Saturday, February 28, 2015

The Perfect Crime

 
 

 
"It is truly amazing how many people still think the 'AR' stands for 'assault rifle' - therefore this gun and its ammo should be banned from use..."




I remember reading a story years ago about "the perfect crime". How you could (hypothetically) get away with murder. You would go to the store and buy a large pot roast. Put it in your freezer until thoroughly frozen. Invite someone over to your house whom you would like to "off". When the person arrives, beat that person to death with the frozen pot roast. Then thaw the roast, cook it, and eat it. Bingo - no murder weapon!

Now I tell this silly story to make a very serious point. If murder is in your heart, you can kill someone with just about anything at any time. Period. Because the barbarians are cutting off heads in the Middle East, are we now going to ban knives? Because the barbarians are setting people on fire in the Middle East, are we now going to ban matches and gasoline? Because the barbarians are burying people alive in the Middle East, are we now going to ban shovels? Yes, I could go on and on.

This past week, Mr. "I have a pen and a phone" decided to use authority he does not constitutionally have in an attempt to ban AR-15 ammo. And as we all know, without ammo the gun just becomes a hunk of metal. And why is he doing that? In his mind, the AR-15 has become a symbol. He thinks every life member of the NRA owns at least one of these "dangerous" guns, and is just waiting to unleash mass murder with it. And how many times has a law abiding citizen gone crazy with a legally obtained AR-15? I don't know - but I would bet the answer is either zero of very close to it.

Listening to his Loony Left, all Obama hears is, "Nobody needs a gun that powerful to hunt." Or, "The clip size is way too big. Nobody needs a clip size that large to hunt." This again shows the extraordinary ignorance that continues to exist in this country on the Second Amendment. As most of us know, that cherished amendment has NOTHING to do with hunting. It does however, have EVERYTHING to do with protecting the citizenry against an overreaching government. Period. If we ever lose the Second Amendment, the others will quickly follow.

I think it is safe to say our President hates the NRA. He hates the fact some of us own guns. He really hates that he has not been able to do anything about it. He thought the Sandy Hook tragedy was the perfect time to turn the tide. And it almost was. Fortunately, we have enough patriots in our country to still understand our Constitution. Who under stand what "powers reserved" really stands for. Who understand the separation of powers. Who understand the Second Amendment. Who understand why our Founding Fathers decided having a "King" was not a good idea for this country.

How is this going to end up? It will be another hot mess, just like the executive action Obama took on amnesty. That almost shut down the government and defunded the DHS. This might lead to the defunding of the ATF. So really, the perfect crime is not killing someone with a frozen roast. The perfect crime is killing our freedoms one inch at a time. And the "perp" in this crime is the person who took an oath (twice) to protect those freedoms.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Our Norwegian Lutheran Terror Problem

 
 



"Don't let this innocent looking child deceive you. She might be evil and is carrying an incendiary device!"



Okay. I got you. This article has nothing what so ever to do with Norwegian Lutherans. I only called it such out of respect for our Administration. Seems that they are hell bent on ensuring we know that religious zealots come from all over and from every possible religion. In fact if I hear one more time, "Don't forget what McVeigh and Nichols did in Oklahoma! And remember Ruby Ridge while you are at it!" - I am going to puke.

Is it just me, or does it seem that every terror suspect we catch either here or overseas is either Muslim, has a Muslim name, or both? And yet, this compelling evidence is not enough for our President call them out by name. In fact for reasons which escape me, many will not call them out. I would have hoped the Muslim community, most of which are peaceful, would condemn these zealots in the loudest possible way. But they have not.

This past week, we found out the three girls from the UK made it into Syria to join ISIL. They are barely teenagers, and have no idea of the horrors which await them. All three were Muslim. In this country, we had three young Muslim men from the New York City area try to conduct a home grown Jihad in America. Thanks to good sleuthing by our FBI, they were caught. Five young people from Canada also made it over to Turkey to slip across the Syrian border to join ISIL. Again, all Muslim.

It is time for some truth talk, some straight talk. This is not a Catholic problem, not a Methodist problem, not Buddhist, not Hindu, not Jewish, not Norwegian Lutheran. This is a problem within the Muslim faith. Skillfully using social media, young people worldwide are being lured into this trap called the last Caliphate. They want to fight, die and be martyred in this final battle on Earth.

Contrary to what our State Department is telling us, young people who are flocking to join ISIL are not poor and jobless. Many come from middle to upper income homes. Some are in college. Some have graduated from college. They are being lured into this trap for reasons most of us do not understand. And it seems to be growing. In many European counties as well as our own. And yet John Kerry had the cajones to address Congress yesterday and say, "2014 was the safest year the world has had from terrorism in the past century." I think Mr. Kerry might have slipped off his wave board and hit his head the last time he was at Martha's Vineyard.

In the lead up to World War II, the world was full of deniers. After just going through the horrors of World War I, many hoped the Nazi danger would just go away. But it did not, and the war was almost lost to the Axis Powers. Today, we have a similar situation. Our President keeps referring to the "two unnecessary wars in the last Administration", and he is NOT going to get us into another one. Well Mr. President, war is here. And it is on our doorstep.

I will close by saying this. Until we have a Norwegian Lutheran terror problem, I am not going to be concerned with them. I am concerned about young men and woman who are being taken off life's journey and turned into blood thirsty killers. I am concerned that ISIL has made no secret on what their plans are. I am concerned that our country continues to "lead with its chin" rather than with its strength in confronting this emerging threat. Bottom line - I am very, very concerned for our future.

  

Thursday, February 26, 2015

A puzzle with many missing pieces...

 
 


"Our economic puzzle is far, far from being complete..."




My wife and I always chuckle when we hear the rote greeting, "How are you today?" Or, "How you doing?" We joke that we would like to answer just once, "Not so good. My back is killing me and my dog died last night." Why would that be interesting? That is off script. It is not what people expect to hear, nor want to hear. The standard answer should be, "Fine, how are you doing?"

So let us do some truth talk this morning. Let us not look for "canned" answers, but real answers to real problems.

For example, have you noticed how our government, both federal and state, talk about our economy? Many times it is all "sunshine and lolly pops". Earlier this week, the Met Council was very excited that the Twin Cities was receiving a federal grant for more Section 8 housing units. One of the "Euphorians" on the Council expressed utter glee that 2,000 more people would be able to get subsidized housing.

So what is the truth on this matter? In the paper this morning, one editorial writer asked the right question: Why are we so happy that so many people need subsidized housing? Does that not show we still have a huge problem under the surface? That we still have too many poor people? Bingo!

Also in the paper this morning was an article about continual disintegration of the family unit, particularly in the African American community. Fifty years ago, Daniel Patrick Moynihan (a former DEMOCRATIC Senator from New York), wrote about the problems in the "Negro family" which stemmed from the demise of the family unit. He was greatly concerned that the out of wedlock birthrate was 25%. His premise was this would lead to poverty within the community as well as a raft of other problems. Today the out of wedlock rate is 72% and every problem Moynihan predicted for that community has come true. What are we doing to fix this? Not much. But we have learned to talk around it nicely, using correct and PC terminology.

One of our newest societal problems is finally starting to surface. As most of us know, the price of energy (especially electricity) keeps going up year after year. Every year, more and more people need help paying their energy bills. And what is in our forecast? In California for example, some estimates show and increase in electric rates of almost 50% over the next 10 to 15 years. As more and more coal plants get regulated out of business, the slack will need to be picked up by more expensive and inefficient ways to produce electricity. With food stamp usage over 46M people for 38 straight months, the number of people needing energy assistance is rapidly catching up.

So how are we today? Truthfully, not well. I say that as we have been taking some short term economic medication, compliments of the Federal Reserve. This medication does not cure what ails us, it only gives a short term high. And the after effects are going to be grim. Once the medication totally wears off, our economic heath will really crash.

We need to fix our puzzle. We need to put the missing pieces in place. We can start one piece at a time, but it has to be the right piece in the right place. And the first piece that needs to be fixed is the Fed. No happy talk, no temporary fixes, just positive and viable solutions.

My vision for America is very simple. I want our economic house fixed. I want the Fed reigned in. I want to be told what our economic health is, both truthfully and clearly. And I want poverty fixed.

If we want to look at poverty, we should only be able to find it in the history books. Today, we witness poverty right outside our windows. The Bible tell us some poor will be with us always. That is true and we will help them using our generous spirit. But this country, the greatest country ever on Planet Earth, should not have the poverty we have. We should have a much better economy. For all of us, not just some of us. And that is the plain, unvarnished truth.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The world needs Kal-El, not Clark...

 
 


"Up in the air! It is a bird! It is a plane! No, it is.....never mind. My mistake..."



What a hot mess. Not just a little hot, but red hot. The world is on fire, and we have no firemen. No heroes. No policemen. The world needs not only heroes right now, but  superheroes. In World War II, after a long pregnant pause, superheroes did emerge. They saved the day. Today however, it is a much different story. While the world needs Kal-El (Superman), all we can muster up is Clark Kent.

In fact our President, who the world is looking for to become the next Kal-El, remains only Clark Kent. In fact, today the Wall Street Journal called our President something much worse. (I will paraphrase some), He is a "reclusive Howard Hughes satisfied to spend the rest of his term remaining in the White House".

I heard on the news thing morning how important it is not to get angry. Research continues to show that being angry is bad for your health. So I will try and get this out without being too angry, but it is going to be hard.

As many know by now, the thugs in Nigeria (Islamic Terrorist Group Boko Haram) have managed to reach a new low. Hard to believe, but they have. They are now kidnapping young girls, strapping explosive vests on them, and then sending them into crowds to be blown up. If this was a novel, most would throw it down in disgust and wonder how some sicko could write this crap. But ladies and gentlemen, this is for real. This and other atrocities continue to go on in Africa. And yet, nobody can stop it. SOS signals keep going out, only to be received by deaf ears the UN and the US.

ISIL continues the mass extermination of Christians in Iraq and Syria. Not since the Arminian Genocide has the world seen Christians hunted down in such numbers. Earlier this week, over 150 Christians were kidnapped by ISIL. By now the world knows the modus operandi of this blood thirsty group of Islamic Terrorists. They do not do prisoners well. In addition, they don't give a rat's butt about the Geneva Convention. To be captured by this group is to know you will be decapitated, burned alive or buried alive.

To make a bad story even worse, it is now thought that ISIL is harvesting organs out of their victims. Money to be made on the black market. This is so sick, it reminds me of horrors Rasputin or Mengele  would perform on innocent victims. And all Clark Kent can do, is watch.

I have said this before - history will be very unkind to our generation. We are not guilty of commission of these heinous acts, but certainly are of the omission to stop them. To watch and do nothing violates every moral code the civilized world knows. Is it possible for Clark Kent to whip off those glasses and change into his Superman clothes? To fly over and stop this insanity? Or does the world need to wait another 700 days.

The other day Senator McCain said that due to our inaction in helping innocent people in the Middle East, for the first time he was ashamed to be an American. Well Senator, we are not our Daddy's generation. That is for sure. They were called the Greatest Generation for a reason. We certainly will not be.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

EOL Issues

 
 

 
"Sometimes at the end of the day, all we really have is the end of the day..."



Not to sound like too much a "Debby Downer" on a cold Tuesday morning, but as of late my wife and I have been knee deep in EOL (End of Life) planning. Not that we are expecting to leave this orb soon (least wise we hope not), once you get to the "three score and five" age, it is time to face the inevitable. And after going through the loss of my wife's brother, father as well as my mother in the past three years, we have had a crash course on the do's and don'ts of estate and funeral planning.

Here are some simple things we have learned to keep in mind for the future:
  • Funerals cost a whale of a lot of money. Easy for a modest funeral to cost over $10,000. Cremation will cut that cost down somewhat, but it is still expensive. Failure to financially plan for a decent funeral might end up with the county taking over. It is not a "potter's field", but close.
  • Many places offer "final expense" life insurance. Just in case you have spent down most of your assets, a life insurance policy of $25,000 should take care of any funeral expenses as well as miscellaneous items.
  • Keep your financial records as clean as possible. Make sure someone in the family has legal power to act in your behalf should you become incapacitated. A Power of Attorney document works very well so long as you are still alive. However, they become void upon your death. There is also Perpetual Power of Attorney authority which will last after your death, but few have them.
  • If you die suddenly, there will be very little, if any, end of life medical costs. However, if you die slowly, the costs can really add up. If you need to go into a full care center, the costs are through the roof. Family assets will be needed to pay for these expenses. Once the assets are gone, most times the country will step in. Having some kind of Long Term Care insurance will help protect family assets. Word to the wise - Long Term Care insurance is not cheap, and gets less so every year you wait to purchase it.
  • Finally, while you are healthy, start to downsize. Get rid of "junk". When my dad died 11 years ago, we had to get my mother out of the house they lived in for 50 years - and it had 50 years of "junk" in it. What a mess. Donate, recycle, sell, or throw. Do your kids and grandkids a favor - get rid of it.
Well I am sure there are more, but these are the things that we have struggled with after the recent death of loved ones. Death can come knocking at any time, in any place. At 56, my brother-in-law had no idea he was dying a week before he left. But he did. And he left a mess, as there was not a smidge of planning done. No money, no plan, nothing.

My dad would always tell me, besides the cost of living, you also need to be concerned about the high cost of dying. He was right. But proper planning can cut that cost down to size.

Monday, February 23, 2015

How To Succeed in Life Without Really Trying (Too Much)


 
 
 

 
This is something I had hanging on my study wall for years when the girls were growing up. I initially did it for them, but it also became a good set of reminders for me also: 

1.   For every initiative, develop a strategy, and then a plan.

2.   Develop Plan “A”, Plan “B” and so on. Never leave yourself without options.

3.   “Plan the work and work the plan”. A plan is useless unless executed.

4.   Learn as much as you can as fast as you can. Never stop learning – your competition won’t.

5.   Embrace liberal education (not the politics – the concept).

6.   Develop a budget and follow it. It is easy to lose track without a financial roadmap.

7.   Look at “lazy” as an invective. It is truly a “four letter” word.

8.   Use the “greatest generation” as an example for nobility and virtue.

9.   Use the following sayings from American leadership as your credos: 
  • “Ask not what your country can do for you, but rather what you can do for your country.” - John F. Kennedy
  •  “Some people see what has been and ask why. I see what has not been and ask why not?” - Robert F. Kennedy
  •  “Judge people not on the color of their skin, but rather the content of their character.” - Dr. Martin Luther King
10.   Never give up - never quit - never surrender. Persistence usually always wins the day.

11.   Seize the Day! Opportunity is fleeting and most opportunities only knock once.

A Theory of Nothing...

 
 


"I tried to figure this one out, but when I added it up, I still came up with zero..."



Last night was the annual love fest which some call the Oscars. I never watch it anymore, because it would nauseate me and give me heartburn. That being said, I did hear this morning the man who portrayed Steven Hawking in The Theory of Everything, won the best actor role. After seeing the movie, I totally this actor was worthy of some kind of honor.

I started to think about the title of that movie. Today we have a different "movie" going on in real life. It is our war against ISIL. Our strategy in the war might be called A Theory of Nothing. Our strategy is bizarre to say the least. It is a text book example on how not to fight a war to win. It is a textbook example of .....nothing.

Why do I say that? Recently, one of the kids who speaks for the Administration said we are going to retake Mosul this spring. Mosul has been in the hands of the enemy now for months. It fell after only a four day battle. Our Administration then told not only when, but how many troops will be used. We might as well put our battle plan on Google or Facebook. Senator McCain was apoplectic when he heard this news. He said in all his years, he had never heard of an Administration "telegraphing a punch" like this one just did.

One of the elements of the plan is to vigorously train 25,000 Iraqi and Turkish fighters to carry most of the water in the upcoming fight. A defense official from Turkey was interviewed this weekend about the plan. He had very serious doubts that any sized fighting force of Iraqis could be ready by spring. Then an official from Iraq was interviewed. THAT person could not get over the fact that OUR Administration had leaked out the war plan. In addition, since it would involve Iraqi forces on Iraqi soil, the timing and strategy should belong to Baghdad, and not Washington. In short, we again looked like idiots.

When our Administration was questioned on why in the world they would disclose such sensitive war plans, their answer was perplexing at best. They said (and I will paraphrase), "It will give ISIL a chance to flee Mosul before spring. If they know we are coming, they will want no part of us".

This morning Bill Crystal from the Weekly Standard offered a different view. He said (again I will paraphrase), "We have excellent spy satellites. We know where the fighters are. Why are we not sending in some B-2 bombers and eliminating about 250 ISIL fighters right now? That should send a message. We don't need to wait until spring." Crystal went on, "Our bombing and drone strikes have only been directed at leadership in ISIL. We should target all of them."

Crystal had a good point. We should be able to know where most of the bad guys are. Send in the B-2's the A-10's, or whatever, and take care of business. General Hayden (former head of the NSA) said we need to "clear the battlefield". That means capture or kill any enemy who is out there. That is not a theory, that is a fact. We are armed to the teeth and have the platforms to deliver real shock and awe for a sustained period of time.

This spring offensive using untested Iraqi soldiers against battle hardened ISIL fighters sounds a bit like Custer getting ready for Little Big Horn. Truthfully, this plan does sound like a whole bunch of nothing coming up this spring. And to beat this enemy, we need something, not a theory of nothing... 

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Dangerous Math

 
 


"It is just way, way, way too tempting of a target for blood thirsty America haters..." 




This morning I had to freshen up on my math. Seems the bad guys never give us a rest, never give us a break. Always something new and scary to worry about. The math equation is simply this: Take the Twin Cities with a population of 100,000 Somali immigrants, add in the nation's largest shopping mall (the Mall of America which is also in the Twin Cities), then finally add in a just released video from al -Shabaab which is a "call to arms" to terrorists worldwide. And what is the "call to arms"? Attack the Mall of America (MOA). GPS coordinates of the Mall were even included in the video.

Now that is not fuzzy Obama Administration math, nor is it Common Core math - it is dangerous math. For some of us, this was no more than a "Duh!" Like we could not see this coming? As far as I am concerned, we have been living on borrowed time with the safety of the MOA. It is way, way, way too tempting of a target for blood thirsty zealots. And what about the name itself? Does the name "Mall of America" not say it all for America haters? Like the World Trade Centers, our mall is a symbol for everything terrorists hate. Freedom and capitalism, just to name a couple of them.

What to do. Do we now have to go through full body scans before we step foot inside of the Mall? Use facial recognition on everyone who enters? Profile?

Just as wee bit of a fresher, al-Shabaab is al-Qaeda's affiliate in Somalia. Yes, al-Qaeda is still around. And still dangerous. Although the news feed has been filled with the new upstart ISIL, al-Qaeda and it's affiliates are still capable of doing some very bad things.

Even though our drone strikes have recently killed the chief bomb maker for al-Shabaab, this group is known for innovative ways to hide explosives. This group, along with their sister group in the region (AQAP - al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula), have very good bomb making capabilities. My biggest fear is some of those hard to detect bombs (or technology on how to make them) will make their way into the Twin Cities. With 100,000 Somalis living in the Twin Cities, if only 1% have been turned by al-Shabaab, that is still a huge number.

The news said this morning the MOA is aware of the threat and taking measures to counter it. Translation - the terrorists have already won part of the battle. There will be a certain number of people who will stay as far away as possible from the MOA. Those who do go, might have to endure more intrusive facial recognition or searches. Going shopping will now be considered by some a risky event, instead of an enjoyable outing.

What is next? Target Field? Target Stadium? TCF Stadium? The Guthrie? The new Vikings Stadium? Our places of worship? As has been said before, we may not think we are at war, but the other side does. For us to turn a blind eye and a deaf ear is nothing more than a fool's errand. I may be wrong, and I really hope I am. A huge wake-up call may be in the offering. I just hope it does not happen here.   

Saturday, February 21, 2015

The "Wackem Mole" Enemy

 
 

 
"As soon as we try and contain them in one area, they pop up someplace else..."



These guys are tough. I mean really, really tough. What I mean by that is this - seems like every day there is a new cell or offshoot of Islamic Terrorists that is popping up. And they are every bit as nasty as the ones we already know about. In some respects, they remind me of the old arcade game Wackem Mole. You pound down a mole in one hole, and before you know it, up pops another.

Yesterday, Libya one again started to heat up. In retaliation for recent Egyptian bombing of terrorist targets, ISIL set off three car bombs, killing at least 42 innocent people. Many experts believe we really need to keep a sharp eye on Libya. It is ripe for another ISIL land grab. There is nothing, save Egyptian air power, to stop them. Then, should they establish an enclave, it is a straight shot to a very lucrative target - Rome.

And of course, we need to remember the child stealing thugs (the Islamic group Boko Haram) in Northern Africa. They never stop their butchery in Nigeria and neighboring countries. Yesterday, these thugs came into a northeastern Nigerian village, riding on motor bikes, armed with rifles, and killed 34 innocent villagers and wounded dozens more. This carnage never takes a pause in that part of Africa. I have said this before - the people in that impoverished area of the world deserve so much better than what they are getting.

Also in Africa, the Islamic group Al-Shabab attacked and killed ten people during prayers in Mogadishu, Somalia. Even though our drone activity has picked up in the Horn of Africa, it is still a hot bed for Islamic insurgency. This group needs to be watched closely as Al-Shabab has ties to Al Qaeda.

What is not being reported in the news cycle today is the location which might be the next hole for a mole to pop out of. As recently as last month, terror plots have been discovered in both Peru and Brazil. Who were the culprits this time? Hezbollah. And they wanted to target Jews and synagogues in both of those countries. Some countries and South and Latin America could prove to be fertile ground to allow this worldwide cancer to keep growing.

How do we win this game of Wackem Mole? First, we all need to wake up and realize the clear and present danger to freedom loving people worldwide. Next, we need leadership in how we will fight this menace. Even though some may disagree, the only country that can do that is us. Finally, we need all hands on deck. The US, the UK, Russia (yes, even Putin), France, Germany, UAE, Egypt, Jordan, the Saudis and Turkey. Air power, intell and boots on the ground. Sound like World War III?  It could be. Many think it is coming. Some think it is already here. 

Friday, February 20, 2015

The "Nothing Burger" Conference

 
 
 
"To quote a commercial from yesteryear, 'Where is the beef!' Good question..."



(Yawn). Is it over yet? The three day event on terror? The conference where certain names and terms were forbidden? You know - words like Muslim, terrorist, Islamic Terrorist just to name a few. It was however, an excellent conference on PC, doubletalk and crosstalk. It was three days of burning air and accomplishing nothing. In short, to quote Pat Buchanan, it was a big fat "Nothing Burger".

It was however, a great stage for grandstanding. It was a perfect stage for our President. Rather than condemning the countless atrocities committed by ISIL and other Islamic Terrorists during the past few months, he continued on with what the State Department "Valley Girl" said earlier this week. (If I may paraphrase), "To stop terror, we need better opportunities for the disenfranchised. The downtrodden. And we need to listen to their list of grievances." Holy smoke! I thought we has resurrected Barack the Community Organizer! "Grievances" - we might as well have had Al Sharpton standing next to the President with a bullhorn.

America's Mayor stirred up a bit of a hornet's nest this week when he said he wondered if this President loved America. I think Rudy could have said that a bit smoother, but hey - he is from New York. Putting that aside, Rudy does have a point. This President talks about America much different than past Presidents. He is not much of a cheerleader for our country - but he is a good apologist.

As much as the President derides Fox News, he could take a lesson from their motto - be "fair and balanced". If you are going to talk about the atrocities committed during the Crusades, be sure to mention they were committed by both sides. If you are going to have clergy at this conference, make sure you also have a Rabbi and either a priest or pastor also.

Now that this waste of time and money is over, I will go back to my article from yesterday. Jobs, grievances, money, love - none of that will stop these Islamic Terrorists. They are out to right an ancient wrong (in their opinion). To do so, means the taking of territory, and eliminating (killing) the infidels (that be us). There will be no negotiation, no surrender and certainly no mercy. The battle they want is the final battle of mankind. The one which is down to the "last man standing".

I, along with many American patriots, are flummoxed on why this is so hard for our Administration to understand this simple fact. ISIL does not want to play nice - in fact, they don't want to play at all. They just want to kill and brutalize. The actions of these terrorists remind me of a poem I wrote back in the early 70's:

Here I stand a man among men,
I know no evil, I practice no sin.
I burn, destroy, kill and maim,
its funny I don't even know my name.
I cover the path where peace had trod
Some call me man, but I call me God.  

Thursday, February 19, 2015

The most important direction...

 
 


"All signs point to upward. Why in the world would someone want to pull up backward..."



This morning I wrote about where ISIL would like to take the world. They are following ancient rules and texts which shows non-followers of their version of Islam to be lost and should be eliminated. This afternoon I would like to give a slightly different version on what I wrote earlier today.

As I said this morning, ISIL would like to kills us for sins they perceive were perpetrated  by Christians generations upon generations ago. We on the other hand live in the present, and have our eyes on the future. We are looking forward to how we can improve life on this planet. Not just for Christians, but for everyone. How we can ameliorate suffering for all those who hurt. How we can eviscerate all dreadful and deadly diseases. How we can safely and genetically engineer crops which can grow in the most arid of climates, thereby feed millions of starving people. And how we can bring fresh, potable water into the most thirsty of all lands.

We as mankind on planet Earth, are on the precipice of doing some great and wondrous things. We are making some great improvements. For example, we have more computing power in our smart phone than what we sent up to the Moon in 1969. And it is only going to get better. Technology can be our best friend - or our worst enemy. It can save us or kill us. On the plus side, we are close to coming up with the cure for AIDS, cancer, diabetes, hypertension and so on.

Or technology can kill us. Suitcase nukes, bio weapons, chemical weapons, suicide vests, you name it. All these bad things can be put in the hands of groups like ISIL, Boko Haram or Al Qaeda . To kill instead of to help. To destroy, instead of to build. To go backwards, instead of going forward. 

As we progress into the 21st century, we need to decide which direction are we going to go. Forward, for a fuller, longer life.  Or backward to the dark ages. We have heard and seen quite a bit which direction ISIL wants to take us. It is time to hear from the rest of us. As for me, my vote is forward and upward. A better, fuller life for all. For those who want to kill the rest of us, well, it is time to change your direction. Most of us want to go forward. Failure to do so might prove to be a very difficult path in your future.

A tough war to fight...

 
 

 
"How in the world do you fight someone so intent on living, fighting and dying like we have gone back to the 7th century?"



When I first went in the service in 1969, the battle theater was twofold. First, Viet Nam was still raging. Our troops had to learn how to fight a growing and determined asymmetrical enemy. It was tough as well as brutal. The second was the ongoing Cold War with the Soviets and to some degree, the CHICOMS (Chinese Communists). My duty while stationed in the Western Pacific mostly involved the Cold War, although I did lend occasional support to the Viet Nam war effort.

That was tough enough back then. Now it is a whole different ball game. We are asking our military to do the following: 1) Downsize your forces while 2) Preparing for an emerging Russian threat, especially along their southern border and 3) Preparing for an emerging "Blue Water" Navy in the Western Pacific from an emboldened China and 4) Somehow, someway, try and learn how to fight a growing and amorphous group of religious zealots who want to take the world back to the 7th century. And by the way, who also end the world as we know it.

On the news this morning, it was reported that Italy is on high alert for a terror attack. Why Italy? ISIL has made it known that under this Caliphate, it will conquer Rome. I think we need to adjust our thinking way back in time to understand. How far back? Crusades or further. And is Italy prepared for a terrorist attack? Not much, not much at all. They are only a hop, skip and a jump away from Libya. If Rome is a symbol of Vatican power from centuries ago, than what a tempting target it must be.

Here is the reality of Italy. Very little military. Some trained anti-terror police, but not nearly enough for a full frontal terror assault. And Italy has let in a ton of immigrants who have fled war torn Northern African countries. It was not too tough to have a few bad actors slip in with them.

How serious is this threat? In October (less than six months ago) there was a magazine article in a called Reflections of the final crusade. It was very blunt and to the point. It said:

 "We will conquer your Rome, break your crosses, and enslave your women, by the permission of Allah, the Exalted. If we do not reach that time, then our children and grandchildren will reach it, and sell your sons as slaves in the slave market. Every Muslim should get out of his house, find a crusader, and kill him...and the Islamic State will remain until its flag flies over Rome." 

After they beheaded 21 innocent Christians on the shores of Libya, they reaffirmed their threat to come to Rome. The leaders of Italy know they are not fully protected right now. They have cut their military back to the bones to save money and help their out of control debt. They believe in times of trouble, the United Nations will protect them. Good luck on that one.

Maybe it will take more incursions in Europe to wake people up. I hope not, but it might have to come to that. And by the way - Istanbul, Turkey is also under the gun. Why? Remember, you need to think like it was centuries ago. Istanbul sits on what one was Constantinople. The seat of the ancient Roman Empire. It was established by Emperor Constantine the Great in the first century. Much history, including the first crusade, took place in that area of the world between 300 AD and the 12th century.

How this will eventually play out, I have no idea. I do know this from my military training - know thy enemy. And we know precious little about what motivates this group to fight on. We need to get smarter, and fast. We need to take them seriously, very seriously. War is coming. It is coming to Europe, it is coming over here. We can either bury our head in the sand, or prepare to defend ourselves. Our sins are from events which happened centuries ago. However, that really does not seem to matter.  

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Accountability Lost

 
 


"Money poured into the state is no more that monopoly money to the statists..."



Many of us have said for many a year now, the main problem with government largess is questionable accountability. In other words, who does what to whom, and when, and how it is monitored, is often times murky. Any anyone who has ever worked in the REAL world knows that accountability is the name of the game. Without it, your business will at best do poorly, and at worst not be around very long.

Today the local newspaper had a very long article on the recent audit of MNSure. After reading it, all I can say is, "What a freaking mess!" One of the things that caught my attention is the lack of "eyewitness testimony" for what happened to MNSure at the beginning. The former head of this organization, April Todd Whatshername, has refused to come in and help the audit. In fact, she lawyered up. Now I may be wrong, but as a public servant, as the beneficiary of a tax payer furnished salary, that is not a choice of hers. For her failure to cooperate, the state should go in and garnishee every cent that she has been paid while at MNSure.

But the State of Minnesota will not do that. Why? No accountability. Just like in the Federal Government, there is no accountability in the state. I could go on and on about the MNSure debacle, but I would rather touch on another story which has not received as much press. Some bright blub within out state government decided we really need to modernize our driver's license and vehicle registration system. Huh? I know the roads need fixing, but this other thing is a problem?

This highly critical project was going to need some heavy weights to really make it sing sweetly once completed. So someone (?) signed a contract with HP to design and build a new system. Now I know a bit about co-sourcing and out-sourcing. I was involved with it for years. I understand how the internal people need to play with the outsiders. How to get a cost effective and viable solution. Doing this the right way does not happen by accident. It takes acumen and planning. And egos need to be checked in at the front door until the project is complete and signed off.

With no accountability, coordination nor cooperation, the project quickly became another Frankenstein's Monster. Valuable taxpayer money was poured down this sink hole and no viable product was emerging. What was being produced was finger pointing. Lots and lots of finger pointing. And of course, the age old question - "Who the heck is in charge, anyhow?"

Good question. It got so bad, the contract with HP has been abrogated, and the work was brought back in house. It will now be done by (gasp) state workers, whom I might say, have only a smidge of the talent bench their HP counterparts had. (I have worked with HP IT Services. They are very good indeed.)

Someone should fry for this mess, but questions are now being asked like, "Who was the Project Manager?" and "Who did the Project Manager report to?" Don't worry - one of our BIG spenders, DEMOCRAT Scott Dibble has told us NOW, we have the right team is in place now. Right Senator Dibble, right.....

Now that we are in tax season, rest assured that your hard earned money which is paid into the state in the form of taxes, receives very little stewardship. It is monopoly money to many of the ruling statists. "P+L", which is the life blood of the private sector, are just two letters in the alphabet for government statists. And accountability? Without accountability, you end up with a failed audit on MNSure and a failed project with the DMV. Lessons learned? None, I am afraid. Keep feeding the pig as there is more of this to come...

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Democrat Blues

 
 

 
"Some look at the symbol and see a donkey. Others just see an ass..."




Oh, how I hate it when good statists fight amongst themselves! And over such trivial matters, such as our out of control spending. If you look at the past six months, it has not gone very well for the Democrats. Not at all. Both in the state as well as nationally. Trying to keep the lid on is hard - especially when what is under the lid is as flimsy as a house of cards.

For example:
  • The Feud - My, oh my! The Minnesota Senate Leader and our fearless Governor getting into a kerfuffle! And over what? A few measly dollars going towards a raise for the Governor's cabinet? Okay, so it is not measly. In fact, it is outrageous. For some cabinet members, it would have been tens of thousands of dollars. The Governor said he "no longer trusts the Senate Leader - he has stabbed the Governor in the back." The Senate Leader refused to respond - and he refuses to budge. The pay raises are off the table until at least summer. My view? I hope they go through. The Republicans will have an absolute field day with that issue come 2016.
  • MNSure - This is the gift that keeps on giving. MNSure is more screwed up than Hogan's Goat, and has been since the get-go. If not the web site, it was the lack of signups. Now we find out there have been extravagant raises given out to the guilty. Huge chunks of money being paid for lousy performances on a lousy program. Keep it up - like I said, good fodder for the Republicans in 2016.
  • Retirees - Seems many of the Democrats continue to turn a tin ear to the pleas of cash strapped seniors in this state. Pleas to ease up on their taxes. Nope. The state needs the money. We programs, lots and lots and lots of programs that need care and feeding. Republicans on the other hand, believe it is wrong to tax the socks off of our seniors. First, we should NOT be taxing military pay. Next we should NOT be taxing social security. Most states do not tax either of these. Stay tuned on this one folks - it is going to be a very hot issue this summer.
  • ObamaCare - This one is almost funny. Two of the Socialists who pushed this piece of crap through the Congress in 2009 are Representatives Levin and McDermott. Now that it is law, they want some of it changed. They want the penalty for not signing up in time for ObamaCare lifted for this year. Seems that paying the penalty would just not be "fair" for some folks. Well, boo-hoo! You asked for Frankenstein's Monster, now live with it!
There are more - much, much more. However I have not had the time to spend digging into the bowels of local and national Democratic mayhem. Because we are at war with Islamic terrorists, that is my focus right now. Many of the Democrats on the other hand, do not believe we are at war. In fact, they don't even believe in the term Islamic terrorism. What so they believe in? Santa Clause, the Tooth Fairy and money trees. Lots and lots of money trees.


Monday, February 16, 2015

Exodus, once more...

 
 
 


 
"This land is mine, God gave this land to me. This brave and ancient land to me. And when her morning sun, reveals her hills and plain, then I see a land where children can run free... "




Here we go again. Jews being hunted worldwide. Bebe Netanyahu was spot on. Jews from Europe (and in my opinion, maybe beyond Europe), need to come home. If you are a Jew or a Bible following Christian, you know the persecution of the Jewish people goes back to the beginning of time. And it continues today. By a group of people that make the Nazis look like lightweights.

Recently, this latest group of global thugs has threatened not only to destroy the "Crusaders" in an upcoming Syrian battle, but also to take Rome. Home of the Vatican. Home of the Catholic Church. Of course to them, the final battle will take place in Jerusalem, but that is a few battles down the road. There is much mayhem to unleash on the world first. And the Jews - well, they are easy targets. In a growing secular Europe, the fate of Jews is of questionable importance.

So was Bebe wrong to invite the Euro Jews back home to Israel? Not in my book. Ever since the inception of the State of Israel, the homeland has become a haven and a refuge to Jewish people worldwide. Instead of being hunted down just for being what they are, in Israel they can live in domestic peace. Please notice I said "domestic peace". Some of the neighboring states to Israel would still like to see her gone, along with all who live within her.

I know. This is hard for many of us to get our heads around. It is hard to believe we are in immanent danger when our phony stock market is doing so well. Life is good here - on the island. But it is not good. So long as genocide exists in any form or manner, it is not good. Jewish people, Coptic Christians, whomever is next, are being targeted. So here is a suggestion - let us get our heads around this one. If you are not of a particular sect of Islam, you might be considered to be dead meat. Period.

So to Bebe I say this - BRAVO!  Get those innocent people to safety. Time to get the "fence built" to keep the barbarians out. I don't give a rat's butt what our government says - I STAND WITH ISRAEL. NOW AND FOREVER!!!



Welcome to the fray, Egypt...

 
 


"No, this is not a broken record. It is happening over and over again. Evil will always flourish until good decides to vanquish it..."



It is getting harder and harder to sit this one out. Country after country is being pulled into the quicksand known as ISIL. This weekend, Egypt was pulled in. In a gruesome fashion, which has become a calling card for these thugs. Yes, they took 21 innocent Christians from Egypt and marched them out on a shore in Libya. Then, showing no remorse, just stone cold determination, they simultaneously beheaded all of them. For the crime of worshipping the wrong God, at the wrong time, in the wrong geography.

There is so much to this story, I hardly know where to begin. Without sounding like a broken record, I will try and plow some new ground. In our fast paced, over saturated news cycle, some very important stories get over looked. The new President of Egypt for example. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is his name. He is a former Army General (we have always had a good relationship with Egypt's Army). He led the coup to topple Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood out of power. And he hates jihadists. Internal or external.

Not a man to be trifled with, as soon as he saw the video of the beheadings, F-16's flew out of Cairo and were headed for Libya. Similar to King Abdullah from Jordan, this world leader has no time for PC or doubletalk. Evil had shown its ugly face by the execution of his citizens. That was the tipping point. Welcome to the fray Egypt - your help is going to be wanted and needed.

Why would ISIL pick Libya to conduct this execution? The answer is quite simple. Our President decided early in his term to take out Muammar Gaddafi. Now Muammar was no saint by any measure. However, he was a lightweight as compared to Saddam Hussein of Iraq. When we took out Saddam, we tried to help set up a democratically elected coalition government to replace him. When we took out Gaddafi, we left nothing. Only a hot spot for terrorists. And Benghazi. 

On the news this morning, it was reported the ultimate goal of ISIL is one thing only - to usher in their version of the apocalypse. They are committed to the death to do so. According to their scriptures, the first major battle of the end times will be in Syria. The Crusaders (I think that be us) will invade Syria and be crushed by the holy fighters of ISIL. More battles will happen until the final battle will take place outside or Jerusalem. What we are seeing now are only the birth pangs bringing about the end of the world.

More and more of the world is crying out for leadership in this fight. As welcome as Jordan and Egypt are, we all know who really needs to lead this battle. The American people are behind you Mr. President, should we decide to fully enter this fray and defeat this evil. We can't wish it away, we can't will it away. We can only kill it away. Time to man up. History is being written every hour on the hour. This could be a Churchill moment. Or it could continue to be a Chamberlain moment. It is yours to choose Mr. President. The stakes are high. The freedom of our world is at stake.    

Sunday, February 15, 2015

The Card

 
 


"Sometimes a random act of kindness can come from someplace least expected..."



The other day I walked down to the mailbox to get the mail. These days we don't get much. A few bills, some circulars, and mostly junk mail. What I was waiting for were my Mother's death certificates. I have some loose ends to tie up, and I need to send a copy of her death certificates to do so.

When I got the mail, it was just the usual stuff. Except for one thing - there was a card addressed to me from someone I did not know. When I got back up to the house, I opened it. Inside the envelope there was a very simple sympathy card from someone unknown. It turns out it was from a woman who lives in a neighboring town (I saw the return address). Besides the card, were three crumpled up dollar bills.

I was perplexed. I showed it to my wife. I had no idea who this woman was and why she sent this card. Was this a friend of my Mother who I had never heard of? I got on my computer and did a search for her phone number. Once I found it, I called her.

After a few rings, a woman answered the phone. I introduced myself, and then thanked her for the nice card and gift. I asked her where she knew my Mother from. She replied, "I did not know your Mother. I read the obituary and was moved. Your Mother has the same first name as my Mother. My Mother died a short time ago at about the same age as your Mother. I just felt moved to send a card."

We chatted for a short while and I thanked her again and then hung up. After about five minutes, the phone rang. It was the same woman, calling me back. "I just wanted you to know this is something I do from time to time. I think it is important to reach out to people who have just had a loss." She went on to tell me her story. Widowed, age 76, one child and some grandkids and great grandkids. And lonely. Since her husband passed, she gets lonely. Sending cards helps.

I told her that my wife and I don't like lonely. When she feels alone, lonely, or would just like to chat, to please call us. We chatted some more about some memories she had about her husband and then we hung up. All this from an obituary followed up by a random card. God, the chess player, was at work once again. Connecting people. For reasons. Some reasons known to us, and some unknown. All I know is this - my life has been enriched by this one simple card, with three crumbled dollars in it. I was enriched as this card was only a key - a key to the door to someone's life whom I had not yet met. 

Flatlined, again....

 
 



"How bad is it? How flat have our wages been? Flat - very, very flat..."



Here we go again. I had a nice topic all picked out for today and now I have changed my mind. The reason? Something very unusual happened this morning. The local newspaper told the truth about a subject most of us knew was true. However the powers to be in Washington keep telling us otherwise. The subject? Our "flat lined" take home pay for the past 10 to 15 years.

I have been chirping about this for years now. Jobs lost and jobs created are often times very much different. There is very little upward mobility. If you are lucky enough to have a job today, you have probably noticed that going for your annual review has become a tremendous waste of time and energy. Best case is you are able to keep your job and you might even get a fraction of a percent increase. Or not.

According to the article in the paper, in Minnesota (which is tracking with the national trend) REAL wages have only gone up a mere smidge. In other words, if in 2001 your take home pay was about $950, since then your annual increase has been a whopping .02%. Or, to put it another way, about $2/year. Can we all say "Big Whoop" together?

Just for the heck of it, let us visit some cost trends over the past few years to see if they too have gone up a mere .02% a year:
  • Food - Since the year 2000, the cost of food has gone up over 50%. Some items much higher than that.
  • Electricity - Over the past ten years, the cost of electricity has gone up over 30% - in some areas even higher. One reason - regulating coal plants out of existence. We still get about 1/3 of our power from coal. It is cheap and abundant. Solar and wind power are not cheap, nor abundant. Some energy experts predict a 47% rise in electricity prices over the next 15 years. If we totally kill our coal plants, even higher.
  • Higher Education - This one is a whopper. To send our little darlings in the world of higher education costs a small fortune today. According to Bloomberg, the cost of a college degree has gone up an unbelievable 1120% in the past 30 years! And just think - for that kind of money your kids get to listen to radical Commies like Ward Churchill and Bill Ayers. Plus, they graduate with tens of thousands of dollars in student loans. 
  • Medical Insurance - Well, at least ObamaCare brought this cost under containment. Hey, that is what we are being told! This one is hard to get a real increase on, although most plans have increased (some substantially). I was able to deduce this much. On the average since the year 2000, employer based premiums have gone up 90%. Some have gone up much more, some less. Too many variables are in play to come up with an exact number. However, most people you talk to will tell you they are paying more and getting less under ObamaCare.
That is just an example of some of the soaring costs we all experience in these days of flat wages. Bottom line - with flat wages and no way to control the costs of some of our stables, we are becoming a poorer nation. FORGET WHAT THE PHONEY STOCK MARKET IS TELLING US! The middle class is shrinking and the poverty class is growing.

What is the answer to all of this. I don't know. But something needs to happen, and happen soon. We can start by reducing the size and cost of government. Cutting regulations. Using our natural resources more. More of this to come in future articles. I need to dig a bit deeper into this hole to find some more truths.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Shell Shocked

 
 


"This is no time for PC. This is no time for theory. This is a time for tried and testing measures to save our Marines and turn the tide on ISIL..."




Time for a game changer. Not next week. Now. Today. We have over 300 troops in harm's way. In serious danger. Our battle philosophy of "strategic patience" has worked as well as a bikini in a blizzard. What should we do? I say we go back to the future.

During the View Nam War, the base I was stationed at on Okinawa was next to Kadena Air Force Base. Kadena was one of the hubs for B-52 activity. They would take off every day in a group of three. They were followed shortly by a KC-135A tanker, brimming with much needed fuel. The bombers were so ladened with fuel and bombs, by the time they got to altitude, they consumed half their fuel. Once refueled by the tanker, they were one their way to Viet Nam to drop tons of "dumb iron" bombs. Often times these bombs would be dropped in a "carpet" fashion. To be on the receiving end of one of these bombing raids was not a pleasant experience at all.

In fact after the war was over, I remember reading stories of surviving NVA and Viet Cong who had experienced carpet bombing. Just the concussions alone from 500 bombs hitting close to them took a lot out of them. Some said prolonged bombing destroyed their will to fight. To make matters worse, for a while in the late sixties the Battleship New Jersey was reactivated. It would sit off the coast and lob 16" shells into the DMZ. This along with the carpet bombing was about as bad as it could get for the enemy.

Last night, the town of al-Baghdadi fell to ISIL. Just five miles from the Iraqi air base where our brave Marines are held up. We have B-1s and B-2's just sitting around gathering dust. Time to put them into immediate service. Full of "dumb iron" bombs. Time to call in some AEGIS class Cruisers and Destroyers. Time to use our state of the art VLS system to launch a few dozen (or more) Tomahawk missiles. Time to load a couple of MOABs (Fuel Air Explosive Bombs) on to transports and get them into the area. Then, after we bomb this blood thirsty group of thugs back into the stone ages, send in our First Cavalry, Marine Recon, and whomever else is needed to mop up.

The people have to speak up. I am almost horse from shouting from the rooftops. None of us want another war. Trust me, none of us. But this group of Islamic terrorists want us dead. Our families dead. Our way of life dead. Yesterday Glenn Beck played something that Bono from the group U2 recently said about America. (If I may paraphrase) "America is not just a country, it is an idea. An idea which is now shared with the entire world. Ireland is a great country, but it is not an idea. Only American is an idea, and now it belongs to the world."

And this idea that Bono is talking about, is what freedom loving people everywhere love. And what the Islamic terrorists hate. They hate and fear the American dream. The American idea. The freedom American represents. We need to fight these thugs not just because they are so evil. Not just because of what they are doing to innocent people worldwide. We need to destroy them before they destroy the idea. The dream. Us.