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)

 

 

TPP Walks, Talks Like A Lame Duck

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

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

Whew!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right Side

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

Disco Duck – Rick Dees

 

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

No More Immigration Until We Fix Anacostia

anacostia-school

photo by Chris Roberts, American Renaissance

It was a short drive from my hotel in Washington, DC’s toney National Harbor district to the Capitol.  But we were stuck in heavy traffic on I-295 into downtown.  My Uber driver slid to the outside lane and hit the exit.  “I have a quicker way to get downtown,” he said.  That was fine with me, although I really wasn’t in a hurry.

Within minutes we were smack in the middle of the Anacostia ghetto.  We might as well have taken the exit to Mars.

I live in South Carolina, in a comfy suburb across the lake from Charlotte (NC).  My town seems to me like normal America.  My trips to the city can sometimes take me through areas that are not exactly high-rent districts.  But they don’t look or feel anything like Anacostia.  Over the years I’ve been through the barrio on Figueroa in LA,  I have cruised around South Chicago, I’ve seen some of the underbelly of Detroit.  I thought I had seen some of the ugliest armpits our nation has to offer.  But Anacostia was an eye-opener.

We drove through mile after mile of liquor stores, check-cashers, and raggedy store-fronts, each decorated with young black men (and a few women) leaning against them.  It was 10:00 a.m., and clearly none of the Anacostia folks had anywhere to go or anything to do.  Some chugged beers, a few shared doobies openly on the street, and here and there were clusters of guys who appeared to be negotiating their next big deal.  It was so totally foreign, I gaped out the passenger window in dropped-jaw amazement.  I must have looked like a zoo animal to them.  A boarded up dilapidated cafe, an elementary school unfit for the rats that live there, a rehab clinic doing brisk business.  A muscular young guy jogging and shadow-boxing, Rocky-style.  A wheelchair-bound young woman rolling up to a grubby corner drug store.

I’m not one who notices race first, but the segregation was jarring – there was not a single face that was not African-American.

My Vietnamese immigrant driver pretended to be oblivious to the bizarre scene, but his eyes saw what mine did.  “It nicer across freeway,” he repeated several times in broken English.

Block after block, my state of mind shifted from shock to amazement to concern.  By the time we emerged from Anacostia and re-entered the “normal” world, I was despondent.  How the hell did this happen?   Why hasn’t anybody done anything about this?  We can’t just leave these hopeless people and this God-forsaken mess like it is.

There is no excuse for this kind of scene in the United States of America.  Whoever gets elected in November had better take a good hard look at what’s going on in Anacostia, and Detroit, and South Chicago, and LA.

I could bore you with all of the tried-and-failed stock solutions to poverty and blight.  But you’ve heard plenty of empty promises over the years, from the left and the right.  More welfare is not the answer – it hasn’t worked and it never will.  Telling people to get to work isn’t it either – there are no jobs for the totally unskilled and unschooled people of the Anacostia ghetto.  This won’t get better until the American people decide it is unacceptable, move in, and get after it.

My trip through the ghetto brought home one message loud and clear.  We had better not waste another dollar or another ounce of labor or another drop of compassion on opportunistic foreign immigrants until we bring Anacostia back to normal America.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right Side

It’s survival in the city
When you live from day to day
City streets don’t have much pity
When you’re down, that’s where you’ll stay

In the City – Joe Walsh