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How Did I Miss That? Trump Piñata; Football Strikes Again

My Republican cousin Ray Sixkiller thought The Donald Trump had plumbed the depths of stupid and mean back when he threw in with the birthers, but Trump dived deeper with this tweet directed at Jeb Bush: “Jeb has to like the Mexican illegals because of his wife.”

Jeb Bush put himself on the political firing line, but Columba Garnica de Gallo Bush has been as non-political as political wives come. Whatever you think of the Bush political dynasty, Jeb’s love at first sight experience while on a high school exchange program to León, Mexico, is the stuff of legend. The story has been embellished over the years, but Jeb’s command of Spanish was no doubt hurried along by being smitten at 17 with a lady who spoke very little English.

The Donald’s swing at Columba Bush befits a bullying blowhard, candidate space already occupied by a bullying blowhard from New Jersey.

Trump hopes Francisco Sanchez, 45, will play the part Willie Horton (who was conveniently both criminal and black) played in the 1988 election, when a political consultant for the first President Bush said, “By the time we're finished, they're going to wonder whether Willie Horton is (Michael) Dukakis' running mate.”

According to Fox News, Sanchez is an undocumented Mexican who has seven felony convictions and has been deported five times. Sanchez allegedly shot Kathryn Steinle dead as she walked on San Francisco’s Pier 14. Sanchez, no more tethered to reality than Trump, claimed he thought he was shooting at sea lions. Later, Sanchez claimed he “found” the pistol and it went off accidentally.

Trump’s political whacking of Mexicans has made the Trump hair the newest challenge for makers of the piñatas ordinary Mexicans buy for children’s birthday parties. The Donald seems innocent of how many registered U.S. voters also buy piñatas, a custom as quaint as the one that says you don’t strike at a man though his wife.

Striking at women continues at Florida State University, which claims to field the “Seminoles.” FSU has encouraged a culture of permissiveness for football gods, of whom Jamesis Winston was the last avatar. And last year’s number one NFL draft pick after FSU fumbled rape allegations against him.

Comes now the next football god, freshman quarterback De’Andre Johnson, punching a woman fist to face. FSU uncharacteristically suspended Johnson on the news he punched a woman and cut him from the team when video surfaced.

Through his lawyer, Johnson took responsibility, sort of. His position was she was drunk, she hit him first, but he should still not have punched her in the face.

CNN described the video of the argument: “She raises a fist…. He grabs her arm. She attempts to hit him. He punches her in the face.” Johnson claims she yelled the N word. Witnesses heard “No!”

Cousin Ray said the video “looked like NFL highlights from last year.”

Columba Bush, Ray pointed out helpfully, spent part of her time as First Lady of Florida working with the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence. “Maybe she could advise FSU football?”

A candidate less colorful than The Donald, former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb, made a belated entry into the Hillary Clinton, er, Democratic Primary for POTUS. The peculiar timing gives him more time before he has to disclose how much money he’s raised. His decision to make a classic “Friday news dump” on a holiday weekend is less understandable coming from a candidate with very little name ID.

Webb is a good man, but his political stomping grounds are substantially to the right of the Democratic base, except in foreign policy. Like President Obama, he was vocally opposed to the second Iraq war when then-senator Clinton was voting in favor.

Webb’s greatest accomplishment in his one Senate term was the new GI Bill for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, a vast improvement over the Vietnam version. Webb brought it home over the covert and sometimes overt opposition of the Bush administration and the eventual GOP presidential nominee, John McCain.

A graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, Webb earned a Silver Star, Two Bronze Stars, two Purple Hearts, and a medical retirement from the Marine Corps in Vietnam. He married a Vietnamese-American and speaks Vietnamese. He’s written 10 books and won an Emmy for TV journalism. Webb served as Secretary of the Navy under President Reagan.

“Just like Obama,” Cousin Ray chuckled, “a chronic underachiever.”

The good news is that The Guardian recognized the unexpected fire in Bernie Sanders’s campaign to deny the Democratic nomination to the heiress-apparent. While it recognized that his crowds and numbers of small donors are shattering records set by Barack Obama’s first campaign, the bad news is The Guardian referred to the Vermont senator as an “unkempt septuagenarian socialist.”

Cousin Ray wanted to know if the same publication would refer to Sanders’s primary opponent as a “post-menopausal capitalist frump?” I can only add if not, why not?

The plot of Jaws played out over the Independence Day weekend when some prudent voices called upon North and South Carolina to close the beaches after the 25th shark attack this year and the seventh in three weeks in the Carolinas. No beaches were closed for the spendingist tourist weekend of the year. Sure enough, the eighth shark attack happened in Surf City, North Carolina. ��Proving,” Cousin Ray speculated, “the tourists were not spending all that money to pay off the sharks?”

I was very pleased to hear that Piyush “Bobby” Jindal, GOP Governor of Louisiana and presidential candidate, is not a lawyer---lessening concern that he seems to have turned the legal system upside down. On June 24, the U.S. Supreme Court legalized gay marriage, leading Jindal to suggest, “If we want to save some money, let’s just get rid of the court.”

After Jindal quit frothing at the mouth, he announced that he wanted a court to order Louisiana directly. On July 1, the Fifth Circuit declared Louisiana’s gay marriage ban unconstitutional (duh).

Regaining consciousness, Jindal released a statement saying he would wait for a ruling from U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman of the Eastern District of Louisiana. The next day, Judge Feldman ruled that he had to follow the Fifth Circuit and the SCOTUS (duh).

“There is no truth to the rumor,” Cousin Ray claimed, “that Jindal is waiting for a ruling from the Catahalackadawitee Parish Justice of the Peace.”

Novelist Barbara Kingsolver, who grew up in Kentucky and currently lives in Virginia, published an essay on how symbols of the South have been appropriated by white supremacists and concluded they’ve won the tug of war over the meaning. Claiming the South is no longer a hotbed of xenophobia, she reported her favorite southern themed bumper sticker: “Namaste, y’all.”

When I write about “the South,” I normally mean the former Confederate states that lag behind the rest of the country in everything but guns and Jesus and abhor federal taxes even though they get back more than they pay in. There’s a way to know where you are without the history. If anybody uses the plural possessive of “y’all,” you know you are in the South.

“I can tell you’re not a true son of the South,” Cousin Ray taunted. “The proper way to ask about location is, ‘Where are you at?’”

Reminds me of the good ol’ boy who got hisself admitted to Harvard.” Wandering around on the Quad, he stopped a local and asked, “Can you tell me where the Dean’s office is at?”

“If you expect to be graduated from Harvard, you have to learn not to end a sentence with a preposition.”

“Oh. Can you tell me where the Dean’s office is at, asshole?”

Cherokee Nation elections are lurching though the usual post-election recounts and litigation and too much badmouthing of the winners. The incumbent Principal Chief, Bill John Baker, raised and spent more money than the other candidates combined and got reelected without a runoff. Some of us thought former Chief Chad Smith would trail into a runoff but nobody thought he would win. This time, it appeared he didn’t even get close enough to file a lawsuit.

But Chad Smith has filed a lawsuit, complaining of things that a recount can’t fix.

He wants Bill John Baker disqualified for violation of Cherokee campaign finance and reporting laws. If his facts are correct, there’s a violation but disqualification is not required, just allowed.

Smith points out correctly that the Cherokee Attorney General is acting as if his client were Chief Baker rather than the Cherokee people. That’s as bad as it is par for the cronyism course, and pretty much the same as was likely in the Smith Administration. Pot, meet kettle.

His other reason for spending the money for a do-over is a blanket allegation of failure to properly ID voters. Back when I voted in Delaware County rather than “at large,” whether I would get carded depended on who was working that day. Do I have to point out that rural peoples tend to know each other? Or that I voted in Delaware County when Smith was Chief? Pot, meet kettle again.

The normal rule of election law is that to get a do-over you have to show that irregularities were pervasive enough to have affected the outcome. A blanket allegation with no numbers attached won’t get it, and the allegation has to be not just that IDs were not checked but that improper votes resulted. You would have to show that to get a new election even in the Tribal Council race between Bill Pearson and Keith Austin.

Pearson beat Austin by one vote! A few Cherokees begrudged Austin his recount, but very few. After the recount, Pearson’s lead had become six votes, according to the Cherokee Phoenix.

Keith Austin did not announce whether he would sue to set aside the certified results, but he did email the Phoenix his thanks to the Cherokee Election Commission and commented, “They have the impossible job of determining a certifiable winner in a race that could not be closer.” 

He lost me there. A close call is not “impossible” but I confess to loving it when elections turn on one vote, as some do in federal, state, or tribal contests every election year. Those one-vote margins are useful for confronting people who justify being too lazy to vote by claiming “one vote doesn’t matter.”

I invited Cousin Ray to comment but all he could offer was a very old joke.

“How do you tell when the Cherokee polls are closed?

“Chad Smith has filed his lawsuit.”

Author’s Note: Since this column was turned in, the Cherokee Supreme Court pitched out Chad Smith’s lawsuit. Keith Austin did file a different kind of lawsuit specifically complaining of particular unlawful votes, enough votes to change the outcome. The Cherokee Supreme Court ordered a new election in the Tribal Council race between Keith Austin and Bill Pearson. At press time, the Court had not published written opinions in either case.