What’s Wrong With You? Don’t You Care?

I’m glad that many people are generous and caring.  I know that there are some among us who have problems and need help.  I’m happy to help someone in need, like most Americans are.

In fact, statistics show that Americans are more kind and caring to strangers than pretty much any group of people in the world.  When a disaster occurs in any corner of the globe, it is expected that the USA will be there to help pick up the pieces with military, financial, and humanitarian assistance.  And at home we not only support charities, we also provide a safety net of food, housing, medical care and other benefits through our tax dollars.

Generosity was expected of the mostly Christian men and women who founded and developed our nation.  Our pioneers valued hard work and honesty too.  Anyone who took unfair advantage of this generosity was shunned by society.  But as our government and our daily lives became more secular over the years, generosity has come to be viewed as a weakness by the unscrupulous, and the number of reprobates and schemes exploded as government officials learned they can build lucrative careers by giving away other peoples’ money.

We moan about our crushing national debt while politicians claim they can’t cut spending because it is mostly untouchable mandatory “entitlements”.  How naïve or apathetic does one have to be to not see the enormous waste, fraud and abuse in these entitlement programs?

I remember my shock the first time a drug addict offered to sell me food stamps on the street at 50 cents on the dollar.  It had never occurred to me that food stamps could be sold.  Yesterday I was in line at the grocery store behind a veiled Muslim woman and her husband, both dressed to the nines, and venting their displeasure to each other (in Arabic) about the cashier who struggled to separate valid food stamp items from the others.  The wife used her EBT card for the legitimate groceries, and the husband paid for the non-qualifying products with his American Express card.  I didn’t follow them to the parking lot, but I would bet they loaded their groceries into a new luxury car.

One of many problems with ObamaCare is the costly expansion of the Medicaid program to include middle income Americans who can no longer buy health insurance through normal channels.  Concurrent with the failure of ObamaCare is an epidemic of opioid addiction, overdoses, deaths, and the related social costs including unemployment and destroyed families.  Some politicians claim that even more Medicaid spending is required to address the burgeoning opioid problem.  In reality, expanded Medicaid has largely caused the opioid epidemic as millions of people now walk around with unlimited health care credit cards in their pockets and it is only too easy to report aches and pains and ask for opiates which can be easily sold for cash.

Signs appear on the street offering to buy diabetes supplies for cash, next to signs in Spanish advertising tax filing help and promising large refund checks for merely listing dependents.  Education grant checks go to people who never appear on campus.  Couples live together and raise families but never marry because they would risk losing earned income credit and other entitlements.  I could list schemes and scams for the rest of the day and not even scratch the surface.

The Tin Man wanted a heart. The scarecrow wanted a brain.  The cowardly lion wanted some courage.  There’s no reason why we can’t have all three.  We should all care about others, but we have to be smart enough to avoid abuse, and strong enough to say no once in a while.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ on the Right Side

Don’t you see
You’re hurtin’ me
Don’t you care?
Don’t you care?

The Buckinghams – Don’t You Care

 

What The Hell Is ‘Mad Dog” Up To?

(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

With all eyes on the middle of the swamp, riveted on the battle over the repeal and replacement of ObamaCare, a little drama has been percolating, unwatched, over in the far corner under the cypress trees.

Not long ago, General James Mattis rode President Trump’s full-throated endorsement to the lofty post of Secretary of Defense, past eminently qualified candidates like Sen. Jeff Sessions, Rep. Mike Rogers, and veteran security advisor Stephen Hadley.  The men overlooked for the job had several things in common – all are Republicans, are loyal Trump supporters, and are broadly respected in conservative circles.

Mattis had a few things going for him, too.  People called him “Mad Dog”.  He once said, “it’s fun to shoot some people.”  He also once said he is opposed to the Iran nuclear giveaway.  Did I say his name is Mad Dog?

President Trump was so impressed with old Mad Dog he slam-dunked him right into one of his most critical cabinet posts.  Congress didn’t hesitate to give Mattis a waiver allowing the recently-retired general to bypass the required 10-year waiting period between active military service and SecDef.  Why, Leon Panetta himself personally campaigned for Mattis.  What’s not to like?

Wait a minute, Leon Panetta?  The guy who viscerally hates Donald Trump?  The far-left, Obama insider, Democrat apparatchik who was one of the biggest moving parts of the Clinton Machine?  That Leon Panetta?

It gets weirder.  Old Mad Dog’s first big recruit was Anne Patterson for undersecretary of defense for policy.  Patterson gained notoriety as a honcho on Hillary Clinton’s team for her support of the Muslim Brotherhood regime that failed so spectacularly in Egypt.

General Mattis also flirted with Democrat Michele Flournoy, founder of the far-left Center for New American Security and former Obama undersecretary of defense for policy, for a sub-cab post.  Flournoy ultimately turned him down because Mad Dog is not quite leftist enough to suit her taste.

Mattis’ latest pick is Rudy DeLeon for undersecretary of personnel and readiness.  DeLeon is a senior fellow at the Center for America Progress, whose current stated mission is to undermine the Trump presidency.  CAP was created and developed by John Podesta (there’s that name again) and is funded by George Soros.  According to Jordan Schactel in Conservative Review, DeLeon signed on to a letter that calls Trump’s national security order restricting immigration “beneath the dignity of our great nation” and advised government workers to apply “discretion,” in an attempt to essentially undermine the president’s initiative.  DeLeon is a big proponent of Obama’s nuclear giveaway program to Iran.

I can’t see any reason why a person with DeLeon’s pedigree wouldn’t fit perfectly into Trump’s administration, can you?

General Mattis’ appears determined to load up the administration with as many Trump-haters as he can find, as if there aren’t enough enemies left over from the Obama regime already.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Big man, walking in the park
Wigwam, frightened of the dark
Some kind of solitude is measured out in you
You think you know me but you haven’t got a clue
Hey Bulldog!

Hey Bulldog – the Beatles

 

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.

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)

 

 

Obamacare for Dummies

aca-for-dummies

 

The Affordable Health Care Act

History

In March of 2010 the Affordable Health Care Act (ObamaCare) became law.  The bill passed the House by a vote of 206 – 212, and the Senate by 60 – 39.  Not one Republican congressman or senator voted for ObamaCare.  70% of Americans were opposed to the new law.  But hey, the Democrats are smarter than everybody else.  They know what’s best for us.

Features

  • If you like your insurance plan, you can keep your insurance plan.
    • Well, maybe not.  But you will have many good plans to choose from.
      • Unless the exchanges collapse because the insurers are bleeding money from mandated cost items. Actually, you will probably get stuck with very few plan choices from very few (maybe only one) insurance company.
  • If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.
    • But that’s only if your doctor chooses to accept your new insurance plan that pays him a lot less money and puts all kinds of requirements and restrictions on him.  It’s pretty unlikely.
  • Insurance premiums will go down $2500 per year
    • And then they will go way, way up.  Because
      • kids stay on your policy until age 26
      • people with expensive pre-existing conditions are welcomed to the pool
      • plans are required to provide more benefits, many of them for “free”
      • competition is reduced because only a few very large companies can manage the complexity and cost of implementing the government plans
      • new people on the plans, especially those plugged into Medicaid, will have much higher claims experience
      • oh, by the way, deductibles and co-pays will go crazy.  You may have to pay the first $14,000 of medical bills.
  • There will be no tax increases due to ObamaCare
    • The only way citizens can afford ObamaCare is if the government pays a huge portion of the sky-high premiums as a subsidy.  So the cost to the taxpayers is enormous.
      • But who cares?  The government doesn’t have to raise taxes.  They can just print more money and add to the national debt.
      • Oh, and if you don’t have insurance, you will have to pay a penalty.  But that’s not a tax.  Even though it is in the tax code, assessed and collected by the IRS.  The Supreme Court said so – it must be true.
  • ObamaCare will not add to the national deficit or debt
    • Umm, well.  Sorry.  That’s a fib.  See above.
  • There will be very few Americans who do not have health insurance
    • Unless healthy young people decide they can’t or don’t want to pay for ObamaCare and decide to just pay the fine.  Or not pay the fine.  Whatever.
    • And then there are the people who find enrollment in ObamaCare so complex they don’t even try.
  • ObamaCare will not be given to illegal immigrants at taxpayer expense
    • The government will, however, provide free ObamaCare to undocumented Democrat voters.

Conversion to HillaryCare in November 2016

  • The government tried, but ObamaCare didn’t work very well, so they are going to put you all on single-payer national health insurance like Canada.  They didn’t intend for this to happen. Really. It’s just one of those things.  But Hillary has a great new plan:
    • Long waiting lists for care.  This has been perfected by the VA Hospitals.  You may have to wait a year or so for that procedure.  This reduces cost because after a year many patients have assumed room temperature and no longer need care.
    • Your doctor will be a kid from Bangladesh who came here on an H1B visa.  He speaks English, but you still won’t understand a word he says.  This reduces cost because he will work for $20k per year, and you will give up trying to get well because you won’t know what’s wrong with you.
    • 80% of hospital wards will be converted to maternity units.  Our new undocumented Democrats do tend to have a lot of babies.

Quiz (True or False)

  1. Adding eight years of children’s coverage to a health care plan will reduce plan costs.
  2. Allowing people with pre-existing conditions to join a health care plan at the same premium level will reduce plan costs.
  3. Anything the government does will cost less and work better than it does in the private sector.
  4. Doctors don’t mind making less money or being told what to do.
  5. It doesn’t matter if premiums go way up as long as the government is paying for most of the cost (after all, if the government is paying for it, it’s free).

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right Side

 

Calling Dr. Howard, Dr. Fine, Dr. Howard!