Archive for the ‘Neighborhoods, Boroughs, Cities, States’ Category.

Things that can’t go forever, won’t.

How do bureaucracies get so big they can’t pay themselves? Assertions that it “can’t possible happen” are refuted by history in instances ranging from Henry VIII’s dissolution of the monasteries in 1536, which turned thousands of clergy starving into the streets to recent examples like the collapse of Soviet pensions or the debasement of the Greek pension system.

In each of these cases the impossible happened, just as it’s happening in Venezuela, where Joel Hirst describes the collapse of a whole system. “I never expected to witness the slow suicide of a country, a civilization. I suppose nobody does.”

. . .

Unsustainable bureaucratic behemoths turn out to be what Churchill described: “a cut flower in a vase, fair to see yet bound to die.” They are not invincible, but quite the contrary have the distressing propensity to die. The irony is that the gigantism voters often associate with safety is in itself a risk factor. The bloat isn’t protection, but a heart attack waiting to happen. Economists have long known that being “too big to fail” is actually a source of moral hazard.

The Surprising Weakness of Invincible Institutions

Ozymandias

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The DC Imperial Economy

In no place in America are the abrupt changes in the nation’s security posture so keenly reflected in real estate and lifestyle than the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. In the decade after 9/11, it has grown into a sprawling, pretentious representation of the federal government’s growth, vices and prosperity, encompassing the wealthiest counties, the best schools, and some of the highest rates of income inequality in the country.

. . .

For [Mike] Lofgren, “Beltwayland” is perhaps best described as analogous to the Victorian novel the Picture of Dorian Gray—a rich, shimmering ecosystem in which all of the ugly, twisted aberrations are hidden away in an attic somewhere, or rather sadly, in the poverty-blighted wards and low income zip codes of “the DMV” (The District, Maryland, and Virginia).

Oscar Wilde might have seen a bit of his Victorian England in Washington’s self-indulgent elite, but unlike the gentry of Dorian Gray, men and women here see not leisure, but amassing personal wealth through workaholism, as a virtue of the ruling class. For them, a two-front war and Washington’s newly enlarged national-security state, much of which is hidden in plain sight, have ushered in a 21st-century gilded age only replicated in America’s few, most privileged enclaves.

. . .

“The federal government is a $3.6 trillion beast in the district’s backyard that keeps the lights burning and the paychecks printing from government office buildings on Capitol Hill down along the Dulles Toll Road to the tech consulting firms in Virginia,” wrote Derek Thompson in The Atlantic in 2011, when the area was growing at three times the rate of the rest of the country in its post-recession years.

“Uncle Sam directly employs one-sixth of the district’s workforce and indirectly pays for much more.” It is the “much more” that Lofgren likes to focus on, pointing out that government workers, who might enjoy more job security and pensions, actually have a cap on annual salaries and benefits. It’s the private class that has remade the landscape, the worst characterized by “the K Street lawyers, political consultants, Beltway fixers and war on terrorism profiteers who run a permanent shadow government in the nation’s capital,” he writes.

How Wartime Washington Lives in Luxury

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Free Speech

The Founders knew that liberty is never really popular, and that it cannot be entrusted to elected officials who must answer in the end to the demos, which is why they put the first liberties first, right there in the First Amendment. If we are willing to let a low-rent carny like Harry Reid take those liberties away from us, or a sanctimonious old crook like Hillary Rodham Clinton, or Elizabeth Warren, the most wooden Indian of them all, then maybe we didn’t deserve those first liberties in the first place.

From Classroom to Courtroom

First Amendment, Liberty, Free Speech

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We all stand on the shoulders of giants

Every normal person understands that every one of us stands on the shoulders of giants. Newton, Einstein, Aristotle, the inventors of the danish, and so on. And, though the West gave the East computers and plastic, and the East gave the West gunpowder and silk, undergraduates have given us nothing. But that’s not their fault — they’re young and innocent. They know nothing. You can’t blame an undergraduate for panicking about cultural appropriation any more than you can blame a puppy for chewing up your baseball mitt. That’s why these kids are in school — to learn things.

The spineless, weaselly deans and presidents of America’s universities should try to remember that.

The Liberal Fantasy of Cultural Appropriation, by Josh Gelernter

Moral preening. Ozymandias

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The Ruling Class

But science is reason, not pretense. Only the power of government can translate scientific illiteracy into scientific pretense. What President Dwight Eisenhower warned against in his 1961 farewell address has become our reality: “domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money.” Government money is the means by which ruling-class power has become the scientific pretense by which we are instructed what to eat, how to shower, what medical care is proper and what is not, and what to think about right and wrong.

Standing Up to the Ruling Class, by Angelo Codevilla

The state is the clerisy’s idol

[P]eople are fooling themselves if they think electing a strongman is going to save us. Dante Alighieri fantasized about a strongman coming to sort out the godawful mess that was Italy in the 14th century, but I think he told truer than he knew in Purgatorio XVI, on the terrace of Wrath. When the pilgrim Dante asked Marco the Lombard why the world back on earth is in such a mess, Marco answered him by saying, in effect, If you want to fix the world, first fix your own heart.

. . .

Look, I’m not saying that policy (economic and otherwise) has nothing to do with this “things fall apart” situation we find ourselves in. It does. But there’s a lot more going on here, at every level of our society, from top to bottom. The center is not holding. Trump is not the cause; Trump is the effect. If he becomes president, maybe some things will change for the better, but if he threw out every illegal immigrant, built a wall between the US and Mexico, reformed the financial system and did everything he promised to do, We The People would still have massive problems governing ourselves, in our private lives.

Bunga Bunga Billionaire Nation, by Rod Dreher

Ozymandias

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Washington, DC – Cronyism – Ozymandias


Is Big Business a Danger to Economic Liberty?

This all reflects the aspect of lobbying most observers miss: the lobbyists are often more closely bound to the politicians they are supposedly swaying than they are to the clients they are supposedly representing. The result: the lobbyists serve largely to extract money from companies, and use that money to help their political friends, whose success will ensure the lobbyists more clients.


Big Business Loves Big Government: Cronyism in American Politics

This is how wealth begets wealth, power begets power, and how on K Street, they are all intermarried.

Timothy Carney

The DC Revolving Door swings wide and it swings both ways

See also, “Obama Administration Helps Wall Street Criminals Dodge Accountability Hope and Change! LOL!


Crony Capitalism as Progressive Reform

Books by Timothy Carney
The Big Ripoff
Obamanomics

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Washington, DC, Garden Spot. Ozymandias

In other words, if you want to send your child to the very best schools in the District, as determined by standardized testing—Ross Elementary in Dupont Circle, for example, or Thomson School, which covers Chinatown, Metro Center, and Mount Vernon Square—it may be possible to buy a home for less than $800,000, but many home prices will hover around or above that number. Even if you move to a district that is ranked a “2” on this scale (with “1” marking the highest-performing schools schools and “5” marking the worst) you can still expect to pay well over $600,000 for a home.

Here’s the Outrageous Dollar Amount You’ll Need to Spend on a Home in DC to Guarantee Your Child Attends a Good School

Upon further research, I found that not only is it pretty easy for a rat to climb up a three-inch toilet drain pipe (most of the time there’s not even water in it), but I live in a part of D.C. with a combined sewer system, so the storm drains on the street and the pipes from the toilets run to the same place. A combined sewer is one big, happy, Rat Central Station.

Yes, Rats Can Swim Up Your Toilet. And It Gets Worse Than That.

Ozymandias


Swamp – Roosevelt Island, Washington DC

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“A Light in the Darkness” Sunday, December 7, 2014, 7pm

“A Light in the Darkness” — an Ignatian meditation on Advent and Christmas, with the Ignatian Schola

Sunday, December 7, 2014, 7pm
Church of St. Francis Xavier
46 W 16th St, New York, NY

“Comfort, Comfort, O My People” by The Ignatian Schola

“Comfort, comfort O my people;
speak of peace!” Now says our God.
“Comfort those who sit in darkness
mourning ‘neath their sorrow’s load.
Seek unto Jerusalem
of the peace that waits for them!
Tell of all the sins I cover,
and that warfare now is over.”

Hark the voice of one who’s crying
in the desert far and near,
bidding all to full repentance,
since the Kingdom now is here.
O, that warning cry obey!
Now prepare for God a way.
Let the valleys rise to meet Him
and the hills bow down to greet Him.

O make straight what long was crooked,
make the rougher places plain.
Let your hearts be true and humble,
as befits His holy reign.
For the glory of the Lord
now o’er earth is shed abroad,
and the flesh shall see the token
that His word is never broken.

Ignatian Schola YouTube

“Pavlovian flattery” – The Clerisy’s Role

One of the main roles of the Clerisy is to flatter the political class and the tech oligarchs. We must mock the Clerisy, who treat every burble and belch of the political class and tech oligarchs with “Pavlovian flattery.”

Anyway, China’s apparently stifling environment has now produced what investors in the NYSE have determined is the world’s most valuable company. And in Jack Ma, it’s also produced an entrepreneur in the classic mould, whose every babble and belch on mission and personal development and leadership and customer value and the rest of it is treated with Pavlovian flattery.

a 21st Century offering

The Status Quo around the world–from France to China to the U.S.–is optimized to protect its Elites and the sprawling Upper-Caste of academics, managers, think-tank toadies, technocrats, apparatchiks, functionaries, factotums, lackeys and apologists who serve the Elites, and are well-paid for enforcing the Status Quo on the disenfranchised castes below.

Demographer Joel Kotkin, author of the new book The New Class Conflict, has coined the word Clerisy to describe what I have been calling the Upper Caste:America’s new class system.

What the Global Status Quo Optimizes: Protecting Elites and the Clerisy Class That Serves Them

The New Class Conflict, by Joel Kotkin

#Clerisy

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Saving the earth from too many poor people

Today we are given environmental reasons for saving the earth from the burden of too many people. Ironically, it is always the poor who seem to be burdensome, and never too many jet-setters—who consume the goods of the world with rapacious greed.

Wi-fi Eugenics, by David Beresford

Overpopulation, however, is an invented threat meant to stoke fear in an already apprehensive public. Even the left-leaning Slate.com published a recent article chronicling the earth’s stalled population growth, noting the approximately 7 billion humans currently alive will, given current reproduction rates, shrink to just half that number by the year 2200.

Still, this doesn’t prevent Gore and others from dictating what individuals in other nations should do with their lives. Dr. Lubos Motl, a Czech physicist, examined the utter fallacy of his position.

“It is impossible not to think that there’s some racism and stunning hypocrisy if a jerk who has produced four children is ‘working’ on the reduction of the number of newborn babies in a completely different nation,” he wrote.

While he conceded Africa certainly has its issues, Motl noted that they aren’t “caused by overpopulation” but are “mostly due to the insufficient sophistication of their economies….”

Gore, however, will likely never be convinced he is wrong. Apparently, inventing the Internet has given him an unshakable superiority complex. He now projects himself as the arbiter of international reproduction rates.

Along with Barack Obama, this Nobel Peace Prize winner definitively proves the tragic irony with which such a prestigious honor is often bestowed.

Al Gore Thinks Killing Babies Will Save The World, by B. Christopher Agee

Adam Carolla

Our political class and the Clerisy have become burdensome. Mockery and truculence are called for.

#Clerisy

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