Category Archives: Trump 2016

To bind up our wounds the Prez-Elect bids a Happy New Year …

…to the new deplorables!

Donald J. TrumpVerified account
?@realDonaldTrump
Happy New Year to all, including to my many enemies and those who have fought me and lost so badly they just don’t know what to do. Love!
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Susan StevensMatthew GademskeOGmWesley GoodwinKiana ShannonlibertymomKerry-Lynne FindlayHogy Vanilla
5:17 AM – 31 Dec 2016

This looks like a good book for Denfeld and East students to ring in the New Year courtesy our New National Etiquette Trend Setter.

The Golden Gate

Last January I took this photo at dusk of the hillside cemetery facing Jerusalem’s Eastern or “Golden” gate.

I recall hearing it is the resting place of over 100,000 Jews. They have been interred with their feet facing the Eastern Wall so that on the Day when a David returns to resurrect Israel the dead will be able to rise from their graves into a sitting position and be the first to witness the holy miracle as the sun shines on the Golden Gate. Or something of this sort.

I took the picture after stepping outside the walls of Jerusalem which you can see on the immediate left. The wall blocks the view of the road Jesus traveled on Palm Sunday to enter Jerusalem. The Eastern Gate has been sealed up for centuries and Christian believers say it was done so by Saladin to prevent the savior from returning and making ancient prophecies come true. Here’s Wikipedia’s history of the gate.

President Donald Trump is quite likely to bring the rapture about sooner as his Kapo hating proposed ambassador to Israel wants to buck decades of American foreign policy and move the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. This will also be a great triumph for Bibi Netanyahu just as the election of Donald Trump has been a great triumph of Russian espionage and old, white, male, Moral Majoritarian fear mongering.

I just finished reading the Book of Ezekial last night leaving me about 90 densely worded pages of the traditional protestant Old Testament to read. This was where I ran across the prediction about the significance of the Eastern Gate.

To my contemporary ears the preceding prophecy in Ezekial 37 sounds more like the outline of a George Romero movie script.

From the NIV which end-of-timers will turn up their noses to in favor of the KJV.

The Dry Bones

4Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! 5This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breatha enter you, and you will come to life. 6I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’?”

7So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone. 8I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them.

9Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come, breath, from the four winds and breathe into these slain, that they may live.’?” 10So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet—a vast army.

11Then he said to me: “Son of man, these bones are the people of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.’ 12Therefore prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: My people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel. 13Then you, my people, will know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves and bring you up from them. 14I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the Lord have spoken, and I have done it, declares the Lord.’?”

Thinking in terms of movie metaphors is lazy thinking but hard to resist. I expect to see the ancient Jews arising from their graves any minute now and a lot of empty street clothes lying hither and thither on the sidewalks as their apocalyptic owners are called to God.

Kapos and Trump’s new “Ambassador”

Another charming appointment that President Trump plans to make is an Israel-loving hard liner who wants to give Israel carte blanche. His name is David Friedman. He has called peace workers kapos. Kapos were the Jewish prisoners who did the dirty work at Nazi concentration camps.

I’d like to show our likely new ambassador the photograph I unwittingly took while in Palestine this January and which I only discovered after returning home from my pilgrimage. Its a dead Palestinian lying at the foot of an Israeli soldier.

I offered the story of the photograph to the Duluth Reader. I suggested that it could be the first of a series about my January trip to Israel but its publisher didn’t pick it up. The story is a year old now but I’ll post it here for the new Ambassador’s consideration:

Harry Welty’s Holy Land Haj, Part 1 – Bookends

Most everyone could benefit from a spiritual journey even an agnostic like me. So, when Claudia asked me last summer if I’d like to travel with her Seminary to study Israeli peace-making efforts it only took me a day to agree. Our departure in January would necessitate my absence from the organizational meeting of the Duluth School Board. That would leave me with no say in the new leadership of a Board which had censured me the previous Christmas. It took 24 hours for the quest for peace to take precedence over the quest for influence. I would tell my friends that if I could find peace in the most contested landscape on Earth I’d bring some of it back with me.

Friends shared their fears with me before I left. Piffle. Everywhere I passed I found squads of Israeli soldiers with Uzis at their side or slung over their backs. Some of the pony-tailed warriors packing heat looked like the girls I dated in high school except that they wore khaki’s and berets instead of strapless gowns.

My trip was bookended by two remarkable coincidences. They are a fitting introduction to the installments I mean to share in coming weeks.

On our second night in Israel, outside the walls of Old Jerusalem, Claudia and I had a free night to dine by ourselves. We chose the posh Rooftop restaurant atop the Mamilla Hotel. Our DK guide gave it three dollar signs

We had just returned from a Shabbat service at an orthodox synagogue. The stunning views of Jerusalem in the open terrace had to be viewed through a saran wrap shield that protected us from Israel’s winter chill. We were seated by a voluble American who made stinging comments about the naivety of peace advocates like those we had traveled with to Israel.

A sommelier brought us an excellent Israeli cabernet as two more tables were seated. The first was a party of four who took a long table with empty chairs for late arrivals. They were followed by a young couple who were shown to a table by our side. The pair held hands across the table and gazed dreamily into each other’s eyes.

As we finished our meal an approaching hubbub caught my attention. I calmly told Claudia that the Prime Minister of Israel was headed our way. Claudia told me she didn’t know what he looked like but I recognized him. I’ve been paying close attention to Bibi Netanyahu since the days of the first President Bush. The young man seated next to us turned toward us and explained, “I didn’t vote for him.” His girl friend’s eyes pled with him to please shut up as a guard with a holstered gun under his North Face jacket stood with his back towards the disgruntled voter’s chair. Another guard took position on the far side of the table with the extra chairs. The Prime Minister and his wife had finally arrived. More security fanned out onto the balcony just outside our saran wrap cocoon. I had purchased an identical North Face jacket the night before we flew to Tel Aviv. All I needed was a gun on my hip to join the security detail.

The peace skeptics at the first table scurried over to coo appreciatively for the Prime Minister. They recorded the unexpected meeting with their cell phones. As I reached for mine, Claudia ordered me to stop.

Once seated, Netanyahu engaged in a lively soliloquy his deep bass voice rolling under our table. When I turned around to sneak a peek he had both hands raised above his head much as mine were raised on the front page of the Duluth News Tribune two Decembers ago.

To say that Netanyahu is despised by peace types is putting it mildly. That didn’t stop me from basking in the presence of power. I ordered coffee and desert to linger a little longer. And yet, over the next day I stewed about our close proximity. Claudia had shown me a galling story about Bibi in the Jerusalem Post before we saw him in the flesh. The story had stuck in my craw. The next day I wrote a pointed letter to the Post. It wasn’t published.

Two weeks later, after our return to Duluth, the other bookend jumped out of my computer when I reviewed the thousands of pictures I had taken while in Israel. I’d shot one of them midway through our trip on a drive to the divided city of Hebron.

We had just left a Palestinian family in whose home we had stayed while near Bethlehem. They lived in Beit Sahour where the angels had directed shepherds to visit the manger. We pilgrims had enjoyed an energetic conversation at their breakfast table about war and peace before leaving. The family’s daughter brought it to a close by mentioning that “someone is shot every day.” That may have prompted me to take more pictures than usual of military checkpoints as we drove to the city where Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, lay buried under the Ibrahimi Mosque. Like Hebron the Mosque is divided into a Jewish and non Jewish half. No Jews have been admitted to the Muslim side since 1994. That was when an American Jew shot 29 worshipers dead while wounding another 125.

On one side of Hebron live ardent Jewish nationalists. They move into any home left vacant by Palestinians down on their luck on the Palestinian side of the city. Above the souk, or shopping district, wire mesh was strung to catch the garbage poured down on shoppers by Jewish squatters. To discourage mayhem IDF forces command Palestinian rooftops.

We were all delighted by our Palestinian guide. We were to learn near the end of our trip that one of his legs was shorter from an Israeli soldier’s bullet. He was full of mirth and good advice. He encouraged us not to buy goods from the many vendors who pursued us through every shopping district. But on this walk through he had only nice things to say about one such vendor. “He’s a good guy.” He told us. We found out later that the good guy, like our guide, had survived a gunshot during a protest.

At one of the last stalls we passed in the souk a merchant told our group resignedly that another Palestinian had been shot dead that day. We walked soberly under a canopy of trash back to our bus.

What we did not know, and what I would not learn until reviewing a fuzzy picture after my return to Duluth, was that our little band of peacemakers had driven right by that day’s killing. Our bus driver had pulled into a road guarded by Israeli soldiers to turn around. As we paused I snapped a hasty picture of IDF trucks parked by razor wire. In the photo’s lower right corner lay a dead man at the feet of an Israeli soldier. The body was stripped naked and sported angry red welts.

a new more singable national anthem

Noah Trevor is astonished that Trump has now made a virtue of his lying and getting his rabid followers to buy into having been fooled – cuz it got him elected:

Its often argued that the National Anthem is too hard for folks to sing. Perhaps it could be replaced with this old Castaway’s song.

Trump is making his supporters complicit in public lies. What a new national ethos – Lincoln and Jesus were losers.

Trump’s new pal

I woke up this morning to find that “My Buddy” had sent me an email with links to bloggers skeptical of the claim that Russia tampered with our recent Presidential election. I haven’t yet read them but I did hear the incredibly reasonable President Obama comment on what a swell guy Vladimir Putin is:

“This is somebody, the former head of the KGB, who is responsible for crushing democracy in Russia, muzzling the press, throwing political dissidents in jail, countering American efforts to expand freedom at every turn; is currently making decisions that’s leading to a slaughter in Syria. And a big chunk of the Republican Party, which prided itself during the Reagan era and for decades that followed as being the bulwark against Russian influence, now suddenly is embracing him.”

And Trump has already suggested that he would be happy to bargain Taiwan’s future away for a better deal with China. Hes my kinda guy.

Today’s Trump News

China concurs with me that our President elect is a lot like the Jerry Lewis character in the movie Visit to a Small Planet. The Chinese said of Trump that Trump is “as ignornant as a child.” The name of the Lewis character turns out to have been “Kreton” which is a play on the word cretin.

I have no intention of letting up on our new soon-to-be President. My Buddy thinks my rants against him are little more than pissing into the wind but I have to do it to sleep through the night. I’m as uncertain as everybody else how a Trump administration will turn out be it a disaster, a success or a wash. At the moment there is little in the news that is very encouraging. But I’ll start by noting that however unorthodox his cabinet picks so far he has selected people who look to be the sort who would stand up to him, real self-made billionaires and no nonsense military men if they thought he was being a chowder head.

Perhaps he’ll follow LBJ’s example. To the great surprise of the Civil Right’s movement LBJ became their champion. After years of fawning over the racists in the US Senate President Johnson pushed through the Civil Right’s laws that transformed the Nation and drove the southern racists into the Republican Party. Why did LBJ do this? He didn’t read books either but he had a great desire to win a place in History’s pantheon of greats. He knew he could be a modern Abraham Lincoln instead of one of a great body of mediocre Presidents and he succeeded. Perhaps Trump’s ego will push him to a similar greatness……..if he can control his inner Kreton.

I know one person who won’t be wishing him well on that front as a strong America is not in his interest. I put up an oblique lawnsign about him before the election.

And to whom am I referring? – NBC reports that the CIA has concluded that not only did the Russians interfere in the recent presidential election but that Vladimir Putin personally directed it to help Trump get elected.

Ezekiel 28: 4-8

My latest Bible reading: I skipped some of the more violent parts of Ezekiel on the off chance that somebody might mistake this as a call to shoot up a pizza joint. Ezekiel reports that God isn’t very impressed with folks who use their smarts solely to make a bundle.

4 By your wisdom and understanding
you have gained wealth for yourself
and amassed gold and silver
in your treasuries.
5 By your great skill in trading
you have increased your wealth,
and because of your wealth
your heart has grown proud.
6 “‘Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says:

“‘Because you think you are wise,
as wise as a god,
7 I am going to bring foreigners against you,
the most ruthless of nations;
they will draw their swords against your beauty and wisdom
and pierce your shining splendor.
8 They will bring you down to the pit,

Trump as Coyote? Naw. He’s more Jerry Lewis

I’ve been trying to see the positives in the looming Trump Presidency. He does break molds. The Georgian leader manhandled by Russia who thought he would be a match for Putin piqued my interest. Trump’s call to the Taiwanese President to twit China did too. I think there is something to say for breaking the mold especially after the jello has dried out. But I keep remembering the last argument he used as his campaign successfully brought down Hillary Clinton’s vote count with nonsense accusations at crazed rallies – Vote for me “what have you got to lose?”

Many Native American tribes have a character in their pantheon called the Coyote. He is a trickster. In some ways he is to be admired for his cunning and creativity. But he is also a character to be wary of. For a few days I tried thinking of Trump as someone who might bring about positive change by shrewdly hiding his intentions – giving himself bargaining room for himself and America. In that world it might be permissible to tell little white lies in much the same way as a placebo can trick a sick person into feeling better. But the lies, while they may have been white – Obama was born an African!, weren’t so little. Such rot went down deep into Trump’s psyche.

What are we supposed to make of a Trumpster taking his AK-47 a couple hundred miles north to a DC Pizzeria to shoot the place up in an effort to learn the truth about a fake news story claiming that it was a front for a child sex ring protected by Hillary Clinton? What are we to make of the fact that this fake news was trumpeted by the son of General Flynn who Trump has tapped to be a national security advisor? This isn’t a Coyote at work. Its chaos.

I keep reaching for metaphors that make sense to me to explain what’s happening. I’ve got a new one. Its the short story I read in High School for English – Visit to a Small Planet by of all people, Gore Vidal, the trenchant pundit who drove William F. Buckley Jr. Crazy.

Hollywood made Vidal’s story into a Jerry Lewis movie that I recall finding stupid. Its a wily twenty minute read but not a great Lewis movie if there is such a thing. (The French of course gave Lewis a medal for his dim witted mugging which I have always suspected was predicated on their De gaulle-ist disdain for the USA.) An alien arrives on Earth and creates mayhem with his extraterrestrial powers. Spoiler Alert! – In the end an adult alien tracks down his errant child and takes him home. Its been a child causing all the mayhem. As a preview of things to come its right up there with the Simpson’s cartoon imagining a Trump Presidency ruining the land.

Oh and by the way. The Trumpsters who are now calling on disappointed voters to rally around Donald Trump after the vile campaign he waged. Hell, Trump set that course when he thought he was going to lose and cried that the election was rigged and made it clear he wouldn’t graciously concede. After his surprise win he became one of the most unpleasant things imaginable – a sore winner. He’s still bragging about thumping Hillary on his “victory tour.” It hasn’t helped that his shrill shill Kellyanne Conway told a Clinton supporter that her candidate would have resorted to the same means to get elected. If anything Hillary was hogtied by Michelle Obama’s exhortation “when they go low we go high.”

Clinton’s campaign aired videos of Trump behaving badly but they didn’t resort to fake news. To answer Trump’s question, what we had to lose was the confidence that our nation’s voters weren’t eating magic mushrooms. Second helping anyone?

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.

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.