Items.

The headline for this blog does not do the job, but I can’t think of another that would fit.  Suffice: there is plenty going on, and more to come.  While you’re hopefully enjoying summer, take some time to get really engaged in the future of our society.  Several items follow which might be of interest and/or cause some personal reflection.  Personally, I will be out of state July 5-8.

PRE-NOTE: Just announced this afternoon a Jan. 6 Hearing tomorrow (Tuesday June 28) at noon Central time.  This was not in the regular schedule.

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There have been two  recent posts I hope you visit and at least note:

  1.  Post 5th January 6 hearing here, including several comments from readers added on Jan. 26.
  2.  Comments re Roe v Wade decision here.

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I have read two new books this summer which I believe deserve your time, regardless of where you live.

3.  Essays on the Future of North Dakota: The Language of Cottonwoods by Clay Jenkinson.

4. Frances Anne Hopkins, Hudson’s Bay Company wife, Voyageur’s Artist by Mary Ellen Weller.

Essays on the Future of North Dakota: If you have roots in North Dakota, or know someone who has, the Clay Jenkinson book is well worth your/their time, and excellent background for bookclub kind of discussion.  The book is near 400 pages and the author is North Dakotan.  The book is meant as food for discussion.  It is readily available through many sources.

Michael Jacobs Forward gives a good introduction to the book: Jenkinson Language of Cottonwoods

Frances Anne Hopkins….Voyageur’s Artist: Mary Ellen Weller has done a masterful biography on the life of an essentially unknown woman artist whose art has been very well known for years.  Witness the cover of the definitive book on the Voyageurs.  It is the work of Frances Anne Hopkins.

Frances Ann Hopkins art.

Mary Ellen’s work is the culmination of a 30 year project.  As she describes it, 30 years ago she was at the Minnesota Historical Society to find some art for her cabin up north.   She purchased several Hopkins prints that were being sold as posters.  Mary Ellen asked about the artist, and no information was available.  She researched at the local library, and there was no biography available.  Thus began her quest to fill in the life story of this wife of a Hudson’s Bay Company official who spent about 10 years in Montreal in the mid-1800s, actually after the Voyageur era.  But the Voyageurs and their area caught Ms Hopkins, and the rest if history, and very interesting history it is.

I told Mary Ellen, who’s a colleague and friend, that I’m an unlikely fan of art.  In college, Art Appreciation earned me a “D”.  Of course, kids grow up, and I did, but nonetheless, it took a little while to get into the book, and then I was all in.

Mary Ellen, a retired teacher of French at high school and college level, has done an extraordinarily thorough research of her subject who comes to life in the book.

I think the book would be a good addition to any gift shop at any art museum or bookstore, and I wish Mary Ellen the greatest success.

5.  In Minnesota, Primary election voting is now open.  The actual Election Day is August 9.  There are important issues in this election.  More information here.  Click on the box “What’s on my ballot?” if not certain of issues in your area.

 

Roe v. Wade

Yesterday’s decision by the Supreme Court is now history.

Personally, I have been on record about a woman’s right to choose for many years.  It is based on personal experience in 1965.  Use the search word “abortion” if interested in more at this blog site.

In “Death Wish” on June 8, I made my prediction: “The so-called ‘life’ constituency is in the 50th year of Roe v. Wade and they want it gone, and they think they’ll succeed.  In the long run, their campaign has already failed.  Not everybody, not even a majority, supports getting rid of the protections for women’s rights given through Roe v Wade.  They will never rid the world of abortion, in fact they might increase it, albeit more dangerously.  Whatever the ultimate words, the ruling will be analyzed endlessly.  It is expected probably the end of June.”

I have three observations, in an attempt to contribute constructively to this conversation. 

First, within the last month a situation has  come up within my own general sphere of notice, which seems very pertinent to the issue of Choice.  Because it is a private matter I have to be very circumspect, and decline to fill in many blanks.  You can fill in the blanks.

A young woman we know is pregnant, by choice, “out of wedlock”  as the saying goes.  She is adult, over 21.  This was with the agreement of the father-to-be.  They apparently agreed to co-parent the child, who has recently been determined to be a girl.  Most recently, the male has changed his mind.  There is no talk of abortion, but you can imagine how the issue plays out in the mother-to-be’s constellation.

All I can envision is an extremely rough road ahead, especially for the to-come baby.  Where will the support system be, particularly from the sanctity of life crowd, when push inevitably will come to shove?

I could add lots of pieces, but choose not to.  This is not going to be a simple deal, for anyone.

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Second, I have a bit of advice to those in my constituency, which is the “woman’s right to choose” group, and I pose an example from my own career.

Given: Roe v. Wade is a game perceived as one side won v. the other side lost.

Years ago – it was 1974 – a group of which I was Executive Director was challenged by a competing group which was  smaller, but very aggressive.  At stake was the right to represent well over 1,000 employees in a collective bargaining state.  The employees were spread about in numerous building units, basically isolated from each other.

As the majority, responsible for outcomes, we were vulnerable, and the minority used all of the tactics available at the time to amplify our vulnerabilities.

Each piece of paper that came from them, we answered.  This simply resulted in the next piece of paper on another issue.  We were constantly put on the defensive.

One day came the piece of paper that figuratively “broke the camel’s back”.  It was the last straw….

Somebody – possibly it was me, though I don’t recall that – decided enough was enough, and at that instant we decided to go on offense, rather than stay on the defensive.

Sure, we weren’t perfect – the grass could be shown to be greener, comparing us with some other place.  We were accountable, but given the local circumstances we had always represented the people well…and they knew it.

Not too long after that came the actual election.

It was a landslide, over 60% in our favor, if I recall.  It surprised us; it surprised our competitor even more.  The people had spoken.

My advice to the Freedom of Choice crowd: go, and stay, on offense, however you define the term.  You have the high ground, as viewed by the massive majority of your colleague Americans.

It will be a lot of work, but you’re up to it.

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Finally, don’t lose perspective.

At the moment, the extreme Pro-Life faction appears to have won.  Yesterday’s win can be a pyrrhic victory for them.  I always think of how the successful campaign to make booze illegal failed, from the beginning of its legal success.  Yes, a different issue, different time, but the same kind of problem.

Best I know, the pure pro-life had more public support in the beginning they have now.  To “win” required polarization – dividing us into tribes, where for one side to win, the other had to lose.  Theirs was a take-no-prisoners approach.  No compromise.  You won’t hear it from them, but now they’re terrified.  Why else would they move to make it harder for the other side to vote, as they’ve successfully moved in any state where they’re politically in charge?

My church, the Catholic Church, is probably a good example of the quandary.  (Four of the five Justices who threw out Roe v Wade are Catholics.) In the years of this battle, in which the Catholic hierarchy has been at the forefront, the actual church membership has been divided in opinion, and the Church has lost many, both in terms of members and support.  None of this it would admit, but there are fewer in the pews, and probably less in the collection plate.  For the time being, the slack can be taken by wealthy conservatives, but that doesn’t last.

I see this, first hand.  I’ll be in church tomorrow morning.  I see it each time I go.

I am pro-choice, and I respect life deeply.  I think I am typical among those I know who are similarly pro-choice.

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In the short and long term it is unproductive to everyone to lurch from one side winning, to the other – it just becomes a constant losing narrative for both.

In the short term, regardless of your partisan preference, there is probably no choice other than to work to elect the more moderate people to office at all levels.  To do this, not only do you have to vote, but to vote for the most moderate candidate.  It is probably the only way to get back some equilibrium.  Absent that, we will all have problems ongoing.  We will all lose.

POSTNOTE: At Basilica on Sunday there was not one word about the Supreme Court ruling.  Of course, the ruling was only two days earlier.  I expect more in the Diocesan newspaper (not on-line) about the official church spin.  I get the newspaper, and when it comes, I’ll pdf the article and post it here.  This may be as soon as Wednesday.

 

Jan. 6 Hearings 4, 5 and 6

UPDATE on June 28 hearing in the comments section.  Included below the Heather Cox Richardson Letters from an American for June 28.  Richardson is ideal for reading every day, if interested in public affairs.

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Hearings 4 on June 21, 5 on June 23, and 6 on June 28  were especially powerful.  As with the others, I watched them in their entirety.

I expect to not publicize this post until June 26, specifically related to the Porter item, below.

Here are excellent summaries of June 21: Heather Cox Richardson’s Letters from an American for June 21; Digby’s Hullabaloo for June 22 (this includes several posts).       Here is an additional comment: Lady Ruby

For June 23, also Heather Cox Richardson, for June 23.

For June 28, also Heather Cox Richardson, for June 28.

These hearings, all of them, including those in coming weeks, are the hard evidence of the insanity we’ve had to live through in recent years.  They are ignored at our individual peril.

I have additional opinions, too, but will save them for a bit later.

In the interim: June 21, before the Hearing, I saw an e-mail from a reader who went to the same college as I, at the same time in history.  He forwarded a forward by a John Porter, and I’d like to share it with you, and invite your personal comments to the writing, which is overtly political.

The forward is here: Porter June 2022.  The hi-liting is mine.  At this moment, I have made no effort to find out who Porter is, etc.  I’m sharing it exactly as received.

I’d be delighted to hear your thoughts, which I can share as comments here.  (I have already passed it along to a number of regular readers who seem to have an interest in political matters, thus there will be several comments already received included here.  I will add these comments on June 26.)

POSTNOTE Sunday, afternoon June 26, 2022

Regarding the “John Porter” letter referenced above: June 23, I sent the above to a number of friends who I thought would be interested, and several responded (see below, and at end of the post).  I made an effort to find out who “John Porter” is – it’s a common name, and it’s unwise to accept at face value anything attributed to anybody.  There were some possibilities, but I couldn’t say for certain who the writer really is.  What I can say for certain is the language that is used in the letter is language I’ve seen in various forms, always from people who pretty obviously have been taught to despise the very word “democrat” and its variations, and cherish the opposing word “republic”.  The words are all that is important.  Whether based on fact or fiction is of no relevance.   Examples abound: Just yesterday the Governor of Mississippi praised the recent Supreme Court decision in behalf of the “God-fearing” people of his state; on the same day I received the Porter letter, the Secretary of State of Arizona, at the 4th hearing on Jan. 6, talked about his church’s belief that the Constitution is divinely inspired.  In his case, thankfully, the Secretary of State supported the interpretation of the Constitution about elections.  And I could go on and on.

Here, with thanks, are the other opinions offered on Porter and the issues raised.

from Joyce: This is about 3 1/2 minutes long, and well worth watching; it is an excellent response to those 6 annoying words, “we’re a republic, not a democracy”. Of course we’re a democracy.

from Peter: My reading of Mr. Porter’s statement is: he’s beating a long-dead horse.

“Wilderness continent” was never the case, just as it was never the case in Palestine when it was called “a land without people for a people without land.”

An “economic common market” was indeed the plan. Monarchy was already obsolete as far as the colonists were concerned. They wanted to pursue conquest and and slavery on their own and keep the profits.

It was a long time before the Bill of Rights applied to anybody other than the white landlords. It still does not extend to everyone, and business considerations determine individual rights for huge chunks of the population.

The nuances of language, “Republic,” “Democracy,” “Socialism,” etc. may once have had some meaning. But the present structure of our government is Fascism: government is at the mercy of corporate investment. If any legislator is told an idea will “send jobs overseas,” that idea will go no further. This is called “Capital Strike” (see “Levers of Power”)

This explains why no president or justice or legislator ever considers moving against the colossal war machine that serves the arms, drugs, and energy industries (today’s version of the Triangular Trade system).

The public has been short-changed as to health care, housing, education, and employment, to the point of serious food insecurity at unprecedented scale. We’re starving and freezing in front of our screens, which are blaming this on Russia and China. Momentum in this awful direction is still accelerating. Fixing the public misperception of democracy will make no difference whatsoever.

What will make a difference? This is a deep question with complex implications. For one thing our minds are very different today, now that communications networks have become an attention-extraction industry in themselves. But this was not possible without connecting human beings to each other, while ensnaring us in the behavioral data-mining system.

This enormous expansion of human relationships, across continents and even language barriers, especially with the advent of cheap videoconferencing software, has brought a paradigm change so profound, it’s as if we had driven the car into the canal. We’re stepping on the brakes at this point, while the water rises up the windows, but we may catch on quickly to a new way of being in this new world. Maybe we will return to our real relationship to the biosphere we’re currently destroying forever.

The boundaries of community have exploded, and secrecy (never mind privacy) is about to disappear altogether. We are all about to be rendered naked for all practical purposes.

If humanity is going to survive, the change is already well underway, and nobody alive can possibly comprehend it, because it is not an extension of anything that ever happened before.

One thing is certain. Congress, the Judiciary, and the Executive in their present form have been dysfunctional and obsolete for years. We have already moved on.

from Fred: Good to see James Reed’s [below] studied reaction to this fallacious drivel. I would add that the founding fathers were not in fear of the terrors of socialism and the mob when they created the Constitution. Monarchs, as they well knew, had pretty tight reign in Europe. Socialism didn’t really gather steam until the French Revolution broke out in 1789. French patriots overthrew their ruler, wrote a Constitution and established the nation’s First Republic. American leaders, at least the landed gentry, might have been pretty nervous over the later Reign of Terror, but they had already agreed on a Constitution.

 French lost their Republic to Napoleon. The flame of freedom flared into mid-1800s revolutions against European monarchies. Those uprisings didn’t work out, but the US got more than a few new immigrants and some revolutionaries after the failure to overthrow monarchs.
And the French eventually got rid of Napoleon and Second and Third Republics came along. Hitler finished off the Third Republic, then came the Fourth Republic (post-WW2 govt.) and today’s Fifth. The French are big on being part of a Republic. All this proves, through undeniable syllogistic logic and to Mr. Porter’s joy, that US and French have exactly the same form of government.
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from Jeff: The gun decision will be probably overcome in states that are supportive of sound gun safety by new legislation defining places that concealed guns are not allowed.

The big news of course is the overturning of Roe v Wade.  Interestingly TFG thinks that this decision will be bad for Republicans in Swing and Purple states as suburban women will rebel against Republican candidates… you might see this as well in statewide places like Montana, Alaska, and Kansas where personal independence is a big deal….the hard red states are mostly secure.
The danger in this remains the whittling away of the 14th Amendment…though Alito’s majority opinion says this only applies to abortion,  Clarence Thomas’ concurring opinion clearly draws a direct line to allowing states to set their own rules on same sex relationships and marriages, contraception, and by extension I dont see how a state couldn’t logically ban interracial marriage if it wanted to…it isn’t any different in theory as these are all personal privacy issues.
So on Thursday the same majority took away the rights of states to some extent to make their own rules on gun safety, whereas on Friday it returned the right to discriminate against women’s control of their own bodies back to the states.  Clarence Thomas may be black ,but this is another step in the white patriarchy dominionist movement.
It will be interesting to see how the Catholic Church in America reacts… I mean the institutional church. Will this make the more conservative bishops more emboldened to deny communion to politicians and public figures who support choice in their states?
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from Norm: I scanned Porter’s diatribe against representative democracy and have no interest in commenting beyond saying that is disappointing and a bit disillusioning to read that tripe from a fellow American.

Clearly, he agrees with the man child who would be king in thinking that American should be governed by an authoritarian cabal of some sort no doubt to make sure that “those” people with “those ideas” about self-government are not in charge and/ordo not have any say in how the government is run.

Porter sort of meets the description of some of the Proud Boys and others made by someone regarding the January 6th attempted coup hearings That is, that they are just little boys who cannot get girls!

Not worth my time to comment any further!

Again, knowing that thanks to the man child who would be king, too many people seem to agree with that kind of thinking and are ready and willing to give up on democracy!

Very disillusioning!

from Dick: The above comments were individually and independently made.  Additionally I had commented back to the person who forwarded the Porter piece to me in the first place.  I appreciate receiving the Porter piece.  It is very much the same as many other forwards I used to receive (not so much any more).  “Facts” were often not facts at all, just an exercise of someone’s creative writing.

I will correctly be identified as an active Democrat, “moderate, pragmatic” as I self-identify.  Everyone who knows me well, especially politically, [knows] that my political hero and indeed mentor was lifelong Republican and former Governor of Minnesota.  He died a dozen years ago, and he would absolutely be horrified by the current state of affairs in what passes for todays Republican Party.  I knew him well.  Todays Republicans are not Republican in any historical sense.
The words in Porter’s column were very obvious: Republicans are the good guys, men, founders of the Republic, God-fearing….  Democrats most relate to [are equated with] socialists, mobs, even Communist and Marxist, mobocracy.  You can read it in his column.  Democrat, symbolized by the Clintons, is the government mob.
I know lots of Democrats for lots of years.   If the labelling were not so horrible, it would be funny.  I know this myth has been cultivated for years, and believed, even if ridiculous.
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POSTNOTE June 28, 2022:  I watched the two hours today.  The only witness was Cassidy Hutchinson, a young but obviously highly competent and loyal republican staff member who, in the time period of Jan. 6 and before, was officed in the West Wing near the Oval Office and the office of Mark Meadows.
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Jim Klein (comment below) is critical of the made-for-tv aspect of these hearings.  I disagree.  For one thing, what is being established by the hearings themselves is a permanent public record which will last far beyond the hearings themselves, and regardless of what’s done or not done by the Department of Justice.  More importantly, the hearings are specifically designed to attract and hold the interest of the public who, in these times, is addicted to TV programs and communication by tweet.  In my opinion, the format, etc., is designed for todays audience.  It would not have been available in the 1970s, and not understood by the then-public.

 

Father’s Day

Today is Father’s Day.  I also want to recognize and acknowledge Pride Month, which has been the month of June; and Juneteenth, observed today, with a national holiday celebrated many places tomorrow.  Check the internet for more details.

I decided, this morning, to take a look at my trusty, unabridged, 1979 Webster’s for a definition of Father.

Here is the entire page: Father defined.  Below is the first (by no means only)  definition on the page:

Doubtless, the most recent dictionary would reveal changes; doubtless, also, there are numerous definitions for other similar categories for all of us who make up the human race.

Happy Father’s Day to everyone, regardless….

Personally, I have 58 years experience as a biological father.  I would not single myself out as unique, if I simply said the road of fatherhood is not always straight, smooth, sunshiny.  It’s not predictable.  Ditto for everyone else.

Today has been a good day, I hope as well for you.

Check out your own dictionary,  on Father and other related words, and give some thoughts to how you fit into the picture.

All very best wishes today and always.

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POSTNOTE:  There have been a few other recent posts

6-13-22: Briefly, on the June 13 and 17 Jan. 6 Hearings, which I watched in their entirety.   I believe the next one is June 21.

6-14-22:  Flag Day, with a specific recommendation on a newly published book, relevant for everyone, but especially so for those with N. Dakota roots of any sort.

6-18-22: Communicating, and not…1905, 197os and today.

Communicating

We take instant and universal communications for granted.

This past week – June 17 – marked the 50th anniversary of the Watergate break-in, June 17 1972, which led, ultimately, to the resignation, and almost immediately the pardon, of President Richard M. Nixon by successor President Gerald Ford in August, 1974.  A citizen today would have to be 65 or older to likely have any direct recollection of the implications of the aftermath of Watergate.  It was a crazy time.

In my recollection, there were, at the time, four television channels: CBS, NBC, ABC and fledgling PBS.  There was radio and newspaper, of course, but absolutely none of the ubiquitous other means to access information which are available today.

Back then, the hearings were carried live.  PBS recorded and played them back in the evening, so access in 1972 was limited.

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Today, access is unlimited, 24 hours a day, everywhere.  But, who cares?  The answer should be obvious: everyone.  But we don’t need to…and we don’t….

So, the crucial aspect of communication is not its availability, but who will listen, and what they will listen to.  On this listening (or lack thereof) rests the future of our civil society.

Have you watched the Jan. 6 hearings so far?  If not, why not?  The next one is June 21.

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In 50 years, communication has changed, dramatically.

Some years ago I had an unexpected opportunity to take a peak into past communication in this country of ours, in 1905-06.  What follows is a very brief look back – sort of a base line for today.

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In 2000 the Busch family – my mother’s – undertook a major project: to de-construct the North Dakota farm home built by newlyweds Ferd and Rosa (Berning) Busch shortly after their marriage Feb. 28, 1905.

In the process, we found an empty syrup can in which was a bundle of about 100 letters sent to the farm in the first year of 1905-06.  They were all fascinating, and I later assembled them into a 479 page book of living history from that single year.

At page 340 is part of a letter from Bertha, then 16, to her sister, my Grandma Rosa, 21, not yet a Mom:

 

 

Text I wish to emphasize: “…I could hardly carry all the mail got 3 letters and about 8 papers….”

Compare your own mail from most recent days.  The papers Bertha references were likely in English and in German, local weekly and area (Dubuque or Galena), very likely some church related, and farm, catalogs, etc.  From personal witness years later, what was received at a farm postbox was read thoroughly.  Such publications were windows to the outside world.

Ferd and Rosa would self-identify as members of a large family living on a small farm, Rosa’s father was from German peasant roots.  She and her siblings were all obviously literate.  Other letters and other family memorabilia would indicate that they were comfortable, even literate, in German from the old country.  Their neighborhood, in rural Dubuque in the southwest corner of Wisconsin’s Grant County, was largely similarly rooted.

Ferd’s father was obviously very well educated, in Germany, with a very precise hand.

The other parents of both Fred and Rosa seemed less comfortable with writing, but they did occasionally write something.  The letters largely came from the kids of Rosa and Ferd’s generation.

Means of communicating in 1905-06 were very primitive compared to today.  Sometime that first year came notice of the first phone call in the Wisconsin farm neighborhood (“party line” phone didn’t reach Grandma and Grandpa until 1912, and didn’t change much for many years).  Phone was not for casual conversation.

There was telegraph, if you went to the depot, and trains were efficient in delivering the mail.  If there was an emergency, you found out quite quickly, but certainly not instantly.

And of course you had the tried and true: you actually had to talk to people face to face, including those you didn’t like, and you saw them in person – at church, in stores, at meetings and dances, etc.  They – all of them – were fall back for everyone else, and everyone knew this.

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Today, everything is so convenient.  Anyone and everyone can self-isolate, and often we do.  But an individual, a town, a county, a state, a nation, a world cannot survive in isolation.

The sooner we figure this out, the better.

Flag Day

Today is Flag Day.

The flag I choose to represent this day was at Oltman Middle School in Cottage Grove MN on May 27, 2022.  It is at half-staff. Three days earlier, on May 24, 19 people, 17 Fourth graders and two teachers, had been slaughtered at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde TX.

Also, I choose this day a photo of a very old poster print found in the basement of my ancestral farm in ND some years ago.  It is of all of the U.S. Presidents to then-most recent, Theodore Roosevelt, elected in 1904.  (He is standing at the right front; Abraham Lincoln frames the group at the left). Teddy Roosevelt was 41 years old, and vice-president, when he became President after the assassination of William McKinley in 1901.  My grandparents purchased their new farm at the end of 1904 and occupied in the spring of 1905.   That ragged ancient print carries its own story.

May 27, 2022

Just days ago I ordered a new book, recommended to me by my long-time friend in Fargo ND, and I recommend it sight unseen.

It is “The Language of Cottonwoods:Essays on the Future of North Dakota” by ND historian Clay Jenkinson.   Though this book is very recent, you will see a number of reviews already.  It is apparently thought provoking, and not only for North Dakotans.

(You may not recognize Jenkinson’s name, but if you’ve seen any of Ken Burns works, Clay has appeared  in several as one of the narrator’s.  And he was one of the narrators on the recent History Channel series on Theodore Roosevelt.)  Here is more about Jenkinson.

The U.S. presidents and the U.S. Capitol, 1905. All Presidents shown up to and including Theodore Roosevelt. Found in the basement of the North Dakota farmhouse of my grandparents, who came to North Dakota in 1905.

Life is complicated these days.  Whatever your particular bias, the United States of America is every single one of us, equally, who share the responsibility for our present and for our future.

We are not lone rangers.  We are in this, together.

An early 1900s postcard from the Busch farm near Berlin ND

POSTNOTE: Clay Jenkinson’s book title including the word “Cottonwood” immediately brought back memories of something I wrote 17 years ago about a ND Cottonwood.  You can access it here, click at the link below the photo of the tree, then on the Fall selection.  I have not yet read his volume, so don’t know if his philosophy and mine intersect, and if so, how.

 

Leadership

The Monday hearing of the House Select Committee of Jan. 6 begins soon, and I have a few preliminary comments.

First, I will use this post as the gathering point for any comments submitted, through the final public hearing of this committee which is June 23.  The previous post on this topic is here.

9:04 a.m. CDT, June 13: So the live hearing is delayed; the key witness has an emergency, his wife has gone into labor…the real world enters the virtual.  I’ll publish at this point.  More later.

COMMENTS WELCOME, any time.

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11:58 a.m. June 13:  Today’s Hearing finally began at 9:47 and adjourned at 11:52 a.m. CDT.  Like before, riveting.  Time very well spent.

These Hearings remain: June 15, 16, 21, and 23

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4:30 p.m. June 13: Of course, I have no more knowledge of how the Select Committee has structured the content of the remaining four hearings, but my guess is the identified offenders, especially #45, and their advisors, are very nervous – though they would never admit such fear.

The committee has had a year and a half and has access to an immense amount of data, plus witness testimony, from which to choose.

All I have is the opportunity to guess: each upcoming day will be like tightening a vise.  The higher up the target, the more direct the evidence associated with him or her.  It will be evidence he or she will not like in view….

Separately, I did watch part two of the CNN special on Nixon’s fall Sunday night.  It was old news, but especially pertinent now.  The folly of lust for Power was a main theme, as old as history.

As a ‘bonus’, preceding part two was a special on Alex Jones.  Chilling.

2:00 p.m. June 15: This afternoon I took a trip to the post office, and enroute pass by the elementary school attended by one of my grandkids grades 1-5.  (He’s near 23, so this was awhile ago.)

Nonetheless, it was jarring to see a parking lot full of police vehicles and policeman in SWAT gear, and one of those immense combat vehicles.   No, it was no school incident – school is out for the summer.  But it was obvious that these folks were there for area police training, and the choice of place was not random – it was a school.

I drove by there twice more.  There was no good vantage point for a photo; it was raining and I wouldn’t have parked and walk in anyway.  But visualize your own neighborhood school and something similar going on.  It’s come to this in this country: School is a risky place.

10:30 a.m. June 17:  I watched the entire hearing on June 16; the previous days scheduled hearing was postponed.  The next hearing is not officially scheduled, but may be June 21.  The place to check is here.

Every citizen should watch these hearings.  They put “meat on the bones” of the close call with disaster this nation experienced on January 6, 2021, and will experience again, if January 6 was just a trial run.

For me, Michael Luttig, a highly respected apparently very conservative judge, frequently on the short list for Supreme Court, was most riveting, yesterday.

He was very careful in his comments, knowing this was public testimony, and speaking as a judge.  January 6, played out to the desired final conclusion, he said, “would immediately have been plunged into what would have been tantamount to a revolution within a paralyzing constitutional crisis.”    [Postnote June 19: Heather Cox Richardson’s Letters from an American for June 18 is well worth your time today.  Here it is.]

A “foundational truth” of our country is “the Rule of Law”, he said.

For many years I have been part of an organization, now called Citizens for Global Solutions, which has long enshrined the Rule of Law as Judge Luttig suggested.

For our whole history, this has basically worked within our diverse society, and not without occasional very serious problems, which ultimately we worked out (as the Civil War, to name just one such occasion).

In my opinion, what differed in the administration which attempted to pull off January 6 and cancel a free election, was to elevate to the absurd an extreme principal: those who make the rules, rule the Law.   The pretty obvious effort, continuing, was to control the law-making process, and thence the judiciary which interprets the laws made.

2017-21 was the first administration in our history which decreed that only the winners opinion mattered.

There is more.  For someone wanting a little bit more information on the rule of Law, I offer a booklet, published in 1959, by the American Bar Association, as an adjunct to Law Day, first proclaimed in 1958, by President Eisenhower.  The 50 pages are worth your time.  (The 50 pages are in four parts, only because my scanner was misbehaving….)

Law Day Am Bar Assoc 1959; Law Day (2) Am Bar Assoc 1959; Law Day (3) Am Bar Assoc 1959; Law Day (4) Am Bar Assoc 1959

Postnote June 20: This from the Weekly Sift is worth your time.

 

 

Osmo Vanska

PRENOTE: I did watch the entire Jan. 6 Committee report on June 9, and plan to watch the remainder beginning Monday 6/13 10 a.m EDT (9 Central) on the Committees YouTube Channel, with a followup column likely the same day.  Your comments are solicited.  The Committee Home Page is here. Remaining hearings Jan 15, 16, 21 and 23 schedule see linked home page for detail, though they will all likely be at same time as the 13th.

See additional note at the end of this post.

Osmo Vanska, the Man of the Hour with the flowers, Orchestra Hall, Minneapolis Jun 10, 2022

Osmo  Vanska: Friday night we were part of a packed house at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis for the final concert in the Minnesota career of Osmo Vonska, leaving for his next gig in Seoul, Korea.  His career here began in 2003, and ended triumphantly with a 80 minute performance of Mahler’s 8th Symphony, dubbed The Symphony of a Thousand.

The evening was filmed, and we were told that it will aired on-line probably in a few weeks, so anyone will be able to watch it anywhere.  I’ll let you know if/when I know more.  Doubtless the information will be on the Minnesota Orchestra website.

Here’s how the Maestro and the Symphony were described in the evening playbill: Vonska:Mahler June 20, 2022.

Part of Orchestra and Chorus June 10, 2022

Personally, we’ve been part of the Orchestra family for many years, preceding Osmo Vonska’s first appearance with the Orchestra in 2000.  We do the short season of six concerts with perhaps two or three others each year, so we’ve seen our share of the programming by this remarkable world-class orchestra.

Probably the most memorable period for this old Union guy was a very long period when a labor dispute resulted in a lock-out of the Orchestra by management.  Mention of this is in Michael Anthony’s description on pages 5 and 5A of the attachment linked above the photo.  Rarely have I seen labor solidarity more evident than I witnessed with the men and women in the band, so to speak.  They were examples to all of us.  It was a hard, very long, slog of well over a year.  Ultimately, sanity prevailed, and the Musicians Union survived.

At a crucial point, Vanska, he, the most crucial part of Orchestra management, resigned his position, and in other ways supported the union.  This was by no means a routine move.  He laid his career on the line.

Ultimately, as there always need to be in such matters, there was a settlement.  People like ourselves – the audience – were also crucial participants in many ways at numerous times.

Settlement reached, all got together again, filling their respective roles professionally and immediately.  Then came Covid-19 and another chapter….  I could tell more stories.

Vanska richly deserves his accolades, and his Orchestra showed their affection for him on Friday night.

My personal thank you note:

The Masks: Most any performer will tell you that it is the audience who brings the energy to his or her performance.  No difference, a world class Orchestra, here augmented by well known professional choirs in front of a packed house.  The in-person crowd is an integral part of the performance.

Performing in an empty house for even a large virtual audience is not the same as actually having people there, who you can see and sense.

Now, look at the photo emphasizing the conductor.  The maestro and all the musicians are wearing masks.  Leading by example.

In my area, I saw only one person electing not to wear a mask – just a normal looking young man.

Yes, the dress for the evening included masks. We’re still in the early post-Pandemic phase of recovery.  Everyone was asked to wear them.  I noticed the choral group members did as well.  Of course, it’s sort of hard for the horn players to play their parts, masked, so there were exceptions, but nonetheless it was impressive.

Personally, I nearly passed on attending.  Early in the week I was visited with a bad head cold.  I was miserable.  Enough of the symptoms fit Covid-19, which nowadays manifests in different ways, and last weekend we’d been at a graduation party where my friend, Grandpa of the graduate, with lots of pre-existing conditions and all the shots taken, told me he’d had a recent bout with the Covid and it was no fun.

So, I felt a little guilty about going to the walk-in clinic for a once over for what I felt was probably just a common cold.

But I did.

The medical folks were their usual polite selves.  My vitals were fine.  The physician authorized the test, did the swabs, and home I went.  A few hours before the concert the test results came back: negative.  I decided to go; no coughing or other incidentals of the cold, which seemed to be (and is) dissipating.

Personally, I’d have enjoyed the evening more, maskless, but that doesn’t make me unique.  We remain in challenging times.

All things considered I’d like to see this all go away, but I also sense that my general and usual universe – the people I see each day – seem to have a general sense of solidarity and cooperative spirit.

Maybe there’s a little better tone all around….

POSTNOTE:  This is summer, and the next few weeks there’ll be potluck, including two possible short trips away.

I do plan two or three posts on my usual schedule of one or two a week, but I likely won’t publicize them in the usual way.  The first will probably be after Monday, June 13 public hearing of the Jan. 6 Committee.

Simply check in once in awhile, if you’re interested.

Have a good summer.

COMMENTS (more at end of post):

from Judy: Enjoy your time away.  Thank you for the reminder about the ORCHESTRA…Peace to you.

from Christina: Enjoyed this, Dick!  Thanks much.

from Judy: I went [Saturday] nite and it was equally as thrilling.  My experience was similiar  to yours, most masking up around me as well as those on stage.  He has done so much for the community.

from Steve: Loved your personal notes and review, Dick. You’re right about the quality of this orchestra and their character during the union negotiations. Looking forward to what’s next for this group.

from Harry: Right on, Dick!

 

Death Wish?

POSTNOTE JUNE 8:  Latest update on televised hearings: “The hearings will be broadcast on C-SPAN, ABC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, NBC, PBS, and the Fox Business Channel and streamed on the YouTube channel of the House Select Committee on June 9, 13, 15, 16, 21, and 23.”  Heather Cox Richardson, Letters from an American, June 8, 2022

*

I write this on Wednesday, June 8, and will publish this afternoon.  The public hearing of the House Select Committee to Investigate the Jan. 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol begins during prime time on Thursday, June 9.  CBS, NBC, ABC, PBS, CNN and MSNBC will carry the public hearing live.

The first three predictions relating to “Supremes and January 6 Committee” were filed on June 4 and 5.  Check back to the originating post to read them.

Personal opinion: These are deadly serious matters, all of them, in a country that is literally in Civil War.   We know how that last Civil War turned out…why do we repeat futility?

Sometimes I wonder if we’re in a war within our own country, that is slowly killing us all, in many ways.  Are we committing national suicide?

A great deal is happening in coming days, starting with the prime time report to all of us on the continuing findings of the Congressional Committee on January 6, continuing with other crucial situations which require our attention and action as citizens.

Everything ‘public’  – our lives – revolves around Law in one way or another.  Most in Congress and Senate are well versed in law and great numbers are lawyers themselves.  This is far more than the refrain from someone angry: “sue ’em”.  The practice of Law to ascertain truth is careful, methodical and slow.

Then there’s the matter of media, and the source of information people rely on to make decisions.  Too often, truth has been a casualty, sacrificed on the altar of ‘free speech’.  How can we survive in an environment of so-called “alternative reality”? We really can’t.

The general issues, very briefly:

Jan 6 Congressional Committee:  there are two legs to this.  The main function of the Congressional committee, in my opinion, will be to establish a permanent and public record of  sworn testimony and evidence of who, what and when.   The proceedings will live permanently beyond the life of the Committee.

The Department of Justice deliberations are of necessity slow and methodical.  There will be no public report, other than whatever indictments might be issued down the road.

The Supreme Court ruling on Roe v Wade and related.  I didn’t read the leaked Draft .  What I’ve heard, it sounds like a typical draft being shared around for review and comment by those who ultimately will sign it.  I have no idea what the final decision will be.

The so-called ‘life’ constituency is in the 50th year of Roe v. Wade and they want it gone, and they think they’ll succeed.  In the long run, their campaign has already failed.  Not everybody, not even a majority, supports getting rid of the protections for women’s rights given through Roe v Wade.  They will never rid the world of abortion, in fact they might increase it, albeit more dangerously.  Whatever the ultimate words, the ruling will be analyzed endlessly.  It is expected probably the end of June.

Uvalde and Guns:  I have no idea what will float to the surface in the next days and months.  Personally, I have never owned a gun; there is no human right to wander in public with a military weapon designed specifically to kill people.  Why, in our country alone, is this insanity allowed to continue under the pretext of “freedom”.

Ukraine:  I wish there were a way to peace there, but when Putin has his feet in cement, and communication is heavily controlled in the largest country on earth, I think this will be a long slog.  Putin has already lost; but he’ll never admit it.  Ukraine deserves our strong support.  It is a free country, for almost 40 years.  It will never be controlled.

There are more issues, of course.  so-called “States Rights” has resurrected itself to no one’s ultimate advantage.  There is a huge difference between “United States of America” and simply “States”. But enough for now.

Miscellaneous items.  

Sunday night we watched the first installment on CNN about the constitutional crisis at the time of the Richard Nixon presidency which ended with his resignation in August of 1974.  The second installment will be Sunday night, and if past is prelude they will rerun part one.  Both are worth your time.  At the end of episode one, Richard Nixon seemed politically dead, what with Watergate.   You know the rest of that history.

Sunday, in my religious tradition, was Pentecost, according to our Pastor the third of the most important feasts, the others, Christmas and Easter.   The church newsletter had a commentary on “Unity in Rich Diversity” by a staff member I highly respect, and it is worth your time, here: Johan VP June 5 2022.  

But, here’s a photo of a car I found myself behind at a stop light last Friday morning.  It speaks for itself.

June 3, 2022

Work for change in the coming months.  It does take work.  There is about 5 months to election 2022.

COMMENTS:

From Joyce: We’ve been in a cold Civil War for a long time, at the very least since Ken Starr started doing research for his pornographic tome. The right has wanted to undo the New Deal since its inception, but it was Gingrich who showed them how to do it.

from Judy: as always, you make me think, think, think!!

from Tom: To anyone following the story. Please read this piece before the made for TV star chamber on Thursday. There is another human side to the story. The people that the government is trying to demonize are not necessary as portrayed, and neither are the supposed heros.

Note from Dick: Tom includes a 31 page blog [I printed it out] which appears to presume that five people who were engaged in the protest died at the hands of others, including one of the policemen, and one woman who was attempting to forcibly entered an off-limits area and was shot and later died.  I have no idea about the credibility if any of the blogger, since there is no description of him available.

from Annelee: Over 700 Gun victims have died since the elementary school shooting at Uvalde.  The cry for change is overwhelming. I am 95, and when I look at the past, it seems we, the American people have forgotten what we can achieve if we are serious and united  work at it until we succeed.

Remember the power of the cigarette companies? They hid their own health research and showed western movie heroes smoking their brands.  In the 1960 51% of men and 33% of women smoked.  It took time and effort.  Today 15.5% of men and 13% of women smoke.

Drunken driving today is a crime. It was reduced by the work of MADD, and protest lists sent to our representatives.  It is the power of the people that brings changes.

It is time that we hold our elected Representatives and Senators responsible for their actions and the laws they sponsored. The NRA is a most powerful organization.  Every lawmaker who takes campaign money from the NRA is truly more indebted to them, then the safety of their constituents.

The brain dead lawmaker and gun owners who repeatedly state, “Guns don’t kill, people do.”

Even after a second appointment with a doctor, Michael Lewis 43, for several  days was still in pain.  Frustrated, he went out bought an AR-15 assault weapon and a pistol.  Michael Lewis went to the hospital and shot four professionals who served the patients.

I had knee surgery on April 7, 2022. I am in pain days and nights,  am I frustrated?  Yes, I truly want to heal. I am a peace-loving person. Would I shoot someone?  NO. But even if I wanted to I couldn’t because  never owned a gun.

To save lives and get the changes we need:  organize and agree on the gun changes necessary. Collect signatures in your neighborhood and present them to your representatives. I bet there isn’t a lawmaker who in his campaign stated: “I want to introduce laws so our 18-year olds and anyone who wants to own an assault rifle and other guns should have them.” Oh no, they promised you they would work for you so you would have a safe and better life.

WELL MAYBE YOU SHOULD CHECK OUT YOUR RERESENTATVE AND SENATOR AND SEE WHAT HE/SHE HAS DONE FOR YOU??? Sometimes words are cheap and soon forgotten.  Let them know you can and you surely will go out and vote in November.  Dick, if I was  well, and younger, I would be out and working.

Dick responds: Annelee is the real deal.  Born in 1926 in Germany, and living there till 1947, she know of what she speaks from first hand experience.  It is a privilege to know her.

Opinion: the Supremes…and January 6

I really hope a few of you take the bait on the below….  Read the paragraph that begins with “Below, I speculate”.  The rest is your choice.

The word is that the Supreme Court ruling on a woman’s right to choose will be sometime this month, as will the public report of the Congressional Committee on the Insurrection of Jan 6, 2021 and surrounding months post election 2020.

And, of course, the Uvalde tragedy and the place of weapons of war in public use is and will continue to be front and center.  And on and on…we are a nation horribly divided, with no good outcome in sight.

“Extra Credit”: Now talk is actually beginning about the possibility of peace talks between Ukraine and Russia.  If/When, what are your feelings about a possible outcome.  Same rule as with the others, express your opinion before such talks actually begin…bearing in mind that this is still in the possibility phase now, and there is a long, long way to resolution.

Given the topics of this post, I think the most recent Letter from an American by Heather Cox Richardson deserves your time as well.

*

Below, I speculate about the Supremes and the Insurrection, and invite your pre-opinion opinions as well, BEFORE the respective report and public hearing.     And, Guns are fair game as well.  And Ukraine.

Deadline for any comments to be published here the day before the Announcement of the Supreme Court opinion, or the first public hearing of the Insurrection Committee, whichever comes first..

If you wish, here is my blog written January 6, 2021, the day of the insurrection.

Here is my May 4, 2022 blog about the leak of the Draft of the Supreme Courts potential ruling on abortion.  (There are two significant additions to this blog at the end of the comments section, both added on May 29.  Carol’s letter in last Sunday’s St. Paul Pioneer Press, and a long article from the Twin Cities Catholic Archdiocese, give added and opposing perspectives).

I’m also including here my first blog in which George Floyd’s name appears after he was murdered on May 25, 2020.

I have no more knowledge about any of these, than anyone else ‘outside the walls’.   What I write below is as well- or ill-informed as anyone else.

*

January 6 Committee: I think the Committee has accumulated an immense amount of relevant and legally significant testimony and evidence implicating individuals at the highest levels of government during the period following the 2020 election.  Best I know, the Committee deliberations relate only to Congressional matters, not to Court.  But their evidence is very important to potential legal challenges.

The Committee, I believe,  knows a whole lot more than thus far revealed.  This terrifies the ultimate targets, who may never actually testify on the record.  The Committee record has been provided by persons with direct knowledge, pieced together over many months.

I don’t believe that the Committee considers it necessary to call in the then-President or even the co-operators who have dodged subpoenas.  I doubt there is a court in the land which would actually indict #45. He is a pathological liar and if they somehow got him in the dock, he’d lie anyway.  Their paths to the truth have thus been from other sources.

(I’m certain there is plenty of internal debate over process – this is totally normal.  They know how the system they are part of works.)

There are additional dilemmas.  Many folks, such as intelligence officials, police officers and the like, do not and did not have clean hands.  Some want #45 to win.  Some were allies, actively or passively complicit.

The Department of Justice. separate,  is criticized for not proceeding more quickly and publicly, but I think its actions are justified by its knowledge of how the law works.  Any of us can have our opinions.  In the court of law, the rules are different.  This is an immense case without precedent in our history as a country.

The Congressional Committee has its own rules and procedures, and the Department of Justice is not part of Congress, rather the agency empowered to enforce the laws of the nation.  Our system of co-equal branches can seem inconvenient but it is essential to a functioning democracy.

I think the Nuremberg Trials after World War II are a reasonable analogy to today.  The persons who followed the orders in Germany basically were allowed to go home after the War ended.  The legal targets then were the major leaders who were the reason the violations of human rights took place.

At this point, we in the public really know nothing.    So, I await the public hearing which I will watch with great interest.

*

The Supreme Court: Choice, Abortion, Roe v Wade or whatever you call the topic.

The leak of the Draft of the majority opinion of the Supreme Court – the Alito Draft – occurred on or about May 4, one month ago.

To my knowledge all there has been since then is hot air.  There has not even been much public speculation about who did the leaking, or why they did so.

In personnel terms, the Supreme Court is a small organization, with a long history of ‘close to the vest’ control of information, including amongst the Justices themselves, who often are not of the same opinion or in agreement about rationale.

This is even more true in these days of intense ideological polarization.

I think back to recent history about intentional political leaks (actually dirty tricks) that appeared to be real, but may well have been false flags from the beginning, intended to mislead.

The two particular cases which come to my mind are the time years ago in the Karl Rove years when mysterious ‘evidence’ appeared: a computer file ‘discovered’ in a park that had information about the enemy.  More recently a computer taken in for repair which supposedly had the goods on someone else, second or third or fourth hand….  Both were big news at the time they were reported.  Both were empty….

Lots of people believe nonsense, just because they want to believe it.  “False flags” work.

Q-anon  also comes to mind.  No one seems to know who Q is, and all that matters is the question.  The receiver can & does make up his or her own answer.

In the matter of the Supreme Court Draft, it is as reasonable to assume, as anything, that it was intentionally leaked, perhaps not even by or with the knowledge of any of the justices or their staffs, to assess and manage public reaction present and future.

It makes absolutely no difference which “side” did the leaking – it wasn’t an accident, I’d guess, and the leaker had a motive.  I’ll be surprised if we ever learn who the leaker actually was.

Legal issues in a complex society are complex.  As I learned over many years, there is no such thing as “clearly” in Law.  If Law was clear, in our society, there would not be need for swarms of lawyers whose job it is to argue a case, one way or another.

I don’t know how the Supreme Court will rule.  I will be most interested in the exact verbiage in the final ruling compared to the leaked document.  What the Court individually and collectively doesn’t know is how the public at large will accept whatever ruling eventually is published; and we in the public will be well advised to think about how we can accommodate differing beliefs about what “life” means for the mother of an unborn child.

It isn’t as simple as the most avid pro-lifer, or pro-choicer, likes to portray.

I’m pro-choice, but by no means a ‘baby-killer’ as I have personally been described.

Stay tuned.

Agin, weigh in at this space BEFORE the opinions actually are revealed.