This past week, while I was traveling through Texas, Colorado, Tennessee, Arkansas and Oklahoma, the headlines were emblazoned across the news media worldwide. They looked something like this...
President Trump enters the White House briefing room for the first time since becoming president and announces an impending announcement.
I'm very sorry, but that just doesn't sound very presidential for the President of the United States to come running down the hall to the briefing room, with the giddiness of a child, to announce an upcoming announcement! Ironically, Mr. Trump recently made fun of the matter of presidential posturing during a campaign style rally in Pennsylvania! I'll leave that one alone for now!
Whether we like it or not, image is nearly as important as "message" in the political spectrum, particularly when the projected image will not just impact the public opinion of our fellow Americans, it will also impact the hidden agenda of the leader of North Korea. In this case, the latter is of much greater importance!
So, here we go. Just a few months ago the President of the United States and the leader of North Korea were trading volatile barbs "across the pond". Some of the most memorable ones suggested that we were on the threshold of nuclear war. In fact, the heightened state of readiness suggested that nuclear holocaust was imminent.
The world was forced to listen to the insults from two immature world leaders who by the very shape of their stinging rhetoric, created an atmosphere that almost certainly would usher the world over the edge to the long-feared World War III.
While there are many uncertainties as to how this would play out if it did occur, a few things are certain in any nuclear conflict.
If the United States were to act preemptively and launch a nuclear salvo at North Korea two things are guaranteed to happen just minutes afterward. Just a few "minor" things would change if North Korea attacked first, which is the more doubtful scenario. The leader of North Korea does not have a death wish, which he would certainly face if he launched an attack against the United States preemptively.
Anyway, if Donald Trump ordered a nuclear strike against North Korea, here's what would ensue:
- North Korea would fire their artillery units at the South Korean capital.
- If they were able to launch before destruction, North Korea would also fire their nuclear weapons toward South Korea, Japan, Guam, The Philippines and possibly the United States. The number of weapons and the target of those weapons is unclear as we do not know about the level of their readiness capabilities, whereas the United States has the ability of firing a nuclear weapon within minutes after the order is given by the President of the United States.
- Additionally, the United States would be targeted by China and possibly Russia who also has submarines patrolling off the coast of the United States.
- Within hours of the initial strike more than one million people across the globe would be dead. The number of casualties would mount as the radiation cloud spread outward from ground zero!
There will be NO WINNERS in a nuclear war!!!
This is the primary reason why I've long asserted that one of the requirements for even running for President of the United States should be voluntarily submitting to thorough mental health testing! When I became a police officer years ago, psychological evaluation was a requirement in the testing phase of the process. How much more should it be with this level of power at your disposal, as President of the United States of America?!!!!
The reason that I am so concerned about the proposed meeting is this; Donald Trump has ushered us to the end game. There were no preliminary talks involving our nation's well experienced diplomatic corps!
Rather, the projected meeting in May will be for all the marbles!!!!! There is zero room for failure. This president has made his presidency all about himself and has made one thing certain... with Donald Trump nothing is certain! That makes the prospects for anything beyond the meeting all the more foreboding!
History shows that this president is moved by one thing and one thing alone... his own feelings. That's it! So, when he sits across the table from another inexperienced leader with unfettered authority and with a very powerful arsenal at his disposal, the world will be holding its collective breath!
I am not overplaying this in the least. It doesn't get any more serious than this!
As events change between now and "the meeting" there are a few more things that you can be sure of. Trump will play up the drama like a reality show. He will applaud himself and what a successful meeting could possibly mean for our nation and for the world. He will continue to talk about former President Obama and why his North Korea policies "failed". Interestingly, we will hear very little mention of any other American presidents who faced the same consequential dilemma and their subsequent failure to mitigate the matter of North Korean aggression!
Considering the seriousness of this meeting, I am praying for success, not to provide Donald Trump with fodder for boasting but because the consequences of failure are much too unthinkable!
In the meantime, we will continue to provide you with key information about the proposed meeting.
Until then, enjoy your week.
President Trump hosted a "listening session", attended by Vice President Pence and Secretary of Education DeVos. During the session, which amounted to little more than a photo op, Mr. Trump suggested that he could name ten ideas about how to address the problem of school shootings. How many did he name at the time? Zero!
If I may be brutally honest, a real leader would not just have alluded to ideas, particularly in the face of such an extraordinarily difficult national tragedy, but a real leader would have listed and enumerated them point by point. That being said, here are a few of mine...
- Eliminate the trade show loophole
- Update the official definition of the term "assault weapons" to include any weapon or firearm that has the capacity to fire projectiles automatic or semi-automatic or any weapon that can be converted to fire automatic with modifications such as the infamous bump stock; any other device that when installed can cause a weapon to fire automatic; or any high capacity gun magazine
Additionally, ban all assault weapons with the exception of military and "specialist" law enforcement
Increase the age restriction for purchasing any firearm to a minimum of 21 or 25 (I expect this to be one of the key points of contention)
- The president has slammed "gun free zones" around schools... I want to make them stronger
- Extend federally subsidized grants for school safe rooms and/or confinement modules at school entrances*
- Much like being able to drive a vehicle on America's streets, impose license requirements for anyone to purchase or own a firearm
- Require mental health evaluations from a licensed mental health professional before being issued a license to purchase or own a firearm
I'm not afraid of controversy. What I am afraid of is having to stand before the America people to explain why their government did nothing to protect them and their families from another coward with a gun!
A few days ago, the American public learned that there was an armed, veteran Broward County Deputy Sheriff on site when the young coward with a gun entered the school. According to reports that I've read, the deputy took up a "defensive position". My question is simple... defense from what? The shooter was inside the school, so what in the world was he defending "outside of the school"?!!! In my day, as a law enforcement officer that would be labeled "cowardice".
The president's idea of putting Marines in our schools would essentially result in militarizing our schools, making them armed camps. I think the best option is to implement measures that would keep the bad guys out of the schools... perhaps isolate and confine them so that they cannot do any harm. That should be the very first thing we do. Implement measures to keep the bad guys out of our schools! Period!
As for arming teachers, they have a hard enough job as it is! We should be arming our nation's educators with books and adequate salaries! We should be arming them with all of the tools necessary to assure they have the ways and means to equip the minds of future Americans! By the way, we have educators on our mailing list including at least one college president. I would welcome your input on this very important issue. Please reach out to me with your comments.
But, that's not the end of the story. We also need to "suck it up"... and implement a permanent ban on all assault weapons except for those used by our nation's armed forces and certain law enforcement agencies such as the FBI, DEA or Secret Service for example. These dangerous weapons of mass destruction do not need to be in the hands of ordinary citizens.
The gun lobbies are relentless but so are the people of the United States, as these young children have proven. While it is impossible to tell when we may be revisiting this subject on a more real level once again, this November you and I will have an opportunity to elect persons that best fit our position on this very, very important issue, persons who are not afraid to confront the gun lobby or any other lobby that places our constitutionally protected safety and freedoms in jeopardy.
WAR ON POVERTY IN AMERICA
Former President Lyndon B. Johnson declared war on poverty during the 1964 State of the Union address, just months after assuming office upon the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
There are large geographic variations in crime rates, which according to FBI data, reveal large differences from state to state and city to city.
For example, in 2016, there were more than 600 violent crimes per 100,000 residents in Alaska, Nevada, New Mexico and Tennessee. By contrast, Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont had rates below 200 violent crimes per 100,000 residents. While Chicago has drawn widespread attention for its murder totals in recent years, with a murder rate in 2016 (28 murders and non-negligent manslaughters per 100,000 residents) it was in fact less than half the rate of St. Louis (60 per 100,000) and far below the rate of Baltimore (51 per 100,000).
The City of Detroit has the dubious distinction of the most dangerous city in America. There is a direct correlation to elevated crime rates and the rate of poverty. The FBI notes that various factors might influence a particular area’s crime rate, including its population density as well as economic conditions for that particular area.
CONDITIONS IN DETROIT:
* Violent crime rate: 2,047 per 100,000
* 2016 murders: 303
* Poverty rate: 40.3%
* Unemployment rate: 10.9%
Using data from the Edinburgh Study of Youth Transitions and Crime, Edinburgh University researchers found that poverty is a strong driver of violent offences amongst young people. However, systems of youth and adult justice, far from tackling violence and lifting young people out of poverty, serve instead to entrench poverty, thereby reproducing the very conditions in which violence can flourish.
We must have the inclusion of several critical elements in the formulation of an efficacious plan to mitigate and eventually eliminate poverty in America. Ignoring the facts, won't fix the problem. It will simply mean we'll be having this same conversation again, sooner or later.
Here are just a few of the factors, aside from crime, that must be included in the conversation:
The Trump administration proposed a $1.5 trillion "investment" in America's failing infrastructure. Throwing money at the problem won't rectify the problem. As we've done in the past, you can't just build a bridge and then just walk away from it! It must have maintenance and let's face it, that maintenance requires a significant long-term, consistent investment. The investment into our infrastructure must be approached with an eye toward the future, acting pro-actively and preemptively.
When I was mayor in Oklahoma, one thing I noted and found problematic was the aged condition of our bridges and roadways, many of which were gravel.
One road, which happened to be the one that went right past the then mayor's home, was washed out more than once, but one time it was so badly damaged that the entire right side of the road collapsed falling down a cliff.
Before I became mayor, as a member of the City Council, I challenged our then mayor about the condition of some of those roads and bridges including the one in front of his house. His response was typical... "the bridge is fine..." the roads are fine, although every significant rain storm resulted in significant damage. As you know, the State of Oklahoma has quite the dubious history with storms.
After one particularly heavy thunderstorm, the bridge that he labeled "fine" was literally overrun with water that was so deep, you could not drive to the road to get to the bridge. The bridge was completely underwater.
This mayor refused to even consider any investment into the rusty, painted over bridge, located in a floodplain, that happened to be on one of the main highways in and out of town.
I dare say, in Nichols Hills, an affluent community an hour to the west of my city, the streets are pristine... no potholes, no floods, no missing street signs, well-lit streets and certainly no gravel roadways! The difference? Demographics!!!
President Johnson initiated what many (including myself) would later consider to be a failed war against poverty. The impetus for the initiative was a very high rate of poverty, at the time, of 19%. Think about what those numbers implied.
In 1964 in what is arguably the wealthiest and most powerful nation on the planet, 19 out of 100 American citizens lived in poverty.
Sadly, 53 years later, the rate of poverty in America has decreased only to about 14%, an approximately 5% reduction! So, these numbers would tell me that President Johnson's initiative did not work, and the numbers are equally as distressing today!
Fast forward to a new century, to new ideals, new principles, to what in 1964 would have been considered unimaginable technologies. Has this modern American really changed? Not so much! Comparatively, things may have in fact gotten worse.
The efficacy of any initiative developed to mitigate and obliterate poverty must first acknowledge poverty and its roots, else we’re simply placing a Band-Aid on a festering wound.
No battle plan will accomplish its goal unless it first acknowledges the capabilities of the enemy that you're seeking to defeat.
Tactics implement strategy by short-term decisions on the movement of troops and employment of weapons on the field of battle. The great military theorist Carl von Clausewitz put it another way: "Tactics is the art of using troops in battle; strategy is the art of using battles to win the war."
We're fighting a different kind of war. Our ultimate strategy is to win the war against poverty in America. Let’s talk about our tactics for accomplishing that victory.
The minimum wage when I came out of high school, circa 1969, was only $1.60 per hour. You could buy a gallon of gasoline for 19 cents. A pack of cigarettes was 25 cents. A loaf of bread was 19 cents. A first-class stamp was 8 cents.
I bought my first car... brand new... for less than $4,000. Today, a 2017 Volkswagen Beetle has a base price about $20,000.
So, we've seen huge increases in most every category except the minimum wage, $7.25 per hour. Here's the part that makes no sense to me. What you could buy in 1964 for $1, today will cost you $8!
So, the dollar is worth more today but buys much less?
In 1974 I bought my first home at the age of 19 in Denver. I paid $14,800 for my small two-bedroom home. Today, if you were to buy the same 695 square foot home, it would cost you $292,599! The current occupants purchased the home in July of 1994 for $36,500. The increasing cost of surviving, much less living, has created somewhat of a fiscal paradox.
As you see, the problem is complex but the very worst thing any leader can do is to try to cover the problem with a Band-Aid.
To be frank, I would not even attempt to tackle this problem unless I had full confidence that together, we could find and implement a solution. It’s not just that though… lives literally hang in the balance and it’s incumbent upon our leaders to think outwardly and forwardly… considering the plight of others before they consider themselves.
That’s what the sacrifice of public service is all about!
Fifty years down the road, historians will not be telling our grandchildren and great grandchildren about our failure. They'll be touting our successes. Why? Because we're doing it for the right reasons. We're working on behalf of the people of the United States of America.
I need you to do us a huge favor. I need you to send me a letter, yes and old fashioned, snail mail, letter. In the letter, I want you to tell us about the problem in your neighborhood.
Ask yourself... what exactly is the problem as you see it? You can answer it better than I can... at least for yourself and those around you.
Send your letter directly to me at:
DAVENPORT FOR AMERICA 2020
WAR ON POVERTY
PO BOX 267, LINWOOD, NC 27299
Let's make it happen. I am committed to becoming a part of the solution. I refuse to any longer be a part of the problem. Join me and let's make it happen!
I'll be sharing some thoughts about the Trump proposal to eliminate food stamps and replace them with food boxes for the poor.
Until then... blessings to you and yours.
I've often suggested that the so-called minimum wage in America is antiquated. We need to push for a living wage that adjusts according to the region of the country. Yes... I've heard the non-nonsensical rhetoric in opposition but the facts are the facts. The cost to live in California is much higher than in place like Mississippi or Oklahoma or even North Carolina. If you've ever lived in the DMV (District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia), you know full well that the cost of living there is through the roof. In our nation's capital, which has among the highest violent crime in America, the cost for a decent home is going to be in the neighborhood of about $500 per square foot. Comparatively, in OKC, the number is significantly smaller, approximately $111 per square foot. Do the math!
The only answer to the problem is to raise the wages of the people that actually do the work in these huge corporations and place a permanent cap on executive level salaries. Decrease the exponentially crazy wage disparity in America.
As an example... the CEO of CVS makes 422 times more than the average employee in his corporation. 422 times the amount!!!
We desperately need a working pay rate system that begins, at the very lowest, $15 per hour but increases in certain areas, regions or states where the cost of living is so much higher.
If you don't support and defend the right of the media to report the news as they see it, without bias and without interference from government officials, then you don't support one of the most basest tenets of the United States Constitution (freedom of the press).
For this president to continue his relentless attacks against all news media outlets (except for Fox News) suggests that this president has violated his oath to the American people... to SUPPORT AND DEFEND the Constitution of the United States.
That is an impeachable offense!
Good evening friends... in case you haven't heard by now, President Trump announced his intent to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate change accord. Despite this administration's continued contention that their actions are for the benefit of average Americans, the real truth is obvious. Mr. Trump clearly exhibited his intent and purposes by appointing a class of people just like himself... billionaires... to senior positions in our government.
How dare he suggest that he cares even remotely about the economic well-being of America's "lower" class... he mentioned us without mentioning us in a speech where he referred to those "on his level".
So, when you put mouth where your money is... then that's saying something. Usually, it's the other way around... but not in Mr. Trump's case.
There is no way that the party of "equals" that make up this president's cabinet, can possibly remotely understand the needs and concerns of the average American and thusly it’s not possible for them to respond to them. It's just not possible.
With Mr. Trump's announcement, the United States technically becomes the only country on the planet that has not signed onto this accord, which is designed to protect our planet from the growing problem of catastrophic climate change.
Climate change, global warming, greenhouse gases, polluted streams, radionuclides in our drinking water, chemicals in the soil and ground water... these are all very real problems that are only being exacerbated by this president's blatant disregard for America and Americans.
I could not be more angry listening to the introductory remarks by Mr. Pence today... the glowing accolades of his boss’s accomplishments. I'm sorry sir... gentlemen... I haven't seen them. I've heard lip service. I've seen you enrich yourself. I've seen you lie to the American people. I've seen you thumb your nose at the system of checks and balances. I've seen you completely ignore the rule of law. I've seen you ignore your oath of office in such a lackadaisical fashion that in a court of law it would constitute "contempt".
There are some of us that genuinely do love our nation. There are some of us who have committed ourselves to act in the best interests of someone other than ourselves.
My apologies friends... I didn't intend to write another book... but I did want to share my thoughts. Thanks for listening. Have a safe and blessed evening.
In a blatant attack against the United States, against the environment, against the planet, a bill was introduced in the United States Congress to eliminate the EPA. These sort of attacks that favor the oil fat cats are becoming more prevalent in this administration. We the people cannot permit these anti-American attacks to succeed.
To terminate the Environmental Protection Agency.
Mr. Gaetz (for himself, Mr. Massie, Mr. Palazzo, and Mr. Loudermilk) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce, and in addition to the Committees on Agriculture, Transportation and Infrastructure, and Science, Space, and Technology, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned
To terminate the Environmental Protection Agency.