Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Race & Police

        We have some serious race problems in this country.  Recently demonstrations in the streets of New York had people shouting:  “What do we want?  Dead cops!  When do we want them dead? Now!”  This kind of demonstration is perverted and destructive. 
        Shortly after these demonstrations, two New York City police officers were murdered in cold blood.  One of these police officers was Chinese and one was Hispanic.   The murderer was black. 
        I am old enough to remember the freedom riders of the 60s and Martin Luther King Jr.   I remember the anti establishment demonstrations of the 70s when the police were called pigs.  There were radical organizations like the Weathermen making bombs and killing people.  I thought we had come a long way in the last forty plus years, but unfortunately too many people promote racism and race baiting for political, financial, and personal reasons. 
        In the 70s police were afraid to go into certain dangerous neighborhoods.  These neighborhoods turned into war zones run by the gangs.  Today, some police departments are now instructed not to respond to calls in bad neighborhoods without backup.  Instead of improving race relations, we seem to have regressed about forty years.
        I was not a supporter of President Obama because I did not feel he was qualified to be president.  His only experience was as a community organizer.  I had hopes that experience, and the fact he was black would improve race relations in this country.  This does not seem to be the case.
        President Obama and Attorney General Holder have been quick to defend blacks and blame anyone and everyone regardless of the facts.  Statements by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio have not helped the situation either. 
  Individuals like Al Sharpton are invited to the White house repeatedly.  The White House gives him credibility.  Sharpton makes his living by stirring up race issues.  Everyone including the White House and the media needs to ignore Sharpton.  He is a disgrace to any race.
        There are good and bad people in every race and every occupation, but most are good.  We must return to a rule of law and ignore race.  People of any race that commit crimes and resist arrest must pay the price.  People must respect the police and resolve issues in the courts instead of the streets. 

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Merry Christmas

        The birth of Jesus Christ is one of the most celebrated events in the Christian religion.  The First Amendment to the Constitution guarantees us the right to openly celebrate our religion.  Unfortunately, some people today misinterpret the First Amendment as the separation of church and state.  
The founding fathers never intended to take religion out of the government.  They simply did not want the government to dictate a national religion, or restrict people’s freedom of religious expression. 
        This country was founded on Christian principles, and our founding fathers knew this great republic had little chance of success without Christian morality. 
We need more Christian morality in today’s world.  Merry Christmas

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

CIA Report

        Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein released a report about enhanced interrogation methods used by the CIA.  This report was written without talking to a single CIA interrogator or CIA Director.  How accurate can it be? 
        Some of these enhanced interrogation methods were implemented after over 3,000 people died on 9/11/2001.  People were scared and they were angry.  They wanted the government to do everything possible to protect our country from more attacks.  These enhanced interrogation techniques helped track down terrorists and prevent future attacks. 
        These interrogations may not be comfortable for the terrorist, but no one died from them.  I think beheading people is worse.  I also am confused how people can say these interrogations are worse than killing people with drones.  We are at war with radical Islam and people die in war.  The use of drones is necessary, but every effort should be made to minimize collateral damage. 
The CIA briefed Congress on these interrogation methods over thirty times.  The House, Senate, and President approved the methods every time.  Why is this report coming out now?
        Releasing this biased report now will hurt our international relations with other countries.  Iran, China, and North Korea have already made statements asking the United States to stop its “human right violations.”  This is funny considering these three countries along with Russia, Iraq, and Nazi Germany have probably murdered more people than any other nation in history.  This report will also give motivation to radical Islamic groups like ISIS.  It will certainly hurt CIA operations, and may even cost lives of CIA operatives.  Why is it being released?
        Senator Feinstein admits to these consequences, but says the American people have a right to know, and this is not who we are morally.  Did anyone not know the CIA was using enhanced interrogation techniques like water boarding?
         Is Senator Feinstein a legislator of such high ethical character that she feels obligated to bring this public?  I don’t think that is the case.  In March of 2007, she was forced to resign from the Military Construction Appropriations subcommittee after awarding billions of dollars in contracts to two companies owned by her husband, Richard C. Blum. 
        Why is it so important that the American people know all the details of these enhanced interrogation techniques?  We don’t know what happened with Benghazi, the IRS, Fast & Furious and many other government cover-ups. 
We don’t even know the details of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination yet, and that happened over fifty years ago.  Any serious student of this event can determine what happened, and it was not a single rogue gunman.  The who and why is a mystery, but I am sure someone knows.  All the records may be released someday, but it won’t be in my lifetime. 
If Feinstein knows this report will damage our country, shy is she doing it?  Her past history clearly shows it is not an ethical issue, so why?  Does she think this a way to bash President Bush and the Republicans?  Maybe.  I hope it backfires on her.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Somebody Has To Pay

        I was once hired to participate as a juror for a mock civil case.   The case involved the death of a man who was cleaning out a railroad tank car.  The company providing this service employed the man, who died from poisonous gases after entering a tank car.  A second individual also died after entering the tank car to save him. 
        The defendant was the company that owned the tank car.  No action was being taken against the company that employed him, the manufacturer of the railroad car, or the manufacturer of the test equipment used to assure the air inside the tank car was safe.  We were not provided any information concerning why these companies were not named in the lawsuit.
        The facts presented to us were that the individual had tested the air inside the tank car, said it was “good to go,” and climbed inside with no breathing protection and collapsed.  A second individual entered the tank car to rescue him with no breathing protection and also collapsed.  Both individuals died.  The air testing equipment had been checked and was working properly.  The railroad tank car was properly marked for containing hazardous materials.  
Thirty-six individuals had been hired to form three juries of twelve.  After being presented the facts and instructions from the judge, the three groups were sent to three deliberation rooms.   Each room was equipped with video cameras and sound equipment.
I was selected as the foreman for our jury.  When we took our first vote, eleven mock jurors voted to award the plaintiff everything they were asking for.  The logic was that the man had died and someone had to pay.  I was the one holdout.  It was a little like the play or movie Twelve Angry Men.  After several hours of deliberation, we agreed that the deceased individual had not taken the appropriate precautions and had acted in an irresponsible manner costing him and another individual their lives.  This was a tragic accident, but the tank car owner was certainly not responsible or liable.  We awarded the plaintive nothing.
I do not know what happened in to other two mock juries, if the case ever went to trial, or if a settlement was made out of court.  The thing that made an impression on me was that eleven of the jurors in my room felt that someone had died so someone had to pay.  The idea of personal responsibility was initially not a consideration. 
This idea that no one has personal responsibility for his or her actions has been escalating over the last few decades.  Ronald Reagan said, “We must reject the idea that every time a law’s broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker.  It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions.” 
I see race, sex, religion, police, courts, government, education, corporations, products, and the media all blamed when the real problem is a lack of common sense and personal responsibility.  Our ancestors took personal responsibility for their actions.  We need to take a lesson from them.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Administrative Law

        President Obama recently enacted new immigration law by Executive Order and justified the action by saying comprehensive immigration reform was needed and Congress was not doing the job.  If he felt Immigration reform was so important, why did he not address it when he was first elected, and controlled both the House and Senate?  He decided to ram the joke called the Affordable Health Care down our throats instead.
Obama is correct that comprehensive immigration reform is needed, but no immigration reform has any chance of succeeding if we do not completely secure our borders first.  He is also correct that Congress is not doing the job, but he is totally wrong to blame the Republicans in the house when Senator Reed has not allowed around 300 bills passed by the house to see the floor for a vote or discussion. 
I am even more concerned with administrative rules by government agencies that have the force of law.  The Environmental Protection Agency has enacted many rules that not only don’t have the approval of Congress, but in many cases have been voted down by Congress.
The Internal Revenue Service has recently been in the news for targeting conservative groups and the cover-up that included “lost” emails.  I find some other practices of the IRS just as dangerous to our freedoms.  Did you know the IRS has the power to confiscate cash deposits from bank accounts with no explanation or accountability?  This is supposedly done in situations where the IRS suspects the cash deposits are the result of illegal activities, even though the account holders have never been convicted of any crime and have little opportunity to appeal. 
On October 23, 2012, I did a blog titled “Too Small To Succeed.”  In this post, I gave an example of a small businessman that had considered closing his business because of new federal government regulations, but decided to spend the money to comply.  When he had his final inspection, the government bureaucrat congratulated him because they had not expected him to continue in business.  The government agent admitted that the intention of the new regulations was to close 320 of the 400 businesses in the industry.
On January 29, 2013, I did a blog titled “Environmental Protection Agency” where I discussed new proposed restrictions for industrial boilers.  These new regulations would have shut down the paper industry in this country.  The result would have been lost jobs, higher paper costs, and higher emissions worldwide when the paper business moved overseas. 
We are often so naive that we think these things can’t happen in this country, but they happen every day.  The media does not cover them, our elected representatives look the other way, and we are often not aware of them until they affect us personally.  Then it is too late.
        Liberal Progressives believe our government should evolve to an administrative state run by neutral experts.  Progressives want to make our Constitution a “living document” subject to change in order to make this form of government legal. In theory this sounds good, but always results in increased corruption by the political elite.  Since Woodrow Wilson’s Presidency, both parties have, slowly advanced this increase in a large administrative government.
        In my book, Business Fits, I give some examples of how to deal with local bureaucrats, but the best solutions are the ones that reduce the size of the federal government, eliminate Executive Orders, and make sure government agencies do not have the power to implement new regulations without the approval of Congress.  I am afraid that congress will continue to concede their powers until they have made themselves irrelevant. 
        Our founding fathers were well aware of the potential problems of an administrative state that would take away our freedoms.  That is why they designed a republic with a balance of power.  Let’s return to following the Constitution and restore that balance of power. 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Guns & Hunting

Deer hunting season here in Wisconsin has begun.   Some people do not like deer hunting.  I am not much of a hunter myself, although I used to enjoy bird hunting.  I understand that hunting is an essential part of deer conservation in order to control the deer population so they do not die of starvation and disease.  Hunting also stimulates tourism and the economy.
This post is more about guns and gun owners than it is about deer hunting.  The Second Amendment to the Constitution reads:

“A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

        The founding fathers knew the vulnerability of an unarmed public.  They had studied history and in many cases experienced the problem first hand.  They knew any dictator or totalitarian government must first register and then confiscate privately owned guns.  Don’t make the mistake of thinking it can’t happen here.  People throughout history have made that mistake. 
        Isoroku Yamamoto was the Commander-In-Chief of the Imperial Japanese Navy during World War II.  After the attack on Pearl Harbor, he is reported to have said;  “You cannot invade the mainland United States.  There would be a rifle behind every blade of grass.”
        Abraham Lincoln said; “America will never be destroyed from the outside.  If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”
        Nikita Khrushchev knew the armed citizens of the United States could never be conquered with guns so he proposed another strategy.  He said:

“You Americans are so gullible.  No, you won’t accept Communism outright; but we’ll keep feeding you small doses of Socialism until you finally wake up and find that you already have Communism.  We won’t have to fight you; we’ll so weaken your economy, until you fall like overripe fruit into our hands.”

        Why are foreign powers so afraid of our armed citizens?  Let’s take a look at the numbers.  There are over 600,000 hunters in Wisconsin alone.   That number would be the eighth largest army in the world.  If we combine Wisconsin with 750,000 hunters in Pennsylvania, 700,000 in Michigan, and 250,000 in West Virginia, we have 2.4 million armed hunters.  That is equal to the largest army in the world. 
True these hunters are not trained military, but they may well be better marksmen.  When I was a kid on the farm doing chores, I would kill a rat with a single-shot 22 almost every night.  I only got one shot.  I actually could hit what I shot at.  Military personnel with that that ability are classified as expert marksmen.  When I was in basic training, I observed that guys raised around guns were always the best marksmen. 
I have only been talking about hunters.  Now think about the millions of gun owners that are not hunters, but are proficient with firearms.  No foreign power would consider invading with an army of two million when they might be facing 40 or 50 million armed citizens.  Gun ownership in this country is an important part of how we won and have kept our freedom, and is our greatest security.  If we lose our freedom, it will not be from invasion by a foreign power.  It will be from within as both Lincoln and Khrushchev predicted.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Are We Stupid?

Jonathan Gruber is one of the individuals responsible for writing the Affordable Care Act. He has stated that a lack of transparency and a stupid public was part of the reason the act was passed.  He justified these actions by saying the American people don’t know what is good for them.  Progressives always think the political elite should tell us how to live our lives.
“If you like your healthcare plan, you can keep it, Period.”   If you like you doctor, you can keep him, period.”  These were two of the most famous lies.  Anyone that read the bill knew that would not happen.  Oops, I forgot, no one read the bill before passing it.  As dingbat Pelosi said, “We have to pass it to find out what’s in it.”
We were told Obama Care was not a tax, but later it was called a tax to make it legal under the Constitution.  We were told premiums would go down when they had to go up.  We were told it would not raise taxes, government spending, or the deficit, when the reverse has proven to be true. We were told it would not affect Medicare, when they knew money would be taken out of Medicare.  The list goes on and on.  We were lied to. The public may be a little gullible, but I don’t think the public is stupid. 
I think the responsibility lies with our Congress and the media to learn the facts and act responsibly in the best interests of the country.  Our form of government is a republic.  That means we elect representatives to act in our best interests so we don’t have to dig out all the facts ourselves.  Our representatives failed us.  They did not read the bill, or get the facts. Some politicians voted a party line on this issue even when they knew it was wrong. 
The media is also responsible for reporting the facts.  With the exception of some cable networks, that never happened.  Most of us agree that politicians lie.  That does not make it acceptable.  Every political lie should be front-page news if we are ever going to have a transparent government. 
Most of us do not have time to research every piece of legislation and every regulation.  We must demand a better job from our elected officials and the media.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Governor Walker


         Last week Scott Walker was reelected governor of Wisconsin.  He won easily in spite of the lame stream media predictions that it was a dead heat and might end in a recount.
        Walker is a Republican, but this blog is not about Republican vs. Democrat.  It is about elected officials doing a job in the best interests of the people they represent, and the negative impact of partisan politics.  It is about helping the working middle class and not just giving this issue lip service with no action.  It is about giving our children the best education possible.  It is about not always voting with one political party.  It is about politicians working for the people and not just campaign donors.  It is about controlling government spending.  It is about improving the economy and creating private sector jobs.
          Governor Walker was elected the first time four years ago.  He made some very ambitious campaign promises.  The state was in terrible shape.  The state’s economy was in the tank.  There was widespread unemployment.  There was a large government deficit, and taxes had been increasing.  Schools were in trouble and looking at cutting teachers and programs. 
          Governor Walker immediately went to work and and in doing so created a lot of controversy.  There were heated demonstrations at the state capital.   With today’s partisan politics, it is impossible to get anything done and keep everyone happy.  Democratic state senators literally left the state of Wisconsin to block legislative action.  State legislators that supported Governor Walker’s reforms received death threats requiring them to have armed guards and decoy vehicles.
          The Wisconsin Education Association Council or WEAC is the public sector union for teachers.  With a lot of help from national unions, WEAC led a movement to recall Governor Walker.  The lame stream media predicted Walker would be handed his walking papers, but he won the recall by a larger margin than when he’d been elected. 
          In spite of these obstacles, Walker did get most of his reforms in place.  If anyone had told me he could achieve what he has achieved in the last four years, I would have said they were crazy.  The state budget is balanced and there is a even surplus.  The economy is up and unemployment is down.  Taxes are down, and schools are in better shape than they have been for years.  Walker’s reforms were pretty simple.  They did not involve expensive government programs.  He just got government out of the way of private enterprise, local government, and local school districts. 
          I mentioned Walker’s campaign promises were ambitious, but in four years, he achieved them all except one.  He promised 250,000 new jobs.  He was only able to show a little over 100,000.  In most areas of the state, anyone who wants to work can now find a good paying job.  In our area, we have a huge shortage of skilled and unskilled labor.  Did Walker helped to create more jobs than we have workers?  Welfare is just too comfortable for many people, and they would rather not have to bother going to work.
          The Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the unions did everything possible to defeat walker this year.  Walker was outspent, and ads got pretty negative towards the end when it looked like he might win.  Ads attempting to show him as sexist, and even implying he was corrupt were not effective.  People voted for a qualified individual that had implemented reforms to help the middle working class.
I was happy to see Governor Walker was reelcted with a comfortable margin last week.  I hope it will show the rest of the country that a politician can and should represent the working middle class and achieve good things for the state and country.   Walker’s reforms in Wisconsin are a sharp contrast to the political jokes and failed policies in Washington DC. 
Walker’s reforms were not expensive and actually worked.  I am sick and tired of the Progressive idea that the government has to be spending money or they are not doing anything.  We need to take a lesson from Walker and President Calvin Coolidge (also known as Silent Cal) and get government out of the way.
There will be a change in the control of Congress.  I hope it is used productively instead of just continuing the partisan gridlock.  I can see why Governor Walker is in the top ten as a Republican Presidential candidate in two years.  Personally, I would hate to lose him as Governor, but I hope one political party can put forward a candidate like him.  I am sick of the usual candidates representing the political elite and buying votes with welfare.  We need elected representatives working for middle class.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Election Day


     The elction is today.  What are you voting for?  I hope you have done your research before voting.

·        Are you voting for the Constitution, or administrative law through executive orders?

·        Are you voting for religious freedom as defined in the First Amendment, or suppression of religion?

·        Are you voting for the Tenth Amendment and state’s rights, for or for a large federal government?

·        Are you voting for personal freedom, or are you voting for having the federal government controlling every aspect of your life?

·        Are you voting for the Second amendment, or having the government take away are guns? 

·        Are you voting for a strong economy and jobs, or a welfare state?

·        Are you voting for the working middle class, or the political elite?

·        Are you voting for a capitalistic economy or a government controlled economy?

·        Are you voting for tax reform like the Fair Tax, or continuing with the current system that favors the rich?

·        Are you voting for tax reform to keep our corporations and corporate profits in the country, or driving them away?

·        Are you voting for a fiscally responsible government, or catastrophic debt?

·        Are you in favor of letting banks and corporations fail, or having the federal government bail them out with tax payer money because the government considers them “Too Big to Fail.”

·        Are you voting for lower cost health care, or higher cost due to insurance and government intervention?

·        Are you voting for returning our education system the high standards held before the federal government got involved?

·        Are you voting for change to save our urban areas, or let them continue to decay into welfare communities?

·        Are you voting for a secure border, or open boarders?

·        Are you voting for lower cost health care, or more cost due to insurance and government intervention?

·        Are you voting for Social Security and Medicare & Medicaid reform to provide fair value and security for our citizens?

·        Are you voting for honesty and transparency in government and quick justice for corruption, or continued cover-ups?

·        Are you Voting for honesty in campaign advertising, continuing with the “It’s just politics” approach?

We can make a difference.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Management & Leadership


          It would be nice if all managers were good leaders, but unfortunatly that is not the case.  Many managers are not good leaders for a variety of reasons.  This is true in both the provate and public sectors of out ecnomomy.
         One of the major reasons is the Peter Principle, which simply states people are promoted to a level of incompetence.  In the public sector individuals are often elected to positions for which they are incompetent.  They may give a good speech and have financial support to get elected, but are not qualified to manage or lead. 
          It is possible to be a very popular manager and yet be an incompetent leader.  The best leaders are not always popular initially, but are respected in the long run.   Most managers and leaders must deal with many factors in their jobs.  Many decisions of a good leader may not be popular.  Let’s take a look at an example. 
          A school superintendent’s primary goal is providing a good education for the students, but it is not always that simple.  He has to deal with the school board, which may involve politics beyond educating the kids.  The teachers and public sector union promote their personal interests, which may not be in the best interests of the students.  The students may have demands that are in conflict with their education.  The athletic programs need to be winners or parents and sports fans are unhappy.  Parents may feel their child does not receive the grades or considerations deserved.  The community may want to maintain or reduce taxes to a level that will not fund all the school’s programs.  There is no way a school superintendent can keep all these factions totally happy, but he must be a leader and make the best decisions for the education of the students in the long run. 
          A manager in the private sector will face the same problems.  His or her primary goal is the long-term financial well being of the business.  At the same time a manager must keep the owners, employees, government, and society happy.  Not an easy job, and sometimes not a popular one.   If the company goes out of business, everyone loses.
          An elected official also has many different factions to keep happy.  His or her primary job is to represent the people that elected him, but these people may not have access to, or knowledge of adequate data to know what is in their best interests for the future.  An elected official also has campaign contributors, special interest groups, and partisan politics to deal with.  These interests may come ahead of doing what is best for the people who elected him, if the politician wants to stay in office.        
A good speech or a title does not make a leader.  Calling a manager a team leader does not make a leader.  A good leader leads by example and implementing plans and strategies for the future.  These decisions and actions are not always popular in the short run. 
A good manager accepts blame personally and gives credit to his associates for good results.  Poor leaders and some politicians take credit for every good result and blame someone else for everything that goes wrong. 
          Some of the ads for the approaching election amaze me.  Liberal Progressives make promises that sound like a fiscally responsible conservative.  Based on past history, we know the ads and speeches are inaccurate at best.  If elected, the politician has no intention of keeping the campaign promises.  They say this is justified, because, “It’s just politics.”  They think it is okay to do and say anything to get elected.
          Please look at a candidate’s qualifications and history and vote accordingly. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Gas, Oil & Coal


          If we listen to the environmentalists and global warming advocates; gas, oil, and coal are evil and should be eliminated as a source of energy.  I get a little sick of the attention and respect these people get.  All these issues are political footballs that give politicians from both political parties opportunities to increase their political power and the size of government.
          Lets look at coal first.  The present executive branch of our government has made it clear that they would like to totally eliminate the use of coal.  They claim this would be good for the planet because of carbon emissions.  Get real.  First of all, after two years researching global warming, I could find no verifiable facts showing that man made emissions affected climat change. 
         Secondly, if we are really concerned with protecting human life on a global basis, we need coal.  The number one cause of death in the world is not from Ebola or terrorism.  Both are real threats, but more people die from indoor pollution.  Three and a half million people die every year trying to stay warm.  They burn twigs, cardboard, and dung to heat their homes and die from the emissions.  They need a safe, cheap source of heat.  The best option is coal. 
          Environmentalist’s advocate and promote electric cars as being a solution.  These cars are plugged in to recharge.  Much of the electricity used is generated by coal.  Their logic is void of common sense.
          Natural gas and oil are huge factors on the world economies and our lives.  In this country, cheap gasoline prices mean more disposable income for other things.  This helps the economy. 
          We have natural gas and oil deposits in our country that are now readily recoverable due to frac sand mining.  Frac sand is a crush-resistant sand of a particular fine size used for hydraulic fracturing to recover oil and natural gas. 
          I happen to live in an area of the country with the largest deposits of high quality frac sand in the country.  Frac sand mines have been great for the local economy in Northwest Wisconsin.  It has also created some problems.  Some people just don’t like change.  As an Old Fart, I can certainly relate.  Some people don’t like disturbing the natural environment. 
          Frac sand mining has also created employment problems.  In this area, we have many good paying job opportunities with no one to fill those jobs.  This is also true in areas of Montana and North Dakota because of the Bakken oil field.  Some retail stores like Menards’ actually fly employees from other states to work in North Dakota  stores.  It is like an old time gold rush in some ways. 
          How much coal, oil and gas do we have in this country?  We have enough to economically serve all our needs for over two thousand years.  I am not saying we should not continue to develop alternative energy sources, but let’s use a little common sense please.  We still have idiots in the Federal government blocking the Keystone pipeline.
          We have large deposits of these natural resources, which can now be economically recovered, so the price to the consumer should come down.  With worldwide oil prices currently at $80 per barrel, we now have the capability to produce oil at $16 per barrel according to some estimates.  Think what this would do to gasoline prices. 
One big danger with lower gasoline prices is the temptation of politicians to add new taxes on gasoline.  Keep a close watch so this doesn’t happen.  As U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley said, “Taxes are a politician’s narcotic.”
          Cheap oil can also play a significant role in world politics and diplomacy.  What price will OPEC have to set for oil if we can produce it for $16 a barrel and are totally energy independent?  The economies of some Middle East countries are totally dependant on oil production.  Some countries base their budget on $100 a barrel for oil.  What happens to their economy when the price of oil drops?  We also must be aware that much of radical Islam is funded by oil.  What happens to Jihad with cheap oil? 
          I am not advocating conspicuous or wasteful consumption.  I believe in repairing versus replacing.  I believe in recycling, and I am very disappointed when federal regulations discourage recycling for items like alkaline batteries.  Let’s use some common sense please. 
          We have the opportunity to be totally energy independent.  This would improve our economy and our quality of life.  It would also give us the opportunity for significant diplomatic and humanitarian power on the world stage.  We can indeed help improve the quality of life worldwide. 
          If the Federal government gets out of the way, the United States of America can be on the brink of another great time in history.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Fight To Win


          When I was young and stupid some guys got into fights.  Some gained a reputation as a street fighter.  This reputation caused more fights because somebody was always trying to prove they were tough.  People would talk about black belts, boxers, wrestlers, football players, weight lifters, and other physical attributes for fighters.  I noticed the best street fighters seldon had any of these attributes, but won.  Why?
           I think the primary reason was that the street fighter knew somebody was going to get hurt, and the longer the fight continued, the more likely they both would be hurt.  For this reason the street fighter would normally avoid a fight as long as possible, but if a fight could not be avoided, his objective was to end the fight as quickly as possible.  There were no courtesies or rules. 
          I feel we should have the same attitude with our military policy.  Diplomacy should be first, but if that does not work, military action may be necessary.  If we take any military action it should be an all out effort to win.  Limited actions just drag out conflicts and cost lives.  President Theodore Roosevelt said.  “Talk softly and carry a big stick.”  Some people think he was a warmonger and a colonialist, but I think he was right about military action.
           I was in the Artmy during the Vietnam war.  We did not win that war.  Why?  Maybe it was a war that could not be won.  The French had been fighting in Vietnam for years before we got involved.  They had less success than we did.  Some great militry minds had warned that we should never get involved in a ground conflict in Southeast Asia. 
           Could we have won the Vietnam War?  Maybe.  Some high ranking North Veitnam Generls say we could have won.  They said they were close to surrendering when we were bombing Hanoi, but we stopped the bombing.  When we invaded Cambodia, they said we were within a few clicks of their headquarters and were ready to surrender, but we stopped and pulled back.  Who knows if these claims are true, but if so, why did we change successful military campaigns.  The answer is politics.  President Nixon let public sentimant dictate military action in my opinion.  War and politics don't go together.  Fight to win or don't fight. 
           The result was many good men died serving their country that did not have to die.  Nam was a terrible war and returning veterans did not receive the support or thanks they deserved.  I have seen estimates that more Vietnam veterans committed suicide after returning home than were killed in Vietnam.
A good friend of mine lost his right arm at the shoulder in Nam.  He told me that it was worth the arm to get out alive, but the damage was more than the arm.  He never fully recovered mentally, and never led a normal life.  It took almost thirty years, but he eventually swallowed his gun.  His son had a hard time with the suicide and I wrote him a letter that Nam had killed his Dad.  It just took a long time and a lot of suffering for him to die. 
Luckily, Veteran Administration health care is doing a lot better job treating returning veterans for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.  I know the VA has had some problems with corrupt bureaucrats, but they are doing a lot better than after Vietnam.  There still is room for improvement.  Our veterans deserve the best. 
We are now in a war with terror.  We better forget the political correctness and recognize that this is a religious war with radical Islam.  This is not a war with any single country.  There is no central command.  Today ISIS is the big threat, but the name continually changes.  This Jihad war is intended to convert people to the Muslim religion, establish Sharia law worldwide, and kill all infidels.  It is that simple.  We better recognize the facts. 
I don’t know if or where we should take military action, but if we fight, we must fight to win.  Limited military actions delay peace and cost lives.  I also have a big problem in arming and training people that later become our enemies and use our weapons against us.  We have made that mistake too often in the past.  I hope we can learn from history. 
Fight to win or don’t fight.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Live Where?

Where do you live?  Where would you like to live?  Maybe you dream of having several homes, with a home up north in the summer and a home in the south in the winter might be nice.  Maybe a weekend home or cabin is your wish.  In this great country we have a lot of choices, but our job dictates where we must live the majority of the time.   
I recently heard a New York based TV talk show discussing where the best job opportunities were located.  When the booming job market in North Dakota was mentioned, one of the individuals agreed, but said no one wanted to live there compared to New York.  I think he was crazy.  I would prefer to live in the Great Plains anytime compared to New York City.  
          Once years ago, I lived in the Chicago suburbs and was offered a good job in New Jersey.  When I compared the cost of housing and the cost of living, the job didn’t sound so good.  Quality of life is important and I turned down the job.  I did open a branch office for the company in a Chicago suburb a few years later. 
          I was once involved in starting a new company.  Part of the initial plan was forming a syndication of open-wall home fabricators across the county.  We made presentations to these fabricators in nine cities in two consecutive weeks.  We traveled to Indianapolis, Washington DC, Atlanta, and Dallas the first week.  Des Moines, Denver, Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles were the second week.  We made this trip in December on a very tight schedule without incident except for some lost luggage on the last leg home. 
          The reason I mention this is we often hear the saying that you get what you pay for.  This was certainly not the case on this trip.  In fact the absolute reverse was the case.  The best facilities and service were in Des Moines and they were the cheapest.  Denver was second in quality and the next lowest price.  As the price went up, the facilities and service went down.   Washington DC was the highest price and had the worst quality and service. 
          We probably could have gone to New York City and made DC look like a good value.  I am not a big fan of New York.  About twenty years ago, I paid $75 dollars for an a la carte piece of fish in Manhattan with bad service.  I probably wouldn’t have complained too much, but I got food poisoning from it.  I prefer a Friday night fish fry here in Northwest Wisconsin, where sushi is called bait.
          My point is, why would anyone want to live in Washington DC or New York City compared to most places in this country?  I have a problem with heads of business or government making decisions for the rest of the country based on life in these two cities.  The quality of life in these cities is not normal or even desirable in my opinion.  Sometimes I don’t think DC politicians or our media has any concept of the world outside DC and New York.  Some politicians in DC think spending over two billion dollars on the Obama Care web site is reasonable.  What a waste of our tax dollars.
There was a time when business and finance needed to be located in major metropolitan areas.  This is no longer necessary, cost effective, or even desirable with today’s technology and communications.  In most major urban cities, people and companies are moving to the suburbs for better value and a better quality of life.  Are some of our major urban areas turning into the fictional Gotham City?
          One of the reasons people give for going into business for themselves is being able to control where they live and their quality of life.  The problem often is finding the right business to reach their goals.  Some people choose a business for the wrong reasons.  I wrote Business Fits to help people reach their goals. 

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Outsiders Buying the Election?

               This was the headline for The Gazette on September 21, 2014.  The Gazette is eastern Iowa’s locally owned newspaper based in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.  The article claims that special interest groups from outside the state pay for 80% of the TV ads in the U.S. Senate race between Bruce Braley and Joni Ernst. 
                The impact of TV ads can easily negate local grass roots campaigning.  Many of these ads may be technically accurate, but totally misleading.  Some are outright lies with no consequences.  Politicians are obligated to represent the special interests that finance their campaigns.  Why do we allow this to continue?  It means we lose control of the elected officials that are supposed to work in the best interests of the state they represent.
                The easiest way to prevent this problem in any U.S. Senate race is to repeal the 17th Amendment to the Constitution.  This amendment established the direct election of United States Senators by popular vote of the state they represent.  The 17th Amendment was passed on May 13, 1912 and ratified on April 8, 1913.  Electing Senators by popular vote seems to make sense until it is examined closely.  Special interests outside the state can control the election.  
                Prior to this change in the Constitution, U.S. Senators were appointed by the state legislature.   The state always elected representatives to the U.S. House by popular vote, as they do today.  This difference in how Representatives were elected and Senators were appointed to Congress was just one more check and balance our founding fathers build into the Constitution.  How could our founding fathers be so smart and we be dumb enough to change it?
                Some Amendments to the Constitution are a mistake. The 18th Amendment prohibited the manufacturing and sale of alcohol for human consumption in the United States.  This idiocy turned many average citizens into criminals.  Death from alcohol poisoning reached epidemic levels.  At least the country was smart enough to recognize the mistake and the 21st Amendment repealed the 18th.
                The House of Representatives has always been elected by popular vote, and is not affected by the 17th Amendment.   For the House, I would strongly recommend campaign spending reform limiting all campaign donations to only individuals and corporations that reside within the district represented by the elected official.
                This reform should apply to campaign donations at all levels of government.  The biggest problems are at the federal level, but it should apply to the state and local levels as well.  I am a county supervisor for district 4 in our county.  I am sure the people living in district 4 want me representing their interests and not some national special interest group that wants to buy my vote.  
                These changes would give power back to the states and limit the power of special interest groups.  We need to take back our country from the political elite.  The political elite is only concerned with expanding the federal government and increasing their power.  They are not concerned with the working middle class that made this country great.  It is time to fight back.