We Can Rebuild the Military AND the Budget

carrier-landing

President Trump’s campaign promise to “Make America Great Again” included his plan to restore our military preparedness to at least pre-Obama levels.  His message resonated with voters, and still meets little resistance from political leaders or from citizens.

Most Americans sense that our armed forces are no longer up to the task of defending our homeland while dealing with international conflicts, and this week’s briefings to Congress by our top military brass didn’t leave us feeling any less hinky.

General Daniel Allen reported that only three of the Army’s fifty combat brigade teams could deploy if needed.  Admiral William Moran said less than half of the Navy’s fighters are in service and our fleet is the smallest it has been in 100 years.  Our Air Force planes average 27 years in age, well past their life expectancy, and we are short 750 pilots and over 1600 maintenance technicians.

Of course every government program wants more money, more money, more money.  Always.  But it appears the military has been cut to the bone, and our leaders made it clear to President Trump that they need funds, now – if we want to continue to have any foreign policy leverage.

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) is pushing for a huge military budget increase, but he may have to fight that through a conservative Congress and a tough new OMB director, Mick Mulvaney.  Mulvaney agrees with President Trump that national defense is our highest priority.  But he is also a budget hawk, tasked with keeping Congress’ promise to the voters to stop the insanity of our $20 trillion debt.

McCain attacked Mulvaney over his alleged “failure to support the military” by blindly supporting every request for “more money” as a congressman, but Mulvaney’s counterpunch embarrassed the crusty McCain, who could not differentiate between the “top line military budget” and the “overseas contingency operation”, a much-abused and unaccountable military slush fund.

McCain wants $100 billion.  The generals are asking for a $40 billion increase.  Trump is thinking more like $30 billion – with the requirement that it not be wasted.

Is President Trump right about the need to refresh our military?  Yes.

Is it time to send John McCain to the glue factory?  Yes.  Thanks for your service, John.  Have fun at Sun City.

Am I glad to have a tight-fisted skinflint like Mulvaney at OMB keeping an eye on our money?  Hell yeah!

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right SideHell yeah!
Turn it up!
Right on!
Hell yeah!

Hell Yeah! – Montgomery Gentry

 

 

Think Our News Media is Bad? You Should See the UK!

sky-news-trumpI just spent a week in the UK and was anxious to observe the political mood of the Brits.  I expected their focus to be on Brexit, their new prime minister Theresa May, the impact of immigration in the UK, the pound vs. the euro – you know, British stuff.

After a long red-eye flight, and suffering a butt-dragging case of jet lag that first evening, my son and I had an early dinner and retired to our hotel room.  We soon learned that British television is abysmal – mostly old American reruns and effete comedy that’s just not funny.  But that’s okay, we are both news junkies, so I switched to BBC News.

To my surprise, every minute of programming on the Beeb was a non-stop assault on Donald Trump.  There was no balance, no “other side”, no pretense of fairness or even any attempt at honesty.  And no non-Trump news at all.

So I switched to the other news network, SkyNews.  It was worse!  Nothing but unbridled, hair-on-fire, heads-exploding, cobra venom spit in the eyes of Donald Trump and all the Americans who chose him to be their president.  MSNBC is Mister Rogers compared to British television news. And nothing changed for the entire week of our visit.  Both networks ran anti-Trump propaganda full-time, 24/7.   Only passing mention was given to the fact that Parliament was engaged in a pretty significant discussion about whether they would honor the people’s vote for Brexit.  The newspapers (which are free and stacked up on street corners every evening) were also fixated on all things American, with only a smattering of local news.

We were given a warm welcome in the pubs and at the football (soccer) games.  Like us, British guys love beer, football, and politics and are ready to discuss all of the above, especially with a couple of Yanks.  They were very curious about the Trump phenomenon, and were surprisingly up-to-speed on American politics.  But then, why wouldn’t they be?  That’s all they get on their news networks.

I was surprised to find that most of the Brits we met were on the conservative side, despite their hard-left news media.  They understand our “drain the swamp” revolution and see parallels with their own Brexit experience.  But some can’t get past our new president’s persona.

“I agree with everything that Trump is doing,” said one new friend over a couple of pints.  “But I can’t support him because he hates women.”  When I pressed him about what that meant, he said he just can’t tolerate a president who goes around grabbing women by the pussy.   Groan.

Another conservative limey said he agrees with American conservatives right down the line, with one big exception.  “Why do you all think you need guns?  Your crime rate is terrible.”  I had to explain that’s why we need guns.

Like American lefties, British liberals love to protest.  They even feel compelled to protest about an election that took place 3,500 miles across the pond.  There are subtle differences, though.  Left-wing British protesters don’t break windows and start fires, and left-wing American protesters don’t give a rat’s patootie about who is elected on the other side of the planet.

I left my British friends with this advice:  don’t believe what you see and hear on the television!  I guess the same advice would serve us Americans well, too.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right Side

We don’t believe what’s on TV
Because it’s what we want to see
And what we want we know we can’t believe
We have all learned to kill our dreams

We Don’t Believe What’s On TV – Twenty One Pilots

 

This fun young duo is filling venues all over on their US tour and were nominated for three Grammy awards.  Check ’em out!

Trump’s First Thirty Minutes in Office

trump-phone

 

[operator]:  Good morning, Mr. President.  I hope you will enjoy your first day in the Oval Office.

[Trump]: Thanks, Rosie.  But just remember, one screw-up and You’re Fired!  You’ll be back cleaning bathrooms at ‘The View’ with those other ugly broads in a New York minute!

[operator]:  Of course, sir.  I have made your first call – President Putin is on the line.

[Trump]:  Hello, Vlad.  Hey, I just wanted to let you know, no hard feelings about hacking the DNC.  I don’t blame you, it’s a hell of a lot of fun tweaking that bunch of whiney snowflakes, isn’t it?  I would have done it myself, but I can barely do Twitter.  Anyway, what do you say we get together next week and make a plan to take out those ISIS bastards once and for all?  Should be fun!  Later, comrade.

[operator]:  Mr. President, President Kim Jong-un of North Korea is ready to speak with you.

[Trump]:  Is that you, King Kong?  I have a message for you on my first day in office, you fat little f***, so listen up.  If you test one more nuclear device, if you launch one more missile – if you so much as pee one drip outside your hole in the floor, my boys will turn your God-forsaken armpit of a country into a flamed-out marshmallow on a stick.  You got that, Ping Pong?  Fagettaboutit!

[operator]: President Trump, the president of Mexico, Enrique Pena Nieto has been holding for you.

[Trump]:  Hello?  Hello?  Now, Enrique, please stop crying.  It’s . . . there, there, Enrique, it’s . . . now please . . . Look, I know it was Vicente Fox that said he wouldn’t pay for my f***ing wall, not you.  Enrique?  You need to get yourself together amigo, call me back when you can talk.  Okay, Adios.

[operator]: Mr. President, I have reached Prime Minister Trudeau of Canada.

[Trump]:  Well hello, there, neighbor!  I called to invite you to join me later this week, eh?  We need to work on our plan to make North America the energy powerhouse of the world.  I am so ready to get everybody back to work and our economy flying, eh?  Our low energy cost will attract the best manufacturers from all over the world.  What a one-two punch, eh?  Heck, if Mexico cleans up their act, maybe Enrique will want to join the party, too.  He’s got a lot of good workers down there, eh?  All right, my friend, let’s start Monday.  Oh, and by the way – let’s talk about that “Liberal Party” of yours, eh?  Okay, bye.

[operator]:  Mr. President, our conference call with the leaders of Germany, France, Great Britain and Japan is ready for you.

[Trump]:  Fellows, thanks for joining me on this call.  Oh, and you too, Frau Merkel, sorry.  I just wanted to let you know that I bought the UN building in New York City this morning.  Yes, and I am evicting all of those whiney little despots so I can turn it into a first-class resort hotel.  Right.  Last I heard they are going to meet up in Kinshasa.  I don’t know, it’s somewhere over there in Africa.  But hey, I thought we could start our own little club, you know?  We could watch each other’s backs and get some of these messes cleaned up, instead of paying for all those other little piss ants to cause trouble all the time.  Then if some of these other countries want to stand up for democracy, and human rights, and free trade and forget about getting rich by global warming hoaxes and identity politics, maybe they can join the club later on.  Right.  I’ll see you guys at Mar Largo next month.

[Trump]: Rosie, hold my calls for a while, I have to straighten out the tax code, fix our immigration problem, and get a new health care system running.  But I should be done in time for my 4:00 pm tee time!

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right SideListen kid, you paid for the call.
You ain’t bad but I’ve heard it all before.
Don’t call us, we’ll call you!
Don’t call us, we’ll call you !

Don’t Call Us, We’ll Call You – Sugarloaf

 

Jerry Corbetta, founder and leader of the Denver band Sugarloaf, passed away a few months ago.  Sugarloaf had some monster hits in the seventies and they are as crisp today as they were then.  I feel a tiny connection to this band – I played in a band with a guy who played in a band with a guy who played for Sugarloaf.  Probably every musician in the world has played with every other musician in the world, twice removed!  Anyway, enjoy this classic – sorry, no live video of this song.

Russians? Chinese? They Are Just Spies Like Us

spyvsspySadly, the glory days of Spy vs. Spy are gone.  No more encrypted notes taped under park benches.  Forget about secret meetings in parking garages.  Throw away your fountain pen with the camera in the cap.

Was that sultry Russian babe James Bond’s friend or enemy?  How did Maxwell Smart get such good phone reception in his shoe?

Today’s spies aren’t nearly as cool and clandestine as the spooks we grew up with.  You won’t find them sneaking through the fog in trenchcoats with microfilm and hidden cameras, digging up tidbits to sell to the KGB or the CIA.  But there are still plenty of them, and they are gainfully employed by governments all over the world.  They spend their workdays in front of a computer screen, looking for an open port or a compromised password.  They write worms of code that can be planted in a target computer to reveal government secrets from yesterday, today, and into the future.

Democrats and the mainstream media (sorry, redundant) have suffered ‘hair-on-fire syndrome’ this week, blaming Russian hackers for helping Donald Trump defeat their heroine Hillary in the presidential election.   It’s amusing on a number of fronts.  They want to impugn Trump because somebody hacked their DNC servers and emails.  They assume it was the Russians, but they don’t know.  They don’t seem concerned about the ugly Democrat secrets revealed.  They can’t explain why Russian president Putin would prefer Trump to their golden girl.  Wasn’t it Hillary who gave 20% of our strategic uranium supply to Russia?

Vladimir, when asked by a reporter about Russian hacking, said, “It wasn’t us, but thanks for the compliment.”

“There’s nothing there benefiting Russia,” Putin told the Russia Calling conference. “The hysteria is simply to distract the American people from the contents of what the hackers have posted.”

Putin doesn’t deny that his government employs hackers.  He would be foolish to do so, at a time when China, the United States, and many other governments are feverishly at work trying to dig up each others’ secrets.  China, in fact, is setting the bar high for other wanna-be hacker spies.  They nailed the personnel records of 4 million US government workers.   Oops, make that 21.5 million government workers.  They busted into the White House, the US Postal Service, the State Dept., and the NOAA.  They infiltrated the FDIC.  It may be hard to find a government server that hasn’t been hacked by the Chinese.  Several years ago the Chinese Army filled a building with hackers, and has since built a small high-tech city around it, putting a whole lot of their espionage eggs in the computer hacking basket.

And if stealing secrets isn’t bad enough, foreign hackers are developing offensive weapons that could black-out our electrical grid, bring the stock market to a screeching halt, or make our barely-functional air traffic control system totally dysfunctional.  Chances are some or all of these dastardly deeds are already do-able.

As early as 2011 the US government recognized hacking as the next big thing in intelligence and intrigue, ramping up to hire its own army of geeks.  Mum has been the word since then, but it would be naïve, to say the least, to think that we haven’t tried to sneak into Putin’s database.

As to the latest knots in the Democrat underwear about Trump conspiring with big, mean Putin against poor little Hillary (who got her own top-secret server hacked by lord-knows-who) – I say, fagettaboutit.  It’s Spy vs. Spy all over again, and our spies had better be at least as smart as the other guys spies.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right Side

Hey don’t feel afraid
Of an undercover raid
There’s no need to fuss
There ain’t nobody that spies like us!

Spies Like Us – Paul McCartney

 

Who Is The Baddest President?

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

Phillipine President Rodrigo Duterte

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right Side

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

I’m Bad, I’m Nationwide – ZZ Top

 

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

 

Will Companies Like Dell Help Make America Great Again?

dell_headquarters_wide

 

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

“Let’s make America great again.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right Side

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

Better Days – Goo Goo Dolls

 

Hey America, Here Comes the Sun!

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

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

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

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

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

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