Monday, June 26, 2017

How the Deep State destroys and corrupts

I recently read this piece by former AG Michael Mukasey on the legal limits of the increasingly kafka-esque Robert Mueller 'Russian Interference' probe. You know, the one that has no crime at the center, which has 15 aggressively leaking Democrat party lawyers and a full time publicist conducting what is in effect a counter-intelligence investigation of Russian espionage activities. Oh and a thinly veiled anti-Trump witch hunt to find someone, anyone who will deal dirt, any dirt, whether true or not on the President.  Which tells me that the Russian 'black op' to screw with the legitimacy of our elections has succeeded.

But I'm not here to talk about the stupidity of the Trumpies (although to get to this pass they are without a doubt sloppy and stupid) or even the self righteous power hunger of DC lawyers (although they make a Gorgon look abstemious). I'm here to talk about a paragraph in Mukasey's column that records a milestone for the Federal State's brutal corruption of an entire industry:

One of Mr. Mueller’s early hires among the dozen-plus lawyers already aboard has a troubling history with the word “corruptly.” Andrew Weissmann led the Enron prosecution team that pressed an aggressive interpretation of “corruptly,” which permitted a conviction even absent the kind of guilty knowledge the law normally associates with criminal charges. As a result, the accounting firm Arthur Andersen was convicted. By the time the conviction was reversed on appeal to the Supreme Court in 2005—in large part due to the erroneous application of “corruptly” in the statute at issue—Arthur Andersen had already ceased operation.

By the time 'justice' was done Arthur Andersen had collapsed into Bankruptcy  based upon conviction of what was in effect a 'crimeless' crime. Thousands of AA partners had their life savings wiped out and upwards of 100,000 men and women lost their jobs overnight. For not committing a crime but for providing services to a company that did.

This example of catastrophic and capricious federal brutality has had quite an effect on the remaining 4 major accounting firms. First, it allowed them to raise their rates and per profitability on their commodity compliance business. By my simple estimates per partner profits doubled in the decade after the AA travesty. Second, it turned nominally conservative institutions that operated somewhat independently of the Federal State into one of its arms -  watching their competitor and its owners be destroyed for not committing a crime put the fear of God into the rest of the firms, causing them to dump whole lines of business at firesale prices.

One interesting personal anecdote illustrates this: I was a PwC partner in St. Louis and after I left the firm I went to the first "Tea Party" Tax Day protest held in Downtown St. Louis on April 15. I parked in the Firm's parking garage and of the 30 or so St. Louis Partners that parked in the Partner lot, there was not a single car. On Tax Day. This was unprecedented. They apparently were so frightened of being associated with the enemies of the Federal State that they made sure none of them were even at work that day.

Which is a problem. We rely on non Federal institutions to be one of the checks on the Federal State but more and more institutions have been deeply corrupted  - either through massive dependence on Federal money (the states, cities, universities, large charities) or through fear that the Feds can destroy them with an absent minded flick of the switch (Banks, Accounting Firms, Federal Contractors, Telecommunications providers, Healthcare companies, broadcast media companies. 

And I believe this domination by a largely faceless but immensely powerful bureaucracy is killing the nation. Which is why I argue that we must:

Break it up, break it all up.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

"The Greatest Republican Policy Achievement in my Lifetime"?

Avik Roy's tweet after reading the new Senate Bill. I like and generally agree with Avik on healthcare issues so this is seriously getting my hopes up. Of course I had no hopes before so anything is a positive. Oh please, please, please may it be true.

Birthday Elegy

We spend fifty years chasing, grasping, clawing.
Then we spend thirty - if we're lucky - forty if we're not,
Releasing those things for which we fought so hard.
If wise, we know to lay them down gracefully.
If not, we fight and rage but lay them down all the same.
For it's God's world and it's God's way.

We're all just players in his play.

So how have you found my playing thus far?
Have I said my lines and toed my marks well?
Will you stay and watch my show to the very end?
Or will you lose interest, shuffling out for brighter fare?
I will play the play so long as I have breath.
And the last thing I will lay down dear friend,

Is you.

African America is re-segregating apace

When I was in college in the early 80s my southern fraternity had black members. In our national I think we and Stanford were the only two chapters. We were a largely upperclassman frat so we recruited the best, most impressive men on campus regardless of race. And living across from the 'Jock Dorm' we hosted many black football players, including former NFL coach Lovie Smith. Until the year the "Black Fraternity" came to campus. That year every black man we recruited (and everyone anyone else recruited) went to the 'black' fraternity. To my knowlege no black man has joined a non black fraternity at the University of Tulsa since - the other frats are white/asian/latino, you name it but not black.

Fast forward to today:  taking a leaf out of Brown's notebook, Harvard had a separate "Black Graduation" where the speakers talked about their alienation and loneliness at Harvard where not enough people 'looked' like them. Harvard. Imagine the creme de la creme feeling such alienation and victimization that they can't even celebrate as anodyne an event as graduation with asians, whites, latinos, arabs, south asians. With the great majority of civilization.

The attempt to turn African Americans into an isolated caste of high status perpetual victims - regardless of their status, intellectual and financial inheritances has succeeded. But getting your status from being a victim is a disaster - to keep status you need to find ways to get hurt. And you need to always be focused on how other people are 'disrespecting' you. It's alienating and takes talented kid's eyes off of achievement, making anti-achievement the goal.

It's insane and it's cruel. And it's Democrat party policy. What a nightmare.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Jonah vs. the Climate Whale

Here's a summary letter from the Webmaster/Proprietor of Watts up with That, far and away the most viewed website in the world on climate issues. It's one of the only places you see both sides published. Just peruse his letter. And compare that to the tens - no - hundreds of billions of dollars going to the other side. If the Warmist's claims were 'truth' and 'settled science' then how could so many fundamental questions get through to the public with only this one retired weatherman's time and small donation funding?

It gets back to a fundamental problem: if the state doesn't want you to know it, how do you know what you know? I'm now convinced that state funding of science is both unproductive and in fact immoral.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Why she fights

Sarah Hoyt eloquently explains why she fights for Western Civilization against the statist clerisy:

And if I must be persona non grata, so be it.  I’m human. Like all humans I want to be liked, to belong, to be accepted in the dominant culture of my time.  But when the dominant culture of my time is a poisonous and undermining lie, there are more important things than being liked.  There are more important things than personal success.
At another time, in another place, I’d have stayed quiet in my library, writing my fiction.
But this is not another time.  And we’re not given a choice.
I’m not a happy warrior.  I fight because I must.
Because everything I believe in depends on it.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Feudal Socialism

Joel Kotkin points out that the left coast Oligarchs are reinventing Feudalism complete with obscurantist religion - apparently there's a movement in San Francisco advocating meatless days...a sort of Gaia meets Lent. Income inequality seems to be the new sign of Gaia's Favor where the Elect return their Lord's bounty by forcing the "sinful" masses to live by His scripture which the Oligarchs' staffs wrote up: No single family houses, no cars but plenty of private Jets. And servants. Upstairs, downstairs, hot and cold running servants. 

In CA you are witnessing the death of the party of Jackson and Jefferson. They're turning into superb Tories though, but Tories from Fuedal times. Tories back then always valued their deer and grouse over their peasants.

Must practice tugging my forelock. Or lynching the Lord of the manor. One or the other .

Sunday, June 04, 2017

Make Bloomberg Spend it All!

Evidently the US is cutting payments to corrupt, anti-American institutions so Michael Bloomberg is offering to stand in. Doesn't make sense that a 'wise guy' like Mickey Bloomberg would waste his money on a bunch of people he has to know are incompetent if not crooks. There must be a wise guy angle.

Either way I say the slogan that Arch Moore had when running against Jay Rockefeller:  Make him spend it all!

Friday, June 02, 2017

See Illinois Circle the Drain

Illinois debt is now at near junk status. Chicago Schools can't roll their debt and Chicago doesn't have the credit to backstop them. The state is hemorrhaging taxpayers and population. The current 'reform' governor is totally stymied by the Chicago Machine that nurtured Barack Obama who I note isn't interested in moving 'back home'.

I'm afraid the shiny towers on the lake have lost their luster amidst the longest orgy of political corruption in America's history. But never fear Land of Lincoln, California, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut are not far behind. What will happen to the Democrats when their biggest power centers are all embroiled in massive debt crises?

We will need a lot of popcorn for this one.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

What really happened at Cornell

This is an account of the first student assault on an elite university: Cornell 1969.

I think this conservative narrative while factually correct is fundamentally wrong. It blames the radical black students and the cowardly Administration and faculty. But I don't think that's what drove this explosion. Key points:

1. This followed Cornell's admission of academically underqualified black applicants. "Window Dressing"
2. This preceded the creation of black and other cultural studies programs that give elite schools' "window dressing" a place to hide.
3. Brought there under condescending but false pretenses the unqualified and unprepared students immediately began floundering in an institution that had decided to use them but hadn't thought through the consequences.
4. The underprepared black kids, realizing this and realizing that weren't going to get asked back next year much less graduate decided to take a page from their cousins on the street. 
5. The administration and facuty, shocked and not sufficiently cynical to not feel accountable for their selfish actions folded not because they were cowards but because they were in the wrong.
6. They and the rest if academe then went full cynical and made sure that henceforth window dressing kids had window dressing departments to get them their window dressing degrees.
7. The problem today is that the (politicized) window dressing parts of these universities keep expanding. The mean grade at Harvard us now an A-. The mode or most common grade is an A.

Is Harvard's answer to racial inequality simply to stop trying to truly educate anyone? After all the hard bit is clearly getting in, not getting out.

And how unequal is this? Because it simply transfers the competition earlier ,  placing massive burdens on 15, 16, 17 year olds when many kids don't mature that early emotionally or intellectually. But Rich kids and parents have even more massive advantages at this stage.

And the conveyor belts of privilege keep chugging on.



Sunday, May 14, 2017

Is Trump Like Caligula?

Is Trump Like Caligula?

No, I'm not saying he's insane or sleeping with his sister or about to kill a third of the billionaires or thinks he's a God. But there is one alarming aspect of Caligula's reign that Trump parallels:  Like "Little Bootikins" did to the Principate, Donald Trump is using the true and massive power of the executive that his predecessors had hidden behind republican/constitutional forms tradition and good manners be damned. Like Caligula Trump has dropped the facade of moderation and the fiction of the 'res publica' that predecessors had maintained.

Don't believe me? Here's a little Roman History.

Caesar Augustus and the Civil War finally destroyed the Roman Republic for good but Caesar feared an elite shorn of status and authority ( what the Romans called "Autorictus") and smoldering with resentment would be susceptible to conspiracy, coups and assassination. So Augustus hid his autocratic exercise of power behind traditional constitutional forms. He insisted he was only the Princeps - First Citizen, he refused to be deified in life as was the norm for great Kings and Emperors in antiquity. He even let the Senate thwart his plans from time to time just to sustain the fiction that the Republic still lived. Tiberius, his successor largely did the same although towards the end his paranoia got the best if him and he let the mask slip a bit.

But his successor, Caligula had no taste for Republican play acting. He knew he had the whip hand of power and was the single focal point for the Empire and he was going to jolly well play the part. It's interesting that observers at the time claimed he was a megalomaniac - power mad. But he had the same powers Augustus had, he was just more honest about the reality. So he announced that he was a God and he exercised the prerogatives of absolute power by taking what he wanted, killing whom he pleased, and indulging his whims. Not the strongest mind, Caligula let all of his power get the best of him, slipping into madness.  As a result he was eventually felled by an elite conspiracy that dressed up its murder with promises to restore the Republic. But the Republic was dead and another Emperor simply rose to take his place. And eventually all Emperors acted with the impunity and assumed the deity that was inherent in the power that they held.

Likewise the American Presidency and its associated Federal bureaucracy has radically expanded its power and reach, particularly over the last 16 years. But up until now Presidents have been careful to sheath this incredible and largely unconstitutional power in the velvet of constitutional forms. But Donald Trump has no desire to disguise the real state of affairs and doesn't have the personality to do so if he wanted to. The result is the so called 'ruling elite' is outraged at the effrontery of a President demonstrating to the the country just how the Presidency completely dominates the nation's governance. So like with "Little Bootikins" they are targeting Trump for removal. If they can dress it up in some thin veneer of legality, so be it. But mark my words, in back rooms they are sharpening knives and thinking the unthinkable.

But Americans aren't Romans and Donald Trump may be crude and reckless, but he's a survivor. This is going to get very ugly.  Perhaps it was unwise to vest so much power in one office at the center of the greatest empire the world has ever seen.

Monday, February 06, 2017

The real problem with the administrative state.

Steven Hayward hits the nail on the head:

The political character of the administrative state is more important than the economic inefficiency or arbitrariness of bureaucracy that is the usual target of conservative ire, because it represents a new answer to the classic political question: Who should rule? The premise of the Constitution is that the people should rule. The premise of the administrative state, explicitly expressed by Woodrow Wilson and other Progressive-era theorists, is that experts should rule, in a new administrative form largely sealed off from political influence, i.e., sealed off from the people. At some point, it amounts to government without the consent of the governed, a simple fact that surprisingly few conservative politicians perceive.

Saturday, February 04, 2017

Look at me

Look at me. Can you see me?
The real me.
I trade my honor 
for nothing that means.

I say I'm free
but I enslave me.
See that bird she's free.
I want to be like her. 

See my soul through all the dust?
See how I treat myself?
How can you believe in me.
I'm not even free.

I want to to be free.
I want to be free from me.
For to save my life
I must give it up.

And be free.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Lovetruth

Is my love true? 
They're not the same, you know.
Love stands on truth's shoulders
And truth without love is dead.

So do I have something to say?
Something i want to say to you?
Because without truth my love doesn't reach.
And right now this is killing you.

Is your truth love?
One's not the other,  you know.
Without love truth is buried and dead.
And without truth love's a song in your head

So do you have something to say?
Something you want to say to me?
Because without love your truth is dead.
And right now it's killing me.

So if there's anything left of us.
Some small measure of truth,
a tiny trace of love.
Could we try again?

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Dyin'

I've been dying and I've been alone.
And I'd rather die with You than be alone with me.

My heart can stop but once,  my soul can fly away.
But being without You is to die every day.

Lord I've been dying and I've been alone.
And I'd rather die in You than live for me.

I've clung to cliffs and fled gunfire,  choked till I turned blue.
But I've never hurt so much as when I was without You.

I've slammed bloody onto reefs, feared sharks would eat me through.
But I've never been so frightened  as when I didn't have you.

I've wavered with my handgun, pointing it straight at my face.
Because I've never been so hopeless as when without your grace.

So my Love whatever You do don't leave me here.
Because it's losing You  and being alone I fear.

Cause I've been dying and I've been alone.
And I'd rather die with You than be alone with me.

Lord I've been dying and I've been alone.
And I'd rather die in You than live for me.