Who Is The Baddest President?

He’s rude.  He’s crude.  People question his temperament and fitness to be president. He scares the bejeebers out of Europe’s wimpy leaders.  He even called our own President Obama a “son of a bitch”. 

Phillipine President Rodrigo Duterte

No, it’s not Donald Trump.  It’s Rodrigo Duterte, president of the Philippines, and the baddest president on the block, at least for now.  Duterte was elected last June by a landslide and commands a 76% positive performance rating.

Duterte campaigned on a platform of law and order, specifically the elimination of illicit drug trafficking and abuse.  The Philippines has struggled in recent years with meth addiction, particularly among its growing numbers of poor and unemployed.  As president, Duterte assumed the role of judge, jury and executioner, and has given orders for police and military personnel to kill anyone they suspect of selling drugs.  The death toll is estimated at 4,000 and counting, and Philippine prisons are overstuffed with drug addicts who turned themselves in.  The president has even invited the general public to join in the bloody anti-drug crusade, and has ordered 26,000 Sig Sauer rifles from the USA, over the objections of Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD), who voiced human rights concerns.

Many Americans think our current president and president-elect are both endowed with ample egos.  But when it comes to self-confidence, Obama and Trump are not in Duterte’s league.  Responding to criticism from EU leaders, Duterte said, “I’ve read the European Union’s condemnation against me.  I tell them f*** you!”, flipping the bird for emphasis.

Duterte has waffled on his relationship with the USA.  Angered at Obama’s censure of his brutal policies, he called for the ouster of all American military operations in the Philippines, but later backed down, acknowledging that his nation would need US aid managing Chinese aggression in the South China Sea.  And after President Obama cancelled a meeting with Duterte, the Philippine president apologized for his potty-mouthed attack.  The two quietly met later before a regional summit meeting dinner in Laos.

It remains to be seen if Duterte will have a more amiable relationship with America’s new president, Donald Trump.  After Trump’s election, Duterte offered congratulations and observed that “we both like to swear.”  Trump holds all the cards, as the Philippines is reliant on American trade and military support.

For some time now many global leaders have demurred to their softer, more nurturing tendencies – at least publicly.  Russian president Putin rode bare-chested and bareback in his bid for the title of manliest man-in-charge.  Obama’s skinny jeans were an immediate disqualifier, not to mention his penchant for retreating from every foreign-policy challenge.  Trump, on the other hand, showed machismo on his way to winning the presidency.

But for now, all eyes are on Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte.  He’s bad.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right Side

We going downtown in the middle of the night
We laughing and I’m jokin’ and we feelin’ alright.
Oh I’m bad, I’m nationwide.
Yes I’m bad, I’m nationwide

I’m Bad, I’m Nationwide – ZZ Top

 

Pretty good little three piece band there – git you some Top today.

 

Refugees Knockin’ At the Door – Don’t Let ‘Em In

(AP Photo/Marko Drobnjakovic)

(AP Photo/Marko Drobnjakovic)

Someone’s knockin’ at the door! Somebody’s ringing the bell!

President Obama sings, “Open the door, and let ’em in.”

Never mind that public opinion weighs heavily against allowing Syrian refugees to resettle in the United States. Or that one of the ISIS thugs who brutally murdered Parisians this week is thought to have used a fake Syrian passport, throwing question on whether refugees can be vetted. Or that thirty-one governors (at last count) are opposed to to importing Syrian refugees.

Other governors, like Republican Nikki Haley of South Carolina and Democrat Steve Bullock of Montana are doing the Kabuki dance on the refugee issue. They were for it before they were against it, and then for it again, kinda, but maybe against it. That kind of Charlie Brown leadership does not enhance political resumes.

Republican presidential candidates? Lock the door. Democrats? Let ’em in.

Refugee resettlement advocates would have us believe that this is not such a big deal – it’s only about a relatively small number of Syrians, most of whom are abused Christians, who are seeking refuge in the United States. If only that were true – any of it.

In the first six weeks of this year 98% of all Syrian refugees resettled in the U.S. were Sunni Muslim. At least 75% of the immigrants flooding into Europe every day through doors specifically swung open for Syrians are not Syrian, and are not refugees. They are opportunists from third-world countries all over Africa and the Middle East, seeking economic benefits. Why shouldn’t we expect the same in the U.S., especially since nearly all refugees here are on food stamps, cash welfare, and other government benefits, according to the Office of Refugee Resettlement?

Not mentioned by the refugee advocates are all the others who are arriving here – the unvetted non-Syrian refugees, the fake asylum seekers, or the illegals who overstayed visas or walked across our porous borders. The recent election of a refugee-happy prime minister to our north doesn’t brighten the situation.

Don’t fall for the crocodile tears. This is not a question of charity – those who clamor for more immigration and refugee resettlement are taking food from the mouths of our own hungry, jobs from our own unemployed, and the hope for a safe nation with traditional American values from our own children. There is no comparing today’s immigration and refugee situation with Ellis Island. This is nothing short of an invasion of our home by people who want to replace us, not join us.

If altruism demands that we help those truly in need, let’s help them in their home countries.  Let’s help them defeat their oppressors, if that’s the cause of their misery.  But if they won’t defend their own homes and families, and come knocking at our door demanding our food, shelter, and safety, we have no choice.

Close the door. Don’t let ’em in.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right Side

Someone’s knockin’ at the door,
Somebody’s ringin’ the bell,
Someone’s knockin’ at the door,
Somebody’s ringin’ the bell,
Do me a favor, open the door
And let ’em in!

Let ‘Em In – Paul McCartney

Protect Jobs in China or in the U.S.? Take a Stand!

Why does our economy continue to decline as more Americans are reduced to government-dependency every day?  Please take two minutes to watch our vice-president Joe Biden try to defend the US free-trade policies of recent years (including the Trans-Pacific Partnership which is currently being fast-tracked through Congress) and see Pat Buchanan destroy them:

Biden, his boss President Obama, and Harry Reid claim to be motivated by the dream of a “New World Order”, a “level playing field”, and “the success of those with whom we compete”.  Sadly, many Republicans including house speaker John Boehner are rolling over as well.

Could it be that these Washington, DC elites are owned by the incredibly wealthy business tycoons and their lobbyists who have profited greatly by shipping 55% of our manufacturing jobs overseas?

In his upcoming state of the union speech President Obama is expected to decry income inequality, while out of the other side of his mouth he promotes free trade.  The two are incompatible.  Free trade clearly creates income inequality by creating enormous corporate profits without domestic employment.

Isn’t it about time our leaders take a stand for American jobs and families?

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right Side

Now stand in the place where you work.
Now face west.    [toward China!]
Think about the place where you live,
Wonder why you haven’t before!

STAND – R.E.M.

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Side note for Montanans:  Rep. Steve Daines (R) and Sen. Max Baucus (D) have supported the Trans-Pacific Partnership; Sen. Jon Tester (D) appears to support the treaty, but has demanded protections for the US timber industry.

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Help! My Friend Barack Needs $5!

Obama-needs-$5As you know, I get a letter every day from my friend Barack, asking me to send him $5.

Today I got two letters from my friend Barack (I know he’s my friend because when he writes to me he always calls me “friend”).

Poor Barack – he is starting to sound desperate, and today’s letters were not as friendly as usual.  I’m afraid Barack has discovered that I have not been sending in my $5 every day.

His first letter today said,

“That’s why we don’t just fight the good fight — we stay at it until we win.  Today, I’m asking you to make a commitment — 2014 should be a year of action. Pledge to keep fighting for change.” 

Apparently he isn’t happy with the way things have gone the last five years while he has been in charge of the country.  I’m so confused.  If we are fighting for change, shouldn’t I send my $5 to somebody else?

The second letter said,

“Friend — this can’t be right.  We’re just going through our records and — even though you’re one of our best supporters — it looks like you’re not a 2013 founding member.  Nothing’s changed: It still takes each of us chipping in what we can, when we can, to build the kind of grassroots movement that can win the big fights.”

I’m starting to feel guilty.  I mean, maybe he really needs the $5.  Especially if he is in some kind of a fight.  But on the other hand, my dad told me when you give money to a beggar he will probably just use it to buy some crack or something.  My friend Barack said he snorted cocaine when he was younger, and maybe he still has a problem.  That’s why I have not been giving him $5 — I’m afraid he might relapse into drug abuse again.

I wonder who he is fighting, and why he needs $5 from me every day?  He’s not running for re-election.  His house is paid for.  Seems like he goes on a lot of expensive vacations, and his wife buys some pretty spiffy clothes.

Maybe he can’t afford health insurance?  If his children are hungry, I know he could get $668 a month for food for his family of four.

Anyway, I’m kind of worried about my friend Barack.  I haven’t sent my $5 in yet, do you think I should?  It sounds like he really needs me.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right Side

Please remember how I feel about you
I could never really live without you
So, come on back and see
Just what you mean to me.
I need you!

I Need You – the Beatles

Another Letter From My Friend Barack

As you know, I am a friend of Barack Obama.  I get an e-mail from him every day (personally addressed to “friend”!  That’s me!) asking for $5.  He even gave me a cool cell phone, with 250 minutes a month, for free!

Yesterday the letter from my friend Barack was all about how much money he gets from these e-mails.   I’ll be happy to share it with you:

Organizing for Action
This is amazing: 355,367 people have chipped in to own a piece of this movement.
Our average contribution is $59 -- that's as grassroots as it gets.
We're standing up to lawmakers who are doing anything to stand in the way.
...like Senator Ted Cruz.
Shady groups are spending millions to scare folks out of health care.
Scary Uncle Sam.
But they don't scare us.

The other side will spend millions to maintain the status quo. We’re fighting for change —
chip in $5 or more to support OFA today.

Let’s do some quickie math (I learned that before Common Core).  355,367 people “chipped in” to fight for ObamaCare, times an average contribution of $59.  Hmmm, that’s about $20,966,653.  I have a question for my friend Barack.  Where does this $21 million go? Is anybody keeping an eye on it for you, so it doesn’t fall into the wrong hands?

Barack, I know you’re worried about shady groups trying to scare people out of getting health care.  These groups are so scary that women will probably stay home and have their babies on the pool table in their rec rooms, rather than go to a hospital.  People will be so afraid of health care that they will fix their own broken arms with sticks and duct tape.

Maybe you should use the money to fix your website so somebody could enroll in your ObamaCare program!  Then they won’t be afraid, right?

Today I got a letter from Bill Clinton.  It said “Friend – send $3”.

I think I like my friend Bill better.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right Side Best Friend – Harry Nilsson

PLEASE WATCH THE SHORT VIDEO OF ME AND MY FRIEND BARACK!

Montanans Used To Tell “North Dakota Jokes”

In the 1970s we Montanans thought we had it going on, and we snickered about our poor sister state to the east.  The “North Dakota Joke” was all the rage back then, and we regaled each other with the latest North Dakota Jokes every morning over coffee. (Did you hear about the power outage at the University of North Dakota library?  Thirty students were stuck on the escalator for three hours!)

north-dakota-joke-bookA Great Falls radio jock made the North Dakota joke a staple of his programming and the focal point of his entertainment career.  He even published books of North Dakota jokes.  I still have one buried somewhere in my stuff.  They were the same old jokes that have mocked every sub-group (Polish, Hillbilly, Ole and Lena, etc.) for generations, except now recycled with “North Dakotan” as the subject of derision.

Times have changed.  North Dakota now occupies the top rung of the economic ladder, and Montana lags in the bottom quartile.  How did that happen?  Montana is richer in natural resources, with abundant coal, agricultural land, timber forests, mining, and tourist attractions.

All North Dakota has is some fertile black soil here and there, lots of snow, and the Bakken shale oil and natural gas reserve.  But the Bakken extends into eastern Montana, too.  And Montana has other proven reserves of shale oil and natural gas.  So one still must ask, why is North Dakota doing so well while Montana looks wistfully over the fence?

I have a friend from my adopted Montana hometown who is not well-educated, but is good with his hands and industrious.  He is a good mechanic, can weld, and is strong as an ox.  But even these attributes are not enough to make a good living for his young family, so like many of his fellow Montanans, he is headed east for work.  He said:

“I can make $12,000 a month in North Dakota, with no expenses.  Room and board are provided in a man-camp,  I work 28 days on and then get 14 days off.  Pretty long days, but I get paid weekly and get a bonus just for showing up.”

The difference between the two states?  Many would say it comes down to conservative values, work ethic, and plain-old common sense.

Montana changed dramatically over the 23 years from when I left the state for a corporate career to when I came back home to recharge in the beauty and character of the Big Sky.  It was a place where miners, loggers, and ranchers worked hard and played hard.  They loved the land and put it to good use.  An honest, fiercely independent bunch, they had little use for government interference, preferring to solve problems and seize opportunities on their own.

When I returned, some of those people were still here.  But I was astonished at the numbers and political reach of environmentalists, government bureaucrats, and zealous newcomers who wanted to recreate our state in the socially-conscious image of California or Washington.  “Diversity” and “sustainability” were now the order of the day.  As the federal government took a firmer grip on the administration of the state, as outside influence without benefit of Montana history and values grew, and as priorities shifted from creation of wealth to redistribution of it, Montana’s economy slid downhill like springtime snow in the high peaks.

Meanwhile, North Dakota just kept chugging along, taking care of its own and eschewing federal influence and controls.  When opportunity arose, North Dakotans seized the day.  “We’re very old-school pro-business here,” said Vicky Steiner, a Republican state representative who serves as executive director of the North Dakota Association of Oil and Gas Producing Counties. “In some states, people say ‘not in my back yard.’ Here, we believe that our resources should be developed.”

The political conflict in Montana continues, and the Big Sky state will take center stage in the 2014 federal elections.  The Obama administration is adamantly opposed to fossil fuel development, and virtually all Democrat officials – state and federal – tend to fall in lock-step.  Drilling, fracking, and pipelines are under assault.  The leftward lurch in Montana has been not economically favorable over the last few decades, and it remains to be seen if Montanans will stop or reverse the trend.

If not, we may soon be hearing “Montana Jokes” on a Bismarck radio station.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right Side

Don’t think I’m being funny when I say
You got just what you deserve
I can’t help feeling you found out today
You thought you were too good you had a lot of nerve

Laugh, Laugh – the Beau Brummels

Here’s a very short video of a very solid Bay-Area band from the mid-sixties.  Enjoy!

Obama and the Big Piggies

pigs_troughYesterday President Obama made a speech denouncing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac:

“For too long, these companies were allowed to make huge profits buying mortgages,” Obama said Tuesday, “knowing that if their bets went bad, taxpayers would be left holding the bag . . . It was ‘heads we win, tails you lose.’  And it was wrong.”

Yes, Mr. President, you’re damned right it was wrong.

In 2008 you were at the head of the Freddie/Fannie trough, sucking in a cool $165,000 for your campaign.  In ten years Fannie Mae slopped over $100 million into that trough, quickly gobbled up by corrupt Democrats and Republicans alike. Nobody wanted to blow the whistle, for fear of losing their place at the trough.  “Fannie and Freddie had Congress wrapped around their fingers,” said Guy Cecala, CEO of Inside Mortgage Finance, which publishes trade publications following the mortgage market. “They were untouchable.” (CNN-Money)

The top officials of Freddie / Fannie were caught cooking the books, and to this day the taxpayers are still footing their legal bills.  Meanwhile Fannie’s biggest piggie, James Johnson, took in a cool $100 million in wages over nine years; ridiculous salaries and bonuses flowed throughout both organizations.

Ten years ago the Bush Administration, seeing the looming disaster, tried to step up the oversight and get Freddie and Fannie under control, but failed as Barney Frank and virtually every other pig at the trough circled the wagons to protect their interests.  The Obama administration was sued by Judicial Watch in 2009 for access to records which would prove Congress did nothing for years, even while knowing the extent of the corruption.

The pig sty stench came to a crescendo when the taxpayers were forced to refill the trough with a $200 billion bailout, and that doesn’t begin to contemplate the liabilities still on the Freddie/Fannie books, which the Congressional Research Service estimated at $4 to $5 trillion dollars a couple of years ago.

So, President Obama, and all you other pigs who have gorged at the taxpayer-funded trough for all these years – DON’T YOU DARE act sanctimonious about finally taking baby steps to clean up your stinking pig sty.  You should all be ashamed.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right Side

In their styes with all their backing,
They don’t care what goes on around.
In their eyes there’s something lacking,
What they need’s a damned good whacking!

Piggies – the Beatles