cronyism

American Justice ...

Throw a shoe and miss Hillary Clinton and face 2 years in federal prison.

Murder innocent children with drone strikes and receive a Nobel Prize.

Sell Bitcoin and face 20 years in prison.

Lose $6 Billion of taxpayer money and front run for US Presidency

Release information found on unsecured public webpage and spend 41 months in prison after being convicted in a state where no crime was committed.

Illegally monitor every American’s phone and computer using taxpayer money and exploits then receive $52.6 Billion in funding with no criminal charges.

Dear tumblr,

you’re confused. You complain about Capitalism on a $500 laptop and the most advanced cell phones. What you’re missing is that America hasn’t had true Capitalism in ages. We now have something called Cronyism, or crony-capitalism. See; Corporatism. 

“LETS GET RID OF CAPITALISM BECAUSE THE OTHER OPTION HAS WORKED IN THE PAST” said no person who has lived under Socialism ever. 

TAX BREAKS FOR OLIGARCHS – THE $100 MILLION MANHATTAN APARTMENT WITH A PROPERTY TAX RATE OF 0.017%

The most disingenuous and sickening type of status quo defender is the person who blames the recent expansion in wealth inequality on a “lack of skilled workers.“

The most disingenuous and sickening type of status quo defender is the person who blames the recent expansion in wealth inequality on a “lack of skilled workers.” Such a person is either a liar or an imbecile. There’s not much wiggle room there. Either this person doesn’t know that the Federal Reserve’s quantitative easing (QE) lifts asset prices while doing very little for the economy, or he or she is choosing to ignore it. Either this person doesn’t understand that the poor and lower middle class don’t own much in the way of stocks or bonds, or he or she is choosing to ignore it.

Since QE has been far and away the most important variable impacting the economy and markets since the crisis, ignoring its impact on wealth inequality is simply unforgivable. Yet, it’s more than that. Much more. Many of the polices existing in these United States not only encourage foreign oligarch money laundering into luxury skyscrapers that remain empty, but our society seems to go out of its way to ensure they have to pay as little in property tax as possible. Indeed, tax polices don’t benefit the rich, they benefit the super rich.

Nowhere is this more apparent that in the oligarch capital of America, New York City. A recent article in the New York Post made this perfectly clear:

New York City’s method of assessing property values is so out of whack that the buyer of the most expensive apartment ever sold — a $100 million duplex overlooking Central Park — pays taxes as if the place were worth just $6.5 million.

With controversial tax breaks granted to the One57 condo tower, the total property tax bill for the spectacular penthouse is just $17,268, an effective rate of 0.017 percent of its sale price.

By contrast, the owner of a nearby condo at 224 E. 52nd St. that recently sold for $1.02 million is paying an effective rate of 2.38 percent, or $24,279, according to data compiled for The Post by the Revaluate.com real-estate information website.

Basically, everyone gets squeezed in favor of the super rich, i.e., feudalism.

The figures, which Revaluate CEO Max Galka called “unbelievable,” show that the owners of the city’s 10 most expensive apartments pay effective rates that are a mere fraction of those paid on less-pricey properties.

Beneficiaries of the discrepancy include casino magnate Steve Wynn, entertainment mogul David Geffen and Ekaterina Rybolovleva, the socialite daughter of Russian oligarch Dmitry Rybolovlev.

Galka said that while the city values apartments at about 20 percent of their actual worth, the top 10 are valued at between just 3 and 6.8 percent of their sales prices, generating just $935,000 in taxes this fiscal year.

If those apartments were taxed at the national effective rate of 1.29 percent of sale prices, the city would pocket nearly $9 million, Galka said.

In a prepared statement, de Blasio spokesman Wiley Norvell said: “These inequities have been built into the tax system over decades, and they won’t be solved easily or quickly.”

“Any solution would require tax-law changes in Albany, and the impact of those changes on the lives of New Yorkers would have to be taken into account,” Norvell added.

In other words, not only will this not change anytime soon, but it’s apparently not even on the table. So “liberal” of you Mayor de Blasio. Just another fraud politician.

youtube

The Hidden Meaning Behind The Lego Movie

youtube

Cronyism. 

It’s happening. 

hosted.ap.org
Biofuels made from harvested corn plants are worse than gasoline for global warming

Biofuels made from the leftovers of harvested corn plants are worse than gasoline for global warming in the short term, a study shows, challenging the Obama administration’s conclusions that they are a much cleaner oil alternative and will help combat climate change.

A $500,000 study paid for by the federal government and released Sunday in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Climate Change concludes that biofuels made with corn residue release 7 percent more greenhouse gases in the early years compared with conventional gasoline.

While biofuels are better in the long run, the study says they won’t meet a standard set in a 2007 energy law to qualify as renewable fuel.

The conclusions deal a blow to what are known as cellulosic biofuels, which have received more than a billion dollars in federal support but have struggled to meet volume targets mandated by law. About half of the initial market in cellulosics is expected to be derived from corn residue.

The biofuel industry and administration officials immediately criticized the research as flawed. They said it was too simplistic in its analysis of carbon loss from soil, which can vary over a single field, and vastly overestimated how much residue farmers actually would remove once the market gets underway.

“The core analysis depicts an extreme scenario that no responsible farmer or business would ever employ because it would ruin both the land and the long-term supply of feedstock. It makes no agronomic or business sense,” said Jan Koninckx, global business director for biorefineries at DuPont.

Later this year the company is scheduled to finish a $200 million-plus facility in Nevada, Iowa, that will produce 30 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol using corn residue from nearby farms. An assessment paid for by DuPont said that the ethanol it will produce there could be more than 100 percent better than gasoline in terms of greenhouse gas emissions.

The research is among the first to attempt to quantify, over 12 Corn Belt states, how much carbon is lost to the atmosphere when the stalks, leaves and cobs that make up residue are removed and used to make biofuel, instead of left to naturally replenish the soil with carbon. The study found that regardless of how much corn residue is taken off the field, the process contributes to global warming.

“I knew this research would be contentious,” said Adam Liska, the lead author and an assistant professor of biological systems engineering at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. “I’m amazed it has not come out more solidly until now.”

The Environmental Protection Agency’s own analysis, which assumed about half of corn residue would be removed from fields, found that fuel made from corn residue, also known as stover, would meet the standard in the energy law. That standard requires cellulosic biofuels to release 60 percent less carbon pollution than gasoline.

Cellulosic biofuels that don’t meet that threshold could be almost impossible to make and sell. Producers wouldn’t earn the $1 per gallon subsidy they need to make these expensive fuels and still make a profit. Refiners would shun the fuels because they wouldn’t meet their legal obligation to use minimum amounts of next-generation biofuels.

EPA spokeswoman Liz Purchia said in a statement that the study “does not provide useful information relevant to the life cycle greenhouse gas emissions from corn stover ethanol.”

But an AP investigation last year found that the EPA’s analysis of corn-based ethanol failed to predict the environmental consequences accurately.

Government Healthcare as a Contract Breech

One of the smartest people I have ever met is a property and contracts lawyer, someone from whom I have gleaned countless and valuable insights over the years.  He has advised me, among other things, to lead a “haggle-free” business life, where bids solicited from vendors are a “one chance” occurrence.  There are no counter offers allowed.  Over the years, this has ensured a good price and a mutually beneficial arrangement all at once at our surgery center.  

He has also taught me what a contract breech looks like and how to think through the extent of damages.  While I do not pretend to understand the tiniest fraction of his trade, I am confident that what I have learned from him has kept me out of hot water many times, particularly relating to business activities at the surgery center. 

“People love to sue insurance companies because many times they deserve it,” he told me once.  Paying insurance premiums to a company offering homeowner’s insurance, for instance, with the understanding that weather damage would be “covered” represents a contract.  Any failure to make good on this “promise” by the insurance company exposes them to accusations of contract breech and fraud.  Collecting premiums and paying no claims is always a moneymaker, until this fraud is exposed.  Health insurance companies and many other types of insurance companies actively engage in practices that minimize or refuse payment of claims, bound only by what they feel they can likely get away with.  I am convinced that this is one reason insurance companies change their names frequently, this practice allowing them to scam the same population, masked by their new name.

What do you do if you live in a country with “single payer” health insurance and realize that you have been scammed, paying premiums (taxes) for many years, only to find out that you have little or no benefit?  You thought you were “covered” for various procedures or treatments only to find out that the treatment for your cancer was essentially in “layaway.”  You can’t sue for damages.  There is no recourse.  There is nowhere to turn, other than to leave the country to purchase healthcare elsewhere.  I am not sure there could be a better argument against single payer than an utter lack of recourse. 

The lack of market competition and the recourse market failure represents, explains the failure of health care delivery in all socialized systems, whether in Canada or the VA system here, or the new Obamacare silliness.  Canadians have to buy health insurance, basically by paying taxes earmarked for the small amount of health care placed in layaway on their behalf.  People in the U.S. now must buy “insurance” or pay a penalty.  Worse, employers must provide insurance to their employees or pay a penalty.  What’s the difference?  The “purchases” in single payer countries and those in the U.S. now both occur at gunpoint, both mandated payments to those in power or connected to power.

Before you lay the blame for Obamacare on all of the stupid people in Washington, consider for a moment, Rothbard’s historical method.  The brilliant “Austrian” economist began every investigation of historical events with “cui bono,” or “who benefits.”  In short, he identified the beneficiaries of a law or government intrusion and assumed the worst of them, rarely if ever mistaken in his provocative conclusions. 

Similarly, I maintain that to truly understand the purpose of Obamacare one must, I believe, start with the end result, that is, lots of very identifiable people and businesses getting rich because of this “law.” In the private sector, a scam like Obamacare would of course be considered criminal, at least a breech of contract. 

The victims of single payer healthcare, VA healthcare and increasingly, Obamacare, are learning these lessons in the hardest ways imaginable.  The most difficult task it seems is to come to believe that the gang in D.C. knows exactly what they are doing and doesn’t care about broken promises or lives. 

At the Surgery Center of Oklahoma we plan to continue trumpeting the power and the beauty of the market at work in health care, hoping that our facility’s success and wonderful patient success stories will more quickly bring an end to the idea that the provision of health care should be entrusted to the corrupt state.

G. Keith Smith, M.D.

For more information about free market health care visit:

www.surgerycenterok.com

www.marketmedicine.org

 

The Disgrace Of Sacrificing A Generation


Would you like to know how bankrupt our societies are? Financially AND morally? Before you say yes, please do acknowledge that you too ar eparty to the bankruptcy. Even if you have means, or you have no debt, or you’re under 25, you’re still letting it happen. And you may have tons of reasons or excuses for that, but you’re still letting it happen.

Our financial and moral bankruptcy shows – arguably – nowhere better than in the way we treat our children. A favorite theme of mine is that any parent you ask will swear to God and cross and hope to die that they love their kids to death, but the facts say otherwise. We only love them as far as the tips of our noses, or as far as the curb. That means you too.

While we swear on our mother’s graves that we love them so much, we leave them with a world that lost half of its wildlife species in 40 years, that can expect to make coastal areas around the globe uninhabitable during their lifetimes, and a world that is so mired in debt just so we can hang on to our dreams of oversized homes and cars and gadgets that all there will be left for them are nightmares.

But I always wanted what was best for them! Yeah, well, you always chose to not pay too much attention, too, and instead elected to work that job you hate and keep up with the Joneses and tell yourself there was nothing you could do about it anyway other than a yearly donation to some socially accepted charity in bed with corporations (you didn’t know? well, did you try to find out?)

You elected leaders that promised to let you keep what you had, and provide more of the same on top. You voted for the people who promised you growth, but you never questioned that promise. You never wondered, sitting in your home, the size of which would only 100 years ago have put aristocracy to shame, what would be the price to pay for your riches.

And you certainly never asked yourself if perhaps it would be your own children who were going to pay that price. Well, ‘Ich hab es nicht gewüsst’ has not been a valid defense since the Nuremberg trials, in case you were going for that.

The fact of the matter is, we can continue our lifestyles, best as we can, because we are able to make our children pay for it. We allow ourselves to continue to kill more species, at home but mostly abroad, because we never get in touch with any of those species anyway. Other than mosquitoes, which we swat. We can drive our 3 cars per family because we only see the ice melt in the Arctic on TV.

And we allow ourselves, and our governments, to get deeper into debt everyday, because we’ve been told that without – ever – more debt we would all die, that debt is the lifeblood of our very existence. We don’t understand what it means that our governments increase their debt levels by trillions every year, and we choose not to find out.

That’s a matter for the next generation; we’re good with our oversized flatscreens and coal powered central heating and all of that stuff. We are better off than the generation of our parents, and isn’t life always supposed to be like that?

Which brings us back to your kids. Because no, life is not supposed to be like that. Not every generation can be better off than the one before. In fact, you are the last one for whom that is true. It’s been a short blip in human history, let alone in the earth’s history, and now it’s over. And you must figure out what you’re going to do, knowing that not doing anything will make your sons and daughters futures even bleaker than they already are.

Europe Sacrifices a Generation With 17-Year Unemployment Impasse

Seventeen years after their first jobs summit European Union leaders are divided on how to create employment and a fifth of young people are still out of work. At a meeting in Milan today Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi plans to tout the new labor laws he’s pushing through. French President Francois Hollande will argue for more spending, a proposal German Chancellor Angela Merkel intends to reject. Britain’s prime minister David Cameron isn’t coming.

Their lack of progress may increase the frustration of ECB President Mario Draghi’s calling on the politicians to do their bit now and loosen the continent’s rigid labor markets even if that means facing the ire of protected workers. “An entire generation is being sacrificed in countries such as Spain,” economist Ludovic Subran said. “That has a real impact on productivity in the long run.”

How someone can talk about “a real impact on productivity” in the face of millions of lost and broken lives is completely beyond me. You have to be really dense to do that. And they pay people like that actual salaries.

When EU leaders met in Luxembourg in November 1997, the soon-to-be-born euro zone’s unemployment rate was about 11%. Jean-Claude Juncker, then prime minister of the host country, now president designate of the European Commission, promised a mix of free-market solutions and government plans would mean a “new start” for young people. Today the jobless rate is 11.5%. The Milan summit will focus on youth unemployment, which afflicts 21.6% of people under 25 across Europe, according to Eurostat. Even this number is almost identical to 1997, when it stood at 21.7%.

Average European youth unemployment numbers may not have changed much since 1997, which is bad enough, but plenty numbers did change. The young people of Greece, Spain, Italy and Portugal were not nearly as poorly off 17 years ago as they are today. That’s what the eurozone project has accomplished.

The leaders “need to discuss meaningful job creation,” Subran said. “It’s about avoiding the neither-nor situation of people being out of both work and school. This means providing jobs in the short term and training to improve skills and employability in the long term.” In February 2013, the EU allotted €6 billion ($7.6 billion) for youth-employment initiatives between 2014 and 2020, with the bulk of the spending in the first two years.

The centerpiece of the initiative is a “Youth Guarantee” that anyone under 25 should have either a job, apprenticeship, or training program within four months of leaving formal education or becoming unemployed. The initiative focuses on regions with over 25% youth unemployment, which is the whole of Spain, Greece, and Portugal, all but the north-east of Italy, about half of France, and a few regions of eastern Germany.

Lofty words. But nothing has come of them in many years, and nothing will. Politicians vie for the votes and campaign donations of the parents, not the children. Until the children are the majority block, but by then present day leaders will be gone.

Germany is opposed to discussing new spending until already allotted sums have been spent. Instead, Merkel’s government has stressed liberalization of labor markets as the best path to create jobs. France and Italy argue they are already taking steps to loosen their labor markets and those efforts won’t work without a background of growth.

Italy’s proposed rules, opposed by some lawmakers from Renzi’s Democratic Party, aim at making firing easier while providing a new system of income support for those who lose their job. European employment did improve after 1997, with the unemployment rate bottoming between 2007 and 2008 at 7%, and 15.7% for young people, as a credit bubble boosted growth in Spain and Greece.

It ballooned during the subsequent financial crisis. “I’m worried how the euro zone has detached itself from the rest of the world economy,” French Prime Minister Manuel Valls told business leaders in London Oct. 6. “If there is no strategy to support growth at the eurozone, we will be in even greater trouble.”

The only solutions in the minds of the leadership are reforms (make it easier to get rid of the older people and let the young do their jobs at half the price) and growth. Both of which have failed for all those years, but that’s all folks so they press for more of the same. Who cares about the young until they can unseat you?

The present leadership selects for a future in which they – and theirs – will still be the leadership. It’s only natural. Any victims made along the way there are seen as necessary collateral damage. Reforms and growth. Reforms being break down what generations of workers have built up in rights. Fighting squalid working conditions and miserable low pay. Think about that what you like.

But growth? What if there is no growth? Hey, even the IMF just said growth won’t return to levels of old. And then called for more reforms. But what lives will your children have if growth is gone, and what are you prepared to for them is it is? How are you going to soften the blow for them? How much are you willing to sacrifice for your children lest they be sacrificed by society?

One last thing: it seems obvious that we teach our kids the wrong skills. Or there wouldn’t be so many unemployed or in low-paying jobs. So if we want our kids to get a job, what should change in our education systems? Now, I must be honest with you, I’ve found our education so bad ever since I was even younger than I am now that I up and left.

I simply noticed that it was meant for people happy to be pawns in someone else’s game, and I knew that wasn’t me. Colleges and universities mold people into usable – not even useful – ‘things’, provided there is no independent thinking going on. Because that kills the entire set-up. It’s all been an utter disgrace for decades.

But this is not about me. The question is, what are we going to teach our kids? Well, with our present power structure, it will be a mere extension of what there is today. The overriding idea is that tomorrow will be like today, just with more of the same. That’s all we know, and all we have. And that’s what keeps our leaders happy too: a world in which they feel they can be safely settled into their comfy seats. Progress while sitting still. Don’t think I’m right? THink about it.

So would do you think the consensus would be when it comes to education? I think it would be having our kids be managers, lawyers, programmers, the same things that are ‘in’ today. More of the same, just more. But is that so wise if even the IMF says growth will never be the same it once was? What if things get really bad? What skills will they have that can help them through times like that?

Shouldn’t we perhaps teach our kids basic skills first, just in case? So they can grow and preserve food, build a home, repair machinery, that kind of thing? And only after that deal with the fancier stuff?

We have become utterly dependent on the ‘system’. Is it a good idea for our kids to be too? We lost our basic skills – or at least our parents did – at the exact same time that ‘growth’ became the magic word du jour. The idea was that we didn’t need them anymore, that other people would grow our food and take care of all the other basic necessities for us.

But what if that was just a temporary bubble, and it’s gone now? The data sure point to it. In that case, should we rush to move back our sons and daughters to the skillset our grandparents had?

And just in case you think this is all and only about Europe, this is a great portrait of America:

youtube

Kill the Export-Import Bank

This month will mark the end of an 80-year-old Washington institution that promotes cronyism and corporate welfare. On June 30, Congress appears prepared to let the Export-Import Bank’s charter expire.

Don’t fall for all the ads on the radio and television.  The Ex-Im is crony garbage.

Cromnibus? More like cronibus

Why are people even entertaining this “debate” between Democrats and Republicans over which side advocates for the ethically worst waste spending? Both parties engage in these backroom deals, but fairly often they’re pretty open about it (like their new relationship with the cybersecurity industry).

How do any of you not see yet that the problem isn’t the “other party”–it’s the government itself. Let go of your illusion of the mythical Right Person™ for the job because they do not exist.

No one knows what is best for you except you.

freebeacon.com
Major Obama Donor Avoids Jail Time After Brutally Beating Girlfriend

A high-dollar Obama donor who was caught on video brutally beating his girlfriend got off with 25 hours of community service last week after he pled guilty to domestic battery charges.

CCTV footage caught Gurbaksh Chahal, the CEO of San Francisco tech startup RadiumOne, kicking his girlfriend 117 times, including blows to the head, and trying to smother her with a pillow during a vicious 30-minute assault.

He faced 45 felony charges until the footage was deemed inadmissible. As a result, Chahal has managed to avoid jail time, the Daily Mail reported on Thursday.

According to police reports, Chahal also threated to kill his girlfriend several times.

Silicon Valley executives have come under scrutiny for their political activities in recent weeks. The CEO of web browser company Mozilla was forced to step down after it was revealed that he donated $1,000 to an anti-gay marriage proposition in 2008.

Chahal’s political contributions indicate more liberal sensibilities. He has donated more than $100,000 since 2011, all of which went the Democratic Party and Democratic candidates.

Those contributions include $81,600 to the Democratic National Committee and $5,000 to President Barack Obama’s reelection campaign.

RadiumOne’s board of directors includes Steve Westly, a major Obama donor who came under scrutiny after four companies that he invested in received stimulus subsidies while Westly sat on an advisory board directing the disbursement of stimulus money.

Chahal has visited the White House twice, on Nov. 30, 2011 to see the president, and on Dec. 14, 2012, to see the president and the first lady, according to White House visitor logs.

Chahal also greeted Obama at a dinner in San Francisco in 2012.

It was not immediately clear whether activists who boycotted Mozilla for its former CEO’s opposition to gay marriage would also target RadiumOne and other Chahal startups.

Watch on diarrheaworldstarhiphop.tumblr.com

Quinnspiracy Theory: In-N-Out Edition

——-

IT JUST GOT MORE INCRIMINATING

breitbart.com
Mike Lee: Conservatives’ Moment to Stand Against Cronyism - MY BIGGEST IRK/PEEVE

Most Americans know that our revolutionary history began when a handful of brave patriots tossed crates of tea into Boston Harbor to protest unfair taxation. But what they might assume incorrectly is that our forefathers did so in response to increased taxes.

In fact, the Tea Act of 1773 actually lowered taxes on imports. What truly offended the colonists was that it only lowered them for one corporation, the politically connected East India Company, giving it an unfair, artificial advantage over smaller, local American competitors.

Thus, not only was the American idea hatched in protest to a government that was too big and too intrusive, but also protesting a government that was willing and able to unfairly benefit favored special interests at the expense of everyone else.

Today, it’s commonly known as “cronyism” and represents a uniquely malignant threat to American exceptionalism.

Cronyism simultaneously corrupts our economy and our government, turning both against the American people. It forces American families who “work hard and play by the rules” to prop up, bail out, and subsidize elite special interests that don’t. It empowers and enriches the few by disenfranchising the many.

Like a black hole, cronyism bends the economy toward the state, inexorably shifting wealth and opportunity from the public to policymakers.

The more power government amasses, the more privileges are bestowed on the government’s friends, the more businesses invest in influence instead of innovation, and the more advantages accrue to the biggest special interests with the most to spend on politics and the most to lose from fair competition.

But once profits depend on serving congressmen instead of customers, the interests of the elite diverge from those of the nation.

Cronyism has created a warped economy, increasingly built on connections instead of competitiveness. We see corporations posting record profits and jaw-dropping gains among elites, but slow growth, stagnant wages and limited opportunities for everyone else. Except, of course, in the Washington, D.C. area, home to six of the ten wealthiest counties in the United States.

That is not to say that anti-cronyism should be equated with – or descend into – the cheap, ugly populism of class warfare. We want successful Americans to succeed. All we ask is that they earn their success on a level playing field, subject to the judgment of the market – as truly successful Americans always have.

Cronyist policies come in many shapes and sizes, but the upshot is always the same: making it easier for favored special interests to succeed and harder for their competitors to get a fair shot.

There are direct subsidies, like those that are supposedly necessary to protect family farmers but overwhelmingly go to the top 10% of recipients.

There are also indirect subsidies, like the loan guarantees issued by the Export-Import Bank, which unnecessarily risk taxpayer money to subsidize well-connected private companies that are perfectly capable of securing private financing anywhere in the world.

There are complicated tax code carve-outs and loopholes, as well as complicated regulations, which are all tools the government uses to collude with big business to erect giant walls that guard against free-market competition.

And then there is Obamacare, truly a cronyist virtuoso’s masterpiece.

The president’s signature achievement privileges certain corporations by penalizing Americans who don’t buy health insurance from them, subsidizes the purchase of those products, protects those corporations from true price competition and market innovation, exempts special interests like labor unions, government employees, and large corporations from various mandates under the law, and may even guarantee those corporations’ survival — even if they lose money — through an open-ended taxpayer bailout.

Cronyist policies violate the conservative principles of free enterprise, equality of opportunity, and the rule of law. It’s time we stand up for economic fairness and fight back against special-interest privilege.

For three years now, establishment leaders have challenged anti-establishment conservatives to accept political reality, engage the politics of addition, and produce a viable plan to make principled conservatism appealing and inclusive — to grow our movement into a majority.

Well, here it is: a commitment to economic fairness and competition at the top of our economy to help restore jobs, growth, mobility, and opportunity to the poor and middle class.

There is a direct line from our forefathers on Griffin’s Wharf in Boston Harbor to where we stand today. They had the courage to challenge a government that was too big and too intrusive, but also unfair. The result was the creation of an America of, by, and for the people. Our challenge today is to reclaim it.

Indie Game "Fez" Outed as Ripoff of Code, Original Creators

http://techraptor.net/content/state-gaming-media-interview-allistair-pinsof-part-1

http://techraptor.net/content/relationships-indie-gaming-interview-allistair-pinsof-part-2

http://gamesnosh.com/pinsofinterview-alleges-phil-fish-stole-colleagues-work-fez/

Former Features Editor for Destructoid, Alistair Pinsof, has just come out with insider info on major corruption regarding the indie side of the $40B-a-year gaming industry.

Amongst other revelations, he states that one of his reasons for leaving Destructoid in 2013 was “staff pressuring me into action and giving me false information of death threats toward individuals”.  Given this was most of a year before #GamerGate came into existence around August of 2014, the admission that faked threats were being used to push a narrative from within the gaming-journalism industry is chilling, to say the least.

“The general cronyism and boy’s club mentality of the games press created a culture where decisions to collectively affect people’s lives, negatively or positively, can easily be made… it is human nature that such a group where authority and power is held can cause parties, who should act independently in their readers’ interest and own moral compass, to cave to peer pressure instead. It also builds a culture where ethical breaches at companies will be ignored by others in faith others will do the same for them, should the time come.”

In particular, he went after overly-cozy relationships relative to the Independent Games Festival, an outlet considered crucial for breaking into the games industry by thousands of developers:

“Let’s talk about Brandon Boyer… Here’s a guy who runs multiple award shows, runs a game site that promotes indies, is friends with devs, PR, and all media types… If having a chairman of a judging committee running an indie game site that features exclusives from possible award show applicants doesn’t seem like a conflict of interest, it’s because you don’t have a say over how he runs the IGF or you are a journalist who doesn’t want to get on his bad side.”

This included people bragging about how certain awards shows were rigged:

“I was talking to a former game journalist… I asked what she thought would win the Best Game Award, she flippantly bragged that her boyfriend is friends with Brandon so he’ll win… I took it as a bad joke. Next day, sure enough, he won Best in Show for Faraway, against games such as Fez…”

And then there was the bombshell about Phil Fish plagiarizing the work of his former partners on indie darling Fez. Fish would later demean the innovative mechanics and catchy music which had skyrocketed the game to public attention, claiming “it’s all designed around my Miyazaki influence”.

(According to) McGrath, (he) worked on Fez until the GDC trailer put out in October 2007… At this point, McGrath… told him they were done and Fish agreed to cancel the project. The agreement was that McGrath would take his original design (2D/3D rotating mechanic) and Fish would take his Trixel engine, according to McGrath. When McGrath saw the game appear at IGF 2008, he was furious and felt backstabbed… two of its biggest creators were snubbed out of its development, uncredited, unpaid, stolen from, and lied to.“

The full TechRaptor articles, linked at the top, give the full story from Pinsof’s point of view.

50 NUMBERS FROM 2014 THAT SOUND FAKE BUT THAT ARE ACTUALLY REAL
2014 was quite a bizarre year, wasn’t it?

2014 was quite a bizarre year, wasn’t it?  The past 12 months brought us MH370, Ebola, civil war in Ukraine, civil unrest in Ferguson, the rise of ISIS and the fall of the Democrats in the midterm elections.  Our world is becoming crazier and more unstable with each passing day, and I have a feeling that things are going to accelerate greatly in 2015.  But for the moment things are relatively quiet as much of the world stops to celebrate the holiday season, so now is a good time to look back and see where we have been over the past year.  The facts that I am about to share with you sound false, but they are all quite true.  If you doubt any of these facts, just click the link on the number to find the source.  It has been said that truth is stranger than fiction, and that was definitely the case during the past 12 months.  In no particular order, the following are 50 numbers from 2014 that sound fake but that are actually real…

2.5 – Researchers have discovered that characters in cartoons for children are 2.5 times more likely to die than characters in adult dramas.  But as long as those characters look cute and make funny noises it must be okay.

$4.20 – The price of ground beef just hit a brand new record high of $4.20 a pound.  Exactly 10 years ago, it was just $2.21 a pound.  What do you thinkClara Peller would say about this?

19.8 percent – This holiday season, nearly 20 percent of all American families are on food stamps.  But since the stock market is soaring, most of the rest of the country doesn’t seem to care.

$20 – If you want to “lock down that new man for Christmas”, you can buy a positive pregnancy test on Craigslist for just 20 dollars.

29.0 years – The average age when a man in America first gets married has reached an all-time high of 29.0 years.  Thus the need for the fake pregnancy tests.

31.1 percent – An astounding 31.1 percent of all U.S. young adults in the 18 to 34-year-old age bracket are currently living with their parents.  But the good news is that demand for tacky basement decor is at an all-time high.

33 percent – According to the Wall Street Journal, close to one-third of all Americans have a file in the FBI’s master criminal database.

34.6 percent – According to the CDC, 34.6 percent of all men in America officially meet the criteria for being obese.

36 – At this point only 36 percent of the U.S. population can name all three branches of government.

43 – The new EPA regulations issued while Barack Obama has been president are 43 times as long as the entire Bible.

45 percent – One survey discovered that 45 percent of all Americans “dread” the Christmas season.

48 percent – Only 48 percent of Americans can immediately come up with $400 in emergency cash without borrowing it or selling something.

50 – An MIT research scientist is warning that if current trends continue 50 percent of all children in America will be autistic by the year 2025.

50 percent – Half of all college graduates in America are still financially dependent on their parents when they are two years out of college.

52 percent – According to a survey that was conducted earlier this year, 52 percent of all Americans cannot even afford the house that they are currently living in right now.

54 percent – For the first time ever, more than half of all U.S. doctors support the legalization of assisted suicide.

57 percent – A recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll found that 57 percent of all Americans consider race relations in America to be “bad”.  That is the worst number in 20 years.

59 percent – One very disturbing recent poll discovered that 59 percent of Americans are in favor of torturing our prisoners.

60 percent – In the United States today, 60 percent of all bachelor’s degrees are earned by women.

64 percent – It would be a great understatement to say that pornography is popular with men in America.  This is true even among men that are supposed to be religious.  For example, one survey discovered that 64 percent of all Christian men ages 31 to 49 look at porn at least monthly.

65 percent – One shocking new poll found that 65 percent of Americans believe that the government is “broken”.  The shocking part of the survey was that it was only 65 percent.

65 percent – According to a Census Bureau report that was released in December, 65 percent of all children in America are living in a home that receives some form of aid from the federal government.

70 percent – Right now, about 70 percent of all government spending goes toward dependence-creating programs.

78 percent – According to a Pew Research Center study that was released earlier this year, 78 percent of U.S. women “want a spouse with a steady job”.  Apparently the other 22 percent want an unemployed bum that stays home all day playing video games.

85 percent – 85 percent of all artificial Christmas trees are now made in China, and there is a rumor that Santa and his elves are considering a permanent move to the Chinese city of Shenzhen.

1979 – The United States has become the nation of the “permanent emergency”.  In fact, there has been at least one “state of emergency” in effect in this country since 1979.

7,500 – The worldwide Ebola death toll has surpassed 7,500 for the first time, but most Americans seem to believe that the crisis is over.  The truth is that it may just be beginning.

20,000 – Right now McDonald’s has 14,267 locations in the United States, but payday lenders have more than 20,000.

$30,000 – According to the Social Security Administration, 52 percent of all American workers made less than $30,000 last year.

80,000 – Back in 1980, there were only about 3,000 SWAT raids conducted in the United States.  But today, there are more than 80,000 SWAT raids per year in this country.

100,000 – It is estimated that there are at least 100,000 underage sex workers in the United States.  In case you were wondering, yes that means that we are a very sick nation.

$1,000,000 – We are supposed to be a government “of the people, by the people and for the people”, but at this point more than half the members of Congress are millionaires.

1,400,000 – Thanks in large part to unchecked illegal immigration, there are now 1.4 million members of criminal gangs living in our cities.

2,400,000 – There are currently more than 2.4 million people behind bars in America, and since 1980 the number of people incarcerated in our prisons has quadrupled.

2,500,000 – According to the National Center on Family Homelessness, there are now 2.5 million homeless children in the United States.

4,000,000 – Right now there are more than 4 million adult websites on the Internet, and they get more traffic than Netflix, Amazon and Twitter combined.

9,700,000 – Almost 10 million more Americans have enrolled in Medicaid since Obamacare first launched.

15,000,000 – More than 15 million Americans have cosmetic procedures done each year, and Christmas is the busiest season of the year for plastic surgeons.

30,000,000 – In America today, more than 30 million Americans are taking antidepressants.  And keep in mind that antidepressants are only one class of pharmaceutical drug.  Overall, nearly 70 percent of all Americans are currently on at least one prescription drug according to the Mayo Clinic.

$40,000,000 – More than 40 million dollars has been spent just on vacations for Barack Obama and his family since he has been in the White House.

49,000,000 – An astounding 49 million Americans are considered to be facing food insecurity at this point.

110,000,000 – Approximately one-third of the entire population of the United States (110 million people) currently has a sexually transmitted disease according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

156,600,000 – The population of Bangladesh (156,600,000) is actually larger than the population of Russia (143,500,00).  But nobody is scared of Bangladesh.

3,000,000,000 – For the first time ever, there are now more than 3 billion people on the Internet around the globe.  I don’t know if that is a good thing or a bad thing.

$600,000,000,000 – Americans will spend more than 600 billion dollars this Christmas season.  That is an amount of money greater than the entire GDP of Sweden.

$1,200,000,000,000 – Student loan debt has hit a grand total of 1.2 trillion dollars in the United States.  That number has grown by about 84 percentjust since 2008.

$2,000,000,000,000 – The war in Iraq cost U.S. taxpayers more than 2 trillion dollars, but now a radical jihadist terror organization known as ISIS controlsnearly a third of the entire country.

5,000,000,000,000 – There are now 5 trillion little pieces of plastic floating around in the oceans of the world, and lots more plastic is being dumped into our oceans every single day.

$18,031,021,541,347.52 – The current size of the U.S. national debt.  It increased by more than a trillion dollars during the fiscal year that ended a few months ago, and it is on pace to approximately double during Obama’s eight years in the White House.

$40,000,000,000,000 – There are five “too big to fail” banks in the United States that each have more than 40 TRILLION dollars worth of exposure to derivatives.  This is a “sword of Damocles” that could destroy our financial system and our entire economy at any time.  Let’s just hope that it does not happen in 2015.