Journalistic Integrity Model

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His father was a liberal giant. His brother is governor of arguably the most liberal state in the Union. He works for a center left news network. His political ideology is not a secret.

Yet, CNN New Day anchor Chris Cuomo is cut from the same fabric as those paragons of journalism, Walter Cronkite and Tim Russert.

Both icons maintained the highest level of objectivity and integrity in their reporting. While we knew their political bent, neither let that get in the way of doing the job of a free press who looks at events with an eye of neutrality and not picking sides.

This is why Cronkite was America’s favorite Uncle behind Uncle Sam. This is why Russert was the face of Meet the Press for two decades with full trust of the viewing public.

Compare this to today’s crop of journalists whom survey after survey reveals are not trusted. Today’s journalists rank far behind even the two most mistrusted presidential candidates in history.

Then there is Chris Cuomo.

Most people would accept if he slipped now and then and revealed a bit of bias or prejudice, but he does not. Instead Cuomo seems to go out of his way to uphold and maintain why the free press was enshrined in the First Amendment to the Constitution.

Chris makes sure he does not become the story, but rather lets the story develop on its own. In questioning candidates and politicians of all stripes, Chris walks the line we expect of reporters unlike too many of his colleagues.

Whether liberal or conservative or moderate, whether Republican, Democrat, Libertarian or independent, all are put under the same glaring light of professionalism and transparency.

Chris is one reason I continue to view CNN. Not that I have many options with Fox News being too far to the right and MSNBC being too far left. 

There is hope left for the current cadre of journalists who have abandoned the principles on which our free press was founded.

That hope is the example of Chris Cuomo.

From the Cornfield, Chris keep up the good work and being an example for journalists everywhere in this day when too many journalists are leaving behind objectivity and integrity.

Thank you, for the breath of fresh air, Chris.

Policy Fail Again for Obama!

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On a night when President Barack Obama planned to make a victory lap, highlighting the wins of his two-term Administration, Iran has cast a dark shadow on the State of the Union Address to a joint session of Congress.

The Persian nation, long a pariah in the international community, has seized two small US Navy boats in the Persian Gulf. Ten American sailors, including one woman, have been, according to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard been arrested after one of the boats is alleged to have had engine trouble and ran aground on an Iranian island.

This is also on the eve of the release of $150 billion to the regime for agreeing to an international deal to limit its nuclear ambitions.

Never mind that the President did not press for nor has yet to secure the release of four Americans being held illegally by Iran before reaching any deal with the Iranians or that the nation fired live rockets within 1,500 feet of Navy vessels last month, this gives the President’s foreign policy yet another black eye and proves how ineffective that policy is and has been.

When will this President realize and wake up to the fact you cannot talk your way to peace with radicals and jihadists?

The only bright spot is that this is the last year of this Administration and the last address by this President to Congress. Our long national nightmare may soon be over.

But for now 10 American sailors are being held captive by the most belligerent and bellicose segment of the Iranian military. Iran says it will release the sailors and the boats. The Administration is stressing there were no sinister motives while the Iranian press details the weapons seized and how the Americans were arrested.

Time to stop playing nice.

Time to stop the release of the money.

Time to demand not only the release of our sailors, but also the other four Americans being illegally detained.

From the Cornfield, how many more fails before the President stops his Neville Chamberlain act?

It has never worked and never will. Radicals do not play by the rules and only understand might.

An Act of Terror

From the Desert with feet planted firmly in the Cornfield
From the Desert with feet planted firmly in the Cornfield

No matter the motivation, the deadly attack in Colorado Springs, Colorado on Friday, November 27, 2015, was an act of terror.

The standoff, the slaying of three innocents and wounding of nine others result in terrorizing a community, the state and the nation.

Put the politics and ideology aside. Stop walking on egg shells.

This was terrorism.

Most acts of mass killings are acts of terror.

The mayhem and slaughter at a theater in Aurora, Colorado a few years ago resulted in terror for not only the victims, but also the city and nation. The deadly rampage at Fort Hood, Texas, was a terrorist act. The shooting in Chattanooga, Tennessee was terrorist in nature. I could go on and on.

These type of lethal events are acts of terror.

The shooting of a nine-year-old boy in a Chicago alley was a terrorist act. Although it appears to have been a fatal result of an ongoing gang war, the result was spreading even more fear, terror and anger in the community.

Let us call things what they are. There is no reason to be sensitive in these cases. Throw political correctness out the window.

It is wrong for politicians, including President Barack Obama, to try and turn this into a political argument. It is wrong for presidential candidates to attempt to raise money and shoot arrows over this tragedy.

Terrorism is terrorism is terrorism.

If in fact this deranged individual who holed up in a Planned Parenthood facility unleashing his deadly derangement, the result is still the same. He not only murdered innocents, he terrorized the community.

From the Cornfield, there is no justification for such action. No matter the motivation, this was wrong. Let the full brunt of the law come down on his head.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their families, the community.

WWIII – We Are Already There

From the Desert with feet planted firmly in the Cornfield
From the Desert with feet planted firmly in the Cornfield

This past week, Pope Francis stated that he was seeing pieces of World War III already taking place, following the Paris 6-prong attacks.

I wrote this op-ed back on June 27:

In social media, on blogs, in coffee shops and pubs, you can hear or read concern if current events may lead us into World War III.

I would submit we are already there.

Whether you believe or do not believe in prophecy – any prophecy – biblical, Islamic or any other, it is interesting that four of the nations currently emeshed in the war on terrorism are named prominently in end of time foretelling. All four are also supporters or providing aid and shelter to jihadists bent on the destruction of the Great Satan, the US of A, and western civilization.

Those four nations are: Libya, Persia or Iran, Syria and the ancient empire of Babylon – Iraq.

When you look at how many nations around the world are involved in this struggle of ideology, it is clear that the world is at war. When you look at how many continents are under attack, it is clear that the world is at war.

One of the stated goals of the Islamic State, the self-proclaimed caliphate, is the ushering in the final battle of Armageddon and the supremacy of Islam over all peoples of the world. From Jerusalem and Babylon, the caliphate will rule the world.

I further submit that World War III began on September 11, 2001. Up until that time there had been bombings and attacks, but each country, each nation dealt with the problem on their own.

With the airliner attacks in New York City and Washington D.C, the majority of the world rallied around the United States in seeking revenge and extracting retribution on Osama bin Laden, Al Qaeda and those who gave them aid and comfort – the Taliban.

Yet this war is not your war of nation against nation. This is a new kind of war of ideology versus ideology, civilization versus civilization. This war is not like any other.

The idea of bringing the world to submission and death to all who oppose has happened before. Most recently in the 1930s and 1940s, we saw the rise of Adolph Hitler and the National Socialist Party (Nazis) seeking the implementation of a 1,000-year Reich and the Aryan Empire. The world rallied against this monster and his henchman along with his allies – the empire of Japan and the fascist state of Benito Mussolini in Italy.

But that was a more traditional struggle. Nations aligned with nations against other nations. This time it is the nations aligning against a foe who does not play by any rules and without geographic boundaries.

If the West is defeated, be assured that the war will not stop. The attention will then turn on Eastern Civilization. China, Japan and Southeast Asia will become the target.

There can only be one outcome.

Either the West destroys or weakens the jihadist terrorists to the point of making them not more than a deadly irritant or the fanatical soldiers of terrorism win.

Will the world survive?

Will nations survive?

Who will win?

Will this war last for decades, centuries, a millennia?

From the Cornfield, are we on the edge of the battle to end all battles or are we allowing emotion and fear to mislead our reality?

Presidential Wannabes on Islamic State

From the Desert with feet planted firmly in the Cornfield
From the Desert with feet planted firmly in the Cornfield

National Public Radio (NPR) has put out an excellent chart to help American voters to understand where the major parties’ candidates for president stand on dealing with the Islamic State.

Naturally what is in the chart could change depending on how the winds blow for a particular candidate at any time.

isisstandNotes
1. Bush and Paul both favor declaring war, while Clinton, Cruz, Graham and O’Malley favor or have favored passing a new Authorization for the Use of Military Force, which has in recent decades supplanted formal war declarations.
2. Christie was in favor of ground troops prior to the Paris attacks, saying they should be an option if arming U.S. allies doesn’t work.
3. On all answers marked “unclear,” unless linked/footnoted otherwise, NPR reached out to campaigns but either has not yet received answers or has received unclear answers.
4. Cruz spokesman Rick Tyler declined to answer questions on the “unclear” responses, writing in an email, “I think it too simplistic to reduce the ongoing ever-changing real-time dynamic situation in Syria in the wake of the Paris attack to yes or no answers.”
5. In September 2014, Cruz said he wanted a new Authorization for the Use of Military Force for fighting ISIS.
6. Fiorina told Fox Business that she doesn’t want to send in U.S. ground forces “yet.”
7. Statement from campaign
8. Huckabee told Breitbart News that a coalition of countries (one that includes the U.S.) should bomb ISIS, then send in troops.
9. Pataki was in favor of ground troops earlier this year, but he has not been clear on his strategy ideas since the Paris attacks.
10. Paul told CNN that he’s not in favor of more troops. However, he also added, “If we went to war and there was a declaration of war, I would put overwhelming force. I wouldn’t mess around.”
11. In an email to NPR, Paul’s campaign said, “If France asks to invoke NATO’s Article 5, President Obama should convene a NATO Summit but even if Article V is invoked, Congress must still authorize any military involvement.”
12. Rubio told ABC and O’Malley’s campaign told NPR that they are in favor of sending special operations troops. However, O’Malley and Rubio draw a distinction between those troops and larger waves of combat troops (Rubio did not respond directly to ABC as to whether he’d send in more combat troops). Similarly, Clinton said there should be more special ops troops, and that the U.S. should “support and equip” local forces.
13. A spokesman from the O’Malley campaign said that if France were to invoke NATO Article 5, then the U.S. would be bound by the treaty and would participate in accordance with NATO’s decision.
Source: Various
Credit: Danielle Kurtzleben/NPR, with research from Barbara Sprunt

From the Cornfield, in light of threat from terrorism becoming more and more reality and not just threat, it will be interesting to see the impact this may have on the 2016 Presidential Election.

For more information: http://www.npr.org/2015/11/20/456633512/what-the-2016-candidates-would-do-about-isis-in-one-chart

Benghazi – No New Answers, No Objectivity

From the Desert with feet planted firmly in the Cornfield
From the Desert with feet planted firmly in the Cornfield

Former Secretary of State and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is at this moment continuing to answer questions from the House Select Committee investigating the deadly September 11, 2012 attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

After listening all day to nearly 10 hours of testimony, so far, what has been revealed are no new answers and no objectivity.

The biggest issue at this point in time I see is the road block set up by the lack of objective questioning and unobjective defense from both Republicans and Democrats.

Everyone has stated that what is being sought is the truth. Yet, from what I have witnessed today, truth continues to be elusive in large part due to the defensive and offensive positions drawn by members from both sides of the aisle.

Chairman Trey Gowdy, a Republican, has stated that truth is paramount and there is no aim of bringing Clinton down in a partisan witch hunt.

Ranking member Democratic Representative Elijah Cummings has stated that he wants the truth and nothing but the truth.

Subsequently today, both have seemed to be closed-minded and not interested in the truth. Their rank-and-file members have followed their lead.

Republicans have come across as out-to-get Clinton, even though the GOP members have raised some interesting and some needed questions.

Democrats have mostly come across as being too quick to buy in to the “gotcha meme” about Republicans and too quick to throw up walls of protection for Clinton, while downplaying the need to find the answers to necessary questions.

But not all partisans are being so partisan.

For example, Illinois Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth has raised and solicited some good inquiries. Clinton, however, has not been so open in answering the questions from her fellow Democrat.

Before this evening is over will we really know anything we didn’t know before?

It is doubtful.

From the Cornfield, yes, there are lingering questions.

Yes, there continues to be a lack of transparency – not just from Clinton, but the Administration of President Barack Obama.

But –

Republicans have latched on like a snapping turtle waiting for a thunder clap with their eyes shut.

There will be no answers.

There will be no truth.

There will be no solace for the victims’ families and loved ones.

Until our politicians put aside the partisan rancor and put on the glasses of objectivity, we may have to wait for history to provide the answers we need.

Lest We Forget – 9/11/2001

From the Desert with feet planted firmly in the Cornfield
From the Desert with feet planted firmly in the Cornfield

It seemed to be a quiet, sunny day in the dwindling hours of summer. People going about their business. Children rushed off to school. Flights of pleasure, business and fancy were seemingly soaring the skies peacefully.

Tranquility and a sense of safety were shattered in an instant as a commercial jetliner plowed into the World Trade Center (WTC). What first seemed to be nothing more than a tragic accident was quickly revealed to be more diabolic in nature. The world watched horror-struck as a second jetliner in live airtime was shown deliberately crashing into the second tower of the WTC.

The unthinkable, that which seemed to only be comprehensible in a movie script, lifted from the page of fiction into the horrifying fact of reality. Life changed forever.

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I rolled over. Opened my eyes. With blurred vision, I looked at the clock. 10:48 a.m. I sprang out of bed, shaking my head, wondering why I had slept so late.

I grabbed my robe, moving between my loveseats to turn on the television. I made my way back around what I called, “my loveseat”, to make my morning coffee.

Strangely I heard the voices of Katie Couric and Matt Lauer. In disbelief, disconcerted and shocked, I listened and learned about the attack on America.

Nearly spilling the water, I finished making my coffee. I stumbled back to my loveseat to watch and listen to the unfolding events.

I yelled at the troubled young man sleeping on my other loveseat, “Wake up! We’ve been attacked!”

Frightened, not knowing what to do, how to react, what to say, the young man took off on his bike. Running, trying to find comfort, peace and some sense of what was happening.

I stayed glued to the TV.

Not only had two commercial planes been used as guided missiles exploding into the WTC, but another had been fatally directed at the Pentagon. But, this was not the end.

The news revealed a fourth jetliner, its objective still unknown, was deflected from further mass destruction by the heroics of passengers. Passengers, who followed the highest law of Love.

“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13 (KJV)

The unthinkable had become a deliberate, thought-out scheme of murder, destruction, mayhem, pain and suffering. What had happened to America’s tranquility and safety? Gone in moments.

What were and are we to do? What could and can our leaders do? What was and is America to do?

Life changed forever.

From the Desert with my feet planted firmly in the Cornfield, we pause, as we do each year, and remember the lives lost, the heroes, the resolve of a nation to not back down, to rise from the ashes and press on for a better day filled with peace, liberty and justice for all.

We will never forget.

We will never crumble.

We will stand tall.

We will cross any valley, climb any mountain, ford any stream and remain forever that shining city on a hill to which the world looks to find light in the darkness of ignorance, fear, intolerance and injustice.

Open Season

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From the Desert with my feet planted firmly in the Cornfield

Surely I must have been sleeping or in a Rip Van Winkle type of coma. There is no way I could have missed state legislatures and Congress passing a law which declared a new hunting sport where law enforcement officers were the target.

But apparently something occurred when I was not paying attention in which open season was declared on police.

This past week the 24th person who wears a badge was gunned down in Texas while he was pumping gas into his patrol car. This came hours after protesters in Minnesota were heard chanting, “Fry the bacon.”

Last year, 27 officers were gunned down. At the current rate, some 36 peacekeepers will be dead by year’s end.

All of this is happening, according to some, because there are bad people wearing the badge and donning the uniform among the thousands who daily put their lives on the line. The reality of those thousands who are courteous, take their oath to heart, makes no difference to some in our country. The good of these officers cannot outweigh the wrong of the few who need to be rooted out and cut from the force.

The only option, according to some, is to target any and all law enforcement to compensate for wrongs past and present, perceived or real. Rule of law does not apply.

A couple of years ago there was a movie which came out and was popular with some, especially our youth, where for one night each year, anything goes. Lawlessness ruled for that one night – including murder.

I am beginning to believe that in some parts of our great nation, this movie is being taken to heart and brought to life. Yes, there are very clear violations by some police officers. There are those police officers who have literally gotten away with murder.

One such example is the case of mentally ill Kelly Thomas who was beaten to death. His beating was preserved on video, yet a jury found the rogue officers not guilty.

But not all cases are so in-your-face or where a jury, in my opinion, got it wrong.

Anarchy is not the answer for those who disgrace the uniform. Taking “justice” into one’s own hands is not the solution to right the wrongs, whether real or unreal.

Vigilante justice only leads to a mob mentality where unlawful lynchings take place in the public square.

Yes, I realize that more officers die each year involved in vehicle incidents.

Yes, I realize some officers die in pitched gun battles with gangs and other criminals.

But what we have going on in the nation today is an open season to “punish” any and all police officers – most who are innocent of any slight, imagined or in fact.

The incident in Houston is reminiscent of the cold-blooded murder last December of two New York police officers sitting in their squad car. It is the same warped mentality putting a red letter on law enforcement.

This ought not to be.

There are methods in place to root out those who bring shame to the blue. These must be utilized.

Powers that be, whether commissioners, chiefs, city or county councils, must be willing to put the hammer down and require city, county and state enforcers of the law to comply in a professional manner or be booted from the force.

There is no excuse for either citizens to give in to the baser human nature any more than there is no excuse for those sworn to serve and protect to violate community and societal standards.

From the Desert with my feet firmly planted in the Cornfield, it is time to stop the insanity. It is time we “revoke” the vile “law” which has declared police “open season”.

#WillowFire Sets Desert Ablaze

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Image by Michelle Spotts, near Needles, CA, 6:30 p.m., Sunday, August 9, 2015

The ‪#WillowFire has set the Mohave Desert ablaze, starting on Saturday, August 8, 2015 around 10:30 a.m.. It is 0 contained and burning some 6,000 acres.

The fire which started and is mainly still in the Havasu Wildlife Refuge is covering the entire Desert valley with smoke. It is more noticeable and the smell more pungent in the south to southeast of the valley. It was raging strongly near Topock, Arizona and Needles, California Saturday afternoon and evening.

Up on the hill where I am in Canyon Terrace off James Bilbray Avenue, all I could see was the haze, which was less than it was a half of an hour or so before I crossed the Colorado River to pick up some meat at Smith’s grocery store on Sunday.

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is reporting 11 houses have been destroyed. Up to 1,000 homes are in danger and have been evacuated.

The Red Cross set up an evacuation center at the Mohave Valley Elementary School. Pets are also being sheltered. The mandatory evacuation order in Mohave Valley, surrounding subdivisions and areas remains in place.

Even though I am some 20 miles northwest of the fire, the smoke, the smell of the burning wood, has become so thick and intense this Sunday night, I am not able to sit very long on the patio. My one good lung cannot handle the pollution from the fire. My throat began to burn.

As I said – I am 20 miles away!

Prayers, thoughts to all those displaced and those in danger.

To follow as firefighters risk their lives:

http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/4465/#

https://www.facebook.com/willowfireaz

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Image by Mark Ivy, at El Mirage and Needles Highway in Laughlin, NV, Saturday, August 8, 2015, about 1/2 mile down the mountain from the Desert Mark’s Den in Canyon Terrace looking south towards Mohave Valley, AZ and Needles, CA.
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Image by Marvin Wilson, Saturday, August 8, 2015 in Golden Valley, AZ
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Image by Jaime Rush, Vanderslice/Courtwright Rd, Saturday, August 8, 2015
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Image by Jaime Rush near Needles, CA, Saturday, August 8, 2015
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Image by Bill Gilmore in Bullhead City, AZ, Saturday, August 8, 2015
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Images by Tonya Gold taken both Saturday and Sunday, August 8-9, 2015 at the scene of the fire in Mohave Valley, AZ
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Images by Tonya Gold taken both Saturday and Sunday, August 8-9, 2015 at the scene of the fire in Mohave Valley, AZ
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Images by Tonya Gold taken both Saturday and Sunday, August 8-9, 2015 at the scene of the fire in Mohave Valley, AZ
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Images by Tonya Gold taken both Saturday and Sunday, August 8-9, 2015 at the scene of the fire in Mohave Valley, AZ
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Images by Tonya Gold taken both Saturday and Sunday, August 8-9, 2015 at the scene of the fire in Mohave Valley, AZ
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Images by Tonya Gold taken both Saturday and Sunday, August 8-9, 2015 at the scene of the fire in Mohave Valley, AZ
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Images by Tonya Gold taken both Saturday and Sunday, August 8-9, 2015 at the scene of the fire in Mohave Valley, AZ
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Images by Tonya Gold taken both Saturday and Sunday, August 8-9, 2015 at the scene of the fire in Mohave Valley, AZ
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Images by Tonya Gold taken both Saturday and Sunday, August 8-9, 2015 at the scene of the fire in Mohave Valley, AZ
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Images by Tonya Gold taken both Saturday and Sunday, August 8-9, 2015 at the scene of the fire in Mohave Valley, AZ
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Images by Tonya Gold taken both Saturday and Sunday, August 8-9, 2015 at the scene of the fire in Mohave Valley, AZ
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Images by Tonya Gold taken both Saturday and Sunday, August 8-9, 2015 at the scene of the fire in Mohave Valley, AZ
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Images by Tonya Gold taken both Saturday and Sunday, August 8-9, 2015 at the scene of the fire in Mohave Valley, AZ
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Images by Tonya Gold taken both Saturday and Sunday, August 8-9, 2015 at the scene of the fire in Mohave Valley, AZ Still burning Sunday after the sun went down over the mountains.
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Images by Tonya Gold taken both Saturday and Sunday, August 8-9, 2015 at the scene of the fire in Mohave Valley, AZ still burning Sunday night after the sun drops down beyond the mountains.

The State of Our Union

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As President Gerald Ford told Congress and the American people in 1975, “The State of our Union is not good.”

The same can be said as I sit here in the Desert and look out across our land from sea to shining sea in July of 2015, 40 years, a generation, later.

The country is at its most divisive since the mid 1960s. The country is nearly as torn as it was in the mid 1860s. But so far, insurrection, taking up arms, has not occurred.

For the past few years there have been calls by some quarters to secede once more from the Union. There was a movement, including an online campaign with thousands of signatures, for Texas, which once was a republic in its own right, to pull out of the national association of states and return to the time of Sam Houston.

At times over this last year, where many of us had thought the racial divide was giving into the melting pot, we have learned that there is a segment out there where we have a white America and a black America. There is an abyss between suburban, small town and rural areas of the country and the inner cities and areas of urban concentration.

Even between suburbia and rural, small town communities there is a divide.  The more liberal occupy urban America and much of suburbia, while conservatives claim rural and small town America.

Each day we turn on the television and go online with trepidation wondering if we will be dismayed, our hearts torn, by yet another mass killing or disaster. Each day we wonder if a rogue country will launch the bomb.

Radicalism is growing and not just with those pledging allegiance to the Islamic State. Some threats are homegrown. Some threats are white supremacists, black power enthusiasts, free nationalist anarchists and so on.

Crime may be down over all, but police are backing off from serving and protecting. In many parts of the country – urban areas predominantly – police are under fire, afraid doing their job will lead to being arrested.

Politicians are playing to our baser nature, garnering large crowds. Politicians are playing on our fears to keep us in an uproar. Politicians have forgotten their duty to do best for the nation and not for their personal careers.

Then there are the millions going about life, ignoring it all. If it does not knock on their door, these millions stay in blissful ignorance, dashing toward the cliff and destruction.

These millions will wake up, but will it be too late?

While the annual budget deficit may continue to track downward, not a word about the national debt of $18 trillion plus and growing. Not a word about the generations to come already buried in red ink. We run merrily along from bubble to bubble, from crash to crash.

Yes, my friends, the State of our Union is not good.

From the Cornfield, should the national anthem be changed to “God Bless America, Again”?

Or have we traveled to far down the road of perdition where even the Almighty cannot intervene?