I’m About To Give You All My Money, Give Me Some R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Government_spending2What does government do?  What CAN government do?

In a nutshell, the only thing government can do is spend our money.  Period.  That’s all, folks.

Our governments – city, county, state, federal – pass bills that spend our money.  Whatever they do, it involves spending our money.  If they are doing more, that means they are spending more money.  The more they do, the more they spend.  If we criticize them for not doing enough, that means we think they are not spending enough of our money.

Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, Greenie Meanie Weenie, it doesn’t matter.  The only reason any politician exists is to spend our money.

The longer a politician is in office, the more money he/she has spent.  In fact, those elected officials who rise to the top of the food chain find themselves in position to spend even more money than everybody else. They get re-elected by promising to spend more of our money.  Two of the most powerful people in Congress are the heads of the Appropriations Committees.  In the Senate, that would be Thad Cochran (R-MS) – whose last election is legendary in the annals of dirty and criminal political maneuvers.  In the House, it would be Hal Rogers (R-KY), known as the “Prince of Pork”.

Thinking Americans have come to realize that more government, bigger government, more spending has not solved our problems as a nation.  Big government has only funneled money from some of us to others of us, but has not improved the standard of living for all of us.  Those with government connections continue to thrive while the middle class has all but disappeared and the growing underclass has become hopelessly dependent on government programs.

It took a few hundred years, but today’s politicians have figured it out – election and re-election can be easily won by buying votes with somebody else’s money.

If this sounds cynical, I’m sorry.  Tell me where I’m wrong.

But there is good news.  We can get out of this mess, and it’s an easy fix.  All we have to do is ask every candidate for public office one simple question:  Will you reduce the size and cost of government?

If the answer is yes, give that person money and vote for him or her.  If the answer is no, run like hell.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right Side

I’m about to give you all of my money
And all I’m askin’ is for a little respect
When I come home.
Hey, hey, hey!

Respect – Otis Redding

 

You thought I was giving you a song by ARETHA didn’t ya!  Otis Redding wrote and recorded Respect in 1965.  Aretha Franklin covered it two years later, and it became a classic – one of the rare instances where the cover beats the original.  I do this song every weekend with my family band Caution! Blind Driver, and our audiences are always surprised when I sing it instead of our female vocalist, my daughter Jenny.  Here is a video of Otis singing this R&B standard on Dec. 9, 1967.  Sadly, he was killed the next day in a plane crash.

Pro Athletes, Show Some Respect!

Photo Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Photo Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

I’m a big sports fan.  And a big patriot.

I know not everybody thinks it is necessary, or even appropriate, to ask thousands of fans to stand and honor the flag and our nation before a sporting event.  I have mixed emotions about it myself.   A while back I asked why US sports venues so frequently play the Canadian national anthem before an event in our country, yet you will never hear the Star Spangled Banner before a CFL (Canadian Football League) game even though many of the players (all of the best ones) are from the United States.

This week the Golden State Warriors beat the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA championship series.  Before each game – like every professional sports event in the United States –  there was the singing of our national anthem.  I really enjoyed this year’s NBA Finals anthem presentations.  Carlos Santana played a beautiful rendition on his PRS guitar, albeit patiently condoning his wife’s pathetic attempt to accompany him on drums. The two Metallica guitarists shredded a heavy-metal version of the SSB and it was surprisingly authentic, rich, patriotic and satisfying. Marlana VanHoose, a blind and palsied 19-year old singer captivated the audience with her powerful rendition of the national anthem.

Still, I am disappointed every time I attend or watch an NBA game when most of the players look down at their shoes, showing either indifference, disrespect, or perhaps contempt for the flag, our anthem, and the nation that made each of them fabulously wealthy.  Who knows what the motivation is – they may be making a political statement, or they may just be getting focused on the game ahead.  Regardless, would it be so hard to at least look up at the flag?

The photo above is a typical NBA pre-game presentation.  My review of a different photograph taken before game 5 showed two of the twelve Golden State Warriors, David Lee and Draymond Green, standing at attention during the national anthem.  A third, James Michael McAdoo, who was brought up from the D-league and did not even get on the floor during the finals, actually placed his hand over his heart.  The other nine players stared at the floor and shuffled.

Here are the guaranteed contracts of these nine players:

  • Klay Thompson – $72 million
  • Andrew Bogut – $36 million
  • Andre Igoudala – $35 million
  • Stephen Curry – $34 million
  • Shaun Livingston – $14 million
  • Harrison Barnes – $7 million
  • Mareese Speights – $4 million
  • Festus Ezeli – $3 million
  • Leandro Barbosa – $1.5 million

Yes, I have mixed emotions about the coerced patriotism at every major league sporting event.  I question whether it is sincere patriotism or pandering.  Especially after learning that NFL teams, despite the outrageous money players and owners make, actually charged taxpayers millions of dollars for the “privilege” of having our service branches perform flag ceremonies before games.

The decision whether to present a patriotic moment before a game is, to my thinking, up to the home team and the league.  If they wish to do so, based on honest intentions, I’m good with that.  If not, I have no complaint.

The NBA has chosen to have a patriotic ceremony before each game.  And it seems to me that the nine employees listed above, and the hundreds or thousands of other professional athletes who earn millions of dollars playing a game they love in front of people who pay their salaries and pay for their arenas with tax dollars, could at least show a little respect to the country to whom they owe their success.

James Michael McAdoo, you didn’t even get to touch the game ball in the finals.  But I salute you, above and beyond all the other NBA Champion Golden State Warriors.  By showing respect to our country, you are more than just a Warrior – you are a Patriot.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right Side

R-E-S-P-E-C-T
Find out what it means to me!
R-E-S-P-E-C-T
Take care, TCB!

Respect – Aretha Franklin

A young and slender Aretha belts it out!

And here is my very own cover!

You better THINK!

Aretha - thinkAs I have pointed out to you, my fellow Rockers on the Right Side, I get regular e-mails from the Obama camp.  They ask me for $5 every day, and they assume that because I logged in to their website once during the last election campaign that I am one of them.  It’s amazing to me that they are still gathering campaign contributions despite the fact that their leader is a lame duck in his second term.

Anyway, the messages are usually amusing.   The Obama group often publishes a “letter” supposedly written by a kid to tug at my heartstrings and shame me into sending my daily $5.  They want me to FEEL, but they certainly don’t want me to THINK.

A while back they used this one, ostensibly composed by a 17-year old whose father was murdered by one of his former employees, along with a UPS driver and three other employees:

Friend —

My dad, Reuven Rahamim, was killed this past September in a mass shooting.   I was 17 years old, one of 15 children who lost a parent that day. I’m honoring his memory — and those of many others who have fallen — by doing something about gun violence.

Whether you’ve been personally affected by gun violence or not, you need to be part of this fight, too.   Since my dad’s death, I’ve learned that my family’s experience is not as uncommon as one might expect. The statistics are horrifying: 12,000 Americans are murdered with guns every year. But the true toll of gun violence is borne by the tens of thousands of sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, and wounded survivors left behind.

When I think of the number of lives that could have been saved by universal background checks or better access to mental health services, I simply don’t understand why Congress doesn’t act right away.

So join me in speaking out. Our stories from all across the country will reaffirm the all-too-real consequences of this unending violence and the need for sensible solutions. Share why you support legislation to keep dangerous weapons out of the wrong hands.

I know my dad is watching right now as I fight alongside many other Americans for common-sense legislation. He deserves a vote. We all deserve a vote. Now is the time.

Thanks,
Sami Rahamim, Minneapolis, MN

Sad story, and probably a good kid.  But think about it — this family is being used.  No way any 17-year old product of our public schools wrote that letter.  Look at the construction and vocabulary.  How many teenagers use phrases like “the true toll” and “reaffirm the all-too-real consequences”?  How many can correctly spell “borne”,  let alone use the word in a sentence?  If this letter had included the words “I’m like” twice in every sentence, I would trust that Sami wrote it, not a group of leftist zealots in a backroom of the White House.

The messages from the Obama camp are always simplistic and emotional.  They never include any background from which the reader can make an informed decision.  The premise of this letter is based on one statement: “12,000 Americans are murdered with guns every year.”  Okay, who pulled the triggers — mostly drug dealers and gang-bangers?  Who were the victims –mostly other drug-dealers and gang-bangers?  How many of these murders took place in areas under strict gun-control laws?  What is the real cause of gun violence, guns?  Or is it drugs and gangs?  And what are you doing about drugs and gangs, besides opening our borders to create more of both?

Unmentioned is this fact: gun violence decreased by 49% from 2003 to 2011, despite an increase in gun ownership.

Unfortunately, the average American is no longer capable of discernment.  With our embarrassingly tiny little attention-spans, and having been thoroughly indoctrinated by the education/news media/government cabal to swallow everything shoveled our way, we are easily steered to the desired conclusion.

Call us “low-information voters”“Sheeple.”  “Slacktivists”.

Like Aretha says, “We Better Think.”

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right Side You better think (think)
Think about what you’re trying to do to me
Yeah, think (think, think)
Let your mind go, let yourself be free

Let’s go back, let’s go back, let’s go way on way back when
I didn’t even know you, you couldn’t have been too much more than ten
I ain’t no psychiatrist, I ain’t no doctor with degree
It don’t take too much high IQ to see what you’re doing to me

Think – Aretha Franklin

You HAVE TO stop what you are doing and enjoy this classic cut  – ‘Aretha, Matt “Guitar” Murphy, Akroyd and Belushi, and the rest of the Blues Brothers – 1980