Archive for A place to rant
It seems like every time I make the mistake of clicking on a story about gas prices, there are multitudes complaining about speculators. Because the complainers have never bothered to learn about capitalism and market forces, they believe whatever the so-called journalists of this era tell them to believe; that it is the evil rich 1% raising the gas prices by speculating in the markets. One of the things the so-called journalists never mention – probably because they don’t know themselves – is that speculators can make just as much profit when oil prices go down so they have no reason to intentionally drive prices up. You can learn how to profit when commodities or stocks drop in price too.
I’m not one of the rich 1% by any means, but I darn sure am not one of the 99% the complainers claim to represent. In fact, I’m trying to understand why they believe it is proper for the government to make 30 or 40 cents per gallon for doing nothing*, but it is evil for the oil companies to make 4 cents per gallon for taking all the risk of exploration, drilling, transporting, refining, and retailing.
I’ve studied markets and I’ve learned how money can be made. Capitalism can work for anyone that is willing to do what it takes to learn, and is willing to take some risks. The rich 1% got rich by acquiring knowledge and taking risks. It could be that by investing a little money and time in acquiring knowledge, and, instead of buying that new (probably foreign made) motorcycle or 4-wheeler, any American can join the elite group of the capitalists over time. I fully intend to do so. This link will lead you to resources to do so too**. http://digijunction.com/investing/diplocon
*Yes, I understand the various government build roads with some of the revenue, but I’d sure like to see a verifiable accounting of where all that road tax money goes. I don’t mind paying user taxes if they are used to support the intended services, but many of the programs the various governments spend taxpayer money on are completely against my wishes (and common sense) and have nothing to do with the item on which the taxes were levied and paid.
**In the spirit of disclosure; Diplocon receives a small commission for some products, but that does not add to the price or detract from the value and usefulness of the products – indeed, if used, the programs might well save the purchaser the thousands of dollars I spent acquiring the knowledge contained in the programs as sold for a few tens of dollars.
I recently read an article that quoted the cost of supplying our troops in Afghanistan and was shocked by the monetary cost, and the amount of political capital we expend just to be allowed to transport supplies through the “stans”.
Another article I read lamented the “fact” that if we bring our troops home from Afghanistan and Iraq there will be that many more unemployed to deal with in the USA. Well, that “fact” is total fallacy because the enlistments of the troops don’t end when they cross into the USA. In fact, many are professionals that will stay in regardless – and well they should. We need to be building up our troop strength to be ready to push back at Russia and China in the future if necessary. Although we must quit being the world’s “peace enforcement officers”, we must remain the world’s Superpower. We can afford to remain a Superpower if the bulk of our troops are at home spending their money on housing, and, at stores and restaurants in the USA instead of costing billions to resupply in Afghanistan and Iraq – as well as the many other places they are “keeping the peace” in that have fallen off the media radar. Those billions go to foreign governments and assorted criminal groups that control the resupply routes we use so add nothing to our economy.
So, what is the answer? Well, if we bring our troops home and station them along our borders, we bring the payroll of a couple hundred thousand people to the areas in which they will be stationed. We would need new infrastructure in the less built up areas along the borders which would provide some “shovel ready jobs” that have thus far been elusive. The contractors doing the work would be competitively bidding locals – not the much maligned (and to some extent misunderstood) big overseas contractors so many liberals love to hate. The troops and their families would fill some vacant apartments and buy some foreclosed houses.
Just a thought, but maybe a start?
While working overseas, the Internet is my connection with America and my primary source for news but it seems like any more, journalists seem to be just bloggers with unearned credibility. Wait, my apologies are due the few real journalists remaining out there. I should use the term “news writers” for the others since they are more like story writers. There are still a few real journalists out there, but a disturbingly huge number of those supposedly reporting the news are really not. They present opinions, like this blogger, but I am clearly presenting my point of view, not stating anything as objective fact and using a byline from a supposedly reputable news agency to lend credence to a slanted piece of agenda driven drivel.
I am old enough to remember when you picked up a newspaper and actually read it for an entire Sunday morning, or, in the evening after work. You read it and digested meaning. You expected good reporting and factual writing with good editor oversight and, yes, even editorial control so the story was fact checked and the grammar was proper. There were news sections and an Op/Ed section. The news was clearly news, the opinions and editorials were in a separate section under a clearly stated heading and were clearly what they were indicated as being.
Now, frequently, a headline promises news, but the writer delivers an opinion to support their political agenda, and with so many hack writers out there competing to attract hits from visitors (it seems in the Internet age we are no longer considered readers) there seems to be little concern for delivering news that an educated and seasoned adult can use and more for attracting young, more easily influenced (not to mention saleable) visitors. I think that may be the key difference between pre-Internet journalism and now. At one time, journalists were considered accomplished if they could present the facts in a way that would keep a reader reading. Now, it is more about getting the highest number of hits on the news agency website. That can be most efficiently done by writing sensationalized stories that will excite a desired demographic group to each forward the article to their hundreds of “friends” on the social networking sites so the friends will bounce over for a moment and be counted as a website hit. As I understand it, the more hits, not necessarily the quality of the traffic, the higher the price for ad space so advertisers cough up their highest advertising dollars to market to visitors whether they actually stay for more than a few seconds or not.
I would appreciate some points of view from others, especially some journalists (and even news writers) and welcome dissenting points of view. I believe that real journalism could be one of the most important professions in the world and wields great power. I think, for our collective sake we need to get objectivity back in news reporting and save the opinions and agendas for the Op/Ed section.