Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Coverup?

CHICAGO TRANSIT AUTHORITY ADMITS VENTRA TROUBLES MEANT $1.2 MILLION IN FREE RIDES, or so they claim. Actually, it probably is much more. I WONDER WHO OWNS CUBIC TRANSPORTATION SYSTEMS, INC.

Cta-logo---flattranspCHICAGO - Officials with the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) admitted today that problems with their new Ventra fare system have cost taxpayers $1.2 million in free rides.
The CTA says it will pursue reimbursement from Ventra's vendor, Cubic Transportation Systems Inc., which indicated it will reimburse" the CTA.
The estimate covers the time period from Oct. 1 to Dec. 19. The CTA says more than 900,000 bus rides and 21,000 rail rides were free "because Ventra fare readers were not functioning correctly."
Not unlike government officials pronouncements about the Obamacare website, CTA officials say Ventra is doing better. They say performance has improved as it continues to monitor the new system.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Where's the money going?

Wonder what happens to your hard-earned cash after you hand it over the IRS each year? Almost half goes toward paying for the ballooning entitlement programs—Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid—a proportion that will only increase as the number of retirees expands in the near future. Even worse, your tax money only funded 70 cents of every federal dollar spent in 2012, meaning the remaining 30 cents was borrowed and tacked on to the massive national debt.
Dollar600649

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Get ready to pay. (Partial list of new taxes)

WASHINGTON — Here comes the ObamaCare tax bill.
The cost of President Obama’s massive health-care law will hit Americans in 2014 as new taxes pile up on their insurance premiums and on their income-tax bills.
Most insurers aren’t advertising the ObamaCare taxes that are added on to premiums, opting instead to discretely pass them on to customers while quietly lobbying lawmakers for a break.
But one insurance company, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama, laid bare the taxes on its bills with a separate line item for “Affordable Care Act Fees and Taxes.”
The new taxes on one customer’s bill added up to $23.14 a month, or $277.68 annually, according to Kaiser Health News. It boosted the monthly premium from $322.26 to $345.40 for that individual.
The new taxes and fees include a 2 percent levy on every health plan, which is expected to net about $8 billion for the government in 2014 and increase to $14.3 billion in 2018.
There’s also a $2 fee per policy that goes into a new medical-research trust fund called the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute.
Insurers pay a 3.5 percent user fee to sell medical plans on the HealthCare.gov Web site.
ObamaCare supporters argue that federal subsidies for many low-income Americans will not only cover the taxes, but pay a big chunk of the premiums.
But ObamaCare taxes don’t stop with health-plan premiums.
Americans also will pay hidden taxes, such as the 2.3 percent medical-device tax that will inflate the cost of items such as pacemakers, stents and prosthetic limbs.
Those with high out-of-pocket medical expenses also will get smaller income-tax deductions.
Americans are currently allowed to deduct expenses that exceed 7.5 percent of their annual income. The threshold jumps to 10 percent under ObamaCare, costing taxpayers about $15 billion over 10 years.
Then there’s the new Medicare tax.
Under ObamaCare, individual tax filers earning more than $200,000 and families earning more than $250,000 will pay an added 0.9 percent Medicare surtax on top of the existing 1.45 percent Medicare payroll tax. They’ll also pay an extra 3.8 percent Medicare tax on unearned income, such as investment dividends, rental income and capital gains.
Meanwhile, the Obama administration touted a surge of more than 2 million visitors Monday at HealthCare.gov, plus about 250,000 calls to ObamaCare call centers.
“Volumes remain high but not equal to [Monday] and we have not had to deploy our queuing system on the site,” said Julie Bataille, a spokeswoman for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, referring to a virtual waiting room that is activated when the site is overloaded.
“We are taking thousands of calls at our call centers, which remain open until midnight, and we are seeing thousands of visitors complete enrollment online,” she said.
It wasn’t smooth sailing for everyone on the troubled site.
Software techie Jeff Karaaro tweeted in frustration: “Got three different codes trying to submit plan choices. No [one] can tell me what they mean. I nor call center can complete my application due to error.”

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Thoughts

MERRY CHRISTMAS OR HAPPY HOLIDAYS? WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES IT MAKE?

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By Irene F. Starkehaus - 
The duel between Christianity and atheism is the most important in the world, and the struggle between individualism and collectivism is the same struggle reproduced on another level. ~ William F. Buckley
In short, the reason that the clash between Merry Christmas and Happy Holidaysdoes matter is because religion and politics are the same thing. Insisting on the phrase Merry Christmas en lieu of Happy Holidays may seem like an act of tokenism to some, but to a growing number of Americans, it is the shot that will eventually be heard around the world as a firm and provoked backlash against progressivism. We are seeing the same reverberations of revolt making themselves heard through the recoil against the cancellation of Duck Dynasty by the A&E network. This kind of seismic activity should be duly noted by anyone demoralized by the perceived victory of the American Left in redefining culture. It really is a good sign.
I've read numerous articles likening the Merry Christmas effort and the Duck Dynasty uprising as something akin to a great awakening in American culture. I think this observation might be a little off, actually. I believe that the real awakening occurred three decades ago when the election of Ronald Reagan brought about an era of Christian revivalism. I think it has been laying in wait, ready to pounce for some time. What is unique about the year's Merry Christmasand Duck Dynasty struggles is that there is literally no one person who is leading the charge against secular bullying. It is completely organic and that should be of great concern to those who strive for a perfectly secular America. It should also be of great solace for those who mourn our nation's cultural deterioration.
Don't get me wrong. It's been a tough year for conservatives. Christians find themselves heavily burdened with the mass delusion of pragmatism regarding separation of Church and State as if such a thing could be possible. Because of almost universal misinterpretations of the Establishment Clause, The Free Exercise Clause and First Amendment, conservatives struggle to effectively point out that Judeo-Christian traditions are the very building blocks of American law and without God the whole system collapses.
The Left inadvertently proves this point by moving…with a nod and a wink from Republicans, I might add – Christian influence away from anything in the public arena and leaving American jurisprudence drifting in all its rudderless glory. With nothing to anchor the tradition of law to the service of God and Man, the president becomes the ruler – not the servant – of the People. Nine men and women in black robes become the judge and jury of the human race rather than advocates for the Constitution. The Congress becomes a parliamentary beard for a burgeoning American autocracy.
And it's been a tough year for conservative Christians because they have lost a lot of cultural territory that they had long believed was unassailable.
Americans now have marriage redefined through judicial activism when marriage, through the underpinning of natural law within the Constitution, could only be between a man and a woman. That doesn't matter. The courts have negated the importance of natural law in Constitutional liberty because it interferes with the judiciary's otherwise arbitrary power to judge. That this is the moral equivalent of building the foundation of law on quicksand is quite beside the point. Their power may lack any semblance of wisdom or restraint but they compensate by their complete and utter self-possession.
We have the federal government that is not just allowing the destruction of human life as a decision to be made between a woman and her doctor, but it's now necessitating said destruction through its very own HHS mandates. Never mind that the Left has accidentally overturned Roe v. Wade – the Golden Rule of American Progressivism – through inverse intervention by the State in dictating reproductive ethics. That's an argument for a nation that respects logic.
Further, the individual right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness becomes displaced through the subjectivity of those Obamacare requirements that may not be in keeping with a person's budget, lifestyle and value system. 2013 – it's been a very bad year for autonomy.
I think conservatives find ourselves most disheartened because we allow progressives to take the offensive and set the terms of each battle in the culture war. This is the antithesis of a proficient strategy for overcoming the Left's assault. The Left decides what battles will be fought, how they will be fought, what language will be used in fighting them and when the fight is over. Why is it then that conservatives wonder at our constant losses? At the soul of the progressive battle cry is the Left's baseline of inevitability. This doctrine of predetermination simply designates that once the Right has lost ground to progressivism, that ground can never be regained. Conventional thinking concludes that the Right must concede the defeat and move on to the Left's next battleground because that's how it has always been done. You know, except for the abolition of slavery, the promotion of women's suffrage and the Civil Rights movement…all of which were conservative initiatives.
The greatest Christmas gift that the Right can give to itself this year is a reaffirmation that there is no such thing as inevitability. Fate runs contrary to the gift of self-determinism and must be rejected every time the idea is put forth. When Republicans succumb to the unstoppable momentum of Obamacare, when they push away the calls for repealing this atrocity of law as…well, it's too late now. It's the law of the land…they are signaling their allegiance to the progressive doctrine of inevitability and they may as well resign because they are useless. To this point, it may well be time to start revisiting areas that Republicans conceded to inevitability decades ago.
Did Republicans long ago lose the major battle against Social Security? Yes, they did. Does that mean that Social Security is irrevocable? I'll bet it's not. I mean, I'm not saying that repealing Social Security would be easy. I'm not saying that just by virtue of taking on the fight that we would inevitably win. I'm just suggesting that it is possible to take on the behemoth of the welfare state, and it is possible to change the course of human history by doing so. And since Social Security is the argument that the Left uses for pushing Obamacare down the throats of the American people, perhaps it is time to think about retaking that ground.
Do Republicans habitually lose battles against the proliferation of abortion and contraception at the expense of the American culture? Yes, they do. Does that mean that this entropy is unstoppable?
It turns out that Planned Parenthood has disabled the ability to embed their latest Christmas video which speaks volumes to their complete lack of humility in creating it in the first place. Do me a favor. Follow this link and listen to their joyless, macabre Planned Parenthood parody of the Twelve Days of Christmas and tell me. Can they even hear themselves over their own reverb of smug satisfaction? Do they put forth all the Flukian decadence that lives at the heart of their campaign without recognizing that conservatives expect nothing less than this display of debauchery from them? Does their triumphalism sound a tad tone deaf to you?
Behold the difference between Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays:

For my part, I think the culture war has yet to be won, and I fully believe that a good deal of settled law has a little room for repeal. I call this is the true audacity of hope. I most humbly wish you a Merry Christmas and a jubilant year of resistance to the miserable march of inevitability. Merry Christmas… in word and in deed… because it actually makes a great deal of difference to a great many people.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Merry Christmas to all.


Is Liberalism Evil?

THIS ARTICLE SHOULD BE OF PARTICULAR INTEREST TO RESIDENTS OF THE 19TH WARD.
by Robert Arvay 
The flaws in modern liberalism are so huge, and so obvious, that one wonders how anyone could possibly be fooled by it. Perhaps liberals are not fooled. Perhaps they are not victims of shoddy thinking, but rather, opportunists hoping to cash in on a perceived train wreck. 
The current liberal policy dominating our national economy is breath-taking in its absurdity. It rests on three obvious blunders:
1. Spend more money than you have
2. Borrow more money than you can repay
3. Print more money to cheapen the value of what little you have left
No intelligent person can reasonably think that any of these are good ideas. Taking all three together, they are not a program of anything except national destruction. One need not be an economist to understand this. 
I would rather believe that liberals are stupid, than to believe that they are greedy, but with few exceptions, the evidence is growing that greed, not na├»ve altruism, guides liberal thinking. They have twisted the noble principle enunciated by John F. Kennedy into its opposite, which is this:  ask only what your country can do for you. 
The liberal talking heads on television seem always to be smiling, polished in their delivery, and well informed as to the facts, but their facts are cherry-picked. Their arguments, however polished they are, are as nonsensical as that of the accused bank robber in court, who, when told that 10 witnesses saw him commit the robbery, replied that he had a hundred witnesses who would testify in his favor – that they had not seen him do it. A gullible public nods in agreement. 
Conservative spokesmen, on the other hand, often appear unsmiling, and clumsy in their delivery. They present the facts, but somehow manage to understate them, as if “everybody knows that.” Only a few erudite conservatives, mostly women, hammer home the points that need to be made. 
Why? Why would seemingly intelligent people defend liberal policies that are so obviously destructive to the nation? Alas, many of them are expecting to survive the crash, to not only survive it, but to prosper from it. As evil as that is, at least one can recognize a perverse sense of reason in that expectation. 
More mysterious, however, is the fact that intelligent people can actually ignore the facts, and remain loyal to a personal ideology, even when those facts are counter-productive to their stated ideology. For liberals, this ideology is called, “fairness.” Barack Obama expressed it best during his first national campaign. He was asked by a reporter why he would raise taxes, when history demonstrates that raising tax rates results in less money to the government, whereas prudent tax cuts have always increased money to the government. Obama’s response was typical of the liberal attitude: lowering taxes is unfair, because it benefits taxpayers (duh), especially the rich ones. People who never pay taxes do not get tax cuts. In other words, Obama considers it more fair to sink the ship for everyone, than to keep it afloat, because some people reside in the expensive cabins, while the rest live in second class quarters. That way of thinking is an error of (pun intended) titanic proportions. 
It is not only the insanity of it, but more so, the moral bankruptcy of liberalism that is destroying America. A so-called abortionist who literally murdered innocent babies, born alive, is ignored or downplayed by most major news media, while the killing of a baby seal for its fur is considered little short of a war crime. The killing of a seventeen year old black youth by a “white Hispanic,” during a struggle, is denounced by liberals as murder, while the blatantly obvious murders of thousands of black youth by black people receives little or no coverage at all. 
A Christian wedding photographer, citing his religious beliefs, refuses to accept as customers two homosexuals, and he is held up as an example of Christian bigotry. Meanwhile, the policy of countries governed by Islam is to kill homosexuals, but you would never know that based on liberal news sources, because Moslems are portrayed by the press as “peaceful.” It seems the ultimate irony:  liberals condemn the very Christians who practice forgiveness, while applauding the very Moslems whose eventual aim is to kill or forcibly subjugate liberals and homosexuals. 
How can we understand this? Is there any explanation? There is none, at least not in the physical world. None. It is physically impossible for seemingly sane, rational people to adopt insane, irrational beliefs to the degree which liberals have done. The only possible explanation is spiritual. 

Sunday, December 22, 2013

More Duck Dynasty

Three generations. One duck related Dynasty. The Robertson family story told through the lens of Phil, Kay, Jep and Reed. From their humble beginnings and struggle in keeping their family together to a behind the scenes look into the Robertsons' continued commitment to faith, family and ducks amidst their immense success.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Rauner for Governor

RAUNER AND HIS RUNNING MATE

RAUNER LIKELY TO WIN COOK COUNTY GOP ENDORSEMENT AFTER DILLARD STUMBLES. I KNOW NOTHING ABOUT HIM EXCEPT HE FAVORS TERM LIMITS AND IS RUNNING AGAINST QUINN.

UPDATE: RAUNER IS THE OFFICIAL NOMINEE WITH 63.3%.

1370452461-rauner_april_2013CHICAGO - Is is being reported that Bruce Rauner will win the 60 percent of the vote needed to get the Cook County GOP's pre-primary endorsement. An announcement by the Cook County Republican Party is planned for Saturday.
According to Michael Sneed, Orland Township Committeeman Liz Gorman is lobbying for Rauner, 42nd Ward Committeeman Eloise Gerson is pushing for State Treasurer Dan Rutherford and Wheeling Township GOP Committeeman Ruth O'Connell is arguing for State Senator Kirk Dillard.
Sources told Illinois Review that the contest has primarily been between Kirk Dillard and Bruce Rauner. Rauner was offering financial investment into the various Cook GOP organizations, while Dillard was offering peace in the form of a brokered truce between the warring factions in the county's Republican leadership.
Initially, the preference among the leaders was for an armistice and therefore for Dillard. However, the Dillard offering went off the rails following his campaign's press release accusing Cook County GOP Chairman Aaron Del Mar of being bought off by the Rauner campaign.
"This is the height of pay-to-play," Dillard campaign manager Glenn Hodas said after Rauner received Palatine GOP's endorsement last month. "Rauner and his allies are basically buying votes while making it appear as though he's getting widespread support. It's absolutely unacceptable."
Following that, the Cook GOP leadership fractured again and the tide of support turned to Rauner, who the other campaigns admit will likely win the endorsement.
However, one township committeeman told Illinois Review that no matter who is endorsed on Saturday, GOP townships will work for the candidates of their local organization's choice, not the county's. So while Rauner may win the endorsement, the ultimate victory depends on who gets out the vote next March 18.

Dennis Rodman

Dennis Rodman back in North Korea to visit buddy Kim Jong Un, try to "help the world"

Former NBA star Dennis Rodman speaks to journalists as he makes his way through Beijing's international airport before catching a flight to North Korea, Dec. 19, 2013.  GETTY
PYONGYANG, North Korea -- Former NBA star Dennis Rodman arrived in North Korea on Thursday to help train the national team and renew his friendship with the North's young leader, Kim Jong Un, a visit unaffected by the recent execution of Kim's uncle in a dramatic political purge.
Rodman was met at Pyongyang's airport by Vice Sports Minister Son Kwang Ho. He made no public comments, but told a mob of reporters earlier at Beijing's airport that he expected, as on previous visits, to meet with Kim and make final arrangements for a Jan. 8 exhibition game in Pyongyang marking the leader's birthday.
"I know (Kim) is waiting for me to come back. So hopefully we will have some conversation about some things that's going to help the world," Rodman said.
His visit comes less than a week after North Korea announced the execution of No. 2 official Jang Song Thaek, an unprecedented fall from grace of one of the most powerful figures in the country.
Jang's execution marks North Korea's most serious political upheaval in decades and has sent North Korea watchers speculating over the stability of the Kim dynasty. However, Rodman's visit - should it proceed uneventfully - could be a sign that Kim is firmly in charge and unconcerned with any potential challenges to his rule.
Asked about the execution, Rodman said that had nothing to do with his visit. He said he wasn't worried about his personal safety in the North, despite the recent detentions of two Americans there, one of whom, Kenneth Bae, has been held for more than two years.  
Rodman and Kim have struck up an unlikely friendship since the Hall of Famer traveled to the secretive Communist state for the first time in February with the Harlem Globetrotters for an HBO series produced by New York-based VICE television.
He remains the highest-profile American to meet Kim since the leader inherited power from father Kim Jong Il in 2011.
Known as much for his piercings, tattoos and bad behavior as he was for basketball, Rodman has mostly avoided politics in his dealings with the North. He's mainly focused on using basketball as a means of boosting understanding and communication and studiously avoided commenting on the North's human rights record, regarded as one of the world's worst by activists, defectors and the U.S. State Department.
Defectors have repeatedly testified about the government's alleged use of indiscriminate killings, rapes, beatings and prison camps holding as many as 120,000 people deemed opponents of Kim, the third generation of his family to rule.
Rodman said he planned to return to North Korea in two weeks with a roster of 12 American basketball players, but offered no names.
"I hope this game brings a lot of countries together, because as I said, sports it is so important to people around the world," Rodman said. "So I hope this is going to engage American people, especially (President Barack) Obama, to just to try to talk to them."

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Duck Dynasty is suspended? WTF is that?

(CNN) -- Phil Robertson, a star of A&E's "Duck Dynasty," has been suspended indefinitely after slamming gays in a magazine interview.
"We are extremely disappointed to have read Phil Robertson's comments in GQ, which are based on his own personal beliefs and are not reflected in the series Duck Dynasty," the network said in a statement Wednesday.
"His personal views in no way reflect those of A+E Networks, who have always been strong supporters and champions of the LGBT community. The network has placed Phil under hiatus from filming indefinitely."

Ben Ferguson: I'd fire Phil Robertson
In an interview in the January issue of GQ, Robertson says homosexuality is a sin and puts it in the same category as bestiality and promiscuity.

'Duck Dynasty' star: Homosexuality wrong
"It seems like, to me, a vagina -- as a man -- would be more desirable than a man's anus. That's just me. I'm just thinking: There's more there! She's got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I'm saying? But hey, sin: It's not logical, my man. It's just not logical," he's quoted as saying.
Asked what, in his mind, is sinful, Robertson replied: "Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men."
He also made comments regarding race and growing up in Louisiana before the civil rights era.
"I never, with my eyes, saw the mistreatment of any black person. Not once. Where we lived was all farmers. The blacks worked for the farmers. I hoed cotton with them. I'm with the blacks, because we're white trash. We're going across the field. ... They're singing and happy. I never heard one of them, one black person, say, 'I tell you what: These doggone white people' -- not a word!
"Pre-entitlement, pre-welfare, you say: Were they happy? They were godly; they were happy; no one was singing the blues," GQ quotes Robertson as saying.
"Duck Dynasty" follows a Louisiana bayou family that has "made a fortune on duck calls," as A&E describes it.
Season 5 of is set to premiere January 15. According to A&E, its fourth season premiere in August drew nearly 12 million viewers to become the No. 1 nonfiction series telecast in cable history.

THIS SUSPENSION IS A RESULT OF THE LEFTEST MENTALITY THAT HAS TAKEN OVER THIS COUNTRY. OUR LEADERS HAVE NO TOLERANCE FOR DISSENT. THEY WILL CRUSH YOU. WE SEE THIS IN CHICAGO AND WE SEE IT NATIONWIDE. 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Sen. Dick Durbin (POS)

Likes to compare the U.S. Military to the Nazis


This man stands for all that is wrong with the leftist approach and must be defeated in 2014.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Camera

Thank you to whomever is responsible for the installation of the speed indicator on 111th St. It serves as a reminder as to the presence of the camera.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Salt

5:50 A.M. Where are the salt trucks? Both Oak Lawn and the state have their salt trucks out. 

Friday, December 13, 2013

Problematic

ESPN REJECTS ST. LOUIS CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL AD BECAUSE IT MENTIONS "JESUS" AT CHRISTMAS

ESPN has reportedly rejected a Christmas commercial from a St. Louis area Catholic hospital because the network found the mention of "Jesus" in the ad to be "problematic."
The commercial mentions that thousands of people in the community send "messages of hope to sick and injured children who may not be able to come home for the holidays."
"At... Cardinal Glennon Children's Medical Center, we celebrate the birth of Jesus and the season of giving, bringing hope to the many children, parents, and families that we serve," an announcer says in the ad before mentioning that the hospital's patients are "filled with hope" because they receive daily messages from the "treasure chest" beneath its "tree of hope."
The ad concludes by asking viewers to "help us reveal God's healing presence this Christmas. Send your message of hope at Glennon.org."
A new ad - without any mention of "Jesus" or "God" - was submitted to ESPN. See below.
More at Breitbart HERE

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Evangelii Gaudium

COMMENTS


Mark Q. Rhoads said...
I am a Catholic and the reason that I am annoyed by the criticism of Pope Francis of the free market is that his analysis is so completely uninformed. He is a Jesuit who has never lived in a country that had a responsible free-market system under the rule of law. He has no experience in free-market economics so he criticizes something he knows nothing about. If it were not for the success and prosperity of the free market over many decades, there would not be extra money to donate to Catholic Charities, universities, and hospitals. Where does Pope Francis think that money comes from? Corrupt socialist governments that are broke most of the time? The teachings of Jesus Christ do not include any immoral mandate for corrupt governments to take from one person to bestow on another person simply because some elitist somewhere decrees that a person who did not earn a dollar is more "deserving" than someone who worked hard to earn it for he love of his or her family.
Mark, you are right that Pope Francis' remarks on economics are not particularly deep or sophisticated. But the economics was not primary, not secondary and barely even tertiary to his Exhortation. And on two occasions in it, as he speaks of economics, he notes that it is not his responsibility and that he is not the expert. He invites the laity to unleash their creative and intellectual energy to direct socioeconomic systems towards accomplishing giving all opportunity. In this piece, I have responded to his invitation.
I worry that reducing this to an economic argument utterly obscures the critically important things he says about evangelization - which he notes IS his responsibility.
You are also right that he has no experience with market capitalism. Small wonder he is a bit off on what it is designed for - particularly when the premier capitalist country in the world is now dominated by crony capitalists who seek the favor of government as their path to prosperity rather than meeting genuine market needs. I would guarantee you that Pope Francis would have no criticism at all of the model of say, Hobby Lobby or Chick Fil-A.
Instead of ignoring the point of his Exhortation so as to criticize him on what he missed, why not recognize the substance of his call and respond to his invitation by re-establishing the capitalism in this country that lifts all boats, that bubbles up through the entire society, while rejecting the perverse cronyism that this administration has helped it become. Do that and I suspect you will make a believer out of Francis - in authentic market capitalism as opposed to the crony capitalism he sees at work here.