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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

© Tony Bender, 2018

RON SCHALOW: The Traitor, Tariffs And Toddlers

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

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

“The black one?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

“What the hell does that mean?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Ed, huh?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Tariffs? What tariffs?”

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

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

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

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

“Stupid story, you pinko.”

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

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

“Never change, Orv.”

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.