Attacks on media are old news. They go back to Thomas Jefferson, who was arguably the most passionate freedom of the press champion among the Founders. Yet, even Jefferson criticized newspapers when they were used against him by his enemies. History is replete with examples. Abraham Lincoln was savaged by both Southern and Northern newspapers before and during the Civil War. He had little good to say about journalists. When CBS's Walter Cronkite turned against the Vietnam War, Lyndon Johnson famously said he'd lost middle America. He had.
Republicans who believe they have souls need to do some serious soul-searching after the political earthquake that jolted ruby-red Alabama last Tuesday. For the first time in 25 years, a Democrat, Doug Jones, won a U.S. Senate seat over a Republican candidate, disgraced judge and accused pedophile, Roy Moore. The repercussions for the Republican Party and the party's leader, Donald Trump, cannot be minimized. It was a slap in the chops heard across the nation. Jones is not just any southern Democrat. He's pro-choice in a pro-life Republican state.
WEST FAIRLEE, Vt. - I was charged with picking up the Thanksgiving turkey from a farm not far from my daughter's rural home in the hills east of Chelsea, Vt. She had made arrangements for a 20-pound, free-range, organic bird as part of her commitment to support local farmers. Fair enough, I thought, even if, as she warned, the turkey might cost "a little more" than the frozen versions on sale in area supermarkets. A little more, she said.
If Donald Trump yanks the U.S. out of the North American Free Trade Agreement, North Dakota, where Trump is irrationally popular, will be among the losers. Every responsible economist and trade analyst has come to the same conclusion. That includes statements from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, major farm organizations, and the National Association of Manufacturers. How is it that the president, who has no use for losers, would force North Dakota into the loser column? North Dakota! Where he is loved. Don't ask.
The experts who study aging say change is more difficult for older people, that change seems to accelerate as one ages, that resistance to change is a normal condition of growing old.
CHELSEA, Vt. — Vermont is Bernie Sanders country, but not all Vermonters are Bernie Sanders fans. The state is preposterously tilted Democrat (as preposterous as North Dakota lists Republican), but there still remains in the political culture an active remnant of Vermont’s conservative past. After all, this is the state of Republican icon, the late Sen. George Aiken. Only a few generations separate today’s bluest-of-blue Vermont from a long history of deepest red conservatism.
FARGO -- The routine whine from the most strident foes of President Barack Obama is that he is the most divisive president in history, that he is the “great divider.” I don’t think so. The president’s antagonists are as responsible, or more responsible, for the nation’s divisions than the president. Their strategy to undermine the president, no matter what the cost to the nation, is there for honest eyes to see.
FARGO — I’ve been reporting and commenting on North Dakota politics for more than 40 years. Trends have come and gone, but the most recent iteration of political strategy is the way potential candidates announce they are going to run, or not run. It’s become a silly game that is not-so-cleverly designed to manipulate media and stir interest among the political classes. Manipulate media? Oh, yes. Happens every day.
FARGO -- It’s a myth that America has always welcomed immigrants with open arms and big hearts. As the lunatics were taking over the debate about the U.S. responsibility toward Syrian refugees, I was reminded of my own family’s Ellis Island history. If there was a welcome mat out in the late 1890s when my grandparents-to-be got off the boat, it had more to do with securing cheap labor than with goodwill.
MEDORA — November flattens the hues of the North Dakota Badlands. Dry breezes and early season frosts bleach the color out of summer’s grasses, tall sagebrush and rock-clinging cactus. The low slant of fall sunlight mutes the red, yellow and black of scoria, clay and coal vein layers of wind- and water-sculpted buttes.