Monday, February 29, 2016

Blame game

"As much as I miss Ronald Reagan, I am very happy he is not around to see this mayhem."

For a long time, I blamed Obama. Then some wise pundits said it was more the fault of a "do-nothing" Congress. Maybe it is both. Regardless of whom one blames, the result is a guy named Donald Trump. And with the ascendancy of Donald Trump, comes the collapse of political decorum in this country. His school yard behavior and coarse language seems to be spreading like a contagion.

This weekend was a very good weekend for spending time with friends and meeting Pastor Rafael Cruz. Besides for that one high point, it was somewhat embarrassing (and depressing) to be a Republican. And that didn't start this weekend. It has been brewing for months, and finally boiled over during the last debate. Yes, I am talking about the cage match. As much as I miss Ronald Reagan, I am very happy he was not around to see the mayhem.

How bad is it getting? It seems we are now resorting to name calling. No - it is worse than that. We are also making fun of other people's physical features. The ringleader for this type of juvenile discourse is slightly older than I am for crying out loud! And now the contagion has even effected a nice guy like Marco Rubio.

Let me think. In the past week alone, The Donald has called Senator Rubio "Little Marco" because he is shorter than the Donald's 6'2" frame. He has made fun of his ears. Made fun of the way he sweats. Trump has called Senator Cruz a basket case and a liar. And Senator Rubio has fired back by telling the crowd that Donald Trump has "little hands", and you know what that means when someone has little hands (wink, wink, snicker). Also Trump does not sweat because his pores are clogged up from "spray tan".

Oh there was more by all sides, but I can't bear to go on. The stupidity of this dialogue is mind numbing. Why? Because people are watching. And paying attention. They will remember this type of sophomoric language and besmirching of character when the general election rolls around.  

On final nail in the coffin this weekend. Jake Tapper of CNN asked Donald Trump about David Duke (of the KKK) endorsing him. Donald says "Who? I don't know him and I know nothing about him." Really Mr. Trump? Seriously? Have you been living under a rock? No, you have not. You are smart, remember? You went to Wharton School of Business (so you say). You know damn well who David Duke is.

Tomorrow is Super Tuesday. I did some channel surfing this weekend to hear what a variety of pundits are saying. And it ain't good. Baring a miracle, Trump is going to do very well tomorrow nation wide. So well, this race might be just about over. And if that is true, with Donald being Donald, the pundits are thinking he will get creamed by Hillary come November. Now how is that for a thought to start off your week. 

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Oh, Hillary...

"The United States has the highest, most confiscatory business taxes in the world."

There is a great new commercial out by the Hillary campaign. I hope everyone gets a chance to see it. It is the best political commercial I have seen come out of the Democrats for quite a while - maybe forever. And the reason for that is simple - it defines so clearly how clueless Democrats are about business and how it works.

It has to do with a process called "inversion". This is where a company keeps most of it's operations in the United States, and moves it's corporate headquarters overseas - many to Ireland. And why would a company want to do that? Because the United States has the highest, most confiscatory business taxes in the world. It is as simple as that.

Well Ms. Hillary, along with most other statists, don't like that. Plus, they don't understand it. Hillary is going to put a stop to it. In her words, if a company does that when she is in charge, "she will make them pay!" Okay - how does she think that is going to work? If she is President, she will have to use an executive order like her predecessor did (as Congress would never go along with it). She would write a letter to Acme Corporation saying something like: "Dear Acme. I understand you want to do an inversion to Ireland. Should you do that, I will fine you $10 million a year on top of the taxes you should be paying."

The president of Acme would write a letter back saying something like: "Dear Madam President. Thank you for your concern about our tax situation. Since you do not like our plan, this letter is to inform you by 2018, all our operations, including corporate offices will be sold to an overseas concern. This company will then be owned and operated by another country, where the business climate is better for investors. It is estimated that 10,000 United States jobs will be affected."

A good "progressive" should understand this one thing about our liberty and freedom. This is a free country. You cannot force a person to work. And, you cannot force a company to stay in business. It is called the free enterprise system. It was our (the United States Congress that is) choice to come up with an idiotic idea of have a sky high business tax. First off (and they don't understand this either), a tax is a cost of doing business. Much of it is passed on. Second of all, it discourages businesses from other parts of the world from doing business here. Finally, we can't force a business to stay here. 

If you have not yet seen Hillary's commercial, make a point to watch it. She wanted to make and point, and many of us got it. The only problem is the point we got want not the one she wanted to make.

Not Your Santa Claus

"The biggest gift this country could give to each of us was given to us by the Founders."

Last night we had the honor and privilege to meet Pastor Cruz, Senator Cruz's father. What an amazing man! Deep in his faith, in touch with history, and deeply in love with this country. However, the thing I found most impressive by this most impressive man, was the way he could articulate the same vision for our country his son does. 

We also had the honor to break bread with the Pastor before he spoke last night. For a man at least in his 70's his energy is enormous. He had already done an event in the southern part of the city, and now he was invited to someone's house for a quick supper and some fellowship. And his sense of humor is razor sharp. Shortly after we sat down, I welcomed Pastor Cruz to Minnesota. Since it was February and 58 degrees, I told him Minnesota always had weather like this in the winter. He looked up at me and said, "Really? Then I also have a bridge in Texas I would like to sell you."

Some might have been disappointed in Pastor Cruz. Just like some might be disappointed in Senator Cruz. Why? No promises. Unlike certain career progressive and socialist politicians from the other side of the street, Ted Cruz does not promise a chicken in every pot. Nor does he promise free education. Or free government health care to all. 

Well, that is not exactly true. Pastor Cruz did say his son will promise us one thing. And that is to govern this great country by our Constitution. No more, no less. Our Constitution which guarantees freedom and liberty for all. That was it. And nobody in attendance was disappointed. Why? They all felt the same way. The biggest gift this country could give to each of us was given to us by the Founders. Nothing more is needed, thank you.

This Tuesday we all have the chance to do something real important. No, not real important - of critical importance. Don't be blinded by the light of sophism and false promises given by some. If you are a lover of freedom, of liberty, and looking for a President who will take the oath to protect it (and really do it), caucus for Senator Cruz.

As for me, as much as I like the job he has done in the Senate, I am tired of the title of Senator Cruz. I think he needs a change. I think President Cruz sounds much better. It sure would be much better for our country. 

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Voices of the angry

"It is like swimming upstream with the current getting stronger every year."

Someone was talking the other day about the extraordinary amount of shootings, some seemingly done for no reason, in our country as of late. What is causing it? And why so many during the Obama Administration? This person had a interesting theory. When I heard it, it made some sense. It is a point of view I had not thought off. So here are my ramblings.

It is anger. There is anger on the Left, there is anger on the Right. I will only discuss the anger on the Right. I have addressed this issue before. And not only about the anger we feel, but the frustration in not being able to do anything about it. Think of it this way. A Progressive Socialist (a term I just made up) gets up and promises his sheeple that life will be so much better if they only vote for the promises made by the Left. And to make matters worse, many of those people don't pay a dime of income tax. So the Progressive Socialist gets elected, along with many other Progressive Socialists, and then pass laws forcing the people who DO pay the majority of the taxes, to pay more.

Then guess what. When the party of the people who pay nothing, keep taxing the people who are taxed out, anger ensues. And why? Because there is not a damn thing we can do about it. Except just take it. And take it. And take it. 

It is like swimming upstream with the current getting stronger every year. We go to caucus. We try to vote for principled representatives. And the other side still plays Santa Claus with the low information crowd. Every year, the other side has many representatives who choose to vote for tyranny instead of liberty.

The result is simple. Each year the debt keeps going up. Jobs keep going away. More of our freedoms erode. America starts looking more like Europe. And the people who still cherish America, who still believe in the American dream, American Exceptionalism, feel shut out. And that leads to frustration and anger. Especially when this not only comes from the Progressive Socialists, but also some of people on our side we entrusted our votes with.

My finishing point is the most interesting of all. Even with all that anger from people on the Right who get stuck with the bill, a very small percentage of the shootings are done by them. And I mean a VERY small percentage. The anger for most of the Right is taken out on the ballot box. And it will continue to be that way in the future.

I am angry. And frustrated. And I own many guns. But I am taking my anger to the caucus on Tuesday and vote for the person who I think will help this nation the most. The same with my local reps. Vote for who will help the most. Not talk the most - help the most. Reduce the size of government, protect our freedoms, cherish liberty and eschew tyranny. That is what I am doing on Tuesday. I hope you join me.

Minnesota's Budget Hoax

"Like with people, it is not how much you make, but it is how much you spend"

I have some bad news for the good people of Minnesota. In fact, even if you are not from Minnesota, this state is a good "lessons learned" on how not to budget. Before I go into detail, I will put my summary first. This state spends money like a drunken sailor. No, that is not right. As Senator McCain once said (who is retired Navy), even drunk sailors quit drinking when then run out of money. Not so much for this state.

How bad is this crack addiction we have to growing state government? As the Chinese have said, a picture is worth a thousand words:

State              Top Marginal Rate        Amount Top Rate Taxed On      SS?      Mil Ret?

Minnesota               9.85%                  $155,000                                      YES       YES
Wisconsin                7.65%                  $244,270                                       NO         NO
Iowa                         8.98%                  $  69,255                                       NO        YES
North Dakota           5.68%                  $405,000                                       NO        YES
South Dakota               0%                   $          0                                        NO        NO

The above shows how Minnesota ranks "in the neighborhood". Wisconsin and Iowa are also known as high tax states. But Wisconsin is a distant second and Iowa is close to Minnesota. HOWEVER, please note that neither Wisconsin nor Iowa tax Social Security. For that matter neither do either of the Dakotas. Plus in Wisconsin to get up to the top marginal rate (which is 2% lower than Minnesota's) you need to make $100,000 more per year.

I will put a few more states here for further comparison:

State              Top Marginal Rate        Amount Top Rate Taxed On      SS?      Mil Ret?

Florida            0.00%                             $0.00                                            No         No
Texas             0.00%                             $0.00                                            No         No
Nevada          0.00%                             $0.00                                             No         No
Michigan        4.25%                             FLAT TAX                                     No        No
Illinois            3.75%                             FLAT TAX                                     No         No

From these states, you can see two things. First, is there any wonder why Florida, Texas and Nevada are three of the most popular "bug out" states for Minnesotans? Next, who would have thought two states like Michigan and Illinois, two very blue states, are beating the snot out of Minnesota.

So what do we do? First off, slay the biggest dragon. Our state spends an obscene amount of money on government education. And it is proving to be a terrible investment. I would like to see that amount cut by a third. We can do that by using vouchers. In other words, rather than spending 30% of our budget on education, we should spend 20%. That would free up over 5 billion dollars a year.

Next, our health and welfare expenditures account for over 25% of the budget. EVERYONE who is honest knows there is at least 20% fraud, waste, abuse and redundancy in these budget line items. So we should cut them by 20%. Force them to clean their own houses. That would save the taxpayers another 3.5 billion dollars a year without sacrificing services.

By the way, I did not even address the confiscatory business tax we have in Minnesota. What I will say is this - the seniors in this state are not stupid. We know we are one of only SEVEN states which tax Social Security benefits. And why does that make a difference? If both spouses are retired making $20,000 each on Social Security, they are paying almost an extra $3,000 a year to live here. Plus, with one of the highest marginal rates in the country, it only gets worse. Especially against states which have no state income tax.

So there it is. A bit long, a bit boring for some. But the facts in this post speak for themselves. We have a huge, huge problem in this state. And that problem is called largess. We have grown our government to be a beast who cannot be fed enough. As Lady Thatcher said (paraphrased), "Soon we will run out of other people's money to maintain it". And that soon might be right now.  

Friday, February 26, 2016

The East Coast Connection

"But today the pieces started falling into place."

I will be the first to admit I am not the brightest bulb in the ceiling. In fact, often times I am a bit slow on the uptake. But eventually, I figure things out. And it is all starting to make sense to me now. The die is cast. The fix is in. Today it started becoming crystal clear. Oh, last night I started getting a hint. But today the pieces started falling into place.

Why would an establishment guy like Chris Christie endorse a rebel like Donald Trump? Besides the fact they live in neighboring states. Trump seemed like he was perfectly willing and able to go through this solo. Did not really care if any of the elites sided with him. He did after all, have the winning motto. And every day voters can see the reason for this phenom called Trump. The brokenness of Washington is on display for all to see. 24 X 7 X 365. And there are hoards of voters who truly believe "The Donald" can fix it.

Here is my take on the current events. Last night, as in previous times, Trump treated Marco and Ted like they have some kind of communicable disease. Kasich, not so much. But Dr. Carson - he treats him like a son. I think Mr. Trump is starting to put together an imaginary cabinet. For example, after the two losers we have had at Attorney General under Obama, Trump wants an enforcer as AG. Who better than Chris Christie? The job was his in return for an endorsement. And Dr. Carson at HEW? Wow - could you think of a better person to revamp ObamaCare?

He also might want Kasich at Commerce or Budget Director. In any event, here is my biggest ah-ha moment. I don't think that Trump is looked upon as an outsider by the establishment any longer. I think the numbers are being tallied and barring a miracle, he is going to be standing on the stage in Cleveland. There are even unsubstantiated rumors floating around he has talked to "Morning Joe" Scarborough about being his running mate. 

Now after saying all of this, I still believe the most qualified candidate to be our next President is Ted Cruz. But Senator Cruz has one fatal flaw which is hampering him with some of the "in crowd". Unlike many others, Cruz did not go to Washington as a Senator to make friends and join social circles. He went to fix things. And that made him unpopular with many of the traditionalists. How dare he?

I think the historians are licking their chops over this election. If not totally unique and unprecedented, the election is very close. And as much as I like and support Ted Cruz, part of me trying to get used to the idea of a President Trump. I really, really am trying.   

The coming insurection

"The three amigos. This session we will see if they are just fishing buddies or political buddies as well."

In these days of heated political debate, posturing for position going into Super Tuesday, we sometimes forget about our own back yard. Our state government goes into session next month. And this one should be a whopper.

Let's first go back to what has been said about the national electorate. That the anger is palpable. Guess what? The anger is also palpable at the state level. Even at the community level. Why? People want their government back. They no longer will accept "sell outs" going to St. Paul or Washington just to "get along". To make new friends. Fishing buddies. No, we want people in St. Paul this year who will not only pare down the size of our bloated and very expensive state government, but also return the money they stole from us last year (now sitting in a "surplus").

First and foremost, after doing my taxes again this year, I have zero time for any bull crap on why we tax our seniors and retired military veterans. Wisconsin does not. South Dakota does not. Iowa does not. In all fairness I will admit that North Dakota does. However, their state tax is about half what Minnesota's is. 

The next time someone tells me we "can't afford to give seniors what is morally theirs to start with", I am either going to puke or slap that person. This state takes in a boatload of money for foolish things such as our broken education system. Besides screwing kids by making them use this system, education spending takes up 1/3 of our state budget. We need a voucher system, and we need it yesterday.

I would like to see the Speaker of the House propose on Day One of the session, going to such a system. A maximum of $10,000 per student, per year, regardless of where they go to school. That is about half what we are spending in the inner city - and get catastrophic results from. We would save so much money, we could have more to spend on roads and bridges, reduce our crippling business tax, and get rid of the tax on social security and military pensions. 

One more time for any politicians, local, state, or federal. People are angry - okay totally pissed, because every year it is more of the same. And the cost of maintaining "more of the same" keeps going up. Do something bold. Innovative. Think outside the government box. Pretend just for a minute this a business that needs innovation to survive. And the taxpayers are the stockholders. And we are looking for a good investment. 

Go time is coming folks, and coming soon. If we get more of the same this session, the anger next session might just be off the charts.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Things left unsaid...

"One of the things I have learned in my faith walk is how easy it is to diminish someone." 

One of the best (and most painful) lessons I have had to learn in my life is not so much letting an insult flow, but not letting one go all together. Sounds complicated I know. I am human. Sometimes people do things that really aggravate me. Might even be to piss me off in a royal fashion. It might be behind the wheel. Or it might be in a conversation. Or it it might even be with my wife, who I love so dearly. By not saying what I wanted to say - which would been so unhelpful, are things so better left unsaid.

One of the things I have learned in my walk is how easy it is to diminish someone. Even though I have not done this for a while, I still remember how easy it is. For example, "Are you gaining weight?" Or, "Have you always been this stupid?" Or, "With your looks and odor, I am amazed you ever got married." Simple questions. Simple sentences. And yet so destructive. 

The Holy Scripture tell us in James 3 that our tongues are like rudders on a ship. Very small, yet they control the direction of the ship (or us). The same is true for us with our tongues. It is so easy to knock the legs our from under someone. But that is not how we were made. It is our human nature. However, Ephesians 4:29 tells us otherwise. We have put here on this planet, to edify others. To build them up. And once you get used to building others up, it becomes so easy to do. And truthfully, it is much more rewarding.

So what is going to happen tonight? Is the party of Reagan going to act like the Party of Thugs? Or will they be the Party of Dignity. Of calm and purposeful discourse. My question is simple this - what has happened in these past debates has been shameful. Not just for Republicans, but for all Americans. If you disagree with someone, then respectfully disagree. At the end of the day, we are all on the same side. We are better for doing it that way.

In this debate tonight, I am asking all who participate to grow larger than the instincts which control us. When we want to lash out, please leave things unsaid. In the far eastern culture it is said the loudest things can be said with the softest voices. Just for giggles, can we try that tonight? We need it. Trust me, we really, really need it. 



"My word is my bond. Sound familiar? That is the way it once was."

Well here we are. At the bottom of the well. Our national discourse has devolved into something similar to playground hooliganism. And who is responsible for it? To start with, me, myself and I. I have not demanded better from our elected representatives. Nor the ones running for office. And now the language has gone from rude, to tawdry, to worse.

We seem to have a new four letter word in our lexicon. Okay - it is not new. It has been around forever. But the way it is used is somewhat new. It is thrown about with great abandon. And that word is "liar".

My word is my bond. Sound familiar? That is the way it once was. Today, we can go up to someone, look him or her squarely in the face, and call that person a liar. A non-truth teller. In other words, telling that person his or her word is no good. No longer their bond. To me, that is one of the worst things you can do to another person.

Not only has it become ingrained into the general lexicon of our population, it is used freely by a few of the candidates running for the highest office in our land. My fear is that is a person, politician or not, is called a liar often enough, that trait will come to fruition. Call it the negative Pygmalion Effect. Rather than striving for higher expectations and better performance in all of us, we will end up doing just the opposite. 

I really do hate that word, "liar". I can't remember (if ever) I called someone a liar to their face. If someone is not totally truthful, embellishes a story, or even tells a white lie, I give that person quite a bit of grace. Why? Because most of us do it from time to time. I do. I admit it. But to call someone a liar, saying they never tell the truth, is a tough charge indeed.

My plea to anyone on the campaign trail, please weigh your words carefully. Words mean things. And words can really hurt and impugn. The youth of America are watching. And learning. From all of us. 


Wednesday, February 24, 2016

The build your own island club

"Only fools like some who reside in Washington can't see what is going on here."

You have to hand it to those fun loving Chinese! They know how to have a good time. For example, they have found a spot in international waters they would like to inhabit, discovered a naturally shallow part of that part of the ocean, brought in a zillion or so tons of sand and presto! An instant island! And does it look inviting for a vacation spot? An island paradise? Not a bit.

Since the ChiComs own us financially, we of course did not want to raise too much of a stink. Besides all of which, we don't live in that neighborhood. Of course good friends of ours like the Japanese, Taiwanese, South Koreans, and Australians do. And they are very nervous about this expansionism.

Rumors have been buzzing some of these newly formed islands are nothing more than sub bases. Where the ChiComs can keep their subs nicely hidden. Then we find out the ChiComs might be building a state of the art radar on one of the islands. Plus, they have now deployed modern fighter jets to overfly them. BTW, don't those jets look quite a bit like ours? It wouldn't be because they stole our design, would it?

Only fools like some who reside in Washington can't see what is going on here. This is the start of their big play. They are going global. They have already established a base in Africa and who knows where the next one could be. Cuba? Maybe. Their Blue Water Navy keeps getting bluer and their expansionism keeps getting bolder.

When Ronald Reagan was President, he loved "peace through strength". The world was a much safer place without us hardly firing a shot. Our adversaries knew that our President was a fair man who on the other hand, was not one to mess with. 

Last year at one of our military academies graduation ceremony, our President had the guts to tell the graduates the most important threat they will face is man-made global warming. Huh? No sir, you are dead wrong. Our single biggest threat is an EMP strike. That followed by terror attacks on our homeland. And that followed by ChiCom, Russian or North Korean aggression. Man-made global warming holds the same place as gum on the bottom of our shoes.

A note to our planners in Washington as well as at the Pentagon. We need to wake up and smell the coffee on this one. I don't believe the Chinese have honorable intentions with these islands - none at all. Time to put our big boy pants on.

They are back...

"Whatever these things are, these noises are as strange as they are spooky."

Some have read recently of strange and unexplained noises coming from the sky. Or is it the ground? Nobody seems to really know, as they seem to be coming from everywhere. And they are similar yet different. They can either sound like "booms" or they can sound like giant nails scrapping across a giant blackboard.

A couple of weeks ago, the "booms" were heard from Florida up to South Carolina. Many thought they were unauthorized sonic booms left by supersonic military jets. The military denied it, as they have iron clad rules against supersonic flight over the homeland. Then last week up in Oregon, the "nails on the chalkboard" sound started again. And nobody has a clue to what is causing it.

I have updated the following which took from a post I did over two years ago on the same subject:

Years ago, my wife's cousin lived in Taos, New Mexico. When she came home, I could not wait to ask the question everyone who lives in Taos get asked - what is the world is up with the "hum"? She had not heard it - not everyone does. However, she did know of people who could hear it. Some hear it so loud, it interrupts their sleep. There were other places on the globe which a similar hum could be heard.

Strange and unexplained noises have been around since the 1800's - maybe even earlier. It is reported that Lewis and Clark heard them while on their travels. The theories of what causes them go all over the map. Interference due to "Planet X", to UFOs, underground bases, to Gabriel's Trumpet, announcing the beginning of the end.

Here is what as article from Interesting Thing of the Day had to say about these noises in July of 2007:

Today’s interesting thing is a phenomenon consisting of similarly mysterious booming noises, but without such a ready explanation. The most generic term I could find for such sounds is mistpouffers (spelled “mistpoeffers” in Belgium and the Netherlands). In various areas they go by such diverse terms as “Guns of the Seneca” (near Seneca Lake and Cayuga Lake in New York), “Barisal guns” (in Bangladesh), “uminari” (in Japan), “fog guns,” “lake guns,” and many others. In all these instances, the terms describe a sound or series of sounds that resemble loud but distant cannon fire, usually heard near the edge of a large body of water. The sounds occur when there are no storms in the vicinity that could produce thunder and no other obvious source. Sometimes they’re accompanied by a rumble that can be felt strongly enough to shake plates and hanging pictures; other times no vibration is felt.

In fact, one country reported a series of these sounds so loud, windows were broken and chickens died.

Whatever these things are, these noises are as strange as they are spooky. If you want to hear them, there are many posts on YouTube that have captured excellent recordings of them. Whatever they are, they are real enough to be witnessed by thousands and picked up by recording instruments. As for me, I am going in my basement and hide until someone figures out what these things really are. 

Are the TRUMPets sounding?

"The fat lady may not be singing yet, but she is warming up her voice."

Let me please start by saying one more time - I am not a Trump guy. My (political) heart belongs to Ted Cruz. Watching the returns come in from Nevada was as painful as watching the returns come in from South Carolina. Or New Hampshire for that matter. Even though Senator Cruz had a "bump in the road" with his campaign staff, I remain convinced he is a fair and honorable man. I do not have the same feelings about Mr. Trump.

The sickening feeling I am getting (along with many others who support either of the two Senators in the race) is this - the juggernaut is starting to roll. I stayed up way too late last night channel flipping to see what the different pundits were saying about this race. It did not matter which station I listened to, the conclusion was the same. The fat lady may not be singing yet, but she is warming up her voice.

Here is the consensus points from what I picked up last night:

  1. Dr. Carson and Governor Kasich are two fine men, but it is time to pack it in. They still reside in the single digits and by staying in are just wasting donor's money.
  2. Even though this would never happen, the only realistic shot one of Senators has at Donald Trump is if the other Senator suspends his campaign prior to Super Tuesday. Splitting the vote the way they have is just adding to Trump's delegate count.
  3. If everyone stays in the race, the "5% shot" of chipping the lead away from Trump is to have Rubio take Florida, Cruz take Texas, and Kasich take Ohio.
Like many of us, I am still in a state of shock that this is happening. I really did think the cream was going to rise to the top in the form of Ted Cruz. Of all the candidates, his experience, his mannerisms, his character are the best suited for the job of POTUS. Rubio has some baggage from past votes and positions, but I still think he has a shot at being picked for Veep. 

One final thing on the Trump phenomena. I have said he exists only because he is the "Ying" to Obama's "Yang". I might have to stand corrected. Many of the pundits (as well as very smart political friends of mine) are saying different. The "Yang" might have a little to do with Obama, but more to do with Republicans who roll over and play dead once they got to Washington. And it is not just one Republican who has done that - it is legions.

With that being the case, who is really to blame should we get a President Trump instead of a President Cruz? As the words from the The Who's rock opera Tommy said, "Go to the mirror boy".  And in that mirror, you will see the real Culprit. We did not control the beasts once we sent them to Washington. 

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

A rapid twilight

"Don't read this is you scare easily. This is not for the faint of heart. This is only for those who want to know the truth."

I have had this article banging around in my head for quite a while now. Not knowing if I should share it or not. But there are reasons I decided to take the chance and send this out today. It is as hard for me to write it as it will be for some to read.

Imagine going to the doctor to have just a routine physical. Towards the end of the visit, the doctor sits down across the desk with very grim face. "I am afraid I have some bad news for you. You do not have very long to live. Depending upon circumstances, it might be anywhere from a week to at the outside, a year. To make matters worse, this will not only affect you, but also your spouse, your children and your grandchildren. They also do not have very long to live."

You sit and stare at the doctor in stunned silence. How could this be? I woke up feeling fine this morning. Now I will be dead in maybe a week? And my family also? The thought of all of this was too much, and I broke down and wept. The doctor came to my side of the desk and put his hand on my shoulder. Then he told me something even more shocking. "It is happening to me also" he said. "And my family. And to my neighbors and your neighbors. Basically, it is happening to everyone in the country. A year from now, up to 90% of us will no longer be here." 

Now forget this all happened at the doctor's office. It is not a dread disease - it is an EMP event. It could happen when you are at work. When you are eating supper with the family. When you are sleeping. It really will not matter what and where you are doing. In an instant, all power will vanish. Everything will become dark and quiet. And then everyone's clock starts to tick. Our lifespans will be then measured in days, weeks, months, and for the very few - years.

Many will be sitting in their dark, cold houses watching family members start to suffer from exposure, dehydration or starvation. Some will be injured or killed resulting from violence resulting from people trying to steal what you have. There will be no lights, no heat, no internet, no medicine, no cell phones, no drinking water, no water to flush toilets or wash clothes, no transportation, no stores to go to, no anything like we once had. Even though it is 2016, our lives will be like living in the 1800's.

I have been reading more and more about the effects of a natural or man-made EMP event on our country. Most say the same thing. It would be unimaginable beyond imagination. Within a year, 90% of all Americans would be dead after suffering a long, lingering death. All law and order will have evaporated into social anarchy. Life will be Mad Max on steroids.

This is not science fiction. This is settled science which has been around since we first started testing nukes. And other countries also know about it. Not just Russia - China, North Korea, Iran, and yes, even terrorists. It is a low tech way to inflict high tech, maximum damage on a country such as ours. With two bombs, one on our west coast and one on our east coast, the number of dead could equal a full out nuclear war. Two bombs, could turn our first world country into a third world country almost overnight.

Besides destroying America, there would be much collateral damage. First off, our electric grid is tied in with Canada. Many in Canada would suffer the same fate. Northern Mexico would also suffer damage. And because our "bread belt" supplies excess grain to a large part of the third world, worldwide hunger and starvation would follow.

Because our order of battle still is MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction), after the attack our dogs of war would be unleashed. Our nuclear triad would be activated. Any country which sponsored this attack, or was sympathetic to the nation state which sponsored the attack, would be be targeted and then destroyed. Countries would be annihilated, nuclear fallout would be widespread, and some degree of nuclear winter would follow.

You might be thinking this is all gloom and doom. There is nothing we can do except hope and pray some nation or terror cell never does this. Or we can (as a nation), prepare. Even with a "hardened" grid, an EMP attack would still cause huge damage to our country. But having a hardened, robust power grid would certainly help. With power still flowing to the cities, which would allow water and heat to continue to be supplied, the country would survive. There would still be a death toll, but it would not be 90%. 

I have addressed this many times before. In the event of EMP or any other natural or man made disaster, our homes become our store. As we witnessed from Hurricane Katrina, it does not take many days of having no food or water when the wheels really start to come off. Yes, people can start to die within a week. Make sure in your house you have enough food, water, medicine and so forth to survive a month of isolation.

More and more experts are giving lectures throughout the country on the dangers of EMP. And they are scary to attend. Scary, yet very important. Our Tea Party Patriot group is trying to get an expert to give a presentation at our April meeting. I will post something if this comes to fruition.

I will close by saying this. Stay aware. Stay alert. Most importantly, stay prepared. When the national politicians come around campaigning, ask about this issue. And they better have a good answer. If they are clueless on EMP, tell them to get lost. We simply don't have time for games.    

Selective Outrage

"I think I am safe to say this President more than any other I can remember in my lifetime, really detests our Second Amendment."

This week, we had another mass murder in the country. This time it was in Kalamazoo, MI. In fact, it happened so close to where one of my fishing partners lives, he heard four of the shots. And six innocent people died. And nobody knows right now what set this guy off to commit these murders. However, our "gun grabber in chief" lost little time calling for more gun control in Michigan.

I think I am safe to say this President, more than any other I can remember in my lifetime, really detests our Second Amendment. He does not understand it, and to make matters worse, he is very selective in his outrage. The fact the shooter was a white man made a big difference to the President's outrage. Why do I say that? Six murders were a horrific thing to happen in any city, including a sleepy little berg like Kalamazoo. However, six murders in the "the hood" in Chicago? They just call that Tuesday. 

Last year was a simply awful year in Chicago. The town turned into a killing field for young black men. 468 people were murdered in Chicago. The vast majority were shot in the inner city. And the vast majority of those shot were young black men. Shot by other young black men. What does our President say? Not much. An outsider might think that these black lives might not matter.

And why is that? One would think this historic President, our first mixed race President, would be the first to express outrage by what is happening in Chicago. Nope. Now here is the thing that should send shivers up everyone's spine. So far this year, Chicago has had 95 murders. That is twice what the rate was the year before. At this rate, the murder rate in Chicago could go over 600 for the year! 

Here is the real interesting part. The vast majority of the murders in Chicago are done with illegally obtained guns. In a city which has some of the strictest gun control laws in the country. And the homicide rate for legal gun owners, who bought their guns legally, have been gun trained, is so small it is like finding fly poop in pepper. Yet, this is the group our President always targets in his gun grabbing speeches.

So Mr. President, I suggest you visit Chicago, see your old sidekick Rahm, and figure out how to save some lives. To have a body count higher in an American city than the body count is in our war zones is simply unacceptable. That is my outrage sir, and it is not very selective.    

Promise them anything, but give them...

"In our euphoric state we always seem to forget to ask the most important three lettered question of all - 'How?'"

In 1987 there was an ad blitz for a French perfume named Arpege. What do I know about that perfume? Nothing - never bought any. But the slogan really caught on. "Promise her anything, but give her Arpege." Some say that was stolen from an old Dean Marin song called, "Promise her anything but give her love." Today, in our wacky world of politics the new verse could be, "Promise them anything, but keep giving them the same."

As tempting as it was just to tee off the "Party of Santa Claus" (aka Democrats), both parties seem to do it. And quite often we the voters act more like "sheeple" than the informed public. People running for office will get up in front of us and promise everything short of the kitchen sink. Some even promise the Moon. And it all sounds so good. In our euphoric state we always seem to forget to ask the most important three lettered question of all - "How?"

Nothing kills a good buzz like a buzz kill. And to many politicians, the word "how" is the worst buzz kill of all. And yet as they say, the devil is always in the details. Never, ever be afraid to ask the question. When a politician tells us that we are all going to get free college, beware. That sounds really, really good until you ask how that will work. As we would say in the Navy, that is when the communication starts to get garbled. The response might be, "I will have Congress authorize it and put it in a bill." Oops! Time for another "how" question. And if you keep peeling back the onion with "how" questions, soon you will find you have nothing left but a story from Aesop's Fairy Tales

Eight years ago many looked like mind numbed robots when this slick talking boot Senator from Illinois promised the nation "Hope and Change". Nary a soul from the masses needed to ask him how. It was all just too good.  And now, after over 7+ of our "Hope and Change" years, we see exactly what we got - nothing. "Promise them anything, but give them nothing". Yes even with that track record, the two Democrats running for President this election cycle are promising quite a bit. And the same people will vote for them all over again.

The Republicans are not clean on this. The number one seed in the running right now is telling the faithful if we elect him, he will "Make America great again!" If someone asks "how", the answer is "We will win at everything. We will win so much, we will almost get sick of winning." Sounds good - anything more to say sir? Nope - he has said enough. And how is that stick playing in Peoria? Great! More and more pundits are now thinking he is poised to "run the table".

Most of us can't do much about the race for President other than cast a straw vote next Tuesday. We can however, do quite a bit about our local races. Like, look at past voting records. Then we can ask the other dreaded three lettered question - "why" on votes we question. And for future promises, we can go back to the default question of "how".

So bone up on the facts folks. The games are about to begin in Minnesota in earnest. Next Tuesday starts our election cycle which will go until November 8th. As the mythical Mayor of Garage Logic would often say, "Time for some garage grilling with the candidates who come knocking on our doors." I could not agree more Joe, I could not agree more. 

Monday, February 22, 2016

The Cuban Conundrum

 "I know the people in Cuba deserve so much better than what they have right now."

This is a tough one. It also a bold move. Some say a foolish move. In any event, for a Freshman Congressman, it quite a step. And because this issue has resided on the back burner for so long, Tom Emmer and the President are acting at the same time. To some, this looks like some kind of collusion. To others, just a coincidence. 

What is the issue? Cuba. Normalization of relations with Cuba. Ending the embargo that has been around since before I started to shave. To be fair, I will disclose that Congressman Emmer and I have talked about this issue - twice. He was very clear with me on why this is important to him. Why it should be important to our country. And most importantly, why this would be good for the impoverished Cuban people.

The Congressman also brought up a point which I agree to be true. Because this one is based in current facts. Many countries are already in country to establish trade agreements with Cuba. Many countries including China. And China with it's developing Blue Water Navy, is now looking for friendly countries to establish overseas ports in. They are already in Africa. I could easily see the Chinese taking a page out of the 1960's Soviet playbook and establish a base in Cuba also. 

Here is the other side of the coin. In May of 2014, the Head of the United States Chamber of Commerce visited Cuba to discuss how the normalization of trade would benefit all. It was a small delegation - along with Mr. Donahue was the head of Amway and the head of Minnesota's own Cargill. So the question is being raised by some - is Cargill behind this move? The Chamber? Or was that just a coincidence?

Here is my take. First off, I would be very disappointed and pissed if I knew that big business was behind this entire venture. I would like to think it was for a higher purpose. I know the people in Cuba deserve so much better than what they have right now. Their government sucks - it has for a while. President Obama, when he visits in a few months, should offer the carrot and the stick. Open elections should be on the top of his list. Not just a choice between two Commies. Real and honest open elections.

I have said this before. This island state which is only 90 miles offshore, should be some of our best friends. Just as the era of Batista has past, so should the era of the Castro brothers. I want normalization to be for the right reasons - not the wrong reason. Cuba deserves to join the other Latin American countries, enjoying the trade routes of the Caribbean.

To take the conundrum issue out of Cuba, the Chamber needs to stay the hell out and out of the way. I want this deal done, but only for the right reasons. The Cuban people deserve liberty just as much as we do. Let's help them get it. Let's share freedom near and far. We have been enemies long enough. Time to be friends.     

The roots of the grass roots

"Yes, this is the time more than any other during the election cycle when a voter can make his or her voice heard."

It is coming soon to this neck of the woods. It is our big chance to hang up our spectator glasses and "strap on the cleats". Yes, this is the time more than any other during the election cycle when a voter can make his or her voice heard. And it is exciting. It is a meet and greet, a gentle debate, a straw vote, and a chance to be a delegate at the local convention all rolled into one evening.

This year Minnesota has joined "the club". We are part of Super Tuesday. March 1st, fourteen states will cast ballots for who is going to be the Republican or Democrat Presidential nominee. Minnesota will be one of 14 states who will be having primaries or caucusing that day and evening. And any straw vote taken in Minnesota will be binding this year. So when you come to caucus, cast a vote, and it will count and be counted. That is exciting!

One of the things a caucus event will also do for folks is to introduce them to how the layers of political involvement work in a community. For example, in Minnesota we have what is known as a BPOU (Basic Political Organizational Unit).  A BPOU is made up of folks from your local senate district. Quite often, a BPOU will meet once a month for fellowship, political discussions, and education. Some even meet (mine does) at a venue where a meals and/or drinks can be ordered. 

Even though a caucus in only held once every two years, the BPOU meetings are held throughout the year. It is an excellent way to stay connected with what is going on. One of the things I have learned is the importance of our lower levels of government. How they can affect us all. School Boards, Mayors, City Councils, County Commissioners, law enforcement, and so on. It is a chance to get to know your state senator and representatives better. And trust me - they want to get to know you better also. 

So a week from tomorrow is the "big shebang". I am ready. I am pumped. And I will be there. If you are unsure of where your precinct caucus convenes, check your Secretary of State website. You should be able to find what you need to know there.

One more thing. As a friend of mine has said many times, if you don't vote, if you don't take part in the election process, you lose your ticket to complain or bitch if the results do not turn out your way. I could not agree more. This is our representative democracy folks. This is what so many have fought and died for to preserve. Let's enjoy it next Tuesday. I hope to see you there!  

Sunday, February 21, 2016

As evil continues to stalk the land...

"When someone practices an act of extreme cruelty on another human being, it should be a one strike ball game."

I know, I know. I should be getting used to it by now. But I can't. Whenever I see anyone tortured or murdered in the name of any religion, I get sick to my stomach. But when I see young people, killed for ABSOLUTELY nothing, I not only get sick to my stomach, I get absolutely madder than hell. In fact, I am seeing red again today.

This is a very good reason why I could never be President. I see carnage on the internet all the time that is beyond hard to watch. Yet it is happening. Live and in color. Almost daily. Whereas our current President might be content to watch on TV and do nothing, I would be tempted to go in with guns blazing. In other words, kill all these butchers.

I have tried so many times to understand what kind of "religion" would sanction any type of killing. Especially the public beheading of a 15 year old boy just for listening to music. It is beyond my comprehension. I like many others, was raised in a faith, by the teachings of loving parents, to be kind, to be considerate of others, and most of all, to show mercy and grace. That is the exact opposite from what we see happening in Iraq, Syria, Northern Africa, and so on.

I don't give a rip if this is done in accordance of some religious law, or a twisted version of it. When someone visits an act of extreme cruelty on another human being, the remedy should be a one strike ball game. When someone perpetrates extreme cruelty on an infant, a small child, or a teenager, the remedy for the perp should be "lights out" using extreme prejudice. 

I never thought I would live long enough to see the type of cruelty we saw done by the Axis Powers in World War II. In fact, this might be worse. And what makes this so hard to stomach is that nobody seems to care. It has been said at the end of the day, crimes of omission will be judged as harshly as crimes of commission. I hope for the sake of most of us that is not true. For if is true, we are just as guilty as the one swinging the sword.