Nikki Haley – Simply Irresistible?

(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Nikki Haley entered the conference hall of the Gateway Center in Richburg, SC and immediately sucked all of the oxygen out of the huge room. The overflow crowd at Congressman Ralph Norman’s campaign kickoff Monday night could not contain their enthusiasm – no, it was love – for the petite powerhouse who has been out of the spotlight since she stepped down as President Trump’s ambassador to the United Nations.

Introducing Haley, Norman’s son, Warren, asked her, “How should I address you? Ambassador Haley? Governor Haley? Next President of the United States Haley?”

I have not seen a gathering so overpowered by a woman since I attended a Hillary Clinton event promoting HillaryCare back in the 1980s. But while I found the Hillary encounter completely frightening, Haley’s warm connection to her audience was a sharp contrast. She pointed out that she and her husband decided to stay in New York City to allow their son to graduate from his high school, but next year they will be moving back to South Carolina and he will attend Clemson, like his mom.

So what has Nikki Haley been doing lately? I mean, besides preparing to run for president in the 2024 election?

She wrote her second book, “With All Due Respect”, describing her experiences working in the Trump administration as ambassador to the United Nations. A sometimes-critic of Trump, Haley quit her governor post and accepted Trump’s invitation to the highly-visible ambassadorship, winning acclaim among conservatives for her fire-breathing speeches defending the USA and the Trump agenda before the UN delegates. During her tenure as ambassador there were latent questions about her loyalty to the president, but Monday night she made clear to Norman’s supporters that she joins the congressman in full support of Trump.

Last year Haley founded a conservative policy group “Stand for America” and cherry-picked Heritage Action president Tim Chapman for the lead role in that organization, an indication of her intention to run for president. Similarly, Marco Rubio snatched two Heritage Action top officials, Mike Needham and Dan Holler to anchor his 2024 campaign team.

As a South Carolina resident, I have followed Haley’s career with interest. I still see her as a very ambitious career politician and have lined up on the opposite side of her on some specific issues. Still, as a state representative and governor she was an outstanding administrator, a budget hawk, and her state government ran like a clock, famously answering every phone call with the chirpy greeting, “It’s a great day in South Carolina!”

My family band played for Norman’s Monday kickoff event, and we got to meet Haley for a brief visit backstage. I was surprised at how warm and down-to-earth she is. Especially after watching her bring a couple thousand very discerning conservatives to their knees. Nikki Haley is a force to be reckoned with in American politics. Maybe irresistible.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

She’s a craze you’d endorse, she’s a powerful force
You’re obliged to conform when there’s no other cause
She used to look good to me, but now I find her
Simply irresistible

Robert Palmer – Simply Irresistible

Don’t Be Distracted – There Actually is REAL NEWS Today!

November 19, 2019. What’s the big news today?

The corrupt news organizations, fed by the Democrat machine, are still gyrating their shiny object of the month, the “Impeach Trump” drama. “Look over here, you dumb hicks! Trump! Trump! Ukraine! Trump!” Completely under the radar is the REAL news.

No, don’t be distracted. There is important unreported news today. Despite having a State Dept. that fights him at every turn; despite getting little if any support from top military brass; and despite having a national security apparatus that has been proven to be the source of an outright coup attempt – despite all that AND the daily pounding he takes in the press – President Trump’s outsider instincts have just about finished the corrupt regime of Iran president Hassan Rouhani and Ayatollah Khamenei.

With stellar background support from wing-man Rudy Giuliani and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Trump’s economic sanctions and withdrawal from Obama’s loony nuclear deal have damaged Iran’s economy so drastically that citizens are taking to the streets, protesting the increase in gas prices, the crumbling Iranian currency, runaway inflation and high unemployment. The Iranian regime has already blown through the pallets of cash that Obama sent them, buying rockets and ammo for their terrorist friends and additional centrifuges to refine uranium.

Trump is taking down the world’s biggest supporter of terrorism without firing a shot. Did you hear about it on CNN? Not a single word today. On MSNBC? Nothing. CBS News? Nada. Fox News? Just a very thin article buried deep in their website (at least 1 dead in riots). ABC News? A mention at the bottom of their world news web page, reporting that over 100 protesters were killed, maybe 200.

We are being manipulated by the news industry and the anti-Trump forces within our government. We, the American voting public, are taken for fools, not intelligent enough to digest real news.

You won’t hear anything about the Obama scandals, the Biden Ukraine debacle, the Clinton crimes (including the death of Epstein) or any other real news that might upset the elitists’ status quo. Nope, just more meaningless “shiny objects” to distract us and whip us into a tribal lather.

Don’t be a fool!

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

But what a fool believes, he sees
No wise man has the power to reason away
What seems to be is always better than nothing

What A Fool Believes – Michael McDonald

The genius of Michael McDonald – enjoy!

Are We Conservatives “Uneducated Boobs”?

Last week I attended the Heritage Action for America regional Sentinel Summit, an annual gathering of top conservative activists, in Atlanta.

Heritage Action for America (HAFA) is the action arm of the Heritage Foundation, the preeminent right-wing think tank in the USA, and it engages almost 20,000 grassroots activists like me. We are charged with staying at the leading edge of conservative policy and holding our members of Congress accountable.

At the conference, HAFA president Tim Chapman and senior advisor for political affairs Nate Rogers presented the organization’s “2020 Polling Project” to the gathered Sentinels. They explained how HAFA will use the data they accumulated in 2019 to align voters with popular conservative values. For example, polling shows that American voters are strongly in favor of protecting unborn children, yet the Democrat House under Nancy Pelosi will not even bring a bill to the floor which would require doctors to save babies who survive abortion attempts. This issue, and many like it, can be used to convince habitual Democrat voters, and swing voters, that they should be looking at the conservative alternative.

At the end of Tim and Nate’s presentation, I asked Nate this data-related question. “We conservatives have been characterized in the media and by the Democrats as ‘uneducated boobs’. Meanwhile the Dems claim to own the poor, the immigrants, the oppressed minorities. Which is it? Who is better educated, them or us?”

I’m tired of being painted as a hillbilly, “clinging to my guns and religion”, as characterized by President Obama . But Nate’s answer hit me like a brick. “They are, pretty much,” he said. “The core Democrats are typically college-educated coastal elites; Republicans have won the working middle-class.”

Not the answer I was expecting, or wanted to hear. And I have been stinging ever since.

But on reflection, I am pleased to be part of the “uneducated” group of conservative Americans. Given the socialist dumpster fire that higher education has become, and the abject failure of colleges to provide real employment and life skills despite crushing student debt, it’s no wonder we follow President Trump and common-sense conservative policies. We reject the clueless history- and science-denial and self-serving political ideology of the Democrat leaders.

So yes, the other side has more college degrees than we do. But they can’t change a flat tire, or balance a checkbook, or hear an opposing opinion without hiding under their beds. They can’t intellectualize that killing unborn (and just-born) babies is murder, they would allow the entire third world to walk through our borders expecting us to feed them, they think throwing the F-bomb around and sexualizing everything makes them “cool kids.”

They are ready to throw away our world-envied health care system, our precious freedom of speech, and our proven-effective free market economic system, in exchange for the promise of “free stuff.”

We may be uneducated, but they are the “boobs.”

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

What drives you on
Can drive you mad
A million lies to sell yourself
Is all you ever had

Stupid Girl – Garbage

Time to Fix the Bus

Back down the road we Americans shared a “magic bus” with four tires – two left and two right. The wheels needed to be aligned every once in a while, but generally they all pulled in the same direction and took us to a place that was better than where we came from. If we ran into a rough road, we were able to pull together to get to the other side.

The conservative right side were the sensible ones, watching the checkbook, protecting us from those who would harm us. The liberal left side were the champions of the needy, the downtrodden, and the oppressed. They were thought to be the conscience of America.

But then somehow the left became mean and ugly, adopting a one-world, “America-is-evil”, big-government-over-individual-freedoms ideology. They are now consumed with killing babies, obsess over color of skin instead of content of character, and deny biological science.

Meanwhile the right took their eye off the road and when they had opportunities to do great things for the people, some of them were only interested in holding on to their comfy positions of power.

Now that the Democrats own Congress, they seem to have lost interest in serving the people.

  • “Nonsense” Pelosi could be dealing with the homeless crisis in her own backyard. Instead, we learn that three years after Los Angeles taxpayers put up $1.2 billion for homeless housing, not a single unit has been built. Cities all over the USA are dealing with record numbers of homeless, despite the best employment numbers in our history, and instead of working for solutions, Democrat leaders double down with policies that make things worse.
  • Democrats decry the state of education in our country, but instead of taking meaningful steps to improve the quality of our schools by stopping illegal immigration, implementing school choice including support for home schooling, and focusing on productive curricula, they emphasize social/sexual/political indoctrination.
  • Liberal leaders promote extreme socialism that would consume our annual GDP many times over, thrusting the proleteriat into abject poverty, without a shred of concern for quality of life as long as the ruling class is protected.

True conservatives would happily join forces with Democrats who sincerely want real solutions to humanitarian problems, preserving the best of our American way of life and standard of living. But the liberals are suddenly determined to go off-roading.

Our bus is broken. The wheels on the left side of the bus have fallen off, and the right rear tire is flat. Our president is driving to our future on a treacherous mountain road in a Godless vehicle with only one good tire.

We have to get our bus fixed before we run completely off the road and into a ditch we can’t get out of. Liberals must turn away from the blatant dishonesty of their “big wheel” leaders. Conservatives must get back to the business of serving all of their constituents, not just the ones that will get them re-elected.

All aboard.

Every day I get in the queue (Too much, Magic Bus)
To get on the bus that takes me to you (Too much, Magic Bus)
I’m so nervous, I just sit and smile (Too much, Magic Bus)
You house is only another mile (Too much, Magic Bus)

Magic Bus – the Who

Economic Good Things

Yesterday Congress passed yet another drunken-sailor budget, which would suspend the debt ceiling for another two years and result in an additional $322 billion in spending, ballooning the deficit to $22 trillion dollars.

Not long ago my conservative friends and I took to the streets protesting the unfathomable $16 trillion debt that the federal government had foisted upon our children and grandchildren. Then we got steamrolled by Obama, not exactly a top-drawer economist. Even holding both houses was not enough to stop the spending tsunami, and before you could blink, the Democrat socialist revolution had overtaken Congress.

In an effort to extinguish my “hair on fire” I set out looking for some little rays of economic sunshine among the dark clouds. Here’s what I found:

  • DEREGULATION is driving the economy at an unexpectedly brisk pace. All around I see businesses starting and expanding, construction projects popping up like popcorn, opportunities for workers of all types at premium wage rates, and consumer spending and optimism going through the roof.
  • FOREIGN TRADE POLICIES, TARIFFS AND ALLIANCES – President Trump clearly understands the “art of the deal”, and his push-back against China is bringing positive change. Protests in Hong Kong might drive regime change, or at least policy change. And Trump’s outsized influence on Brexit, Iran, Russia and North Korea all have economic implications. While international trade is not a “zero sum” game, other nations are finally feeling the heat of dealing with an “A-team” on the economic playing field.
  • ENERGY INDEPENDENCE – For a very long time, the USA economy was like many American families – one paycheck away from bankruptcy. At any time a Middle Eastern mullah could shut off the supply of oil, plunging our economy into chaos. That threat is now extinguished.
  • AGENCY REORGANIZATION – Russ Vought and Mick Mulvaney of the OMB are tightening the noose on agency leadership, getting more bang for the taxpayer buck, down-sizing and decentralizing, and updating personnel and procurement procedures. Every day they are changing the government culture to more closely operate like private business.

When Mulvaney was my congressman, we had several discussions about federal spending, with me venting my frustration that the debt was exploding and nobody cares. Mulvaney, always the pragmatist, said, “We can’t fix the deficit and debt by reducing spending. It’s way too late for that. We will have to outgrow it.”

At the time, Mick’s message was not what I wanted to hear. And I still would like to see a more mixed approach: cut spending while the economy is healthy and growing. But the appetite for restraint is just not there. Not with the Democrats and many weak-kneed Republicans in Congress who win re-election by giving away free candy. Not with the president, who had to adopt the same stance to guarantee re-election and time to complete his mission. And frankly, not with the under-informed spoiled-brat public, most of whom pay no federal taxes and whose ranks are swelling every day with immigrants from nations who have never participated in a consumer-driven supply-and-demand economy.

Can our debt keep expanding without consequences? Probably not. But all you can do is all you can do.

I used to employ a business strategy that seemed to work pretty darn well. Every business is segmented into products, or markets, or divisions. Too many executives and managers put all of their energy and focus into the underperforming segments of their businesses, ignoring the segments that are smoking hot and growing. I always promoted the strategy of putting maximum effort and resources into what’s doing well instead of beating your head against the wall trying to fix the losers.

So yes, we had a bad budget deal. Boogers. But if we look closer, there are a lot of “good things” going on.

Seems this worlds got you down
Your feelin’ bad vibrations frown
Well, open your eyes girl, look at me 
I’m gonna show you how it ought to be
We’re gonna’ have a good thing
Such a good thing baby

Good Thing – Paul Revere and the Raiders

In memory of Paul Revere, one of the truly good guys in the history of rock and roll.

It’s a TOOMAH!



On June 9, my 46th wedding anniversary, I was launched out of bed at 1:00 am by what I was convinced was a heart attack. My father had heart disease and I was expecting the same. I perched on the side of the bed, lurching rapidly and violently, unable to breathe, talk, or stand. No pain or pressure, just the worst case of hiccups EVER. A major seizure.

We drove to Steele Creek emergency where I reported my heart attack. The doctors did a “triponin test” which would reveal the presence of an enzyme if I actually did have a heart attack. It was negative. Thank God the doctors did not just send me back home, but rather forwarded me to Atrium Hopital in Pineville for an MRI.

After my MRI, “Doctor Doom’ entered my room with a long face and said, “I have very bad news. You have a 9 centimeter brain tumor on your frontal lobe.” Despite his dramatic pronouncement, I was actually relieved – this explained some symptoms I had been experiencing over the last few months. I had been having trouble controlling emotions.  On stage with my family band “Caution! Blind Driver,” I was often singing with a lump in my throat which I had attributed to worsening “stage fright.” I also was finding that my lead guitar work was slipping – I would drift out of a lead riff into never-never land with no bread crumbs to guide me back.

I also had been playing basketball twice a week and could no longer hit a moving shot for the life of me. Plus I found the floor tilting forward and left.

These symptoms and others should have been a tip-off that something was going wrong with me.

Several friends recommended that I get in touch with Dr. Alan Friedman at Duke University, a world-class brain surgeon. We gathered up our MRI scans and headed for Durham.

Dr. Friedman entered the exam room, yanked my cap off my head, and began planning his surgery on the spot. “Hmmm . . . I will cut here, here and here, peel this back, take out the tumor, you’ll be back on your feet in no time.” I felt like I had the best hot rod mechanic in town. Friedman said that based on the size of the tumor, it may have been growing for as long as ten years.

Two weeks later, I am back at home, pretty much completely healed and rehabilitated.  After surgery I had brain swelling and weakness on my right side, but my brain re-mapped and is now back in control of my body.  My musicianship has returned and I am mobile, although I won’t be driving any time soon due to the risk of seizures.

This has been an educational and humbling life experience.  It causes one to stop and smell the roses, appreciating how fragile we are and how miraculous is God’s handiwork.  I have a new appreciation for artists, athletes and warriors who overcome adversity.

Lesson learned:  

PLAY EVERY GIG LIKE IT MIGHT BE YOUR LAST!

I hope to see you at a show this summer.



Ken Miller Found Innocent in Political Witch Hunt

See the source image

After seven years of injustice, the politically charged campaign finance allegations against Ken Miller from his 2012 run for Montana Governor have been fully dismissed with prejudice.  No wrongdoing was found.  On May 24th the dismissal was filed by Judge Seeley.

Miller states,  “Republicans filed the original false charges in the Montana Governor’s race in 2012 just days before primary voting began.”  Miller continues, “Despite our presentation of proof that the COPP charges were false and politically motivated, the media was quick to report the COPP accusations as if they were fact and true, resulting in my not winning the primary election.” Miller continues, “I hope the media can now give this matter the same attention that they did when these false charges were made.”

Miller and his campaign team along with his legal counsel James Brown, provided full documentation based on the COPP’s own data that wrongdoing did not exist, and instead of the Commissioner of Political Practices (COPP) John Motl dismissing the charges quickly, he created new fake allegations that took Miller years of  time and effort to disprove.  Then COPP changed the charges yet again.  After the election was over, the Democrat-controlled COPP office refused to admit their wrongdoing and drop the disproven charges.  They continued to hold the cloud of guilt over Miller for years, even filing a district court case three years ago as a “place holder.”

“It is obvious that the Democrat office wanted to continue this charade to make it more difficult for me to run for public office over the last seven years,” Miller says.

Miller now plans to get commitments from Montana policymakers to agree to do everything they can to change or eliminate the COPP office.  Miller believes political opponents and the COPP should not be able to continue to use the office to sway elections based on false accusations.

Miller wants policymakers to commit to the elimination of the COPP office and to require the Secretary of State to oversee the financial reporting requirements for political candidates.  If a legal dispute exists, then it should go through the court system as other legal disputes do.  Under the current system the COPP is judge, jury and executioner and the lack of due process is patently unconstitutional.

Alternatively, the Montana Attorney General should require political campaign violation cases to be processed by the local County Attorney’s office.  If the County Attorney decides not to press charges, then the complaint is dismissed with prejudice.

Miller says, “Democrats and Republicans should support this effort on a non-partisan basis because while Democrats are currently in control of the COPP, they will inevitably  find themselves on the other side of the fence some day.  This kind of injustice should never be allowed.”