Obamacare still Unkind to Catholics

Posted by PITHOCRATES - June 16th, 2012

Week in Review

It would appear that President Obama doesn’t like Catholics.  Catholics don’t believe in abortion or birth control.  But Obamacare will force Catholic hospitals, universities and charities to provide them.  Well, at least the birth control and the morning after pill.  For now.  They’ll be time to include regular abortions later (see Catholic group seeks change in birth control policy by David Morgan posted 6/15/2012 on Reuters).

The Obama administration’s decision in January to require employers including religiously affiliated hospitals, universities and charities to provide employees with access to coverage for contraceptives without copays or deductibles has ballooned into a major battle in an election year.

The Catholic Church considers artificial contraception to be a sin and the administration’s demands on contraceptives have been decried as a violation of religious freedom…

The administration policy, authorized under President Barack Obama’s healthcare reform law, covers all contraceptives approved by the Food and Drug Administration including the so-called morning after pill, which women can take after sex to avoid becoming pregnant.

The Obama administration is going ‘all China’ when it comes to family planning.  Provide as much access to birth control and abortion as possible to keep people from getting the disease they call pregnancy.  Yet at the same time they want to grant amnesty to illegal aliens.  Interesting as these issues are related.  How?  One reduces the amount of taxpayers.  The other increases the amount of taxpayers. 

The use of birth control and abortion took off during the Sixties and the Seventies.  Which created a baby bust following the baby boom.  There are now fewer people entering the workforce than there are people leaving the workforce.  So you have a growing retired population supported by a shrinking working population.  You add these numbers up and it equals one thing if you’re a tax and spend liberal.  You need amnesty for illegal aliens to make up for the taxpayers that were never born.  Or austerity.  And as austerity never goes over well with the people they’ll go with amnesty.  Because they don’t want what’s happening in Greece happening here.

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Woman violates Chinese Regulations by being Pregnant so State aborts her Baby

Posted by PITHOCRATES - June 16th, 2012

Week in Review

Your chances of surviving childhood depends a lot on where you were born.  And whether regulations will permit you to be born (see Late-stage abortion was ‘serious violation’ by Ma Lie in Xi’an posted 6/15/2012 on China Daily).

The family planning authority in Shaanxi province said on Thursday it will show no tolerance to officials who committed a “serious violation” by performing an abortion on a woman seven months pregnant.

An investigation team was sent to Zhenping county this week after images widely circulated online of Feng Jianmei, 23, lying in a hospital bed next to her dead baby girl…

“I was working in the Inner Mongolia autonomous region and received a text message from (a family planning official) saying that if I did not hand over 40,000 yuan ($6,300) to the government my wife would have to abort our child,” said Deng, showing the message, which he had stored on his cell phone.

When asked about the message by China Daily, the official denied sending it, claiming it was a fake and saying he had never requested money from Deng.

Can you imagine anything worse than this?  Bartering a human life for money?

The county’s population and family planning commission denied Feng was forced to have an abortion, saying the operation was performed because she was in breach of regulations and that she had given her consent.

Under the rules, couples in which both husband and wife have rural hukou, or household registration, can have a second child once their first reaches the age of 5. Deng and Feng have a 5-year-old daughter.

However, Feng was born in the Inner Mongolia autonomous region and has no rural hukou in Zhenping, so the couple were not eligible for a second child, Ding Hongxia, an official with the county’s family planning commission, said on Wednesday.

Except, perhaps, this.  Baby aborted because she violated regulations.  Tough people, the Chinese.  They take their regulations seriously.  And will stop at nothing to enforce them.  Even if a baby has been carried to 7 months.  Even pro-life people in the U.S. must feel uneasy about this.

In Sub-Saharan Africa a kid has to beat childhood disease, hunger, war and the occasional genocide to survive.  In China the greatest problem a child has to overcome is being born.  Who would have thought a child has a better chance of surviving childhood in Sub-Saharan Africa than in China?

Interestingly the Left feels more pity for the children in Sub-Saharan Africa than they do for those not born in China.  This is, of course, because they’re pro-choice.  And in their state-planning ways part of them admires the Chinese.  For in an economy where they want the state to run as much as possible abortion is a good way to reign in government expenditures.  It’s sort of like in the movie The China Syndrome at the end.  When Jack Godell locked himself inside the control room of the reactor.  He reduced the output of the dangerous reactor but he did not shut it down completely.  For he said with the reactor on he had power.  With it off he had no power.  It’s the same with the Left.  They like abortion to reduce government expenditures.  But they don’t want to get rid of everyone that might be born into the dependent class of government.  Because then they would lose their power.

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The Australians raise Electric Bills to pay for Solar Panels and to Punish Carbon Sinners

Posted by PITHOCRATES - June 16th, 2012

Week in Review

The ‘dangerous rise’ in global temperatures roughly corresponds to our actions to lower global temperatures.  In particular our attack on coal.  First we put scrubbers on our coal-fired power plants.  Then we turned to shutting them down in favor of renewable energy.  Which may have been a mistake.  For those coal-fired power plant emissions actually cooled the planet.  Thanks to the soot, ash and sulfur they threw into the atmosphere.  Like a bunch of tiny volcanoes.  Which have been blamed for some cooling spells that have led to famines.  Because all of that soot, ash and sulfur in the atmosphere kept the sun from heating the planet.  And shortened growing seasons.  But this knowledge hasn’t changed anything.  Because the attack on coal is good for government coffers (see Renewables blowout as wind, solar hit harder than tax by Sid Maher and Michael Owen posted 6/16/2012 on The Australian).

SUBSIDIES for rooftop solar panels will cost consumers about $2.3 billion over the next year as the combination of a federal government solar subsidy program and state government feed-in tariffs add about $140 a year to household power bills.

The figures emerged as the South Australian government’s electricity regulator yesterday announced an 18 per cent rise in electricity prices for the state’s households, with the cost of the state’s solar feed-in tariff scheme outstripping that of the carbon tax. State and federal governments are facing calls for reform of the schemes as they are driving electricity prices higher, in addition to the increases associated with the carbon tax.

That’s billion with a ‘b’.  That’s a lot of money to spend.  And governments just love spending money.  So what if it raises our electricity prices?  As far as they are concerned burning coal is as bad as smoking a cigarette.  And this is just a sin tax for everyone.  For the sin of being human.  And taking control of our environment to create the modern world.  Which the environmentalists disapprove of.  We belong in caves.  Hunting and gathering like our ancestors.  Well, gathering, at least.  For the environmentalists would rather we coexist with our fellow animals.  Share our pristine environment.  And not eat them.  Of course, that wouldn’t stop them from trying to eat us.  But that would be okay.  For they could take control of their environment.  As long as they don’t burn coal.  Or are overly flatulent.  Because too much methane released into the atmosphere could raise global temperatures, too.

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New Zealand attacks America for Subsidizing and Protecting their Farmers

Posted by PITHOCRATES - June 16th, 2012

Week in Review

You’re probably not familiar with the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP).  But it’s a pretty big free-trade deal.  Or an attempt at one.  But few Americans have heard of this.  Including members of Congress.  Who can’t get any details out of the Obama administration about the current negotiations.  Which are primarily held in secret.  But they’re talking about it in New Zealand.  And they are even less happy about these negotiations (see NZ must stay staunch on TPP by Matthew Hooton posted 6/16/2012 on The National Business Review).

The Americans want us to pay more for Nikes, entertainment and pharmaceuticals, weaken Fonterra and tinker with Telecom.

It’s a deal we’ll gladly do if they stop subsidising and protecting their farmers, and give us unfettered access to their market.

That, roughly, is the deal on the table for the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP).

The risk is that our trade negotiators will buckle, conceding the former without gaining the latter.

Instead, they should walk unless New Zealand and our free-trade allies get everything we want.

The TPP began as a New Zealand and Singaporean-led initiative in the 1990s, privately encouraged by the Clinton Administration.

Its purpose was to provide a genuine free-trade path for those members of the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (Apec) forum who meant it.

You sure hear a lot from the government about China’s unfair trading practices.  Saying their idea of free trade isn’t fair trade.  But ‘fair trade’ depends on one’s perspective.  Apparently.  For when the Chinese trade at an advantage to the Americans that isn’t fair.  But it is fair to trade at an advantage to the New Zealanders.  Funny how that works.

Free trade is good.  Free trade is fair.  Because of David Ricardo’s Comparative Advantage.  Where countries produce what they can produce most efficiently.  And trade for what others can produce more efficiently.  Thus all countries use their available resources most efficiently.  And create the greatest amount of wealth from their resources.  Thus maximizing wealth creation for all trading partners.  And increasing their standards of living.  This is what free trade gets you.  Even when it comes to the farm.

Some in Britain fought against the repeal of the Corn Laws for the longest time.  Mostly the landed aristocracy who liked selling their crops at high prices.  Because if their markets were open to U.S. farm exports pouring out of America that competition would force them to lower their prices.  And they didn’t want that.  They wanted the British to pay higher prices for their food.  So they could earn more.  But they eventually repealed the Corn Laws in Britain.  And food prices fell.  Good for the hungry.  Bad for the landed aristocracy.  But good for the British Empire.  Which reached its greatest wealth and glory during the second half of the 19th century.  Because of David Ricardo’s Comparative Advantage. 

Interesting that after the British Corn Laws the Americans would be protecting their farmers.  Less than a century later the Americans caused the Great Depression in part by trying to protect their farmers (the mechanization of the farm caused food prices to fall leading to the farm loan defaults, price supports, tariffs, etc.).  And still are.  Forcing Americans to pay higher food prices.  By keeping less costly food out of the market.

People may attack free trade.  As they may attack free market capitalism.  But what we have isn’t really free trade.  Or free market capitalism.  It’s more rent-seeking mercantilism than the profit-seeking capitalism that replaced it.  For awhile, at least.  The progressives launched their attack on capitalism around the turn of the 20th century.  And have been fighting it ever since.

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The Women in Photo Breastfeeding in Public while in Uniform were Reprimanded for Violating Regulations

Posted by PITHOCRATES - June 16th, 2012

Week in Review

There has been some fallout from that photo of military women breastfeeding their babies while in uniform.  The woman who organized it lost her civilian job.  And the Air National Guard has reprimanded the two women in the photograph (see Woman Behind Controversial Military Breastfeeding Photo is Fired from Her Civilian Job by Lylah M. Alphonse posted 6/15/2012 on Yahoo! Shine).

The woman who organized an awareness campaign that came under fire for featuring two airmen breastfeeding while in uniform has been fired from her civilian job as an X-ray technician, her lawyer tells Yahoo! Shine.

Crystal Scott, an Army veteran, military spouse, and the program director of the Mom2Mom breastfeeding awareness group at Fairchild Air Force Base, was terminated by Schryver Medical, a provider of X-rays, EKGs, ultrasounds, and other medical digital imaging services, on June 1…

Scott — who served in the Army from 2000 to 2006, including a tour in Iraq, and whose husband is still in the military — was surprised by the outrage. “I’m an X-ray tech and I breastfeed in my uniform all the time,” she told Yahoo! Shine in an interview on May 30, the day the controversy ignited. “Granted they’re scrubs. But people do it all the time in their uniforms. If you have a hungry baby, why would you take the time to change completely..?”

First of all we should all thank her for her service.  Which was honorable and selfless.  So few have served in Iraq.  And those who have deserve the thanks of a grateful nation.  Regardless of where you stand on the politics of the Iraq War.  And we should cut our combat veterans some slack.  They’ve earned that.  But this was not just wearing your Green Beret indoors (I remember seeing this once and asked a friend why he didn’t remove his beret.  He said he had served in Vietnam.  And didn’t have to.  But other than that the uniform conformed to regulations.  And wearing that Green Beret indoors only brought honor and respect to the man.  And the uniform.)  This was women pulling their breasts out of their uniform in public.  Drawing attention to them.  And making the uniform look like some tacky prop in an SNL skit.

She was surprised?  A lot of brave men and women have worn that uniform in a combat zone.  Including her.  You just don’t belittle the uniform and all those who have worn it like that.  It should be treated with respect.  And reverence.  But the military is not unfair.  They let their people do things in their uniform that doesn’t draw respect to it.  Like having a bowel movement.  Which uniformed people do behind closed doors (unless they are deployed forward in a combat zone).  But when they emerge from the latrine their uniform conforms to regulations.  And they wear it with respect.  As it should be.  At all times.  All of the time.

The two members of the Air National Guard who appeared in the controversial photo, Terran Echegoyen-McCabe and Christina Luna have been reprimanded because the photo “violated a policy that forbids military members from using the uniform to further a cause, promote a product or imply an endorsement,” the Air Force Times reported.

“The uniform was misused. That’s against regulations,” Captain Keith Kosik, a spokesman for the Washington National Guard, told the Air Force Times. “I want to be very, very clear about this. Our issue is not, nor has it ever been, about breastfeeding. It has to do with honoring the uniform and making sure it’s not misused. I can’t wear my uniform to a political rally, to try to sell you something or push an ideology. That was our point of contention.”

The Air National Guard did not dishonorably discharge these women.  They only reprimanded them.  It may affect their promotion through the ranks.  But that’s the price you pay when you violate regulations to make a political statement.  Perhaps the politics of the situation prevented a more harsh disciplinary action (you never get good press for firing women, especially moms for doing motherly things).  Or it was in recognition of their service to this country.  But in the future when these women breastfeed their babies while in uniform let’s hope they do so behind closed doors.  Where they can safely violate uniform regulations.  And not dishonor those who wore the uniform before them.  And those currently wearing the uniform.  Just to make a political statement. 

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Argentines prefer having U.S. Dollars Under the Mattress over having Argentine Pesos in the Bank

Posted by PITHOCRATES - June 16th, 2012

Week in Review

No one likes austerity.  The Greeks hate it so much they may vote to leave the Euro.  So they can keep printing money.  To pay for a bloated public sector and generous state benefits.  For it is the easy way out.  It’ll put people back to work on the government payroll.  And solve all of their problems.  Well, not all of their problems (see Argentina loses a third of its dollar deposits by Jorge Otaola posted 6/8/2012 on Reuters Africa).

Argentine banks have seen a third of their U.S. dollar deposits withdrawn since November as savers chase greenbacks in response to stiffening foreign exchange restrictions, local banking sources said on Friday.

Depositors withdrew a total of about $100 million per day over the last month in a safe-haven bid fueled by uncertainty over policies that might be adopted as pressure grows to keep U.S. currency in the country.

The chase for dollars is motivated by fear that the government may further toughen its clamp down on access to the U.S. currency as high inflation and lack of faith in government policy erode the local peso…

Feisty populist leader Fernandez was re-elected in October vowing to “deepen the model” of the interventionist policies associated with her predecessor, Nestor Kirchner, who is also her late husband.

Since then she has limited imports, imposed capital controls and seized a majority stake in top energy company YPF…

Many are taking what dollars they can get their hands on and stashing them under the mattress or in safety deposit boxes, fearing moves by the government to forcibly “de-dollarize” the economy. Officials have strongly denied any such plan…

She wants Argentines to end their love affair with the greenback and start saving in pesos despite inflation clocked by private economists at about 25 percent per year…

But savers in crisis-prone Argentina are notoriously jittery. Memories of tight limits on bank withdrawals and a sharp currency devaluation remain fresh a decade after the country’s massive sovereign debt default.

To put this another way, if you have an inflation rate of 25% you’d have to have an interest rate on your bank savings account of at least 25% just to break even.  But you’re probably not going to get 25%.  Let’s say you only get 5%.  With this information you now have to make a choice.  You can buy a $1,000 wide-screen television now even though you don’t have the room for it.  Or you can wait 4 years to buy it when you will have the room for it.  Well, your savings will only earn about $200 interest in those 4 years.  Bringing your account balance to about $1,200.  But at a 25% annual inflation rate that television will cost about $2,500 after 4 years (increase the price of the television 25% each year).  So the smart choice is to buy the set now because your savings will lose so much of their purchasing power in 4 years that you won’t be able to buy it then.

This is the cost of Keynesian economics and fiat money.  When governments can print money they do.  Some more than others.  But the more they print the more inflation they create.  And the more faith people lose in their currency.  Which is a very bad thing to happen with fiat money.  Because the only value fiat money has is the faith people put into it.  And when they lose that faith they put U.S. dollars under their mattresses.  Because they know those dollars will hold more of their purchasing power than Argentine Pesos.

Populist leaders are popular for a reason.  They appeal to the angry mob.  Blame their problems on others.  And enact popular policies that will lead a nation to their ruin.  The Argentines have seen it a few times.  One of their leaders even invaded the Falkland Islands once to distract the people from their horrible economy.  One wonders if their current leader may do the same.  Especially as they’re now looking for oil down there.

All the Keynesian economists belittle anyone who talks about austerity and spending cuts.  They say the answer is to spend more not less.  Despite the fact that every country in a financial crisis got into that crisis by spending more not less.  But Keynesians like inflation.  Because it’s a hidden tax.  And a great way to transfer more private wealth to the government.  They especially love that part about your savings losing their purchasing power.  Because they owe a lot of money.  And it’s easier to repay old loans in those highly depreciated dollars.  Especially when you can print them.

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