Spoiled Slackers, Thou Protest The Wrong Things

consequences

I believe in the First Amendment.  I also believe that actions have consequences, and that rights come with obligations.  This  being said, the controversy about sports players protesting the national anthem speaks volumes not only on those who think it fitting to spit on the graves of those who fought and died for our country, but on those who approve of such disrespect.

Anyone has the right to protest anything, as long as that protest does not involve destruction of property or injury to others. Your First Amendment rights end when those rights interfere with my right to my person and property.  Even as despicable and odious as such “protests” that disrespect our nation and our Veterans are, they have the right to do it.  They also have the obligation to face the consequences of their actions.

Today’s younger generations – starting sadly with Boomers and GenXers, and to a toxic extent among Millenials, have no sense of history because history is barely taught. The rudimentary “history” taught in today’s public schools is nothing more than a leftist diatribe that condemns traditional American values, throws on an unjustified white guilt trip (reverse racism) while lifting up globalism and socialism. Both globalism and socialism are failed and defeatist systems.  The former USSR and present-day Venezuela are good examples of how leftist principles in government (don’t) work.

When one doesn’t understand history, and when the popular faux history that is widely taught demonizes American nationalism and American hegemony, and one mistakes celebrity soundbites for Gospel truth, any kind of poison and inanity can be easily spread around.  All it takes is for one jackwagon who would be better off sticking to carrying a football to run his mouth without consulting the facts to create a controversy that should never exist.

We as a nation should know better than to entertain the race card, especially when the accusations of “oppression” come from someone who has never known it.  I find it hard to believe that football players who make millions of dollars a year in the NFL are “persecuted” or denied opportunity due to their race.

It is true that equality of opportunity does not guarantee equality of outcome. One’s race is not a hindrance to education, employment or opportunities.  One’s culture, upbringing and lack of personal ambition are hindrances to all of the above though, which should cause individuals to look at him or her selves first.

Before you scream “Oppression!” look in the mirror.  It is necessary to ask, and not just of the black community but also of certain white communities as well who have bought into the governmental dependency cycle, to look in the mirror.  If you expect the world or the government to give you everything without you having to earn it, you are the problem.  Only you can fix it.  Not the government, not “whitey,” but you.  Rights have obligations.  Get off the welfare dole and do some sort of meaningful work. Put down the crack pipe.  Stop killing each other. Start working with law enforcement to clean up our communities.

Do you have the right to protest the national anthem and/or to disrespect our country and our flag.  Yes you do.  I also have the right to call you out for the despicable fool you are.

 

 

Some Pigs are More Equal, Vertical and Breathing, and Fun With Cars

 The French, God love them, in spite of their penchant toward socialism and love of abysmally designed motor vehicles, have a saying: Plus ça change, plus c’est la méme chose.  The more things change, the more they stay the same.

The difference today is, sadly, that there is still a pro-slavery crowd preaching the morality of forced servitude to the masses.  It is a far more deceptive form of servitude, though.  The preachers of the religion- and it is a religion in which Government is God- of socialism keep telling the masses that we can reach some grand utopia if only we let government have all of our resources…so the government can “redistribute” them.   I can go on and on ranting on that point, but suffice to say that someone has to pay for all the “gimmes” to the entitlement crowd, and it seems that “someone” always ends up being people like me.  It’s just a tad bit grating knowing that all the money I pay out in taxes and insurances goes toward other people getting (for free) things I can’t afford.  If I think about it too much, it really pisses me off.

I can’t stress it enough.  Read  George Orwell’s Animal Farm.  Which pigs are more equal?  Of course, the phrase “more equal” is an oxymoron to begin with, but the political correctness movement has brought us an era in which being some sort of protected minority du jour buys one privileges that the rest of the population is not accorded.   Is it truly in the interest of “equality” to give special scholarships to black students, while white students with better GPAs and more notable achievements are denied, or to hire a person who belongs to a minority group who is less qualified to do a job?  Doesn’t this send the message that ____ group is inferior and can’t achieve anything without someone fudging it for them?

I am all for equal rights, but I despise “affirmative action,” which is simply reverse discrimination.  It’s an attempt to make “some pigs more equal than others.”  There will never be equal rights in this country until or unless there is no preferential treatment given to anyone on the basis of race, religion, gender, disability, national origin, sexual preference, ad nauseam.  No one has equal rights until no one has special rights.

Ok, I’m done with today’s rant on government and society, before I piss myself off too much.

You win some, you lose some.  I do well to remain breathing and vertical.

Speaking of remaining vertical, tomorrow my illustrious son and his buddy are going to go to Cinci to retrieve his car, saving me at least part of the road trip, and I get my car back. I want to go hang out with Dad for awhile but I’m trying to think of creative ways to avoid having dinner at the nursing home.  I’m still having nightmares about that shrivelled up piece of sausage (?) and whatever that dried up film was on the outside of the coffee cup, but there are times when dining is more about being social and polite than it is about pretending to be a frigging gourmet.    Perhaps it is a sad commentary on my life that I am looking forward to driving a Yaris, but I have driven far worse in my life. I’ve owned a plethora of cars in my time- some good, some abysmal, some classic, and some forgettable. Maybe I can remember them all:

1979 Subaru DL- it was completely trashed long before I got it, but memorable because it was my first car, and when I got it there was a behemoth pack of Trojan rubbers in the glove box.

1975 VW Rabbit- this car completely sucked because it was a (rare) carbureted Rabbit – (same powertrain and induction as an old Dodge Omni… those one barrel Solex carbs sucked… and just as depressing to drive) and it had a number of bizarre electrical faults. It would not start if you turned it off at Burger King, for example, which makes no rational sense.

1977 VW Rabbit- ugly as hell but would run like a raped ape because we put the air distributor from a Porsche 944 on it (more air=more fuel on the old mechanical Bosch CIS injection systems)- this was the car I beat the boys with the Novas and Chevelles with the 350 engines and 411 rear ends in the quarter mile.  I know, drag racing is bad, but when you’re 18 and like to teach young punks some simple physics, it was really fun.  Horsepower means nothing unless you have the low end torque to back it up.

1972 VW Super Beetle-my first and last air-cooled VW- had to sell it to the ex to have money to move.  Loved the car, in spite of getting frostbite in my ankles from driving it in winter, but sometimes getting away from an ex is worth the trade-off.

1979 VW Rabbit- not as fast as the ’77 but it was my very first 4 door, and my very first Blaupunkt stereo with 16 speakers and 100 watt power amp.  Led Zeppelin cranked up in this car was awesome. Spending $800 in repairs in one month- brakes, control arms, front shocks, rear shocks, tires and a starter,  was not so awesome.

1990 Chevy Cavalier- worst piece of shit I ever owned- and I bought it new.  The week after I bought it I had to have the hood painted.  The lifters clanged like a diesel’s, and the oil pan drain plug was stripped from the factory. I was glad to see that son of a bitch go.

1983 VW GTI- I could kick myself in the ass for selling this classic. Damn, it would run fine…  But it was black, a 2 door, and the A/C didn’t work.  Plus, at the time I had an infant in a car seat, and that does NOT work with a 2 door that has no A/C.

1988 VW Fox- not magic, not tragic- it had 4 doors and working A/C, but I sold it before I ever had to have the clutch replaced.  Clutch replacement on front wheel drive cars with longitudinal engines is a bitch, and a repair that’s way too expensive for me.

1994 Toyota RN series truck- I loved this truck.  It had 250K on it when I begrudgingly let the old man trade it in on his ’99 Tacoma. The old 22RE engines were virtually indestructible.

1998 Toyota Corolla- It was purple and I loved the color.  But I made the mistake of putting aftermarket aluminum wheels on it and had nine kinds of trouble with them, and then I became enamored of the Celica I saw in the showroom.

2000 Toyota Celica- Another car I could positively smack myself for trading in.  This beastie was fun to drive and fast as hell.  But Steve-o couldn’t fit in the back seat, and the lease was up so I had to trade it in on something.

2005 Scion XA- This car was fun and it had 4 doors and more room in the back seat.  The only reason I traded it was because the lease was up.  I don’t see myself doing leases anymore.

2008 Toyota Yaris- I liked this car too, until I got rear-ended and was paranoid taking it back even after the body damage was repaired- and I was offered a hell of a deal to just buy a new one with more safety features on it.

2010 Toyota Yaris- This is my current ride- exactly like the 2008 only with power everything, cruise and side airbags. Why the hell they don’t make the sedan anymore is beyond me.

In all honesty it is difficult to find a decent car if you’re one of the 13% of American drivers that prefer a manual transmission.  The Europeans offer the best rides for those who like to shift gears themselves- but they’re also the most expensive.  The Japanese do offer manual transmissions in a variety of models, but most of those are base model econoboxes, (my vehicles of choice) so if you like options you’ll likely end up dealer trading for them or special ordering them.  I’ve gotten lucky with most of the cars I’ve bought recently- nobody wants the manuals with all the toys- so I get better deals.

Steve-o found out today that his automotive hypocondriasis was exactly what I thought it was: something stupid.  Steve-o is also a member of the 13%, and he’s also aware that the Europeans have the best offerings for those of us who pass by all the cars on the lot that only have two pedals.  Audis, especially turbo Audis with 150K+, are very temperamental when they have vacuum leaks.  He had an improperly sealed valve cover and a slightly cracked flange leading to one of the vacuum lines. It was miraculously devoid of the catastrophic failures he envisioned, and frankly, I barely noticed the trivial, almost indiscernible miss on cold start before he took it in for repairs.  He would crap himself if he had to fire up Dad’s ancient Mazda van and listen to the lifters clang like a diesel’s until the temp gauge gets at least half way up.  That disturbs me- and I try to be very easy on it when it’s cold- but I admit the play in both the ball joints scares me more than the lifter noise.  I hope to avoid the larger potholes and divots with this thing.  At least I get my car back tomorrow, after I hear his whining about how it hydroplanes in the rain (no shit when you’re going 85) and the wind blows it around. I’ve not heard any whining about the 40+ MPG it gets on the highway though.

I have to wonder what kinds of drugs the artist of this painting was on.  Cats with umbrellas, in the snow?

Government, Unions and Common Sense- Finally?

 I’ve said it many times.  I am not a fan of Obama.  I think he is the worst American President in history so far- so much so that he makes Jimmy Carter look good, and almost makes Bill Clinton look great.  That is not meant as praise for either Carter or Clinton- they were both abysmal, and they both did tremendous amounts of damage.  My comparison is meant to illustrate just how much worse Obama is when compared to either Carter or Clinton.   I am also not a fan of forced unionism.  My disdain for unions is not  primarily a conservative or a Republican thing.  I am both a conservative and a Republican, for a host of good reasons, but my opposition to forced unionism comes from what I witnessed first hand growing up. 

I know that every story has two sides.  I also know that there were myriad factors that went into the death of manufacturing in the Rust Belt- foreign competition, poor management practices, the cost of materials, the oil crisis, and even environmental issues.  But the most visible and direct contribution to the failure of heavy manufacturing in Ohio can be traced back to fear of union violence and actual incidents of union violence that took place.

I don’t have a problem with a person’s choice to organize with others of like mind.   There is strength in numbers and there are times when it is both necessary and commendable to stand up for basic human decency.  There was a time when unions had a good purpose- to ensure that workers had decent working conditions and fair wages.  Had employers seen their employees as assets that need to be maintained and grown rather than as being expendable or disposable, there would never had been a need for workers to organize to begin with.  Ultimately the root cause of union abuse goes back to poor management practices.  Every action has a reaction.  The reaction to poor working conditions in the late 19th and early 20th centuries evolved throughout the second half of the 20th century and became a monster- especially in states such as Ohio that allow forced unionism. 

Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely (Lord Acton, 1887)

For those who don’t know how forced unionism works, basically what happens is that a shop or a government agency, etc. holds an election and votes to see if a majority of people in that workplace want to be a part of a union or not.  Even those who voted against the union must either join or pay the union a fee (up to the cost of full union dues) for “collective bargaining services.”  So even those who are ideologically or morally opposed to what the union stands for, and who are opposed to who the union contributes financially toward are forced to support it- even if they don’t technically join.

I have argued for years that forced unionism violates the 13th Amendment (no involuntary servitude) by forcing people to pay into an organization as a condition of employment.  In many cases workers’ 1st Amendment rights are violated as well, as many (though not all) unions contribute to organizations and causes that many are morally opposed to.  For instance, a union’s support of “pro-choice” (I think pro-death is more accurate, but I digress) candidates (the Democratic party in general…) and contributions to far-left organizations such as NARAL or GLAAD may be seen as being morally wrong by Catholics and most other Christians.  Yet a large part of their union dues are being funneled into dark places that have little or nothing to do with “collective bargaining” and into causes they would never voluntarily contribute to.

Another side of union corruption and graft is in the wrongful manipulation and exploitation of employers, especially in the public sector, when the employer is a branch of government.  Everyone has heard the legends of grandiose pay plans, three people paid to do one job inefficiently, health insurance benefits that rival those of Congress, and paid leaves and vacations that would make a sane person wonder if any work ever gets done. 

I am all for an honest wage for honest work.  I am all for people being able to get the health care they need- without having to do what I do, which is decide from week to week if I can have groceries or scripts, and skimping or just plain going without certain things because I can’t afford them.  The problem I have is that people like me are (involuntarily) forced to pay not just for government waste and redundancy in human resources, but for the entire welfare state too- and as a result, people like me go without things like scripts, or food, or underwear that don’t look like the dogs played tug-of-war with them, that they need- so that some people can get their food, scripts, glasses, cell phones, fancy designer sneakers, and medical devices (including pecker pumps??) for free.

The bottom line here is a simple economics lesson.  You can’t pay someone more than they’re worth.  In order to pay an employee $5, you need to get at least $5 worth of work out of that employee.  That sounds obvious, but in reality it doesn’t always happen, especially when there is no accountability and no structure in place to ensure that taxpayers’ money is spent responsibly.   Part of the problem in the public sector is that many (though by no means all) jobs are grossly overpaid.  The taxpayer is being overcharged for the benefit or the service offered, and in the grand scheme of things, as in the private sector, this cannot be sustained. 

I have often wondered why there is such opposition to Right-to-Work, in which an individual chooses for him or herself whether he or she wants to belong to or pay into a union.  If unions are so great, then why is there so much legislation and so many loopholes in the law to shelter them?  If everyone wanted to be in the union, then why would anyone be required to join or to pay into them?

Elected officials and others within the government bureaucracy have forgotten that it is the private sector who picks up their tab.  The private sector is tapped out.  Those of us who keep the private sector running are tapped out.  Business fails to be competitive in part because so much is exacted out of business from government in the forms of excessive regulation and taxation. 

As much as the lunatic fringe in NE Ohio is screaming, I am convinced that our new Governor has struck a nerve.  Say what one will about Kasich- he can be rude and crass, and he’s definitely not “warm and fuzzy”- but finally, about 40 years late  (late is better than never!) we have someone in public office willing to address the obvious, and who is not owned by the unions.   The main question I have at this late hour is whether or not Ohio’s manufacturing cities are too far gone to save.  I watched my hometown shrink in size by more than half over the span of a decade as I was growing up.  I drive past the ghosts of what were once world-renowned manufacturing companies every time I go back home.   The images- and the ruined lives- haunt me.

There has to be some common sense injected into government.  Taming the public service unions is the first step. 

What the media and the common person have lost sight of is that nothing is free.  Taxpayers- people like me- are paying for the salaries, perks and benefits of government workers.  Government is not an entity and means in and of itself.  It needs the private sector to survive, and the private sector has been sucked dry.  Anyone who doesn’t believe that, I can take you on a nice little tour of the industrial ruins of Marion that might change your mind. It may not be popular with some, but the beast that government on all levels has become must be restrained.

This was once part of the Marion Power Shovel assembly line, etc.  It extended for almost five miles down the west end of town, and one can still see most of the ruins of it today.  Someday, before even more of it decays and is hauled away, I need to take a walking tour and take some close up pics.  It really was quite an amazing thing at one time.