Sunday, April 28, 2013

MN DFL Squabbles Over Tax Increases

It is kind of funny when Gov. Dayton is put in the role of playing the most fiscal Conservative politician in the game.  According to today's Star Tribune article, it looks like that is what is happening.

I included the second link to show how folks like Big E over at MPP seem to think that the DFL will be able to fund all the spending increases on the backs of the wealthy alone.  I noted in my comment to him that he must not drink alcohol , smoke, or buy product over the internet.  I should probably add that he must not buy clothes, pay for consumer services, etc.

Also, Big E thinks that the United for Jobs group is just out to make wealthy people wealthier.  Their recommendations seem to make sense to me, and my immediate family is not even in the top 10%...

So what are your thoughts regarding the situation or any of the linked documents.

Star Tribune Dayton on Taxes
Mn Prog Proj United for Jobs
MN United for Jobs

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Use Drones for Hunting?

Per Laurie's request, we are going to talk about the use of armed drones. (MinnPost Targeted Killings Using Drones?)  It is an excellent topic, I once explained to a friend that we have to keep paying hunting license fees (ie aid payments) in Afganistan, Pakistan, etc so they will let us keep hunting their citizens....  It is interesting that Obama is still supporting this policy.

Imagine if Iraq started flying drones over the USA, and then began picking off the folks that are really pissing them off.  I assume that idiot church leader who keeps burning the Qurans in Florida would be near the top of their list.  And who could blame them...

Then we have Hezbollah sending unarmed drones into Israel's air space, which I really can't imagine being a good idea.  Since the Israeli military seems pretty protective and prone to taking retribution...

Of course, we also have to wonder if the NRA would lobby to let us buy one of those armed drones.  Just imagine...  I could go deer hunting from the warmth of my living room...

Guardian Drone Stocks
National Journal World Has Drones
WP Drone Debate

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Global Warming Over?

Speed and Rush raised a thought that had occurred to me as I was shovelling snow this morning.  Is global warming still occurring or was it just normal environmental variation?  Thoughts?

Also, why do you think people started using the term "Climate Change" rather than "Global Warming"?  Is appropriate or were they losing the followers as things cooled?

Speed Gibson What's not to like?
Think Progress Limbaugh GW Hoax
Limbaugh Kerry on GW with China
Climate Progress Account for Oceans

I don't what's happening, but I have not ridden my motorcycle yet and am getting grumpy.  Though things are looking better for later in the week !!!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

MN Referendum Renewal

What are your thoughts regarding referendum renewals?  It does seem odd that we elect the school board but don't give them the authority to fund their success.  This isn't the case for City, County and State government....

Parents United 4/23/13

Comments from the PU Update.  More detail in linked post.

HF234/SF356 (Authorizing school district expiring referendum renewal by school board action) was recently heard but not included in the Omnibus Bill. Parents United strongly supports HF234. Several additional requirements are necessary for a board to utilize this process, but a renewal would not have to return to the voter. Only referendum renewals already passed by voters qualify under this bill.

  • The Minnesota Miracle passed in 1971 and was a mechanism to provide education funding NOT dependent on the property wealth of a district. An operating levy was to provide extras.
  • A voter-approved levy would grant a school board authority to tax for a certain amount and the dollars would stay within the school district.
  • Prior to the mid-1990s, the passage of a levy granted school boards this tax authority ad infinitum. Yet at the time the legislature placed a maximum length of 10 years on any new levy.
Passage of HF234/SF356 respects the local voters’ decision to elect school board members AND grant those officials the authority to be fiscally prudent in the governing of their schools.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Boston Bombing

Any thoughts regarding this on going story?
  • Did our foreign involvement bring this upon us? (eye for an eye...)
  • How can we prevent this from becoming routine?
  • Terrorists from Georgia?  I thought we supported those folks.
  • Other?
CNN 1 Dead 1 on the Run

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Gun Control Stalled in Senate

Though I am against laws that would further restrict the types of guns and magazines one can buy/own, I am actually a big supporter of strong, consistent and thorough background checks.  And even better yet, enforcing the current laws and prosecuting those that break the laws.

Seems pretty logical to me, though of course some seem to fear that someday a Fascist government arise and come to retrieve all those well documented guns from us law abiding citizens.  While of course the power hungry government and criminals will still have theirs... 

Yet it appears even the politicians in the Senate are having a hard time swallowing the law as written.  Thoughts? 

CNN Senate Rejects Background Checks
FOX News Senate Rejects Background Checks
G2A Guns 1
G2A Guns 2
G2A Guns 3

Monday, April 15, 2013

Still America's Fault?

I was wondering if the "keep our military home" folks will keep attributing these "civil war" type deaths to America's involvement in Iraq, or if they will actually start holding the Iraqi people accountable for their own actions?  CNN Iraq Bombings

If you missed it, some seem to think America's involvement in the region killed one million Iraqis.  I of course disagree.  G2A Iraq  I am wondering though if they will keep increasing their number even though we are not their anymore???

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Why Spend Public Money?

"Dog Gone" has posted an interesting, though long case for spending "public money".  I agreed in my comments that it does create jobs, however I noted that I believe it rarely increases the wealth of the USA.  See this link for our discussions.

MPP Missing the point on why we spend public money


Friday, April 12, 2013

MN Education Legislative Update

Well it looks like the DFL is actively pursuing different ideas for spending more on education in MN.  (PU News Link) (PU Legislative Update) (SF News Link) (MN Leg Link) (Ed MN) (MPR Update)  The upside is that there is some discussion regarding closing the achievement gap and how to hold the schools accountable to see that it is closed.  Thoughts?

Also, here is an ironic twist. Someone is apparently proposing that all of the Districts use the State's healthcare plan.  It makes sense to me that all the public employees who's insurance is paid for through our taxes should be bundled into one bargaining unit.  This would usually enable the larger group to negotiate for rates and coverage.  However it seems that the Districts are against this.  Thoughts?
AMSD Position Paper on Health Plan
Ed MN Summary

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Iraq, Egypt, Libya and Syria Compared

I don't necessarily disagree with Laurie and Annie, I mean the Iraq war was expensive, messy, and we don't know yet if or what the long term benefits will be. And it sure would have been nice if the Southern Shiites and the Northern Kurds could have over thrown Saddam on their own, like the Egyptians and Libyans.   
"My opinion on the wars, especially Iraq war, is that is was a colossal waste of money. The $6 trillion could have been spent much more wisely (or not spent.)" Laurie
"Cost in dollars and lives to eliminate dictators in Egypt, Libya, Tunesia - very little." Laurie
"I'm firmly with Laurie on this. Iraq in particular was an entirely optional war." Annie 
And Lord knows we tried for 10+ years to help the people of Iraq to accomplish that goal.  Mudville Gazette Iraq Histories:
pre-1990     1991-1997      1998     1999     2000-2003

However the reality is that the Kurds and Shiites were unable to accomplish Saddam's removal on their own, even with us providing "No Fly Zones" and other support.   Even President Clinton supported the efforts during his whole time as President.

So in 2003, the USA had a very angry and belligerent dictator on a very rigid leash and there were 3 choices available from my perspective:
  1. Continue holding the leash forever like we have been in the Korean Peninsula conflict for ~60 years.  However that was problematic since Saudi Arabia was not as open to having American forces based there indefinitely like South Korea is.
  2. Release the leash and back away quickly, leaving our Kurdish and Shiite allies to Saddam's gentle mercy.  And hoping that Saddam was smart enough to not invade anyone again, or shoot more missiles at Israel.
  3. Attack in support of our Kurdish and Shiite allies, and force regime change.
Since we chose option 3 and accomplished that task very quickly.  Then we were faced with the next decision:
  1. Withdraw from Iraq ASAP and leave the people of Iraq to resolve the power void that was created when the Saddam regime was destroyed.  Possibly through civil war, Iranian intervention, diplomacy, etc.
  2. Stay to help rebuild and stabilize the country.  Help to ensure the democratic process had a chance.
Of course we did the honorable thing and stayed for compassionate and self serving reasons.

With all this said, I am curious what Laurie and Annie would have done differently?
(Let Saddam have Kuwait?, Pulled out immediately after Desert Storm?, Pulled out immediately after the Mission Accomplished speech was made?, Other)

And are we making the right choices regarding Syria?  Are we correct in not enforcing a "No Fly Zone" as people are dying?  (Link 2)

I agree that I wish all coups went as smoothly as those in Egypt and Libya, however that does not seem to be the case.  And as long as our national interests involve oil/ energy, we have a business case for being involved in the Middle East.  Even if some of us believe that we do not have a moral obligation.  Thoughts?

Sunday, April 7, 2013

A Tale of Two Daughters

Laurie and I have been disagreeing regarding the costs, benefits and morality of the Iraq and Afganistan wars.  G2A War: What Is It Good For?  Laurie's statements were:
"We are not responsible for every problem in the world and if we wanted to spend $6 trillion for humanitarian purposes it could have done much more good spent in other ways.

In hind sight, do you seriously think the war in Iraq was the right decision when you look at the cost in dollars and lives? Maybe you support it because you voted for Bush. I knew it was a mistake at the time and joined several anti war demonstrations.
By my rough calculation your share of the $6 trillion is $20,000 or $100,000 on behalf of your family. Do you feel getting rid of Saddam was worth this to you? It seems like the type of raid that killed Bin Laden could have been carried out without a 10 year war in Afghanistan."
The issue I have with this is that from these comments as compared to her typically progressive comments, it seems to me that she thinks the life of a little girl in the USA is worth so very much more than the life of a little girl in Afganistan.  Which I definitely have to disagree with.

From my view, the most needy little girls in the USA get food, medical care, public education, shelter, freedom to speak out, freedom to lobby for more public assistance, protection from abusive people and now even cell phones. 

Yet the Liberals continue to demand that this is "not enough", that more tax dollars need to be spent on the safety nets and dependency programs.  And that the rich were "lucky" and that their personal property should be taken via taxes and redistributed to the unfortunate.

Whereas the most fortunate little girls in Afganistan under Taliban rule could not go to school, speak out or strive to improve themselves.  And often they were subjected to forced marriages or worse, including Sharia law. (Video) (Treatment of Women)

And what do the Liberals have to say about America's efforts to help these little girls.  They say it cost too much, it was war mongering, a stupid expenditure and that people like me only support it because it happened under Bush...  Really???

Personally I think it was nice of the Taliban to go to such extremes as giving Al Qaeda refuge in Afganistan.  Then helping them to train terrorists...  How much better does it get?  They gave the USA justification to invade and help those little girls to have a chance at a better life.  School Video 1    School Video 2

Now I agree that we can't save everyone, yet I still think we should help when we can, and especially when we can eliminate a threat to our nation at the same time.  I also find it ironic that the same people that think the fortunate Americans should be forced to share their wealth with the unfortunate American's, think that a fortunate America sharing it's wealth with the terribly terribly unfortunate people in Afganistan is wasteful and stupid...  Peace loving liberals still seem terribly inconsistent to me.

The reality is that our investment in Afganistan may fail.  Yet we have given the people of Afganistan a chance that they would not have had without our military and financial involvement. Keep your fingers crossed that they can hold it together this time.  Thoughts?

Friday, April 5, 2013

WAR: What Is It Good For

Dan Burns over at MPP published a post with regard to the USA's military intervention in Iraq.   MPP Why do the vile thrive?  As you can tell by the title, he is not a big supporter of the action.  He included the following quote that got me thinking...
"As I reflect on the 10 years of the Iraq War, what is most striking with respect to the war’s enormous human toll — nearly one million dead, five million displaced, hundreds of thousands of widows and orphans, untold misery — is the sheer callousness of the pro-war clique when confronted with these facts. " Alternet

If the numbers are correct, is it really appropriate to blame America's intervention for this disaster and all of these negative consequences?  I guess I would agree if we had intervened, in say Australia, where things are stable and peaceful.  Then we would be the "cause", but let's get real and accept that this is the Middle East where folks have been fighting and killing each other for millenia.

My perception of reality is that Saddam Hussein and Iraq attacked an American ally (Kuwait) and threatened another (Saudi Arabia).  America came to their defense and put Saddam and Iraq in "jail". (Iraq No fly zones)

Though Saddam's hands were tied, he was able to continue torturing and killing people that opposed his rule.  And lord knows the Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds were still in fighting in their "jail cell". So whether it was right or wrong, Bush chose to try and bring an end to this stand off. 

The biggest mistake I think he made was thinking too highly of the Iraqi people.  He assumed that if Saddam was gone, the rational caring people of Iraq would embrace democracy and live in peace and tranquility.  Unfortunately that was not the case...

I agree that people were killed when the USA invaded Iraq, but remember how fast that occurred. (Time History) I have to believe that very few of the casualty totals stated above occurred during this period.

Then the American soldiers had to hunker down for almost 10 yrs and try to play policemen in the middle of a bunch of crazy people who want to kill each other due to past grudges, religious ideology, power struggles, etc.  It seems to be really irresponsible to blame the "policeman" for what all the criminals are doing...

At some point I am guessing these same critics of US foreign policy will find someway to blame us for all the deaths that are occurring in Syria, Somalia, etc.  At that time they will probably say we should have been more involved...

Thoughts?  Also, are the people of the Middle East capable of self rule?  Or do they simply need a dictator like Hussien, Assad, Kadafi, Mubarak, Saudi Royals, etc to keep them from killing each other?

G2A Peace Lovers Confuse Me
G2A Peace Activists Confuse Me

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Obama's Sharing Their Pain

So what do think of Obama's announcement?

Is it a sincere action based on empathy?


Is it another play to the audience?

CNN Obama to Give Back