• Outsider Advice for Donald

    • Posted on Oct 02, 2016
    Here's this morning's Courier column--Sunday, 10-2; some outsider advice for Trump.   Better advice than from the Trumpeters, maybe.  

    Candidates for public office never lack for advice.  

    They live with a cacophony of suggestions on how to change, repair, reinforce, and fix their campaigns so they can win, or at least not humiliate themselves.   

    The vast majority of advice comes from supporters, and that’s to be expected. 
    Yet sometimes candidates might get better advice from those who are either indifferent or hostile.  Why?  Because non-supporters live outside a candidate’s inevitable support bubble.  They have no desire or need to flatter.   

    Granted, a candidate has to take outsider advice with a block of salt, but at least it connects with reality. 

    With that in mind, I’d like to offer some non-supporter advice for Donald Trump.  It’s not especially flattering, but it’s worth as much as Trump’s inside-the-bubble guidance he gets from toadies.    

    So, Donald, some honest advice:   

    1. Clean your sinuses and blow your nose hard before you speak in public.  Your sniffing and blowing made you seem like you caught something from Hillary. Since you’ve used stamina and low energy as standards for other candidates, you can’t afford to give hints of physical sickness beyond your bottomless narcissism, a debility you were born with.   

    2. Do not release your taxes.  I know Mark Sanford and other supporters advise you to release them, but don’t.    Without them, we can only imagine why you’re refusing, and that’s more interesting.  As Hillary showed, it’s fun to fantasize about what you’re hiding. You’re not a billionaire, or even that rich?  You gamed the system so that you paid no taxes at all? You gave a pitifully small amount to charities? Voters enjoy using their imaginations, so keep your taxes to yourself.  No other candidate has done that, and that makes you even more mysterious.     

    3. Keep entertaining.   Whatever else you may be, you’re an entertainer.  Your mugging, glaring, eye-rolling, lip-pursing, head-wagging, nonstop theatrical facial expressions keep debate viewers mesmerized.   You’re like watching a one-man train-wreck of exaggerated expressions.    

    4. Interrupt whenever you want.  You kept repeating “wrong” during Hillary’s assertion of your support for the Iraq war, as well as Lester Holt’s insistence that stop-and-frisk policies were judged unconstitutional, which made you seem passionate and engaged, not to mention certain of your positions.  Fact checkers proved you wrong over and over, so when you say “wrong” you seem to be talking about yourself.   Works for me.   

    5. Finally, the best advice I or anyone could give you at this point:  Don’t debate Hillary again.  You can’t prepare—that’s not in your nature—and you can’t articulate a single position and follow through on it.  Young debaters learn that fundamental skill in high school, but you evidently missed it.  

    Bluster and bullying worked against your Republican hopefuls, but you’re in the big leagues now.  

     If you feel no need to release your taxes, you should feel no need to humiliate yourself in another debate.  Or if you do, don’t bother preparing.  You’re most entertaining when you have no idea what you’re talking about.   
    Go comment!
  • Lunch with a Leader: Leon Mosley

    • Posted on Sep 27, 2016
    This appeared in the Waterloo Courier on Thursday, Sept. 22.  Leon was a great interviewee, and a great man--and a bit scary because he's so honest.  

    Cross Crocodile Dundee, Dirty Harry, Charles Bronson, and you have Leon Mosley.   A vigilante.  

    Yet he’s still a family man, a church-going God-fearing community activist, and an all-around concerned citizen who served on the Black Hawk County Board of Supervisors for 16 years.  A Republican, no less.  

    He also served on a variety of volunteer boards all over the country, and was a leading advocate for closing down Waterloo crack houses that were destroying whole neighborhoods.  Call him a responsible vigilante.  

    “I’d go to those houses with my big RCA video camera and get evidence video for the police.  I was gathering documentary reports to help them make arrests.”  

    He became a consultant for several Iowa cities, and well known for his effective drug-fighting activism.  He never took the law into his own hands, never became a one-man army. 
    But don’t threaten him.  “Messing with me is like tickling a bobcat.”  He towered over me, and at 70, looks like he could take down most anyone.  When he gets mad, watch out.   

    “If you see Leon in a fight with a bear, go help the bear”—has been a joke that  tells with delight.   

    “I have a terrible temper,” he told me over lunch. “I get so mad at these bad kids that I have to watch myself.”  He’s been threatened, shot at, and insulted as an “oreo” and “Uncle Tom” because he works well with both whites and Blacks.  
    Afraid?  “Never,” he said.  “I know when I’m right, and I do it.  

    When you tell the truth, you never have to remember what you said.  You just keep telling the truth.”   

     He certainly has the respect and friendship of both Waterloo Police Chief Trelka
    and Mayor Hart.  “I love both these guys—and want them to succeed.”  His main weapon has been his phone number.  He openly gives it to everyone, and says if they’re afraid to call the police to report lawbreakers, call him—and he’ll report them.  

    That takes plain guts, and the police consider him a valuable crime-fighting partner.   

     Our lunch happened during the Trelka controversy, and I went to Mayor Hart’s news conference that same afternoon, as did Mosely.   It was clear to Mosely that community support (including his own) had affected the Mayor, and Mosely was pleased. 

     “He did the right thing, which only makes sense.  Problems of respect for the police started long before Trelka took over, and Trelka’s been doing his best to fix it.”  

    For Mosley, community crime problems begin at home.  Too many parents have given up raising their children, and that infuriates him.  “Kids are raising each other on the streets.  No parents or teachers they respect.  They end up in jail or prison.” 

    Just the week before, he visited the Cattle Congress, and a group of junior high schoolers—mostly girls, were at the grounds violently fighting among themselves. 

    The next night, they shut down the entire Cattle Congress grounds due to kids fighting among themselves, menacing visitors. “They’re not really gangs—just young teen girls—all Black—fighting each other,” Mosely observed.  

     “The police were there in two minutes, breaking them up, but I don’t think they did much.  Probably should have arrested them.”   

    To Mosley, these kids needed a “good whoopin’” meaning just what he got as a kid when he made trouble. “My father whacked me good with a paddle, and I knew I deserved it.  That’s how I learned respect.” 

    “When they made corporal punishment illegal, that’s when problems started,” he insists, “But I know we can’t do that now. We have to find other solutions.” 

    Unfortunately, those solutions elude him.  “I really don’t know how to make families more responsible. I can only report what I see and try to help.”  

    I asked what keeps him going, given all the threats and criticism.  

    “I learned a motto from my father,” he said.  “If you don’t know what’s worth dying for, you haven’t lived.”   Making the community “safe for the good kids” is worth dying for, he says, and he means it. 

    “Really, it’s the 80/20 rule.  Eighty percent of our kids are fine, but we spend all our time dealing with problem kids.” 

    So what would cause real change. “I thought when kids get killed
    on the street by other kids we’d wake up.  That happened, but still nothing changed.”  

    He’s sure that two hundred young witnesses watched a murder on Airline Highway and not one came forward.  “We have to change that, and I’m doing what I can.” 

    If more responsible citizens would routinely report crime and criminal activities, everything would in fact change for the better.   

    Leon Mosley has shown the way.  



    Go comment!
    Posted in
    • Personalities
    • Crime
    • Cedar Valley Chronicles
Cedar Valley Chronicles Photo

“Even before the advent of the Internet, Cawelti’s columns went 'viral' in the Cedar Valley… the role of a columnist is to be thought provoking, to take tacks that shed a different light on an issue or possibly cause a reader to reevaluate a position. At the very least, it should bring clarity to a particular perspective, whether you buy into the commentator’s worldview or not.

Scott's work does just that.  Enjoy this collection of his writing.”

-Saul Shapiro, Former Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier Editor
Read Shapiro's entire introduction.


Contact Scott

Contact Scott Photo