The Real View Feed

Bachelor on the Cheap: Where to buy a battery for your vehicle

Mike Thayer 2016 (2)By Mike Thayer

So in the latest cold spell we had, my truck battery died.  It could no longer drum up the power to crank the engine.  May it rest in peace......

It's been quite awhile since I've had to buy a battery for a vehicle, so I wasn't quite sure what to expect when it came to prices.....

HOLY CRAP Battery Man!

For my vehicle, in a cold-weather climate and needing 850 cold cranking amps..... Here are the prices of the leading battery providers:

Interstate:  $164

AutoZone:  $134

O'Reilly Auto Parts:  $134

Sure, Interstate is perhaps the most well known, considered the top of the line, but is it?  Really?  Is Interstate's 850 cold crank amp battery really any better than anybody else's, or is it just marketing?  And then you get the two most popular auto parts stores and their respective offerings....  Gosh, can you tell there is competitive pricing there? 

Everstart 65 MaxxEnter, Walmart.

The price for Walmart's Everstart 65 Maxx, with 850 cold cranking amps, is $95.  It's got a 5 year warranty, just like all the others.

If you are going to install a battery yourself, this is a no brainer.  Walmart is the way to go.  And here's something you may not know.....  Take your old battery into the store when buying a new one, it saves you about $18 in a "core fee".  If you turn in your old battery, you won't get charged.

And if you do decide to have a service center install a battery for you, make sure they don't charge you a "core fee."  They took out the old battery and kept it.  They didn't ask you if you wanted to keep it, they didn't put it in your trunk, so don't let them charge you that fee.

Burning the U.S. Flag in protest: What a STUPID thing to do

There's been a lot of talk lately about whether or not there should be a law banishing the burning of the U.S. flag. The main arguments are these: (burn yes) Flag burning is free speech... (burn no) If you don't love the land of the free then why are you even here?

My take: No, there shouldn't be any legislation banning the burning of the U.S. flag, it is in fact, an expression of free speech like it or not. But if somebody beats the crap out of a flag burner, well I sure as hell didn't see it and neither should law enforcement..... For every action, there is a reaction. Actions have consequences folks and you really need to think things through before doing something completely hypocritical. Burning the U.S. flag is the epitome of carrying out an act in total conflict with the freedom to do so.


Calling out two elected officials on their nonsense

Dear Council member Kingsley-Botchway and School Board member DeLoach,
There is no other way to describe it.  The words 'completely unreasonable' first came to mind, but it's beyond that.
Area police departments are wanting dialog and positive interaction to alleviate fears, to eliminate stereotyping, to DEVELOP community relations and what do you do?  Unreasonably poo-poo those efforts.  Making matters worse, it seems you've based your stance on the very false premise that men and women in a police uniform are inherently evil.  You've insulted every hard working law enforcement officer out there busting their proverbial butts to serve the area's metro community.
You are public officials.  Shame on you for calling police uniforms offensive, for questioning police presence in schools for some un-vetted fear that somebody had a bad experience.   More importantly, shame on you for apparently not even looking to the students themselves for the positives in these outreach programs before putting your knee-jerk reactions on public display.
Let me sum this up with a question:  Banning a positive is your answer to developing relationships?  
Again, that's bullshit. 
Mike Thayer
Publisher, Coralville Courier

Creating new hate crime legislation is stupid

Mike Thayer 2016 (2)By Mike Thayer

All these various state legislators trying to create new hate crime laws..... STOP IT! i.e., shooting a cop is a hate crime, killing a person based on race is a hate crime, beating up a gay person is a hate crime..... NO! Murder is murder, rape is rape, a gun crime is a gun crime, assault is assault. Quit trying to put emotion into it! Our obligation is to police crimes committed, not police social ills. If anything needs to be changed, it's sentencing, but let's not 'create' new laws needing to be enforced and prosecuted. AS IF law enforcement and our courts don't already have enough on their proverbial plates?

Area unemployment rate up since county government forced business to artificially inflate wages

Mike ThayerBy Mike Thayer

It's early yet regarding the effects of the county penalizing businesses and consumers with their artificial inflation shenanigans, but to consider: The average monthly rate of unemployment in Johnson County in 2015 according to Iowa Workforce Development statistics was 2.6%. That's great and a pretty darn low rate right!?  And sure, there are tangibles besides a minimum wage hike that can effect an unemployment rate, this area is after all pretty much a state taxpayer run economy.... But again, consider this:  The average monthly rate of unemployment in Johnson County so far in 2016 is 2.9%, after the county government forced wage hike to $8.20/hr on Nov. 1, 2015.  We have yet to feel the repercussions of the "You MUST pay!" $9.15/hr on May 1, 2016, but given the data history of cities like Seattle that have enacted government-forced wage hikes, it will mean another increase in the jobless rate. And never mind the rise in area prices for consumer goods....... That cup of coffee from the non-chain establishment, that breakfast at your favorite LOCAL eatery, that trinket or knickknack at the Mom & Pop shop.   Don't worry, if you haven't already experienced a price hike or two, you will, and then-some.

"But, wait a minute!"  you say.

"Isn't that unemployment rate going the wrong way?"

"But, but, supervisors said the opposite would happen!"

Yep, all true.

Things that make you go hmmmmm.........   And see, I told you so......

This story is developing....  Like I said, it's early in the government-telling-local-businesses-how-to-pay-wages game.  But remember, county supervisors like Rod Sullivan PROMISED us that more jobs would be created with a forced wage hike.  He PROMISED us that artificially inflating pay would mean increased buying power.  He PROMISED us that government telling businesses how to go about their business would stimulate the local economy. 

So far, that hasn't been the case.

Stay tuned, more monthly unemployment rate information is pending, along with consumer price data!

Pssst, hey Rod, government forced higher minimum wage increases cause unemployment.  They also cause UNDER-employment, which is many ways, is an even worse thing.   You're not fixing anything, you're actually making matters worse.

A vote for Trump is a vote for more of the same in Washington

By Mike Thayer

Donald Trump is Michael Bloomberg on an national scale and that's dangerous. The "R" next to his name is calculated, not valued. We aren't just facing higher taxes, salt taken off restaurant tables or bans on fountain pop over 16 ounces, we're looking at much worse. Some people need to realize just how liberal a Trump presidency would be. All they have to do is look at his record. The argument that we get Hillary if we don't support Trump is a hollow one, as they are essentially one in the same.

A Shameful Double Standard by Trump Supporters

Dear Reader,
Are you worried about low information voters? How about the voters that embrace Donald Trump's manipulations of the issues and even repeat/perpetuate those falsehoods as if they were fact?   For people who not-so-long ago claimed to be so frustrated with the many games establishment politicians play,  they sure are looking the other way when The Donald plays them. 
There's an extreme level of voter ignorance out there, much of it willful.  Many of these supporters of Trump have claimed to be conservative, yet they promote Trump in a very liberal, progressive manner, to include aggressive/personal attack style attempts to censor or squash anything negative about their candidate.  Reality be damned.
If you see a double standard, you are correct.   For example when Donald Trump abused eminent domain in the mid-1990's, seizing the property of homeowners to build parking garages and casinos, these so-called conservatives said, "That's not right, he shouldn't be able to do that."  And now?  They say Trump is a "successful businessman."   When The Donald publicly supported universal health care in 2000, these so-called conservatives rejected Trump's stance with vigor.   These same people now say Trump's plan for health care is a good one.  Never mind he hasn't really stated one.   When Trump said he would order members of our military to kill the family members of terrorists, his supporters pretended not to hear it. If any other candidate would have said such a thing, they would have cried foul!  Trump was for the H1-B immigration visa program before he was against it, John Kerry style.  Kerry was chastised by these Trump supporters for flip-flopping, but when it comes to Trump?...  Flip-flop?  What flip-flop?   In September of 2015, Trump said the United States should accept refugees from Syria.   But when his stance started to catch flak with real conservatives and his polling numbers started to drop, Trump changed his tune.  Suddenly, he was against accepting Syrian refugees.......   Ah, the stuff of establishment politicians!   But do Trump supporters care?   Apparently not!
Exercising a double standard, this is what liberals do, what the left does, how progressives operate - they ignore reality.    What was once something objected to, is now - by Trump supporters - embraced.  To these people, it doesn't matter what Donald Trump says or does, they defend him no matter what.  Ladies and gentlemen, that's what liberals do, what the left does, how progressives operate.
You have to wonder what these people are drinking.  Conservative principles were tossed aside as they jumped on the Trump bandwagon.   On nearly every issue, Trump supporters exercise a liberal double standard.  It's intellectual dishonesty, it's an abandonment of conservative values, it's shameful.

An open post to the RNC and state GOP parties with open primaries/caucuses

Dear RNC and Republican State Parties,

Victories by Trump in open primary/caucus states are not a true reflection of the party faithful. Crossover voters are dictating who becomes the nominee, not Republicans for their own party. Open contests are a set-up to failure, they gave us John McCain and Mitt Romney. Should Trump win the nomination, history will repeat itself, the Republican party pulling defeat out of the jaws of victory with the practice of open primaries and caucuses.

Mike Thayer
Publisher, Coralville Courier

Note to future GOP presidential candidates, don't go to Iowa so much at first, do this instead....

by Mike Thayer

The Proverbial Presidential Politics Playbook - start your campaign by visiting Iowa and New Hampshire.  Hit them heavy and often, focus on those two states because they are the first two contests of the election season.

Iowa Caucus HistoryBut guess what?  Hitting the First in the Nation Caucus (Iowa) and First in the Nation Primary (New Hampshire) states first, doesn't really work.  It's all based on the notion that winning early states will lead to victory or at least do well in the state contests to follow.  It's a strategy of "win, place or show so we can build" rather than "build to win."

But if you look at recent history, the Iowa Caucus has only picked the eventual GOP Presidential nominee correctly in 2 of 6 contests and accurately forecast the general election winner just once.  So much for picking first.  The Republican apparatus in Iowa is obsolete and a heavy focus on the state in my humble opinion is not the best course of action.

New Hampshire has been more accurate in picking the eventual GOP nominee, but fails really where it matters - the productivity test  - because the state only delivers 23 delegates.   Contrast that with a late primary state like New Jersey (51)  or California (172).

So why does a big/frequent presence in Iowa and New Hampshire fail presidential hopefuls?   Because typical campaign strategists are still thinking old school.  Do the first states first and work down the list.  Try to build momentum.

That's just stupid in today's 24/7 news cycle.

Sure, spending time in Iowa and New Hampshire generates headlines, but so would visits to any other state.  So why bother to hit Iowa and New Hampshire first just because they're at the top of the list when just about any state on the list will do if grabbing headlines to generate momentum is the goal?  There's media availability every which way and everywhere in every state and it all goes nationwide.

"But Mike" you say, "candidates that skip Iowa pay dearly for it, just look at Rudy Guliani in 2008 for example."  While it's true Rudy's strategy backfired that cycle, it backfired because he virtually ignored Iowa.  That's not what I'm suggesting candidates do at all.

Here's a better strategy for GOP candidates in today's 24/7 news cycle world:  Presidential hopefuls should do an inverse order of visiting states when campaigning, hitting states that are last on the calendar on the primary/caucus list, first....  then start working the list up.   Work from the bottom up, not the top down. 

You know somebody is going to start throwing a hat in the presidential ring pretty much the day after election day 2016, so why not start building grassroots efforts in New Jersey or New Mexico and working your way up the list?  Get those states working early so they can grow and multiply support.  A candidate should start working the bottom of the primary/caucus list, timing the campaigning so that he/she will be in Iowa and New Hampshire hard and heavy when it matters, but not as a sole focus.  Candidates should make their "I'm running for president" announcement in their home state as most candidates typically do, but then travel to a late primary state like South Dakota, THEN visit Iowa.  Hit another late primary/caucus state like New Jersey, THEN visit New Hampshire.  Start getting the grassroots support in Iowa organized, but bundle in a visit to another late primary/caucus state like Montana.  Get rolling on the New Hampshire grassroots network, while also making a quick visit to another late primary/caucus state like New York and so on....  Retail politics in Iowa and New Hampshire is valuable, but it doesn't hold near the value that it used to.  Just look at what visiting all 99 counties in Iowa did NOT do for Rick Santorum in 2016.

GOP presidential hopefuls would be wise to toss out the old '70's era playbook and build a foundation that's nationally based, as opposed to putting together a couple of piecemeal, smaller state-based foundations old school style hoping momentum carries the day.  In today's 24/7 media-hyped world, being the first candidate in the first state means little.  What matters is how strong and sustained a candidate is later on.  Rand Paul focused on Iowa and New Hampshire almost exclusively and he had to drop out of the race just two days after finishing with less than 5% support in the Iowa Caucuses.  In fact, his narrow focus on Iowa and New Hampshire cost him first tier debate time on a national stage.  Again, so much for focusing on being first.  It's better to have a strong March and April, built from a larger, nationally based foundation, than it is to have won Iowa or New Hampshire in February and 'hoping' those victory headlines carry over into more support and victory in the next contest.   Build from the bottom up, not the top down.  Or to put it in construction terms, you have to build a foundation before you can put a roof up.

"But Mike" you say, "your strategy would cost campaigns far more money!"

In raw dollar terms, ok.  But I would argue that campaign contributions would come in even greater amounts to a campaign the expands it's campaign strategy beyond the typical focus of the primary/caucus state of the day.  Campaign contributions come in all forms, small donations, large donations, corporate money, special interest money, PAC money, party leadership money, party election committee money and so on....  With exception to the small donations, contributions are all pretty much flowing in from all across the country and outside the respective primary states of the day.  A heavier campaign focus on a particular state doesn't dictate the flow of money anymore.  Polling does.  Sure, a victory in a state primary provides a spike in donations, but long before primary election day it's national status that matters, driving the bulk of campaign contributions and from a greater variety of sources.  The stronger a candidate is in national polls, the stronger the cash flow.  Everybody likes a winner.  And about those smaller donations from Mom & Pop that are indeed driven by a candidate's presence in a given state.....  Those donations would kick in sooner, rather than later with a work from the bottom up strategy. 

Build it and they will come.....  Just not in Iowa.   A GOP candidate that uses my campaign strategy in the 2020 election cycle wins the day.



Trump isn't a conservative, so why do so many grass-roots Republicans support him?

By Mike Thayer

Real estate mogul Donald Trump is still leading in the polls in the GOP race for the presidential nomination and leading big.  

Background:  When he first entered the 2016 election cycle sweepstakes back in June, he had a meager 4 percent level of support.  He now towers over the rest of the field with over 35 percent support according to Real Clear Politics, the specialists in poll averaging.  That's more backing than Cruz (in 2nd place at 18.6%) and Rubio (in 3rd place at 11.6%) combined.

It's clear there is a very heavy anti-establishment sentiment this cycle and Trump has masterfully capitalized on that, much to the chagrin of establishment strategists, talking heads and the establishment/liberal media types.  Trump's rise to the top has been nothing but puzzling to them.  Their puzzlement is arrogantly ignorant.  In the bigger picture, voters have embraced their version of 'Washington outsider'.  It's why Trump leads, why Ben Carson has enjoyed some spotlight, why Ted Cruz - a man not afraid to chastise those of his own party - is gaining momentum.  It's an 'outsiders' GOP nomination to take because the Republican faithful have largely rejected the career politicians, the establishment types like Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, John Kasich, and Mike Huckabee, all names displaying near or at the bottom of all the polling.  

But why the large groundswell of support for Trump?  He's not a conservative.

Let's take the bandwagon jumpers out of the mix for this discussion, it's an element that exists in every election, both parties. 

What I'm seeing are a lot of smart conservative people getting in line to support Trump.  These people aren't bandwagon jumpers - there's more to their decision than that - it's not just simply 'backing the perceived winner.'   The conservatives I share political thoughts with know Trump comes up conservative-short on gun control, health care, eminent domain, opposes the flat tax and isn't conservative on a number of other issues..... but conservative voters are looking the other way in support of him.  The only logical conclusion to that kind of decision making is that it's emotionally charged decision making.   Emotion instead of fact-based reasoning....  Hmmmm.....

Question:  Is it possible that some grassroots conservative Republicans have become SO anti-establishment - to an extreme point - that they have overlooked Trump's many non-conservative flaws just so they can, 'stick it to the establishment-man?'

Where are the core values in that?

Trump believes in gun control.  How can a conservative support that?

Trump believes in some form of universal, government-run health care.  He slams ObamaCare, but he wants to replace it with TrumpCare.  How can a conservative support that? 

Trump believes in the use of eminent domain, he's OK with taking a person's property, their castle, if it's for the betterment of the business community, a.k.a., if a dozen houses need to be plowed over for a shopping mall, so be it.  How can a conservative support that?

Trump doesn't want to seriously reform this country's tax code.  He doesn't believe in the flat tax or a national sales tax.  How can a conservative support Trump's idea of taxation (more of the same, ADDING to tax code, not taking away)?

Donald Trump has massaged the anti-establishment sentiment well, but the truth is, he's part of the establishment problem, not a solution.  Sure, he's saying all the right things, but his history tells a different story.  It's one of backroom deals, manipulating rules, greasing wheels.  He plays the cronyism game for a living.  How else do you think Trump knows how to politically attack the establishment types so well?  Because he's a player himself.  Conservatives who have vetted Trump, know this.

So given the above, why support Trump then?

Because some grassroots conservatives have become SO anti-establishment, they want to 'teach the Grand Old Establishment' a lesson.  After years of betrayal, of a party that says one thing and does another, of so-called leaders that are more interested in keeping their seat rather than doing what's right, these conservatives seem to think nominating Trump is somehow medicinal. 

They're wrong.

They see how the establishment has publicly shown a disdain towards Trump, which they have embraced.  They see this establishment vs. Trump kind of thing going on and they like it.  Trump sees it and markets it.  The GOP establishment doubles down and wants things their way or no way.  And so it goes.  The establishment doesn't like Trump simply because he's not in their power circle, he doesn't do things their way.  To them he's not polished, he's self-serving, he's not party power focused.   There are only so many seats at the establishment power table and there's no room for a guy like Trump.  The rub is, Trump is going to feed us the very same things the establishment does when it comes to the issues.  He'll just sell it in a different way.  That 'medicine' is nothing of the sort, it's snake oil, it just doesn't have an establishment label.

So would Trump be better than Obama, or Hillary?  The answer to that is yes, but it's a progressive vs. progressive-lite kind of thing.  Would you like to see the American Dream continue to die a slow death via Obama/Clinton style, or just a slower, more prolonged death via Trump?  Would you like to swallow six poison pills, or just three?  The amount doesn't really matter, each dose does the job.  Trump's "Make America Great Again" is a fine line, but it's a sales pitch, not reality.  What Trump is selling isn't medicinal and it won't teach the establishment a lesson.

Donald Trump is not a conservative.  So it is illogical to support him for the GOP nomination.  The support for his candidacy is not the result of fact-based reasoning, it's emotionally charged.

The only other logical conclusion one can make when assessing the support for Trump - is that the Republican party base is no longer largely made up of conservatives. 

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