TONY J BENDER: That’s Life — Back-To-School Quiz

Hello class, it’s that time of year. The wheat harvest is on, the leaves will be turning soon, and NFL players are beginning to kneel. It’s time for the Tony Bender Back to School Super Brain Quiz.

1. Why won’t Kevin Cramer agree to more debates?

A. Stall Ball always works out so well.

B. How many ways can you say, “I’ll do everything the president tells me”?

C. You just can’t trust Heidi Heitkamp.

D. Busy compiling extensive list of accomplishments but can’t find a Post-It-Note.

2. It wasn’t collusion because:

A. It was obstruction.

B. “Even if it was collusion, and it wasn’t, collusion is protected under some amendment to the Constitution, and if it isn’t, it ought to be because people do it all the time and this is still America — or Russia —something, something … Freedom!”

C. We wanted to Make Adoption Great Again.

D. You’d have to know what you are doing to collude.

3. Something not subject to import duties under current trade policy:

A. Asbestos.

B. Hubris.

C. Moscow Mules.

D. White people.

4. According to a poll, 43 percent of Republicans think the president should be able to:

A. Censor the news

B. Walk on water and chew gum at the same time.

C. Collude.

D. Lock her up.

5. There is considerable opposition from some lawmakers to an anti-corruption measure on the North Dakota ballot because:

A. “This country was founded on corruption!”

B. “We’re already overwhelmed trying to implement medical marijuana.”

C. Ethics are an impediment to efficient governance.

D. Accountability is a well-known gateway to socialism.

6. Why do we need a Space Force?

A. Moot point. The important thing is Mars will pay for it.

B. We gotta fight ’em up there so we don’t have to fight ’em down here.

C. To defend us against Klingons, Cooties and Dingleberries.

D. I don’t know, but look — squirrel!

7. Why is there a measure to prevent noncitizens from voting in North Dakota, despite the fact that it is already illegal?

A. To make it super-duper extra illegal.

B. You can’t have too much redundancy.

C. You can’t have too much redundancy.

D. To rally the paranoid racist vote.

8.  Something you can find in former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort’s closet.

A. Suitcases filled with small unmarked bills.

B. Ostrich carcasses.

C. Implausible explanations.

D. Hillary’s e-mails.

9. What the NRA doesn’t want to talk about:

A. The recent name change to National Russian Association.

B. The little-known fact that Charlton Heston died of an accidental gunshot wound.

C. Their deep-seated dealings of inadequacy.

D. Nietzsche.

10. How to bring the Chinese to their knees:

A. Pay them $130,000.

B. Bring American farmers to their knees.

C. Demand China produce even more MAGA caps.

D. Talk tough.

BONUS: A question Rudy Giuliani doesn’t want Bob Mueller to ask the president:

A. Seriously, what was your real score on the back nine?

B. Do you promise to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help your god?

C. Do Moscow girls make you sing and shout?

D. At long last sir, have you no sense of decency?

Answers: 1. d; 2. b 3. a; 4. c; 5. b; 6. b; 7. d; 8. a; 9. c; 10. a; Bonus: d. And let’s see how you scored: 11-9 correct: Brilliant, but without an I.D., we’re going to have to deport you. 6-8 correct: Well done, Koko, but I thought you were dead. Here’s a banana. 3-5 correct: Dude, Where’s Your Car? 0-2 correct: It’s okay, lots of people get their news from memes.

© Tony Bender, 2018

TOM DAVIES: The Verdict — How Dare You, Donald Trump?

This is a hard time to be a true American. As I write this, a very large military appropriations bill was passed by Congress. The president of the United States signed the bill into law and held a press conference acknowledging some lawmakers in attendance.

What the president did not do is to acknowledge Sen. John McCain, for whom the bill was named. That was no inadvertent oversight.

Sen. McCain is now and always has been an American political and military hero in my book. Most know the story of his military career and years-long imprisonment in North Vietnam after his plane was shot down.

What many still may not know is that he could have been released years earlier. But he refused release until all those captured and imprisoned before him were set free.

He was tortured, beaten, deprived of food and medical care … and still he persisted.

Once he returned, he honorably served in the U.S. Senate from Arizona for many years right through today.

The good senator is dying from incurable brain cancer. When he was running against President Obama for the presidency, he displayed the kind of behavior that defines his admirable character. When an elderly woman at one of his rallies tried to attack Obama’s character, the senator stopped her dead in her tracks. He called his competitor “a good and decent family man.” He did the honorable thing: He set the lady straight in a calm, dignified manner.

It’s too bad that Trump learned nothing from McCain. Trump has no class. He has no filter. He’s like a baby chimpanzee who cries, pounds his fist, tweets and name-calls anyone who he deems to have offended him.

Your chances of being targeted by 45 are great if you are black — greater yet if you are a black woman or a black athlete. He has attacked people of color in whose shoes he could not stand, men and women who have contributed greatly to this country and their communities.

Back to Sen. McCain. Our shit-for-brains president (sorry if that offends you, but if you approve of his own language, don’t complain about mine) attacked the good senator by saying he’s no hero; he likes people who weren’t captured. And that comes from a serial draft dodger with bone spurs, apparently in head, not his feet — since he’s plenty able to play golf when he should be working.

Trump will never share the space for awesome that is defined by Sen. John McCain!

●  ●  ●

Speaking of Trump, how many of you are feeling the benefit of his trickle-down economics? His great tax cuts helped those who didn’t need them at the expense of those who do.

How many people — like me — find that any small benefit they received was more than offset by the cost-of-living increases (gas, auto, home appliances, rent and so on) brought about by the great dealmaker’s thoughtless tariffs?

You can tell I did not vote for the windbag. He talked about all of his deals and his dealmaking abilities without providing one shred of evidence to support the claim. The only evidence you can find of Mr. Dealmaker is his multiple bankruptcies, where he gained at the expense of his vendors, suppliers and employees who believed his lies but learned the truth until they weren’t paid.

This is the same president, who while making millions in violation of the Emoluments Clause, also literally advertises his double standards. He wants to block immigrants from entering the country … “unless” they are to work at one of his properties, particularly Mar-a-Lago — where, it has been reported, he has undocumented workers around-the-clock.

While 45 is badmouthing our top intelligence agencies, including but not limited to the FBI, and slanders good and decent employees, they go about doing their jobs protecting our country, including this very president who demeans and insults them.

He still rants daily about the “fake news.” By his definition, that means any story about Trump that is factually accurate. Somehow he has organized the dumbest humans allowed to breath into supporting his every move and statement.

There is nothing dumb about supporting a candidate. But when racism, sexism, lying and downright stupidity are accepted as OK on a daily basis, then those who have a blind eye participate as if they had done the same things.

Congress — both senators and representatives — who used to have nationwide respect receive no such respect today. When our elected men and women allow the world’s biggest bully to get away with the things he says and does, it makes me wonder who is worse: Our Liar in Chief, or the cowards who remain silent.

In North Dakota’s upcoming Senate race, the president’s greatest cheerleader, Kevin Cramer, has pledged to support him 100 percent of the time. If you have the brains that God gave a goat, you can conclude no president is right 100 percent of the time — not ever, and surely not now.

Heidi Heitkamp, aka. my senator, has voted for the people of North Dakota. She works for consensus. Unlike her challenger Cramer, she does not now and never will kiss the ass of 45 to make political points. We elect people to represent us, not their party, and sure as hell not the president. When pushed, Sen. Heidi can nail the president where the sun doesn’t shine, as well she should. If our senator had ever said what Cramer continues to say about willingly wallowing in the muck that is Trump, I’d have no respect for her, either — but she didn’t , she won’t, and I for one appreciate her honesty and integrity.

Since I started this article talking about a veteran hero, let’s get one thing perfectly straight. When Cramer’s ads claim Sen. Heitkamp doesn’t support veterans — that’s a bald-faced lie. He owes her an apology.

Not so long ago, I made a private confession to my Creator where I apologized for being so nasty about Trump. The good Lord forgave me my sins. Not only that: He told me to keep up the good work. Amen.

TONY J BENDER: That’s Life — GOP Needs To Change Mascots

Gov. Doug Burgum joined 30 other governors last week in support of Brett Kavanaugh as the next Supreme Court justice, which is — if you’re a Republican — about as shocking as going to a midsummer tent revival and proclaiming your love for Jesus. Even if you’re only there to pick up sweaty Baptist chicks.

Burgum, Sen. John Hoeven and Senate candidate Kevin Cramer dutifully followed the followers with their endorsements of Kavanaugh. The Party of Trump isn’t exactly overloaded with independent thinkers these days. They all choose the chicken at the Group Think Banquet.

There are just two Mavericks left in this world. One is fading in Arizona; the other believes in Xenu and will be on the big screen again soon in a fighter jet dueling someone other than the Russians.

Despite the fact that Trump’s Supreme Court nominee doesn’t even know how to spell his own name, which according to my sources is spelled M-E-R-R-I-C-K  G-A-R-L-A-N-D, I’m willing to reserve judgment until the confirmation process is actually under way. Wacky, leftist thinking, I know.

I hesitate to toss under the bus every politician who has blindly pledged allegiance to a president so bereft of ethics. For one thing, there aren’t enough buses. For another, it’s difficult to lift the spineless. It’s like trying to throw soup.

I do have empathy for Republicans in this obvious hostage situation, however. How pathetic to live in fear of something called a tweet. It ranks up there with althaiophobia — the fear of marshmallows. It’s a real thing but probably not covered under any Republican health care proposal.

Most Republicans remained silent as their very stable genius sold out the American intelligence community and the Department of Justice in Helsinki, and it is obvious that his campaign at the very least attempted to collude with Russia. (The NRA sure did.) They’ve ignored payoffs to porn stars. They’ve accepted lies that fall from his lips faster than North Dakota hail stones. They’ve denied that Trump’s trade war has anything to do with soybeans being at a 10-year-low, but if there’s no self-induced crisis, why champion a $12 billion bailout? We don’t want to be drama queens. I guess subsidies are fine as long as they aren’t for something as frivolous as health care.

Higher steel costs are killing manufacturers. Will they get handouts, too? Newsprint, imported from our mortal enemy, Canada, is up 30 to 40 percent and has newspapers reeling, but you know we’re not getting a bail out. We couldn’t pass the mandatory drug test, anyway. The good news is, less fake news. There’s more than one way to skin a First Amendment.

While everyone was cheering a solid 4.1 bump in GDP and good second quarter employment numbers, few were discussing the looming $1 trillion deficit and a national debt that has quickly ballooned to $21 trillion. After priming a pump that was already pumping, the prerecession tax cut has given us a 75-year-low in corporate tax receipts as a share of the economy. When reality hits the fan, you can expect Republicans to point the finger of blame for their fiscal malfeasance at Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security beneficiaries. Why don’t you old sick people get a job?

Yes, there are still a few (silent) conservatives who still care about American families. Trumpians call them RINOS. But at some point, Patty Hearst stopped being a hostage and became an accomplice. What is the going rate for one’s soul these days? In Bismarck, it’s chicken wings and a beer.

The Democratic Party is not particularly focused or always coherent these days, but every lasting benefit working families and farmers have ever received, from FDR to LBJ, has come from Democrats. Look it up on the Google. Al Gore invented that, too. And while you’re at it, fact check Benghazi, would you? Spoiler alert: Vince Foster did it.

Perhaps Republicans should change their mascot from an elephant to a cowardly lion or possibly a fainting goat. In November, do what Republicans are doing now, look out for your own self interest. Vote for someone who doesn’t slither.

© Tony Bender, 2018

TOM DAVIES: The Verdict — Russia Is No Ally And No Friend To The USA

My first independent post on the Fish — whoopee! No more advertisers squawking about me picking on poor Donald Trump. I get to say what I think, not what others think and not softened to avoid stepping on advertisers’ toes.

I used to think that good advertising meant that the advertiser wanted to make its products known, not to control the content of the paper that it advertises, but I was wrong. It’s their right, but it’s too bad they exercise it.

My writings are opinion pieces — not the gospel. I would never compare my writings with those professional newspeople who do a pretty good job of reporting the news as it is, not as we would like it to be. Since our Lying President deems the real press to be “fake news,” I hope in my humble way to join them in that regard.

With Trump, pay no attention to what he says, but just to what he does. The man has set a world’s record for presidential lies and misstatements. Yet the party in power — the party that controls the House and Senate as well as the presidency — his Republican Party sits in silence as he damages everything we hold dear in this country.

I’ve lost so much respect for federal legislators that it will take a miracle (or Trump’s impeachment) for me to regain my former respect for them.

I can remember in recent times when GOP stood for “Grand Old Party,” instead of GOR, “Grand Old Russians.”

With all of the damage the Russians have done, Trump still falls all over Putin and refuses to say one bad thing about him. To placate those who are tuning in to his lies, he now must admit the Russians have in fact interfered with our election. Ya think?

As Mueller continues his march for truth, the president and his son, Don Trump Jr., still play us citizens for fools.

Think about it. It’s 2016. Trump is in his office in Trump Tower. His son and a group of Russians and/or Russian sympathizers are meeting in a room one floor below Trump’s office … and Trump is sitting in that office.

Rumors suggest there had already been a prior meeting to set up the notorious meeting attended by Junior and Jared Kushner, the one that they’ve admitted … but that still remains to be proven.

What Trump and his son would have us believe is that the president knew nothing about that meeting at any time and that he and his son never discussed it. To do so, you would have to forget the fact that the president himself dictated the false cover story (that it was an innocent meeting about “adoptions”) using government staff and equipment on board Air Force One.

Now let me ask one simple question. Do you believe there is even one chance in hell that Donald Jr. would never have informed his father of meeting with Russians who claimed to have dirt on his archenemy Hilary Clinton? Before that took place, do you honestly believe young Trump wouldn’t have been so excited he’d have gone straight to Dad to tell him about it?

Does anyone with the brain God gave a goat believe that Trump doesn’t keep tabs on everything — every single thing — his family and subordinates do?

I have a difficult time understanding how anyone can accept lying as a way of life and face no consequences!

Mr. “I’m the Greatest” “I’m the Most Intelligent” “I’m Very Rich” “I’m the Best Deal Maker the World Has Ever Known” just fails in each category he brags about. He’s afraid to disclose his tax returns because they would show: 1. He’s not rich. 2. He’s indebted to the Russians and other foreign governments. On its face, many of his questionable finance sources openly pay him outrageous sums as rent in his various properties. Others buy his astronomically priced condos with cash.

He’d tell you that this violates no laws … but with lawsuits over the emoluments clause in progress as I write, the courts will show otherwise. In the lawsuit, the plaintiffs have prevailed on every motion, and the case is headed for trial. If successful, it will require the Great Deal Maker to divest himself of the income he’s deriving because of his position as president.

I think of Trump praising himself after his North Korea and Russian visits. Absolutely nothing has come from either, except the president’s lies about success. A North Korean missile test site had imploded before he met Kim Jong Un. Trump was convinced they destroyed it. No missiles have been fired lately by the North because, while Trump grins and brags about success, we’ve learned they are building new and more effective missiles at a new site. Yet the president does not believe his own security agencies, but relies only on his own judgment.

The president meets for Putin for two hours in private. No one (at least from our side) records it. He has nothing to show for it when he comes out. Everything we know at this point is what the Russians have announced. Even our secretary of state admits he knows not what agreements were made.

And now Trump wants to meet with the leaders of Iran. He says he’ll meet anyone, anytime with no preconditions.

This man thinks he can run the greatest nation in the world like he runs his companies. Oh oh. He has filed repeatedly for bankruptcy (so much for his deal ability!) and is setting this country up for the same. The greatest deficit in United States history is forecast for next year. That means the greatest debt.

His big tax achievement has brought big breaks for to the wealthy but modest tax relief for the average person. Even that is being swallowed up by increased costs because of his poorly thought out tariff policies.

Between now and the midterm election, real American politicians in the party of Trump must dump their cowards’ shields and come roaring back as American Patriots. This isn’t a D or R question — it is an A-for-American issue. Time is flying by.

Keep the faith. The Mueller wake-up call is on track, bringing light to the true facts, wherever they lead us. Amen.

TOM DAVIES: The Verdict — A Country Ruled In Anger

My word for the week is “vindictive.” The word is an adjective that means “one who has a strong and unreasonable desire for revenge.”

This week, the president went off the charts in his desire to seek revenge. He is the first president in history to demand that security clearance be revoked for the intelligence and law enforcement chiefs of former administrations —Republican and Democratic — who dare to say he’s wrong.

First, the people whose clearances he wants canceled are American patriots who have simply pointed out what they believe to be facts about Russia’s actions based upon their personal history, experience and training. Second, several don’t even have security clearances at this time. Third, the president is contemplating (or “has not ruled out,” according to Press Secretary Sanders) also revoking the security clearances of Vice President Joe Biden and President Barack Obama.

Criticism based on the truth isn’t speculation. It is fact. On the other hand, what purpose is served, even if were appropriate, to revoke security clearances, just because you can. These threats make the leader of the free world look weak and uninformed. That’s sad.

Ours is the most powerful nation on Earth. We have undisputed military power. We may be divided politically, but when it comes to patriotism, we are one.

In our American community, the experts acknowledge the Russians interfered in the last federal election and even now continue to do so wherever they find us vulnerable. Our elected leaders in Congress agree that this has been proven. Only the president refuses to acknowledge the interference because he thinks it reflects upon the legitimacy of his election. But wait! He acknowledged it last week — then unacknowledged it a few days later. Now he says it never happened. It’s all, he insists, a witch hunt and a hoax.

Some readers think I don’t respect the president because of his policies. Those folks give me too much credit! From day to day, I have little idea what his actual “policies” may be, other than a few exceptions: 1) separating children from their parents or guardians and putting the kids in holding pens; 2) doing little or no planning to comply with the federal court’s ruling that they must be returned to their parents.

The courts have ordered the government to reunite these children with their families on a timely basis. But as the story developed, we’ve learned that the odd venture proceeded without keeping adequate records to proceed with many of the reunions the judge has ordered.

I’m glad I’m not the judge in this situation. I would be prone to order the arrest of the heads of the departments charged with executing the administration’s policies and not releasing them until the all the children are back in the arms of their parents. I’d also order the government to pay all travel expenses involved in bringing them back together.

Meanwhile, we’re on the verge of a trade war. Imposing tariffs on allies — while not enforcing existing sanctions against Russia — drives a wedge between us and our long-time friends.

None of our top national leaders — not the secretary of defense, the secretary of state nor the intelligence community — have the faintest idea what was said when Putin and Trump met in private. In Moscow, the Russians are bragging about “the agreements reached” in Helsinki. Yet none of our own officials know what they’re talking about.

Given the many state and federal investigations into this administration, it would be prudent as never before to truly have “open government” — no secrets from our leaders and the public. While President Trump has a hand in this, I am more critical of a U.S. Congress that is afraid to act. Our Congress is supposed to be a separate but equal branch of government. Its members have abandoned their responsibilities and the priceless duty of oversight.

This is America. We disagree politically, and that’s not unusual. What is just plain weird is the silence of those we elected to speak up and represent We the People!

While the administration bashes our own law enforcement and intelligence agencies, they cannot and do not respond to the lies that are being told. Yet several state criminal investigations continue to dig into the administration’s potential misdeeds. Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation continues and has already generated many indictments. He does not comment, and that’s the way it should be at this stage. It’s too bad those who know better can’t stop their baseless bashing of the investigation.

Remember the years of the endless Benghazi investigation? Remember Congress’s digging into the suspected Clinton email fiasco? Millions of dollars and tens of thousands of hours were spent, grabbing endless headlines and fanning baseless speculation. In the end, neither found an evidence at all of unlawful behavior. Now, that was a real “witch hunt.” Amen.

TONY J BENDER: That’s Life — The Inadvertent Surrender

It can happen to the best of us — to the worst of us, even. You say one thing, but you meant something completely different. Like that time Churchill meant, “We shall always surrender!”

President Trump, fresh off of his triumphant Surrender Summit in Helsinki, says what he meant to say when asked whether Russia had undermined the 2016 election was, “I don’t see why they wouldn’t have.” Instead of ‘would have.’ Uh, OK.

In an unrelated story, the president issued an executive order dictating the American flag shall henceforth be a white pillowcase and 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue has been renamed Trotsky Square. Also, in an renewed effort toward inclusivity, now when you call the White House, you’ll hear, “Press 3 to hear this message in Russian. Press 4 if you’re Muslim, and wait right there.”

There’s a lot of speculation the reason the president rolled over on the stage, belly up and paws in the air in the international signal for submission, is because he is deep in debt to unsavory Russians. Or that Putin has some interesting video in his possession. Ridiculous, I say! Why, all it would take is just one look at the president’s tax returns … aww, never mind. But trust him when he says he really is a thousandaire — the bigly richest thousandaire ever in the history of richedness. Everyone knows money equals decency.

And, seriously, is it possible there is anything on tape that could embarrass this guy? I think nyet. Possibly, a ménage à trois with Boris and Natasha. Or Moose and Squirrel. Maybe all of them together — what is that? A ménage à quint? I need to check my Kama Sutra.

Meanwhile, as criticism raged from people who will look for any piddly excuse to hate Trump, all Real Patriotic Americans stood behind the president and his courageous surrender to Russia. After several days of stunned silence, right-wing spin doctors offered explanations. Turns out it’s actually a brilliant long-game strategy, originally devised by Robert E. Lee, whose surrender at Appomattox was really a ploy to lull the Union into a false sense of security. It’s working brilliantly. Who among us does not feel lulled?

When you think about it, Russia should get a medal for saving us from Hillary. And, really, what’s one surrender compared to our recent victory over the real enemy, NATO? Besides, we have serious problems in America. NFL players might kneel again.

The important takeaway is sometimes people misquote themselves. And just because the president doesn’t mean what he says, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t believe him.

It’s common for newspapers to run corrections after they say one fake thing but meant another fake thing. In that spirit of accountability, here are excerpts from The Definitive Collection of Things They Meant to Say:

  • “Make Russia Great Again.” — Donald J. Trump
  • “I did have sexual relations with that woman.” — Bill Clinton
  •  “Mr. Gorbachev, don’t tear down this wall!” — Ronald Reagan
  •  “Don’t surrender until you see the whites of their eyes.” — Donald J. Trump
  •  “I Shot the Deputy, but I did not Shoot the Sheriff.” — Bob Marley
  • “I shot a man on Fifth Avenue just to watch him die. When I hear that train a-comin’ I don’t hang my head and cry … because I know the base is with me, through hell or high hell.” — Donald J. Trump
  • “It’s a terrible day in the neighborhood.” — Mr. Rogers
  • “You Can Roller Skate in a Buffalo Herd.” — Roger Miller
  • “It depends on what the meaning of ‘is’ ain’t.”  — Slick Willie
  • “You’re hired!” — Donald J. Trump
  • “I Found What I was Looking For.” — Bono
  • “I’m an unstable genius.”— Donald J. Trump
  • “You Can Always Get What You Want.” — Mick Jagger
  • “Mexico won’t pay for the wall.” — Donald J. Trump
  • “Frankly, my dear, I do give a damn.” — Rhett Butler
  • “Just say yes.” — Nancy Reagan
  • “I meant Merrick Garland.” — Donald J. Trump
  • “Send Lawyers, Guns and Rubles.” — Warren Zevon
  • “A basket of deportables.” — Hillary Rodham Clinton
  • “I love the smell of capitulation in the morning.” — Robert Duvall
  • “You’re going to lose so much, you’re going to get tired of losing.” —Donald J. Trump

© Tony Bender, 2018

TOM DAVIES: The Verdict — Campaigning On The City’s Nickel

What is $104,000 to you? Recently, the president of the United States visited Fargo to support a political candidate. That’s approximately what his stop here cost to the city.

Mayor Tim Mahoney had raised the question of the cost of presidential visits. When the total for the frankly political visit was revealed, Commissioners Dave Piepkorn and John Strand raised serious questions.

When the president comes for an official state visit, as opposed to a political rally or fund-raiser, the citizens rightly foot the bill. When his visit is for partisan political purposes, however, the cost ought to fall on the party he comes to support.

Commissioner Tony Grindberg was quoted in the media saying that the expenditure was “insignificant” in its overall cost to the city. In dollars and cents, that may be true when you’re looking at the entire annual budget. But then you have to ask yourself: How many of these so-called “insignificant” costs should be passed on to the citizens without a breakdown?

Strand and Piepkorn were right to question the cost and Mahoney was right to ask for the numbers. But once presented, we saw no profiles in courage on the City Commission. Instead of simply moving on to the next topic, it should have set a date for citizen input and open discussion.

If I were a betting man, I’d wager that neither of our two political parties wants to pay for their opposition’s campaign expenses — not here, not in Duluth a few days earlier, and not in Grand Forks later this month, when the vice president stops in to stump for the Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate.

Whatever political party you support, I do think it’s a matter of common sense how such large sums are spent accommodating officials’ highly partisan appearances. State visit — we pay. Political visit — the party should pay. Of course, enforcing that might take common sense, an item in short supply nowadays.

* * * * *

A patriot is defined as “a person who vigorously supports their country and is prepared to defend it against its enemies or detractors.”

Treason is defined in 18.U.S.Code S 2381: “Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort with the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason and shall suffer death, or shall be imprisoned for not less than five years and fined under this title but not less than $10,000; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.”

Former CIA chief John Brennan minced no words Monday when he accused the president of treason. The president was in Finland, standing side by side with President Putin while he attacked, demeaned and insulted the Mueller investigation and the FBI, the CIA and in fact all federal law enforcement and investigative agencies.

The undisputed fact is that the president of this country, while on foreign soil, attacked his own country while supporting a Russian dictator. This isn’t a political issue. It is an issue of American security. All Americans should view the facts and come to their own conclusions.

To call the Mueller probe a “witch hunt” ignores the true facts including the number of perpetrators charged, the number who have pled guilty, the number cooperating in the probe and the fact that just last week 12 Russian citizens were charged with crimes. The investigation is ongoing and must be allowed to proceed, regardless of where it leads. Draw your own conclusions.

After watching the notorious news conference of the president and Putin on Monday, I ask you: Where are the leaders of our Republican and Democratic parties? The president’s own party ought to be up in arms about what he said about and to Putin. They ought to be further outraged by his treatment and comments he made about our nation’s loyal allies!

I also watched the video in dismay as our president disrespected the elderly queen of England during his visit to London, walking in front of her and blocking her. It was a complete lack of manners, both American and British protocol.

Last but certainly not least, his attacks on the media shake the foundations of our country. Without a free and unfettered press, democracy will die. Every time I hear his favorite term “fake news,” I (figuratively speaking) want to punch someone in the snout. Print, radio and TV news reporters endanger their lives, and sometimes die in action, bringing us the very real news every single day of the week. God bless the media and all they do for us. Amen.

RON SCHALOW: The Traitor, Tariffs And Toddlers

“SHUT UP, Stan, or I’ll do something drastic, you meathead” screams Orville. “Another one, bartender.”

Stan stands by a stool for a minute, to let his eyes adjust to the low bar lighting. He sits and says, “I like where your head’s at, Orv. Preventative attacks never turn out bad. I’ll take your spasm under advisement. How many quarts of Smirnoff have you drained today? Just curious. Say, did you hear that the president is a traitor? He kissed Putin on the lips, and it went downhill from there. I think Vlad might have a case for assault.”

“The black one?”

“I’m not sure what color this Trump fellow is,” answers Stan. “It varies. Coke please. He has a hunk of asbestos on his head, so the dude isn’t up to code. I know that much. His load bearing walls don’t look like they are bearing the load. His chins are causing downward stress. I’m thinking of being outraged, but this president has been giving me spinal taps. It’s strenuously oppressive. Do you give a rip?”

“Not unless it’s the black one,” snorts Orv. “I think I voted for this Trump guy. Everything is fine. Probably made up by lib!#&*s, like you.”

“Could be. The cameras caught him smooching Putin’s bum in high definition, though. There was some outside the pants fondling. Nothing illegal in Finland, evidently. If Trump had dropped his pants, the whole affair wouldn’t have been more shameful. I hope Putin was wearing protection, so he can be poisoned at a later date, when we hate Russia again. A Trump STD. Can you imagine? Superbug city.

“Vlad still gave the big kid a soccer ball after being groped. Little Donnie was delighted and touched by the gesture. His mascara ran like a mountain stream, polluted with precious clean coal mine dust. The trout love it.”

“I told you to shut up, Stan. That stuff never happened.”

“Oh, it happened. There were 8 zillion witnesses. Some vomited in midtreason but were able to keep Saltines down for the replays and got the whole ugly Trump experience. Would you consider Putin to be unconventionally handsome? I need to know.”

“What the hell does that mean?”

“I have no idea,” admits Stan. “Ugly, maybe. I was hoping you would know. I think Vlad looks like an Idaho russet. A polished one. Maybe a Yukon gold spud. You look like a unconventional sugar beet, past its prime. You know, Orv, I taste gasoline every time you take a sip of vodka. Ethanol, maybe.

“I could handle high octane corn squeezins when I was younger, during the best unremembered years of my life. but not anymore. My liver goes berserk, if alcohol touches my lips. A half-thimble of pot seems to synchronize my innards and help the pain a little. I have to smoke it in Cheney’s bunker, though. It’s inconvenient to my retirement lifestyle, but my gastrointestinal system demands continuity. Believe me.”

“I don’t want to hear about your stupid insides, you loopy pothead. And I was there for your wonder years, you souse.”

“Too late, dude, and former souse. Say, Orv. Did you ever put your kids in cages and make them eat liver? Kennel up, brats.”

“What!” screeches Orville. “Of course not. Why would you ask me such a thing? Bartender. Stay close.”

“Trump still has thousands of kids in cages, and I was wondering if you thought that was a good idea. Personally, I’m against the practice. Kevin Cramer says chain-link fencing can’t be a cage, but that’s an old timey Russian wives tale. You can’t squeeze through those holes. I should know. You just get diced. Only the jaws of life can get a guy out of a chain-link cage. Or some good metal snippers. An acetylene torch might …”

“We don’t put kids in cages, Stan. That’s stupid talk.”

“Well, we do now. Cocoa-tinted ones only as far as I know. It’s in all of the papers. Their parents are kept in another state, so they can’t speak to each other in code. Some say it’s just Spanish, but I can see Trump’s point. Toddlers shouldn’t be exposed to more languages than he knows. I’m not sure he has a handle on the one, for certain. Anyway, Don has no sympathy for short brown people. It could be his motto, or one of his golf course rules. The Aryans don’t feel comfortable around most types with clubs. A two-iron can open up a hell of a crack in a human skull. Take a look at this scar above my √”

Orv gets twitchy. “Shut up. Shut up. Shut up. Fake news, but if they were Mexican, or the sort, they likely had it coming.”

“Geez, Orv. There’s steam coming off your face. It’s not attractive. Where do you get your news? There’s no reading going on in this light.”

Orv waves his old arm. “From Ed. He’s sitting over there. You can’t see him unless he lights a heater. His Old Spice, mixed with BO, will drop a guy to his knees. He’s very knowledgeable. Ed used to lay bricks, when he could lift things.”

“Ed, huh?”

The bartender butts in. “Now President Trump is saying that everything he said said yesterday in Helsinki, was the opposite of what he actually meant.”

“Of course. The old switcheroo,” sneers Stan. “I should have seen that one coming. I’ve had the old switcheroo pulled on me so many times I was starting to feel stupid. I’ve wasted so much time and money before the switcheroo kicked in.

“This Trumpoodle lie don’t hunt, though, on account of the cameras I was telling you about, Orv. He’s still a traitor, and a poor dinner companion. Butter hogger. You know the type.

“So, Orv, if a traitor put one of you kids in a cage, when they were young, what would have been your measured response? Quick death? Slow death?”

“No one would have dared. And you’re the liar, you stupid Commie.”

“Quick death it is, then, comrade. You own a lot of dirt, Orv. And a bunch of delicious critters, some of them in kid cages. How do you feel about the traitor’s tariffs? Are you hysterical about them, like our congressman says?”

“Tariffs? What tariffs?”

“On stuff like soybeans, pork, steel, aluminum and a thousand other items,” explains Stan. “Evidently, and keep in mind that this is the sophisticated trade expert thinking of the traitor, we’ve been getting screwed by most everyone, including Canada. Anyone familiar with the Trumpanzee would automatically know this is nonsense, but the trade war is on.”

“Canada? Colder America? I don’t believe it. And I don’t care. I’m rich, and the government still direct deposits money into my account. I’m set.”

“And when you die, you’ll already be embalmed. Well, thank you, Orv. It’s good to know how the mind of a Trump cultist works.

“This reminds me of a story. Years ago, a niece and I were riding in the back of a car on heading west on main in Bismarck. She was as spitting mad as a 3-year-old could be over something. We drove onto the bridge, and I said, ‘Look! Look! It’s the big Missouri River.’ She shouted, ‘No it isn’t.’ This went back and forth until we were in Mandan. But the river was there, so I should have won something. She remained irate. And we never put her in a cage,”

“Stupid story, you pinko.”

Well, it’s lunchtime. I’m going to jump blindly into the sunlight and hope my retinas can block a seizure. At least nibble on a lime wedge, Orv. Even mole people need sustenance.”

“Screw you, Stan. I hope you flop around on the sidewalk like a mackerel.”

“Never change, Orv.”

PAULA MEHMEL: Shoot the Rapids — Survival In Turbulent Times

It’s hard not to be depressed these days.

Images of babies screaming as they are ripped away from their mothers breasts and 3-year-olds brought into court alone to face charges haunt my dreams, along with the cries of children who are lost, confused and alone.

Social media posts from young men I knew in a kinder, gentler time, whose worst instincts have been unleashed by a crude, crass and deliberately divisive leader, giving them permission to embrace the Confederate flag (in North Dakota of all places) and all that comes with it, believing somehow that they are “victims” of diversity. In a different era, they would have been good conservatives, but now they are becoming a mass of followers who celebrate unchecked anger and find it socially acceptable to spew hate.

Realizing that many of the fine Republicans I knew, loved and respected, though we differed on solutions, have decided that morals do not matter, nor does character or honesty or integrity. They silently follow behind leadership that openly flouts decency, civility and the rule of law, lies brazenly and seemingly celebrates cruelty and exclusion. I have seen people I admired cast their values aside for reasons I cannot even begin to fathom.

Watching the national debt soar, knowing that in the aftermath of a tax cut that benefited the rich, it will be used as an excuse to further dismantle an already fraying social safety net; seeing voters rights further dismantled and Muslims banned; listening as brutal dictators are hailed as “nice guys” and foreign friends are insulted as the world becomes more dangerous; being cognizant of the impact of climate change daily as environmental protections are cast aside; hearing about what is being uncovered in a probe about foreign election interference even as facts are ignored and twisted and nothing is being done to prevent it in the future; and mourning as we grow further apart rather than seeing someone call out our better angels to bring us together …

The list could go on …

It is easy to be depressed these days and want to retreat into a place of self-pity and despondent inertia, which is exactly the wrong thing to do.

Right now, more than ever, we need fair-minded people, both conservatives and progressives, who believe in core values, decency and the rule of law, to step up and be engaged as we battle for the very soul of our nation.

But how do we do it? How do we keep fighting what feels like an overwhelmingly losing battle, in the face of vitriol being celebrated as approval ratings rise, as people who call themselves people of faith defend behavior that seeks to cast those who are different from us as alien rather than children of the same God?

I’ve been thinking about this the past few days, and I’ve come up with some suggestions for survival in turbulent times.

1. Exercise self-care. As the old saying goes, “put your own oxygen mask on first before helping those around you.”

I know being able to do this comes from a point of privilege that not everyone has, but I also know it is imperative to take care of yourself if you are in the fight for common decency for the long haul. Because the world cannot afford us stepping back or burning out.

For me, that meant signing up to be a “goat nanny” at a local farm and taking some time out to play with animals, to refresh myself. It means going for long walks in the woods with my dog to think and pray. Heading to a musical on Broadway or supporting local arts at a museum or show, or going to the ocean for a nice long walk.

I return from these times of self-care rested and ready to keep going.

2. Figure out what how to tune in and when to tune out. We are met with two conflicting tensions. One is to tune out the news completely and pretend this isn’t happening. That is dangerous because we need constant vigilance. The other extreme is to become so obsessed with it that it becomes almost addictive and we end up listening but not doing. I have been subject to both extremes.

What I am learning is best for me is to focus more on reading articles, as opposed to the radio or TV, because it doesn’t drag me down as much but keeps me informed. I have a few podcasts that are weekly compilations and the occasional nightly show that I listen to, but I find classical music centers me and Broadway tunes and the 1980s buoy me up.

I also try to listen to voices with whom I have not always agreed — Bill Kristol, George Will, Steve Schmidt, Nicole Wallace and John Kasich are just a few. This gives me hope and reminds me that these are not normal times, but that there are people of integrity who see the difference. We are united in a fight for “liberty and justice for all.”

3. Find a community of support so you know you are not alone. I once had someone ask me why I loved to march, even if it didn’t make a difference. I said there was strength in solidarity and the support of like-minded people. Joining in song and chants helps you feel stronger and it provides energy for the battle ahead.

Finding friends to support you, in person and on social media, helps us pick each other up when we feel overwhelmed and just want to quit.

There will be setbacks and losses. We know that too well, but as someone who marched against apartheid for years, smuggled for the ANC and was willing to raise my voice at what I thought at times was a futile struggle, I also stood outside the South African consulate in Chicago the day Nelson Mandela was released. There will be victories, both large and small, which we need to celebrate together, and our voices do make a difference.

4. Don’t get stuck in an echo chamber. One of the worst things that can happen right now is for people to get further caught up in tribalism, so deliberately seek out people with whom you don’t agree to engage in conversation and seek to find common ground.

I can’t believe that most people of decency support this policy at the border any more than I believe most people in Germany supported the genocide of the Jews. What happened was that it was easy to ignore, so don’t let others ignore what is happening.

Engage in conversation, don’t demonize those with whom you disagree, and try to reach out to our better angels as we work together to come up with solutions. I had a conversation with someone on Facebook the other day. I didn’t back down on my faith or this moral imperative, but I didn’t call names, and in the end, I think I made progress in helping them see the humanity of those they were denigrating.

Yes, there are people who celebrate cruelty and relish in white supremacy and nationalism, but I can’t believe it is 40 percent of the population. My job is to keep engaged with those who know, deep down inside, what is happening, and try to find a way to help them move out of this “autopilot of support” and try to get back to that place where we could agree to disagree without casting aside decency, humanity and a equality.

5. Find small ways to make a difference. Last year, after the election, I started tutoring recent Muslim immigrants, teaching them English. I felt like, in some small way, I was making a positive impact. I can’t imagine how scary it must be to be Muslim these days in a nation that essentially said it was OK to isolate a religion, but I know that I can be a supportive presence. Volunteer locally to connect with those who are being marginalized, reach out to an immigration service, donate your time and money. You will feel like you are having an impact — and you will be doing good.

6. Figure out a way you can have a larger impact. Elections have consequences.

I am someone who makes phone calls, but I know I can’t really make a difference with what happens right now in Congress. I can make a difference with who gets elected, however. Less than half of the people eligible to vote do, so the key to making a difference is getting more people to vote. The current regime was elected by less than 25 percent of the American people — and I know many of those who voted did it as a protest of the other candidate, not a voice of support for this dystopian vision of America.

So we need to get involved and get people registered to vote and then get them out to vote and ensure their right to vote. I am planning on taking Nov. 3-6 off and going wherever I can to help as a poll watcher or drive people to vote, whether that is in Georgia or North Dakota. This, perhaps, is the most important American election of all time. It will be to see if we can stop this careening car from crashing.

7. Don’t let anyone normalize what is happening. Jon Stewart appeared on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” on Thursday night and reminded us of what Abraham Lincoln said regarding the one thing that Southern slaveholders wanted: “This and only this: cease to call slavery wrong, and join them in calling it right.”

“It was on this point that Lincoln said the Union could not bend,” Stewart said. “And what Donald Trump wants is for us to stop calling his cruelty and fear and divisiveness wrong, but to join him in calling it right. And this we cannot do. And I say, by not yielding, we will prevail!”

When George Will and Jon Stewart are on the same page, you know it is not about politics, it is about the future of democracy.

So we can’t afford to retreat into depression. We need, now more than ever, to act boldly because the very essence of our nation is at stake.

RON SCHALOW: Fargo Heat Strokes, Lies And Videotape

Prior to President Trump’s visit to Fargo, I took a shot at guessing what he might say at the rally for Kevin Cramer, who got three minutes of mic time and an awkward bro hug.

My predictions; followed by the real deals.

  • “Heidi? Where’s Heidi. What the hell are we doing here, if she doesn’t even show up! Who?”
  • “Isn’t that Cramer guy a hoot? Nice guy. The way he barges into that Jew’s apartment. I never let black people into my apartments, either. And that steel fence thing he cooked up. Wasn’t that smart to compare the kid cages to the steel fence at ballparks? He’s read the Bible, I’ve been told, by him. Isn’t that Cramer guy a hoot?”
  • “Well, that’s all I can say about Gramer. He’ll do what I tell him. That’s all you need to know.”
  • “Hey, there’s my black guy. See him. Amazing.”
  • “I sting like a butterfly and cry like Eugene. What a loser. Imogen is a type of classy flower. Or, a vegetable. Most people don’t know that.”
  • “Ooooh, so Sparkie is such a big deal, but I’ve slept with hotter porn stars than you, Sparkle, so just shut your trap, or I’ll tax you to Mexico. Those people speak Spanish. A lot of people think it’s Mexican. Rapists.”
  • “Those hats are made in China, Nebraska. Shirts, too. Tremendous deal. They farm something over there, too. They’re great patriots, offering to take a few years of pain.”
  • “Trade wars aren’t as easy to chew, as many people think. We’re getting schlonged, according to Hannity. Nice guy. Sometimes, he reads to me at bed time.”
  • “Ivanka would never wear a stupid-looking wordy jacket. I don’t even think Mel reads American. Somebody should ask her. She might be a Democrat. Sad. I was Democrat when little Bush was president. He was the worst. Low energy.”
  • “I don’t see why people think I’m a moron. Mitt’s one, I think. Great guy. Gawd, those people procreate like crazy, don’t they. One big sand trap. I’m totally happy with two children. Before 30, all they did was cry and bitch. Amirite?”
  • “Who knew that throwing little criminal rapist brats in cages would be so complicated? The Democrats want to send out hand-engraved invitations to all of the world’s worst crime guys, and just roll out the red carpet, and serve them beautiful pieces of chocolate cake. Probably some of the most delicious cake ever, in the history of ever. Nancy Pelosi. Loser.”
  • “Blacks haven’t had so much work since slavery. I’m very proud of that. Fantastic, isn’t it? Huge. Schumer hates black people.”
  • “We’ve just about wiped out crime, like I promised. Unless some other gangs, besides MS-13, pop up. They aren’t classy like that Tony Bonanzoo hoodlum.”

“This is a decent-looking crowd. There are even a few fives. I only date 10s, but two 5s don’t make a 10. I have to leave, anyway. There was a seven once in Toledo. Sarah Palin has lost few digits, which is sad. Does she still live in Russia?”

  • “They play hockey in this place? What for?”
  • “This guy down front here looks too red. Somebody poke him. Alive. That good. He’s a wonderful person. Tough on crime and border. This isn’t global warming. They have a lot of trees in Brazil. Bada bing bing bing.”
  • “I made a great great deal, today. The families, the potential MS-13 members, all of the crying, for crissakes — we’re going to put everyone up at the wonderful hotels in Cozumel, with free room service. It’s wonderful there, have you been? The private shelter contractors are killing me. I called around, and it’s much cheaper going the resort route. I kid you not.”
  • “Don’t come crying to me, Justin, when the eskimos attack. My space cops aren’t interested in beaver pelts. And I’m better looking and taller than the black one. The Canadian is short and ugly. Right, patriots?”

* * *

Some of the Actual Trump Quotes From the Fargo Rally

“This place is packed,” Trump said as he stepped onto the podium. “You know, we had the chance for a 24,000-seat arena, and we should have taken it. The problem is, if we had two empty seats, they will always say, ‘He didn’t fill up the arena.’”

Stupid media. That’s exactly what they would write.

“Maxine — she’s a beauty,” Trump said. “I mean, she practically was telling people the other day to assault! Can you imagine if I said the things she said?

He has, and I can imagine.

“We need Kevin Cramer to replace liberal Democrat Heidi Heitkamp in the Senate,”

Heitkamp isn’t within a mile of being liberal.

“When Heidi ran for office she promised to be an independent vote for people of North Dakota. Instead, she went to Washington and immediately joined Chuck, you know who Chuck is, and Nancy, and now they have a new leader.

That’s not true.

“Democrats want judges who will rewrite the Constitution anyway,” Trump said. “They want to do it and take away your Second Amendment, erase your borders, throw open the jailhouse doors and destroy your freedoms.”

None of that is true.

“You need a senator who doesn’t just talk like they’re from North Dakota, but votes like they’re from North Dakota. That’s what you need, and that’s Kevin Cramer,” Trump said.

I don’t think we do.

“He felt confident in me to make the right choice and carry on his great legacy, that’s why he did it,”

I think he’s just old and tired.

“We will make America loving again, Loving. Loving.”

You first.

“Because space is the new frontier,”

It has been a new frontier for a long time.

“We’re not starting a trade war, but we’ll finish it”

Nope, you started it.

“You need a senator who doesn’t just talk like they’re from North Dakota, but votes like they’re from North Dakota,” said Trump, who added of Cramer: “He loves you, I will tell you that. He loves this state, loves the people. And we need Kevin Cramer to replace liberal Democrat Heidi Heitkamp.”

He doesn’t love gay people. I doubt if he loves me, and I’m OK with that.

“I want to make a plea to my Democrat friends. Please, please, please don’t remove Nancy Pelosi. And please keep Maxine Waters on the air as your face and your mouthpiece,”

He doesn’t have any Democratic friends.

“The era of global freeloading and taking advantage of the United States is over.”

If you say so.

“Heidi voted no on our massive tax cuts for North Dakota families. She voted no,” President Trump stated. “Not one Democrat voted to cut your taxes and the other day Nancy Pelosi said we have to raise your taxes. What’s that all about? She wants to raise your taxes.”

The tax scam; borrowing money to redistribute to the rich.

“We love the countries of the European Union.”

Do we?

“But the European Union was set up to take advantage of the United States, to attack our piggy bank.”

False.

“We had a trade deficit because they send the Mercedes in, they send the BMWs in, they send their products in, we send things to them and they say, ‘no thank you, we don’t take your product’.

False.

“I said to them, if you treat us that way and you don’t take down your barriers, if you’re not going to treat us fairly then we are going to tax all those beautiful Mercedes Benzes.”

They are beautiful.

“Sometimes our worst enemies are our so-called friends”

The feeling is mutual, I’ve read.

“Republicans want strong borders and no crime. Democrats want open borders and from there, crime, crime, crime happens.”

Not what democrats want on this planet.

“We’re already building the wall and it’s a beautiful thing.”

It’s about 4 feet long.

“Thanks to Republican leadership America is winning again, and America is being respected again all over the world,”

That’s not true.

“He puts a straw in the ground and oil comes out.”

Trump likes billionaire Harold Hamm, an oil baron.

“Great pillows. I actually use them, believe it or not.”

My Pillow brand. I don’t believe Trump uses a normal pillow.

“Maxine Waters is their new leader.”

No. She isn’t. She is a liberal, African-American woman, though.

“Another person campaigned for eight years. ‘Repeal and replace.’ And we were a little surprised when the thumb went down.”

Still kicking John McCain, when he is dying.

“We are coming out with so many health care plans. It is so much better than anything you’ve ever seen before.”

He claimed to have plan, the greatest plan, many months ago, so I doubt it.

“If crooked Hillary would have won this election, and if she came here, which is about a 0 percent chance, after the election she’d have 200 people in a conference room in a small hotel.”

False.

“Because, frankly, they find this more exciting than the NFL and a hell of a lot more dangerous, right?”

Huh?

“And I wish those cameras would circle the room to see how many thousands of people are here because, you know, on the screen I look — and all you see are those few beautiful, wonderful people — I don’t know who the hell I — but you’ve got a nice group over there. I know you have Mike and some others. They’re going to be so famous.”

Stupid cameramen. Won’t do what Trump says.

“I said to my people, ‘How many people are here?’ They said, ‘Six thousand in the arena, but we’re going to be — have to, unfortunately, walk 15,000 or 18,000 people that couldn’t get in.'”

There weren’t 15,000 or 18,000 people that couldn’t get in.

“The late, great, Cecil B. DeMille would not have set it up this way, I will tell you.”

Probably not, but he did movies.

“Everybody comes in, including the vile gang, MS-13, which Nancy Pelosi has gone out and wants to protect, OK?”

She doesn’t want to protect MS-13.

“Do you see what they do? Bing, bing. Right? You see what they’re doing? No, but do you see what they’re doing?”

Huh?

“I have wealthy friends, like Harold Hamm.”

We’re happy for you.

“But the Heritage Foundation came out with a report, and this was as of two months ago. We’ve already implemented 64 percent of our top agenda items.”

That’s not what they said

“They never take those cameras off my face. Look at all the women.”

Yes, we have those.

“I said, ‘Oh, I am so smart. I am the smartest person.’ My uncle was a great professor at MIT for 40 years. Can you believe? Forty years. I said, ‘But I’m smarter than him. I’m smarter than anybody.'”

I don’t think so.

“Oy, when do they get over it? But, you know, it is pretty amazing. Point after point, guilty, guilty, guilty, guilty. Oh, she’s OK.”

Clinton has not been found guilty for anything.

“Michigan’s very happy with your president.”

Not many of them.

“Politics is a mean game, isn’t it? It’s a mean — it’s a fleeting game. Six months ago, Republicans passed the biggest tax cuts and reform in American history.”

Yes, fleetingly mean.

“My daughter and my wife, Melania, they love — they love the women. And the women love them. The women love them. And the men love them.”

I would imagine so.

“You know, I was dealt a lot of bad hands.”

He’s had a tough life.

“The fake news was so upset when I said we had a good relationship. We had a good chemistry.”

Kim Jong-un makes a great play date.

“But when people rush it -— you know, it’s like rushing the turkey out of the stove. It’s not going to be as good. The women can tell me, and some of the men. See, today I have to be politically correct. See, in the old days …”

I see.

“And I’ve directed the Pentagon to begin the process of creating a sixth branch of the United States Armed Forces, called the Space Force. The Space Force.”

Whoo hoo!

“Let them send a rocket up to Mars. Let’s be the first. I hope they go fast. Let’s help them. Let’s make it really good for them. And if they do it, we’re going to claim it on behalf of the United States, OK? We’ll give them no credit. Let them spend the money.”

The Mars rover is pretty famous.

“And by the way, our people, they call it the base, they used to say it’s 35. Then they said it’s 40. Then they said it’s 42. Then they have these polls go — we’re driving them crazy. Now they say it’s over 50 percent.”

It’s not.

“They’ve been stone-cold losers, the elite. The elite.”

OK.

Bonus Trump

“First of all they are great patriots, just hang in there a little while we are doing the tariffs, They’re negotiating with us. If you look at Canada, they shut you out and you see what’s happening. You look at the European union you can’t bring your product in there it’s very hard to and they tax you and they bury you. You know they put these nonmonetary barriers up and they are ridiculous. Hang in. We are going to open up the markets like you’ve never seen before. Don’t forget farmers have been flat lining and even going down over 15 years we’re going to get it so they go up. That’s what I want. They have to hang in with me just for a little while. I’ve been very successful at doing this stuff.” — KVLY Fargo