LESSONS LEARNED #49: “The ‘tolerant’ are intolerant.” -Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - January 20th, 2011

Agitate and Instigate – Getting the People to Help the Well-to-Do

There are tolerant people out there.  Independents.  Moderates.  Lots of Democrats.  And, yes, even conservatives.  Even though there are those who demonize conservatives.  And say that they aren’t.  By people who claim to be.  Who are, in fact, not.  Liberals.  That 20% sliver of the population.  Those who benefit greatly from a liberal agenda.  And agenda that greatly burdens the other 80%.  Through higher taxes.  And greater regulation.  Which adds costs to business.  Which results in higher prices.  Fewer jobs.  A poorer population that can’t buy as much stuff.  And a depressed economy.

This 20% lives a privileged life.  College professors, public sector employees, union public school teachers, the mainstream media, liberal politicians (both Republican and Democrat), etc.  People who make a lot of money.  But don’t work a real job.  Like the other 80% of the population.

To live a privileged life requires the other 80% to voluntarily pay for it.  And that’s not easy.  These people can make as much as three times what those in the private sector make.  So they can’t expect much pity.  Because people just don’t pity you if you’re struggling to make two house payments and a boat payment.  Especially when they’re staring foreclosure in the face on their one and only home.  So they need to get our support some other way.  So they agitate.  Instigate.  They like to stir up trouble.  Demonize their opponents.  So no one focuses on just how well they live and how little they work.

Feigning Tolerance to Attract the Single Issue Voters

So they agitate and instigate to get some of that 80% to support them.  They look at single issues that are dear to some people.  Abortion.  Immigration.  Drugs.  Cigarettes.  Birth control.  Fast food.  Sugary beverages.  Health care.  Secularism.  Etc.  Anything they can politicize.  Anything they can use as a wedge to move people from supporting the 80% and to supporting the 20%.

Scare tactics.  Demonization of individuals.  Political correctness.  These are some of their tools.  Things that can help stir up trouble.  Agitate people.  And make them do something that they normally wouldn’t do.  Support their far left agenda.  Because they attach these single issues to their agenda.  These single-issue people may not agree with the far left liberal agenda, but their single issue trumps all.  Much like Congress does when attaching pork to a bill.  They’ll attach bazillions of dollars of outrageous earmarks to a bill entitled ‘it’s time to stop abusing children’.  It’s effective.  Vote for the bill (and the irresponsible spending attached to it).  Or be on the public record for being in favor of abusing children.  Not much of a choice, really.  Especially if you ever plan to run for reelection.

Tolerance.  That’s an especially useful tool.  For painting themselves as enlightened and opened minded.  While painting their opponents as mean, cold, unfeeling and close minded.  And it’s rather ironic.  For their opponents are often far more tolerant than the tolerant, liberal left.

The Dangers of Smoke is Relative.  The Cigarette kind is Bad.  But the Marijuana kind, Surprisingly, Isn’t

Pity the poor cigarette smoker.  He or she can’t get a break anywhere.  They’ve made it criminal to smoke pretty much anywhere but in your own home.  And they’re looking at that, too.  Especially if you have kids.  Pity, too.  Some of my fondest memories are as a child when my aunts and uncles came over to visit.  They smoked and played gin rummy.  While we played.  My cousins.  My brother.  And me.  I’m not a smoker.  But to this day when I get a whiff of cigarette smoke I get this warm feeling of nostalgia wash over me.  But those days are gone.  First they’ll band smoking in your home.  Then gin rummy.  And then probably having aunts and uncles over that could unfavorably influence your kids. 

Cigarette smoke is bad for you.  Second hand smoke is bad for those around you. So they are very intolerant of anyone smoking those foul, detestable cigarettes.  But if you want to spark up a fatty, they’re okay with that.  In fact, they want to decriminalize marijuana.  They’ve already started with ‘medical’ marijuana.  Now there is a thriving market for illegal medical prescriptions for medical marijuana.  And, you know what?  That’s silly.  They’re going to smoke it anyway.  So let’s just decriminalize it completely.  And open cannabis coffee shops like they have in the Netherlands.  Because there ain’t nothing wrong with a little unfiltered marijuana smoke.  Unlike that nasty, foul, vile cigarette smoke.  And if you have a problem with marijuana, why, you’re just intolerant.

What’s a worse Lifestyle Choice than Heroin Addiction?  Eating a McDonald’s Happy Meal

San Francisco is a big gay city.  And by that I mean gay-friendly.  They have a lot of gays and lesbians living there.  And a lot of intravenous drug users.  Therefore, they have a big AIDS problem.  To try and prevent the spread of AIDS they’ve been providing clean syringes to help heroin addicts support their heroin addictions.  They brand anyone opposing this policy as intolerant of the gay community.  The addict community.  Or of drug users and sexually active people in general.

Meanwhile, the city of San Francisco has banned McDonald’s from including toys in their Happy Meals.  Because it encourages children to live an unhealthy lifestyle.  So they’re intolerant of parents letting their kids enjoy an occasional Happy Meal.  While they are tolerant of subsidizing an addict’s addiction.  Even though everyone eating a Happy Meal has not gone on to be obese and suffer from poor health.  While most heroin addicts eventually kill themselves from the drugs they abuse.

Gay Marriage is Beautiful.  While Traditional Marriage is Legalized Rape

And speaking of gays in San Francisco, let’s talk about marriage.  The Left says that we should allow gays to marry each other.  That we are denying them the highest form of happiness known to a loving couple.  Wedded bliss.  And anyone opposing this is just intolerant of the gay community.

 Meanwhile, who was it all these years saying that marriage was nothing more than slavery?  An archaic ceremony that made strong, independent women mere chattel.  Slaves in the kitchen.  Whores in the bedroom.  And legalized rape.  Who was this?  Why, the Left.  The feminists.  They hated the institution of marriage.  Because it relegated women into second class citizenry.  Anyone fighting for such an archaic institution was just intolerant of strong women.  Because marriage is bad.  Unless the people getting married are gay.

You can’t tell a Woman what she can do with her Womb.  But you can Police her Eating and Smoking Habits.

The abortion argument is about empowering women.  Liberals say that without the right to choose women are condemned to second class citizenry as housewives and mothers.  Because they would have no choice.  If they enjoy a little slap and tickle and get pregnant, a woman can’t go on in her life afterward like a man can.  And that ain’t fair.  And anyone who is intolerant of abortion on demand is just being intolerant of feminism.  And wants to confine women to being a slave in the kitchen.  And a whore in the bedroom.  Taking care of a bunch of rotten, screaming kids.  While that bastard of a father goes out and builds a glorious career.

Liberals say a woman is responsible for her womb.  That we should all stay out of it.  It’s her decision.  Her personal property.  Her rules.  No one should have any say whatsoever with what she does with that part of her body.  But every other part of her body is apparently open to regulation.  Telling her that she shouldn’t smoke, eat fast food or drink a sugary drink, why, that’s okay.  They have every right, nay, responsibility, to police her body in those respects.  But not her womb.  There, she has choice. 

Temporary Nativity Scenes on Public Property are Intolerable.  But Permanent Religious Displays on ‘Conquered’ Territory are Okay.

The secular left is very intolerant of any nativity displays on public property for a few weeks around Christmas.  They scream about the separation of church and state.  They argue that if we allow these nativity displays we’re just a step away from antidisestablishmentarianism.

These same people though called anyone who opposed the Muslim community center near Ground Zero intolerant.  Now even though all Muslims aren’t terrorists, the terrorists who crashed into the Twin Towers were Muslim.  And, interestingly, throughout history Muslims have built mosques on conquered territory.  So the terrorists (who happened to be Muslim) would have seen that community center (that included a mosque) near Ground Zero as a symbol of the territory that they, the bad guys, not Muslims in general, conquered.  And this was just the height of insensitivity to those who lost loved ones on 9/11.  But as far as the liberal left is concerned, these people are just being intolerant.  Because that community center that will be there all year long for years and years to come is no big deal.  But the appearance of nativity scenes for a scant few weeks around Christmas, well, that’s just plain offensive.  In intolerable.

We Should Tolerate Attacks on Christianity.  But not Attacks on Islam.

And speaking of religion, remember all that hoopla about those cartoons in the Danish press?  Of the Islamic prophet?  Well, this ignited a firestorm.  That reached all the way to South Park.  In Cartoon Wars Part II the show featured an appearance of the prophet.  But when the episode aired, Comedy Central blacked out the image.  Because they said it would be offensive to Muslims.  The Left applauded this.  For anyone who dared to do such an insensitive thing were obviously Christians showing their intolerance of Islam.

Meanwhile, placing a crucifix in a jar of piss is art.  Making a movie about Christ having a sexual relationship with Mary Magdalene is art.  Openly deriding Christians derogatively as ‘God-clingers’ is just free speech.  And perfectly acceptable.  No matter how many Christians are offended.  To the offended the Left simply says, “Get over it.  You intolerant God-clingers.”

Never Let a Crisis go to Waste.  Or an Opportunity.

You get the picture.  America is basically a center-right country.  A nation that was founded on Judeo-Christian values.  And these values still guide many people today.  This is the 80%.  So the 20% attacks these values.  To agitate.  To instigate.  To foment.  They attack Christianity and tell gays that conservatives want to get rid of them.  Meanwhile the religion they say we must be tolerant of openly persecutes gays.  They don’t preach to them that they are morally wrong.  But literally persecute them.  Kill them.  The Left supports this religion and their mosque near Ground Zero.  In New York City.  Where there is a large gay population.  And yet no one sees this disconnect.

Because everything for this 20% is an opportunity.  And when you’re opportunistic (never let a crisis go to waste), you don’t let a thing like philosophical consistency weigh you down.  Look at every issue they stand on and you will probably find a paradox.  Cigarette smoke is bad for you but marijuana smoke is fine.  We shouldn’t eat fast food or drink sugary drinks because they are unhealthy.  But let’s give clean syringes to help our heroin addicts feed their addictions.  Marriage is bad and oppresses.  But gay marriage is a beautiful thing.  Women can choose to have an abortion.  But they can’t choose to have a Big Mac Combo meal and a cigarette.  Christianity can be mocked because it’s ‘not nice’ to gays and women.  But we must respect Islam that persecutes gays and treats women as chattel. 

Here a paradox.  There a paradox.  Everywhere a paradox.  Why, you can say liberalism itself is a paradox.  Because it is both tolerant and intolerant.  Often on the same issue.  It all depends on which way the political wind is blowing at the time.  You see, that’s what happens when you trade philosophy for political expediency.  When you don’t govern but exploit opportunity.  When you see an opportunity to extort money (sue Big Tobacco).  Or just to screw with Big Business (like McDonalds) to show those corporate sons of bitches who really has power.  Or to just stir up the pot, getting people riled up against their Judeo-Christian tradition (gay marriage, abortion, feminism, etc.).  Not to advance a particular philosophy.  But an agenda.  That has but one goal.  To perpetuate their privileged class.

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Decriminalizing Drugs and Criminalizing McDonald’s Happy Meals and Parents

Posted by PITHOCRATES - December 27th, 2010

The Left Pushes to Criminalize and Tax Unhealthy Food and Lifestyles

San Francisco passed legislation banning toys in McDonald’s Happy Meals.  Because they encourage an unhealthy lifestyle.  And if there’s one thing liberal busy bodies want is for us to live a healthy lifestyle.  So they’re not food Nazis.  They just care.  They want what’s best for us.  And whether we want it or not, we should listen to them.  Because it’s for our own good.

And speaking of food Nazis, Michelle Obama isn’t one.  She just wants to step in between our kids and their parents.  Because she knows best what our kids should eat.  And to stop what is a coordinated marketing/policy assault against these kids.  Keeping them from enjoying the healthy diet they could.  If only we could broom their parents aside.

Locked in their crosshairs are sugary drinks.  And as they propose to solve every problem, they propose to solve this problem with a tax (see Sarah Palin’s nightmare: What Michelle Obama dares not propose by Stephen Stromberg posted 12/27/2010 on The Washington Post).

But everyone should favor eliminating sugar subsidies. And corn subsidies, since high-fructose corn syrup is a ready substitute for sugar. They’re expensive for taxpayers, they encourage unhealthy eating, and the benefits generally go to wealthy agribusinesses that don’t need them. A model of obviously terrible federal policy. And, given how much sugary drinks contribute to obesity and, therefore, impose costs on society that their prices don’t reflect, modest soda taxes aren’t a bad idea, either. Something like a cent and ounce, which a group of doctors, researchers and policy advocates proposed last year in the New England Journal of Medicine.

And it’ll be a windfall for the federal government.  Just like those sin taxes on tobacco and alcohol.  I mean, golly, if they outlawed tobacco and alcohol, the government would take a huge pay cut.  And when was the last time you heard about government getting by on less?  Try never.  So sugary drinks will stay.  Fear not.  They just want to tax the bejesus out of them.

But it’ll be for our own good.  Because they do care for us, don’t they?

You may not feel it, but if you pay taxes, you’re subsidizing others’ unhealthy lifestyles every day, either through direct subsidy of their ingredients or through higher medical bills, the costs of which are often socialized. These policies aren’t about making bad-for-you foods unnaturally expensive. Sugary drink taxes and other such things are about not making pancreas-busting foods deceptively cheap.

Gosh, they care.  It gives you a warm fuzzy to know how much they care for our good health.

The Left Pushes to Decriminalize Drugs and Subsidize Addiction

Meanwhile, the same people who want to take toys out of Happy Meals want to help put heroin in people’s veins.  The Left is all about a managed economy but believes in an ‘anything-goes’ social policy.  Grass, smack, crank, whatever.  If you want to get high, go for it.  The Left is always floating trial balloons for decriminalizing drugs.  They’ve done it in Portugal.  And some U.S. Officials are looking to do likewise (see On the Ground: When drugs are decriminalized by Barry Hatton, AP Lisbon, posted 12/27/2010 on Facebook).  Here’s what it’s like in Portugal.

On a recent fall day Americo Nave, a 39-year-old psychologist, and two other health workers drove their white van along the main cobbled street of Casal Ventoso, a neighborhood in Lisbon, Portugal, that once was synonymous with drug delinquency and a no-go area for the authorities.

So how did they clean up this drug-infested neighborhood?

About a dozen addicts, mostly unkempt men aged 20 to 40, ambled up. They were orderly and respectful. They looked frail, more in need of a hospital bed than a prison cell.

To receive fresh needles, the addicts must first drop used ones into a plastic container on the ground. In return they get a bag containing needles, swabs, little dishes to cook up the injectable mixture, disinfectant, and a condom, all paid for by charities and taxpayers.

And how has it been working?  Well, according to one homeless skeletal heroin addict.

A 37-year-old man who gave his name only as Joao said he had been consuming heroin for the past 22 years. He recalled living rough in Casal Ventoso and picking up used, bloody needles from the sidewalk to inject himself. He contracted Hepatitis C. Now he comes regularly to the needle exchange and also gets help with food and health care.

“These teams … have helped a lot of people,” he said, struggling to concentrate as he drew deeply on a cigarette.

Yes, they’re helping people.  There’s nothing like a good heroin addiction subsidized by the state to make one feel loved.

Taxing Sugary Drinks, Fast Food and Heroin – What the Left Wants

Not everyone who eats at McDonald’s gets obese.  But most people who try heroin become addicts.  An obese person may live a normal life well into their 40s or 50s.  A heroin addict has no life.  Once addicted it’s just a slow death as the body’s organs slowly fail.  And yet the Left deems that Happy Meals are bad and want to criminalize them.  While at the same time they want to decriminalize heroin.  And subsidize addiction.

You know why they want to decriminalize drugs?  For the same reasons they tax tobacco and alcohol.  And want to tax sugary drinks.  They want the tax revenue.  To try and satiate their insatiable appetite to tax and spend.  And to micromanage our lives.  Not to keep us healthy.  If they wanted that they wouldn’t have rationed our healthcare by passing Obamacare.

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LESSONS LEARNED #43: “If business ain’t selling, business ain’t hiring.” -Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - December 9th, 2010

Before Competition, the Big Three were Living Large

President Obama bailed out GM and Chrysler in 2009.  And why did they need financial help?  The same reason any company needs financial help.  They weren’t selling enough.

I had a finance professor who said few companies have a debt problem.  Companies struggle because they have a revenue problem.  They’re simply not selling enough.  And when a company goes into bankruptcy reorganization, they emerge with the same revenue problems.  Which is why so many still fail after reorganizing and slashing their debt costs.

For decades, the Big Three had a monopoly on the automotive market.  Wherever you lived in the world, if you wanted a car you bought a Ford, GM or Chrysler product.  So the Big Three could charge whatever they wanted for their cars.  That is, until the Japanese entered the market.

Unskilled Line Workers Living Better than Doctors

It was their great success that led to their downfall.  Selling cars with fat profits allowed the Big Three to pay fat wage and benefits.  And they did.  Then the UAW got greedy.  An unskilled line worker could own two houses, a boat, 2 new cars, take expensive vacations, own the latest in toys, etc.  They lived better than doctors.  And doctors were highly skilled.  They spent 8 years in medical school.  And spent a decade of their life paying off the debt from that medical school.  And to add insult to injury, doctors worked 80+ hours per week during that decade when they lived like paupers.  Line workers worked only 40.  And lived like kings.

It was nice work if you could get it.  And many did.  Before the Japanese.  But it all started to come apart in the 1970s.  When the Big Three were selling junk.  Cars that rusted out in a few years.  Unreliable.  Ugly.  These just screamed “we just don’t give a damn anymore.”  More money went to the workers.  Less into making quality cars people wanted.  No problem for the UAW.  I mean, who else were you going to buy a car from?

Hello, what’s this?  Honda?  What’s that?  I’m not sure but it costs less.  And looks pretty good.  Nice quality.  So why should I continue to pay more for less and buy this junk from the Big Three?  Or so went the thinking.  Yes, the Japanese had arrived.  And they were selling something the people wanted.

Fat Wage and Benefit Packages come back to Bite the Big Three in the Ass

So that was the beginning of the end.  Those fat wage and benefit packages for unskilled labor required higher sticker prices than the market was willing to pay.  So they sold fewer cars.  And the Japanese (and, in time, the other imports) sold more.

But it got worse.  Not only were their revenues falling, but their costs were rising.  The Big Three were around for awhile.  They had an aging work force that was retiring.  And getting sick.  Pension and health care costs soared.  Costs per car soared.  While the Japanese were enjoying economies of scales (the more you sell the less each unit costs to make), the Big Three were bleeding red ink all over their balance sheets.

I was in a meeting one time on the floor of an assembly plant.  I was staring at the part of the line where a worker threw insulation into the bottom of the trunk.  She threw in a pad.  Walked over to her coworker at the next station.  Chatted a bit.  Walked back to her station.  Talked to someone else.  Then threw a pad into the next car on the line.  I could just see the red ink bleed.

The Big Three screwed themselves.  In order to cover those fat wage and benefit packages for their unskilled workers, they have to sell cars for a whole lot more than their competition was.  And they couldn’t.  Imagine McDonald’s workers receiving the same wage and benefit packages as the UAW.  And cooking hamburgers at the same pace.  You’d have to wait in line for 45 minutes for your burger.  And you’d pay over $20 for a Quarter Pounder with Cheese.

Buying American is not Necessarily American

I often see those bumper stickers that ask, “Unemployed?  Keep buying foreign.”  Or something like that.  What these people don’t understand, or choose not to understand, is that more people buy cars than make cars.  Paying more for less helps the few people that build cars.  While they enjoy a very good life, the greater number of buyers of those cars have to get by on less.  So the economy as a whole gets worse.  To help a group of unskilled workers live a better life than our own.

Is that fair?  Making the majority subsidize a minority elite?  Unless you live in North Korea or Cuba, the answer is, of course, ‘no’.  So we choose to buy what gives us the most value for our money.  Which is why the Japanese upstart Toyota would see the day when they would sell more cars than GM.  And why did they reach this remarkable milestone?  Because they were selling what people were willing to buy.

Interestingly, the GM and Chrysler bailouts were not your run of the mill reorganizations.  By the power the government gave itself, they walked all over the Rule of Law.  These companies didn’t have a debt problem.  Not anymore, at least.  Because the government screwed the bondholders.  And who did they reward?  That’s right, those unskilled UAW line workers.  The reorganization gave them shares in the new company for no other reason other than being politically loyal to the Democrat Party.  They weren’t even in the line of secured creditors, but that didn’t stop them from jumping to the head of that line.  Remarkable, really.  The Rule of Law had become merely a suggestion.

And when the union sold those ‘gift’ shares of stock they funded their unfunded pension liabilities.  While retirees who invested their life savings into GM bonds lost everything and had to get a job at McDonald’s.  Because McDonald’s is always hiring.  Because they are always selling something people want to buy.

McDonald’s can still Hire during Bad Economic Times

Like my finance professor said, no company fails because of a debt/cost problem.  A debt/cost problem happens when something happens to revenue.  And the biggest reason a business has a revenue problem is because of competition.  Someone somewhere is selling more for less.  Giving the people more bang for the buck.

During bad economic times, revenue problems quickly turn into cost problems.  For some.  Auto manufacturers may idle a shift at an assembly plant, laying off hundreds.  Because there’s no point in making cars no one is buying.  And these manufacturers simply cannot afford to pay these fat wage and benefit packages if they’re not selling cars.

But not everyone has the same financial problems during a recession.  Some still hire during bad economic times.  McDonald’s for one.  Why?  A couple of reasons.  Their workers don’t belong to the UAW.  Because of this we can still call McDonald’s fast food.  And your typical McDonald’s worker doesn’t own two houses, two cars and a boat.  So we don’t have to pay $37.50 for a #2 combo meal. 

We’re buying what McDonald’s is selling.  So they can hire people.  Even during bad economic times.

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Obamacare: Stupid or Devious?

Posted by PITHOCRATES - October 1st, 2010

The passage of Obamacare is cutting quite the swath of destruction in its path.  Businesses had to book million dollar charges to comply with the new legislation.  The requirement to insure children with preexisting conditions has caused insurance companies to drop plans for children.  (Not because they are ogres.  But because no one will buy insurance for their kid until they’re sick or injured.  So the cost of these plans will have to equal the actual medical costs.  So what’s the point?  If you’re paying actual costs just pay them directly to the health care provider.  And cut out the middleman.)  And now McDonald’s may drop their mini-med plans.  Because these low-premium policies have the same overhead as comprehensive plans.  Which means they spend more of the premium on overhead costs (as a percentage) than the big comprehensive plans.  So they can’t meet the required medical-loss ratio (the percent of premiums they must spend on actual health care benefits).

The idea was to prevent the ‘evil’ health insurance companies from paying huge bonuses to their people to keep costs down.  But bonuses are the least of their cost worries.  The Obamacare mandate to cover an additional 32 million people is a much bigger cost worry.  Especially when there is no cap on benefits and they’re required to cover all preexisting conditions.  And you know what?  It can’t be done. 

Oh, there will be a doctor shortage, too.  Especially when we add another 36 million or so to the Medicare program.  (If you’re doing the math, that’s an additional 68 million new patients that will need doctors.  Can you say rationing and ‘death panels’?  Someone will have to decide how to use these limited resources.  Replace the hip of an 89 year old grandmother?  Or do the appendectomy on the 21 year old man?)

Obamacare is a train wreck.  You have to ask yourself how did they make such a mess of it.  Well, there are two possible answers.  Either they’re just stupid and these are all unintended consequences.  Or this was the plan all along to kill the private health insurance industry.  So the devious bastards could get their public option/national health care they’ve wanted all along.

You can read McDonald’s May Drop Health Plan by Janet Adamy on the Wall Street Journal on line for more detail.  McDonald’s has denied this, however.  You can read the AP’s Health care law may hamper limited insurance plans by Tom Murphy on Yahoo! Finance for their denial.  Whether or not McDonald’s is considering dropping their mini-med plans (unless they get their exemption) doesn’t change the fate of these mini-med plans under Obamacare.  Those mandated medical-loss ratios could push these very popular plans into extinction.

Lying or stupid.  Either way it’s bad for us.

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