Robin Can’t Let it Rest

Dear Group,

Every law, ordinance, and initiative, no matter its good intent and overall societal benefit, exists without a detractor, someone who can tell a story of how this rule is hurtful and unfair to them—and ought, therefore, to be resisted and overturned.

In the last three decades or so the Republican/Libertarians many times have successfully applied this story-telling principle in their pursuit of political power. 

Many are the examples, but there are few better than those constructed around the Second Amendment. Before the dust from the election had a chance to settle, Robin Ball, former chairwoman of the Spokane County Republicans and owner of Sharp Shooting Indoor Range and Gun Shop on Freya Avenue in Spokane, was primed and ready with a story and lawsuit challenging Initiative 1639, the Washington State initiative to the people putting in place a number of common sense gun regulations around background checks and age restrictions. I-1639 passed with 60% of the vote statewide and slightly more than 50% even in Spokane County.

The announcement of Robin’s lawsuit appeared in the Spokesman already last Friday, November 16th, entitled “Gun-rights supporters sue to block I-1639.” I’ve pasted it below:

Jim Camden, Nov. 16, 2018

A Spokane gun dealer and four Washington residents who soon will be too young to buy semi-automatic rifles are among those filing a federal challenge to the state’s recently passed gun control measure.

Robin Ball, owner of the Sharp Shooting Indoor Range & Gun Shop, is among those joining with the National Rifle Association and the Second Amendment Foundation in a lawsuit that contends Initiative 1639 violates the U.S. Constitution and portions of federal law.

Although the results of the Nov. 6 election won’t be certified until Dec. 6, I-1639 is passing with nearly 60 percent of the vote. The initiative restricts the sale of semiautomatic rifles to Washington residents who are at least 21, pass an enhanced background check and meet other requirements for training.

In a news release announcing the suit, foundation founder Alan Gottlieb said plaintiffs were “disappointed that too many voters were fooled into supporting this 30-page gun control scheme. This measure will have a chilling effect on the exercise of the constitutional rights of honest citizens while having no impact on criminals and we will not let it go unchallenged.”

Ball and a Vancouver gun dealer contend the initiative violates the Commerce Clause of the Constitution because it will no longer allow them sell those rifles to out-of-state residents.

Four Washington residents, dubbed “Young Adult Plaintiffs,” are challenging the provisions that will keep them from buying a semiautomatic rifle before they turn 21. They include Nathaniel Casey, described in the lawsuit as a 19-year-old Spokane resident who is a member of the Army Reserves where he’s been trained on fully automatic weapons. Casey owns a semi-automatic rifle and plans to purchase more.

The folks bringing legal action are some of the same local Republicans who quietly auctioned off an assault rifle at their Lincoln Day Dinner after announcing they would not. These Republicans, politically joined at the hip with the National Rifle Association, want to make sure this issue stays in the spotlight. After all, they’ve been riling their base for decades claiming the Democrats are coming for their guns.

Robin Ball owns a gun shop in Spokane, the major population center in the inland northwest by far. What percentage of her business of selling weaponry (this is not a store that caters mostly to hunters) comes from out of state? Not much, I’ll venture. North Idaho offers plenty assault weaponry. Robin Ball joined this lawsuit as a political operative. 

Nathaniel Casey, the aggrieved 19 year old, is already training with full automatic assault weaponry in the Army Reserves. I-1639 merely restricts him from directly purchasing the semi-automatic version of such weaponry for his personal use. I have no sympathy for Mr. Casey. By his involvement in the Army Reserves he already has access to training with weaponry for which there is no use in civilian life. If he wishes to engage in marksmanship competition outside the Army Reserves, let him so engage in the controlled setting of an established gun range as part of a group. That his supposed “right” to buy people-killing weaponry is slightly restricted by I-1639 is entirely appropriate in pursuit of the common good.

Mr. Gottlieb (of the Second Amendment Foundation, a 501(c)(3) based in Bellevue, WA) and Robin Ball of Sharp Shooting are Republican political operatives using the Second Amendment as a wedge issue in hope of benefit to the Party. Mr. Gottlieb’s worn argument that gun regulation like I-1639 will “have no impact on criminals” while infringing on the “rights” of honest citizens needs a better narrative lines than young Mr. Casey’s or Ms. Ball’s. I have no sympathy for either story.

It is time to consider the common good over the imagined rights of a few to buy and parade with people-killing weaponry. 

Robin won’t let it rest because she thinks it is a winning narrative…but the tide is turning…her stories no longer resonate like they may have once. Assault weaponry more readily brings to mind images of schoolchildren suffering and dying than it does of pioneers wielding flintlock rifles.

In this setting McMorris Rodgers wants to have her cake and eat it, too. She projects her smiling mom image to the general public while she votes consistently with NRA not just to “defend” the Second Amendment but to encourage the proliferation of assault weaponry and paraphernalia. (Read here and here.) It is a tricky image, an image that one day may trip her up.

Keep to the high ground,


The Waif and the Grocery Tax

Dear Group,

A thin young woman standing on a corner in a middle class residential neighborhood on the north side of Spokane looked down at something on a clipboard, looked up, glanced both ways, squinted at street signs. It was two days before the 2018 General Election. She had to be a canvasser, but one I didn’t recognize. My fellow canvassers and I were a committed volunteer army knocking doors for Lisa Brown out of the Shadle Library on a Sunday afternoon. She was something else, one of very few young, lone canvassers I had seen in all the weeks leading up to the election. 

“Hi! You must be knocking on doors, too. Who or what are you canvassing for?”

“The grocery tax,” she said, a little uncertainly. I’ll never forget the ensuing conversation. She had just turned eighteen. She was happy to have a job, no matter it was part time gig employment with no benefits, a job that would abruptly end in two days. She smiled a little at the thought of a hundred and five dollars for a six hour shift working an inexpensive smartphone and a clipboard, knocking on doors. She would save the money for a deposit to rent an apartment. She said she’d been living on the streets since age thirteen when her mother kicked her out of the house., Since then her mother has kept for herself the money she receives from social security for her daughter’s support.

She offered that she’d “been into drugs,” but with her boyfriend’s help she’d escaped that scene. She would sleep that night in the park or “under a bridge,” as she often did. Where we stood it was fifty degrees and dropping quickly as the sun began to set. I shivered for her in my many layers of clothing. 

I asked her about the “grocery tax initiative” for which she was canvassing, Initiative 1634. We were several sentences into our discussion before I understood her assigned task was to convince people to vote “yes” to “protect Washington families from taxes on our food,” as the door-hanger she finally offered me explained. She had a script in the app on her tiny smartphone. One of her talking points was that Initiative 1634 (aka the “Yes! to Affordable Groceries” Initiative) would prevent government from taxing the groceries of “hard working families and people on fixed incomes”…and keep government from giving the money to those un-deserving “welfare people.” I did not inquire just who she thought those “welfare people” might be.

She clearly had a job to do, a script to get across. She seemed to genuinely believe there were evil forces in government anxious to impose taxes on food. There wasn’t a glimmer of understanding when I mentioned to her any politician offering to tax real food would be committing political suicide, that this initiative was only to pre-emptively protect the sugary drink industry from taxes on their fattening, diabetes-abetting products, that protecting wholesome food from predacious taxation was just clever framing. It had escaped her notice that the fine print (on the door-hanger, required by Washington State law) identified four of the top five contributors to 1634 as “The Coca-Cola Company; PepsiCo, Inc.; Keurig Dr Pepper and Red Bull North America.”

Every dime of the 22 million dollars raised by the Initiative Committee “Yes! to Affordable Groceries” the organization that hatched and promoted Initiative 1634, came from businesses, 20 million of it from three of those sugary drink producers, all with out-of-state headquarters, Not a dime came from a consumer or taxpayer group. Apparently, 20 million dollars is chump change for the sugary drink companies to spend to induce voters to preempt a tax that, if enacted, might put a dent in their lavish profits. There were only ten contributors to  “Yes! to Affordable Groceries” initiative committee. The last three were “in kind” donations of less than $300. The very last one, $198, came from  the “WASHINGTON STATE REPUBLICAN PARTY NON-EXEMPT.” 

Where were all these millions spent? The WA State Public Disclosure Commission tells us. Click the link and browse. Media companies are smiling all the way to the bank. 

How much was spent by the opposition? The Public Disclosure Commission tells us: a total of $28,693, spent by the Healthy Kids Coalition. Contributors included the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association, and the Childhood Obesity Prevention Coalition.  Apparently, the sugary drink industry’s money and clever framing was so overwhelming resistance seemed a waste of scarce funds.

What was gained by the citizens of Washington by the passage of Initiative 1634? Gee. We’ll get to buy sugary drinks without the terrible threat of taxation! (Sorry, I cannot resist sarcasm.) 

The sugary drink industry spent 20 million in advertising–and even with that got just 55% of the vote. I imagine they feel it was worth every cent to pull the wool over the eyes of just enough voters to buy insurance against the risk of profit loss…

And the guileless young, homeless woman canvassing sincerely for Initiative 1634, canvassing  in the hope of protecting people from a non-existent threat of a grocery tax, canvassing in the cold for $105/day, working for a boss she said was based in Wyoming, not realizing she was really working to shield soft drink companies from a sin tax? She saved her $105 share of the $20 million the soft drink companies spent. She planned to save up the money…and sleep that night outdoors.

Keep to the high ground,


P.S. The politics of initiatives are peculiar. I’m still trying to figure out how the promotors of Initiative 1634 got to use Minivan, the smartphone app developed by and for Democrats. I’m not sure how that happened or who to ask.

P.P.S. I almost never give money to panhandlers on the street. This young woman was not panhandling. She was working, but I found her story so compelling I reached in my pocket to offer her some money in the hope might use it find a warm place to sleep. She politely waved it away…

The Ideological Takeover of the Judiciary Grinds On

Dear Group,

In the writhing froth of media attention that Trump constantly feeds, we might all be pardoned for missing an important story that surfaced only briefly in mid-October. This article appeared in the New York Times on October 18, “A Conservative Group’s Closed-Door ‘Training’ of Judicial Clerks Draws Concern”  

I have previously cited the Federalist Society’s takeover of the vetting process for Republican judicial nominees starting with Reagan. The prospective nominees, nearly all men, put forward by the Federalist Society don’t appear fully formed out of thin air. They are selected and nurtured by and for the far right. The Times article sheds light on the closed-door indoctrination offered by The Heritage Foundation, the “Conservative Group” in the title of the article. The Heritage Foundation is one of the first formed (1973) of conservative “think tanks” among a growing web of tax exempt non-profits established by wealthy donors in response to the Powell Memorandum (1971), Lewis Powell’s blueprint exhorting corporations to push back against the Consumer Movement of the 1960s. 

The first two paragraphs of the New York Times article are chilling. I’ve reproduced them below. They reveal much about the strategy to take over full control of the judiciary [the bold is mine]:

The closed-door “training academy” was aimed at a select group: recent law school graduates who had secured prestigious clerkships with federal judges. It was organized by the Heritage Foundation, a conservative group that has played a leading role in moving the courts to the right, and it had some unusual requirements.

“Generous donors,” the application materials said, were making “a significant financial investment in each and every attendee.” In exchange, the future law clerks would be required to promise to keep the program’s teaching materials secret and pledge not to use what they learned “for any purpose contrary to the mission or interest of the Heritage Foundation.”

Of course, it should be no surprise the Heritage Foundation would endeavor to identify, nurture, and lead “recent law school graduates,” especially any who might already demonstrate conservative, business-friendly tendencies, The chilling part is the “promise,” essentially a loyalty oath, to keep the contents of the all-expense-paid training academy a “secret” and never to use the them in any way contrary to the Heritage Foundation. What is the Heritage Foundation teaching prospective judges that they wished not to leak out to media? Can you imagine the hue and cry on the Right if a mainstream liberal organization were to require a loyalty oath of seminar attendees?

“Generous donors?” The Heritage Foundation, organized as a “charitable organization,” a 501(c)(3), can shield its donors’ identities, regardless of an overtly political agenda. Names like DeVos, Olin, and Bradley, families that figure prominently in Jane Mayer’s book “Dark Money” are identified as pivotal contributors to a annual cash flow approaching a hundred million dollars.

What was the response of the Heritage Foundation to this revelation in the New York Times?

…a few hours after The New York Times published an online article about the training, Heritage announced that it was suspending the program.

“Heritage is re-evaluating the Federal Clerkship Training Academy,” Greg Scott, a spokesman for the group, said in a statement. “As a result, the program will not go on as scheduled.”

That’s essentially, “Oh my! It is a bit embarrassing that got out. Let’s sweep it quickly under the rug in the hope it won’t dominate the news cycle or penetrate the popular consciousness.” So the Federal Clerkship Training Academy “won’t go on as scheduled.” What does that mean? Will there be a name change, a schedule change, what exactly?

There was a time I had confidence there were mechanisms in civil society that would properly deal with this sort of thing, mechanisms that would work without my involvement. I no longer have that confidence. I once thought the Heritage Foundation was an intellectually honest conservative organization dedicated to civil discourse. I no long think that either. 

We are in the midst of a so-far-bloodless government takeover attempt. The foundation for the takeover has been painstakingly laid over decades. Trump, with his tactics of sidelining, demonizing, belittling, and even firing all who stand in his way, has shone light on a movement not quite ready for full exposure to what until recently was a sleepy, disengaged electorate. The results of the midterms last week suggest many are awakening to the danger he and his most rabid followers represent to the fabric of our society and government.

We were the frogs slowly warming in the cooking pot prepared by the Heritage Foundation, the Washington Policy Center, and their like. Then Trump came along and abruptly turned up the heat. It is time to wake up and jump out–or boil.

We will live with the results of McConnell’s flood of conservative judicial appointees for decades. Short of a counter-revolution, the only pushback is to use our votes to take back the legislative and executive branches of the local, state, and federal governments. 

Keep to the high ground,


A Tale of a Seat–GA CD6

Dear Group,

The 6th Congressional District of the State of Georgia has had an outsize influence on the U.S. House of Representatives for decades through the men it has sent there. For twenty years (1979-1999) Georgia’s CD6 was held by Newt Gingrich. Gingrich succeeded Tom Foley as Speaker of the House (1995-1999) after Foley fell to Nethercutt in 1994. Gingrich was the author of the infamous “Contract with American.” He is arguably the man most responsible for pulling the Republican Party toward the flapping right fringe…and for the poisonous political polarization from which we now suffer. (More on him in a later post.) Gingrich’s stepping into Foley’s shoes is only one of several places were GA-CD6 and WA-CD5 (i.e. we in eastern Washington) intersect. 

Georgia CD6 elected Dr. Tom Price to the House in 2004, the same year McMorris Rodgers sailed into Congress on George Nethercutt’s coattails. Dr. Price, an orthopedist turned politician, was a vocal critic of the Affordable Care Act starting with its becoming law in 2010. In the 2012 presidential election, after Price had served four terms, he faced a redrawn district following the 2010 census. No problem. The redrawing left him with a district political analysts judged had only shifted 3 points from a Republican lean of 66% to 63%. It was secure enough for Dr. Price to retain his seat in 2012 with 65% of the vote, in 2014 with 66%, and 2016 with 62% regardless of the new boundaries.

McMorris Rodgers ran unopposed for vice-chair of the House Republican Conference in 2009 (after Barack Obama’s first win). From that position, as a young, supposedly tech savvy up-and-comer, she was instrumental in “expand[ing] the party’s digital imprint.” In late 2012 the Republicans were reeling from the re-election of Barak Obama, a re-election fueled in part by a 18 point lead with female voters. From her position as vice chair McMorris Rodgers saw her chance: She bid to become chairwoman of the House Republican Conference, the position for which she was touted as “the most powerful Republican woman in the country” for several elections, including the most recent one. In vying to become chairwoman she was at the time one of only 24 Republican woman serving in Congress (there will be even fewer come 2019, 17, maybe less, depending on re-counts).

McMorris Rodgers’ opposition for the chairmanship position’s closed door vote in late 2012 was none other than Dr. Tom Price of Georgia’s CD6, an old (15 years her senior) white man, precisely the image the voters had just rejected nationwide.  (see The Atlantic, September 19, 2014.)

Despite his loss to McMorris Rodgers for the chairmanship, Dr. Price’s CD6 seat seemed secure following re-elections in 2014 and 2016 by margins greater than 20 percent. Trump’s handlers must have had that in mind when, in February 2017, Trump appointed Price to oversee dismantling the Affordable Care Act as United States Secretary of Health and Human Services. Price lasted just seven months, resigning amid scandals involving a million dollars of taxpayer money spent on private jets and major conflicts of interest surrounding his dealings in health care stocks. (wikipedia)

Do you remember the young (31yo), well-spoken Democrat, Jon Ossoff, who ran against a Republican woman (age 56), Karen Handel (Georgia’s Secretary of State), to replace Tom Price in GA CD6? In a widely watched Special Election held June 20, 2017 Handel won by around 7000 votes on a base of votes cast of 260,000, a spread of under four percentage points.  Handel’s victory over Ossoff was a major disappointment…but last week the Democrats got their revenge: Karen Handel (R) (after just 17 months in office) lost the Georgia CD6 seat to Lucy McBath (D) a black 58 yo gun control advocate who has never held public office. The margin of victory was only a little over 3,000 votes, but, get this, turnout was high, with nearly 317,000 votes cast, 57,000 more than in the Special Election.  

We will take our victories where we find them. This is one is worth savoring…

Keep to the high ground,


P.S. More on the home front, as McMorris Rodgers’ star slowly sinks toward the horizon, she stands to be replaced as Chairwoman of the House Republican Conference by another of the dwindling number of Republican U.S. Representatives, Liz Cheney (R-WY). Ms. Cheney is the daughter of the former Vice President to GW Bush, Dick Cheney. She has served in public office only since January 3, 2017 when she was elected to U.S. House. She is a former Fox News contributor who has been a substitute host for the Hannity show. Ms. Cheney is the single Representative from the State of Wyoming, representing the small and deeply conservative population of the state, only 580,000 people (compared to the national average of 733,000). From this secure minor perch, Liz Cheney can serve as more of a attack dog for Trump than McMorris Rodgers could. You can read more of Ms. Cheney’s hyper-partisanship in her wikipedia biography.

Cathy Shifted…and Slid

Dear Group,

McMorris Rodgers returns today to Congress to serve in the lame duck Republican majority in the House of Representatives. They have only sixteen days of “D.C. Work Week” scheduled before year’s end. (Of course, they may do damage in that time, but the time is limited.) On January 3, 2019, as the 116th Congress (1/3/2019-1/3/2020) is seated, McMorris Rodgers and her ideology are condemned to minority status. Gone are the smiling photo-ops with her president. She will no longer appear over the right shoulder of Paul Ryan, looking determined and serious. Gone is the supposed power and influence Stacey Cowles referenced in his Spokesman endorsement. Will Trump consult with McMorris Rodgers over legislative priorities? Why would he bother? All that is left is to pretend to the imagined “bipartisanship” so often on her lips during the campaign. She is left to contemplate the “Republican agenda,” the “momentum” over which she crowed to a Breitbart reporter in the heady early days of the 115th Congress (In Her Own Words), a time when she extolled the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the repeal of the Individual Mandate of the Affordable Care Act, and (oh, joy!) the opening up of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil exploration and drilling.

What is left of McMorris Rodgers’ excitement? During the campaign she abandoned her “money in your pocket” mantra lauding the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. It was as if she had hadn’t ever been excited about the bill that broke the budget with a huge tax giveaway to corporations and the already obscenely wealthy. 

Her tune, indeed, the tune of the whole Republican/Libertarian Party changed on healthcare. For years she had pushed for outright repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), pre-existing conditions and all. She had spoken with excitement about overturning the Individual Mandate of the ACA. Instead, by the end of the campaign, McMorris Rodgers, smiling soccer mom of a child with Down Syndrome, “took offense” at the idea she would ever consider jettisoning Pre-Existing conditions. Offense or no, it didn’t keep her from countless efforts to repeal, derail or dismantle the ACA. At the end of the campaign it finally penetrated her news bubble that her actual voting record was at odds with the soft, generic, centrist Christian mom image she wished to present. So she took a page from the Republican playbook: Never apologize, never argue the facts, never admit to reality, never defend. No, instead, go on the offense or, at the very least, pose as self-righteously “offended.”

The Republican/Libertarian ideology has not changed. They still believe blowing up the deficit will produce “trickle-down” economic benefit. They still believe corporations and the rich suffer under under an unjust tax burden. They still believe the Prosperity Gospel: the greater one’s wealth the greater one’s moral worth.They still believe in the holiness of an unfettered, “free market” that will fix everything, even fix the market distortions in health care, health insurance, and pharmaceuticals where no such free market exists.

The Republican/Libertarian ideology has not changed, but for McMorris Rodgers to keep her seat, she has been forced by this election to pay attention, to modify the tune she sings, to not just pander to the extremists in her base. She was forced to peek, however briefly, out of her Fox News bubble, to acknowledge the existence (even if not to acknowledge the veracity) of other views held by many in her district.

It is with considerable relish I read “House Republican Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) will not seek another term in leadership following the loss of the GOP majority in the House.” in The Hill from November 8. From the same article: ”Members have been frustrated for a long time with the tired messaging coming out of conference and the election made it even clearer that a new direction is needed,” one senior GOP aide told The Hill.” So much for McMorris Rodgers’ vaunted strengths (See The Atlantic, September 19, 2014) in messaging and communication technology she advertised when she beat Tom Price (more on him in a later post) for the position of House Republican Conference Chair in late 2012…

For this McMorris Rodgers’ reality check we can thank the efforts of Lisa Brown, great Democratic candidates all over eastern Washington, the rebirth of the local Democratic Party, ourselves, our time and our money. Many were the electoral disappointments for us in eastern Washington this election cycle, but take solace that the tide is starting to shift. 

Keep to the high ground,


Trump’s Party as seen by a once loyal Republican

Here’s the link to watch this:  I guarantee it is worth the eleven minutes to watch the whole thing.

Dear Group,

Steve Schmidt, the guy in the video above is the best spoken, clearest thinking defector from the Republican Party whom I have heard. He clearly expresses every fear I have of this President and the Republican Party that is in his thrall. Mr. Schmidt has a lot of good company in other Republican intellectuals including George Will and Max Boot. Mr. Schmidt clearly calls out the threat the Trump presidency represents. You can read a brief biography of Mr. Schmidt here

In the opening of the interview Mr. Schmidt says “Trump is stoking a cold civil war in this country, and it has turned hot on the periphery,” speaking of the synagogue massacre and the Trump devotee who sent bombs to a long list of Trump’s avowed enemies. I am in full agreement with Mr. Schmidt.

He cites (as I have) William F. Buckley, the Republican intellectual who kept “the crazies out of the conservative movement.” 

“This whole caravan in the last week of the election is a giant lie. This is Trump’s Reichstag fire.”

Does McMorris Rodgers’ education even include William F. Buckley, Jr. and the Reichstag fire? How many modern day Republicans know any of this history or these people? Do any of them pay attention to the 

Lest you wonder if any of this has any local relevance, remember Matt Shea stoking “holy war;” he, Heather Scott over in north Idaho, and others pushing for a 51st State, a state with an ascendant white Christian majority. Consider the local assault weapons auctions at Spokane and Stevens County Republican gatherings this last year, and the cadre of crazies sharing movies and extremist propaganda with Northwest Grassroots in Greenbluff, hosted by the then chairwoman of the local Republican Party, Cecily Wright, and attended by Republican frequent fliers, including but not limited to,  Rod Higgins (City of Spokane Valley), Rob Chase (former Spokane County Treasurer), Matt Shea and McCaslin Jr. (of LD4).

Watch the video. Then roll up your sleeves. There is much work to do.

You might start by attending the League of Women Voter’s forum advertised above.

Keep to the high ground,


Veterans Day

Dear Group,

Today some have the day off for Veterans Day, a U.S. holiday properly celebrated on November 11th, yesterday, a holiday meant to honor military veterans. November 11 this year is particularly notable as it marks the centennial of the end of the war the original Veterans Day was meant to commemorate.

Why November 11th? A bit of history many overlook: Veterans Day was originally known as Armistice Day. To my parents and their families who actually fought in or lived through World War I the name never changed. It remained Armistice Day in recognition of an event still vivid in personal memory. The Armistice that ended World War I was signed on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918. What U.S. school student today even knows what forces led to the senseless carnage of gruesome trench warfare, the first broad use of machine guns and poison gas, and the loss of an estimated sixteen million lives, in short, a horrific war?  World War I was hailed at the time by President Wilson as “the war to end all wars.” What irony it was then, when in 1954 President Eisenhower renamed the day “Veterans Day” so as to subsume in that day the honoring of the veterans of two more hideous conflicts that had since occurred, World War II and the Korean conflict. 

Harken now to the aspirations of our blowhard-in-chief, the man who proposed with great fanfare a military parade in Washington, D.C., on Veterans Day this year, a parade to rival the Bastille Day parade he had seen in France. This aspiration from a man who ducked military service on account of bone spurs, a man who has never known anything remotely reminiscent of the privations of war… Lest you have forgotten Trump’s proposed parade, visit Newsweek from March 10, 2018. Cooler heads evidently prevailed over our narcissistic boy president envisioning metal-treaded tanks grinding up the streets of Washington, D.C. in an appeal to his sense of power. The plans have been greatly scaled back. You can read about them here.

Meanwhile, Trump uses the military and our tax dollars as part of his propaganda offensive against immigrants…and against the possibility that brown people might one day become citizens and vote in numbers that would challenge the Republican minority currently supporting him. He sends active duty military to the Mexican border to reinforce and interdict the dwindling and demonized “immigrant caravan” still weeks away. He sends active duty military in numbers double the highest estimates of caravan. HIs message: “Be afraid, be very afraid. Those evil brown people are coming for your wives and children!”

With his grandstanding, Trump uses taxpayer dollars to serve his propaganda goal…and makes a mockery out of the military for which he poses as having reverence. This weekend I honored my forefathers who served in the wars in which the United States took part…and I grew ill contemplating that their efforts have somehow led to a president the like of which we see now.

Keep to the high ground,