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

 

 

Illegal Immigrants: Don’t Rock the Boat

rock the boatAt breakfast this morning my daughter was relating a conversation she had with a neighbor-friend who is a third-grade teacher at a predominantly Hispanic public elementary school.  They were discussing the problems caused by the extensive federally-required testing of third graders – the loss of instruction time, the stress for students and teachers, the declining scores.  Then the teacher made a startling observation.

“It’s not just the testing that’s a problem, ” she told my daughter.  “I have a room full of kids who don’t value education.  That’s because they come from families who don’t value education.”  She said nobody at home speaks English, so the children have no interest in learning English, or much of anything else, at school.  They don’t see anything at home that connects education to success in life or anything positive.  “They act out all day.  Our classroom is chaos, and we are not allowed to discipline because the school is afraid of legal action.”

Another friend of mine is a kindergarten teacher who teaches entirely in Spanish.  Her students receive no English instruction.  She reports the same lack of discipline and respect in her students, and suffered a serious physical attack by one of them.  Her administration warned her to not report the incident to police or other authorities.

Both of these talented young teachers are now questioning the wisdom of their career choices.

After breakfast, I flipped through the Sunday morning news shows, landing on the Fareed Zakaria GPS report about discrimination.  He pointed out that many more schools are now segregated than were before Brown vs. Board, and went on to say performance and outcomes in these “minority” schools is much worse than in “desegregated” schools.  He carefully avoided one critical detail.  The segregation in today’s schools is English-speakers vs. non-English speakers.  American-born vs. (mostly) illegal aliens.

The other Sunday news shows all had the obligatory segments with talking heads explaining how Donald Trump has no chance to be elected president because he offended Hispanic voters by saying Mexican criminals have come across our open border. The news producers shelved the video showing protesters at a Trump rally assaulting police while waving Mexican flags.

My sensibilities were a little bit rocked by all this turbulence before my third cup of coffee.  I had to say: this is just not working.

We can not leave our borders unprotected any longer.  We can’t continue to pretend that these are only poor “refugees” wanting to celebrate America, to do the jobs we won’t do, and to help raise the tide that floats all boats.  The boats that were already here are taking on water.  We don’t have enough jobs for our own citizens.  Our schools and support systems are sinking under the weight of foreigners, many of whom have no intention of assimilating.

I’m not a bigot or a selfish meanie.  I’m not broad-brushing Hispanics or any other minority as terrible people.  I’m not saying no more immigration, ever.  All I’m saying is, what we’re doing now – unfiltered, uncontrolled mass immigration driven by liberal public benefit programs – is not working.  It has to change before the boats all tip over.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right Side

Rock the boat, don’t rock the boat baby
Rock the boat, don’t tip the boat over
Rock the boat, don’t rock the boat baby
Rock the boat

Rock the Boat – the Hues Corporation

 

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!

Livin’ In a Land Down Under

kangaroosI spent a day with some friends from Australia last weekend.  It’s sad to say, but they were more engaged in and knowledgeable about American politics and economics than most fellow Yankees I meet.

We had riveting discussions comparing the political and economic situations of our two countries.  One thing became obvious right away – wage rates “down under” far exceed ours.  While the Aussie dollar and the American dollar are near parity, Australian laborers earn $25 or more per hour, while the norm in my American city seems to be about $12 per hour.  Australian professionals appear to earn considerably more than Americans do as well, but taxes take a pretty healthy bite, and prices are high on some items.

Our three guests were all government employees, yet they were very fiscally conservative.  One was a nurse who works for a government-owned and operated health care system.  She explained that citizens who purchase private health insurance can choose their own (presumably superior) doctors and care facilities.  No one is refused care at the public hospitals.

I was surprised to learn that the unions and government are combatants in Australia.  And my friends were shocked to hear about the circle of corruption in the US, where government employees’ unions get politicians elected in exchange for favors and more government jobs.  They wondered why they had not heard about some of the issues I presented, and I explained that for many years our news media have been bedfellows with the democrats, and their reporting is rigidly slanted in that direction (with the exception of Fox News, for whom my guests had no respect).  The Aussies are not impressed with the dearth of real news here, lamenting that they never hear their nation even mentioned in the media.

When we expressed our concerns about vote fraud in recent elections, especially in Montana, they described how their election system requires each citizen to vote – and failure to do so results in a hefty fine.  “We don’t use voting machines, it’s all done manually under great scrutiny,” we were told.

They weren’t pleased that their current prime minister, Julia Gillard of the Labor Party, was not elected by the people.  She assumed office in 2010 when her predecessor, Kevin Rudd, was ousted as the Labor Party leader.  “And she won’t be elected this September, either!”  they announced with firm resolve.  It bothered me greatly that until our visit I didn’t even know who the leader of Australia is.

We shared common concerns about the leftward (and downward) drift in education, and the over-reaching environmental movement.  They understood our worries about illegal immigration: “You mean your immigrants don’t have national identification cards?” they asked.  Of course their border is protected by a rather large ocean.

The big eye-opener for the Aussies was our commitment to the second amendment.  At age 30, one of our guests had never seen or touched a gun.  I showed her mine, and it was as if all the oxygen was sucked out of the room.  My wife and I explained concealed carry permits, and our belief in the fundamental right to protect ourselves, our families, and our property.  They insisted that the bad guys in Australia don’t have guns, so the good guys don’t need them either.  I hope they are right about that.  In our case, unilateral disarmament would be suicidal.

Our friends are well aware of the United States’ tenuous economic condition and our stifling $16 trillion dollar debt.  We pondered where is the “best place” to be, economically and politically, in a world where trouble lurks in every corner.

“We think we have it pretty straight,” they said.  I couldn’t disagree.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right Side

Livin’ in a land down under,
Where women glow and men plunder,
Can’t you hear, can’t you hear the thunder?
You better run, you better take cover!

Land Down Under – Men at Work

Are These the Good Old Days?

jetsonsSometimes we fuss when things don’t go the way we want, and we wonder if we are stuck with life as it is.  We tend to forget that before long, everything will have changed.

My wife’s grandfather told the most amazing stories about his life in the early 1900s.  He recalled with startling clarity a lifestyle before electricity, air conditioning, and air travel that was simpler, if not necessarily better.  I asked him one time if he missed the ‘good old days’.

“Good old days!”, he howled.  “We had mud and horse shit in the streets!  THESE are the good old days, and don’t you forget it!”

I have heard it said that the rate of change accelerates over time.  I don’t even know how change can be measured – there is no unit of “change” – but it seems to be true.

We know change will happen, but attempts to predict the future usually fall flat.  Didn’t you think that by now we would be flying around like George Jetson in little air-mobiles?  Pushing a button in the wall for instant breakfast?  Seeing and talking to each other on little flip phones?  Oh wait, we have that.  Well, one out of three ain’t bad.

Some change is disturbing.  We put a man on the moon 44 years ago, but we can’t do it today.  We built the Empire State Building in 410 days but it now takes longer than that just to get the required permits for a minor construction job.  We have deteriorated physically into a nation of jelly-bellies.  The average student gets a worse education every year and many don’t finish high school.  And it saddens me that laws are selectively enforced and the miracle left us by our founders, the Constitution, is being shredded.

Most surprising to me in the second half of my life is the rapid social change, and especially the blurring of the sexes.  I sat in a fast-food restaurant recently near a group of high-school kids.  It was a scene right out of “Glee”.  The boys and girls were nearly interchangeable – giggling about everything and nothing, alternately poking at their smart phones.  They dressed the same, they sounded the same, they acted the same.  As they got up to leave, it was hugs all around, boys hugging girls, girls hugging girls, boys hugging boys.

The old macho “boy gets girl” world of my youth is history.  Marriage is old-school – not necessary.  Child-rearing by one or more females is the norm.  Gone are the days when a young man was expected to get a good job, move up the ladder, and bring the “bacon” home to his wife and family.  Women serve in combat units and television sit-coms are filled with lame gay humor.

Fortunately, change comes somewhat more slowly in Montana, a place where men are still men and women like it that way.  We still have brave and bright-eyed young people in our military.  Medical and emergency personnel still save lives every day, and good people do the right thing everywhere.

When candidate Obama promised hope and change, it was a sure bet the latter would come true.  Change is gonna come, but it usually does not follow the path anyone expects.  Things will happen that none of us anticipated.

So don’t fret too much about the way things are today.  It doesn’t always feel like it, but maybe these are the “good old days”.  And maybe they will get better.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right Side

Stay right here . . .
Cause these are the good old days.
These are the good old days!

Anticipation – Carly Simon

one of my all-time favorite live performance videos – Carly Simon 1987 at Martha’s Vineyard

HEADLINES: 4/28/2018

Headlines from Al Jazeera BigSky –
Montana’s Number One News Source –
April 28, 2018:

    • PRESIDENT CLINTON DEFENDS “AMCARE” – President Hillary Clinton, speaking at the annual BFD (Brotherhood of Federal Doctors) union convention, defended “AmCare”, the one-year old nationalized health care system.  Fending off complaints about the elimination of heart surgery units and cancer clinics, President Clinton said, “If we had not cut off services for citizens over the age of 60, we would not be able to provide care for our 180 million underprivileged and unemployed new immigrants.”  Clinton won a landslide victory in November 2016, with 99.6% support from minority and immigrant voters, who swelled the polls after the Supreme Court ruled that requiring voters to register is unconstitutional.


    • BIKE LANES TO REPLACE MOST HIGHWAYS BY JULY –  Transportation Reduction Czar Al Gore announced yesterday the Dept. of Transportation Reduction will seize control of all U.S. bike manufacturing companies this summer, and will begin providing free bicycles for public use at all AmTrak locations.  Since fossil fuel use was banned, concerns have mounted that only the wealthiest Americans and government employees will be able to travel more than a mile from their homes.  The planned expansion of AmTrak electric train service has been stalled due to the inability to get repair parts transported to the many windmills which have become inoperative.  Gore, in a bold move, plans to convert unused highways across the country for bicycle use.  “In fulfillment of our United Nations Agenda 21 commitment to  ICLEI years ago, we will soon be a totally carbon-free nation,”  Gore said.

 

    • BRAZIL PLEDGES FOOD AID TO U.S. –  With 73% of Americans receiving food vouchers from the federal government, and farm production cut by two-thirds due to the fossil fuel ban, the food shortage in the United States has reached crisis pitch.  A coalition of South American nations, basking in their newfound wealth from development of liquefied natural gas and off-shore oil drilling, have offered to subsidize President Hillary Clinton’s AmFood program on humanitarian grounds, but only if austerity measures are put in place.  Vice-president Brian Schweitzer has been charged with heading up a task force to determine how food resources can be fairly distributed, and will provide his findings to the Food Utilization (FU) board this fall.

 

    • EDUCATION CZAR ACCUSED OF HUNTING – Al Franken, director of AmTeach, the federal education system, is under investigation by the DUH (Dept. of Urban Helplessness) after it was revealed that Franken owns a cabin hidden deep in the mountains of Montana.  Accused of possessing a gun and shooting wild game for food during the 8-month government holiday recess, Franken said, “I was just doing research.”

 

    • BLOGGER DEFIES MANDATORY RETIREMENT – Blogger Tom Balek, a long-time critic of the expansion of government and defender of the Constitution, vowed to continue his work, despite having long passed the mandatory bloggers’ retirement age of 50.  “People ask me why, at age 64, I’m still blogging,” Balek said in a recent interview.  “It’s the money, man.  I just can’t resist making all that money.”

 



Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right Side
Will you still need me?
Will you still feed me?
When I’m sixty-four?

When I’m Sixty-Four – the Beatles

Watch my favorite guitar player – Tommy Emmanuel from Australia – AMAZING!