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.

TOM DAVIES: The Verdict — The Rule Of Law May Not Make America Perfect, But No Other Compares

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is amazed that a judge “sitting on an island in the Pacific” can issue an order blocking POTUS 45’s travel ban. He then opines the president has the constitutional authority to act as he did.

As attorney general of the United States, Sessions has taken an oath to uphold the constitution and lawful court orders. He apparently doesn’t understand that we have three separate but equal branches of government: executive (the president), legislative (Congress), and judicial (the courts).

The attorney general and 45 have one thing in common — disrespect for judges who rule against their positions. For 45, the cause is ignorance because he has no concept of “separate but equal.” For Sessions, it’s that he has crossed the ethical rules and regulations that govern attorneys.

While it may not seem so, the legal system is based on laws and respect for those laws. Sessions crosses both legal and ethical boundaries with his uninformed comments.

The Hawaiian judge who issued the order received a confirmation vote from then-Sen. Jeff Sessions. Like all federal judges, his appointment is for life. For 45 and his appointed court jester to continually attack him and other federal judges is personally baffling to me.

I discount 45 because I have no respect for him as a man, husband, father and as president. Sessions, on the other hand, knows better. He’s not the private attorney for 45, but he’s acting like it. As a lawyer, he’s charged with knowledge of the law.

Remember, the federal courts represent all of us, whether we like it or not. The attorney general is supposed to represent the United States, but this one is in lock-step with the dictator-wannabe who appointed him.

The first thing Sessions did (after promising one New York U.S. attorney he wanted him to stay on) was to fire every United States attorney. As of April 24, not one single replacement has been nominated. So much for the lack of leadership by the top officer of the Justice Department.

The U.S. attorney who was asked to stay on — and then immediately fired when he later refused to resign — was in charge of an investigation into the possible criminal wrongdoing of the current administration, including members of POTUS’s family.

While the federal attorneys general have great support staff, this lack of leadership in the number one spot is absolutely inexcusable …  particularly at a time when the Russian influence in our election and — more troubling — its influence with Trump himself and his family members has not been resolved.

The FBI will gather the information, but all prosecutions must be approved by the attorney general himself or U.S. attorneys — and 45 and Sessions have put a roadblock in their way.

Although I don’t intend do go into the unlawful “pattern” of this administrations actions, or lack thereof, there “is” a pattern. Following the cleansing of the leadership of the U.S. attorney offices, the uninformed one heading our government also fired top leadership in the State Department and has yet to appoint any replacements.

Methinks all of the bluster between United States and North Korea is simply a lot of swaggering boastfulness between the two egomaniacs leading each country. It’s 45, once again deflecting attention from the criminal investigation. The village idiot knows that if North Korea launched a nuclear weapon at any other country, our nation would cause it to cease to exist. Everyone wants to blow his own horn, but even the crazies do not want nuclear war. If it occurred, there would be no winners.

The State Department represents all aspects of our international relationships. To operate properly, it must have a staff that includes the support employees who actually allow it to function. When 45 gutted the Department of State, he gutted this country.

He appointed a secretary of state with no experience and with personal and financial ties to Russia and basically made him dictator of a rudderless ship. State needs staff, and the states need U.S. attorneys.

Remember all of those promises to bring jobs back to the USA? Recall 45’s and Ivanka’s calls to buy only made in America … as they now continue to promote their own foreign-made products?

Made-in-China steel was supposed to become a thing of the past by the Exalted One’s executive order. That made for good public relations — but steel made in China will in fact still be used for the DAPL. Meanwhile, I don’t see any new American steel plants opening!

POTUS 45 proclaimed he would bring back the auto industry and all of its lost jobs. But he’s either lying to the people or just plain uninformed if he doesn’t understand that it was not foreign countries that killed many of our factory jobs. It was automation.

What we need is new jobs to replace those that are permanently gone.

Now, about supposedly making America great again: The Elected One promised to promote infrastructure — bridges, roads, airports, trains, buses and all modes of public transportation. It seems to me that transportation and all area of infrastructure create jobs.

But wait a minute. Not so fast! This president and a few of his supporters want to build a wall between Mexico and America before taking any actions that would impact upon the vast population of this country. At the same time, he uses the threat of potential enemies to justify a great expanse of military spending … notwithstanding that the military itself has made no such request.

The current administration is promoting substantial tax cuts for the wealthiest individuals and corporations. Yet it has produced nothing to show how it will pay for any of it except at the expense of those of us who can least afford another burden.

Currently he who promotes (but has not produced) jobs also has shoved Amtrak onto the chopping block. Instead of modernizing and upgrading the railroad, he wants to cut it.

Give him enough time, though. If he doesn’t get us into a war to distract from all of the legal investigations, he will manage to destroy our internal functions. By “destroy,” I mean that if we don’t upgrade and repair — everything — we will degrade everything.

Who benefits from all of the confusion in the leadership — from utter inaction, other than the tweets of a madman in the White House? A guy named Putin and a country called Russia.

I often use that term “madman” as an exaggeration, but not in this case. With all of the news coverage in the past year — some confirmed, some not —  President 45 has yet to question any actions of Russia.

The answer to so many unanswered questions lies in 45’s tax returns. If they would show nothing that would damage him, why would he not release them? On the other hand, if they reveal the personal financial ties between 45 and his offspring and Russia, it might well result in removal or impeachment. At the very least, he’d face so many additional lawsuits that he’d have to leave his country club, go back to the White House and do what Barack Obama did — work to the best of his ability to serve all of the people of this country.

I’m not talking about Republican or Democratic issues. I speak as an American about American issues. Amen.

TONY J BENDER: That’s Life — Kevin Cramer: Arbiter Of Truth

As a member of the Drive-By, Fake News, Pinko, Socialist, Leftist, Apologist, UnAmerican, Blame-America-First, Liberal Media, I have been checking my mailbox for the interrogation letter U.S. Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., sent out the other day to suspected enemies of the state — you know, ABC, CBS and NBC. He is concerned about the liberal slant of facts.

Kevin, he’s a stickler for truth, justice and the American Way. He can leap tall tales in a single bound. It’s nice to see the congressman managed to fit some censorship in between the arduous task of defending Sean Spicer and Hitler. As I understand it, on Cramer’s Scale of Evil, Hitler is No. 3 and Assad No. 2, with The Media being The Evilest at No. 1. Cue “We Are the Champions.”

Don’t get me wrong, Cramer is all about freedom of information — as long as it means freedom to peruse your personal Internet search history. Technically, it may not have been free. He’s received $71,750 from the communications industry. Sen. John Hoeven received $28,500, but he has not come out in support of Hitler, which makes it a better-than-average day for North Dakotans.

Cramer, like most Republicans these days, is anti-regulation. But while he wants to dispense with FCC privacy rules, he thinks they ought to keep a close eye on journalists saying anti-Republican stuff — which is the same as saying anti-American stuff.

It’s sad when the Russians are more supportive of President Trump than the liberal media. Clearly, the right thing to do is investigate the real Commies — journalists. Grab ’em right by the AP Stylebook. Roll over Edward R. Murrow and tell Tchaikovsky the news.

I’m feeling left out. Am I not liberal enough to get a letter? Where the heck is my Che Guevara T-shirt? Do I have to start driving a Prius?

Tragically, the only thing in my mailbox today was a letter from Blue Cross denying a claim, along with a premium increase. Also, a special offer from an optometrist. I find the fine print to be psychological warfare. Like when Beltone calls and whispers into the phone.

There are reports even Fox News got a letter from Cramer. But who knows for sure? The only sources I trust are Facebook, Twitter, and Strawberry Meidinger.

Fox getting a complaint about liberal bias is a little like putting a cop in the lineup, as witnesses try to identify the chainsaw killer. It’s about, umm, the appearance of fairness, which of course, nobody really wants — which is why the cop is in uniform.

Meanwhile, the chainsaw killers at Fox are far too busy these days fending off lawsuits and chasing female members of their “All Aryan, All the Time” staff to craft any meaningful reply to any letter other than, “Delivery of this $14 million check does not imply guilt or indicate wrongdoing on the part of any employee of Fox News.” We pay. You decide. To keep quiet. And by the way, nice butt.

If you visit Fox News on any given day, it will look like an adaptation of “Dead Poets Society.” But I’ll warn you that while you’re on top of the desk — swatting at gropers clawing at your ankles — saying, “Captain, my captain,” it only encourages Bill O’Reilly. You’d have to go to an airport to get felt up like that. At least there, they drag you off the plane and not into a broom closet.

You family-values conservatives in shock over this must have missed the memo on O’Reilly’s last sexual harassment case involving dirty talk about a loofa sponge. Nice going, Sponge Bill No Pants. All I’ll say is if O’Reilly and Roger Ailes ever get the hots for one another, everyone is going to forget about Barry Manilow.

Where were we? I struggle with focus and retention. Something to do with the ’70s. Or the ’80s. One of those. Possibly both. All I’ll say is I supported Measure No. 5. Or NBo. 6. Whatever it was. Look, a squirrel!

I remember … I was praising Kevin Cramer. I fully support his effort to rein in journalists and their pesky facts.

I would like to add, “I’m proud to be an American, where (at least) I know I’m free.” America is so bigly great again.

© Tony Bender, 2017

RON SCHALOW: Paranoid Politics Behind The Refugee Hubbub

The repugnant grabby Donald Trump, with a white nationalist on his staff, wasn’t the first loudmouth reality TV star, or low-watt nativist leader, to figure out that fear is a great motivator — and vote getter.

Unsavory foreigners are pouring across our borders by the thousands for crissakes, don’t you know. Believe me. Are you jumpy, yet? I’ve heard they’re all carrying recently sharpened machetes.

We need a big beautiful wall, 18 rows of razor wire and some Mexican hombre is going to get a MOAB — the mother of all bills — in his mailbox, followed by the grandfather of all customer service calls. Trust me.

Refugees aren’t being vetted, so they will just have to wait, while they’re on double0secret probation, and get supervetted.

Be afraid of Muslims. That goes without saying. I’m working on a Muslim ban, but the stupid judges are worried about that Constitution thing.

Stupid backward baseball caps, silly clown hair, wearing a fez, while driving one of those kooky little cars and spooking the horses in the parade. Wear any goofy, or non goofy thing, you want on your head. This is American.

Good Christian American women used to — maybe still do — wear scarves over their heads to protect newly styled hair from the wind. Some wear them around the throat as a fashion accessory.

But if you have darker skin and wear a scarf over your head, be prepared to get harrassed by some rube at the grocery store.

Of course, Trump is liar. Most people know that.

But now, the brown-tinted foreigner hysteria has awakened politicians in Fargo — and North Dakota. There is a good-sized segment of the population that’s on board with the rhetoric, so it makes sense that a few lesser Trumps would jump in the mud for votes.

They pretend to be concerned about the cost — as if we’re worried when a big company brings 2,000 jobs to town — when it all boils down to fear — and votes. And it works.

North Dakota State Rep. Christopher Olson, in a fit of concern for our ability to absorb a few hundred people of a certain type, attempted to pass a refugee bill in the Legislature, but it was downgraded to a study. If the Republicans ever studied anything, they might be informed, and they aren’t about to start reading things now.

Fargo City Commissioner Dave Piepkorn demanded to know the costs to the city, specifically from refugees. No one else. Not revenue generated by refugees. Just one side of the ledger.

So, responding to the spasmodic threats of the large red-faced Fargo commissioner, the little people, in Piepkorn’s eyes, scrambled to see how much it was costing for refugees to use OUR streetlights, and OUR left turn lanes. And oooh, don’t forget the wear and tear on OUR park slides.

There were two trees planted on MY boulevard, at substantial cost — holes don’t dig themselves, people — by the city, but they haven’t attracted much of a crowd. One tree died, but it wasn’t due to a stabbing, any type of island voodoo or terrorist activity. Credit both trees to me. A northern European, one generation removed on my paternal side and twice removed on my maternal side. Mark it down.

There is also a $#!%load of expensive foam that firefighters fruitlessly spray on exploding oil trains. We can’t talk about who should be paying for that. The commissioner knows, but those cats aren’t so easy to pick on. Deaths be damned.

It helps to be big, if you’re a bully, ballast for cruise ship, and refuse to do any of your own research. Piepkorn probably intimidates some people.

Personally, I think he has too many chins. I realize that comment was not politically correct —and mean — but Piepkorn hates those politically correct types. Being PC is nothing more than NOT being a dick. NOT. Some people talk about PC like a bramble bush was jammed down their shorts.

The Piepkorn Goes Full Rage

“In a voice full of outrage, City Commissioner Dave Piepkorn demanded why the city didn’t have a say in how many refugees are settled here.”

Me: Talk to the State Department. Enunciate clearly, or something could get MOABed or Tomahawked. This refugee thing has been going on since the ’40s. Get on the Google, and you might know what’s going on, commissioner. And non-Native wanderers have been coming to this continent for a 1,000 years, and it wasn’t until lately that anyone thought to ask.

Seattle, and a thousand other cities, don’t have a say in how many explosive Bakken oil trains are allowed to pass by their people and stuff. Get worked up about that, Dave.

“It’s a “huge decision” made by Lutheran Social Services, tasked by the federal government with refugee resettlement in North Dakota, that creates a burden on local taxpayers, he complained at the commission’s Monday, Oct. 10, meeting.”

Me: No, it doesn’t create a burden, Pieps. Sorry. If the Bison start out 0 – 4, then we’ll see some real angst bubble up, and a little will probably get on your shoes.

“Piepkorn posed three questions to LSS CEO Jessica Thomasson, beginning a brief but intense dialogue: One, how much is paid for each refugee who settles in Fargo-Moorhead? Two, who decides how many are settled here? And three, does LSS have some legal responsibility for how they behave when they move here?”

Me: This could have been handled in two minutes over the phone, but the political impact of public outrage would have been wasted. We get it. You’re outraged. Please go to Mexico.

Piepkorn interrupted to complain: “That’s unacceptable. To think that someone else is determining the number of refugees that we can handle. Their decisions impact our budget, the schools, the parks and on and on. As far as I know, we’re not included. Are any of the city commission included?”

Me: Everybody but you because who needs all of the shouting. Dave’s not home, man.

“As far as I know, we’ve had not participation,” Piepkorn said. “To me, to think city leaders are not involved in this. This is a huge decision made by you, that’s encumbering us.”

Me: Who is encumbered? And if you can’t remember if something happened, you have larger problems, big fella.

“I hope everyone is hearing what she’s saying: They’re refugees and when they come here, they have all the rights of a legal citizen?” Piepkorn asked.

Me: Residents. Not citizens. Yeah, I HOPE everybody heard that because it’s going to be in my campaign literature. And what rights would you like to take away from certain residents? Speech? Guns? Refusing to board soldiers without consent?

Piepkorn angrily disagreed: “The credibility of these people,” he said pointing in Thomasson’s and Mahli’s direction before trailing off. “I want to have accountants find out. People are telling us everything is fine and dandy. I’m sorry, everything is not fine and dandy. What happened in St. Cloud is not fine and dandy. I don’t want that to happen again.”

Anyway, Piepkorn stomps his feet and voila!

The New American Economy, a national organization and the American Action Forum, sent out a letter signed by 1,500 economists, both Republican and Democrats. that verified that immigrants and foreign-born humans who live in North Dakota paid $124.6 million in taxes in North Dakota in 2014.

From the Fargo Forum:
“Some of us favor free markets while others have championed for a larger role for government in the economy. But on some issues there is near universal agreement. One such issue concerns the broad economic benefit that immigrants to this country bring.”

“On average, a first generation immigrant is cost POSITIVE in North Dakota by approximately $3,250 per individual,” the report said, citing a 2016 study by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, a group of nonprofit organizations in Washington, D.C.

In other words, refugees don’t present a cost. They produce revenue for the state and Fargo, which is a GOOD thing.

Case closed, right?

Nope. The educated experts weren’t enough to convince the usual suspects, who wouldn’t believe anything that didn’t fit their narrative.

Did I say experts? People educated in the subject at hand? Oh, pshaw. I talked to this guy, who said that some terrorist-looking guy has been out in the woods scoping out something with binoculars. Or he could have been bird-watching. Is it worth taking the chance?

If a proclamation was magically transported to White Butte on two shale tablets, written by the staff of Gandalf, and read aloud by the Force Ghost of Obi-Wan Kenobi, they would scoff.

In September 2016 a 20-year-old Somali refugee, who moved to the United States when he was 3 months old, stabbed 10 people at a St. Cloud, Minn., mall. No fatalities. No connection to any terrorist groups.

That incident spooked Piepkorn.

Commission Piepkorn evidently holds Lutheran Social Services, which resettles refugees in North Dakota, at the behest of the U.S. State Department because accepting refugees is part of our foreign policy, responsible for the attack in St, Cloud. Silly, right?

Not to Dave. He demanded that Lutheran Social Services prevent any knife attacks in the future. Piepkorn didn’t mention how the hell anyone could make such a promise. I don’t think my next door neighbor is going to lose it, although he does have a nice collection of mall attack knives, but I can’t guarantee it. And he doesn’t seem to like it when I stare at him through his windows.

Plus, that’s not what Lutheran Social Services does. It does what they are contracted to do, and it doesn’t involve chipping a toddler and tracking his movements for the duration of the kids life span. Look at the LSS website, for Pete’s sake!

So, good old Pieps showed us his tell. Cost isn’t his primary concern, if it is at all. He thinks infants, from the Mideast, can grow into killing machines. Who couldn’t? And who is responsible if a Norwegian-American goes off the rails at the Kirkwood Mall, in Bismarck? The Sons of Norway?

“I’ll get to the nut of it,” Piepkorn said in October 2016. “I believe the refugees that come here, they have health care, they have housing, they have transportation all provided for them. They are competing against the people who live here making 10 bucks an hour, but they have a huge advantage because refugees have all those advantages. We’re bringing in competition against the current residents and I believe that’s hurting our low income people who live here. It’s almost as if it would be better for them to apply as refugees and get benefits than to be an American citizen.”

What a crock of $#!* and false. A huge advantage because they know how to dodge bombs? Who does he think he is, Trump?

Cass County Commissioner Chad Peterson is another concerned official — about the costs, of course. He’s worried about being called a racist or xenophobe, if anyone asks for a calculation. Weak. That’s the favorite out. Everybody isn’t screaming racist. That’s a fable.

“Government shouldn’t be in the business of feelings and hugs and kisses,” said Peterson. Or common sense, or willing to look at facts that defy rigid beliefs. I’ll take a pass on the hugs and kisses from Peterson, and no one from the government has ever offered me a hug or kiss, so I’m suspect of Peterson’s grasp on what people think.

Valley News Live

Then, there is Valley News Live, a Fargo station. A year or so, ago, it reported and promoted the fiction of tuberculosis-riddled refugees. The story was debunked, but its attitude remains the same. It’s a business decision. It has decided to cater to the anti-refugee ( and anti-other things) crowd. It’s reprehensible but evidently profitable.

State Rep. Christopher Olson tried to palm off the same TB story, so we know how pure his intentions are.

From Valley News Live: Likely written by Ike Walker or Chris Berg. Perhaps they struck their heads together, to generate the necessary heat. Who knows?

“It was initiated last fall after Fargo City Commissioner Dave Piepkorn started asking questions about the issue, specifically the costs to various aspects of the city. But did the question ever actually get answered?”

Me: Yes, but he doesn’t care, and neither do you people.

“A good characterization for Thursday’s event: little information, frequent applause and no outright critics. And it left many asking, did they actually answer the question: how much does it cost?”

Me: Many were asking? Like who? You wrote that there are no outright critics. The sentences were connected.

One, I guess. “Well I don’t think we got any answers,” said Cass County Commissioner Chad Peterson. “What this should have been in my mind was a brief meeting that took about five minutes. It costs X.”

Me: Ignorance to how life works is not an attractive quality. Not everything is quantifiable — or can be answered with an X. But numbers were offered. Numbers that proved that there is not a cost but positive return. Repetitive, I know.

“I want to look at the numbers. I want to look at the sources, I want to look at everything and see where we’re at,” explained Fargo City Commissioner Tony Gehrig.

Me: Go ahead, Tony.

“You know the Human Relations Commission wanted to release it this way and that’s their prerogative I suppose,” said Gehrig.

Me: Released at a meeting open to the public? I see the problem. Obviously, trickery was involved.

Here’s how Valley News Live chose to characterize the gathering, and the information offered.

“How did they release it? At the noon-hour event, inviting the public to attend but not allowing public comment and they offered a 22-page document. It pulls information from a study by the pro-refugee organization Partnership for a New American Economy and other various local and national studies.”

Me: Oh, a pro-refugee organization? Well, then it has be false, unlike the demonstrably false slime Valley News Live passed off as news. And either something has too many pages, or too few, for the Trumpites.

“But the specific question of what refugee resettlement costs you the taxpayer, that information is not contained in this report.”

Me: The cost is zero. If you’ve ever read a profit-and-loss statement, you can have zillion expenses, but if the revenue exceeds the expense tally, you have a winner. A profit. Not a cost, you dense $#&*@#$!%’s.

Here’s a good one. “However, refugees and immigrants are two entirely different specifications. Refugees are defined by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees as someone who has been forced to flee their country because of the fear of persecution, war or violence. An immigrant is someone who moves to live in a foreign country permanently.”

Me: Thanks for this useless string of definitions, but the report includes any foreign-born human, so let’s not try to look for cracks where there are none. I’m have no doubt that this nonsense will play well with your regular audience, though, which is the object of spreading this manure on salted land.

“Also, remember this study was done at the request of Commissioner Dave Piepkorn. He was not in attendance at Thursday’s meeting, and Valley News Live has been told he’s on vacation in Mexico.”

Me: That’s his problem.

Bonus Piepkorn

Asked if he missed anything from the report, Piepkorn said, “No, nothing substantial, that’s for sure.” He then referred to the report as “propaganda and fake news.”

Me: Pieps has the talking points down. He just needs to Tweet them, to start the firestorm, and end up on Hannity.

“I do want to see numbers that are based on facts,” he said. “I won’t tolerate people who try to blow smoke up my dress. A lot of people don’t want to know what those numbers are. I promise we will get those numbers.”

Me: I wouldn’t think of blowing anything up Dave’s skirt. He’s kind of a condescending knob.

“Now that Gov. Doug Burgum has signed into law a legislative study looking at various aspects of refugee resettlement in North Dakota, Piepkorn said he is optimistic the numbers he wants will eventually come out.”

Me: Nobody is optimistic about anything the Legislature does. Does he think these phantom numbers have fallen behind some old filing cabinet in the basement? Maybe.

“They are our guest. If they’re not behaving, they don’t get to stay,” he said.

Me: If “they” aren’t behaving, “they” are arrested and tossed into the pokey. Or possibly shot to death, like the young man in St. Cloud. Severe enough?

“My track record is I ask questions about how our money is being spent,” he said.

Me: Not all of it, dude.

A recall election would provide an “opportunity for a lot of people to send a message to the politically correct,” Piepkorn told Thomas.

Me: If you believe the numbers provided in the report, you’re one of those snowflake politically correct lib%$&# cucks, who doesn’t think he’s smarter than the experts.

The Portweasel

Now for my favorite smear blogger, and agent of misinformation, lying and BS, for Forum Communications. As near as I can figure, all of the big shots were sitting in a darkened office sipping single malt one cold night, and one of them said, “I think we have too much credibility.”

Answer, Rob Port, the cheese-eating cowardly bastard from Minot.

His headline: Refugee Report From Fargo’s Human Relations Commission Reveals Very Little

“The problem with the debate of refugee resettlement here in North Dakota is that we really don’t have a lot of data on its impacts.”

Me: There are no impacts. What are the impacts, Portweasel, and what data would satisfy your chosen bias? He doesn’t know. This is just a copy and paste from earlier posts, a real time saver for no talent yokels, that say the same damn thing, over and over.

“But even the push to address that information vacuum has proved politically harrowing. Those who want to explore the issue are accused of bigotry by strident left wing ideologues.”

Me: Misinformation, lies and BS. Oh, my! A strident harrowing vacuum. What a tool.

“Fargo has seen the largest number of refugees over the year, and city leaders there did ask their Human Relations Commission to study the issue.

When you’re done reading it, you probably won’t know much more about refugee resettlement in the Fargo area than you do now.”

Me: If you’re moron, maybe. Keep in mind that Port isn’t too sharp, or educated, but he really thinks he’s an expert on any topic. He knows how to run a college the size of North Dakota State University, but chooses to use his skills criticizing his “colleagues” from a safe distance. Port is a climate denier, who insists that no oil taxes were cut by the Legislature, so he has trouble with facts. He’s also a Trump apologist, a Kevin Cramer lackey and a corporatist shill. And those are his good qualities.

“The report itself, once you scroll past a lot of the pretty pictures and lists of participants and other pablum, is pretty short. It acknowledges that there isn’t a lot of data available and then describes information gleaned mostly from a National Academy of Sciences study and some anecdotes.”

Me: The pablum came real educated economists, not a professional couch accessory.

“We learn that refugees, much like anyone else, work jobs and earn money and then spend that money in the local economy. Which is great! But not exactly revelatory information.

The one thing the report does illustrate is just how little information is available on refugee resettlement.”

Me: As the witless wonder, who has never had a work-related callous, says, “much like anyone else.” Now, that’s some disturbing news. There has to be a way to twist “normal human” into wicked horned creatures. That’s never been tried before.

Because you can never get enough Port, here are some snippets from his second post on the great refugee report, titled: Wrong Time for a Vacation Mr. Piepkorn

Me: Port loves chastising people.

“The latter issue was the casus belli for the recall effort, but the former has been more damning.”

Me: Yes, Port is also a wiz with Latin.

“For instance, earlier this year was called out for making demonstrably false statements about the head of Lutheran Social Services in North Dakota. That organization handles refugee resettlement in this state, and while they deserve plenty of criticism, it was foolish of Piepkorn to say things that weren’t true. Either he didn’t know what he was saying was wrong or he made things up.” (That’s how he wrote it, folks)

Me: Clownboy says,”it was foolish of Piepkorn to say things that weren’t true.” I would say that telling lies was wrong, not foolish, but I don’t live in the world where telling lies is part of the gig, like cotton candy head, or the Portweasel. I showed the Port, and Forum Communication, the “demonstrably false statements” the round mound made about me. His courageous response, Block me from commenting on any platform.

“And to be fair, the report was mostly worthless.”

Me: Bull$#!*, you three-toed tree sloth, to be fair.

“Do better, Mr. Piepkorn.”

Me: Do better, Portweasel. You’re an embarrassment to the Internet.

Related: One of Port’s finest smears and the rebuttal

Anatomy of an Outrage

“No one leaves home unless home is the mouth of a shark.” ― Warsan Shire, Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth

TOM DAVIES: The Verdict — Misguided Missiles Accomplish Little Beyond Distraction

It didn’t take POTUS 45 long to once again deflect attention from the interference of Russia with our election by bombing a Syrian air base. That’s resulted in some proclaiming him a hero.

Apparently, our president tweets when he ought to be watching the news he’s quick to call “fake.” If he had paid attention to the real world, he would have known that “little babies” have been murdered ever since the Syrian conflict began.

Had he paid attention, he would have known that it makes no difference what is killing the population — including men, women and children and as well as his “little babies” — from the standpoint of the families who do survive.

Does our president think that being burned alive, having limbs blown off, surviving with horrible burns and being buried alive are something new in this conflict?

Obviously, 45 didn’t see the picture of that cute little boy who drowned in the Mediterranean Sea while his family tried to escape the butchery that is Syria today. His photograph touched hearts around the world. He was just another innocent little boy, and not “a little baby” who died from chemical weapons. Where was the president’s compassion and outrage for him?

In their coverage after 45’s “presidential” attack, the media conveniently failed to report that the bombing of hospitals — just as both Syria and Russian have been doing since the war began — is a war crime. Where is the outcry? Where are all those “Right to Life” groups” while these horrors have been taking place?

Now the present administration is criticizing President Obama for failing to act in 2013 when the Syrian government crossed the “red line” he’d established. Congress refused to authorize military action. Instead, here’s what he did: He and Putin together came to an agreement that all weapons of mass destruction would be removed from Syria. He believed that Russia would act in good faith, and his belief prevented mass casualties all around at that time.

What Obama did not know was that either Russia lied, or Putin was played like a fiddle by his Syrian ally. Since no one plays Vladimir Putin and survives, that leads us to only one conclusion: He did, in fact, lie.

If Putin had honored his pledge, then President Obama would have been a hero. But because Putin broke the agreement … they say Obama is somehow the bad guy. Where in hell is the logic with that argument? How can any of our elected leaders buy into it?

Here is a simplified statement of fact. We are asked to believe that Russia had no knowledge that Syria had these chemical weapons … notwithstanding that we have photographic surveillance proof that the Syrian planes that dropped barrels of sarin gas took off from a base where Russian aircraft were stationed. Hmm, coincidence? I think not.

The 59 Tomahawk missiles fired from U.S. warships had to fly over a Russian airbase in Syria to reach their target. Russia has air defenses that could have shot down the missiles as they crossed overhead — but did not do so. Do you think the air defense folks at the Russian base were sleeping? I think not.

I think it’s safe to assume that 45 gave Putin a heads-up about the upcoming strike. In return for their not interfering with the attack, we agreed not to damage the runways. No sooner had the Tomahawk missiles (manufactured by an American company named Raytheon) hit the Syrian base, than the Syrians had their planes back in the air from that very same base … and once again they bombed the hospital where the victims of the chemical attack had been taken. Any of those “poor little babies” that 45 was concerned about who survived the initial attack died in the subsequent one.

Did 45 go back in and teach them a lesson for their murderous actions — another war crime? Nope. Instead, he basked in the sunlight of those who extolled what a fearless leader he was. And he accomplished what he really had in mind. It took the public’s focus off investigation of the Russian attack on our democracy and his possible involvement in it.

It has been demonstrated that rarely does 45 do anything that doesn’t get him either good press or good profits. This is more of the same. You’ll remember I emphasized Raytheon, the company that built the Tomahawk missiles. That’s because 45 owns a lot of stock in that company. By early Friday, its stock price was rising dramatically on Wall Street. Surprise!

If the president’s military action was serious, then it failed. If it didn’t fail, then something else is afoot that could get us into World War III. Whoflung Dung, the leader of North Korea, is the only other world leader with as little experience as 45. It is my fervent hope that the two most uninformed leaders in the universe don’t play a game of chicken with nuclear weapons. We have folks who could lock our president in a closet if he tried to use the weapons, but that would also require taking away the code box so he can’t use it.

Since I’m quite sure that 45 and his pal Putin read the Moorhead Extra, I recommend to their advisers that they take the appropriate action right now to keep us out of war.

If 45 really feels concern for victims in Syria, perhaps he should be consistent. He can do that by withdrawing his Muslim ban and either allowing victims into our country as refugees, or at the very least reinstating the foreign aid he canceled. Get together with our allies -— fund and protect refugee camps until the madness subsides. The money blown on that pointless attack on the air base (while leaving the runways intact) could have been put to much better use.

I’m no military man, but I’ll bet if our military had dropped a few runway-wrecking blockbuster bombs, it would have shocked the enemy into listening. Just as good, at the same time it would have prevented them from taking off from those very same runways within hours. I’m told that if one of those much more powerful blockbusters had been dropped, the shock wave alone might have exceeded the total damage of all those million-dollar Tomahawks.

And oh, did I mention the price of oil went up after the bombing. Don’t 45 and most of his cabinet have investments in oil? Gee, no conflict of interest there, huh?

Syria, Russia, Iran and some of the feuding factions now refer to the USA as an outlaw nation.

Right after the president of China left our air space after his visit with 45 at Mar-a-Lago, the New York Times reported: “Xinhua, the Chinese state news agency, on Saturday called the strike the act of a weakened politician who needed to flex his muscles. In an analysis, Xinhua also said Trump had ordered the strike to distance himself from Syria’s backers in Moscow, to overcome accusations that he was ‘pro-Russia.’”

I don’t want to see us to go to war. Exposing the administration for what it is carries a high degree of importance to me, as it should for all Americans. This is still the USA of old, but we are now in a hole we’ve dug for ourselves. But we will survive. As I’ve repeatedly said — if ever there was a reason to vote your conscience, the time is now. Amen.

TOM DAVIES: The Verdict — No One Wants Parking Meters But Out-Of-Touch Politicians

Moorhead, prepare for a possible influx of new business. It seems that North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum and his gang are pushing for a law authorizing the use of parking meters — for downtown Fargo.

Never mind that he has substantial holdings in Central City, and never mind that the cost of each unit, including installation, could be in the area of $1,000. (My info comes from the Web, which referred to both cash-operated and the more modern credit-card-operated units.) They would basically benefit no one other than those who live downtown and want traffic to move.

Never mind that merchants have always known that meters don’t bring in shoppers! Customers don’t want the hassle if they have alternatives like Moorhead and the area shopping centers. But Burgum doesn’t own properties in those other parts of our towns — no need to worry about meters elsewhere!

Proponents claim parking meters will eliminate the need for the parking officers who now patrol the area. But they have yet to answer one interesting question: If those meters expire and no one checks them, how are violators going to be punished?

* * *

It’s also too bad Burgum didn’t take former Gov. Ed Shafer’s advice and veto the law that allows anyone to open-carry guns without a permit or training.

The Moorhead Police Department will have a field day with the warriors from North Dakota when the latter drive into Minnesota and strut their gun stuff … only to find that said exposure and carry is not legal in Minnesota.

Legalizing open carry without training is a bad idea. It does seem to go hand in hand with North Dakota’s ranking as tops in driving under the influence and other alcohol-related offenses. Here’s just one example of the stupidity that could arise: A person is stopped for possible DUI. He has a prior record and panics; or he panics, even without a prior record. What do you think law enforcement officers will be thinking as they approach that vehicle in an open-carry state?

Will arguments formerly resolved by fists now be resolved with guns? Throw in alcohol and drugs, and this law simply adds fuel to the fire. Gov. Gun Supporter doesn’t have to enforce the law. But he just greatly increased the risks for those who do.

The National Rifle Association has a stellar record of buying politicians who then support their legislation, whether or not it’s good for those who voted them in. That’s a fact of life, one that we ought to concentrate on a lot more than we do.

Our state-level clone of POTUS 45, a.k.a. the governor of North Dakota, also sent a letter urging the repeal of the Affordable Healthcare Act on the very day the Speaker of the House of Representatives withdrew the Republican attempt to repeal and replace. Burgum, along with other Republican governors, did that with the complete knowledge there was no “repair” or “replacement.” He was prepared to throw the elderly, the infirm, the students and everyone else off their current plans.

Unlike Gov. B, the general population of North Dakota is not in the superwealthy class. The average person — me, for instance — would take it in the shorts. I live with diabetes from damage to the pancreas, meaning I now have a pre-existing condition. He would have thrown me and many others to the wolves.

Nursing homes, hospitals and rural clinics would all have been adversely affected. People who do not have knowledge about how the average citizen manages to survive should not be making decisions that will hasten their demise.

* * *

It seems Fargo City Commissioner Dave Piepkorn has stepped in it again with his divisive comments and actions relating to the cost of immigrants in our community. He’s dead wrong; he is in lockstep with the likes of 45 and Burgum.

But his actions, as offensive as they are, do not — in my opinion — justify recalling him.

Those who are unhappy with any politician ought to redirect their energy into finding suitable candidates to run for office and replace those they don’t support. With a recall, you have no idea who the successor will be. But you can bet that all kinds of self-interested individuals will come out of the woodwork to fill the void.

One thing 45 has done is to wake the sleeping giant known as the American Voter. From all appearances, the weirdly incompetent anomaly known as Donald J. Trump won’t happen again in this century. Voters will be alive and well to take on the the next batch of local, state and federal elections because we have been reminded what is at stake by silence and inaction.

* * *

By the way, did anyone remember to tell ISIS they should stop fighting and go home? I mean, 45 did announce he would cause the destruction of ISIS within the first 30 days of his administration. But by golly, he said the same thing about the Affordable Care Act … yet Trumpcare failed, just like all of 45’s private enterprises — Trump casinos, Trump steaks, Trump University and so many more.

I think a good many people really did think that Obamacare and the ACA were two separate things. They didn’t like Obamacare because of the man whose name it was stuck with, but did like the ACA, which benefited them. Of course, the two are one and the same.

When people make promises, we have to look behind them and consider whether they have the means to do what they say. Take the ACA, for example. After eight years and 60-some votes to repeal it, the Republicans now in the majority had neither a repair or replacement plan. Eight years of political BS! And still the politicians drew their pay. In the private sector, the clowns of “The Party of No” would have been fired. Maybe that will happen now.

I have one growing fear about 45. Each day, either through his tweets or his minions, he does something to divert the news from the serious topics of the day. The media are on to him now, and they’re starting to tune out some of his antics That’s why I’m getting more and more worried that the Orange One will ultimately start a military action to divert attention from the more and more damning investigations. I hope I’m wrong.

And one last travesty. Congress has voted to repeal protections for wolves and bears on Alaska wildlife refuges. They have legalized killing wolves, bears and their babies in their dens. What a piece of cold blooded stupidity! Sen. Heidi Heitkamp opposed the measure. POTUS 45’s faithful servant, Sen. John Hoeven, supported eliminating the protection. Shame on you, John Hoeven. Amen.

TONY J BENDER: That’s Life — The Sanctity Of Life And Tax Cuts

I’m exhausted from winning so much. America is so great again. Stop it already. My trophy case is full.

Sure, a lot of people think the House of Representatives didn’t have the votes to pass health care reform last week, but when you factor in the Electoral Collage, it was a huge win. Yuuuge.

You should have seen everyone coming out to celebrate. It was biggly bigger than the inauguration, which had more people there than actually exist — if you factor in visitors from other planets. Most of them from Uranus. We should deport them.

Check the satellite imagery we got from the Klingons. There are bodies everywhere. Hold it, they’re not moving! We must have time-traveled to the near future to a time after the Republicans fixed health care. If the Rev. Jim Jones was alive and in Congress, he’d be heading up health care reform. (Insert your own Kool-Aid reference. Must I do everything around here?)

The point is, trillions of people showed up to celebrate health care reform. Trillions. That’s even after you deduct 10 Russians — and counting. That Vlad — doing his part for population control.

“It is a missed opportunity to save the American people from the death spiral of this very flawed law,” said North Dakota Congressman Kevin Cramer, deeply regretting he was unable to save 24 million Americans from being insured. Everyone knows health insurance is a death sentence, and freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose.

The Republicans have been offering up swing-bed foreplay for seven years: “When we get back in power, we’re going to be so good to you. It’s gonna be the best ever. Gonna rock your world, baby. Anthony Weiner’s got nothing on us.” Now, after seven years of steamy talk about co-pays, here comes the booty call and … pfffffffft! Ironically, under their plan, Viagra isn’t covered. But then again, neither is Planned Parenthood, so it’s a wash. After strutting around all this time like Mick Jagger in Spandex, it turns out the bulge was a handgun.

Meanwhile, in Bismarck, you can’t wear jeans on the Senate floor, but I think a heater is OK. Conservative priorities. They’re only temporarily pro-life. If it involves life expectancy or gun control, all bets are off — unless Al Carlson gets his casinos built. For the first time at the Capitol, being Sergeant at Arms really means something. Jesus once said, “Blessed are the marksmen.” And everyone knows God wrote the Second Commandment to the Constitution.

Janne Myrdal keeps a Glock in her chastity belt. And a Ruger. And curiously, some guy named Jake. He’s either from NRA or State Farm. I’m not sure if he does health insurance, though.

SIDEBAR: I once knew a girl from Zap, N.D., whose Mossberg got the clap. (If you’re still feeling Irish, insert limerick here.) Don’t worry, it was covered under Obamacare.  Her over-and-under was cured with antibiotics. In the future, you’ll have to rely on leeches and a prayer chain.

The point is, Sen. Myrdal is a great American. She’s got an entire arsenal in there. It’s a yuuuge chastity belt. It’s like the Grand Canyon. When you yodel, it echoes forever. There’s so much chastity in there. Don’t confuse it with the sanctimony. I think I see Jesus in the corner. He’s holding a Beretta.

I’m going to drop some 9mm cartridges in the collection plate on Easter Sunday. I think there should be a service the night before, too. A Saturday Night Special.

I’m puzzled the family-values folks couldn’t rally people around the idea of raising the cost of premiums and deductibles, cutting coverage and giving tax breaks to oppressed millionaires. Is this even America anymore? It’s sad when the Russians are more effective in our political process than Congress. Soon we’ll have a borscht stand at every casino.

Now, that we’ve won at health care reform, we’re moving on to tax reform to save the Koch Brothers from having to eat the cheap caviar. You can see millionaires on every street corner holding signs in their tattered tuxedos: “Will contribute to your campaign for tax breaks.”

Who knew health insurance could be so complicated? Oh, and being president is hard. It really messes with your golf swing. Though it’s not being reported by the lame stream, drive by, irrelevant, fake news media, it wrecks havoc on your basketball game, too. President Trump is throwing up so many bricks, he may have to join a union. The International Brotherhood of Tweeters?

Unlike the guy he subbed in for, he can’t go to his left worth a damn, and he keeps arguing with the referees. To be fair, he is a prolific dribbler, which is why Melania is sleeping alone. Who wants to sleep on the drool spot? Anyway, the president is busy spooning with Putin.

Fear not. You’re in good hands. (Does Allstate still do do health insurance?) Small hands, but good hands. The best. Believe me. Winning. We haven’t won like this since, like, ever. It’s like Charlie Sheen is president.

© Tony Bender, 2017

RON SCHALOW: The Emperor Has No Feathers

I’ve had some bad weeks. One August, I lounged on the deck of a pontoon in the sun so long that my shins and feet were seriously burned. There was smoke — and not the medicinal kind. I was in pain for at least a week, and gentle I had to be, to get the old shoes on. The hair on my shins never did grow back — smooth as a billiard ball — but I never tried to pull a fancy comb-over.

On a colder day, one of my rear tires lost hope and deflated more than a Tom Brady football. I didn’t blame it. Most of the rubber had abandoned ship long ago. This was before cell phones — at least ones smaller than an 8-pound block of sharp Cheddar cheese. So, in 50 below zero wind-chill weather, I jacked up the rear end and switched out the deceased tire with a slightly better one that still had the guts to retain air.

My thighs took the brunt. The permafrost ran Femur deep. The slow thaw didn’t feel like springtime — or any of the other seasons in Mohall, N.D.

Of course, I’m not including the deaths of loved ones, or a national tragedy. And I’ve never been to war. But then, neither has Donald Trump. I was fortunate. He was a dodger.

But even though my legs have endured 140 degree temperature swings, nothing compares to the week Donnie Trump took on the chin, starting with the giant FBI director calling him liar.

Millions of people have called the soft-brained simpleton a liar, but this one had to sting. Good old Comey. I hope he’s on our side.

I have doubts about the Trumpster. The Russians have landed on Mar-a-Lago beach, worked their way to the tennis courts and set up camp. They’re using the nets to snag bluefish, snappers and tons of plastic champagne flutes.

And the dope is worried about malnourished 36-inch refugee Syrian kids.

I worked with a Russian woman who had been in the states for four years and could speak English better than me. Not a high bar but disconcerting for several reasons.

Holy buckets. That was an, ooooh, it-had-to-hurt week. Leave-a-mark week and other cliches.

A week of going out for passes across the middle and the prolate spheroids (I had no idea) are continually getting chucked just a smidge high, while the ornery turbo charged cornerback licks his lips, waiting to separate some limbs from their sockets, bruise some innards and break multiple ribs of the receiver, front and back. Ouch. Bring out the cart. Warm up the MRI gizmo. Call next of kin. The number is glued to the fibrillation dealy.

Oh, a 15-yard penalty? That’s pretty harsh for nationally televised assault. Wipe that smile off your face and quit giggling!

David Crosby never had such as week, and most of his parts are used. Stills, Nash, and Young are still working with original equipment, as far as I know, so no need to worry. Except about their attitudes. Bad.

Dave’s pancreas is for sale on eBay, and even he couldn’t quit snickering, while the Trump University scammer sweated off his pumpkin concealer from the Katy Perry collection and his so-called waterproof Nordstroms mascara. Sad.

And, I enjoyed every minute of it, too. I don’t know where the chickens go before they come home to roost, but there were some fat Rhode Island Reds sitting on the gropers head-nest, and the sight was splendid.

Except for the hair pile — it was really distracting the poultry — and the sight always puts me into a trance, trying to figure out the structural integrity of the fuzz. There’s no load bearing head!

Gawd, I want to take hedge clippers to those, those, what are those? Side wings? Get a grown-up haircut, for crissakes.

I was thrilled for Kevin Cramer, too. He latched onto 45’s wrinkled Chrysler-sized rear end with both thin lips and never let up on the suction.

Before this current Trump gig, Cramer used to clean behind the cushions of any crusty couch in Cass County for a nominal fee — and got to keep the change. He was famous for his vacuum-related feats in Kindred, N.D. It was a nicer place after he left, according to Trump, who heard it someplace, from somebody. Maybe everyone. I can’t understand the man.

Speaking of the bootlick, our lone congressman has been bragging about voting to repeal Obamacare 793 times. He also counts a 15-minute visit on the kiss @$$ Rob Re-Port unheard of radio phenomenon as a town hall, so his perception of actual accomplishment is different than say, well, anyone who has ever had a job.

But Cramer never thought to conjure up a better health care idea in those years, and although Trump indicated that he, and only he, had a great plan, he didn’t. It was just his latest con, and Kevin knew it. Cramer would have voted for the most depraved moronic bill, for a pat on the head from DT.

“We’re going to have insurance for everybody. There was a philosophy in some circles that if you can’t pay for it, you don’t get it. That’s not going to happen with us.” — Dirty Old Man

That was lie.

When he lies, his apologists, like Cramer, say that Trump isn’t politician, as if being a politician wrings the truth from the memory-collecting gland before shooting the words out of the face hole.

Becoming a politician since he was 8 didn’t help Cramer with truthfulness. Maybe one needs a sense of morality. And the congressman is still afraid of girls, calling in the troops to keep 18 platoons of women from delivering a petition to his Fargo office, and they weren’t even wearing white — or checkered — pantsuits.

In the middle of the health care fiasco, Rob Port, the Forum Communication blogger in their factually challenged department, wrote that Trump was being the grown-up in the room, because 45 demanded a vote, thus moving the ball down the field.

It’s not the dumbest thing Port has ever scribbled, but it just proved that the “Mouth of Minot” had no clue about the bill Trump wanted passed. If Don negotiated the building of Trump Tower in the same fashion, the skyscraper would be hollow. Echo city. Melania-free.

The grown up said:

“I was the first and only potential GOP candidate to state there will be no cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.”

“I am going to take care of everybody. … Everybody’s going to be taken care of much better than they’re taken care of now.”

Both statements were lies, and he wanted Congress to drink a tall glass of warm swill. It’s doubtful that the president even knew how little was left of formally bad legislation because he is a child with an attention span that makes George Bush look like Thomas Jefferson.

Oh, and Paul Ryan doesn’t know how insurance works, so that was good to find out.

After two courts shut down his ban of Muslims and this failure, the good guys are up 3-0 in the bottom of the first. Trumps is just producing divots in Florida, so he has bigly problems.