"The most significant threat to our national security is our debt," Admiral Michael Mullen, Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, August 27, 2010

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Mr. Obama and his harridan

Here comes the harridan:  “Don’t let anyone tell that, ah, you know, it’s corporations and businesses that create jobs,” Hillary Clinton proclaimed to loud applause at a political rally in Boston on October 24, 2014.

And Mr. Obama:  If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”  July 13, 2012.
There is one automobile company that didn’t chase to Washington DC begging for bailout money.  One company that persevered, on their own, taking on risk;  building product; selling product and surviving.  No government assistance, regardless of what the president and the harridan have to say.
Here is the headline from today’s Detroit Free Press:  Ford workers to get $6,900 in profit sharing checks
There is something profoundly important in this story – propagandistic quotes from two of the worst politicians America has ever been subjected to and the simple accomplishment of one American company persevering, actually turning its back on politicians with the public checking account ready for bailout money, succeeding and then paying out a portion of its profits to those who build the cars.
The Ford Motor Company – its management, its employees, its products – something all Americans can be very proud of; regardless of these political clowns running off at the mouth.

Monday, January 26, 2015

A Blizzard of Bureaucrats

There is no other way to describe it. 

It’s all about them – even a simple snow storm – it’s all about them.
What would we do without government?
And their minions?  By the millions?  By the tens of millions.
America is now a nation of, by and for, the bureaucrat.
And the bureaucrat knows only one master.  Not the master who pays him – the one he/she mythological serves.  Oh no – there is no connection between the "servant" and that master.
This “servant” knows only one master and that master goes by several acronyms.    You may have seen their letters or initials:   SEIU.  AFSCME.  NEA.  AFT.  AFL-CIO.  AFGE.  NTEU.  And there are many, many more.  They now earn more than the private sector worker – by a large margin.  Get better benefits and pensions that make social security payments look like chump change.
They control the man in the white house and the harridan who wishes to succeed him.  Most likely they control your senator and your representative.  As well as your governor and mayor too.
Do not kid yourself.  You work for them.  And they have no misgiving about that simple fact. 


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Amateur athletics (or, we be just doin’ it)

"In all, the Big Ten's bowl-revenue pool before expenses such as travel and ticket costs are factored in is expected to total $78.6 million. Here is the breakdown: 

• $50 million base payout as a conference with Orange, Rose or Sugar Bowl contract;
• $4 million for non-playoff bowl (Michigan State in Cotton Bowl);
• $6 million for national semifinalist (Ohio State in Sugar Bowl)
• $4.1 million for Citrus Bowl (Minnesota);
• $3.2 million for Outback Bowl (Wisconsin);
• $2.8 million for Holiday Bowl (Nebraska);
• $2.5 million for TaxSlayer Bowl (Iowa);
• $2 million for Pinstripe Bowl (Penn State);
• $2 million for Foster Farms Bowl (Maryland);
• $1.2 million for Quick Lane Bowl (Rutgers);

• $867,000 for Heart of Dallas Bowl (Illinois)"

"OSU holds a three-part agreement with Nike, based in Beaverton, Ore., set to gross the university almost $46 million over 11 years. Despite what the university gains, some say there are drawbacks to the agreement, which makes Nike the exclusive supplier of any athletic equipment used by OSU varsity athletes and gives the company licensing rights on OSU retail apparel.
A representative from Nike declined to comment on the contracts."

"Michigan's contract with Adidas (which is currently set to expire in 2016) is the most lucrative public apparel deal in the country. Yes, more than Oregon's flashy contractual arrangement with Nike.
Private schools, like Notre Dame, are not required to make apparel contracts available and they were not included in this study.

Per the study, Michigan currently receives a total of $8.2 million annually from Adidas stemming from the contract signed in 2007 between the two parties."

"Phil Knight remembers drinking adult beverages with Mike Bellotti, then head coach of the University of Oregon football team, at a scheduled victory party that felt more like a wake.

"What do you need to get the program to the next level?" he asked.

An indoor practice facility, Bellotti replied.

So Knight kicked in almost $10 million to build a facility that protected the Ducks from the elements in rainy Eugene.

Knight has declined to discuss how much he has donated to the athletic department, but it's more than $300 million, according to a person familiar with the donations who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to disclose the information.

The money has been critical to build facilities for the following estimated price tags: $70 million for a football performance facility, $60 million toward the renovation of the football stadium, $60 million for an academic center and $100 million for a basketball arena. He also contributed about $10 million toward a lacrosse field and weight room and has given generously to the university at large."

Friday, January 9, 2015

The Insane Cost of ESPN's Monopoly Bowl

Why do we think the monopoly that the Disney company has on television broadcasting rights for 38 of the 39 college football bowl games this December and January must end?  Of those 38 games, 35 are broadcast only on ESPN which is owned entirely by Disney.  Let’s say you wish to watch just one game – 1 out of 35.  Do you think you should be forced to pay for the other 34?  Your government does – at all levels.  Obviously ESPN, ABC and Disney think you should.  Please read on.

·         Most of these games are being played by colleges and universities that are receiving significant taxpayer funds.  Those funds are collected by the states in which the schools reside.  These same schools get more taxpayer funds from the federal government which forcibly collects money from taxpayers across the United States and sends funds to these schools.  In other words, all American taxpayers are already funding various educational and sports activities at these schools.  We are also financing the schools via deductions taken by taxpayers who make contributions to these schools.  Simply put, the American taxpayer already has an ownership position in the schools activities – we just have no claim on any broadcasting rights associated with such ownership.

·         These “bowl games” are not being televised commercial free.  Oh no, not by a long shot.  Some of these bowl games will last 3 hours; maybe even 3 ½ hours.  The game time is one hour.  What fills the other 2+ hours?  Lots of commercials paid for by products and services which the American consumer purchases.   So, American taxpayers/consumers are now paying for these games, even if they choose to not watch them, a second time  – by an unknown amount added to the cost of the advertised products/services when acquired by the consumer.

·         And then we come to the mandatory payment to buy access to ESPN.  ESPN is paid by the cable/dish provider $5.54 per month per subscriber, regardless of whether the subscriber ever watches ESPN.  Then the cable/dish provider adds their fees, costs and profits to that $5.54 and the local government franchisor adds their fees and taxes along with any other government entity that figured out how to pile on.  Most likely these costs are buried in a catch all called – taxes and fees or some such thing.  Wonder why your cable bill is so high?

The end result makes the Mafiosi and its “vig” or other forms of corruption look like pennies in the gutter.   Here is a chart published at - http://www.thewrap.com/cable-bill-battle-subscribers-providers-carriage-fees/  comparing the top viewed pay channels and a ranking of the costs charged by the most expensive pay channels.  No, the most viewed channels are not getting paid the highest monthly fees.  Look below:

USA  Network is watched by more subscribers than ESPN.  They only get paid $0.71 per subscriber.  ESPN gets EIGHT TIMES AS MUCH - $ 5.54.  And, remember, their broadcasts are subsidized by taxpayers as well as by so many commercials that one must devote the better part of the day to watching a couple games.
Closing comment - Monopolists are smart.  Americans love college football.  Female lacrosse games have not been targeted.  But, the question stands:  Should media, government and a few very rich special interests line their pockets at our expense?  Here is a link to a recent article analyzing the game ESPN is playing and why and who is paying for it.  Please go to:  http://nybw.businessweek.com/articles/2015-01-06/the-insane-price-of-espns-college-football-ratings-triumph#r=rss



Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Of, by and for the people - Loser Pays and Term Limits

A fairly straight forward concept - government is responsible to the people, not the other way around, now lay in ruins on full display for all to see.  How did it happen?  Why?  Can it be reversed or at least mitigated so that the concept still has some of its original meaning – limited government, responsible citizenry and basic fundamentals of respect, law and privacy – the openness of a society that encourages each citizen to pursue their own life, liberty and happiness pursuit.

First, did we get here because there is a flaw in the concept?  Or, stated otherwise, is the concept that the people control the government and not the other way, which historically has always been the template for the relationship between the people and government, so flawed as to be unsustainable?
We are not going to try to answer that question and here is why – unless and until America is ready to impose strict and substantial specific restrictions on its government personnel we will never know.  The basic cause of the destruction of the government being accountable to the people is that government personnel – be they elected representatives (congress and a president) or hired (bureaucrats and judges) have always pursued more power and once they get it they have the control over the citizenry – by force of might or law or the public treasury.
So, is there another way that we the people can get some of the “by, for and of the people” at least shifted somewhat our way?  Yes, there is.  And it only requires two fairly common (meaning already universally accepted) changes:
1.     All litigation is conducted under the requirement of “loser pays.”  Loser pays means that any court based legal action is subject to this rule – if the plaintiff who brings the action – individual, community, corporation or government loses the legal action they are accountable for all the costs – both their own and the defendant who chose to defend against the action.  Similarly, if the defendant who chooses to fight the action loses, they pay all the costs.  This is the universal law in all the free, developed world with one notable exception – the US of A.  TheFundamentals expands the concept to also apply to government because we now live in a bureaucratic state wherein government is the main perpetrator of or principal accessory to unnecessary, unwarranted, and in many cases outright fraudulent legal actions against the people.  How can we be sure that “loser pays” is a needed corrective step for America?  Well, here are a few tells:

a.    One, it is already the law of the land across the free world – the developed world – the world in which we claim some degree of leadership and origination.

b.    It will be vigorously opposed by lawyers – with trial attorneys leading the squealing.  De facto proof of its appropriateness and need.

c.    It will also be vigorously opposed by all government bureaucrats, government employee (bureaucrats) unions and democrats.  Double/Triple de facto proof of its appropriateness and need.

d.    Can we be sure it will work?  Of course not, but so far it is working everywhere it exists. 

2.    What is the other need?  This one is also simple and it too is in place in all developed countries and, surprise, it has been the law of the land in many of our own states and lesser government entities.  What is it?  Term limits.  Vigorous and, most important, short time periods for any person seeking compensation and power in government and bureaucracies.  History has proven over and over again that such power, once attained, grows and is used to control the people by a combination of force of might, law and the treasury.  (Example:  Illinois (and Chicago) have no term limits - we rest our case!)

Summary – The fundamental:  any community or society which does not apply explicit and absolute accountability on its legal system – criminal and civil is doomed.  The system is just too vulnerable to corruption.  The same goes for those communities that have not learned the lesson of the societal ills that always accompany permanent politicians and bureaucrats – be they kings, presidents or prime ministers; lords, congressmen or agency heads (or mayors).