TOM DAVIES: The Verdict — A Country Ruled In Anger

My word for the week is “vindictive.” The word is an adjective that means “one who has a strong and unreasonable desire for revenge.”

This week, the president went off the charts in his desire to seek revenge. He is the first president in history to demand that security clearance be revoked for the intelligence and law enforcement chiefs of former administrations —Republican and Democratic — who dare to say he’s wrong.

First, the people whose clearances he wants canceled are American patriots who have simply pointed out what they believe to be facts about Russia’s actions based upon their personal history, experience and training. Second, several don’t even have security clearances at this time. Third, the president is contemplating (or “has not ruled out,” according to Press Secretary Sanders) also revoking the security clearances of Vice President Joe Biden and President Barack Obama.

Criticism based on the truth isn’t speculation. It is fact. On the other hand, what purpose is served, even if were appropriate, to revoke security clearances, just because you can. These threats make the leader of the free world look weak and uninformed. That’s sad.

Ours is the most powerful nation on Earth. We have undisputed military power. We may be divided politically, but when it comes to patriotism, we are one.

In our American community, the experts acknowledge the Russians interfered in the last federal election and even now continue to do so wherever they find us vulnerable. Our elected leaders in Congress agree that this has been proven. Only the president refuses to acknowledge the interference because he thinks it reflects upon the legitimacy of his election. But wait! He acknowledged it last week — then unacknowledged it a few days later. Now he says it never happened. It’s all, he insists, a witch hunt and a hoax.

Some readers think I don’t respect the president because of his policies. Those folks give me too much credit! From day to day, I have little idea what his actual “policies” may be, other than a few exceptions: 1) separating children from their parents or guardians and putting the kids in holding pens; 2) doing little or no planning to comply with the federal court’s ruling that they must be returned to their parents.

The courts have ordered the government to reunite these children with their families on a timely basis. But as the story developed, we’ve learned that the odd venture proceeded without keeping adequate records to proceed with many of the reunions the judge has ordered.

I’m glad I’m not the judge in this situation. I would be prone to order the arrest of the heads of the departments charged with executing the administration’s policies and not releasing them until the all the children are back in the arms of their parents. I’d also order the government to pay all travel expenses involved in bringing them back together.

Meanwhile, we’re on the verge of a trade war. Imposing tariffs on allies — while not enforcing existing sanctions against Russia — drives a wedge between us and our long-time friends.

None of our top national leaders — not the secretary of defense, the secretary of state nor the intelligence community — have the faintest idea what was said when Putin and Trump met in private. In Moscow, the Russians are bragging about “the agreements reached” in Helsinki. Yet none of our own officials know what they’re talking about.

Given the many state and federal investigations into this administration, it would be prudent as never before to truly have “open government” — no secrets from our leaders and the public. While President Trump has a hand in this, I am more critical of a U.S. Congress that is afraid to act. Our Congress is supposed to be a separate but equal branch of government. Its members have abandoned their responsibilities and the priceless duty of oversight.

This is America. We disagree politically, and that’s not unusual. What is just plain weird is the silence of those we elected to speak up and represent We the People!

While the administration bashes our own law enforcement and intelligence agencies, they cannot and do not respond to the lies that are being told. Yet several state criminal investigations continue to dig into the administration’s potential misdeeds. Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation continues and has already generated many indictments. He does not comment, and that’s the way it should be at this stage. It’s too bad those who know better can’t stop their baseless bashing of the investigation.

Remember the years of the endless Benghazi investigation? Remember Congress’s digging into the suspected Clinton email fiasco? Millions of dollars and tens of thousands of hours were spent, grabbing endless headlines and fanning baseless speculation. In the end, neither found an evidence at all of unlawful behavior. Now, that was a real “witch hunt.” Amen.

RON SCHALOW: Continued Kid Cruelty, Cowardice And The Kook

“All cruel people describe themselves as paragons of frankness.” ― Tennessee Williams

Children are still in cages, kennels, internment camps, or otherwise incarcerated. The tragedy is not over. The horrific news keeps coming. It’s still wrong. It’s still barbaric. It’s still cruel.

Where are the kids belonging to the adults? In many cases, the parents, and our government, have no clue.

Under a wing-it kind of dishonest guy like Trump, the cruelty he purposely inflicted on these needy humans, will linger — indefinitely for some — because there never was a plan by the racist to return the little people to their big people. Vain brain knows how to do the cruel part but not much else.

Toddlers are standing before immigration judges. Seriously. Is that humane or logical?

And Trump staffers are so totally incompetent they don’t even know how many kidnapped children they have in custody. Two thousand? No, no, now they feel there might be closer to three. Thousand, yes.

These tykes will be traumatized for life. Ask Lance romance if he cares.

This administration is even deporting veterans, current servicemen and legal green card holders with decades of roots. Why?

A thousand years will pass, and the ancestors of those abused will still be cursing the United States and Donald Trump.

For the benefit of people who don’t know, seeking asylum is a right. It’s not against the law. The right is codified in domestic and international law. Previous administrations have not prosecuted those seeking asylum, and asylum seekers don’t have to go a checkpoint. They can ask a border patrol agent, whenever they cross paths. That’s the law, and Trump has broken it.

Our entire history is teeming with refugees and asylum seekers. It’s part of our deal. A chunk of American values. As a country, we’ve tried to show mercy to strangers in search of a better life, although we haven’t been entirely successful. Give us your tired, your poor, your huddled masses and so forth. Asylum isn’t just for chess players — and Russian ballet dancers.

And, even a 200-foot wall won’t stop people from seeking asylum, if that’s part of the reasoning behind building the hapless barrier. The oppressed will simply go to the checkpoints.

Normally, Republicans would be shouting, “Nyah, nyah, we told you. The government can’t do anything right, amirite?” Maybe they think that the old Little Dutchman handled this one just right. Or they are afraid to step out of line.

Well, I did my due diligence on Donnie a long time ago. It turned out that the great white wad has been a nasty cruel cretin, as far back as media started caring about the rampant narcissist’s “best” words, about 50 years ago. Nothing about his behavior is a secret. He’s always been a publicity hunting New York City trust fund @$$hole.

Trump publicly humiliated his wives. He refused to pay contractors for their work, forcing some out of business. He belittled people. He mocked a disabled person, for crissakes. And taunted a dying war hero. And joked about a recently widowed former president.

Devoid of a conscience, 45 doesn’t suffer from the emotion of shame, or have a hair’s worth of empathy. Sociopath is the common term. He doesn’t have an inner voice, or do any self-examination. Our president is simply a gratuitously cruel person. He’s a dick and doesn’t even know it.

So, now, we have a cruel man in charge, with cowardly quiet fans who rationalize the cruelty, by citing memes, obtusely lying or merely going mute. It’s quite sad.

Then, there is the kook. Defending chain-link fencing for kids, or cages, is only something that could come from the brain of a shameless spinner like Congressman Kevin Cramer.

Only the self-labeled “very influential” Rob Port thought that comparing cages to ballparks was reasonable, but he isn’t too bright.

Nobody else was jumping on Kevin’s chain-link bandwagon. Is the poor deluded oil shill is ready for the Senate? Cramer is an over-his-head backbencher, ranked 145 of House Republicans, in the category of effectiveness. Sounds like a winner.

But whataboutobama? Kids in cages, yes. Under different circumstances, but it’s easy to find what happened during Obama’s time. Obama is not cruel man.

And yes, we (the government acting on the behalf of the citizens) have plenty of cruelty in our past. We’ve enslaved humans and attempted to make the original people extinct. But we’re talking about right now in time.

These poor people didn’t come all of this way because they heard the president was tossing out free paper towels. They are literally running for their lives.

By this time, I figured that DT had been cruel enough to get a tongue lashing from at least a few North Dakota GOP lawmakers. All I saw was one lame meme trying to justify the cruelty.

Yes, I’m writing the word cruelty quite often on purpose.

Then, one legislative candidate took issue with my “The Congressman With the Chain-Link Head” column, and figured he would set me straight. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

So, here is our email exchange, from June 22-26, with no editing. He’s a pastor and wants to make North Dakota District # conservative again. Yes, again. I’ll refer to him as Conservative Candidate X.

I don’t claim this man speaks for the entire North Dakota Republican Party, but how would anyone know? If someone can point me to a letter to the editor or a Facebook post that I’ve missed, please do.

The original email

Ron Schalow: The Congressman With the Chain Link Head

Some pundits have suggested that this shameful episode is Trump’s Katrina. No. 4,600 Americans have died in the decimation of Puerto Rico by hurricane Maria because the jackass chose to limit the government response. They got a small fraction of the resources dedicated to Texas for recovery from hurricane Harvey. All on DT’s watch.

Caging children is in a despicable category of its own. Some of these kids will never see their parents again. They’ll be scarred for life. The parents will live this nightmare, over and over. That’s fine with the Trump cult, including sycophant prince Kevin Cramer.

King nitwit and his administration have offered over a dozen reasons why these kids were being shipped here and there, without their parents. They blamed everyone but the racist in chief, the dumb one, when Eric isn’t present. They lied and lied. Then lied some more.

And Kevin Cramer parroted the horseshit, because he has staked his entire political future on the sex offending blowhard, who has no clue on how to do his job. So, Kev has morphed into the silhouette of the bloated Bronx dung beetle. Cramer knowingly told the same lies as the pompous pork loin and then made up some baloney of his own.

RON SCHALOW: The Congressman With The Chain-Link Head

Conservative Candidate X.

Hi Ron:

I heard that the pictures of the children in cages were from 2014, is that true?

thanks

Xxxxx

Me

xxxx —

Our history is not one of kindness. I don’t think that excuses the current cruelty. I can send you recent pictures of children in cages, if you would like. Do you approve of this policy?

Thanks … ron

Conservative Candidate X.

No, not at all. But it is just that the facts get distorted when you send emails like this. He has changed it.

He needed 60 percent to do it by Congress and the Democrats held it up. It originated with Bill Clinton.

I don’t think there are many — if any — kids that are more than temporarily away from their parents. I would like to see an original source that states that a child is taken permanently other than from a parent who is a serious criminal.

For that, we do that in America in our prison system. If you rob a bank, murder or rape, etc, you go to jail and your kids don’t come with you.

I just am curious at why the venom when it looks as though Trump is the good guy in this situation when all the facts are in

xxxx

Me

It was policy he made, and he could have made a call to fix it. There was no law held up by the Democrats. He lied.

They don’t even have a plan to reunite the kids with family. They’re spread over 15 states. Some will never see their parents again.

When a bank robber is jailed, we don’t put his kids in a cage. Kevin Cramer didn’t like the bad press, so he comes up with a wild chain link fence story.

All of the facts are in, and Trump is not the hero. He started the whole thing. Every religion in the country has spoken against his actions, including the Pope, as have responsible Republicans. I’m quite aware of the facts, thanks. … I’m sad that the NDGOP has been hijacked by this huckster.

Cruel deserves venom, as do the constant lies. It’s all documented, videotaped, or recorded.

You should write an LTE to the Forum. They would print it in all of their N.D. papers. And send a copy to the Minot Daily, Bismarck and Williston. Put the facts, as you know, out there. Tell Oley to do the same. No one else in the party has spoken up in any way … ron

Conservative Candidate X.

Are you saying that the photo was not from 2014?

Me

In 2014, a large group of unaccompanied minors crossed the border and were detained like you saw, for a short period, if that’s the only photo you saw. Cramer took offenses to cages being called cages, in the present tense, which is the topic. 2014 has nothing to do with Trump’s policy of family separation, but many people seem to be fixated on four years ago, to rationalize the current current cruelty and incompetence.

Conservative Candidate X.

OK, I am interested in reading his policy. Do you have a copy of that? How is it different

Me

It is simply a zero tolerance policy that no other president considered humane. There are thousands of stories on the Internet explaining it. The actual wording may be on the White House website. People are fleeing a burning building and believed the U.S. was welcoming to the persecuted, and their children. Good luck.

Conservative Candidate X.

Found some …

“According to the Department of Homeland Security, the Flores agreement allows the agency to detain unaccompanied minors for only “20 days before releasing them to the Department of Health and Human Services, which places the minors in foster or shelter situations until they locate a sponsor.”

But in a controversial decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, the most liberal in the country, has interpreted the settlement agreement to apply to “both minors who are accompanied and unaccompanied by their parents.”

In other words, it is the 9th Circuit’s misinterpretation of the Clinton administration’s settlement agreement that doesn’t allow juvenile aliens to stay with their parents who have been detained for unlawful entry into the country.

Of course, if those parents would simply agree to return to their home countries, they would be immediately reunited with their children. So those who come here illegally are themselves to blame for their children being assigned to foster care or to another family member or sponsor who may be in the country.

The executive order signed by President Donald Trump directs the attorney general to file a request with the federal court in the Flores case to modify the settlement agreement to allow the government “to detain alien families together throughout the pendency of criminal proceedings for improper entry or any removal or other immigration proceedings.”

Me

They are arresting them, whether they agree to turn around or not. Then DT revoked his own order, but they still don’t know where they sent all of the kids. You can agree with his former policy, if you wish. I’m sure not expecting to change the mind of any Republicans, but I won’t stop writing about this incompetent man. Even George Will, and a bevy of others, have jumped this ship.

Conservative Candidate X

Yes, I agree if that is true.  I am not sure you are considering the context. With all due respect, your (sic) losing some credibility.  We have a serious problem with criminals bringing children across the border. It is not true that they don’t know where they are at. That is distorted. The fact is parents of these kids are not showing up, to the tune of 80 percent, for court after breaking the law.  A law promotes by the last four presidents.  Now the media is reporting them as missing. Again, a distorted lie.

Me

If you cannot see the difference in the Trump policy, I’m sorry. And I’m not sure why you’re defending it, but if that’s your opinion, you’re free to have it. Also, I’m not sure of your sourcing, but I see multiple reputable sources reporting the same thing, and confusion in the White House.

It is not true that major media papers and stations like CNN are just making stuff up. It’s saddening to know how many people believe Trump lies.

Google this: “no plan to reunite immigration kids with parents” Trump has told more than 3,000 verifiable false lies, since inauguration. I not worried about me credibility.

“You could easily end up in a situation where the gap between a parent’s deportation and a child’s deportation is years,” said former Acting Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director John Sandweg.

Previously, when federal agents separated children from their parents it was usually because they believed the children’s welfare was in danger.

Sandweg told NBC News earlier this week that some separations of migrant kids and parents may be permanent.” — NBC

Conservative Candidate X.

OK, for discussion sake, I will believe what you are saying, then ask, “is this the first time kids have been separated.” That doesn’t make it OK, but it gives context.

Me

No, it’s not, but not on a wholesale level. If a parent is carrying drugs, or obviously not fit, children have rightly been removed. But, you could have found this out, easily.

Trump is driven by a base, that wants neither legal, nor illegal, immigration. Fifty-five percent of Republicans weren’t bothered by the crying of infants and toddlers.

Conservative Candidate X.

Me

It says unavailable.

Conservative Candidate X.

So far, 83 percent of the children were not even with a parent.  Will be good to find out how many of the others were with a trafficker or a parent who committed a crime

Me

You are trying to rationalize this cruel behavior. Why don’t you, or the other two, make your views public on Facebook, and let voters know how you feel? My views are public.

From the AP: The AP acquired internal Department of Homeland Security data on the program, covering the period of April 19 to May 31. Over that time span, 1,995 children were taken from their migrant parents at the border. That’s an average of roughly 48 kids separated from their families per day, often sent into foster homes or held in detention centers.

Conservative Candidate X.

Quite public. I am simply pointing out how you are being misled. I have no problem criticizing Trump when I am convinced by truth. But taking things out of context, exaggerating,  and attacking the person with generalities gets nowhere, and loses credibility with me. How about debating an actual policy or principle, … you strike me as a smart person, so that could go somewhere

Me

Being misled by who? Calling chain link not a fence, is pretty specific. And, I’ve already been there, thanks. Still waiting for your statement on FB.

Conservative Candidate X.

Funny that you don’t even know where I stand yet. If you read an earlier response I gave you June 23, I said I agree with you if what you are presenting is actually true.

Not sure that is such an earthquake, but if it would make you feel better, I could post that on FB.

I have asked good probing questions of you and mostly get trump bashing.

You haven’t explained that, over 80 percent of the children were not separated by the US border patrol.

Nor have you been able to dispute that the Flores Act actually created a mass human trafficking problem on our border.

This is what conservatives call “context.”

You have made the Border Patrol out to be a bunch of child-hating, abusive people. Talk about exaggeration. Totally misleading.

Not sure that will floor anyone that, being openly conservative, would put that out.

But look for it today.

Me

The percent isn’t the issue. Twenty-three hundred have been separated. I have made no claims about the Border Patrol. This is all on Trump. I await your public opinion. Other than Cramer, no R has made a peep about this cruel policy.

These things you call context were dealt with humanely by previous administrations. And Trump is willing to send asylum seekers back to their deaths, including the kids. Good politics in N.D.

Trump is responsible for things he says and does. I am free to disagree, as do most Americans. You should ask some good probing questions of yourself.

Conservative Candidate X.

Funny. I just did put out my statement on FB.

Conservative Candidate X.

I will give you this, you are a good spinner. Do you live in minot? We should just meet face to face somewhere

Conservative Candidate X.

Another point.  If 80 percent means nothing to you, it is even more sad you have made NO mention of disgust toward the Mexican government.

There should be two walls, one on our CD side and one on theirs. That would guarantee this problem solved.

Immigrants would actually come through the gates, be vetted and then welcomed as it should be. What a concept?

Me

We’ll just let innocent people die in their home countries. And they are vetted. Maybe we should vet everyone who is already here. I know some Norwegians that are up to no good.

The ones who have come through gates have been arrested, during Trump’s policy.

BTW: Most undocumented people are here because they overstayed their visa. And most are Canadian, but that’s OK. Many more than survive the trip to the southern border save their families.

I don’t see your statement. Did you make it public on your political page? I used to live in Minot, when the Republicans weren’t in a race to see who is more conservative. Like Andy Maragos, who I used to do business with.

All of these kids you’re worried about were caught. By the agents, without an impractical wall. They are already seizing land from private citizens.

Me

Nothing here: https://www.facebook.com/ndgopx/

— End of email string —

But, Conservative Candidate X did make his opinion known on his personal Facebook page June 26. Nothing since, so I guess the search for context is still on.

“I have asked probing questions, aimed at finding a context of facts on the border issues and children of illegal immigrants. I mostly get trump bashing.

Haven’t heard it explained that, over 80 percent of the children were not separated by the U.S. Border Patrol.

Nor has someone been able to dispute that the Flores Act actually created a mass human trafficking problem on our border.

So, what really are the facts? My position is, “know the context.” If Trump did something wrong, we should call him out.” But …

Using this as an opportunity to just bash him and exaggerate the actions of our border police is sad.

I am still waiting for some solid context before jumping to conclusions.

So far, this points to a need for a wall.” — Conservative Candidate X.

 

RON SCHALOW: The Land With Two Brains

If Donald Trump had walked into a Minot working man’s bar before he became a fancy pants, popular stream of consciousness screamer, he would have ended up in the dumpster, with appropriate discoloration, in under 30 minutes.

No self-respecting patron of the bar arts in the Magic City, would suffer a loudmouth, self-aggrandizing, lying dick for very long. Experienced drinkers develop a razor sharp sense of bullshit detection. It’s a survival mechanism evolved over many happy hours.

“I am the smartest, ever, in the history of time.” “I have more money and a nicer apartment than you.” “I get to walk into girls dressing rooms.” “Barack Obama wiretapped me.” Blah, blah, blah.

OK, that’s it! Outside, smarmy!

Even a rookie drinker, just starting his questionable career, could have made Chip “hell no, he didn’t go” McDuck for what he is pretty easily, though. Rook probably would have pulled out Chucky’s two hairs, or as many curls Donnie had at the time, just for kicks, before dropping DT in the garbage box.

Dapper Donnie could have put on any costume and declared a nonlazy type of employment. It wouldn’t have mattered. When someone has never worked on anything long enough to muster up a blister, or staged war with a rusted out lug nut, in 20 below weather, they waft off a scent of privileged asshole.

Has “The Donald” ever switched out a carburetor, shoveled a driveway or painted a house? I’m doubtful. Has he ever made sandwich or washed a dish?

Many of the affluent are quite nice. But DT has always been exactly like the stuffy young — rich from daddy — men, who tried to dampen John Belushi’s lifestyle by taking his Delta house away. Bluto wasn’t too bright, but he knew who was what. Alcohol and instinct.

But something changed in Minot. Or not.

A big majority of Minoters — and North Dakotans — voted for the slick, tough talking, adulterous New York buffoon, who began his campaign by telling people that Barack Obama was really born in Kenya. He started with a racist lie.

Little Marco, Mrs. Cruz and Carly Fiorina are ugly, other misogynist garbage and the incessant shouting and bullying. Oh, and Ted Sr. was involved in the JFK assassination. Vomit like that got cheesehead the nomination.

DT never had any relationship with the truth. It’s past the point of being a pathological liar. He has a cortisol and testosterone imbalance that would make Charles Ponzi blush, and Charlie had naturally red cheeks. Trump is in a category of his own, lying wiseguy wise, but he is still in the good graces of 90 percent of Republicans.

Though, there are less Republicans now, as many snap out of their fugue state and jump ship.

We also lost a few Republicans who were on the island when Puerto Rico got wiped out by wind and water. Trump’s government decided that it wasn’t worth taking the time to look for people wo\ho might have been unwell, needed meds or electricity to survive the aftermath. Well, we know why that was, simply by looking at the latest Sherwin-Williams color chart.

We’ve talked about 9/11 ever since the day everything happened on another incompetent president’s list of things to do. Almost 17 years.

Forty-six hundred Americans perished on Puerto Rico on sleepy eye’s watch, but its been largely forgotten, and that’s wrong. I really don’t care if Sarah Huckabee Sanders has to make her own food at home, what Melania’s jacket read or about Kevin Cramer’s warped bigoted idea of North Dakota values.

The Tale of Two Cerebral Hemispheres

The gray matter is different in liberal brains than conservative ones. Of course, there is a whole spectrum of thought, but I’m proud to own an organ on the left side. There are people way to the left of me, and I can’t even see Kevin Cramer — on the other side — who has whored himself out to Trump, and I find their relationship offensive. I’m happy with my slot.

Many studies have been done, so the brain thing is nothing new.

In short; conservatives are more fearful, have a higher level of anxiety, prefer to avoid change and are able to justify inequality among groups and individuals. Their right amygdalas are larger. What are you going to do? Immigrants or foreigners make this brain sector light up like Trump on kid-caging day. Stupid crying short people.

Liberals, very simply put, are the opposite.

Of course, some people voted for the malignant narcissist, hoping for a financial reward in the form of a tax cut. The wealthiest did win that one. Bigly.

Some wanted the United States to declare Jerusalem as the capital city of Israel, to lube the way for the rapture, or so I’ve read. Well, I want the North Dakota capital moved to Hillsboro, N.D., so that the western legislators can have more time to think about what they have done, while they’re driving back to Tioga, N.D.

Mostly, members of the Trumpire fear the millions of brown people that Donnie has claimed are coming — he lies — and want the place hermetically sealed, yesterday. More foreigners -— I’m looking at you, you conniving shoe-smuggling Canadians — overstay their Visas than ever successfully walk across our southern border. But the meat on that bone isn’t red enough to get the gullibles wound up. Nobody cares if you walk in from Moose Jaw, Sask.

And, that’s precisely what Trump will be doing in Fargo on Wednesday. Winding up the gullibles. There will be a white fluorescent glow coming from Scheels Arena, just before sun comes up  Wednesday, as the line begins or continues to form.

Then, there’s this issue, which defies explanation. And there are millions who refuse to believe documented facts. Facts are facts. They aren’t debateable.

From ABC.

(Jonathan) KARL: “He (Trump) says things that are not true all the time.”

(Steve) BANNON: “I don’t believe that.”

KARL: “Come on.”

BANNON: “I think he speaks in a particular vernacular that connects to people in this country.”

It’s the shameless false information vernacular. There’s more than brain voodoo going on here. This is a lead-plated helmet and full-metal jacket situation. NOTHING is getting through the outer shell, and there is no point in trying. Very troublesome. You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him use a straw. It’s the same dynamic.

Even the softcore Trump fan actually believes that the national media gets together at the IHOB and makes stuff up to make the president look bad. As if making Trump look stupid required any effort.

The gullibles, who probably make up the usual 30 percent, believe everything he says, but they don’t really care — or aren’t interested in the truth — anyway. They can forgive most anything, being Christian, and all.

Some Trumpers, not too far gone, may come back from the edge on their own after they realize what they’ve created. The lightbulb only comes on for a few of the more sentient ones with nominal self-awareness.

The racially hateful voters who are sure that Trump is speaking directly to them think this country is swarming with too many brown people as it is, including the Native Americans.

Those self-named patriots are more of a danger to Americans than any immigrant. They are the white supremacists, the white nationalists and their brethren carrying backyard ambiance tiki torches, even in this magical age of flashlights. You don’t want any of these characters infesting your neighborhood.

The alt-right was at the chanting party in Charlottesville, Va., too, including those insufferable incels. Good luck with that white ethno-state, with obedient females, fellas. Dig those bunkers deep, and stock up on ammo for the impending race war, nuclear fallout or just for fun.

Give the fearful ones, just a few chores, if they’re game. The information can easily be found that would show most average people what a putrid character Donald Trump has always been. Probably not the gullibles, though.

On YouTube, search “Trump interview Howard Stern.”

On YouTube, search “Trump interview.”

On YouTube, search “Trump documentary.”

On Google; search “Trump history.”

No time limit.

TIM MADIGAN: Anything Mentionable — My Journey With Central American Refugees

On a winter afternoon in 1989, I climbed into the cargo hold of a crowded Ryder rental truck, finding my place amid 49 Central American refugees. Over the next 11 hours, on a journey from the Texas border town of Harlingen to Houston, I listened to the stories of the men, women and children, people who in some cases had walked north across Mexico to get to the United States.

“Each could speak of suffering in the lives they left behind — civil war and economic depression in Nicaragua, civil war in El Salvador, unrest that had spilled over into Guatemala and Honduras,” I wrote a few days later in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “Even long hours in a crowded truck were better than that.

“And as minutes on the truck stretched on, each clung to an almost blind, perhaps naïve faith in the United States and its people — the hope that life would be better here.”

I remember how a smile seemed permanently affixed to the face of an 18-year-old named Richard Espinoza, whose tennis shoes dangled from the rear of the truck as we sped north. He traveled alone, penniless, with no means to get to friends in Miami, but he seemed without fear.

At one point, he grabbed my pen and notebook, scribbling out a short message in English.

“I fel (sic) very happy in the U.S.A.,” he wrote. “The people nice. Thank you very much, forever.”

But for me there is so much more to the story of that day. Given our barbaric current events, I’m telling it here for the first time.

*****

The refugee and immigration crisis, especially at our southern border, has been a chronic one, stretching back generations. In 1988, as conditions deteriorated in Central America, tens of thousands inundated the U.S. border to apply for political asylum, then were forced to live in border squatter camps until their claims could be adjudicated.

That changed in January 1989, when a federal judge ruled that the asylum applicants could no longer be detained in the Rio Grande Valley and were free to travel to other parts of the country until their cases were heard. Within hours, buses bound for Houston, Los Angeles and Miami were full. Hundreds of other refugees with no money were left to hitchhike or wait.

It was big national news at the time, much like the refugee story is now, and the Star-Telegram sent me to the border to cover it. The assignment nearly broke me instead. I was a young reporter suddenly competing with seasoned journalists from New York, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles and Chicago. As many of you know, these were years of depression and self-loathing, and one the biggest assignments of my career threatened to push me over the edge.

After arriving at the border, I had hired a Spanish-speaking high school student to interpret for me but returned him to his school just minutes after we met. The kid looked at me quizzically when I told him there had been a change of plans. I found a deserted country road so I could be alone if I came completely unglued. I eventually drove back to town, found a pay phone in Brownsville, called a friend and began to sob at the sound of his voice.

When the waves of emotion had subsided, I explained my assignment, and shared my fears.

“Here’s all you have to do,” my friend said. “Get in your car, drive to Harlingen, and see what happens.”

*****

There was chaos outside the Immigration and Naturalization Service headquarters, hundreds of stranded refugees milling about. That’s where I found Kathryn Ortega, as she helped dozens of them into the back of the yellow rental truck. She told me that she and relatives had driven down from Houston to deliver 4,000 pounds of rice to help feed the refugees. When the truck was empty their pleas began.

“They kept saying, ‘Please take us,’” she told me. “I couldn’t say no. This is a free ride to where they can get help.”

On the spur of the moment I asked to ride with them. My own feet soon dangled over the end of the open cargo hold as we pulled away in midafternoon, heading north into the country. Every few miles for the first 20, we passed refugees in groups of three and four, belongings slung over their shoulders as they headed the same direction on foot.

Ortega translated as I listened to the stories of violence and poverty that the passengers were attempting to leave behind. Outside the truck, a setting sun cast an orange hue on sprawling flatlands where cattle foraged amid mesquite. Some of the people talked quietly as we drove. Others read Bibles. Mothers held sleeping children. One small girl in pigtails busily ate a bologna sandwich with one hand and clutched a stuffed yellow rabbit with the other.

And at some point, I realized my suffering from that morning was gone. Because of them. The shared humanity in the back of that truck was much more powerful than my misery. In our cramped quarters, all but heart and soul had been stripped away and barriers of language and background were dissolved. I realize now the extent to which we are all refugees in one way or another, human beings trying to make our way in an often cruel and difficult world.

The truck pulled into a town at dusk and we stopped outside a supermarket, where Ortega bought milk, bread and sandwich meat. When the passengers gathered around picnic tables at nearby park, the refugees made sure I was fed.

We set off again into the darkness. Most of the people dozed off, holding loved ones. The only sounds were the hum of the road and the beautiful tenor voice of young Richard Espinoza, who sang a plaintive folk song in Spanish.

Then something happened I will never forget. As we were jostled about in the crowded truck, I felt a tap at my shoulder. It was a young man who had pulled his daughter onto his lap, making room for me to lay down and sleep.

*****

The truck finally pulled into Ortega’s Houston apartment complex long after midnight. I shared a meal of rice and beans with my new friends, then said my goodbyes and disappeared into a cab.

But I’ve seen their faces again this last week, on the news. Nearly 30 years later, as I think of my fellow refugees, I wonder what their lives have been like since we shared that remarkable journey. My fervent prayer is that they have found the United States everything they dreamed it would be

RON SCHALOW: The Congressman With The Chain-Link Head

When I was a youngster, chain-link fencing started to pop up on a few yards on south hill in Minot. I remember thinking, “Gosh, I hope no kids get trapped in there.” Then I saw the gate. They all had gates. What a relief. Easy egress. These were a noncage fences.

Now, when I was at the zoo in Roosevelt Park, I was happy that most of the animals were behind bars and magical metal wires woven together like fine linen. These animals were in what I like to call cages. The critters weren’t free to leave — or make long-distance calls.

They were cool about it, except for one bonobo named Arnie, with a species bias that really got him going. He kneeled every time they played the national anthem, which was played every time there was a ballgame across the street at Corbett Field. He didn’t like humans, Minot or the cage. Arnie also called it a cage. Everybody did.

The chain-link fences were ugly, but lawns and dogs need confinement. I guess the wood picket fences weren’t doing the job. Or maybe they were trying to keep me out. I will be posthumously outraged.

Most parents in the day preferred free-range children versus the caged ones. Wandering age varied, but I remember lots of little people like me, relishing their freedom on the mean sidewalks of 1960s North Dakota. Most little dudes were pushed outside after the first step.

Toddlers were on a short leash — or kept in one of those compact mobile jails with 17 toys. Infants spent nights confined to a bed brig with wood bars and only a nominal chance of escape without the proper tools.

Full disclosure: I purchased chain-link fencing about 35 years ago, but I did not incarcerate man nor beast with the steel wire. I’m neither proud or ashamed. And I had no personal affection for the product, which will be going up in price due to Trump tariffs.

Now for the horror. The ongoing imprisonment of brown children is a national disgrace.

Some pundits have suggested that this shameful episode is Trump’s Katrina. No. 4,600 Americans have died in the decimation of Puerto Rico by Hurricane Maria because the jackass chose to limit the government response. Puerto Ricans got a small fraction of the resources dedicated to Texas for recovery from Hurricane Harvey. All on DT’s watch.

Caging children is in a despicable category of its own. Some of these kids will never see their parents again. They’ll be scarred for life. The parents will live this nightmare, over and over. That’s fine with the Trump cult, including sycophant prince Kevin Cramer.

King Nitwit and his administration have offered over a dozen reasons why these kids were being shipped here and there without their parents. They blamed everyone but the racist in chief, the dumb one when Eric isn’t present. They lied and lied. Then lied some more.

And Kevin Cramer parroted the horse shit because he has staked his entire political future on the sex offending blowhard, who has no clue on how to do his job. So, Kev has morphed into the silhouette of the bloated Bronx dung beetle. Cramer knowingly told the same lies as the pompous pork loin and then made up some baloney of his own.

Cramer doesn’t care about the human misery. He only cares about Trump. He is concerned about Trump more than the people of North Dakota.

Furthermore, Congressman Kevin Cramer is not a bright person, I say with no due respect. He makes it impossible not to write about his silly antics.

Oddly as it turns out, no one in the history of time has more fondness for the steel chain-link fence, than Kevin Cramer.

Fencing, and calling it a cage, because the little ones were locked in … Is that Cramer’s major takeaway from the cluster-eff the country is witnessing? Afraid so.

Does the cruelty register? Cries of beautiful dark-haired littles? Nope. Just the use of an accurate word, and the snowflake is offended.

I was surprised about something, though. Somebody is actually listening to Scott Hennen and Rob Port. Port doubles as the teddy bear that Kevin weeps into at night.

This nuttiness has gone national, but Cramer’s comments bear repeating. He also has a fundamental misunderstanding of chain-link fencing, and fences in general. He thinks, among other things, that calling the fencing “cages,” is overblown rhetoric. That was also worth repeating.

Keep in mind that this master of gibberish once said the following:

“But by the way, did you notice how poorly several of them were dressed as well? It is a syndrome. There is no question, there is a disease associated with the notion that a bunch of women would wear bad-looking white pantsuits in solidarity with Hillary Clinton to celebrate her loss. You cannot get that weird.”

Actually, some Democratic women wore white as a homage to suffragettes and as a silent protest against “Donald the misogynist” during the state of the union speech So, Cramer, also a sexist, got offended by women not getting locked away and uses words like disease, syndrome and weird.

White pantsuits drive him nuts, but putting children in cages is normal to the Trump toady. He just doesn’t like all of the “hoopla” surrounding the inhumane imprisonment of children. Now that’s weird. Sickening, actually.

And ballparks are not cages. I observed or played baseball in hundreds of ballparks. Not once was I prevented from leaving. Did Kevin have different experiences? Where was this? Kenya?

Fences can be used to keep people or critters out — or keep kids in. It doesn’t matter that you can see through the cage. You can see through prison bars, too. Good gawd, dude.

And 67 percent of Americans find the whole mess repulsive. Not just liberals, as a grown man with a smartphone, and a staff should have known. But lying is more fun.

The kids aren’t crying because of the type of fencing that keeps them interned. It’s the separation from parents. Calling their situation as being in a cage is totally accurate. Is that too complicated for a U.S. congressman to understand? Evidently.

The president will be in Fargo next week. Trump will talk about Cramer, and his thoughts on cages, for about 30 seconds, when the cocaine kicks in. And it will be too stupid for words.

Likewise, I’m not even going to try to argue with the bizarre thoughts that run through the mind of the Cramer mastermind. You can read his exact words below.

Then, he goes on KFGO on Thursday and repeats the same nonsense. Kev didn’t get a different result, though, so that’s a red flag. And yes, you can see through his head. For safety reasons.

From Talking Points Memo

Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., pushed back hard on the idea that keeping border-crossing children in chain-link cages was inhumane, defending the practice in two local radio shows on Wednesday.

Cramer, who’s running against Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., in a top-tier Senate race, called the facilities “humane” during a Wednesday appearance on KFGO, a local radio station that broadcasts in the Bakken oil fields.

“By the way, chain-link fences are around playgrounds all over America, all over North Dakota. And chain link fences allow line-of-sight visual connectivity with children and families,” he said as he discussed reversing President Trump’s policy to let families stay together at the border.

“You know, there’s nothing inhumane about a chain-link fence. If it is, then every ballpark in America is inhumane.”

Cramer then went on to say he supported changing the law to allow families to stay together when they enter the country illegally and supported House Republicans’ dueling pieces of immigration legislation that are expected to receive a vote this week that would address this issue.

The comments came before Trump announced he’d reverse his recently implemented strategy of separating children and parents at the border with an executive order, reversing his previously held false position that only Congress could act to stop it.

Cramer doubled down on his comments when asked about them later in the day on WDAY, another local radio station, calling the focus on the cages “hoopla.”

“I think [chain-] linked fences is irrelevant to the crying of children. My commentary is on the chain-link fence,” he said when asked about the comments and whether he’d heard the audio of children wailing after being separated from their parents. “There’s all this hoopla because I think there are people on the left that clearly want the country to fail at this. And they would like the chain-link fence, they called it ‘dog cages.’ Well, chain-link fences have been used to protect children from predators on playgrounds, baseball diamonds, all sorts of sports courts and what-not. To me it’s not the chain-link fence, that’s not the issue. That’s a ruse by some on the left to try to create an image that’s far worse in description than it is in reality,” he said.

“The actual value of the chain-link fence is you could see through it, that’s the value of the chain link. If they put up a Sheetrock wall between the children and the workers, the people there to protect them, to me that would be far worse,” Cramer continued. “The chain-link fence, let’s not use that as some sort of a weapon. There’s a broader conversation about the separation of families in general, but as I’ve said before, that happens throughout the country many times. Kris (his wife) and I have been foster parents. We know all about the separation of children from their parents who do the illegal things, it happens in every city of the country every day.”

Senate Republicans initially had opposed having Cramer, a close ally of Trump’s, as their candidate for Senate precisely because of his penchant for controversial comments. After failing to find a better alternative, they circled back to him. Cramer initially said he wouldn’t run but changed his mind after Trump pushed him to jump into the race.

Cramer has since stirred up some controversies, including comments that Trump wasn’t campaigning as hard against Heitkamp as some other vulnerable Senate Democrats because “she’s a woman,” and sought and received an endorsement from a virulently anti-gay group that compares transgender people to pedophiles.

This is the latest instance of a remark that may generate some backlash. — Talking Points Memo

TOM DAVIES: The Verdict — God Bless America

Presidents John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan each in his own time spoke at the Berlin Wall. Kennedy asked that the wall be removed because, as he put it, it separated parents from children, husbands from wives, families from friends. Reagan again asked for the wall to come down more than 25 years later. At his urging, it did.

Each president, one Democrat and one Republican but both American, condemned the purpose, intent and the horrible effects of the wall.

The comments by the two presidents are echoed in what civil rights, religious and political groups are now saying about the wall between the U.S. and Mexico, both as it stands now and its proposed expansion.

It wasn’t too long ago that our administration proposed privatizing our prison system, notwithstanding the fact that professionals indicated it was a bad idea. Making money on misery has never been a good idea. The brother of Education Secretary Betsy Devos is one who has been pushing for privatization. Others in the administration agree.

It appears private contractors are making lucrative profits out of human misery. According to the Daily Beast, military contractors are making tens of millions of dollars detaining and housing prisoners as families are being torn apart at the border. While enraged Americans are demanding their elected representatives do something to protest the separation of children and their families at the U.S.-Mexican border, “detention centers” are being built to house unaccompanied children. The contractors are also paid additional millions to transport them to the centers in Texas.

To make matters worse, it appears the U.S. is preparing to pull out of the United Nations Human Rights Council after clashes over Israel and its excessive use of force against the Palestinians.

The Council of Catholic Bishops has condemned the treatment of children and families along the Mexican border as they race to our country for sanctuary. The bishops have gone so far as to threaten canonical penalties to Catholics participating in the separation of families looking for asylum.

It is a mark of courage that the Church is intervening. It would be another mark of courage if politicians would do the same.

The president has claimed repeatedly that the Obama administration made separation of children from parents at the border a law. That claim is demonstrably false. Just as President Obama signed executive orders, so, too, can this president. By a stroke of his pen, the president can stop the policy at our border crossings.

This is not a Republican or Democratic issue. It is an American issue. As a country, we are better than this.

Personally, I could not stand idly by while children are taken from their parents — children who are as pure as the driven snow. These children, who have broken no laws, are placed alone in detention centers. Brothers and sisters are separated. In the name of all that’s holy, how can young children — including babies — be taken from their parents and warehoused?

This is the United States of America. By God, we can and must do better.

What some forget or choose to ignore is the plight of many of the adults who are being arrested and jailed at the border. Many of them have come great distances with their children asking asylum from rape, murder and violence in their home countries. We are a welcoming, compassionate people. What is happening at our borders, in its present form, has to stop. These parents and children seek sanctuary, and we are big enough to grant it.

Like some, I ask myself whether the color of their skin and their race has anything to do with their treatment at our borders.

Think of Puerto Rico. Eight months after a human disaster, little has been done to restore essential services in a country that our Army Corp of Engineers could have reconstructed in half the time. People who are American citizens continue to suffer. Now as we enter a new hurricane season, I ask: If the Puerto Ricans were all Caucasian, would they have been treated better? Would they be the next time?

As a nation, we are simply much better than this. As a people, we know better than this. In other parts of the world, bad things have happened because good people remained silent. We are those good people. We cannot remain silent. Amen.

RON SCHALOW: American Horror Circus Arrival Imminent

So,  the well endowed Mar-a-Lago mermaid is coming to Fargo to scare the immigrants. That’s just perfect. Personally, I can feel an orange gelatin evil in the Force. And I’m not even one of those little green dudes. I’m just happy to know that Mark Hamill has enough cash to get by.

Anyway, the Mar-a-Lago manatee will be in town to fete the rare accomplishments of the junior congressman of North Dakota, the benign blotch under Trump’s left boob and former sex shop window mannequin, Kevin Cramer. Just kidding! Trump will be at Scheels Arena to flap his KFC gravy injected lips about his favorite person. Himself.

And according to reports, Old Bone Spurs is going to tell the cultists about the many occasions he had intentionally wandered into the women’s dressing rooms and leered at naked females at the beauty pageants he owned. Teens included. Just kidding! It’s true, but I guess he’s going to verbally deliver a hagiography of his new best pal and Rob Port’s long lost twin, Kim Jong-un, and brag about their signing of a Denny’s breakfast menu.

Their beady eyes met, they ran to each other through a field of daffodils, and there was a lot of circular dancing. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Polka, maybe. We get it. Oh, he’s so smart. He’s so funny. K was so handsome at the mixer. Is he going out with anyone? Oh my, he’s in a fraternity?

Just shut up about Poppin’ Fresh. Nobody here cares about the little screwy haired troll. Besides, he had his frat brothers whacked, so they’re not that close. And North Dakota has more firepower than that evil little bastard buried in our dirt. Plus two Air Force bases that are above ground. Don’t tell Donnie, lest he get some warped ideas.

So, DT, please don’t tell us you HAD to kiss KY jelly belly’s ample ass to keep us from getting nuclearated. Just admit you had a love connection because no great deal-making took place in Singapore. That’s right, we were watching. And we don’t care if you were hungry. A regular-sized Snickers bar isn’t enough for our part of your sordid arrangement. Plus, it’s doubtful they have one.

We, and yes, I do speak for all North Dakotans, want to know about soybeans and the metal our manufacturers need to make big-ass machines, grain bins and horseshoes. You know, the asinine tariffs. Hand hold on your own time.

Someone will write a speech for the great pumpkin and put it on the teleprompter. Probably Stephen Miller, the anti-Christ’s little brother. Rumored. Just kidding! Steph is the real deal.

The words will be written for a fourth-grader because that’s the skill level of our POTUS. But as is his custom, Spanky will get bored, or get tired of the effort involved in reading, and go off on a wild sweaty adventure of lying, score-settling, name-calling, ass-covering, excuses, wild stories and self-back patting.

Maybe he’ll take this gem out for a spin.

While regaling a FOX stiff about his great achievements in Singapore, he simply made up an easily verifiable story about the remains of American soldiers still in North Korea, and their really old parents. Very old.

“We have thousands of people who have asked for that — thousands and thousands of people, so many people asked when I was on the campaign. I would say, ‘Wait a minute, I don’t have any relationship.’ But they said, ‘When you can, president, we’d love our son to be brought back home — you know, the remains.’”

Trump added the following flourish of bullshit. “I said, ‘Will you do me a favor (to Kim)? The remains of these great fallen heroes, can we do something?’ He agreed to it immediately. It was pretty great.” — CBS Los Angeles

Then, they shared a cheesecake and a small 3-gallon pitcher of melted Hershey Kisses. It was magical. We might even get extra bones. The teeny mass murderer has cornered the human remains market in the hellscape he helped create for his people. And how do they thank KJ? By dying of starvation. Ingrates.

Maybe Clownzilla will tell us about his close relationship with the white nationalists who adore him and other whites, mostly men, who feel like they’re being genocided because all shades of people have lived on this turf over the course of the last 10,000 years, and the less reflective ones make their lives suck, for some reason.

Mr. Trump, they won’t leave and let us have a white ethno-state and we’re sad. These ethno-idiots are the ones who don’t see the flaws in wall technology.

It surely would be a crowd-pleaser if the New York asshole would go into a full white grievance rant. I’m sure Pete Tefft, Fargo’s known activist for white people, as if he’s the only racist in town, will be there.

Tefft has a supporting role in the new documentary, “White Right: Meeting the Enemy.” He didn’t impress anyone with his intellect, since it wasn’t discernable. He and his tiki tot buddies are Trump’s superbase. None but 10 percent of Republicans waiver from Trump’s hip, but these maniacs are nuts.

Speaking of weasels, Rob Port spent the last six years, with steam shooting out all orifices and his brain cell fixated on Sen. Heidi Heitkamp. She won an election, and that hurt his feelings. Port permanently resides on Cramer’s lap and has done a 180 on Trump, since flirting with sanity before the 2016 election.

Cramer craves Trump, and Port needs Cramer, so the weasel got in line. Not so long ago, Robbie had strong feelings about dumbo, and the base they share, when he wrote:.

  • “Trump knows exactly how dumb his supporters are, and has manipulated their ignorance to great effect.”
  • “Trump seems content to pander to actual paranoid racists.”
  • “I do not think Trump should win the presidency, however. He’s an embarrassment. He is not fit to lead our country.”

So, Port’s a hypocrite, and if Cramer is a Christian, he’s not a good one. Not if he’s for cruelty to kids, and their families, and not helping people who find themselves as refugees. Neither is a shock. And no, feeding rich people doesn’t count, Kev.

As for Cramer, he’s a secure cowardly vote for anything Trump wishes. That’s all Don sees. Someone to do his bidding. That’s why he’ll waddle onto the stage. He’ll screw Kevin over at some point, just like he has to thousands of others.

Name one thing Kevin has actually done in the past six years besides bitch about pantsuits, and promise to discriminate against anything LGBTQ-related. Fashion tips and bigotry don’t count. I couldn’t think of any accomplishments, so I looked.

Three of Cramer’s bills have become law, and only one of them had any purpose. Rename buildings or make grilled cheese the national sandwich. I sure don’t care, but don’t say you’ve had any impact, Kev.

Cramer once arranged a science committee meeting to prove that Bakken crude doesn’t explode, even though Bakken oil trains were exploding regularly. There are tons of witnesses, photos and video, but the evidence didn’t convince oil boy. Harold Hamm isn’t the finance guy on Kevin’s campaign for the free key rings.

And yes I’m implying exactly what I’m implying.

Cramer didn’t want to run in a tough race for Senate in the first place, and he can’t decide if the people of North Dakota, Harold Hamm or Donald Trump changed his mind. Trump begged him, though. He’s sure of that much.

Scheels Arena is only 2½ miles from my home. It makes me itchy. But surely, the motorcade will come south on Interstate 29 from the airport, so I can extend a finger and take a knee at any point before the botox bomber turns off at 32nd Avenue.

Bonus: Gag reflex tester from the Rolling Stone. You know who said it.

“You know, no men are anywhere. And I’m allowed to go in because I’m the owner of the pageant. And therefore I’m inspecting it … Is everyone OK? You know, they’re standing there with no clothes. And you see these incredible-looking women. And so I sort of get away with things like that.”

NANCY EDMONDS HANSON: After Thought — In Search Of The Phantom Workforce

The governor and the Greater North Dakota Chamber of Commerce are spending $4,000 this month to ask 1,000 businesses what they need to grow and prosper. I wish they’d talked to me first. I know they’re awfully keen to pinch those budgetary pennies. I’d have been happy to tell them for the price of a cup of coffee:

People. North Dakota needs people. Lots of people. Without them, the booming growth curve stalls.

Like their neighbors in Minnesota, North Dakota businesses are feeling the squeeze big time … not for lack of ideas, grit or even sometimes money, but the aching shortage of humans to do actual work. North Dakota Job Service lists 14,400 spots that are wide-open. The director estimates the actual number is significantly larger, since many openings don’t ever make it to the statewide employment listings. Not only that: Economic developers expect the need to not only persist but double in just a few years.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Labor Department confirms the whole nation is hurting for help. For the first time in the history of statistics, it reports more job openings nationwide than there are unemployed workers to fill them.

What a shortsighted time to close the doors to eager immigrants!

Gov. Doug Burgum cites North Dakota’s undersized workforce as its single biggest barrier to economic growth. “We need a new way of finding solutions to this critical challenge,” he’s told the media. He touts the employer survey as a “unique approach” based on “priorities derived from detailed data and evidence-based research.”

Don’t expect any stunning revelations. The survey — take it yourself at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/NDWF2018Survey —will undoubtedly turn up the kind of so-called “insights” that have been ridiculously obvious since at least the 1990s. Back then, economic development professionals were already predicting a shortage of the kind of smart, knowledgeable workers who are in short supply today … as well as a drought of workers with lower levels of skills needed to keep the wheels of our daily lives turning.

We desperately need more warm bodies here in the underpopulated heart of America. “Help wanted” pleas ring out from the Bakken to the Minnesota border — and not only in the slightly urban oases out here on the prairie. A good share issue out in the vast lands dismissed just 25 years ago as desolate Buffalo Commons. Census figures celebrate growth in the largest communities, but their explosive growth is offset by the sobering rest of the story — the rest of the state, where the population is draining away or, at best, static. Plenty of ideas have been sparked to bring life back to the withering. What they need now are willing hands to put to work. Ironically, as small towns shrink, their need for solutions grows — right along with the aching demand for living, breathing humans to make them happen.

Bitter but true: There just aren’t enough home-grown humans here to fill the roaring demand. Isn’t it weird, then, that so many on the pro-business, pro-growth side of the aisle are trying so hard to keep willing — no, desperately eager — workers out?

True, we already recognize some partial solutions. We can ramp up vocational and professional training, targeting the industries starving for that talent. Economic developers and educators have been recommending that since at least the early 1990s. Are we there yet?

But in a labor market as tight as today’s — 2.6 percent unemployment in North Dakota, 3 percent in Minnesota — retraining less-skilled workers, at best, pushes the shortage downward, where it’s already acute. Newly trained and promoted employees leave behind the less well-paid slots where we found them. Those empty positions, not as glamorous but equally essential in their way — will need to be filled, too.

We need workers of all skill levels, top to bottom. Service businesses, retail, food service, manufacturing, farming … they need people, too. If we can’t grow enough of our own, transplants are the only alternative.

Growing our own — well, that’s a long-term strategy. The drift of young Dakotans from their rural roots toward brighter lights is a family tradition. Better opportunities and more attractive communities can bring some of them back. Witness the holiday job fairs that economic developers have been sponsoring over the past 20 years: Snag their attention when they come home from the Big City to visit the folks at Christmas. But success comes by the dozens. Employers are hungry for thousands.

What’s the alternative? Transplants. The governor suggests looking beyond our borders. Perhaps North Dakota can seduce talent from other corners of the U.S. Artisan breweries, hip boutiques and downtown lofts may appeal to some for whom we’re competing. Two challenges make their large-scale recruitment a long shot. The rest of America is on the hunt for those same promising imports. And the good life on the prairie, no matter how chill, is never going to fully mask the bitter pill in the booming banquet of semi-urban goodies: Winter.

But, nevertheless, there’s hope in sight. Let’s look to history, for we’ve been in this spot before.

Hopeful humans follow the scent of opportunity from distant, less blessed shores. They’re the very folks whom the current regime is working so ferociously to drive away.

Immigrants are the heroes of our nation’s past. Each emerging labor gap — the factories, the fields, the intercontinental railroads – has been filled by waves of newcomers in search of better lives. Seldom greeted with open arms, often reviled by those who got here first, we’ve persisted to build the world’s greatest economy.

Yes, “we.” You and I are here today thanks to an endless supply of forebears who left home in search of nothing more than an opportunity to work hard and raise their kids in safety. But talk about shooting yourself in the foot! On the one hand, ICE agents round up, detain and deport undocumented workers right out of the fields and off the packing plant floor. They deport longtime productive citizens and strive to deny the DREAMers, prime young adults who were brought here as children. They’re trying to shrink the numbers of legal immigrants. They’re whipping up blind nationalistic fervor that blames outsiders for all of America’s largely imagined ills.

And then our leaders claim to be shocked — shocked! — by the desperate shortage of labor that’s crippling sectors of our economy.

Immigrants now, as ever, are willing to start at the bottom. Historically, they’ve labored in sweatshops, cleaned houses, worked the line in canneries, hoed beets, slaughtered hogs and built the great railroads. When old Americans didn’t want the work, new Americans did — and do.

America has always counted on the people whom the Statue of Liberty beckons to do the hard work of building a successful nation. Those tired, those poor, those huddled masses yearning to breathe free have bent to the task to earn their keep and support their families. Let’s not kid ourselves: Virtually all of us come from that same tradition. All of my own great-grandparents, less one, crossed borders to get here. Most of them did it freely, since passports and border control were rare before World War I.

All of my great-greats came from elsewhere — Norway, Germany and Canada — with one exception. My maternal grandfather boarded a Norwegian freighter alone at 14 and disembarked in Canada, then walked south along the Red River. In today’s heated parlance, Grandpa was an undocumented, unaccompanied minor.

Talk to some of the new Americans around us now … and listen closely. You’ll hear gratitude for the land of the free, where they can live in peace, educate their kids and labor as hard as humanly possible to build new, safe, productive lives. As immigrants have always been, they’re willing to start with the kinds of lowly tasks that homegrown incumbents often view with disdain.

The governor’s workforce survey will undoubtedly come up with laser-sharp needs and result in erudite recommendations. Yes, let’s empower today’s underemployed North Dakotans and Minnesotans. Let’s get them the education and training they need. (Sorry to ruin the suspense. That’s guaranteed to be the big takeaway.)

But, at the same time, let’s open our doors wide to ambitious, eager transplants who are actually anxious to join us. Let’s welcome them. Let’s offer them a productive path to citizenship, just as our own families achieved not all that long ago.

They’re longing for a fresh start on the ground floor. The jobs are waiting. Why not let them?

RON SCHALOW: When Comes The Last Straw?

Personally, I am unable to speak to very many people, from the moral ground. I won’t put a percentage to it. It might be in the teens. I can usually spot my few lessers, if they still go out in public.

I’m like Trump in that respect. As he said,“I think within the first minute, I’ll know. Just, my touch, my feel — that’s what I do.”

However, I can say with positivity that I have been able to piece together a life that has been monstrously more virtuous than Donald “I Have Only Appeared in 3 Porn Films” Trump has breezed through.

Who knows how many adult films Carp-lips has financed? Who cares, at this point?

I know that the saintly Kevin Cramer has somehow forgiven — or pretended to absolve — the evil-smelling landfill of sins that McTrumpald keeps under a chin. Don can blow up his throat sacs, just like one of those crazy frogs, when startled by a Mexicanish looking hombre, to ward them off.

Cramer also exonerated Will “I Have Only Appeared in more than 3 Windows” Gardner. It’s a handy talent to have, especially for a congressman.

Here’s the part where 90 percent of the readers slap their forehead and think, “Is anyone surprised by any of this?” It’s actually the most typed comment, on all platforms, since the golden scrambled egghead Russianed his way in. “It better pick it up, or I’m off to Amazon.”

And the answer is no. It won’t pick up.

And no flippancy from here forward.

Anyway, I think it may be time to up our standards in this country, since Donald Milhous Trump oozed into office and lowered the bar for everything. How many straws are there? We should be to the last one by now before he takes a wrecking ball to the whole nation.

Of course, Trump will get more straws. But can we agree on the following?

1A. Cage-free children. No children in cages. None, nowhere, for no reason. No children in cages, or confined in warehouses. Is that too much to expect? Is the cruelty really necessary?

I thought it would have been a given. Evidently, I was in error. It’s wrong. It’s heartbreaking, and it’s barbaric and all words synonymous with barbaric. Not original thoughts.

Trump is 100 percent responsible. He tried to blame it on some fictional law the Democrats wrote, forcing him to cage kids. He lied because he’s a liar. Nobody is surprised.

Where’s Kevin with a flaming outrage. He was endorsed by at least one of the right-to-life groups, but I guess infants and toddlers don’t count in the scoring. It’s the same with most North Dakota politicians, who are either on board with caging children or afraid to ruffle the feathers of the peacocks.

Skin color has a lot to do with this.

1B. Separating a young child from his parent(s) is despicable. It’s torture for the youngsters and the parents. Torturous and cruel. Torture. We don’t torture.

2. Leave no one behind. It works for civilians, too. Almost 5,000 Americans died over the course of nine months due to Hurricane Maria and the ineptitude of the racist president.

That’s more than died on 9/11.

That’s more than died from Katrina, when an unengaged and incompetent president, and a clown named Brownie, screwed up royally.

Skin color has a lot to do with this. Puerto Ricans are not Norwegians. White people are preferred by Trump, which makes my skin crawl.

3. Don’t irritate the Canadians.

TONY J BENDER: That’s Life — What Makes America Great

In the interest of differing viewpoints, Bocephus M. Snodgrass is filling in for Tony J Bender this week.

 

 

Hey folks, Bocephus M. Snodgrass here. The M stands for ‘Murica, just like me.

You know what makes ‘Murica great? ‘Muricans. I’ll tell you one thing, my great-great-great grandpappy didn’t come here from halfway ’round the world just to have a bunch a immigrants ruin everything for the rest of us.

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I agree with that NYC lawyer who doesn’t want to be subjected to diversity.

And I suppose you heard what happened in Harvey, Mont.? How those two senoritas were talking Spanish or some other gobbledygook in the convenience store? Tell me, how convenient is it when you can’t understand what folks are sayin’? What if they were plotting to blow up the sheep barn? You know how them Muslins are.

Look, I’m not prejudiced. I like burritos as much as the next guy, but when in Rome, do like the Romans do. Speak American. And then don’t get all lippy with the Border Patrol just because you happened to be born in the U.S. of A. The Border Patrol’s got rights, too, you know.

Every Memorial Day, when I remember how those brave men and women (but mostly men) of the Border Patrol have sacrificed to keep ‘Murica great again, I get a little choked up. I love that 21-gun salute. Because it scares Mexicans. And it keeps the schoolkids on their toes.

Speaking of guns and kids, I’ve had it with all the whining about school shootings. If kids weren’t so busy staring at their cellphones, they’d see the shooters coming. Nobody teaches personal responsibility anymore. You know, had our soldiers been on their phones all the time, we’d have lost in Vietnam.

You know what the real problem is, don’t you? Libtards. They put transgenders in the bathrooms and took Jesus out of the classroom, and he had a pretty good G.P.A., too. I tell you what, you post Jesus or Chuck Norris at the door with an AR-15, and we’ll all feel better. Teachers should be packing heat, too ― the one’s who aren’t Commies, anyway, which come to think of it, would leave us outgunned. For sure, you can’t arm the Spanish teacher.

None of this would have happened if:

A. God didn’t get expelled.

B. Everybody homeschooled.

C. They stopped teaching revisionist history. For instance, the North didn’t win the Civil War. We just ain’t finished, yet.

D. Schools didn’t have so many doors.

E. Everyone would stop being such snowflakes.

F. They taught the Second Commandment in schools: “Thou shalt not take our guns.”

I don’t know what comes after F. I never got a grade lower than that.

People forget what this country was founded on: Guns … Jesus … and Freedom of Speech, except when you’re talking smack about Guns and Jesus. You should read the Consternation of the United States sometime. Maybe you’d learn something.

We have a long way to go, but at least The Precedent has made the NFL great again. He convinced the owners to stand up for America by forcing the players to do the same. Every time a player kneels, an angel weeps. Also when you punt on fourth down with just inches to go.

It all comes down to the principles we hold dear … the freedom to make your employees stand when you want them to, just like the good old days … the freedom to worship the military branch of your choosing … except maybe the Coast Guard. Seriously, Dunkirk had cooler boats.

This is about respecting people in uniform, who sacrificed everything for your right to conform. You know why fighter jets fly over the stadium before game time? Because freedom. Also to keep Colin Kaepernick out. And so Bill Belichick can get pictures of the other team’s game plan.

Players should stand to respect police officers, too, except for black guys who are already on the ground getting tazed because they’ve got a tail light out. Stop resisting.

None of this freedom could be enforced if we didn’t have a strong leader who isn’t afraid to crash your company’s stock price in 280 characters or less. There are two things keeping us free right now ― the NRA and Twitter.

When the president pulls out his Twitter, people wet the bed. That’s power. God Bless America.