Category Archives: Trump 2016

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.

The other hurricane in the news

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We are all doomed so excuse me while I tidy my office

I used my election to the School Board in 2013 as a mental rationalization/justification to fix up my attic. A year after being seated renovation began in earnest. When it was complete I moved massive quantities of paper that had squirrled away all over my house to my new “study.” What I did not count on was being so busy over the last three years that I would drastically add to the fire hazzard with new paper work. Everything is in the Attic now except for photographs which take up a closet on the second floor.

I’ve been busy for most of the summer trying to corral living, breathing, migrating piles of clutter. If I stick to it today I might actually have my floor free of debris for the first time since carpet was laid. Strangely having some control of all this dusty data keeps me from being too paranoid which I’ve long associated with the Duluth School Board in particular and politics in general.

My Buddy has sent me three emails about the as yet unedited “Crap Sandwich” post none of which I’ve allowed myself time to read – yet. I’m afraid they will distract me from my slow progress. Besides, if I start responding to every slight I’ll end up like like Donald Trump sitting in his Manahattan Apartment at all hours of the night tweeting about disagreeable former Miss Universes. I must stay focused. I must stay focused.

That said, I listened to an interesting MPR broadcast this morning with some academics who studied Conspiracy theories from the Illuminati to the theory that the CIA blew up the World Trade Towers. Paranoia has a long illustrious history in America.

My Buddy is far more sanguine about America’s surviving a President Donald Trump than I am. I have mentioned before that I told him that half of America will want to move north if our candidate loses.

But it may not be the Canadians building a wall. In the cleaning out process I discovered a couple old news clippings that bear on this topic. Apparently 41 percent of Americans want the US to build a wall along the Canadian border once the Mexican wall is complete.

My fear of Trump is the mirror image of how Republicans view Obama and no doubt Hillary Clinton which I found in this clipping which says one third of Republicans regard President Obama “as an imminent threat to the US.” I’ll have plenty of company no matter who wins this November but it might take me a couple of days to crawl out from under my covers. Until then I’ll cheer myself up with the Simpson’s take on the secret societies who call the shots:

One crap sandwich and one decent candidate

I’ll proof read this later. I’ve got grandsons to play with.

True to form my Buddy sent me an email making sure to dis Hillary Clinton from conservative blogger Jonah Goldberg:

When given a choice between two crap sandwiches on different kinds of bread, my response is “I’ll skip lunch”—and then I’ll tell you why.

I will read it when I get a minute but I’ve been meaning to write a post on why I look forward to voting for the much maligned Hillary Clinton and not simply cast a vote against the puerile phenomenon Donald Trump. Sorry about using such a big word.

BTW. My Buddy has said of my dissing Trump that I am simply “barking at the moon.” I gather that this means my blog will have no affect on the outcome of the election. I never imagined that it would. There will be 100 million voters this year. My blog has perhaps 10,000 visitors over course of the year. But I’m a public official who wants my public to know what I think even beyond the ken of my school board work so, yeak. I’ll bark at the moon because it beats stewing privately about issues I have little or no control over.

The new conventional wisdom seems to be that we have two crumby candidates. One is awful the other unhinged, and dangerous. To me Hillary isn’t awful. In many ways she is unappealing but in many more she is, unlike Trump, admirable.

For a wonderful side by side video comparison I would highly recommend the always stellar PBS Frontline program that aired last week……

I’ll link to that program later on when I finish this. My cat just barfed and I have to hurry off to church in a couple minutes to catch choir practice. Here’s the link.

I’ve been seeing a surge in analysis (that’s the plural) from rational sources that are perplexed by how unflattering she has been portrayed for the better part of a year. Its worth remembering that as recently as her stint as a Secretary of State her positives were above 50% and that before that when she served in the Senate she was regarded as a work horse. This is particularly noteworthy because that body had recently tried her husband for obstruction of justice and fell 16 votes short of the necessary two-thirds majority to remove him.

I too am resistant to family succession and had little but contempt for the Democratic Party’s longing for a Teddy Kennedy Presidency especially after Chappaquiddick. Like Clinton, I’ll give Teddy credit for becoming an important Senator after his humiliation and all too light punishment for his cowardice. But HC was a victim far more than a villain. It’s true that she radiated disdain for the young intern who imagined she could replace Hillary in the marital bed…….but that’s not leaving her to drown in a submerged car and in many ways her vitriol demonstrates how seriously she was about their marriage.

I’ll never fully understand any other couple’s marriage but its clear to me that the Clinton’s are truly wedded to each other even as Bill has violated his vows like a great many before him. Certainly Hillary, despite sticking with a man like Bill vastly outshines the comic book female once proposed to be a heartbeat away from the Presidency back in 2008.

And that brings me to what finally prompted this defense of Hillary – Saturday Night Live.

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As of 4PM Sunday (when I finally got back to finished this post) this YouTube has had nearly seven million views. Claudia and I thought it was very funny. In fact, we ended up watching SNL for over an hour as a result and many of the skits were very funny. But one message ran through all of them following this intro. Both Trump and Clinton were portrayed as equally unappetizing. Sorry, there is no equity here. I’ve seen some hysteric lists on Face book by Hillary haters of long lists of her crimes. I lived through all of the headlines and to me these lists are a joke.

Hillary’s crime is ambition and to a lesser extent her dogged work to make herself worthy of being elected President.

I don’t know if Donald Trump really punched his second grade music teacher but he claimed he did in Art of the Deal. But as a young man he invested so stupidly and recklessly that the banks who lent him money faced a massive loss if they let him go under. They decided his manic self promotion of the name Trump was better than taking a complete loss and thus was born Trump’s novel use of the family name rented out to other’s for their use and his own self promotion. His success was an accident from which only he emerged unscathed. His further success in the Presidential run really is a rebuke to the Republican Party which was more intent on denying Obama a chance to improve the American Economy with some desperately needed and work generating infrastructure repair. Which tried to kill the safety of his Affordable Care Act and which gave its blue collar constituents red meat like the second amendment, abortion prohibition, black voter suppression and protection of the super aristocrats from having to pay estate taxes on their fortunes while nickel and diming the poor by promoting payday and title loansharking.

Folks, its Hillary Clinton’s Democrats who have fought, for the down and outs not today’s Republicans. The old time Republican moderates, like me, were called RINO’s and drummed out of the party in primary elections by the 800 pound demagogue, Rush Limbaugh, and his coterie of 400 pound imitators. Compromise is a dirty world. What were our founding Fathers thinking?

Perhaps the sorriest tale in the Frontline piece was Trumps complete buy in of his Father’s extreme notion of winners and losers and his own complicity in driving his less competitive older brother to drink and an early death. Even the Trump family is not immune from having losers within its rank. I can’t help but recall the German leader who felt that it was his own nation’s people who were to blame when the Allied Powers came crashing through their borders to put an end to the Second World War. You can be sure if Donald Trump is a great disaster it will be America’s fault, not his.

I have voted for Independent candidates in the past as a protest against the major parties. I voted for John Anderson over either Mondale or Reagan in 1980. Even so it never seriously occurred to me that either Mondale or Reagan was in any way a threat to the nation and I returned to the GOP fold the following year after Reagan had proved his mettle. I am not sure who I voted for in 2000’s Gore-Bush race but, although I strongly disagreed with the Supreme Court’s heavy thumb on Florida’s election results, I never thought either man was anything like the threat that Donald Trump currently strikes me as being. Hell, I didn’t vote for Jesse Ventura for Minnesota Governor but I sort of got a kick out of him and hell, it was an experiment that affected only one of 50 states. To this day I don’t find the former WWF “heel” a fraction as offensive as Trump.

Shake those shoulders, Hillary. Please don’t let America elect the crap sandwich who hasn’t paid taxes for most of his life.

3rd thought on tomorrow’s debate

This picture almost makes me forget how glad I was to have Barack Obama take George W. Bush’s place. Compared to today’s Republican nominee Bush was a saint. This remarkably able, and wholesome First Lady married another good guy who has been the subject of eight years of scurilous, vindictive, demogogic excoriation that will seem almost as incomprehensible to historians of the future as this year’s Republican nominee.

This picture is also a wonderful salve at a time of “Birther” leavened racial hurt.

2nd thought on tomorrow’s debate

For those of you who use the phrase “X may be a son-of-a-bitch but he’s our son-of-a-bitch.” Think twice before you put Donald Trump’s name in it.

If you’re a blue collar worker who lost your job to the developing world remember that before he was against trade pacts Donald Trump made use of them to set up shop everywhere else besides the United States.

If you’re a small business person remember his long record of declaring bankruptcy leaving small business on the hook for his failed investments.

If you’re ambitious and struggling remember how he made a spectator sport of mocking losers with his television mantra “you’re fired.” And don’t forget how he took his true believers who enrolled in this sham Trump University to the cleaners.

If you believe in Christian charity remember how he has used his charitable donations to pay off debts and buy political favors.

And if, like me, you value Presidential honesty remember that compared to Hillary’s failure to be candid about whether she ever failed to treat a classified email as a state secret you have in just the last week from Donald Trump a wealth of bullshit and lies that will continue for the next four years should he be elected President of the United States.

We need to think carefully about just whose son-of-a-bitch Donald Trump really is. He’s David Duke’s son-of-a-bitch. He’s Vladimir Putin’s son-of-a-bitch. Is this who American needs to be their son-of-a-bitch?

The abandonment of true journalism

Donald Trump is, among other things, a fellow who has profited mightily by the faltering of twentieth century journalism. In its place is a dizzying array of Internet data dumps available for inspection by the curious and curated by interested persons from the honest to the nefarious. Somewhere in between are all the organizations which have a special interest in winning the public to their side. For the unwary and for people without the luxury of time to deeply investigate this inexhaustible library of data its far easier to let their tribal pals spoon feed them formulas.

My buddy is always telling me I’m being tribal when I bad mouth the Republican Party. I’m not sure what tribe this makes me a part of. I did attend Democratic precinct caucuses for about eight years never really becoming part of their machinery. For ten years before that I played gadfly in an increasingly purge happy Republican Party. Prior to that I quietly voted for Democrats when unappetizing Republican candidates won the primaries or GOP nominations. If I have a tribe to a large extent it could be called the tribe of the “Man without a Country.”

Here’s Wikipedia’s summary of this famous short story’s plot:

The protagonist is a young United States Army lieutenant, Philip Nolan, who develops a friendship with the visiting Aaron Burr. When Burr is tried for treason (historically this occurred in 1807), Nolan is tried as an accomplice. During his testimony, he bitterly renounces his nation, angrily shouting, “I wish I may never hear of the United States again!” The judge is completely shocked at this announcement, and on convicting him, icily grants him his wish: he is to spend the rest of his life aboard United States Navy warships, in exile, with no right ever again to set foot on U.S. soil, and with explicit orders that no one shall ever mention his country to him again.

I was haunted by the story which I read in an English class. That was the hope of the author Edward Everett Hale. Until perusing Wikipedia just now I had no idea who the author was or the circumstances for his the writing of the book. It was composed in the middle of the Civil War, a ripe time for an American to agonize about national identity. Lincolndemocrat takes particular note of the author’s being the nephew of Edward Everett, the orator and statesman, famous for the long forgotten speech that preceded Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address and being the “grand-nephew of Nathan Hale (1755-1776), the Revolutionary War hero executed by the British for espionage.”

If I have a tribe its probably confined to my office. I will admit that it is a bit more capacious than the ship’s stateroom to which the story’s protagonist is confined for the rest of his life. Like the protagonist I have bits and pieces of evidence of my nation tacked to my walls. BTW – here’s the story long out of copyright. I didn’t reread it in full but just cut to the end to compare it to my memory of it.

About that end. I was probably 15 when I read the book and far less knowledgeable about the American history that had taken place prior to the story’s conclusion. That it was written during the Civil War and contemplation about what the union meant may not have registered with me quite as it does now.

My Buddy is no doubt right when he tells me the US will soldier on if Donald Trump is elected President. I suppose we would have survived if Huey Long had been elected or Joseph McCarthy but what a shame it would have been. The Presidents they would have supplanted were superior individuals. Its true that neither of these men were Adolph Hitlers but neither was Hitler early in his career. The great irony of Germany and the Reich was that a nation of such cultivated and sophisticated people could descend to the gas chamber, the charnel house and ruin. We seem to have past the time for a nuclear holocaust but our technology certainly leaves room for an even worse case scenario than that which transpired at the end of World War II. I can’t help but see seeds of destruction in today’s political tribal culture and campaign rhetoric and, frankly, its probably too late to stop Greenland’s icecap from melting.

I am troubled that the notion of American exceptionalism is often waved about by folks who mistake it for America’s wealth and power and not for the intangibles locked into our Bill of Rights. One of those intangibles is the right of a free press. Donald Trump can’t wait to get elected President so that he can change the libel laws like he plans to change the Generals and sue every newspaper that looks at him cross-eyed. Then he can enjoy the sort of freedom his good buddy Vladimir Putin enjoys behind the Kremlin’s walls. Donald Trump is just an eight hundred pound Albertson.

Yeah, compared to electing Trump, elevating Hillary Clinton to the Presidency would be a disaster. Remember Benghazi – or at least what the pretend newsman Roger Ailes wanted you to think happened there. That way you will be anesthetized to the coming of a White House with five letters tackily emblazoned on it in Gold leaf.

Highs and lows.

After my Congdon visit this morning I served lunch at the Damiano Soup Kitchen. Chicken gravy over fresh mashed potatos. It was very popular. Tomorrow, Saturday, I’ll be painting our church. I’ll be grateful for the distraction. American politics and ISD 709 weigh me down.

After watching PBS News Hour tonight I told Claudia that we needed to go see Bridget Jone’s Baby. Its a comedy which has been given favorable reviews and I recall enjoying the first of the Jones movies nearly twenty years ago. I told Claudia I was in no mood to see any more news and off we went. That’s something we probably haven’t done on a Friday night for a decade.

The movie was a hoot but when I got home I looked at my cell and saw a Facebook post from reliable journalistic pariah for the Republicans, Dan Rather. I agreed with evertything he said critical of Donald Trump. His jerimiad was about the threat to First Amendment press rights Trump would be. He left out one of the threats; Trump’s desire to lower the standards of libel so that he could sue reporters for defaming him. Its a good thing he has no shame (as witnessed today by blaming Hillary Clinton for starting the Birther movement) because he descends deeper into the lunitic fringe. Those are the myopians who believe he is telling it like it is. This is what the Republican Party of Lincoln has descended to. No wonder I’m depressed. Every day Trump gains another point in the polls is another blow to the idea of American exceptionalism. Naw, we’re susceptible to Hugo Chaves’s and Duterte’s and Putins. Far too few Republicans are standing in his way lest they lose the Congress. Ah yes! Better they lose their souls than a death grip on a paralyzed Congress. Its jaw dropping to watch preachers supporing this abombination over a Methodist who stuck by her cheating man. The remind me of Pat Robertson saying American deserved the 911 attack because we had been so ungodly as a nation. I guess Trump is the next plague for an undeserving nation.

I danced at Condon. I sang while serving lunch. I howled at Bridget Jones. Then I came home to an email message from our administration forbidding me and the other school board members from talking to the press about a delicate topic. I wrote a stern email back suggesting that it was high time for the school board to have a closed session to discuss said topic. I may only be one of onehundred-fifty million voters in November. But on the School Board I’m one of seven votes. Sanity seems tantalizingly close here in Duluth.

I joked with my Buddy a few weeks back saying that whoever wins the Presidency will force half of America to seek asylum in Canada. Thank God Canada hasn’t built a wall.

I feel another sleepless night coming on. I hope I don’t fall off of my ladder while painting tomorrow.

Newsweek’s story on Trump’s 500 overseas tentacles

US Grant was derided for years as an incompetant President who presided over a corrupt nation. Recent scholarship is much more charitable. Lincoln was indebted to him. That’s good enough for me.

Chester Authur was a corrupt political hack who reformers were appalled to see succeed a towering James Garfield when the later was assassinated. At the time he was given credit for surprising contemporaries by cleaning up his act and not encouraging corruption when he unexpectedly took the Presidency.

Warren Harding was a nonentity who was maneuvered into the Presidency by super Boss Mark Hanna to prevent a successor to the trust busing Theodore Roosevelt from entering the Oval Office. He kept company with scores of crooks during the Roaring Twenties. He had the good sense to die before the scandals broke out leaving him the reputation as the worst President of all time. Other than fathering a child out of wedlock I don’t recall his being accused of sharing in the ill gotten gains of his crooked friends.

Richard Nixon, only the second President to face Impeachment, high tailed it out of Office to avoid being punished by Congress for numerous abuses of power. Personal financial gain was not one of his serious failures. A failed President he nonetheless pushed through a wealth of domestic and international actions that profoundly improved the world for the better.

Hillary Clinton, a First Lady and faithful spouse, stuck by her husband when his infidilities were exposed during his Presidency – the first to have them exposed publically since Grover Cleveland a hundred years before. After a succussful term as a United States Senator and a competant Secretary of State she and her husband attempted to redeem a savaged reputation by raising hundreds of millions of dollars from numerous sovereign nations and wealthy individuals to help impoverished people throughout the world. She made herself available for innocent discussions to these contributors while Secretary of State with little evidence that her contributors benefited from the interchanges. She recieves nothing from the Clinton Foundation but does make money giving speeches like a great many recently retired Presidents.

Then there is Donald Trump. Here’s Newsweek’s recent expose of a handful of the 500 or so problematic relationships. Many of them would call into question a President Trump’s financial conflicts of interest. “Unscrupulousness” hardly begins to cover the national security threat to the United States.

One of the more distressing aspects of this story are the many defenders of Donald Trump and their comments following the story. It reminds me when supporters of Barack Obama in 2008 were accused by Republicans of treating Obama as though he was a Messiah who walked on water. Now Trump’s supporters are proving to be similarly inclined despite ample evidence to the contrary.

Shaking my head and shaking Trump’s hands

I’ve made clear that I will support Hillary Clinton this year for President. I recently wrote to my Buddy and told him I was so busy I would not be emailing him so much…….that’s proving hard to do. His email to me last night:

From: [Your Buddy]
To: “Harry Welty”

Subject: Clinton Never Learns That the World Sees Every Stumble – Bloomberg View – Megan McArdle

First the veracity of Fox was questioned . . .
If Gabriel Rossman perfectly summed up the spin cycle yesterday, David Axelrod perfectly summed up the problem beneath it: “Antibiotics can take care of pneumonia. What’s the cure for an unhealthy penchant for privacy that repeatedly creates unnecessary problems?”

Unfortunately, there’s now a possibility that even if such a cure is found, for Hillary Clinton, it will come too late.

To which I replied:

I mostly just shake my head at this stuff. I don’t think the stumble is the problem its the excessive spin. Clinton may have infected her whole campaign with paranoia. She should have learned from Nixon that the cover up is what kills you. Don’t know if its too late for a vaccination but I’m beginning to sense Trump has taken a shot to keep his foot out of his mouth.

By coincidence last night I watched a PBS show about how in 1953 Winston Churchill kept his severe debilitating stroke out of the news. Ah the good old days.

PS. I should note that in an earlier email to my Buddy on this thread I mentioned that I got pneumonia when I was just past 50 and it knocked me for a loop. That lasted a week or two and its bugs haven’t gotten to me since. I know that Clinton shakes lots of hands and presumably got the walking pneumonia on the hustings. Trump better watch out or he might be next. But then again I’ve read that Trump is phobic about that kind of thing _ shaking hands.

Yeah, I’m no fan of Bill Clinton

I think this is a riposte from my Buddy.

From: [Your Buddy]
Sent: Saturday, September 10, 2016 7:21 AM
To: Harry Welty
Subject: Photos Show Bill Clinton and Donald Trump Hanging Out


Not even The Donald and The Big He are always tribal.

Your Buddy

And I’ll acknowledge that this tidbit is worth acknowledging. In fact, today’s Trib has dueling viewpoints on what a First Husband Bill ought to look like here and here. I didn’t read them but I have a lot of strong thoughts where William Jefferson Clinton is concerned.

Oh he’s a rascal all right but I’m not amused or besotted by his charm. I devoted one of my best snow scultures to him right after he was first elected and said nice things about him. I even pissed off untold numbers of Ross Perot supporters I’d been working with when I decided Perot wasn’t up to the Presidency and hopped off his bandwagon.

I’m sure if you type Bill Clinton into my search engine you will find a couple disparaging remarks I’ve made about him. In my emails to my Buddy I passed on my suspicion that our ex President raped a woman while he was Arkansas’s Attorney General. A few years ago reading my favorite blogger Andrew Sullivan I was directed to a story suggesting that both Trump and Clinton hobbed nobbed together on some Multimillionaire’s Caribbean island where underaged girls were available.

If my Buddy thinks my disgust with Bill Clinton’s mores will put me off of Hillary he’s wrong. Don’t get me wrong. They put me off but people are endlessly fascinating. Clinton was a competent President and I believed him years ago when he said Hillary was even smarter than he is – just not as publically charming and facile.

Hillary’s sins were often petty as for instance when she told reporters that she wanted to do more than bake cookies. As a house husband myself when she said this I was mortally wounded but I got over it. Yeah, she didn’t make evidence on Whitewater easily available and she and Bill obviously bent the rules to make ends meet and she turned a blind eye to his infidelities. For Republicans, as I told my Buddy, the primary sin of the Clintons was acting like Republican policy makers. That undermined the whole GOP schtick about bleeding heart liberals bankrupting America. He reformed Welfare for God’s sakes! Who did he think he was? Ronald Reagan!

I’ve also told my Buddy many times that I was tired of the Clintons and wanted them to just go away. Ditto the Bushes although Donald Trump makes all the Bush’s look like saints by comparison. I stopped talking to my wife about Hillary. She was wounded eight years ago when I was rooting for Barack Obama and disparaging Hillary. My wife can’t help but see a lot of dyspeptic mysogyny in the way Hillary has been treated and Claudia identifies with it. Claudia’s elementary school teacher wouldn’t let her give a little speech about her desire to be a space scientist. She was told to give a speech about being a nurse or a teacher. Claudia refused to give the speech her teacher wanted. Its high time for a competent woman to be President of the United States and no one in our benighted age is as smart as Hillary Clinton like her or not.

Even in 2008 I had to give Hillary credit for having earned a shot at the Presidency. She was no longer a First Lady but a United States Senator from the Empire State – New York. All her Republican Senate colleagues made it clear that she was a hard worker and whip smart.

The great irony of the 2008 campaign was that the pundits of the GOP, especially Rush Limbaugh, said wonderful things about Barack Obama to stick it to Hillary who had been their bogey woman for years. The political calculation was crude and obvious. If the Democrats were stoopid enough to nominate a “N” America wouldn’t elect him to the Presidency and their Republican candidate would win the day despite a disaserous end to the George W Bush Presidency. America fooled them.

For the past few years I’ve told Claudia that Hillary had a shot at the Presidency. She kept tellling me it was too late – Hillary was too old. I wasn’t really eager to have Hillary be the candidate and I’m still tired of the Clintons. I’ll probably feel that way in 2020 if Hillary runs for reelection – if she gets past voters who consider her a “B.” But I am finding myself rooting for her to beat the Dickens out of Republicans who have made governmental dysfunction their calling card. They couldn’t stand that ugly word “compromise” any more than they could stand my being a RINO after they took over my party and threw out old liturgy.

I always sympathized with the Republicans of my Grandfather’s Era having to put up with the sainted Franklin Roosevelt and enduring his four successive Presidential wins. But I don’t blame the voters of either 1940 or 1944 for sensing that changing a horse in midstream during the world war was a bad idea. I won’t blame voters this year if they decide an insecure man who makes fifth graders sound smart by his repetitive use of two sylable words is not quite the brilliant fellow he constantly tells us he is. Frankly, I’m in awe of Hillary Clinton, both Clinton’s really, for their tenacity, durability, intrigue and ultimate success. By contrast Donald Trump is a dumb-as-a-stump chump who, treats his customers with W.C.Field’s disdain, “Never give a sucker an even break,” or P.T. Barnum’s guile, “There’s a sucker born every minute.” As for his panache? I’m afraid its only some rainbow sherbert he dripped on his Gucci sports coat.

That’s what people voting for Donald Trump should expect – a nonexistant degree from Trump University. As the Donald might say: that would be a horrible, horrible, horrible, thing. Ooh. that’s a three sylable word. I’m impressed, impressed, impressed.

BTW: I decided there was more work to do on Bill Clinton after I busted him. This was the finished product:

Clinton, like Trump, could toot his own horn.

Sully two

After I went to bed last night something popped in my head that made me question Eastwood’s motives for making the movie Sully. Did Eastwood want to throw darts at incompetent, uncaring big government as some sort of message for the American electorate? The movie makes much of the suspicion and hostility of the NTSB in investigating whether Sully didn’t have other safer and prescribed alternatives to landing in the North River.

My quick answer after doing a little googling is No. I don’t think so.

I base this on this story from the Denver Post about what the real Sully thought of Eastwood’s movie and the fact that this movie started life well before Donald Trump was imagined as anything other than a media celebrity with the tag line “Your fired” attached to his reputation.

According to the article Eastwood when considering the story wondered who the antagonist could be in a five minute miracle landing. Of course, as the screenplay made clear to Eastwood, it had to be the officials second guessing Sullivan’s hasty decision.

I don’t know if Eastwood ramped up their overbearing a notch or not but Sullivan explains that his heartbeat was still racing months after his landing and his appearace of calm, by the books, confidence. And Sullivan bears no ill will to the NTSB which according to the movie he had to set straight on the realities he faced in the cockpit. In fact, as the movie makes clear, he was in the process of transistioning after retirement to safety consultantcy – just what the National Transportation Safety Board is all about. Its their duty to unearth the facts after tragedies no matter the tender emotions of the victims.

All this does is confirm my first judgement of the movie. I give it four stars.