TOM DAVIES: The Verdict — Me Too?

There has been quite a movement across this nation to focus on demeaning and horrible things happening to women in this country. To be sure, the stories on the national stage deserve the attention they are receiving.

Let’s put the brakes on the current outcry, however. Let’s study the issues and do more than sensationalize and talk.

Khizr Khan, an American of Pakistani descent, is the Gold Star parent of a fallen hero. Then he criticized then-presidential candidate Donald J. Trump.

Myeshia Johnson is the Gold Star widow of fallen hero Sgt. La David Johnson.

Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Fla., was in the car with Myeshia Johnson on the way to Dover Air Force Base to accept her husband’s remains when 45 placed a call of condolence. Wilson had been a mentor and family friend to the Johnsons for years and was in the car as a friend, not as a politician.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., another bona fide hero, spent five years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam under the most horrible circumstances.

Judge Gonzalo Curiel is an American-born federal judge of Hispanic heritage who was overseeing the fraud case against Trump University in San Diego.

And Donald J. Trump, the current president of the United States and leader of the Free World.

Let’s start with President Trump, who in normal times we’d have expected to be as a role model for our children — a man who won the Electoral College but lost the popular vote in a country that’s currently deeply divided.

For the first time in history, the president of the United States has openly criticized a Gold Star family, that of Khizr Khan, an American of Pakistani descent.

He attacked Sen. McCain, an American hero, saying he didn’t like men who were captured.

He attacked Myeshia Johnson, the Gold Star mother of three with a child on the way who’d taken offense at his tone-deaf attempt to offer condolence. There obviously was miscommunication; but rather than apologize or stay quiet, the president attacked her. Of course he did; she is a woman of color.

He attacked Rep. Wilson, the longtime family friend, who heard Myeshia Johnson’s whole conversation with the president. She was supported in her interpretation of the conversation by the widow herself. Rather than take the high road and apologize, admitting there may have been miscommunication, he went tweet-crazy. But then, she too is a woman of color.

Judge Gonzalo Curiel, one of many federal judges the president has personally attacked, was said to be “incapable of being fair” because he was Hispanic and ruled against the case involving building 45’s wall between the U.S. and Mexico. Judge Curiel is an American of Mexican heritage, so of course that made him less than an honorable man.

* * *.

Harvey Weinstein is a Hollywood producer who’s now famous worldwide because of sexual misconduct toward women spanning decades — including allegations of rape, harassment and assault. He may now hold the record for more allegations of sexual misconduct than any man in history. I’ve lost count of the number of women who have come forward with their stories. They have explained legitimate reasons why they did not say anything publicly until now. Of course, he is a multimillionaire, so he feels he can use women as he wants.

We have certain churches in this country that even now do not allow women to have leadership positions. Yet they scream like hell that they protect and value women.

We have legislative leaders who howl like a pack of wolves that women and children must be honored and valued, yet do little to address the issues for fear of offending certain individuals or groups.

Men who take advantage of women and children are the scum of the earth.

What this country needs right now are men who will raise their sons to respect everyone, regardless of gender or color.

We need women to urge their daughters to respect themselves and not allow the male of the species to treat them like objects.

We need the general population to stop talking and start acting — by word and deed — to let everyone know that each life is valued, and that no one at all has the right to devalue them.

We need religious leaders from all faiths to get out of politics and go back to preaching the values promoted by our Creator. We need them to remind everyone that the color of one’s skin is just that: color. It is not something sinister, not something that diminishes them.

We need politicians to remember we didn’t send them to the Capitol to represent their party. Their job is to represent the people who elected them.

Most importantly, we need people to take off their blinders, get the facts on candidates and issues and only then use the power of their votes.

With the exception of the man who is our president, there’s not much truly new in what has been happening to this country. What is new is that the news media and social networks are shining the light on what is really going on — as opposed to what we might like to think is happening.

Values count. Family values count the most. If we don’t pull our collective heads out of the sand and care about each other, then all may be lost. In my opinion, this last election has brought a lot more than Trump into focus. It has spotlighted a lot of shortcomings. Our goal now is not to whine and moan but to do what is necessary to bring us back to the greatness our military, alive and deceased, fought for.

If not now when? Amen.

TONY J BENDER: That’s Life — Potpourri

One of Us

The other day, I ran into a friend who wondered why I couldn’t get with the program, like the rest of the Republicans in my neck of the woods.

I explained I’m not really anti-Republican, I am pro-common sense. Since these days we are entitled to our own facts, along with entire networks to support them, please allow me my delusion.

Continuing with said delusion, I told my friend I actually appreciated real conservatives, like William F. Buckley and Barry Goldwater, both of whom are spinning in their graves so fast these days, you could use them for horizontal drilling.

My friend told me the reason nine out of 10 voters and four out of five dentists in the state supported Trump is “He’s one of us.” Which is why he wants to roll back the estate tax to save those of us with $5.49 million in the bank. Whew. Close call.

I can appreciate the way some folks are sticking with the president in the same way I appreciated the time my cat got one of those sticky mousetraps pasted to his fur.

Some people have veritable shrines to Trump in their yards, or on the sides of weathered barn buildings.

Me? I have a shrine to Melania in a more discreet location.

Because I don’t think we all have to wear our politics on our sleeves. Let mine remain a mystery to you.

Disavowing Harvey Weinstein

It’s been a good week for conservatives because they finally got a new liberal sleazeball to demonize in Harvey Weinstein.

Bill Clinton has been the standard bearer for quite a while. With occasional appearances by Anthony Weiner, who has the best political perv name of all time. At least, until Peter Dingleberry gets elected.

For quite some time, the party of family values has dominated the scandal category. I’m not saying sleaze doesn’t cut across party lines, it’s just that most liberals are too busy smoking pot, collecting welfare and hugging trees — treesexuals abound in the party — to get elected to anything. When Diane Feinstein, at 84 and running for office again, is one of the fresh faces of the Democratic Party, well, need I say more?

Conservative pundits have been licking their chops and are demanding liberals publicly disavow Weinstein. Taking bold leadership on the issue was President Trump, who said, “I’ve known Harvey Weinstein for a long time. I’m not at all surprised to see it.”

And now, a moment of silence for Irony, who died in that very moment. She is survived by two sisters, Hypocrisy and Obliviousness. Officiating at the service will be Congressman Tim Murphy.

It’s none of your business

Hypocrisy and Obliviousness were spotted in a meeting last week at the Fargo Public Library, when Govs. Doug Burgum and Mark Dayton, Sen. John Hoeven, Moorhead Mayor Del Rae Williams, Fargo Deputy Mayor Dave Piepkorn and Cass County commissioners Mary Scherlings and Chad Peterson held a closed-door meeting to discuss the $2.2 billion flood diversion project.

That’s $2.2 Billion, with a capital Bill. Your Bill.

North Dakota reporters have been kicked out of so many meetings lately you can identify them by the dusty footprints on their behinds. When EPA administrator Scott Pruitt held a meeting with Hoeven, Kevin Cramer and Burgum to discuss ways to keep oil companies from despoiling the state (Sarcasm is still alive), scribes were asked to leave the meeting.

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been asked to leave a party after an invitation. After two beers, hosts invariably start rethinking things. And they always want the lampshade back.

Burgum, who is reinventing transparency, said about last week’s meeting, “The primary reason (for barring the taxpaying public) is, we want to make sure everybody in the room feels comfortable sharing their concerns.”

I have some concerns of my own. But you know me, I don’t feel comfortable sharing them in such a public forum.

Obviousness, who was not allowed in either, was, however, comfortable expressing her feelings in the hallway outside the door, which was guarded by burly bouncers.

“All I know is clowns and politicians perform better under a spotlight,” she told a fake news reporter, who stood through the interview because his butt was really sore.

“And we still have the First Amendment and Democracy, don’t we,” she continued.

The place went silent.

© Tony Bender, 2017

TOM DAVIES: The Verdict — A Win For President Trump

In the interests of humanity, the lives of the people of our country should have priority. Hence, funds that would have been appropriated for the wall will instead be diverted to rebuilding the devastated communities. That would include infrastructure and replacement of utilities, as well as immediate provision of food and medical care, including the means to “deliver” them.

We have the means. Does President Trump have the will to put people first? He wants to claim he’s creating jobs; the suggested solution would certainly do that. Think about it! Using new and progressive ideas — new and improved roads, bridges, utilities, housing and businesses — all creating jobs and future growth in the affected areas.

I believe 45 hasn’t visited fire-ravaged California because that state didn’t support him. But that is no reason not to support the citizens who live there.

I know I have oversimplified this idea. But what is the down side? I can’t find one. I know the average citizen of this country would support the idea. We simply cannot afford to both build a wall along the entire border and support storm-ravaged areas.

He could also divert a few trillion dollars from the military budget to infrastructure without harming the military. Remember, there is a lot of money in the military appropriation that the military did not request.

Congress, which has a lower approval rating than a skunk, could gain much-needed esteem by growing a spine and taking prompt action to help those most in need. It appears to me that millionaires would not qualify as “those in need,” so you can tax them a few more bucks for the common good.

One can rant and rave about any president at any time in history, but this is a fact: A president can’t go rogue if Congress does its job.

What blows my mind is the fact that our elected officials at the national level can’t just sit down and compromise. During the Obama years, the R’s kept things from happening. During the Trump tenure, the D’s keep things from happening. These people have forgotten they represent us (the people), not their party and not the president.

I guess common sense is a lost virtue within our current federal leadership.

* * *

A Tennessee man named Bob Nichols, who I do not know personally, posted the following on Facebook. I can’t find the original source. The wording is so great that I’m just copying it verbatim. I can’t improve on the message:

“Some of the most incredible people I know voted for Donald Trump, and some of the most incredible people I know voted for Hillary Clinton. The people that I know that voted for Trump are not racist, misogynistic or hateful, and the people that voted for Hillary Clinton are not hateful and intolerable. If you are someone who woke up this morning and is going to start seeing people as who they voted for, and not as the person you have always known them to be, then you are what is wrong with America. I will never think any less of any person who has different views than me, because some of the most beautiful, inspirational people I know will disagree with what I believe all day long, but at the end of the day they are still that beautiful inspirational person I have always known them as. Don’t think less of people because some of their beliefs don’t align with yours, and don’t lose quality people in your life because you choose hate over love.”

Amen.

TOM DAVIES: The Verdict — Trump Knows More Than All The Generals!

Our blowhard-in-chief has outdone himself in his cold-blooded, uncaring and false statements relating to Puerto Rico.

If you remember World War II, then you remember Gen. George Patton and his tank corps rambling across Europe to show the Nazis the power of right. You’ll also probably remember the Army Corps of Engineers who paved the way for his tanks and the Big Red One providing support and logistics for the drive.

Now, how does this relate to Puerto Rico? Puerto Rico is a Caribbean island and unincorporated U.S. territory with a landscape of mountains, waterfalls and the El Yunque tropical rainforest. In San Juan, the capital and largest city, the Isla Verde area is known for its hotel strip, beach bars and casinos. Its Old San Juan neighborhood features colorful Spanish colonial buildings and El Morro and La Fortaleza, massive, centuries-old fortresses.

Puerto Rico is 100 miles by 35 miles in area, and its currency is the U.S. dollar. Capital San Juan has a population of 3.41 million as of 2016.

The citizens are Americans. However, if they wish to exercise their right to vote, they must leave the island and return to the U.S. mainland to do so.

When the Category 5 Hurricane Maria basically destroyed the island, the reaction from 45 was predictable and irresponsible.

For six days, while the Puerto Ricans suffered without food, water, electricity, medical services and supplies, how did El Doofus 45 spend his time? He tweeted his opinions on the NFL protests, thereby deflecting attention from his own looming personal problems. He did likewise with the hurricane victims by attacking the mayor of San Juan, who was pleading for help. Again, he deflected attention away from the Mueller probe!

Our Deflector in Chief has no moral compass. The man whom he finally put in charge, three-star Gen. Jeff Buchanan, has said he’s never seen such damage. Meanwhile, El Dumbo was complaining that the citizens were asking others to do their job — when, in fact, just the opposite was and is true.

While it’s true that FEMA did provide food, medical supplies, generators and medical supplies to the airports and docks of the country  for a prior hurricane, what our smarter-than-all-the-generals president did not do was direct the military to provide what was necessary to enable the country to start to rebound. That greatly compounded the problems. Without telephone and electrical service, the citizens had no means of communication. They did what they could, and many died in the process.

Imagine being a diabetic in need of insulin. Think of individuals with lung problems and all kinds of life-threatening conditions that require electrical-powered medical equipment and medical staff.

With heat in the range of 90 to 110 degrees, and without air conditioning, water and food, how were these people were supposed to take care of themselves?

Had Generalissimo 45 consulted with real generals, he might have learned the following: Combat engineers are required to repair and prepare the roads, bridges and air strips for heavy equipment and other military support. We understood that even back in World War II.

Take a little walk through history. Google “bailey bridges,” and look at pictures of some of the bridges that were constructed from those days through current military engagements. You will see spans of all types, lengths and conditions.

Though desperately needed supplies were stockpiled at airports and harbors in Puerto Rico, the roads were inaccessible. Access to airports was limited. The number of helicopters, essential to provide supplies to outlying rural areas, was totally insufficient.

Had the military immediately brought in combat engineers, they could have put their experience in repairing roads and bridges into action immediately. In the process, they’d have gotten those stockpiled supplies out of the airports and docks to the people who still need them.

I hope it’s true that things have improved, but it’s not nearly fast enough. While El Chumpo spent his time relaxing at his personal golf course (at taxpayer expense), the mayor of Puerto Rico who called him out was in waders plodding through flooded areas looking for survivors.

Remember when President Obama took a vacation and 45 said that, if he’d been president, he wouldn’t have time for vacations? Yeah, I remember that, too. We all should have known 45 was lying, as his lips were moving when he said that.

I apologize to those who think no one should speak about an American president like I do, but I have never suffered liars and fools, and he is both. The people of Puerto Rico, our fellow Americans, deserve much better than they have received.

When 45 visits the island this week, may he leave his air-conditioned comfort and go into the rural areas. He needs to personally view all those people he has been condemning and the conditions they find themselves in … through absolutely no fault of their own.

They deserve better, and so do we. The Deflector in Chief is doing his best to stir up controversy to keep the Mueller investigation out of the headlines. But sooner or later, he’ll run out of gas. One way or the other, justice will prevail. Amen.

TONY J BENDER: That’s Life — Hurricane Donald

A big wind made landfall last Wednesday in North Dakota, and when I woke up the next morning, North Dakota was great again.

A KX News morning show anchor giddily recounted her excitement about President Trump’s visit and how she and her family had gone out to “show our love for the president.” I was a little surprised her objective report didn’t include the phrase “glorious leader.”

Perhaps I woke up in North Korea. I missed it, did anyone kiss his ring?

Not everyone was happy about the president’s invitation-only visit to a refinery in Mandan. I know I’m part of the Fake News and Liberal Agenda that Rush Limbaugh blames for overhyping Hurricane Irma just to make a point about climate change, but it is a statistical fact 41 percent of North Dakotans don’t support the president.

Eleven percent of them have actually been groped by him. The other 30 percent have been goosed by Limbaugh.

This may explain why folks are increasingly desperate for medical marijuana to get here. “Please help us forget.” Anyway, don’t tell me the president’s not on something. He must be smoking covfefe during those 3 a.m. tweet sessions from the bathroom.

We should legalize covfefe, too, once we figure out what it is. The downside of building The Wall is we’ll no longer have easy access to covfefe pouring across our borders from Mexico. But we’ll have jobs picking tomatoes, if we’re not too busy mining coal, the energy of the future.

Once we get rid of people who are different from us, things will be grand. I think a raid at Norsk Hostfest would be a good start. And, yes, Jethro, we’ll call you for that Google programming gig once we send Ravi back to New Delhi.

And did you hear? A Dickinson company is in the running to build a prototype for The Wall. I hope they’re better at it than the folks in my neck of the woods. Every time I drive to Lehr, there are cows on the road. We need better fences. Or more-obedient cattle.

Naturally, there were protesters and counter-protesters in Mandan. You could tell them apart based on the spelling errors. I don’t think racists should be against “Muslins.” What would they do without sheets?

Noted white supremacist Craig Cobb was there to show his support for the president. David Duke couldn’t make it because he was rallying support to defend statues of Colonel Sanders, Ashley Wilkes, The Dukes of Hazzard and Foghorn Leghorn.

Some of the president’s supporters yelled at Trump protesters to get a job. Silly. Everyone knows liberal protesters work for George Soros. I personally feel he should get more credit as a job creator.

Meanwhile, the Trump supporters were apparently multitasking, working, while supporting the president. That’s the sort of gumption that made America great before Obama made it un-great. To be fair, he did make Kenya great again.

Pretty much everyone was mad about Sen. Heidi Heitkamp riding on Air Force One with President Trump. Liberals already think she’s too far right. Republicans don’t think she has enough deferments to even qualify for high office. Kevin Cramer was especially displeased. Not only did Heidi get the window seat, she made him go to the galley three times for salted almonds. You know how Leftists are when it comes to free stuff. They’re always pulling themselves up by other people’s bootstraps. Then, to top it off, the president actually said nice things about Heidi when he spoke because he wants her to vote for tax breaks for the rich, to help out the poor.

North Dakota is a shining example of giving tax breaks to rich guys. That has taken the pressure from North Dakota property owners, who are more than happy to absorb the cost of tax breaks for Big Oil. Because having too much disposable income can get downright confusing.

I mean where do you invest — Wall Street or Russia? The easy answer is always invest in tax breaks for billionaires.

This time, it’s sure to trickle down. I’ll bet oil typhoon Harold Hamm, who thanks to North Dakota Republicans, could finally afford to fly in from Oklahoma to greet the president, threw dollar bills out the window of his Lear Jet.

Technically, that could result in a $500 fine under stiff new littering penalties passed by Republicans to protect the environment. However, if you spill a few thousand barrels of oil in North Dakota, all you have to do is write, “I was a bad boy,” a 100 times on the blackboard. You have to ease into these things.

I’m not saying we’re easy, but all the light bulbs in Bismarck are being swapped out with red ones. It’ll be purdy at Christmas.

© Tony Bender, 2017

TOM DAVIES: The Verdict — Toward a UNITED States Of All Americans

Anyone who believes this country is — and always has been — great had their confidence reinforced by the climate-changing events that have destroyed so many lives and so much property in the past two weeks.

It is not the death and destruction that makes us great, of course. It is the way this country responded to provide help and aid wherever needed to the best of our ability.

Homeland Security Adviser Tom Bossert’s is a name you should remember. While I assumed the Environmental Protection Agency would have been in charge of the disaster relief, it is Bossert and his department’s Federal Emergency Management Agency who gives credibility and intelligence to it.

Bossert is intelligent, articulate and extremely knowledgeable (unique in the administration of 45). He focuses like a laser on what has happened and what this country is doing about it.

He does not puff himself up, does not exaggerate and does not attack people or institutions, but just gives you straightforward facts. When he doesn’t know, he says so … and promises to obtain the answer and get back with it.

He does not attack the press and does not demean or insult those who ask the questions. It is just beyond my wildest expectations that there is a spokesperson in today’s White House whom I admire.

It was Bossert who first announced the advance placement of responders. It was he who talked about the planning that went into stockpiling equipment for use in the disaster and who coordinated efforts with the military to provide disaster relief. He did so in a direct, easy-to-understand fashion without the grandstanding gibberish that other White House spokesmen have utilized.

This man is as good as it gets on the national stage.

I listened in awe as he discussed moving an aircraft carrier, landing craft and personnel into the area to assist in the Florida disaster as well as the other island calamities. He explained that both the carrier and landing crafts carried helicopters to assist in rescue and supply operations. The media showed the around-the-clock efforts of the military and Coast Guard while risking their own lives.

It was Bossert who carefully explained that convoys of gas trucks are headed to Florida and the outlying islands, along with security provided to the drivers to assure their safe destination and arrival.

He also described severe problems with infrastructure. Bridges and roadways have been damaged or destroyed. Power lines and backup sources of electricity — gone. Generators are needed to provide minimum power. No drinkable water supply! Gas supplies are nearly gone; even where they exist, there’s little power to run the pumps. Without power, there’s no air conditioning, no television, few means of communication and hell to pay if, right now, you have a medical or other kind of personal emergency.

I could go on for pages describing the horror of it all … and the great feeling I get when I see Americans, all of them, rallying to help their countrymen in need. Politics be damned! This is the America I know, responding the way I knew it could. In helping others, there’s no R or D or I. It’s all the American way!

Originally I thought the EPA would be the lead agency. Not so — and the reasons are the opposite of the goodness the disaster response demonstrates.

Virtually all scientists acknowledge the science behind the theory of climate change. Yet there are those who refuse to listen to them. You don’t have to hit me over the head with a mallet to get my attention on this issue: Climate change is clearly and definitely real. Yet the deniers in government, from 45 on up, are doing their best to kill education and discussion on the subject.

The mission of the EPA is to protect human health and the environment. Yet look what has happened. Mustafa Ali, head of the agency’s environmental justice program, resigned, citing gigantic budget cuts to the agency and its staff. Elizabeth Southerland, director of science and technology in the Office of Water, resigned after 40 years, citing the “temporary triumph of myth over truth.” She made clear that, contrary to new Director Scott Pruitt, there is no war on coal. There is no economic crisis caused by environmental protection, and climate change is caused by the activity of man.

The EPA’s own regulations require websites on climate change; yet Pruitt has ordered those sites taken down. Never mind that before he obtained his current position, Pruitt was known for his lawsuits against EPA. Guess who profits by his actions? Both he and 45. Rick Perry, energy secretary — though a nice, funny man -— couldn’t find his way to the bathroom without an aid. Perry is in lockstep with Pruitt on this.

My best guess is that 45 and his minions, after considering the nature of the current multiple disasters, will rethink their ill-informed rejection of climate change and learn that it is real — that man contributes to it, and only man can slow it down.

The Chinese, of all people, in a land where pollution abounds, have signed the Paris Accords. They pledge to continue their all-out efforts on pollution control. We’ve become one of only three nations on Earth to refuse to sign.

For those who don’t believe in climate change and that man can do something about it, answer this question: If the air is polluted from automobiles and factories — and when we clean up the autos and factories, the air becomes clean again — is that, or is that not, a manmade disaster and a man-engineered correction?

These hurricane disasters are ongoing. It will take much time to rebuild lives and property. As to property, I hope new building codes will restrict where and how lost structures are rebuilt. I also hope we finally hear an admission that climate change is real. Funding should be restored to the EPA, as well as other environmental agencies and programs that have been decimated because 45 can’t stand anything that Obama touched. That’s sad. We are all Americans. What is good for most should be good for all.

God bless this country and all of its inhabitants. Amen.

TOM DAVIES: The Verdict — The FPD ‘Ambush Railroad’ Is Back In Business

It seems like it’s been a lifetime since Chief Keith Ternes of the Fargo Police Department was ambushed by FPD brass, resulting in his retirement. My own view was that he was treated unfairly and railroaded by those who could have assisted him in improving the operation of the department. But such is not what happened, and history cannot be changed.

Last month, Fargo Police Chief David Todd announced the firing of officer David Boelke, a 15-year veteran of FPD. Todd “carefully reviewed the facts,” according to news accounts, and concluded that the claims of Boelke’s not filing reports; lacking empathy; being disrespectful toward the department; and GPS data that showed he did not go to locations he said he did on the dates indicated, all were confirmed.

I have known David Boelke professionally and seen and observed him as an officer for 10 of his 15 years of service. Because of illness, I resigned as Fargo municipal judge five years ago, so I have had no personal experience with him during that time.

I do know that if I had a dollar for each officer who missed a court date on a traffic matter during my years as a judge, I’d have a great savings account today.

I have not spoken personally to Boelke or his lawyer, Mark Fraase, about his firing from the police department and his appeal, but my 45 years on the bench —  if nothing else —  taught me how to gauge and judge people.

As to honesty, I cite Boelke’s self-reporting of a failed court appearance. That was not the act of someone who is not truthful … but it put the Ambush Train right back on the tracks.

A 15-year veteran of the police force, past president of the Fraternal Order of Police and four-time winner of lifesaving awards, he garnered and still has the support of the North Dakota Fraternal Order of Police. He is also married with children.

The GPS systems that the FPD Ambush Train relied upon in making its case have been shown to be inaccurate and not trustworthy. While Officer Boelke acknowledged he failed to file some proper reports (an act of truthfulness), the general charges brought against him by the Brass Hat Railroad would not hold up in a court of law. He passed a stringent lie detector test; while not admissible as evidence in court, that sure as hell says something to John Q. Public, whom the Brass-Hat Railroad is supposed to serve.

Boelke and his lawyer have appealed his firing to the Fargo Civil Service Commission. I can only hope and pray that they do not rubber-stamp this unholy action by the police department. Remember, this whole mess was triggered by an act of self-reporting a missed court appearance. The message the Ambush Railroad brass are sending is, “Don’t be honest. It can get you fired.” That’s just not right.

One of the Ambush Railroad folks, presented with evidence that the GPS system in FPD cars was not accurate, had no response! In Mark Friese, Boelke has one of the finest attorneys anywhere. Friese is a lawyer, husband and father, a military man and a former police officer himself. He knows what he’s talking about. In this case, he is outraged. But sometimes when city politics are involved, it’s like tilting at windmills or urinating into the wind.

I’ve observed this attorney since he started his practice in Fargo. When Judge Ralph Erickson is confirmed as a judge of the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, it is my fervent hope that Friese will be appointed to the federal district court bench to replace Judge Erickson.

Lest there be any misunderstanding, I know that most FPD employees are outstanding people who do their jobs, and do them very well. But when one person who admits to disliking Boelke is put in charge of investigating him, and also happens to be the one who recommends his firing, you have to wonder about the integrity of the investigation and those who order and do it.

I’m old-fashioned, I guess, but my years of dealing with people of all types tells me this man is not a liar. He does tell the truth. Even if the Civil Service rubber-stamps the Ambush Railroad, they must in good conscience strike the allegations as to the officer’s truthfulness and honor. To fail to do that at a minimum prevents him from obtaining law jobs in the future.

I find it odd that only a few months earlier, when Boelke was applying for another position (that might now be in jeopardy as well), the Fargo Police Department gave him a glowing report —  no problems. Then it pulls this dead fish out of their hat and drop it on an honorable man. Shame on those who did this to him!

* * *

Speaking of lying and mistrust, I have to mention our Idiot in Chief, POTUS 45.

After telling the DACA subjects they would not have to worry, he —  like every promise he’s made before —  turns it into one damned lie. He says one thing to get elected. Once in office, he does the reverse. His core followers are so damned stupid they just don’t care.

Integrity is important in the office and the one who occupies it. We cannot have one standard for white people and another standard for everyone else. Yet our elected leader lies. He cannot tell the truth.

Now 45’s minions have announced an end to DACA … his most evil act up to now. While he performed his photo op in Texas, where so many people have been harmed, he bragged about the size of his crowds as though he doesn’t fathom the pain and hardship the people are enduring. Meanwhile, his wife struts around in spike heels.

All of the video coming out of Texas rescues is absent any racial problems. People of all ages, colors and creeds are helping each other. Aid is pouring in from people from all over the. And yes, many of those needing help —  and many who are helping —  are the very same childhood arrivals whose presence is guaranteed by DACA.

Our racist-in-chief cannot seem to insult enough people; now he’s adding whole countries to his list. He idly threatens North Korea and at the same time chides our ally, South Korea. He has angered Great Britain, France and Mexico as well. He likes turmoil and can’t understand the personal harm he does to our country, its inhabitants (both legal and otherwise) and to nations abroad.

But the Robert Mueller investigative train has been overhauled and is rolling down the tracks with new employees and instruments of political war. Soon 45 may be writing a letter to his successor, not like the measured, professional one he received from President Obama as his term began.

The letter from 45 will read: “These federal prisons aren’t all they are cracked up to be.” Amen.

TOM DAVIES: The Verdict — Defying The Rule Of Law

Our current Liar in Chief, aka 45, has clearly demonstrated by word and deed what he thinks of the law. The law, in his opinion, does not apply to him or his friends. The time is coming when the Crown Prince of Clowns will pay the price for his racism, bigotry and his lawful but unwise use of the power of the pardon.

The third co-equal branch of government, the judiciary, has certainly been doing its job. The second co-equal branch, the legislature, seems to have forgotten that it is co-equal. Its members have allowed King 45 to stomp all over them.

Its members are being lumped into the “bad guy” category — the Democrats, of course, but also McConnell and Ryan, the Republican leaders of the Senate and the House, respectively — have all because they dare to question 45.

This man who claims he is the world’s best dealmaker hasn’t managed to make a deal since his election. The business community has learned the hard way that he cannot be trusted; corporate leaders have resigned in droves from his many commissions.

Once again, he who campaigned against the war in Afghanistan has switched his vote in favor of the war. However, at least he has listened to his generals, whom he fawns over.

King 45, who as a candidate once accepted another man’s Purple Heart with thanks, saying he’d always wanted one, flies in the face of his own multiple deferments from military service. But like other politicians before him, he has no qualms about sending other people’s sons and daughters to war.

Mr. Smart Businessman, who built his empire on using other people’s money and then either filing bankruptcy or just refusing to pay his creditors, hasn’t figured out the obvious. If the U.S. reined in the mad desire to win wars in countries where they cannot be won … if we quietly withdrew from some of these conflicts … they would continue (without any help from us) for decades to come, if not forever.

The United States, like Russia and Britain before it, will never be able to put a stop to violence that comes from tribal, political and religious factions that want nothing more than to kill each other.

Pull out of the Mideast wars, and, in a short period of time, watch our deficit shrink or even disappear. But God forbid if anyone talks about withdrawing!

We do not squander our future and our children fighting pointless foreign wars!

Note the only people who Trump has not dumped are his generals. He adores them. (They are, in fact, awesome.) It’s my belief he loves them is because they have done what he can never do: Command and lead men and women and earn their respect.

Consider the conflicting tones of all his recent speeches. He is for unity and peace; he is for racism and bigotry. He can’t stand anything about Clinton or Obama; he takes credit for everything they accomplished and gives credit to no one. And he says he wants the country to be unified!

Once again, 45’s true colors shine through. Does the name Joe Arpaio ring a bell? He’s the former sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona. He not only lost his re-election bid; he was convicted of criminal contempt in federal court for violating a federal court order to halt conducting the discriminatory and violent policing uncovered through numerous civil rights investigations.

And this same man was pardoned by 45 last week. The president pardoned the most racist, divisive lawman in this country. He is proud of him, calling Arpaio “a true patriot.”

Here are a few highlights of the life of this so-called “patriot,” compiled by The Atlantic magazine:

“The pardon that Donald Trump granted Joe Arpaio, the former sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona, sends this message to American law enforcement: If you violate the civil rights of Latinos while enforcing immigration law, the president of the United States approves — and even if you’re one of the vanishingly few sheriffs or police chiefs that the Department of Justice has ever charged with a crime, he’ll intervene to spare you.

“The pardon is thus a slap in the face to Latinos, and ought to be an affront to all fair-minded Americans who value the constitution, the rule of law, and the legitimacy of the system.

“For American citizens who look Mexican, or Guatemalan, or El Salvadoran, or Colombian, the pardon creates new vulnerability to racial profiling and other violations of the 14th Amendment right to equal protection of the law. Should outrage over the matter fade, Republicans will keep pandering to anti-immigrant voters by abetting rights violations against Latinos, knowing they won’t pay an electoral price.”

Again from The Atlantic:

“Trump’s decision is unforgivable. The president is a corrupt person with a perverted sense of justice, and he pardoned a corrupt sheriff who backed his political rise, beginning with a racist campaign to insinuate that Obama was a foreigner. They deserve one another, but Americans deserve better than either of them.

“If the Latinos who are threatened by this action and the decent people of all races and ethnic groups who are offended by it hold it against Republicans who support the Arpaio pardon or stay silent, the GOP will deserve every last election and vote that they lose, having flagrantly failed to stand up for the creed of liberty and justice for all.”

U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton convicted former Sheriff Arpaio of criminal contempt of court, finding he willfully ignored another federal judge’s 2011 order halting a traffic stop program that targeted illegal immigrants.

This was intentional defiance of a federal court order by a man sworn to uphold the law. Now the scofflaw sheriff is demanding that his original conviction be erased from his record. His lawyers argue that, since Trump’s pardon came before Arpaio’s sentencing, Arpaio lost a chance to get a retrial or to appeal his conviction to the U.S. Supreme Court, where he has had a petition pending to hear his case.

What 45 did for Arpaio was a slap in the face to the judiciary. In my world, I think this slap will come back to haunt 45 in the long run.

Space does not permit me to list all of Old Joe’s misdeeds here. Google them yourself … and be sure to set aside a good deal of time to list them. Why it took so long for Arizona to wise up to this miscreant is beyond me.

One thing is for sure: With men like the former sheriff and the current president in power, if you are a person of color, you have something to worry about. If you are white, you do not. It all reminds me of Russia — nyet, that’s 45’s line. Amen.

RON SCHALOW: The White Nationalist Next Door

Several days after my birth, we were driving home, up the big Third Street hill in Minot, and I was listening to Eisenhower speechify on the radio. It was a bit staticy, but I remember it like it was just several minutes ago. Frankly, he was boring.

President Ike was still in his first term and pledged to remain ever steamed at the Nazis, until flowers bloomed on the moon, at minimum. He was in the business of killing them not many years before becoming president, so Eisenhower didn’t have mixed feelings about Nazis. They were always bad. NOBODY compared. Over 400,000 Americans died in that war.

“During World War II, we we rushed to develop nuclear weapons because we were trying to defeat the Nazis, who, fun fact, pretty much all Americans thought were bad at the time.” — John Oliver

We liked Ike. He was stable, sane and looked better than fat@$$ Don in a golf outfit.  Eisenhower never tweeted and didn’t lie every 15 minutes. At the time, we had no idea that Dwight WASN’T getting up in the middle of the night to cuss out various people and talk smack on the White House party line. He behaved normally, to my recollection, and the clincher for me, Ike and I, looked liked twins when I was 3 days old. Bald as a Brunswick bowling ball and a pate as smooth as a newborn goat. My eyesight wasn’t fully operative, yet.

In 1957, the former general sent the National Guard into Arkansas, backed up by Fargo’s Judge Ronald Davies, to enable the Little Rock Nine, black youths, to safely attend school with the white kids. Dwight stepped up and did the right thing. Many whites weren’t happy. Too many still aren’t.

Dwight had dignity, and he was a tough SOB. Had Eisenhower witnessed the spectacle of Donald Trumps’s bat$#!* insane hee-haw tribalist airing of grievances for 77 minutes (all that was missing was the Festivus pole and the feats of strength) in Arizona, he would have latched onto Donnie John’s testicles with a pair of needle nose pliers and squeezed until 45 coughed up the keys to the country.

And if he knew that Trump was pandering to the tiki tots and their ideological inbred cousins, providing aid and comfort to the enemy, Ike would have done cool things, not approved by the Geneva Conventions, to Donnie with his two iron.

“You had a group on one side that was bad and you had a group on the other side that was also very violent. nobody wants to say it, but I will say it right now.” — D. Trump

Nobody who stands up to heavily armed white supremacists is on any other side except good, but the alt-right knew how to interpret the president’s words. Fifty percent is a win for these @$$holes.

Many tried to convince us that hundreds were just there to to gaze into the bronze nostrils of Gen. Lee’s horse, Traveller, just one more time. Such malarkey.

And there are those like Fargo’s Scott Hennen, the frothing radio voice of the tattered fringe right over several blocks in downtown Fargo, who thought the sight of a marching herd of Nazis carrying kitschy Polynesian style torches and chanting racist favorites in an American city was a partisan issue. Maybe to his listeners, and Hennen’s twisted mind, but I would still like to think that most Republicans are anti-white supremacy. And certainly they are against a terrorist attacks, even if the perpetrator isn’t Muslim. Aren’t they?

Unfortunately, in North Dakota, Republican politicians are inclined to attach their campaigns to the mad king. Evidently, the Trumpster fire is still a popular figure with the N.D. GOP and its voters. And it boils to white identity politics, which isn’t new but was relegated to damp rock undersides with the other slimy critters.

Generally, being a racist wasn’t something you wanted to advertise. At least not in this state.

Then along comes the Trump idiot, hitting all of the right notes, for a range of bigots on the spectrum.

Mexicans are rapists, we’re going to build the best wall to keep them out. We’re going to make it so that an immigrant has to have a Nobel prize and be a gold medal Olympic pole vaulter in order to meet the new requirements for entry. The Muslim ban, that made no sense. Birtherism, that was a racial lie. Refugees can wait a few more years because the numbers to be allowed in have been greatly reduced. Transgender people can no longer serve in the military. A stone cold racist and cruel dick is given a presidential pardon. The dip praises a CNN pundit who was fired for tweeting a Nazi slogan. Donnie uses Pocahontas as a slur.  He’s currently screwing with the Dreamers. And then the equivocation on Nazis.

“Jews will not replace us, blood and soil, heil Trump, one people, one nation, end immigration, White Lives Matter, f**k you, fa**ots, and “Go the f**k back to Africa.” Some right-wing demonstrators called specific people “ni**ers” or “fa**ots.” Yes, good people.

“This city is run by Jewish communists and criminal ni**ers,” one @$$hole told Vice News’ Elspeth Reeve.

“As Jews prayed at a local synagogue, Congregation Beth Israel, men dressed in fatigues carrying semiautomatic rifles stood across the street, according to the temple’s president. Nazi websites posted a call to burn their building. As a precautionary measure, congregants had removed their Torah scrolls and exited through the back of the building when they were done praying.” — Reform Judaism

“For my part, if I should ever get the chance to confront Richard Spencer (white supremacist honcho), I think I’d conclude my cross-examination with the proposition that by his views and actions he had implicitly renounced his American citizenship and should therefore be deported.” — Steven Hayward, libertarian and conservative author

So, our North Dakota Republicans aren’t running away from this racist in the Oval Office and some who have called for ethnic cleansing. Their constituents evidently find Trump just swell. But, don’t believe me. Forum Communications employs a shill boy blogger, who carries vast amount of oil for his legislative pals, and was responsible for this headline:

“Port: ND politicos are treating Trump like an election year asset”

“Maybe Trump isn’t the political liability some would like us to think. Some will say otherwise, but how the politicians place their bets speaks louder than words,” Port wrote.

Sounds about right. We’ve been hearing the high-pitched squeals, only audible to beagles, complaining about migrant workers, refugees, Native Americans and the LGBT community for years, and someone has been reassuring those with concerns about keeping these groups in check. Some descendants of Europeans feel that white Christian identity is being threatened by ethnic diversity and multiculturalism.

Here’s what Port had to say before the election and prior to his forced Trump brand blood transfusion:

  • “While the left overplays the race card, Trump seems content to pander to actual paranoid racists.”
  • “Trump knows exactly how dumb his supporters are and has manipulated their ignorance to great effect.”
  • “The 2016 election for president now looks to be a competition between corrupt, bought off Clintonism and the former host of “Celebrity Apprentice” whose “America first” campaign has taken on the overtones of a modern sort of fascism.”

Perhaps the next time a legislative candidate knocks on your door, be sure to look through peephole and if you see a torch, latch the deadbolt.

“Since my boyhood, I had accepted without qualification the right to equality before the law of all citizens of this country, whatever their race or color or creed. In World War II, I had affirmed my belief in this principle through orders desegregating many Red Cross clubs, while during some stages of the fighting, I had sent into previous all-white units Negro replacements who not only fought well but also encountered little or no resentment from their comrades.” — D.D. Eisenhower

TOM DAVIES: The Verdict — When Media Are Shut Out, So Are The People

Scott Pruitt, newly appointed EPA administrator, comes to North Dakota for the first time. He is accompanied by Sen. John Hoeven, Rep. Kevin Cramer and Gov. Doug Burgum.

Meetings are held on the publicly owned campuses of North Dakota State University and the University of North Dakota, and the presidents of each institution are in attendance.

In Fargo, the media were banned from the event. In Grand Forks, police actually escorted media away.

The last time I heard, the federal government still represented We the People, and likewise our state elected officials. Odd, then, that they ban our news media, the source of information for most folks and the group who keep politicians (and everyone else, for that matter) honest.

I’m not sure, but I don’t think the presidents of the two institutions have the legal right or authority to ban media from a meeting on state property, absent special circumstances. That the attorney general of North Dakota attended the meeting in Fargo but was kept out of the meeting in Grand Forks (though he was in place) seems to support my position.

At least Sen. Hoeven, to his credit, said afterward that, in retrospect, the meetings should have been open and the press allowed in. I am a member of the Minnesota Newspaper Association and have a press pass of my own. Had it occurred to me that this might happen, I’d have gone to the Fargo event myself. You can bet the farm I’d have gotten in.

The reason I’m confident about my entry attempt is that anyone who knows me knows I do not bluff. I would have made so much noise it would have generated adverse publicity for 45’s minion; I’m hopeful that my cordial relations with NDSU and the Fargo Police Department would have resulted in my admission rather than my ejection.

If you think about it, Mike McFeely could have gone there with McPort … and used McPort as a battering ram. Oh, the opportunities lost!

But back to my point! Those elected officials, if they had the brains God gave a goat, would have told Herr 45’s lackey that in North Dakota, We the People rule, and we don’t tolerate or like secrecy at any level.

Just remember, my fellow Americans: When the media is banned from an event, so too are we — the people who elected the door-lockers.

● ● ●

I am in awe of and saddened by the events in Charlottesville, Va. A 32-year-old woman was killed by a mad boy in his car, and the terrorist seriously injured 19 others. Two state police officers were killed in a helicopter crash while on duty monitoring the protest and counter demonstrations.

This protest allowed the alt-right, neo-Nazis, Ku Klux Klan, white supremacists, anti-Semitics and white nationalists to march and spread their hate.

Whenever a tragic event like this has happened, prior presidents have immediately focused on the victims and the crimes and condemned them and those who caused them. But 45 waited a few days before he was forced to condemn the white supremacists’ actions. The hate groups have all publicly supported Herr 45, and he did not dismiss their support until the public reaction backed him into a corner.

The notorious online “fake news” site Breitbart News is a mouthpiece for race baiting and hatred. Its founder is in a sensitive position in the White House as one of the president’s most prominent advisers … with no security clearance. Not a discouraging word.

Yet when Kenneth Frazier, the black CEO of Merck Pharmaceuticals, publicly resigned from the American Manufacturing Council to which 45 had appointed him, the president immediately attacked him in a tweet. You see, Frazier was not impressed with the lack of proper response when the Virginia incident occurred.

I have four children. Not one of them, in their youngest years, ranted or chanted or howled or complained anything like the unbelievably childish current occupant of the White House. I guess what 45 needs is a good bottle of milk and a nice big pacifier.

I’ve watched and prayed for improvement in the White House. To the extent the two generals are now involved, it keeps my hopes alive. The secretary of state, however, has too many Russian investments for me to give him any credence. Worse, to this day, Herr 45 has not: 1) commented on the bombing of a mosque in the Twin Cities; 2) mentioned the loss of life incurred by our military in the last two weeks; and 3) said one single bad thing about his real controllers, the Russians.

If the driver of the car that killed the lady in Virginia had been black or, God forbid, a Muslim, 45 would have gone berserk and immediately condemned the actions. He wouldn’t hesitate for a second to brand it what it is — an act of terrorism.

We’re in a period of adjustment. Our troops in World War II did not fight and defeat the Nazis so that some terrorists could waive their evil flag. The only people who can properly wave the swastika were our own brave troops who took it from the enemy in battle … never some let’s-pretend-we’re-military fakes who proudly display both the swastika and the battle flag of the Confederacy.

We’re going to learn from the mistakes of the last federal election and get our focus back. The true America — the Land of the Free, the land that welcomes everyone — will once again take its place of prominence and leadership in the world.

It will take time to undo the damage 45 has caused … but undo it we will. The next elections will be the start, and I’m hopeful special prosecutor Robert Mueller will hasten the exit of 45.

By the way, next time you see Vice President Pence and 45 in the same picture on the TV news, is Pence fawning over and adoring 45, or is it just my imagination? I think since they started together, that’s the way they ought to exit.

Just a reminder: Judge Ronald N. Davies ordered integration of Central High School in Little Rock, Ark., to begin “forthwith.” A few years later, Judge John J. Sirica demonstrated that no president is above the law, and Richard M. Nixon left. I’m hopeful that the spirits of Judge Davies and Judge Sirica inhabit federal judges across this country — and that the courts continue to value the worth of our people and political institutions.

Finally, happy birthday last week to my favorite eldest daughter, Lisa Marie. Amen.