Saturday, October 22, 2016

Time is running out Greensboro; how do you want it?

     Okay folks, you have a little less than a year to make a decision.  No, not you, the majority of the 11.5% that keeps voting this same weak city council back into office.  I'm talking to the 88.5% that for whatever reason stays home during city elections.  I know, city elections are inconveniently held in odd numbered years when no one else votes.  My belief is that it is designed that way because of that very reason.  Notice the bond issues are on the ballot this year?  Are you going to vote to give this bunch more taxpayer dollars to blow?  Can you as an individual citizen of Greensboro actually define "participatory budgeting" or just who receives and spends that money?  How about on what? 
     However, I'll leave the local economy, the horrible economic numbers and the lack of solutions this bunch possesses for a later time.  The more pressing issue at the moment is the absolute supporting and enabling of attacks on our public safety workers by city council and their agitating pals that have been never-ending over the past 2 years.  The main culprits have been documented here.  Nancy Vaughn and her bosom buddy Nelson Johnson are running rampant and out of control at the moment.  They do not support our Police Department no matter what Vaughn says.  Johnson hasn't supported anything but his personal message of hate for the past 50+ years and yet our Mayor has allowed him unprecedented access and influence over city matters.  This Mayor has allowed social issues to far exceed the actual business and day to day running of the city and created a downward slide for which she has no answer.  Nelson Johnson could care less about the financial and economic health of Greensboro.  He simply wants to call the shots, continue to see his name in the headlines and ensure he is in prime position to heavily influence or maybe even name the next Chief of Police himself.  He and his new partner in crime Lewis Pitts have been allowed unlimited access to disrupt council meetings with the Mayor providing absolutely zero consequences for their "out of order behavior".  Yet this past week, she dares lecture Councilman Tony Wilkins on council decorum when he correctly requested Councilman Jamal Fox to identify the elected officials he was accusing of being intolerant of Muslims.  Even Councilperson Sharon Hightower, the epitome of council disruption, chimed in to scold Mr. Wilkins.
     We all know who Fox was referring to because whether the council believes it or not, we can count; that would be 8 Democrats to 1 Republican.  Gee, I wonder who Jamal was targeting?  This is the same bunch who would also have you believe that there is no gang problem in Greensboro.  "Nope, doesn't exist" they say.  Dismantle that gang unit, we don't need them.  Just the very suggestion that we have gangs in Greensboro is somehow "politically incorrect".  No sir, not here; we are progressive and we love and tolerate everybody.  Gang problem in Greensboro; noooooo!

     POPPYCOCK!  (I can't say horseshit because my Mom reads my blog)

     My last 8 years I worked as a School Resource Officer at Grimsley High School.  I saw first hand the existence of gangs.  I also observed the lack of organization in gangs that occurred when the gang unit of the Greensboro Police Department identified and certified gang members and assisted in removing their leaders from the streets.  Proactive pursuit of these gangs resulted in a reduction of activity and membership.  The disbanding of this unit has allowed new leaders to emerge and a full-fledged recruiting effort to rise. They are once again becoming more organized. These recruiting efforts include gang initiation acts of violence and criminal acts.  Proactive policing allows you to stay on top of these problems.  Ignoring that they exist or proclaiming the problem "solved" is simply displaying ignorance of the "real world".  The council should be listening and deferring to law enforcement expertise, not trying to dictate how the department performs its' job based on an agitator's opinion and agenda.
     This council in general and this Mayor in particular have gone out of their way to enable and appease the agitators in this city.  Nelson Johnson doesn't represent a fraction of the African American community in Greensboro.  He is not a trusted leader.  Yet there he is, disrupting and interrupting formal council meetings and making veiled threats about "Greensboro getting ready to explode".  Why hasn't anyone on that council and specifically the Mayor not ask him to explain that comment?  If he believes (and he apparently does) that he can make such bold statements then get him on record as to what "explode" consists of?  He makes the public statement, call him out and get the public explanation.  Is he threatening violence?  He certainly has a history of threatening and committing violent acts.  There is a difference in a constitutionally guaranteed right to assemble  and a violation of NC General Statutes regarding inciting a riot.  This is a guy that stood by Jorge Cornell, a leader of one of those gangs that "don't exist" in Greensboro.  You may have forgotten about him because he has been away in Federal prison for crimes he committed in relation to that gang city council says "doesn't exist" here.
     Why am I talking about gangs and the political future of Greensboro?  Here is the reason.  This past week we have had an unusually high number of shootings here.  A security guard gunned down by a 16 year old while working at one of the only grocery stores serving east Greensboro.  Motive?  No argument.  No confrontation.  The shooter was participating in a gang initiation and believed he was shooting a uniformed Greensboro Police Officer.  How about a paramedic, one who saves lives no matter who they are, who steps outside to take a quick smoke break only to have a gun stuck in her face by a male displaying the red flag of the Bloods gang.  Why; to verbally threaten her that she and all other paramedics had better "watch their backs" insinuating that shootings and killings are imminent.  These gangs are actively recruiting, holding initiations and now are boldly accosting and attacking emergency service workers simply for wearing a uniform.  Police Officers, Firefighters and Paramedics all understand that the job sometimes puts their lives in harms way.  However, contrary to popular belief they are not required to lay down their life for yours.  And they certainly should not be in fear of random violence simply because we have a City Council and Mayor whose actions and policies cater to the festering of such actions.
     Nelson Johnson has publicly denounced the hiring of Wayne Scott over his preferred candidates beginning with Chief Scott's opening press conference.  Wayne has been operating behind the 8 ball his entire term with zero support from the council.  Johnson has constantly made reference to other violent riots and situations such as Ferguson, Missouri when speaking out against the police and Chief Scott.  The City Council has gone out of its' way to appease Johnson with the effect being only to embolden him to speak more rhetoric against police and push for more and more control.  He and Pitts consistently ignore decorum and requests to stop disrupting meetings yet the Mayor like an enabling parent continues to draw lines only to move them.  Mayor Vaughn, are you in with them or scared of them?  
     In the past year we have seen knee jerk reactions to nonsense that attack our Police Officers.  For instance a partially investigated news report on vehicle stops that when researched further was proven false.  The article was written by that bastion of journalistic integrity the New York Times and based on incomplete information provided by a local left wing journalist here in Greensboro,  When proven false by a study completed by a university (an African American researcher) the results were proven inaccurate and the article research incomplete at best.  Yet, council members who were "shocked and appalled" never walked that "jumped to" conclusion back nearly as publicly or loudly, allowing the perception that those problems were rampant.  As a result, policies limiting traffic stops, types of laws enforced and even officer discretion were implemented in an effort to "even up the numbers".  Officers have been unfairly punished and their reputations smeared in an effort to further appease Johnson.  The results of limiting and in some cases eliminating proactive police practices have led to a rise in the violent crime rate (25%) and attrition of our police force.  It has been reported through sources within the department that we are currently approximately 50 positions short.  The current recruit class started with only 22.  With High Point and Winston-Salem needing officers and offering competitive salaries and benefits, Greensboro is in danger of losing large numbers of officers.  Why would they stay?  It is obvious to them and anyone paying attention that the Mayor and the vast majority of City Council intend to continue to support and enable Nelson Johnson and all the other civil agitators with left wing extremist agendas instead of the men and women who do put their lives in harms way to protect us.
     Even thousands of tax payer dollars have been given out to criminals based on the threats of "civil unrest" and approved by "someone" in city government.  Why do I say "someone"?  Because when I filed a PIRT request for documents pertaining to a lawsuit, confirmation of payment and the person with the city that signed off on the authorization of payment, I was provided a copy of the lawsuit and confirmation.  I was told in writing that the information on the authorization was unavailable.  When I pressed further I was told in writing that there was no name attached to the check or file.  In other words, they would have us believe that we paid $10,000 to settle a lawsuit but no one authorized it.  This lawsuit was paid to a member of Johnson's Beloved Community Center and in the lawsuit he admits to violating the law he claims he was falsely arrested for.  We even told 2 officers that they had somehow done wrong when a judicial official said otherwise.  The case never was tried and justice was interrupted to appease.
     We paid 2 brothers $50,000 at the insistence of Johnson that a judicial official found probable cause to charge without them even bothering to sue.  Again, we didn't wait and see if they were convicted in court instead cowering to Johnson and his threats and demands.  An officer was smeared after having been originally cleared of wrongdoing in an administrative investigation.
     Now we have Mr. Yourse.  Mayor Vaughn publicly apologized to a convicted habitual felon who has a vast criminal history of committing felonious crimes of deception (frauds, false pretenses, etc)  She apologized for not allowing Mr. Yourse to break into his mother's house AGAIN and steal from her.  Mayor Vaughn and her council once again jumped to a conclusion that seems to fit her narrative and agenda.  I wonder how much tax payer dollars we will pay Mr. Yourse.  Once again, a judicial official found probable cause and once again the case will not be tried in court.  Once again, Nelson Johnson is involved.  When was it that the laws of the land were changed to allow political figures to take on the role of judges and prosecutors and determine when officers have made improper arrests?
     Yet, this is the climate that Nancy Vaughn and her council has created; police officers are wrong and the poor criminals need to be paid.  Disrupt a meeting as an agitator or supporter of Nelson Johnson; no problem,  Raise your voice to a condescending councilman that is accusing you of being an "elected official" that discriminates against Muslims and gutlessly refusing to say it out loud; then we have a "decorum issue".  I would pose the question "Mayor Vaughn, whose side are you on; law and order and public peace and prosperity or supporting progressive mayhem and chaos"?  No need; your actions have answered that question for us.
     Greensboro is and has been a "blue" city.  This is no longer about Democrats and Republicans.  We are now having trouble recruiting new officers.  We are now having to take extra precautions to protect emergency service workers that do not carry weapons to protect themselves.  The void of any confidence in our city government and administration by police officers is already leading to an increasing rate of attrition.  Morale is at the bottom.  Confidence in an undermined  police administration is non-existent.  Fear that Nelson Johnson will get his way in naming the next Chief of Police is very real.  Leaks in confidential information by subversives within the police department to council members such as Sharon Hightower are becoming the norm.  Quite frankly, one could surmise that a conspiracy may be taking place.
     Are you listening Greensboro?  All is not well.  New businesses already do not come here.  We have a "food desert" situation on east Greensboro in part to the lack of ability to secure and protect businesses.  Your police department is being attacked by subversive entities that are being allowed and enabled to operate by a lack of strength and leadership in our local governing body.  You have less than a year before you the voting citizen can correct it.  We need redistricting to occur.  We need new and talented citizens to step forward and lead.  We need citizens to stop believing media reports that support the nonsense that is going on downtown and speak up in support of your emergency service workers.  We are losing the fight against agendist with absolutely no regard for the welfare of anyone but themselves.  We have to take this next city election seriously.  4 more years of this and you will not have a police department to protect you.   

Wednesday, October 19, 2016


     "Whereas, we are saddened and outraged at the recent escalation of hateful rhetoric against Muslims, those perceived to be Muslims, immigrants, and all people of color, and we are particularly concerned to see political figures and elected officials leading this escalation and using it to gain power".
             -Greensboro City Council resolution from the October 18, 2016 meeting

     I only recently became aware of this "resolution" stuff when the council decided to make a resolution to tell our District Attorney how to do his job as they were apologizing to a convicted habitual felon for having the nerve to arrest him after not allowing him to break into his mother's house for the third time.  As it has been explained to me these resolutions are not introduction of ordinance or law and are only meant to be "suggestions" or perhaps "policy stances".  Fortunately, our District Attorney gave the previous resolution to reconsider charging a police officer in a case where he did nothing wrong (again) the appropriate consideration by rejecting it immediately for the piece of comedic material it was.  Our DA knows a good "joke" when he sees it.  So do I.
     As I watched the video clip of last night's episode of Progressive Smoke and Mirrors", my first thought was a very basic one; what the heck does this have to do with the effective running of city government?  Answer; not a doggone thing. This is another in a long line of resolutions, creations of "special" days, and targeting of a large quantity of Greensboro residents in an effort to deny, deflect and distract from the massive failure this Mayor's and this Council's policies and lack of action on important city matters has been.  The very wording of the above paragraph is hypocritical and Jamal Fox's efforts to not answer a question last night from Tony Wilkins by attempting to put him on the spot and offering to add Wilkins' name to the resolution was bush league at best.  Fox has followed Nancy Vaughn this past year, skipping merrily down the path of boisterous left wing extremism in lieu of actually presenting even one single morsel of positive ideas or legislation that would be helpful to his constituents.  You see, as happens everywhere else that progressive politicians have had significant time to rule. the economic failures are such that they have to convince city residents that social issues are more important to tackle than the business of running the city.  Deny, deflect, attack dissenting opinions and assign them the blame; take no responsibility.
     BUT, when in Rome......right?

Whereas, I am saddened and outraged;

That Greensboro has the highest unemployment rate and non-participation in the work force rate in North Carolina and YOU, City Council have done absolutely nothing to address it.

That Greensboro has the second highest rate of poverty of comparable cities in North Carolina and we are about to overtake Durham for first, and YOU have done nothing to address it.

That Greensboro has the highest percentage of food stamp usage in North Carolina and YOU have done nothing to address it.

That YOU still assess the highest property taxes in North Carolina on Greensboro citizens despite your failures in all other economic areas.

That Mayor Vaughn and her council minions have undermined the police department administration and imposed your extremist social agenda on how officers perform their duties, placing them in more danger than they normally would be, taking away their discretion and choosing which laws you deem unfit to follow.  This government suppression of proactive policing and refusal to enforce ALL state laws have given rise to Greensboro's violent crime rate; a 25% increase.  Mayor Vaughn and the Greensboro City Council are destroying our police department.

That YOU are allowed to make resolutions such as this one while providing zero evidence of your claim.  Yes, this is a claim; you are claiming that you have specific evidence that is unquestionable that there is "recent escalation" of these items mentioned in your resolution.  Since you are charged with representing the people of Greensboro we can surmise that you are speaking of Greensboro citizens.  To speak of anyone else would simply not be your concern or what you have been elected to do.

That council is wasting time and effort on ridiculous resolutions that accomplish nothing but further division and isolation of citizens that have no representation or voice on this council.

That Jamal Fox used this issue last night to "to gain political power".  Your amateurish attack on Mr. Wilkins and your grandstanding to the crowd was evidence of your lack of ability to bring anything positive to this city.  I'm used to you ignoring and deceiving the folks in my area of District 2 but now you seem empowered the past few months to be more aggressive in your criticisms of anything to the right of extreme left.  Quite frankly you look foolish doing it.

That city government has slowed to a social issue crawl, never seems to attack the real issues and has not come up with one effective idea to right the sinking ship that is Greensboro.  Our Mayor and her minions spend more time pissing off state legislature and giving undeserved thousands of tax payer dollars to criminals than they do governing.

That this council who regularly celebrates tolerance, displays absolute intolerance of any dissent to their agenda.  Was that really Sharon Hightower lecturing on decorum last night?  

     I could go on and on and on.  Rehashing what we know is now the consistent norm for this council would be an exercise in futility.  Only a sweeping change in our next city election will solve Greensboro's ills.  The only way that occurs is a sweeping change in our voter participation.  We know the 11.5% of registered voters that did vote is not a mandate by any stretch yet these left wing extremists council people act as if it was.  What do the other 88.5% think?  Or are they the ones with their house for sale and looking to escape to a place in North Carolina where the economy is trending positively?  Their choices are many; that's most every place but Greensboro.
     One of my facebook friends posted a thought provoking, insightful and seemingly accurate post.

     "Blue lives don't care about Red lives in Greensboro".

For a Mayor and Council that are constantly touting their ratings on tolerance and inclusiveness, why don't you try these traits out on your own population.  I found it very interesting watching Nancy Vaughn call down and invoke decorum on Mr. Wilkins last night.  When I see you do that as quickly and as fervently on Lewis Pitts or any of Nelson Johnson's crew, only then will I take you seriously.
     I make the resolution that we stop with useless resolutions that are specifically designed to cause more division and target citizens that do not agree with left wing progressive agendas.  Try to paint it anyway you like; this resolution was created to specifically target conservatives in general and yes Mr. Fox, Tony Wilkins in particular.  Your intent was to corner him into voting for this resolution or portray him as something he is not if he didn't vote for it.

     "I can attach your name to it if you want Mr. Wilkins?  Either vote yes or no"

You just did attach his name to it Jamal.  Bush league.  Non professional.  Cheap political ploy to gain power.  You used this issue to gain what you stated you were "saddened and outraged" about.  That makes you Jamal Fox, a hypocrite.  

Monday, October 3, 2016

Anatomy of a Coup; the Hostile Takeover of the Greensboro Police Department

     Just how did we get here?  What exactly is going on in city hall?  Yes, I know that there is a national phenomenon that is in style in which left wing progressive extremists take a "one in a hundreds of thousands" incident, force a rush to judgment and present the incident as proof positive the police harass and unduly arrest minorities.  Never mind statistical data to the contrary.  Never mind statistical data showing almost the exact opposite of what they have sensationalized to be true.  Throughout the country every incident involving the police using deadly force on an African American the past two years has made headlines unless the facts are so blatantly in support of the officer even the media cannot justify making a sensationalized report.  Our local extremists fanatics have been fanning the flames in Greensboro for years.  Now it appears we have a Mayor, City Manager and a council member so weak that the fanatics are getting their way.
     No police officer WANTS to shoot anyone.  The scrutiny and investigation, the post trauma of taking another life was hard enough before the Monday morning quarterbacks with their agendas showed up.  Is there mistrust of the police in this country? Yes, somewhat among minority communities, more so among criminals.  Is there mistrust among police officers of community antagonists and politicians in this country?  You better believe it.  I feel qualified to say based on my 29 years of experience as a Greensboro Police Officer that no working man or woman, civilian or sworn officer including most of the command staff currently trusts the Mayor, the City Council or the City Manager to do their jobs properly or merely support them in their jobs.  Mayor Vaughn's apology to a convicted habitual felon using a body worn camera video as proof positive of two officers misconduct was reprehensible on many levels.  It is also typical of a pattern the Mayor has participated in with her new bosom buddy Nelson Johnson the past several years.  Johnson has almost single handedly controlled the narrative from council and has intimidated City Manager Jim Westmoreland so badly that the police department has lost almost all control of applying officer discipline.  The events are investigated, Nelson Johnson says "that's not good enough for me" and the case is reopened with the officer(s) receiving new disciplinary findings that appease Johnson.  Does this sound fair to you; the most notorious civil agitator in the history of Greensboro and a noted police "hater" calling the shots?  That is exactly what has been going on since Nancy Vaughn has been Mayor.
     Every time the city has hired a Police Chief from outside the department (with the exception of Jeter Williams in the late 1940's) the results have been no better than "mixed" and ranging to disastrous.  The hiring of Ken Miller from Charlotte (or the dumping on Greensboro from Charlotte, depending on who you ask) allowed Nelson Johnson greater access.  He had already successfully lobbied to have a state historical marker erected depicting his fictitious version of a gunfight by gaining council approval.  That move to appease him only enabled him to venture further into city policies and operation.  Miller was unequipped to understand real police work and all too willing to give in to a more progressive council's whims.  It didn't take long before the council with Miller's assistance were determining legalities of cases that only Judge's have the authority and expertise to decide, even after other judicial officials whose job it is to decide such legalities had already ruled.  By going down this road, Nelson Johnson and his new band of cronies including the Mayor and City Manager, now began to dictate what was a lawful arrest and what was not.  That sounds almost as ridiculous as appointing this same agitator to the search committee for the next Chief of Police once Miller retired to go to Greenville, SC.  Yeah, that happened too.
     Which brings us to where we are now.  You see, Nelson Johnson did not get his way.  He wanted to dictate who and what the next Chief would be.  His internal candidate did not make the finals.  His external candidate was simply not as qualified as any GPD officer the rank of Captain and above.  The committee got it right and the City Manager bumbled into the right decision though I'm not sure he was going that direction before the identity of the external candidate was leaked thus the Thursday announcement.  Nelson Johnson's response; he immediately held a press conference denouncing the hiring of a racist Chief and concluded his press conference by leading the chant "Ferguson, Greensboro...Greensboro, Ferguson".  He has preached against and hounded Chief Scott from the very moment he was introduced as Chief and still refers to him as a racist when speaking to attendees of his church .  He has NOT supported him in any way and has participated in subversive activities designed to have him removed so that he can convince the City Council in general and the Mayor in particular to replace him with his desired candidate.  I wrote a blog article that was published in the News and Record supporting the selection and comparing the qualifications of Chief Scott and the external candidate.  I supported Chief Scott then.  I do support him now.  I believe that recent department and disciplinary decisions have been unduly and unlawfully influenced by the city council and city manager and based on outside articles, antagonistic demands and an absolute lack of understanding of the law enforcement function.  Remove these ridiculous obstructions that are being built by the Mayor, City Manager with influence from Johnson and he could succeed.  Nelson Johnson's alternative is completely unacceptable.    
     A  few officers in the command staff of GPD have managed to ingratiate themselves to Johnson.  Maybe they have seen the handwriting on the wall and ambition or even survival instinct have taken over.  Whatever their reasons they have had a devastating effect on the department and its' officers.  Disciplinary investigations now are routinely re-opened with disciplinary actions changed or added coinciding with Johnson's demands.  Legal rulings by magistrate's, officials whose main purpose and job description is determining probable cause for arrests, are being overturned by pressure from Johnson with the backing of the City Manager, neither who have the legal expertise or authority by law to do so.  Pressure from the council and Johnson have seen restrictions placed on GPD officers in enforcing laws (equipment, chases) that the state clearly have legislated to enforce and limited use of tools such as tasers beyond what state law requires.   By allowing this to occur, the City Manager has placed the city in greater civil danger allowing Johnson to demand money whether a court has decided if the law was broken or not.  Obviously, a conviction in a court of law greatly diminishes or eliminates civil responsibility.
     Examples; here are three.
     One involves a local, known police agitator that represents and advocates for the Beloved Community Center which is Nelson Johnson's organization.  In his lawsuit in which he declared his arrest for Interfering with a Police Officer was unlawful, he actually admits to violating the law.  A magistrate found probable cause for the arrest.  The case was dismissed at the city level and we paid him $10,000.  I filed a PIRT request to obtain a copy of the lawsuit, confirmation of the payment and who authorized it.  I received the copy of the lawsuit and the confirmation of payment, however I was told that no information on who authorized the payment was available or could be located.  The city paid $10,000 of tax payer contributions to an admitted law breaker and did not record the name of the authorizing city employee?  Incompetent or was I lied to?
     Then there was the Scale's brothers case in which a video showing absolutely nothing that the officer did wrong was used as a means of declaring racial bias and harassment.  The arrest was lawful according to a magistrate and the enforcement action included a custodial arrest for an outstanding warrant.  The video was portrayed as the officer being "too physical" however nothing on the video depicted excessive force.  Nelson Johnson represented the two brothers and bullied the City Manager into re-opening the case and adding punishment that included days off without pay to an officer that had already been served his findings.  Mediation was attempted to appease Johnson and though he according to sources acknowledged "a good try" he intimidated the City Manager by threatening civil disturbance if the officer wasn't punished further.  To top this off, someone once again authorized payment in the sum of $50,000 without a lawsuit being filed and decided to drop the charges without the benefit of a court trial allowing a qualified judicial official to decide what the evidence in the case showed.
     Now, we have a convicted habitual felon with over 50 entries on his criminal record that got caught attempting to break into his mother's house.  He has done it twice before.  His mother thanked us for stopping him and confirmed he had been banned from the property.  He had outstanding warrants.  He attempted to call help to assist him.  He was lawfully detained.  He did not comply with lawful orders.  75% of his 50 criminal entries on his record was for crimes of felonious deception; frauds, false pretenses, etc.
     The body worn camera videos were released in this case.  No, wait; they were leaked in this case to City Councilperson Sharon Hightower without the officer's consent.  Who inside the department leaked the video?  I suppose one would have to determine who had something to gain by doing so?  The video is shown, the Mayor starts apologizing for this horrible case and Johnson starts depicting it as "a white officer that just decided to beat some black guy that was sitting on Mama's porch."  He punched him in the face they said; he repeatedly told the officers "I'm not resisting" meaning they roughed him up for no reason.  Unfortunately, the officer is the one they railroaded in the Scales' case so demands for his termination and arrest for assaulting this poor victim were immediate although criminal and internal investigation found no such evidence.  They insisted the District Attorney's Office re-examine the case and change their decision and charge the officer, even voting on a resolution to do so.  Oh the horror!
     Then the evidence came out.  I've watched this video several times.  I have yet to actually see a punch in the face.  I understand entirely why the cell phone became a problem.  I watched the body language and heard the verbal cues that officers are trained to see and hear.  I have been there before; many, many times.  I saw a suspect that was refusing to comply therefore by definition of the law was resisting regardless of what he was saying.  We now know that the suspect was attempting to grab items off of the officer's utility belts and had one of the officers in a position to break her arm.  That would constitute not only an assault on a police officer (which he has been convicted of before) but a felony assault had she suffered even the slightest injury.  Could the officer's use of profanity be a violation of departmental policy; yes.  A firing offense; absolutely not given the heightened state of the incident.  Were there actions in the video I would have criticism of; yes.  However, these are actions that do not in any way constitute a criminal offense, give reason to eliminate the criminal actions of the suspect or warrant elimination of the charges and certainly not worthy of an apology by the Mayor of Greensboro.  More importantly, there was nothing in that video to warrant the resignation (forced dismissal) of either officer; nothing!  The District Attorney's office basically told the Council to take a hike,
     By applying constant and undue pressure since the day of Wayne Scott's appointment, Nelson Johnson with help from his "allies within the department" have unfairly rendered Chief Scott unable to maintain morale and confidence in the GPD chain of command.
     In my opinion Councilperson Sharon Hightower violated the law by her role in leaking the video.
     City Manager Jim Westmoreland has not been able to shake his fear of Nelson Johnson and has not supported Chief Scott in an effective manner.  He has given in to demands of dismissing charges on criminals without allowing legitimate, qualified judicial officials to rule on cases and determine the lawfulness of arrests that Magistrates have already found probable cause for.  His background, education and training is in Civil Engineering not Public Administration.  He is not qualified for the position he is in and demonstrates a lack of backbone when dealing with civic agitators.
     Mayor Vaughn's stances have veered noticeably to the left this past year.  Her very obvious partnership with Nelson Johnson (even causing one local reporter to describe hand signals between the two during council meetings) has allowed external corruption to infiltrate City Hall.
     All of these things have conspired to leave our Police Chief between the proverbial "rock and a hard place".  He has no support from above; NONE.  His troops now have no confidence in being treated fairly as they have seen time and time again the past several years an outside agitator controlling discipline over and over and over.  The same agitator that stood by former Officer AJ Blake when the department disciplined him for an assault.  The same agitator that defended gang leader ( now Federal prisoner) Jorge Cornell against prosecution by the Greensboro Police Department.  The entire chain of command who originally investigated this current case of an "innocent guy checking for a dog under his mother's garage door with a shovel" are now on pins and needles wondering if they are the next sacrificial lambs.
     Low morale?  How about NO morale.
     Like it or not Nancy, Nelson, Sharon  and Jim, the city needs its' police department.  We are about to lose ours.  High Point is ready to accept and attract lateral transfers with a matching salary offer.  Winston-Salem, who now offers 100% retirement as well as the state supplement is looking to hire large numbers of officers.  Both would consider it ideal to hire officers already trained beyond state standards as Greensboro officers are.  We are already suffering high amounts of attrition.  Most officers are looking elsewhere even if it means changing professions.  Greensboro has had trouble filling recent recruit classes.  How much longer before we have to lower standards once again to attract not just qualified candidates but any candidates at all?
     Nelson Johnson and his buddies don't give a damn.  They want what they want; a coup that ends with Johnson completely controlling the city's police department as well as City Council.  He has the Mayor.  How much longer before he forces the weak City Manager to do his ultimate bidding.
     Solution?  The citizens of Greensboro have to care.  They have to stop their politically apathetic existence and rise against this coup.  The city is suffering; highest food stamp usage, highest rate of citizens out of the work force and second highest rate of poverty.  We have the highest property taxes to go with all of this.  Nothing positive has come from our council in several years.
     Mayor Vaughn is complicit in enabling Nelson Johnson to infiltrate city government and affecting police department personnel decisions.  Mayor Vaughn, you need to resign.
     Councilperson Sharon Hightower, you have violated sate personnel laws and you are protecting the internal source of the video leak.  Councilperson Hightower, you need to resign.
     City Manager Jim Westmoreland, you have been complicit in assisting Nelson Johnson in his attempts to control discipline within the Greensboro Police Department and have not protected Chief Wayne Scott from Johnson's constant and persistent efforts to undermine and subvert his position as leader of the Greensboro Police Department.  You are complicit in reducing the morale and confidence in city administration of the dedicated law enforcement officers and civilian personnel of the Greensboro Police Department.  Because of your incompetence and lack of support for city personnel in general and the police department in particular you need to resign; you should be terminated.
     There are other concerned citizens in Greensboro that can point to other examples of corruption.  This example means the most to me and all those officers who have retired and help build the tradition and excellent reputation of the Greensboro Police Department.  We are not going to stand idly by and allow the most notorious civil agitator in Greensboro history and his minions to destroy our police department simply for his own personal gain.  Citizens of Greensboro, please stand up and stop this hostile takeover before you have no department to protect you.                                                

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Enough is Enough....AGAIN

     On May 15th, 2015, I published an article titled "Enough is Enough".  I will not rehash it other than to say this article is going to be eerily similar.  Frankly, I had forgotten that I used that title but apparently some of you remembered it because it has been recently read again by several folks.  Have things gotten better?  NO; in fact much worse.
     Our magical Mayor Nancy Vaughn has developed a new trick in which she turns criminals into victims.  Fox 8's headline regarding the "disturbing" Body Worn Camera video had me concerned that I was about to witness a vicious assault on some poor, helpless and innocent African American man with absolutely no reason to even approach him.  Media outlets charged that the incident was needlessly escalated by the Police Officers on scene and reported on potential riots in Greensboro.  Of all the "incidents" of reported police abuse covered by the News and Record and the local TV stations, my first concern was "Did they actually get one right?"
     So onto the Fox 8 website I go, just as I did in May 2015 to watch the latest reportedly "disturbing" video.  What did I find; the same ridiculous accusation accompanied by no investigation of the facts surrounding the case.  However, this isn't Fox 8's fault.  The City of Greensboro, specifically the City Council is withholding the total facts of this case.  Nancy Vaughn in her ridiculously embarrassing apology to Dejuan Yourse gave the impression that Police Officers approached an innocent man just minding his own business and not only harassed him and beat him  but unlawfully arrested him.  Of course, opportunistic agitator Nelson Johnson was right in the middle again, perpetuating his eternal hatred of the Greensboro Police Department and demanding that everybody be fired.  Johnson is so desperate to have a "riot moment" here in Greensboro, I am sure he believed having this incident on the heels of Charlotte would finally fulfill his wish.  Fortunately, his target audience appears to be just as apathetic as the 88.5% of registered voters that keep allowing these same ineffective Council members to be elected time and time again.
     Of course, Johnson has a much bigger agenda item he is working on.  He has a Chief of Police candidate in mind and has been working tirelessly to subvert Chief Wayne Scott.  Johnson has continued to tell his members of the Beloved Community Center and anyone who will listen that he believes Chief Scott is racist.  There is no evidence of that whatsoever and was born out of Johnson's frustration of not getting his way when Chief Scott was appointed.  He even held a press conference about his disdain for the selection that ended with the chant "Greensboro, Ferguson, Ferguson, Greensboro".  One city had absolutely nothing to do with the other, nor did Baltimore, New York or Charlotte.  But that's how he operates and he has the Council and especially the City Manager scared to death.  This Mayor and this Council should be ashamed of the way they have allowed the most notorious civil agitator in Greensboro's history to run roughshod over City Hall.  In my opinion, Chief Scott should sue Johnson and make him prove that he is a racist.  He can't prove it because IT IS NOT TRUE!!!
     So who did Mayor Vaughn apologize to and what did she apologize for?  Let me fill in the blanks.
     Neighbors observed a subject using a shovel appearing to attempt prying open a garage door.  Officers arrived and located the subject who decided to go and sit on the front porch with the shovel.  He told them he was waiting on his mother and that he lived there.  If you watched the video, you observed the conversation between both officers and our suspect as being cordial.  Yes, he was a suspect; suspected of having a shovel and trying to pry open a door.  He said that he did have the shovel under the garage door because he was "checking to see if his dog was in the garage".  With a shovel?  Is the dog deaf, mute with no sense of smell?  Did the dog bark once during this incident?
     He had no key.  He was evasive about his name and even the pronunciation of his name.  He said he had no ID though he later produced some document that had his information.  As he was being lawfully and correctly detained, he became agitated and defensive; not because he was being detained but because he knew he was wanted, knew he was not supposed to be there and was concerned the officers were about to find out.  He finally made a desperate attempt to call help but the officers intervened.  A wrestling match ensued.  The suspect shouted over and over "I am not resisting" as he proceeded to resist and struggle, fighting to keep from being handcuffed then continuing to resist after handcuffing so much that additional officers had to be called.  The suspect had five felony warrants as well as having been banned from the residence he was trying to break into.
     Was the video void of Officer mistakes?  What we are seeing in these videos nationwide is use of profanity (especially the word "fuck") which quite frankly does nothing to enhance command presence and brings your professionalism down to the suspect's level.  That plays into agitators hands.  I cannot throw stones as I admittedly live in a glass house here.  However, if we are going to use BWC's we are going to have to be more cognizant of our demeanor so that a contrast can be drawn between the bad behavior of the suspect and our professional behavior.  Also, we cannot allow the suspect to trap us into arguments after the fact especially while the adrenaline is still pumping.  There is no need to allow the suspect to try the case on the scene.  Was there a "criminal" offense committed by either officer?  Absolutely not and the District Attorney confirmed it.  The ridiculous 8-0 vote by the Council to ask the District Attorney to reconsider charges on the officer is another example of the incompetence of this council to understand the real world of law enforcement and the total sell out of our Police Department and its' officers to the whims of Nelson Johnson.
     More about the suspect who checks for dogs with shovels.  Investigation shows 50 entries on his public criminal record since 2002.  He has a couple of driving offenses (revoked license).  He has been convicted of felony offenses regarding sales and possession of Cocaine.  He has been charged with Auto Theft, Assault, Assault on a Female, Communicating Threats, numerous Felony Probation violations and even some Gran Jury indictments.  The bulk of his criminal history is made up of crimes of deception; Forgery and Uttering, False Pretense, Possession of Stolen Goods, Financial Transaction Card Fraud,  And yes, he has been charged and convicted of Resisting Arrest and Assault on a Government Official.  In other words, he has a history of deception and feloniously stealing from others.  This is who Nancy Vaughn apologized to as if he were some innocent, sweet unsuspecting citizen just enjoying his day on a front porch....with a shovel....that he used to check on a prying up a garage a house that wasn't his.
     Part of the problem with civilians depending on Body Worn Cameras is that they have no frame of reference in which to understand what they are seeing.  This council has shown a propensity to take Nelson Johnson's word for everything, either out of ignorance or fear, and form their opinion (his opinion) on what he demands they see.  I will guarantee you that none of the FACTS that I have just presented to you were even remotely considered by the council.  As usual they made a decision and formed an opinion based on emotion and the bullying agenda of Nelson Johnson.  He even convinced the owner of the house (his mother) to show up in the Council Chambers though she had banned her son from the property.
     Did our crack elected civil servants even ask for all the information?  You know our crack local newspaper investigative reporters didn't.  Do they care?  Of course not; police bashing is in style and Nelson Johnson is desperate for a national headline.  He is desperate to get his man into the Chief's chair and is tired of waiting.  He is running the city and no one on City Council seems to have the guts to put up even the least bit of resistance.  8-0.  
     Just as paying $50,000 to the Scales brothers without them even suing and giving  $10,000 to an agitator who admitted fault in his law suit was asinine, our council  continues to undermine our Police Department and it's ability to protect the entire community.  They also have been allowed without challenge to dictate when charges are dropped though they have absolutely no legal authority to do so.  Only one of them is even qualified to offer an opinion on criminal law.  This council is no friend to the majority of Greensboro in general and the Greensboro Police Department and your officers in particular.
     88.5%.  That is how many of Greensboro's registered voters decided to have no say in how our city's business is conducted.  Are we going to sit back and allow criminals to be treated as victims and police officers to be walked over for the political security of our Mayor and Council and appeasement of a notorious antagonizer?  Does ANY of this resonate and at least make you wonder what else they may be hiding from you?
     This situation is critical whether the local media or politicians admit it or not.  Attrition is already occurring.  Wake up; you are damn close to losing your Police Department.  If Nelson Johnson gets his way, you will.        

Thursday, September 15, 2016

A Modern Day Civil War? (Part 2)

     The War Between the States.

     For those of us that grew up during the 60's, 70's or even earlier this was a term more widely used to describe the American Civil War.  We were taught that in this war, neighbors fought neighbors, brothers fought brothers, fathers fought sons.  The issues surrounding the causes were as divisive then as some of the ones we face today.  Historians, folks that record and interpret data and get paid to do so do not even agree on everything regarding the reasons this war was fought.  Most of today's population simply reduce the cause of the war to slavery.  Many dismiss this as a primary reason choosing to include it inside a larger problem of economics.  Some point to the elitist and hypocritical views of northern politicians bent on forcing their views on what they perceived to be a southern population that was somehow "beneath them".  Whatever cause you support, there is one undeniable fact; the country was so divided that citizens chose to withdraw from the United States.  The further removed from that time that we get (151 years and counting) the less impact it seems to have on today's Americans.  While the thought of individual states actually seceding from the Union seems like some ridiculous fantasy to our younger generations, we are getting to a point in our 's nation's history where tensions are so high between the federal government and the states that some have even suggested secession.  While this is highly unlikely to occur in our society today the tensions are still volatile enough that courts are increasingly having to rule on differences of philosophies as our federal government tries more and more to dictate state laws.  The Federal Department of Justice has virtually ignored prosecution of federal laws choosing instead to interfere with individual local matters even to the point of beginning investigations regarding social issues before the actual criminal investigations are completed.  At times they have been dispatched before the bodies are even cold.  It is not just an appearance that the DOJ has been trying to influence investigations at the local level while ignoring overwhelming evidence of criminal law at the federal level, it is reality.  The highest level of law enforcement, one that has to be free of political influence to be effective, has been corrupted.  To say that state governments and the federal government are at distinct odds would be an understatement, especially in those states that are considered "purple" states for the purposes of a national election.  See our own North Carolina as an example.
     Personally, what I have experienced the past 18 months is somewhat depressing.  I have seen those who express radical ideas vehemently defended and even advocated for by the media though their positions represent less than .1% of the general population.  I have seen those same folks shouting down more commonly held beliefs by citizens from both political affiliations and attacked as being somehow "prejudiced" or worse though they are only expressing their beliefs which is also protected free speech.  On the one hand the radical minority is screaming tolerance yet have zero "tolerance" themselves for those who hold more mainstream views.  The notion that everything that is a commonly held belief, principle or religious choice contrary to radical thought is somehow racist or even bigoted has caused a withdrawal of participation by those that are actually interested in improving society.  It does not matter how loud you shout at extremists or how much you try to reason while presenting data contrary to their beliefs; they will not change their positions one iota. Citizens that hold more moderate or reasonable political positions are the best hope for improvement.  They are not going to be reached when being constantly attacked and challenged simply because they do not take an extreme position or "take a side".  If compromise is your goal then that has to begin with reasonable, receptive people.  Strict categorization cannot be taken back by adding the qualifier "oh, we didn't mean you".  Again, the louder you shout and the more aggressively insistent you are, the less likely I am to hear what you are saying or give consideration to your cause.
     The example of my "almost 50 year friend" is not exclusive to them.  Moderate positions are currently "out of style" even to the point of condemnation.  This isn't divided simply between conservatives and liberals.  I have observed folks that I have known 30 years or more turn into angry and much more radical people than I ever imagined.  Obviously a good many of these acquaintances are of a differing political philosophy though were raised in a very similar family structure.  However, I have also observed those of similar political philosophies go completely intolerant of even friends of a moderate slight left lean.  The conversations have turned almost exclusively confrontational, rarely ending in any level of consensus.  No compromise.  No give and take.  No positive dialogue.  The sum of these ingredients is no positive progress.  It has led me to the position that those in the news and front and center in our political landscape are not interested in solutions, just their own personal gain.  If you wave a magic wand and allowed positive dialogue causing real progress to be made, many of them would be out of a job and out of the limelight.  Do you believe they are willing to sacrifice their notoriety, fame and personal fortune making for the betterment of common folks?  Those who would defend such individuals are either naive or aspire to be just like them.
     There are friends that I have known for years that have become aggressive and even inflammatory whenever political opinions are presented.  People I have rarely or never had a cross word with now argue vehemently even when there is no argument.  They are so consumed with defending their positions that they do not care to listen to what is actually being said to them and become defensive if you do not roll over and say "I agree with everything you said" regardless of whether they are basing their positions on fact or third hand propaganda.  Some I have unfriended.  A lot I have "un-followed".  A few I have been hurt by because they have decided to categorize me simply because I don't see things their way.  What really bothers me is that I and most all of us have allowed extremist politics to infringe on our personal lives and relationships in this negative manner.  We are divided as a country and as citizens of a state and community.  We are divided among our friends and even families.  We have been divided and we are are close to being conquered.  The War Between the States; can we survive another?
     Are we willing as American citizens to unite and defeat these foes that are much more common to us all than we have been willing to admit?  Or will we continue to elect the same mistakes over and over providing political fertilizer for their selfish ambitions of power and wealth?
     We must unite to do this ourselves.  I don't see Abraham Lincoln walking through the door to the White House anytime soon.                        

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Lest We Forget

     "December 7th, 1941; a date which will live in infamy...."
                                                               President Franklin Roosevelt, December 8, 1941 

     The Empire of Japan attacked the United States Naval base in the U.S. territory of Hawaii.  The attack was unprovoked.  Until that time the United States had not participated in what is now known as World War II.  An "isolationist" movement existed in the country and support for entering the war in the European Theatre was not solid.  Allies such as Great Britain and France were being attacked on their soil and eventually France would be occupied.  Adolph Hitler and Germany was taking ground in other countries and had aligned themselves with another fascist dictator, Benito Mussolini of Italy.
     The "isolationist" movement virtually disappeared after Pearl Harbor.  With an attack on not only a U.S. held territory but also a major naval installation coupled with the crippling of the protection of our Pacific coastline, Americans had to consider the possibility of further attacks on home soil.  The oceans no longer an insurmountable obstacle, concern for the loyalty of Japanese immigrants already in this country were rampant.  Many were gathered and placed into holding facilities.  Hindsight tells us that this was a reaction to simply not knowing if any of those folks were infiltrators or supported Japan's cause.  Intelligence was not as sophisticated as it is today.  An over-reaction?  By today's political landscape along with what we know almost 75 years later many would argue so though our citizen's who lived during that time would tell you that after such an unthinkable attack there was just no way of knowing if subversives existed.  Fortunately, the Japanese Empire decided not to strike our west coast and our fleet and troops in the Pacific eventually prevailed against an enemy so dedicated to their leaders and their cause that years after the war was over Japanese soldiers were still being discovered having never left their posts.

     "Today, our fellow citizens, our way of life, our very freedom came under attack in a series of deliberate and deadly terrorist acts".
                                                            President George Bush, September 11, 2001

     15 years ago today, the World Trade Center, Pentagon and the White House were targeted by radical Islamic terrorists dedicated to kill as many American citizens as they could.  Three of the targets were successfully hit and only the brave actions of American civilians to retake an airplane and thwart the attempt on the White House prevented the total success of the radical Islamic terrorist's planned attack.  This attack did not occur on a U.S. territory or some remote island in the middle of the ocean.  This occurred inside the borders of the 48 mainland states.  It was not an action that began outside our borders.  It was carried out by subversives who had infiltrated our country through visas.  They were from Saudi Arabia (15), United Arab Emirates (2), Egypt (1) and Lebanon (1).  All had known ties to Al-Qaeda.  Only one of the original planned pilots in the plot were denied a visa.  Some even attained their flight training here inside the U.S.  2,977 U.S. citizens lost their lives and over 6,000 others were injured.  The naivety of American soil being impenetrable should have disappeared forever that day.
     Yet, how good is our memory?  Of course we have moments of silence and ceremonies honoring the memories of our fallen citizens.  Citizens who went to work that day feeling secure that America was a safe place to live and that our "enemies" that hate us and want to do us harm only exist in television news reports and are "way over there".  On September 11, 2001 we were given a minute taste of what it is like to be Israel.  They live with this threat every day and have since 1948.  We also were reminded of the World Trade Center bombings in 1993 which was also carried out by Al-Qaeda operatives that had illegally entered the country.  We remember and honor the dead but many of our citizens still seem to either forget how these acts of terror were carried out and by not only who but the manner in which they got here.
     The parallels between 1941 and 2001 are similar but are distinctly different in one way.  In 1941, the fear was "they might hit here".  In 2001 (and should have been in 1993) it was reinforced in dramatic fashion that "they did hit here.
     So exactly why do we have citizens allowing themselves to be influenced by left wing liberal politicians that all is well and that open borders are the way to go?  Europe apparently forgot; they are being overrun by Syrian refugees and others from the region and buildings and people are literally being blown up all over.  Great Britain has seen the light.  Yet, we have a Presidential candidate being criticized for wanting to control access to our country and one who wants to take on half a million refugees from this part of the world where a radical Islamic terrorist organization trains and operates and whose mission is to kill Americans.  And she wants to do it with little or no vetting or documentation on these refugees even with military and intelligence warnings that terrorist operatives will integrate and enter the country with them.  Are there actually American citizens that are so gullible or stupid in the face of recent history to believe this is a sensible mode of operation?
     We remember and honor the memories and lives of fallen civilians and also of those who gave their lives to protect the very freedoms and way of life we enjoy.  Are we now going to insult them by pretending that the dangers are still "over there" and expose our citizens to unnecessary perils and a feeling of insecurity simply to pacify left wing extremists or ensure political control?
     The WHO is important; so is the HOW



Thursday, September 8, 2016

A Modern Day Civil War?

Disclaimer #1

Donald Trump was not in my original list of potential Presidential candidates; in retrospect, not even top 50.

Disclaimer #2

I decided 25 years ago I would never, EVER vote for Hillary Clinton for any public office.

     I believe that I can report with a high rate of accuracy that the vast majority of Americans as well as most of you reading this blog agree with #1.  As polling indicates, a large majority of Americans do not trust Hillary Clinton and a significant portion would agree with me on #2 though not in the same overwhelming numbers as #1.  Battle lines have been drawn and two distinct sides have emerged.  Those who will never vote for Hillary/support Trump and those who will not vote for Trump/support Hillary.  It is not a coincidence that I have listed the negative before the positive, the "anti" before the "support".  That is how most folks feel.  For me, #2 overrides #1.  If Trump is 50, Hillary is no better than 51.  Doing #1 on my leg and telling me it's raining is better than a criminal lying to my face and dropping #2 on my head.
     However, this isn't a campaign article trying to convince you who to vote for or against.  That would be a huge waste of time for 80% of our voting population as they have drawn their line in the sand.  This is about the nastiness, the vile, the absolute lack of compromise to acknowledge that people on both sides of the political dividing line can have good ideas, share points of view or ethical positions.  It is about overreaching political correctness and the shame perpetrated on good people that extremist politics have brought to our society.  Disagree with an extremist point of view and you are labeled with a derogatory name or even slandered simply for disagreeing.  As a society we have been duped into believing that one party represents segments of society in total and that the other side is completely against certain religious denominations, ethnicities or races.  Americans allow politicians and their media allies to play on our emotions by not educating themselves on facts.  We should all know by now that media sensationalizes to fit their agenda yet we accept their interpretations as they present them without nary a thought of the actual truth.  We accept one sentence sound bites without actually questioning the context in which the statements are made or the full content of the speech or statement surrounding the single sentence.
     This election presents two completely different candidates; one who has never served in elected office and has developed a certain "celebrity" persona over his public career and one who has been in politics for 35 years with a resume void of accomplishment and fraught with failure.  The far right elitist Republican party cronies cannot stand the thought of their status quo world being upset.  They have a great fear of their  ancient positions being the least bit modified to fit modern times.  Having strong positions on moral and ethical issues or hot topic items such as abortion or gun control is not the problem.  Archaic positions on trade and lack of action by the GOP on previous campaign promises created the nominee.  They refuse to accept that their job performance is held in disdain by their own party members.  Some of these cronies would obviously prefer that their party nominee lose this election just so they can maintain their status completely disregarding the country's best interest. They are selfish; and to me they are useless.  There is far too much at stake in this election to act like spoiled brats.
     On the other side we have a candidate that has been sleazy, corrupt and unable to tell the truth her entire public life.  Her own party had to have "special rules" to ensure her nomination over a 74 year old socialist.  She continues to tell lie after lie, make denial after denial and excuse all of her incompetent and yes, criminal behavior as a vast right wing conspiracy, even in the face of video evidence to the contrary.  Her record of accomplishment in government is non-existent.  She cannot run on her record.  She is even now accusing the media of being "harder on my campaign than they are Trump's".  Really Hillary?
     Like it or not, one of them is going to win.  The rhetoric of the past 8 years coupled with the vitriol being spewed in this campaign is further dividing the country.  We have been fed a mountain of inaccurate and misleading stories.  Those who have made up their minds are quick to jump on any little quote or report even if they haven't bothered to confirm the truthfulness.  The last time I tried to point out any reasons I had for choosing who I was voting for, a person I have known for almost 50 years replied "she's better than that KKK leader Trump".  That statement made by an educated person describes perfectly what has become a problem in politics and society.  Donald Trump did not ask David Duke to endorse him.  The fact that he did does not make Trump a member of the Klan, much less a Grand Dragon or Imperial Wizard.  His positions on immigration does not make him a bigot either.  If you state "I perceive some of his comments" to be that way, fine.  To take the position that there is empirical evidence that proves he is a member of the KKK is not only false, it is irresponsible.  The past month that is all we have heard from Hillary as the Democratic party once again plays on hate, fear and racial division to draw votes.
     Mr. Trump has certainly had his mis-statements and there is no denying that.  Recently, he directed an appeal to African-Americans to try something different instead of the same economic policies that has seen unemployment go up, home ownership go down and food stamp dependence double the past 8 years by asking the question "what do you have to lose"?  Some of my friends who happen to be African-American, took offense to that question.  I understand their interpretation but also understand that they were not Trump's intended audience.  Whoever wins this election will not really have a significance on their lives in the way Trump was referring to.  None of the economic indicators of poverty apply to them.  Could he have asked "how can a new approach and a fresh vision be any more damaging than our current direction"?  Semantics, yes.  Is his question out of line or insulting?  Not to me but I am not one of the folks he was trying to appeal to either.
     Positions such as these and the "win at all costs" attitudes of political party groupies have greatly reduced the possibility of any semblance of harmony in this country on a national scale.  Large urban areas will continue to suffer and listen to local activists whose only goal is to continue division so they can remain relevant.  Media will continue to provide free advertisement for radical groups who will continue to yell, scream and confront innocent people in an attempt to exercise their free speech and suppress any dissenting views.  Jumping to conclusions will continue to be the norm with no corrections or apologies forthcoming when the original reports don't turn out to fit the investigated facts.  The divisions are so deep it makes one wonder if we are on the verge of a modern day version of Civil War; hopefully not taking up arms against each other or secession but certainly divided if not polarized by extreme points of view.  People are not interested in communicating if they are scared.
     20% of the country's voters will decide this election.  In many ways they are the smart ones.  They don't watch Fox News or MSNBC or even advertise who they are voting for.  They look at their paychecks, their schools, their confidence in national security and their personal situation in deciding who to vote for.  They won't be sidetracked by sensationalized incidents publicized with the intent to divert our attention from government incompetence.  They certainly won't hand a blank check to a candidate based on political affiliation.
     Political candidates encourage everyone to get out and vote"!  I would encourage everyone to educate yourself, not rely one iota on media reports then go vote.  If you hear a statement from a candidate as reported on a media outlet that sounds suspicious or "bad", go on line and find the entire speech then judge for yourself.  You might be surprised at how different a perception can be when the entire context is available.
     We have a Constitutionally guaranteed right to live as individuals and have our own beliefs without being told by politicos or media or radical antagonists what they should be.  We can even decide to believe in ideas and values regardless of which side of the aisle those philosophies land on. Does it not then make sense to stand up for those beliefs and not allow a political party, radical group  or a media outlet to determine what we believe or who we vote for based on biased reporting?
     It would be wise for any group that advocates their position in a loud voice and sincerely wants be taken seriously to understand that most of the people you are trying to convince to support your cause do not respond well to pressure or bullying tactics.  The more you yell and scream, the less I hear.  The more inaccurate conclusions you jump to without the patience to allow proper investigation to discover the facts, the less credibility you have.  The more indignance you display in refusing to admit fault, the less I care.  No matter your cause, if nobody is listening your efforts are for naught.  Intimidating folks creates withdrawal, not awareness.
     Hopefully, we are not too far gone.