TONY J BENDER: That’s Life — Things That Puzzle Me

Admittedly, I’m easily puzzled.

Therefore, I ought to be able to come up with a column on that topic. Even if I’m trying to write next to a guy noshing airport sushi while I’m waiting for a flight back to North Dakota.

The first thing that puzzles me is why I’m leaving Los Angeles this soon, knowing full well I’m flying back into the teeth of a northern Plains autumn —  which in the perspective of Californians is Antartica in the dead of winter. They think we raise penguins. We should consider it. The pheasant count is down.

Had the Dodgers actually won Game 7 of the World Serious, I might have been tempted to stick around, so I could help tip over cop cars on Rodeo Drive.

After my visit, I’m also thinking about investing in Dow Chemical. Facts I made up show that a full 20 percent of your average Californian’s body mass is silicone. The balance is a combination of botox, Perrier and arugula. The only other place that has bigger boobs and more fake smiles is Washington, D.C.

I kid. As eclectic as California is, it’s a sane asylum compared to the rest of the world. I did check the news while I was gone and that led to a good deal of confusion.

Like why Donald Trump Jr. had to drag his daughter, Chloe, into a discussion about economics. All the kid really wanted to do was to go trick-or-treating on Halloween in her Marie Antoinette costume.

When you’re a Trump kid, it’s complicated enough. You end up with things like Krugerrands, Faberge eggs, caviar, covfefe and truffles in your Gucci bag — a serious bummer when you’re 3.

On the bright side, at least she isn’t saddled with having some weird name ending in “-vana” or “-vanka.” Unless her full name is Chlovanka, which sounds like a trendy social disease. Or the perfect place for a nuclear accident. Or a country bordering Nambia.

Inexplicably, her father used Halloween as an opportunity to disparage liberal kids who aren’t working hard enough. “I’m going to take half of Chloe’s candy tonight and give it to some kid who sat at home,” he tweeted. “It’s never to [sic] early to teach her about socialism.”

Uhh, I’m not an economist, but isn’t socialism like when you knock on doors and ask for a handout? Some people call it Halloween, others call it tax reform.

Speaking of which, I’m puzzled by the almost patriotic fervor among paycheck-to-paycheck Republicans in the Heartland who support the desperate need to eliminate the estate tax.

It affects just 5,000 millionaires and billionaires a year. I guess this is a minority outreach program. Well, you gotta start somewhere.

I’m puzzled, too, by the contradiction that some economic philosophers in Washington want a new tax “reform” plan that would offer an increased child tax credit, while simultaneously cutting safety net funding that feeds and insures children. How did they decide which one is welfare and which one is not?

The sales pitch on this tax plan is that it’s about job creation. But isn’t unemployment already at a 17-year low, at 4.1 percent? The only people not working are liberal children who are too lazy to even ask for a mini-Snickers bar at the neighbor’s house.

If we create any more jobs, everyone will have to start working two jobs. Hold it. I think that’s already a thing. Anyway, as a liberal slacker, I don’t want another job. My plan if things get tough? Go Fund Me.

Ultimately, I just don’t think I’m ready for America to be too great too soon. Maybe we ought to just ease into it — you know, do a little economic foreplay. I’ll leave it to you to continue the analogy.

Every tax cut from Kennedy to Reagan to Bush II has added to the deficit, but this time they say it’s going to work. Absolutely. No doubt. Pinky promise.

Even though Wall Street is roaring, I guess we need even more stimulus.

Personally, I’m worried. What’s this much stimulus going to do to Mike Pence? He may start calling his wife “Baby” instead of “Mother.” The good news is he probably won’t have to arrange conjugal visits through Bob Mueller.

Equally puzzling to me about this rush to tax “reform” are the Tea Party congressmen who were against deficits under Obama. Most have apparently signed on for $1.5 trillion added to the national debt. We could rename it the T.P. Party because that’s what you need when you’re so full of … of … tax reform, I guess.

My guess is the tax cut for the rich will just add to the debt. In a few years, Republicans will start wringing their hands and blaming the working poor on food stamps, who just aren’t Halloweening hard enough.

Maybe I’m too skeptical. Perhaps a few days in California has addled my once sound judgment.

I bet someone put something in my wine spritzer.

© Tony Bender, 2017

TONY J BENDER: That’s Life — Hurricane Donald

A big wind made landfall last Wednesday in North Dakota, and when I woke up the next morning, North Dakota was great again.

A KX News morning show anchor giddily recounted her excitement about President Trump’s visit and how she and her family had gone out to “show our love for the president.” I was a little surprised her objective report didn’t include the phrase “glorious leader.”

Perhaps I woke up in North Korea. I missed it, did anyone kiss his ring?

Not everyone was happy about the president’s invitation-only visit to a refinery in Mandan. I know I’m part of the Fake News and Liberal Agenda that Rush Limbaugh blames for overhyping Hurricane Irma just to make a point about climate change, but it is a statistical fact 41 percent of North Dakotans don’t support the president.

Eleven percent of them have actually been groped by him. The other 30 percent have been goosed by Limbaugh.

This may explain why folks are increasingly desperate for medical marijuana to get here. “Please help us forget.” Anyway, don’t tell me the president’s not on something. He must be smoking covfefe during those 3 a.m. tweet sessions from the bathroom.

We should legalize covfefe, too, once we figure out what it is. The downside of building The Wall is we’ll no longer have easy access to covfefe pouring across our borders from Mexico. But we’ll have jobs picking tomatoes, if we’re not too busy mining coal, the energy of the future.

Once we get rid of people who are different from us, things will be grand. I think a raid at Norsk Hostfest would be a good start. And, yes, Jethro, we’ll call you for that Google programming gig once we send Ravi back to New Delhi.

And did you hear? A Dickinson company is in the running to build a prototype for The Wall. I hope they’re better at it than the folks in my neck of the woods. Every time I drive to Lehr, there are cows on the road. We need better fences. Or more-obedient cattle.

Naturally, there were protesters and counter-protesters in Mandan. You could tell them apart based on the spelling errors. I don’t think racists should be against “Muslins.” What would they do without sheets?

Noted white supremacist Craig Cobb was there to show his support for the president. David Duke couldn’t make it because he was rallying support to defend statues of Colonel Sanders, Ashley Wilkes, The Dukes of Hazzard and Foghorn Leghorn.

Some of the president’s supporters yelled at Trump protesters to get a job. Silly. Everyone knows liberal protesters work for George Soros. I personally feel he should get more credit as a job creator.

Meanwhile, the Trump supporters were apparently multitasking, working, while supporting the president. That’s the sort of gumption that made America great before Obama made it un-great. To be fair, he did make Kenya great again.

Pretty much everyone was mad about Sen. Heidi Heitkamp riding on Air Force One with President Trump. Liberals already think she’s too far right. Republicans don’t think she has enough deferments to even qualify for high office. Kevin Cramer was especially displeased. Not only did Heidi get the window seat, she made him go to the galley three times for salted almonds. You know how Leftists are when it comes to free stuff. They’re always pulling themselves up by other people’s bootstraps. Then, to top it off, the president actually said nice things about Heidi when he spoke because he wants her to vote for tax breaks for the rich, to help out the poor.

North Dakota is a shining example of giving tax breaks to rich guys. That has taken the pressure from North Dakota property owners, who are more than happy to absorb the cost of tax breaks for Big Oil. Because having too much disposable income can get downright confusing.

I mean where do you invest — Wall Street or Russia? The easy answer is always invest in tax breaks for billionaires.

This time, it’s sure to trickle down. I’ll bet oil typhoon Harold Hamm, who thanks to North Dakota Republicans, could finally afford to fly in from Oklahoma to greet the president, threw dollar bills out the window of his Lear Jet.

Technically, that could result in a $500 fine under stiff new littering penalties passed by Republicans to protect the environment. However, if you spill a few thousand barrels of oil in North Dakota, all you have to do is write, “I was a bad boy,” a 100 times on the blackboard. You have to ease into these things.

I’m not saying we’re easy, but all the light bulbs in Bismarck are being swapped out with red ones. It’ll be purdy at Christmas.

© Tony Bender, 2017

RON SCHALOW: The Men In The High Tower

The North Dakota Republican Party put all of their gold coins on the Camarillo White Horse in the 5th race on the 7th fairway.

“North Dakotans elected President Trump because he promised to enact policies that would improve our economy, make our country safer, and improve the lives of folks here at home,” said North Dakota GOP Chairman Kelly Armstrong. — Dunn County Extra

I see. A series of Trump promises clinched the three electoral votes.
“Chairman Armstrong and local GOP leaders highlighted the importance of electing North Dakota officials willing to implement President Trump’s agenda.” — Dunn County Extra

Does anyone know what Trump’s agenda is?

“Armstrong argued the strengthening national economy and job growth since President Donald Trump took office demonstrates his “agenda of making American great again is working, and it’s working in North Dakota.” — Bismarck Tribune

Well, that’s not true, but it is the Trump era.

State Sen. Kelly Armstrong of Dickinson, chairman of the state Republican Party, said North Dakota is a conservative state and we deserve elected officials who represent our values.” — Bismarck Tribune

We do.

So, the North Dakota Republican Party bends their knee to the mad king and pledges fealty to the 71 year old child.

Bold move, on the part of the North Dakota Republicans, to latch unabashedly to the 16 foot “Made in Bangladesh” red silk necktie of Donnie John. Because he exemplifies North Dakota “values.” Does he?

It’s especially gutsy, considering Trump’s first few months of tweeting and yelling at the wind and passing cars. I can’t even imagine how many more lies, and failures, 45 will rack up in the next 14 months.

Of course, there are pluses to marrying your party to a sociopathic narcissist. If you’re selling your soul to the Prince of Darkness’s half wit brother-in-law, there better be.

The statute of limitations has solved Trump’s p**** grabbing assaults, and his walking through the dressing rooms of teen girls was just creepy, although it should be a felony. So, the grabber isn’t technically a sex offender. Whew! The grabber isn’t technically a sex offender, would look great on a bumper sticker or t-shirt. Maybe a hat.

It will be cheap to repair Texas and Louisiana, after the hurricane Harvey disaster, since Trump has this silly habit of not paying contractors. One less thing to worry about. Hopefully, nobody catches on before Florida needs remodeling. And Oregon, Idaho, and Montana burn to the ground. Trump likes states that don’t burn to the ground, or get 5 feet of rain on his vacation. Losers.

And, even though storms are becoming more frequent and violent, due to warmer oceans and air temperatures, it doesn’t matter, because Donnie John doesn’t believe in global warming, which matches up nicely with the science denial of the North Dakota Republican Party, and their shills. He actually seems to be taking pride in the record breaking scale of the storms.

We can easily afford another $500 billion, or a trillion dollars, more in disaster expenses per year. Coal jobs have been saved, though, by golly. I think five. Maybe six. The market for skinny chickens still hasn’t recovered.

It turns out that kicking 800,000 young people out of America, and deporting them to a country where they have never lived is “compassionate,” which a saleable word, as opposed to “cruel,” which makes Republican values seem mean. Trump has the best words. Lucky that.

Donnie can get the best deals on foreign made Tiki torches. Great deals. And when the midnight parade has finished, and the town is officially terrorized, the bamboo novelty items can be repurposed to light up the next synagogue on the list. They are reusable and make great gifts for your more paranoid and bigoted constituents.

Trump came. He saw. He proclaimed North Dakota to have 5,634,000 citizens, which breaks a record and will put strain on all government services, which calls for another tax cut for the oil companies, which the ND GOP denies doing, but we wrote it down. On good quality paper. They did it, at the expense of the people who actually live here. Sad.

Teleprompters are great again. Trump chooses to watch TV on them, though, which lowers their effectiveness.
The president comes pre-tinted, ready for any occasion, where looks aren’t an issue. And should you get trapped in an elevator with the loco hombre, his hair can be weaved into a 60 foot ladder.

Don John has been keeping our sole congressman pleased. For perverse political reasons, Kevin Cramer latched onto the juicy rear end of the lumpen KFC fed beast like a leech several years ago, and suctions in the rich plasma by the quart. It keeps him off the streets at night.
Birds nests have made a comeback as headwear. The loser birds aren’t happy. Sad.

Alternate facts are the in thing because of 45, and he’ll sell you a dozen Trump brand facts for the low low price of $1,995. Tell a lie, over and over, and there is no downside, as long as it is Trump authorized.

It’s hard to be humble when you’re Trumpian in every way. Boasting about your wealth and your great stuff, or your sweet parking spot, used to be frowned upon in this state. No more. Brag away. You may get punched out quite often, until everyone learns the new rules, and then by people who don’t care for the new rules, but keep it up…

Intellect is out, so no worries if some N.D. lawmakers haven’t had much book lernin’. “We’re doing everything we can, but you have a very serious drought,” continued Trump, who also noted that he did not know that droughts could happen in areas “this far north” in the United States. (Vibe) He learned that on a statue. And where the hell are the penguins? Daddy, I came to see the penguins, moans Ivanka.

Don is cutting way back on refugees allowed into the U.S., and established the Muslim ban. Only 7 people in the world qualify, under Trump rules, to simply immigrate to the United States, including the folks who were born here.

Plus, the 800,000 mostly brown younglings he’s chucking out. It adds up. This leaves very little for our own bigots to do. Scapegoats will be needed. Never mind. White nationalists still have the Natives to kick around.

“The Wall” will solve nothing, except provide a little shade for tired Border Patrol agents. A few trees would have resolved that issue. It’s still a good deceitful (nobody cares) talking point for Aryan legislators, though. Mexico isn’t paying for it, but keep repeating it.
Lies. Pshaw. The Washington Post calculated that Trump made 492 false or misleading statements in his first 100 days. Doesn’t matter. Fake news. “Straight talk,” is what it really is, according to N.D. Governor Doug Burgum, who is well known to be a smart human. Can it be possible that he is actually falling for Trump’s bull$#!*? I doubt it.

It isn’t politically correct for a North Dakota Republican to suggest that the big spongy dope tells lies. The mob believes Fox and Friends as translated by Wonderbread, his handle on Stormfront.

Russia. Russia. Russia. She get’s everything. We love Putin, and who cares if they screwed around with our election system? Get over it. Republicans found a way to get past piddly things, like tampering. It’s Obama who is the enemy. He climbed Trump Tower and installed bugs, among other things, like being black. Remember that. Blame Americans first.

Shame. What shame? It no longer exists, and a lot of emotional stress is washed away. Some in the North Dakota GOP already had no shame, so they’re good with Trump, but now the rest can carry on accordingly.

Voter fraud is a thing. DJ said so. Millions falsely voted for that pantsuited Clinton woman. And all of the criminals are poor and brown. If anyone knows about fraud, it’s the Donald. Everybody who ponied up the $30,000 to enroll in Trump University is now wealthy. Honest. Believe me.

And 45 already screwed over the LGBT community, so denying the group rights and protections at the state level will be much easier.
Trump’s trillion dollar infrastructure plan (cough) involves selling off publicly owned assets and expecting corporations to upgrade and maintain the road, bridge, or park. It’s not funny, so quit smirking.

Taboo for right-wingers, who think everything is a meritocracy, when hardly anything is, nepotism is back in vogue. If only TJ had a bigger family, so more unqualified people could wander through Oval office meetings.

We’re also going to lower corporate taxes, without increasing the deficit. Some trickling, they say will happen in some circles. It’s not funny, so quit smirking.

North Dakota Republicans need to keep fighting, along with clueless, to take health coverage away from millions of low-income workers. What is this anyway? A developed country?

Hang in there, ND GOP. Doughboy might not be insane, and a billionaire from New York is not one of the east coast elites.
Good-bye Mar-a-Lago. I hope hurricane Irma misses everything else.

TOM DAVIES: The Verdict — The FPD ‘Ambush Railroad’ Is Back In Business

It seems like it’s been a lifetime since Chief Keith Ternes of the Fargo Police Department was ambushed by FPD brass, resulting in his retirement. My own view was that he was treated unfairly and railroaded by those who could have assisted him in improving the operation of the department. But such is not what happened, and history cannot be changed.

Last month, Fargo Police Chief David Todd announced the firing of officer David Boelke, a 15-year veteran of FPD. Todd “carefully reviewed the facts,” according to news accounts, and concluded that the claims of Boelke’s not filing reports; lacking empathy; being disrespectful toward the department; and GPS data that showed he did not go to locations he said he did on the dates indicated, all were confirmed.

I have known David Boelke professionally and seen and observed him as an officer for 10 of his 15 years of service. Because of illness, I resigned as Fargo municipal judge five years ago, so I have had no personal experience with him during that time.

I do know that if I had a dollar for each officer who missed a court date on a traffic matter during my years as a judge, I’d have a great savings account today.

I have not spoken personally to Boelke or his lawyer, Mark Fraase, about his firing from the police department and his appeal, but my 45 years on the bench —  if nothing else —  taught me how to gauge and judge people.

As to honesty, I cite Boelke’s self-reporting of a failed court appearance. That was not the act of someone who is not truthful … but it put the Ambush Train right back on the tracks.

A 15-year veteran of the police force, past president of the Fraternal Order of Police and four-time winner of lifesaving awards, he garnered and still has the support of the North Dakota Fraternal Order of Police. He is also married with children.

The GPS systems that the FPD Ambush Train relied upon in making its case have been shown to be inaccurate and not trustworthy. While Officer Boelke acknowledged he failed to file some proper reports (an act of truthfulness), the general charges brought against him by the Brass Hat Railroad would not hold up in a court of law. He passed a stringent lie detector test; while not admissible as evidence in court, that sure as hell says something to John Q. Public, whom the Brass-Hat Railroad is supposed to serve.

Boelke and his lawyer have appealed his firing to the Fargo Civil Service Commission. I can only hope and pray that they do not rubber-stamp this unholy action by the police department. Remember, this whole mess was triggered by an act of self-reporting a missed court appearance. The message the Ambush Railroad brass are sending is, “Don’t be honest. It can get you fired.” That’s just not right.

One of the Ambush Railroad folks, presented with evidence that the GPS system in FPD cars was not accurate, had no response! In Mark Friese, Boelke has one of the finest attorneys anywhere. Friese is a lawyer, husband and father, a military man and a former police officer himself. He knows what he’s talking about. In this case, he is outraged. But sometimes when city politics are involved, it’s like tilting at windmills or urinating into the wind.

I’ve observed this attorney since he started his practice in Fargo. When Judge Ralph Erickson is confirmed as a judge of the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, it is my fervent hope that Friese will be appointed to the federal district court bench to replace Judge Erickson.

Lest there be any misunderstanding, I know that most FPD employees are outstanding people who do their jobs, and do them very well. But when one person who admits to disliking Boelke is put in charge of investigating him, and also happens to be the one who recommends his firing, you have to wonder about the integrity of the investigation and those who order and do it.

I’m old-fashioned, I guess, but my years of dealing with people of all types tells me this man is not a liar. He does tell the truth. Even if the Civil Service rubber-stamps the Ambush Railroad, they must in good conscience strike the allegations as to the officer’s truthfulness and honor. To fail to do that at a minimum prevents him from obtaining law jobs in the future.

I find it odd that only a few months earlier, when Boelke was applying for another position (that might now be in jeopardy as well), the Fargo Police Department gave him a glowing report —  no problems. Then it pulls this dead fish out of their hat and drop it on an honorable man. Shame on those who did this to him!

* * *

Speaking of lying and mistrust, I have to mention our Idiot in Chief, POTUS 45.

After telling the DACA subjects they would not have to worry, he —  like every promise he’s made before —  turns it into one damned lie. He says one thing to get elected. Once in office, he does the reverse. His core followers are so damned stupid they just don’t care.

Integrity is important in the office and the one who occupies it. We cannot have one standard for white people and another standard for everyone else. Yet our elected leader lies. He cannot tell the truth.

Now 45’s minions have announced an end to DACA … his most evil act up to now. While he performed his photo op in Texas, where so many people have been harmed, he bragged about the size of his crowds as though he doesn’t fathom the pain and hardship the people are enduring. Meanwhile, his wife struts around in spike heels.

All of the video coming out of Texas rescues is absent any racial problems. People of all ages, colors and creeds are helping each other. Aid is pouring in from people from all over the. And yes, many of those needing help —  and many who are helping —  are the very same childhood arrivals whose presence is guaranteed by DACA.

Our racist-in-chief cannot seem to insult enough people; now he’s adding whole countries to his list. He idly threatens North Korea and at the same time chides our ally, South Korea. He has angered Great Britain, France and Mexico as well. He likes turmoil and can’t understand the personal harm he does to our country, its inhabitants (both legal and otherwise) and to nations abroad.

But the Robert Mueller investigative train has been overhauled and is rolling down the tracks with new employees and instruments of political war. Soon 45 may be writing a letter to his successor, not like the measured, professional one he received from President Obama as his term began.

The letter from 45 will read: “These federal prisons aren’t all they are cracked up to be.” Amen.

TOM DAVIES: The Verdict — Defying The Rule Of Law

Our current Liar in Chief, aka 45, has clearly demonstrated by word and deed what he thinks of the law. The law, in his opinion, does not apply to him or his friends. The time is coming when the Crown Prince of Clowns will pay the price for his racism, bigotry and his lawful but unwise use of the power of the pardon.

The third co-equal branch of government, the judiciary, has certainly been doing its job. The second co-equal branch, the legislature, seems to have forgotten that it is co-equal. Its members have allowed King 45 to stomp all over them.

Its members are being lumped into the “bad guy” category — the Democrats, of course, but also McConnell and Ryan, the Republican leaders of the Senate and the House, respectively — have all because they dare to question 45.

This man who claims he is the world’s best dealmaker hasn’t managed to make a deal since his election. The business community has learned the hard way that he cannot be trusted; corporate leaders have resigned in droves from his many commissions.

Once again, he who campaigned against the war in Afghanistan has switched his vote in favor of the war. However, at least he has listened to his generals, whom he fawns over.

King 45, who as a candidate once accepted another man’s Purple Heart with thanks, saying he’d always wanted one, flies in the face of his own multiple deferments from military service. But like other politicians before him, he has no qualms about sending other people’s sons and daughters to war.

Mr. Smart Businessman, who built his empire on using other people’s money and then either filing bankruptcy or just refusing to pay his creditors, hasn’t figured out the obvious. If the U.S. reined in the mad desire to win wars in countries where they cannot be won … if we quietly withdrew from some of these conflicts … they would continue (without any help from us) for decades to come, if not forever.

The United States, like Russia and Britain before it, will never be able to put a stop to violence that comes from tribal, political and religious factions that want nothing more than to kill each other.

Pull out of the Mideast wars, and, in a short period of time, watch our deficit shrink or even disappear. But God forbid if anyone talks about withdrawing!

We do not squander our future and our children fighting pointless foreign wars!

Note the only people who Trump has not dumped are his generals. He adores them. (They are, in fact, awesome.) It’s my belief he loves them is because they have done what he can never do: Command and lead men and women and earn their respect.

Consider the conflicting tones of all his recent speeches. He is for unity and peace; he is for racism and bigotry. He can’t stand anything about Clinton or Obama; he takes credit for everything they accomplished and gives credit to no one. And he says he wants the country to be unified!

Once again, 45’s true colors shine through. Does the name Joe Arpaio ring a bell? He’s the former sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona. He not only lost his re-election bid; he was convicted of criminal contempt in federal court for violating a federal court order to halt conducting the discriminatory and violent policing uncovered through numerous civil rights investigations.

And this same man was pardoned by 45 last week. The president pardoned the most racist, divisive lawman in this country. He is proud of him, calling Arpaio “a true patriot.”

Here are a few highlights of the life of this so-called “patriot,” compiled by The Atlantic magazine:

“The pardon that Donald Trump granted Joe Arpaio, the former sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona, sends this message to American law enforcement: If you violate the civil rights of Latinos while enforcing immigration law, the president of the United States approves — and even if you’re one of the vanishingly few sheriffs or police chiefs that the Department of Justice has ever charged with a crime, he’ll intervene to spare you.

“The pardon is thus a slap in the face to Latinos, and ought to be an affront to all fair-minded Americans who value the constitution, the rule of law, and the legitimacy of the system.

“For American citizens who look Mexican, or Guatemalan, or El Salvadoran, or Colombian, the pardon creates new vulnerability to racial profiling and other violations of the 14th Amendment right to equal protection of the law. Should outrage over the matter fade, Republicans will keep pandering to anti-immigrant voters by abetting rights violations against Latinos, knowing they won’t pay an electoral price.”

Again from The Atlantic:

“Trump’s decision is unforgivable. The president is a corrupt person with a perverted sense of justice, and he pardoned a corrupt sheriff who backed his political rise, beginning with a racist campaign to insinuate that Obama was a foreigner. They deserve one another, but Americans deserve better than either of them.

“If the Latinos who are threatened by this action and the decent people of all races and ethnic groups who are offended by it hold it against Republicans who support the Arpaio pardon or stay silent, the GOP will deserve every last election and vote that they lose, having flagrantly failed to stand up for the creed of liberty and justice for all.”

U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton convicted former Sheriff Arpaio of criminal contempt of court, finding he willfully ignored another federal judge’s 2011 order halting a traffic stop program that targeted illegal immigrants.

This was intentional defiance of a federal court order by a man sworn to uphold the law. Now the scofflaw sheriff is demanding that his original conviction be erased from his record. His lawyers argue that, since Trump’s pardon came before Arpaio’s sentencing, Arpaio lost a chance to get a retrial or to appeal his conviction to the U.S. Supreme Court, where he has had a petition pending to hear his case.

What 45 did for Arpaio was a slap in the face to the judiciary. In my world, I think this slap will come back to haunt 45 in the long run.

Space does not permit me to list all of Old Joe’s misdeeds here. Google them yourself … and be sure to set aside a good deal of time to list them. Why it took so long for Arizona to wise up to this miscreant is beyond me.

One thing is for sure: With men like the former sheriff and the current president in power, if you are a person of color, you have something to worry about. If you are white, you do not. It all reminds me of Russia — nyet, that’s 45’s line. Amen.

RON SCHALOW: The White Nationalist Next Door

Several days after my birth, we were driving home, up the big Third Street hill in Minot, and I was listening to Eisenhower speechify on the radio. It was a bit staticy, but I remember it like it was just several minutes ago. Frankly, he was boring.

President Ike was still in his first term and pledged to remain ever steamed at the Nazis, until flowers bloomed on the moon, at minimum. He was in the business of killing them not many years before becoming president, so Eisenhower didn’t have mixed feelings about Nazis. They were always bad. NOBODY compared. Over 400,000 Americans died in that war.

“During World War II, we we rushed to develop nuclear weapons because we were trying to defeat the Nazis, who, fun fact, pretty much all Americans thought were bad at the time.” — John Oliver

We liked Ike. He was stable, sane and looked better than fat@$$ Don in a golf outfit.  Eisenhower never tweeted and didn’t lie every 15 minutes. At the time, we had no idea that Dwight WASN’T getting up in the middle of the night to cuss out various people and talk smack on the White House party line. He behaved normally, to my recollection, and the clincher for me, Ike and I, looked liked twins when I was 3 days old. Bald as a Brunswick bowling ball and a pate as smooth as a newborn goat. My eyesight wasn’t fully operative, yet.

In 1957, the former general sent the National Guard into Arkansas, backed up by Fargo’s Judge Ronald Davies, to enable the Little Rock Nine, black youths, to safely attend school with the white kids. Dwight stepped up and did the right thing. Many whites weren’t happy. Too many still aren’t.

Dwight had dignity, and he was a tough SOB. Had Eisenhower witnessed the spectacle of Donald Trumps’s bat$#!* insane hee-haw tribalist airing of grievances for 77 minutes (all that was missing was the Festivus pole and the feats of strength) in Arizona, he would have latched onto Donnie John’s testicles with a pair of needle nose pliers and squeezed until 45 coughed up the keys to the country.

And if he knew that Trump was pandering to the tiki tots and their ideological inbred cousins, providing aid and comfort to the enemy, Ike would have done cool things, not approved by the Geneva Conventions, to Donnie with his two iron.

“You had a group on one side that was bad and you had a group on the other side that was also very violent. nobody wants to say it, but I will say it right now.” — D. Trump

Nobody who stands up to heavily armed white supremacists is on any other side except good, but the alt-right knew how to interpret the president’s words. Fifty percent is a win for these @$$holes.

Many tried to convince us that hundreds were just there to to gaze into the bronze nostrils of Gen. Lee’s horse, Traveller, just one more time. Such malarkey.

And there are those like Fargo’s Scott Hennen, the frothing radio voice of the tattered fringe right over several blocks in downtown Fargo, who thought the sight of a marching herd of Nazis carrying kitschy Polynesian style torches and chanting racist favorites in an American city was a partisan issue. Maybe to his listeners, and Hennen’s twisted mind, but I would still like to think that most Republicans are anti-white supremacy. And certainly they are against a terrorist attacks, even if the perpetrator isn’t Muslim. Aren’t they?

Unfortunately, in North Dakota, Republican politicians are inclined to attach their campaigns to the mad king. Evidently, the Trumpster fire is still a popular figure with the N.D. GOP and its voters. And it boils to white identity politics, which isn’t new but was relegated to damp rock undersides with the other slimy critters.

Generally, being a racist wasn’t something you wanted to advertise. At least not in this state.

Then along comes the Trump idiot, hitting all of the right notes, for a range of bigots on the spectrum.

Mexicans are rapists, we’re going to build the best wall to keep them out. We’re going to make it so that an immigrant has to have a Nobel prize and be a gold medal Olympic pole vaulter in order to meet the new requirements for entry. The Muslim ban, that made no sense. Birtherism, that was a racial lie. Refugees can wait a few more years because the numbers to be allowed in have been greatly reduced. Transgender people can no longer serve in the military. A stone cold racist and cruel dick is given a presidential pardon. The dip praises a CNN pundit who was fired for tweeting a Nazi slogan. Donnie uses Pocahontas as a slur.  He’s currently screwing with the Dreamers. And then the equivocation on Nazis.

“Jews will not replace us, blood and soil, heil Trump, one people, one nation, end immigration, White Lives Matter, f**k you, fa**ots, and “Go the f**k back to Africa.” Some right-wing demonstrators called specific people “ni**ers” or “fa**ots.” Yes, good people.

“This city is run by Jewish communists and criminal ni**ers,” one @$$hole told Vice News’ Elspeth Reeve.

“As Jews prayed at a local synagogue, Congregation Beth Israel, men dressed in fatigues carrying semiautomatic rifles stood across the street, according to the temple’s president. Nazi websites posted a call to burn their building. As a precautionary measure, congregants had removed their Torah scrolls and exited through the back of the building when they were done praying.” — Reform Judaism

“For my part, if I should ever get the chance to confront Richard Spencer (white supremacist honcho), I think I’d conclude my cross-examination with the proposition that by his views and actions he had implicitly renounced his American citizenship and should therefore be deported.” — Steven Hayward, libertarian and conservative author

So, our North Dakota Republicans aren’t running away from this racist in the Oval Office and some who have called for ethnic cleansing. Their constituents evidently find Trump just swell. But, don’t believe me. Forum Communications employs a shill boy blogger, who carries vast amount of oil for his legislative pals, and was responsible for this headline:

“Port: ND politicos are treating Trump like an election year asset”

“Maybe Trump isn’t the political liability some would like us to think. Some will say otherwise, but how the politicians place their bets speaks louder than words,” Port wrote.

Sounds about right. We’ve been hearing the high-pitched squeals, only audible to beagles, complaining about migrant workers, refugees, Native Americans and the LGBT community for years, and someone has been reassuring those with concerns about keeping these groups in check. Some descendants of Europeans feel that white Christian identity is being threatened by ethnic diversity and multiculturalism.

Here’s what Port had to say before the election and prior to his forced Trump brand blood transfusion:

  • “While the left overplays the race card, Trump seems content to pander to actual paranoid racists.”
  • “Trump knows exactly how dumb his supporters are and has manipulated their ignorance to great effect.”
  • “The 2016 election for president now looks to be a competition between corrupt, bought off Clintonism and the former host of “Celebrity Apprentice” whose “America first” campaign has taken on the overtones of a modern sort of fascism.”

Perhaps the next time a legislative candidate knocks on your door, be sure to look through peephole and if you see a torch, latch the deadbolt.

“Since my boyhood, I had accepted without qualification the right to equality before the law of all citizens of this country, whatever their race or color or creed. In World War II, I had affirmed my belief in this principle through orders desegregating many Red Cross clubs, while during some stages of the fighting, I had sent into previous all-white units Negro replacements who not only fought well but also encountered little or no resentment from their comrades.” — D.D. Eisenhower

TOM DAVIES: The Verdict — Freedom Of Speech Is One Thing, But To Do Harm Is Quite Another

With all of the violence occurring in this country, one has to ask: What can be done to address it? Too often, people are prosecuted after a crime has been committed. What is missing is the deterrent effect of a law that would prohibit or reduce the number of folks who create the problem.

I’m not going to refer to the laws of North Dakota or Minnesota or any individual state. This is a national problem that needs to be addressed head on. This means a focus on federal laws.

18 U.S. Code § 2102 – Definitions

(a) As used in this chapter, the term “riot” means a public disturbance involving (1) an act or acts of violence by one or more persons part of an assemblage of three or more persons, which act or acts shall constitute a clear and present danger of, or shall result in, damage or injury to the property of any other person or to the person of any other individual or (2) a threat or threats of the commission of an act or acts of violence by one or more persons part of an assemblage of three or more persons having, individually or collectively, the ability of immediate execution of such threat or threats, where the performance of the threatened act or acts of violence would constitute a clear and present danger of, or would result in, damage or injury to the property of any other person or to the person of any other individual.

(b) As used in this chapter, the term “to incite a riot,” or “to organize, promote, encourage, participate in, or carry on a riot,” includes, but is not limited to, urging or instigating other persons to riot, but shall not be deemed to mean the mere oral or written (1) advocacy of ideas or (2) expression of belief, not involving advocacy of any act or acts of violence or assertion of the rightness of, or the right to commit, any such act or acts

In March 2016, presidential candidate Donald Trump basically urged the crowd at his rally in Louisville, Ky., to rough up some protesters. Three who were indeed roughed up brought suit in federal court against Trump and his campaign. His words — “get them out” and “throw them out” — started the ball rolling. And roll it, did as the three were pushed, slugged and hustled out the door.

Trump’s lawyers moved to dismiss the protestors’ lawsuit on the grounds that he didn’t intend for his supporters to use force.

Federal Judge David J. Hale rejected his free-speech defense. He ruled that the case against Trump and his supporters could proceed. He found sufficient facts supporting allegations that the protesters’ injuries were a “direct and proximate result” of Trump’s actions. He further noted that the Supreme Court has ruled out constitutional protections for speech that incites violence.

The judge observed, “While the words themselves are repulsive, they are relevant to show the atmosphere in which the alleged events occurred.”

Trump’s lawyers (he picks lawyers who rarely win) argued that the protesters assumed the risk of injury when they decided to protest.

The judge summarized that every person has a duty to every other person to use care to prevent foreseeable injury. He said, “Plaintiffs have adequately alleged that their harm was foreseeable and that Trump had a duty to prevent it.”

To be clear, the judge has not yet made a final determination that Trump violated the law, but there was sufficient evidence for the case to move forward for trial.

I cite this case to show that a complaint filed by citizens or by criminal prosecutors can proceed and can produce results.

When the hate groups verbally attack Jews, flaunt the Nazi flag, bring torches, weapons including guns and other instruments of hate; wave the Confederate flag of the defeated South — it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to conclude bad things are going to happen because good people aren’t going to accept that activity.

Communities (Fargo, are you listening?) can enact measures that may well cut down or eliminate protest problems. A protest is being contemplated for Fargo in October. Because the local media have given the neo-Nazi promoter so much air time, he just might be able to pull it off.

May I suggest that no permit be issued unless the following conditions are met: No weapons of any kind or implements that could be used as weapons; no helmets or military-type body armor of any type; no swastikas or other Nazi memorabilia; no baiting of the Jewish community; no racial slurring.

The harm in using these things I’ve listed is foreseeable, and both the city and the protesters have a duty to prevent it.

Just a suggestion. Freedom of speech is one thing. Freedom to do harm is quite another. Amen.

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.”