Sunday, July 31, 2016

Shaving sure has gotten expensive.

Back in April, 2014 I wrote this item about shaving:
Lex Anteinternet: Shaving:

West Point Cadet shaving with a straight razor in the field.

The first thing I do every weekday, or at least every weekday that I work downtown, is shave.

I don't really like shaving.  I don't want to grow a beard however, so shave I must.  I've been shaving, but not every day, since I was 13 years old. .  .
As noted there, I don't like shaving much, and I went on to expand on that a bit:
As noted, I frankly don't care much for it, and I'd likely skip shaving a lot of days if I had the option.  It sort of irritates my skin, and it's just not something that I look forward to doing in any fashion.  Still, for the most part it's been part of my daily routine for decades.  Having said that, prior to my practicing law, I'd skip days now and then, including week days, and I still skip Saturdays usually.  Just because I don't like it.
In my entry, I discussed razors quote a bit, including safety razors and disposable razors, and the modern razor must of us guys use.

Patent drawing for the Gillette safety razor.

What I didn't discuss is how freaking expensive its become to shave.  It's flat out ridiculous. 

As my beard is fairly heavy, I go through a fair number of razor blades shaving.  I stretch as long as I can, but unlike one pundit on cheapness I heard on this, I can't make a blade last a year, or even months.  I sure try, but they start cutting me up as they get dull, or they get painful to use, so I change them.  Every time I buy more, I cringe.

Well, just the other day I stopped by to buy new blades, as I had none.  Holy cow, they were way up there.  You could actually get packs of 20 or something that were up over $40.00, which just seems flat out absurd.  A pack of safety razor blades sure didn't cost that.  The small pack I bought shouldn't cost anything near what it does.

I really, truly, don't get it.  Yes, modern disposable razor blades are easier to use that safety razor blades were and they are no doubt way easier to use than straight razors, but this kind of cost? What the heck?

Indeed, this is so pricey that I'm actually considering blade alternatives.  With a heavy beard, can I get buy with an electric shaver (which I don't like)?  Should I join that shaving club I see advertised all the time, which my son now informs me has just been purchased by a one of the razor companies?  Should I try to learn how to use the dreaded straight razor?  Maybe in the fall, I'll grow a short beard.

Yes, I know that's being really cheap.  And yes, I  understand the nature of a market economy.  But man, these prices are absurd.

Henry Cabot Lodge, not a shaver.  Maybe I'll follow his example.

Sunday Morning Scene: Churches of the West: Grace Fellowship, Buffalo Wyoming

Churches of the West: Grace Fellowship, Buffalo Wyoming:

Interesting architecture which appears to lean on some Byzantine elements, located in Buffalo Wyoming

The Wyoming Tribune for July 31, 1916.

Cheyenne's more dramatic paper, the Wyoming Tribune, with a grim headline for July 31, 1916.


Headlines like this one almost seem like something that's more from our own era, so perhaps it serves to remind us that giant natural disasters have been around for awhile.

The Wyoming National  Guard was still awaiting orders in that hot 1916 July.

Lex Anteinternet: Cognitive Disconnect on the left and right. Mark Shea and Moral Delusion.

 AGH photo, Jefferson Memorial.

I'm going to make my recent analysis on political discourse a bit sharper.  In doing so, I'm going to directly go into politics and religion, which I generally don't do in such a forward manner.  But here, in part because of the nature of what's referenced in this and my earlier post, and in part because it just cries out for it in this instance, I'm going to.

Recently I posted this item.
Lex Anteinternet: Cognitive Disconnect on the left and right.: This is one of those posts I started long, long ago, and then sort of let hang there for awhile.  A series of posts by a niche columnists c...
In that article, I mentioned
Expanding this out, once columnist I'm aware of is outright hostile to Donald Trump.  A lot of columnist are outright hostile to Donald Trump, that's fine, but this particular columnist is known only because he focus on religion in his writings and is known, therefore, as a religious columnist.  The irony here is that this particular person's faith holds extremely strong opinions on matters of life and death, and including the lives of those who have not yet been born, and by implicitly backing Hillary Clinton he's basically backing a candidate who is very obviously in favor of conduct that this religion holds to be a mortal sin.  What constitutes a mortal sin is not as simple as it may at first seem to be, to those who are not familiar with this in depth, in that it requires knowledge that the conduct is a mortal sin, but almost everyone who writes from that prospective well knows that the underlying conduct is a mortal sin which then raises the question of what arguing for the election of a person, implicitly, who supports conduct that's grave in nature and which is regarded as a mortal sin amounts too.  I'd hesitate to do that, if I were he.
I didn't name that columnist for a variety of reasons including, and I'll emphasize that here, I don't regularly read him and when I have, I tend to read only snippets of his.  But, given a recent column that I'd regard as a stunning example of poor logic, I'll change that policy here. The writer is Mark Shea, who posts on religious themed, and more particularly Catholic themed, items on Patheos and the National Catholic Register.

Shea is clearly in the political left, in my view, which does not mean he isn't a sincere Catholic.  It does raise serious questions however, that can't be lightly brushed off in 2016, even though they likely could have been, say, in 1966, or 1976.  And his recent backpedaling and intellectual disconnect in print doesn't hold water.  Shea, who had been vocal in his disdain for Trump, just posted the following item, which I'm breaking down in snippets, and using here under the Fair Use doctrine, to comment on it as its really a serious matter.

Now, let me start off with noting that even though I have abstained, or tried to abstain, from commenting on the current election, I can't really avoid doing so here, so I will.  I don't like either of the major party Presidential candidates and frankly, as I'll post soon, I'm not really very happy with the political parties themselves.  Indeed, I find myself doing something I never would have considered in prior years, I may very well vote for a third party candidate in an admitted protest.  If I do, I'll likely write in the candidates from the American Solidarity Party even though I know that they have no chance whatsoever of winning. So, perhaps ironically, Shea and I are in the same boat in regards to that.  He's going for a third party candidate as well (I'd wager the same one), and for similar, but certainly not identical, reasons.  So how can I criticize him? Well, I certainly can as his vociferous anti Trump writings fit into a very problematic category for somebody who is writing from a moral, i.e., religious, prospective.  He must have an inkling of that, given this surprising article, but we will delve into that a little more deeply in a second.

The article starts out:

Why I’m not Voting for Hillary

  . . . . in a single story
That story is that a speaker at the Democratic Convention came flat out and spoke about the termination of the infant life within her and what a good thing it was.  From the prospective of the Apostolic churches, of which the Catholic Church is one, and which Shea is a member of, and from whose prospective he claims to write, this is a mortal sin.  It's a serious matter that the Church has always opposed, indeed back to its very founding.  The Church forgives those who seek its forgiveness for committing it, so this is certainly not aimed at the women who do that, but the fact of the matter is that from a Catholic and Orthodox prospective this is a horrific thing to back which a Catholic politician at least cannot morally sanction.  Nor can Catholics, in the abstract, ignore it.

Shea tries to rationalize that away as follows:
But you have said you would vote for her if you lived in a swing state.

Because, as I have said a thousand times, I agree with Cardinal Ratzinger that, “When a Catholic does not share a candidate’s stand in favour of abortion and/or euthanasia, but votes for that candidate for other reasons, it is considered remote material cooperation, which can be permitted in the presence of proportionate reasons.” Donald Trump abundantly supplies those proportionate reasons.

So the goal is to stop Trump, not to support the evils Hillary advocates, to which the link above provides eloquent testimony. So I would vote for her if I had to in order to stop him and I would still urge anybody living in a swing state to do so.

But I don’t have to because I live in ultra-violet Washington which will defeat Trump in our electoral college just fine without my vote. So I have the luxury of a protest vote against the both of them.

Only one of them can win and it must not be Trump. She is “wrong within normal parameters” as P.J. O’Rourke puts it. Trump is catastrophic.

Our children will curse us for our folly if he wins.
So, Shea maintains, and if you go back and read his articles you can see that he has consistently maintained, that Trump is such a moral abomination that his hideousness, from a moral prospective, overcome Clinton's support for killing the unborn and old.


That's completely in error and Shea, as a Catholic, ought to sit in the pew for a day and think about it.

Indeed, this is the very sort of logic which has caused the Democratic Party to go from a working man focused slightly left party to an effete urban upper class party that's obsessed with an upper middle class strata that's childless, bedroom obsessed, and at war with human nature.  The Democrats, it should be obvious, are as in deep of trouble as the GOP is, but the effective leadership the party has exhibited has proven to be capable of suppressing insurgents, as the nearly successful campaign of Bernie Sanders proved.

Now,  I don not mean to claim here that we have a campaign between a deeply evil person and a deeply moral one.  Not by any means. While some of my friends do indeed regard Hillary Clinton as evil, I see no evidence of it.  Rather, I regard the Hillary Clinton as deeply political, and I'm fairly confident that some of the positions she takes today she'd take the opposite of, if it suited her politically.  If there was a groundswell in favor of life issues, she'd come along (although over time there has in fact slowly been something like that).  She's very much in favor of gun control now (which I don't regard as being in the same moral category), but if it looked like that was going to tank the campaign, she wouldn't be.  Part of the problem that I have with the Clinton's, but only part (I'll get to the rest) is that they're so political that in an era of extreme politics I think they can be relied upon to be extreme, not necessarily because they believe it, but because that works to their advantage.

Trump is morally problematic, to be sure, but much of that is on a personal level.  His conduct in regards to his personal relationships with women certainly raises red flags, as he's been married three times and it isn't as if his wives haven't all had physical characteristics uniformly that would suggest his selection of them wasn't based at least a little on that.  Additionally, as the great G. K. Chesterton pointed out, as an extremely wealthy man he must have made choices in his business life that would be morally problematic by their very nature.  I don't admire him, on any level.  Indeed, I don't like him.

But, and this is what matters here, if we take the two candidates, and their party's respective positions, we are faced with the uncomfortable truth that highly competent Hillary Clinton backs positions that are morally bankrupt from a Catholic prospective.  Some would argue that Trumps are as well, and obviously Shea is arguing that, but in truth his positions fit into the peripheral areas of morality where devout Catholics are fully entitled to differ.  Indeed, if we wish to go one step further we are faced with the problem taht a lot of the problem folks like me have with Trump has to do with the extreme nature of the message in part, but also with the messenger, whom we just don't like or trust.

So, removing the personalities of the candidates and even removing the candidates themselves, what are we really left with?  With the Democrats, on what Catholics would regard as major moral issues we cannot avoid, the Democrats are in favor of death before birth at the election of one of the parents.  They are also in favor of allowing the killing of the old, which implicitly reduces their dignity.  They are also in favor of requiring the public at large to supply, through employers and insurance, health care for pharmaceuticals designed to arrest the natural result of private conduct. And they're also now in favor of pretending that natural marriage doesn't exist and that the only thing marriage is for, optimistically, is so that everyone can have a friend for life with which to share a bed.  Frankly, these positions are so contrary to the Catholic understanding of the world (and also contrary to the scientific nature of the world) that a Catholic could not, using the standard mentioned above, vote for a Democrat backing them unless the countering moral consideration was absolutely titanic.

And in this circumstance, given as part of the consideration obviously involves matters of life and death, that really must be what we are speaking about.  Unless Donald Trump supports genocide on a fairly massive scale there's no way that Shea's logic works.  In fact, quite the contrary is true.

On the matters that Trump has spoken about, which get into matters were morals may apply, he claims that he will appoint judges who actually grasp that there's a physical difference between men and women.  Catholics should support that.  In the past he's flip flopped on life issues prior to birth.  So he's problematic there.  I don't know what his position on death at the end of life is, so I don't know if he's problematic there.  So, again from a Catholic prospective, he's very far from perfect but not clearly as bad as Clinton on these issues.  There's a chance, in other words, of Catholic moral views on fundamentals doing better under Trump than Clinton.  There's no chance of them doing well under Clinton and quite the opposite is true.  On one issue, same gender marriage, he's stated that he'd support appointing judges who would reverse the judicial coup on this issue effected by the five justice ruiling on this issue.

Beyond that, from a general moral prospective, informed by a Catholic view, we have to keep in mind that while both candidates are morally problematic, they aren't in teh same ways.  Clinton would very clearly create a Supreme Court that would be the most socially radical we've ever seen.  The current make up of the geriatric, non elected, body already is confused about men and women. Younger baffled radicals would replace those dying or declining into senility or infirmity under Clinton's watch.  It would be a conservative, and moral, disaster.  Under Trump it's likely that conventional conservative jurist, with whom both political conservatives and liberals have been able to live, would be appointed.

A big issue that gets claimed to be a moral one has to do with the Trump "wall".  I know that this is a Trump position, and I feel its an absurd one, but I also feel that there's no earthly way it will happen. Congress would have to appropriate the funds for it, and its not going to.  That doesn't mean, however, that immigration wouldn't be an aspect of a Trump Presidency.

And here's that uncomfortable area where those who find Trump distasteful perhaps have to actually consider that he has a point on some things.

The entire idea about building a wall is absurd, and it does seem to pander to the worst instincts in human nature. But at the same time, the pandering has frankly been going on in the GOP now for a very longtime and then simply not acted on.  Underneath it all, prior to the malignant form it is now taking, there actually is a legitimate point, that being, how many people can one country take in?

Americans don't like to concede it, but the country is flirting with overpopulation right now.  Plenty of formerly very nice areas of the United States have become less than that due to increasing population.  The country cannot expand forever.  Recognizing that is not necessarily an immoral act.  Indeed, ironically, Americans now applaud the original native inhabitants of the land for that very thing. Reduced to its basic elements, much of the post 1865 Indian War drama centered around Indians resisting the invasion of European Americans onto treaty lands where they had no right to be.  In other words, the Indians were violently resisting illegal immigration, for which they have been celebrated and praised.  A country does not necessarily act immorally by determining that it will defend the interior of its country from illegal settlement.

Catholics who follow this closely will note that the Catholic Bishops in the United States have basically been in favor of an open border. But that sort of statement by the Bishops, while it must be taken seriously and weighted, does not amount to an absolute directive. This is an issue which Catholics can and do have a variety of opinions on.

The much more problematic aspect of this is the suggestion that some 11,000,000 people will be deported.  But that raises another moral question that has never been addressed by either party.  The voters suspect that this many illegal immigrants were able to enter the country in the first place as both parties were complicit in it.  That is, they believe that the Democrats never saw an illegal immigrant whom they did not figure was a future Democratic voter and the Republicans never saw an illegal immigrant whom they did not picture mowing the lawn.  If that's correct, and there appears to be some basis to believe that, there's the troubling fact that the parties have lied to the citizenry and conspired to defeat the law.  That would not justify committing a human tragedy however.  This is an area where most people, I think, are troubled by Trump's apparent policy, although they may not be so troubled as to not quietly support it.  At any rate, while uprooting 11,000,000 people, assuming that its even possible (and for this moral calculation you must) is a moral evil, it isn't a moral evil that outweighs killing that many or more, which from a Catholic prospective is what the alternative is.

Taking that a step further, some would note that Trump has stated that all Muslims should be banned for a time from entering the country, which has since apparently been modified into a ban based on geography (I have to think some advisor came up with that).  That is, Trump is now stating that, for example, the door should be closed to Syrians, and others from that region.  I've consistently maintained myself that while I'm favor of much reduced immigration into the United States, I am in favor of letting people displaced from the wars in the Middle East come in, so I don't agree on this. But I will note that just this past week James Comey, director of the FBI in New York, stated: “At some point there’s going to be a terrorist diaspora out of Syria like we’ve never seen before". 

Given that, while Trump's position strikes me as wrong and morally problematic, it doesn't seem completely irrational. What it is, is heavy handed.  It doesn't rise to the level of such a moral problem that people must apply the test that Pope Benedict set out and come to the conclusion that they must vote for Clinton to stop Trump.  Indeed, it wouldn't result in that result at all.  Indeed, now that a serving member of the Federal law enforcement community, serving the current Democratic President, has basically confirmed the fear that Trump's position is based on, Trump's proposed policy can be said to actually be rational.  Over the past year we've become very much aware that those from Islamic countries who have immigrated, and even those who have parents who were immigrants but who were born in Western countries, can indeed turn to violence.  The murder of a French priest and the truck mass killing in France before that provide very recent evidence. This doesn't mean that Trump is right, but it does mean that the position he has taken on this isn't based on facts.

War and peace also present moral issues, but the problem here is that almost nobody in the United States seems to realize that we actually are at war.  It's odd. The French Premier has stated on more than one occasion that France is at war.  France has its own problems, but being able to recognize when it is at war is not one of them. They're at war, Belgium is at war, and so are we.

That raises questions of how we're going to wage the war, but like many such questions, that's going to be determined here by our enemy more than us.  ISIL holds ground in Syria and Iraq, but they are loosing that ground steadily now.  They'll likely loose most of it or all of it by some date in 2018.  We're conducting operations there now in the form of air efforts and artillery support, while pretending that we're doing nothing.  Military strategist have debated how to go about this, and some Republicans suggested carpet bombing, but I don't know that Trump has suggested anything in particular.  The military debate is between boots on the ground as opposed to air and special operations, and somewhat of a mix has been used so far.  Chances are almost overwhelming that whomever is President will continue that.  Indeed President Obama has shown a distinct taste for drones and special operations and it is likely hat Clinton would continue that.  Chances are that Trump might go for a more conventional approach.

Other issues that every faces in their choice do not reach the moral level.  And we shouldn't pretend they do. That can be aggravating as there's a natural tendency to see things that way.  But they aren't. And that puts people in a difficult spot in the Fall.  Indeed, it tends to do that on a local level as well.  The past few cycles in Wyoming, for example, the Republican Party has swung more and more to the right with some real extremist running.  This year in the House race the candidates with the most rational policies on public lands here are Democrats.  Chances are the Democrats, for that reason, will do better than usual. But the Democrats here have become like the national Democrats and they never saw a social issue that they didn't fall of the left edge recently.  So, while voters like me would like to look at those Democrats who are opposed to the GOP's land schemes, we really can't, if we take the moral issues noted above to heart. 

That often places us where we don't want to go. But that's the nature of every moral decision in some ways. Morality isn't for convenience.  

Now, I'm not accusing Shea of going in this weird direction for convenience. But I am saying he's absolutely fooling himself if he thinks the balance of the moral scale means that a person living in a swing state must vote for Clinton to stop Trump.  On the contrary, like it or not, under the views we jointly hold, that person must vote for Trump.

What aggravates me, therefore, is that he's gone after Trump, and is a religion writer, and then suddenly back up to say that what the Democrats are saying here is reprehensible from a moral prospective, only to say that if he lived in a swing state he'd vote against Trump.  It's logically inconsistent and if a person is serious about the moral aspects of this dilemma the opposite conclusion would make a great deal more sense.

Of course personally he's off the hook he notes, in that in his state he can vote for a third party candidate and expect it to have no real impact on the election.  Well, that's fine, but you can't advocate for something, and he's done that repeatedly and strongly, and then claim that you aren't really for it.  He's urging people to take a certain act, and when you do that, you are morally culpable if they do it, and maybe you can't get off the hook so easily.  Saying "I'm not really for her" puts you in the same position as those 1932 German Christians who perhaps voted for Hitler because they felt that Ernst Thälmann would win if they didn't, except they actually had viable alternatives between the two which right now it appears we do not.  While I haven't read all of Shea's articles by any means, perhaps he has urged that some viable third party should rise up, or some insurgent candidate, and my comments would then be ill informed.  But, whatever he may have argued, at the end of the day, from a Catholic moral prospective, the argument that you must vote for Clinton to stop Trump doesn't hold water, and the opposite, as uncomfortable as that may be, is a much better moral argument.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Where did Wyoming's political parties go? A lament.

When I was a young voter, Wyoming had political parties.  And by that, I mean rational political parties.  There was a large, rational, Republican Party and a smaller, but actually viable, and rational, Democratic Party.  You could be a member of either and not be ashamed of it.  Indeed, you could and would have friends in the other party and you weren't embarrassed for them.

They both put people in office too.  The Democrats, the minority party, put Governor Ed Herschler, Governor Mike Sullivan and more recently of course, Governor Freudenthal in office.  Wyoming also sent Democrat Teno Roncalio in the U.S. House of Representatives.  Roncalio, who had served in the Army during World War Two, was a southwestern Wyoming born man of Italian extraction who came from solid blue collar, coal mining roots who had won the Sliver Star during World War Two and who came home to become a lawyer prior to becoming a Congressman.

My, I miss politicians like that.

Roncalio was a solid Italian American Catholic and even if you weren't Democratic in your politics, you'd like him. Ed Herschler was a hard bitten tough lawyer from western Wyoming who'd been a Marine Corps Raider during World War Two.  There was nothing light and fluffy about him.  Even Gale McGee, who tended to be pretty darned liberal by our definitions, was a solid character who taught at the University of Wyoming before we sent him to the U.S. Senate.

And there were local Republicans and Democrats all in this mold as well.  I can recall at least a couple of middle of the road Democrats serving in the Legislature from Natrona County.  Now hardly any Democrats are in the Legislature, although there are a few.

The old Democrats all dropped out of activity or they fled their party for the Republicans, where they would have been middle of the road Republicans but we don't hear much about them now. At least two really prominent former Democrats have made runs at higher office in the last ten years as members of the GOP.  Something happened, although I'm not really clear what, to the Democratic Party during the Clinton administration that just killed it here.  It's darned near dead.  And with all the old Democrats departing, the party now can't help but lash itself to the decks of the Democratic Ship Delusional and Nutty ever two years.  Even when it has some solid candidates, and it does this year, by the time November comes around it will have officially gone out in public in its tie dyed t-shirt with some bizarre announcement such as "ban the guns!, ban the soft drinks!  multi species marriages!"  Right about that time some Democrat will have been doing well and they will have done the functional equivalent of shooting him at dawn.

Not that the GOP is all that much to brag about now days either.  Something has really happened to it as well.

Indeed, a member of the Legislature I know told me that he'd watched the infusion of money from an outside interest group really alter Wyoming politics, and it really has changed.  We always had some Republicans who were Oligarchical Conservatives, but not many.  Now the Wyoming GOP has taken a giant lurch towards the Tea Party, including taking positions that are actually downright hostile to the real interest of the average Wyomingite.  Twenty years ago there are opinions I hear now routinely expressed that the average Republican here would have regarded as downright nuts, but now they're commonly held to be unquestioned truth.  Hostility towards any type of spending, a belief that the Federal government is engaged in a giant conspiracy against Wyoming and the common man, a belief that scientific matters are mere political opinions, a disregard of world economics and an outright hatred of the Federal Government and the current President are all commonly held Wyoming Republican Canon.  This year in runs for Congress and for the Legislature we've seen some open discussion of ideas in Republican quarters that have no place in an educated, intelligent, society.

Oh, would that there was a viable third party, and not something like the Uber Conservative White People's Party, the I Know The Secret Constitution Party, The We're Really for Anarchy Party, or the Squirrel Nut Zipper Party.  The Republican and the Democrats are broken. If they aren't, they ought to be.

Bringing this squarely in the forefront was the news this past week of two things.  One was that Dr. Rex Rammell dropped out of the House race. Good riddance, and I hope he goes all the way back to Idaho where he's from.  His slogan was "It's time to take America back", by which I assume that he was sponsoring the concept of a Crow and Shoshone uprising to toss people like him out off the continent.  Hmmm. . . . probably not.  Anyhow, he was far to the right and was in the race far too long.  In getting out he's endorsed somebody named Darin Smith who is far behind in the polls (Rammell was as well) and no matter what the deal is with Smith, the mere fact that Rammell endorsed him should be sufficient reason to question him, and even he seemed a little uncomfortable with the  Rammell endorsement.  

Having said all of that, perhaps this race isn't as weird as it looks like it is, as really only two candidates Tim Stubson and Liz Cheney, stand a chance. Cheney is far ahead in the polls.  Stubson is a sharp guy I sort of know, and a really decent guy, and I'm hoping he wins.  He's had the good sense, by the way, to back away from the crazy unpopular land transfer concepts that floated in the Legislature last go around, even though he sponsored one of them.  Cheney has the appearance of a slick professional politician, which she probably acquired from her father as she isn't a career politician, and is massively funded.  I don't really grasp why we would need to send somebody with as thin of connection as she as to Congress, but then I've had enough of political dynasties and don't feel like Wyoming out to encourage the creation of another one.

The second thing was the spat between "Chuck" Gray and Ray Pacheco, or more pointedly Chucks' silly right wing tantrum.  They're both running for Wyoming House District 57 and Gray, who has only lived here four years and who holds the position of political commentator on one of his father's radio stations is blathering about how Ray used to be a Democrat and has been caught by the Tribune, according to the Tribune, misrepresenting Pacheco's history in a mailing.  So what if Pacheco used to be a Democrat?  Lots of Republicans from the central part of the state were Democrats, and frankly the Republicans could use a few people who aren't out to sell all the public lands, don't believe that the President has a long list of Wyomingites he's personally out to harm, and who doesn't think that the price of coal and oil is personally directed by the White House.  In other words, the Democrats who left that party were center right Republicans to start with, in their views, and the center right Republicans in that party are mostly crying about the sad state things have come to, with one of those being the overburdened Governor Mead who occasionally has to defend himself against the Tea Party elements of his own party.

Would that there were viable third options.

The Black Tom Explosion: July 30, 1916

German saboteurs blew up New York's Black Tom pier, in a strike against the shipment of American munitions to the Allies.  The massive explosion caused some damage to the Statue of Liberty.  Necessarily, in a year in which the US had just averted one war, and was sliding towards another, a thing like this would have its impact.

The news hit the Cheyenne Leader that very day, suggesting that this paper, which I've been running some mornings, must have been an evening paper.

Friday, July 29, 2016

History I missed in my own backyard.

 My backpack, University of Wyoming Geology building, 1986.  1986 was the year that I graduated with my undergraduate degree, right into unemployment.  Just before I graduated I wondered around town and took a collection of photographs of the town, about the only photos I have of Laramie in any sense from my undergraduate days.

I lived in Laramie, in the 1980s, twice, for a period of time totaling up over six years.  That doesn't sound like a long time, looking back, but it really is.  Right now, that period of time is over 10% of my life, which isn't an insignificant period of time.  Indeed, anything you do for that long, including just living in a place, has an impact on you, some good and some bad.  I can truly say that this is the case for my period of time in Laramie.  There were many very good things that happened to me while I was there, and a few really bad.  Perhaps the latter impacts my recollection a bit as I've tended to be jaundiced to some degree about my time at the University of Wyoming, but then I also have a naturally somewhat cynical outlook on some things.  All in all, Laramie is a really nice high plains town.  And the area around it is, in my view, beautiful.  Indeed, while it still is, I'd dare say it was more beautiful then, as with all places everywhere, it seems, the American belief in endless expansion has meant that Laramie has slopped over a bit into neighboring prairie that was prairie while I was there, and which I would still have as prairie, if I had my way with things.

But that's not what brings me to post an entry here.

Rather, it was because I was in Laramie for a couple of days recently for the first time in over twenty years.  I've been to Laramie a lot of times since I graduated for the second time from the University of Wyoming, but I only stayed overnight there once before since graduating, and that was shortly after I had graduated.  So I was likely as oblivious then as I was while I was a student.

I've always been very interested in history, even as a small child, and there are very few places of historical interest around Natrona County that I haven't been to, probably repeatedly.  I'd even as a kid I'd been taken by my historically minded parents to all the major sites within easy driving distance of Casper, and loved it. So I have no good solid excuse for missing things around Laramie, but I sure did, in this context.  And I don't even have any of the conventional reasons you hear for that associated with university.

Now days, I constantly hear from people about their wild college days, some of which I frankly think fits into the "when I was a kid we ate nothing but mutton" type of story.  In other words, an expected false memory.  But some of that must be true. Well, it wasn't for me, and frankly it wasn't for those in my undergraduate major, geology.  In that field, we were all so aware that our job prospects were grim that a focus on actually trying to get through the very difficult course of study (it made law school look like a cakewalk) and hopefully doing well enough to find a job or get into graduate school meant that most nights found  us working on classwork.  The weekends and Fridays didn't always by any means, but we weren't very wild then either.  In a field that was almost all male, if we did anything maybe we went to a bar where there were a million others similarly situated and had a few beers, and that was about it.  Almost all of my colleagues were male, and real guys' guys, and almost none of us had girlfriends.  Some of us did, but in looking back I think I can recall only a couple of those relationships developing seriously in that environment.  And those of us who were not attached at any one time weren't chasing after a bunch of girls either, as we didn't know hardly any and we were worried about spending a bunch of money and having no jobs.  

Which doesn't mean that I missed things because I was studying 100% of the time. That wouldn't be true either.  I just missed them.  On the weekends when I had time, back then, I tended to hunt and I knew a lot of the prairie around Laramie very well. But somehow I missed history.

I wonder how often this occurs?

For example, I somehow missed Ft. Sanders while I was there, and just really studied it a bit the other day.  How did I missed that?

I just posted my entry on our Some Gave All blog on Ft. Sanders, but what I didn't note is that this is only the second time I've stopped at this sign, and the other time was just last year.  I didn't stop here at all while I lived here.  I wonder why?


I've driven by this a million times, but I stopped by this location for the very first time earlier this week.  Pretty inexcusable.  I wasn't therefore even aware that a Lincoln Highway memorial was also there.


I also had never stopped by the giant, and very odd, Ames Brothers monument, even though I was well aware that it was there.  I had no idea that it was so huge.


I'd heard about it, but apparently my interest was sufficient in this location, in a town I never felt that I really lived in, to run up to the county line and take a look at it.  Odd.

I did a little better with the Overland Trail marker, which I know that I had stopped at while I was a student.  I can dimly recall stopping here while driving towards Centennial, more or less on a pretext.  I.e., I had something I had to check on my truck or something, but I was curious about the location, so I stopped.


I really think missing all these places is pretty indefensible.  They form part of the character of Albany County, and I should have appreciated that. And the real Albany County, not the Albany County that's just the student body of the University of Wyoming, which I suppose formed up a larger part of my mental imagination of Laramie at the time.

Well, the purpose of this blog and its exploration of history has been stated many times before.   But maybe an accidental part of it is to cause me to look a little more carefully at a lot of places that I've been to many times before.  Or at least I have been doing that.  I wish I had earlier.  Indeed, I can think of people I've known who lived history that I know wish I'd asked them about, but no longer can.  By age 53 quite a bit of history has gone by while I observed it, and those who had experienced earlier aren't around.  The markers still are, however, and they're more than worth looking at.

The Cheyenne Daily Leader for July 29, 1916. Hope on the border?

The Cheyenne Leader was reporting today that there appeared to be some hope that border difficulties might be mediated through a commission.  Of course, it can't help but be noted that Carranza, who appeared to be willing to do this, had not caused the original border difficulty in the first place and Villa wouldn't be participating.

Otherwise, Frontier Days was making the news, as was the Russian offensive on the Eastern Front.

"Ranching from the high point" marker, Albany County, Wyoming.

This is a marker dedicated to agriculture in Albany and Laramie Counties, Wyoming.  It's located at  the same rest stop that features the Lincoln Memorial, the Purple Heart Trail marker, and the Henry Bourne Joy marker.

The final paragraph of this marker is quite true and highly significant.  In this region of the country, environmentalist like to take pot shots at ranchers all the time, but if they weren't here, the wild spaces wouldn't be here either.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Tracking the Presidential Election 2016, Part IX. Yawn. . . . who?. . . what parties?

I wasn't going to post another one of these until the conventions, but as the last one had such a specific title, and as I had already added it to address the news release on Hillary Clinton's email, I thought I should.

The motivating factor this time is that Donald Trump announced that Mike Pence will be his VP candidate.

Who, what. . . yawn. . . . 

Yeah, exactly.

He's the Governor of Indiana.  Oh, um.  okay then.  

And um. . .why exactly . . . ?"

Well, according to the New York Times:
In Mr. Pence, the presumptive Republican nominee has found a running mate with unimpeachable conservative credentials, warm relationships in Washington and a vast reservoir of good will with the Christian right. National Republican leaders, including the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, and House Speaker Paul D. Ryan, had pronounced Mr. Pence an excellent choice in advance of Mr. Trump’s announcement.

Mr. Pence is viewed as a sturdy and dependable politician by Republicans in Indiana and Washington, and chided Mr. Trump for his proposal to bar Muslims from entering the United States, calling it “offensive and unconstitutional” in a Twitter post in December.
Well, yeah.   Okay.  It's dull and darned near non news, except in that he didn't pick any of the firebrands people were worried he would.  Maybe he's listening now to the GOP.

Well, maybe, but there's probably hardly any point. Way back when these threads started I noted that I thought Hillary Clinton would be the next President and the GOP would mess this election up.  They have, and this race is, I'm afraid, all over but for the shouting.

Which might explain why so many in the Republican Party are opting for the Dunkirk Option I described below.  That is, they're pulling away from the beach and retreating, trying to save what they can.  Lots of Republicans have been quiet.  

None of which explains why the platform this year seems set to alienate those GOP members who were on the fence.  For example, Wyoming Senator John Barasso managed to preside over the drafting of a document that people here will seek to whack him with next time he's up for reelection.  Come on, Doctor John, you know that Wyomingites overwhelming oppose transferring Federal lands to the states.  What the crap where you thinking putting that into the platform. Geez.

Well, at least on that, Trump is far to the left of his own party platform.  And actually not only on that issue.  Not that it matters, the race is over and the only real question is how bad it will be for the GOP.  Indeed, at this point, it's legitimate to ask if the Republican Party will actually survive this election. There's some reason to doubt it.

Well, while this race is over, except for the shouting, one thing it has done is to revive the interest in third parties for the first time in a really long time.  Lots of Republicans are pondering jumping ship.  Others feel like they've already been pushed overboard and are swimming towards new ships. Some Democrats aren't too happy with the wax figure Boomer figurine they're running for that matter, and are also pondering the same.

So what all is out there?

First, let's list the two big parties so we've done our job.


Democratic Party:  Hillary Clinton (presumptive).

Republican Party:  Donald Trump and Mike Pence (presumptive).


Yikes, so what else is out there?  We won't look at them all, and there are a zillion of them, but only the few that might be worth looking at in one way or another.


The Libertarians haven't picked their nominee yet and have several individuals running.  However, Gary Johnson is widely presumed to be the nominee for the party.  Johnson was a Republican governor of New Mexico.

The Libertarians appeal to the libertarian wing of the GOP, so Johnson has had some hope that he might win.  He won't, but he might do better than he otherwise would have.  So while the Libertarian Party can expect to go down in flames, it won't be a big of flame out as normal.

Libertarians stand for freedom in a fairly extreme sense. So they're hard left liberal on some things and far right conservative on others.  To the extent that they appeal to GOP voters, they're often single issue voters.  Rarely do they appeal to the rank and file.  Not too many GOP voters hold the same view that Libertarians do on life issues or on social issues and therefore this party will tank in the general election, but it will do better than usual by picking up some disgruntled Republicans and, on a local level, by running some disgusted real Republicans.

This party is widespread enough that its actually considered a "major" political party by Wikipedia, based on it being organized in all fifty states.

Green Party.

Yes, the US has a Green Party. 

The Greens are a party that seeks the love of Bernie backers as they are part of his natural base.  I suspect that most Green members snuck out and vote for Bernie.  Jill Stein is their candidate.  Even the website of their candidate makes their Berniesque nature pretty evident, except they're to the left of Sanders.

Stein hasn't been officially nominated yet and is the presumptive nominee.  Her campaign is doomed but, as she's a long time hard core activist, she likely doesn't care.  I doubt that more than a handful of Democrats will cross to vote for her showing that the Democrats have done a better job than the Republicans of keeping their house in order.  They have an unpopular candidate, but the unhappy really have nowhere else to go.  Indeed, their option is just to stay home in November.

Like the Libertarians, Wikipedia considers the Greens a major US party.

Constitution Party

The Constitution Party is a hyper conservative party to the right of the GOP.  A year like this has to be a little surreal for members of this party, but perhaps nearly every year is for that matter.

It's positions are generally conservative, but they are also mixed in with a theological view of the country in that they cite to the Bible as a foundational text to some extent at they believe that the US was founded as a Christian nation.

It's held its convention in Salt Lake City already, and nominated Darrell Castle and Scott Bradley to its ticket.  Castle is a lawyer from Tennessee.

In a year such as this, it has to be the hope of this party to pick up conservatives that are disaffected with the GOP, but we're not hearing very much about it.

American Solidarity Party

What, what's that?

The American Solidarity Party is a new party, founded in 2011, that's a true American Christian Democratic Party. Really, this is the first time the US has had one.  It's motto, however is the less than inspiring  "Common Good, Common Ground, Common Sense".

This party is truly unique, in the American context, in that its quite conservative but not at all in the traditional mold.  It stands no chance whatsoever, but its platform is unusual in that it would be strongly appealing to traditional social conservatives, but not necessarily to libertarians.  Indeed, it probably appeals to Sanders voters on some things, such as immigration issues and economics.  On economics, it's truly unique as it espouses Distributism.

It's nominee for the 2016 race is Dr. Amir Azarvan, an Iranian American professor who is a convert to Orthodoxy.  There's no earthly way that Dr. Azarvan can win this election, but at 37, and as a professor who writes heavily on theological issues from an Orthodox prospective, he's on the far edge of unique.  His running mate Mike Maturen is a professional speaker.

Exit stage left. . . or right.

Well, there are a lot more, including the Socialist Party (parties) and the Communist Party, none of which have any chance.  Indeed,the Communist Party USA, a US political party since 1919, doesn't appear to be running a candidate this year and its chairman has actually come out in support of Hillary Clinton, an endorsement she no doubt was not seeking.  In listing these parties we have listed the most interesting ones, and the ones that might pick up a little, but only a little, traction this weird election year.

The more likely result is that the GOP will implode after the race and then start to rebuild.  Unless we simply assume a monumental level of obstinacy, there will be a new GOP in 2018.  There will have to be. But, because of what's occurred, the country in 2020 will not be the one we are living in now.  The GOP failure this year will cement in place some changes that President Obama brought about late in his term, if not permanently, for a very long time.  The GOP's ignoring of the promises it made to its base will come back to it in the worse way and the entire country will be the worse for it, as in this election the voice of traditional conservatives is not really going to be heard.  Indeed, many have hit the bunker already, saving what they can, and for those who embraced Trump in this run, the question will ultimately be to what extent did they damage themselves by doing so. 

First Commentary Followup.  July 18, 2016.

 Delegates to the 1919 Labor Party Convention, the first such convention that party had in the U.S.

The GOP Convention starts today. So we can expect a week of some drama, followed by a temporary boost in Trump's standings at the polls.

A little was noted about the platform above, and rather than dig into the platform much yet, I'd note that on the one item I've noted above, the transfer of public lands, what I thought might prove to be the case is starting to be. Wyoming Republicans, watch out.

I happened to be at a venue where the Wyoming participant in the platform was present, and where I was, the talk was all about how the Republicans were ignoring the overwhelming deeply felt view of Wyomingites on public land transfer.  I.e., Wyomingites are overwhelming opposed to the idea, and yet our Senator, John Barasso, sat on the platform committee that came out in favor of it. Well, Dr. John, be careful. The vox populi wasn't rising up in support of that idea by a long measure.

The discussion turned to one of the local candidates who is running for the House. Same discussion.  One person indicated that they were thinking about talking to him on it, another viewed that as a hopeless endeavor.  I suspect that this issue is going to hurt him, and indeed in the Sunday newspaper a locally vocal person wrote a letter in opposition to him, in part because of his support for a bill to study taking over the control of the local Federal lands.

This issue may well prove to have litmus test qualities to some voters.  It's certainly an example of the local GOP flat out regarding the overwhelming viewpoint of the residents of the state in a highly arrogant manner.  Acting like voters don't matter has really gotten the GOP into trouble this year, and it might start considering that its grip on Wyoming offices might not be has fixed as it seems to assume it is.

Commentary Followup; July 20, 2016

I was doing the day commute to Denver the past day, which makes for an early morning and a late evening, so I've sort of blissfully tuned out from much of the news, but in the interest of keeping up, I should note that Donald Trump is now officially the Republican nominee. All efforts to derail that have failed.

Sort of bizarrely marring the event, his spouse is being accused of lifting lines from Michelle Obama's 2008 convention speech.  I haven't looked into it, and I'm not going to, but it's been news.  One bizarre comment in a journal is that its an example of "white privilege".  I think not.

What it may be an example of, however, is that the peculiar hopeful Republican line that's going around right now that once people know the Trump family they'll love them is, well, bizarre.  I'm not inclined to go after them in detail and as far as I know there's nothing bad to say about the Trump kids, and I don't even know all their names.  From what little I know of Donald Trump, Jr., I'm more inclined to like him (based on nearly a complete ignorance about him) than I do his father, but as for the father specifically its notable that we've come of the point where a candidate that has exchanged spouses so frequently and who has seemingly always gone for the glamorous variety is carrying the ball for the party that has always associated itself with tradition including traditional family values. Granted, Trump's relationships in that category are of the traditional type, but it's disconcerting that the meaning of that is so seemingly diluted.  At least one GOP pundit on the weekend shows was claiming that once the American public got to know the Trumps they'd love and admire them, based upon how well the kids turned out, but the public isn't electing the kids and I don't think that washes very well.  And as it obviously doesn't wash very well, this places conservative "value voters" in a really odd position, particularly in a year where their candidate is highly unlikely to win. 

Indeed, discontent in some quarters is so strong that some Republicans are still pretty vocal in their opposition.  Glen Beck appeared on the Meet The Press, for example, and actually urged disaffected Republicans and Democrats to vote for the Libertarians or the Greens, or anyone else other than Trump or Clinton.  Pretty remarkable. 

Commentary followup July 21, 2016

And yes, shocking news, a candidate has dropped out. . . . 

And that candidate is. . . .

Dr. Amir Azarvan.

Okay, not the big news you were looking for, but in the interest of keeping everyone up to speed on the news in this oddest of election years, there it is.   Dr. Amir Azarvan has dropped out as the nominee of the American Solidarity Party apparently because his employer resisted his taking time to campaign, or something like that.

It's hard to see how a party is going to get traction if their candidate drops out just days after being nominated.  But oh well.

But perhaps not as hard to grasp as the surreal item, noted above, of the head of the old American Communist Party endorsing Hillary Clinton at a time that Bernie Sanders was still running. Granted, Sanders isn't a Communist, but he claims to be a Socialist, and the Communist are truly Socialist.

Communism was always deluded, but at this point, they need to close up shop and just go home.

In other news, Ted Cruz addressed the Republican Convention but he did not endorse Donald Trump.  That's truly remarkable, and shows the extent to which the GOP is not coming together.

Commentary followup July 22, 2016

GOP nominee delivered his acceptance speed, something that may well define his canidacy more than the GOP platform.  He stated:
Friends, delegates and fellow Americans: I humbly and gratefully accept your nomination for the presidency of the United States.
Together, we will lead our party back to the White House, and we will lead our country back to safety, prosperity, and peace. We will be a country of generosity and warmth. But we will also be a country of law and order.

Our Convention occurs at a moment of crisis for our nation. The attacks on our police, and the terrorism in our cities, threaten our very way of life. Any politician who does not grasp this danger is not fit to lead our country.

Americans watching this address tonight have seen the recent images of violence in our streets and the chaos in our communities. Many have witnessed this violence personally, some have even been its victims.

I have a message for all of you: the crime and violence that today afflicts our nation will soon come to an end. Beginning on January 20th 2017, safety will be restored.

The most basic duty of government is to defend the lives of its own citizens. Any government that fails to do so is a government unworthy to lead.

It is finally time for a straightforward assessment of the state of our nation.

I will present the facts plainly and honestly. We cannot afford to be so politically correct anymore.
So if you want to hear the corporate spin, the carefully-crafted lies, and the media myths the Democrats are holding their convention next week.

But here, at our convention, there will be no lies. We will honor the American people with the truth, and nothing else.

These are the facts:

Decades of progress made in bringing down crime are now being reversed by this Administration’s rollback of criminal enforcement.

Homicides last year increased by 17% in America’s fifty largest cities. That’s the largest increase in 25 years. In our nation’s capital, killings have risen by 50 percent. They are up nearly 60% in nearby Baltimore.

In the President’s hometown of Chicago, more than 2,000 have been the victims of shootings this year alone. And more than 3,600 have been killed in the Chicago area since he took office.

The number of police officers killed in the line of duty has risen by almost 50% compared to this point last year. Nearly 180,000 illegal immigrants with criminal records, ordered deported from our country, are tonight roaming free to threaten peaceful citizens.

The number of new illegal immigrant families who have crossed the border so far this year already exceeds the entire total from 2015. They are being released by the tens of thousands into our communities with no regard for the impact on public safety or resources.

One such border-crosser was released and made his way to Nebraska. There, he ended the life of an innocent young girl named Sarah Root. She was 21 years-old, and was killed the day after graduating from college with a 4.0 Grade Point Average. Her killer was then released a second time, and he is now a fugitive from the law.

I’ve met Sarah’s beautiful family. But to this Administration, their amazing daughter was just one more American life that wasn’t worth protecting. One more child to sacrifice on the altar of open borders. What about our economy?

Again, I will tell you the plain facts that have been edited out of your nightly news and your morning newspaper: Nearly Four in 10 African-American children are living in poverty, while 58% of African American youth are not employed. 2 million more Latinos are in poverty today than when the President took his oath of office less than eight years ago. Another 14 million people have left the workforce entirely.

Household incomes are down more than $4,000 since the year 2000. Our manufacturing trade deficit has reached an all-time high – nearly $800 billion in a single year. The budget is no better.

President Obama has doubled our national debt to more than $19 trillion, and growing. Yet, what do we have to show for it? Our roads and bridges are falling apart, our airports are in Third World condition, and forty-three million Americans are on food stamps.

Now let us consider the state of affairs abroad.

Not only have our citizens endured domestic disaster, but they have lived through one international humiliation after another. We all remember the images of our sailors being forced to their knees by their Iranian captors at gunpoint.

This was just prior to the signing of the Iran deal, which gave back to Iran $150 billion and gave us nothing – it will go down in history as one of the worst deals ever made. Another humiliation came when president Obama drew a red line in Syria – and the whole world knew it meant nothing.
In Libya, our consulate – the symbol of American prestige around the globe – was brought down in flames. America is far less safe – and the world is far less stable – than when Obama made the decision to put Hillary Clinton in charge of America’s foreign policy.

I am certain it is a decision he truly regrets. Her bad instincts and her bad judgment – something pointed out by Bernie Sanders – are what caused the disasters unfolding today. Let’s review the record. In 2009, pre-Hillary, ISIS was not even on the map.

Libya was cooperating. Egypt was peaceful. Iraq was seeing a reduction in violence. Iran was being choked by sanctions. Syria was under control. After four years of Hillary Clinton, what do we have? ISIS has spread across the region, and the world. Libya is in ruins, and our Ambassador and his staff were left helpless to die at the hands of savage killers. Egypt was turned over to the radical Muslim brotherhood, forcing the military to retake control. Iraq is in chaos.

Iran is on the path to nuclear weapons. Syria is engulfed in a civil war and a refugee crisis that now threatens the West. After fifteen years of wars in the Middle East, after trillions of dollars spent and thousands of lives lost, the situation is worse than it has ever been before.

This is the legacy of Hillary Clinton: death, destruction and weakness.

But Hillary Clinton’s legacy does not have to be America’s legacy. The problems we face now – poverty and violence at home, war and destruction abroad – will last only as long as we continue relying on the same politicians who created them. A change in leadership is required to change these outcomes. Tonight, I will share with you my plan of action for America.

The most important difference between our plan and that of our opponents, is that our plan will put America First. Americanism, not globalism, will be our credo. As long as we are led by politicians who will not put America First, then we can be assured that other nations will not treat America with respect. This will all change in 2017.

The American People will come first once again. My plan will begin with safety at home – which means safe neighborhoods, secure borders, and protection from terrorism. There can be no prosperity without law and order. On the economy, I will outline reforms to add millions of new jobs and trillions in new wealth that can be used to rebuild America.

A number of these reforms that I will outline tonight will be opposed by some of our nation’s most powerful special interests. That is because these interests have rigged our political and economic system for their exclusive benefit.

Big business, elite media and major donors are lining up behind the campaign of my opponent because they know she will keep our rigged system in place. They are throwing money at her because they have total control over everything she does. She is their puppet, and they pull the strings.
That is why Hillary Clinton’s message is that things will never change. My message is that things have to change – and they have to change right now. Every day I wake up determined to deliver for the people I have met all across this nation that have been neglected, ignored, and abandoned.
I have visited the laid-off factory workers, and the communities crushed by our horrible and unfair trade deals. These are the forgotten men and women of our country. People who work hard but no longer have a voice.


I have embraced crying mothers who have lost their children because our politicians put their personal agendas before the national good. I have no patience for injustice, no tolerance for government incompetence, no sympathy for leaders who fail their citizens.

When innocent people suffer, because our political system lacks the will, or the courage, or the basic decency to enforce our laws – or worse still, has sold out to some corporate lobbyist for cash – I am not able to look the other way.

And when a Secretary of State illegally stores her emails on a private server, deletes 33,000 of them so the authorities can’t see her crime, puts our country at risk, lies about it in every different form and faces no consequence – I know that corruption has reached a level like never before.

When the FBI Director says that the Secretary of State was “extremely careless” and “negligent,” in handling our classified secrets, I also know that these terms are minor compared to what she actually did. They were just used to save her from facing justice for her terrible crimes.

In fact, her single greatest accomplishment may be committing such an egregious crime and getting away with it – especially when others have paid so dearly. When that same Secretary of State rakes in millions of dollars trading access and favors to special interests and foreign powers I know the time for action has come.

I have joined the political arena so that the powerful can no longer beat up on people that cannot defend themselves. Nobody knows the system better than me, which is why I alone can fix it. I have seen firsthand how the system is rigged against our citizens, just like it was rigged against Bernie Sanders – he never had a chance.

But his supporters will join our movement, because we will fix his biggest issue: trade. Millions of Democrats will join our movement because we are going to fix the system so it works for all Americans. In this cause, I am proud to have at my side the next Vice President of the United States: Governor Mike Pence of Indiana.

We will bring the same economic success to America that Mike brought to Indiana. He is a man of character and accomplishment. He is the right man for the job. The first task for our new Administration will be to liberate our citizens from the crime and terrorism and lawlessness that threatens their communities.

America was shocked to its core when our police officers in Dallas were brutally executed. In the days after Dallas, we have seen continued threats and violence against our law enforcement officials. Law officers have been shot or killed in recent days in Georgia, Missouri, Wisconsin, Kansas, Michigan and Tennessee.

On Sunday, more police were gunned down in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Three were killed, and four were badly injured. An attack on law enforcement is an attack on all Americans. I have a message to every last person threatening the peace on our streets and the safety of our police: when I take the oath of office next year, I will restore law and order our country.

I will work with, and appoint, the best prosecutors and law enforcement officials in the country to get the job done. In this race for the White House, I am the Law And Order candidate. The irresponsible rhetoric of our President, who has used the pulpit of the presidency to divide us by race and color, has made America a more dangerous environment for everyone.

This Administration has failed America’s inner cities. It’s failed them on education. It’s failed them on jobs. It’s failed them on crime. It’s failed them at every level.

When I am President, I will work to ensure that all of our kids are treated equally, and protected equally.

Every action I take, I will ask myself: does this make life better for young Americans in Baltimore, Chicago, Detroit, Ferguson who have as much of a right to live out their dreams as any other child America?

To make life safe in America, we must also address the growing threats we face from outside America: we are going to defeat the barbarians of ISIS. Once again, France is the victim of brutal Islamic terrorism.

Men, women and children viciously mowed down. Lives ruined. Families ripped apart. A nation in mourning.

The damage and devastation that can be inflicted by Islamic radicals has been over and over – at the World Trade Center, at an office party in San Bernardino, at the Boston Marathon, and a military recruiting center in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Only weeks ago, in Orlando, Florida, 49 wonderful Americans were savagely murdered by an Islamic terrorist. This time, the terrorist targeted our LGBT community. As your President, I will do everything in my power to protect our LGBT citizens from the violence and oppression of a hateful foreign ideology. To protect us from terrorism, we need to focus on three things.

We must have the best intelligence gathering operation in the world. We must abandon the failed policy of nation building and regime change that Hillary Clinton pushed in Iraq, Libya, Egypt and Syria. Instead, we must work with all of our allies who share our goal of destroying ISIS and stamping out Islamic terror.

This includes working with our greatest ally in the region, the State of Israel. Lastly, we must immediately suspend immigration from any nation that has been compromised by terrorism until such time as proven vetting mechanisms have been put in place.

My opponent has called for a radical 550% increase in Syrian refugees on top of existing massive refugee flows coming into our country under President Obama. She proposes this despite the fact that there’s no way to screen these refugees in order to find out who they are or where they come from. I only want to admit individuals into our country who will support our values and love our people.
Anyone who endorses violence, hatred or oppression is not welcome in our country and never will be.

Decades of record immigration have produced lower wages and higher unemployment for our citizens, especially for African-American and Latino workers. We are going to have an immigration system that works, but one that works for the American people.

On Monday, we heard from three parents whose children were killed by illegal immigrants Mary Ann Mendoza, Sabine Durden, and Jamiel Shaw. They are just three brave representatives of many thousands. Of all my travels in this country, nothing has affected me more deeply than the time I have spent with the mothers and fathers who have lost their children to violence spilling across our border.
These families have no special interests to represent them. There are no demonstrators to protest on their behalf. My opponent will never meet with them, or share in their pain. Instead, my opponent wants Sanctuary Cities. But where was sanctuary for Kate Steinle? Where was Sanctuary for the children of Mary Ann, Sabine and Jamiel? Where was sanctuary for all the other Americans who have been so brutally murdered, and who have suffered so horribly?

These wounded American families have been alone. But they are alone no longer. Tonight, this candidate and this whole nation stand in their corner to support them, to send them our love, and to pledge in their honor that we will save countless more families from suffering the same awful fate.
We are going to build a great border wall to stop illegal immigration, to stop the gangs and the violence, and to stop the drugs from pouring into our communities. I have been honored to receive the endorsement of America’s Border Patrol Agents, and will work directly with them to protect the integrity of our lawful immigration system.

By ending catch-and-release on the border, we will stop the cycle of human smuggling and violence. Illegal border crossings will go down. Peace will be restored. By enforcing the rules for the millions who overstay their visas, our laws will finally receive the respect they deserve.

Tonight, I want every American whose demands for immigration security have been denied – and every politician who has denied them – to listen very closely to the words I am about to say.
On January 21st of 2017, the day after I take the oath of office, Americans will finally wake up in a country where the laws of the United States are enforced. We are going to be considerate and compassionate to everyone.

But my greatest compassion will be for our own struggling citizens. My plan is the exact opposite of the radical and dangerous immigration policy of Hillary Clinton. Americans want relief from uncontrolled immigration. Communities want relief.

Yet Hillary Clinton is proposing mass amnesty, mass immigration, and mass lawlessness. Her plan will overwhelm your schools and hospitals, further reduce your jobs and wages, and make it harder for recent immigrants to escape from poverty.

I have a different vision for our workers. It begins with a new, fair trade policy that protects our jobs and stands up to countries that cheat. It’s been a signature message of my campaign from day one, and it will be a signature feature of my presidency from the moment I take the oath of office.
I have made billions of dollars in business making deals – now I’m going to make our country rich again. I am going to turn our bad trade agreements into great ones. America has lost nearly-one third of its manufacturing jobs since 1997, following the enactment of disastrous trade deals supported by Bill and Hillary Clinton.

Remember, it was Bill Clinton who signed NAFTA, one of the worst economic deals ever made by our country.

Never again.

I am going to bring our jobs back to Ohio and to America – and I am not going to let companies move to other countries, firing their employees along the way, without consequences.

My opponent, on the other hand, has supported virtually every trade agreement that has been destroying our middle class. She supported NAFTA, and she supported China’s entrance into the World Trade Organization – another one of her husband’s colossal mistakes.

She supported the job killing trade deal with South Korea. She has supported the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The TPP will not only destroy our manufacturing, but it will make America subject to the rulings of foreign governments. I pledge to never sign any trade agreement that hurts our workers, or that diminishes our freedom and independence. Instead, I will make individual deals with individual countries.

No longer will we enter into these massive deals, with many countries, that are thousands of pages long – and which no one from our country even reads or understands. We are going to enforce all trade violations, including through the use of taxes and tariffs, against any country that cheats.
This includes stopping China’s outrageous theft of intellectual property, along with their illegal product dumping, and their devastating currency manipulation. Our horrible trade agreements with China and many others, will be totally renegotiated. That includes renegotiating NAFTA to get a much better deal for America – and we’ll walk away if we don’t get the deal that we want. We are going to start building and making things again.

Next comes the reform of our tax laws, regulations and energy rules. While Hillary Clinton plans a massive tax increase, I have proposed the largest tax reduction of any candidate who has declared for the presidential race this year – Democrat or Republican. Middle-income Americans will experience profound relief, and taxes will be simplified for everyone.

America is one of the highest-taxed nations in the world. Reducing taxes will cause new companies and new jobs to come roaring back into our country. Then we are going to deal with the issue of regulation, one of the greatest job-killers of them all. Excessive regulation is costing our country as much as $2 trillion a year, and we will end it. We are going to lift the restrictions on the production of American energy. This will produce more than $20 trillion in job creating economic activity over the next four decades.

My opponent, on the other hand, wants to put the great miners and steel workers of our country out of work – that will never happen when I am President. With these new economic policies, trillions of dollars will start flowing into our country.

This new wealth will improve the quality of life for all Americans – We will build the roads, highways, bridges, tunnels, airports, and the railways of tomorrow. This, in turn, will create millions more jobs. We will rescue kids from failing schools by helping their parents send them to a safe school of their choice.

My opponent would rather protect education bureaucrats than serve American children. We will repeal and replace disastrous Obamacare. You will be able to choose your own doctor again. And we will fix TSA at the airports! We will completely rebuild our depleted military, and the countries that we protect, at a massive loss, will be asked to pay their fair share.

We will take care of our great Veterans like they have never been taken care of before. My opponent dismissed the VA scandal as being not widespread – one more sign of how out of touch she really is. We are going to ask every Department Head in government to provide a list of wasteful spending projects that we can eliminate in my first 100 days. The politicians have talked about it, I’m going to do it. We are also going to appoint justices to the United States Supreme Court who will uphold our laws and our Constitution.

The replacement for Justice Scalia will be a person of similar views and principles. This will be one of the most important issues decided by this election. My opponent wants to essentially abolish the 2nd amendment. I, on the other hand, received the early and strong endorsement of the National Rifle Association and will protect the right of all Americans to keep their families safe.

At this moment, I would like to thank the evangelical community who have been so good to me and so supportive. You have so much to contribute to our politics, yet our laws prevent you from speaking your minds from your own pulpits.

An amendment, pushed by Lyndon Johnson, many years ago, threatens religious institutions with a loss of their tax-exempt status if they openly advocate their political views.

I am going to work very hard to repeal that language and protect free speech for all Americans. We can accomplish these great things, and so much else – all we need to do is start believing in ourselves and in our country again. It is time to show the whole world that America Is Back – bigger, and better and stronger than ever before.

In this journey, I'm so lucky to have at my side my wife  and my wonderful children, Don, Ivanka, Eric, Tiffany, and Barron: you will always be my greatest source of pride and joy. My Dad, Fred Trump, was the smartest and hardest working man I ever knew. I wonder sometimes what he’d say if he were here to see this tonight.

It’s because of him that I learned, from my youngest age, to respect the dignity of work and the dignity of working people. He was a guy most comfortable in the company of bricklayers, carpenters, and electricians and I have a lot of that in me also. Then there’s my mother, Mary. She was strong, but also warm and fair-minded. She was a truly great mother. She was also one of the most honest and charitable people I have ever known, and a great judge of character.

To my sisters Mary Anne and Elizabeth, my brother Robert and my late brother Fred, I will always give you my love you are most special to me. I have loved my life in business.

But now, my sole and exclusive mission is to go to work for our country – to go to work for all of you. It’s time to deliver a victory for the American people. But to do that, we must break free from the petty politics of the past.

America is a nation of believers, dreamers, and strivers that is being led by a group of censors, critics, and cynics.

Remember: all of the people telling you that you can’t have the country you want, are the same people telling you that I wouldn’t be standing here tonight. No longer can we rely on those elites in media, and politics, who will say anything to keep a rigged system in place.

Instead, we must choose to Believe In America. History is watching us now.

It’s waiting to see if we will rise to the occasion, and if we will show the whole world that America is still free and independent and strong.

My opponent asks her supporters to recite a three-word loyalty pledge. It reads: “I’m With Her”. I choose to recite a different pledge.

My pledge reads: “I’M WITH YOU – THE AMERICAN PEOPLE.”

I am your voice.

So to every parent who dreams for their child, and every child who dreams for their future, I say these words to you tonight: I’m With You, and I will fight for you, and I will win for you.

To all Americans tonight, in all our cities and towns, I make this promise: We Will Make America Strong Again.

We Will Make America Proud Again.

We Will Make America Safe Again.

And We Will Make America Great Again.

Commentary followup, July 23, 2016

Hillary Clinton announced that Tim Kaine of Virginia would be her running mate.

The choice emphasizes the extent to which the Democrats are running a traditional managed campaign, which after all has worked for Clinton so far this cycle.  After being dragged to the left by Bernie Sanders, the choice of Kaine signals an appeal to the center.  With the Sanders threat over, save for some likely noise next week at the convention, Clinton seems to have determined to try to recapture middle of the road Democrats who may be leaning now towards the Republicans.  If that's her goal, Kaine is a good choice.

Kaine is a former governor and current senator and is what is called a "centerist".  He's middle of the road on gun control, he's on the left in gender issues, he's a "personally against" but no legislation on early life issues.  He looks, therefore, sort of like a better version of Joe Biden.

It'll be interesting to see if that sells this year in the general campaign, as generally the electorate has been unhappy with compromise candidates this year.  In some ways that sort of defines Kaine, who has managed to be a centrist in a state that leans to the right, and is one of the generation of Boomer Catholic candidates who have been comfortable with what is generally regarded as moral compromise by the serious in that Faith.  So its a very traditional choice, in a year in which tradition hasn't held a lot of sway.  It is a choice, however, that allows Clinton to pitch for middle of the road voters where she is somewhat weak.

Commentary followup, July 25, 2016

Somehow, probably just because I've been busy, I managed to miss the breaking news that Russian hackers, of all people, had hacked into the Democratic National Committee emails system and Wikileaks released them. The result has been basically to confirm a pro Clinton bias in the DNC and an anti Sanders one. The news caused Debbie Wasserman Schultz to resign as chairman of the DNC.

Well, Wasserman Schultz has appeared on our blog before, and if the leaks caused her to resign, the Russians may have done the Democrats a big favor.  Wasserman Schultz was one of those figures that really doesn't sell well, in my view, outside of the Beltway.  As for the DNC being biased in favor of Clinton, there's a certain "no kidding" aspect to that as it was always pretty clear, and Wasserman Schultz herself commented on it months ago, that the Democratic system was geared towards keeping an insurgent campaign from being easily successful.  I guess the surprise is the degree to which the DNC ws internally dedicated to that, maybe, assuming it was.

My prediction is that this will have no effect on the Clinton campaign itself, which hasn't been shown to be connected to it in any way, and at this point hardly anyone is very impressed with either of the candidates any how, and people are therefore more or less numb to this sort of stuff.

Commentary followup, July 27, 2016

There is at least a mini rebellion going on in the "progressive" wing of the Democratic Party now made up of Sanders supporters who are disgusted with the DNC having worked against, at least in some fashion, their candidate.   Some of those supporters are now leaning towards Green Party presumptive nominee Jill Stein.

The degree to which Stein and Sanders share common views is unknown to me, but just as some disaffected in the GOP are finding the Libertarians to their liking more than Trump this year, it's not too surprising that some disaffected Democrats are looking at the left wing Greens.  It is more surprising, perhaps, than the Libertarian story, but only because the Greens have never previously emerged as a third party that looked capable of winning any success and because up until now Democratic party discipline has been so good.  Now it's breaking down when it can ill afford to.

There's a lot of crying and whining in both parties about the disaffected bolting but now that this has broken out in both parties perhaps this is a topic which needs to be reconsidered.  It's pretty clear that neither the GOP nor the Democratic Party are the "big tents" they claim to be, rather their one small tent with a lot of people who are allowed to hang around outside. While considering a third party brings up serious political, philosophical and even moral implications for those considering, if all three of the third parties getting some press this year, the Libertarians, the Greens and the American Solidarity Party, actually made a showing it might not be a wholly negative development.

Commentary followup, July 28, 2016

It's been remarkable this past week how often I've heard that the impending nomination of Hillary Clinton will "break the glass ceiling", that meaning that something really historic will occur by the Democrats nominating a woman as their candidate.

Some have pointed out that at least one woman has been nominated before, by a third party, but that's really besides the point. The greater point is that this ship has truly sailed, and did so quite a few years back.

At some point, "firsts" are irrelevant statistics.   Barack Obama becoming the first black President was truly historic, but one of the reasons for that is that it ended the firsts.  After that, all the first are mere statistics unless they reflect something massively outside the expected.

Women have held high office in the United States for a long time.  We've had women Secretaries of State, women Supreme Court Justices, and so on.  A woman President, frankly, just isn't a big deal.

Second Commentary followup, July 28, 2016

Hillary Clinton's acceptance speech:

Thank you! Thank you for that amazing welcome.
And Chelsea, thank you.
I'm so proud to be your mother and so proud of the woman you've become.
Thanks for bringing Marc into our family, and Charlotte and Aidan into the world.
And Bill, that conversation we started in the law library 45 years ago is still going strong.
It's lasted through good times that filled us with joy, and hard times that tested us.
And I've even gotten a few words in along the way.
On Tuesday night, I was so happy to see that my Explainer-in-Chief is still on the job.
I'm also grateful to the rest of my family and the friends of a lifetime.
To all of you whose hard work brought us here tonight…
And to those of you who joined our campaign this week.
And what a remarkable week it's been.
We heard the man from Hope, Bill Clinton.
And the man of Hope, Barack Obama.
America is stronger because of President Obama's leadership, and I'm better because of his friendship.
We heard from our terrific vice president, the one-and-only Joe Biden, who spoke from his big heart about our party's commitment to working people.
First Lady Michelle Obama reminded us that our children are watching, and the president we elect is going to be their president, too.
And for those of you out there who are just getting to know Tim Kaine – you're soon going to understand why the people of Virginia keep promoting him: from city council and mayor, to Governor, and now Senator.
He'll make the whole country proud as our Vice President.
And… I want to thank Bernie Sanders.
Bernie, your campaign inspired millions of Americans, particularly the young people who threw their hearts and souls into our primary.
You've put economic and social justice issues front and center, where they belong.
And to all of your supporters here and around the country:
I want you to know, I've heard you.
Your cause is our cause.
Our country needs your ideas, energy, and passion.
That's the only way we can turn our progressive platform into real change for America.
We wrote it together – now let's go out there and make it happen together.
My friends, we've come to Philadelphia – the birthplace of our nation – because what happened in this city 240 years ago still has something to teach us today.
We all know the story.
But we usually focus on how it turned out - and not enough on how close that story came to never being written at all.
When representatives from 13 unruly colonies met just down the road from here, some wanted to stick with the King.
Some wanted to stick it to the king, and go their own way.
The revolution hung in the balance.
Then somehow they began listening to each other … compromising … finding common purpose.
And by the time they left Philadelphia, they had begun to see themselves as one nation.
That's what made it possible to stand up to a King.
That took courage.
They had courage.
Our Founders embraced the enduring truth that we are stronger together.
America is once again at a moment of reckoning.
Powerful forces are threatening to pull us apart.
Bonds of trust and respect are fraying.
And just as with our founders, there are no guarantees.
It truly is up to us.
We have to decide whether we all will work together so we all can rise together.
Our country's motto is e pluribus unum: out of many, we are one.
Will we stay true to that motto?
Well, we heard Donald Trump's answer last week at his convention.
He wants to divide us - from the rest of the world, and from each other.
He's betting that the perils of today's world will blind us to its unlimited promise.
He's taken the Republican Party a long way...
from "Morning in America" to "Midnight in America."
He wants us to fear the future and fear each other.
Well, a great Democratic President, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, came up with the perfect rebuke to Trump more than eighty years ago, during a much more perilous time.
“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”
Now we are clear-eyed about what our country is up against.
But we are not afraid.
We will rise to the challenge, just as we always have.
We will not build a wall.
Instead, we will build an economy where everyone who wants a good paying job can get one.
And we'll build a path to citizenship for millions of immigrants who are already contributing to our economy!
We will not ban a religion.
We will work with all Americans and our allies to fight terrorism.
There's a lot of work to do.
Too many people haven't had a pay raise since the
There's too much inequality.
Too little social mobility.
Too much paralysis in Washington.
Too many threats at home and abroad.
But just look at the strengths we bring to meet these challenges.
We have the most dynamic and diverse people in the world.
We have the most tolerant and generous young people we've ever had.
We have the most powerful military.
The most innovative entrepreneurs.
The most enduring values.Freedom and equality, justice and opportunity.
We should be so proud that these words are associated with us. That when people
hear them – they hear… America.
So don't let anyone tell you that our country is weak.
We're not.
Don't let anyone tell you we don't have what it takes.
We do.
And most of all, don't believe anyone who says: “I alone can fix it.”
Those were actually Donald Trump's words in Cleveland.
And they should set off alarm bells for all of us.
I alone can fix it?
Isn't he forgetting?
Troops on the front lines.
Police officers and fire fighters who run toward danger.
Doctors and nurses who care for us.
Teachers who change lives.
Entrepreneurs who see possibilities in every problem.
Mothers who lost children to violence and are building a movement to keep other kids safe.
He's forgetting every last one of us.
Americans don't say: “I alone can fix it.”
We say: “We'll fix it together.”
Remember: Our Founders fought a revolution and wrote a Constitution so America would never be a nation where one person had all the power.
Two hundred and forty years later, we still put our faith in each other.
Look at what happened in Dallas after the assassinations of five brave police officers.
Chief David Brown asked the community to support his force, maybe even join them.
And you know how the community responded?
Nearly 500 people applied in just 12 days.
That's how Americans answer when the call for help goes out.
20 years ago I wrote a book called “It Takes a Village.” A lot of people looked at the title and asked, what the heck do you mean by that?
This is what I mean.
None of us can raise a family, build a business, heal a community or lift a country totally alone.
America needs every one of us to lend our energy, our talents, our ambition to making our nation better and stronger.
I believe that with all my heart.
That's why “Stronger Together” is not just a lesson from our history.
It's not just a slogan for our campaign.
It's a guiding principle for the country we've always been and the future we're going to build.
A country where the economy works for everyone, not just those at the top.
Where you can get a good job and send your kids to a good school, no matter what zip code you live in.
A country where all our children can dream, and those dreams are within reach.
Where families are strong… communities are safe…
And yes, love trumps hate.
That's the country we're fighting for.
That's the future we're working toward…
And so it is with humility. . . determination . . . and boundless confidence in America's promise… that I accept your nomination for President of the United
Now, sometimes the people at this podium are new to the national stage.
As you know, I'm not one of those people.
I've been your First Lady. Served 8 years as a Senator from the great State of New York.
I ran for President and lost.
Then I represented all of you as Secretary of State.
But my job titles only tell you what I've done.
They don't tell you why.
The truth is, through all these years of public service, the “service” part has always come easier to me than the “public” part.
I get it that some people just don't know what to make of me.
So let me tell you.
The family I'm from . . . well, no one had their name on big buildings.
My family were builders of a different kind.
Builders in the way most American families are.
They used whatever tools they had – whatever God gave them – and whatever life in America provided – and built better lives and better futures for their kids.
My grandfather worked in the same Scranton lace mill for 50 years.
Because he believed that if he gave everything he had, his children would have a better life than he did.
And he was right.
My dad, Hugh, made it to college. He played football at Penn State and enlisted in the Navy after Pearl Harbor.
When the war was over he started his own small business, printing fabric for draperies.
I remember watching him stand for hours over silk screens.
He wanted to give my brothers and me opportunities he never had.
And he did. My mother, Dorothy, was abandoned by her parents as a young girl. She ended up on her own at 14, working as a house maid.
She was saved by the kindness of others.
Her first grade teacher saw she had nothing to eat at lunch, and brought extra food to share.
The lesson she passed on to me years later stuck with me:
No one gets through life alone.
We have to look out for each other and lift each other up.
She made sure I learned the words of our Methodist faith:
“Do all the good you can, for all the people you can, in all the ways you can, as long as ever you can.”
I went to work for the Children's Defense Fund, going door-to-door in New Bedford, Massachusetts on behalf of children with disabilities who were denied the chance
to go to school.
I remember meeting a young girl in a wheelchair on the small back porch of her house.
She told me how badly she wanted to go to school – it just didn't seem possible.
And I couldn't stop thinking of my mother and what she went through as a child.
It became clear to me that simply caring is not enough.
To drive real progress, you have to change both hearts and laws.
You need both understanding and action.
So we gathered facts. We built a coalition. And our work helped convince Congress to ensure access to education for all students with disabilities.
It's a big idea, isn't it?
Every kid with a disability has the right to go to school.
But how do you make an idea like that real? You do it step-by-step, year-by-year… sometimes even door-by-door.
And my heart just swelled when I saw Anastasia Somoza on this stage, representing millions of young people who – because of those changes to our laws – are able to get an education.
It's true... I sweat the details of policy – whether we're talking about the exact level of lead in the drinking water in Flint, Michigan, the number of mental health facilities in Iowa, or the cost of your prescription drugs.
Because it's not just a detail if it's your kid - if it's your family.
It's a big deal. And it should be a big deal to your president.
Over the last three days, you've seen some of the people who've inspired me.
People who let me into their lives, and became a part of mine.
People like Ryan Moore and Lauren Manning.
They told their stories Tuesday night.
I first met Ryan as a seven-year old.
He was wearing a full body brace that must have weighed forty pounds.
Children like Ryan kept me going when our plan for universal health care failed…and kept me working with leaders of both parties to help create the Children's Health Insurance Program that covers 8 million kids every year.
Lauren was gravely injured on 9/11.
It was the thought of her, and Debbie St. John, and John Dolan and Joe Sweeney, and all the victims and survivors, that kept me working as hard as I could in the Senate on behalf of 9/11 families, and our first responders who got sick from their time at Ground Zero.
I was still thinking of Lauren, Debbie and all the others ten years later in the White House Situation Room when President Obama made the courageous decision that finally brought Osama bin Laden to justice.
In this campaign, I've met so many people who motivate me to keep fighting for change.
And, with your help, I will carry all of your voices and stories with me to the White House.
I will be a President for Democrats, Republicans, and Independents.
For the struggling, the striving and the successful.
For those who vote for me and those who don't.
For all Americans.
Tonight, we've reached a milestone in our nation's march toward a more perfect union:
the first time that a major party has nominated a woman for President.
Standing here as my mother's daughter, and my daughter's mother, I'm so happy this day has come.
Happy for grandmothers and little girls and everyone in between.
Happy for boys and men, too – because when any barrier falls in America, for anyone, it clears the way for everyone. When there are no ceilings, the sky's the limit.
So let's keep going, until every one of the 161 million women and girls across America has the opportunity she deserves.
Because even more important than the history we make tonight, is the history we will write together in the years ahead.
Let's begin with what we're going to do to help working people in our country get ahead and stay ahead.
Now, I don't think President Obama and Vice President Biden get the credit they deserve for saving us from the worst economic crisis of our lifetimes.
Our economy is so much stronger than when they took office. Nearly 15 million new private-sector jobs. Twenty million more Americans with health insurance. And an auto industry that just had its best year ever. That's real progress.
But none of us can be satisfied with the status quo. Not by a long shot.
We're still facing deep-seated problems that developed long before the recession and have stayed with us through the
I've gone around our country talking to working families. And I've heard from so many of you who feel like the economy just isn't working.
Some of you are frustrated – even furious.
And you know what??? You're right.
It's not yet working the way it should.
Americans are willing to work – and work hard.
But right now, an awful lot of people feel there is less and less respect for the work they do.
And less respect for them, period.
Democrats are the party of working people.
But we haven't done a good enough job showing that we get what you're going through,
and that we're going to do something about it.
So I want to tell you tonight how we will empower Americans to live better lives.
My primary mission as President will be to create more opportunity and more good jobs with rising wages right here in the United States...
From my first day in office to my last!
Especially in places that for too long have been left out and left behind.
From our inner cities to our small towns, from Indian Country to Coal Country.
From communities ravaged by addiction to regions hollowed out by plant closures.
And here's what I believe.
I believe America thrives when the middle class thrives.
I believe that our economy isn't working the way it should because our democracy isn't working the way it should.
That's why we need to appoint Supreme Court justices who will get money out of politics and expand voting rights, not restrict them. And we'll pass a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United!
I believe American corporations that have gotten so much from our country should be just as patriotic in return.
Many of them are. But too many aren't.
It's wrong to take tax breaks with one hand and give out pink slips with the other.
And I believe Wall Street can never, ever be allowed to wreck Main Street again.
I believe in science. I believe that climate change is real and that we can save our planet while creating millions of good-paying clean energy jobs.
I believe that when we have millions of hardworking immigrants contributing to our economy, it would be self-defeating and inhumane to kick them out.
Comprehensive immigration reform will grow our economy and keep families together - and it's the right thing to do.
Whatever party you belong to, or if you belong to no party at all, if you share these beliefs, this is your campaign.
If you believe that companies should share profits with their workers, not pad executive bonuses, join us.
If you believe the minimum wage should be a living wage… and no one working full time should have to raise their children in poverty… join us.
If you believe that every man, woman, and child in America has the right to affordable health care…join us.
If you believe that we should say “no” to unfair trade deals... that we should stand up to China... that we should support our steelworkers and autoworkers and homegrown manufacturers…join us.
If you believe we should expand Social Security and protect a woman's right to make her own health care decisions… join us.
And yes, if you believe that your working mother, wife, sister, or daughter deserves equal pay… join us...
Let's make sure this economy works for everyone, not just those at the top.
Now, you didn't hear any of this from Donald Trump at his convention.
He spoke for 70-odd minutes – and I do mean odd.
And he offered zero solutions. But we already know he doesn't believe these things.
No wonder he doesn't like talking about his plans.
You might have noticed, I love talking about mine.
In my first 100 days, we will work with both parties to pass the biggest investment in new, good-paying jobs since World War II.
Jobs in manufacturing, clean energy, technology and innovation, small business, and infrastructure.
If we invest in infrastructure now, we'll not only create jobs today, but lay the foundation for the jobs of the future.
And we will transform the way we prepare our young people for those jobs.
Bernie Sanders and I will work together to make college tuition-free for the middle class and debt-free for all!
We will also liberate millions of people who already have student debt.
It's just not right that Donald Trump can ignore his debts, but students and families can't refinance theirs.
And here's something we don't say often enough: College is crucial, but a four-year degree should not be the only path to a good job.
We're going to help more people learn a skill or practice a trade and make a good living doing it.
We're going to give small businesses a boost. Make it easier to get credit. Way too many dreams die in the parking lots of banks.
In America, if you can dream it, you should be able to build it.
We're going to help you balance family and work. And you know what, if fighting for affordable child care and paid family leave is playing the “woman card,” then Deal Me In!
(Oh, you've heard that one?)
Now, here's the thing, we're not only going to make all these investments, we're going to pay for every single one of them.
And here's how: Wall Street, corporations, and the super-rich are going to start paying their fair share of taxes.
Not because we resent success. Because when more than 90% of the gains have gone to the top 1%, that's where the money is.
And if companies take tax breaks and then ship jobs overseas, we'll make them
pay us back. And we'll put that money to work where it belongs … creating jobs here at home!
Now I know some of you are sitting at home thinking, well that all sounds pretty good.
But how are you going to get it done? How are you going to break through the gridlock in Washington? Look at my record. I’ve worked across the aisle to pass laws and treaties and to launch new programs that help millions of people. And if you give me the chance, that’s what I’ll do as President.
But Trump, he's a businessman. He must know something about the economy.
Well, let's take a closer look.
In Atlantic City, 60 miles from here, you'll find contractors and small businesses who lost everything because Donald Trump refused to pay his bills.
People who did the work and needed the money, and didn't get it – not because he couldn't pay them, but because he wouldn't pay them.
That sales pitch he's making to be your president? Put your faith in him – and you'll win big? That's the same sales pitch he made to all those small businesses. Then Trump walked away, and left working people holding the bag.
He also talks a big game about putting America First. Please explain to me what part of America First leads him to make Trump ties in China, not Colorado.
Trump suits in Mexico, not Michigan. Trump furniture in Turkey, not Ohio. Trump picture frames in India, not Wisconsin.
Donald Trump says he wants to make America great again – well, he could start by actually making things in America again.
The choice we face is just as stark when it comes to our national security.
Anyone reading the news can see the threats and turbulence we face.
From Baghdad and Kabul, to Nice and Paris and Brussels, to San Bernardino and Orlando, we're dealing with determined enemies that must be defeated.
No wonder people are anxious and looking for reassurance. Looking for steady leadership.
You want a leader who understands we are stronger when we work with our allies around the world and care for our veterans here at home. Keeping our nation safe and honoring the people who do it will be my highest priority.
I'm proud that we put a lid on Iran's nuclear program without firing a single shot – now we have to enforce it, and keep supporting Israel's security.
I'm proud that we shaped a global climate agreement – now we have to hold every country accountable to their commitments, including ourselves.
I'm proud to stand by our allies in NATO against any threat they face, including from Russia.
I've laid out my strategy for defeating ISIS.
We will strike their sanctuaries from the air, and support local forces taking them out on the ground. We will surge our intelligence so that we detect and prevent attacks before they happen.
We will disrupt their efforts online to reach and radicalize young people in our country.
It won't be easy or quick, but make no mistake – we will prevail.
Now Donald Trump says, and this is a quote, “I know more about ISIS than the generals do….”
No, Donald, you don't.
He thinks that he knows more than our military because he claimed our armed forces are “a disaster.”
Well, I've had the privilege to work closely with our troops and our veterans for many years, including as a Senator on the Armed Services Committee.
I know how wrong he is. Our military is a national treasure.
We entrust our commander-in-chief to make the hardest decisions our nation faces.
Decisions about war and peace. Life and death.
A president should respect the men and women who risk their lives to serve our country – including the sons of Tim Kaine and Mike Pence, both Marines.
Ask yourself: Does Donald Trump have the temperament to be Commander-in-Chief?
Donald Trump can't even handle the rough-and-tumble of a presidential campaign.
He loses his cool at the slightest provocation. When he's gotten a tough question from a reporter. When he's challenged in a debate. When he sees a protestor at a rally.
Imagine him in the Oval Office facing a real crisis. A man you can bait with a tweet is not a man we can trust with nuclear weapons.
I can't put it any better than Jackie Kennedy did after the Cuban Missile Crisis. She said that what worried President Kennedy during that very dangerous time was that a war might be started – not by big men with self-control and restraint, but by little men – the ones moved by fear and pride.
America's strength doesn't come from lashing out.
Strength relies on smarts, judgment, cool resolve, and the precise and strategic application of power.
That's the kind of Commander-in-Chief I pledge to be.
And if we're serious about keeping our country safe, we also can't afford to have a President who's in the pocket of the gun lobby.
I'm not here to repeal the 2nd Amendment.
I'm not here to take away your guns.
I just don't want you to be shot by someone who shouldn't have a gun in the first place.
We should be working with responsible gun owners to pass common-sense reforms and keep guns out of the hands of criminals, terrorists and all others who would do us harm.
For decades, people have said this issue was too hard to solve and the politics were too hot to touch.
But I ask you: how can we just stand by and do nothing?
You heard, you saw, family members of people killed by gun violence.
You heard, you saw, family members of police officers killed in the line of duty because they were outgunned by criminals.
I refuse to believe we can't find common ground here.
We have to heal the divides in our country.
Not just on guns. But on race. Immigration. And more.
That starts with listening to each other. Hearing each other. Trying, as best we can, to walk in each other's shoes.
So let's put ourselves in the shoes of young black and Latino men and women who face the effects of systemic racism, and are made to feel like their lives are disposable.
Let's put ourselves in the shoes of police officers, kissing their kids and spouses goodbye every day and heading off to do a dangerous and necessary job.
We will reform our criminal justice system from end-to-end, and rebuild trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve.
We will defend all our rights – civil rights, human rights and voting rights… women's rights and workers' rights… LGBT rights and the rights of people with disabilities!
And we will stand up against mean and divisive rhetoric wherever it comes from.
For the past year, many people made the mistake of laughing off Donald Trump's comments – excusing him as an entertainer just putting on a show.
They think he couldn't possibly mean all the horrible things he says – like when he called women “pigs.” Or said that an American judge couldn't be fair because of his Mexican heritage. Or when he mocks and mimics a reporter with a disability.
Or insults prisoners of war like John McCain –a true hero and patriot who deserves our respect.
At first, I admit, I couldn't believe he meant it either.
It was just too hard to fathom – that someone who wants to lead our nation could say those things. Could be like that.
But here's the sad truth: There is no other Donald Trump...This is it.
And in the end, it comes down to what Donald Trump doesn't get: that America is great – because America is good.
So enough with the bigotry and bombast. Donald Trump's not offering real change.
He's offering empty promises. What are we offering? A bold agenda to improve the lives of people across our country - to keep you safe, to get you good jobs, and to give your kids the opportunities they deserve.
The choice is clear.
Every generation of Americans has come together to make our country freer, fairer, and stronger.
None of us can do it alone.
I know that at a time when so much seems to be pulling us apart, it can be hard to imagine how we'll ever pull together again.
But I'm here to tell you tonight – progress is possible.
I know because I've seen it in the lives of people across America who get knocked down and get right back up.
And I know it from my own life. More than a few times, I've had to pick myself up and get back in the game.
Like so much else, I got this from my mother. She never let me back down from any challenge. When I tried to hide from a neighborhood bully, she literally blocked the door. “Go back out there,” she said.
And she was right. You have to stand up to bullies.
You have to keep working to make things better, even when the odds are long and the opposition is fierce.
We lost my mother a few years ago. I miss her every day. And I still hear her voice urging me to keep working, keep fighting for right, no matter what.
That's what we need to do together as a nation.
Though "we may not live to see the glory," as the song from the musical Hamilton goes, "let us gladly join the fight."
Let our legacy be about "planting seeds in a garden you never get to see."
That's why we're here...not just in this hall, but on this Earth.
The Founders showed us that.
And so have many others since.
They were drawn together by love of country, and the selfless passion to build something better for all who follow.
That is the story of America. And we begin a new chapter tonight.
Yes, the world is watching what we do.
Yes, America's destiny is ours to choose.
So let's be stronger together.
Looking to the future with courage and confidence.
Building a better tomorrow for our beloved children and our beloved country.
When we do, America will be greater than ever.
Thank you and may God bless the United States of America!

Tracking the Presidential Election, 2016
Tracking the Presidential Election, 2016, Part II
Tracking the Presidential Election, 2016, Part III Sic Transit Gloria Mundi.
Tracking the Presidential Election Part IV
Tracking the Presidential Election Part V
Tracking the Presidential Election Part VI. The wobbly Democratic Party.
Tracking the Presidential Election Part VII
Tracking the Presidential Election Part VIII. Is there a Brexit lesson for the US election?