Separation of Church and State: France

This is from my dear friend who is spending some time in France studying the language:

“This came up in class the other day and it stirred up a lot of different thoughts, so here goes—-

“La France est une République indivisible, laïque, démocratique et sociale.”
TRANSLATION: France is an indivisible, secular, democratic and social republic.
Article 1 of the French constitution, and the French pride themselves on guarding those traits.
Secularism?  The concept of laïcité was OFFICIALLY instated in 1905 when separation of church and state became viable by law.  Since then, the French have been doing their part on “strictly” upholding this secularism.  But, I think they’re just kidding themselves.
Per Constantine I, the French have adopted the Roman doctrine of refraining from work on Sundays.  But, they’ve taken it one step further than Ole’ Const’ by making it AGAINST THE LAW for businesses to open on Sundays.  The law.  Why?  Why because Sunday is the “Lord’s Day.”  It is holy and it must be respected (you are evil and you must be destroyed).  Apart from markets, Sunday is best identified in my mind by the constant chiming of the church and cathedral bells.  Everything is closed, grocery stores, government buildings, public libraries…school libraries…
Museums stay open, as do SOME cafés around touristic hubs… which is interesting, but it’s probably because they would face so many losses if they shut down.  What would the tourists do?
Case numero dos: Same sex couples do not have the right to get married.  Wait…it’s not that they don’t have the right… it’s that there’s a LAW stating that it is illegal for them to get married.  There is no such thing as domestic partnership either (ie, civil unions).  The reasoning:  the church does not support same-sex unions; ergo, no ceremony for two people of the same sex.  ergo.  OK.  Then go through this “secular” state.  No can do.  The state will not perform unions for homosexual couples.  Why?  Although secular, France still has Christian roots and healthy ties with its religious commissaries.  They don’t want no trouble with the big guy upstairs… (more…)

Published in: on November 30, 2008 at 7:04 pm  Comments (1)  
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Paulson’s Turkey Bailout



Published in: on November 30, 2008 at 3:49 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Making the Automakers…

As everyone has heard, the big three, GM Ford and Chrysler, have came out and begged the U.S. Congress to give them bailout money. Most of America and Congress rejects it. The Speaker even told them to come back with a plan. Here are some interesting facts from their begging found in the WSJ:

“General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler LLC may go back to Washington and urge Congress to take measures to spur consumer demand, in addition to providing the $25 billion in loans the auto companies seek.

“There is no way any car company can make money at the current demand level,” said a key executive at a Big Three auto maker. “The government has to get credit flowing so that the market goes back to at least 14 million to 15 million [vehicles]…. We can figure out how to survive at that level.”

On Monday, Sen. Charles Schumer (D., N.Y.) plans to send a letter urging the Federal Reserve to make financing available for the auto companies’ lending arms, which would allow them to offer more auto loans, a spokesman for the senator said. The letter will also ask the Treasury to speed approval of GMAC LLC’s request to become a bank holding company.”

There is no way any car company can make money at the current demand level is the dumbest thing I have ever heard. If this was true that means no one would be demanding a new car. That is obviously not true so they are obviously pulling it out of their behind. They basically want the taxpayers to feed the money to make them buy their cars. Toyota seems to be doing fine.

The worse part is the last paragraph, where it says that they want to be a bank holding company. Other than getting free bailout out money, why does a car company need to be a bank holding company? PCCapitalist’s joke of giving every person a car and having them pay for it through taxes is becoming true.

It is a scary day in America.


Published in: on November 28, 2008 at 1:37 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Recession caused by Media Coverage?

This from Bureau of Labor Statistics:

“Personal income increased $42.4 billion, or 0.3 percent, and disposable personal income (DPI) increased $45.1 billion, or 0.4 percent, in October, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Personal consumption expenditures (PCE) decreased $102.8 billion, or 1.0 percent. “

So how come personal income increased while consumer spending decreased? My answer the media is telling people that it is bad out there.  As you can see in the chart below people search recession before it even happens. We still aren’t officially in one.


This was written in July on Newsbusters:

“On Sunday’s “Good Morning America,” after 14 “Recession Rescue” segments or teases in less than a month, weekend co-host Kate Snow asked an economic psychologist if “part of [the negative financial outlook of Americans is] our fault, the media’s fault, for constantly talking about how bad things are?” Snow and psychologist Kit Yarrow were discussing how much of the nation’s current financial state is emotional, in light of comments last week by John McCain advisor Phil Gramm that when it comes to the economy, “we’ve sort of become a nation of whiners.”

Nation of whiners I think so…


Published in: on November 28, 2008 at 12:15 am  Leave a Comment  
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Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving from our families to yours.

I always say every year thank your parents and grandparents for working hard and moving this country forward. Over the last 3 or 4 generations, we have seen great economic advancement. Take the time to get to know what your parents were doing and grandparents were doing back when they were your age.

It is the hard work and technological innovation that has moved society forward as a whole.



~Barry AU H2O




Published in: on November 27, 2008 at 12:22 pm  Leave a Comment  

Literal Nanny-State: Toy Ban

First this from USA Today:

“Congressional supporters of a new law meant to protect children from dangerous chemicals are trying to make sure that the government enforces the legislation as they intended.

Congress in August passed a landmark consumer safety law that raises standards for toys and virtually bans several hormone-like chemicals called phthalates in products for children under 12.

Lawmakers wanted toys with the controversial chemicals to be off the market when the law takes effect Feb. 10, according to a statement from Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., co-author of the ban.”

It is a little too late. This is the classic normal government regulation. First, something bad happens, then the government bans it. If we do trust our government to be good at regulation then they should be able to predict this. Since, of course, they are human this is not going to happen.

I would probably guess that these companies which were making the poisonous toys have already gone out of business or changed their ways. We have hardly heard anymore about it in the news. What the government will do is put a regulation on all toys that will increase the costs to toy manufacturers.

The plus side for the toy manufacturers is that it would be difficult for new toy makers to enter the market due to the increased price. I would also imagine that domestic toy companies would try to get the foreign companies to be the only ones inspected. That is if there are any domestic toy companies.

So next time you see the government trying to ban something, don’t assume they are right. Know that it was a day late and a dollar short. This does not mention when they were blaming tomatoes for getting people sick when really it was jalapenos. We had people removing and throwing out perfectly good tomatoes and thinking they are safe with everything else due to Uncle Sam’s cloak.

The rest is here.


Published in: on November 26, 2008 at 2:16 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Has Technology made Government more or less powerful?

If there is anything that has been constant in the last few hundred years, it is technology. These technologies have challenged us as a society. You have seen with the current MySpace comments that supposedly caused a girl to kill herself and the kid who just killed himself on live camera. But in the Macro level, has technology given us more freedom or more statism?

First, governments who are communists and censor their citizens are having a hard time doing so now with the internet’s presence. They are able to access information that they never could have 50 years ago. The more free ideas that they are exposed to, the more change they will demand.

Second, governments can use more technology to track people. They can gain access to your phone, internet, text messages, and other things with or without a warrant. They use cameras in public, like in Britain, to watch your every move. You are told, by the government, that these are ways to protect you. Some argue that if you weren’t doing anything wrong, then it wouldn’t matter.

This brings a new challenge to property rights and privacy. What policies can we implement to keep the government in check? Is the Constitution a good tool for this?

I believe that technology will always allow freedom to lead first. You cannot chase innovators with bureaucracy.


Published in: on November 25, 2008 at 9:17 pm  Comments (3)  
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Obama’s Economic Team: Really Romer?

Today Obama announced his economic team. What I cannot figure out is why he picked Christina Romer to be his head economist. She seems pretty good but she believes that high taxes hurt growth. I don’t remember that being apart of President-Elect Obama’s platform. Politico has it here:

“President-elect Obama plans to name Christina Romer, an expert on tax cuts and recessions who is an economics professor at the University of California at Berkeley, to chair his Council of Economic Advisers, aides said.

This should come in handy: Romer was once the co-author of a paper called, “What Ends Recessions?”
The three-person council, appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate, is a part of the White House apparatus designed to give the president policy advice and objective economic analysis.

At the same time that Obama is calling for higher income taxes on people making $250,000 or more, the Romers have found that tax increases are generally bad for economic growth and that they primarily discourage investment — the supply-side argument that conservatives use to justify tax cuts for the rich. On the other hand, the Romers have shredded the conservative premise that tax cuts eventually force spending reductions (‘starving the beast’). Instead, they concluded that tax reductions lead only to one thing — offsetting tax increases to recover lost revenue.”

Go figure. If there is one thing I can say for sure, is that no one knows who the real Barack Obama is.

The rest is here.


Published in: on November 24, 2008 at 11:06 pm  Leave a Comment  
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British Nanny State: Happy Hour Ban

This from USA Today:

“LONDON (AP) — Britain is considering a ban on “happy hour” discounts at bars and restaurants to curb drinking, a spokesman said Saturday, as health advocates warned that a rise in liver-related deaths among young people may signal a future epidemic.

Health officials will decide on whether to ban the happy hours — designated times for discount drinks — once an independent policy review is published in coming weeks, a health department spokesman said on customary condition of anonymity.

The proposal was one of several aimed at stemming a trend in binge drinking in recent years, particularly among teenagers and young adults. The government also plans to spend $15 million on a new public awareness campaign, and wants to improve enforcement of laws against underage drinking.”

It is obvious that the government of Britain believes people are unable to take care of themselves. They are going to choose to infringe upon businesses and competition because they claim it will save lives. What will more than likely happen is people will just choose to drink at home. Not to mention, that this will be very hard to enforce. If a waitress forgets to charge you for a drink, will the British police bust in and arrest her?

Who else benefits? The government through tax revenue. Higher prices means higher taxes which means higher revenues. They are probably doing this to offset drinking costs to their health care system. Maybe if they have private health care, people would be more cautious of the amount they drink.

The rest is here.


Published in: on November 24, 2008 at 2:06 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Free Trade Vs. Protectionism: Japan and Cuba

The debate of free trade vs. protectionism is something that will always be a part of history. Political forces will never allow free trade to reign. Politicians are re-elected so often that the long term industrial adjustment it takes would cause the people to vote the politician out. Instead, the benefits of free trade and the costs of protectionism only goes to those in the long term and they do not vote.

A good example here is Cuba vs. Japan. As most people know, we have relatively free trade with Japan and we have an embargo with Cuba. The purpose of the Cuban embargo is to force them to form a democracy. The purpose of free trade with Japan is that after World War II we rebuilt them and we enjoy the fruits of their labor. Which policy has produced the most democracy?

These two countries are somewhat hard to compare because of the World War II relations with Japan. Some could argue that they got a democracy when we took it over, but regardless, trade has ensured wealth that in turn has assured democracy. On the other hand, Communism has kept the Cubans poor and have assured that democracy will only be followed by economic freedom.

Republicans are pro-free trade and pro-Cuban embargo while the Democrats are anti-free trade and anti-Cuban embargo. Both parties are for democracy. This shows that Republicans do not understand the relations between trade and democracy, while the Democrats don’t understand the relation between trade and wealth.

So to the new President and the future of America, look at these examples over history. I have searched for numbers and cannot find them over time but the human and democracy indexes are much higher in Japan.


Published in: on November 23, 2008 at 10:04 pm  Comments (4)  
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