Tuesday, October 31, 2017

The day of the dead...

"The prediction I gave my wife is a simple one. I think when the tax bill (for what it is) is released, it will be a goner. DOA. That day rather than massive celebrations, the release day will look more like the day of the dead."

I am sorry - did you think I was talking about Halloween? I am not. I am talking about something which might be a whole lot scarier. What? This "once in a generation" tax reform bill, which is looking more like taking a dilapidated old car in for an oil change rather than buying a much better, and much needed new car. Yes, based on what is being leaked out of Washington, this POS stands a good chance to be the clunker of the decade. 

Taking the boy back home yesterday afternoon, I was trying to listen to a business show on the radio. A long time financial expert was on. He was trying to explain how this "once in a generation" opportunity got so mucked up. His words - "Rather than a huge step forward, it became a half step, then a quarter step, and when the dust settles if might just be a tenth of a step or less". Wow - that did not sound good.

The latest "leak" is that the reduction of corporate taxes from the mid 30's down to 20 percent might need to be phased in over five years. Why? To get it passed. Even though of all the elements in this new tax bill, reducing the corporate tax is the biggest no brainer, enough might vote against it to scuttle the entire bill. If that is the case, get ready for a moderate to large size correction on the street. Many of the recent gains in the stock market were in anticipation of this long overdue corporate tax fix.

Here is what I told my wife after the business show was over. My take on why this tax issue is so hard under Trump and was not so hard under Reagan. Today we have no money. To come up with a new tax system which both un-complicates the current tax code as well as gives the middle class a break (and without exploding the debt), is like threading a needle with a blindfold on.

The old fiscal hawk which still lives inside of me is thinking something almost treasonous to the cause. The tax fix might need to be only two things. First, scrap the current tax code and make it very, very simple. Leave in the cornerstone deductions like the mortgage and state tax, leave the standard deduction alone, and leave the current rates alone. Second, do the corporate fix in one year and not five. That is it.

Why do I think our tax rates need to stay the same? We really, really need the money right now. I know, I know - the Laffer Curve. With all due respect to Dr. Laffer, I think with the amount of money we need to upgrade the military, to pay for the recent very damaging hurricanes and fires, to fix infrastructure, to pour into our entitlements (including the failing Obamacare) to keep them afloat, we just flat out need money - and lots of it. If we act fat, dumb and happy like none of these things matter, we will start adding on to the debt faster than Obama did.

The prediction I gave my wife is a simple one. I think when the tax bill (for what it is) is released, it will be a goner. DOA. That release day, rather than massive celebrations, will look more like the day of the dead. I may be wrong, but that is my prediction and I am sticking with it.  

Monday, October 30, 2017

From Russia, without love...

"Soon, everyone will be investigating everyone, and Washington will look more like the Ringling Brothers instead of the hub of freedom and independence."

I will have to give the Russians credit for one thing. Without firing a shot, and probably not spending a whole lot of money, they have become our Halloween Boogy Man. Not just for the Republicans - also the Democrats. We are about to really rip ourselves to shreds because everyone now believes the Russians were either behind this surprise election victory of Donald Trump, some kind of Trump/Russian collusion, corrupting the Clinton machine to obtain 20% of our uranium, or preparing phony dossiers. What a mess.

I would love to be a fly on the wall in the Kremlin when this topic comes up. I am sure as the vodka is being tossed down the hatch in celebration, the Russians are dumbfounded by their good luck. How could this have turned out so good for them? All this concern they might have had with America becoming strong once again is starting to wane as 97% of the attention in Washington right now is on self destruction. By golly - Nikita was right when he pounded his shoe! We will bury the Americans - without firing a shot!

Today Paul Manifort has been ordered to surrender to the witch hunter Muller. It seems Muller was looking into some business transactions of Manifort from many years ago. Huh? What did that have to do with the results of the election? As suspected, the Republican hating Muller (and BFF of Comey) is now looking for anything, in anyplace. Whereas we have a real cauldron brewing with the uranium question, Muller could care less about that avenue. Nope. If it is not Trump related, Muller could give a rip. 

Here is what I think is going to happen. While Muller continues to waste time and money (of ours), AG Sessions and the House oversight committee are going to go after Clinton Inc. hammer and tong. The harder Muller pushes, the harder will be the push back on the Clintons by the Republicans. This is going to suck all the oxygen out of the air, and the first victim of this vacuum might just be the tax bill.

I also think the Republicans might get so pissed off at Muller, they might start investigating him and his merry group of DNC lawyers. Soon, everyone will be investigating everyone, and Washington will look more like the Ringling Brothers instead of the hub of freedom and independence. Nothing will get done, everyone's approval rating will go in the tank, and J. Q. Public will believe we have finally become ungovernable. 

Thank you Vlad. This was a nice present you gave us. In fact, the tag on this present must have said, "To American, from Russia - without love"...

Sunday, October 29, 2017

The boys from yesteryear....

"I am honored to be one of the many who was listed in the video. I am honored to know I have served with so many of my contemporaries. Not only honored, but proud."

Yesterday in the mail I received a surprise letter. In the letter was a CD and a thumb drive. The thumb drive was a video tribute to all the young men (and a few women) who answered the call to serve this country after graduation, some fifty years ago. Yes, I was one of them. 

The team who put this tribute together have been passionate about setting the record straight for years now. About righting a wrong. You see, when the boys from yesteryear came home to the United States after serving in combat or otherwise, the "welcome home" mat was not out. In fact, many were besmirched, disrespected, or worse.

I have made this point before. Am I embarrassed when some stranger comes up and thanks me for my service? No, not a bit. Even though it is not necessary for folks to do so. Like most, when the plane touched down at Travis Air Force Base after being gone from friends and family for over a year, a simple smile, nod, or "welcome home" would have meant the world to us. Instead, there was indifference, ignorance and even scorn.

Today's young men and women who have answered the call to venture into far away lands like Kuwait, Afghanistan, or Iraq, get a much different homecoming. It is like we have come full circle since World War II. Veterans today are looked upon with honor and favor rather than dishonor and disfavor.

I remember one of my wife's relatives asking me not long after we were married, why I went in the service. He was younger than I, so he never had the specter of the draft hanging over his head. Speaking of which, the draft was the reason many my age answered the call. Many young men were either drafted or chose to enlist. Some even volunteered for the draft.

I had lost my 2S student deferment while up at St. Cloud State. It seemed like every week, some young man would all of a sudden be gone from the dorm I stayed in. Drafted, and then gone. I knew my time was limited, and there was no way on this green Earth I could catch up with enough credits to get my student deferred 1A classification back. So I took my option. I drove to downtown St. Cloud to the federal building, and joined the Navy. Little did I know the four years I signed for would end up be twenty-one and a career.

It turns out when the lottery came out in late 1969, I was already done with boot camp and in service school. As soon as the numbers were announced, many young men who had joined the Navy to get out of the draft let out blood curdling screams. Why? Their draft lottery numbers (based on their birthdays) were 250 and above. No chance of being drafted with those numbers. My number? I will never forget it. My number was 10. One way or the other, I was destined to serve. 

Would I have still served during those turbulent times if there had been no draft? I have thought about that many times in my life. I would like to think the answer would have been yes. For service to our country was not an option. I, like many of my contemporaries, was raised by parents from the greatest generation. I was raised in a house where love of country and the duty to preserve freedom and liberty were unspoken yet necessary values. 

Looking at the video presentation last night brought a tear to my eye. Seeing all those (at one time) young folks who answered the call, left a profound impact on me. And who were those young men and women? They were us. Us living in a time and place very distant from where we are now. 

I am honored to be one of the many who was listed in the video. I am honored to know I have served with so many of my contemporaries. Not only honored, but proud.

And for those brave young men who made the ultimate sacrifice, for whom do the bells toll? They toll for thee. Sleep well brothers - until we meet again.  

Saturday, October 28, 2017

It all starts with the school board

"As the old saying goes, without vision, the people perish. Only in this case, without vision, the hopes of many kids perish."  

I remember hearing this many years ago. And I have heard it just about every election cycle since. If you want to get to the root of the root, fix the school boards. Why? Many of them are kissing cousins of Education Minnesota. That along with the "Minnesota Miracle" formula in how we allocate education dollars, has led to the biggest cabal this state's history. And meanwhile, kids, mostly poor and minority from the inner cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, continued to be flushed down the drain.

Somehow all who are involved in this cabal practice the same talking points. Money = results. We hear that all the time, especially before a levy or referendum. But here are the facts. We spend a ton of money in Minneapolis and St. Paul and get some of the worst results. Here is another fact. School boards are notorious for the mismanagement of funds. School boards, along with the superintendent and staff, act like Keystone Cops in some districts. 

I have told the story on social media about the district we live in. About 20 years ago, a new middle school was built. It was supposed to have a pool, like many other middle schools have. Only this one was built undersized with no diving area. Scratch the high school swim team using it. It also did not have an outside entrance. Scratch having the YMCA rent usage from it. It also did not have yearly maintenance money set aside. Scratch using it at all. It has sat idle for over 15 years now. And who is held accountable for this mess? Listen carefully, and you will hear the crickets chirping.

No, in our school district we are mostly concerned with who is gay and who is not. Who is trans and who is not. What type of bathrooms to put in for our every expanding variety of sexuality. How to deal with bullies. How do we all feel? Is there a safe room, where we can be protected from the past election results? Where can we all go just to have a good cry.

Good flipping grief! What about the A, B, C's? Math? Science? Education which will prepare the work force for jobs which are not even created yet? And enough of this dumbing down and social promotion. I also told a story on social media of a young girl in the inner city who received straight A's through high school. She got a full scholarship to an Ivy League college. Once there, she was given an entrance exam to see if she had any weaknesses. To her dismay, she tested out at an 8th grade level. 

Yes it starts with the school board. Elect good people who eschew the cabal. Then elect good representatives who can fix this broken Department of Education we have in this state. Finally, elect a Governor with vision, who can lead the charge and share that vision for Minnesota. We need to do more for less in education. We need accountability and success.

Who is a Governor with that kind of vision? More than one on the Republican side of the fence. However, I believe the one with the best vision is Commissioner Jeff Johnson. As the old saying goes, without vision, the people perish. Only in this case, without vision, the hopes of many kids perish.  

Friday, October 27, 2017

Moon bats galore!

"We owe it to ourselves to have a smart efficient government. Not a cave full of moon bats."  

Many people I know can't stand the former Democratic Speaker of the House. Me - I appreciate her. As I have said a hundred or so times before, there is nothing so bad  the Right can do to hurt the Left than what the Left does to themselves. And with many (and I mean many) of them, each time they open up their mouths is an opportunity to display how clueless they are, or how our government education system has failed them. 

Yesterday was a huge day for many hurting families in America. President Trump declared opioid abuse to be a "health emergency" for this country. It has a huge step in the right direction, as this opioid crisis has gone from bad to worse. Right now we are losing about 150 people a day to the effects of opioids. 

Right after the speech was over by the President, Ms. Nancy made her way to a hot mike. Instead of giving him a "Bravo, Mr. President!" like so many did, she said something incredibly stupid (again). In fact this ranked right up there with, "If you want to know what is in the bill, we must first pass the bill." She grabbed the mike and said, "Mr. President, show me the money." 

Unlike her hero, Barack Obama who loved to unconstitutionally allocate money from the Executive Branch, President Trump understands our Constitution. He knows that in accordance with Article One of the Constitution, only Congress can allocate money. So when the Minority Leader of the House asked the President to allocate the money for this new initiative, that explained quite a bit. Like why the Democrats continue to lose market share in the House, the Senate, and governing seats all across the nation.

More examples now of moon bats. One Democrat member of the House thinks we have too many people stationed on Guam. So much so, he thinks the island might tip over. Another Democrat member of the House said she feared Trump would lead us into war with North Korea if North Korea launched a nuclear attack on us. Another Democrat member of the House thinks our Constitution is 400 years old. There is much more in this treasure trove, but I will stop here.

Somehow, our government continues to function (sort of). The thing we need to do as voters is to quit electing, and then re-electing, idiots. Listen to what candidates say on the trail. If they are running for re-election, look at their record. We owe it to ourselves to have a smart, efficient government. Not a cave full of moon bats.  

Thursday, October 26, 2017

The swamp fights back!

"But the battle is far from over, and we need to support our President in this fight. Why? If he loses, we all lose."

Oh come on Mr. President! You did not think this was going to be easy, did you? That this long established swamp on the Potomac was just going to roll over, play dead, and let you drain it? Oh no - you are treading on their sacred ground. And ever since you launched your campaign. the swamp dwellers have been out to get you. And destroy you.

I bet when you first made that pledge Mr. President, to take care of draining the Potomac swamp, you had no idea of the reach of the tentacles of this thing. How the swamp had so totally coopted the media that your side of the story, as well as the truth, is rarely mentioned. However, they all seem to follow the same narrative. And when you called them out for producing "fake news", you really hit them where it hurts. And why is that? It was the truth.

The tentacles of the swamp have also grabbed hold of some members from your party Mr. President. The lure of enriching themselves on "K" Street as a second career is just too tempting. And if people are on your team to clean up the "K" Street express (which is a huge part of the corruption), they will be persona non grata by the swamp dwellers when their terms are up.

Yesterday, the bombshells hit about the depth of the corruption with the Clintons with the uranium scandal as well as the "dossier" scandal. Flicking between MSNBC and CNN, I was looking for the breaking news on these huge stories. Nope. Talked about the weather and the rice harvest in Thailand. Oh yes, and the Trump/Russia collusion myth. But the Clintons? Sorry - off limits.

How biased is the coverage against Donald Trump? Sit down for this one folks, as it is a show stopper. Jimmy Carter, never known for being a conservative, has come out publicly and said the following things in a CNN interview:

  • Players should stand for the national anthem.
  • Obama did not live up to his wonderful statements.
  • He voted for Sanders over Clinton, and (drum roll please)...
Say what you want about Jimmy Carter, but he never became part of the swamp. Maybe it was due to his strong faith. Unlike the Clintons, who made zillions of dollars from the living in the swamp, Jimmy Carter did not. He just wanted to build houses for Habitat for Humanity and help the poor. AND - he is able at his age of 90+ to call a spade a spade for what is happening in Washington.

I wish I could give you better news on the swamp Mr. President. It is wide and it is deep. The swamp dwellers will keep coming after you all the days of your term(s). And when you leave Washington, revisionists from the swamp will be working overtime to discredit your accomplishments and to paint you with a much different brush.  

I for one, am glad that Donald Trump has been hardened by the street brawling he learned from years and years doing business in midtown Manhattan. It has made him tough as nails in his dealings with the swamp dwellers. But the battle is far from over, and we need to support our President in this fight. Why? If he loses, we all lose.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Politics and corn Flake

"It will be interesting to see how this plays out. Will Senators like Flake, Corker and McCain be seen as reformers who tried to tame an out of control President, or Benedict Arnold times three. Stay tuned - this is far from over."

Oh my - there is way too much the Bird could address on this almost frosty morning. Watching a cable news show last night, the host also said he did not know where to begin - way, way too much happening. So I will first talk about the strange title to this blog article. The corn Flake is Senator Jeff Flake. He and his Senate buddy, Senator Corker have decided to go out with a bang by trying to wound this President. In reality, the only wounding will be to the American people if they succeed in hosing up the yet to be released tax bill.

Here is the truth about Jeff Flake. And President Trump was correct on this one. Back home, Flake's numbers are tanking. He is considered one of the least popular Senators in the nation. To survive a primary, and then to win in the general, he would have really needed the President's support.

However, one cannot outrun the past. When Jeff Flake signed on to be part of the "Gang of Eight" to legalize illegal immigration, that painted a big target on his back for Donald Trump. Trump could not for the life of him, understand why someone in a border state would not be a staunch of border control. So in the President's opinion, Flake was weak on immigration. He became part of the swamp which needed to be drained.

What is going on right now (in my most humble opinion) is nothing less than a scorched earth policy led by some of the heroes of the Republican establishment. Heroes did you say? Heroes to whom? Why to the Democrats of course. With this rebellion against the President, I can start to see smoke on the horizon. And that smoke is coming from the yet to be delivered tax bill. It might be going up in flames. 

Now if I were living inside Trump's skin, I would have played this one a bit differently. I would have kept my powder dry with my opinions and tweeting. In other words, just like Mario Puzo taught us in the "Godfather" novel - never let them know what you are thinking. To pour fuel on this fire when every possible Republican vote is needed to get some key items passed, maybe was not his smartest play.

Here is something else which the President needs to consider. Even though both Corker and Flake have announced they are leaving the Senate, they are not leaving tomorrow. No, they will be around until their replacements are sworn in on some cold day in January 2019. And don't count out John McCain either. There is some very bad blood which still runs between him and the President. Great harm can come from the trio of McCain, Corker and Flake.

One final comment. Disgruntled Senators can address the Senate body and call the President names, impugn his character, and blast his style. It is water off duck's back. Donald Trump has been like this most of his 71 years, and he is not going to change. And sorry, his hard core base loves it when he rips into the Washington establishment. That is why they elected him. To drain the swamp. To get rid of the drift wood.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out. Will Senators like Flake, Corker and McCain be seen as reformers who tried to tame this "out of control" President, or Benedict Arnold times three. Stay tuned - this is far from over.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Blink 182

"Here are the facts. As of 2017, millions worldwide have seen a "something". In fact in Washington DC in 1952, thousands saw a fleet of UFOs invade our national air space around the capitol. Twice."

Bird, why in the world are you talking about a rock group which most of us have never heard of? Good question. I am one of those "most of us" who have never heard of them either. So what is the deal then? Tom Delonge, who is a member of the band, has a compelling story to tell about (get ready for this), what is going on "out there". I know, I know. Bird - you have been down this road before. But this time, Delonge, just like Dr. Steven Greer before him, has some heavy weights backing up his assertions.

When his name first came to my attention, I did some snooping into his background. Yep - typical rock guy. However, for some reason, he has done some some rock solid research -valid enough to draw some name brand people in with him. Like who you might ask? Like the former head of Lockheed Martin's Skunk Works, where all the new stuff is tested. And boy, does the man have a story! 

There are some brand new YouTube videos on line showing where Delonge is flanked by some of his highly reputable colleagues. Thanks to advent of technology, we now have thousands, maybe tens of thousands, maybe even millions of radar recordings, camera shots, cell phone shots, or whatever - to show some proof that what is flying around in our skies should not be there. 

One might ask, what is in this for Tom Delonge and all the folks who are following him? One word - the truth. If what these things are just "nothings", please tell us what they really are. And then - don't insult us by telling us that are just "swamp gas" or imagination.

Delonge and Greer are leading a cadre of people to find out just one basic fact. And they are good either way. What are these "things" which keep popping up on radar or in our line of sight? A concern? A blessing? Or, don't worry about it;? And please - just the facts.

Well, here are some facts. As of 2017, millions worldwide have been on record as seeing a "something". There are probably millions more who have kept their mouths shut, just to keep their reputation or oath. 

In fact in 1952 around Washington DC, thousands saw a fleet of UFOs invade our national air space around the capitol. They were also "painted" on radar. Twice.  So real, that fighters were scrambled to intercept or shoot down. More than twice.

 And then in March of 1997, thousands more saw the now famous "Phoenix Lights". Those who were up close and personal, have hollered "BS!" at the fact these were just flares coming off a plane. They say it. What they saw was a mile wide "something", which glided over their houses, blocking out the stars, without making so much as a sound. In their witness account - this was not a "nothing".

Here is what I will say to both Greer and Delonge. "Get er' done!". As someone who has seen a "something" (with my son-in-law about ten years ago), at least tell us what we saw. And make it plausible. Otherwise, the guessing game will continue. And there will be more like Dr. Greer and Tom Delonge. Just saying... 

Little Chicago meets Little Mogadishu

"Until we let cops be cops again, until we practice broken window policing again, until we use the hated 'stop and frisk' again, until we have sentencing with some teeth in it again, get used to it."

Big blaring headlines in the paper today. "17 shot in 5 days of metro mayhem". I thought for a minute I was reading the Chicago Tribune rather than the Star Tribune from Minneapolis. But alas and alack - it was the home town newspaper. It seems the current trend of shooting people for the hell of it in the hood is really catching on here in the City of Lakes. And why not? We have protected hoodlums and vilified the police. You know - kind of like what has happened in Chicago years ago. And now Chicago is more dangerous than a war zone.

I kind of feel sorry for the chamber of commerce in Minneapolis. First they have been yipping about the burdensome non-business friendly regulations that the Minneapolis City Clown-cell has imposed on them. Then the shooting gallery. They had the audacity to tell the starry eyed Mayor that her city was no longer safe. That the out of control crime was driving away visitors. Betsy as much as said shut up and sit down - we have to get ready for the Super Bowl this winter. And a good time will be had by all.

The Cedar Riverside part of town is now known to many as Little Mogadishu. Why? It is the hub of chain migration in the Twin Cities. There are times when driving through that area is truly like being overseas. Well Little Mogadishu - we would like to introduce to you to the developing Little Chicago. It lies a tad north of you, and is located up by Lowry Avenue. Or as some like to call that area, the near north side.

For you folks in Little Mogadishu who were fleeing a war zone, guess what? You have landed in another one. Only this one is not controlled by ISIS or the Taliban. This one is controlled by our out of control drug culture and the gangs who benefit from the proceeds. How bad is it? One of the people shot was a female who was just stopped at a traffic light. Some thugs rolled up next to her and opened up with gunfire. Why can't the cops do something to stem this senseless violence? Because the city leaders have insisted on the evisceration of their authority.

Some developers are thinking about pouring scads of money into the old Dayton's building and making it into a "destination location". Good luck with that one. By the way developers - check out the bus stops close to your location. Only the bravest of the brave dare visit one of them. The "Minneapolis Miracle" is rapidly becoming the "Minneapolis Mirage".

Until we let cops be cops again, until we practice broken window policing again, until we use the hated "stop and frisk" again, until we have sentencing with some teeth in it again, get used to it. All I can say to the subjects who live in the once lovely city of Minneapolis is the old familiar saying - we get the government we deserve. Remember that next month when you vote for more of the same. 

Monday, October 23, 2017

The tax cut that wasn't

"And the biggest beneficiaries to this bill (the corporations) will be happier than pigs in manure. As far as the middle class living in Dayton type states are concerned, it is just going to be a big yawn."

I am just a bundle of jits this morning. In fact, I had trouble getting to sleep even thinking about it. What is that you might ask? The "historic" tax cut which is now being molded into something resembling a law which the President can sign. Forgive me if I snicker just a bit at the word "historic". This big "tax cut" bill is going to leave some with no tax decrease, a few paying a bit more, and the our national debt taking a broadside. 

What frustrates me is this. For the first time since Ronald Reagan, we could have really "stirred the pot" and come away with something which truly was "historic". Of course it would be without any Democratic votes. We all knew that going in. Crazy Bernie and "Pocahontas" both want to soak the rich more. In their eyes, the rich are getting off way too easy. They ignore the fact that almost half the people in this country pay zero federal income tax and the top 1% of the income earners pay almost 40% of the federal income taxes. In fact, the top 10% pay 70%. So please - that tired old argument about "soaking the rich" for more has become very passe.

I have done some "bunny math" on how this new "historic" tax cut will affect my family. Since we live in a very high taxed state (thanks for nothing, Dayton!), we will be lucky to break even. In other words, all these "bennies" which are suppose to help everyone, will just go speeding by us on the highway of life.

Of course, it goes without saying that we are in the absolute worst tax bracket. The rich? Nope - the class which always get passed over. The middle class. There were many opportunities which were missed by this "historic" tax fix. For example, exempting social security from federal income tax. Many argue it has already been taxed, so this is double taxation. The flat tax? The fair tax? Both gone with the wind. By the way, the Democrats HATE both of those concepts. Why? Not progressive enough. Way too fair.

Right now, it appears even with all the caterwauling and demagoguery from the Democrats, this tax bill along with a new budget are both going to pass. And the biggest beneficiaries to this tax bill (the corporations) will be happier than pigs in manure. As far as the middle class who live in Dayton type states are concerned, it is just going to be a big yawn.


Sunday, October 22, 2017

Our life in debt...

"What is our future with this never ending debt. Greece - or something like it. Whenever you spend more than you make, be it a family or a government, nothing good comes out of it."

Holy smokes Bird! What a morbid topic for a Sunday morning! Yes, I am afraid it is. But debt is becoming a big part of our lives in this country. The old "pay as you go" is about to also go - go the way of the Dodo Bird. Even though most households do a much better job in controlling their debt than the government does, easy credit today has led families down a road which will be very difficult to come back on.

Why has debt become so accepted today and the word itself not looked upon as an invective? To start with, look at our leaders. Speaking of becoming extinct just like the Dodo Bird, what the hey has happened to this nation's deficit hawks? Either they have all become deaf, dumb and blind, or they simply don't care anymore. 

There was just an article in the paper last week that the deficit for GFY 17 is now estimated to be $666B. And that is with a Republican President, Republican House and Republican Senate. No blaming the free spending Democrats for this one. But this number is only a harbinger of things to come. How so, you might ask?

  • Healthcare - ICYMI, ObamaCare is still alive and well - okay, maybe not well, and barely alive. There is no fix in sight in either the House or Congress. Here is the bottom line - to keep citizens from being skewered by out of control premiums, Uncle Sugar might have to stand in the gap. And if the government does that with any temporary or permanent fix, our chubby debt will become even more obese.
  • Infrastructure - This was probably Donald Trump's only campaign promise which was cheered by the Democrats as well as the Republicans. Of course, that one pesky question was never asked - how in the world are we going to pay for this? We will hear some gobblety gook about how in the long term, this will be a good investment for the country. And then the bill for doing this necessary upgrade will land squarely on our debt.
  • Emergency Spending - Oh my. What a year! Harvey followed by Irma followed by Maria followed by the firestorms in California. Big price tag. And after the debacle of Katrina, the federal government is going overboard to promise two chickens in every pot for those who were affected by these natural disasters. Ever wonder where the money comes from to fund emergency spending? Take a peek at the debt clock. 
  • Tax Cuts - This one hurts. The tax plan which is being rolled out, is also part of the GFY 18 budget. To pay for these tax cuts, the new budget has a $1.5T projected deficit. Only have one word to say about this one - WOW!
A shrinking few might ask, "When are we ever going to get out of debt?" The answer to that questions might be very unpopular, because it is "never". Never that is, until something really bad happens and everything collapses - and we start all over again. Debt is tied to our nation's finances like peanut butter is to jelly. We are stuck with it. It has become part of our national culture.

What is our future with this never ending debt. Greece - or something like it. Whenever you spend more than you make, be it a family or a government, nothing good ever comes out of it.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

To be fed or to feed...

"The nation right now is ripe for a renaissance in how we view God the Father. In how we view each other. About how we love - agape love. Turbulent times might be upon us soon. It is time to come home."

My wife and I have had this discussion many times. Early in our church life, we went to a church to be fed. Didn't volunteer to do much else in the early days, just sit in the back. I think my wife broke the ice when she became a Sunday School teacher for some very young kids. As as teacher, that was an easy give for her to make. I was next when I agreed to be the Treasurer of the church. That turned out to be a much bigger give than I had counted on. Anyhow, that is how we served, and learned, until our new house was built and we moved further north. We then joined a church closer to our new home.

Time went on, and we got involved in different lay ministries. Our kids grew older and became involved in a church closer to where they went to high school. After fifteen years at our new church, we decided to change again. And it was at that church, which was in the middle of very strong anointing, that we truly learned how important it was to feed, and being fed was not as important to us as we once thought it was.

What was important to us in attending a church? First and foremost, the preaching and the teaching had to be spot on God centered, and 100% Biblical. There is not room for error on that one. Next, the church needed to offer training on how to equip believers. Not just how to memorize the Bible - how to make the Bible come alive in people's lives. How to practice the Great Commission without turning people off. How to serve the least of us, both near and far. How to minster pastoral care when someone is sick, hurting or in need of prayer. How to lead others in small group settings. And most importantly, how to use the gifts of the Holy Spirit to accomplish all of the above.

We were blessed as that church offered everything we needed. Guess what we have found since leaving that church which gave us so much training and equipping? There are no perfect churches out there which can fill all the buckets which you think need to be filled. But that is really okay. Once you equipped to serve and mentor others (and you will know it when you are), it is okay if your church is not all things to all missions. Take advantage of what he church offers, and what it does not, do on your own. That is why you are equipped.

Do on your own???? Like what??? Here is a good example. A few weeks ago we were visiting friends in Wisconsin. On a Monday morning, they asked us if we could like to join their weekly prayer group. It was totally ad hoc. They got together, prayed for the city, the police who protect them, our President, and anything else which was on people's hearts. It was a group of Christians from different denominations. It was awesome to say the least.

Why can't that happen all over? There are enough of us who have the training to make it happen. In fact - forget the training. To be a prayer warrior, only requires a heart for God and others. We can all do it. We can all pray for each other, the sick, the hungry, the hurting, and the unsaved.

The nation right now is ripe for a renaissance in how we view God the Father. In how we view each other. About love - agape love. Turbulent times might be upon us soon. It is time to come home. Time to feed others as well as being fed. Time to make peace with others and most importantly, our God. 

Agape love teaches us there is nothing so good we can do that God will love us more and nothing so bad we can do where God will love us less. This really is the opportunity of eternity, and it is open to all. No religion required - just a relationship with Jesus. The rest will all work itself out. 

And now Niger?

"Representative Wilson, instead of relishing in the idea she might be a "rock star" because of all the attention she is getting in the aftermath, should instead remember one thing. Freedom is not free."

Many have been scratching their heads over the fact we recently lost four (4) honorable Green Berets in Niger. They were caught in an ambush by Islamic rebels. Other than that, we know nothing. Well we do know that some Representative from North Miami who dresses up everyday like a cowgirl, is trying to make this into a racial issue and political hay. But the rest of us are still asking the question - why Niger?

Before I go further, a bit of history. The Army Base I was stationed on in Okinawa had a movie theater. There was a training base for the Green Berets down the road, and another one for Recon Marines a bit further away. These guys would be back and forth to Viet Nam and then back to Okinawa for R+R and training. Every now and again, a bunch of Recons and a bunch of Green Berets would show up at the same time to see a movie. Lots and lots of trash talk, and sometimes push would come to shove. Both the Green Berets and the Marine Recons were tougher than nails, and it was always wise to give both of them a wide berth.

On one of the cable shows this morning, a former special operator was a guest. He was asked about Niger. Oh yes, we have a few hundred operators over there as we speak. And Niger is full of bad guys, ranging all the way from Boko Harem to Al Qaeda. Then he dropped the other shoe. Right now, we have operators in an many as 50 countries. 

These men are simply the best of the best. They have been trained to fight and survive in remote and dangerous places. As we remember from the movie Lone Survivor, as good as our operators are, they can be killed. They all know the risks before going into this field. But as the War on Terror continues to spread throughout the world, the four who died in Niger are probably not going to be the last.

Representative Wilson, instead of relishing in the idea she might be a "rock star" because of all the attention she is getting in the aftermath, should instead remember one critical thing. Freedom is not free. Our operators are truly out at the tip of the spear. Thank God for our brave men and women who protect us as well as other innocents, each and every day.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Bring us together!

"What will truly bring us together? A common understanding our our founding documents. Of our Holy Bible. That is it. We will be together once again."

Who can ever forget that horrible day in May of 1970 at Kent State University? How somehow, somewhere, student protests against the Viet Nam War turned deadly. How young kids in the National Guard, about the same age as the protesters, for some reason unknown to most, opened fire. When the hail of bullets stopped, four students lie dead and others wounded.

All this in less than two years after the introduction of the Hippies and the Yippies at the apocalyptic Democratic Convention in Chicago. One would have thought the nation had healed a bit after that Chicago event.

This is odd. That spring day in May which was almost burned in infamy at college campuses, hardly gets a notice today. May 4th is just another day in May. Even though I was over seas when it happened, I remember it well. I remember my sadness over the event. I did not blame the protesters, I did not blame the National Guard, I only blame circumstances. It was so tragic, everyone involved just wanted to live that day over again so this bloodshed, and that blot on history, could have been avoided.

What I remember from reading the Stars and Stripes in the days and weeks following the shooting, were the number of protesters carrying signs which simply said, "Bring us Together". The Viet Nam War, which was fought by politicians instead of our generals, was starting to rip this country apart. As crafty as Dick Nixon was as a President, he was not the one to bring us together.

And during the 1960's and early 1970's, that wound from the Viet Nam War, began to metastasize - mostly in the Democratic Party. They believed the only one to truly bring us together was a messiah like George McGovern or Eugene McCarthy. Instead we got Gerry Ford and Jimmy Carter. And the country continued to fracture.

We all know the history since then. Reagan who lifted this country up, was still hated by the Left. He was followed by the former CIA Director George H W Bush (41), then the philander Clinton. Bush (43) was then sworn in, and then 9/11 happened. That changed everything. Then we had the great divider, Barrack Obama. The size of the schism that we had in the early 1970's, had now grown to the size of the Grand Canyon. The country was in deep, deep trouble.

In January of 2017, we swore in Donald J. Trump to be our 45th President. A billionaire CEO who was a true non-politician. Was he hired to bring us together? No - only a miracle man (or woman) could do that, with the rift the country now had.

Trump was hired to (ready for this) - FIX THINGS - to be a fixer.. Be it the economy, the southern border, the North Korean problem, whatever - Trump is a man who fixes things. Is he a healer? No. Is he impolitic? Most of the time. Does he mean well? I think so. Can he bring this country back together? Absolutely not. He is good, but he is not Mother Theresa.

If the "Never Trumpers", the Antifa, the Lap Dog Media keeps going after this man, the result will be this. Eight years from now, we will be two countries. No, I am not kidding. The gulf will be that wide, this country will NEVER be able to come back together. California will secede from the union, and all the Harvey Weinstein's from the east coast will jump on board to be part of this new nation.

Middle America will become real America. The country will begin looking like the post WWII America. The nut balls will leave for the nation state of California, and the patriots will once again take their place in running this great nation. Do I want to see California cleave off the nation and become autonomous? No, but the course is set.

What will truly bring us together? A common understanding our our founding documents. Of our Holy Bible. That is it. We will be together once again. When the nation state of California fails, we will take the subjects back to one again become citizens in this great country. Why? That is the way we roll.

Thank God for the Catholics!

"The next time you chat with someone who is pro-choice, remind that person that the decision to have an abortion is a very binary issue. Turning a blind eye and a deaf ear to this issue is not okay."

Coming home from a funeral today, we passed a Catholic Church which had hundreds of crosses in the lawn in front of the sanctuary. It was called the "Cemetery of the Innocent". What? This was not a legal cemetery. What is the deal? The deal is just this. All the innocent unborn who are killed by being ripped apart in their mother's womb need to have some kind of remembrance. And if not for the Catholic Church, many would be forgotten.

If this sounds like I am calling out the other churches on this issue for saying nothing - you win the prize. I am. The Catholic Church, which does have its share of Democrats as parishioners, is not a bit bashful in calling out abortion being nothing more that infanticide. Whoops - I am sorry - did that sound impolitic? Well tough toenails if it did. Abortion is murder - murder of the most innocent. And most churches (including mine) do a very good job in sitting on their hands on this issue. However, the Catholic Church does not.

Why is this such a big deal? To start with, in the United States in 2017, when birth control is handed out like candy, we have had almost 900,000 abortions so far this year. How many brave soldiers, airmen and sailors have we lost in war zones this year? Nowhere near the 900,000. We lost just south of 60,000 in all the years we were involved in Viet Nam, and that was terrible. But 900,000? Where is the outrage?

One of the things the Catholic Church has done, which has taken a lot of guts, is to deny senior government officials from taking communion if they land on the side of taking innocent life. And that tired, worn out excuse of, "It is not really a life yet, just a hunk of matter" does not fly well at all. In the eyes of many, especially the Catholic Church, life begins at conception. To end that life through abortion, is nothing short of murder.

A week from tonight, we will be going to attend a banquet for New Life Ministries. New Life does amazing work in counseling women who are pregnant and might consider an abortion to those who have had an abortion and are trying to reconcile what they have done. Of the charities we give to, this is one the most worthy.

The next time you chat with someone who is pro-choice, remind that person that the decision to have an abortion is a very binary issue. Turning a blind eye and a deaf ear to this issue is not okay. You are either okay with the killing of innocents or you are not. If more who are not okay with abortion would make their voices heard (like the Catholic Church does), we would end this crime against humanity in our lifetime.

Once again I will say this. And I will say it over and over again. Thank God for the Catholics!


Thursday, October 19, 2017

Minnesota's awkward tilt

"Someday Minneapolis, when you are totally hollowed out, you will come to us for help. Like the prodigal son, you will not be shunned." 

This election year in Minneapolis, as well as the state wide elections next year are going to be very interesting to say the least. This morning there was an very good article in the paper about business owners in Minneapolis who are becoming increasingly concerned. Why? The ruling elite in the city could take a turn to the Left after next month's election. I almost fell off my chair laughing at that  one. Turn Left? If Minneapolis was any further Left right now, it would be standing on its head.

As Minneapolis continues to fade off into the abyss, the rest of the state is poised to make a right turn. Yes, this next year could really be the year that Minnesota becomes a red state. How so? The Emmer, Paulsen, and Lewis seats need to be defended. The seats in CD 8, CD 1, and CD 7 could be low fruit on the tree for a pick up by MN GOP. The Governor's seat? After eight years of "Moonbeam Light", the masses are ready for a change. We should be able to pick the AG spot and IF WE CAN GET SOMEONE TO FILE, we also could have a chance to get the SOS and Auditor position. In other words, next year could be a bell weather year for the red team.

If this can happen, things in Minnesota will really start to peculate. Government will finally be "right sized". The light of truth can be shined on the numerous wasteful and expensive programs this state has had for decades. Farmers can be treated like humans once again. Minnesota can hang the "open for business" sign our borders. And education can start to be fixed.

Education? What is wrong with it? Plenty. Our K-12 has become more and more hosed up ever since the "Minnesota Miracle" and the encroachment of Education Minnesota. I recently heard a story which typified what the problem is. A young lady in one of the failing schools in Minneapolis rose above the failure and received almost perfect grades all the way to graduation. She was given a scholarship to an Ivy League school. Once there, she was given an entrance exam to find out if she had any areas of weakness. To her surprise and dismay, she scored at an 8th grade level. Why? To mask the increasing failures of the Minneapolis schools, the classes are being "dumbed down".

Is Minneapolis going to be an island of blue in a sea of red? Very well could be. The most interesting thing is the good folks who live in Minneapolis don't care. All they care about is driving out business, dumbing down education, turning their streets into bike paths, and most importantly - fighting Donald J. Trump. Because of their myopic viewpoint being in the middle of that swamp, they cannot see what they are doing to themselves. They are like misbehaving teenagers with no parent to guide them. 

Good people who live in the burbs', who live out state close by, and who live out state far - there is hope on the horizon. Other than Minneapolis, we can save Minnesota in 2018. We can fix the loony tunes which have been visited upon us for years now by the DFL. We can undo eight years of Goofy. We can quit driving high earners and seniors out of our state. All we need to do is show up and vote red. And vote red in record numbers.

Someday Minneapolis, when you are totally hollowed out, you will come to us for help. Like the prodigal son, you will not be shunned. We will help you, and welcome you back into the 21st century. We will help you to become citizens once again, and not subjects, beholden only to the false gods of progressiveness. 

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Under the calm waves of the DOD

"Just know that until that budget is released, the DOD "duck" is paddling like hell under the water. Trust me - stuff is happening as you read this. Each day, every day, we are one day safer."

There is an old saying. Some things in life are like a duck on the water. On the surface, it appears the duck is just sitting around enjoying the day. However under the water, the duck may be using those webbed feet to paddle like mad. The DOD (Defense Department) today may be something similar to that duck. It may not look like much is happening, but trust me, those webbed feet are going in hyper-drive.

I had the honor and privilege to not only serve this country (in the Naval Reserve) under Ronald Reagan, but also be employed as a defense contractor. Similar to today, the military was a mess after four years Jimmy Carter. I can only imagine what it looks like after eight years of Barrack Obama. 

I was employed at Control Data's Aerospace Division during the entire 1980's decade. To say life was hectic as a defense contractor back then is a gross understatement. It seemed like the division was involved in everything, all the way from the Navy to NASA (and everything in-between). However, my bread and butter program was AEGIS - and it was very, very busy. Most orders I dealt with had a DPAS (Defense Priorities and Allocation System) of DOA7. If was a run of the mill priority, but higher than orders which came in with no priority at all.

About halfway through the 1980's decade. things really started to get hot and heavy. It was almost like the DOD could smell blood in the water with the Soviets. Maybe a little more gas under the pedal might actually defeat these guys. All of a sudden, many of the new orders coming in had a DX rating. Some existing DOA7 orders were also changed to DX. And what is a DX rating? A critical rating, where no DO order gets done before fulfilling the DX orders first.

I believe what is happening in the DOD is similar today to what was going on in the 1980's. A big difference however, is Ronald Reagan had a souped up DOD budget to work with - compliments of Congress. Donald Trump does not have that luxury as yet. He needs to work under the confines of the CR budget he has. However, there are many things the DOD can do "under the water" which will help move critical programs along and still be legal.

For example, beside issuing DX orders, there was this. Many times when I was sitting in acquisition meetings in Washington, I would hear side conversations under the heading of "If you scratch my back now, I will scratch yours later." Translation = the government does not have the money allocated to fund this, but if the company can spend some R+D dollars to help out, the government will make you whole at a later time. I can attest that many times, that "later time", never came. And the company knew that from the get-go. But it was for the greater good, so they did it.

One more thing I should mention. For a time, I was the Contract Manager for engineering programs on the Vertical Launching System Programs while employed at FMC/BAE. I spent quite a bit of time with the scores of engineers who were working on that most critical program. Never once did I see anyone sitting around trying to figure out what to do. Every day, it was a madhouse of activity. Many different things, done by many different people, all at once. At the end of each day, the goal was to have the can kicked a bit further down the road. And it was.

My belief is today, the companies who are working on any part of our Ballistic Missile Defense System, are operating somewhere between over-drive and hyper-drive. Every day the Norks or the Iranians have not launched something at us is a gift. It makes us one day better prepared. The Trump Administration is quickly making up for the remiss of the eight years of the Obama Administration.

When the budget is finally signed in December (it better be!), I will be interested to see the types of things authorized in the DOD portion. I know this President puts a very high priority in making America strong again.

Just know that until that budget is released, the DOD "duck" is paddling like hell under the water. Trust me - stuff is happening as you read this. Each day, every day, we are one day safer.