A Gun Evens the Odds and Allows a Mother to Defend Herself and her Children

Posted by PITHOCRATES - January 6th, 2013

Week in Review

The advantage of a gun in self-defense is that you can engage the person attacking you at a distance.  Allowing you to fire multiple shots at an intruder before they get close enough to cause you personal harm.  For example, in a home invasion someone can retreat deep into the house while shouting out warnings that he or she has a gun and will fire if the intruder does not leave the house.  If the intruder disregards these warnings and pursues to cause unknown harm that person can begin firing that weapon.  Sending out a hail of lead in the hopes he or she can stop the intruder before he can advance far enough to apply lethal force.  Like this (see Mom shoots intruder 5 times by Effie Orfanides posted 1/5/2013 on the examiner).

An Atlanta, GA mom shot an intruder 5 times after he discovered the place where she and her children had been hiding. The woman, who remains unidentified, put her life on the line to protect her twins and her story has made national news. On Jan. 6, FOX 8 reported that a man broke into the woman’s house and was shot by the woman when he approached the crawlspace where she and her kids were hiding…

… The woman fired six shots, five of which struck Slater in the face and neck. The man fled the home and ran to a nearby home,” FOX 8 reported. His injuries sound serious but, according to the report, he did not die.

The intruder took five bullets to the face and neck before turning and fleeing.  Imagine if that mother only had a knife.  She would have had to wait until the intruder could physically touch her before she could apply lethal force with that knife.  And chances are that the intruder would have been able to wrestle that knife away and use it to inflict lethal force onto the mother.  If she had no weapon the intruder could have walked right up to her and apply lethal force with his bare hands.  And do likewise to her children.

Without a gun that mother would have been no match for that intruder.  It was the gun that made it possible for the mother to defend herself and her children from a superior attacking force.  A gun this intruder no doubt wished she didn’t have.  For if there were gun control laws prohibiting her from owning a firearm he would not have fled that home until he was good and ready to leave.  And he wouldn’t have five bullet wounds in the face and neck.

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The NHS to implement a Patient Satisfaction Survey to reverse a Trend of Falling Quality Levels

Posted by PITHOCRATES - January 6th, 2013

Week in Review

Obamacare is just a stepping stone to national health care.  For the American people don’t want national health care.  Unlike the American Left.  So they plan to implement national health care with baby steps.  With Obamacare being step one.  And when they arrive at full blown national health care here is something we can expect (see GPs should be subject to patient satisfaction tests, says David Cameron by Patrick Wintour posted 1/3/2013 on the guardian).

GPs should be subject to regular patient and staff satisfaction tests in the same way as has already been proposed for hospitals, David Cameron has announced.

A “friends and family” test, in which patients and staff are asked whether they would recommend a service, is being introduced into every hospital in England from April, and the prime minister says the principle should be extended to GPs’ surgeries, district nursing and community hospitals.

Cameron and the health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, have identified standards of compassionate care provided by nurses and other staff as a safe issue on which the government can campaign after the political disaster of its health reforms last year. The move follows examples of appalling treatment of patients by some staff in high-profile cases, especially involving elderly patients.

Hunt is also leading a drive to improve the treatment of dementia, which is taking up increasing NHS resources…

Cameron said: “We still have a long way to go to raise standards across the NHS and get rid of those cases of poor and completely unacceptable care that blight some hospitals and homes.

Dementia rates are exploding both in the UK and in the US.  Why?  Because we’re living longer.  For dementia was more rare when we died in our sixties.  Now that we’re living well into our eighties and beyond we’re living long enough to come down with a whole slew of expensive diseases.

Not only are we living longer but we’re having fewer babies than we once did.  The British are having far fewer babies than when they originally set up the NHS.  Which is why they’re having so many financial problems these days.  A declining birth rate means a declining tax base.  Meaning less tax revenue.  To pay for all those baby boomers living longer into retirement and coming down with all of those expensive diseases.  Fewer people entering the workforce paying taxes and more people leaving the workforce who stop paying taxes while consuming all those health care resources.  That is, an aging population.  Which means longer wait times and service rationing.  And appalling treatment of a growing number of patients.  Just like in the NHS.  As we will see for ourselves in Obamacare.  Or whatever Obamacare evolves into.

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Some Feminists are becoming Pro-Life like the First Feminists

Posted by PITHOCRATES - January 6th, 2013

Week in Review

During the 2012 election George Stephanopoulos asked Mitt Romney a question out of left field about birth control.  The next thing we knew we had another war on our hands.  A war on women.  Where the Left reduced women down to little more than their vaginas.  For the only important issues to women in 2012 (according to the Left) were birth control and abortion.  And nothing else.  The deficit?  The debt?  The high unemployment rate?  Benghazi?  These issues just weren’t for women.  Because they weren’t vagina-centric.  And, therefore, not women’s issues.  Those things were best left to the men.  At least according to the Left.

Those on the Right believe there is more to a woman than her vagina.  And that the deficit, the debt, the high unemployment rate and Benghazi are not things only men can understand.  Or that abortion is the only thing that empowers women.  Just like those first feminists (see Viewpoint: Pro-Life and Feminism Aren’t Mutually Exclusive by Emily Buchanan posted 1/3/2013 on Time).

From its early beginnings, feminism was a young women’s movement. Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Alice Paul, Charlotte Lozier and so many others began their suffragist work in their 20s. These women — the original feminists — understood that the rights of women cannot be built on the broken backs of unborn children. Anthony called abortion “child murder.” Paul, author of the original 1923 Equal Rights Amendment, said that “abortion is the ultimate exploitation of women.”

So the pro-life movement hasn’t changed the meaning of feminism, as has been suggested. It was the neo-feminists of the 1960s and ’70s who asked women to prize abortion as the pathway to equality…

Pro-life feminism has captivated a new generation of young women who reject the illusion that to be pro-woman is to be pro-choice. Gallup polling showed that among 18-to-29-year-olds, there was a 5% increase in those labeling themselves “pro-life” between 2007–08 and 2009–10.

Who would have known?  The first feminists were pro-life.  You wouldn’t have known that by listening to today’s feminists.  And it appears that some young feminists are reconnecting with Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Alice Paul and Charlotte Lozier.  And rejecting the notion introduced by the feminists of the Sixties and the Seventies that to empower women you have to become sexual objects that please men.  Which unlimited birth control and access to abortion did.  Giving some men what they always wanted.  Casual sex with as many different women as possible.  Without having to marry anyone.  And having to spend the rest of their life with that one same woman.  No.  Birth control and abortion freed men from that dull and boring life.  Thanks to the Sixties they could swing.

Which of course has angered women as they can’t find a man interested in something more than a one night stand.  Growing ever more frustrated as their biological clocks tick away.  For contrary to the feminists of the Sixties and Seventies women still want to get married and raise a family.  Which is more difficult these days as these neo-feminists have ruined men.  By making women nothing more than vaginas.

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The American Left loves the Chinese Economic System despite its Inefficiencies, Income Gap and Crimes Against Humanity

Posted by PITHOCRATES - January 6th, 2013

Week in Review

The American Left looks at China with awe and reverence.  They see that huge export economy and they know how they did that.  Massive government control over the economy.  And Keynesian economics on such a grand scale that it would  even impress Paul Krugman.  Nobel-winning Keynesian economist who’s constant refrain is that the government just never spends enough.  Something no one can say about the Chinese Communists.  And that’s why the American Left loves China.  For when it comes to the economy they wield dictatorial power.  If the American Left had those powers they could accomplish so much.  Beginning with the arrest of the Republican opposition and deportation to reeducation camps.  Then they could make our economy hum.  Just like in China.  Where brilliant government bureaucrats educated in the finest Ivy League universities called all the shots.  For only those who despise free market capitalism would know how to truly optimize economic output (see Game Over for China’s Photovoltaic Manufacturers by Gao Zitan & Frank Fang posted 1/6/2013 on TheEpochTimes).

It was in October of 2011 when the U.S. and European PV companies decided that enough is enough. Over the last years they had to compete against Chinese companies selling their products below cost. As a result many European and U.S. companies had to close down. The remaining ones chose to appeal to regulators to stop the unfair practices.

Note once again who is complaining about companies selling things too cheaply.  It is not the consumer.  For the consumer never complains that they aren’t being charged enough.  It is always another business requesting antitrust protection against a company they cannot compete against.

The Chinese regime viewed solar photovoltaic production as a promising industry with rapid scalability and production, and high profits. It could add to GDP growth and employment. This is why the regime greatly promoted the growth in the domestic PV market through business-oriented regulations and incentives. Banks, local governments and other financial agencies were ordered to heavily subsidize the solar industry with cheap loans.

Starting in 2009, the regime sponsored some large-scale national PV projects. The Solar PV building program comprised 111 projects and the Golden Sun program included 275 projects. Provincial or municipal funded programs provided the framework for many other PV related projects.

This is exactly what the Left wants to do.  What the Obama administration did.  They want smart government bureaucrats to tweak market forces to make things better.  At least this is what these government people think.  Because they are so smart.  Even though they have no business experience.  So the American Left wants to do exactly what China did.  What the Americans did but on a much grander scale.  Because their communist government had the power to do it on a grander scale.  Something the American Left laments that the American government doesn’t have that kind of power.  Yet the Americans want to penalize the Chinese for unfair practices.  Despite constantly championing the Chinese way.

In 2008, there were less than 100 PV enterprises. But by the end of 2011 there were more than 500 PV companies, a five-fold increase, according to Guangzhou-based business newspaper 21st Century Business Herald…

On the surface, Chinese companies were doing well. Revenue of the PV industry was more than 300 billion yuan ($48 billion) and Chinese companies occupied five spots in the top 10 of global solar cell manufacturers, according to the report. However, the fast expansion of PV production capacity did not match domestic demand.

According to statistics of EU ProSun, in 2011, China reached a total PV production capacity of 45 GW but domestic consumption was only 2 GW. The production capacity spurred by massive subsidies and state incentives was over 20 times higher than actual demand for solar powered electricity. The only way out was exporting the surplus production…

As a result of lower subsidies in Europe and tariffs in the United States, the overproduction stimulated by state subsidies can no longer be exported. One indication is a rapid growth in inventories. Sixty-six listed Chinese PV companies of the Shanghai A-Share Stock Market showed a 20 percent increase in inventories compared with the same period of the previous year…

President of EU ProSun Milan Nitzschke said, “Chinese subsidies shield manufacturers from insolvency, and are pumped into solar companies even if they are unprofitable. Most Chinese solar companies would have gone bankrupt a long time ago if not for endless government subsidies.”

This is what happens when you have ‘smart’ government people take over the free market economy.  You build a lot of stuff no one will buy.  Just like the Soviets built a lot of tractor parts that sat on store shelves unsold while people stood in line to buy soap and toilet paper.  This is why the command economies of communism failed.  And while the command economy of the Chinese Communists will fail, too.  What Friedrich Hayek of the Austrian school of economics called malinvestments.  Which directs resources from making things people want to making things people don’t want.  Creating shortages of the things people want (like soap and toilet paper in the Soviet Union).  And overflows inventories with things people don’t want (like solar panels in China).  All because a government bureaucrat decided to make more tractor parts and solar panels instead of soap and toilet paper.

And if that wasn’t bad enough there are other costs for the Chinese way (see Never Mind the Fiscal Cliff, China is Headed For a ‘Real’ Cliff by Michelle Yu posted 1/6/2013 on TheEpochTimes).

China is dangerously close to a catastrophic political, economic, and social meltdown, according to a Chinese business scholar, who cites China’s growing income gap as one of its serious crisis indicators…

Rural versus urban inequality has long been recognized as a key factor in China’s income gap. Not only does the rural income level fall far below the urban level, but the income inequality is also more obvious within rural regions…

Another notable factor is high unemployment rate. The SUFE study suggests that China’s national unemployment rate was 8 percent in July 2011, suggesting an unemployed population of 27.7 million, which is almost twice as high as what authorities have admitted to. The unemployment rate doubles for 51-55-year-olds, reaching 16.4 percent, and is attributed to mergers and standardized bankruptcy of state-owned enterprises in the early 2000’s. (An explanation of mergers and standardized bankruptcy are available here  and here.)

Surprisingly, the unemployment rate for 21-25-year-olds who hold college or above degrees is also 16.4 percent—the same as for the 51-55-year age group. By contrast, the rate for 21-25-year-old poorly educated migrant laborers from rural areas is only 3.4 percent. A shortage of cheap labor has affected some of China’s key export industries such as apparel and electronics, especially on the east coast.

But the root cause of the income inequality and a battery of other economic problems in China can be found in the communist regime’s overexploitation of social wealth, according to Winifred Tung, an attorney and commentator from Taiwan.

The exploitation has been realized largely through preferential policies in favor of state-owned enterprises and suppression of the private sector, Tung told NTD Television, citing recent data, which says that the GDP of large-scale state-owned enterprises (SOEs) accounts for 60 percent of China’s overall GDP. However, among the different culprits of tax evasion in China, SOEs came in first place with 26-28 percent.

So this is why they can make so many solar panels (and other export goods) so cheaply.  By exploiting poor rural laborers in their big city factories.  Resulting in something the American Left say wouldn’t exist if they had control over the economy like the Chinese do.  An income gap.  Income inequality.  Something that is apparently worse in the country where the government has the power to make life fair.  But it’s more than just an income gap.

The Chinese factory workers aren’t like UAW workers.  They have low pay, no benefits and often live in dormitories in the factory compound.  And these have it good (see The Difficulty of Smuggling a Slip of Paper From a Chinese Labor Camp by Guo Jufeng posted 1/6/2013 on TheEpochTimes).

Like the person whose plea made headlines around the world, I was also in Liaoning Province, China. Twelve years ago, I was imprisoned in Huludao City Forced Labor Camp, Liaoning, for 2.5 years for practicing the meditation discipline of Falun Gong. My companion Cao Yuqiang, who was eventually tortured to death, and I were watched 24 hours a day by two criminals, so that we could not exchange information regarding the persecution of Falun Gong.

One day, I came up with the bold idea to find a way to communicate information about the persecution to the outside world.

The first obstacle we faced was that we didn’t have pen or paper. So, as more and more information was passed on to me, it became quite a challenge to memorize everything! To improve my memory, I repeated the information to myself every day, since I couldn’t communicate regularly with Cao Yuqiang.

One day, out of the blue, Cao told me he had found a refill for a ball-point pen. I suspected he must have gone through a great deal of trouble to procure it, but I did not have the opportunity to ask him for any details at that time.

Now I had a pen, but there was still the question of what to write on. I finally realized that the only possibility was toilet paper, and to avoid being caught, I would have to write the message after midnight.

I had to keep strengthening my mind to overcome fear and anxiety as any negative thoughts could lead me to give up. Questions and doubts plagued my mind: “Would this work? How could we get the information out? Would I be able to withstand the torture if it was discovered? Had other prisoners found out about my plan? Were they waiting to catch me in the act?” I was certain that if my plan were discovered, I would be tortured mercilessly with electric batons.

This is part of that Chinese economic system the American Left so admires.  An economy that is based on cheap labor.  In some cases even slave labor.  And it’s no secret.  Which is odd for the American Left who are champions of the labor movement.  Who bankrupted countless businesses (GM, Chrysler, Hostess, etc.) by demanding ever higher pay and benefits packages.  Yet here they are.  Admiring an economic system that just exploits labor in the worst ways.  Even using torture.  And it bothers some.  Maybe not the American Left.  But the Chinese themsleves (see A Young Chinese Man’s New Year Wish for His Father by Gao Zitan posted 1/1/2013 on TheEpochTimes).

As 2013 begins with an atmosphere of joy welcoming in the new year, a young man from Hubei, China, is worried about his father who is a member of the Communist Party.

The term “San Tui” in Chinese refers to the three distinct renouncements. It means to quit the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and its two affiliated organizations: the Communist Youth League, and the Young Pioneers, which people are made to join in their youth.

In recent years, “the three renouncements ensure safety” has become a well-known saying in China, and many consider it a rational choice for mainland Chinese to guarantee themselves immunity from all the crimes perpetrated by the Communist Party when the day of reckoning comes. So family members of those who refuse to consider the wisdom of this option are very worried for their loved ones…

“The three renouncements ensure safety” has been widely recognized by the Chinese public since 2004, when The Epoch Times published the truth about the CCP in “Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party” in 2004, and began registering those wishing to make the three withdrawals.

As of Dec. 30, 2012, more than 130 million people had registered with The Epoch Times to quit the CCP and its affiliated organizations.

The American Left may be enthralled with the Chinese communist way just as they were enthralled with the Soviet communist way but those living under those oppressive regimes weren’t.  And aren’t.  China is not the China it was under Mao.  But the hard-line communists are.  But even some of these committed their crimes against humanity for a higher purpose.  To prevent the anarchy that followed in parts of the former Soviet Union when the Soviet Union collapsed.  So some may commit their crimes for good.  While a lot no doubt just enjoy the privilege that comes with being in the party leadership.  And the very comfortable lifestyle.  Much like liberals in this country.  But not the average Chinese.  At least 130 million of them.

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Public School Teachers and Public Sector Workers have Secret Millionaire Retirements

Posted by PITHOCRATES - January 6th, 2013

Week in Review

President Obama stood firm during the fiscal cliff debate to raise taxes on the millionaires and billionaires.  To get those who can afford it to pay a little more.  The visible millionaires.  To help pay for the secret millionaires.  Public school teachers.  And public sector employees (see Millionaires, Billionaires, and Teachers by Randall Hoven posted 12/10/2012 on American Thinker).

Our President likes to use the phrase “millionaires and billionaires.” A person whose net worth is $1 million or more is a “millionaire.”

Most of us working stiffs have trouble thinking in terms of net worth; we are more used to the concept of annual salary. How does net worth translate into annual income, or vice versa? In round numbers, the annual income equivalent is 4% of an investment nest egg. So if you have $1 million socked away, consider that to be equal to $40,000 income every year…

That relationship can be turned around: if you have an annual pension of $40,000, you are effectively a millionaire, especially if that pension is adjusted for cost of living…

Now let’s look at public school teachers. In Illinois, where I live, the Illinois State Board of Education puts out a report on teachers’ salaries. The table below is a pretty good summary of that 110-page report. A beginning teacher with a Bachelor’s degree in a median school district might make about $40,000 per year. But by the time a teacher retires, she could be making $55,000 to $120,000, depending on how much graduate education she got and her school district.

And when that teacher does retire, what is her pension? If most school districts are like Chicago’s, the teacher will make about 50% of her final salary if she retires at age 55, or 75%, the maximum, if she waits until age 59…

In short, a lot of retired Illinois teachers are millionaires.

But that’s not all. Teachers who retired from the Chicago school district get 60% of their health insurance premiums subsidized. In round numbers, let’s call that a value of $8,000 per year.

Also, the above values do not include any other savings or investments made over the teachers’ careers, including home values. If they have their own 401k’s in addition to their pensions, those were not included. Social Security was not included either.

Wait, there’s more. These pensions are for life. Many or most of them are also adjusted for cost of living. Every month, for the rest of their lives, retired teachers get checks or automatic deposits of a reliable amount, indexed for inflation and guaranteed by the government. They don’t have to worry about investment risks…

The situation of the retired public school teacher is also not that much different from fire fighters, policemen, postal workers and other public employees. Nor is it that much different from a lot of other retired workers, especially union members such as General Motors retirees. If such people are getting pensions and benefits of $40,000 per year or more, not an exceptional amount, they are millionaires…

The main reason the US Post Office, the federal government and many state and local governments face unsustainable debt, bankruptcy and default is due to the costs of public employee pensions. GM went bankrupt largely due to the costs of its retirees’ pensions and benefits.

Businesses go bankrupt, governments face default and economic growth slows to a near standstill. Meanwhile, retired public school teachers, who had to work 9 months of the year during their careers, now pull in checks 12 months a year, indexed for inflation and guaranteed by the government, in amounts that often make them millionaires, maybe twice over.

So public school teachers, fire fighters, police officers, postal workers and other public employees are not the same as people who work in the private sector.  For when people retire from middle class jobs in the private sector they don’t live a long retirement like a millionaire.  They live a shorter life in retirement worrying that they may outlive their retirement savings.  Or that some illness may wipe out their retirement savings.  Forcing them to return to work in the last remaining years of their life.  Something school teachers, fire fighters, police officers, postal workers and other public employees don’t have to worry about.  As long as they can maintain a privileged class in America.  An American aristocracy, if you will.  The thing we fought the Revolutionary War to put an end to in the New World.  Old World aristocracy.

Not everyone can live like this.  For there just isn’t enough taxpayer income to tax away to pay for everyone.  Which is why the aristocracy is a privileged class.  In a ‘classless’ America.  A class that attacks rich people to pay their fair share.  So they can enjoy their millionaire retirements.  Without having the talent or ability of an entrepreneur.  The investment savvy of a Mitt Romney.  Or simply not having been lucky enough to be born into an aristocratic family.  Like a Kennedy.

And if you think these millionaire retirees have earned their good life like an entrepreneur, consider how hard they have to work for their Masters Degree.

You might notice from the table of teacher salaries that a Masters Degree with extra graduate hours can add $20,000 or more to a teacher’s annual salary. Just for fun I want to show you two course descriptions. The first one happens to describe an engineering course I teach which is for undergraduates, required of all engineering students and generally taken in a student’s 2nd or 3rd year of college.

 Engineering Mathematics: The Laplace transform and applications; series solutions of differential equations, Bessel´s equation, Legendre´s equation, special functions; matrices, eigenvalues, and eigenfunctions; vector analysis and applications; boundary value problems and spectral representations; Fourier series and Fourier integrals; solution of partial differential equations of mathematical physics.

This second course description is taken from the University of Missouri St. Louis bulletin. It describes a graduate level course in the Education school.

 The Educational Role of Play: Emphasizes play as a constructive process with applications to cognitive and social development. Special attention to facilitating play in early childhood classrooms.

Note that the first course description (the one with all of that math) was an undergraduate course.  While the second course description (all about having fun) is a graduate course in the school of education.  The person learning about fun in the classroom will live like a millionaire in their retirement.  While the odds are that the one that worked so hard to learn all of that math to help create the wonderful things in our high-tech economy will not.  Why?  Because brilliant engineers have to earn their retirement.  While the privilege class makes the engineers and other hard working Americans pay for their millionaire retirement.  Is that fair?  According to the Left, yes.

Worse, these are the people teaching our children.  This privileged class that exploits the taxpayer so they can live a longer and more comfortable retirement are teaching our kids the evils of capitalism.  To turn them into Democrat voters.  So they vote for the party that attacks those who earn their wealth.  To make them pay their fair share.  So these teachers and public sector workers can continue to live their millionaire retirements.  While most of their student’s parents struggle in their own lives because they’re paying so much in taxes to support the better lives of their children’s teachers.

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