Maybe It’s Time To Retire My Obama Phone

obamaphoneI have had some fun over the past several years at President Obama’s expense.

Those of you who have rocked with me for a while remember that several years ago I applied for, and received, an “Obama Phone” – a free cell phone, with 250 free minutes and unlimited texts.  I only got my free phone to prove that anybody can get one, and to show how ridiculous and unmanaged the whole program is.  My application, and my renewals, have been completely honest – no mis-stating income or anything.  Now, I’m not going to lie to you.  We live a pretty fine Southern lifestyle here on the lake.  But I still qualified for a free phone, and I contend that anybody who asks for a taxpayer-subsidized ObamaPhone will receive one too.

President Obama didn’t actually start the free cell phone program.  It debuted under President GW Bush and his Congress as a well-intended but soon-corrupted “LifeLine” benefit for us poor folks, funded by a tax on the cell phone bills of all you rich folks.  During the free-stuff-for-everybody Obama years, the profiteering cell phone providers, led by Mexican kingpin Carlos Slim, really got with the program.  Soon it was Party Central, and people were dancing and singing and selling free ObamaPhones all over the place.

Here’s a fun exercise:  type “Obama Phone” into any search engine.  Go ahead, try it!  Up pops a whole bunch of “providers” who are more than happy to set you up for a free cell phone, courtesy of the taxpayers.  The really cool one is ObamaPhone.com.    Here’s part of their sales pitch:

Millions of Americans have been economically devastated by the economic meltdown, by the deep recession that followed it, and by the nation’s ongoing economic struggles. Many of those needy Americans have reached the point where they consider a telephone a luxury that they cannot afford.

The Obama Phone program (also known as Lifeline Assistance) can lift that burden. More than 20 million Americans have already received a free Obama Phone and get 250 free cell phone minutes every month.

I was so grateful for my free phone that I made my own little musical thank you message to my friend Barack.  The phone was free, but even though I was a Tea Party guy, he still sent me an email asking me for five dollars every day.

Well, now that President Obama is about to retire, maybe it’s time for me to retire my ObamaPhone too.

Which raises the question:  Will Trump and the Republican House and Senate finally put an end to this stupid-ass, corrupt entitlement program once and for all?  Or will we all be carrying Trump-a-Phones for the next eight years?

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right Side

 

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!

 

 

 

More Ugly Obama/Clinton Crony Corruption

hillary-and-warren-buffett

Hillary Clinton and billionaire Warren Buffett, who invested $30 billion in taxpayer-subsidized solar and wind energy –  photo by NPR

Robert Murray may be the most frustrated and abused CEO in the USA.

The owner of Murray Energy is the last man standing in the fight to save the coal industry from the Obama / Clinton “war on coal”, and his emotional appeals on the news networks reveal that he may be down for the count.

robert-murrayMurray grew up poor, picking up a shovel at age 16 to keep his family afloat after his father was paralysed in a mine accident.  He persevered through good times and bad to become one of the biggest players in the coal business, and now, at age 75, Murray sees all his hard work and investment going up in smoke, along with the livelihoods of his employees.

When President Obama declared in 2008 that he would destroy the coal industry, he wasn’t kidding. “So if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can,” he said.  “It’s just that it will bankrupt them, because they’re going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that’s being emitted.”

Over 400 coal mines have shut down since then, putting 83,000 miners on the street.  As coal companies headed for the exits, Murray bought many of them, unable to accept that the nation would allow such a valuable and strategically critical industry to just die at the whim of an imperious and misguided president.

Eight years later, Obama’s pre-ordained successor, Hillary Clinton, has doubled down, promising to “put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business.”

Obama’s and Clinton’s pretense for eliminating the source of one-third of America’s electricity is their desire to save the planet and its inhabitants from “carbon pollution”.  But Murray isn’t buying it, as he told Fox Business:

“Windmills and solar panels generate 26 cent per kilowatt hour electricity – coal is only 4 cents a kilowatt hour.  The reason why she wants to see coal eliminated is because she’s getting millions of dollars of kickback to the Clinton Foundation and to her campaign from people who she says needs government help. You know who she’s talking about? She’s talking about Warren Buffett, the Pritzkers, Elon Musk, Tom Steyer—all billionaires that are making billions of dollars off of windmills and solar panels that are made in China.”

“She’s getting hundreds of millions of dollars from some of the largest banks in the country, from some of the largest electric utilities, and from these billionaires that I just mentioned.  They need the subsidies – wind and solar are not competitive with coal or other fossil fuels.  So they are making billions of dollars, these billionaires, and they are kicking back millions to the Clinton Foundation and to Hillary Clinton – it’s a story we have been hearing over and over.  The lowest 25 million families on the poverty scale in the country now spend 22 cents of every dollar they earn for energy.  We need to be worrying about the energy poverty in this country, not making more billionaires as Hillary Clinton attempts to eliminate the reliable low-cost electricity and substitute these ‘crony capitalists’.  It’s fraud – it’s absolute fraud!”

Today President Obama announced his “Clean Power Plan”, a new set of standards to limit “carbon pollution” from power plants.  The plan makes the outwardly pure-hearted promise to “decrease the pollutants that contribute to the soot and smog and can lead to more asthma attacks in kids by more than 70 percent.”  We all love kids, and don’t want them breathing soot and smog, right?  But the plan’s main thrust is to control carbon dioxide emissions, which have absolutely nothing to do with “soot and smog”.  Carbon dioxide is clear and odorless, it is necessary for plant life, and it has no impact on global temperatures or pollution of any kind.

coal-fired-power-generation-plantDemocrats sob about “the children” and flaunt blown-up photos of old Chinese factories belching smoke, pretending they are modern American electrical power generation plants and hoping the low-information public will believe the carbon dioxide hoax pumped through their politically-motivated news media.  Meanwhile, they destroy our clean and efficient energy infrastructure for no purpose other than to generate profit for their crony friends and receive kickbacks in return.

I never dreamed my government could become so corrupt, or that so many of our citizens would be unwilling or unable to put up a fight.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right Side

Hanging on every word, believing the things I heard
Being a fool
You’ve taken my life, so take my soul
That’s what you said and I believed it all
Liar!  Liar!

Liar – Three Dog Night

 

 

Hillary Will Continue Obama’s “Don’t Do Stupid Sh*t” Foreign Policy Strategy

Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton

photo by Brian Snyder/Reuters

President Obama once summed up his foreign policy strategy as:  “Don’t do stupid sh*t.”

On the surface, that sounds like a pretty good plan.  I have often said Congress functions best when it is on one of its many long recesses, like its upcoming paid vacation from July 18 through September 2.  When they aren’t in session at least our congressmen aren’t writing bills ‘supporting the support of transgender acceptance‘ (yep, it’s a real bill), or bailing out Puerto Rico and the Post Office, or doing a sneaky-workaround to allow Lindsey Graham’s favorite crony, Boeing, to sell airplanes to Iran via a taxpayer-guaranteed loan through the corrupt federal Export-Import Bank.

I pretty much like it when Congress is “not doing stupid sh*t.”

But as a long-term strategy, especially for something as critical and far-reaching as the foreign policy of the world’s still-barely-greatest-but-fading-fast-superpower, “don’t do stupid sh*t” has some flaws.  After all, “stupid sh*t” is in the eye (or the nose?) of the beholder.  When he took office, Obama adopted the position that everything his predecessor did was “stupid sh*t”, and vowed that our country would never do any “sh*t” like that again.  Under President GW Bush, Russia and China were pretty well in check, the military surge had stabilized Iraq as their fledgling democracy took root, and our armed forces were re-tooled and modernized. Apparently that didn’t meet Obama’s “smell test”.  But giving Iran a half-trillion dollars with which to build their nuclear weapons program and fund terrorism?  Inviting hundreds of thousands of unvetted, illegal immigrants to indulge in our social services buffet, exacerbate our unemployment, push down wages and stifle our economic growth?  Naw, that’s not “stupid sh*t.”

Another major flaw in the Obama foreign policy plan: some might confuse “don’t do stupid sh*t” with “don’t do any sh*t.”

Obama failed to help Iran’s “green revolution” oust their nation’s radical Muslim leadership.  He stood on the sidelines as former allies (or at least peacekeepers) in the Middle East were toppled and replaced by tyrants and terrorists.  When Russia began pushing around its former minions in Georgia and the Ukraine, Obama laughed it off.  “Boys will be boys.”  He smiles and waves as Russian and Chinese jets buzz over the bows of our depleted and duct-taped warships.

Most critical of all, while our president was proudly implementing his “don’t do stupid sh*t” foreign policy, our adversaries were doing all kinds of scary, aggressive “sh*t”.  China has all but claimed the entire South China Sea as its own private domicile and locked up the world’s supply of strategic rare-earth metals.  While the US nuclear capability has been whittled down to a few 1950s era B52’s and a couple of rusty Minuteman missiles, Russia has developed 14 new state-of-the-art tactical and strategic nuclear systems.  Obama’s do-nothing policies have made our nuclear arsenal the equivalent of Cuba’s auto industry.

And now Obama’s partner in foreign-policy crime, Hillary Clinton, waits in line to dutifully continue the strategies that have brought them universal praise from leftists and globalists worldwide.

Oh boy.  Eight more years of “don’t do stupid sh*t.”

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right Side

The time is right, your perfume fills my head,
The stars get red
And oh, the night’s so blue.
And then I go and spoil it all,
By saying something stupid
Like “I love you”

 

Something Stupid – Frank and Nancy Sinatra

Sorry, no live video of this dad and daughter classic exists.  Some nice photos though, and worth a listen!

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

 

 

 

Hey! Obama! Get Off Of My Cloud! (and out of my neighborhood)

Here we go again.  This month President Obama, through the Department of Housing and Urban Development, will enact the “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Act”, a mandate that will force communities and developers to mix section 8 welfare housing into more affluent neighborhoods.

“HUD is working with communities across the country to fulfill the promise of equal opportunity for all,” a HUD spokeswoman said. “The proposed policy seeks to break down barriers to access to opportunity in communities supported by HUD funds.” — the Hill 6/11/15

“The Fair Housing Act has two goals: to end housing discrimination and to promote diverse, inclusive communities. The second goal is referred to as Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH), and it embodies our strongly-held American values of fair access and equal opportunity.” — National Fair Housing Alliance

There are so many things wrong with these statements that I don’t even know where to start.

“Equal opportunity for all” is a noble goal – and it’s what made our country great.  All Americans should have the opportunity to work hard, earn, save, and succeed, and I believe that for the most part we still do.  But equal opportunity is not what this ruling is about.  Remember Joe the Plumber?  President Obama told him we need to “spread the wealth around.”

People who live in nice, expensive homes did not get there by accident.  They weren’t just lucky.  And it’s not “white privilege”, because there are plenty of minorities barbecuing in those big back yards and inviting their white neighbors over.

No, this is just one more blatant overreach by a President who believes in equal outcomes, but not equal effort.  He thinks in the interest of “fairness” it is not enough to take money from earners by force and give it to non-earners – now he wants to make them live together.

Yes, there is discrimination in housing.  People who study, work hard, make good decisions and save their money are able to buy nice homes and raise their families in clean, safe neighborhoods with nice streets and good schools.  Slackers and fools are neither entitled nor welcome there.

Economic discrimination has been in place since the dawn of civilization.  It’s normal.  It works.  It encourages people to be smart and industrious.  Is it fair?  Yes!  Allowing people to earn property, keep it, and use it as they wish is the epitome of fairness!

Fortunately most people are blessed with a sense of charity, and will voluntarily help care for those who are unable to support themselves due to physical or mental disability or disaster.  And taxpayers know that public services for all are necessary.  But there is nothing charitable or voluntary about the government forcing one to open his home, his neighborhood, or for that matter his nation’s borders to another only to “spread the wealth around.”

Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) has proposed an amendment that would defund Obama’s executive action, but on different grounds.  He says implementation of the HUD rule is taking planning and zoning authority out of the hands of local officials, and he’s right.  But his amendment won’t pass (has Congress defunded anything lately?)  The federal government has had great success in recent years at pushing “social enlightenment” out to the communities through the promise of grants for “free money” that will be withheld if the local authorities don’t follow their mandates.

How sad is it that city “A” takes grants that are paid for by the citizens of city “B”, and vice versa, and both cities think the money is free?

Citizens will have to get involved in local government, educate local leaders to the dangers of taking grants with strings attached, and elect congressmen and executives who honor the fourth amendment.  We need to get the federal government back in its box and out of our back yards!

Rockin' On the Right SideHey, you, get off of my cloud!
Hey, you, get off of my cloud!
Hey, you, get off of my cloud!
Don’t hang around ’cause two’s a crowd
On my cloud, baby!

The Rolling Stones – Get Off of My Cloud

Hard to believe this music is fifty years old.  It still rocks!

 

Lesson From Zimbabwe – It Could Happen Here

farming in africaThe US Constitution lists many of the rights we citizens enjoy:  the right to assemble, to speak freely, to bear arms.  The most important right of all is overlooked by most Americans.  You never see it mentioned on a protest sign, or by a political candidate.  It doesn’t have its own enumerated amendment in the Bill of Rights.  It is the right of individuals to own property and use it for their benefit.

While the word “property” is only mentioned once in the Constitution, the right of citizens to own and control it is woven throughout the document.  The Constitution even restricts the federal government from owning land that should be available to the citizens.  The framers knew that private ownership of property is the cornerstone of a free and productive society, and history has proved them right again and again.  Nations that defend the rights of property owners enjoy advanced economies and quality of life, while authoritarian governments who possess and control property doom their people to a life of suffering and subsistence.

Venezuela is on the verge of collapse and bloody revolution as the socialist government nationalizes more and more private industry and property.  Cuban and North Korean citizens have been mired in poverty for generations.  China and Vietnam, while still communist, have seen the economic light and have begun “sharing” ownership of property with individuals – a measured step in the right direction.

Perhaps the starkest example of the tragic battle for control of private land is the recent history of Zimbabwe.  Zimbabwe was colonized by the British in the 1880’s, and named Rhodesia after Cecil Rhodes, the founder of the chartering British South Africa Company.  The colony was made up of Northern Rhodesia (which became Zambia), Southern Rhodesia (today’s Zimbabwe), and Malawi.  White colonists claimed and developed most of the fertile and mineral-rich land,  built a thriving agricultural industry, and brought employment and security to Rhodesia’s indigenous people.  At its peak, Zimbabwe led the world in production per acre for as many as seven different crops.

In the 1960’s the colony was split up.  In 1970 Zimbabwe’s white-minority government declared independence from Great Britain, although it was not recognized.  A decade of civil war and violence followed, mostly driven by nationalist Robert Mugabe.  In 1980, Great Britain finally granted independence to Zimbabwe, celebrating its new constitution and democratic government.  But in the following decades, Mugabe set out to confiscate all white-owned property, and the constitution and courts were hollowed out.  “Resettlement” laws were passed and the farmers, who were promised (but never received) compensation, lost their land to Mugabe’s cronies, who were unprepared and disinterested in operating the farms. Most of the white farmers and countless thousands of their employees were tortured and killed as Mugabe’s plan to eliminate Zimbabwe’s food production was carried out.  Agricultural output evaporated, plunging the entire nation into dependence on the government for rationed handouts, mostly provided by other nations.

One of these farmers, Ben Freeth, documented the destruction of Zimbabwe in his book, “Mugabe and the White African”, and points out that the seizure of land and private property is a tyrant’s most effective weapon:

“Land reform is about controlling the land in order to control the people on it.  People need to eat, and in hard times they rely on the land to be able to grow food so that they can survive.  Dictators – like Stalin in Russia and Mao in China, Pol Pot in Cambodia and Mengistu in Ethiopia – all knew that once they controlled the land they could control the food supply and nothing could then stand in their way.  They could stamp out all opposition by using food to control people, just as Pavlov used food in his experiments with dogs and got them to do whatever he wanted.  It has happened in country after country in Africa.  Property rights have been usurped in the name of land reform and tyranny reigns unchecked.”

Zimbabwe’s troubles continue even today as Zimbabwe’s sham government still pretends that it will pay restitution to the displaced farmers.

The history of Zimbabwe offers a lesson for Americans.  When a news item hits the wire revealing another land grab by the federal government, we had better pay attention.  Under President Obama the federal government has nationalized over 265 million acres.  That’s about three times the size of Zimbabwe.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right Side

It’s gonna take a lot to drag me away from you
There’s nothing that a hundred men or more could ever do
I bless the rains down in Africa

Africa – Toto

 

 

To My #NEVERTRUMP Friends: Let’s Roll the Dice!

TrumpI voted for Ted Cruz in the South Carolina primary.  Last night, after getting Trump-thumped (again) in Indiana, Cruz pulled out of the presidential race.

Many of my friends and acquaintances who “Rock on the Right Side” are really bummed today.  They say they will never vote for Trump.  A number of them have disowned the Republican Party or proclaimed it dead.  Some express fear that Trump will start a trade war with China and trash our economy (presumably worse than it already is).  The angriest among them shout that Trump is a Democrat plant, intent on destroying the nation once and for all.

I remember how bummed I was when Obama was re-elected in 2012.  I knew what to expect from his second term, although I admit my surprise that Congress didn’t put up any resistance at all.  So I understand your despair on V-D day (Victory for The Donald).  If I could, I would buy each of you a beer and we could all cry in them together.

But just one beer.

I agree that Trump, at times, sounds like an idiot, despite his insistence that he “has a good brain” and is “very smart.”  I know that he is not all that interested in the Constitution, that he has supported liberals, and that he is on the wrong side of some pretty important values issues.  He’s rude.  He’s coarse.  He’s arrogant.  I get it.  But I will be voting for him in November anyway.  Here’s why.

First of all, it must be repeated that we know for certain how awful life under Hillary will be.  If you don’t know that, or are in denial, I can’t help you.  Hillary will be Obama on steroids – ten times more aggressive and fearless – and we won’t be able to count on Congress or the Supreme Court to defend us.  This alone should be all the motivation you need to take a chance on Trump, or maybe you have children or grandchildren to think about.  On the other hand, if you strongly believe our priorities should be making safe zones for college students, building special bathrooms for .06% of the population, shutting down energy production in the USA while China builds a new coal plant every week, and igniting warfare in our country over race, sex and income level, just let Hillary win.

Consider, too, that for the last eight years our nation has been led by politically-correct academic knuckleheads.  Is it any wonder our economy has tanked when nobody in the administration knows anything about business, economics, trade, foreign relations, military strategy, or anything else?  What if, for a change, we have a president who brings in qualified experts from the real world to replace the self-serving government weenies and delirious socialist academics currently running our federal government?

I can’t guarantee that Donald Trump will do that.  He hasn’t shown a whole lot of depth or detail to back up his populist promise that he will “make America great again.”  But he might.

He might make the EPA back off and let the USA become the energy powerhouse of the world.  He might beef up our military, knock out the terrorists and regain the respect of other nations.  He might protect us from the plague of uncontrolled immigration that is destroying Europe.  He might clean house on our bloated, inefficient and corrupt federal government and make it work for the people.  At least Trump won’t have to pay back crony campaign contributors and lobbyists.

There is the chance that things could be a hell of a lot better than they are now, and fairly soon.

I’m willing to roll the dice.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right Side
Say now baby, I’m the rank outsider,
You can be my partner in crime.
Baby!  Baby!
You got to roll me and call me the tumblin’ dice!

the Rolling Stones – Tumblin’ Dice

 

My boys are getting a little bit wrinkled – but they still rock!

 

 

Argentina Moves Right – Canada Moves Left – Now It’s Our Move

DanceStepsI have often pointed to Argentina as an example of what could happen to the United States.   The two countries have similar early histories, emerging from colonial status to independence and becoming the economic engines of the western hemisphere.

At the height of the industrial revolution the economies of the USA and Argentina flourished.  Before World War II the two young nations competed for foreign investment, building strong infrastructures and well-educated middle classes.  Buenos Aires challenged New York City’s status as the gem of the West.

And then their destinies parted ways.

The United States maintained a firm grip on its constitution, perfecting its free-market, laissez-faire economic environment.  It established its bona fides as a leader in world affairs, defending democracy and human rights.  Argentina, meanwhile, set off on a series of socio-political experiments based on heavy-handed and, ultimately, fascist government rule.  Argentina’s people relinquished their rights to the government, resulting in economic devastation and the “disappearance” of thousands of political activists.

Last November Mauricio Macri replaced socialist Cristina Kirchner as president of Argentina, promising to return his homeland to the free-market western world.  He immediately renounced the nation’s alliances with failed dictatorships like Iran and Venezuela, embracing the United States and Europe.  He settled Argentina’s large outstanding debt to a group of US hedge-fund investors which had destroyed the country’s ability to attract outside investment.  He established working relationships with Argentina’s state governors and other federal officials, including his opponents.  He eliminated crony utility subsidies, cut export taxes, and dropped currency support, allowing the Argentine peso to float.

President Macri is a man on a mission, and in a hurry.  While he still enjoys public support, Argentines are in a hurry too, and are beginning to express impatience as they endure symptoms of the new austerity and economic adjustments.

In a strange twist, President Obama will meet Macri this week, following his friendly visit to communist Cuba.  Obama has shown an affection for the very despots that Macri, and Argentina, are rejecting.  “I’d vote for you, and you for me,” Obama beamed at Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez a few years ago.  The US president warmly hosted newly-elected Canadian president Justin Trudeau, a socialist who vows to take his country in the opposite direction chosen by Argentina.

US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton promises to continue the leftward drift established by President Obama.  Her primary opponent, Bernie Sanders, would make that a leftward lurch.  Our media and schools glorify socialism, demanding more central control and vilifying those who would preserve individual rights.

Will the United States move to the left or the right?  Will we follow Canada, our recently-prosperous neighbor to the north, down the proven-to-fail socialist path?  Or will we take the hint from Argentina, our wised-up southern friend, and return to the tried-and-true free-market, small government model?

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right Side

You move it to the left, yeah
You go for yourself
You move it to the right
Yeah if it takes all night

The Harlem Shuffle – Rolling Stones

Here’s Mick, strutting his stuff.  I just finished reading the bio “Jagger” by Marc Spitz, and was surprised to learn that he was a prized pupil at the London School of Economics, having received a full-ride scholarship.  He quit to become a rebel blues singer, but was promised his scholarship would wait for him if his new career choice didn’t work out.  We are all glad it did!