The Wimpification of America

This weekend we received a belated Christmas present – a trip to the “Axe Throwing” facility at a local family fun center.

If you are my age, the first thing axe throwing brings to mind is the “Ed Ames” incident on the Johnny Carson show:

Anyway, while waiting for our axe guide we watched a family at the nearby climbing wall. This is a 20-foot tall wooden wall with holes cut out so that kids can easily scale the wall. It includes safety cables so nobody risks falling, and is not even remotely challenging for an average kid.

This was a pretty typical American family, a single mom with four kids – two boys about 11 and 9, a toddler and a baby. The 9-year old had walked up the stairs to an adjacent apparatus and was hollering “Mama, I’m scared!” She told him to wait for his brother to climb the wall and help him. The pudgy 12-year old had clearly not climbed anything but a couch for many years. He was mystified by the challenge of putting a hand or foot in the next higher hole to get up the wall, nor did he have the strength or confidence to do so. “Mama, I can’t do this!”

My wife and I looked at each other, simultaneously thinking that our home-schooled grandson or granddaughter would scale that wall in three seconds flat, and then look for something more exciting to do.

It was a pathetic American vignette. Two young boys who had never been physically challenged, were totally out of shape, and had no confidence or ambition. They had clearly been coddled by a helicopter single mom and a school system that teaches them that they are victims and the most important thing in their lives is safety and risk-avoidance. I have no doubt that Critical Race Theory has held them down since they started in public school.

The sad thing is their future is not bright. Once out of mama’s protective reach, they will be overrun by the few capable and ambitious young men (and women) on the way up the ladder of success. Or worse, they will be actually victimized by tough young bad-asses.

That is exactly what our government wants and plans for these boys: more single-mom families, CRT in every institution, and a risk-averse cancel-culture that views self-reliance and confidence as hostile aggression. The implications of this cradle-to-grave government coddling are far-reaching and depressing.

We must stop the destruction of the nuclear family. Kids need dads who don’t allow them, especially the boys, to succumb to a life of wimp-hood. There will always be winners and losers, but the proportion is changing rapidly, and I guarantee the winners will have more fun.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

For you, baby, I would swim the sea
Nothing I’d do for you that’s too tough for me
I’d put out a burning building with a shovel and dirt
And not even worry about getting hurt

Ain’t that tough enough
Ain’t that tough enough

TUFF ENUFF – the Fabulous Thunderbirds

Big Time vs. Small Time

The battle in America is not what it appears to be. It’s not Republicans vs. Democrats, conservatives vs. liberals, right vs. left, or even Marxists vs. Capitalists.

The real battle is “bigs” versus “smalls”.

The 2020 election was stolen by the Democrats. No doubt in my mind. The left pulled out all the stops – uncontrolled mail-in ballots, truckloads of fake ballots in key precincts, ballot harvesting, rigged voting machines, news media and social media disinformation and censorship, hell yes. Big Time. Their game plan was so perfect that Republicans, caught with their pants down, question whether they will have to cheat to ever win a future election. While thinking Americans understood the Trump agenda and continue to support his border-security, pro-defense, America first policies, they were unable or unwilling to stop “the steal.”

Unrecognized in all the turmoil is the role that big-money corporations play in the transformation of society, economics, and government.

In today’s political-economic climate, the rich continue to get richer, and everybody else just doesn’t matter. Charlie Kirk recently interviewed Tucker Carlson. Two of the sharpest tools in the American shed, together they zeroed in on the cause of my insomnia: ordinary Americans are no longer in control of our destinies.

“It’s the bigs versus the smalls,” Tucker said. The fight for power in America is no longer between the left and right. It was not long ago that Republicans held claim to Adam Smith’s notion that the invisible hand of free enterprise generated profits which raised all boats. Now, big businesses have learned that, in cahoots with a swampy central government, they can destroy small business, and hog all the profits for themselves perpetually in unholy financial complicity.

Our central government now unabashedly colludes with the federal reserve bank to create a monetary environment where everybody agrees there is no consequence for accumulating debt – interest rates can be held to zero. The huge corporations will endlessly borrow funds to expand their operations at the expense of moms and pops who played by the rules: work hard, save money, don’t go into needless debt. The communist Chinese model works! At least for those at the top.

Amazon, Google, and Facebook, were first in line. It didn’t take long for other large corporations to see what was going on. Coca-Cola, Delta Airlines, AT&T, Disney, all professional sports, WalMart, the big banks, big pharma – they were not going to be left behind, so they adopted the leftist “hate America” playbook that seemed to be working so well for the swampers and all the “bigs”.

Recently I found that I needed a pair of wiper blades for my truck. I could have driven less than a mile to one of the zillion WalMart stores or one of the three remaining national auto parts chain stores. But I decided to patronize a small business, so I went online to eBay and found a pair at what I thought was a small, independent dealer. I placed the order, and to my surprise, the very next day there was a truck in my driveway with my wiper blades. He handed me my blades in a WalMart bag. Obviously, my eBay dealer had just ordered my blades through WalMart, which I could have done myself.

Even though I got my order quickly and at the right price, I was pissed because I thought I was buying from an independent small business, not the WalMart Monster. The smalls, in order to survive, now have to work with and through the bigs to survive. They get the crumbs while the bigs get bigger.

Call me a skeptic, but I have misgivings about giving all of our lunch money to the big bullies.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Big Time, I’m on my way I’m making it, big time, Huh!
Big time, I’ve got to make it show yeah, big time
Big time, so much larger than life
Big time, I’m gonna watch it growing, big time

Big Time – Peter Gabriel

No Soup for You!

Everybody loves the Seinfeld shows featuring the “Soup Nazi”, the merciless restauranteur who arbitrarily decided who would get to buy his soup, and who wouldn’t. If you haven’t seen it, or need a refresher laugh, here’s a snip:

Every day life in America feels more like a Seinfeld episode. Like the wimpy Seinfeld character George Costanza, most of us cringe in fear of being “cancelled” by a Mask Nazi or a Race Nazi or a Gay Nazi or some other enforcer of nonsensical left-wing political correctness. And like Elaine, those of us who rebel get slapped down – “No soup for you!”

My son and I were at the Charlotte airport waiting for a flight yesterday. The woman sitting next to me noticed that when I talked to my totally blind son I pulled my mask down, temporarily, so he could hear me better. As the tension mounted, I knew that she was a “Mask Nazi” looking for a victim to publicly shame.

Finally she couldn’t hold back. “Excuse me!” she huffed through her own elegant bejeweled mask. “Are you vaccinated?”

I was ready. I was SOOOOO ready. I couldn’t contain for one more minute the year and a half of “pissed off” I had been holding in. And I let her have it. “How dare you?” I said, revving up. “To assume that I would intentionally put you, or anybody else at risk. I am totally offended and insulted!”

Wide-eyed, she lurched back in her seat. Nobody had ever pushed back publicly against her Nazi tactics before, and she didn’t know what to do.

“Doesn’t your mask work?” I continued. “If your mask doesn’t work, what makes you think mine does?”

“Are you with the Mask Police? If you are, I want to see your badge!” She started to sputter an apology as nearby passengers watched the drama unfold. “I’m sure you’re okay,” she mumbled.

“Well, I’m certainly not afraid of you!” I fired back.

I was just getting warmed up. “I am so sick of this unscientific crap!” I wailed. “Why is it okay to cram people together like sardines on airplanes but we can’t sit next to each other at a church or a ball game?” She had no answer for that.

I wanted so badly to ask if she washed her hands the last time she went to the bathroom. I had to trust her, because there was no evidence that she had! But that’s a little too personal for a public forum.

She weakly offered a peaceful exit to the confrontation. “Well I hope this is all over soon.”

“So do I,” I responded, and apologized for blowing up. “President Biden has promised he would eradicate the China Virus by the fourth of July.”

The Mask Nazi looked startled. Maybe she doesn’t fully trust the president she voted for!

Tom Balek, Rockin’ on the Right Side

The clothesline of cold eyes
Is washing away the face before
Now tell me what’s wrong you see everyone’s gone
You gotta do your best to decorate this dying’ day

Soup – Blind Melon

I’ll Give You Money!

Ah, America – the land of opportunity, where any entrepreneur with a good idea can get rich. All you have to do is be in the right place at the right time with the right scam.

So here’s the next big opportunity.

Americans no longer have to show up to vote, right? And mail-in ballots do not need to be verified in any way to be considered valid, as many of our states have proven in the 2020 elections, right?

The old-school method for getting stinking rich by being elected to office in Washington, DC has been to collect huge sums of money from lobbyists and rich fatcats and then buy advertising that will make the voters hate your opponent. For example, Democrat Jaime Harrison and incumbent Republican Lindsey Graham collected and spent about $230 million on hate advertising in their recent senate race. But this technique is now obsolete. SC voters already hated both of them before the advertising. Harrison had more money and bought more advertising, but South Carolina loves President Trump, so we plugged our noses and voted for Graham, hoping he would support Trump.

But wait a minute – if that kind of fatcat money is available to candidates, and there is no control over mail-in ballots, why go through all the hassle and risk of advertising? Why not just buy votes directly on the open market?

I think I am going to run for Lindsey Graham’s seat next time around using a combination of old-school and new-school tactics. Like the current group of “corrupticrats” in DC, I will collect a ton of lobbyist/fatcat money by promising legislation that will make them even richer. But instead of spending it on hate advertising, I will create a website where voters can send their mail-in ballots, marked for me, directly to my campaign manager, who will conspire with corrupt postal workers and poll employees to dump them in the ballot boxes. In return for their ballots I will send each voter a Visa gift card for the going rate, which was $130 per vote this year. If you can collect or create 100 ballots I will send you $13,000, and I don’t care how you get them.

It’s the American way – supply and demand, efficiency of production, stuff like that. Oh, but it’s dishonest, you say? Tell that to CNN and Google.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ on the Right Side

All I need is someone to believe in me
Even if you’re losing
Watching from behind
I’ll give you money, I’ll give you lovin’
Everything

I’ll Give You Money – Pete Frampton

The Latest North Carolina Presidential Poll

My son uses disability busing to get around Charlotte, NC. Totally blind, Jeff is a news junky and very interested in politics. So on his bus trip to the gym today he took a political poll on the upcoming presidential election.

Poll size: 1
Sex: female
Race: African American
Age: 40-ish
Occupation: bus driver
Union member: yes
Government employee: contracted

Jeff asked his bus driver how she is going to vote in the upcoming election, and found out she is an enthusiastic Trump supporter. As I got Jeff off the bus, she told me, “We had such a nice visit. Jeff is a Trump fan, too!”

I acknowledged, “Yes, I know.”

She said, “I just love Donald Trump! I don’t care about his personality, I only care about what he gets done.” She added, “All of us black folks in North Carolina are behind Trump. He’s going to win, you know.” I don’t care even a tiny bit about skin color, but she thought it was important to make that point.

So according to Jeff’s poll, Trump will win 100% of the female votes in North Carolina. And all of the black votes. And all of the government employee votes. And all of the union employee votes. And all of the ordinary go-to-work-every-day folk votes.

Margin of error is plus or minus 5%.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

You better shape up, ’cause I need a man
And my heart is set on you!
You better shape up, you better understand
To my heart I must be true!
Nothin’ left, nothin’ left for me to do.
You’re the one that I want!
Ooh, ooh, oooh, honey!

You’re The One That I Want – Olivia Newton John and John Travolta


What Do You Want?

When I was a kid I was a baseball pitcher. One coach gave me a great bit of advice. He said, “before every pitch, picture in your mind exactly what you want to happen.” He was right. I learned that if you first “see” an inside fast ball ripping past the batter at his fists, it’s more likely to happen than if you just wind up and throw it. You have to know what you want to make it happen.

Later, in business management, I was taught to actively plan all the time, to determine what result we would consider a “success”. In other words, to picture the desired outcome.

I don’t think enough people have considered what results they want from our leaders and our government. How many times have you heard “I really like how Trump has improved the economy and got our troops back home, but . . .” The “but” is always something about his personality, not his performance. But . . . he’s a bully. But . . . he’s too rich. But . . . he has orange hair. Or the “but” is some lie from an anonymous source that is too ridiculous for any thinking person to even believe.

So here’s what I want from my federal officials, prioritized:

  • I want our officials to follow the Constitution explicitly and protect our individual freedoms and rights as outlined there.
  • I want the federal government to get out of the way and let our free market economy roar. A few regulations that prevent citizens from being taken advantage of are in order – laws that can’t be administered by the states. But it had better be a pretty obvious threat, and a pretty transparent and straightforward solution. And no picking “winners and losers”.
  • I want the federal government to protect our states (yes we are a group of sovereign states, not a nation-state) from outside threats, including invasion of our borders.
  • I want the federal government to represent our citizen’s best interests with other nations regarding international trade.
  • I want the federal government to provide a safety net – economic, medical, humanitarian – for Americans with disabilities, disaster relief, and other needs we are unable to deal with ourselves as states or individuals.

That’s it. Our Constitution is about perfect as it is.

No, I don’t want the federal government to educate my kids, or make decisions about my property, or redistribute income, or build hospitals, or fund police departments, or solve global warming. Not their job.

We not only have to vote for candidates who we think will do what we want, we also need to demand what we want from officials once elected.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

So tell me what you want, what you really, really want
I’ll tell you what I want, what I really, really want!

Wannabe – the Spice Girls

How to Solve All of Our Government’s Problems

Today I am not going to whine or point fingers. Instead, I am going to take my best shot at problem-solving. Stick with me.

Back in the early 1980s TQM (Total Quality Management) was all the rage in corporate America. The TQM movement started when the US Army hired Dr. Edwards Deming to take over economic development in post-war Japan. Deming applied quality improvement techniques that transformed Japan from a nation of shoddy third-world trinket-makers to a wealthy nation of world-class manufacturers. His astonishing success gave rise to the thought that maybe the world could be saved after all.

As a young executive, I was asked to select and implement one of many popular TQM programs to make sure that our company stayed at the leading competitive edge of our industry. After looking at the alternatives, I chose the Philip Crosby Theory because it just seemed so simple and common-sensible. The Crosby Theory is based on these principles and definitions and provides tools to achieve them:

  • Quality is defined as conformance to requirements
  • Quality defect prevention is preferable to quality inspection
  • Zero defects is the quality performance standard
  • Quality is measured in monetary terms – the price of non-conformance

A government, like a business, is a group of people trying to get something done together in their common interest. And in government, like in business, if there is no agreement on what the requirements are, or how to tell if we are meeting them, there is zero chance of success.

Read the list above again and imagine all the ways that our government could be improved if these principles were applied. How many problems would this solve!

By defining what the requirements are, we would stop wasting time, money and effort doing things that half of our citizens don’t want done. We are fortunate to have a constitution written by geniuses that clearly defines what our government is expected to do.

Another great way to avoid wasting time, money and effort is to prevent problems instead of dealing with them after they are discovered. This would indicate that the single most important thing to our nation’s future is the improvement of our education system. We could apply TQM to that, too.

A major problem with our system of government is there is no standard of performance. That’s why our growing budget deficits and debt seem insurmountable and inevitable. If we are going to survive, we have to have achievable expectations of our government officials and hold them totally accountable.

And how would we measure our success? The only known way to measure anything is numerical. “Niceness” is not a measurement that can be agreed upon. “Respect”. “Caring.” “Fairness”. “Equality”. None of these are objective measurements. Let’s face it, government is all about using our shared money to improve our standard of living. All adults strive to financially improve every day. And no matter how much they “care”, elected officials can do nothing other than spend – or not spend – our money. Measurement of our government’s success must be statistical, not emotional: GDP growth, per capita income, consumer financial security, etc. We want all the graphs to point upward.

Okay, I gave it my best shot. Surely government can’t be that simple. Or can it?

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Ain’t no need to complicate it, we both know that’s overrated
We’ve been there, its safe to say it ain’t our style, yeah
It’s like one, two, three
Just as easy as can be
Just the way you look at me
You make me smile

SIMPLE – Florida Georgia Line

Who Will Have the Next Revolution?

We see news of protests on a daily basis now, from every corner of the world.

photo by WireNewsFax

Hong Kong has erupted in street protests over the Chinese Communist Party’s aggressive push to strip the “autonomous” region of its freedoms guaranteed under the 1997 agreement when the UK gave clear title to the CCP.

Protestors continue to march in Venezuela, demanding the ouster of dictator Nicolas Maduro after suffering through years of economic devastation and loss of personal rights.

Ethnic attacks in Mali and DR Congo have inflamed citizens to the boiling point. In the Middle East civil unrest in several nations including Yemen, Syria and Libya have become a fact of daily life.

And in the US this week, riots have erupted in several cities over the police killing of a black man during an arrest in Minneapolis. This follows weeks of protests at state capitals by conservative activists who oppose the government’s coronavirus-inspired economic shutdowns. America is polarized, with every news development devolving into a red / blue showdown. There doesn’t seem to be even an inch of middle ground in our political turf-war. The very structure of our constitutional government is in play as lines of authority continue to break down. The separation of powers as defined in the constitution is taking a beating as rogue judges attempt to override executive and legislative authority, while corruption runs rampant and unpunished.

Tensions between the ruling class and the governed simmer all over the world. We know that civil unrest can lead to civil war or bloody revolution, and the results can lead to positive change or down the highway to hell.

The world is now averse to hot wars, but in the USA we openly hope for revolutions in Iran, Venezuela, Syria and China that lead to regime change. Do they wish the same for us? The US has shown a proclivity to get involved in foreign civil wars in the past, with less-than-stellar results. And we are seeing our adversaries brazenly meddling in our domestic affairs lately.

Could we be the first in line for civil war or revolution? Will we soon be watching bloodshed in Hong Kong or Tehran? Or will they be cheering while watching ours?

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

You say you want a revolution?
Well you know,
We all want to change the world.

Revolution – the Beatles

Blue States: Call the Suicide Hotline!

America’s Blue States continue to accelerate toward self-destruction, in total denial of the ugly fate that awaits them. The Blue States (run by Democrats) are always broke and looking for bailouts from the Red States (run by Republicans).

Suicide Net on Golden Gate Bridge

Blue State costs explode as they continue to invite illegal immigrants and unemployed homeless people by offering them medical care, welfare, food, tents, hotel rooms, rent subsidies and other benefits. They promise pensions and health care to retired government employees far beyond what they can afford or have budgeted. They spend taxpayer funds on ill-conceived projects, inflated salaries, corruption, and general incompetence.

Meanwhile, Blue State revenues steadily decline as their bad decisions and over-regulation chase companies and families away, usually to Red States. They can’t increase taxes fast enough to make up for the exodus of taxpayers and the declining net incomes of those who foolishly stay. The quality of life erodes daily in Blue States.

The COVID-19 pandemic is a classic example of Blue State attempted suicide. Because they hate Trump and want to hang the virus around his neck, the Blue States insist on keeping their businesses shut down, their churches and schools closed, and their citizens locked up. The result: decreased revenue, increased costs, and frustrated folks. Meanwhile, the Red States open up their economies and turn their consumers loose. Blue State border dwellers feel like they are looking over the Berlin Wall, and run to nearby Red States to spend their money and enjoy some freedom.

The only satisfaction Blue Staters receive from their sheepism is they get to call the Red Staters selfish meanies, which is a crap sandwich at best.

A few years ago California put “suicide nets” on the Golden Gate Bridge to prevent desperate San Francisco citizens from taking their own lives in total despair. Who knew that the entire state of California, and many other Blue States, would one day be driven to suicide by Trump Derangement Syndrome?

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

They got a name for the winners in the world
I want a name when I lose
They call Alabama the Crimson Tide
Call me Deacon Blues

Deacon Blues – Steely Dan

“Working Tirelessly”

Have you heard the phrase “working tirelessly” lately? I guarantee it came from a government official, referring to government employees.

Now let me start my rant by saying I don’t want to broad-brush any group of people. I know there are many hard-working, conscientious government employees who put themselves in harm’s way every day. They are patriotic, dedicated and responsible.

These are not the government employees I am referring to.

Too often (such as during our current COVID-19 crisis) we see government officials on camera, in front of the slobbering press and the ubiquitous deaf interpreters, literally breaking their arms patting themselves on the back taking credit for the government “saving us” from threats that they probably had a hand in creating.

They never give credit to the people – the truck drivers, waitresses, nurses aides, ranchers, line workers, managers, and yes, owners and executives – who really do work long, hard hours, especially when the chips are down, to pay the taxes that put these showboats in front of the cameras.

Truth be told, most government employees work fewer hours for higher pay and more benefits than their peers in the private sector. And they get paid and get raises and have eternal job security whether their department succeeds or not. They never have to meet a production quota on time or a budget or put their own money at risk. They don’t have to turn a profit for survival. In fact, many cities and states are broke because they have promised totally un-fundable retirement plans to their employees, and are now looking for bailouts.

Staying up all night and pulling calves in a blizzard – that’s working tirelessly. Taking enemy fire for days from all directions and dragging injured buddies from danger is working tirelessly. Climbing poles and repairing lines in the driving rain for days on end to restore electrical service destroyed by a tornado – that’s working tirelessly. Working two menial jobs and keeping a smile on for customers, just to earn a subsistence living. Burning the midnight oil to figure out how to operate well enough to keep good people employed and insured. Working tirelessly.

Bureaucrats who punch a computer in an air-conditioned office, making arbitrary decisions that as often as not make things worse instead of better, never working a 40-hour week or a weekend?

Not so much.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

I said hey, hey workin’ man, workin’ man like me
I ain’t never been on welfare and that’s one place I won’t be
I’ll be back workin’ – as long as my two hands are fit to use
Drink a little beer in the tavern, and sing a little bit of these workin’ man blues

Workin’ Man Blues – Merle Haggard