Two Years after the Ouster of Hosni Mubarak and the Egyptian People are still Protesting

Posted by PITHOCRATES - January 26th, 2013

Week in Review

Two years ago, during the Arab Spring, President Obama told President Hosni Mubarak he had to go.  The Egyptian people wanted democracy.  And Mubarak was in the way.  So the Mubarak government fell.  Even though he was an ally of the United States.  Which was rather odd for an American president to ask an American ally to step down from power.  Especially when the people standing in the wings to take over that power are enemies of the United States.  But President Obama did.  And he took credit for this.  Proud for his part in the Arab Spring.  And how did all of that work out?  Like most people thought it would (see Tear gas fired by police in Egypt posted 1/26/2013 on Sky News).

Police in the Egyptian city of Alexandria have fired tear gas at protesters, witnesses say, as nationwide rallies mark the second anniversary of the uprising that ousted Hosni Mubarak…

Tens of thousands took to the streets across the country to protest against Islamist President Mohamed Morsi, who is accused of failing to work for the goals of the revolution that ousted Mubarak and consolidating power in the hands of his powerful Muslim Brotherhood.

That’s right, Egypt went from being a U.S. ally to aligning with Hamas and Iran.  Enemies of the United States.  And enemies of Israel.  Greatly destabilizing the Mideast.  For what?  Even the Egyptian people are unhappy with the outcome.  At least the ones who want Democracy.  The Islamists, though, are quite happy with the Muslim Brotherhood in power.  And hope to see them take Egypt down the same road Iran took in 1979.  Where the Islamists rose up in power.  Rounded up the democratic protestors.  And turned the country into a theocracy.  Something that may happen in Egypt.  Thanks to an American president that told Hosni Mubarak he had to go.

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Great Britain is trying to Privatize their State Pensions

Posted by PITHOCRATES - January 26th, 2013

Week in Review

Britain is a social democracy.  Not as much as they were before Margaret Thatcher.  But still a social democracy.  They have national health care.  And state pensions.  Something the American Left always wanted in the United States.  They got the state pensions—Social Security—a long time ago.  But they’ve been waiting a very long time for their national health care.  Now they’ve got something like it in Obamacare.  And now the Left can follow in the footsteps of that social democracy they so admire.  Who has no problem whatsoever in providing those lavish benefits onto their people (see Start retirement saving now or the government may make you by Sarah Mortimer posted 1/25/2013 on Reuters).

Britain may soon have to force workers to start saving for retirement to cut a soaring pensions bill set to reach 120 billion pounds in 20 years…

The government’s current pension legislation is an attempt to tackle the country’s ballooning pensions bill, set to hit 8.5 percent of economic output by 2060, from 6.9 percent now…

Britain lags behind countries including Denmark, the Netherlands and Australia in global pension rankings. Its pension system ranks seventh out of 16 countries in a global comparison of national schemes, according to data from consulting firm Mercer. Its lowly ranking reflects an ageing population, low investment returns and large government debt…

“One way or another, long-term pension contributions will increase,” Paul Macro, defined contribution retirement leader at Mercer said. “The government are trying to stop people relying on the state to support them in retirement.”

An aging population, low investment returns and large government debt?  Sounds like they’re talking about Social Security.

Note how Britain is trying to make their people less dependent on government while the U.S. is trying to make their people more dependent on government.  Even though both countries face the same problems.  An aging population, low investment returns and large government debt.  So it would appear one country—Britain—is trying to be responsible.  While that other country—the United States—isn’t.  Why?  Because Social Security, Medicare and Obamacare are not about taking care of people.  They’re about increasing the power of government.  Which is why the U.S. continues to increase their spending obligations no matter how much they can’t afford to.  Because spending money buys votes.  And winning elections give them power.  Which is what they want.  So they will ignore the responsible governing Britain is doing.  While implementing the kind of programs that caused Britain’s financial problems in the first place.

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Environmental Policies create Chicken Wing Shortage this Super Bowl Sunday

Posted by PITHOCRATES - January 26th, 2013

Week in Review

There’s already been a lot of disappointment for football fans.  Especially for people in New England and Atlanta.  As well as for people in Denver, Houston, Seattle and Green Bay.  Whose teams came so close to making it to the Super Bowl that they could taste it.  And as if that disappointment wasn’t bad enough there’s something else they may not be able to taste (see Chicken wing shortage threatens Super Bowl Sunday by FOX NEWS posted on the New York Post).

The National Chicken Council released a report that said the demand for wings this year is at “an all-time high” due to decreased wing production caused by the high cost of corn and feed prices. Wings are currently the highest priced portion of a chicken and cost $2.11 a pound in the Northeast, up 12 percent from last year…

“Chicken companies produced about 1 percent fewer birds last year, due in large part to record high corn and feed prices,” Bill Roenigk, chief economist and market analyst at the Washington, D.C.-based National Chicken Council said in a release. “Corn makes up more than two-thirds of chicken feed and corn prices hit an all-time high in 2012, due to two reasons: last summer’s drought and pressure from a federal government requirement that mandates 40 percent of our corn crop be turned into fuel in the form of ethanol. Simply put, less corn equals higher feed costs, which means fewer birds produced.”

The Left claimed their environmental requirement to burn 40% of the corn crop as fuel in our cars had nothing to do with the higher food costs that have hurt families this past year.  But they did.  For corn is everywhere in our food supply.  We eat it as popcorn.  Corn on the cob.  Cream style corn.  And we eat the things that eat corn.  Or come from things that eat corn.  Chicken.  Beef.  Pork.  Milk.  Eggs.  Cheese.  Everything a family struggles to put on the kitchen table to feed their family.  All made more costly thanks to those environmental policies.  Policies based on rising temperature in the Nineties that didn’t continue to rise.  Proving all of their projections wrong.  Yet here we are.  Having to cut back on wings this Super Bowl Sunday.  Just so Al Gore can live in a mansion on the beach.  For even Al Gore doesn’t believe the global warming alarmism he puts out.  For if the sea levels were really rising he would not have bought a mansion on the beach.

If you can afford a mansion on the beach do you know what else you can afford?  All the chicken wings you heart desires.  So, if you want a good time this Super Bowl Sunday try to get an invite to the party Al Gore will be having in his mansion on the beach.  It should be a swinging time.

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North Korea threatens the United States with Nuclear War

Posted by PITHOCRATES - January 26th, 2013

Week in Review

For awhile there we had hope that Kim Jong Un might not be like his dad.  Kim Jong Il.   That maybe North Korea would change.  Maybe loosen up a bit.  And not be all about famine and nuclear weapons.  But it appears that the new Kim Jong is as bad as the old Kim Jong.  Perhaps even worse (see China calls for talks after North Korean threat by Barbara Demick posted 1/24/2013 on the Los Angeles Times).

With North Korea openly threatening the United States with nuclear weapons, China called Thursday for a new round of diplomacy and appears to be growing increasingly frustrated with its longtime ally.

Beijing’s calls for intervention come amid a torrent of belligerent language from Pyongyang, angered by a United Nations resolution earlier in the week expanding sanctions over its missile and nuclear program.

The latest escalation came Thursday when Pyongyang lashed out at the United States, which it called the “archenemy of the Korean people.’’

“We are not disguising the fact that the various satellites and long-range rockets that we will fire and the high-level nuclear test we will carry out are targeted at the United States,” North Korea’s National Defense Commission said in a statement released by the official news service.

“Settling accounts with the U.S. needs to be done with force, not with words,” it said.

Not true.  The United States likes the people in Korea.  North and South.  It’s the government in the North that the United States has a problem with.  As do the good people suffering in North Korea.  Who would like to escape the oppression of Kim Jong Un.  And to know life without hunger.  To have a home.  Filled with the modern conveniences of life.

The Americans aren’t a threat to the people in North Korea.  They are a threat to the regime that oppresses these people.  We oppose the oppressive regime.  As we oppose regimes everywhere that oppress their people.  We are their friend.  And they know that.  Which is why the United States is the archenemy of North Korea’s ruling regime.  Because we give their people hope.  The last thing Kim Jong Un wants his people to have.

It is the inevitable destiny that the Korean peninsula reunites.  But as the Germans learned at the end of the Cold War this is not easy.  And is costly.  Once the regime falls, and it will fall, South Korea will have a humanitarian crisis on their hands.  China, too.  Millions of people who need jobs.  And food.  Which is probably why China is in no hurry to see Kim Jong Un go.  Even though they’re losing their patience with their longtime ally.  What we need now is a plan to deal with post-Communist North Korea.

North Korea needs massive infrastructure investments.  If you look at the Korean peninsula coastline at night you can tell where South Korea ends and North Korea begins.  For there will be light and life in South Korea after dark.  And only darkness in North Korea.  Someone has to build up that infrastructure.  Someone has to build housing.  Someone has to build the goods to go in those homes.  And someone has to build the factories to build those goods.  North Korea has a lot of people.  And a lot of things that need to be done.  All they need is a plan.  So they can hit the ground running.  To speed up the unification process.  While minimizing the pain of unification.  And the cost South Korea will have to bear.

Or we can continue this dance forever.  Sanctions.  Nuclear threats.  And aid.  We try to punish them for advancing their nuclear program.  They threaten something nuclear.  We negotiate away the nuclear threat in exchange for more aid.  The same old song and dance we’ve been doing for decades.  It’s gotten so old that even the Chinese are tiring of it.  Perhaps suggesting they may be open to a little regime change.

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Singapore going ‘Solyndra’ to find the next Mark Zuckerberg?

Posted by PITHOCRATES - January 26th, 2013

Week in Review

While public education teaches kids the fear of global warming, the evils of capitalism and the goodness of government Singapore is having their schools teach business and entrepreneurial skills.  The U.S. is suffering through the worst economic recovery since the Great Depression.  While Singapore is doing quite well.  And should continue to do well because they don’t teach kids the evils of capitalism in school (see Singapore Hunts for New Zuckerberg With Stanford-Style Dorm by Sharon Chen posted 1/25/13 on Bloomberg).

Singapore became Southeast Asia’s only advanced economy by moving up the technology ladder, turning a trading port into the region’s biggest banking center and a manufacturer of electronics, petrochemicals and pharmaceuticals. Now, the nation is looking to gain a bigger share of a software industry that raised $28 billion in initial share sales last year.

N-House, which opened in August 2011, is one strand of a five-year plan by the government that includes offering new technology companies grants of as much as S$500,000, supporting venture capital funds, and encouraging high schools to teach business and entrepreneurial skills, in an effort to groom the next Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder of Facebook Inc…

The island of 5 million people, ranked the easiest place to do business for seven straight years by the World Bank, is the second-easiest place in Asia after Hong Kong for entrepreneurs to gain access to capital, according to a study by the Milken Institute published in 2010.

Singapore is a success story because it’s an easy place to do business in.  Businesses like that.  So businesses do business in Singapore.  This is a lesson the United States could learn.  Making it easy for businesses to do business.  Detroit, the Motor City, birthplace of the automated assembly line, is a horrible place to do business.  Being the home of the Big Three (General Motors, Ford and Chrysler) you’d think they’d have an edge on manufacturing automobiles.  Yet not one new auto manufacturer has chosen Detroit.  Honda, Toyota, Nissan, Mercedes, BMW, Volkswagen, Hyundai, and Kia all built assembly plants in the United States.  But not one of them picked Detroit.  Because Detroit, the Motor City, is not an easy city to make automobiles in.

So Singapore knows a thing or two about how to do business.  Which, for the most part, is just leaving business the hell alone.  For a business is a lot like a dog having puppies.  They can do it without any help.  In fact, trying to help can actually do more harm to a business than good.  For when the government steps in and provides money the private sector won’t supply you can pretty much guarantee that the government is backing a bad investment.  Think Solyndra in the U.S.  And all those jobs of the future we were supposed to get with all those investments into green energy.  President Obama begins his second term with the worst recovery since the Great Depression.  Despite all that spending to invest into the jobs of the future.  Here’s a lesson Singapore can learn from the U.S.  Creating a business-friendly environment is good.  But trying to influence things in that environment, well, that rarely ends well.  Again, think Solyndra.

“Singapore has done the best job of any government to spawn an entrepreneurial ecosystem,” said Ressi, who travels to the city about three times a year to meet with government officials. “However, I think they’ve gone a little bit too far in making it easy. If they can’t actually raise money from people privately, they probably aren’t worthy of being in existence.”

There are venture capitalists out there with money burning holes in their pocket.  They want to invest it.  They want to groom the next Mark Zuckerberg.  And if these greedy bastards are NOT willing to bet their money on someone there’s a reason for it.  These people are in the business of finding entrepreneurs to back and groom.  And if they don’t invest in an entrepreneur they must have determined that the entrepreneur just doesn’t have what it takes.  So they keep looking for one who does have what it takes.  And if that person is out there the free market will find that entrepreneur.  While governments pour millions into other Solyndras.

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