Wednesday, June 27, 2012
In Aitkin County in Northern Minnesota we are experiencing record high water in lakes and rivers after torrential rains. We have received more than half a normal year's rainfall in May and June. The ground is saturated, so rainwater is all runoff. Watersheds are flushing into rivers and lakes, overflowing banks and flooding roads, structures, and farm fields. Local and state road crews, state troopers, sheriff deputies, and police officers have been on the scene, providing rescue and emergency services, flagging washouts, protecting lives and property. In this time of trouble let us remember who we depend on. Public servants. Police, Fire, Ambulance. Utility Workers. Well Drillers. Paramedics, Nurses, and Doctors. When wildfires, hurricanes, tornadoes, and floods strike, the angry cries of those zealots who would "shrink government" are exposed as the rants of cruel fools. As I departed our County Board meeting June 26th I was proud of our Sheriff, County Engineer, and Commissioners, along with their capable staff members. They are committed to our safety, and they serve us well. Today the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the State Department of Agricultural representatives were in the County Seat to help coordinate our recovery.
Sunday, June 10, 2012
A week of punditry has come out of Wisconsin. The recall failed and many are the supposed lessons spreading across the land. My tweet describes an empty suit stuffed with money, who bested the loser mayor from 2010. Too bad Democrats didn't rally with the labor union candidate to defend the right to unionize and bargain collectively. It's not enough just to fight and raise money. We've got to battle smarter and make every dollar and every volunteer hour count. I'm not singing the blues about all that Big Money from billionaires. Truth is, politicians of all stripes have gotten very comfortable with Big Money - Liberal and Conservative Money. How many votes will Charles Koch and his brother cast this November? The same number as you and me! Yes, a lot of distractions have been erected by politicians who think they can fool enough of the people this time. Do you want a picture ID for every voter? Are you shook up about homosexuals marrying each other? We have serious questions to think about between now and November. Questions for citizens who seek out facts, opinions, and exercise their own judgment in making decisions. No amount of money can persuade you otherwise, when you have judged right from wrong. These are the questions on my mind tonight: war, joblessness, child poverty, foreclosures, new graduates with debt, a changing global climate. I want candidates to answer these questions to my satisfaction, before they will get my vote. I have chosen three candidates to support and have sent them "political money." I have urged others to consider voting for these three. I will be at my polling place for the Primary and General Elections, as an election judge, to see that our precinct has integrity. Some things money cannot buy.
Saturday, June 2, 2012
Why do they hate us? In the novel "Bloodmoney" a young man in mountainous Pakistan near the Afghan border survives a U.S. drone strike on his house, in which the rest of his family is killed. So begins a tale in which a new breed of CIA operatives in the Mideast become the mysterious victims of assassination. These new spies are loaded with money, not appropriated by Congress, but gained through crooked dealing with compromised financial partners. They are able to buy their way into positions of influence in the Middle East. Pilot-less aircraft have been around a long time. For decades kids with model airplanes flew them, and aboard ship we trained our anti-aircraft guns on radio-controlled fighters from World War II. In today's War On Terror the Air Force has gone farther. From a base in Utah, halfway round the globe, technicians, plugged in to the latest intelligence, are targeting sites where suspected Al Qaida members live and travel. Of course in war, mistakes are made, and collateral damage occurs. This week we learned how the President, on Terror Tuesdays, chooses which suspects will be killed in this manner. Indeed, why do they hate us? Men from Saudi Arabia were outraged that the U.S. had placed Air Force fighter aircraft and pilots in their sacred land. Osama bin Laden was one, and 15 of the 19 attackers on September 11 were Saudis. Our Congressional-Military-Industrial Complex creates and supplies weapons from most of the fifty states where disarmament would be an economic disaster. Whether it is the Rocket-Propelled Grenade (RPG), the Stinger anti-aircraft missle, the IED (Improvised Explosive Device), or the Land Mine, it was invented and manufactured in the USA. We are killing our own - and thousands of others - with our exports to a weaponized world.