William Thien

One of the problems I have with levying taxes to finance stadiums or arenas is that once a tax is enacted to cover the cost of building a superstructure such as a football or baseball stadium, often that tax never sunsets as was promised by the financiers and politicians involved with cajoling the public to go along with the plan during the initial stages of development.

But that is really the least concern I have with such arrangements.

The primary concern I have with levying taxes upon the general public to finance the development of a stadium or arena is that once enacted, once the tax becomes law, the intake of taxes from the public to cover the cost of public services becomes intermingled with the intake of taxes to cover the cost of a private enterprise.

In other words, essentially that private enterprise is now taxing the public and those taxes become part of the general fund for some time, a day, a month, who knows really, until they pay the debt generated from the bonds used to finance the sports superstructure’s development.

When that happens any public interactions, disagreements, what have you with the private baseball team or football team now involve the taxing authority, the county where the stadium resides, the city, the state where the taxes are levied.

When perhaps you might find yourself involved only with a private enterprise over any number of issues suddenly now that private enterprise has the clout of the local taxing authority backing it, too.

In other words, if you disagree with something that private enterprise, sports team in this case, if you disagree with something involving them, chances are you will have to deal not only with the private enterprise but you will also have to deal, perhaps surreptitiously they will appear at your perimeter, with the local taxing authority who benefits from being in the position to collect the taxes in the first place.

You are sure to be dealing now not only with the sports enterprise as an example but also now with the usually hungry local taxing authority as they shove their weight around too, interested in seeing continuous tax receipts and the resultant accumulated interest generated by the private enterprise as well as the taxes levied to cover the cost of the development of the stadium or arena. Yeah, oh, yes ladies and gentlemen. Now you know where I am going with this.

It is not only the mere fact that taxes are levied to cover the cost of the development of stadiums or arenas, those superstructures that never really seem to pay for themselves in this day and age, it is the fact that the process of levying taxes and taking receipt of those taxes involves a government body who is naturally protective of those taxes for any number of reasons outside of the fact that there will be a distribution to cover the cost of the sports venue.

The taxes for public services and private enterprises become intermingled in the process of their collection and as a result, there arises a conflict of interest in handling of the public’s finances and often a blatant suppression by the taxing authority of the public’s right to speak about such venues and the teams that inhabit them, or to even question their mere development at the very initial stages.

And I’m not even mentioning the other parties involved or the fact that they can’t find another penny for schools or the roads in the budget.

Copyright © William Thien 2016

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Personally I don’t believe the incoming administration is going to be as conservative as the media and all of the left wingers would have the country believe.

Already the Washington elite have begun hacking away at Trump’s campaign positions. A softening of just about every position he had during the campaign, that which put him where he is in the first place, appears inevitable. He will be made to realize that his ideas were (as in past tense), “a bit too much.”

Trump’s Tweets have even become less terse, more diplomatic. Though less profound in Trump’s case, it is clear that what everyone feared would happen is in fact happening. President-elect Trump is being brought into the political fold he fought so valiantly against during the campaign.

I think instead it is quite possible that you will see a great deal of the real legislative and perhaps “physical” activism rise out of the House and Senate, both populated by a majority of Republicans after the election, something nobody predicted, also.

Yet the massive political shifting doesn’t stop at the federal level. Well over 40 states now have elected Republican governors and Republican majorities in the house and senate.

So what’s next for conservatives?

Opportunity. Opportunity like conservatives have never seen before at the national level to the local.

Though I don’t entirely equate conservatism with Republicanism directly, and I’ve written to that effect before, if there ever were a time for conservatives to activate and incentivize the elected in their favor, now is that time. There is in fact no time to waste.

With Clinton winning the popular vote during this election, there may not be another ‘what’s next for conservatives?” like this one, for some time or even ever.

All those estimated millions of people who said they were going to leave the country if Trump were elected are still here. I don’t see a massive exodus happening anywhere, do you?

Copyright © William Thien 2016

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This is a reprint from 2015. I’m just reprinting it because I think it has a certain contemporary significance to it.

Last year one of my favorite sports personalities came clean about his use of “performance enhancing drugs.” It was a big deal in the media.

To me what was really disturbing about the episode, though, was not so much that he used steroids, or whatever he was using, but that almost immediately a regional convenience store and gasoline chain dropped its endorsement of the guy.

At first I suppose you could say, “Well, I guess he had it coming to him.”

But at the time the price of gasoline was well over $3 a gallon, closer to $4 a gallon, and it had remained at that level for several years.

It occurred to me that the convenience store chain’s move to drop their endorsement of the guy was a bit hypocritical.

Here they were raising the price of gasoline when someone sneezed in a foreign country or when the weather changed one way or the other (they used both as excuses), or when there was a tropical storm in some other part of the world, or when one single fuel truck somewhere ran off the road, or when some politician was caught for infidelity, or when some little war somewhere flared up, or when the seasons changed, or when there was a holiday and people were traveling, or when global warming was announced, then climate change, then it was determined that global warming might not happen, then only when climate change happened some times, then when baby boomers started retiring, when some volcano somewhere fired up, when it flooded somewhere, when there was a drought, when it snowed, when it rained, when the sun was shining, on cloudy days, when birds started migrating, when the birds returned, and the list goes on and on.

Here and everywhere else the gasoline station/convenience store chain was giving it pretty thoroughly to everyone up the you know what along with all of the others who sell gasoline and totally mucking up the economy, eating up everyone’s discretionary income, and THEY, yes THEY were dropping the endorsement of some guy who used performance enhancing drugs so he looked a little better on the field.

I tell you what!

Why don’t they take the ethanol out of my gasoline because that definitely doesn’t enhance the performance of my car and it is driving up the cost of food, too. Why don’t they stop adding water to the gasoline? That would help, particularly at this time of year. And take all of those varnish type solutions out of the gasoline so I can store it for a couple of years like I used to be able to do. If you ask me, America’s fuel supply could use some “performance enhancements” itself, particularly now that the price of gasoline though down recently is going right back up.

Needless to stay I stopped buying my gasoline from that convenience store chain.

Copyright © William Thien 2015, 2016.

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This is a reprint from 2012. The reason I’m reprinting it is that following the recent presidential election, suddenly people started reading it again as if they were seeking it out.

Recently in the news the subject of America being The World’s Police Force came up again and something occurred to me about the matter. And this really only pertains to the capacity of our military in reference to a “police force.”

Since due to its force structure The United States is really the only country eminently capable of handling military activity around the world, it would seem then that by default The United States should be “The World’s Police Force.” You would think it should almost be automatic.

The problem with that sentiment, and it is a good one, is that it costs a lot of money.

Ordinarily police are paid for with local, state, and federal tax dollars. And they work within the borders of our country so the costs associated with the police traveling to and from police calls is limited to the geographical area within which taxes are originated for their employment.

Once you start sending so-called “police forces” outside of The United States, they begin policing in an area where no taxes are accumulated for their efforts. In other words, they are working for free at the cost of The US taxpayer.

Now there can be no question that there may be benefits to seeing peace installed in certain areas of the world where US forces intervene, but sometimes, actually, more often lately it would seem, the costs are way beyond the benefits to the American tax payer.

So, the question is raised, how do we pay for such military interventions without bankrupting The American Public? Well, for example, in Iraq I believe we should have somehow acquired at the very least partial rights to the oil reserves, for example. This is just an example, of course, though I believe it would have been suitable compensation for the dollar costs of the war there.

What is important is that as a country The United States doesn’t bankrupt its citizenry running all around the world attempting to quell each and every conflict. At any given time there are somewhere in the vicinity of 150 military actions taking place throughout the world. And unless we are protecting some viable resources of our own, I believe we should proceed with greater caution in the future unless we can insure our efforts will be compensated directly with the express intent of paying for the military action.

Military activity is expensive. I see no reason why The United States should not be able to acquire payment for its efforts. Call it colonialism if you will. It is better than making The American public out to be a bunch of patsies. And they are quite good at doing just that with their public relations campaigns and parades of sympathizers.

Otherwise, often we are really just working, and more importantly sacrificing our sons and daughters, for nothing really. An idea perhaps. But do we really want to keep making such sacrifices for everyone else’s ideas?

The world becomes a smaller and smaller place now. It is one thing to stand by your neighbor. It is another thing entirely to be tricked into accepting his fate.

Copyright 2012, 2016  William Thien

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Now that the holiday season is almost upon us I want to remind everyone not to forget the less fortunate, those who serve the country and our communities, and also to consider the natural future of our planet and its environment. The following are some organizations that I support regularly or volunteer with that could use your support, too.

You may donate by clicking directly on the links in this text. In no particular order, here they are:

The USO https://secure.uso.org/?sc=WEBDONTRIL  Supporting the morale, welfare, and recreation of troops around the world and helping them stay connected.

Paralyzed Veterans of America http://www.SupportVeterans.org  A great organization dedicated to serving veterans suffering from spinal injuries.

Disabled American Veterans http://www.dav.org  DAV will help you get to the VA for medical visits or complete paperwork associated with VA claims and specializes in working with veterans injured in combat.

Homes for Our Troops  http://hfotusa.org is an organization with an excellent goal, “To build mortgage-free, specially adapted homes nationwide for severely injured Veterans Post-9/11, to enable them to rebuild their lives.”

I have worked as a volunteer on one of these homes doing general things, handing roofing shingles up to the roofers, carrying wood to work locations, that kind of thing. They always need people. You can see if there is a home scheduled to be built in your area and volunteer by visiting their website.

Audubon http://www.audubon.org/  One of the most active organizations in seeing that our natural world is monitored and conserved. The Audubon Society does some incredible things when it comes to helping to restore and conserve natural environments. Take your kids to an Audubon Conservation Center for a guided hike and you will see what I mean.

The International Crane Foundation
https://www.savingcranes.org/  Eleven of the fifteen crane species face extinction, eleven of the fifteen species!

And don’t forget about your local food pantry. There is one in every town.

Copyright © William Thien 2016

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Someone asked me what I thought about the outcome of the election. I presume they were nonplussed at the results and thought I could offer an explanation.

At this point I would have to say that Trump had the right message and The Clinton campaign lacked any coherent message.

Throughout the Clinton campaign when things seemed to be faltering Clinton retreated to issues that she believed would ignite the female vote and based on the larger number of female voters in this country she expected to win. As I said early on during the campaign, this was going to be an election based on gender politics and I was right.

Women in prominent office around the country were predicting a landslide in favor of Clinton just on that one area of debate, gender politics, as if gender politics were the only issue facing this country.

Yet, to me the outcome of the election suggests that even female voters believe a lot of what Clinton thought were valid female issues were in fact issues invalidated by the lack of female votes for Clinton, which did in fact happen. In other words, the issues Clinton thought were valid issues were not valid at all or at the very least they did not surpass the significance of Trump’s message and positions during the campaign.

Furthermore, I believe male voters who favored Clinton throughout the campaign grew weary of listening to the constant questioning and moaning coming from Clinton and the moderators during the debates about gender issues that seemed to be inordinately unfair and amplified only to inflame the female voter. Essentially, as a strategy it instead had a cumulatively negative result.

I believe you could in fact assign a numerical value to these issues, summing them up and posing questions to prospective voters to determine the outcome of the election in advance.

Furthermore, I don’t think any machinations by any federal agency during the campaign had anything to do with the outcome because quite possibly the entire nation was surprised at the outcome of the election, including both the Trump and Clinton campaigns.

Ultimately then I believe Clinton made a strategic error in proceeding to make the campaign about gender politics which she seemed to do at all times and Trump effectively made the campaign about structural and economic issues that face the country. He stuck to those issues and it paid off.

That is all.

 

Copyright © William Thien 2016

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Now that the holiday season is almost upon us I want to remind everyone not to forget the less fortunate, those who serve the country and our communities, and also to consider the natural future of our planet and its environment. The following are some organizations that I support regularly or volunteer with that could use your support, too.

You may donate by clicking directly on the links in this text. In no particular order, here they are:

The USO https://secure.uso.org/?sc=WEBDONTRIL  Supporting the morale, welfare, and recreation of troops around the world and helping them stay connected.

Paralyzed Veterans of America http://www.SupportVeterans.org  A great organization dedicated to serving veterans suffering from spinal injuries.

Disabled American Veterans http://www.dav.org  DAV will help you get to the VA for medical visits or complete paperwork associated with VA claims and specializes in working with veterans injured in combat.

Homes for Our Troops  http://hfotusa.org is an organization with an excellent goal, “To build mortgage-free, specially adapted homes nationwide for severely injured Veterans Post-9/11, to enable them to rebuild their lives.”

I have worked as a volunteer on one of these homes doing general things, handing roofing shingles up to the roofers, carrying wood to work locations, that kind of thing. They always need people. You can see if there is a home scheduled to be built in your area and volunteer by visiting their website.

Audubon http://www.audubon.org/  One of the most active organizations in seeing that our natural world is monitored and conserved. The Audubon Society does some incredible things when it comes to helping to restore and conserve natural environments. Take your kids to an Audubon Conservation Center for a guided hike and you will see what I mean.

The International Crane Foundation
https://www.savingcranes.org/  Eleven of the fifteen crane species face extinction, eleven of the fifteen species!

And don’t forget about your local food pantry. There is one in every town.

Copyright © William Thien 2016

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