The United States of Africa

megacities_poverty_mainA few weeks ago I ran into Samuel, a dual citizen of Nigeria and the United States.   A well-educated businessman, his wife is a political consultant whose work takes her to every corner of Africa.  Samuel made his living buying cars in Europe and the USA, and selling them in Nigeria to corporate clients who work for Shell, Coca-Cola, and other well-heeled clients.  But he says it’s getting almost impossible to do business in Nigeria.

I try to keep up on international news, including Africa, and eagerly asked Samuel what’s happening in his home country.  He confirmed and amplified what I already knew: that Nigeria would be one of the wealthiest nations on Earth if it were not for the relentless government corruption.  Muhammadu Buhari was elected president last year, replacing the incumbent Goodluck Jonathan.  Samuel told me Jonathan had risen to the presidency promising to put an end to the rampant cronyism and corruption that has infected the Nigerian government since its independence.  But under Jonathan the corruption only got worse.  And his replacement, Buhari, is no better, having installed his own cronies and schemes.   Samuel described how the government officials and their friends are putting him, and most Nigerian entrepreneurs, out of business.  He now drives Uber full time to put food on the table, and hasn’t been home for six months.

I sympathized with Samuel.  “That’s where my country is headed, too.  I would never have dreamed the United States government could become so corrupt.”

Hollywood could not come up with a plot so thin and unbelievable, and yet it unfolds before our eyes.

The U.S. Secretary of State sells influence to foreign leaders – greasing the skids for defense contracts, granting uranium mining rights on US soil to Russia, steering favorable rulings from international agencies – in exchange for cash contributions to her “foundation”, which is nothing more than a multi-billion dollar slush fund.  The foundation pays no taxes and makes few charitable contributions; even worse, it siphons off legitimate disaster funds for the benefit of the Secretary’s family, friends, and cronies.  American corporate cronies get in on the act, expecting “pay for play” rewards from the Secretary, who is presumed to become president.

The Secretary sets up a secret and illegal communication system to hide her corrupt dealings from public view, and when it is discovered, she has all of the records professionally “bleached” from her servers, laughing at congressional subpoenas demanding their release.

An FBI investigation ensues, but the director of the FBI gives immunity to everybody who could have been indicted for illegal handling of classified government communications and tampering with evidence.  He does not even listen to the damning facts revealed in Congressional hearings or an FBI interview with the Secretary under oath, and hastily proclaims that the Attorney General should not prosecute.  Almost simultaneously, the Attorney General has a clandestine meeting with the Secretary’s husband and former president, the subject of which is clearly either threat or payoff.  The inquiry is dropped.  And the stench of corruption hangs thick all over the nation’s capital.

The most creative fiction writer on planet Earth could not come up with less plausible story.  Or at least this could only happen in a third-world hell-hole in Africa, right?  Certainly not in the United States of America, the world’s champion of fairness, truth and democracy.

But it is happening, here and now.  And our media, plus most of the American public and all of our representatives and senators (except for a few brave Freedom Caucus members) are perfectly happy to look the other way.  No indictments.  No impeachments.  Not even a breath of criticism.  The most corrupt political leader in the history of our nation may very well soon be our president.

This is unprecedented.  It is clear that our government is now irretrievably corrupt.  Citizens can no longer have any confidence in the FBI, the Department of Justice, the Congress, the Administration, or any federal agency. Congress could impeach the director of the FBI, and the Attorney General.  But they won’t.  Laws don’t apply to the politically connected.  There is nobody left to stop the corruption except the citizens.

I don’t want our government to collapse, and I don’t want my grandchildren to live (or die) through a civil war.  Sound extreme?  Look back through history.  Whenever governments become unbearably corrupt and untouchable, change ultimately comes via brute force.  And it’s never pretty.  Ask any African.

Right now American citizens have only one course of action: to elect a president who is not part of the corrupt political machine, and hope for the best.  The corrupt legislative branch and the corrupt judicial branch will take years to turn over, but the corrupt administrative branch can be overthrown in one day.  Failing that, we might as well be the United States of Africa.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right Side

Let’s fight corruption. Let’s fight corruption.
Let’s fight corruption as much as we can.
Let’s fight corruption. Let’s fight corruption.
Let’s fight corruption, together we stand.

The Child Africa Corruption Song

 

 

More Ugly Obama/Clinton Crony Corruption

hillary-and-warren-buffett

Hillary Clinton and billionaire Warren Buffett, who invested $30 billion in taxpayer-subsidized solar and wind energy –  photo by NPR

Robert Murray may be the most frustrated and abused CEO in the USA.

The owner of Murray Energy is the last man standing in the fight to save the coal industry from the Obama / Clinton “war on coal”, and his emotional appeals on the news networks reveal that he may be down for the count.

robert-murrayMurray grew up poor, picking up a shovel at age 16 to keep his family afloat after his father was paralysed in a mine accident.  He persevered through good times and bad to become one of the biggest players in the coal business, and now, at age 75, Murray sees all his hard work and investment going up in smoke, along with the livelihoods of his employees.

When President Obama declared in 2008 that he would destroy the coal industry, he wasn’t kidding. “So if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can,” he said.  “It’s just that it will bankrupt them, because they’re going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that’s being emitted.”

Over 400 coal mines have shut down since then, putting 83,000 miners on the street.  As coal companies headed for the exits, Murray bought many of them, unable to accept that the nation would allow such a valuable and strategically critical industry to just die at the whim of an imperious and misguided president.

Eight years later, Obama’s pre-ordained successor, Hillary Clinton, has doubled down, promising to “put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business.”

Obama’s and Clinton’s pretense for eliminating the source of one-third of America’s electricity is their desire to save the planet and its inhabitants from “carbon pollution”.  But Murray isn’t buying it, as he told Fox Business:

“Windmills and solar panels generate 26 cent per kilowatt hour electricity – coal is only 4 cents a kilowatt hour.  The reason why she wants to see coal eliminated is because she’s getting millions of dollars of kickback to the Clinton Foundation and to her campaign from people who she says needs government help. You know who she’s talking about? She’s talking about Warren Buffett, the Pritzkers, Elon Musk, Tom Steyer—all billionaires that are making billions of dollars off of windmills and solar panels that are made in China.”

“She’s getting hundreds of millions of dollars from some of the largest banks in the country, from some of the largest electric utilities, and from these billionaires that I just mentioned.  They need the subsidies – wind and solar are not competitive with coal or other fossil fuels.  So they are making billions of dollars, these billionaires, and they are kicking back millions to the Clinton Foundation and to Hillary Clinton – it’s a story we have been hearing over and over.  The lowest 25 million families on the poverty scale in the country now spend 22 cents of every dollar they earn for energy.  We need to be worrying about the energy poverty in this country, not making more billionaires as Hillary Clinton attempts to eliminate the reliable low-cost electricity and substitute these ‘crony capitalists’.  It’s fraud – it’s absolute fraud!”

Today President Obama announced his “Clean Power Plan”, a new set of standards to limit “carbon pollution” from power plants.  The plan makes the outwardly pure-hearted promise to “decrease the pollutants that contribute to the soot and smog and can lead to more asthma attacks in kids by more than 70 percent.”  We all love kids, and don’t want them breathing soot and smog, right?  But the plan’s main thrust is to control carbon dioxide emissions, which have absolutely nothing to do with “soot and smog”.  Carbon dioxide is clear and odorless, it is necessary for plant life, and it has no impact on global temperatures or pollution of any kind.

coal-fired-power-generation-plantDemocrats sob about “the children” and flaunt blown-up photos of old Chinese factories belching smoke, pretending they are modern American electrical power generation plants and hoping the low-information public will believe the carbon dioxide hoax pumped through their politically-motivated news media.  Meanwhile, they destroy our clean and efficient energy infrastructure for no purpose other than to generate profit for their crony friends and receive kickbacks in return.

I never dreamed my government could become so corrupt, or that so many of our citizens would be unwilling or unable to put up a fight.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right Side

Hanging on every word, believing the things I heard
Being a fool
You’ve taken my life, so take my soul
That’s what you said and I believed it all
Liar!  Liar!

Liar – Three Dog Night

 

 

Time For A Change – Make Govt. Employees Accountable

Government-Employee

photo courtesy WesternJournalism.com

If you got caught spending most of your time at work watching porn on your computer, do you think you might get fired?  If you owed money to your employer and refused to pay it, would you expect to keep your job?

If you are a federal employee, no worries.  Less than one-half of one percent get fired.  Congressman Mark Meadows (R-NC) said, “It’s so laborious for managers to address poor performers that sometimes it’s easier for them to ignore the bad employee or give suspension with pay and hope that it corrects itself.”

With the average annual pay for federal jobs approaching $100k, plus fat benefits packages and generous time off, taxpayers should expect top-notch performance.  But we all know that, for the most part, federal departments and agencies are the gold standard for ineptitude and inefficiency.  Because government employee unions bubble-wrap their members, our government must hire several people for every job that would require only a single worker in the real world.

Unlike jobs in the private sector, where every employee must contribute to profit or hit the highway, nobody other than Congressman Meadows seems to care about the buildings full of bodies accomplishing little or nothing.  The agency and department heads are not concerned; it’s not their money!  Plus, the measure of success and power in government is not what you accomplish, or how much money you save the taxpayers – it’s how many employees you accumulate.

And the head bureaucrats are as unaccountable as the line employees.  When called to task by congressional oversight committees for poor performance, or even illegal acts, they no longer feel compelled to even answer questions.  They know that their bread is buttered by the administration, not Congress.  Who is in charge?  Nobody.  The buck stops nowhere.

At a time when our economy can no longer drag the dead weight of bloated government behind it, and our $20 trillion debt keeps rocketing, and there really is serious work that our employees should be doing, can’t somebody – maybe a presidential candidate for instance – at least mention government accountability?

The Heritage Foundation has studied the issue and made recommendations as part of its “Blueprint for Reform – A Comprehensive Policy Agenda for a New Administration in 2017“.  Among many important reform policies, this ambitious project addresses the pay and benefits gaps between federal and private sector employees, and suggests some ways to make firing bad employees at least thinkable, if still not easy (see pages 99 – 102).

I’d like to see employee unions either shut down or severely restricted.  The federal government is a monopoly, where the elected can spend taxpayer money to get themselves re-elected.  Government employees should at least be hired at-will, just as they are in the private sector, so managers can hire, discipline, and fire without facing union intervention or a morass of federal regulations.   And department officials must be made accountable to Congress too, or the notion of congressional “oversight” is no more than a shallow joke.

Like any rehab program, the first thing we have to do is admit that we have a problem.  Then we have to work on some serious change in accountability.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right Side

A change . . .
Would do you good.
I said a change . . .
Would do you good!

A Change Would Do You Good – Sheryl Crow

 

 

Mr. Trump, I Wrote a Speech For You. No Charge!


photo courtesy Salon.com

photo courtesy Salon.com

My fellow citizens, if you elect me, Donald Trump, to be your president, here are my domestic priorities for the first hundred days of my term:

Government Accountability and Reform

Government sector unions will be eliminated or restrictions imposed, such as:  Unions would be prohibited from contributing to political candidates or having any involvement in political campaigns.  Government employees would be employed “at will”, empowering managers to hire, fire, and discipline without union intervention.  They would be subject to the same payroll and benefit laws as the private sector, including social security, 401k, and Medicaid coverage or private health insurance allowance.  We can no longer tolerate a government where nobody is responsible for anything or ever gets fired.

Congress will establish biannual performance and zero-based budget requirements for every department and agency, and oversight committees will hold agency heads responsible for meeting goals, with the authority to discipline or discharge failing managers.  Redundant and obsolete services and programs will be eliminated from agencies and departments.  This is basic economics, understood by every American.

All elected officials will be subject to the same ethics standards and prosecution as private sector corporate officials, prohibiting insider trading, personal gain from transactions and decisions, nepotism, payoffs for campaign contributions, and any other breaches of trust.  Why should elected officials get away with corruption that is not tolerated in private business?

Congressional term limits will be established.  The power structure must be brought under control.

Congress will be required to produce timely budgets; continuing resolutions will be prohibited.  The job of Congress is to budget and appropriate.  If they don’t do that, we don’t need them.

Law and Order

My new IRS and FBI commissioners will investigate Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Foundation for tax fraud and improper quid pro quo deals with foreign companies and governments.  This kind of corruption must be brought to light and stopped once and for all.

Sanctuary cities will be denied federal funding.  Existing immigration laws will be enforced at the borders and ports, and in all government offices and programs.  Officials who fail or refuse to enforce any federal law will be disciplined or terminated.  Without borders, we have no country.  And without law enforcement, we have anarchy.

Federal involvement in local law enforcement will cease, including the use of consent decrees to impose federal control.

Health, Welfare, Housing and Education

The Affordable Health Care Act will be repealed and replaced by a congressionally approved plan which includes a provision for a federal assigned risk pool for pre-existing conditions.

Federal funding of all means-tested welfare and assistance programs and all educational programs will be limited to block grants to the states.  Our Constitution intended the power of the people to reside in state governments, not federal.  This is the United STATES of America.

Government funding of private health care providers specifically including Planned Parenthood will be prohibited.

The federal student loan program will be eliminated and restored to the private sector.  Any program for relief from student loan debt will include provisions for clawback of public losses from the universities who received the student loan payments.

Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and other government subsidized home loan programs will be phased out, restoring the mortgage industry to the private sector.

Tax Reform

Estate taxes will be permanently eliminated – it is double taxation.  Corporate income tax will be significantly reduced to encourage repatriation of assets and domestic production.  Personal income taxes will be simplified.  Loopholes and carve-outs will be eliminated for businesses and individuals.

Businesses will receive tax incentives for providing modern technical training programs that meet their workforce needs and result in direct sustained employment of individuals, replacing unnecessary and unproductive college time and expense.

Immigration

Legal immigration rates and eligibilities will be revisited by Congress with impact analysis on jobs, the economy, security, and infrastructure.  Charity will not be a consideration, as it is not a function of government.  Illegal immigration will be treated and enforced as a criminal act.

These action items have the strong support of a majority of Americans.  If Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell fail to take action on these important tasks, I will use the bully pulpit of the Presidency to admonish and encourage and even embarrass them.  And if they still refuse to respond to the will of their constituents, as they have over the last many years, I will find other ways to give the people what they want.

Please vote for me, your humble servant, Donald Trump.


Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right Side

Well, it’s about time for things to get better
We want the truth, the truth and no more lies
We want freedom, justice and equality
I want it for you and I want it for me
Well, well
Give the people what they want!

Give the People What They Want – the O’Jays

Here’s a great song by the O’Jays – from Soul Train, 1975.  Check it out!

Vote Fraud Is So Easy

Of the many schemes Democrats use to win elections at any cost, perhaps the most insidious is their war against the photo ID requirement for voters.

Here is a metaphysical fact:

There is only one reason to NOT require a photo ID from voters, and that is to enable vote fraud. 

Democrats continue to defend their vote fraud schemes by claiming that requiring a photo ID is racist.   Specifically, they contend that African-Americans are not as capable of obtaining a photo ID as white people, a charge that is horribly demeaning and racist on its face.  Somehow the Democrat lie about Republican racism lives on against history, facts and logic.

James O’Keefe of Project Veritas has released yet another in a series of video stings showing how easy vote fraud is in a state like Michigan where no voter ID is required.

O’Keefe walked into a polling place and asked if they have a Brian Dickerson on their list.  He chose Dickerson, a reporter for the Detroit Free Press, because he is a supporter of unfettered voting rights for all.  When O’Keefe said he lost his identification while hunting, he was handed Dickerson’s ballot anyway.

O’Keefe and his team repeated the experiment, receiving ballots for the Dean of the Wayne State University Law School, the Democrat leader of the Michigan house of representatives, a Michigan Democrat state senator, the editorial page editor and also another columnist from the Detroit Free Press, and even Detroit mayor Michael Duggan.

O’Keefe and friends did not actually complete the ballots, knowing that would give officials an opening to throw them in jail.  O’Keefe has done jail time before for daring to shine the light of truth.  When O’Keefe went to Mayor Duggan’s office to get a comment on the video, the Detroit city attorney threatened him.

“Voter registration is like a bank vault door.  When you put your money in the bank, do you want the bank to leave the vault door wide open so anybody can come in and take your money?  It’s just wrong.”  — James O’Keefe


But single-vote theft is chump-change compared to the high-volume ballot maneuvering that Democrats have perfected.  Automatic motor-voter registrations, same-day registrations, absentee ballots – all have made vote fraud easy work for the shameless.  You will find them carrying stacks of pre-marked ballots through apartment buildings, nursing homes, homeless shelters, and any other place where they can get a vote for the cost of a pack of cigarettes. In vulnerable states they drive bus loads of activists from poll to poll to register and vote. Many Democrat-controlled precincts report 100% wins for their candidates.  Others count more votes than there are registered voters.  Most states have little or no protection from voters who remain registered in multiple locations.  Dead voters continue to check off Democrat candidates for years after their demise.

33 states now require voter ID.  But the Democrats will not back down – when legislative efforts fail they just turn to their allies in the courts to impose their will on the public.

The Voter Integrity Project (VIP) offers some hope and tools to stem the tide of vote fraud in the USA.  But if the polls are 50/50 at election time, we can still expect the Democrats to win by 15%.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right SideYour cheatin’ heart will make you weep
You’ll cry and cry and try to sleep
But sleep won’t come the whole night through
Your cheatin’ heart will tell on you

Your Cheatin’ Heart – Hank Williams, Jr.

 

 

Hilarious! Stephanopolous Lets Ellison Claim George Wallace Ran As Republican!

Congressman Keith Ellison

Congressman Keith Ellison (D-MN)

You can’t write better comedy than this.  George Stephanopolous and ABC News may have just put the Comedy Channel out of business.

On ABC Sunday Morning This Week, anchor George Stephanopolous – former Clinton employee, big contributor to the Clinton Foundation, and chief Clinton apologist – sat by and did not even blink when his panelist, Democrat Congressman Keith Ellison, laid this giant, stinking egg:

“Donald Trump is the worst Republican candidate since George Wallace.”

Congressman Tom Cole (R-OK), sitting next to Ellison on the panel, could barely keep from laughing out loud.

“I have to correct my friend, Congressman Ellison,” Cole told Stephanopolous.  “George Wallace was a lifelong DEMOCRAT.  He ran on the Democrat ticket, and we can’t let history be rewritten.”

The embarrassment on Ellison’s face was absolutely priceless.  As a Democrat, and an African-American, Ellison has been brainwashed to believe that all Republicans are racists, and all racists are Republicans.  He has bought into the Democrat re-write of history, which hides the fact that the KKK was a Democrat organization, and the Democrats fought integration tooth and nail.  Learning that the bogey-man under his bed was actually a Democrat was a total shock.  He literally saw his television career pass before his eyes.

But the really funny part was watching Stephanopolous throughout this Sunday morning news misadventure.  Stephanopolous knew that Wallace was a Democrat and never batted an eye, hoping that nobody else would pick up on Ellison’s devastating gaffe.  Even better, Ellison had just finished excoriating Donald Trump for being mean and unfair to the press.

At the other end of the panel, Donna Brazile, another lifetime Clinton lackey and DNC vice-chair, was nearly in tears as she apologized profusely for her Democrat National Committee’s abuse of Bernie Sanders, revealed by WikiLeaks after it was learned that Russians hacked the DNC email accounts and had the goods on chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

Ever the good little Clinton puppy, Stephanopolous gamely tried to accuse Donald Trump of conspiring with Russian president Vladimir Putin to cause trouble for the poor Democrats.

Cole, having the time of his life, got in one more little shot.  “The Clinton campaign might be worried that the Russians will report what they found on an email server in somebody’s basement,” he giggled.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right Side

Don’t think I’m bein’ funny when I say
you got just what you deserve
I can’t help feeling you found out today
You thought you were too good you had a lot of nerve
Laugh, laugh – I thought I’d die!
It seemed so funny to me
Laugh, laugh, you met a guy
Who taught you how it feels to be – lonely

Laugh, Laugh – the Beau Brummels

 

Bill Tells Loretta, “Don’t Worry, Baby!”

bill clinton jetLoretta’s jet pulled off the runway and onto the tarmac at the executive end of Sky Harbor Airport.  Glancing out the window she spotted a familiar sight.

“Oh look!  There’s Bill’s plane!” she said, pointing to the big gray Gulfstream parked on the outside edge of the field.  “I’d recognize it anywhere.”

Moments later, her phone rang.  “Hi, Loretta, it’s Bill.  Do you have a minute?”  Soon he was bounding up the steps into her smaller, but comfortable government-issue Lear jet.

“That’s a beautiful plane you have there, Bill,” Loretta said.

“Oh, that old thing?  It’s all the foundation could afford.  Shoot, you ought to see the 727 my friend Jeff Epstein had.  We called it the “Lolita Express” because of all the young honeys Jeff kept on the plane for those trips to Orgy Island. Yeah, heh heh, I was on that thing about every other weekend for a few years . . . ”

“Oh, um, Mr. President, I’d like you to meet my husband . . . ” Loretta interrupted.

“Nice to meet you, man,” Bill said, shaking hands.  “You must be pretty proud of Loretta here.  I remember when I put her on the bench, and now she’s the AG.  You know if my wife gets elected, she’s going to need some good people – Supreme Court justices, cabinet positions.  Of course that’s if she doesn’t get indicted.”

“But, Mr. President, I don’t think we are supposed to talk about that,” Loretta said, with a worried look.  “After the FBI investigations are finished, it will end up on my desk.”

“Oh, I’m not worried about that, Loretta,” Bill grinned.  “We’ve been through some little scuffles like that before, and nothing ever comes of it.  It’s like I told Ron Brown when the FBI and all those other guys were after him, you know, right before the election?  Yeah, he said he would have to testify against me and ‘Hil’ to the grand jury in a few days.  I told him, ‘Don’t worry Ron, things will work out’.  Too bad about that plane crash.”

Loretta gulped.  “But Mr. President, there is so much evidence about all the billions of dollars you and your wife raised for your foundation, and it looks like you were doing favors for other countries and bankers and . . . I just don’t know how I can stop it from coming out . . . ”  She looked liked she might cry.

“Now, Loretta,” Bill crooned, patting her on the shoulder.  “You’re not the first one who faced a tough decision.  Our friend Vince Foster was in charge of handling the information on our little Whitewater problem, and some things for Hillary, and he was really worried too.  But look, nothing came out of that either.”

Bill got up to leave.  “I sure do enjoy those grandbabies of mine.  I’ve got a new one, you know.”

“Yes, I have grandchildren too, from my husband’s previous marriage,” Loretta whispered, dabbing at her eyes with a tissue.

“Keep an eye on those grandkids,” Bill said as he started back down the steps.  “I’m sure nothing will happen to them.  Take care now, I’ve got a tee time.”

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right Side
Don’t worry baby.
Don’t worry baby!
Everything will turn out all right.

Don’t Worry Baby – the Beach Boys

 

 

Trump: Hillary Does the Hanky-Panky

(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Last week Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump said, “Hillary Clinton may be the most corrupt person ever to seek the presidency.”

My reaction was, “She’s got some big shoes to fill, there, Donald!”

Politics has always been a dirty business, but for the most part our presidents have been on the up and up.  Some, like Grant, Arthur, Harding, and Reagan were surrounded by corruption but didn’t actually line up at the buffet themselves.

Then Hope and Change happened, and suddenly presidential corruption was elevated to an art form and a lucrative industry.  While presidents have always found ways to reward their friends and supporters, the $800 billion blank check President Obama received for stimulus and recovery packages opened the floodgates for rampant, criminal cronyism.

Getting elected to the top political office in the world takes money.  A lot of it.  And big contributions usually come with expectations of payback.  President Obama did not disappoint.  Peter Schweitzer points out in his corruption expose, “Throw Them All Out”, how ten members of Obama’s 2008 campaign finance committee parlayed $457,000 in contributions into $11.3 billion in grants and guaranteed loans for companies they own and/or direct.  And that was just the tip of the iceberg.

The half billion dollar Solyndra scandal was one of the few crony boondoggles that hit the presses.  According to Schweitzer, there were many more, and larger, that were never publicized:  Solar Trust of America, $2.1 billion. First Solar, $4.7 billion (primary owners include Ted Turner).  Leucadia Energy, $3.5 billion.  Brightsource, $1.4 billion (primary owners include Robert Kennedy, Jr.).

The purpose of the stimulus was to create jobs, but Schweitzer says most of the grant and taxpayer-guaranteed loan money ended up in the pockets of uber-rich Obama campaign donation bundlers.  A $100 million grant to Basin Electric in tiny Beulah, North Dakota created just 8 jobs.  Former Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers loaned $10 million to the National Democratic Convention when the hometown (Charlotte, NC) event ran short of funds.  He was rewarded with environmental waivers and $300 million in grants – a good portion of which was allocated to projects already completed!

Yes, Obama sets the Hanky-Panky bar plenty high for his successor.

But Hillary is no piker.  She sold access and influence to cronies and foreign governments for billions of dollars that were laundered through the Clinton Foundation, even during her tenure as Secretary of State.  As Secretary, she brokered lucrative deals between foreign countries and US corporations in exchange for huge checks.

But unlike Obama, who has no shame about how he distributes the taxpayer’s money and makes no effort to hide it, Hillary goes to great lengths to avoid transparency.  Umm, I mean getting caught.  She removed records of 75 secret meetings with donors when she was Secretary of State.  She set up her own personal email server and deleted perhaps 30,000 messages, putting national security at risk just to hide her Hanky-Panky.  She was paid enormous sums for speeches she made to banker friends on Wall Street.

Meanwhile, Democrats giggle at Donald Trump because he is not raising cash at Clinton’s torrid pace.

After Obama, and with the possibility of a Clinton presidency looming, maybe it would be good to elect a leader who doesn’t have to do the Hanky-Panky to pay back his cronies.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right Side

I never saw her, never never saw her . . .
My baby does the Hanky-Panky!

Hanky-Panky – Tommy James and the Shondells

 

 

 

What If Our Government Ran Like A Business?

govt and businessOur country was built on business.  Free market, survival-of-the-fittest, improve-or-die business.  The United States of America has always been the land of opportunity – a place where success is not only possible, but fully expected by those who follow the timeless and dependable business formula:  work hard, be fair and honest, embrace change, meet the customer’s needs, strive for continual improvement.  Roll up your sleeves, git ‘er done. Take care of business.

American business people know how to build success and wealth that is shared by all.  It’s a perfect system, where vendors, employees, owners, and customers all benefit when the business model is executed right.  Our Constitution was written by geniuses – all of them businessmen.  It empowers individual citizens and protects our property rights, both of which build prosperity.  The framers clearly viewed daily life as business.

We are, and always have been, good at business.  So why do we suck so badly at government lately?

GDP growth is stagnant.  As our labor participation rate shrinks, our debt explodes.  Real wages and buying power have plummeted.  Federal government gets bigger while the quality of its work gets worse.   Our military has atrophied, our infrastructure is pathetic by international standards, and we have achieved banana-republic corruption status.  TSA security lines at airports are three hours long.  Our government can’t control our borders, but they are laser-focused on who goes in which bathroom.

It seems like our federal government can’t get anything right these days.  Maybe it’s because we haven’t had any business people running the show for a long time.  Washington, DC is now bulging with academics, lawyers, and career politicians.

If a business leader were in charge of our federal government, he or she would find a world of opportunities for easy and quick improvement.

A business leader would establish accountability.  In business, if an employee or a manager is given adequate resources and training and still doesn’t get the job done, he or she is fired.  In the federal government nobody is fired – ever – no matter how egregious their performance or corruption.  We can no longer afford government employee unions.  The outrageous pay rates and guaranteed benefits, the horrendous productivity, the protection of bad employees and the corrupt crony connections between government unions and politicians must stop.  Without the drag of government unions, the cost of government could be significantly and quickly reduced, and performance improved.

A business leader would face fiscal realities.  Unlike the current group of academic dreamers and socialists in government who think throwing taxpayer money at any problem will solve it, business people know that money does not grow on trees or printing presses and does not magically cure every hiccup.  Believe me when I tell you that no company (at least none that survives) budgets like our government does.  Can you imagine Ford increasing its budget for production of each model by 15% every year, regardless of sales and profit?  Of course not.  Ford, and every other company, large and small, operates by zero-based budgeting.  Every department or product must justify every dollar spent with performance and profit, every year.

A business leader would set and maintain priorities, and establish a functional management structure.  Sadly, our federal government has become a patchwork of obsolete and redundant agencies and departments with overlapping or obsolete agendas and nobody really in control.  Survival and success in government work relies on political connections, not performance.  Bureaucrats are rewarded based on the number of employees they acquire, not on their accomplishments – and certainly not for efficiency!  Every successful private enterprise has a business plan.  We need a government plan, with real and measureable objectives, and a solid management framework to ensure that the objectives are met.

Government insiders, and most liberals, would argue that government can’t be run like a business, because it does not exist to react to consumer demand and offer a product.  I disagree.  Citizens have needs that must be supplied by the federal government, and they are set forth in the Constitution.  Unfortunately, our behemoth government cranks out mountains of products that we don’t want or need, and does a pretty lame job of providing the services we do.  Some will say that most of the cost of government is “entitlements” that can’t be reduced.  That’s BS.  Built into the cost of entitlements is a huge bloat of inefficiency, fraud, and corruption.

Of course the nation’s executive must share power with Congress.  But that’s no different than a private business being driven by consumer demand.  The leader must have vision and the ability to direct and motivate others.

If Donald Trump is elected, we may have the opportunity to see if our government can be run more like a business, and if that results in improvements for American citizens.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right Side

And I’ll be taking care of business (every day)
Taking care of business (every way)
I’ve been taking care of business (it’s all mine)
Taking care of business and working overtime! Watch out!

Bachman Turner Overdrive – Takin’ Care of Business

 

To My #NEVERTRUMP Friends: Let’s Roll the Dice!

TrumpI voted for Ted Cruz in the South Carolina primary.  Last night, after getting Trump-thumped (again) in Indiana, Cruz pulled out of the presidential race.

Many of my friends and acquaintances who “Rock on the Right Side” are really bummed today.  They say they will never vote for Trump.  A number of them have disowned the Republican Party or proclaimed it dead.  Some express fear that Trump will start a trade war with China and trash our economy (presumably worse than it already is).  The angriest among them shout that Trump is a Democrat plant, intent on destroying the nation once and for all.

I remember how bummed I was when Obama was re-elected in 2012.  I knew what to expect from his second term, although I admit my surprise that Congress didn’t put up any resistance at all.  So I understand your despair on V-D day (Victory for The Donald).  If I could, I would buy each of you a beer and we could all cry in them together.

But just one beer.

I agree that Trump, at times, sounds like an idiot, despite his insistence that he “has a good brain” and is “very smart.”  I know that he is not all that interested in the Constitution, that he has supported liberals, and that he is on the wrong side of some pretty important values issues.  He’s rude.  He’s coarse.  He’s arrogant.  I get it.  But I will be voting for him in November anyway.  Here’s why.

First of all, it must be repeated that we know for certain how awful life under Hillary will be.  If you don’t know that, or are in denial, I can’t help you.  Hillary will be Obama on steroids – ten times more aggressive and fearless – and we won’t be able to count on Congress or the Supreme Court to defend us.  This alone should be all the motivation you need to take a chance on Trump, or maybe you have children or grandchildren to think about.  On the other hand, if you strongly believe our priorities should be making safe zones for college students, building special bathrooms for .06% of the population, shutting down energy production in the USA while China builds a new coal plant every week, and igniting warfare in our country over race, sex and income level, just let Hillary win.

Consider, too, that for the last eight years our nation has been led by politically-correct academic knuckleheads.  Is it any wonder our economy has tanked when nobody in the administration knows anything about business, economics, trade, foreign relations, military strategy, or anything else?  What if, for a change, we have a president who brings in qualified experts from the real world to replace the self-serving government weenies and delirious socialist academics currently running our federal government?

I can’t guarantee that Donald Trump will do that.  He hasn’t shown a whole lot of depth or detail to back up his populist promise that he will “make America great again.”  But he might.

He might make the EPA back off and let the USA become the energy powerhouse of the world.  He might beef up our military, knock out the terrorists and regain the respect of other nations.  He might protect us from the plague of uncontrolled immigration that is destroying Europe.  He might clean house on our bloated, inefficient and corrupt federal government and make it work for the people.  At least Trump won’t have to pay back crony campaign contributors and lobbyists.

There is the chance that things could be a hell of a lot better than they are now, and fairly soon.

I’m willing to roll the dice.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right Side
Say now baby, I’m the rank outsider,
You can be my partner in crime.
Baby!  Baby!
You got to roll me and call me the tumblin’ dice!

the Rolling Stones – Tumblin’ Dice

 

My boys are getting a little bit wrinkled – but they still rock!