RON SCHALOW: Of Course, He Did

Well, at least he didn’t kiss the brutal dictator on the lips and/or grab him by his small organ. That’s something, I suppose. He didn’t sniff Kim’s butt, as far as we know. The action is tough to translate.

Instead, our president just slobbered up a storm and beamed radiantly like a teen dork picking up his best girl. This Kim Jong-un character is quite the looker. Anyone can see that. He favors a young Raymond Burr in the dark.

Unconventionally handsome, one person might have said, before being tossed into a superornate pit crawling with 13 skinny Himalayan Hairy crocs. Very rare. Not the execution. The reptiles. When KJ slides on those shades, he can get anything. Because he is a ruthless tyrant. Not due to the cool sunglasses.

There might be seven people in all of North Korea, who given the chance, wouldn’t beat “Big Boy’s” twin brother to death with a Dennis Rodman sock full of D-cells. Batteries not included. And Rodman can be a little squirrely, especially if he’s wearing the sock you need. A length of lead pipe is probably a better choice.

But Trump didn’t even lunge at the murderous, torturing, people-starving, shaved panda a-hole. Dough boy could have merely tipped over on the garden gnome and ended him in a splat. But DJT was too busy saluting doormen.

Did he see the concentration camps as features or bugs? The starving people? Not that impressive. Hell, we have those, and kids in cages, too.

The Donald actually admired the mini murderer and marveled at North Koreans sitting up at attention when in KJ’s presence and wishes “his” people would do the same. Some do. They’re called white nationalists. Most of them look like POTUS son, Eric. It’s not pretty.

Did they strike the deal Trump promised? No. Was it at least as good as the Iranian nuclear deal, chipmunk chins tossed in the trash? Not by a long shot.

But the Iranian deal was a really bad deal. Trump said so. He should know. He’s screwed thousands of people. Donnie declared the Iran deal the worst deal since the Flintstones — it’s on right before Fox & Friends — bought that car with no engine. Dim bulb thinks all of the missing parts should have been an obvious deal breaker for Fred. Like he’s ever driven a car — or looked under a hood.

The worst deal ever in the world, ever. Ever! It was 159 pages, so I don’t how a semiliterate like the doofus would know what was in it, but it took more than two fat guys with a sharpie to hammer out the details over a bucket of chicken.

The Iranian nuclear deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action because that is what it is called, took a zillion smart people 12 years to formulate.

So, meanwhile:

The ocean is full of plastic, as are the inhabitants of the sea. The plastic breaks down into tiny fragments and absorb toxins in the water. Fish and birds are full of the stuff. Humans who eat the fish also ingest the toxins, which can also be referred to as poisons.

Things like that don’t bother the puffy POTUS. It’s more handsome — and younger — leaders, like Justin Trudeau, that really get on his nerves.

Besides, Donnie is made up of 37 percent plastic. It’s a little known fact. He used to get a little overaggressive when McD’s Quarter Pounders were sold in foam containers. It could happen to barely anyone. Anyway, you can tell by the 4-pound tensile monofilament fishing line that thrusts out and tangles on his head.

Most regions of the ocean are overfished. The trawlers with huge nets trap everything in their path, including bycatch, the incidental but inevitable capture or killing of non target species such as dolphins, sea turtles, sharks, rays, seabirds, whales and porpoises. Also, fish too small for processing that deplete the species even further. And critters that make up the food supply of other species. It’s not good.

Just so the ignorant McAss can have a cheap McFish. His precious boys like to shoot rare land mammals, for fun, so dingus has taught them well.

As for global warming, which is caused by man, dipshits like 45 and Kevin Cramer don’t believe it, since they can’t digest complicated information, plus they were told not to believe it. These clowns are more concerned about bathroom usage, even though the pervert-in-chief used to just walk into teen female dressing rooms and peep up close.

Most of the carbon dioxide that is emitted into the air has been absorbed by the oceans and have acidified the water, which kills coral reefs that are the nurseries of the sea.

And most people know that the oceans are warming and rising. We’ve already seen the extra-powerful weather disasters fueled by the warmer air and water. Many citizens have died, but DJ tossed out some paper towels, so his ass is covered.

Those are just a few of the problems with the water that covers most the Earth. Harm to the oceans will eventually harm us all. It certainly will be expensive.

Our land-based issues aren’t any better, but those problems can wait because we’re in North Dakota, which is in the United States of Trump, where the future is a liberal concept.

More importantly, mister beluga whale carcass endorsed Congressman Lite in a Tweet. Bigot Cramer was giddy, but more compliments were showered on Kim Jong-un by the mad grifter, which most humans would call a red flag.

Kevin will need to kill a few thousand liberals, and starve some children, before he gets any real respect from the sleaze.

And since we can’t go a full hour without a Trump scandal, it turns out that he solicited money for charitable purposes, but used the loot for personal use.

Of course, he did.

TONY J BENDER: That’s Life — Travels With Tony

Our first Uber driver was a former journalist, so the midnight conversation from Pittsburgh International Airport turned to the unprecedented attacks on the press by the president.

Wearied by weather delays, airport sprints and the uncertainty of our travels, India and I were content to let him deliver a treatise I knew by rote — the preposterous notion journalists intentionally get things wrong … the differences between the opinion page and the front page … the top secret cabal that keeps conservatives out of journalism school … the incurious nature of sheep and men …

We counted 11 Uber drivers, a microcosm of America, as part of our four-day trek around Pennsylvania and West Virginia, where India will attend West Virgina University in the fall.

There was beautiful Chinita with the splendid braids, who was recovering from a car accident and was driving because she could no longer handle physical labor … there were college students picking up money for tuition … and Russell, a West Virginia lifer whose Uber profile said he was a great conversationalist but wasn’t.

A former FBI agent from D.C. shared his insights into the bureau as he ferried us across Morgantown. Comey had botched things by skewing the trajectory of the election with the Hillary email announcement, he said. And the two fired agents who displayed unprofessional disdain for Trump? “They had it coming.”

I had one question. “Is Bob Mueller a straight shooter?” He looked over at me intensely as the light changed. “Absolutely. Incorruptible.”

My favorite was the retired ballerina, who had danced professionally for 21 years in the company of luminaries like Baryshnikov and Nureyev and now taught other dancers. She was tiny and lithe, blonde-gray hair in a ballerina’s bun, lively eyes, with a boisterous laugh I was delighted to coax out of her several times with prairie wisecracks.

Later, I wondered why she was driving. Boredom? Financial necessity? If so the latter, it wouldn’t surprise me. Art is so seldom justly rewarded — this wondrous thing that illuminates the very best in humanity, showing our species in full bloom, like tulips in the spring, providing hope, beauty, inspiration, perspective, truth and mystery. I wished I had seen her dance.

Jahm from Uzbekistan and I engaged in discourse about Russian history, from the Mongols to the Romanovs. A gold tooth flashed when he spoke from a bearded jaw. I mined the words from his rich accent like gemstones. That ride wasn’t long enough.

The longest ride, but not in miles, was with Thomas, a patriot driving a Nissan. Well dressed in a button down shirt and slacks, he was a former coal miner, failed restauranteur and air conditioning specialist who, at 58, couldn’t land another job.

Early in the ride, because we were from North Dakota, I assume, he floated a comment about the unfair treatment Trump was receiving in the press and said something disparaging about Hillary. “Well, I really wasn’t a fan of either candidate,” I said noncommittally, and that shut him down for a while.

But later, another entreaty about the media’s attacks on the president, and this time I took the bait. The president, I said, was acting on some conservative principles I could live with. “But I despair over what he’s doing to the office — the ugliness and divisiveness he encourages. His dishonesty. His intellectual laziness. The way he alienates our allies.”

And so it came, like a flood, the rebuttal. Thomas told me he listened to a lot of conservative talk radio and so seemed well-schooled on the Deep State. Along with his defense of the president, he opined that 9/11 was an inside job, Obama, the Manchurian Candidate, was a Muslim born in Kenya, and that climate change was a hoax.

I attempted to gently amend some of the more egregious misstatements. I cited facts about the death of coral reefs, rising sea levels, melting ice caps, the increased intensity of storms and the acceleration of CO2 in the atmosphere that coincided with the Industrial Revolution — the reality that the growing season in North Dakota had gotten longer in my lifetime.

“Most scientists agree climate change is happening,” I said.

“They’ve been bought off,” he countered.

“All of them? And to what end? Not everything is a conspiracy, Thomas. Read.”

He didn’t read newspapers. It’s all fake news, anyway, he said, repeating the president’s mantra, and then he went off on CNN.

“You’re killing me, Thomas,” I said, and that’s when I revealed my occupation.

“Why would you support attacks on the First Amendment, which is more critical to your freedom than any other part of the Constitution?” I asked.

“Journalists defend your freedom every day, just as soldiers do. You think six-shooters and the Second Amendment will save you from a corrupt government? You know what will? Truth. Facts. They’re out there. You just have to be willing to open your eyes.”

By then, we were at the motel. We pulled the bags out of the trunk and wished each other well. I slapped him on the back and said, “Keep an open mind, Thomas.”

He smiled and chuckled. I liked him. I really did. And I think he liked me.

“I’ll keep an open mind, too,” I added, as I turned away.

I tipped him well. But not as much as the ballerina.

© Tony Bender, 2018

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Hold On A Minute There, Al, The Peeping Tom Just Got 54,000 Votes

Just 24 days ago, Will Gardner, the Republican Party’s nominee for North Dakota secretary of state, announced he was dropping out of the race after news stories surfaced about him being arrested (and convicted) for peeking in windows at women’s dormitories at North Dakota State University.

You might have been a bit hasty there, Will. Republicans apparently don’t care about things like that. Because Tuesday, 54,000 of them voted to make you the next secretary of state anyway. In fact, you got 17,000 more votes than your party’s congressional nominee, Kelly Armstrong.

So, now what?

Al Jaeger, who holds the office now and has pledged to run for re-election as an independent this fall, is sitting in his office this morning, waiting for a letter from you. Because, ironically, in order to fulfill your pledge to drop out of the race, you have to send Al a letter telling him that.

So, Will, assuming you have time today to write that short letter saying you decline the Republican Party’s nomination for secretary of state, as given to you by 54,000 eager Republican voters Tuesday, put a stamp on an envelope and take it to the post office. It should arrive in Al’s mailbox Thursday.

Unless you’re busy today, and don’t get around to it for a few days, and then you start thinking “Well, gee, 54,000 Republicans want me to be their candidate …”

So what’s Al Jaeger to do? Call up Will Gardner and say, “Hey, Will, I’ve got to get out there and get a thousand signatures on my petitions. You gonna send me that letter pretty soon?”

We’ll see. If I were Al Jaeger, I wouldn’t hold my breath.

In other election news, weird shit happened in Bismarck on Tuesday. I don’t remember the last time an incumbent Bismarck mayor got defeated for re-election — it may have happened in my lifetime here, but I don’t recall — but it happened Tuesday.

Bismarck voters chose a rompin’, stompin’ cowboy over a mayor I think they perceived as a bit of a weenie, ignoring the fact that their new mayor, Steve Bakken, has a rap sheet that includes bankruptcies, drunk driving arrests, judgments for unpaid bills and state taxes and getting fired from at least two jobs for “inappropriate behavior.” That’s the new mayor of North Dakota’s Capitol City.  Yikes!

But then, these are the same voters who chose a girls bicycle seat-sniffing window peeper as their candidate for secretary of state, so what’s the surprise? Voters in Bismarck gave the rebel Bakken 6,300 votes for mayor, roughly the same number they gave Will Gardner for secretary of state. I’m guessing they were pretty much the same people voting for the two of them.

So, as far as the Republicans being the party of “values,” forget about that. I mean, they elected a pussy-grabbing president. Not much surprises me anymore. I’d say the Democrats better get their shit together one of these days. We get the government we deserve.

TOM DAVIES: The Verdict — We’re On The Path To Isolationism

Webster defines isolationism as “a policy of national isolation by abstention from alliances and other international political and economic relation.” This definition may be rather limited, but it describes what is happening in this country right now.

Webster also defines a dictator as “a person granted absolute emergency power … one holding complete autocratic control: a person with unlimited governmental power.”

Here’s the question: Can one assume all of the power and policies described in the preceding paragraphs here in the United States of America?

A sincere attempt appears to be in process in this country in the form of Donald J. Trump. Meanwhile, the Congress of the United States is complicit in rubberstamping his actions without question.

In simple terms, we now for all practical purposes have only two branches of government — the judiciary and the presidency. The legislative branch has surrendered its authority to the president.

When President Trump attends the G-7 meeting with our allies, the first thing he does is demand that Russia be readmitted. Russia, of course, was kicked out of what was then called the G-8 because of its military incursions into Ukrainian territory after the fall of the Russian puppet who had been installed as its president. A Russian missile has been determined to be the cause of the destruction of a fully occupied civilian airliner. Those incidents, and more, caused our allies to kick them out of the G-8 in 2014.

Trump has also created his own set of numbers. He rates the meeting with the G-7 a “10,” which in our world would mean it was great. Unfortunately, we now know the truth. It was a 10, all right, but out of 100 … and that was no compliment to Trump.

The president has turned lying into an art form. After praising the G-7 allies, including Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, to their faces, he boarded Air Force One and instantly became braver, trashing Trudeau on Twitter. The next day, one of the men in Trump’s echo chamber doubled down, saying “there is a special place in hell” for Trudeau. Shortly thereafter, he had a heart attack.

What was it that got Donald so upset? Prime Minister Trudeau calmly and professionally said that Canadians are good people but aren’t about to be bullied by anyone. Of course, our Bully in Chief couldn’t let that pass, so he attacked him and his country.

Perhaps our president has forgotten (or more probably has never known) that right now Canadian forces are working side by side with our military in foreign wars.

Google that photo of the two men side by side at the G-7 meeting. Note the difference in stature. It looks like Trump forgot to exercise and Trudeau has no such problem. It’s like a “before,” long before, picture alone with a “long after.”

Not having insulted all of our allies enough at the G-7, the president made up for lost ground afterward by visiting one of the world’s most dangerous dictators, Kim Jong Un of North Korea. He glad-handed Kim, said he was honored by the presence of North Korea’s answer to Putin and proceeded to make who-knows-what promises, among them canceling scheduled war games without consulting South Korea, whose leaders had no idea to do this, along with Japan and Australia.

This man we call president met privately with the enemy without any diplomatic experts in the room with him. He expects us to trust he knew what he was doing.

In his private life, Trump used to do the same thing with his contractors and suppliers. They relied on his word — and they paid a sad price to find out his word was worth nothing. Hundreds of lawsuits continue today.

I know one thing for certain: We should not have to wait for the next election to demand our legislators to do their jobs. They must honor their oath of office and protect the citizens who they represent.

President Trump withdrew from the detailed nuclear program with Iran. It was far from perfect, but the net result was a nuclear-free Iran with provisions for onsite inspections. But President Obama presided over that agreement, so on that basis alone, Trump trashed it.

If only one of his advisers would convince Trump that Hillary Clinton is not the president (although she trashed him in the popular vote) and President Obama has retired! Then perhaps he could stop fixating on them. Amen.

RON SCHALOW: When Comes The Last Straw?

Personally, I am unable to speak to very many people, from the moral ground. I won’t put a percentage to it. It might be in the teens. I can usually spot my few lessers, if they still go out in public.

I’m like Trump in that respect. As he said,“I think within the first minute, I’ll know. Just, my touch, my feel — that’s what I do.”

However, I can say with positivity that I have been able to piece together a life that has been monstrously more virtuous than Donald “I Have Only Appeared in 3 Porn Films” Trump has breezed through.

Who knows how many adult films Carp-lips has financed? Who cares, at this point?

I know that the saintly Kevin Cramer has somehow forgiven — or pretended to absolve — the evil-smelling landfill of sins that McTrumpald keeps under a chin. Don can blow up his throat sacs, just like one of those crazy frogs, when startled by a Mexicanish looking hombre, to ward them off.

Cramer also exonerated Will “I Have Only Appeared in more than 3 Windows” Gardner. It’s a handy talent to have, especially for a congressman.

Here’s the part where 90 percent of the readers slap their forehead and think, “Is anyone surprised by any of this?” It’s actually the most typed comment, on all platforms, since the golden scrambled egghead Russianed his way in. “It better pick it up, or I’m off to Amazon.”

And the answer is no. It won’t pick up.

And no flippancy from here forward.

Anyway, I think it may be time to up our standards in this country, since Donald Milhous Trump oozed into office and lowered the bar for everything. How many straws are there? We should be to the last one by now before he takes a wrecking ball to the whole nation.

Of course, Trump will get more straws. But can we agree on the following?

1A. Cage-free children. No children in cages. None, nowhere, for no reason. No children in cages, or confined in warehouses. Is that too much to expect? Is the cruelty really necessary?

I thought it would have been a given. Evidently, I was in error. It’s wrong. It’s heartbreaking, and it’s barbaric and all words synonymous with barbaric. Not original thoughts.

Trump is 100 percent responsible. He tried to blame it on some fictional law the Democrats wrote, forcing him to cage kids. He lied because he’s a liar. Nobody is surprised.

Where’s Kevin with a flaming outrage. He was endorsed by at least one of the right-to-life groups, but I guess infants and toddlers don’t count in the scoring. It’s the same with most North Dakota politicians, who are either on board with caging children or afraid to ruffle the feathers of the peacocks.

Skin color has a lot to do with this.

1B. Separating a young child from his parent(s) is despicable. It’s torture for the youngsters and the parents. Torturous and cruel. Torture. We don’t torture.

2. Leave no one behind. It works for civilians, too. Almost 5,000 Americans died over the course of nine months due to Hurricane Maria and the ineptitude of the racist president.

That’s more than died on 9/11.

That’s more than died from Katrina, when an unengaged and incompetent president, and a clown named Brownie, screwed up royally.

Skin color has a lot to do with this. Puerto Ricans are not Norwegians. White people are preferred by Trump, which makes my skin crawl.

3. Don’t irritate the Canadians.

RON SCHALOW: Cramer Says Farmers ‘Don’t Have A Very High Pain Threshold’

Gutsy move.

“North Dakota farmers looking for answers amid tariff uncertainty,” is the title of an article posted  Thursday afternoon by GrayDC. Google the title to see the entire story and video.

The bad news

“Worst case scenario, you could see farmers losing their farms,” said Jeff Mertz, president of the North Dakota Grain Growers Association.

Mertz is in Washington trying to find solutions in this time of confusion. One of his stops was the Mexican Embassy.

“They’re no different than us. They’re just sitting across the border,” Mertz said .

The bad news with spin

The article continues: (Heidi) Heitkamp’s opponent in the North Dakota Senate race is Congressman Kevin Cramer, R-N.). Cramer says the situation will improve for farmers.

“I think you have to give this president a lot of credit for using the tools and the leverage that he has at his disposal to try to get a better deal for American business including American farmers,” Cramer said.

Cramer says a new trade deal negotiated by the White House will be beneficial for his state, but there’s no certainty when, or if, this will happen.

“The problem is when you have a long game plan and there’s short term, potential short-term pain, we don’t have a very high pain threshold in the United States of America,” Cramer said .

Yes, we need to give Donald Trump, the unregistered sex offender, a lot of credit for taking a hammer to our allies and using American farmers as pawns. A nonmegalomaniac might have had the trade professionals in our government negotiate with other nations, as in the norm.

“But there’s no certainty when, or if, this will happen,” Kevin says.

Farmers love it, when there’s no certainty, whens, or ifs. Just ask one.

Cramer has no clue about any actual plan the mad king might have in his soft brain, or whether it will be beneficial to the state. Nobody does. Trump doesn’t even know what’s going to come out of his mouth from minute to minute and only cares about himself. Just ask Puerto Rico.

We only lost thousands of Americans in Puerto Rico because Trump has a firm grasp of his job requirements and reality.

But Kevin blindly follows the fluffy racist, and defends him, no matter what. So many lies, but Donnie only appeared in three softcore porn films, so that’s good.

The ag sector of our state gets tossed under the combine.

Thanks Trump/Cramer!

RON SCHALOW: Kevin Stands by Tractors

Recently, the Kevin Cramer for Senate campaign released what they named the Tax Cut ad. He voted for Donald Trump’s tax cut scam, and Sen. Heidi Heitkamp did not. This situation requires a new blue-collar shirt and a pair of campaign dungarees.

So, we see Kevin strolling through a farm equipment manufacturing plant. That was his first mistake. Cramer’s role model, Trump, who makes window peepers look like nuns, has enacted tariffs on steel, which will crush the business he’s visiting.

The employees will be as likely to get laid off as they are to see a bump in their paycheck.

And 90 percent of North Dakota will get a share of the borrowed money, Cramer claims. This is a mealy-mouth way of saying that even if you get an extra 10 cents, you are part of the 90 percent, he boasts of in the ad.

Of course, it’s been well-documented that the tax cut scam is basically a giveaway to the wealthy. Trump and Cramer lied about that fact. North Dakota has its share of people who earn big, which is no crime, but any gains seen by those in the lower brackets will be eaten away by higher prices caused by the Trump/Cramer tariffs.

And higher gas prices, which I blame on the president, because that is the tradition. Higher prices at the pump cause more pain to the lower classes. Bye, bye, huge $5 tax break.

In the same vein, Cramer states, “our state received the largest tax reduction in the nation.” This may be true, but he’s talking about the average per taxpayer. Averages are funny. If one person gets $91, and nine of his friends each get a buck, the average for the 10 people is $10.

It sounds better the way that Kevin said it, but the wording is deceptive.

Then Cramer makes this claim.“She says she’ll revoke the tax cuts if Democrats get the chance.”

Well, I can’t find where Heitkamp said that, but the truth is, Kevin Cramer already voted to revoke the tax cuts for individuals. They disappear in 2025. The tax cuts for corporations will continue. It’s right in the bill.

“We all like Heidi,” Cramer finishes. First of all, that isn’t true. Second, he’s admitting that it’s easier to like Heidi than him. Which is true, but say something positive about yourself, since it’s your advertisement.

If Cramer wants to make an admission, he could concede that his buddy Trump is a fungus, with dozens of slimy attributes.

It’s a little surprising that a professional firm like Odney, would produce 30 seconds with so many flaws.

TOM DAVIES: The Verdict — All Must (Not) Hail The King

When I watched MSNBC’s special Sunday on Robert F. Kennedy, I candidly admit my tear ducts flowed.

Chris Matthews hosted the documentary, which included footage of Kennedy’s visiting Appalachia and the poorest of the poor. I was reminded that here was a wealthy man who concentrated on assisting those in the greatest need.

A member of a large family himself, Bobby gave of his time to visit with, work with and help young people. He gave of himself to help African-American people most in need. He cared about those who were, and are, deprived of wealth, opportunity and education by a racist nation.

While most coverage centered on problems in the South, it was obvious that bigotry and greed showed their ugly faces in all parts of the country.

I know this means I’ll be called liberal by some, conservative by others. Either way, my admiration of politicians is usually aimed at those who help people in need — regardless of race, color, creed or political party.

When Martin Luther King was arrested, it was RFK, the U.S. attorney general, who effected his release. When King was assassinated, it was Kennedy who spoke to a shocked crowd. He reminded them that he knew how they felt because a white man had murdered his own brother. That went a long way toward keeping the lid on demonstrations that night.

King was killed on my birthday anniversary, April 4, 1968. President Kennedy was killed on my mother’s birthday, Nov. 22,1963.

Much has been made of John F. Kennedy’s womanizing and the suggestion that he and brother, Bobby, had affairs with Marilyn Monroe. Robert obviously was the more moral of the two, but their personal affairs were consensual. Their wives forgave them, and that ought to be enough.

Today many try to equate President Trump’s womanizing to JFK and. Consent has an important meaning, even if the affair is immoral. It should never be confused with groping, raping and all nonconsensual actions by a man against a woman.

Bobby was killed while trying to get the United States out of Vietnam. Those in power knew that after the Tet Offensive, the U.S. military (which never lost a battle in Nam) literally decimated and destroyed the North Vietnamese forces. Unfortunately — or perhaps fortunately — so many American lives had been lost by that time that our country just wanted out, no matter the cost. To say that we lost that war is either misinformed or a damned lie. What is correct is to say that we left without victory.

So many factors today echo the problems of the 1960s. History seems to be repeating itself. We are in foreign wars with no end in sight — wars that ought to be fought by allies who live in those regions. If the draft had not ended 45 years ago, I believe the young people of today would be engaged in the same kind of nationwide anti-war protests. The creation of today’s professional military after the draft ended in 1973 prevented that.

Instead, the youth of today are marching in solidarity against politicians who care not what they think — politicians who are in the pocket of the NRA. Just as they did during the Vietnam-era protests, our youth are once again protesting death and mayhem in this country … inside our schools. If you think they’re going to stop, or that they won’t succeed, you’re overlooking their passion and intelligence.

As adults, we should be role models for our youth. As adults, our words should be considered and thoughtful. As adults, we should provide promise and opportunities to our youth.

The current occupant of the White House believes he is above the law and cannot be held accountable. He has gone so far as to say that if he’s convicted of crimes, he could use his presidential powers to pardon himself. So far, our Congress has lacked the courage to speak out on this issue.

Our freedom is based on three separate but co-equal branches of government — the presidency and executive branch, Congress and the judicial system. The president claims he is above the law. Congress to date has allowed him to be unfettered. It’s up to the judicial system to ultimately restore civility to this country.

I have never been prouder of the actions of some attorneys than I am today — but have never been more disappointed that bar associations across this country have not taken up political arms to address unethical behavior by some of the attorneys employed by the president.

When you knowingly lie, never recant and refuse to admit your errors, you are a liar. That is true of every American, but especially so of lawyers. It appears that our nation’s capital can use a clean-up. So, too, can many state and local communities. Today more than ever, if you think your vote will not count — and you fail to cast it — you deserve what we all will get. Amen.

TONY J BENDER: That’s Life — The Heidi-Kevin Show

OK, people, I’m warning you, I took Ambien, so anything could happen. Then again, I might simply nod off.

It would be much worse if you nodded off. Now would be a perfect time for that energy drink, or if you want something less stimulating, crack cocaine.

I now keep my energy drinks in a gun safe because of what is cryptically known as “The Incident,” which took place in 2003, during a birthday party for preschoolers at our house. The best way to describe what happened is to imagine a locked room filled with 19 cats, 14 laying hens, a Roomba and Gary Busey.

Technically, this column has nothing to do with energy drinks or Gary Busey. So why bring it up? A couple of reasons. One, Gary Busey needs the publicity, and two, I am contractually obligated to produce 750 words each week. The good news is, I get paid $100 a word. (This is how you make $800.)

It’s a very strict contract. I don’t really understand it all but according to my agent, it’s intertwined with international trade, geopolitics and veterinary science. All I know is once when I stopped at 500 words, the soybean market plummeted, Russia annexed Crimea and my neighbor’s cat choked on a mouse.

It may be the effects of the Ambien, but it feels like I woke up in Bizarro World today, where Superman is evil, Lex Luthor is the good guy and George Costanza works for the Red Sox.

Last week, we learned that the Koch Brothers, the Darth Vaders of conservative causes, donated to Heidi Heitkamp’s campaign. Yes, that Heidi Heitkamp — the one whose votes in support of Trump policies are insufficiently sincere, according to conservative radio talkers in North Dakota. The same Heidi Heitkamp who may have personally pulled Will Gardner’s pants down and pushed him in front of windows at an North Dakota State University girls dorm.

Why are we still talking about Will Gardner? Because Republicans won’t let it die! This issue is like a vampire. Or more appropriately in this case, Lazarus. It keeps rising from the dead.

On talk radio, we’ve learned that God can forgive anything — peeping, infidelity, lying, violations of the Emoluments Clause, Russian collusion, excessive golfing — anything except gayness and liberalism. We’ve also learned that college girls are seductresses — modern-day sirens shipwrecking otherwise devout Republicans on the rocks of desire. Only one man is immune. Mike Pence. He’s like college girl kryptonite.

Inexplicably, last week, Kevin Cramer joined the Apologist Choir of Holy Holiness, which has been suggesting Gardner was clutching his Catechism while the former GOP secretary of state candidate was leering at coeds, panting like a wiener dog on a hot day.

Personally, I was done talking about this, but now that they brought it up, what drives a man to voyeurism? Energy drinks? A bad Internet connection?

And what drove Cramer to shoot himself in the foot? Was he trying to impress the NRA? Did his left foot cause him to sin? At any rate, it prompted his campaign manager, Pat Finken, doing his best Sarah Huckabee Sanders impression, to issue a statement explaining what Cramer really meant, which was that he didn’t really mean what he said, thereby illustrating that he’s the perfect politician for these perilous times.

Meanwhile, Heidi’s campaign campaign strategy seems to be that she’s Donald Trump’s BFF and almost as good a Republican as Cramer, except she doesn’t support window peepers.

You might think that as a progressive pointing this out, I’ve lost my mind or failed to read the daily top-secret talking points sent to all liberals, but the reality is, in a state in which 11 out of 10 people are expected to vote Republican in November, Heidi is doing exactly what she needs to do, much to the chagrin of unrealistic, idealistic Democrats and insane conservative talk show hosts.

That whole last sentence was an exercise in redundancy. It also made me $6,900. If only Heidi had supported the tax cut.

Cramer, apparently rattled by Heitkamp’s recent photo-ops with Trump and the fact that they Snapchat daily, also further distanced himself from common sense by criticizing Trump’s legislative director. I’m not saying he’s come unglued, but he’s looking as grim as a man drinking unsweetened Kool-Aid. Someone should hide his shoelaces. On the bright side, he didn’t call Ivanka Trump any bad names.

Kevin Cramer is being out-Republican-ed by Heidi Heitkamp, and that ain’t easy.

TONY J BENDER: That’s Life — What Makes America Great

In the interest of differing viewpoints, Bocephus M. Snodgrass is filling in for Tony J Bender this week.

 

 

Hey folks, Bocephus M. Snodgrass here. The M stands for ‘Murica, just like me.

You know what makes ‘Murica great? ‘Muricans. I’ll tell you one thing, my great-great-great grandpappy didn’t come here from halfway ’round the world just to have a bunch a immigrants ruin everything for the rest of us.

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I agree with that NYC lawyer who doesn’t want to be subjected to diversity.

And I suppose you heard what happened in Harvey, Mont.? How those two senoritas were talking Spanish or some other gobbledygook in the convenience store? Tell me, how convenient is it when you can’t understand what folks are sayin’? What if they were plotting to blow up the sheep barn? You know how them Muslins are.

Look, I’m not prejudiced. I like burritos as much as the next guy, but when in Rome, do like the Romans do. Speak American. And then don’t get all lippy with the Border Patrol just because you happened to be born in the U.S. of A. The Border Patrol’s got rights, too, you know.

Every Memorial Day, when I remember how those brave men and women (but mostly men) of the Border Patrol have sacrificed to keep ‘Murica great again, I get a little choked up. I love that 21-gun salute. Because it scares Mexicans. And it keeps the schoolkids on their toes.

Speaking of guns and kids, I’ve had it with all the whining about school shootings. If kids weren’t so busy staring at their cellphones, they’d see the shooters coming. Nobody teaches personal responsibility anymore. You know, had our soldiers been on their phones all the time, we’d have lost in Vietnam.

You know what the real problem is, don’t you? Libtards. They put transgenders in the bathrooms and took Jesus out of the classroom, and he had a pretty good G.P.A., too. I tell you what, you post Jesus or Chuck Norris at the door with an AR-15, and we’ll all feel better. Teachers should be packing heat, too ― the one’s who aren’t Commies, anyway, which come to think of it, would leave us outgunned. For sure, you can’t arm the Spanish teacher.

None of this would have happened if:

A. God didn’t get expelled.

B. Everybody homeschooled.

C. They stopped teaching revisionist history. For instance, the North didn’t win the Civil War. We just ain’t finished, yet.

D. Schools didn’t have so many doors.

E. Everyone would stop being such snowflakes.

F. They taught the Second Commandment in schools: “Thou shalt not take our guns.”

I don’t know what comes after F. I never got a grade lower than that.

People forget what this country was founded on: Guns … Jesus … and Freedom of Speech, except when you’re talking smack about Guns and Jesus. You should read the Consternation of the United States sometime. Maybe you’d learn something.

We have a long way to go, but at least The Precedent has made the NFL great again. He convinced the owners to stand up for America by forcing the players to do the same. Every time a player kneels, an angel weeps. Also when you punt on fourth down with just inches to go.

It all comes down to the principles we hold dear … the freedom to make your employees stand when you want them to, just like the good old days … the freedom to worship the military branch of your choosing … except maybe the Coast Guard. Seriously, Dunkirk had cooler boats.

This is about respecting people in uniform, who sacrificed everything for your right to conform. You know why fighter jets fly over the stadium before game time? Because freedom. Also to keep Colin Kaepernick out. And so Bill Belichick can get pictures of the other team’s game plan.

Players should stand to respect police officers, too, except for black guys who are already on the ground getting tazed because they’ve got a tail light out. Stop resisting.

None of this freedom could be enforced if we didn’t have a strong leader who isn’t afraid to crash your company’s stock price in 280 characters or less. There are two things keeping us free right now ― the NRA and Twitter.

When the president pulls out his Twitter, people wet the bed. That’s power. God Bless America.