Manufacturing Renaissance?


Le vitrail de la renaissance
Le vitrail de la renaissance (Photo credit: Geoffroy65)

Manufacturing  Renaissance?

Is there or isn’t there a manufacturing Renaissance? I would love to give you a simple yes or no response but the fact is, it is just too early to tell. There is a wonderful chart provided at http://www.slate.com/blogs/moneybox/2013/07/26/manufacturing_rennaissance_is_it_really_happening.html from the magazine, Slate, and the article by Matthew Yglesias, that does tend to indicate such a Renaissance is happening. But that is the best evidence I have seen so far, and there is a lot of disagreement.

A manufacturing Renaissance would a game changer in many areas of corporate social responsibility. The idea that global competition is inevitably destructive of the middle class, labor unions and government regulation would be even less intellectually persuasive than it is now.

It would be wonderful for the nation. It would empower American firms and the nation more generally in their dealings with the world. It would increase American revenues and give American workers more income and more bargaining power.

So, I can be hopeful but the evidence is still lacking that this event is actually happening.

James Pilant

(But the idea does have its adherents) –

Monsters Abroadhttp://monstersabroad.wordpress.com/tag/manufacturing-renaissance/

A regular theme in this blog has been that America’s strategic prospects are being revived by the dynamism of its private sector even as China faces a more problematic future.  As earlier posts (here, here and here) have outlined, the marked surge in U.S. oil and natural gas production that has transformed the country’s energy outlook over the last few years promises to have far-reaching economic and geopolitical ramifications.  The bonanza of low-cost energy, which the Wall Street Journal dubs “Saudi America”, has also given the U.S. manufacturing sector a significant competitive advantage.

Separate from the energy boom but fortifying its manufacturing effects are America’s innate advantages in what is becoming known as the “third industrial revolution” – one that is powered by high-skill labor as well as seminal progress in the areas of artificial intelligence, robotics, nanotechnology, composite materials, and “additive manufacturing” or three-dimensional computerized manufacturing.

From around the web.

From the web site, Inside Public Minds.

http://insidepublicminds.wordpress.com/2013/05/03/usa-made-manufacturing-renaissance/

If so, this could mean good news for the economy. Manufacturing represents 67% of private-sector research and development (R&D) spending and 30% of the country’s productivity growth. Every $1 of manufacturing activity returns $1.48 to the economy. For the first time in more than a decade, the number of factory jobs has increased instead of decreased. American productivity growth, compressed wages, and higher energy costs have contributed to the return of manufacturing jobs in the U.S. Some of America’s largest blue chip multinationals, like Ford, GE, and United Technologies, are headed back to the states.

From the web site, Barberbiz.

http://deanbarber.wordpress.com/2013/04/07/is-a-manufacturing-renaissance-real-or-hype/

For awhile there, I was feeling like a voice in the wilderness. I was going against the tide and still am to some degree. But I no longer feel so much alone.

Now others, with more credibility than me, are saying what I’ve been saying in this blog for more than a year. It was a Wall Street Journal last week from which I felt some vindication. Here’s the headline: “Signs of Factory Revival Hard to Spot.”

And here is the first sentence or the lead, which states it better than I ever have: “The idea that American manufacturing is on the cusp of a renaissance is everywhere these days – except in the hard numbers.”

As my friend Paulie on the Lower East Side would say, “badda bing, badda boom.”

From the web site, America and the Global Economy.

http://americaandtheglobaleconomy.wordpress.com/tag/manufacturing-2/

It is still unclear if the “Manufacturing Renaissance” will generate enduring consequences for the U.S. economy—an increase in U.S. industrial production has yet to occur. According to the Federal Reserve, industrial production fell by 0.5 percent in April. Furthermore, although the total number of manufacturing jobs in the United States has increased by 520,000 since January 2010, only 50,000 of those jobs are due to re-shoring. It is therefore disputable as to whether efforts to bring manufacturing back to the U.S. will contribute to profound and lasting benefits for the U.S. economy, or if companies’ current efforts in this capacity will merely amount to a short-lived phase.

From the web site, paco manufacturing’s blog.

http://pacomfg.com/blog/2011/06/21/outsourcing-doesn%E2%80%99t-mean-offshoring-at-least-not-by-us/

Back in May, an analysis by The Boston Consulting Group, was released stating that the rise in China’s labor cost could see a “Manufacturing Renaissance” within the United States, particularly within certain states.  It was an uplifting article as it stated, “We expect net labor costs for manufacturing in China and the U.S. to converge by around 2015.  As a result of the changing economics, you’re going to see a lot more products ‘Made in the USA’ in the next five years.”  The article goes on to state that a number of companies have already begun to rethink their production locations and supply chains for goods destined to be sold in the U.S.  It looks as if a window of opportunity is opening within the manufacturing sector of the U.S. economy, which should be given serious consideration by all.

From the web site, Ryan’s Writing House.

http://ryanmhenry.wordpress.com/2013/04/14/manufacturing-growth-renaissance-or-return-to-normalcy/

In order for the manufacturing sector to truly begin to grow again in the United States, we have to understand where the growth is and promote that. The strengths that we have here is that we are located in a major consumer base, and can produce extremely high quality goods faster than pretty much anywhere else. If the US focuses more on higher end manufacturing, it can still take advantage of the fact that every dollar of manufacturing activity returns $1.48 to the economy, without losing sight of our strengths. This also means that we have to make significant changes to our education system, to ensure that it is giving out the type of education that people need to be successful in this increasingly globalized game.

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Big Business and Government


Big Business and Government

Global Ethics Forum: Power, Inc.: The Epic Rivalry Between Big Business & Government – YouTube

David Rothkopf
David Rothkopf

Garten Rothkopf CEO David Rothkopf talks about the conflict between big business and government.

“He explains that we are in a crisis. There has been a net loss of jobs in this country over the last ten years. Social mobility is declining. Inequality is increasing. Our democratic system is under threat by massive corporate power because of the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizen’s United that perverts the right of free speech to include money.

What gives the average citizen a voice? that would be the government. Government is a leveler.

Historically the battle between church and state was the last big battle on the same scale as this one. It was not really a battle over religion. It was an economic battle – who had the authority to tax.

The one country that has done the most to empower corporations is the United States. This country is born of the industrial era.

Even early on corporations had an outsize influence. In the Dartmouth college case, the Supreme Court decided that states could not revoke charters once granted essentially giving corporations immortality.

Later we saw the courts use the 14th amendement for its first fifty years arguing the corporations should have the same rights as people.  Yet people are not immortal. People do not possess legions of lawyers to get laws passed.

Today, most of the value bearing instruments are created by the private sector mainly derivatives. Only about five major powers are able to have currencies on their own.

Nations unable to compete with corporations in terms of power should be considered semi-states.

Markets don’t promote competition (read Adam Smith) efficiency is achieved by scale.

The current size of corporations is larger than could have been imagined in the past. Fundamental shifts in power are occurring.

More than half people on the ground in our last two wars were private contractors

In America – the political process is corrupted by money and Internationally – no institutions capable of dealing with this issue exist.

We need to ask ourselves – What produces the kind of society we aspire to?

As the economic center of gravity moves so does the intellectual center. Right now that center is moving to Asia.

Government is the only way the average person has a seat at the table. ”

(Forgive my poor summary – I wrote notes as it went along.)

James Pilant

 

 

 

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The Ethics Sage Discusses Birthing Tourism


 

Steven Mintz
Steven Mintz

The Ethics Sage Discusses Birthing Tourism

The Ethics of ‘Birthing Tourism’ – Ethics Sage

Is it ethical to establish a “maternity hotel” in the United States to accommodate Chinese women who want to give birth to their children in the U.S. solely to reap the benefits for their child of U.S. citizenship? The question is real as “birthing tourism” in the U.S. has become the destination of choice. According to the 14th Amendment to the U.S. constitution (ratified in 1868), anyone born in United States automatically becomes an American citizen and obtains access to public education, university loans, voting, and so on.

The Ethics of ‘Birthing Tourism’ – Ethics Sage

Steven Mintz has a good article on “birthing tourism,” the practice of visiting the United States to give birth to citizens. It’s a fascinating article and should a college student be accidentally peering at my site, an excellent topic for a paper.

James Pilant

From around the web –

From the web site, Omnitalk:

Once that child is 21, a petition can be filed to obtain legal U.S. residency for the parents. Another immigration loophole that no one had bothered to close.

According to the National Center for Health Statistics the mothers of 7,719 children born in the United States in 2010 reported that they lived overseas, an increase of almost 55 percent since 2000.

And this practice has become even more common in California, where there are now more than 40 maternity operations hosting around 1,000 foreign women in the Los Angeles area alone, according to the Bee.

From the web site, Canadian Immigration Rights:

The Harper government is considering changes to the citizenship rules to target so-called birth tourism — where a foreign national comes to Canada to give birth so the baby can get Canadian citizenship.

But critics say closing the loophole will deter bona fide immigrants and harm the economy in the long run.

“We don’t want to encourage birth tourism or passport babies, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney told the CBC’s Power and Politics in an interview. “This is, in many cases, being used to exploit Canada’s generosity. The vast majority of legal immigrants are going to say this is taking Canada for granted.

“We need to send the message that Canadian citizenship isn’t just some kind of an access key to the Canadian welfare state by cynically misrepresenting yourself.… It’s about having an ongoing commitment and obligation to the country.”

 

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The Ethics Sage Calls for H1-B Visa Reform


The Ethics Sage Calls for H1-B Visa Reform

Steven Mintz, the Ethics Sage
Steven Mintz, the Ethics Sage

Limitations on H1-B Visas Harm Economic Growth in the U.S. – Ethics Sage

Life in immigration limbo is awful. Immigrants on H1-B visas, which are issued to workers, must be sponsored by a specific employer. This visa can be used to employ a skilled foreign national for up to six years. They cannot change jobs without jeopardizing their application. Their careers stagnate. They do not know whether they will be deported, so they hesitate to put down roots, buy a house or start a company. Sometimes their spouses are barred from working. More and more immigrants look for alternatives and places such Canada, Australia and Singapore are ready to welcome them with open by handing out visas swiftly and without hassle.

Limitations on H1-B Visas Harm Economic Growth in the U.S. – Ethics Sage

Steven Mintz, better known as the Ethics Sage see problems in the way America’s Visa program for professionals and entrepreneurs works. He believes in the need for H1-B Visa Reform. Obviously, an article thoroughly grounded on facts, often unpleasant deserves attention and action.

James Pilant

Other comments from the Web:

Here’s one from a web site simply entitled H1-B:

I decided to interview a fellow international friend of mine, who graduated from American University in May. In the short interview she describes the difficulty of finding a employment due to her international status and its links with the H1-B program. It’s just one example of thousands of how difficult it is for recent graduates to find jobs. This interview also brings to light the necessity of colleges and universities better training its international students on immigration policy. While I know immigration policy is one we have to run after, it would be interesting to have more seminars on campus about the transition of student to employment authorization status to H1-B status. The more recent graduates can learn about the H1-B process prior to graduating, the better off they are in their job search process.

From the web site, Immigration Services and Forms Blog:

Two weeks back, the quota for H1-B Visas ran out within just 10 weeks of time after it was opened on April 1st. In year 2010 quota was completed in Jan 2011, and in 2011 cap was filled in Nov 2011. First every quota was established in year 1990. This is good news for immigrants and the employers who are petitioning because of the improving job market. Bad news for the US citizens, they want skilled immigrants to stay competitive in the market.

Most of them still think H1-B workers take US jobs, but this isn’t the case. Hiring of these skilled workers doesn’t come at very less cost, government and legal fee runs in thousands of dollars. Fee of $ 1,500 must be paid by US Companies for each H1-B petition for training and scholarship fee. So for a year 65,000 visas, it comes up to $2 billion according to NFAP. This amount is used for more than 53,000 scholarships for students, several programs for 190,000 students and 6,800 school teachers and train up to for more than 55,000 US workers.

From the web site, Definitely Filipino: (I went a little lengthy on my quote. The author has so much interesting to say. JP)

Let’s just say their chances depend on the basis of qualification alone, how sure are we that human resource/personnel departments do not adjust their preferences, in favor of co-Americans to subscribe first, to the Obama Act and second, to the American nationalism?

If this is the case, why give H1B visas intended for foreign nationals, if there are no U.S. companies/institutions ready to provide sponsorship at all? False hopes or merely a part of U.S. recovery efforts? By the latter means the government admits its failure to achieve an acceptable standard, in terms of economics. To date, there are still no instructions that temporarily prohibit the provision of H1B, so we expect more casualties coming for the next quarters.

Critics including H1B holders themselves are saying that Obama’s resolution on the matter directly contradicts the provisions of the Equal Employment Opportunity and the United State’s principal role in advocating globalization, which means being in subscription to the free market of labor and workers. (H1B Visa and Employment, published September 21, 2010)

The agony and hopelessness that foreign visa holders experience will definitely strengthen their cores. But more than anything else, this clearly shows a piece of evidence that America is suffering from many different insecurities, a direct contradiction to its superpower facade.

For H4 visa holders, we shall say, analyzing their situation is like looking at a glass, half-full or half-empty.

 

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Actress in “Innocence of Muslims” Says Director Lied to Her


Innocence of Muslims Actress Speaks “says film is nightmare” – YouTube

This film is very much like screaming fire in jam-packed movie house with one small door. This was designed to provoke violence. Whether or not it is protected speech under the first amendment is highly questionable. Remember, fighting words are an exception to free speech protections.

It would be a mistake to consider Moslems to be particularly violent compared to other racial and religious groups. We can offend dozens of religious groups around the world by destroying their symbols and literature, by alleging that their leaders and holy men are frauds and that their religion is based on nothing more than lies and deceit. Many of them can be expected to take to the streets under that kind of provocation.

What would happen Americans burned national flags or symbols, attacked their customs, and insulted their past? I suspect we could see some serious mob action, diplomatic problems and possibly military action.

And consider what would happen if such a film were made about head of the Christian religion and his followers in America. Would many people find charges of sexual misconduct offensive? What would worshippers do if confronted with a film alleging that Christianity is a bundle of lies and its followers deluded fools?

Patriotism and religion have always been sources of violence and conflict in spite of many great and reasonable men who have tried to seek peace and reconciliation.

What “Innocence of Muslims” does and is designed to do is to incite hatred for the United States and violence against its citizens, to disrupt the Moslem world and damage the reputation of their religion.

 

J. Christopher Stevens, a victim of the Libyan riot

There are a billion and half followers of Islam on the earth. Very few are interested in damaging American institutions or killing Americans. If so many as 1/10 of 1 percent were devoted to the destruction of America, that would be one million and five hundred thousand Anti Americans. There are 5.62 million Americans overseas. Don’t you think we would we suffer some injuries and death on a daily basis if that number of enemies chose to take any kind of action?

Let’s keep our views of violence in perspective and realize that words have consequences. You may have the right to speak your mind in this country (and that is questionable in this case) but should you do it?

If any amount of rational judgment had been a factor in this matter, it would never have happened.

James Pilant

 

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Acting in China Offers Political Insights


English: Margaret Thatcher, former UK PM. Fran...

Image via Wikipedia

Sometimes I find writing so striking and delightful that I want to share it with you.

This is from Salon’s web site and is written by Melissa Rayworth. She wants to convey the political insights she gained while acting in China.

Please, please go to the link at the bottom of the page and read the whole thing.

Sometimes, here in the U.S. we get that the impression that the Chinese want or are becoming like us. I don’t think so. Read and see what you think.

James Pilant

Playing Margaret Thatcher in China – The Iron Lady –  from Salon.com

Finally, they began to realize I wasn’t bluffing. Furious, the director summoned an assistant, who appeared with a bulging black leather case. Unzipping it, he pulled out thick wads of Chinese currency and counted out the cash. With my pay sitting in my backpack under those same ill-fitting shoes I wore tumbling down the steps at the Great Hall, I played my last scene as Margaret Thatcher.

Between takes, no one spoke. I’d proven them right about me – and about her. I had forced their director to negotiate with me, just like the Iron Lady had forced Deng. Face had been lost. My hope that playing this role might humanize Thatcher for Chinese audiences had failed. I had fallen down those steps for nothing.

Playing Margaret Thatcher in China – The Iron Lady – Salon.com

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Ethics Bob Calls Out the Haredim for their Assaults on a Second Grader


Ethics Bob

Ethics Bob is not shy about calling out the Haredim for their ridiculous behavior. I put his first paragraph up. Please go read his whole article (and his follow up article which is also listed below).

Who would spit and curse at a second grader and call her a whore?

Who would spit and curse at a second grader and call her a whore? Haredim, that’s who. The Haredim are considered the extreme of orthodox Jews, although they reject the label: to them they are just “Jews,” everybody else is not. In the Israeli town of Beit Shemesh, some Haredim spat and cursed at second grader Naama Margolese (pictured here with her mother), and called her a whore for dressing immodestly. Since the assault Naama.is afraid to walk to her religious school, even when her mother is with her, holding her hand.

Who would spit and curse at a second grader and call her a whore? « Ethics Bob

Ethics Bob follows this up with another article on a related topic entitled:

Israeli religious fanatics assault a female soldier for not moving to the back of the bus

I was going to add some comments of my own but I realized I was too angry to write well. I worked with children in the criminal justice system for some years. The idea of daily verbal assaults along with spitting against an 8 year old move me toward violence. So, I will stop here.

James Pilant

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We Win the War on Terrorism by Maintaining Our Ideals!


U.S. soldiers from Bravo Company, 1st Battalio...

Image via Wikipedia

Giving up long held American rights, attempting to copy the worst elements of repressive regimes like the Argentine and the Soviet, are not the way to victory in the “war on terror.” These attempts to discover how low we can go in our own behavior are counterproductive. The America whose ideas have become common across the world was a concept of idealism and possibility. People never turned to the ideals of America because of their similarity to totalitarian regimes and monarchies but because they were different.

We win wars of ideas by having better ideas. The Bill of Rights and Habeas Corpus are persuasive ideas. Disappearing our enemies and holding them indefinitely without charges are the cowardly acts of frightened dictators and incompetent despots.

The great ideas that have made America a light to the world require courage, support and sacrifice. They are not cheap or easy.

But having such ideas is how societies win long term conflicts because having such ideas means that a people willing to hold on to its ideals even when threatened with destruction is a worthy people who live for more than just themselves.

James Pilant

Indefinite Military Detention Of U.S. Citizens Is A Win For Terrorists, Former Admiral Says

“As it turns out, our enemies’ greatest weakness is that they are bereft of ideals,” he added. “If we can maintain our ideals, our sense of justice, in the face of this, we can win. What the enemy, what the terrorists want to do — because they know they can’t beat us militarily — [is] they can try to change us. They can cause us to become more like them, and for them, that’s victory.”

The reason why, he argues, is that if the United States cannot portray itself as the holder of loftier ideals, then it is much harder to convince the rest of the world to stay on its side — and it’s harder to fight wars because even allies are less cooperative.

“Who’s going to surrender to the United Sates if they think they’re going to be detained indefinitely without a trial? Is anybody going to give up?” he asked. “Who’s going to say, ‘You know, maybe the United States isn’t as bad as we think it is, and maybe it’s al Qaeda and the Taliban who are the bad guys, and I’m going to side with the good guys?'”

Indefinite Military Detention Of U.S. Citizens Is A Win For Terrorists, Former Admiral Says

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The Observations of Manoje Nath


Friends ,Foes and Faceless Jokers

Manoje Nath

(These notes were randomly jotted between November 1987 and May 1988, when one of my periodic crises had rendered me practically destitute, without office, without work, without the perks that go with the office. The point to appreciate is that I had lots of leisure. In those pre word processor days, writing was a heroic task and needed great determination and lots of leisure. But I could proceed no further than forty or forty five handwritten foolscap pages, because in June 1988, I was posted to the CID and assigned the investigation of cases registered against the members of so called “Cooperative Mafia”. The many cases that we launched against influential political figures as well as high profile IAS officers left me no time for anything else for quite some time. It put an end to this project.

I must put in the all important caveat. I deliberately approached the subject in an elliptical, non linear fashion for fear of exposing the identity of the persons concerned. Adequate precaution was also necessary because identification of the characters due to some coincidence or chance resemblance could seriously expose me to the danger of personal harm; if not actually murder, the loss of a few limbs was a distinct possibility. I’ll tell you why; one of my closest friends threatened to shoot me should I dare to immortalize him or his father in law- a senior police officer himself- in my ephemeral memoir which was certainly not going to see the light of the day.

This is the opening two paragraphs of Manoje Nath’s Blog for February 24, 2011. It is delightful reading. It’s rare to encounter a figure who is also a good writer. I have read a number of his posts and burst out laughing at his observations.
I want you to read this and enjoy it (as I did).
There is a lot in here and being an American, I don’t understand everything going on. I am expert on American Criminal Justice which is a heavily decentralized organization (14,000 separate law enforcement agencies). My impression is that India has a highly centralized bureaucratic organization for policing. As a fan of more centralization in my country, you at times have me worried that it might not be such a good idea, but as I have said being an American, I don’t always understand how things work on the Indian Subcontinent.
What I do understand is that Manoje Nath is a fine writer and I admire his work.
I think you will too, so please follow the link and read his story.
James Alan Pilant
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Stealing Babies is Okay if it’s from the “Wrong” Kind of Family


Francisco Franco’s regime in Spain in cooperation with the Catholic Church took as many as 300,000 children from their parents and gave them to “suitable” families.

What did they mean by suitable? They meant fascist, government supporters.

From Time magazine –

There appear to be two distinct phases of baby theft that occurred in Spain during the 20th century. The first, which was not only approved by dictator Francisco Franco but also promoted by his government as a means of “improving” the Spanish “race,” was politically inspired. In the years after Franco won Spain’s civil war, he had tens of thousands of former Republicans and other dissidents arrested. The small children of imprisoned women dissidents were sent first to state-run centers or convents, and then reassigned to families whose values better coincided with the regime’s. “The state considered these children in need of re-education,” says University of Barcelona historian Ricard Vinyes, who has written a book on the subject. “It was actually proud of these efforts and would publish the results of how many children had been ‘welcomed’ annually.”

From later in the Time article

Economic and, it seems, spiritual. Many of the women who believe their children were stolen were unmarried at the time, a shocking breach of social norms during the strict years of the Catholic Franco regime. Journalist Natalia Junquera has been investigating the cases for a series that the national newspaper El País is publishing this month. “From what I’ve seen, the most important motive was ideological,” she says. “Nuns and priests who simply decided that the child would be better off with families they trusted than with the ones to which they had been born.” The thefts are believed to have continued into the early 1980s.

And here is more from the British newspaper, the Guardian

The practice started under the Franco regime as a form of social engineering, with babies taken away from known supporters of the left and given to card-carrying fascists, and then was expanded by the church into a moral crusade to remove babies from sinful unmarried mothers and place them with those more worthy in the sight of God. The scale of the operation was breathtaking, with doctors and nuns keeping a stash of frozen, long-dead babies in the morgue to be wheeled out to convince parents that their child, who had been in good health only a few hours earlier, had died. And all over Spain there are countless children’s graves in which coffins containing nothing more than a few stones lie buried.

You could see why the government and the church are so keen for this story to go away; it’s inconceivable that such a massive operation could have continued for so long without the blessing of some at the top of these organisations. As so often, though, it was the individual stories that were the most remarkable: such as Antonio, who discovered he had been been adopted when his father made a deathbed confession; his whole life rewritten in an instant, with little prospect of ever knowing his real identity. Then there was Manoli and her daughter Mar. Manoli had long suspected her son had not died at birth but had been sold for adoption instead, and Mar had become convinced that Randy, an American who was searching for his Spanish family, was her brother. He wasn’t. The DNA test proved negative and three people whose lives had already been broken by both church and state were left just that little bit more broken.

Here’s a 25 minute documentary from Journeyman Pictures – Just click on the title to see the film:

Baby Market – Spain

Here are some more articles –

France 24

Global Post’s – Spain’s stolen baby scandal

New York Times – Spain Confronts Decades of Pain Over Lost Babies

NewsType – Catholic Church stole Spanish babies, resold them

I would like to have said more about this but frankly I’m awed. Generally speaking this kind of organized evil perpetrated with church support and it had to be from the highest echelons is hard for me to contemplate. What kind of world do we live in where people like these believe that they are practicing Christianity?

James Pilant

 

 

 

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