This is a good time to be a publisher of history books. As the Tea Party is gaining influence there are brave and strange new ideas to educate our kids. But we all need to go to re-education class because many of the basic tenets of US history are seriously out of date.
For X-ample: Remember when you were taught the US was a “true” democracy, unlike those "banana" republics like Argentina? Since then, we’ve reversed places. The wealthiest plutocrats now actually control a greater share of the pie in the United States than in those less fortunate countries. Now the richest percent of US possesses more net worth than the bottom 90 percent. The share controlled by the top 1 percent in Argentina has fallen to a bit more than 15 percent.
Yet the millionaires in Congress argue that it would be financially reckless to extend unemployment benefits during a terrible recession while insisting on granting tax breaks to the richest Americans - themselves.
So let’s get those book printing presses rolling. The good news is, while the poor freeze this winter, they can burn the old books to keep them warm. If they prefer a warmer climate, there’s always those "banana" republics.
The number of uninsured adults in the United States continues to rise, with one in four adults under 65 reporting they were without health insurance at some point in the last year, according to a recent report from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About 50 million adults ages 18 to 64 said they were uninsured for at least some period during the previous 12 months, according to the report, which was based on a survey conducted between January and March of this year.
Among adults in middle-income families — those earning two to three times the poverty level, or between $43,000 and $65,000 a year for a family of four — one in three adults under 65 was without insurance for some portion of the previous year. Over all, an estimated 59.1 million Americans of all ages had no health insurance for at least part of the year prior to their interview, up from 58.7 million in 2009 and 56.4 million in 2008.
Things can always get worse. Obama's Deficit Commissioners, Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, last week unveiled a plan that would entail drastic cuts in most areas of American life, including Social Security and Medicare.
Israel’s per capita health costs are half those of the United States, and the country expends a much smaller proportion of its GDP on health care, yet it provides universal health coverage, and top-notch, technologically up-to-date care. Its outcomes in many areas are superior. Compared to the US, Israel has more physicians per capita, a lower infant mortality rate, higher life expectancy, and lower rates of cardiovascular disease.
What to do, what to do? Follow the money: Transfer unemployed and uninsured Americans to Israel. This will reverse the Christian exodus in the Middle East and create a buffer population in the region.
I think I'll call it the Blue Cross Plan.
We at the 11 o'clock News plead guilty to picking on the Sarah Palins, George Ws, Sharon Angles of the freak show that is US politics because, believe it or not, their views resonate with an alarming percent of the US voters. Left to their own devices, they should be left alone to pursue their lives in blissful ignorance. Since powerful (Rich) people have made them their chosen people, they are fair game.
That's why we have resisted taking serious shots at people like Glenn Beck; he's not running for higher office, and he has resurrected himself from a self-destructive past. God knows redemption is a wonderful gift. But Glenn, Glenn, Glenn, after that stellar performance on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, you are coming off as a Soros loser, calling George Soros a Nazi sympathizer at least, a war criminal at worst.
Holocaust survivors and prominent Jewish groups are crucifying Glenn for his claim that Soros helped in the effort to exterminate Jews during World War II. During a multi-part series on Soros on his radio show, Beck on Thursday described Soros' youth during the war:
George Soros' father asked a Christian in Hungary to adopt his son or make him his Godson. And George Soros used to go around with this anti-Semite and deliver papers to the Jews and confiscate their property. And then ship them off. And George Soros was part of it. ... It's frightening. Here's a Jewish boy helping send the Jews to the death camps.
Of course Fox and friends came to life, defending Glenn Beck from the Anti-Defamation League's criticisms of his attacks on George Soros. In a statement given to the New York Times on Thursday, Joel Cheatwood, a senior vice president at Fox News, said that the “information regarding Mr. Soros’s experiences growing up were taken directly from his writings and from interviews given by him to the media, and no negative opinion was offered as to his actions as a child.”
"For a political commentator or entertainer to have the audacity to say – inaccurately – that there's a Jewish boy sending Jews to death camps, as part of a broader assault on Mr. Soros, that's horrific," said Abe Foxman, head of the Anti-Defamation League and a Holocaust survivor.
Glenn, to hold a young boy responsible for what was going on around him, where is your Christian spirit? What happened to redemption? Was it all just a big lie? Or is it envy that a boy who survived that hellhole and found true redemption casts a shadow over your relatively insignificant lifestory?
Now that the Obama administration has caved to the Debt Commission's recommendations to screw-the-poor to pay for the rich tax breaks, as well as the government's free reign to wiretap US citizens (reportedly the NSA can and has stored every e-mail and phone conversation made in the US for the past three years), let US make some good use of these developments: tape the conversations of the biggest tax cheats - WALL STREET.
Item: Investment bankers and traders in Britain will have their mobile phone conversations taped in the latest step by the country’s financial regulator to crack down on insider trading and market abuse.
The Financial Services Authority, Britain’s financial watchdog, said Thursday that under new rules, effective November 2011, all financial services firms would be obliged to record any relevant communication by employees on their work cell phones.
Companies would also be responsible for discouraging employees from taking client orders or discussing and arranging transactions on their private cell phones, where conversations cannot be recorded.
The new rule makes Britain the only country in Europe to explicitly require the taping of conversations on business cell phones, according to the F.S.A. Rules in other European countries merely require companies to ensure that all relevant conversations are recorded.
“We expect the rules to increase the volume and quality of information available to us to use as additional evidence in insider trading cases,” Sarah Bailey, a spokeswoman for the F.S.A. said.
The F.S.A. is already taping conversations on office land lines and is storing e-mails, but had exempted cell phones until now because the right technology was not available, Ms. Bailey said. The rule would affect about 16,000 cell phones issued by financial services firms, which would have to keep the recorded conversations for six months.
The new rule would also require “firms to take reasonable steps to ensure that such communications do not take place on private communication equipment that firms cannot record mainly for privacy reasons,” the F.S.A. wrote in the policy statement published Thursday.
Some financial services firms voiced concern with the F.S.A. about the additional costs of recording cell phone conversations and the legality of recording conversations when bankers travel abroad, the F.S.A. said. One unidentified investment bank estimated the costs of recording all Blackberry phones to reach £2.6 million, or $4.2 million, per year, according to the F.S.A. policy statement. Goldman Sachs and BNP Paribas were among the companies giving feedback.
“The concern was that traders were having conversations on their mobile and that meant that the F.S.A. hasn’t had enough evidence and the ultimate dodgy call wasn’t recorded,” Jonathan Herbst, a partner at law firm Norton Rose in London, said.
So what's stopping US from using draconian NSA surveillance tactics for a good cause?
Maybe they already have.
The Wall Street Journal reports, "The criminal and civil probes, which authorities say could eclipse the impact on the financial industry of any previous such investigation, are examining whether multiple insider-trading rings reaped illegal profits totaling tens of millions of dollars."
Most recently, a study by a prestigious team of public health researchers from Harvard and Emory universities and the FDA, highlighted in last week's Environmental Health News, documented 14 types of pesticides in the daily diets of 46 Georgia and Washington state children; about one-fifth of the food prepared by the kids' parents contained at least one pesticide.
The Harvard-Emory-FDA team suggested that tighter pesticide restrictions are in order. They concluded that "the frequent consumption of certain food commodities with episodic presence of pesticides that are known to cause developmental and neurological effects in young children underlies the need for further mitigation and should be monitored routinely" by USDA.
Note to NFL GMs: If Andy Reid calls you up and offers to let you have one of "his guys," hang up --- FAST. Andy makes used car dealers look downright trustworthy. Andy's latest "fast one" was the scalping of Danny Boy's Redskins when he coaxed TWO draft picks (a second and another TBD) for Donny McNabb. McNabb reminds me of a red 300Z that a car dealer tried to unload on me: at one time it was fast and mobile, but after many hard miles of driving, it was no longer what it was advertised to be.
Donny Mac's strength is now his weakness -- his legs. When the D-line rushed him in the early days, he was a real threat to make it pay---everytime. Now, D Mac can only perform at that level once or twice a game before the wear on the tread begins to show. Now Donny needs the threat of pass-option to keep the lions off his back. The Redskins don't have a powerful run game. Throw in a weak offensive line and you have all the ingredients that formed a pathetic 2-minute offense.
While the football world had condemned Redskins head coach Shanahan for undermining the leadership of his franchise QB, the coach finally realized D Mac was not the best man for the situation....too late. Andy already cashed that Second Round Draft Pick and the Skins are on the tab for another one.
Danny Boy should have resisted the impulse to take up with this past-his-prime "hottie." He's going to pay for this mistake for along time. Now he knows how Tiger Woods must feel.
Still reeling over the election losses of the Obtuse Angle, the Ohio SS guy and the not-so-wicked witch of the East, I took solace that we still have another loon to kick around: Former President George W. Bush says he was a "dissenting voice" on the decision to invade Iraq because he "didn't want to use force" but ran out of options.
"I was a dissenting voice. I didn't want to use force," Bush told NBC's Matt Lauer in his first interview promoting his new memoir, "Decision Points."
"I mean force is the last option for a President," he continued, according to an NBC News transcript. "And I think it's clear in the book that I gave diplomacy every chance to work."
Wow, all I can say is, “Christine, and the rest of you Tea Party nutjobs, please come back. You sound perfectly sane in comparison.”
Google is suing the U.S. Department of the Interior over a request for bids for a new e-mail and messaging solution it says favors rival Microsoft. Google alleges the government put out a request for bids that limits respondents to use Microsoft Corp.'s business productivity software, which was designed for the federal government. Google called the specification "unduly restrictive" and in violation of the Competition in Contracting Act. Goggle says that an open process "could save U.S. taxpayers tens of millions of dollars and result in better services."
If you search Google for “tax chutzpah”, you may find an item about Google screwing US out of paying little if any taxes on its billions when it moved its operations to Bermuda. Here’s a suggestion: If Google wants in on the lucrative US government contracts, then show a little interest in supporting US or compete for all those lucrative contracts in Bermuda.