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.”

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.

Trump’s mistress Hannity gets highest ratings ever

I used to rib my now deceased “buddy,” Vic, that making Fox his go-to online news site was
Just begging to be brain washed by Roger Ailes. Today there is some hope for Fox’s news division.

As for Hannity’s all time high 4 million viewership? It reminds me of how when, during the passing of a hurricane’s eye, people in submerged houses escape to any higher ground they can.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/27/business/media/fox-news-sean-hannity.html

What I just sent to the Strib

1. A headshot in the highest photo resolution possible.

2. The link to your campaign website. Facebook Page: Harry Welty Givem Helty and WWW.Givemhellharry.org and WWW.lincolndemocrat.com

3. A short bio (roughly 50 words) – it could help to look at our 2018 guide linked above for examples.

Harry Welty, Age 67, history teacher, snow sculptor, blogger, frequent candidate for public office has served three terms on the Duluth School Board. Married to Claudia he has a son and daughter who graduated from Duluth’s schools. He has more opinions than you can shake a stick at and he can juggle.

4. Answers to the following three questions (using 50 or fewer words for each response):
…..1. Why should voters elect you?

So that voters can have the confidence that someone who understands school finance, the Red Plan, education law, the value of public education, the management role of a school board and the importance of teachers is sitting on what today is a pretty inexperienced Duluth School Board.

…..2. In order of priority, what are the top three issues facing Duluth Public Schools?

1st. That equity is not enough. Every child should be tended to carefully for twelve years of schooling no matter the shortcomings they bring to school. 2nd. That teachers should be given all the support they need. 3rd That the public is treated with openness and complete honesty.

…..3. What is your solution to that top issue?

In fifty words? Starting with a new Superintendent show respect to every employee of the district and expect the best from them and have them reciprocate this ethos to the students in their classrooms and to parents. Make every precious dollar in our budget work to maximum effect.

The Star Trib reaches out

I mentioned in my post about the last school board meeting that I met the new Minneapolis Star Trib reporter who will be covering education, or at least the Duluth School District, while living in Duluth. It turns out that there are four Strib reporters.

Katie just sent me this email as they start getting operations under way. I’ve filled out similar voter info forms for the Strib when I’ve run for Congress or the state legislature but not for the Duluth School Board. Here’s her note:

Hi Harry,

My name is Katie Galioto, and I am a reporter for the Star Tribune. I don’t think I’ve had the chance to introduce myself yet, but I am part of a new four-person team of journalists from our paper based in Duluth to cover local stories. I just moved to town this month.

I am reaching out because I am starting to compile information for an online Duluth Voting Guide we are working on putting together for this year’s municipal elections. We’re hoping it will be a good quick-stop resource for Duluthians looking to get caught up to speed ahead of Election Day with information on how to register, where to vote, etc.

We’re drawing some inspiration from the voting guide the Star Tribune produced ahead of the 2018 midterms, though our Duluth guide won’t be exactly the same. I’m attaching a link to that here in case it’s helpful to reference.

We plan on including a standard set of information about the candidates running in each race – so I am wondering if you would be willing to answer a few questions about yourself and your campaign. Here’s what we are asking for from each candidate:

1. A headshot in the highest photo resolution possible.
2. The link to your campaign website.
3. A short bio (roughly 50 words) – it could help to look at our 2018 guide linked above for examples.
4. Answers to the following three questions (using 50 or fewer words for each response):
…..1. Why should voters elect you?
…..2. In order of priority, what are the top three issues facing Duluth Public Schools?
…..3. What is your solution to that top issue?

We would need all this information by no later than Oct. 7 in order for our digital design team to produce the guide. Please let me know if this is something you’d be able to do.

Additionally, let me know if you have questions or anything needs further clarification.

Have a good weekend!

Katie Galioto
Star Tribune Reporter

My Reply:

From: harrywelty
Date: 9/27/19 5:54 PM (GMT-06:00)
To: “Galioto, Katie”
Subject: Re: Star Tribune Duluth Voting Guide

Thanks Katie,

I met you briefly at the last meeting. I will send you the info before the deadline.

Four of you? Whoa. The Stib is ambitious. If you get curious I have a free wheeling blog that has had a lot to say about the Duluth Schools over the last dozen years: Www.lincolndemocrat.com

I was on the board the 4 years leading up to the 2017 election when the Anti-Trump mania dumped me. I’ve had a nice two-year vacation but am ready to get back to work. If elected I’ll be starting my 13th year on the board.

All the best,

Harry

Sent from my Verizon, Samsung Galaxy smartphon

No! Pete Stauber. The impeachment inquiry isn’t “irresponsible.”

Once again, President 45 has delivered us another turd on the table. A President who has fired all the “adults-in-the-room” so that he can freely strong-arm our ally with a thinly veiled threat to throw the Ukraine to Vlad the Impailer Putin if he doesn’t get help taking down Joe Biden, crosses all sorts of lines in Article II of the Constitution.

I’ve expressed my considerable reservations about pushing impeachment in the Reader. But we have elected a pus filled boil and as the pus keeps leaking out I’ve become game for any inquiry. There are rumors that 30 Republican Senators would vote to remove him if they could vote secretly. That may be wishful thinking but at this point I’d be hard pressed to find fault with the House if its investigation led to a party-line Impeachment. (not to be confused with a Senate Trial and removal)

Our President is the punch line to the Question, “How do you know if he’s lying?” The answer: “He’s moving his lips”. A single lie got Bill Clinton impeached. “I didn’t sleep with that woman.” And like Trump’s many conquests the woman was above the age of consent. The difference? Trump didn’t deny it “under oath.” But Donald Trump did take an oath to preserve the union and he’s done his level best to divide America. That’s a couple factors worse than a perjured falsehood to save your marriage.

Congressman Pete Stauber is just one more pusillanimous Trump parasite. It’s Pete’s parasitism that is irresponsible.

The front cover of the latest New Yorker nails it:

Rotten Tomatoes gave the movie 77% fresh

Yes it did, but…

I went to the movies to escape the headlines and instead I got a comic downer with a bad, if all together believable, end. NOBODY DIED HOWEVER.

I probably wouldn’t have gone if I’d read a review simply because the trailer had such comic promise. I don’t wish to add a review but I will mention this. Claudia and I were the only people in the theater.

Hollywood Shalt Come

I need a good laugh. So does all of America and beyond that the world.

This is the first time in years that I’ve posted something under the “hoots” category. I hope it’s as funny as the trailer.

Hollywood is vilified, and has been for a hundred years, for destroying moral values. Thank God for that. At the same time it has undermined self righteous priggishness that is so easily offended. In a day and age where a moral troll with visions of grandeur propped up by the eloquence of a first grader that didn’t do his homework has been placed on the pedestal of King David by the moral elite…….I think this movie will get me out of my funk for at least two hours.

I told Claudia we ARE going to see it this afternoon.

And Sorry racists, Hollywood has given us far too many great black entertainers for the bulk of America to take the basis of your racism any more seriously than your visions of a rapture.

https://www.facebook.com/79924349932/posts/10157386791509933/?sfnsn=mo&d=n&vh=e

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.

Disgraceful

2019-09-24_09-37-52

Adelle Whitefoot wrote a good, if brief, run down of today’s school board candidate forum at the Depot. I have only one quibble. I will have to work with six other Board members and those who don’t see the forum’s recording but who read the coverage may think I said their failure to be transparent was a “disgrace”. That is a pretty fierce word of denunciation and I am 99.9 percent sure I didn’t utter it. It’s not in quotation marks.

What I did say was that their lack of candor reminded me of little kids who try hide what they’ve done when they’ve been naughty. That’s more embarassing than disgraceful.

I liked all the candidate photos that Clint snapped.

The Candidate’s Debate . . .

. . . at the Depot is about to begin. Next up the Mayoral candidates. Not quite 50 people in the audience. I am sure many, many, more will come to the School Board debate in one hour at 2PM.

2019-09-24_12-57-38

Its livestreaming on the DNT website.

David Nolle is making a good impression at the moment as he faces a ferociously confident and genial Mayor Emily. Too bad almost no one will likely watch this.

Pete Stauber’s President in forty sentences

Shamelessly paraphrased from a NY Times column by David Leonhardt

Sometimes it’s worth stepping back to look at the full picture.

Pete Stauber’s President has pressured a foreign leader to interfere in the 2020 American presidential election.
Pete Stauber’s President urged a foreign country to intervene in the 2016 presidential election.
Pete Stauber’s President divulged classified information to foreign officials.
Pete Stauber’s President publicly undermined American intelligence agents while standing next to a hostile foreign autocrat.
Pete Stauber’s President hired a national security adviser who he knew had secretly worked as a foreign lobbyist.
Pete Stauber’s President encourages foreign leaders to enrich him and his family by staying at his hotels.
Pete Stauber’s President genuflects to murderous dictators.
Pete Stauber’s President has alienated America’s closest allies.
Pete Stauber’s President lied to the American people about his company’s business dealings in Russia. Continue reading

There are 21 applicants for my old school board seat…

…one of the two at large seats won by Josh Gorham. I owe Josh two big thank yous. First, he gave me a wonderful two-year vacation from the School Board. Second, his departure demonstrated that the Board’s dysfunction might not have all that much to do with my being on the School Board.

I know a few of the candidates. The brief bios in the DNT suggest a good crop of potential board members. There are a heckuva lot more people willing to serve than their were willing to run for an at-large office. 21 of them. Only two candidates filed to run at-large this year and we didn’t even have enough candidates to have a primary for any of the three seats being filled on November 5th. That’s a sad commentary on the nastiness that surrounds even local elections.

“Go get ’em, tiger!”

I enjoy many hearty laughs every day. I hear its healthy. Well, I just pulled a good one out of my campaign PO box. A nice donation came in from one of the handful of folks I’ve seriously taken to task on this blog. It came with a cheerful note: “Go get ’em, tiger!” on it.

I have always told newbie candidates never to foreclose the possibility of getting along with their foes of today because they might become allies in the future. The bastards who attacked us on 9/11 reunited, if temporarily, Republicans and Democrats. If we were attacked from outer space today I’d rally around Donald Trump and set aside my growing conviction that his apparently treasonable actions ought to get him impeached. There are priorities and saving Earth would require keeping him in office no matter the irony. Of course, if he proved to be as incompetent fighting aliens as he has been running the US, I’d put my obsession with Democracy on hold and support a coup d’etat. I’d give him about two weeks to screw up,

This post is not the first one in this blog to explain that no one has ever made me angrier in my entire life than Art Johnston. Yes. That Art Johnston! The Art Johnston who alienated me from half of Eastern Duluth as I rose to his defense. Long before we became allies, Art had pissed me off to no end. I sent him an email a few weeks before his first election in 2013 telling Art. “I hope you win. It will be the worst four years of your life.”

As for my new surprise benefactor, I will make it a point to invite him to have coffee with me. Its likely that his sending me a check was 90% mischievousness and 10% good government. That’s OK by me. I’ve made some mischief myself over the years, especially when old fossils try taking us back to the age of dinosaurs.

This Facebook post begs a reply

I intend to provide it but not tonight. I’m bushed.

Well, Well, Well. Someone has a sense of decency. This was taken down not long ago.

As I went about my business over the weekend I gave this post a lot of thoughts which now, apparently, no longer need much elaboration.

I will, however, enumerate a couple starting with this observation. Such posts are designed to undermine. Two years ago I endured two separate Facebook attacks which I felt had to be addressed. I replied to one such attack and the owner of the Facebook account removed my comments. The other Facebook attack was hidden behind the curtains of a group that sealed itself off from a general audience.

As for this since deleted attack it was based on guilt by association. Alanna, my former student who as a parent stuck her neck out to criticize the District as it shortchanged western Duluth students was reduced to being my buddy. My crime of not promising to roll over and play dead in the event of a teacher’s strike in a Union questionnaire was attached to “my buddy.”

All Alanna had to do was show that she answered one question on a Union questionnaire the opposite of me. She did. The accusation of being associated with me was withdrawn. That’s just as well because the fellow running against Alanna boasted that he had been the campaign chairman of two school board members who have caught hell in the last month. That may be an even worse association.

What was the question I gave such an unpardonable answer to? Now that the post is down I’m not sure anyone cares but… if you do. Continue reading

I don’t completely agree with Kevin

Kevin Skirwa-Brown wrote an op-ed piece a couple days ago about the disarray on the Duluth School Board. Let me note that our School Board is fully capable of dysfunction even without me serving on it. It was also gratifying to see the Trib write a hard hitting editorial about the importance of transparency. When Art Johnston and I were clamoring for transparency the Trib’s editors didn’t make a peep.

Much of what Kevin says I agree with. Kevin is one of the leaders of the equity group one which Art and I offered a lot of support to before we left office. So, I was a tad chagrined when I read his concluding sentence: “In the last election we made some progress in electing School Board members who valued transparency and equity. We have more work to do.

Art and I argued for two years to put all our meetings on cable TV. Art sent a dozen requests for information with my support and only after he left the board did he get some measure of it when the State came down hard on the School District. I mistakenly said the District paid a fine a few posts ago. To clarify, rather than risk paying a fine and for all Art’s legal fees the District offered a settlement of $55,000. That was unprecedented. I will agree with Kevin that the new Board has seen fit to follow Art and my example where transparency is concerned. That doesn’t include the incumbent I’m challenging who got dinged in the Trib’s Editorial.

The meat of Kevin’s op-ed is speculation about Denfeld Principal Tonya Sconiers and the reason she fell afoul of the Administration. Kevin writes: I feel we have an administration striking back at the only target it can for her outspokenness and perhaps as a way to cut off information to community members who rely on such information regarding policies and practices that are inequitable.

I don’t buy this and, unlike Kevin, I’ve been on the Board to look at this relationship up close. In fact, its just because of such uninformed speculation that jumped at the chance to have an internet presence. Even reporters, rarely talked about the human dynamics of school board actions. Tonya Sconiers was a team player right up to my election in 2013 until the conclusion of my four year term. When the Denfeld teachers sent the Board a letter begging for changes at Denfeld she jumped down their throats forcing them to send the Board a big “nevermind.” But the cat was out of the bag. The Trib wrote a story about the teacher’s concerns and I blogged about it. I did not however, mention Tonya’s successful squelching of the letter.

Until today I’ve only mentioned Tonya in four posts (unless I misspelled her name which I’ve done before) I’ve known her for twenty years or so and I always found her enthusiasm infectious and engaging. She was a natural to post as a principal and a coup for an administration whose hiring of minority staff has been so dreadfully anemic. Kevin is correct in writing about her Big Momma temperament. It does put some people off. I further agree with Kevin that the written directions given to Tonya by our new Assistant Administrator are embarrassing. I guess her outspokenness wasn’t a problem until she fell afoul of the Administration. And I am led to believe that she did make some serious mistakes. We won’t know for a long time what those might have been and that will only strengthen sympathy for Tonya…….among many. I can assure my readers, however, that Tonya made many enemies. Several of them (former students) stomped on her apparent grave in Facebook posts I ran across. The teachers who were squelched when she was the darling of the Administration are also not in Tonya’s fan club.

Kevin is right to be concerned, but as for Tonya’s advocacy for Denfeld? It appears to me that it grew more vocal as her position with the Administration grew more precarious not the other way around.

And one more detail to demonstrate Tonya’s status as a team player. I wrote this post about my most “distressing day” as a school board member. Its the day the District’s hired gun lawyer came in with her “stinking fish” semi-indictment of Art Johnson. It was a Kangaroo Court and I was still under the delusion that my fellow board members had a shred of decency. I thought if I could just act out what had obviously happened I could save the day and put a bad chapter to bed. So, when I bulled out onto the Boardroom floor to pantomime how it could have appeared that Art had shoved Bill Gronseth the Board adjourned itself and I was left standing out in the open like a first class fool. No one accused them of foolishness for pursuing this when the target of the “shove” said he hadn’t been shoved.

What I didn’t write in the blog post was that Tonya Sconiers came charging out to stand in front of me on the Board room so that I could not move. However I turned she stood under my chin for what seemed like ages as I realized I had no where to escape to. Tonya was making her defense of the Superintendent manifest. I tried joking with her but got nothing but the evil eye. I asked if she wanted to dance. More eye. Something caused a break between Tonya and Bill. I strongly doubt that it was Denfeld.

BTW – I am delighted that Mr. Skirwa-Brown is part of the Equity group. Nearly a year before the 2017 election I tried without success to coax a Denfeld parent into running for the school board. Kevin was one of the people I was angling for. He could have won. He’s frustrated with the Board now because he doesn’t have a say. I understand. That’s why I’m running. He didn’t