Bit O’ Honey Accountability

Seems like nobody is accountable for anything any more. Pundits and politicians throw accusations at each other all day, every day, claiming to have irrefutable proof of some dastardly crime but nothing ever seems to come from it. No perp walks, no convictions, no jail time. No accountability.

In a spirited debate at Politicon today, conservative pundit Sean Hannity went toe-to-toe with Clinton campaign heavyweight James Carville and seemed to be getting the upper hand. Hannity listed the crimes by Carville’s boss Hillary Clinton. Carville didn’t deny anything, but claimed that Trump would be impeached and lose the upcoming election. Hannity challenged Carville to name an impeachable crime. Carville couldn’t do it. But he topped Hannity by saying [paraphrased], “If the Republicans have all this proof of crimes by Democrats, why don’t they do anything about it? Why aren’t they in jail? You have the Department of Justice!” Boom.

Carville basically admitted that the Democrats have no fear of getting caught in criminal acts because the Republicans don’t have the guts to prosecute them. And he admitted that the Democrats will throw all kinds of baseless accusations at the Republicans because they know they will never have to prove them. No accountability.

In real life, unlike in political bizarro-world, there actually is accountability. I have twin 9-year old grandkids and I even require accountability from them.

They were in my office a couple years ago and discovered my stash of Bit O’ Honey candies. They politely asked if they could have a couple the first time and maybe the second. But then I noticed over time my stash was getting hit pretty hard. And it couldn’t be mice, because they are stored in a glass jar.

So I created an “inventory control” system, by which either of the twins could appropriate up to two Bit O’ Honeys any day without asking, but only if they sign and date each withdrawal on a count sheet and calculate the remaining inventory. Of course I have to account for any Bit O’ Honey withdrawals I make too, and so does Grammy. So the twins know if there are any discrepancies in the Bit O’ Honey inventory, Grandpa knows who is accountable!

I wish Hillary had been raised to be accountable. She would never have deleted 30,000 or more emails, and smashed her cell phones, after they had been subpoenaed by the FBI. The media and the FBI aren’t being held accountable for letting Hillary get away with it. And the DOJ isn’t being held accountable for letting the FBI get away with letting Hillary get away with it. And the President isn’t being held accountable for letting the DOJ get away with letting the FBI get away with letting Hillary get away with it.

Just between you and me, a little grandfatherly advice – never trust a Democrat with your Bit O’ Honeys!

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Sugar, ah honey honey!
You are my candy girl,
And you’ve got me wanting you!

Sugar Sugar – the Archies

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.

‘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

Sorry, Dan Rather. Dionne Warwick is Not A Victim.

You might remember Dan Rather, the veteran CBS News anchor and 60 Minutes reporter who was fired in disgrace in 2015 in the first big “fake news” scandal. A devoted Democrat, Rather was caught reporting a fabricated story about President GW Bush’s military service.

Rather went into hiding for a while, but reappeared some years later, doing low-budget work for cable news and entertainment channel AXS, which later dropped out of the news business and now focuses exclusively on music shows. He still works for AXS as the host of “The Big Interview With Dan Rather”, a series of face-to-face talks with popular musicians and entertainers. Rather is not stupid; he knows that nobody will tune in to see him, but if he brings Keith Urban along, he can still score a paycheck.

Like all devout Democrats, Dan Rather is a soft-racist who believes that anyone whose skin is darker than his must be a victim of incessant American injustice, deserving of pity. This makes many of his interviews almost painful to watch. His subjects are individuals who have, through talent and hard work, built extraordinary success. But Rather thinks his main responsibility is assessing the depth of their victimhood status.

“American Idol” milks the same Democrat format. On this show, two contests run concurrently: who is the best singer, and who is the most pitiful? So far this season, contestants include a homeless guy, a kid with cystic fibrosis, a blind girl, an immigrant, and a poor kid from the rural South. Last season a drag queen transgendered contestant made the finals. The cool thing is these people have extraordinary talent and worked hard to develop their skills. The icky thing is the way the network overplays their “victimhood”.

A while back Dan Rather interviewed Dionne Warwick, the beloved and award-winning diva, and it wasn’t long before he turned to his stock-in-trade line of questioning. “You, as an African-American and a woman, had to struggle through those tough categories over your career. What about that?”

Warwick didn’t bat an eye. “I didn’t see any of that,” she replied. She explained that she was never a victim of discrimination on either count. “I don’t believe in negatives,” she continued. “I never felt any of that pressure. If I did, I guess I ignored it.”

Dionne Warwick credits God and songwriters Hal David and Burt Bacharach for her success. Over her career Warwick had 80 singles on the Billboard charts.

Dan Rather pressed on, struggling to make her story one of overcoming racism and sexism and this-ism and that-ism. You know, the Democrat way.

He wanted to know how she coped with all the death in her life. Her brother died in a crash while racing the car she had bought him when she was 26. “At first I felt guilty,” she said. “But then I decided he was an adult and he knew right from wrong.” Her parents had both died within the last ten years or so – Warwick didn’t accept any victimhood on those grounds, either. She was, after all, 75 years old at the time of the interview.

Unrelenting, Rather demanded to know how devastated she was when her superstar cousin, Whitney Houston, died young under grim circumstances including drug use. “Was Whitney Houston a victim of fame?” Rather prodded.

“No,” said the adult in the room, Dionne Warwick. “She was a victim of bad choices.”

Rather wanted so badly to make Dionne Warwick into a victim of some kind. “Don’t make me over,” was her unstated, but clear response.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Accept me for what I am
Accept me for the things I do
Accept me for what I am
Accept me for the things I do

Don't Make Me Over - Dionne Warwick

The Left’s Wacky View of Church vs. State

image courtesy ChristianHeadlines.com

I try so hard to understand them.  Really I do.

We were discussing the upcoming election — specifically the tight race for North Carolina’s 9th District congressional seat.   I said I was pleased that Mark Harris, a good conservative, was running for the post after beating a wilting Republican insider, Robert Pittenger, in the primary.

“Oh, I could never vote for Harris,” my liberal friend said.  “He’s a pastor, you know!”  She whispered the word as if he were a secret child molester.

Taken aback, I asked what that has to do with anything.  Why can’t a pastor be elected to a public office?  “Oh, I believe in separation of church and state.  It’s in the constitution, you know.” 

“Where in the constitution does it say pastors can’t run for office?” I asked. 

“Well, it doesn’t.  But he shouldn’t be elected, because we need separation of church and state, ” she answered. 

I had to press on.  “The first amendment says the government can’t force any religion on citizens, but it doesn’t say there can’t be any sign of religion in public life.  What do you mean by ‘separation of church and state?'”

“Well, you know, we can’t have religious people who will have an influence on government,”  she said, her mental gears starting to clank.

“Why not?” I countered. 

“Well, umm, you know, they will have influence.” Giving her credit, my leftist neighbor really did like to engage with me on our political differences, but she never seemed to put the brain in gear before letting out the clutch.  “You know he thinks women should be subservient to men!”  The “s” word was whispered again, like it should be a secret just between me and her.

I knew she was referring to the anti-Harris attack ad on television where that one sentence was pulled from one of Harris’ recent sermons.  “Were you in church the Sunday that Harris gave that sermon?”  I asked, knowing she wasn’t.  “Well, I was [different church] and I can tell you that pretty much every pastor in the USA was giving the same sermon on the same day.  It was a special nationwide effort to teach the Bible’s lesson about the relationship between men and women, and the role each plays in marriage.  It was a beautiful message, and very supportive of women.  He was doing his job, like every other pastor that Sunday.  You just reacted to a sound bite clipped out of context.”

“Oh, well I didn’t know that, nobody knows that,” she mumbled.  “But nobody should vote for him because of his Christian influence.”

I was just getting warmed up.  “So it’s only Christian pastors who can’t be elected to office?  What if a Muslim cleric ran for Congress?  Would that be okay?” 

“Well, that’s different . . . ” she started, but was unsure how to defend her apparent bias against Christians. “Separation of . . . “

“Let’s try this,” I continued.  “What harm do you think a Christian pastor could do if elected to a public office?”

“Well . . . influence, er, policies . . . ” she stumbled, looking for a safe space.

“Isn’t that what every elected official does?  Influence policies?  Wouldn’t a teacher influence policies?  Or a farmer?  Or a business person? Don’t you want your representative to influence policies?  Why not a pastor?”

Silence.

I knew what was bouncing around in the back of her head – abortion! abortion! abortion!

“Are you worried about losing the right to kill babies?” I asked.

“Oh, I don’t believe in killing babies,” she wobbled.  “I just think women should have the right to choose.”

“Choose what?  Do you mean the right to choose to kill babies?”  I admit, I was starting to get growly. 

“If you really believe in separation of church and state,” I said, “do you think it’s fair for the government to force a business owner to do something that is against his religious beliefs? Like bake a cake for a gay wedding?”

“Well, um.  I’m going to have to think about that.” 

Mission accomplished, I headed off to coach my grandson’s little league game.  With another liberal friend, the assistant coach.

Sigh.  A conservative’s work is never done.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

The only one who could ever reach me
Was the son of a preacher man
The only one who could ever teach me
Was the son of a preacher man

Son of a Preacher Man – Dusty Springfield



Can We Be From the Same Planet?

Our neighbor, Nancy, stopped my wife for a minute of chit chat and asked what she thinks of the Bret Kavanaugh story.  My better half, never at a loss for words, and always armed with facts, proceeded to educate Nancy on the importance of the presumption of innocence to civilized society.  “Kavanaugh’s accuser has no proof or even information about her ‘assault’ that implicates him,” my wife explained.  “She can’t remember where it happened, when it happened, who was there, how she got there, how she got home – and the few things she does remember have been denied by her own named witnesses.”

Things were getting pretty hot when I happened on the scene.  “You don’t believe he raped all those girls?”  Nancy demanded.   It angered and saddened me that Dr. Ford’s original charge, that 15-year-old Kavanaugh once tried to feel her up over her clothes, has metastasized into a history of violent gang rapes.

“This woman is destroying a man with a brilliant career, along with his wife and daughters, for nothing more than politics,” I said.  “It’s just wrong.”

Nancy did not have – or need – any facts to support her position.  “They should make his daughters testify in front of Congress!” she wailed.  “Are you insane?” my exasperated wife said.  “You want them to ask the girls if their daddy has got drunk and raped them lately?”  Nancy’s comeback: “Well, I just don’t like Kavanaugh.  He’s a liar.  I believe the women.”

With the knowledge that there is no way to reason with a liberal, I grabbed my wife and hurried off to our grandson’s baseball game.

___________________

James popped in to say hi at the local YMCA.  He used to play pickup basketball with us regularly, but we had not seen him for several months.

“I’ve been too busy for hoops,” he told us, which we all agreed is a good thing.  “Make hay while the sun shines,” was my fatherly advice.

James is a young entrepreneur who started an automotive business customizing all-terrain vehicles.  To supplement his income he bought a cargo trailer and makes regional hauls.  “I’m hiring a couple more guys,” he said.  “And I am offering them three times as much money as they are making now.  There is no end to the trucking work available.”

“Business is booming all over,” I noted, and James said, kind of sheepishly, “I know, so why is everybody ragging on Trump?”  A risky statement, because we all know that any defense of Trump in the presence of leftists is an invitation to an ugly scene, and James didn’t know that my basketball buddy and I are also conservatives.  “I can’t see where Trump has done anything wrong.  He is keeping all of his promises and it’s working.  That’s what we needed, a businessman.”

I agreed.  “It’s great to live in America,” I said.  “I hope we can keep it that way.”

James gave us a little personal history.  “I’m from the ghetto,” he said.  “I’m not afraid of poverty, but I don’t like it much either.  And it sure is clear to me that things are lot better now than they have been in a long time.”

“I’ve never been political,” James continued.  “I just never talk about it because everybody gets kind of crazy, and I’m busy working anyway.  But man, this stuff going on with the judge is just ridiculous.”

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

So, round and around and around we go
Where the world’s headed, said nobody knows
Oh, great Googamooga
Can’t you hear me talking to you?

Just a ball of confusion
Oh yeah, that’s what the world is today
Woo, hey, hey

Ball of Confusion – the Temptations

 

More News From the Real World

Yesterday a big truck pulled into our driveway to deliver a refrigerator.  The delivery men were both young, athletic, hard working African-American dads.  One has month-old twins and the other has a couple of young daughters.

After finishing the work, they took some time to visit with us, and I accepted their admiration for my awesome man room.  They were impressed by our new home on the lake, and I could see them wondering, how does a guy get one of these?

My “dad” buzzer went off.  I just can’t resist an opportunity to coach enterprising young people.  I am an unapologetic card-carrying disciple of free enterprise and American capitalism, and nothing makes me happier than seeing a young person who wants to move up and achieve a better life for his or her family.  At risk of embarrassment, here is our conversation, condensed.

Worker 1: “That is a big, beautiful house.  How did you guys get here?”

Me:  “You know, my wife and I started out dirt poor.  We had absolutely nothing.  But we worked hard, and saved, and kept working and saving, and here we are.  It’s America!  We are living proof that the American dream is real and success is out there for anybody who is willing to work for it.”

Worker 1: “I’m thinking about starting my own business, I have a couple of ideas.”

Me: “Owning your own business is great.  If I had known how fun and profitable it is to have your own business, I would have done it long ago.”

Wife: “And it’s a great time to start a business. The economy is booming!  There are all kinds of opportunities right now.  Companies are starting up and growing and hiring people because of the tax reform.”

Worker 2: “Yeah, business has really picked up.  Our company can’t find enough people to hire.”

Wife:  “I’m a Trump supporter and he has really turned things around after Obama.”

Workers 1 and 2 simultaneously:  “That’s for sure, Obama didn’t do us any favors!”

Me:  “Maybe the best thing Trump has done is get rid of all the crazy regulations.  We moved here from Montana, and the oil and coal and mining and agriculture industries have taken off again there because Trump got the EPA and other agencies to back off.”

Worker 2: “I’m going back to school to finish my classes in underwater welding.”

Me:  “Wow!  That sounds like a great career with a lot of demand.  Are you a welder now?”

Worker 2: “Yes.”

Me: “Well if you want to make some big money in a hurry, go to the Bakken oil fields in North Dakota and eastern Montana.  Welders there can make six figures because there is so much demand.  Even drivers make big money, and the employers pay for CDLs, help with housing, and have good benefits.  It’s not a great place for the family, but a lot of young guys buck it up for a year or two, make some big money, and then they are set.”

Wife: “There are always great opportunities somewhere.  You may have to move, or do some kind of work you don’t want to do.  We have all done work we didn’t want to, but that’s part of building wealth.”

Me: “I’ve always said I can do anything for a while.  You don’t have to bust your rear end and save your money forever, just for a while.  Then things get a lot easier.”

Worker 2:  “Well, maybe I’ll have a place like yours some day!”

As I said in my last post, don’t believe the silliness you see and hear on the evening news.  They would have you believe that young people, especially minorities, are angry and oppressed.  The leftist politicians and talking heads predict a “blue wave” led by socialists who will save us all from the greedy corporations.

It just isn’t true.  These young African-American dads are typical of the guys on the street that I enjoy meeting and with whom I am proud to share our great American heritage and values.  They understand responsibility, work and reward, they respect employers and capitalism, they know when somebody is trying to blow smoke, and they are optimistic about the direction our country is headed.  And – surprise!  They love Trump!

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Stand in the place where you live (now face north)
Think about direction, wonder why you haven’t before
Stand in the place where you work (now face west)
Think about the place where you live
Wonder why you haven’t before