“Virus a concern as local schools begin new year: Bismarck, Mandan recommending masks but not requiring them.” – Bismarck Tribune, 8/23/21
“Those who distrust reason are usually those who have not enough capacity for it to know why it is beautiful, and slander in advance what they are afraid will destroy their prestige.” – Alfred Kazin, “An Introduction to William Blake”
“In American politics the development of a retrospective and nostalgic cast of mind has gone hand in hand with the slow decline of a traditional faith.” – Richard Hofstadter, The American Tradition, 1948
“When Donald Trump (urged) his followers on Jan. 6 to march to the Capitol, he was doing what he had always done. He never took electoral democracy seriously…Yet other Republicans saw the situation differently: They might actually break the system and have power without democracy… In November 2020, Trump told a lie…that he had won an election that in fact he had lost…It challenged not just evidence but logic…The force of a big lie… brings with it, of necessity, a conspiracy theory…It is a big lie, fundamentally, because it reverses the moral field of American politics and the basic structure of American history… “America will not survive the big lie just because a liar is separated from power. It will need a thoughtful… commitment to facts as a public good. The racism structured into every aspect of the coup attempt is a call to heed our own history. Serious attention to the past helps us to see risks but also suggests future possibility. We cannot be a democratic republic if we tell lies about race, big or small. Democracy is not about minimizing the vote nor ignoring it,…but of accepting the equality of others, heeding their voices and counting their votes.” Timothy Snyder, The American Abyss, New York Times, January 9, 2021
“Even if Donald Trump loses in 2020, the Republican Party has legitimized bigotry and hate as an organizing principle for a major political party in a country with a unique role in the world…Strange, angry freaks like Sebastian Gorka and Stephen Miller are celebrated, not shunned. Across the country almost every (Republican) State party is now dominated by the angry and aggrieved who seem to believe the purpose of our politics is to make America at last safe for white people.” – Stuart Stevens, It Was All A Lie, 2020
“The essential act of war is destruction, not necessarily of human lives, but of the products of human labor. War is a way of shattering to pieces, or pouring into the stratosphere, or sinking in the depths of the sea, materials which might otherwise be used to make the masses too comfortable, and hence, in the long run, too intelligent.” George Orwell, 1984
“As a goddess, Nemesis represents a warning that neither men and women nor countries can indefinitely ignore the demands of reciprocal justice and honesty. She is the spirit of retribution, a corrective to the greed and stupidity that sometimes governs relations among people.” Chalmers Johnson, Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic, 2006
“…the decline of a language must ultimately have political and economic causes…not due simply to this or that individual writer…(it) is happening to the English language. It becomes ugly and inaccurate because our thoughts are foolish, but the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts. The point is that the process is reversible. Modern English, especially written English, is full of bad habits which spread by imitation and which can be avoided if one is willing to take the necessary trouble. If one gets rid of these habits one can think more clearly, and to think clearly is a necessary first step toward political regeneration…” – George Orwell, Politics and the English Language, 1946
As the 20 years war of the U.S. against the Taliban ends in failure to “make Afghanistan safe for democracy,” the 400 years war to make the U.S. safe for democracy against an “American Taliban” proceeds apace. We are told by certain “great thinkers” that earlier victories by Americans in favor of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are in danger of succumbing to the forces of racism, greed, misogyny; mass ignorance about science, and Republicans’ cynicism about rule of law, but I’m not so sure. It’s raining in parched western North Dakota; & President Biden, House Speaker Pelosi, and Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, like 3 Winston Churchills, don’t seem licked at all, despite the chaos. I needed 2nd opinions from my KGB animal friends.
High Plains Reader: Hello dear friends! If war mongers in the D.C. media are unhappy, then I should be happy. But I’m not. Trump’s lies about Covid and elections are still selling. I’m pretty sure democratic values are holding their own in America, but it doesn’t feel like it.
Putin: Relax. Democracy isn’t supposed to feel good, it just needs to work. If you want to feel good, turn on a ball game.
HPR: But even there! All those people without masks on! And so many kids!
Rasputin: It depends where they are. Follow the Math and Science. Two hundred million Americans have been vaccinated, especially in blue States. If they are outdoors in ballparks where many are masked who feel the need; it’s safer than just about any place in the Deep South.
HPR: It’s depressing. So many people willing to die for a lie about science. But it’s really a matter of being Republican; not just the South. North Dakota has mask and vaccination denying idiots as well, especially out here in the western parts of the State. Our rational, but often intimidated, Republican Governor, Doug Burgum, is at least willing to let localities mandate masks – if they dare to try to open their schools with frothing-at-the-mouth parents bellowing at their doorways, determined to risk their children’s lives for a false definition of freedom.
Schickelgruber: People have always been willing to kill and even die for lies they want to believe; like their race being the master race, or their form of government being what everyone else should have, whether they want it or not. Nowadays, they seem to be willing to give up their lives for lies told by the Donald, his acolytes in right wing media and piss ant Governors like Ron DeSantis in Florida, Greg Abbott in Texas, and Doug Ducey in Arizona. Trump’s base has swallowed the racist “Kool Aid” that these grifters offer: that their “whiteness” makes them superior beings and destined to always be “in charge;” despite fearing the opposite to be true.
HPR: Does that mean President Woodrow Wilson, a Democrat, wasn’t serious about “making the world safe for democracy” when he took America to war against Germany?
Mr. Swamp Fox: In more ways than one. Like Thomas Jefferson, a racist from the South, Wilson never intended that democracy be for people of color in his country or anywhere else in the world. Over a hundred years earlier, the people of Haiti secured their independence by force of arms just like Americans did from 1775 to 1783; by killing 50,000 soldiers of the British Empire in 1795 and 30,000 of Napoleon’s troops in 1802. This was the real reason for the French Emperor to enable President Jefferson to purchase Louisiana, home to so many Indians in 1803, who didn’t know that they were only considered renters to white leaders in Washington, D.C.
Mr. Crying Wolf: Like most Americans, those who live in the Red States of that former Territory see President Jefferson as a real estate visionary, because they believe fables spun by Jefferson’s acolytes in the history profession, well into the 21st Century. Documents from the time show otherwise. Alexander Hamilton blew the whistle on that fairy tale in 1805, but his voice was soon silenced by a combination of his own pride, and the willingness of Aaron Burr to please future authors of the Confederacy. Presidents Lincoln and Grant had a go at reversing racist trends, but their actions in favor of a more egalitarian America only got you part of the way. Racists, like cockroaches, seem to be able to survive the most radical of remedies.
Jim Crow XV: The Haitians had the misfortune of being brave fighters and clever strategists “while black.” Jefferson’s America and the rest of the empowered world: white nations and empires of that day, “redlined” their entire country, so Haitians had to limp back to control by the French: for survival’s sake. They were taken over militarily by Woodrow Wilson’s United States in 1915 on behalf of First National City Bank of New York. Lies about Haiti continue.
Omar Khayyam: The Taliban, with Afghanistan’s precious metal and mineral resources, have far more potential friends in today’s world than the Haitians ever did in 1802, once their major commodity, sugar, was no longer produced by slave labor for white absentee owners.
HPR: But President Joe Biden, like Woodrow Wilson, is a Democrat, and he fights racism at every turn. It seems like all the racists these days are Republicans: North, South, East and West.
Chicago Dog: White Democrats began to clean up their act about racism in the 1960’s. Some Republicans did too, but not enough to change their Party from pushing racism like heroin. But, it’s not a matter of either political party, it’s really a matter of the American Taliban.
HPR: American Taliban?
Omar Khayyam: Correct. The American Taliban is composed of reactionaries of every political stripe who believe with a religious fervor in white, male dominance; and who despise any form of democracy, unless they can control it; by violence if need be. Their leaders can be found among major, billionaire corporations, military contractors included, who agree that wars are necessary to keep this dominance in place in America and around the globe – and, that profits are always more important than people.
HPR: That sounds an awful lot like a conspiracy theory.
Señor Perro: I wish it were only a theory.
Ms. Recovering Republican Lap Dog: There’s nothing theoretical about the shock of 9/11 and the paralysis it caused in this country to clear thinking. Fear and confusion aided Wall Street greed, and military contractors who benefited from weapons of destruction they sold, regardless of where they ended up. And don’t forget Vice President Dick Cheney’s Wyoming and Ivy League Taliban and D.C. Punditry’s Neo-Conservative Taliban around President George W. Bush – the “Cheer Leader” for yet another war in Iraq.
Schickelgruber: The American Taliban can also be found among religious leaders, local business boosters, media gurus and, of course, among millions of gullible American citizens willing to believe the B.S. they are fed by organized liars. One exemplary liar is Stephen Miller, former Czar of racism for the Trump White House. According to former VP Mike Pence advisor and Homeland Security official, Olivia Troye, Miller deliberately screwed up visa applications for Afghan allies of the U.S. so they couldn’t escape the Taliban when the roof fell in. Stephen Miller is too crude to realize that many of these folks could be descendants of “Aryan” speaking peoples. Race categories are a fiction. Language categories are not. Both are complicated.
Jim Crow XV: Except in their murderous hatreds, racists aren’t consistent, even about racism. In their brief, but destructive, world of power without responsibility, Miller and Trump (like Hitler, Himmler, and Goering), after all, determined who was white (a Jew) and who was not.
Prudence Possum: War and racism aren’t the only rackets that kill people. Take the latest B.S. peddled by FOX News hosts Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson, and Laura Ingraham, that a horse drug, Ivermectin, is more suitable for dealing with Covid than vaccinations or wearing a mask.
Agatha Alligator: The Afghanistan Taliban may be willing to kill other people’s children for their beliefs, but the American Taliban, and Republican Party leadership are even willing to kill off their own children.
HPR: How many kids have to die, before these idiots begin to vaccinate and wear masks?
Chicago Dog: That’s hard to tell, but it can probably be measured by checking out the local situation in Congressional Districts that are Red or Purple. Republican Congressmen may not care about children, but they do care about reelection in 2022. Parents and local officials in Florida and Texas are defying their Governors’ efforts to back stupidity rather than science.
Lena: Mother Nature, in the form of fires in the West, a soggy hurricane in the Northeast, and floods in Tennessee, is lobbying heavily for both Infrastructure Bills that Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Schumer seek to pass in the next few weeks. Democrats allegedly on the fence agree on the need as much as their leadership. They are simply negotiating the political price tag in their State or Congressional District, not dollar amounts that many pundits count on for tips.
Putin: Moscow Mitch would already have torpedoed both bills if he could have, but too many Kentucky voters, and no small number of local contractors, want that bridge to Cincinnati. He knows that, no matter how much President Biden’s ratings take a hit for the Afghanistan mess that Presidents Bush II, Obama, and Trump handed him, they will bounce back up as soon as he starts signing infrastructure bills. We will soon see, when the time comes to vote up or down in the House and Senate on what Nancy and Chuck decide that they can push through.
Mr. Swamp Fox: Vaccinations are beginning to creep up in formerly resistant areas. As the child body count begins to rise, alongside the Federal Drug Administration’s official approval of the Pfizer 16 and over vaccine, the number of shots also rise, depending upon capacity for human sympathy or fear: family to family, farm to farm, county to county, city to city, state to state.
HPR: I don’t care if fear or any other factor gets more people to vaccinate, as long as it’s done.
Prudence Possum: One of our swamp friends discovered a note written by a formerly vocal Trump and anti-vax supporter, who, until he lost a child to Covid, had thought that a shot from his many guns would protect his own, rather than a shot from the arsenal of Dr. Fauci and a mask from Walmart.
Agatha Alligator: If you want to get historically theatrical about it, as in how Shakespeare reacted negatively to religious bigotry and tyranny that governed England in the century before him, you could call this guy, “A Hamlet for All Reasons:”
Who’s Your Hate-filled Daddy?…………………………………………….. …………..Headless Horseman.
I wish I weren’t a bigot, but I must
Stay true to all the hate my daddy taught.
Just like his daddy ruled his ev’ry thought
And learned him to believe “In Hate We Trust”
It doesn’t matter who you hate that much
As long as they’re not white, or male, or crude.
Because, if we relent; we’re really screwed;
And doomed to sensitivity’s kind touch.
…We lost a child to Covid yesterday.
My wife will not forgive me if I can’t
Agree to break with Daddy’s awful hate;
So we can stop the dying; Start to pay
Attention to some sense; Give up the Rant;
And let the sane folks lead; ‘Fore it’s too late.