How Christianity gave us the United States and made the World a Better Place

Posted by PITHOCRATES - December 31st, 2013

History 101

The Pope kept European Rulers from Oppressing their People lest they get Excommunicated from the Church

In 39 AD the Romans crucified Jesus of Nazareth.  Because they said he called himself the King of the Jews.  Or rather those with political power who felt threatened by Jesus’ popularity said this.  His death was to protect power and privilege of those who had it.  Ultimately, though, His death would do more to destroy power and privilege.  For the Golden Rule allowed people to live together in peace.  To build communities.  And to help one another.

Emperor Diocletian split up the vast Roman Empire into four parts.  The tetrarchy.  The rulership by four.  Each of the four parts had its own emperor.  When Diocletian stepped down from power those emperors began vying for power.  By 312 two emperors were in open war with each other.  Constantine.  And Maxentius.  On October 28, 312, they met in battle near the Milvian Bridge over the Tiber.  On the eve of battle Constantine had a vision.  The Christian God would help him win the upcoming battle if he placed the Christian symbol on his soldiers’ shields (accounts differ it was either the Chi-Rho sign or the Latin cross).  He did.  He won.  And became Constantine the Great.  Sole ruler of the Roman Empire.  And because of his victory in the Battle of the Milvian Bridge he began his conversion to Christianity.  Making the Roman Empire Christian.

Christianity spread throughout and united Europe.  And the Pope kept European rulers from oppressing their people.  Lest they get excommunicated from the Church.  In time, though, some resented rule from Rome.  In particular when Pope Leo X sold indulgences (a way to help purify one from sin) to fund the rebuilding of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.  This was one of many problems that had many calling for a reform of the Church.  One in particular, Martin Luther, published his The Ninety-Five Theses in 1517.  Kicking off the Protestant Reformation.

Plymouth Colony succeeded when Communal Property became Private Property

Henry VIII, King of England, was a good Catholic.  But his wife wasn’t giving him any sons.  And he wanted a male heir.  So he asked the Pope for an annulment from his wife.  Catherine.  So he could marry Anne Boleyn.  The Pope refused.  So Henry left the Catholic Church.  And initiated the English Reformation.  Making England Protestant.  England would swing back and forth between Catholicism and Protestantism without being either but something in between.  Making a group of Protestants very unhappy.  As they felt the English Reformation did not go far enough.  A group referred to derisively as Puritans.  They were so hated that they were being persecuted along with the Catholics.  So they left England.  Landing in the Netherlands first.  Then they sailed across the Atlantic.  They sighted land on November 9, 1620.  They eventually came ashore and established Plymouth Colony.

About half of Plymouth Colony died within the first few years.  From disease.  And hunger.  The economic system they were using was killing them.  Communal property.  Everything the colonists produced belonged to everyone.  People produced according to their ability and took from the common store according to their needs.  A sort of Marxism.  Before there was even a Karl Marx.  To save the colony Governor William Bradford abandoned the idea of communal property in 1623.  Communal property became private property.  And the colony was saved.  As people worked twice as hard to produce more on their land than they did on communal land.  And because they did they replaced famines with bumper crops.  So instead of dying off the American colonies became the prosperous New World.

The Seven Years’ War (1756–1763) came to the New World.  By the time it ended Catholic France lost its North American possessions to Protestant Great Britain.  To pay off the enormous debt of that war Parliament decided to tax their British American colonists.  Who made out very well in the conflict without the costs the British incurred.  But they did this without discussing it with the colonists.  Treating them as second-class citizens in the British Empire.  Who had no representation in Parliament.  Which led to anger over taxation without representation.  Leading to the Boston Tea Party (December 16, 1773).  Which led to the Intolerable Acts and the Quebec Act (1774-1775).  Which led to the shot heard ’round the world.  The Battles of Lexington and Concord (April 19, 1775).  Which ultimately led to July 2, 1776.  When the Continental Congress voted to adopt the Declaration of Independence.  After a few revisions it was formally passed 2 days later.  On July 4, 1776.  Known forever after as Independence Day in the United States.

In the United States your Last Name does not Determine the Quality of your Life

The American Revolutionary War did not start out well.  As the British pushed them back with little effort.  Until Benedict Arnold (future traitor) did some superb soldiering.  Impeding the advance of General Burgoyne.  The Americans met him in battle for the last time on October 7, 1777.  On the second day of fighting in the Battle of Saratoga.  And won.  Forcing an army in the mightiest empire in the world to surrender.  Shocking the world.  And getting the French to take notice.  Who then entered the American War of Independence.  The turning point of the war.  And world history.  For France was anxious to get back what they had lost to the British.  As was Spain.  Who joined the conflict as France’s ally.  Turning the American War of Independence into a world war.  And a war of attrition.  As their new foes forced them to send British forces all around the globe.  Leaving fewer to fight in North America.  With a British public growing weary of the war in North America.

America won.  Eventually.  Taking 8 years until the Treaty of Paris officially ended the conflict (September 3, 1783).  And peace and prosperity followed.  Thanks in large part to Jay’s Treaty (ratified by the Senate in November 1794).  Which improved relations between Great Britain and the new United States of America.  And began a Special Relationship between two nations of a common people, culture, religion and tradition.  When the treaty expired there was a minor hiccup in that Special Relationship that resulted in war.  The War of 1812 (1812-1815).  But peace and prosperity soon resumed.  With the South having a larger say in the national direction thanks to the Three-Fifths Compromise in the United States Constitution (1787).  Giving the South greater representation in the House of Representatives as they counted 3/5 of each slave to determine their number of representatives.  As the North industrialized and immigration filled their factories and swelled her population the South was losing that larger say.  One thing led to another that eventually resulted in the American Civil War (1861-1865).

The agrarian South had more in common with feudal England than they did with the industrial North.  Rich landowners (the planter elite) comprised an aristocracy that controlled politics.  While peasants/slaves worked the land.  The South was holding onto the Old World.  Where there was power and privilege.  While the North was building the New World.  Though the South talked about states’ rights they used the power of the federal government wherever they could.  Such as the Fugitive Slave Act (1850).  When war broke out the South won most battles.  Until General Grant started his great advance down the Mississippi River.  With the Vicksburg Campaign (May 18 – July 4, 1863) culminating in the capture of Vicksburg.  And control of the Mississippi River.  Severing the Confederacy into two.  Pretty much guaranteeing a Union victory.  It was just a matter of time.  In the east the Battle of Gettysburg (July 1–3, 1863) also ended in a Union victory.  President Lincoln went to the Gettysburg battlefield for the dedication of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery there.  Where he gave his Gettysburg’s Address (November 19, 1863).  Which ended with “we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”  And so far it hasn’t.  Remaining that shining city upon a hill.  The destination of people everywhere yearning liberty.  And a better life.  Where all men are created equal.  And your last name does not determine the quality of your life.

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The Redistribution of Wealth in Obamacare

Posted by PITHOCRATES - December 30th, 2013

Economics 101

“Wait a tic.  Blimey, this redistribution of wealth is trickier than I thought.”

Monty Python is a British comedy troupe.  Starting off with a television show in 1969.  And ending their run together with a movie in 1983.  With some other stuff along the way.  They became about the biggest stars ever in comedy.  They redefined comedy.  And have influenced some of the biggest names that followed them.  Part of the reason why Monty Python is so funny is that they are so serious when being silly.  And they are very well educated.   With some members having degrees from Oxford and Cambridge.   Which helps make their humor different.  Such as their take on Robin Hood with a character they called Dennis Moore.

Dennis Moore, Dennis Moore
Galloping through the sward
Dennis Moore, Dennis Moore
And his horse Concorde
He steals from the rich
And gives to the poor
Mr. Moore, Mr. Moore, Mr. Moore

This is the opening verse of a song in the sketch Dennis Moore.  The character steals from the rich who have more than they need.  And gives it to the poor who don’t have enough.  A classic example of redistribution of wealth.  Something the American left is all about.  Being Dennis Moore.  Or Robin Hood.  But in the sketch Dennis Moore takes it to the extreme.  Stealing so much from those who were originally rich that they have nothing left but their underclothes.  While those who were originally poor have everything the rich had.  And the formerly poor (now rich) get ever more demanding of Mr. Moore for better stuff.  As he rides off to please these formerly poor (now rich) we hear the following verse.

Dennis Moore, Dennis Moore
Riding through the land
Dennis Moore, Dennis Moore
Without a merry band
He steals from the poor
And gives to the rich
Stupid bitch

Dennis Moore halts his horse.  And asks the chorus to repeat themselves.  To make sure he heard what he thought he heard.  They do.  Mr. Moore then says, “Wait a tic.  Blimey, this redistribution of wealth is trickier than I thought.”  As he discovers some of the inherent flaws in the redistribution of wealth concept.  Excessive redistribution can take large sums of money away from some.  Which doesn’t help them.  It only punishes them.  And if you’re okay with punishing the rich to help the poor note what happens to the poor when they get the rich’s money.  They become exactly like them.

Buying Votes to Win Elections works as long as you Tax the Few to Spend on the Many

This sketch is funny.  Because it’s true.  You’ve heard the expression “beggars can’t be choosey?”  Well, when it comes to the redistribution of wealth, they can.  And are.  Choosey.  They can become very demanding.  And the more they get the more they want.  And the more like the people they hate and envy—the wealthy—they get.  Mr. Moore learned that.  Where the poor he was trying to help with a hand-up didn’t use it for a hand-up.  They just used the rich’s wealth to enjoy the good life without working and earning it over time.

People may look down on those born into money but that’s only because they weren’t.  This is why poor people buy lottery tickets.  To get rich quick.  Because they don’t want to wait to have money.  They’d like to have it when they’re young.  And not wait until they’re old.  After working 20 years or so.  Which is why selling the idea of wealth redistribution is so easy.  And helps politicians win elections.  Because there are more poor people than rich people.

President Obama said those who could afford it should pay a little more.  Taxes.  To balance the playing field.  To offer a ‘hand-up’ to the poor.  This is the message of the Democrats.  Tax and spend.  Tax the rich.  And give it to the poor.  And the young.  Such as free birth control, tuition assistance, Obamacare subsidies, etc.  Things they tax the rich for.  To get the poor to vote Democrat.  It’s a working formula.  Buying votes.  As long as you tax the few to spend on the many.  Because you need the many to win elections.

Obamacare won’t Work because the Welfare flows in the Wrong Direction

The welfare state taxes the few/rich/old to spend on the many/poor/young.  Which is why it worked.  You angered a smaller group of people than you pleased.  And if you can keep doing that you can keep winning elections.  As long as you keep playing Dennis Moore.  Without being a stupid bitch.  Which the Democrats did well.  Until Obamacare.  The Affordable Care Act.

Obamacare will fail because unlike other welfare programs Obamacare is unique.  For it does not tax the few/rich/old.  It actually taxes the many/poor/young.  To pay for the health care of those who have more money than they do.  The old and sick.  Leaving the young and healthy with less money to start their families.  As they help the old and sick who already had their families.  And something just isn’t right with this picture.  The old and sick are fine with it.  While the young and healthy are calling someone ‘stupid bitch’.  Figuratively, of course.

Young people don’t have a problem with tax and spend.  As long as they are the recipients of those welfare transfers.  So they vote Democrat.  And they also vote Democrat because they are the opposite of their parents.  Who never tell them they can’t do this or that.  But, instead, tell them they should do whatever they feel like doing.  Which they like.  A lot.  But the Affordable Care Act is a whole different animal.  Where Democrats are being like parents.  Telling the young Democrat voters that they can’t do everything they want to do.  Because they’re forcing them to buy something they don’t want.  Which isn’t their parents’ welfare program.  From the few/rich/old to the many/poor/young.  But more of a welfare program for their parents.  Making it more difficult for the young Democrat voters to embrace Obamacare.  Which is why they aren’t.  And why the math won’t work for Obamacare.  Because the welfare flows in the wrong direction.

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Democrats help Colleges and Universities sell kids Useless Degrees with no Market Value

Posted by PITHOCRATES - December 29th, 2013

Week in Review

All you hear from Washington is that we need to spend more on education.  We need to help more kids afford a college education.  To help subsidize the high cost of education.  Though they never question why the cost of education is so high.  Never.  Tuition keeps going up.  And they keep saying we need to spend more on education.

More people than ever are going on to college.  Because it’s a lot of fun.  Drinking and partying.  The drugs.  The sex.  Kids love getting out from underneath their parent’s supervision.  And going to a party college.  Where they can have a good time.  All of the time.  Of course, taking tough majors could get in the way of that fun.  Like math and science majors.  The kind of majors businesses are hiring out of college.  But these majors are hard.  And do intrude on that fun.  So a lot of kids take easier majors.  They still pay a fortune for them.  But their universities and colleges gladly take their money knowing full well that their odds of getting a job with that major are slim (see Duke Grad Student Secretly Lived In a Van to Escape Loan Debt by Mandi Woodruff, Business Insider, posted 12/27/2013 on Yahoo! Finance).

Yahoo editors have selected this article as a favorite of 2013. It first ran on Yahoo Finance on June 10 and was one of the most popular stories of the year. The article details the extreme lengths Ken Ilgunas went to in order to pay back his big student debt bill.

By the time Ken Ilgunas was wrapping up his last year of undergraduate studies at the University of Buffalo in 2005, he had no idea what kind of debt hole he’d dug himself into.

He had majored in the least marketable fields of study possible — English and History — and had zero job prospects after getting turned down for no fewer than 25 paid internships.

“That was a wake-up call,” he told Business Insider. “I had this huge $32,000 student debt and at the time I was pushing carts at Home Depot, making $8 an hour. I was just getting kind of frantic.”

Back then, student loans had yet to become the front page news they are today. Ilgunas could have simply deferred his loans or declared forbearance. He also could have asked his parents (who were more than willing to help) for a leg up. He could have thrown up his hands and gone to grad school until the job market bounced back.

Instead, he moved to Alaska and spent two years paying back every dime. And when he enrolled at Duke University for graduate school later, he lived out of his van to be sure he wouldn’t have to take out loans again.

Ken’s story is a little different as he really wanted to be a writer.  And he took whatever job he could to repay his student loan.  And then earned his master’s without another student loan.  But there are so many kids who are enticed to take on great student loan debt to earn a degree that has little market value in a high-tech economy.  And our colleges and universities sell these degrees to these unsuspecting kids.  They get their money.  Allowing tenured professors and college administrators to live the good life.  While these kids are stuck paying off their debt with their $8/hour jobs that they could have gotten without that expensive college degree.  Or taxpayers end up paying for them.  With taxpayer-subsidies.  Or student loan bailouts.  Which may be coming if Democrats get their way.

Our colleges and universities are slinging these useless degrees for the money.  For higher education is a business.  And a profitable one.  The one type of business that the left doesn’t mind making a profit.  Even an obscene profit.

The Democrats help them with cheap student loans, subsidies and the promise of bailouts to keep that money flowing to them.  And in exchange they teach our kids how to be good Democrat voters.  Which they do.  As the vast majority of our young vote Democrat.  Even when they have to repay their student loans with their $8/hour jobs.  But that may change.  As more of them can’t find work with their expensive degrees they may dissuade their friends and younger siblings from making the same mistake.  Especially as they now have to deal with the high cost of the Affordable Care Act.  Which may be the tipping point for the young.  For as much as the Democrats say they are looking out for them their lives just don’t get better when Democrats win elections.

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The Fed’s Quantitative Easing keeps the Big Three Building Cars

Posted by PITHOCRATES - December 29th, 2013

Week in Review

Governments love it when people buy houses and cars.  Because building houses and cars generates a lot of economic activity.  So much economic activity that central banks will flood their economies with money to keep interest rates artificially low.  To encourage people to go into great debt and buy these things.  Even if they don’t want them.  Especially if they don’t want them.  Because if you add in people buying things who don’t want them with the people who do that’s a lot of economic activity.  Which is why central banks keep interest rates artificially low.  To get people to buy things even when they don’t want them.  But do because those low interest rates are just too good to pass up.

Automotive jobs are union jobs.  At least with the Big Three.  Which is another reason why the Federal Reserve (America’s central bank) keeps interest rates artificially low.  To save union jobs.  Because they support Democrats.  And the Democrats take care of them.  By enacting legislation that favors union-built cars.  Placing tariffs and quotas on imports.  And doing whatever they can to encourage the Fed to keep interest rates artificially low.  So the Big Three keep building cars with union labor.  Even if they’re not selling the cars they build (see Spending on new cars may break record in December by Joseph Szczesny posted 12/25/2013 on CNBC).

Total vehicle sales are expected to be up at least 4 percent year over year, with the industry anticipating all-time record consumer spending on new vehicles, according to a forecast.

While new car sales started the month slowly, they are expected to finish strong, according to a monthly sales forecast developed jointly by J.D. Power and LMC Automotive. That would be a welcome development for industry planners concerned about a recent bulge in dealer inventories, which has led several manufacturers to trim production…

Vehicle production in North America through November is up 5 percent from the same time frame last year, with nearly 700,000 additional units. Even as inventory has increased, production volume remained strong last month, at 1.4 million units—a 4 percent increase from November 2012.

But there are some concerns that the industry may be turning up production faster than the market can handle. General Motors, Ford Motor and Chrysler continued to build inventories last month, and their combined supply climbed from 87 days at the beginning of November to 93 days by the end…

Some of the buildup can be traced to dealers’ ordering pickup trucks and utility vehicles before the planned shutdowns for model changes at GM and Ford. But those two makers also have decided to take more downtime at some of their plants this month in an effort to reduce excess stock.

Automotive news is often contradictory.  Sales are up they tell us.  Even when inventories are growing.  A sign that sales are not growing.  Because when people buy more cars than they build inventories fall.  But when people buy fewer cars than they build inventories rise.  So when inventories are rising typically that means sales are falling.  So this isn’t a sign of a booming economy.  But one that is likely to slip into recession.  Especially when the Fed finally begins their tapering of their bond buying (i.e., quantitative easing).  The thing that is keeping interest rates artificially low.  And once they do those inventories will really bulge.  As they do during the onset of a recession.

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Adam Lanza suffered Severe Mental Health Issues that drove him to Violence

Posted by PITHOCRATES - December 29th, 2013

Week in Review

There is a line on the sit-com The Big Bang Theory where Leonard warns someone that Sheldon is one lab accident away from being a super-villain.  Here’s what Wikipedia says about Sheldon.

Sheldon exhibits a strict adherence to routine, a total lack of social skills, a tenuous understanding of humor, a general lack of humility or empathy, and displays textbook narcissistic behavior. He also has a very hard time recognizing irony and sarcasm in other people although he himself often employs them… Despite speculation that Sheldon’s personality traits may be consistent with Asperger syndrome, obsessive–compulsive personality disorder and asexuality,[5][7] co-creator Bill Prady has repeatedly stated that Sheldon’s character was neither conceived nor developed with regard to any of these conditions.[7]

The Big Bang Theory is a comedy.  And Jim Parsons plays Sheldon brilliantly.  He’s hilarious.  But what the show jokes about can be a real danger.   As a person with exceptional intelligence suffering from these mental health issues can become dangerous.  And the further from reality they drift the more dangerous they can become (see Newtown killer had occasionally violent tendencies by Larry Copeland posted 12/27/2013 on USA Today).

The mentally troubled gunman in the Newtown massacre had obsessive behavior, changing his socks as many as 20 times a day, and his mother tried to manage her life around the bizarre quirks of her son, according to thousands of pages of documents released by Connecticut State Police on Friday…

He had apparently displayed signs of the potential for violent behavior to at least one former teacher…

One of Lanza’s former teachers told investigators that the shooter was anti-social and that he rarely interacted with other students.

“I remember giving creative writing assignments to students instructing them to write a page or two on whatever they wanted to talk about,” she said. “Adam would write ten pages, obsessing about battles, destruction and war. In my years of experience, I have known (redacted) grade boys to talk about things like this, but Adam’s level of violence was disturbing. I remember showing the writings to the Principal at the time. Adam’s creative writing was so graphic that it could not be shared…”

One witness, a man who told police he’d known Nancy Lanza for about two years, said he was aware that Lanza “suffered from Asperger Syndrome…

Another witness told police that Nancy “had taken him out of school because he was sensitive to sound and light.” A nurse told investigators that Nancy Lanza had to do three loads of laundry a day because Adam Lanza obsessively changed his clothes, sometimes changing his socks 20 times a day…

“(The witness) said that Nancy Lanza told him she had no intentions of re-marrying and accepted the obligations of caring for Adam. Nancy said that she and Adam planned for her trip to New Hampshire. The trip was an experiment to allow Adam to stay at home alone for a few days.”

As soon as the Newtown massacre hit the media the left was calling for new gun control legislation.  Even before they knew who Adam Lanza was.  Or the extent of his mental issues.  And they were extensive.  This kid should have been institutionalized.  His mother resigned herself to living the rest of her life taking care of him.  Probably because that was the only option available to her.  As it can be difficult to commit someone until they have proven to be a danger to the public.  Something that is typically proven by committing an act that harms someone.  Of course by that time it’s too late.  As in the case of Adam Lanza.  James Holmes (2012 Aurora shooting).  Jared Loughner (2011 Tucson supermarket massacre).  Seung-Hui Cho (Virginia Tech Massacre).

Were the guns to blame?  Or the madmen firing the guns?  A lot of people own guns.  But very few of them commit massacres.  Perhaps the better question is this.  If guns were unavailable to these people would they have still found a way to kill?  As smart as they were?  Or would these ‘super-villains’ have just said, “Oh well.  No guns available so I guess it’s sanity for me.”  And walk away from their delusions?  Or would they think of another way?

Taking guns away won’t stop these people from hurting others.  They may have just used their intelligence to think of another way.  Perhaps one more deadly than shooting people one at a time.  Identifying them early and institutionalizing them would work better.  For if they were institutionalized they wouldn’t be able to hurt anyone.  With a gun.  Or with anything else their intelligence dreamt up.

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It was a Bad Year for the NHS which Portends a Bad Future for Obamacare

Posted by PITHOCRATES - December 29th, 2013

Week in Review

Britain has had its problems with their National Health Service (NHS).  Where national health care is proving to be unaffordable.  Especially now that their population is aging.  People are living longer into retirement and consuming more health care resources.  While a falling birthrate is producing fewer new taxpayers to replace those retirees leaving the tax-paying workforce.  Forcing them to raise taxes on those still paying taxes.  Or cutting spending on those who aren’t paying taxes.  Those consuming the lion’s share of their limited health care resources.  Those retirees.

Those are the choices.  And they are the only choices.  Because when it comes to national health care it’s a zero-sum game.  Either you take more from some to pay for others.  Or you spend less on everyone to make those limited resources cover more people.  Which is the great flaw in national health care.  Because your health care depends on what others are willing or able to give you.  Something that’s been happening ever since health insurance became an employee benefit.  For before that you paid for your health care.  And no one denied you anything.  Because you were in control by paying your own bills.  But then came the third parties.  First the health insurance companies.  And then the government.  As always is the case when you introduce ‘middle men’ costs rise and efficiencies fall.

As health care became a benefit it required generational theft.  Taking money from the young and healthy to pay for the old and sick.  When health care became a right the generational theft grew greater.  And when government took over the generational theft grew even greater.  As government is notoriously less efficient than private health insurers.  Requiring ever more money to provide the same level of health care found in the private sector.  Which is why 2013 was not a good year for the NHS (see Was 2013 the NHS’s annus horriblis? by Nick Triggle posted 12/27/2013 on BBC News Health).

It has been a bruising year for the NHS in England…

It kicked off with the publication in February of the Francis Inquiry into events at the Stafford Hospital, which accused the service of betraying patients.

By the start of the summer, another 14 hospitals with the highest death rates were being hauled over the coals for their failings in their care…

As autumn came, another review – this time on complaints – was scathing about the attitude of the NHS to complaints.

The report, led by Labour MP Ann Clywd who had broken down on radio over the care given to her late husband, said there was a culture of “delay and denial”.

Of course, controversy has surrounded the health service before…

But that was about how the service was structured.

This year has been about the very basics – the quality of care – and so in that sense it has felt different…

According to Chris Hopson, chief executive of the Foundation Trust Network, the giant hurdle in the way of further progress is money.

“This is perhaps the trickiest position the NHS has ever been in,” he says.

“We are looking at a period of 10 years where money will be incredibly tight and what we are seeing now is a mismatch between what is being asked for and what is achievable.

The United States has an aging population just like Britain.  And has the same problem paying for their health care as they do.  Requiring ever greater amounts of generational theft.  As Obamacare all but picks up our young by the feet to shake whatever money they can out of their pockets.  Which begs the question if the NHS is such a case study in what not to do why did President Obama and the Democrats do the Affordable Care Act?

The answer is simple.  Because Obamacare is not about health care.  It’s about government power over one-sixth of the U.S. economy.  For if it was about health care they wouldn’t have done the Affordable Care Act.  Because of the lessons offered by the NHS.  Lessons President Obama and the Democrats ignored when passing Obamacare into law.  As they weren’t being honest with the American people.  Because they want what the British have.  Even if it reduces the quality of our health care.  Which is obvious by their passing the Affordable Care Act despite all of their woes in the NHS.  Which will soon be our woes.

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President Obama and the Democrats lied about how Affordable the Affordable Care Act Is

Posted by PITHOCRATES - December 29th, 2013

Week in Review

The Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) was to make health care affordable.  In fact, it was going to be free.  Sort of.  Not health care per se.  But the Affordable Care Act.  For it was going to take the $1 trillion over 10 years the U.S. was spending on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and use it to pay for Obamacare.  So as far as the American people were concerned who had grown accustomed to the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan Obamacare would be free.  That is, all the wonderful free stuff included in Obamacare would come without a single dime of new federal taxes or spending.  Of course, President Obama and the Democrats were lying to the American people (see New ObamaCare fees coming in 2014 by S.A. Miller and Geoff Earle posted 12/25/2013 on the New York Post).

Here comes the ObamaCare tax bill…

Most insurers aren’t advertising the ObamaCare taxes that are added on to premiums, opting instead to discretely pass them on to customers while quietly lobbying lawmakers for a break.

But one insurance company, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama, laid bare the taxes on its bills with a separate line item for “Affordable Care Act Fees and Taxes.”

The new taxes on one customer’s bill added up to $23.14 a month, or $277.68 annually, according to Kaiser Health News. It boosted the monthly premium from $322.26 to $345.40 for that individual.

The new taxes and fees include a 2 percent levy on every health plan, which is expected to net about $8 billion for the government in 2014 and increase to $14.3 billion in 2018.

There’s also a $2 fee per policy that goes into a new medical-research trust fund called the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute.

Insurers pay a 3.5 percent user fee to sell medical plans on the HealthCare.gov Web site…

Americans also will pay hidden taxes, such as the 2.3 percent medical-device tax that will inflate the cost of items such as pacemakers, stents and prosthetic limbs.

Those with high out-of-pocket medical expenses also will get smaller income-tax deductions.

Americans are currently allowed to deduct expenses that exceed 7.5 percent of their annual income. The threshold jumps to 10 percent under ObamaCare, costing taxpayers about $15 billion over 10 years…

Under ObamaCare, individual tax filers earning more than $200,000 and families earning more than $250,000 will pay an added 0.9 percent Medicare surtax on top of the existing 1.45 percent Medicare payroll tax. They’ll also pay an extra 3.8 percent Medicare tax on unearned income, such as investment dividends, rental income and capital gains.

They’re adding an Obamacare tax/fee/levy to all health insurance policies we buy.  And a $2 fee per policy in addition to the others taxes/fees/levies.  Insurers have to pay a 3.5% user fee for the privilege of selling their policies on the health care exchanges.  Which, of course, they will recover by increasing the price of their polices that the government is forcing us to buy.  There’s a medical-device tax.  And a Medicare surtax.  As well as an extra 3.8% Medicare tax on unearned income.  And if that wasn’t bad enough, on top of all of these new taxes, fees, levies, user fees, surtaxes, etc., taking more money out of our pockets they’ve also reduced the amount of out-of-pocket medical expenses we can claim as a tax deduction.  Meaning we will pay more of our income as income taxes.  Making the Affordable Care Act anything but affordable.

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Hugo Chávez’ Socialism made Venezuela a more Violent and Dangerous Place

Posted by PITHOCRATES - December 28th, 2013

Week in Review

The Democrats have a mission.  To reduce the income disparity between rich and poor.  To reduce the rate of violent crime.  For the only reason people ever hurt one another is because they are wanting for the basic necessities in life.  And they sometimes take them forcibly from those who have them.  But if there is no income disparity there is no rich and poor.  So no one would ever hurt anyone.

Which is why Democrats work so hard to reduce the income disparity between rich and poor.  Their tool?  Income redistribution.  From those according to ability.  To those according to need.  Like Karl Marx wanted to do.  But socialism never really caught on in the United States.  As most Americans see the abject failure it has been.  But this hasn’t stopped other nations from experimenting with it.  In 1999 Hugo Chávez became president of Venezuela.  And he proceeded to make Venezuela socialist.  Here are some highlights of his work pulled from Wikipedia:

Following Chavismo, his own political ideology of Bolivarianism and Socialism of the 21st Century, he focused on implementing socialist reforms in the country as a part of a social project known as the Bolivarian Revolution. He implemented the 1999 Venezuelan Constitution, participatory democratic councils, the nationalization of several key industries, and increased government funding of health care and education and made significant reductions in poverty with oil revenues.[1][2] The Bolivarian Missions have entailed the construction of thousands of free medical clinics for the poor,[3] the institution of educational campaigns that have reportedly made more than one million adult Venezuelans literate,[4] and the enactment of food[5] and housing subsidies…[6]

Closely aligning himself with the communist governments of Fidel and then Raúl Castro in Cuba and the socialist governments of Evo Morales in Bolivia, Rafael Correa in Ecuador, and Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua, his presidency was seen as a part of the socialist “pink tide” sweeping Latin America. Along with these governments, Chávez described his policies as anti-imperialist, being a prominent adversary of the United States’s foreign policy as well as a vocal critic of US-supported neoliberalism and laissez-faire capitalism.[8] He supported Latin American and Caribbean cooperation and was instrumental in setting up the pan-regional Union of South American Nations, the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas, the Bank of the South, and the regional television network TeleSur. Chávez was a highly controversial and divisive figure both at home and abroad. On occasion he used undiplomatic language towards other world leaders, having compared US president George W. Bush to a donkey[9] and the devil.[10]

Hugo Chávez created a socialist paradise in Venezuela.  One that would have pleased the father of socialism.  Karl Marx.  Chávez destroyed the income disparity between rich and poor.  Making the people happy.  Where they linked their arms together and sang Kumbaya.  Like the hippies in America did as they lived in their socialist/communist communes.  So you think the people would be living together in a brotherhood of man.  Like John Lennon sang about in his song Imagine.  No possessions.  No greed or hunger.  Just everyone living as one.  So how is that socialist paradise?  Well, the people aren’t living as one in a brotherhood of man (see Venezuela’s Homicide Rate Rises, NGO’s Report Says by the AP posted on ABC News).

A non-governmental group that tracks violent crime in Venezuela says the country’s homicide rate has risen again in 2013 and has quadrupled over the past 15 years.

The Venezuelan Violence Observatory estimates that 24,763 killings occurred this year, pushing up the homicide rate to 79 per 100,000 inhabitants. It was 73 per 100,000 people in 2012. In 1998, the rate was 19.

The more Chávez made Venezuela socialist the more violent crime there was.  That’s not what’s supposed to happen according to the Democrats.  It’s supposed to create a brotherhood of man.  Like John Lennon sang about.  Not make more people kill each other.  Apparently not only was Karl Marx wrong.  But the Democrats are wrong, too.  Imagine that.

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The Data shows the Sea Levels are not Rising despite what Al Gore has been Saying

Posted by PITHOCRATES - December 28th, 2013

 Week in Review

Al Gore has been warning us since the Nineties that if we don’t act immediately to stop global warming the seas will rise and flood the world’s coastlines.  And if we didn’t act soon it would be too late to prevent this.  But we did nothing.  As Al Gore chastises us over and over.  From his beachside estate.  Apparently he really isn’t all that concerned about the rising sea levels.  Perhaps because he is familiar with the annual mean seal level data (see Permanent Service for Mean Sea Level).

Annual Mean Sea Level

The sea level had actually fallen from a high during the Eighties when Gore was warning about the impending rise of the sea level.  And near the end of the Nineties when he was even more shrilly warning us that the rising seas would engulf our coastal areas if we didn’t take immediate action there was actually a sharp fall in the sea levels.  Then they rose again.  And fell again.  Rose again.  And fell again.  They’re actually lower now than they were during their highest level in the Eighties.  And even lower than they were in the Nineties.  When Gore told us the consequences for not acting were greatest.

Clearly the Gore warnings were not based on the data.  So why all the warnings to the contrary?  Who knows.  Whatever the reason one thing is for sure.  It paid him very well.  And gave him that beachside estate.

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The Ice in the Antarctic is too Thick for Two Ice Breakers to Break Through

Posted by PITHOCRATES - December 28th, 2013

Week in Review

According to the global warming enthusiasts we’re melting the ice caps at the poles.  Leaving the poor polar bears in the Arctic Ocean floundering in the open seas.  With no ice to drag themselves up onto to rest and eat the baby seals they’ve just killed.  Pity the polar bears didn’t hang out in the Antarctic with the penguins.  Then again, the ice there may be too thick (see Rescue of icebound Antarctic ship faces setback by KRISTEN GELINEAU, AP, posted 12/27/2013 on Yahoo! News).

A Chinese icebreaker that was en route to rescue a ship trapped in Antarctic ice was forced to turn back on Saturday after being unable to push its way through the heavy sea ice.

The Snow Dragon icebreaker came within 7 miles (11 kilometers) of the Russian ship MV Akademik Shokalskiy, which has been stuck since Christmas Eve, but had to retreat after the ice became too thick, said expedition spokesman Alvin Stone…

Three icebreakers, including the Snow Dragon, have been trying to reach the ship since Wednesday. France’s L’Astrolabe made it to the edge of the sea ice surrounding the ship on Saturday, but called off its mission after it, too, failed to break through, said Lisa Martin, spokeswoman for the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, which is coordinating the rescue…

The scientific team on board the research ship — which left New Zealand on Nov. 28 — had been recreating Australian explorer Douglas Mawson’s century-old voyage to Antarctica when it became trapped. They plan to continue their expedition after they are freed, expedition leader Chris Turney said.

Interesting.  After they get freed from the ice they are going to continue retracing the century-old journey of Australian explorer Douglas Mawson.  Which means there was less ice a century ago than there is now.  Because his ship didn’t get stuck in the ice.  No.  His adventures happened off the ship.  On the frozen, windswept expanses.  And were far more unpleasant than being stuck in the ice.  For people died.  While the survivors had to eat their sled dogs to survive.  Something that won’t happen on a warm ship stuck in the ice with weeks’ worth of supplies for all onboard.

A ship full of food?  That’s something the polar bears would enjoy.  Pity they’re stuck up in the warm and melting Arctic while at the other pole it’s colder and icier than it was a century earlier.  Funny how there’s global warming at the North Pole.  While there is global cooling at the South Pole.  And this during the summer months at the South Pole.  Guess that global warming can be a fickle thing.

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