Letters Jan. 21, 2021

The ultimate insult

On Jan. 6 I ended up watching the news all afternoon and saw what hap-pened at the Capitol. I saw Trump/Guiliani saying “Let’s have trial by combat,” inciting people to go up to the Capitol and riot. When the mob breached the Capitol building, I saw MAGA hats, the Q Anon t-shirts, the white supremacist groups, the militia groups in camo and battle gear. I saw confederate battle flags, the Trump flags, the black flags of militia groups and hate groups. I saw guns, knives, clubs ad tire irons, heard the gunshots, saw a person shot through the neck fall. I saw a young Capitol police off-icer being crushed by the crowds in a doorway and I cried for America.

A few days after this I saw the ultimate insult. I saw a video of the first family standing in the West Wing, watching what was happening at the Capitol building on TV and Donald Trump Jr. turned around with his cell phone held up to the camera that had images of what was going on at the Capitol. He smiled and laughed at the carnage going on. And I cried again.

Pamela Koepsel
Iron River, Wisconsin

Asleep at the switch

As the Brits might say, “It was quite shocking.” We seemed to be “asleep at the switch” when the melee seemed to turn into a small insurrection. The chaos and havoc was abrupt and short lived, but we were aghast. It’s true – the security was too lax and short in numbers. The impregnable building was easily breached and the culprits were freewheeling briefly.

He master mind of agitation and instigation was licking his chops while hiding out. He’s still singing the pop song “Dirty deeds done dirt cheap.” Before the curtain falls.

Gerald Norrgard
Duluth, Minnesota


Those who rule
With jest
The dais
Act the fool
And wrest
With chaos.

Bud Brand
Superior, Wisconsin

Lincoln turns in his grave

I have never met Pete Stauber, but know some of his family, who have contributed a lot to our communities and state. They were/are mostly Repub-licans whom I miss; like the Lincoln GOP I served in the legislature with. Those Conservatives had majorities in Minnesota Legislature from 1859 (except for two years in Minnesota House) until 1973 when I started serving. We had disagreements, but worked them out like adults. Because of GOP Governor Al Qui’s election and losing DFL Majority in the House, the governor  proposed and succeeded dismantling The Minnesota Miracle tax law of 1971 enacted by the Ander-son/Perpich Administration with a Conservative Legislature. In 1980 I left for Washington to serve in the U.S. Foreign Service. I found diplomacy even more abnormal than politics and returned to St. Paul 1985.

In just five years, the Minnesota Leg-islature changed drastically, mostly because of moral and social issues like Roe vs Wade abortion legalization by U.S. Supreme Court et cetera.

For some reason Democrats were/are being blamed for it! All elected people on federal, state and local levels have to swear to uphold national and state constitutions when they begin serving. Most Democrats mean it and most “Republicans“ do not. That is because most Lincoln Republicans were defeated or did not want to serve within those caucuses  since the huge change.

When I became a Democrat in the 1960s, the Republican Party was composed of intellectuals for fiscal responsibility, individual freedom and so on. The Democratic Party was mostly small farmers, laborers and small businesses.

Unfortunately, Lincoln is turning in his grave because his party was overrun by extremists, mostly from the new Evangelical and Catholic religions, ignoring separation of church and state, cutting taxes for the richest and opposing helping the poor and sick people!

Jesus’ mission was mostly teaching and helping indigent and ill people. He was for separation of church and state when He said: “give Caesar what is his and God what is His” as well as “by their actions you shall know them.”

Our Congressman Stauber has joined this brand of politics and took THE WORST GOP leader to be his mentor in Washington. I remember Trump saying that he became Republican because they are stupid. I think that ignorant would be more appropriate, because, like King Donald, they do not seem to know history nor what is going on because they mostly get information from internet and one TV network. They call radio, TV, newspaper and magazine journalism fake. Internet provides a lot of information, but it is not regulated adequately and is doing too much damage for the freedom of the press.

Mike Jaros
Duluth, Minnesota

Lutsen expansion unnecessary

Lutsen Mountain has applied for a special use permit to increase their operations into the Superior National Forest. The public was only given a 30-day notice last year to provide input. That period is over, but the fact stands that this expansion isn’t in our best interests. Their plan for a 500-acre expansion onto Moose Mountain is a poor use of our public lands. The proposal states that expansion is  nec-essary to keep pace with bigger ski resorts, but this argument falls short when examined more closely. The proposed expansion doesn’t increase any skiable vertical elevation, but does add parking lots, skier services and other buildings that will require maintenance costs after being built. The expansion has the possibility to increase Lutsen’s ticket prices, which are already higher than comparably sized western resorts, but without the skiing terrain those resorts can offer. Lutsen is great at what it does – it offers fun, beautiful skiing at reasonable prices close to home. Why risk losing what they have going for them? The mindless “expansion for the sake of expansion” attitude needs to end. Minnesotans and visitors to the area treasure the wild lands we have for the many different kinds of recreation offered. The undeveloped side of Moose Mountain is valuable for backcountry skiing, snowshoeing and wildlife viewing. Lutsen should leave Moose Mountain alone and leave the acreage undeveloped!

Rachel Poppe
Duluth, Minnesota

Hope for U.S. from Belgium

My name is Jacques Tilquin and I am Belgian living in Brussels.

End of 2016, I was visiting friends in Minnesota and the 29th of December 2016, I picked up a newspaper called Reader.

At that time, we were all astonished by the victory of Donald Trump. We were very surprised in Europe that such a low profile guy was able to become the most powerful person in the world. Thus my trip in the U.S. was a kind of pilgrimage to understand how it’s happened and the reading of your newspaper helped me to discover how the democracy in the States is so alive and there was still hope for the future. I kept the newspaper in my office and I read quite often two articles: “Quotes that can be used to resist Oval Office tyranny in 2017” (Duty to Warn by Dr Gary Kohls and “Dear President-elect Donald the Clown” (From the Side by Forrest Johnson).

I would like to tell you that I spoke a lot about those 2 articles to my friends here in Belgium, and let them read them, to point out that America is still a very democratic country. The recent events in the Capitol indicate that what was written in the article of Dr. G. Kohls were becoming true, that they are forces that would like to overturn the legacy of a democratic election.

The stupid Richard Barnett wrote on Pelosi’s desk “We will not back down,” I encourage you and your newspaper to stand up and say “The Democracy will not back down.”

I wish you a very good day and hoping that tomorrow will be a turning point for those last sad 4 years.

Jacques Tilquin
Brussels, Belgium

Go (new) team!

There’s a new team in Washington and I hope they can make America great (finally). I hope it doesn’t continue to bully the world. It must stop economic boycotts against Venezuela, Nicaragua, Cuba; make peace with the world. Why is there no Department of Peace in the US government? Supporting Israel in its genocide against the Palestinians is criminal. Spending 60% of our tax money on the military is obscene. (This money needs to be channeled into fixing our health care system and fighting Global Warming.) Money and the mega rich corporations control “our” government. Is that democracy? It’s hard to imagine that the new president will change any of these things since as a senator he voted, for example, to fund the criminal war against Iraq. And both he and the new vice president support Israel in its occupation and crimes against the Palestinians.

I fear that this team of good orators will end up by doing exactly what the American government always does and that is to please the American corporate interests. We need to try and force them to do the right things. Will they listen to us? One can only hope.

Steve Johnson
Ely, Minnesota