Japan devalues the Yen and the G2O are Okay with it

Posted by PITHOCRATES - February 17th, 2013

Week in Review

In the Eighties Japan kept interest rates artificially low.  Creating a lot of artificial economic activity.  Businesses borrowed money because it was cheap.  And banks loaned money because there was so much of it to loan.  Unfortunately, this led to a bubble.  A big one.  Asset prices soared.  And when that bubble burst those prices fell back to earth like a rock.  Sending the Japanese economy free falling into a deflationary spiral as it tried to wring out all of that inflation from those low interest rates.  And some 30 years later they’re still suffering from the affects of that deflation (see G20 defuses talk of “currency war”, no accord on debt by Randall Palmer and Lidia Kelly posted 2/16/2013 on Reuters).

Japan’s expansive policies, which have driven down the yen, escaped direct criticism in a statement thrashed out in Moscow by policymakers from the G20, which spans developed and emerging markets and accounts for 90 percent of the world economy.

Analysts said the yen, which has dropped 20 percent as a result of aggressive monetary and fiscal policies to reflate the Japanese economy, may now continue to fall.

“The market will take the G20 statement as an approval for what it has been doing — selling of the yen,” said Neil Mellor, currency strategist at Bank of New York Mellon in London. “No censure of Japan means they will be off to the money printing presses.”

This is how they got into so much trouble in the first place.  This is why they have a Lost Decade in Japan.  Because of those low interest rates that blew up great asset bubbles.  That burst.  Sending prices into a freefall.  A little hair of the dog that bit you MAY alleviate the discomforts of a hangover.  But when that dog is a 150-pound French Mastiff with your throat in its mouth you’d be better off finding another cure for your inflationary hangover.  For nothing good can possibly come from another round of inflation that will only create more asset bubbles.  Their Lost Decade turned into Lost Decades because they kept trying to fix things before the market undid all their previous fixing.  As painful as it may be they need to let the market complete its correction.  Had they let the market do this in the Nineties the pain would be over with.  And they would be enjoying real economic growth today.

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Will Obamacare reverse the Decline in the Growth Rate of Health Care Spending?

Posted by PITHOCRATES - February 17th, 2013

Week in Review

Believe it or not the rate of health care spending has been falling since 2002.  Thanks to the innovation of free markets (see Health Care Cost Inflation Is Slowing, But Obamacare Could Change That by James Pethokoukis, American Enterprise Institute, posted 2/16/2013 on Business Insider).

The rate of health care spending has been falling since 2002. AEI’s J.D. Kleinke points to some factors which are likely responsible: a) lots of breakthrough drugs from the 1980s and 1990s became widely available in generic form in the 2000s; b) health insurance plans became more diverse, giving consumers more choice, such as health savings accounts; c) the IT and networking revolution has improved disease management.

To sum up: Innovation — both in technology and products and processes — has slowed the rise in health care costs. Is the ACA and its expanded government intrusion into the sector likely to sustain and accelerate innovation or retard it?

Hmmm, does more government intrusion accelerate or retard innovation.  The U.S. Postal Service is going broke.  But UPS, FedEx, DHL, etc., aren’t.  People hate going to the Department of Motor Vehicles to renew their driver’s license as it can take an hour or more.  But you can go into a crowded Starbucks and leave 10 minutes later with a custom-made espresso-based drink.  While having enjoyed pleasant conversation with the baristas while you waited those 10 minutes.  Health savings accounts are bringing down health care costs in the private sector.  While Medicare is headed for bankruptcy.  People are saving for their retirement using things like 401(k)s.  While Social Security is headed for bankruptcy.  Hmmm.

Clearly the innovation is in the private sector.  As it appears the less government intrudes the better and more enjoyable things are.  So Obamacare will NOT sustain or accelerate innovation.  But retard it instead.

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The Future of Obamacare will be Poor Patient Care and Gag Orders for anyone Speaking Out against that Poor Care

Posted by PITHOCRATES - February 17th, 2013

Week in Review

Time travel has always fascinated people.  To go back in time before the loss of a loved one.  To go forward into time to see your children’s weddings before your premature death.  Or traveling to the future to find a cure for the disease that will take you prematurely.  As well as traveling back for definitive answers for the great mysteries that have puzzled us.  Did Lee Harvey Oswald act alone?  Why did the people build Stonehenge?  How did they build the pyramids?  Or imagine the ability of going back in time to stop Adolf Hitler.  And what would have happened if there was no World War II because there was no Adolf Hitler?

The concept of time travel is fascinating.  But as of now it is still science fiction.  But there are ways we can travel into the future.  Sort of.  As they implement more parts of Obamacare people wonder what it will be like in 10 or 20 years from now.  Will it be a great success?  Or a great failure?  We can actually travel in time to get the answer to these questions.   Because that alternate reality already exists in our own time dimension.  In Britain.  So we can get glimpses of the future of Obamacare by looking at the past and present of the National Health Service (NHS).  So get ready for a little time travel.  As you read the following substitute ‘Obamacare’ for ‘NHS’.  As this will take you into the future world of Obamacare (see Jeremy Hunt warns NHS health trusts over gagging orders posted 2/16/2013 on BBC News Health).

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has warned NHS bosses against allowing a culture that is “legalistic and defensive” in dealing with staff who raise concerns over patient care.

In a letter to all English NHS trusts, Mr Hunt highlighted fears that “gagging” clauses were being used to “frustrate” such whistleblowing…

It comes after one former NHS trust boss broke a gag to talk to the BBC.

Gary Walker, former chief executive of United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust (ULHT), said he had been forced out of his job and gagged from speaking out about his concerns over patient safety…

The health secretary insisted that “fostering a culture of openness and transparency” was essential in creating a climate “where it is easy for staff, present and former, to come forward with any concerns they have relating to patient safety”…

Mr Walker, who was sacked in 2010 for gross professional misconduct for allegedly swearing in a meeting, told the BBC he had no choice but to sign an agreement linked to a confidentiality clause in April 2011…

Our correspondent said the letter was certainly a warning shot across the bows of the trusts. It appeared the use of these gagging clauses was widespread in the NHS, he added…

ULHT is one of 14 trusts in England currently being investigated for high death rates, in the wake of the Stafford hospital scandal, where hundreds are believed to have died after receiving poor care.

It emerged on Friday that police and prosecutors are now studying a damning report into failures at Stafford to see whether any criminal charges should be brought against staff.

Scary.  Gagging orders?  High death rates?  Poor care?  Getting fired over voicing concerns over poor patient safety?  Confidentiality clauses?  So this is what national health care is like.  You don’t hear things like this at American hospitals.  But this is where Obamacare will take us.  Not a very pleasant future.

Pity we can’t take our time machine back in time.  Expose the corruption the Democrats used to pass Obamacare into law.  The Louisiana Purchase.  The Cornhusker Kickback.  And all the other corrupt backroom deals made to give Harry Reid his 60 votes to pass Obamacare into law.  To bring these to the light of day before the vote.  So the American people could see these outrages while they had time to do something about it.  But, alas, time travel isn’t possible.  So we’re stuck with the gagging orders, high death rates, poor care, poor patient safety and confidentiality clauses that will be Obamacare.  Just as they are the NHS.

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The Sexual Revolution objectified Women and led to an Epidemic of Young Single Mothers and STDs

Posted by PITHOCRATES - February 17th, 2013

Week in Review

Women liberated themselves in the Sixties.  Gone were the days of finding a man to marry and settling down to raise a family.  The way it used to be in the Fifties.  In romantic comedies.  And in romance novels.  Where a woman meets the man of her dreams.  They get married.  And live happily ever after.  This is the hell the sexual revolution freed woman from in the Sixties.  And now they are free to enjoy their sexuality.  By giving it away to as many men as they please.  Which pleased a lot of men.  And more and more high school boys (see Victoria’s Secret’s Customers Keep Getting Younger by Ashley Lutz posted 2/16/2013 on Business Insider).

Ten years ago, Victoria’s Secret sold lingerie to women in their twenties.

Today, the lingerie retailer is luring in young girls by offering underwear that is cute instead of sexy, reports Sapna Maheshwari at Bloomberg News.

The highly-popular Pink line is technically marketed toward college girls ages 18 to 22.

“When somebody’s 15 or 16-years-old, what do they want to be?” Stuart Burgdoerfer, CFO of Victoria’s Secret, said at a conference last month. “They want to be older, and they want to be cool like the girl in college, and that’s part of the magic of what we do at Pink.”

You know what cool girls do in college?  They party.  That means they drink, do drugs and have sex.  When these cool college girls go on spring break they party so much that some star in amateur porn.  For free.  There are so many cool girls letting loose on spring break that they’ve built a video franchise around them.  Girls Gone Wild.  This is not what 15 and 16 year girls should be aspiring to.  Instead of focusing so much on buying cute underwear they should be hitting the books.  Getting good grades in math and science.  So they can pursue whatever career they choose.  Using their brains.  Instead of just trying to be pretty.

The whole point of the women’s liberation movement was to get away from thinking about women as sexual objects.  Of course you wouldn’t know that based on the 2012 presidential campaign.  When all the feminists urged young women to vote Democrat lest they lose their birth control or access to abortion.  For apparently that was more important to women than any other issue.  Their ability to have as much casual sex as possible.  Which seems to benefit men more than women.  While women have more to lose (see Why youths aren’t getting tested for HIV by Sari Zeidler posted 2/16/2013 on CNN).

The 25-year-old mother of two is poised. Sitting in a boardroom at AID Atlanta, an HIV outreach facility in Atlanta where she volunteers, she exudes confidence.

But Traylor is HIV positive.

According to the CDC, 50,000 Americans are infected with HIV each year, and 25% of those are between the ages of 13 and 24.

Sixty percent of youth with HIV don’t know they have it, despite recommendations from the CDC, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.

Traylor got her first HIV test as a teenager when someone living with the disease gave a presentation at her high school. She was about 16 and already a teen mother at the time. She knew she had been having unprotected sex and wanted to stay healthy for her young son.

At the time, Traylor was in what she believed was a monogamous relationship. During her annual doctor’s visit, she was disturbed to realize she had to ask specifically for an HIV test on top of a standard STD panel. She insisted on taking the test even though her doctor told her — as a heterosexual woman involved in a monogamous relationship — that she was low risk.

Later Taylor broke up with her boyfriend and began a new committed relationship. That was the year her life changed. Despite vigilance in testing, Traylor wasn’t prepared for what she found out at her doctor’s visit that year: She was HIV positive. Two weeks later she learned she was pregnant with her second child.

She thought she was in a monogamous relationship.  But thanks to birth control and abortion boys are like a kid in a candy store.  They may profess their love and say she is the only one.  But with all those young girls out there buying that cute underwear and no doubt eager to show it off (unlike their utilitarian granny panties that kids will make fun of any girl wearing them) how can a boy remain monogamous?  His body is surging with hormones.  And so many young girls want to be like the cool girls in college.  Who are very popular girls.  As they like having fun the way adults like having fun.  And you can’t stop these boys.  You can’t tell them to stop having sex.  Because boys will be boys.  That’s why they give away birth control in high school.  For there is just no way to stop the sex.

It’s rather ironic, really.  That women’s rights have come down to keeping birth control and abortion services abundant and accessible.  But who does that really benefit?  Girls who may end up with two babies before they’re 18?  Girls who come down with an STD or test positive for HIV?  Or girls who are both single mothers and HIV positive?  Girls who are not likely to complete high school and go on to college.  And on to a career that the women’s liberation movement opened up to them?  Or is it benefitting boys who are having multiple sex partners despite telling each girl that she’s the only one?  Boys who are leaving these girls to grow up as single mothers?  Or to grow up with HIV?  Or both?

One could call this the greatest con against women ever.  Men have made young women want to become sexual objects.  So men can enjoy having sex with a variety of women.  Without having to marry and settle down with one sex partner for the rest of their life.  Something most women want.  Monogamy.  Based on the success of romantic comedies.  And romance novels.  But today we’ve replaced living happily ever after with an active sex life.  Something that men love.  Who are clearly benefitting more from the sexual revolution than women are.  For they’re getting more of what they want.  And they don’t have biological clocks ticking away.

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President Obama’s Change in Policy during the Arab Spring to Support Change instead Stability spreads Instability

Posted by PITHOCRATES - February 17th, 2013

Week in Review

Before the Arab Spring there was the Green Revolution in Iran in 2009.  Where thousands used social media to gather in protests over what they claimed were voting irregularities that kept President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in power.  President Obama did not support the Green Revolution.  Despite Iran being a sponsor of terrorism, an enemy of the United States and the greatest threat to regional stability.  President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad suppressed the uprisings.  And jailed some of the opposition.  Where some have made claims of torture and rape.  But as closed a society Iran is these claims have been unsubstantiated.  Though we have the word of the ruling regime that crushed the rebellion that there was no torture or rape.

When the Arab Spring kicked off in Tunisia in 2010 President Obama announced a change in policy.  The U.S. would support change in the Arab world instead of stability.  When the Arab Spring spread to Egypt in 2011 President Obama told Hosni Mubarak that he had to step down from power.  Despite being a stalwart U.S. ally.  An enemy to al Qaeda.  And being the anchor of stability in the Middle East and North Africa.  Now the Muslim Brotherhood is in power there.  Who has close ties with Iran.

When the Arab Spring spread to Libya President Obama supported the opposition based in Benghazi.  Despite Colonel Muammar Gaddafi renouncing terrorism.  And being an ally of America in their War on Terror.  Like Mubarak he oppressed radical Islamists including al Qaeda.  Which explains why al Qaeda was part of the opposition trying to overthrow Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.  They hated him.  And his oppression of anti-western  radical Islamists.  President Obama supported the opposition.  Gave them weapons.  And helped enforce a no-fly zone.  In 2012 Islamists attacked the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.  Killing 4 Americans.  Including the Libyan ambassador.  Chris Stevens.  Perhaps killed with weapons we brought into Libya.

When the Arab Spring spread to Syria President Obama did not support the opposition.  Despite Syria being a sponsor of terrorism.  And a close ally of Iran.  As Syria broke down into civil war al Qaeda joined the opposition.  Making any U.S. support now even more complicated.  However Syria turns out it will be a foreign policy failure.  In fact the foreign policy of President Obama has been to abandon U.S. allies that bring stability to the region.  While not getting involved in uprisings in states hostile to the U.S.  Bringing great instability to the Middle East and Northern Africa.  And beyond (see Police: 7 foreigners kidnapped in north Nigeria by SHEHU SAULAWA and JON GAMBRELL, Associated Press, posted 2/17/2013 on Yahoo! News).

Gunmen attacked a camp for a construction company in rural northern Nigeria, killing a guard and kidnapping seven foreign workers from Britain, Greece, Italy Lebanon and the Philippines, authorities said Sunday, in the biggest kidnapping yet in a region under attack by Islamic extremists…

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the abductions, though Nigeria’s predominantly Muslim north has been under attack by the radical Islamic sect known as Boko Haram in the last year and a half. The country’s weak central government has been unable to stop the group’s bloody guerrilla campaign of shootings and bombings. The sect is blamed for killing at least 792 people in 2012 alone, according to an AP count.

Boko Haram, whose name means “Western education is sacrilege” in the Hausa language of Nigeria’s north, has demanded the release of all its captive members and called for strict Shariah law to be implemented across the entire country. The sect has killed both Christians and Muslims in their attacks, as well as soldiers and security forces…

Foreigners, long abducted by militant groups and criminal gangs for ransom in Nigeria’s oil-rich southern delta, have become increasingly targeted in Nigeria’s north as the violence has grown. However, abductions of foreigners in the north have seen hostages regularly killed…

Foreign embassies in Nigeria have issued travel warnings regarding northern Nigeria for months. Worries about abductions have increased in recent weeks with the French military intervention in Mali, as its troops and Malian soldiers try to root out Islamic fighters who took over that nation’s north in the months following a military coup. Last week, the U.S. Embassy in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, put out a warning following the killings of polio workers in the northern city of Kano and the killing of the North Korean doctors.

President Obama campaigned in 2012 that al Qaeda was on the ropes.  While blaming the death of Ambassador Stevens and three other Americans on a spontaneous uprising because of a YouTube video.  Which if it was it means the average Libyan on the street in Benghazi walks around carrying heavy weapons.  Which is highly unlikely.  Then again, the opposition the U.S. supported in Benghazi included al Qaeda.  So maybe they did walk around the streets of Benghazi with heavy weapons.  Just waiting for dates with symbolic meaning (9/11) to attack Americans.

President Obama got what he wanted.  Change instead of stability.  For there is little stability in the Middle East or North Africa.  And now in West Africa.  Where Islamists and al Qaeda affiliates are reaching into Algeria.  Mali.  And Nigeria.  Radical Islamists are spreading their reach throughout the Middle East and Africa and in other parts of the world.  Fueled by the decline of U.S. influence.  And a rise in Iranian influence.  The winner in the Arab Spring?  It would appear that it is the radical Islamists that are benefitting most from the Arab Spring.  While the people in these countries go from a somewhat western culture of liberty (especially for women) towards oppressive theocracies.  Just as the Iranian people did during the Iranian Revolution in 1979.  No doubt the Iranian women who protested the Shah of Iran rue the day they ever joined that protest movement.  For they have none of the liberties they enjoyed under the Shah.

Guess this is what happens when you abandon your friends and help your enemies.  Your friends suffer while your enemies grow stronger.  And the world grows a more dangerous place.

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