Category Archives: God’s Own Party

The Party of Lincoln metastasizes

The “Deep State” that so many right wing broadcasters rant about isn’t really a communist-like threat from the left. The Popular Front was strangled by the FBI and the original Red Scare of the 1950’s. Today a Deep State is really the product of all the right wing ranters financiers like Fox News owner Rupert Murdoch, the Koch Brothers, The pro-eugenic’s FAIR organization founded by the Scaife fortune and the billionaire who owns news stations in 30% of the American Market the Sinclair Group.

These forces have all acted together to purge old Republicans like me in primaries by calling us RINO’s. (Republicans in Name Only) Sadly, most of the old moderates rolled over and played dead but clung to the Party and whoever it nominated for public office rather than turn their backs on a family affiliation that sometimes went back to the Civil War. As anyone who has followed my career in Duluth knows all too well, I don’t roll over and play dead.

Well the Sinclair Group put a vile ad on ABC stations during the Democratic Debate last night. It didn’t play in Duluth but it pits brown Americans against each other using one group as Uncle Toms calling (in this case) Latina Congresswoman Cortez an accomplice to the genocide in Cambodia. Instead of cut up fetuses, the Sincliar Group took AOC’s photo and burned it to reveal the skulls of the Cambodian holocaust from which the narrator’s family escaped.

Other than the villainy of this ad it offers rich irony with the narrator proudly calling herself a “Republican” at its conclusion. The mass murderers who butchered her family in Cambodia were child soldiers orphaned when Republican Richard Nixon began a secret and illegal bombing campaign over Cambodia during the Vietnam War. The Khmer Rouge, a nationalist organization, adopted and armed these waifs and waved the banner of Communism, but really, their insane butchery was more “Helter Skelter” and “Charles Manson Family” than British or French socialism or, for that matter, American Social Security.

Too bad today’s Republicans aren’t very likely to have the class to denounce this hideous monstrosity. The good ones, like Senator McCain, are a dying breed.

The new Christ of God’s Own Party aka the GOP.

If Hurricane Dorian doesn’t crucify him the voters who aren’t kept from the polls in 2020 by Republican election tinkerers might. God knows what his second coming will look like.

I recommend the previous three posts

3. http://lincolndemocrat.com/?p=28364

2. http://lincolndemocrat.com/?p=28361

1. http://lincolndemocrat.com/?p=28350

And I’m running for the school board in Duluth Minnesota and I’m offering a book (currently being written by me) for a %15 donation.

This is it:

Donate here. I think you will like it almost as much as most folks like my snow sculptures. Google Harry Welty snow sculptures…..

Don’t worry. I already have, here.

Speaking of a nation with lower church attendance and more socialism

This arresting comparison of the decency that is Norway and the blight that can be America I got on Facebook. I have little reason to seriously doubt any of the statistics it presents.

A few posts back I said I’m having a hard time thinking about writing a book about schools while the Republican Party keeps sinking closer to hell. Well, my Dad and his father-in-law were two different kinds of Republicans. Dan Welty was a realist about what made sense and had no desire to turn back all of FDR’s programs the way Donald Trump wants to stamp out any trace of Barack Obama. He thought Medicare made sense. My Grandfather was of a different frame of mind. I’ve mentioned before that my Dad talked my grandfather into accepting Medicare by telling him that he had paid for it with his taxes. That settled it.

There is something of a real “Deep State” but its part of the Republican machinery and its funded by kooky billionaires of an earlier Era. They have been allowed by the Supreme Court to contaminate election campaigns to the GOP’s benefit on the theory that money, stolen or otherwise, is free speech and can be given surreptitiously to political parties who will in turn offer more tax breaks to the billionaires in return for bigger campaign donations. These Billionaires want to save themselves from enduring Norway’s kind of fair deal for citizens.

Call me a socialist.

Teaching Science causes mass shootings

It really is little wonder that Christians are the greatest source of atheism in the known universe. Here’s the leader of the Family Research Council explaining that teaching science causes mass shootings.

Tony Perkins is (how could it be otherwise?) a recent Republican Congressman. But I’d like him to explain how legions of Christians were photographed at the scenes of hundreds of lynchings until shortly before my birth post world war II. Atheism wasn’t all that popular so I’m confident that you would have been hard pressed to find a half dozen practicing atheists among the 10,000 Duluthians that rampaged into the city Jail in 1920 to lynch three innocent black men. (infamous photo above)

It wasn’t long ago that Republican sect of Christianity was saying that abortion caused things like the 9/11 attacks. Now its claiming that schools that teach that the universe is 13.8 billion years old causes such mayhem. (Charles Darwin was Jack the Ripper – bet you din’t know that!) I have a different theory. I believe that God is sending a hurricanes to attack Maralago because of the Republican cult.

I’ve got two more posts and a cartoon to post so that I can suck Mr. Perkin’s venom out of me.

Think global but act local – Welty style

Were Republicans ever good?

I have never had any doubts about the answer to that question. And yet in my life I’ve been aware of criticisms of Republicans over the course of their history from Democrats. Ironically, for a lot of those Democrats they made use of the old saying “If you can’t beat them, join them.” So successful has this practice become that ex dems and their descendants have not only joined the Republican Party but purged it of the original Republicans to make it the party they wanted all along – The Party of Trump. And Ironically, a lot of the Republicans that made the GOP the Trumplican party didn’t mean for it to go so far. They didn’t want to abandon free trade agreements. Some of them even truly felt bad about a growing national debt. Many of these Republicans were keeping an eagle eye on the Russians even after the fall of Russia’s communism.

The faithfulness of these former ideologues is shown by their hasty and pusillanimous surrender to a man they knew to be a clown. As ideologues they worship ideas but not good ideas. No they worship election winning ideas. Ideas like nativism, skin color supremacism, and hatred of academic curiosity and any evidence that their ideas are faulty. Many of them were started out as Never-Trumpers. For the past two years the Never-Trumpers have been hiding in the pro-Trump crowd. Next year, if as seems likely Trump gas a great fall like Humpty Dumpty, they will camouflage the yellow stripes running up their backs and adopt some new color; probably the standard issue red, white and blue of their deeply patriotic lapel pins. They have been worthy imitators of Vichy for the past couple years.

For the past several months I’ve been working on a book related to public education and more specifically the Duluth Public Schools. But every day a tweet storm reminds me of the reason I filed for Congress against Pete Stauber last year. Our nation is threatened by an empty huckster who expected to lose the Presidency and turn his defeat into a massive effort to start his own news Trump television Network by caterwauling that he had been robbed of victory. For the last four years I’ve comforted myself with the obvious ignorance of this man. Just today the man who has a $150 million mansion on Florida’s Hurricane coast said he’d never heard of a category 5 hurricane. This man who brags of his brilliance like the Kingfish of Amos and Andy doesn’t know, and has never known squat. He’s Kingfish a jackass that seventy years ago working class white people recognized as a fool. Who put the scales over their eyes?

If America was ever to fall to a tyrant who could have expected it to be such a loon? We have been lucky in our choice. It wasn’t Aaron Burr. It wasn’t William Randolph Hearst. It wasn’t Huey B. Long. It was “The Donald.”

If I fulfill my promise to my donors and finish the book about public schools (win, lose or draw) I hope I write the other book that’s been trying to distract me from the former. It will be a book that attempts to answer the question posed at the beginning of this post. The answer is “Yes.” Next question. How did Donald Trump ever eclipse Abraham Lincoln and make America the world’s laughing stock instead of the “shining city on a hill?”

BTW – I don’t think Donald every grew up enough to shake Amos and Andy out of is ever adolescent head. That may explain why he wants to lead his chosen white people to his Aryan heaven of gold towers. All the better to milk them.

Here’s that book that standing in the way of my writing a book about the fall of the Party of Lincoln. Please put in an order and force me to finish writing it for you. I think you will like it almost as much as most locals like my snow sculptures.





Another Republican King

For almost twenty years Iowan Steve King has been a rock ribbed “conservative” Republican in Congress. Calling him a conservative or a Republican should be an injustice to either term and King finally wore out his Republican credentials a short time ago by saying White Supremacy is what he learned in his school history books. He may very well fail to win reelection this November. Here is a story from the hertland not from Huffpost or CNN. It comes from the Sioux City Journal.
https://siouxcityjournal.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/at-western-iowa-town-hall-steve-king-jokes-about-forced/article_479ec7aa-cbc9-5d36-bbf5-ee3007c05130.html#1

King is one of those creatures who have been freed by President Trump to be become the very worst specimen of what Americanism gone wrong is like.

Good Riddance to Lake Calhoun

Minneapolitians were divided about the renaming of long-standing Lake Calhoun into Bde Maka Ska. I doubt that many Minnesotans even knew who John C. Calhoun was or why anyone would object to his name being affixed to one of Minneapolis’s many pretty lakes. The answer is spelled out in one one of the New York Times marvelous histories concerning 2019’s 400 anniversary of the beginning of slavery in the United States. When they are finished I hope they publish the collection as a book.

Here’s the villain himself:

I’m intrigued that he looks every bit as grim as his polar political opposite John Brown whose Kansas State Capitol Mural I googled yesterday. That link is to a Christian Science Monitor story about the painter John Steurt Curry.

2019-08-19_08-48-06

When my Mother was a girl the mural was being painted in the capitol building. Brown was “reaping the whirlwind” that John C. Calhoun had sown in poisoning the call to equality in the Declaration of Independence. Or to loosely paraphrase George Orwell. “All animals are equal but slaveholders are more equal than others.”

There is a reason this blog is called Lincolndemocrat. When I named it I was about to throw in the towel to the quasi-fascists that had taken over the GOP to fashion a new Jim Crow run by rural white Americans. The spirit of the Republican Party had been stripped from Abe Lincoln and handed to the architect of the anti-democratic South, John C. Calhoun.

I highly recommend this installment of the New York Times coverage of the 400th Anniversary of oppression against funny colored people by pink people:

What the Reactionary Politics of 2019 Owe to the Politics of Slavery https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/08/14/magazine/republicans-racism-african-americans.html

Today’s version of Helter Skelter?

I never read Helter Skelter although I recall Mother Jones News or Rolling Stone running a shortened version of it back in the day. I read enough of that to supplement the coverage in the news. Many years later I read something from somebody who interviewed Manson in prison. The story from the interviewer showed some skepticism of the prosecutors who put all the blame on Charlie. The skepticism seemed warranted but in hindsight I suspect that Manson was simply pulling the wool over yet one more person’s eyes. Still, I haven’t revisited the Manson story other than to catch news stories of parole hearings for his imprisoned followers though the years with all the swastikas self carved onto their foreheads. Do I still think there is a partical of truth to the prison story Manson was pedaling that he was simply a small part of the Manson commune and that there was someone else who was the real brains behind all the killing? Naw.

I just bumped into this story about Manson’s youngest groupie who thought she had escaped the story only to be pulled back into it forty years later. Manson was guilty as sin.

https://www.duluthnewstribune.com/news/nation/4606945-How-Charles-Manson-cast-his-spell-on-homecoming-queens-honor-students-and-dropouts

Charlie’s “magnetism” was part of the acid dropping era. Luckily, his pull was confined to some small parcels of California’s back woods. Its worth remembering that entire nations can get caught up in the delusions of someone with a good sales pitch. Charlie isn’t the only Messiah to have inspired the ignorant with his visions of a race war. But that megaphone has been placed in the tiny hands of our nation’s Chief of State. And he has fans as addled as the Manson Girls. Ex Congresswomen Bachmann says we will never see a more Godly President than Donald Trump.

Forty years from now Michele may be remembered as our Era’s version of a Manson girl. There is one difference however. Michele isn’t a teenager from a broken family.

“Modern Republicans” & “Conservatives” – definitions

I have been mining my old Not Eudora columns for the book I’m writing. One pseudonymous writer has been honoring me by throwing questions at my columns. I just discovered one such question that I missed. I missed it because I can only find my critics if I go back a few days later to the website of the Duluth Reader where, after my posts are uploaded, people are given a chance to comment. If I don’t go back I miss the questions and don’t answer them and I never saw this one. Having just found this one I want to answer it because my return to “modern” Republicanism to burn it down will make a lot of people scratch their heads over my intention to turn it into a Phoenix. The Party was pretty awful before Donald Trump. Under Trumplicanism its hair is on fire and I didn’t start that.

Here is Juan Percent’s question:

Harry – there is a major philosophical difference that separates you from modern republicans. The government is not the answer to your problems. You have that responsibility. How can you even consider yourself to be conservative?

I did not answer this in December of 2018. I will answer it here later today:

HERE’S MY ANSWER:

I’m a Presbyterian by upbringing if not a current member (although I’ve sung in our church’s choir for a quarter century) A Presbyterian lives in a church with its own set of rules not unlike those of the American Constitution. In the same way Americans codify seperate but equal branches of government to preserve us from a tyrant the Presbyterians insure that they can preserve the Presbyterian church for Presbyterian ideals that can only be modified with the consent of the majority of church members. How can this play out?

A few years back in Grand Rapids Minnesota a swarm of evangelical folks were swept into a Presbyterian church and drove the old timers out. They then attempted to take over the church building. My wife was one of the larger community of Presbyterians that let them know that under our church’s polity the church building belonged to the greater church not the take-over artists.

No such guarantees preserve old timers in political parties other than preserving their majority. In the case of both parties events have swept new majorities in and changed the platforms over the last 200 years. One party, Lincoln’s Whigs, simply disappeared.

I am not a modern Republican. That would be a Trumplican. I was not really much of a Republican before Trump when bloodless Ayn Rand aficionados, like Paul Ryan, ruled supreme. You really have to go back to Dwight David Eisenhower or Nelson Rockefeller to find my kind of Republicans who were also my Dad’s kind of Republicans. Farther back in my Grandfather’s day Teddy Roosevelt held sway. Those were days when the party proudly traced its lineage to Abraham Lincoln. Today’s Republicans are very much “Lincoln who?” I was shocked and pleased in my brief foray into the Democratic Party to discover that they held Abe Lincoln in high esteem.

Hitler was once modern. So much for mere modernity. Although my Grandfather would have cast a disapproving eye at “socialism” in his day, he didn’t want to take advantage of Medicare until my Dad convinced him he had paid for it, he would have understood that America’s NATO allies were all far more heavily invested in socialism than the United States. Judging by how miserable so many Americans are I think its long overdue to follow our allies lead because they do not have such wells of poverty, despair and ignorance in their nations as we Americans do.

As for “conservativism” that generally means holding fast to what has worked and will continue to work. I see little in the modern Republican Party but despoliation of the planet. That doesn’t work for me.

Give’m Harry

I read the following wonderful summary of Harry Truman on Facebook today. Then I looked at the apparently pro-Trump author’s Facebook Page. He didn’t write it so I searched for the actual author. It seems no one has taken credit for it. The description of the man who was President when I was born accords with everything I’ve previously read although I can’t entirely vouch for its full accuracy.

Harry Truman was a different kind of President. He probably made as many, or more important decisions regarding our nation’s history as any of the other 32 Presidents preceding him. However, a measure of his greatness may rest on what he did after he left the White House.

The only asset he had when he died was the house he lived in, which was in Independence , Missouri . His wife had inherited the house from her mother and father and other than their years in the White House, they lived their entire lives there.

When he retired from office in 1952 his income was a U.S. Army pension reported to have been $13,507.72 a year. Congress, noting that he was paying for his stamps and personally licking them, granted him an ‘allowance’ and later, a retroactive pension of $25,000 per year.

After President Eisenhower was inaugurated, Harry and Bess drove home to Missouri by themselves. There was no Secret Service following them.

When offered corporate positions at large salaries, he declined, stating, “You don’t want me. You want the office of the President, and that doesn’t belong to me.. It belongs to the American people and it’s not for sale.”

Even later, on May 6, 1971, when Congress was preparing to award him the Medal of Honor on his 87th birthday, he refused to accept it, writing, “I don’t consider that I have done anything which should be the reason for any award, Congressional or otherwise.”

As president he paid for all of his own travel expenses and food.

Modern politicians have found a new level of success in cashing in on the Presidency, resulting in untold wealth. Today , too many in Congress also have found a way to become quite wealthy while enjoying the fruits of their offices. Political offices are now for sale

Good old Harry Truman was correct when he observed, “My choices in life were either to be a piano player in a whore house or a politician. And to tell the truth, there’s hardly any difference!

We ought to have cloned him for telling it like it is and being frugal with our tax dollars!

That a pro–Trumper would circulate something that so diametrically contradicts Donald Trump and which I find so compelling suggests to me that our mutual admiration for Harry offers hope to America. And by the way. Truman’s order to integrate the US Armed Forces began the stampede of Southern Democrats out of the Democratic Party and eventually into the once hated Party of Lincoln……where they promptly forgot about the sixteenth President.

I’m reestablishing my old domain Givemhellharry.org to advertise my 2019 school board campaign. I’ll be taking book orders from there as well.

READERS WHO CAN’T STOP THEMSELVES FROM VISITING LINCOLNDEMOCRAT…IF YOU LIKED THIS CONSIDER BUYING THE BOOK THAT WILL HELP ME FINANCE MY SCHOOL BOARD CAMPAIGN. $15 will cover printing for 500 books. A little extra will help with other campaign costs.





Smug get rich quick Christians support…

Tough love at the border:

2019-06-28_10-11-30

Or as Presidential candidate Buttigieg said at last night’s Democratic Presidential debate:

“For a party that associates itself with Christianity to say it is okay to suggest that God would smile on the division of families at the hands of federal agents, that God would condone putting children in cages, has lost all claim to ever use religious language.”

Maybe another way to put is that: Jesus only loves the little fetuses.

When losing is healthy and democratic

If I’m convinced of anything after seventeen some elections, three wins, 14 losses, it is this: Its more important to campaign on what you believe and risk defeat than it is to win at all costs and through dishonesty.

The counter argument to this is persuasive but ultimately a siren song. Those who win, legislate. Or, stated more baldly, lie and you get to make the rules. This has become the modus-operandi of Republican hacks. I have been a casualty of this operation. Moderates were decried as RINO’s. Republicans in name only and purged in primary campaigns with ease. The people flocking to remove them and vote for more pure ideologues didn’t even care if a Democrat would ultimately win in a seat that might be open to a moderate Republican. Their cause was to make life impossible for anyone other than a Republican fire eater. The Result? Donald Trump – long time liberal, libertine and liar who championed extreme Republican positions and brushed aside 19 other candidates who did not want to alienate the larger population of voters. His fake authenticity prevailed. A lot of Americans still like the taste of his vinegar.

The other part of the Republican playbook has been to subvert democracy itself. The Southern Democrat wing that now rules the Republican Party prevented black voters from casting ballots with impunity until the 1965 Voting Rights act. Republicans were eager to change the Supreme Court so that new justices would throw out all the limitations on perverting elections by discouraging voters. Today, in the Palm Beach newspaper I read about Florida Republicans latest efforts to stave off defeat even at the cost of fair elections. It begins:

At first glance, the idea seems reasonable, especially in a state as sprawling and dependent on the automobile as Florida: Require that early-voting sites have adequate places to park.

But then you realize that those pushing it are the same Republican gang in Tallahassee that has spent years looking for ways to suppress the votes of black and brown people, poor people and young people — groups who don’t tend to generate majorities for Republicans.

It begs the question. Does the Republican Party really believe in anything other than winning in perpetuity by depriving a majority of voters their say? Its no wonder why they hate calling Democrats “democratic.” They are jealous.

More on Grant, my Grandfather the Republican Party and me

I mentioned in the last post that generations of Southerners and Democrats libeled US Grant as a butcher. I found a 2013 post about how my Grandfather corrected my Fifth grade teacher who made that assertion to our class in the integrated Topeka, Kansas, elementary school I attended. That post also contains some more historical tidbits from the Civil War era. The post has the catchy Title GOP = GHASTLY ORGANIZED PUTRESCENCE PT 2

After my last Reader column “Juan Percent” challenged me on the Reader site asking:

JP Jun. 17, 2019

“Wasn’t Bush president in 2002? Harry, if you haven’t been a republican in 20 years, can you still call yourself a republican? BTW, the last time I checked, we weren’t in a depression… so maybe timing is important when you use tariffs? Harry, If now is NOT the time to play hardball with other countries who are cheating, when is?

You too may wonder how I could possible want to be part of a Ghastly Putrescent party. Here’s my Reply to JP Jun. 17, 2019 Continue reading

I want to write my own damned book

Having told my whole town about how I was witness to a fizzled out train I’m just popping to speak my mind about a whole lotta stuff. Claudia just ordered a book for us to read and I am a little PO’ed that it covers a lot of what aggravates me – My last 50 years watching the Republican Party pulling train on America. Look it up in the “urban dictionary.” I want to write that book.

The book is called “Fault lines” and I just took a couple of pictures of it but can’t manage to transfer them to the blog on my cell phone. I will attend to this post too, just like the previous one, later on. Probably before I go to bed tonight.

I am going to get my daily French practice in first. OK done. Here’s the book on my lap.

I did read the first seventeen pages to Claudia. It starts just days before our wedding as Jerry Ford was settling in as our new President. Its a good recap even for someone like me who was glued to the television through much of the tumult. It was almost fifty years ago.

Here’s one of the pictures of Jerry Ford who I very much liked and appreciated for pardoning Nixon.

The picture below it shows how he caught a lot of blowback from kids who wanted to see Nixon in prison.

Impeachments in our nation’s history have not been pretty. That’s a small part of why I would prefer to avoid one over Trump. It would only serve to make him a martyr and that is one pedestal I wish to deprive our Sleazebag-in-Chief from clambering up onto.

When I started this post yesterday I had a few other things to say but 24 hours can distract a fellow. For instance today I was sent Bill Maher’s thoughts about how Robert Meuller let America down by not calling for Trump’s impeachment. Here was my reply to that:

I understand but I don’t agree.

Trump is a symptom of 40 years of Republican mismanagement of America, the world and the Earth. If this was 1974 we could do what Bill Maher wants but its 2018.

Mueller, by being back-breakingly fair, has convinced a majority of Republicans, Democrats and Independents that his report was fair. That is a major accomplishment and something to build upon if we are going to knit the nation back together.

Using Mueller’s work to impeach Trump will deprive America of what we desperately need. To defeat Trump in a fair election.

To do otherwise will likely postpone any healing for a generation.

We all, Republicans, Democrats and Independents have a lot of work ahead of us for the Nation, the world and the Earth. Leaving the air poisoned with payback is a lousy way to start in on this work.

Piss n’ Vinegar Politics

There is an asinine level of outrage on the American right over some female Congresswomen who have dared to tweak cherished tropes. For years Republicans have accused anyone of faulting Israel over the abandoned peace talks of being an anti-Semite. Or, to be fair, maybe this began with the cheerleaders of AIPAC. Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, following the President down the Twitter hole recently tweeted. “Its all about the Benjamins, baby.” I guess that since Benjamin (like about 40 percent of all American names) has a Jewish origin it was said by her critics that she was using a Jewish trope. Really, Ben Franklin was about as far as you can get from Jewish. Of course, suggesting that Republicans craved Jewish money may have had more resonance and I’ll be the first to admit that Jewish bankers have been pilloried in Europe all the way back to the middle ages as occupations involving usury (charging interest for borrowing money) were shunned by Christians. Often this was a wonderful charge to bring when a King decided he didn’t want to pay the bankers back. But back to Ilhan…

If this was part of her charge the only part that was correct is that politicians fund raise mindlessly. In recent decades the political machines expect them (the non-multimillionaires) to prove their worth by spending 30 hours a week like pimpled high school drop outs grubbing for money on the phone. But if suggesting that the money that funds American politics is driven by the 1 percent of Americans who are Jewish Ilhan was dead wrong. AIPAC, Soros and Bloomberg wield lots of money but not enough to overcome the PACs that fund Congressional campaigns.

The real complaint against AOC and Ilhan is that they are full of piss and vinegar. That line from Ilhan about the ” …Benjamins Baby.” That is so sassy and hip. It could have come from Donald Trump who has gone deeper into the gutter than Ilhan by saying the Nazi imitating torch bearers of Charlottesville were full of “fine people.”

I like a little piss and vinegar in my candidates. Piss and vinegar is a reaction to stuff shirts who often seemed to be above the average person’s travails. As much a I detest Donald Trump you have to give him credit for finding the P and V that a lot of Republican voters were desperately looking for. Of course, the original Republican full of Piss and Vinegar was the man Donald Trump called a loser for getting shot down over Vietnam and getting caught. What Trump was really saying was that McCain was a sucker for being a patriot when he could have claimed to have a bone spur and gotten out of the war.

The problem with Trump is that he is also full of shit which reminds me of the crass joke I thought was really funny when I was 13.

There were three scientists who wanted to see how long a pig could go without pooping. So, they put a cork in the pig’s butt and waited. The pig swelled up and swelled up until he almost didn’t fit in the laboratory any more. Being prudent scientists they trained a monkey to remove corks from various objects and when it was sufficiently adept they stood back as far as they could from the pig and set the monkey loose.

Weeks later the three scientists woke in the hospital and began comparing notes. “The last thing I remember is buckets and buckets of poop,” said the first. The last thing I remember said the second one was oceans and oceans of piss,” said the second. “All I can remember,” said the third, “is that poor monkey trying to put the cork back in.”

I’m no longer in junior high and as proof I’ll note something that I missed when I heard that joke 57 years ago. How the heck did piss get past that particular cork into the punch line?

Justice vs Politics – RE: The possible, imminent political crises

Five years ago I began but quickly shelved an argument with the attorney I was working with who helped Let Duluth Vote challenge the Red Plan in Duluth. I told him that the law was tempered with politics. He strongly denied this, so much so I thought it useless to argue. But its true. Judges bring their political thinking and loyalties into their job just like they bring their other experiences and family connections. Many of them have to run for their offices. As is said of politicians: those who do not get elected cannot legislate, so to with judges; those who can not get elected cannot judge.

It is wishful thinking to expect all or even most judges to be blindly blind to the world around them and simply rule on the basis of sometimes out-dated or ill-worded laws when the public can throw bombs at them for doing so. Judges in India and Pakistan probably get year round police protection when they make unpopular rulings like the recent Indian Court that opened an Indian Temple recently to women of an age to menstruate.

With this prologue let me introduce the first four paragraphs of an Atlantic article on our Supreme Court’s Chief Justice John Roberts. They contain almost exactly my thinking about him. I’ve read no further than this for now but here’s the article in full and here below are those first four paragraphs: (This article appears in the March 2019 issue.)

Two years ago, Chief Justice John Roberts gave the commencement address at the Cardigan Mountain School, in New Hampshire. The ninth-grade graduates of the all-boys school included his son, Jack. Parting with custom, Roberts declined to wish the boys luck. Instead he said that, from time to time, “I hope you will be treated unfairly, so that you will come to know the value of justice.” He went on, “I hope you’ll be ignored, so you know the importance of listening to others.” He urged the boys to “understand that your success is not completely deserved, and that the failure of others is not completely deserved, either.” And in the speech’s most topical passage, he reminded them that, while they were good boys, “you are also privileged young men. And if you weren’t privileged when you came here, you’re privileged now because you have been here. My advice is: Don’t act like it.”

As Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s maudlin screams fade with the other dramas of 2018, Roberts’s message reveals a contrast between the two jurists. Whatever their conservative affinities and matching pedigrees, they diverge in temperament. The lingering images from Kavanaugh’s Senate confirmation hearing are of an entitled frat boy howling as his inheritance seemed to slip away. By contrast, Roberts takes care to talk the talk of humility, admonishing the next generation of private-school lordlings not to smirk.

The chief justice also carries himself in a manner that reflects his advice. He chooses his words carefully. He speaks in a measured cadence that matches his neatly parted hair and handsome smile. He is deliberate and calm, not just in his public remarks but in his work as a judge—and as a partisan. Roberts declines to raise his voice or lose focus, because he understands politics as a complex game of strategy measured in generations rather than years. He also recognizes, but will never admit, that although politics is not the same thing as law, the two blend together like water and sand. More than 13 years into his tenure as chief justice, Roberts remains a serious man and a person of brilliance who struggles, under increasing criticism from all sides, to balance his loyalty to an institution with his commitment to an ideology.

The first biography of Roberts has arrived, Joan Biskupic’s The Chief. It will not be the last. A well-reported book, it sheds new light but is premature by decades. (Biskupic is a legal analyst for CNN.) As our attention spans dwindle to each frantic day’s headlines, we can forget that the position of chief justice is one of long-term consequence. Only 17 men have filled that role, and they have presided over moments of national crisis, shaping our government’s founding structure (John Marshall), hastening its civil war (Roger Taney), responding to the Great Depression (Charles Evans Hughes), and enabling the civil-rights revolution (Earl Warren).

Roberts seems ever likelier to face an equally daunting test: confronting a president over the value of the law itself. A staunch conservative, he has broken ranks with the right in a major way just once as chief justice, by casting the deciding vote to save the Affordable Care Act in 2012. What will Roberts do if the clerk calls some form of the case Mueller v. Trump, raising a grave matter of first principles, such as presidential indictment and self-pardon? He portrays himself as an institutionalist, but we do not yet know to what extent this is true. He must necessarily prove himself on a case-by-case basis, which injects a note of drama into his movements. Roberts is the most interesting judicial conservative in living memory because he is both ideologically outspoken and willing to break with ideology in a moment of great political consequence. His response to the constitutional crisis that awaits will define not just his legacy, but the Supreme Court’s as well.