crony capitalism

Follow the Money, Not Bathroom Laws or Nazi Captain America

Captain America: Hail Hydra! - Marvel Comics

Captain America: Hail Hydra! – Marvel Comics

We’ve had seven years of the Obama administration’s orchestrated distractions. The President gained the office promising a new era, supported by “Baptists” (in this case, idealistic Progressives and voters hopeful he would bridge party and racial gaps — see Bootleggers and Baptists) and “bootleggers” (crony capitalists and the finance industry, which placed their sympathizers in Treasury and Justice to make sure no true reprisals or reform would occur and that TARP and subsidy money would finance their ventures.) The complicit media help promote whatever story the administration is selling each week — independent reporting is expensive while rewritten PR releases from government press offices and video of staged news events fills TV news time and newspaper column inches cheaply.

The United States has a wide variety of special interests whose contention prevents a single coalition from taking over and doing too much damage. The effect over time, though, has been to expand government and its regulation of private businesses to increase the rewards of buying political favors. The Obama administration’s record of boondoggles and project failures is clear, but by dominating news coverage with their talking points, they have distracted citizens who haven’t directly suffered job loss, lost their home, or had their daughter murdered by a criminal immigrant released in a “sanctuary city.”

Gender Free Bathroom

Gender Free Bathroom

The latest non-problem designed to distract is the “bathroom wars.” For decades, transgendered people have used the bathroom they were “dressed for” in relative safety and obscurity, since civilized people don’t expose their genitalia or accost others for looking unusual while relieving themselves. Good manners suggest intentionally not noticing superficial factors of others when forced into the intimacy of the bathroom or locker room, and most people have the good manners and good sense not to react to such things. Similarly, while not completely unheard of, it’s very rare (and illegal) for men to accost women in restrooms or locker rooms.

So there’s no information other than anecdotal suggesting trans people are being harassed in large numbers, or that women or girls are being harassed. And there’s certainly no legal authority under Title IX for Federal-level regulation of bathroom use. There’s really no reason for any regulation of bathroom use, given that such rules are not enforceable or even reasonable when there are many common situations where labels are ignored, as when women duck into the men’s room because the line at “their” bathroom is too long. This is a fine example of customary usage that ain’t broke, so don’t fix it — all fixes are more trouble than leaving it up to custom and common sense.

But much of the media attention not spent following Trump’s latest comments is going to bathroom laws and public posturing related to the issue, like the latest stars to boycott North Carolina while still planning concerts in countries where gays are beaten and jailed. The President and his minions get to appear to be protectors of the weak while their outraged opponents waste effort on an issue that distracts from removing them and their kind from power.

Meanwhile, much social network and news chatter in recent weeks centers around Captain America and the recent decision by the current Marvel comic book writers to rewrite him as an agent of Hydra all these years — a hero originated to stand for American values in opposition to the then-current Third Reich has been revealed to be a Nazi himself, or close enough. The outrage mills are keeping this one going, giving free publicity to the comic book writers and taking up residence in people’s heads.

In both cases, behind-the-scenes interests are jockeying for influence to continue to steal your money and divert it to their ends — their own power and wealth. By keeping the issues of subsidies and crony capitalism too complex for mass understanding and sending up clouds of disinformational chaff like these symbolic, emotional issues, much of the voting population has been bamboozled into fighting each other over symbolic issues while the bootleggers loot the Treasury.

And in that confusion, men like Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders who offer simple, authoritarian solutions to the problems of the status quo corporatist government appear to offer a way out. Neither had the support of the big money interests, but if either won the presidency you can be sure they will attract the same corrupt interests to support and control them.

So spend less time getting outraged about relatively unimportant issues, and more time following the money. Notice how anti-Trump protestors are organized and funded by unions like the SEIU and racist organizations like La Raza, while those same organizations are core Democratic supporters and have been funded illegally by diverting Justice Department settlement funds from the victims of mortgage companies to Democrat-supporting agencies.

Notice that the Clinton Foundation targets its grants to gain good PR or influence while collecting tax-free “donations” from shady and even criminal overseas governments and companies. It’s part of the Clintons’ global influence-peddling machine, built up over decades to allow legal bribery of the former President Bill and Secretary of State and now President-in-Waiting Hillary.

The book Clinton Cash by Peter Schweizer documents these indirect bribery schemes:

In 2000, Bill and Hillary Clinton owed millions of dollars in legal debt. Since then, they’ve earned over $130 million. Where did the money come from? Most people assume that the Clintons amassed their wealth through lucrative book deals and high-six-figure fees for speaking gigs. Now, Peter Schweizer shows who is really behind those enormous payments.

In his New York Times bestselling books Extortion and Throw Them All Out, Schweizer detailed patterns of official corruption in Washington that led to congressional resignations and new ethics laws. In Clinton Cash, he follows the Clinton money trail, revealing the connection between their personal fortune, their “close personal friends,” the Clinton Foundation, foreign nations, and some of the highest ranks of government.

Schweizer reveals the Clinton’s troubling dealings in Kazakhstan, Colombia, Haiti, and other places at the “wild west” fringe of the global economy. In this blockbuster exposé, Schweizer merely presents the troubling facts he’s uncovered. Meticulously researched and scrupulously sourced, filled with headline-making revelations, Clinton Cash raises serious questions of judgment, of possible indebtedness to an array of foreign interests, and ultimately, of fitness for high public office.

Some of their schemes — like the Haitian telecomm contracts they wangled for supporter’s companies that skimmed fees from every telephone call between Haitians and their US relatives — are infuriating in that they stole from people least able to afford padded bills. Haitians have correctly figured out that the Clintons only pretend to care about them.

Jonathan Katz, author of The Big Truck That Went By: How the World Came to Save Haiti and Left Behind a Disaster about Haitian relief efforts of the past two decades, had this to say about Clinton’s influence in Haiti:

There’s nowhere Clinton had more influence or respect when she became Secretary of State than in Haiti, and it was clear that she planned to use that to make Haiti the proving ground for her vision of American power. By now I’d imagine she was expecting to constantly be pointing to Haiti on the campaign trail as one of the great successes of her diplomatic career. Instead it’s one of her biggest disappointments by nearly any measure, with the wreckage of the Martelly administration she played a larger role than anyone in installing being the biggest and latest example.

Death by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples OrganizationsDeath by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples Organizations

[From Death by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples Organizations,  available now in Kindle and trade paperback.]

The first review is in: by Elmer T. Jones, author of The Employment Game. Here’s the condensed version; view the entire review here.

Corporate HR Scrambles to Halt Publication of “Death by HR”

Nobody gets a job through HR. The purpose of HR is to protect their parent organization against lawsuits for running afoul of the government’s diversity extortion bureaus. HR kills companies by blanketing industry with onerous gender and race labor compliance rules and forcing companies to hire useless HR staff to process the associated paperwork… a tour de force… carefully explains to CEOs how HR poisons their companies and what steps they may take to marginalize this threat… It is time to turn the tide against this madness, and Death by HR is an important research tool… All CEOs should read this book. If you are a mere worker drone but care about your company, you should forward an anonymous copy to him.


Notes on Politics and Bureaucracy

Red Queen: The Substrate Wars

Red Queen: The Substrate Wars

[This is from an appendix to Red Queen: The Substrate Wars.]

What is fascism?

From Wikipedia, where the definition focuses on the 1930s fascisms seen in Italy, Germany, and Spain:

Fascists sought to unify their nation through an authoritarian state that promoted the mass mobilization of the national community and were characterized by having leadership that initiated a revolutionary political movement aiming to reorganize the nation along principles according to fascist ideology.

The Wikipedia definition goes on to list other characteristics, notably that fascism of that day “replaced socialism’s focus on class conflict with a focus on conflict between nations and races.”

As Mark Twain noted, “History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme.” The fascism of Substrate Wars is built on exploiting tribal divisions, but not between states so as much as between races and the sexes, and between an anointed class of academic and government-class progressives (“the Clerisy”) and the private economy. The scapegoating of some groups and relentless attacks on them as manipulators who are harming the oppressed and stealing from the common people is aimed at different groups, but the basic mechanism remains.

We see this today in schizophrenic demonization of the wealthy “one-percenters” at the same time there is continuing support by many of the same politicians of Wall Street’s artificially high share of the economy. The Federal Reserve’s efforts to limit the stock market crash of 2000 and the 9/11 panic produced a real estate bubble and ensuing debt crisis, but instead of reforming the systemic problems that caused the crash and paying down the bad debts, the world’s central banks and politicians have tried to artificially reflate the economy with even more debt, and as of this writing the US debt has climbed to $18 trillion. When actuarially sound and realistic accounting is applied to pension and Medicare obligations of state and federal governments, future taxes to pay the debts down at more realistic interest rates would have to rise to over 50% of incomes, closing on 100% in some states, a level so high it would depress actual tax revenues collected. Meaning some sort of debt repudiation—either hyperinflating it away or default—is likely.

And in the US, the two parties are deeply entrenched in local and state politics and election supervision, and the law is written to discourage any new parties or independent candidates. The increasing partisan warfare has set people of good will who largely agree on most matters against each other, with the worst behavior of each party presented as entertainment to partisans of the other. The hatred and obsessive preoccupation with demonization of the other party disguises an important fact: if it were not for that party you hate so much, full of stupid, evil, and ignorant people you disdain, your party would become as corrupt as it is in those states where one party dominates. And the chances of governments run by one party investigating and reforming themselves are low. Some pundits admire China, where one party rules and Gets Things Done; but corruption is an enormous problem there, and will likely bring them down eventually. So, partisans, be grateful for those jerks in the other party—they keep your people honest.

I have many friends who work for government agencies—teachers, scientists, managers. They tell me they work hard and do valuable work, and I know they are conscientious and well-meaning. But when they spend much of their time in meetings and fighting other parts of the bureaucracy; when they write thousands of pages of reports and laws that no one reads; when their function is not essential to defense, law enforcement, or some other core function only government can handle, it’s a tax-funded, permanent bureaucracy that squeezes out private alternatives and ensures that competition can never improve efficiency. I salute my hard-working friends who are public servants—but most of their time is actually spent serving the interests of the state and not the people.

In the sectors of the economy that aren’t run or heavily regulated by governments, efficiencies constantly increase as competition and innovation combine. In sectors run by politicized regulation or directly by governments, innovation is very slow and relative costs of services continue to rise. Examples: education, medical services, defense, social services. Student loan debt is breaking the backs of young people; college administrators are higher-paid than ever, and there are more of them. Hospitals expand and merge and pay administrators huge salaries while charging astronomical fees for simple services. Military contracting is padded and turned into pork for Congressional districts. The space shuttle boosters blew up because they had to be made in segments to allow the contracts to be spread across districts. These are all consequences of politicized decisionmaking processes.

A notable example is universal public schooling. No one thinks education is a bad idea, and local public and private schools competed in the US until the mid-1800s. Then states began to take more control, aiming to raise standards and make the curriculum more uniform, on a Prussian model which viewed children as raw material to be molded into good workers and citizens with allegiance to the state.

The public education system evolved, and local control was reduced. Families found themselves taxed heavily to pay for the public system, which was “free” to them, and naturally chose not to pay twice to get education that was more directly tailored to their children’s needs or family desires. Thus an important link between parental concern and schools was broken—schools, like all other institutions, ultimately serve the concerns of those who fund them, not their clients. In many school districts now, parents are given lip service but opposed whenever they try to support reforms.

And schools beholden to politicians and unions of their workers can be both expensive and truly awful. The worst result of this is that children are now learning very little history, economics, or science, and rigor has suffered. The least damaging solution is vouchers—give every student the money now being spent on their education to spend on any school their parents deem fit that passes reasonable standards. Public schools would have to compete with private and charter schools, and all would benefit—except possibly overpaid public school administrators. Resistance to this idea is fierce, of course.

So that was a key mistake which allowed the population to be programmed with the idea that more government is the solution for every problem. Fixing it will take time, and the system will most likely crash before rebooting.

And as recent graduates of this political indoctrination system have taken most of the positions in government, academia, and mass media, the commitment to truth has suffered. An entire society has been dumbed down.