Right-wing Republican activists and “Tea-Baggers” have been showing up at town hall meetings with posters of President Obama photo-shopped to look like Hitler and have been asking their representatives why they support a “Nazi” policy. But, as usual, these “protesters” display an appalling ignorance of history.
As Peter Muehlbauer points out in his Telepolis article Obama, Hitler und die Krankenversicherung (Obama, Hitler and Health Insurance) the Third Reich was actually a paradise for private health insurers: they were innovators when it came to disenfranchising policy holders – especially Jews.
Tatsächlich ähnelt die Gesundheitspolitik im Dritten Reich sogar sehr viel eher jener, wie sie die Gegner öffentlicher Gesundheitsfürsorgepläne propagieren. (In fact, the health care policy of the Third Reich had much more in common with what the opponents of public health care plans are advocating.)
Private insurance industry leaders played key roles in the Nazi regime. Hitler appointed Dr. Kurt Schmidt, a director of Allianz Insurance Group, as economic minister – an indication of the importance of private insurance in the Third Reich. Dr. Gerhard Wagner , who worked for the private health insurer DKV, became the chief advocate of Nazi euthanasia, setting up Hitler’s original Death Panels.
By far, the health insurers were the most radical among all the German insurance groups in implementing restrictions against Jews long before this became the official policy of the Nazi regime. Insurance claims by Jewish policy holders were denied, and the reimbursement claims by Jewish doctors were also denied when “review boards” of Aryan physicians “determined” that there were no valid medical reasons for the diagnoses. Eventually long-time Jewish policy holders were simply cut from the rolls as “bad risks”. Some of the insurers even used this as part of marketing campaigns, advertising to German consumers that they were “Judenfrei” – free of any Jewish policy holders. By the time the Nazi insurance authority directed the termination of Jewish insurance contracts up to April 1940, most of the companies didn’t have Jewish clients any longer. The “free market” approach had worked beautifully.
Microsoft’s chief Washington lobbyist has been convening regular meetings attended by the company’s outside consultants that have become known by some beltway insiders as “screw Google” meetings, DailyFinance has learned.
Of course, you could include other companies as well, and rewrite the above as “screw Competitor in DC meetings”
Instead of investing money in making better products, we’ve come to the point where success has to include not only dominating the market, but influencing social media and the regulatory environment. It’s almost like making products is an afterthought for companies these days.
Former president George W. Bush criticized President Barack Obama today for taking such a brief August vacation, arguing that the brevity of his summer break “sends the wrong message to terrorists.”
“The one way to let the evildoers know that they don’t have you all stressed out is by taking all of August off,” Mr. Bush told reporters at his ranch in Crawford, Texas. “I always made sure I did that.”
“I didn’t think this day would come. Squeaky Fromme tried to assassinate President General Ford. She’s been let out of prison. She was paroled. Is she going to get a job? If you think about it, there aren’t many jobs for unstable, gun-toting women, unless she wants to run for governor of Alaska.”
The picture is fake, of course. The rumors are not going away, and it’s going to be an interesting time to watch Apple…
A fire broke out at Google’s UK headquarters in London on Thursday afternoon, officials told BNO News. There were no immediate reports of casualties.
The 6-story building is located at Buckingham Palace Road, near the Victoria Place Shopping Centre. “We were called in at 1.53 p.m. (local time),” a fire brigade spokesman said. He added that the fire broke out on the fifth floor.
(hint for google personnel: you have to follow the sponsored links)
The United Arab Emirates has seized a cargo of North Korean weapons being shipped to Iran, which would have violated a U.N. embargo on arms exports from the communist state, Western diplomats said on Friday.
The weapons seized on Aug. 14 included rocket launchers, detonators, munitions and ammunition for rocket-propelled grenades, they said. The ship, called the ANL-Australia, was Australian-owned and flying a Bahamas flag.
Diplomats said the UAE reported the incident, which occurred two weeks ago, to the Security Council sanctions committee on North Korea. The committee sent letters to Tehran and Pyongyang on Aug. 25 informing them of the seizure and demanding a response within 15 days.
“Based on past experience … we don’t expect a very detailed response,” one of the diplomats said on condition of anonymity.
The diplomats said the Australian firm whose ship was seized is controlled by a French conglomerate and the actual export was arranged by the Shanghai office of an Italian company. The diplomats did not name any of the firms involved.
At a town hall meeting Wednesday Sen. Jim Inhofe told Chickasha residents he does not need to read the 1,000 page health care reform bill, he will simply vote against it.
“I don’t have to read it, or know what’s in it. I’m going to oppose it anyways,” he said.
When he fell ill March 15, the 17-year-old Carlton boy’s parents, Greg and JaLea Swezey, thought he had food poisoning. But over the next three days, they realized it was something else, perhaps the flu. He’d had a fever, and was vomiting with severe diarrhea.
During those three days, aunts, uncles and grandparents came to his bedside to pray. On March 17, his father did not call a doctor or an ambulance. Instead, he called elders from their church. They came to the house and anointed Zakk with olive oil, and prayed for him as Zakk’s family waited outside in the hall. Members of the Church of the First Born, the Swezeys believe in faith healing.
An autopsy later revealed the Pateros High School student died of a ruptured appendix.
Washington’s law specifies that a person treated through faith healing “by a duly accredited Christian Science practitioner in lieu of medical care is not considered deprived of medically necessary health care or abandoned.” Other religions are not mentioned.
LeRoy Schaffer, a St. Francis city council member, dressed in a tuxedo and top hat for the occasion. Shaffer got visibly emotional asking Bachmann about the future of health care and the role of special interests in Washington.
“I’ll be danged if I am going to give up my Social Security because of socialism,” Schaffer said, before being booed by the crowd.
University of California-Berkley economist Christopher Knittel has developed a rigorous assessment of the implied cost of carbon emissions under the clunker program. (“The Implied Cost of Carbon Dioxide Under the Cash for Clunkers Program” [pdf], Center for the Study of Energy Markets, Berkeley, The University of California Energy Institute.) Knittel made plausible assumptions about the average life remaining in vehicles removed from the road, the average fuel economy associated with those vehicles, and the resulting levels of carbon emission that would have survived in the absence of clunkers. Eventually, of course, the clunkers would have died a natural but less dramatic death. Knittel then estimated the carbon reduction gained when the large fleet of clunkers was replaced by a new fuel-efficient fleet. When he ran the numbers, Knittel found the cost per ton of carbon reduced could reach $500 under a set of normal values for critical variables. The cost estimate was $237 per ton under best case conditions. And what does this tell us? The much celebrated Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade carbon-emission control legislation estimates the cost of reducing a ton of carbon to be $28 when done across U.S. industries. Yes, we are getting carbon-emission reductions by way of clunker reduction, but we are paying a pretty penny for it.
Of course, one of the arguments made by some people is that the whole carbon-emission reductions thing is just a side effect of the economic boost the program has given. Those people need the Broken Window fallacy explained to them. How much economic boost would have been given by an industry wide program (not limited to clunkers) spending, say, $52 per ton of carbon reduced? That would be double to Waxman-Markey guess…
So far, 34 of the banks that got TARP money have paid it back, according to SNL Financial, a Charlottesville-based research firm whose statistics I’m using throughout this piece, with about half the institutions paying a total of $1.7 billion (including Amex and Goldman) to redeem their warrants. That’s the good news.
The bad news is that we’ve now seen most of the good news, because the remaining TARP borrowers — 628 that owe the government $174 billion — are considerably weaker as a group than the ones that have repaid.
It’s what economists call “adverse selection.” The strongest borrowers — the ones whose warrants are likely to produce serious profits for the Treasury — are bailing out of TARP as rapidly as possible to avoid pay restrictions and other rules that the Obama administration adopted after inheriting TARP from the Bush administration. These stronger firms would also like to capture as much of their stocks’ potential upside as possible, so they’re trying to buy back the warrants based on today’s share price rather on what they assume will be a higher price in the future.
A Democratic push to appoint a successor to the late Sen. Edward Kennedy is sparking a political tempest in Massachusetts, infuriating Republicans and dividing Democrats who only five years ago passed a law requiring that voters decide on Senate vacancies.
On a day when members of both parties paid their respects to Mr. Kennedy, a Democratic icon who died this week of brain cancer, Republicans accused Democrats of hypocrisy. In 2004, the state’s Democrat-controlled legislature changed the law to prevent the governor from appointing an interim successor after a U.S. Senate seat becomes vacant. Instead, the new law requires that a special election be held between 145 and 165 days after the position becomes vacant.
At the time, Democratic Sen. John Kerry was running for president and Massachusetts had a Republican governor, Mitt Romney. Proponents of changing the law argued that a gubernatorial appointment was undemocratic and that only voters should decide on a replacement. Democrats also feared Mr. Romney would appoint a Republican.
Now, with Mr. Kennedy dying three years before his term was up, some Massachusetts Democrats are reversing course, calling for Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick to appoint an interim replacement to hold office until the special election can be held. They now argue the state shouldn’t be without full Senate representation for months, especially with pressing issues such as health care before Congress.
“If legislators go through with this, they are gigantic hypocrites,” said Jennifer Nassour, chairman of the Massachusetts Republican Party. “There is no other way to label them.”
It’s not often that I agree with the Republican Party, but this time they’re absolutely right.
When the credit crisis struck last year, federal regulators pumped tens of billions of dollars into the nation’s leading financial institutions because the banks were so big that officials feared their failure would ruin the entire financial system.
Today, the biggest of those banks are even bigger.
The crisis may be turning out very well for many of the behemoths that dominate U.S. finance. A series of federally arranged mergers safely landed troubled banks on the decks of more stable firms. And it allowed the survivors to emerge from the turmoil with strengthened market positions, giving them even greater control over consumer lending and more potential to profit.
J.P. Morgan Chase, an amalgam of some of Wall Street’s most storied institutions, now holds more than $1 of every $10 on deposit in this country. So does Bank of America, scarred by its acquisition of Merrill Lynch and partly government-owned as a result of the crisis, as does Wells Fargo, the biggest West Coast bank. Those three banks, plus government-rescued and -owned Citigroup, now issue one of every two mortgages and about two of every three credit cards, federal data show.
A pair of physicists at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich did a physics-based analysis of the world economy as it looked in early 2007. Stefano Battiston and James Glattfelder extracted the information from the tangled yarn that links 24,877 stocks and 106,141 shareholding entities in 48 countries, revealing what they called the “backbone” of each country’s financial market. These backbones represented the owners of 80 percent of a country’s market capital, yet consisted of remarkably few shareholders.
“You start off with these huge national networks that are really big, quite dense,” Glattfelder said. “From that you’re able to … unveil the important structure in this original big network. You then realize most of the network isn’t at all important.”
The most pared-down backbones exist in Anglo-Saxon countries, including the U.S., Australia, and the U.K. … But while each American company may link to many owners, Glattfelder and Battiston’s analysis found that the owners varied little from stock to stock, meaning that comparatively few hands are holding the reins of the entire market.
While it is true that the paper in the Physical Review E has not yet been published, I have found a draft version of their article from February which shows that the top 10 list of most powerful financial institutions (from most to least powerful) is as follows:
1. The Capital Group of Companies
2. Fidelity Management & Research
3. Barclays PLC
4. Franklin Resources
6. JP Morgan Chase
7. Dimensional Fund Advisors
8. Merrill Lynch
9. Wellington Management Company