A Working Vacation v. Laying Down on the Job

President Bush will be the first to tell you that his is a working vacation. Afterall, there is a war going on. Soldiers are dying, civilians are being blown up and terrorism lerks around the corner...

While President Bush presses on with the hard work of bringing freedom to Iraq and pedals his plan for democracy to the Middle East, others lay down on the job...

and rest for eternity.

Check out the Hudson-based Live Liberal website

Just want to let you know there's interesting Hudson-based website called Live Liberal being run by Dan Burch and his daughter Sarah. Burch is a retire minister from the Trinty Lutheran church in Hudson. Together with his daughter they are working hard to promote the positive ideology that should be associated with the word "liberal."

The St. Paul Pioner Press did a story on the Burchs and the wedsite, in the Sunday, July 31 editon. They also have a very intereting web site at http://www.liveliberal.com.


Above The Border Line Is Back -- Sorry we missed you

Participatory Democracy v. Lynch-mob Hypocrisy

Are you fighting for this kind of freedom,

and practicing this kind of freedom?

It sadden us here at Above The Border Line, when we saw that our web site had been hacked into and taken over. Whoever did it has their reasons and we may someday find out who did it. Some say another group of local bloggers are the guilty party. To our competing local bloggers – who so staunchly and proudly battle for individual rights and personal freedom -- I would hope they would not stoop that low.

Of course we have -- and will continue to! -- challenged their versions of the world we live together in. That would comes with the territory on which we all tread. In a participatory democracy, a free ranging debate is part of the deal.

To make their points, our nieghborhood bloggers often quote our founding fathers. Do they think people like Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton and the rest of the founders had no differences of opinions? Believe me, anything posted on this site pales in comparison to the debate and political wrangling that eventually led to the founders signing the names to the Declaration of Independence.

If our site was brought down because of what we said, it is a low day in the participatory democracy -- a major corner stone of our country. We do not have great internet/website skills here. We are babies learning to crawl. Whoever took us down had skills and a technological understanding much more advanced than ours? I believe they call it “cyber-bullying.” It is like the bully in the schoolyard who beats up the little kids. The bully is wrong in every way, but he has the power and strength to do the dirty deed.

One of the first postings on this site discussed faces and flags. Here's a repeat of those pictures:

It is the same evil use of power. Whether they wear white robes and burn crosses in the night or slip through the technical backdoor of the internet’s dark side and kill an innocent blog site, it is the same principle of evil – use your power to silence those you don't agree with. In short, it is lynch-mob hypocrisy.

Once again our blog site is in operation. Our goal is to spread the word that there is an outlet for alternative, open debate in the St. Croix Valley. All are welcome to join the discussion. Don’t hide you candle under a basket. Let the light of debate shine!

PS: You can freely comment to any post on this site. No one knows who you are, unless you supply your name. All post comments are e-mailed to the blog site mail box and show only the anonomous-blogger e-mail address for the Blogspot.com server.

The Ku Klux Klan in St. Kroix Kounty?

A couple weeks ago, I made a post that included a picture of the KKK in robes on horse back. Afterward I remembered a book I inherited from my Dad, "Kinnickinnic Years" by John James Prucha and Norman Arthur Foss. My Dad grew up with Prucha and Foss in River Falls during the 1920s, 30s and 40s. The book covers those years in River Falls history and contains a section about the Klan activity in St. Croix and Pierce counties. I dug the book out and reread this section. I will share some of it with you.

"The 1930s began under the shadow of hard feelings generated in the fall of 1925 by intense, though short-lived, efforts by the Ku Klux Klan to harass and discredit Catholics in Pierce and St. Croix counties. Though ultimately rejected by the sensible people of the community, the Klan did make significant inroads into River Falls by playing upon the prejudices and fears of some other-wise-responsible citizens. The Klan's activities had run their course by the end of 1926, but the scars that they produced took considerable time to heal. In time, the Klan was done in by its own silliness and outrageous excess."

"The Klan hired professional agitators to further its cause of '100% Americanism.' Among its preposterous claims was that America was in danger form a potential 'papal invasion.' This nonsense caused some Protestants to cast a jaundiced eye upon their Catholic neighbors who, the Klan maintained, gave their primary allegiance to a 'foreign potentate,' the Pope."

"Although the KlanĂ‚’s push into northwestern Wisconsin stemmed from initiatives originating in North Carolina, it was in nearby Ellsworth, the seat of Pierce County, that a core of Klansmen provided the organizing thrust for River Falls. It was also in Ellsworth that outrageous behavior of core members showed decent citizens of both communities that the Ku Klux Klan did not merit their support."

"Setting themselves up as super patriots and experts as to what was proper to the national emblem, the Klan attacked a yellow-fringed American flag as being, in reality, the Pope's ensign. As far as the Klan was concerned, it was another attempt by Catholics to take over the country. The Ellsworth American Legion had displayed a yellow-fringed flag at the 1926 Pierce County Fair. The yellow fringe, standard on regimental colors and authorized for Legion use by an act of Congress in 1920, had no meaning of itself. It was purely decorative in nature. As it was alleged to be the Pope's colors, the Legion was requested (by the sheriff) to remove the flag. The Legion refused and later petitioned Governor Blaine to remove the sheriff from office."

In addition to the River Falls stories, I remember my long-decreased neighbor telling me about the KKK harassing the Catholics in the country side between Hudson and New Richmond. Back in the early 1980s, I ran the newspaper in Boyceville and one of the old boys would stop by the office and tell me stories of the town's history. He said the Klan was also active in the Boyceville area back in the 1930s.

Below is a picture of a lynching that took place in Duluth back in the 1920s:

The three dead Black men were innocent to the charges of raping a White woman. The court system treated the White men lightly for the crime. Read more about the Duluth lynchings.

You think this is old history and these types of hate crimes and groups are a thing of the past, but think again. I did a Google search and came across this store post on the WXCE Radio website out of Amery. There seems to have been a protest by the KKK in Balsam Lake on June 22, 2005.

KKK Death Threat Emerge On Assistant Attorney General at Polk County Board Meeting

While the assistant Attorney General was speaking to the Polk County board on Tuesday, plainclothes Sheriff's deputies kept an eye on the crowd and around the building. The reason security was so tight is that there were alleged threats on her life, and according to a Polk County Sheriff's official, those threats were alleged to have had a possible tie-in to the Ku Klux Klan.

That is one of the first times the KKK was ever mentioned as being a local issue, but the threats were perceived as serious enough that security was thick. No incidents did occur, but five protesters were in attendance outside the county Government Center, and one of them had a sign that compared the board to the KKK, due to the alleged closed-door meetings. It should also be noted that while the US House debates at this hour on whether to make flag desecration a federal crime, one of the protesters outside the Balsam Lake government building was carrying a partially-burned flag, as part of the protest. No confrontations occurred.

This past spring I attended a luncheon where Timothy J. Scott spoke about the Holocaust. Scott, an attorney with the Bakke-Norman law firm in New Richmond gave a shorten verson of the presentation he does at junior and senior high schools in western Wisconsin. He discussed what led to the Holocaust in Germany where millions of people where killed because of the race, religion, disabilities, age, sexual orientation, etc. After the talk, Scott handed out a booklet titled "The Holocaust: It's Relevance Today." The booklet is a compilation of letters he's recieved from students who attended his lecture and workshops. The question the students answer is "How do you see the spirit of the Holocaust alive and well today in the world, in America, in your community, in your school, your family and yourself?"

Below are a couple excerpts from the booklet:

An 8th grader wrote:

"Just last year a group of seniors had written 'KKK' all over our banner and they wrote 'niggers' on it. This was a banner for homecoming for school. I am in a special ed class and here kids say that I'm stupid, retarded, poor, a troublemaker, and other stuff. But that's not true -- all that it means is that I need help in a certain area, which is reading -- what might come easy for others. But I might be better at math than others."

A 9th grader wrote:

"I think the spirit of the Holocuast is very alive in our community, homes and even classrooms. I constantly hear remarks about Hmong people and how everyone thinks we should kill them all...I really believe that if enough people started to follow these groups (KKK, skinheads) that the Holocaust could happen all over again, and that really scares me..."

Another 9th grader wrote:

"I believe the Holocaust lives today through all the hate in our world. Every day I hear people say 'those goddam fucking niggers.' And I don't say anything; I just stand there, sometimes laughing, sometimes smiling. I don't want to be different. I hear the way they make fun of other people. I don't want to be branded as a 'nigger lover.' I don't want to be different."

"Although the people who say these things are the source of the problem, I believe the real problem is with the people who do nothing. People like me. I know I have to change. Maybe someday I will be strong enough tbelieve up for what I beleive."

You would think, being "one nation under God," this type of prejudice and hate would be nonexistent. But it is not the case. Just the other day, somebody showed me a video clip called "American Racist." It's about some guy in a pickup truck in San Diego or Texas and he goes down to pick up a truck load of Hispanic dayworkers to supposedly take to to his house to build a deck. While they are driving their, he is driving fast, going over bumps, scaring the hell out of the men in back. He's talking to the camera and calling them a bunch of "beaners" and a variety of racist slurs. The punch line of the video comes when he pulls into the INS office with his horn blaring. All the workers are jumping out and running for away. He laughs and laughs.

I'm thinking, I would like to give that skinny, White boy a ride down to the parking lot where these workers will be the next day and push him out of the truck. Then we could see him run. The butts of his joke probably work harder in a week than he does in a year. Those men have families who need food, clothes, shelter, etc. to. I've never met a "lazy Mexican" in my life. All work very hard to get ahead and get very little pay and respect for it.

Here are a couple of links to learned more about hate crimes and extremist groups.

In our country, there's lots of talk about Jesus, God and religion. The phrase "one nation under God" rings hollow when you consider the prejudice, racism and hatred that reverberate in the echochamber of Teflon platitudes. It is deeper than the bumper sticker you slap on your car. Sure racism, hatred and prejudice are not plastered on the billboards of our local communities, but they are smoldering like a peet bog in a neighborhood near you -- maybe at your kitchen table. If there is one thing that starts at the home, it is racism. What examples are being set that lead to the words written above. What would Jesus say...

How would you answer the question: "How do you see the spirit of the Holocaust alive and well today in the world, in America, in your community, in your school, your family and yourself?"