Sunday, November 4, 2012

Betty McCollum - Four reasons to reconsider before you mark that box

Wrong on the essential issues facing our nation

1) The Threat of Al Qaeda and Muslim Extremism
Security seems not to be one of the top three concerns for voter this year.  But unforeseen events (unforeseen by some at least) often reset those hot buttons.  Two years ago Representative McCollum told us that Al Qaeda was no longer a threat to the United States.

It was a wrong and dangerous answer then, and I believe current events in Benghazi and elsewhere have borne that out with resounding clarity.

And in fact that mistaken belief was directly addressed in a recent speech given at the 2012 BGA Annual Luncheon, where CBS News Correspondent Lara Logan said
"I knew we were being lied too, and I know the American people were being mislead".

Lara Logan's speech in its entirety.  It is a speech that demands being listened to
Eleven years later, “they” still hate us, now more than ever, Logan told the crowd. The Taliban and al-Qaida have not been vanquished, she added. They’re coming back.
…“There is this narrative coming out of Washington for the last two years,” Logan said. It is driven in part by “Taliban apologists,” who claim “they are just the poor moderate, gentler, kinder Taliban,” she added sarcastically. “It’s such nonsense!”

In front of the Chicago audience, Logan contended that the terrorist presence in Afghanistan is continually understated. She scoffed at the numbers routinely used by many in the government and think-tank communities to describe the Taliban’s presence in country.
At the start, she lauded her 60 Minutes boss, executive producer Jeff Fager, for providing the admonition that she seek the facts on the story and let them lead her to a conclusion, rather than go out to prove a preordained thesis.
Hmmm, preordained thesis, the media sets the agenda rather than letting the facts set the story.  Oh well that's for another story.  Maybe CBS did learn something after Dan Rather.

2) Extreme on partisanship
Partisanship can be expressed in many ways.  It is does not require an unpleasant attitude, or screams and shouts. It can be simply a softly immovable demand to hold the party line (she is Nancy's chosen house whip), carrying the party water, and never considering options presented by non-supporter of that party line.  If you listen to the presentations from Representative McCollum you will hear the constant refrain of that party line.  The Obama slogan of "Forward" and "Not going back to those failed policies".

She, like Obama, does not refer to the last four years under the mantle of Obama, but to those prior years before Obama took office.  That flies in the face of studies at the Fed: Doing the math: Obama recovery still the worst in decades
In fact, an October 2011 paper by the Atlanta Fed concluded that “U.S. history provides no support for linking low employment and high unemployment in the current recovery with the financial crisis of 2007—2008.” 
But playing the blame game is number one in the current game plan.

If your hot issue this election is "working together to get things done", and it is for many many Minnesotans, then I suggest voting for Tony Hernandez.  Rep Betty McCollum may simply not want to work together with Republicans as shown in her depiction of "Tea Party Republicans who want to destroy our economy".  Regardless of whether you also believe that to be true, does it bode well for an ability to work with Republicans to "get things done", beyond limiting Military Bands?

3) Economy
Remember the housing crisis, and Freddie and Fannie leading the charge into the failed loans?
When the Bush Administration was working to get some oversight and control of the problems in 2004-2005, Betty McCollum signed on to a letter, June 28, 2004 telling President Bush
We have been concerned that the Administration’s legislative proposal regarding the GSEs would weaken affordable housing performance by the GSEs, by emphasizing only safety and soundness. While the GSEs’ affordable housing mission is not in any way incompatible with their safety and soundness, an exclusive focus on safety and soundness is likely to come, in practice, at the expense of affordable housing.
Or Betty McCollum's view of how to manage a budget, its just a piece of paper, its the appropriations (spending, that which we all know we are doing to much of) that counts.

Whether it's rejecting "too big to fail" or getting our debt in control, Betty McCollum has had 12 years in Congress to work on it.  Having debt go up nearly triple (2.86 times), and unemployment double, the track record during Betty McCollum's tenure, combined with her attitude toward the budget, tells us she  has not been an effective voice for economic recovery.  See the State Fair debate for reasons why Tony Hernandez would provide better leadership on the avalanche of economic issues heading towards us with the impending fiscal cliff.

4) Environmental Extremism
When asked by The MN Daily U of M
"Can the U.S. achieve energy independence? If so, what steps do we need to take for that to happen and how long do you think it will take?"

Betty McCollum responded with:

But clearly the U.S. must reduce its dependence on foreign oil and fossil fuels in general by greater domestic production of energy that is clean and abundant — wind, solar, geothermal, hydroelectric power and bio-fuels.

Tony Hernandez

Also alternative energy — I believe we have to advance our research and development on the university system level to explore alternative energy methods and also to find ways that they can be marketable and successful.

As someone who does work in research and development (though not in this field), I have great interest in development of "alternative" energy systems (I have for 35 years).  However as most any scientist will tell you, and the recent spate of market failures has demonstrated, we are nowhere near a point of simply turning them on and replacing all or even a large portion of our energy needs.  They may become important sources with research and development (and there are a lot of exciting possibilites out there).  But simply rushing to production with them has resulted in enormous losses for the tax payer and the economy, and ultimately could setback the advancement of alternatives badly.  Abundant is something (even though we are called the Saudi Arabia of air) that  will take significant developments that have not yet occurred, to exploit.  Not understanding that is a severe impediment to make good decisions.

This is another case where if you are looking for the candidate who will be most effective, you should look at Tony Hernandez.

Obama, Four reasons to reconsider before you mark that box

For those who might still be thinking about marking that box to vote for Barack Obama, here are several things you must consider before making that move.

1) Benghazi
This issue alone should be sufficient to say no.  This not only shows an incredible level of incompetence, but violates the "we leave nobody behind" that Barack Obama stated after Hurricane Sandy.  This is the motto of Military personnel who go where others flee.  When they hear gunfire they rush to help.  Anyone, military or not, who considers this and doesn't have a burning feeling of pain in their chest just isn't thinking clearly.  The juxtaposition of Obama's use of the phrase has, and should, disturb everyone, when studying the events at Benghazi..

Reports indicate two drones and an AC-130 gunship were in the area when Benghazi was attacked, yet their resources were not used

The security personnel in Benghazi had painted a laser mark on the attackers outside the consulate. This mark would have made possible a response by the drones or the AC-130 routine had they been allowed to zero in on it. The member of the security team who was on the roof of the consulate, spraying machine gun fire down on the attackers, continually asked for backup from the AC-130. It never came.
US troops in Benghazi would not have been painting targets on the ground unless there was air support overhead
The team was in constant radio contact with their headquarters. In fact, at least one member of the team was on the roof of the annex manning a heavy machine gun when mortars were fired at the CIA compound. The security officer had a laser on the target that was firing and repeatedly requested back-up support from a Spectre gunship, which is commonly used by U.S. Special Operations forces to provide support to Special Operations teams on the ground involved in intense firefights.
Bigger Than Watergate Proof that the President is Lying about Benghazi
One of the former SEALs was actively painting the target.  That means that Specter WAS ON STATION!  Probably an AC130U.  A ground laser designator is not a briefing pointer laser.  You do not "paint" a target until the weapons system/designator is synched; which means that the AC130 was on station.

Only two places could have called off the attack at that point; the WH situation command (based on POTUS direction) or AFRICOM commander based on information directly from the target area.
If that SEAL was actively "painting" a target; something was on station to engage!  And the decision to stand down goes directly to POTUS!
This is far bigger than Watergate.
The second worst feeling in the world has to be the platform crew being desperately asked for help, given a clear target and then having to stand down and watch your fellow Americans die.
The worst has to be the team on the ground knowing that the President just left you to die.
We do not know for certain, as unlike the night of Hurricane Sandy, the video that night of the WH situation room was never released.  However it would appear likely that Barak Obama went to bed that night and left the military to die.  One interpretation of the executive priveldge coverup (repeatedly sending out Susan Rice and many others to say it was a spontaneous demonstration over a movie, when they had been on the phone with front line personnel for seven hours, knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt that it wasn't) is that its probably evidence that Obama knows the mistake is staggering.  Watergate cost no one's life, but did cause Nixon to resign from the Presidency!  And justifiably so.

2) Abysmal Energy Policy
November surprise: EPA planning major post-election anti-coal regulation
President Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency has devoted an unprecedented number of bureaucrats to finalizing new anti-coal regulations that are set to be released at the end of November, according to a source inside the EPA.
More than 50 EPA staff are now crashing to finish greenhouse gas emission standards that would essentially ban all construction of new coal-fired power plants. Never before have so many EPA resources been devoted to a single regulation. The independent and non-partisan Manhattan Institute estimates that the EPA’s greenhouse gas coal regulation will cost the U.S. economy $700 billion.
The rush is a major sign of panic by environmentalists inside the Obama administration. If Obama wins, the EPA would have another four full years to implement their anti-fossil fuel agenda. But if Romney wins, regulators will have a very narrow window to enact a select few costly regulations that would then be very hard for a President Romney to undo.
Environmentalists at the EPA pulled this trick before in 2000 when the Clinton administration rushed out a finding that Mercury emissions from power plants were a growing public health threat pursuant to the Clean Air Act. That finding did not regulate power plants itself, but it did force the Bush administration to begin a lengthy regulatory process. The Obama EPA has estimated that this regulation alone will cost the U.S. economy $10.9 billion a year.
The failure in his policies, the statements that he would bankrupt anyone trying to build a coal plant, the   ruthless regulatory environment all makes for an economic failure model.  The environmentalist agenda has been in clear ascendancy, with growing clarity that its the wrong path.  This is one promise he has kept.  He told you he would make your energy bill skyrocket, and he has.

3) Corruption and Cronyism
Green-jobs subsidies bust: $21 billion, 28,854 jobs
Speaking of which, the IRS has asked a federal judge to intervene to stop Solyndra’s bankruptcy plan.  They claim that the company is nothing more than a tax dodge for its major investors — including 2008 Obama bundler George Kaiser.
Another Obama green-subsidy recipient under criminal investigation
“These are solar panels we are now seeing reports that said they worked as long as you didn’t put them in the sun,” said Rep. Cory Gardner, R-Colo. “Now the question is did the (Department of Energy) — did they know something that the rest of should have known? Did Abound not tell the DOE something? These are questions that need to be answered.”
The Fast and Furious scandal.

There are too many of these to list them all.

4) Economy
While he continues to blame George W. Bush for everything wrong with the economy Barack Obama has been presiding over for 4 years, Obama admits he is bad at math.  I would submit he is too unskilled to be able to be allowed to continue attempting to to restore an economy he has demonstrated no ability to understand.

Doing the math: Obama recovery still the worst in decades
In fact, an October 2011 paper by the Atlanta Fed concluded that “U.S. history provides no support for linking low employment and high unemployment in the current recovery with the financial crisis of 2007—2008.”

One Final Point
And lest one might be tempted to ignore all presented so far, look to one of Barack Obama's biggest supporter blocks from 2008.  They have realized the failure of the last four years for young people in school and those starting out on building their lives.

In the past four years, we have changed. We once supported President Obama. Obama made many good promises. Obama seemed non-partisan and willing to bring about change. He was charismatic. We were excited to see what would come of his administration. Sadly, Obama has failed us, instituting policies that have negatively affected us.
If that's not enough...
If you remain unconvinced still, then there is the massive compendium of 100 reasons available from Hugh Hewitt.   Hewitt spends the entire 3 hours carefully going over his 100 reasons to vote for Mitt Romney or against President Obama.  Some of the reasons are positives (if elected, Mitt Romney will do such-and-such), many are negative (Obama has failed at x, y, and z, he has not made good on promises a, b, and c, etc).

Study the issues well, and remember to vote on Tuesday Nov 6th

Sign Theft, Its an Fundamental Issue

In every political season there are thefts reported of campaign signs.  Its a favorite pastime for the thoughtfully challenged of either party.  The media often does a great job at portraying this as not "politically motivated", its just kids, or a moral equivalency argument.  However that belies the facts.  Example, an unreported, to police that is, incident one afternoon in Saint Paul, of a woman with a young child in her back car seat.  She pulled up, jumped out, looked both ways, yanked a Republican candidates sign out and jumped back in her car, quickly driving off.  She didn't see the people in the living room window watching her.  Sign theft is a fundamental attack on the constitution and the individual right for free expression.  Dismissing it as "just kids" or "both sides do it" ignores reality and the thuggish techniques of silencing.

I have had 4 incidents of thefts of signs in my yard this year.  There were 3 thefts where the thief took the Vote Yes on Marriage sign only.  These were done after dusk and before 10PM.  This Sunday morning 11/4/2012 at 3:35AM (or possibly 2:35AM with the time change) two men drove up and stole all 9 of the signs from my yard (Mitt Romney, Kurt Bills, Tony Hernandez CD4, Duane "Swede" Johnson SD43, Kevin Klein HD43B, Rich Bennett ISD622, Tim Tinglestad Supreme Court, Vote Yes Voter ID, and Vote Yes Marriage Amendment).  In this case, I was recording their actions.  Just as an analytical note, given the difference in the time of the theft, I believe the earlier thefts were from a different individual or individuals.  So if you recognize the people, or their car, please give a call to the Oakdale Police.
A brighter version

The most frustrating thing for me, in the discussions/articles I have seen, is that I put up signs for candidates all around CD4.  So more than most I look at signs, from both sides, to look for placements and where coverage is inadequate.  In the areas I drive, I have never seen any Vote No or Democrat sign dumped, defaced, or missing.  Ok, maybe I might not trip to a few missing, but defaced, dumped, pulled out and lying down, I'd notice. However damage, removal, and defacing has been extremely common on Vote Yes and Republican signs.  When people tell me their signs were stolen, I tell them to report it to the police, though few ever do. We will probably never know the real statistics.  I know opposing readers will say, "but your just ignoring or don't see the other side".  And it is human nature, that if it doesn't fit their world view, they tend to force things into the model that "its always the other side..". Until something comes crashing in to upset the world as they know it.  However, I specifically look for, stop, and often repair, every down/defaced sign I see [once I know whose it is and would have permission to do so].  I can only comment that, Pioneer Press articles aside, I have never found one to be other than Vote Yes or Republican when I have stopped.  That's a whole lot of improbability.

Here are some of pictures I have taken as I have been putting up and repairing signs:

Dettmer sign uprooted and tossed amongst the still standing Democrat signs.

The thieves must have been scared off by something in mid theft here on Hwy 36. They took the Supreme Court Dan Griffith sign, had uprooted a Dettmer sign and were attempting to uproot a 4x8 Tony Hernandez sign. They left with only one post pulled out (no ground pushed up behind it as would be done by wind) and left the Dettmer sign.

In front of the Hernandez campaign office they only left the re-bar, I later found the sign with a boot print in the middle of it, down the road.  Many others have simply gone missing, re-bar and all.

Showing their complete ignorance of the issues, and projecting their own feelings and attitudes, has been common on the amendment issues.  This was on Hwy 36, right next to the Union Hall where the entire Democrat roster of signs (as well as Vote NO) still stands, undisturbed and un-defiled.

Of course there are exceptions, and Huffington Post reported a Democrat sign damaged as well.
Obama Lawn Sign Attacked By Deer
Tom and Beth Priem said concern over repeated tears in an Obama lawn sign in their front yard led to concern about vandals, reports. Beth Priem sat up one morning with a video camera hoping to catch the culprit and discovered the problem was actually something with four legs. (Video included)

The claims do come from both sides, as the Pioneer Press write:

Pioneer Press Editorial: Stealing signs? Sheesh
Free speech is at the heart of our political process;
we may not agree, but our democratic principles -- to say nothing of Minnesota Nice -- hold us to a law-abiding standard of respect and civility.
Shaw's report noted that Crista Walsh of Woodbury recently was driving by an empty lot when she came across about 30 "Vote No" signs, along with others for Democratic candidates. She returned one "Vote No" sign to a neighbor, whose sign had been stolen. That night, it was stolen again.
"It seems that we should be so much better than this," Walsh said. Indeed, we should.
Marriage amendment signs are disappearing around the Twin Cities
Thieves have swiped his "Vote Yes" signs twice, and some neighbors have been hit three times.
They got letters from the thief. The letters purportedly are from a closeted gay man, angry and hurt by their signs.
Each letter included personal information. The Goetsches' letter said, "You don't know me, but I know your parents ... I went to school with your daughter."
The writer continued: "I don't believe Jesus would approve of intentionally hurting any of his children -- and that is what this amendment does ... Voting 'yes' doesn't make you a good Christian -- it makes you a bigot."
Herb's wife Judy scoffed at that argument. "It says we are good people, but if we don't think the way he does, we are bigots," she said.
"For every one he steals, I am going to put up two," Herb Goetsch said.
"It has scared us a little bit," said Goetsch. "What is next? Are they going to start breaking windows, harming our property or physically harming us?"
Putnam, the distributor of "Vote Yes" signs, estimates he has given out more than 400 signs. Of those, about half have been stolen.
"It's frustrating," he said.
And there is ample evidence of such fear being well founded.  Take the case of the horrific beating of Sean Kedzie in Wisconsin.
A brutal beating is blamed on politics. State Senator Neil Kedzie's son was attacked last week. He says he was beat up because of a Mitt Romney yard sign. Kedzie doesn't have any question about what prompted the attack.
He says, "It's definitely politically motivated when they say things like F-Romney and Romney sucks and go Obama."
Kedzie was taken to the emergency room by ambulance that night. He says initially doctors thought he may have had a fractured skull and eye socket.
Theft is theft, and thuggish tactics to intimidate and suppress are wrong regardless of who you think you are or what you imagine to be the superiority of your side!  Your opinion is yours to express, but you have no right to attempt to silence others who are simply exercising theirs.  While I hope the thieves who denied me my rights are caught and punished, I am under no illusion that it is likely.  But it would be nice if the signs I put up in my yard, and elsewhere, could be left standing for the an entire election, like those at the Union Hall.