Saving Face While Losing Focus

The other day, Rob Port, North Dakota’s foremost conservative blogger published an article where he laughingly observed that the North Dakota democrats will be starting their convention this week without viable candidates for many of the state offices, including the Governor’s office (SayAnthing.com). In his less than tongue in cheek banter, Port wrote, “…party activists attending will have exactly zero statewide candidates to hear from despite assurance from party leaders that they have candidates ready to announce any day now.”

I suppose this would appear troubling were this any other state with any other political climate, but this is North Dakota.

You see, North Dakota is currently entering what will soon be meltdown mode, regardless of what upbeat narrative the deniers and cheerleaders like Rob Port are trying to sell to the public. While it is true that the oil boom helped propel the North Dakota economy into the stratosphere for most of the past decade, as the recent price crash of worldwide oil prices has shown North Dakota’s republican leadership was unprepared for the gravy train to up and leave town the way that it did. When Governor Jack Dalrymple took the drastic measure of slashing state agencies with a 4 percent across-the-board cuts, it could be argued that this is prudent “conservative budgeting”. However, the fact that he also needed to dip deep into the rainy-day fund to the tune of $500 million, it is hard for anyone – except fanboys like Port – to see the silver lining in this desperate move to save face during an election year.

For years, many outsiders – Republican and Democrat – have been calling for a more diverse investment into the statewide economy. Instead, the Governor and his oil ‘activists’ buried their heads in the sand and pandered to the immediate needs of those companies who moved almost all of their profits out of state during the boom, preferring to use short-term logistics (e.g. ad-hoc offices, temporary housing, contract labor) rather than investing back into North Dakota. The skeletons of man camps, abandoned campers, and half-finished construction projects are a testament to this fact, and will almost certainly be a blot on the landscape for years to come in many of the small towns and countryside of western North Dakota.

Some might agree with those like Port, who see the apparent weakness of the Democratic Party in fielding a competitive candidate for Governor as a sign that the party is giving up. This is almost certainly not the case. Given the state of the economy, and the eventual splatter that must come when the dirty, oil-covered snowball now rolling downhill hits the wall, it actually seems prudent that the Democrats not field high-profile candidates who could challenge the GOP establishment. This economic bust is a sandwich that they built with tax breaks, backroom deals, and a blind eye, now they have to eat it. In a few years, once North Dakota has also had a taste of it, the Democrats can almost certainly come to the kitchen and create a healthy alternative that will be better for the state and nourish the economy.

Daily Journal: Leith Celebrates History and Return to Normalcy

LEITH, North Dakota — Residents of the small North Dakota town of Leith spent the weekend celebrating their history and a return to normalcy.

The community held a 105th anniversary bash on Saturday and Sunday — an event that also served as an opportunity for residents — past and present — to put some of the town’s recent upheaval behind them.

Leith spent about 10 months battling with white supremacist Craig Cobb, who tried unsuccessfully to take over the town and turn it into an all-white enclave. He is now on probation for terrorizing and menacing, and he lives about 200 miles away in Sherwood.

“It’s the end of a long year,” Mayor Ryan Schock told The Bismarck Tribune (http://bit.ly/UkbsI5 ).

Leith officials put an American flag in front of the house where Cobb once lived.

“It’s so nice to see the American flag flying rather than the swastika,” resident Pat Hauge said.

Bobby Harper, who is black, and his wife, Sherrill, were neighbors to Cobb.

“It’s taken a toll on all of us, but today I feel so happy and proud of Leith,” Sherrill Harper said as she watched a parade on the town’s main street.

Here’s You’re Chance To Give Cobb A Piece Of Your Mind

So it seems according to White Nationalists websites poor Mr. Cobb hasn’t received a single letter of support from his WN brethren while in jail. Here is your perfect chance to let Cobb know exactly what you think of him (Kynan Dutton can be reached at the same address by just changing his name). We literally have a captive audience so let him have it!

 Here’s his address:

Craig Cobb

Mercer County Jail

PO Box 39,

Stanton,ND 58571

My thoughts on Nazis

I was pondering the reasons why these Nazi guys hate so much, and I arrived at a probable hypothesis.

It seems they are all drawn from the lower socioeconomic strata, are too skinny or too pudgy, seem very uncomfortable in their skin, or are otherwise saddled with some sort of social disappointment.

I’m guessing all were bullied for their look, their social class, or other factors. As a result, they learned to hate. because they felt powerless or inadequate against those who belittled them, they decided to find someone to feel superiority over – minorities.

Because minorities are often saddled with the many of the same issues (i.e. socioeconomic distress, etc) that they are, they focus on these new scapegoats as a way to assuage their own feelings of inferiority and rant about their “superiority” over them.

It’s rather sick and very sad really. I feel bad for guys like Kynan Dutton. His life must suck quite a little bit for him to be so angry.

HuffPost: North Dakota Cities Look To Implement LGBT Anti-Discrimination Laws

Photo by Fargo-Moorhead Pride

Photo by Fargo-Moorhead Pride

While the North Dakota Legislature defeated a bill to ban LGBT discrimination statewide earlier this year, cities in the state are taking steps to add a level of protection.

The Grand Forks City Council is likely to adopt an ordinance next month to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in the city’s rental housing market, which would make it the first city to do so in the state. Grand Forks adopted a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender discrimination ban on city government employment earlier this year. Fargo also is moving ahead with city employment and housing discrimination bans. The discussion has started to spread to other cities as well.

“I hope if the local governments step up it can spread to the state,” state Rep. Kylie Oversen (D-Grand Forks), the coauthor of the unsuccessful state law bill, told The Huffington Post. “We will keep trying.”

Read More

Idaho town, once a Nazi enclave, reaches out to Leith, ND

 

The Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations was founded in 1981 as a response group against the harassment and criminal activities of the Aryan white supremacy movement located north of Hayden Lake, a community in Kootenai County, Idaho. The Task Force has been instrumental in directing the passage of major Idaho legislation giving the state strong laws against harassment and hate crimes.

On Saturday, the Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations sent the following open letter to the 22 residents of Leith, N.D., and all other North Dakotans (in wake of the attempt by a white supremacist from Canada to establish a racist stronghold in Leith):

[quote align=”center” color=”#999999″]The Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations Board of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, stands in solidarity with the good residents of Leith. We praise you for your courageous determination to oppose the message of hate and those who promote white supremacy. You are doing exactly what all communities should do and that is never remain silent in the face of hate. We have spent 32 years opposing the doctrines and activities of the neo-Nazis and other extremists’ movements and thus we stand shoulder to shoulder with you and ask all the good people of North Dakota to do the same.[/quote]

Housing discrimination ban given preliminary OK at Grand Forks City Council

From the Grand Forks Herald

Photo by tuey

Photo by tuey

In what seems like a rare occurrence, thundering applause followed a Grand Forks City Council committee decision Monday night.

More than 40 people watched as a city law proposing a ban on housing discrimination was discussed and ultimately given preliminary approval by a unanimous vote of the council’s Finance and Development Committee.

If signed into the books, the law would be the first in the state to prohibit housing discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identify, according to council members. The law is up for final approval from the full council on Oct. 7.

Of those in attendance at Monday’s meeting, UND student Kyle Thorson was one clapping for the decision.

“I am a gay man. By saying that, I could potentially be removed from my apartment. There could be a notice on my door when I go home.” he said before the vote. “Fear is something that is driving this ordinance. I have little fear that I could be evicted.

“But that fear is still something I carry with me.”

Read More

These streets are our streets

I’ll make this short n sweet…

First – Thank you very much to all of you who turned out yesterday to defeat the sons and brothers of hate and prejudice. These people would come to our state and work to roll back all of the work and progress that has been made to bring the peoples of ND together and to celebrate the differences that we have but respect them nonetheless.

UnityND will continue to push forward to push these Nazi scum out of our rural areas, small towns, and cities – wherever they are found, we will be there to show them that the people of ND are one, that we are not a bunch of groups that they can come in and exploit minor differences and thus cause us to be blown away with the wind. No, we can and will withstand any hate-fueled wind with righteousness and the knowledge that for every minute we are working to get Nazis out of ND we are moving one step closer in making that a reality.

If saying a prayer for these hate filled bigots is your things, please pray a way, anything we can do to change the hearts of these people is one less aryan racist skinhead we have to face on the street. As we move forward and meet these Nazis where ever they pop up in ND, remember the streets of these towns belong to the citizens of the small towns, counties and the people of our state.

These streets are our streets and they will not ever be given up without a fight!

Thanks and take care one and all. UnityND!

Home of white supremacist in Leith, N.D., could be condemned

From the Grand Fork Herald

Craig Paul Cobb purchased the white, two-story home Sept. 16, 2011. (TJ Jerke/Forum News Service)

Craig Paul Cobb purchased the white, two-story home Sept. 16, 2011. (TJ Jerke/Forum News Service)

The Leith home of white supremacist Craig Cobb could be condemned because it is not connected to water and sewer lines.

Cobb, 61, has purchased 12 lots in the tiny town about 75 miles southwest of Bismarck as part of his plan to turn the town into a haven for white supremacists. Cobb is living in one of three structures he bought.

Cobb’s property is among several targeted with a nuisance complaint issued by the Leith city commission in early August.

Custer Health Environmental Services in Mandan, which provides safety and sanitation inspections for five counties, including Grant County, issued 12 citations to 10 individuals last week, saying their properties are a public health nuisance.

Three complaints were given to Cobb.

The town is now waiting for property owners to address the nuisance complaints within their 30-day deadline.

Cobb said Sunday he does not plan on complying with the request.

Aaron Johnson, the environmental health practitioner that oversees nuisance complaints and the on-site septic system license, permit and inspection program for the health unit, said Cobb had five days from the day he received the notice to provide details of how he will comply with state law.

The deadline has since passed and Cobb has not provided any plans.

Cobb, who faces opposition from town residents that want him to move out of town, claims the city is targeting him with the requirements.

Leith Mayor Ryan Schock said he doesn’t think so.

“(Cobb) was just at the wrong place at the wrong time,” Schock said.

Johnson said if Cobb doesn’t have a plan for his water and sewer, Custer Health will have to declare the property unfit for habitation and take the issue to district court. If the court agrees, an eviction notice will be issued to Cobb.

Johnson said they are looking for some sort of action from Cobb such as signing up for rural water or putting in a well system and then taking a permit out for some type of septic removal.

“Even though the five days have lapsed, if we were to be presented with a plan at this point, we’d be happy with that,” Johnson said Monday. “All we care about the house is it be equipped with what’s required or somebody doesn’t live in it.”

Asked about his plans for the property, Cobb said Sunday, “We’re going to meet in district court.”

Schock said the city commission has been talking about cleaning up the town for a couple of years and decided they were ready to issue the complaint.

“If they don’t have it done, we’re just going to a citywide cleanup,” Schock said. “We’re going to take down any buildings that need to be taken down and remove all vehicles.”

Custer Health officials say they had visited Leith to survey the properties identified by the city before Cobb’s plans for a white supremacist community were exposed last month.

The other two nuisance citations given to Cobb related to two decrepit buildings on other pieces of his land. Aaron Johnson said they are structures that can potentially harbor rodents or attract children who could injure themselves

The other nine nuisance complaints issued were given to property owners that owned abandoned vehicles and properties with piles of construction materials.

Jeff Schoep, the leader of the National Socialist Movement that held a town hall meeting in Leith on Sunday that drew more than 300 protesters, told reporters the national group is looking into the legality of the attempts to condemn Cobb’s property. Supporters will be ready to file a lawsuit if they believe Cobb’s civil rights are being violated.

Keith Johnson, an administrator with Custer Health, said they will speak to their attorney soon to determine the next legal step.

Said Aaron Johnson: “We don’t go out looking for these, but if something is reported to us as a complaint, we have to follow through regardless of who it is.”

More than 300 protest white supremacist in Leith, N.D.

From the Grand Forks Herald

More than 300 protesters marched up this small towns gravel road Sunday, chanting and carrying signs to rally against a visit by a leader of a white nationalist group and efforts to turn the town of 16 into an all-white enclave.

As they walked, more than 20 white nationalist-related flags became visible in front of the home of Craig Cobb, who has bought 12 lots in the town about 75 miles southwest of Bismarck. Cobb has been giving them to other known white supremacists as part of his plan to eventually take over the government of the town.

Scott Garman, an organizer of the UnityND protest, yelled into a megaphone as they stood across the road from the town hall and Cobb’s house.

“This is not a single day event, we will be back again and again until you’re gone,” he said.

Garman said he couldn’t have been happier with the turnout, with 150 alone from the Standing Rock Reservation.

As more protesters took to the microphone, Grant County Sheriff Steve Bay and other law enforcement officials formed a line between the protestors and Cobb’s house.

Standing in front of his house, Cobb called the protest, “pure comedy,” although it was a larger group than he expected.

He said the group “is not human.”

“They are a force of nature that has made a plan to impede on my freedom,” he said.

Cobb wants to take control of the town’s government. “When we’re in charge here, we are going to treat them a lot more humanely and civilly than they have been to us,” he said.

Schoep, who drove from Detroit with other supporters, called the protesters, “outside agitators,” as many of them did not have a connection to the town.

He said the point of his visit was to show support for Cobb and his plans.

“If somebody is going to trample on our rights or our friends’ rights, we’re going to get involved,” he said to a group standing outside Cobb’s house.

Schoep said he is proud of Cobb, who “has been doing a great thing.”

“With the economic situation in our country, we have a lot of people out of work,” Schoep said. “This is a good opportunity for people to come here and make a better life.”

 

Town hall meeting

Schoep, who wrote a letter to Leith Mayor Ryan Schock two weeks ago to notify him about the visit, said he just wanted to meet with Schock and the local residents to answer any questions about Cobb’s efforts and the National Socialist Movement.

Schock didn’t respond to the letter. “I don’t have to go down there and argue with him,” he said Sunday, a few blocks from the town hall. “I have 200-300 that can speak for me.”

As the meeting kicked off, Schoep and Cobb were greeted with loud resentment from those that filled the old wooden building. The resentment was quickly silenced by Bay and other law enforcement. Within minutes, law enforcement had to remove an elderly man and woman as they continually shouted expletives toward Cobb and Schoep.

Schoep, dressed in a black pinstriped suit, opened the meeting by letting them know, “the National Socialist Movement isn’t here to change your way of life.”

Schoep and Cobb then fielded over an hour’s worth of questions, including why Cobb tried to keep his plans quiet for months and how they planned to take over the town.

“We would have to do it through the democratic process,” he answered, referring to the normal election process.

Outside the meeting, protesters stayed quiet, waiting for the meeting to finish.

Lillian Jones, of Fargo, a board member with the North Dakota Human Rights Coalition, said nobody wants there to be trouble, “but sometimes something has to be stirred up and this is something that needs immediate attention.”

“This is something that is contaminating the atmosphere,” she said.

Spectators, such as Jim Chyle, of Park River, also filled the streets. Chyle said his curiosity brought him to town.

“I think people have a right to do what they want to do, but I’m hoping there’s another side to it than the side that’s been getting all the attention,” he said about racist message in Cobb’s plans.

Chase Iron Eyes, a member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, assured the crowd they will continue to watch Leith to make sure Cobb’s plans are not carried out.

“We are evolved human beings and I think you know you represent a dying cause,” he yelled. “You’re 30 miles from our (reservation) border, if you think you can come into our territory and threaten our children, you have another thing coming. “

Protesters carried handmade signs, some read “No hate in my state” and, “Don’t let the door KKKick you on the way out.”

As the meeting winded down, the group of protesters outside the town hall sang the national anthem and continued with their chanting.

 

Law enforcement

Sheriff Bay said he planned to take a proactive approach to Sunday’s meeting, which was evident as soon as someone drove into town. Bay had all the town roads blocked off by metal fences and law enforcement vehicles.

“If something looks like it’s going to happen, we’ll take care of it,” he said earlier in the day.

More than 30 law enforcement officials were in town, including a 14-person team dressed in full riot gear that stood a few blocks from the action.

Leith residents Bobby and Sherrill Harper said they were surprised to see the amount of law enforcement and precautions taken for the protest.

But Bobby Harper, the only African American in Leith, said you can never underestimate violence.

“They are here for a purpose and I’m glad they are, I don’t want anyone to get hurt,” he said.

 

‘Test ground’

Asked if Cobb’s plan will work, Schoep said he hopes it does.

“You have to start somewhere, this is sort of a test ground,” he said. “If we are able to get off the ground here, then we can get off the ground in other places.”

Members of the Leith community have started a legal defense fund and Schock said the city is searching for an attorney in case a legal issue does surface.

As for the protesters, Garman said UnityND has plans to not only thwart Cobb’s efforts, but, “work to confront hate and prejudice across the state.” Garman wouldn’t go into detail but say they are hoping to get businesses to refuse service to the white supremacists.