Saturday, October 31, 2015

And then, what if?

"What really happened is still a mystery. All we know is this - if the Russians find out that the Islamic State were even a smidgen complicent, God help them..."

It was a real tragedy this morning. I don't care if it was Russians. It was still a tragedy. Over 200 people killed. Many women, and a couple of dozen kids. Lost when an airliner was supposed to be at one of its safest places - cruising altitude. So what happened?

Here is what is known so far. About 20 or so minutes after takeoff, something bad happened. The pilot of the plane made one distress call. And then nothing. Silence. The plane was descending way too fast. Some think it might have been looking for an emergency landing. And then the radio went dead.

Being a seasoned flyer when I was in the work a day world, I learned what many of us have learned. The most dangerous part of any flight is in the takeoff or landing. The safest is place for a plane is on the ground. The second safest is when the plane is at cruising altitude. This incident happened at cruising altitude.

Almost immediately, the Islamic State claimed responsibility. Both the Russians and the Egyptians (the crash happened in Egypt) denied that happened. However, the mystery is still unfolding. How could this have happened at cruising altitude? And plus, the plane was inspected right before takeoff. Here is the real perplexing thing. The pilot's mic is wired to be the last thing on in the event of an emergency. And the pilot is trained to talk into that mic until he or she is no longer able to. The voice communication goes directly into the black box. And yet, there was only one message. Why?

It will be interesting to see what happens if Vladimir Putin finds out that the Islamic State was complicit in this crash. If that is true, I don't think he would write them a letter nor threaten to take them to court. No, I think Russia would throw everything but the kitchen sink at the Islamic strongholds in Syria. Collateral damage? Tough luck. Better just get out of the way.

It will be interesting to see how this pans out in the days ahead. All I know is this - the internet has already been posting pics of some of the kids who were killed. Some pics taken just before the flight. These were innocent kids. Cute kids. Just coming back from to Russia from a holiday.

The Islamic State has blamed Russia because they have joined the fray against the Islamic terror fighters. There was a time that kicking sand in the face of Uncle Sam was the dumbest thing you could do. However, in 2015, in the days of Obama, kicking sand at the Russian Bear has replaced us. The response from the Bear can be vicious. 

The bottom line is this. Be Careful of whom you kick - the return blow could be not only painful, but fatal.     

For richer, for poorer...

"Relax - this has nothing to do with marriage. It does however, have everything to do with a country becoming two nations, living within one border..."

Why is it we keep hearing that the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer? What ever happened to a "rising tide lifts all boats"? I guess that went out with Ronald Reagan. Now we have the bifurcation of America. Wall Street and Main Street. Two different streets. Two different Americas. Two different futures.

For example, we all know by now the demographics in this country are changing rapidly. The baby boomers, that huge bubble in our population who have come of age, are retiring. However - there are many retirees who were ill prepared for retirement. According to the Center of Budget and Policy Priorities, 65% of retirees get most of their retirement income from Social Security. And of that number, half get the majority of their retirement money from Social Security. How much? Between 90 and 100% of their retirement income. Imagine what a 0% increase in Social Security does to folks who are swimming in escalating food, medical, housing and insurance costs. 

And let's not forget food stamps. In the part of America who are the "have nots", there are nearly 50 million people on food stamps. A staggering number. And it keeps growing. In addition, according to the Census Bureau, as of the end of last year nearly 50 million people lived in poverty. This is the growing underclass of America. Many of these folks are victims of generational poverty. They, as well as their parents and grandparents, have known nothing else. With the evaporation of the middle class, upward mobility has become very, very difficult.

Wall Street however, is a much different story. With the help of the Federal Reserve's Quantitative Easing as well as government printing presses which continue to operate at top speed, there has been some serious jack to be made on "the Street". While the top one tenth of 1% of income earners live lives only imagined in story books, the rest of us have been left out of the party. And by the way - "Richie Rich" is not just a greedy Republican. This elite class is bipartisan. There are just as many (maybe even more) Democrats as Republicans.

Going forward, how do we give people hope? How to we show the way forward to people who have been in poverty so long, it has become an all too familiar landscape? America has always promised to be a land of equal opportunity. Today, we have a chattering class who think that needs to be changed. To be a land of equal outcome instead of equal opportunity.

New leadership in both Washington and St. Paul are sorely needed right now. Even though the poor in our country are still considered wealthy by world standards, we can do so much better. But a broken system with stagnant thinking got us in this mess.

We need to fix a whole bunch of things. Paul Ryan believes we need to fix a "broken House". Good - go for it. We also need to fix or totally replace ObamaCare. It is a costly mess that we can ill afford. The same goes for MNSure. We need to corral our debt, rather than delete sequestered spending caps. We need bold, and I mean bold leadership to do this. Not just more "K Street" puppets.

For richer, for poorer. What is it going to be America? Are we going to live as one people, happily ever after? Or is this just the start of our War of the Roses?  

Friday, October 30, 2015

No "Bleep" Mr. President!

"This is one of the few things that keeps me up at night. It would be worse than any disaster movie we have seen..."

Today I read something in the online press which took my breath away. I really did not know whether to laugh or cry. It seems like the good folks in Washington (especially our President) have finally got religion. Not religion as most of us know it - religion in knowing how vulnerable we are to a natural or unnatural EMP event. How catastrophic it would be for portions or maybe even the entire country. How it could be a game changer or life ender for many of us.

I have addressed this issue many times before. It is frustrating to me to say the least. Why frustrating? Because we have known about the dangers of EMP since I was in the Navy. Since I worked at Control Data in the 1980's. Everybody knew about it back then. We knew what a "fix" was, and yet did nothing. Today we know what even a better fix is. How we can make our electric grid not only robust, but also "smart". Where it could save money and energy and be safe.

Now the President is finally on board. "We need to do something. Just in case old Sol misbehaves, and we get another solar flare event." Yes we do sir. A natural EMP event is something which has happened before, and will most likely happen again. 

In 1859, the Earth experienced the Carrington Super Flare. And it was bad. The good news was, there were no electronics to fry like we have today. There was damage (like to TTY lines), but not much else. It is reported by the history books that the aurora as far south as Colorado was so bright, it awoke some gold miners. They got up and started fixing breakfast in the middle of the night as they thought is was morning.

In July of 2012, the sun had another solar eruption - and it was a big one. Fortunately, it was just a close call for the Earth. But the outcome could have been so much different. Truthfully, even if we had a ruggedized electrical grid, there will still be untold damage from a direct hit. But having the grid survive would allow most of us to survive also. Without a robust and ruggedized grid, many of us would perish due to lack of water, food or warmth.

The big question now is very simple - how do we pay for this upgrade to our grid. I know, I know. I am not going on a rant again on how we should have done this under the now infamous "Stimulus Bill". No, we are going to have to figure out how to pay for this and do it quickly. The last estimate I head on doing this (bare bones with no bells and whistles) was just north of $300 billion. Is that kind of money worth putting on "our card"? If it would save our civilization, our way of life, my vote would be yes.

Welcome Mr. President. Your awareness and support are needed and appreciated. I sure would love to get this done so we can take another arrow out of the quiver of any potential adversary. Let's quit taking about it and do it. Or, to put it another way, let's "get er done" before it happens again and gets us done - for good. 

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Is this Deja Vu all over again?

"Am I dreaming, or is this deja vu all over again? Russian long range bombers buzzing our carrier task force(s)? This could be bad..."

I will say this for our current Commander-in-Chief. He knows how to run a show. Or not. For us old Cold Warriors, this is a throw back in history. The Bear is back. And so is the Chinese Dragon. And we are also playing footsie with ISIL in Iraq and Syria. And let us not forget footsie with the Taliban in Afghanistan. But as much as I would say that our Commander-in-Chief is a Quaker pacifist, it ain't working. Even with that, the ship is about to hit the sand.

This past week, we had Russian bombers buzz our Ronald Reagan Carrier Task Force. Okay, this might be just a game. But the Chinese are also trying to get under our skin. They don't like the fact we are visiting "international" waters where they are building artificial islands. They are in fact, in international waters.

In fact, the Chinese have warned us that continued incursions into "their" territory, could be bad. They are ready to counter us no matter what it takes. So where is the "reset" button? The one that was hit right after Obama took office. Why does it seem we are closer to war now that ever? With ISIL, Russia and China at the same time?

Should I say it? Once again? Only countries who recognize the reason why not to mess with us are those who recognize our motto of, "Peace through strength." Right now our adversaries have seen us as a "paper tiger". So they are kicking sand in our face. And what is our response? Write a letter? Angry phone call? They know our game. And they will continue to kick us all over the globe until they see some kind of response. Can we wait until February of 2017? I doubt it.

So during the year of 2016, stand by. We will continue to be bullied all over the globe. Sorry to say it, but the fear and respect of us has left the equation. We are looked upon as nothing burgers. Our once noble global police force is now looked upon as nothing more than British Bobbies. A nightstick, a badge, and not much else. The Russians, the Chinese, the Islamic Army - not so much. They are bold and armed to the teeth. They will use whatever, and whenever, to gain the advantage.

Good luck friends. I am going down in my 1963 fallout shelter and wait until 2017. I think I have enough C-rats and MREs to last that long. 

Make it work! (Please?)

"Do you want to see where the action is? For starters, drive out to Brooklyn Park by 610 and look at the every growing Target Complex..."

The other day when we were out driving around, I could not help notice the huge presence Wells Fargo now has in large office buildings on the west side of town. I was wondering why they would need to expand out there when they have that huge office tower in downtown Minneapolis. Or - are they pulling a TCF? Are they leaving downtown for cheaper rent and a much better venue?

Anyhow, let us not be concerned with facts. Like the fact downtown has a small footprint for large companies to locate in. Sure, there are still some places to work downtown, but the action seems to be happening on and around the beltways. So the question (once again) begs to be asked - why in the Sam Hill are we spending billions on choo choo trains which will take people from the suburbs into downtown? And the price for these trendy trains keep going up all the time.

Today, it was reported the Bottineau Line running from Brooklyn Park to Target Field is having some minor cost inflation. In other words, it was priced the way that government usually prices things. In other words, about a half a billion shy of what it is now estimated to cost. But who cares? According to statist Peter McLaughlin, a Hennepin County Commissioner, the price increase is not that bad. Besides, it is close enough so we can still qualify for some of that Federal Money. And now that all spending brakes have been removed from the federal budget, there is money a plenty to be had!

The evil and statist group referred to as the Met Council will continue this journey into madness no matter how expensive and ridiculous it becomes. The current price tag for the SWLRT is about $1.7 billion. And that is after going on a mandatory financial diet. The new price for the Bottineau Line is about $1.5 billion. And that number is ripe for increase due to soil conditions, wetland mitigation and so forth.

The only good news is (rumor has it), there has been so much pushback on the cost and necessity for both the SWLRT and the Bottineau Lines, this might be it. No more. Of course we would still be stuck with the cost of nearly empty trains going from a vacant downtown to the burbs. Oh well, they do look nice. Pretty colors. And let us not forget this most important thing - they are trendy.

As the Met Council's transportation geeks continue to live in la-la land, those of us out here in "realville" are fight growing congestion just trying to get from point "A" to point "B". And the demographers have very bad news for us. By 2040, the population of the metro area is projected to be almost 4 million people. Just five years ago, it was under 3 million people. With the Met Council refusing to plan any additional lanes or highways, roads will continue to be WYSISYG (what you see is what you get). Or - absolute and total gridlock.

Well played Met Council! You really did have your eye on the ball! Try to stay in government if you can. The reason for that is simple. The way you plan and waste money, NOBODY in the private sector would EVER hire you. Nobody.   

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Are we becoming Thelma or Louise?

"Here we go. Close your eyes and pretend we are all dreaming. We will worry about reality when we wake up..."

It is really nice that our long national nightmare is about over. This stupid thing brought on by the panic merchants about budget discipline. Phooey is what I say to that! Thanks to the outgoing Speaker and our soon to be outgoing President, we can once again spend money we don't have with a clear conscious. Yep - happy days are here again!

And the debt ceiling? Gone for now. Not to reappear until March of 2017. By that time our debt should be somewhere between $19.5 trillion and $20 trillion. Here is the "so what" of this number. With an interest rate of 2.5% to service our debt, the cost to do so now is almost $300 billion a year. That number WILL go up, even if the abnormally low interest rate stays the same. Plus, (and this is the icky part), we do at some time need to address paying this money back. Or - coming up with a scheme on why and how not to.

All the pundits are saying this two year budget deal is a fait-accompli. It is over. The fat lady is singing loudly. Paul Ryan, the one time savior of the fiscal literate in this country, thinks this deal "stinks". You got that right brother! What this deal has shown many conservatives is a reconfirmation there is only a sliver of difference between today's Democrats and today's Republicans. They are all pigs swimming in the same pool of goo.

Immediately after the vote, the President will sign off on the deal. The outgoing Speaker has already been given some going away gifts from his fellow Republicans. The vote for the new Speaker will then be taken, Ryan will be sworn it, and Boehner will ride off into the Ohio sunset. Then what? Are we all going to get horse from singing Kumbaya? Or is Speaker Ryan going to rediscover his fiscal stones and try to really "clean out the barn"?

Many today are saying it really does not matter who is in control of the House or Senate. Government has become a juggernaut. A Frankenstein's Monster. Something so big, we have way too many people dependent upon it. That to even suggest a cut in the growth is looked upon by some as treasonous.

Well kids, we all built this thing. It started to spin out of control during the New Deal. That act, signed into law by FDR, put grease on the tracks. Then in the 1960's, LBJ doubled down on the New Deal by giving us the Great Society. That not only put more grease on the tracks, but also took some of the breaks off the train. Finally, BHO gave us ObamaCare in 2009. That completed the perfect trifecta of financial doom for our once great country. The train wreck now became a certainty.

What has happened this past week was a total capitulation to the system. It was nothing more than a surrender. Fixing this behemoth proved to be way too hard. So instead of fighting the Borg, we have instead allowed ourselves to become assimilated.

Good luck Speaker Ryan. And good luck to all of us. In the movie Thelma and Louise, the cliff was in sight as the car sped up. As is with our economic car. For the time being however, we will just try and enjoy the ride, albeit a short one.   

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The New Deal (again)

"Why does the Speaker look like the cat who just ate the canary? Because he did."

Oh - before I get started - Happy New Year! In government terms, we started our new year on October 1st. For the geeks, our new year is called GFY 16 (that is government fiscal year, 2016). For the rest of us, it is just another year of more spending, more taxes and more debt. And for those who were wondering if our outgoing speaker is a statist, well, this two year "agreement" should cement the deal.

Well the Speaker and the President once again showed they know how to make out with each other. A two year deal has been crafted which will allow the status quo to return to normal. How normal? We can get rid of the closest thing having had to a smidge of budget discipline. We can get rid of the sequester cuts. Everybody wins (except that is, the taxpayers). The debt limit is raised, the printing presses are going crazy, and programs with life everlasting, continue to roll.

Before we all hide in our storm cellars and wait for the crash to come, let us citizens have some frank talk. Talk about budgeting which makes sense. For example:

  • Defense - You bet we need a strong defense. However, there are plenty of areas in this closet which are full of clutter. For example, we could save hundreds of billions just by getting rid of most of our overseas bases. Some go back to post WW II. Don't need them anymore. Japan and Germany are staunch allies with good economies. They can provide for their own coastal and air defenses, thank you. Some of those savings would be offset by having two more nuclear powered carriers. We need them to offset the growing China and Russia incursions. Even with that, we could still save a ton of bucks. The waste, fraud and abuse in the Defense Department is simply staggering. Trust me - I worked with them for decades.
  • Medicare - What a cornucopia of fraud, waste and abuse this one is! And the irony is, most seem to know it. Including those in the government. And yet nobody has the will to do anything about it. The number I keep hearing about or reading in various resources is jaw dropping. The amount of waste in this program could be as high as 20%! With a GFY 16 budget of almost $600 billion, that means the amount that could be saved would be over $100 billion a year.
  • Medicaid - This younger sibling of Medicare ($350 billion) also has huge fraud problems. How much? Nobody seems to really know. However, the number is big enough to focus some real budget discipline on. Trust me - savings are in here.
  • Social Security - Don't worry. I did not forget about the 600 pound gorilla in the room. In GFY 16, the budget for Social Security is $938 billion. Bigger than our Defense budget. Oh yes - we are getting very close to hitting that $1 trillion dollar a year mark. This wonderful leftover from the New Deal is now eating up more of our annual budget than anything else. Is there waste, fraud and abuse in this program also? Yup - sure is. Not as much as estimated in Medicare however. This program by itself is going to kill the golden goose if we don't do something about it - and quickly. 
One more thing worth mentioning. In this House of Cards, this Game of Thrones world of Washington DC, one thing is abundantly clear. I don't care if we have Elmer Fudd as the Chair of the Federal Reserve, the rates are not going up. They can't. With the cost to service our debt now at $300 billion a year with a 2.5% rate, any additional interest expense would be a financial back breaker. It would crash the system. In other words, the fix is in. 

So once again, Happy New Year everyone! Relax and enjoy the party! Life in the matrix is good, very good. Will the crash come? Oh, yea. Will it be big. Again, you betcha. But for right now, just enjoy the show. It will be over soon, so stay awake and enjoy it. 

Monday, October 26, 2015

The Truth MUST set us Free!

"Lies, lies and more lies. It seems like the truth continues to be the fifth causality of the Benghazi event..."

If it seems like I am stuck on Benghazi, it is only because I am. What happened that night, that night on the 10th anniversary of 9/11, remains shrouded in mystery. It remains shrouded in mystery only because agents within our own government are trying to keep the truth buried. At least that is how it seems. For all I know, the narrative, as implausible as it sounds, might be the truth. But there is not a shred of evidence so far that proves it to be the case.

Narrative - The "company line" was well known by everyone in the Administration. The War on Terror, this phony war ginned up by Bush and the Neocons, was over. We were going to embrace the Arab Spring, peace would return to the shire, and everyone would love us once again. Obama would show the world his Nobel Peace Prize (for nothing) was really deserved after all.

When the attack came, a story needed to be stitched together which would fit the narrative. The Administration needed someone who could go on all the Sunday morning news shows and sell this pack of manure. Somebody a bit lower on the pecking order than Hillary. Susan Rice drew the short straw.

Even though it has come out in the hearings that Hillary knew this was a terror attack, everyone, including the President, peddled this bald faced lie about a video tape. In other words, they were all into it.

Drones - The Daily Caller reported that the US had drones over the Benghazi scene during the attack. We knew exactly what was happening. And yet there was no response. No rescue mission. No counter attack. Many have reported a "stand down" order was issued instead. Why? No plausible (or logical) answer has been given to date.

9/11 - Really? Only a fool would have not suspected some kind of attack somewhere in the world to commemorate the tenth anniversary of 9/11. And it happened in Benghazi.

E-Mails - Hmmm. The missing e-mail issue is starting to make more and more sense. We know from the little information we have right now that many e-mail requests were sent to the State Department by Ambassador Stephens requesting more security. All requests were turned down.

First we ignore the Ambassador's pleas for more security, and then when the attack happens, we ignored his pleas for help. And after all of that, Hillary had the gonads to say Chris Stevens was a friend of hers. 

Torture - More and more of this is being leaked out. The "official" cause of death of the Ambassador was "smoke inhalation" when the compound caught fire. What really happened is far more disturbing. This man, our diplomat, was captured by Islamists, beaten, stripped, sodomized with a broomstick over and over again, and then had his testicles burned and cut off. Did he really die from smoke inhalation, or a ruptured bowel from repeated raping from the broomstick?

I will quote one of the uncles of a Seal killed at Benghazi. Once Hillary was done testifying, the uncle simply said, "This is not over". Amen brother. Once the truth is released, people in this country will truly see how we have been jobbed. Lied to. Over and over and over again. And how four brave Americans, four heroes in anyone's book, died for NOTHING!

Getting away with murder

"Only in America, only in this day of age, can the guilty look innocent and the investigators look guilty..."

Because of my age, I remember the OJ Simpson trial. Many of us do. The gruesome sight in 1994 of two people in LA with their throats slit so deeply, they were almost decapitated. The low speed chase in the white Bronco through the streets of LA. The mountain of evidence that OJ himself did the deed. And then the trial. Where OJ used his tremendous wealth to "lawyer up" with only the best. And as we know, the rest is history. He walked. Got away with murder in the first.

Now flash forward to this month. The Benghazi hearings. Unlike the OJ trial, this is not about a double murder. It is about a quadruple murder. And unlike the OJ trial, the people (or person) who actually committed this murder in not the focus of these hearings. However the people who practiced malfeasance and neglect are. And like the OJ trial, there are plenty of breadcrumbs leading to the guilty party(s).

In the hearings so far, what have we learned? Unlike Watergate (that ironically Hillary was a part of - only sitting on the investigative side rather than the investigated),  the Democrats are asking only one tough question. And that is of the Republicans. "Why are we wasting all this money going after Secretary Clinton? This is all political - a witch hunt!"

During Watergate, the Republicans on the panel were just as hard on the Administration as were the Democrats. But that was then. When we had real Democrats. And yes, real Republicans also.

Other than that, nothing has been learned. What I do know is this. If this had happened under the Bush Administration, both sides of the aisle would be asking tough questions. And the Democrats would probably be asking for impeachment of the President himself. The main stream media would (as usual) be siding with the Democrats looking for justice and scalps. However in this universe, where we have this inept and corrupt Administration along with a do nothing Justice Department, the guilty will skate and the investigators will be villified. 

So that is the story of this tune. Chairman Gowdy said there are up to 70 more witnesses he would like to call in front of the committee. My guess is that Cummings will throw a fit, get the press to support him on it, and the hearings will end with a whimper. And like the OJ trial, justice will once again be blinded. 

Speaking as only one American, I would like to apologize to the families of Ambassador Chris Stephens, Sean Smith, Tyrone Woods, and Glen Doherty. These men were victims of something even worse than the enemies who killed them. They were left behind. Left behind by a country who does not leave people behind. They died abandoned by the country, by the Administration who was supposed to protect and defend them. And that is the crime worth investigating.   

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Iraqi Revisionism

"Before we get too wrapped up in Common Core history, let us first go back and take a peek at the truth..."

In the news today, is a story about former UK PM Tony Blair. He has now admitted the Iraqi War was a mistake. That removing Saddam might have resulted in the establishment of the Islamic State in Iraq. Why would he say such a thing? First off, being associated with the Iraqi War right now is about as popular as having Herpes. Number two, we are heavy into Common Core revisionist history regarding the entire Iraqi saga. By the time we are done, Saddam will look like a saint, and Bush will look like Satan.

So why in the world did we ever go to war in Iraq in 2003? I apologize in advance this one is a bit long, but lots to tell. First a minor history lesson:

WMD - The Iraq/Iran War from 1980 to 1988 was long and very bloody. And yes, WMD (Mustard Gas) was used by Saddam against Iranian troops. He was caught red handed and condemned by the UN. In March of 1988, towards the end of the Iraq/Iran War, Saddam (and his cousin "Chemical Ali) again used chemical weapons - only this time in the Kurdish town of Halabja. Thousands of civilians died a horrible death. Thousands more who survived had painful and debilitating after effects. So yes - there was WMD in Iraq.  

Kuwait  - On August 2, 1990, Iraq invaded Kuwait for the expressed purpose of annexation. United Nations Security Council Resolutions 660 and 662 condemned Iraq's invasion and annexation and called for the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of Iraqi forces. Resolution 660 has never been rescinded by the United Nations. A United Nations ultimatum, Security Council Resolution 678, followed on November 29, 1990. It stipulated that if Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein did not remove his troops from Kuwait by January 15, 1991 a U.S.-led coalition was authorized to drive them out.

Early in the morning of January 17 (Baghdad time), the U.S.-led coalition launched air attacks against Iraqi targets. On February 24, coalition ground forces begin their attack. On February 27, Kuwait City was declared liberated, and with allied forces having driven well into Iraq, President Bush and his advisers decided to halt the war. A cease-fire took effect at 8:00 the following morning.

United Nations Security Council Resolution 687, signed by Iraq on April 3rd, 1991 spelled out the conditions by which the cease fire would remain in effect. From a viewpoint of how the United Nations charter works, if resolution 687 was violated, then resolution 678 (which authorized hostilities with Iraq) would be in effect.

Violations As we know, it is well documented that Iraq has violated the terms and conditions of 687 numerous times. So many times in fact, that the United Nations passed an additional 17 resolutions condemning and warning Iraq to adhere to the conditions of resolution 687. To use an analogy, Iraq was on probation after committing a crime and violated (many times) the condition of probation. The results of Iraq’s actions were that Desert Storm (under resolution 678) would and should continue.

Holding Iraq in “material breach” of its obligations under previous resolutions, the Security Council decided to afford it a “final opportunity to comply” with its disarmament obligations, while setting up an enhanced inspection regime for full and verified completion of the disarmament process established by resolution 687.

By the unanimous adoption of resolution 1441, signed on November 8, 2002, the Council instructed the resumed inspections to begin within 45 days, and also decided it would convene immediately upon the receipt of any reports from inspection authorities that Iraq was interfering with their activities. It recalled, in that context, that the Council had repeatedly warned Iraq that it would face "serious consequences" as a result of continued violations.

Iraq War - So we went to war with Iraq in 2003 to rid the world of a ruthless dictator. A first class bad guy. Yes, ever badder than the dictator Obama helped to get rid of in Libya (Gaddafi). Even though this war was justified in the eyes of the UN, I do have two criticisims:

  • We spent way too much time on WMD as a major reason for the war. The major reason for the war was Saddam's CONSTANT and FLAGRANT disregard for UN resolutions. Was the WMD issue part of our reason? Yes. Was the fact that Saddam tried to have George H.W. Bush killed a part of the reason? I doubt it - but maybe a small part. 
  • The UN once again showed itself to be a toothless, feckless organization who does nothing. Sure they had resolutions, but no follow-up. A thug like Saddam recognised this weakness and exploited it time and time again. It really did come down to the US putting some teeth in the resolutions. And in 2003, the US did just that.
Well that is my view of history. I was still in the Navy during the Gulf War. My last assignment was doing a "lessons learned" report for NSA at the end of the Gulf War. So lets just say I know a bit of "inside baseball" about this topic. 

Would the Islamic State still have happened if Saddam had remained in power? Unknown. What is known is this - Saddam would have continued to terrorize his neighbors as well as citizens within Iraq who disagreed with him. Between Saddam and Assad in Syria, tens of thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of innocent people would have been killed or displaced in the years to come. So whether it be Saddam or the Islamic State, the good people in Iraq were in for a rough ride. And yes, they deserve so very much better. 

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Time to end it.

"Millions of babies dead. Countless women wounded for life. All for what? It is time to end it. Forever." 

Last night, we were invited to the annual silent auction and fundraiser for an organization called New Life Family Services. It is one of a growing number of organizations who are committed to not only counseling women who are thinking about having an abortion, but also those who have had an abortion and are suffering psychological and/or spiritual after effects. Most of all, New Life Family Services would like to see abortion end up in the ash heap of history.

We all know the stats. Most have heard of or seen the graphic and shocking videos about the dismemberment and sale of baby parts. Truthfully - there are many times I feel like I am dreaming, and this is only happening in some twisted science fiction world. Or a dystopian world where everything is backwards. Certainly not in our world. The real world we live in. For in our real world, we would not be killing our young. And not just a few young, but thousands, millions of them.

Even though we all heard or seen the stats, I think I will repeat them one more time. Each day, 4,000 innocent American babies are aborted. As of the first of this year, ever since the tragic Roe v. Wade SCOTUS decision became law of the land, there have been almost 58 million innocent babies aborted. That is a bigger number than the population of England.

It is estimated by the World Health Organization, worldwide there are 125,000 abortions a day. Other estimates are in the past 50 years, there have been over 1 billion abortions worldwide. These numbers are staggering. Jaw dropping. Unbelievable and TOTALLY unacceptable in a civilized world.

So when will abortion end? Whether you are faith based or not, this inhumane procedure cannot pass anyone's sniff test. Killing our youth is like eating our seed corn. And the damage it does to women is beyond compare. Damage that can last for a lifetime if left untreated. 

The good news in all of this is simple. Organizations like New Life Family Services are the "Little Dutch Boy" trying to plug as many holes as possible in the dike. They are doing good work, very important work. But the work could be so much easier if we could once again find our moral compass. Find our moral compass and just END abortion. 

Mother Teresa has been quoted as saying, "America needs no words from me to see how your decision in Roe v. Wade has deformed a great nation. The so called right to abortion has pitted mothers against their children, and women against men. It has shown violence and discord at the heart of the most intimate human relationships." I don't think there is any more, that any person could add to this quote to make it any more direct.

It is time to wake up America. We must stop this evil stalking our land. This evil called abortion. We must come back from this path of "deformation". This twisted path abortion has led us down. We owe it to our children, yet unborn. We owe it to the countless women who have been damaged by it. We owe it to our country. And yes, we owe it to the Creator of all life, the Giver of all good things, seen and unseen. It is time to end abortion. It is time to end it now.    

Friday, October 23, 2015

Lois, all over again...

"Here she is. The woman who weaponized the IRS. Her punishment? Living scot free. PLUS, making a boatload of retirement dollars - paid for by us..."

I guess if I wanted to do something wrong, something evil, something that could land me in prison (and still get away with it), all I would need to do is become a part of this most corrupt Administration. It was announced today that the Obama's "Justice Department" would not seek any legal redress against Ms. Lois Lerner. Who you say? Lois Lerner, the most dishonest and corrupt person to ever to work at the IRS.

Some say it was Lois who learned how to effectively weaponize the IRS. That is against the RIGHT type of people and organizations. Oh yes, you are right. The IRS has been misused in the past. However, never to the extent that Lois did. And the best part is, we have her dead to rights. Hands in the cookie jar. And even though she did a wonderful job in destroying her damning e-mails and wiping her server clean, enough had been learned about what evil she did to put her away for a long, long time.

So what happened? Why is she not doing the perp walk? Why is it that people in this Administration can get away with all kinds of crap and only be rewarded? And our "Justice Department"? As we saw under Eric (we are all cowards on race) Holder, our "Justice Department" under Obama seems like more crooks than cops.

Many on the Left who wonder why, why some of us would like to shrink the size of Government and adhere to Constitutional principles. To start with, the recently held Benghazi hearings. Then the IRS hearings with Lerner and then John Koskinen. Both were examples of travesties of justice. 

During this week's Benghazi hearings, one of the telling questions asked of Hillary Clinton was very simple and direct. Was there even one person, one beating heart in the State Department who was held responsible for the Benghazi missteps which resulted in the deaths of four Americans? Nope. Not a one. Because, you as you know, we have rules. Union rules. Public sector union rules. As well as protection for the directors, administrators and the Secretary herself.

So where does that leave us? Hillary will walk, and Lois will skate. Two wrong doers (and massive liars) of epic proportion are now going to get away with high crimes. And where is the public? The outrage? The pitchforks and torches? Not visible. People just don't care anymore. They don't want to hold their government accountable. If it is not their ox being gored, then it is a big "so what?"

So welcome Lois, to the select crowd who have gotten away with just about every crime imaginable. As the saying goes, "If the glove does not fit, you must acquit." Well Lois, in your case, the glove did fit. It is just too bad the time did not fit the crime.

Polished Liars

"At one time we would be polite and say she was a variance with the truth. Now many just call her a bald faced liar..."

Oh she is good. Very good. And so is her husband. Years of experience. For many of us, seeing someone who is this good at (dare I say it?) LYING, is interesting to watch. Why? Most of us don't build our lives on a series of lies. Most of us can't look into a camera and say something like "I did not have sex with that woman - Monica Lewinsky" when we really did. Or tell us that oral sex is not sex. Most of us that is, except the Clinton Crime Family (a Rush term).

This is not new territory for the Clintons. It has been going on for years. Hillary had some problems while working at the Rose Law Firm many years ago. And also while dabbling in the future's market. It always seems like what ever the Clinton's touch, there are dirty smudges left afterwards. And much happened during the Clinton years that people just don't want to talk about anymore. And even more happened during the Secretary Clinton years at State which for some reason has almost become taboo.

I will hand it to the Democrats on one thing. They were damn smart to elect a half black President. He is almost immune from criticism because, well you know why. Nobody wants to be called the "R" word. And now with Hillary, a woman, we have something similar. Can't criticise her. Some today are saying the Republicans looked mean and petty "beating up" on poor old Hillary. And as the Benghazi story still has more holes that a good piece of Swiss cheese, that seems to matter not. Hillary looked at this hearing as an excellent opportunity to show off her skills in veracity ducking (aka lying).

Somebody in social media, who does not usually live on the Left side of the street, thought she looked "Presidential". Yes, in the way she handled the "small minded" Republicans. The "small minded" Republicans who are just trying to discover the truth. Not the Democrats however. They just wanted to help Hillary keep the lies spinning. 

Here is the bottom line as I see it. Many today in our short attention span lifestyle no longer care about Benghazi. That was so yesterday. Damn shame what happened, but can't we please just move on. Yes, we lost an ambassador and three others. Yes, our ambassador was tortured, raped with a broom stick, and then killed. Yes, it all happened on the 10 year anniversary of 9/11. Yet somehow Hillary has been able to cobble together a story, a fable, on how all this fits together. That she, nor her boss, nor her department, had any culpability in this tragedy what-so-ever. And the lemmings on the Left are buying it hook, line and sinker.

Fellow Democrat Bob Kerrey made a very astute observation about Bill Clinton years ago. "Bill Clinton is an unusually good liar". And he is. And so is his wife. It must run in the family. Remember the whopper Hillary told us about landing in all that sniper fire in Bosnia when she was First Lady? Video evidence showed that there was never any sniper fire. It was all a Walter Middy made up fable. A lie. You know, kind of like a Brian Williams moment. 

So wake up America. If this is who you want to be your President for the next 4 to 8 years, good luck. We barely survived 8 years of her husband. Now, we are almost bankrupt after 8 years with a Socialist President. The country is resting on egg shells right now. We are on the precipice of disaster. We need a healer. A leader. A truth teller. Not another charlatan.  

Thursday, October 22, 2015

The Mudbath in Washington

"Statesman - an ancient term meaning when people in politics on different sides of an issue could talk to each other instead of yelling at each other..."

A while back, I was asked my opinion on the vacancy in Minnesota CD6. That a very capable person who I really admire recently said "no thanks" to running for that position. My opinion on that decision was "Good!" Not that this person could not do the job - he could have done it very well. In my opinion he is too nice to jump into that mud bath by the Potomac River.

Why anyone would want to venture into this mud bath is beyond me. What a world class mess. And how messy has it become? First off, as many of us know by now, a large majority of Democrats are no longer traditional Democrats. By their own admission (this come straight out of the national news this morning), a large majority of the "new" Democrats favor Socialism over Capitalism. And what does that give us? For one, Bernie Sanders as a viable candidate.

Ergo, part of the problem. Many have blamed the Tea Party wing of the Republicans for the discord and mayhem in Washington and beyond. The Tea Party is blamed because they want our governance to be rooted in Constitutional principles. Period. However, when on the other side of the fence you have Democrats so far to the Left, they become Socialist "light". So then, how can meaningful discussions take place? Bottom line - they can't.

Even Smokin' Joe Biden warned us about this yesterday. He said the country can't take another four years of this type division in Washington. During his announcement where he said he would not run, Biden took a shot directly at Hillary. Why? Hillary recently said Republicans were the "enemy". Joe Biden on the other hand, said no. Republicans are the opposition, not the enemy. The bottom line is this however - many on both sides think people on the other side of the political divide are enemies. Therefore, to negotiate with "enemies" means valuable territory might have to be ceded. 

I am not neutral on this issue. I side with the Tea Party Republicans. Why? Many, maybe most of the folks I know of in the Tea Party use a common yard stick to determine what is right for the country. It is called our Constitution. We all know what that is - that age old document that EVERYONE who serves, swears to protect and defend.

The problem is many on the Left soon forget that promise, that oath, to protect and defend our Constitution. They would rather see our Constitution updated for modern times. Instead of having it as a limiting document government's rights and powers, they would prefer it to be limiting on our rights and powers instead. And in my humble opinion, this is where the battle field lies. Where the mud bath begins. 

So how does Washington become "governable" again? When the majority of Democrats identify more with Socialists than Capitalists? When many on the Left don't give a hoot about equal opportunity, only equal outcomes? I am glad we have a Tea Party. Although not perfect, they do keep our country grounded in Constitutional principles. They keep us grounded. They help keep us from drifting away into the abyss and dysfunction of Socialism.

Again, where do we go from here? Will having Paul Ryan as Speaker help or hurt? Can any of the candidates on either side repair the damage done in the past 7 years? The past 50 years? I have no answers to this. All I have is concern - concern that the greatest country ever conceived might be on the brink of becoming extinct. To be replaced by something that will look a lot like Denmark (to quote Bernie Sanders). God help us all.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Fare thee well, Smokin' Joe

"Some thought he would be the savior of the party in this next election. Others, not so sure. In any event, we will now see how far the flawed candidate Hillary gets ..."

Well, the old man of the sea is not going to run. Wait - I can't say that. Bernie (Lenin) Sanders is about the same age. In any event, this was BIG news today (not). After his term is up, Smokin' Joe can retire back to Delaware and just be a grandpa (trust me - it is not a bad gig).

Now it gets interesting. There are many in the Party of the Donkey who have doubts about the front runner. For example, just the other day, her poll numbers were released on likability and trust. Bad, very bad. And Bernie? He is popular now, but most everyone knows in a general election this old Socialist from New York (originally) will get creamed. Martin? Nope - he can keep his membership at LA Fitness and keep pumping the iron.

Will someone else enter the race at this late date? I think "she" might. Oops. Did I let the cat out of the bag? Yup - our 1/25th Native American Senator, Elizabeth Warren. And I say this for many reasons. First, she is young (a babe in the woods) compared to the Jurassic Park crew they have on the spate now. Next, she is a fresh face. Very fresh. However, I think the thing which really sealed the deal with many was she is so hated by Wall Street. Hillary (from New York), is looked upon by the Wall Street (bond traders and speculators) as a favored child.

As Donald Trump continues to eat up the press coverage faster than a black hole devours light, the blue side of the street still looks a bit unsettled. Whereas the blue side parses every word to be the ultimate phraseology in the land of PC, Trump continues to use his filterless mouth to tell truisms. And that, is the attraction of so many people today. People hate PC, and love the truth. Whether true or not, what Donald says sounds very good to a very large group of people.

Back to Joe for a minute. I am not a big Joe fan. Never have been. I have always thought him to be a bit of a gadfly. I do mourn with him however, on the loss of his son. Beau was a good man, a very good man. And nobody should EVER have to bury a child. By the way, Joe is smarter and savvier than Hillary. Or Bernie. Or that guy from Maryland. Some think a Biden/Warren ticket would have been a tough one to beat. Today however, without Joe - well, time will tell.

Bye, bye Joe. I have heard about you for decades now. In fact, since I was a young man serving in Maine in 1972. But it is time to go. Go be a grandpa. Enjoy your zillion dollars a year you will receive in federal retirement. And Joe, one more thing. Don't let the door hit you on the ass on the way out. 

Trouble to the North?

"Is he qualified for the job? Who cares? Like Obama, he knew how to say the right things and he is easy on the eyes of the lady voters..."

Now I am starting to feel old. I remember when his dad was the Prime Minister of Canada. It was like having a bit of France close by. Liberal? You bet. Could we lean on him? Not much. Did he help Canada grow? No, but he sure was entertaining.

Who is he? Justin Trudeau, eldest son of Pierre Trudeau, the former Prime Minister of Canada. I have read Justin's resume. It is about as empty as Barack Obama's resume before he became President. For example, Justin was in charge of Canada's multiculturalism and "feel goodism" or something like that. In any event, he has some very wacky ideas on how to move Canada forward.

The last vote was hardly counted when he made his first declaration. No more support for the air war against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq. Nope. He is done. Just as the Russians have step up their game, one of our staunchest allies has decided to pick up his planes and go home. And what will his stance be on the Islamic State? Cuddling and inclusion? Or fighting this evil. I am afraid our northern border might state becoming very porous as Mr. Multiculturalism takes over.

How about debt? Oh, he has learned well from seeing his neighbor to the south. Spend borrowed money like there is no tomorrow. Who cares about the debt? About deficit spending? Not him. He has already announced he has some kind of Stimulus Bill (or as we call it, a Porkulus Bill). It is ready to go. He said it will be for infrastructure projects (sound familiar?) We shall see if he has as many "shovel ready" projects as we did not.

How about marijuana? Hey - weed for everyone! We will have our own Amsterdam just to the north of our borders. Want to get ripped tonight? Just drive to Port Charles or Thunder Bay. It will be interesting to see how this plays out when the good people of Canada realize what their new boy wonder wants to do. Good luck with that one!

And what about the decision with no end - building the Keystone Pipeline. Well Justin supports it - sort of. Even though his finger is on the "yes" button, it is a tepid yes. Very tepid as compared to Harper's support of the project. My fear is this much needed project will now be as dead as flowers growing in the Yukon this time of year.

This reminds a bit of when Tony Blair first became the PM of the UK. Clinton was President at that time. Everyone thought this youthful, left leaning PM and our youthful, left leaning President would get along famously. And they did. The Lefties were delighted. But Tony soon disappointed the same group of Lefties when he and George W. Bush also became close. It will be interesting to see how Justin and President Trump will fare. 

Just when we think we have relegated the Lefties and their wacky ideas to the ash heap of history, people like Barack Obama or Justin Trudeau pop up all over again. Oh well, we sure get what we deserve in elections. And so do the Canadians. On either side of the border, elections have consequences.


Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Our Stork Dance

"Just like storks do on occasion, in Washington we preen, we strut, we argue, and then we cave. And the spending goes on and on and on..."

Here we go again. Ten working days and counting. I know many people are getting very tired of this movie. I sure am. What is it? Our debt ceiling. We are bumping up against our debt ceiling. Again. And again. And again.

November 3rd is the day that Jack Lew has determined to be "D-Day". Call it "D" for debt. That is when we will have spent everything we had in the bank. Plus, maxed out all our credit cards. So Congress needs to authorize more debt. Increase our "open to buy" on our credit cards. If they do not, the obligations we have incurred cannot be paid for. I guess that would constitute somewhat of a default.

So in reality, how bad is it? Is this entire process just for show, or do we have a debt problem? As much as I would like to hang this around Obama's neck, I can't. Incurring debt has been an equal opportunity activity. And we as a country, have become very good at it. 

Many in the country are doing a collective yawn at this debt issue. "So what? It is just money we owe ourselves!" Not really. It is money we owe foreign lenders. Our children. Our grandchildren and so on. Sooner or later, you must pay for the party. Pay the piper so to speak. 

Here is the issue in very simple terms. Our debt is over $18 trillion and headed to $19 trillion. Our interest rate used to service our debt is ridiculously low - 2.5%. Even with that, with the enormous size of our debt, we are paying almost 1/2 trillion dollars to service the debt every year. Now, let us suppose our interest rates are allowed to go up to 5%. Still a very low rate. The cost to service our debt would be $1 trillion dollars every year. That is a trillion dollars less than we would have to spend on anything else.

This is insane! Why can't we stop this madness? Why? Because we are addicts. All of us (or most of us) are. We can't stop spending more than we take in. Just like alcoholics or drug abusers, we don't have a "stop" button. Even though we have been warned about the dangers of a debt this high, we just ignore the warnings. We will worry about it later. Kick the can down the street. Come up with something to get us past November 3rd. Please!

So in the next two + weeks, the stork dance will continue. All arguments used in the past will be used again - by both sides. Nobody wants their ox gored, so all pet rocks will be protected and spared. In the end, the debt limit will be raised and we will know the approximate date for the next debt limit expiration. Blah, blah, blah.

It is too bad we no longer have debtor's prison. When our representatives authorize more spending than revenue, we could sentence them to do some time. How much time? Unknown. All I know is this - with a debt this size our time is almost up. Move over Greece.