Qatar 2022 – The Whiny and Hypocritical US Sports Media Is Driving Me Crazy

A quick(er) rant.

The amount of contrived indignation on this topic is incredible. Since the announcement of Qatar 2022 (and Russia 2018) was made, the U.S. sports media has produced a non-stop barrage of articles complaining about every aspect of the decision. Other than the initial disappointment of having to wait longer for a World Cup in the US, I absolutely do not care that FIFA awarded the World Cup to Qatar or Russia. Rather, I’m sick of reading whiny articles about it. For both but particularly Qatar 2022.

Some of the complaints we read about Qatar daily:

1) The bribes and shady dealings.

I don’t like bribes or shady deals. Anywhere. But I’m not going to pretend bribes aren’t the way FIFA, the Olympics, UEFA, CONCACAF, CONMEBOL, AFC and CAF (and U.S. Congress) have always been doing things. Nor would I dare pretend that taking the World Cup from Qatar (or Russia) would accomplish anything. We Americans behave in the same way. Remember the Salt Lake Olympics? The investigations around it also implicated Atlanta 1996. Remember Chuck Blazer? He was made in America and was instrumental in arranging USA 1994. He and his co-horts didn’t get FIFA to bring the World Cup to a country without a soccer league because of their charm. They struck back-room deals like everyone else. Then they set themselves up to profit off the World Cup as much as possible. Sometimes these crooks get busted by authorities (see recent developments or Italian football history) but most often they don’t.

And from what many gather, the United States Soccer Federation, Soccer United Marketing, Major League Soccer, their commingled shell corps and a select few people are behaving in a very similar manner. I would be delighted if our media would spend just a moment looking at those within our own house with the same vigor. There has been too much bold moral positioning against far away foreigners by a domestic sports media engaging in ostrich-like behavior on a lot of topics.

2) Qatar’s slave labor.

There are those who’ve written we should boycott the World Cup because of this. Boycott the World Cup??? This is an absurd idea. Only hurtful to American soccer and for nothing more than irrational and hypocritical grandstanding. To be clear, I don’t support slave labor but if anyone has noticed, Qatar is a U.S. ally. These labor practices have been going on for a long time not just in Qatar but in a lot of countries that are U.S. allies or regimes put in place/kept in place by our government. A lot of the goods you probably used today were built by a labor force who has minimal to no rights.

US Central Command has a base in Qatar. The same labor probably built the some of the buildings our own military is using. So if you care about improving the lives of slave labor in Qatar or anywhere, start with calling our own elected officials and complaining to them. Don’t complain to FIFA about it. This is non-sense that ignores the real causes of these dynamics.

To pretend that the US Men’s National Team or American soccer fans should carry this baggage without any real-world context is ridiculous. Seemingly blind, our sports media is talking about stadiums being built by people who’ve been suffering for decades in a close ally with US approval. And since we are unlikely to stop being allies with Qatar (and their oil) for a long time, these people will likely continue to suffer long after 2022. Everyone of these articles should be addressed to the U.S. government, not FIFA or even Qatar. Or rather, they should be addressed to the apathetic American people who continuously elect the same brands of politicians who continuously behave in the same way with regard to our foreign policy throughout the world. This one, the slave labor complaint, is nothing more than a bunch of self-righteous U.S. media pots calling a kettle black. And it’s an American maintained, armed and protected kettle.

So no, I do not expect FIFA to give a hoot about how Qatar builds those stadiums like I didn’t expect IOC to give a hoot about how China built its stadiums for the Beijing Olympics. I expect FIFA to organize a soccer tournament in a stable nation with hotels and move on to the next one. In fact, I hope FIFA gives that very next one, the 2026 World Cup, to a country with an awful human rights record and which has been in continuous war since 1941: The United States of America. (If only Gulati and our self-righteous media would shut their pious mouths)

3) Winter World Cup:  I don’t care that pompous Europeans or whomever will have to adjust their league schedule for two months for the first time ever. There are a lot of countries which due to weather play Spring to Fall. Finally, for once, these countries will not have to adjust their schedule as they have been doing every four years since their leagues’ creation. Basically, one group has always been asked to adjust and does so happily and now another group is being asked to adjust ONE TIME and they are acting apocalyptic about it. Good grief, what a bunch of selfish jerks. Once in 100 years is not that big a deal. Get over it. Stop acting like the world is falling apart.

And for all those people whining about the World Cup competing with NFL/NBA/NCAA, Qatar is far away. In November, the time difference will be 8 hours, meaning the games will be on in the morning or noon-ish. They will not be on at the same time as any marquee US sports. The noon NCAA games are mediocre and the NFL reserves marquee games for 4pm and primetime. When Qatar 2022 happens, it will likely be the only time in our lives where we will get to wake up, watch amazing World Cup soccer and then immediately watch a full slate of great American pro and college sports . We are talking quintuple and sixtuple-headers of great soccer, basketball and football.

Qatar 2022…CAN’T FREAKING WAIT!

Russia too!

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Stop Blaming Corporations

I am sick of people constantly blaming corporations for everything.

Corporate behavior is highly predictable. A for-profit corporation has only one purpose: to seek profits and use those profits to pay shareholders and/or re-invest to increase share value and seek more profits.

A corporation seeking profits is like water filling cracks. The water by its nature will go wherever it can go. Do not ask it to stop. This is non-sense. It is up to you to seal the crack and prevent the water from going places of which you do not approve.

Too many people are complaining about lost jobs and blaming corporations naively. Now I say lost jobs but they have not been lost. They moved beyond our driving range. Namely to places like China, Mexico and Central America and wherever the costs of labor are mere fractions of American wages. It is painful to watch. Not because they are leaving though. Because we blame corporations and act like we do not know what can be done.

Think about how silly it is to blame corporations for a second. Even assuming a corporation wanted to keep its labor force in the United States, it cannot. Exclude the service industry or professional and medical jobs which cannot be exported. But for everything else such as the manufacturing of: clothing, autos, boats and planes, steel and metals, furniture, medical supplies, electronics and computers, etc….all of it can be produced anywhere on the planet. All a company needs is access to resources, labor, and transportation to deliver the product. Not exactly unique to America.

The current environment dictates American labor be replaced with cheap foreign labor. If a corporation wanted to maintain its American work force, it would forego a simple method of dramatically increasing its profits. It would defy its true purpose of seeking profits by all reasonable means. Corporate executives would be negligent in their fiduciary duties to shareholders by ignoring this reality and so they do not. Shareholders do not care whether Susie loses her job on the line, only whether their portfolio or retirement account rose 4% last quarter.

Further, not moving your labor costs overseas will likely result in the future dissolution of the company because competitors will certainly snap at the opportunity if not already. They will then use their increased profits to increase market share to one day force you into bankruptcy or buy you out and dissolve your company.

I cannot blame a corporation for undertaking natural and logical behavior essential to its survival. It is merely seeking profits by using all reasonable means and this is extremely low-hanging fruit.

So why do we hate them so much? Lots of reasons: People think the world is unfairly tilted in the favor of a powerful few corporations which use friendly (whore-ish) governments to advance their interests to the detriment of the public. People think corporations control Washington, corporate interests are the real reasons for war and corporations sending jobs overseas are killing the American economy.

They are not wrong. But they are blaming the wrong people.

If you were making decisions for a large company like Halliburton and knew a certain piece of legislation or military operation would increase your profits dramatically and hurt your competitors, why on earth would you not seek out such legislation or use every means necessary to lobby for the military intervention?

To accomplish this, why not also grease the campaign coffers of legislators if doing so results in the legislator taking action in your favor? Why would you not pay millions in bribes to obtain billions in contracts? Any sane business executive would because, again, a competitor would and it may eventually cost you your business. Indeed, competition dictates a corporation secure a politician first before another can even try.

Is bribing or sponsoring a politician even against the law anymore? If so, there remain a million ways to do it legally. Call it a campaign contribution. If you need to pay more than campaign laws allow, contribute to a political action committee or special interest group which serves the legislator’s purpose. If the legislator only wants personal wealth, hire some relatives and family members at ludicrous salaries. Or better yet transfer them land under favorable terms to sell it at a massive profit to a buyer you arrange. If you are nervous about authorities catching you (if they are even trying), then repeat your land deals in any foreign nation. I am sure the politician does not mind keeping money abroad. 

This is just the beginning. Have you noticed almost every one of these politicians has a book about their life and the contrived and made-up obstacles they overcame before they turned into a jackass politician? I used to wonder why anyone would read a book written by a member of a congress which has a favorability rating below cockroaches. I have only one guess. If you want to bribe someone legally, buy a product they are selling whether it is tongue depressors from a medical supply company or a book authored by a congressperson-swine. Who cares if Exxon or Raytheon does not intend to read 40,000 copies of Nancy Pelosi’s book or even if it is used as toilet paper? All she cares is they bought it and she will get paid.

With so many legal bribing possibilities it is enough to make a corporate big wig salivate over what he may be able to get passed in his favor. But it is also enough to give him nightmares over what his competitors are trying to get passed in their favor. Always remember this is the sticking point. Bribes have become a cost of doing business in this country and if you do not play the game, you get left behind.

Take a look at free trade. Corporations always knew if they could take their labor costs abroad they would maximize profits. But those pesky tariffs would prevent a corporation from making any profits from goods made in third world countries. So after asking a zillion times they were eventually able to pay enough congressmen to get it done. It is even bi-partisan.

Bye bye tariffs. The single device which effectively protected small companies and American workers from products made by cheap foreign labor for 200 years was gone like it never existed. I cannot remember the last time I heard a politician say the word ‘tariff’.

I do not blame corporations for this and do not tell me corporations own congress. The relationship is more akin to a john and a prostitute. The john pays to receive a benefit and the prostitute degrades herself but no one owns the other party. At least not permanently. It is a filthy but mutually beneficial relationship. So long as the prostitutes are available, the johns will return often to receive a benefit for the cheapest price possible. And since the johns keep coming back, the prostitutes can always use the money to maintain their position and fend off any challenging prostitutes in the next election.

This is the game Congress created: willful whores for a cheap price.

So stop blaming people like the Koch brothers for doing what is obvious and do not expect people like them to stop. There will always be profiteers asking for favorable legislation or asking for war. This will never change. Blame Congress. It is their duty to protect the American interest but they would rather act like prostitutes. Yet instead of degrading themselves for personal gain, they degrade the entire nation.

However, if you truly care, blame yourself. Then blame me and the rest of the American people. The jerks in Washington do not re-elect themselves. They have us to thank for this.

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