The Practical Philosopher's Blog

Using the practical application of timeless wisdom to address modern issues

The Media Unleashes Its Anti-Semitic Bias on Israel- Again

The headline title in the Minneapolis Star Tribune this past Sunday was “Israel Unleashes Firestorm on Gaza.” The bias inherent in this title is simply mind-boggling.


The objective scenario: A brutal group of militants in one state declare that the entire people in a nearby stable and prosperous democratic state do not have the right to exist and vow to kill them all. This is the definition of Genocide- international war crime number one.


They (the brutal militants) fire high-explosive missiles in unprovoked attacks, year after year, to indiscriminately kill civilians in the other state- international war crime number two.


They (the brutal militants) hide amongst innocent civilians of their own people to make these military attacks- war crime number three.


Then when the attacked victim state finally, after years of withdrawals and attempts to negotiate, attack in force to kill their attackers, they are wrongly labeled as the aggressors and killers of the other state’s civilians.


A media outlet publishing the above headline and large photos showing nothing but injured Palestinians blatantly distorts the reality of the situation, shows a profound morally confusion, and a lack of American values.


The Hamas militants got exactly what they had coming. They are primitive cowards and properly designated as terrorists. The Palestinians should be turning their wrath on Hamas for using them as human shields.


The largest paper in Minnesota should be embarrassed by running this article. But then again, The New York Times contributed/provided some or all of the article content, so we should not be surprised at the anti-semetic bias and moral confusion.


Filed under: Middle East, Minneapolis Star Tribune, , , , , , ,

A Tale of Two Types of Health Care

I would like to offer a perspective on the health care topic from someone who has lived in both private (US) and government-run (Canada) health care. 


I lived in Canada for 2 years recently. The experience for me and my family was terrible.


‘Free’ health care- isnt! At least 20% of the over-burdening tax load up there goes into the blackhole of health care spending. 

When everyone believes they have a ‘right’ to health care from the government, they demand all and any treatments. You could easily spend a million dollars a head with this ‘rights’ approach. The only problem is that no government on earth can afford it. The system also becomes over burdened because people go in for every little ailment and/or because they want someone to talk to or give them attention (a symptom of a lonely, aging baby-boomer bulge of people). This approach lacks an understanding of human nature and practical outcomes.


Due to the above, the bureaucracy becomes a force for rationing. How would you like a bureaucrat to decide you were too old to waste money on for surgery? This happened to my wife’s grandmother. 83 and have stomach cancer? Too bad! (she lived to 89 in poorer health) These choices should be made by the affected person and their family’s!


The quality also plummets because there is no free market mechanism to allow people to vote with their feet and their dollars. The doctors have no repercussions for poor service like they do in US. The only backstop would be malpractice.


The bottom line is that there are no practical outcomes with socialized health care. It’s based on fundamentally flawed Socialist theories. You give up critical choices around your health. The costs will skyrocket (like they have in every foreign country or failed US state attempt at socialized health care) while access and quality plummet. The dirty secret is that politicians and wealthier Canadians typically pay for private health care so they don’t have to wait forever for care with the masses. If it’s timely critical care, cutting edge treatments, or drugs needed, surprise!- they come to the US for our ‘failed’ health care.


We need to change the system we have now, but Socialized ‘health care’ is the last thing we want to inflict on ourselves here in the US.

Filed under: Health Care, , , , ,

Automotive Bailout

So now the President has overridden the collective wisdom of Congress and is sending even more of our tax dollars ($17B) to the Big 3 automakers.


The big question, though, is will it work?

The short answer: No it won’t.


Why? 2 reasons:

  1. The biggest root cause is not being addressed- Unions and their legacy costs. The 21 December 2008 issue of Mpls Star Tribune cited in an analysis article that companies like GM are “…persuading [it’s] debt holders to accept stock and getting union wages more in line with those paid by foreign brands in the United States.” The only problem is that most of the additional cost-per-vehicle that unions saddle the automakers with is in the form or healthcare costs, mandatory buyouts for workers on any plant closings, and retiree benefits. As long as those unsustainable and unrealistic costs and constraints remain, the automakers will fail.
  2. A socialist, command-economy approach to ‘restructuring’. Between Congress and media pundits, the automakers are being told that the road to ‘prosperity’ is through small, fuel-efficient cars and environmental hybrids and more radical straight-electric cars. The problem is, these are politically-correct directives that bear no tie to economic realties. These types of vehicles are low profit margin for small vehicles, slow selling for hybrids because of their price tag, and completely market-unproven for the short-range straight-electric cars.


Given the above strategy, we will have wasted $17 billion of our tax dollars and at least 2 of the Big 3 Automakers will go into bankruptcy. In the end, this the only way for them to shed the strangling unions and let the market work it’s creative destruction on the Big 3’s rigid, uncompetitive culture and management practices.

Filed under: Economy, Minneapolis Star Tribune, , , , ,

Impossible! Glaciers around the world grow during ‘Global Warming’

Much to the dismay of activists and those with financial interests in promoting climate change alarmism, glaciers around the world have begun to grow again. Apparently the objective reality of global cooling since 1998 and the factual evidence of increased Antarctic and Arctic ice is trumping the myth of human-driven warming and that CO2 is the primary driver.


Check out this interesting article from DailyTech:


Glaciers in Norway Growing Again


Scandinavian nation reverses trend, mirrors results in Alaska, elsewhere.

After years of decline, glaciers in Norway are again growing, reports the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE). The actual magnitude of the growth, which appears to have begun over the last two years, has not yet been quantified, says NVE Senior Engineer Hallgeir Elvehøy.” 

Read the whole article:

Filed under: Environment, Global Warming, , , , ,

More Truth Unraveling the Lie of Human-driven Climate Change

Here is a good article from Investors Business Daily that talks about the growing and highly qualified group of scientific ‘skeptics’ speaking out against the politically motivated junk science of ‘Global Warming’.  These climate scientists challenge the corrupt and dictator-dominated U.N.’s environmental ‘conensus’ pushed by the IPCC.

Filed under: Environment, , , , ,

‘Global Warming’ Watch

This just in! More proof that ‘Global Warming’ is the least important issue in the world:

USA Today-Nationline, 11Dec2008 issue: “Flakey Houston Weather…Derrik Sanchez,12, and sister Arlen, 7, get their first-ever taste of snow.  Houston’s Weather Research Center says snow has fallen earlier just one – on Dec. 10, 1944 – since record-keeping began in 1895.”

Filed under: Environment, , , ,

Unions kill the Golden Goose. Again.

When it comes to assessing why the Big 3 automakers are on the verge of going out business, it can be described in one word: Unions.


Take a look at the industries that have major union presence: Airlines- almost all bankrupt/failed several times, Steel industry-bankrupt, and, of course, Auto makers.


In the auto industry, they have been an economic anchor that has been strangling these companies for years. The average cost per hour that artificial union demands have created is around $73-$74 (Big 3 average) per hour. Compare that with their non-unionized competitors’ cost of $48 (Toyota) per hour and it’s no surprise why they are failing.


Unions are also tied to the other interesting question: Why were the Big 3 were so heavily into large SUV and Truck vehicles? It suddenly occurred to me that if you were paying $1800-$2000 in extra union costs per vehicle, the only models with enough profit margin and salability would be the largest and most expensive vehicles. $2000 added to the price tag of a $10,000-$15,000 vehicle would be a 13%-20% addition in price or reduction in profit. $2000 added to a $25,000-$40,000 SUV or Truck would equate to only a 5%-8% price or profit impact.


I have tried for the longest time to figure out what value, if any, unions brought to the marketplace or businesses originally. The only circumstance where they might have once had value was during the age of pensions. They once might have been a strong collective voice to stop a company from firing someone at 15-19 years of service to avoid paying a 20 year service pension. But even then, a company that betrayed employees like that would lose workers and talent to companies that rewarded worker loyalty. Today we have the portability of 401k funds.


Unions are clearly Socialist enterprises that create nothing. Everything that they claim they to do for workers, they do manually and poorly. The free market does the same things automatically and with efficiency.


Wages? A company’s purpose is not to pay a worker a ‘living wage’ or a wage called for by arbitrary social or political influences outside the business. If the wage is too low, you go to a different company paying better wages. If no company in your industry is paying better wages, you get new work skills and make a career change. If a company loses too many employees, it will automatically raise wages to keep necessary talent.


Jobs? If your company doesn’t make a product that people want efficiently and affordably, it fails and the jobs are lost. That market share and jobs will re-appear in other more successful companies aligned to the marketplace. Or, if the company is an automaker, they go through bankruptcy to shed the union contracts that destroyed them in the first place.


Unions are a business parasite. They claim to be a force for ‘helping’ workers earn a ‘fair’ wage. But what is result? Uncompetitive companies that go out of business. How does destroying a company and the jobs it created help anyone? If doesn’t, unless you are a union manager or administrator.

Filed under: Economy, , ,

December 2008
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