Category Archives: Minnesota Politics

My 3rd Lincolndemocrat Post from March 8, 2006

I probably haven’t reread this old post … http://lincolndemocrat.com/?p=8 … for twelve years but its offers a fascinating window on my schizophrenic politics. I wrote it not long after claiming the lincolnDEMOCRAT domain name. I was through with the Republicans. Like a woman scorned I would hurl invective at them for turning my family’s long time party into a cult financed by the Kochs.

This post describes my first precinct caucus as a democrat. Its rather funny. I’d forgotten how keen Democrat true believers were. I was the lone voice of reason on a resolution to impeach……not a Donald Trump…….but George W. Bush. When the Fox talking heads describe Dems as being hell-bent on impeaching Trump it is a charge that has precedent.

I’ve once again stuck my toe into the GOP but only to wage a civilian equivalent of the battle that earned my Grandfather a Medal of Honor for service above and beyond the call of duty. I may not deserve it. I have little appetite for returning to a Republican precinct caucus that will be even more inhospitable than the ones I departed from in 2006. Trump and the NRA have replaced the Koch’s as cult leader.

Dear Denmark,

Dear Denmark,

Please reconsider your hasty refusal to sell Greenland to the United States. Remember, our President is a genius, a very smart businessman and leader of the free world. But expect him to dicker with you (and no that is not a sexual reference. Dicker means to bargain.)

You should make a counter offer. Offer to trade Greenland for the Blue States. It’s probably about the same land mass and the Blue States are not covered with ice. Sure, when Trump melts Greenland you will lose Maralago along with a third of your purchase but this North American land has lots of productive people who are a lot like the Danes. Not so many guns. They are from blue states after all. Most of them would really prefer your Prime Minister to our President.

When you’ve sealed the deal consider trading Faroe island with Lesser Britain for Scotland. I hear that Boris Johnson is a Trump clone. He’ll be eager to off-load the Scots now that Brexit is breathing down his neck. I think they would like you better too.

Have no doubt. A lot of us would take the deal in a heartbeat. And Minnesota (a blue state if ever there was one) has bragging rights for being discovered by your Viking ancestors. We even named our football team after them.

Sincerely,

Harry Welty
Duluth, Minnesota, USA (for now but it could be…….)
Duluth, Minnesota, DENMARK (Sounds pretty good doesn’t it?)

And here’s a shameless plug to all you Danes who speak better English than we Americans.
I’m selling a book…

More on Ilhan

I am pleased that the new Congress members have stuck up for Ilhan Omar and added Islam to Judaism in a resolution opposing unfair criticism. My initial defense of Congresswoman Omar could similarly be amended. So today when an old friend “M” emailed me out of the blue and asked for my Minnesota perspective on the subject I replied by sending him my colunm as well as an even more nuanced critique from Minnesotan and New York Times reporter, Tom Friedman.

Here’s M’s Query:

——– Original message ——–
From: M
Date: 3/7/19 6:42 AM (GMT-06:00)
To: Harry Welty
Subject: Ilhan

What’s your perspective on Ilhan Omar?

“Omar sparked a new firestorm one week ago for criticizing what she called “the political influence in this country that says it is OK for people to push for allegiance to a foreign country,” again comparing organized political support for Israel to lobbying efforts for “the NRA, or fossil fuel industries or Big Pharma.””

Inquiringly,M

I sent this reply to my old friend:

On Thu, Mar 7, 2019 at 9:03 AM harrywelty wrote:

M _ _ _ _,

This is a column I sent in to our local tabloid immediately after the firestorm.

http://m.duluthreader.com/articles/2019/02/15/16051_you_have_my_sympathy_ilhan

Tom Friedman had a more nuanced critique at the Times.

https://nyti.ms/2XHiybp
Bloviatingly, H

On shoveling snow

I’ve just returned home from lunch at Duluth’s charming Italian restaurant Valentini’s where for an hour over an “Iron Range Porketta” Sandwich I was able to postpone shoveling the heart attack inducing snow covering my home’s driveway. On the way out after lunch I found a car parked in front of the stairway from which an elderly but distinguished gentleman had just exited. A peripheral glance showed St. Louis County Sheriff acting as his chauffeur. “Senator” I began expressing my delight at seeing Walter Mondale.

“We may have to drive the Vice President by your house,” the Sheriff corrected me in the most complimentary way my having acknowledged only the second highest office attained by Mr. Mondale. He added this after I quickly proffered my hand to the Vice President for a friendly hand shake.

The Vice President joined in a quick three way 45 second conversation as Littman told him I had a sculpture of the President in my yard and then explaining that it was a little worse for wear. The Vice President asked in some seriousness if the President would approve of it and I said I didn’t think so but that there was no accounting for Trump’s taste.

On my way home I decided I was in no hurry to change out the sculpture although I had already piled up snow to do just that. Baby New Year’s is still visible but imprissoned on either side by a vice of clean white snow. Just in cast the Vice President does take a detour past my house I don’t want to deny him the sight of the cheeto in my front yard.

BTW – This is the third time I’ve shaken the hand of an American Vice President. Spiro Agnew was the first followed by George H W Bush (prior to his election)

I came home and shoveled….slowly. This is heart attack snow. Just a week ago a wonderful fellow my age died shoveling and he was a fellow who had climbed Mt. Matterhorn and he was still slender and fit. The eight inches of snow that fell overnight ended up at our house as two inches of slush. Shoveling such snow is like shoveling lead and it is one of the most common stimuli to spark a heart attack. I’ve paid close attention to this because I shovel vast quantities of snow for my sculptures and I’ve always planned to live to be 100.

I have three policies while shoveling that I pretty strictly adhere to 1. Shovel like I’m in a marathon not a dash. 2. Pause when winded. 3. Never hold my breath when I’m lifting and tossing a shovel full of snow. Holding your breath puts a much greater pressure on a heart. I always in or exhale while lifting a load.

Its almost two and I’m still in marathon mode. I have twenty or thirty years worth of plans that I don’t want to be short circuited. Here’s what I just sent a reluctant Trump supporter by email today by way of apology for not replying to an email of hers to me:

S…..,

You have a compelling story especially where loyalty to those you disagree with is concerned.

If you will grant me a pardon I have a couple time consuming activities ahead of me. We got 8 inches of freezing slush for me to shovel last night. I promised to repair a punky shower wall for my daughter. I have a column to write for a local tabloid and I want to replace the New Years Baby statue to something less alarming.

I haven’t had much use for debate since high school. I prefer conversations. I think we could have a good one. I’ll get back to you in a day or so.

All the best.

Harry

This doesn’t even include the hour of French I continue to put in daily. Now for that shower wall.

A little more on the author of the “Handsome Harry” emails

Jim is worthy of my attention.

For starters he seems to be extremely pleased that the Iron Range has become Trump country. Too bad for Jim but that’s just not true. As the Reader’s Richard Thomas pointed out.

Nope the old DFL DNA kicked in this year. Although the rest of rural Northeastern Minnesota stuck with Stauber the Iron Rage was a pretty solid swath of blue. Ironically, I came up to Duluth 43 three years ago as what Jim calls a “packsacker.” (I think that’s a combination of metropolitan nature enthusiast and carpetbagger) to be an evangelist for moderate Republicanism. Nowadays I’m thrilled that the Iron Range hasn’t fully succumbed to Trumpism.

Jim sent me a couple more emails today that hint at his peaking at my annoying blog. One is worth noting before I launch into a longish piece about Jim’s and my long political histories. His email is a hoot but not perhaps for the reason he sent it to me:

Jim:

From: Jim
Sent: Wednesday, November 21, 2018 2:09 AM
To: Harry Welty
Subject: Fine upstanding African-Americans

Like my nationality Finnish-American, these Africa-Americans have assimulated into the American way of life. Maybe some “packsacker” from Kansas can learn (as an educator) from our journey?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diamond_and_Silk

My reply:

According to the Wikipedia entry you sent me Diamond and Silk seem very happy to take money from the highest bidder including the white supremecist Paul Nehlen who paid them $7,000. for an endorsement when he ran against Congressman Paul Ryan.

Were you a fan of Stepin fetchit too?

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Nehlen

Jim is profoundly ignorant of the history of black America. Today he probably counts Martin Luther King as a good “assimulated” black man. But MLK was not always destined for memorialization on the National Mall. My wife shocked when years later she told me what her mother said when she heard King had been assassinated. It was “Thank God!” Continue reading

“Now I know where [Karin Housely] gets [her] bad habits.”

US Senate candidate, Karen Housley, who the Duluth News Tribune endorsed “for a “bit of balance” has a bad habit. She compares black women to chimpanzees.

Maybe Karin was the co-star in the movie. If so, she’s aged well except for the Alzheimer’s and racism.

And to think I starred with Chuck Frederick in the movie preview for the story about the Duluth lynchings.

Oh, and I just learned that the Duluth School District has blocked my blog from its students. Maybe they should do the same for the Duluth News Tribune. There’s all sorts of stuff on their editorial page our children should probably not be reading.

Some quick Welty analysis of the primary results

The NY Times is still updating Minnesota’s primary election results.

I hoped to get 10 percent of the vote in Duluth. I did better than that across the entire 8th Congressional District in places where my name means nothing. Pete Stauber was so well publicized as being Trump’s candidate that I presume that anyone voting for me didn’t much care for the Trump/Stauber connection. That’s not good for Pete even if he currently has a million dollars in the bank. He’s already beginning to soft pedal his loyalty to Trump but that too is a problem for Pete.

As for what I spent to get my 5,000 votes compared to what Pete Spent to get his 40,000 votes that’s noteworthy too. I only spent $300 to file for office ten weeks ago and bought one tank of gas traveling to Hibbing twice. (One of those trips was a mistake) So my cost per vote was about 6 cents. I’m not sure how much Pete has spent so far but I’m guessing its about $400,000. If so, his 40,000 votes cost him $10 bucks each. I like that comparison. Now that the Democrats have settled on a candidate the DFLer will not be outspent by Stauber. They will be even steven.

The more worrisome issue for Pete is the primary turnout. The combined Democratic candidates won about 16,000 more votes than the two Republicans Harry Welty and Pete Stauber. Pete can’t count on all of my anti-Trump votes swinging his direction any more than we can be sure that all the votes for the losing Democratic congressional candidates will swing to the DFL winner Joe Radinovich. However, I think the primary turnout is a harbinger of what’s to come in the General election. Even the safe Minnesota First Congressional District Republican candidates got fewer votes than the Democrats running against them. I’m beginning to smell some blood in the water.

U.S. House District 8 »
Democratic Primary……………..Republican Primary
CANDIDATE…VOTE….PCT……..CANDIDATE…VOTE….PCT.
Radinovich..26,319..43.4%……Stauber…..40,122..89.6%
Lee………16,983..28.0…….Welty…….4,6814..10.4%
Metsa……..7,633…12.6
Others…….9,680…16.0
60,615 votes, 92% reporting …44,809 votes, 92% reporting

(These figures are from 11:30 CST from 742 out of 806 precincts)

Gone fishin

Over the past nine weeks I’ve made my case for a return to the GOP’s better angels. It cost me $300.00 to file for office and given my antipathy for President Trump’s misanthropy it was a bargain. In a couple days the folks voting in Minnesota’s 8th Congressional District will have a choice between me and one of Donald Trump’s minions, Pete Stauber. I’ve already noted Pete’s pulling back a little in the Trump department with the Duluth Tribune’s editorial endorsement in which he stressed his independence. Yeah sure. No Republican with a spark of independence has survived Trump’s scorn over the last year. They are all weak sisters and Pete Stauber is no exception.

How will I do on Tuesday? Continue reading

Email from a fellow Congressional candidate angling for the 8th District seat

The “Kevin” this email is addressed to is Kevin Jacobson the News Director of KBJR TV in Duluth, Minnesota. Soren took the opportunity to send an email to most of the congressional District candidates with the reply all feature of an email sent to the 8th District candidates by KBJR’s news director. Soren Sorenson, one of the candidates, was speculating that Joe Radinovich’s, one of the leading DFL candidate for the primary election, was getting donations that might not be kosher:

Kevin, and fellow candidates,

I have a really dumb question. for everyone here…

Who are Joe Radinovich’s donors? Why is he not disclosing who contributed via ActBlue, instead of just recording the method of donation?

If you read his FEC statements it looks like there a are a large number of anonymous maxed out donors. That’s neither the letter nor the intent of campaign finance law.

Attached is a screenshot showing what I think is likely illegal, but definitely not good.

Thanks,

Soren

I checked Soren’s concerns out and also hit reply all: Continue reading

Jennifer challenges my “agnosticism” on Copper Nickle mining

From: “Zenith City Weekly”
To: “Harrywelty”
Cc:
Sent: Friday July 27 2018 7:44:41PM
Subject: Response to #4 Copper-nickel mining (with two follow-up questions)

Thank you for your detailed responses to my first set of questions, Harry. I really enjoyed reading your replies! I also enjoyed reading your responses to KBJR. Continue reading

My two cents during the Trump Rally

At the supermarket yesterday a lady told me she saw me on TV and that I was funny. Its true I got a short interview on the day President Trump and his acolytes swarmed Duluth. I was also asked about the Duluth School District and shared my observation that our Superintendent was running out of scapegoats.

I couldn’t find this video for a couple days but I checked again just now to see if my funny comments were about Trump or the Superintendent. Geez, I’ve starred in more than my share of disaster movies.

Willy Makeit and the Kunst Brothers

After a day spent far away from Donald Trump’s ego boosting rally at the arena (that one insider gives me credit for talking Duluth into voting for) I woke thinking about something unifying and faithful to the Minnesota I moved to in the Era of Hubert Humphrey. You might have heard of him. In 1948 he helped drive the Dixiecrats out of the Democratic Party at his party’s national convention. He had the temerity to cry out for an end to “state’s rights” and new future of Civil Rights:

“To those who say — My friends, to those who say that we are rushing this issue of civil rights, I say to them we are 172 years late. To those who say — To those who say that this civil-rights program is an infringement on states’ rights, I say this: The time has arrived in America for the Democratic party to get out of the shadow of states’ rights and to walk forthrightly into the bright sunshine of human rights.”

I woke trying to recall the names of the young Minnesota brothers who walked around the world not long after I moved to Minnesota. Thank goodness for Wikipedia. Their entry is short.

They were the Kunst Brothers. I don’t know when I’ve seen a remembrance of them in a newspaper – maybe not for thirty years. However, when David and his brother John set out from tiny Caledonia, Minnesota in Minnesota’s southwestern corner of Minnesota (see map above) in 1970 with a mule they called “Willie Makeit” in the middle of the Vietnam War to walk around the world they caught a lot of attention. That only doubled when they got halfway around Earth to Afghanistan and John was murdered by mountain bandits. After four months recovering from the gunshot to his chest Dave continued his trek with a third brother Pete from the spot in Afghanistan where they were ambushed. John ended his trip solo in October 1974 a few weeks after I’d married and moved to Duluth, after Richard Nixon’s helicopter flight out of the Presidency and half a year before the end of America’s debacle in Vietnam.

Remembering this small shard of history when a couple young American’s went out in search of the world rather than trek to an Arena in Duluth to hear a man preen before an audience of folks who follow him like pimple faced kids at a professional wrestling match was a reminder that greatness is not measured in mouth. It is measured in deed.

Rank Choice

I listened to an interview on MPR today that raised my hackles. It was not this story from two days ago. Instead it was an interview with Forest Lake Republican, Mark Koran, pushing a law to forbid any ranked choice voting in Minnesota even where the local voters have put it into affect. In other words local control is good but only when Republicans agree with it.

When Koran was interviewed by the Star Tribune he told them that ranked choice confuses people. On his interview today he added more thought but first pointed out that while he lives outside the Twin Cities he’s really not against the big city since he grew up in the Metro area. Yeah sure.

I don’t have much sympathy for ranked choice as evidenced by my previous posts on the subject. But I do have some thoughts about “local control.” However, awkward I find it some voters have put it into effect. The tyrant Koran wishes to take it away from them rather than let them change their own system.

He squawked that some voters felt “disenfranchised” because some of the ballots cast didn’t get people elected. Hell. That’s like my saying I was disenfranchised every time my candidate lost because my vote didn’t count. Its like complaining when your teacher gives you a multiple choice test because you prefer true/false questions.

Koran, as a Republican, has a lot of nerve talking about disenfranchisement because his party has taken the old Dixiecrat talent for preventing black people from voting and found dozens of new methods to discourage people likely to vote Democratic from casting ballots. That has been a common complaint of many of my posts about God’s Own Party over the past decade. Now, suddenly, Koran wants to protect people who didn’t bother to vote in the Ranked Choice referendum or who aren’t smart enough to understand how the damned method works.

I’m particularly bitter about his ignoring the Republican’s old faithful talking point – “local control.” When Duluth voters were deprived of the right to vote on the ruinous Red Plan our then Governor, Tim Pawlenty, explained his reluctance to let Duluth have a referendum on it based on the big shots from Duluth and Johnson Control’s lobbyists guaranteeing him that everybody in Duluth wanted to skip a “wasteful” election. As a result, today Duluth’s Public Schools are in tatters.

Ironically, I see no advantage for Republicans in ending St. Paul’s experiment with Ranked Choice Voting. Republicans have always had a hard time getting elected to the City Council in either of the Twin Cities or, for that matter, in Duluth. Killing Ranked Choice won’t end that. Naw! I think its just the same sort of “nanny state” crap that Republicans complain Democrats are guilty of. Thank you Rep. Koran. Your a good Big Brother.

Cooled off…for now

I forgot that I was seething before leaving for Arizona. Its not that there aren’t plenty of things to seethe about with a President whose hourly lies are not fake but but its just that rationality calls for a temperate frame of mind before making big decisions like running for State Auditor. I understand our former Congresswoman Michelle Bachman has just decided not to run but that doesn’t seem to be temperance. She evidently failed to hear God command her to run for President after she started praying about it. That’s almost enough for me to reconsider my agnosticism.

I’ve had a weekend away visiting family and helping lay my Aunt Mary to rest in Arizona.

When I start Seething I think of filing for public office – and I’m seething

I just dashed off my latest campaign finance report showing that I have $511 in the bank which I could put to use to run for the School Board again in 2019. But on my trip home from delivering it I heard an infuriating story on Minnesota Public Radio. It was about hysterical Republican Facebook Posts from GOP legislators warning that Muslim infiltrators were going to take over this year’s GOP precinct caucuses. OMG!!!!!!!! Isis in the heartland!

The story is not yet up on the MPR website but its been reported on the Minneapolis Strib.

I began the book, Driven Out, about a similar hysteria just before my August trip to China. Its about the Era of the “Yellow Peril” and the Chinese Exclusion Act back in the 19th century. It would have prevented the cousins of today’s Minnesota GOP Chair, Jennifer Carnahan, (a Korean-American) from entering the United States. It was the realization of the Trumpian and now Republican dream to limit immigration to Norwegians. To her credit Chair Carnahan, said of her party: “There is no religious test to participate in the Republican caucus,” and “We welcome those who are in agreement with the values of the Republican Party, those who voted Republican in the last election or plan to vote with the party in November.”

What inflamed the hysteria was a video of a Bangladeshi professor encouraging people to attend Republican caucuses. So did the PTL Club’s Pat Robertson, only when Pat in 1988 he was running for President and told his supporters to hide their religious convictions. Talk about a sneaky take over.

Two GOP legislators warned that this caucus training was was the first step in replacing our Constitution with Sharia Law. I found this ignorance deeply offensive. Not quite twenty years ago I made a very close friend on the Internet who was a native of Bangladesh. Claudia and I met her whole family not long afterward. Shortly after 9-11 hit America she feared the Islamic backlash that began sweeping over America. A vile bumper sticker that was part of the backlash prompted me to make a small modification to the Pledge of Allegiance I recited before our school board meetings.

Its not Muslims that have me worried. For the past ten years I have been uploading frequent posts to my blog under the category “God’s Own Party.” These have detailed the Party’s takeover by folks who believe that America is a Christian Nation rather than a nation that offers all religions equal footing under the Constitution. The category contains nearly 700 posts.

As Duluth’s perennial candidate I’m contemplating driving down to the Minnesota Secretary of State’s Office this summer to file for state-wide office as a Lincoln Republican. I could use the $511 dollars I’ve set aside for a school board race and jump into the fray to hurl abuse at the traitors to the spirit of our Constitution’s Bill of Rights.

I could direct salvos against one of Trump’s first milquetoast casualties in the 2016 campaign, Tim Pawlenty, who helped pave the way for Duluth’s disastrous Red Plan or Rebecca Otto, who as State Auditor ignored the petition Duluth voters sent her to audit the Red Plan. She’s angling for the Gubernatorial race but if Chris Coleman or Tim Walz get get the DFL nomination she could retreat back to the Auditor campaign. I’ve already hurled a little abuse at her. She deserved it and I know something about State Auditors.

The elephant in the DFL screening room

I had a jolly good time at the screening committee. I knew several of the screeners some of whom may have been surprised to see me turn up. It was that way at my first DFL Precinct caucus which I think was 2006.

At that first caucus I joined about 30 folks in a classroom at Woodland Middle School. Eyebrows were raised there as well as DFLers know their Republicans. It was odd but comforting as well as for the first time in twenty years I actually voted in a majority on a great many issues which had become verboten for Republicans. I attended about four election cycles of DFL caucuses and the 2008 caucus was probably the highlight of my political life with its huge Barack Obama turnout. It was a heady experience being in a majority at the following District convention when Obama won handily.

Readers of my Blog know that while I rant and rave about Republicans I have fond recollections of the party of my youth. I liked Ike, a fellow Kansan. I loved National Parks so, of course, I liked Teddy, and agnostic old Abe is my all time hero. Long after Lincoln Dinners were abandoned by Dixie-saturated Republicans I was charmed to hear a DFL gathering speak of Abraham with something approaching reverence.

But it was Harry Welty, not Abraham Lincoln, who crashed the screening committee. I joked with the folks I knew and with the people I didn’t. I blamed the Republicans for electing Donald Trump. I told them I would be honored to be an endorsed Democrat on the Duluth School Board even while adding I still didn’t think endorsements for non-partisan races was necessarily the best idea.

I told the screeners that I wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea but that I didn’t believe in conducting myself by (and here I licked my finger and stuck it up in the air) testing the wind. I told those new to me that I hid nothing and that everything I stood for I had put into this blog.

I also was asked to explain my ambiguous sounding answer to Question #12: Will you abide by the endorsement of the convention and cease your campaign if someone else is endorsed?

My answer: “I will follow the honorable example of DFL Governors Rolvaag, Perpich and Dayton.”

The explanation I gave to the screener was this: All three of these DFL Governors ran for the state’s highest office without the endorsement of the DFL state convention.

Of course, none of these candidates had ever been affiliated with the Republican Party. Elephants are no more useful to the DFL than they are to Ringling Brother’s, Barnum and Bailey Circus these days.

Of course, Ronald Reagan didn’t mind adding lots of jackasses to the GOP when he was President and they proved pretty useful: From Wikipedia: Continue reading

With apologies to the Chordettes – Bum bum bum …

…bum bum bum bum bum bum bum bum bum bum

Mr. Sandman
Are you a bad dream?
Knock off a Congressman
to elect one who’s Mean.
Who’ll work for corporatists
rolling in clover
Destroying life on Earth till it’s-all-over?

I see in the Trib that Skip Sandman, who ran for Congress in 2014 is throwing his hat in the Congressional race again for 2018. He got 4% of the vote the first time as a candidate for the Green Party. If he got that many in 2018 he might be able to snatch victory away from a Democratic candidate. Nolan only beat Mills in 2016 by a scant 2 percent.

Such considerations don’t much trouble third party candidates like George Wallace, who helped elect Richard Nixon, or Ralph Nader, who did in Al Gore, and I should know! They didn’t bother me. I ran for the same seat in Congress that Skip is after in both 1992 and 2006 as a third party choice. In the first race I did even better than Skip’s 4% winning 7% of the vote:

James L. Oberstar, Democratic-Farmer-Labor 167,104
Phil Herwig, Independent-Republican 83,823
Harry Robb Welty, Perot Choice 22,619
Floyd A. Henspeter, Term Limits Candidate 8,602

I think Trump’s Ragnarök will provide a safe cushion for the incumbent Nolan but I’m not so sure how an unknown replacement for Nolan will affect the General election race a year from now. FUN FACT – Minnesota Populist politician Ignatius Donnelly penned a fairly popular novel by that name in the 1880’s.