Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Unsustainable - Part One

 
 

 
"Trying to defend our current education system is like putting lipstick on a pig..."



We are living on the edge. We are living an unsustainable life. Most of us know it. Some refuse to believe it. There are so many ways I could go from here. However, I will focus only on one - our higher education system.

Last year it was reported by Forbes that our national student debt now totaled $1.2T. I could only imagine what it is today. It is almost impossible for a kid to finish a degree without going into debt up to his or her eyeballs. What makes this even more tragic is the lack of career counseling many kids get at most colleges. For example, "Johnny" want to get a degree in Art History. "Johnny" goes to a private college. Rather than tell "Johnny" he does not stand a snowball's chance in Hades in finding a job in this field, the school just lets "Johnny" rack up all kinds of debt. "Johnny" graduates with a $30,000 student loan, is only able to find a job at Home Depot, and now has no chance of affording a house or starting a family.

The vast majority of colleges refuse, let me say that again, refuse to control costs. They have a sense of entitlement to charge whatever they want, and kids then borrow money to go there. In Minnesota, we have just frozen tuition for two years. Some Democrats want it to go longer. Notice I did not say costs - I said tuition. So the taxpayers pick up the tab. Costs continue to grow like weeds. This is due to the "big box" universities using the old inefficient system of educating our youth. And that needs to change.

We need to get back to the "why" of going to school. It is to learn? It is to become trained in a skill that will land you a job? First, let me begin with the "learn". Most of us learn every day. We live in a world of instant retrieval, instant facts. At our fingertips we have a PC, a laptop, a tablet, a smart phone, or a combination of the above. We have access to almost unlimited websites at the speed of light (theoretically). Web based courses could easily be constructed that TEACH, TEST and VALIDATE. All this for a fraction of having a professor (or aide) do the same thing at a "big box" school.

We next need to look at the supply and demand of education. Not to step on our personal freedoms, we should be encouraging our youth to become trained in something that will 1) employ them and 2) there is a need or demand for. If we as a nation are going to be backing the loans for education, we need to make sure it is a good investment, and not just adding to the next bubble which is set to burst.

Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, said this past June in the Huffington Post he believes the student loan bubble is about to burst. And when it does, it will be the death of certain colleges who have refused to control costs. Why will the bubble burst? More and more lawmakers will finally see the student loan amount as unsustainable and step in to curb it. Cuban believes student loans will become "capped". The house of cards will then start to fall. When that happens, forced changes to our higher education will occur.

This election season, when someone comes a knocking at your door (or calls you on the phone), ask about our student load bubble. If that person responds with something like "tuition freeze", you know you are talking to one of our many Statists. Don't settle for dodging the question - get a position.

To compete with India, China, Japan, Korea, or whomever in the future, we need a major tune-up in the way we educate our young. Failure to do so will result in many of us working for foreign companies in the future. Our time of global leadership will be over.




Monday, September 29, 2014

Sticker Shock

 
 


"Preferred One gave MNSure artificially low rates. Once Preferred One discovered these rates were unsustainable, they pulled the plug..."



I remember a discussion I had a few years ago with someone from the other side of the political divide. When that person asked (in my opinion), what the difference was between Progressives and Conservatives I crafted a very carefully worded response. I told this person that Progressives really did believe in a "free lunch", whereas Conservatives believed that everything that government does involves a cost and a price.

Well as President Obama's former pastor would say, "The chickens have come home to roost (on MNSure)". For months and months, the snake oil salesman has told the unsuspecting masses this new wonder drug called MNSure (along with it's big brother ObamaCare), was going to give all of us more for less. In fact, so many costs would be wrung out of the bloated former insurance business, we would have saved money falling out of our pockets.

Many of the Right were sounding the clarion alarm. "Don't believe it! Beware!" However, eyes glazed over on the Left, and many supported this new and wonderful insurance system. Those who were paying attention however, remembered how this thing was cobbled together in Congress. It had all the roses and none of the thorns. By thorns, I mean cost containment. The Republicans had plenty of good ideas on how to make the current system more affordable (like getting tort reform). But alas and alack, tort reform would have eroded the Democratic base, so that was left out. It became a Democratic crafted pile of goodies. 

What we ended up with was a system which offered everything to everyone and then mandated Nixonian type wage and price controls. As history demonstrated, wage and price controls did not work well in the 70's, and they will not work well today.

Later on this week, a hard rain is going to fall in Minnesota. And it has nothing to do with the weather. MNSure is going to disclose it's true rates for next year. With Preferred One out of the mix, companies are going to price out their rates to cover costs and risks. Even the most ardent supporters of MNSure say this will not be pretty.

MNSure will now take it's place in the long line of "free" programs which are not "free". For example, all day kindergarten is not "free" . It is touted as such, but there is a huge cost. Two year tuition freezes at our colleges and universities are not free. They still have unsustainable and increasing costs. Even though these increased costs may not be paid by students, they need to be paid by someone.

ObamaCare and MNSure are two things people did not ask for. The ruling statists told us we needed them. If the question was asked about needed reform in our healthcare system, the consensus would have been almost universal. However, to scrap the old reliable system and replace it with this house of cards, remains highly unpopular with more and more people.

While growing up, most of us heard from our parents there is no "free lunch". Some of us actually listened to them.   

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Good for the soul...

 


"We always come back renewed and refreshed..."



Our pastor often talks about escaping to the North Shore to do his writing. A good Facebook friend of mine also talks about the need to go to the North Shore as it is good for his soul. My wife and I are in lock step with this thinking. We make it a practice to go to the North Shore at least once (usually more) a year.

Years ago the actor Telly Savalas, owned a restaurant in Duluth called The Bellows. It is closed now, but was one of our favorite places to eat while visiting Duluth. Even though we never saw Telly when we ate there, one time I asked a waitress why Telly had a restaurant in Duluth. She told me Telly Savalas absolutely loved the North Shore of Minnesota. He called it the "Rivera of the North". With his money and fame, he could have opened a restaurant anywhere. But he chose Duluth.

My wife and I both know when it is time. There is never an argument. One will suggest it, and the other agrees without hesitation. Both of our internal compasses point North. Yesterday was one of those days. Right after breakfast I laid out the tease. "Sure would be a great day to head up to Duluth and see the colors". All I needed to say. By shortly after 9:45, it was wheels up and we were on our way.

We have been doing this for over 40 years now. I still don't understand what the draw is. Is it the lake, the ruggedness of the shoreline, the trees, the topography? Have no idea. It is probably a combination of all of them. All I know is this - we left on a whim, visited Duluth for a few short hours, and then came home totally refreshed. And we are going back in November for our annual "Gales of November" visit.

If you have not been to Duluth for a while and need a shot of refresh for you soul, consider a day trip (or longer). Duluth and the North Shore are Minnesota treasures. They are a gift we should all avail ourselves to.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

The sleepy (or bored) voter....

 
 


"I don't know and I don't care. Or is it I don't care what I don't know. Whatever..."


Being involved in one or two campaigns this year has been somewhat of an eye opening experience. At first I thought my side might have a messaging problem. After listening quite carefully to the messages, dissecting them, and then putting them back together again, I came up with an iron clad conclusion. There is nothing wrong with the messaging. The transmission is fine - the reception however, is fuzzy.

We are now in the heat of the campaign season. We are barraged with endless, repetitive TV ads, robo-calls, mailers, door knocking, and so on. True messaging gets mixed in with half-truths, quarter-truths and even some out and out lies. It is what Alvin Toffler called "over stimulation". And what happens when we get over stimulated, our brains can't take any more. So we shut down our receivers. In other words, we tune out.

Jeff Johnson, who is running for Governor, has a very simple, yet very true message. "We can do better". In all facets of government, be if federal, state or local, we can do better. Yet, people hear ads put out my the media concerning our below average unemployment rate and the thousands of jobs created. Were there jobs added in the past four years? Yes. Were they the right kind of jobs? In other words, were they high paying, benefited jobs? Were they adequate enough to raise a family and handle the increasing cost of living? In many cases the answer to those questions is "no". This is what is meant by "we can do better".

How do we get through to voters that we are just coasting right now. We are one card away from our house of cards crashing down. Our welfare costs are unsustainable. Our state pension funds are underfunded, causing them to be unsustainable. Our state taxes are too high, causing people and companies to move elsewhere. Many of our expensive government programs are outdated, superfluous, our just plain unneeded. Our roads continue to fall apart while we use scarce transportation dollars for trains very few people ride. And I could go on and on.

The commercials for keeping the status quo are sprinkled with fairy dust and snake oil. The statists are counting on the fact that many voters will not peel back the skin of the onion. The truth is simply this - the soft underbelly of our state reveals that we are in trouble - big, big trouble. I will use the word the Left loves to use - what we are doing is unsustainable. The costs for our colleges and universities continue to grow unchecked and our MNSure Program is an expensive world class disaster.

Can we do better? Absolutely. Should we do better? We have to. Can our messaging convince the sleepy, the bored or the low information voter?  I hope so.  If we can't, we will have four more years of status quo statists, selling us more and more snake oil, while our underbelly continues to soften.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Terror is the root of terrorism...

 
 


"Does this new group of upstart terrorists scare us? Absolutely!"



And so it starts. Yesterday we heard on the news the Prime Minister of Iraq said the Iraqi Intelligence Service (yes, there is such a thing) discovered a plot to blow up subways in New York and/or Paris. All of a sudden, the alert level was raised in New York and extra police and dogs were put on patrol in most of the city's subway system. When the Prime Minister was pushed as how actionable this intelligence was, it seems like it might have been more bark than bite. Net result - terror won again. Without firing a shot, it involved fear and extra expense for people in New York.

One of the reasons I believe we fear having this new group make it to our heartland and doing great damage is simple - we have seen what they are capable of. Their treachery and butchery are well documented and never ending. Yesterday, it was reported they overran an Iraqi outpost not far from Baghdad. Over 100 Iraqi soldiers were captured and then executed. No Geneva Convention, to taking prisoners, no mercy. If you are caught by this group, you will die.

We all know the counter punch will come. ISIL and Khorasan (the new name for Al Qaeda) have told us they will. We have learned to take them at their word. The question I have heard asked more than once is this - are we playing offense or defense? Seems to me like it is a little of offense and a whole lot of defense. The other day I addressed the Lone Wolf issue. If a person has returned to this country after being trained by ISIS, it would be very simple to cause significant damage resulting in the death of innocent people. As the saying goes, our homeland is rich with soft and unprotected targets.

The rhetoric the President used at the UN the other day had some promise. Putting aside the apology tour about how bad we are, the speech did have some nuggets. Now we need to have our actions match our words. Rather than just tell ISIL we are going to get after them, we need to have our actions demonstrate that in spades. Rather than dispensing fear, I want each and every member of this terror group to feel fear 24 X 7. They need to understand the United States is NOT a paper tiger, and to kick sand in our face has swift and deadly consequences.

We also heard yesterday (not yet confirmed) that ISIL might have used chemical agents on Iraqi troops. As has been stated before, there is a witch's brew of bad stuff all over that land. Some from Assad, some left over from Saddam. It would not be very hard indeed for this group to buy of steal some of it. Could you imagine terrorists carrying nerve agents making it across our southern border?

One ranking General stated earlier this week this campaign could go on for years. At this pace, it could go on forever. Even after bombing ISIL in Iraq for over two months, we could not contain them enough to protect Iraqi troops. The President said he did not want to use "shock and awe". Why not? Too much like G.W. Bush? I for one, would love to see some "shock and awe" - and lots of it. I want to show the terrorists just what real "terror" is.

Time to take the gloves off. Time to get real. We need to get engaged with this group. We need to get up close and personal. We have war fighters that are professional and know how to handle people like this. Bomb them for a month straight, using over 100 sorties a day. Embed our Special Operators in with the Iraqi troops. People in this country don't want to live like this. We are tired of being almost stripped naked just to get on an airplane. It is time to open the kennels and unleash the dogs of war - our dogs of war.



 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

The mess in Minnesota

 
 

 
"It seems that someone has spilled the beans on a major non-profit. This might just be a beginning of a sad, sad tale..."



Some have asked why in the heck we need a state auditor. What possible function could that person serve? Is not our state well run? In fact, what is wrong with the auditor we presently have? Well, please allow me once again to be Dr. Rain Cloud.

You would have to have been living in a cave not to hear about the Community Action of Minneapolis issue. Or should I say a mess. One of the things that our Republican candidate for Governor (Jeff Johnson) has asked since I first met him, are some very simple questions: "How do we know our existing programs are working? How do we know they are worth the cost? How do we know they are a good value for the taxpayers?" Well Mr. Johnson, we don't.

This non-profit (Community Acton of Minneapolis) is small compared to other non-profits. However, their CEO is making a major league salary (over $200K annually). Not only salary, but perks which stretch from dawn till dusk. Plus he has local and national politicians peppered all over his Board. This non-profit is truly the fox watching the hen house. People in need, people that are hurting, are not getting monies which have been donated due to excessive "skimming" off the top.

Since they are receiving state money, one might be tempted to ask, "Where is the Sam Hill is Rebecca Otto during all of this? Is she not suppose to be our watchdog?" She was asleep at the switch, I am afraid to say. The State Auditor is one of the most important constitutional offices, right after State Attorney General. When you have one party rule, blind eyes and deaf ears begin to develop on those who are suppose to be vigilant.

So what can we do? First off, we need a new Governor. One who is not a puppet for the unions or the status quo. One who understands the real meaning of money - our money. We also need a new State Auditor and a new State Attorney General. With this new team of watchdogs, we will be able to identify programs which no longer work, programs which don't serve people, and programs which are redundant.

How bad is it right now? A senior Democrat legislator was on the radio today discussing Community Action of Minnesota. In her words, this non-profit has been suspect for almost 20 years now. This has been a bi-partisan screw-up. And what has been done? Na-da. She went on to say the CEO of this group has been "untouchable" as he is very well connected in the "community". Translation - people elected to be our watchdogs are scared to death of people like him.

Time to clean house folks. Time for the watchdogs to replace the lap dogs. The money may not seem real to statists, but it is very real to people like us. In November, we need to take the first step to fiscal sanity by demanding a change in leadership. Top to bottom, a real change. We owe it to ourselves, our kids, and our grandkids.  




Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Big Al, the kiddies pal!

 
 

 
"A friend from another state asked me how we were so dumb to elect a guy like Al. I responded that we even might be even dumber if we re-elect him..."
 
 
 
You have got to be kidding me. A recent local poll shows Al Franken still ahead of Mike McFadden by double digits. And the reason for that really escapes me. Now we all remember the very shaky election which happened six years ago. John Fund of the Wall Street Journal has written about that election more than once when addressing voter fraud. Big Al, the comic from SNL, beat out a very experienced Senator by a handful of votes. And many of those votes, as well as how they were counted, remain suspect today.
 
After the election was over and Al was getting ready to be sworn in, one of the TV stations was doing "man (or woman) on the street" interviews to find out why people voted for Big Al. In Minneapolis, some of the more common answers were "he is cool", or 'he is funny", or "I didn't know he was from Minnesota - that is so awesome!" This was a fine example of careful vetting by the low information crowd.
 
So now here he is, using his acting classes in order to look very senatorial, telling us all the good things he has done for us during the past six years. Let me will tell you what he has done for the people of Minnesota - he has voted with the President 97% of the time. Yes, our "Big Al" has shown himself to be nothing but a mind numbed robot.
 
He may have become rich due to his comedy royalties, but the people in Minnesota have not. Many have seen their average income drop 6% from 2007 to the end of 2013. Yet many costs continue to go up. Call me a fool, but what I expect Senators from Minnesota tell the people they represent is very simple. Yes, jobs are being created, but they are not the same jobs as the ones which were lost. They have lower hours, pay lower wages, and offer lower benefits. Just because the President can't tell the truth, does not mean our Senators need to obfuscate.
 
As far as ObamaCare is concerned, due in large part to voter fraud, Big Al was the 60th vote. This is just plain a fact folks. If not for Big Al getting in, we would not be suffering with this train wreck called the ACA. By the way, people from all areas of the political spectrum are finding out the "Affordable" word in the healthcare title is the greatest misnomer ever created. It is not affordable. It is bad and getting worse. Just wait a week or two in Minnesota when the new rates are disclosed. When that happens, remember that Al Franken's fingerprints are all over this mess.
 
We have an excellent and a quality candidate ready to take Al's Senate seat early next year. Some on the Left have said Mike is not qualified. Oh contraire, I say. Mike is ten times more qualified than Al was when he was sworn in. Mike McFadden understands Minnesota. Mike understands business. Mike understands what it takes to create real jobs and give people a good living. Al on the other hand, understands only Comedy Central.
 
This November lets reverse the mistake we made six years ago. We need to let Al go back to the comedy clubs in California. We really need Mike in the Senate. This is an immutable fact. We don't need 6 more years of someone voting 97% of the time for socialist programs.     
 
 
 

The Homecoming Problem

 
 

 
"It seems the real threat right now is the Lone Wolf. This might be a big problem for some more than others..."


Now that the battle with the Islamic terrorists has been joined, everyone is wondering "what next"? Only the most naïve would think the answer to that question would be "nothing". No, the counter punch has been planned and now we wait to see what it is. Hopefully, our law enforcement is all over this white on rice.

I don't know why, but I keep getting the feeling we are a nickel short and an hour late. It has been broadcast on the national media there are now over 100 home grown terrorists who have returned to the United States. Fully trained and battle hardened. In Europe it is much worse. The number there is over 2,000. Some experts are saying those numbers are really much higher. Nobody is saying they are lower.

This morning DHS and the FBI are advising people to be on the lookout for Lone Wolves. It should be very easy. Lone Wolves look like us, talk like us, act like us. However the heart and soul of a Lone Wolf have been contaminated with pure evil. The Lone Wolf, like the rest of the Islamic terrorists, want us, our families, our way of life, destroyed.

So the advice the government is giving us is simple. Stay vigilant. Watch out at shopping malls, places of worship, sporting events. Every place where evil can take advantage of soft targets. I am willing to bet a percentage of the estimated 100 home grown terrorists live right here in the Twin Cities. We know that some do - two who were killed fighting for ISIS went to my wife's high school.

I guess many who think this is just much to do about nothing will not wake up until something awful happens to innocent civilians in this country or Europe. You know - things like a family being beheaded in their own home. Things like a couple of Lone Wolves spraying AK-47 bullets into a crowd at the MOA. Things like explosives going off in a place of Christian or Jewish worship this weekend. It is then we will all believe the enemy is not only at the gate, not only inside the gate, but maybe living right next door to us.

We have nobody to blame for this but ourselves. Our naiveté. Our "PC" police. Our belief that if we play nice with evil, they will love us in return. Here is the wake up call. They will never love us. They will never like us. They will never tolerate us. In their twisted way of thinking, we are an abomination in this world and needed to be exterminated.

Wake up America. This has been going on for decades now. It will go on, and on, and on. This is not over. It might be just the beginning.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

And what don't we know?

 
 


"If we are in danger, I need to know it. I am trying so hard to keep my eyes wide open!"



I don't think many of us will forget the presser which was held by General Dempsey and SecDef Hagel not too long ago. You remember this one - the one where both of them looked like they had seen a ghost. As a former cryptologist, I can tell you this much. What we know from in the press, and what is really happening, are often quite different. My belief is what Dempsey and Hagel had just learned is something very, very unsettling and very scary.

So what was it? I really have no idea - nor should I be able to know. My guess however is simply this - it has nothing to do with ISIS or ISIL. It has everything to do with this new nefarious new group we just discovered - the Khorasan.

Why do I say that? The inkles coming in off the airwaves were fast and furious. This new group of blood thirsty hoods were in the final planning stages of doing something dire to either us or our friends overseas. Okay - so what does that mean? Blowing up a plane, shooting up a mall, cutting someone's head off? Or worse? Do they have a dirty bomb? Are they already here with something so terrible we can't write about it? Do they have a suitcase nuke to use on one of our cities?

One of my left leaning friends has called me a "bed wetter" because I always look to the worse possible scenario. I have been trained to do so. If I had said on September 10th, 2001, two major skyscrapers in NYC would be taken down by two hijacked planes, I would have been dismissed as a weirdo. The enemy we are dealing with is a lot of things, but they are not stupid. They will hit us where least expected, and with maximum impact.

I also believe this. They expected us to hit them like we did last night in Iraq and Syria. They had already planned their counter-punch. As our leaders are at the UN talking about the dangers of "global warming", the real threat might be planning a knockout punch while on our shores. Don't think for a minute the EMP solution has not crossed their minds. We are so ill equipped for an EMP attack, it is not even the least bit humorous. Should one go off in the right place, tens of thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands would die within a month.

What can we do? First and foremost, remember this one minor tidbit - WE ARE AT WAR WITH AN ENEMY WHO WANTS US ALL DEAD! I can think of no better way to phrase that. Bunker up. Have enough food and water on hand to last for a while. Until this enemy is vanquished (if they ever will be), we remain in danger.

Expect that the government will not tell us the worse. They probably will not. Stay vigilant, stay prepared, stay ready. This is not over yet - not by a long shot.

And so it starts...

 
 


"Last night the 'War on Terror' entered a new chapter. Will this be the last chapter? Probably not..."



Last night, the battle was joined. Sort of. We set out to bomb up to 20 targets in Syria. Since we "telegraphed our punch" almost two weeks ago, we don't really know how much repositioning of assets ISIL was able to do. However even if they did, the military said they were able to hit 14 of the 20 targets identified. In any event, it is now "game on" for this latest group of thugs who threaten freedom loving people in the Middle East and beyond.

Many people from all over the political spectrum are giving the President "high fives" for finally pulling the trigger. I am also. Threats, letters, speeches mean nothing to the bad guys. 500 pound bombs raining down from above - that is a different story. So bravo Mr. President!

As the saying goes, now comes the "rest of the story". It was reported today in the newspaper that the bombing we have been doing for weeks Iraq has done basically nothing to degrade ISIL. They keep growing and their treachery remains unchecked. More Iraqi soldiers were recently slaughtered by this group. As predicted, random "pin point" bombing does not do the trick.

Last night we sent in a barrage of our finest cruise missiles from two different AEGIS Class Destroyers. I am assuming they did the job they were intended to do. If that is the case, that is the good news. The bad news is the projected replenishment of these highly effective missiles. A retired Navy expert was on the news last night and said he was very concerned about the future of this program. Next fiscal year there are only 100 Tomahawk Cruise Missiles slated to be built and delivered to the Navy. The following year the number is 0. As far as littoral or stand off warfare is concerned, cruise missiles have always proved to be an effective weapon. To have a greatly diminished inventory during time of war is concerning.

Another station last night had on a retired Army officer who fought in Desert Storm. He was somewhat non-impressed with the first salvo of the attack last night. His position is to really keep an enemy like ISIL off balance, you need over 100 sorties a day. Constant pounding. No let up. Bombs from F-18s, F-16s, F-22s, B-2s, drones and so on.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the next few days. We will be able to tell if ISIL has been degraded or not. Our Arab partners who have been helping with the air attack, need to understand this war will involve boots on the ground. Arab boots. Every nation which surrounds Syria (and Syrian forces) need to be involved in the ground war. That includes our NATO friend Turkey, who remains on the sidelines. Either Turkey lives up to it's NATO obligations, or it is out. Period. No more playing both sides.

I am sorry it had to come to this. War is an awful business and most people hate it. However, when evil doers start decapitating and crucifying innocent people (including children), they have crossed the line. They have given up the right to live with civilized people. In fact, they have just plain given up the right to live.  



Monday, September 22, 2014

My message to the Left...

 
 

"We need to listen to the Boy Scout motto. We MUST be, and then stay, prepared..."



I am very happy that I have FB friends who live on the Left side of the street. Some members of my family live there also. There may be occasional agreement, but mostly we disagree on practically everything. I am okay with that. I have said many times we live in a pluralistic society, and not a homogeneous one. As the saying goes, too much consensus often leads to a dull conversation.

That being said, I feel compelled to give some advice to my brothers and sisters on the Left. Some of you may not believe that we are in danger, but let me assure you, we are. Our military and law enforcement can protect us from this evil, but only if we let it. I am hopeful they are fully on top of this developing situation. We have heard the adage many times before: We have to be right 100% of the time. They only need to by lucky once.

By the way, it is not just people on the Right who are sounding the clarion alarm about this new breed of terrorists. I also hear it from some on the Left as well as in the middle. Today, the terrorists were once again on the internet trying to extoll Muslims to kill any American, or who supports America in the Middle East. By the way - that death threat includes all Americans - Republican, Democrat or other.

Here is what I have learned about these extremists:
  • They don't give a flying fig about climate change. We may think it is the biggest problem since the dinosaurs, but they do not.
  • They hate atheists, agnostics, and apostates as much as they hate Christians and Jews. Don't think you can escape their wrath and judgment just because you don't believe in anything.
  • It has been well documented on the internet these butchers have crucified people, beheaded women, children and babies as well as buried people alive. They are as brutal as the Nazis were in their most savage days.
  • Some in this country have been accused of waging a "war on women" because they don't believe in government funded birth control. However, the real "war on women" is taking place in the Middle East and parts of Africa. Many woman there have been marginalized, mistreated, covered from head to toe, and sometimes disfigured and tortured.
  • As we try to move the world forward into the 21st century with technology and health care, these terrorists are trying to pull us back to the Middle Ages. This new Caliphate will dictate we practice Sharia Law, and all that comes with it. This, not our Constitution, will be the governing law of the land.
All I want is to keep innocent people safe from these barbrians. As an American, I am most concerned about the people in this country. Even though I may disagree with him, I want our President to be safe. I want all of us to be safe. If this involves bombing these terrorists group back to the stone ages, so be it. If is involves American boots on the ground, let's roll. We did not start this war. We don't want this war. If we need to, we will end this war. And it won't be pretty for the other side.

Friends, take these people seriously. I am not (as I have been called) a "bed wetter" for respecting what they have threatened to do. I take people at their word. If they want to come to this land and kill us, I only need to look at their history. Their barbarism is well documented. Be prepared. Stay prepared. This is not over yet.



The cauldron boils...

 
 


"With the number of bad actors growing every day , all the UN is concerned about is Al Gore's climate change hoax..."



Drip...drip....drip. That is how we are getting information from our government on how much danger we are in. With every drip comes a more clear and dire picture of our predicament. The epicenter for the coming mayhem is now focused primarily (but not exclusively) in Syria. All eyes should be focused on that troubled and turbulent area.

It just seems like yesterday we heard about a new threat. A threat so new, we could not even decide on which name to call it. ISIS, ISIL or whatever. However, there is a difference, even though it appears to some to be subtle. ISIS stands for and Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. ISIL stands for Islamic State in Iraq and Levant. The difference is Levant is not just Syria. Levant is an ancient term which goes back centuries. It is a land mass which covers Syria, Jordan, Cyprus, Lebanon, Israel and part of Turkey. It is this piece of land ISIL wants to take back and control.

So ISIL is bad enough. This group, which Al Qaeda once considered too radical for their organization, is not only causing death and destruction in the Middle East, they also have their eyes on Western targets. News was leaked a few days ago that ISIL would like to have member's of their group, or sympathizers, find out where American soldiers live, break into their houses, and kill their families. And if history tells us anything, look for another horrific beheading in the near future.

Today, we found out there is yet another bad seed in the apples. A cell in Syria called Khorasan has been discovered. Seems our State Department and DHS are more worried about this cell than ISIL. Why? They are not focused on taking back the territory once known as Levant - they are only focused on the destruction of the West (that be us).

A well known pundit was on the news this morning. He had recently been to Turkey and visited the Syrian border. He said is was easier to cross from Turkey into Syria than from Mexico into the United States. Turkey has become the "terror highway" used by aspiring ISIL fighters who want to get into Syria. Turkey, who believe it or not is still a member of NATO, continues to turn a blind eye when the worst of the worst use their country as a transportation conduit.

One more bit of bad news which leaked out last week. Ibrahim al-Asiri, the chief bomb maker for Al Qaeda as well as citizen of our "friend" Saudi Arabia, has been working feverishly to build a bomb which will fool our TSA and get by our screeners. The underwear bomb he built in 2009 was just a start. He is on to bigger and better things right now. Our old foe Al Qaeda is still in the picture, and still want to make a big splash by bringing down a Western airliner.

The cauldron is in Syria right now, but will soon spread. And the cauldron continues to boil over. How much do we citizens know? Not as much as our government does. I continue to believe we are in a clear and present danger and growing daily. We can punch, or be punched. By doing little or nothing as our President suggests, we will get punched again. The enemy is either at the gate or in the gate. Wake up America - the enemy wants you and your family dead. This is for real.      

  

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Bumper Harvests

 
 


"Oil that is, black gold, Texas tea..."
 
Ballad of Jed Clampett
Beverly Hillbillies


This year, our heartland will will have two bumper harvests. Two products that are sorely needed, and thankfully, are now in great supply. Yes, I am talking about our corn harvest for one. The other? Believe it or not, our oil harvest, which continues to come down from the Bakken Oil Fields.

Living close to the Burlington Northern tracks, we have seen trains pulling oil cars get longer and longer. Some are 100 cars long. What is not to love with all this new found energy? A couple of things really. First off, shipping by rail involves some risk. Crude oil is volatile - not as much as gasoline, but still volatile. These trains roll through countryside as well as communities. Some think they are an accident waiting to happen. However, with new pipelines being held up by environmental groups as well as the Federal Government, rail is the only option.

Second, these oil cars are causing a traffic jam on the rails. The farmers are becoming very concerned about it. Last year was a very good year for corn. This year is expected to be the same. Farmers and grain dealers are furiously trying to get last year's supply shipped out to make room for this year's bumper crop. Corn does not have the option of shipping by pipeline - it is rail or nothing.

The tracks really take a pounding from all this traffic. We have noticed this summer the crews have been out reinforcing tracks to ensure they are safe enough for all train traffic. The Northstar commuter train also uses those tracks. A mishap or derailment between Elk River and the Twin Cities by any train would be a disaster.

A simple answer to this problem would be to build more pipelines. They are safer than rail, but still have some safety problems. So we need to build them to the highest standards possible. Authorize the XL Keystone. We have been screwing around with this thing for years now. This extraordinary delay is really unforgivable.

Bumper harvests. This should be a time of joy instead of problems. The Bakken Oil Field keeps growing and putting out more product. The traffic jam on the rails will only get worse unless we act. No more dithering Mr. President - take some action now!






Saturday, September 20, 2014

Does our government ever lie?

 
 


"Joe Wilson, you were so far out in front of the rest of us!"
 


Oh, I can remember the days in school of learning about veracity and leadership. In particular, how George Washington could not tell a lie. It may have been part myth, but it was a great teachable moment. As they would say in a cigarette commercial a long time ago, "We have come a long way, baby!"
 
In September of 2009, President Obama stood in the Well of the House and told one of his whoppers on immigration reform. Representative Joe Wilson (R-SC) could hardly believe his ears. When the President said "Immigration reform would not apply to illegal immigrants", he had heard enough. "You lie!" he shouted out. It was a show stopper for many. Some called him a racist. Some wanted him censured. Some wanted a fate even worse for poor old Joe.
 
What have we found out over the years? Lying is a pattern with this crowd. Turns out old Joe might have been right in 2009. Veracity and truth telling seem to have gone out with the Leisure Suits. The "low information" crowd continues to be easily cowed by this unrelenting and non-stop sophism. However, those who are awake are startled to see the depth and width of today's lies.

The result is predictable - very few of the "informed" believe ANYTHING this government tells us. It seems the only truth tellers these days are the generals running the Pentagon. Everyone else in the State Department, HHS, or the White House are trying to woo us using nothing more than pixie dust and happy juice.

The biggest victim of these non-stop lies continues to be the truth. It is the lack of faith and most of all, confidence that people have in their government. More and more, many feel as if they are being controlled and lied to in a fashion similar to the dystopia that Orwell painted in 1949. No, veracity has become something to be used only as a high scoring word in scrabble. Truth tellers are in short supply and I don't know if they will ever come back.

As our nation once again teeters over entering the boiling cauldron of the Middle East, we need truth tellers more than ever. We need to know who and why we are fighting. We need entrance and exit strategies. We need a Collin Powell plan for a quick and decisive victory, not the Bob McNamara path which leads to a prolonged and costly defeat. We need to let our generals be the war fighters, not the "flower children" of the 60's, nor the community organizers from the 80's.

"Liar, liar, pants on fire. Your nose is longer than a telephone wire." Good rhyme for kids, but bad policy for leaders. We need to straighten up and fly straight. This one might be for all the marbles.
 
 

Why she will never be President

 
 


"It will not be Jeb either. The American people have grown tired of dynasties..."



If I was asked to bet five dollars on who would be our next President, I would not take that bet. I simply don't have a clue. I am just grateful that our Constitution does not allow for a third term. I fear the "low information" crowd would give this guy one more trip around the block. I would however, wager our next President will NOT be Hillary Clinton. Of that I am sure.

Now why in the world would I say that? All straw polls have her spanking any potential GOP rival. MSNBC and other media lapdogs have practically had a coronation for her already. She is in the news constantly for either "grandbaby watch" or (gasp) Benghazi. And therein lies the rub.

I think the worst news that Hillary Clinton could have received about her political future was Trey Gowdy (R-SC) being selected as the chair for the Benghazi investigation. I, like thousands upon thousands of other Conservatives, am a HUGE Trey Gowdy fan. If I was ever to step sideways to the law, this is one man I would NOT want to prosecute me. His record as prosecutor prior to entering politics, was almost perfect. 

Many have thought for a couple years now there is a smoking gun with Benghazi. There is a back story which has not yet been told. There is no way the trail will not lead up to the number one chair at the State Department. In fact, it might not only lead to SOS Clinton, but even one step further. Trey WILL get to the truth. If it takes months and dozens of subpoenas, he will find the answer.

What Trey and the committee will find is simply this. Benghazi happened due to incompetence, benign neglect, or worse. However, the incident itself was only part of the disaster. Just like with Watergate, the ensuing cover up has developed legs of it's own. And the cover up continues today with the State Department's "Valley Girls" (not my term, but I wish it was!). Hillary will not be able to outrun her past on this one. If the GOP was smart, they would start hanging this around her neck right after the midterms.

There are other things which will keep Hillary from becoming President. Her time as the SOS involved many miles traveled resulting in very few positive results. The "reset button" with the Russians turned into a "redux button" instead. We are now very close to another Cold War. Her days at the WH with Bill are legendary. Bill's sordid past and Hillary's lamp throwing will also be revived.

My belief is the next President will be none of the above. It will not be any who are being discussed right now. It will be someone of bold vision coming in from the outskirts of national politics. It will be someone who inspires, not a charlatan who gives us empty promises like "hope and change".

No, I think many have learned their lesson. Out with the old and in with the new. No more snake oil. No more histrionics. No more dynasties. AND, no more BS. Just give us a real leader who can lead. That is all - no more, no less.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Life on the 65th

 
 


"It is not called the 'last frontier' for nothing..."



When I was a young lad in primary school, some of my teachers would say how lucky we were to live in the Twin Cities. Why? We were on the 45th Parallel. That is halfway between the Equator and the North Pole. However when I got in college and took Geography, I learned that was not quite true. Because of the shape of our planet, the actual half-way point is about 10 miles further north than the 45th. In other words, very close to where I live right now.

I have always been fascinated by going north. I would tell people that is where my biological compass points. When my wife and I vacation in Northern Minnesota, that is great. When we are up in Canada, that is even better. However going to Alaska, now that is an entire different ballgame.

The furthest north we got in Alaska was Denali National Park. The park sits about 100 miles south of Fairbanks. Fairbanks is located very close to the 65th Parallel. And how far north is the 65th? If you look at a map of Canada, it is located at the mouth of the Hudson Bay. Now that is north in my book!

As you get closer to the 65th, the landscape starts to change. You start to run out of boreal forest and begin the transition into tundra. Most of the ground has permafrost. The seasons are either very long or very short as is the daylight. The people who live up there year round, be they native to the land or transplant, are tough beyond measure. They are the pure survivalists. Doctors and dentists are scarce, so staying healthy is a must! Walmart and Target? Forget about it.

However, many of the people that live up there dearly love it. It is living on the edge. Northern lights are visible for over half the year. The sky is so blue it almost hurts the eyes. The majesty of the mountains seem to go on forever. Every once in a while the king of the mountains, Denali, will show himself. When "The Mountain" is out, there is no question as to which one is Denali (I know, folks in the lower 48 still call it McKinley). It simply towers above everything else.

So as happy as I am to live almost directly on the 45th, having the chance to visit the 65th was pretty darn cool. If you like to commune with nature, if you like to commune with God, I could not think of a better place to be. I was tough enough to visit and enjoy it, but nowhere near tough enough to live up there. 

On the Beach - Modern Day

 
 
 

 
"This is the way the world ends,
not with a bang, but with a whimper..."
 
Nevil Shute
On the Beach


One of my favorite books from years ago is On the Beach by Nevil Shute. It is a book about war and hemispheres. Without going into too much detail, the book concerns life in Melbourne, Australia a year after a major nuclear war was fought in the northern hemisphere. Even though the countries in the southern hemisphere were not involved in the conflict, deadly radiation was slowing making it's way south. Soon everyone would die, suffering the same fate as the people up north.

I thought about that book as I was watching the news last night. Our new war, which is terror rather than nuclear, has found it's way south. The authorities in Australia were lucky to have foiled a plot which would have been horrific in just about any culture. Six Islamic extremists were getting ready to capture an innocent Australian, behead that person, and then show the video tape.

In our new chapter in the War on Terror, there are no boundaries. Their are no safe zones. There are no hemispheres. This is a war of ideology. If you are perceived to be an apostate, a Christian, a Jew, a homosexual, the wrong kind of Muslim, or whatever, you are a candidate to lose your head. Our friends down under know they have dodged a major bullet. In response, they have raised their terror level to the highest alert. The British have also raised their terror level to "Severe". Not us however - we continue to live in the world of sunshine and lolly pops.

As we continue to dither and play make believe, the bad guys are getting bigger and badder all the time. An expert on the news the other night said this new group ISIL, will probably focus on soft target "lone wolf" attacks, as well as continuing to try to blow up an airliner. Not to say they don't want to do something spectacular to boot. ISIL will take advantage of any weakness, any openings to work their treachery and evil. In dealing with them, chance will definitely favor the prepared.

What have we learned as of late? First off, Al Qaeda is still active and has not gone away. They are still a danger to us. ISIS, or ISIL is young, aggressive and brutal. They are some of the nastiest people who have walked the Earth for centuries. Oceans no longer offer safe boundaries. If they can get to Australia, they can get to us also.

In On the Beach, as the radiation came closer, people prepared for death. It was inevitable. In dealing with the zealots who are coming out of the War on Terror, we don't have to take our fate laying down. We can take the fight to them. We first need to wake up. This WILL take boots on the ground. Not anyone's boots - American boots. ISIL is good at killing innocents - let us see how they fare against America's finest.

We did not start this war, but we can finish it. We need to drop our naivety and get real as to who the enemy is. Forget "PC". Our generals know what to do. We need to listen to them. The enemy is at of just inside the gate. It is time to "Cry havoc, and unleash the dogs of war!" 

 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

A bit of scotch please....

 
 
 


Early? Hey - it is 5:00 pm somewhere!



Okay, now that I have you hooked, this has nothing to do with the fine scotch whiskey. No, this has everything to do with the country of Scotland. Today is "D-Day" for the Scottish folks. They will vote to either stay in the United Kingdom, or split off and become autonomous.

I am part Scottish. As small part, but I am proud of it anyhow. I like to drink Scotch whisky (not this early however). I have been to Scotland and talked to the people. It is drop dead gorgeous land. The people are very nice and welcoming. I wish nothing but the best for these fine people. I just hope they know what they are doing.

As we know from Greece, a country can teeter on bankruptcy. England has told Scotland if they pull out of the United Kingdom, they are on their own for a currency. This is a big issue. Also, some of the banks that now call Scotland home, have informed the Scottish Government that if they go independent, they will relocate to England. Also a big deal. The Brits have a base for their nuke subs in Scotland. Where will those subs go? The Scots get some of their energy from North Sea oil, but experts do not think it is enough to satisfy their energy and financial needs. Questions, questions, questions.

There are still over fifty countries which are part of the Commonwealth. The Commonwealth is not the Empire however, it is a voluntary association. The old saying that the sun never sets on the British Empire remains true to this day. My question is this - if Scotland does vote for independence, will they volunteer to still be a part of the Commonwealth? I don't know. Like most people, I have more questions than answers.

There is life after being part of the British Empire. It worked out fine for us. Unlike Canada, we decided not to be a part of the Commonwealth, although the British remain our strongest friend in Europe. If Scotland votes to leave, all I can say is "God's Speed". Should Scotland remains part of the U.K., or should it go independent, it is still one of the nicest places I have ever visited.

   

Liquidated

 
 
 


"Hero to goat in less than a week. And who says fame is fleeting?"



In the movie Ten Commandments, when Moses was outed for not being of royal blood, but Jewish instead, his half brother Pharaoh banished him to the wilderness. If that was not bad enough, he ordered all tables, all monuments to be stripped of the name Moses. In addition, no tongue shall mention his name again. Moses was not only banished, he was liquidated.

The Romans would practice something called Damnatio Memoraie, which simply means "damnation of memory". It was a judgment cast upon those who did things which brought discredit to the Empire. It was literally to erase someone from history. The Russians also practiced this to a degree after the 1917 Purge.

Adrian, Adrian, what have you done? Actually, what he did has been going on for a while now. It is just that he got caught. Adrian Peterson, hero of the Vikings, a shoe-in for the Hall of Fame, is nothing more than a rich and talented "Baby Daddy". This fact began to surface last year when one of his sons died at the hands of another man. Adrian was given some time off to grieve and attend the funeral. It was there that the shameful truth of this man started to surface.

Rumors started to swirl that Adrian did not even know he had this son. Huh? In fact, the rumors continued that Adrian was quite the stud. In fact, he had numerous children with numerous women. After the funeral and Adrian was then back to work. All of those rumors about many kids with many women seemed to die out during the season.

When one of Adrian's sons returned home from his visit to see "Daddy Peterson", he looked like he got into a fight. Black and blue with some bleeding welts. Seems that "Daddy Peterson" did not like something this boy had done and beat him with a switch (stick). That was in May. Here we are halfway though September, and photos were released from that May incident. "Daddy Peterson" all of a sudden, was in deep, deep "do-do" with the press and fans. He was a child beater.

Sponsors started to pull out. It would hurt the team and the league. The story got even worse when tales surfaced of a second child who was beat by "Daddy Peterson". The question was then asked, "How many kids does our star running back have?" He won't answer that question, but the number seems to be somewhere between 5 and 7 with three different women. "Daddy Peterson" has been outed as nothing more than a talented "Baby Daddy".

So now our "Baby Daddy" is gone for the season. Slowly, he is being liquidated from the team. His jerseys are being pulled from Target. Most in the know believe he will never take another snap as a Viking - maybe from anyone. He has gone from hero to pariah quicker than one can say "billion dollar stadium". No, Adrian (who?) is gone, and soon to be forgotten.

This is just a reminder that true heroes are not the people that play sports. People that play sports can be just a flawed as the rest of us. If you want to see a real hero, go thank a cop. Heroes are all around us, and very few play sports.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Convincing the Uninformed

 
 


In the land of the blind, even a one eyed man can be King...



I remember clearly when I was a young boy and found out there was no Santa Claus. It was my older sister who spilled the beans. It was one of the worst days of my young life. This man in the red suit, this man who I wrote countless letters to, this man who gave me something for nothing, was just a myth. The reality was all these presents I received were bought and paid for by my parents.

Every time we drive into Minneapolis, I feel as if I am on another planet. Everything is different from where we live. The thing which is the most different, is the politics. It is a dark, dark blue whereas the county I live in is solid red. It is not so much the fact these people monolithically vote time after time for Democrats, it is the fact that many don't know why.

Republicans tend to be much harder on their candidates. Some say much too hard. So hard it can work against us during general elections. Democrats on the other hand ,are peppered with "Yellow Dogs". "Yellow Dogs" are people who will vote for any Democrat, even if the candidate is a yellow dog.

To be fair, there are some who vote in Minneapolis who are informed. Misguided, but informed. However, there are legions who are not. Some refer to them as the "low information" crowd. Others, go one step further, and call them "no information" voters. And therein lies the challenge.

How do we crack this nut? How do we get through to voters who have been brainwashed? How do we convince voters there is another way which actually works better? Basically, how do we convince adults who vote there is no Santa Claus.

Just like when I was a lad and found out that Santa was really my Dad, I adapted. The giver of gifts remained the same, but my attitude needed to change. If I was good, did my chores, and stayed out of trouble, Christmas Eve would be a time of joy and presents. I was aware these presents did not come from the North Pole - they came from Dayton's, paid for by my Mom and Dad.

The same needs to be true for the uninformed voters in the cities. None of us get things for free. Everything has a price and a cost. Many "blue" voters keep voting for the same old policies which have kept them in poverty. The snake oil never gets old. People just keep taking it, listening to the empty promises given to them by the sales team.

One of the problems the Republicans have is most are very poor liars. They tend to tell people the truth. They come off as Mr. and Mrs. Rain Cloud. When they tell the believers there is no Santa Clause, they are rejected. But the story needs to be told. Exceptional cities, states and countries become such because they are reality based. Work ethic. Right-sized taxes and government. Civic involvement.

What am I saying? Stay the course. Understand what we are up against. The other side has liars and story tellers. People hunger for the truth. Share the truth, even if it is painful to some. Santa Claus may not exist, but the spirit of giving does. We need to give all people, the growth and opportunity they deserve. They won't get that from a make believe Santa Claus, they will only get it by joining us.

Timing is everything...

 
 
 


"Proponents of ObamaCare don't really care if they get something for nothing. However, insurance providers cannot supply something for nothing and stay viable..."



Okay - if our endorsed candidates don't capitalize on this issue, I might be tempted to take a "switch" to them! This un-forecasted event can only be called one thing - a gift horse. Both our candidates for Governor the U.S. Senate can make some hay on this issue. Since both are behind by double digits in the polls, it is time to step on the gas.

Truthfully, I have been a bit disappointed on how the campaigns have gone so far. They have been tepid at best. The local paper recently had an article on why our candidate for Governor (Jeff) is behind so far. He is a good man who has done good things. However, it is name recognition. People outside of Hennepin County know very little about Jeff. My suggestion is to wallpaper the countryside with campaign signs. Get on the air more. Most of all, make the case to the people of Minnesota for a change of leadership.

To be successful in any race, the case must be made for 1) why the incumbent should be fired and 2) why your candidate should be hired. I have not seen that yet. If I was running, I would go after the Governor hammer and tong. I would hang the Met Council around his neck. I would use Met Council's Thrive 2040 as a perfect excuse why under Dayton, we have collectivism has gone wild. I would explain the FREEDOMS we will lose with both MNSure and Thrive 2040. I would expose how many of the jobs created have been lower wage, part time jobs. Jeff always says we can do better. Lets show the folks how!

MNSure is the gift that keeps on giving. We need to open up that gift. MNSure has been a mess (and an expensive one) since the get go. And now, with the "loss leader" insurance company pulling out, rates are expected to skyrocket. We will get the real truth in early October when drapes are pulled back, and we see what the true insurance costs will be.

Mike on the other hand, has a different gift. Al was the 60th vote on ObamaCare. Period. I would tie in Al with not only the debacle of ObamaCare, but also every other cluster which this Administration is responsible for. NSA, IRS, Benghazi - all have Democratic finger prints. Al has a voting record which is shameful. He votes with the President 97% of the time (fact, not an estimate). Mike also needs to put in an order for a zillion signs to put up all over the place. Our CD6 office STILL does not have any signs!

Lets go team! The table has been set for us. We have the energy, now lets get to work. MNSure, ObamaCare, and Obama should be the keys to our victory in November. Now lets use those keys and get going!