RON SCHALOW: Paranoid Politics Behind The Refugee Hubbub

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Piepkorn Goes Full Rage

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Anyway, Piepkorn stomps his feet and voila!

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

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

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

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

Case closed, right?

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

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

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

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

That incident spooked Piepkorn.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Valley News Live

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Me: Go ahead, Tony.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Me: That’s his problem.

Bonus Piepkorn

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Me: Not all of it, dude.

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

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

The Portweasel

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Me: Port loves chastising people.

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Do better, Mr. Piepkorn.”

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

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

Anatomy of an Outrage


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

2 thoughts on “RON SCHALOW: Paranoid Politics Behind The Refugee Hubbub”

  • susan gorr April 21, 2017 at 12:25 pm

    The mix of ignorance, power, and fear that seems to represent the leadership of ND is truly sad as we all need to move into the future together.

  • Therese Tiedeman April 22, 2017 at 9:24 am

    ‘Bullies” is right. From the top down. Biff Tannen from Back to the Future would fit right in.


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