CLAY JENKINSON: Time To Get It Over With

Donald Trump is almost certainly going to have to resign. His behavior in the Flynn-Comey affair is nothing short of obstruction of justice. Even Republicans who have defended his hijinks until now are beginning to understand the gravity of the President’s misbehavior.

Richard Nixon waves farewell. He was a crook, it turns out, but he loved this country and he understood its place in the world.
Richard Nixon waves farewell. He was a crook, it turns out, but he loved this country and he understood its place in the world.

We need to swallow hard and get this over with.

I knew long before the election that President Trump was going to be bombastic, crude, impulsive and that he would play fast and loose with constitutional and political niceties.

He flirted with an unapologetically extra-constitutional presidency, or at least Know Nothingism, openly declaring that he would profile Muslims, shake up long-established foreign policy norms and alliances, undo hard-fought environmental regulations, and undermine the credibility of some of our most important institutions, inlcuding the judiciary.  He made all of that clear in his two-year campaign to become the Republican nominee and then president of the United States.

Donald Trump won the 2016 election. Elections matter. He had a right to try to change America in the ways he outlined. Millions of Americans voted for him because he told them he would fix what was wrong with the United States.

We can’t afford a prolonged (and predictable) constitutional crisis.
We can’t afford a prolonged (and predictable) constitutional crisis.

But what none of us could really know was that he would permit his closest cronies to commit treason against the United States by egging on Russian interference in our national election. We could not know that he would divulge state secrets to the Russians, demand loyalty vows from key figures in his administration or attempt to obstruct justice by first undermining the credibility of the FBI investigations, then trying to coerce FBI director James Comey and — when that failed — firing Comey, the national officer investigating the crimes of Trump’s cronies, and perhaps his own.

We are edging toward an impeachment crisis. Whether we have the national will to see it through will be a test of our genuine patriotism and our love of the American Constitution. It will also be a test of the Republican Party.

It seems to me that this can only end one way: Sometime in then next year, Donald Trump is going to leave the presidency one way or the other. Mike Pence is going to be the next president of the United States. If you try to construct a scenario in which Trump survives this crisis, you will find it impossible to see a reasonably plausible path.

A man wholly unfit for the presidency. His wounds are all self-inflicted.
A man wholly unfit for the presidency. His wounds are all self-inflicted.

The only way Trump can survive is to go on national television, admit everything, apologize in plain and unmistakably sincere terms, throw himself on the mercy of the American people, ask for a final opportunity to redeem his presidency and pray publicly for forgiveness. If he did this, he would probably survive. The American people believe in second chances.

The likelihood of Trump facing his limitations in an unmistakable and humble way approaches zero. Hubris is his brand. He does not have the right stuff to confess to his inadequacies and his crimes.

Here’s why we need to get this over with sooner rather than later. While we spend months processing these increasingly damaging revelations, with Trump’s diehards blaming the Democrats, the establishment and the media, our true enemies are plotting destruction to America and its vital interests. Their capacities for mayhem are equal to their appalling anti-American rhetoric.

Remember the Condit-Levy madness of 2001? For months, that summer the American people wallowed in sexual prurience after Chandra Levy was killed in the District of Columbia, and her boss, Gary Condit, denied, then admitted, he was having an affair with her at the time of her disappearance. Condit did not kill Levy. But his sexual predations distracted an entire nation at a critical moment in our history.

During those wild and crazy months, former senators Gary Hart and Warren Rudman were warning us that al-Qaida was planning a major attack on the United States. They cried out plaintively using every tool in their possession. They were right about the threats.

But the American people would not listen because they were drunk with intrigue and innuendo, and they preferred to obsess over a tawdry D.C. sex scandal than attend to the urgent security crisis that was unfolding just on the other side of the National Enquirer. Think of the price we paid for our prurience.

We know that our Islamist enemies are now intending a major attack on the United States. Probably it will come in the form of a series of airline bombings, using laptop computers or other electronic devices that can be slipped through airport security inspections. National security officials have said recently that the current threat is the greatest since September 11, 2001.

Two things are critically important now:

  •  First, we need to get this political-constitutional farce over as soon as possible. Almost everyone now has a sense of how it is going to end, even many of the diehards.
  • Second, when the real crisis comes something catastrophic, perhaps on the scale of 9-11 — we are going to need to have a president in place who can lead us through dark times to national survival and recovery. A stable president might even be able to prevent the attack.

I take no joy in the collapse of the Trump presidency. We are the most important nation on Earth. The stakes could not be higher. We don’t have the luxury of a protracted national comedy of political ineptitude and malfeasance. Who wants to hear the last defenders defend the indefensible as things spiral into collapse? We need to attend to the urgent issues of our time: energy policy, health care, immigration, natural resource conservation, education and above all, national security.

As in the summer of 2001, we have once again taken our eyes off of the ball. I am terrified by what is undoubtedly taking place behind the gaudy and sensational scenery as the fifth month of the Trump presidency begins.

Let’s just get it over with.

Clay Jenkinson

TOM DAVIES: The Verdict — Ask What You Can Do for Your Country

In his inaugural address, President John Kennedy challenged the youth of our country to “ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country.”

If ever there was another time to rally to that call, it is now. We have an administration led by a president with no soul, no moral compass — a man with no empathy nor concern with the problems confronting the elderly, the average wage earner, women, all minority groups — and, worst of all, one who has developed an environment where absolute lies are acceptable.

POTUS 45 slammed President Obama for his vacations and golfing, and took special exception with his executive orders. That was on the campaign trail. Now that he occupies the White House, his actions are enough to qualify President Obama for sainthood.

Kennedy’s call to the youth of our country takes on particular significance today. POTUS 45 has promoted a travel ban from seven Muslim countries; rolled back clean air and water regulations; tried to give political cover to extremist religious groups, including churches, to promote politics from within, violating the separation of church and state; cut funding to sanctuary cities; taken steps to discriminate against the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community; and — last but not least — promoted a replacement for the Affordable Care Act that gives tax breaks to the wealthy while depriving tens of millions of affordable health care.

I could go on til the cows come home, but the political picture would not improve a bit. The samples I have provided should give the youth of this country — to me, that’s anyone under 55! — solid reasons to get involved in learning much more about our government. It should scare the bejeezuz out of the over-75 crowd. (I’m 78, so that includes me.) We might lose our health coverage, too, along with the right to affordable health care.

Follow what 45 is doing, not what he has said. So far, the Republicans are claiming that health care will be “available” for all. They don’t say, though, that it will be affordable for all. Don’t be lulled to sleep by false promises. The ACA should be repaired (for it does need repairing) — but not replacement.

Last week, the dingbats in Congress voted for an act they had not even read. Go back to Ryan and his ilk, who yowled like a castrated pony back in 2011 because Obama and the Democratic majority “rushed” (over the course of two years) to pass the ACA, while the R’s passed their miserable repeal-and-replacement in just two weeks.

Watch what is being done, not what was said. He who campaigned on “draining the swamp” and attacking Goldman-Sachs has surrounded himself with the Wall Street firm’s former executives and other extremely rich folks who have never had to deal with the real-life problems of the average citizen.

The worst thing that can be said of our fearless leader (so long as he has security and the military to protect him) is his vindictiveness. Anyone who criticizes him is on his personal hit list. He’s after “Saturday Night Live,” late-night comic Stephen Colbert and other critics too numerous to name.

I’ve recounted all this cannon fodder to make my point about another president … a prime example of a man among men; a man whom we should all model our lives after, a man who cares about Mother Earth and all of her inhabitants: Former President Jimmy Carter.

After Jimmy Carter left the White House, he devoted his life (and still does) to helping the underprivileged, the downtrodden, the poor and the sick. He has traveled worldwide to help those in need. He has worked tirelessly to improve their quality of life and to bring them food, medical care and housing assistance when no one else would. Regardless of your opinion of President Carter as the head of our nation, you can’t question his contributions as a giving, caring human being, doing the best he can with the time he has for his remaining years on this earth.

Carter was no fan of 45. He has made that clear. So 45 must have his revenge, and it has been both childish and predictable. President Carter was nominated for Argentina’s highest distinction offered to a foreign person, the Order of the Liberator General San Martin, the equivalent of the United States Medal of Freedom. The award had been approved by the Argentine foreign ministry and was published in their Official Gazette. He was chosen for his contributions to human rights and his work for peace during Argentina’s last military dictatorship during his tenure as president — as confirmed by the reporters of CNN.

Now, enter our immature, vindictive child-president. Carter had not been nice to 45. (Not many intelligent people have.) So, with all of the venom an infantile kindergartener could possess, 45 and his administration pressured Argentina to cancel the award honoring President Carter. A kind, decent, caring human being like Jimmy Carter, who has devoted his life for the good of mankind, did not deserve this meddlesome and juvenile treatment.

We who care about this country have to get involved. One bad election with horrible results, to date, does not identify who we really are as a people. How we move forward and deal with this administration certainly will.

This is a time for all people to care about each other: to stand up for each other, to protect this earth we occupy and to take on those who do not have our best personal and economic welfare in mind.

For those who believe we have but one creator — God, Allah, or whatever you call him or her — the name doesn’t control us. Our beliefs do. For those who do not believe … then believe in your fellow human beings and the earth we must save for generations yet to come.

We have an administration that has outlined priorities that benefit the few, but it only prevails if we the people allow it.

“Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country.” The “who” is us! The “when” is now! The “what”? We must get involved to protect our country. Amen.

RON SCHALOW: Kevin Cramer Must Go

It’s not even a close call, so save the coin toss. Cramer takes North Dakotans for granted and assumes he’s in a safe district. Why, because he’s such a charmer?

Guess again, smirk-boy. Smug-boy. Whatever. I’m older than the kid, so I can say that. Plus, I don’t care. I don’t feel any pleasantness oozing from my aura.

After decades of government jobs, by appointment or election, it’s time for Kevin Cramer to be forced to get a job where he can do less damage.

In case you were wondering, Kevin Cramer will vote for the user’s manual of a Hamilton Beach four-slice toaster if the order comes down from the repellent Munster kid — or the Denny’s menu-signing circus peanut. He has no personal integrity. No brain, no strain.

Our congressman voted it’s on the record to cruelly send millions of the people, “on our side,” to their graves, including innocent children, and 7 million veterans. Never underestimate what this @$$hole will do.

Who needs ISIS or the North Korean fat kid? Just cool your jets, fellas. We’ve got the “death to America” stuff covered by the Party of Lincoln. They’ve had some philosophical changes in the past 150 years, which Abe never endorsed — or ever envisioned.

Their antics probably crossed Stephen King’s mind, though. The health care horror story is likely on its way to Barnes and Nobles, as the representatives celebrate with foreign beer and domestic strippers.

We hire the weasels, send them where all of the lobbyists hang, pay them handsomely, give most of them too much respect, and they hurriedly plot our demise. Drive-through suicide, the Trump hatchlings call it. Bodies will be catapulted over the wall.

Donald Trump said “everyone” would be covered. That was a lie. We’ve seen this con before, and it wasn’t on the midway, where the Trump cousins hand out bags of water and a small orange carp. Bait, depending on the locale. It wasn’t a little white lie, either. It was a Trump-sized and textured, pile of horse$#!*. Kevin Cramer doesn’t care.

Not that anyone paying attention should be surprised. Our congressman has always been a tool.

He doesn’t even try to hide it. Did he know that his oil buddies were sending 30,000 gallon soup cans of butane, methane, propane, ethane and other explosive gases, mixed with the fine Bakken crude, down the rail? Sure. Did he care? Nope. Even when 47 Quebecers died, it didn’t faze him.

When it was determined that 60 to 70 would likely die in a Fargo or Bismarck Bakken train explosion, it didn’t faze him. Cramer won’t cross the North Dakota Petroleum Council. The same could be said for the North Dakota GOP. Smaller weasels. Possibly voles.

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration and Sen. Schumer care, though. And quite a few other politicians throughout the nation, who don’t want their constituents vaporized.

What bothers Cramer, is women wearing white in front of the president. Big Don could have figured that his Klan pals were in the house, or he could have gotten confused about the venue. Trump’s not too sharp — and often gets makeup in his eyes. He might have thrown out the first pitch to Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who rarely carries her catcher’s mitt in public but is considered a splendid receiver.

Meanwhile, at the same event, the dignified Congressmen Cramer, seething in the standard male uniform, yelped like an excited Mexican Chihuahua hombre pup, when the Trumpmeister announced the go-ahead for the Dakota Access pipeline.

Kevin is fascinated with, and has an abnormal love for, a carbon-based liquid, that began its development through one of the quirks of nature, that took place a few million years ago — it wasn’t a given that it would exist— but proved to be useful, when humans decided they needed one-day delivery on 16-foot-long $600 ties from the Trump Collection. The great man spit on each one, which makes them collectors items — or evidence.

I considered some Trump Fragrance, but who wants to smell like an obese sweaty golfer — and crocodile breath? I can handle that myself, without taking out a loan. Melania is said to love the odor, which is one of the reasons why she lives so close — 200 miles is about right — to the lumpy beast. I’m not talking about their pet camel, Wally. He smells like waffles.

Cramer is talking like Trump, much more lately, which leads some people to think that he’s losing his grip on the reality thing. Classic Trump.

Crying about some people being mean to him because he can’t answer basic questions at one his “town halls” in the Socialist Republic of Fargo. Then he runs to Rob Port, on WDAY-AM in Fargo, to complain about his constituents and claim that he was set up for something, by the group Indivisible. It’s a lie, but like Trump, it doesn’t matter.

A group wants to drop off some petitions at his office. But they can’t, because the office is supposedly closed, and three regulation-size cops are on hand to keep two small scary women from entering the office building.

Cramer’s story, also shared with his pal Port on WDAY-AM, is that the owner of the building knew a loitering horde had broken through the perimeter weeks ago, plenty of time to have the police on hand. But the congressman had no clue. Plus, he’s so unconnected with the humans in Fargo, he could not find one person to man the office for 30 minutes. Another crock of $#!*, but he’s sticking to it. Crafty women! Always taking advantage of Kevin.

Sean Spicer, the press secretary for the president, thought it was a good idea (it wasn’t) to compare Syrian President al-Assad to Hitler, saying that good old Adolf wasn’t so unhinged, as to use chemical weapons (on the battlefield). Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.

Cue Cramer. Stupid? Pshaw. That’s his specialty. Because he’s such a powerful member of the House — and not too bright —  Kevin jumps into the outhouse pit without reservation. Sean was “technically” right, he claims. This Hitler story is being distorted by the media and their fancy digital movie cameras. Well, Spicer had already apologized and likely wanted to hide under his bed until after the impeachment. Cramer just looked like a doofus. Perfect Trump material.

Back before the election, when Kevin did think he was Trump material, and a valued adviser, he prepped the grabby, disabled mocking, bastage for his speech in Bismarck, dreaming of being named Energy secretary. Actually, Cramer was the perfect person to ruin the department and do away with the silly protections for water, air and people. When will the government ever get its boot off the throat of the most profitable industry the world has ever known, and set them free to make real money?

After the speech, experts, real experts, wrote that it was as if Trump didn’t understand the basics of the marketplace. He certainly had no clue about coal. The coal industry is dying due to the free market, and it will never employ as many men it did in the heyday in the Appalachians, when it treated the workers like bad meat and simply buried the ones who died on their feet, in the woods, and then sent another one into the hole. The black lung was free, though.

Now, mechanization has replaced humans, and they blow up a mountain just to claim a small seam of coal, and scrape up the black chunks with huge payloaders. Luckily, thanks to Trump, the companies don’t need to worry about the coal crap that ends up in the streams — and gives the water some flavor. This is Cramer’s man. An idiot.

Kevin has always been a little nutty. He seems to delight in taking things away, like food from kids, then whipping out his holy interpretation of the Bible, which reads differently than my copy — or the one that Trump carries around as a prop.

Cramer has to go. He is not a nice man — or a good man. People that know him well, and relations say this. Now, it’s clear that he could care less about our lives, either jeopardized through the lack of access to health care or the indifference to public safety.

Some will say that Cramer acts kindly to certain individuals, which is great, but his responsibility carries greater weight than the neighbor with the kind heart. Millions are left hanging in the wind if this preposterous health care bill should survive the process, which is apparently what our congressman wants. He friggen voted for it. He lacks empathy, trustworthiness, credibility, and he’s a major suck up. He’s not statesman. He’s a lemming. A sheep. A snowflake. UnAmerican.

You’re Only as Good as the Company You Keep

Cramer’s adoration for Trump should make every self-respecting North Dakotan gag. I could go on forever about Trump’s transgressions that affected the poor, minorities, honest craftsmen, women, ripped off students, blah, blah, bah. Plus, it’s on the record.

Donnie lied 555 times in his first 100 days in a job that requires a qualified adult, a truth teller and not a bullshitter. He has proven that he hasn’t the part of the brain that keeps normal people from lying once per minute — and not caring.

Trump is an admitted sex offender. It wasn’t locker room talk. It was admission of an assault. I’ve been in plenty of locker rooms, and BS like grabbing a woman by the @#&*%$# is the obvious crude braggadocio of a sleazy bloviating jackass and would be treated accordingly. Cleats to the balls, 5-iron to the throat or basketball to the face. Something painful, instead of the whimpering of apologists, like Cramer, who aren’t fond of women in the first place.

Does Kevin approve of a grown man taking a stroll through a dressing room of teenage girls? If he approves of Trump, he does.

How about the cheating on all of his wives?

How about his funny disabled man imitation?

How about his snide remark about a news reporter’s menstrual cycle?

How about Trump’s general lack of morals? Sociopathy?

Flip, flop, flop, cough, gibberish. Which of the policies that Trump has today appeal to our congressman? Not those of yesterday, or this morning, or tomorrow, or the second part of his last sentence, but this moment.

Russia, Russia, Russia.

Hot off the press: “100 Days of Accomplishments Under Trump,” by Kevin Cramer, which puts an end to any speculation to whom our congressman is loyal. If it’s not to the people of this state, what good is he?

Just for Members of the North Dakota Legislature Who Support Trump and Won’t Accept the Facts Behind Their Own Actions, Who also Need to be Retired

One Topic — Oil Taxes

Members of the North Dakota GOP, and their shills, continue to deny that the oil extraction tax was cut in 2015 by the Legislature. They lie. Our state has lost millions of dollars of revenue to out-of-state oil barons. Meanwhile, some of our most vulnerable citizens continue to suffer.

The tax deniers want people to believe that taking to two unrelated issues, mashing them together and calling it reform, obscures the fact that taxes were unnecessarily cut for global oil companies. They can call it reform, form-fitting, secret formula, formaldehyde, formidable, or anything else, but it’s still a tax cut.

TOM DAVIES: The Verdict — Civil, Friendly Discussion Still Needs To Be Based On Facts

Sometimes a friend can jolt you into his reality. I was having that kind of conversation with a lifelong friend … someone with whom I rarely discuss politics. I didn’t know what his politics were until we had this talk. My wake-up call was loud and clear.

Before I get into the subject, I think it’s best to validate my claim that I vote for the person I deem best qualified without regard to their political party. Here’s my record:

My first vote went to John F. Kennedy in 1960, followed by Lyndon Johnson in 1964; Humphrey in 1968; Nixon 1972; Carter in 1976 and 1980; Mondale 1984; George H.W. Bush in 1988 and 1992; Clinton in 1996; Gore in 2000; Kerry in 2004; and Obama in 2008 and 2012; In 2016, I definitely did NOT vote for Donald J. Trump. Some of my votes went Republican, and some Democratic; obviously, I did not pick winners in every case.

Back to last week. What brought things to a head with my old friend was my saying some unflattering things about Trump. He replied, “Obama lied every time he opened his mouth.” He told me he believed nothing that he said.

I’ve heard many reasons why some did not like POTUS 44 (Obama), but lack of truth was not one of them. I countered that 45 (Trump) is a proven liar. You can go to any news source — radio, TV, print, the Internet — and find all kinds of his statements that have been absolutely false. He questioned Obama’s birth certificate; he insisted he received not only the most Electoral College votes (true) but also the most popular votes (false). He claimed the crowd at his inauguration was the largest ever, despite photographic evidence this was not true. I could go on and on with his false claims. Only a small percentage are true.

Obama had a scandal-free administration … but my friend didn’t care. He demonstrated great family values … but my friend didn’t care. When pressed to cite any specific lies he’d told, I got no response.

My friend and I are both grandparents, and our grandchildren will, I hope, have good role models. When I asked him about 45’s infidelities and sexist comments and his attitude toward women, my friend had no response. He didn’t agree. He simply failed to respond.

POTUS 45’s continual lying and demonstrated lack of knowledge, his self-centered approach to everything, his childish name-calling and attacks on the media along with everyone who does not agree with him: None of it seemed to concern my friend. If it did, he kept silent.

I’ve been learning fast that if you want to comment on politicians — or anyone, for that matter — fact-checking is a good idea. There are so many false stories circulating, particularly on Facebook, Twitter and the like. Someone gets a thought in their head, it comes out their mouth, and suddenly it’s perceived as fact. When you think about it, you all know this is true … and, to an certain extent, I think we all do it.

Cable and network news often have their own slants. Some are strictly factual and report what is; but others slant their approach to the news to support their editorial viewpoints. That, too, can be very misleading.

My wife reminds me to watch Fox News if I want the Trump view but MSNBC for the other view. In between, you have reliable sources on CNN, which I consider the most balanced news program on cable air. While public TV and radio are sometimes accused of being left-leaning — by commenters on the far right — in my view, they are fair and balanced.

It’s very important to learn more about what others think and why they think it. That’s why I am definitely a news junkie. Talk radio is another thing, however. My view is that there is one powerhouse regional station with a large audience that definitely leans Democratic. Another station with a much smaller audience falls into 45’s camp, loud and clear. Our third talk radio station, which is second in size of its listening audience, seems to cover both ends of the spectrum rather well, but with a definite tilt towards the party of Trump.

My friend claims (and I believe he’s a straight shooter) that he doesn’t watch the news. He says he no longer has TV and doesn’t listen to talk radio. That pretty much leaves two alternatives: talking directly to the source or, worse yet in my opinion, making a choice based on single-issue religious teachings.

If you wish to slam someone without specifying your factual basis — politician or not —you are simply urinating into the wind. Facts really do count. I can’t understand the sometimes-unspoken religious fanaticism that permeates the world today.

Trump says he wants to repeal Roe v. Wade (if you believe that, I have a little air left over for free in my backyard), while POTUS 44 was satisfied to leave the law as it stands.

Is it wrong for women to be in charge of their own bodies? Is it right for someone else (usually men) to tell a woman how to regulate her health care? Is it consistent to want the victim of incest, rape or a pregnancy that could kill the mother to carry a fetus to full term? Is it right that the fetus is the only thing the Right to Life groups think should survive?

We are bombing the hell out of Mideastern countries and killing unknown numbers of civilians. Where is the concern for them? The president has ordered our military into pointless, thoughtless actions in which they die for lack of planning. Where is the concern for their lives? Many of the same folks who worry so much about the fetus in every single pregnant woman’s body don’t comment or oppose the ravages that these conflicts inflict on humans who are already born. We wonder why other nations may not hold us in high esteem. Well, think about what we have done.

Our current president, a man who has the worst case of diarrhea of the mouth that the Lord ever allowed to live, is now thumping his “never been in the military — never held elective office” chest at North Korea. He wants to show the North how tough we are.

Perhaps if 45 had ever read a history book, he would know that when North Korea invaded South Korea almost 70 years ago, the Chinese then joined the North to draw the war to a stalemate. The armistice that ended the fighting still stands today in a divided Korea.

The U.S. dropped more bombs on North Korea during the Korean conflict than during all of World War II. We indiscriminately bombed civilian targets and used napalm. Entire cities and their populations were destroyed. I doubt the young hereditary president of the North needs reminding of what the U.S. is capable of — but this certainly does demonstrate why he wants whatever weapons he is trying to develop. His military also must be well aware that any offensive attack on this country or its allies would result in the immediate and total destruction of North Korea.

If ever this country needed real and wise leadership, it is now. If ever we must stop bashing each other and restore civility, it is now. It’s easy to taunt judges and others by calling them names … a lot easier than civilly discussing issues without judging.

I try to base my observations and what I see, read and digest. I don’t expect everyone to agree with me. I do expect, however, that if you support someone, you can explain why, and if you oppose them, you can also explain your reasons. If your opinion is based on facts, then state them. Without grounding your opinions in facts, they’re just empty words … and that’s not worth losing friends over.

My old friend is still my friend, but I still don’t understand what he sees in 45 or why he hated 44. I know he’s not racist. Maybe it’s that religious fanaticism that people don’t like to talk about. He may be wrong but, as my dad used to say, he’s still my friend. Amen.

TOM DAVIES: The Verdict — The Rule Of Law May Not Make America Perfect, But No Other Compares

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is amazed that a judge “sitting on an island in the Pacific” can issue an order blocking POTUS 45’s travel ban. He then opines the president has the constitutional authority to act as he did.

As attorney general of the United States, Sessions has taken an oath to uphold the constitution and lawful court orders. He apparently doesn’t understand that we have three separate but equal branches of government: executive (the president), legislative (Congress), and judicial (the courts).

The attorney general and 45 have one thing in common — disrespect for judges who rule against their positions. For 45, the cause is ignorance because he has no concept of “separate but equal.” For Sessions, it’s that he has crossed the ethical rules and regulations that govern attorneys.

While it may not seem so, the legal system is based on laws and respect for those laws. Sessions crosses both legal and ethical boundaries with his uninformed comments.

The Hawaiian judge who issued the order received a confirmation vote from then-Sen. Jeff Sessions. Like all federal judges, his appointment is for life. For 45 and his appointed court jester to continually attack him and other federal judges is personally baffling to me.

I discount 45 because I have no respect for him as a man, husband, father and as president. Sessions, on the other hand, knows better. He’s not the private attorney for 45, but he’s acting like it. As a lawyer, he’s charged with knowledge of the law.

Remember, the federal courts represent all of us, whether we like it or not. The attorney general is supposed to represent the United States, but this one is in lock-step with the dictator-wannabe who appointed him.

The first thing Sessions did (after promising one New York U.S. attorney he wanted him to stay on) was to fire every United States attorney. As of April 24, not one single replacement has been nominated. So much for the lack of leadership by the top officer of the Justice Department.

The U.S. attorney who was asked to stay on — and then immediately fired when he later refused to resign — was in charge of an investigation into the possible criminal wrongdoing of the current administration, including members of POTUS’s family.

While the federal attorneys general have great support staff, this lack of leadership in the number one spot is absolutely inexcusable …  particularly at a time when the Russian influence in our election and — more troubling — its influence with Trump himself and his family members has not been resolved.

The FBI will gather the information, but all prosecutions must be approved by the attorney general himself or U.S. attorneys — and 45 and Sessions have put a roadblock in their way.

Although I don’t intend do go into the unlawful “pattern” of this administrations actions, or lack thereof, there “is” a pattern. Following the cleansing of the leadership of the U.S. attorney offices, the uninformed one heading our government also fired top leadership in the State Department and has yet to appoint any replacements.

Methinks all of the bluster between United States and North Korea is simply a lot of swaggering boastfulness between the two egomaniacs leading each country. It’s 45, once again deflecting attention from the criminal investigation. The village idiot knows that if North Korea launched a nuclear weapon at any other country, our nation would cause it to cease to exist. Everyone wants to blow his own horn, but even the crazies do not want nuclear war. If it occurred, there would be no winners.

The State Department represents all aspects of our international relationships. To operate properly, it must have a staff that includes the support employees who actually allow it to function. When 45 gutted the Department of State, he gutted this country.

He appointed a secretary of state with no experience and with personal and financial ties to Russia and basically made him dictator of a rudderless ship. State needs staff, and the states need U.S. attorneys.

Remember all of those promises to bring jobs back to the USA? Recall 45’s and Ivanka’s calls to buy only made in America … as they now continue to promote their own foreign-made products?

Made-in-China steel was supposed to become a thing of the past by the Exalted One’s executive order. That made for good public relations — but steel made in China will in fact still be used for the DAPL. Meanwhile, I don’t see any new American steel plants opening!

POTUS 45 proclaimed he would bring back the auto industry and all of its lost jobs. But he’s either lying to the people or just plain uninformed if he doesn’t understand that it was not foreign countries that killed many of our factory jobs. It was automation.

What we need is new jobs to replace those that are permanently gone.

Now, about supposedly making America great again: The Elected One promised to promote infrastructure — bridges, roads, airports, trains, buses and all modes of public transportation. It seems to me that transportation and all area of infrastructure create jobs.

But wait a minute. Not so fast! This president and a few of his supporters want to build a wall between Mexico and America before taking any actions that would impact upon the vast population of this country. At the same time, he uses the threat of potential enemies to justify a great expanse of military spending … notwithstanding that the military itself has made no such request.

The current administration is promoting substantial tax cuts for the wealthiest individuals and corporations. Yet it has produced nothing to show how it will pay for any of it except at the expense of those of us who can least afford another burden.

Currently he who promotes (but has not produced) jobs also has shoved Amtrak onto the chopping block. Instead of modernizing and upgrading the railroad, he wants to cut it.

Give him enough time, though. If he doesn’t get us into a war to distract from all of the legal investigations, he will manage to destroy our internal functions. By “destroy,” I mean that if we don’t upgrade and repair — everything — we will degrade everything.

Who benefits from all of the confusion in the leadership — from utter inaction, other than the tweets of a madman in the White House? A guy named Putin and a country called Russia.

I often use that term “madman” as an exaggeration, but not in this case. With all of the news coverage in the past year — some confirmed, some not —  President 45 has yet to question any actions of Russia.

The answer to so many unanswered questions lies in 45’s tax returns. If they would show nothing that would damage him, why would he not release them? On the other hand, if they reveal the personal financial ties between 45 and his offspring and Russia, it might well result in removal or impeachment. At the very least, he’d face so many additional lawsuits that he’d have to leave his country club, go back to the White House and do what Barack Obama did — work to the best of his ability to serve all of the people of this country.

I’m not talking about Republican or Democratic issues. I speak as an American about American issues. Amen.

RON SCHALOW: Love, American Style

Stan shuffles into the dark bar, stands still for a minute to let his pupils expand, and waits for the blindness to dissipate. Then, without moving, he hollers, “ORV! ARE YOU IN HERE?”

A strange voice answers from the shadows. “Which Orv are you looking for?

“The ornery one.”

“Oh, he’s sitting at the bar.”

Stan shuffles over to the barstools, cane in hand. “Orville, you scamp! Why didn’t you answer when I called out?”

“I was hoping you would go away,” grumbles Orv.

“Have I ever?” chirps Stan.

“No. But you seem to be getting denser by the minute, so it was worth a shot. I’ll keep trying until I get results, or literally throw a shot your way. Hey! Other Orv! Keep your yap shut in the future.”

Stan stares at nothing. “Yeah. I am getting dumber. That’s going to be problem in the future, or I could just run for president. Intelligence doesn’t seem to be a requirement for that gig. And our congressman is an idiot of biblical proportions. Mini Trump is what we kids call the smirking, condescending Cramer bastard.”

“Maybe they’re hitting Donnie too hard with the Adirondack in the morning. They could switch to aluminum, I suppose, but those will leave a dent, too.”

“WHAT?”

“I just assumed that Reince, or one of the other nitwits from F Troop, was giving the president a good whack in the forehead with a baseball bat, first thing in the morning, to jar a few of the remaining neurons into action. They aren’t doing something right, though. Don’s still an embarrassment. Maybe the Priebus feller isn’t strong enough to take a good cut. I think Jose Canseco could be hired for a reasonable price.”

“They need somebody with power to all fields. Good grief. You’ve seen the Trumpbage try to string a few words together. It’s not decodable. Exponential gibberish. He realizes that this is an English-speaking country, for the most part, doesn’t he?”

“Shut up, Stan!”

“Maybe he’s playing his Rosetta Stone English CD’s backward and hearing those hidden messages from Charles Manson they talk about. This is Steve Bannon’s doing, I bet. He’s been in a knife fight with the Jewish son-in-law for access to the Play Dough between the ears of the royal @$$hole.”

“Shut up, Stan!”

“I wonder how many times someone in that putrid environment enviously said, he went to Jared? I think the Kushner kid is running the country, which suits me fine. We could have picked a name out of a hat and been better off than having the fat @$$. He’s not even trying to make sense of all of the details necessary to be the friggen president. Who ever thought that being president would be so time-consuming. He’s going to just BS — and golf — his way through it all, as always.”

“Bartender!” yells Orv. “Fill it to the rim, and keep it there, please.”

“Still on the Smirnoff, I see. A rich dick like you should be sipping Stoli, or some other clear alcohol on the top shelf. I’ll have a Coke, bartender, if you’re interested, after I’ve been hanging onto the bar for balance these last 15 to 45 minutes. I’m not good at time, in the same way you’re not good at bartending. I don’t have as much money as this spud-fed @$$hole, but I can pay, so if you don’t mind.”

“Quit giving the kid a hard time,” grouses Orv, “you lib#&%@ jackass. He does just fine,”

“Not really. Remember when the doofus child decided to launch those Tomahawk missiles into Syria? Seems like it was just last week. Like Trump, the whole exercise was a dud, kind of like this dope behind the bar. I doubt if Trump even knows what he intended to accomplish, or know where Syria is. But the lump of flesh, who I wouldn’t trust to watch grass grow, is in charge, so what are you going to do?”

“He says, we normally don’t hit the runway because they’ll just fill it in the holes. We don’t hit runways? I think we do. What the hell does Trump care, anyway? Can we inconvenience the evil Assad bastard at all? He could just as well of found a blank spot between Cooperstown and Interstate 29 and put a few dozen divots in a potato field, or whatever you guys decide to plant after the ground thaws.”

“Orv, the potato and beet farmer, perks up. “That’s extra stupid, you lib$%@# moron. We don’t need any big holes in our fields!”

“Don’t we Orv? Don’t we? It’s as flat as a pool table around here. A few more duck ponds won’t be a bad thing.”

“Yes they would!” screams Orville. “They would cost somebody a lot of money!”

“Maybe they could send the ducks the bill,” laughs Stan. “Get it, Orv? The bill?”

“Har de har har har.” mocks Orv.

“Evidently, watching the missiles shoot into the night sky was a beautiful sight. At least according to Brian Williams of MSNBC, who appears to be on some excellent mood enhancers. Yes, Brian; the pretty colors were quite groovy, man. MSLSD, dude.”

“Williams is a pinko liar,” grumbles Orv.

“Yeah, he doesn’t seem too bright. I’ll bet he knows more about Hitler than Spicey, though. Gawd!”

“I’m not going to defend that one,” growls Orv. “Quit trying to bait me into an argument.”

“Well, Cramer is defending Spicey, as if getting gassed in cramped quarters is different than breathing in some poison while walking down the street. What a maroon. Yes, they’re technically distinct, but so is comparing Kevin to a smarter lightpost. He’s your boy, Orv.”

“Shut up. I said I won’t be baited into one of your stupid conversations.”
“But that’s why I came here, Mr. Trump supporter. Pick something from the Mar-a-Lago nutcase to defend. The sexual assaults, the lies, the ignorance — should I go on? The list is a mile long. Name something, potato boy!”

“Shut your face, Stan, before I beat you with your own cane.”

“Hah,” snorts Stan. “The jokes on you, chubby dragon breath. Every part of my body already hurts, so you can swing this thing until your soft Trump arms get tired and I won’t even notice.”

“I suppose you enjoyed the pricey bottle rocket show, Orville, you portly hombre. An expensive fireworks display, which this Bashar Assad character may have observed, especially since the master tactician told them beforehand that a few dozen explosive thingys were coming, bigly. The bombs didn’t scare Russia or Iran, either.”

Orville: “You can’t allow anyone to use sarin gas on children. It’s sickening. That’s not obvious to you, lb%&@# freak?”

“Trumpdud didn’t stop anything, and the Syrians have been getting bombed and gassed for years. Trump acted like he wasn’t even aware of the former mayhem. Donnie could do some good, but it’s not in the tangerine man. Maybe he could quit lying about refugees just pouring over our border with no vetting. It’s not true, but it keeps the deep thinkers frightened.”

“We have no control over our borders at all,” yelled Orville.

“Baloney. And maybe Trump could quit lying about it being impossible to vet a Syrian citizen.”

“That’s true, you liberal yutz. How can you tell anything about these people? Orville takes a big gulp, and the bartender tops off his glass. Orv is a big tipper.

Stan explodes. “That’s a friggin lie. The Syrians keep accurate and thorough records. They’re an ancient people who figured out a few things eons before North Dakota was even given lines on a map.”

“The best thing the Trumpweasel could do, if he really cares about the children, is let them come here. Orphans and those already vetted immediately, and expedite the process for families. That goes for the Syrians and refugees from every other country.”

“Too dangerous. We should just keep bombing at a safe distance. Besides, where are we supposed to put them all?”

Stan counters. “We have nothing but space. Is anyone even using Wyoming? Economists say that an influx of new people will be good for the economy, and it will be good to see the bigots, like you, worked up. Some of you apes are still ticked off about the Irish.”

“They drink too much,” slurs Orv.

“Did you know that Kevin Cramer is Trump’s official golf ball washer, now? It’s Cabinet-level stuff.”

“Put a sock in it, Stan!”

“It’s true. Trump pops a Titleist in Cramer’s mouth, waits while he swooshes it around, and spits out a shiny dimpled orb. It’s the chemicals applied to the grass —- with a dash of lead added to his bottled water — that prevents the congressmen from picking up on the lies, and flip flops, that Trump pumps out by the pound. It’s the media’s fault for reporting everything the president says, according to the fertilizer-fed Cramer.”

“Quit lying, Stan,” yelps Orv. “And lies don’t come in pounds, you commie liberal loon!”

“Seven lies to the pound,” state’s Stan flatly. “I don’t know the metric conversion. So, when are we bombing the crap out of North Korea? Has one of Rob Port’s anonymous sources spilled any military secrets? I know you’re buds with the misleader of Minot. Did he email you any of his creative facts?”

“I don’t have any idea when North Korea gets lit up. How the hell would I know?”

“But you’re loading up on military stocks aren’t you?”

“Mind your own beeswax, you nosey SOB,” grumbles Orv.

“War is good for bidness.”

 

 

TOM DAVIES: The Verdict — Misguided Missiles Accomplish Little Beyond Distraction

It didn’t take POTUS 45 long to once again deflect attention from the interference of Russia with our election by bombing a Syrian air base. That’s resulted in some proclaiming him a hero.

Apparently, our president tweets when he ought to be watching the news he’s quick to call “fake.” If he had paid attention to the real world, he would have known that “little babies” have been murdered ever since the Syrian conflict began.

Had he paid attention, he would have known that it makes no difference what is killing the population — including men, women and children and as well as his “little babies” — from the standpoint of the families who do survive.

Does our president think that being burned alive, having limbs blown off, surviving with horrible burns and being buried alive are something new in this conflict?

Obviously, 45 didn’t see the picture of that cute little boy who drowned in the Mediterranean Sea while his family tried to escape the butchery that is Syria today. His photograph touched hearts around the world. He was just another innocent little boy, and not “a little baby” who died from chemical weapons. Where was the president’s compassion and outrage for him?

In their coverage after 45’s “presidential” attack, the media conveniently failed to report that the bombing of hospitals — just as both Syria and Russian have been doing since the war began — is a war crime. Where is the outcry? Where are all those “Right to Life” groups” while these horrors have been taking place?

Now the present administration is criticizing President Obama for failing to act in 2013 when the Syrian government crossed the “red line” he’d established. Congress refused to authorize military action. Instead, here’s what he did: He and Putin together came to an agreement that all weapons of mass destruction would be removed from Syria. He believed that Russia would act in good faith, and his belief prevented mass casualties all around at that time.

What Obama did not know was that either Russia lied, or Putin was played like a fiddle by his Syrian ally. Since no one plays Vladimir Putin and survives, that leads us to only one conclusion: He did, in fact, lie.

If Putin had honored his pledge, then President Obama would have been a hero. But because Putin broke the agreement … they say Obama is somehow the bad guy. Where in hell is the logic with that argument? How can any of our elected leaders buy into it?

Here is a simplified statement of fact. We are asked to believe that Russia had no knowledge that Syria had these chemical weapons … notwithstanding that we have photographic surveillance proof that the Syrian planes that dropped barrels of sarin gas took off from a base where Russian aircraft were stationed. Hmm, coincidence? I think not.

The 59 Tomahawk missiles fired from U.S. warships had to fly over a Russian airbase in Syria to reach their target. Russia has air defenses that could have shot down the missiles as they crossed overhead — but did not do so. Do you think the air defense folks at the Russian base were sleeping? I think not.

I think it’s safe to assume that 45 gave Putin a heads-up about the upcoming strike. In return for their not interfering with the attack, we agreed not to damage the runways. No sooner had the Tomahawk missiles (manufactured by an American company named Raytheon) hit the Syrian base, than the Syrians had their planes back in the air from that very same base … and once again they bombed the hospital where the victims of the chemical attack had been taken. Any of those “poor little babies” that 45 was concerned about who survived the initial attack died in the subsequent one.

Did 45 go back in and teach them a lesson for their murderous actions — another war crime? Nope. Instead, he basked in the sunlight of those who extolled what a fearless leader he was. And he accomplished what he really had in mind. It took the public’s focus off investigation of the Russian attack on our democracy and his possible involvement in it.

It has been demonstrated that rarely does 45 do anything that doesn’t get him either good press or good profits. This is more of the same. You’ll remember I emphasized Raytheon, the company that built the Tomahawk missiles. That’s because 45 owns a lot of stock in that company. By early Friday, its stock price was rising dramatically on Wall Street. Surprise!

If the president’s military action was serious, then it failed. If it didn’t fail, then something else is afoot that could get us into World War III. Whoflung Dung, the leader of North Korea, is the only other world leader with as little experience as 45. It is my fervent hope that the two most uninformed leaders in the universe don’t play a game of chicken with nuclear weapons. We have folks who could lock our president in a closet if he tried to use the weapons, but that would also require taking away the code box so he can’t use it.

Since I’m quite sure that 45 and his pal Putin read the Moorhead Extra, I recommend to their advisers that they take the appropriate action right now to keep us out of war.

If 45 really feels concern for victims in Syria, perhaps he should be consistent. He can do that by withdrawing his Muslim ban and either allowing victims into our country as refugees, or at the very least reinstating the foreign aid he canceled. Get together with our allies -— fund and protect refugee camps until the madness subsides. The money blown on that pointless attack on the air base (while leaving the runways intact) could have been put to much better use.

I’m no military man, but I’ll bet if our military had dropped a few runway-wrecking blockbuster bombs, it would have shocked the enemy into listening. Just as good, at the same time it would have prevented them from taking off from those very same runways within hours. I’m told that if one of those much more powerful blockbusters had been dropped, the shock wave alone might have exceeded the total damage of all those million-dollar Tomahawks.

And oh, did I mention the price of oil went up after the bombing. Don’t 45 and most of his cabinet have investments in oil? Gee, no conflict of interest there, huh?

Syria, Russia, Iran and some of the feuding factions now refer to the USA as an outlaw nation.

Right after the president of China left our air space after his visit with 45 at Mar-a-Lago, the New York Times reported: “Xinhua, the Chinese state news agency, on Saturday called the strike the act of a weakened politician who needed to flex his muscles. In an analysis, Xinhua also said Trump had ordered the strike to distance himself from Syria’s backers in Moscow, to overcome accusations that he was ‘pro-Russia.’”

I don’t want to see us to go to war. Exposing the administration for what it is carries a high degree of importance to me, as it should for all Americans. This is still the USA of old, but we are now in a hole we’ve dug for ourselves. But we will survive. As I’ve repeatedly said — if ever there was a reason to vote your conscience, the time is now. Amen.

TOM DAVIES: The Verdict — No One Wants Parking Meters But Out-Of-Touch Politicians

Moorhead, prepare for a possible influx of new business. It seems that North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum and his gang are pushing for a law authorizing the use of parking meters — for downtown Fargo.

Never mind that he has substantial holdings in Central City, and never mind that the cost of each unit, including installation, could be in the area of $1,000. (My info comes from the Web, which referred to both cash-operated and the more modern credit-card-operated units.) They would basically benefit no one other than those who live downtown and want traffic to move.

Never mind that merchants have always known that meters don’t bring in shoppers! Customers don’t want the hassle if they have alternatives like Moorhead and the area shopping centers. But Burgum doesn’t own properties in those other parts of our towns — no need to worry about meters elsewhere!

Proponents claim parking meters will eliminate the need for the parking officers who now patrol the area. But they have yet to answer one interesting question: If those meters expire and no one checks them, how are violators going to be punished?

* * *

It’s also too bad Burgum didn’t take former Gov. Ed Shafer’s advice and veto the law that allows anyone to open-carry guns without a permit or training.

The Moorhead Police Department will have a field day with the warriors from North Dakota when the latter drive into Minnesota and strut their gun stuff … only to find that said exposure and carry is not legal in Minnesota.

Legalizing open carry without training is a bad idea. It does seem to go hand in hand with North Dakota’s ranking as tops in driving under the influence and other alcohol-related offenses. Here’s just one example of the stupidity that could arise: A person is stopped for possible DUI. He has a prior record and panics; or he panics, even without a prior record. What do you think law enforcement officers will be thinking as they approach that vehicle in an open-carry state?

Will arguments formerly resolved by fists now be resolved with guns? Throw in alcohol and drugs, and this law simply adds fuel to the fire. Gov. Gun Supporter doesn’t have to enforce the law. But he just greatly increased the risks for those who do.

The National Rifle Association has a stellar record of buying politicians who then support their legislation, whether or not it’s good for those who voted them in. That’s a fact of life, one that we ought to concentrate on a lot more than we do.

Our state-level clone of POTUS 45, a.k.a. the governor of North Dakota, also sent a letter urging the repeal of the Affordable Healthcare Act on the very day the Speaker of the House of Representatives withdrew the Republican attempt to repeal and replace. Burgum, along with other Republican governors, did that with the complete knowledge there was no “repair” or “replacement.” He was prepared to throw the elderly, the infirm, the students and everyone else off their current plans.

Unlike Gov. B, the general population of North Dakota is not in the superwealthy class. The average person — me, for instance — would take it in the shorts. I live with diabetes from damage to the pancreas, meaning I now have a pre-existing condition. He would have thrown me and many others to the wolves.

Nursing homes, hospitals and rural clinics would all have been adversely affected. People who do not have knowledge about how the average citizen manages to survive should not be making decisions that will hasten their demise.

* * *

It seems Fargo City Commissioner Dave Piepkorn has stepped in it again with his divisive comments and actions relating to the cost of immigrants in our community. He’s dead wrong; he is in lockstep with the likes of 45 and Burgum.

But his actions, as offensive as they are, do not — in my opinion — justify recalling him.

Those who are unhappy with any politician ought to redirect their energy into finding suitable candidates to run for office and replace those they don’t support. With a recall, you have no idea who the successor will be. But you can bet that all kinds of self-interested individuals will come out of the woodwork to fill the void.

One thing 45 has done is to wake the sleeping giant known as the American Voter. From all appearances, the weirdly incompetent anomaly known as Donald J. Trump won’t happen again in this century. Voters will be alive and well to take on the the next batch of local, state and federal elections because we have been reminded what is at stake by silence and inaction.

* * *

By the way, did anyone remember to tell ISIS they should stop fighting and go home? I mean, 45 did announce he would cause the destruction of ISIS within the first 30 days of his administration. But by golly, he said the same thing about the Affordable Care Act … yet Trumpcare failed, just like all of 45’s private enterprises — Trump casinos, Trump steaks, Trump University and so many more.

I think a good many people really did think that Obamacare and the ACA were two separate things. They didn’t like Obamacare because of the man whose name it was stuck with, but did like the ACA, which benefited them. Of course, the two are one and the same.

When people make promises, we have to look behind them and consider whether they have the means to do what they say. Take the ACA, for example. After eight years and 60-some votes to repeal it, the Republicans now in the majority had neither a repair or replacement plan. Eight years of political BS! And still the politicians drew their pay. In the private sector, the clowns of “The Party of No” would have been fired. Maybe that will happen now.

I have one growing fear about 45. Each day, either through his tweets or his minions, he does something to divert the news from the serious topics of the day. The media are on to him now, and they’re starting to tune out some of his antics That’s why I’m getting more and more worried that the Orange One will ultimately start a military action to divert attention from the more and more damning investigations. I hope I’m wrong.

And one last travesty. Congress has voted to repeal protections for wolves and bears on Alaska wildlife refuges. They have legalized killing wolves, bears and their babies in their dens. What a piece of cold blooded stupidity! Sen. Heidi Heitkamp opposed the measure. POTUS 45’s faithful servant, Sen. John Hoeven, supported eliminating the protection. Shame on you, John Hoeven. Amen.

TONY J BENDER: That’s Life — The Sanctity Of Life And Tax Cuts

I’m exhausted from winning so much. America is so great again. Stop it already. My trophy case is full.

Sure, a lot of people think the House of Representatives didn’t have the votes to pass health care reform last week, but when you factor in the Electoral Collage, it was a huge win. Yuuuge.

You should have seen everyone coming out to celebrate. It was biggly bigger than the inauguration, which had more people there than actually exist — if you factor in visitors from other planets. Most of them from Uranus. We should deport them.

Check the satellite imagery we got from the Klingons. There are bodies everywhere. Hold it, they’re not moving! We must have time-traveled to the near future to a time after the Republicans fixed health care. If the Rev. Jim Jones was alive and in Congress, he’d be heading up health care reform. (Insert your own Kool-Aid reference. Must I do everything around here?)

The point is, trillions of people showed up to celebrate health care reform. Trillions. That’s even after you deduct 10 Russians — and counting. That Vlad — doing his part for population control.

“It is a missed opportunity to save the American people from the death spiral of this very flawed law,” said North Dakota Congressman Kevin Cramer, deeply regretting he was unable to save 24 million Americans from being insured. Everyone knows health insurance is a death sentence, and freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose.

The Republicans have been offering up swing-bed foreplay for seven years: “When we get back in power, we’re going to be so good to you. It’s gonna be the best ever. Gonna rock your world, baby. Anthony Weiner’s got nothing on us.” Now, after seven years of steamy talk about co-pays, here comes the booty call and … pfffffffft! Ironically, under their plan, Viagra isn’t covered. But then again, neither is Planned Parenthood, so it’s a wash. After strutting around all this time like Mick Jagger in Spandex, it turns out the bulge was a handgun.

Meanwhile, in Bismarck, you can’t wear jeans on the Senate floor, but I think a heater is OK. Conservative priorities. They’re only temporarily pro-life. If it involves life expectancy or gun control, all bets are off — unless Al Carlson gets his casinos built. For the first time at the Capitol, being Sergeant at Arms really means something. Jesus once said, “Blessed are the marksmen.” And everyone knows God wrote the Second Commandment to the Constitution.

Janne Myrdal keeps a Glock in her chastity belt. And a Ruger. And curiously, some guy named Jake. He’s either from NRA or State Farm. I’m not sure if he does health insurance, though.

SIDEBAR: I once knew a girl from Zap, N.D., whose Mossberg got the clap. (If you’re still feeling Irish, insert limerick here.) Don’t worry, it was covered under Obamacare.  Her over-and-under was cured with antibiotics. In the future, you’ll have to rely on leeches and a prayer chain.

The point is, Sen. Myrdal is a great American. She’s got an entire arsenal in there. It’s a yuuuge chastity belt. It’s like the Grand Canyon. When you yodel, it echoes forever. There’s so much chastity in there. Don’t confuse it with the sanctimony. I think I see Jesus in the corner. He’s holding a Beretta.

I’m going to drop some 9mm cartridges in the collection plate on Easter Sunday. I think there should be a service the night before, too. A Saturday Night Special.

I’m puzzled the family-values folks couldn’t rally people around the idea of raising the cost of premiums and deductibles, cutting coverage and giving tax breaks to oppressed millionaires. Is this even America anymore? It’s sad when the Russians are more effective in our political process than Congress. Soon we’ll have a borscht stand at every casino.

Now, that we’ve won at health care reform, we’re moving on to tax reform to save the Koch Brothers from having to eat the cheap caviar. You can see millionaires on every street corner holding signs in their tattered tuxedos: “Will contribute to your campaign for tax breaks.”

Who knew health insurance could be so complicated? Oh, and being president is hard. It really messes with your golf swing. Though it’s not being reported by the lame stream, drive by, irrelevant, fake news media, it wrecks havoc on your basketball game, too. President Trump is throwing up so many bricks, he may have to join a union. The International Brotherhood of Tweeters?

Unlike the guy he subbed in for, he can’t go to his left worth a damn, and he keeps arguing with the referees. To be fair, he is a prolific dribbler, which is why Melania is sleeping alone. Who wants to sleep on the drool spot? Anyway, the president is busy spooning with Putin.

Fear not. You’re in good hands. (Does Allstate still do do health insurance?) Small hands, but good hands. The best. Believe me. Winning. We haven’t won like this since, like, ever. It’s like Charlie Sheen is president.

© Tony Bender, 2017

RON SCHALOW: The Emperor Has No Feathers

I’ve had some bad weeks. One August, I lounged on the deck of a pontoon in the sun so long that my shins and feet were seriously burned. There was smoke — and not the medicinal kind. I was in pain for at least a week, and gentle I had to be, to get the old shoes on. The hair on my shins never did grow back — smooth as a billiard ball — but I never tried to pull a fancy comb-over.

On a colder day, one of my rear tires lost hope and deflated more than a Tom Brady football. I didn’t blame it. Most of the rubber had abandoned ship long ago. This was before cell phones — at least ones smaller than an 8-pound block of sharp Cheddar cheese. So, in 50 below zero wind-chill weather, I jacked up the rear end and switched out the deceased tire with a slightly better one that still had the guts to retain air.

My thighs took the brunt. The permafrost ran Femur deep. The slow thaw didn’t feel like springtime — or any of the other seasons in Mohall, N.D.

Of course, I’m not including the deaths of loved ones, or a national tragedy. And I’ve never been to war. But then, neither has Donald Trump. I was fortunate. He was a dodger.

But even though my legs have endured 140 degree temperature swings, nothing compares to the week Donnie Trump took on the chin, starting with the giant FBI director calling him liar.

Millions of people have called the soft-brained simpleton a liar, but this one had to sting. Good old Comey. I hope he’s on our side.

I have doubts about the Trumpster. The Russians have landed on Mar-a-Lago beach, worked their way to the tennis courts and set up camp. They’re using the nets to snag bluefish, snappers and tons of plastic champagne flutes.

And the dope is worried about malnourished 36-inch refugee Syrian kids.

I worked with a Russian woman who had been in the states for four years and could speak English better than me. Not a high bar but disconcerting for several reasons.

Holy buckets. That was an, ooooh, it-had-to-hurt week. Leave-a-mark week and other cliches.

A week of going out for passes across the middle and the prolate spheroids (I had no idea) are continually getting chucked just a smidge high, while the ornery turbo charged cornerback licks his lips, waiting to separate some limbs from their sockets, bruise some innards and break multiple ribs of the receiver, front and back. Ouch. Bring out the cart. Warm up the MRI gizmo. Call next of kin. The number is glued to the fibrillation dealy.

Oh, a 15-yard penalty? That’s pretty harsh for nationally televised assault. Wipe that smile off your face and quit giggling!

David Crosby never had such as week, and most of his parts are used. Stills, Nash, and Young are still working with original equipment, as far as I know, so no need to worry. Except about their attitudes. Bad.

Dave’s pancreas is for sale on eBay, and even he couldn’t quit snickering, while the Trump University scammer sweated off his pumpkin concealer from the Katy Perry collection and his so-called waterproof Nordstroms mascara. Sad.

And, I enjoyed every minute of it, too. I don’t know where the chickens go before they come home to roost, but there were some fat Rhode Island Reds sitting on the gropers head-nest, and the sight was splendid.

Except for the hair pile — it was really distracting the poultry — and the sight always puts me into a trance, trying to figure out the structural integrity of the fuzz. There’s no load bearing head!

Gawd, I want to take hedge clippers to those, those, what are those? Side wings? Get a grown-up haircut, for crissakes.

I was thrilled for Kevin Cramer, too. He latched onto 45’s wrinkled Chrysler-sized rear end with both thin lips and never let up on the suction.

Before this current Trump gig, Cramer used to clean behind the cushions of any crusty couch in Cass County for a nominal fee — and got to keep the change. He was famous for his vacuum-related feats in Kindred, N.D. It was a nicer place after he left, according to Trump, who heard it someplace, from somebody. Maybe everyone. I can’t understand the man.

Speaking of the bootlick, our lone congressman has been bragging about voting to repeal Obamacare 793 times. He also counts a 15-minute visit on the kiss @$$ Rob Re-Port unheard of radio phenomenon as a town hall, so his perception of actual accomplishment is different than say, well, anyone who has ever had a job.

But Cramer never thought to conjure up a better health care idea in those years, and although Trump indicated that he, and only he, had a great plan, he didn’t. It was just his latest con, and Kevin knew it. Cramer would have voted for the most depraved moronic bill, for a pat on the head from DT.

“We’re going to have insurance for everybody. There was a philosophy in some circles that if you can’t pay for it, you don’t get it. That’s not going to happen with us.” — Dirty Old Man

That was lie.

When he lies, his apologists, like Cramer, say that Trump isn’t politician, as if being a politician wrings the truth from the memory-collecting gland before shooting the words out of the face hole.

Becoming a politician since he was 8 didn’t help Cramer with truthfulness. Maybe one needs a sense of morality. And the congressman is still afraid of girls, calling in the troops to keep 18 platoons of women from delivering a petition to his Fargo office, and they weren’t even wearing white — or checkered — pantsuits.

In the middle of the health care fiasco, Rob Port, the Forum Communication blogger in their factually challenged department, wrote that Trump was being the grown-up in the room, because 45 demanded a vote, thus moving the ball down the field.

It’s not the dumbest thing Port has ever scribbled, but it just proved that the “Mouth of Minot” had no clue about the bill Trump wanted passed. If Don negotiated the building of Trump Tower in the same fashion, the skyscraper would be hollow. Echo city. Melania-free.

The grown up said:

“I was the first and only potential GOP candidate to state there will be no cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.”

“I am going to take care of everybody. … Everybody’s going to be taken care of much better than they’re taken care of now.”

Both statements were lies, and he wanted Congress to drink a tall glass of warm swill. It’s doubtful that the president even knew how little was left of formally bad legislation because he is a child with an attention span that makes George Bush look like Thomas Jefferson.

Oh, and Paul Ryan doesn’t know how insurance works, so that was good to find out.

After two courts shut down his ban of Muslims and this failure, the good guys are up 3-0 in the bottom of the first. Trumps is just producing divots in Florida, so he has bigly problems.