TOM DAVIES: The Verdict — A Real-Life Version of ‘Wag The Dog’

I had the goofiest dream last night. The president of the United States, in a panic, placed a call to the president of Russia seeking guidance. It went something like this:

POTUS: Sarah Sanders, get the Russian president on the line. Don’t call your daddy for permission to make the call. Just call!

Sanders: I’m calling on behalf of the president of the United States to talk to President Putin.

Russian operator: Which president?

Sanders: We only have one president.

Russian operator: What’s his name?

Sanders: President Donald J. Trump.

Russian operator: Oh, that one. Our president will accept your call, and he’s on the line.

(Sanders hands the phone to the U.S. president.)

POTUS: Good morning, Vlad, this is the Donald!

PO-Russia: You will address me as President Putin! OK, Little Donny what do you want now?

POTUS: Well, Vlad, err … President Putin … at the direction of Mr. Mueller, the telephone recordings and records of just about any type have been seized from my lawyer’s office.

PO-Russia: Well, what the heck do you want me to do about it, Little Donny?

POTUS: Did you happen to give my lawyer any of those pictures you’re blackmailing me with?

PO-Russia:  You mean the ones in the bedroom with the hookers?

POTUS: I mean any pictures of anyone anywhere that involve me but not Melania!

PO-Russia: No, no, I didn’t give anything to your lawyer … not that I’ll admit to, anyway. By the way, Donald, our informants tell us it was not Mueller who seized those records. It was a United States attorney in New York.

POTUS: How’d you know that?

PO-Russia: Because I read the newspaper headlines and watch CNN after I read your daily briefings. You ought to try it, too.

POTUS: Forget the advice crap, Vlad … err, President Putin. Seizing all of my attorney’s records is going to give my enemies way too much to talk about. I know you’ve allowed the Syrian people to be gassed a number of times recently. In this country, we don’t care if you burn, mutilate, disembowel and otherwise murder men, women and children, but gassing is just a bridge too far. If I give you a heads-up to move your troops and anything of significance out of the way, how about I blow up a couple of empty buildings over there? That way, people will think I give a damn. It’ll take the focus off my problems.

PO-Russia: OK, Donald, you can conduct a single raid … but do be sure to state you’re going to bomb the hell out of us before you don’t. We’ll let it pass this time, and you can claim you won. Gee, this sounds just like that capitalist movie “Wag the Dog”!

POTUS: Vlad … err, President Putin, what are you talking about? Never heard of it! I don’t go to movies, I don’t read, and I don’t listen to anyone but myself. I am my own best source of information. That’s how I can run this country a lot like a dictator. Just look — Congress lets me do anything I want. Maybe a couple guys whine a little. The rest do nothing.

* * *

Yes, it was a dream — or a nightmare — but it’s all too real in the light of day. The president ordered a single strike on Syrian targets, gave the Russians time to warn the Syrians to clear out anything of value and then bragged, “Mission accomplished.”

It speaks volumes that there was no military push back by the Russians after American, French and British missiles struck targets near Damascus. The Russians may not feel superior to us, but they are sure as hell are not afraid.

Why have so many people, including Trump’s official TV network, Fox, overlooked the multiple additional gas attacks on the Syrian people over the past year? Perhaps it’s because back then the U.S. attorney hadn’t just seized records from Trump’s attorney.

Some say it’s coincidence. The president says, “Mission accomplished.” I say, “Oh, crap!” Amen.

TOM DAVIES: The Verdict — Amnesia, Anyone?

Do you still remember Sept. 11, 2001? That’s the day four planes were hijacked. Two were flown into the Twin Towers in New York and another into the Pentagon. The last crashed into the ground in Pennsylvania when its passengers overcame the terrorists who had planned to take out a fourth target.

The hijackers were 19 men affiliated with al-Qaeda. Do you remember that 15 of the 19 were citizens of Saudi Arabia? Two others were from the United Arab Emirates; one each came from Egypt and Lebanon.

In its infinite wisdom, the United States military was unleashed upon … Afghanistan. You know, a country that had nothing to do with the bombings. You figure that one out because I can’t.

The Trump administration has looked with favor upon the Saudis and the United Arab Emirates. Do you think it’s because, shortly after a meeting with the Saudis and the Emirates, U.S. firms signed enormous military contracts were signed with them? Do you also suppose it could also be because lucrative and much-needed financing was suddenly made available to the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, to bail his family real estate company out of substantial, pressing debt?

We still have a large troop presence in Afghanistan. We talk about the serious opioid crisis in our country; what seems even more serious is that Afghanistan is the greatest supplier of opioids. Why isn’t our country attacking the supplier-growers on their own ground, rather than only concentrating on the cure for overdoses? With all of our electronic surveillance capabilities, including the use of drones, the military could greatly diminish the drug pipeline. They are already there. Why hasn’t their mission changed?

Perhaps if we were constantly reminded that 115 people die every single day from drug overdose, we would focus more clearly on the source of the supply.

In Syria, we have troops in harm’s way. The president has said we should get out “quickly.” No sooner had he said that when Syrian President Bashar Hafez al-Assad authorized the use of chlorine gas against his own people.

Maybe it’s just a coincidence that the Russians benefit if we leave or are thrown out of Syria.

As we view situations such as the one in Syria, it reminds me of the days before and during World War II as the world, including this country, stood by and did little as the Jews were slaughtered by the Nazis. If you believe we didn’t know what was taking place in Europe during those times, I have some hot air to sell you from my backyard.

We all see the same news reports of the slaughter of men, women and children in Syria. Bombs, rockets and artillery shells are not selective when it comes to death.

To bring the bad news closer to home, think about Puerto Rico and Michigan. Puerto Rico has endured months without essential infrastructure, including electricity, because for some reason our leadership can’t or won’t make use of the National Guard or active-duty military and their combat engineers to assist them. Restoration would make a wonderful peacetime practice for war. Where else could they get better on-the-job training.

More than three years have gone by, and people in Flint, Mich., still can’t drink their lead-tainted water. Engineers from the military or the Guard could come in with supplies right now, but that hasn’t happened. The government talks a lot but the talk is not matched by action.

We need thinking men and women in Congress who can get it through their heads that they represent we, the people. That is not happening now. It’s hard to argue with that fact, notwithstanding your political affiliation.

The world is in turmoil. That includes our own country. We need meaningful, considered, thoughtful discussion. Then comes the hard part: prioritizing and acting first upon our actual needs, then upon our wants.

When so many people with so much money are running the country, the regular people are shortchanged. The rich get gigantic tax cuts, while the average person gets a pittance … and often thinks that’s just great.

If the wealthy were taxed like the average citizen, and if we stopped spending on military items we don’t need (as Dwight David Eisenhower warned us so long ago), we could develop a balanced budget. Some of these problems do predate the current administration, but the worst can be laid at its feet. Amen.

TOM DAVIES: The Verdict — Discrimination Is Alive In America

In the era of Trump, you don’t have to wonder about racial discrimination and profiling. It’s out of the closet and on full display.

Native Americans (you know, the real Americans we somehow called Indians) were denigrated and their lands and culture stolen and just about destroyed by the Palefaces — the good old white guys!

The racists are back out of the closet now. In January, a Navajo legislator from Arizona was verbally attacked by armed Trumpers demanding to know if he was in the United States legally. My God! So many people, so few brains.

The president has signed documents allowing the Immigration and Customs Enforcement to detain pregnant women who are undocumented (they aren’t white) and deport a veteran who had served two tours of duty in Afghanistan, a married father of two. (The courts have since ordered that he be readmitted to the U.S.). He has also signed an order allowing drainage of oil spills into our waters that primarily affects reservations.

I could go on and on … and I will. Much of the damage being done to our country is under the radar. Few seem to notice.

A lot of the changes unduly harm Native Americans. That’s something that has been going on in our country forever. Recently I saw two photographs of Indian prisoners in handcuffs. In one, they stood by the railroad sometime in the 1800s. The other pictured members of the same minority handcuffed at Standing Rock just last year, surrounded by armored vehicles and law enforcement in military camouflage. It was a stark reminder that while there has been change, overall, there’s been not so much in the world of minorities.

Anyone who has a working TV or access to paper or electronic news knows about the many questionable killings of black men by police officers. Even when being caught on video, these men who should never have worn the uniform blast away and “murder” unarmed people of color. These incidents rarely happen to whites.

Last week unarmed Stephon Clark of Sacramento, Calif., was shot eight times, six times in the back, by uniformed officers. He was in his grandmother’s backyard holding a cell phone in his hand. The police had been on the lookout for vandals who broke into cars (yup, that’s when they always use deadly force — not-t-t) and happened to spot him.

What they did next shows why black men rightfully fear for their lives in some parts of this country. The officers’ original claim was that Clark attacked them and they feared for their lives because they thought his cell phone was a gun. Later they said they thought it was a crowbar.

Twenty shots were fired. The autopsy concluded that he was moving away from the police as they fired those shots, not toward them. Interestingly, right after the shooting, you can hear the police on the video … telling each other to turn off their sound and cameras.

The autopsy showed that the injured Clark lay alive on the ground for several minutes, but no one rendered aid. Perhaps it’s true that he would have died even with medical assistance; but they didn’t even make an attempt.

Reminds me of another young black man, Michael Brown of Ferguson, Mo., whose body lay in the street for four hours after being killed before it was removed.

Reporters asked the White House press secretary if the president was going to comment on the Clark killing. Her response: “It was a local matter.” Any other administration’s response might have noted “the unlawful taking of a human life is a civil rights violation, and the Justice Department will investigate.” (Not Jeff Sessions, though.)

White school shooters are called “troubled youth.” People of color are called “terrorists.” This racial discrimination just has to stop.

Maybe it’s the blood of my father running through my veins that makes me feel so strongly. Judge Ronald Davies did not tolerate racial bias. He proved it when he ordered the immediate integration of schools in Arkansas in 1957. That was the way I was brought up. It tells me the Trump administration gives no hope for people of color, including our True Americans, and this must end.

The young people who marched on Washington March 24 — in crowds far larger than Trump’s inauguration — have it right. Change is needed, it is required, and we adults ought to join the younger generation to bring it about.

Remember how Nazi Germany treated its minorities, its elderly, its infirm? Remember when no one said anything to oppose them? Well, by God, this isn’t Nazi Germany, and we the people are going to stand and be heard.

This isn’t new. The world before Trump was not perfect for minorities, either. But now the country needs to change in spite of his administration. So let it be written; so let it be done. Amen.

TOM DAVIES: The Verdict — Deterring Crime Means Serving Serious Time

I was all set to hang Rick Santorum out to dry this week when, as usual, someone derailed my chain of thought and sent me in a new direction. This morning, it was Fargo Police Chief David Todd speaking on KFGO Radio. He expressed a concern that took courage to say out loud. And he is spot on.

The state of North Dakota, in its infinite wisdom (not-t-t), has limited the prisoners who will be accepted in the state penitentiary. Because the Legislature rarely sees beyond its collective nose, and because they didn’t know how to budget, the local communities are paying the price. Convicted criminals who should be spending time in prison are instead serving shorter sentences in our county jails, in home detention and too often on probation.

One can criticize the courts, the prosecutors or the defense attorneys for this situation, but that wouldn’t really address the situation. Take defense attorneys out of the equation first. They do what they are supposed to do in representing their clients.

The prosecutors and judges have an entirely different problem. They are caught between the realities of the cost of incarceration, the limitations in housing prisoners after sentencing and the fact the problem has not even (to my knowledge) been discussed recently.

Chief Todd should be commended for having the courage to speak up on this issue. His department apprehends the criminals, as they are charged to do. It then refers the matters to city attorneys or the states attorney. City attorneys are not part of the problem, since their cases remain in Municipal Court and the Cass County Jail.

Instead, the state’s attorney faces an entirely different problem. They have to determine whom to charge, what to charge them with, and — upon plea or conviction — recommend the sentence to the judge. Then the judges have to weigh all of the factors before sentencing.

In his radio interview, Chief Todd referred to a career criminal who was convicted 50 times in 2017 and told investigators he made $200,000 that year selling stolen items, mostly from Walmart and Target. The last time he was convicted, he received just 18 months rather than several years and is likely to be on the street again in seven months.

A repeat offender thief, burglar and nonviolent offender does not deserve this kind of break by default because the state is too uninformed to repair a problem. It is not right that a repeat criminal be given a break just because the state won’t accept them in prison.

If you think of burglary as a victimless crime, you have not been the victim of a burglar. My lake place was ransacked years ago. If it could be moved, they took it — including washers, dryers, electronics. You name it, they took it.

Now visualize someone ransacking your own home here in Fargo-Moorhead! Believe me, that’s a trauma that is real. Those who do this once need their behinds severely kicked by the criminal justice system. When they repeat, they need housing at the State Pen … oh, but the state won’t accept them because they don’t fit the parameters of the kind of prisoners the system is accepting. Instead, they get a short sentence in the county and will soon be on the street again.

I’m sure some plea agreements are being made because of the refusal by the state, resulting in a lesser sentence. The state can recommend a sentence, but the judge is not required to accept it.

Based on what Chief Todd has to say about this sorry situation, and based on my own 40 years on the bench, I hope the prosecutors take a hard-line approach (not saying they don’t) and the judges impose the proper sentences … regardless of recommendations, and regardless of where the prisoner will be housed.

Our judges and prosecutors can shut this revolving door. The scofflaw repeat offender who Chief Todd referenced could have — and should have — been given the maximum. That’s how to show the community and law enforcement agencies that when they do a good job, the criminal will pay a just penalty.

Police, prosecutors and judges all have difficult occupations. When they fulfill their respective roles, we all gain. When they don’t, we all lose.

I am laying the blame for this sorry situation squarely on the state — not the judges, prosecutors and attorneys. Supporting your local police must be far more than just a saying! Amen.

TOM DAVIES: The Verdict — March for Life?

We should all be very proud of the youth across this nation, including but not limited to the Fargo-Moorhead area schools.

Moorhead, Fargo and West Fargo public high school students joined the national movement to stop the murder in our nation’s schools. They also plan to join the national movement that plans a march in Washington on Saturday (March 24).

Our young people know that the National Rifle Association has purchased politicians from both parties, and they’ve said, “Enough is enough.” Millions of these young Americans will be of voting age by the midterm elections. If that doesn’t give those up for election pause, then they deserve to be retired.

Let’s get one thing straight! This youth movement has been and is a March for Life — their lives. They don’t want to be slaughtered anywhere including their schools. They know the so-called adults in the room have neither the courage nor the common sense to do what is right to correct this national wrong!

Noticeably absent in our area was participation by religious schools, including my alma mater, Shanley High School. This is not a reflection on the students at these schools but on their administrations.

Apparently, it’s OK to spend a few days and much money to attend a Washington, D.C., March for Life opposing abortion, where the media is aplenty, but not participate in the local movement.

You can say these students are only involved in a gun control movement. If that’s what you think, you are a narrow-minded contributor to the problem. The participants are not single-issue marchers — they believe that once out of the womb, the human deserves the same protections as those who seek to protect them while in the womb.

Why in the name of God would religious school administrators feel it’s OK to be active in a Right to Life movement if the subject is abortion … and not this movement against murder of the living? You can talk until the cows come home, but you will never convince me that the Shanley students, if given the choice, would not have joined the nationwide school protest last week, and may yet join the marches Saturday.

I harken back to the days of the legendary Sid Cichy, coach and teacher at Shanley, and Oliver Lux, the dean of men, when the nuns ran the school. Had this situation arisen, I don’t doubt for a moment that the whole school would have joined the march with their blessings.

Father Lux was one large man who, when he leaned on a wall to have a smoke before he went into class, bowed the wall. He was a former professional football player. No one messed with him.

Cichy was not only a great teacher and coach but a very nice and decent family man. In my senior year, Sid gave me some great personal advice. One of my classmates had defeated me in every track race in my junior year. Sid asked me if I knew why my mate always beat me. I said, “‘Cause he is faster.”

Sid said, “No, it’s because he always tells you he’s going to beat you.” After that little talk, my senior year was outstanding. The mate never beat me again.

I share this only to reflect on what was — and what is now. All of our students want to be involved in the current march against violence and for common sense. They ought to be allowed to do so.

This is a lifetime moment for the youth of today. They have a mission called common sense and a message suggesting to the leaders of our country: “You’d better stop talking and start acting.”

The movement of today may well result in some well-deserved retirements from Congress. The young people remind us that all is not lost in America. We are going through some very tough times right now. These extraordinary students have already accomplished more in the last two months than all of the politicians since mass school shootings started years ago.

I congratulate them for their courage and hope that school administrations, public and parochial will support them. If they will not, perhaps there might be some retirements due there also. Amen.

TOM DAVIES: The Verdict — Are Young People Being Shortchanged?

I was watching a Facebook video showing a young man walking into a street pole; a young man falling into a pool; a young lady smashing into a glass door; a young man stepping in front of a moving car; and a young lady falling flat on her face after missing a step.

These people all had one thing in common: They were all looking at their cell phones and not where they were going. It’s even worse when they do the same thing while driving. That’s how accidents and sometimes death occurs.

Just look around at family gatherings, in town, at sporting events, at the lake. …  Young people simply can’t put down their phones and enjoy the real world. While I do have a cell phone, a computer and a tablet, I don’t live on them (at least, if you don’t count Facebook). I have to admit I’m beginning to resent those personal machines and how their owners use them.

I have a hard time watching this younger electronic generation marching to the beat of their electronic drummer. To be sure, given the murders of students in this country, our young people are doing what the adults up to now have not dared to do. They want the carnage to stop, and they are organizing to do just that. The courage of this new generation is not in question.

But I just wish there was a way to let them know what they are missing … without going through my own youth, back when dinosaurs roamed the Earth.

We had our electronic messages also. When the streetlights came on, we knew it was time to head for home. If the streetlights didn’t get your attention, then your porch light came on and you knew to head for home to avoid a grounding.

Daylight Saving Time would have created mayhem back in those days. Thankfully, it didn’t yet exist.

Back in my day, we knew entire neighborhoods — including everyone’s name and occupation. We knew the owners of the neighborhood grocery stores where our parents sent us to pick up whatever our moms wanted. We knew the names of the neighborhood bus drivers, the milkmen and our mailmen. In other words, we were connected to our surroundings personally, not through impersonal electronic media.

We organized neighborhood park activities. Most of us had our own disorganized softball, touch-ball, flag ball, baseball, basketball and hockey teams. The park boards slowly but surely caught up with us and came to organize the same things — but that was never the same as when we picked our own teams. By the way, never did we ever leave out someone because they weren’t talented. None of us were talented! That worked just fine.

In our neighborhoods, bullies weren’t tolerated. We all had older brothers and sisters. If someone gave us crap, they only did it once. Our siblings didn’t have to hit anyone. They simply explained the pain the bully would feel if they didn’t back off.

Kenny Hunt, a classmate of my older brother, went on to play for the New York Yankees. My eldest sister could throw a softball just as far as Kenny. (But if I use her name, she’ll scalp me.)

I guess the point I’m trying to recommend that young people take a timeout from their electronics. Use your phone when you need to, not just when you have nothing better to do. See the world and the environment around you as it is — not in a fog as you live instead in your electronic world.

There are so many thing to see, so much to do, so many friends to cultivate in this world of ours. It all works better in person than through a colored screen.

I wouldn’t trade my childhood for that of kids today for anything. But,then, I’ll be 79 on April 4, so some won’t care. By the way, if you want to make me happy, send cash April 4. Amen.

TOM DAVIES: The Verdict — But Did Justices Scalia And Burger Agree?

The National Rifle Association spokespeople like to use Justice Antonin Scalia as a supporter of the Second Amendment to the extent they claim you can’t place limits on gun ownership and use.

The NRA is devoid of integrity. It espouses its “love for the right to own guns, any guns.” The moment POTUS 45 declared to the National Governors Association, “”Don’t worry about the NRA. They’re on our side” … I knew that the BS (and I don’t mean “Boy Scouts”) train was back on the tracks.

Last week, I quoted the late Justice Warren Burger, who called the NRA leadership “pernicious liars.” Of course, Justice Burger would be considered a liberal judge with whom the NRA would disagree.

It should therefore come as a surprise that the late conservative Justice Antonin Scalia, often quoted as supporting the position of the NRA, did no such thing!

In 2008, Justice Scalia led a five-justice majority to recognize, for the first time in American history, that “law-abiding, responsible citizens” have a right to own a handgun in defense of their homes. Note: They said “handgun.” The case was District of Columbia v. Heller (2008). The NRA uses it to this day to support its gun-slinging positions. What the NRA has done is to use “selective reasoning.” I, therefore, will do the same thing — only I’m going to use “selective incontrovertible fact.”

A passage that has come back to haunt the NRA because people who can read are talking about it right now is Scalia’s subsequent warning that people shouldn’t read too much into the fundamental right he helped announce. Scalia emphasized that “long-standing prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms,” were still fair game.

Justice Scalia opined that the Second Amendment is restricted to weapons “in common use at the time” and further stated it left the government with many tools for combating handgun violence, including regulation.

Since the Heller decision, lower courts have upheld numerous restrictions on the sale and ownership of guns. On many occasions, including twice in the last year, the Supreme Court has refused to hear lower court appeals of cases regulating ownership and sale of weapons in which regulation was approved.

There is a profound disconnect between the actual meaning of the Second Amendment, as it is understood by courts, and the political uses of the Second Amendment, as it is invoked in federal and state legislatures and as a basis for attacking politicians who think in good faith about how best to save lives.

If you are one of the folks who like to debate the weapons issue, just remember — the reason the federal government ducks gun regulation to this day is that the U.S. Congress is owned by the NRA. States, however, are free to regulate and protect their citizens. That seems the only way to proceed until the upcoming midterm elections.

The wonder of the youth of today is that they are not tolerating the cowardly comments and positions of politicians anymore. They are taking action. Many millions more will be able to vote for the first time during the midterms in November.

If you want to watch how successful these students are, watch the flip-flops (at least in talking points) that congressional members are now making.

I totally support the upcoming student protest demonstration planned for March 14 in Moorhead and hope that Fargo and other communities will join the Moorhead students in supporting the cause.

For those who say students should not demonstrate — that they should stay in school and shut up — I say what I’ve said to the NRA: You go to hell, and let our young people demonstrate the courage and guts the adults don’t have.

If you believe that government regulation of weapons will cause it to confiscate all of your guns, then wear your Nazi emblems on your shirt sleeves where they belong — because that’s how you must view this wonderful country of ours.

We live in trying times, but the good times will return. It’s Mueller time. Amen.

TOM DAVIES: The Verdict — The Revolt Has Begun

When the current president of the United States calls someone a coward, he speaks as an expert on the subject.

A coward is defined in a number of ways, each fitting him to a T.

The dictionary says it’s a person who lacks the courage to do or endure dangerous or unpleasant things; one who is excessively afraid of danger or pain; and, as in the case of an animal, afraid and depicted with its tail between the legs.

The president — who claims to know more than all the generals and who claims his military high school class was equivalent to serving in the military, the man with the biggest mouth and emptiest head that has ever occupied the Oval Office — calls officers who responded to the Florida shooting cowards!

Apparently, if he had a pistol and no bulletproof vest, he’d still have charged into the school and shot the mentally ill young shooter himself. He claims anyone would have done that — charged a gunman armed with a semiautomatic high-powered rifle. It didn’t occur to him that protocol might have suggested a delay until the armed and trained SWAT team arrived. Nope, he’d have run right in … and he’d have been shot on the spot.

But never mind. He didn’t have to make the choice himself. No one can get in the head of those lightly armed officers who waited the two or three minutes for backup, but nope, it is easy for him to shout “coward!” from his bunker in the White House.

Maybe, just maybe, he and the NRA might want to review the reports of the physicians who treated the 14 teenagers and three teachers wounded at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Perhaps he should consult those who observed the wounds of the mortally wounded to see just what type of damage the AR-15 caused. They said the victims’ bodies were damaged in ways that can only be described as war injuries. I read that, and I was stunned.

The president and his NRA and Russian supporters want little to no change in the gun laws. That’s notwithstanding the fact that he is always safe behind his Secret Service protectors, and the NRA does not allow weapons of any type at its own conventions.

His suggestion that teachers be armed shows his total disconnect from reality. Moorhead Chief of Police David Ebinger got it right in a newspaper interview last week: Arming the teachers is not a good idea.

Since the president knows little to nothing about what teachers actually do, I can enlighten him (since I know he reads my column). Teachers educate our children. Teachers have to purchase supplies out of their own pockets for the kids because of funding cutbacks. Teachers have the toughest job in the world without the pay such a vital job requires. Teachers do what they do because they love their work and they love their students. But 45 is too out of touch to understand that.

Mr. President, have you ever so much as set foot in a public school?

With his thoughtless comments, the president has accomplished one thing I find very positive. He has caused our young people to issue a call to arms, so to speak, not seen since the protests of the 1960s. He has created an atmosphere in which the youth of America have joined the women’s movement to demand action and accountability.

If the politicians ignore this combined movement, they will be looking for new jobs after the next election. The figures that name the names of the politicians the NRA has bought and paid for have been published again and again. If you want to see the whole list, Google it.

The late Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger called the National Rifle Association leadership “pernicious liars.” He, too, was an avid hunter and owner of guns; but he was outraged at the NRA’s lies and misrepresentations about the Second Amendment.

What Justice Burger said in the past is certainly still true today. Now, as always, the NRA is pushing back against even the most sensible gun regulations. Thankfully, by doing so the extremist group is losing corporate sponsors. Just as it has purchased politicians, it understands that when its own revenue is cut, its leaders will have hell to pay.

For its weak-kneed response so far in response to what’s happening in this country, I say to the politicians: Suck it up … or go find another job. And to the NRA: Go to hell.

Here’s what I suggest in the meantime, while these important political discussions take place: Install metal detectors in all schools. Mark some doors “exit only,” with alarms that sound if someone tries to prop them open, and leave it to local law enforcement and the school administrations to decide the protocols if alarms go off.

Let teachers teach! Amen.

TOM DAVIES: The Verdict — Sold! The Congress Of The United States

It’s been a long time since I’ve felt so absolutely convinced that the future of our country will be secure. The reason is our youth … the youth who have been maligned, criticized and bullied by the adult world as though there were no good kids left.

I’ve always understood the kids were taking an unfair hit from the superwise adult world. But their time has come to fight that disrespect. Wow, am I proud how they are standing up!

While the president and members of Congress have been bought and paid for by the National Rifle Association, these kids have seen the wolf in sheep’s clothing. Now they are on a political hunt.

As much as I deplore the NRA’s leadership, you can’t fault a company or a trade association for legally pushing its products. You can’t really fault them for making huge political contributions to their political allies.

What the NRA does is all about business — dirty business, to be sure, but entirely legal. What our morally bankrupt politicians do next, though, is an entirely different matter.

“Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission” held that political spending is a form of protected speech under the First Amendment. The ruling stated the government may not keep corporations or unions from spending money to support or denounce individual candidates in elections.

The case struck down a controlling federal law when it was decided in December. In so doing, it opened our system to more corruption and graft than even God himself (herself) could anticipate.

We are human beings. Humans vote. The damned corporations are neither human nor can they vote … but they sure can buy votes now on behalf of their human owners. Once the spending floodgates were opened, the greedy politicians parked their morals, their consciences and their values by the side of the road. They were literally purchased with corporate contributions to do their corporate masters’ bidding.

To allow a small number of well-funded entities to in effect buy politicians is wrong. It’s time for Congress to revisit this matter. It needs to pass a law to restore sanity, and then to comply with it. Present laws can be rewritten to comply with the court’s legal objections. But God forbid anyone in Congress to dare do that!

We are the only country in the world that witnesses consistent attacks on our own children. Gutless leaders like Speaker of the House Paul Ryan tell us after each attack that we shouldn’t overreact, we shouldn’t have a knee-jerk reaction. What he has meant and what has happened every single time is that Congress just doesn’t act at all.

In recent days, the president has used the latest massacre as an opportunity to grin at the camera and give a thumbs up. Thumbs up to the murder of more of our own children!

But that’s enough of the negative comment today. Now, on to the positive. Across the nation, children — some of them old enough to vote, and many more who will be by the midterm elections this fall — have said ENOUGH! They say, “You’re killing us, and no one is doing anything but talk.”

They are right. In 1968, the youth movement eventually caused us to withdraw from Vietnam, where some of our finest were being killed on foreign soil. Now our children are being killed right here at home — and instead of withdrawing military weapons from the scene, the adults argue about how they have a right to them. Sooner or later in the absence of political action, today’s young people will find a way to stop the madness. They will shame the politicians into doing what is right.

The U.S. Supreme Court has twice in the last two years upheld the right of the states to regulate weapons of mass destruction. The two states involved that won these cases have done just that.

The Constitution reserves the right to weapons and to a well-regulated militia! We have the Reserves and the National Guard. They are the ones who by law are entitled to have the weapons of death.

God bless the youth of our nation today. They know what needs to be done. They aren’t waiting on the promises of a president who can’t lead and a Congress that can only follow. Now, if only parents nationwide can follow their example. The issue is life and death, and the time for action is now! Amen.

TOM DAVIES: The Verdict — Help And Believe

Around the country and right here in Fargo-Moorhead, there are victims of abuse, both men and women, who suffer in silence. They are silent because few believe them when they voice their concerns.

The dumbing down of America at the national level does not help. Look at the people who the president has surrounded himself with:

  • Rob Porter, accused of abusing two ex-wives.
  • Steve Bannon, charged with domestic violence.
  • Steve Wynn, resigned after being exposed as a serial abuser.
  • Andy Puzder, accused of domestic violence.
  • Cory Lewandowski, accused of battery domestic assault.
  • And Donald J. Trump himself, accused by 20 women of groping and sexual assault.

Our president supports the men without offering one word of condolence to the female victims. Our congressional majority and most members of the minority generally sit without comment, thereby giving silent approval to the men and disbelief to the women.

To be sure, there are also men who are vilified and beaten by their female partners. But as men, they are ashamed to admit this to anyone because it would reflect badly on their “manhood.”

At both state and national levels, people who spoke so sanctimoniously about their moral superiority are resigning in droves after having been caught in illicit affairs, as well as pedophilia. We get what we elect!

We don’t need to play the blame game. What we need is truth. That means when there is a claim of abuse, we as a people have to listen and act. Yes, there may be an occasional false alarm, but I’d bet the facts show them to be few and far between.

As a people, we have to be concerned with the welfare of our neighbors — men, women and children — and that means we must listen. In schools of all types, every report of abuse must be investigated, not shoved under the rug. That requires people’s participation.

In Fargo-Moorhead and our surrounding communities, if you simply Google “counseling and abuse services,” you will find many professional agencies that provide help to victims of rape and assault as well as domestic abuse, including both physical and (just as important) verbal abuse. Safe houses and medical services are available to help, and we have the best lawyers in the country to provide assistance.

If you have a friend or acquaintance who needs help, don’t just sit and worry about them. Take a chance — get involved! Try to help them help themselves. Lives can be saved and years of abuse stopped by convincing the people who need help to get it.

Once they know they can seek assistance with their privacy insured, they may take that first big step.

The odds are that when you first learn about abuse, it’s not the first time it has happened. We as human beings have to get involved and forget the cute action names that are used. Actual help and guidance are not just a catchphrase. They are an act of kindness towards those who need kindness the most.

I know it’s not easy to get involved. But I’d rather lose a friend by trying to help them than sit by and whine as I watch them suffer.

It’s not a matter of what women must do to be believed. It’s what every one of us needs to do when we hear the sound of pain. If you hear it — act. If you can’t act, call one of the many agencies in the community to find out what to do next. They’ll be a great resource.

You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink. The same is true with humans: You can show them how to get the help they need, but in the end, it is their decision whether or not to accept it.

For too many years, men have been passing laws and telling women what they can and cannot do with their own bodies. Now it’s time for the men to butt out. Concerned people must to take off the gloves and attack this problem.

No one wants to break up families. Nor do we want individual family members to be broken down. Get involved or don’t complain. Amen.