Militant Moderate here Resisting the Bloody Obvious but not in Denial

I circulated this pessimistic Op Ed by the NY Time’s Tom Friedman on Facebook. ‘Trump’s Going to Get Re-elected, Isn’t He?

Tom is a Minnesota boy who has jumped from covering Israel and Middle East stories to big picture world economic stories. I read his optimistic book From Beirut to Jerusalem a long time ago. His optimism was premature. Now his pessimism is on full display as he listed all the off putting posturing by the 20 plus Democratic candidates…..posturing to keep the younger crowd from doing to America what it did when they stayed home in 2016 instead of electing a sane, if tedious, Hillary Clinton.

One of them quickly reacted to this post by noting that America could afford all the health care spending for both veterans and illegal aliens. She went on to say she would be voting for the pretty woman crystal gazer who made the stage in the Democratic debate. “Crystal gazer” is my description.

When I was a pretty sophisticated thirty year old I was sure that America would never elect a Hollywood Actor who starred with a Chimpanzee. I’ve been chastened ever since Ronald Reagan’s election.

Anyone who watches Late Night comic take downs of Donald Trump can’t believe America would let him skate into another four years. Reason simply would not permit this. Well folks, for some people Reason, as I understand it, is very fluid. And their lack of it in no way impedes their right to vote.

Out in the Cold

Loren Martell doesn’t read my blog often but he chanced to read about my campaigning a couple days ago and called me up to be certain what he’d read. I mentioned that I’d been invited to talk the Superintendent and screen with the Central Labor Body. Loren was not invited to either. I told Loren that to the best of my recollection Bill Gronseth’s email invite to talk indicated that the Superintendent was inviting all six school board candidates to have a chat. Loren hadn’t gotten his. And the Central Labor Body didn’t either. I hope the former was not intentional. I have to believe the latter was. Loren has spanked the DFL and the Labor Unions repeatedly in his columns. I guess they were not willing to camouflage their automatic refusal to even let him get an interview. Sensitive folks Union people. They didn’t send him an invite to screen in 2017 either.

Long before the Pledge of Allegiance

The United States Mint first used E Pluribus Unum on coins in 1795, (on the Half Eagle $5.00 gold piece)

In Latin it means “Out of many one.”

I’m not sure what the Latin is for President Trump’s apparent slogan:

One man to rule them all and anyone who doesn’t like it can leave the country.

A commentary on Trump supporters

And the most pertinent line comes at the end.

Recieved from a Facebook friend………….:

“An anguished question from a Trump supporter: ‘Why do liberals think Trump supporters are stupid?’

The serious answer: Here’s what we really think about Trump supporters – the rich, the poor, the malignant and the innocently well-meaning, the ones who think and the ones who don’t…

That when you saw a man who had owned a fraudulent University, intent on scamming poor people, you thought “Fine.”

That when you saw a man who had made it his business practice to stiff his creditors, you said, “Okay.”

That when you heard him proudly brag about his own history of sexual abuse, you said, “No problem.”

That when he made up stories about seeing muslim-Americans in the thousands cheering the destruction of the World Trade Center, you said, “Not an issue.”

That when you saw him brag that he could shoot a man on Fifth Avenue and you wouldn’t care, you chirped, “He sure knows me.”

That when you heard him illustrate his own character by telling that cute story about the elderly guest bleeding on the floor at his country club, the story about how he turned his back and how it was all an imposition on him, you said, “That’s cool!”

That when you saw him mock the disabled, you thought it was the funniest thing you ever saw.

That when you heard him brag that he doesn’t read books, you said, “Well, who has time?”

That when the Central Park Five were compensated as innocent men convicted of a crime they didn’t commit, and he angrily said that they should still be in prison, you said, “That makes sense.”

That when you heard him tell his supporters to beat up protesters and that he would hire attorneys, you thought, “Yes!”

That when you heard him tell one rally to confiscate a man’s coat before throwing him out into the freezing cold, you said, “What a great guy!”

That you have watched the parade of neo-Nazis and white supremacists with whom he curries favor, while refusing to condemn outright Nazis, and you have said, “Thumbs up!”

That you hear him unable to talk to foreign dignitaries without insulting their countries and demanding that they praise his electoral win, you said, “That’s the way I want my President to be.”

That you have watched him remove expertise from all layers of government in favor of people who make money off of eliminating protections in the industries they’re supposed to be regulating and you have said, “What a genius!”

That you have heard him continue to profit from his businesses, in part by leveraging his position as President, to the point of overcharging the Secret Service for space in the properties he owns, and you have said, “That’s smart!”

That you have heard him say that it was difficult to help Puerto Rico because it was the middle of water and you have said, “That makes sense.”

That you have seen him start fights with every country from Canada to New Zealand while praising Russia and quote, “falling in love” with the dictator of North Korea, and you have said, “That’s statesmanship!”

That Trump separated children from their families and put them in cages, managed to lose track of 1500 kids, has opened a tent city incarceration camp in the desert in Texas – he explains that they’re just “animals” – and you say, “Well, OK then.”

That you have witnessed all the thousand and one other manifestations of corruption and low moral character and outright animalistic rudeness and contempt for you, the working American voter, and you still show up grinning and wearing your MAGA hats and threatening to beat up anybody who says otherwise.

What you don’t get, Trump supporters in 2019, is that succumbing to frustration and thinking of you as stupid may be wrong and unhelpful, but it’s also…hear me…charitable.

Because if you’re NOT stupid, we must turn to other explanations, and most of them are less flattering.

Cong. Stauber defends America’s most famous Jew . . .

Benjamin Franklin!

or read it here.

Trumplican Pete Stauber refused to censure Donald Trump for his racist tweets but he had no problem calling out Ilhan Omar for her “racism” when she used the word “Benjamin” to describe the money Republicans used to swamp Congress. The understandable over sensitivity of many Jewish people doesn’t change the fact that Benjamins are One Hundred Dollar Bills with the famous Jewish American Benjamin Franklin’s image on it. Oh, that’s right. Benjamin Franklin wasn’t a Jew. He just had a common Jewish first name like half of non Jewish American males.

Pete is using weasle arguments to call out the four outspoken Democratic Congresswomen one of whom had a mouthy chief of staff who stupidly mocked Speaker Pelosi as a racist. Awkward but hardly out of place in Trump world where Trump laps all his toadies in name calling.

To be a Trumplican is to be a supporter of the biggest racialist in American History hands down. Is Trump a racist? Maybe, Maybe not. There is no doubt that he is the most historically ignorant President again, hands down. I described Trump as a race-baiter or words to that effect a few months ago in this Reader Column: Worse Than a Racist. As the columns title suggests Donald Trump (IMHO) is an opportunist and as such, much worse than a racist. Pete Stauber is his enabler and beneficiary.

Campaign Report: Readjusting to School Board routine

In the past few days I’ve gotten in the School Board groove. Last week I set up a meeting with the Superintendent after he invited me, and the other candidates, to chat. Yesterday I sat through a COW (Committee of the Whole) in a hot room on Old Central’s third floor with our area legislators. The fan drowned out the mostly soft-spoken voices which were not amplified by microphones. Today I met Bill Gronseth in a cordial 45 minute get-together. He explained that the Building’s obligation to its preservation status forbids any air conditioners sticking out its windows. He did say that if the $48 million in needed fix-ups were approved one of them would be to add AC though the building. Today I attended the July School Board meeting. It was pretty short although Bill told me after it was over that it had actually been pretty long by recent standards. I teased him that when I got elected they would get longer again.

I bumped into the soon to retire Nora Sandstad as I left and I asked her what general observations she could offer me of her four years. She borrowed a metaphor that Board member Josh Gorham used tonight. That the District was a big ship that took a long time to move. How true. Over the last thirty years that Republican innovations have been fixing schools our public schools are more segregated, more unfair and distressed than ever. Still, there is ever hope. I saw our new CFO (Chief Financial Officer) tonight and I’ve been told she is a gem by my favorite board member Alanna Oswald. Bill told me he was afaid her knowledge and skills left her open to being poached by a lot of other people eager for competent financial management. Gee, I hope that doesn’t happen. We’ve needed good financial direction for the last fifteen years.

Among other things I finally put a Facebook Page up. I had removed all traces of the page two years ago that so vexed me. I came up with a lighthearted campaign name for it. its Harry Welty Givem Helty. I put an historic photo of Harry Truman waving a famously wrong headline. I have an extra l in Hellty superimposed on the photo. There is only one l in the Facebook name Helty. It was a tiny mistake too fussy to change.

I’ve ignored request to friend me on my personal Facebook Page because my close friends and family members’s posts are always under threat of being lost. I’ll friend anyone back who friends me on the campaign page. I’ll just not follow them so as not to be inundated with posts. I’ll follow the suggestion of a friend and use my blog posts on the Facebook Page. The first one I put on today was the post with my sister and me on the Canadian glacier back in 1968.

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 to advertise my 2019 school board campaign. I’ll be taking book orders from there as well.


When Fox bests PBS

I woke from an Alzheimer’s fighting nine hours of sleep this morning. Its about time. Four and five hours for a week straight doesn’t do it. Holed up upstairs away from the ongoing work in our kitchen Claudia and I had a long conversation about a couple television shows and a great summation about Harry Truman and the logs in some people’s eyes. This post will cover the unlikely butt whooping we saw in television programming last night.

On Sunday nights Claudia and I get together at our daughter’s house and watch TV. The nights usually begin with kid watching then moves on to Adult PBS watching. Kid watching has meant Stranger Things and the Tic in recent times followed by Masterpiece Theater. Last night it was reversed and we began watching Grantchester on PBS a series that has been OKish. I’ve been irritated by it because its flawed hero, an Anglican minister, is given a pass because of his experiences in World War I. His parish is Grantchester, hence the name, and like Agatha Chisties hamlet no end of murders take place there.

Last night we could not endure it when the 1960’s Grantchester was visited by a black minister and his family. I won’t bother explaining how daft the premise was but we drew the line and the latest sexual encounter this self righteous minister had, this time with the black daughter of the minister the night after her brother is murdered by some supposed English Racist. It crammed five decades and two continents of black/white relations into a sorry justification for an improbably unchristian act of sex……off screen but obvious enough when the minister’s friend the cop said with disgust “you screwed her.”

It was time for some kid watching to take our youngest grandson’s eyes off of awful. And I had a brainstorm. Malcolm in the Middle.

A quick check confirmed that it could be livestramed from Hulu for which my daughter and son[-in-law have a subscription. It came out the year after my daughter graduated from highschool but I recall watching it with our son a few years younger. It was one of the few things we did together. Malcolm is the fourth wall breaking middle child of a not quite dystopian wacked-out family. There was some off screen sex in this program too but it was more achingly ridiculous than Grantchester’s gratuitous steam.

As I said we had a long lively talk about this and enjoyed laughing through three episodes in a mini binge with our grandsons. They were the perfect age to watch four television brothers fight and scheme against the world and each other. As with the Simpsons, Fox provided a little anti-venom to its scurrilous political broadcasting designed for Alzheimish baby boomers.


What every election is about…..

the future!

Educating our children is no small deal. America pioneered near universal public education then the Republican Party noticed some failures, real not imagined, and then proceeded to inflict public education with more snake oil cures than you can shake a stick at. The result. An American population of science denying, divided paranoids striking out like blind men in a paper bag.

That kind of population will only slow the search for finding solutions to save our Grandchildren’s Earth. This is not a Chinese hoax.

At the top of this post you can see me and my little sister in British, Columbia in the summer of 1968. We climbed up to a glacier on a warm day. I’ll give you good odds that this glacier, if it still exists, has retreated to a nubbin of what it once was. A similar condition affected the Mendenhall Glacier near Juneau that Claudia and I took our grandsons to see five years ago. The park museum had been built by it years earlier but the glacier had already retreated miles further upstream as chunks of its ice floated past my grandsons.

Everything I envision for Duluth will be aimed at giving our children, all of our children, a future not a calamity. We need to clean up the Central site. That will require a million dollars Continue reading

Bye Jupiter!

Bob King is a nice addition to WDSE’s portfolio. Today I saw the Trib’s retired photog explaining where we would see Jupiter this evening. I found it in UMD’s tall sculpture. I was too late to catch it in the picture because a cloud’s nose rushed over to hide it before I could get my cell phone out.

I took the walk to loosen up after spending nine hours today painting. First I spent four hours at church priming and painting windows then I came home and painted walls of our kitchen just before the appliances and granite are brought in. The walk did me good. It cleared my mind.

A couple of annoyances have bedeviled me in recent days. Somehow I got locked out of my blog stats. I had to get a new password and just now used it to see how many visits I’ve had since I got frozen out. I’ll never know. I found that five days worth of stats were completely erased as though no one visited from June 4th through 8th. Then the blog got 12,000 pageviews on June 9th. Sweet.

That’s all for now. I’ve got some reading to do.

A $3,000 goal for book publishing costs

Here’s where I stand at this early date:

I think my eight loyal readers will get a kick out of this book and learn a thing or two along the way.

I have yet to get an order online so I’ll include my donation button. It will show up regularly in posts this summer.
Remember, I need to sell 200 books at $15.00 to pay to print them. I’ve sold 23 with a first mailing. I also request that donors consider adding a little over that amount as my campaign will need funds for mailing, advertising and new (I hope) lawnsigns.

Harry’s Diary 7-19-2019

I probably lost close to a dozen posts with my early morning mishap. I don’t recall which ones I lost. But as with the preceeding post about my clean sidewalk I need to do some catching up.

I have found a wonderful source of information which will speed along my book writing by thousands of pages a day. That’s good because I’ve been busy with my life as well. Our kitchen is being remodeled. It resulted in a three day wiring mixup that cost us three night without electricity on our second floor. That issue was solved and we will get a three week hiatus while we wait for our new appliances to be delivered. We are living out of a small fridge upstairs for the moment and doing dishes in the bathtub.

I have done gardening and storm window replacement at our church. 96 windows in all and we are down to about 70 left to do. Its fussy work with re-caulking and priming and repainting. I spent two mornings on it this week. I’ve been so busy that I forgot I had to turn in a questionnaire to the Central Labor body for their candidate endorsement screening last night. They let me turn it in late and screen which I appreciated. I won’t get the endorsement. Never have. I just like to make it clear I am a friend.

One question I was asked was whether I would meet with labor if they wanted to talk. I was unhesitating. Of course. Ironically, I tried to meet with the President of the Duluth Federation of Teachers a half dozen times on my most recent Board term. I was politely refused a chance to meet every time.

Oh and here’s a robin just finished with bathing in our birdbath this morning:

Its not surprising what caused me to go two steps backward…

…it was my planned post to offer a small correction to an Op Ed piece about Duluth School District finance. This one:

This is my basic quibble:

Mr. Skwira-Brown (a fighter for Western Duluth Schools who I have failed on an occasion or two to persuade to run for the school board) argues that the current School Board has abandoned its recent decision to let Compensatory Education dollars follow students to the schools where the funds are generated – where the highest rates of impoverished students go to school. NOPE.

That magnificent policy still stands. However, a loss of something like a million dollars in Comp Ed funding has meant drastic reductions to all schools that generate it including Eastern schools which also have such students, only in smaller numbers. Each school today still gets its appropriate cut of the dollars its students generate. Its just that they are all taking a hit.

If Mr. Skwira-Brown thinks even more of the District’s money (from the General Fund) should go to his hardscrabble western schools that’s a debate worth having. But that doesn’t negate the good policy the recent Board enacted regarding Comp Ed funding.



Two steps back

Darn it. Last night I picked up my cell phone and punched in the beginings of a new post to finish this morning. When I closed my cell phone in the dark I noticed that a lot of the most recent posts had been checked. I acted too quickly to make sense of what the checks meant but it turns out I marked every post back to July 2nd as trash. They have now disappeared. I can’t recall what they were all about. The last one I recall putting up yesterday included links to four stories I had recently read. Oops.

Since I count on this as a record of my daily activities its like tearing out five days of my diary. Most annoying.


“I am not a robot.”

I heard parts of a long story on NPR’s “Mental Floss” a day ago. Here’s a brief summary. Its about the genius service that allowed every New York Times newspaper for a hundred year be digitized by the hundreds of millions of people who took words that computers couldn’t read and using human skills identify their letters. This was done in order to order stuff online. It turns out that this fantastic service has been used by nefarious hackers to break into the Internet. An arms race developed which pitted the CAPTCHA folks against the hacker’s robots. Will the robot handlers win the arms race?

The Rule of Law

Wherever two million people gather to protest injustice some small portion of them can be counted on to use the disruption to soil the reputation of the larger group. Such was the case in Hong Kong where Mainland China is about to rescind an agreement forty years ago to guarantee the City’s independence as it rejoined, against its will, the mainland.

On this NPR story this morning I heard the Mainland’s appointed the unelected stooge who leads Hong Kong. She had been vigrously pushing a law to give China the right to extradite people it wanted so shut up from Hong Kong and hand them into the opaque justice system on the Mainland. Of course, while millions marched peacefully, a bunch of the hooligans decided to overrun the legislature and tear up the place. This despicable act has brought the disgraced stooge out of the shadows. Today she said that the bad actors had violated the “rule of law.” Yes, indeed! Mainland China’s rule of law.

13 cents to Furious Hours

I’ve been attending to the necessary errands of life all day so, other than my thirty minutes of French Study this is the first time I’ve been able to open the computer. The fiscal part of this post’s title refers the the vast haul of money I found on the parking lot when I went to buy a chocolate covered roll at Mt. Royal. As soon as I pocketed it I realized it added up to that unlucky sum. Two nickles, three pennies. Then I crossed over to check my PO Box which had not yet gotten any thing other than come ons from sellers of political detritus.

Got my first book order with Five dollars to spare. I’m not superstitious.

The end of the title refers to the book I heard someone rave about on NPR and which I immediately ordered Claudia to download. She just started it and is mesmerized. Its about the last real life story that Harper Lee failed to publish a book about. Its about a serial killer.

I wish I had time to read it to her.

Between these events I helped a little with the moving in of new cabinets to our kitchen.

I entertained my grandson. I did some yard work. I mopped up water from the recent storm in my basement. My gutters were plugged. I got rid of my darned 2017 campaign Facebook Page. I hooked up air conditioners. Picked up sheet music for a duet to sing at church with my daughter, bought new LED lights for the basement and a new dehumidifier. And oh yeah. At 4 AM I wrote something else but I’ll be darned if I can recall what it was just now. Ah. I see its just after ten PM. Time for me to feed Moloch. (my cat)

Aw Shucks. I just remembered I promised to paint Church windows tomorrow. I’ll be thinking about my book.