I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.- Thomas Jefferson.

debt clock

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Anarchy on the Internet

By Vedran Vuk

Where would you feel safer checking your bank account statement at midnight – online or at an ATM on a city street corner? There’s always been an argument over privatizing security between limited government free market supporters and radical libertarians. But the answer to the opening question may put a point in the radical libertarian corner. After all, the internet has no government security and only private companies create protection software. On the other hand, the city corner is protected by the police department, yet most of us would probably prefer the safety of an online transaction over a late-night ATM visit.

The U.S. government is utterly powerless online, and so is every other government. Our government can’t do anything to Russian or Chinese hackers. Even if a government bureaucrat could track them down, they couldn’t arrest them. And neither Russia nor China can apprehend a home-grown American hacker.

Within our own borders, law enforcement futilely combats cyber crime. Identity theft goes largely unpunished. Only notorious hackers who cause millions in damages attract law enforcement tracking efforts. For all common purposes, citizens are basically on their own.

Despite this fact, we still use the internet every day. In fact, our comfort level with online transactions has grown rather than lessened. From online brokerage accounts to online banking, our trust increases – thanks to private companies. No doubt, the internet is full of problems. But, it’s still a clear example of private enterprise providing solutions and protective programs without the government.

Companies which produce security software face constant challenges from evolving viruses and vulnerabilities. In many ways, a security software programmer has greater obstacles and challenges than local law enforcement. Let’s run through a side-by-side comparison:

Table won't show, may be viewed here

Computer companies don’t have the luxury of knowing where the bad guys are located. Further, they’re dealing with highly intelligent criminals who create evolving threats. To make matters worse, the extreme financial damage from identity theft raises the stakes.

Depending on the statistics, identity theft ranges from 5 million to 15 million cases a year. But remember, not all cases involve computers. There’s plenty of old-fashioned identity theft caused by stolen wallets or information lifted from the trash. Also, we don’t know how many of these victims were utilizing updated security software. Nonetheless, it’s still an enormous number of cases. But, compare this to the 9.8 million property crimes which occurred in 2008 including motor vehicle theft, larceny-theft, and burglary. The police are helpless online, but offline their track record of protecting property isn’t spectacular either.

Further, the government is responsible for much of the identity theft indirectly. Think about your Social Security number. The government identifies us with a 9-digit number. And if a Social Security number gets in the wrong hands, a person’s life is basically screwed. We live in the 21st century but are identified by a pre-computer age system. With such an easily stolen form of identification created by the government, it’s little wonder that we have identity theft.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

No, You Can't Keep Your Health Plan


President Obama guaranteed Americans that after health reform became law they could keep their insurance plans and their doctors. It's clear that this promise cannot be kept. Insurers and physicians are already reshaping their businesses as a result of Mr. Obama's plan.

The health-reform law caps how much insurers can spend on expenses and take for profits. Starting next year, health plans will have a regulated "floor" on their medical-loss ratios, which is the amount of revenue they spend on medical claims. Insurers can only spend 20% of their premiums on running their plans if they offer policies directly to consumers or to small employers. The spending cap is 15% for policies sold to large employers.

This regulation is going to have its biggest impact on insurance sold directly to consumers—what's referred to as the "individual market." These policies cost more to market. They also have higher medical costs, owing partly to selection by less healthy consumers.

Finally, individual policies have high start-up costs. If insurers cannot spend more of their revenue getting plans on track, fewer new policies will be offered.

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AFP/Getty Images

This will hit Wellpoint, one of the biggest players in the individual market, particularly hard. The insurance company already has a strained relationship with the White House: Earlier this month Mr. Obama accused Wellpoint of systemically denying coverage to breast cancer patients, though the facts don't bear that out.

Restrictions on how insurers can spend money are compounded by simultaneous constraints on how they can manage their costs. Beginning in 2014, a new federal agency will standardize insurance benefits, placing minimum actuarial values on medical policies. There are also mandates forcing insurers to cover a lot of expensive primary-care services in full. At the same time, insurers are being blocked from raising premiums—for now by political jawboning, but the threat of legislative restrictions looms.

One of the few remaining ways to manage expenses is to reduce the actual cost of the products. In health care, this means pushing providers to accept lower fees and reduce their use of costly services like radiology or other diagnostic testing.

To implement this strategy, companies need to be able to exert more control over doctors. So insurers are trying to buy up medical clinics and doctor practices. Where they can't own providers outright, they'll maintain smaller "networks" of physicians that they will contract with so they can manage doctors more closely. That means even fewer choices for beneficiaries. Insurers hope that owning providers will enable health policies to offset the cost of the new regulations.

Doctors, meanwhile, are selling their practices to local hospitals. In 2005, doctors owned more than two-thirds of all medical practices. By next year, more than 60% of physicians will be salaried employees. About a third of those will be working for hospitals, according to the American Medical Association. A review of the open job searches held by one of the country's largest physician-recruiting firms shows that nearly 50% are for jobs in hospitals, up from about 25% five years ago.

Last month, a hospital I'm affiliated with outside of Manhattan sent a note to its physicians announcing a new subsidiary it's forming to buy up local medical practices. Nearby physicians are lining up to sell—and not just primary-care doctors, but highly paid specialists like orthopedic surgeons and neurologists. Similar developments are unfolding nationwide.

Consolidated practices and salaried doctors will leave fewer options for patients and longer waiting times for routine appointments. Like the insurers, physicians are responding to the economic burdens of the president's plan in one of the few ways they're permitted to.

For physicians, the strains include higher operating costs. The Obama health plan puts expensive new mandates on doctors, such as a requirement to purchase IT systems and keep more records. Overhead costs already consume more than 60% of the revenue generated by an average medical practice, according to a 2007 survey by the Medical Group Management Association. At the same time, reimbursement under Medicare is falling. Some specialists, such as radiologists and cardiologists, will see their Medicare payments fall by more than 10% next year. Then there's the fact that medical malpractice premiums have risen by 10%-20% annually for specialists like surgeons, particularly in states that haven't passed liability reform.

The bottom line: Defensive business arrangements designed to blunt ObamaCare's economic impacts will mean less patient choice.

Dr. Gottlieb, a former official at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, is a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and a practicing internist. He's partner to a firm that invests in health-care companies.

Friday, May 21, 2010

econ 101

Who's on first?  European style

Here is a less alarmist over-view of the Greek (PIIGS) situation, gold, and the world economy in general that may be worth your time.  I agree w some of it.

The Housing “Recovery” Is Just Another Government Subsidy, Says Whalen

Is Barack Obama A Socialist?

Is Barack Obama A Socialist?

May 7, 2010 by Chip Wood

Is Barack Obama a socialist? Ron Paul says he’s not. A lot of you insist he is. The national director of Democratic Socialists of America claims that “the most socialistic candidate in the 2008 election was Sarah Palin.” (Don’t ask me what he’s been smoking.)

And in a famous cover story a year ago, Newsweek magazine insisted, “We Are All Socialists Now.”

I don’t much like political labels, for a couple of reasons. Too often, they are used not to encourage a helpful discussion, but to end it. And for another, I’ve never found a political label that I’m comfortable wearing. So I hesitate slapping one on someone else.

More on this in a moment. But first, let me tell you a story from my checkered past that may shed some light on the present debate.

Does anyone remember the first Mr. Jane Fonda? No, I’m not referring to Ted Turner, but to Jane’s first husband, a radical agitator named Tom Hayden. Tom gained fame as a crusader for the SDS—the Students for a Democratic Society—a very left-wing group on college campuses back in the 60s and 70s. By the time of our encounter he was a state representative in California.

Tom and Jane were quite a couple back then. She was by far the more famous of the two—a movie star who achieved considerable notoriety for her efforts in support of a communist victory in Vietnam. She even posed astraddle an anti-aircraft battery in Hanoi—a weapon whose only purpose was to shoot down American planes.

Not to be outdone, Tom made as many outrageous statements as Jane. Along with his buddies Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin, Tom was convicted of inciting riots at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. Later, he and Jane made several trips to communist North Vietnam. As I said, they were quite a pair.

I had tried for years to get Jane as a guest on my radio program in Atlanta, but no dice. Frankly, I couldn’t blame her. It’s no fun to be called a traitor. Even if she trusted me to avoid name-calling, she knew that she would be excoriated by most of the callers to “The Chip Wood Show.”

So I was really surprised when I was contacted by Tom’s publisher and asked if I would like to have him as a guest on my show. He wouldn’t be there in person, but would join us by phone to plug his new book.

I quickly said “yes.” I assured the public relations lady I would insist that every caller behave politely, even when they disagreed with her client—as we both knew they would.

So, a few weeks later Tom was a guest on my show. And sure enough the second or third caller to get through started off by accusing Tom of being a communist agitator. Tom scoffed at the accusation. He said he had heard it many times before, but all it showed was his attackers’ ignorance of political systems.

To the surprise of many, I promptly agreed with him. I said that to most people, “communism” meant a total takeover by the state of everything—factories, farms, schools, etc. Not just the means of production but the means of distribution as well. And he wasn’t advocating that, was he? Tom said “of course not.”

“No, if I understand you correctly,” I continued, “you’re okay with ownership remaining in private hands, so long as government steps in to make sure things are done fairly. Is that right?”

Tom said absolutely, that was precisely what he wanted. And he went on to give several examples of how government must make sure that jobs and education and healthcare, among many other things, are distributed fairly to every citizen.

Then came the denouement. “What you’ve described isn’t communism or socialism,” I continued. “Isn’t the system you want—where ownership remains in private hands, but its use is controlled by government—actually a form of fascism?”

There was a stunned silence as I continued, “In fact, Tom, isn’t it fair to say that the economic system you want to impose on us in the United States is actually classical fascism, as practice in Hitler’s Germany and Mussolini’s Italy?”

With that there was a click on the other end of the line. Tom had ended the discussion by hanging up the phone. Can’t say I was very surprised.

So is Barack Obama a socialist? A fascist? Or something else?

Paul says the president is not a socialist, he’s a “corporatist.” He explains the difference this way:

“Socialism is a system where the government directly owns and manages businesses. Corporatism is a system where businesses are nominally in private hands, but are in fact controlled by the government. In a corporatist state, government officials often act in collusion with their favored business interests to design policies that give those interests a monopoly position, to the detriment of both competitors and consumers.”

Hard to disagree with much in that last paragraph, is there? My only problem with the argument is getting the public to accept Ron’s description. I don’t think corporatist will ever become a popular catch-phrase in this country.

On the other hand, I’ve never been happy with any of the words and phrases used to describe my position on the political spectrum. Most of the world today would call me a “conservative.” But I’m certainly not trying to “conserve” the present status quo; I want to change it rather drastically.

But to what? A century or two ago, I would have been proud to have been called a liberal. For the first two-thirds of our country’s history, “liberal” meant someone who wanted the maximum amount of liberty for every individual. But in the past hundred years, that meaning got flip-flopped. Today, a liberal is someone who favors more and more government intrusion into our lives and our economy. That sure isn’t me. Right-winger is even less descriptive—especially the exaggeration favored by many on the left, an “ultra-right-winger.”

Before settling on a label, let’s see if we can agree on a political spectrum. And let’s make the criterion the amount of government power over its citizens. On the far left, you have total government control of everyone and everything. In our lifetime, the closest thing to that description has been the various communist dictatorships.

What about the Nazis? They were a pretty fierce dictatorship, too, weren’t they? Absolutely. That’s why they belong right next to communism on the political spectrum. After all, the very word “nazi” is a contraction for “national socialism.” There is nothing right-wing about it—despite decades of brainwashing to the contrary by the mass media.

Okay, if total government belongs on the far left, what belongs on the far right? How about no government? There is a word for the complete absence of government and that is anarchy. Historically, anarchy has occurred when an existing system has collapsed. But it doesn’t last for long; it is usually replaced by a strong, even brutal, totalitarian form of government.

So where does this place us? I like to think I’m somewhere in the middle between anarchy and totalitarianism. Or as a friend of mine put it many years ago in a book, we’re slightly to the right. But what’s the best word to describe that?

Not “conservative,” as I’ve already said. Not right-wing or ultra-right-wing, which are pejoratives our opponents like to use.

For many years, I tried to get others to accept the word “Americanist” to describe someone who believed in the same system of government as our founding fathers. I still like the idea, but the word never caught on. Neither did an alternate, “constitutionalist.”

What about “libertarian”? Even though it’s been used for several decades, and as a political party it has fielded candidates for public office on the state and national level, it has never gained broad appeal or acceptance. Too bad, because the root word “liberty” is a good one.

So it looks like the debate will continue. Is Obama a socialist? Is Chip a conservative? I think the policies we promote are more important than the labels we are given.

I believe government is not the solution, it’s the problem. Barack Obama and his allies believe the opposite.

What do you say?

Until next time, keep some powder dry.

—Chip Wood

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Monday Climate Conference Speakers Warn of ‘Meaningless’ Warming, Even Global Cooling

CHICAGO (May 17, 2010) - Attendees at the Fourth International Conference on Climate Change here who hoped to stock up on ammunition to battle global warming alarmists got locked and loaded Monday.

But few expected the literal cold slap by climate change geologist Don Easterbrook.

“Global warming is over at least for a few decades,” Easterbrook told a breakout section of the two-and-a-half day conference attended by more than 700. “However, the bad news is that global cooling is even more harmful to humans than global warming, and a cause for even greater concern.”

Easterbrook, emeritus professor at Western Washington University and one of 75 elite climate and policy experts presenting at the conference, documented geologic evidence for sudden climate fluctuations of warming and cooling -- all of which occurred before 1945, when carbon dioxide began to rise sharply.

Ten abrupt changes occurred over the past 15,000 years, and another 60 smaller climate changes occurred in the past 5,000 years, he told attendees.

Based on new analysis of ice cores from Greenland to Antarctica, Easterbrook said global temperatures rose and fell from 9 to 15 degrees in a century or less -- temperature swings that he said were “astonishing.”

“Expect global cooling for the next two to three decades that will be far more damaging than global warming would have been,” he said, noting that:

•Twice as many people are killed by extreme cold than by extreme heat.

•Global food production will suffer because of shorter, cooler growing seasons and bad weather during harvest seasons.

•Energy consumption will rise, and consumer prices will rise along with it.

•Political and social instability could result as the world population grows 50 percent in the next 40 years while food and energy demand soars.

Easterbook was among 75 climate scientists, economists, and policy makers at the conference, sponsored by the Chicago-based Heartland Institute and 67 co-sponsoring organizations from 28 countries.

In other presentations Monday:

•Richard Lindzen, Ph.D., professor of atmospheric sciences at MIT, reiterated a theme echoed throughout the dozens of break-out sessions and keynote speeches. He declared that man-made global warming “is trivially true and essentially meaningless.” He accused scientists who warn of crisis-level global warming of trying “to support the data (they have created) and not to test the hypothesis.” He said computer models of climate change “cannot be tested by comparing models to models.”

Lindzen led the audience through a detailed review of current data on global warming and concluded that skeptical scientists “should stop accepting the word ‘skeptic’” as a characterization. He said the current alarms raised about the threat of global warming don’t “represent a plausible proposition. ... Unprecedented climate catastrophes are not about to happen, though in several thousand years, we may have another ice age.”

•Pat Michaels, Ph.D., senior fellow at George Mason University, called for the creation of a new peer-reviewed journal to run online. Michaels, who has appeared in peer-reviewed journals countless times over his long career, cited the Climategate scandal as evidence that the peer-review process for climatologists “has gotten worse” in the past few years. He cited Climategate emails from the Climatic Research Unit at East Anglia University in which influential scientists threatened to end the careers of editors and publishers who accepted articles from Michaels and other skeptical climatologists.

•Former Virginia governor George Allen, head of the American Energy Freedom Center, asked the audience to rephrase a common complaint about dependence on foreign oil. Allen urged, “Say that Americans are addicted to freedom and prosperity.”

He said Americans “don’t care where energy comes from as long as it’s affordable and reliable,” and he called for lighter regulation to encourage development of nuclear power, coal gasification, and liquification of natural gas. Referring to successful French efforts to reprocess spent nuclear fuel, Allen declared, “If the French can do it, so can Americans.”

•Economist Ben Lieberman, senior policy analyst at The Heritage Foundation, warned about the implications of the Kerry-Lieberman carbon-tax bill -- a successor to the moribund Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill. “If there is one overall theme to the economics of cap and trade or other proposed global warming abatement measures,” he said, “it is that there is absolutely no cheap way to curtail carbon dioxide from fossil fuels and other greenhouse gases. ... Inflicting economic pain is not some unintended consequence. It is how any system works that is designed to reduce carbon emissions.”

Video of several keynote presentations from the event, as well as many panelist PowerPoint presentations, is available online at www.heartland.org.

The Fourth International Conference on Climate Change continues Tuesday with presentations by scientists, economists, public policy makers, and communicators under the theme “Reconsidering the Science and Economics of Global Warming.”

Monday, May 17, 2010

N.J. gov. sets tone for US

By A.B. Stoddard - 05/12/10 05:45 PM ET

In a movie version of this important story of our time, the bold, undaunted officeholder would look much like the boyish, handsome David Cameron — Great Britain’s new Conservative prime minister — who called on his countrymen Tuesday to embrace an “age of austerity.”

But this is America. So the fearless leader willing to be honest with voters, to part with what cannot be paid for, is actually not dashing, nor is he eloquent. He is an overweight Bruce Springsteen devotee, a former prosecutor with a remaining trace of a Turnpike accent who is intent on rescuing New Jersey. If he succeeds, Gov. Chris Christie (R-N.J.) could become a major political force in the years to come, whether he likes it or not.
As the United States watches a debt crisis in Greece like a fiscal oil spill, waiting to see where it will spread first and when it will make landfall on our shores, Christie is tackling the nation’s worst state deficit — $10.7 billion of a $29.3 billion budget. In doing so, Christie has become the politician so many Americans crave, one willing to lose his job. Indeed, Christie is doing something unheard of: governing as a Republican in a blue state, just as he campaigned, making good on promises, acting like his last election is behind him.
Upon taking office Christie declared a state of emergency, signing an executive order that froze spending, and then, in eight weeks, cutting $13 billion in spending. In March he presented to the Legislature his first budget, which cuts 9 percent of spending, including more than $800 million in education funding; seeks to privatize numerous government functions; projects 1,300 layoffs; and caps tax increases.
Teachers unions are incensed, fighting Christie’s proposal that — in order to avoid cuts to education — teachers accept a one-year wage freeze and contribute 1.5 percent to the generous-by-every-standard healthcare plans they now enjoy for free. New Jersey, which has the highest unemployment in the region and highest taxes in the country, lost 121,000 jobs in the private sector in 2009 while adding 11,300 new education jobs. During the last eight years, K-12 enrollment rose just 3 percent while education jobs increased more than 16 percent. According to the Newark Star-Ledger, during the recession that has cost many residents their homes and jobs and scaled back hours and pay for the employed, teachers’ salaries rose by nearly 5 percent, double the rate of inflation.
Christie is adamant about lowering taxes. After taxes were raised 115 times in the last eight years, he said the wealthy are tapped out. Property taxes rose nearly 70 percent in the last decade, and studies show top earners — the 1 percent of taxpayers paying 40 percent of income tax — are fleeing the Garden State.
The goal is not just to crawl out of crisis but ultimately to lead, said Christie in his budget address. “If we make the tough decisions now, we will be one year ahead of 80 percent of the states in the race to economic growth. If we fail to act, we will fall even further behind ... by going first, we can become first.”
Can Christie succeed? We will find out on June 30, when the Legislature must pass a budget . But no matter the political price, Christie is determined. “You just have to stand and grit your teeth and know your poll numbers are going to go down — and mine have — but you gotta grit through it because the alternative is unacceptable,” he told The Wall Street Journal.

he alternative is unacceptable — words a growing majority of Americans desperately want to hear from their elected officials.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Welcome to Global Moral Hazard. It's not enough to just get f***ed by american bankers.

Tyler Durden over at Zero Hedge shows us how the European banks are screwing everyone the same way we got screwed in our first 2 bailouts.  How long are we/them/everyone going to continue to let politicians and big bankers f*** us in the a**.  Come on people, wake up!  The big banks and politicians are lying to you.  Bailouts allow the game to continue, and the game is a casino where the Big Banks are the house, and the govt has guns at our heads forcing us to play.  Buying gold and silver may be the only way out, they can only play w fiat money.  They will keep bailing themselves out w our (fiat) money, until we have none left, all the while telling us it would be so much worse if don't let them.  "It's too complicated." they say, "Only we who caused this mess, have the experience to fix it."  Take some anti-nausea medication and read what James Glassman at JPM wrote, after reading the below article.  Remember, a significant portion of the Greek Bailout is OUR TAX DOLLARS

European Banks Now Feverishly Betting Against Euro, As Bailout Fails, Gold Surges

Submitted by Tyler Durden on 05/11/2010 04:29
Thought experiment: You are the head FX trader at French megabank Croc Monsieur & Cie. (HFT: CMC) For the past 5 years, your bonus has been getting paid primarily in company stock. In the last two weeks you have seen the stock of your firm plunge as the markets have finally realized that those idiots in the Fixed Income desk have loaded up to the gills with PIIGS debt which is now worth 60 cents on the dollar at best. And to top things off, the euro has plunged to multi year lows killing any chance of buying that New York Pied A Terre which seemed so cheap when the EURUSD was 1.50 a few months ago. So what do you do? Well, you short the living daylights out of the EUR, knowing full well that the EU, the IMF and the ECB will not let Europe crash. You sell, you sell on margin and then you sell some more, trying to get EURUSD all they way down to 1.20, to 1.10, even to parity if possible, to make it all that more believable that the end of Europe is coming. And, lo and behold, on May 9 your plan succeeds: Europe agrees to bail your bonus out, by flushing $1 trillion under the pretext the money will be used to stabilize the periphery and the euro. Immediately the stock of CMC, and thus the value of your accrued bonus (several million worth), surges by a record 20% in one day. So you think: "How can I get an even greater bonus appreciation? Why - I will short the euro again. At this point I know that between myself and the other FX desks at all the other French and German banks we can easily take the euro down to 1.20 if not much lower. After all we are only trading against the very central banks that are keeping us alive. And when that happens Europe will have to print another trillion, then ten trillion, then one hundred trillion, all the while the stock portion of my accrued bonus surges. Brilliant." Brilliant indeed - Zero Hedge has received confirmation that several of the largest French banks are now actively shorting the euro to take advantage of globalized moral hazard, which with every ensuing bailout does nothing but make the bonuses of French FX traders surge. In other words, the very banks that Europe is bailing out are betting more and more aggressively with each passing day against Europe's own survival! Even George Soros has shed a tear of pride in how beautifully his initial plan to take on the BOE has mutated for the Bailout Generation.

And overnight, the traders from the imaginary CMC, and other all too real French banks (and now US hedge funds), are succeeding, as the last traces of this weekend's $1 trillion bailout are long forgotten: futures are plunging, Asia is collapsing, the EURUSD is probing a 1.26 handle and we see it easily going back down to 1.25, even as gold surges.

We anticipate another record bailout to be announced by Europe within the month as Europe now has no other choice. And each subsequent bailout will only lead European banks to bet even more aggressively against the survival of Europe, which destroys more and more European taxpayer capital. Welcome to Global Moral Hazard.

**************************************************************************** Jim Rogers video on currencies and govt, only 3 minutes
Did anyone notice Gold hitting new highs yesterday, in just about every currency w further gains today.  This in the face of a strong dollar, as opposed to the last gold highs during a weak dollar.  This is aincredibly bullish for gold.

U. S. gold coins sales soar on economic anxiety

What's in your wallet?  Actually your pocket.  What are US coins made of, what do they cost to make?  One question not clearly addressed is "why are we still using the penny?"  The continued circulation of the penny costs us at least millions if not billions of dollars, and lots of extra time waiting for cashiers to count out 4 pennies.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Grecian formula $700+ billion

I wonder what the Greek mailboxes look like

The European Union (EU) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) announced a plan that comes straight out of the United States’ playbook: smother debt flare-ups with truckloads of “free money” while the central bank manipulates rates.

The Greek bailout, btw, is yet another Bank Bailout, but this time US$'s are going to save mostly European banker's.  While I doubt the european bank CEO's get quite as much as Ameirican bankers do in bonuses, I sure they deserve their compensation as little as Blankfein.  How are we American taxpayers to keep tabs on how the money we send to the EU banks gets used, when we don't even know how our own TARP and TALP funds were used?

European leaders unveiled a $957 billion plan to save themselves and their currency. Here’s quick and dirty:

The EU will pony up $560 billion in new loans and $76 billion in existing deals for the GIIPS nations (as we’ve taken to calling them… no reason to give pigs such a bad rap)

The IMF says its ready with $321 billion

The European Central Bank (ECB) has abandoned its old stance (and credibility) by launching a program to purchase government and corporate debt.

The U.S. taxpayer has inadvertently financed billions of the euro bailout, since the U.S. funds the majority of the IMF.
“The government doesn't have money,” Chuck Butler reminds us this morning, “unless they take if from us. So in the end, who helped provide the $321 billion parachute for the eurozone countries? That's right, you, me, and the other 53% who pay their taxes.”

That’s not entirely true. China, India, Japan and South Korea help out by lending the feds the rest.


There couldn’t be a better day for Fannie Mae to ask for more money, could there?

Flying under the radar thanks to the euro bailout, Fannie Mae’s quiet request for another $8.4 billion will go largely unnoticed today. The mortgage masters lost $13.1 billion in the first quarter, including a $1.5 billion dividend it paid to the Treasury Department. Now they’re almost out of cash… again.

When the Obama administration approves the additional funds, Fannie Mae’s bailout tab will exceed $83.6 billion. Along with Freddie Mac, that bill will be ring in at $145 billion.

So long as their expense doesn’t come too close to the $5.5 trillion in mortgages they guarantee, no doubt the government will keep paying the tab, leaving Fannie and Freddie with little incentive to clean up their act.


And what about the housing market?  from my friends at Casey research-

Is housing really on the mend?

According to the most recent data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), existing home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family, townhomes, condominums, and co-ops, rose 6.8% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.35 million units in March, from 5.01 million in February, and are 16.1% above the 4.61-million-unit level in March 2009.

But home inventory climbed to 3.584 million units in March and is only 1.7% below the 3.648-million-unit level in March of 2009. And although the median sales price for homes in the U.S. jumped 3.7% to $170,700 in March from $164,600 in February, the current median sales price is only 0.4% above the $170,000 figure in March of 2009.

Considering the data, you might be tempted to say, “Yes, housing appears to be on the mend.” But your optimism may be tempered when you recall all the ARM resets coming in 2011 and 2012, and that March was the second-to-last month of the $8,000 first-time homebuyer tax credit and the $6,500 move-up/repeat home-buyer tax credit.

All these programs did was shift future sales backwards, skewing the data. April sales will probably look strong, too, for the same reason. We can, however, expect a fall-off in future months now that the programs are over.

We saw the same thing with the “Cash for Clunkers” program. The twelve months prior to the program, monthly automobile sales averaged about 451,000. During the Clash for Clunkers program, monthly auto sales jumped 40% to an average of about 636,000. Since the program ended, sales have fallen significantly, down to an average monthly level of 439,000 for the period of September 2009 through April 2010.

What about unemployment?

U-3: The U-3 unemployment rate is the monthly headline number quoted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). According to the BLS, the U-3 unemployment rate jumped to 9.9% in April from the 9.7% level seen in the previous three months.

U-6: The U-6 unemployment rate is the BLS’ broadest unemployment measure, including short-term discouraged and other marginally attached workers as well as those forced to work part-time because they cannot find full-time employment. The BLS reports that the U-6 unemployment rate jumped to 17.1% in April from 16.9% in March.

SGS Alternate: Published by John Williams’ Shadow Government Statistics, the seasonally adjusted SGS Alternate unemployment rate reflects current unemployment reporting methodology adjusted for SGS-estimated long-term discouraged workers, who were defined out of official existence in 1994. That estimate is added to the BLS estimate of U-6 unemployment, which includes short-term discouraged workers. According to Shadow Government Statistics, the SGS Alternate unemployment rate rose to a staggering 22% in April.

Education is too important to leave to the government

Our public education system is a mess.  The most important thing we can do, is get the federal govt out of it.  I agree w everything in the below article, and have made many of the same arguments myself.  Another article on the influence of the Texas School Board on textbooks, makes a similar argument.  Because the Teachers Unions have a strong influence on curriculum, and on the education of profession teachers, and are decidedly liberal and Democratic in their politics, much of the curriculum taught leans far to the left of the general population, and amounts to a giant political propaganda machine.  In the public schools, Parents have little or no voice in what their children are taught.

Fiscal Year 2010 Budget of $46.7 billion for the Department of Education.  If we eliminate this dept, the govt could instead give vouchers of ~$1000 for each school age child, and the people who work for the D of Ed, would have to find productive jobs.  (this is not exactly what I would propose)


Ending educational compulsion will bring freedom and freedom will bring responsibility and accountability. Schools in the post–public school era will be burdened to please their customers, parents and students, if they wish to succeed. Today, failing public schools are neither punished nor eliminated; rather, in the eccentric world that defines the “public domain,” they’re rewarded by being allowed to continue, often with increased funding, in order to “self-correct.” Bailouts may be new to Wall Street & Detroit carmakers, but bailouts have long been a part of failed public school systems.


Eliminate Public Schools

May 3rd, 2010
By Paul Galvin
Category: Featured, Politics

The following is a fictionalized scenario of what might result if the public schools were eliminated. At the moment this idea has a near-zero, if not zero, chance of happening, particularly in those states whose constitutions now contain or have been construed to contain provisions enshrining a “positive right” to an education, meaning a positive claim upon the labor and property of others, a claim backed by the left’s stock-in-trade, the coercive force of the state. As resistance to ever-bigger government increases, with a commensurate greater appreciation for individual liberty, state constitutions will be re-examined, perhaps even amended. What follows is not a prediction, only an exploration which in turn may lead to better ideas. Finally, readers should bear in mind that eliminating public schooling is not the elimination of education, but rather the expansion of both freedom and education.

“Alright, George Bailey, you’ve got your wish. The public schools were never invented. Now stay calm, and don’t fret about the many strange but freedom-affirming phenomena you’ll encounter as you stroll through a re-invigorated Bedford Falls. Ready?”

Freedom for Taxpayers. Property taxpayers would no longer support a system which even its supporters readily admit must be “structurally improved” [Statist-ese for, “Give us more money”]. Anything in constant need of major improvements, not just routine adjustment, which produces uneducated “graduates” year after year (JayWalking anyone?), for decades on end, is irredeemable, netting very poor investment returns for taxpayers despite huge outlays. Since a sizable percentage of local municipal budgets (usually well over 50%, typically with supplemental “help” from state capitols) is dedicated to school funding, the elimination of this line item will give meaningful property tax relief.

Freedom for Municipalities. In the view of some – though at this point in time not nearly enough – all education is intrinsically coupled with morality, religion, and the reason of life itself. Necessarily it cannot then lawfully be a proper function of government if we’re to be serious about individual liberty and separating church and state. Governmental involvement in matters with religious overtones and nuances including differing worldviews conflicts with the Establishment Clause and state constitutional counterparts. Freed of school budgets, cities and towns will confine themselves to matters within their appropriate purview, generally subjects associated with public safety.

Freedom for Parents. Parents, relieved of a portion of their property tax burden, will have greater disposable income with which they may choose a private school appropriate for their child. Including a home school. Today, families wanting alternative schooling for their child/ren pay two tuitions, one to the chosen school directly, another to the municipality to support the public schools.

Freedom for Students. Relief to students who simply do not want to spend time in school for whatever reason (e.g., attitude, disinterest, safety concerns). Relief from One-Size-Fits-All-ism. How these now-emancipated students will choose to spend their newly-acquired time and freedom will be left to them and their parents. For the student willing to learn there will be choices galore as a thousand points of light evolve following the demise of the public schools. Throughout their history Americans have shown themselves to be both generous and ingenious. From scholarships and tuition assistance (remember, property tax relief will enable all citizens to spend their property tax relief as they see fit, not as government sees fit) to an array of different school types, all manner of ideas will come forth on “what to do with all those children.” To believe otherwise is to concede that we have lost our way as well as our senses of freedom and personal responsibility, and that only overseeing superintendent-esque nannies can save us.

Repealing the truancy and compulsory attendance laws frees students enabling but also requiring them to become personally responsible for usefully filling their time, simultaneously serving as a sobering means of correcting immature attitudes via a dose of reality. Students and parents will of necessity become discerning consumers of those educational services which they desire. Consider this example. A parent/s believes that comprehensive sex education, including awareness of all different perspectives of human sexuality, is an important educational value and that such information should be taught, at all grade levels, to his/her/their child. These parents will choose, through free association and without compulsion, schools accommodating their expressed wishes. While acknowledging the rights of those parents to choose as they may, other parents might avoid those choices, preferring instead other educational values which for them may include emphasis on math & science, fine arts, building trades, mechanics, religious instruction, and so forth. They too will decide through free association and without compulsion. Open choice aka freedom aka liberty will enable each educational consumer to receive the specific educational values which he/she/they seek/s without the application of governmental force upon others who do not share or want those educational choices.

Freedom for Teachers. To those who tsk-tsk the viable idea of doing away with the public schools, they should know that eliminating the public schools will not be the end of education. To the contrary it will encourage genuine learning. In an atmosphere of non-compulsion students who want to learn a chosen curriculum will present themselves before teachers who want to teach. The discipline problems of which teachers complain, including bullying, will largely disappear. Teaching to willing students is a joy unto itself. Having been a teacher in several venues – as seminar instructor on tax law matters to other accounting, tax & legal professionals; as host of numerous client seminars; as a homeschooling parent – I am keenly aware of how fulfilling it is to teach receptive students.

Freedom from Incompetence or Indifference. Every large public school system has its “rubber rooms” (search, “rubber rooms Stossel”) to which incompetent, insubordinate, or dangerous teachers are assigned, at full pay, while their cases for dismissal wend their way through a labyrinth of union contract provisions. Why such rooms? Because in the perverse world of public schools it is next to impossible to get rid of bad teachers. Despite the overriding concern, stated endlessly by politicians, bureaucrats and unions, of how much they all want to “educate the children,” the game is really about protecting government and its employees. Big government types, invariably “led” by Democrats and lapdog teachers’ unions, are the biggest offenders. Bureaucrats and union members have little concern whether children learn or not; their principal worry is their own paycheck. And please, let’s not hear about the many fine, dedicated teachers, blah, blah, blah. Even if true, these teachers are like students and parents: trapped in the grip of the union–big government vise. The fine intentions of these teachers will never loosen this grip; only an adherence to limited government and a commitment to personal responsibility will do that.

Freedom for the Uninvolved. Elimination corrects an inequity visited upon those who have no current direct stake in the educational system. Why should those who have no school-aged children be burdened with the schooling costs of those who do? If you choose to raise children, your obligations include clothing, sustenance, housing, and education. Before setting out, the cost is to be counted. The decision to start a family was yours, not that of your elderly, childless, or empty-nest neighbors. It doesn’t take a village to raise a family: it takes a responsible mom and a responsible dad. As matters now stand your neighbors, not exercising any influence in your family-raising decision, are sent the bill for educating your children. All sorts of rationales are given for continuing this unfairness. They reduce to one: We benefit when all citizens are educated, or in bumper sticker language, If you think public education is expensive, try ignorance. This slogan’s encapsulated arrogance assumes that people are incapable of acting in their own best interests and would forever remain inert until the Nanny State intercedes and affects a rescue, all for their own good you must understand. Who else but leftists sell people for such short money? If those who are inadequately prepared understand that the principal difference between themselves and others who have better prospects, employment, or social standing, is education, common sense says that the former will know what to do.

Freedom to Choose. Each of us has different driving wants and needs; we choose cars accordingly, based on factors which include cost, safety, options, color, type (sedans, wagons, SUVs, minivans, pickups, light & heavy duty trucks, et alia). Yet the choice of schooling, also subject to a variety of factors, is far more determinative of an individual’s life direction than the choice of a car whose life span is a matter of mere years. Freedom prevails when parents and students, acting as consumers, make thoughtful choices for their purposes among competing alternatives with funds that would otherwise have been taken from them and wasted on a scheme that has failed for decades. Even leftists endorse educational choice, but only for themselves. When given the chance, leftists never choose the public option. Obama’s daughters go to private schools, as did Chelsea Clinton, as did Ted Kennedy’s kids. If this is leadership by example, then the people too should be able to choose. “Do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do.”

What is more, genuine educational choice (without a public option) will defuse, at least in the school setting, many of society’s divisive issues, issues brought into the public schools through raw political power imposed on students, a captive, generally powerless audience. Without forced public schooling there would be no more of the seemingly endless battles on church-state separation and courses on human sexuality. Gone and unmissed will be battles over religious songs and symbols, whether religious days special to a particular faith should be recognized as school holidays, refusals to recite the Pledge of Allegiance, prayers at games or graduations. Mandatory sex education and associated hot-button topics such as abortion counseling, creationism, evolution, environ-ism, and countless other subjects which at best are only marginally tangential to core academic subjects, will be dealt with in a manner agreeable to students and parents since they as consumers will be freely choosing schools compatible with their wishes and expectations in these areas.

Tuition will be reasonable as schools will no longer be forced by law to deal with the selfish demands of public employee unions. Rather than serving the interests of their employees and administrators, schools will compete as every other successful consumer service competes, by placing the customer, here parents and students, not employees, as Priority #1. Sometime in the 1980s I heard Lane Kirkland, a then important union leader, speak at an American Federation of Teachers function. After his prepared remarks he took some questions one of which touched on the declining academic achievements of students. His blunt and forceful answer remains with me to this day. Paraphrased, “When children become union members paying union dues, then I’ll care about children’s education.”

Ending educational compulsion will bring freedom and freedom will bring responsibility and accountability. Schools in the post–public school era will be burdened to please their customers, parents and students, if they wish to succeed. Today, failing public schools are neither punished nor eliminated; rather, in the eccentric world that defines the “public domain,” they’re rewarded by being allowed to continue, often with increased funding, in order to “self-correct.” Bailouts may be new to Wall Street & Detroit carmakers, but bailouts have long been a part of failed public school systems.


Paul Galvin
Whiskey & Gunpowder

Eliminate Public Schools, Part II


Now I'm not by any means a flag waving Stephen Colbert type patriot, but the idea that my tax dollars support the education of these budding "Mexican Revolutionaries" is disturbing.  As I write this, my opinion of the below act is softening somewhat, as I consider the freedom of speech angle.  I'm not sure what to think, I guess I'd like to know what the message was supposed to be.  I would be much more comfortable if this were not a Govt school.  Make up your own mind.

I guess they already finished their English homework!!!

Montebello High School in California. You will not see this heart-stopping photo on the front page of the NY Times, nor on the lead story of the major news networks. The protestors at Montebello High School took the American flag off the school's flag pole and hung it upside down while putting up the Mexican flag over it. (*See pictures below*)

This stunt may be the nail in the coffin of any guest-worker/amnesty plan on the table in Washington. The image of the American flag subsumed to another and turned upside down on American soil is already spreading on Internet forums and via e-mail.

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Oil Slick Makes Politics Very Clear

By Vedran Vuk
Imagine this scenario. Your local politician legalizes gambling in the district. At the time, he praises the economic necessity, the jobs created, and the benefits for other businesses. After a while, the politician gets bored and decides to take a trip to the casino himself. At first, things are going well. He is having drinks, rolling dice, and raking in the wins. But soon enough, he goes on a long losing streak. After a couple more drinks and a few more spins of the roulette wheel, he can’t even pay next month’s mortgage.

After being personally affected, he promises to shut down the casino despite the economic benefits for the rest of the community. It would take a complete imbecile not to realize the possible dangers and downside of legalized gambling beforehand. But until the damage becomes personal or political, the politician didn’t care. This may sound ridiculous, but it’s not much different than the position of many politicians on offshore drilling today.

When the damage hits home, politicians are willing to overturn any law. Just look at the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. As soon as the spill occurred, Obama and other politicians came out of the woodwork either slamming offshore drilling or demanding more safety precautions. Obama immediately ordered a moratorium on the recently expanded offshore drilling until rig safety is reviewed. Now that the political repercussions are being felt, drilling supporters are singing a new tune. They’re willing to overturn national energy policy just to save themselves from bad PR.

But has anything changed from before the spill?

Drilling comes with risks. These accidents have happened in the past and will surely happen again. It would be ridiculous to assume that Obama didn’t understand the risks of drilling prior to the spill. A liberal administration should have been particularly informed. The oil spill isn’t exactly an extraordinary event. Yet, it is being treated like an unpredictable occurrence that forces Washington to reconsider offshore drilling. What a bunch of baloney.

So, how do we know whether offshore oil drilling is worth it or not? First, hold BP accountable for all spill damages down to the last cent. If BP continues to drill after paying the damages, then the project benefits society. Oil companies, like any firm, provide goods and services demanded by the market. If despite the higher damage costs BP can still drill at a profit, this shows that society benefits from the enterprise.

Profit-and-loss analysis answers a very basic question: Is the benefit of an activity worth the expense? If the cost is greater than the value placed on the product by society, then the product will not be produced. If society values the product more than the cost necessary to acquire it, then the product will be produced. Hence, with accountability, the question of “to drill or not to drill” answers itself. No company purposefully runs a negative operating margin.

Even the average Joe understood the risks of an oil spill; no one should be surprised here. If the dice are rolled enough times, eventually you will lose. It is a matter of statistical certainty. The oil may make the water murky, but it makes the political process very clear. Politicians are not here to help society. If a policy affects them personally or politically, they’re willing to harm the entire nation’s energy policy to save their reputations. Everyone must suffer for them. These are mentally ill, sociopathic individuals who will hurt anyone and everyone to get their way.

Despite knowing the risks, Obama and others didn’t give a damn about the fishermen and the wetlands just a few weeks ago. Now, they’re hand-in-hand with the locals. These politicians want to end drilling not because they care about Americans – but because they care about their political futures.

Lawsuit Abuse Fortnightly

No-Fun Zone

The St. Louis City Museum, described as “a cross between a playground and a theme park,” is a magnet for tourists--and frivolous lawsuits.

The museum transforms items from the city’s industrial history into attractions that can be climbed or touched by children of all ages. MonstroCity, for example, is a three-story slide. The museum also has a five-story jungle gym with two real jets kids can climb on. Its annual attendance of 700,000 is about twice the population of the city.

The museum has been sued some 24 times since 2005. It lost one case, but the jury reduced the award from $500,000 to $100,000, finding the plaintiff mostly at fault. It settled two others. Plaintiffs’ lawyers say the museum doesn’t adequately warn of the park’s risks, though the risk of a three-story slide seems obvious. The museum’s founder says lawyers “are taking the fun out of life.”

Even though the litigation has been largely unsuccessful, the museum’s insurance costs have soared from approximately $36,000 in 1997 to about $600,000 this year. The museum recently posted a sign near the admission gate listing the names of law firms that have sued the museum, tagging them as responsible for a 9 percent increase in the cost of admission. Many museum patrons admire such defiance. “You take a risk when you go anyplace,” one said.

Source: Conor Dougherty, “This Museum Exposes Kids to Thrills, Chills and Trial Lawyers; Defiant St. Louis Venue Owner’s Claim: Attorneys ‘Take the Fun Out of Life,” Wall Street Journal, May 1, 2010

Water Torture

A Pennsylvania township is suing a local couple to force them to drink township-supplied water even though the husband says the chlorine in the water makes his wife sick.

The township sued the pair in 2008 for not hooking up to the water supply, and the court ordered them to connect. They did, and they have been paying the standard monthly fees to the township ever since. But they don’t want to drink the water or otherwise use it for their daily needs because of the wife’s reaction to the chlorine. So they’ve kept their well connected to the house and use water from it instead.

Township officials say its water ordinance requires township water to be used “for all human consumption in the residence” and want the couple held in contempt of the earlier ruling, which could subject them to fines or even jail time.

Source: Phil Ray, “Couple asked to use water; Burkets use well, contending chlorine sickens wife, Altoona Mirror, March 30, 2010 via overlawyered

Glass Case

A Chicago woman became angry with her husband while walking home from a night of dining and drinking on Chicago’s north side. In front of a beauty salon, she tried to kick him but lost her balance and fell through the shop window. So she’s now suing the shop for failing to install safety glass in its window.

Her complaint alleges the sidewalk in front of the shop is “frequently traveled by intoxicated pedestrians” and the shop should have anticipated they might fall through the window.

Georgetown law professor Jonathan Turley sympathizes with the plaintiff--at least somewhat. He observed the California Supreme Court ruled in 1855 for a drunk plaintiff who fell into a hole in a sidewalk, saying, “A drunken man is as much entitled to a safe street, as a sober one, and much more in need of it.”

Source: “Woman sues Lake View salon, hospital after fall through window,” Sun Times Media Wire, May 1, 2010; Jonathan Turley “Shaker Down: Chicago Woman Sues Salon After Falling Through Its Front Window After Trying To Kick Her Husband,” May 3, 2010

Bunny Suit

A 14-year-old is being sued by her teacher for drawing a picture of a rabbit on the blackboard in the classroom in a U.K. school. The teacher says she is traumatized by rabbits and alleges the teen knew it and made the drawing deliberately. School officials removed the teacher, who now wants compensation for lost wages.

Source: “Teacher with rabbit phobia to sue 14-year-old for drawing bunny,” Telegraph.co.uk., April 30, 2010 via overlawyered

Ill Repair

One of the tenants in a California apartment complex requested the management firm make improvements there.

But when the firm posted notices about the imminent repairs and upgrades, the tenant claimed the notices were causing her emotional distress. She sued the management firm for $500,000. The case settled on the courthouse steps the day of the trial, with an undisclosed sum paid to the plaintiff.

“You try to do everything right,” the management firm’s owner said, “and it’s just not good enough.”

Source: “Woman claims repair notices caused emotional damage, sues for $500K,” faces of lawsuit abuse, a project of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, retrieved May 7, 2010

Safe or Sorry

The manufacturer of a 10,000-pound safe was negligent in failing to warn it could be deadly if it fell on someone while being moved, according to a Florida lawsuit.

The suit was filed by the wife of a Florida jeweler who was killed when the safe--the size of a refrigerator--fell on him while he was moving it by himself.

The lack of safety warnings rendered it “defective” and “unsafe for its intended use,” the suit says. The widow is seeking damages for medical and funeral expenses, mental pain and suffering, and lost income.

Source: Adam Linhardt, “Widow sues over safe that killed husband,” Florida Key West Citizen, April 23, 2010

Rest of the Story

A suburban Chicago woman who claims she sustained a concussion when the armrest on her movie theater fell on her head is suing the movie theater.

The incident happened during a showing of The Incredible Hulk. The woman says she bent down to the floor to “discreetly answer her telephone” and the armrest, then in its upright position, fell on her head, causing a concussion. The suit, seeking unspecified damages, alleges the theater failed to maintain its seats properly.

Source: Jennifer Fernicola, “Lawsuit: Struck in the head by armrest at movie theater,” Chicagonow.com, March 24, 2010


Lawsuit Abuse Fortnightly

Published by The Heartland Institute (312/377-4000), a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization founded in 1984.

Phone 312/377-4000, fax 312/377-5000

Back issues are available online at http://www.heartland.org

Monday, May 3, 2010

From Bix Weir-

So I've been doing some digging on Goldman and I came across an interesting fact. Lloyd Blankfein, who took over the CEO position after Hank Paulson, was in charge of the gold trading operations of Goldman and had been a gold trader most of his professional career!


Make no mistake, gold market rigging is at the heart of the banking cabal and the entire fiat monetary system and Goldman is THE BIGGEST MARKET RIGGING OPERATION IN THE WORLD!

If you really want to know how SICK, AND WRONG these guys are just listen to Lloyd Blankfein's interview with Charlie Rose


24:30 into the interview Blankfein says something that would make anyone VOMIT PROFUSELY!

Charlie asks him "Why do you think Goldman Sachs does better than everybody else?"

After a few delay tactics he actually says:

"We get people who are really interested in doing something that they think is good for the world...for the public...for the world they're in."

I feel sick. I know many GS employees and NOT ONE of them joined GS to do"good for the world"....


I'm going to really enjoy watching this company implode!
The Future of Public Debt

By John Mauldin

Long but good article recapping BIS report, and some commentary on the GS case.

Weekend talking heads

I get a little tired of both demoblicans and repubicrats trying to link the exercise of free speech to being unpatriotic.  Uncle Bill Clinton recently linked Tea Partiers to Tim Mcveigh, he's a master at this (commentary).  During the Bush years, you were unpatriotic if you dared criticize the Iraq or Afghanistan wars, and today, if you criticize the president or his policies you are not only unpatriotic, but racist too.

Speaking of Racism, Bill Maher was on This Week on sunday, and made a reprehensible statement about racism.  Now, for any of you who are familiar w the John Stewart vs Fox News or CNBC fights, comedians making politically incorrect or even downright obnoxious statements on their shows, ought to be ignored.  It's comedy, if you don't like it, don't watch.  I used to really like Bill Maher, back in the 90's, when he was on comedy central, and was mostly libertarian, AFAIK.  While I haven't watched him that closely on HBO, every time I've briefly tuned in, he's swung so far to the radical left, it's no longer interesting, and rarely even funny.

Anyway, the point is, This Week is a news show, and you don't get the same freedom of expression, IMO, in that format.  So here's what he said "It's not true -- that Republicans, all Republicans are racist. That would be silly and wrong. But nowadays, if you are racist, you're probably a Republican."  Even Al Sharpton (who, IMO, has no business being on a news show either) wouldn't make such a ludicrous statement.  Stick to comedy Bill (which one?).  Check this out to see what your radical left colleagues are like.  Did you invite any of them over for Passover Seder?

I'm relatively sure he's not a republican.