The Senate debate last night was aired live by the Bismarck Tribune.  The live cast on Facebook was very bad audio making it difficult for the people of North Dakota to listen.  In addition, only 200 people were allowed in the debate venue so it was difficult at many points to discern what they were saying.

Facebook Live by Bismarck Tribune

Immediately after the introduction by the Bismarck Tribune explaining the rules and process of the debate, Senator Heitkamp who is running for re-election apologized for revealing the identity of 127 ND women who may or may not be victims of sexual assault in her most recent ad.  Here is the story on that. 

Heitkamp is a very strong advocate for globalization.  She claims that international agreements and trades are necessary for the US to thrive yet omits to give credit to the boost in the economy when President Trump ceased to participate in global agreements that were not in favor of the US economy.  Tariffs are a pain point for the state of ND as agriculture is the key economic driver of the state.  

Topic: Trade Wars

These tariffs are so wrong for North Dakota. The market we spent 30 years building will be destroyed in one year. We need to trade internationally.

Senator Heitkamp @Senate Debate ND
President Xi and President Trump

One thing I haven’t done is stand with Canada against our farmers. I didn’t stand with Mexico against our farmers. I didn’t stand with China against our farmers.

Congressman Cramer @Senate Debate ND

U.S. pork has been banned from Argentina since 1992.

The United States and Argentina have agreed to terms allowing U.S. pork to enter the Argentine market for the first time since 1992.

Last year, President Trump announced that the United States and Argentina have agreed to establish a new trade deal.  Specifically, the US will be exporting pork for the first time in over 26 years.  U.S. pork has been banned from Argentina since 1992. On August 15, 2017,  Vice President Mike Pence and Argentine President Mauricio Macri in Buenos Aires to discuss this trade deal

“After 25 years of discussions, America’s pork producers will soon be able to export their fine product to Argentina,” Pence said. “This is one more example of the commitment of President Trump and his entire administration to breaking down international trade barriers and making free and fair trade a win-win for American workers, farmers, and our trading partners.” 

Vice President Pence 

The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) thanked the Trump administration for this trade deal. Argentina was among several countries with non-science based barriers to U.S. pork imports.

“U.S. pork producers are the most competitive in the world and we have long sought the opportunity to provide affordable, high-quality pork in Argentina,” said NPPC President Ken Maschhoff. “We thank Secretaries Perdue and Ross, and their teams at the USDA and the Department of Commerce, as well as U.S. Trade Representative Lighthizer and his team, for their diligent work to win Argentine market access. We also thank Vice President Pence for his efforts, including a recent visit to Argentina, to move a trade agreement that promises significant U.S. economic benefits over the finish line.”

NPPC on the newly signed trade deal April 2018

According to Farm Futures, his new deal agreement is potentially a  $10-million-per-year market for America’s pork producers. Exports added $50 — representing 36% of the $140 average value of a hog — to every U.S. hog marketed in 2016. Under the terms of today’s agreement, all fresh, chilled, and frozen pork and pork products from United States animals will be eligible for export to Argentina.

The thing about Trade Wars is that it is a game of “chicken”.  Who will bow down first to demands?  In one sense creating federally backed operation loans for small to mid-sized farming operations would help alleviate some of the economic stressors from farmers.   This is something needed and necessary which Heitkamp mentioned in the past. Cramer also mentioned patience to all farmers because, in the end, they will come out on top.  The thing about negotiations is that they are not instant and do require time.  The question is are the farmers willing to stick it out? Short-term pain for long-term gain or do we buckle and allow others to continue to dictate our trade and disallow the US from expanding the economy.  That is what the real question is on these Trade Wars.

Personally, Heitkamp dropped the ball when discussing this topic.

Topic: School Safety

Heitkamp and Cramer were asked a question by a current student in regards to safety.  School safety is an issue that arises in all states across the nation.  There are many that demand to label Schools as ” Gun Free Zones” which literally make schools a target. Others advocate for increased police force or resource officers which is costly considering Class B schools of cities in the state of ND can’t afford or have the man  power for.  In turn, some children find it off -putting knowing that a policeman is in their school.  Then there are those, like myself that advocate for able bodied teachers to be armed at the school and such teachers would be eligible for an extra stipend in wage, subject to annual psych tests and  annual arms training. 

We need to find an appropriate way to discuss how safety can addressed. It’s cultural too. What works in a school in ND may not work for a school in NY.  We need to ensure a sense of safety in our schools.

Congressman Cramer @ND Debate

We should examine having entry points to protect and get more resource officers.  It’s easier to get resources officers in Class A school like in Mandan but not easy for Class B and Native Community Schools. We also need to stop bullying and have preventative measures in place to create a more civil society in our high schools.

Senator Heitkamp @ND Debate

It seems both Senator Heitkamp and Congressman Cramer agreed on many points in this topic.  Heitkamp took it a step further including bullying into school safety issues too which for me, was a bit much but others may appreciate.  Her notion of preventatitive measures to instill a “civil society” reminds me of  the “Free Speech” attack we see from social media. That put me off immediately.  We don’t need more Political Correctness. It’s a bit too much.  On this topic I think Cramer did better. He identified that the there is a cultural component on addressing this issue and that acceptable solutions will vary from school district to school district.  Heitkamp provided a blanket answer of increasing armed officers, which she reinforced many times during her response. Personally, I don’t appreciate police force or armed guards that would cause an intimidating atmosphere for our children.

For that reason, Cramer’s answer satisfied me more, yet both offered solid solutions.

Topic: Election Meddling “Russia-Russia”

This question was two “toned”.  It was more of “Do you approve of what Mueller is doing?” and “Are you concerned about other countries meddling in our elections?”

Both Heitkamp and Cramer fell short for me on this response BUT Heitkamp seemed to be regurgitating “Protest Points” and trying to rack up brownie points with “anti-Trumpers” than anser the question.

Heitkamp used most of her time praising Robert Mueller, reminding everyone he was a veteran and reminded everyone that a Republican  AG (She was referring to Rod Rosenstein who has one foot out of the White House) “appointed”

I trust Mueller…. He will do his job so that we can prevent this from happening again. We need to prevent this from happening again with any measure. 

Senator Heitkamp @ND Debate
Robert Mueller III

I have faith in Mueller’s actions…. Good news is North Dakota has paper ballots so cyber intervention during the elections is our state is slim. We are prepared this election cycle.

Cramer Response @ND Debate

Heitkamp responded to Cramer’s comment of onerous, costly and lengthy investigation.

There is not a  more important role government…We need to ensure electoral integrity. No rush on the investigation. It’s better to do a good job instead of a fast one. 

Heitkamp Rebuttal @ND Debate

Millions of dollars later.  It’s far too long anyway to ask it to move faster.

Cramer Response @ND Debate

There was inaudible argumentative banter in-which both Heitkamp and Cramer decided to agree to disagree rather than escalate the “argument”.

Topic: Press Enemy of the People

The question of CENSURE of the Press was brought up.  It was shocking but the journalist who posed this question “Cecil” should take head to my analysis here.


The President of the United States called press enemy of the people. How concerned are you about the erosion of trust in the press as an institution? What responsibility does Congress have in to censure the President’s continued attacks on the Freedom of the Press?

“Journalist” Question

I was shocked to hear a journalist literally call out to Congress to censure the President. I thought to myself, surely the journalist isn’t saying censure… they are saying, censor.  Allow me to discern the two: 

  • Censure means that in an official capacity by legislation and or formal court reprimanding someone. (Calling for legal proceedings? NO WAY!)
  • Censor is to inspect one’s conduct on moral grounds (I think we can  agree no one in Congress is “moral enough” to do anything like that)

Judging from the faces both Cramer and Heitkamp made, they were both taken back by the question.  I believe Cramer, like myself, assumed she was referring to CENSOR not CENSURE. Both appalling as a question which was an indirect request,

Coming from ND Press no less.. Really? What’s the saying? Stones in Glass Houses? Allow me to elaborate.

I never thought I would hear a serious journalist asking for our President to be censored… we have elections for those kinds of things. I am concerned about it – We all have the responsibility to restore trust in our Press. Congress has no responsibility as such we oversee aspects of the Presidency but not censor. 

Congressman Cramer Excerpt@ND Debate

The acoustics were horrid so if he misheard I don’t blame him, but I believe he was on the same page I was “No Way! A journalist would never ask for official reprimand” The journalist at that point felt compelled to “correct” Congressman Cramer and said :

I am sorry I want to clarify. The word was censure not censor. 

The acoustics were horrid – so I don’t blame him but the press sees censuring them is the same as censoring them.  Indeed the President is being highly critical of the Press which I agree with and inturn the Press is interpreting as an attacking on their free speech and in turn crying CENSORSHIP.  It’s the press that is jumbling up the two words two using them interchangeably. Another word they are “redefining”.

I would like to take the opportunity to address this “journalist’s” virtue signaling and “Free Press ” claim.

Free Press means that you report without bias, without interests driving you.  In North Dakota – ALL PRESS in OWNED PRESS.  I would love someone to challenge me on that. Unless you are throwing money at a newspaper, radio show or local station you will NOT be heard. Odney owns 90% of all the advertising in North Dakota.  That’s a known fact here is a video explaining it too. 

Now IF there was FREE Press in North Dakota then they would all be highly critical and reporting on things that matter. Such as OIG investigations in our state, Child Trafficking, Pedophiles, Native American Children missing… we hear about it sporadically, only a handful of stories are reported.  Now especially during elections, no reporter thought it is important to state that the GOP nominee for AG cost us $15.9 MIL that was factored into our state budget, that we are paying back because he wrongfully prosecuted someone?  

Journalists in North Dakota are being phased out by bloggers and other reporters like myself that have no loyalty to parties or money or Odney.  Such as the High Plains Reader, Minute Man and myself. 

This was Heitkamp’s lame virtue signaling response tying in a NON-AMERICAN’s disappearance to the conversation.

… First amendment free press is critical. Press is supposed to be reporting without bias and being subjective. Suadi Arabia killed an American journalist … his last op ed piece was how important it is for HIS country to promote Free Press.

Heitkamp gave a VERY bad response here is why :

Khashoggi is not an American. He was always KNOWN as a Saudi journalist.  Never as an American Journalist

Actually, he kind of lived in DC but mostly lived in Turkey according to Turkish TV and his “photoshopped” fiance.

Khashoggi ALWAYS wrote about the need for Free Press in Saudi Arabia and actually tried to kick off an “objective” news station in his country back in 2015 and failed because the Kingdom refused to fund it.

Here is a March 2018 (one of many) where he speaks about his buddy the Prince and the need for more free speech in Saudi Arabia

Khashoggi spoke VERY fondly of Osama Bin Laden and had frequently traveled to Saudi Arabia without a hitch… You know his best friend and confidant is one of the Princes of Saudi Arabia right?

Khashoggi, Saudi Journalist speaking about his long time friend Osama BinLaden

Lastly, no one has confirmed he is dead … yet. But she speaks of it as a matter of fact. 


Cramer rebutted to what Heitkamp said saying what every American who voted for Trump thought :

I prefer to have a President that is accessible, that may misspeak but is candid and straight forward.

Heitkamp dropped the ball on this question and revealed to all that are familiar with current events how she literally regurgitated the Democrat talking points rather than actually address the question correctly.

Topic : Is it important doing majority of North Dakotans want or what you think is right?

What kind of question is that? This is not a question. She was elected to do what North Dakotans want not what SHE wants. 

Since my vote on Brett Kavanaugh I am being asked that all the time.  Public opinion polls said 60% they wanted me to vote YES on Kavanaugh. When you are a senator you are supposed to exercise your best judgment.  I can’t make a decision on what the public wants I use my independent judgment.

Heitkamp Response @ND Debate

WRONG HEIDI. As Senator of North Dakota you are supposed to vote on what your constituents want. What will benefit your state.  This is why someone is elected because it’s #NorthDakotaFirst not Heitkamp/Democrats First. 

… He is a really good judge and a great one for North Dakota.  He is strong on the Second Amendment… The majority of North Dakota knew he reflected things that North Dakota needed.  What the whole confirmation of Justice Kavanaugh showed the whole world is what mob rule looks like. 

Cramer Response @ND Debate

Cramer’s response was safe yet full of good points.  Heitkamp decided to reinforce her notion of “it’s not about what North Dakota wants it’s making the right choice for yourself”. 

You make the right choice for yourself.

Heitkamp last words on topic @ND Debate

NO HEIDI That is NOT what a Senator is supposed to do.  A Senator is supposed to represent their state not their personal opinions.

Overall, this debate was badly put together. The audio was horrid and the questions lackluster. It was disappointing that only 200 people were allowed to partake to view ONLY.   I would love to see someone host an ACTUAL debate for our Attorney General position which NO ONE is talking about. Looks like media bullying, ownership and bias CLEARLY evident. I’d love to see difficult and actual questions be put forward not fluffy and crazy questions like demanding Congress reprimanding our President! 

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