CHANGE – It’s Not Going to Get Any Easier

“Crabby” warning.

America is in the middle of a BIG CHANGE.

Change is inevitable, and we ultimately have to accept it.  The hard thing, though, is that change is never smooth, gradual and comfortable.  It comes in fits and starts, and is often jarring if not downright scary.  We are in one of those scary times.

Even though we have to accept change, we don’t have to like it.  And there is a lot of stuff going on that I don’t like.

I don’t like the fact that our economy used to be more fairly balanced, but now there is a huge and growing chasm between the “haves” and “have nots”.  It’s going to get worse before it gets better. Unrest and violence are not out of the question.  Why?

America was once a “melting pot” of people from different backgrounds and abilities who all shared common values and felt a part of something bigger than themselves.  Now we have splintered into a balkanized bunch of minorities.  And I will point the finger directly at “progressive” political leadership over the last decade or so.  The “divide and conquer” strategy used by liberals has worked brilliantly.  Democrats have taught everybody to identify with a subgroup and then established victim-hood status for each, promising to save them from everybody else in exchange for votes.

It starts in our schools and colleges, where students from one or more of the victim-groups of poor, non-white or immigrant, non-Christian, gay/trans, single mothers, etc. are vaulted to hero status.  Self-esteem is guaranteed to them all without regard to merit.  Those born in America with white skin are assumed to be bigots and racists, normal heterosexuals are assumed to be narrow-minded homophobes, and hard-working achievers are assumed to have only succeeded at the expense of others.  The “privileged” must sheepishly walk on broken glass in penance and apology to the “victims.”

Worst of all, our education system that once drove students to seek excellence now allows (perhaps encourages) minority students to feed a culture that values being “bad-ass” over being academic.  Schools fail to enforce discipline, tolerate or endorse illicit sex and drugs, and openly assail capitalism, patriotism, family values, and Christian religion.  Graduation rates plummet as growing numbers of kids would rather avoid learning anything to meet the approval of their peers than work for an educational foundation promising a successful future.  Many schools numbly accept poor classroom performance out of fear of being labeled racist.  As a result nobody flunks and standards sink to the lowest common denominator.  Speaking of common, where is the “rigor” we were promised with the roll-out of Common Core?  Employers are frantic at the dearth of trainable graduates.

You may be thinking, “Yeah, but my school is great.”  Everybody says that.  Look at a couple of textbooks.  Sit in on an assembly.  K-12 is scary enough.  College has become a place for children to abscess and rot.

There will always be a few high achievers, and they will have an ever-easier path to the top as more “victims” fall into the abyss of low expectations.  And the Democrats salivate waiting for them at the bottom of the hill with free stuff in one hand and a ballot in the other.  The few at the top will be richly rewarded and the masses at the bottom will fight for crumbs from their government.  The culture war has only just started, and I can’t envision a happy outcome if we don’t shift our direction.

Bitching about change is easy.  Minimizing the damage is hard.  Change doesn’t have to be for the worse.  We just can’t give in to political correctness, laziness and demagoguery.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

And these children that you spit on
As they try to change their worlds
Are immune to your consultations
They’re quite aware of what they’re going through

Changes – David Bowie



South Carolina Grassroots Conservatives – Something Old, Something New

TedCruz_at_2015SCTPCThe South Carolina Tea Party Coalition gathered last weekend in Myrtle Beach, and there was never a dull moment.  All the leading right-wing organizations were there, including the Tea Party Patriots, Freedom Works, the Heritage Foundation, the Tea Party Leadership Fund, and Americans for Prosperity.  Contenders for the 2016 presidential race made stump speeches.  Senators and congressmen tossed red meat to the hungry throngs.

The event sold out, skewering the notion that the Tea Party is in decline.   Conservative celebrities lined up to participate.  I have been attending events like this for a long time, and let me tell you – these people are more fired up than ever.

Some things haven’t changed.  Barack Obama remains the target of the Tea Party’s ire, and the conservative faithful are more baffled than ever that so many Americans are still oblivious to the damage he continues to inflict on our nation.  And the Tea Party is still an army of mostly gray-haired, fair-skinned grandmas and grandpas.

Yet the Tea Party and the conservative movement continues to evolve.

Lately the grassroots conservatives are as angry at Republicans as they are at arch-rival liberal Democrats.  They stood and cheered as speaker after speaker exhorted them to “hold the Republicans in DC accountable.”  Congressmen Louie Gohmert, Jim Bridenstine and Jeff Duncan got standing O’s specifically to thank them for their anti-Boehner votes.  Still, Rep. Mick Mulvaney came out guns blazing in defense of his vote for the Speaker, and scored some points.

Minorities continue to gain in numbers and in comfort level in Tea Party circles.  While they have always been warmly welcomed by the Tea Party, African American and Hispanic conservatives no longer feel conspicuous and are taking a significant leadership role.

A fairly large contingent of young conservatives also attended.  One of the most compelling presentations came from Lauren Cooley of Turning Point USA.   Cooley, a striking and very hip young lady, is winning high school and college students over to the conservative side at a wholesale clip.  She single-handedly shut down the gender-studies department and its series of obscene programs at Furman University, and handed attendees to a Jesse Jackson event a list of unflattering direct quotes by him, standing her ground in a confrontation with the embarrassed sponsors.  Her charges carry the pithy message, “Big Government Sucks”, and in growing numbers they understand and articulate the abuses heaped on young Americans by their government in recent years.

But the biggest change in the conservative movement is more subtle, and significantly more important.  Grassroots conservatives have learned that they must work within the system to accomplish real reform.  The days of loud complaints but little action are history, as conservative activists now work to reorganize precincts, run for local offices, and learn policy issues in detail, making them formidable citizen leaders and constituents.  And the top conservative organizations all have focused goals with serious action plans in place to accomplish them.

Two larger-than-life issues in South Carolina took center stage at the convention.  A determined group of conservatives led by Greenville activist Diane Hardy contends that primary registration by party would prevent election perversions such as moderate Republican Lyndsey Graham’s narrow win over several conservative primary candidates.  Graham’s name, by the way, was roundly booed whenever uttered at the event.

Another policy issue that caught a lot of attention is the failure of the state to honestly implement its new law that struck down the Common Core standards.  A panel was assigned to write new state standards, but instead they merely copied the Common Core standards and gave it a new name.  An aggressive campaign is underway by Shari Few and her group, South Carolina Parents Involved in Education, to rewrite the standards.

South Carolina is an early primary state, a fact not lost on presidential hopefuls.  Dr. Ben Carson was soft-spoken, but his conservative convictions were rock-hard.  He admitted a lack of experience and expertise in both foreign and domestic affairs, promising to surround himself with smart people.  Senator Ted Cruz made a rock-star entrance and then machine-gunned his well-rehearsed talking points with precision and authority, if not much inspiration.  Cruz knows exactly what buttons to push.  Rick Santorum was sincere, but didn’t show much fire in the belly.  Donald Trump was . . . well, you know.  Arrogant and embarrassingly shallow.  But he was warmly received.

In conversation and informal straw polls, most of the attendees seemed to favor Scott Walker and Dr. Carson for president.

Nobody went home from this event feeling cheated.  I’m sure this group from South Carolina provides a good cross-section of the Tea Party nationwide.  And while the grassroots conservative movement has been consistent over the years in its values and aims, one can’t help but sense the changes underway.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right SideSha la la la la la,
Live for today!
And don’t worry, ’bout tomorrow, hey
Live for today!

Live for Today – the Grass Roots


If You Love Your Children, Hold Them Close

you can keep your children

via T Patrick Duffy

If our elected leaders will lie about the takeover of our health care system, about the deaths of Americans at Benghazi, about Big Brother electronic eavesdropping, about the use of the IRS and other federal agencies to manipulate elections, and about the corruption epidemic in our government – why would you trust their motives with your children?

President Obama, president-elect Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and the elite progressive establishment really believe that “it takes a village” to raise your child.  They are convinced that you are not qualified to make decisions about your family’s well-being,  and they have an aggressive agenda that will continue to dilute parent’s rights and personal sovereignty.  Next on the list is mandatory government daycare/preschool for toddlers.

Parents, if you love your children, hold them close.  They are at risk.  Please learn about Common Core.  Read the textbooks and other materials they bring home and don’t be afraid to overrule the disinformation you find.  See how your childrens’ precious time is being spent at school.  Be active in your school district and school board affairs.

Do not allow federal programs to take over your local schools.  Take the time to pass on your knowledge, beliefs and values to your children.  Do not “trust” the school to raise, feed, educate, or protect your precious children – you must be involved at every step.

If you can home-school your child, you will do your family and your nation a tremendous service.  If not, you must fight for your family’s right to choose the approriate school and educational path.

Be aware of what is happening to our economy and our way of life.  Your children’s futures depend on you – nobody cares about your children as much as you do.  They can’t afford your abdication of parental rights to the government.  They can’t afford the insurmountable debts we are placing on them.  They aren’t able to defend their constitutional rights – we must fight on their behalf.

There was a time when we could trust our government to tell the truth.  We knew that our elected leaders had our families’ best interests at heart.  The American Dream was universally understood and shared.  Sadly, that time is gone.

I know you are busy, but is anything more important than your children?

If you are already aware of the dangers, and actively involved in protecting and improving their futures, please pass this on to someone you know who is not engaged.  On behalf of my kids and grandkids, I thank you.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right Side

Hold me tight
Tell me I’m the only one
And then I might
Never be the lonely one

Hold Me Tight – the Beatles

On a lighter note, here’s an old Beatles recording session including outtakes.  Note the Fender Bandmaster amp in the photos – I had one of these way back when, and wish I had kept it – they are worth a fortune today!

Do You Know What Common Core Is Yet?

classroomI posed this question almost a year ago, and today I ask again –  do you know what Common Core is?

Common Core, the biggest change in education in US history, is underway, and yet it continues to fly mostly under the radar.  If your child or grandchild is in a public school, it is almost certain that he or she is already caught up in this total overhaul of our public education system.  Even if you don’t have children involved, you should be concerned because most citizens feel that education is the linch-pin to the success of our nation and way of life.

“Wait a minute,” you might ask.  “If Common Core is such a big deal, why haven’t I heard anything about it?”  And that is a very important question.  Did your school ask you whether you wanted to implement Common Core?  Were you involved in deciding what is important in your child’s education?  Whenever a major government program is kept secret – especially one that will have such a major impact on your children – you should wonder why.

Here are the basic tenets of Common Core:

  • national standards will be applied to make education homogeneous across the country
  • teaching methods and content will be focused on preparation for college and careers, rather than the attainment of general knowledge and skills
  • courses will encompass more “rigor” (higher level learning)
  • content will be technical rather than general; reading materials will be primarily non-fiction; history and philosophy will be limited and focused; and emphasis will be placed on how students learn rather than acquisition of facts
  • teachers will become facilitators of group projects and discussions rather than classroom leaders and producers of information – students will collaboratively determine what they should learn and what the correct answers are

These intentions sound good.  But like every process change, the devil is in the details.  There are so many unanswered questions:  if content is homogenized, how will students learn special and individual skills?  If the primary instruction model is group work, will introverted students be left behind, or will competitive students be held back?  Are we abandoning the building-block approach to knowledge that has traditionally established the foundation for higher learning?  Are elementary students capable of determining what they should learn?  Will schools cut back on the foo-foo to allow the necessary time to make this work?

And perhaps the biggest question of all:  will parents, teachers and local school boards have any control over content, or will our schools become federal government factories spitting out ideologically cloned kids?  Look back to pre-war Germany to see how dangerous top-down control of education can be.  Defenders of Common Core insist that there will be a great deal of local control.  Have you seen any yet?  All decisions to this point have been made by a small, elite cadre of educational theorists, government wonks, and profiteers lined up at the Bill Gates money trough.

North Carolina Lt. Governor Dan Forest has it right – he says let’s slow down and take a good, hard look at Common Core before we just jump in, with no questions asked:

As a school board trustee I barged in and studied Common Core up close and personal, alongside the teachers.  Although they had no choice in the matter (the train had left the station), many of them were not sold on the idea.  An article in Education Week illustrates just how tough the leap from “zero to ten” is going to be.  More teachers are now speaking out, and questions about Common Core are beginning to appear in the mainstream media.

Supporters of Common Core say conservative critics are uninformed and unnecessarily cautious – we are roadblocks to progress.  We need hope and immediate change!  Don’t ask questions, just trust us!

Sound familiar?

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right Side

So, don’t ask me no questions
And I won’t tell you no lies
So, don’t ask me about my business
And I won’t tell you goodbye

Don’t Ask Me No Questions – Lynyrd Skynyrd

Here’s an EARLY Lynyrd Skynyrd clip (1974, before the plane crash).  Look behind them – that’s a SERIOUS back-line of amplifiers!

Hit Me With Your Best Shot!

school_paddleSeventh grade at Paris Gibson Junior High School in Great Falls, Montana, 1966.  Compared to schools today, it was an alien world.

At Paris Gibson, all seventh grade boys were required to take wood shop class.  We actually didn’t do much in wood shop.  I think we sanded a stick of wood or something.  The wood shop was not there for teaching an employable skill.  No, the sole purpose for our wood shop – and our shop teacher – was to make paddles.

In the boys’ bathroom we exchanged rumors about which of the male teachers had the biggest, baddest custom paddle.  Mr. Anderson’s paddle has a three-foot long handle, like a baseball bat!  And Mr. Jones, the science teacher, had holes drilled in his paddle so there would be less air resistance and a faster swat.

I found myself on the receiving end of Mr. Jones’ paddle one afternoon.  Convicted of accepting a note during class from the girl in the seat behind me, I bravely marched to the principal’s office to receive my penance.  It didn’t surprise me that the girl who passed me the note didn’t get a swat.  In those days before women’s liberation there was a clear double standard.  But I was surprised and relieved to find that Old Jonesy’s paddle did not, in fact, have aerodynamic holes.

Just the same, it made a heck of a pop on my backside and cured me of any rule-bending intentions for the rest of the school year.

How times have changed.

Junior high teachers no long paddle the rear ends of miscreant boys.  They do, however, frequently engage in sex with them – here are a few hundred examples. 

Today’s teachers are not allowed to raise their voices.  Instead, they are required to ask how it made the aggressor feel when he hurt that other student’s feelings.  Then the school psychologist orders up another prescription for Ritalin.

Memorization of historical milestones, math drills, and epic literature are now old-school.  Today’s Common Core students engage in group-think, anti-bullying crusades, environmental activism, and support for gays and lesbians.  They learn that conflict and questioning authority are abnormal and will not be tolerated.  Competition is okay, but only on the football field (just one kid gets to be quarterback, but every student is on the honor roll.)  Ingesting and retaining facts no longer matters; what counts is how well you get along with others.  How compliant you are.  Everyone should be the same:  Dull.  Nice.  Helpless.

They grow up perfectly happy to “spread the wealth around.”  They refrain from being judgmental, because the only virtue is tolerance.  Pregnant junior high girls are held in high esteem for their bravery.  Christmas is now “Winter Holiday”.

Back at Paris Gibson Junior High, you could pretty much tell who was headed for success and leadership.  They were usually the ones in the principal’s office getting a swat.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right Side

You come on with a come on, you don’t fight fair
But that’s O.K., see if I care!
Knock me down, it’s all in vain
I’ll get right back on my feet again!

Hit Me With Your Best Shot – Pat Benatar

Smokin’ Hot Pat Benatar Rockin’ It!