Abuse – The Dirty Little Secret of the Illegal Immigration Issue

immigrants

The assumption is that conservatives oppose illegal immigration and open borders because we are selfish.  Some say we just don’t want to share the wonderful opportunities and wealth in our country with outsiders.  Others call us racists.

Do I believe in “America First?”  Sure I do.  I think that American citizens should have first claim to jobs, schools, and taxpayer-provided benefits, and I know that in a world with poverty in every corner, the combination of open borders and liberal benefits for immigrants is unsustainable.

Closing our borders is not just to protect those on the inside.  Here’s the dirty little secret:

Illegal immigrants to our country are often abused.

Human trafficking is commonplace, and some who seek the good life in America pay a heavy price.  Many immigrants fork over their family’s life savings or even borrow money to pay coyotes and arrangers for their passage.  Forced prostitution and enslavement are more common than we would like to believe.

But even after an illegal immigrant has landed inside our borders, dangers abound.  Immigrant laborers often earn less than minimum wage, work long hours, and live crammed twenty to a room, unprotected by our laws and in fear of deportation.  Without education or language skills, they are easy prey for unscrupulous profiteers, both foreign and American.

Some time ago I reported that a beloved local businessman and school teacher, Jesse Campbell, was murdered at his home by Kevin DeJesus, an illegal Mexican who had worked for him as a laborer.  At first blush, it appeared to be another one of those “bad illegal immigrant kills innocent American citizen” episodes.  But here’s the rest of the story, reported in the Rock Hill Herald after the murder trial:

DeJesus’ lawyer said Campbell’s “secret double life,” of extortion for sex led to the vicious death. There was a struggle for a gun after Campbell forced DeJesus to perform a sex act, and refused to pay DeJesus for work done at the home, according to testimony.

Campbell had, in this case and at other times with other Hispanic men he hired, “refused to pay them unless they had sex with him.”

Dejesus will serve a 12-year sentence and then be deported.

Some will say that the solution to the abuse of illegal immigrants is to give them amnesty and full access to the protections enjoyed by American citizens.  But the only real-world solution is to prevent them from entering illegally in the first place, for a number of very good reasons.  A nation without borders and laws is not a nation.  It makes more sense to help other nations improve their own governments and living conditions.  And we can’t afford to care for the poor of the entire world within our borders when too many of our own American citizens struggle as it is.

We must seal our borders.  For our sake, and theirs.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right Side

Tax the rich
Feed the poor
‘Til there ain’t no
Rich no more

I’d Love to Change the World – Ten Years After

Here’s Alvin Lee’s classic, from 1971 – a time that was a little less politically correct than today.

 

 

Lindsey Graham: Everybody F***ing Hates Me

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC)

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC)

Poor Lindsey Graham.

He’s the senior senator from the great state of South Carolina; a Republican who has held his office since 2003.  And yet very few people in his own home state can stand the sight of him.

Democrats hate him because he is a Republican.  Republicans hate him because he is a Democrat with an R behind his name.  He votes against his fellow Republicans 69% of the time.

One might ask, “How the hell does somebody like Lindsey Graham get elected in South Carolina?”  Well, it’s complicated.

You see, the last primary election in South Carolina featured six contenders for his Senate seat who filed as Republicans.  Five of them actually were conservative Republicans.  The sixth was Lindsey Graham.  Now, the Democrats knew they had no chance of winning the Senate seat in a conservative stronghold like South Carolina.  Fortunately for them, South Carolina has “open primaries”, where anybody from any party can vote in whatever primary they wish.  And the Democrats wished to elect Graham, knowing he will vote their way in the Senate most of the time.  They got him through the primary, and the general election went predictably easy for the guy in the “R” column.

At a time when Americans are dancing in the streets over the Trump-induced death of the liberal left, Lindsey doesn’t even pretend to be conservative.  He’s for big bailouts.  He busts his butt to preserve the corrupt corporate-crony Import/Export Bank program.  He leads the fight for amnesty.  After President Obama encouraged illegal immigrants to get out and vote, Lindsey excoriated President-elect Trump for even suggesting that vote fraud is possible.

Graham routinely supported even the most liberal nominees.  He scoffed at the Tea Party.  To everyone’s astonishment, he ran for President, but never advanced from the kids’ table in the debates, dropping out before spending any of his campaign funds.

There was a time when the Senator had one thing in common with Republicans – his support for a strong military and a generally hawkish outlook on foreign affairs.  But even that is no longer completely in step with recent conservative sentiments.  Strong military, yes.  Protracted and expensive engagement in foreign entanglements without an end game or any obvious American interests served, not so much.

Washington, DC can be a lonely place sometimes.  And Lindsey Graham may be the most hated man in town.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right Side

In a trap, trip I can’t grip
Never thought I’d be the one who’d slip
Then I started to realize
I was living one big lie,
She f***ing hates me

She Hates Me – Puddle of Mudd

Draining the Swamp Is Easier Than Fixing the Schools

President Donald Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos

President-elect Donald Trump and his choice for Education Secretary Betsy DeVos

Everyone knows that we must “drain the swamp” to get our nation back on track.  Corrupt and self-serving Washington, DC insiders have colluded with big business, big media, and big education to lock themselves to the trough at the expense of working Americans.

The incoming administration is already setting up its swamp-draining apparatus, and there is optimism in the air.  Trump has shown that he will take his case straight to the American people, bypassing the corrupt news organizations.  And he is bringing outsiders to the Beltway who have little patience for the Machiavellian status quo.

I’m confident that reforms can be made, and quickly, in our federal government.  But that only solves part of the problem.

Our American education system, from kindergarten through college, has been churning out brainwashed dumb-bots for decades, and our collective IQ is dropping like Wile E. Coyote from an Arizona cliff.

Now, if that statement made you spit coffee on your lap, good.  We need to wake up.

You may be thinking that there are some schools with problems, but your local school is just fine.  “Our teachers are nice and the kids are polite.  The football team wins most of their games and 95% of our graduates go to college.”

Here’s an exercise for you – you can do this intellectually if not physically.  Grab an average high-school sophomore from your local school district.  Can he find Egypt on a globe?  Can she make change?  Can he calculate percentage in his head?  Can she name the first three American presidents?  Could he change a tire?  Could she bake a cake?  Do they know who fought in World War II and why?

I’ll bet you could do or answer all, or most, of the above when you were 15.  Your parents could.  So could your grandparents.  Trust me, your grandfather could calculate gas mileage in his head.  Your son probably doesn’t know what gas mileage is.  If your sophomore can pass the above test, he or she is part of a very tiny minority in this country.

You might say, “Yes, but my sophomore can operate a smart phone.  And she is very socially aware.”  Okay.  Try using her anti-bullying training to jump-start her car when the battery is dead.  See if his gender-identity sensitivity classes can help him prepare a simple tax return.

Today’s students spend as much time, or more, being “educated” as you did.  But the quality and quantity of knowledge they obtain is not even close.  There are only so many hours in a day, and in a childhood.  I call the waste of our students’ precious time “educational rape.”

When faced with the question “How can we improve education?” the knee-jerk answer is “School Choice!”  Unfortunately, if the choices are all designed and staffed by the same people who screwed up the traditional schools, the results might be even worse.  I have to tell you, I have visited many ballyhooed “choice” schools that were more politically-correct indoctrination centers than the schools they replaced.  And I didn’t find even their “star” students to be very well-prepared for success in the real world, be that college or career.

So how do we drain the school sewers?  Honestly, it can’t be done from Washington, DC.  Schools must be designed, organized, and operated by states and local districts, because presidents and congressmen and bureaucrats in Washington, DC can’t see what is happening on the ground in Billings or Topeka or Charlotte.  Our new Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, should agree that most functions of the federal Dept. of Education should be eliminated.  We still need to ensure fair treatment of special needs and at-risk students. This is a case where federal mandates are in order, and they must be aligned with federal funds.  But most curricular and methods decisions should be made locally, with local funding.

Competition from school choice is great.  Participation by private employers – awesome.  Private and religious schools?  Home schooling?  Excellent.  Vouchers?  Yes.  Still, until and unless we parents get involved in our local schools, driving the educational process as active patrons and school board trustees, it will be more of the same.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right SideSomebody once told me the world is gonna roll me
I ain’t the sharpest tool in the shed
She was looking kind of dumb with her finger and her thumb
In the shape of an “L” on her forehead

All-Star – Smashmouth

 

 

 

 

Who Is The Baddest President?

He’s rude.  He’s crude.  People question his temperament and fitness to be president. He scares the bejeebers out of Europe’s wimpy leaders.  He even called our own President Obama a “son of a bitch”. 

Phillipine President Rodrigo Duterte

No, it’s not Donald Trump.  It’s Rodrigo Duterte, president of the Philippines, and the baddest president on the block, at least for now.  Duterte was elected last June by a landslide and commands a 76% positive performance rating.

Duterte campaigned on a platform of law and order, specifically the elimination of illicit drug trafficking and abuse.  The Philippines has struggled in recent years with meth addiction, particularly among its growing numbers of poor and unemployed.  As president, Duterte assumed the role of judge, jury and executioner, and has given orders for police and military personnel to kill anyone they suspect of selling drugs.  The death toll is estimated at 4,000 and counting, and Philippine prisons are overstuffed with drug addicts who turned themselves in.  The president has even invited the general public to join in the bloody anti-drug crusade, and has ordered 26,000 Sig Sauer rifles from the USA, over the objections of Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD), who voiced human rights concerns.

Many Americans think our current president and president-elect are both endowed with ample egos.  But when it comes to self-confidence, Obama and Trump are not in Duterte’s league.  Responding to criticism from EU leaders, Duterte said, “I’ve read the European Union’s condemnation against me.  I tell them f*** you!”, flipping the bird for emphasis.

Duterte has waffled on his relationship with the USA.  Angered at Obama’s censure of his brutal policies, he called for the ouster of all American military operations in the Philippines, but later backed down, acknowledging that his nation would need US aid managing Chinese aggression in the South China Sea.  And after President Obama cancelled a meeting with Duterte, the Philippine president apologized for his potty-mouthed attack.  The two quietly met later before a regional summit meeting dinner in Laos.

It remains to be seen if Duterte will have a more amiable relationship with America’s new president, Donald Trump.  After Trump’s election, Duterte offered congratulations and observed that “we both like to swear.”  Trump holds all the cards, as the Philippines is reliant on American trade and military support.

For some time now many global leaders have demurred to their softer, more nurturing tendencies – at least publicly.  Russian president Putin rode bare-chested and bareback in his bid for the title of manliest man-in-charge.  Obama’s skinny jeans were an immediate disqualifier, not to mention his penchant for retreating from every foreign-policy challenge.  Trump, on the other hand, showed machismo on his way to winning the presidency.

But for now, all eyes are on Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte.  He’s bad.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right Side

We going downtown in the middle of the night
We laughing and I’m jokin’ and we feelin’ alright.
Oh I’m bad, I’m nationwide.
Yes I’m bad, I’m nationwide

I’m Bad, I’m Nationwide – ZZ Top

 

Pretty good little three piece band there – git you some Top today.

 

Will Companies Like Dell Help Make America Great Again?

dell_headquarters_wide

 

If there is one slogan that really resonated with Americans in the election, it was this:

“Let’s make America great again.”

Donald Trump was elected because voters don’t feel the pride and confidence in our nation that we once did.  Our economy is stagnant at best, our middle class is dwindling, and real wages haven’t improved in decades.  Our political leaders in recent years seem to care more about the well-being of people in other nations than our own. We know we can do better, because we’ve done it before.  But we can’t expect the President to wave a magic wand and restore our greatness on his own.

A couple of months ago my computer assumed room temperature – dead as a doornail, without so much as a blink or a beep.  I am highly dependent on my computer, so I immediately got on Dell’s website, found the system I wanted on sale, and clicked on “add to cart”.  The order errored out, igniting an ordeal that consumed the rest of the day on Dell chat screens and phones with a series of Indian customer service people who kept saying “It” won’t let them do this or that.

Finally, an Indian supervisor got my order placed and confirmed by email, to be shipped in seven to ten days.

I will spare you the sordid intermediate details, but after six weeks I got a phone call from another Indian Dell representative who spoke with such a heavy accent that I could barely understand him.  He told me “It” says my order had been cancelled and I will have to reorder.  “It” can’t tell him what happened.  “It” doesn’t know when or whether a new order would be filled.  No apology.  No alternative.  Just start over and hope for better results than last time.

I gave up and ordered a Lenovo with the same specifications.  My computer arrived in two days in perfect order and cost about a hundred bucks less.

Because I had tried to buy a Dell computer, I have been receiving a dozen targeted Dell ads every day.  Today I commented on a Facebook ad that readers should avoid buying a Dell computer for Christmas, citing the horrible experience I had been through.  My post received an immediate response from an Indian Dell employee who wrote in broken English that Dell is so sorry, but they just can’t keep up with the crushing demand for their wonderful products.  A flurry of back and forth posts followed.  Dell didn’t give a rip about me when I was trying to get my order, but they sure were concerned about me when I posted my bad experience on social media.

There was a time when Dell was a proud, strong American innovator, manufacturer, employer, and retailer.  Now it is an international company, manufacturing and selling its products all over the world.  But most of its computers are still bought by American companies and consumers.

I’m not so naïve as to think that we can or should suppress global trade.  I just hate to see what has happened to our American companies.  American consumers are too often reduced to dealing with poorly-trained and inarticulate foreign employees who either work in offshore call-centers or were imported to the USA with H1B visas, whose authority is restricted to what “It” displays on their screens.  Meanwhile our own American-born skilled customer service people work two part-time convenience store jobs for $8 an hour.  Dell may be bigger than it was, but it is not better.  It’s not a better corporate citizen, and it’s not a better sales organization.  Dell was once a smart and proud group of high-achieving Americans.  Now Dell is an “It”.

Not all American companies have sunk to this level of cold, multi-national mediocrity.  In addition to Lenovo, I have received over-the-top customer service recently from the Carolina Panthers, Chamberlain Garage Door group, State Farm Insurance, and many others.  But it seems for every Chick-Fil-A there is a Wells Fargo.

Our president-elect promises to protect domestic jobs by welcoming American companies back to our shores with lower corporate tax rates and free repatriation of profits from foreign operations.  And he wants to take a fresh look at trade policies that have pushed investment and employment out of our country.

If we are going to “Make America Great Again” we can’t expect our president to do it alone.  We citizens will have to step up our games. And our American companies need to get on board.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right Side

So take these words and sing out loud
‘Cause everyone is forgiven now
‘Cause tonight’s the night the world begins again

Better Days – Goo Goo Dolls

 

Hey America, Here Comes the Sun!

buh-byeBUH-BYE Sanctuary Cities.
BUH-BYE Political Correctness.
BUH-BYE Corrupt DOJ and Loretta Lynch.
BUH-BYE ObamaCare.
BUH-BYE Gay takeover of the military.
BUH-BYE Radical Muslim immigrants.
BUH-BYE Planned Parenthood money from taxpayers.
BUH-BYE Iran nuclear program.
BUH-BYE Jay Z and Miley Cyrus.
BUH-BYE Trans-Pacific Partnership and NAFTA.
BUH-BYE Black Lives Matter.
BUH-BYE Global Warming Scams.
BUH-BYE Export-Import Bank.
BUH-BYE Bushes.
BUH-BYE Clintons.
BUH-BYE Obamas.
BUH-BYE Huma, Podesta, Brazile, Warren, Jarrett, Wasserman-Schultz.
BUH-BYE Steve Deace, Erick Erickson, Glenn Beck, Michael Medved.
BUH-BYE Fake endangered species scams.
BUH-BYE College Safe Rooms.
BUH-BYE Wall Street Cronies.
BUH-BYE Koskinen and IRS Abuse.
BUH-BYE Late-term abortions.
BUH-BYE Lying mainstream media.
BUH-BYE Ridiculous government spending and debt.
BUH-BYE Identity politics and race-baiting.
BUH-BYE United Nations stomping on our sovereignty.
BUH-BYE Welfare and food stamp abuse.
BUH-BYE Pampered athletes and entertainers who abuse our flag.
BUH-BYE Liberal judges.

HELLO Merry Christmas.
HELLO Regular Budget Process.
HELLO New small businesses.
HELLO Energy independence and industry.
HELLO GDP growth.
HELLO Border security.
HELLO Safe and appreciated Police.
HELLO Real business men and women who will straighten out the mess in DC.
HELLO Separate boys and girls bathrooms and locker rooms.
HELLO Jobs.
HELLO Inner cities that won’t look like a permanent war zone.
HELLO Constitution.
HELLO Soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen and women who can wear the uniform proudly again.
HELLO Educators who have been hiding in fear of politically-correct peers.
HELLO Respect from other nations and their leaders.

THANK YOU Original Tea Party founders and members who started the fire.
THANK YOU Union guys who finally said enough is enough.
THANK YOU Black and Hispanic voters who had the courage to break out.
THANK YOU Julian Assange and WikiLeaks.
THANK YOU James O’Keefe.
THANK YOU Rudy Giuliani, Chris Christie, Mike Pence, Gen. Flynn, Newt Gingrich, Dr. Ben Carson.
THANK YOU Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Mike Gallagher, Laura Ingraham, Larry Elder, Lou Dobbs.
THANK YOU Heritage Action, AFP, Tea Party Patriots, Freedom Works, and conservative groups.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

LiRockin' On the Right Sidettle darling, it’s been a long cold lonely winter
Little darling, it feels like years since it’s been here
Here comes the sun, here comes the sun, and I say
It’s all right!
Little darling, the smiles returning to the faces
Little darling, it seems like years since it’s been here
Here comes the sun, here comes the sun, and I say
It’s all right!

Here Comes the Sun – George Harrison (with Paul Simon)

 

 

TPP Walks, Talks Like A Lame Duck

tpp-countries-mapDonald Trump is against the Trans-Pacific Partnership.  Bigly.

Hillary Clinton is also against it.  But she was for it before she was against it.  Trump says Hillary is still for it, quoting her claim that the TPP is “the gold standard of trade agreements.”  And according to a recent WikiLeaks leak, she actually is still for it, but she’s upset that the people who were assured she was against it have learned that she is secretly still for it, even though she says she’s against it.

Whew!

Most Americans don’t have a clue what the TPP is, and Clinton’s flip-flops on the issue don’t help matters.  The TPP is only one part of a bigger policy issue: the importance of free and fair international trade to our economy.  So let me try to sort this thing out, as best I can, in layman’s terms.

The TPP is a multi-national trade agreement that was intended to counterbalance China’s dominance in world trade.  About six years ago, a dozen Asian and Pacific nations (see map above) starting working on a plan that would eliminate tariffs on most trade between the partners, and would make doing business with each other smoother and easier.  Sounds good, right?  What could be wrong with easier trade between a bunch of countries who, for the most part, get along with each other pretty well?

As you might expect, things got complicated in a hurry, and this perfectly illustrates why trying to bring a bunch of countries together for any group activity is like herding cats.  Everybody will try to protect his own interests and maximize his own profits.  And nice guys finish last.

There is no such thing as a simple agreement between twelve nations, especially when some want to force others to do things they don’t want to do.  Right from the start there was disagreement over whether and how the pact should include measures to address concerns about global warming (aka climate change).  There were issues about nation-of-origin labeling, and workers’ rights, and enforcement of patents, trademarks, and intellectual property rights.  The lines of authority between government and big multi-national corporations were blurred, including who could sue whom, in what courts, in case somebody’s underwear should get in a knot.  Some governments subsidize certain industries and agriculture; others do not. And a major concern was whether and how workers would be allowed to move between member nations.

Donald Trump says his top priority is to put “America First” in every international policy decision.  Clearly, complex, multilateral trade negotiations will not ordinarily result in our interests being placed above all the other partners.  He is alarmed that our balance of trade has been so profoundly negative for so long.  He worries that we are losing jobs to other countries, and opening our borders to foreign workers would not help.  So his opposition to the TPP makes sense in the context of Trump’s defense of American interests.

Hillary, on the other hand, is a victim of the very “divide and conquer” strategy she and the Democrat party have favored for decades.  She panders to dozens of small groups of constituencies who, over the long haul, are just another herd of cats all going in different directions.  Her union constituency is opposed to the TPP, fearing loss of jobs.  Some of her environmentalist constituency favors it, assuming the USA would have to accede to the liberal environmental policies espoused by many of the partners; others fear the TPP would not be stringent enough. Hillary has said that she dreams of a “hemispheric common market with open trade.”

President Obama, with help from Republican speaker of the house Paul Ryan, passed a fast-track provision for the TPP last year.  And U.S. trade representative Michael Froman said this week he thinks the TPP has enough congressional support to pass in the lame duck session after next week’s election.

As for me, I’m with Trump.  Shouldn’t we just negotiate trade agreements with each nation individually? And negotiate from a position of relative strength, taking advantage of the many perks we offer our friends – like military protection, for instance?

At the very least, let’s not pass this thing in the lame duck session, when Congress is least accountable for their actions.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right Side

All of a sudden I began to change
I was on the dance floor acting strange
FlCapping my arms I began to cluck
Look at me . . . I’m the disco duck!

Disco Duck – Rick Dees

 

Believe it or not, this song was the big hit of the year when my daughter was born (1976).  I’m pretty sure this is what started the “Disco Sucks” movement, and the genre mercifully died in 1979.