Monday, March 2, 2015

Betty McCollums Dangerous Naivety

In an article written by Betty McCollum, she states her rationale for not going to the speech by Benjamin Netanyahu
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is in the midst of a heated re-election campaign. Yet he is traveling 5,900 miles to give a speech before a joint meeting of Congress on Tuesday--just two weeks before Israelis go to the polls.

In her analysis, the only motivation is political gain in an election.

There  are just too many holes in such naive, and very dangerous, logic. It ignores the main issue of a nuclear Iran poised to destroy the tiny nation of Israel, our best ally in a very dangerous region, with a looming acceptance of its nuclear ambitions coming from a treaty in the immediate works with Barack Obama. With Betty McCollum's almost certain support.
But some US administration allies are puzzled that what they consider a soft deadline for a framework agreement for a final Iran nuclear deal has seemingly become the de facto deadline, rather than the June 30 deadline that Iran and the six world powers agreed to in November.

The US administration has “bought two months, but sold three,” a Western diplomat, speaking not for attribution, told Al-Monitor.

Some Democratic Senators who have signed onto a letter from Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., to President Barack Obama have told interlocutors that the Obama administration asked them to give it until the end of March to see if a framework deal could be reached, before voting on new Iran sanctions legislation.

Read more: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2015/02/iran-nuclear-deadline-puzzles-us-allies.html##ixzz3TIndNaNM

Lest anyone think that this is not an issue of immediate importance to all the people of Israel, and our own National security, not merely a "political stunt" as she prefers to think of it, one needs go no further than today's article of the Jerusalem Posthttp://www.jpost.com/Breaking-News/US-lawmakers-send-letter-to-Obama-on-Iran-392741
JPOST.COM STAFF \ 03/03/2015 04:50
US Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and US Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), the Committee’s Ranking Member, released a bipartisan letter on Monday, to be sent to President Barack Obama, highlighting concerns over ongoing nuclear negotiations with Iran.
Royce and Engel circulated the letter to other House members, in hopes of garnering support and signatures.
With a looming deadline for a comprehensive nuclear agreement with Iran, the letter outlines a series of "difficult issues" which have surfaced during negotiations and have yet to be resolved. These “grave and urgent issues" pertain to the size of Iran’s uranium enrichment program, its lack of cooperation with international inspectors, and the need for an intrusive inspection regime.

And in case there is any question about "one ups man ship", this all comes on the heels of Barack Obama telling Congress to get lost on attempting to weigh in on the treaty
(Reuters) - President Barack Obama would veto a bill recently introduced in the U.S. Senate allowing Congress to weigh in on any deal the United States and other negotiating countries reach with Iran on its nuclear capabilities, the White House said on Saturday.

"The president has been clear that now is not the time for Congress to pass additional legislation on Iran.  If this bill is sent to the president, he will veto it," said Bernadette Meehan, a spokeswoman for the White House's National Security Council.
more here and here

So in terms of rude treatment, I think the prize goes to President Obama and his ardent supporter Betty McCollum.

Regardless of the outcome of the upcoming elections, March 17, there will be a significant delay in furthering the case for change to the proposed treaty. A new government will have to form and begin negations with Barack Obama. Negotiations that have met with pointed resistance and dismissal in the past.  So the time is now for presenting any message that has a hope of making an impact in the thinking behind this treaty. Since President Obama seems dedicated to making the decision this March, almost during the Israeli elections, rather than even the agreed upon June deadline. It would be difficult for the Israeli elections to be able to do anything but prevent their voice being heard.

Thus I believe it is very evident that Betty McCollum's arguments are wholly specious!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Betty McCollum and Irreconcilable Statistics

Betty McCollum shows us once again the perils of naive thinking and use of poorly handled statistics.

Arguably she does not do the analysis herself, she simply reports what her favorite organizations (agenda driven, not truth driven groups) put out, without adequate investigation. This is an excellent example of the use of "happenstance data".  In this case from the:

Women’s Foundation of Minnesota.
Below is a sampling of data from the Status of Women & Girls in Minnesota, an ongoing collaborative research project of the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota and the University of MN Humphrey School’s Center on Women & Public Policy. Annually, data specific to Minnesota women and girls is gathered and analyzed in economics, safety, health, and leadership.
As is standard for these egregious studies in the misuse of statistical data, it is an "apples to anvils" comparison taken simply by naively saying "compare all men to all women", irrespective of life choices that put them in completely different economic paths and positions. It is a statistical strategy guaranteeing flawed results that will never give a picture other than what they want, not a search for "truth". They are simply looking for "victimization" rubrics. It is a way to continue to demagogue issues, that they feel promotes their political agenda.  It is an "issue" that can never be "solved" if the data is viewed naively. Thus providing perpetual outrage and growth of pet programs.

When the data is more correctly handled, the analysis gives a much different picture. These results were published at the Huffington Post. It is a very thoughtful article with this take-away:
That's not a comparison between people who do the same work." With more realistic categories and definitions, the remaining 6.6 gap [Note: they had explained away most of the purported difference earlier in the text] would certainly narrow to just a few cents at most.
Could the gender wage gap turn out to be zero? Probably not. The AAUW correctly notes that there is still evidence of residual bias against women in the workplace. However, with the gap approaching a few cents, there is not a lot of room for discrimination. And as economists frequently remind us, if it were really true that an employer could get away with paying Jill less than Jack for the same work, clever entrepreneurs would fire all their male employees, replace them with females, and enjoy a huge market advantage.

Read the original, statistically honest/well handled, study here.

Illogical analyses like this study must never be used for determining public policy. That is how we get so many truly bad policy laws. Thoughtful analysis and prudent probative evaluation is required to have the information to make good policy decisions. Decisions that benefit our country, not undermine it.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Betty McCollum and Politics of "The Big Lie"

As I was out dropping lit for a candidate, I was engaged in a discussion with a gentleman who wanted to talk about the lack of accomplishment of Congress in this session.  While he tried to portray himself as a moderate/Republican, he continued to point toward the shortcomings of "tea partiers" as the source of the divisiveness in Washington.  His speech sounded very much like the continual referencing (with disrespect intended) of "tea-party Republicans" by Congresswoman Betty McCollum. The name calling approach is a standard tactic of those who want to dismiss and marginalize others, rather than engage in dialog and really accomplish a task. He had been swayed by the "politics of disrespect".

As I told this gentleman, the original intent of our Constitutional Republic was to create a system with "tension" (like a spring) that would make passage of poor legislation difficult.  In other words - gridlock was a decidedly good thing in the minds of the founders, because it prevented the loss of liberty for the minority.

When the Constitution was up for ratification, there was an ongoing debate, for and against, recoded in the writings of the Federalist and Anti-Federalists papers. The fears of the people for a government that disregarded the rights of the minority had to be allayed before ratification. From Federalist 10:
[Madison] thinks that "the most common and durable source of factions has been the various and unequal distribution of property. Those who hold and those who are without property have ever formed distinct interests in society". He saw direct democracy as a danger to individual rights and advocated a representative democracy in order to protect what he viewed as individual liberty from majority rule, or from the effects of such inequality within society. He says, "A pure democracy can admit no cure for the mischiefs of faction. A common passion or interest will be felt by a majority, and there is nothing to check the inducements to sacrifice the weaker party. Hence it is, that democracies have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have, in general, been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths".
Disrespect and incivility are standards of the Saul Alinsky Rules for Radicals:
5. "Ridicule is man's most potent weapon. It is almost impossible to counteract ridicule. Also it infuriates the opposition, which then reacts to your advantage."
13. Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.  In conflict tactics there are certain rules that [should be regarded] as universalities. One is that the opposition must be singled out as the target and 'frozen.'...
     "...any target can always say, 'Why do you center on me when there are others to blame as well?' When your 'freeze the target,' you disregard these [rational but distracting] arguments.... Then, as you zero in and freeze your target and carry out your attack, all the 'others' come out of the woodwork very soon. They become visible by their support of the target...'
So here is the most recent example provided by Congresswoman McCollum:

What this "politics of disrespect" accomplishes is to "poison the well" and attempt to shift the blame for a perceived "lack of progress".  Never forget that the "progress" that some may want may be a direct violation of the rights and property of others. That will get lost in the din of the ensuing flurry of accusations.  Follow the tactics of the "Big Lie"
never concede that there may be some good in your enemy; never leave room for alternatives; never accept blame; concentrate on one enemy at a time and blame him for everything that goes wrong; people will believe a big lie sooner than a little one; and if you repeat it frequently enough people will sooner or later believe it.
The demagogic use the "victim" politics appears to be the plan of the Democrat Party this year. The empty argument should not be believed, but history has demonstrated the effectiveness of the "Big Lie". If you want a real change in tone in Washington, those who practice the "Big Lie" are not who you should support.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

MNCD4 GOP Endorsement - Sharna Wahlgren

Minnesota Congressional District 4 (MNCD4) Republicans held their 2014 Convention April 26. They endorsed, by acclamation, an exciting first time candidate -- Sharna Wahlgren.

Sharna Wahlgren is a lifelong resident of Minnesota Congressional District 4. Attending Harding High School, graduating from the University of Minnesota with a degree in Economics, worked with Senator Rudy Boschwitz in Washington, and spent 20 years working in the private sector with hard working, energetic, entrepreneurs.

Sharna realized that more is required if we are going to change the course our country is now set upon. Who represents our diverse communities priorities in congress? She contrasts her middle class priorities against the far left priorities of Betty McCollum (who receives a significantly divisive 93% progressive rating) in her nomination speech at MNCD4. Watch her speech to see her describe her views and plans for winning the hearts and minds of people in CD4. Responding to the demagogic claims of Betty McCollum that Republicans engage in a "War on Women", Sharna states: "We know a strong economy is the best friend any woman has. Single or married, we know that women don't want government dependency but want to live their lives free from the grasping claws of those in government who claim to know better -- they do not know better!"

Sharna's 2014 MNCD4 Convention Speech


Sharna Wahlgren is an attorney focusing in Patent, Trademark & Franchise Matters.  The processes, tools and requirements for innovative new products, businesses, and jobs are the heart of her work for 20 years.  Her experiences have been in a very diverse range "including gemstone enhancement, chemical compounds, computer software, medical devices, commercial refrigeration systems, snowmobile equipment, automotive maintenance equipment, adhesives, consumer products, and a variety of other consumer products and mechanical devices." Sharna has also worked in real estate, including condemnation and tax appeal. Giving Sharna a base and breadth of experience that will greatly benefit constituents of CD4.

Sharna has a broad depth of understanding of business, regulation, and government policy that affect you, your job, and improving the environment affecting job creation for you and your children.  Here in Congressional District 4 we have watched as businesses have diminished and jobs have left the area and the state.  Much of the reason for this is an environment of intrusive governmental regulation and obstructiveness. Current policy and policy makers are dedicated to a path that continues to disadvantage business growth and stifles job creation.  Sharna will bring enthusiasm, knowledge, and proven ability to changing that path in Congress.

Follow Sharna's plans and efforts at:
http://www.sharna4us.com/
https://twitter.com/sharna4us (@sharna4us)

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Harry Reid on "What right do they have"


Harry Reid often says some outlandish things, sometimes bordering on libelous, but none more so than his recent response to a question from a CNN media journalist.  It was outlandish on multiple levels and points. However these two stand out as cruel, heartless, and arrogantly incorrect.  His only intent is political gain, apparently at the risk of throwing children under the bus.

Here is the video of the question and Harry Reid's scurrilous response
Her main question was "but if you could help one child with cancer, why wouldn't you want to do that".  His response: "why would we want to do that!"

To be fair, though not sure why, that response may be less about being in context to her question, than his dismissing the real questions about financing the government.  I doubt such fairness would be afforded were it a Republican who had made such a statement

The main issue in his statements for him as a constitutional officer of the U.S. Senate is his comment
"what right do they have to pick and choose what part of government is going to be funded"

Perhaps Harry Reid should review the basic document of government, the US Constitution
Article 1 Section 7 of the Constitution!
All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills.

While he tries to shift the blame and call Republicans "reckless and irresponsible" it is obvious that this is no more than a game to he and President Obama.  Their stated position and strategy of absolutely no compromise is reckless.  Their strategy of closing open air parks and staffing them with more officers than Benghazi to keep closed than existed when "open" is truly irresponsible.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Playing the Debt Blame Game

From the floor of the Senate:
The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. Government can’t pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless fiscal policies. … Increasing America’s debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that “the buck stops here.” Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better.
Is this another "horrible idea" floated by, as Betty McCollum has described, those "Tea Party Republicans" who simply want to drive the American Economy into recession and destroy the "full faith and credit" of the United States?
From Rep Betty McCollum's web site:
"Tonight's vote was nothing less than Republican game playing with our government's debt obligations. This is a dangerous game that puts our national security, the U.S. economy, and millions of jobs in jeopardy. Congress had an opportunity tonight to ensure there are funds for our troops in harm's way and to protect America's fragile economic recovery as Congress and the President work to address the long-term fiscal crisis facing our nation. Instead the House Republican majority is signaling to global markets that it is willing to gamble with the full faith and credit of the United States."
Does this meme sound familiar?  Heard it from the left, or far left ( example MSNBC) leaning mainstream media enough to make it a mantra you could recite in your sleep?  The Republicans are to blame for shutting down Government, blocking the ability to pay Government's Bills.  Perhaps this will come as news, news I am sure you might initially reject if you are of such a mind.  Clearly those of a mind with Rep Betty McCollum reject this notion, when its convenient, and would blame Rand Paul or Ted Cruz for, in her words, "National Security, U.S. Economy, and Millions of Jobs in Jeopardy".

But the initial statement above was from then Sen. Barack Obama’s Floor Speech, March 20, 2006, providing a screed against President George W Bush's request for a debt increase. However now he is on the opposite side of the debate, speaking with equal disdain in his recent speech Sep 15, 2013
“If we continue to set a precedent in which a president … is in a situation in which each time the United States is called upon to pay its bills, the other party can simply sit there and say, ‘Well, we’re not going to put — pay the bills unless you give us … what we want,’ that changes the constitutional structure of this government entirely,” Obama said.
House Republicans, seeking to defund and delay implementation of the president’s signature health care law, have sought to use the upcoming debt ceiling and government funding fights to extract concessions from the White House.
Obama says he is drawing a line in the sand.
“What has never happened in the past was the notion that in exchange for fulfilling the full faith and credit of the United States, that we are wiping away let’s say major legislation like the health care bill,” he told Stephanopoulos.
“Never in history have we used just making sure that the U.S. government is paying its bills as a lever to radically cut government at the kind of scale that they’re talking about,” he added.
At that time, 2006, our National Debt was moving to $9 Trillion, now it currently is $16.7 Trillion, nearing double.  Each citizen owed roughly $45K, now its $52,864.93.  For a family of four, that's essentially the lifetime savings for the average American.

Every Democratic Senator in 2006 voted against the debt increase.  And in the house Betty McCollum has similarly been chameleon in her voting record:
McCollum, for example, voted against raising the debt limit every time it came up for a vote between 2002 and 2005. Since the Democrats won the House in the 2006 elections, though, she’s been a supporter of half-a-dozen measures with debt ceiling increases attached to them, including some straight increases, budget resolutions and three major economic recovery packages in 2008 and 2009 (the Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac takeover, TARP, and the stimulus package).
Were his initial statements about George W Bush hyperbole, social gaffe, lack of of leadership, or is it as as Guy Benson stated entirely self interest:
Blowing through Obama ‘red lines’ isn't typically that big of a deal if you’re a foreign butcher.  This president usually gets more animated about defeating his domestic political adversaries, so don’t worry too much about the Hitler comparisons, Bashar; the administration has likened Republicans to terrorists and segregationists, so you only rank slightly above Mitch McConnell on the rhetorical hierarchy of evil.  In any case, Obama’s definition of preserving the “constitutional structure” tends to vary, and by pure coincidence, his conclusions often align with his immediate political interests.
That was $8 trillion ago.  Obama’s decision wasn't just throw-away symbolism, either.  Democrats fell just three votes shy of defeating a debt ceiling increase to “make a point” about Bush’s (comparatively modest) spending and borrowing.  Now, 2006 Barack Obama’s actions are being lambasted by 2013 Barack Obama as reckless threats to the republic.
Under President Barack Obama and Democrat Betty McCollum we now have a much more severe threat to our Country, one might say near double the threat under their "lack of leadership". A threat fed by the continual profligate spending of those who simply denigrate opposition rather than attempt to really work on the problems.   That's "lack of leadership".

And is it not reasonable to consider the crippling impact of the unpopular Obamacare in any discussion of debt?  Even Obama's favorite go to billionaire guy Warren Buffet has said, in an article released by Money Morning;
"What we have now is untenable over time," said Buffett, an early supporter of President Obama. "That kind of a cost compared to the rest of the world is really like a tapeworm eating, you know, at our economic body."
Buffet does not believe that providing insurance for everyone is the first step to take in correcting our nation's healthcare system.
"Attack the costs first, and then worry about expanding coverage," he said.
Democrats, like Barack Obama and Betty McCollum, have never been serious about the debt.  To them it is simply a hammer to use to bludgeon opposition into following their desires, or get punished!  Yes we can do better.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Syria - Agreeing with Betty McCollum?

I currently find myself in agreement with the early Betty McCollum opposition to Syrian intervention. Probably not for the same reasoning, but the end result is agreed.  However will that agreement be longer than a fleeting moment?

Betty McCollum has always been consistently and vocally against the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Sometimes to the detriment of truth to the American people (relating to the level of the Al Qaeda threat, while Betty McCollum has stated "Al Qaeda is not longer a threat", they really still are, as Lara Logan explains the lie).  But now that it is a Democrat President, and her mentor Nancy Pelosi is solidlyhere and here acting as a war hawk, seeking authorization for War, is Betty McCollum showing signs of reversing her heretofore solidly anti-war stance?



10/10/2002 
Betty McCollum voted against authorization for use of Military Force against Iraq.  She was steadfastly against Iraq and Afghanistan actions.  This action similarly based but one of its several rationales on use of chemical weapons. Later the evidence was found lacking, but prior to that point all intelligence agencies, notably the French, were saying they were there.  However at the time there were also UN approved authorizations, world wide acknowledgement, Congress voted 296 to 133 for action, the American people were predominately for such action as well.  Several months (18 or more) were spent working with the UN and Congress to provide diplomatic efforts and sanctions to try to get Saddam Hussein to change.




So is she changing her tone now?  This action has but one rationale, the use of chemical weapons.

2/9/2013 from her website she voices strong condemnation, no hint of intervention

I strongly support President Obama's efforts to work with America's western and Arab allies to stop the bloodshed. Though China and Russia have chosen to stand with Assad, the world will not. Already, nations across the Middle East and throughout the world are expelling Syrian diplomats, tightening sanctions, and ratcheting up pressure on the Syrian government. The time has come for President Assad to step down, and for the Syrian people to determine their own future.



8/29/2013
 from her website hints at possible escalation, though undesirable
Now is the time for measures that will bring strategic pressure to prevent an escalation of the conflict, rather than add to the wanton violence of a situation already out of control. Unilateral U.S. military action against the Syrian regime at this time would do nothing to advance American interests, but would certainly fuel extremist groups on both sides of the conflict that are determined to expand the bloodshed beyond Syria’s borders.”



9/3/2013 from her website  hints at possibly being convinced
As I have stated previously, the U.S. should not take unilateral military action, but it is clear the Obama Administration is making significant diplomatic efforts to seek support from a host of nations, especially Arab League nations, for a limited military strike. President Obama’s plan can only be successful if the world is standing with the U.S.”

“It is my intention to return to Washington tomorrow, attend additional briefings, and consult with the Administration and Congressional colleagues.  President Obama must make the case and earn the support of the American people and Congress, including this representative, for limited and effective military action against the Syrian regime.  I applaud the President for fully engaging Congress in this critically important decision.”

So will she continue to be strident in her opposition for military action? Or will Betty McCollum follow her mentor Nancy Pelosi in now voting for Obama's Second War?  Her last statement would seem to indicate her evolution in thinking.  She also voted NO on on banning armed forces in Libya without Congressional approval. Hinting at a new openness to military action by Democrat President Obama.

But wait, the verdict is still out on the validity of the basis for the entire argument.  Intelligence sources have been mixed at best.  There was an Israeli interception of Assad communication that would imply Assad was taking such an action.  However there have been UN reports (from Huffington Press) that the syrian rebels, many if not most now are Al Qaeda terrorists, may have been the source of the sarin gas, and a Russian report to the UN where Putin claims:
Russia says a deadly March sarin attack in an Aleppo suburb was carried out by Syrian rebels, not forces loyal to President Bashar Assad, and it has delivered a 100-page report laying out its evidence to the United Nations. 
The later, Aug 21, sarin gas attack does seem more likely to be an Assad forces action.  However in this chaotic environment one would want to be a little cautious about exuberant behavior here.  There are no "good guys".

Nevertheless its getting embarrassing as previously anti war liberals jump forth to support Obama's Second War, with Howard Dean being one of the most recent nonsense talking heads.

Military action is not always a bad thing, nor one that should be dogmatically opposed.  But the mission rationale for US involvement, which seems sadly lacking, planning, both the action and the followup must be carefully planned, and well executed.  And here is where we see the most damning case against military action in Syria.  The utter incompetence of this CINC and his cohorts in the State Department.  A perfect military action can be not merely wasted but turned into a complete disaster by the political mismanagement that is evidenced in Obama's First War in Libya. An outcome that has benefited no one but Al Qaeda.  More on that next time.

Perhaps Betty McCollum needs some reinforcement about constituent views, which are overwhelmingly, 60%, against action in Syria.  If you would like to send her an email contact her here.

Update: bringing new meaning to the word fleeting, as I did a final look at email I found the Betty McCollum has made the transition to supporting military action.  Who knew.. http://roseville.patch.com/groups/politics-and-elections/p/rep-mccollum-supports-syrian-action-but-w...  Call and tell her your displeasure.