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Cross Culture

Same Sex Marriage: A Foreign Precedent?

March 21, 2007 | By | 4 Comments

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L to R: Your Business Blogger,

Charmaine

Senator Guy Barnett

Our liberal homosexual activist friends will always cite foreign law as a precedence for new law here in the US of A.

But there is one country that the activists and mainstream media will never mention in this debate:

Australia.

Your Business Blogger and Charmaine joined Guy Barnett, a Senator from the Land Down Under for dinner the other night at the Occidental in DC. (Do try the crab cakes.)

Same sex marriage was one of our topics and our concerns.

But it is not a concern in Australia. It has been tested by their courts and is “settled law.”

The Australian law states that,

Marriage means the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life.


Certain unions are not marriages.

A union solemnised in a foreign country between:

(a) a man and another man; or

(b) a woman and another woman; must not be recognised as a marriage in Australia.

We should also look to the Aussies for homosexual adoption:

They don’t allow it.

We should also look to the Aussies for Civil Unions.

They don’t allow it.

Australia might also be ahead of us on the thought-control/mind-control/hate-crime nonsense. The Australian Supreme Court recently stood up to the Muslim victim-lobby when the courts permitted two pastors to quote from the Quran. WorldNetDaily reports,

Quran did tell men they could beat their wives [and]

Yes, it did have verses calling on Muslims to fight infidels until they submitted

Infidels. They would be non-Muslims in America: Republicans. (The Democrats have already submitted.)

WND continues,

Many of the “hate crimes” proposals in the United States are based on a similar concept: designating as “crimes” the statements people make about their own beliefs or convictions.

The Aussies are ahead of us on marriage, homosexuals and thought crimes.

Now if they could only get ‘gays in the military’ right…

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Thank you (foot)notes:

Guy Barnett is the (classical) liberal senator for Tasmania. He was recently at the UN working with Bill Clinton on support for diabetes education.

Jihadists and homosexuals: please log you death threats here.

Wal*Mart: As American as Apple Pie and The Gay Life

August 30, 2006 | By | One Comment

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Your Business Blogger

in a central China

university amphitheater When Your Business Blogger was consulting in China, I visited a large university (redundant: there are no small Chinese universities) and had a conversation with a post-grad working on international contract law. His English was better than my Chinese.

In every Chinese town there is an “English Corner,” just as every major American city has a “Chinatown.” These corners in China are where the locals gather to practice speaking English.

The inverse parallel is, of course, that the Chinese speak English in both China and America, and the Americans speak English in both China and America.

Anyway, I asked the student what he wanted to do with his advanced degree. Without prompting, he says, “I want to work for Wal*Mart. It is big and powerful.”

“Powerful?” I ask.

“Yes, more powerful than some countries.”

And Wal*Mart is getting powerful in China. To make the move to world-wide acceptance, Wal*Mart is assuming the triple-threat position: Unions, Communism, Homosexuality.

Alert Readers will recall that Your Business Blogger is was an enthusiastic cheerleader for the Bentonville World Dominator. The Penta-Posse et. al. consumed $4,328.37 in consumable goods in the 12 trailing months at Sam’s Club.

The embrace of Unions and Communism are in China, of course. As a compromise to get sales. The embrace of Homosexuality is here in the U S of A as a compromise… to get more sales?

A source close to Wal*Mart who preferred to be off-the-record, emailed Your Business Blogger:

…the [homosexual] chamber that Wal-Mart has joined is simply that — a chamber of commerce — and organization of businesses. And, as I said, Wal-Mart is a member of dozens of them. Wal-Mart isn’t trying to make a political statement by joining. And it’s certainly not ascribing to any particular agenda.

But Wal*Mart/Sam’s does fit a particular agenda because of the particular demographic. Wal*Mart shoppers have lots of kids, and those parents of lots of kids are conservatives: Liberals don’t breed. Which gives us the Roe Effect. Allan Carlson, President of the Howard Center wrote in The Weekly Standard that,

IN THE INTERNAL POLITICS OF the Republican coalition, some members are consistently more equal than others. In particular, where the interests of the proverbial “Sam’s Club Republicans” collide with the interests of the great banks, the Sam’s Club set might as well pile into the family car and go home.

Go home, stay home. Indeed. Dr. Carlson reminds us that,

…when push comes to shove, social conservatives remain second class citizens under the Republican tent. During the 2004 Republican convention, they were virtually confined to the party’s attic, kept off the main stage, treated like slightly lunatic children. Republican lobbyist Michael Scanlon’s infamous candid comment–”The wackos get their information [from] the Christian right [and] Christian radio”–suggests a common opinion among the dominant “K Street” Republicans toward their coalition allies.

Conservatives are maligned from the right and the left.

Tony Perkins, the President of Family Research Council, says:

In an apparent concession to the heat from the radical left, Wal-Mart has entered into a new partnership with the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC).

… Recently, they described efforts to defend traditional marriage as an attempt to “write discrimination into the Constitution…”

The NGLCC also advocated attaching a pro-homosexual “hate crimes” amendment to legislation intended to protect children from violent sex offenders. Their advocacy delayed the legislation for several months.

What demographic is Wal*Mart pursuing? What new market segment? Do the boys in Bentonville really think boy-toys from the Tenderloin will truck to Sam’s for the two-gallon jar of pickles?

“Dee Breazeale, vice president of divisional merchandise for SAM’S CLUB Jewelry will serve on the organization’s [National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce] Corporate Advisory Council,” reports 247gay.com.

As if. As if any homosexual would buy jewelry from Sam’s.

Goodness, even I wouldn’t buy the jewelry from SAM’S.

Oh no, I do have something in common with gay men!

# # #

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Thank you (foot)notes:

Full Disclosure: Charmaine Yoest, Ph.D., is the Vice President of Communications at The Family Research Council and is the wife of Your Business Blogger. And I have a mail box on “K Street” in Washington, DC.

A Lady’s Ruminations has more: Sickening news.

The Bleechers has the Christmas story.

Starling Hunter, Ph.D. has all the news on Wal*Mart.

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United Nation's Treaties: Bad for the United States

August 5, 2006 | By | No Comments

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United Nations

Korean War Medal The United States hasn’t gotten our money’s worth from our dues to the UN. But my dad did get a nifty UN medal. He got some others with a “V” device. But US troops are still in Korea.

The UN continues its poor track record. A few years ago Charmaine wrote an article detailing how the UN thinks and presents global legislation. None of it good for the US of A.

And the UN has improved little since then.

Beware of big sister: Charmaine Yoest exposes a troubling treaty with a teflon title. Get ready for more shenanigans at the UN

AN OBSCURE TRIBUNAL known as The Committee has urged China and Mexico to decriminalize prostitution, chided the tiny nation of Belarus for reintroducing Mother’s Day–the holiday promotes a “sexual stereotype”–prodded the U.K. to begin sex education in primary school, and informed the Irish that “the time had come” to revise their restrictive abortion law.

Although The Committee can express displeasure with any U.S. policy that strikes its fancy; it currently has little impact in this country. But that may soon change. Its mission is to assess the status of women in countries that have ratified the UN’s Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, known as CEDAW Iraq, Cuba, and other global model citizens have ratified the convention, but the United States hasn’t–at least not yet.

Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Joseph Biden (D-DE), member and chairman respectively of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, are trying to change this. They have held hearings aimed at ratifying the convention. Kofi Annan, secretary-general of the UN, described CEDAW as a “key pillar of international human rights law,” which stands as a milestone” in the quest to define “the universal norms of gender equality.” The United States is the only western industrialized democracy that has nor ratified….

Continue reading at the jump.

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Thank you (foot)notes:

Charmaine Yoest, Ph.D. blogs at Reasoned Audacity and FRCBlog.

The article first appeared in the Women’s Quarterly, Autumn, 2002.

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Bribery as a Cost of Doing Business In Washington, DC

May 30, 2006 | By | One Comment

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Your Business Blogger

with back office hardware

Bangalore, India In India it’s called “Speed Money.” In Mexico it’s call “Facilitation.” In China it’s called a “Relationship.”

In the US of A, it’s called a “Bribe.”

Except in Washington, DC, where it’s called “Love.”

Frank Robinson, an Inspector for the Washington, DC Department of Transportation was caught on tape asking for love; asking for a bribe. According to The Washington Times, May 25, 2006:

Mr. Robinson: You want your permit right away, right?

Contractor: D*mn right I want my permit.

Mr. Robinson: You need to love me, baby, you need to love me. I did my part; you didn’t get no fines or anything.

Contractor: Give me a price. I got to talk to my people about money. Tell me how much.

Mr. Robinson: What you think man? If you had somebody …watch something so you didn’t get a $2,500 ticket?

Contractor: Frank, I need a price.

Mr. Robinson: Give me $500.

Sounds much like doing business in a Third World Nation. Or maybe it is. As Washington, DC has often been compared.

Your Business Blogger once had a boss in the medical device business working the Washington, DC hospitals. He advised me on how to deliver “the gratuity” which was usually in a brown paper bag, to the key influencers and decision makers. My boss was a pro. He directed me to give the goods only after the contract was signed as a “reward.” Rather than before the signed order.

The “thank you” was a box of donuts.

A difference of degree from $100K Congressman Jefferson received as a “gratuity” I suppose.

As Your Business Blogger consults with international clients, particular attention is paid to the difference between a gratuity and a gratuity.

And I would lecture smugly on the superiority of God-fearing English-speaking Capitalists (that’d be us) ruling the world.

(Test: Find something in your house made in China Syria.)

People always ask, “What is the main difference in business between USA and [country X]?

The short answer is that North America has trust as then central tenet of business. The Puritan Work Ethic. I would advise, discreetly, that Americans expect an honest deal. The rest of the world expects to get screwed.

Nobel laureate Milton Friedman spoke to this. He said that a cultural prerequisite of making money is the holding of truthfulness as a common virtue.

When you can trust a merchant’s word, says Friedman, “it cut[s] down transaction costs.”

The North American flavor of capitalism makes the most money and leaves the best taste. Even with an occasional rotten apple in Your Nation’s Capital.

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18 Apr

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3 Comments

What Does China Admire Most About America?

April 18, 2006 | By | 3 Comments

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It is good to have health

and strength

…number one…

a strong country

It is good to support

your country… Your Business Blogger was touring a large Chinese university. (Goodness, every Chinese university is large.)

Anyway, I was interested to see China’s interest in American marketing. American ideals. American riches. The American source of riches:

Wal*Mart

Narnia

Corvettes

The United States of America Internal Revenue Service.

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…Strength through taxes

IRS Form 1040 signs

at a university

in the Middle KingdomThe IRS. China uses the IRS Form 1040 as …inspiration.

For Heaven’s sake.

China’s leadership looks to the American model of tax collection as the enlightened path to good government funding.

China looks in amazement at the American population compliance to the tax code. Population control. Clean compliance.

Without revolution.

But this is depressing. I wish Americans were more revolting.

On taxes.

Happy Tax Day.

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Thank you (foot)notes:

China doesn’t need to look half around the world for a taxing template. Hong Kong would be a terrific start: a 15% flat tax. And no capital gains tax. Steve Forbes would be pleased if the USofA were more like this part of China. Compliance is easy when the cost of tax payment is less than the opportunity costs of tax evasion.

See AllFinancialMatters.

Visit Simon World for reasons to move to China.

Few have traveled to China as much as Director Mitch at The Window Manager.

Blogroll Virtual Handshake for references.

More at the jump.

Jeff Cornwall has a great graphic. Go visit.

Visit the Tax Carnival at Don’t Mess Wtih Taxes.

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Aslan's On The Move

March 29, 2006 | By | No Comments

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Chinese Snacks in Chengdu Your Business Blogger was looking for a bit to eat. Maybe some local flavor. In Chengdu, in the middle of China.

A traditional snack. I dropped into a small grocer and loaded up. Pringles, Oreos, washed down with a Coke. And Cheetos chaser.

Then I noticed something. As I looked down into my feed bag, I saw international brand names.

(Nothing escapes Your Business Blogger.)

Peter Drucker said that innovation and marketing were the only competitive advantages the USA needed.

The raw ingredients in Coke and Cheetos are commodities. Available anywhere. Cheap.

The real added value is in the marketing. From America.

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Pepsi ad at The Temple of Heaven, Beijing

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Wyeth formula ad in the Beijing subway

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Starbucks at Beijing Airport

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Coke bench ad in Chengdu, China

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Narnia sidewalk poster, Chengdu Narnia? In the Middle Kingdom?

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Narnia at a theater near you, Chongqing, China American marketing on the move.

Aslan’s on the move.

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Thank you (foot)notes:

Interested in Narnia? If you are near Glen Burnie, Maryland, be sure to come to the C S Lewis lecture Thursday nite.

More pics at The Travel Bug

See Snacking Across China.

Visit Basil’s Blog for his pick of good posts.

Army of Davids; Army of Blue Ants

March 28, 2006 | By | No Comments

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Internet Cafe in Chongqing, ChinaYour Business Blogger just bought The Big Blogger, Glenn Reynolds’ new book An Army of Davids: How Markets and Technology Empower Ordinary People to Beat Big Media, Big Government, and Other Goliaths.

The Instapundit thesis is not, I think, limited to the US of A.

Technology; people; institutions face the same challenges the world over. Your Business Blogger has become, gasp! a globalist.

army of davids book

An Army of Davids

When working in China I was reminded of another army — an army of blue ants. Twenty years ago, foreign visitors noted, not unkindly, the ubiquitous blue Mao suits. A hard-working populous; one mind; one suit.

Fashion has changed in China.

Colors, style, trend. Pushed by teenagers and embraced by all.

And the teens are pushing, as they do the world over, in other directions.

Your Business Blogger visited an internet cafe on my last China trip. Etiquette hint: Don’t ask for the non-smoking terminals. A non-smoking section? Heh, as Reynolds would write. The whole country is, well, Marlboro country.

Directions to the cafe were complicated. It was hidden in a dimly lit smokey warehouse accessible thru a back alley — safety was never a concern — workstations as far as the eye could see. 100′s of them. An hour on a keyboard sets a hacker back one yuan. 12.5 cents.

The arena was filled with 20-somethings all gone gaming. Smoking and practicing English.

The kids looked like they were there for days. I was there a few hours myself.

And not a Mao suit in sight.

What’s the matter with kids these days? Beijing is wondering.

The Wall Street Journal recently reported that China is attempting to limit the Web’s influence on young people.

Goodness. Attempting to limit access to the web! Big Brother stopping freedom! Big Government controlling all behavior!

Except.

Except Beijing wants to limit kids under 18 to five hours — five hours of on-line gaming each day.

Maybe that’s not such a bad law after all.

Now if China could keep the kids from smoking…

Like our Government does.

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Thank you (foot)notes:

More on Mao suits at the jump.

Dana Blankenhorn has his limits. An excellent review.

Tim Wu, from the Columbia Law School has a white paper at The World Trade Law of Internet Filtering.

For the best in business in China, visit David Daniels at Global Market Development and Internet Adoption in China.

Median Sib has excellent review of Davids.

Don Surber has best of Thursday Posts. Bookmark him.

Mudville Gazette has Open Post.

See Feld’s Thoughts on A Different View on China.

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23 Mar

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3 Comments

China's New Statue for Brotherhood and World Peace

March 23, 2006 | By | 3 Comments

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Ronald and Jack pledge global unity

at a shopping mall in Shanghai.

Many pundits forecast war with China within two decades.

I would forecast lunch.

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The I’m Lovin’ It ad McDonald’s popular ad campaign is well known across America. The boys in Hamburger University near Chicago came up with a brilliant branding tag line winner that is well recognized. And well received around the world.

Yep, nothing beats good ol’ Yankee innovation and marketing. American know-how.

Ni Hoa?

Hello…

The ad was created in Shanghai, China.

We have more in common than we realize: making friends; making (Star)bucks.

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Thank you (foot)notes:

There are more than 700 McDonald’s in China with over 50,000 staff. See more at the jump.

From the China Daily

China’s creative history goes back centuries. The world’s first print ad for Liujia Zhenpu (Liu’s Needle Workshop) in Jinan City, Shandong Province dates back to the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127).

This predates the first European advertisement, a British Bible poster from 1473, by more than 300 years.

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Visit Basil’s Blog for the best blogs.

Don Surber has best of Saturday and is looking for a job at the Washington Post.

Mudville Gazette has Open Post.

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Faked Out in East Asia

March 21, 2006 | By | No Comments

“It’s all fake,” said the young man who lived in town.

We were looking at acres of a bazaar, that was, well, bazaar bizarre. Rolex, North Face, Mont Blanc, DVDs as far as the eye could see.

None of it was real.

There was a ‘new’ word that swept thru elite American campuses a few years ago: Authentic. Professors liked the word because it had three syllables instead of the single syllable ‘real.’

Inauthentic for the academy was even better — it has four syllables instead of single syllable ‘fake.’

So.

In this (new) age of exploring our feelings, few ask any questions about the emotion of fake goods; stolen brand names.

How does the fake North Face make you feel?

Your Business Blogger owns a real Armani suit, purchased some time ago from a reputable establishment. (Yes, only one.) Every time I slip the coat on, I stand a bit taller.

Tragically, few people have ever recognized or identified the brand name suit on its smug owner. No one knows it’s an Armani.

But I do.

And that is the difference. The suit is real. The emotion is real. Ergo I am real.

The feeling is authentic.

Not everyone is as shallow as Yours Truly. A fake brand, a fake suit would make me feel like… a fake.

And feelings are the only things that count.

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Full Disclosure: Your Business Blogger did a little shopping in East Asia. And bought a North Face duffle bag to haul all the loot home. I was assured that it was real. A sign, in English!, said so.

The Carnival of the Capitalists is up at CaseySoftware.

Differing Weights

March 20, 2006 | By | One Comment

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Milton Friedman

Trusting TransactionsThe biggest challenge my American female clients have is learning effective negotiations.

They should spend a month in East Asia.

Most retail shoppes in that part of the world are modest mom and pop store fronts. Where evey price is negotiated.

Designed to extract the last yuan in consumer surplus.

Shopping in this environment is exhausting for Your (western) Business Blogger. Different cultures. But when in Rome…

So I ask one of my local clients his opinion on the custom of haggling over everything. Everything.

I thought he would wax nostalgic on the old style interaction of true competition: buyer vs seller. The best pricing equalibrium of quantity demanded with quantity supplied. A romantic Asian metaphysical transcendence of commerce.

Did he like the East Asian pure sales process…?

He hated it.

(Your Business Blogger can be such a dope.)

He said:

Everytime you buy something it takes so long to reach an agreement…it takes too much research for little items

Another local said the non-stop haggling was “draining.”

So why does this system continue?

Lack of trust. It is all buyer beware in Mandarin.

There is no trust in a fair offer. And,

There is every expectation to be cheated.

Nobel laureate Milton Friedman spoke to this. He said that a cultural prerequisite of making money is the holding of truthfulness as a common virtue.

When you can trust a merchant’s word, says Friedman, “it cut[s] down transaction costs.”

Without adherence to common moral principles we must substitute external controls to govern business behavior; efficiency demands a framework of standards and accountability.

But there are modifications a-coming. Large retail shops in new malls have established set price policies.

Large international retailers coming to East Asia, such as Wal*Mart, have set prices. And they are reintroducing old traditions from the world over.

There is an ancient Jewish tradition of the prohibiting of “differing weights” for commodities. Established known weights would be used with a fair scale to measure items, grain to gold. A dishonest merchant would use a lighter or heavier weight to tip the scales for unjust enrichment.

Different prices for different people. Which is frightfully inefficient.

East Asia loves speed. Loves making money. Loves making money fast.

To get rich is glorious.

East Asia will tolerant no wasted motion.

So.

Honesty is not only the best policy. East Asia is a bit more pragmatic. And a bit more demanding:

Honesty and trust make for good business.

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