Friday, October 28, 2005

Energy Prices and Big Oil

Many of us are suffering today due to high gasoline prices and home heating costs and it may get worse this winter, at least with the cost of home heating oil and natural gas. I have heard like most of you that the BIG OIL companies are reeking lavish profits during this time of severe energy problems for the average Joe. It is very easy to point fingers and jump up and down, crying foul. The Energy giants are gouging us, profiteering at it's worst is being spouted all over the news and at water coolers around the country. Blogs and webpages also mimics these ideas.

So, I am going to try and explain why this is not as bad as some would lead you to believe. First of all we do live in a capitalist society where companies are allowed to sell their products in a free market where prices fluctuate up and down. Any company has the right to charge what it can get for it's product as long as it does not break any laws in the process. BIG OIL does not have much competition so unlike the Walmart's of the world no one is going to slash prices to out sell the other guy. The oil market is a global market where prices are generally set by OPEC and by trading of oil on the world stock and futures markets. The BIG OIL companies from the USA use these prices as well to sell each barrel the pump out of the ground. The price of a barrel is way up now and that leads to profits that are way up.

In addition to this we are in the midst of a refinery crisis due to the latest batch of hurricane related weather disasters. Many refineries were damaged and pipelines were shut down so this proposes a large problem for those companies and for the end users of the products. Our refineries normally run at near full capacity so this kind of interruption creates supply and demand issues that drives up prices in a hurry.

Why do we not have enough refining capacity? You can thank congress and the environmental movement in the USA for that situation. There has not been a refinery built in the USA for nearly thirty years due to the pressure put on politicians to keep the BIG OIL companies from building these behemoth plants in any given city or town. Nobody wants one in their backyard yet everyone screams now that the price of gasoline as well as home heating energy is out of control.

What can we do about it? Well this is the question. Individuals can now buy smaller most fuel efficient vehicles if they choose to do so. You can also cut back on energy consumption around your home in a myriad of different ways. You might even carpool or ride a bike or bus to work. However if you are not so inclined to do these kinds of things you can invest in the markets and buy stocks or mutual funds with energy related holdings. This way you might pay more at the pump but you reap the rewards on the back end in dividends. Keep in mind too that the longer the price of gas stays high the more car companies will invest in alternative technologies to give you the consumer more viable alternatives to the gas guzzling SUV's you have grown accustomed too.

I will continue with this subject in the next blog!

Until then please feel free to give me some feedback on your ideas about BIG OIL and their windfall profits!

Friday, October 14, 2005

The War on Terror - World War III

I agree with Bill O'Reilly that this war is WWIII yet I do not agree with the way he spins the war news in his so called "No Spin Zone." In fact I think that 90 percent of the news coverage we get from the press here in the USA is negative and harmful to the effort.

Just imagine if the press were not anti-war in the country and if this was a war waged by a democrat such as Bill or Hillary Clinton. I'll bet the coverage would be vastly different by the so called "Main Stream Media." Instead of news reports each day saying, "Another US soldier was killed today when a road side bomb exploded as the unilateral US forces continue to combat the insurgents in Iraq. More and more people here in the US are voicing their concerns about high US casualties blah, blah, blah.

You might here it reported like this. "Only one casualty today for the US in Iraq as the US continues it's war against the radical terrorists in the middle east. As we are well into our second year in this conflict we have only lost 2000 soldiers. Although all soldiers are important and their sacrifices significant if we compare this war to others from the nations history we have made some major progress in the way we conduct ground wars. In Vietnam for example where we had lost nearly ten times that amount by the 2nd year of the conflict. With the Iraqi's about to cast their historic votes for the first constitution in that country's long and brutal history we may see the beginnings of change sweeping through the middle east as the Iraq's embrace democracy with this vote...

Wow, you see how the perspective can change when you look at this war from another point of view!

Think about it....


Saturday, October 01, 2005

Racism in America - a frank discussion

Lately there has been much discussion of race relations in our country due to the aftermath of Katrina in New Orleans. Many blacks are crying racism, some black leaders are calling George Bush a racist and claiming he is our new Bull Conner. Louis Farakan has suggested that George Bush directed the levee's in New Orleans to be destroyed so the blacks would drown. Many others are saying blacks were left to suffer for days on end because and only because they were black. Hmmmm, ponder these accusations for a moment or two....

What side of the race fence do you come down on? Does racism exist in America 2005? Surely it does. Look at history, look around the world. Racism has been with us for many thousands of years and will more than likely always be a part of the fabric of the many societies around the world. Racism has existed in ancient Rome and Greece. Perhaps racism was a factor in Egypt when the Pharaohs enslaved Syrians, Nubians and even there own people. Can we forget the Iraelites who were enslaved by one of the Egyptian Pharaohs in 1200 BC.

Racism is in the middle east where many different clans or tribes constantly battle one another for power or land. They call each other dogs, vermin and worse even though many share the same religion. Racism is prevalent among Palestinians who hate Jews today. In many cases racism starts with a religious difference rather than skin color but after generations of hate have been passed down it becomes simply racism. Hate for the sake of someone being of a different race, tribe or origin than the other.

In Africa racism exits as one black tribe tries to exterminate other black tribes. Whites and blacks also kill each other in South Africa for racist reasons. In India racism is commonplace in the caste system and has been for centuries. I am convinced that racism is something that will be with us always sometimes in subtle forms other times in more deadly forms such as genocide, rape, murder.

What about the USA? We have had racism here for as long as we have been a country. Early in our history many whites had black slaves. Although it was a common practice at that time many whites thought it was wrong and should be abolished. Some say the war between the states was fought over slavery. In the end slavery was abolished in the USA yet racism was rampant. In the 20th century many whites wanted to be separate from blacks up until the 1960's when we had a civil rights movement. Surely there were terrible crimes committed against blacks by whites, hangings were commonplace for many years and blacks were treated as sub human.

However we have grown as a country and since then long strides have been made to even the playing field for blacks with whites and other races. Today crimes against blacks by whites such as in the early part of the last century are no longer tolerated. In fact a crime against a black by a white is usually given more press than the opposite. Blacks seem to be protected by a media who will make front page news if a white police officer beats a black man but if a black man beats or kills a white, many times it goes unreported or at least delegated to a far back page or short snipit on the evening news where race may not be mentioned. So a question arises.
Since blacks were mistreated, abused and murdered by whites for many decades in the past, is it OK now for blacks to treat whites the same way? Is this some kind of retribution by blacks that is tolerated by the media because they are sensitive to the plight of a long oppressed minority? Is there a mindset by the media and by some black leaders to justify or accept criminal behavior by blacks due to abuses made by whites in our history.

Today a black man or woman has endless opportunity here in the USA to reach lofty goals in education, government, entertainment, sports, etc.. If I had the time or space here I could give you names of hundreds if not thousands of blacks who have become rich and powerful here in the USA thanks to the opportunities here. A few examples are Bill Cosby, Oprah Winnfrey, Bob Johnson, Condaleeza Rice, Colen Powell, Dr. Walter E. Williams, Michael Jordan, Clarence Thomas, Julian Bond, Jessee Jackson, Al Sharpton, etc...

However due to a seriously flawed political structure many blacks are left to wallow in crime and drug infested inner city neighborhoods. Now some say this is due to racism. I tend to agree with that somewhat but my take is a bit different. I think the flawed policy is a leftist ideology of a welfare state that has caused generations of black people to be where they are today not Reganomics or George Bush's so called tax cuts for the rich. Social engineering by leftists have purposely kept many blacks locked in a state of depravity for political reasons. The struggle to keep power by the left has held people back who under more conservative philosophy could be pushed to achieve more and focus on personal responsibility which often leads to a more prosperous life with more opportunities to reach middle and upper class stations in America.

Racism exists today in the USA, no doubt but let's be honest and say Black racism is just as prevalent and ugly as White racism. Many blacks hate whites and the chaos in New Orleans has brought that to the surface. The rapes and murders of whites by blacks that have been reported are being swept under the rug in order to hopefully coax tourists back into New Orleans, yet European papers and web sites are reporting stories of white tourists that were targets of black criminals in New Orleans. Rape and murder ensued and much of it directed at whites because they were white. Again it is being hushed by a liberal media in this country but you can find these stories on the web mostly from countries where tourists fled back too after being trapped in New Orleans for a week of hell on earth. In the TV coverage how many stories did you see about blacks shooting at white rescue workers? How many stories did you see where whites were saving and rescuing blacks? Looks to me like the whites were not being the racists in these situations.

In my opinion racism is a bad thing and is a problem that needs to be dealt with in any society. I think all men of all races should be judged on their character and behavior not their color. However should we as Americans turn a blind eye to Black Racism and black on white crime because it is not politically correct to speak out against it?

More on this topic later......