Category Archives: History

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.

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.

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.

Chernobyl

A month before my Dad died in 1987 the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant suffered a nuclear explosion that killed between 4,000 and 90,000 people immediately and prematurely. After our mini adventure Claudia suggested we watch the fifth and final episode of the recent series on the accident. It was pretty compelling.

The main character is the scientist who bucked the Soviet security state’s insistence that he deny the government’s role in the tragedy.

Among his last words before committing suicide were these that I find striking with our prevaricating President still in office:

“Every lie we tell incurs a debt to the truth.”

The official death toll according to the Soviets who trained Vladimir Putin how to run a country has remained unchanged since 1987. It is 31.

The most frightening Halloween in U.S. History and me

Today, Halloween, the Congress began its fourth serious attempt to impeach and possibly remove a President of the United States.

I will not pledge to avoid running against Pete Stauber in 2020 even if I am on the Duluth School Board. I can not do it because today the Democrats in the House of Representatives did the right thing and something which one of Pete Stauber’s Republican colleagues predicted could lead to a second American Civil War.

I wish I could glibly say it will not come to that. Four years ago everyone but me, it seems, laughed when Donald Trump threw himself into the Republican Primary. They laughed at him like earlier generations laughed at Adolph Hitler.

Republicans and Newspapers knew him for what he was: a fraud, a clown, a blowhard, a cheat, a bully and an ignorant narcissist. The Duluth News Tribune is owned by a small time conservative media group that didn’t want to alienate their many rural readers. As a result the Trib failed to endorse the stable and competent Hillary Clinton over the candidate described too kindly two sentences ago. Their subscriptions and revenue were too important to sacrifice for the future of America. Today, damn near every Republican politician is following the fine example of the Duluth News Tribune’s editors.

To say I was disappointed that the Trib did not endorse me for the School Board is terribly off the mark. Rather, I am honored to be just one more obvious choice for an endorsement snubbed because of the editors small mindedness. Look at the final ad I placed in the Trib’s competition the Duluth Reader. Its written as though some neutral source was evaluating me but the fact is I wrote it (as my disclaimer puts it) “by his own darned self.”

I know my strengths. I am a seeker of new information. I value honesty as others value courage and believe that honesty requires courage. I hold self righteousness in low regard. I hold arrogance in even lower regard. I value humility but I know it doesn’t require me to deny my rather high opinion of myself. To prove my point I can point to the acknowledged two best presidents in US history. Both George Washington and Abraham Lincoln were brilliant. And yet, both of these men were graced with great humility so unlike the fetid stench given off by our current President.

I feel uniquely prepared to bring any Trumplican ????? to his or her senses. That would be Pete Stauber in Minnestota’s Eighth Congressional District seat. So, if I am elected to the Duluth School Board I still might try to hobble Pete in 2020.

Feel free to report this to the Duluth News Tribune. I’m sure if the Trib gets this information out by this weekend it might undermine my chances of getting elected to the Duluth School Board. If I am not on the School Board I’ll have more time to figure out how to keep the Constitution safe from Pete Stauber’s spinelessness. I’ll also have more time to practice my French. “Liberté, Equality, Fraternity”

From Russia with Love # 2

For one brief moment the United States led the Soviet Union to the doorstep of Democracy then Putin and his version of vulture capitalists suffocated Russian Democracy like a baby in a bath tub. Russian Foreign Minister from that hopeful moment shakes his head in disbelief at what is happening in America today and what it may portend for Democracy. He urges President Trump’s impeachment and removal to remove the stain from our nation. I heartily agree with him.

The America I Knew as Russia’s Foreign Minister Is Gone https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/22/opinion/trump-america-russia.html

Alex Jone’s disciple

Someone on Facebook noted that Jim Fetzer (formerly of Duluth) just got whacked with a $450,000 defamation judgement. I replied that Fetzer didn’t care if he was wrong when he wrote a book denying the Sandy Hook massacre took place. Then I thought I’d better add a little more and wrote:

To be clearer. Fetzer isn’t interested in the Truth. Like Trump he offends people’s intelligence like a naughty kindergartner. He deserves to get whacked for it. He’s been this way for years. (Then I added a link to my old commentary on the rascal)

AvastRightwing
snowbizz.com

http://www.snowbizz.com/Diogenes/NotEudora03/avastrightwing.htm

Fetzer shills for the gullible people of the day. Twenty years ago it was old hippies who thought JFK had been assassinated by the CIA. Today its Tea Party paranoids who really believe the “Deep State.” (meaning liberals) are ruining everything.

The picture in the Trib shows him sitting behind tall stacks of books which is meant to suggest research. Bwa, hahahahahaha

Confirmation of my comments about desegregation…

…in the column found in the previous post.

When I get my News Tribune delivered to my door I check several things that I can’t easily find when I’m traveling and look online for the DNT. They include Dear Abby and the Bygone’s section. I was intrigued that yesterday’s bygones coincidentally confirmed my history of Duluth’s Schools integration with a summary of a forty year old Trib Story:

As always, this is a snippet. There is much more to the story than this.

As President Trump hints that civil war is imminent to save his sorry arse…

… its worth paying attention to the man who put an end to the last one, General and President Ulysses S. Grant:

“If we are to have another contest in the near future of our national existence, I predict that the dividing line will not be Mason and Dixon’s but between patriotism and intelligence on the one side, and superstition, ambition and ignorance on the other.”

The dilemma of a writer, The advantage of a blogger

The editors of the Duluth News Trib gave school board candidates a heads-up two weeks ago that we could send them a 500 word column for their paper for this year’s school board campaign. I sat on it for a while then woke up one night and cranked out a piece with lots of suggestions for the District. Last night I woke up with a rather different approach to a column and pounded a different one into my cell with my index finger. This morning I went over it a couple times not remembering that once formerly 700-word-columns had shrunk down by 200 words in these leaner and meaner days of journalism.

But I had written a 640 word essay. I had to cut 140 words from it. Such is the life of a writer. Well, before I trim my column down to size I’m going to share the original with my eight loyal readers. In a week or two you will be able to see whether I was able to preserve the sentiments in my column before I began whittling away at it.

This is a writer’s dilemma but its not one for a blogger. There is one risk. The Trib often warns people who submit something to them that they will not publish anything that was submitted to a rival publication. (That wasn’t expressed in my email invite however) I think they would be hard pressed to call my blog a rival publication. Its strictly not for profit and besides that, by the time I trim one fourth of this verbiage away the Trib will be hard pressed to claim that I made the original column public before they got hold of it. Stay tuned and see how well my message translates to newsprint after its blovia-ectomy.

Looking Back to Move Duluth’s Schools Forward Continue reading

The humiliation of two skeksies and my modest ambitions

By far the biggest political news of the Trump era came today in the humiliation of two skeksies. If the world is lucky those humiliations will get considerably more expansive.

There is a reason that the BBC (British Broadcasting) became the source of conquered Europe’s news during World War 2. Someone had to keep shedding light in a dark time. They still shine that light. Check out how the BBC reports on Britain’s skeksie, Boris Johnson: https://www.bbc.com/news/av/uk-politics-49088773/boris-johnson-the-boy-who-wanted-to-be-world-king

For the same reason I rely on the New York Times more now than ever before:

The media outlets trumpeting the “Deep State” are close to outing themselves as the real deep state funded for decades by paranoid billionaires who have bought up once neutral news divisions and hired amoral shills like Tucker Carlson to foment a revolution of the downtrodden for the benefit of billionaires. Sadly, they purged all the moderates from one of two great political parties and financed political sycophants, such as Tucker Carlson, to take their place. Its a Deep State that is being pealed back by journalists who have tracked down the record and methods of these cynical opportunists.

For all my interest in the Duluth Schools I can not help but keep my wary eye out for the movement of these malevolent forces on the national and international level. The Fate of the Earth rests on the shoulders of democratic loving people all over the world who once looked to the United States as Ronald Reagan’s “shining city on the hill.” Now we’ve been soiled by a man who’s go-to spirit once seemed consigned to nowheres-ville until he infected a brash young Donald Trump with his creed – Never admit you are wrong or that or that you lied. Hit critics back a thousand fold and take no prisoners . Trump’s muse was the mentally syphilitic Roy Cohn.

I have never fully abandoned my ambition to win a higher office than the Duluth School Board. This blog has been my attempt to explain myself to anyone interested in taking my circuitous career seriously. Yesterday at the SB candidate forum I was asked about transparency and mentioned not only my success at getting the School Board to record its meetings for public view on Youtube but this blog that has been in operation since August of 2006.

I’m careless about editing. I’m often in a hurry. I bite off a lot more than I can chew. But, I strive to write honestly knowing that my point of view is just that and without confusing what I write with “THE TRUTH.” Considering all that, I’ve been pleased with the modest growth of my tiny audience. When I mention my “eight loyal readers” I am only being a little facetious. Here are my stats for my last month of 2017 with six more days to add and all the visitors of my first full year of blogging in 2007

Unique visitors for September so far 3,474
Total visits for September so far 21,829
Average number of times each visitor has viewed Lincolndemocrat for Sept so far (6.28 visits/visitor)

compared with the first year Mar to Jan of 2007

Unique visitors for all of 2007 9,957
Total visits for for all of 2007 21,229
Average number of times each visitor viewed Lincolndemocrat for all of 2007 (2.13 visits/visitor)

My totally improper disclaimer on my now-to-be-discontinued Reader ads (Paid for by Welty for School Board, a committee-of-one run by Harry Welty his own darned self.) does describe my campaign style. I was a lousy Republican and kept getting lousier at being one as the Party became a wall of nativist, self-interest. I refuse to defer to bullshit just to advance myself politically.

I have been promising a book called “First God Created the idiot…” I will write it but the demands of being a grandfather, doing good works keeping up with the deluge of the New York Times AND figuring out how to campaign all-by-my-darned-self has crimped my free time. Out of stubbornness, I am sticking to my daily hour of French study but I’ve only read one book from start to finish this year. After the election win, lose or draw I will get it written, published and sent to my small select cadre of donors. I hope that will be made harder by my election. I do really want to be returned to my life’s project of making the Duluth Schools wonderfuller. If I am elected I will start out running but my blog may take a hit. The time I take to spill so many beans on the blog will likely be shifted to finishing that book. It will be a relatively modest 100,000 words compared to what must be 10 million words on my blog. I do value brevity.





PS – As for my book title: First God Created the Idiot…” It comes from the ever acerbic Mark Twain. The quotation concludes…“That was for practice. Then God Created the School Board.” I love that quote. When I first got elected I quoted it back to everyone all the time…..to keep my humility in check.

Go ahead. A fifteen dollar donation is considered a purchase. I might not get it to you immediately but it will be every bit as readable as my posts in this blog. Gosh. I hope that doesn’t give “buyers” cold feet.

George S. Robb Center for the study of the Great War

I haven’t figured out how to upload Facebook videos to my blog. This one came from the Historical Center named after my Grandfather. My Mom saw to it her maiden name became my middle name Harry Robb Welty. In response to the video I shared it with the following thoughts

After the Great War the largely white officer corps was happy to award white combatants medals for their heroics. And minority warriors? Not so much.

My Grandfather was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. He told his daughter Georganne, my Mother, that he thought it was “politics” that got him his award although his commendation makes clear he had certainly acted above and beyond the call of duty. Furthermore, he took pains for the rest of his life to make clear that the African Americans he commanded were every bit as brave, if not more so, than any other soldiers. One of them, about whom he reported extensively, is now also being reviewed carefully to see if he too should have been accorded more consideration for a higher honor, perhaps even the Medal of Honor.

Park College has taken my Grandfather’s view to heart. I can think of no higher tribute in these uncertain times than to look back and make amends for the past. Park College’s efforts are a national treasure

https://www.facebook.com/parkuniversity/videos/2323225397941172/?t=14

Nine – Eleven Remembrance

I am sure that shortly after 9/11 I posted my recollection of events as a spectator. I haven’t found them as yet so I’ll mention some things now. I had a two-year-old website at the time. For the next half a year I posted this photograph I had taken of the Duluth East Choir during its 1999 trip to the East Coast. Across from Lady Liberty’s Island, which the Choir was visiting, I framed the choir under the Twin Towers. I made sure that my daughter’s smiling face was dead center. When the towers fell I couldn’t think of a better remembrance to share along with the audio of an East Choir recording of the song, “Lost in the Night” with my daughter singing the solo.

I woke up on the day of the attack in good spirits. I don’t recall what was on my mind but I flew into the School Superintendent’s Office happy as a lark. When a secretary told me that a plane had flown into one of the World Trade Towers I shrugged it off with a joke thinking it was a cessna or something on that order. It was only as I got back into my car to drive home that I tuned into the National Public Radio and began hearing the details. Once home after my five minute return trip I turned on the television to a picture of the first tower billowing smoke. I can’t remember if the second plan had struck by then but I remember wondering if the tower, either tower could remain standing as they were consumed by fire. I watched the first tower fall then the second.

Two years ago in France I watched minute by minute videos that had been taken at the time by witnesses during the deadly wait for the towers to fall. They had been gathered up by our nation’s national security as part of the initial investigation as to what had happened during those hours.Like December 7th, 9/11 will remain a touchstone for those alive at the time. Last year, after watching the fall of the Towers all over again, Claudia and I went on to visit the Normandy Coast of France. In the iconic American battlefield cemetery overlooking the invasion site we stopped and watched as an American Flag was raised and lowered and given to a spectator. I wondered if the flag might have been given to a descendant of one of the men lost in the Invasion of France.

For a month after the attack I put up our American flag on our Portico every day.

Up until the attack my chief concern as a school board member to offer an excess levy referendum to Duluth voters to keep funding the Duluth Schools adequately. One member of our Board, Bob Mars, made up his mind to oppose the levy. That was ominous as previous referendums had foundered without a unanimous Board supporting them. I was so disconsolate I asked my greatest foe on the Board to meet with me so I could tell her I didn’t have the heart to push for the levy referendum. She begged me to find the spirit to fight for it and over the next few days I found that spirit. In fact, one of my most controversial moments took place when I gave a speech explaining the need for the levy. Later I asked a television station for their recording of it. I swore once and that was later used against me by some critics. I called it “My Damn Speech.”

The levy did indeed fail and I always blamed that in part on the terrorists who put such a pall on American spirits. It was just one more victory for them. Perhaps our current national disorder can also be pinned in part on their actions. Or, maybe, we should be looking in the mirror to see the cause of that.

9/11 remembrance

Maybe when the campaign is over I’ll push everything to the side and spend all my time on the darned book I’m hawking. But there is so much else going on.

I have a couple blank posts to attend to but I’ll give myself the day to crank them out. 9/11’s anniversary deserves remembrance. But I’ll get to it and the other posts later today. Stay tuned. A lot is on my mind.

Here’s the list of postings. I wonder how many I’ll get to?

Superior Street Project
Old Central Steam Plant conversion
The DNT’s surprisingly weighty issue today
Transpanency
Tonya Sconiers
the Synagogue Fire investigation
Stauber, National Crisis, parking lots
Home-builders feel about local fees a lot like poor people.
“Sankofa” at Duluth’s AME Church

Kindred Spirits

After delivering Grandsons to school I spent much of the morning with my head in the New York Times and the DNT. Additionally, a Facebook post on the Choctaw Indians got me into some online research. One of my grandsons has a smidgen of Choctaw and Chickasaw in his lineage. In fact, his name is from an Indian forbear four generations back. So I found a more thorough article on how and why the Choctaw Indians, still in shock from having been sent on the Trail of Tears march to Oklahoma, managed to raise today’s equivalent of about $7,000 and sent it to the starving people of Ireland during the potato famine. Here’s the full story.

Which led me on a search for the recent news that the Cherokee Indians have just appointed their representative to Congress guaranteed by a treaty with the United States. According to the story the Choctaw also have the option of appointing a representative to Congress but have not acted on this part of their treaty.

My Grandfather’s family left Ireland half a generation after the famine. Earlier this year I began reading a book about it to better understand what my Great Great Grandparents had witnessed. Sadly, I set it aside because other things caught my attention. I do plan to get back to the book. Its called The Graves are Walking.

Sadly we live in a nation that is stripping children from their unwelcome families and locking them away. The Irish remember the gift of their surprising donors and fellow forlorn benefactors. Today they honor the memory with a sculpture called “Kindred Spirits.”