Archive for December, 2016

I can’t wait for 2016 to end. Please understand that parts of 2016 were exceptionally enjoyable. Think Trump defeating Hillary, Republicans flipping the Minnesota Senate and, most importantly, the Cubs defeating the Cleveland Indians (Sorry Hugh.) in winning their first World Series championship since 1908.

What hasn’t been that enjoyable has been my health.

At 2:30 am on Aug. 1, I woke up with chest pain. A friend gave me a ride to the hospital, where I checked into the ER. After running a couple tests, I was admitted into the hospital. I was told by the cardiologist that treated me that I’d dodged a major bullet. The cardiologist said that I had a 90% blockage of the left anterior descending artery. The path chosen was to place a new stent in the LAD through angioplasty. In the 9 days that I was in the hospital, I lost 23 lbs.

On Friday, Sept. 30, I was rushed by ambulance to the ER with an acute shortness of breath. I was able to tell theme that I wasn’t feeling any chest pains. After running an EKG, they were able to confirm that I wasn’t suffering a heart attack. After running another test, I was diagnosed with multiple blood clots in my right lung and multiple blood clots in my left lung. The good news is that I’m recovering nicely. I’ll probably have to take warfarin the rest of my life but that’s ok.

I wish that would’ve ended my health issues but it didn’t. This past Saturday, Christmas Eve morning, at 8:05 am, I slipped on a patch of glare ice on the top of my back porch. I landed on the sidewalk 3 rungs lower, a drop (for my back) of 60″. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that I was instantly in pain.

I’m finally out of the hospital but now there are things I need going forward. First, I need a railing for my steps to give me something solid to stabilize myself when navigating my steps (both going up and down.) After Saturday’s fall, I realize I need a rain gutter to keep melting snow from the roof from icing up my steps. I don’t need a full gutter system, just something to keep the melting snow off my steps. There are some things I need inside the house, too, starting with an ergonomic chair for my computer.

A few weeks ago, I posted a bleg on a political subject. Today, I’m posting an ’emergency bleg’ to help defray the costs of the changes I’ll need to make going forward. No contribution is too small. All contributions are sincerely appreciated. If you want to contribute to these causes via credit card, hit the donate button in the top corner of the right sidebar. If you don’t trust that method, just leave a comment to this post. I’ll send you an email explaining how to contribute through more conventional methods.

Here’s hoping you had a Merry Christmas. Here’s wish you a Happy New Year.

PS- Despite being in the hospital for Christmas, God still figured out a way to bless me. Color me grateful and humbled for that.

When honestly assessing the Obama administration’s abstention in Friday’s UN Security Council vote on Israeli settlements in the West Bank, it’s impossible to say that the administration didn’t want to stab Israel in the back on its way out the door. It’s impossible to say that the Obama administration’s speech after the vote wasn’t extremely dishonest. Finally, Samantha Power’s vote represents the worst betrayal of Israel in US history.

As usual, Charles Krauthammer provided the most detailed explanation of what the US abstention meant. In his explanation, Dr. Krauthammer said “what happened today is that the United States joined the jackals of the UN — that was a phrase used by Pat Moynihan, the great Democratic senator and former ambassador, who spoke for the US standing up in the UN and to resist this kind of disgrace. To give you an idea of how appalling this resolution is, it declares that any Jew living in the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem — the Jewish Quarter, which has been inhabited by Jews for 1,000 years, is illegal and breaking international law, essentially an outlaw, can be hauled into the International Criminal Court or international courts in Europe, which is one of the consequences. The Jewish Quarter has been populated by Jews for 1,000 years. In the war of 1948, the Arabs invaded Israel to wipe it out. They did not succeed but the Arab legions succeeded in conquering the Jewish Quarter. They dispelled all of the Jews. They destroyed all of the synagogues and homes and for 19 years, no Jew could go there. The Israelis got it back in the 6 Day War and now it’s declared as not being Jewish territory.”

Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s statement shows the Democrats’ hostility for Israel:

President Obama’s refusal to veto today’s UN Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlements sends a strong message that the United States still supports a two-state solution. Ending settlement activity in the West Bank and East Jerusalem is an absolute necessity if we’re ever to achieve a lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

I’ve watched with growing concern the increase in Israeli settlements over the years, where approximately 400,0000 individuals now live. I believe the expansion of settlements has but one goal: to undermine the viability of a two-state solution.

I’ve met with displaced Palestinian families who have been kicked off land they’ve lived on for many generations. The ill will that results from these settlements is a significant roadblock to peace, and I again call on Israel to end their expansion so that a two- state solution remains a possibility.

That’s incredibly naïve. Either that or it’s utterly dishonest. The biggest thing preventing a 2-state solution are the Palestinian terrorists that the Israelis have to negotiate with.

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Thankfully, President Obama’s anti-Israel administration is quickly coming to an end. Unfortunately, it got in one last cheapshot against Israel on its way out the door.

This afternoon, the “United States on Friday allowed a UN Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlement construction to be adopted, defying extraordinary pressure from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government in alliance with President-elect Donald Trump. The Security Council approved the resolution with 14 votes, with the US abstaining. There was applause in the chamber following the vote, which represented perhaps the final bitter chapter in the years of antagonism between President Barack Obama’s administration and Netanyahu’s government.”

History will record the Obama administration as the most anti-Israel administration in US history. That isn’t just my opinion. According to CNN’s report, “a senior Israeli official … accused the United States of abandoning the Jewish state with its refusal to block the resolution with a veto.” In this video, Alan Dershowitz explains why PEOTUS Donald Trump had to intervene:

Samantha Power, the US Ambassador to the UN, issued this dishonest statement on the resolution:

Like U.S. administrations before it, the Obama Administration has worked tirelessly to fight for Israel’s right simply to be treated just like any other country – from advocating for Israel to finally be granted membership to a UN regional body, something no other UN Member State had been denied; to fighting to ensure that Israeli NGOs are not denied UN accreditation, simply because they are Israeli, to getting Yom Kippur finally recognized as a UN holiday; to pressing this Council to break its indefensible silence in response to terrorist attacks on Israelis. As the United States has said repeatedly, such unequal treatment not only hurts Israel, it undermines the legitimacy of the United Nations itself.

Ambassador Power read this just after voting to sabotage Israel.

It’s honest to say that the Democratic Party hasn’t hesitated in abandoning Israel. A senior Israeli official told CNN said “President Obama and Secretary Kerry are behind this shameful move against Israel at the UN. President Obama could declare his willingness to veto this resolution in an instant but instead is pushing it. This is an abandonment of Israel which breaks decades of US policy of protecting Israel at the UN and undermines the prospects of working with the next administration of advancing peace.”

President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry are laughingstocks in terms of advancing peace between Israel and the Palestinians. Israel rightfully dismissed Kerry as a pro-Arab stooge being manipulated by the Palestinian terrorist government. Rather than leaving office quietly, President Obama and Secretary Kerry decided to push a resolution that sticks a knife in Israel’s back on their way out the door. That’s what I’d expect from children, not diplomats.

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Prior to this op-ed, I thought that the Democrats most prone to delusion lived in fever swamps with Keith Ellison, Nancy Pelosi and Babs Boxer as neighbors. Thanks to Stan Greenberg’s op-ed, I have to consider the possibility that the entire Democratic Party is nuts.

Greenberg’s op-ed starts by saying “President Obama will be remembered as a thoughtful and dignified president who led a scrupulously honest administration that achieved major changes.” I’d use lots of terms to describe the Obama administration but scrupulously honest isn’t one of them. Fast and Furious was the personification of dishonesty. Weaponizing the IRS to harass TEA Party organizations isn’t the picture of scrupulously honest, either. Unanimously getting shot down 13 straight times by the Supreme Court for his attempts at executive supremacy doesn’t say scrupulously honest. It says President Obama didn’t respect the rule of law.

Later, Greenberg said that President Obama “rescued an economy in crisis and passed the recovery program, pulled America back from its military overreach, passed the Affordable Care Act and committed the nation to addressing climate change.”

First, President Obama didn’t rescue “an economy in crisis.” TARP, passed during President Bush’s term, started the stabilization. The Federal Reserve’s Quantitative Easing, not President Obama’s stimulus, injected life into the economy. Pulling “America back from its military overreach” created ISIS, which is expanding its lethality each day.

The American people aren’t stupid. They tried telling President Obama that they didn’t want Obamacare. He didn’t care. Ideology demanded that it be passed so the Democrats lied about it, then passed it. The next election, the American people threw a beat-down on the Democrats’ agenda. Still, President Obama wouldn’t listen. Eventually, he said he’d get things done with a pen and a phone.

President Obama’s outright disrespect for the Constitution and the rule of law got people upset with Democrats. That’s why they’re on the outside looking in. Half of the states have a Republican governor and Republican legislatures. In DC, there’s a Republican waiting to be sworn in as the next president and Republican majorities in the House and Senate.

That type of repudiation doesn’t happen to “thoughtful and dignified presidents.” It happens to despots who ignore the Constitution and the American people. That’s President Obama’s identity.

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Salena Zito’s latest column mocks Team Hillary’s barrage of excuses for why Mrs. Clinton lost to Donald Trump. Ms. Zito explains what she learned on “Amtrak’s famed Capitol Express, which connects Washington, DC, with a series of cities in the Midwest.”

According to the article, “Audrey and Robert, a Virginia couple, were heading to Montana to visit their daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren; Edward of Lancaster, Pa., was traveling to see his mother and brothers and sisters in Fort Wayne, Ind. All had voted for Trump — and all had noticed the way they were still being portrayed by the losing side. ‘On Nov. 8 I went from a responsible, hard-working, upstanding citizen to an uninformed bigot who gleefully supports Russian interference in our elections and the destruction of our republic,” Robert said. ‘At least that’s what I have read in the newspaper or seen on television, so it must be true, right?'”

Hillary’s support has shrunk while Trump’s support has remained steadfast. Part of that is because there’s no questioning Mr. Trump’s patriotism. People believe him when he says he wants to make America great again. They don’t think of that as just a campaign slogan.

Meanwhile, a growing number of people don’t trust Hillary. Others think that she’s just in it for herself or that she thinks it’s her birthright to be president. This video does a beautiful job mocking Hillary:

Anis Amri, the Tunisian man suspected of killing 12 and injuring 56 in a Berlin terrorist attack, was reported as being killed in a police confrontation in Milan, Italy this morning.

Fox News is reporting a “man killed in a shootout with Italian police in Milan early Friday is reportedly the main suspect in Berlin truck attack on a Christmas market that killed 12 people and injured 56. During a press conference the Italian interior minister said the man is ‘without a shadow of doubt’ the Berlin market attacker. The shootout with suspect Anis Amri took place at 3 a.m. in a Milan neighborhood during a routine police check.”

The Italian interior minister was right when he “said the two police officers who stopped Amri ‘have done an extraordinary service to the community.'” In fact, that’s understatement. What’s troubling, though, is that “authorities say Amri has used at least six different names and three nationalities in his travels around Europe.”

It’s troubling because it suggests that this terrorist knew how to manipulate the system.

Earlier this week, Speaker Daudt told reporters that his relationship with Gov. Dayton was “damaged.” The key question that the Twin Cities media hasn’t asked is why their relationship is damaged. The AP’s Kyle Potter opened his article by saying “Gov. Mark Dayton and House Speaker Kurt Daudt will enter 2017 with a ‘damaged relationship,’ the Republican speaker said Monday, foreshadowing difficulty at the Capitol when the Legislature is charged with passing a two-year budget and address other key priorities.”

Let’s re-examine what happened since mid-October. On Oct. 12, Gov. Dayton admitted that “the Affordable Care Act is no longer affordable for an increasing number of people. We’re going to need both state and federal governments to step in and do what they need to do to remedy these problems.” Since then, Republicans came up with a plan to fix the affordability part of the ACA/MNsure crisis. This chart shows the differences between the Republicans’ plan, which addressed affordability, access and other important factors, with Gov. Dayton’s bare bones proposal:

There’s no disputing the fact that Gov. Dayton is upset. What’s in question is why he’s upset. Is he upset that Republicans put together a serious plan that would fix each of the major problems with the ACA? Is Gov. Dayton upset that the DFL’s plan is pathetic and skimpy?

Gov. Dayton owes it to Minnesotans to stop acting like a spoiled brat. For better or worse, he’s Minnesota’s CEO. It’s time he put his big boy britches on and did what’s right for all Minnesotans. Lately, there’s been lots of talk from the DFL about government shutdowns. It’s time Gov. Dayton and the DFL stopped pandering to their special interest allies and did what’s right for Minnesotans.

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Thankfully, President Obama will soon be riding off into the history books where we can ignore him. His biggest legacy, of course, will be that he’s the first African-American elected US president. After that, though, he’s totally forgettable.

One of President Obama’s multitude of negatives is his hatred of energy independence. Even now, he’s trying to put huge oil and natural gas deposits permanently off-limits. According to this article, “President Barack Obama took new action Tuesday barring offshore drilling in areas of the Arctic and Atlantic oceans indefinitely.” Later, the article said “The US is also declaring 31 canyons off the Atlantic coast off-limits for drilling, citing ‘critical and irreplaceable ecological value.'”

Despite the Obama administration’s hostility towards fossil fuels, the United States is getting closer to achieving energy independence by the day. Another bit of proof that the Obama administration is hostile to fossil fuels is their decision to deny the final permits to finish the Dakota Access Pipeline. This op-ed, written by John Cavanagh and Domenica Ghanem, shows who President Obama wants to be friends with:

The president-elect has pledged to remove constraints on fossil fuel projects, and it’s likely he’ll try to reverse this decision once he takes office. But there’s something you can do to help stand up for life and for justice.

The controversial pipeline would be 1,170 miles long and cost $3.7 billion. A project of that scale doesn’t build itself. Behind the lead investor, Energy Transfer Partners, stand heavily armed police forces, sound-cannon trucks, water cannons, tear gas and attack dogs – and 38 banks funding it all.

That’s why the Institute for Policy Studies, where we work, is pulling its money from one of these banks, SunTrust, and switching to a more socially responsible institution. Banks that fund the planet-destroying fossil fuel economy and undermine Native American land rights aren’t the ones we should be doing business with.

President Obama has aligned himself with ranting idiots like these. What’s disappointing is that the Democratic Party used to be the party of working people. Now they’re the elitist snobs’ party. He isn’t pretending to like construction workers. These are 2 of the faces of the new Democratic Party:

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When it comes to diagnosing why Hillary Clinton lost, Chip Englander, “a Chicago-based GOP consultant”, got it exactly right when he said the Clintons’ “intent to try to rewrite the history books is super obvious. The history books are not written by losers. She lost the election because she broke the law and didn’t bother to campaign in swing states. She’s got nobody to blame but herself.”

By comparison, Robbie Mook, Mrs. Clinton’s campaign manager, couldn’t get it more wrong than when he said “if you ask me what is the single greatest headwind we faced in the race … it was the two letters by James Comey.” I won’t deny that those letters produced some strong headwinds. They didn’t happen by themselves, though. If Mrs. Clinton hadn’t tried hiding her State Department emails from FOIA requests by using her own server, there wouldn’t have been a Comey investigation.

The ‘Comey headwinds’, therefore, were Mrs. Clinton’s fault.

In August, 2015, Quinnipiac University asked respondents “the first word that pops into their heads when they think of Hillary Clinton. This word-cloud is telling:

Mrs. Clinton’s spinmeisters simply re-inforce the images that a) it’s never her fault, b) she lives by different rules than the little people and c) Mrs. Clinton doesn’t accept criticism, especially as a presidential candidate.

Mrs. Clinton’s post-mortem:

I could get long-winded but I won’t. What we know about Mrs. Clinton is that she’s dishonest and uninteresting. It’s time for her to leave the national stage — forever.

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Salena Zito’s article about Wisconsin becoming a red state is must reading for Minnesota conservatives. That’s because it provides the blueprint for turning Minnesota red.

Salena’s article starts by saying “Eight years ago, Wisconsin Democrats were in the catbird seat; they held the Governor’s office, the majority in both chambers of the state legislature, two U.S. Senate seats, five of the state’s eight congressional seats and handed Barack Obama a rousing victory in the presidential election.” That’s the Wisconsin of 2008. That isn’t the Wisconsin of 2016.

What changed in that time? Since the 2008 election, “Republican Gov. Scott Walker has won his seat three times (there was a recall election in between his two outright wins) and Republicans have twice taken the state attorney general’s office, won control of both state legislative chambers (and retained them twice) and won a bruising state Supreme Court race.”

In short, Reince Priebus and Paul Ryan put together a blueprint that’s caught fire:

House Speaker Paul Ryan has played a big role in the redirection traditional Democrats towards the Republican Party with his stabilizing, responsible economic message; while his district voted for Barack Obama in 2008, it supported Mitt Romney in 2012 when he was on the ticket as the vice-presidential nominee.

The Cheeseheads’ Three Amigos turned the Republican Party of Wisconsin into winners on a mission:

What’s possible in Wisconsin is possible in Minnesota, too. The thing that Gov. Walker, Chairman Priebus and Speaker Ryan have in common is that they’re principled leaders. That means this trio isn’t afraid to push conservative initiatives. More than any other trio in US state governance, this trio has created a reform movement that’s attracting erstwhile Democrats into their movement:

And despite the news media nationalizing the raucous 2011 state capitol protests in Madison when Walker passed Act 10, which curtailed collective bargaining for most public employees, the conservative movement stubbornly continued to attract independent and Democratic voters to their message and their candidates. Walker won the recall election the unions forced with more votes than he did when he ran the first time. He won reelection in 2014 even as experts also predicted he would lose.

That led to this:

Folks have altered their allegiances politically said Todd. “The government sector unions broke the bank and forced a reckoning that surprisingly found trade union members on the taxpayer’s side,” he said.

Minnesotans don’t need another Scott Walker, Paul Ryan or Reince Priebus. Minnesotans just need principled leaders who are conservatives, too.

The one remaining state-wide elected Democrat in Wisconsin is U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, who will have to try to defend her seat in 2018, the same year that Walker will likely seek a third term as governor. Those two races will be a true test to see if the Democrats understand their faults and display a willingness to comprehend and reconnect with their electorate.

If not, they risk placing Wisconsin on the battleground map in 2020 alongside Ohio.

It’s too early to predict a Republican winning the governorship in Minnesota in 2018. Still, with Republicans flipping Minnesota’s State Senate, it isn’t unreasonable to think it’s a possibility. Already, things are starting to look like it will be a good year for Republicans in 2018. Democrats will be defending 10 red-state seats in the US Senate. Once President Obama leaves office, Democrats won’t really have a national spokesperson. Meanwhile, Donald Trump will be the Republicans’ chief spokesman. He’ll be touting the many popular accomplishments of his administration, including tax simplification, returning to the rule of law and replacing Obamacare with something that’s actually affordable.

It’s time to make Minnesota a red state.