Category Archives: Trump 2016

1536 days until a different President could be inaugurated

Four plus years of Trump is a sobering thought for book readers. Then again, I don’t think LBJ read books either. Even the prospect of a resurgence of Saturday Night Live is scant consolation. I expect I’ll have a lot to say over the coming interminability. I’m tempted to treat Trump with the same consideration that Senator Mitch McConnel offered President Obama in this eight second video. However, since imitation is the “sincerest form of flattery” I have reservations about so honoring McConnell. Some fires are better fought with water.

I’ll try to deal with the new national government as I have the Duluth School Board over the past three years by containing my panic with patience and keeping my eyes wide open.

Hillary Clinton’s campaign was keen on having Trump as her opponent in the past election while blissfully disregarding the old saw: “be careful what you wish for.” As for me I was in pre-panic mode eight month’s earlier when I offered up this sculpture of Trump wearing the tiara he’d won in the South Carolina Primary.

Here are a few of the samples of our Prez elect holding fast to the stripes he wore through to the general election:

A. In 2008 Hilary ran an ad warning us that we needed a President prepared to take an emergency phone call at 3AM. She overlooked tweets but Trump has proven to be up to the challenge by demanding a apology from a Broadway musical cast at 3 AM for asking the Vice President elect to “…protect us, our planet, our children, our parents, or defend us and uphold our inalienable rights, sir. But we truly hope this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and to work on behalf of all of us, all of us. … We truly thank you for sharing this show — this wonderful American story told by a diverse group of men, women, of different colors, creeds, and orientations.”

B. Trump has decided that the 2016 election wasn’t “rigged” after all and is now criticizing the Green Party for recounts to make sure Trump was wrong….

C. …and calling the recount a “scam” which is something Trump knows all about.

On our new “Pro life” President

Yesterday I was particularly interested in this letter to Dear Abby from a mother who is distraught to have learned, during a heated Trump/Clinton conversation, that her daughter had undergone an abortion.

One of the groups that elected Donald Trump was the pro life community. They overlooked such things as his attempt to talk his second wife into having an abortion and saying so on the crass Howard Stern Show. He gave a stirring denunciation of abortion in his last debate with Hillary Clinton. Since the Republican Party noisily changed its mind about abortions in the President Reagan era to attract Catholic voters the Party’s protestant adherents have adopted a very papist philosophy – That a human is created from the moment of conception. It also adopted the Catholic dogma that contraception should not be permitted because every act of sexual congress should only be undertaken for the sake of procreation. Recreational sex was simply a pleasurable consequence that resulted from an action that was only justified for the purpose of making babies.

The Republican Party then took this line of reasoning to an extreme which its adopters (like the Mother in the Dear Abby letter) are having a very hard time abandoning. Protestants never went as far as Catholic prelates who opposed Contraception under any circumstances even within marriage. But Republican leaning protestants did believe that contraception should be opposed for the unmarried because it only encouraged immoral sex. I have never forgotten the waitress who overheard a conversation of mine 40 years ago and leaned over my table to tell me that as far as she was concerned “If you’re going to play, You gotta pay.” That it would be an unwanted child who would pay the price for his/her parent’s ten minutes of rutting did not to occur to her. I made that point in a defiant speech to a Republican Congressional Convention in 1992 which was met with a wall of boos. Since that time the Republican Party has found it easy to fight against tax increases that would benefit needy children leading to the legitimate complaint that the only time Republicans care about life is before birth. My speech was alarmingly prescient. I even mentioned the party’s infatuation with Donald Trump!

And the party only got more virulent. Ten years later one of its young acolytes, speaking before one of the last Republican conventions I would attend, accused my ilk of having committed a crime worse than those committed by Hilter, Stalin and Mao tse Tung combined.

Churches did their best to convince women who had undergone abortions to think of themselves as murderers. Being good Christians they promised God would forgive the women if they admitted their guilt. Their campaign has made a routine medical procedure so heinous that it drove some pro-life sympathizers to murder physicians who performed abortions and silenced tens of millions of American women into secrecy. The simple fact that a one day old ovum is not a chimpanzee, an elephant or a paramecium has been been trumpeted as evidence that a human life worthy of constitutional protection has entered the world. I regard that Catholicized judgement to be ridiculous. Ah, but such thinking makes me a mass murderer since very ovum expelled because of the morning after pill is considered to have been a murder.

Its not just life that makes delivering every conceived child risky. Sometimes pregnancy is dangerous. Ovums may not descend into the uterus, Fetus’s may have congenital defects that make life impossible. Women in such straights may have been publicly shamed and silenced but some few have told their stories anonymously. I defy any “pro life” person to disregard the stories told to Andrew Sullivan’s “Its so personal.” series. I too have such a personal story to tell that I can’t because, being a male, I didn’t undergo the procedure myself.

That a Donald Trump would court pro-life votes does not surprise me. If he could have won a lot of pro choice votes he had but to point to his Howard Stern interview. I’m sure that many pro-life voters pinched their nose when they voted for him guessing that he could shed this promise like a snake sheds skin. The worm is turning however no matter who Trump appoints to the Supreme Court. Like the daughter who holds a beloved grandchild over her fanatical Mother’s head a new generation will take a more measured response to unwanted, unplanned pregnancies even if Roe v Wade is over turned. Its just a damned shame that our abortion politics of the last four decades helped lead America to put a Donald Trump into the Oval Office. He much prefers staying at Trump Towers and lobbying the Brits to keep windmills out of view at his Trump properties in Scotland.

Thank you Dr. Conniff…

…for reading my blog. Thank you also for taking part in an important public conversation……..

I have submitted this piece in its entirety to the Tribune and will withhold it until such time as the Tribune prints it.

This is what I originally posted except that when I saved it the five or so hyperlinks I placed in it were lost. Frankly I’m too busy to replace them. As you can see there is very little change:

Thank you Dr. Conniff for reading my blog. Thank you also for taking part in an important public conversation. Your contribution begins:
“I had to read to the end of the well-reported Nov. 15 article, “District responds to hate speech in Duluth high schools,” to find School Board Member Harry Welty’s recommendation against ‘having a dire punishment for kids abusing their free-speech rights.’
In disbelief, I turned to Welty’s blog”

When the Tribune’s education reporter, Jana Hollingsworth, called me I kept her on the phone for forty minutes as I expanded on my thoughts on this sensitive subject. Due to the Duluth News Tribune’s understandable limitations of time, newsprint, and ink, only two sentences of mine were included in the article to explain my still evolving thinking on this episode.
In the meantime I must insist on an uncomfortable truth: In the United States free speech does include hate speech however much we may be appalled by it. Fortunately it does not include shouting “fire” in a dark theater nor does it include threats or incitement to riot.

My job as a member of the school board is to think my way through what has been happening over the last year and how to deal with its consequences over the next four and possibly, God forbid, eight years. Making martyrs out of Duluth students for parroting the hateful things they hear on the Internet and no doubt in their homes and on the nightly news is not the best or most thoughtful response. That would be fighting fire with grease which would only make the conflagration more intense.
Duluth has undergone two recent changes which exacerbate the negativity of 2016 election. 1. It divided its school district into rich/poor and black/white schools at the same time as 2. Its African-American community has begun to expand significantly leading to a white flight from our schools of perhaps 15% of the student population. There has been one heartening development over these recent years. Our children have assumed a generous and open attitude toward their superficial differences. The reaction of students in both East High and Denfeld have been remarkable rebukes to the politics that seem to have generated the “hate speech.” I take great comfort in that.

These generous reactions must be supported by the School Board not undermined by meting out “dire punishments” prompted by shock at the outcome of the recent election. We need to follow our better angels. That’s what Martin Luther King Jr. did. His legacy, the “Southern Christian Leadership Conference” has continued for fifty years to keep a watchful eye out for the vestiges of hate and racism that King gave his life to make part of our nation’s past. I do not believe King would have encouraged us to force it underground but would have advised us to keep it in full view where it could be exposed for what it is – a grievous assault on the spirit of justice and equality that our nation was founded upon.

Some random thoughts

My Bad.

The testy relationship with my “Buddy” is one of the casualties of the Presidential election. We called each other some names that, for me, are a complete betrayal of the cordial wisecracking of my Grandfather that I lauded a short time ago. If I ignore future emails from him related to my posts 1. I will have more time. And 2. I will miss a window into a critic’s point of view.

Etiquette lessons tweet

VP elect Mike Pence went to a performance of “Hamilton” in New York the other night getting some catcalls and some applause. At the end of the play the cast got together to read an imploring message to their noteworthy patron.

Inevitably President elect Trump said the Musical’s cast owed the Vice President an apology for being so rude. This is the same fellow who led crowds in chants of “lock her up.”

I won’t be taking etiquette lessons from our new President.

The wisdom of crowds and Trump’s “negotiating position”

My old buddy has never indicated he had a problem with anything Donald Trump said or did. Months ago he told me he didn’t plan to vote for Trump but I have no idea if he changed his mind. He sent me lots of criticisms of Hillary Clinton especially if they were written by women pundits. He did the same thing with Obama sending me criticisms of the president from black pundits.

I can’t disagree with many of Trump’s supporters who feel that American governance is broken. I just don’t agree that Trump was the solution. I feel strongly enough that I’ve broken up with my “Buddy” over it. I have often heard of the wisdom of crowds and have some faith in it but that is not without qualifications. Many Democracies elect terrible leaders like Hugo Chavez of Venezuela or Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe who snuff out the democracy.

Despite my disdain for our new President I recognize that such an outcome is unlikely in the United States. On the other hand, many of those who voted for him are ardent gun buyers who stockpile firearms because of their fear that folks like me will make an Obama a dictator. Why should I trust them any more than they trust me?

I’m most worried about Trump voters who don’t recognize the improbable things he says are silly or outright fabrications. I’m less worried about folks who supported him because they are banking on his extreme statements being smart ass jibes or a tough bargaining position to retreat from in order to win concessions. NPR had a nice piece today about a Virginia family which gets along despite a split in voting patterns and the Trump supporters who don’t take Trumpisms all that seriously.

It’s worth a listen if for no other reason than to remember how most folks could disagree agreeably in the US about politics long ago. We may have to wait until half of the folks my age or older die before we get to this point again.

It remains to be seen if my fears are overblown. For the time being I will, with trepidation, rely on Trump supporters to make sure Trump doesn’t use his majority in the three branches of our Federal Government to do the most outrageous things he promised he would do.

George McGovern and Today’s Internet

In 1972 I picked up a piece of Anti-George McGovern literature that claimed he was a commie and that his World War II heroism was a fraud. I was deeply incensed. How many voters got this or similar pieces I have no idea. It was financed by fans of paranoid organizations like the John Birch society.

That solitary piece of propaganda is a drop compared to the Internet ocean of lies that dispersed on the Internet this year. Because of the way folks on the Internet get their info I saw very little of it. Not so those sympathetic to change. The Internet is a little like Niagara Falls and too many voters stand directly underneath it with funnels in their mouths.

NPR Joan Kroc

I do not get most of my news from Facebook. I get some of my best information from National Public Radio and the Public Broadcasting System. These have been targeted for closure by Republicans almost as rabidly as they threw obstacles in the way of poor and minority voters.

I have a plutocrat to thank for protecting them from Congress. I got that story from NPR today as well.

She gave the Salvation Army ten times as much as she gave NPR.

More on interning Muslims for the nation’s security

Our good friend just posted the link to the NY Times story about the potential internship of Muslims. She has an adopted Korean child that attended Sunday school with my children. She said this of the story:

“I am speechless about views like this. My son just asked about his adoption and naturalization papers. This is appalling.”

I find myself reading about the circus that is the Trump transition team and hardening my mind toward anything Trump.

My Buddy just sent me a link to a Wikileaks apologist explaining that they mean nothing personal and they they are just insuring full disclosure. I guess I was supposed to take this as reassuring. The trouble is there is no level playing field when it comes to moles and rats ferreting out secret data. Whoever is the most determined to ferret out data and whoever is the most vulnerable to hacking can make for very unequal results.

What have I learned about Clinton from Wikileaks? That Democrats protect their own and friends help scratch each other’s backs. Scandalous! Even Bernie Sanders who came out on the short end of the stick made no bones about his preference for Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump.

Lucky Donald Trump. He is like Reagan and made of Teflon no matter what offal he swims through. He’s bringing the deplorables into the White House with him.

How is any of this supposed to help the poor, browbeaten, white, male voters who elected Trump?

The wrong lessons from our history

Donald Trump reads no books. His history is heavy with whatever lessons he learned at someone’s knees about the America First Committee which had no appetite for confronting Nazi Germany.

His minions have raised the example of the internment of Japanese American Citizens in World War II as an example of how we might deal with Muslims in America.

As reported here a couple hours ago I know of one Medal of Honor recipient who would roll over in his grave at Salina, Kansas’ Gypsum Hill Cemetery if he heard that. Maybe we can send the Gold Star Kahns to one and shut them up.

Here’s the Blue Star flag my Grandfather’s parents put up when he went off to fight in the Great War.

And here’s my grandfather’s helmet which hung in his entryway from the garage for the last ten years of his life. Now its in an exhibit in the Kansas State Historical Society where others can gawk at the bullet entry and exit holes and marvel that George Robb came home to tell the tale.

Art Johnston election analyst

Art sent me an email he composed for a friend. I share it with my readers for them to exult or lament:

Sent: Friday, November 11, 2016 10:57 AM
Subject: Continued: The ignored rural voter and the mathematical realities of why the Democrats lost, and why they need to change their tactics

Looking at the math of the next two election cycles, things don’t look good for the Democratic party on the National level in the near future.

The Democrats really blew it this year and its going to have a long term impact.

This year we had 24 Republicans and 10 Democrats Senators up for election. This was the golden opportunity for the Democrats to pick up half (7 gains), but they only got a very miserable 2 seat gain; and instead, 22 Republicans won (65%) and only 12 Dems. The biggest surprise for me was that Trump’s coattails were long.

2018 is looking very poor for any Dem gains. There will be only 8 Republicans, but 23 Dems Senators up for election. The mathematic odds are that the Republicans will make gains.

2020 is looking better for the Dems as there will 22 Republicans up and only 11 Dems Senators up for election. But that is also the Presidential election year and if Trump runs again (and assuming he keeps his winning celebrity status) he will likely win and, like this year, bring the Republican Senators with him.

I went from thinking that the Republicans were going to self-destruct in this election cycle, to seeing the Democrats self-destruct.
As Maureen Dowd said: Whoops.

There are two big demographic and mathematical issues working against the Democrats. And both involve the rural vote. And the rural vote was completely ignored by the Democrats and that played a big role in this elections. Rural American is nearly 100% Republican (look at the map!). What are these two mathematical issues that are being completely ignored by the Democrats?

1) Because of the high concentration of Democrats in the city, mathematically, a Democrat vote has less impact on the overall, national outcome than does a Republican in a rural area. [Just because 70% of urban voter and 90% of black voters vote Democrat in a landslide, that still gives them only 1 District win–versus in rural areas where the party split is more even, Republican win with only 51% of the vote]. So literally, every vote over 50% in urban areas have absolutely zero impact on the national results [and there are a lot more urban than rural voters]. This is why the House of Representative is so strongly Republican. The more concentrated any group of voters are in a District, the less impact each of those concentrated voters have in the overall, national outcome.

2) And in the Senate and in the Electoral College, there is a further mathematical advantage to Republicans because low population, rural states are Republican and those Republican voters have the benefit of having 3 electoral votes (and selecting two Senators) if they win–compared to only 1 (or zero if they make up a minority) electoral votes if they live in rural California or New York.

Contrary to the punditry, item 1) has a bigger impact on the national outcome and is why the Democrats won the popular vote, but lost the election. And Item 1) would happen whether or not there is an electoral college. Do the math–even if small rural states only had only 1 electoral vote (instead of the current 3), the Democrats would still have lost the election–all because of that strong concentration of Democratic votes in urban states and Districts.

These two factors give a strong mathematical/demographic advantage for Republicans. Democrats didn’t campaign in rural area, and to win in the future, they must start doing that. That means they might also have to take on some of those rural values–are Democrats ready to do that?

Thus, getting the minority (e.i., race) vote in the city and “getting out the vote” in urban areas is not a effective electoral strategy for Democrats [even though that is the ethical thing to do]–they need to find a way to be attractive in rural America. And they not only failed miserably this year, they ridiculed the rural voters. Until Democrats start embracing rural American (instead of scorning them) they are going to have a hard time winning for a long time.


I wrote back to Art:


Your analysis is spot on. I’m impressed. There is one more major factor in the Republican’s unexpected resurgence that will also likely help them in the future. The reapportionment that follows the 2020 census. A. If Trump doesn’t screw up they stand to have lots of state’s under their control to draw favorable new districts for 2022 and B. Reapportionment allows them to pick little portions of high democratic urban areas and mix them with large rural districts to dilute them leaving relatively fewer safe Democratic Congressional Districts.

If Democrats are waiting for Trump to screw up they may be greatly disappointed.



As I indicated in my email to my Buddy the election last week has opened Pandora’s box with lots of noisome, nasty, dance on your grave results. Here’s the Trib story on the graffiti making its way into our schools and online.

I talked with Jana Hollingsworth about my views on this for thirty or forty minutes so there could be little doubt about what I was thinking. Naturally, the spare quotes from me leave out thirty or forty minutes of exposition. Jana quotes me quite accurately as saying:

“I don’t think throwing grease on the fire is going to help,” he said. “Having a dire punishment for kids abusing their free speech rights isn’t the solution.”

Let me be the first to say (as I mention every so often) I’m no Christian. However, Christian charity, so trampleded on over the past year, strikes me as the best antidote……that as well as absolutely open eyed disapproval of the post election vomitorium.

I told Jana that our district ought to employ “restorative justice” to deal with those taunting others. I think the students posting hurtful words should face the students the words are directed at.

When I ran for the School board successfully for the first time former Central student Mary Cameron and I became good friends. I would have stepped aside and let her campaign in the third District rather than run myself had she decided not to run city-wide.

Not long afterward a neighbor told me how, as a student, Mary had gotten into fights, hard fisticuffs-type fights with other girls. He had no use for Mary. I, however, squared that with the picture Mary kept in her office of the day Martin Luther King was assassinated. It was taken on the Central campus by a Duluth News Tribune photographer – a beautiful young black woman with a thousand yard stare.

Kids are hurting. Even the hurtful words by some students are evidence of some form of suffering of the taunters. I want to help in the healing process. I even told Jana that in the case of one young person who put his name on the Internet abuse he hurled she showed considerable bravery. I can respect him for this but not the anonymous bomb throwers and Internet trolls.

I’ll remember the current wickedness every time someone fan of President Donald Trump overlooks the sorry means by which Trump got out his vote. He’s our President. He’s my President although I detest the thought of it. Now all Trump has figure out is how not to become the most infamously rotten President in American History. I’m betting his ego would like to avoid this so I’ll give him a chance to rise to the level of say, a Richard Nixon. Maybe he’ll even do better than that. I wouldn’t put it past him but I’m not holding my breath. In the meantime I have to catch his goblins and stuff them back in the box.

Relishing my post-election ease

Not only do I have a weeks worth of chores from my recent trip but I face days of work printing out a thousand pages of documents I photographed from my Topeka, research. I’m also recovering from the trip’s three tech glitches. My car misbehaved twice costing me nine precious hours. First its timing chain went caput. Next I blew a tire on the Interstate north of KC at night and discovered the lug nuts were on so tight my tire iron broke in half while I tried to unbolt them. Then my computer up and died. At the moment I’m in the process of putting a new one together with all the ingredients lost with the old. Thank goodness I backed up the old computer two days before I left.

Now that I’m back I have new controversies to face like a school system that fails black kids and an election result that has emboldened poltergiests to gloat and threaten…..mostly anonymously.

Ah, but I have learned from Jana Hollingsworth that one of our high school kids has put his/her hate all over the Internet under his/her own name. I’ll be expected to do something about that. But Harry “its ‘hate speech'” Jana reminded me when I said we needed to remember it was only a kid and that vengeful punishment would only reinforce his or her unAmerican attitudes. Inconveniently, our Constitution’s First Amendment guarantees free speech despicable or otherwise. I’ll have to decide if a Facebook entry is like crying “fire!” in a darkened theater.

And of course my Buddy weighed in with a helpful observation in an email:


In response to the anonymous racist graffiti scrawled in our school bathrooms Annie had this to say:

….“We want to be clear that intolerance and hatred is absolutely not accepted in our schools,’’ Harala said, urging parents and the entire community to encourage respectful behavior at home so that flows into the schools….

“is”, instead of “are”, from the chairperson of the Duluth School Board?

Further, to say that “hatred is absolutely not accepted in our schools”, reminds me of the observation that as long as there are math tests in our schools, there will be praying in our schools. As you say, “making threats that are largely empty because of the furtive nature of the offense.”

[Your Buddy]

To which I replied:


I have some grievances against Annie. She censured me and allowed herself to be used as the excuse by others to have a vengeful, costly, prolonged and ultimately futile battle to undo the election of Art Johnston. BTW – I put my money where my mouth was and gave Art $20,000 to pay his lawyers.

That said, I’m not interested in nit picking grammar with a young woman who is still in shock over the election results. After all we elected a pussy grabbing demagogue. Whether Trump behaves that way once sworn in will be the test of his administration. I don’t expect pussy grabbing but I think it will be hard for him not to demagogue when he’s under fire. Its already worked so well for him and if I’ve learned anything about Trump its that he’s quick to resort to winning formulas. He learned the efficacy of a good offense from his mentor, Joe McCarthy’s sleazy minion, Roy Cohn.

The candidate who’s demagogic tactics you parsed like a Clinton has unleashed a lot of pent up nastiness I’ll have to deal with on the school board while you sit back in the comfort of your ********* retreat and send me emails finding fault with my every criticism of the man. I’ve already spent half an hour today explaining to the Trib’s education reporter why I have reservations about relying on “hate speech” as a justification for punishing kids in our schools. I thought that after this election was over I might be able to take it easy. Guess not. But that’s why I earn the big bucks as a school board member.


A little bit of Post-Trump here in the Northland

In my view America elected a demagogue rather than a scold. In fairness to Hillary Clinton, the unprecedented calls of “lock her up” at Trump rallies trumped First Lady Obama’s call “When they go low we go high.” Maybe Hillary should have responded in kind. After all Trump is facing charges of fraud in a court presided over by a rapist sympathizer – the judge being a Mexican-American).

This election is like two black holes colliding and sending gravity waves though our universe. Its having the effect in our public schools of loosening the tongues of adolescent jerks who are mimicking their elder’s public excrescences. (If you don’t recognize my fifty scent word its fancy for “excrement” or its plural “excrements.” Its got a more common four letter equivalent.)

“Liberal” window smashers hiding in mobs and anonymous “conservative” spray can wielding graffiti writers and Internet trolls are both tomorrow’s brown shirts if we let them have their way. Even so I take little comfort with the comments of the Duluth School Board chair at the pitifully attended unity meeting called together by DFLer Mayor Emily Larson and Republican County Commissioner Peter Stauber.

In response to the anonymous racist graffiti scrawled in our school bathrooms Annie had this to say:

Annie Harala, chairwoman of the Duluth School Board, spoke about racial slurs and other intolerant language that were found in a city school bathroom last week, promising the district investigate and punish the culprits.

Racism “roared up this week in Duluth schools” after the election, she said.

“We want to be clear that intolerance and hatred is absolutely not accepted in our schools,’’ Harala said, urging parents and the entire community to encourage respectful behavior at home so that flows into the schools.

Presumably the vandals are kids. Railing about punishing them seems Trumpian to me. In this case Michelle Obama’s call to “go high” seems like a better strategy than making threats that are largely empty because of the furtive nature of the offense. That would be a better way to achieve some kind of unity.

2 am. Topeka, Kansas, Nov. 10, 2016

I just woke up from 4 badly needed hours of sleep. I could use another 4. I’m sitting in the lobby of the downdown Ramada Inn’s lobby on an unfamiliar computer as my laptop died two mornings ago in Kansas City and it will have to be replaced. Amazingly I had backed up all its contents to a hard drive two days before I set out on this family research expedition. That was followed two days ago by my Chevy’s timing chain going rogue. I had to put it in the shop after five precious research hours lost waiting for a diagnosis and queuing up for a loaner car. On top of that the election night hubbub was clamoring all about me. Oodles of Democrats were in the Ramada before the most unexpected deflation I’ve ever seen on an election night.

The next morning my Buddy sent me the following email:


From [your latest post]:

“The better angels of our nature are in hiding.”

So much for the efficacy of your ranting

[Your Buddy]

To which I responded:


I am flattered if you thought my readership could have changed last night’s national election results.

I will be satisfied if the local readers of my blog see fit to support me for reelection to the school board next fall.

None of them will be able to argue that I exceeded Don Trump in excrescences or Clinton’s coy, pursed lippishness.


PS. Speaking of efficatiousness – Do you expect Trump to sue the women who accused him of groping them and will he prosecute Hillary for her emails and corruption?

I have been so busy I have not had time to mourn the election of President Pussygrabber. In fact, after that shot, I will back away from my promise/threat to refer to him that way again until such time as he proves himself to have earned it as President. I’ll give him credit. He was well behaved for the first time in the last two years in graciously acknowledging his opponant’s humanity at his election night celebration. He was a good winner. That’s always easy. He’d already promised to be a sore loser in the event of his loss.

The next morning I felt an odd exhileration that I haven’t felt since the minutes following my reading the now ailing Ralph Doty’s scurilous attempt to destroy my character in the Budgeteer three days before the 2007 School Board election. I read it slack jawed knowing that its having been placed on the doorsteps of almost [every] voter in Duluth two days before the election it would almost certainly dash my hopes of returning to the School Board and working out a more modest school rebuilding plan. I found myself smiling at the long slog I felt trapped into for the foreseeable future (it lasted three years) to fight for the right to vote on the Red Plan.

In this election’s aftermath my “exhileration” may simply be the knowledge that the ugliness of the last two years is over before giving too much thought about how a Donald Trump Administration will proceed. But then, for the past month, my head has been turned toward the past. And that’s where I will proceed. I’m hell bent on writing a book about my grandfather next year. But I still have one more day’s research at the Kansas State Historical Society. I’ve been to five libraries in the past three days and corresponded by email with two others.

Now I’m going to head back to my room and see if I can catch a few more z’s.

2016 election night

America is like the character Dustin Hoffman played in The Graduate after he raced off from the church with his runaway bride and sat panting on the bus wondering what the hell he’d just done.

The better angels of our nature are in hiding.

Fear, Loathing, Loyalty, Sacrifice….

….Some of the things on my mind during my nine hour drive today.

On Tuesday I’ll be headed into one of Donald Trump’s States, Kansas. That’s where I was born and my family was solidly Republican like the majority of Kansans.

I will live with the results of this election however it turns out. If Trump wins it will kill me as much as Hillary’s victory will kill Trump’s partisans. By the way. In many respects those partisans aren’t necessarily Republicans. There are a few news stories circulating about former Obama voters who prefer outsiders and so have shifted to Trump this year.

My Buddy sent me an analysis by Scott Adams (creater of the Cartoon Dilbert) that he thought was persuasive. It fell in line with the Trump line, ostensibly directed at black voters (When white audiences are listening) – What do you have to lose? Scott Adams argued that voters were voting their fears and that Hillary was far more worrisome than a man who only grabbed random women’s pussies. A demure Adams didn’t fully spell the word out but treated it like the “N” word. Adams suggested that very few American women risked being groped by a President Trump so the average voter had very little to fear. Voting Trump therefore was an easy call.

I wrote back that Adams’ reasoning was more “logical than believable.” I find plenty worrisome about Trump and Trump alone. I will leave this late Newsweek story for you to ponder. I’m far more worried about this sort of stuff than my female friends and family being assaulted by Trump. (Although voting for him may have the effect of embolding a lot of wannabe Trumps)

The story makes a fascinating claim that our entire government email system has been compromised by Russian spying but that ironically Hillary Clinton’s private email server was one of the few servers to escape Russian intrusion.

What today’s Russians are doing is richly ironic because in the 1950’s, During Senator McCarthy’s heyday, we were frantic about Russian Commie sympathizers influencing our government. But as the Newsweek story demonstrates, the Internet has unleashed tens of thousands of Russian hackers onto American’s Facebook pages and everywhere else they think they can poison the public with far fetched stories about Hillary Clinton. Does that make those who believe this frauds “dupes” like McCarthy warned us about? BTW – while Trump’s mentor was the infamous Roy Cohn who guided McCarthy’s nation paralyzing, Red baiting.

On Sunday I called my Aunt who resides in another Red State, Arizona, to get some info before my trip to Topeka, Kansas. At one point she explained that she would be voting for Trump. I wasn’t surprised but I couldn’t help teasing her. In 2000 when I was campaigning for John McCain she was adamantly against him because he had left his wife for a younger women. So, of course, I mentioned this and expressed surprise that she could support a man who had pulled a McCain-like wife abandonment three times. Of course, she stammered out a justification……national security. Hillary is just too dangerous.

I gently suggested that we should stick to talking about family instead of politics.

And that leads me to my Grandfather, George Robb, who’s picture shaking the Democrat John Fitzgerald Kennedy’s hands often makes an appearance on this blog. I’ve often repeated the story about his telling me when he was in his seventies and I was in my early teens to never vote for a Democrat. I’ve also repeated several other stories about his attitudes toward Democrats. He may only have voted for a Democrat once in his life, to his eternal regret, but he told my Mother he liked, President Harry Truman – a Democrat. He refused to fire democrats in his office after he was appointed to the job of State Auditor. And he graciously accepted the invitation of the Democrat JFK to attend the dedication of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in 1962. Thats when the picture was snapped.

Politics used to be more like a friendly rivalry. No more. I see shades of a darker past.

At one of the Iowa rest stops this afternoon there was a tribute to the Iowa soldiers of the Civil War; the last time our land was so divided. A series of faux tombstones contained excerpts from the letters they wrote home. Here’s one of them:

Sorry, the sun was behind it making it heavily shaddowed. This is what he wrote:

“I would be very glad to see peace made, if it could be done on honorable terms. You must not judge from this that I am tired of War. I am ready to fight it through. If any of the folks ask what took me to the war, tell them true patriotism – love of country, and love peace. I will try to live and fight for my country, so as not to dishonor it or any friends.”

Private Joseph Bedford Evans died in action four days later at the Battle of Belmont

My Grandfather nearly died in War. In fact, his death was reported back to his battalion in error after he was sent off to convalesce. If he had died I would have much less to tell you about him. In fact, I wouldn’t be here at all. I’ll be honoring his memory on Nov 11th – the old Armistice Day. And while I never followed his advice to vote a straight Republican party ticket I do follow one of his practices. I like and admire quite a few Democrats.

4 AM – no sleep because my thoughts are worse than nightmares

And as I began typing NPR reported that there are just five days before the election. That’s what kept me awake for the last four hours. There is nothing I can do about it but get stuff off my chest here in the blog. That’s been my lifesaver through some local issues like the school board trying to remove Art Johnston on trumped up charges or the three helpless years I fought the venality of Johnson Controls and the no bid, no vote Red Plan. At least in those cases my blog could reach the local public. Still, my near impotence kept me awake far too much. Up until today the unlikelihood of a Trump victory has allowed me to sleep pretty well but now I’ve got the heeby jeebies. Trump’s just gotten some unearned momentum courtesy of James Comey and may have passed Clinton in the polls. As Clinton’s margin shrinks the experts tell us its unlikely that Trump will catch her but the swing towards our first seriously amoral candidate makes me ill. I just saw a twenty minute rain delay in Cleveland that allowed the Chicago Cubs to regain their composure and win the World Series. The FBI Director’s “bombshell” (more of a loud noise like a starting gun makes) has reinforced in people’s minds the myth that Hillary Clinton is “corrupt.”

She’s dogged true. She’s ambitious true. Those are qualities no one begrudges Donald Trump but they are apparently unbecoming in a woman. But is she “crooked?” I saw a headline last night on my cell phone that reminded me how much I admire the Libertarian Party’s VP candidate William Weld. Weld is “sticking up” for Hillary Clinton by pointing out someone as flawed as Donald Trump has no business casting stones.

I think Slate Magazine captured a pretty good comparison of the two candidates flaws: Take a look.

In my last post I called Trump a “pussy grabber.” Should he be elected I’ll be tempted to make that my standard appellation for him: “President Pussy Grabber.” I doubt if I’ll be alone. It will be my riposte to Senator Mitch McConnell’s greeting of a newly elected Barack Obama …..the Republican Party’s top priority is to make him a one-term president. Hey, I can dig that!

Last night I watched the mesmerizing last three and a half innings of the World Series. Both presidential campaigns had an ad for the tens of millions of viewers. Clinton’s was the one where children are listening to Trump as his most vulgar. Absolutely fair. Trump’s showed a picture of Hillary which made her skin blacker than President Obama’s and claimed that Hillary was guilty of massive corruption because of her foundation among other alleged crimes. That’s a political lie.

Of course, Hillary got rich legally by making speeches just as Trump got rich legally by avoiding a billion dollars in taxes deferred over twenty years due to his bankruptcies. Which “crime” is worse?

I don’t think Trump’s supporters pay attention to the details any more than their candidate does. For instance, Trump has said Clinton laughed at a twelve year old rape victim. Saying such a thing is not only scurrilous its untrue. NPR just aired a reasoned story about the truth behind Trump’s distortion.

To be fair here’s a link to a list of “Hillary’s lies” on Sean Hannity’s blog that has been circulating in the comments sections of a lot of Facebook pages. The first place I read it the poster concluded by saying he will never understand how a “moral person” could vote for Clinton.

Well, if we are going to get morality into the mix I’ll just link to an allegation I bumped into on the Internet which has mercifully not become part of the National Political conversation. Should Trump get elected I imagine it will get a lot more attention by angry Clinton supporters just to shame the “moralists” who voted for Trump. Of course, he can threaten to use his billions to sue anyone trying to embarrass him………like the eleven women who’s pussies he tried to grab……allegedly. Then as President he can issue a Presidential proclomation, like some third world dicator, allowing him to jail anyone who bad mouth’s him. (One of his campaign promises is to make it easier to sue for libel.)

I suspect that if Trump becomes President he’ll sleep in the Lincoln Boudoir.

Bill’s mulligans and the man who gave him a haircut

I think my Buddy and I are grimly determined to keep harassing each other through this dispiriting Presidential contest. Afterwards I suspect we pick up the pieces and continue our quibbling. If so, we may end up a little better off than the Facebook unfriends, and the marriages under threat from divided loyalties.

After my latest post carping about my Buddy he sent me the following email with the now familiar picture of the Clintons and the Trumps in more amicable times. The column by Maureen Doud begins with a spot on paragraph describing the photograph of the two power couples:

As has been said, if you want a friend, and not a shakedown, get a dog.


“The friendship, on both sides, was a transaction. Not personal, as they say in the “The Godfather” — just business. Trump’s life in New York was all about promoting the brand and making money for the family business. It was the same for the Clintons. A former Clinton White House official puts it more bluntly: ‘This was a classic Clinton go-where-the-money-is move.’”

This post, like all others in this blog about the 2016 election, has been categorized under “Trump 2016” not something more generic like 2016 election. That makes sense to me after the last year. Trump, for good or ill, will define who we have become as Americans more so than Hillary Clinton. Certainly almost half of America’s voters will cast ballots for him and do it knowing about a great many disqualifying or seemingly disqualifying character traits and past history.

I want to make this clear. I don’t particularly like Hillary Clinton. I have curbed my criticisms of her in front of Claudia because my poor wife has heard them for years and they all remind her of the crap she has had to put up with for a lifetime. If you are a woman you can’t be assertive for fear of becoming a bitch.

Forty years ago Claudia went to one of the last gasp gatherings of women who were pushing for passage of the Equal Right’s Amendment (ERA) and was appalled at the fundamentalist ministers who crashed the party and who were directing their women congregants to challenge the women’s libbers.

Like the wizened and once randy PTL shill, Pat Robertson lots of these evangelical types have returned this time to defend the grinning, pussy grabber.

As long as the pussy grabber stuck to his glitter and glamour routine I had no problem with him. As the photo above makes clear neither did Hillary Clinton. Maureen Dowd rightly describes the Clinton/Trump “friendship” as being “transactional.” Trump could bask in the glow of having an ex-president at his third nuptials. Clinton could count on getting some campaign funds from the bumptious billionaire.

I didn’t have a problem with Trump until he decided to be a Demagogue. I place most of the blame for the public’s current receptiveness to Trump on the GOP whose Pat Robertson types did their best to shrink Reagan’s big tent down a pup tent.

As for Hillary, while I have no fondness for her I see in her my wife, my daughter and countless other women. “Nasty Woman!” How the hell can the voting public let a US Presidential candidate get away with that? or get away with calling his opponent “crooked?” or saying he’ll put her in jail when her worst crime was trying to hide her vulnerabilities from the Republicans who have spent thirty years investigating the hell out of her? or hinting to gun fanatics that they might consider assassinating her? Hillary Clinton may not be soft and cuddly but the Donald Trump of this campaign has been loathsome.

Yeah Buddy. I take little comfort in the polls. Trump may beat Hillary. He’s got some Big Mo now and, no, I don’t think he’s Adolph Hitler. He’ll just be America’s first presidential demagogue. He’ll make sure the trains run on time after he kicks 20 million Americans off of their Obamacare insurance.

And about that Maureen Dowd piece. It’s a wonder of insider Intel. The last paragraph even gave me a glimpse of Donald Trump that was both sympathetic and revealing. That was a first after a forty year stretch. Even so, I still think he’s loathsome. I guess that makes me an elitist.

Manchurian Candidate

My daughter Facebooked me to tell me that she (young as she is) knows what the Manchurian Candidate is. For those who haven’t heard of it it was a movie based on a book. The plot was about how communists North Koreans had brainwashed an American POW to assasinate an American politician. Its appearance in theaters ironically and infamously coincided with the assassination of JFK.

I haven’t seen the recent remake. Sinatra’s version was good enough for me.

Coincidentally, PBS aired a two-hour American Experience tonight on the fighting at Korea’s Chosin Reservoir and the perilous, frozen escape of American soldiers surrounded by tens of thousands of Chinese troops. Some of the first American POWs came from that fighting.

My Uncle, Frank, was in a MASH unit during the war. I know virtually nothing about his actions but I know he helped a Korean from his camp immigrate to the US after the war. I wrote about Frank once for the Reader in an anecdote about Grandfather. Its one of my favorite family stories.

Frank must be about 88 now. I had originally intended to travel on to Colorado after visiting Topeka, Kansas, next week and ask him about my Dad’s side of the family in much the same way that I’m researching my Mother’s side now. I decided against it because he lives at 8,000 feet and winter is coming. I’ll come back for the next school board meeting instead. Maybe I’ll try Colorado next spring.

After watching the program I ordered the third book in a trilogy. I collected the first two of the books better than a decade ago but never read them. Maybe its about time I do. Its about the “Forgotten War.”

After my post on the Manchurian Candidate I got an email from my Buddy and we proceeded to have a testy exchange. My characterization of FBI Director James Comey as worse than a “communist dupe” struck my Buddy as “unhinged.” Nevermind that Presidential candidate Trump – the butt of my exageration, has said far worse about a great many other people on television over and over for the last year. Nevermind that he leads his audiences in inflamatory chants of “lock her up. lock her up.” No, its me that’s unhinged.

I could have confessed to being a tad excessive to my Buddy but I didn’t feel like it. He had just sent me a story about how the lastest polls show Trump up over Clinton by a point and I’d just been stewing about Comey and the part he may have played in this last rough week for my preferred candidate Clinton. I thought he was trying to goad me so I let myself be goaded. It never pays off.

As a bit of a concession I sent him a commentary that was anything but unhinged in finding fault with Comey. My Buddy made no reference to it when he sent me another snappish email.

What is indisputable is that Vladimir Putin would love to see American politics lose its lustre for the rest of the world even if it means that an unpredictable narcisist takes the reigns of power perhaps as disasterously as when Trump plunged his Atlantic City Casinos into bankruptcy. Putin would have the office once presided over by Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Lincoln, the Roosevelts and Ronald Reagan handed to a man who flushed Reagan’s “eleventh commandment” down the commode. In other words, Putin wants a lying, uninformed, lucky, idiot billionaire to be America’s next president. My Buddy reminds me incessantly that standard issue Presidents, like he’s sure Hillary will be, got us into the Vietnam War. How could Trump be any worse? he asks. I only write back to him out of sheer cussedness.

Hemingway said that courage is “grace under pressure.” Perhaps mine failed me. Ironically, Comey’s dubious last-minute, non revelation has been defended by none other than President Obama. I doubt that my Buddy will give him credit for being more rational than me even though Obama is busting a gut to get Hillary Clinton elected. My Buddy twitted me a few years back about how Obama was treated as the “Messiah” by his early adoring fans and how he let them down by not providing them utopia. I keep reminding by Buddy that from a minute Obama was elected Republicans made it clear their only real priority was to make sure he was a one-term president. They didn’t dare let America be run well for the next four years if they hoped to depose him. The result eight years later a is Donald Trump now the titular head of the Party of Lincoln. And who can forget his constant threats and taunts to his fellow Republicans. That’s what six years of Republican gridlock got America. If Trump is not a Manchurian candidate I don’t know what the hell he is.

By the way, an hour ago I had to run to Wallgreens and get a fresh 9 cell to stop a fire alarm from shreeking at me every twenty seconds. My Manchurian Candidate sign was still standing. I give it fifty/fifty odds of making it through the night.

My wife says only old people will understand this sign.

But they are the people who are about to hand the oval office over to the ex head of the KGB.

Just put in my front yard. I hope it lasts longer than my last sign.

Here’s a visual for the young folks who may not know to whom this sign refers.

From Mother Jones:

…… “It started off as a fairly general inquiry,” says the former spook, who asks not to be identified. But when he dug into Trump, he notes, he came across troubling information indicating connections between Trump and the Russian government. According to his sources, he says, “there was an established exchange of information between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin of mutual benefit.”

This was, the former spy remarks, “an extraordinary situation.” He regularly consults with US government agencies on Russian matters, and near the start of July on his own initiative—without the permission of the US company that hired him—he sent a report he had written for that firm to a contact at the FBI, according to the former intelligence officer and his American associates, who asked not to be identified. (He declines to identify the FBI contact.) The former spy says he concluded that the information he had collected on Trump was “sufficiently serious” to share with the FBI.

With the help of FBI Director, James Comey, Donald Trump has just taken a lead in the polls. Who needs a communist dupe when you can get the head of the FBI to do your dirty work for you?

Why Trump stay’s afloat and Early voting

From my buddy to me – An anaylsis of the voters by Sam Wang of the New York Times:

For now, we are stuck with an intensely emotional campaign that has been a significant source of stress for more than half of adults. The American Psychological Association has, for the first time, issued tips on dealing with election-related stress. Strong emotional experience reduces mental flexibility, suggesting that when tempers run high, as they have for many voters this season, entrenched support for a party or candidate is more likely. So if you wonder whether there is anyone left to persuade, the answer is probably no. We’re too freaked out.

And from another friend there is this story about early voting in Minnesota. I’m one of them. I’ll be in Kansas on election day.

More than a quarter of a million people have already voted in Minnesota and the record-breaking numbers are expected to surge as Election Day approaches.

I didn’t vote to be done with the election. I figure there is no escape from it although my sister in Equador doesn’t have to listen to television commercials. That doesn’t stop her from sending videos about the outrages of Donald Trump to Facebook so even south of the equator there’s no escape from our election.

Bullying – a two way street?

In response to my post about Mr. French who has received hostile (to put it mildly) messages from what he characterizes as “Alt Right” Trump supporters my Buddy sent me this blog post from Dilbert creater Scott Adams to demonstrate that malevelance doesn’t just come from one direction.

Whether they are equivelent in their malevelance or not all such harassment is a sign, at the very least, of self righteousness. No one has a monopoly on that human vice.

I’m not sure what Adams said or did to deserve abuse. I heard him on the BBC being interviewed recently and as I recall he said something to the effect that he was indifferent about who should become the next US President. I sort of remember him saying he didn’t plan to vote but at the very least he seemed to think the big issues were so complicated that neither candidate had anything like a firm grasp on solutions. That’s hardly worthy of harassment so Adams must have angered Hillary’s supporters in some other way if he’s now planning on endorsing Trump.

Will he do it in a Dilbert cartoon? I will keep my eye out for that. I haven’t decided whether Dilbert is an exercise in cynicism or skepticism. I guess I’d take his endorsement of a presidential candidate in much the same way as I take his pointed cartoons.