Monday, July 22, 2013

Cruising the Web

With royal baby news all day, this would be a good time for the Obama administration to try to bury some more revealingly bad news about Obamacare.

The U.S. Bankruptcy Court has chosen a judge to oversee Detroit's bankruptcy. Stephen Rhodes is an expert on bankruptcies resulting from Ponzi schemes such as Bernie Madoff's collapse. It seems that such an expertise might come in handy with a municipal bankruptcy resulting from promises made as to how future taxpayers would somehow be able to pay for retirement and debt obligations that they would clearly be unable to fund. On a personal note, my sister Judy, of whom I'm very proud, is the lawyer quoted at the end of this article.

How Illinois could follow Detroit into bankruptcy. Other cities such as Philadelphia, Oakland, and Chicago have followed the same pattern of Detroit as borrowing more money than they could afford then raising taxes to fund that debt and then continuing to spend as if there were always going to be revenues flowing into their coffers. As Kevin Williamson explains,
Detroit is the victim of a vicious circle: Failing municipal institutions mean that without the allure of a high-paying job, Detroit is an undesirable place to live, while the unions have helped to drive away a great many of those high-paying jobs. A city that already was corrupt and incompetent saw its tax base evaporate, meaning that it quickly became a city that is corrupt, incompetent, and broke. Of its $11 billion in unsecured debt, the great majority — $9 billion — is owed to pensions and health-benefit plans for the same public-sector incompetents who helped bring the city to its knees in the first place. Detroit’s ruling class is a parasite that has outgrown its host.
Mark Steyn describes the deplorable collapse of Detroit.
Given their respective starting points, one has to conclude that Detroit’s Democratic party makes a far more comprehensive wrecking crew than Emperor Bokassa ever did. No bombs, no invasions, no civil war, just “liberal” “progressive” politics day in, day out. Americans sigh and say, “Oh, well, Detroit’s an ‘outlier.’” It’s an outlier only in the sense that it happened here first. The same malign alliance between a corrupt political class, rapacious public-sector unions, and an ever more swollen army of welfare dependents has been adopted in the formally Golden State of California, and in large part by the Obama administration, whose priorities — “health” “care” “reform,” “immigration” “reform” — are determined by the same elite/union/dependency axis. As one droll tweeter put it, “If Obama had a city, it would look like Detroit.”

After the Battle of Saratoga, Adam Smith famously told a friend despondent that the revolting colonials were going to be the ruin of Britain, “There is a great deal of ruin in a nation” — and in a great city, too. If your inheritance includes the fruits of visionaries like Henry Ford, Walter Chrysler, and the Dodge brothers, you can coast for a long time, and then decline incrementally, and then less incrementally, and then catastrophically, until what’s left is, as the city’s bankruptcy petition puts it, “structurally unsound and in danger of collapse.” There is a great deal of ruin in advanced societies, but even in Detroit it took only six decades.

Jim Geraghty notes that, in a marvel of unfortunate timing, Detroit launched a new advertising campaign touting "Detroit, America's Great Comeback City." Er, not really. Detroit is more like what Ayn Rand described happening in her fictional city of Starnesville, home of a former great fictional car company. Her description back then in 1957 could be mistaken for a description of Detroit today.

Since Chicago doesn't have the money to pay its police, it has found another way to fight crime: they're sending letters to suspected criminals telling them not to commit any more violent crimes. Yeah, that'll work.

The Economist takes a look at an encouraging statistic - the steep decline in crime over the past 20 years in the developed world. And contrary to what many on the left would argue, the increase in unemployment and poverty rates in the recession did not result in a concomitant increase in crime. Imagine that.

The National Journal explains how congressmen are using leadership PACs to get around campaign finance laws. Just as opponents of campaign finance reform have always argued - politicians and those who want to influence them will always find ways around such laws.

Ross Douthat notes that, contrary to what abortion-rights advocates are saying now about the danger of laws banning abortion after 20 weeks, European countries have banned abortion even earlier than 20 weeks and there hasn't been any of the sorts of evil consequences for the right to abortion that we're being told are going to be the consequences of Texas's new abortion law.

It appears that John Kerry has oversold his announcement that he has brought about a resumption of the peace process between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

Jonah Goldberg reminds us why Al Sharpton should be shunned by all self-respecting members of society instead of hanging out with the President. He reminds us of how Sharpton said he couldn't pay the damages he owes to Steven Pagones after he lost the defamation suit in the Tawana Brawley hoax, he explained that he didn't own his supposed possessions such as his clothes which he claimed that his supporters owned and just allowed him to wear.
There’s a metaphor in there somewhere. In our overly therapeutic culture, we talk a lot about “enabling” pathologies, self-destructive behavior, etc. Well, Sharpton is a pathology enabled by the very system he loathes.



So this is why movies these days all seem alike - they're all following the same template for their screenplays.

OMG! The only thing worse than watching Geraldo Rivera on TV is to see the picture of his chest that he tweeted for the world's benefit.

25 comments:

mark said...

So, how much blame does Repub Gov. Snyder deserve for the mess in Detroit. Sure, he was handed a terrible situation by incompetent and corrupt dems, but it's a job he signed up for. Certainly, if conservatives held Obama responsible from his first day in office, they'll agree that Snyder is also accountable.

Gahrie said...

Certainly, if conservatives held Obama responsible from his first day in office

When, in his whole life, has President Obama ever been held accountable for anything he has been responsible for?

Rick Caird said...

@Mark,

You are at it again. No one, ever, running as governor signed up to manage Detroit or any other city. That is like saying President Ford signed up to manage New York City. Your comment is absurd beyond parody.

I am constantly reminded of Hemingway's response to the question "How do you go bankrupt". "Slowly at first, then all at once". Governments manage to stave off the inevitable for a lot longer than we would think possible, so when it happens, it seems to happen "all at once".

Rick Caird said...

Re: Campaign finance

Campaign finance laws are remarkable for their avoidance. We had Obama not checking Zip codes and following all the rules. We have these leadership PACS (or whatever we cal them. Let's face it. We have corrupt politicians and corrupt influencers. They will always find a way around whatever rules they create. We need to do away all this nonsense and put in a rule that says all donations must be put on the Internet in, say, one week. Then, anyone who fails to do that or hides their donors will be expelled from Congress immediately. Or, something along those lines. The penalty for cheating needs to be immediate and "scorched earth".

Is it any surprise Kerry is wrong again? Comparing John Kerry to a mediocrity is an insult to mediocrities everywhere.

Rick Caird said...

On Detroit:

I have just finished Kevin Williamson's book: "The End Is Near and It's Going to Be Awesome".

While I know it will never happen, I would like to see some of the unihabited parts of Detroit spun ofnf into a new city that would all competition for most city services, encourage neighborhood participation, allow "exit" strategies, and, with a very low tax structure, encourage business development.


This would be an excellent opportunity to see if Williamson's libertarian vision would work, but it would be too threatening to politicians and the establishment that depends on big government.

mark said...

Gahrie,
Are you really claiming that repubs haven't held Obama responsible for all the bad economic data once he assumed the presidency.

Rick,
I know you like to re-define words when you are trapped, but are you really going to pretend that Snyder had no responsibility or nothing to do with Detroit when he was elected? When an emergency team took over, he made the appointments.
Absurd would be comparing Ford's response to NYC to Snyder's actions. You do understand the difference in the roles of president and governor, don't you?

Gahrie said...

Gahrie,
Are you really claiming that repubs haven't held Obama responsible for all the bad economic data once he assumed the presidency.


We've tried, but millions of low information voters and a compliant media have defeated us.

Rick Caird said...

@Mark,

Not even a nice try. By your absurd logic, Obama is also responsible for Detroit and he had more time to fix it than Snyder. For that matter, while Snyder has been in office for 2.5 years, Jennifer Graham was in office for the previous 8 years. Maybe it is all her fault. Really, Mark, maybe you ought to go back to George Romney, I mean didn't he notice the beginning of the decline of Detroit.

I will give you one thing, though, the only governor who has ever done anything about Detroit is .... Rick Snyder. Responsible? The only one responsible enough to address the problem.

Really, Mark, you get more and more absurd. Trapped? There is not a chance you could do that. You just aren't bright enough.

mark said...

Rick,
You really don't get it, do you? What happened in Detroit is not the fault of any one person or one thing. And given the corruption of mayors such as Kilpatrick, I'd say dems have far more blame.

But absolving Snyder of any blame is idiotic (yet typical here). A governor has no responsibility for the largest city in the state? Really? He vowed that Detroit would not go bankrupt. 2 1/2 years later, it did.

My original question was, How much responsibility does Snyder have? The answer, from people who preach accountability, is zero.
Exactly what I expected.

Locomotive Breath said...

OK, mark. Give us a list of things Snyder should have done but didn't do. That does NOT include making the rest of the state subsidize a bailout of Detroit.

mark said...

lb,
Nope. I don't know the specifics of what he should have/could have done. But that was never the point.
The point is that Snyder made a promise (to not let Detroit declare bankruptcy). He broke that promise. Perhaps he never should have made it, but he did. Is he not accountable for that promise? Obama has been called a liar here for every broken promise. Why is that not true for Snyder?
For anyone to declare that he has/had no responsibility for the largest city in his state is idiotic. Detroit's problems were known when he willingly took the job as governor. To compare Gov. Snyder declaring bankruptcy to Pres. Ford denying help to NYC is beyond absurd. I know people here need a lesson on due process (even dem senators have that right); perhaps a refresher on the differences between governor and president is in order.

Locomotive Breath said...

You got nothing except trying to shift the blame where it doesn't belong and divert the discussion.

There is no constructive act that Snyder could have made in the short time he's been in office to correct for Detroit's 50 years of bad decisions. There is no reason at all that the rest of the state or the Federal gov't should have to protect Detroit from the consequences of its own bad decisions.

Meanwhile, it was a tough few years, but NYC eventually did just fine w/o Federal intervention.

Rick Caird said...

@Mark

Neither Google nor DuckDuckGo can find a reference where Rick Snyder said "Detroit will not go bankrupt".

However, if he did, that is akin to a President saying "we will not devalue our currency". If Snyder had said Detroit will go bankrupt, Detroit's bonds would have cratered and interest rates would have skyrocketed. In that case, Detroit's future would have bcome even more hopeless. BTW, a number of foreign banks own Detroit bonds. This could affect the derivative positions of US banks.

Rick Snyder did take responsibility for Detroit by getting legislation passed so he could appoint a financial master. That financial master analyzed the books and liabilities and determined Detroit could never manage to get its affairs in order.

So, Snyder takes responsibility and you maintain he did not take responsibility. That, probably, is the most absurd comment you have ever made. Maybe you think he should have taken a different level or type of responsibility, but, if so, tell us what it is that you think he should have done. Otherwise, you are just issuing your usual babble.

mark said...

locomotive,
Do you have any expertise to back up your judgment that Snyder couldn't have done anything (or anything differently) to avoid bankruptcy? I know how people here like to pretend to be experts. Apparently, there is absolutely nothing a president can do when handed a warning about terrorism.

As I've clearly said here: Snyder accepted responsibility for Detroit when he became governor. He took actions to help avoid bankruptcy, but failed. He did vow to prevent that:
http://www.buzzfeed.com/andrewkaczynski/michigan-governor-rick-snyder-vowed-detroit-wouldnt-go-bankr

You can defend him all you want, but it doesn't change the facts that he failed to fulfill his vow.

And again, I'm certain that the bulk of the blame belongs to dems.

Absurd statements, Rick? No worries. Your "Once people comply with government mandates to get married, they can have their freedoms" comment still tops the list.

Rick Caird said...

@Mark


I have no idea what you are talking about. Do you have reference?

mark said...

Rick,
You're lying. Again.

Rick Caird said...

@Mark,

I guess that means you don't have a reference.

Let's see: no reference, no context, no topic. But I am supposed to believe someone who is almost always wrong, does not understand the topic, and makes absurd comments and analogies. I guess I am supposed to believe you because you are honest, upright, true, similar to Dudley Doright, and a liberal. Let me think. Uh, No.

mark said...

Understandable, Rick.
Unfortunately, I only kept my (incredulous) response to your idiocy. So you can deny it, but we know better, don't we?

Thanks, Rick. You're doing an admirable job filling in for tfhr. (perhaps he's following a hot lead concerning the whereabouts of OBL). Pointless rant, followed by absurd contradiction.
Your brilliant argument is 'Once people comply with government mandates to get married, they can have their freedoms'. No irony? Nothing?

Rick Caird said...

Mark, Mark, Mark

I just gave you a chance to provide context or a reference. You have declined. I cannot respond to an arbitrary line (that may not even be correct, and knowing you is unlikely to be correct).

The line you attempt to quote doesn't make any sense. Are you claiming it was a one line response? I seriously doubt that to be true. You simply cannot take one line (that you can't prove even exists) and claim it is descriptive of something. You are attempting to replicate NBC when they edited the Zimmerman 911 call to try to show he is a racist.

Nice try, Mark, but another in a long line of your failures.

mark said...

Rick,
My bad. I think the context is obvious in your statement (marriage equality). Apparently, I gave you too much credit.

You can pretend you don't recall saying it (always a safe lie), just as you can pretend your Snyder-Ford analogy makes any sense whatsoever. And you can make excuses for Snyder breaking his vow to not let Detroit declare bankruptcy.

My original point was the hypocrisy of repubs holding Obama responsible from day one, while excusing Snyder because he had only been in office for 2.5 years.
So thanks for participating.

Rick Caird said...

@Mark,

The context is not obviously gay marriage. For one thing, mandate is more likely to be used in conjunction with ObamaCare than gay marriage. Second "mandate" and "freedom" create an obvious oxymoron.

I don't believe you have quoted me correctly. I also do not believe the context was gay marriage. There is no "mandate" in gay marriage.

You may be too young to remember Ford and NYC, but the analogy is correct. Just as Obama, under your theories, would be responsible for Detroit. You can watch Krugman and Baker trying to require the Feds (Obama) to bail out Detroit using the Fed's QE infinity program. That wont work, but Krugman does not know that.

Finally Republican's have not held Obama responsible for states. We have held him responsible for the hash he is making of the Federal government.

mark said...

"Second "mandate" and "freedom" create an obvious oxymoron."

Yes, Rick, that's where the "irony" part comes in. It was a completely illogical statement, even for you.
And speaking of illogical statements, why did you change your comparison. It wasn't Ford - Obama, which would make sense. It was Ford - Snyder, which was/is absurd.


"No one, ever, running as governor signed up to manage Detroit or any other city. That is like saying President Ford signed up to manage New York City"

Rick Caird said...

Mark, Mark, Mark, child.

You can not provide context as I asked for. You are trying to claim that was a stand alone statement with nothing around it. In other words, it was a one sentence response. That makes no sense, but I am used to no sense coming from you.In short, I deny I said what you claim. Until you can come up with more than something you think you remember, your claim is nonsense.

On your next piece of idiocy, you clearly do not understand how problems bubble up. No governor before Snyder felt it necessary to do anything about Detroit. It became a problem on Snyder's watch and he is addressing it. First, by appointing a finance guy and now by backing bankruptcy.

Now, pay attention. In 1975, NYC faced bankruptcy. Hugh Carey was governor of New York State. Abe Beame was mayor of New York. The request for help went from Beame to Carey to Gerald Ford. Ford said he would veto any bailout for NYC. NYC eventually fixed most of their problem (lots of layoffs and reduced spending)

In a similar vein, Detroit has come to Snyder and wants to go to Obama. Obama will probably willing, but it will be difficult to get any bailout through the House or the Senate.

The point is no one held Hugh Carey responsible and no one except you seems to think Snyder should have fixed or taken responsibility for Detroit.

BTW, no one is asking if Jerry Browne has any responsibility for San Bernardino and Stockton filing for bankruptcy. Nor are you. So your claim about Snyder is silly and childish. There are also 10 more California cities, including San Jose and Oakland on the cusp of bankruptcy. Maybe you can call Jerry Brown and ask him how his handling his new responsibility you are handing him.

Your whole premise is stupid, dumb, and childish. You trying to hide that by claiming I said something you cannot show I said. I don't believe you. I believe you are misleading yourself, me, and anyone who reads your nonsense. Grow up, child.

Last, First, MI said...

Rick Caird,

I've got to disagree with you on Obama helping Detroit. Until the 2014 election is completed, Detroit might as well be the US ambassador to Libya. There will be no help and there will be no questions on accountability for anyone from the MSM regarding the development of the conditions that have finally resulted in bankruptcy. I have heard it suggested that the movie Robocop will be blamed for Detroit's demise but five decades of uncontested Dem rule, socialist philosophy and kowtowing to the unions will never be deemed responsible.

But I've got to hand it to you about Mark: you've got him pegged.

mark said...

Perfect. The guy who condemned a man as a rapist and pedophile based on the (paid) testimony of two anonymous prostitutes (with no objection from conservatives here) is lending his support.