Unheralded

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Headed For Mar-A-Lago?

In an attempt to share with you what’s going on in my phone’s text messages, without offending your sensibilities, I’m going to keep this short. As I mentioned in an earlier column, I continue to get text messages from the Trump campaign after North Dakota’s failed presidential candidate, Doug Burgum, shared my personal contact information with the Trump campaign. I’m …


Unheralded

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Thin Ice

OK, Doug Burgum, this time you’re on thin ice with me. It’s that time of year. The ice is getting thinner and thinner. but YOUR ice is really thin right now. This past summer, you used your thick billfold to try to become president by offering to send $20 gift cards to anyone sending you a dollar, so you could …


JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — A New Year’s Etymology Lesson

Sunday night (New Year’s Eve) over supper with family and friends (Lillian’s extraordinary Swedish Meatballs with her secret ******berry ingredient and homemade egg noodles), we had one of those end-of-the-year conversations about the state of things. We decided things are not so good. Oh, our personal lives are pretty much OK, considering those around the table had survived car crashes, …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — So Which Cabinet Post Should Burgum Pick?

It’s almost here. 2024, an election year. I get the feeling that most North Dakotans, like their fellow Americans, shudder at the thought. That’s OK. Politics in America, which I used to call “my favorite spectator sport,” has taken a sad turn away from what used to be the path to the most successful democracy in the world. Elections, too. …

PAULA MEHMEL: Shoot The Rapids — How Bad Does It Have To Get?

The image of a frog in boiling water shows us how things can heat up incrementally so that you don’t realize how bad it is until it is too late. This past week, the former president claimed that the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Mark Milley, committed treason and that such action in the last called for DEATH …

PAULA MEHMEL: Shoot The Rapids — It’s About Democracy

It is intellectually dishonest to say that the indictment of former President Donald Trump that happened Thursday was unfair without reading the indictment itself.  And anyone, upon reading it, who is not deeply disturbed by the allegations to subvert our democracy and actively work to discount a free and fair election can’t say that they are committed to democracy or …

CLAY JENKINSON: The Future In Context — Facing The Music: Doing The Crime, Doing The Time And The Long Shadow Of The 1917 Espionage Act

When Daniel Ellsberg leaked the Pentagon Papers to the New York Times in 1971, he knew three things. First, he was breaking federal law. Second, he was very likely to go to prison. And third, he was willing to spend much of the rest of his life in a federal penitentiary as the personal “cost” of ending the disastrous war in Vietnam. In the …

CLAY JENKINSON: The Future In Context — Believe It Or Not: Is This Another Watergate Moment?

Where do we go from here? First, I cannot as a historian put Mr. Donald Trump’s indictment into context because this has never happened before in our 247-year history. That’s the context. It’s unprecedented. The classified documents case will play itself out in the federal court system. On a grave occasion like this, I don’t want to write about politics per …

CLAY JENKINSON: The Future In Context — On Immigration: Keeping Lady Liberty’s Promise

Immigration has always been a fraught subject in America. We all know that except for Indigenous people (Native Americans), at some previous point all of the rest of us made the long journey to America from somewhere else. In the past 400 years, Europeans, Africans and Asians have filled up the continent to the tune of 334 million people. The liberals and …

CLAY JENKINSON: The Future In Context — Too Much Stuff: Americans And Their Storage Units

As the holidays approach, I thought it might be useful to lighten the tone a little as we survey the national political situation in 2022. Two weeks ago, former President Trump’s attorneys came forward with two top security documents that they said they found in a storage facility rented on Trump’s behalf near Mar-a-Lago. Putting aside for the moment the fact that …

CLAY JENKINSON: The Future In Context — Terminating The Constitution In 225 Characters

“No honest person can now deny that [Donald] Trump is an enemy of the Constitution,” Liz Cheney said after the former president appeared to call for terminating the U.S. Constitution in a post on his alternative social media site, Truth Social, on Dec. 3. The Truth Social post heard across the Republican Party as former president Donald Trump appeared to …

CLAY JENKINSON: The Future In Context — Should We Leave The Indictment Of Ex-Presidents Alone?

Donald Trump announced a new run for the presidency Nov. 15. This comes at a time when several investigations seem to be closing in on him. The Justice Department is investigating his appropriation of government documents, some of them highly classified, that belong to the National Archives. For this he may be indicted. The state of Georgia has been investigating Trump’s attempts …

CLAY JENKINSON: The Future In Context — Then: Rock the Vote; Now: Trust the Vote

A few days ago, I was reading Alexander Keyssar’s outstanding “The Right to Vote: The Contested History of Democracy in the United States.” In his introduction, Keyssar writes, “Americans do place a high value on democratic institutions, and white Americans, at least, have long thought of themselves as citizens of a democratic nation — indeed, not just any democratic nation, …

CLAY JENKINSON: The Future In Context — Why Does America Have Primaries?

It’s Primary season in America, with all the chaos, expense and bombast that phenomenon has come to represent in our national political life. The major media now give more attention to off-year primary elections in half a dozen battleground states than they gave to the quadrennial general national election a generation ago. As if they were interpreting the tarot or …

CLAY JENKINSON: The Future In Context — The Dangers Of Settling For Truthiness

Systematic attacks on the truth, supercharged through social media, trolling and cancel culture, have Americans angry, frustrated and unsure as to where to turn for knowledge. It’s a crisis of historic proportions, but author Jonathan Rauch argues we already have in place a structure from which to repel these assaults of disinformation. He locates it within the global network of …

CLAY JENKINSON: The Future In Context — Watergate: A Fresh Look At The Most Influential Political Event Of The Past Half Century

Growing up in the 1980s in a family of journalists, Garrett Graff’s sense of Watergate was shaped by the on-screen exploits of Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman in “All the President’s Men,” in which they portray Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, respectively. But when the recent impeachment of Donald Trump prompted him to take a fresh look back at the Nixon administration, Graff stumbled …

CLAY JENKINSON: The Future In Context — Unanswered Questions And Challenges Of Jan. 6, 2021, Remain

More than a year after the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol, there are still uncertainties and perplexities about just what happened and what might have happened. The House of Representatives Select Committee to Investigate the Jan. 6, 2021, Attack on the U.S. Capitol intends to issue its report to the nation sometime later in 2022. Thanks to the …

CLAY JENKINSON: Listening To America — Losing Faith: America’s Standing In The World After 20 Years In Afghanistan

I’m a mere citizen, in no way connected with the levers of American foreign policy, but I can explain how this looks to an incessant reader of history. As a citizen, I feel deep pain for the fiasco of Afghanistan. And shame. “Nothing in his life became him like the leaving it,” says Malcolm of another soldier in Shakespeare’s “Macbeth,” but for …

CLAY JENKINSON: Future In Context — FUTURE IN CONTEXT America’s New Gilded Age: The Cycles Of Constitutional Time

In “The Cycles of Constitutional Time,” Jack Balkin takes an overarching look at the dynamics of constitutional government over the history of the United States. To understand what is happening today, he argues, “we have to think in terms of political cycles that interact with each other and create remarkable — and dark — times.” Single-term presidents, Balkin notes, often …

ED MAIXNER: Let’s Have A 21st Century U.S. Supreme Court

Amidst Congress’ partisan hostility, Americans who favor U.S. Supreme Court reforms can’t expect expansion or other structural changes soon. In fact, months before President Joe Biden named his commission in April to broadly evaluate possible judicial system revisions, he declared he wouldn’t “turn the Supreme Court into just a political football” with abrupt changes, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi declared …

TONY J BENDER: That’s Life — What If Polio Had Become Politicized?

Those of us of a certain vintage grew up without fear of polio because Jonas Salk’s vaccine against that awful virus went into distribution in 1955, quickly eradicating the disease in America. But many of us grew up seeing and knowing polio victims, many of them irreparably crippled, some unable to walk, others with atrophied limbs. There was no great …

CLAY JENKINSON: Future In Context — Supreme Court Packing: A Bad Way To Get Even (Or Ahead)

Recent talk among some Democrats about expanding the number of U.S. Supreme Court justices has caused enormous consternation among Republicans but also among many mainstream Democrats and conservative political commentators. The impulse to increase the number of justices is a partisan Democrat response to the refusal by Mitch McConnell and Republican senators to confirm (or even vet) President Obama’s Supreme …

CLAY JENKINSON: Future In Context — Gutenberg To Zuckerberg: A Tale Of Two Revolutions

To put it in a nutshell. No Gutenberg, no Luther. No Luther, no Reformation. At one point, Luther (1483-1546) was publishing a book (more like a pamphlet) every three or four weeks. The advent of moveable type and the printing press (ca. 1440) made it possible for an obscure monk’s critique of late medieval Catholicism to travel all over Europe. The …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Yes, Yes And Yes, When Attorneys General Break The Law

My inbox has been full of messages saying, “Did you see this?” with links to stories about the Republican Attorneys General Association participating in Wednesday’s U.S. Capitol riots, and asking, “Is Wayne Stenehjem a member of this club?” My answers are “Yes” and “Yes.” The links they sent say that an arm of the Republican Attorneys General Association sent out …

CLAY JENKINSON: Trump Is A LOSER!

December 14, 2020 — a great day for American democracy. The Electoral College confirmed the election of Joe Biden on Monday. But it is not about Joe Biden or about the Democrats. It is about the capacity of our Constitution to withstand the dishonorable attempt by a dis-elected president to overturn the results of a national election. And so this …

CLAY JENKINSON: John Adams’ Words Ring Hollow

John Adams wrote, “May none but honest and wise men ever rule under this roof.” Adams was speaking of the White House, where his words are enshrined in a plaque. The current president cannot be called honest by any honest human being, and wise eludes him, too. If “wisdom is calling things by the right name,” President Trump fails the …

CLAY JENKINSON: Future In Context — When Alexander Hamilton Tried To Steal The Election Of 1800

Some Trump supporters and advisers have suggested that if the certification of the 2020 election can be delayed beyond Dec. 8, Republican-controlled state legislatures could step in to name their own set of presidential electors who would cast their Electoral College votes for Donald Trump, not the individual who appears to have won the election in those swing states. Others …

PAULA MEHMEL: Shoot The Rapids — Wanted: Responsible Leaders

Joe Biden won the popular vote for president by nearly 6 million votes and his electoral college total of 306 is identical to President Trump’s in 2016, though his winning margins in close states is significantly higher. The election was considered the most secure in history, as stated by Trump appointee Chris Krebs, who was fired for doing his job …

RON SCHALOW: What Rigged North Dakota Election?

Rudolph Giuliani is a flamboyant liar and wanted for first-degree hassling in Ukraine. That’s what Igor told Lev after they leaned on President Zelensky on behalf of the usually straight-laced Donald Trump. That checks out. Giuliani made his dubious proclamation in front of the A&W in Mitchell, S.D., after skulking around Sisseton for several days looking for a guy named …

ED MAIXNER: A Path Back To Less Partisan Supreme Court Confirmations?

With President Trump’s election eve choice of Amy Coney Barrett for the U.S. Supreme Court, another partisan fracas has ensued in the U.S. Senate. Regrettably, Trump has succeeded in casting most anything he can as partisan combat, generally with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell riding shotgun. And it’s become clear Trump will get his strictly partisan win with the Barrett confirmation …

CLAY JENKINSON: Future In Context — What Happens When A Sitting President Is Stricken?

We all woke up Friday to the news that the president and first lady had tested positive for COVID-19. In a year of wild and enormously disruptive events, things just got crazier. Just what the president’s health crisis will mean for the election, and for a nation fighting its way through several profound challenges, is unclear. It is too early …

CLAY JENKINSON: Future In Context — Looking Back At Presidential Transitions And Sore Losers

We don’t know how the election of 2020 is going to play out or what the post-election interim will be like, between Nov. 3, 2020, and Jan. 20, 2021. President Trump has announced several times that he may not accept the results of the election. Whole batteries of lawyers are lining up on both sides to contest or confirm the …

PAULA MEHMEL: Shoot The Rapids — We Must Work Together

To my Trump supporting friends: I am not your enemy. You know me, you know who I am and what I represent. Sure, I’ve been a political creature since about the time I could talk. I did, after all, write a letter to Richard Nixon in 1970, at the age of 5, questioning the morality of the war in VIetnam. …

PAULA MEHMEL: Shoot The Rapids — Walking In The Light Of God

I hate 2020. That was my visceral Facebook post after hearing of the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, shortly followed by the announcement that 200,000 people in this county have died from COVID-19. Almost immediately, someone who doesn’t share my political views chimed in, “You should not hate.” A bit later, it was followed by a far more well-meaning parishioner …

CLAY JENKINSON: Days Of Reckoning

In the next few days and weeks, we are going to learn who everyone is, who has character and who has only a ruthless drive for power. The idea of a republic is on trial in so many ways in 2020. Now the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg brings it all into perfect focus. In a republic to have power …

PAULA MEHMEL: Shoot The Rapids — Red Or Blue, All Lives Matter

On Wednesday, President Trump said, regarding COVID-19 deaths, “So we’re down in this territory, and that’s despite the fact that the Blue states had had tremendous death rates. If you take the Blue states out, we’re at a level that I don’t think anybody in the world would be at. We’re really at a very low level. But some of …

RON SCHALOW: North Dakota Trumpublicans Are Super Flexible When It Comes To Personal Responsibility

After the most recent LGBTQ embarrassment, when North Dakota Republicans unknowingly wrote the quiet part out loud, the big R’s condemned their political party’s own thoughts and directed the smart guy to remove Resolution 31 and the other 12,000 words of their platform from the NDGOP website. PSA: Resolutions are now exclusively available by request from corby@ndgop.org. Who took responsibility …

CLAY JENKINSON: Future In Context — A Lesson From Jefferson On How The Nation Can Heal

Is it possible to heal this great nation? At the moment, we are all fixated on Donald Trump — his leadership style, his desire to disrupt, his tweets — but whether he wins or loses in November, the fundamental brokenness of our political system does not cease. In fact, it is likely to worsen. However painful it is to admit, …

RON SCHALOW: He Is What He Is

It’s getting a little chippy out there. An old guy can’t even drop dead at the bowling alley without some jamoke claiming that the man’s last cough was deliberating misleading to skew coronavirus numbers in order to make Donald Trump look bad. It’s tough, I tell you. Last week, I saw two facially naked Norwegian-Americans mug an elderly masked man …

RON SCHALOW: Trump To Protect Statues After Failing With People

Disgruntled president to cut work hours and focus only on inanimate objects Donald Trump wrote early this morning on his Twitter account. “I’ve had it with you #people. Except Patriots @RiotsDoneRight. Bitch bitch bitch. It’s is all I hear. And where’s your mask? I don’t need this. I’m very Disgruntled @ohsopreciousdelicatepeople Have seen the nasty remarks they put on my …

RON SCHALOW: You Might Be A Retrumplican …

If you rationalize the abject promotion of virus spread by jamming 20,000 adoring fans into a giant tuna can to “rally” by noting that some liberal bastards aren’t denouncing the transmission of the coronavirus by demonstrators as vigorously as the ego-driven “rallies,” you might be a Retrumplican. But there is no similarity, and it’s still not self-evident to the Retrumplicans …

RON SCHALOW: Cramer Breaks With Trump On Pandemic

On Friday, June 12 — a date concocted to mark time — North Dakota Sen. Kevin Cramer came down hard on a critical issue, a current crisis, which will surely fracture his chummy relationship with President Donald Trump. Cramer linked to an opinion piece published by RealClearPolitics, entitled “Unnecessary Lockdowns Created Social Turmoil, Global Suffering,” on his Twitter Page. He added, …

RON SCHALOW: The Politics of Death — Taking One For Team Trump

Republicans are going to pack the Spectrum Center in Charlotte, N.C., or somewhere domed, for the 2020 Republican National Convention for four days at the end of August. Fifty thousand might show up against the advice of experts. Maybe. Trump drives a hard bargain. At any rate, some indoor stadium, maybe two, since convention business could be conducted in one …

RON SCHALOW: Dumb And Dumber

For years after 9/11, President George W. Bush would tell dozens of audiences some variation of his “ocean’s theory of complacent defense.” Like this one from 2002: “No, it’s a different kind of war than our nation has seen in the past. One thing that’s different is oceans no longer keep us safe,” he explained to the folks at the …