Trump Can Really “Turn a Phrase”

Can you see anything wrong with the U-turn sign to the left?  How about the U-turn sign below?

At Monday’s joint press conference Trump said, “I don’t see any reason why it would be Russia.”  Of course this is a single statement taken out of context. To put his statement back into the context of his speech, he was saying,

“I don’t see any reason why Russia would tamper with our elections.” 

Facing harsh criticism Trump tried a U-turn to reverse this statement claiming a one-word omission, which when “put in proper context” reads,

“I don’t see any reason why Russia wouldn’t tamper with our elections.”

Perhaps you can now see how the U-turn sign doesn’t match the curvature of the road ahead.  He tried to sell the rather odd phraseology of his intended statement as a double negative but it turns out to be a nonsense negative.

Deception is a treacherous road to follow.

High crimes and misdemeanors

What are we talking here, “treason” and “jaywalking?”  Or did our founding fathers have something different in mind?  Well, Benjamin Franklin asserted that the power of impeachment and removal was necessary for those times when the Executive “rendered himself obnoxious.”  Does that remind us of anyone we know?  For most of us, we see these words and think that some kind of crime must be alleged before an impeachment trial can begin.  Sure, we call it a trial, but Congress is not a court of law.  It is a trial in the sense that there are facts and circumstances to be weighed, whether we are weighing criminality or obnoxiousness.  Continue reading

The Cult That Created Trump

Senator Bob Corker says there is a cult-like situation as it relates to the President while carefully avoiding the question we don’t dare to ask. You see —

Think about it: the Trump campaign was all about throwing stuff against the wall to see what stuck.  “Build the wall” stuck so it became a foundation stone.  “Mexico will pay for it” stuck making it the next brick.  The architect of the Trump platform has been the base, “his base” approving every step of the construction along the way.  Like so many cults we have seen in the past, Evangelicals wrap themselves in religion and cherry pick biblical verses that fit their own particular dogma.  Now Trump does not share their religious convictions nor for that matter, any convictions.  Haven’t we all seen his Presidential theme?

Trump just gives the cult a voice in exchange for the admiration he so desperately needs.  The cult doesn’t care that he doesn’t care as long as he is willing to say the things they’re embarrassed to say out loud. Continue reading

How to Steal an Election from the NRA

A call to action

My recent blog article created a stir when I said,

Do you or your group want to take out incumbents who haven’t supported responsible gun control legislation?  Register with their party and try to take them out in the primary first.” 

Just to be clear this is not about dirty tricks; it’s about using your vote where it will do the most good.  Plurality voting as used in most primary elections gives us ample opportunity to waste our votes.  If voting for your favorite candidate means wasting your vote on a certain looser, you may cast your vote instead for the lesser of evils that stand a chance of winning.  If your vote is not needed because your choice is sure to win anyway, you may not waste your time voting at all; you may have even done this in the last election.  There are voting methods that resolve these dilemmas on a simple ballot, but we have to make the most of the system we have.  Continue reading

Is an Unfavorable Balance of Trade Really Unfavorable?

You probably think an “unfavorable balance of trade” is a bad thing.  But would you feel the same way if it were called a “favorable balance of goods and services.”

The definition of “unfavorable balance of trade” is when the value of imports exceeds the value of exports meaning we receive more goods and services (real value) than we give.  Of course that also means we pay more money (virtual value) to other countries than we receive.  Many people worry that this as an unsustainable and temporary advantage.  Seen as a continuous drain of cash from the American economy, many of my conservative friends compare this to their household budgets and what happens when they consistently spend more than their income.  This analogy seems to make sense; it just doesn’t match the facts.  The American economy has seen tremendous growth since WWII and we have never once seen a favorable balance of trade in that period.  By that theory, after a seventy-year “drain of wealth”, we should be dead broke.  The largest trade deficits have occurred since the year 2,000 yet the nation’s wealth has more than doubled in that same period.  Whether you personally realized this growth probably depends on your income bracket.  But the fact remains we are not seeing a drain of wealth to other countries even as wealth is redistributed to the top here at home.  Continue reading

A Gun Solution We Can “Live” With

As published in the Grinnell Herald-Register on February 19, 2018

As we mourn the deaths of another 17 young people with their whole lives ahead of them, I have to ask what’s actually changed since February 11, 2013 when the Grinnell Herald-Register published my first article on the subject.  Well in the five years since Sandy Hook some of the states hardest hit like Connecticut and California have enacted progressive gun legislation but on the whole legislation in the US has only increased the risk to American citizens.  Iowa is a good example of a state where reckless legislation is likely to make matters worse while we remain convinced that what happened in Parkland (recently named the safest city in Florida) can’t happen here.  The NRA has since become (whether wittingly or unwittingly) entangled in a Russian plot to create divisiveness in our country. Continue reading

It’s Time for Grassley to Step Down as Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee

First I have to apologize to my readers (all six of them) who subscribe to my blog “Dare to Ask” at topsawyer.com.  I must retract this passage from my article published last August, “Whether or not he (Senator Grassley) was answering me directly his answer at the Mount Ayr town hall this week shows that the Senate Judiciary Committee is now willing to share with us the 10 hours of potentially damning testimony from Glenn Simpson, a reversal from just a month ago.  Thank you Senator Grassley.” Continue reading

The Power of a Disruptive Caucus

This rather benign definition, “people with shared concerns” conceals a darker side.  It fails to tell us the secret within, “how a minority of a minority can subvert long-standing institutions suppressing the will of the majority.”  Today’s Republican Party bears little resemblance to the party I joined fifty years ago.  Certainly the Alt-Right movement must be the exact opposite; a parasitic caucus, it gains nourishment feeding off the guts of its unwitting host, the once proud Republican Party.  To understand this vulnerability you have to look at its history.  For most of the twentieth century the Republican Party has been comprised of a hodgepodge of divergent ideals few of which represented majority opinions on their own.  Only through this confederation where we agree to support each other has the party been able to push its agendas forward.  It’s been more culture-based than science-based and frankly quite “bossy”, telling us how we should live our lives has reached the point of annoyance.  Now you’re probably wondering why I’m still a Republican or if in fact I am still a Republican.  I guess you’ll have to read on.

A disruptive caucus is usually a small caucus within a caucus where a few members hold their votes for a ransom leaving the main caucus or party no choice but to give in to their demands. It turns out that such endearing names as “the gang of eight” may be more descriptive than intended.  It’s not that hard to see the similarities between a Congressional caucus and a street gang on Chicago’s south side (sorry Chicago).  “If you’re not in a gang you’re nobody” applies equally well to both.  If you don’t join a gang you’re vulnerable.  Street gangs are sometimes formed for noble causes like protecting the neighborhood, but end up doing drive-by shootings and selling drugs to school children, not unlike politicians threatening to throw millions off the health insurance rolls when their original goal was perhaps a worthy cause now long forgotten.  What makes a caucus a gang is when they go beyond shared concerns and passions to fall in line behind the perceived will of the group.  Usually orchestrated by a leader whose goal is to prop up his own authority, this process may take the gang in directions never imagined by any of its members.  In short, “you must vote with the gang or simply be another nobody.”

While the Republican Party, is awash with self-described conservative caucuses, perhaps Steve Bannon and his “war” on establishment Republicans who won’t abandon McConnell best demonstrates how this “divide and conquer” strategy works; demand loyalty from your gang and undermine loyalty of opposing gangs.  This fracturing of the Republican Party makes it vulnerable to further attacks from the inside, both good and bad.  Attacks from the outside (Democrats or the press) seem to have little impact.  Whether like me your goal is to fight for the heart and soul of the Republican Party or you want to destroy it, we have the same dog in the fight, “restoring the cultural norms, traditions and morality that made this country great.”  It’s not that there isn’t any more “fight in the dog”; we just need to unleash him.

The evidence is clear that the best way to do this is to form a disruptive caucus of our own.  The “America First” movement has proved to be anything but for the Republican Party.  Time after time our Republicans in Congress have put party over country.  I think it appropriate to call a counter-offensive the “Party Second” movement because that’s truly the only way to put America first.  The movement must be one that responds to any party who forgets the country comes first; at the moment it’s the GOP that needs our help.

Our obligation is to penetrate the primaries to assure the parties select candidates who honor these traditions.  This may mean registering with a party that shares few of our views; it doesn’t mean you must vote for the candidate that party selects.  It probably makes it more likely though.  I know what you’re thinking, “This is an impossible task.”  Before you jump to this conclusion let’s do the math.

First of all there are lots of moderate Republicans and even a few liberal ones.  I know it doesn’t seem like it, but that’s because we don’t have a caucus so “we’re just a bunch of nobodies.”  The fact that there are a lot of moderates is in fact a problem since there will be a lot of good potential candidates to split the moderate votes.  This is not a common problem for the Alt-Right, after all how many Roy Moore’s can there be to choose from.  The whole purpose of a caucus is to vote among yourselves on the best candidate and in exchange for the privilege you agree to vote with the caucus.

Registered Republicans make up less than 30% of all voters so if they do go to war they will be battling for a 15% plurality.  Registered Independents as of last January make up 44% of registered voters.  Polls show that more and more voters are becoming Independents because they can’t stomach either of the polar extremes, of course leaving the residuals even more extreme than before.  And it is these extremes that set the table for the rest of us.  If you’re an Independent and tired of the choice between raw liver and fried roaches, maybe it’s time to tell the cooks.

The fact that we’re not welcome to help set the table is exactly why we must.  No party will refuse to register you as a member, tell you how you must vote or ask your motives but don’t be afraid to tell them you want to restore our cultural norms and long-standing traditions.  That’s the best way to recruit moderates from the Republican Party.  I would hope we can get 20% of Independents, 15% of Republicans and 10% of Democrats behind the “Party Second Caucus” by 2020 as I know there are many of us of all persuasions who want to restore both sanity and honored traditions to government.

I need your ideas on how we can organize this movement so I have set up a Facebook page to discuss this and to call out every politician who has put his “Party First” over Country.  Search for “Party Second Caucus” on Facebook.

 

Telling It Straight; How We Feel About Trump.

 I sent the following email a week ago and already Senator Grassley has answered.  Whether or not he was answering me directly his answer at the Mount Ayr town hall this week shows that the Senate Judiciary Committee is now willing to share with us the 10 hours of potentially damning testimony from Glenn Simpson, a reversal from just a month ago.  Thank you Senator Grassley.

From: Mike Sawyer
Sent: Friday, August 18, 2017 1:19 PM
To: Senator Joni K. Ernst (Senator@Ernst.senate.gov); athena_porter@grassley.senate.gov
Cc: stillplayswithcars@outlook.com
Subject: Please forward to DC staffers
 

Last night I had an argument with my brother.  I guess it’s not really an argument if I don’t let him say a word.  It’s not his fault; it’s not like he’s the only one who voted for Trump.  It’s your fault we’re in this mess.  You could have ended this before it began.  I’ve been writing to politicians in measured tones while yelling at my brother.  I’ve got it backwards.  So I’m writing first to apologize to my brother and second to tell it to you straight like I should have done in the first place.   

I’m terrified of the alt-right wing of the Republican Party and just as wary of the “All Right” wing which just goes along.  It’s time for both of you to break ties with the All-right wing.  I know you’re intimidated by Trump and his base, but I really don’t understand why.  You have more power than you think.  You should be more afraid of voters like me.  When Trump voters are discouraged they won’t show up at the polls.  When you let me down, I will show up to vote against you.  I will show up at the caucuses to say we need candidates have the guts to stand up for what they believe (and I share many of your beliefs). 

I want Trump gone!  I don’t care whether you hang him or build him a castle and make him king of the world; I just want him out of the Whitehouse.  I don’t care whether you impeach him or declare him incompetent, I just want to wake up in the mornings without running to the TV for the disaster of the day.  You have the power to censor him and to render him impotent, but why don’t you just ask him to resign?  Who would have thought the presidency would be so hard (and boring).  Open the door and give him an honorable way out.   

In short, “You get rid of Trump or I will do everything in my power to get rid of you.” 

I’ll post this on my blog and I will post your replies.  No form letters please! 

Mike Sawyer

 

A Letter from the Chairman of the Boorish

USA School District 

Dear Parents, 

Many of you have heard the rumors from your children that their bus driver, Donny J. Trumpet has been drinking on the job and that he ran over playground equipment while shortcutting through the school yard.  I want you to know we are as concerned with these rumors as you and we will investigate them thoroughly.  We did confront Mr. Trumpet about this and he assured us that despite the Smirnoff’s label on the bottle it contained only lemonade or was it iced tea, possibly an energy drink, so I guess it could have been anything.  In any event he swallowed the evidence so this was inconclusive.  As for the damaged playground equipment, that might have been caused by any bus and no one was hurt so “no harm/no foul.”  Continue reading