Sunday, April 30, 2017

And now?







"Chance favors the prepared mind, so it it time to get prepared. Preparation, hard work, and a solid strategy will win the day a year from this November. Time to go get it - starting Monday."  



The long awaited Republican State Central Committee meeting is now history. The votes have been tallied, and there will be new faces at the helm of MN GOP. The "break in" time, the honeymoon period, will last from yesterday afternoon until Monday morning. Then it is going to be hard work, and a big hill to climb. To say we are going to "turn Minnesota red" and then to do it, might not be the same thing.

Am I being a nay sayer? Nope. Not a bit. I am however, being a realist. So based on what I know right now, here is how I see the chances for MN GOP in 2018:

  • Governor - We now have three good individuals in the hunt from the Republicans. And a whole bevy of folks from the DFL. In particular, Tim Walz from CD 1. Plus, a good chance that Rick Nolan will jump in from CD 8. More are expected to join from both parties which should make this a very crowded, yet interesting race. My take? After eight years of Dayton, Minnesota is ready for a change. More on this soon.
  • Amy's Seat - Klobuchar is up for re-election in 2018. As crowded as the race will be for Governor, you could hear a pin drop from the Republicans. Who will challenge Amy this time around? Unknown at this time. Last time she was up for re-election, the Republicans offered a tepid challenge, and ended up getting smoked. Hello? Anyone out there?
  • CD 1 - With the exit of Walz, this SHOULD be an easy pick up for the Republicans. Why? It is the most Republican district in the state. How this has been in Walz's hands for so long is a mystery to many. 
  • CD 8 - Stewart Mills barely lost this district to Nolan last time. With Nolan leaving, the Republicans should be able to pick this seat up. The color in this district has been changing from purple to a light red. With the right candidate and campaign, the Republicans have the opportunity to make this district even redder.
  • CD 2, CD 3, CD 6 - Should be safe. Unless something really bad happens in the Trump Administration, these seats should be fine. That being said, over confidence and complacency have lost many "safe" seats in the past.
  • Minnesota House - A lot depends on how this session ends. Right now, I think the House Republicans are in the driver's seat. That being said, there is a whole lot of grumbling going on by many of the party faithful with the "largess" issue. Many of us were looking for more "starving the beast", than we have seen so far. In fact, the beast has grown fatter. Even with that, my bet is the Republicans hold the House.
  • Minnesota Senate -  This razor thin majority could switch in a heartbeat in 2020. Will the Republicans hold? Maybe - however, I think the odds are 50-50 at best.
It is now "go time". Or as many call it, the "silly season". This coming election for Governor will be one of the most important in recent history. Why? If we can't get a Governor who will work with state Republicans to really fix the size of our state government, to fix our confiscatory tax system, people and money will continue to hemorrhage out of the state. Our loses will continue to be Wisconsin's and South Dakota's gain.

One final thing. We need to remember who the enemy is. It is not other Republicans. We are all on the same team. We need to coalesce and get ready for 2018. And it is not the Democrats. They are the opposition. They are still Americans. The enemies are the regimes in North Korea, Iran, and Syria. The enemies are the Islamic Terrorists who want to kill us all for no reason. 

Onward and upward. Chance favors the prepared mind, so it it time to get prepared. Preparation, hard work, and a solid strategy will win the day a year from this November. Time to go get it - starting Monday.  


Saturday, April 29, 2017

Problem child





"As much as we would all like to see China play the part of peacemaker, you can't play cards with someone who always deals off the bottom of the deck. In other words, China's talk and actions are not in sync."




Imagine if you would, having a child who acts up all the time. In fact, those who read the book or saw the movie, The Bad Seed, imagine having a psycho child like that one. How do you control a child like that? Do you use a carrot or a stick? Do you try to use behavior modification, or the threaten to use physical discipline? By now you have tried just about everything, and nothing has worked. That is, except the physical discipline. 

Okay - this is not about my kids or grandson. You have probably guessed this is about the problem child who is running North Korea. So how we handle him? Do we use a carrot or a stick? We have tried to ignore him, his dad and his grandpa for decades now, just to see if they would go away. And they did not. They did however, really go to town on their weapons production. So now we sit, being threatened with nuclear Armageddon by this pup on a weekly basis, and having very limited options to stop it.

Here is one thing we could do, outside of unleashing Jim Mattis and our awesome military. True, this might be a long shot, but maybe worth it. Use the carrot. And this is a tough one - it would be rewarding this problem child for his bad behavior. Set up a video conference call between President Trump and the problem child. Face to face would never work, so this would be the next best thing.

In that conference call, have President Trump give the problem child a deal he can't refuse. In exchange for stepping back from his nuclear program, his rocket program, and a partial disarmament on the DMZ, North Korea would be rewarded with food, fuel along with some types of technology from America. Plus many of the sanctions would be dropped. In other words, try to bring them into the world of civilized nations by trading with them. And giving them some aid which would benefit his people.

Then President Trump would show the problem child the other side of the coin - the stick. Should he refuse to take this deal, an allied force consisting of the United States, Japan, South Korea, Australia, and maybe others, would disarm North Korea by force. In other words, war.

President Trump would make it as clear as a bell this is not our choice. Living in peace with North Korea as a limited trading partner is our first choice. But one way or another, the status quo in North Korea will change or be changed this summer.

The bottom line is simply this. The UN will not do anything to help. Nobody will - that is, except us. As much as we would all like to see China play the part of peacemaker, you can't play cards with someone who always deals off the bottom of the deck. In other words, China's talk and actions are not in sync. No, the United States is the only country on this planet who can, one way or the other, make this problem child behave.

There it is. The bottom line. And the clock is ticking. More and more pundits are saying that war is just around the corner. Time for the Hail Mary pass. The pass which will fix this issue without letting tens of thousands die. But have no doubt - this issue will be fixed. It has to be.


Friday, April 28, 2017

Springtime drama in the north country...






"More drama is coming, I believe. If the Speaker and the retiring MN GOP chair also decide to jump the Governor's race, it could start looking like a WWE Battle Royal."



Okay. The weather has taken a turn for the weird. We seem to be regressing back into winter instead of running headlong into an early summer. But with all of that weather nonsense, boy oh boy, do we have drama right now. Are things boring in the land of 10,000 taxes? Not a bit, thank you.

High drama is going to take place in St. Cloud tomorrow. It will happen at the MN GOP State Central Spring Meeting, where the election of new MN GOP officers will take place. With the track record of MN GOP over the past several years, electing officers for that place is never a "snooze". This year however, it will be particularly interesting. I recently penned an article on this issue, so I won't go into the gory details all over again. I will just sum it up by saying we have some top notch people vying to take important jobs in a very sick organization.

And how about the drama in Minneapolis right now? It is a real "cat fight" between two of the cities leaders. That is right - Mayor Betsy is right in the middle of it. For some reason, this life long statist feels she knows more about police business than Chief Janee', who has been doing this cop thing just about forever.

Right now their relationship is about as frosty as the one between the Chair and Deputy Chair of MN GOP. How is this "cat fight" going to end up? Poorly for Chief Janee', as Mayor Betsy has one more strip on her shoulder. As the saying goes, she may not always be right, but she is always the boss.

Yesterday, Matt Dean announced he was throwing his hat in the ring for Governor. The paper used the term "crowed field" that Matt was joining. Well, sort of. It is crowded on the DFL side with only a few announced on the Republican side. What have I seen so far? Good people running on the Republican side. Fresh faces, fresh ideas. On the DFL side? Same statists, different day. Blah, blah, blah. Sorry, but that is the truth.

The Bird has his ear to the tracks. More drama is coming, I believe. If the Speaker and the retiring MN GOP chair also decide to jump the Governor's race, it could start looking like a WWE Battle Royal.

But out of the dust this summer, I believe a clear choice will emerge to lead this state to a place it has never been before. A fixer. A mechanic. Stay tuned. The drama might just starting.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Provocations







"We don't have time to screw with these guys any longer. Why? We still have the Islamic State to take care of and Iran is in the wings. Sorry - this is what happens when you take eight years off and let the bad guys run amok."  




In the War of 1812, we were at war with the British as well as the Canadians. Once the war ended, the Canadians never accepted the fact it was over. To this day, they have massive artillery and missile units in Montreal, Toronto, Quebec, and Vancouver, all ready and aimed to strike major United States cities. The United States has complained to the United Nations, but the answer always is the same. Until they use them in anger, just put up with it.

My neighbor across the street from me has a large collection of guns. We had a spat about 25 years ago, and he never forgot it. Every day, when I am out working in my yard, he is pointing one of his guns at me. I have called the sheriff to complain, but he told me until my neighbor fires at me in anger, I am just to put up with it.

Of course, both of the above are absurd illustrations of something which is not absurd at all. Ever since the Korean conflict ended in 1953, North Korea is armed to the teeth. And much of it is on display on the other side of the DMZ. It is estimated that today, North Korea has thousands of artillery pieces, all dug in and aimed at Seoul. Some estimates show that should the North Koreans unleash a surprise attack on South Korea, during the first hour over 500,000 artillery shells would hit Seoul. In two hours or less, the city would have suffered catastrophic damage.

In the eyes of the United Nations, how can this not be a provocation? In the example I used with the Canadians having artillery aimed at our cities, we would not put up with that for a New York minute. My opinion on what the Norks have been doing to South Korea? Act of war. Worthy of an appropriate response. Why? What they are doing is a provocation of the highest order. 

I don't in my adult life ever remember the United States threatening North Korea. Instead we have coddled them, put up with them, ignored them. Meanwhile, they have built up a small nuclear arsenal. On almost on a weekly basis now, they are threatening to use nukes against us, our overseas bases, our ships, our allies, or you name it. To me, (once again) that is a provocation of the highest order.

Here come the nugget in all my ranting. I would like to see our President do something that no other President has done in the past fifty years. I would like President Trump to threaten the North Korean regime. Tell them they have until June 1, 2017 to withdraw from the DMZ. Or else we will use our military to reduce their forces.

Next, they have until June 1, 2017, to cease all nuclear production. Then to let UN inspectors in to verify, and then start to dismantle existing nuclear weapons. They have until June 1, 2017 to start this process, and June 1, 2018 to finish it. Failure to comply will result in the United States using military force to finish for them.

Trust me, I am not a war hawk - I really am not. But I am so sick of these guys, so over them, I just want it to end. The longer we wait, the more nukes they will have and the harder it will be. Some will ask, "what about China?" My response - what about them? They have been as useless as a screen door on a submarine in dealing with the Norks. No - I am afraid it is going to be up to us to end this nightmare. 

Whatever happens, it needs to happen quickly. We don't have time to screw with these guys any longer. Why? We still have the Islamic State to take care of and Iran is in the wings. Sorry - this is what happens when you take eight years off and let the bad guys run amok.  

A tax cut or opportunity lost...





"We have been told this is our once in a generation time to really fix out tax system. We have waited for this for a long time. After yesterday's announcement - we are still waiting." 


Okay - color me disappointed. Not just a little disappointed, a lot disappointed. From what I have seen of the proposed "tax reform" so far, it is a bit of a yawner. Why do I say that? I think the operative word is "reform". This is just more of the same, only watered down. Not exactly what was talked about on the campaign trail.

First off, the Administration needs to realize a certain fact of life. No matter what the change in the income tax status quo is, it will be painted as favoring the rich. Knowing that, go for the gusto. Real change in the way we tax. And not to be redundant, I will once again point out what I define as real change:

  • Abolish the IRS. With the right kind of change, we don't need it anymore. Besides all of which, it has been weaponized by the Obama Administration. And for some reason which still escapes me, we still have John Koskinen running the IRS. He should have been fired on President Trump's first day in office. And Lois Lerner? She should be starring in the real life version of "Orange is the new black".
  • Abolish the current tax code. Get rid of it, lock, stock and barrel. With real tax change, we no longer need this Rubik's cube of nonsense. Every year someone from the government gets in front of a camera and proclaims nobody but tax  experts can do income taxes these days. Okay - then get rid of what we have and replace it with a one page document.
  • Not five rates, not three rates, but one rate. A flat tax of 10%. That would be the rate for everyone. No more half the country not needing to pay in a dime. No deductions, no exemptions, just 10 cents out of every dollar going into the federal income tax. Easy peasy. Fill out your taxes on a post card. 
  • Zero estate tax, zero taxes on social security benefits, zero state tax and zero corporate tax. Let's see how that works in juicing the economy.
The way to rightsize our federal and state government is to first rightsize the amount of food (money) you feed them. That is the way diets work. We need to DEMAND that our government do two things: 1) Act like most P+L companies today - always strive to do more with less, and 2) Act like most families today - live within a budget.

We have been told this is our once in a generation time to really fix out tax system. We have waited for this for a long time. After yesterday's announcement - we are still waiting.  

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

The men in the High Castle





"But - despite the entropy which MN GOP wears like a shadow, the blue state of Minnesota has taken back the House and the Senate."


No - this is not a review about the new show on Amazon with almost the same title. Not even close. This is the real life High Castle for those in the Republican Party. Yes, I am talking about our MN GOP headquarters. And this is not going to be a "hit piece" on any individual, past or present who has served there. This is only about the crazy, mixed up place many Republicans in Minnesota call their headquarters.

This is a troubled organization. It has been for some years now. Why? Good question. Money issues have plagued it for years. But - despite the entropy which MN GOP wears like a shadow, the blue state of Minnesota has taken back the House and the Senate. And in my most humble opinion - we are going to take back the Governor's mansion in 2018. But more on that later.

By now most of us have seen or read the news. The current MN GOP Chair sent out a poison pen letter to the delegates who will soon be voting for new MN GOP leadership. Rather than being a fair arbitrator and professing neutrality, the current Chair decided instead to try and kill the chances of his Deputy Chair to become the new Chair. This would be like if in 2020, should President Trump decide not to run for re-election, he sends out a letter to the voting faithful telling them Mike Pence is not fit to be dogcatcher.

Truthfully, I do have some inside baseball knowledge of this issue which I am not going to disclose. Besides all of which, I have said this is not going to be a hit piece. What I want is for MN GOP to get its ducks in a row. This total chaos which permeates the place has gone on too long under too many Chairs. It is long past time to change how we do things.

Here it is in a nutshell. I know most of the folks running for Chair and Deputy Chair. Good people all. However, will the new Chair and Deputy Chair work well together? What if their visions are different? Styles are different? I think the election of a new Chair and Deputy Chair should be similar to how we elect Presidents and Vice Presidents. In other words, two people run as a team. The team running would not only know each other, but know they could work with each other. 

Many folks I have talked to in the past few years have no time for MN GOP. Mostly because of the way they have handled money. For the party of "fiscal conservatives", finances at MN GOP sure spend a lot of time in the tank. For many out here, this makes it hard to want to to donate to MN GOP.

And for a party which preaches compassion, the venom which is now coming out of the MN GOP office is bitter and unforgiving. Dirty laundry should always be washed and hung inside - not outside for the world to see. We can, and we should, do better.

  

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The other side of midnight





"It is time to fix this problem from the other side of midnight. Once we do that, we can fix another tough problem in the Middle East (Iran). As was said in the Godfather - 'time to take care of family business.'" 


Years ago, Sidney Sheldon wrote a somewhat steamy and salacious novel called The Other Side of Midnight. I might have read it (if was published in the early 70's), but if I did, I don't remember it. In any event, this article is not about that book. It is about the true other side of midnight - living on the other side of the International Date Line. 

I have lived a portion of my life on the other side of midnight. Many men my age also have. Why? Viet Nam. Young men were either stationed there or close by. In World War II we had thousands of young men also stationed on the other side of midnight. The same is true for the Korean conflict.

But World War II is over. The Korean conflict (we thought) is over. And Viet Nam is over. But our sights are still set on that area of the world. Why? The coming North Korean showdown.

As I write this, it is not even 4 pm on Tuesday. Yet in Seoul, South Korea, it is approaching dawn on Wednesday. Today (Wednesday) is the day something could happen on the Korean Peninsula. This war of words by the North Korean madman could transition to a hot war. And if it did happen on Wednesday (their time), most of us would probably be asleep (our time).

If Kim Jong-il does not back down from his truculent and provocative threats, bad things might be in the forecast. He has been warned numerous times. If he conducts a nuke test on Wednesday, or test fires a rocket, I am afraid (for him) the ship is going to hit the sand.

Like what? On Wednesday night (over there) maybe a visit from a group of F-117 stealth aircraft. Or B-2 stealth bombers. Or Tomahawk missiles from nearby destroyers, all aimed at the artillery and missiles primed and ready to take out Seoul. Why? We will not let Seoul fall. And we will degrade North Korea's forces enought to ensure that does not happen. 

What do I think? I think right now, Kim Jong-il is drinking his own bath water, just like Saddam did before the Gulf War. Even thought we are in a bit of a lull right now with our armed forces (thanks for nothing Obama!), we are still not a paper tiger. We can strike and strike hard. 

Do I want war this week? Absolutely not! I want the North Korean people to come to their senses and effect regime change. Way past time to get rid of these guys. By the same token, if they can not change their government, we need to look out for us (that be the USA) first. So if war comes, it will be quick and ugly. Many will die, mostly on the Korean Peninsula.

This is finally it folks. The show down. No more posturing. No more President By-Stander like with Obama or Bush. This is "no s**t for real". No more being threatened by this pipsqueak on a weekly basis. And no more tormenting, torturing and killing his own people.

It is time to fix this problem from the other side of midnight. Once we do that, we can fix another tough problem in the Middle East (Iran). As was said in the Godfather - "time to take care of family business." If you saw the Godfather trilogy, you know exactly what I mean.




Devolving Democrats






"There is a reason why during the last election, the Republicans took so many seats nation wide. Many people looked at the DNC platform and asked, 'Who are these people?'"



For those paying attention to what just happened in France, this might be a harbinger of what could happen to America. For the first time in forever, the two finalists vying for the top job in France are not from traditional mainstream parties. Nope. One is a socialist, and the other is a nationalist. Which ever of the two wins, it will usher in a new face with France in Europe and the rest of the world.

In this country right now, we are on the verge of losing one of our major political parties - the Democrats. It is not only changing, but devolving - and fast. Some might be happy at this concept, but others are not. Surprisingly, some on the Right would like to have a stronger Democratic Party. Why? As a long time friend of mine explained to me a while ago - it makes our side better when we have a tough opponent. It sharpens our game. One party government is good for nobody.

But the Democrats have lost their way - badly. Lets first look at religion, in particular Christianity. One might get the sense that many on the Left don't care much for Christianity as people on the Right do. It might just be a gut feeling. But hold on - there might be some proof here. A recent CBS poll (February 2017) showed that 66% of Democrats thought Christianity was just as violent as Islam. Huh? Plus a 2014 Pew poll showed that 28% of all Democrats profess no faith choice at all. Agnostic or atheist. Whereas that number was only 14% for Republicans.

Abortion. Here is where the Democrats are really losing mainstream America. Abortion is now called "choice" or "women's health issue" by the Democrats. Many Republicans on the other hand, are calling it for what it is - the murder of the unborn. Infanticide. And the new head of the DNC seems to want the Democrats to double down on this most volatile issue. The inferred message is "if you are a Democrat, you must be pro-choice". Meanwhile, the carnage at the hands of the abortionists continues. 

Finally our founding documents. One can't not find many originalists on the Left side of the street. No sir re Bob. Plenty of "living document" types when it comes to our Constitution. In fact, many who think our Constitution is "dated" feel the same about the Holy Bible. Again, the Democrats will never admit they are mistaken on this one. They are going to ride it all the way to the sunset.

I miss the old school Democrats. You could talk with them, sometimes reason with them, and on some issues, even vote with them. Today, the old school Democrat has devolved into the new school progressive, socialist, statist, whatever. There is a reason why during the last election, the Republicans took so many seats nation wide. Many people looked at the DNC platform and asked, "Who are these people?"

The future for the Republicans? Very good - that is, if they can perform. If they fall on their collective swords again, the Party of Lincoln will not open the door for devolving Democrats, rather they will open the door for more extreme parties. Like how extreme? Like France extreme.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Down a much bigger rabbit hole...






"As for now, consider these some of the mysteries which remains from World War II and the period of time immediately thereafter. Operation Paperclip and Operation High Jump are the two most fascinating I have found so far."




I have penned an article on Operation Paperclip in the past. It is one of the most fascinating post World War II events that I have read about. And to make sure I was not getting "fake news" or revisionist history, I went to many different and reputable sources to get my information. And as intriguing and interesting as Paperclip was, it is almost pale in comparison to Operation High jump.


First off, Paperclip. The Nazis had barely surrendered and the hunt was on for some of the unique talent the Nazis were able to use during the war. In particular, rocket technology which let to the development and use of the V-2 rocket. The brainchild behind the V-2 rocket was a very bright young man named Wernher von Braun. He and his team of scientists were the brains behind this deadly rocket which killed over 9,000 military and civilians in England. 

One would think the Brits were anxious to get their hands on von Braun and his team to have them tried as a war criminals. But hold the phone. The United States was about to wipe the slate clean and absolve von Braun and many members of his team from paying any kind of a price. In fact, Operation Overcast, which was later re-named Operation Paperclip, was going to make these folks the deal of the century. Play ball with us, develop our space program, and live the good life in the home of the free.

It was important for the United States to get as many of these folks as possible before the Russians did. We beat them to the best and brightest, but the Russians still managed to get their hands on the scientists we passed over. By the way, Overcast was renamed Paperclip because as dossiers on Nazi scientists were evaluated, the ones we wanted to retain were paper-clipped. Thus the name change. 

There is much more to the clandestine aspects of Paperclip which I will not go into now. Instead, I want to take you down a deeper rabbit hole. That would be Operation High Jump
The more I research on this, the more mysterious it becomes. And yes, the conspiracy experts love this one. But I have just tried to find the facts, as on the surface, this entire operation did not make much sense.

Shortly after World War II ended, Operation High Jump commenced. It lasted from August of 1946 to February of 1947. The United States Navy, under command of Rear Admiral Richard Byrd, sent a task force of almost 5,000 men, 13 ships and 33 aircraft to Antarctica. The official "purpose" of this visit was to establish a research base called Little America IV

Many who are familiar with this operation have a couple of questions. First, since the war was just over, we had our hands full just getting the world put back together. Plus trying to keep the Russians from taking everything they could as the spoils of war. Next, that in and by itself was an awful big task force just to do some mapping and setting up a research base. Is it possible there could have been some other reason for a force this large? And why were they there only 8 weeks, when the operation was initially planned for 8 months?

This is where the rabbit hole starts to really get deep. It was also believed by some the Nazis had established a base in Antarctica. Prior to the start of World War II, the Nazis were rumored to have set up Neuschwabenland spurred on by an Antarctic expedition of the same name. It is believed that the Nazis had established a base in Antarctica not for research, but weapon development. And when the war appeared to be lost, many Nazis fled there in U-Boats.

Anyhow, what happened down in Antarctica remains a mystery yet today. It was classified by the Navy, and maybe some of it still is. I am going to try to find other places to search to find out more details on High Jump. If I can find anything of validity, I will pen an subsequent article. One word of warning however, it is a nest bed for conspiracy theorists and other wackos.

As for now, consider these some of the mysteries which remains from World War II and the period of time immediately thereafter. Operation Paperclip and Operation High Jump are the two most fascinating I have found so far.   



Cut the "Crip Crap"




"No more largess in government. No more useless regulations. No more layers upon layers of management. No more sky high taxes. It is time to do more with less. In other words, time to cut the 'crip crap'. And time, is running out."  



My first employer out of business school was Sperry Univac. It was way out in the sticks, located in what was known back then as Eagan Township. Great job, I loved it. However, a large, mostly commercial company located across the Minnesota River (Control Data Corporation) had just upset the apple cart. They won a mega-huge government program by beating out many the big, name brand defense companies to win Standard Navy Airborne Computer (AN/AYK-14).

Once they were notified of the win, CDC hired a bunch of people with the talent they needed from the closest source - Sperry Univac. They even lured over a senior manager from Sperry. And as luck would have it, they called my number also. 

The senior management person hired was named Jerry. Once on board at CDC, he was amazed at how many inefficient tasks people were doing during the work day. Since I worked for Jerry, I heard him rant on this constantly. Finally, he had enough. He was in charge of the manufacturing organization with hundreds of people reporting to him. He called an "all hands" meeting to have a personal announcement.

"We do way too much 'crip crap'. I am going to hand out pins for all of us to wear which say 'No crip crap!' What it means is this. Are we doing the right thing right now? And are we doing the right thing the right way? If the answer is no to either question, we are doing 'crip crap', and we need to stop."

I think often about those days. I think how our federal and state governments are mired in "crip crap". President Trump sees it, and wants to fix it. Governor Dayton does not. For many Republicans (not the RINOs), they look at the landscape and wonder how they can do more with less. That is called efficiency. Progressive statists like Dayton look at the landscape and wonder how they can layer on even more inefficient governance. That is stupid and wasteful.

This week starts "go-time" for both federal and state government. Congress is back in town and has a "butt load" of work to get done. Plus, the time for the current state legislative session is running out. Is the work of the people getting done? Will we have true tax reform with both the federal and state governments? Or will be stuck with more of the same. Will we be able to do more with less now that the Republicans are behind the driver's wheel? Or will this just be an example of "same stuff, different day"?

Here is what I am thinking. As my former boss Jerry would say almost on a daily basis, "Are we doing the right thing right now? And are we doing the right thing the right way?" Not exactly rocket science. In fact, most successful companies operate this way, each and every day. Companies which chose not to, are probably not around any more.

No more largess in government. No more useless regulations. No more layers upon layers of management. No more sky high taxes. It is time to do more with less. In other words, time to cut the "crip crap". And time, is running out.     

Sunday, April 23, 2017

A cyber attack?





"Hopefully our government is more prepared for this than they are letting on to. Hopefully. For it they are not, we are literally living on the edge."   


Mankind sure invests a lot of time and money in how to make someone else's life miserable. I know, the USA is not immune from this charge. Be it conventional war, nuclear war, an EMP strike, biological warfare, chemical warfare, or cyber warfare, they are all designed and meant to hurt or kill their fellow humans someplace on planet Earth.

Last week we had three major cities experience a problem with their electrical grid, all about the same time. Coincidence? Maybe. That is possible, although highly improbably. Was it some kind of limited cyber attack? That is more likely. But I think it might have been something even more ominous. A test. A probe. Something that could portend an attack much deeper and more widespread. An attack which could prove deadly instead of just a minor inconvenience.

There are some who believe hackers from another country (or terror group) might have already planted something terrible in the code for our power grid. Some kind of "sleeper" malicious code which when triggered, could shut down the grid for a long, long time. It is not a comforting thought, knowing that something as essential as our electric grid could be such a huge and tempting target.

What is the most frustrating to me, is simply this. We have had the know-how to make our electric grid stout, smart and more impervious to cyber intrusion for a long time. We have had the know-how - but not the will. If estimates are correct, that an EMP event could cause the death of up to 90% of our population within one year, why in the world has this not been a higher national priority? We have known about the effects of EMP since we tested nukes in the 1940's. And we have known an EMP has been part of the Soviet order of battle since the 1980's. So what gives?

Not to be gloomy and doomy on such a beautiful spring day, but I believe we have minimized the effect of an all out cyber attack on this country for way too long. An all out cyber attack, done correctly, could not only cripple our grid, but also our financial systems, our transportation system, and our healthcare system. And who knows what else. It would be a nightmare like we have never experienced before. 

Hopefully our government is more prepared for this than they are letting on to. Hopefully. For it they are not, we are literally living on the edge.   

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Earth Day, a date with Gaia






"Earth Day, Mirth Day. Is there a difference?"



HAPPY EARTH DAY! And let me the first to say how sorry I am for living on this planet. Sorry Gaia. I pollute. I eat food. I drive. I even go to the bathroom. I eat cows who during their lives, fart quite a bit. In fact, I am going to burn some steaks tonight.

When nature calls, I answer the call. And when I do, sometimes I even use more than 1 sheet of 1 ply toilet paper (sorry Sheryl Crow). I know - I bad.

A couple years ago, our climate preaching national leader (that be President Obama) used 9,000 gallons of fuel to travel to the Everglades to talk about the GREATEST threat in world history to our planet. You mean Islamic Terrorist? North Korea? Iran? No, no and no again. He was talking about man made global warming. Plus he took "Bill Nye the Science Guy" with him. And why did they go to the Everglades? Beats me.

So please, please...spare me the hypocrisy! Here is the truth. If you live on this orb, you pollute. We can talk about being "green" all we want, but if we live here, we are not green. I believe the Earth was created by our Creator (sorry - not Gaia, not you) to be our home. This is the place where we live. We eat. We toil. We procreate. Yes, we do propagate our species. And we love the thrill of having children, grandchildren, (and if blessed) great-grandchildren.

Truthfully most on my side do not litter. In fact, we don't pollute unless we are living in a house or driving someplace. So here is the question - how do we separate Earth Day from the myth of man made global warming? Quite simple actually. To quote a good friend of ours, "We worship the Creator, and take care of the created". It is no more than that. If the Creator (God) did not want us to live, prosper and procreate here, He would not have made this excellent home for us. And here is were we dwell.

So tonight, I will have some dead cow on the grill for supper. Maybe even have a carbon producing bonfire. After my daughter, son-in-law and grandson go home I will watch some TV until I doze off. Will I feel guilty? Not a bit. Will I feel grateful? All the time. 24 X 7 on this planet.

So happy Earth Day Gaia. As usual, I will use you and never abuse you. That is just the way I roll.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Honoring Dionysus





"As for me? I am going to enjoy this very short yet festive season of Dionysus. Why? Because after the season of Dionysus and Apollo, might come the season of Mars. And who was Mars? The god of war. Stay tuned."  



Okay - this is not going to be honoring the salacious side of Dionysus. Nor the drunken side. Not even the artsy crafty side. No, many times this god of Roman invention was associated with spring. The rebirth of life which was dead. Yes, both Dionysus and Apollo have ties to the greening of the Earth due to spring.

Yes, we all know that all the Roman and Greek gods were make believe. Good for the ages, but not much else. Still, I love the mythology. It is fun, and a throwback to most of our youths. But even though the appearance of spring may have nothing to do with mythology - it is a time of year which matches no other.

So what is spring? What is it that so enthralled the ancients? And why does it still enthrall us today? Quite simply it is this - rebirth. What was dead is now again alive. Actually it sounds more like God than a god or demigod. But still we are. The rains have stopped for a few days, the sun (Sol) has come out to warm and shine, and the grass and shrubs are growing so fast it is almost like watching a stop action film.

Even years ago when Lerner and Loewe wrote their award winning musical Camelot, that show recognized the magic of spring. In fact the song Its the Lusty Month of May says it well. It starts out, "Its May, its May, the lusty month of May..." sung by Guinevere. Well, we all know the rest.

When I was younger, springtime was a time to be out later, dream bigger dreams, drive faster than we should have, do many other foolish things, or whatever. It is the one season of the year where hope really does spring eternal. Where no matter our age (sorry Merlin), we all "youthen" ten years or so. 

As for me? I am going to enjoy this very short yet festive season of Dionysus. Why? Because after the season of Dionysus and Apollo, might come the season of Mars. And who was Mars? The god of war. Stay tuned.  


From North Star to North Dud





"Hopefully, this is the beginning of the end for this failed experiment with trains. They are trendy, very pretty, and prohibitively expensive. This is the start of the long good-bye for the North Star. Sorry you were such a dud." 



Oh great! Is that old Bird picking on trains again. Does he not have something better to do, like clean out his sock drawer? Nope. Trains are my favorite folly to report and comment on. Why? They symbolize what is wrong with the largess of our government. Trains make no sense in these parts. None. Except to Euro minded Euphorians who have their heads up their .... (never mind).

First a bit of a confession. My wife and I were at the inaugural event for the North Star before it started regular service. Somehow our oldest daughter had wrangled a couple of tickets for us. In any event, the train was the bright, shiny new thing in town. According to its backers, it was going to change everything with our transportation flow coming down from the northwest suburbs.

The legislature did not have enough "juice" to get this thing funded all the way up to St. Cloud, like the vision was. And that is a very good thing. The North Star, which was going to take so much traffic off of Highway 10, the effect on rush hour would be same as if Highway 10 had an extra lane. Ha! Never happened. Not even close. 

Here is what has happened. The North Star is a pig - a dog. Pick your animal. It is incredibly expensive to run. How expensive? About $40 per passenger to do a round trip from Big Lake to downtown and back again. But don't worry - the $40 is not picked up by the passenger - only a small portion. The rest is picked up by you and me.

This legislative session has a transportation bill which just might get signed by the Governor. It might as well be called the "Lanes not trains" bill. Yes sir re Bob! It is starting to "rightsize" many of our public transportation needs. And don't worry - Northstar is included. It will start with no more weekend service. Now that - is a move in the right direction.

Just to show you how much at odds the Governor's vision on trains is from the House, the Governor would like the North Star extended up to St. Cloud. That way instead of the taxpayers funding about $35 of each round trip, they can maybe fund $45. Sorry Governor - that ain't going to happen with this legislative session.

Hopefully, this is the beginning of the end for this failed experiment with trains. They are trendy, very pretty, and prohibitively expensive. This is the start of the long good-bye for the North Star. Sorry you were such a dud. 

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Waiting for the punch...





"What should we do about these guys? Keep waiting them out until they have a submarine launched ballistic missile? Threaten him back? Ask the UN for a resolution which would allow a blockade of North Korea's ports?" 



When I was in grades 6 thru 7, I was a punching bag. I had grown taller before I filled out. Plus, I did not have a whole lot of self confidence. We had a neighborhood bully who was bigger (not taller, bigger) than I. And he had my number. Just about every day he threatened me with some kind of bodily harm. I would tell my folks at the dinner table, begging them to intercede. Nope they would both say - you need to learn how to fight your own battles.

To make a long story shorter, as time went on I bought a set of weights and religiously started working out. Soon my body caught up with my height. Still, at least a couple times a week, the bully would tell me he was going to "bash my teeth in". So every week, I waited for the punch which never came.

Finally one day, I had it. We were playing some sandlot softball, and I tagged him out after he hit a grounder. He was furious. He said, "Now I will bash your teeth in". All of a sudden, I saw red. I started hitting him over and over and over again. I got him on the ground and hit him for every time he threatened me. Finally his mother came over and pulled me off her son. From that day forward, I never feared nor put up with bullies again. 

I tell this story for a reason. As a nation, we are being threatened at least once a week with some kind of Armageddon attack from North Korea. Only this is not a bigger kid threatening us - it is a mouse that roared. But because over the years, we have allowed this "mouse" to get nukes, here we sit, just waiting for his punch.

I don't know about anyone else, but I am so tried of this. I am tired of being threatened. I am tired of his bluster. And I am tired of having this country on the verge of going to a higher alert status just because this young nut ball keeps running his trap. I know that Jim Mattis is very tired of him also. He has as much as said so.

Here is the $64,000 question. What should we do about these guys? Keep waiting them out until they have a submarine launched ballistic missile? Threaten him back? Ask the UN for a resolution which would allow a blockade of North Korea's ports? Or to quote President Fillmore from the movie Independence Day - "Nuke the bastards!". 

Obama was lucky to slide out of town before the "ship started to hit the sand" with the Norks. What to do about the Norks is one of those gut wrenching decisions a Commander in Chief must make in a situation such as this. To nuke North Korea without an armed provocation from them first makes us look like the warmongers. Yet to do nothing is possibly just to wait for the punch to come in.

In the meantime, what can we do? Keep on keeping on. That being said, make sure you are bunkered up. If they manage to slip an EMP burst through our defenses, your bunker will be all that stands between you, your family and a slow death.  

How to lose Georgia without really trying





"If Ryan cannot show either closure or immanent closure on health care reform, tax reform, with no government shut down, the Republicans are not only going to be toast in Georgia's Sixth, but also across the board in 2018."  



What have we seen this month? The return of Pajama Boy. Live and in color and dwelling down in Georgia. The 6th District of Georgia has been a fairly red district until the last election. That is Tom Price's district, which he won by a comfortable re-election margin. However, the President did not. Donald Trump just squeaked by in Georgia. And this is a state which was carried by large Republican margins in 2008 and 2012.

This week was a primary run-off to fill Tom Price's seat. There were a whole slew of candidates vying for this honor. Then out of the blue comes the 2017 version of Pajama Boy. And, this young and inexperienced upstart, came within a whisker of garnering over 50% of the vote. If he had, it would have been "game over". This 30 year old progressive would have been the latest "Mr. Smith goes to Washington."

So what do we know about our new Pajama Boy? First off, his name. His name is Jon Ossoff - last name rhymes with buzz off. He is the son of a Russian Jewish father and Australian mother. His age is 30, and his work experience is about nil, which means he does not know squat.

He does however, have good Democratic values. He is shacking up with his girlfriend who is going to medical school. Plus, where he is staying with his gal pal right now is not even in the district he wants to represent. But - he says he loves the 6th District, and soon he will move back there. Right...

Reading up on his background, he fits into the good life in Georgia like a round peg in a square hole. He is much more like someone from the northeast. Then how in the world could someone as liberal and progressive as this kid, possibly be a threat to the seat once held by Newt Gingrich? Could he even win it in the special election on June 20th?

Simple answer - yes. And guess who will be able to help him win it? George Soros who has been pouring cash into that district? The DNC? No and no again. If he wins, it will be because of Paul Ryan. What? Yes. By June 20th, the new Republican Congress will have had about six months of governing experience. The Republicans will have had governing experience running the House, the Senate and the White House.

If Ryan cannot show either closure or immanent closure on health care reform, tax reform, and no government shut down due to the debt ceiling fiasco, the Republicans are not only going to be toast in Georgia's Sixth, but also across the board in 2018.

The bottom line is this. Game time started on January 3, 2017 of this year. There are no mulligans, no do-overs. If the Republicans cannot show they know how to govern, they will soon be back as the minority opposition party. The new Pajama Boy out of Georgia will only be the first of many Pajama Boys and Pajama Girls which will rise across the nation.

Paul Ryan needs to demonstrate to the nation he is not just all show and no go. The clock is ticking, and people are watching. It is go time Mr. Speaker. Make it count.   

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

The REAL West Side Story





"Time for a game changer. We owe to the one sailor from the Pueblo, and the thirty-one from Deep Sea 129 who lost their lives at the hands of the Norks. Most of all however, we owe it to ourselves."



Yes, I have said this before. The movie West Side Story is one of my all time favorites. A modern day Romeo and Juliet. And the gangs. The Sharks and the Jets. Again, a modern version of the feud between the Montague and Capulet clans. As much I liked both Romeo and Juliet as well as West Side Story, they are both fiction. What is happening right now on the western side of the Pacific is anything but fiction. This is our west side story.

The other day, I went through some of the history on how Korea got to where it is today. I also addressed one of the darker days in the history of the United States Navy - the day the USS Pueblo was illegally captured by North Korea. But there is more. There is another dark day for the United States Naval Security Group, compliments of the North Koreans.

Less than four full months after the crew of the USS Pueblo was released by the North Koreans, the "game" stepped up a notch. On the 15th of April 1969, an EC-121 aircraft took off from NAS Atsugi Japan. Its mission was to conduct routine surveillance on Western Soviet and North Korean activity. No big deal - we did it to the Russians and they did it to us. The EC-121 would take off, get on station over international waters, loiter for a few hours, and then head back to base.

Just like with the Pueblo, the North Koreans were either ignorant or confused on two things with how the Cold War "game" was played. First, know where international waters are. And if for some reason a ship or airplane accidentally stray into North Korean waters, give a warning. Second, you don't shoot down a plane or capture a ship. That is an act of war.

But that is exactly what the North Koreans did to the EC-121, call sign Deep Sea 129. They sent up a MIG to blast this unarmed surveillance plane right out of the sky. Eight officers and twenty-three enlisted were lost. The response of the United States to this provocation? Same as it was to the Pueblo being captured. Nothing.

Both the Pueblo and the Deep Sea 129 strike home close to me. Both were staffed by cryptologists from the Naval Security Group. It strikes home to me not only because I am an American - I am also a retired cryptologist from the Naval Security Group. The loss of the Deep Sea 129 was the largest loss of American life during the Cold War.

Do the Pueblo and the Deep Sea 129 incidents cloud my judgement on how we should handle the current North Korean situation? You bet your sweet behind they do! Do I want revenge? No - justice. The price for taking innocent American lives, pirating and retaining a United States commissioned ship, and kidnapping and torturing her crew is simple -  regime change and disarmament. And when I say disarmament, I mean the whole enchilada. Nukes and everything.

After World War II, Japan decided it no longer wanted a blue water navy. Nor did the world want them to have one. So Japan has a SDF (Self Defense Force). That is it. Korea also has shown it is not mature enough to have a military like it has now. It has enough munitions (not nuclear) pointed at Seoul to level that very large city in less than a day. Millions could die. 

That is today's West Side Story. I am tired of the stork dance. I am tired of the games. I am tired of the almost daily threats. Most of all, I am tired of these guys. Time for a game changer. We owe to the one sailor from the Pueblo, and the thirty-one from Deep Sea 129 who lost their lives at the hands of the Norks. Most of all however, we owe it to ourselves.  

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Educated Idiots






"Many of our kids are coming out of high schools or colleges acting like educated idiots. Learning revisionist history and PC babble, thanks to curriculum like Common Core."  



This morning I am going to tie two different news stories together from two different news sources. First, as I was waking up and watching the local news, our current legislative session was addressed. This week Easter is over, and it is back to work. The reporter said that unless Dayton gets additional funding for early childhood, he might not sign the bill. And if he does not sign and vetoes, the state government could shut down (again). Big whoop.

Then in the editorial section of the paper this morning was a letter to the editor penned by some young snowflake. In this letter, the snowflake said the US is just as guilty with military aggression in Korea as the Norks are. Huh? At first, I was tempted to refer to her as something harsher than "snowflake" - but then it hit me. It is not more early childhood this state needs - it is teaching true history, rather than PC babble, in high school and college.

For example, if Ms Snowflake had studied history while in school, she would have known that Korea was really a product of World War II. That Korea became a negotiation chip once the war was over and Japan was defeated and kicked out of Korea. In 1948, an agreement was made to split Korea into two parts at the 38th Parallel. Russia would take charge of the North, and the United States would take charge of the south. 

Governments were set up on both sides and life went on. Oh yes, until the war. Since neither North Korea nor South Korea thought the 38th Parallel was going to be a permanent boarder, they both wanted a unified Korea. But the North had even bolder ideas. They wanted to take South Korea back by force. In June of 1950, forces from North Korea invaded South Korea.

Now, If Ms. Snowflake is reading this, here come the important part. The United Nations then determined this was an act of aggression by the North and passed Security Council Resolution 83. That resolution authorized the formation and deployment of a United Nations force to Korea. This UN force would be made up of fighters from twenty-one nations to counter North Korea's aggression.

It is true the United States made up the lion's share of the UN force. That being said, the United States was involved by decree of the United Nations. The war was bloody and long. Many died on both sides and the war went on until July of 1953. At that time an armistice was signed which established both Korea's, separated by a demilitarized zone. No peace agreement was ever signed, so the two nations are still technically at war.

Here is today's lesson in a nut shell Ms. Snowflake. Learn something now, that your were never taught in a failed government high school. The United States still has troops stationed in South Korea for one purpose only - to protect South Korea from another attack from North Korea. They did in 1950, and can (and maybe will) do it again. It is as simple as that. We are not aggressors. In fact, it is expensive to maintain a force that large over there. If North Korea would behave, we would gladly bring our troops home.

I do get testy when I read a letter like I did this morning. Filled with lies. Many of our kids are coming out of high schools or colleges acting like educated idiots. Learning revisionist history and PC babble, thanks to curriculum like Common Core.

Are folks on the Right against education? Absolutely not. We are however, against the teacher's unions who push this pablum down our our kid's throats rather teaching them true facts. Time for a change folks.