. That’s no way to Make America Great Again.

Who’s Whoville?

This cartoon by Mike McKee of the Atlanta Constitution was in today’s DNT. It should not have surprised me that the Grinch has been used repeatedly for political cartoons which I discovered when typing “Cagle Cartoons” (where McKee’s work can be found) along with “Whoville” and Googling it.

McKee draws a Grinch-like Donkey disgustedly holding a newspaper with the headline “GOP Passes Tax Reform.” The cartoon has a bit of pseudo-Seussian doggerel:

The Dems hated tax cuts!
The whole tax cut reason!
Now please don’t ask why.
It bordered on treason!

I looked at some of McKee’s other work and a cursory view showed no preponderance of anti Democratic hits but I must say I disliked the word “treason” as McKee applied to the GOP tax law. The word might just as easily be used against the GOP and the billionaires who deny the nation sufficient financial support.

I much prefer the anti-Trump tone of my snow sculpture’s message. I also think it is far more in keeping with Dr. Seuss’s view of the world.

PS. I’m unlikely to do much blogging today. A snow-day has left me with grandchildren to entertain and Grandma Claudia decreed that tech had to end at 9:00. I’m five minutes over that. Yesterday I spent hours learning French and skipped blogging all together. I’m still evaluating how and where to spend my writing energy for the rest of this year. The Reader, a book, the blog…..I just have to work harder on returning to a more normal sleep pattern as too little sleep will defeat the purpose of writing to stave off dementia. Last night I was awake in bed for 4 and a half hours. I’ve got to keep the world’s troubles out of my head at night unless they are in my dreams.

Here’s some of my own verse:

Way down in Atlanda
The toon man McKee
Scrawled at backstab at Dems
and the Land of the Free

Make the Grinch Green Again

I did go swimming as I planned but haven’t started proof reading the last post. I spent the afternoon practicing French. And I decided the Grinch needed a fresh coat of color before the snow hits tomorrow or Thursday.

I used the bottles of what was likely food coloring but they faded pretty quickly so I did what I did on the Yellow Submarine. I mixed my acrylic paints into water and Voila, you can now seek Max the dog against a green and red backdrop of Grinchiness.

Passersby seemed pleased. My midnight visitors made the right choice…..even if it wasn’t mine.

Trump 2016 – Get used to it

Readers who look closely will see that the previous post is categorized as “Trump 2016” which seems wrong because, after New Years, we now find ourselves in 2018. That is simply a function of my setting up a Trump Account in the annus horibilous when he first interjected his bile seriously into American politics. I will no doubt keep the category as is for the foreseeable future.

As someone who is rightly proud of the best of our nation’s history I raced through all the stages of grief with Donald Trump’s election well before he was elected. I voted absentee and was in Topeka, Kansas, when the results came in. You can see I began the post election period with a little high mindedness about the process of presidential selection in a speech I gave to a VFW Post, however, in that case I mostly lauded our selection of then President Barack Obama.

For the past two years I’ve barely held back my contempt for Trump. I’ve come up with several creative dismissals of his decency. I’m waiting to write that he speaks out of both sides of his gastrointestinal tract……ooh, guess I just used that one. Every time I bad mouth our new POTUS I second guess myself with regard to how his fans might take my dyspepsia. They are quite right to point out that he is the President notwithstanding the wishful “He’s not my President” bravado of his wounded critics. But, are they right when they insist he be given some deference? Trump’s supporters tend to maintain that Barack Obama was treated with respect. I don’t buy that.

FOX News and Rush Limbaugh quickly portrayed Obama as the most “ultra liberal” President of all time, despite Obama’s falling a couple places back from that distinction. Truman integrated the Armed Forces causing the Dixiecrat revolt and even Richard Nixon placated liberals with a raft of programs like the EPA. Obama merely gave America a half-ass version of “Socialized Medicine” that the AMA and Republicans had fought off forty years before. And I will never forgive that twit Congressman who yelled “You lie” at the President during his State of the Union Message.

When I ridicule our President should his fans take that as my rebuke of them as well? Maybe. Think of it as the collateral damage anyone attempting to speak honestly faces. “Dad, you embarrass me.”………………..Yeah, this President embarrasses me and I really can’t be blamed for his election. I did what I could to stop it. If you voted for him I think the responsibility lies with you. If you were or are a low information voter or if you came to the conclusion that Hillary Clinton was just as bad as Trump those are your crosses to bear. If you won’t bear them because you are still Trump’s fan you have to get over my contempt for your hero. If you can’t do that, I feel no more guilt than Dietrich Bonhoeffer felt for trying to rid Germany of Adolph Hitler. (Although I’ll be the first to admit that Trump is no Hitler…….he is falling waaay short in his attempt to take over the world. Hell, getting elected President wrecked Trump’s attempt to take over FOX News. What an Incompetent! Now as our President the sorry SOB is too busy playing golf to make Presidential appointments. He’s too busy tweeting about what a putz the North Korean strong man is. Sorry, it takes one to know one.

As I wrote in the last post one possible silver lining might be that the US will grow up enough as the next three years grind mercilessly to an end to realize it can’t be the parent of the whole world. If that’s the most I can hope for I’ll take it. In the meantime, if you think I’m being mean to your (and my) jackass President – get used to it. Time will tell whether you are willing to admit to your grandchildren that you voted for the Dildo-in-Chief.

In ten years I’ve never used the word “dildo” in my blog…

…I will today and on an imminently worthy object of scorn.

But first I’d like to hint at a silver lining. That hope was helped along by two things. First a PBS program about the Hubble telescope perhaps the single greatest scientific instrument ever created. It started out that way then quickly became one of the biggest jokes in NASA history. Until it was given the equivalent of corrective lenses and got the chance to live up to its hype. I think “Fake News” is on the cusp of inflicting onof the single greatest paybacks in the history of revenge by exposing Donald Trump to many of his most ardent supporters for what he is – a dildo.

Before I began this post I checked to see if I’d ever used the word dildo in a post. It would have if I’d told the following story. It turns out I haven’t so here goes. Its not much of a story.

A year or so after I moved to our home on 21st Avenue I looked out the back window and saw a trio of boys laughing as they passed around a long pink object. If I had any doubts about what it was they were answered the next day when I found a fat, pink, rubber penis in my backyard. I guess the boys had no idea what to do with it other than leave in my yard for my grade schoolers to bring to my attention while asking what the hell it was.

Sorry. That’s the story. It ended when I threw it in our waste disposal bin moments later.

And that’s a preview of this posts conclusion. I think like the three teenagers who took a brief interest in the sex toy they found but who ultimately dropped it in my yard Donald Trump’s supporters will leave him in the dust. America will be stuck with him for three more years unless grounds for impeachment arise but frankly; there is no Constitutional provision for removing a dildo from the Oval Office. You need read no further but help yourself: Continue reading

Character and its absence

I have written before about my Grandfather’s attitude regarding a reputation, “… he told my Mother that a man who has lost his reputation has lost everything.”

I’ve always found this notion less than satisfying and the sermon I heard yesterday on Christmas Eve finally explained why. The explanation came from a quote by the legendary college basketball coach John Wooden who said:

Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.

Recent months have seen the loss of a good many men’s reputations as their characters have been more fully revealed. I think this has been very healthy even if some of them seem to have been tripped up by anonymous allegations which I find particularly troubling. Still, its long overdue and, ironically, we have President Trump to thank for this phenomenon. His success has been built almost solely on the think veneer of reputation in the absence of any character. The year of his swearing in has made the word “femininism” Merriam Webster’s the word of the year. Not a bad for our Presidential “pussy grabber.” It has also been responsible in Alabama for bringing out a massive African-American vote to defeat Judge Roy Moore despite that state’s bending over backward to keep black voters from the polls.

In these ways Trump is doing what his supporters wanted but not perhaps what they expected. He was elected to be a bull in the china shop and he is busy breaking the china. How well the United States will weather three more tortured years of his Presidency remains to be seen……..if it can be limited to three years!

In the meantime all the broken china comes with a little warning from the shop. “You break it you buy it.” The tax cuts for corporations and the super rich alone will be a trillion plus.

Chopsticks

Yesterday I completed my 67th orbit of the Sun. We took our grandsons to hunt down a suitable Christmas tree outside of town along the Homestead Road. We found one that was unable to elude our hand saw. Its a very pretty and prickly blue spruce. Ornaments will have to be put on with gloves.

Other than the last post from six days ago I’ve ignored the blog even while watching hallucinogenic headlines flash by my face every time I look at New York Times in my cell phone. I’ve spent my time decorating for Christmas and putting jigsaw puzzles together. Why should I post about the lotus eaters in Alabama who are telling Judge Moore that they “do believe in fairies,” they “do believe in fairies”? Which reminds me of a more uplifting fable told to me at church two Sunday’s ago as though it was true.

You can read it here. It turns out not to be true. Its about the famed pianist Paderewski sitting at the side of a small child in the concert hall to support him as a haughty crowd harasses the child. The virtuoso gives the audience a well deserved reproof. If there is anything I can take from the story’s fiction it is this: Even if the story is not true – it should be.

Then there is the story of 2016 which has bled into 2017 and is about to leak over into 2018. It is all too true and of course that means “fake.”

I just heard NPR interviewing a woman who began talking about the dismemberment of babies as she was challenged on the candidacy of Judge Roy Moore.

Penny Young Nance is the President of Concern Women for America. I was busy writing this so I missed most of her interview during which she challenged the interviewer as much as he challenged her. If I have to choose my truth I’ll stick with Paderewski playing chopsticks in preference to abortion TRUMPING sexual predation. For my news I’ll stick with the New York Tabloids:

The PBS Vietnam Series gets me thinking

I watched all the Stanley Karnow episodes in the 1990’s about Vietnam but I think Kevin Burns will bring a little more nuance at a time when it can be digested by the folks who weren’t born and didn’t live through the war. I agree with Burns that our actions during this war divided America. However, I also believe that the entire Civil Rights Era was an equal partner in this division having predated it by 200 years.

My eight loyal readers know that I put a disproportionate blame on the GOP for all our woes. That war became a sort of substitute for Civil Rights because it simply became impossible to be an avowed racist after Martin Luther King. But being a patriot – that was different. Many folks could use “America First” or “Better Red than Dead” or the “Domino Theory” in place of race baiting to hang their political hats on. Ditto the Pro-life movement. For years northerners thumbed their noses at “racist” southerners, never mind their own urban red lining and segregation, and “saving babies” gave southern Baptist types the same sense of moral superiority to throw back at northern baby killing sophisticates.

Over time the GOP, which had beat the Democrats up over catering to special interests – blacks, latinos, women’s libbers and unions, became their own assortment of special interests, patriots, pro-lifers, pro-NRA, and “small government” (code for don’t make us integrate.)

In time the GOP got so virulent about removing RINO’s like me that they perfected “primarying” by which they defeated “liberal” Republican office holders and purged a formerly pro-civil rights party of moderates. Of course, the Democrats did something similar if less rigorously.

As much as I bemoan the “demagogue” Trump I can see his allure to folks who feel neglected and I can even see that the promise of turning politics on its head might just improve our politics. His base has not yet rebelled when he’s worked out deals with Democrats. In an odd way his manner and his supporter’s devotion are acting as a rebuke to Republican stuffed shirts……the same folks who went along with the purge of liberal Republicans like me because it kept working to keep the Congress in their hands.

All those moderate Republican Presidential candidates Trump whipped for the nomination……they were the same folks who stood by as the Republican Party got more white, more angry and more self righteous. They were also the great exponents of free trade which blue collar converts to Republicanism are so fed up with.

But back to Burns and Vietnam.

I hope his ten part series can put some of the ghosts of that era to rest. My story during that Era can be summed up this way:

My family raised me to revere my Grandfather who was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. He was both for staying out of foreign wars, which he blamed on Democrats, and for supporting our troops no matter how stupid the war was once we were stuck in one.

As a college student in the 1970’s I couldn’t reconcile the contradictions that this dual policy required. I was embarrassed for not being a part of the war as I objected to it. But the WW II generation fixed it so that future wars, like Vietnam, would be fought by poor kids while college students were exempted. Even then I saw that as grossly unfair while I was going to college with a draft number of 41, low enough to insure I’d go into the service if I quit college.

And what a hideous war it was making America complicit in evil doings that turned the stomach and the mind. Thus it always is with war. As Robert E. Lee said: “It is well that war is so terrible, otherwise we should grow too fond of it.”

If America can survive Donald Trump without succumbing to his call of “America First” maybe he will succeed in answering the hopes of his most ardent supporters to break out of the gridlock that has made our politics so lamentable in recent years. He may do it by killing the “Party of Lincoln.” That is, if the Republicans themselves haven’t already accomplished it.

DACA

How much has America spent educating 800,000 children illegally brought into the United States by their parents as infants and toddlers? If its anything like what we pay to educate kids in Duluth its a lot. Multiply $10,000 per year, times 12 years of public school, times 800,000 and you get $96 billion dollars thrown into the Rio Grande.

Forget the humanitarian issues of punishing the innocent. Forget the windfall for Mexico for our nation to send this incredible investment back to them. Cold hard finances all by themselves offers a compelling case to keep these children who will constitute an important economic resource for the US in future years.

Trump roared during the campaign that he would toss them all out. He seems to be reconsidering right now. But it was an Obama executive order that brought these 800,000 out of hiding and into his cross hairs. This dream is a nightmare.

Pickle relish and ketchup on my Deep State, Please?

Mother nature woke me at 4AM. The “Deep State” prevented me from going back into a deep sleep. Before I launch into my thoughts about national paranoia I’ll start with local paranoia.

I often mentioned the slogan I jokingly suggest should be our school board’s operating principle: “Just because you’re paranoid DOESN’T mean that someone isn’t out to get you!”

Just this morning I sent out an email containing this sentiment:

“The only antidote I know for this paranoia is sunshine. Put things out in the open where you can see them and you can shrug them off. If you can’t see them they become like that poisonous creature hiding in a tree stump in the Star trek movie about the castoffs marooned on a dying plant. They had to put their hands in the stump and risk a painful death.”

The “Deep State” strikes me as an invention of the real “Deep State.” The so called Deep State is not the bureaucrats and press foisting socialized medicine on a hardy, uncorrupted people. It’s the folks who don’t want to pay for socialized medicine or other civic obligations like pollution control.

The chief obstacle to getting this accomplished is our Constitution which guarantees a free press the much hated irritant of the power hungry except when they themselves use it. In Russia or China the author of “Dark Money”, Jane Mayer, would have been shot or disappeared by now. In America her biggest worry would be disinterest not death.

Before the School Board campaign and researching China got in the way I managed to get about half way through the book. It details the remnants of the John Birch Society which have rekindled into a much more potent semi-secret cabal led by the deep pockets of two of the Koch brothers. Their tentacles are everywhere – Congress, the Federal Courts, all state legislatures through ALEC, reapportionment, voter suppression, freedom to work laws, campaign finance, undermining of Federal regulation, the Trump Administration, the Tea Party and Fox News. You can’t fault Charles Koch for not putting his money where his heart is – corporate supremacy through regulatory inaction. You might argue that most of the billions he’s spent on this re engineering the American polity came from putting the public at risk by skimping on public spiritedness.

My take on the Republicans hysterics about a liberal Deep State is to think of it as Fake mongering. It has all the resonance of the grade school taunt: “I know you are but what am I?”

Maybe the real problem is overpopulation and its unruly offspring disappointed expectations of the young but the Free Press is under assault all over the world – Russia, Turkey, China, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia and now the United States. Our all-too-real President lies daily about “Fake News” until its obvious truth emerges. Then his lackey’s call it a “nothing burger.”

I’ll take my nothing burger with plenty of ketchup and pickle relish, thank you.