By Charlie Barber
10 June 2021
“Quietly and with little fanfare, the Biden administration has been taking all the right steps early in its tenure in confronting the threat of right-wing extremist violence and its spread—a mandate handed to Biden by the insurrectionists who attacked the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. Rather than take a high-profile approach that might backfire, Biden’s Justice Department and FBI, and to a lesser extent its Department of Homeland Security, has wisely taken a low-key route that emphasizes competence and effectiveness.” - David Neiwert, Daily Kos, 4/5/21
“I began life as a white girl in the segregated South, and I’m likely to end it as a Jewish woman in Berlin…The question of whether Jews should count as white people was not quite settled in the South where I was born…When I was eight years old, my best friend solemnly declared she could no longer play with me…she ended our friendship after hearing that the Jews had killed Jesus. The temple where my family worshiped had been firebombed, and most of the Jewish community kept their heads down. I am proud that my mother did not.” - Susan Neiman, Learning From the Germans: Race and the Memory of Evil, 2019
“What de Tocqueville says of a tyrannical government is true of all totalitarian orders -- their moment of greatest danger is when they begin to reform, that is to say, when they begin to show liberal tendencies.” -Eric Hoffer, The True Believer
“Barack Obama is the president. But it’s (still) Malcolm X’s (and the Confederacy’s) America.” -Ta-Nehisi Coates, We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy, 2017
“DNA has shown that race is a fiction.” -Orville Vernon Butler; Armand Derfner, Justice Deferred: Race and the Supreme Court, 2021
“No one in Germany denies there’s more work to be done. This became especially clear in 2017 when (Angela) Merkel’s conservative party lost votes and the new far-right party gained them in the wake of her 2015 decision to admit a million refugees. Good Germans are ever on the watch for signs of resurgent racism…What will develop in a world where the number of refugees is growing is anyone’s guess; what’s clear is that Germany’s past no longer provides complete immunization against the wave of nationalism now sweeping the world.” - Susan Neiman
“You can tell the truth, no matter who’s lyin’; But you can’t sell truth, if nobody’s buyin’.” – Chicago Dog
Joe Biden and the Democrats are winning their war against the unique form of American fascism that has spread its cancer throughout the Republican Party. Senate Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell and House Minority Leader, Kevin McCarthy know this, but have no ability, or desire, to come to “Yes,” for anything substantial the Democrats propose. That’s because they are reactionaries, not conservatives. Their selfish greed and power hunger were exposed in 2020 by events around the killing of George Floyd and other helpless black Americans, and by massive incompetence of Trump’s Republicans in dealing with a pandemic that required government by reason and common sense, not poisonous tweets and nonsense. A critical mass of white American voters, and especially corporate CEO’s of the famous “1%”, now believe that “aristocracy-of-the-skin,” as a weapon against democracy and economic fairness, is no longer good for their economic, or even, psychic, “bottom line.” Such wisdom echoes both the old white economist, Adam Smith, as well as newly minted black millionaire, NBA star Draymond Green: “if it don’t make money, it don’t make sense.”
Nevertheless, political punditry, with some encouraging exceptions, still sticks to their story that the politics of power won’t change, even if voters have changed their minds, and that Democrats are doomed to lose the Senate and the House next year, because, “history shows,” that, failing a terrorist attack like 9/11, the Party in the White House always loses in the next “off year” election. The answer to that falsehood is: “1934.” After FDR’s landslide defeat of Herbert Hoover in 1932, it was followed by an even greater mandate for him to “do more.” And the Democrats did so. They passed the Wagner Act in 1935, which established that American labor could organize for the first time in their history, without the clear and present danger of being gunned down by reactionary forces sponsored by that day’s “1%.”
While FDR was being criticized for not doing enough in 1933 and 1934, however, it’s clear in 2021, that progress desired by over two thirds of Americans is being blocked by Republicans in Congress, not Democrats in the White House and House and Senate leadership. Mitch McConnell’s and Kevin McCarthy’s Republican reactionary party of “NO” are the real source of resistance to the kind of material changes Americans of every color are demanding. Conservatives exist in the GOP, but they are not tolerated and they are not remotely in reach of power. To find out why D.C. punditry is so slow to pick up on why the only political place for a rational conservative voter to go in 2022 -- is to the Democratic Party, along with all those “liberals,” I needed the consolation of my KGB animal consultants.
High Plains Reader: Hello again good friends! I was so relieved after January 20th to see visible evidence that President elect, Joe Biden, was actually sworn in, I scarcely felt the need to consult you. The armed insurrection of Trump’s reactionary followers, and treasonous voting patterns of Republican Senators and Congressmen, though narrowly failing, were truly scary.
Putin: Congratulations on getting vaccinated and liberated within a few short months, all under the same Presidency! Joe Biden’s biggest asset (aside from the ability to pick people of all walks of life, willing and able to govern; practicing as well as preaching his faith; honoring science and service, rather than bigotry and bravado; and decades of political wisdom garnered in Congress) is a willingness to be underestimated until it is too late for his adversaries to realize their mistake.
Rasputin: A speech impediment that causes superficial media empires and TV politicians to slight his abilities, hides an organizing intellect that everyday American “doers” appreciate.
HPR: But there are still so many roadblocks which reactionaries like Moscow Mitch and “Cancun/Kremlin” (Senator-R-TX) Ted Cruz can set up in the Senate. Not to mention what all those “conservative” appointees to the U.S. Supreme Court might do.
Putin: The biggest roadblocks to American democracy have always been racism and misogyny; not Legislative, Executive, and Judicial branches under which they have been adjudicated. It takes longer for the politicians to catch up with their voters, but in 2020, those voters included most of the powerful CEO’s in the country. Money talks, and change has come faster this time.
Mr. Swamp Fox: Meanwhile, President Joe Biden has used his bully pulpit at Tulsa, OK to tear the blindfold of American historiography away from American eyes and minds, (and maybe, even their hearts) taught by a whitewashed narrative to think that what was actually a race massacre there 100 years ago, was a “race riot.” That was not a fight. There were not two equal sides to that horror. There were white perpetrators and black victims; just as in the case of white Officer Derek Chauvin and black Citizen George Floyd in Minneapolis, MN in 2020.
Chicago Dog: As Kevin Phillips, Stuart Stevens and other remorseful “conservatives” have shown, casting reactionary wolves in the sheep’s clothing of conservatism has been a Republican Party strategy to regain and hold on to political power – ever since some of them, like Senator Everett Dirksen of Illinois, decided to help the Democratic Party exorcize much of the cancer of racism from their own Party, and some of it from the U.S. Constitution, with the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts of 1964 and 1965.
Schickelgruber: Actually, it was reactionaries who destroyed democracy in Germany in the 1920’s, not the Nazis, as many are taught to believe. Holdover Judges, Civil Servants and Captains of Industry from the Kaiser’s Empire, 1870-1919, all loathed the very idea of democracy embodied in the Weimar Republic. They were more than willing to publicize “The Big Lie” of that time that Germany had not really lost World War I on the battlefield; that is, that they had been betrayed, instead, at home by “secret forces” (ie. liberals, Jews, Communists, etc.) Hitler didn’t invent these lies. He just took advantage of them, and, in the name of “law and order,” of course, achieved power in 1933, in the wake of the Depression of 1929.
HPR: I suppose that the irony of a democratic government forced upon the leaders of Imperial Germany in November, 1918 (as the price of an armistice) by a President Woodrow Wilson, himself a hardened racist, was lost on all concerned.
Kim Dog Un: Irony may have been lost, but not outrage, either in Germany or in the mind of one Vietnamese student in Paris, Ho-Chi-Minh. A nationalist at heart, Ho sought affirmation of the President’s declaration of “self-determination” for all peoples, and found out that Wilson only meant white people in Eastern Europe, not people of color in the rest of the world.
Madame Inspector Chen: So young Ho went to a guy named Lenin, who, for his own purposes, supported Vietnamese liberation, and Ho became known to the world as a Communist; another historical blindfold removed for the military of France, the U.S. and China, in the jungles and rice paddies of Southeast Asia, only at great cost in human life and treasure.
HPR: Can President Biden remove a racist, misogynistic past just by telling the truth about it?
Señor Perro: Maybe. Biden’s actions and appointments are backing up his words. Democrats, as well as Native Americans can rejoice in the appointment of Deb Haaland, without the loss of her New Mexico seat in Congress. Latin Americans can rejoice at Biden’s reversal of the worst of Trump’s horrors at the borders, and commitment to do more. And the designation of Karine Jean-Pierre as a potential successor next year to Jen Psaki, currently making mincemeat of “gotcha” journalism by reactionary White House reporters, is significant.
Lena: Karine is not only black and lesbian; she’s also of Haitian heritage. Readers of Alexander Hamilton (or C.L.R. James or Laurent DuBois) know that it was a successful Haitian slave revolt in 1802 that destroyed Napoleon’s dreams of Empire in America, and brought about sale of the Louisiana Territory (currently a large portion of Republican voters) for President, and slave holder, Thomas Jefferson -- not mosquitoes. This is more than irony. It is destiny at work for a democracy of people of all colors, creeds, and gender orientation, not just white men.
Chicago Dog: Folks are listening to a President who has already produced for them on Covid relief. As a man of his word on that subject, they are inclined to take his words on other ones, like race, and gender, building on the words and deeds of progressives who came before him. And, most importantly, his audience now includes conservatives in high places who still want to have something of your country left to conserve from the wreckage caused by their unholy alliance with reactionaries, just for the sake of holding onto tax breaks for another yacht or two.
Ms. Recovering Republican Lap Dog: You can’t tell people like it is, unless you first tell them like it was. Miseries of Covid, plus cell phone videos and courageous citizens are making it harder and harder for harsh truths about the nastier instincts in your nation to be hidden.
HPR: I hope you’re right. I’m just shell-shocked by the lies that still get successfully peddled by the likes of Qanon, Fox’s Tucker Carlson, and other “money makers off the mindless.”
Mr. Swamp Fox: Reactionary propaganda from the right -- intimidates, but does not serve conservative Congressmen anymore than it serves liberal ones. Joe Biden’s people know this and they are reaching out to the “Capon Caucus” in the Senate and House at home, not D.C.
HPR: Capon Caucus?
Mr. Swamp Fox: The majority of Republican Senators and sizable minority in the House (like the North Dakota delegation: Senators John Hoeven, Kevin Cramer, and Representative Kelly Armstrong), too frightened to impeach a treasonous President Trump, but also afraid to vote for treason themselves, by voting to certify the November 3, 2020 election of Joe Biden as President on January 6, 2021, after the reactionary rioters had departed the scene.
HPR: Oh………but how does Biden take advantage of that?
Chicago Dog: Biden’s “color of change” and bipartisanship were on full display on the front page of the Bismarck Tribune, Friday, June 4th. There was a picture of a black man strolling down Main Street in Mandan with a gaggle of white men in pursuit – for the purposes of courting him, not harassing, or killing, him. The black man was Biden’s top Environmental Protection Agency Administrator, Michael Regan, and the white men in pursuit included “heavy hitters” in the “Capon Caucus,” like Senator Cramer. EPA’s Regan was talking sweet reason to North Dakota officials, long on fossil fuel production delights and dilemmas, short on their expectations from the federal government, but not bereft of possible solutions backed by science: “I was really pleased just to hear how much intellectual capacity exists in the state of North Dakota around carbon capture and storage,” Regan said. (Amy Sisk, Bis.Tribune,6/5/21) Thus ND Governor Doug Burgum’s “Innovation Not Regulation” slogan gets an addendum like: “If we can manage it according to the science.” Local media respond well to this approach. How long before the New York Times and Washington Post figure this out is anybody’s guess.
HPR: Wow! I remember an Illinois cop who told me that “honey” always works better than “vinegar” in law enforcement as well as politics. Joe Biden DOES know what he is doing!
Prudence Possum: Face it! There’s less money to be made peddling hate nowadays. Facebook just banned Trump another 2 years. Also, “grift” that once came easy, is now defined as “graft” by a Justice Department that seeks to put criminals behind bars, instead of behind the Resolute Desk in the White House. Swamp creatures are truly offended by this new reality.
Agatha Alligator: A copy of a recent whine from a former staffer to Matt Gaetz (R-FL) over
“good old days when living and groping was easy,” - made its way to my swamp cohorts: A Woke “Sleepy Joe” is Giving Me Nightmares!………………………..Headless Horseman I used to see “reaction” as a blast! “Conservatives unite;” was all it took; To saddle U.S. people with a crook; So we could milk their pockets to the last.
But NO! An honest man, dubbed “Sleepy Joe:” Awoke the rubes; And we are really screwed. We now are known as “prosecutors’ food;” And dodge subpoenas to avoid “the blow.”
I never thought “Republican” a phrase That sits along with “treason” at its helm; But “Moscow Mitch” and “Kremlin Cruz” have shown; That loyalty to country brings no praise; Unless it helps “the Donald” reach his realm Of madness; that our seeds of greed have sown.
June 15th 2021
May 18th 2021
February 10th 2021
December 18th 2020
November 14th 2020
Reviving Rural Grocery Stores in North DakotaBy Annie PrafckeFargo, ND – On October 7th, Gov. Doug Burgum awarded Milnor Market and the Forman grocery store project Main Street Awards, as part of an initiative led by the Office…
by Sabrina Hornung
by Greg Carlsongregcarlson1@gmail.com17 June 2021Edgar Wright -- the subject of his own cult of fandom -- knows a thing or two about obsessive devotion to odds and ends of pop culture. And with “The Sparks Brothers,” the…
by Kris Gruberperriex1@gmail.com17 June 2021Along with lemonade and hotdogs, words and images marking the pavement are synonymous with summer. The accessibility of sidewalk art is appealing, but there is something to be said for…
by HPR Contributor
by Kris Gruberperriex1@gmail.comAdam Quesnell's last show at The Cellar beneath the Front Street Taproom in Fargo was in early September of 2018. He was embarking on a seminal move from Minneapolis to LA. As always, his comedy was…
by Sabrina Hornung
By Kris Gruberperriex1@gmail.comSpring is here (mostly), and our area is buzzing with people eager to get back out and about -- many newly vaccinated and feeling a bit safer. Partnering with Jade Events, Fargo Brewing is just…
by Sabrina Hornung
By Sabrina Hornungsabrina@hpr1.com17 June 2021The Astronaut Scholarship Foundation (ASF) will be providing 60 college students from 44 colleges across America with up to almost $900,000. The 2021 Class of Astronaut Scholars will be…
by Annie Prafckesubmit@hpr1.com17 June 2021On June 19th, from 12pm to 7pm, nonprofit Faith4Hope Scholarship Fund is hosting their first ever Juneteenth Freedom Celebration at Lindenwood Park in Fargo. It is free and open to the…