#abortion

Michelle Wolf’s show axed by Netflix

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Oh how we all  laughed at Michelle Wolf’s comedy sketch about abortion. Who knew one could turn such an awful topic into one about fanfare and celebration worthy of a marching band? Luckily such is her total lack of comedic talent and content, Netflix has decided to axe her show.. You might recall Wolf’s speech at the White House Correspondents dinner where her fingernails-down-a-chalkboard voice made off-coloured jokes surrounding abortion, Trump’s bedroom prowess, his daughter being as useful as an empty box of tampons and even portrayed WH Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders as a fat softball playing lesbian Uncle Tom for white women.

I’m sure Americans and Netflix will weather her departure

Michelle Wolf is all class (yet again)

Michelle Wolf is all class yet again. It is amazing Netflix can even air such poor taste in programmes. She spends six minutes poking fun at abortion. Indeed it is Netflix’s  reputation at stake to air this crap. You might recall Wolf’s speech at the White House Correspondents dinner where her fingernails-down-a-chalkboard voice made off-coloured jokes surrounding abortion, Trump’s bedroom prowess, his daughter being as useful as an empty box of tampons and even portrayed WH Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders as a fat softball playing lesbian Uncle Tom for white women.

Even if one is pro abortion, it is hardly a topic which should be made the butt of jokes and flippant humour. Yes, comedy can cut across lines but there was zero content in this level of low base crass celebration. It is potty humour at best and vile at worst.

Watch the video on its merits and ask yourself did you laugh at any of her scripted attempt at humour? She lost a $4mn role to star in an Adam Sandler film after her White House stunt. Seems like doubling down is a thing for celebrities. Create shock value to make up for talent they don’t have. Was her comedy any good it would sell on its merit without having to resort to being face down in the gutter.

One thing is for certain, these events gift the mid terms to the GOP. Calling the Pro Life campaigners the equivalent of healthy ice cream or handsome testicles must have taken an age to think up. #WalkAway

EU – 1.3m abortions, 5m births p.a.

DivMarr

Eurostat statistics on abortion reveal that Germany, France, UK, Spain and Italy alone terminate a combined 760,000 fetuses per annum. Across the EU-28 there are 1.25mn terminations. Without getting into a debate on abortion rights, the pure statistical number points to 20.4% of fetuses never make it out of the womb alive. Every. Single. Year. At that rate over 10 years that is 12.5 mn children that could have added to EU population sustainability do not occur but the EU seems to think embarking on mass migration is the only solution to plug the gap. Is it? Ironically child support is one area the EU is happy to cede control to individual Member States.

The fertility rate across the EU-28 is now 1.58 children per woman, flat for the last decade and down from 2.9 in 1964. Demographers suggest that a fertility rate of 2.1 is required in developed world economies to maintain a constant population (in the absence of any migration). The number of live births in the EU-28 peaked in 1964 at 7.8 million. In 2017 this had fallen to 5 million. There was a brief period (2003-2008) when live births in the EU-28 started to rise again, returning to 5.5 million by 2008 but the GFC sent it down again – as economic hardship tends to cause a decrease in births. So are economic incentives too low to cause a rebound?

France has the best incentives for children and the highest birth rate inside the EU at 2.0 up from 1.7 in the 1990s. Germany is around 1.4 drifting from 1.6 in the 1990s. The lives for child rearing French are eased by cheap health care, inexpensive preschools – for infants as young as 6 months old – subsidized at-home care and generous maternity leave. Mothers with three children can take a year off of work – and receive a monthly paycheck of up to €1,000 from the government to stay home. Families get subsidized public transportation and rail travel and holiday vouchers.

In order to stop the declining working population over time, imagine if Europe hypothetically put the onus back on consenting couples to take responsibility for their actions and makes abortions harder to access without compulsory consultation over options? Why not graphically show the entire process to get some sense of reality for both parties? You can gross yourself on this link.

Perhaps, in today’s electronic world, automatically deducting child support from fathers that run from responsibility might make sense? Why should the state pay for others’ lack of accountability? Even if the child is placed in foster care, why not wire child support to foster parents indirectly via the Ministry in charge of its administration? The population crisis is not going away in Europe. Why not provide more incentives to married/same-household couples?

Mathematically speaking the numbers are huge. Imagine if the million-plus fetuses every year had a vote to be raised with foster parents as opposed to being terminated, what they would choose? Consider the €23bn Merkel has spent on mainly economic migrants in the last 2 years being put toward preventing 200,000 abortions in Germany over that period? €115,000 to avert each one might have been better spent. That is a huge sum of money period.

CM is not advocating control over the womb but surely transparency in policy over individual responsibility is not a bad thing with respect to many issues, not just abortion. What level of economic incentives are required to prevent some couples/women choosing to terminate? Surely that plays a part in deciding to terminate. Consultation services with respect to the subject don’t seem too commonplace or at least structured in such a way as to prevent them.

According to Eurostat, since 1964 the divorce rate in EU-28 equivalents has doubled and the marriage rate has halved. For every eight marriages in 1964 there was one divorce, now there is one divorce for every two marriages.

The proportion of births outside of marriage now stands at 40%, from 27% in 2000 to less than 7% in 1964. 8.8 % of the EU-28 population aged 20+ lived in a consensual union (de-facto). In Japan the number of births out of wedlock is 25% according to the MHLW. The dynamics of the traditional nuclear family are fading.

51% of the Swedish population is now single household. 51%! While some is attributed to an aging population, 19 of the EU-28 members has a single household ratio of over 30%. 12 over 35%. By way of comparison, Japan’s single household ratio stands at 34.6% from 27.6% in 2000.

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To further analyse the new ways of living together and to complement the legal aspect, statistics on consensual unions, which take into account those with a ‘marriage-like’ relationship with each other, and are not married to or in a registered partnership with each other, can also be analysed.  Sweden (18.3 %) has the highest rate followed by Estonia (16.4 %), France (14.3 %) and the lowest in Greece (1.7 %), Poland (2.1 %), Malta (2.5 %) and Croatia (2.9 %).

Is employment a factor?  It is mixed. Eurostat reported in Germany, the fertility of non-employed women has increased and that of employed women decreased, while in Spain, the opposite occurred; in Greece, the total fertility rate (TFR) of non employed women fell below that of employed women, changing from a positive differential of about 0.2 average live births.

Is education a factor? Apart from Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland and Norway), Portugal and Malta, in general, women with lower education had higher TFR between 2007 and 2011. Eurostat state the fertility of women across the EU over the same period with a medium level of education dropped by about 9%, while the decrease for women with high or low education was less significant.

Eurostat argues that economic recessions have correlation to falling child birth rates. Apart from the direct impact of economic crises at an individual level, the economic uncertainty that spreads during periods of hardship seem to influence fertility. From this point of view Eurostat believes the duration of a crisis may play an important role and, the duration and the depth of the current recession are unprecedented in some countries. The agency states,

The expected relationship is that negative changes in GDP correspond to negative changes in the TFR, possibly with some delay, thus showing a high positive correlation at particular lags. The correlation with the TFR is relevant in Spain and Latvia without any lag; in Bulgaria, Poland and Romania with one year of lag; and in the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Greece, the Netherlands, Finland, Sweden, Iceland, Norway and Croatia with two years of lag. Taking the overall average across countries, a change in GDP is mostly positively correlated with a change in the TFR within about 19 months.”

Do we cynically argue that stagnant child birth rates aren’t just a factor of societal changes? Perhaps a truer reflection on the higher levels of poverty in the EU since GFC and the harsh realities for a growing number of people behind the growing levels of populism who are suffering greater economic hardship than statisticians are presenting to the political class? Hard decisions must be made before they are made by external factors.

The marketplace for free speech weighs Wolf & Trump

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Poor old Michelle Wolf. You know, the young lady whose fingernails-down-a-chalkboard voice made off-coloured jokes surrounding abortion, Trump’s bedroom prowess, his daughter being as useful as an empty box of tampons and even portrayed WH Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders as a fat softball playing lesbian Uncle Tom for white women. Adam Sandler has just shredded her $4mn contract to star in Little Niki via Twitter. While CM is always against boycotts, compelled speech and virtue signaling, we’re struggling to work out whether Sandler terminated it on the basis of tasteless content or awful delivery? A combination perhaps?

Wolf tweeted back that she was fine with that because she was to play a role in the reboot of Bride of Chucky. Unfortunately that film role has also been cancelled, costing her another $410,000.

Freedom of speech is a funny thing. Wolf has every right to express what she chooses but should not complain if her backers (including her liberal mates) retreat because she picked the wrong audience to showcase them. Humour is always about fine lines. Sadly for Wolf she couldn’t even memorize her humour, having the read her jokes (?) out. The best comics don’t need scripts and can shred people off the cuff. That’s what makes them funny.

Yes, many have equated Wolf’s remarks to Trump’s greatest hits saying it’s unfair to pick on her. As a reminder Trump said,

grabbed her by the p*ssy”,

“I moved  on her like a bitch”,

“African countries are sh*tholes”

or

Michelle Wolf was over the top

Yet the market for free speech weighed his and her offensiveness. American voters had every opportunity to make sure he didn’t enter the White House on the basis of his vulgar remarks about women made over a decade ago. (Un)fortunately for them, his election to blow up the establishment was deemed more relevant to Americans than locker-room talk made in private over a hot mic.

Presumably, Wolf, much like Kathy Griffin (of bloodied severed Trump head fame), offer absolutely nothing outside their careers. They’re most unlikely to be able to force two nations to take up peace negotiations or shirt front dictactors. So when they stake their risky actions on going ‘viral’ to boost their careers and it blows up in their faces, the sole responsibility is theirs. No sympathy. In fact if it wasn’t for Trump they’d be virtual nobodies.

So is the marketplace for free speech unfair? Think of the price of people, stocks, bonds or anything else you can think of  varies depending on the market weighted bid/offer of the underlying assets. Sadly for Wolf and Griffin, the bids dried up almost immediately. For Trump, market expectations have long since been priced.