A church I visited recently announced a seminar for “financial professionals” who lament their industry’s “fallen ethics.” In 2009, USA Today reported that “the top Roman Catholic bishop in the United States said … the global economic crisis was caused in part by people abandoning personal ethics, and he's calling for increased morality in business.” And earlier this year, Jewish Week lamented that “financial scandals have become a fixed component of our civilization” after opining, “If current trends [in cheating] continue, the Wall Street gang of 2020 will make the slithery coterie of 2008 look like a Cub Scout pack in comparison.”
I’m just a parishioner, not a cleric. Maybe that’s why I don’t see the inherent evil of business. In fact, when I pick up the phone to hear my father from 500 miles away tell me he loves me, or I send another article to an editor with a click of a mouse, or I feast on fresh spinach and blueberries while a blizzard howls outside, I thank God for the market. The comfort, abundance, convenience, and leisure it provides are enormous blessings.
Indeed, the market is nigh miraculous. Jesus Christ fed 5000 men with a few loaves and two small fish, but we mere mortals must depend on voluntary exchange. Yet that astounding commerce multiplies the earth’s scarce resources to feed, house, and clothe billions of people who would otherwise suffer short, nasty, brutish lives.
It took one man, working tirelessly in his private laboratory, to light up the world. The invention of the electric light bulb by Thomas A. Edison was the work of an individual, not a collective, not the government. Yet its impact on the world was greater, more productive, and more beneficial than anything that 10,000 government bureaucrats could dream up. The purpose of the government was to secure Edison’s God-given rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It was not to help him invent anything. Its purpose was to leave him alone to do what he did best: invent new wonders that changed the world.
But today, the government can’t keep its hands off anything, including Edison’s great invention. Through a new law entitled “The 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act,” the government has mandated phasing out Edison’s remarkable invention and replacing it with a more expensive Compact Flourescent Light Bulb (CFL), which according to lighting engineer Howard Brandston, poses a risk to public health and safety. He testified before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on March 11, stating the following:
The compact fluorescent lamp contains mercury. One gram of mercury will pollute a two-acre pond. This 2007 light bulb standard brings a deadly poison into every residence in our nation.
We do not have enough knowledge of the potential consequences of being continuously exposed to the electromagnetic field that compact florescent lamps emit. There are millions of people in this country with lupus, an auto-immune disease. Exposure to low doses of light from these lamps causes a severe rash.
The government of Pakistan, which receives billions in U.S. government aid each year, is using its intelligence services to support attacks on American military and diplomatic personnel in Afghanistan, top U.S. officials said last week in the most direct accusations to date. Pakistani authorities denied the charges. For years, American military and intelligence officials have claimed the Pakistani spy agency Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) was directly supporting various terror groups with money, weapons, information, and more. On September 22, however, top commanders told Congress that the links were undeniable. Some analysts even said Pakistan’s behavior came perilously close to an act of war.
Despite ongoing controversy over the federal government’s scandalous loan guarantee to the now-bankrupt Solyndra, a $25 billion green-car loan fund has managed to avoid the congressional guillotine. The Department of Energy’s Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing (ATVM) loan program, which was established during the Bush years and began dispensing funds during the Obama administration, is designed to provide debt capital to the auto industry and assist manufacturers in retooling facilities and equipment and improving fuel economy for vehicles manufactured in the United States.
In his 2011 State of the Union Address, President Obama vowed to "break our dependence on oil" and pledged that the United States would "become the first country to have one million electric vehicles on the road by 2015." Considering the ATVM loan program and consumer offerings such as Cash for Clunkers, the President’s proclamation is not a market goal, but a government goal, and as he perceives it, such a target is only achievable through government-sponsored loans and subsidies.
The ATVM program has become a hot target for conservatives, but Senate Republicans choked legislative efforts from House Republicans to shave the $25 billion program by $1.5 billion to help avert a government shutdown and outweigh new spending for disaster relief.
President Obama’s reelection campaign is struggling, as his once loyal fan base has begun to turn its back on him. It began when labor leaders criticized the White House for what they perceived to be a failure on the administration’s part to come to the defense of unions. Now, MTV — the network which last October hosted a youth town hall meeting called “A Conversation with President Obama” — has denied a request by Obama’s reelection campaign to help the President connect with American youth.
Though MTV claims it does not wish to be involved in political campaigns, it has long had a reputation for pushing a political agenda. “A Conversation with President Obama” is a prime indicator of just how political the station could be, and the “Rock the Vote” campaign was a long and popular one for the network.
Likewise, MTV’s website features a section entitled, “Think MTV,” where visitors can “get informed, get heard and take action on the issues that matter to you most.” Causes featured in this section include what MTV has dubbed “modern-day slavery,” which, according to the site, is as follows:
Health insurance costs continue to rise as President Obama’s healthcare overhaul begins to affect Americans’ insurance premiums, according to a study by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Research and Educational Trust (HRET). Leaders in health policy analysis and communication, Kaiser and HRET found that annual family insurance premiums have spiked this year at a rate three times higher than in 2010, significantly outpacing wage increases and general inflation.
In a survey administered from January through May 2011, Kaiser and HRET interviewed 2,088 public and private employers asking questions about enrollment numbers, average firm and worker premium contributions, total premiums for single and family coverage, and insurance changes relating to coverage and benefits. In summary, the study concluded:
The average annual premiums for employer-sponsored health insurance in 2011 are $5,429 for single coverage and $15,073 for family coverage. Compared to 2010, premiums for single coverage are 8% higher and premiums for family coverage are 9% higher. The 9% growth rate in family premiums for 2011 is significantly higher than the 3% growth rate in 2010. Since 2001, average premiums for family coverage have increased 113%. Average premiums for family coverage are lower for workers in small firms (3–199 workers) than for workers in large firms (200 or more workers) ($14,098 vs. $15,520). Average premiums for high deductible health plans with a savings option (HDHP/SOs) are lower than the overall average for all plan types for both single and family coverage.
The Ford Motor Company’s greatest claim to fame as of late is the fact that it did not participate in the federal government’s bailout of General Motors and Chrysler. Ford was so proud of this that it actually created a commercial touting this truth. Allegedly at the request of the Obama administration, however, the ad will no longer be run on television.
In the commercial, an actual buyer is led to a surprise news conference where he is asked impromptu questions. The buyer responds by saying, “I wasn’t going to buy another car that was bailed out by the government. I was going to buy from a manufacturer that’s standing on their own: win, lose, or draw. That’s what America is about is taking the chance to succeed and understanding when you fail that you gotta’ pick yourself up and go back to work.”
The Detroit News reports:
Ford pulled the ad after individuals inside the White House questioned whether the copy was publicly denigrating the controversial bailout policy CEO Alan Mulally repeatedly supported in the dark days of late 2008, in early ‘09 and again when the ad flap arose. And more.
Joseph Maraachli, the baby whose parents fought doctors and a Canadian court in order to secure surgery to extend their son's life, has died. The 20-month-old infant, who suffered from a rare and deadly medical condition, passed away September 27th, nearly eight months after Canadian doctors decided to remove him from life support rather than perform a surgery that would extend his life, calling it medically unnecessary. His parents fought the doctors’ decision, as well as a Canadian court, eventually taking Joseph to the U.S. for the procedure that would give him several more months with his family.
Moe Maraachli, Joseph’s father, made the announcement of his son’s passing on the family’s Facebook page, writing that “Joseph pass away very comfortable and peace fully like what i ask for him.” He added: “I would like to thank all who contributed to the support of Joseph. I thank you very much.”
Confronting elements of President Obama’s healthcare legislation that are so restrictive of religious freedom that Jesus “would not qualify as ‘religious,’” the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has taken a stand against the law's implementation in its current form.
The USCCB’s objections to the pervasive program of socialized healthcare commonly known as ObamaCare is based in the administration’s plan to coerce healthcare providers — including those operated by the Roman Catholic Church — into providing birth control, abortifacient drugs, and abortions. According to an article for the Catholic Review:
“The mandate directly conflicts with the religious beliefs of individuals and institutions who have a moral objection to such practices,” the bishops wrote, “and who do not believe that such ‘preventative services’ constitute legitimate health care.”
The bishops said the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act had a “laudable goal” of “expanding access to genuine health care for all Americans, especially the poor.” They expressed concern, however, that the mandate “contradicts promises made to the American people that the new federal law would not include coverage for abortion.”
The United Nations expects to build a massive new office complex next door to the globalist behemoth that already towers over Turtle Bay in Manhattan. And it will raze a neighborhood playground to do it, showing that nothing, not even children, obstructs globalism on the march. Even worse, critics have reported, American taxpayers will cough up the usual 22 percent of the bill.
As well, someone is going to benefit from the project: Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who wants to transfer the two-thirds of an acre to the UN to help push forward his dream of a major waterfront development.
The new UN tower will encompass some 900,000 square feet and cost upwards of $450 million and perhaps even more. The present 39-story UN Secretariat Building and new structure (which will be no taller, say planners) will connect “with with an underground tunnel to facilitate movement between the two buildings,” the Heritage Foundation’s Brett Schaefer reported in early September.