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.
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, reveals 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, its murder rate in 2016 (28 murders and non-negligent manslaughters per 100,000 residents) was in fact less than half the rate in St. Louis (60 per 100,000) and far below the rate of Baltimore (51 per 100,000).
The City of Detroit is currently listed as 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 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 offending 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 mitigate 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 an investment. Our 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 down the road to get to the bridge as you can see in the picture to the right.
This mayor refused to even consider any investment into the rusty bridge, located in a floodplain, that happened to be on one of the main highways in and out of the city.
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!
Fast forward to a new century, to new ideals, to 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 the fullness of the problem. 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.
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... what you could buy in 1964 for $1, today will cost you $8! 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 living is creating a fiscal paradox.
As you see, the problem is complex but the very worst thing any leader can do is to try to affix a Band-Aid to the problem.
To be frank, I would not even attempt to tackle this problem unless I had full confidence that together, could find and implement a solution. 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.Read more
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 speech last week when announcing his intention to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate change accord, President Trump suggested that coal represents America's future in terms of our energy needs.
Coal contains sulfur and other elements, including dangerous metals such as mercury, lead, and arsenic, that escape into the air when coal is burned. Burning coal also produces particulates that increase air pollution and health dangers. Burning coal emits large amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
Coal is not America's future. Coal has been a schoolmaster that pointed direction forward toward the development of more clean and renewable energy sources. Coal has been our guide but is not our captain. We must take advantage of the bright young minds who can help us to develop and implement new energy technologically-based advancements that create new jobs and leave a smaller footprint on our precious planet. What we do today will impact tomorrow!