The HR Dept. – How Socialism Kills Economic Progress

A common-sense principle of business is that managers must have the authority to hire and fire at will. After all, the very reason for a business to exist is to generate a profit for the owners and investors. So managers will compete for the best employees to maximize returns, just as they compete for customers by trying to provide the best product or service at the best price. The companies who hire and retain the best people will thrive, while the others will fade away.

HR (human resources) departments are poison to profit.

A product of the civil rights movement in 1965, the federal government created the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to eliminate hiring discrimination on the basis of race, creed, color or national origin. Every company that does business with the federal government and has 50 or more employees must implement and document an “affirmative action program”.

The EEO/AAP was, and is, a typical big government solution to a problem that should be solved by free market supply and demand. It established rigid quotas based on race, which was then expanded to protect women and the disabled. Soon every minority group, including the evolving alphabet-soup of genders, was lawyering up.

Faced with a mountain of reporting requirements and legal complications, businesses responded by creating and staffing HR departments, a phenomenon that may have done more damage to the economy than any other factor since the depression.

While a manager or owner will make every effort to find the most talented, qualified, and industrious people to fill positions, and reward them well with promotions and compensation, HR departments exist only to meet “diversity” requirements. The result is companies are staffed with many unqualified, unmotivated, and sometimes underpaid minorities (often H1B visa holders) who know they can’t be fired. The “Peter Principle” (individuals are promoted beyond their level of competence) is rampant in many large organizations.

Managers who try to hire or promote talented non-minority employees are stymied by HR. Add the influence of union protection (i.e. government employees), and performance predictably suffers.

Despite 53 years of EEO/AAP and all kinds of other identity-driven programs, liberal politicians still pander for votes by screaming “RAAAAACIST!” at common-sense conservative opponents, who know that for-profit businesses will hire and promote the best people regardless of minority status, which encourages all workers to improve their performance (not their pigmentation or gender) and compete for the best jobs. And that propels the economy and raises standards of living for everybody.

You got me runnin’ goin’ out of my mind
You got me thinkin’ that I’m wastin’ my time
(Don’t bring me down, no no no no no)
I’ll tell you once more before I get off the floor
(Don’t bring me down)

Don’t Bring Me Down – Electric Light Orchestra

Economic Good Things

Yesterday Congress passed yet another drunken-sailor budget, which would suspend the debt ceiling for another two years and result in an additional $322 billion in spending, ballooning the deficit to $22 trillion dollars.

Not long ago my conservative friends and I took to the streets protesting the unfathomable $16 trillion debt that the federal government had foisted upon our children and grandchildren. Then we got steamrolled by Obama, not exactly a top-drawer economist. Even holding both houses was not enough to stop the spending tsunami, and before you could blink, the Democrat socialist revolution had overtaken Congress.

In an effort to extinguish my “hair on fire” I set out looking for some little rays of economic sunshine among the dark clouds. Here’s what I found:

  • DEREGULATION is driving the economy at an unexpectedly brisk pace. All around I see businesses starting and expanding, construction projects popping up like popcorn, opportunities for workers of all types at premium wage rates, and consumer spending and optimism going through the roof.
  • FOREIGN TRADE POLICIES, TARIFFS AND ALLIANCES – President Trump clearly understands the “art of the deal”, and his push-back against China is bringing positive change. Protests in Hong Kong might drive regime change, or at least policy change. And Trump’s outsized influence on Brexit, Iran, Russia and North Korea all have economic implications. While international trade is not a “zero sum” game, other nations are finally feeling the heat of dealing with an “A-team” on the economic playing field.
  • ENERGY INDEPENDENCE – For a very long time, the USA economy was like many American families – one paycheck away from bankruptcy. At any time a Middle Eastern mullah could shut off the supply of oil, plunging our economy into chaos. That threat is now extinguished.
  • AGENCY REORGANIZATION – Russ Vought and Mick Mulvaney of the OMB are tightening the noose on agency leadership, getting more bang for the taxpayer buck, down-sizing and decentralizing, and updating personnel and procurement procedures. Every day they are changing the government culture to more closely operate like private business.

When Mulvaney was my congressman, we had several discussions about federal spending, with me venting my frustration that the debt was exploding and nobody cares. Mulvaney, always the pragmatist, said, “We can’t fix the deficit and debt by reducing spending. It’s way too late for that. We will have to outgrow it.”

At the time, Mick’s message was not what I wanted to hear. And I still would like to see a more mixed approach: cut spending while the economy is healthy and growing. But the appetite for restraint is just not there. Not with the Democrats and many weak-kneed Republicans in Congress who win re-election by giving away free candy. Not with the president, who had to adopt the same stance to guarantee re-election and time to complete his mission. And frankly, not with the under-informed spoiled-brat public, most of whom pay no federal taxes and whose ranks are swelling every day with immigrants from nations who have never participated in a consumer-driven supply-and-demand economy.

Can our debt keep expanding without consequences? Probably not. But all you can do is all you can do.

I used to employ a business strategy that seemed to work pretty darn well. Every business is segmented into products, or markets, or divisions. Too many executives and managers put all of their energy and focus into the underperforming segments of their businesses, ignoring the segments that are smoking hot and growing. I always promoted the strategy of putting maximum effort and resources into what’s doing well instead of beating your head against the wall trying to fix the losers.

So yes, we had a bad budget deal. Boogers. But if we look closer, there are a lot of “good things” going on.

Seems this worlds got you down
Your feelin’ bad vibrations frown
Well, open your eyes girl, look at me 
I’m gonna show you how it ought to be
We’re gonna’ have a good thing
Such a good thing baby

Good Thing – Paul Revere and the Raiders

In memory of Paul Revere, one of the truly good guys in the history of rock and roll.

It’s a TOOMAH!



On June 9, my 46th wedding anniversary, I was launched out of bed at 1:00 am by what I was convinced was a heart attack. My father had heart disease and I was expecting the same. I perched on the side of the bed, lurching rapidly and violently, unable to breathe, talk, or stand. No pain or pressure, just the worst case of hiccups EVER. A major seizure.

We drove to Steele Creek emergency where I reported my heart attack. The doctors did a “triponin test” which would reveal the presence of an enzyme if I actually did have a heart attack. It was negative. Thank God the doctors did not just send me back home, but rather forwarded me to Atrium Hopital in Pineville for an MRI.

After my MRI, “Doctor Doom’ entered my room with a long face and said, “I have very bad news. You have a 9 centimeter brain tumor on your frontal lobe.” Despite his dramatic pronouncement, I was actually relieved – this explained some symptoms I had been experiencing over the last few months. I had been having trouble controlling emotions.  On stage with my family band “Caution! Blind Driver,” I was often singing with a lump in my throat which I had attributed to worsening “stage fright.” I also was finding that my lead guitar work was slipping – I would drift out of a lead riff into never-never land with no bread crumbs to guide me back.

I also had been playing basketball twice a week and could no longer hit a moving shot for the life of me. Plus I found the floor tilting forward and left.

These symptoms and others should have been a tip-off that something was going wrong with me.

Several friends recommended that I get in touch with Dr. Alan Friedman at Duke University, a world-class brain surgeon. We gathered up our MRI scans and headed for Durham.

Dr. Friedman entered the exam room, yanked my cap off my head, and began planning his surgery on the spot. “Hmmm . . . I will cut here, here and here, peel this back, take out the tumor, you’ll be back on your feet in no time.” I felt like I had the best hot rod mechanic in town. Friedman said that based on the size of the tumor, it may have been growing for as long as ten years.

Two weeks later, I am back at home, pretty much completely healed and rehabilitated.  After surgery I had brain swelling and weakness on my right side, but my brain re-mapped and is now back in control of my body.  My musicianship has returned and I am mobile, although I won’t be driving any time soon due to the risk of seizures.

This has been an educational and humbling life experience.  It causes one to stop and smell the roses, appreciating how fragile we are and how miraculous is God’s handiwork.  I have a new appreciation for artists, athletes and warriors who overcome adversity.

Lesson learned:  

PLAY EVERY GIG LIKE IT MIGHT BE YOUR LAST!

I hope to see you at a show this summer.



Ken Miller Found Innocent in Political Witch Hunt

See the source image

After seven years of injustice, the politically charged campaign finance allegations against Ken Miller from his 2012 run for Montana Governor have been fully dismissed with prejudice.  No wrongdoing was found.  On May 24th the dismissal was filed by Judge Seeley.

Miller states,  “Republicans filed the original false charges in the Montana Governor’s race in 2012 just days before primary voting began.”  Miller continues, “Despite our presentation of proof that the COPP charges were false and politically motivated, the media was quick to report the COPP accusations as if they were fact and true, resulting in my not winning the primary election.” Miller continues, “I hope the media can now give this matter the same attention that they did when these false charges were made.”

Miller and his campaign team along with his legal counsel James Brown, provided full documentation based on the COPP’s own data that wrongdoing did not exist, and instead of the Commissioner of Political Practices (COPP) John Motl dismissing the charges quickly, he created new fake allegations that took Miller years of  time and effort to disprove.  Then COPP changed the charges yet again.  After the election was over, the Democrat-controlled COPP office refused to admit their wrongdoing and drop the disproven charges.  They continued to hold the cloud of guilt over Miller for years, even filing a district court case three years ago as a “place holder.”

“It is obvious that the Democrat office wanted to continue this charade to make it more difficult for me to run for public office over the last seven years,” Miller says.

Miller now plans to get commitments from Montana policymakers to agree to do everything they can to change or eliminate the COPP office.  Miller believes political opponents and the COPP should not be able to continue to use the office to sway elections based on false accusations.

Miller wants policymakers to commit to the elimination of the COPP office and to require the Secretary of State to oversee the financial reporting requirements for political candidates.  If a legal dispute exists, then it should go through the court system as other legal disputes do.  Under the current system the COPP is judge, jury and executioner and the lack of due process is patently unconstitutional.

Alternatively, the Montana Attorney General should require political campaign violation cases to be processed by the local County Attorney’s office.  If the County Attorney decides not to press charges, then the complaint is dismissed with prejudice.

Miller says, “Democrats and Republicans should support this effort on a non-partisan basis because while Democrats are currently in control of the COPP, they will inevitably  find themselves on the other side of the fence some day.  This kind of injustice should never be allowed.”

‘Til “Glacier” Freezes Over

A few years ago, before we left our home state of Montana to move to the sunny South, we decided to make one last visit to Glacier National Park.

“Glacier” as Big Sky natives lovingly call it, is the best Montana has to offer. Yellowstone is nice, but touristy and crowded – I look for Yogi and Boo Boo behind every tree, and it seems the feds have something annoyingly “governmental” pounded into every rock. While Glacier has become more commercialized and politically correct than it was in the good old days, it still is somewhat pristine and remains one of the most beautiful spots in the Rocky Mountains.

We visited Glacier in late June, before all the snow was gone for the summer, but after the Going to the Sun Road was opened up, which was early that year (as of today, 6/20/19, half of the road is still not plowed out). We did not want to miss that spectacular drive from West Glacier to St. Mary on what might be our last visit to Glacier.

We arrived at the St. Mary Lodge and did the tour through the grand old main lodge building, enjoying the history of the place and the high mountain ambience.

George Bird Grinnell, a New Yorker, naturalist and western conservationist, pushed for a national park designation which was signed by President Taft in 1910. Glacier National Park was first “civilized” as part of the westward push of the Great Northern Railway across the northern United States and much of the infrastructure was funded, engineered and built by the railroad under James Hill, who saw a tourism profit opportunity . Most of that privately built infrastructure, including hotels and lodges, trails, tracks, tunnels and roads remains in use today and has held up remarkably well.

And this is key. It was not government influence and “protection” of natural resources that made Glacier National Park and other treasures of the American West great; rather, it was private entrepreneurial drive and inspiration.

Salamander Glacier reflects into the blue water of Swiftcurrent Lake.
photo courtesy MyItchyTravelFeet.com

After hanging out at the lodge for a while, we decided to hike the Grinnell Glacier Trail that goes past Swiftcurrent Lake and provides a good view of Salamander Glacier. We could not help but notice the grizzly bear warning signs, and having grown up in bear country south of Glacier, I took them seriously. With so many tourists around it was more likely we would see black bear rather than big grizzers. And we actually did see several black bear.

At the trailhead near the lodge there was a big sign explaining how, because of man-caused Global Warming, the glaciers, including Grinnell, were melting fast and would likely be gone by the year 2020. I admit, as native Montanans, we were temporarily taken aback by this “official” government proclamation, until my conservative skepticism kicked back in. This same propaganda was all over the lodge in brochure racks and informational displays. In 2012 National Geographic produced this work of fiction, (note the obligatory slow, sad PBS victim-style piano music):

Last week it was revealed that the National Park Service was quietly removing all the Global Warming propaganda at Glacier National Park because it has become evident that the glaciers have been growing for some time. Oops. Another embarrassing example of leftists abusing science for political leverage.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

See people rocking — Hear people chanting — Feeling hot hot hot
Keep up this spirit — Come on let’s do it
— Feeling hot hot hot

Hot Hot Hot – Buster Poindexter

Spies Like Us

I don’t know about you, but I didn’t see this coming.

Our system of government has devolved to the point where an incumbent president and his administration actually used our own spies to try to steal an election.

The reason I didn’t see it coming is I never would have believed that so many federal officials would be so brazen and unprincipled that they would perform glaring crimes for their bosses. Until the last few years, I thought only Bolivia and Zimbabwe have these kinds of problems, not the United States. Surely, I believed, if anybody tried something this dastardly, there would be a long line of patriots ready step up and blow the whistle.

Today Maria Bartiromo interviewed George Papadopolous on Sunday Morning Futures and he revealed in precise and personal detail the depths to which our Dept. of Justice and intelligence agencies would plunge to destroy a political opponent, both before and after the election.

If you are reading this, you are already part of the well-informed 10% of Americans who have known for a long time that the Obama/Clinton machine set up an elaborate hoax using the FBI, DOJ, FISA court, State Dept., and even foreign intelligence services to create a fictional “collusion” narrative connecting Donald Trump to a Russian scheme to influence the 2016 presidential election. And you know that Obama’s corrupt insiders who remain in deep state power in these same agencies also refused to investigate former secretary of state Hillary Clinton’s real collusion with Russia, her flagrant obstruction of justice, and her corrupt financial dealings.

Papadopolous was a stooge who was set up and taken advantage of by experts in espionage and disinformation. He told Bartiromo how he was seduced into a “job” with the London Center of International Law that was actually a setup by the FBI to put him in contact with Joseph Mifsud (a spy for the Russia, the USA, or both) and feed him disinformation to start the wheels turning on an investigation of the Trump campaign. Like every James Bond movie, the spies even tried to set Papadopolous up with a “honey pot”.

Thanks to some intrepid investigative reporting by Judicial Watch, Fox News, and a few other news gatherers outside of the mainstream media, we have been receiving chunks of this sordid story for years now. But Papadopolous just may be the smoking gun, a person who was at ground zero of the attempted coup (or pre-coup) and is talking – and writing – about it.

The fact that foreign governments were involved in the espionage and setup indicates involvement at the highest levels of our administration – Obama, Clinton, Lynch, Comey, Brennan.

The fate of our system of government is now in the hands of attorney general William Barr, who promises to get to the bottom of the abuses by the previous administration and its deep state hangers-on.

It’s a good thing that spies – despite their “intelligence” label – are usually not too smart. We may finally be seeing the beginning of the end of this political nightmare.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Hey hey what do you say
Someone took your plans away
So what’s all the fuss
There ain’t nobody that spies like us

Spies Like Us – Paul McCartney

The Democrats Wouldn’t Treat A Baby Like A Dog

Dogs have always held a special place in American life. But doesn’t it seem like our attachment to our pets has gone a little over the top lately?


Neighborhood social media overflows with passionate concern over “fur babies” who are ill, or lost, or found, or neglected, or dead. Some of the most watched videos on the web show dogs and cats doing crazy, cute things. Yep, I watch them too. My favorite is Crusoe, the Celebrity Dachshund. His fame and popularity have grown to the point where his owners manage Crusoe’s career full-time (over a billion video views and 3 million followers, books and merchandise).

Our pets command not only our attention, but our pocketbooks too. Spending on our pets is expected to reach $100 billion dollars per year in 2020. Retailers and veterinarians are cashing in on our “puppy love.”

Veterinarians are now able to provide remarkable medical care for four-legged patients, knowing that no cost is too high to save a precious pet for many owners. Even without a major medical incident, most dog owners spend hundreds of dollars a year in vet bills just for basic care like heartworm prevention, rabies shots, and flea and tick protection. Add to that teeth cleaning, spaying/neutering, and the occasional injury, and many dog owners are spending a grand every year per dog.

Full disclosure: I have two dachshunds and they are an important part of our family. My family band played a concert at a dog festival last week and I even wrote a song about one of my dogs just for the event.

Born Alive Act


If only all Americans cared as much about human babies as we do about our dogs.

Last week we also traveled to Washington, DC to support the “Born Alive Abortion Survivors Act.” You see, hundreds of babies are born alive during failed abortion attempts every year and most are left to die without medical care. These are late-term babies who are viable and are clearly human beings in pain and deserving of comfort and attention. The Born Alive Act would require care providers to give medical care to babies who survive an abortion attempt and would penalize those who refuse. We heard from medical professionals who had witnessed these atrocities and from adult survivors of botched abortions, but Democrat opponents still deny that these grisly events actually occur.

Republican congressmen have asked Speaker Pelosi 30 times to get the Born Alive bill out of committee for a floor vote and have been rebuffed each time. So they now have a discharge petition requiring 218 signatures that would force the bill to the floor. Only three Democrat members of congress signed the discharge petition that would require providers to give care to aborted babies born alive. The inhumanity of that is unfathomable to anyone with a soul. But Nancy Pelosi and her charges place political points above human life, and their Democrat supporters march right in line. The unholy cycle of money circulating between congressmen and Planned Parenthood rolls on.

We tried to convince the Democrats on the hill to sign the petition that would save the lives of born alive aborted babies. Sadly, not one of them was persuaded, and their supporters continue to mock our efforts. The petition is evergreen, however, and if enough public pressure is applied, maybe some of the Democrats will grow a heart.

One thing is for sure – they sure wouldn’t treat a dog like that.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

How much is that doggie in the window?
The one with the waggly tail
How much is that doggie in the window?
I do hope that doggie’s for sale

How Much Is That Doggie In the Window? Patti Page