Archive for the ‘Corruption’ Category.

Super Bowl

Sunday’s game will be 60 minutes of football — an adrenaline-and-testosterone bath stretched by commercial breaks (two of them called “two minute warnings”), replay challenges, and other delays to about 200 minutes — embedded in an all-day broadcast of manufactured frenzy. It would be nice, but probably fanciful, to think that even 1 percent of tonight’s expected television audience of more than 110 million will have qualms about the ethics of their enjoyment.

The NFL’s fondness for Roman numerals is appropriate because the game is gladiatorial, as Romans enjoyed entertainment featuring people maiming and being maimed for the entertainment of spectators. But things change.

The Super Bowl’s 60 Minutes of Damage, by George Will

What of the cities that have ransomed their future to an NFL team? How have they fared? Just because Forbes Magazine values pro football franchises at between $2 and $3 billion does not mean that the citizenry sees much benefit from having a team.

For example, the Hackensack Meadowlands Giants are now said to be worth $2.8 billion, but New Jersey taxpayers are still paying interest on the old Giants Stadium, where the end zone was rumored to be Jimmy Hoffa’s resting place, and which was torn down so that a new stadium could be built in its place (“without public money”).

Most cities get a paltry rental stream from their subsidized ballparks, and that’s it. From the Seahawks, owned by Microsoft bigwig Paul Allen, Seattle gets $1 million a year in stadium rental income, while the team rakes in more than $200 million. And state taxpayers are on the hook for some $300 million in outstanding CenturyLink stadium bonds. (The 12th man abides.)

Super Bowl: Super Subsidy Sunday

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Hope and Change!

How well did being backed by rich people work for Mitt Romney in 2012? Are the Koch brothers more powerful than the average American voter’s desire to be taken care of by the Great Father in Washington? Have they picked our next president yet?
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It is great that we were sent a savior. But how come, after seven years of being saved, we still have “urgent work to do”?
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We have moved from an expensive system in which tens of millions of Americans were uninsured to a crazy expensive system in which tens of millions of Americans are uninsured.
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One thing that we proved in the housing market of 1992-2007 was that it doesn’t matter how much something costs as long as you can refinance it.
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Summary of what the three candidates said: Despite being led by one of the greatest human beings who ever lived, American government today is incompetent, unable to deliver functional infrastructure, safe water, desired foreign policy results (even with countries in Central America), or health care to citizens. Branches of the government may be unable to pay their debts (Puerto Rico). What we need to do is give this incompetent government a larger percentage of the GDP to allocate. We should also task this government with setting wages for both government and what was formerly known as “private sector” jobs.

The last debate for the Democrats, by Philip Greenspun

Moral Preening and Ozymandias

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New York is Broke

Congressmen, presidents and bureaucrats from both political parties have generated an $18 trillion national debt and the most sluggish economy since the 1930s, but state officials across the country are no slouches in running up huge debts and hobbling their economic climates.

The result is some states are busted, with sluggish economies, while others are busting loose with growing economies and more opportunity. The reasons for both aren’t hard to find, they’re all in the numbers.

Take California and New York, for example, two states that have had big-spending governors and legislators for decades. Based on data compiled by statedatalab.org and Open The Books, residents of both states may want to prepare for hard times ahead.

California has $328 billion in debts, compared to only $94 billion in assets, for a deficit of $234 billion. If debt holders all tell state officials to pay up in 2016, every Californian will have to pay an additional $20,800 in taxes.

Similarly, New York has $257 billion in debt and $130 billion in assets. That makes the Empire State’s deficit $127 billion, or about half of California’s. Even so, if the debts all come due next year, it will mean another $20,700 in taxes for New Yorkers.

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Ranked according to the difference between their assets and debts, California is at the bottom of the 50 states, while New York ranks 47th. But as the adjoining chart illustrates, other states are in bad shape, too. See how all 50 states rank here.

Is Your State Busted Or Busting Loose?

Statolatry

Ozymandias

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Social “Engineering” and Tyranny

“Intentions are not results”

Especially widespread among intellectuals and “Progressives” is the notion that there exists a “correct” way for society to operate. Such people believe that social organization is an issue of engineering, one with a single best “solution” – and that this “solution” must be discovered and implemented in the same way that all engineering solutions are discovered and implemented, namely, by the objective brain-power and design of the engineer. For society or the economy to be engineered requires, of course, a grand overseeing engineer: the state, advised by the best and the brightest who are equipped with all the latest data-gathering and processing techniques, as well as with the latest and most advanced engineering tools.

As Jim Buchanan points out – in the same way as has Hayek, Mises, and nearly all other thoughtful (classical) liberals – conceiving of social organization as an engineering problem, and of the state as the engineer, is not only factually mistaken, it paves the way for tyranny. The reason is that if this social-engineering view of economy and society were correct, anyone who disagrees with “the experts” advising the social-engineer hard at work to design and implement a good society is an enemy of The People.

Don Boudreaux

Statolatry is idol worship

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Crony Capitalist Supports Crony Poltico

Politically connected billionaire investor Warren Buffett has been unwavering in his support for millionaire presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, but this weekend Buffett pledged to go to greater lengths to get his fellow 1-percenter elected.
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[Hillary] Clinton endorses subsidies for green energy, and [Warren] Buffett is positioned to profit from such subsidies. Clinton opposes the Keystone pipeline, which could make Buffett’s railway more profitable. Hillary supported the Wall Street bailout, which directly benefited Buffett. Hillary is on board with Buffett in supporting the death tax, which has meant much profit for Buffett — he owns part of a life insurance company, and he’s bought profitable businesses whose owners were forced by to sell because of the death tax. Buffett is invested in ethanol giant Archer Daniels Midland, and Clinton supports federal ethanol mandates.

Clinton and Buffett: It’s a good match.

Politically connected billionaire financier to campaign for politically connected multimillionaire candidate

See also:
– “The Crony Capitalist Pretense Behind Warren Buffett’s Banking Buys

Warren Buffet tag on AgainstCronyCapaitalism

– “Warren Buffet Reaps Crony Capitalist Billions from Gov Bank Bailouts

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You’re Not Actually A Hero

Every day there’s some story focusing on false heroes and pseudo-bravery masquerading as some valiant or defiant action. Not only on the political front, but in culture, where fake courageousness not only dilutes the genuine heroic actions of others, but is used to create the false impression that people are engaged in actions far more important than they really are. Bravery is not synonymous with “you agree with me.”
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Few people would argue that someone who puts it all on the line to try to save the lives of strangers is not a hero. But it’s pretty rare. Maybe in a pluralistic and free society we don’t need as many heroes. That might be a good thing. But what we shouldn’t do is confuse heroism with the actions of someone who is merely reaffirming our own worldview. Yet that seems to be the case quite often.

Guess What? You’re Not Actually A Hero, by David Harsanyi

SJW’s and other moral preeners are not heroes.

If you want to change things, pray: “How Desperation and Devotion Can Change Your Prayer Life

Rosary:
Pray the Sorrowful Mysteries with Fr. Peyton

Pray the Joyful Mysteries with Fr. Peyton

Pray the Glorious Mysteries with Fr. Peyton

Pray the Luminous Mysteries of The Rosary with Father Patrick Peyton, CSC

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Enough Caesaropapism!

American sovereignty resides in the American people, not in the American state, still less in the person of the chief executive, and the organ most closely representative of the people is the one whose members we call, not coincidentally, representatives. We are a nation under law, a nation of laws, a nation with equality under the law, etc., which necessarily means a nation under lawmakers — not a nation under an elected and term-limited pharaoh. It is the role of Congress to decide what the federal government is to do, and it is the role of the president to get it done. The president is a servant, not a master.
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While we are thinking about who should be entrusted with the awesome powers of the American presidency, perhaps we should think just a little bit about whether those powers are a bit too awesome, and about whether the presidency should be somewhat reduced to something closer to its original constitutional conception. Calvin Coolidge could afford to be a modest president, because he occupied a much more modest presidency. Before you decide what kind of president you want in 2016, think about what kind of presidency you want in 2016, and thereafter.

What Kind of Presidency Do We Want?, by Kevin Williamson

George F. Will: Caesaropapism Rampant

caesaropapism

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Celebrity

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Police State

When a governor can be indicted for vetoing a bill, when a university regent can be threatened with criminal prosecution for exposing corruption, and when you have armed men kicking down your door because you signed the wrong petition, you don’t live in a free society—you live in a police state.

Kevin Williamson

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Inequality and The Clerisy

Note NYC, San Francisco, and Washington DC, all homes to the Clerisy.

Mean Household Income 2007 to 2010, by Richard Morrill

Data on incomes of households for US counties allow us to see the geographic patterns of poorer, average and richer households. Covering the numbers of households and shares of households that are relatively poor to rich, we get a fascinating picture of American economic diversity.
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It doesn’t take much of a cynic to conclude that the way to get rich is to be around Wall Street (the pinnacle of capital) or around the U.S. Congress, the pinnacle of government largess (including lobbyists for Wall Street).

The Geography of Lower, Middle and Higher Income Households in the United States, by Richard Morrill

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