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



Bull Riders Call Charlotte Arena’s Political Correctness ‘BS’

bull-riderThe bull riders were ready to pack up their saddles and head off toward the sunset.  Even the world’s toughest athletes can only take so much bull***t.

For some reason Charlotte, NC is seeking the title of “Most Politically Correct City in the USA,”  and just can’t seem to stop poking itself in the eye.  This summer Charlotte found its first brush with worldwide fame – not for any positive accomplishment, but for passing a city law that allows men to use women’s rest rooms, locker rooms, or any other private facilities.  And vice versa, although I don’t understand why women would prefer the nastiness of some of the men’s rooms I have encountered.  Anyway, the city law was so stupid that the governor had to step in and overrule it with a state law before things got really crazy, like men choosing to compete in women’s sports, and lechers hanging out in the girls’ locker room at the YMCA.  As a result, the city and state are being blacklisted by politically correct entertainers, athletic event organizers, etc.  But I digress.

Last weekend the Professional Bull Riders (PBR) came to town for the Charlotte Invitational.  If you have ever watched a PBR event, you know that these are the roughest, toughest hombres in the world of sports.  Their idea of Friday night fun is climbing on top of a 2,000 pound animal named Perfect Poison that was specifically bred to be mean as a rattlesnake and tough as a . . . well, a bull – and try to stay on for 8 seconds.  And then not get stomped to death.

These are not the kind of guys who are politically correct.  In fact it would be fair to say they are pretty strong-willed, especially when it comes to love of God and country.

border-patrol-at-charlotte-pbrSo when the manager of the Spectrum Center told PBR head honcho Sean Gleason that he could not have the U.S. Customs and Border Agents present the flag before his event because they carry guns, Gleason threatened to shut down the show.

Gleason wrote on his Facebook page:

“As Federal Agents working in an official capacity, they are not allowed to ‘surrender’ their firearms to anyone, especially a security guard working at an arena in Charlotte, NC!! That included the color guard who were presenting the American flag to our fans for the anthem.  What should have been a two-minute conversation with the GM of the building turned into a 1½ hour runaround involving lawyers and the most insane arguments and reasoning I have ever heard.”

One minute before the event was to begin, the arena manager relented, allowing the Border Agents to enter the arena, albeit with a police escort.

At least half (I think a lot more) of Americans see this kind of lunacy (allowing men in womens’ rest rooms, and not allowing professional law enforcement officers to enter a building with their weapons) and wonder if the other half is drunk, crazy, evil, or all the above.  Thank God there are still some no-nonsense guys like the PBR cowboys who are willing to take a stand against this politically-correct BS.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right Side

Well the one hand hold is all you got
It’s you and the bull against the clock and a cross crowd
And once upon a spinnin’ ton
Nothin’ else you’ve ever done can pull this way

Bull Rider – Johnny Cash

 

Trump: Hillary Does the Hanky-Panky

(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right Side

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

Hanky-Panky – Tommy James and the Shondells

 

 

 

Joe Walsh Donates All Of His Profit to the ACLU! REALLY! We Believe You, Joe!

joe-walshI’m a rock guitar player.  I grew up riffing to “Funk 49“.  I lived in the Rocky Mountains and reveled in singing along with Joe Walsh’s irreverent “Rocky Mountain Way.”  I always LOVED guitar god Joe Walsh, the goofy leader of the James Gang and the only member of the Eagles who would make sure you got your $50 worth of entertainment from your $150 row 175 ticket.

So now Joe Walsh is coming to Charlotte for a gig!  Woo hoo!  But wait.  I’m not sure his heart is in it.

You see, ever since Charlotte passed a law saying anybody can use any bathroom or locker room or dorm room or sports team or single-sex school they want to at any time regardless of their personal plumbing, and then the state of North Carolina passed a law called HB2 saying, “Wait a minute!  There could be some big problems there!”, concerts in the Tar Heel State have been cancelled left and right.  Bruce Springsteen was first, cancelling his show in Greensboro.   Bruce questioned Governor McCrory’s objection to junior high co-ed showers, saying, “To my mind, it’s an attempt by people who cannot stand the progress our country has made in recognizing the human rights of all of our citizens to overturn that progress.”

Adam Levine, famed judge from the hit TV show “The Voice” and lead singer of Maroon 5, was next to put his ticket sales where his mouth is, saying, “WE FEEL EVERYONE SHOULD BE TREATED EQUALLY.”

That started a “me-too” tsunami of cancellations that included Demi Lovato, Nick Jonas, Pearl Jam, Jimmy Buffett, and even my childhood hero Ringo Starr (arrow in my heart!).  The NBA has threatened to pull the 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte due to the raw injustice of HB2.  PayPal decided to not build an office in North Carolina, that horrible place that refuses to let transgendered people pee.  Never mind that PayPal does business in nations all over the world that routinely execute gays.

And then there’s Joe.  “My shows are a place where all are welcome and all can feel safe. This is why I have chosen to proceed with concert dates as planned in North Carolina and will be donating my net profits to Equality NC and the ACLU.”

Um, Joe, can we audit the books?  I mean, I don’t doubt your accounting integrity or anything like that.  I’m sure you wouldn’t overstate your expenses.  Heck, you will probably give the ACLU every single penny of profit you earn from those $150 seats.  I don’t doubt your sincerity at all.  Shoot, you just want to make sure that both transgendered people in Charlotte are treated fairly.  I trust you!

Sheesh.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right SideMy Maserati does 185.
I lost my license, now I don’t drive.
It’s hard to handle this fortune and fame.
Everybody’s so different, I haven’t changed!

Life’s Been Good To Me So Far – Joe Walsh

 

I still love ya Joe, even if you are a total knucklehead.  Watch this AWESOME cut from Daryl’s House.

 

 

 

Mixed Emotions When Mexican Driver Kills Mexican Child And Flees Back to Mexico

photo courtesy Charlotte Observer

I have been following a story in the Charlotte, NC news for several days now which still grips my attention for a variety of reasons.  I find myself wrestling with my reactions to each development, and trying to sort out the implications of the profound change Charlotte, and much of America, has gone through in recent years.

I write this post not to make any particular point, but rather to illustrate how our emotions are manipulated by the politically-correct news media.

The tragedy began when a mother was crossing a street in East Charlotte with her young son and daughter in hand.  The girl let go and darted across the street, and her six-year old brother followed.  He was hit by a beat-up white work van.  The driver, identified by witnesses as “a Hispanic man in his mid-thirties with curly black hair,” stopped briefly, saw the child lying gravely injured on the street, and then sped away.

Like any parent, my first reaction was horror at the sudden death of a child, and sympathy.  Immediately following that was my suspicion and anger that the driver is probably an illegal immigrant.

A year ago Charlotte’s political leaders chose to declare it a “sanctuary city”, one of hundreds  of cities across the country that refuses to turn illegal immigrants, including criminals, over to federal authorities for processing and deportation.  Since then Charlotte has attracted growing numbers of Hispanic illegals, and the crime statistics have tilted heavily in their direction.

In support of the sanctuary city stance, Charlotte news outlets do not identify illegal immigrant criminals as such.   A respected African-American business owner was recently murdered in my Charlotte suburb by a Honduran laborer, and the fact that the killer was here illegally was never reported by the Charlotte press. But since the murder occurred on the South Carolina side of the lake, the Rock Hill (SC) Herald reported that federal immigration and customs officials were involved.

Here’s where the bouncing emotions and questions come in.  My “I’ll bet the driver is an illegal” reaction to the hit-and-run incident probably matches the vast majority of my neighbors. If he is here illegally, the driver likely has no insurance, perhaps no driver’s license.  Even though it was clearly an accident, and the driver is doubtless torn with guilt, his entire life in the USA is clandestine, so he had to run.  I feel sorry for him.  Wait, no I don’t, he fled the scene of a fatal accident.  I noticed that the child’s family is also Hispanic, and I can’t help but wonder if they are also here illegally.  But so what?  The child’s death is no less tragic.  The boy’s family told reporters they want the driver found and prosecuted.  Would the Charlotte police have turned him over to ICE if they had caught him?

The driver has now been identified as Juan Antonio Quintanilla-Garza, and the press will only report that Charlotte police believe he is “out of state.”  The words “out of the country” would be too revealing.  Quintanilla-Garza probably left corrupt, backwards Mexico to try to help his own family.  He became a criminal in the process.

The accident was not caused by illegal immigration.  It could have happened to anyone, by anyone, anywhere.  But it became more than an accident when the driver took off.  And the flood of illegal immigrants to our country, plus the disproportionate incidence of crimes by illegals, plus the inexplicable “sanctuary city” policies that enable and protect illegal immigrant criminals all combine to scramble our emotions into an omelette of anger, fear and frustration.

It’s not about racism. It’s about borders, and security, and economics and enforcing the laws. And in the middle of it all is a dead kid.

What a mess.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right Side

You’re not the only one
With mixed emotions
You’re not the only ship
Adrift on this ocean

Mixed Emotions – Rolling Stones

 

Hey, There’s Another Poor Transgendered Person Looking For A Place to Pee

Gender-neutral-bathroom-signI was walking downtown the other day and saw a really sad thing.  There were transgendered and LGBT people all over the place, frantically looking for a rest room they could use.  I felt so sorry for them and wondered what it must be like to have to go all day without being able to find a place to pee.  It made me feel so guilty, knowing that I was born with “straight-person privilege.”

Then I stopped into a bakery to grab an apple fritter just as the police were hauling the owner off to jail for refusing to bake a wedding cake for a gay customer.  And while I was there, I saw this lecherous sleazebag follow an innocent little girl into the ladies room, claiming to be a woman with a man’s parts.

No wait, that didn’t really happen.  None of it ever happens.  Anywhere.

I have never seen a transgendered person puzzling over where to pee.  I can count the number of transgendered people I have ever seen on one hand, and I have not led a sheltered life.  I don’t know anybody who has ever suffered from a bathroom gender issue, other than the occasional woman sneaking into the men’s room to avoid a long wait in line.  And in my many years of retail business experience, the only incident I know of where a gay person was denied service of any kind is the bakery story that was set up by the Democrats and has been milked to death ever since by the lamestream media.

Why, when the world is so full of REAL problems, does the left insist on stirring up controversy and conflict over situations that don’t exist, or are too ridiculously rare to deserve public attention?  And why does the right think they have to react to these puerile challenges from the left?

North Carolina and Gov. McCrory, you don’t need a law to protect your citizens from something that will never happen.  Why don’t you go to work on cleaning up your sanctuary cities?

Bruce Springsteen and Jimmy Buffett and the rest of you phonies: go sell your $150 concert seats in New York City.  We’ll go down to the pub and listen to some good local music for free.

NBA,  please go ahead and pull your 2017 All-Star Game out of Charlotte.   Don’t just threaten, do it.  It will save the taxpayers a small fortune.

Democrats, quit making up problems.  Republicans, quit reacting to their nonsense.  Gay people, stop parading on the streets half-naked and acting like idiots.  Straight people, stop harassing gay people, they are not any threat to you.  Everybody just shut up and get back to work doing something that matters.

Problem solved.  No charge.  Miller time.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right Side

Well, I’m not dumb but I can’t understand
Why she walked like a woman but talked like a man
Oh my Lola.
La- la- la- la- Lola.
La- la- la- la- Lola!

Charlotte Taxpayers Get Fouled Again On Stadium Upgrades

photo by LeighSells.com

TIME WARNER ARENA – photo by LeighSells.com

Charlotte won its bid to host the 2017 NBA All-Star game, and already the calculators are overheating.

Last fall Charlotte’s city council committed local taxpayers to $27.5 million in upgrades to Time Warner Arena, enough to persuade NBA commissioner Adam Silver that the Queen City deserves the event.  The city will spend at least an additional $6 million on All-Star Weekend, including a $600,000 hosting fee to the league and another $600,000 in incremental police, fire, and medical costs.

The city of Charlotte shares ownership of Time Warner Arena with the Charlotte Hornets, having paid $260 million of the original construction cost in 2005.  The arena replaced the Charlotte Coliseum, which was built in 1988 and was the home of the Hornets for 17 years before it was demolished despite a public outcry.

About $1.5 million of the cost will be paid from hospitality taxes and the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority is forking over a similar amount.  Mecklenburg County and the state of North Carolina will also be asked to chip in, but the rest of the cost will be borne by city taxpayers.  Hornets owner Michael Jordan, who boasts a net worth of $1 billion thanks to the appreciation in the value of his team, has offered to pay $150,000 of the tab out of concession profits.

Charlotte Mayor pro tem Michael Barnes said, “We have to invest in assets the city owns.”  The city’s somewhat vague contract requires it to maintain a facility that is “among the NBA’s most modern”.  The city council approved the spending on a partisan 9-2 vote.  One of the dissenters, Republican Ed Driggs, thinks the taxpayers are on the receiving end of a flagrant foul.

“Many don’t believe public money should be used to subsidize a for-profit business,” Driggs told the Charlotte News Observer.  “How do we rationalize the terms of this?  We pay all the capital costs and receive no proceeds.  What kind of partnership is this?”

Charlotte taxpayers are still looking for an ‘unnecessary roughness’ penalty flag after the city council gave NFL owner Jerry Richardson $87.5 million for questionable improvements to Panther Stadium.    And the fiscal finish line is nowhere in sight for the uptown money-pit Nascar Hall of Fame, which cost $194 million in public funds and is still losing over a million bucks a year.

The residents of Charlotte own some of the finest sports facilities that money can buy, but most can’t afford to enjoy them, thanks to ever-escalating ticket and concession prices.  The players seem to have more success negotiating with team owners, as evidenced by Cam Newton’s new $104 million contract with the Panthers.

Maybe Charlotte taxpayers need a new agent.

• this article can be seen in its entirety at Watchdog Arena, a sponsor of “Rockin’ On the Right Side” •

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right SideSometimes building ivory towers, sometimes knocking castles down
Sometimes building you a stairway, lock you underground
It’s that old-time religion, it’s the kingdom they would rule
It’s the fool on television, getting paid to play the fool

 The Big Money – Rush

 

I play in a three-piece band on weekends and am occasionally looked down upon by a prospective venue booker who thinks that it takes a bunch of musicians to make good music.  Hmm.  Here’s a pretty darn good little three-piece band:

 

 

 

 

 

Made in the USA – By Mexicans

mexican concrete crewMy wife and I are building a new home.  We are doing some of the work ourselves but the majority of the work is done by subcontractors, mostly hired through our general contractor.  Working on a major project like this brings many current political and economic issues from the big-picture level down to the up-close and personal level.

Today, as our driveway was being installed, I had quite a discussion with the owner/operator of our concrete finishing company.  Alex (not actual name) is a legal Mexican immigrant and has been doing business in the US for almost twenty years.  He went through channels, got a green card, and studied English for two years.  Alex pursued the American dream, and got it.  He has handled several segments of our construction project, and does top quality work at a fair price.  Working in the same space every day we got to know each other and today we spent some time discussing business and politics.

Alex’s business is doing well.  In fact, there is much more demand for his work than he can fulfill.  He would like to hire more employees and expand his business, but he can’t see a way to do it and still maintain quality.  As a retired corporate manager and business owner, I offered some growth strategies and personnel practices that have worked for me.  But his circumstances are quite different than mine were.  You see, all of his employees are (probably) illegal Mexican immigrants.

In fact, almost all of the residential construction work in the Carolinas is being performed by illegal Mexican immigrants.

Why?  Have Mexican immigrants taken all of the construction jobs because they will work for lower wages than American tradesmen?  Are American men now too lazy or pampered to take on the difficult, physical work required in the construction trades?  Have our schools convinced every American student that anyone who doesn’t pursue a college degree and a desk job is a failure?  Did our government over-regulate our traditional construction businesses into extinction, so that only “under-the-radar” groups of illegal immigrants can function at a feasible cost?

Yes, yes, yes, and yes.

But there’s more to it than that.  I talked with another general contractor today who was interested in hiring Alex and his crew for some of his projects, only to learn they are over-booked.  “It’s a shame,” he said.  “Most of the (American) subcontractors went broke during the housing bust five years ago, and they aren’t coming back.”

Alex and many entrepreneurial Mexicans like him are able to seize the market opportunities because they are connected to the available army of illegal Mexican immigrant workers.  Alex can find them, hire them, manage them, communicate with them, and help them with the considerable personal challenges they face working in the shadows of American life.   Still, his business growth is limited because he employs these men.  “My business can’t grow,” he said.  “None of my workers can advance to be managers because they don’t even try to learn to speak English.”  He would employ English-speaking American construction workers, but there just aren’t any.  It’s a very complex business model.

I had heard that Latinos are being barraged with liberal propaganda, painting conservatives, Republicans and especially Tea Party guys as hateful monsters to be avoided and feared.  So I made it a point to tell my new Mexican friend Alex that I am a conservative.  Tea Party, even.

Alex winced.  “I’m not a monster,” I said.  “I’m not a racist and a hater.  You know me.  You can’t believe the stuff you hear in the media.”

“Well, the conservatives don’t want to allow any immigration,” he said.

“Not true,” I countered.  “We want LEGAL immigration for people who can bring value to our country.  What we don’t want is  dangerous, uncontrolled borders, or slackers coming here to take advantage of taxpayer-funded benefits.   And we DO want our legal immigrants to assimilate – to become patriotic, law-abiding, productive Americans, not Mexicans who just happen to live in the US.”

Like you, Alex.  Without you, and men like you, there would be no new homes under construction in my neighborhood right now.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right Side

Save me from this prison, Lord, help me get away
‘Cause only You can save me now from this misery
‘Cause I’ve been lost in my own place
And I’m getting’ weary, how far is Heaven?
And I know I need to change my ways of livin’
How far is Heaven?
My favorite Mexican band – Los Lonely Boys! (this song is also on my set list)

Workin’ in the USA – the ‘Saudi Way’

The United States is looking more like Saudi Arabia every day.  Check out this week’s headlines:

Labor Participation Rate Drops To Lowest Since 1978

 

Natives accounted for most of the growth in population,
but all employment growth went to immigrants

So what, you say, does this have to do with Saudi Arabia?

Saudi Arabia was a poor country until the 1930s when the world developed a thirst for oil and discovered that this desolate desert nation, barely more than a collection of loosely-related tribes, had a lot of it.  In the years since, the demand for oil increased exponentially, and so did the wealth of the ruling families who controlled the land from which it is extracted.

It wasn’t long before these wealthy Saudis no longer needed to perform any physical work.  There was so much money flowing into the country that the ruling families shared it liberally – first with anyone who could claim to be a blood relative, no matter how distant, and later (in smaller increments) to anyone who had family roots there.  Eventually most native Saudis could choose whether or not they wished to work.  Many didn’t, and those who did were far removed from anything that resembled physical labor.

photo by Vocativ.comThere is, of course, physical labor to be done.  For that the Saudis have imported legions of hungry, foreign workers from Africa and East Asia.  An estimated 6.5 million foreign laborers toiled in Saudi Arabia a year ago, before rioting against inhumane treatment brought a government crackdown on illegal immigration and a slight reduction in their numbers.  The few and vague immigration laws, however, are still not well-enforced.

In Saudi Arabia, the second-class immigrants do the work, enduring slave-wages, appalling conditions and all forms of abuse, while the native-born and well-connected enjoy a leisurely lifestyle.  Children and women get the worst of it.  But Saudi Arabia’s gravy-train won’t last forever.  Their oil reserves are depleting, and other nations are learning to develop their own energy sources.  Saudi Arabia will soon face some major challenges and changes – the current path is not tenable.

Does this sound familiar?

Go to any residential construction site in the United States.  You will see few, if any, native-born Americans in the craft or labor jobs.  Here In the Carolinas, most are illegal immigrants from Mexico.  They are working hard, and some do high quality work (many don’t).  They earn substantially less than American-born construction workers did ten years ago.  Twenty years ago.  Thirty years ago.

You see, native-born Americans, like the Saudis, can now choose whether or not they wish to work.  Many don’t, and those that do are usually far removed from anything that resembles physical labor.  Where the Saudis’ wealth comes exclusively from oil, our American wealth was built up by the sweat and skill of our parents and grandparents, and is further being borrowed from our children.  We are racking up debt and printing fiat currency so that right now half of us no longer have to work.  Like the Saudis, we are bringing in legions of hungry, foreign workers to do our labor.

At some point they, too, will tire of slave-wages and bad treatment, and will rebel.  The United States, like the Saudis, will soon face major challenges and changes – the current path is not tenable.  But fortunately, we have options the Saudis do not.  We still have rich, untapped energy resources.  And we have many other opportunities to create wealth, if our liberal government will allow it.

Our liberal friends, including our president, would love to erase the borders and bring in hordes of cheap immigrant laborers (and, they hope, future government-dependent Democrat voters).  I hope they will look at Saudi Arabia’s predicament and get a grip on the immigrant labor situation before we completely forget how to work.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right Side

 

Some days won’t ever end,
And some days pass on by
All be workin’ here forever
At least until I die

Workin’ For A Livin’ – Huey Lewis

 

A favorite from my very own set list – rockin’ live version by my man Huey!

They’re Coming to America

photo courtesy 21stCenturySchools.com

photo courtesy 21stCenturySchools.com

Standing in the checkout line at Costco, I watched and listened to the family in front of me chattering in a language that I couldn’t identify.  Was it Flemish?  Behind me a mother and her daughter spoke what I think was Hindi.  Another group of Indians near us was speaking English in their distinctive clipped dialect, and then a passel of giggling little Chinese kids ran by, with Mom and Dad sternly attempting discipline in their home language.  Then the pretty young Caribbean woman began checking out our groceries as two young Hispanic men worked the merchandise and carts and shared a joke in Spanish.

And it hit me like a brick.  The United States I had known all my life is no more.

I know, it sounds cliched, but I (conservative, Tea Party, mature white male) am not a racist.  I have no ill will or condescension toward any kind of people.  I have said I am an “economic bigot” – I expect capable people to work, and don’t particularly care for those who won’t, regardless of ethnicity.  But I enjoy the uniqueness of people from different places and cultures, especially the flavors of family interactions that are so universal – devoted parents raising their fun-loving kids.

No, I’m not a racist, but I couldn’t help but notice that American-born, English-speaking whites and blacks were outnumbered on that Saturday afternoon in that Costco store in a relatively affluent Charlotte neighborhood.

I was flooded with questions and emotions.  Do these foreigners also speak English?  Where do they work?  They seem to have plenty of money – were they wealthy in their native countries?  Are there here legally?  How did they get drivers licenses?  Do they vote?  Are their kids in the neighborhood schools, and how the heck do the schools deal with so many languages and customs?

Of course, no broad-brush answers apply.  Some speak English, some don’t.  Some have jobs, others are on government benefits.  Some are legal.  Some have drivers licenses.  Some vote.  One thing is for sure, suddenly there are a lot of them, as both legal and illegal immigration rates are exploding, compared to our earlier history.  Many states are importing more people than are being born to natives.

The United States will never again look and sound like it did during our lifetimes.  It is a done deal.

But we, as a nation, are still at a tipping point:  Will the values, social structure, and laws that made this country the most prosperous and powerful in the world survive?  Will our new immigrants become Americans who share the love of Mom, baseball, apple pie and Chevrolets, like earlier generations of immigrants?  Or will our great nation be split into hundreds of tribes, each clinging to their native habits, and suspicious of all the others?

It is a time in our history when leadership is critical.   Now, more than ever, we need leaders who care about the well-being of the nation, not just their own or their party’s political success.  We need honest men and women with an understanding of the importance of time-tested rules and practices.  America was built on laws that we could all agree upon, and that were proven to work.  And America was once a “melting pot”, where newcomers assimilated into our culture while preserving their own heritages.  Now is not the time to get fuzzy about our American laws, Constitution, or values.  Our immigrants need order and stability, too – in fact that’s what many seek by moving here.

My wife often complained that our home state of Montana changed radically as more and more people moved there from the west coast.  “They move to Montana because it’s better than California, and then they try to change it into California!”

In addition to accelerating legal immigration rates, our government has decided to erase our southern border and pretty much accept all comers.  They claim their motivations are humanitarian; some of us believe they are political.  But even if the border could be sealed like a Tupperware bowl tomorrow, the United States will never be the same as it was.  So now what?

Many of the newcomers don’t really know what made America great.  They and their families weren’t here.  It’s up to us remaining native Americans (by that I mean those of us born here) to stand up for American traditions. values, and laws.  We must make sure that our history is accurately and broadly taught, and expect our leaders to proudly defend our national identity and solidarity.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right Side

On the boats and on the planes
They’re coming to America
Never looking back again
They’re coming to America

Neil Diamond – Coming to America