We have a massive military. We have bases around the world. We have by far and away the largest military in the world. And the main reason this is is not because of threats to “American interests” but because defense spending is how Republicans (and Democrats too) distribute tax money to their constituents. It’s an ugly truth, but it is the truth.
Yes the “defense” of the country is expressly enumerated in the Constitution. DEFENSE. Not empire. Empires are costly for the citizenry of a country, at least the citizens not in on the deal. But who cares, spend away. Like Dick Cheney, and Paul Krugman say, “deficits don’t matter.”
You know and I know of course that deficits and debt do in fact matter otherwise we wouldn’t have to gather any tax revenue, but politicians want to spend. And “defense” is the preferred way to spend for many Republicans.
And by the way, if you want to see where the money really goes take a drive down Route 28 next to Dulles Airport sometime and you will see it. Shiny office building after shiny office building filled with defense contractors.
At the end of this spectacle of glass, steel, and tax dollars is a Ferrari and Lamborghini dealership. I wonder why?
Boeing and GE really really want to keep the taxpayer underwritten Export-Import Bank. It’s a sweet deal for them and they (along with a few other companies) have deployed an army of lobbyists in an effort to keep the boondoggle alive. In this case it appears that one of GE’s lobbyists stepped over the blurry ethical line. Not that this isn’t to be expected. There’s a lot of taxpayer money potentially at stake.
(From The Washington Free Beacon)
A General Electric employee pressed a Wisconsin legislator to falsely blame the closing of a facility there on the expiration of federal subsidies, the legislator said this week.
State Rep. Scott Allen said in a Monday statement that GE government relations executive Patrick Theisen asked Allen to blame the closing of a Waukesha engine manufacturing facility on the recent expiration of the U.S. Export-Import Bank.
“Mr. Theisen was eager to connect me with his public relations department to help me gin up a press release blaming Congress and demanding they act,” Allen said.
Back in the late 1970’s something happened to the Santa Clara Valley. Increasingly it became referred to as the Silicon Valley, because the emerging silicon based semiconductor industry found its first home in plants nestled along the southern shores of the San Francisco Bay. Boasting what are among the finest universities in the United States – Stanford and Cal Berkeley – and the best weather in the world, high technology companies began choosing the San Francisco Bay Area in the 1940’s and never looked back. Where once there were endless orchards of Prune, Apricot and Cherry trees, a sprawling ecosystem of high tech companies and venture capital firms now attracts talent from everywhere on earth. The Silicon Valley became, and remains, the epicenter of the most dramatic technological advances in history.
For the first 25 years or so, certainly through the end of the 20th century, the mantra in the Silicon Valley was “better, faster, cheaper.” Entrepreneurs were creating entire new industries, as digital technology enabled “mini-computers” to replace mainframes, and “work-stations” to replace mini’s, which were in-turn replaced by PCs and laptops, which are themselves being replaced for many applications by smart phones. But as we move to the “internet of things,” and as the Silicon Valley ecosystem matures from a jungle of creative destruction to a forest where a handful of gigantic firms wield unprecedented economic power, the “better, faster, cheaper” mantra is fading away.
I saw Biden speak at the “Women Rule” conference in Washington DC last year. Let’s just say that his reputation as a Cheshire cat seemed to me to be warranted. He came out on stage with his daughter – because it was a “Women Rule” conference – and they proceeded for an hour to regale the crowd of 400 or so with life in the Biden home. Dad taking the train back to Delaware from DC every day. How his daughter’s life was totally normal and how great it was to be married to a surgeon in Philadelphia. And about how the Biden family took a trip to Jackson Hole for I think it was 3 weeks, just like any other normal family. Basically 1 hour of how great the Bidens are/were. It was, how do I put this, nauseating. Of course Nancy Pelosi was the undercard so the old stomach juices were churning pretty good by the time Mr. Smiles came out on stage. It probably wasn’t all the Biden saccharine.
Given my impression last year this new report from the generally Democrat friendly Politico doesn’t surprise me. It doesn’t surprise me that it comes as a certain political rival is trying to launch a counter offensive either.
This is potentially good business and potentially good for the environment.* We have long asserted that the sort of approach outlined in the attached article is one of the ways environmental issues could/should be addressed. See a problem with a mine? Want it closed? Buy it. Shut it down. That’s a perfectly valid way to address things.
Want to protect the rain forest? Buy vast tracts of it. There are plenty of wealthy greens out there who would love to have a few vanity acres of virgin jungle. Stick a camera on a mahogany tree and let them view the toucans and monkeys running around, and voila a protected reserve.
I am unsure if the above headline is a bit of friendly advice, an ad, or a warning. Regardless the attached article offers an interesting window into the changing Cuban economy. There do seem to be opportunities to make money in the tropical worker’s paradise. But just understand that the cronies run the show. All of the show.
At least for the time being. Viva la revelucion capitalismo!
The Huffington Post says, “shockingly.” I am in no way shocked. I doubt many of our readers are either. If one works for the government, even if one is charged with enforcing drug laws and one is caught using drugs, the chances of being fired are slim. Very slim. More people should know about the completely ridiculous level of “job security” federal employees enjoy. Remember, you pay for them. (Which is why accountability is in such short supply. After all, you are only the taxpayer.)
How the whole fantasy football thing gets around the ban on online gambling in the US I’d like to know. It sure looks like online gambling to me. Not that it shouldn’t be completely legal. Just that if we poker players don’t get to play online how come the fantasy football guys get to?*
Regardless, it looks like fantasy football is struggling with some of the same issues which plagued online poker. (Back when online poker was legal.) Specifically that one must take a leap of faith when gambling online. One must believe that the outfit one is gambling through is on the up and up. It appears, according to this article, that many fantasy sports sites are not and that gamblers are falling victim to fraud.
Every player knows that this could be the case. But people bet anyway. That is their choice. But betting with a rigged casino is a losing bet. Heck, betting with a non-rigged casino is mostly a losing bet.
Perhaps it’s best just not to lay down a wager at all.
That is where the choice is. If one wants to gamble, by all means. But accept the risk, the very real risk that one is being swindled.
The New York Times frets that the industry is “unregulated.” In other words that the government isn’t getting a large enough piece of the pie. Because online poker actually threatened casinos, online poker was killed instead of milked. (Casinos sort of hate poker in general anyway, even in their establishments. They don’t make much money on games relatively speaking. The money mostly moves between players and involves too much skill.) With fantasy football the NFL and even NFL team owners have a stake and as such fantasy football isn’t likely to be banned outright. Better to call for “regulation.” Time to get paid.
Look, I’m a sucker for many of these films. Top Gun for instance is still one of my favorite movies ever. I grew up with F-14s screaming over my head and the whine of a Tomcat banking before landing is a memory which sits (pleasantly) deep in my grey matter. The Hunt for Red October? Another classic. Red Dawn? Just great. But even as a kid I kind of wondered about how it was that the military and the Hollywood studios worked together. Now we know a little more about that relationship.
It’s campaign season, and that means non-stop media coverage of candidate polls, quips, gaffes, tweets, emails, controversies, lies, and scandals. It all makes for a good soap opera. Unfortunately, it’s almost all irrelevant in the big picture.
The media prefer to focus on the sideshow rather than the 800-pound gorilla in the room: the looming debt crisis. Nothing that comes out of a pundit’s mouth or a Hillary Clinton email will close the $210 trillion long-term fiscal gap the U.S. now faces.
More immediately, Congress faces a likely debt ceiling debacle in the next few weeks.
First up, Members of Congress are considering full funding for Obama’s budget, and the fiscal year begins October 1st. Not surprisingly, the Obama administration’s new budget calls for spending much more than the federal government will take in. So Congress will need to raise the statutory debt limit within a few weeks in order to make that spending possible.
Not too shabby eh? No wonder the politicians want to take it from her.
I lived just down the road from this farm for 3 years. Faquier County is an idyllic, pastoral area. Just outside of the DC suburbs it is extraordinarily beautiful and the kind of place childless couples drive their BMW convertibles through on warm sunny fall afternoons. It’s a land of wineries and estates. And it is a place where families have held large swathes of land for generations. These families can be at times hostile to anyone who wants to do anything other than raise Arabians on their land. This is the situation here.
Though this woman appears to be in compliance with her easement paperwork some in the county have a beef with her and as such she has been singled out by the county. This is her story.
Sad but true. A government “shutdown” doesn’t mean anything. The national parks will be closed because they are high profile and people like them. They’ll probably rope off the World War 2 Memorial on the Mall too for the same reason. Other than that? The government doesn’t “shut down.” It never shuts down. It just keeps on spending money.
Well no kidding Mr. Bernanke. What makes you think that? Now?
It should be noted that it is very hard to write campaign checks from prison. That is really frowned upon. Outside of the big house however funds can flow to influence peddlers freely. And Obama made it clear who the bankers owed for their “freedom” when he explained to a group of senior banking executives post-acute crisis that the only thing standing between them and the “pitchforks” was him.
So fellas, just so you know. I’m just trying to help you out. I sure would hate it if the Justice Department had to come sniffing around your firm. That’d be a tragedy.
The message was received. Heck, even Corzine is still running around the Hamptons.
The game in the United States is absolutely rigged toward big business. We have a crony economic system which benefits the connected and the established at the expense of new ideas and growth. If you’re in the club, we’ve got some taxpayer money for you. If not, well, you can apply for admission but chances are you aren’t getting in.
The fundamental problem here is that governments take from taxpayers and give to connected interests at all. In our opinion that is not the proper role for government and we should be working at all levels of government to reduce subsidies. But proper role or not, it’s got to be immensely frustrating as a small business owner to see streams of tax money flowing to your competition year after year while you the little guy are relegated to the margins.