Every hour on the hour, and sometimes half-hour, we hear a running body count of the deaths of “civilians” in Gaza (though Hamas calls all their fighters “civilians” and even “innocent civilians”). If the number of Israeli military killed is mentioned at all, it seems to be for the purposes of telling us how unfair it is for Israel to defend itself against thousands of missiles launched against its civilian population. As prime minister Netanyahu said, “Israel uses missiles to protect its citizens; Hamas uses its citizens to protect its missiles.” Given that truth, I propose a new means of “keeping score” in this conflict. I suggest that from now on we consider the number of civilians INTENDED to be killed by each side. That would make Hamas responsible for many thousands of intended civilian deaths in Israel, as well as for most of the truly innocent citizens in Gaza. Based on that score, the world’s moral outrage and calls for Israeli restraint are clearly aimed at the wrong party. Where is a fair scorekeeper and referee when you need one?
So, our brilliant Gov. Dayton has been saying, “We need to eliminate the use of coal” in Minnesota. He simply states it as a matter of fact and offers no reason whatsoever for this economically disastrous course of action. That is perhaps understandable because there is no reason whatsoever to do this. Oh, we all know that this supposedly solves the problem of “Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warning,” or “Climate Change” as it was renamed when global warming stopped 18 years ago. It is also understandable because those who are still supporting the hoax-- perhaps the greatest scam in human history – realize that if they have to get down into the weeds of scientific evidence to support their cockamamie ideas, they are quickly exposed as frauds and their cause is lost. It almost makes you wonder if the question is correctly punctuated. Of all the things Mark Dayton might be doing to actually help the people of Minnesota, Why Governor?
The current “humanitarian crisis” on our southern border is just one more symptom of a glaring flaw in our political system. That is, that 1) we have endless politicians who promise to “go to Washington and solve problems," and 2) we believe them, despite their proven inability (and some would say lack of Constitutional authority) to do so. Let us take this immigration problem as our example, and see what real problem-solving looks like.
First of all, the situation arises because Congress previously solved the “problem” of sex trafficking of minors and, in so doing, created the current mess. Therefore the first step is to immediately amend or repeal that flawed law. Then we immediately need to “shut the door” to keep the problem from getting worse. We should order the National Guard to the border to reinforce the Border Patrol until “the fence” can be built, and Congress should authorize any environmental waivers required to make that happen ASAP. Finally, but still immediately, we need to do something with the crush of those recently arrived. We should temporarily assign enough of the hundreds of current immigration judges we already have, and with expedited proceedings could clear this backlog in about three weeks. This might involve 15-20 flights a day to return these “kids” to their home country and their home. I would make sure they had medical treatment and food for the return trip, and I would even consider an up to $10,000 “repatriation fund” to be paid to the government of the home country on condition that they stop sending these kids, and that some of the money goes to the parents to pay off the coyotes they hired. The last piece is getting our existing ICE agents to fan out and find those that have already been dispersed into our communities. If they have in fact been reunited with their parents but their parents are illegal, then the whole family gets a day in court. If they have not been reunited with their parents, then we must deport them back to their parents (remember Elian Gonzalez).
Now the point here is that I came up with this complete, common-sense solution in about 30 minutes. Those with more knowledge and dedication might take all day. But our highly-paid problem-solvers in Congress have already been at it for weeks! If they cannot solve such a simple problem themselves, they ought to at least recognize the simple solution when it is presented to them. It is starting to look like the biggest problem we have to solve is Congress itself.
We have certainly heard a lot lately about the thousands of IACs (illegal alien children) crossing our Southern border. We have heard that “we have a moral responsibility” and that we “must care for the children” and that we have a “humanitarian crisis.” Never mind that some of these “children” may be as much like sweet widdle kiddies as a rabid Doberman is like a Pekinese-- we really won’t know until the Obama administration decides to let us actually SEE, and maybe even talk to, these “refugees.”
Whatever happens, we will certainly be seeing and hearing a lot more violin-playing, heart-string-tugging, crocodile-tear sympathy on the one hand, and insistent finger-pointing outrage on the other, all wondering “what to do.” Certainly there are many that believe that Obama himself is to blame for this problem, while he tries to get Congress to authorize $4 billion for HIS “solution.”
Nowhere in any of this is anybody asking the first question that SHOULD be asked when you find yourself with unwanted guests in your house and more lining up on the front porch, which is: WHY DIDN’T YOU CLOSE THE D@M DOOR? We would not be having ANY of these problems if we had the border secure and these “unaccompanied children” had never gotten across the border in the first place. And before we worry any further about those already here, why don’t we close off the border to keep the problem from getting worse!?
The Star Tribune worries that Minnesota’s public utility companies are being treated “unfairly” under the Obama administration’s new “War on Coal” regulations, because they are not being given “credit” for the windmills they have built over the border in North Dakota. I would like to suggest that there is an even better reason to oppose these regulations, namely that they are STUPID! First of all, there are huge, unknown and probably totally unconsidered costs in decreasing the supply of electrical energy and increasing its cost to consumers. Far worse is that the supposed benefit, that of reducing CO2 levels to prevent “global warming,” is entirely fictional! For the last 17 years, while CO2 has continued to increase, global temperatures have NOT! Every single computer climate model, upon which the EPA relies as the scientific underpinning for its regulatory authority, has thus been proven WRONG! Not only that, even if they were 100% right, the difference in temperature 100 years from now would be so small as to be immeasurable! In short, any cost-benefit analysis, supposedly required for EPA regulations, would be hugely negative, as should any sensible reaction to the EPA’s STUPID new regulation.
The mark of human intelligence is our ability to put multiple ideas together and learn from them. Let us look at these ideas:
- "First you win the debate, then you win the election." – Margaret Thatcher
- "We will win these debates because we are right.” – MNGOP State Convention candidate
- "Truth Matters" – MNGOP slogan and website http://truthmattersmn.org/
- "A lie is as good as the truth if you can get somebody to believe it.” – Flip Wilson
- “A lie will go round the world while truth is pulling its boots on.” – Old English proverb
So, what can we learn? Yes, we should win every fair debate, but they are seldom fair. Worse by far is that too many conservatives believe that just being right is enough to win not just debates, but elections, and that simply is not true, cannot be true, because Democrats LIE. To win elections, we have to let no Democrat lie stand unchallenged, and let no truth go unspoken – indeed un-SHOUTED. That, of course, takes lots of money, time and effort, and Democrats will still call you all kinds of nasty names. Just let them; then smile and ask, "So, you agree I am right?"
It is Convention season, and some of our brightest Republican friends are again saying that “the Platform is too long.” They may be correct, but the question is, too long for WHAT? Until you know the purpose of the platform process and the platform document, you cannot say. Others call for the entire platform to be eliminated and replaced with a “Statement of Principles,” but that has the same flaw-- we must ask WHY? What does that accomplish that the current platform does not, and vice versa? Before we do anything drastic, we need to understand these things. “P” stands for “Problem” and we need FIVE “Ps”—principles, policies, a platform and a set of promises, plus a process for creating and maintaining them-- to create a solution, since our disagreements stem simply from trying to cram what should be four documents into one. Here’s how I see it.
Principles are like posteriors. They serve a necessary function and everybody needs one, but you'll never get 2000 people to agree on exactly how to describe the perfect one in just a few words. The real problem is that we are trying to do too many things with a single platform document. We (first) want to be able to explain, in a few simple terms, what Republicans in general stand for -- a "marketing document" that fits on one page and that the vast majority of voters would agree with at first glance. I've seen it done with five short sentences on a business card. Let some committee come up with one, and let it stand until somebody comes up with one vastly superior to it. Or have several. We already have one, the "We Believe document," which has been widely published and accepted, and we have the recently adopted (but longer) Principles that preface the current platform. Nothing more is needed, but YMMV—Your Mileage May Vary.
We also need a more detailed document that describes those public policies that we derive from those "principles." These “Policies” would be general statements of preference, like “taxation that is low, simple and fair.” Once established, like the Principles, they would change very little unless substantial reform of government were to occur, in which case this document would become shorter. The process would be a periodic review to verify whether or not each of those policies was implemented into law, and assure that each was based on one or more principles. If they were in conflict, then have we got the policy wrong, or have we misstated the principle? Ay, that is the rub, as Shakespeare would say. But it would quiet the arguments about “consistency.” Perhaps the preface to each of the current platform sections serves this purpose?
The closest thing we would have to a “Platform,” if that is the word we choose (and we probably should), would be completely (or largely) rewritten every two years. What is critically important, and is NOT preserved by radically reducing the platform or by replacing it with a one-page statement of principle, is to recognize the concerns of caucus attendees, as expressed in the resolutions Process. People deserve, need, and want to be "heard" in the making of public policy. Currently, the thousands of individual resolutions at caucus get whittled down to a precious few by the Herculean efforts of the State Platform Committee, and much is lost, but it is done simply to keep the standing platform from blowing up to a completely unmanageable size. By substantial rewrites every two years or perhaps even every year, we directly address people's concerns of the moment, and with substantial specificity. We will have removed from this document the general policies and statements of principle found in our current platform so that we can more effectively and specifically guide our legislators. Specific legislation, like Eddie Eagle or the NAFTA superhighway, could be placed here, and “sunsetted” in the following year (or convention), holding this new State Platform to a much more manageable size. Right now, in Second District, we create a "resolutions summary" that includes ALL resolutions, and goes from every BPOU straight to their elected officials. That would be like this proposed Platform document, and it could simply go directly to the Congressional and then State Platform Committee for consolidation and word-smithing—a much simpler, fairer and fully transparent process.
The fourth document we would like is a short, clear list of things our politicians would commit to doing in the upcoming term, if elected (to the majority). Call it the "Promises" or "Contract with Minnesota." There are two schools of thought on this, that the State Convention would write this contract, or that those who have dedicated themselves to the effort of getting elected and serving as legislators would write it themselves, based on the previous three documents and their knowledge of the issues, which to me is the only fair and reasonable way to do it.
So that's it: four purposes, four different documents, four different processes. Our disagreements stem from trying to cram all of them together into one. Okay?
Analogies are to serious debate like popcorn is to a Thanksgiving dinner. It’s quick and easy, but never as satisfying. The only way analogies are helpful in political debate is that they can make sometimes-abstract ideas easier to understand, but only for those willing to understand. Those determined to be contrary will quickly point out how the analogy fails, so you first have to know your audience, and then understand the issue well enough so that you can construct a reasonable analogy. Let’s try one.
Say you and the wife and baby are living in a nice little two-bedroom apartment. You fixed it up a bit to suit yourself; it’s warm and dry and safe and, besides, it’s all you can afford right now. Now the sheriff shows up and tells you that you have to move out, that this building is condemned, but that he has a new house picked out for you. Of course there is no way that you can afford the payments on this new place, not to mention that the floor creaks and the roof leaks and, because of the leak, there’s probably black mold all through the house that will be dangerous to the health of your baby. You complain, loudly, and the sheriff, knowing he has an election coming up, says, “tell you what I’m going to do: you don’t have to move in until next year”! So, next year you still won’t be able to afford it, it still won’t be what you want, and it’s still going to be harmful to you and your family. Not only that, where are you going to live between now and then?
I’m trying to draw an analogy here with Obama’s [illegal] “postponement” of the worst features of Obamacare (approximately all of them). If Obamacare is so awful that it is indefensible in an election year, why is it not equally awful and indefensible next year? If the damage has already been done, how is postponing the supposed “fix” even remotely desirable? With the analogy raising questions like these I am starting to think that rational debate is not going to be possible. It ought to be unnecessary.
Dear Sen. [insert name]: I strongly urge you to vote against H.F. 826, the so-called “Anti-Bullying Bill,” and to urge your colleagues to do likewise. It is absolutely unnecessary, unfair, and probably unworkable, with many unintended consequences.
It is not necessary because every parent, teacher, school, community and society in general has rules and expectations of behavior for our children, and common-sense means of teaching against and correcting childish missteps. There is already a state law requiring schools to have an anti-bullying policy, in addition to the obligations schools have always had to teach common values like respect and trustworthiness. The new law is unnecessary because this status quo is succeeding. We do not need more law.
The new law is unfair because it defines bullying in an entirely new way and imposes that one-size-fits-all definition not on everybody equally – for that reason alone a bad idea – but only those whose behavior is directed against a member of a “special class” defined in the law. This in essence alters the definition of bullying to that of a “thought crime” based on the group identity of the child supposedly being bullied—from tangible behavior to intangible “intent.” Rather than correcting behavior, we are trying to force politically-correct thinking onto children who may not even know enough to “know better.” In short, don’t ALL kids deserve to be protected from bullying behavior, as in current policy?
Worst of all, this unnecessary and unfair bill is unworkable because of the huge bureaucracy and cost involved—haven’t we seen enough idiocy from those rigid zero-tolerance policies—and likely to have exactly the opposite effect intended. It replaces the occasional childish misbehavior with massive bullying by the almighty state, and for the crime of “wrong thinking” rather than for egregious bad behavior. This will create a poisonous atmosphere in our schools, where no one will dare speak to anyone for fear of offense, and the heavy hand of the law will be used as a weapon by children that this law allows to amplify any grievance. You know, parents used to teach their children not to bully (and still do), but they also taught us how to deal with bullies, particularly of the old “sticks and stones” variety. It almost always stopped the verbal abuse, but without making a Salem witch trial out of it, and it was only applied to true abuse, not some complaint fabricated to stifle free speech or a difference of opinion, or just to settle some childish “score.” This law creates a world none of us wants, so again, please work against this bill. Thank you.
The biggest problem in this State, and in this country, “in a nutshell,” is not that our elected leaders believe they must solve every problem for everybody, nor their belief that they have the unlimited authority to do so, but the unbridled conceit that they CAN.
Well, I see that the nationwide demonstrations of fast food workers demanding an immediate raise to $15 an hour (twice the current minimum wage) have died down, just as always happens when liberals' fantasy-based follies are treated as what they are. But liberals have such a gift for continually denying reality, you can expect this headline to be back again, like a bad TV rerun. When that happens, I want to suggest to some of these employers that they employ what I call the "Whirlpool compromise."
It works like this: many years ago there was a Whirlpool appliance factory near Cincinnati, Ohio. They employed some 14,000 workers and everything was just fine until some union leader needed to demonstrate his importance. He went to management and observed that the average wage in the factory was about $10 per hour, but that they were all members of the United Auto Workers union, and UAW members at the auto plants in nearby Detroit were making $14 per hour. It was only fair and right, said he, that all of HIS members should ALSO be making $14 per hour. Management explained that the appliance business was highly competitive and operated on very thin margins, and they could not possibly pay $14 per hour and stay in business. The union leader insisted, and when management naturally insisted contrarily and on staying in business, the union went out on strike. This went on for a number of weeks, with the union absolutely intransigent and management unable to accommodate them. Finally, management called the union negotiators back with a new, "compromise" offer. "Here is what we can do," they said, "right now we have 14,000 workers at $10 per hour. We are willing to pay 10,000 workers $14 per hour. You choose." The union went back to work. Apparently $10 per hour for 40 hours was better than $14 per hour for zero hours. Nobody wanted to be one of the 4000. Liberals are great at denying reality, so sometimes you have to slap them in the face with it. Call it a compromise.