The More Things Change . . .


Walter Russell Mead:

Ever since the long death spiral began, Detroit has relied on periodic bond sales to keep its bills paid. The thinking was clear: borrow now, pay it back later when the city’s finances recover. Of course, Detroit’s finances never recovered, and now it’s on the hook for much of this borrowing, in addition to the fees that these banks charged.

And these are serious fees. Bloomberg reports that since 2005, Wall Street banks have charged the city a whopping $474 million. As a comparison, that’s about as much as the city’s current entire police and fire budget for this year:

“The banks promise to get you the money and say you can pay later,” said Greg Bowens, spokesman for Stand Up For Democracy, a Lansing group that campaigned last year to repeal the law allowing appointment of a financial manager. “They get their fees off the top, and you trust that they’re doing what’s in your taxpayers’ best interest.”

As Detroit is learning now, in many cases they weren’t. And Detroit is not alone: In city after city, struggling pension funds have turned to exotic Wall Street investments claiming high returns and minimal risks. In some cases this is working out, in many more it isn’t, but either way, Wall Street is collecting its fees and leaving taxpayers and pensioners to pick up the pieces when it falls apart.

Democrats are shocked, shocked by the news that there is gambling going on in America’s blue cities. They do their best to avert their eyes from the close political ties between corrupt urban political machines and exploitative Wall Street banks. In the lame progressive mindset that characterizes these decadent times, Wall Street is bad, and urban politicians are good. There can’t possibly be some sort of symbiotic relationship between them. How could something so good, so honest, so dedicated to serving the poor as the Detroit Democratic machine be engaged in a vicious conspiracy with Wall Street to bleed the poor and suck the city dry?

Some Democrats don’t like this kind of talk because they are cynical and others don’t like it because they are naive. The cynics are either in the game themselves or knowingly agree to look the other way because they value the support of political allies and don’t care how much those allies bleed the poor. The naive ones, and there are lots of starry eyed intellectuals in this country who don’t know a hawk from a handsaw, think that because many of these urban thugs are African-American, and because they advocate for more government programs to help the poor, they must obviously be sincere and be part of a general wave of good progressive people fighting to make this world a better place. Surely nobody is so cynical as to lobby for government programs because they plan to cream off the money?

Others have an uneasy sense that something is amiss, but a combination of historical ignorance and race sensitivity strikes them dumb. They look around America and see a number of urban areas with predominantly African-American populations. They see that many (not all) of these cities are run by incompetent, race-baiting hacks and criminals who use identity politics to bond themselves to the voters they exploit.

Because they don’t understand that corruption and identity politics have been the hallmark of American municipal government since the 1830s and 184os, they think the ghastly spectacle of demagogic corruption ruining our cities today is somehow a racial phenomenon. The racists among us see that picture and want to draw racist conclusions about African-American capacity for self governance; most of the rest of us are made so uncomfortable by the whole topic that we let the subject slide.

But thieves like the despicable Kwame Kilpatrick in Detroit are anything but a racial phenomenon. There were Irish, Jewish, Italian, Polish and Greek Kilpatricks in their day. We can confidently expect a wave of Latino Kilpatricks as Latino voting power pushes African-American machines aside in more urban areas.

And there’s another thing American history teaches: unscrupulous politicians will find unscrupulous bankers who will float them abusive loans in exchange for fat fees.

If our so-called ‘progressives’ today weren’t so intellectually decadent and, well, historically challenged, they would be leading the charge to clean up American cities. Instead they are mostly silent — and sometimes even defend the machines.

Our Founding Fathers understood that power corrupts. History is rife with examples of people winning their freedom by overthrowing a corrupt tyrant and then ceding power to a beneficent and wise leader who is followed eventually by a corrupt tyrant.

If you can’t stop corruption and abuse of power from happening, you try to mitigate the harm they cause. One of the best ways to mitigate corruption and abuse is to limit power. That is exactly what the federal system and separation of powers is intended to do.

Random thoughts:

Did you ever notice that government regulations don’t regulate government?

I find it amusing that the very people who fear “Big Brother” the most are the same people who want to create him.

About Myiq2xu - BA, JD, FJB

I was born and raised in a different country - America. I don't know what this place is.
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31 Responses to The More Things Change . . .

  1. Lulu says:

    “If our so-called ‘progressives’ today weren’t so intellectually decadent and, well, historically challenged, they would be leading the charge to clean up American cities. Instead they are mostly silent — and sometimes even defend the machines.”

    WRM hasn’t made the final leap of comprehension that I made in 2008. The Vile Progs ARE the crooked pols. They ARE the vampire bankers, corrupt insurance companies, and whoring drug companies. They ARE the race baiters maintaining their stranglehold on the poor. They ARE the filth that calls themselves media and they ARE the thieves skimming off the top using think tanks to come up with new scams. Obama and Obama-ism is Chicago thievery gone national. Vile Prog means liar and thief.

  2. wmcb says:

    Up all night because insomnia sucks. However, I just read a fascinating discussion with some sci-fi authors and lefties talking about political censoship in the sci-fi publishing community. It started well, but went downhill when the authors wouldn’t back down and agree with the lefties.

    It is looooooooong. Very long. Reaaaally long. But fascinating to the end. The author who copied and pasted the whole thing to his blog, Larry Correia, sums it up thusly:

    Here, let me break this down for you. Not just this thread, but any thread where you argue with liberals.

    Liberal 1: Attack, ATTACK! Attack, attack, attack! ATTACK!

    Liberal 2: ATTACK! ATTACK!

    Conservative: Defend.

    Liberal 1: So rude!

    Liberal 2: Yes, very rude.

    • votermom says:

      This is fun. I am a fan of his books ever since that gun essay brought it to my attention.

    • DandyTiger says:

      Wow, that was damn goooood!

    • swanspirit says:

      I read the whole thing , and it was excellent. I was as shocked and dismayed as anyone to find that one commenter who was such an idiot was a professor of social sciences . While it was nice to see those trolls taken apart so precisely by Larry Correia , at the same time ; I was saddened to know that conservative writers are as discriminated against in the sci-fi publishing world as they are in other areas of the entertainment industry .
      That entire exchange was extremely entertaining , I caught up a bit on Sci Fi acronyms , and I realized there is some reading I can catch up on as well .
      Have you ever read any Olaf Stapledon? he is kind of retro but he is one of my favorites .

      • wmcb says:

        No, will have to try Stapledon. And BTW, I tend to dislike ANY sci-fi or other fiction that has heavy-handed messaging, whether right, left. libertarian, or whatever. I don’t object, however, to glimpses of the author’s worldview as pertinent to the story – whether I agree or not, from whatever direction it comes.

        Having ONLY stories where the military or businessmen are always and only acceptable as villains gets as boring as having ONLY stories where corporate geniuses and armed men are without fail the designated heroes. People and life are much more complicated than that. Greenies can commit horrible terrorism and be blind ideological zealots, as well as noble crusaders. Hard-bitten colonels may be men of great honor or psychopaths.

        Stop with the PC shit where books and art are concerned. Let’s have the whole gamut.

        • swanspirit says:

          Star Maker is a science fiction novel by Olaf Stapledon, published in 1937. The book describes a history of life in the universe, dwarfing in scale Stapledon’s previous book, Last and First Men (1930), a history of the human species over two billion years. Star Maker tackles philosophical themes such as the essence of life, of birth, decay and death, and the relationship between creation and creator. A pervading theme is that of progressive unity within and between different civilizations. Some of the elements and themes briefly discussed prefigure later fiction concerning genetic engineering and alien life forms. Arthur C. Clarke considered Star Maker to be one of the finest works of science fiction ever written.

          You might like it 😉

        • myiq2xu says:

          The great characters of literature are always 3-dimensional and full of conflicts and paradoxes.

        • swanspirit says:

          I also believe that Science Fiction writers , the really good ones , have lived some of their past lives in the future , 😮 😯

  3. Speaking of urban intellectuals, corrupt pols, bankers, and fat fees, Cyprus banks have managed to cut out the middle people (the government) and are now going straight for the wallets of the citizens, with the blessing of the ruling body.

    I’d watch this one closely to see if it signals a paradigm shift.

    • Lulu says:

      They aren’t even pretending anymore are they? It is collective guilt and punishment. So very trendy, vile prog, and fascist.

    • Mary says:

      And , as usual, the frugal savers in the country will be punished (ie, taking their $$$) to “fix” the problems the government was unwilling to deal with earlier.

      There is small group of Obot progressives in Congress discussing “using” “all that money” in Americans’ 40l K plans.
      Just knowing they’re discussing it sends chills down my spine.

      Yes. Watch this one closely.

  4. driguana says:

    Happy St. Patrick’s Day….who knows where the time goes…..

  5. driguana says:

    gettin’ jiggy wid it….

  6. DeniseVB says:

    Ahhhh, Detroit. One of Steven Crowders best videos back when he wasn’t attached to Fox News as the token ranter. It’s longish, but very entertaining….and disturbing. Wish he’d go back to this kind of stuff:

  7. foxyladi14 says:

    Happy St. Patrick’s Day everyone! :mrgreen:

  8. foxyladi14 says:

    my always favorite. :mrgreen:

  9. myiq2xu says:

  10. lildoggy4u says:

    I’ve always remembered VP Biden’s statement that we’d be outta Afghanistan in 2014 “PERIOD”>

    VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: “Martha, let’s keep our eye on the ball. The reason I’ve been in and out of Afghanistan and Iraq 20 times — I’ve been up in the Kunar — I’ve been throughout that whole country, mostly in a helicopter and sometimes in a vehicle. The fact is we went there for one reason: to get those people who killed Americans, al-Qaida. We’ve decimated al-Qaida central. We have eliminated Osama bin Laden. That was our purpose. And in fact, in the meantime, what we said we would do, we would help train the Afghan military. It’s their responsibility to take over their own security. That’s why, with 49 of our allies in Afghanistan, we’ve agreed on a gradual drawdown so we’re out of there by the year — in the year 2014.

    My friend and the governor say it’s based on conditions, which means it depends. It does not depend for us. It is the responsibility of the Afghans to take care of their own security. We have trained over 315,000, mostly without incident. There have been more than two dozen cases of green on blue where Americans have been killed.

    If we do — if the — if the measures the military has taken do not take hold, we will not go on joint patrols, we will not train in the field. We’ll only train in the — in the Army bases that exist there.

    But we are leaving. We are leaving in 2014, period, and in the process, we’re going to be saving over the next 10 years another $800 billion. We’ve been in this war for over a decade. The primary objective is almost completed. Now all we’re doing is putting the Kabul government in a position to be able to maintain their own security. It’s their responsibility, not America’s”.

    Today’s Yahoo news headline:
    Deal likely to keep U.S. elite forces in key Afghan province: official – read the comments there

    LIARS! I almost hope the idiot runs for President (against Sara!)

  11. leslie says:

    “Did you ever notice that government regulations don’t regulate government?”

    Chicago and the state of Illinois

  12. DeniseVB says:

    It’s on ! Rove v. Palin And is “thrasing” a new word ? Between and “thrashing” and a “tasering”? Then she did do that 😀

  13. myiq2xu says:

  14. HELENK says:

    this is something very important to watch, especially with obamacare kicking in.

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