A Russian Artist puts his Testicles where his Activism Is

Posted by PITHOCRATES - November 16th, 2013

Week in Review

They say artists must suffer for their art.  Poor Vincent van Gogh suffered insanity and cut his own ear off.  And later shot himself.  Today his paintings are worth millions.  So the works of this Russian artist should be worth big rubles in the future (see Artist nails scrotum to ground in protest by QMI Agency posted 11/11/2013 on Vancouver 24 Hrs).

A Russian performance artist’s latest piece saw him nail his testicles to the ground of Moscow’s Red Square. The act was to protest the country’s descent into a “police state,” The Guardian reports.

“The performance can be seen as a metaphor for the apathy, political indifference and fatalism of contemporary Russian society,” artist Pyotr Pavlensky said in a statement.

After Ronald Reagan won the Cold War the Soviet Union was no more.  The people were free from their communist oppressors.  For awhile, at least.  Their current president was former KGB.  Vladimir Putin.  Who views the collapse of the Soviet Union as a dark day for Russia.  And would like to put the band back together again.  Which he is doing.  The police state is making such a comeback that a protester nailed his testicles to the ground.  For doing that was less painful than an oppressive police state.

Just something to think about the next time you vote.  Do you want to give more power to the state?  So they can listen to your phone calls and read your email?  Or do you want the state to have less power?  I think I speak for everyone when I say we would prefer a government that is less painful than nailing your testicles to the ground.

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The fact that 40% of Women prefer a Male Boss has upset some on the Left

Posted by PITHOCRATES - November 16th, 2013

Week in Review

According to a recent Gallup poll approximately 40% of Americans call themselves conservative.  While only about 21% call themselves liberal.  So there are approximately twice as many conservatives as liberals.  You wouldn’t believe that by watching television these days.  Or listening to the political discourse.  Where liberals talk as if they are in the majority.  And conservatives were just some lunatic fringe.  But we should remember that 40% number.  For it may be very relevant these days (see When It Comes to Female Bosses, Women Can Be Their Own Worst Enemy by Alexander Abad-Santos posted 11/11/2013 on The Atlantic Wire).

According to a poll from Gallup, 40 percent of the women say they prefer a male boss, 27 percent prefer a female one, and 32 percent have no preference. On the other hand, 29 percent of men polled prefer a male boss, 18 percent prefer a female one, and 51 percent had no preference.

The ideal number we all want is 100 percent to say gender doesn’t matter. Preference for a female boss is obviously a step up from no one wanting a female boss (in 1953, 66 percent of people polled preferred a male boss), but it’s not the ideal. The unavoidable question then becomes: Why don’t some women like it when women break the glass ceiling? In fact, there appears to be high demand for articles by women about how terrible it is to work for women. As Elizabeth Spiers wrote of the furious reaction to Sheryl Sandberg and Marissa Mayer, “Everyone applauds when they shatter that glass ceiling. Then they pick up the shards, and start cutting away.” It is often women who perpetuate the dumbest stereotypes about working with women.

This is probably why 40% of women prefer a male boss.  For here we have a poll showing what women feel like.  And 40% don’t like working for women.  Instead of accepting this is what women mean we blame them for perpetuating a dumb stereotype about working for women.  As if they said something they did not mean.  Had this poll said, say, 75% of women prefer a female boss they would be lauding the poll.  But because it says something they don’t like then, well, these women are perpetuating a silly stereotype.

In today’s business world some feminists are not satisfied with some women in the workplace.  Because some prefer working for a man as noted.  While some may go on maternity leave and decide to remain at home and be a full-time mother.  And women are doing a lot of other things that feminists frown upon.  Leaving a very narrow range of acceptable behavior for the woman in the workplace.  Perhaps this is why women prefer a male boss.  Because with them they can let their guard down.  And not worry about everything they say or do.  Especially if they are working for a card-carrying NOW feminist.  For doing your job well may not be enough.  Especially if you’re a conservative woman.  J mean, just imagine if your feminist boss heard you say you were pro-life.  Or voted for George W. Bush.  Twice.

Maybe the 40% of women in this poll are conservatives.  And the majority of women bosses are liberals.  For they chose a career over being a stay-at-home mother.  Which is more of a conservative thing.  Perhaps this is why 40% of women polled prefer working for a man.  Because men in business tend to be conservative.  And conservative women prefer working for a conservative.

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Concierge Medicine and Catastrophic Insurance are a better alternative to Obamacare

Posted by PITHOCRATES - November 16th, 2013

Week in Review

The Affordable Care Act (i.e., Obamacare) is supposed to make health insurance affordable.  But what it does is force people to buy insurance policies to cover everything under the sun.  Including things they don’t want.  And things they will never use (elderly people will have to buy pediatric care for children they don’t have and never will have at this point in their life).  Which raises the cost of health insurance.  By making health insurance not insurance.

Insurance is not supposed to provide free stuff.  It is to protect your financial assets from a catastrophic loss.  Shippers buy insurance for cargo on ocean-crossing ships.  Not to get something for free.  But in case the ship sinks.  For if it does the insurance will pay for the cargo that goes down with the ship.  This is insurance.  And this is NOT what health insurance is today.  Which is why health insurance is so expensive (see Is Obamacare Driving Doctors to Refuse Insurance? by Jen Wieczner, Market Watch, posted 11/12/2013 on Yahoo! Finance).

Of the estimated 5,500 concierge practices nationwide, about two-thirds charge less than $135 a month on average, up from 49% three years ago, according to Concierge Medicine Today, a trade publication that also runs a research collective for the industry. Inexpensive practices are driving growth in concierge medicine, which is adding offices at a rate of about 25% a year, says the American Academy of Private Physicians.

Unlike high-end concierge practices, which typically bill insurers for medical services on top of collecting retainer fees, the lower-end outfits usually don’t accept insurance. Instead, they charge patients directly for treatment along with membership, often posting menu-style prices for services and requiring payment up front, which is why it is called “direct primary care.” Eliminating insurance billing cuts 40% of the practices’ overhead expenses, enabling them to keep fees low, doctors say.

If you want to know why health insurance is so expensive this is why.  It covers too much stuff.  And requires layers of bureaucracies that raise costs further.

Concierge medicine could also be called classical medicine.  The way it used to be.  When people paid for regular expected expenses out of pocket.  Just like they paid for their housing.  Their food.  Their clothing.  And anything else they could reasonably expect they would need in life.  Concierge medicine is the direction the American health care system should be moving in.  Not Obamacare.  For Obamacare takes the problem that made health insurance unaffordable in the first place.  And makes it even more unaffordable.

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The French boo Socialist François Hollande because of High Taxes and a Bad Economy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - November 16th, 2013

Week in Review

The Founding Fathers gave us a republic because they feared democracy.  Or mob rule.  In a republic you elect responsible people to represent you in government.  In a democracy it’s majority rule of the people.  Often when they are agitated or angered about something.  Which can trample on minority rights.  If the mob is angry over a group of immigrants working for a lower wage the mob can vote a ban on those immigrants.  Round them up.  And send them home.  Or imprison them.  This is the danger of a true democracy.  Anything the majority agrees on can become law.  Which is why the Founding Fathers gave us a republic.  And prayed that only wise men who shared their Enlightenment views would enter government.

Another danger of a true democracy is that once the people understand that they can vote themselves the treasury they will.  While responsible representatives won’t.  Until people start looking at government as a way to get rich.  And become professional politicians.  Instead of the part-time representatives the Founding Fathers envisioned.  Which transformed the republic into a democracy.  Only it’s our representatives that have descended into mob rule.  As professional politicians buy votes by giving the people generous government benefits that the state will soon be unable to afford.  Which is what is happening in France now (see French president booed at WWI ceremony posted 11/11/2013 on the Associated Press).

France’s unpopular president ignored jeers by protesters as he laid flowers at the tomb of the unknown soldier during a ceremony marking the end of World War I…

Shouts of “Hollande resign!” rang out and some demonstrators wore the red caps that have come to symbolize an anti-tax movement that has caused violent protests in Brittany in recent weeks…

Hollande’s popularity has sunk to record lows amid growing dissatisfaction over weak economic growth, high taxes and rising joblessness.

The French people voted the socialist into office because they wanted more free stuff.  Or wanted not to lose the free stuff they already had.  Courtesy of their social democracy.  Which promised cradle-to-the-grave government benefits.  But declining birthrates led to a falling population growth rate all over Europe.  Such that the number of people receiving those government benefits is growing while the number of people paying for those benefits is not.  French president Nicolas Sarkozy tried to be responsible.  While socialist presidential challenger François Hollande (the guy the French now hate) said the problem was that they weren’t taxing the rich enough.  And the other usual socialist claptrap.  Well, the socialist won.  He raised taxes.  The economy tanked as expected.  And now the French people hate him.

This is exactly what the Founding Fathers feared about democracy.  The French republic devolved into mob rule.  And tried to vote themselves the treasury.  Which leads to only higher taxes.  Or cut benefits as the state can no longer afford to pay for these benefits.  Which is where the French are now.  And the Americans will soon be.

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Powerful Government Forces suppressing the Economic Principles of Friedrich Hayek in China and America

Posted by PITHOCRATES - November 16th, 2013

Week in Review

Large governments like to control their economies.  And their people.  Because those in power always want one thing.  More power. 

The United States became the world’s number one economic power before the federal government grew into the thing it is today.  Way too big.  Reaching way too far into the private sector economy.  Before Keynesian economics became all the rage to empower the growth of governments there was classical economics.  With simple principles.  Thrift.  People thought long-term and saved their money instead of buying everything they wanted today.  Banks collected their savings and transformed them into investment capital.  The more people saved (i.e., the thriftier they were) the more capital there was available to loan to entrepreneurs.  Thus lowering interest rates.  There was also sound money.  Backed by gold.  In various forms of the gold standard.  That held the value of money over time.  And the federal government taxed little.  Regulated little.  And spent little.  These classical economic principles stimulated strong economic growth.  (Principles similar to the Austrian school of economics championed by Friedrich Hayek.)  And it is these principles that we have moved away from as we turned to Keynesian economics.  And a form of state-capitalism that we have today.

During the Nineties China turned to classical economic principles.  As they slowly allowed people some economic liberty.  But just a taste of it.  For the ruling Chinese communists did not want what happened during the collapse of the Soviet Union to happen in China.  The Chinese Communist Party would not collapse like it did in the former Soviet Union.  While there were free thinkers that embraced the principles of Friedrich Hayek the state kept them on a short leash.  A leash that appears to be even shorter these days (see A Lonely Passion: China’s Followers of Friedrich A. Hayek by DIDI KIRSTEN TATLOW published 10/30/2013 on The New York Times).

Hayek believed that economic planning by the state leads to a loss of individual liberty, and that a private economy run by people whose rights are protected and enlarged by good laws delivers the best life.

‘‘There is some distance between Hayek and the current realities’’ in China, Gao Quanxi, a prominent Chinese Hayekian and law professor at Beihang University in Beijing, said in an interview this week.

Mr. Gao was probably choosing his words carefully. The gap is enormous, as he explained last Friday in a talk at the Unirule Institute of Economics, a think tank in Beijing…

In his talk, titled ‘‘Reconsidering Hayek’s Theoretical Legacy,’’ Mr. Gao did not mince words: China is less free now than 10 years ago, at the end of the Jiang Zemin era. There is no ‘‘free market of ideas’’ in universities. Publishing on topics the authorities disapprove of has become more difficult. The state is on the march…

Capitalism, several participants said, functions in China according to the unwritten rules created by the power holders, not by good laws, as Hayek urged.

‘‘Communism has failed. Socialism has failed. What we have here is statism. And Hayek really opposed that. So how should we understand Hayek in the context of today’s China?’’ asked Mr. Gao…

Many economists, scholars and politicians believe that China is facing deep challenges to its economic model, that it needs to shift from a fixed investment-fueled economy, where the hand of the state is heavy, to one with more private enterprise and market forces.

President Obama and the Chinese communists share something in common.  They both are trying to move their economies in the same direction.  Only the Chinese communists don’t publicly bash capitalism as much as President Obama and his fellow Democrats do.

When China was enjoying double digit GDP growth the liberals in the United States wanted to do what the Chinese were doing.  To manage the economy more.  As they thought they were even more brilliant than communist state planners in China.  And could even outperform the Chinese economy.  If they could only control it.  Decide what we make.  Like solar panels.  And electric cars.  Of course, most of China’s economic growth produced exports.  And they sold well because of China’s low wages.  Which is pretty much all they had going for them.  Their middle class did not grow.  And with the worldwide decline in economic activity thanks to Keynesian economic policies by state planners everywhere who think they are smarter than the market their export market cooled.  As it cooled so did their GDP growth.

China is suffering a little economic malaise now because they don’t have a thriving middle class of entrepreneurs starting small businesses.  All they have are large state-run factories.  That produce exports.  Because they don’t have a thriving middle class to buy these products.  Which is what happens when you don’t have individual liberty.  Friedrich Hayek understood this.  Pity the Chinese communists don’t.  Or President Obama and his fellow Democrats.  Then again, perhaps they do.  But they know the price of individual liberty is less government power.  And that’s just something anathema to communists.  President Obama.  And Democrats.

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