Category Archives: Trump 2016

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.

Thieves in the night

So, funny story. My last post from Friday night about that sign I painted and how I had a good night’s sleep after sticking it up in my front yard late at night……today its in someone else’s front yard or dorm room or down a ravine. It did occur to me that it being a relatively mild Friday night with lots of young folks zipping around on the streets it might get nicked.

I woke up at 4AM and peeked out a window and saw that it was gone. I didn’t mind that much. I thought about making a replacement but decided going back to sleep would be better for me. I did and it was better.

The making of the sign had served a useful purpose Friday night. It kept me awake so I could see a PBS program about the making of the hot new musical “Hamilton.”

I already knew a couple things about it. It was based on the Pulitzer Prize winning bio written by Ron Cherno. Its one of the books I’ve bought in past years circling the airport waiting for me to read it. It also has a heavily minority cast including the figure of Hamilton and his killer Vice President Aaron Burr.

If I hadn’t gotten engaged in laying out the sign and painting it I would have gone to bed. I was dog tired. I have a couple observations from watching the special on Hamilton. The heavy influence of minority actors gives me great hope. That black Americans could take the story of a white founding father and press it to their breast and make it their own tells me that we will survive this crappy election. In doing so we will defy Donald Trump and continue making America the great nation our white founding fathers hoped it would be with their soaring rhetoric that paved a way to a more humane future. We still have work to do.

I shared this personal commentary from a conservative blogger about the abuse being heaped on him by Donald Trump’s fans to a friend. Limbaugh treated Obama as a joke early on. He called him a “halfrican american” back in 2007. Limbaugh keeps pouring it on and now his fans are tweeting venom anonymously with pictures of the children of Trump’s critics photoshopped into Auschwitz ovens. Tonight I watched another superlative PBS offering about Norman Lear the showman who brought us All in the Family. Lear told of being nine and listening to his crystal radio set broadcasting a speech by Father Coughlin explaining how Jews threatened America. Lear was a Jew.

After quitting TV Lear formed People for the American Way to challenge the new New Father Coughlin’s of the Moral Majority. Jerry Falwell’s response was to write to his supporters that Lear was bringing “filth and sexual perversion” into American homes. Good Christians saw to it that Lear got the same treatment that is now being heaped on Mr.French.

Claudia, who’s sign was stolen, and I talked about the Trump army. Her take is a lot like mine. These are people who are hurting. They deserve more sympathy than antipathy. I’ll confess that I can’t muster any for the trolls who photoshop children’s faces into images of the holocaust but I understand that every cause has its fringe – mine included whatever it may be.

1860 redux?

I just watched the final 2016 presidential debate. It’s worth noting that the last time a nation didn’t except the results of a presidential election we had a civil war.

That was because of the threat of ending slavery vs. disavowing the preamble to the Declaration of lndependence.

In 2016 not accepting the results of the election would be the result of a narcisist being unhappy about admitting that he was a loser.

Vote Trump and save us from the liberal apocalypse

My Buddy prefers to send me Op Ed pieces that challenge my point of view rather than make his own arguments. That leaves me to argue with his Op Ed experts. Here’s a computer prof begging voters in the Wall Street Journal to vote for Trump with their noses pinched shut. I’m having none of it:

From: [Your Buddy]
Sent: 16-Oct-2016 03:43:39 +0000
Subject: Trump and the Emasculated Voter

Again, I am only the messenger; and what does a professor of computer science at Yale, know?


“Trump voters have noticed that, not just over Mr. Obama’s term but in recent decades, their own opinions have grown increasingly irrelevant. It’s something you feel, like encroaching numbness. Since when has the American public endorsed affirmative action? Yet it’s a major factor in the lives of every student and many workers. Since when did we decide that men and women are interchangeable in hand-to-hand combat on the front lines? Why do we insist on women in combat but not in the NFL? Because we take football seriously. That’s no joke; it’s the sad truth”.


“Enter Mr. Trump. People say he became a star because he just happened to mention an issue that just happened to catch on. But immigration is the central issue of our time. Trump voters zeroed in because they saw what most intellectuals didn’t. What is our nation and what will it be? Will America go on being America or turn into something else? That depends on who lives here—especially given our schools, which no longer condescend to teach Americanism.

The liberal theory is that, other things being equal, all human beings have an equal right to settle in America. For liberals this is too obvious to spell out. But it is also too ludicrous to defend. Does all mankind have a right to camp in your backyard, eat in your kitchen, work at your office and borrow your best jogging outfit? We fail in our duty if we don’t think carefully whom we want in this country, who would be best for America.”

My Reply:


Yale? Big deal. W went to Yale and that left us with the War on Terror, Dick Cheney and No Child Left Behind.

Yeah, I’m just saying that as a smart ass but its your question that prompts it and your disclaimer that you are only the messenger. No, the WSJ is the messenger. Frankly tons of profs are full of themselves, liberals and conservatives alike. This guy is no different.

He makes a cunning argument for voters who don’t want to vote for Hillary to move them to the Trump column even if doing so makes their skins crawl. Trump, for all his drawbacks will bring common sense back or risk impeachment and a sane Pence replacement presidency. Is it just me or is this Computer Science expert awfully glib wading into political prognostication?

Obama worthy of impeachment? Shades of Rush Limbaugh.

Clinton a sociopathic liar? Simple minded tosh.

Trump risk of impeachment? Grossly overestimated with Pence as our savior…….the guv who is shutting down voting registration efforts in Indiana…….I know. Its too early to get the big picture on that story but it fits right in with 30 GOP states efforts to suppress minority voters.

I do think the prof has a point about large swaths of the American blue collar public feeling trampled upon and blithely ignored by the elites. I don’t particularly blame them. Republicans, for their part, have been happy to title loan them to financial ruin and dilute measures to mitigate job losses when factories move overseas. Perhaps being from Yale your professor doesn’t notice that kind of minutia

On the other hand, so called “conservative” voices like Rush Limbaugh have been part of the problem. Rush and his ilk have done their best to turn the Republican party into a cartoon by primarying any moderate or “liberal” Republican out of the Party. One of the hallmarks of democracy, compromise, has been made to seem like prostitution. Where was this guy when all this was happening? Fussing with algorithms I guess. Maybe he is my “conservative” alter ego with his penchant for the apocalyptic. We are on the eve of destruction……..Trump’s that is. Not America’s.


Fascism lite?

Donald Trump is not a Jew hating Adolph Hitler and the United states in 2016 is not the desperate post-war Weimar Republic still reeling from the devastation of World War I. That said, I’ll mention the similarities I see with Hitler’s rise to power and the Trump Campaign which has led many Republican Newspapers to endorse Hillary Clinton:

Hitler once wrote a book, Mein Kampf, extolling his struggles. Trump once had an “autobiography” ghost written, The Art of the Deal, extolling his genius.

Mr. Hitler outlasted half a dozen brutal villains to become the top leader of the Nazi Party proving himself to be the most cunning of the lot. Mr. Trump managed to be the last man standing in a crowded field of wannabe Presidents by perfecting the put down and public humiliation.

Hitler was a theatrical master at spewing bombastic and simple-minded messages. Ditto Trump

Hitler lied and lied and lied. The fact checkers have run out of ink correcting Trump.

When Hitler finally “won” an election, later to be appointed Chancellor, it was with a plurality of only about 33% of the vote. As of this moment Donald Trump seems to have a support base of about 35% of likely voters depending on who decides to vote.

Hitler, was a master of pushing when he could and pulling back so as not to overstep himself in his rise to the top of the Nazi Party and Germany. After he became the Furher he exercised the same talent internationally by, for example, promising not to invade Czechoslovakia if England and France permitted Germany to swallow Slovakia. Later he invaded the rest of Czechoslovakia. All through the process of winning the nomination Trump alternately promised to be a loyal Republican then threatened to challenge it as a third party candidate. The Republicans, like the German authorities in Hitler’s time, succumbed to his duplicity. The misloyalty that won Trump the Republican nomination is being repaid with threats to undermine Republican candidates who do not show him the loyalty he feels he deserves -This despite having shown no loyalty to the Party of Lincoln.

Hitler avoided alcoholic beverages preferring to imbibe swooning audiences mesmerized with his theatrics and stage presence. Ditto Trump.

Hitler had some of his rivals killed. Trump hinted to gun right’s extremists that one of them might take out his opponent, Hillary Clinton.

Once Chancellor, Hitler was able to censor all critics. Trump wants to change the libel laws as President so that he can more easily win defamation suits against his critics.

Hitler made much of his enthusiasm for Dictator, Benito Mussolini. Trump makes much of his enthusiasm for Vladimir Putin.

Adolph Hitler used apocalyptic language to blame all of Germany’s ills on Jews suggesting that their removal was the only solution to Germany’s problems. Trump has done the same pointing to illegal aliens and refugees from war. But apparently there is an even more dangerous threat. Faced with allegations of sexual misdeeds Trump is now blaming the establishment and the media in the most apocalyptic terms accusing them of rigging the system and conspiring against him and the United States.

In Germany, the large sensible middle class and intelligentsia consoled themselves that such a refined nation as Germany might have to endure Adolph Hitler for a spell but that everything would sort itself out eventually. In America………………………..

Just because some Trump critics may be hypocrites…

… isn’t a good reason to deny Hillary Clinton my vote.

Lest anyone think I live by a double standard my Buddy sent me this curt dismissal of the outrage over Trump’s randy sex talk expressed by Hillary Clinton’s supporters.

If you don’t read it suffice it to say that the author points out a lot of crude rap lyrics by musicians who are clearly on the Clinton bandwagon. She asks why does the left lionize the rap artists rather than condemn them? That’s a fair question.

But as I wrote back to my Buddy the piece does not defend Trump. Rather it lumps him in with some of Hillary Clinton’s supporters who, thankfully, are not running for President. Then it lashes society in general for hiding behind Victorian values while living hypocritically by the same kind of values found oozing out of the Trump tapes.

Trump’s self defense reminds me of children who whine to their parents that other kids get away with stuff and aren’t punished. It fits in with his 4th grade word usage.

So we are left to ponder if Trump’s real complaint is that Hillary was a lax parent or, worse yet, someone who took vengeance on her husband’s targets. My recollection going back thirty years is that her role has been greatly overblown by Trump. This short CNN piece seems to confirm my recollection: Reality Check: Did Hillary Clinton attack her husband’s accusers?

And by the way. I personally have nothing but contempt for Donald Trump. His recordings with Billy Bush merely confirmed what I suspected. I had a lot of contempt for the actions of friends of mine toward women when I was in college 50 years ago. If they were running for President now and I thought they hadn’t changed I’d likely be outing them.

There are plenty of other reasons not to vote for Trump besides his misogny. Perhaps the biggest is what Donald Trump probably thinks about the poor schmoes who lost their jobs when he and his ilk moved factories out of the United States – that they are “losers.”

There are plenty of reasons to vote for Hillary Clinton that vastly outweigh her crime of sticking by her husband despite his dalliances. One of them is this: That she represents a political party that attempted compromise to manage the nation while the other Party did its best to prevent President Obama from having any successes.

I think it is possible that if the Republican party reaps what it has sown and loses both houses of Congress as well as the Presidency in 2016 the American public will fall in love for a generation with a functioning government and the party that runs it.


I’ve got half a dozen emails regarding the School Board and from my Buddy. Having just watched the second Presidential debate of 2016 I’m too tired to look at them. I did want to comment on the debate, however.

Donald Trump having thrown a bomb into the Republican Party probably stopped the damage to his campaign tonight. He said nothing to win new voters tonight but said enough of the same old, same old, to reassure his true believers. He’ll get at least 45 percent of the vote and maybe more but he’ll get very few of the 2 to 4 percent of the vote that has been truly undecided. He has thirty days to hope more open mike moments don’t bubble up. Meanwhile this episode has unleashed a torrent of Facebook accounts by women who have suffered from their own insufferable Donald Trump types. I expect that will have lasting positive results.

Otherwise my thoughts about Donald Trump haven’t changed much. I still hold by this impression from the first debate.