Bit O’ Honey Accountability

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

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

Sugar Sugar – the Archies

Entitlements In the Neighborhood

So I’m surfing through the neighborhood social media, and yet another thread is filling up about a locally owned bar/restaurant that has failed shortly after opening.

It saddened me for a number of reasons. I have been a small business owner, and I know the financial risk and hard work that a family takes on when opening a new venture, and how heartbreaking it must be to fail. This club was one that employed local musicians, which also hits home with me. A small business closure impacts many people – employees, vendors, neighbors and customers.

The bar/restaurant business is a tough gig. If the owner (or an extraordinary manager) is not on the premises at all times, profit seems to bleed out of the windows and doors. Bartenders “take care” of their friends, or pocket cash before it gets to the till. Finding and training good servers and cooks takes a lot of time and effort. The bad ones either don’t show up or kill your business when they do, and too often the good ones are lured away by a competitor for a few more bucks.

Stick with me, I’ll get to the entitlement part in a minute.

Some business owners shouldn’t be. While they may have a great talent and passion for a particular product or service, if they don’t understand the important basics of business – accounting, cash flow, managing employees, marketing and market differentiation, inventory control – they are unlikely to survive. Making the best cheesesteak sandwich in the world is one thing; making a profit is another.

Every day in the neighborhood social media, which is a pretty good indicator of the attitudes of the proletariat, I see a lot of whining about businesses, especially restaurants. “Why doesn’t somebody open a [insert name] restaurant here?” “I went to the new local bar but I didn’t like their nachos.” “The new sushi place is too expensive.” “I have to drive to the city to get a gourmet dinner.” Many of the folks in my neighborhood seem to think life owes them a world-class restaurant, on the corner of their block, that charges McDonald’s prices, pays its employees $50 an hour, and contributes to their favorite local charity.

The ability for customers to review businesses online is empowering. And dangerous. It feeds the expanding sense of entitlement that we see every day, fueled by the “free everything” political platform of the Democrats.

It’s getting harder every day to operate a small business. It’s do-able, but not for the faint-of-heart or one lacking serious business chops. Because of social media, all it takes is a couple of one-time correctable flubs, a dishonest customer or competitor, or a disgruntled employee to do serious damage to a business. Add to that high taxes and insensitive government decisions such as lengthy street closings for repairs and arbitrary zoning decisions. As a result, locally-owned businesses disappear as we see signs for the same national brands popping up in every neighborhood.

All we Americans are entitled to is life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Despite the empty promises of Democrats, we are not entitled to total happiness and security. We are not entitled to free health care, free college, forgiveness of debt or guaranteed wages.

Supply and demand works. Many of my neighbors are all about demand, and never stop to consider how supply happens.

Stop whining, people.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

You made me promises promises
Knowing I’d believe
Promises promises
You knew you’d never keep

Promises Promises – Naked Eyes

The HR Dept. – How Socialism Kills Economic Progress

A common-sense principle of business is that managers must have the authority to hire and fire at will. After all, the very reason for a business to exist is to generate a profit for the owners and investors. So managers will compete for the best employees to maximize returns, just as they compete for customers by trying to provide the best product or service at the best price. The companies who hire and retain the best people will thrive, while the others will fade away.

HR (human resources) departments are poison to profit.

A product of the civil rights movement in 1965, the federal government created the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to eliminate hiring discrimination on the basis of race, creed, color or national origin. Every company that does business with the federal government and has 50 or more employees must implement and document an “affirmative action program”.

The EEO/AAP was, and is, a typical big government solution to a problem that should be solved by free market supply and demand. It established rigid quotas based on race, which was then expanded to protect women and the disabled. Soon every minority group, including the evolving alphabet-soup of genders, was lawyering up.

Faced with a mountain of reporting requirements and legal complications, businesses responded by creating and staffing HR departments, a phenomenon that may have done more damage to the economy than any other factor since the depression.

While a manager or owner will make every effort to find the most talented, qualified, and industrious people to fill positions, and reward them well with promotions and compensation, HR departments exist only to meet “diversity” requirements. The result is companies are staffed with many unqualified, unmotivated, and sometimes underpaid minorities (often H1B visa holders) who know they can’t be fired. The “Peter Principle” (individuals are promoted beyond their level of competence) is rampant in many large organizations.

Managers who try to hire or promote talented non-minority employees are stymied by HR. Add the influence of union protection (i.e. government employees), and performance predictably suffers.

Despite 53 years of EEO/AAP and all kinds of other identity-driven programs, liberal politicians still pander for votes by screaming “RAAAAACIST!” at common-sense conservative opponents, who know that for-profit businesses will hire and promote the best people regardless of minority status, which encourages all workers to improve their performance (not their pigmentation or gender) and compete for the best jobs. And that propels the economy and raises standards of living for everybody.

You got me runnin’ goin’ out of my mind
You got me thinkin’ that I’m wastin’ my time
(Don’t bring me down, no no no no no)
I’ll tell you once more before I get off the floor
(Don’t bring me down)

Don’t Bring Me Down – Electric Light Orchestra

‘Til “Glacier” Freezes Over

A few years ago, before we left our home state of Montana to move to the sunny South, we decided to make one last visit to Glacier National Park.

“Glacier” as Big Sky natives lovingly call it, is the best Montana has to offer. Yellowstone is nice, but touristy and crowded – I look for Yogi and Boo Boo behind every tree, and it seems the feds have something annoyingly “governmental” pounded into every rock. While Glacier has become more commercialized and politically correct than it was in the good old days, it still is somewhat pristine and remains one of the most beautiful spots in the Rocky Mountains.

We visited Glacier in late June, before all the snow was gone for the summer, but after the Going to the Sun Road was opened up, which was early that year (as of today, 6/20/19, half of the road is still not plowed out). We did not want to miss that spectacular drive from West Glacier to St. Mary on what might be our last visit to Glacier.

We arrived at the St. Mary Lodge and did the tour through the grand old main lodge building, enjoying the history of the place and the high mountain ambience.

George Bird Grinnell, a New Yorker, naturalist and western conservationist, pushed for a national park designation which was signed by President Taft in 1910. Glacier National Park was first “civilized” as part of the westward push of the Great Northern Railway across the northern United States and much of the infrastructure was funded, engineered and built by the railroad under James Hill, who saw a tourism profit opportunity . Most of that privately built infrastructure, including hotels and lodges, trails, tracks, tunnels and roads remains in use today and has held up remarkably well.

And this is key. It was not government influence and “protection” of natural resources that made Glacier National Park and other treasures of the American West great; rather, it was private entrepreneurial drive and inspiration.

Salamander Glacier reflects into the blue water of Swiftcurrent Lake.
photo courtesy MyItchyTravelFeet.com

After hanging out at the lodge for a while, we decided to hike the Grinnell Glacier Trail that goes past Swiftcurrent Lake and provides a good view of Salamander Glacier. We could not help but notice the grizzly bear warning signs, and having grown up in bear country south of Glacier, I took them seriously. With so many tourists around it was more likely we would see black bear rather than big grizzers. And we actually did see several black bear.

At the trailhead near the lodge there was a big sign explaining how, because of man-caused Global Warming, the glaciers, including Grinnell, were melting fast and would likely be gone by the year 2020. I admit, as native Montanans, we were temporarily taken aback by this “official” government proclamation, until my conservative skepticism kicked back in. This same propaganda was all over the lodge in brochure racks and informational displays. In 2012 National Geographic produced this work of fiction, (note the obligatory slow, sad PBS victim-style piano music):

Last week it was revealed that the National Park Service was quietly removing all the Global Warming propaganda at Glacier National Park because it has become evident that the glaciers have been growing for some time. Oops. Another embarrassing example of leftists abusing science for political leverage.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

See people rocking — Hear people chanting — Feeling hot hot hot
Keep up this spirit — Come on let’s do it
— Feeling hot hot hot

Hot Hot Hot – Buster Poindexter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

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

Don't Make Me Over - Dionne Warwick

The Left’s Wacky View of Church vs. State

image courtesy ChristianHeadlines.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Why not?” I countered. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Silence.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sigh.  A conservative’s work is never done.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

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

Son of a Preacher Man – Dusty Springfield



Can We Be From the Same Planet?

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

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

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

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

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

___________________

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

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

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

Ball of Confusion – the Temptations