Saturday, May 07, 2011

A very "incorrect" article

The article below says what many academic psychometricans have been saying for a long time -- that brain size is related to IQ and that IQ varies with climate, with people from Northern climes being smarter than people from the tropics.

Do the pinheads of East Africa and the markedly lower IQ of Africans generally spring to mind in that connection? They should, because that is the strongest evidence for the thesis concerned.

But nobody is supposed to mention that in respectable circles. So how come it got mentioned in a major scientific communication medium? It got a mention because of a quite absurd stratagem. The authors hung their story on the hook of global warming. Global warming will make us dumber, you see.

The fact that evolution moves at a pace that makes glaciers look fast means that any such effect of global warming would take maybe hundreds of thousands of years to manifest itself. But that was no bother, apparently.

The fact that people of European and British origin move to warmer climates without any known loss of intelligence is also overlooked. I come from a population of British origin that has lived in the tropics for generations (in N. Queensland, Australia) and I would back their intelligence against that of any other British-origin population


The study, to be published by Jessica Ash, a graduate student in psychology, and professor of evolutionary psychology Gordon G. Gallup Jr. in the spring edition of Human Nature (Vol. 18, Issue 2, 2007: Transaction Publishers), suggests that human cranial capacity as an indicator of brain size grew dramatically during our evolution, and that variations in global temperature as well as progressive shifts toward global cooling account for as much as 50 percent of the variation in cranial capacity. The research utilized several measures of paleotemperatures and a sample of 109 fossilized hominid skulls collected over the past 2 million years.

In addition to the impact of global cooling, "By paying close attention to the geographic origin of each of the fossilized skulls," said Gallup, "it became clear that seasonal variation in climate may also have been an important selective force behind the evolution of human cranial capacity. Specifically, we found that as the distance from the equator increased, north or south, so did brain size."

The authors suggest that a key environmental trigger to the evolution of larger brains was the need to devise ways to keep warm and manage the fluctuations in food availability that resulted from cold weather.

In species other than humans, problems posed by cooler climates were solved by adaptations such as hibernation and migration, and by metabolic adaptations including fur and the development of fat deposits. During human evolution, however, the authors surmise that solutions to the problems of cold weather and a scarce food supply featured detailed and progressively more refined cognitive and intellectual strategies, such as the development of cooperative hunting techniques and more sophisticated tools and weapons. Increased brain capacity also brought with it the use of fire as a means to keep warm and cook, adaptations in clothing and shelter, and the development of more refined social skills.

Gallup and Ash suggest that while our understanding of brain evolution remains incomplete, the study provides evidence of the role of climate and migration away from the equator as selective forces in promoting human intelligence, and that the recent trend toward global warming may be reversing a trend that led to brain expansion in humans.

SOURCE

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More bumptious psychologizing from the Left

They JUST KNOW what the truth is so people who disagree with them must be "denialists". Lumping together different belief systems the way it is done below can only spring from arrogance. Scientific caution would treat each belief as "sui generis" (of its own kind) until it could be shown that each is false.

Given the rapid and substantial changes in the account coming from the White House about the bin Laden raid, skepticism about the whole thing is highly reasonable. And that Obama's birth certificate copy could be just another bit of photoshopping would occur to anybody with experience of photoshopping

And there are NO facts at all to support the prophecies of global climate doom. It's just scientists speculating.

So just an excerpt below from the latest Leftist pretence at science. It is just another version of Obama's "bitter clingy" remarks -- a persistent Leftist claim going back at least as far as 1950 to the effect that they are sane and everybody else is deranged


Climate change skeptics, 9/11 truthers and “birthers,” those who deny President Obama’s American citizenship, have provided us with an extensive record of denialism within American culture that is worth studying. Indeed, entire disciplines have been established to understand and explain these behaviors.

Chris Mooney and others have begun to put the pieces together in a way that allows us to formulate communications protocols that effectively counteract the drivers of “motivated reasoning.”

However, because the above mentioned examples of motivated cognition arose simultaneously with this field of study, we have lacked the benefit of observing the transmogrification of the denialist mentality as it happens.

We are currently witnessing the de novo formulation of a new denialism in regards to the death of Osama bin Laden. As I was listening to C-SPAN radio, just yesterday, two callers a Democrat and a Republican agreed that bin Laden was not dead and the entire hullabaloo was orchestrated for political gain.

Because we are now armed with at least a superficial understanding of the mechanisms behind this type of thinking, we can ask questions and test hypotheses while observing the development of this particular case of motivated thought.

For simplicity’s sake, I’ll call them “deathers.” Of particular interest when studying the deathers is what exactly are the competing interests between which they must make a satisfactory choice and what are the ends or goals to which they strive.

One would expect that there are at least two competing interests in the minds of the deathers. The first could be a desire to believe that an existing threat, that of a terrorist mastermind, has been eliminated. The second interest appears to be a desire to find fault with President Obama, regardless of the benefits that might come from his service.

According to Dan Kahan, one of the thought leaders in this field, this all happens subconsciously. Therefore, the deather must undergo a series of mental operations that lead him to choose the latter in order to satisfy a desired endpoint.

So, how do we convince the deathers that Osama bin Laden is actually dead? I will venture to suggest that we must resolve the conflict between the deather’s two competing interests, the desire for the removal of a threat vs. finding fault with Obama, while allowing the deather to achieve his desired outcome (let’s say that he can still be a loyal Republican). This must be done without forcing him to accept that which causes him conflict (in this case that President Obama was responsible for a positive outcome).

More HERE
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‘Happiness gene’ in brain determines basic levels of contentment

This is quite a strong piece of research. The strong influence of genetics on happiness was known but to pick out one of the actual genes involved is a good advance. Sadly, the measure of happiness used was unsophisticated. A more comprehensive and reliable measure of happiness could well show the gene as even more influential than the researchers below calculate.

The political importance of the finding goes back to several findings in recent years that money doesn't make you happy. Leftists have reasoned from that that they are therefore doing you no harm by taking more of your money in tax.

But in a typically incurious Leftist way, they fail to ask WHY money doesn't generally make you happy. And a large part of the answer is the finding reiterated below: That happiness is a stable, inborn personality trait that varies little no matter WHAT happens to you. In fact, even people who have become paraplegic or quadriplegic through some unfortunate accident usually regain their previous level of happiness after a couple of years

So by Leftist reasoning, they would do us no harm by making us all paraplegics. In other words, the invariability of happiness makes it an inappropriate criterion by which to judge public policy. What people WANT is a far more justifiable and ascertainable criterion

And in any case we have to ask where Leftists get the right to make our decisions for us? It is far more justifiable and humane to say that each person should as far as possible make his own decisions for himself. But Leftist arrogance has no time for that of course. The individual hardly matters to them at all. They know better. They seem to think that their sh*t doesn't stink.

I examine the earlier research and writing in this field at more length here. The final version of the scientific journal article presently being disussed is supposed to be available here but does not yet appear to be online. I therefore follow the popular summary below with the abstract from a working version of the paper. An alternative summary of the paper can be found here


The study of more than 2,500 Americans revealed two variants of a gene that influenced how satisfied – or dissatisfied – people were with their lot. Those born with two long versions of the gene (one is passed down from each parent) were more likely to declare themselves "very satisfied" with life than those who inherited two short versions.

The study marks a tentative step towards explaining the mystery of why some people seem naturally happier than others. "This gives us more insight into the biological mechanisms that influence life satisfaction," said Jan-Emmanuel De Neve, a researcher at the London School of Economics and Political Science. "If you're feeling down, you can say it's your biology telling you life is less rosy that it is," he added.

A greater understanding of happiness genes might in future allow would-be parents to create a child who will be more satisfied with their life.

Happiness is only partly influenced by genetic makeup. Studies in twins suggest that genes account for roughly a third to a half of the variation in happiness between people. It is not yet known how many genes affect how cheerful we are.

De Neve looked at the genetic makeup of 2,574 people selected to be representative of the general population, whose medical histories were recorded for the US National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. Among the records were answers to a question participants were asked in their early 20s about life satisfaction. In response to the question, "How satisfied are you with your life as a whole", they answered either "very satisfied", "satisfied", "neither satisfied or dissatisfied", "dissatisfied" or "very dissatisfied".

Writing in the Journal of Human Genetics, De Neve describes how roughly 40% said they were "very satisfied" with life, and among these, 35.4% had two long variants of the gene and only 19.1% had two short versions. Of those who were "dissatisfied" with life, 26.2% had two long variants of the gene, while 20% had two short versions. That indicates a slight over-representation of the long variants in happier people.

The gene, known as 5-HTT, is involved with the transport of serotonin, a feelgood chemical, in the brain. The longer variant leads to more efficient release and recycling of the neurotransmitter....

A 2009 study by Elaine Fox at the University of Essex suggested that people who carried long versions of the 5-HTT gene had a greater tendency to focus on the positives in life. The "bright side" version of the gene might bolster people's resilience to stressful events, and protect against anxiety, depression and other mental health problems.

Ed Diener, a psychologist at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and author of the 2008 book, Happiness: Unlocking the Mysteries of Psychological Wealth, said: "We are just beginning to understand the actual genetics of happiness, and how genes might influence brain hormones and other physiology that influence our well-being.

"This exciting work offers insights that one day may help us counter disorders such as depression. Parents one day might have the choice of whether to choose genes that will create a child who is more satisfied with his or her life."

SOURCE
Genes, Economics, and Happiness

By Jan-Emmanuel De Neve et al.

Abstract:

A major finding from research into the sources of subjective well-being is that individuals exhibit a "baseline" level of happiness. We explore the influence of genetic variation by employing a twin design and genetic association study.

We first show that about 33% of the variation in happiness is explained by genes. Next, using two independent data sources, we present evidence that individuals with a transcriptionally more efficient version of the serotonin transporter gene (SLC6A4) report significantly higher levels of life satisfaction.

These results are the first to identify a specific gene that is associated with happiness and suggest that behavioral models benefit from integrating genetic variation.

SOURCE


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Nationalism as a Political Religion

Since I am being all academic today, I will say just a few words about an article titled: "Nationalism as a Political Religion: Review-Essay on Emilio Gentile by Richard A. Koenigsberg.

What the reviewer says is all well and good but he fails to make what is generally held to be an important distinction: The distinction between patriotism and nationalism. Patriotism is a normal human feeling which would appear to originate in part from our tribal past. Nationalism, on the other hand, is a creed rather than a feeling that may build on patriotism but goes far beyond it. The best known example of nationalism is of course Hitler's Nazi creed and Hitler's socialism gives us the clue we need to see what nationalism really is. It is a Leftist perversion of patriotism, created to further the usual Leftist search for power.

So the authors above are right to see nationalism as a religion, just as it is right to see Leftism generally as a religion. See Dennis Prager (among others) on that.

Update:

My comments above might seem a bit wrong-headed in view of the fact that Leftists these days tend to be ANTI-patriotic. That is a recent development however. We all know the famous quote from Pericles by JFK: "Ask not what your country can do for you; Ask what you can do for your country". And JFK was a DEMOCRAT president. And the very popular patriotic song "This Land Is Your Land" was written by Woody Guthrie, a Communist.

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)

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Friday, May 06, 2011

Vindication: Three Controversial Bush Policies Help Take Down bin Laden

The mission was undeniably carried out on Obama’s watch, but evidence continues to mount that it could not have occurred without crucial intelligence gleaned through policies enacted by the Bush administration after September 11, 2001. Specifically, Osama bin Laden was found because the United States military exploited actionable intelligence extracted by subjecting terrorists to enhanced interrogation techniques (EITs) in secret CIA prisons, by questioning enemy combatants at Guantanamo Bay, and by capturing a top al Qaeda source in Iraq.

As long as some liberals remain intent on keeping political score, it must be pointed out that all three sources of these indispensible data points were direct or indirect results of Bush policies – EITs, Gitmo, and the Iraq war – that much of the American Left, including Barack Obama, fought tooth and nail.

We now know the critical key to unlocking the frustrating secret of bin Laden’s whereabouts was identifying and tracking one of his must trusted couriers and confidants. US intelligence and military officials learned of his existence and pseudonym in the years after 9/11 from a terrorist detained at Guantanamo Bay, Muhammad Mani al-Qahtani. Equipped with this information, interrogators were able to wring supplemental information from two high-value prisoners being held at the time in black site CIA prisons: Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM), the mastermind of the 9/11 plot, and his radical colleague, Abu Faraj al-Libi. This single piece of information, after years of scrutiny and investigation, would be bin Laden’s undoing.

When the American media revealed that the CIA was operating secret prisons during the Bush administration, the Left professed shock and indignation. They spent years demonizing and persecuting American intelligence operatives for engaging in “torture,” insisting that harsh interrogation techniques were an affront to “our values,” and – besides – they didn’t even work. Multiple public opinion polls taken over the last decade have shown, despite the Left’s protestations, the American people aren’t scandalized. US voters overwhelmingly support the limited use of harsh questioning tactics to prevent terrorist attacks on US soil – even when the loaded term “torture” is included in the question.

One such technique is waterboarding, a process employed against exactly three terrorists, and halted altogether in 2003. Waterboarding is widely acknowledged to have broken KSM, who had shown himself to be a hardened and skilled resistor of traditional interrogation methods. Information extracted from KSM disrupted active terror plots, saved innocent lives, and led to the capture or killing of other al Qaeda leaders.

In other words, waterboarding KSM and others may or may not have produced direct information about the identity bin Laden’s courier, but the use of coercive interrogation methods were instrumental in gathering additional strands of intelligence from certain detainees. That waterboarding cracked KSM’s resistance cannot be ignored in this context.

But the mere knowledge that an unidentified bin Laden lackey was roaming the planet under an assumed name was not nearly enough to nail him down or monitor his communication. That imperative piece of the puzzle fell into place after 2004, when the US captured a terrorist operative named Hassan Ghul. Ghul was a key member of Al Qaeda in Iraq, an entity whose very existence many liberals were reluctant to even acknowledge, based on a zealous adherence to the faulty premise that the Iraq war was untethered to our fight against al Qaeda. Ghul was detained in Iraq and shipped off to Pakistan for intense CIA questioning; he eventually provided the true name of bin Laden’s elusive courier: Sheik Abu Ahmed, a.k.a. Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti. Officials have described this morsel of intelligence as the “linchpin” of the bin Laden mission. US spies monitored al-Kuwaiti for several years. A lone phone call in 2010 eventually led them to bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad.

This web of intelligence – as sketchy, painstaking, and complex as it may be – is extraordinary: Al-Kuwaiti’s existence was flagged by at least one Guantanamo Bay detainee, his role and pseudonym were confirmed by KSM and al-Libi, and his true identity was spilled by an Al Qaeda terrorist operating in Iraq.

More HERE

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Obama's Scandalous War Against Domestic Oil

Do you remember the terrible things the left was saying about President George W. Bush when gas prices soared under his watch? Yet President Obama, whose policies and actions are actually contributing to rocketing gas prices today, gets the usual mainstream media pass.

Is it that the liberal media exempt Obama from accountability because they're on his team in general? Is it because they think he's blameless in the equation even though they sprang to the unfounded conclusion that Bush was culpable? Or could it be that they aren't critical because they share his bias against conventional energy and believe the pain caused by his policies is necessary to move us toward alternative energy sources?

During Bush's term, gas prices went down 9 percent, adjusted for inflation. Yet, preposterously, he was excoriated for allegedly colluding with "big oil" to drive up prices. When prices spiked later in his term, he took proactive steps to increase our supply and reduce prices, and they worked. But Obama has taken action to impede conventional energy sources and shove us into alternative ones. Even so, liberals ignore any possible causal links.

Obama told us he would bankrupt the coal industry. He's pushing high-speed rail down our throats despite the lack of public demand for it and our inability to finance it. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said the administration intended to coerce us out of our cars. Energy Secretary Steven Chu said, "Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe."

In view of exploding gas prices, why aren't these statements seen as scandalous? Where are the calls for investigations?

Obama demeans "big oil," pushes alternative energy every time he gets a chance and does everything in his power to suppress domestic oil production, then looks us in the face and tells us he's increasing domestic production -- kind of like how he says his budget won't add a penny to the national debt. The audacity is of Hollywood magnitude, and so is the lack of scrutiny that enables it.

Behind the smoke and mirrors of his rhetoric, it's hard not to conclude that Obama's on a mission to suppress or shut down the existing oil infrastructure in the United States in pursuit of his stated alternative priorities.

The Heritage Foundation's Rory Cooper reports that, as of February 2011, at least 103 permits were awaiting review by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement. And since February, the administration has issued on average only 1.3 permits a month, a 78 percent reduction in the monthly average according to the latest Gulf Permit Index.

Obama even reversed an earlier decision to open access to coastal waters for exploration, placing a seven-year ban on drilling in the Atlantic and Pacific Coasts and in the eastern Gulf of Mexico. Oil production in the Gulf is expected to drop by 220 thousand barrels per day in 2011, which is going to cost the U.S. some $1.35 billion in revenues in 2011.

Not only are we losing oil production and revenues, the administration's actions are destroying jobs in the oil industry and elsewhere. Many companies are going out of business. The Heritage Foundation reports that Seahawk Drilling, of Houston, laid off 632 employees before recently filing for bankruptcy as a direct result of Obama's moratorium and subsequent "permitorium." Seahawk owned and operated 20 shallow-water rigs in the Gulf. Randall Stilley, president and CEO of Seahawk, said, "As an American, you never want to look at your own government and say they're hurting you personally, they're hurting your business and they're doing it in a way that's irresponsible. I'm not very proud of our government right now and the way they handled this."

Cooper explains that these crippling policies are having a negative rippling effect throughout the economy. Many vendors, suppliers, restaurants and retailers are losing revenues or going out of business. More than 30 deepwater rigs, which each employ around 200 people, have moved from the Gulf to other markets. While the industry is on "life support," Obama is at war with it, brazenly spending billions to support foreign oil and jobs in Brazil.

Making matters worse, the administration and congressional Democrats are considering legislation that would further damage energy businesses by significantly increasing taxes on domestic oil and gas concerns. And just in the past few days, we've been reading that the administration is floating a plan to tax cars by the mile.

Can you imagine the insanity and insensitivity of raising taxes on this ailing industry and its consumers (drivers) at a time when both need all the relief they can get?

Obama is no less determined to cram his preferred energy alternatives down Americans' throats than he was to force feed us socialized medicine. Again, where is the outrage?

SOURCE

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Obama Economy Will Make You Poor

While Barack Obama spends his time running victory laps around the country over the killing of Osama Bin Laden, the American economy is careening toward a dangerous cliff. Royal Weddings, Obama's multiple birth certificates, and absurd arguments about the NFL lockout dominate the news while daily Americans get poorer.
Obamanomics is a disaster. A greater disaster hasn't been visited on the United States in our economic history because we are taking no substantial steps toward recovery. The real news, which should be screaming from every television and newspaper isn't pro Obama, therefore, it is ignored.

Here are the stories on which we should be focusing. The US dollar has slumped to a record low against major currencies. Since we have devastated our manufacturing base over the last two decades, this will result in Americans paying substantially more for goods on the store shelves in retailers from Walmart to Costco.

The outlook for the recovery has diminished to almost zero. If you subtract the impact of inflation, many economists believe we are actually still in a recession. When I talk to my friends and neighbors outside of Washington DC, we unanimously agree we are still in recession.

Here are some statistics which will help you understand the pain. More Americans are on food stamps today than at any other time in history. That's right-the most in history. The number of persons on food stamps is 44.2 million according a recent report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Those not on food stamps feel a different pain when they buy groceries. We see unbelievably high prices at the grocery store. The cost of living in the U.S. rose at its fastest pace since December 2009 in the 12 months ended in March. Wheat, meat, vegetables and other grains are all surging in price. But if you don't have a job, it is hard to shop for groceries.

Bloomberg reported this week, "Applications for jobless benefits jumped by 43,000 to 474,000 in the week ended April 30, the most since August, Labor Department figures showed today." This is a serious darkening in the employment clouds just as the recovery was supposed to be broadening.

The unprecedented easy money policies from the Federal Reserve haven't helped the real economy. Sure, they did pump enough billions of dollars into Wall Street Banks and Government Agencies to make sure the leather loafer wearing crowds in New York City and Washington DC are still swimming in cash. But for the majority of Americans, they have felt only the pain of higher food and energy prices from the misallocation of dollars.

This week, as we fueled a rental car near the San Diego airport, we paid fifteen dollars for three gallons of gasoline. At these prices, Americans are spending as much as $100 a week just to fuel the car to commute to work. Why hasn't the president cleared the decks to deal with this energy crisis? It is a crisis when it costs as much to commute to work as you make in take home pay. Many Americans are already at this tipping point. Obama mutters on about windmills and electric cars. We need off shore drilling and increased production to ease this pain.

At least open the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to bring down prices in the short term.

While the nation shudders under unmanageable regulatory and monetary burdens, Obama is oblivious. Obama is flying from city to city collecting cash for his re-election drive. And don't let us forget he is spending over a hundred thousand dollars to a teleprompter coach.

And we thought standing and delivering a prepared text in front of a teleprompter was a skill he had already mastered. How about a coach on how to manage the American economy? Obama's priorities are obvious, and they aren't on helping everyday Americans, but his buddies and himself.

SOURCE

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Walmart Benefits Everyone

When a store opens, there is an immediate need for hundreds of jobs. There are also many more jobs created because of all the businesses that try to locate near the Walmart development. Simply put, it is easy to imagine over a thousand jobs being created in a community where Walmart locates itself. Even though mom-and-pop type shops might be forced to close because they couldn’t compete, everyone still wins. The people that lost their job at the mom-and-pop operation can simply try to work for Walmart or the plethora of businesses that open around it.

Progressives bemoan Walmart because they see it as a greedy capitalist industrialist that preys on the poor and exploits them. Quite the opposite is the truth. Indeed many people of lesser means are drawn to Walmart exactly because of the lower prices, and as I mentioned earlier, that can only benefit them. They are able to save their few precious dollars. Can anything be wrong with that?

I asked the group Respect D.C., an organization that opposes the development of Walmart in Washington D.C., why they thought Walmart was bad for a community where unemployment hangs around 9.5 percent. They tweeted back with five responses to that question, (which you can read by clicking 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5). One response from them did stand out though, and it was their claim that Walmart pays a “slave” wage.

Such a silly argument has long been shouted at Walmart. Of course, it isn’t true. A slave’s wage is $0, and clearly the employees of Walmart make much more than that. As George Mason University economics professor Dr. Don Boudreaux puts it, “the plausibility of slaves producing manufactured goods for sale by Wal-Mart is just as implausible as the wackiest alien-abduction allegation.”

Walmart will always be under attack from progressives that worry that anything that makes a profit must somehow be up to no good at the expense of defenseless humans who know nothing of the con that is being pulled on them. But it appears that the con is completely created by the progressive worrywarts who conjure up notions of slavery when they have no evidence to back up such claims.

Fortunately for Walmart and consumers all over the world, we are able to enjoy low prices and dollars saved. This benefits each and every consumer, each and every community, and countless other businesses worldwide. It is because of businesses like Walmart that we enjoy the relatively high amount of wealth that we have in America. So you better not fall for the slick arguments from groups like Respect D.C. and other community organizers, because the benefits that we all reap from Walmart’s success could quickly disappear.

More HERE

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)

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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)

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Thursday, May 05, 2011

The War on WalMart—D.C. labor bosses and community organizers dislike the big jobs provider

No one needs to tell you how big an issue unemployment is in America, and especially in Washington, D.C. As of March 2011, the District of Columbia posted an unemployment rate of 9.5 percent.

Knowing that the unemployment rate is that high might surprise you when you learn that D.C. politicians, labor unions, and community organizers are trying everything they can to block one of the largest job providers and retailers in the world from coming to Washington. These supposed "leaders" want to prevent Walmart from setting up shop, which would prevent the creation of hundreds, if not thousands, of jobs for D.C. residents.

The grocery industry is one of the few remaining industries where labor unions thrive. While most sectors are seeing a decline in unions, grocery stores have remained a powerhouse for the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW). A threat to this labor-organizing stronghold is Walmart, a company that is not unionized and has taken drastic measures to prevent their shops from falling under the labor union's heavy hand.

Because Walmart is able to price their products lower than their competitors, they are able to force their competitors to change business practices or close-up altogether, which has been a blow to the grocery store labor unions. The UFCW is not concerned about whether or not people have jobs in a city where unemployment is hovering around double digits, rather, they are concerned that they are able to corner the market on the grocery stores to keep their political power intact.

More HERE

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Public servants – more money, less accountability

Union arguments in favor of their members' lush pensions are falling by the wayside as the public examines the facts. For instance, union officials argue that the average public-sector pension benefit in California is "only" $30,000 a year, while neglecting to mention that the number, according to the state's watchdog Little Hoover Commission, rises to $66,000 a year for recent retirees – a reflection of the widespread pension boosting of the past decade.

Virtually no one in the workaday private sector gets that level of guaranteed benefit, and the number of retired government employees grabbing $100,000 a year is growing by at least 40 percent a year. No wonder the public is angry. But the public is angry at more than the unsustainable pension debt and the unfair imbalance between the amounts received in the public vs. the private sector. People are getting angry at the abuses by public employees and at the lack of accountability even when miscreants are caught red-handed.

The Sacramento Bee reported recently on state employees who walk away at retirement with as much as $800,000 in unused sick time – a clear violation of the rules. Now the newspaper is reporting that a "top NATO general who formerly led the California National Guard enhanced his salary during his state tenure by collecting hundreds of thousands of dollars in dual pay." Maj. Gen. William Wade padded his pay by about $155,000 – "beyond the legal limits" as the Bee put it.

There are hasty legislative proposals to stop such greedy enrichments in the future, but there's no apparent push to put Wade – since promoted to a top NATO position in Italy – where he belongs, in the hoosegow. Somehow, when government officials commit offenses we get euphemisms about conduct being beyond legal limits and improper behavior.

Try to find any effort to deal with massive disability fraud that goes on at police and fire stations, as majorities of public safety union members discover a back injury or knee injury just in time to protect half their retirement pay from taxes.

Union officials such as the Orange County Employees Association's Nick Berardino argue that the public is demonizing public employees. In reality, the public is waking up to the scams perpetrated on us for years. A statewide union official, Art Pulaski, claims that the public is simply envious of public employees. There's some truth to that – and why not be envious when the people who are supposed to work for us live far better than most of us, courtesy of our tax dollars? – but what these union leaders miss is the brewing anger over the accountability issue.

The private sector doesn't work perfectly. No human endeavor does. But in my lifetime there, I have never seen managers cover up for and defend miscreants. If you don't produce enough to justify your salary, you are gone. If you commit crimes or do things "beyond the legal limits," corporate managers are all too happy to turn the case over to the authorities. There is too much downside in keeping around lazy, misbehaving and lawbreaking employees. It can put you out of business or can prompt prosecutors to look for fraud and other crimes.

In government, officials typically circle the wagons. The unions stand up to protect the worst of the worst. The disciplinary rules are so cumbersome that it's generally not worth trying to do anything about misbehavior. That's why the public schools have "rubber rooms" – places where allegedly bad teachers wile away the years receiving full pay and benefits as their cases are adjudicated at a glacial pace. That's why police officers accused of wrongdoing and misjudgment – even misjudgments that lead to unjustified killings and violations of individual rights – end up with months of paid leave (i.e., additional vacation time), before eventually being returned to the streets after a closed process that tilts heavily in the officers' favor.

Notice how only a handful of sleeping air traffic controllers – union members who endangered lives by neglecting their responsibilities – received suspensions and other minor punishments. There's rarely any accountability. The California Supreme Court ruled recently in a case involving two Orange County social workers who were found by a jury to have filed false reports and held back evidence so that they could unjustly take away a woman's two children. This is almost hard to fathom, but I've reported on Child Protective Services and find it easy to believe in the context of my research. Social workers have immense power and few checks and balances, and some of these workers are on power trips – "Obey or we take your kids!"

In this case, the state's highest court upheld a verdict of nearly $5 million plus millions more in legal fees and noted that this was no isolated incident. So what happens to these people who were admonished by the courts and who put a family through more than six years of living hell?

Marcie Vreeken and Helen Dwojak were not even disciplined. As the Register's Kimberly Edds reported, Dwojak retired in 2006, and Vreeken was promoted. Get this – Vreeken now trains other social workers. Let's hope it doesn't include the class, "Creative methods in snatching people's kids."

Orange County officials actually argued that social workers should be afforded immunity, even for wrongdoing. I recall a bill that would have done the same thing for firefighters after a D.A. had the audacity to try to prosecute a firefighter for alleged misbehavior that killed someone.

Do we really want to provide powerful government agents with full immunity even when they break the law and misuse their power? Isn't that situation the opposite of what our nation's founders had in mind? It's in totalitarian nations where officials are untouchable, and lowly citizens had better obey or else.

My prediction is that the public employee issue is not going away – not simply because the pension debts are depleting budgets, but because we are only scratching the surface of the accountability issue, which touches on the foundation of what we are as a society. It's about time that we bring on this necessary debate.

SOURCE

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Where are the doctors going to come from?

The United States already faces a growing physician shortage. As our population ages, we require more and more intensive health care. At the same time, enrollment in medical schools has been essentially flat, meaning we are not producing new physicians at anywhere near the rate we need to. In fact, according to the American Association of Medical Colleges, we face a shortfall of more than 150,000 doctors over the next 15 years.

And it could get a whole lot worse. The health reform bill signed into law last year is expected to significantly increase the number of Americans with health insurance or participating in the Medicaid program. Meanwhile, an aging population will increase participation in Medicare. This means a greater demand for physician services.

Promising universal health coverage is easy. But what does universal coverage mean if you can't actually see a doctor?
But at the same, the bill may drive physicians out of practice.

Existing government programs already reimburse physicians at rates that are often less than the actual cost of treating a patient. Estimates suggest that on average physicians are reimbursed at roughly 78% of costs under Medicare, and just 70% of costs under Medicaid. Physicians must either make up for this shortfall by shifting costs to those patients with insurance — meaning those of us with insurance pay more — or treat patients at a loss.

As a result, more and more physicians are choosing to opt-out of the system altogether. Roughly 13% of physicians will not accept Medicare patients today. Another 17% limit the number of Medicare patients they will see, a figure that rises to 31% among primary care physicians. The story is even worse in Medicaid, where as many as a third of doctors will not participate in the program.

Traditionally, most doctors have been willing to take some Medicare patients either out of altruism or as a "loss leader," to reach other family members outside the Medicare program. Others try to get around Medicare's low reimbursement rates by unbundling services or providing care not covered through the program. (Nearly 85% of seniors carry supplemental policies to cover these additional services). With many office and equipment costs fixed, even a low reimbursement patient may be better than no patient at all for some doctors. This is even more true for hospitals where Medicare patients may account for the majority of people they serve. And doctors can take some comfort in the fact that Medicare is pretty much guaranteed to pay and pay promptly. The same is not always true of private insurance.

But if reimbursements fall much more, the balance could be tipped. The government's own chief actuary says that reimbursement cuts could mean "reductions in access to care and/or the quality of care." Once the cuts hit hospitals, they too will be in trouble. Medicare's actuaries estimate that 15% of hospitals could close. Inner-city and rural hospitals would be hardest hit.

Nor is the pressure on reimbursement rates likely to be felt solely in government programs. The health care law contains a number of new regulations that are already driving up insurance premiums. The government is responding by cajoling and threatening insurers. If insurers find their ability to pass on cost increases limited, they too may begin to cut costs by cutting reimbursements.

For a lot of older physicians, retirement in Florida may begin to look like a very good option. Roughly 40% of doctors are age 55 or over. Are they really going to want to stick it out for a few more years if all they have to look forward to is more red tape (both government and insurance company) for less money? Those that remain are increasingly likely to join "concierge practices," limiting the number of patients they see and refusing both government and private insurance.

And, at the same time, fewer young people are likely to decide that medicine is a good career. Remember, the average medical school graduate begins their career with more than $295,000 in debt.

A 2010 IBD/TPP Poll found that 45% of doctors would at least consider leaving their practices or taking early retirement as a result of the new health care law. And, an online survey by Sermo.com, a sort of Facebook for physicians, found that 26% of physicians in solo practices were considering closing. Of course, not every doctor who told these polls that he or she would consider leaving the field will actually do so. But if even a small portion depart, our access to medical care will suffer.

In fact, we have already seen the start of this process in Massachusetts, where Mitt Romney's health care reforms were nearly identical to President Obama's. Romney's reforms increased the demand for health care but did nothing to expand the supply of physicians. In fact, by cracking down on insurance premiums, Massachusetts pushed insurers to reduce their payments to providers, making it less worthwhile for doctors to expand their practices. As a result, the average wait to get an appointment with a doctor grew from 33 days to over 55 days.

Promising universal health coverage is easy. But what does universal coverage mean if you can't actually see a doctor?

SOURCE

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ELSEWHERE

Leftist mourns the death of bin Laden: "And the killing of bin Laden, who has absolutely no operational role in al-Qaida—that’s clear—he’s kind of a spiritual mentor, a kind of guide … he functions in many of the ways that Hitler functioned for the Nazi Party. We were just talking with Warren [Beatty] about [Ian] Kershaw’s great biography of Hitler, which I read a few months ago, where you hold up a particular ideological ideal and strive for it. That was bin Laden’s role. But all actual acts of terror, which he may have signed off on, he no way planned."

Philosophy and politics: "Many political philosophers overestimate the importance of abstract principles for the design of institutions. Most issues of the day cannot be resolved by a sole appeal to basic principles. Whether we talk about healthcare, the economy, poverty alleviation, crime control, and even foreign policy, philosophical principles at best underdetermine results, and at worst are irrelevant. Yet many philosophers think that if they can just make the right conceptual distinctions and identify the right political principles they can select the best institutions, laws, and policies."

The NLRB overreaches — once again: "The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has gone lawsuit crazy. With the U.S. House of Representatives now under Republican control, the Board is now a key vehicle that the Obama administration is using to push policies favorable to its Big Labor allies. And it seems willing to stretch the law beyond recognition. Now the NLRB is trying to tell companies where to locate factories and dictate to states how they may amend their constitutions."

A tale of two situations: "Once upon a time selling a chicken was fraught with few if any legal implications. Remodeling a shed was equally simple from a regulatory standpoint. Today, however, we live in more enlightened times. Protected from our wayward desires by an empowered bureaucracy, we can rest easier knowing that decisions like what we eat and where we build is being carefully managed by authorities."

Free trade agreements don’t kill jobs: "Trade is going to be a hot issue this summer. Pending agreements with Panama, Colombia, and South Korea might finally pass. Opponents of liberalization are already on the attack. My colleague Jacque Otto already covered the creative destruction defense of trade today. Over at the Daily Caller, I look at employment data and find out that the labor force has grown by 23 million people since NAFTA passed. Doesn’t sound like a job-killer, does it?"

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)

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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)

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Wednesday, May 04, 2011

The best way to deal with evil is to pulverise it, says law professor

A professor who believes that evil exists! Australian moralist, Professor Mirko Bagaric, comments below on the demise of bin Laden. Bagaric is responding in part to the carping legalism that we hear from the likes of prominent Leftist lawyer Geoffrey Robertson, also an Australian but best known in Britain

FROM Canberra to Washington and even some parts of the Middle East, the champagne corks are popping after the assassination of Osama bin Laden.

Killing bin Laden at any cost has an important subtext - one which has the capacity to teach us lessons about the moral fog within, which we live and the rationality-free zone that occupies much of mainstream moral discourse.

The most illuminating aspect of the targeting of bin Laden is that it has near-universal support, despite it being an egregious breach of international law and dozens of human rights instruments. What about his right to life?

The presumption of innocence, and right to a fair trial, is also enshrined in international law and most domestic legal systems. Yet, even civil libertarian groups can't bring themselves to shed any concern for Bin Laden.

Civil libertarians are invariably quick to denounce any interferences with rights, especially those that imperil fundamental interests, such as the right to life and liberty.

The "end doesn't justify the means" is the catch-cry they trumpet most loudly in opposition to incursions of fundamental freedoms that are carried out for the common good. Truth is it does.

Failure to realise this is symptomatic of an unremitting deluded self-righteousness that freezes one's moral compass into an inward position, foreclosing consideration of the thing that matters most - the common good.

The reason civil libertarians are cheering with the rest of us, regarding the killing of bin Laden, has zero to do with the application of universal moral principles and everything to do with emotion - particularly their emotions. That their emotional response coincides with the morally correct stance is purely accidental.

The human misery caused by bin Laden has withered the compassion gland of civil libertarians towards him, to a point where they've fallen off their self-erected moral high horse. Hopefully that's where they will stay and join the rest of us in coming to understand that the end does justify the means. Always has. Always will.

No action is intrinsically bad or good. No principle is absolute. Matters are always context-sensitive. The best way to deal with evil is to pulverise it.

The moral and political debate in relation to important societal issues must move on from whether the end justifies the means to what end we, as a species, should be attempting to secure.

In this regard, there can only be one answer. The ultimate end is to maximise net flourishing, where each agent's interests counts equally - even those who do not excite our emotions.

The insurmountable conundrum that civil libertarians need to address is if the end does not justify the means, then what does?

Hopefully the reminder of the misery inflicted by bin Laden will encourage misguided libertarian groups to get out of their delusional comfort zone, and take a few steps up the moral mountain beyond the rights fog in which they are enveloped.

The world would be a better place, if we all applied our energies towards securing the right end instead of obsessing about their self-serving middle-class concerns.

SOURCE

Also read Bagaric on torture

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Finally, Justice is Done

Jeff Jacoby

Good people rejoice when evil monsters are cut down, and by the tens of thousands good Americans from one end of the country to the other came pouring into the streets last night to celebrate the death of Osama bin Laden. From the White House to Ground Zero, from the Boston Common to Miami's Little Havana, the scenes of jubilation were spontaneous, heartfelt, and overflowing with American pride.

"We love death," bin Laden once told an interviewer. "The US loves life. That is the big difference between us."

He was right. But some deaths even an American can love, and the death of the al-Qaeda mastermind who murdered so many innocent victims is one of them. For the bloodbath of 9/11, for the hundreds slaughtered in the Kenya and Tanzania embassy bombings, for those who died in the unprovoked attack on the USS Cole -- for all the violent and malignant savageries he committed against men, women, and children who had done nothing to deserve them, bin Laden's day of reckoning was long overdue. But it came at last. Now the archterrorist is in hell, and Americans are rightly overjoyed. "The son of a bitch is dead. Ding dong," exults the New York Post in an editorial. Not the most refined formulation, perhaps, but it certainly captures the nation's satisfaction.

Political life in this country so often plays out as a struggle between those who champion freedom and those who fight for equality. But at moments like this we are reminded that a virtue greater than either of them is justice. In his remarks to the nation last night, President Obama emphasized that the killing of bin Laden meant that the "pursuit of justice" had been rewarded -- that "justice has been done." Knowingly or not, he was echoing the words his predecessor addressed to a joint session of Congress just nine days after the 9/11 attacks. "Whether we bring our enemies to justice, or bring justice to our enemies," George W. Bush said on that occasion, "justice will be done." Ten years later, it finally was.

The political significance of bin Laden's death will give pundits, pollsters, and politicos something to chew over for months to come. The successful US operation in Abbottabad -- the Pakistani garrison town where bin Laden was apparently hiding in plain sight -- is a tremendous feather in the president's cap, and already some partisans have rushed to suggest that his re-election next year is now a foregone conclusion.

Much the same was said about George H. W. Bush after the swift American victory in the 1991 Gulf War. Bush's popularity zoomed into the 90-percent stratosphere, and the Democratic Party's strongest potential challengers -- Mario Cuomo, Al Gore, Dick Gephardt -- all decided that the 1992 nomination wasn't worth fighting for. But in the end Bush went down to a crushing defeat, and a little-known Arkansas governor named Bill Clinton became president of the United States. Obama's prospects are brighter today than they were yesterday, but between now and November 2012, anything can happen.

One of the great ironies of Barack Obama's presidency is the extent to which he has embraced and benefited from national security policies and priorities he sharply rejected as a candidate. The killing of bin Laden only deepens that irony. He was hunted down, we now know, with the help of intelligence acquired at Guantanamo -- the military prison Obama swore to shutter. He met his demise in a military operation undertaken by the United States on its own and in secret, with no multilateral consultation and no waiting for UN resolutions -- just the sort of "cowboy" unilateralism the Obama campaign opposed. What candidates say when they are seeking office is rarely a guarantee of what they will do after they have won it.

SOURCE

Why on earth would Obama get credit for an accomplishment of America's professional military? He was essentially just a bystander to processes set in motion by George Bush. Obama was in fact an obstruction to the strike. He took months to give it the go-ahead

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Obama's ungracious and egotistical speech

Obama played subtle and wholly undignified games. He underlined that Osama had "avoided capture" under Bush and "continued to operate" during his tenure. But "I directed" CIA director Leon Panetta to make getting Osama the "top priority" (as opposed to?), and "I" gave the go-ahead to the final mission.

Obama also avoided Bush in a Medal of Honor ceremony on Monday afternoon. Even in a Monday night "bipartisan" event at the White House, Obama honored the "military and counterterrorism professionals" and "the members of Congress from both parties" who offered support to the mission ... but no credit for Bush.

What about our media? No one in the media wondered if Obama was being rude. No one seemed in any hurry to give Bush credit, either. In the media's mind's eye, Bush just doesn't deserve it. They didn't like him then; they don't like him now.

More HERE

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Obama's dislike of America shows in his prevention of American oil independence

Here’s a snippet of Obama’s April 20 remarks:

“I will not reduce our deficit by sacrificing the things that have always made America great. The things that have made Americans prosper. I won’t sacrifice our investments in education. I will not sacrifice those. I won’t sacrifice our investments in science and basic research. I won’t sacrifice the safety of our highways or our airports.”

Read: Republicans want cars and planes to crash, scientists to hang up their lab coats and kids to get dumber.

In one of the most appalling displays of sheer gall, Obama actually decried America’s dependence on foreign oil. This is the president whose executive agencies have strangled new ventures to tap America’s enormous fossil fuel resources.

“I won’t sacrifice our investment in clean energy at a time when our dependence on foreign oil is causing Americans so much pain at the pump,” he told the DNC crowd.

And more pain is on the way. Obama’s EPA has denied a permit to Shell Oil Company to drill off Alaska’s coast. The company spent five years and nearly $4 billion preparing to give America a 27-billion-barrel shot in the arm of our domestic oil supply, which is down to 7 million barrels a day, 13 million short of what America uses.

Too bad, Shell. The extremist green lobby that dominates this administration is intent on destroying fossil fuel industries to prepare us for a mythical wind, solar and rickshaw-powered immediate future. You can’t say Obama did not warn us. He said explicitly in January 2008, for example, that his proposed cap and trade system would “bankrupt” anyone who wanted to build a new coal-fired plant.

On Tuesday, Obama was at it again, urging Congress to punish oil companies by ending “unwarranted” tax breaks. The man who has done more than anyone to jack up the price of gas said that high pump prices “provide more than enough profit motive to invest in domestic exploration and production.” Yes, if you will stop flirting with Brazil and get your foot off the neck of U.S. energy companies.

More HERE

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Gasoline and Onions

The speculators are ripping us off!

"The skyrocketing price of gas and oil has nothing to do with the fundamentals of supply and demand, and has everything to do with Wall Street firms that are artificially jacking up the price of oil in the energy futures markets. ... (T)he same Wall Street speculators that caused the worst financial crisis since the 1930s through their greed, recklessness and illegal behavior are ripping off the American people again by gambling that the price of oil and gas will continue to go up."

Here we go again. That quote was Sen. Bernie Sanders doing what some always do when the price of oil spikes: complain about speculators. Now, President Obama says he'll investigate them: "We are going to make sure that no one is taking advantage of the American people for their own short-term gain." I assume that his new Financial Fraud Enforcement Working Group, like its predecessors, will uncover nothing untoward.

In America, we don't have a free market -- we have a government-saturated economy in which oil companies and other corporations have a cozy relationship with politicians and bureaucrats. That's wrong, but even that can't explain the recent run-up in prices. Oil companies today are no more greedy or clever than they have been all along.

We have to look for a better explanation -- and it isn't hard to find. Demand for oil rises with the growth of China, India and other developing countries. When poor people get a little richer, they buy cars, computers and refrigerators. They burn more fuel to make them and to run them. Rising demand, other things being equal, increases prices.

And other things have not been equal. Japan's nuclear plants are out of commission, and Libya, which accounts for about 2 percent of world oil production, is wracked by civil war. This is small compared to previous disruptions in the region, but it still affects the price.

The evil oil-speculator theory also runs up against the fact that the Federal Reserve's inflationary policies (QE2) and other factors have continued the dollar's slide against foreign currencies -- to a three-year low. As the dollar loses value, oil sellers demand more for their product. "Commodities, along with most traded goods globally, are priced in dollars," former Federal Reserve official Gerald P. O'Driscoll of the Cato Institute writes. "It is the old story of too much money chasing too few goods."

If Sanders and other economic illiterates get their way, we'll have new laws banning "speculation." That will raise prices further. Don't believe me? Think back to a previous time when a Senate committee said that "speculative activity causes severe and unwarranted fluctuations in the price. ..." That was in 1958, when people got upset about the price of onions. Fools in Congress addressed that problem by banning speculation on onion prices.

The result? A Financial Times analysis found that the ban made prices less stable. This year, the retail price of onions rose more than the price of gasoline -- 36 versus 24 percent. Most years, the price of onions fluctuates more than other goods. No mystery there. Speculators help keep prices stable. When they foresee a future oil shortage -- that is, when prices are lower than anticipated in the future -- speculators buy lots of it, store it and then sell it when the shortage hits. They know they can charge more when there's relatively little oil on the market. But their selling during the shortage brings prices down from what they would have been had speculators not acted.

Speculators are like the ants in Aesop's "Ants and the Grasshopper" fable: They save resources for lean times. Everyone benefits because everyone has a chance to buy from them in those lean times. Speculators don't "artificially jack up the price of oil" -- they take risks. Those who guess wrong lose a lot of money.

Historically, speculators have been convenient scapegoats, and they have suffered greatly for it. So have the rest of us.

While government should never create political opportunities for speculation, it should also stop interfering with its legitimate economic function. We all are harmed when central planners take charge.

SOURCE

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)

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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)

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Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Splendid: Canada's Conservatives win outright majority

Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper won his coveted majority government in elections Monday that also marked a shattering defeat for the opposition Liberals, preliminary results showed.

Harper, who took office in 2006, has won two elections but until now had never held a majority of Parliament's 308 seats, forcing him to rely on the opposition to pass legislation.

While Harper's hold on the 308-member Parliament has been tenuous during his five-year tenure, he has managed to nudge an instinctively center-left country to the right. He has gradually lowered sales and corporate taxes, avoided climate change legislation, promoted Arctic sovereignty, upped military spending and extended Canada's military mission in Afghanistan.

Elections Canada reported preliminary results on its website, giving the Conservatives 164 seats, which will give Harper four years of uninterrupted government. "It's stunning. We're elated," Conservative lawmaker Jason Kenney said in an interview with CBC. "We'll be a government for all Canadians."

The leftist New Democratic Party was projected to become the main opposition party for the first time in Canadian history with 106 seats, in a stunning setback for the Liberals who have always been either in power or leading the opposition.

Former colleagues of Harper say his long-term goals are to shatter the image of the Liberals - the party of former Prime Ministers Jean Chretien, Lester Pearson and Pierre Trudeau - as the natural party of government in Canada, and to redefine what it means to be Canadian.

Harper, who comes from the conservative western province of Alberta, took a major step toward that goal on Monday night as the Liberals dropped to 35 seats from 77, according to the preliminary results.

Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff congratulated Harper and New Democrat leader Jack Layton and accepted responsibility for the "historic defeat." "I will play any part that the party wishes me to play as we go forward to rebuild," said Ignatieff, who even lost his own seat in a Toronto suburb.

Stephen Clarkson, a professor of political science at the University of Toronto, said Harper will now be considered a transformative figure in Canadian history. "It's a sea change," Clarkson said.

The New Democrats' gains are being attributed to Layton's strong performance in the debates, a folksy, upbeat message, and a desire by the French-speakers in Quebec, the second most populous province, for a new face and a federalist option. Voters indicated they had grown weary with the separatist Bloc Quebecois, which had a shocking drop to three seats from 47 in the last Parliament.

The NDP's gains marked a remarkable shift in a campaign that started out weeks ago looking like a straight battle between Harper and Ignatieff, with the 60-year-old Layton recovering from prostate cancer and a broken hip.

Harper campaigned on a message that the New Democrats stood for higher taxes, higher spending, higher prices and protectionism. He called the election a choice between "a Conservative majority" and "a ramshackle coalition led by the NDP that will not last but will do a lot of destruction."

Gerry Nicholls, who worked under Harper at a conservative think tank, has said that having the New Democrats' as the main opposition party would be ideal for Harper because it would define Canadian politics in clearer terms of left vs. right.

The Conservatives have built support in rural areas and with the "Tim Horton's crowd" - a reference to a chain of doughnut shops popular with working class Canadians. They also have blitzed the country with TV attack ads, running them even during telecasts of the Academy Awards and the Super Bowl.

Lawrence Martin, a political columnist for The Globe and Mail newspaper and author of "Harperland: The Politics of Control," calls Harper "the most autocratic and partisan prime minister Canada has ever had."

But to remain in office through the longest period of minority government in Canadian history, Harper has had to engage in a constant balancing act. He has deliberately avoided sweeping policy changes that could derail his government, but now has an opportunity to pass any legislation he wants with his new majority.

SOURCE

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Lawsuits make us less safe

Imagine if an evil business routinely deprived us of products that would help us live longer with less pain and more comfort. We’d be outraged, and lawyers would line up to sue. Yet something similar happens today, thanks to lawsuit abuse. Makers of all kinds of products are afraid to sell them to us because one lawsuit could ruin them.

Personal-injury lawyers claim they make America safer, but that’s a myth. It’s easy to see who benefits from those big damage awards we read about. Less obvious — but just as real — are the things we’d all like to have but never will get because of this climate of fear. Here are a few examples.

Monsanto once developed a substitute for asbestos — a new fire-resistant form of insulation that might save thousands of lives. But Monsanto decided not to sell it for fear of liability. Richard F. Mahoney, the CEO at the time, said, “There may well have been a safe, effective asbestos replacement on the market, and now there isn’t.”

Why do we have to worry about shortages of flu vaccine? Because only a handful of companies still make it. And why is that? Because when you vaccinate millions of people, some get sick and sue. Between 1980 and 1986, personal-injury lawyers demanded billions of dollars from vaccine manufacturers. That scared many American drug companies out of the business.

In 1986, Congress stepped in. To help curb the lawsuits that discouraged vaccine production, the government established a fund called the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. It would pay victims’ families directly so they wouldn’t have to hire lawyers and suffer the delays of litigation. This was supposed to entice vaccine makers back into production, but drug companies were still leery, fearing that plaintiffs’ lawyers would sue them anyway.

They were right to worry. Eli Lilly developed a mercury-based preservative called Thimerosal that was used in many children’s vaccines. Plaintiffs’ lawyers jumped on scaremongers’ claims that mercury causes autism in children. Although a government-issued review found no such link, more than 100 autism lawsuits have been filed against vaccine makers since the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Compensation Act passed. No wonder most drug manufacturers still steer clear of vaccine research.

Even when new vaccines are discovered, drug companies are sometimes afraid to sell them. The FDA has approved a vaccine against Lyme disease. Want some? Forget about it. No company wants to take the risk.

Fear of being sued reduced the number of American companies researching contraceptives from 13 to two.

After scientifically groundless lawsuits against breast-implant makers bankrupted Dow Corning, Japanese silicone makers stopped producing a pain-reducing silicone coating for hypodermic needles. A company director said, “We’re sure our product is safe, but we don’t want to risk a lawsuit.”

Union Carbide has invented a small portable kidney dialysis machine. It would make life much easier for people with kidney disease, but Union Carbide won’t sell it. With legal sharks circling, the risk of expensive lawsuits outweighs the possible profit.

Are you pregnant and nauseous? Bendectin would probably cure your morning sickness. For 27 years doctors prescribed the drug to 33 million women because it was so good at stopping nausea and vomiting. But you can’t buy Bendectin today because lawyers kept suing the manufacturer, Merrell Dow, claiming the drug caused birth defects.

Studies did not show that Bendectin caused birth defects, and Merrell Dow won most of the lawsuits. But after spending $100 million in legal fees and awards, the company gave up selling the drug. Bendectin has never been effectively replaced, and morning sickness is now a major contributor to dehydration during pregnancy.

Dr. Paul Offit, professor of pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, says, “Within two years of discontinuing Bendectin, the incidence of hospitalization for dehydration during early pregnancy doubled; the incidence of birth defects was unchanged.”

Those are just some of the life-enhancing products we know we must do without because America’s peculiar legal system makes it profitable for trial lawyers to pursue extortion — like litigation. What wonderful products will we never even hear about because the lawyers have created a climate of fear?

SOURCE

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The trajectory of the Democratic party from moderate and responsible Leftists to the hard Leftists of today

With big rusted-on groups of supporters -- blacks and Hispanics -- they feel less need to appeal to the moderate voter

One of the worrisome aspects of President Obama’s peculiar brand of leadership is to watch how radically he and most Democrats in Congress have broken with the wisdom of liberal, Democrat leaders of the past. Media wags, largely ignorant or mostly indifferent to history, will tell you that the growing alarm over Obama’s leadership is all about style over substance. Don’t believe it. Obama and most of the Democrat congressional leaders seem interested in pandering to special interest groups, with little care for the overall economic health of the nation. They have betrayed their history and are mere shadows of their Democrat predecessors. Americans know it too.

The Democrat leadership has strayed far from their once-rational roots. For example, when enacting the landmark social welfare programs in 1935, (Social Security Act) and again in 1965 enacting Title 18 (Medicare), Democrats were almost unanimously concerned about the potential costs for future generations.

A reading of the floor speeches at the time shows that while Democrats wanted to expand programs for the needy. None were willing to do that, if it would erode the economic vitality of the entire nation. These earlier Democrats were moored by their concern for the financial health of the nation, the well-being of small businesses and concern about the potential for undue burdens to the American taxpayer that might arise as a result of far reaching entitlement legislation.

In August 1935, President Roosevelt said: “We can never insure 100 percent of the population against 100 percent of the hazards and vicissitudes of life, but we have tried to frame a law which will give some measure of protection to the average citizen and to his family.”

Roosevelt’s endorsement of the payroll tax to create an earned right that would “act as a protection to future administrations against the necessity of going deeply into debt to furnish relief to the needy” is a far cry from the current Democrat drumbeat that entitlements must cover all Americans (and illegals) regardless of the cost to the country.

In 1965, Democrats were clearly worried about the impact of the Medicare legislation. Medicare was viewed as an experiment that might not be sustainable, and therefore needed to be carefully reviewed. Democrat congressman, Wilbur Mills, then Chairman of Ways and Means argued: “when tax rates are as high as they are now, we must take into account the fact that any changes we make will inevitably have far reaching economic effects…It would be folly… To nationalize health care as some have proposed, and thus federalize medical personnel, institutions and procedures—eventually if not at the start—also would amount to a stunning new financial burden for every American taxpayer.”

It is also important to note that in 1965, Democrat supporters for expanded entitlement benefits realized they might be wrong. Reading though the debate in Congressional Register of 1965, one sees humility and open-mindedness. But, as Pelosi shows, the current Democrat leadership are rigid ideologues. To placate the ravening appetites of their left-wing extremists, special interest groups, they are willing to ruin the nation.

President Obama’s vision of America calls for an ever-expanding welfare state with ever-increasing government handouts and bailouts, even as the financial health of the nation teeters on the brink of insolvency. Then, to rub salt in the wounds of the fiscally conservative, Obama lectures on the need to address our “unsustainable” government spending, even as he continues to press for more spending aimed at supporting loyalists’ union causes, his own special interests, and dubious spending schemes.

Democrats from the 60s seemed determined to balance their desire for expansive entitlements with a respect the needs of those taxpayers--the businesses and workers-- whose taxes pay for it all. Above all, there was a cautious consciousness that huge, federally run government programs are rarely cost-effective and rarely operated efficiently.

In June 1966, discussing the implementation of the Medicare legislation, President Lyndon Johnson said “Washington is no place to patrol matters in 50 States. The farther you get away from the community, the less efficient you are and the more expensive you are.”

On the other hand, President Obama’s recent road tour (with stops at Facebook, Oprah’s couch and NYC) to promote the need for additional taxes to pay for spending schemes and to increase the debt ceiling without implementing dramatic spending cuts, reeked of demagoguery and implying that the federal government in Washington, is better suited to care for citizens than the citizens themselves. Or at least, that seemed to be his explanation, for the buzz-words adopted by the Left of “shared sacrifice” and “fair share” are deceptive. Just send your money to Washington and all will be taken care of and only the “rich” will pay; the middle class, citizen will be unaffected.

Is there any wonder why Americans are increasingly worried? Modern Democrats have lost their way and have become selfish, irresponsible and blind. They make intellectually dishonest pleas to protect unsustainable social welfare programs without the slightest interest in finding an honest way to pay for them.

Reading the speeches of Obama and other senior Democrat leaders gives one the distinct impression that they are far more interested in rewarding their core constituents than in protecting the nation’s financial health. Democrats would bankrupt the nation rather than make prudent and long-overdue changes to over-generous entitlement programs.

And that is why Americans are so worried.

SOURCE

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ELSEWHERE

Medical consumer or ward of the state?: "How did it become normal, or for that matter even acceptable, to refer to medical patients as 'consumers?' The relationship between patient and doctor used to be considered something special, almost sacred. Now politicians and supposed reformers talk about the act of receiving care as if it were no different from a commercial transaction, like buying a car — and their only complaint is that it isn’t commercial enough. What has gone wrong with us?"

The economics of slushy drinks: "'That's quite a markup,' remarked my father as he paid for my six-year-old son's treat after a soccer game. 'Three dollars for a cup of ice.' It's true; the price tag did seem steep at first. But as we analyzed the situation more carefully — my father is also a fan of free markets — we realized that there was no reason to be outraged at the vendor's price."

Risky business: "UK transport minister Norman Baker this week refused to apologise for saying that cyclists may be safer not wearing helmets. Baker, whose role includes responsibilities for cycling, cited research that drivers tend to go closer to cyclists who are wearing helmets, but give a wider berth to those who are not. Indeed, the national cyclists' organisation itself argues that those who wear helmets are 14% more likely to have a collision than those who don't."

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)

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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)

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Monday, May 02, 2011

Islam rots your brain

Osama bin Laden was a hero to Muslims worldwide. Will his killing stop jihadism? It might have a temporary depressing effect but the adverse effect of Islam on the intelligence of its followers will remain. After Osama's little 9/11 caper, the U.S. government took out two hostile Islamic regimes in Iraq and Afghanistan yet not even that convinced the jihadis that they were losers. Islam just deprives Muslims of any ability to make rational calculations, apparently. Any rational calculation would not lead to a conviction that a few bearded nobodies could impose Islam on the West.

The kindness of a civilizatin originating from Christian thinking indulges them for the moment but if ever they start to do serious harm they will be squashed, as bin Laden eventually was.



It's a pity he was not taken alive, though. Crushing his balls to squeeze information out of him could have been very productive. Just the threat would probably have made him very talkative.

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America's Orwellian present

It might help getting our minds around what is so wrong in America today by thinking about the local police force.

It’s not hard to understand that the job of the police is to protect lives and property.

Suppose we decided to broaden their mandate. Suppose each municipality decided that the job of the police was not just protection but to make every community more fair and just and to improve the quality of life.

To do this, we’d have to let them decide what is fair and just and give them authority to implement their sense of these things.

They could force families they thought had too much money, or who earned their money in a way they thought not fair, to turn some of their resources over to others who the police concluded more deserving.

Or, if they happened to hear parents yelling at their child, they could enter the house and instruct them how they should be raising their children.

It seems pretty absurd. But it’s exactly what is going on in Washington and why things are such a mess. The very entity – our government - that is supposedly there to protect us now has incredibly wide latitude to invade our lives and property.

Even worse, not only is there considerable latitude to do this openly, but it can occur insidiously in ways where citizens don’t even realize it’s happening to them.

In the former instance, at least Congress openly votes to pay for expanded programs and spending by raising taxes.

But even with a license to steal, government power brokers know they can just take this so far. Spending may provide a path to political popularity for some, but paying for it all through taxes is a path to popularity for few.

Over the last couple years, we’ve had a vast expansion of government spending to bail out banks, automobile companies, those with mortgages they can’t afford, expand unemployment insurance, create all kinds of projects under the headline of “economic stimulus,” etc.

If government is spending a trillion and half dollars more than it is taking in through taxes, which is the case with a deficit of the size that we have now, where’s the money coming from?

We can turn to Ben Bernanke, head of the Federal Reserve, who this past week held the very first press conference ever held by a Federal Reserve chief.

This reflects the fact the Federal Reserve has been transformed into a political entity. The Fed should, in principle, be a special kind of police force. Their job should be to protect one very unique aspect of our property – our money.

But instead, the Fed has, allegedly within the scope of the law, assumed a broader mandate to provide another way to finance government spending – printing money.

Like police with a responsibility for protecting property but also with a license to steal, the latter will eclipse the former. The Fed either is going to protect the value of our money or it is going to print it to pay for spending. Unfortunately, it has chosen the latter.

Like everything else in our country, money has become relative and politicized. When the dollar was tied to gold, the official price was $35 per ounce. Since we severed this link in 1971 and totally politicized our money, it now takes over $1500 to buy an ounce of gold.

Our taxes get raised indirectly through higher prices and the eroded value of our savings.

Politicization of the Federal Reserve and our money is a particularly dangerous development in a trend that is ruining America - the erosion of law and the distortion of the role of government.

There is no way around the fact that freedom and prosperity only exist when government protects property, and this includes our money.

SOURCE

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And America's Orwellian State is still expanding

The crash of the financial and housing markets in 2007-08 brought cries for reform from many quarters. Still, there was bitter debate throughout 2009-10 on the approach and substance of any prospective reform. Ultimately, Congress passed – on a party-line vote – the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, whose authors were Christopher Dodd and Barney Frank, two of the most questionable characters in recent Congressional history.

Many Americans are concerned that whenever Congress launches a crusade for “consumer protection,” somehow that’s not what we end up with. When the Dodd-Frank bill contained a Trojan Horse – the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) – a lot of people became alarmed. When President Obama wanted to nominate Elizabeth Warren to run the CFPB, flashing lights and sirens started going off.

Ms. Warren had never worked in financial services – in fact, she had never held a job in any financial industry – but as a Harvard law professor, she had written a variety of articles and books. To the Obama crowd, this made her the perfect candidate to set new rules to control our lives. While Ms. Warren’s particular expertise is the struggle of middle-class families in which both parents must work just to stay even, she hasn’t yet figured out that it’s the massive growth of regulation and taxes at all levels of government – principally promulgated by her elitist comrades – that is the core of the problem.

Ms. Warren is the embodiment of the Totalitarian Liberal. Her “we know better” viewpoint endeared her to Obama, who gleefully appointed her to an extra-governmental position after it became clear that there was no hope she would obtain Congressional approval to be Chair of CFPB. Obama give her a fancy title and she has been running the CFPB – without oversight – ever since. When she appeared before Congressional committees, she exercised her best lawyer skills, repeatedly making grossly misleading statements. When asked pointed questions by committee members, she sounded like a parakeet, squawking “We need a cop on the beat!” over and over again. And, of course, what better cop could exist than Ms. Warren?

What Ms. Warren does not want is a cop on her beat, which is why she designed the structure of the bureau as it was laid out in the Dodd-Frank bill – with virtually no oversight. Funding for the CFPB is taken from the earnings of the Federal Reserve System, which means that Congress has no voice in its operation. In fact, other than approving the director, Congress has essentially no control over the bureau. This is utterly unlike any other federal agency and will probably be tested in court. After all, if Congress doesn’t manage the purse strings, what effective control do they have over Ms. Warren?

This new entity has been assigned broad oversight of financial entities, much of which overlaps responsibilities of the existing agencies. It oversees all banks and credit unions with more than S10 billion in assets, and can write regulations for all payday lenders, debt collectors, and mortgage brokers. It also reviews all entities making mortgage loans, which means virtually every bank in the country. This is the reason for her recent charm offensive with community banks: to gain their support for her nomination as Director.

She has shrewdly been placing allies into key positions in the bureau. Though some appear to have industry background, you can rest assured that they’ve been hired either because of political leanings or as window dressing to enhance her continuing effort to be appointed Director.

Under Ms. Warren’s direction, the CFPB will be requiring “greater levels of disclosure” by all parties in its purview. But financial professionals point out that extensive disclosure has been required for years for mortgages and car loans, and none of it is worth a Confederate dollar if people don’t read or understand the documents. And if there’s one thing that all the professionals agree on, it’s that most American consumers have at best a minimal understanding of even the simplest financial matters.

As a totalitarian liberal, Ms. Warren won’t try to make the consumers more knowledgeable, but instead will employ her infinite wisdom and compassion to protect them from themselves. This is confirmed by her first real venture – joining some left-wing Attorneys General to threaten lenders over their foreclosure practices. In the best tradition of Tony Soprano, they are using extortion and other threats to extract $20 billon from the lenders, despite the fact that even with some improperly-processed paperwork, there have been virtually no homeowners evicted prematurely or improperly. Almost every one of these people has been living rent-free for nine to eighteen months, with the American people picking up the tab. Now Ms. Warren wants us to fork over even more money for these follies – in higher fees and fewer services at our banks – to compensate for the $20 billion. In addition, further delays in the foreclosure process just forestall the ability of the market to cleanse itself and recover.

Because Ms. Warren has virtually no experience or true understanding of the financial markets, she will do untold harm to the people she is trying to protect. In a previous column, I described how the Dodd-Frank bill set new rules for credit cards in order to “protect consumers,” only to find that the credit that they previously had access to is now unavailable. The regulations that Ms. Warren and her cronies will create will have exactly the same effect on mortgage loans, payday loans, and whatever else they touch.

Disclosure is a very good thing when it comes to financial matters, but if consumers don’t have the education or training to understand how they’re being protected, they will ultimately be penalized by fewer products, less competition, and higher government-mandated costs. The only winners will be people like Elizabeth Warren, who know better than we do and are on a crusade to protect us from ourselves. The loser is our freedom.

SOURCE

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Diagnosing ObamaCare

Dr. Peter Weiss summarizes a new book by Dr. Milton Wolf: "First Do No Harm"

For the past two years I have publicly debated the pros and cons of our health care system. I have debated against the implementation of ObamaCare — to no avail.

I have been on too many health care panels to remember. I have met with senators, congressmen, governors, and more. The debates feel like the reenactment of the trench warfare of the First World War, with neither side making any headway in battle.

"First Do No Harm" reviews how government involved itself in health care from 1929 to 2003, with all well-meaning actions resulting in increasing costs. Dr. Wolf astutely points out how health care became very political in the 1980s. State mandates “re-routed health care dollars not to the most necessary and innovative treatments, but instead to whomever had the best lobbyists.” This was the start of our current health care downfall.

Remember HillaryCare? Dr. Wolf rightly has no kind words for President Bush either. Medicare prescription coverage of 2003 was a political move to garner senior votes.

The bottom line of First Do No Harm is this: “At the very core of ObamaCare is a flawed belief that government can spend your money more effectively than you can yourself.” There is an ideological divide between those in favor of the plan and those opposed.

I admire the Tea Party greatly. Health care should not be a political line-item agenda — just as I can not tell a patient of mine what he or she must do. I can only give advice and recommendations. I can not force my patients to stop smoking or drinking, or to lose weight. Nor can President Obama mandate health.

To be fair, First Do No Harm does state that ObamaCare promises some nice things, such as no denial of coverage for pre-existing conditions, coverage for “children” up to age 26, and no lifetime limit on benefits. These all sound great, and on paper they are.

I would also like the government to buy me a home, give me a car (nothing less than 6 cylinder), and put food on my table. In a Utopian world, we all live forever and will have world peace. One critical aspect of a good physician is being honest even when the news is bad. Dr. Wolf is a good physician. He gives a very strong argument against ObamaCare in a concise, easy-to-follow manner. He offers some solutions, but still a lot more are needed to address the current situation. Those he does offer are well worth entertaining and are well thought out. I, of course, like many other physicians, have solutions, too, some of which I have expressed in these pages before.

I equate Dr. Wolf with a good doctor who is able to explain to a patient and his or her family what is wrong. He then takes the time to listen and gives his opinion as to what you should do. This is a doctor you feel you can trust. Under the Obama system, that doctor will be a thing of the past. Your new physician will be spending half of his or her time doing data entry at point of service, checking off boxes on the state-mandated questionnaire before inputting the data to determine what medication the system will allow. Never mind you only want to talk about your headaches.

Most physicians take either the oath of Hippocrates or the oath of Maimonides. With these two time-honored oaths, we promise to be our individual patients’ champion and, above all, to do no harm. Under ObamaCare, the physician’s oath will be “to the health of the state” — and to the individual patient no longer.

SOURCE

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ELSEWHERE

Dallas TSA molests beauty queen: "Dallas has found itself in the eye of a storm of negative publicity thanks to a former beauty queen's accusation of TSA molestation in a YouTube video posted Wednesday that has already gone viral. Susie Castillo, actress and former Miss USA, accused a female TSA agent of sexually violating her at DFW airport when she opted for a pat down rather than going through the full body scanner because of the health risks of repeated radiation exposure."

The forgotten patriot: "As Rhode Island prepares to celebrate the 350th anniversary of an extraordinary American document, its author remains all but forgotten. In the summer of 1663, against seemingly insurmountable odds, an improbable patriot living in an unlikely place changed the course of world civilization. Through Rhode Island’s King Charles II Charter, Dr. John Clarke convinced the king to grant religious toleration and separation of church and state to a political entity, the diminutive Colony of Rhode Island. For the first time in world history, religious freedom became fundamental to democracy."

There is a new lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- on his usual vastly "incorrect" themes of race, genes, IQ etc.

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)

****************************

The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)

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