News That Leaves Me Scratching My Head

Posted on February 11, 2013


As the tag line at Asylum Watch says, this really is a crazy world we must live in. With little effort, you humble observer of the asylum found three examples in the news the prove the point.

Insanity in the World Trade Organization

Wikipedia describes the purpose of the World Trade Organization (WTO) to be:

The organization deals with regulation of trade between participating countries; it provides a framework for negotiating and formalizing trade agreements, and a dispute resolution process aimed at enforcing participants’ adherence to WTO agreements, which are signed by representatives of member… (Bold added)

Asylum Watch does not understand why sovereign nations are so willing to give up some of their sovereignty to international organizations like the United Nations, the World Court, or the World Trade Organization; but they do. The intention, one presumes, is to establish a set of rules that all nations adhere to that are “fair” for all. Your humble observer is jaded enough to believe that “fair” is just another vulgar four letter word.

Let’s look at those words in bold in the above quote: a dispute resolution process aimed at enforcing participants’ adherence to WTO agreements. Okay. Now let’s se how this august body has resolved a dispute between the United States and the Caribbean nation of Antigua and Barbuda. From this New York Times article we learn that :

Antigua made a strong case to the W.T.O. that American policies like restrictions on money transfers have undercut its online gambling sites in violation of trade agreements in which the United States committed not to restrict such businesses. As a result, it says it has lost most of the 4,000 jobs connected to online gambling it once had.

And, what was the brilliant resolution devised by the WTO?

 Last week, the World Trade Organization authorized Antigua and Barbuda to violate intellectual property protections on American movies, books, pharmaceuticals and other goods as compensation for United States policies that harmed the islands’ online gambling business.

What the hell is that? The article provides little in the way of details about what the US did to hurt the on-line gambling business in Antigua and Barbuda, but it sure as hell wasn’t the fault of Americans who produce movies or write books or invent new pharmaceuticals. Maybe it’s just me, but I thought the WTO was set-up to prevent trade wars not to start them. This is insane!

Insanity in Organized Labor or Crazy Like Organized labor have been solid supporters of President Obama. They have been big contributors to his two campaigns for the US presidency. The were also big supporters of Obama’s Affordable Health Care Act., which is better known as ObamaCare. ObamaCare is the law of the land now. Is organized labor happy? Well, they will be just as soon as they convince your government to you, the tax payer, subsidize the increased cost that ObamaCare is causing the unions. Read about in this article from  The Foundry. Here is an excerpt:

It should surprise no one that adding benefits and restricting cost-sharing adds considerable costs to health plans.

However, it appears the unions were too busy supporting Obamacare to do the math. Unions are now asking for a reprieve from the higher costs in the form of taxpayer subsidies for their lower income workers with employer-sponsored insurance. However, the subsidies are only intended to go to those purchasing coverage in the new exchanges, not to anyone with employer-sponsored insurance.

To be clear, they want taxpayer subsidies to offset the cost of their insurance while non-union workers in the same predicament would not receive help.

Apparently the unions are not as much into Marxism as the President. They want a return on their investment.

Bringing Sanity to the High Cost of a College Education. Or, maybe Not.

Fox News has this story this morning:

A Christian University in Michigan is offering to help their graduates pay off their student loans if the students struggle to do so with a post-graduate income.

At first glance, one would say that what Spring Arbor University is offering is very laudable. Young people who go into debt to get a degree at Spring Arbor should expect to be able to find a job to sustain themselves as productive members of society. And, if for some reason they can not, Spring Arbor will help with the repayment of the student’s loans. But, the devil is in the details for this Christian university. The university has set the hurdle very low, in my opinion. If a graduate can find a job that pays $3100 per month, they get no help. I suppose if that graduate lives in their parent’s basement and they sing up for food stamps, they  could get by quite well. If a graduate can not find a job that pays at least  $20,000 per year, the university will pay back the student’s loans 100%. Four years wasted for nothing, but it turns out to be at no cost. However, if the student can find a job for $20,000 or more, they must take that job and work at least 30 hours per week, before the university begins helping with repaying of the student’s loans.

Asylum Watch grades Spring Arbor University a “C” for effort. If they raise their threshold $10,000 on each end, then they would deserve an “A”.

Well, now you know what I’m thinking. What are your thoughts?

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