Tough Political Decision? Let History Be Your Guide

decisionsDecisions, decisions.  Man is a thinking animal, and every waking moment involves decisions.  Most are ordinary choices of personal comfort.  Some decisions are a matter of life or death, or even something so paramount that one will risk his own life to achieve the desired result.

Some of us are better at making decisions than others.  But one thing is clear – at the root of every decision is one primary element: self-interest.   And that’s a good thing.  The desire to improve our lives and the lives of the ones we love is universal, timeless and unbreakable.  God knew what he was doing when he designed the human soul.

God also put us all on the same planet, so we not only have to serve our own self-interests, we also must co-exist.  And that’s where it gets interesting.  We all want what is best for ourselves and our families, but we can’t agree on the best way to make that happen.  What might be best for you could be terrible for me, or vice-versa.

Those who see life from the “left” side believe individuals should sacrifice personal freedoms to gain physical and economic security as a group.  Socialism calls for more control by the state, assuming that most people are not so good at making decisions for themselves.  If decisions are made by fewer humans who are presumably smarter than the rest of us, there will be less likelihood of catastrophic failure.  Individuals will have their basic needs met, but will not have the chance to make decisions that might lead to far greater success and happiness for themselves and others.

Those on the “right” side holds the opposite as truth.  They would rather make their own decisions, because nobody is more interested in his own well-being than oneself.   One may totally fail, but he would rather have the opportunity to achieve a higher level of happiness and fulfillment than settle for bland shared security.

There is, of course, middle ground, and that’s where the war between left and right takes place. Fortunately, in this political battleground of decisions and the philosophical fog of war, there is a bright, neon sign showing the correct path.  It’s called history.

History proves that quality of life is always best where individuals have more freedom to make decisions in their own self-interest.  And hell on Earth is where all decisions are made by the state. If more state control is so great, how did that work out for the people of the Soviet Union? Or Cambodia? Or Nazi Germany?

Why does our entire educational system deny this historical fact?  How does a generation of our youth clamor to follow socialist demagogues who promise security but don’t explain the consequences of relinquishing individual rights and freedoms?  Could it be that the few who would be the designated decision-makers are acting in their own self-interest?

History also shows that there were, and still are, individuals who understand the value of individual freedom so well that they would make the ultimate decision to put their lives on the line to preserve it.

My message is this: when faced with a decision between group security and individual freedom, let history be your guide.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right Side

You can choose a ready guide
In some celestial voice
If you choose not to decide
You still have made a choice

Free Will – Rush

 

Watch this fantastic Rush rocker featuring drummer Neal Peart and his HUGE set of DW drums.  Free Will!

 

#RANCHERSLIVESMATTER

A memorial for Robert “LaVoy” Finicum is seen where he was shot and killed by law enforcement on a highway north of Burns, Oregon January 30, 2016. Four armed anti-government protesters held their ground at the remote Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon on Saturday, two days after the FBI released a video of the fatal shooting of one of the group's spokesmen during a traffic stop. REUTERS/Jim Urquhart

A memorial for Robert “LaVoy” Finicum is seen where he was shot and killed by law enforcement on a highway north of Burns, Oregon January 30, 2016.  REUTERS/Jim Urquhart

It has been a month since the standoff in Oregon between ticked-off ranchers and federal officers began.  I have been following the story closely, uneasily, just like the many similar stories before it.  The conflict between landowners in the western US and the feds has been boiling for a long, long time.

The plot usually goes like this:  A family works hard on their land, raising their children, being good citizens, paying their taxes and generally minding their own business.  They are good neighbors and watch out for each other.  They serve on the school board and the church steering committee.  They are careful stewards of their land, because it provides their home and livelihood.

In the rural West, people get along with each other.  They have to.  When there may only be a hundred people within thirty miles of your home, you learn to be civil, respectful, helpful and friendly.

Then one day a federal agency shows up, uninvited, with a truckload of rules cooked up in a faraway office building by activists and lawyers, on a mission that defies logic.  These are not people with names, like your neighbors.  Their authority comes from their initials: BLM, FWS, EPA.  Nobody elected them.  They can’t be fired.  They can’t be taken to court, at least with any reasonable expectation of results, because they can line up taxpayer-funded lawyers until hell freezes over.  They don’t have to make sense.

A Wyoming rancher is fined $16 million by the EPA for building a stock pond on his own land that was carefully planned and approved by the state.  The water leaves his property cleaner than when it came in.

Spurred by activists, the feds relocate Canadian gray wolves to Montana and other states, where they reproduce wildly, destroying elk herds, and wreaking havoc on privately owned livestock and pets.

BLM officials close roads that provide access to private property.  They disallow forest management on private land which results in raging fires.  They usurp generations-old water rights, and claim control over ditches and sloughs as if they were “navigable waterways”.  They relocate bison to open rangeland over the objections of nearby landowners.

The federal agencies just can’t seem to stop poking landowners in the eye.  And when proud, independent ranchers get pushed against the fence enough times, they stiffen up.  The Bundy family in Nevada had a standoff against federal officials when their grazing rights on adjacent federal land were surreptitiously changed.  Dwight Hammond and his father, Steven, had dustups with the BLM over controlled burns for pasture management.  When they set a backfire to protect their winter range against an oncoming fire, it jumped onto federal land and burned a small parcel, resulting in their arrest for arson.  They served a three-month sentence, but another judge later added five years for mandatory sentencing under an “anti-terrorism” act.

Then a group of upset ranchers, including the Bundys, seized a federal wildlife refuge building to stage a protest about the treatment of the Hammonds and others.  Another three-letter group – the FBI – soon arrived at the scene.  Video footage shows officers (FBI and/or state police) shooting Lavoy Finicum, one of the ranchers, to death as he stood outside his vehicle with his hands up.  A passenger in Finicum’s vehicle claims officers fired “at least 120” shots into the Suburban, and Ammon Bundy was hit in the arm.

It seems that encounters with officers are becoming increasingly deadly.  Only weeks before, Idaho rancher Jack Yantis was called by the Adams County sheriff to “put down” his bull which had been hit by a vehicle on a nearby highway.  As he was about to mercy-shoot the bull in the head, Yantis was pulled away from behind and shot to death by deputies.  His widow says it was cold-blooded murder.

All of these incidents are still under investigation, but since it is the government investigating the government, we shouldn’t expect any big revelations.

The right to own and enjoy the unfettered use of private property may be the single biggest factor in our nation’s success.  There would be a lot less conflict if the government would leave private landowners alone, and also if more land was owned by the private sector – 65% of all land west of Denver is owned by the federal government.

#RANCHERSLIVESMATTER

 

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right SideMaybe I’ll be there to shake your hand
Maybe I’ll be there to share the land
That they’ll be givin’ away
When we all live together

Share the Land – the Guess Who

 

Yep, Canadian Burton Cummings still wants to share the land with everybody.  Let’s send the BLM his way!

Easy First Step to Make USA Stronger – Eliminate EITC

Our federal deficit and debt is so huge and out of control, there’s just nothing anybody can do about it.  We’re screwed, right?

Wrong.  We CAN fix it, and we must, if we give a damn about our kids.

Our debt and stagnant economy is a huge mess, that’s for sure, and the only way to clean up a huge mess is to start somewhere. I once stood awestruck on the deck of an aircraft carrier and wondered, “What was the first bolt the shipbuilders put in this baby?”  Some Assembly Required.  Instructions: 1.  Insert 40 mm grade 5 bolt 16432-A-1216 into the top left threaded hole in whizzle restrictor plate 76-523215654. 

You have to start somewhere.  And I have an idea where to start the task of repairing our budget and tax code.  We could do it tomorrow, it would be easy to do, and it would cost nothing.  In fact it would save the taxpayers a ton of money, and would, over time, improve the economy and actually increase revenue to the government.  Here it is:

Eliminate the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).EITC

Wait, come back!  I know you hate even thinking about taxes.  That’s why you, and almost all Americans pay some total stranger to do your tax returns instead of doing them yourself.  But this one little change would make a huge impact, and it’s easy.  Really!  Stick with me.

The earned income tax credit was enacted in 1975 under Gerald Ford.  It is, simply put, a federal welfare program.  Workers earning up to $52,000 per year are eligible to receive a direct credit on their tax returns, with the amount based on a number of criteria – mostly the number of dependent children.  What began as a modest little income booster for low-income parents grew over time (like all federal programs) into a monster.  The 2015 cost of the EITC is estimated at $70 billion.  But there are other insidious side effects that are even more harmful than the cost.

You have probably heard that almost half of US workers pay no federal income tax.  What you don’t ever hear is that many of these people get a tax refund even though they didn’t pay federal income tax. This includes foreign workers and illegal aliens.  In fact, a new cottage industry has sprouted where tax returns are filed for illegals, winning them big tax refund checks for EITC and dependent child deductions.  These returns go unaudited, with expedited payouts, despite rampant fraud including the claiming of children who never lived in the US.   Senator Chuck Grassley even learned that illegals can file for EITC for previous years in which they didn’t file taxes!

When some complain that the minimum wage is not adequate for the survival of families with children, you never hear about the EITC tax refund checks, among many other benefits, that are received.  At least 26 states also have their own additional EITC programs.

The most disturbing thing you don’t hear about the EITC is the damage it has done to the American nuclear family. Unmarried filers receive more EITC than married ones, and the direct result has been an increase in single-parent households.  Many parents just don’t get married because it would cost them a significant chunk of change.  At a time when 54% of 15 to 17 year-olds do not live with a married mother and father, this is just plain wrong.

Financial support from EITC and other programs enables and encourages many parents to remain single.  Others live together, but remain unmarried. I know a couple in this category.  Despite sharing a home for twenty years, and raising two kids together, she still calls him her “boyfriend”.  For many years she claimed the kids on her single-filer tax return and benefitted from EITC.  When she got a promotion and her income exceeded the threshold, her “boyfriend” claimed the kids on his single-filer return so he could continue to receive the full EITC.  Their combined income exceeded $60,000.

These are good, hard-working people, doing nothing illegal.  You can’t fault them.  But why is the federal government hell bent on destroying the institution of marriage?

When we eliminate the EITC we reduce the incentive for illegals to come here and defraud the taxpayers. We stop the disincentive to marriage.  I would require all workers to pay some federal income tax – even a small amount, so all would have ‘skin in the game’ and a reason to become engaged citizens again.  With $70 billion to work with, there are plenty of ways the loss of EITC could be replaced for low-income families. Wage rates would increase, employment numbers would improve, kids would have two married parents, and the quality of life in America would be back on the upswing.

 

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right SideWhere are you goin’ to?
What are you gonna do?
Do you think that it will be easy?
Do you think that it will be pleasin’, hey!

Livin’ In the USA – Steve Miller

 

 

Here’s a cool updated version of Steve Miller’s classic, “Livin’ In the USA”.  Somebody get me a cheeseburger!

Cruz Plays Hardball on National Security

Ted CruzOur invitation to the Ted Cruz National Security Forum directed us to the “Morningstar Fellowship Church” in Fort Mill, SC.

Last week we attended Donald Trump’s blowout show (it was a show, not a forum) at the Winthrop University Coliseum, a 6,000-seat basketball arena.  We arrived two hours early and found Rock Hill gridlocked for miles around.  Probably as many people were turned away as were admitted – it was overbooked bedlam.  The Trump show was entertaining as hell, if somewhat light on policy details.  The highlight was the removal of a planted Hezbollah/CAIR supporter who played the part of racism victim on CNN that evening.

So today’s Ted Cruz event is at a church?  We went early just in case, but assumed it was, well you know . . .  a church, for a few hundred people.

We found ourselves standing in line outside a huge brick building, in a complex of huge brick buildings, and next to that was a REALLY huge brick building – like a 25-story tall hotel!  Only it had bricks falling off of it and it was obviously not occupied.  I asked the lady behind us about the big empty building.  She said, “Well, it’s a long story.  It was started back in the 80’s, but it never got completed.”  Then she mumbled something about PTL.

tammy faye.jpegPTL!  I had completely forgotten about the Praise the Lord Network.  Last time I saw that name it was in my mother-in-law’s check register when she was sending weekly $100 checks to Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker from her kids’ trust fund.  Apparently she was not the only one.   This morning, when I heard mention of PTL, it evoked the image of Tammy Faye blubbering to a camera, mascara flooding down her face.  Allegations of rape and financial shenanigans brought the Bakkers’ multi-million dollar mega-church tumbling down in the late 1980s, and Jim did hard time in the Big House.

Anyway, MorningStar is not just a church.  It is a very large and busy evangelical organization that also takes an aggressive political stance.  MorningStar is headquartered in the resurrected remains of the Jim and Tammy Faye Empire, replete with a world-class facility for TV church services, a Las Vegas style “Main Street” of indoor shops, and an array of chic apartments and retirement homes.  The venue, featuring a large stage with impressive sound and lighting, easily handled the Cruz gathering of 2,000.  Unlike the Trump event, where Secret Service agents severely scrutinized attendees and took three hours to admit the crowd, the Cruz event had no security whatsoever.

My fascination with the MorningStar complex was almost a distraction from the task at hand: Ted Cruz’s “debate” with former CNN and ABC News commentator Jeanne Meserve, who played the part of liberal media egghead, teeing up softballs for Cruz to hit over the fence.

And he hit ’em like Babe Ruth.

Bang! “You want to know the stakes of the 2016 election?  If Hillary is elected, Iran WILL have nukes.  If I am elected, the Ayatollah will never have nuclear weapons.”

Pow! “Under this president, the golf courses of America have never been safer.”

Boom! “I will put a wall on the southern border.  And I’ve got someone in mind to build it!”

Smash! “Out of 7 billion people on Planet Earth, Obama chose the only one (Wendy Sherman) who had already failed at nuclear negotiations (with North Korea) to make a nuclear deal with Iran.”

Ka-boom! “On day one I will rip the Iran nuclear agreement to shreds, and restart sanctions.  I will tell Iran ‘shut down your nuclear program now, or we will shut it down for you.'”

Cruz blasted Obama and Clinton for operating in a “state of denial”, unwilling to even name the enemy.  Ms. Meserve, bravely playing devil’s advocate, challenged Cruz about his plan to deal with “disparate, small pockets of violence, such as what happened in San Bernardino, Paris, and Burkina Faso, where at least 28 victims died at the hands of al Qaeda fighters yesterday.”

“What is that?  What were those acts?” Cruz demanded.  “Terrorism,” Meserve replied.  “What kind of terror?”  No answer.  “Terror by whom?”  Still no answer.  Like the president, the former mainstream news reporter could not, would not say the words “radical Islamic terrorism.”  Whether that was in the script or not, it was sure effective, as Cruz pounded home his contention that a government that can not name its enemy surely can’t defeat it.

Cruz was relaxed, confident, and (dare I say it) presidential.  He left no doubt that, from the conservative viewpoint at least, he is well-versed in the details of our national security challenges, and is earnest about addressing them.  Mrs. Clinton should have grave concerns about facing either Trump or Cruz in front of the American voters.  Trump would gleefully reveal her status as a world-class-liar, and Cruz would expose her utter failure in international affairs, especially our national security.

The event was sponsored by Americans for Peace, Prosperity, and Security (APPS), headed by Congressman Mike Rogers.

Rockin' On the Right SideI want security, yeah
Without it I had a great loss, oh now
Security, yeah
And I want it at any cost, oh now

Security – Otis Redding

 

Another stellar song by the late, great Otis Redding.  He just wants what we all want.  Security!

Let’s Fix Immigration – Voters Demand It, And It Can Be Done

illegal_immigrationAmericans are worried as hell that our country, like many other Western nations, is hurtling headlong toward third-world status or worse by failing to control our intake of legal and illegal immigrants, asylees, and refugees.  I attended a Trump rally last night at a jam-packed arena, and when he promised to deal with the immigration crisis the place exploded.  It is unquestionably the priority item on voters’ minds this election year.

Most of our elected leaders, and some citizens, believe that it is impossible to solve our immigration and refugee problems, and we have no choice but to accept whatever happens.  As long as we have the current bunch of knuckleheads in Washington, DC, I agree, there is probably no hope.

Their standard line is, “Even if you could build a wall on the southern border, you can’t round up 10 million illegals at gunpoint and bus them out of the country.”

That kind of talk is shallow, cynical, and lazy.  Nobody in his right mind would attempt an armed roundup. And there are many illegal immigrants who have been here for many years, raised families, and have become responsible Americans – we can’t treat them the same as the border-hopping drug dealers.  It will take a little bit of time and work to straighten this mess out.

By the way, there are probably at least 50 million illegals in the country now, not 10 million (that statistic is at least ten years old and was grossly underestimated then).  Just wait until the birth rate of the immigrants and their extended families exponentially kicks in.

The DC knuckleheads can’t do it, but if we can elect some officials who will actually listen to what the American people want, and take some firm but basic steps, it’s not impossible.  Here’s what I, your humble correspondent, would do.

Stop Illegal Immigration

  • Build the wall.
  • Tighten security on the Canadian border
  • Abolish the TSA and turn security responsibility (including identity information technology) over to the FBI, who would  contract and oversee private security companies to protect borders, airports, marine ports, and any other egresses.  Build stiff financial penalties into their contracts for any security failures.  Make the contractors compete for the best performance at a reasonable cost.  Reward the successful contractors and terminate the weak ones.  Allow them to profile travelers and use any new technology or innovation that works.
  • Require any foreign nations with passengers/freight to the US to cooperate and meet our standards, or refuse them direct access to our ports.
  • Establish a security clearance process so that US citizens who travel frequently can be vetted one time and can then move through our ports easily.

Fix Legal Immigration

  • Revert to the proven effective legal immigration policies of the past that favor limited numbers of immigrants, based on economic conditions, who are self-sufficient, bring needed skills and talents, and will assimilate to our American language, laws, and customs.  No more floods of needy third-world, predominantly Muslim, refugees who end up in monolithic ghettos on benefits. Stop using immigration as a forced-charity program, and stop allowing asylum to anyone with a lame story who asks for it.  No more H1-B mid-skilled  foreigners who take jobs away from Americans.
  • Establish a sensible work visa system for needed temporary labor, such as seasonal agriculture workers.  Enforce minimum wage laws and appropriate working and living conditions.
  • Have the FBI contract and oversee private IT companies to establish an electronic control system that rigidly tracks all non-citizens on US soil.  Non-citizens do not have Constitutional rights and must comply with restrictions and monitoring, utilizing chipped ID cards, GPS, surveillance, or any other methods.

Deal With Illegal Immigrants or Visitors Currently Here

  • No more government-paid benefits of any kind to non-citizens.  Period.  This policy change alone would make a huge difference.
  • Non-citizens who are employed must obtain renewable work visas.  Perform rigid enforcement and stiff penalties against non-compliant employers and non-citizen employees, enforced by the FBI.  Foreign employees will pay income tax but not social security or any other benefit-related taxes.
  • Any non-citizen convicted of any serious crime will be deported, along with family members, and permanently barred at the borders and ports.

A few key points:  Our government has proven it can not perform any real work with efficiency and effectiveness, so we must turn over the critical tasks of information management and security enforcement to private contractors with firm oversight by Congress and the FBI who should publish performance statistics on the internet.  The TSA is a bloated, inept, expensive failure.  It must be eliminated.  Private businesses who compete with each other for profit have no problem finding process improvements and cost reductions at the same time.

It is metaphysically impossible for the United States citizens to even make a dent in the poverty and insecurity of the entire planet by bringing the poor to our country  – follow this link to an amazing video for proof .  Forcing taxpayers to participate in the dangerous and ineffective relocation of third-world populations to our own county in the name of charity is just plain crazy.  If we think it is in our national interest to help foreigners, it makes so much more sense to use our knowledge, wealth, statesmanship, and military capabilities to help eliminate poverty and oppression where it exists.

And (against my libertarian nature) I believe it’s time for everyone on US soil, citizens and non-citizens alike, to possess a national ID card and use identification technology like other modern nations do.

We have the opportunity to learn from the current and ongoing immigration disaster in Europe.  Let’s not miss it. Show me where I’m wrong.  Argue the details.  But don’t say there’s nothing we can do about the immigration and refugee crisis.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right SideI hear you knockin’,
But you can’t come in.
I hear you knockin’,
Go back where you been!

I Hear You Knockin’ – Dave Edmunds

 

Dave Edmunds still sounds mighty fine.

Liberal Politicians Make Me Want to Holler!

frustrationI spend a good part of every day shaking my head.  I know you do too.  We ask ourselves, “what is wrong with these damn dumb liberal politicians?

For a long time I thought there could only be two possible explanations for why liberal politicians (both Democrat and Republican) act the way they do.  In order to believe and do such ugly, hateful, damaging and illogical things, they must  be either stupid or evil.  Stupid, for instance, when they increase federal spending on frivolous stuff and refuse to cut spending on anything, no matter how corrupt or obsolete, while our national debt approaches $20 trillion and personal incomes stagnate or decline.  Evil, for instance, when they insist on using taxpayer funds for killing babies and selling their body parts and then call anyone who objects a “woman hater”.

Some say maybe these liberal politicians are regular people who just never grew up.  But I don’t buy that.  My five-year old grandkids have already, on their own, figured out that the guy in the baggy red suit with the heavy southern drawl is not Santa Claus.  Reindeer do not land on the roof.  And the tooth fairy thing?  The kids are just in it for the money.  They haven’t grown up yet, but they aren’t stupid.

Somehow liberal politicians are immune to paradox.  They think expecting a woman pay $9 a month for her own birth control pills is a “war on women”.  But they can’t wait to import hundreds of thousands of Muslims, most of whom believe a woman should not be seen or heard, go to school, drive a car, hold a job, or have a clitoris.

Liberal politicians still make the wild-eyed claim that asking a voter to provide identification is a naked attempt to suppress the minority vote.  Is there a human being alive in this country with no identification, other than the illegal and unvetted immigrants who can’t vote anyway?  There can only be one reason to not verify the identity of a voter, and that is to enable vote fraud.  Liberal politicians line up in lock-step on this one.  Stupid?  Or Evil?

I could go on all day, and so could you.  They won’t allow a Christian bakery to refuse to make a gay wedding cake, but they love the Muslims who routinely execute gays.  Guns in the hands of responsible citizens are unacceptable, but don’t touch the ones used by the liberal politicians’ bodyguards.  Ordinary families can’t have school choice, but the rich liberal politicians can.

I ruled out the theory that they just never grew up.  And I don’t think they are stupid.  They might think we are, and that we will continue to swallow any old crap they throw out – like, “I never had sexual relations with . . . “, or “there were no classified documents on my server” or “I never blamed the Benghazi attack on a video”, or “all of our hard drives crashed at exactly the same moment”, or “we can’t stop this horrible legislation even though we control both houses of Congress.”

I know, you are shaking your head too.  Makes me wanna holler.  Throw up both my hands.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right SideRockets, moon shots.  Spend it on the have-nots.
Money, we make it. ‘Fore we see it you take it.
Oh, make you wanna holler. The way they do my life.

Crime is increasing. Trigger-happy policing.
Panic is spreading. God knows where we’re heading.
Oh, make me wanna holler. They don’t understand.

Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler) – Etta James

One of my favorite songs by one of my favorite singers.  It was written in 1971 by the amazing Marvin Gaye, but the lyrics couldn’t be more current.  Gaye’s song never went anywhere until Etta James recorded her arrangement in 1998, and since then it has been covered by stars like John Mayer, Grover Washington, Joe Cocker, the Chi-Lites, and many other artists.  We got to see Etta on her last tour before she passed, and it was really special.  Sorry, no live video of her doing this great song exists.

Republican Voters Would Crawl Over Broken Glass to Defeat Hillary

trump1Here we are at the end of 2015, and it’s still all Trump, all the time.

Trump’s juggernaut campaign remains a total mystery to the Washington Insiders, especially the Republicans. Michael Medved, one of many pretend conservatives on talk radio, pees his pants every time he hears Trump’s name. Wonder where Trump’s campaign funds come from? He takes Medved’s lunch money every day –  and Bill Bennett’s, and George Will’s, and Karl Rove’s and a whole bunch of other wimps.

Here’s the latest CNN national poll results and my unfiltered opinion of each.

Pataki (withdrew)- 0%:  Ptooey.

Santorum – 0%:  Nice guy, desperately means well, but Rick, it ain’t ever gonna happen.

Graham (withdrew) – 1%:  His (my) own conservative state can’t stand him – it took Democrat votes via our open primary system to keep him in DC. He wants strong military and open borders. Huh?

Huckabee – 2%:  Bright. Maybe devious. For some reason I wouldn’t want to buy a used car from this guy.

Kasich – 2%:  Why can’t we all just be friends and play nice together?

Fiorina – 2%:  She is so smart and so strong-willed. Oh wait, that scares the hell out of most people.

Paul – 4%:  He really understands the Constitution. Sadly, nobody cares.

Bush – 3%:  Sigh.

Christie – 5%:  He says his greatest attribute is his desire to make deals with the liberals. Next.

Carson – 10%:  Brilliant, and conservative. But people who visited his house said every square inch of wall space is covered with pictures of Ben and awards presented to Ben. He may have a bigger ego than Obama.

Rubio – 10%:  Gang of Eight. Next.

Cruz – 18%:  If I am ever caught in a dark alley with a menacing gang of debaters from Harvard, I want Ted on my side. He will shred any opponent, including Hillary. He’s smart, tenacious, ambitious, conservative. A few weeks ago he chaired a Senate committee meeting, and not a single Republican senator attended, leaving Cruz to face a roomful of Democrats alone. His fellow Senators absolutely HATE him. That’s good enough for me.

Trump – 39%:  At first I was really put off by his personal insecurity (“I’m really smart!  Really I am!) And I was convinced he had no depth of thought on any issue. I still sometimes think he might be a few fries short of a happy meal. But I’m starting to get it.

I listened to a complete hour-long Trump speech tonight, for the first time. And I found that he actually does address important issues, albeit in his own odd way. He talks off the cuff, and his stories wobble and wander all over the place. His over-use of adjectives and hyperbole is almost criminal. He spends too much time talking about himself and his lead in the polls, which he defends, saying, “But I am leading the polls!  Jeb Bush sure doesn’t want to talk about the polls.” I guess maybe saying “we’re number one” is not a bad marketing pitch.

If you get down to the nitty-gritty, you find that his message is usually right, and sometimes even illuminating. Tonight Trump talked about a friend who had always bought Caterpillar tractors but just bought a new Komatsu instead.  “It’s the devaluation of their currency, Caterpillar can’t compete, ” Trump explained.  That led to talk about international trade, and the exodus of American manufacturing companies overseas, and the billions of dollars of offshore profits held by American companies due to our outdated and unfair corporate tax structure. “It’s called ‘corporate inversion'”, Trump said.  “I doubt the other candidates have heard that term.”

I have mixed feelings about his admission to “paying off politicians” for business favors.  I don’t get the feeling he could be bought, though.  And I know damn well the vast majority of our elected officials are, shall we say, influenced by big contributors.

Most of his positions and proclamations are just populist common sense, but they shine brightly in a world that has gone PC.  I think his strong stand against unfettered immigration and refugees is the biggest bullet in his pro-second amendment clip.

“He can’t beat Hillary,” they whimper.  It seems to me he is probably the only Republican candidate who will smack Hillary between the eyes with her blatant lies, her stinks-to-high-heaven “charitable” foundation, and her coverups for her violently lecherous husband.  Yep, he can beat Hillary.  And the recent revelations that he has strong followings among minority groups doesn’t hurt.

Am I in the Trump camp?  Not yet.  But I’m like the caller on Little Mikey Medved’s show the other day.  Medved challenged him, “If it came down to Trump or Hillary, would you vote for Trump?”  The caller responded, “No question.  I’d crawl over broken glass to beat Hillary.”

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right Side

So take me from the wreckage
Save me from the blast
Lift me up and take me back
Don’t let me keep on walking…
Walking on broken glass

Walking On Broken Glass – Annie Lennox

 

One of the all-time greats, Annie Lennox has got it going on!