NANCY EDMONDS HANSON: After Thought — Grilling Nothing Burgers

If you have an appetite for news, you know what’s on the menu this month: Nothing burgers.

They’re sizzling hot this summer. Cooked up in the realm of casual excuses, the nothing burger has been on the lips of Republican apologists ever since journalists began salivating over tantalizing whiffs of the meatiest political scandal since Richard “I Am Not a Crook” Nixon.

Hungry newshounds have been doggedly sniffing out the juicy evidence for more than a year now. They’re drooling over hints, and now much more, that the current occupants of the White House have a distinctly Russian flavor. As they turn up the heat, the evidence that started out rare is headed for well-done.

“Nothing burger” — that’s how the president’s defenders are dismissing growing evidence the Family Trump and their sycophants welcomed covert digital assistance from Russia to score their jaw-dropping victory. When Chief of Staff Reince Priebus was grilled about what Donald Trump Jr. had been cooking up with the Russians, he proclaimed it “a big nothing burger.”

Shades of “where’s the beef”! Not since Fritz Mondale’s run back in 1984 have we heard ground meat (or the absence thereof) served up so often in prime-time news. Back then, a classic Wendy’s TV commercial supplied what became the catchphrase of the campaign when a tiny female curmudgeon stared at an oversized but barren bun, demanding to know where the meaty part of her lunch had gone.

The phrase “nothing burger,” though — oddly girlish and coy — required some tracking down. Was it Valley Girl dialect from the 1980s? A remnant of stylish jabber from the TV comedy “Sex and the City”? It sounds familiar … but where did it come from?

Nothing burgers, it turns out, had lurked on the back burner for 65 years when Kellyanne and Reince and their troop of defenders served it up in its current context. Hollywood’s pioneering movie critic and gossip columnist Louella Parsons tossed it off in 1952, describing a minor performance in the sense of “much ado about nothing.” She was inspired, perhaps, by one of the hot trends of her day. California was falling in love with beef on a bun as the fabled McDonald brothers launched their burger chain with golden arches right in her backyard.

Helen Gurley Brown, though, deserves co-credit. You remember her, don’t you … the legendary editor of Cosmopolitan magazine, flagship voice of the female sexual revolution? Helen made the catchphrase her own. It first appeared in her book “Sex and the Single Girl,” a tome that shook the civilized world, just a little, back in the swingin’ Sixties. She tossed it in into her sassy magazine columns, too, along with the other term she coined, “mouseburger.” Both were handy to disparage all that was bland and unremarkable, be it too-innocuous accessories or a too-submissive outlook.

Like other terms that explode as sassy slang, then inch toward respectability, nothing burgers have crept into the English language’s chaotic, messy cupboard. They’ve even breached the ramparts of the sober, noble Oxford Dictionary with an official definition: “something that is or turns out to be insignificant or lacking in substance.”

Proper English or not, Reince may still rue the day he added nothing burgers to the menu, as grilling over the Russian scandal drags his team over the coals. But then again, they sound like just the thing when you’re going to have to eat your words.

TOM DAVIES: The Verdict — Inhumane Sanctions Reflect A Cold, Callous Heart

The word “humanity” is often tossed around, but I wonder if the term is understood. Definitions abound. Here’s how Merriam-Webster explains it: A) the quality or state of being human; B) the quality or state of being kind to other people or to animals.

Another word that also seems to be understood is “sanctions.” Again, the dictionary’s definition: A) a threatened penalty for disobeying a law or rule; B) a penalty, punishment or deterrent.

Take North Korea, for example. Sanctions in place right now deprive them of coal and food products, as well as other items essential to life, in response to their constant violation of human rights and their military threats.

Their leaders live like kings. When their president is offended by citizens, he simply has them killed.

The United States has thousands of troops stationed in South Korea. They’ve remained there since we bombed the hell out of the North from 1950 to 1953 and finally forced a truce, which holds to this day.

Why should the North feel comfortable with our troops next door … and particularly since we have placed anti-ballistic missiles in South Korea?

The North Korean people face winters as bad as any the free world experiences, and coal is essential for heat. Whenever sanctions are applied, it hurts the civilians. That is simply inhumane. Yet we applaud the act of withholding coal.

We have enough nuclear deterrent to destroy the entire world if we wish. So why do we maintain thousands of troops in South Korea 64 years after signing the truce?

All administrations say they are there to “preserve the peace.” But at the same time, they claim that if the North moves, the North will use nuclear weapons. The last thing we need is to have our men and women on the ground where the fear is nuclear. Their presence will not for one second deter an admitted mad man. (We sure don’t need two mad leaders in this world, but that’s what we seem to have right now.)

America’s current dictator wants China to do his dirty work for him and is surprised that there is nothing in it for the Chinese, even if they could control the North. China is not our ally, but neither is it an enemy. China is growing; while you can call them inhuman or inhumane if you wish, at least they have signed onto the Paris Accords and are working extremely hard to clean the environment. Only one world leader ignores climate change, and that is 45.

Is it humane for us to punish civilians … not just in North Korea but also in the Mideast, including but not limited to Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq? By agreement, we are supposed to exit Iraq, and the same holds true in the near future for Afghanistan. The Russians left Afghanistan knowing nothing would stop the occupants from feuding, as they have since time began. Then we took over.

We killed the leader of Iraq, not knowing at the time that his method of governing was what kept the country together, albeit not in a democratic way. The price has been, and is now being paid by the Iraqis.

The Afghans and Iraqi no longer desire our presence. The cost to the U.S. is far up into the billions, not counting thousands of men and women killed and wounded in action, including those grappling with continuing mental problems resulting from those wars.

When we talk about sanctions, we should consider them in the same sentence as the word “humanity.” In the world today, using them is dead wrong.

Here at home, we have leaders falsely claiming to be concerned about humane treatment of our citizens as they seek to abolish the Affordable Care Act. Though it does definitely need improving, that certainly won’t happen under their UN-affordable Care Act that essentially exists to give substantial tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans. Those breaks would come at the expense of health care for the elderly, the young, families, the disabled, low-income individuals and military veterans … everyone except the wealthy. That’s just plain wrong.

What 45 and the Republicans in Congress propose and support is absolutely IN-humane. Their proposal places sanctions on those who can least respond by proposing the deletion and replacement of the ACA — which may not be perfect, but has greatly improved the picture for tens of millions of Americans.

This is the United States of America, not the Soviet Republic of the United States. It’s time for our legislators at all levels to throw off their party labels and start representing the American people — all of us. In the current environment, we cannot afford to be simply Republican or Democratic. We must first be American. That means we must look out for each other, not line a small number of rich people’s pockets.

I’m 78 years young. In my wildest nightmare, I could never have envisioned the cold-blooded, forget-about-people administration we now have. This can be laid at the feet of POTUS 45. Make a list of his pre-election promises and another of those he has broken or where he has flat-out lied. You’d better have lots of computer memory and a ton of paper if you go to print them out.

Simply stated, this administration is being inhumane … and it is we the people who are under its sanctions. Amen

CLAY JENKINSON: Sad Lessons From the Nixon White House

Given where things are headed, I’m preparing the way a humanities scholar prepares. I’m reading accounts of the life and presidency of Richard M. Nixon. I’ll place a short bibliography of books worth reading at the bottom of this essay.

The constitutional crisis we are now descending into is either much less grave than Watergate or much, much more serious. Time will tell. If President Trump is just an ignorant bully who doesn’t really understand obstruction of justice, he’ll probably survive to limp out his term. If people around Trump actually conspired with Russian agents to affect the 2016 election, some of them are going to go to prison, and the President may well have to resign. It’s one thing to bug the Democratic headquarters (June 1972), a very different thing to collude with a foreign power to distort domestic elections in the United States.

Personally, I sense that this story is ultimately going to be about sex (the hookers in the Moscow hotel) or about personal financial skullduggery (Trump’s beholdenness to the kleptocrats in Russia who have financed his global operations), or both. If treason was committed, it was probably done more out of ignorance and arrogance than with seriously malicious intent to subvert American sovereignty. Time will tell.

Why Nixon and Watergate?

As Mark Twain is said to have said but didn’t, “History doesn’t repeat itself, but it rhymes.”

Here’s what I have learned from my recent reading of Nixon books.

1. It’s not the crime but the coverup. This is now a cliche. But it is nevertheless true.

2. Of course the president is involved, not necessarily in the crimes themselves, but in the coverup. Presidents don’t usually know how grave the situation is until it is much too late. In the earlier, more “innocent” phases of the scandal, the president thinks he can manage it to his advantage. As the scandal deepens, the president learns that the crimes did in fact occur, but now it is too late to cut his losses or pretend innocence. Nixon was almost certainly unaware of the Watergate break-in or the break-in at Daniel Ellsberg’s psychiatrist’s office in Los Angeles. But he had ordered and coordinated the cover-up of “whatever it was” early on, and by the time he realized how grave things really were, it was too late. In for a penny of cover-up, in for a pound.

3. Blaming the media works, but not forever. Woodward and Bernstein, the Washington Post, the New York Times, CBS and other entities all made serious mistakes in their reporting. Some of what they reported turned out not to be true. Naturally, the Nixon administration clutched at each of these “lies” and declared (on their basis) that “nothing the press reports can be trusted.” The media’s mistakes were unfortunate and unfair, but the great news entities got the larger dynamics of the story right, and while diehard Nixon lovers never accepted the truth, a critical mass of American opinion-makers and leaders came to realize that the story was essentially true. Any story this complicated is hard to sort out, particularly when the principal actors refuse to cooperate in setting the record straight, and others are leaking material out of malice of to save their sorry skins.

4. Invariably, as the scandal deepens, the president argues that his enemies are making it impossible to do good and important things for the American people. This, of course, is true, but it doesn’t mean the administration is innocent, and no matter how much you blame your enemies, in the end the collapse of a presidential administration is self-inflicted. Presidents almost never admit this. Nixon did, years later, to his credit. The “people’s business” argument is often all the President has left in his rhetorical arsenal, but it never works.

“a growing cancer on the Presidency …”
“a growing cancer on the Presidency …”

5. Another of the predictable “defenses” is that “this is an inside-the-beltway scandal, which the real American people don’t care about.” This is both true and untrue. Compared to the cluster of real issues the American people want addressed — health care, border security, energy policy, education, jobs — these scandals are of negligible importance. But the American people do love a good scandal, especially one leading all the way to the top, and no matter how disproportionate the scandal-mongering gets, there is no stopping it. In the case of Iran-Contra, the American people had finally to decide if they could stomach impeaching President Reagan, who most Americans liked in spite of his failures. Everyone sensed that he was not evil, like Nixon, but just manipulatable and a bit addled. At some point, a presidential scandal reaches the Decision Point: acknowledge the president’s guilt but somehow agree to carry on under his leadership, or force the issue and get rid of him.

6. The president probably doesn’t know all the bad things that have been done in his name. He really is relatively innocent. His aides don’t tell him the whole truth. Once the scandal begins to thicken, everyone starts looking for a scapegoat. Nixon didn’t really want to know the truth until too late. When he finally started trying to figure out what had happened and who was responsible, he could no longer cut his losses, fire the culprits, apologize sincerely and carry on. My point is that when presidents profess their innocence or their bewilderment about crimes committed in their name, they are often telling the truth or at least a partial truth.

7. At some point the president hopes there is a foreign policy crisis that will drive the scandal off the front page. In Nixon’s case, the Yom Kippur War in October 1973 and the oil embargo that followed should have made the Watergate “caper,” as one of his aides called it, go away. This never actually happens. The scandal may very temporarily slip off the front page, but it will not disappear for very long, and meanwhile the best reporters finally have time to do more serious digging. Perverse though it sounds, I’m guessing there are people close to the current president hoping for a big terrorist attack somewhere in America or an American outpost. Think of that.

8. Firing the chief investigator always makes matters worse. Nixon tried this in the Saturday Night Massacre (October 1973). President Trump should not have fired FBI director James Comey. In doing so, and denouncing Comey as a “nut job,” President Trump brought on the special counsel. He also offended Comey so deeply that the former FBI director now seems determined to do what he can to bring Trump down.

9. John Dean was telling the truth. Beware of challenging the veracity of the Dean/Comey figure. When you pretend that the “facts will show” that the president was telling the truth and the key witness was fabricating and lying, it’s always safe to bet on the John Dean figure rather than the president.

10. The president always makes the mistake of viewing his problems as political when they are already legal. By the time he realizes that they are legal (or constitutional) problems, not primarily political ones, it is too late. Meanwhile, because he chose to see the scandal as a political matter, and reckoned that he could “tough it out,” the President finds himself engaged in the cover-up. See No. 1.

11. Elections are extremely irrational affairs, and people who should know better do crazy, erratic and illegal things to get their guy elected. Nixon was going to win the 1972 election by a comfortable, perhaps even a gigantic, margin. He had absolutely no rational reason to permit the dirty tricks and break-ins that were undertaken in his name. But elections bring out a kind of insanity in those close to a candidate. This is what we are going to learn about the 2016 Trump campaign. President Trump may turn out to have been essentially unaware of the Machiavellian actions undertaken by his closest aides, but that doesn’t make him innocent. In Trump’s case, his zealots may have felt that he simply could not win without shady maneuvers. And they may have been right.

12. There is a great deal of self-pity before it ends. Just wait.

13. And finally, the last weeks of a collapsing administration are truly dangerous. Nixon’s closest aides finally took steps to make sure the president didn’t do anything in the last weeks that might have precipitated Armageddon. The temptation to lob a missile at North Korea may finally overwhelm a discredited and desperate president. In the last weeks of his administration, Nixon told his core advisors that he wanted to die, that he wanted to go to sleep and not wake up. At some point, the most responsible members of an administration have to “parent” the collapsing president.

Eventually, even partisan stalwarts realize that for the good of the republic, the president must be removed from office. When Barry Goldwater finally comes over to the White House and says, enough, it’s time to start the helicopter.

None of this gives me any joy. In fact, I hate to see the glee and the high-fiving of the left. Some members of the media and some partisans can barely suppress their mirth. We are witnessing the possible collapse of a duly-elected president of the United States. This can never be good for America. Richard Nixon’s fall was a classical tragedy. Donald Trump’s, should it come to that, will more closely resemble a farce. But his fall would represent a very serious setback for the United States of America.

I remember driving up to a farmhouse near Wahpeton, N.D., on the day that Richard Nixon resigned in 1974. I was there to take a photograph of an award-winning shelterbelt. The farmer opened the front door. When I introduced myself, he said, “I’m sorry. This is no longer the right day for such a photograph. Please come back another time.” He could not have been more polite. He could not have been more serious. In my opinion, he could not have been more right.

Books to read:

  • Evan Thomas: “Being Nixon: A Man Divided.”
  • John Dean: “The Nixon Defense: What He Knew and When He Knew It.”
  • Bob Woodward: “The Last of the President’s Men.”
  • Rick Perlstein: “Nixonland.”

TOM DAVIES: The Verdict — Memorial Day’s Lessons In History

I took it upon myself to drive the main roads in Dilworth, Minn., Moorhead and Fargo on Memorial Day weekend. I was pleased to see that each city had placed flags in honor of our fallen soldiers. It was also very heartening to see the many veterans and civic organizations providing programs to honor the warriors.

It prompted me to head back home and Google some facts that I had not previously seen. I want to share them with you in case you, too, did not know or have forgotten them.

The closest I came to the military myself was college ROTC, so I have a deep respect for those — living and dead — who have served or are serving.

I obtained statistics (stop reading right now if you don’t want to learn) that relate to American combat deaths by war. Just remember: These aren’t just numbers. They were men and women who had brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers, husbands and wives and children … people who dearly missed them.

1. World War II (1941-45) – 291,557.

2. American Civil War (1861-65) – 212,938.

3. World War I (1917-18) – 53,402.

4. Vietnam War (1955-75) – 47,424.

5. Korean War (1950-53) – 33,746.

6. Revolutionary War (1775-83) – 8,000.

7. Iraq/Afghanistan Wars (2001-14) – 5,650.

8. War of 1812 (1812-15) – 2,260.

9. Mexican-American War (1846-48) – 1,733.

For those confirmed dead, at least there was closure for their survivors, if that term ever really applies. But there is another bracket for whom there can be no closure. The category of “missing in action” blew me away and made me wonder how the survivors handled it: WWI, 3,350. WWII, 30,314. Korea, 4,759. Vietnam, 2,489. Iraq, 2.

While researching the statistics, I came across an interesting article that I find both educational and spot on. It’s titled, “I hope you’re having a meaningful day.” The author is Navy veteran Luke Visconti, who co-founded the website diversityinc.com.

He recently wrote, “On Memorial Day, one should avoid the common refrain, ‘Thank you for your service.’ His reasoning was spot on. “On Memorial Day, the veteran you’re talking to may be going through a bit of melancholy, remembering people who died over the years.”

Visconti continues, “As most people are aware (or should be), Memorial Day and Veterans Day serve different purposes.

“Veterans Day is to honor the service of people who have worn the uniforms of the armed forces. Memorial Day is intended to remember those who died while serving.”

Instead, he suggested, we should thank that veteran because he may have had friends who died in combat. His idea may seem trite at first … until you follow his logic.

A few years back, I visited the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C. I was simply walking along until I spotted the names of Cliff Cushman and Tom Beyer. I knew Cliff from Grand Forks Central and Tom from Shanley High School. That slammed home just what I was looking at. I felt pride and pain at the same time. Hurt — that they paid the ultimate price. Pride — in my having known them.

It saddens me that, as we honor the fallen, we live in a time period in which the values they fought for have been brought into question by our own president. When 45 addressed a military gathering on his way back from his world travels, did he talk about their current service to this country? No, he bragged about all the great things he had done on his own trip.

In all America’s various wars, the assistance was not one-sided. We helped our allies, and they helped us. We provide aid and supplies to this day — but the allies provide naval, air and military bases and allow use of their space for our purposes. All this talk about NATO not paying its fair share is so much baloney. The United States participated side by side with its allies, plus former enemies who are now allies. A united front is needed.

Not one word did POTUS 45 utter about Russian interference in our nation. Not one word did he utter about the work of our own intelligence agencies. The image of the fallen who’ve fought for us in the past should be burned into his very being. Perhaps then, and only then, will he stop paying homage to Russia and instead work to keep this beloved country safe.

We have good and decent people in this country. They, with the assistance of the courts, will slow down and ultimately stop the damage being done to our image worldwide. They will once again assure our allies that we have their backs, like they have ours.

The American military has always performed as asked. It has allowed this country to be great and prosper. Its members deserve thanks and more. Thanks to all the entities and organizations giving the deceased warriors the credit they deserve as we observe Memorial Day.

Some may ask, “Why does Davies always find a way to blast 45?” I don’t need to find a way. Every time he opens his mouth, I get a free pass. My father and his brother, Clint, served in the Army; I also had a brother in the Air Force. The actions of 45 affecting our military, intelligence agencies and the courts light a fire in my being that will not go out … until he does.

I wonder if the flipping rain is getting me down. I’d like to think of this as an informative and enlightening article, without any political reference, but that’s in the eye of the beholder. Have a wonderful week. Amen.

CLAY JENKINSON: The Death Of Decorum In The White House

As a scholar not a partisan, I have been trying to think if any president in American history has behaved in a less presidential way than Donald Trump.

Andrew Jackson was a frontier ruffian in some respects, a loud populist, and during his inauguration March 4, 1829, his rural supporters trashed the White House.

Theodore Roosevelt called his enemies colorful names (he said McKinley had the backbone of a chocolate éclair, and he called William Jennings Bryan a human trombone). His roughhousing with his rambunctious children in the White House raised the eyebrows of the Victorian stuff shirts of his time. As president, Roosevelt rattled the nerves of Charles Elliot, the president of Harvard, when he showed up at his old alma mater packing a loaded pistol. When one of his old pals from the Dakota Bad Lands fretted that he might not be admitted into the White House through the usual doors, TR urged him next time just to shoot out one of the windows. Probably he was joking.

Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.
Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

Bill Clinton famously spoke with foreign diplomats while receiving oral ministrations in the Oval Office from Monica Lewinski and fiddling creatively with cigars. He was not the only president to have opportunistic sex in the White House, of course, but his sexual style always felt a little like it belonged in a trailer park. JFK is said to have taken LSD in the White House with one of his girlfriends, in the middle of the workday. One hopes it was a relatively quiet day during the nuclear-tipped Cold War.

The always elegant Thomas Jefferson.
The always elegant Thomas Jefferson.

Most presidents either have or adopt proper Presidential deportment. Think of Ronald Reagan (a conservative populist) or George Bush senior (a patrician) insisting on always wearing a coat and tie in the Oval Office, never propping their feet on the famous Resolute desk, and invariably speaking, at least in public, with decorum, a careful and heightened diction and a demeanor that reflects an awareness that they were the prime representative of one the most powerful and important nations in history — the republic of Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, Wilson, FDR, Kennedy, Reagan, and elegant Obama.

Trump mocks a disabled reporter.
Trump mocks a disabled reporter.

No. 45, Donald Trump, behaves like a rich frat boy, your crazy unfiltered uncle at the Thanksgiving table, the loudmouth at the end of the bar at 11 p.m. on a Tuesday night, the golfer who wraps his 7-iron around a tree when he misses an easy shot. Trump behaves like a psychologically damaged 70-year-old man trapped in the persona of a spoiled 13-year-old adolescent, a reality TV star who got paid millions to be brash, rude, demeaning, and narcissistic.

And here’s the astonishing thing. For about 35 percent of the American people, it works! In fact, some significant percentage of the electorate thinks this is precisely what American most needs. When you mock a disabled person by waving your arms in what you think is a spastic parody, declare that your wealth and celebrity allow you to grab women by their sexual parts with impunity, when you call Mexicans “hombres,” shove the prime minister of Montenegro out of the way during a photo op or call terrorists who just blew up the bodies of several dozen British young people “losers, a bunch of losers, OK,” you would seem to prove yourself unfit for the presidency of the United States. Who really wants to defend such behavior? And yet, this man who has never tried to hide his core persona was elected president of the United States in 2016.

I have close personal friends, decent, morally mature and sensitive men and women, who defend Donald Trump’s antics and hijinks and say that he is the victim of “fake news” and a liberal national media that is indeed the “enemy of the American people.”

This phenomenon is simply mystifying. Trump’s behavior gets denounced every day, almost every hour of every day now, but I’m much more interested in trying to understand it, or more particularly trying to understand why there is about a third of the population that defends such loutish and unpresidential behavior or even fist pumps it.

If your preacher talked this way, would you defend it? If a high school English teacher talked this way, would you defend it? If Obama had talked this way, would you have defended it? If your best friend talked this way, would you defend it?

I heard a commentator named Dylan Byers on one of the talk shows last week say that we will never recover our national social and political equilibrium until we figure out why about half the nation is so pissed off, so utterly disillusioned with America’s path, so profoundly fed up, cynical and eager to say not much more than “up yours” to the rest of us, that they routinely, even invariably defend the least presidential character in American history.

I suppose you could argue that even Thomas Jefferson had his moments. He deliberately ruffled the feathers of British ambassador Anthony Merry with his pell mell dinner protocols. Occasionally, for effect, or in philosophical absent-mindedness, he greeted White House visitors in his slippers. He blustered about Spain’s colonial presence in the western hemisphere and rattled the saber towards Madrid and Mexico City from time to time, knowing that it was highly unlikely that Spain would take the bait and actually wage war against the United States. Weary of the opposition press of his time, Jefferson eventually suggested that we divide newspapers into four sections: truth, probabilities, possibilities, and bald lies.

That’s the sum total of Jefferson’s rudenesses. Probably no president in our history had more elegance, and a finer sense of etiquette than Thomas Jefferson.

Jefferson’s world was essentially no different from a Jane Austen novel: “Pride and Prejudice,” “Sense and Sensibility,” “Emma.” Everyone is polite, euphemistic, civil, and nonconfrontational. Whatever gets resolved — and, of course, they faced the same problems all humans always face — has to be resolved by indirection, strained politeness and nuance. It’s hard to know when someone is enraged in Jane Austen’s world because they always unburden themselves using their “inside voices” and employing complete sentences. Or they faint.

Thomas Jefferson was an exquisitely civilized man. He did not Tweet or hold impromptu news conferences or mouth platitudes with tedious repetition of every phrase. “We’re going to be great again. I tell you great again. I mean great folks. Really great. So great.”

Jefferson sat down in front of a plain sheet of expensive paper and the best writing instruments of his time. He thought through just what he wanted to express before he touched pen to paper, paused to regroup between sentences, tried hard to phrase his views in a way that would find harmony in the letter’s recipient.

When he disagreed strongly with someone, Jefferson invariably attempted to lighten the tension by saying, “If we disagree, let us disagree as rational friends.” This was a personal application of the famous utterance from his First Inaugural Address: “Every difference of opinion is not a difference of principle. We have called by different names brethren of the same principle. We are all Republicans. We are all Federalists.”

Much later, Jefferson wrote one of his most beautiful letters to a man named Charles Thompson. The letter epitomizes the soul of the kind of individual you want to be president of the United Sates.

“It is a singular anxiety which some people have,” Jefferson wrote, “that we should all think alike. Would the world be more beautiful were all our faces alike, were our tempers, our talents, our tastes, our forms, our wishes, aversions and pursuits cast exactly in the same mould? If no varieties existed in the animal, vegetable or mineral creation, but all moved strictly uniform, catholic and orthodox, what a world of physical and moral monotony would it be!”

Well, I guess you cannot Tweet that.

I’m Clay Jenkinson.

TONY J BENDER: That’s Life — Make America Great Again Quiz

Just four short months after trading in Kenyan Socialism for Russian Communism with a dollop of South American Style Authoritarianism thrown in for good measure — more bananas, please — it’s time to assess just how super- duper great America has become again.

And you slackers thought you were going to make it to Memorial Day without a test? Dream on.

1. Former N.Y. Congressman Anthony Weiner recently was convicted of texting pictures of:

a. His Anthony.

b. The Washington Monument.

c. The Leaning Tower of Pisa.

d. French Bread.

2. President Trump fired FBI Director James Comey because:

a. Of what he did to Trump’s BFF Hillary.

b. Failed to bring in Bonnie and Clyde.

c. He’s pretty sure Gary Busey can do a better job.

d. Comey doesn’t accept rubles.

3. Former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes died last week  …

a. So a moment of respectful silence please. Long enough.

b. So skirts at Fox News were lowered to half-staff.

c. When his prodigal conscience unexpectedly turned up.

d. Because Rupurt Murdoch won’t stand for a drop in ratings.

4. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer was recently spotted behind the bushes:

a. Retrieving Trump’s errant tee shot.

b. Looking for Waldo.

c. Searching for the rest of the inaugural crowd.

d. Watering the begonias.

5. Accomplishments of the North Dakota Republican Legislative Supermajority:

a. Saved the Senate from denim.

b. Heroically raised your property taxes to save out of state billionaires.

c. Took candy from babies.

d. Roasted the last unicorn for a fundraiser.

6. An irate citizen did this to Congressman Kevin Cramer at a recent town hall meeting:

a. Stuffed money in his collar.

b. Stuffed money in his G-String.

c. Tried to feed him lime Jell-O with grated carrots.

d. Spoke very slowly in short declarative sentences, so he could follow along.

7. Under the proposed Republican health care overhaul:

a. Nursing home residents will spin the bottle to see who gets the oxygen mask.

b. Insurance companies won’t have to use a condom.

c. More leeches.

d. Meet your new surgeon general, Dr. Zhivago.

8. Donald Trump’s favorite president:

a. Himself.

b. Andrew Jackson.

c. Frederick Douglass.

d. Putin.

9. I’m proud to be an American because:

a. At least I know I’m free.

b. At least I know The Rapture will solve everything.

c. At least I ain’t no Muslim.

d. Guns.

10. What N.D. House Majority Leader Al Carlson does when he’s not in the Legislature:

a. Prank calls the governor and asks if his refrigerator is running.

b. Naked goat sacrifices under a full moon.

c. Crochets.

d. He’s Batman.

BONUS. An actual tweet from the president:

a. “Since I’ve been president, not a peep out of West Korea.”

b. “Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?”

c. “Why don’t we prime the pump? Sad!”

d. “Has anyone seen my armada?”

Answers: 1. a; 2. b; 3. b; 4. c; 5. a; 6. d; 7. a; 8. c; 9. b; 10. d; BONUS: b.

Grading: 11-10 correct: Fine. Like the world needed another pointy-headed liberal. 9-8 correct: Salutatorian ain’t a bad thing. 6-7 correct: No problem. We’re grading on a curve. 4-5 correct: Blame it on Fake News. 0-3 correct: Rest easy. You’re still a shoo-in for Trump University.

© Tony Bender, 2017

CLAY JENKINSON: You Do the Math: A Tale Of Two Presidents

A tale of two presidents. Here’s President Obama’s statement in the guestbook at Israel’s Holocaust memorial, July 2008:

“I am grateful to Yad Vashem and all of those responsible for this remarkable institution. At a time of great peril and promise, war and strife, we are blessed to have such a powerful reminder of man’s potential for great evil, but also our capacity to rise up from tragedy and remake our world. Let our children come here, and know this history, so that they can add their voices to proclaim ‘never again.’ And may we remember those who perished, not only as victims, but also as individuals who hoped and loved and dreamed like us, and who have become symbols of the human spirit.”

And here is what President Trump wrote this week:

You don’t have to seek these images out. They just pop whenever you search for photos of Donald Trump.
You don’t have to seek these images out. They just pop whenever you search for photos of Donald Trump.

“IT IS A GREAT HONOR TO BE HERE WITH ALL OF MY FRIENDS – SO AMAZING & WILL NEVER FORGET!”

This isn’t about the politics or the policies of the two presidents. I am not intending to make a partisan statement about the political outlooks of the two individuals. That’s a theme for some other time.

President Obama in Jerusalem.
President Obama in Jerusalem.

No matter how fed up half of the American people are with the status quo, the “establishment,” the “swamp,” we need and deserve decorum and grace in our national leaders. It is the 100th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s birth. Think of the elegance, grace, civility, intelligence, respect of such men as JFK, Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama. And then think of the style of the individual who now presides over the United States. The president is not just a power broker. He or she is also the principal representative of the United States of America, the world’s most important constitutional republic. The president represents a third of a billion people on the world stage. Does Donald Trump represent your idea of America?

When you shove Montenegro’s prime minister out of the way at the photo op, when you mock a disabled reporter by imitating what you think are spastic gestures, when you call the head of the nation’s most important law enforcement agency a “nut job,” when you browbeat our allies at a ceremonial occasion at the new NATO headquarters, you are not advancing the public work of the United States but terrifying a world sorely in need of thoughtful leadership and reducing America’s soft power in the world.

We deserve better.

That there are people who will defend these stunts is a sign of the ethical degradation of America.

TOM DAVIES: The Verdict — Leakers Or Patriotic Whistle-blowers?

It appears that some media types and supporters of President Trump, hereinafter referred to as 45, are having difficulty with how to describe those in government positions who are providing information that is classified to those who will publicize it.

The naysayers suggest those whom they term “leakers” should be sought out, identified and then fired or criminally prosecuted. In a perfect political world that might make sense … but this is not a perfect world from any standpoint.

A quick dictionary search defines a “leaker” as someone who lets people know secret information. I think the more appropriate term would be “whistle-blower.”

A “patriot” is someone who feels a strong support for their country. “Patriotism” is defined as an attachment to the homeland. It can be viewed in terms of differences relating to the homeland, including but not limited to ethnic, cultural, political or historical aspects.

(If you Google each of these terms, the definitions do vary widely. I’ve used the shortest versions here.)

Individuals within the White House, FBI, Homeland Security and other agencies of government have released information that causes us to focus on certain behaviors that truly endanger this country and everything it stands for. These whistle-blowers are supplying information because they place the future of their country before all else. Individually, they have nothing to gain and everything to lose by their actions.

Some will call them leakers. I call them whistle-blowing patriots. The information they have released so far and continue to reveal does not create harm to this country … but screams that we must protect (and in some cases restore) those values that set the United States of America apart from any other nation.

POTUS 45’s suggestion that those who work in government should pledge their loyalty to him personally is not American. It is Russian and echoes all other dictators throughout time. In our community, we are taught to report anything we deem suspicious. Our schools teach us to be good citizens and not tolerate nor accept crime and or other misbehavior … not blindly follow any man.

We are, in fact, taught right from wrong, even when it sometimes seems that distinction is fading. When we sense wrong, we should address it.

Maybe some would consider me a bad person because of my belief on this subject. But if I had taken an oath of secrecy and then learned of a plot to murder someone, do you think for one instant that I’d consider that all right? Each and every one of us was born with a brain. If it functions as it is supposed to, it helps us determine right from wrong … and wrong from sheer insanity.

One of the many problems facing elected officials is their fear to call “foul” when they see a wrong! They place party above country and loyalty to party above all else. They can’t get it through their muck-filled brains that their loyalty belongs to our country first, as well as the people they represent.

This is a time in which government, specifically the criminal justice system, demands nothing less than best and the brightest. Now, though, 45 is considering Joe Lieberman as a finalist for the directorship of the FBI. Yet he now works for the very same law firm that represents 45. He’s 75 years old. While he’s been in politics a long time, he has zero federal law enforcement experience. Prior appointees have been former federal prosecutors and judges. (I cannot conceive of a reason why a federal judge would leave a lifetime appointment to the bench to accept a not-so-safe appointment to a position 45 could terminate.)

My point is that, aside from working for a law firm that represents Trump, Lieberman is a good, honest man. But he’s simply not qualified for that position, so I hope common sense will be factored into the appointment.

Andrew McCabe, acting director of the FBI, has all the relevant credentials, is clearly his own man and would not be influenced in the slightest by 45 trying to direct his investigations. The FBI trusts him. In this era of 45 attacking all investigations of his administration by the FBI, his constant assaults on the media, and his childish name-calling — a well-trained and respected director is needed.

Whether one liked former Director Comey, his qualifications, sincerity and integrity were and still are above reproach.

Once all these House, Senate, FBI and Special Counsel investigations are complete, I predict the next step will be the courts. As I’ve already said, I expect them to potty-train 45 to understand the concept of three separate but co-equal branches of government. There will be criminal prosecutions resulting from the investigations.

My strong sense is that, given the difficulties the Constitution presents when dealing with 45, it may well result that a competency hearing. It isn’t much of a stretch to imagine that this president of the United States is unfit to hold office. The 25th Amendment may be the option that saves us.

* * *

Why is it that Sen. John Hoeven and Congressman Kevin Cramer cannot condemn even one of the inappropriate actions 45 has taken?

The president promised he would run the country like he runs his companies; that’s one promise he has kept. In business, he repeatedly ran up the bills and then didn’t pay the little guy for what he’d ordered. He promised health care for all — but forgot to mention the caveat, “if you can afford to pay for it.” His climate change denial and his poorly thought out executive orders clearly show that he has no concern at all for wages, jobs and the average citizen.

All this … and not one word of criticism from North Dakota’s Republican senator and congressman.

Minnesota is really well-represented. Its senators and representatives, even though from different parties, have not forgotten they work for the people, not vice versa. Then again, Minnesota has a two- or even three-party system. North Dakota does not.

* * *

Fargo attorney Leo Wilking has successfully dealt with health issues, as have I, at Sanford Health. The doctors, nurses, therapists, receptionists, those who clean rooms and even volunteer drivers like Roger Mjones make Sanford what it is — a first-class organization. I join Wilking in his recently published opinion: If Sanford wants to throw a party to celebrate its new Fargo facility, have at it! Your people have more than earned it.

I’m sure some of you are waiting for me to add something political at this point. Not gonna happen this time! Have a great week. Amen.

CLAY JENKINSON: Time To Get It Over With

Donald Trump is almost certainly going to have to resign. His behavior in the Flynn-Comey affair is nothing short of obstruction of justice. Even Republicans who have defended his hijinks until now are beginning to understand the gravity of the President’s misbehavior.

Richard Nixon waves farewell. He was a crook, it turns out, but he loved this country and he understood its place in the world.
Richard Nixon waves farewell. He was a crook, it turns out, but he loved this country and he understood its place in the world.

We need to swallow hard and get this over with.

I knew long before the election that President Trump was going to be bombastic, crude, impulsive and that he would play fast and loose with constitutional and political niceties.

He flirted with an unapologetically extra-constitutional presidency, or at least Know Nothingism, openly declaring that he would profile Muslims, shake up long-established foreign policy norms and alliances, undo hard-fought environmental regulations, and undermine the credibility of some of our most important institutions, inlcuding the judiciary.  He made all of that clear in his two-year campaign to become the Republican nominee and then president of the United States.

Donald Trump won the 2016 election. Elections matter. He had a right to try to change America in the ways he outlined. Millions of Americans voted for him because he told them he would fix what was wrong with the United States.

We can’t afford a prolonged (and predictable) constitutional crisis.
We can’t afford a prolonged (and predictable) constitutional crisis.

But what none of us could really know was that he would permit his closest cronies to commit treason against the United States by egging on Russian interference in our national election. We could not know that he would divulge state secrets to the Russians, demand loyalty vows from key figures in his administration or attempt to obstruct justice by first undermining the credibility of the FBI investigations, then trying to coerce FBI director James Comey and — when that failed — firing Comey, the national officer investigating the crimes of Trump’s cronies, and perhaps his own.

We are edging toward an impeachment crisis. Whether we have the national will to see it through will be a test of our genuine patriotism and our love of the American Constitution. It will also be a test of the Republican Party.

It seems to me that this can only end one way: Sometime in then next year, Donald Trump is going to leave the presidency one way or the other. Mike Pence is going to be the next president of the United States. If you try to construct a scenario in which Trump survives this crisis, you will find it impossible to see a reasonably plausible path.

A man wholly unfit for the presidency. His wounds are all self-inflicted.
A man wholly unfit for the presidency. His wounds are all self-inflicted.

The only way Trump can survive is to go on national television, admit everything, apologize in plain and unmistakably sincere terms, throw himself on the mercy of the American people, ask for a final opportunity to redeem his presidency and pray publicly for forgiveness. If he did this, he would probably survive. The American people believe in second chances.

The likelihood of Trump facing his limitations in an unmistakable and humble way approaches zero. Hubris is his brand. He does not have the right stuff to confess to his inadequacies and his crimes.

Here’s why we need to get this over with sooner rather than later. While we spend months processing these increasingly damaging revelations, with Trump’s diehards blaming the Democrats, the establishment and the media, our true enemies are plotting destruction to America and its vital interests. Their capacities for mayhem are equal to their appalling anti-American rhetoric.

Remember the Condit-Levy madness of 2001? For months, that summer the American people wallowed in sexual prurience after Chandra Levy was killed in the District of Columbia, and her boss, Gary Condit, denied, then admitted, he was having an affair with her at the time of her disappearance. Condit did not kill Levy. But his sexual predations distracted an entire nation at a critical moment in our history.

During those wild and crazy months, former senators Gary Hart and Warren Rudman were warning us that al-Qaida was planning a major attack on the United States. They cried out plaintively using every tool in their possession. They were right about the threats.

But the American people would not listen because they were drunk with intrigue and innuendo, and they preferred to obsess over a tawdry D.C. sex scandal than attend to the urgent security crisis that was unfolding just on the other side of the National Enquirer. Think of the price we paid for our prurience.

We know that our Islamist enemies are now intending a major attack on the United States. Probably it will come in the form of a series of airline bombings, using laptop computers or other electronic devices that can be slipped through airport security inspections. National security officials have said recently that the current threat is the greatest since September 11, 2001.

Two things are critically important now:

  •  First, we need to get this political-constitutional farce over as soon as possible. Almost everyone now has a sense of how it is going to end, even many of the diehards.
  • Second, when the real crisis comes something catastrophic, perhaps on the scale of 9-11 — we are going to need to have a president in place who can lead us through dark times to national survival and recovery. A stable president might even be able to prevent the attack.

I take no joy in the collapse of the Trump presidency. We are the most important nation on Earth. The stakes could not be higher. We don’t have the luxury of a protracted national comedy of political ineptitude and malfeasance. Who wants to hear the last defenders defend the indefensible as things spiral into collapse? We need to attend to the urgent issues of our time: energy policy, health care, immigration, natural resource conservation, education and above all, national security.

As in the summer of 2001, we have once again taken our eyes off of the ball. I am terrified by what is undoubtedly taking place behind the gaudy and sensational scenery as the fifth month of the Trump presidency begins.

Let’s just get it over with.

Clay Jenkinson

RON SCHALOW: Kevin Cramer Must Go

It’s not even a close call, so save the coin toss. Cramer takes North Dakotans for granted and assumes he’s in a safe district. Why, because he’s such a charmer?

Guess again, smirk-boy. Smug-boy. Whatever. I’m older than the kid, so I can say that. Plus, I don’t care. I don’t feel any pleasantness oozing from my aura.

After decades of government jobs, by appointment or election, it’s time for Kevin Cramer to be forced to get a job where he can do less damage.

In case you were wondering, Kevin Cramer will vote for the user’s manual of a Hamilton Beach four-slice toaster if the order comes down from the repellent Munster kid — or the Denny’s menu-signing circus peanut. He has no personal integrity. No brain, no strain.

Our congressman voted it’s on the record to cruelly send millions of the people, “on our side,” to their graves, including innocent children, and 7 million veterans. Never underestimate what this @$$hole will do.

Who needs ISIS or the North Korean fat kid? Just cool your jets, fellas. We’ve got the “death to America” stuff covered by the Party of Lincoln. They’ve had some philosophical changes in the past 150 years, which Abe never endorsed — or ever envisioned.

Their antics probably crossed Stephen King’s mind, though. The health care horror story is likely on its way to Barnes and Nobles, as the representatives celebrate with foreign beer and domestic strippers.

We hire the weasels, send them where all of the lobbyists hang, pay them handsomely, give most of them too much respect, and they hurriedly plot our demise. Drive-through suicide, the Trump hatchlings call it. Bodies will be catapulted over the wall.

Donald Trump said “everyone” would be covered. That was a lie. We’ve seen this con before, and it wasn’t on the midway, where the Trump cousins hand out bags of water and a small orange carp. Bait, depending on the locale. It wasn’t a little white lie, either. It was a Trump-sized and textured, pile of horse$#!*. Kevin Cramer doesn’t care.

Not that anyone paying attention should be surprised. Our congressman has always been a tool.

He doesn’t even try to hide it. Did he know that his oil buddies were sending 30,000 gallon soup cans of butane, methane, propane, ethane and other explosive gases, mixed with the fine Bakken crude, down the rail? Sure. Did he care? Nope. Even when 47 Quebecers died, it didn’t faze him.

When it was determined that 60 to 70 would likely die in a Fargo or Bismarck Bakken train explosion, it didn’t faze him. Cramer won’t cross the North Dakota Petroleum Council. The same could be said for the North Dakota GOP. Smaller weasels. Possibly voles.

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration and Sen. Schumer care, though. And quite a few other politicians throughout the nation, who don’t want their constituents vaporized.

What bothers Cramer, is women wearing white in front of the president. Big Don could have figured that his Klan pals were in the house, or he could have gotten confused about the venue. Trump’s not too sharp — and often gets makeup in his eyes. He might have thrown out the first pitch to Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who rarely carries her catcher’s mitt in public but is considered a splendid receiver.

Meanwhile, at the same event, the dignified Congressmen Cramer, seething in the standard male uniform, yelped like an excited Mexican Chihuahua hombre pup, when the Trumpmeister announced the go-ahead for the Dakota Access pipeline.

Kevin is fascinated with, and has an abnormal love for, a carbon-based liquid, that began its development through one of the quirks of nature, that took place a few million years ago — it wasn’t a given that it would exist— but proved to be useful, when humans decided they needed one-day delivery on 16-foot-long $600 ties from the Trump Collection. The great man spit on each one, which makes them collectors items — or evidence.

I considered some Trump Fragrance, but who wants to smell like an obese sweaty golfer — and crocodile breath? I can handle that myself, without taking out a loan. Melania is said to love the odor, which is one of the reasons why she lives so close — 200 miles is about right — to the lumpy beast. I’m not talking about their pet camel, Wally. He smells like waffles.

Cramer is talking like Trump, much more lately, which leads some people to think that he’s losing his grip on the reality thing. Classic Trump.

Crying about some people being mean to him because he can’t answer basic questions at one his “town halls” in the Socialist Republic of Fargo. Then he runs to Rob Port, on WDAY-AM in Fargo, to complain about his constituents and claim that he was set up for something, by the group Indivisible. It’s a lie, but like Trump, it doesn’t matter.

A group wants to drop off some petitions at his office. But they can’t, because the office is supposedly closed, and three regulation-size cops are on hand to keep two small scary women from entering the office building.

Cramer’s story, also shared with his pal Port on WDAY-AM, is that the owner of the building knew a loitering horde had broken through the perimeter weeks ago, plenty of time to have the police on hand. But the congressman had no clue. Plus, he’s so unconnected with the humans in Fargo, he could not find one person to man the office for 30 minutes. Another crock of $#!*, but he’s sticking to it. Crafty women! Always taking advantage of Kevin.

Sean Spicer, the press secretary for the president, thought it was a good idea (it wasn’t) to compare Syrian President al-Assad to Hitler, saying that good old Adolf wasn’t so unhinged, as to use chemical weapons (on the battlefield). Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.

Cue Cramer. Stupid? Pshaw. That’s his specialty. Because he’s such a powerful member of the House — and not too bright —  Kevin jumps into the outhouse pit without reservation. Sean was “technically” right, he claims. This Hitler story is being distorted by the media and their fancy digital movie cameras. Well, Spicer had already apologized and likely wanted to hide under his bed until after the impeachment. Cramer just looked like a doofus. Perfect Trump material.

Back before the election, when Kevin did think he was Trump material, and a valued adviser, he prepped the grabby, disabled mocking, bastage for his speech in Bismarck, dreaming of being named Energy secretary. Actually, Cramer was the perfect person to ruin the department and do away with the silly protections for water, air and people. When will the government ever get its boot off the throat of the most profitable industry the world has ever known, and set them free to make real money?

After the speech, experts, real experts, wrote that it was as if Trump didn’t understand the basics of the marketplace. He certainly had no clue about coal. The coal industry is dying due to the free market, and it will never employ as many men it did in the heyday in the Appalachians, when it treated the workers like bad meat and simply buried the ones who died on their feet, in the woods, and then sent another one into the hole. The black lung was free, though.

Now, mechanization has replaced humans, and they blow up a mountain just to claim a small seam of coal, and scrape up the black chunks with huge payloaders. Luckily, thanks to Trump, the companies don’t need to worry about the coal crap that ends up in the streams — and gives the water some flavor. This is Cramer’s man. An idiot.

Kevin has always been a little nutty. He seems to delight in taking things away, like food from kids, then whipping out his holy interpretation of the Bible, which reads differently than my copy — or the one that Trump carries around as a prop.

Cramer has to go. He is not a nice man — or a good man. People that know him well, and relations say this. Now, it’s clear that he could care less about our lives, either jeopardized through the lack of access to health care or the indifference to public safety.

Some will say that Cramer acts kindly to certain individuals, which is great, but his responsibility carries greater weight than the neighbor with the kind heart. Millions are left hanging in the wind if this preposterous health care bill should survive the process, which is apparently what our congressman wants. He friggen voted for it. He lacks empathy, trustworthiness, credibility, and he’s a major suck up. He’s not statesman. He’s a lemming. A sheep. A snowflake. UnAmerican.

You’re Only as Good as the Company You Keep

Cramer’s adoration for Trump should make every self-respecting North Dakotan gag. I could go on forever about Trump’s transgressions that affected the poor, minorities, honest craftsmen, women, ripped off students, blah, blah, bah. Plus, it’s on the record.

Donnie lied 555 times in his first 100 days in a job that requires a qualified adult, a truth teller and not a bullshitter. He has proven that he hasn’t the part of the brain that keeps normal people from lying once per minute — and not caring.

Trump is an admitted sex offender. It wasn’t locker room talk. It was admission of an assault. I’ve been in plenty of locker rooms, and BS like grabbing a woman by the @#&*%$# is the obvious crude braggadocio of a sleazy bloviating jackass and would be treated accordingly. Cleats to the balls, 5-iron to the throat or basketball to the face. Something painful, instead of the whimpering of apologists, like Cramer, who aren’t fond of women in the first place.

Does Kevin approve of a grown man taking a stroll through a dressing room of teenage girls? If he approves of Trump, he does.

How about the cheating on all of his wives?

How about his funny disabled man imitation?

How about his snide remark about a news reporter’s menstrual cycle?

How about Trump’s general lack of morals? Sociopathy?

Flip, flop, flop, cough, gibberish. Which of the policies that Trump has today appeal to our congressman? Not those of yesterday, or this morning, or tomorrow, or the second part of his last sentence, but this moment.

Russia, Russia, Russia.

Hot off the press: “100 Days of Accomplishments Under Trump,” by Kevin Cramer, which puts an end to any speculation to whom our congressman is loyal. If it’s not to the people of this state, what good is he?

Just for Members of the North Dakota Legislature Who Support Trump and Won’t Accept the Facts Behind Their Own Actions, Who also Need to be Retired

One Topic — Oil Taxes

Members of the North Dakota GOP, and their shills, continue to deny that the oil extraction tax was cut in 2015 by the Legislature. They lie. Our state has lost millions of dollars of revenue to out-of-state oil barons. Meanwhile, some of our most vulnerable citizens continue to suffer.

The tax deniers want people to believe that taking to two unrelated issues, mashing them together and calling it reform, obscures the fact that taxes were unnecessarily cut for global oil companies. They can call it reform, form-fitting, secret formula, formaldehyde, formidable, or anything else, but it’s still a tax cut.