Category Archives: Trump 2016

Political Spin the Bottle

In our current atmosphere a day can spin you off in new directions. I have written two columns for next week’s Reader and now I’m about to shelve them and write a third. My Snowsculpture plans, however, haven’t changed but they may have sped up.

Anyhoo, this is my latest enthusiasm:

I read about Michael Bloomberg’s Duluth Office opening last night in the Strib and then looked for it in the DNT. Here’s the DNT version.

I sent a couple emails to DNT reporters asking for the contact info for the Bloomberg staff but it was late Friday night and they probably won’t see it till the new week begins on Monday. There is going to be a mini open house tomorrow, Sunday at one, according to the story. I wasn’t sure I could make that as Sunday is a family day for me. But I reasoned that Nicole would be fussing around in the new headquarters today so a little after noon I sauntered over. Sure enough two people trying to pry heavy duty vinyl signage off of their picture window overlooking 4th Ave W. I parked, hopped out and lent them a hand. After some strenuous effort we got the lower half off. That let some light into their headquarters. We chatted a bit and I left. But the work wasn’t done. I returned a short time later with a step ladder and razor to remove the upper half. I took over some paint supplies too because they will want to spruce up the office until Mayor Mike is out of the Democratic nomination or becomes their candidate in the Presidential Sweepstakes. I think our Billionaire class helped screw up America and I find it poetic justice that it might be a much bigger billionaire who cleans up the damage of a much tinier piranha.

Josh, the director, is a local boy and a 2008 graduate of East High. Nicole, another Minnesotan, is his assistant. She told me she came from reality television and when I asked if it was “The Apprentice.” It wasn’t but she knew some folks from that show. They told her they learned never go into any room alone with Trump.

I warned the pair that I’m something of an acquired taste in Duluth but said I’d be happy to offer them advice. I told them that one of the more refreshing things about Bloomberg was that he’s the only Democratic candidate training all his guns on the real menace, Trump, instead of looking over his shoulders worrying about the other Democrats. I explained that the minute I heard Bloomberg take a nasty shot at any of the others I was outta there. I’ll accord Mike a little more leash if he makes it to the debates. Goodness knows he’ll be a big target since he wields fortune that dwarfs Trump’s grifting.

My piss and vinegar button has been pushed

There is nothing like hearing a bully gloating to bring out my piss and vinegar. It may have skipped a generation because that wasn’t my Dad’s style but it was his father’s. At his death a close fried wrote a letter to the family explaining the kind of friend he was and describing a basket ball game where some thugs tormented one of my grandfather’s teammates. My namesake challenged them to meet outside. They were bigger and he got a pounding but that was the spirit my Welty grandfather’s friend so admired. And the other grandfather is the one who was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. I’ve written a lot more about him.

Stewing about our President has inspired my next column in the Reader and a snow sculpture that I am in no hurry to complete as the weather won’t cooperate until I leave town for a of couple weeks. But my snow isn’t going anywhere. I may pile more of it up for my return.

I still haven’t proof read the post from a couple days ago. I’m not in the mood. Yet. Its midnight. Time for bed.

Hints ahead

I’ve been working on the sculpture. This won’t help you much.

and this is apt for my column

I told you Iowa’s ten minutes would be forgotten quickly


I only caught the Senate roll call vote on the first charge of impeachment I didn’t listen to it all but I was pleased that Mitt Romney vote for the impeachment. Its a very small sliver of decency but I’m glad Mitt was more concerned about his legacy than any short term popularity with the Trump Crowd.

I can’t predict the arc of history for the GOP. I hope my conviction that its centrists will flea to Democrats. As I explained in my recent Reader article no one can count on that. Honorable do not want to dishonor their past and the Republican party aura is still in people’s memories if not in current reality. There have been a lot of news stories recently about how those who find Trump somewhere between disagreeable and and abomination might be able to get his supporters to second guess their support or their incredulity. Taunting won’t do it. Has Trump’s taunting made any of you change your minds?

I think the stakes are too high. Self righteousness on the anti-Trump part could give Republicans enough control to further their slow steady progress towards improving their mal-reapportionment and setting it in stone. Justice Roberts will not save us and if someone palatable to the reachable center is not elected there will be four more years of Court appointees and another ten years of reapportionment disasters for Democrats. It will take a consititutional amendment to change the constitution’s imposition of electors to elect a president.

This can be stopped with the cool calculations, not unlike Mitch McConnell’s to build toward a government that will protect the Earth. But shooting for full on change the way a lot of twenty-somethings will like is probably doomed. Your potential friends scare easy when you start frothing at the mouth in desperation.

I am an unrepentant socialist. Though they wouldn’t admit it so have almost all the Republicans I’ve ever met. Unless they are willing to face the electoral consequences of ending Social Security they are all Socialists. Until Trump energized a lot of voters who would benefit from a single-player-plan with fears that Socialism a is Marxism and Dictatorship. We have to talk these voters down from the ledge but not with Trumps bragadoccio and false confidence. I believe his confidence is paper thin but well practices skirting financial disaster over the last fifty years. He’s a bully but he ain’t the biggest fish in the Presidential campaign. Any other candidate than can win the electoral vote is a bigger fish. And one of them who intrigues me is a billionaire 60 times over. And as he said in response to some tweet at least there is one billionaire in the campaign.

Few young people are familiar with New York state’s unorthodox political history going back 60 years or more. Both Trump and Bloomberg have been both Dems and Gops. That’s because for decades there was a serious third party in New York called the Conservative Party. It was in line with famed conservative columnist William Buckley. In a three way race in 1970 the party elected James Buckley, Bill’s older brother to the US Senate.

Bloomberg and Trump were both pragmatists about politics donating to candidate from each party. But there the comparisson ends. Bloomberg earned his billions. Trump inherited, squandered them, lied stole and cheated to preserve them, and will say whatever he has to to get people to sign on the dotted line. His supporters have no idea how empty his words are. They see a wall. They see a pro life savior, If lying gets them what they want its a small price to pay no matter what harm befalls them that you can be sure he will blame on Democrats.

Bloomberg like you and me abhors Trump but unlike you and me he lived in the same town as Trump and knows his vile past far better than anyone except perhaps the whole corpus of the New York Times.

This isn’t an ad for Bloomberg. I will vote for whoever the Democrats put up against Trump. I like them all. The issue for Democrats who become delegates to the national nominating convention is this. Which candidate will beat Trump with candor and honesty. I hope when the decision is made some of the players do what they did in 2016 – Decide that neither Trump and the other guy’s democratic candidate preference is worth voting for. God Damn you. My Grandchildren need an American President who doesn’t lie, understands the perils of climate change and who will do his/her best to bring Trumplicans back to their senses.

“God chose the weak things of the world . . .

. . . to shame the strong.”

Once again I came home with my Church bulletin cluttered with my notes from today’s message. This is but a remnant of a great many I checked in the fall to thin out old paperwork. I’ve spread them out for this picture to give you a sense how difficult it is for me to give up stray thoughts. Today’s sermon was no exception. Based on First Corinthians 18-31. Verse 27 stuck out at me. “But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.”

It wasn’t the beginning that stuck out but goodness knows I don’t mind to have people call me foolish, It was the second half about God calling on the weak to shame the strong. Perhaps that could mean the Trump supporters are weak and using Donald Trump to shame the economically well off who oppose him. Or (and my preference) it could mean that Trump is strong and that those rising in opposition to him have been made weak and are to challenge him. I take a Lincolnesque view of this. I have no idea which side God is on.

In my youth there is no question that the ten percent of our population that was black was almost universally black. They had a black champion too Cassius Clay, later known as Muhammed Ali. He defied white authority with an impunity not unlike Donald Trump. But he wasn’t handed millions of dollars as a kid he came from nowhere to needle white America. Trump is no Ali. I loved Ali like Trumplicans love Trump. At least Ali wasn’t laughing at his followers behind his back. He was one of them.

I made a follow-up video to the one I put up last night. the first addressed “Trump America.” The second was addressed to people wishing that Trump would a one-term-President. I’m debating whether to upload that video or shoot a new one. One of the other should show up here soon.

Juan Percent

My Column on Brooks v. Rogers got a very quick kick in the shin

A long time critic of my columns under the sobriquet of “Juan Percent” had this to say in two back to back posts on the Duluth Reader’s page:

JPThursday Jan. 30, 2020

How dare you use ’eminently reasonable’ to describe the war monger neocon David Brooks. BTW, the word Elitist Democrats haven’t learned a thing. Trump 2020.

Juan Percent Thursday Jan. 30, 2020

Times have passed you by Harry, you’re head’s not in the right game. Today the fight is not between democrats and republicans, as much as it’s between national sovereignty (populism) and globalism. The GOP has been remade. The Democrat rush away from Sanders is not as much away from socialism as it is toward globalism. Sanders is a populist. Watch THIS. It will help you reframe modern politics:

Of course I had to do a little reframing myself. I did so, to wit:


This is the first time I’ve checked comments in a long time. Glad you are still following me and offering critiques.

I like Brooks well enough but even he is a little too beholden to establishment Republicans for my taste. Its an establishment I’m none too impressed with myself. They caved to a pretty hideous mouth because despite their eagerness wage war they have proven spineless in the face of Trump’s outrages.

As you noted times may have passed me by. But I stand by the kind of Republicans my parents and grand parents were. Ironically, after my grandfather’s rush to fight in what he later came to regard as Wilson’s War (in his view Democrats could always be counted on to drag us into one) he too turned to isolationism. Or, in your terms “non globalism” although that would be a term for the future.

The Republican party you disparage has become Woodrow Wilson’s party sticking its nose into other people’s wars and making them ours. My Grandfather would agree with you. We’ve screwed up way too many times from Vietnam to damn near everything involved with the Middle East. But my Grandfather was part of the problem. During Vietnam he still stuck by the mantra of standing by his country……He was mystified by war protesters. And LBJ and Nixon both lived in fear that they would be accused of losing the first war in America’s history if they didn’t stick Vietnam out.

Sanders is not being beaten up by Trump for being a globalist. Trump will treat him as a boogeyman for socialism in large part because Bernie is a populist and Trump’s supporters are inclined to like Bernie. As for moderate Democrats they worry that Sanders socialism, not his populism, is what will get him beat by Trump. I think they are right to worry about that. At least when Bernie tells it like it is – its true! The same can’t be said of Donald.

I am glad you directed me to Farage’s little departure speech to the EU Parliament. It was quite good and even, despite the flag waving, cordial in victory. He is a smug bastard though. And I think the British will come to see that the EU with all its bureaucracy was a good place to hang out.

I don’t need to re-frame my view of modern politics so much as most people need to read a little more history. The context of today isn’t just a decade in the making. It goes back stone axes.

Today in the Reader- David Brooks is Wrong…

…Will Rogers Had it Right

It begins:

Last week I began sleeping well for the first time since Donald Trump became a Presidential contender. The powerful summation by Congressman Schiff, “Shifty” to the “Lock-her-up-crowd,” comforted me. Then David Brooks the eminently reasonable PBS News Hour pundit wrote off a second Trump victory. Brooks said too many Americans don’t want a Trump Presidency for four more years, never mind a hot economy.

I know better.

News links on current politics 1

This is a place I’ll start putting links to news stories I’ve been emailing myself for the past year or more. I want a place to organize them for later use. Feel free to read them if you’d like.

From Bloomberg which has supposedly broken ties to its owner, candidate Bloomberg. Democrats concerned that presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg is avoiding scrutiny by not participating in televised debates with other candidates pushing the party to allow the billionaire on … View the article.

Some members of President Donald Trump’s impeachment defense team are campaign donors to jurors in the Senate. Former independent counsels Ken Starr and Robert Ray, who investigated then-President … View the article.

A quote from General James Mattis helping to explain his ousting by Donald Trump.

John Roberts comes face to face with the political world he created:

God Bless Adam “Shifty” Schiff

I heard that fair and balanced Fox News let Hannity mute Adam Schiff’s eloquent and damningly persuasive closing argument yesterday. Talk about hacks sticking their fingers in their ears and shouting NA, NA, NA, NA, NA, NA. . . .

In case you were getting your Impeachment coverage from Fox and got Hannity’s NANA’s in your ears. You can hear Schiff’s closing arguments here:

After four years of fretfulness over Donald Trump I’ve had almost a week of near regular sleep. I don’t think it is a coincidence.

Harry’s Diary 1/23/2020

I returned money yesterday…..that’s the next post.

Today I signed up for two more French apps on my cell phone. One allows me to chat with people who will check my French as I check their English. The other is called “slow French News.” My determination to learn French just grows stronger. It is almost purely an academic challenge.

I read about the 400 people, some of whom were quite vocal, at last night’s boundary change meeting. Not only do I have hundreds of posts relating to the issues that were discussed, boundaries, Red Plan, race, neighborhoods, I have experienced even more heated meetings as a school board member about these issues. The most heated was ironically at the same locale when Ordean was a middle school. It had 800 angry parents, double last night’s attendance. My superintendent showcased all nine of the school board members behind tables on a stage in front of all the angry parents. And he deprived us of microphones. I’ve written about that too If you go to his link please click my comment about how much I detest demagogues. Its an anecdote about the best compliment I’ve ever gotten.

I listened to the surprisingly stirring history given by Congressman Nadler. Trump should be removed. He’s lucky his party created conditions requiring their Senators to be eunuchs. Later I was impressed by the President’s worst enemy Congressman Shifty Schiff. In Trump’s case it takes one to know know one. In Schiff’s case it takes a prosecutor to unveil one.

After it got repetitive I went out and shoveled snow. When I came back in I asked my wife if there was anything new. She said the description of that Trump’s goons did to the Ukraine Ambassador was shameful.

Mt. Rushmore is weeping.

From Ken Star – GOP expert

The Constitution is unconstitutional.

And this is the second time he’s been involved in one. I am tempted to think he’s a tad hypocritical on this point.

In his first one he gave the Meuller treatment to the high crime of Bill Clinton’s spilling his seed on a grown up women’s dress. …that of course was not the high crime he hangs his hat on. Neither is it the string of Cosby/Epstein-like lies denying having done it. No, like Trump Clinton got into trouble trying to reaffirm the lie UNDER OATH. None of the other lies threatened our Democracy. Just the one under oath.

This is just a quick thought I wanted to unload before I undertake today’s big project. I will be busy today building a maze for my grandson’s first double digit birthday party.

I used to build huge mazes for the Chester Park Elementary School’s school carnival.

My big read today –

This is very long but, for those interested in the Middle East, very worth the reading.

Mohammed bin Zayed’s Dark Vision of the Middle East’s Future

It took half hour to finish. Trump would want a quick 30 second summary so his eyes wouldn’t glaze over. (I’m snarking about the startling Pearl Harbor anecdote in the previous post about Emperors and Tsars.)

I just sent this Times Story to a high school classmate who lives in Oman to the south of the United Arab Emirates on the Arabian Peninsula. There is so much more to Arabia than Mecca.

I just saw my friend at my 50th high school reunion. I mentioned that she greeted two surprised and delighted Somali girls at a pep fest by greeting them with a traditional Islamic salutation. She is an educator in Oman is a very different Arabic paradise that has tried to stay out of the area’s politics but is nonetheless in the cross-hairs of history. I asked my friend for her thoughts on the Time’s story. While I was at it I mentioned another high school classmate that was stationed in both Peshawar, Pakistan and Kabul, Afghanistan by the State Department. Those are two red hot assignments that you don’t find Presidential Contributors, like Trump’s Mr. Quid Pro Quo Sondland, being assigned to.

Emperor Xi, Tsar Putin, King Trump and George Washington

Perhas the most unsurprising but appalling news yesterday came from Russia. In one way I miss the Soviet Union. Other than its delusional infatuation with ownershiplessness the idea of Monarchialism didn’t seem to match its communist rhetoric. Of Course Papa Joe had to die in office while his timid heirs kept rescuers at bay until they were sure he was dead. But he wasn’t a king. He was simply a despot who only gave up his scepter when it was pried from his cold dead fingers.

Sorry I got carried away. Yes. The news. The Ruskies have proposed a new law which extends Putin’s rule which he already had extend once. He’s a tsar now. Not long ago “reformist” Xi Jinping was handed a guarantee of never ending Chinese leadership. As for Trump. Here’s his tweet for a forever Presidency.

Trump is besotted/envious of dictators who have no restraints placed on them. How different George Washington was a man who could lay claim to being one of the wealthiest Americans of his day. He would have been closer to Bloomberg than Trump.

Washington was reluctant to become President. Began a precedent that was followed without any laws requiring of stepping down after a second term which continued until FDR ran for a third term as America braced itself for the Second World War.

Not that Donald Trump knows anything about that war. As he flew into Hawaii for a ceremony at Pearl Harbor he apparently asked his astonished chief-of-staff John Kelly what the deal was with the Pearl Harbor stuff. Just the man to lead us into a war if he manages to pull it off with Iran.

BTW – this book review covers the growth of unnamed witness in covering Trump. That makes sense in a day when not a single Republican congressman was left to vote for the impeachment of the President because the GOP has stacked the deck in all of their districts so that any dissent will bring about their defeat by a party they have tailored into group think.

At least Washington knew something about war. No bone spurs, just real ones.

Impeachment, war, cinema and other flotsom

Trump Impeached. After watching part to of Frontlines how we got here, last night I’m OK with that. I was surprised to come to the conclusion that there was no way Donald Trump had what it takes not to be the worst President in our Nation’s history. I came close with this assessment last year at this time. I don’t know if Joe, who comments sympathetically with Trump is right or not. All I can say is once anyone is elevated to the Presidency of the United States they better not succumb to their limitations and Trump has more than any President I’ve read about.

To put things in perspective Trump’s World Wrestling Federation followers

haven’t and won’t come close to repeating the lynching that took place a century ago in Duluth but that is cold comfort. However much they have been neglected by “the establishment” George Washington would have gone back to Mt. Vernon had he seen such behavior. There would have been no Brexit for America in 1776. So, however much we can pat ourselves on the back for the absence of lynchings we should weep that a man with no scruples has caught the wave with four in ten Americans.

I didn’t watch the last debate in Iowa before the Iowa caucuses. Frontline seemed more important . Along those lines a couple headlines this morning caught my attention. One was about how Chief Justice Roberts will keep the Supreme Court’s reputation from being tattered. Another from the partisan Rawstate said that it was a Trump appointed Judge who stymied the Congressional subpoena of Trump’s tax records a source of information that the Congress is constitutionally permitted to see.

A lot of Democrats have been watching in horror for twenty years as Republicans have fiddled with election laws to stay in power as their voters age and slip through their fingers. The refusal to approve Obama’s nominees for court vacancies and their rush to appoint Judges Democrats fear will put the Republican Party ahead of the law is probably a greater menace to Democrats than woman who wear t-shirts giving Trump a thumbs up for a crotch grab. As for pussies. Trump has a whole United State’s Senate full of them more than he has hands for. All of them prefer to be in his stable rather than lose a coveted position in the Federal bordello because soccer hooligans will vote them out of office for acting in behalf of the rule of law or their conscience.

Yesterday we saw 1917. It was a tall tale but, oh it was it gripping.

Forbes has a story I didn’t read saying that STEAM not STEM is what we should be teaching our children. It Includes the Arts as a necessary ingredient to our curriculum. I agree. I’ve been thinking about the World War I themed movies that I have appreciated and how different eras tell the tale cinematically. Sgt York comes to mind first. Included on the list would be Paths of Glory, Joyeux Noël and the marvelous work of Robert Jackson restoring British film to look like it was filmed today and not in the herky jerky mode of a century ago. Peter Jackson’s They Shall Not Grow Old was breathtaking.

As for politics. I loved Robert Capra’s. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. Donald Trump is no Mr. Smith.

I sent in my finished column to the Reader last nigh. I was very pleased with it and it covers another movie favorite. This morning when I reread what I’d sent in I was not happy. I made two mistakes in the last couple paragraphs. I don’t mind them here on the blog but I do work hard to eliminate them on anything that goes to print. Look for it Thursday.

Keep your middle finger holstered

Donald Trump is counting on all my allies to stoke his reelection with their vitriol. In Trump’s view it will keep his supporters, many of them iffy voters, motivated to come out and vote for him even if the economy takes what now looks unlikely, a stumble. I have been similarly tempted to take offense at the middle fingers Trump’s supporters have pointed in my direction. But its just voting bait. I prefer cool calculated responses.

Not that I’m naive. I think David Brooks is naive. I heard him casually shrug off the possibility that Trump could get reelected on Public Television. I think David is dangerously misguided to adopt such confidence. Donald Trump is like a good surfer in rough waves. He has stayed out of jail for a lifetime by weilding his tens, hundreds and possibly billions of dollars like pugil sticks to keep any and everyone at bay. (I just found this link on pugil sticks and was stuck watching a seemingly unending ad on the Trump driven news source Epoch Times. Talk about a pugil stick)

Until the election I am going to assume that Trump can win. I believe that rational discussion is the only way to calm down middle fingers for Trump. I will be quick to tease, and criticize Trump but not his followers. I hope other Trump critics follow this example but not to the foolish extent David Brooks does.

I’ve not blogged much lately. I’m in a period of blogging remission but there has been plenty to test my patience. I have had Christmas decorations covering my office for a couple days now. I’ve got to put them away and clean all the debris from my office before I return to shooting my fingers off…..holstered or not.


Happy Holidays from Mar-a-lago

President Trump flew in to West Palm Beach a little after Claudia and I flew in for the weekend memorial service for her father. Politico says Mar-a-Lago is Mr. Trump’s safe place.

I should hope so. Ever since his arrival F-16 vipers have been circling the skies keeping watch. His get-away palace is just under a half hour drive from where we are but the air force can travel that distance in seconds.

Putin’s poisioners have probably attached a GPS tracking device on Nancy Pelosi’s person to make sure she can’t crash his holiday celebrations.

Meet the new member of the “no evil” clan

If you couldn’t tell it by looking at my friend here, he’s pinching his nose tight. He’s not alone on my front yard. His older siblings are each keeping evil at bay in their own ways. Ostriches are far more efficient. They accomplish all this unwelcome stimulation by sticking their heads in the sand. This is the new Trumplican Party.

It is impeachment season but the Democrats are permitted to act on their consciences when it comes time to vote. This wasn’t good enough for one New Jersey Democrat. Representative Van Drew is switching parties even though Nancy Pelosi isn’t enforcing a pro-impeachment vote. The Congressman may not end up benefiting from his party switching. First off six of his staff members quit. Next, the GOP has made it known that they may not want him as their Congressman. Several Republicans have been circling his district planning to run against him.

As for the GOP side of the House there was not so much as a lone wolf baying at the President’s duplicitous ways. That’s a far cry from the ferocity with which Republicans took after Bill Clinton who posed no threat to our nation’s security….just to pretty young women with crushes on Bubba.

There has never been a time in our nation’s history until now that one President held the genitals of every member of his party in Congress in his hands or rather in the hands of the voters trained by the Republican party to rid themselves of independent thinkers in primaries. Today’s march-in-step Republican philosophy comes straight from the mouth of Donald Trump. It is the “group think” that Orwell wrote about although there seems to be little thinking involved just vigorous head bobbing.

Now its all fingers in ears, eyes closed and shouts of “LA LA LA LA LA LA LA I can’t hear you!” And, as you can plainly see from the convention being held in my front yard, even the stink of the Grand Old Party’s corpse has been banished.