Category Archives: God’s Own Party

Fighting my Blog freeze

I began writing the second fuzzy post on Kindergarten but stopped half way through. I’ll finish it and unlike its predecessor I may even proof read it. Why did I stop? Well, as I’ve confessed before my enthusiasm for writing about the Duluth Schools is significantly blunted at the moment what with Christmas, learning French and preparing to write a book and all. And did I mention I put five hours in starting a snow sculpture yesterday. I have even backtracked on a promise to the Business Office to turn in my post election finance report.

But today Jana Hollingsworth managed to put some special ed cost numbers in the Trib that our District has been unable to scrounge up what with its penchant for picking fights with Edison. I’d like to put that in perspective here and now but I won’t. I have to try to finish a snow sculpture before a noonish Christmas Concert for my grandsons. That’s become another priority over my receding compulsion to write about everything ISD 709.

Its kind of too bad that someone like me has been pushed off the 709 School Board. I am a genuine see-both-sides-of-the-story kind of politician. I want what’s best and fair for both our public school systems in Duluth even though I was elected to serve the larger 709 schools. Now the Superintendent has reinforced his anti-Edison majority which will not bode well for passage of future operational levies. (Why should Edison families vote for 709 operational levies when they feel under assault?)

Edison is quite right to claim that its schools are being scapegoated in the current 709 financial shortfall. But 709 has a legitimate beef. Edison spends twice as much on its special ed students as 709 does and then puts 709 in the position of paying for their more generous special ed spending. That creates a bidding war that 709 can never win with parents determined to get the best education for their special needs children.

But for local taxpayers Edison is something of a godsend. Other than the cross subsidy for special ed almost all of Edison’s financing comes from State taxpayers. To keep the numbers grossly simplified lets say each public school child (not counting special ed kids) costs $10,000 a year to teach. To keep things just as simple lets say that Edison has 1,000 students and ISD 709 has 9,000 for a total of 10,000 students. (In reality Edison has more and 709 less) This would mean that Edison gets $10 million for its kids and ISD 709 $90 million or a total of $100 million.

Normally 709 taxpayers would cover about 20% of the costs of local public school kids while the state would cover about 75% of those costs. Twenty percent of 10,000 students would cost local taxpayers $20 million each year or $2 million for every thousand students. Ah, but the state pays the full freight (not counting the cross subsidy) for Edison’s thousand students. Local taxpayers thus get a $2 million savings. Even when you subtract out the cross subsidy local taxpayers are getting a nice subsidy courtesy of state taxpayers.

That doesn’t mean that 709 doesn’t feel the burn as parents pull their children out of 709 school for Edison’s special education which then bills 709 for its more generous spending. Yes, yes, yes. The state law only lets Edison charge 90% of its special ed costs to 709 but considering they are spending double on each special ed student that’s a very modest break.

I’ll keep things grossly oversimplified again. Assuming that 20% of Edison’s students are special ed students (200 kids) and cost double what 709 spends. And assuming that the costs are $20,000 for Edison SPED students and $10,000 for 709 kids. And then, completely forgetting the 10% reimbursement discount. Edison could demand $4 million from 709 or two million more than 709 would pay to educate Edison’s SPED students if they were all in 709 schools.

The actual numbers can be found in today’s Trib story. To me they strongly suggest that some compromise ought to be sought in state statute. They also suggest another reason for the 709 schools to be resistant to the sale of Central to Edison. Edison would be able to charge special ed costs to 709 for 9th through 12th grade students that currently attend 709. That would be a special ed enrollment jump of about 25% for Edison meaning more costs charged to 709.

It took the News Tribune to ferret out this information and so local 709 junkies can be sorry to see Jana Hollingsworth leave the education beat. There is no trust or cooperation between Edison and 709. The bridge I might have formed has been severed by the voters and that is a loss. My daughter was an Edison SPED teacher for the last couple of years until she left for another Independent School District and, through her eyes, I had an inkling of that took place in Edison. At double the spending of 709 they offer wonderful special ed services but even they have their challenges.

I’ll add one other marvelously oversimplified wrinkle to this story. At present Minnesota taxpayers are able to deduct all of their state and local taxes from their federal tax returns. The Congressional Republicans and President Trump are diminishing that deduction with the soon-to-be approved new tax changes. They don’t want the penurious (cheap) super Republican southern states to look so bad by comparison with Blue states in their public ed spending. I called that the “Deep Southification” of America in a recent post. Its better that northerners are penalized for having better schools. My hero, Lincoln, must be rolling in his Springfield grave over that.

If Minnesotan’s tire of funding the cost of Special Education because they can no longer deduct those costs from their Federal taxes it could be curtains for lots of children. Its too bad that Republicans only care about children when they are in utero instead of after they are born.

The Deep Southification of the Republican Party

As I transition away from the School Board I’m finding that national affairs is taking over the job of waking me from sound sleep in the middle of the night.

I woke from a dream about a perilous journey being carried across the skies in a jerryrigged balloon and began stewing about one aspect of the Republican tax bill – its attack on state and local tax deductions.

The attack is really on blue states with their more generous treatment of the poor. The high taxes required to pay for better schools, Medicaid and environmental care can currently be deducted from Federal taxes. The Republicans, who have been taken over by the ethos of the Dixiecrats, want to put all the states on the same low tax footing of Mississippi and Alabama.

Democrats are counting on such a change causing an electoral rebellion when it comes to pass. I hope they are right but the Republicans are bending over backward to postpone the pain until after the 2018 elections. They are counting on our strengthening economy to lesson the pain even as they grovel at feet of Trump’s base by throwing their belated support behind a likely child molester in the Alabama Senate race.

The real test will be 2020 the year of the next Census and subsequent reapportionment of Congressional Districts. Republicans owned that process in 2010 and their many Republican controlled state governments went on to tear to design voting laws that hearkened back to the good old days of southern white supremacy when it was a rare black person who was permitted to exercise his or her right to vote without being lynched.

If the Republicans get their way child molesters will be able to hide behind the Ten Commandments. That’s a small price to pay for limited government.

The 2017 election’s good news a post mortem and a caution or two

A week ago I wanted to begin a post by writing that my defeat for School Board was a small price to pay for the successes of the Democrats in many regional elections. I attribute my defeat mostly to President Trump and the outrage he has caused and continues to cause as President. I anticipated that I could have a very difficult time with the election after I participated in the woman’s march early in the year simply because I was a man. That proved not to be the case as Josh Gorham won handily enough so it was something else that drove the numbers. (One woman’s organization did pester me)

Angry Democrats just would not give up. Continue reading

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.

I just can’t help myself

This was intended as a “confidential” email but I am quite content to let the general public see it:

To me from Chuck Frederick, Editorial Page Editor of the Duluth News Tribune:

Hey Harry. I was told you posted on your blog that you were against political parties endorsing in nonpartisan races like those for School Board. Yet you were begrudgingly planning to seek the DFL endorsement this Saturday. First, why do you feel that parties should stay out of nonpartisan races? And if you feel they should why are you pursuing the party nod this Saturday? I’d appreciate your comments. Please feel free to reply. I’d appreciate it. And don’t worry, not planning on being critical of you in an editorial if we choose to do one.

thanks,
Chuck

And my reply:

To: Chuck Frederick
Subject: RE: party endorsement comment

Hi Chuck,

At the DFL screening I told them I wasn’t a fan of partisan endorsements for a non-partisan race. That’s true enough.

But I can’t deny the practical side. This is a traditional tool of Democrats to recruit candidates who can then have a jumping off pad for higher office. The Republicans who sniff at this in Duluth can be sure that Republicans do the same thing in Republican areas. Look at the damned races for judges.

I said I begrudgingly did something but that was at our special school board meeting. That was about spending money on fixing up Rockridge or spending general fund money on bonds. About the DFL I am being pragmatic.

I have a couple overlapping motives. The first I tell you in confidence. I don’t want a couple of my DFL board adversaries to get the 60 percent votes for endorsement that will assure them tons of Party help in the late fall. 2nd, I would like an easy election for a change. I have never had any good endorsements other than the Trib’s in 1999 and 2013.

Finally, I have had it up to here with no nothings. I have never reviled democrats. I like the idea of wrapping a perfectly respectable party around myself at this time of foolish, ignorant, hyper-partisanship. I detest Trump and blame the GOP for his destructive success. I want the Democrats to bring the blue collar voters back for a healthier nation.

And there is something else I would rather do this summer than knock on doors. I want to begin writing a book about my Grandfather. He was a rock-ribbed, Kansas Republican who wasn’t paranoid about Democrats. An easy campaign will give me freedom to pursue this.

Harry

For the record I don’t think publishing this before Saturday will make it any easier for me to win the nomination but I don’t care. If I have to campaign like hell I’ll do it. We have some extremely myopic school board members and we need some fresh blood. I don’t think mine is past the sell by date.

The elephant in the DFL screening room

I had a jolly good time at the screening committee. I knew several of the screeners some of whom may have been surprised to see me turn up. It was that way at my first DFL Precinct caucus which I think was 2006.

At that first caucus I joined about 30 folks in a classroom at Woodland Middle School. Eyebrows were raised there as well as DFLers know their Republicans. It was odd but comforting as well as for the first time in twenty years I actually voted in a majority on a great many issues which had become verboten for Republicans. I attended about four election cycles of DFL caucuses and the 2008 caucus was probably the highlight of my political life with its huge Barack Obama turnout. It was a heady experience being in a majority at the following District convention when Obama won handily.

Readers of my Blog know that while I rant and rave about Republicans I have fond recollections of the party of my youth. I liked Ike, a fellow Kansan. I loved National Parks so, of course, I liked Teddy, and agnostic old Abe is my all time hero. Long after Lincoln Dinners were abandoned by Dixie-saturated Republicans I was charmed to hear a DFL gathering speak of Abraham with something approaching reverence.

But it was Harry Welty, not Abraham Lincoln, who crashed the screening committee. I joked with the folks I knew and with the people I didn’t. I blamed the Republicans for electing Donald Trump. I told them I would be honored to be an endorsed Democrat on the Duluth School Board even while adding I still didn’t think endorsements for non-partisan races was necessarily the best idea.

I told the screeners that I wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea but that I didn’t believe in conducting myself by (and here I licked my finger and stuck it up in the air) testing the wind. I told those new to me that I hid nothing and that everything I stood for I had put into this blog.

I also was asked to explain my ambiguous sounding answer to Question #12: Will you abide by the endorsement of the convention and cease your campaign if someone else is endorsed?

My answer: “I will follow the honorable example of DFL Governors Rolvaag, Perpich and Dayton.”

The explanation I gave to the screener was this: All three of these DFL Governors ran for the state’s highest office without the endorsement of the DFL state convention.

Of course, none of these candidates had ever been affiliated with the Republican Party. Elephants are no more useful to the DFL than they are to Ringling Brother’s, Barnum and Bailey Circus these days.

Of course, Ronald Reagan didn’t mind adding lots of jackasses to the GOP when he was President and they proved pretty useful: From Wikipedia: Continue reading

92 pages into Dark Money and a change of scenery

I am reading Jane Mayer’s book Dark Money. It is an intensely serious exploration of the unscrupulous but entirely legal attempt to subvert any trace of socialism that has accumulated in the United States over the last century. To call the billionaires who are bringing this about anarchists comes close to their objective – the rule of wealth.

This was an unplanned excursion into modern American politics because I have been busying myself reading up on the politics of my Grandfather’s youth and young adulthood. Karl Rove’s book about the McKinley/Bryan election was in the batters box. I’m sure I find it even more interesting after finishing Dark Money. One selling point for the Rove book is that the 1896 election is something of a model for 2016’s carnival. Like our most recent election 1896 was the first mega bucks presidential race. It pitted a free silver radical, Bryan, against Millionaires who thought he would bleed them dry with cheap money. This was Mark Twain’s “Gilded Age” when the gulf between rich and poor was vast as it has once again become. Since 1970 a collection of billionaires who have put their financial muscle behind a genetic re-engineering the Republican Party away from John Maynard Keynes and allied it with the ghosts of our unsavory past.

I checked the index of Dark Money to see how often Karl Rove was mentioned in it – 9 times and then took a second look at Rove’s dust jacket. It wasn’t only conservative pundits that praised his book. So did Jon Meacham author of a biography of Andrew Jackson and Doris Kearns Goodwin who has written some of my favorite books about Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt and FDR. The Billionaires would love to erase all memory of the latter two presidents.

The Koch Brothers (2 of the 4) put almost a billion dollars into the 2016 election and tag teamed with Vladimir Putin to change our political landscape. Mayer says of them that they want to roll back not only Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society but FDR’s New Deal and even Teddy Roosevelt’s “Square Deal.” It was teddy who called the rich of his Era the “malefactors of wealth.” Mark Hanna, the Charles Koch of his Era and the man who elected McKinley, grimly said of Teddy after he succeeded the assassinated McKinley “Now that damned cowboy is in the White House”. Hanna’s modern day successors feel the same about the “trust buster.”

When Glenn Beck made his first appearance in the book (8 mentions) I was reminded of hearing Beck express great reservations years ago about Teddy for steering America wrong. Who the heck today doesn’t like TR? Well the Billionaires don’t and it seems Beck was one of the regulars at the secret gatherings at the Koch home. No doubt he drank deeply of the Koch’s antediluvian thinking.

BTW. Beck has been on something of a repentance tour. I was astonished to see him on Samantha Bee and even more surprised last Sunday to catch him in his confessions on Public Radio’s On Being.

I’ve run as a Republican several times although the last time in 2002 I had to beat the endorsed candidate in a primary. I think so. I can’t quite remember. Its a long time ago. Starting in 2006 I went to my first DFL precinct caucus and felt like a fish out of water although it was more tepid than the GOP waters I had been roiling in previously. That’s when I named the blog.

I was also delighted to hear Abraham Lincoln lauded at a DFL gathering. The GOP has been embarrassed by him ever since Ronald Reagan was elected President. And one of my one of my favorite political memories was attending the 2008 Seventh District convention and seeing so many other Obama supporters. I haven’t attended a DFL precinct caucus for a couple of elections. Its tough on my gills so, at best I’m a compromised Democrat but I am about to attend this weekend’s screening committee to ask Duluth DFLer’s to endorse me for the School Board race. I’ve left a message asking where and when to appear to have my credentials validated.

…………………………WeltyforSchoolBoard.com

Dish washing brings second thoughts on the funny thing

There is one other possibility regarding Trump’s ultimatum to House Republicans that I ruled out a little too quickly. I thought that the Tea Partier’s testosterone wouldn’t let the ersatz Republican President, Donald Trump, steam roll them. As I washed dishes some suds cleared from my head. The tea partiers may cave. Thumbing their nose at Trump may do them more damage than going along with him…..with their voters.

Of course, crippling health care would distress a lot of voters and drive them to the Democrats in 2018. I just hope Ruth Bader Ginsburg can hang in there until 2020.

The funniest damned thing I’ve heard in a long time

Just a quick post before I head down and wash dishes.

I was driving home from Denfeld and the “speech concert” ten minutes ago when I heard that Donald Trump issued an ultimatum to Republicans. Either they pass the health care plan that he was sure he had gotten the Freedom Caucus to go along with or he was done messing with health care and would let Obamacare live on.

I guffawed for thirty seconds. It was so brilliant that if any President who spoke out of one side of his/her mouth had said it I probably wouldn’t have been surprised. For eight years the Republicans made this their number one cause and then proceeded to sit on their skanky thumbs rather than come up with an alternative.

Coming up with an alternative was never in the program and not possible. One faction never progressed beyond the 1960’s distaste for “socialized medicine” and would have been happy to board a time machine heading back in time. Another faction simply wanted to strip poor people of health care that cost rich taxpayers too much money. The third faction was the cowering moderates who have given up challenging the new Republican orthodoxies lest they be primaried out of their seats for being RINO’s. The first two groups were essentially living in a magical world. Donald Trump was the fourth faction. Fox News had convinced his voters that Obamacare was making their lives miserable and they elected Trump to make it better. The last couple of months have convinced his voters that the Republicans were only going to make life worse for them. Donald Trump’s big “nevermind” only serves to assure his voters that he’s not going to let the Republicans screw them over.

What Trump has done is point an accusing finger at Congressional Republicans for being dunces. Democrats can breath a sigh of relief and turn to the other reprehensible plans that Trump has pushed like his wall, immigration and Putin-gate.

Trump is the winner on this but so is Obama and so is the Democratic Party – unless the GOP gets its act together and hammers out a sensible alternative. I’d place my bets against that. I don’t think the crazies in the GOP from the Koch Brothers to the Tea Partiers can find common ground. I have to give Presidential Donald Trump a big thumb’s up for this. Don’t worry. The memory of this is sure to fade pretty quickly.

DFL Monsters?

Loren has a beef with “the DFL-endorsed Board majority.” Whew! Where to begin?

I have had some beefs with the majority of the Board, some of them quite vehement. I don’t however, look at them as the DFL Board. Yeah, they got DFL endorsements. No, I don’t approve and never have of party endorsements for “non Partisan” civic elected positions. Meh! That’s what I think of DFL endorsements. A lot of the endorsements are handed out like party favors to insiders but a good candidate can win without endorsements. I’ve rarely been a “good” candidate but I’ve been a regular candidate and a hard working candidate and I’ve gotten elected three of the 8 times I filed for the school board. I would almost certainly have won re-election to a third term in 2003 had I not changed my mind and told everyone the other guy was OK and stopped campaigning. That would have been four out of eight.

I might have won in 2007 without party endorsement except that a horrid man blackened my reputation three days before the election by circulating a highly inflamatory portrait of me to every front door in the School District. That would have been five out of eight.

I don’t have anything against Democrats. In fact, that word is half of the title of this Blog. I filed for Congress when I created the blog with the initial idea of running as a Democrat in 2006. At the last minute I filed independently as a “Unity Party” candidate after the name of the blog was set. I was the Unity Party. Subsequently, I attended three or four DFL precinct caucuses including the best one I ever attended in 2008 as an enthusiastic Obama supporter. I can’t tell you how much it warmed my heart when the DFL party machine gave a tribute to the Republican President, Abraham Lincoln, at one meeting I attended. Lincoln has become an embarrassment to his own party.

My Buddy likes to criticize me for being a bigot towards all things Republican. He’s wrong, of course. I’m bigoted about the purging of Lincoln lovers from the Republican Party. As a result I’ve heaped abuse on the Republicans non stop for the last decade. Checking my search engine I have categorized 674 of my posts under the biting title “God’s Own Party.” A little math tells me that this is about 3.5% of my total postings so its not exactly obsessive. And under the category of “Good Republicans” I found 147 posts. There is a little balance there. And I’ve stopped attending DFL precinct caucuses. I’m a creature of habit – the habit of being mostly honest about what I think. I think we did pretty well with two middle of the road parties for most of my first century on Earth. Sadly that has not been true during any of my second century except for a couple years after 9/11. My blog is my personal, pathetic attempt to find common ground again. I’d like to be nice to Republicans but God Dammit! Their obsession with strangling unions and Obama and Roe v Wade and indifference to poor people stuck us with Donald Trump. Its not easy to forgive all of that.

I don’t blame the DFL for mucking up the Duluth Schools like Loren does. True, they gave the vast majority of boneheads who have brutally ruled the School Board over the past decade their endorsement……… hmmmmm.

I guess I’d suggest that Duluth’s DFL inner circle owes it to the voters, our children and itself to be a little more thoughtful in the future……..just as the DFL would certainly wish Republicans everywhere do the same.

By the By – I’ve heard from one person who chills with young DFLers that they think I’m a jerk. He asked them if they’d ever met me. They admitted they hadn’t. I’ve got a reelection campaign coming up this summer and fall. I hope I get to have a beer with one or two of them so that they can size me up and dispel some of that negativity I seem to be saddled with. In the privacy of the voting booth they don’t have to limit their votes to DFL endorsees.

Oh and this just popped up on Facebook from my sister in Ecuador. It seems appropriate to share it.

When censure is a mark of character

For personal reasons I regard the Senate’s silencing of Senator Warren as an honor for Warren.

Where Jeff Sessions is concerned I agree with Coretta Scott King.

By the way, when I followed up the City Page’s story on the rip off of the Prior Lake School District I learned that the Prior Lake school board majority began an $8,000 investigation of the lone school board critic of the building plan rip off. Elected officials can be very small when a gadfly points out the majority’s foolishness.

Divorcingest – My Buddy fires back

Original message ——–

From: “Your Buddy”
Date: 2/2/17 11:12 AM (GMT-06:00)
To: harrywelty@charter.net
Subject: Re: 3 AM again | lincolndemocrat.com

Harry:

You said:

I do think that there is something admirable to be said for the virtue of loyalty which in marriage is generally referred to as fidelity. It is consonant with the traditional marriage vows of loving, honoring and obeying in sickness and in health.

From my quotations file:

Friedrich Wilhelm : One can promise actions, but not feelings, for the latter are involuntary. He who promises to love forever or hate forever or be forever faithful to someone is promising something that is not in his power.

Further, you had said:

Trump is infamous for never reading books.
Perhaps Kennedy and Clinton read much more than Trump reads, but they apparently still messed around.

“Your Buddy”

And I fire back:

Is your point that Neitzsche was right?

I think Freddy underestimated human will. That’s ironic because he was all about the superman. What kind of a superman has such a weak will?

As for Clinton’s and JFK’s shortcomings. It hardly exalts Trump for him to suffer from the same ones. Indeed, a part of my analysis was intended to point out that in addition to his being an unfaithful husband, Trump is, unlike those other two presidents, an intentionally ignorent, and even stupid president.

Any disagreement with this addendum?

Harry

I could add that Paul Ryan’s favorite philosopher, Ayn Rand, was an apostle of Neitzche’s and that her novel the Fountainhead reaked of its narcissism. Congressman Ryan kept her books on prominent display in his office until it was pointed out she thought Christianity and all its humility crap was a terrible influence on a good superman. Donald Trump comes to mind.

There is in fact a college that has become a shrine to Ayn Rand and her philosophy. Hillsdale College has become a sort of Lourdes for young conservatives. It has a sordid history that once begun is hard to turn away from.

Oh, and the young Republican who said folks like me were mass murderers……..He graduated from Hillsdale.

“The divorcingest President”

I got an email from “my Buddy” this morning. It contained a fair question and I tried to treat it with a rational analysis:

From: “Your Buddy”
To: “Harry Welty”
Cc:
Sent: 02-Feb-2017 15:28:58 +0000
Subject: 3 AM again | lincolndemocrat.com

Harry:

From http://lincolndemocrat.com/?p=19224:
Trump is the divorcingest President in our nation’s history.
So? Divorce is generally legal, and perhaps not even immoral. How many extramarital sexual involvements did William J. Clinton and John F. Kennedy have, although they were never divorced?

“Your Buddy”

To which I replied:

That’s an interesting point Buddy,

Just to set a rational foundation for my reply let me be clear. That last line of mine was a dig and by itself only a superficial sting. Although, to be fair to me I can’t off hand think of any one I know personally who has been married three times. That excess seems to be the prerogative of the rich. But affairs……..that is a fair point. I’ve had family members who cheated or thought about it. Even so, I’d consider them human rather than bad people. But let me stick with Presidential timber here.

A lot of American presidents have been rumored or known to have had affairs, sometimes a great many of them. And yet for reasons that could be labeled hypocrisy or political expediency the first serious presidential candidate I can think of who ran after a divorce was New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller. He was widely condemned in his own Republican party and got hammered at the 1964 RNC Convention as an unfaithful libertine.

I do think that there is something admirable to be said for the virtue of loyalty which in marriage is generally referred to as fidelity. It is consonant with the traditional marriage vows of loving, honoring and obeying in sickness and in health. And so, when I was thirteen during the Goldwater boom Rockefeller’s divorce was scandalous. America has loosened up a lot as new generations came to see marriage as wonderful but recognized its imperfections – staying in unhappy relationships because of the kids, or the silent acceptance of spousal abuse. Sixteen years after Goldwater Ronald Reagan was just fine with the Republicans. Besides that, anyone prying into his life understood that it was his ex, Jane Wyman, who left him. Ron was an innocent.

But as to Kennedy, FDR, Harding and LBJ…..How about them? Well, political expediency may be their best excuse. They were fellows who really loved their wives and their families and weren’t willing to break them up or set a bad example for the wider community. So they sneaked around and hid their infidelities often with a compliant press’s help, turning a blind eye. Boys will be boys! Or these guys sort of did. There is little doubt that Ladybird and Jackie knew full well what their husbands were up to. Ladybird bore her betrayal with dignity. Jackie is said to have retaliated in kind.

Hillary put up with it too. Perhaps she was calculating. Perhaps she was simply being pragmatic. And on that score she managed to damage the Democratic party inadvertently in the long run by making her sympathizers defend Bill when the GOP went after his scalp. The Clintonista feminists opened themselves to the charge of hypocrisy for defending a skirt chasing, intern groping, possible rapist. Look what Donald Trump did with that! Of course, in Trump’s case it was a case of the pot calling the poor oven’s kettle black.

So is there anything else in my analysis of Trump that you would like to quibble with me about?

Lapel Flag patriots

This NPR story about the thousands of “general discharges” handed out to veterans in recent years irked me this morning. These discharges protect the Military from the godawful medical costs of tending for the soldiers who fought our “War on Terror” while saddling them with a stain that prevents many from getting decent work after they leave the military.

I have little use for cheap patriotism which is symbolized by politicians who always can be found wearing American flag lapel pins. Its sort of like holding out a crucifix to keep vampires at bay. The recent tweet by President Elect Trump saying we ought to jail and strip the citizenship from flag burners is a good example of this. He could have been one of the radical Republicans who wanted to execute and jail the leaders of the Confederacy. This is the same guy who went skiing after he got a medical deferment from the draft during the Vietnam War. He may not have been paying attention when he vowed to replace Antonin Scalia with a like minded jurist because Scalia was a strong advocate for free speech even to the extent of flag burning.

A few years ago I was infuriated by a billboard on I-35 just north of the Twin Cities that showed black hands on the Constitution and lamenting its destruction. It was obvious who the patriots buying the sign considered a threat. Today those hands would be tiny white hands.

I discovered on my recent trip to Topeka a wealth of ties between my Grandfather, George Robb, and the American Legion which ballooned after World War 1. He was an officer, made speeches and attended a great many of its conventions. One speech, which I have yet to fully read covered a bonus being considered for veterans of the Great War. I also have a dozen letters to and from the War Department concerning his war related disability. At first he was rated as 10 percent disabled but over time he is informed that his rating has been pushed up. The last I remember he was considered to be about 23% disabled.

The Congresses after World War II filled up with veterans many of whom, like my Dad, took advantage of the GI Bill. After the Korean War they expanded deferments for things like college educations which became a handy four-year escape for potential draftees when the draft was reinstated for the Vietnam War. Other draft evaders like George W Bush joined the National Guard which was generally not deployed to war zones. Then there were the Trumps, well-to-do kids whose doctors told the military they were unfit physically to serve the nation in combat even when like Trump they had no difficulty skiing. Trump’s calling John McCain a loser for letting himself be captured has almost no equal for rhetorical infamy in the American record. I hope he has a lapel pin on his suits to cover up the stain.

Meanwhile the 20,000 vets discharged in recent years and left hanging without educational help and with a stain on their resumes and depression and addiction issues are helping save the military from paying out a great expense. No bonus for them. One of the young veterans in my church has had seven of his buddies commit suicide after coming back from their wars.

What have the Business oriented republican Congressmen given our troops? Easy access to pay day loans and the destruction of their credit.

It would take a pretty damned big American flag on a lapel to cover up this sort of ingratitude. We’ll be raising it over the White House come January.

Lamentations

Last night I read the third book of the prophets found in the Protestant Old Testament – Lamentations. In the fat little Bible dictionary I’ve been reading along with the scriptures I learned that the book was originally called the “Lamentations of Jeremiah.”

Jeremiah’s book is the second book of the prophets and like other prophecies contained in such books it has lots of “predictions” that scholars explain were easy to predict because the events had already taken place. As I keep plowing through the Bible the full title will help me remember Lamentation’s placement on the list of Bible books.

Even before the Moral Majority decided that the Republican Party was the Party of God I’d put reading the Bible on my very short bucket list. I felt that since I was treated as a moral monster I ought to read the scriptures that the Republican partisans based their denunciations of me on.

Like earlier American religious revivals the current one is petering out done in by its own excesses, hypocrisies and venalities but not before it helped elect President Pussy Grabber.

A few weeks back I calculated I’ll come close to finishing the Bible after my January trek to the Holy Land. It will require stepping up to three from my current average of two pages a day. I have 139 pages of OT from Ezekial to Malachi to read and 67 pages from Galatians to the beginning of the end – Revelations. (I read that final book ahead of the rapture predicted for the year 2000) My hero, Abe Lincoln, also shared a few laughs at the expense of the end of timers in his lifetime. They were the Millerites and they were an improvement on the current rapture crown. The Millerites kept their religion out of politics.

Speaking of that, I made an interesting personal discovery in my recent trip to Topeka, Kansas. This:

I believe this is the building where my Mother took me to Nursery School for a couple years while she worked in downtown Topeka. Apparently this building was the site (or at least one of them) of the Evangelical movement. If so, it was ahead of the Azuza Street movement by five years. Its a little ironic that the modern evangelism that bedeviled my Republicanism began where I attended nursery school. I might even describe it as lamentable.

I sent an email to the church asking them to confirm my memories, limited as they are. I described one of them in an earlier post about a bus trip to the school. I recall that the women who seemed ran the school were all black. I also remember an auditorium in the building which we kids filled up at Christmas time so that Santa Claus could hand out gifts to us.

More Fox balance

My Brother looks at Fox News just to monitor how unbalanced it is. He tells me it is overloaded with anti-Hillary news while anti-Trump news is often missing. I don’t watch it to know if this is true.

A couple days ago a Chinese American professional we depend upon railed about this video that lampooned Fox News’s treatment of Chinese residents of a “Chinatown.” He was so offended he sent it to dozens of his clients and I asked him to send it to me. WARNING. It contains some rude expletives of derision aimed at Fox’s racism.

A couple posts ago I embedded links to two stories about black cops that I recently heard on NPR. Republicans in Congress often target NPR to deny it federal funding. They prefer Fox News. Its pure private sector you know.

The other hurricane in the news

Unless some unhinged NRA fanatic takes up Donald Trump’s hint that Hillary could be taken out before she’s sworn into office I’d say that the first “black” president will be succeeded by the first female president. That’s not how this post began 24 hours ago before the “live mike” recording of Donald Trump was released hurling ever more rats off a burning Republican ship.

Last night on PBS’s Washington Week I heard a reporter explain that Trump had just talked about a “kitty cat.” I momentarily puzzled over that unusual political terminology until she explained that Trump had used the “P” word. Ohhhhhh!

So, who is still left on Trump’s ship of state? For one Ralph Reed. This morning on NRP I heard Ralph stand by Trump explaining that he would still take his teenaged daughters to Trump rallies. After all, Trump is the only candidate that Christians can depend on to give America the Supreme Court we deserve.

A great many Trump voters feel the same way about Hillary Clinton as I feel about Donald Trump. Trumpians and Clintonians, are both aghast at the possibility that the other candidate could become the new President of the United States.

Establishment Republicans never regarded Donald Trump as a real threat. Unlike younger less political voters whose image of Trump was the glossy one he presented on his TV shows, old timers knew Trump for the braggadocious fool who was nearly brought to ruin until his fortunes were bailed out by banks and federal taxpayers to the tune of nearly a billion dollars in the mid nineties.

But Republican shills and pols were so intent on bolstering the wealth of the top 1 percent that they took for granted the blue collar voters who were losing their jobs in international trade pacts; going bankrupt when medical emergencies ruined them and being nickel and dimed by Republican championed title loans. What the GOP offered these voters instead was an end to abortion; unrestricted access to guns of mass destruction; a wall along the Mexican border; a multi-trillion dollar, never-ending war on terror and a no compromise Republican Congress with its nationally destructive political gridlock. Finaly this year it caught up with them and the “you’re fired” Donald Trump seemed to be a breath of fresh air. He also looked better than the Democratic alternative Hillary Clinton.

Trump supporters who followed Fox News and Rush Limbaugh have had thirty years to hear how awful Hillary is. Why she had her husband’s good friend ,Vince Foster, murdered. When Bill cheated on her it was as much Hillary’s fault for turning a blind eye because of her ambition. Of course, if Bill had been a republican politician who, had cheated on his wife he probably would have been given a pass just like the one so many Republican voter’s have been prepared to give Trump. The more The Bill Clinton borrowed conservative ideas like welfare reform the greater the threat he became to the GOP. Hillary has been a casualty of their war against Bill.

I find much to admire in Hillary’s thick skin, competence and doggedness. In a man those would be solid attributes. In a woman, not so much. Even before the latest Trump outrage Clinton garnered some suprising endorsements. One of the most noteworthy just emerged from the “vast right wing Conspiracy.” Michael Chertoff endorsed her for President. He was the Republican counsel who investigated the living daylights out of Whitewater. Chertoff told NPR how, after making her life hell, she worked with him amicably and ably as a US Senator. That’s a skill the thin skinned Trump will never master because he’s so busy hurling insults on his Twitter account.

Ralph Reed’s prodigious obsequiousness to a top dog has been echoed by other Republicans like Ted Cruz, who just endorsed Trump despite Trump’s ridiculing his wife and accusing his father of helping to assassinate John Kennedy. Rush Limbaugh trained a generation of Republicans to be toadies lest they face the accusation of being RINOs. Is my contempt showing yet?

Trump clone Roger Ailes’s and his spawn have been teaching their loyal followers to see the splinters in Liberal eyes since Rupert Murdoch created the “fair and balanced” Fox news channel with its eye candy, news girls. I wonder how many of their loyal viewers will be able to see past the logs in their eyes to the man who would be happy to **** their wives and daughters.