Category Archives: justice

I’ll give Jim the last word.

It’s the least I can do with him hanging on to my tail:

“As the old timers used to say in my day “Son, when you have a tiger (Harry Welty) by the tail, don’t let go.  Harry refuses to expose his heroes and soul mates race-baiters Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson Jr. & III, former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin of the federal racketeering charges against them.  Harry is probably too young in age and/or mind to remember that Martin Luther King fought for EQUALITY, not black supremacy.  He preached that he looked forward to the day that our children will be judged by the content of their character, not the color of their skin.  Which made sense to me then and it still does today.  Stacy Abrams (Aunt Jemima) lacks character, a strong moral compass and refuses to accept defeat by playing the race card that suits Harry just fine and has been labeled a “gadfly” for his immoral character.  There is a big difference between upstanding, respectable African-Americans and rabble-rousing race baiting niggers.  Harry prefers the latter, I prefer the foregoing.”

Trolling the Trolls

After six months of writing columns for the Reader I finally got some reaction in the online comment box. After my Frat Boy column a “Juan Percent” snarked at me. After this week’s column about my Presidential candidacy I got snarked at by a “Fed Troll.”

In both cases I bit like a fish and replied. It was only yesterday that I realized that Juan Percent had replied to me a couple days after I commented on his post. That was a month ago. I’ll give Juan credit. While I am not impressed with anonymous posts to communicate in our Democracy (I can forgive them in nations where state security will hunt down and imprison complainers) Juan offered a serious reply to me. I then attempted to catch his attention to see that I had offered additional thoughts.

At this one of my Reader contacts sent me an email recommending that I not reply to “trolls” like Mr. Percent. I joked back that I was simply trolling the trolls. What I meant was that by replying to them I was paying them in kind. But that was mostly a joke. I believe in conversation as much as I believe in compromise. If Minnesota’s moderate Republicans in the 1970’s had kept going to precinct caucuses and had conversations with pro lifers the party would be a different place today. Instead they avoided precinct caucuses and left them open to one side of an issue they felt uncomfortable discussing every two years.

While I soldiered on as a Republican for another twenty years even I decided it was pointless to be a lone voice arguing the pro-choice point of view. But its not like I’m afraid of facing those who disagree with me. For years I’d be the only Republican to go to Union endorsement interviews knowing I stood a snowball’s chance in the hellish union furnace. At my first such encounter in 1974 I chided the union members for putting all their apples in the basket with the half dozen DFL legislators who showed up to get their automatic endorsement. One of the legislators, Tom Berkleman, even scolded me for chiding the unions. Well, the Unions reliance on Democrats has not turned out so well since my scolding. As for Berklemen? He was arrested for stealing cigars from a smoke shop a few years later.

I’ll share the last couple thoughts that Mr. Percent and I exchanged to show that at least some trolls have given thought to the issues they pan on the Internet. I say that as a hopeless “libtard”: Continue reading

An anonymous critic

I discovered a critic at the end of my column on “Frat Boy Justice” in the Reader:

Juan Percent
Thursday Oct. 11, 2018

Welty, You’re a liberal hack. Despite what you read on CNN, there’s no evidence Kavanaugh was ever black out drunk. It might come as a surprise to someone like you who’s apparently replaced his brain cells with bong resin that very few people ever achieve black out drunk. It’s a myth for people who need an excuse for their actions, people like you apparently, but not like Kavanough.

I couldn’t resist sending a reply:

Harry Welty
Friday Oct. 12, 2018

Juan.

I don’t know who you are. Apparently you wish to remain anonymous. I am Harry Welty. I am a liberal in many respects as was my hero Abe Lincoln. I did smoke some weed when I was in college. And yes, I was worried for a while that this might cloud my thinking. Despite that concern, which I’ve since realized was overblown, I do not hide who I am. I live at 2101 E 4th Street in Duluth Minnesota. I have written hundred’s of thousands of words in my blog and tens of thousands for the Reader. I put my name to them. I do not hide behind a pseudonym and send out snarky anonymous one liners at people I disagree with. I am not afraid of my opinions or of making them known to the general public.

When you are willing to come out from hiding I’ll will accord your views the respect honest open opinions deserve.

Yours, with grudging respect,

Harry Welty

Frat Boy Justice

My column made it to the Reader today:

It begins:

“My first stab at writing about our newest Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh was from the perspective of my “frat boy” experience ten years before Brett allegedly made a habit of getting black out drunk in college. The crappy behavior I witnessed during the age of Aquarius was not unlike the self-entitled depredations Kavanaugh has been accused of in the Reagan Era. Experience leads me to believe that our newest justice was as guilty of attempted rape as OJ Simpson was of murdering his wife. If I’m right that’s a triumph for the “rule of law” which can be greatly diluted if one attends prestigious universities and/or has plenty of money.”

To read the rest click the link in the lead sentence.

For Hysterical Trumpmen

Forty years ago male teachers started getting called for getting too touchy feely with female students. I remember older men telling me, then a young teacher, how paranoid people were getting and how they were glad they weren’t teachers.

I tried not to roll my eyes.

Here’s a young lady whose eyes sparkle while they roll over a new scarry time for men.

Boys will be jerks

Thirty days in France was a welcome relief from the continuing Trump news sepsis in the United States. Oh, I did peek at the news on my cell and occasionally on various French hotel televisions which carried one English speaking channel. It was always CNN. It was like peeking through my fingers at a horror show.

Toward the end of the trip and now, upon my return, I find myself waking up in the middle of the night hoping not to think about our nation’s politics. Sometimes I am able to get back to sleep. Typing out my thoughts on my blog helps. Yesterday I returned to my on-again, off-again column in the Duluth Reader. Over the day I cranked out a couple of attempts and was concerned that there was so much water flowing over Niagara that I couldn’t possibly stuff it all in a tiny, 800 word bucket. Although there is so so much more to say I was reasonably pleased with my final product. You can read it at the end of the week in the Reader. Its titled: “Frat Boy Justice.”

I begin by explaining that my first attempt to write a column was to expose my “guy” experience as a member of a fraternity from 1969 to 1973. But there were larger issues to dance around so I departed from that. However, the subject of boys behaving badly has made it to this blog before. I remembered writing about one particular episode about a friend of mine who spit on a stripper. I just discovered that I had blogged about this twice. You can read both posts to check to see whether the four year interval between tellings betrays any serious discrepancies. If you are only going to read just one I’d suggest the first post from 2013 because it preceded any thought of a Donald Trump Presidency or a Bret Kavanaugh justiceship.

If you read the shorter second retelling from 2017 (immediately after Trump’s election) you may intuit a premonition on my part of things to come.

Any fair minded person looking the Republican defenders of a likely attempted rapist for signs of moral sepsis have only to look at South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham. His example is what my Mother feared could happen to me if I stuck it out in politics.

Abood today

I got a question from WDIO today on the case which guts public employee unions. I returned one email reaction. Then I returned a second email with additional comments.

Email from WDIO:

Hey, Harry!

Just checking if you want to weigh in with your thoughts on the Supreme Court Janus v. AFSCME ruling. I’m trying to get all the CD08 candidates in our story on the Web.

Let me know if you can pass along a statement.

Thanks,

MY FIRST RESPONSE:

This decision threatens to eviscerate public employee unions by treating even legitimate negotiation expenses as speech. It violates fair play and past compromises and demonstrates that the Republican Party has succeeded in making the Supreme Court a partisan branch of the federal government. 

MY SECOND RESPONSE:

BTW my father was the president of the Mankato State college faculty union and taught contract negotiation in their business school. I wrote about it once in the Reader. It has a pretty accurate prediction in it.

http://snowbizz.com/Diogenes/NotEudora06/CollectiveBargain.htm

AND ONE MORE THING I FORGOT TO TELL WDIO:

My Dad was a life long Republican.

DACA

How much has America spent educating 800,000 children illegally brought into the United States by their parents as infants and toddlers? If its anything like what we pay to educate kids in Duluth its a lot. Multiply $10,000 per year, times 12 years of public school, times 800,000 and you get $96 billion dollars thrown into the Rio Grande.

Forget the humanitarian issues of punishing the innocent. Forget the windfall for Mexico for our nation to send this incredible investment back to them. Cold hard finances all by themselves offers a compelling case to keep these children who will constitute an important economic resource for the US in future years.

Trump roared during the campaign that he would toss them all out. He seems to be reconsidering right now. But it was an Obama executive order that brought these 800,000 out of hiding and into his cross hairs. This dream is a nightmare.

My email exchange on “equity”

From: “T F”
To: “Harry Welty”
Cc:
Sent: 17-May-2017 14:14:55 +0000
Subject: Equity

Harry,

I read with interest your post about the Denfeld Equity Question, and the 4 recommendations put forth by the Equity Group.

First off, I’ll be the first to admit I have no great ideas to solve the very real problem.

I have concerns about the first recommendation, regarding the mandatory offering of 2 sections of any advanced class at Denfeld and replacing 1 “in-person” class at East with a telepresence class, with the teacher in Denfeld. I assume this means the Honors, CITS and AP classes.

To be up front, I have a [child] in many of those classes at East, but she only has one year left, so any changes will likely not impact her much. Even so, I don’t see how the logistics of this plan would work. It may be helpful if enrollment numbers/projections are available. Does the district provide the Board with enrollment numbers such as “how many denfeld students signed up for these advance classes?”

As near as I can tell based upon my [child]’s estimate of class sizes, there are currently 2 sections of AP World History at East, each with about 40 students. If we assume there are 40 Denfeld kids who wish to register for that class (here’s where the hard numbers of registered students would come in handy), Denfeld would have 2 sections of 20 kids, both with an in-person instructor. East would still have 2 sections, but one would be a class of 40 led by a Denfeld teacher who already has 20 kids of her own to teach, essentially making it a 60 student class of AP World History. That doesn’t seem workable. It also removes the opportunity to get extra help during WIN (of which I’m not a real big fan anyway) for the students in these advanced classes. Someone from administration might know more about what an optimal class size is for telepresence, but 40 seems like a lot. Even the “advanced classes kids” probably need close supervision than that.

The Equity Group also implies that removing an in-person teacher for the advanced classes at east “does no harm”, but I don’t think that’s the case with the science/math classes. Unless someone has an idea for how to teach CITS chemistry (with lab) by telepresence, East will need just as many teachers on-site for the advanced science (and probably) math classes.

More likely, if 709 does direct the Comp Ed money back to Denfeld, that may allow Denfeld to offer second sections of the advanced classes, but any notion of savings at East as a result probably wouldn’t come to fruition. If the East students are left with 40 students in a telepresence AP class, you would probably just as likely see more East kids trekking up to UMD for the classes (an option available only to those with transportation).

If the Comp Ed distribution is changed (which it probably should be) and less money is available to East, they may very well have to cut some of the advanced classes at East, and they may choose to do so. I just don’t see the telepresence scenario as a “no harm to East” solution.

Again, I have no magical solution, but unless there’s data that shows that such telepresence classes can be handled effectively, this solution might do more to lower East’s accomplishments than raise up Denfeld’s.

Just my two cents.

Sorry this went so long, but thanks again for your time and your efforts in trying to tackle messy problem.

T F

My reply:

Thanks for your thoughts T,

There are no easy answers to your concerns or to the Denfeld group’s concerns. The one small bit of bedrock I stand upon is this: East High with its better-off student body is getting additional funding that is meant to be spent on Denfeld’s less-well-off student body.

I agree that taking AP classes from any school will only prompt a small stampede to PSEO classes at colleges which will further reduce aid from the state of Minnesota to ISD 709.

I agree that ITV classes may be avoided if other more attractive alternatives are available.

I agree that just as East families have a hard time picturing the problems at Denfeld this group of Denfeld parents may fail to see the consequences of taking things away from East.

I sympathize with this Denfeld group and do not dismiss any of the alternatives they have proposed. I will add another consideration that I find distressing. I don’t think the Denfeld group imagines that many of their recommendations will bear fruit any time soon. Like you, many of these Denfeld parents have children who will soon graduate so that their current advocacy is likely to come to a precipitous conclusion after this year. This has been Denfeld’s plight for the past six years. Its best and most savvy advocates have abandoned Denfeld for greener pastures and taken their advocacy with them. Perhaps the only thing they may get will be a fairer distribution of the Compensatory Aid they are (by virtue of the spirit if not the letter of the law) entitled to. At least until next January they have me, a former East parent, on their side to push for better treatment as an “at-large” member of the school board. I sense some folks eager to see me disappear from the scene as little more than a long time trouble maker. We will find out how that turns out next November. I can only hope that if I am replaced it will be with an equally firm advocate for our poorer western schools.

And Denfeld needs advocacy. Our Administration seems comfortable deferring any tough decisions which might help Denfeld until a thorough review….a year-long review…which suggests nothing will change for Denfeld until 2018 unless the School Board demands change. A request by the Denfeld group to meet with the School Board seems to be targeted at July after the Board finalizes its budget for next year at a June meeting.

Harry

…………………………WeltyforSchoolBoard.com

A little “flight” reading “Minnesota Rag”

On the Flight back I finished up William Allen White’s book and then began the book “Minnesota Rag” by Fred Friendly

I bought the book two years ago at the suggestion of one of Art Johnston’s attorneys. It too is short and fascinating. I was especially drawn to Friendly’s comments on “defamation” which I have occasionally been accused of being guilty of myself. And by the way, accusations of defamation are themselves defamatory. Counting this post the word has shown up nine times to date in the blog.

Chapter 9 outlines the arguments made to the U.S. Supreme Court by the attorney for the “Minnesota Rag” (the Saturday Press). Quoting Blackstone the attorney argued that “Every person does have a constitutional right to publish malicious, scandalous and defamatory matter, though untrue and with bad motives and for unjustifiable ends.” There can be, however, a penalty for such “free” speech – a libel suit.

I found another sentence even more arresting: “…every legitimate newspaper in the country regularly and customarily publishes defamation, as it has a right to in criticizing government agencies.”

Defaming someone doesn’t necessarily mean lying about them. I hadn’t thought of this before but it makes perfect sense. People who do infamous things would be defamed if their actions were described in news stories. And if a newspaper simply repeated an accusation of infamous behavior this too would be defamation whether true or not. The News Tribune repeatedly reported that poor old Art Johnston was accused of making racist statements and had conflicts of interest. The accusations had no merit but reporting the accusations over and over was perfectly legitimate.

Although they were not sued for libel most of Art’s accusers paid a price for Art’s defamation – by retiring from the Duluth School Board.

That hotel cleaner you didn’t tip

“Maybe she wipes your child’s face at day care. Maybe he mops the floors at your church. Maybe she makes the beds in the hotel you stay at. Maybe he trims your shrubbery and mows your lawn. Maybe she lifts your elderly aunt in and out of her wheelchair each day at the nursing home.”

My wise school board colleague, Alanna Oswald, shared a column on what it means to be poor with the rest of us. It rings true to her. I recommend it. Here’s another sample:

“But today all that was about to change. She had landed a new job — still minimum wage, but this time with dental coverage. She sat in the waiting room, praying that today would be the day the pain finally stopped for good.

The dentist called Nicole into the exam room, poked and prodded a bit, and listed some treatment options. Nicole crossed her fingers.

But then he stood up and shut her file abruptly, not even trying to hide his disdain. “Look, there are plenty of things we could do,” he said frostily, hand on the doorknob. “But if you’re just going to let everything go to hell like this, there’s really no point.”

And the door clicked shut behind him.”

Foresight, what might have been, and temper tantrums

I slaved off-and-on from 5 AM until midnight yesterday to whittle nonsense riddled old posts from 700 offenders to about 80 left today. It’s mind numbing work made bareable by interesting discoveries. Its been entertaining to review my early writings in Lincolndemocrat. I just read this one showing the letter I would be sending out announcing my candidacy for the School Board in 2007

The post reassured me that I have a powerful, if imperfect, Bullpoop detector.

The School Board told Duluth that the Red Plan would practically pay for itself. Now a decade after I began blogging about the Red Plan most readers will appreciate the fiscal twaddle handed us. Why it wasn’t the building plan that would be expensive! It was the exorbitant and unnecessary costs of holding a referendum on the plan that the School Board wanted to spare taxpayers.

Here’s a couple paragraphs I put in the letter:

Raising $437 million in taxes through deception is a lousy way to run a school district. Read the beginning of my testimony to the State Board of Education last week.

“According to the information coming out of JCI and the Duluth School District the average Duluth household will only pay between $9 and $11 per month in property taxes if the Red Plan is adopted for a maximum of $132 annually. Let’s test this.

If you multiply $11 dollars, by 12 months and then multiply that by 20 years you get $2,240 per household. If you assume that there are 2.5 people per household this would result in $896 in taxes for the average resident of the Duluth school district over the course the Red Plan.

But if you multiply this average individual tax burden by the 94,000 residents of the Duluth School District the resultant taxes over twenty years would yield only $84,224,000 a far cry from the $437 million it will take to finance the Red Plan.

If you simply divide the $437,000,000 figure by the District’s 94,000 residents, you come up with a considerably higher per person tax over twenty years – $4,649. As some wag once said, “figures never lie, liar’s figure.”

My letter explains how I will have to get elected to the Board to put the breaks on the Red Plan. What happened in that campaign was that I was ambushed three days before election day and defamed by a vicious misrepresentation about my early career as a school board member. Had I been elected I could have tipped the balance on the Board and helped put the Red Plan up for a vote and, if it failed, I could have helped craft a more modest building program and insured that it was sold with credible financial analysis rather than snake oil.

That is my prologue for a little discourse on my tantrum about reviewing the Rupp law firm’ legal billing. It worked. The invoices will be made available for me to peruse this afternoon. School Board member Art Johnston chimed in by sending our new CFO his official data request for the same info which was never honored. Back when Art’s request was ignored we had five board members who tried to remove Art so apparently state law could be brushed off. We have a new school board and I’ll be damned if this public data will be withheld any longer. At my election I was given the fiduciary responsibility for overseeing our school district’s finances and administration.

I was ambushed again at this week’s school board meeting. The majority orchestrated an unexpected motion to retain Kevin Rupp’s firm for the Duluth School District. To say I was enraged puts it mildly.

I’ll share a hideous and despicable example of the legal advice of our counselor, Kevin Rupp, recommended to the Board members wishing to remove Art Johnston. (I was serving on the Board at the time and this advice was not provided to me for my input) This was passed on to me by an unimpeachable source.

Rupp’s plan was to take an ambiguous and, as it turned out, inaccurate story about Art making racist statements and add it to a list of other dubious accusations. Hearing that Art would be accused of being a full-throttle racist horrified Mike. He protested that it was a terrible thing to do but Rupp prevailed and Mern went along with the plan.

For the next year every headline in the Duluth News Tribune shouted that Art was an accused racist. It’s no wonder that after a year of such treatment, news or not, Art is no fan of the Trib or of the system that perpetuated such a hideous lie. Hell, Art has served on the board of the NAACP for several years.

Discovering that our Board was willing to ignore my principled objections and distrust of the man made my flesh crawl. I would be willing to burn down Old Central in order to read the bills for the hundred grand-plus we paid Rupp’s firm to turn our school board and district into a laughing stock for a long two years.

Today those bills are waiting “downtown” for me to peruse this afternoon.

Rascals are rascals no matter under what banner

My Buddy sent me a link about DFLers who were taking advantage of their connections to leach off of our new Billion dollar Football Stadium. He said he was “grateful for living in a state where the political reaction to this shit (finally?) seems to reflect that it stinks.”

I agree. I’d hate to live with the hypocrisy we are seeing in Washington DC. https://www.facebook.com/CREDO/videos/10155814178245968/

I began researching one of my many quickly evaporating books in 2005. It was about the biggest political scandal in Minnesota History that I know of and which was centered in Duluth. One of the chief rascals was a fellow named Tom Kelm. Michele Kelm-Helgen is his daughter. Apparently the acorn fell close to the oak.

Still, Michelle’s extravagances are a pale shadow of her Father’s exploits which are only hinted at in News stories of his Era. He was a preternaturally lucky gambler in Vegas. He escaped the law only to reincarnate as a lobbyist for the Cancer stick industry but there was one little tornado after his exit. It was called the Minnesota Massacre. The link in the last sentence takes you to a story that puts all the focus on the BWCA controversy and none on the scandals overseen by Mr. Kelm during Governorship of Wendell Anderson.

I can only hope that a politial massacre of political ne’er do wells also ends up being reflected in national politics some day in the near future.

Debating red flags

My Debate over the Constitution with my Buddy:

——– Original message ——–
From: “Your Buddy”
Date: 2/10/17 10:02 AM (GMT-06:00)
To: Harry Welty
Subject: Raising my flag to America’s judiciary | lincolndemocrat.com

Harry:

Since you are raising your flag to America’s judiciary — see http://lincolndemocrat.com/?p=19380

also see http://www.breitbart.com/video/2017/02/09/dershowitz-9th-circuit-ruling-not-a-solid-decision-looks-like-its-based-more-on-policy-than-on-constitutionality/.

Further, you said:
. . . I wonder if his [Trump’s] Supreme Court nominees would agree. After-all, most of them will be fans of “originalism” which exalts our Founder’s 18th century notions of Constitutional interpretation which, among other things . . .

I suspect that Scalia would say that he favored construing the text of the Constitution, instead of trying to otherwise divine what the “notions” of the founders might have been. Isn’t that why we have laws in writing?

[Your Buddy]

To which I replied:

Buddy,

How is construing different from divining?

Harry

My Buddy’s riposte:

Harry:

Construing or diving what? How are unwritten “notions”, construed or divined? Words, too, can be slippery, but they seem to be more fixed than notions; and we have the words; but where or how do we find and ascertain what the notions were?

Say what you mean, and mean what you say?

Your Buddy

And my reply:

Buddy,

This gets to the old issue of the letter of the law vs. the spirit of the law. I think both are important. However, I think Scalia shortchanged the “spirit” of the law. In 1860 Scalia would have had no patience with Lincoln’s contention that the Declaration of Independence suggested that blacks and whites should be regarded as sharing the same rights. In 1954 he would probably have panned the decision of Brown vs. Topeka Board of Education.

I also suspect that from Bush v Gore to Citizen’s United Scalia tried to hide his political leanings behind his worship of “originalism” while suggesting that he was somehow holier than his colleagues who were less reverent towards the Constitution.

[Scalia] was a Roger B. Taney not an Earl Warren.

Harry

—————————————–

Raising my flag to America’s judiciary

There were two clarifying interviews on NPR this morning which I thought were helpful in making sense of the Federal Court’s decision which President Trump called “disgraceful.”

In the first Jonah Goldberg commented that he thought it was unfair of the court’s to pay too much attention to Trump’s campaign rhetoric about barring Muslims from America because the President’s hasty executive order did not go as far as his rhetoric. I think that’s a fair critique but I wonder if his Supreme Court nominees would agree. After-all, most of them will be fans of “originalism” which exalts our Founder’s 18th century notions of Constitutional interpretation which, among other things, treated black slaves as 3/4ths of a human being. Wasn’t banning Muslims Trump’s original intention? If so, shouldn’t that be how the court views his executive order?

Also Goldberg commented sensibly that it could be troubling if every time any law is passed or enforced in such a way as to disadvantage a single state that the disadvantaged state could have veto power over a nationally administered law.

Then another guest made another sensible comment in an NPR interview. The second person noted that the courts had not overruled the executive order meaning that it could yet be determined to be legal. What the Appellate Court had done was simply set in motion a means for the courts to analyze whether the rushed Presidential order had overreached.

I wouldn’t have expected such views to be aired on most television news programs which is why I stopped treating television news as particularly helpful about 40 years ago. Of course, the Republicans are always threatening to stop public finance of NPR and PBS. I guess that makes Big Bird a commie although in the new Trump world being an ex KGB agent is no big deal. However, Mitch McConnell has deemed quoting Coretta Scott King on the floor of the US Senate a national disaster.

Here are some more of today’s NPR stories I found heartening and a good reason for me to raise Old Glory over the backs of Jabba the Hutt and Princess Leia:

Appellate Court doesn’t revoke the lower court order to stay Trump’s executive order to deny entry into the US by travelers from seven predominantly Islamic nations.

Trump lies about being invited to appear on John Oliver’s show.

Trump lies about Gorsuch saying the nominee for the Supreme Court never said that Trump’s anti court rhetoric was disheartening to the third branch of Government.

Utah Republican Congressman Chaffetz is booed back home in conformist Utah when he says Trump is exempt from self dealing as President.

If Donald Trump is ever to become a rational President he will have to be treated as ferociously by his critics as Trump treated them when he campaigned for the Presidency.