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The most important races of 2018: Part 1

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The most important races of 2018 Part 1

I don’t normally do article series, but this time I must. I break this up not because of volume but instead because of metrics this because there are different measurements of importance that would yield different results. Both measurements have long term potential but for different reasons. The first one is the more immediate importance, and this focuses on personnel.

Primaries have the chance to nominate ideological champions over “practical” politicians. Nominating the next Rand Paul or Ted Cruz would be a major impact on the Senate, Congress or Governorship for perhaps decades to come, and also a major impact on the state and country. Therefore, much of the races mentioned in this session will focus on the primaries for their higher emphasis on the individuals running as opposed to which party holds or doesn’t hold the seat. This measure of importance brings more Senate seats while the second is more focused on states.

This isn’t about races that are hotly contested, rather it’s about races with a good chance to send a very strong candidate that will shake things up in some way shape for the state or nation as a whole.

US Senate – Missouri

Claire McCaskill won her seat in 2012 against a self imploding candidate. Now she’s in trouble in a high stakes Senate race. Her potential challengers are numerous. A lot of personalities are hedging their bets. Steve Bannon’s horse is State Attorney General, Josh Hawley. Hawley resembles Ted Cruz, in that they both were on the winning sides of a major SCOTUS decision. For Hawley, it was Hobby Lobby. Hawley won the Attorney General seat in 2016 and is already seeking election into a higher, easier, office. Perhaps that’s a character flaw, or perhaps a sign of great ambition. The biggest conservative objection on paper is his over-admiration of Teddy Roosevelt. He is a strong candidate; the only thing holding him back is Bannon.

Then there’s former Libertarian challenger to Gary Johnson, Austin Petersen, a darling of conservative Twitter. Petersen is a pro-life Libertarian who wanted to rebrand the party in the same way, Rand Paul wants to rebrand Republicans. Wanting the best chance at making an impact, he switched parties to run for Senate. Petersen is a disciple of Ayn Rand, and with that comes atheism. Petersen is a grassroots candidate to watch out for.

Other candidates, I wouldn’t suggest are as strong as these two. But also keep an eye on conservative prodigy, Courtland Sykes. Courtland Sykes appears to have conservatism and also a solid military background. The other likable campaign touch is his two term pledge. We’ll see if he has the drive and skill to campaign in a crowded field.

Missouri presents a chance to put a really good conservative in the Senate, something there is a massive shortage of.

US Senate – Wyoming

John Barrasso finds himself facing reelection. Barrasso is a conservative on matters of guns, but is hardly frugal in countering the deficit. Expect a challenger or two… Erik Prince is considering the run. He would be Bannon backed for his informal ties to the Trump administration transition team. Prince very wealthy and could pose a threat if money won races. Then there’s Foster Friess. Friess is a Christian who so happens to be a highly skilled investment manager. The Trump administration decision to betray the Iraqi-Kurds nudged him into teasing a Senate run. Freiss seems like an ideal candidate for conservatives in Wyoming should he decide to run. But odds are, one of these rich guys throws their hat in to upset the incumbent.

US Senate – Arizona

Arizona has sent some terrible senators to DC. Several attempts to primary John McCain turned fruitless. However, anti-establishment now need not campaign against an incumbent seeing as Jeff Flake would rather not seek reelection than lose. This leaves a hotly contested field. Kelli Ward is first to stand out. She lost to McCain but had her sights set on building her base for another try. Ward stands as the current frontrunner in a Flakeless primary.

Another possible name is Martha McSally. Big government republicans are seeking replace Jeff Flake with McSally. McSally is no ally of Trump and resides in swing district that could have her returning to the private sector come 2019 anyway. So a Senate run may the best way to avoid losing should Democrats mount a sizable attack for her seat, which they should.

Another GOP candidate is the extremely young looking Craig Britain is running on an ambitious “Taxation is theft”, end the Fed platform. Then there’s Nicholas Tutora a health care (repeal and replace) focused candidate.

The Democrats will look to compete in this race. Kyrsten Sinema is a more centrist democrat who is in favor of Kate’s Law but not withholding funding for sanctuary cities as the representative from D-9. Expect a more hardline liberal to challenge her. This race may not provide an ideal conservative or liberal but to Republicans, it is more about retaining the seat with an Arizona Senator who won’t be an obstacle.

US Senate – Texas

Ted Cruz doesn’t seem like he has all that much competition but nonetheless keeping him in the Senate is vital to conservatives. Losing him would spell death for conservatism. That being said, expect democrats to throw another Wendy Davis into this fight, not someone who can win, but someone who can diametrically oppose Ted Cruz.

US House – Paul Ryan’s seat

This 1st District of Wisconsin is safely Republican, for now. Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan faces general unpopularity and a big name primary challenger Paul Nehlen. Nehlen lost embarrassingly last time and is looking to try again, much like Kelly Ward, though not as bad. Nehlen is a hardcore Trump MAGA spout who has reportedly gone off the Alt-Right deepend even for Breitbart folks. The Paul alternative is Nick Polce. Polce is running on opposing career politicians, which Paul Ryan certainly has become as opposed to a hardlined MAGA approach. This more grassroots approach could make this primary quite interesting.

Governor of California

This race seems solidly in the hands of liberals as its gearing to be a competitive primary between union favorite, Lt. Gov Gavin Newsome, and former LA mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. Unless Peter Thiel runs or a Roy Moore sized scandal erupts conveniently before the election, one of these two is the likely next governor. This race is important because of California’s continued sprint into liberalism. Although perhaps this the years of Jerry Brown will make a republican candidate a viable option much like how Larry Hogan became Governor of liberal Maryland. It’s hard for people to knowingly vote for higher taxes. And with Trump tax cuts, an anti-tax Republican may find themselves in a more formidable position.

US Senate – Maine

This seat was won by independent candidate, Angus King, in 2012. The state of Maine politics is currently in a heated partisan gridlock. 2018 is a big year for Maine, and the Senate race could very well be wide open. Angus King won in 2012 with a majority vote likely due to his history as Governor. King may seek to straddle the partisan fence, but it won’t be as easy now that he has a Senate record of voting staunchly liberal. It would be strategic for Democrats to let their ally go uncontested but it seems a further left candidate could divide liberal voters. Zak Ringelstein, is pro medicare for all which is a further sign of the left moving left.

This opens the door for GOP candidate Erick Brakey. Brakey is a State Senator with a solid conservative record and is also a libertarian turned Republican. Brakey would be a solid conservative Senator for Maine to make up for the RINO Susan Collins. This race is early and has the capability of a three way split that favors Brakey the most since King can’t really run on a bipartisan record that appeals to Republicans.

US House – Illinois

Generally speaking, Senate races are almost always more important than House races. However, this Democratic seat looks like it could be upended by a leftist candidate. Rep. Dan Lipinski of Ill-03 is regarded as one of the most conservative Democrats in Congress. He faces a challenger whose pro-abortion and far more anti-Trump. Marrie Newman is a fearsome primary challenger getting loads of support including Daily KosYou don’t often hear about Democrats being primaried for being too moderate or conservative. The ideological splits in the Democrats are sure to increase as they veer towards socialism. This primary looks to be the first battle in a potential intra-party war.

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Opinions

Conservative Picks for the Oklahoma Primary

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Oklahoma is one of the more Conservative states in this country. The GOP has a stranglehold and the Democrats are on life support. This election cycle boast an opportunity to expand and maintain on the state’s decent Conservative record. Oklahoma has better incumbents than most red states, measuring by fiscal and social conservatism. The most exciting race in Oklahoma is the 1st District where Jim Bridenstine is leaving the seat.

Best Picks: Andy Coleman, Nathan Dahm, James Taylor
Worst Picks: Kevin Herns, Tom Cole
Best Race: District 1
Worst Race: District  3

District 1

There is a plethora of Conservative endorsements in this race. They are split between Andy Coleman and Nathan Dahm. Mark Meadows and Jim Jordan both favor Coleman who appears poised to be the newest inductee to the Freedom Caucus. Rand Paul, the Republican Liberty Caucus, and Thomas Massie are coming out in support of Nathan Dahm. Dahm has a more libertarian styled campaign and platform. Coleman boasts a strong military and legal background while also having a history of supporting persecuted Christians in the Middle East through Voice of the Martyrs. Nathan Dahm is likely less formidable.

The worst candidate in this race has the most funding. Kevin Herns is the businessman insider posing as an outsider. This race has big shoes to fill and he is least likely to fill them. Herns also is lying about his support from Jim Bridenstine, the current Rep. who is vacating the seat to head NASA. Bridenstine responded to this deception.

Ideally, Coleman and Dahm advance to the runoff. Realistically Herns is poised for the next round, so Conservatives will have to combine the vote. But of course this assumes that Herns’s funding has him ahead.

Conservative Pick: Andy Coleman

District 2

Markwayne Mullin is a decent Congressman, but not so much as to dismiss his opponents. His most serious threat is John McCarthy. There is nothing that really separates the two other than McCarthy’s populist style campaign language. He emphasizes keeping his word, but being an outsider, he doesn’t have a track record. Mullin isn’t a RINO nor has he been in the House for too long.

Conservative Pick: Markwayne Mullin

District 3

Frank Lucas is an unchallenged RINO.

District 4

Tom Cole is another incumbent RINO. He is being challenged by James Taylor. This man understands John Locke. He is a Conservative and with the low threshold of Cole to beat, he is the clear choice in this race.

Conservative Pick: James Taylor

District 5

Steve Russell has gotten more Conservative as time passes which is the opposite of many Republicans. He is challenged but faces no serious contender.

Conservative Pick: Steve Russell

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Opinions

Conservative Picks for Utah Primary

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Conservatism is under assault in Utah. Leading the assault is Mitt Romney, the carpetbagging fipflopper using his Mormon status to target a vacant seat in Utah. The Senate is finally rid of Orin Hatch. RINOs Jeff Flake and John McCain’s days are numbered and there are some solid Conservatives advancing to November in easier to win seats. But Conservatives in the Senate will face their newest opponent in Mitt Romney. Romeny will, no doubt, be a vocal vote. He is campaigning on “calling them as he sees it,” which is fine if you have a Conservative worldview. But this is Mitt Romney. He is the author of Obamacare’s framework. He ran one of the worst campaigns in modern history in 2012. He’s the first reason we have Trump. Should Romney win he will vote as any establishment player would: from the left of Trump.

Conservatism in Utah is at a critical point and will have to overcome celebrity politics. The convention tried and failed. It’s now up to the electorate.

Best Pick: Mike Kennedy, Chris Herrod
Worst Pick: Mitt Romney
Best Race: District 3
Worst Race: US Senate

US Senate

There literally could not be a worse candidate than Mitt Romney. He’s a rich carpetbagger riding the Salt Lake City Olympics, which shouldn’t matter. Mike Kennedy is the only chance for Conservatives in this race.

Conservative Pick: Mike Kennedy

District 1

Ron Bishop is unopposed. He’s a mediocre career politician.

District 2

Chris Stewart is decent and unopposed.

District 3

John Curtis is opposed after a single term that was the result of a special election. He hasn’t seen enough action to prove a RINO. In fact, he may be fiscally responsible. He voted against Omnibus. His opponent is Chris Herrod. Herrod is running as a fiscal hawk. What is unique about him is the depth of principle he comes with. His opposition to spending and socialized medicine along with his support for individual freedoms make him a more ideal Conservative and less likely to disappoint in the future than Curtis.

Conservative Pick: Chris Herrod

District 4

Mia Love went to DC with much fanfare and high expectations. So far she has been a huge disappointment boasting an F Liberty Score. She is unopposed.

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Healthcare

Minneapolis Police: Uses dangerous drug to sedate criminals

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Minneapolis has some creative people. Too creative for their own good. Somebody probably saw that the guys who take down large animals with tranquilizer darts use darts filled with ketamine. “Hey, if it will take down those animals, why don’t we use it on the animals our police are fighting?” And an immensely stupid program began. It was also illegal, but if we’re controlling bad guys, who cares?

Time for disclosure. I am a doctor. I do not play one on TV. Not only that, I’m an anesthesiologist and used ketamine in my practice. For certain things, it has no equal. But its proper uses are quite limited.

Ketamine comes from a class of drugs called phencyclidines. The street version is known as Angel Dust, and abusers are Dusters. Because ketamine causes profound analgesia (pain relief), Dusters are known for feats of superhuman strength. Broken handcuffs are just one relatively well-known example. At the same time, Dusters may break their own bones. The analgesic effect of ketamine keeps them from realizing the damage they are doing to themselves.

By now, it should be pretty clear that ketamine is no panacea for the problem of sedating troublesome persons being arrested. At the wrong dose in the wrong person, police can put themselves in worse difficulties than when they started. How do you control someone who feels no pain and wants to cause you harm? Flashback to the villain Renard in The World is Not Enough. He is almost impossible to defeat in a fight because he feels no pain. But I guess the Minneapolis wise guys don’t watch James Bond films.

I have to wonder if the police bothered to look at any references. Even Wikipedia would have been helpful. If they had, they’d discover that there are a lot of other problems with ketamine. The first one should have given them a real headache. The primary reason we don’t use ketamine a lot in anesthesia is that it has a high incidence of emergence delirium. In language even an inattentive civil servant can understand, that means that if you give someone ketamine, they can hallucinate. This happens often enough that we try to avoid ketamine except in those odd cases where its other effects make it the best drug available. Just to make a bad problem worse, there are a lot of times when there isn’t anything you can do to stop the delirium. Welcome to hell.

We’ve only scratched the surface. Since Minneapolis police officers obviously consulted Dr. Conrad Murray, we should expect that they got the same level of advice Michael Jackson got. That means that they missed the fact that ketamine can lead to airway obstruction and death. It releases adrenaline, so it can cause hypertension and tachycardia leading to death. Did I mention that it can kill you? And, unlike opioids, you can give all the naloxone you want and it won’t do a bit of good.

But the Minneapolis police officers are really interested in saving lives, so we can let them use this drug they simply don’t understand on patients who aren’t consenting and may suffer badly from its administration. No problem.

The track record is as bad as I suggested up front. Ketamine administration has led to multiple episodes of cardiac and breathing problems, with many patients requiring emergency intubation. Now for a skilled health care provider, intubation is generally no big deal. But you never deliberately put yourself in a position where you create an uncontrolled need for intubation. The moment you do that, you’ll find yourself looking at the impossible situation. With somewhere around fifty thousand intubations under my belt, the next one can still be the one where I have to call a partner in to give it a try. My practice had over eighty anesthesiologists and two hundred nurse anesthetists, so there was usually another set of hands available. But who is the paramedic in the field going to call? Ghostbusters has an unlisted number.

Let’s get one thing clear. Minneapolis police officers did not have a hand on the syringe. They asked the Hennepin County paramedics to administer ketamine. And if a cop asks, how is a paramedic supposed to refuse? But the paramedics are supposed to operate according to a strict protocol, and only give ketamine when a patient is “profoundly agitated, unable to be restrained, or a danger to themselves or others.” It’s clear that this guideline was violated on multiple occasions.

And this brings us to the nub of the matter. Ketamine is properly used only in the sort of situation described in the protocol. In anesthesia, we will also use it in autistic or severely mentally retarded patients who cannot be managed by breathing them to sleep with gases. In short, we mostly use it in the controlled medical equivalent of the field situation.

It’s likely that Dr. Jeffrey Ho (the director of Hennepin County EMS who happened to graduate from the same medical school I did!) is actually well aware of the proper use of ketamine. He’s a recognized expert in pre-hospital emergency care. And if ketamine is used in the very restricted fashion the policy describes, it’s probably better than most alternatives. But when police decide that they want a set of chemical handcuffs rather than doing their job, we have a problem.

Police work can be difficult and dangerous. But police are not allowed to place people in danger just to make their own life easier. Doing so exceeds the bounds of our social contract with police, and also violates a host of laws. For a paramedic to go along with such an improper request places that paramedic in violation of state laws on the practice of medicine. Their drivers’ license isn’t enough. You follow the protocol or get permission from the supervising ER doc by calling it in.

Hennepin County and the city of Minneapolis have a problem on their hands. Their best bet will be to quietly approach persons who were harmed by this cavalier misuse of ketamine and buy out their legal liability. Then the EMS and police persons involved should be invited to leave. Promptly. Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200.

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