Women running in Ohio election

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Staff & Wire Reports

Democrat Rachel Crooks talks with undecided voter Peggy Whiley, 62, in Clyde, Ohio, on Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018. Crooks, who during the 2016 election accused Donald Trump of sexually harassing her more than a decade ago, is a first-time candidate trying to win a seat in Ohio's legislature. Trump has denied her accusations. (AP Photo/Angie Wang)

Democrat Rachel Crooks talks with undecided voter Peggy Whiley, 62, in Clyde, Ohio, on Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018. Crooks, who during the 2016 election accused Donald Trump of sexually harassing her more than a decade ago, is a first-time candidate trying to win a seat in Ohio's legislature. Trump has denied her accusations. (AP Photo/Angie Wang)

Trump accuser’s election bid is about more than #MeToo


Associated Press

Thursday, November 1

CLYDE, Ohio (AP) — It didn’t take Bonnie Mock more than a minute to begin telling the woman asking for her vote just how fed up she is with President Donald Trump.

“First of all, there’s the way he treats women,” she said.

What she didn’t realize is that Rachel Crooks — standing on her front porch as a first-time candidate for a seat in Ohio’s Legislature — is one of more than a dozen women who came forward during the 2016 campaign to accuse Trump of sexual misconduct.

Most people Crooks meets while campaigning don’t know about that part of her past, and she rarely brings it up. This is how a candidate born out of #MeToo tries to strike a balance in a conservative-leaning district, by sticking to issues such as health care and education funding.

“I’m proud to say I’m a female candidate and I would be the first woman to represent our area, but we don’t go door-to-door talking about the #MeToo movement,” said Crooks.

“I don’t necessarily want to thrust my agenda or my opinions on other people. I want to hear from you first. That’s how I perceive politics should be,” she said.

Crooks, 35, is among a record number of women running for office across the nation, including some first-time candidates motivated by the 2016 election.

Democrats recruited Crooks to run a year after her accusations against Trump surfaced a month before he won the presidency. The former Trump Tower receptionist said she was 22 when she introduced herself to him in 2006 and that he kissed her “directly on the mouth” against her will.

Trump has denied her claims more than once, tweeting in February he didn’t know her. “Never happened! Who would do this in a public space with live security.”

Crooks, who works for a small university in Ohio recruiting international students, first thought the idea of entering politics was crazy.

She worried about putting her life on hold. She wondered if others would again question her motives for telling her story about Trump.

“I could have very much not said another word, but the fact is I had been given this voice,” she said. “And what I did with it was up to me.”

Her campaign has struck a chord with women and Democrats. She’s pulled in a surprising number of donations from every state, the majority in small amounts.

Crooks readily admits she’s in an uphill battle, trying to win in a rural area of Ohio southeast of Toledo that Democrats last held in 1994. But the party thinks she has a shot in what it considers a swing district. Trump easily won the counties within the district in 2016.

Her opponent, Republican Bill Reineke, is seeking a third term and has a name most people know because he and his family own a string of car dealerships in the area.

His campaign didn’t respond to several messages seeking comment about the race. Reineke did say in a statement this year — after Crooks announced her plans to run — that sexual harassment has no place in society and victims deserve to be heard.

“This campaign is not about the individuals running; it’s about the people they would ultimately represent,” he said.

Crooks said when she’s canvassing the small towns that make up Ohio’s 88th House district most people want to talk about health care costs, a lack of high-wage jobs and a controversial wind turbine project in the area.

The president often comes up too. But she doesn’t think she’s being inauthentic by not bringing up her #MeToo moment. “It’s understanding your audience and what issues are a concern to people,” she said.

Several of her tweets and fundraising pitches do mention it though.

“I’m not afraid to speak up for what’s right even when it’s against one of the most powerful men in the world,” she said in one tweet.

A fundraising email sent in mid-October noted it had been two years since she told her story.

Crooks, who grew up in the area she wants to represent, isn’t entirely new to campaigning. She knocked on doors while volunteering for Barack Obama’s two presidential runs and got used to being yelled at and having doors slammed in her face.

She’s fine that most people don’t remember or haven’t heard about her accusations. She said she’s encountered only a few unpleasant comments.

“There’s not a whole lot of people who are just downright rude and nasty, but there have been some,” she said.

One woman, she said, told her just a few weeks ago that “I know who you are” and then started complaining about “all those women who don’t have any evidence.”

“I don’t know that I’ll ever sway that person,” Crooks said.

For AP’s complete coverage of the U.S. midterm elections: http://apne.ws/APPolitics


Ad Contradicts Endorsements from Police, Fire, and Teachers Organizations

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Republican Senate Campaign Committee (RSCC), in a desperate effort to save Andrew Brenner’s lackluster campaign for Ohio Senate District 19, has released a deceptive campaign ad that implies support from organizations who have endorsed Brenner’s opponent Louise Valentine.

The ad states that “A leader in Central Ohio’s growing economy, Andrew Brenner is backed by law enforcement, teachers, business and labor leaders.” Louise Valentine, Democratic candidate for Ohio Senate 19 has been endorsed by the Fraternal Order of Police, International Association of Professional Fire Fighters, the Ohio Education Association, and the Ohio Federation of Teachers.

The implication that Brenner has the support of police and teachers is an insult to those organizations and the hardworking Ohioans who trust them to keep our communities strong.

“I am proud to have the support of Ohio’s police, firefighters, and teachers. Andrew Brenner has failed to combat the opioid epidemic, failed to keep firefighters safe, and failed to support our local schools. In trying to trick the voters into thinking he has the support of these organizations, Brenner has insulted these incredible Ohioans who serve our communities. Andrew Brenner should be ashamed of himself” said Valentine.

The deceptive ad campaign also features a claim that Valentine has taken money from drug companies and their PACs. This is simply false, as one can see in the Secretary of State campaign finance filings.

“Once again, Andrew Brenner is lying and cheating his way around his own record. The voters will not stand for it” said Valentine.


COLUMBUS, Ohio — The latest ad released by the RSCC in support of Andrew Brenner is riddled with so many lies and misrepresentations that it could win an award for best 30-second fantasy.

The voice-over reads:

“Health insurance costs — up nearly 130% in 5 years.

And Louise Valentine is part of the problem.

Valentine’s state Senate campaign is bankrolled by groups who put drug companies and profits ahead of us.

Andrew Brenner will stand up to the drug companies and makehealthcare more affordable.

A leader in Central Ohio’s growing economy, Andrew Brenner is backed by law enforcement, teachers, business and labor leaders.

Andrew Brenner for State Senate.

(Paid for by RSCC)”

FACT CHECK ONE: Louise Valentine has not accepted any money from drug companies.

Claims that she has are simply false, as one can see in the Secretary of State campaign finance filings.

FACT CHECK TWO: Andrew Brenner’s record on healthcare is abysmal.

Andrew Brenner cosponsored HCR 6, a resolution urging Congress to repeal the ACA and with it all the protections for people with preexisting conditions.

Andrew Brenner voted against Medicaid expansion, which gave access to healthcare to 700,000 Ohioans and saved Ohio taxpayers billions of dollars.

Andrew Brenner voted to block an amendment that would have given $200 million to fight the opiate crisis, instead choosing to use the money to give tax cuts to the wealthy.

FACT CHECK THREE: Andrew Brenner is opposed to organized labor.

Andrew Brenner voted to cut Ohio’s Local Government Fund, which has stripped resources from local governments, including police, fire, schools, and infrastructure needs.

Andrew Brenner voted for Senate Bill 5 and is in favor of Right to Work.

Andrew Brenner took $27,500 from ECOT’s CEO Bill Lager while ECOT took $1 billion from Ohio and stole hundreds of millions directly from local school districts.

FACT CHECK FOUR: Only Louise Valentine is endorsed by the Fraternal Order of Police, the Ohio Education Association, and the Ohio Federation of Teachers, in addition to nearly every other labor union in the state.

“If there were Academy Awards for most-imaginative political ads, this one would be a contender. Nothing in it bears any resemblance to truth, and is just a last ditch effort to try to save Andrew Brenner’s lackluster campaign,” said Alexis Miller, spokesperson for the Ohio Senate Democrats. “Louise Valentine will actually tell the truth to the people she wants to represent while Brenner is obviously not above pandering to get ahead.”

This ad is another in a long line of dubious claims being made by Republicans running for office in an attempt to deflect from terrible records on healthcare. The Republican controlled U.S. Congress voted more than 50 times to repeal the ACA. Republican candidate for Governor Mike DeWine opposed the ACA and Medicaid expansion for years until running for higher office in July of this year. Republican Secretary of State candidate Frank LaRose implies in a campaign ad that his opponent Kathleen Clyde opposes coverage for preexisting conditions, which the Columbus Dispatch called “the most ridiculous claim in the ad.”

Important Information about the November 6 Election

With Tuesday’s General Election just days away, here are a few helpful reminders to share with your readers, viewers, and listeners this weekend.

Voters can cast an absentee ballot in person from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, November 3; 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, November 4; and 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on Monday, November 5.

Voters have until noon on Saturday, November 3, to get their request for an absentee ballot by mail to their county board of elections.

Completed absentee ballots may be returned by mail or in person.

If returning by mail: Must be postmarked by Monday, November 5, and arrive at the board of elections’ office within 10 days of Election Day in order to be eligible to be counted.

If returning in person: Must be dropped off at the county board of elections by the close of polls on Election Day. Voters may not return their absentee ballot at a polling location. A completed ballot may be returned by a family member.

Election Day is Tuesday, November 6. Polls will be open from 6:30 a.m. until 7:30 p.m. Voters can visit MyOhioVote.com to find their polling place, view a sample ballot, and get a list of acceptable forms of ID to cast a ballot.

The Secretary of State’s office will provide live, unofficial results throughout the evening after the polls close at https://vote.ohio.gov/.

Board again sidelines Kasich’s order on Lake Erie algae


Associated Press

Thursday, November 1

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) — A state panel again Thursday delayed implementation of Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s plan to create new regulations on thousands of farms in a bid to reduce fertilizer and manure feeding Lake Erie’s sometimes toxic algae blooms.

The decision by the Ohio Soil and Water Conservation Commission came amid concerns over how the regulations would be put in place and amid pushback from the agriculture industry.

The delay is a blow to Kasich’s attempt at taking a more aggressive approach against the persistent algae blooms before he leaves office at year’s end.

By a 4-3 vote, the commission opted to wait on approving the plan until at least February to allow more time to establish rules overseeing the changes.

“Clearly it is going to take other avenues and other measures to achieve the protections we need, and we urge everyone who cares about water quality in Ohio and in the Great Lakes to come together to save the lake before it’s too late,” said Kasich spokesman Jon Keeling.

Kasich issued an executive order in July that called for issuing “distressed watershed” designations for eight creeks and rivers in northwestern Ohio. Those are the source of large amounts of phosphorus-rich fertilizer and manure.

The designations would require the owners of 7,000 farms across nearly 2 million acres to evaluate their land and make changes — some that could be costly and force farmers to buy expensive machinery that injects fertilizer into the ground or build storage for livestock manure.

But the plan needs the soil and water commission’s approval.

Some of its members said Thursday that they know the matter needs addressing, but warned there are too many unknowns about the governor’s proposal and how much it will cost.

Members of Kasich’s administration urged the commission not to delay. It already had delayed immediate action in July by calling for a study of the issue after farmers and some legislative Republicans raised concerns.

Ohio Environmental Protection Agency Director Craig Butler said research clearly shows that the eight areas targeted by the governor are the biggest contributors to the phosphorus that fuels the algae.

“Do not play politics with this issue,” he told the commission.

For more than a decade, algae blooms on the lake’s western end have been the cause of tainted drinking water, fish kills and beach closures. An outbreak in 2014 contaminated the tap water for two days for more than 400,000 people around Toledo.

The Conversation

New findings on ocean warming: 5 questions answered

November 2, 2018

Author: Scott Denning, Professor of Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University

Disclosure statement: Scott Denning receives or has received funding from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, US Department of Energy, National Science Foundation and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Partners: Colorado State University provides funding as a member of The Conversation US.

Editor’s note: A new study by scientists in the United States, China, France and Germany estimates that the world’s oceans have absorbed much more excess heat from human-induced climate change than researchers had estimated up to now. This finding suggests that global warming may be even more advanced than previously thought. Atmospheric scientist Scott Denning explains how the new report arrived at this result and what it implies about the pace of climate change.

How do scientists measure ocean temperature and estimate how climate change is affecting it?

They use thermometers attached to thousands of bobbing robots floating at controlled depths throughout the oceans. This system of “Argo floats” was launched in the year 2000 and there are now about 4,000 of the floating instruments.

About once every 10 days, they cycle from the surface to a depth of 6,500 feet, then bob back up to the surface to transmit their data by satellite. Each year this network collects about 100,000 measurements of the three-dimensional temperature distribution of the oceans.

The Argo measurements show that about 93 percent of the global warming caused by burning carbon for fuel is felt as changes in ocean temperature, while only a very small amount of this warming occurs in the air.

How dramatically do the findings in this study differ from levels of ocean warming that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has reported?

The new study finds that since 1991, the oceans have warmed about 60 percent faster than the average rate of warming estimated by studies summarized by the IPCC, which are based on data from Argo floats. This is a big deal.

Most of the difference comes from the earliest part of this period, before there were enough Argo floats in the oceans to properly represent the three-dimensional distribution of global water temperatures. The new data are complete all the way back to 1991, but the Argo data were really sparse until the mid-2000s.

The implication of faster ocean warming is that the effect of carbon dioxide on global warming is greater than we’d thought. We already knew that adding CO2 to the air was warming the world very rapidly. And the IPCC just warned in a special report that limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels – a target that would avert many extreme impacts on humans and ecosystems – would require quickly reducing and eventually eliminating coal, oil and gas from the world energy supply. This study doesn’t change any of that, but it means we will need to eliminate fossil fuels even faster.

What did these researchers do differently to arrive at a higher number?

They have measured tiny changes since 1991 in the concentrations of a few gases in the air – oxygen, nitrogen and carbon dioxide – with incredibly high precision. This is really hard to do, because the changes are extremely small compared to the large amounts already in the air.

Some of these gases from the air dissolve into the oceans. The water’s temperature dictates how much it can absorb. As water warms, the amount of a gas that can dissolve in it decreases – that’s why a soda or beer left open on the kitchen table goes flat. That same temperature dependence allowed the scientists to calculate total changes in global ocean heat content from 1991 to now, just using very precise measurements of the air itself.

If this study is accurate, what does it suggest we should expect in the way of major climate change impacts in the coming decades?

This study did not address climate impacts, but they are already well known. As the world warms, more water vapor evaporates from both oceans and land. This means that when big storms develop, there’s more water vapor in the air for them to “work with,” which will produce more extreme rain and snow and resulting winds.

Greater warming will mean increased water demand for crops and forests and pastures, more stress on irrigation and urban water supplies, and reduced food production. More water demand means more forest fires and smoke, shorter winters with less mountain snowpack, and increased stress on ecosystems, cities and the world economy. Because of these effects, nearly every government in the world has committed to rapid emissions cuts to limit global warming.

What this study suggests is that the climate is more sensitive to greenhouse gases than we previously thought. This means that in order to avoid the worst consequences of climate change, emissions will need to be cut faster and deeper.

Climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe explains the consequences of two degrees of warming above pre-industrial levels.

How will we know whether these findings hold up?

There are other groups making precise gas measurements, and many of them have data going back to the 1990s. Others will repeat the analyses made by these authors and check their results. There will also be careful work to reconcile the increased warming rate of the oceans with the Argo temperature data, the surface air temperature record, atmospheric data from balloons and measurements made from satellites. The real world must be consistent with all of the observations taken together, not just a subset.

This study very cleverly used data from the composition of the air itself going back nearly 30 years. We didn’t have Argo floats back then, but air samples are still available that can be analyzed decades later. Using a longer record of warming is much better for estimating the rate, because it’s less sensitive to year-to-year variations than a shorter record.

These scientists have given us a new and independent way to assess the sensitivity of long-term global warming to changes in atmospheric CO2 levels. I expect the findings will indeed hold up, and that we will be hearing a lot more about this new method in the future.


Jon Richfield, logged in via Facebook: This article leaves me wondering how deeply on average the warming penetrates, and how widely it varies across the planet.

In fact, it leaves me with a lot of questions that I can no more than speculate on, both for the near and far future.

The Conversation

One way to reduce food waste: Use it to make soil healthier

November 2, 2018


Matthew Wallenstein

Professor and Department Head, Colorado State University

Cynthia Kallenbach

Assistant Professor of Natural Resource Sciences, McGill University

Peter Olayemi

Ph.D. Candidate, Colorado State University

Disclosure statement: Matthew Wallenstein is a co-founder and owner of Growcentia, Inc. Growcentia develops and sells biological technologies that enhance crop growth and solve grower challenges. Cynthia Kallenbach and Peter Olayemi do not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and have disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

Partners: Colorado State University provides funding as a member of The Conversation US.

Imagine that one-third of cars manufactured by Ford or GM were never even driven once, but instead were left to rust and ended up in landfills. This exact situation is true today in agriculture, where up to 40 percent of food produced every year in the United States is never eaten.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the United States generates over 39 million tons of food waste yearly. Strawberries rot on the vine for lack of labor to pick them. Food spoils during transport, at the grocery store or in our homes. More is lost during processing, due to inefficiencies and lack of markets for byproducts.

Food waste contains valuable nutrients that can make soil healthier and more productive. Our research group at Colorado State University is working with Leprino Foods, a global supplier of dairy products, to explore the potential for transforming lactose – the natural sugar in milk – into a resource that can enhance agricultural sustainability.

Food is wasted in the United States at every point along the supply chain from farm to store to table.

Helping soil hold moisture

Manufacturing dairy products generates large amounts of leftover natural materials, including lactose. Currently the dominant market for lactose is for baby formula, but companies like Leprino produce more lactose than the formula market demands. Rather than sending the rest to landfills, they partnered with our team at Colorado State University to explore potential agricultural uses for it.

Leprino approached us after observing dramatic effects in a simple study. They noticed that potted plants treated with lactobionate – a mineral-stabilized solution – were much more tolerant of water stress. They provided us with a research grant to further explore the potential benefits of lactobionate for agriculture.

Lactobionate has unique chemical properties: It holds water in the soil and is rich in energy (sugar). We speculated that it could turn soils into sponges, soaking up water and keeping it in the crop rooting zone where plants could draw it up readily.

One key condition for feeding a growing global population is efficient use of water. Especially as climate conditions become more variable and humans deplete aquifers, it is essential to get more crop per drop. Soils’ ability to absorb rainfall and irrigation water and store it in the plant rooting zone is key to smart water use.

Soil water retention can be improved through practices like no-till farming and planting cover crops, and soil texture can be improved by adding compost or manure. There also are some commercial products, including gels that enhance soil moisture retention. But for many farmers these options are too expensive and using them is impractical. For example, large feedlots (which are manure sources) tend to be concentrated in a few high-production areas, and manure is expensive to transport.

Many other scientists and companies are exploring opportunities to put food waste to work. One challenge is that most food waste streams contain complex mixtures of different types of waste that vary over time, and it can be difficult to create a consistent product. In contrast, lactobionate is chemically simple and can be produced consistently in large volumes.

Climate change is making the U.S. Southwest and southern Great Plains hotter and drier, so farmers will have to operate using less water.

Microbial feeding frenzy

To see whether lactobionate could improve soil water retention, we tested it on drought-prone agricultural soils in a lab experiment. The results were dramatic. Two weeks after adding lactobionate, we saw a seven-fold increase in soil moisture content. Even after two months, the soils still registered a three-fold increase. For plants, this translates to a 40 percent increase in water availability.

We initially thought any benefits from adding lactobionate would be short-lived because soil microbes might quickly break down and consume it. And indeed, microbial populations in the soil exploded after lactobionate additions. However, we found that improvements in soil water retention persisted. We think this could be because as microbes gorge on lactobionate, they quickly die and are rapidly transformed into soil organic matter – a spongy material that is key to soil health and water retention.

Indeed, we found that even though microbes were consuming lactobionate, levels of soil carbon – the main component of soil organic matter – were almost twice as high in soils treated with lactobionate compared to untreated soils. This result adds to a growing body of evidence that we can restore our soils by feeding the microbes.

Banking soil nutrients

Although it appears that feeding lactobionate to microbes makes soil healthier, it is still possible that treating soils with this kind of carbon-rich material could backfire for agriculture. Microbial bodies contain molecules like proteins, fats and nucleic acids, which are made up of carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus and other elements. In order to increase their populations, microbes need to balance abundant carbon with other elements. As a result, they compete with plants for these essential nutrients.

This means that carbon additions to agricultural soils could actually reduce crop yields by decreasing nutrient availability – at least, temporarily. If microbes take up nutrients during periods of low plant demand, when plants are small, they might actually help retain nutrients from fertilizer on the farm. This would be an important benefit, since applied nutrients often wash off of farm fields when it rains, fueling nutrient pollution in rivers and lakes.

When those microbes die later in the season, nutrients could become available to plants when they need them. In effect, microbial bodies could serve as “batteries” for nutrients, storing them safely in the soil until plants can use them for growth.

While lactobionate showed great promise in the lab, it needs to be proven in the field. We have tested it on winter wheat and corn in field trials in Colorado. Early results suggest that at economically practical application rates, the lactobionate is used by natural microbes and thus may support soil health.

Next we need to test lactobionate in regions like California, where water is a scarce resource and soil water retention could be improved. Ultimately, it will become a viable option only if we can show that using it provides a clear economic benefit to farmers.

Diverting food byproducts back to the farm, where they can help retain water and nutrients, is a way to make our food system more efficient. Innovations like this could lead to a circular economy that minimizes waste and optimizes our use of scarce natural resources.

Richard Merrill, vice president of innovation at Leprino Foods, contributed to this article.


Jon Richfield, logged in via Facebook:

While I have no quarrel with the factual content of this article, I find it extremely unlikely that no better use for dairy wastes could be found, say in animal feeds, whether fermented to produce more valuable feeds or upgrade silage, or not.

I fully support the idea of increasing soil organic matter, but there should be no shortage of alternative sources, whether as green manure, chemically or biologically degraded plant material, or inedible organic wastes. Even some classes of plastic waste might be worth preparing for similar purposes.

We used to call such stuff compost.

It used to work.

Opinion: U.S. Under Attack From Within

By Donald Kirk


WASHINGTON — The news reports on the radio sound like shots from a war zone. Someone killed in a shooting in a high school. A police officer killed by someone he was chasing. A civilian killed by a police officer.

Then come the much greater tragedies, killings of three or four or five or six at a time, shootings at schools, finally the slaughter of 11 worshipers at a Jewish synagogue in Pittsburgh. That was enough to drive off the front pages the story of the nut who sent out bombs from his home in Florida to CNN and liberal politicos. Not to worry; his bombs, after all, never exploded. Forget him.

You wonder, though, after hearing this incessant drumbeat of violence, death and destruction, what kind of country you’re living in. Koreans should consider themselves blessed. They live in a land of relative law and order, where the streets are pretty safe and you don’t really worry about being out late on a dark and stormy night.

Oh, that’s right. South Koreans still have to worry about the North Koreans, Kim Jong-un’s nuclear arsenal and those tens of thousands of hungry soldiers armed to the teeth with thousands of cannon north of the demilitarized zone. Still, no one thinks Kim would order an attack while hopes are high for peace and reconciliation in an era of dialogue.

The United States, though, is already under attack — from the forces within, from the epidemic of opioids and other drugs, from the fear not just of isolated crazy people but of crazy leaders, from thugs in high places, from politicos hell-bent on destroying their rivals. Trump may not be so bad as a phalanx of hostile columnists make him out to be every day, but he hasn’t helped by praising idiots for beating up other idiots at political rallies.

Oh, that reminds me. On Tuesday, Americans go to the polls to vote for 35 senators for six-year terms in the upper house of the American Congress and to cast their ballots for two-year terms candidates for 435 seats in the lower House of Representatives. Trump is campaigning in a spirit of desperation as if he himself were up for election, not just all the people who must be elected to keep him from getting impeached.

One platform Trump is not standing on: demands for outlawing automatic weapons, to be able to check to see who’s using them, at what age, where such weapons are sold, why someone wants to buy one. In fact, in a moment of sheer stupidity, Trump suggested the Pittsburgh massacre would not have happened if the synagogue had had an armed guard.

Good luck with that argument! The trouble, as everyone knows, is that the all-powerful National Rifle Association is a major donor and friend of Trump and the Republican Party. Not even another slaughter will persuade the NRA of the need to temper the unlimited power of a member to fire away at targets real or imagined.

The elections Tuesday are about much more than the power of the NRA, but continuing killing makes that issue timely and compelling. You have to wonder, since no one’s doing a thing to curb the NRA or the right of every adult American to own and shoot a weapon like any soldier on a battlefield, whether Americans, deep in their hearts, actually like to turn on the TV or radio and hear about the latest killing.

Maybe we as a country crave the sharp adrenalin rush of panic, to be followed by maudlin outpourings of empathy, then to be followed by police investigations and trials. Could it be the slaughter appeals to some inner instinct, some unacknowledged desire to see who’s next, what’s the next episode in the drama? That is, of course, if it’s not happening to you.

The Pittsburgh synagogue massacre may not lose any votes for Trump. The shooter may strike liberals and leftists as having been a Trumpkin, the epitome of all that’s wrong, a living reason not to vote for a president who talks up violence and prejudice. OK, but true Trumpkins will no doubt love him, anyway.

After all, he did speak up, did he not? My gun is my voice. My words are deadly. Definitely enough to keep you from changing channels on the TV, to stay tuned to the news on the radio. Is that what Americans want? Maybe Trump has his fingers on the pulse. We’ll have a better idea after Tuesday’s voting.


Donald Kirk has been a columnist for Korea Times, South China Morning Post many other newspaper and magazines. He wrote this for InsideSources.com.

Democrat Rachel Crooks talks with undecided voter Peggy Whiley, 62, in Clyde, Ohio, on Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018. Crooks, who during the 2016 election accused Donald Trump of sexually harassing her more than a decade ago, is a first-time candidate trying to win a seat in Ohio’s legislature. Trump has denied her accusations. (AP Photo/Angie Wang)
https://www.sunburynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/48/2018/11/web1_121698307-391e99202b9d4b34a7f572d05a05df7c.jpgDemocrat Rachel Crooks talks with undecided voter Peggy Whiley, 62, in Clyde, Ohio, on Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018. Crooks, who during the 2016 election accused Donald Trump of sexually harassing her more than a decade ago, is a first-time candidate trying to win a seat in Ohio’s legislature. Trump has denied her accusations. (AP Photo/Angie Wang)
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