Thursday, August 31, 2006

Basic Economics on Corruption

Yesterday, I announced that its the people who lead not government that we should be upset with. There were many responses which led me to this post upon corruption. A light introduction about our Nation's history: The thoughts of this Nation's forefathers was to not let the government control the citizens. Let us recall that first came the Articles of Confederation which gave no power to the Federal Government. After some harsh times, the Constitution was created which strengthened the role of the Federal government, but is the Constitution created to control us or the Federal Government? Of course, it was created to control the government, but throughout our Nation's history we have had some leaders who have created laws and amendments that strengthened the Federal Government's role. Thus the beginning of the corruption. I am not going to announce that those leaders who strengthened the role of the Federal Government had intentions of abusing their power, rather that it enables the government to be further corrupted.

This leads us to the corruption that many have begun to find in the government and the question, how do we reduce the amount of corruption? What types of government have the most corruption? Many would say totalitarian governments as in monarchies and communist governments. Why, because the government had complete control therefore controlled the levels of corruption. Is it for this reason that the forefathers had created a democratic republic?

No, the forefathers did not create this form of government with thoughts in reducing corruption. Perhaps they did, with the knowledge of economics that more competition is better as they can balance out the legal system disallowing the corruption from spreading. But a government is unlike a market and therefore the competition only increases the amount of corruption. What do I mean? That we have many elected officials and therefore have a large amount of people that are able to be corrupted or influenced. Rather in a monarchy or another form of totalitarianism, it is difficult to corrupt since there is mainly one ruler, therefore the costs of corrupting this one official is high, but the benifits are just as large or larger. In the democratic state, the large numbers increases the amount of those who can be influenced or corrupted but reduces the amount that they may do.
An incorruptible government is impossible, but again we look towards man and his ability. There have been those who have been able to surpass the influence of corruption. Yet corruption is found in all different states even to religion, where King David sent a man to war for a lifetime so that he may have his wife.
This is getting a little long so we shall leave the corruption topic for another post, but let us end this with a simple look upon sports. Rules are needed to guide the sport, but the rules do not control the players. If the NFL and their officials were corrupted and influenced by one team, we could then see bad calls that gives certain teams an edge over others. This would lead to certain teams doing great and others faltering. So how does the NFL reduce the amount of corruption? I'll leave this question unanswered until the next post.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

No Trust? *Corrected*

For those who read this blog and Ditzy Democrats' Monstrosity, you know that I am a student at George Mason University. To give a little more background, I am Treasurer of the GMU Economic Society, a young group that is hoping to have a great year in attracting more students to economics. I am majoring in Economics and have grown to enjoy the writings of the Austrian economists who have fought hard to preach on the good of Capitalism.

I say this today because I wanted to address an issue that I see reoccuring. Today upon leaving one building I saw, in chalk, the words, "Don't Trust Governmnt". Yes it was misspelled without the e in nice print. All across the blogosphere there appears to be a rise upon blogs, podcasts, even grafitti proclaiming that you can not trust government. Perhaps some view me as not trusting government, but I don't view myself in that manner. I distrust people not institutions.

It is people that are corruptible not the government. If we were to distrust the government, then we could also claim that you can not trust religions. Many have already come across that view as well, but tell the faithful that you can not trust their religion... their faith holds strong keeping them from faltering their trust in their religion. The Catholics with all the news upon the molesting priests continue to hold onto their faith. The same Catholics have the history in their church of long corruption, power hungry Cardinals, and outcries that there has been a female Pope, yet they relentlessly support their Church. Why does their trust in their religion not falter?

I am not trying to overthrow government, but tame it from becoming this massive beast that controls our lives. For this reason many lose their faith upon the government, but this same massive beast when tamed is a Godsend as it upholds our given rights so intently defined by many philosophical writers from Aristotle to Locke. The government helps the communities live together in a unity that increases our own gain while shielding us from others who wish to control us. It is not government that should not be trusted but those who run it, control it; those who hold the reigns to Leviathan. We all grew up watching Mr Smith Goes to Washington in civics class with an understanding of what politicians are meant to do. The goodness residing in their hearts only wishing to make the country a better place.

I distrust many politicians, as their empty promises are just antics to receive my vote, but there are those that I feel I can trust. Trust is given and can be taken away with swift ease. The Catholics who have not faltered throughout all the discourse may have it right, we have to keep having the faith. Faith that there are good willed politicians. Faith that those we elect will do the right thing. Faith that our elected will not abuse their power in financially supporting their friends and family with tax payers money. It is as Bon Jovi says we have to "Keep the Faith".

*The actual writing on the wall said "Never Trust Governmnt" not as I had recalled earlier Don't Trust Governmnt.*

Monday, August 28, 2006

Socialism better than Capitalism?!?!?

I was reading the Washington Post this evening (if you couldn't tell, I enjoy the Post), and I came across an article upon Bolivia and its new proposed Constitution. This brought upon an interest and I began searching for more information. Rather than finding an interesting blog upon this event I find a different post from the Democracy Center. It appears the Democracy Center supports socialism with their blog post, The Bolivian Government's India Mining Deal: Who Says Socialists Can't Be Smart Capitalists. My favorite part was reading the harsh responses to this blog, only as the anonymous commentors began to show the faults of the deal that the Democracy Center called being a "Smart Capitalist".

The question that I immediately ask is how can Socialists be good Capitalists? The deal was made between the Bolivian government and Jindal Steel, a mining corporation in India; the socialist government must go outside of its own boundaries in order to make a profit in a market deal. Yet, the government is not like a business firm, the money used to make the deal does not belong to the politicians but to the people who were taxed for the money. Therefore its like playing poker with someone else's money. You don't lose anything, therefore you will take risky calls that you would not initially take with your own money. The same goes for the government officials who do not lose anything upon any deal therefore will not be "Smart Capitalists".

Now if you want to see how the socialists made a bad deal. Read the comments of the blog where the anonymous commentor has placed the data which he received from the Bolivian newpaper, El Razon. He gives the material in english; his links to El Razon are in spanish.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Catholic or Protestant

Georgetown University a known Catholic and Jesuit school has decided to out many ministeries outside of the University. What does this mean? According to the Washington Post, six Protestant Organizations are affected. Not that I am trying to be biased betweeen the different Christian faiths just the point upon property. Georgetown University is a Catholic and Jesuit university, therefore the Protestant ministeries must cooperate with any regulations the University wishes to place. Its just the notion of private property. I have many of times invited the Mormon missionaries into my home to listen to what they had to say, but I would not be happy if they were to enter my home to talk about their religion whenever they wished with the excuse that I had invited them before. Therefore I can not side with the Protestant Organizations who are finding trouble with the University's new guidelines. The University will still allow the Organizations to hold their meetings if invited by the students of the University so it is not as the University has banished outside organization; rather not allowing anyone to organize and preach within its walls without permission. Still, the cost for maintaining the regulation will be hard, as it is easy to enter the campus without being questioned, and easier to meet within small groups to discuss material without stiking any interest from authorities.

In a way, the regulation is meant to decrease the amount of outside organizations within the University, but as it is difficult to maintain it causes no difference. So why all the press for a set of rules that cause nothing? Perhaps the school administrator believes the Protestants, who have new management, are trying to further their outreach upon the University. Perhaps the school does not want to be thought as a Catholic, Jesuit, and Protestant school and only wishes to cause a delay towards the outreach of the Protestant organizations. Its not our choice but the choice of the University for what it wishes for its own outcome. Sorry Protestants. This one goes to the Catholics.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

What do most economists believe?

I spend many of hours over the net to find information that would support most of my arguements. I don't like to write upon material that does not have any data to reinforce what I had to say, so I spent a little while to find a brief summary of what one scholar wrote as the "Top 10" things that economists believe. You would expect it to be from an economics page, but let us face it, just about everything is related to economics. I found this information on the John Locke Foundation. I hope no one is asking John Locke, but if you are... of course I am going to have a link to a wikipedia site upon his honor. Now for the point of this post, our economic lesson for those who do not know much on the subject that can be found here.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Cost of Immigration continued

Yes, I have used the title before but it is short & to the point. Reading the headlines today you find what I had expected from such a proposal. That the cost for the Senate Immigration Bill is high. I had written about the cost of immigration here and here; although the second link is to the cost rising due to bribery. Why does this interest me so much? The fact that the Washington Post quotes Representative Tom Tancredo of Colorado in saying "The cost aspect of the Senate plan has never been taken into consideration". Ok, so I took the quote a little out of context as Rep. Tancredo appears to be against the bill, but you get the point. Why do politicians like to act without weighing the costs? One because the do not have to pay it with their own money. Its the country's money which came from us, therefore their decisions are not rationalized upon costs... Rationalized upon what they think would get them reelected rather than what is best for our Nation. I'll keep this short, so you may read the Washington Post linked above.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Abuse of Power

I was reading this months Rolling Stone when I fell across an interesting article about the Governor race in Ohio. Yes, this is going to reiterate the already highly spoke of accusations that the Ohio polls were fixed in the 2004 Presidential Election. I was hesitant to write anything about it from this article so I began to look for more proof throughout the internet. It was not difficult to find that the circumstances are true. The Secretary of State Blackwell of Ohio had made laws causing it harder for certain individuals to vote. Namely the lower classes who do not have id cards or the time to have id cards with updated information as in place of residence. I am not going to begin to explain what was done. Only that Blackwell is now running for Governor of Ohio while still holding the Secretary of State of Ohio position. He could use his power in office to cause the outcome of the election in his favor. Not saying that he would, but he has been accussed of fixing the election in 2004. It would only be a smart move as to not run for Governor while still holding such a powerful position as he could be viewed as abusing his power.

Politicians are not the only ones who abuse the power entrusted unto them. The military gives their recruiters complete control in acquiring new recruits. The problem that has arised is the recruiters violating the rights of new recruits sexually. Young adults want to enter the service to support their country; others have no other options but feel that the military will give them a chance, yet the recruiters can offer the best MOSes (jobs) to those who they like rather than to those who earn the spot. As most of those who enlist do not know everything about the military, the positions or how to enter them, the recruiters have the opportunity to ask for something more, or even grant them a lesser position. Most recruiters are men so we can assume that it is mainly young women who are being sexually assaulted verbally and physically, but the young men may be abused as well even if they do not view it as an assault. We have not even begun upon the bonuses that the recruiters can offer. Would they not offer the bonuses to those who give them favors or to those who they are more friends with? Must new recruits become friends with their recruiters or should they trust that the recruiter is trying to do the right thing for his service, for his Corp.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Let us Welcome the United States National Slavery Museum

For all the Virginians who remember our former Lt Governor Wilder; he has begun his dream, to educate the nation upon its heinous past, slavery. The United States National Slavery Museum is not underway yet, but they have constructed a website which you can find by clicking on this post's title. Incredible that they have begun to raise vast amount of money, have land donated for their cause in the middle of Virginia in Fredericksburg next to Interstate 95, and have the support of Bill Cosby and Ben Vereen.

Interesting that we created a museum for the malicious acts that encountered more than 50 years ago in Europe but have still to create a museum for the grief from our own history. This museum's life was created by private investors and donations rather than government funding. If I had an award like so many blogs in the blogosphere, as in Monstrosity's Winner of the Week, I would have to give it to Douglas Wilder who is still finding difficulty in creating the museum to teach the nation the wrongs upon slavery, but continuing upon his path to complete his dream. Click on the website and participate in the birth of a needed museum. They ask for $8 donations. Eight dollars because the number eight appears like shackles. The number eight as it is a good even number. Eight dollars because as the website says "if turned on its side, (the symbol) of infinite freedom. The Eight dollars because it will help us remember rather than forget our past. Let us support such a great cause. Even if we can not donate, we can spread the word which would once again create a larger amount of donations and support.

Now, if I can only convince the museum directors that the museum can focus namely upon African American slavery, but should also include exhibits upon other races that were held as slaves in the United States...

Ramsey still in News and not ex Redskin?

So a man is aprehended for the murder of Jon Benet Ramsey. I am not sure why this is receiving so much coverage when there is so many events occurring throughout the world. Let me rephrase that towards RECENT events, not a murder that occurred ten years ago. Perhaps if someone had been wrongly accussed, or if word was brought that the family had ties with a terrorist plot that was thwarted. But why is this case so important that I have to read through articles, spend my news hour wasting fifteen minutes for a 10 year old unsolved murder? There are many unsolved murders that do not receive any press; what makes this one so special?

The country had mourned for her death many years ago, but to keep bringing it back? I asked many upon the issue and most did not care anymore, so why is there so much press coverage? I have many questions on this issue. This is not the first time that the media has covered upon something to almost make it a household name, yet the most grotesque murders, unsolved cases, are forgotten. Columbine was tragic, yet there are still schools that face death. In short, I need an explanation, why is this topic still arising in the press. Does anyone other than the young lady's family need to know of his capture? She wasn't the child of Charles Lindbergh who was kidnapped after his heroic flight causing us to worry for his child.

Note:this will probably be deleted later, but I am just curious. Why?

Update: So I haven't deleted it, but would like to add a few updates. For those who are not aware, the Washington Redskins had a quarterback named Patrick Ramsey who they traded to the NY Jets. He was the starting quarterback the first game last season but was soon replaced by Mark Brunnel after he had an injury in that first game against the Chicago Bears. Thus, my title about Ramsey in the news and not the ex Redskin.

I also found at the barbershop that the Ramsey murder case is still a hot topic so I must give credit where its due to the media. They know how to make money and what the public want, even if I am part of the low percentage who does not care, it is all about what the market wants not one consumer. Good job media.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Western Philosophy from the Middle East

It has been a long time since I have blogged. I did not want to help fill the internet nor the bloggersphere with ill tempered material that only voiced my opinion upon the situations that arose last week. Instead I decided to hold my tongue rather than insert a plague of malicious words upon anyone. Ok, so I am hardly malicious in any way towards anyone, more of the guy who smiles even when things turn for the bad.

I want to start off this week by speaking upon Iran. No, not upon the Iranian President's interview, although that did turn sour and I may post upon it tomorrow, but on a gentleman's writings I just happened to stumble upon. A blog on blogger was created to help free him from his cell, but as for right now he is free; touring the free world expressing his gratitude for any allegiance to his cause. It wasn't his blog that I found but an article in the Washington Post that had me begin reading the blog that also posted some of his translated letters from the prison. These letters are fascinating as they are the beginning of Western Philosophy in the Middle East.
His name is Akbar Ganji. He had fought in the revolution to free his country from the Shah, only to find a new form of government that began taking away people's rights. Akbar Ganji is a writer and began to believe in the Freedom of the Press. I don't want to begin a biography upon him, for a brief summary you can read the article in the Washington Post, but here we find a Iranian, who has begun to find freedom.
What is fascinating about freedom is that it is almost entirely western. The Eastern philosophies had never pertained towards natural rights. Most countries in Asia have lived off a monarchy or other forms of dictatorships that to them an idea of revolution is ridiculous. We can go back to cultural movies as in Jet Li's HERO where one King raged war across his neighboring countries in order to unify them under one Kingdom causing all the wars between the neighboring countries to end. The wars fought were not for freedom, but over patroitism towards the King and Land. Only in Ancient Greece under philosophers as Socrates, was Democracy able to be created. A land of thought, of acceptance, and of opportunity. For those reasons did Rome and Greece begin to surpass others. (Of course, they did fall, but corruption reared its head)

Yet, this gentleman, Ganji, who is free at the moment feels a duty to return home to Iran to fight the fight from within. Not by starting a revolutionary war, but a revolution in thought. He knows he may be arrested again, but he knows that this is what he has to do.

For those who enjoyed V for Vendetta, Ganji is V. Knowing that his end may be near, but without fearing he takes the steps that he believes that are needed. I once had a friend who thought perhaps those who appeal government should be taking care of their families first. But Ganji, who is married and has two daughters must think the same as I would if I was in his place; Do I want my kids to live under rule like this? Should I not try to change it?

Our own country is far from perfect, but it is a heck of a lot better than anywhere else. Let us remember that whenever tyranny or leviathan raise their ugly head, gentleman like Ganji who I consider to be in the same group as Ghandi, Mandela, Guy Fawkes(yes, I threw that in just for the comment on V For Vendetta earlier), and the Founding Fathers. The men who see oppression and feel the need to try to change things to bring about individual rights and freedom.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

God's Government

On August 4, the Ditzy Democrats had an interview with Shayna Englin as the Ditzy Democrats call the "first lady of Virginia's 45th District." Within the interview Mrs. Englin had said
I defy anyone to quote me the passage in the bible that calls for capital gains tax cuts and cutting welfare benefits to mothers. If God chose a political party, God would most certainly be a Democrat. God may be angry, but I’m comfortable that it’s not with me…
In the comments section I had replied with a short answer with a note that I may post upon the issue, and so here it is.

I had been pondering this issue for a while. What initially began me with my search for what government God may have or on what political side God may reside upon came when I had read a Catholic book claiming that the best of the Jewish Kings was David. From this I had to ask myself, why God would create a monarchy, only to find that today monarchies are frowned upon. Reasons why monarchies are terrible are easily stated. For one, man is not perfect; he would side with one side over another upon situations. To quote James Madison:

What is government itself but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary.

Yet kings are not angels, therefore are not fit to lead us without any restraints. But why did God create the monarchy and have Saul, David, and Solomon lead his people?

Kristin from Ditzy Democrats answered me in the comments with the answer. That we, the people had created governments and political parties. God had never instituted taxes, never took away any freedom of choices, or created a welfare state. Is our valued republic the government of God? Of course not, if it was God would have created the government a long time before for us to follow through as the Catholic's believe 'apostolic tradition'. The people of Israel had cried out for a King so that they may be like other nations. God had instructed them that although he did not want to give them a king, he would since his people wanted it, but he gave them a warning that they would not like it.

Perhaps the libertarians have it right, perhaps we can have a civil society that works together through the market in order to create a nation that needs no government. I can't say that I agree with this, but God never did give us a form of government to follow, only the way to our salvation. Makes you think that salvation is not through government....

But make no mistake that God does allow freedom of choice, therefore any government that restricts that freedom we can claim is unGodly.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Teacher's thoughts on Lebanon

I was browsing through the blogosphere when I found a teachers blog of the case. You can find it here. Let's give her some support and read what thoughts she has upon the situation in Lebanon. She has left Lebanon returned to the U.S. and is trying to find support for Lebanon. Interesting read.

Charity in a Capitalistic Society

I have been amazed by the kindness in humanity. The past few years have been filled with tragedies and the United States citizens rise to assist any who are finding stormy days. Not only did everyday people donate money for certain organizations that were created to support a dramatic event, but these same kind hearted people are reaching out towards their neighbors. Notice that I did not write upon the assistance given by the government, but on private donations or assistance.

I met an entrepreneur this past week. He found that his neighbors have had some tragedy in the family and need some support financially. This kind entrepreneur has taken it upon himself to hold an event in order to achieve some funding for his needy neighbor. Donations, an auction, and a raffle will all be held in order to raise funds. How do I dare call this Charity from Capitalism? The caring neighbor is financially stable and does not like to see his fellow neighbors facing chaos alone. He decided by his own will to find a way to assist them. Government help would have taken away the choice from any neighbor. Now I give it to you, perhaps you can not attend the event which I will tell you where and when it is being held, but you can just as easily choose to give by mailing a donation to their address. I am sure any support given will be greatly appreciated.

Now why did I write this? One to help support a family down in their luck. Not to make anyone feel bad in the horrors of today, but to allow everyone the choice(Capitalism is the right to choose) to help others or to not. I do not want to give out of guilt although you can if you choose, but to give if you are able to, want to, and feel a need to help those you can.

For those in the Northern Virginia area near Springfield, Va the fundraiser will be held on Sunday August 6th at 4 p.m. rain or shine at 8210 Rushing Creek Dr. There will be poker, pool, darts, an auction, plenty of food and drinks.

Thanks to all who read this, and thanks to all those in advance who do anything to help, even if it is just to pass on the information to others, a prayer, or to write a letter expressing your condolences. Thank you.