“I would willingly carry a candle in one hand for St. Michael and a candle for his Dragon in the other.” – Michel de Montaigne
“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” – FDR, 1933
“The only change Reactionaries fear, is change itself.” – Chicago Dog, 2021
“54.6% of eligible North Dakota adults and 32.5% of adolescents in the 12-18 age group are considered fully vaccinated. North Dakota has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the U.S. (CDC).”- Bismarck Tribune, 10/20/21
“A myth is something which is in fact not true, but in which we believe and act upon as if it were true.” – Ashley Montague
“Myths later become canons—that is, rules, regulations, and laws, the correct and accepted ways of doing things…All of us live by myths and canons, taking them for reality. And for certain myths that man has held dear, he has become involved, frustrated, paranoid, and even vicious.” – Frederick Gentles/Melvin Steinfield
“Through my appearance here today I hope that police officers in the future will not experience the same frustration and anxiety that I was subjected to for the past five years at the hands of my superiors because of my attempts to report corruption. I was made to feel that I had burdened them with an unwanted task. The problem is that the atmosphere does not yet exist in which an honest police officer can act without fear of ridicule or reprisal from fellow officers. We create an atmosphere in which the honest officer fears the dishonest officer, and not the other way around. I hope that this investigation, and any future ones, will deal with corruption at all levels within the department, and not limit themselves to cases involving individual patrolmen.” – “ NYPD Officer Frank Serpico – Testimony to the Knapp Commission, October, 1971
“It is possible for us to engage in moral revolution and change the value we affirm by the choices we make. It is possible for lesbians to spin a revolution, for us to weave a transformation of consciousness…In our moral outrage we turned our backs on the fathers’ categories and began to focus on each other. We began to follow our own agendas, to listen to, argue with, criticize, befriend, celebrate, in short, to acknowledge, each other. And in the process we began to enact new values. We worked to develop nonoppressive structures, and we created conceptual frameworks outside the values of the fathers.” – Sarah Lucia Hoagland, Lesbian Ethics: Toward New Value, 1988
“I’ve been asked to have a meal; By a big tycoon in steel, If the meal includes a deal, accept I may.
But I’m always true to you, darlin’, in my fashion, Yes, I’m always true to you, darlin’, in my way.” – Cole Porter’s Kiss Me Kate, (1948) by way of Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew (1593/1594)
“Did you, too, O friend, suppose democracy was only for elections, for politics, and for a party name?” – Walt Whitman, Democratic Vistas
Slander is a terrible thing. So is libel, its written form. Together they threaten to rip apart the American experiment in democracy, but are common currency in today’s GOP; now more a reactionary and violent cult, in word and deed, than a political party. In the past, technology was used to protect public health by preventing poison from being injected into our bodies via tampered food and drug products. Lately, however, technology has been used to endanger public health by injecting poison into our brains via Facebook fanaticism, right wing radio, TV hosts, and Trump Republicans who, though vaccinated themselves, encourage their adoring fan/victims to inject themselves with everything except the right stuff. Only one responsible political party is left: the Democrats; increasingly diverse and progressive. To govern, Progressive Democrats are, at some cost to long cherished goals, embracing Democrat moderates, and conservatives fleeing a GOP madhouse: a daunting, and only partially appreciated task; made precarious by living fossils (like sharks) from a chronically disloyal Confederacy of GOP hearts and minds in all three branches of federal, state and local governments.
A friend returned from Morocco recently where they are 70% vaccinated. North Dakota, with its pathetic 54% vaccination rate, had full hospital beds and burned-out staff. Unlike earlier in the pandemic, the North Dakota Health Department no longer prints the ages of those who have died from Covid. Why not? Are they hiding something, like the ages of younger victims? Hiding facts for fear of blowback is a major contributor to organizing lying, and the campaign of slander and libel against medical science due to political, and “religious” motives. Fear, conformity, and studied ignorance which graduates to stupidity also play their parts, but “The Art of Political Lying,” as outlined by Jonathan Swift in 1710, is the real culprit (“as the vilest writer has his readers, so the greatest liar has his believers”).
Now that the Republican Party has embraced reaction, mob violence, and nihilism that once gave us World Wars I and II, Communism, and Fascism, the Democratic Party thus represents the sole viable vehicle of responsible government and democracy in the American body politic; new “conservatives” as well as old “liberals.” This may be a bad thing for old school Republicans, sweating out the 2022 Primaries, but it is not necessarily a bad thing for democracy. Two thirds of Americans truly want responsible government; and we will get it, one way or another. My main reason for optimism is that the largest, most slandered group in history, women, is empowered here nowadays as never before. Since my male viewpoint, though positive towards women’s equality, might be suspect, I consulted my gender balanced KGB animal consortium.
High Plains Reader: Dear friends: A North Dakota female friend of mine had a bad experience with three men recently; one a cop, one a judge, and the other had rear ended her car with his pick-up truck, while she was at a full stop at a red light. The latter’s initial confession of guilt at the site soon changed covertly by the time the policeman had arrived; and changed overtly by the time he showed up, with counsel, in court. She didn’t have money to hire a lawyer, and figured, correctly, that the fine and rise in insurance premiums, was less than cost of legal counsel. “The principle of the thing” (especially for women and people of color) is usually only for those who have enough money to pay dollars for their principles. But she was struck by the mild fear and anguish in the policeman’s eyes, set in an ashen pale face, as he lied about what she, and he, knew to be true about her vehicle being legally stopped when struck from the rear. This cop failed to serve and protect both the truth and the public, but he could not hide his lyin’ eyes. I lack words to tell her why the cop did this, but I’m a guy, and white as well. I need your advice!
Ms. Recovering Republican Lap Dog: That’s easy. It’s less to do with the policeman’s uniform than with his gender. Men in her part of North Dakota, except outwardly, aren’t particular respectful of women. This attitude dominates the culture, as well as North Dakota politics.
Becky Badger: It’s not just North Dakota. Condescending, even violent, misogyny is alive and well in northern Illinois. Chicago, for example, is one of the most heavily vaccinated big cities in America. The sole hold out of anti-vaxxer sentiment in that part of the world is the Chicago Policeman’s Union. Their head is a white man; the Mayor of Chicago is a black woman.
Jim Crow XV: Chicago’s had black Mayors since 1983, but they were all men. Mayor Lori Lightfoot, in addition to being female, also campaigned as a reformer against a “Good Old Boy” system that earned her close to two thirds of the vote tally, white wards included. She beat another black woman who was, as far as Chicago voters were concerned, “one of the boys.”
Chicago Dog: From 1983 to 1987, Mayor Harold Washington, also a reformer, had raised the percentage of women in the city work force to 50%. Some became policewomen. One of them, interviewed in the 1990’s, explained that her relationships with her fellow male officers were quite good, with the exception of certain “strategically placed jerks.” There are still many such jerks in the U.S. The most strategically placed jerk of all, of course, was President Trump.
Madame Inspector Chen: Trump’s Presidency from January 20, 2017-January, 20, 2021, and treasonous insurrectionary leadership since then, has rallied all of the most reactionary forces in the country to produce the current low intensity civil war; increasingly local and especially vicious towards women and folks of color. Not all Lieutenants in this army of ignorance, arrogance and dogma are white men, but most of them are. They seek to destroy any and all progress towards equality for the sake of their illusions of superiority. That’s why it’s important to respect Republican Liz Cheney’s principled defense of “conservative” principles in defense of the U.S. Constitution, as well as Liz Warren’s “liberal” principles in defense of the same.
Mr. Swamp Fox: It’s also important to note Kyrsten Sinema’s Statewide Arizona constituency (purple); as well as Democrat Pramila Jayapal’s Seattle, WA District(blue) when considering their respective stances on Build Back Better negotiations. Getting elected is not just about principles, but also, garnering enough votes at election time, and enough monetary and media support to mount a successful campaign. If Senators Joe Manchin (D-WVA) and Sinema have to respect big funding sources, as well as small, it doesn’t matter what media say. Unlike Democrats in Blue States, weaning themselves away from full dependence on corporate donations, or lacking “star” status of Astronaut Mark Kelly(D-AZ), they are obliged to take their time to distinguish between conservative CEOs willing to accept change, and reactionary ones who care only about hanging on to past “power and glory” and other intangible illusions.
Lena: Joe Biden knows their pain, and explained it wisely at CNN’s October 21st Town Hall, under the fair minded guidance of Anderson Cooper. For those who cared to listen carefully, the public was being informed that: “Of course Manchin’s big bucks donors have skin in the game, just like his less well-heeled voting base, but, even though cynical pundits say and think that two, four, or six years is enough time to raise money and coddle constituents, few of them (except the wisest, like Claire McCaskill (D-MO) and David Jolly (R-FL), have ever done it where the Trump winds howl the loudest.” A real pro, Msnbc’s Lawrence O’Donnell, has been optimistic about the two holdouts, because he has worked as a Senate staffer, and “knows the territory.”
Señora Perro: You rarely ask for your fellow Legislator’s vote if it hurts them in their district. Manchin’s taking heat for Sinema, who’s new at this; but knows to talk with President Biden and Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Congresswoman Jayapal rather than “gotcha” journalists. They need to show that they are not owned by the fancy folks on either Coast, but they have agreed to substantive parts of the $1.75 Trillion reconciliation bill. That must suffice for now.
Paulette Poodle: Manchin gets something for his coal cronies, while the private sector kills off that industry. He also gets jobs in the U.S. for cement, steel and aluminum industries. Subsidies for wind/solar that Trump opposed are back in, but updated, French tested nuclear power is conspicuous by its absence; a serious omission that’s the fault of NIMBY politics in general.
Corporal Kangaroo: Perhaps, in mending wounded Franco-American relations with Emmanuel Macron over U.S. clumsiness in rejecting their Australia-bound nuclear submarine deal, Joe Biden can broker a deal for French nuclear energy experience to be imported to a nervous America for this incredibly planet friendly source of power. Vintage wine in new bottles.
Putin: Manchin and Sinema’s “little talk” with President Biden before he headed off to Italy and the Glasgow Climate Summit made it easier for Sinema to be “green” in more ways than one, and for West Virginia’s Joe Manchin to get counsel on how to find an electoral middle of the road, despite “tilting left” with Liz Warren and Pramila Jayapal. The truth is that the rich will not get soaked, which is a shame; but they will get a tad wet, and the social spending will be paid for; real progress away from the Reagan-Bush-Bush-Trump giveaways since 1980.
Greta Gopher: And the family oriented, climate change items in Biden’s Build Back Better Bill will still be intact, as Nancy Pelosi and Pramila Jayapal have persuaded the House Progressive Caucus to accept half a loaf in their favored Bill, now that Republicans are on the hook in the other bill for putting out real bread onto the infrastructure table. To be on the safe side and make sure that both bills pass both Chambers as agreed upon, Speaker Pelosi has the option of holding on to the Bi-Partisan Infrastructure Bill, once passed in the House, and not sending it over for President Biden to sign until Manchin and Sinema come through and the Reconciliation Bill makes it through the House and Senate. Anyone who doubts that she would do this has not been paying as close attention as have Pramila Jayapal, the Progressive Caucus, and Joe Biden.
Mr. Crying Wolf: Manchin’s fellow Democratic Senators don’t really care how he raises his money; or at least they shouldn’t. Begging is legal, necessary, even acceptable, in politics; and the other 48 Democratic Senators have their own local big bucks industries to suck up to. This includes Bernie Sanders (I-VT). It’s just that sucking up to Ben and Jerry’s doesn’t seem so bad to folks who used to depend upon coal as much as on ice cream, but now realize that coal is much worse for the health of the planet, than too much butter fat for the waist line.
Rasputin: The fact that Bernie has attacked Manchin in WV newspapers just helps Joe with his voters, as long as he doesn’t deep six the Build Back Better Bill altogether. He won’t. Manchin and Sinema are Democrats, not wannabe GOP. They also know they are not the real problem, TIME IS. At any moment a Colin Powell situation could overtake a Senator Feinstein (D-CA) or a Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and all hope for the Reconciliation Bill or Voting Rights Bill really will be lost down Moscow Mitch’s Senate toilet. That’s the hard reality, not what WAPO, NYT editorial boards and impatient TV pundits say it is.
Agatha Alligator: Meanwhile, moms who are worried sick about the macho morons in their communities spreading Covid to their children, as well as what will be left of the Build Back Better budget to get them the child care they need to go back to work, are organizing. In Arizona, they have been hounding Senator Sinema. In D.C. they are floating up to Joe Manchin’s “Almost Heaven” houseboat to explain the “hell” they are going through down on the “country roads” of West Virginia. We spotted a group of them near a D.C. graveyard, mourning reported and unreported parents and youth succumbing unnecessarily to Covid 19, and chanting:
A Dirge for Young Victims of the Deluded……………………………..Headless Horseman
We light these candles for the young who die
To please the ancient gods of pow’r, who now
Infest blind fools who follow, row by row
Reactionary con men: The Big Lie.
Republicans, so-called, as if that name
Had meaning for us folks who honor facts;
And scientific truth! We can’t relax
Our vigil or our fight. This is no game.
Reactionary mad men. Women too;
Who would dispense with rule of law; and dare
To spawn dictatorship; A way to end
Democracy’s proud dream for us and you.
Most know not what they do; nor do they care.
But Freedom’s light! That too we will defend!