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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tom Balek – Rockin’ on the Right Side

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

The Buckinghams – Don’t You Care

 

Another Fake Racial Crisis Created by the “Jefferson – Jackson” Democrats

The stock market and corporate profits are up.  Unemployment and food stamp dependence is down.  Wages are increasing.  Illegal immigration is decreasing.  Consumer confidence continues to outstrip expectations.

The quality of life for Americans of all sizes, shapes, sexes, colors, and beliefs is on the upswing, there’s no denying it.  If you ask your neighbors and friends how things are going, you will almost certainly hear that life is good here in America, and getting better.

But according to the liberal news media and all Democrats, America is in desperate crisis.

There is indeed a desperate crisis, but it’s not America that is in peril.  It’s the Democrat party.  Having lost the House, the Senate, and now the White House, plus a vast majority of state and local offices, Democrats face extinction if they can’t stop their slide to the ash heaps of political history.

At the close of the Clinton/Obama era Democrats find themselves without any credible leaders.  Decades of hard-left indoctrination in the nation’s schools has squeezed senior socialists Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren to the front of the ‘Crat Pack, but their tired Marxist economic policies have already failed all over the world, and are very visibly imploding in Venezuela even today.

So what is the Democrats’ only hope for holding on to a shred of relevancy in today’s political landscape?  Crisis.  They must have a crisis to implant fear in the public-school-softened minds of Americans and immigrants.  The only way they can mobilize support is to create fear and then promise to protect the afraid.

The Charlottesville “protest” is the latest crisis crafted by Democrats via their captive news media machine.  The mayor of Charlottesville, Michael Signer, and his vice-mayor, Wes Bellamy, have been working on this for years.  With direction and resources from Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe and the DNC, plus the George Soros-funded Democrat “resistance” organizations, Signer and Bellamy set up a staged confrontation; the “perfect storm” for media manipulation.  In one corner, a few overzealous right-wing activists (photographs show about three dozen “Unite the Right” activists with eight or ten confederate flags) who would be portrayed as a huge mob of blood-thirsty, inhuman racists.  In the other a group of hired, masked Antifa thugs who would play the role of virtuous defenders of the abused, helpless victims of racism.  Behind them, a mass of innocent “peace marchers.”  Then they would blame President Trump and everyone who voted for him for causing the whole mess.

Mayor Signer was well-prepared and motivated for the battle he created.  He worked as a senior policy advisor for the Center of American Progress, a radical left-wing George-Soros funded organization, and has made a career of promoting racial discord.  Under John Podesta, Signer served the Hillary Clinton campaign, developing strategies to foment racial discord as a means to win minority votes.

And vice-mayor Bellamy is a real piece of work.  He has made no secret of his hatred for whites or women, having tweeted such gems as: “I don’t like white people, so I hate white snow,” and “White women smell like future assault charges n deli meat.” I won’t repeat the really vulgar ones in this post.  Bellamy was forced to resign his teaching position at a local high school but still draws his paycheck from the taxpayers while spending virtually all of his time promoting racial animus.  His friend and enabler Governor Terry McAuliffe appointed him to the state school board.

Democrats have long favored the Marxist “crisis theory” as a means to disrupt the comfort level of citizens and distract them from their party’s failures and/or the success of their political opponents.  Obama acolyte Rahm Emanuel famously quipped, “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.”   Democrats have learned that they don’t have to wait for a “good crisis” when they can just create one.  Don’t think for a moment that events like this “just happen.”  #FakeEvents is a major component of #FakeNews.

The police followed an apparent “stand-down order” when, as witnesses reported, the paid leftist Antifa thugs launched their physical attack.  Some say the groups were intentionally funneled toward each other to light the fuse.

But the Democrats haven’t perfected the fake crisis play.  The utter hypocrisy may be their undoing.  Mike Huckabee told Maria Bartiromo on today’s Sunday Futures, “Maybe Trump should agree to take down all the confederate statues in the country.  And then tell the Democrats that they had better never hold another “Jefferson – Jackson Fundraising Day” celebrating the founders of their party –  who just happened to be slave owners.”

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Before you accuse me, take a look at yourself
Before you accuse me, take a look at yourself
Well now you say I’ve been buyin’ other women clothes
You’ve been taking money from somebody else

Before You Accuse Me – Eric Clapton

 

Trump Takes A Punch at Vote Fraud

election-fraud-commission-692x360

photo by KConline.com

This week President Trump’s voter fraud commission, headed by Kansas’ secretary of state Kris Kobach, sent a letter to all 50 secretaries of state, asking that they provide voter registration information.

Hallelujah!

Democrats have always denied the existence of vote fraud, even in the face of damning evidence year after year.   They continue to make the ugly, racist claim that minority voters are not capable of obtaining identification, and will not be able to vote if ID is required, avoiding the fact that life in the United States is virtually impossible without some kind of identification.

There is only one reason to oppose voter ID:  it enables vote fraud.  This is an undeniable fact, and repeating the infantile lie about “disenfranchised voters” does not remove the stench.

Now we have a president with the gumption to call out the cheaters.  His commission’s plan is a big step in the right direction – it is simple and quickly executable.  With the names, birthdates, and partial social security numbers of voters from every state, files can be easily cross-checked to find out who has voted more than once, perhaps in multiple states, or even from the grave.  Non-citizens and other ineligible voters will be filtered out.

Democrats are shaken, and immediately a number of their secretaries of state are refusing to comply.  California’s SOS, Robert Padilla, made the following statement:

“As secretary of state, it is my duty to ensure the integrity of our elections and to protect the voting rights and privacy of our state’s voters.  I will not provide sensitive voter information to a commission that has already inaccurately passed judgement that millions of Californians voted illegally. California’s participation would only legitimize the false and already debunked claims of massive voter fraud made by the president, the vice president, and Mr. Kobach.”

Of course what he really fears is that a review of California’s voter data would COMPLETELY legitimize the claims of massive voter fraud!  Plus if the millions of illegals were removed from the California voting rolls, they would lose several representatives in Congress.

Let’s not forget that the Democrat’s main piggy bank, George Soros, has pumped millions of dollars into SOS races in every state for decades, in an attempt to load the state offices with Dems.  And the Democrat media continues to divert attention from the real vote fraud problem by incessantly harping about Russian meddling in the last election, even while admitting that not one vote was affected.

The voting data project is a start, and a great one.  Next the commission must look at the practice of early and absentee voting, which has in recent years been a favorite tool of Democrat vote-fraud brigades.  Kudos to Kobach and Trump.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right SideTough luck for the cheater!
Too bad for the fool-hearted clown!
Tough break for the cheater!
Who used to build you up
Just to let you down.

the Cheater – Bob Kuban Band

Remember this great song from 1966?  It was recorded by Bob Kuban out of St. Louis, and he is still going strong with a great band behind him.  The Cheater was a great piece of songwriting and performance, and it holds up beautifully today.  Enjoy!

Why the @*#!! Is Everybody Swearing All the Time?

 

Profanity.  It’s What’s for Supper.

Have you noticed that our nation has developed a serious case of potty-mouth?   Many Americans think they make a big impression on others by punctuating their speech with F-bombs, dirty put-downs, scatological pronouns and just mindless ugliness.

I began to notice the change about a decade ago.  As a musician I spend a fair amount of time in bars (the only time you will see me in one is when I am paid to be there.)  These joints are places where people are hard at work trying to impress each other, and inhibition is nonexistent.  It seems to have started with the young women.  I was startled to hear how so many of the twenty-something aged girls talked to each other – even those who came to the bar straight from their high-class professional jobs.  I recall one group who, I swear, had an ongoing contest to see who could drop the most F-bombs in one sentence.  It reminded me of the hot-selling New Jersey T-shirts that boldly read, “F you, you F-ing F!”

I had seen enough East Coast mafia movies, and heard enough gangsta rap that the language wasn’t completely foreign to me.  But these were girls – otherwise attractive, presumably intelligent young ladies.  And they had no clue that their choice of adjectives made them repulsive to any civilized human being.

Of course they weren’t trying to impress me – I long ago became invisible to young ladies, unless they need help changing a tire.  But I can’t understand how filthy language makes them appealing to each other.

The next group to jump on the “Trash Talk Express” was the political left.  After a long string of electoral defeats they decided an image change was in order.  Ordinary victimhood just wasn’t working consistently – they had to take the offensive and BE offensive.  Talking like sailors makes them sound tough and edgy, right?  Why stop at calling everybody racist when F-ING RACIST is just so much more descriptive?

Lately the left-wing politicians are proudly pronouncing profanity at the podium, and it’s no accident – they believe it helps their audience relate to them as “real people”.

This tactical change by the left has had a profound effect on American youth, who matriculate from our public Democrat schools as leftist automatons.  Potty-mouth syndrome has spread virally to the millennials-and-younger.  Ask your junior-high kid what it means when he texts that it was hot AF.

And unfortunately many of my right-wing friends have begun to fight fire with fire.  Or fecal matter with fecal matter.  The quality of articulation on my Facebook timeline is in a toilet-swirl of decline.

Now, I’m no prude.  I don’t need a safe zone to protect me from offense, and I certainly can’t claim that there are no expletives in my lexicon.  Some of the songs my band performs are, well, not squeaky-clean.  But I, for one, would appreciate a move back toward more civil discourse.

Now, if I can just get my seven-year old grandson to stop calling everybody “poopy-head”.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

The cow’s giving kerosene,
Kid can’t read at seventeen,
The words he knows are all obscene,
But – it’s all right.  I will get by!

Touch of Grey – Grateful Dead

 

Things Business People Know That Government People Don’t

The more business-savvy people we get in government, the better.  Assuming they are there to serve rather than be served.

In order to succeed, or even survive in a competitive market, business managers have to take advantage of the best tools and knowledge available to them.  On the other hand, government does not have any competition, so our leaders and administrators can basically stink the place up every day and never face any consequences.

Last week one of the administration’s sharpest business minds, OMB director Mick Mulvaney, presented the president’s 2018 budget, and it was refreshing, to say the least.  Mulvaney called Trump’s plan “compassionate.”  Only this time, they are showing compassion for the taxpayers, by cutting out unnecessary and wasteful spending programs that have grown on auto-pilot for decades without appreciable results.  And the budget is balanced from year one.  Congress probably doesn’t have the cajones to get on board, but it’s a start.

Today I would like to offer a few tips and techniques from the world of business and finance that our government leaders should consider:

• Borrowing money can be a good thing if it helps you leverage your productivity – but only if the cost of interest doesn’t eat all of your profit.  Fellow Tea Partiers:  remember when we were all worried to death about our national debt reaching $10 trillion dollars when Obama took office?  It is now just a hair under $20 trillion.   Picture a stack of $1000 bills 1,358 miles high.  Nobody seems concerned about it now, because the economy is recovering and there doesn’t seem to be any downside to spending more than we take in year after year.  But what happens when the Fed can no longer hold interest rates to near zero?  I’m afraid it won’t be pretty.  Congress must pass balanced budgets going forward.

• We hear a lot of talk about “creating jobs” and “spurring economic growth” by tweaking tax rates and policies.  There is one single tax item that makes every CFO salivate, even more than the corporate income tax rate.  It’s depreciation.  When a business hires an employee, it can deduct the cost of that employee immediately, reducing net income and taxes.  But when the company buys an asset, like a truck or a piece of machinery, it must depreciate that cost over a period of years.  It’s like paying taxes in advance, making a loan to the government for ten or twenty years.  If you want to see the economy take off like a rocket, just allow businesses to “expense” assets as they are purchased or to accelerate the depreciation.  This was a major feature of Reagan’s Economic Recovery Act in 1981 and the results were dramatic.  My company experienced explosive growth as a direct result of accelerated depreciation, and it was reflected in our employment and pay rates.  It was the strongest period of economic growth, both locally and nationally, in my lifetime.  My advice to Congress is to make accelerated depreciation the first order of business in tax reform.

• Business managers live and die by the performance of their employees.  They must be able to hire, retain, and fire employees at will.  Our government operates at a pace and performance level that would never survive in the real world, and this is largely because federal managers are not accountable for their union employees who basically can’t be fired.  We must either eliminate government unions or create a mechanism where government employees can be disciplined or fired.

• One sure-fire method businesses use to improve productivity is to take advantage of current technology.  Our federal government is ridiculously tech-deficient, and it’s no accident.  Government supervisors leverage power and compensation based on the number of employees they have, not what they accomplish.  To reduce the size and overreach of government, we must greatly reduce the number of government employees, sending them back to the private sector where they can produce something of value.  The fastest way to reduce employees and improve results is through information technology.

Here’s our chance to do it right.  Seminar over.  No charge.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Baby we can do it
Take the time
Do it right
We can do it, baby
Do it tonight!

Take the Time, Do It Right – SOS Band

 

Honesty Is On Life Support

 

I’ll bet you feel uneasy about the state of affairs in our world today.  Almost everybody does.

We know something is going wrong and we sense that we are gradually sliding downhill, toward an unknown fate.  We have that hinky feeling that whatever awaits us at the bottom of the hill is not good, and we are powerless to stop it.

I suspect the cause of our angst is the decline of honesty.

Our grandfathers lived in a world where one’s most important possession was his or her honor and reputation.  Business and real estate deals were often made with a handshake rather than a contract.  Out of wedlock births and adultery were pretty rare.  Thieves and hucksters went to jail.  Schools and churches taught children that dishonesty is wrong.  Liars were not tolerated.  News reporters triple checked their facts to make absolutely certain they were accurate.  Yes, there were bad guys, but they were vilified by the general public.

That world is gone.  Today we are barraged by news reports that are purposefully false.  Politics has become a lying contest where partisans have no problem with their leaders uttering obvious fabrications, justified because “the other side lies too.”  We have become numb to dishonesty in politics and in the news media because it is so pervasive.  Nothing surprises us any more; corruption has become expected and normal.

And it’s not just politics.  In the course of my business career I witnessed an appalling decline in the standards of honesty and fairness.  When I started in the corporate world, almost all large companies operated with the balanced interests of their customers, employees, vendors, and owners always in mind, based on the goals of long-term success and good citizenship.  Before I retired I witnessed, firsthand, appalling chicanery and deceit by corporate executives, whose goals were maximizing their personal income and power.  With today’s astronomical executive salaries and bonuses the situation continues to worsen.

Most men and women no longer marry because commitment to an honest relationship is just too hard (forget about the impact on the kids).  Schools and colleges fill young minds with disinformation and revised history while emptying their pockets and mortgaging their futures.

Today my news inbox is absolutely stuffed with illustrations of dishonesty:  proven vote fraud in Texas, politically motivated false charges of impropriety in Washington, DC, police officers looking the other way instead of dealing with criminals.

Thankfully, there are still honest people in our world.  We are in decline, but it is reversible.   Honesty is on life support.  God help us.  Please.

Tom Balek, Rockin’ On the Right Side

  1. Honesty is such a lonely word
    Everyone is so untrue
    Honesty is hardly ever heard
    And mostly what I need from you

    Honesty – Billy Joel

ObamaCare vs. “SwampCare”

photo by Salon.com

Yes, ObamaCare sucks.  It is unsustainable, and insurance carriers are dropping out of the exchanges left and right.   So our fearless leaders in the swamp feel compelled to replace one failing top-heavy government program, ObamaCare, with another.  I call it SwampCare.

Unfortunately, in their effort to grind out a replacement plan, our leaders keep bumping into an unfortunate truth:  in a free market some people will get more stuff than others.

I’m not saying that health care should not be available to everybody.  I’m just saying that in the real world you can’t drive a Cadillac if you ain’t got no money, honey.

Today the Sunday news talking heads were breathlessly grilling Paul Ryan and Reince Preibus over how many people will needlessly die because they have stripped the ObamaCare “pre-existing conditions” feature from their new health insurance bill.  The swamp boys fell all over themselves denying it.  “No!  SwampCare will cover everybody for everything all the time, and costs will go down!  Trust us, we’re the government!”

Yeah, right.  And it don’t rain in Indianapolis in the summertime. (That’s a musical allegory for both of you readers who are under age 60).

Covering pre-existing conditions without requiring continuity of coverage is like wrecking your car and then buying a policy to get it repaired.  It is certainly not insurance (shared risk).  And the whole discussion is pointless anyway, as long as health care providers are required by law to take care of patients regardless of their coverage, ability to pay, or even citizenship.  The mandate requiring everybody to buy insurance is unAmerican, if not unconstitutional.  So is requiring a doctor to care for a patient without any compensation for this work.

Adult Americans know there is no such thing as a free lunch.  But most politicians promise it anyway. They don’t dare take away the guarantee of insurance coverage for people who are uninsured and have a pre-existing condition.  But somebody has to pay the freight.  Both ObamaCare and SwampCare pass the cost on to the taxpayers; the former through premium subsidies, and the latter through funding assigned-risk pools.

ObamaCare, a product of the nouveau-left, is all about fairness, so it requires young people to buy policies and pay higher premiums to subsidize the high-cost old timers.  The designers of SwampCare think that’s terrible.  So their solution is to have seniors pay a little bit higher premiums, and stick the rest of the cost difference on the taxpayers via subsidized tax credits.

Every time government sticks its nose into private industry trying to make things “fair” the market is distorted and everything gets screwed up.  And while Nancy Pelosi dreams of an America dotted with gleaming white government health care centers, stuffed with highly-paid Democrat-voting unionized health care employees, we all know the two reasons why PelosiCare could never work: 1) big government can’t do anything right  2) we couldn’t afford it even if it could.

By the miracle of free markets, most of us have access to great cars, reliable refrigerators, skilled veterinarians, safe and inexpensive food, and internet service that gets better by the second.  The best healthcare system in the world was developed in this free-market environment with minimal government intervention.  Churches and charities played a large role, and families took responsibility for their own destinies.  People expected to pay for their own health care, just as they paid for their own food and housing.  At one time it all just worked for most Americans.

We all want everybody to have the best health care possible.  But can everybody have CadillacCare?  Realistically, no.  Instead of destroying the health care system for everybody with experimental regulations and laws, why not let the free market work its miracle for most of us and concentrate on how to provide adequate care via public clinics and hospitals for those who fall outside margins?

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

 

Swamp, swamp, swamp, swamp music
When the hound dog starts singin’
I ain’t got them big ol’ city blues

Lynyrd Skynyrd – Swamp Music