All posts by harrywelty

“Stauber is facing off against . . . Harry Welty.”

So says Fox 21 News: https://www.fox21online.com/2018/08/14/congressional-candidate-stauber-ready-for-strong-primary-showing/

While picking up a glazed-raised doughnut for my cold-suffering sweetie at Mt. Royal Foods this morning one of the check outers told me she’d seen me on Fox News last night. I was practicing French then and didn’t catch their report. So I just checked and found out I’m running for Congress. Hmmmmmmm?

Well, here is the email exchange between Fox’s Dan Wolfe and me:

Jan. 20/20
Hi Harry,
Dan Wolfe with KBJR here. Just wanted to check in and see if you’re planning to challenge Rep. Stauber again in his 8th District run. As you’ve probably seen, he launched his re-election bid today.
Hope all is well with you!

Me:

Hi Dan,
I haven’t ruled out filing against Pete. Filing and campaigning are two very different things.
I just sent an email proposal to UMD’s College Republicans asking them to consider meeting me in a public forum to challenge each others views on Donald Trump. I just sent it. Its unlikely they will agree and I did tell them such a forum might not help Congressman Stauber.
I think the future of the Republican Party is in question.
Thanks for asking.

And here’s the email I sent to UMD’s College Republicans which I told Dan I didn’t expect them to reply to:

Jan 16, 20
To: umdbulldogrepublicans@gmail.com
Subject: I’d like to propose a debate. Would anyone meet me for coffee

…..We live in perilous times. I suspect the members of UMD’S CR’s would agree with me about this even if they disagree with my take on our times.
…..Almost 50 years ago when CRs were under assault during the Vietnam War our Mankato chapter was issued a challenge to defend Richard Nixon in a debate on a campus that had thousands of kids marching against the war. I disliked Nixon but felt it was important to give voice to his side. I did. I survived.
…..I would like to hold a debate with a Trump supporter at UMD. I am intensely dissatisfied with any form of debate I have seen over a lifetime of watching political debates. I’d like to talk with the UMD CR’s about my proposal and ways to vastly improve future public forums.
…..For years, in my first quarter of a century in Duluth, I got CR’s to work on various GOP campaigns I was involved with. I am not interested in embarassing them or their views. I am interested in my views of which I am very confident but the discourse is more important.
…..In a debate or discussion I would be formidable. I know a lot. I have long years in politics and public service. I look cool as a cucumber. I am not, however, smug. If you would be willing to let me come to a meeting to introduce myself and lay out and negotiate my offer I would appreciate it.
…..I am a celebrity of sorts in Duluth with fans and critics. Your entire club could not read and digest all the stuff I have blogged about or published in the Duluth Reader. But you could get a sense of what anyone debating/having a discussion with me would face. I did file to run against Congressman Pete Stauber in 2017’s GOP primary. I didn’t campaign. I got 5 percent of the Republican vote. I might do it again and if I did this debate could promote my side. As good Republicans you would have to balance the threat of knocking the Stauber campaign off balance with the publicity for UMD’s CR’s and honest public discourse.
…..I will note that even if I ran and even if I improbably won the GOP primary my wife and I will spend the 45 days just before the election in France so that I can study French. Under no circumstances do I intend to cancel this travel commitment.
…..Please have someone call me. My cell number is ________-.
…..All the best,
…..Harry Welty

This email was followed by my general proposal for a debate format although I hate to call it a “debate.” As I explained in my emails to the CR’s I have never seen a satisfying debate.

I thought I would give you my initial outline for a debate format. This is it:

.No mediator. Only an emcee to introduce the “debate” and debaters.

.The representative of the College Republicans will begin with up to 15 minutes to defend President Trump. I will have up to 15 minutes to make my case in criticism.

.The CR rep will have 5 minutes to rebut

.I will not rebut the rebuttal.

.From this point on only audience members will be allowed to ask questions and the questions will be directed to both sides for replies limited to 5 minutes.

.I am open to a couple minutes of informal questions and challenges between the debaters at this point but I would like them to be both informal and brief.

.Time in total. I don’t care.

From Ken Star – GOP expert

The Constitution is unconstitutional.

And this is the second time he’s been involved in one. I am tempted to think he’s a tad hypocritical on this point.

In his first one he gave the Meuller treatment to the high crime of Bill Clinton’s spilling his seed on a grown up women’s dress. …that of course was not the high crime he hangs his hat on. Neither is it the string of Cosby/Epstein-like lies denying having done it. No, like Trump Clinton got into trouble trying to reaffirm the lie UNDER OATH. None of the other lies threatened our Democracy. Just the one under oath.

This is just a quick thought I wanted to unload before I undertake today’s big project. I will be busy today building a maze for my grandson’s first double digit birthday party.

I used to build huge mazes for the Chester Park Elementary School’s school carnival.

My big read today –

This is very long but, for those interested in the Middle East, very worth the reading.

Mohammed bin Zayed’s Dark Vision of the Middle East’s Future https://nyti.ms/37NmBqJ

It took half hour to finish. Trump would want a quick 30 second summary so his eyes wouldn’t glaze over. (I’m snarking about the startling Pearl Harbor anecdote in the previous post about Emperors and Tsars.)

I just sent this Times Story to a high school classmate who lives in Oman to the south of the United Arab Emirates on the Arabian Peninsula. There is so much more to Arabia than Mecca.

I just saw my friend at my 50th high school reunion. I mentioned that she greeted two surprised and delighted Somali girls at a pep fest by greeting them with a traditional Islamic salutation. She is an educator in Oman is a very different Arabic paradise that has tried to stay out of the area’s politics but is nonetheless in the cross-hairs of history. I asked my friend for her thoughts on the Time’s story. While I was at it I mentioned another high school classmate that was stationed in both Peshawar, Pakistan and Kabul, Afghanistan by the State Department. Those are two red hot assignments that you don’t find Presidential Contributors, like Trump’s Mr. Quid Pro Quo Sondland, being assigned to.

Emperor Xi, Tsar Putin, King Trump and George Washington

Perhas the most unsurprising but appalling news yesterday came from Russia. In one way I miss the Soviet Union. Other than its delusional infatuation with ownershiplessness the idea of Monarchialism didn’t seem to match its communist rhetoric. Of Course Papa Joe had to die in office while his timid heirs kept rescuers at bay until they were sure he was dead. But he wasn’t a king. He was simply a despot who only gave up his scepter when it was pried from his cold dead fingers.

Sorry I got carried away. Yes. The news. The Ruskies have proposed a new law which extends Putin’s rule which he already had extend once. He’s a tsar now. Not long ago “reformist” Xi Jinping was handed a guarantee of never ending Chinese leadership. As for Trump. Here’s his tweet for a forever Presidency.

Trump is besotted/envious of dictators who have no restraints placed on them. How different George Washington was a man who could lay claim to being one of the wealthiest Americans of his day. He would have been closer to Bloomberg than Trump.

Washington was reluctant to become President. Began a precedent that was followed without any laws requiring of stepping down after a second term which continued until FDR ran for a third term as America braced itself for the Second World War.

Not that Donald Trump knows anything about that war. As he flew into Hawaii for a ceremony at Pearl Harbor he apparently asked his astonished chief-of-staff John Kelly what the deal was with the Pearl Harbor stuff. Just the man to lead us into a war if he manages to pull it off with Iran.

BTW – this book review covers the growth of unnamed witness in covering Trump. That makes sense in a day when not a single Republican congressman was left to vote for the impeachment of the President because the GOP has stacked the deck in all of their districts so that any dissent will bring about their defeat by a party they have tailored into group think.

At least Washington knew something about war. No bone spurs, just real ones.

Impeachment, war, cinema and other flotsom

Trump Impeached. After watching part to of Frontlines how we got here, last night I’m OK with that. I was surprised to come to the conclusion that there was no way Donald Trump had what it takes not to be the worst President in our Nation’s history. I came close with this assessment last year at this time. I don’t know if Joe, who comments sympathetically with Trump is right or not. All I can say is once anyone is elevated to the Presidency of the United States they better not succumb to their limitations and Trump has more than any President I’ve read about.

To put things in perspective Trump’s World Wrestling Federation followers

haven’t and won’t come close to repeating the lynching that took place a century ago in Duluth but that is cold comfort. However much they have been neglected by “the establishment” George Washington would have gone back to Mt. Vernon had he seen such behavior. There would have been no Brexit for America in 1776. So, however much we can pat ourselves on the back for the absence of lynchings we should weep that a man with no scruples has caught the wave with four in ten Americans.

I didn’t watch the last debate in Iowa before the Iowa caucuses. Frontline seemed more important . Along those lines a couple headlines this morning caught my attention. One was about how Chief Justice Roberts will keep the Supreme Court’s reputation from being tattered. Another from the partisan Rawstate said that it was a Trump appointed Judge who stymied the Congressional subpoena of Trump’s tax records a source of information that the Congress is constitutionally permitted to see.

A lot of Democrats have been watching in horror for twenty years as Republicans have fiddled with election laws to stay in power as their voters age and slip through their fingers. The refusal to approve Obama’s nominees for court vacancies and their rush to appoint Judges Democrats fear will put the Republican Party ahead of the law is probably a greater menace to Democrats than woman who wear t-shirts giving Trump a thumbs up for a crotch grab. As for pussies. Trump has a whole United State’s Senate full of them more than he has hands for. All of them prefer to be in his stable rather than lose a coveted position in the Federal bordello because soccer hooligans will vote them out of office for acting in behalf of the rule of law or their conscience.

Yesterday we saw 1917. It was a tall tale but, oh it was it gripping.

Forbes has a story I didn’t read saying that STEAM not STEM is what we should be teaching our children. It Includes the Arts as a necessary ingredient to our curriculum. I agree. I’ve been thinking about the World War I themed movies that I have appreciated and how different eras tell the tale cinematically. Sgt York comes to mind first. Included on the list would be Paths of Glory, Joyeux Noël and the marvelous work of Robert Jackson restoring British film to look like it was filmed today and not in the herky jerky mode of a century ago. Peter Jackson’s They Shall Not Grow Old was breathtaking.

As for politics. I loved Robert Capra’s. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. Donald Trump is no Mr. Smith.

I sent in my finished column to the Reader last nigh. I was very pleased with it and it covers another movie favorite. This morning when I reread what I’d sent in I was not happy. I made two mistakes in the last couple paragraphs. I don’t mind them here on the blog but I do work hard to eliminate them on anything that goes to print. Look for it Thursday.

Let’s see what I write first. Then I’ll give it a title

I’ve just washed the dishes a little after late night news began. I rarely watch it anymore. I used the time to digest a little more of the two hour PBS Frontline presentation of how we went from Obama to Trump. Claudia turned to it but faded after the first hour of watching the dark angles of the Trumplican Party slowly attempt to strangle the life out of the Obama Years. It was well done. I knew it all by heart but it was a typically excellent PBS presentation and brought to mind eight years of political torture. I managed to keep many of those indecencies at bay fighting the Red Plan in Duluth. I even toyed with the Tea Party when it seemed a slightly more honorable attempt at fighting off government overreach rather than the beginning the the commingling of so much that’s wrong with America.

For the past few weeks I’ve gotten into a routine of going to bed with French to beat sleep into my head. Tonight I’m going to do some more digesting. Tomorrow, I am setting the day aside to finish my column for the Thursday Reader. It’s in a rough draft. The day afterwards I should finish the last act of my School Board campaign and reimburse the three people who took up my offer to reimburse them since I’ve decided to write a different sort of book than the one my campaign promised. 70 of the buyers have apparently decided to accept whatever book I give them. God, I hope I start writing it. Potential content is bursting out of my ears every day.

I’d like to cover the premise of my First God Created Idiots Book. That is driven by the belief that I was a sample of the road America didn’t take when it turned its back on Brown v Board of Education. A white kid without any chips on my shoulder. A hell of a lot of chips have fallen since we took that other path and that’s what the Frontline production was all about.

And the better angels ignored not only recently but ever since Abraham Lincoln introduced them as President are another part of that story. I’d like to tell it from the standpoint of my parents and grandparents and even a great grandfather who sailed into New York the Day Fort Sumpter was fired on. Three of these previous posts mention this episode.

I know what I would have titled this post which I going to bring to a mercifully quick end. Something about Better Angles…….but I just used that Title. I thought of one particular angel during Frontline’s dreary litany of hate-filled sorrows which befell the Obama Years propelled by the Tea Party, Sarah Palin, Rupert Murdoch, Britebart and Donald Trump.

This is my most heartfelt snow sculpture of all time:

Wasscalwy Wabbit

My fingers are itchy enough to tease with stuff that’s been on my mind but only of consequence only to me. I just got the Christmas stuff put away and changed a load of laundry. That led to cleaning the kitty litter box and taking some litter out to the trash and then a reminder of the damage that our rabbits have done to us this winter. Just like the shrews I noted the day after the two foot snow dump our rabbits have had to deal with a lot of snow. When I piled up my elephantine snow I saw hundreds of rabbit turds. Little did I think about them being the remains of my foliage but the picture above shows the wasscal who stripped my “Burning Bush” of bark. I will cut it all down in Spring in hopes that new shoots will spring up. Yesterday I noticed that our cedar trees lower boughs were also badly nibbled having been pulled to the rabbit’s level by loads of snow. I hadn’t dug them out until yesterday. They too have taken a bad hit.

… and those shrews! I assumed I’d mentioned them in the blog but just discovered that that was not the case. I did however, mention them in my Not Eudora column of December 3rd.

Next up french practice…… maybe followed by another post. I’ll add that while taking the kitty litter out I finally resolved just what book to write to save America. Its a challenge that’s been gnawing at me for two years. I hope to begin ….after french, one more blog post and who knows what other distractions. BTW – Chevy Chase, Jerry Ford and the fall of Mainline Protestant Churches were what got me thinking about the book contents.

Keep your middle finger holstered

Donald Trump is counting on all my allies to stoke his reelection with their vitriol. In Trump’s view it will keep his supporters, many of them iffy voters, motivated to come out and vote for him even if the economy takes what now looks unlikely, a stumble. I have been similarly tempted to take offense at the middle fingers Trump’s supporters have pointed in my direction. But its just voting bait. I prefer cool calculated responses.

Not that I’m naive. I think David Brooks is naive. I heard him casually shrug off the possibility that Trump could get reelected on Public Television. I think David is dangerously misguided to adopt such confidence. Donald Trump is like a good surfer in rough waves. He has stayed out of jail for a lifetime by weilding his tens, hundreds and possibly billions of dollars like pugil sticks to keep any and everyone at bay. (I just found this link on pugil sticks and was stuck watching a seemingly unending ad on the Trump driven news source Epoch Times. Talk about a pugil stick)

Until the election I am going to assume that Trump can win. I believe that rational discussion is the only way to calm down middle fingers for Trump. I will be quick to tease, and criticize Trump but not his followers. I hope other Trump critics follow this example but not to the foolish extent David Brooks does.

I’ve not blogged much lately. I’m in a period of blogging remission but there has been plenty to test my patience. I have had Christmas decorations covering my office for a couple days now. I’ve got to put them away and clean all the debris from my office before I return to shooting my fingers off…..holstered or not.

NOTE: IN IMAGE ABOVE THE CRITICAL FINGER IS NOT THE MIDDLE FINGER

The previous post title wasn’t even an idle threat

I can’t let down my eight loyal readers and I’ll still need this space to stay sane so I have no plans to stop blogging.

Just after a very long day piling up up the snow for my elephants I noticed I was feeling woozey. I ignored the feeling for a couple days and then had myself checked out. My guess is that I’ve knocked some calcium deposits off my inner ear and they’ve been swimming around giving me a sense of vertigo. For the past couple weeks I’ve been putting on a skin patch behind me ears with some ingredient to keep me stave off motion sickness. I took the last one off last night and guess what? I’m a tad nauseous at the moment. If it continues it will be a little signal for me to take it easy. It will be a signal I will be strongly tempted to ignore.

I’ve had many things to blog about over the past week. Perhaps the most amazing thing was receiving an email out of the blue from the nephew of the foreign exchange student my family lot track of a few years after he stayed with us back in 1968. He found one of my commentaries on Bedru and introduced himself to me. We emailed back and fourth but he has not responded to my last email which is a little disconcerting. He confirmed my family’s suspicion that the Ethiopian government had silenced him. His nephew said he’d been “martyred.”

I am still hung up waiting for a fire to light under my feet to begin writing a book…….not a blog post. But my fingers are feeling stingy. I even missed writing a new column for the Reader this week. To my surprise they reprised the previous week’s column and republished it but with a different picture of my elephants. I’ve started writing a new column yesterday that I’m keen to finish but in the last couple of hours I’ve cooled off. Maybe its the vertigo talking.

I have been practice my French like crazy today. Its been just over two years and I have so much more to learn. I intend to put in a third year and Claudia was kind enough to sign us up for a 45 day stay in Provence for an adult language program next fall. My sweetie gave up on it after a week of experimenting. She really was looking forward to a simultaneous camp of french cooking. That, however was filled up. We are both hoping that someone else will back out between now and fall so she can do what suits her interests. That will put me out of the country when we elect our president. So, if I’m running for Congress I’ll have to do it by correspondence.

In the meantime I’ve got a couple other things to attend to. I still haven’t finished up my substitute teaching training. Tomorrow I have to introduce a speaker to our church men’s group and then serve breakfast at the CHUM center for the homeless. I got an email from the city sort of inviting me to help them teach folks how to snow sculpt at Canal Park early in February. (sigh) I’ve also got some winter travel plans to Florida and to Arizona. For a guy who never works I sure keep busy.

Sorry, I feel too blah to proof read this.

Maybe I should stop blogging

Effectively, my last post in LD was December 22nd. To my surprise despite my silence LD’s busiest day was January 4th when the blog had 1898 visits. Thats a peak right up there with the days before the 2019 school board election. Why so many visits? Search me.

If I get back in the swing of things perhaps my readers will turn away. Time will tell.

I’m about to watch the PBS program on Joe McCarthy

Today is not the first crisis of the Republican Party.

As always the American Experience did justice to a slice of Americana. 70 years on its treatment of McCarthy was even handed and swept a few myths away. There is no doubt that Joe was a bully and that he used worrisome news headlines to stoke paranoia and promote himself. At his zenith few would cross him. One who did, Senator Margret Chase Smith, is remembered as a hero. There are not so many today. Most are closer to today’s Lindsey Graham

A couple things stood out for me. First was the behind the scenes work of Eisenhower to expose McCarthy for the man he was. The other was a loyal following of Republicans, about half of that Era’s Republican Senators who voted against his censure and who also attended his funeral in Appleton Wisconsin in 1957.

I tried looking up the names of those who flew out to Wisconsin but only found this story of Bobby Kennedy’s cautious attendance. I was well aware of the irony of Bobby’s work for the Senator. The AE piece made no mention of it but his face did show up on one of the historical stills of the McCarthy hearings.

I did find the votes here. Goldwater voted against censure and so did Everett Dirksen. Ironically all the Southern Democrats voted to censure McCarthy except JFK who cast no vote no doubt to make sure he didn’t muddy the waters for his later ambitions.

It occurred to me that this episode might be a helpful precedent in GOP history to explain the Trump era. I’ll be pondering that possibility over the next few months.

Happy Holidays from Mar-a-lago

President Trump flew in to West Palm Beach a little after Claudia and I flew in for the weekend memorial service for her father. Politico says Mar-a-Lago is Mr. Trump’s safe place.

I should hope so. Ever since his arrival F-16 vipers have been circling the skies keeping watch. His get-away palace is just under a half hour drive from where we are but the air force can travel that distance in seconds.

Putin’s poisioners have probably attached a GPS tracking device on Nancy Pelosi’s person to make sure she can’t crash his holiday celebrations.

Meet the new member of the “no evil” clan

If you couldn’t tell it by looking at my friend here, he’s pinching his nose tight. He’s not alone on my front yard. His older siblings are each keeping evil at bay in their own ways. Ostriches are far more efficient. They accomplish all this unwelcome stimulation by sticking their heads in the sand. This is the new Trumplican Party.

It is impeachment season but the Democrats are permitted to act on their consciences when it comes time to vote. This wasn’t good enough for one New Jersey Democrat. Representative Van Drew is switching parties even though Nancy Pelosi isn’t enforcing a pro-impeachment vote. The Congressman may not end up benefiting from his party switching. First off six of his staff members quit. Next, the GOP has made it known that they may not want him as their Congressman. Several Republicans have been circling his district planning to run against him.

As for the GOP side of the House there was not so much as a lone wolf baying at the President’s duplicitous ways. That’s a far cry from the ferocity with which Republicans took after Bill Clinton who posed no threat to our nation’s security….just to pretty young women with crushes on Bubba.

There has never been a time in our nation’s history until now that one President held the genitals of every member of his party in Congress in his hands or rather in the hands of the voters trained by the Republican party to rid themselves of independent thinkers in primaries. Today’s march-in-step Republican philosophy comes straight from the mouth of Donald Trump. It is the “group think” that Orwell wrote about although there seems to be little thinking involved just vigorous head bobbing.

Now its all fingers in ears, eyes closed and shouts of “LA LA LA LA LA LA LA I can’t hear you!” And, as you can plainly see from the convention being held in my front yard, even the stink of the Grand Old Party’s corpse has been banished.

“Make Trump” and a visual spoiler alert

As is usually the case when I hold back my blog posts the process works rather like a fast car on a heavily traveled interstate breaking to a sudden stop. Dozens of other cars pile into its rear end. And so, my preoccupation with building one more snow sculpture has left a cascade of posts crash into my backside.

I did stop long enough to write a piece for the Reader My Reverie from a week ago. But even as I wrote it the snow storm removed other distractions. No Duluth Tribs showed up on my front door due to the unshoveled snow. On Sunday I got a huge passel of four which I have yet to look at. At some point a story was written in the Trib about a fellow wanting Duluthians to come to Leif Erickson Park to build snow sculptures. I only found out about the story at church yesterday when a fellow congregant mentioned that my name showed up in it. Apparently the organizer was hoping I’d show up and build something. News to me.

I probably spent twenty hours after the 8th snowiest blizzard moving snow from my backyard to my front yard. The first day of doing this I ended the day feeling light headed and dizzy whenever I bent my head. I found myself stumbling. Having just stopped at accute care a few days earlier for what turned out to be not much I was hesitant to do anything about this. The condition persisted for a week although when I went out to continue my sculpting it went away as though banished by my preoccupation.

A little fellow in a school bus yelled out a window as he passed for me to “Make Trump.” I called back that I had already made him a couple years earlier. In fact, I’ve made Trump twice and a third sculpture, my Grinch, was a barely veiled reference to him. Only Bill Clinton has commanded two sculptures of mine. The first made the national news. The second was barely noticed and when I put a cardboard cheese head on him in honor of the Packers winning the Superbowl no one knew who he was. I don’t like spending hours crafting sculptures of just anyone. But Trump is a man who doesn’t not care if making America Great again means undermining the moral underpinnings the founders breathed into it. I’ve made an exception to him.

But not this year. I imagined a sculpture more about the political party, mine to be exact, that brought Donald Trump’s Presidency into being. I piled up the snow with one sculpture in mind and then changed my mind. I wanted something more like my Grinch that kids would get a kick out of and not reek so much of the politics that are roiling and perhaps imperiling America.

So, after changing my plans I had to figure out how to move snow again with the temperatures dropped too low for sticky snow. Fortunately, I’ve had thirty years to perfect my snow “cooking.” As the cold crept in a couple days ago I poured massive amounts of water on it to sit for the night and diffuse throughout to make it uniform sticky. This also required covering it with fresh unwatered snow to insulate it so it wouldn’t freeze. This process took the better part of Saturday afternoon. Early Sunday I dashed out before church to check to see if I’d managed it and found I had. One of my choir mates saw me on the way to church and rolled down his window to give me grief. He didn’t want to be left alone in the bass section. I still not think he believes my protestations that I was only out doing snow reconnaissance.

So, here is the visual spoiler. I took an evening to build a clay model while watching two episodes of the lastest season of the Crown. Its the best so far by the way. I’ll show you half of the sculpture for now if you don’t mind the spoiler. I’m only doing it because it appears I’ll be able to manage it after today’s addition of even more snow and some looming arctic temps. I may not hurry to complete it: Don’t look if you want to be surprised but I don’t mind showing it because two little girls walked up and guessed what the principals in my sculpture would be: Continue reading