Friday, July 31, 2015

Complex Issues







"This is not a picture of Cecil. But who cares? The point is that Cecil's death has raised some very complex issues for us to face..."



Why can't life just be simple? Why is it that things which seem like the cleanest of issues, get messy once you dig under the surface? I have said for years, separating the "good guys" from the "bad guys" is hard. Why? We all have personalities developed by and steeped in dualism. In other words, there is good and bad in all of us. And yes, often times there is good and bad in our issues as well.

Two issues come to light from this week. Cecil the Lion and aborted baby parts. The lion first. Yes, it would be so easy to hate this dentist. And some do. Some have yelled "Bastard!" or worse. The story goes he "lured" this lion out of his sanctuary, shot it with an arrow, and only wounded it. He then tracked it for 40 hours until he found the gravely wounded lion. Cecil then met his demise at the end of a gun. And now the country of Zimbabwe is saying it was an illegal hunt as Cecil was "off limits". And they want the dentist back to face charges. That is one way to look at this issue. And now another way.

Zimbabwe is a poor country located in Africa. It is the country that Cecil lived in. This country sells hunting licences to trophy hunters all over the world. These licenses allow hunters to come to Zimbabwe, make their kill, and then take the trophy home. The process is as regulated as a third world country can regulate things. HOWEVER, (and this is an important point), to properly fund the sanctuaries in Zimbabwe, which are home to many prized animals being saved for future generations, Zimbabwe needs to offer a certain number of hunting licences. And these licenses come at outrageous prices.

I heard on the radio the United States at one time wanted to put lions on the endangered species list. If we had done that, it would have then been become illegal for a United States citizen to hunt lions anywhere in the world. The story on the radio when on to say the Zimbabwe government told us that putting this animal on the endangered species list would be bad for them. By preventing Americans from buying Zimbabwe hunting licences, the result could be the lion becoming endangered. Since the majority of license fees come from American hunters, the loss of this revenue would be catastrophic to maintaining the sanctuaries which protect the herds.

The second complex issue is so important, I will address it in full in a subsequent post. It has to do with the disclosure of the destruction and sale of infant body parts by Planned Parenthood. Now one would think after seeing high ranking medical professionals, who are employed by Planned Parenthood, describe in grisly detail the death and destruction of these most innocent humans, there would be universal outrage. There was not.  And a judge, obviously a Democrat appointee, issued an order to stop the disclosure describing this infanticide. How in the world can a judge or any elected official defend this? For some reason, this supposedly simple issue has become very complex. Like I said, more, much more, on this very important issue later. 

A former morning talk host, a person I deeply respect, would always counsel to read as many sources as possible. Why? Most issues are not cut and dried. They are complex. No easy answers. The issue I described in this post are only two of them.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The history and mystery of our national songs

 
 



"Our History is replete with interesting facts, many of which are no longer taught today in our schools.."



The question is raised, "What is our National Anthem?" Most (senior citizens) would respond The Star Spangled Banner. (Today's youth, maybe not.) And most seniors would know it was written by Francis Scott Key. And I would like to think that most seniors remember he wrote the lyrics to that infamous song at a fort outside of Baltimore. He penned those immortal words as this fort came under a blistering attack by the British.

On September 13, 1814, in the course of the War of 1812, as the British were pounding Fort McHenry, Francis Scott Key wrote a poem to commemorate the spectacle he was witnessing. Not a song, but a poem. That poem was not called The Star Spangled Banner as many believe. And it was not put to music until a century later. Key was a poet, not a song writer. The sight of our lone American flag, miraculously still flying as the morning light illuminated it, inspired Key to write a poem called The Defense of Fort McHenry.

And then nothing happened. Nothing happened to that now famous poem for 102 years. Then an old English drinking song called To Anacreon in Heaven became home to the lyrics created by this very old Key poem. John Stafford Smith finished the job that Francis Scott Key had started. He combined the poem with that old English drinking song. In 1916, many people started referring to this very popular new song as The Star Spangled Banner. It became so widely popular, President Woodrow Wilson decreed it should be played at all national events. Then on the third of March in 1931, it became our National Athem.

And what about another national song, America the Beautiful? Or America (Some still call My Country Tis of Thee)? Any history there? For example, why does America sound so much like the British National Anthem, God save the Queen (or King)? Did we steal the melody from the British? Or did the British steal the melody from us? Most believe we stole if from the British. But who cares? The British don't seem to mind. All I know is this - whether it be The Star Spangled Banner, America the Beautiful, or America, it does not matter to me. All have wonderful lyrics which still cause me to moist in the eyes and tight in the throat.

More on all this later. Much, much more to tell about this history. Just know this for now. Our history is both rich and fascinating. In everything - even our national songs. To not teach it anymore in schools, or to change via some corrupt program such as Common Core, is a crime. It is a crime against us all. History is to be preserved and taught, not corrupted.


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Market Forces



"Life is good these days if you are a yuppie. For those making minimum wage - not so much..."



The good news today was a reminder that our state's minimum wage is going up to $9/hour on August 1st. The minimum wage will go up to $9/hour. That is $360 for a 40 hour week (that is, if you can get a job for 40 hours), $1,560/month and $18,720/year. Progress! If you are single, you will be way above what the 2014 government poverty level is ($11,670). And living in Minneapolis, what can you do with all that extra money? Not much.

Here is the big problem. Market forces always win. If you are really a good worker, have some technical or higher education, CAN SPEAK OUR LANGUAGE, you are not going to be making $9/hour. You will be making much more than that. The average rent in the City of Lakes keeps going up. Right now the average ONE bedroom apartment in Minneapolis will cost just a shade under $1,000/month. The average TWO bedroom apartment will cost almost $1,300/month.

Here is the bottom line as I see it. Coming into this country, not being able to speak our language, having no marketable skills, and little to no education, puts you on the bottom wrung of the ladder. It even puts you out of the running for the most economical rental (without government assistance). It simply amazes me the number of people we have in the Twin Cities who still don't speak nor read our language. You can hear it every day when in the Twin Cities. How in the world can you survive? How do your drive? Cash a paycheck? Anything?

Every time I bring this up, I receive blow back from some. Sorry, here it goes again. Over the years, many immigrants from many different countries have come here looking for a better life. They wanted to become Americans. Even though many kept their native language, most became bi-lingual. they knew not being fluent in the language of this country would crush their dreams. They also knew this country was rich with opportunity. If you worked hard enough, dreamt big enough, learned fast enough, opportunity and success was there for the taking.

Nothing much has changed in this country. Opportunity still abounds. However, many of the new immigrants are satisfied to only ride in the wagon. Not learn our language. Not assimilate. For those people, market forces will not be a kind friend. A life of poverty and dependency awaits. Decades ago, failure to assimilate meant you did not eat. Today, with the plethora of government programs we bathe immigrants in, everybody eats. Everybody gets an "Obama Phone". Everybody gets cable and high speed internet. Who needs a job?

Our country became a great country because of hard working people who knew how to dream. Who knew how to dream and then to put those dreams into reality. They knew how to produce. Europe has become a shell of what they once were because they let everyone ride in the wagon. America could follow the same path if we are not careful. Even though our government always tries to tinker with our economy and the market, market forces always win. And that - is a fact of life.

Monday, July 27, 2015

First Amendment Monday

 
 


"Thank goodness for organizations like Overpasses for America. They are doing what our schools fail to do - teach people about civics..."



Today the group Overpasses for America - Minnesota is putting on a special event called First Amendment Monday. They want to focus some attention today on this most important Amendment. Well, who cares? Why do we need to do that? We all know about this Amendment, right? Wrong! And this is the scary part of the event. Ignorance on this Amendment is wide and far reaching.

How bad is it? It is bad. According to the Newseum, only 19% of those questioned know the First Amendment guarantees the Freedom of Religion. And what makes this one so onerous is so many people don't understand the words. The Left has completely misinterpreted the meaning of this most basic right. And it is very short and to the point. It states:

 "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..."

That is it. Nothing sexy. No nuances nor hidden meanings. Note it DOES NOT state anything about separation of church and state. It says nothing about having the Ten Commandments displayed on public land should be offensive or illegal. That is it. This right just wanted to ensure the government did not MANDATE a religion for all to follow. You are free to worship as you choose.

The Newseum then goes on to say only 10% of those surveyed know the First Amendment guarantees Freedom of the Press. Only one out of ten. Any ideas why that is? Let me tell you. Unlike when people my age went to school, very few high schools teach government or civics these days. That is ancient history. Who cares about that crap anyhow? We just want to know how everyone feels these days, not what they know.

Finally, the Newseum reports only one out of three know anything at all about the First Amendment. Do you know what happens when two out of three people don't know that we have freedom of speech, religion, the press, assembly or petition? Correct - this is when tyranny can take over. Freedoms ignored are freedoms denied.

So thank you Overpasses for America, for helping in this most teachable moment. As for the rest of us, this is what we can do. First, make sure we understand our founding documents. Next, spread the word. If people are ignorant on them, educate them. Our future as a free people is at stake.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Hey - keep the change....

 
 



"This is my change - I will keep it thank you. The only change I want is in the Governor's mansion in St. Paul, and the White House in WDC..."




It is always fun when you go out for a nice meal, have a great server, and when the bill comes, give a nice tip. Most of us say "the rest is yours", or the old stand by, "keep the change". This is something we do voluntarily. And it is not something we do every time we go shopping. Could you imagine going into Target or Home Depot, buying something for $15, handing the clerk a $20 dollar bill, and then saying, "keep the change?" I dare say that nobody would do that.

Could someone please explain that simple truism to our Governor? He seems to have become even more confused in his second term. Let me help a bit. We are supposed to be taxed to meet a certain agreed to budget. No more, no less. Since we are a very high taxed state, should we collect too much, that excess money needs to be returned to the over-stressed taxpayers who sent it in. For some reason, our Governor feels like one of the "babes in toy land". He thinks this money belongs to him. Where in the world would be come up with such a wacky idea? Easy - if comes from being a trust fund baby all his life.

He is already starting to set the table for the next legislative session. "There will be no tax relief unless I get monies set aside for (my newest pet rock) Pre-K!" Now most of us who have an IQ above 50 and see through this canard like a fresh pane of glass. It is a payback to his union goons. The teacher's union specifically. Deep down he does not give a tinker's dam about Pre-K. But he is going to hold up badly needed tax reform as a hostage to his bad idea.

Now a part of the tax reform which has support in both the House and the Senate are really no-brainers. Exempting state tax on military retirement pensions and social security pensions for retirees. Who could possibly be against those items? Should be bi-partisan. Should be as easy as falling off a log. That is of course, unless you grew up with a silver spoon in your mouth. That is of course, if you never REALLY had to work for a living. That is of course, if your soul is owned by the teacher's union. THAT is who could be against it.

Well Governor, I am one of those who meets both of those categories. I am retired military and am a senior citizen drawing social security. I am sick of being taxed on both of those pensions. If you dare try and hold those two hostage because of your teacher union paybacks, I will be the biggest pain in the butt you have had in all your years in public office. I will take out my wrath on every Democrat who sides with you on this folly. You and your party will be constant headliners and receive daily doses of the Very Angry Bird's wrath. The Bird can' do much, but he can blog, write letters, and call.

So get with the program Governor. You are not keeping my change. It is mine, not yours. I worked for it. That is something you have never had to do in your life.



Saturday, July 25, 2015

The coming earthquake...

 
 


"How bad could it be? It could kill thousands, topple buildings, and liquefy hundreds of miles of shoreline..."
 
 

It is hard to go anywhere on the internet without reading about the projected Seattle earthquake. According to some seismologists, this one could be a dozzie. Not that I am a doubter, it is just that the "big one" has been predicted to hit the west coast ever since 1969.

Yes, I was getting ready to go to boot camp in San Diego in the spring of 1969. Jeanne Dixon, a premier prognosticator of the time, said the "big one" was going to hit in March or April of that year. When I arrived in boot camp on the 24th of April 1969, I kept thinking about Jeanne Dixon. It bothered me she was often more right than wrong. Then on April 26, two days after I got to boot camp, there was a tremor we all felt. I had never felt one before. It scared me as I thought this was it. But that is all it was, and life in boot camp went on.

And then there was the time in the 1980's when I was on a business trip in Sunnyvale, California (in the Bay area). After a full day of negotiations, my team and I were in our respective rooms relaxing. About 8pm the hotel started to shake. This one was more than a tumor, as it was a 4.4 earthquake. If I told you it did not unsettle me, I would be fibbing.

My best man from when I got married went on to become a geological engineer. Once he learned about the major "slip fault" on the west coast, he said he was never going out there again. He knew when that thing cut loose, it would be bad, very bad. That is all I could think of when that quake hit on my business trip. Is this it? Will the hotel collapse? Fortunately, it was just the 4.4 shake.

What will happen if the big one hits as projected? What if it is a 9.0 on the Richter scale? Many of us remember the 9.2 shaker that hit Alaska on Good Friday of 1964. It was the largest ever to hit the United States. Even though the epicenter of the quake was not under a populated area of the state, it still devastated Anchorage. It a similar quake would hit by Seattle, it would be nothing short of catastrophic. Thousands would die. Tens or hundreds of thousands would be left homeless. It would be one the worst natural disasters every to hit the United States.

In the real world of natural disasters, there is really not much you can do about many of them. Be it an asteroid, be it an earthquake, be it a tidal wave - we are often times at the mercy of nature. What we can do is very simple. If there is any warning, have a "bug out" plan. If you are not at the epicenter of the disaster, have a plan to use your home as not only a domicile, but also your store. If transportation gets shut down, most stores will have empty shelves in two days or less.

Have enough potable water for 30 days. If possible, have some non-potable water on hand also (flushing toilets and so on). If you are on meds, have some extra meds which have not expired. Have 15 to 20 gallons of fresh gasoline on hand. Have some cash in you home safe. Have a firearm and know how to use it. Have a couple hundred pounds of charcoal with enough lighter fluid (and matches) on hand. And batteries, you can never have enough of them.

We will hope this latest scare ends up being just that - a scare. However, being prepared is not something we should take lightly. In the event of a major shortage, even the things we take most for granted might end up being the most precious. Think like a Boy Scout - be prepared!


Posse Comitatus in today's world

 
 


"No - sorry. Posse Comitatus has nothing to do with the old time Sheriff's posse..."



Many of us have heard the term Posse Comitatus. It is a very important construct in today's environment. The term is ancient (in terms of the age of our country). It goes back to Reconstruction days following the Civil War. In order for some Southern states to agree to  governance by Union once again, they wanted occupying Union soldiers removed. In 1878, President Hayes agreed, and signed into law the Posse Comitatus Act. This act specifically limited the use of military personal for domestic purposes.

That all sounds great! So good, why in the world do we still need the Second Amendment? After all, the military will never be a threat to the civilian population. Well hold the phone. Even though we have had this law in effect now for over a century now, there are loopholes.

In 1957, President Eisenhower used a clause from the Enforcement Acts to send federal troops into Little Rock, Arkansas to help keep the peace during the school desegregation riots. The Enforcement Acts? What the heck is that?

The Enforcement Acts were enacted around the same timeframe of the Posse Comitatus Act. They were meant to put some teeth into anti-discrimination and other legal protections for former slaves. The Enforcement Acts gave President Eisenhower the legal protection he needed to send troops into Little Rock.

However, there is still another loophole to Posse Comitatus which is much more sinister than the Enforcement Acts. It is the Insurrection Act of 1807. Specifically, the Insurrection Act allows the President the powers to send federal troops into "trouble areas" the states cannot handle. Specifically, lawlessness, insurrection and rebellion. Tell me that is not a hole one could drive a truck through.

President Bush tried to expand the reach of the Insurrection Act after the terrorist attacks in 2006. However, in 2008 those changes were repealed and the Insurrection Act was restored as it was.

So where are we today with Posse Comitatus? In the land of confusion. As much as the Framers tried to limit the power of the federal government, the genie always seems to find a way out of the bottle. With Jade Helm 2015 going on as this is written, danger always lurks within the very documents meant to protect us. As citizens, we always need to stay vigilant, stay aware, and stay prepared.  

   

Friday, July 24, 2015

SOS because of our SOS

 
 



"Is this Twiddle Dee and Twiddle Dumber? Some think so..."



The Secretary of State is a very important post in any administration. In my lifetime we have had some good ones. And also some not so good ones. The skill set to be a good Secretary of State is vast in my book - not too many people have the "right stuff". This Administration has used this position as a "filler" job. A payback job. And the results have been terrible.

Somebody asked me the other day who I thought was the worst of the two Secretary of States we have had in this Administration. It gave be pause. I could not answer. Hillary was very good at logging air miles. Not much else. So her crime (besides Benghazi) was to watch the world slowly burn by using benign neglect. And her staffing was terrible. She had Uma as her chief of staff (and as we all know, there is some very shady family history there), and the Valley Girls as her press secretaries. Bottom line, other than a few years as a carpet bag Senator, she brought NOTHING to the table for qualifications to do that job.

And then we have John Kerry. Married into the Heinz fortune. Got back from Viet Nam, grew his hair out, threw his medals over the White House fence. An ultra liberal from Mass. Hillary may have hurt this country by benign neglect, but Kerry is putting it in mortal danger by negotiating the worst treaty (yes treaty - not agreement) in recent history. He really has danced with the devil on this one. Both he and Dr. Goofy have been taken for a ride on the Reading Railroad by the Iranians. And unfortunately, the rest of the country is now riding on the back of that train.

I don't know if Kerry is responsible for this, or if it was Obama. This treaty is not an agreement. It is a treaty. Congress should fight that tooth and nail. Why? If it is a treaty, it will never get enough votes to be ratified. Never. Being an agreement, it only needs a majority vote in Congress to kill it. However (and here is the punch line), then Obama vetoes it the dead agreement to bring it back to life. And then 2/3 of Congress is needed to override the veto. Slick huh? By making this an agreement instead of a treaty, it is almost a cinch to pass.

So who is the worst between these two? Can we just call it a tie? And hope against hope that Hillary does not become our next president? In the land of the blind, even a one eyed man can become king. We saw that for sure in 2008.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Stadium woes - redux...

 
 



"Given the skill level of the two political hacks that are in charge of this thing, it is amazing we are this far along..."




In my years of contracting, I learned one basic fact of life. Costs never come in as projected. Oh, as much guessing as possible is taken out of the projections. But even with that, the final cost is either going to be higher or lower than the estimate. Is it possible for a huge, multi-year project like the Viking stadium to come in on budget right to the penny? Sure it is. Statistically, it is also possible to win the power ball ten years in a row.

We seem to have somewhat of a dust up between the Treasurer on the Stadium Commission (who is very experienced and very sharp) and the Governor's two political hacks (who have less experience doing this type of contracting than I have). The Treasurer said (based on some closed door stadium meetings) there is a cost overrun coming. And that overrun could be as high as $50M. The hacks on the other hand, say no. Maybe $29M at the highest. Regardless of the amount, a much bigger question remains.

Back to contracting for a minute. Most construction contracts that I am familiar with have some kind of incentive clause in it. In other words, should the costs come in under the projection, there will be some kind of sharing of that benefit between the parties. On the other hand, should there be cost overrun, who is responsible for it gets a bit trickier. Was it because of unforeseen increases in material costs? Was is due to fuzzy or ambiguous drawings which led to higher labor costs? Was it a force majeure event, which was also not in the cost estimation?

Extra costs in most projects end up being like the proverbial "red headed stepchild". Especially when you have costs being shared by two parties (the state and the Vikings). If the prime contractor is able to prove the extra costs are not his nor his subcontractor's fault, it then becomes who on the buyer side is going to eat them. And if it is the state, where will the money come from? This becomes almost a game of three dimensional chess. It is heady stuff. Probably much too heady for "Michele Two Names" who seems to be much more concerned about whining about her salary than tackling major league problems such as these.

I would love to tell you I am in shock and awe that this monster project has cost overruns. I would be more apt to tell you I would be in shock if it was not. I am just going to sit back and enjoy the show. There are enough pros involved from the prime contractor that this thing will get built. Even though we have armatures running the Stadium commission, it will get built. The final cost however, is anybody's guess...

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The agony of an activist...

 
 


"Before becoming President, he was an activist. Now that he is President, many think he still is..."



As an activist, it sure is hard to lead. It was so much better on the sidelines. You know, bomb throwing (verbally that is). Always bitching about something. Protesting, hating, protesting some more. And then all of a sudden, for reason which still mystify many, the activist had gone from the sidelines and is now guiding the ship of state.

After watching our President closely for the past six plus years, here are some observations I have made about him:
  • He is very thin skinned. As much fun as it was to toss out criticisms, taking them is not fun at all.
  • He has a very hard time dealing with matters which run counter to his narrative.
  • He does not like being the President to ALL American people. He really does have his favorites.
Some might be tempted to ask why recently. For example, why did it take 5 days of pressure to lower the federal flags to half staff? Answer - servicemen or women killed by a Islamist bucks the narrative, and he does not like that. Why has not the President addressed the heinous practices recently brought to light about Planned Parenthood. Answer - Planned Parenthood is one of the President's favorite "pet rocks". Like most on the Left, he will NEVER criticize that organization. Why has not the President reached out to the family of Kate Steinle nor sent a representative to her funeral? Answer - Because Kate was killed by an illegal immigrant, he is just going to ignore this unfortunate event and hope it goes away.

As an activist, he will not surrender ground on his favorite projects, even if they are flops. ObamaCare is a mess, and many health experts believe it will get even messier as huge, unsustainable costs begin looking for a home. The Iran nuke deal is a joke. Not only does it put the entire reason at risk, it also invites Israel to go to war with Iran. PLUS, we have four Americans who are being illegally held captive by Iran. And even after the "handshake", they are still there.

I am afraid history will judge our first activist President harshly. Hopefully, we will have learned from this experiment. Never again should we elect someone who only wants to lead part of the country. Never again should we lead someone who is both myopic and insular. Never again should we elect someone who is imprisoned by his or her lunatic base.

Never again. We have learned our lesson, thank you.


Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Farewell to bad garbage...

 
 


"Me thinks the first nails are now in the coffin of this POS organization..."



Shhhh. Can you hear it? It is getting louder all the time. It is the sound of the door slamming on the very vile and corrupt Planned Parenthood.

The evidence is starting to mount. This is an organization comprised of not medical care givers, but life takers. And not only do they steal life from the most precious, the most vulnerable, they do it in the most barbaric way.

On the internet today is an excerpt from Brett Hume on the news last night. He said if there is one good thing that comes from the recent news of the infanticide (my words, not his) which takes place each and every day at Planned Parenthood, it is this. The curtain has been pulled back. These procedures are not antiseptic. (Now my words), The man behind the curtain is not some benevolent magician like the Wizard of Oz. No, the man (or woman) behind the curtain is a butcher. A murderer. A taker of life, of the most vulnerable.

Since Roe v. Wade, we have killed over 55,000,000 innocent babies. Yes babies. And please let that huge number sink in for a minute. Some of my friends on the left who have been misguided by the abortion merchants of death, let me enlighten you. These "lumps of flesh" have heartbeats and developing brains. They have fingerprints. They are developing just the way that God himself intended they develop.

Then while the mother who is about to give birth to this wonderful creation is sedated, a doctor will reach in with a forceps and crush this developing brain of this young human.

Just recently we are found out the brain is crushed in such an manner to ensure the surviving organs are "less crunchy" for resale. Yes resale. Selling body parts just like in WWII death camps. But who cares? According to people like Sandra what is her name, they are just tissue like tumors.

I really never thought Planned Parenthood would be gone in my lifetime. I now think I was mistaken. Roe v. Wade was a huge mistake - and I think more and more people are coming to realize that. They are killers. They are butchers. They are evil.

When Planned Parenthood dies under its own weight, it will be from lack of any type of financial support. When that happens, I will just say this - goodbye to bad garbage. You suck Planned Parenthood, you really do. You always have. Since Margaret  Sanger wanted to exterminate all the black babies as being inferior, your organization has been vile. History might remember you, but I will not. I choose to forget you.

  

Grid woes...

 
 



"Sure would be nice if this were true. That our power would be there for us 24X7/365..."



Sure is nice to get up in the morning. Love making coffee, turning on the TV to watch the news, turning the light behind my chair to read the newspaper. Getting water to make coffee, going to the bathroom, everything I do in the morning (and for the most part, the rest of the day), involves using power. Electricity. "Juice". And every day we run the risk of having it all go away.

Today in the paper was a story which was very illustrative of where we stand today on power. A small manufacturing company in a city just northwest of town decided to put in solar panels on their roof. A ton of bucks were spent to do the install on these panels. The owner of the company did this to "do his part to help global warming" (please...). However, the job has been done for a while - and to this day, not one smidge of electricity has been generated from this pricy new install.

So what gives? First off, the blame game. The manufacturer of the panels is blaming the electric company for dragging its feet in getting it hooked up to the grid. The electric company is blaming the panel manufacturer for not doing integration planning correctly. The real problem is much larger than this pointing contest. We continue to have zero energy policy. It is willy nilly at its best. Our electric grid continues to be held together with spit and gum. We are one event away from brown outs and/or black outs and/or total catastrophe.

It seems like our golden days of power innovation died along with Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla. With Edison and Tesla, we developed both DC and AC electrical current. Those two discoveries were game changers. Without them, I would not be typing this on a laptop. But ever since then, we have not done spit. Nada. Tesla would roll over in his grave if he could see the condition of our nation's electrical grid. And to fix it would not really take much. We have the technology to make our gird not only "smart" but also robust. Robust enough to withstand an EMP event. But we do not have the national will. And now maybe not the money. 

As long as we have our current Administration, with Dr. Goofy as our Energy Secretary, we will continue to live on the edge. No plan, no planning. We will continue to have useless wind turbines built. We will continue to have solar panels which are hooked up to nothing. We will continue to pay more for electricity as we shut down more and more coal powered plants.

The saddest part of not having a coherent energy policy is most people do not have a clue what life would be like should the power go off. It would not be amusing at all. People would suffer. Some people might die. If the power stayed off long enough, our country would devolve into something almost primeval. It would survival of the most fit and most prepared. Life would look like the final chapter in a dark, dystopian novel.

Remember this issue in the run up to the 2016 election. When the door knockers come around, ask what his or her vision is for our nation's power future. If you get some goofy answer like "reusable, renewable, sustaining", be polite as you slam the door. We need real people coming up with real solutions. Time to dig up Nikola Tesla to see if we can reanimate him...    

 

Monday, July 20, 2015

The power of the state(s)











"It never ceases to amaze me how our framers from so long ago, could pack so much wisdom into so few words..."



The 10th Amendment. The one which is often referred to the "Federalism Amendment". The one which again reminds the Federal government of their limited powers. Not unlimited, but limited. That the real power rests in the sovereignty of the states. Finally, it is the amendment which has been all but forgotten (or ignored) by some today.

What has happened over time (in my book) is this - the 10th Amendment, which has so much of our states sovereignty pinned on, has become watered down or ignored by the courts. Our Federal Government, of which the founders were very concerned about, has become a behemoth with enormous powers. Meanwhile, the power of the states have been diminished.

Fortunately, there are some Governors in certain states who believe their state is sovereign. Who believe in state's rights. Who understand the 10th Amendment. After the senseless tragedy in Chattanooga this past week, those Governors have taken the bull by the horns. They have ordered their National Guard troops (who they have control over) to be armed in their domestic locations. The Federal Government has not followed suit as yet, and I doubt (under this Administration) they will.

In addition, even though the Federal Government has not yet ordered all flags to flown at half staff in honor of the Chattanooga fallen, some Governors have ordered such for flags over their state buildings. To me, it says quite a bit about a state or its Governor how they act in times such as these. It is not an coincidence that most Governors who adhere to the principles and constructs of state's rights are red.

Today, the country moves on from the events of last week. If there is any good that could have come out of this, it was a wake up call. For those listening, for those paying attention, it was a clarion warning. The enemy is no longer at the gates, the enemy is within the compound. Plus, it will be up to the states to protect its citizens. It will be local law enforcement working with the National Guard who will last line of defense. The job of the Federal Government should be taking the battle to the terrorists overseas.

In the upcoming 2016 election season, a good question for any candidate running for any office should be his or her position on state's rights. If you get gobbledy gook or a blank stare for an answer, wish that person a nice day and shut the door. This issue is too important to continue to ignore. For all of us.
   

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Big flag, little people

 
 



"Our great flag has lived through much and survived. However, I don't know if it can survive the benign neglect it gets from some of its citizenry..."




Every now and again something happens which make me SMH (shake my head). What is happening in Edina right now is a good example. For those who do not know, a very patriotic woman who lives in an Edina townhouse association, who has two sons serving in the military, who loves to fly our flag, is.....told to take the flag down. It is against the "rules".

As she was contesting that order from her homeowners association, somebody came in the dark of night and shredded our flag. The flag so many in this country have fought and died for. The flag that freedom loving people WORLD WIDE look to as beacon of hope. And why would someone do that to our flag? Sadly, there are more and more America haters and freedom haters who now live in our country. And even more sadly, some are home grown.

There are people from countries all over the world who wait for years to immigrate here and become citizens. Yes, legal immigration. Just like many of us had grandparents or great-grandparents that did the same. And why do they want to come here? Why not China? Why not India? Why not Russia? We all know the answer. Our freedoms. Our liberties. Our American Exceptionalism. And what is the icon which expresses those virtues the best? Our flag. The stars and bars.

People who say they are "offended" by seeing the flag flying anywhere in this country need to do something quickly. First, they can get educated on the history of our country as well as our flag. By doing so, they will learn it is not just a piece of cloth with pretty colors on it. After becoming educated on our history, if some still find our flag offensive, let me help show you the door. Leave. To use an old adage, "if you don't like it here, get the "bleep" out!"

It is time folks. No it is way past the time to take our country back from the nut balls. From the haters. From secular progressives whose philosophy borders on anarchy, Socialism or Communism. From those who want to tort our Constitution into Sharia Law. From Woodrow Wilson isolationists who are content to sit in lawn chairs and watch the world burn. No, it is time to reclaim what our flag is all about. Freedom. Liberty. Values. Prosperity. And hope. Our flag has always given hope to the hopeless.

So whomever you are in Edina that desecrated our flag, our flag which so many have died for, our flag which so many of us love, consider the choice put in front of you. Learn our history, which generally leads to love of this great country. Or leave, and leave now. To quote another old saying, "America - love it or leave it..."

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Unleash the dogs!

 
 



"Cry havoc, and unleash the dogs of war..."


It was reported today that a petty officer who was working at the reserve center in Chattanooga died this morning from his wounds. I am still seething from this entire episode, so this news just poured some gas on the fire. This young man, this patriot, who was married with small children, was assassinated just for being at work. It is time, long overdue in fact, to unleash our dogs of war.

A retired CIA analyst was interviewed on FOX this morning. He was asked what we can do about these lone wolf attacks. His response - not much. However he did say the only way to put an end to these homeland attacks is to take the battle to the perps. In other words, destroy the jihad. Or putting it even in more basic language, bomb the bad guys back into the stone age.

How do we do that? Even though our President has done his best to unilaterally disarm us, we still have some goodies in the toy chest. First off, carpet bombing. We still have lots of dumb iron 500 pound bombs that work very well in destroying an enemies will to fight. Next, we still have a few "MOABs" in our inventory. A MOAB (Mother Of All Bombs) is a fuel air explosive with massive power. It is so big, it needs to be dropped out of a cargo plane. It is almost as powerful as a small nuke, only with no poisonous fallout.

We have smart bombs which can be dropped from a variety of jets in our inventory. We have VLS tools we have not even used as yet. We can saturate any area with our special forces and give them the green light on any target they want. In other words, our military is still the best in the business and our soldiers, sailors and airmen are tired of being targets. They are tired of reading about the genocide taking place in the Middle East and Northern Africa. Nobody wants or likes war, but sometimes the bully just pushes too hard and way too many times.

We will see what will happen in the aftermath of this tragedy in Chattanooga. Will we respond? Or will we just send someone another angry letter. My vote it is time to put on the big boy pants. Time to make some bad guys pay for the multitude of unprovoked atrocities they have committed. Time to kick some ass and take some names.

The EVIL of Planned Parenthood

 
 

"This evil organization, the battle flag of the Left, has been fraught with evil since the get-go. It started due to eugenics, and has now into devolved into organ harvesting."  



I really don't know what I am more sick about. Our continuing acceptance of domestic terrorism, or the murder (and I will use that term) of hundreds of thousands of the most innocent of us every year. We know from government statistics that Planned Parenthood is responsible for around 80% of all reported abortions. In other words, this warm and fuzzy organization, with a name telling us to plan our families, is nothing more than a tax payer funded bunch of doctors practicing infanticide.

First off, I don't give a rat's butt about Roe v. Wade being the law of the land. This never should have been the business of the Supreme Court. I will say this however - when you kill babies resting the safety of their mother's womb, you violate a much higher law. Period.

Thanks to some very good investigative reporting, we now know the inhumane way these innocent babies are killed. It is circa World War II death camp torture using Mengele type methods. To make matters even worse, it has now been disclosed after the abortionist destroys this developing young brain, the organs are removed for sale. Harvesting. In this county. In 2015.

If this was not so tragic, it would almost be amusing how the Loony Left worships at the alter of this vile organization. How Planned Parenthood has convinced the Loony Left a developing baby, a young person with fingerprints, internal organs, and yes brain functions, is nothing more than a lump of tissue. It is an unwanted lump of tissue similar to a tumor. It needs to be removed and destroyed. Yes the Loony Left does believe that. Regardless of the irrefutable evidence which shows otherwise, they still believe the myth of abortion.

I have started to tell our local reps (and I will continue to do so), if the Loony Left wants to support this organization, we should hang it around their necks in 2016. Once normal Americans find out the awful truth about how these innocent unborn children are killed, they will revolt. The first time I read about the gruesomeness of the procedure, I almost got sick. This is Dr. Mengele at his worst. We need to paint this picture for all to see. 

To be a moral country, to be the "bright shining light on the hill" President Reagan wanted us to be, we first need to clean our house. Number one, we must defund Planned Parenthood. Now. Today. Next, most of us know there is not a dime's worth of difference between a late term abortion and infanticide. Doctors which practice late term abortions need be charged with murder. Mothers who consent to late term abortions should be charged as well.

Planned Parenthood is an evil misnomer. It has nothing to do with parenthood. It has everything to do with gruesome death. Time to call a spade a spade.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Active Shooter Warning

 
 



"Our brave fighting men and women, most who are highly trained, are stripped naked of weapons when they come back to the "safety" of their home country..." 



Yesterday was yet another bad day for the home team. We lost four more of our military's finest. Unlike Fort Hood, the freshly fallen were Marines at a Naval Reserve Center. Similar to Fort Hood, our service people, who have excellent weapon training, were unarmed. Also similar to Fort Hood, our unarmed service people were gunned down by a .... Muslim.

Now the big question is what triggered this guy. Was it the news, was it a bad day, or was it a message from ISIL? My opinion - who cares? I could give a rat's butt what set this guy off. All I know is this - this movie is getting very, very old. We have seen it many times. The only thing that was refreshingly different about this tragedy, was the way our government described it. Probably without our Presidents knowledge or permission, it was immediately called domestic terrorism. I still think our Administration refers to the Fort Hood shooting was "workplace violence".

My how things have changed since I have retired from the Navy. During my service time, I spent quite a bit of time at our local reserve center. I can't remember going through an active shooter drill. Never had the threat of Muslims coming in and shooting up the place. Today however, is a different story. We have tens of thousands of Muslims in the area. Earlier in the week, I reported on social media we were hassled by a Muslim from Somalia (he told us he was) in South Minneapolis. The first thing he said when he approached us was how much he hated Americans and America. Odds are he is not the only one who feels that way. There are more who hate us. Who want us dead. Want our military destroyed. And they might be living right next door.

Please don't get me wrong. I am sure the majority of Muslim immigrants just want to start a new life here and make a living. But there are some who don't. Some who want to do us harm. Some who want to do harm to our military when our soldiers, sailors and airmen are stateside. Because we did not taking this domestic threat seriously, we have four dead Marines this morning. I am so mad about this, so pissed, I am spitting tacks. Four dead Marines for committing the crime of going to work at the reserve center.

I really don't care if we must take a recess from the strict confines of our Fourth Amendment. I want to find out who is with us and who is against us. I am sick and tired of playing this "whose who" game post facto. I want to know who the bad actors are before we have another "active shooter" incident at a military base. I want our President to get his head out of the clouds and call a spade a spade. These are not Mormons. They are not Methodists. They are not Norwegian Lutherans. They are Muslims. That is who the profile is.

To our fallen Marines, all I can say is thank you for protecting this great country. I am so sorry we could not protect you when you came home.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Fearing our government

 
 


"At what point in time in our recent history has our government been working against us rather than for us?"



It is now day 2 of the infamous Jade Helm 15 exercise. The internet, as well as YouTube, continues to sparkle with hundreds, maybe thousands of postings warning us about the evil intentions of JH 15. How people will be interned. How guns will be confiscated. How our liberties will be snatched from us. By whom? By special forces within our military.

Last night when I was replaying the day, this thought came to me. I know our Framers always wanted us to be wary of our government. They wanted us to be wary as it could easily get out of control. But when did many of our citizens actually start to fear our government? Fear our military? Believe that our military could be turned against citizens rather than protecting them? Call me na├»ve, but I am one who believes that never could happen. But there are many today who believe otherwise.

I guess for those who wonder if our government is on our side, if our government is in control of its Constitutional purpose and charter, need look no further than Lois Lerner. This person, who many of us think is lower than whale dung, turned the awesome power of the IRS against citizens she did not agree with. She tried to turn the IRS into an instrument of mass destruction, bent of financially destroying and silencing law abiding citizens. And as of today, she still walks our streets, free as a bird, getting hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars in retirement.

Or what about the NSA? Our government has turned it against OUR citizens instead of using it to counter foreign threats. Today, many believe every time they make a phone call, send an e-mail, visit a web page, anything electronic, Big Brother out in Bluffdale, Utah will intercept and store it. Many wonder at what point in time did our intelligence agencies such as the NSA, start working against us rather than for us?

It all starts at the top. Our government, created of the people, and by the people, and for the people, has now become simply above the people. It is secretive, clandestine and often times untrustworthy. Just today, there was an article in the paper about last summer's downtown night time invasion of the black helicopters. The article stated brass in the Pentagon were pissed off at city leaders because they raised such a fuss. That they could not control the masses, the citizens. Hello? This is an American city made up of citizens. Most are law abiding. We are not at war within our country. Having black helicopters buzzing our cities after dark is unacceptable. Period. Unless of course, the Pentagon had prior consent of the citizenry to do so.

How do we regain trust in our government? So we don't fear them? First off, just like in a relationship, trust is earned. Hard to gain, easy to lose. Until we can start trusting our government again, everything will be looked upon with a jaundiced eye. Military exercises, treaty agreements, taxes, whatever.

I will tell our government the same thing most of us have told our kids when they were growing up. If you want to be trusted, be trustworthy. It is as simple as that.   

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Good news, bad news, very bad news

 
 
 


A picture is worth a thousand words. Here we have Kerry, who had trouble getting dressed this morning, the Wizard of Goof to his right, and two Iranians who look like they just won the lotto to his left..."



This morning I am going to mix it up a bit. I am going to report on some good news coming out of the Middle East. I know many of us get tired of hearing about the carnage going on in Syria and Iraq. We get tired of hearing about the unresolved issues in Libya, particularly in Benghazi. We get tired of hearing about Hamas sending occasional missiles into Israeli territory. So today I am starting off with some good news about the Iranian nuclear agreement!

First the good news:
  • An oil analyst on the news this morning stated if all the sanctions are immediately lifted from Iran, their oil would again be flooding the market. The result? Possible lower gasoline prices by year's end.
  • The three large parties in the Israeli Knesset (Labor, Likud, and Kadima) rarely agree on much. However, yesterday was an almost unique example of unity, as they ALL expressed hate and distrust for this new agreement.
  • Saudi Arabia has now been given the tacit approval to use their immense wealth to become another nuclear super power in the Middle East. Jordon might be quick to follow. To offset the threat of Iran right next door, oil rich Sunni countries feel they must match weapons and capabilities with Iran.
  • Long simmering Sunni/Israeli disagreements have been set aside to face this new danger in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia and Israel stand together in opposition to Iran and this new deal.
  • Even though it hurt Israel in the beginning for not being invited to be a part of the negotiations, it is now a blessing for them. They are not constrained by the deal. Bebe announced yesterday that Israel will do what it takes to ensure its own safety. Note to Iran - bone up on your civil defense drills.
The bad news:
  • The deal stinks. The inspection lead time clause by itself is a trap door for cheating. Much of the agreement has holes so big, the Iranians could drive a truck full of centrifuges through it. But who cares? Pop the Champaign! It is a deal! Who cares if it is a bad deal?
The very bad news:
  • Just like the result with our negotiations with North Korea, Iran will soon have a nuke as well as intercontinental missiles. They will be a threat to Israel, Sunni nations in region, Europe, and yes, even the United States.
  • Once they have a nuke, could you imagine anything worse than an alliance between Iran, Pakistan, and North Korea? With all three having nukes? What that would do to world stability? Don't think for a minute this is not a possibility. Remember the odd bedfellows who made up the Axis Powers.
That is my take on the puts and takes from yesterdays "historic" agreement. We will now get ready to have BHO receive his second undeserved Nobel Peace Prize. Ain't life grand? Where else, but in this land of make believe we now call America, could something like this happen? Okay Scottie, I am ready to beam up now...

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Winning the argument...

 
 



"The only way we are going to win elections is to first win in the market place of ideas. Not to beat the other side into submission, rather convince them through logic that our side is right..."



When many of us go to church, we hear a similar message. We go to church not only to worship, not only to draw strength from fellow believers (iron sharpening iron), but to also become equipped. Equipped for what? Simply put, to keep from becoming insular (a country club), we become equipped to spread the Word, to bring people to faith - that all happens outside the doors of the church.

The same is true with our political organizations. For a while, I just quit going to any of them. Why? As much as I liked hanging out with "like minded people", it accomplished NOTHING in spreading our message. It truly was like "preaching to the choir".

Yesterday I had breakfast with a friend and we discussed this matter (as well as many others). It was a similar discussion I have been having with many others over the past few years. How do we win the argument? How to we govern using rock solid conservative principles without appearing to be just "the party of no"?

Here are some thoughts. I will use ObamaCare as an example. Ever since the bill was signed into law in 2009, the battle cry from our side has been "repeal and replace!" An excellent sound bite. But in almost six years the "replace" part of the cry has never been defined. We have not shown the American people the better mouse trap. In absence of that, even though many are not nuts about ObamaCare, they will stick with what they have.

In other words, we really need to become known as the "party of know" and not the "party of no". We need to be a fountainhead of ideas, with new and innovative ideas spewing out like water over a falls. Then we must be able to message them. Simple, logical, short messaging. When questioned or challenged, we must (through logic and knowledge of the subject) be able to WIN THE ARGUMENT. We must be able to convince the other side that we are right. And we must be able to do with without leaving them wounded and bloodied on the battlefield.

This all starts in the grass roots organizations. The caucuses.The BPOUs. Tea Party meetings. Tea Party Patriot meetings.  Advocacy groups. Our government was created to be a "bubble up" organization - not a top down one. People we elect to represent us come from our grass roots organizations. They are us. The ideas they bring to Washington or St. Paul are shared ideas. Ideas we all hatched together in our grass roots organizations. To win the argument, we, along with our representatives, should all be on the same song sheet.

We have work to do before 2016. We need to be smarter. Better educated, Better trained. Better connected. To win the argument on all levels, we need to be ready to have our "A" game sharpened up. The other side does. So must we.  


Monday, July 13, 2015

One bad deal

 
 



"Are we flipping crazy, or what? We need to walk away from this as fast our little feet can carry us..."




Watching the nuclear "negotiations" take place between Iran and the seven "friendly" countries would almost be funny if the stakes were not so high. This is how a bad deal takes shape. How a bunch of yahoos, who know nothing of how to negotiate, get waltzed around the flagpole by a bunch of ideologue zealots who hate America (and Israel) with a passion. How the country we are negotiating with continues to work on a nuke while at the same time promising not too.

When I first got into the negotiation game, my boss told me I needed to first learn the basics. I was sent to a week long seminar which was held somewhere out west. It was hosted by Chester Karrass, the grand daddy of negotiation strategy and skill. It was a good class, and I learned quite a bit. The one thing however, which I thought was the cornerstone of this class was simply this - a bad deal is worse than a no deal. Secondary to that, was never be afraid to walk away from the table. Right now, our negotiation "team" is violating both those cardinal rules in Vienna.

Our President has made it known both near and far that a deal with Iran will be his "signature" foreign affairs achievement. You know, just like ObamaCare was his "signature" domestic one. The only difference is as bad as ObamaCare is, this will turn out worse. Yes, worse.

In the 90's, then President Clinton also wanted a "signature" foreign accomplishment. He was going to negotiate the pants of off the North Koreans. They would NEVER get a nuke when he was done with them! In fact, he was so serious, he sent over retired President Jimmy "Peanuts" Carter to finish these guys off. Carter, who Clinton thought was a hero due to the Camp David peace deal with Begin and Sadat in 1979, was his logical choice to be the closer. Carter closed it alright - the deal was so bad the North Koreans had a nuke in no time at all. Now they are a huge destabilizer in the Western Pacific.

So here we go again. As Yogi Berra would say, "It is deja vu all over again." For legacy purposes only, we are going to shake hands with the devil. I did not say "ink the deal" as I don't think this thing will ever pass the sniff test in Congress. It should be dead as a doornail once it gets to Washington. However, should they agree this thing should be signed, we are in more trouble than I thought we were.

What would I do if I was in charge of negotiations? Walk. And fast. Then I would tell Iran there will be no resumption in talks unless the following conditions are met: 1) Israel is included and recognized by the country of Iran, 2) There will be unconditional and unfettered inspections by any party we choose to verify compliance, and 3) the next anti-American or anti-Israeli demonstration during negotiations will cause an immediate abrogation to the proceedings.

Stay tuned for big news coming this week. Big news about a bad deal. If Iran gets a nuke (and I believe they will with this deal), the entire region will change - and not for the better. As was said in the movie Armageddon, "Tell the world to get ready for bad news..."  



  

Sunday, July 12, 2015

On Minnesota's greatest lake...

 
 
 
 
                                           




"I would like to say I get tired of coming up here - but that would be a lie..."




This weekend we journeyed on our annual trek to Minnesota's greatest lake. We went up there with our oldest daughter, our son-in-law and our grandson. This really was the calm before the storm before the storm - they have sold their house and will soon be homeless. They are building a house on a wooded lot on the north side of their town, and in the interim, will be living with us.

We stayed at a resort a couple miles north of Two Harbors (which is about 20 miles northeast of Duluth). Over the years, my wife and have visited many of Minnesota's "greater lakes". Without exception, none of our majestic inland lakes compare to Lake Superior.

Yesterday after breakfast, we all packed up and headed north up the coast from Two Harbors. It was slightly under a two hour drive from Two Harbors to Grand Marias. The state parks we passed (and they are some of the best in the state), were packed. It is after all summer in Minnesota and on a weekend. Once we arrived in Grand Marias, we discovered there was a huge art show in progress. Some of the best artists and photographers in Minnesota (as well as points elsewhere) live in Grand Marias. Once we found a place to park not far from the exhibits, we started our journey.

It was the most wonderful day. The weather for Grand Marias was a bit warm, but very tolerable indeed. We wondered through some amazing art exhibits, chatted with some of the exhibitors, bought a few items, and then after a while, packed up and left for our resort.

Not too long ago, I read something which decried the low number of people from Minnesota who visit the North Shore. Many people who do not live in our state would give their eye-teeth to have this wondrous body of water so very close. Why people in our own state would not visit this lake confuses me.

I was raised, at least once a year the family would pack up any visit Duluth or points north. Consequently, when my wife and I were raising kids, that tradition continued. Now our grandson has had his first taste of Gitche Gumee. I can only hope he will grow to realize the gift we have all been given. Peace, tranquility, wisdom, wonder, majesty - all can be experienced by visiting Minnesota's greatest lake.

Our trip is now over and we are home with some souvenirs, but mostly memories. Stay classy and majestic Gitche - we will see you again in September...

.