Thursday, June 20, 2019

A value proposition?





"There is an old saying - when you find yourself in the ditch, the worst thing you can do is keep driving in the same direction. That is what we are doing right now - driving in the same direction. And that direction is taking us to $2T in student debt." 


Here we go again. The Regents have once again been cowed by "spendy" Eric Kaler, so the tuition at the "U" is going up (again). Of course, Kaler will not take any ownership for his ever rising costs. No, it is the Republican's fault for not funding the University enough this last session. The truth be told, the "U" gets plenty of dough from the taxpayers, but now Kaler feels compelled to soak the local undergrad kids $60K just for a four year degree.

Here is the secret which is not told. Because our government high schools have become so dumbed down to keep the graduation rates up, 40% of the kids entering college need to take remedial classes. So what? Here is the "so what". The cost to take these classes (which do not count towards a degree), are the same as the classes taken which do count towards a degree. Bottom line? Less and less kids are able to graduate in four years. So that $60K for a four year degree might end up looking for like $75K. Meanwhile, the student debt clock just keeps ticking away.

My wife and I are both proud graduates of the University of Minnesota. We both graduated in the 1970's. We got married before we graduated. Still, (with no help from Mom and Dad), we were able to pay our tuition, rent, books, food and so forth. All we had for money was just with my GI Bill (which was not much), and part time jobs.

I was debt free when I graduated. My wife had $1K in student loans from her undergrad and grad degrees. That loan was paid off the first year after we graduated. No federal help needed there!

Well get ready folks. With $1.5T (and growing) in student loans, more and more of the socialists running for President, as well as the clown car in the House, thing we should own up to this debt, and bail out these little darlings. It is after all, not fair that they should be strapped with all this debt! 

But when you peel back the onion, you find some interesting facts. Many with the highest debt, did NOTHING to try and get their education cheaper. Part of this entitlement generation. Quick story - my oldest daughter went after every scholarship and grant she could. Even though her grads were not nearly as good in high school as they were in college, she was involved in a great many activities in high school. Bottom line - she scored two or three grants and/or scholarships. Between that and working part time, she was in good shape for her first year at St.Cloud. 

There are dozens of things a kid can do now to cut the cost of their education. Including (GASP!), working part time. But most just want to go to a nice school, often times private instead of public, and soak in the college life. It is all good until graduation, and the sticker shock hits. Some who have gone to private schools have student debts north of $100K. That is a value proposition?

Remember this folks - the only solution I have heard from anyone in Congress is for you and I to pick up this gigantic tab. Not fix education, both at the K-12 level and above. No sir. Just keep funding this broken system.

There is an old saying - when you find yourself in the ditch, the worst thing you can do is keep driving in the same direction. That is what we are doing right now - driving in the same direction. And that direction is taking us to $2T in student debt. 



Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Please - listen to what they say





"The other guys in the clown car, are promising not only two chickens in every pot, and also two unicorns in every yard. And for free! Whether you love him or hate him, here is the simple truth. Donald Trump is the only adult in the room. Period. End of story."



Back on the campaign trail, when I was on Jeff Johnson's team, we had plenty of opportunity to listen to Tim Walz run off at the mouth about turning this state into a mid-country California. Most of us believed it was just a page out of the DFL playbook. Campaign to the Left, get elected and then govern from the center Left. Boy, was I wrong. This guy has proved to be more of a socialist than Dayton was! And that is hard!

My lesson learned was when a statist or socialist promises something on the campaign trail, batten down the hatches if that person gets elected. Like whom? Even our "center-ist" Senator from Minnesota came out with a strong promise yesterday. As President, she will not wait for Congress. She will undo everything that President Trump has done. All the good things to make us stronger, more secure, more economically strong - Amy will reverse. She will put us back in Obama Land -or worse.

Last night, I watched the President as he was throwing red meat to the crowd. EVERYTHING he said last night, I agree with. A true American would also. A Trotskyism devotee - maybe not. Everything he promised he did, even though the millstone of RINO Republicans and Socialist Democrats around his neck slowed him down.

By the way, has anyone heard anything from any socialist candidate which makes any sense? It is like reading a Harry Potter book, where you are the only muggle. The candidates are promising a bunch of hocus pocus, where everyone gets everything for doing nothing. Donald Trump on the other hand, is promising a barrier free road for people who want to live the American Dream. 

Listen carefully folks. Donald Trump kept as many of his promises as he could keep while trying to drain and endless swamp. The other guys in the clown car, are promising not only two chickens in every pot, and also two unicorns in every yard. And for free! Whether you love him or hate him, here is the simple truth. Donald Trump is the only adult in the room. Period. End of story.

Reparations?





"What I will offer to someone who is like a Alex Haley, who was a descendant of Kunta Kinte is simply this - I am sorry this happened to your family. I really am."



Today the socialists in the House start hearings on reparations. And why not? It is "Juneteenth". It is a day that symbolizes the freedom of slaves in America. I wonder if this is what is taught in school these days instead of the Emancipation Proclamation, which was signed by President Lincoln on January 1, 1863. That was after all, a Presidential order which freed all slaves then and for evermore in this country. But who cares about the facts. 

So if reparations becomes law, whereas descendants of slaves may get restitution from descendants of slave owners, how is that going to work? Don't come after me - my great grandparents came from Norway and Germany. And because I am mostly Norwegian, I have my own problems. What if the Brits decide to come after the descendants of Vikings for restitution for all the plundering which happened in England from 793 to 1066. Now that - could cost me a pretty penny. 

Okay - facts are stubborn things. For reparations, first go after the slave traders. Who where they? England and Portugal. To go into Africa and get the people to be enslaved, they also needed help from the war lords in Africa to gather the slaves. Many hands in this stew already. But what about us? Didn't we receive and mistreat the most slaves? No. Most of the slaves when to Brazil. Funny, we don't hear spit about that one. The United States on the other hand, is estimated to have received only 10% of the slave trade.

If I were asked to come up with a cogent argument to defend the practice of slavery, I could not. It was and is reprehensible - in this country, or any other. If I were asked to come up with a cogent argument to defend the practice of racism, I could not. It was and it reprehensible - in this country, or any other.

On the other hand, if I were asked to come up with a FAIR method of reparations, I could not. It is not possible. The only way to do reparations in this day of age, is reward some people who were not descendants of slaves, by taking money from other people, most of whom were not descendants of slave owners.

What I will offer to someone who is like a Alex Haley, who was a descendant of a slave named Kunta Kinte, is simply this - I am sorry this happened to your family. I really am. Of course, if Kunta Kinte had stayed in Africa, Alex Haley might never have been born. And without Alex Haley, we would have not had that great book and TV mini series called Roots

There you have it. My take on reparations. Another day in Congress wasted, as this will go nowhere. Who is responsible today is not knowable; who can be made to pay is not doable. It is as simple as that.


Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Worse than crack...





"Heads up Iran. You might have just kicked sand in the face of the wrong person."



Two of the baddest actors on the world stage today are North Korea and Iran. Hands down true. They are both brutal regimes, and the folks running those regimes will have a whole lot of explaining to do when they get to the Pearly Gates. Now to really stir the pot, both of these brutal regimes are trying to develop a nuke as well as a reliable delivery system. One already has one, and the other might be very close.

Today however, it is all eyes towards the Middle East. The pot has been stirred again by Iran, and this time the "Dogs of War" might even be let out for a while. They (Iran) are going to make good on their promise of returning to the enrichment of uranium. Or did they ever stop? Do you ever wonder why Donald Trump put a knife in the heart of the Iran deal? Was it just because Iran continued to fund proxies, including Hamas, who keep lobbing missiles into Israel? The reason for leaving the agreement, might go much deeper.

The AMAD Project. This is a nuclear project started by Iran in the late 1980's and continued until 2003. That is, is stopped according to the very semi-unreliable IAEA. According to Israeli intelligence, The AMAD Project did not really stop in 2003. It did not really stop in 2015, when the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was agreed to between Iran and a host of other countries. 

This JCPOA came under Donald Trump's radar right after it was agreed to by the Obama Administration. He correctly called it "the worst agreement ever made". We got suckered, big time. This agreement never had to go through Congress for ratification (which is good for John Kerry). We gave Iran $150B right after it was signed. That money was supposed to help Iran with infrastructure and domestic projects. Instead, it went to fund the proxies. Much to Hamas. And oh yes - the AMAD Project. Our intelligence agencies agreed with Israeli intelligence agencies. The cheaters in Tehran continued on their cheating ways. They never stopped.

Lindsey Graham was quoted the other day, saying what should be done to teach these guys a lesson. Like Ronald Reagan did in the 1980's, we should sink part of their navy. What they are doing in the Gulf of Hormuz right now should have been the straw which broke the camel's back (so to speak). Teach Iran a painful lesson, and then North Korea will also understand we don't go easy on cheaters. Or promise breakers. Not with this President. 

By the way, if push comes to shove with Iran, Israel is itching to join that fight. Bebe has been warning the world for years now, this cauldron is about to explode. Israel knows if Iran is left to its own devices, they will have a deliverable bomb in short order. Then, Iran could easily do what it has threatened to do. Wipe Israel off the face of the map. 

More troops are headed to the Middle East as I pen this. I would not be surprised to see another carrier task force become re-positioned closed to Iran. Or maybe another bomber wing re-positioned. 

Heads up Iran. You might have just kicked sand in the face of the wrong person. This is not Barack Obama. This is not John Kerry. This is a man who has had to back down many cheaters while in the business world. He will not be fooled. He will not be cowed. You have been warned.  


Monday, June 17, 2019

Looking for the Puppet Master(s)





"Any good news about he border today? Some. Tom Homan might be the new 'Border Czar', reporting directly to the President. I like this guy. Tough as bolts and smart of border issues.Should be an interesting summer, to say the least."


Paging! Paging! The man or men or woman or women who are behind the curtain! Please reveal yourself! It has been long suspected that our crisis on the southern border has some nefarious hands behind it. Maybe a few hands - or, maybe quite a few. In other words, we are looking to identify the puppet master(s). We want to know the who and the why. Now that we are getting scads of Africans also showing up at the border, this crisis has reached a new and maybe dangerous plateau. 

Here is the very interesting part. It seems these impoverished Africans, who are escaping countries with broken governments, as well as war lords, are somehow getting to to our southern border flush with cash. After getting across the Atlantic Ocean, landing in Central America, and traveling then all the way through Mexico, they hit our border looking like they just hit the lotto instead. As reported in the media this morning - they are flush with rolls of hundred dollar bills.

(Head scratching motion) - Hey! I have lived here all my life! I don't have rolls of hundred dollar bills! What up with that? And if they flew, how did they clear customs? And language? How did that work? Seems that this southern border has become the new gathering place for the world, 

I know this is a minor issue, but is it a concern that many of these Africans come out of a Ebola hot zone? I mean we already have disease de jour showing up at the border. Why not throw in a super deadly disease like Ebola also. By the way, there is a 21 day incubation period to see if someone is infected with Ebola. How is that working out? Or is it? 

So who is funding this ever expanding caravan? ISIS? Al Qaeda? Iran? Russia? China? Or the DNC? Plus - this border surge has Alinsky written all over it. Remember? Overwhelm and then collapse the system? All the ingredients are there, so who is the chef? Or should I say, the puppet master(s)?

Any good news about he border today? Some. Tom Homan might be the new "Border Czar", reporting directly to the President. I like this guy. Tough as bolts and smart of border issues.Should be an interesting summer, to say the least. 

Sunday, June 16, 2019

The real face of war






"I will say this to Code Pink, WAMM, or any other peaceniks who constantly protest this country anytime there is a conflict which we were justified to enter - shut up! Until you also protest the killing of the world's babies, I don't want to hear a peep out of you."



War is a terrible thing. Soldiers die. Some are badly wounded. Civilians die. Some are badly wounded. Countries are destroyed. Some never recover. Even though we have tried to make war as sanitary and surgical as possible, there is still collateral damage. And the bottom line of war is still to do two things - kill people and break things. 

The human toll of war is nothing less than staggering. Here are some numbers of recent wars:

Conflict                                                                          Killed Worldwide

World War I                                                                   37,000,000

World War II                                                                  85,000,000

Korean War                                                                     5,000,000

Viet Nam War                                                                  2,000,000

Gulf Wars                                                                             22,000

Afghanistan War                                                                   31,000

TOTAL                                                                          129,053,000


Wow! Almost 130M humans killed by other humans just because of war! That is a big chunk of the world's population, just wasted due to man's inability to peacefully resolve conflicts. 

Now, let's also throw in all the people who die due to violence from guns worldwide. That is a huge number. Approximately 250,000 in 2016. Just for the sake of math, let's also assume that number has been the same for each year over the past 100 years. All of a sudden, that number becomes 22,500,000. Almost as many who died in World War I.

Why bring this up? What is the point of being reminded of all this carnage? Because one war is still waging. This war makes the other wars look like Sunday School picnics. I am talking about the war on the unborn. Even though I have addressed this issue before, this time I will use worldwide numbers instead of only domestic ones. Are you ready? Get buckled up for this one.

According to the US Abortion Clock.org, since 1980, over 1,500,000,000 innocent lives have been snuffed out. Aborted and gone, forever. That is over 20% of the world's population. That is worse than the most virulent pandemic in world history. And here is the saddest part. This is not history. It continues right now. As I am penning this article. 

I am not pro-war. In fact, I think the killing of any human by another human is obscene. In particular, I am highly offended by the killing of babies, born or unborn. I will say this to Code Pink, WAMM, or any other peaceniks who constantly protest this country anytime there is a conflict which we were justified to enter - shut up! Until you also protest the killing of the world's babies, I don't want to hear a peep out of you.

And one more thing. This is for the BLM crowd. Since all black lives matter, the 20,000,000 innocent black babies which have been aborted in this country since 1973, should matter also. 

Abortion is not the only face of war, but it is part of it. If you are not too squeamish, try watching the movie Unplanned. Especially, when they show a real abortion. Gruesome? Absolutely. It earned the move an "R" rating, just for that scene alone.

Want to stop war? Then let's start by stopping the killing at home. First and foremost, the killing of innocent unborn babies. Then the war zones some of our larger cities have turned into. How to do it? Step one, is a step most of us know. Return to God. Become a Godly nation once again. The rest will then fall into place. 


Saturday, June 15, 2019

The Untied States of America





"Me? I am looking for a state to move to which would allow sanctuary from paying taxes. I mean, what is good for the goose should be good for the gander. Right?" 



There was a time in this country, not too very long ago, that traveling from state to state was kind of fun. To see different sights, to taste different foods, to listen to different variations of the English language. We still have that, but we also have something else. What color the state is. In other words, is it a red state like Florida or Texas? Or is it bright blue like California or New York? Today, the color of the state drives so much of the culture of that state.

Let's look at two states who are polar opposites of each other, and continue to be so. This month, California passed a law (with budget muscle behind it), that all illegal immigrants will be supplied with free healthcare. Huh? California, who carries the largest state debt in the nation (just north of $150B), is now going to spend billions more on people who should not even be here. Why? Because Gavin Newsom is an idiot. He has made the entire state a sanctuary for law breakers.

Florida on the other hand, under their new Governor (Ron DeSantis), just signed a bill making it illegal for any city in Florida to be sanctuary. Gasp! This might be right up there with Georgia outlawing abortions! Get ready Florida - you might have just landed in Hollywood's sights. Shame, shame, shame!

The illegal alien question is just one way our great republic is becoming untied. No, that is not a typo. Untied, not united. The anti-sanctuary states we have right now are Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas. Mostly bible belt states in the deep south.

One the other side of the equation, are the states which are pro-sanctuary. They are California, Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington. Get the picture? Mostly coastal elites. 

The polarization of our country over these two issues, sanctuary and abortion, have become the great divide. There is no common ground, nor middle ground. They are black and white, binary issues. The question then becomes, how do you govern a nation this divided? This untied? Simple answer: after watching Washington, DC dissolve over the past ten to fifteen years - you don't. We have become ungovernable. 

The good news for the commies, socialists and statists, who live in the once great state of Minnesota - Taxing Timmy said on the campaign trail, he too, would like our state to also be sanctuary. That is, only for certain law breakers.

Me? I am looking for a state to move to which would allow sanctuary from paying taxes. Breaking the law is breaking the law. I mean, what is good for the goose should be good for the gander. Right?

  


Friday, June 14, 2019

Debt? What debt?





"Hey Baby Boomers! This one is on us. This is our legacy, which we are leaving our kids and grandies. We can bitch and moan about the shortcomings of Gen X and the Millenniums, but the debt is all us. Great examples, we are."   


First the Dodo Bird became extinct. Now it also appears the once treasured Budget Hawk is going the way of the Dodo. Am I wrong on this? Has anyone heard "boo" about our beloved national debt as late? In fact, if just about anyone of the socialists who is running for President gets sworn in, and has a Democrat House and Senate, it will be Katy bar the door. The plans they have to spend money we don't have, will take our national debt from the trillions to the zillions. 

We are spending like drunken sailors right now. Of course, some of what we are spending is going to the military. Equipment and salaries. Things which were somewhat neglected during the last Administration. The 600 pound beast in the corner however, is not being talked about. The main driver(s) to our debt. Medicare and Social Security. Both of these programs are destined for failure unless reformed. And there is not one beating heart on Capitol Hill that has the guts to bring that subject up.

Well - that is not exactly true. Many of the socialists who at one time were Democrats, are bringing it up. Like, we need to open up Medicare for all. After all, in the Constitution they envision, health care is a "right". How much will that cost? Trillions. Who pays for that? Nobody - yet. We will just put it on the tab. Let future generations worry about it. Party like it is 1999, or something like that.

And our favorite 1/1024th Native American, Elizabeth Warren just came out and said if SHE is President, the first thing she will do is absolve folks of all student loans. And why not? It is only $1.5T. Who will pay for it? Again - not us. We will just put it on the tab and wait for the big crash to come. Until then, we will just eat, drink and be merry. 

Here are the numbers for GFY 2019, and they are a bit sobering. According to the Concord Coalition, government spending is projected to be $4.41T this year. Revenues, even though very high, are only going to be $3.52T. So if A - B + C, that must mean our projected deficit this year will be a shade under $900B. And - our National Debt will eclipse $22T. 

Our country is like the 300 pound man who is going on a crash diet consisting of four cheeseburgers for lunch, and an entire pizza for dinner. For some reason as of late, the word "debt" has become a vile four letter word, which is mentioned in Washington as many times as Voldemort is mentioned in Harry Potter books.

Hey Baby Boomers! This one is on us. This is our legacy, which we are leaving our kids and grandies. We can bitch and moan about the shortcomings of Gen X and the Millenniums, but the debt is all us. Great examples, we are.   


Thursday, June 13, 2019

Not tough enough





"Someday, everyone, including Taxing Timmy, will come to realize our education system sucks. Big time. We could do SO MUCH better, just by expecting more and accepting nothing but the best."



Did you know there are some teachers in Minnesota who have not consumed gallons of Education Minnesota kool aide? I am married to a retired teacher who meets that criteria. Did you know what some of the enlightened teachers refer to summer vacations as? The "season of forgetting". Not an opinion - cold hard fact. Studies have proven it. Kids forget quite a bit over the summer, so much so, that the first part of September is booting them up to speed.

Problem number two. Years ago while serving in the Naval Reserve, one of my shipmates was a middle school science teacher in the heart of Minneapolis for his day job. He hated it, and could not wait until he had his "Rule of 90" under his belt, so he could "pull the plug". Why? The district was corrupt. Many of the kids were "throw away" kids, they knew all they had waiting for them was a life of poverty. Why is that? Because that is the way Mom had it - and Grandma had it - and so forth. Generational poverty as the Sociologists call it. School was a waste of time, and many could not wait until they were 16, so they could drop out.

My Navy friend told me after a while, he became so apathetic, at the beginning of each school year, he asked the class one simple question - "Who wants to learn?" Those who raised their hands were put in the front rows. Those who did not, were put in the back, so they could talk and joke or whatever. Just keep it quiet enough as not to disrupt the class. Once they got their "F" for the year, they just took something else the following year until they got to be 16. Then they were gone. Taxpayers - this is part of your ROI.

Flash forward to the school year of 2019-2020, which starts after Labor Day. I know, I know - why rush our summer away? School just got over for the year. It did - and we are now in the "season of forgetting". That has not changed. How about our failure factories in the heart of the city? Still up and failing, thank you. And the achievement gap remains unchanged. 

Actually, even though we have a former educator like Taxing Timmy as our Governor, nothing is going to change. The white kids, who live in the better suburbs, will continue to do well. The ones in the city? Well, you know the answer to that one. 

Here comes my Harvey Hard Ass part. Schools, be they in Wayzata or downtown Minneapolis - are not long enough, and not tough enough. Long enough? How about a school year of 220 days with no summer vacation? One extended time off from Thanksgiving to New Year, and another extended time off from Memorial Day to Independence Day. That is it - the rest of the days are school days.

No more snow days or "cold days". If school is called off, there will be mandatory "webinars" for all students. Learning will continue, be it in school, or at home. Sports will only be made available to "student athletes. In other words, if you are not a student first, you can forget about sports. We are in school primarily to learn, not to play.

There is much more, but I will leave it here. Someday, everyone, including Taxing Timmy, will come to realize our education system sucks. Big time. We could do SO MUCH better, just by expecting more and accepting nothing but the best. And going into the period of 2020 to 2025, we need to looking forward, now backward.

Our kids are tough - they can do it. But the gauntlet needs to be out there. No more short cuts. No more quitting. Only success. Why? Success begets success, and failure breeds failure. 




Dire Straight...





"The might be just a 'one off' incident, or this might get very interesting, very fast. Stay tuned on this one. Another Mid-East flare up might be in the offing." 



If you could draw a map of the world, and try to invent a very dire route for many of the world's oil tankers to traverse. it would probably look just like the Straight of Hormuz. Then, just for kicks and giggles, have one of the neighboring countries on the Straight be the number on terror exporter in the world. Yes, that be Iran. Add in some Middle East conflict, and you have one messy route for oil tankers to go through. But what could possibly go wrong?

Maybe a torpedo or two? Hitting a couple of oil tankers? Maybe this could be the start of something very ugly. After all, the Straight is so narrow at it's narrowest point (about 35 miles), launching a torpedo from the safety of your own shore would be no big deal. And if this becomes a practice, where ships are sitting ducks in the Straight, this could really put a hiccup in world oil prices.

How so? According to Google, in 2011 fourteen massive oil tankers would go through the Straight each and every day, heavily laden with Mid-East oil. They would be carrying about 17 million barrels of oil, which is about 35% of all oil shipped by sea. Or putting it another way, about 20% of all oil traded worldwide. 

Why would Iran want to sabotage the Straight? Why not? We are sanctioning the heck out of Iran's oil delivery. Outside of war, or an all out embargo, sanctioning is the only arrow in our quiver we can use to punish this rogue regime. So they might be playing a little tit for tat. Especially if they could hit a tanker carrying oil from the hated Saudi Arabia.

The United States Navy is close by. They are assisting the two stricken ships, since the crews abandoned them. What is next? Maybe our Navy will be escorting tankers through the Straight. Then what would our response be if another torpedo was launched from shore? Act of war? The match which would light the fire? 

The Straight of Hormuz has been a problem since the oil embargo of 1973. I am sure our Navy has "war gamed" just about every scenario possible in case trouble ever broke out in the Straight. The problem as I see it is this - if a torpedo is launched, and the Navy decides to take out the launcher, it might involve attacking Iran itself. 

One more thing. Should the flow of oil become crippled due to strife in the Straight, get ready for a huge hit in gasoline prices this summer. Even though our country is awash in our own supply of oil, the way the world markets work, we would still be affected by the increase in prices of Mid-Eastern oil. It would be a mess, hitting our country at the absolute worse time. 

Some ask, why not just get it over with? Iran has been itching for war with us since 1973, and I am sure many in this country feel the same about them. Israel would love it if we could take Iran down a peg or two. Plus, EVERYBODY knows they are still working on a deliverable bomb. Why not get this fight over with now, before they have the bomb? I am sure Saudi Arabia would love to offer us logistic support should we go to war with Iran. 

The might be just a "one off" incident this week, or this might get very interesting, very fast. Stay tuned on this one. Another Mid-East flare up might be in the offing. 

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

A bionic bird





"A hundred years ago, it was not just that the life expectancy was so much less than today, it was also the quality of life as one aged.We are blessed, very blessed, to have the medical technology we have today." 


"We can rebuild him. We can make him better!" Who my age, could ever forget those famous lines from Lee Majors in "The Six Million Dollar Man". For those who not remember, it is the story of a man who was almost fatally injured in a crash, and then rebuilt using many artificial parts. It all made for good TV at the time. Little did we know that the science fiction in that show would start becoming science reality sooner than we thought. 

Many of us either know of people, or might have had this experience themselves. A knee or a hip gives out, and surgery is required. An artificial part is then inserted, usually made out of titanium. It is better than the original bone which nature supplied us with. Or a pacemaker, to help one's heart. The list could go on and on.

Like many, many my age, I had my first articular implant yesterday. A new cataract. The way the doctor explained it to me before the surgery, the one that I was born with, was not very efficient. And over time, it picked up some "rust on the fenders". Pretty soon, I started losing some of my eyesight. During my surgery yesterday, the old inefficient cataract was removed, and replaced with a newer and better, model. Different shape, different material, different outcome. 

Before my surgery, I started thinking about what people a hundred years ago did when stuff wore out. Before cataract surgery, you just eventually went blind. Before pacemakers and artificial heart valves, you just died of heart failure. Without artificial joints, you just became crippled up for the rest of your life. A hundred years ago, it was not just that the life expectancy was so much less than today, it was also the diminished quality of life as one aged. We are blessed, very blessed, to have the medical technology we have today. 

Today, it is back to the doc for a post op visit. Then home for more recuperation time and drops, drops and more drops. But it is all good. Already I am noticing a big difference in the vision in my "bionic" eye.

It is all good. Why is that? I need to keep a "bird's eye" view on what is going on so I can keep this blog somewhat up to date - especially in St. Paul and Washington!

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Incognito, no longer...




"Still looking to hide in plain sight? Good luck. It is about to go from hard to impossible." 


Reading some of the tech blogs, one of the next big battlegrounds will be facial recognition (known as "facial rec"). This rapidly evolving science, along with more refined voice recognition, is quickly doing away with our ability to "hide in main sight". Want to be incognito? Good luck with that one! Right now, even smart phones are getting ready to have facial rec on them. It is becoming almost a fool proof way to ID someone instantly, anywhere. 

This is just a small sample on how we are tripping into this brave new world which is evolving beneath our feet. What is driving it? It starts out with our good friend, Artificial Intelligence (AI). But there is much more to that story.

Do you know that AI, although it is a term used frequently these days, is somewhat of an antiquated term? AI, has been around for a few decades now, and is still being used. But AI needs help from human interfacing to perform. So, we move on to the next platform (so to speak). That would be Machine Learning. Machine Learning is similar to AI, except the human interface is no longer needed. Given a finite set of parameters, a machine can "learn" on its own. 

But the next platform, which we will be hearing about more and more in the near future, is Deep Learning. Deep Learning is like Machine Learning, only the parameters it can learn from are no longer infinite. Any data base can be accessed for the machine to learn from. Now we are talking "1984" on steroids.

Back to facial rec. Using Deep Learning, finding someone's true identity will be easy peasy. When my wife and I go on a cruise, the cruise line uses facial rec when we first check in. That way, every time we debark or embark, we are instantly ID'd by our facial rec. Soon, it will be in the airports, in schools, at places of employment - everywhere. If you are a bad actor, trying to hide from the law, good luck on that one!

Wait a minute! That is what a Constitutional scholar might say. Is this not a violation of our Fourth Amendment? Having your face scanned without your permission might be classified as an "unreasonable search" of you identity. Good question! But here we are again, on that familiar battlefield. Technology vs. rights. Get ready to lawyer up!

Facial rec is not 100% accurate yet, but it is getting close. For example, every time I post a pic of the President on social media, it tags a FB friend of mine who is not the President. But Deep Learning will soon fix glitches such as that.

Still looking to hide in plain sight? Good luck. It is about to go from hard to impossible. 

Monday, June 10, 2019

Played for fools...





"How is the President holding up? Just fine, thank you. Stuff is getting done, and he is gearing up for his re-election bid. Meanwhile, the Democrats are melting faster than the Wicked Witch of the West, while taking a cold shower."      



Sometimes you can be so close to the hardwoods, you literally cannot see the forest through the trees. That is what is happening right now in Washington. With the House Democrats. They are being played for fools, and most have no clue what is going on. Ms. Nancy does, but her caucus is way, way out of control. With the number of her members demanding impeachment growing by the week, it is a question for how long she can hold the lid on.

This week, the little chubby guy from NYC, who wears his pants higher than Urkel did, is going to waste more time having "hearings" on this collusion and obstruction nonsense. Why? In Nadler's words, "The American people are demanding to know the truth!" In reality, the American people are either saying, (yawn), or "Who gives a rip - get your butts back to work! Infrastructure, healthcare, border security, trade and so forth need to get done!" And so far, this Congress has only done spit.

Meanwhile, as the Democrats are all tied up in knots, the President had probably his best week last week. He looked and acted Presidential, and a ton of things got done. Plus, he came up with what might be the line of the year. "It is sad when the Mexican government is doing more to help with our immigration problem than the Democrats in Congress are." BINGO! That focuses the problem very well, thank you. Rather than legislate, all this clown car wants to do is investigate.

But first, let's review the bidding. Did the Russians interfere with the 2016 election. Probably. Was Trump involved? No. Did Putin have it out for Hillary? Oh, yes. Why? It all goes back to Russia's 2011 election. It is no secret that Putin had no time for President Obama. Putin believed the cabal of Obama using Hillary as his SOS, was behind the social unrest after the Russian elections. Spreading the story that Putin rigged the election. What? Like we would interfere in a Russian election? Wake up and smell the coffee, bucko! Of course we did - just like we did in Israel, when Obama tried to get Bebe dumped. In any event, Putin has had it out for Hillary ever since. And he got her (even though Trump would have won anyhow).

So there really is no "there, there". There was no collusion, There was no obstruction of justice, as there was no crime committed. This entire 2+ years has been NOTHING but Kabuki Theater, compliments of the DNC and House Democrats. Is it going to end soon? Nope. They will keep playing this tune until the 2020 elections. Then after Trump's landslide victory, they will try and dig this corpse up again and reanimate it until the 2022 elections. Meanwhile, the socialists who now call themselves Democrats, will have exposed themselves for who and what they really are - boobs.

A relative of mine who is a neutral third party, recently said to me he can't stand to watch the news anymore. I agreed with him. I became weary of this issue over a year ago. There is nothing new under the sun - it is just the same old, same old, day after day. Blah, blah, blah.

How is the President holding up? Just fine, thank you. Stuff is getting done, and he is gearing up for his re-election bid. Meanwhile, the Democrats are melting faster than the Wicked Witch of the West, while taking a cold shower.      

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Meanwhile, behind the curtain....






"Alvin Tofler warned of this decades ago in his book Future Shock. We will have so much change, so fast, with so much selection to choose from, it might be too much for some people. Thus, we need to prepare for it." 



Oh boy! Are there going to be a lot of very surprised people in the near future. Why? This long awaited "big change" in everything, is actually starting to happen right now. Today. And the period between 2020 and 2025 is going to be like a blur. I know - some are saying "what change", I don't see anything. That is because much of it is happening behind the curtain (so to speak).

Who is driving this "big change"? Simple answer - every tech company in every developed country. They can all smell the roses now, and that aroma has become intoxicating. For example, to run these new super programs, many of which will be using AI, super chips are required. Intel has just come out with the Stratix 10. This little powerhouse (pictured above), can do 10 trillion floating operations a second! Using nanotech, Intel has managed to cram 30 billion transistors in that very small footprint.

So what? What in the world do we need that much power for? For starters, remember 5g? That upgrade in cellular technology which is going to change everything? It is here - right now. In fact, there are plans are to have it in every major metro area by year's end. And - at the same time, companies like Qualcomm are refining and improving their AI technology. So much so, that AI and 5g will play together in harmony.

Some visionaries at tech companies are seeing a near term future where as we ride to work in our autonomous cars, we will be able to sit back and experience VR through the latest portal. Traffic? Thing of the past. Stress in getting to work? Also gone. By the way - if you are still thinking autonomous transportation is a pipe dream, it is already becoming reality in spots. In fact, the post office just announced they would like to have autonomous mail delivery in the very near future. 

Alvin Tofler warned of this decades ago in his book Future Shock. We will have so much change, so fast, with so much selection to choose from, it might be too much for some people. Thus, we need to prepare for it. How? Be prepared, that you might be changing jobs numerous times, as technology erases some jobs while creating others. Be prepared, that most forms of transportation will change - dramatically. Be prepared, that your entire residence will be controlled by the internet. The Internet of Things (IoT) has gone from science fiction to science fact - quickly.

What is happening behind the curtain? Plenty. Almost everything.That is really where the action is right now. How do I know? I go on websites to see what the latest and greatest is. What a company is working on. Without revealing any proprietary information, you can learn quite a bit about the future by doing so.

Buckle up and get ready for quite a ride. Going from 2020 to 2025 will be like riding a bucking bronco. Will our brave new world be good or bad for us? I guess only time will tell. But "big change" is coming. That is one thing all the futurists agree on. It is coming, and coming fast.     


Saturday, June 8, 2019

The Circle of Truth



"Americans are good people. We really are. But we are starting to get rust on our fenders. And that rust is socialism." 



Was the concept of liberty invented by us? Not hardly - been around almost since the beginning. One of my favorite sayings I like to quote from time to time is, "All men are born free. Someone just has to take that freedom away from them." Bingo! And that "someone" quite often becomes the government we elect. That is why it was so important that those wise and Godly men who wrote our Constitution, worded it so the government would be the one controlled by the people, not visa versa.

I'm sorry - did I use the word "Godly"? Actually, I am not sorry - that was intentional. And our Founders? Did they believe that America is a Godly nation? Historians disagree somewhat on this issue. However, some (David Barton believes many more than "some") historians say a good many were Christian, some were Deists (who believed only in the moral teaching of Jesus), and some were unknown. I could find no source however, which said Sharia Law was woven into our fabric.

Using that set of beliefs, along with the desire NOT to establish a theocracy, plus to add in  the basic tenants of liberty from other countries and eras, our Founders stitched together a document, our Constitution, which changed the world. Although imperfect, it is much better than any other governing document being used today, or in the past (take that Justice Ginsberg!). Plus, when Barack Obama said we are no longer a Christian nation, he had rocks in his socks. It was without a doubt the dumbest thing he ever said as President. We have by far and away more Christians in this nation than any other belief. Like between 75% and 85% of our population.

But - and here comes the hammer - as a Christian nation, founded with many basic Judeo-Christian principles, it is high time to start acting like it again. A Christian nation would not be killing babies. A Christian nation would not be lying to the world (like Joe Biden just did), saying women in this country have a Constitutional right to an abortion. That is a lie. That having healthcare is a Constitutional right (like Bernie Sanders has said many times). That is a lie. Disagree? Then tell me where in our Constitution it states these things. Hint: it doesn't.  

Here is the circle of truth as I see it. America has saved the world from tyranny. Not once, not twice, but thrice. Thrice? When was that? Besides World War I, World War II, there was the Cold War. If we had not backed down the Soviet Union (Thank you President Reagan), who knows where the world would be right now.

Also, America is the most generous country on the planet. We are a compassionate people. When there is an emergency, nobody gives like this country does. We have sent our young men and women overseas to fight and die for other people's freedom. Our food technology is so vast, it has allowed us to have bumper harvests which have all but wiped out hunger in many areas of the world.

Both Rush and Glenn Beck have talked about this many times. Americans are good people. We really are. But we are starting to get rust on our fenders. And that rust is socialism. Because true history is no longer taught in our government schools, socialism is looked upon my many young people as the bight shiny penny. It is not. What socialism preaches, is a lie. The truth is simply this - our constitutional republic remains the rock which keeps this world together.

America is not this way by accident nor happenstance. We continue to be blessed by God, and there is a reason for that blessing. Whether you believe or not, God has his hand on this nation. So long as we stay a Godly nation, God will continue to bless us, so we can continue to bless the world. 

That is the truth as I see it. We need to, as a nation, not only fight evil that stalks this land, we need to fight the constant barrage of lies. The Father of Lies would love to take this nation down. The rest of the world then would be easy pickings for tyranny, suffering and death. We cannot let that happen. Socialism is the key which unlocks Pandora's Box. We need to guard our liberty, Our Republic. Remember that in 2020. 




Friday, June 7, 2019

The circle of death






"WAKE UP AMERICA! Before we blame Mexico for all our ills, can we first get the plank out of our eye?" 



What up with Mexico? This country, which is rich in tradition and resources, seems to be mired in the mud right now. How high is the crime rate in this neighboring country? How about through the roof. The cartels are an order of magnitude worse than we were in the 1930's. Back when we had gangsters controlling the city of Chicago. Then what gives with Mexico? How in the world could they have factions in that country who have become this powerful and viscous? "Look in the mirror, boy!"

I have been on this rant before. Only this time, the news media is backing this point up by showing how much worse this drug thing has become in the pristine city of Minneapolis. Yes, it has hit home here, big time. No longer someone else's problem - this is a problem which has reached into every corner of our country.

We have become part of the "circle of death". It is a nefarious plot hatched by equally nefarious people. Get a person to try drugs, establish a habit, then addiction, and then - BAM! You have a customer to life. Or should I say, until death. Until that final "hit", the money spend on drugs in this country, goes back down the pipeline, and into the cartel's pockets. With that money, "Crime, Inc." just grows bigger and stronger. More drugs, more trafficking, more murder, more mayhem. 

This spring has been particularly bad for the Twin Cities. Lots of OD events, some fatal. With the rise of fentanyl present in more and more street drugs, the use of just about anything bought off the street is like playing Russian Roulette. But for some reason, a reason which escapes logic, we do very little to interdict this drug flow. Many times, by the time a local cop is involved, it is to administer Narcan to a person on the edge of OD death.

I don't know as much as others about this problem, but I do know this from what I have read and heard. We will NEVER rid ourselves of the power the cartel has garnered until we STOP USING DRUGS in this country. It really is as simple as that. Yes, we should also stop purchasing sex from young girls who are being trafficked. But that is a whole other article.

WAKE UP AMERICA! This drug problem which is plaguing our country is a self inflicted wound. All the cartels are doing, is making that wound much, much worse - and chronic.

Before we blame Mexico for all our ills, can we first get the plank out of our eye? I have been told many times I don't understand this drug thing. I really do not. I graduated from high school in 1967 - the last year before the "children of the 60's" started to become naughty. And with the naughtiness, came the drug scene. 

Maybe we can't totally stop this, but we can curb it. We just need the national will to do so.  

Thursday, June 6, 2019

And if it were today...





"This day, this D-Day, started the beginning of the end for the Nazi regime. This is the day the boys in the boats, the Americans, along with her allies, saved the world from tyranny."  


This morning, I awoke at 4 am to watch the live proceedings in France. The 75th anniversary of the landing of the Allies at Normandy. The event which changed the world, and saved the world. One of the reporters this morning, after she has been immersed in the history of the moment, had a very interesting question. "The boys who participated in this landing were so very young. Many knew they were going to die that day. Many had never been outside the state they were born in, much less outside the country. Do our young people today have what it takes to do this? If this event happened today/"

Today, there are 1.4 million people serving in the armed forces. And not all are combat - a large percentage are support personnel. Even though 1.4 million sounds like a large number, it really is a very small percentage of our population - about .4%. If war came, the size of World War II, the number of people serving would have to balloon much higher than 1.4 million - and fast. 16 million Americans served in World War II - back then, that was about 11% of our population.

Here is the question. Do our young people today, who are not currently serving in the armed forces, have the mettle to answer the call? Like the farm boys did in the 1940's? Go into a foreign land, and fight people they do not know? Maybe some they have never even heard of? Laying aside their iPhone, iPad, Google and Facebook to pick up rifles and back packs to go fight somewhere. 

The boys who won the day for us 75 years ago were just that - boys. Getting to Europe was not luxury travel back then. They were packed into transport ships with zero creature comforts. When they got to England, they lived in tent cities. Every day, there was training - training for the fight everyone knew was inevitable. They trained many times without live ammo - that needed to be saved for the invasion.

When D-Day happened, on that bleak morning with rough seas, the boys sitting in the landing crafts knew what was about to happen. It would be the closest thing to hell on Earth one could imagine. Many of the young men became sick in the landing craft. In some boats, there was the stench of vomit everywhere. When the water was shallow enough, the front door of the landing craft swung open. For many of these very young men, that was this last thing they ever saw.

As much as I thought I knew about D-Day, today I learned even more. The history surrounding this day is rich and deep. I would love to have our schools once again teach real American history. Teach about what our youth were like during that time. Teach about the truth of D-Day - why that day was so very important. Teach about how this was one of America's finest moments in world history. No apology tour needed about this event.

This day, this D-Day, started the beginning of the end for the Nazi regime. This is the day the boys in the boats, the Americans, along with her allies, saved the world from tyranny.  
Young people of today - pay attention. It could happen again. 

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Running Scared






"Anybody have any ideas? I do - but they will not be popular. Stay tuned to this one folks. The drama and intrigue is only beginning."   



Late this morning, I was out on my Deere doing some much needed and neglected grass cutting. I was listening to Glenn Beck on my headphones. His guest in during his 10:00 hour was Lara Logan, previously from CBS news. She is now a free lancer, and has been doing much reporting from down on our border. Her job, as she sees it, is to get ALL the stories which are happening down there. The MSM has been focused on the amnesty seekers; Lara has been focused on that, plus all the rest. 

All the rest? What does that mean? It means the drugs. It means the trafficking. It means how the caravans, the human trafficking, and the drugs might have a common puppet master - and it ain't the Mexican government. Then who is it?

Recently, I read an article about the cartels in Mexico. How right now, they have grown so large, so powerful, so rich - they control 80% of Mexico. And the cartels, along with willing Alinsky type associates in the Left, have been behind the caravans. With the caravans comes total confusion and mayhem - just enough to let the real prize get across the border. The real prize? Sex, drugs and rock and roll, without the rock and roll.

Lara said this grip was so tight by the cartels, the trafficking has become worldwide. Wait a sec! How could they possibly afford to do so? Money from us. Or should I say, the US. The money we pay for drugs, which come up from Mexico. Some goes back to Mexico to fund the trafficking. Then the young ladies are smuggled in, have sex for money, and that money also goes back to Mexico. The - the beat goes on.

In walks the recently elected President of Mexico, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. He has a choice to make. Acquiesce to President Trump (this business man from NYC), demands on stopping the pipeline of people, and risk the wrath and violence of the cartels, or - suck it up and take the 5% rising to 25% tariffs. Oh, where is President Obama when we need him!

Anybody have any ideas? I do - but they will not be popular. Stay tuned to this one folks. The drama and intrigue is only beginning.