Hey! Obama! Get Off Of My Cloud! (and out of my neighborhood)

Here we go again.  This month President Obama, through the Department of Housing and Urban Development, will enact the “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Act”, a mandate that will force communities and developers to mix section 8 welfare housing into more affluent neighborhoods.

“HUD is working with communities across the country to fulfill the promise of equal opportunity for all,” a HUD spokeswoman said. “The proposed policy seeks to break down barriers to access to opportunity in communities supported by HUD funds.” — the Hill 6/11/15

“The Fair Housing Act has two goals: to end housing discrimination and to promote diverse, inclusive communities. The second goal is referred to as Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH), and it embodies our strongly-held American values of fair access and equal opportunity.” — National Fair Housing Alliance

There are so many things wrong with these statements that I don’t even know where to start.

“Equal opportunity for all” is a noble goal – and it’s what made our country great.  All Americans should have the opportunity to work hard, earn, save, and succeed, and I believe that for the most part we still do.  But equal opportunity is not what this ruling is about.  Remember Joe the Plumber?  President Obama told him we need to “spread the wealth around.”

People who live in nice, expensive homes did not get there by accident.  They weren’t just lucky.  And it’s not “white privilege”, because there are plenty of minorities barbecuing in those big back yards and inviting their white neighbors over.

No, this is just one more blatant overreach by a President who believes in equal outcomes, but not equal effort.  He thinks in the interest of “fairness” it is not enough to take money from earners by force and give it to non-earners – now he wants to make them live together.

Yes, there is discrimination in housing.  People who study, work hard, make good decisions and save their money are able to buy nice homes and raise their families in clean, safe neighborhoods with nice streets and good schools.  Slackers and fools are neither entitled nor welcome there.

Economic discrimination has been in place since the dawn of civilization.  It’s normal.  It works.  It encourages people to be smart and industrious.  Is it fair?  Yes!  Allowing people to earn property, keep it, and use it as they wish is the epitome of fairness!

Fortunately most people are blessed with a sense of charity, and will voluntarily help care for those who are unable to support themselves due to physical or mental disability or disaster.  And taxpayers know that public services for all are necessary.  But there is nothing charitable or voluntary about the government forcing one to open his home, his neighborhood, or for that matter his nation’s borders to another only to “spread the wealth around.”

Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) has proposed an amendment that would defund Obama’s executive action, but on different grounds.  He says implementation of the HUD rule is taking planning and zoning authority out of the hands of local officials, and he’s right.  But his amendment won’t pass (has Congress defunded anything lately?)  The federal government has had great success in recent years at pushing “social enlightenment” out to the communities through the promise of grants for “free money” that will be withheld if the local authorities don’t follow their mandates.

How sad is it that city “A” takes grants that are paid for by the citizens of city “B”, and vice versa, and both cities think the money is free?

Citizens will have to get involved in local government, educate local leaders to the dangers of taking grants with strings attached, and elect congressmen and executives who honor the fourth amendment.  We need to get the federal government back in its box and out of our back yards!

Rockin' On the Right SideHey, you, get off of my cloud!
Hey, you, get off of my cloud!
Hey, you, get off of my cloud!
Don’t hang around ’cause two’s a crowd
On my cloud, baby!

The Rolling Stones – Get Off of My Cloud

Hard to believe this music is fifty years old.  It still rocks!

 

To My #NEVERTRUMP Friends: Let’s Roll the Dice!

TrumpI voted for Ted Cruz in the South Carolina primary.  Last night, after getting Trump-thumped (again) in Indiana, Cruz pulled out of the presidential race.

Many of my friends and acquaintances who “Rock on the Right Side” are really bummed today.  They say they will never vote for Trump.  A number of them have disowned the Republican Party or proclaimed it dead.  Some express fear that Trump will start a trade war with China and trash our economy (presumably worse than it already is).  The angriest among them shout that Trump is a Democrat plant, intent on destroying the nation once and for all.

I remember how bummed I was when Obama was re-elected in 2012.  I knew what to expect from his second term, although I admit my surprise that Congress didn’t put up any resistance at all.  So I understand your despair on V-D day (Victory for The Donald).  If I could, I would buy each of you a beer and we could all cry in them together.

But just one beer.

I agree that Trump, at times, sounds like an idiot, despite his insistence that he “has a good brain” and is “very smart.”  I know that he is not all that interested in the Constitution, that he has supported liberals, and that he is on the wrong side of some pretty important values issues.  He’s rude.  He’s coarse.  He’s arrogant.  I get it.  But I will be voting for him in November anyway.  Here’s why.

First of all, it must be repeated that we know for certain how awful life under Hillary will be.  If you don’t know that, or are in denial, I can’t help you.  Hillary will be Obama on steroids – ten times more aggressive and fearless – and we won’t be able to count on Congress or the Supreme Court to defend us.  This alone should be all the motivation you need to take a chance on Trump, or maybe you have children or grandchildren to think about.  On the other hand, if you strongly believe our priorities should be making safe zones for college students, building special bathrooms for .06% of the population, shutting down energy production in the USA while China builds a new coal plant every week, and igniting warfare in our country over race, sex and income level, just let Hillary win.

Consider, too, that for the last eight years our nation has been led by politically-correct academic knuckleheads.  Is it any wonder our economy has tanked when nobody in the administration knows anything about business, economics, trade, foreign relations, military strategy, or anything else?  What if, for a change, we have a president who brings in qualified experts from the real world to replace the self-serving government weenies and delirious socialist academics currently running our federal government?

I can’t guarantee that Donald Trump will do that.  He hasn’t shown a whole lot of depth or detail to back up his populist promise that he will “make America great again.”  But he might.

He might make the EPA back off and let the USA become the energy powerhouse of the world.  He might beef up our military, knock out the terrorists and regain the respect of other nations.  He might protect us from the plague of uncontrolled immigration that is destroying Europe.  He might clean house on our bloated, inefficient and corrupt federal government and make it work for the people.  At least Trump won’t have to pay back crony campaign contributors and lobbyists.

There is the chance that things could be a hell of a lot better than they are now, and fairly soon.

I’m willing to roll the dice.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right Side
Say now baby, I’m the rank outsider,
You can be my partner in crime.
Baby!  Baby!
You got to roll me and call me the tumblin’ dice!

the Rolling Stones – Tumblin’ Dice

 

My boys are getting a little bit wrinkled – but they still rock!

 

 

Argentina Moves Right – Canada Moves Left – Now It’s Our Move

DanceStepsI have often pointed to Argentina as an example of what could happen to the United States.   The two countries have similar early histories, emerging from colonial status to independence and becoming the economic engines of the western hemisphere.

At the height of the industrial revolution the economies of the USA and Argentina flourished.  Before World War II the two young nations competed for foreign investment, building strong infrastructures and well-educated middle classes.  Buenos Aires challenged New York City’s status as the gem of the West.

And then their destinies parted ways.

The United States maintained a firm grip on its constitution, perfecting its free-market, laissez-faire economic environment.  It established its bona fides as a leader in world affairs, defending democracy and human rights.  Argentina, meanwhile, set off on a series of socio-political experiments based on heavy-handed and, ultimately, fascist government rule.  Argentina’s people relinquished their rights to the government, resulting in economic devastation and the “disappearance” of thousands of political activists.

Last November Mauricio Macri replaced socialist Cristina Kirchner as president of Argentina, promising to return his homeland to the free-market western world.  He immediately renounced the nation’s alliances with failed dictatorships like Iran and Venezuela, embracing the United States and Europe.  He settled Argentina’s large outstanding debt to a group of US hedge-fund investors which had destroyed the country’s ability to attract outside investment.  He established working relationships with Argentina’s state governors and other federal officials, including his opponents.  He eliminated crony utility subsidies, cut export taxes, and dropped currency support, allowing the Argentine peso to float.

President Macri is a man on a mission, and in a hurry.  While he still enjoys public support, Argentines are in a hurry too, and are beginning to express impatience as they endure symptoms of the new austerity and economic adjustments.

In a strange twist, President Obama will meet Macri this week, following his friendly visit to communist Cuba.  Obama has shown an affection for the very despots that Macri, and Argentina, are rejecting.  “I’d vote for you, and you for me,” Obama beamed at Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez a few years ago.  The US president warmly hosted newly-elected Canadian president Justin Trudeau, a socialist who vows to take his country in the opposite direction chosen by Argentina.

US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton promises to continue the leftward drift established by President Obama.  Her primary opponent, Bernie Sanders, would make that a leftward lurch.  Our media and schools glorify socialism, demanding more central control and vilifying those who would preserve individual rights.

Will the United States move to the left or the right?  Will we follow Canada, our recently-prosperous neighbor to the north, down the proven-to-fail socialist path?  Or will we take the hint from Argentina, our wised-up southern friend, and return to the tried-and-true free-market, small government model?

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right Side

You move it to the left, yeah
You go for yourself
You move it to the right
Yeah if it takes all night

The Harlem Shuffle – Rolling Stones

Here’s Mick, strutting his stuff.  I just finished reading the bio “Jagger” by Marc Spitz, and was surprised to learn that he was a prized pupil at the London School of Economics, having received a full-ride scholarship.  He quit to become a rebel blues singer, but was promised his scholarship would wait for him if his new career choice didn’t work out.  We are all glad it did!

 

First Obama Phones – Now Obama Web

smartphonesThis week the FCC will review and perhaps vote on a proposal to expand the “Lifeline” telephone subsidy program to include entitlements for broadband internet services for the poor.

The Lifeline program was authorized by Congress with good intentions in 1985.   It provided subsidies for land-line telephone service to the poor, on the theory that a telephone is necessary to maintain basic health and safety.  The program, funded by federally mandated surcharges on consumer telephone bills, flew under the radar until 2005 when it was expanded to include cell phone service.  The subsequent rapid growth and explosion of fraud and abuse in the program drew considerable attention as free cell phones, derisively dubbed “Obama Phones”, were widely distributed – even unscrupulously collected and resold – with little qualification or oversight.

The program cost $1.4 billion in 2014.

To test the veracity of reports that virtually anybody could apply for and receive an “Obama Phone”, I filled out an online application (honestly) and hit “enter”.  Four days later I had a new cell phone, complete with 250 minutes of cellular service per month and unlimited texts.  It’s mine to use, apparently forever, no questions asked.  And I don’t think anybody would consider me the slightest bit “needy”.

In 2012, pushed by congressional oversight, the FCC attempted to assert some discipline in the program.  While costs were somewhat reduced, the rampant fraud continues, according to FCC commissioner Michael O’Rielly.  He wants to see the Lifeline program cleaned up before any consideration is given to expanding the entitlement.  O’Rielly would:

  • Set a budget for the Lifeline program – it currently has no limits on spending
  • Disallow any increase in the reimbursement rate paid to providers for adding broadband services
  • Limit the services covered under the program
  • Offer subsidies to only those who really need it – a survey indicated 19 out of 20 Lifeline users would have their own smart phones even if the program didn’t exist
  • Require participants to have “skin in the game” – no more completely free phones

Senator David Vitter (R-LA) wrote a scorching letter to FCC chairman Tom Wheeler, calling the program, “. . . one of the most abused and fraud-ridden federal programs ever.”  He excoriated Wheeler for denying the Office of the Inspector General the authority to investigate.

After decades of relative obscurity, the FCC, under Wheeler, is grabbing headlines with regularity this year.  Their new “Net Neutrality” rules took effect last week, making internet service providers regulated utilities like phone companies, and preventing them from charging higher rates to high volume customers.  Congress has vowed to undo the new provisions and might even cut the FCC’s budget.

Some view the FCC’s move to expand the Lifeline program as a natural and timely adjustment to rapid change in communication technology.  Others say it is just one more entitlement – payback and pay-forward for the political support of a growing segment of government-dependent voters.

This article can be seen in its entirety at Watchdog Arena.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right Side

I’m free to choose what I please any old time
I’m free to choose what I please any old time
So hold me, love me, love me, hold me
I’m free any old time to get what I want, yes I am

I’m Free – the Rolling Stones

Here’s a nice and kind of obscure tune by the Stones – enjoy!

Yesterday’s News

newsOne year ago the news media fixated on a single story for several weeks.  It was so terribly important that it superceded everything else that was going on in the world.  It was as if nothing else mattered – this story was so critical to the life and welfare of every American that there was no room for any other news.   Even President Obama had to take time from his schedule to express his concern and thoughts about the topic.

Don’t remember?  Does the name Trayvon Martin ring a bell?

What have you heard about him lately?  Do you know how the case turned out?  Has anything changed in our lives because of the Florida incident in which Martin, a neighborhood watch volunteer, followed a young man he thought was suspicious, and ended up shooting him in a scuffle?

My point is this:  our news industry has devolved to the point where they now pick a salacious and often irrelevant or marginal news story and  elevate it to crisis pitch, while ignoring everything else that happens worldwide.   If the Trayvon Martin case was so earth-shakingly important, why have you not heard anything about it for a year?

Whatever happened to the Occupy Wall Street crowd?  Our media elites climbed all over each other to recount every syllable uttered by a tiny group of incoherent losers, affording them status on par with world leaders and history-makers.  Where are they now?  What happened?  Is it possible that MAYBE THEY WEREN’T NEWSWORTHY IN THE FIRST PLACE?

The media was quick to report that the Tea Party is dead.  It isn’t.  But the Occupy Movement sure as hell is.  Who is reporting on that?

Remember all the hoo-hah about ObamaCare?  We would all die if it was implemented.   Or we would all die if it was NOT implemented.  Either way, we were all going to die.  Three years later, not much has happened.

Michael Jackson.  Lady Diana.  Stories about pop culture icons deserve a headline, not an entire page of the calendar.

It’s a sad fact that the news business has become so much more business than news.  Rather than reporting actual news and letting the informed public determine what is important to them, the media now chooses the story it feels has the most commercial potential and milks it to the bloody end.

So when you see today’s front-page bold-type stop-the-presses big story, don’t get your underwear in a knot.  There’s a good chance it will be completely forgotten a year from now.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right Side

Who wants yesterday’s papers?
Who wants yesterday’s girl?
Who wants yesterday’s papers?
Nobody in the world!

Yesterday’s Papers – the Rolling Stones

Romney: Why Are We the Fed’s BITCH?

Those of you who have followed Rockin’ On the Right Side (thank you!) through its infancy know that my main concern is our nation’s fiscal viability.   No, make that fiscal survival.

And you know that Mitt Romney was not my favorite presidential candidate.  In fact, I was solidly in the Cain camp in the early going, as he led the charge against corruption and the crazy growth in our bloated federal government.   9-9-9!   Sadly, Cain was taken out by a dirty Chicago-style maneuver, one of many ugly tricks I have watched in horror in my virgin year of full-contact politics.

So when Romney filtered through as the last Republican standing, I, like many of my brethren, fell in line, knowing that anybody — Elmer Fudd, Curly of the Three Stooges, Rodney Dangerfield – ANYBODY would handle our national piggy-bank better than Barack Obama.

Last time around, we conservatives held our noses and voted for John McCain.  I hoped that Romney would not be as oderiferous.

And then, last week, Romney picked Ryan.  That told me he is serious about tackling THE BIG PROBLEM: the debt, deficit, and economy.

And now, Romney says “Heck yes, let’s audit the Fed.”  WOO HOO!  He really does get it!

I know, my man Cain didn’t think a Fed audit was necessary.  And Ron Paul – bless his heart, he is so right on so many issues – was just not viable as a world leader.  But he was SO right about auditing the Fed.  The damage done by the Federal Reserve from 2008 through today will be required reading for economics and history students for generations to come.

Let’s not stop at an audit.  Let’s figure out who these guys are, who they work for, who profits from their actions, what possible benefit can come from holding interest rates to zero, how watering down the value of the US dollar by printing fiat currency is a good thing, and . . . why the entire free world is their BITCH!

Mitt Romney – Paul Ryan.  There may be hope for this nation after all.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Sometimes you just gotta ROCK!

Bitch – the Rolling Stones