Monday, November 30, 2015

The Lemon Law

"Lemon laws were made to protect us. Meanwhile, the ObamaCare law was make to screw us..."

Most of us that who have some age remember "lemon laws". They were to protect us from buying something that was either misrepresented or just plain bad. Like a car for example. If a car would spend an extraordinary time in the shop for repairs, it was called a "lemon". And "lemon laws" were constructed to protect us from bad products.

I am thinking the "lemon laws" also need to apply to our "Affordable Health" program. It seems there has been a bit of misrepresentation here. Like the word "affordable". Okay, okay - maybe the representations were just plain lies.

Today in the paper was yet ANOTHER article about folks who have received a "surprise" on their health care costs. This time the "Whack-a-mole" game of health care costs has popped up in Medicare Part "D". That be the drug prices for seniors. About 1 in 5 seniors will face a $8 to $43 per month increase in 2016. Ouch.

One of the ironies with this increase is seniors have recently been told there will be no bump in their Social Security this next year as there is zero inflation. Really? Could have fooled me! In fact, I am still waiting for my $2,500 reduction in health care insurance due to the passing of ObamaCare. Remember that promise? That was buried in all the crappola the Administration gave us prior to the Democratic Congress shoving this manure down our throats?

I seem to remember a whole bunch of people who are now in Congress telling us once they get to Washington the first thing they would do is repeal, replace or at least fix this monster. Have not heard much of this talk as of late. Like na-da. Hello? Those of us who did NOT vote for this thing are stuck with a lemon. Not just a little lemon, a whole lot of lemon.

Some pundits believe ObamaCare is starting to die under its own weight. And that might be true. Then after it dies, then what? What happens in "the day after"? Again, have not heard much about this from anyone.

At least our focus the next two weeks will be the Climate Change Conference in Paris. And once that is over, we will be in Christmas season. Then the New Year, and then 2016. And once we get into the silly season of campaigning, there will be more promises about fixing or killing ObamaCare. Meanwhile, our healthcare costs continue to climb. And we are stuck with it.

Hello? Lemon laws? Are you still around? We need you now more than ever. 

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Caliphate Update

"What recently happened in Paris is only a taste of what these folks can do if left unchecked..."

Every now and again as we prepare for the Christmas or Hanukkah seasons, we need to be reminded the bad guys have declared a Caliphate on the civilized world. In fact, some even believe this is the long awaited "end times" Caliphate, when the 12th Inman will return. Therefore, I think it is prudent to every now and again look at how things are going with the Caliphate.

In the Bing news source this morning, it was reported that some 3,500 souls have been slaughtered since the Caliphate began. Some for being Christian, some for being the wrong kind of Muslim. That is not so bad - that is, unless you are one of the 3,500 slaughtered. And that does not include the 4,000,000 refuges, many of whom were left homeless or landless from the Caliphate. 

I have said for quite a while now (and Dr. Carson is now also saying it), the best place for Syrian refugees is back as back home. Where Dr. Carson and I disagree is a minor point - he wants additional funding given to refugee camps nearby Syria to keep the refugees close to home. My point is to eviscerate this cancer so these people can live at home in peace. And by the way - we also need to tell Assad this civil war is now over. In order to stay alive, he must give up power for democratic elections. Period. And Russia better get on board with this plan.

As the Caliphate continues to grow roots and spread out, our President is in Paris deciding how big of a "carbon footprint" we all should have. The bad guys are loving this one. Talking to them about the size of our carbon footprint is like discussing the event horizon in a black hole. Cutting of some apostate's head - now that is a different story.

We will now sit back and wait to see where the next Paris slaughter will happen. Will it be the same M.O.? Probably not. But it might be. Or it might be worse - a lot worse. But don't worry - our President is on top of this. After all, he believes these poor misguided boys are the way they are due to climate change. And who is the biggest villain of climate change? Well, us of course!

More on the Caliphate in a few weeks. I am now going into my bunker and watch some more football. 

Barry's Folly in Gay Paree

"Just in time for the Christmas Season! The biggest gift to the greenies one could imagine! The biggest gift which in reality is the biggest hoax!"

Oh, the city of lights! The Eiffel Tower! Star crossed lovers gazing on the River Seine! All those attractions are pale compared to the newest event. The Climate Conference which convenes this week in Paris. And who is one of the biggest cheerleaders for this event? Why, Barack "Barry" Obama of course! 

And is our President going to be there? As the old saying goes, "Is the Pope Catholic?" Of course he will be there. With bells on his feet. This conference hit him right in his wheelhouse. It is his sweet spot. Remember, our Commander-in-Chief has told everyone that our single biggest national security threat are SUVs and cow farts. In other words, manmade (or cow made) global warming.

Now, there are hordes of people back home which think this is just a waste of time. A show trial. A folly. There are others who see a much more sinister motive for this event. A dang good excuse for global redistribution of wealth. One might say that is a good thing, as our country is not only broke, but deep in debt. We could use a "sugar daddy" country helping us out. Wrong. President Clueless thinks we have money trees growing behind Congress and the White House. We have LOTS of dough. It is not FAIR that we have so much. Within our new One World Order, we need to share.

Excuse me? And by the way sir, since you are President and not King, Congress would need to authorize any expenditure to anyone. And they are not as dumb as you think they are. They have already said "na-da" to your folly. Also, so have the American People. So this giant waste of time and space which starts on Monday, should just be cancelled. 

Is the climate changing? Sure is. Climate, weather, whatever. I know our weather is changing this week. About the time Barry's Air Force One free ride takes him to Paris, we have maybe 10" of partly cloudy moving in on the Twin Cities. Not happy about that. I would have been much happier with some global warming which would give us about 50 degrees this time of year. Now that is a change that I can hope for.  

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Asleep at the switch...

"An old saying a friend uses is 'He is ours and we are not trading him'. However in the case of our President, that is NOT the case!"

Okay. I have been very kind to our Administration this month. Mostly because I have not been around. But once again, it is time to call this Administration out. For what this time? For continuing to be asleep at the switch. For allowing the worldwide power vacuum we left to be filled with countries (or terror groups). To allow them to run wild.

But who cares, right? We had our turn at being the world's policeman. Maybe it is time for someone else to do it. How about the Chinese? They seem to be in the running. I think the Dragon is finally starting to feel it's muscle. In the past, their main weapon was an army with seemingly unlimited people. Oh yes, and they also had some nukes. Today however, there seems to be another design to their ambitions.

How so? Well the Chinese  have been working on a blue water navy for years now. They are also building artificial islands to hide their submarine bases. Yesterday, it was disclosed the Chinese are going to take a page out of our playbook and build an overseas base. Current thinking is it will be somewhere in Africa. With lots of money to spend as well as a blue water navy, the Chinese will soon be able to extend their influence far and wide.

So much for the Dragon - what about the Bear? Oh, he continues to prowl alright. And he is very transparent about his intentions. First Crimea, then Chechnya, and now the Middle East. Putin does not feel he needs to be transparent nor clandestine. He is laying his cards right on the table. He has an airbase in Syria and is now moving missile ships off the coast. His goal is to eviscerate all enemies of Assad in Syria. That includes freedom fighting rebels and the Islamic State. By getting rid of both, it is a "twofor" for him. Not only does he save Assad, he shows the world he could do something that President Bystander would or could not. Could Poland also be in the mix? Stay tuned for that one.

So where are we when all this is going on? The once greatest superpower in the world? We are getting ready for what the President has told many is our greatest national security threat - manmade global warming. And we continue to downsize our forces. As far as the Russian, Chinese and Islamic threats are concerned, well he continues to be asleep at the switch. Asleep at his post. In the service, that is a court martial offense.

2016 is going to be a very interesting year indeed. Not only is it a major election year, it very well could be another year the world's geography continues to be redefined right in front of our eyes. Sleep soundly sir, naptime is important.   

Friday, November 27, 2015

Life after Pablo

"Today, Columbia is a land of vivid color, lively music, and an optimistic view of the future. Some in Columbia believe it one of the countries which will lead us into the future..."

Our visit to Cartagena, Columbia was interesting to say the least. It was my first visit ever to South America. It is one of the few continents I have not set foot on. So, I was somewhat excited to visit. However to be very honest, I was reticent about visiting Columbia. Drugs, gang wars, and of course, Pablo Escobar.

A bit of history first. When Pablo Escobar was alive and kicking, he was something. Some referred to him as "Mr. Cocaine" in Columbia. It is estimated at one time he was responsible for 80% of all cocaine coming into the United States. In fact he did so well at his craft, it is estimated he was one of the 10 richest men in the world. When cocaine was king and Escobar ruled the roost, life in Columbia was more like the wild, wild west. It was not a safe place to visit nor to live. In 1993, his luck ran out, compliments of a bullet in the ear.

On our tour, it was very important for our guide to tell us over and over how safe Columbia currently was. In particular, Cartagena. In fact he told us as safe as Columbia is, Cartagena is the safest. And it was quite a city. It is a city steeped in history. A city which has now become a major seaport. A city which hundreds of years ago, was conquered and reconquered by foreign invaders. That is, until they "threw the bums out" and took their country back.

Larger than any city in Minnesota, it bristles with skyscrapers. And like many large cities, it had wealth and it has poverty. But unlike many cities in the United States, Canada and Europe, poverty is acute in the poorer areas. 

Our guide also told us the cocaine trade has been almost totally eviscerated from Columbia. It now resides in somewhere else. After Pablo died, people said "enough!" They no longer wanted to live that way. They did not want to live in fear. They did not want that poison sold on every street corner. They did not want the gang wars. They did not want other countries fearful in visiting Columbia. So they ended it. 

Today, cruise ships and airliners visits Columbia with regularity. They are a trading partner of countries such as ours. Relations are good - very good. For me, it was one of the high points of the cruise for this simple reason - it destroyed a stereotype I harbored. No longer am I cautious to visit Columbia. It is a beautiful country with beautiful people. Both my wife and I are enriched from visited that fine land. I would not mind a return visit.

Black Friday Mayhem

"Just like how Thanksgiving can bring out the best of us, in a matter of just a few hours Black Friday can bring out the worst..."

Mayhem is the only word I can come up with. Okay - maybe not. Gluttony, excessive consumerism, selfishness, rudeness, and on and on. I have thought for many years that Black Friday brings out the very worst in us. And just so this does not sound preachy, that includes me also.

Every year it is the same thing. Stores jockeying for position by altering hours, people camped out for hours or days, and then of course, the lines. But what I find the most troubling is the total loss of civility (and sometimes humanity) once the bell goes off. People pushing each other, grabbing from each other, and yes, sometimes even fighting each other. All this done for the most flimsy of reasons - excessive consumerism. 

This bull rush of inhumanity can even turn deadly. In the past, some people have been shot. Some have been hurt by being trampled. This year a WalMart employee died when swept up by the crowds and dying underfoot. And it is shameful. All this just to see how one can save $30 on an X-Box, Playstation or a set of sheets.

There is however, some good news. From what I have been hearing and reading about is Cyber Monday is really starting to cut into Black Friday. And that is a good thing. Shopping from the convenience of your study or living room is a darn sight better than going out at zero dark thirty to fight crazed humanity. Myself? It think Amazon is the best invention since canned beer. That is my drug of choice.

My wife and I have already done most of our Christmas shopping. We did it early in the year. We looked for deals. We bought in the spring, in the summer and in the fall. And we spent more this year than last year. What did we buy? Lots of stuff for kids we don't even know. Rather than falling into the trap of excess consumerism (as we have so many times in the past), every year we vow to spend less on ourselves and more on kids around the world who have absolutely nothing. Yes, we support Operation Christmas Child, run by Franklin Graham's organization Samaritan's Purse. This year we packed and delivered 25 shoe boxes. Next year it will be 30.

Well now that I have been on a rant about Black Friday, I am going out today for a Black Friday special. One of the local gas stations has a yearly sale on car wash coupons they only offer on this weekend. Once I buy those coupons, my annual Black Friday itch will be scratched. 

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Abject Poverty

"It has been said the poorest of the poor in America is well to do compared to the poor in many areas of the world. I believe that to be true..."

Timing is everything. The timing of our cruise turns out to be good for many reasons. Weather, terror alerts, and Thanksgiving. And when I say Thanksgiving, I mean not just the day, but being thankful for just about everything we have in this country. You see, some of the countries we visited were not just poor, they were dirt poor. For the first time in many a year, I was face to face with abject poverty.

In this land just north of the equator, air conditioning for many simply does not exist. Housing consists of small huts, made from whatever is available. The irony of Central America is this - they are far from the poorest in the world. However, they are a far sight poorer than the United States is. 

Truthfully, many times I felt like an alien visiting a different world. We would zoom around the landscape in air conditioned motor coaches. Out of our windows, we would observe people who will probably never be able to even set foot in transportation such as this. We would see living conditions unlike anything we have in this country.

When we would get off the bus for a walking tour, we would pass by scores of people who were begging for just about anything. Then at the end of the bus tour, we would travel back to enjoy the comfort of the ship. We would shower, change, and then enjoy a gourmet meal in one of the ship's fine restaurants. Yes, we were living in a different world.

I told my wife more than once how humbled I was. Deeply, deeply humbled. It is almost embarrassing how much we have in our country. How much we take for granted. How much we waste. How little others have in many areas of the world.

And that brings us back to Thanksgiving. Each year, every year on this very special day, I give thanks for our bountiful blessings. The blessings of family, of friends, of health, of resources. Every year my wife and I try to "up" our giving both domestically and internationally. We really do try to focus in on the least of us. The ones who need a hand up the most. This year will be no exception.

Very soon the day will start in earnest. Friends and family will arrive. The house will have the warm smell of turkey, side dishes and maybe even a fire in the hearth. Football will be enjoyed, stories will be told, and the din of conversation and laughter will fill the air. And before everyone eats their fill, we will bow our heads and say a prayer of gratitude. A prayer of thanks to the Giver of all good things.   

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

In Harm's Way

"What is happening between the communities of color and the local police is nothing more than a powder keg..."

When I was growing up as a wee lad in Robbinsdale, my parents would often tell me one of two things - "If you are looking for trouble, you most surely will find it." Or, "Try to avoid being in harm's way". 

Tonight, they are expecting riots in Chicago because a cop shot a black youth more than a dozen times. Some of the shots came while the youth was already down. Now unless there was extenuating circumstances, this was a very bad shoot. This cop is going to be tried for murder. Even cops who had seen the videotape, have agreed this was a bad shoot and the cop needs to face the music.

I also saw the video tape. I have said this on all the other shootings recently in which the BLM crowd has become involved. Most of the time (maybe not all of the time), if a person obeys a lawful order from the police, things will turn out. However to resist arrest, to confront law officers, this might put you in harm's way.

Now I am not taking sides. I believe that most of the time, our police operates within proper guidelines. That being said, there are times they might not. All I know is this - our law enforcement is here to protect - not to kill us. The best thing to do in these days of terror is to let the police protect us. To stay out of their way. To stay out of harm's way.

So where does that leave us. In Minneapolis. In Ferguson. In Cleveland. In Chicago. In anywhere. We are at war folks. Not with each other - we are at war with Islamic Terrorists. We all need to do better so we can face the real threat. For when the real threat shows itself next to us, there will be no mistaking their intentions. And then we will really, really need the police. 


The Terror Factor

"Now we are in a worldwide terror alert for American travelers. Great. A great inconvenience for us and a victory of sorts for the bad guys..."

Having just returned from an overseas adventure, I must tell you - the security screening we needed to go through is becoming more and more like an anal exam. And every time I have to stand in a TSA line with no end, finally get up to the screeners wearing no shoes or belt, get scanned and then groped by some GS 6 screener, I want to choke a terrorist like a chicken. We have to do all of this, go through this stork dance every time we fly, just because Islamic Terrorists have declared war on America.

But I am going to go one step further. I am first going to address the fact that every time we set foot on a plane there is a risk some demented soul had figured out a way to get an explosive past security and on the plane. I am also going to address the intended and unintended consequences of terror.

When we were in Costa Rica and Nicaragua, we heard from our tour guides just how important the tourism business to both of those countries. It is not a little important - it is a huge part of their economies. One of our tour guides told us that after 9/11, which was an attack to cripple our financial system, also had the unintended consequence of crippling the economy of a poor Central American country. You see because of the terror factor, after the shock of 9/11 really set into America as well as her allies, many were hesitant or scared to travel. 

Knowing that the Islamic State has developed the "know how" to build and smuggle a bomb on a Russian jet was a real wake up call. How they were able to get one pound of explosive into a pop can, and then on the plane was a huge addition to their evil toolbox. How they were able to plan a mass murder event in Paris was a show stopper. How they could get into a Radisson Hotel and cause all kinds of murder and mayhem in Mali was nothing less than unsettling. And all of that in less than a month.

The terror factor. I talk to people who say they are not going to let this terror thing dissuade them from any plans. And they won't be dissuaded. However the fact remains the bad guys are always trying to come up with a better mousetrap to defeat our security systems. How to evade detection or capture by the FBI, Homeland Security or Interpol. How to communicate without detection by the NSA or the CIA. Yes, the terror factor has developed into a cat and mouse game with very deadly consequences. Deadly for the terrorists, more deadly for many innocent people.

So if you are traveling this week, travel safe. If you are flying, get reading to stand in a TSA line that seems to go on forever. This is our new reality. Brought to you live and in color by the Islamic State. The group that hates us. That hates us with a passion. That wants us all converted or dead.

The terror factor. This is what they have visited on our land. This terror factor, which has cost us so much money, and so much inconvenience, is just music to their ears. And it will stay that way until we get the will and the stomach, to really take care of business.    


Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Hate Crimes

"We are so caught up in PC, we can't even walk straight..."

Please don't call me morbid. And I really hesitate to bring this up on Thanksgiving week. But ever since the term "hate crimes" has been coined, I have been fascinated by it. Fascinated like, what is the use? I mean, why use that term for anything? For example, if someone "offs" a gay person and gets life without parole, what good does it do to also charge that person with a "hate crime"? That person is already doing life without parole.

Again, this is only a curiosity question. On the news today, they have found the three perps (I mean "alleged") who robbed, sexually assaulted (and again, I mean "alleged") the pastor's wife (who was pregnant), and then shot her in the head. This crime happened in Indiana. These three young men were self professed "gangsters". In other words, they were not Boy Scouts. And they were (dare I say it), black. And the pastor's pregnant wife was white.

Back to my fascination with "hate crimes". If this woman had been black and the three attackers white, what would the outcome have been? Would it have then have been a hate crime? Would a group like Black Lives Matter close down a major interstate in Indiana to protest this injustice? However, with this crime, not a peep from the "Justice Brothers" (that being Jesse and Al). Not a peep from any Black Lives Matter type of organization. Just the pastor saying he was working on forgiveness. Forgiveness for these three young men who decided to end two innocent lives in the most unforgivable way. And yes, I am considering her unborn child a life.

So life will go on. The pastor will have a hole in his life which will never heal. The three perps will go to prison, or worse. It will not matter to most if the term "hate crime" is attached to this murder or not. Nothing will change the outcome. Nothing will bring back the pastor's wife or unborn child. And are there any protests coming? Probably not. Even though it was a heinous crime. A brutal crime. Oh well, that is just the way things go. Or is it?

Truthfully, I am sick of this dichotomy of social justice on our society. I don't want to see any person of any color, of any background, being a victim of a serious crime. Period. The only "hate crime" I see is the discrimination of crimes against one group of people being worse than crimes against any other. And that is the way I see it. And I hate it.  

Another ObamaCare "Oh-Oh"

"In today's world of conflict and mayhem, this story almost got swept under the rug. But trust me, this is a big one for sure..."

One of the words we have unintentionally taught our grandson is "oh-oh". When something happens unexpectedly, or when he does something which needs minor correction, either my wife or myself will say "oh-oh". He now mimics us with that word, and it is becoming one of his "first words" spoken.

We were on the cruise ship when the news broke about UnitedHealth. I looked at my wife and said, "Oh-oh! This is huge. Not just a little huge, but a lot huge!" And it is.

I remember one of the pundits when ObamaCare was being debated in Congress. (I will use the word "debated" with a bit of trepidation, since it was railroaded through a one party Congress.) The pundit said (and I paraphrase a bit), "This program will not eliminate any costs. There are no cost control measures in it. And there is no free lunch. The escalating medical costs will continue to pop up all over the place, just like in a game of "Whack-a-mole". 

And the costs do continue to pop up. Our Minnetonka based UnitedHealth, the largest insurer in the country, is about ready to cry "uncle" and give up. Why? They are losing hundreds of millions in this ponzi scheme called "Affordable Health Care". Well, who cares right? They are big enough to absorb this blow. Well for starters, their shareholders. That is, the owners of the company. And they are telling the CEO it might be time to pull the plug on this horrible idea.

If UnitedHealth pulls this plug, do the costs then go away? Not a chance. Back to the "Whack-a-mole" game - they will just have one less hole to pop up in. And if UnitedHealth goes, others will be sure to follow. 

Many think this has been the grand plan all along. Stress the medical insurance industry so much, that it breaks under the strain. And then what? Hello, single payer. Hello European style health care. Hello long lines and true rationing. 

Now I am not a fan of UnitedHealth. I have not been since the days when "Dollar Bill" took a billion dollars out of that company. And I sure don't like the way they are handling my Tricare insurance. That being said, I fully understand why they want to exit stage right. ObamaCare is making our once mighty medical industry both toxic and tacky.

Keep your eye on this one gang. I know - with BLM and the Islamic State taking up most of the news cycle, stories like this can get lost in the shuffle. We just need to keep this one on the radar.

Monday, November 23, 2015

The Golden (Roasted) State

"It has been called the land of glitz and glamor. A cornucopia of fruits, nuts and vegetables. Today however, California looks more like the surface of the Moon."

Now this I will admit, it has been a few years since I have been in California. Like since I have retired. I would go there from time to time on business. And once in awhile my wife and I would vacation there. It has never been green and plush like some areas in this country - it is after all, a desert. However, the Californians have always done a great job in making an arid landscape look inviting. That is until this latest drought.

We were just there yesterday. Los Angeles was the port where our cruise ship terminated our voyage. Over two weeks earlier, we left a very rainy Fort Lauderdale, Florida. We then traveled to green and plush locations such as Cartagena, Panama, Costa Rica and Nicaragua. After all that fun, we terminated in Los Angeles.

What a difference. I have never, since I have first visited Los Angeles in 1958, seen LA look so bad. As our bus pulled out from the pier and headed towards the airport, I could not believe the landscape. All trees, including the palm trees, looked sick and stressed. The grass? Forget it - there was no grass. Not even any weeds. We might as well have been in Saudi Arabia, without the 110 degrees.

On the way, we passed a car wash. There was a huge sign in front saying, "We only use recycled water". And what does that mean? Recycled from where? And why? Well the bottom line is this - California does not have enough water. Not nearly enough. And yet, as we were headed towards the airport, we would on occasion see the Pacific Ocean off the coast.

Why do I bring up the Pacific Ocean? Well for starters, we had five days "at sea" since we came through the Panama Canal. While at sea, no matter which direction you gazed upon, you saw ocean. Nothing but ocean. And we were not out that far. And the ship's navigator would tell us we were cruising in depths of over 1 1/2 miles. Why do I bring this up? For this reason - we have a virtual endless supply of water on this planet. And - we know how to make it fresh and/or potable.

While on the cruise ship, we did learn how to make water ABUNDANT as well as pleasant tasting. And how? Did they bring on a whole bunch of Avian or some other high class water? Nope. It was sea water, thank you. And everyone loved it. And there were no signs anywhere asking folks to conserve water. The ship just imputed more, and through the desalination process, produced enough good tasting water for everyone.

Back to the point. Can I dare say this without offending anyone? California is run by idiots. Governor Moonbeam is the biggest one. California's drought is not caused by "Man made global warming" - it is caused by half of the state being a dessert. It is an arid climate. And that is the bad news. This good news (and this is very good news) - is that we now have the technology to make the entire state of California look as lush and inviting as it once did. No matter how much rain it receives. 

With over 70% of the planet covered by water, there is no reason why California needs be an arid location. This is the state that produces most of our movies, television shows, and more importantly, much of our food. Rather than spending $50 billion dollars on a high speed rail going from LA to SFO (which most Californians don't want), the citizens (the taxpayers) of California, would rather have built many efficient desalination plants instead.

So at the end of all this, where does this leave us? In "nowhere ville" I am afraid. With 800 miles of coastline, California is a mecca for efficient water farms. In reality - Governor Moonbeam will opt for more rail insead. Why? Just because, as the tale of the scorpion and the turtle, the scorpion could just not help himself from poisoning the turtle. And that is exactly what the leadership of California is doing to it's people.


The Bird is back!

Oh boy! Did I ever need this 17 day respite. As you can see, I am now (at least temporarily) the VERY HAPPY BIRD! I had a chance to see some things I have never seen before, spend some quality time with my wife, and meet some new friends. Much, much happened in the world during the time I was gone. Islamic State being identified as who blew up the Russian airliner, the Islamic State declaring war on the City of Paris, Black Lives Matter having more demonstrations in the Twin Cities, and so forth. And those will be addressed. I also want to address some ideas and or feelings I had after visiting Colombia, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Panama, Mexico and yes, California.

I plan on getting back into the groove late this afternoon. However, laundry, grocery shopping, unpacking and so on are taking up most of the day. In any event, it is good to be back.

On a more somber note, I am afraid the events of the past two weeks might be a harbinger of much worse things to come. Stay alert folks - these are the trying times, these are dangerous times. Probably the most so since World War II.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Your move, Mr. Putin

"Not the guy whose face I would kick sand in. Nope. Vladimir may be cool on the outside, but is seething on the inside."

The noose is starting to tighten. Some suspected it as soon as they heard the news. A plane coming apart at 30,000 feet. Possible? Yes. Highly improbable? Also yes. Add into the mix right after it happened, ISIL took full responsibility. 

So what now? John Bolton (former ambassador to the UN) was on the news last night. When asked the "what now" question if the proof becomes almost irrefutable, Bolton had an interesting answer. Putin has no choice but to really show Russian resolve to ISIL. And (in his words, with my paraphrasing), "Unlike our President, he (Putin) will not dither and then write (ISIL) a nasty letter. He will use his military and go into Syria lock, stock and barrel".

I read an article a few days ago about the collateral damage suffered by Syria under Russian bombing. Unlike us, who tries very hard to minimize any collateral damage, the Russians just tell people to get out of the way. If they get in the way of a Russian bomb, then it is "I told you so". If Russia really cranks up its military (and trust me, the "Bear" is just dying to show off some new toys) all hell could break loose in Syria. The force that Russia will send in will not be 50 Special Operators just to advise. No, they will go in to "end" ISIL for once and for all.

My advice to our military is very simple. Use this opportunity to help the Russians. What happened to that airplane with all those innocent people aboard was just plain wrong. We could patch up a few wounds if we offered whatever support Putin needed. And if he says, "No thanks - we will handle this ourselves", then cease operations over Syria, pull our people out, and let Russian do her thing.

Sooner or later, even the most PC of Progressives will wake up to a simple fact. We are in a world war. Period. It is not with another country, it is with a radical offshoot of another faith. The group DOES NOT want to COEXIST! We can be nice, we can be accommodating, we can even play footsie. But none of that will help. They just want either converted or dead. 

Putin is starting to understand this. This group has shown they are a threat to Mother Russia. Therefore, this group must die. All of them. Pull the weed up by the roots. 

Stay tuned to this channel folks. I think things are about to get very interesting.    

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

One. Big. Happy. Family.

"You have got to be kidding me. This is worse than having a fox in the hen house..."

If this last election did not tell the tale of the tape, I don't know what would have. First off, the Conservatives did very well (nation wide). However from a local perspective, the Progressives hit a homerun. How so? We now have a cabal in the St. Paul School District. Everyone of the open school board seats are now controlled by union hacks.

How cool is this? Contract negotiations should be a scream! As the old saying goes, "Too much agreement leads to a dull argument." We can do Common Core, no suspension for bad behavior, ignoring guns in the schools, or whatever! And if you are in the St. Paul School District, stay calm. Or, better yet, get the hell out of there.

On a serious note, how did we get to this point? It has been a slippery slope downward. True, the results in the St. Paul School District are a bit better than in Minneapolis. However, still not good. And to get better, we need to set the bar higher. Expect more of Education Minnesota, not just give them a wet kiss. 

I have said for a while now that education today is on the precipice. I believe we are very close to a major breakthrough. All we need is have the unions to get out of the way and stop being so self centered. Kids today don't have to be lethargic. That is not their nature. Many still want to learn. Want to explore. They want to know the truth - not some crap that goes through the PC strainer called Common Core.

So there you go America. As you tilt more towards the right, St. Paul is falling off the left side of the cliff. It is the way public state sponsored education is supposed to be. It is the way it has turned out to be. One. Big. Happy. Family. 

She Otto know better

"As a good Democrat she learned early in her career, money she wants to spend belongs only to the government - it is free money!"

What in the world is wrong with this woman? Okay - let me take a stab at it. She is a Democrat. She is a Progressive. She is a statist. And after finding out what she has been doing, she is a knucklehead. Yes, I am talking about our esteemed State Auditor, Rebecca Otto. The woman who has an elected "non-job" yet can still spend our money like a drunken sailor.

Wa, wa, wa. It seems that Ms. Otto does not like our political process. She would much prefer a monarchy instead (like we have in Washington). During the last legislative session, a bill was was voted upon, passed, and then signed into law by our not-so-healthy Governor. The new law gives counties the option of hiring their own auditors instead of using Ms. Otto's office. Seems like the democratic way to do business.

Right after that happened, Ms. Otto went into a full blown melt down. A tantrum some say. She was pissed at everyone. The legislature for coming up with this bill. The Governor (a former auditor) for signing this POS into law, and the voters for electing these stupid Republicans to begin with!

Just like Obama, when the system does not work for you, make up your own rules. She had her internal lawyers in the Auditor's office look into this matter for some time now. (Why do we have lawyers on the government payroll in the Auditor's office to begin with?) Anyhow, this job was way too big for them. You see, our esteemed Ms. Otto now wants to sue the legislature. Yes, that is right. She wants to sue them to have this law overturned.

To do so, Ms. Otto needed to hire some outside guns. Not hard to do since 95% of all attorneys are hard core Democrats. And they are not cheap. Ms. Otto has already spent $100,000 on legal fees. But who cares, right? Good lawyers cost good money after all. That is until you find out it is the taxpayer's money. Our money. Being spent (or wasted) on a fool's errand. But what does she care? It is not her money - it is free money!

Only a Democrat, a Progressive, a statist, would do something this brazzen. What in the Sam Hill is wrong with this woman? Why did we re-elect her in the first place? The Republicans had a perfectly normal candidate for this position. And he could have done a fine job without crying over spilled milk. 

What I am going to do is ask my representatives to ensure this money, this total and inappropriate waste of money come out of DFL coffers rather than have innocent taxpayers pay for it. Next, I would love to see a recall petition started to get her out of office. In my view, she is unfit for service. Maybe she could find a job in the real world so she could learn the true value of money. 

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Be careful!

"When we were young, most of our parents would say, 'Be careful for what you wish for'
(or my words, vote for). Oh my gosh, has that ever come true!"

Today is an election day. In some areas it is minor. Some not so much. Two states are electing Governors. Some states have levies, referendums, school board elections and so on. I am reminded every voting day how much elections really matter. How we ended up with a very flawed, very unhealthy, statist Governor instead of a qualified one. How we ended up with a Socialist President (twice) who is really putting the screws to the country. Well, guess what folks - nobody put these people in power except us - the voting public. 

Today in the paper was an article about Xcel Energy requesting a rate increase of almost 10% over the next three years. That is over 3% per year. I don't know about anyone else, but I cringe every time our electric bill comes. It never goes lower, only higher. And the news is not good. Getting back to elections, both our President and our Governor have declared a war on coal. More and more renewables are being mandated. Renewables which are both expensive and inefficient. Guess who pays? Just look in the mirror.

Many poor folks consistently vote for Democrats. Please don't ask me why, as it make no sense. Republicans want to make poor folks a whole lot less poor - Democrats have done nothing in the past 50 years but keep poor folks poor.

It is the poor - let me repeat, it is the poor who get hit the hardest with higher energy costs. We have one of the most cost effective and efficient fuels in the world to generate electricity. And yet because of a fable, we are being forced to quit using coal. And instead use more bird killing windmills. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

Our biggest electrical plant in the state has been bullied by the government for so long now, it is making the switch to natural gas in 2 out of 3 of its generators. It will cost about a billion or so to make this happen. And then the problem of how to get that much natural gas (safely) to the power plant will need to be addressed. Pipelines that the greenies are fighting, or risky rail cars? Maybe the solution will cost a bunch of more money. And every dollar spent mind you, will be paid for by - us. 

I have done research on the rising cost of electricity using many different sources. Guess what? Most all say the same thing. Mandatory renewables. Just about every source I used listed that as a major cost driver for these increases.

Is it that the nation is running out of coal? Nope - more than a hundred years of proven supply remains. Some say many hundreds. Is it the nation is running out of natural gas? Nope - we are swimming in it right now. Up in the Bakken Fields, they cannot get rid of it fast enough. Nuclear? No, if we would ever start building plants to meet demand, we would be fine. Was is it then? One more time - mandatory renewables.

So the beat goes on. After this rate hike, there will be another. Then another. Pretty soon we will be paying more for electricity than we pay for our mortgage. And the poor will become poorer, and the few remaining in the middle class will be hanging by their fingernails. Sound grim? It is.

One more time, as we cannot hear this enough - elections have consequences. Spread the word. People need to know. Especially the ones who never listen.

The never ending menu of topics

"Where to start! It seems like each month there are more troubling topics to comment on..."

A couple of years ago, right after I had published my 100th blog article, one of my daughters said to me, "Well Bird - I bet you are just about done with topics to squawk about." My response was something like, Oh contraire my child. The Bird is just getting revved up. As long as we have this Administration, there will always be something."

The reason I bring this up is this - I now have over 1,300 articles published, and today I could write on six or seven different topics. For example:

  • The St. Paul VA exec pleading the 5th
  • Xcel Energy wanting yet another whopping large rate hike
  • The Social Security "fixes" that the candidates are talking about
  • The "cat and mouse" game that the Chinese and American navies are doing in the South China Sea
  • Obama threatening to "go rogue" on climate change and immigration
  • The latest on the Russian airliner crash over the Sinai
Out of these, I will pick the first one for today. I almost did an article called "Lois Lerner, Deja Vu". When I first heard that this woman who heads up the St. Paul VA was called in front of a Congressional hearing to explain irregularities within her office, it was disturbing. Then when she did not show up, it was even more disturbing. Then when she finally does show up and pleads the 5th, that was the last straw.

Here is a woman, who works for us (the taxpayers), making an annual salary of about $175,000. The first day she did not show up (and with no good excuse on why she did not) in front of Congress, we should have pulled the plug on her. Whomever her boss is, should also be fired for not firing her. Or I guess I could say, welcome to the way your government works. Very little accountability and pretty much a job for life. Poor performance is rewarded by putting you in another job. In the real world that most of us live in, poor performance is rewarded by getting canned.

I read an article just recently that addressed the VA in general. It is still a mess. The wait times are still unacceptably long. We continue to treat our veterans worse that we treat illegal aliens. And who is doing something about this? And I don't mean talking about it, I mean really doing something. Somebody needs to tell me the answer, because I sure the heck do not know.

So life goes continues on. Both on the shores of the Potomac as well as in St. Paul. This overpaid, uncooperative woman will come back to her office, continue to get paid, and life will go on. The Congressional hearings will be classified as just another "witch hunt". The VA will continue to suck, veterans will continue to be denied the care promised by their government, and poor performance in both the federal and state government will continue to rule the day in . Our job as taxpayers and citizens? Just shut up and keep paying for the entropy.

That is enough ranting about this topic. I just might need to do another article later on today concerning the Xcel rate hike. That one is low fruit on the tree, and really needs discussion. So many topics on the menu, so many topics...

Monday, November 2, 2015

Becoming UN-tethered

"This is going to sound like fiction, but it is true. Heads up citizens - a huge power grab is about to take place..."

I have addressed this many times before. However, I feel I must do it again today. It just keeps getting worse. What is it? The United Nations. The organization which just keeps on giving - giving absolutely nothing. Only taking. It is the biggest waste of space, the biggest waste of time, the biggest waste of money in human history. And now I will explain why.

Somewhere along the trail to peacekeeping, this fun bunch in the blue helmets decided their mission was not to be keepers of the peace, it was to establish a One World Government. They want to be like President Snow in The Hunger Games. This is Agenda 21 crapola all over again. Only now it might have teeth for the first time. Climate change anyone? Excuse me, I meant climate "justice" anyone?

Oh, yes. The true game is finally being revealed. What the United Nations really wants. It wants to go after good old Uncle Sam for a little jack. Or is it a whole lot of jack? And how will that happen? All we have to do is sign on to this upcoming agreement in Paris, this Climate Summit. This will be held the first part of December (this year!), and presto - we will allow any poor nation who wants, to pick our pockets.

Yup! There it is folks. Climate justice. Better known as income redistribution. And this will be accomplished by a court set up by the United Nations. Kind of like the Hague is for war crimes. Only this one will be for attempted murder of the planet. And what are the good citizens of the United States guilty of? Driving a car to work. Heating your house with some kind of fossil fuel product. And the worst thing - just having too much.

It will be interesting to see who the United States sends to this conference in Paris. If there is any intent for that person to sign this agreement. If this agreement needs to go through Congress for approval. Or - it this agreement will be some kind of slippery backdoor deal like the Iran nuke deal was. In any event, THIS is something that will take place is less than a month. We need to keep our radar turned on and finely tuned.

I swear, if it is not one thing, it is another. Between our Administration and the One World Government folks running the United Nations, anybody who has anything, is a target all the time. Good flipping grief... 

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Adventures in Syria!

"So how is Syria going? What are the dynamics? I don't know - ever try and solve a Rubik's cube blindfolded?"

Last week, our Commander-in-Chief decided at long last it was time to put some "boots on the ground" in Syria. These would all be Special Operators and act only in "advisory" capacity. I almost had to chuckle a bit when I heard that. Many of us old timers remember how our involvement in Vietnam started - advisors. As we learned, it is a slippery slope going from advisors to a force of 500,000 on the ground.

But I digress. Back to Syria. When I heard we were going to send in troops, I looked at my wife and asked how that works. I mean, we were not invited in there by Assad. It is after all still a sovereign state. Then this morning in the paper was an article about Syria reacting to having some American troops on their soil. To paraphrase, they will be "persona non grata". I guess Mr. Assad still remembers we are trying to remove him from power.

How is going to work one might ask? We have Russian jets blowing the crap out of Islamic strongholds. Oh, and even though they deny it, and also the rebels we are supporting. We have American jets trying to do some pin prick bombing on the Islamics. We have Assad's troops fighting both the Islamics and the rebels. We have the CIA backed rebels fighting Assad's troops. And we have the Islamics trying kill everyone. Get the picture? It is a hot mess.

Someone who is a blue eyed optimist or incredibly naive might ask, "Gosh, should not the UN be in there instead? Is this not something the UN was set up for?" Yes and yes. This feckless waste of money, space and time which sits in New York City has become only good for one thing - to get up in your business in how you live. As far as being the world's policeman, to keep the peace, well, that idea died shortly after its creation shortly after World War II.

How is the Syrian adventure going to end? Might end poorly. Might be another quagmire like Southeast Asia turned out to be. Or it might end up being a proxy war between us and the resurgent "Bear". I guess the question I would ask is simply this - what is our plan? What is our exit strategy? How do we define what a "win" is? If one drop of American blood is spilled, will it be worth it? 

My guess is the Russians will not stick around very long. They still have bruises from their involvement in Afghanistan. They will unleash their dogs of war, get it over with, and then move on to the next shiny object. We on the other hand, love protected engagements led by politicians. Since the end of World War II, the only time we let our war fighters dictate the battle strategy was during the Gulf War. As we know, that war was over in just a few days. This adventure is once again being led by politicians. 

Buckle up folks. This is about to get very interesting. The fires in Iraq and Syria are far from being over. Our adventures will continue, and could continue for quite some time...