Broward Schools Lied to Sen. Rubio About Parkland Shooter’s Record

In the aftermath of the Parkland shooting, as members of the press and government officials were looking into the shooter’s past behavior for any warning signs or red flags, a controversial alternative school program called PROMISE was mentioned numerous times.

PROMISE (Preventing Recidivism through Opportunities, Mentoring, Interventions, Supports & Education) started in Miami-Dade County and was adopted by Broward in 2013. The Obama Department of Education heartily supported the program as part an effort to “stop the school to prison pipeline.” Programs to effectively address juvenile crime and reduce recidivism are necessary and laudable, but the key word here is “effectively.”

By most accounts – and much has been written about the program’s failures over the last six months – PROMISE has not effectively addressed juvenile crime or reduced recidivism. RedState’s Sarah Rumpf authored the most detailed take-down of the program. PROMISE reduced arrests, but it didn’t reduce crime.

Ryan Petty, father of Parkland victim Alaina Petty, has also written about the program’s failures and the District’s overall failures regarding crime on campus and school safety. (The Twitter thread should be read in its entirety.)

Peter Kirsanow, a member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, said the motivation behind PROMISE and similar programs in other districts wasn’t what advocates claimed.

Broward County adopted a lenient disciplinary policy similar to those adopted by many other districts under pressure from the Obama administration to reduce racial “disparities” in suspensions and expulsions. . . . In many of these districts, the drive to “get our numbers right” has produced disastrous results, with startling increases in both the number and severity of disciplinary offenses, including assaults and beatings of teachers and students.

But, back to Sen. Rubio and Broward officials. Rubio was used by Broward officials as a target for the public’s rage in the weeks after the shooting. He was vilified at the CNN town hall, booed, disrespected by a punk kid, and called a murderer. Despite the hate, Rubio sought the truth about what Nikolas Cruz’s past and his interactions with school officials and law enforcement officers in an attempt to see where there were failures and prevent them from occurring again.

And was lied to. Repeatedly. A school district and its officials had zero problem lying to a United States Senator to protect their program.

School officials also repeatedly lied to media outlets, such as WJCT:

“Let me reiterate this point,” Runcie started off during an interview in his office last month. “Nikolas Cruz, the shooter that was involved in this horrific accident at Marjory Stoneman Douglas, had no connection to the PROMISE program.”

To Sunshine State News:

A Broward County Public Schools spokeswoman has since released a statement to SSN, saying “the District has no record of Nikolas Cruz committing a PROMISE-eligible infraction or being assigned the PROMISE while in high school.”

It turns out he was assigned to PROMISE while he was in middle school. Way to mince words.

Two sources with knowledge of Cruz’s discipline records told WLRN he was referred to the so-called PROMISE Program for a three-day stint after committing vandalism at Westglades Middle School in 2013.

When asked for a response, a spokeswoman for Superintendent Robert Runcie stated on Friday that district administrators were aggressively analyzing Cruz’s records. Then Tracy Clark said on Sunday afternoon the district had “confirmed” Cruz’s referral to PROMISE after he vandalized a bathroom at the middle school on Nov. 25, 2013.

However, it’s unclear if Cruz ever attended the program.

Clark said he appeared at Pine Ridge Education Center in Fort Lauderdale — an alternative school facility where PROMISE is housed — for an intake interview the day after the vandalism incident.

But, she said, “It does not appear that Cruz completed the recommended three-day assignment/placement.” She said she did not want to “speculate” as to why.

Now they’re still claiming that Cruz didn’t “attend” the program, so they didn’t lie. He didn’t attend because he didn’t want to, morons. And he faced no consequence for thumbing his nose at a program designed to help him get his life together.

If he had faced the consequence of actually being prosecuted for a crime since he didn’t want to take advantage of a diversion program, he would have had a criminal record and been unable to legally purchase the gun he used to slaughter his classmates. Perhaps Broward better examine the records of every student who’s been referred to PROMISE and see if there are others who have slipped through the cracks and need to be held accountable for their actions.

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Erratic Trump Keeps Aides Guessing and Breaks the Hearts of His Most Faithful

Trump loyalists likely spent an uneasy night, wrestling with their consciences and torn between the fantasy version of Trump-as-conservative-white-knight and the reality of Trump-the-big-government-con-artist.

After a Friday morning tweet, where he announced that he would veto the $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill, he quickly pulled a fast one on the nation and signed it, anyway. He gave Democrats everything they wanted – billions in aid to foreign nations, fully funded Planned Parenthood, and a host of expensive goodies that have nothing to do with making America great again.

If his devotees were honest, they’d openly ask how things would have been different with Hillary Clinton in charge. You know, just get it out in the open. Spit that poison on the ground, breathe some fresh air for the first time in several years, clear their heads, drop that damnable pride, admit they were duped and just let the healing begin.

Yeah, I know. Some are still clinging to the “strategy” life raft. They really do believe Trump rolling over and offering up his throat on this is part of an ingenious plan, and not just capitulation.

He’s got them just where he wants them!

Meanwhile, for those of us not living on Planet Coo-Coo Bird, we’re seeing the chaotic manner of this Trump administration, where he says one thing and does another. He has no principle and he stands on nothing.

A report from the Wall Street Journal on Friday evening pointed out that his aides spent a tense few hours after his tweet, where he said he was considering vetoing the bill.

Only a day before, White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney and Legislative Affairs Director Marc Short were sent out to assure the press that Trump was going to sign the bill.

Vice President Pence echoed that sentiment, boasted about the “down payment” on the southern border wall included in the bill on Thursday, while in New Hampshire.

White House sources told the Journal that Trump has been behaving more erratically with tweets and comments amid administration chaos in recent weeks.

“Never been this wild,” one source told the paper.

The president disputed reports last week that he would fire national security adviser H.R. McMaster, telling advisers the reporters were “total f—ing bullshit,” according to the Journal.

He announced Thursday that he would replace McMaster with former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton.

Then came Trump’s Friday tweet, and within the span of about 4 hours, he changed his mind. Again.

So what brought about the change?

According to the report, it was several things.

For one, there was the insistence that the bill did give “some things” that could be counted as a win, like the increased military spending.

In fact, that’s the bulk of what Trump spoke about during his press conference on Friday. He briefly turned the mic over to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, in order to explain what would be covered.

Then, of course, was the fear that his Mar-a-Lago weekend could potentially be marred by bad press for allowing a government shutdown.

After aides told him that he could face backlash for allowing a government shutdown on a weekend he was scheduled to spend at his Florida resort, Trump responded “F— that,” according to The Wall Street Journal.

All of this may very well be Trump’s emotional reaction to a Mueller probe that seems to be inching closer and closer to him.

Lead attorney for Trump’s Russia investigation legal team, John Dowd, stepped away this week. Rumors are that White House counsel Don McGahn is likewise looking at a potential exit.

Also, only hours after announcing that Joe diGenova would be added to the legal team, some are reporting that may be in jeopardy. DiGenova, according to rumors, looked over the case and determined he was not “the right fit” to defend Trump.

Keep in mind, he was brought in because Trump saw him on Fox News blabbering conspiracy theories about a plot to bring down Trump and help Hillary Clinton.

Bottom line: Trump’s erratic behavior is no longer simply putting the credibility of his staff and defenders at risk. It’s threatening the well-being of the nation, burying us under debt, straining relationships with our allies, and making us appear weak to geopolitical foes.

There is no winning, here.


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BUSTED: Tabloid Interview With Porn Star Spills Details on Affair With Donald Trump

Well, so much for that nondisclosure agreement.

The Daily Beast reported earlier today that In Touch Magazine would feature an interview with porn star Stormy Daniels (real name: Stephanie Clifford), where she described the tawdry details of her fling with Trump.

Sure enough, the magazine hit  your supermarket checkout lines today.

The cover features a large, glossy image of Daniels, with the headline:

“My Affair With Donald.”

It also includes such splashy teasers, as:

“He was sitting on the bed… and we started kissing.”



It’s not like Daniels exactly violated the NDA. The interview is actually from 2011. So while she’s denying it now, and she supposedly took money from Trump’s attorney, Michael Cohen in 2016, it’s all closing the barn door after the horse has already bolted across the pasture.


Some of the revelations from the In Touch article?

Daniels took a polygraph test about the affair and passed before the interview.

The first encounter was in 2006 at Trump’s Lake Tahoe, Nevada hotel. In the 2011 interview, the story was also corroborated by Daniels’ ex-husband, Mike Mos, as well as a good friend, Randy Spears.

Her friend and fellow porn star, Alana Evans, also confirmed knowledge of the affair.

Stormy told In Touch, “[The sex] was textbook generic,” while discussing the fling they had less than four months after Donald’s wife, Melania, gave birth to their son, Barron. “I actually don’t even know why I did it, but I do remember while we were having sex, I was like, ‘Please, don’t try to pay me.’”

You did it because you’ve deadened your soul by peddling your body for money, but that’s a whole other issue.

It all started at the American Century celebrity golf tournament in July 2006. “[Trump] was introduced to everybody. He kept looking at me and then we ended up riding to another hole on the same golf cart together,” Stormy recalled, adding that the business mogul later came to the gift lounge her adult-film company, Wicked Pictures, sponsored and asked for her number, which she gave him, before they posed for a photo together.

“Then he asked me if I wanted to have dinner that night. And I was like, ‘Yeah, of course!’” she told In Touch. Stormy, dressed up to go out on the town, arrived at Trump’s hotel room, where she says she was greeted by a bodyguard named Keith, who let her inside. Stormy claims Trump was sprawled on the couch watching TV, wearing pajama pants. “We ended up having dinner in the room,” she revealed to In Touch.

That would likely be Keith Schiller, Trump’s longtime bodyguard, who recently left the White House to take work in the private sector.

At one point, Stormy told In Touch, she excused herself to go to the bathroom. “When I came out, he was sitting on the bed and he was like, ‘Come here.’ And I was like, ‘Ugh, here we go.’ And we started kissing.” After having sex, Stormy said, “We hung out for a little while and he just kept saying, ‘I’m gonna call you, I’m gonna call you. I have to see you again. You’re amazing. We have to get you on The Apprentice.’”

Daniels claims that the future president pursued her, and that they had several more encounters. One of those happened at his private bungalow at the Beverly Hills Hotel in Los Angeles.

Let me reiterate, for all the Evangelical Trump supporters: This was while his wife, Melania, was home with a 4 month old baby.

For those who will attack this as tabloid nonsense, let’s not forget Trump’s love of THE supermarket tabloid, National Enquirer.

I guess it all depends on if the stories benefit him, or not.



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More Details on Man Who Attacked Senator Rand Paul

The information about Rene’ Boucher, the man responsible for an attack on Kentucky Senator Rand Paul is beginning to trickle in.

For starters, Boucher, like Paul, is a doctor. According to his Facebook page, he served as an anesthesiologist and pain management specialist with the U.S. Army from 1985 to 1993.

He studied Biology and Pre-Med at Providence College, and attended the College of Osteopathic Medicine in Des Moines.

His Facebook page is a long collection of anti-Trump memes and articles, with at least one article on Greg Gianforte, the Republican candidate from the Montana special congressional election who body slammed a reporter.

Other details:

Police have not described the exact circumstances around the assault. A statement from Paul’s office said, “Senator Paul was blindsided and the victim of an assault. The assailant was arrested and it now a matter for the police,” according to the Bowling Green Daily News.

The actual assault happened in Senator Paul’s Bowling Green home on Friday night, but the news is just breaking.

Boucher was charged with one count of fourth degree assault and is being held at the Warren County Detention Center.


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Ed Gillespie Strings Together Poll Momentum in Virginia

I’ve been harsh on Ed Gillespie’s lackluster campaign in Virginia, but improbably enough, this polling shows him behind by much less than before!

In this combination photo, Republican gubernatorial candidate, Ed Gillespie appears at a debate at the University of Virginia-Wise in Wise, Va., Oct. 9, 2016 , left, Libertarian candidate for Virginia governor Cliff Hyra appears during an interview in Richmond, Va., on Sept. 22, 2017 and Democratic gubernatorial candidate, Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam appears during an interview in Richmond, Va., on Sept. 18, 2017. The major party candidates in Virginia’s closely watched race for governor are both promising to improve the state’s health care system. But Gillespie and Northam differ sharply on how to curb costs and increase care. Hyra favors less government intervention in the health care system. (AP Photo/Steve Helber, File)

Republican Ed Gillespie went 6 months without beating Democrat Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam in a poll. Six months is a long time not even to get a freak outlier your way. But in the last two weeks he’s now won three of the last six polls!

That’s a last minute shift. The newest two are The Polling Company at Gillespie +2 and Christopher Newport University at Northam +7.

The poll average still favors Northam, especially since that TPC poll is from a Republican leaning company. But still, Gillespie looks like he has a better chance of winning than he did all this year, which is good timing for him and the Republicans.

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Dolly Parton Distances Herself from Her Co-Star’s Anti-Trump Moment at the Emmys

Country music legend Dolly Parton appeared Monday on Fox and Friends to discuss her new music album for children called “I Believe In You,” when the conversation turned to the infamous moment at the 2017 Emmys when here 9 to 5 co-stars Lilly Tomlin and Jane Fonda took a moment to bash Trump.

“In [9 to 5], we refused to be controlled by a sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot. And in 2017, we still refuse to be controlled by a sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot,” Tomlin and Fonda said with grins on their faces to raucous applause from the glittered audience.

The only one seemingly not enjoying themselves in that moment was Parton herself, whose facial reactions spoke louder than the cheers. Suffice to say, she wasn’t comfortable.

Speaking to Fox and Friends, Parton admitted as much. The country star confessed she was nervous beforehand, knowing what Tomlin and Fonda were going to say, but instead decided to stay out of it.

“I didn’t know what to say. I’ll always just go to a boob joke if all else fails,” she said.

But Parton explained her choice to stay quiet in that moment in a refreshing take on her stances on politics in combination with her celebrity status.

“I don’t do politics,” explained Parton.

Parton explained that her mother was a Democrat, and her father was a Republican, and she was reluctant to make either side mad at her.

“Plus, I’m an entertainer. I don’t usually voice my opinion in a situation like that,” added Parton.

Watch the latest video at <a href=”//”></a>

Parton’s stunning abundance of self-awareness could be a shining example for everyone in Hollywood, who seem to learn nothing about their audience despite falling viewership every time they get political. Parton, unlike many other Hollywood stars, seems to understand that her stage isn’t a pulpit best suited to condemn or preach a political message.

Her refusal to either defend or attack Trump shows a great amount of maturity on her part. She knows she has a job to do, and alienating half of her audience won’t make her successful at it. She treats both sides of the aisle with respect regardless of her own political stances.

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Ben Sasse On What The Republican Party Stands For: “I Don’t Know”

One of the problems with modern politics is the propensity of some people to look for the next “rock star” in the world of politics. It happens with both parties, but I am disappointed to say that it’s common in conservative circles. More often than not, the person in question is elevated not because of anything they’ve done but usually due to something they’ve said.

In that respect, I always caution people about fully embracing a politician. Politicians are almost always going to disappoint you. That isn’t an attack on them personally. It’s just the nature of the game. It’s politics. It happens. It’s why I am never shocked when a politician does something they ordinarily would not do or appears to be a departure from something they’ve done for years.

There is a difference, however, between being making political decisions at times and grandstanding for the sake of doing so. The real political leader is not afraid to call out members of their party for engaging in behavior of that exhibited by somebody in the opposition party. Currently, Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse fits the bill.

Sasse hasn’t shied away from being critical of President Donald Trump when necessary. Naturally, such an inclination earns him derision among the pro-Trump crowd but even the knee-jerk reactionary anti-Trump contingent lambasts Sasse because he’s not engaging in knee-jerk reactionary rhetoric. I had somebody tell me Sasse is “enabling” Trump by voting to confirm his cabinet nominees. That’s a silly criticism as Sasse’s decision to approve is based on his determination the candidate is fit for the role not because Sasse doesn’t like Trump.

In a recent podcast, Sasse had some things to say about Trump and the GOP, the latter being eye-opening:

“There’s a risk in our media-driven, and particularly digital media-driven culture; TV-based, broadcast-based, and image-based culture of this digital moment,” Sasse says. “There is a danger that we create shorter and shorter attention spans, more and more unbridled passions, less and less self-control and self-restraint. I don’t think that our Founders would believe that America could long prosper if the people were not readers.”

I asked him how, in a word, he’d describe Trump. All he came up with: “current president.”

But Trump isn’t his only problem. Asked for one word to describe the Republican Party, he again came up with two: “question mark.”

Sasse was presented with a similar question:

Asked what the GOP stands for, he says, “I don’t know.”

I give Sasse credit for being honest. In retrospect, with Donald Trump as president, it’s hard to explain to people what the GOP stands for these days. It’s easy enough to roll through the usual litany of reasons people are used to hearing and have heard for the last 35-40 years.

Talk is cheap. Sasse understands that. Hopefully, there will be more like him who will choose to lead instead of just go along for the sake of party politics.

The entire podcast can be heard here.


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The Russian Gambit: Why the “hack” changes nothing

Why will I cast my vote for the Republican winner of the Texas Presidential election? More the point, why will I "ignore the Russian hack of the election"?

My college had strict attendance requirements. Three credit classes were allowed three cuts. More and you were kicked out of the course or received a zero averaged in with your grade.

Steve and Tommy noticed one particularly pro-sports psychology teacher, who took regular attendance, seemed to ignore the absences of student athletes. Being young and seeing themselves as defenders of truth, justice and the American way, they took it upon themselves to investigate.

To make a long story short, they hacked the teacher's grade book. Steve carried it to the library. Tommy copied it and Steve returned it to its place. It presented clear evidence of a double standard in the teacher's handling of grades and attendance. 

It was two very naive young men who walked into the Dean's office thinking he'd be concerned only with the grade disparity. They received a real-world education for the next hour.

The two were grilled about how they came into possession of the incriminating evidence. No one seemed concerned about the greater offense. Only their disparate roles in the purloining and copying of the incriminating evidence, along with a healthy dose of legalistic doublespeak, saved both from expulsion by the dreaded "God squad": the campus disciplinary committee.

The WikiLeaks hack into the Democratic National Committee computers reminds me of the story from my college days. 

WikiLeaks has never made a fraudulent release. Democrats seem to forget, WikiLeaks was the hero of civil liberties when it showed the National Security Agency was monitoring our wireless calls. I applauded it then; I applaud it now.

Like the Dean, Democrats seem not to care what the evidence proved about themselves. They act unconcerned if the hack proves the Democrat Primaries were stacked against Bernie Sanders. 

The DNC never intended a fair primary. Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz conspired to use Sanders' Jewish ethnicity against him. ABC commentator and DNC operative Donna Brazile, loved by Democrats and respected by many, not only fed debate questions to Hillary Clinton but she looked us in the eye and lied about it when caught. As Donald Trump said, the system was rigged.

Fast forward to December 18. No one seems to remember Democrats, indeed all Americans, were aware of the hack months before the election. There's no new information here and certainly no evidence of campaign collusion in an unlawful act.

The focus is on the demon of the the Cold War, Russia. The, as yet unproven, Boogeyman of the "election hack." 

Only the election wasn't hacked. Not one iota of proof has been offered to suggest a single vote was tampered with by the Trump campaign or anyone else. Electronic voting machines cannot accessed by outside hackers. 

The election was sound. People voted based on what they knew: what they knew about Donald Trump; what they knew about the Democratic Party; and what they knew about Hillary Clinton. Trump won that election.

False news stories and the ability to wage a 40 day negative campaign focusing on one person, the President-Elect, has only served to divide the nation and erode the foundations of its institutions. Fear and desperation rule the day. Democrats appear willing to destroy this nation before they will accept President Trump. 

Shame on them! I call it, "The Russian Gambit."

Just as the Dean's reaction to the psychology teacher's corruption seemed suspect and false, so does the Democratic campaign to destroy the President-elect. They're hoping the Russian Gambit will sway the electoral vote.

Forgive me if it sounds disingenuous when, after decades of coddling murderous despots around the world and modeling "Che chic," the same people have finally found a tyrant they can't stomach. 

Don't upset China by answering a phone call but say nothing conciliatory about Russia? I'm not buying what you're selling. It's smoke and mirrors. 

It's only my opinion and mine is worth no more than yours, but I have one more vote to cast. I will vote for sound cabinet choices, conservative Supreme Court Justices and a myriad of federal judge appointees to come in the next four years. I will vote for the rule of law.

This is why I will cast my vote for the Republican winner of the Texas Presidential election, President-Elect Donald Trump. 

Texas Elector…A Matter of Conscience

I am a Texas elector.

Donald Trump was not my first choice in the Republican Primary. I am an unrepentant Rand Paul supporter; but by the first week of March, Rand Paul was out of the race. I voted for Ted Cruz. 

When Texas electors were chosen last May 14 it was clear that Donald Trump was the presumptive nominee of the Republican Party. Every person who asked to be an elector did so fully informed of who was to be the nominee.

Each of us signed a pledge that, as electors, we will support the nominee when called to Austin on December 19.

It is a remarkable year to be an elector. We have received more than 60,000 emails from anti-Trump forces. The emails include passionate pleas, promises of fame, death threats and every vile and vulgar language imaginable. Anyone who is tossed back and forth by waves of public criticism, or who is blown here and there by every wind of a crafty and cunning media, probably ought not be an elector.

Is it possible that our vote could be a matter of conscience? Yes it is. Always. Every state. Each elector. I agree with Hamilton in Federalist 68. But there is nothing new here nor does it rise to the level of disqualification.

So you think that being "without scruple," or "unprincipled and voluptuary," someone "who would plunder the country," is a disqualification?

That's precisely what Alexander Hamilton thought of Aaron Burr, yet I have found no record of Hamilton lobbying electors to change their vote in 1800 when Burr tied Jefferson in the Electoral College. 

Perhaps that is because those are opinions, not facts, and Hamilton knew the difference. 

Are there greater spiritual principles applicable? Certainly. But they are not esoteric proclamations of "ought" to a man whose heart I cannot possibly judge.

The principles that matter apply much closer to home.

As to seeking the role of an elector there is this one: 

Suppose one of you wants to do some great thing. Won't you first sit down and count the cost to see if you have what it takes to see it through? Because if you don't you may find yourself unable to finish and everyone who sees it will ridicule you saying, "This person started something and didn't know what he was getting into." (Luke 14, paraphrased). 

We each knew what we were getting into. This is politics, not choir practice, and it is always a messy business involving imperfect people. God only knows how conflicted the mind of a Hillary Clinton elector must be.

But judging righteousness isn't my job. Not here; not hereafter.

"It is God who judges: He brings one down, he exalts another," (Psalm 75.7 NIV).

Can one really imagine a 1980 Republican elector making judgments of righteousness between Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan? It wasn't their job then; it isn't my job now.

What role does conscience play in my decision? It obliges me to do my duty and to keep my word.

I signed a pledge to vote for the party's nominee. The document was probably legally flawed, but I am not looking for a reason to be derelict in my duty.

So, if you want to make this about faith and conscience, let's do. You may call it ethics, morality or values, but something guides one's conscience. Here is how it applies to me; I can speak only to my own.

Conscience and faith compel me to make no commitment without having counted the cost to see if I have the moral fortitude to fulfill my commitment.

Jesus said, "I tell you, do not swear an oath at all…all you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’."

My conscience also tells that my word ought not depend on the validity of the oath I swore. That my "yes" should mean "yes," not "maybe." Trustworthy.

It comes down to whether I will do my duty or seek an excuse in the face of pressure based on non-adjudicated allegations or my distaste for one cabinet pick or another. 

Ironically, to quote the Federalist papers, which were written under pseudonym, as justification for changing a vote because someone doesn't like how the President-Elect uses social media, belies an ignorance of the times. Newspapers and publishing under pseudonym were to readers in 1787 what social media is today: the leading edge of public discourse.

That same thinking might have abandoned Madison in 1808 because one didn't like the fact that Madison previously wrote under an assumed name.

Yes, there is a reason they are called "faithless electors." I refuse to become one. 

I will vote for Donald Trump on December 19 regardless of pressure, peril, or promise of publicity. No oath necessary.

Because I am a Texas elector.

Worst it’s ever been? Remember 1968

The 2016 Presidential Election is U.S. presidential politics at its very worst, right? Hardly!

That premise, promoted by addle-minded baby boomers who smoked too much weed to remember their own history and by millennials desperate to find something to suffer, is the luxury of a generation that sees too little adversity and too much social media.

It's not the worst in this writer's memory. It doesn't even come close. Historians often point to the election of 1800 as the most divisive and bitter of our nation's history. But it isn't necessary to reach that far for a year and an election, that was worse than 2016.

For this writer, 1968 must certainly rank as the worst in memory. Everyone lived under the shadow of the Cold War and fear of nuclear war. School children were drilled in what to do in case of a nuclear attack. Public buildings posted signs designating them as shelters from nuclear fallout.

In many ways the 1968 election began in 1963 – November 22, 1963 to be precise, when a dynamic leader and young father, President John Kennedy, was assassinated. Two days later, with live television cameras rolling, Oswald himself was killed by Dallas strip club owner, Jack Ruby. It's difficult to imagine a time without YouTube, social media and instant news, but we were media virgins then. Live violence was rarely broadcast and TV violence was heavily censored.

Murder and assassination was the rule in the 1960's. Medgar Evers was assassinated in 1963, five months before JFK, by a Klansman. In 1965 Malcom X was murdered by three members of the Nation of Islam.

The national mourning lasted through the 1964 election when a Texan, Lyndon Baines Johnson, won the election in an electoral landslide. Johnson was arguably the most corrupt, racist and misogynistic president of the 20th century. Johnson was a bully, demanding that secretaries follow him into the bathroom to take dictation. He was abusive of his wife and subordinates. He consistently called Civil Rights legislation that "n—–r bill."

By 1968, a Presidential Election year, the country was reeling from social upheaval caused in part by the manner in which LBJ and his Secretary of Defense, Robert McNamara, were micromanaging the war. 1968 was the worst year of the war for Americans, 16,899 died that year; that's 325 deaths per week.

Anti-war protests, which began in 1965, reached their peak in 1968 and were becoming increasingly violent. The Tet Offensive, launched by the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese in January, had demonstrated that the war was nowhere near an end and possibly unwinnable.

Add to that mix the Civil Rights movement led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Because of Dr. King's leadership and influence, the movement was a pacifist one up to 1968, enduring attacks, lynchings, beatings and indignity by turning the other cheek.

It was natural that the Civil Rights movement began to join forces with the Anti-War protesters and the violence and destruction grew.

By Warren K. Leffler / Library of Congress - This image is available from the United States Library of Congress's Prints and Photographs division under the digital ID ppmsca.19733.This tag does not indicate the copyright status of the attached work. A normal copyright tag is still required. See Commons:Licensing for more information.العربية | čeština | Deutsch | English | español | فارسی | suomi | français | magyar | italiano | македонски | മലയാളം | Nederlands | polski | português | русский | slovenčina | slovenščina | Türkçe | українська | 中文 | 中文(简体)‎ | 中文(繁體)‎ | +/−, Public Domain, 22nd Amendment allowed Johnson to run for another term; however, faced with opposition from anti-war candidates Eugene McCarthy and Robert Kennedy, Johnson announced in March that he would not seek reelection. With Johnson's unexpected departure his Vice-President, Hubert Humphrey, announced his candidacy. Altogether, Democrats fielded nine candidates at one time or another in the 1968 primaries.

Republican Richard Nixon, loser of the 1960 contest against John Kennedy, easily defeated California Governor Ronald Reagan and Nelson Rockefeller for the Republican nomination.

Southern segregationist and Democrat George Wallace ran as a third-party candidate on the American Independent ticket, hoping to win enough electoral votes to prevent anyone from winning electoral majority. Wallace calculated that he could be the power broker for the winner if the House of Representatives were to determine the election and that he could negotiate an end to federal desegregation of southern states.

Wallace received 46 electoral votes (Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Louisiana and Arkansas electors plus one faithless elector from North Carolina pledged to Nixon) and was the last candidate to receive electoral votes who was not a member of one of the two major parties. He received 13.53% of the vote, concentrated mostly in the southern states.

On April 4, 1968, Martin Luther King was assassinated by a sniper on the balcony of his Memphis hotel. Blacks rioted in major cities across the country, except Indianapolis where Bobby Kennedy, still grieving the loss of his brother five years earlier, calmed angry African-Americans, reminding them that he, too, had lost someone at the hands of an assassin.

Just two months later, on June 6, 1968, Bobby Kennedy was killed in the kitchen of the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles the night he won the California primary.

America watched Hubert Humphrey receive the Democratic nomination in Chicago, alternating between scenes of the convention and live television of Chicago police beating mostly peaceful protesters. The specter of Chicago haunted Humphrey through the fall.

American cities were burning and the culture was in chaos – the worst in living memory.

History has written the results. Nixon won, then went on to Watergate fame four years later, eventually resigning in disgrace.

But the Republic survived. It survived the corruption of Lyndon Baines Johnson. It outlasted segregationists, assassins, Vietnam and Nixon.

That was a bad year. What we see today is little more than bad entertainment by comparison. Yes, it looks bad. Americans are on the verge of living fully documented lives and what we see just isn't that pretty. 

There appears to be no great statesman out there. We didn't think we had one in 1968 either, but Ronald Reagan sure looked good 12 years later.

*The photo used in the article above is a scene from 1968 Washington, D.C. after the D.C. riots. It was taken by Warren K. Leffler / Library of Congress.