Friday, October 30

Congress: "To allow the government to operate in competition with private enterprise was unthinkable as a long-range solution"

This recent talk of having a Government-run 'public-option' for health care to compete with private health insurance companies is not the first time that the US Government has come across the idea of running a business in direct competition against private businesses. The opinion at the time was that this was a very bad idea. Perhaps Congress should explain what has changed since then:
In the years from 1921 to 1923, the world was glutted by a surplus of Shipping; the vast fleet built to carry world trade during the war drove down shipping rates and an already cutthroat business became even more competitive. To shipowners, the social reforms and restrictions imposed by the Shipping Board became convenient explanations for a shrinking proportion of the world shipping revenue. It appeared that, ironically, the very laws intended to strengthen American shipping would weaken its competitive position and drive it from world trade. The classic conservative arguments against governmental regulation of business could be put to work; the 'do-gooder" meddling of reformers once again had been proven wrong.

The question of how to reconcile the apparently incompatible goals of the Progressive era-nationalism and social justice-had plagued the Progressive movement itself and helped lead to its demise. In the 1920'S, the conflict of these two ideological slants in maritime policy led to heated debates over several alternate solutions, of which the ship subsidy idea was one. If the government could subsidize shipping, American working conditions could be met, and ships might operate at rates competitive with foreign shipping. Several efforts to pass a comprehensive subsidy system failed since they appeared to be pure special-interest legislation. But in 1928, Congress enacted a mail subsidy plan that provided aid to regular cargo liners but not to tramp steamers, tankers, or so-called proprietary vessels owned by companies such as Standard Oil or United Fruit for the transport of their own products. Another partial remedy was the continued exclusion of alien flags from American coastal routes - the traditional enforcement of "cabotage" first established in the United States in 1789. Still another solution could be found in the retention of ships directly owned by the government through the Emergency Fleet Corporation established during the war and operated by the Shipping board. Such ships could operate at a loss, supported from general revenues, if necessary. This system, however, resembled state socialism, and Congress instructed the board to sell off those ships as soon as possible. To allow the government to operate in competition with private enterprise was unthinkable as a long-range solution. - Sovereignty for Sale (pages 4-5)
Of course this did not make sense for shipping then and it certainly makes no sense for health care today either. Especially if you consider that for the 'public option' to foster competition as the Democrats claim, then it has to offer lower rates than private industry. This it can do with no regard for the actual cost of covering people enrolled in their plans. That will result in the killing of private health insurance. And what kind of competition will that bring?


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PelosiCare's Death Panel (Pages 111-118)

The newest Health Care reform bill presented by Nancy Pelosi Thursday includes a 'death panel'.
(1) IN GENERAL.—There is established a private-public advisory committee which shall be a panel of medical and other experts to be known as the Health Benefits Advisory Committee to recommend covered benefits and essential, enhanced,
and premium plans. - Page 111, HR's ‘Affordable Health Care for America Act'
The job of this panel would be to define acceptable treatment standards and I would suspect that would include who gets what treatment. So guess who does not get treatment that they otherwise would. The very old and also the very young. The people who support this can argue all they want about this, however, this is that they have in the UK and other countries with socialist health care systems and this is exactly what happens.

The last time around, the 'Death Panel' argument somehow got mixed up in the end of life counseling. That was not the Death Panel provision. It is this one that plans to define care that is.

A couple of quick comments:

- Pelosi proclaimed that this bill will bring medical coverage to 36 million Americans who are currently uninsured. Not said was that millions of them can get insurance now but opt not to, mainly because they are young and healthy and do not see the need to overpay for health care in relation to the risk of not having it.

- Pelosi also failed to note that many of those 36 million are being force to get health care because they will be over-billed in order to fund care for others. This in effect is a tax on the young.

- See my post on this issue here:
"Mr. President. If Mandatory Health Insurance is not a Tax..."

- Also see my comments on better reform for health care here:
"Real Health Care Insurance Reform (and it does not take 1,000+ Pages!)"

Seems that the other death panel provision is in this bill as well:
The Medicare end-of-life planning provision that 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin said was tantamount to "death panels" for seniors is staying in the latest Democratic health care bill unveiled Thursday.

The provision allows Medicare to pay for voluntary counseling to help beneficiaries deal with the complex and painful decisions families face when a loved one is approaching death. - Fox News

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Thursday, October 29

Save the Planet - Kill The Animals

So the news this week spent lots of time covering the suggestion that humans give up meat as part of actions to save the planet from global warmingClimate Change.
If that sounds familiar it's because the U.N. brought it up before, but this time it comes from the U.K.'s climate chief Lord Stern of Brentford, who told The Times of London: "Meat is a wasteful use of water and creates a lot of greenhouse gases. It puts enormous pressure on the world's resources. A vegetarian diet is better." - Fox News
The reason being that raising livestock is wasteful of nateral resources such as water and grains, resulting in a massive carbon footprint just for you to be able to enjoy that hamburger or steak.

This got me thinking. Just how much do animals contribute to CO2 emissions? After a little investigation, it turns out that the animal world is responsible for over 20 times the CO2 that humans are responsible for. Here are some numbers that I got from the documentary 'The Global Warming Swindle'
150 Gigatons - From Animals and bacteria
006.5 Gigatons - From Humans
So maybe these environmentalists have it wrong. We should not be doing away with meat products. After all, they are providing a need. Instead they should be investigating the need to kill off the planet's animals that are providing nothing to human needs. Take the Polar bears. Environmentalists are crying for action to be taken to save them. Why? All they do is exhale CO2 and kill off fish. As the numbers above show, humans can eliminate 100% of their carbon emissions and it will barely make a dent in comparison to the damage that wild animals do.

Is this idea crazy? Yes it is and no I do not support it. I am merely pointing out how ridiculous the liberal's are in their fight against 'climate change'. And for any liberals who look to criticize this suggestion, do keep in mind that not only was there a call to stop eating meat, there was also a suggestion by other liberals in this very same crusade for people to consider eating their pets.
“A typical medium sized dog eats 164 kilograms of meat and 95 kilograms of cereals every year. It takes 43.3 square metres of land to generate 1 kilogram of chicken per year and 13.4 square metres to generate a kilogram of cereals. This gives your dog a footprint of 0.84 hectares, more than twice that of a 4.6-litre Toyota Land Cruiser. Cats, meanwhile, have an eco-footprint of about 0.15 hectares (slightly less than a Volkswagen Golf), hamsters come in at 0.014 hectares apiece (buy two, and you might as well have bought a plasma TV) and canaries half that. Even a goldfish requires 0.00034 hectares (3.4 square metres) of land to sustain it, giving it an ecological fin-print equal to two cellphones.” - Telegraph
So if pets are responsible for large carbon footprints, just imagine how much damage all these animals out in the wild are doing. At least pets are providing enjoyment of some kind. So maybe these so-called scientists are onto something. They just picked the wrong animals to target.

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Tuesday, October 27

Another Obama Lie? "Will target Businesses that hire Illegal Aliens"

The Obama Administration declared shortly after taking office that they were going to shift enforcement of immigration law away from targeting illegal aliens to instead concentrating on those who hire illegal aliens.

Unfortunately, I do not see their first high-profile case as anything useful in terms of being an example to others not to hire illegal aliens:
Two owners of a Bellingham engine-rebuilding company that was raided in January, raising questions about federal policies on illegal immigrants, were sentenced Monday to a year on probation and their business must pay a $100,000 fine.

Shafique Amirali Dhanani and Shirin Dhanani Makala, corporate directors, managers and two owners of family-owned Yamato Engine Specialists, were spared prison time, fines and restitution in plea agreements followed to the letter by U.S. District Judge James L. Robart.

A guilty plea was entered earlier Monday for Yamato, which agreed to pay half the fine immediately and the balance by Dec. 31. The company also must take out a half-page advertisement in The Bellingham Herald to describe how it got into hot water for hiring undocumented workers. - Seattle Times
One odd aspect of this case was that the illegal aliens employed by the company were given work permits to remain in the country legally so that they could testify against the owners of the company. So what the hell was the Government doing making a deal? They were guilty as hell and should have been headed to jail as an example to others not to hire illegals. Instead, they get off with a slap on the wrists. As for the ad, what on earth kind of punishment is that? Is that like writing 1,000 times on the blackboard that you promise not to do it again?

What a joke. But I can't say that I am surprised. This is worse than before. At least before INS was trying to catch and deport illegal aliens. Now they are not doing that, nor are they hunting down those who hire them. Really, where are the other busts of employers? There is nothing of any substance.

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Monday, October 26

Maritime Monday 185 Posted at gCaptain

This week's edition of Maritime Monday has been posted at gCaptain.

You can find last week’s edition here.

You can find Maritime Monday 135 here. (Published 10 November 2008).



Previous Editions:
As linked below or click on the label ‘MaritimeMonday’:
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gCaptain editions: 99 - 100 - 101 - 102 - 103 - 104 - 105 - 106 - 107 - 108 - 109 - 110 - 111 - 112 - 113 - 114 - 115 - 116 - 117 - 118 - 119 - 120 - 121 - 122 - 123 - 123a - 124 - 125 - 126 - 127 - 128 - 129 - 130 - 131 - 132 - 133 - 134 - 135 - 136 - 137 - 138 - 139 - 140 - 141 - 142 - 143 - 144 - 145 - 146 - 147 - 148 - 149 - 150 - 151 - 152 - 153 - 154 - 155 - 156 - 157 - 158 - 159 - 160 - 161 - 162 - 163 - 164 - 165 - 166 - 167 - 168 - 169 - 170 - 171 - 172 - 173 - 174 - 175 - 176 - 177 - 178 - 179 - 180 - 181 - 182 - 183 - 184 - 185 - 186
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Thursday, October 22

Mr. President. There is already a tax on Soda!

Recently, President Obama has come out in favor of a new tax on soda.
The President, in an interview with Men's Health magazine released yesterday, said he thought taxing soda and other sugary drinks is worth putting on the table as Congress debates health care reform.

"It's an idea that we should be exploring," the President said. "There's no doubt that our kids drink way too much soda. And every study that's been done about obesity shows that there is as high a correlation between increased soda consumption and obesity as just about anything else." - Daily News
Tell me if there is such a thing as a tax that President Obama is against.

A tax on soda is a ridiculous idea. Even more-so when proposed by the President, who should both know better as well as have better things to occupy his time with.

First, the whole reason for proposing such a tax, to discourage consumption as part of encouraging Americans to lose weight, is frivolous. Soda is cheap. Even doubling the price of soda is not exactly going to cut consumption by those who need to drink less soda. It will only cut consumption by those who view the higher prices as a waste of money.

Second, there is already a tax on soda. Take the main ingredient that should be in soda but is not, SUGAR. Why do they not put sugar in soda? It is too expensive to do so because Congress made sugar expensive. Generally, sugar prices in the US are twice the world price. Take a look at where most candy is being made these days. Much of what was traditionally US-made candy is now being made in Canada. Simply because the main ingredient, sugar, is much cheaper there.

As for soda, both Pepsi and Coke switched to corn syrup years ago because it is cheaper. But Congress likes corn farmers too and has been busy for years working to increase the price of corn products through increased demand. Corn syrup is one use. Then there is all the mandates to increase the use of ethanol, which is made mostly from corn. All of this raises the price of products that use corn ingredients. The ethanol mandate has been rather insidious as it has helped raise the price of corn around the globe. And as the cost of corn syrup rises, so does the price of soda. And when the price increases are a result of Government meddling, then that increased cost is a tax.

The sad fact in all of this is that due to the stupidity and frank dishonesty of Congress, the rest of us are basically denied better-tasting soda. Soda that by all common sense should be made from real sugar, not from inferior-tasting substitutes. Not only that, but it pushes people to switch to inferior products, only driving them away from the one that they want to consume.

Now comes news that the governor of New York is looking at the soda tax again, and this time he is not even pretending that this is anything other than a means of raising more cash for Government use:
Less than week after calling on lawmakers to address New York's budget crisis without raising taxes, Gov. Paterson fizzled out and suggested he would take another pop at passing a state soda tax.

"I promise I will put (the soda tax) back in my budget address and give the Legislature another chance to do it," Paterson said during an interview on WNYC. "But you can’t keep voting down the ways to create revenues and then saying you don’t want to make cuts." - NY Post
Finally, just to seal any doubt about how bogus a soda tax is, the CEO of CoCa-Cola slammed the idea of taxing soda to make Americans healthier:
Coke Didn't Make America Fat - Americans need more exercise, not another tax.

Our industry has become an easy target in this debate. Sugar-sweetened beverages have been singled out in spite of the fact that soft drinks, energy drinks, sports drinks and sweetened bottled water combined contribute 5.5% of the calories in the average American diet, according to the National Cancer Institute. It's difficult to understand why the beverages we and others provide are being targeted as the primary cause of weight gain when 94.5% of caloric intake comes from other foods and beverages.

Those pushing for this tax lack some essential facts, not to mention some basic common sense. Over the past 20 years, the average caloric content of soft drinks has dropped by nearly 25%. This is due in large part to a determined focus by our company and others on the diet/light category with brands like Diet Coke, Coca-Cola Zero and Powerade Zero. Even soft drinks with sugar, like Coca-Cola, contain no more calories (140 calories in a can) than some common snacks, breakfast foods and most desserts served up daily in millions of American homes. And while obesity rates have skyrocketed, sales of regular soft drinks decreased by nearly 10% from 2000 to 2008, according to the industry publication Beverage Digest. - WSJ
For more background on this mess, read the history of sugar price fixing here:
The Great Sugar Shaft - The Future of Freedom Foundation

Corn is Food - Not Fuel - 19 Aug 09

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Friday, October 9


ABC is remaking the classic series 'V'.

The series is set to air in November. The promo looks like it is going to be a good show. Funny how the alien invaders look to win over the population with claims of 'Hope and Change'.


So that gave me an idea. Behold the V-Obama posters.

What timing. Just this morning comes news that the President has won the Nobel Peace Prize. See, Hope and Change are real powerful weapons. In some cases more powerful than actual accomplishments...

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Thursday, October 8

French Navy Captures More Somali Pirates - Photos

Here is the story as reported in the Journal of Commerce:
Five Somali pirates were captured today after they mistook a French naval ship for a cargo vessel. The pirates were repelled in a night attack on the French refueling vessel La Somme, which is serving as the command ship for French forces in the Indian Ocean. - JOC (Click for the full story)
Here are the photos from the French Military Forces website:

Link to the report in French here:
Piraterie : le BCR Somme intercepte 5 pirates au large de la Somalie
(Note they delete these stories after a couple months)

More at EagleSpeak:
Somali Pirates: Mistaken Identity Attack
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Tuesday, October 6

DC Monuments at Night - Photos

Here are some photos from a recent evening tour I gave in Washington, DC.

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