A rare abortion debate has been incited among lawmakers in Britain, who are now reconsidering the nation’s approach to abortion. The debate is focused on whether clinics that are paid to perform abortions should also be permitted to give advice to women who are unsure of how to handle unwanted pregnancies. Unfortunately, the proposal to provide alternative sources for pre-abortion counseling was rejected by Members of Parliament today. Abortion law in Britain permits abortions up to 24 weeks' gestation, and also makes exceptions for abortions after 24 weeks if doctors believe the mother’s life is in danger or that the child will be born with a severe disability. Referrals to abortion clinics must be approved by two doctors. According to Britain’s Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, impartial advice is always provided to women who seek abortions, and those members assure that the advice provided to women seeking abortion makes them understand the consequences of abortions.
The U.S. government has found another way to invade privacy in the name of fighting terrorism by proposing legislation that would track prepaid debit cards. As usual, the real losers would be, not terrorists who won’t comply anyway, but innocent Americans, or travelers, and card issuers burdened with yet another layer of record keeping and compliance procedures. The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), a branch of the Treasury Department, has drafted rules, taking effect Sep. 27, to establish a “more comprehensive regulatory approach for prepaid access.” It’s important to distinguish between these prepaid debit cards and the debit cards attached to your bank account. Once known as “stored-value cards” the cards will be renamed “prepaid access cards” — because they aren’t tied to a bank account, the money paid for them in advance could be anywhere, currently outside the reach of monitoring by the government. Which is precisely the point. An assessment of financial security threats in 2005 by the Treasury Department noted that the 9/11 hijackers opened bank accounts, signed signature cards and received wire transfers, which left a financial trail.
Florida Governor Rick Scott has looked at the 20,000 administrative rules in the Florida Administrative Code, and he is asking the Florida Legislature in one fell swoop to repeal 1,000 of those rules and to change another 1,200 of the rules. Scott has tried to create an Office of Fiscal Accountability and Regulatory Reform, which would be required to sign off on all new rules, but the Florida Supreme Court has ruled that this would violate the state’s constitution. The Florida Supreme Court, however, cannot prevent the Florida Legislature from asserting its power to stop proposed rules from going into effect. Why is Governor Scott doing this? “Every rule costs money. Just the fact that you have to research to find out if you’re in compliance. It’s so complicated that people have to hire consultants to figure out how to comply. Every dime a company spends on regulations is a dime they add to what you care about as a purchaser of a product or service. You hear stories. Why do we have to do this?
Following the announcement by the Italian Cabinet of additional austerity measures to include plans to combine all 1,963 towns in Italy with populations of fewer than 1,000, some mayors protested by turning in their honorary keys to the city while others began developing marketing plans inviting immigrants to their towns in order to raise their town’s population above the 1,000 minimum and remain independent. Luca Sellari, mayor of Filettino, had different ideas: he decided to create an independent monarchy with himself as prince, and a new currency, the fiorito (which means small flower) with an exchange rate of two fioritos to the Euro (about 72 cents each). The austerity plan would eliminate the jobs of 54,000 elected officials and save some money. Sellari wants to remain independent, however, and is moving to take Filettino (population 598) private.
When one studies international economics, one will inevitably encounter the topic of “free trade.” As always, it is a good idea to start with a definition, to avoid any possible confusion. Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary defines the expression “free trade,” whose earliest recorded use in the English language dates back to 1606, as “trade based on the unrestricted international exchange of goods with tariffs used only as a source of revenue.” Nowadays, free trade has come to mean the conduct of international business without any governmental interference, such as tariffs, quotas, subsidies, etc. Such a policy allows prices to be the result of nothing but pure supply and demand, without any artificial distortions entering into the process. The term “free trade” is often used these days in multinational agreements such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), although such arrangements do not eliminate government involvement in trade but create multinational entities to regulate it.
Former Massachusetts Governor and 2012 Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney unveiled his economic agenda Tuesday, beating President Barack Obama to the punch by two days. (Obama will present his jobs plan in a speech to a joint session of Congress Thursday evening.) Romney’s plan is, as former Labor Secretary Robert Reich put it, “unremarkable, to say the least.” To his credit, Romney seems to grasp that the private sector, not government, is the source of American prosperity. In the summary of his agenda found on his website, Romney says that his plan “does not promise the immediate creation of some imaginary number of jobs, because government cannot create jobs — at least not productive ones that contribute to our long-term prosperity. It is economic growth, not government growth, that provides productive opportunities for American workers.” (This did not, however, stop Romney from claiming that his plan would create 11 million jobs during his first four years in office.)
As Texas Governor and GOP frontrunner Rick Perry took criticism from nearly all his rivals at a September 7 GOP presidential debate at the Reagan Library, Perry quipped: "I kinda feel like the Pinata here at the party." But only his fellow Texan, Congressman Ron Paul, got Perry to back down. Perry took numerous vague barbs from just about all the other candidates in his first debate as a presidential candidate, but Ron Paul got specific. Asked if Perry was "less conservative than meets the eye," Paul responded: "Much more so. Just take the HPV. Forcing 12-year-old girls to take an inoculation to prevent a sexually transmitted disease, this is not good medicine, I do not believe. It's not good social policy." Paul then proceeded to criticize sharply the method by which Perry created the mandatory vaccines of thousands of Texas pre-teens: "But one of the worst parts about that is the way it was done.
The U.S. is leaning on the government in Baghdad for a new Status of Forces Agreement that will keep American troops in Iraq beyond the end of the year. The current agreement, signed by the U.S. and Iraq in 2008, requires the removal of all U.S. military forces by December 31, 2011. If nothing changes, Americans will adhere to that deadline, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told the New York Times. "I think our public position, our private position, hasn't changed, that our plan is to withdraw by the end of the year," Nuland said. "Were the Iraqi government to come forward and make a request for some continued security assistance, we would be prepared to look at it." But it appears the U.S. is asking to be asked, and has been for some time. Fox News reported Tuesday that the Pentagon recently secured a commitment from the Iraqis to negotiate on the matter and the question is not whether, but how many, American troops remain in Iraq.
Those who are hoping for a more optimistic report of the global economic future should probably not read on. According to a report released by the Union Bank of Switzerland entitled “Euro Break Up-The Consequences,” the death of the euro is inevitable and the long-term effects of such an event will potentially include civil war, the collapse of international trade and sovereign default. The report lays the foundation of its assertions by declaring, “Under the current structure and with the current membership, the Euro does not work. Either the current structure will have to change, or the current membership will have to change.” It goes on to reveal that the Union Bank of Switzerland has virtually no faith in the system to which they are ultimately connected. What makes such an assertion so frightening is that the UBS has a “hegemonic influence over the world economy,” notes The Blaze:
The California Supreme Court will be hearing arguments from gay marriage opponents next week in the Proposition 8 court battle. According to The Blaze, this next stage in the court battle will “shed light on whether the voter-approved measure’s backers have legal authority to appeal the federal ruling that overturned Proposition 8.” Proposition 8 is a voter-approved ban against same-sex marriage. California residents voted to add the following words to the California state constitution: Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California. Proposition 8 was written in exactly the same way as California’s Proposition 22, which, as an ordinary statute, was invalidated by the State Supreme Court.