Thursday, May 3, 2012

Former Wisconsin 7th Congressional District Candidate Seeks Support in Non-traditional Way

For the many that didn’t know before they went to vote in 2010, there were five possible choices in the Congressional primary and I was one of them.  Dubbed the last minute filer or the Conservative Democrat by many of our media outlets, I chose to run against Julie Lassa so that she wouldn’t be allowed to skate to November’s election without first defending her beliefs and past state voting record to her potential supporters.

This vetting process is an important American tradition in politics as it exposes a candidate in a way that may not be revealed in a general election especially if both party candidates share the same beliefs.  This was fully accomplished in 2010 as both major parties went to a primary.  Presently this is not the case for the 2012 Congressional election and that is unfortunate although avoidable.

With only two announced major party candidates, both with heavily banked campaign accounts, I fear that many issues important to our district will be sidestepped to avoid undue attention.  Sean Duffy, hoping for political gain, voted to give President Obama the authority to raise the debt ceiling $2.1 trillion and voted to extend the payroll tax cut.  Both of which only continues to raise the national debt at an increasingly alarming rate.  Pat Kreitlow, the Democrat challenger, is also likely to do the same as these expenditures where championed by the Democrat party.

Once again I find myself asking “Are the beliefs and values of the candidate with the most connections ~ ergo money ~ the basis of what this country’s future seeks to become”.  As in 2010, I am faced with the same decision on whether to be involved in this vetting process.  Two years ago through my own efforts I obtained nearly all 1000 signatures needed for nomination.  This year due to time and commitments I am asking for your help this spring in acquiring them before the June 1st deadline.

To achieve this goal we will need to obtain a minimum of 1000 nomination signatures to place myself on the primary ballot to face Sean Duffy and provide him with an opportunity to defend his voting record.  Together with a little effort we can make this happen.  Don’t let the political money machine force you into believing there are only two candidates.

Please visit for easy to follow instructions and complete information if you are interested in making this election more than just the typical same old political rhetoric.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Afghanistan's Karzai to U.S. " We want $2 Billion a year! "; Sean Duffy's Past Support

In a speech today [4/17/12], Afghanistan’s President Karzai announced he wants a United States written guarantee of at least $2 billion yearly to fund future Afghan army and police efforts under a strategic partnership agreement being negotiated between the two countries.  Several conditions have already been met included control over U.S. run Bagram Prison and Special Forces night raids against the Taliban.  Karzai adds, “We don't want them to spend a lot of money here, we would like to help them save their money, but give some to us too”.  [AFP News] 

Does our thankless efforts to liberate Afghanistan end with a continuous flow of endless unsustainable American tax dollars to which I believe most will be outraged?  Apparently it does and will be decided on who pays what at next month’s NATO meeting in Chicago.  I need to hold back and reserve my verbal tirade for when it is due – I’m assuming something this financially unsustainable and ridiculous needs to be voted on by Congress and not just allocated by the president from some endless pool of available foreign resources.  

Yes, we can blame George Bush for entering these wars [and we shall], but President Obama shares much of the current blame for not following his campaign promises to end this war quickly.  Not only did Obama make promises to end it, but he had a Democrat controlled House and Senate to end it without Republican interference.  As does it continue now with a Republican controlled House; our own representative Sean Duffy voting for countless measures that support the war effort regardless of poll after poll showing unanimous unified support to end the wars now.

I was truly dismayed early last year while attending a Sean Duffy meet and greet in Superior when I asked him how his trip went to Afghanistan and why are we still there.  Without hesitation he replied “we are making tremendous strides over there” and moved on to greet others guests.  Strides to what?  What’s the goal and when does it end?  Even Duffy’s Democrat contender Pat Kreitlow calls for a plan, but his allegiances and rank and file mentality don’t offer anything more than follow the leader politics with Obama’s non-urgent policies in ending this war.  I’d prefer to stick to a decisive decision that is simple and what nearly every American wants – the war is over now and the draw down starts tomorrow.

There should be no shock to the American people if that was the decision of Congress.  I’ve seen polls as high as 90% saying get our boys home and I’m sure those numbers cut across all political spectrums.  So why then are we still there?  This war needed an ending and it had one when Bin Laden was killed in Pakistan but it was passed on by the Obama Administration.  That just leads me to believe that there is another unannounced reason for being there because no matter the reasoning our boys are still being killed and maimed, families are being torn apart with pain and agony and the financial costs further bury this country’s future.

Those are all good reasons to leave as quickly as possible.  Our guys can’t even fight with their hands so tied up with those damn rules of military engagement our leaders have saddled them with.  And all for what?  Afghanistan has only two resources that the world would fight so aggressively over – Opium and rare-earth minerals.  Its history is deep in the opium trade, even today with the on-going war it is still the world’s leader in production.  With the many billions of dollars flowing after every harvest funding countless corrupt governments across the region it is no wonder the enemy is endless. 

In 2010 it was reported by the NY Times that the U.S. had identified vast mineral reserves worth possibly a trillion or more.  This could explain why Russia and China have such a guarded interest in the region.  It could also explain why the American people are not given a reasonable and just cause as to why U.S. troops and financial resources are so expendable.  Let’s leave it at that and you can come to your own conclusion.

Extras:  news source from AFP News and VOA News; Duffy meeting at Perkins in Superior-Spring 2011;

Friday, April 13, 2012

Supreme Court To Determine the Constitutionality of Health Care Act

Even if you have no interest in the constitutionality of laws passed by your representatives it is important to at least understand the basis of this case as your income and freedoms are at stake.  Simply put the case before the court is on whether Congress has the power to force citizens to purchase a product.  In the case of healthcare there are strong arguments on both sides of the political spectrum, but I prefer to make my own decisions and live with the consequences.

We have a historic opportunity to listen in on 6 hours of courtroom oral arguments before the Supreme Court on one of the costliest pieces of legislation- the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act which was passed by a Democrat controlled Congress and signed into law by President Obama.  Officially the case is known as Florida v. Department of Health & Human Services and has 4 main parts: Anti-injunction Act – can court strike down before it takes effect, Individual mandate, Severability – does whole healthcare act stand if one portion is unconstitutional and Medicaid – the acts costs violates states rights.

I have embedded a video of the oral arguments on the individual mandate portion of the healthcare act.  I find that it is the piece of the law that most have some knowledge of and have rendered an opinion on.  To keep everyone’s interests I would strongly recommend listening to the first 5-6 minutes of arguments made by Donald Verrilli, the U.S. Solicitor Generalas it is understandable and provides the basis for the whole case.  Also, listen to the first few minutes of the arguments by Paul Clement, the attorney for Florida and 25 other states found at 56:00.

Since the topic of health care in the United States is so vast and faceted I’m going to limit my opinion to my own personal experiences and what is taking place in this country.  This partisan law was rushed, it was riddled with financial inadequacies (dare I say lies), it was not read admittedly by many of our representatives, the rules of the Senate were changed for passage and it is a financial boondoggle that destroys this country’s future.  When passed it was championed as an affordable answer to insuring the nation’s 40 million uninsured, now its costs have doubled to $1.8 trillion over 10 years and I would not be surprised to see it triple or even more.  The Obama Administration has issued 100’s of waivers of the law to businesses and labor unions affecting over 3,000,000 people – that alone should raise eyebrows as to the law’s fairness and credibility.

I don’t see the logic in any of this.  From what started as an emergency room epidemic of $12 billion a year of people not paying for their visits to a CBO estimate of $5,800/yr for each of the 40 million uninsured.  The only logical answer is the move for socialized health care for all because no matter how you add up the numbers it doesn’t even remotely make sense.  If the Democrat goal is to socialize health care, as found in many European countries, then I would hope that those that exercise their votes for this cause do a simple search and truly believe and accept that those country’s taxing structure is at least double of what you and me each pay in taxes. 

Now I’m not going to say there isn’t a need for some type of fix here for the uninsured or underinsured because there is.  What I’m saying is this law is not the answer.  Clearly we would be much better off for the government to continue to reimburse the hospitals the $12 billion annually for emergency room visits instead of entering into such a financially devastating situation for our country.  Also, I am not just spouting off as a wanna be politician either because I do know the feeling of not being insured and it can be very unsettling at times. 

Extras:  C-SPAN again has done a brilliant job of documenting the actions of all the federal powers and a complete explanation and videos of all portions of the argument can be found here: 

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Sean Duffy Makes Passionate $690,000,000 Plea for New St.Croix River Replacement Bridge

For a country that is so steeped in debt is this a priority or an expensive convenience?
A constituent seeks to find the truth in the muddied waters of Washington politics

Unless you live near St. Croix County you probably won’t hear much about the debate to replace the old Stillwater Bridge which connects Stillwater MN (pop. 18,000) and Houlton WI (pop. 400), but you might raise an eyebrow to its hefty price tag of $690,000,000. Now to be fair, as the debate goes, the bridge does physically connect the far outskirts of the Minneapolis/St. Paul area (15th largest metropolitan in the US) to the fastest growing county in Wisconsin – St. Croix County. The Wisconsin side of the newly proposed bridge is about 6 miles north of Hudson’s I-94 bridge to Minnesota and south of Somerset (pop. 3000) and about 15 minutes from New Richmond (pop. 8500).

The 1931 Stillwater bridge is old and its functionality is dated – snarling traffic in Stillwater at peak hours. Yet, as early as April 2011, the Minnesota Department of Transportation deemed it safe. So safe in fact, in their MnDOT Condition Report, the opening sentence states rather frankly “The Stillwater Lift Bridge is safe”.

So why all the hoopla? The US Senate passed the bill by unanimous consent, the House passed it by wide margins too 339-80, and even President Obama signed off on the bill. Technically the bill (s.1134) isn’t even a funding bill; it only removes the barriers that the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act instilled that prevent the bridge from being built. With thousands of bridges deemed obsolete and potential ready to collapse by the Obama administration how can we possibly pay for all of them?

My curiosity further grew when a Democrat on the Minnesota side of the bridge, Betty McCollum (D) MN 4th district, voiced strong opposition to this monstrosity and a striking contrast to Republican Sean Duffy’s viewpoint that didn’t quite seem to follow the conservatism he proclaimed to follow that got him elected to office. In fact, if a politician didn’t have a D or R after his name, you would swear that McCollum was the Republican and Duffy was the Democrat based on their bridge beliefs.

Something doesn’t make sense to me and it all gets back to what is being connected by the bridge and maybe more importantly why. So, on the unordinary hot spring day of March 28th, I set out with stopwatch in hand to get down to basics and try to make sense of something that didn’t compute. Surely we are not debating that a population of 300 needs to be connected by a $690,000,000 bridge. The answer needs to be further upstream maybe Somerset or more likely New Richmond with a growing population of 8500, but what are the facts and does that make spending that kind of money more palatable.

Here are the results of my time trials:
From I-94 and I-694 (E. of St. Paul) to downtown New Richmond             30:24

From downtown New Richmond to I-694 and Hwy 36 (NE of St. Paul)      30:33

What does this mean? It certainly means that you are not going to beat me to downtown St. Paul if you take the Stillwater Bridge from New Richmond instead of taking existing routes. You aren’t going to beat me to Minneapolis either. In fact, you aren’t going to beat me anywhere in the Twin Cities and if you happen to it will only be by the short distance of driving up I-694 or about 2 minutes.

The very basis of the reasoning to spend $690,000,000 on a new bridge was to join the fastest growing county in Wisconsin to the 15th largest metropolitan area in the United States, as argued by our Congressman Duffy, and that basis was proven false. The bridge does indeed join the two states, but the cost/benefit rational makes no sense what so ever. This bridge which destroys the pristine waters of the St. Croix River is a bridge of convenience, it is a bridge of many wants, it replaces a MnDOT approved existing bridge and most importantly in a country being rebuilt on a mountain of debt it is a bridge that is unaffordable and impractical.

Extra:  Time trials from I-94/I-694 to Roberts to New Richmond

Monday, April 2, 2012

Sean Duffy Votes For Payroll Tax Cut Extension - Adds $143 Billion to National Debt

With nearly a 2 to 1 passing vote margin in both the House and the Senate and a flick of the wrist by President Obama the governing bodies of the United States delivered a gift wrapped addition to the national debt for the American public. The $143 billion compromise extends the ‘temporary’ payroll tax cut and unemployment benefits to the end of the year and will leave Congress with the same dilemma we’ve seen before – either play the Grinch before Christmas or to cave, yet again, on the hard decisions.

I just don’t understand the reasoning and officially none was really championed by either party more or less because both want it quickly off the radar. Democrats are for it, of course I’ll remind everyone that Democrats had controlling power in Congress when it was passed and sign by Obama on Dec 17, 2010 and now the majority of Republicans have caved in to continually damage any chance of fiscal recovery in my lifetime.

Here’s the long winded 13:10 video of the WH response including my favorite comment (early on) that “this bill moves the country forward”, to what I do not know.

What’s the line up for Christmas 2012 look like? Set to expire at year’s end we have the Bush tax cut extensions (yes, it’s still out there and yes both party’s are afraid to touch it). Next, we have the National Debt Ceiling Cap – here again we classic “Duffy Confusion”, where he voted to give the authorization to President Obama and I’m assuming he didn’t expect him to use it, rrrright! Finally, we have the 2% FICA payroll tax extension which apparently has been permanently attached to unemployment benefits; I guess in the eyes of Congress the two were made for each other and everybody gets a little something.

Why pick on the Duffster? He’s just giving his constituents in the 7th district what they want, right? I’m not so sure about that, if people fully understood the severe dampage that putting an extra $40 in your pocket meant rather than paying it into FICA they would be telling him where to stick his vote. And don’t you Pat Kreitlow fans worry; his tiring Obamanomic retread ideals will get equal play. For now let’s move forward and secure the facts from omission.

Extras: House voted on February 17, 2012 293 – 132 for bill passage. Notable No votes – Michelle Bachmann (R) and Ron Kind (D) whom S. Duffy replaces in St. Croix County through redistricting.