Saturday, April 5, 2014

Texas GOP RAISED This Tax You Didn't Know About- Mexico: Cigarettes Kill

Arrived Cozumel 4-4-14
What is striking about Cozumel, the popular tourist island off Southern Mexico, is how CLEAR the water is.  I wore my Earth Day Houston shirt and enjoyed a Martguerita with Laura at lunch at Ponchos on the pier. The people who went snorkeling or played with the dolphins loved it. Our dinner companions had spent the day with the dolphins, who are trained to give you a kiss and will pull you around the pool for fun.

What was surprising and interesting was the labeling on the cigarette boxes in the gift store you have to go through when you leave the ship. “Smoking Kills” in large letters on cigarette cartons not a subtle message. We bought Grand Marnier instead! THEN we get a notice that the State of Texas as of April 1 (April Fool’s joke it is NOT) that Texas imposes a tax on alcohol or cigarettes you buy in a duty free shop! They want $15 tax on that carton of cigarettes! And $3.50 for every fifth you bring into Texas from your cruise! So the GOP controlled Texas leaders are against raising taxes, eh? LOL. Not! 

The last time we were in Mexico we encountered a guide who said that the drug cartels “stay away from Cozumel because we have jobs here.”  In other words, a good economy is bad for recruiting by the cartels. Cozumel is about as safe as it gets.

A 45 minute ferry ride across the bay from Cozumel takes you to Playa del Carmen on the Mexican coast. When I saw Playa del Carmen the first time back in the 80’s it had literally two small hotels – not even three stories tall. Now, if you take a bus ride from Playa del Carmen to Cancun you see rows of tall buildings lining the road all the way to Cancun, an hour’s drive.

Mexico is actually developing more of a middle class as the the United States middle class has declined. Surprised? It did me since we think of the jobs gap in Mexico. I attribute it to the fact that the GOP has concentrated wealth at the top 1% with special tax breaks that ordinary Americans don’t get. The U.S. has becoming more like old Mexico or Russia where a few super-rich oligarchs hold a majority of the wealth and the remaining 99% have to fight over the crumbs. 

The U.S. Supreme Court just reinforced this with its latest 5-4 ruling that removes spending limits by Americas wealthiest, who can now buy elections with unlimited spending. That guarantees more favors for the 1% and guarantees the rest of us are screwed. The conservatives have tilted the table to favor the super rich, while cutting the opportunity for ordinary Americans to vote early or at all. So much for our Constitutional right to “one man one vote.” 

We need radical change in the membership of the U.S. Supreme Court – and Congress. We should consider impeaching members like Clarence Thomas. For the first time, the majority of Congress members are millionaires. So who do you think they will favor in their bills – the folks flipping burgers and working as mechanics, etc.? Not on your life is that going to happen.

Tomorrow we return to Houston and back to work. The hail and tornadoes that ripped from Texas to the Midwest is a reminder how much my Armor Glass company’s protection is needed. A couple we were having dinner with last night are real estate agents in the Dallas area. They had just sold a house and apparently the new owner told them that the hail had knocked out all the windows!

I needed this week to recharge my batteries before our busy season makes any more time off impossible. It’s time to back to “saving the world” one client at a time.

Next week: Brownsville, TX. Putting our Armor Glass security film on a office being leased by a government agency – they require blast-rated security film installed on any facility they move into. Every office and house with glass should have it since the same film protects from hurricane hits and burglars. Details at:

Quick note on Malaysia 370. Let us hope the Chinese ship “pings” turn out to be the black box. This mystery has gone on too long and we need that data to find out what happened to that airplane. If it is a structural failure, it is something that must be addressed. If it was a rogue pilot or hijacking, we need to know who did it and why…At the minimum the incident has shown we need to upgrade our technology and put GPS tracers on every black box so a satellite can tell us on Day 1 where the aircraft went down instead of having these multinational searches consuming vast millions in cost. That’s stupid when we already have the technology available off the shelf!

Follow Global American Values updates on Facebook … for insights on a world Americans must know if we are to lead it.

And don't forget "Better times Ahead April Fool" is in effect.

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