Thursday, September 13, 2012

Rage Against America

Unless you are an out-of-touch, just-having-a-good-time, happy-to-get-out-of-bed, a-political American (over half of us qualify), you realize that America has taken a step down in global opinion. This is not about how nice America is, rather the position America has in the world as a global leader.

The current leadership is not one we can be proud of as representing American interest abroad. The foreign leaders that prefer the current, weaken state are our traditional "enemies" -- Russia, China, most Muslim countries, Cuba, Venezuela and other Chavenitsa regiems. A strong US president that a) looks out for American interest #1 and b) provides meaningful aid with strings attached, are typically what America has had in the oval office.

America use to be respected. It use to be feared. It has quickly morphed into a state with a leader and legislature that knows and cares little about foreign affairs. They are hesitant to act in fear that it may offend another. They put others' agendas ahead of our own.

Traditional allies, namely European states and Israel, have less confidence in American resolve to aid in time of crisis. America is not taking firm stands. And if it pretends to, most know that it is just words and little if anything will be done to back up those positions.

The latest attacks on American embassies in the Middle East should be seen as nothing more than acts of war against America. The anti-Mohammad movie is just a catalyst and rallying point. The sovereign status of embassies is ubiquitous. The governments of those nations are responsible for ensuring their safety from attack and mobs. These governments shoulder a big part of the mod-rule blame, failing to maintain civility.

America's roll in encouraging and aiding the so-called democratic process in these nations is a failed policy. The autocratic governments that have existed for decades in most of the Middle Eastern nations has served America well. We knew what we had. We could manage the risk. The proliferation of radical Islam states do not bode well for America. They oppose the freedom we enjoy, even if the results of that freedom are debauchery and paganism.

The rage against America will continue if the voters continue to favor weak, populists politicians. We are being lead by bad parents that hope to indulge their children's desires, even though those desires have negative long-term effects.

When immature leaders lead, they are exploited by other, more savvy and opportunistic nations. America needs a change. It needs to return to a time where American interest are number one, where American might has an element of fear, and where our word is gold.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Chicago Teachers, Unions and Democrat Politicians

As the Chicago Teachers Union continues to strike, the realization is they are arguing with like-minds. And the politicians know this.

Modern unions, any union, benefit its members. They do not benefit the other stakeholders. The Chicago teachers want more money, more guarantees for laid off workers, more benefits, better and more secure pension plans. Wouldn't we all. Though their customers are the students and their parents, the union's concern for them is minimal compared to its concern for its financial well-being.

The Chicago city politicians, all Democrats, do not have the revenue base to meet the union demands, despite one of the highest tax rates in the US. The city offered significant pay raises over the next few years, but it was not enough for the highest paid teachers in the USA. On day three of the strike, the union has only signed off on six of 49 articles within the proposed contract.

Will this go on for a few more days, a few weeks, or more than a month? Who knows. But the union officials and its members will continue to vote for Democrats. They have no choice. Locally, they will find Democrats who give them the best chance for financial gain. The Party is secure though its individual politicians may not be.

When it comes to liberal causes -- labor, environmentalism, morality/sex/marriage, gun control, anti-religion, big business, etc. -- they will only vote for Democrats. They are the bastion for socialism American style -- the great social safety net.

The opposite -- capitalism and Laissez-faire-style policies -- has all but disappeared in America. Work/reward and self-motivation are supplanted by government "help" programs. Republicans, fence-sitters for the most part, offer the only real choice. But the choice is one of major comprise for Libertarians or Constitutionalists.

In our two-party political system, the lines are very clear. Individual politicians may pay a price for a stance, but the parties never will.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Gas Pricings and Vulnerable Tourists in Orlando

The other day, while in Orlando, I needed to fill my rental car up with gas. There are a couple of gas stations on the south side of the airport on Semoran Blvd. that were charging almost twice what the normal rate was in Orlando.

The scary thing was that there were people using those pumps, filling their tanks.

When I noticed this, I could not believe it. Sure enough, right there on the pump, the price per gallon was 2x what the "normal" price should be. I said to the guy next to me, "are you sure you want to pay that price?" He did his own double-check, quickly realized what he was doing, put the pump down and drove off.

Some companies take pride in taking advantage of frazzled tourists returning home after a week of paying Disney's high prices. $6 a gallon of gas when the going rate is less than $4 is exploitative. At least you know Disney is going to take a large portion of your pay check, if not all.

PS: whenever you hear how expensive gas is in Europe, for example, realize that the price of a gallon of gas is about the same as it is everywhere else (not including those nations that subsidize it). The reason for the higher price per gallon at the pump is due to taxes. American taxes -- city, state, federal -- might add around $0.50 per gallon, these other countries add 2x - 10x that amount.