March 28

Douchebag Ann Arbor Student Berates Uber Driver

I like to espouse that the disparity between rich and poor is a meaningless statistic.  Unfortunately, douchebags like Jake Croman punch holes in the sails of my arguments.  It’s strange that people who think they have a little bit of power over others tend to abuse it. Or, at the very least, exercise it at all times to prove that they are superior – because their fragile, self-hating sub-conscious must tear down everyone else in order for them to feel important.  You know – like law enforcement privilege. Similarly, rich privilege thinks it has the right to belittle anyone who slights them.  And in this case, anyone who refuses to serve them.   Just like Luxury car owners who think they are better than other drivers (link, link, link), Jake thinks he has a license to be a dick to whomever refuses to bow down to his superiority.  Just look at the video and witness the asshattery that takes place:

 

Now, I would tend to dismiss this as just youthful indiscretion, especially since they are trying to get picked up in front of the Grizzly Peak Brewing Company in Ann Arbor – on Washington, between Ashley and Main Street. Perhaps they had a few too many mediocre brewskis and decided to take an Uber home but got miffed by the driver’s attitude. It can happen. But, unfortunately for Jake, the details of the story disprove his version of what happened – that the driver refused him service and threatened him because he’s Jewish. None of those claims hold any water. You can go to JakeCroman.com, a revenge site, to see links to all the details but let’s just go over the points of this story of human garbage:

  1. Croman claims verbal and Anti-Semetic remarks offended him and provoked this response.  However, the driver, Artur Zawata, has previously had bad experiences with this passenger and reported it to Uber AND the Ann Arbor police.  If Croman had a problem with this driver, he could have refused the service before Zawata showed up – but he didn’t.
  2. Ann Arbor Police Sgt. Aimee Metzer told BuzzFeed News that Zawada (the driver)  had filed a complaint with police alleging he had been verbally abused on March 20 by Uber passengers (Croman) – proving the history between the two men.
  3. The Police have, more than likely, investigated this already by calling Croman on a preliminary basis for questioning.  Considering Croman filed a police report based on the last encounter on March 20, it is more than likely the subsequent encounter and video was an act of revenge – including a police complaint by Cromer to counteract the previous report by Zawata.
  4. Croman did not use his own Uber account to call for a ride, he used his friends – probably to conceal his identity.  It was, more than likely, a purposeful act since he probably knew a report was filed about him to the police and that Zawata would not show up if he saw Croman’s name as the passenger.
  5. Neither he, nor his friend bothered to cancel the ride when they found out who the driver was.  According to Zawata: “This is 4th time that I have been harassed by this rider and his friends. Nov. Dec. and twice in March. I told him on 3rd occasion that I requested Uber to banned him but he is/was using friends accounts. Told him and his friends that I will not take them and that he/they need to get out of my car….. For that I was falsely accused, called names etc. 4th time… Rider knew from Uber application who is the driver. He had option to cancel to avoid any issues but he/they proceeded to abuse, harrase(sic), belittle and provoke like kindergarten thugs.”

It is not logical that Zawata would verbally abuse or threaten them with any form of bodily harm. He was outnumbered 5 to 1 and had an opportunity to just drive away to continue making his living. And it’s unfortunate that he did not record the encounter from the very beginning so that the prosecutor could charge Croman for filing a false police report. There are other inconsistencies with this story including why someone with his family wealth and privilege has to take an Uber in the first place. Is that what rich people do? No, most take Uber for convenience and because of the lower cost compared to a taxi service. And taxi service is readily available in Ann Arbor. But even without a taxi, this downtown area of Ann Arbor isn’t even that far from most of campus and the surrounding housing. But I guess a 20 minute walk was just too much work for these nice boys.   And thanks, boys, for ruining my argument that having a lot of rich people in our society is of no consequence to the working class.  You just exemplified White and Rich privilege as real, tangible things, and something to be ashamed of.   And let’s also go ahead an mention besmirching the reputations of Ann Arbor, U of Michigan, and fraternities as a whole – with one infantile tantrum.  Nice job.

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinby feather
March 14

Donald Trump And Nazi Violence

ted cruz sieg heil
Sieg Heil!

Last week, Donald Trump’s “pledge” was re-played on every news program in the US along with a response from the Anti Defamation League (ADL) – LINK.  Let’s just say that it wasn’t even a thinly veiled attempt to call him Hitler.   And, since that had no effect on his following or the outcome of the election, instigation efforts have been increased to disrupt Trump rallies by sending in leftist soldiers to pick fights with Trump supporters.   And every time a Socialist decides to disturb the peace, all other candidates get network airtime decrying Trump’s penchant for violence. Now, you would think that Democrats would be having a field day accusing Trump of being violent –  and they are – but so are Cruz, Rubio, and Kasich.  These three stooges should be the first to rally around Trump and direct attention to the REAL culprits – the reactionary left that has dispatched their army to disrupt Trump by any means necessary.  What they have done, by aligning themselves with Democrats, leftist instigators, and the media, is reveal a united front of Washington establishment and Trump as the only, legitimate, alternative.  The result of this circus is the exact opposite of the intention.

Topping off Trumps triumph, the media unwittingly played the attempted attack at an Ohio rally where the Secret Service thwarted a commie from rushing the stage.  I say unwittingly because it perfectly positions Trump as the victim of violence, not the perpetrator.  Despite the political opportunity these situations have created, viewers got to SEE him being attacked, and that’s much more powerful.  While the intention was to further besmirch,  it can only backfire by continuing to showing this video (LINK).

So, thanks Ted Cruz.  You did it again.  You chose to open your mouth too quickly and inserted your foot – just like when Obama skipped the Unity Rally in France (Link).  You’ve further alienated Republican voters, solidified Trump supporters, and allied yourself with a Socialist(Sanders) and a Tyrant(Hillary).  It’s another reason why you will never be the President of the United States.  but, at least, you had the good sense to bring Rubio along with you this time.   Bravo.

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinby feather
March 1

Donald Trump’s House Of Cards

I was recently pointed to Scott Adam’s Blog (yes, the guy who writes the Dilbert comic) which highlights the rise and popularity of Donald Trump.  He calls it the “Master Persuader” series and it’s an interesting, whimsical analysis of why Trump has gained so much favor this election cycle.  Without claiming to be a Trump supporter, I believe he’s predicted the eventual inevitability of a Trump presidency next year, but I’m starting to take issue with this prediction for a few reasons.

Whether or not Trump even desires to be president has always been a question for me.  While megalomania should be a perfect quality for a presidential candidate (see Hillary or Ted), I’m not sure that his type of ego-fulfillment fits the role of commander in chief.  The President, while inarguably the most powerful man in the world, is still beholden to the people.  At least, if he ever wants to get re-elected, or have any chance of getting his own brand of legislation through Congress.  Trump has never been beholden to anyone and I think the inherent limitations of being president aren’t really that appealing to him.  He’s never really been interested in political power, which is, by definition, given to candidates by other people.  He’s always earned his power, which gives his arrogance a different flavor as earned arrogance is more authentic, or at least more easily tolerated.

In fact, I think that he hates obligation to anyone else almost as much as he seems to hate Ted Cruz.  My impressions from his first book, The Art of the Deal, convinced me that while he likes to build coalitions, he’s never been very good at letting other people get what they want out of any deal – not anything.  He never actually does much negotiating, preferring instead to wait someone else out, or wait until he has the clear strong arm in any deal.  Now, I realize this is also part of politics, but a take it or leave it ability to walk away from any deal is not always a possibility in politics.  The Presidency is a timed affair with immense pressure coming from many political sides at once, not just from stockholders and the bank financiers as in his private deals.  There are many more facets of attack in the national and global political sector than in the private one.  Trump must know this and also has to know that negitiation isn’t really his forte.  He’s always been in control whereas in politics, there’s no real control over any situation.  Knowing his limits IS one of the things he’s good at, so he has to realize that his type of leadership is a giant impetus to being a popular and effective president.  And while he’s is one of the greatest, self-proclaimed, deal-makers in the world, he’s always done it for his own profit – not for anyone else.  He’s done it for monetary gain, not political currency.   Effective politics depends on accruing this currency and knowing when to spend it.  It’s just something the Donald doesn’t seem to want to mess with – ever.  Donald’s deal have been get in, get out, count your money.  Politics just doesn’t work like that.  Why would he want to enter a world where the fundamental art of the deal is political power instead of money?

Trumps idea of power has always come from money.  Money equals power.  It gets people to do what you want, when you want – for a price. Money gets banks, people, politicians to do what you want as long as you have it.  It’s power that can’t be taken away even if you become unpopular.  Politics is always a house of cards with no foundation except someone else’s money.  Political power, on the other hand, while fleeting, can be much more powerful than any amount of money.  Let’s call it a ‘trump’ card (see what I did there?).  Political pressure can be enormous and unstoppable even in the face of great fortune. And even though politics and money seem to go hand in hand and look the same from the outside, there is one crucial difference between the two:    Trump just wants money – that gives him power.  Politicians want power over people to get money.  Or, worse yet, they just want power for it’s own sake.  Trump has always loved to boast about his works, his buildings and accomplishments because they have real, tangible value measured in dollars.  Politics isn’t measurable.   So, for the life of me, I can’t really believe he’s so ready to give up that philosophy so late in life to run for president.

But, Trump’s ego could just be blinding him from his own faults and limitations.  At the last two debates, he’s been more flustered and angry that artful and adept.  When being attacked from his left and right, he’s shown himself to be too inarticulate on the fly.  Having had the opportunity to crush Cruz and Rubio on many fronts, his chosen path of  “Strategic Ambiguity” (Adams) was ineloquent, to say the least.  He didn’t recognize opportune moments for what they were which doesn’t bode well for performance against professional liars like Hillary – if and when he gets the nomination.  He is extremely adept at controlling the media, but recent appearances lead me to believe he may have reached his zenith in this regard.  He’s great in a prepared interview, but horrible on the fly.   Hillary may wipe the floor with him if he doesn’t step up his game in the “debates”

And speaking of Democrats – this may be one of the real reasons he’s delaying his tax return disclosures:  Trump made most of his money in the 1990’s when a Clinton was president.  He did it primarily in the biggest real estate market in the world, New York City, which had a Democrat governor and a Democrat mayor.  My guess is that he gave a lot of money to the Clinton’s, and other Democrats in the 90’s, and it will alienate a lot of his voting public.  It may help to reveal what the other candidates have said about him all along:  that he’s never been a Republican.  Showing this money may be the first step into people taking the time to really scrutinize Trump’s positions.

Then there’s conspiracy theory aspect to this whole campaign.  One of the first was a report that Trump entered the race specifically to thwart another Bush from becoming president.  It wouldn’t be the first time this has happened.  Ross Perot did it in 1992 when he ran against Bush and let Clinton slink into the White House with a half thumbs up and a wink and a nod.  Trump made a lot of money during the Clinton presidency.  He may very well be Hillary’s Manchurian Candidate and purposefully throw this election to make her president.  Does he owe Clinton something? Did he have some payback to enact on the Bush family for some slight he received 10 years ago? Has he made some sort of deal with Hillary only to be realized after she’s elected?  Who knows.  I have no proof, but I wouldn’t put it past either of them.  They are both artists of misdirection.  But this rumor and the one of his campaign donations to Democrats could add up to something.

Another piece of this incongruent puzzle is that to be president, Trump must divest himself from everything he’s already built.  This is a man who has made a lot of money yet it was never enough to just make a profit or build a building.  He’s had an innate need to stamp his name on everything he touches – literally.     As president, not only will he have had to literally divest his monetary interest in everything that carries his name, the only future thing that will bear his name will be the library he builds after he leaves office.  Or, perhaps, a piece of legislation or doctrine – but that’s all.  He also must know this as well – that he won’t be able to dictate from the office like he can in Manhattan, or in the writer’s room in a TV studio.  The fact is that the President has limits and Trump has never been very good at working within imposed or inherent limits.  It may frustrate him to the point of resigning as president, or maybe even from the campaign – whether there’s a back door deal with Hillary or not.   But mark my words, if Trump starts to lose control, he may be the one orchestrating his own demise.   The fix may already be in, and we’ll all be on the losing end of the deal.  That is, if you believe in conspiracies.

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinby feather
February 2

The Meaning of the Iowa Caucuses

In one word: meaningless.   Caucuses are an archaic invention and should be abolished, or, at least, ignored for purposes of choosing a candidate.  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a heated discussion of political issues and presidential candidates.  It’s necessary and something any dutiful citizen should engage in on a regular basis.  But that’s the thing- we can do that every day, and DO – up until the day to vote.  We have every opportunity to argue the subject up until the day comes to make a choice and put to paper to make it real.   That’s why this, so-called, voting equivalent of the Iowa caucus is a sham and should not be taken into consideration for choosing a candidate.  A caucus is just a form of legal electioneering and should have disappeared after the 19th century.  Let me tell you why…

An open, localized political forum where everyone shares their opinions, beliefs, and arguments is a great thing to do during an election cycle.  I recommend it highly at family gatherings and nights at the pub.  But to disguise this type of event as an equivalent of an election is a disaster.  They are the antithesis of an election.  Consider being in a room with your boss,  banker, girlfriend, or wife and you happen to be on the other side of the room from them.  No honest person would believe there’s no pressure to cross that imaginary party line at any given round of “negotiation” that takes place during a caucus.  The only time this type of technique is used in decision making is when someone needs to be found guily or not-guilty.  This is a completely different type of situation but it uses the same process, but even then there’s still a secret ballot.   In a caucus, you aren’t going to walk away from a verdict and never have to deal with the consequences you may encounter because of those you DIDN’T vote with.  When you are in a room showing support from someone other than your minister, you may have some answering to do next Sunday – or four years worth of Sundays.  Or, let’s say Brad, the local loan officer, decides not to loan you money for that restaurant you want to open because you backed that anti-Wall Street candidate.  Or maybe, you want to score brownie points with him to make sure he approves it.  There’s simply too many favors, hurt feelings, or other political implications to the caucus process within any community.  You all know each other too well and are intertwined in the local political climate and economy.  This influence was directly expressed with a club, a knife, or a party boss in the not-so-distant past.  Don’t fool yourself into believing this hasn’t continued to this day in these same face-to-face situations.  It’s just that no one uses an actual club or knife anymore.   We made laws creating secret ballots and outlawing political speech near polling places for the sole purpose of countering this kind of influence on voting.

The secret ballot is sometimes thought of as sacred and uniquely American: to insuring everyone is at liberty to vote their conscience and can be assured they will not face repercussion for their choices. (from other people at least, you still have to live with your candidate).  So, instead of analyzing Iowa on and on and on – just ignore it.  It’s meaningless.   After all, their last republican pick was Mike Huckleberry.

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinby feather
January 7

Modern Keynesian Economics and Olypmic Games

crumbling olympic stadiumI just finished a great, albeit simplified, article in Outside Magazine entitled, “Why the U.S. Should Never Host Another Olympics”.     It rekindled an idea that I’ve always had about Keynesian theories and so-called ‘economic investment’.  In it, Brian Alexander describes the debt incurred by Olympic host cities year after year – leaving the taxpayers to clean up the mess some thirty years after the event.  Money that could have been better spent on local improvements or sustaining the economy is funneled instead to an overblown, opulent bridge to nowhere with a mortgage attached in every city since 1960.

From the article:

“The Games overrun with 100 percent consistency. No other type of megaproject is this consistent regarding cost overrun,” concluded a 2012 study by Oxford University economists Brent Flyvbjerg and Allison Stewart. Think about that for a moment. Every Olympics, from 1960 through 2012—and that doesn’t even count the massive Sochi boondoggle of 2014—has run over budget. And not by just a little…”

 

Many modern liberal economists, like Paul Krugman, constantly tell us that government spending is the only way to raise a faltering economy from recession.  But if this is the case, then why aren’t Olympic host cities shining examples of re-invigoration dotting the globe?  According to the rhetoric we’re fed, they should be the perfect microcosms of the ‘investment’ theory and be thriving from the created demand fueled by spending.

But the article goes deeper:

   The IOC insists that hosting is a huge honor for any city. The Games, it argues, lead to all sorts of wondrous economic, social, and athletic miracles . This isn’t true. Stephen Billings, an economics professor at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, who has studied the economic impact of hosting the Games, says that even when hosting isn’t an economic sinkhole, as it was for Montreal—which didn’t pay off its debt for the 1976 Summer Olympics until 30 years later—having an Olympics in your city is, at best, “a wash.”

 

They like to call it ‘investment’.  But make no mistake, ALL government spending is, by default, a cost overrun.   All spending must eventually be paid for by someone because the government doesn’t just create wealth out of thin air – it has to take it from someone first.   (I know, I know, the government does create money out of thin air, but eventually even that will have to be repaid – with interest – or with blood)  So the next time someone like Krugman, or any other economic shyster tries to tell us that we need to spend beyond our means to get us out of trouble like THIS, or THIS,  Just remember that spending will eventually need to be paid back by the taxpayers.  But, you’ll have a nice crumbling superdome to live in during the depression.   You might even be able to take a nice, cheap vacation in Greece.  Overspending there made everything better, right?

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinby feather