06 January 2017

Christmas Letters

I generally do not do a Christmas letter. But this year, while I am not sending one with cards, I have been thinking about 2016. So,here, a sort of year in review.

In January, I went to see my Primary Care Doc, again. I had begun complaining of extreme back pain a few weeks earlier. Doc said I walked into his office like a man with severe lower back pain, but I was pointing at the wrong place. Tests and films were indicated. We knew I did not have gallbladder pain as I had surgery to remove it some years ago, and I know what pancreatitis is like, this was not that. Tests, we did tests.

Late January found us doing a biopsy of a tumor on my adrenal gland. I had moved from mere tests to the care of Amita Hospital's Oncology practice. The diagnosis took a while, and the special pathology facilities of Mayo Brothers. But it was definitive: B cell diffuse non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. The nice thing if there is one, about lymphoma is you do not have to worry about it spreading, it is everywhere. (Gallows humor sort of goes with cancer, especially the second time you have it.)

My first chemo came close to ending my year. I did a full scale anaphylactic shock episode. Who needs to breath? LaGrange Hospital's "crash cart team," and the care of a great oncology oncologist with his nurses pulled me through. Or so I hear. The anaphylaxis hit me with a flash of discomfort and a long period unconsciousness. When I woke the therapy was over. I was exhausted, sick, but not in any real pain.

That pattern took me to June. After nearly losing me, the oncologist started each treatment with a half-liter of Benadryl. Not only does that keep the anaphylaxis away, it knocks you out.So I slept through the actual treatments. Unfortunately, the Benadryl does not keep the next few days away. Everything you have heard about chemo, especially the nausea, hair loss, lethargy, and weakness is true. BUT(!) after 6 treatments, 18 weeks of infusion and recovery, in June I tested cancer free.

July and August were all about getting stronger and recovering things like my beard and what hair I have. Remember that this all began when I went to doctors seeking help with back pain? The good news is that the cancer is gone, the bad news is that the back pain is not. So, September and October were spent working with surgeons, doctors, and a raft of radiology technicians. At one point, I had a firm schedule for a potential 10 hour surgery.

Here is a rule. When your cardiologist calls on a Sunday night late, the news is never good. Mostly because of simple caution, I had postponed surgery for two weeks. When my cardiologist called he affirmed my surgical clearance but said he was a bit concerned about my ekg. He asked me to come the next day for a 24 hour ekg that can be worn. I went.

When I got the portable ekg, I was told that 8 days later, the Tuesday after the test, I would meet with the doctor to discuss the results. Remember my rule? I turned the portable unit in at about 10:00 and at noon, Doctor's assistant had called to move my appointment up to the next day. So a very little bit of medical information: I am 70, and any number between 0 and 200 is an acceptable number of irregular heartbeats. I had over 4,000. So Wednesday, an interventional cardiologist found a 95% blockage in the main coronary artery, and another smaller blockage. I have two new stents. I also still have the irregular heartbeat.

The idea had been that without the blockages, as often happens, the heart beat would drift back to normal. But then, this d oes not always happen, and 2016 was just my tough year. My heart was simply not "calming down."

The next idea surprised me. So here is the logic. Lots of old guys (moi) especially if they sometimes snore (also moi) have at least some sleep apnea. To my surprise, it turns out that if that condition is treated, a benefit is that the cardiac rhythm is also normalized. OK, sleep study and a CPAP machine - right? Wrong. Oh we did the study, I have, "severe" sleep apnea. But I choked on every possible mask for the machine. I am told this simply happens sometimes.

So, ends 2016 with the back problem, the sleep apnea, and the irregular heart beat. Two of those are "life threatening," the sleep apnea and the heart irregularity. We are exploring alternate treatments in 2017.

All of this of course was for us in the foreground as the catastrophic presidential and congressional elections were playing out. I wrote a few blogs about the mess, but I was so busy not dying, I did not become really involved. I am under no illusion, I am a small fish, and my absence from the pond did not significantly alter the results. But, I cannot expect you to be active if I am not. So, my plans include a lot more involvement as we begin to resist the new American fascism.

2016 taught me something about mortality. I had so many near misses. But I also learned I can continue in the face of it. I became a master Mason, saw my elder son become a Mason, both of us mentored by my younger son, and saw Drew become only the second Senior Verger in the over 145 year of our parish. My grandkids grew and continued to be grand hopes for the future.

Happy New Year!

03 January 2017

Thoughts of the Magi

My younger grand child, Gabriel greeted me on New Year's Day with a loving hug, smile, and question, "What are your New Year's revolutions Grandpa?" Jamie, three years older and much more sophisticated noted the "error," corrected him observing they are resolutions. I have been thinking about whether it was an error. I think Gabriel may have had a point.

A resolution is a typically insincere commitment. Most often, I think, many are things we acknowledge we should do. I know family members who have resolved to quit smoking over and over for decades. Besides a certain humor value, until recently, I almost never saw a resolution last past January. FitBit and its competitors have changed this a bit. Drop a couple hundred dollars, or get your love to do so, and suddenly a fitness or weight loss resolution has if not teeth, at least longevity.

But what of revolutions? Revolutions live near the Book of Common Prayer's scarry call for those who confess, "amendment of life." For most of the last seventy years, I am not sure I wanted that amendment of life thing, although as a civil rights demonstrator, folkie, anti-war, progressive, I have to admit wanting to amend other people's lives. That indeed may be my problem.

So what are your revolutions? I hope mine will be getting out of the house, into the ride business, (Uber) and back to the business of living. Enough of the cancer, back injury, and heart problems. Yes they are with me, and yes I cannot get rid of them. But I can be revolutionary, I can simply live while I ignore them. I can stop being obsessed by either my health or self.

That may be my personal revolution, but it is not enough. Revolutions are never enough. Yes, here, on social media of one sort or another, I think the revolution demands more. I need to find ways to have an impact. I dunno where I will end but for no. I think I need to be playing and singing revolutionary songs again. Hand me down my dulcimer.

As my favorite science fiction heroine says, "lets be about it."


30 September 2016

Cowardice



I recall reading a comment about the Chicago Tribune of his youth by Mike Royko. He said, if I recall, that reading McCormick's editorials he was never sure if the enemy was Hitler or Roosevelt. That came to mind as the incredible decision to endorse Gary Johnson, perhaps the least informed person ever to appear on a national party ticket emerged.

This election pits a qualified, competent, caring woman against a nut case. Mrs. Clinton is so bright and so much more able that Fox News (!) reported she won the recent debate by 23 percentage points in their poll. Meanwhile, Mr. Trump keeps saying he won the CBS poll, which simply does not exist.

During the Lewinsky scandal some wag said that Bill Clinton had a sometimes difficult relationship with the truth. Mr. Trump has no relationship.

We all at one time or another lie. Have I -- yes, have you -- yes. I have probably said a dress, tie, or haircut looked good when I didn't like it. Have you? Do either one of us do it every day about every issues, repeatedly, even when the truth would not hurt us? We know a candidate who lies an estimated once every 4 minutes. (Politico made it 3 and a fraction and I rounded it in his favor!)

But the Tribune, the paper that once published national security information in war time, and was not believed because the enemy, Japan, did not consider them credible, has managed not to make the obvious choice. No, they picked Gary Johnson who could not name Vicente Fox when he brought him up, and did not know that Aleppo is the major city being contested in bloody horrible fighting in Syria.

I am sure that I won't agree with every decision Mrs. Clinton makes as president. I am equally sure I won't agree with every vote Tammy Duckworth casts in the Senate. That is OK, we are a republic: they do not have to do exactly what I think best. I am not committed to voting for Mrs. Clinton when as I expect, she seeks re-election. But even the Tribune editorial noted that unlike Mr. Trump, Secretary clinton is qualified to be president.

Ever play a board game with a toddler who knocked the game over rather than loose? That is the Tribune editorial. They wanted a Republican they could endorse, they got Mr. Trump and they kicked the table over. Immature cowardice in action.

21 September 2016

Chaos Comes

It may be, although I still doubt it, that Mr. Trump will win. My expectation is that Sec. Clinton will, but I have been wrong before. Regardless, America has been deeply wounded and may be unable to recover.

Let me tell you what Donald Trump has done. He has unleashed and normalized racism, misogyny, nativism, homophobia, and oddly for this clearly agnostic man, theism. The demons are out from under the rocks, and it will take quite a lot to put them back.

Slime, nativism, and bigotry are hardly new. The Koch brothers whose money was unleashed by the worst decision since Dred Scott v Sanford in 1857, Citizens United v FEC, stand in a long line. That line includes Sen. McCarthy, blacklists, and the John Birch Society.

Eventually, the country partially recovered from the Scott decision. You may recall learning about some aspects of the recovery process, worked out in places like Gettysburg, Antietam, and Ford's Theatre. Whole States were ruined, cities burned, railroads and highways destroyed, and an estimated 270,000 military casualties, no one knows the civilian death count, were the price of the Dred Scot debacle.

Arguably, the toll ran higher. Jim Crow, the legalization of racism, was a direct result. In many ways, compensation differential, ongoing sexism, and police shootings among them, we are still paying.

What precipitated the War Between the States was a period of stark political instability. The two party system, at the beginning of the 1850s, meant the Democrats and the Whigs. At that balance point in history, Whigs included Abraham Lincoln, John C. Fremont, Daniel Webster, and Henry Clay. By 1852, when the party could not manage to support an incumbent President Fillmore, a single issue had destroyed it. That issue was argued as the legal status of slavery in the newly developed territories West of the Mississippi, but it was really about racism. Were slaves, or potential slaves people? The Dred Scott decision said no, and America bled.

We should note the current political self-destruction began over a single issue. The social role of the State it was called. It was not one drunk Senator's lone work. Serious thinkers, such as Senator Goldwater and William F. Buckley contributed to the discussion, but were drowned out by the remnants of the Jim Crow culture, the intellectually bankrupt ravings of the likes of Ayn Rand, and opportunistic "TV preachers" advancing their interest in theocracy. But the argument was centered on a mix of racism, "welfare" was perceived to go to Blacks, and misogyny, welfare MOTHERS were the source of all evil.

The dissolution of the Republican party became visible this year as so many candidates with so many mutually exclusive viewpoints made it difficult to discern any theme other than a general discomfort with strong women (Mrs. Clinton) and African-American leaders (Pres. Obama.) The party of Dewey and Eisenhower was now the home of Cruz and McCarthy.

Mr. Trump emerged from the chaos as the candidate after a fratricidal primary process. The process left the Republicans with primary candidates who refuse to endorse or campaign for Mr. Trump in the face of outright threats from RNC chair Priebus. We should note that Mr. Priebus is an employee of the fracturing party. Trump is the candidate of chaos, from chaos.

Rational folks keep waiting for Trump to finally do or say something that destroys his campaign. As the "debates," actually staged TV confrontations approach, Trump attacks the platform before ascending it, and the possibility of a blowup grows. If he does not blow up, or "lose" by some ethereal standard, and manages to keep close to truthful answers, he will have survived despite his attacks on the First Amendment, and other parts of the American "Bill of Rights," his unconscionable attacks on the Federal Judiciary, and his amazing attacks on journalists.

No matter who ultimately wins, chaos comes. Even if Mrs. Clinton wins, the rocks are overturned, the slime is released and the chaos is upon us. If as I think, we are seeing in the 17 candidates that arose in the primaries the impending death of the Republican Party, the rise of chaos and the incapacitating of the two party system, we can expect the rise of splinter parties. In fact some are already visible: the Libertarians, who have been a fringe group for years are suddenly poling near 9%, enough to materially impact the election. Suddenly it matters that David Duke, an open racist, endorsed Trump. The standards are eroding, the center is not holding. Chaos comes.

Citizens United may well be the Dred Scot of our day. The system is disrupted. Last time it was, we landed in a vicious war. We are more advanced in our killing technology now. In 1860, the first machine guns had recently been developed. They had little impact on the war. We have perhaps advanced too much.



Chaos Comes.

25 July 2016

The Speeches



In any modern political convention, with modern defined here as since 1960, there are always a few speeches that have lasting impact, for better or worse. Of course "better," and "worse" in this context can be relative -- what is "better" for one's opponents can be "worse" for a speaker.

The speeches were often more about Mrs. Clinton than they were about either the most disregarded document in recent memory, the GOP's platform, or the candidates. With the singular exception of the unintended compliment to Mrs. Obama that emerged when the, "explanation" of the glaringly obvious plagiarism in Mrs. Trump's speech, the comments about Mrs. Clinton were universally negative, but so too was the tone of the event. Mrs. Clinton and to a lesser extent, Mr. Obama were the targets of hostile,vicious, unremitting negativity. One of the NPR reporters (I think it was Mr. Brooks) called the tone, "Richard Nixon without the optimism."

The only counterpoint to the negativity that I observed, was in the speeches from the Mr. Trump, Mr. Pence, and the Trump family. And those, as we may notice below, did serious damage to that disregarded, often incoherent document, the GOP platform.

If you forced yourself to watch the convention, your take away may be different than mine. With that caveat, here are the things I noticed about the speeches.

The speech of Senator Cruz was interesting because after congratulating Mr. Trump on his victory, he never mentioned the candidate,ticket, or the platform again. Rather, he laid out a view of conservatism that while less negative than the convention's (hardly difficult) was notably different from the Trump speeches. Stunningly, he never asked the delegates to work for the ticket, never acknowledge Governor Pence's existence, and never asked anyone to vote for the ticket. He was actually booed off the podium when he finished without any endorsement.

Predicting a speech's long term impact is tricky. Sen. Cruz seemed to be making a declaration that when, not if, Mr. Trump loses, he, Cruz, is running in 2020. Whether or not Mr. Trump looses, at least some of the delegates will be back. Returning delegates tend to be activists - with long memories. Sen.Cruz was brutally called out on his pledged support for the ticket, expressed as what the delegates at least saw as a promise. When he met with the Texas delegation the next morning he was roundly attacked. The Senator won the Texas primary so that most of the delegates were actually pledged to him, in context, the anger was stunning.

I actually thought the Senator's explanation made some sense. In fact I agreed with him so completely, I am reconsidering. He noted that his pledge to "support the ticket of my party" did not include the word "endorse." A moment in laughable legalism perhaps, but a point that a legalist might consider. He also noted that in any case he had not given Mr. Trump a carte blanche. While then, he does not support Mrs. Clinton, there are consequences when one attacks another man's wife (Mr. Trump did,) and slander his father (which again Mr. Trump did.) As much as this may shock Mr. Trump, it appears vicious, violent, and grossly inappropriate attacks have consequences.

Ms. Ivanka Trump's speech was unique in one respect. She actually gave us a glimpse of her father acting in a charitable way. There is a credibility issue unfortunately. She said Mr. Trump sometimes reads stories in the papers asks his secretary to locate persons mentioned, and arranges for them to come meet him, where he offers assistance, access to his own network, and sometimes jobs. The story did seem real to her. On the other hand, it is interesting that no one so helped appeared as a speaker. It is still a nice story, and I hope it is true.

Her speech, was surprisingly liberal. She said her dad, and she would fight for, "equal pay for equal work." That is a standard rallying cry of the progressive feminists. I know, I am one. And nothing in the platform suggests such a view.

She also said that the Trump companies are, because her dad insists, "gender, ethnicity, and life style neutral. The picture of her dad as some sort of fair-minded centrist (at least) tycoon is a long way from his campaign. It is also distant from the candidate the platform anticipates. It is also a long, long way from the ultra-right wing views of Gov. Pence.

Finally, we must consider Mr. Trump's acceptance speech, or perhaps I should say, "acceptance rant." Very little of the record setting 75 minutes did not appear angry and was not shouted. It really was a 75 minute scream.

Using the tone that dominated all week, (what David Brooks on PBS called Nixonian,) Mr. Trump described a vision of America beset by enemies abroad, illegal immigrants committing crimes and terrorism at home, and troubled by "allies" who let America pay while gaining benefits from our efforts. In each (overstated when not false) case, he laid the blame on Mrs. Clinton.

Among the most egregious claims were:
  • "My opponent wants to repeal the Second Amendment." I have no idea what Mrs. Clinton thinks, nothing she has said or published supports this statement. At best it is hyperbole, but flat out lie seems to me more fitting.
  • According to Mr. Trump, Sec. Clinton "advocates "mass amnesty, mass immigration." Actually,she has advocated neither. Mrs. Clinton has never called for amnesty. She has supported plans, including the one offered by Republican President Bush, designed to provide a path that could regularize the status of some illegals.
  • Mr. Trump would have you think that there are large numbers of criminal acts perpetrated by illegals, or legal immigrants that only can achieve that status because of Sec. Clinton and President Obama's unrestricted immigration policies.

    The truth is a bit different. The per capita crime rates for immigrants, legal or not, actually are lower than for the native born. I can only speculate, but I would think that immigrants want to avoid crimes that might make them targets for INS. In any case, the simple fact is that you are more likely be a victim of crime caused by native born citizens.

What was most stunning, was that with the single exception of the stupid, unconstitutional, and unworkable idea of a border wall, Mr. Trump did not say a single word about a plan, or policy. He says he will solve the problem he says we have without a single suggestion of a law, or plan. His entire policy is a shouted, angry, "I am your voice," and perhaps more terrifying, "Only I can" when talking about problem solving. We have no idea what he will be saying as the voice.

I suppose one positive note is that in offering no policies or plans, Mr. Trump ignored the ignoble, incoherent GOP platform. Unfortunately, Mr. Pence actually supports the thing.

As we move to the DNC, yes there will be controversy, what we can hope for is arguments about actual policies, a touch of humor, and perhaps a description of America that is not dark, violent, and ugly.

That is my take away of the GOP vision, the country: is in crisis. Mr. Trump offers himself as the political messiah who will single-handedly solve the crisis. The Constitution does not call for a messiah. In fact, it sets up Congress as the strongest branch, the first duty of the President is to "take care that the laws be faithfully executed." Only the House of Representatives can even originate a tax or spending bill. The Trump vision is of a president who is the sole leader. It is frankly authoritarian.

That approach is simply evil.

14 July 2016

Targets

Now Dallas is the sight of a series of shootings. One fool with a rifle killed five officers before they killed him. There is a lot to say about this horrible week, and much that should not be said.

One of the things I think I am learning is that Twitter can be fun and entertaining, but like rifles, in the wrong hands it can be tool of evil. Illinois has many daughters and sons to be proud of, this is the home of Lincoln, Douglas, John Peter Altgeld, Jane Addams, Ellen Starr, Bp, Philander Chase, Cyrus McCormick, and many others. It is also to our shame the home of Joe Walsh.

Former Congressman Walsh, we do rectify our mistakes in Illinois, so he is a former Congressman, has a talk show. It is amazing to me that so many failures, left and right wing, land up with talk shows. Walsh's show is not on my listening list, so I cannot tell you much about it.Ah but by the magic of Twitter, I can tell somethings about his actions.

After the 5 murders in Dallas, before the other recent shootings aimed at working cops, many of us wanted to express our respect and appreciation for the thousands of honest and fair police in our nation, and our horror at the evil in Dallas. Groups ranging from Black Lives Matter to the Senate Majority expressed their sorrow, anger and concern for the families of the killed and support for the families and the wounded officers. Flowers and teddy bears, the common symbols of our love and mourning began to pile up at the Dallas Police headquarters, Go Fund Me efforts to support the victims proliferated. At the same time, similar memorials and Go Fund Me efforts for the two men killed in Minnesota and Louisiana were continuing to draw support. Both Euro-Americans and Afro-Americans were contributing to both.

Into our already existing horror, Joe Walsh saw fit to insert his racist Tweet. Calling the Black Lives Matter group, "punks" and disrespecting President Obama, he wrote, "This is war." He blatantly called for a race war, and with, "Watch out Obama" he identified a target. As might be predicted, his Tweet drew a firestorm like swirl of angry posts in the short time it took Twitter managers to remove it, and it was quickly copied and preserved in other places by those who didn't want him to be able to claim he was misquoted.

Those of us who prefer to emphasize that he is a former congressman are not surprised that he is defending the Tweet. He claims he was not calling for race war or assassination. I suppose if I were looking at a couple felony indictments, I too would claim my cowardly, racist posts were benign.

Three things I think I have learned:
  1. The swift angered reaction from Euro-Americans suggests some of us are finally learning to understand white racism exists and is evil.
  2. Free speech and the marketplace of ideas work. It was only a few minutes before Twitter clients were alerting both Twitter management and both Illinois and Federal law enforcement to the post.
  3. No one can accuse WLS management of courage. Walsh still has his job.
We are all learning that our common tongue is littered with with code words. "Persecution" now means to fundamentalist/evangelicals, the denial of white privilege. "Watch out" when combined with, "This is war" is a targeting instruction worthy of ISIL.

We are perhaps learning that we have over militarized law enforcement. Given the circumstances, I find it difficult to criticise the decision to use deadly force against the murderer. Five police lives were five too many, and risking others would have been unconscionable. I do however find the fact that the battlefield remote bomb was available to the police disturbing. But not its use! That is appropriate given the circumstances, and I along with many horrified Americans have only support, prayers, and tears to offer.

In contrast to the justified use of force in Dallas, the killings in Minnesota and Louisiana loom large and ugly. We need more police like the professionals in Dallas who ran towards the shooter, and fewer who make up threats after they kill black men.

If there is one thing we do not need in this mix of anger and pain, it is the vitriol and in my reading, stupidity seen in posts like Joe Walsh offers. Illinois has done over the decades so much better.

FWIW

26 June 2016

The "big man," or Counsel

One of the effects of chemotherapy I find, is a feeling of general weakness. This probably explains both the infrequency, and brevity of my posts over the last 3 of so months. Add in the time the cancer took to develop and manifest, and we are back quite a ways. A writer, any writer, needs to feel well. During the time I was ill, America has changed as the primary and caucus season has played out.

There is a well known albeit perhaps fictional story of the day the Founders announced the proposed new Constitution of the United States. A lady in the crowd is said to have asked Ben Franklin, "What sort of government have you given us, a monarchy, a confederation?" Franklin is said to have replied, "A republic madam, if you can keep it." A true story or not, it is apt, and Franklin seems to have told it himself in later years.

Lincoln at Gettysburg, framed the issue this way. "Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived, and so dedicated, can long endure.1" Keeping a republic is neither simple task nor one with assured success.

Republics can be lost. Republics have enemies.

There are reasons why republics have enemies. Republics have citizens: period. When a republic has a set of citizens who stand above or outside its equality, the society seeks to correct the situation, sometimes violently. So we have the Terror in France, the many European revolutions of 1848, the American Civil War, and the Revolutions of what became the Soviet Union. Sometimes the republic fails, as it did in Germany and the Soviet Union. As the fate of the "Third Reich" shows, such losses can be fleeting. There is in the story of Germany a cautionary tale for Mr. Putin.

Enemies of republics have to offer an alternative vision of the world. One is the great man fraud. The Romans lost their republic because they fell into the idea of the Counsel / Dictator. This was great man who could in time of great need dictate outcomes and rule, temporarily. When the Republic ran into a man named Caesar and named him Counsel, its life was over. When Germany decided it needed a Fuhrer, destruction and fire were its fate. But none-the-less, the idea of the great man persists. It is especially persistent among those who think they because of some trait, should be the upper class and are clearly not.

Beginning in Iowa, we Americans have been in the process of selecting a new president. At its best, when the selection process is working as a part of the republic, the contests are between competing visions of how government should be focused. A republic in fact requires competition between ideas, what a former president famously once called, "the vision thing." It is precisely in what Jefferson called, after the French, "the marketplace of ideas."

On one side, the democrats, that has been a description of the contest. As the race has progressed, Mrs. Clinton, who has won, has moved towards the progressive side of the street, as the marketplace has worked its function. While Sen. Sanders for whom I voted, did not win, his ideas have changed the focus and raised serious issues.

The other major party has been engaged not in a contest of ideas and visions, but in a sorting process. The question not what the vision is, but rather who was the great leader. Somehow, and no I do not understand how, Mr. Trump blustered and bullied himself through the sorting. The GOP is much too fractured to offer a vision of the future. "Repeal Obama-care" is neither a vision nor a program. Mr. Trump's horrible wall idea is not either.

We face the coming conventions knowing the outcomes. The main interest in the conventions will be how progressive the Sanders effect will drive the Democrat platform on the one hand, and what of Mr. Trump's ideas (consider the "wall") will be in the Republican platform.

After the conventions, here is what I think will happen. Consider before you count on this however, that as a predictor, I thought Mr. Trump would be gone before my cancer. In any event, I think Mr. Trump will have something of a tough time finding a vice-presidential, "running mate." I think he will cap out at about 40% of the electorate, with some very odd looking polls. This because I think those who have bought into the great leader idea will project onto him their own ideas. I expect Mr. Trump's support to be shallow, much broader than deep. At the end of the day, I think Mrs. Clinton will win.

I hope this set of projections is closer than my repeated expectation that Republican voters might come to their senses. If we fall into the false hope of the great leader, the republic Franklin gave us to keep will be in grave danger.

**************
1 The Gettysburg Address, A. Lincoln
St Laika's

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