Category Archives: Trump 2016

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery

or is it?

I stopped reading my email a couple days ago when I got this subject heading:

“YOU ARE A RACIST, HARRY”

It was followed by a couple additional emails from the same author who I warned I would stop reading emails from all together if I didn’t stop seeing the “n” word spelled out in full in them. I won’t be reading the others and it will end a very long cordial line of letters going back five or six years.

Here’s what my old corespondent wrote with my asterisk laden alterations inserted:

“I see from your blog that your 2 digit IQ mind just can’t allow you to treat our respectable President-elect with the same modicum of reverence you keep according your “n*****” Obama. Sorry your parents didn’t raise you right… respect all people. Why don’t you post on your website how much you want to see the poor normal people of northeastern Minnesota to suffer as the result of your “n*****’s” vicious attacks against us. What would your Mom and Dad say?”

In answer to the-last-question – my parents would have told me what I told my daughter when she was being taunted by a boy on the playground in second grade – “ignore him.”

I can ignore my old corespondent’s email but I can’t ignore a man who has insulted critics and innocents alike weekly since he began running for the Republican nomination. If my corespondent thinks insulting a Republican candidate’s wife’s looks, is respectable then I’ll reciprocate by saying it would be a pretty picture to see Donald Trump on his knees before Vladimir Putin. I doubt that the KBG, or its modern equivalent, got that photo but I call on the Russian Prime Minister to release the video of the “golden shower” if indeed he’s got a copy of it locked in the Kremlin’s vaults.

Its funny but I was probably the last person in America to hear the allegation about the “golden shower”. An hour before last Saturday’s SNL began I called my brother to talk about the deteriorating health of our uncle. Over the course of our conversation my Brother mentioned a shower and I had to ask him what he was referring to. I was taken aback but thanked him because, had I not been told, I would have been utterly mystified by the opening of Saturday Night Live. My critique? SNL’s opening wasn’t that funny. Too obvious. To easy.

Since my old corespondent tunes in to my blog despite my recommendation I’ll address a second and more important issue he raised: “the poor people of Northeastern Minnesota.”

This is a reference to Obama’s last minute attempts to prevent mining developments in Northeastern Minnesota. Its a fair point that doesn’t need the word “n” to disparage Obama. It was a last minute means of keeping the environmentalists on the Democrat’s side after Trump takes over. I have my own reservations about sulfide mining but I’ve seen the Twin Cities trample Northeastern Minnesota before so I appreciate the resentment of those in the mining community.

Then again, when I get to China I might have a couple days inhaling the infamous coal burning smog when I get to Beijing. Let’s hope our future billionaires can start mining Psyche once we learn to make robots and cheaply ferry the asteroid to Earth in bits and pieces. It will take hundreds of thousands of workers to manage that high tech operation. Maybe the grandchildren of coal miners can get in on that.

And then there is the charge that I am a racist. Maybe I am. I have heard lots of black folks – years back – claim that only white people can be racists. I never bought that but maybe its true …….or maybe my corespondent thinks that I am a self hating white person and I hate white people. I don’t buy that either. I could never snuggle under the covers with my grandsons if I found them that repellent.

Finally there is the title to this blog piece: imitation as flattery. If its not obvious I’m simply doing what millions of others are doing after the President Elect has flipped his middle twitter at them and followed the President Elect’s lead. Hell! Being aggressively rude got Trump elected President so maybe it can do something for the majority of voters who didn’t get their way due to the Constitutional mechanics of our presidential election system…….just maybe the majority can titter Trump to do sensible things.

I heard a remarkable debate on NPR today which suggested that Trump may push the Republican Party to support its worst nightmare since I was in grade school sixty years ago – “socialized medicine.” That would astound even Obama’s critics who wanted the “single payer” system and it would eviscerate the private insurance system.

Already lots of Trump fans have been shattered to hear him back off his great Mexican wall which the Mexicans think is a joke.

It turns out that Donald Trump wants to be loved. I guess it never occurred to him that he might end up being hated. I’m quite prepared to be impressed if he pulls off solving what have become seemingly intractable problems. If he does I’ll even offer my grudging respect. Reagan got that too despite my reservations about him. However, I never detested the ever sunny and humble Ronald Reagan. If Trump pulls that off I’ll be amazed. Until then, when he flips my side the bird I’ll join the chorus of his imitators.

The “counter puncher”

More chitter chatter on that “N” word between me and another friend. This one includes a link to a Fred Barne’s rationalization for Trump’s corrosive tweets.

From:
To: “Harry Welty”
Cc:
Sent: 13-Jan-2017 21:08:37 +0000
Subject: The Counterpuncher – WeeklyStandard.com

http://tws.io/2iqIZzq

Harry: Trump may not be perfect or conventional, but he represents the best chance for the poor rural people in northeastern Minnesota and rural America to get their way of life, homes and jobs back and bring life back to normal. Hill would have continued to f*** us and f*** us hard, so I can’t blame people for having hope now. And Harry, if you want me to quit calling Obama the n***** that he acts like , then you quit lambasting Trump on your website. Fair enough? Jim

Black people are good people. N*****s are not…there is a difference.

In case its not obvious this friend didn’t put in the asterisks. I did.

My Reply:

*******,

Your word usage just barely passes the “academic” test so I’ll bite one last time.

I used to listen to Fred Barnes on the McLaughlin Report. He struck me as a conservative suck up then. I don’t see much different from him here.

Praising the “counter-punching” skills of Trump is at best a thin rationalization. For a man who brags that he is so smart Trump has an amazingly limited set of communication skills. They fit hand in glove with his astonishing ignorance. His school yard taunts are those of a Johnny one note.

I agree with you that a lot of hard luck folks have put a great deal of faith in him. I expect that they will be greatly disappointed because his general philosophy could have sprung from PT Barnum: “There’s a sucker born every minute.”

For the sake of the folks counting on him I hope you are right and I hope I am wrong but the Bible offers sound advice to counter punchers, to wit: “Those who live by the sword, die by the sword.” That’s how Trump’s mentor, Roy Cohn, ended up. http://www.thesmokinggun.com/documents/celebrity/blaze-destroyed-trump-testimony-for-roy-cohn-632890

It also says to beat swords into plowshares. That line comes straight from Jesus himself. But Trump is more of a prosperity gospel type – Being a billionaire shows that God favors him.

If President Trump is unashamed to lie then I’m unashamed to tell the truth…..as I see it.

As for your distinction between “n*****s” and “good” black people I shouldn’t need to remind you that some good white people of the South hung the former up on trees right through our school years.

I’ll amend my previous warning on the acceptance of your email. If you put quotation marks around the “N” word I’ll keep reading them no matter how much you hate “bad” black people. Otherwise this is the last reply you will get from me. If that’s too PC for you, tough. My Mom washed my mouth out with soap and the closest I can come to that with your email is to push the delete button.

And, as I keep telling “my Buddy,” you don’t have to keep reading my damn blog. Its likely to drive you insane for the next four years.

Harry

Trump is squandering his honeymoon. One noteworthy poll finds a remarkable plunge in his popularity just before his swearing in.

I’m not sure it helps that his first nominees for appointments are almost unanimously disavowing Trump’s campaign platform planks in their Senate interviews.

Disgrace under Pressure

Does Trump lie to America or only to himself?

https://www.facebook.com/GOODHQ/videos/10154232142278059/

My Buddy sent me a link to Powerline’s Blog which faulted Meryl Streep and Hollywood for honoring the movie Director Roman Polanski who escaped the US after raping a thirteen year old girl. Its an interesting point and those who try to gloss it over shouldn’t escape criticism. But let’s not mince words. That doesn’t excuse Trump.

I hope I can escape the label “hypocrite” on this one. I haven’t forgotten what a dastardly thing Polanski did. I even referred to him once on this blog by way of condemnation:

I’m sorry to say that the principle writer/director/actor of the movie has a Woody Allen-Roman Polanski-Bill Cosby type past. I doubt that his riposte to Griffith will leave anything like the original Birth of a Nation’s mark on the world. I can only hope that it doesn’t inspire legions of black audience members to immitate the white audiences who watched its namesake – forget the Ku Klux Klan’s sordid reputation, give it a rebirth and spread it to the North

Melania

A family member recently Facebooked a Fake news story about the 700 Club’s smarmy Pat Robertson. In it Pat was accused of disparaging a sleveless dress worn by Michelle Obama while heaping praise on a semi nude pic of Melania Trump. Didn’t happen!

I thought I might have referred to a similar story in a previous blog post although it might have been a reply to an email. There was a story about Trump’s wife starting her career in America as an escort. If I mentioned it on my blog a cursory search doesn’t seem to have revealed the allegation.

Melania was born in the old Yugoslavia of my youth. After I moved to Northeastern Minnesota I became aware of the various slavic peoples of that nation who settled in the Iron Mining regions. When, after Rudy Perpich’s term as Governor, Yugoslavia broke up the first area to secede was Slovenia the most prosperous part of the nation. The Range had is share of Slovenes.

I regard our new first Lady as an interesting, if nontraditional, addition to the roll-call of First Ladies. She came here to take advantage of the beauty industry and she married a rich man I’ve never respected. The latter point is irrelevant to this discussion although not to my blogging in general.

Because my Father inculcated a love of Geography in me early on I was aware of “Trieste” the major city of Slovenia which has been contested between the Italians and Slavs for a very long time. Before I set out for Duluth forty years ago one of my Mother’s best friends and a business partners was a woman whose Mother was an Italian woman born in the City. In fact, Daria’s Mother never learned English and spoke Italian in her inner city Italian neighborhood for the rest of her life.

Daria was not a supermodel and she wasn’t “Slovenian.” She was a wonderful person and, like Melania, I would never blame her for anything her husband might have done.

But Melania is on a ride she never planned for. After reading the Snope’s correction I got curious about the much talked about photo shoot in GQ. I wondered if the January 2000 Issue with Melania on the cover had raised in value since November. I checked Ebay out. No Kidding! I’ll bet they only get more expensive as the Trump year’s continue.

666 goes to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue

Jared Kushner, Prez Elect Trump’s son-in-law and chief campaign advisor, is trying to unload a beast at 666 5th Avenue on a huge Chinese conglomerate. The NY Time’s story of the deal is extensive as it covers the many opaque connections and entanglements between the titans. I, for one, have no idea what to make of Trump’s financial interests which seem at cross purposes with his rhetoric hinting at a Depression inducing Chinese/American trade war. I suspect the poobahs of the Chinese Communist Party are similarly confused.

It wasn’t long ago that New Jersy’s Governor was pushed off Trump Tower by Jared who objected because Christie had put old man Kushner in jail.

The young Kushner is good at giving pushes. His efforts to suppress Clinton voter’s during the Trump campaign was perfectly, if unintentionally, choreographed with the Russian crusade to suppress Clinton voters. Together they gave Hillary the old heave ho.

At least we won’t have to worry about corruption at the Clinton Foundation now. That may help my Buddy sleep better since he sent me link to the speculation that Hillary might try to give Mayor De Blasio a run for his money this year. The thought of her residing in Gracie Mansion mere blocks from Melania over in Trump Tower is almost as nightmarish a scenario as I can imagine……. just short of Donald Trump’s taking a power nap in the Lincoln Bedroom.

Could Trump become a successful President?

My “Buddy” recently sent me a critique of Hillary Clinton and a prediction of her failure to beat Trump written by a nemisis of the Republican Party – Michael Moore. I thought it prescient and replied to my Buddy in this way:

An excellent prediction that was very much aligned to my way of thinking. And I don’t rule out the possibility that Trump may luck into being a successful President. But I will feel compelled to be one of his many tiny nettlesome critics. I hate it when some Napoleon takes the crown from the Pope to put it on his own head especially when the Napoleon is like a spoiled fourth grader.

Today my Buddy sent me a link to this page about Berkshire Hathaway’s famous invester Charlie Munger. I found it reassuring because I mostly agreed with his investing strategy but then I noticed a link to the three things Munger and Trump agree about. To my great surprise I mostly agreed with them too – 1. the dangers of untrammeled free trade, 2. the termination of the Glass Steagall Act, and 3. the drawbacks of corporate income taxes.

It would be amazing but not unprecedented for the embodiment of a spoiled fourth grader to succeed.

Trump in our High Schools

As I was putting Christmas decorations away I got a gander at my two models for last year’s snow sculptures. The subjects bookended my year although the one in back (of Donald Trump wearing a tiara for his victory in South Carolina) followed me like a ghost all year until he turned out to be all too alive in November. He finds himself the Rodney Dangerfield of Presidents and he’s tweeting up a peevish storm about the many slights he’s enduring. Reminds me of something we baby boomers said all the time when we were wearing our coonskin caps. “He can dish it out but he can’t take it.” I’ll cut him some slack when he goes a week without sticking the finger on his tiny hand down my throat.

On New Year’s Eve we practiced what Grandma Welty said was a Russian New Year’s tradition. We wrote a wish on a tiny scrap of paper incinerated it and poured the ashes into a drink and downed it. We toasted the new year with carbonated juice. I’m not sure if we were supposed to keep the wish secret but since I don’t believe in wishes I don’t mind telling my eight loyal readers that I wished that American’s would find some common ground in the New Year. The next morning’s Editorial Page had a cartoon with a wish for Common Ground for the New Year. Chastened minds think alike.

Ironically a lot of Trump’s voters find him as unappetizing as I do. I guess that’s some early common ground. It will be hard for me to separate the man from the office of the Presidency. We got a lecture about respecting the office at last month’s four-hour meeting marathon. An old acquaintance of mine from my Republican days shed some light on the anti-Trump picture inserted in an East High trophy case.

As you can see it was slipped between two overlapping glass panels. I found it just now on a site that posts celebrity mugshots. I presume it was a faked photograph. The site also had a disheveled likeness of her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth, holding up a similar sign.

Mr. Eckert was not satisfied with our District’s response which was more of a non response. We were a tad more subdued on this outrage than on some racist graffiti scrawled on a Denfeld bathroom wall.

Mr. Eckert said the matter had been taken up with the Duluth Police and the Secret Service. The latter explained that the sign, which suggests that the holder of the sign is a “dead man,” was a threat which should be taken seriously. I suspect they took Trump’s “joke” seriously too when he hinted around that a supporter of the Second Amendment might short circuit the election by taking Hilary Clinton out. Oh, to have such a jokester in the Oval Office.

Of course, lots of Republicans would much prefer to have Vice President Pence in the Oval Office. I’m not sure I share that common ground but it springs from a similar distaste. We may all soon discover what we have to lose which was as close to a coherent reason to gamble on Trump as anything else the candidate offered.

Mr. Eckert suggested that we check our hallway security videotapes to see if they showed teachers strolling the halls and treating the threatening poster as a joke. That would be an interesting way to ring out the old year. Another helping of paranoia please?

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

…to the new deplorables!

Donald J. TrumpVerified account
?@realDonaldTrump
Happy New Year to all, including to my many enemies and those who have fought me and lost so badly they just don’t know what to do. Love!
RETWEETS
81,497
LIKES
187,945
Susan StevensMatthew GademskeOGmWesley GoodwinKiana ShannonlibertymomKerry-Lynne FindlayHogy Vanilla
5:17 AM – 31 Dec 2016

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

The Golden Gate

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Dry Bones

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

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

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

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

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

Kapos and Trump’s new “Ambassador”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

a new more singable national anthem

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

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

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

Trump’s new pal

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

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

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

Today’s Trump News

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

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

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

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

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

Ezekiel 28: 4-8

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lapel Flag patriots

This NPR story about the thousands of “general discharges” handed out to veterans in recent years irked me this morning. These discharges protect the Military from the godawful medical costs of tending for the soldiers who fought our “War on Terror” while saddling them with a stain that prevents many from getting decent work after they leave the military.

I have little use for cheap patriotism which is symbolized by politicians who always can be found wearing American flag lapel pins. Its sort of like holding out a crucifix to keep vampires at bay. The recent tweet by President Elect Trump saying we ought to jail and strip the citizenship from flag burners is a good example of this. He could have been one of the radical Republicans who wanted to execute and jail the leaders of the Confederacy. This is the same guy who went skiing after he got a medical deferment from the draft during the Vietnam War. He may not have been paying attention when he vowed to replace Antonin Scalia with a like minded jurist because Scalia was a strong advocate for free speech even to the extent of flag burning.

A few years ago I was infuriated by a billboard on I-35 just north of the Twin Cities that showed black hands on the Constitution and lamenting its destruction. It was obvious who the patriots buying the sign considered a threat. Today those hands would be tiny white hands.

I discovered on my recent trip to Topeka a wealth of ties between my Grandfather, George Robb, and the American Legion which ballooned after World War 1. He was an officer, made speeches and attended a great many of its conventions. One speech, which I have yet to fully read covered a bonus being considered for veterans of the Great War. I also have a dozen letters to and from the War Department concerning his war related disability. At first he was rated as 10 percent disabled but over time he is informed that his rating has been pushed up. The last I remember he was considered to be about 23% disabled.

The Congresses after World War II filled up with veterans many of whom, like my Dad, took advantage of the GI Bill. After the Korean War they expanded deferments for things like college educations which became a handy four-year escape for potential draftees when the draft was reinstated for the Vietnam War. Other draft evaders like George W Bush joined the National Guard which was generally not deployed to war zones. Then there were the Trumps, well-to-do kids whose doctors told the military they were unfit physically to serve the nation in combat even when like Trump they had no difficulty skiing. Trump’s calling John McCain a loser for letting himself be captured has almost no equal for rhetorical infamy in the American record. I hope he has a lapel pin on his suits to cover up the stain.

Meanwhile the 20,000 vets discharged in recent years and left hanging without educational help and with a stain on their resumes and depression and addiction issues are helping save the military from paying out a great expense. No bonus for them. One of the young veterans in my church has had seven of his buddies commit suicide after coming back from their wars.

What have the Business oriented republican Congressmen given our troops? Easy access to pay day loans and the destruction of their credit.

It would take a pretty damned big American flag on a lapel to cover up this sort of ingratitude. We’ll be raising it over the White House come January.