Unheralded

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — ‘Peaches Help You Poop’

On my first trip to the grocery store, or to anywhere besides the recliner in my living room, after a 10-day hospital stay and 10 days of home confinement for treatment of a badly infected leg, I bought four peaches. California peaches, it said on the little label, not Georgia or Washington, the ones we prefer. But they were the …


Unheralded

CLAY JENKINSON: The Future In Context — Do Guns Define America?

And so here we are again. Another school shooting. The American slaughter of innocents. Shattered lives, shattered communities. The massacres pile up — Columbine, Blacksburg, Roseburg, Sandy Hook, Parkland, Uvalde and literally hundreds more. Aurora, Las Vegas, Orlando, El Paso, Fort Hood, San Bernardino, Sutherland Springs, Boulder. And so we ask: When’s it going to stop? What can we do? …


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 …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — North Dakota Republicans Riding High (But Welcome Back, Potter, And So Long, Ricky)

I think I’ve gone to a political convention of some kind in almost every even-numbered year since 1972. That year, 50 years ago now, I came home from the Navy and went to my district Democratic-NPL convention, and someone said, “Hey. We’ve got a Vietnam veteran here today, let’s send him as a delegate to the State Convention.” That’s a …

CLAY JENKINSON: The Future In Context — A Brief History Of Violence In The Capitol: The Foreshadowing Of Disunion

The Jan. 6, 2021, mob attack on the U.S. Capitol stands as a prevailing symbol of the country’s present-day polarization. But while the brutality of that day sits in the minds of many Americans as unprecedented, historian Joanne Freeman reminds us that violence within the Capitol has a long history. In “The Field of Blood: Violence in Congress and the Road to Civil War,” Joanne …

CLAY JENKINSON: The Future In Context — AG Jason Miyares: A New Sheriff In Virginia

As a 6-year-old, Jason Miyares helped his mother to learn the Pledge of Allegiance for her upcoming naturalization ceremony, an event that deeply affected both of their lives. More than a half-century later, on Jan. 15 of this year, he became the first Hispanic American to hold statewide office in the commonwealth of Virginia when he was sworn in as attorney general. …

CLAY JENKINSON: Future In Context — America’s Constitution: Its Surprising Evolution From 1788 To The 21st Century

In an earlier article, Editor-at-Large Clay Jenkinson described America’s three constitutions: The capital-c Constitution drafted in 1787; and the small-c constitution of norms and traditions not specified in the written Constitution and the ways the American people actually constitute themselves. In this third in a series, Jenkinson suggests that even — or especially — in our norm-busting times, a president’s bully …

PAULA MEHMEL: Shoot The Rapids — The Truth Will Keep Us Free

The intransigence of the GOP leaders to move forward with a bipartisan commission to investigate the Jan. 6 insurrection and attack on the U.S. Capitol is the height of party over politics. It is a glaring example of what is broken in our government.The Republicans were given everything they asked for in negotiations, including equal representation and power, and when …

CLAY JENKINSON: Future In Context — How America’s Three Constitutions Define The Nation

The past few years have raised constitutional questions at an unusually fast clip. After years, even decades, of slumber, the emoluments clause (Article 1, Section 9) suddenly flared up, as well as the pardon clause (Article 2, Section 2), and, of course, the impeachment clause (Article 1, Section 3), among others. From the narrow perspective of civics (not politics), the …

CLAY JENKINSON: Future In Context — Donald Trump Has Earned Membership In The President’s Club, The World’s Most Exclusive Fraternity; What Does It Mean?

For only the third time in history, there are a record six living presidents in the United States, including the current White House occupant Joseph R. Biden Jr., along with Barack Obama, who he served as vice president. The list also includes George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter and now Donald J. Trump. All went into the White House …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Did Stenehjem Misuse State Funds? Investigation Sought

Earlier this week, North Dakota’s attorney general, Wayne Stenehjem, joined 17 other Republican attorneys general from across the country, all members of the Republican Attorneys General Association, an organization that in its various incarnations, has provided Stenehjem with at least $160,000 in campaign funds, in supporting a lawsuit filed by his counterpart in Texas, Republican Ken Paxton. Paxton, who it …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — ‘Responsibility Is Not Applicable’

Only the most cynical among us could have come up with a scenario for the game that played out in the election of legislators from legislative District 8, a scenario that came to an end Tuesday when the North Dakota Supreme Court settled it. Final score: Jeff Delzer 5 Doug Burgum 0. It started in the spring of 2016, when …

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 …

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 …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Vacancy? What Vacancy?

Here’s the thing about North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum’s move Wednesday to jump in the middle of the bizarre District 8 legislative mess and appoint a coal company executive to fill the vacancy left by the death and subsequent election of Dave Andahl: Right now, there’s no vacancy to be filled. By now, all the newspapers are telling the story …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Requiescant In Pace, North Dakota Democrats

Here’s my short analysis of Tuesday’s election results in North Dakota. There were 69 legislative seats on the ballot across the state in 23 legislative districts. One Senate seat and two House seats in each district. Republicans won 65 of those seats. Democrats won four. The absolute worst performance by a political party (excluding fringe parties) in state history. RIP, …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Sweet Revenge

I promise, I’m not making this up because even someone with a mind as twisted as mine could not come up with a story this absurd. It’s the story of the race for the Legislature in North Dakota’s Legislative District 8. Yes, North Dakota’s attorney general says to the voters of District 8, you just go right ahead and vote …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Well, Then, Welcome To North Dakota, Mr. Jones

Earlier this week, the North Dakota Supreme Court asked Fargo Judge Frank Racek to hold an evidentiary hearing to help it determine whether North Dakota Rep. Terry B. Jones is a legal resident of North Dakota and can have his name remain on the District 4 ballot for re-election in November, after North Dakota Democrats filed a lawsuit claiming Jones …

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. …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Keeping Up With The Joneses

I wrote here the other day about this fellow Terry B. Jones, a North Dakota legislator who says he’s from New Town, N.D., but actually lives in Wyoming. He’s been serving as Wyoming’s representative to the North Dakota Legislature since 2017. As I was finishing up that story, the North Dakota Democrats were figuring out if they wanted to challenge …

TOM COYNE: Back In Circulation — It’s TimeTo Show Your Hand

In late 2019 BC (Before COVID), my wife and I were vacationing in Mexico. Our hotel in Playa del Carmen was just a couple of blocks away from what we’d read was a “tourist trap.” It was known as the “Quinta Avenida,” which translates to: Fifth Avenue. The tree-lined and bustling street stretches for more than two miles and includes …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Election Reform

So we won’t be voting on Measure 3 in November. Because there is no Measure 3. The North Dakota Supreme Court says so. And it, not Al Jaeger, gets the final say. I’m actually a little disappointed. I told a few friends this past week I was going to hold my nose and vote for it because there some things …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Heavyweights, Lightweights and Republican Squabbles In 2020

Geez, Doug Burgum must be really pissed off at Jeff Delzer. Burgum is North Dakota’s governor. Delzer is a state representative from District 8, and a powerful one — chairman of the important North Dakota House of Representatives Appropriations Committee. Some say Delzer is the most powerful of all state legislators. Also one of the biggest. Kind of pumpkin-shaped. A BIG pumpkin. …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Elections And Things

Some politics today. Caucuses, conventions, initiated measures and great PR work. Caucuses and Conventions A letter writer in The Forum on Friday morning expressed his displeasure with Tuesday’s North Dakota caucuses saying, “I can remember when we voted in a primary election by using one side or the other of the ballot to vote our party preference. Republicans and Democrats …

RON SCHALOW: North Dakota’s Special K’s Always Have Donnie T’s Back

Well, we watched our right-wing terror network working out some frustration in El Paso, Texas, plus the American terrorists currently listed as agnostic that shot up Gilroy, Calif., Dayton, Ohio, and those coming soon to your neck of the woods. And that was on top of our regular body count. Flags were lowered. The usual suspects drew their swords in …

CLAY JENKINSON: The Jefferson Watch — So, This Is Representation?

Is this how it was supposed to work? A person runs for Congress from somewhere in Texas. The candidate is not exactly called from the plow to serve briefly in the public arena. She or he has already established a public life back home — the school board, city council, mayor of Lubbock, the community development foundation — and now …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — What Does A State Treasurer Do, Anyway?

There’s an old joke North Dakota Republican legislators tell about their worst nightmare: They’re walking down the Great Hall in the Capitol heading for the cafeteria on their short lunch break and they see Secretary of State Al Jaeger coming toward them. Knowing they’re going to get stuck in a boring 15-minute conversation, they pretend they forgot something back at …

CLAY JENKINSON: The Jefferson Watch — We Can Fix This Broken System

The American people regard the U.S. Constitution as a sacred document — even though Jefferson specifically asked us not to — and historically we have been very reluctant to tamper with it. Too bad because it is badly in need of fundamental revision. Our Constitutional order has broken down. After years of thinking about this, I offer the following amendments. …

RON SCHALOW: The Braveheart Of Bismarck

So, in the early half of Sunday the 10th, doctor and Rep. Rick Becker posted a meme on Facebook. Memes are evidently photos that convey what you’re thinking but could never find the words, or ever thought of one. Like a greeting card that punches you in the balls. Or provides a message of affirmation, whether you want one or …

TONY J BENDER: That’s Life — North Dakota Politics

Every legislative session, there should be kiosks in the malls to sell Lisinopril because Lord knows my blood pressure sure goes up. In North Dakota, any maniac can propose a bill. Well, not just any maniac off the street — elected maniacs. Take, for instance, Senate Bill 2136, sponsored by Sen. Oley Larsen, R-Minot, that would force schools to offer …

TONY J BENDER: That’s Life — Dance Shaming

I’m no psychologist, but Republicans seem unnaturally obsessed with New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. They’ve spent an inordinate amount of time telling everyone what an inconsequential airhead she is. She was dismissed as “a little girl” by GOP strategist Ed Rollins. I dunno, a 29-year-old knocking off a 10-term incumbent sounds consequential to me, but then I find Tomi Lahren …

CLAY JENKINSON: The Jefferson Watch — Madison’s Gift

Sometimes I wonder what it must have been like to be James Madison. He was a diminutive genius who did not call attention to himself. He was a balding hypochondriac who was always sure he did not have enough vitality for the hurly burly of our early national politics. He was a profound reader, a digester of the history of …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Why The Republicans Control North Dakota Government

Pretty much every political pundit (including me) has declared the North Dakota Democratic-NPL Party dead after this year’s election, and the debate continues to rage (well, maybe not rage, but to be discussed) among Democrats about what caused the demise of the party after so many years as a major political force in our state. Most of my friends have …

RON SCHALOW: Does North Dakota Really Need Rob Port?

“Does North Dakota Really Need Democrats?” read Rob Port’s headline on the Fargo Forum’s Sayanythingblog. At first, I hoped he didn’t waste a lot of time coming up with that stupid question. Then I realized the Port is probably one of those stable geniuses who ask stupid questions. A game-changer. Let’s discuss this. First of all, is it Democrats like …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Money Can’t Buy Me Love

As the Beatles sang in their 1964 hit, “Money Can’t Buy Me Love,” Sen. Heidi Heitkamp’s millions of dollars collected in the wake of her vote against Trump Supreme Court Justice Kavanaugh weren’t enough to sway North Dakota’s Republican bias, and she took areal thumping in her race against Congressman Kevin Cramer for the U.S. Senate. Midterm elections are notorious …

CLAY JENKINSON: The Midterm Election Of 2018

So what did the midterm election of 2018 tell us? I’m going to try to make sense of it from a purely analytical view. If, as President Trump said repeatedly, he was on the ballot in 2018, the results are mixed. The election was certainly not a ringing endorsement of his character, behavior, policies and the first two years of …

RON SCHALOW: Cramer Approves All Trump Messages Or What A Fool Believes 

“A man who stands for nothing will fall for anything.” — Alexander Hamilton Years ago, when walking down Main Street in Minot — it’s really on an incline — I regularly saw an unfortunate man with baggy gray pants and suspenders who angrily yelled at parked cars. Had I promised to support anything the short old man said or did, …

TONY BENDER: “Badass Grandmas’ Take Measure 1 Fight On The Road

The “Badass Grandmas” toured south-central North Dakota on Oct. 23, with stops in Napoleon, Wishek, Ashley, Hague, Strasburg and Linton. Dina Butcher, a former Republican candidate for North Dakota ag commissioner, and Ellen Chaffee, a Democrat and former president of Valley City State College and Mayville State College, are the grandmas who represent North Dakotans for Public Integrity, a coalition …

RON SCHALOW: Super Crump Bred To Scare Gullible White People Out Of Their Bejeebers

And some of their money. Bejeebers can be had for a small bag of low-quality spring garage sand. No dust will be accepted until further notice. GEORGE SOROS BUYS MONTANA!!! Kevin Cramer has sold himself as the thrift-sized Donald Trump. He has also taken the Cult45 oath and gently handed the rose to a forever blushing Donnie T. So there …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Sen. Heitkamp? Congressman Schneider? Maybe …

OK, against my better judgment, again, I’m going to weigh in on the 2018 election, just more than a week hence. Here goes. I told Democratic-NPL Congressional candidate Mac Schneider on Thursday that if Heidi Heitkamp wins re-election to the U.S. Senate on Nov. 6, he can expect to head to Washington, D.C., with her, as our next U.S. congressman. …

RON SCHALOW: Cramer Calculates 10 Percent Slogan Edge Using Magic Trump Math

One of the features of Trump University alternate mathematics is the ability to optionally count invisible people, a revolutionary new system of viewing numerals and other math adjacent quotients. Kevin Cramer evidently clicked on “other.” Anyway, on a  nationally broadcast political show, Showtime’s “The Circus,” Cramer told John Heilemann “… if it happens that Donald Trump is right for North …

RON SCHALOW: Forum Endorses Cramer, Apparently Under Duress

So, the Forum editorial board has decided that the 2019 Sears catalog cover boy, Kevin Cramer, is the best choice for the U.S. Senate, rather than the suspiciously superior Heidi Heitkamp. The decision is not a surprise. The board always find a way to placate ownership and endorse the Republican candidate. It’s their prerogative. Some poor sap had to type …

RON SCHALOW: Kevin The Debate Smirker

The congressman stood behind the podium talking in circles, grinning like a meerkat pup that just got the better of his first scorpion, and the crunchy bugger would make a fine breakfast burrito. Then, the smug miniature mongoose of the desert smirked, smarmed and sniggered for 60 minutes after the meal, as is the custom of his holy family. That …

TOM DAVIES: The Verdict — ‘Paul Manafort Is A Good Man’

All during Paul Manafort’s criminal trial, including while the jury was deliberating, the president of the United States did everything but call the jury members, espousing what an honest, good and decent man Manafort is. Even after the jury convicted him on numerous counts, the president continued his rant. That old cliché that “water seeks its own level” surely applies …